Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 2

I’m using ‘A journey of a thouand miles begins with a single step,’ as my quote today ~ because it follows on from yesterday’s post about a time in my life when I was unable to see a way forward.

This quote is taken from the ‘Tao Te Ching’ ~ a Chinese classical text traditionally credited to the 6th-century BC sage Lao Tzu. The meaning of it seems perfectly obvious ~ unless you start doing something, you’re never going to get it done. Right?

Hmmm… Literally translated, this quote becomes:

‘The journey of a thousand leagues begins beneath one’s feet.’  Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher 604 – 531 BC.

which focuses on the stillness before the action of the first step, in the belief that the action of starting the journey will arise naturally out of that stillness.

So Lao Tzu’s words carry two completely different messages, depending on how the text is translated: ‘just get on with it!’…or ‘hang on a minute…!’ Is this some kind of Taoist joke? 😉

I must say that the latter option tends to be my experience. When I try hard to force a desired result it tends not to work out, so I become frustrated and have to set that project aside. Then, when I relax and allow things to develop naturally, they seem to flow without any effort at all.

But ~ either way ~ I have found this ancient text inspiring and I hope you do too! 🙂

 The rules of the challenge are simple:

Thank the person who chose you ~ Many thanks Gilly , it’s fun!
Post a quote for three consecutive days
Say why you like your quotes
Invite three blogging friends to join in ~ I’m leaving that one open, please feel free to take part if you wish! 🙂




3 Day Quote Challenge – Day 1


‘When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars.’ Charles Austin Beard, American Historian and Educator.

Photograph by kind permission of Ainsley Bennett Photography

Gilly, over at Lucid Gypsy invited me to post one of my favourite quotes every day for three days, explaining the reason why I’ve chosen it. Thank you Gilly ~ here goes!

Many moons ago the world as I knew it collapsed around me and I had to build a new life for myself. I didn’t have a clue how or where to begin and ~ for a while ~ the future looked dismal and gloomy, with no glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

Then, one day, I came across this quote and it brought back memories of my childhood in the Welsh countryside. I loved going for evening walks with my step~father and our dogs. On clear winter nights we would pause and stare up at the sky while he pointed out the constellations, teaching me the mythological origins of their names and explaining that the light from them had taken millions of years to reach us. That they were so far away and no longer in existence ~ yet we could still see them twinkling above us ~ blew my tiny little mind!

So this quote ~ and the memories it sparked off  ~ marked a significant turning point for me.

Ainsley Bennett is a talented Isle of Wight photographer, who has won National competitions for his work and whose page I follow on Facebook. He has taken many awesome photographs of our beautiful Island ~ to view them please visit his site by clicking on the link. This particular star~lit image fits the quote ~ and my story ~ perfectly! So thank you Ainsley, for giving me permission to reproduce it.

The rules of the challenge are simple:

Thank the person who chose you
Post a quote for three consecutive days
Say why you like your quotes
Invite three blogging friends to join in ~ I’m leaving that one open, please feel free to take part if you wish! 🙂


WIP Wednesday 9

Martin’s Progress 5

Although Martin is continuing to work in traditional media, those pictures aren’t quite ready for publication yet ~ maybe next time?

So today’s Work In Progress is ‘Martz Mechanical Mandala’, made up of motorcycle bits and pieces:

He says he knows that mandalas are meant to be round ~ but he thinks in straight lines. Which is ironic since many of the parts he’s used are circular!



WIP Wednesday 8

I’m late…I’m late…


In Monday’s post I started to relate the events of our fun~filled Bank Holiday weekend. But when it came time to publish it I’d only got as far as Sunday evening, so the last part of the title didn’t make sense. As it was still a Work In Progress, I’d hoped to finish it for Wednesday ~ then in the middle of uploading photos the programme decided to quit. So, like that other White Rabbit, the one that Lewis Carroll wrote about, I’ve ended up being really late.

The technology seems to have sorted itself out now, fingers crossed.  So on with the story!

Horse Poo, Catfishgumbo and The Mad Hatter contd…

After our hard work in the garden Martin and I decided to give our aching muscles a rest and take Monday, the Mayday Bank Holiday, off. Gift to Nature, a local charity we support in lieu of sending Christmas cards, was hosting a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ as one of the events in an ‘Along The Riverbank’ celebration, run by the New Carnival Comapny.

So we packed a picnic, donned floppy sunhats and set off in the direction of the venue. I’d noted the postcode on my phone but the map of this part of the countryside had no identifiable landmarks, which made locating it tricky.

After we’d taken a few wrong turns down narrow lanes, we were completely lost. Hot and bothered we were just about to abandon the whole adventure, when we literally stumbled across the place we’d been searching for. Sandown Community Orchard it seems, is not in Sandown after all, but in Lake! How very ‘Through The Looking Glass’! No wonder we ~ and everyone else we spoke to, including the one of the organisers ~ had difficulty finding it.

But, in the end, the effort and frustration were well worth it:

The above characters are actors who mingled with the crowd, before improvising an excellent Tea Party scene with some of the children who’d come in costume.

A cute little Sheltand pony wandered by, followed by a group of dogs in Wonderland Fancy Dress.

My Fab Friend Jules was there, running story~telling sessions, her books and amazing artwork on sale and there were a few other stalls spread throughout the site, such as face painting and promoting Gift to Nature and the New Carnival Company.

Here’s Jules, sitting on hay bales in her fairy glade, chatting to Martin and White Rabbit Anne Abe, who is a teacher, coach, choreographer and Principal of ‘Dance Vibez’ dancing school. Throughout the day Anne jogged around the site in character, encouraging visitors to attend the Tea Party and to come and listen while Jules read out her stories.

This turned out to be an enchanting, quirky and charming event and we’re already looking forward to the next one! 🙂



But what about this Wightrabbit?

Well I started writing this post on Monday evening and it’s taken me until now to finish it. In the meantime I’ve done more in the garden ~ the salad leaves I planted are already germinating! I’ve cooked and cleaned and read an entire historical novel in the sunshine. One morning Martin, Indie and I walked further than we’d planned and discovered two more Gift to Nature sites. We’ve decided to explore all the others over the summer and we’ll definitely attend more of the charity’s imaginative events ~ there’s a Butterfly Ball  and a Big Kite Picnic coming up at the end of the month. I’ve practised my Qigong routine most mornings, to keep me fit for forthcoming adventures and I’ve started attending a Chakra Colouring Course ~ I’ll tell you more about that another time.

So, am I late…really? Or am I publishing this exactly at the right moment, having thoroughly enjoyed composing it over a period of days, recalling magical memories of that balmy afternoon? Because that’s what being retired is all about, isn’t it? Enjoying this time of life, when we’re lucky enough to be free from deadlines and external pressures and can just go along with the flow.

No,  I’m not late at all.

I’m having the time of my life!







Horse Poo, Catfishgumbo and The Mad Hatter

It’s a standing joke that whenever there’s a Bank Holiday in Britain the heavens are guaranteed to open, putting a dampener on outdoor activities and giving us yet another excuse to moan about our anti~social weather. But ~ unusually for the UK ~ this last weekend turned out just fine.

Instead of huddling around barbecues under dripping umbrellas, we were bathed in glorius sunshine from dawn ’til dusk. And, with barely a cloud in the sky and temperatures soaring, open~air events could go ahead, rather than being rained off or transferred to indoor locations.

Martin and I had already decided to spend the weekend transplanting some shrubs but our stressed soil was in need of a good dose of fertiliser to ensure their survival. So on Saturday morning ~ combining our  daily dog~walk with a search for well~rotted manure ~ we drove along the country road to Yarmouth, keeping an eye out for bags of manure for sale on the roadside.

Leaving the car outside the ancient port, we walked a mile along the sea wall to our favourite deli, where we purchased supplies for an impromtu brunch on the beach. Whilst Martin fed the leftover corner of his Cornish Pasty to Indie, I picked up a few pieces of sea glass, a button and a feather ~ found objects for my mixed media collages ~ so we were all very happy.

On the drive back we pulled in outside a farm to buy some horse~poo, dropping the money into the ‘honesty box’ provided, then came home and got straight on with the gardening…

As a perfect end to the day we had another burn~up in the chimenea.

Ever since I watched the movie, ‘The Big Easy’, starring Dennis Quaid, I’ve been attracted to Cajun culture. I can’t recall his co~star, or the even story~line but I remember the soundtrack vividly; one scene in particular, where the couple danced to folk music outside a rustic cabin. So the next evening ~ after I’d showered off most of the dung from working in the garden again all day ~ I set off to Quay Arts for a ‘Sundays on the Bayou’ session, which I’d seen advertised on Facebook earlier.

Not knowing what to expect, I was immediately drawn in by ambiance of the Arts Centre cafe, where Cajun Daze ~ accompanied by friends from other folk bands ~ entertained us with two sets of authentic tunes on a variety of interesting instruments, (such as the frottoir,) explaining the history of the French lyrics before each number.

Debbie Wyke, one of the musicians who I met during the interval, encouraged audience participation by demonstrating the beat on triangles. And several enthusiastic couples danced two~steps and waltzes ‘Cajun~style’, in the space between the tables and the bar.

With the evening sunlight streaming in through the open doors behind the band, I was content just to watch and take snaps of the action on my iPhone ~ conscious not to spoil other people’s enjoyment by getting in the way! The resulting images aren’t up to Martin’s exacting standards but ~ although blurry and ill-lit ~ I think the montage conveys the laid~back atmosphere of the evening.

When some audience members joined in the penultimate number on their borrowed triangles and we all sang along with the chorus, I could feel the ‘good time’ vibrations running right through me. I enjoyed it so much that I’m already looking forward to the next session, in July.

As they say in Louisiana, ‘laissez les bon temps rouler!’ 🙂

Thank you and goodnight!

But wait! What became of the Mad Hatter? Did the White Rabbit lead Alice to his tea~party? Or did the foul~tempered Queen of Hearts finally cut off his head?

Now that’s another story and it’s still a Work~In~Progress, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow…




Friday’s Featured Friend

Today I’d like to introduce you to my lovely friend Phyllis Goodwin, who joined a local  group, Wight Writers, shortly before I did. I met her on the way to my first meeting and ~ as ‘newbies’ ~ we supported each other through the terrifying process of reading out our unpolished writing to a critical audience of more seasoned members.

Phyllis has bred prize~winning Field Spaniels and is the author of several books about them. When we first got to know each other she was working on her first novel, ‘Cry For Me Argentina,’ which was inspired by a fascinating true story.

Her second  book, ‘Father’s Dead Where’s Mother,’ will be published soon. The title is intruiging and I’m looking forward to reading it. Here’s a teaser from her latest blog post:

Do Mothers Disappear?


Silvina has to cope with her father’s brutal murder. With her friend Harry she begins her quest to find her mother. Where is she? Does she find her? Sign up on my blog to be   sent news of publication date. This cover is one of many …

Decisions, Decisions!!!

To learn more about my elegant friend Phyllis Goodwin, view pictures of her fine dogs and beautiful garden and the details of how to obtain her books please follow this link to her website: WRITING * FIELDS * GARDENS






WIP Wednesday 7

Martin’s Progress 4

While I’ve been busy creating seahorse collages, Martin has spent the last few wintry days indoors, on his computer. He’s working on images of an ancient Rover car – a symbol of respectability, back in the day, originally available in post~war greys and greens. He has now rendered these in colours which would have been unimaginable at the time that they were built.

The first image is of the ‘standard’ vehicle, with just the wheels changed and, of course, tinted windows:

Rover P90

The second car has been ‘dropped’, that is to say that the suspension has been lowered and the wheel~arches re~shaped:

Rover P90

The third one has been dropped and ‘chopped’, meaning the roof has been lowered by cutting a few inches out of the door pillars.

Rover P90

As this is still a Work In Progress, I wonder what other modifications he is planning next…