Redeeming the commute?


valandreneau sunriseHave you heard of the golden hour? It’s a photographer’s way of describing the light we get just after sunrise or just before sunset, when everything is tinted gold. And, right now, commuters arguably have the best seat in the house, because the chances are you’re heading to work during the golden hour.

In the dead of winter, sunrise happens after you get to work, and before you head home; for most of the rest of the year the sun rises long before you set off and leaves you hours of sunny evenings. So this week, why not take a minute to enjoy a moment with the sunrise, reminding you that spring is on the way?

Pause in golden rays

And drink them in like Midas

Tasting the riches.


Do you hear what I hear?

Today I took my mother-in-law to get a new hearing aid. I didn’t think much about it – she’s always had hearing aids as long as I’ve known her (she and I both married late…) – but what the doctor said really hit home as I listened to him spelling out what her audio world is like, and what she can hope for from the new hearing aid.

I’ve always been a visual person, and have had the occasional tortured ponder on what it might mean to lose my sight, but I never gave my ears a second thought. And I know my husband sometimes wishes they were a bit less sharp because his car choices are limited to those with an engine sound I can tolerate (I have very sensitive hearing at the top end of the scale)…

But, for a moment, I was forced to imagine life without birdsong, without rushing water, without late night chats after a good meal with friends. Hearing her sadness at how all the little interactions I take for granted aren’t possible, about how she chooses to shrink her life because sifting through the muted babble is too much for her, I was profoundly grateful (perhaps for the first time ever) that I could hear…*

wave-677899_960_720Following the thread

As words meander through sound

Connecting our hearts.

*I still reserve the right to withhold this gratitude when my husband’s snores go on too long, though…

It’s a journey… not an epiphany!

Well, here we are in the second half of January in a year when I’ve (once again) decided that “this will be the year”. The year when I get fit, change my life, am happy…

I have some friends on the journey, having been chosen to blog for The Great Wake Up from Psychologies magazine this year. Another post on the site really brought home to me that change isn’t about deciding to change and suddenly being different; it’s about deciding to change and then each day continuing to decide to live differently until the new way becomes the norm.

Take healthy eating (I’m trying!). Just deciding “I’m going to eat healthily from now on” is a bit of a challenge with a cupboard full of Christmas chocolates and one slightly past-it lemon in the fridge. Deciding to eat healthily means planning a couple of supermarket trips each week (because healthy food doesn’t last as long as the rubbish…) and then buying piles of fresh fruit and veg when I’m there – having planned in advance what I’m going to cook with the things I’m buying AND planned when I’ll have time to cook them. See the difference? That’s taken me a while to spot…

Same with exercise – buying trainers is pointless unless I make time to take walks! And change into gym kit, and stretch and shower after…
So, I’ve stumbled. It’s amazing how much you can stumble in just eighteen days! But this year I’m still on the path, with renewed hope that I will get there!

Change is step by step

Living moments of progress

That build to fresh views.

It will happen

PossibilitiesComing into this year with very little idea of what it may bring has been so liberating! We’re only eleven days in and four different good things have made me squeal with excitement.

Two came from ideas percolating in my brain, ideas that seemed impossible not long ago, and two came from left field, offering opportunities that I’d never expected. That’s not to say I hadn’t done any work toward the opportunities, because a lot of work over the years laid the groundwork, but I wasn’t striving for them.

So today I’m feeling mellow and focussing on doing a good job at whatever I choose to do today, but not looking too far ahead. That’s a big step for an inveterate planner, but it feels really good.

Just stop worrying

Focus less on what you want

Notice what could be

Deja vu

So here we are again, at the start of a new year. And today most of us had to climb out of our pyjamas and head back to work.

Even more daunting, though, is the list of everything I meant to finish in 2015, so I could have a clean slate for 2016. You know: read those articles I’d bookmarked in various journals to build new expertise; clear out my inbox ready for a new year; finally put my holiday photos in an album; clear out my closet; do my filing… I could continue, but I think you get the gist (and I bet I’m not alone!).

Now I’m wondering, what if I just don’t? What if instead of starting the year as a failure I decide that for once I’m going to start the year congratulating myself?

winnowLast year I prioritised the things that really matter to me (we are not going to focus on how much of that was sitting with my cats, a book and a cup of tea…) and that’s what successful people do, right? What really matters will happen at the appropriate time…

Set down the burdens

Weighty matters will remain

Sifted clear by time.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the image 🙂


Pooh 28 Sep 15Yesterday I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life – I had to let my cat go after sixteen and a half years together. Luckily, it was a short illness, but all the “he had a good life” comments in the world won’t fill the hole inside of me

He was an abandoned stray, brought to me by a dear friend as he was hanging around her cats, and it was love at first sight – despite an early trip to the vet for shots and – ahem – other indignities…

Until he went deaf, he met me every day after work, running up when he heard my car to say hello. He charmed everyone who ever met him, even the builders whose lunches he stole over the years. He comforted me through every trauma, drama and general bad day and I just don’t know what I’ll do without him to comfort me now.

Goodbye, Poohie.

Golden parchment eyes

Endless reservoirs of love

I still hear purring…

December dawn

I love dawn in the winter, when the leaves have fallen and the trees are etched black against the sunrise. (I also love that I still get to see sun rise even after a lie-in…)

There’s a clean feeling to those mornings, a freshness that makes the cuppa after a morning walk so much sweeter. It’s a time to feed your soul, and to enjoy the beauty that the short nights of summer tend to tuck out of sight.mg_5582

And it couldn’t come at a better time – respite every morning from the jolly glare of Christmas…

Dark branches against

A pink-golden pearly sky

Ink and pastel dawn.