Parklife

Well…I have been managing to publish at least one post a day for a long time. But this year, a lot of those posts were ones I already had in my drafts folder. I am not finding time to do more new writing. So…you will see a few posts that I wrote and published in 2018 that I am re-publishing (including the infamous STORM IN A TEACUP SERIES!)

I do have a blessed life here.  Despite being the other side of a trial that has turned my life upside down…I find myself here in this beautiful part of London, in a beautiful little abode, with interesting and satisfying work, and lots of lovely people in my life, not the least of whom is my beloved Goldfinch.  I rise early and have a leisurely breakfast and my coffee.  Then I shower and dress and then I climb three steps and I start work.  Three steps!!!  What a terrible commute to work – and they are all uphill!!!

Adult, Breakfast, Bedroom, Blanket, Bed

This part of London is completely new to me. I have been exploring whenever I have free time. Spring and summer are giving me more daylight hours to go venturing out to discover. Last week I found a pretty park.  I went there tonight with the book I wanted to finish and my fleecy picnic rug.  It is about a 40-45 minute walk from the house.  It is not the best park in London. But with beautiful trees and grass you can’t really go wrong. Lots of families, joggers, cyclists, people chatting on benches, drinking coffee or eating ice-cream at one of the little cafes.

I arrived at about 5.30pm this evening.  I had to finish the book I borrowed from the  local library…I read it in that beautiful park, the sun warming my back and the gentle breeze caressing my hair. I let tears roll down my cheeks as I read slowly every emotion packed sentence.  What a story.

Then once I had finished it, I sat up and did a little “people-watching”. When I was bored I lay down on my back and looked up at the blue sky, the branches heavy with verdant green towering over me.

Park sky

It’s nice to be snugly warm and yet to be able to detect that lovely faint breeze. I realized the sun was sinking and was now behind a very impressive cedar tree. I felt tears in my eyes again. There was a huge cedar tree outside the building I went into every morning at 6.45am for breakfast….and there was a huge cedar in the private park in front of the apartment I lived in with two flatmates for my first two years there. Before I moved into the flat where the trouble started. The trouble that led to a life-changing event.

My sister was in Lebanon for three months at the start of last year.  She told me all about the cedars there and showed me lots of pictures. Then two of my best friends went over there for two months and came back just as enthusiastic as my sister about the scenery and the food.

I want to go to Lebanon.

There are a hundred places I would like to visit…ideally to have several weeks in each location, maybe longer. There are a thousand things I would like to do.

But this word BALANCE and another word PATIENCE and what else?  Oh yes, SELF-CONTROL. There is no way all these places would exist if I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to see them all and enjoy them all at some point! I am sure. It would be too cruel. This earth is there to explore and discover. I am sure one day…we will set out on a voyage together and spend one or two thousand years  I would like to be with Goldfinch, discovering new places, new foods, new scenery, new cultures and music and experiences. I would like to do a lot of exploring with him and then at the end of each day find somewhere we could sit back and I could hold his hand and rest my head on his shoulder and we can talk about everything we saw that day.

River, Embankment, Tree, Water, Lake

I have a lovely balanced life here…which is what I have needed, starting over again. I have needed to do this gently. Right now, I have the ideal situation for building up my stamina (especially with work spread over five storeys of the building – I am getting plenty of chance to run up and down stairs), pushing my body a little bit more each day, always with the knowledge I will be able to rest up after work…getting back into routine.  Growing stronger every day.  I am enjoying my work very much…and I am loving my rest/relaxation time very much. I can see I will be spending more late afternoons in the pretty park I found.

There was a point when I could not have imagined I would be able to come to a park on my own and feel so peaceful, so full of blissful content and feel safe.  So many memories would be triggered of that night.  That summer evening when I went to a park on my own and sat on a bench and allowed hot spicy tears roll down my cheeks.  So many memories of the security guard who found me the following morning and called an ambulance.   So many memories of everything that happened that night.

But look at how far I have come.  I can go to the park on my own and feel happiness down to my toes.  I can hold my head up knowing I have not just survived, I have thrived…with the support of my family and friends.  I even have a Goldfinch who makes me feel as if I could fly.

Despite the cruel events which shattered my world…I am in one piece…I am in a safe place and I have  a balanced healthy and happy life. I enjoy my work, I enjoy my rest/relaxation time.  I enjoy Parklife.

Park

Life Is Not Always A Bed Of Roses

Roses in St Mary's Garden, Regent's Park. Janna SchreierHowever, today that is all that life was.  Many beds of beautiful roses!

I have spent the day with some friends from abroad who are visiting London.  Those of us who live in London, often avoid the tourist traps, unless we have time to be idle and a lot of patience with visitors wandering around taking photographs of phone boxes, buses, and monuments to people who are from the minds of every day Londoners.  But I had booked the day off so that I could join my visitors and be a helpful tour-guide for them.  That meant I would be in the midst of throngs of tourists (accept I knew where I was going, and knew the short-cuts to avoid being slowed down too much).

My friends had a list of places they wanted to visit and take many photographs of.  You can imagine…the Her Majesty The Queen’s digs, Big Ben…which does not chime at the moment and has scaffolding all over it, the big Ferris Wheel that moves so slowly and yet charges a rate of over £1 per minute (cheaper to take an Uber I am sure), the tall pointy sky-scarper they put up a few years ago near London Bridge, and finally, Covent Garden (I was pleased about that because my favourite ice-cream parlour happens to be there).  I have also agreed to take them down to Wimbledon as they want to take lots of photos of the tennis club, and they want to go to Grenwich.  I am not sure if I will have the time to take them to Grenwich, but they can’t get themselves into too much of a pickle on their own in Grenwich…it is perfect for tourists and visitors to London.

My friends were also happy to take me up on a couple of my suggestions I offered to them.  How pleased they were when they saw this feast for the eyes.

Suggestion Number One:  If you are in London this glorious month of June – please make the time to visit Queen Mary’s Gardens in the middle of Regents Park.  Little pocket of paradise that it is – you need to see it! 

If you like roses…you cannot be disappointed.  Just don’t wait too long.  The rose season never lasts long enough for my liking.

I have told Goldfinch that next time he visits me, I want to take him.  I can hardly imagine a more perfect day than walking hand in hand around this little pocket of delight…and I will take a pic-nic for us too.

Keep SmilingI don’t think I want to clutter this post with too many words that will distract you from these lovely photos.  But please allow me to recommend that you look for my favourite rose.  It is a big fat bold joyful yellow one named “Keep Smiling”.

I will confess to you something that you may have already picked up on if you have being paying close attention to my posts.  June… aaaaah… my favourite month of the year since childhood.  However, it was a very hot June night that I went to the park on my own…and woke up the next morning on my way to hospital in an ambulance.  It was not Regents Park…it was another famous London Park nearer to my accommodation.

BluesI am already finding it hard…but I am keeping my chin up and keeping my head busy and my heart full of things that make me smile…like roses…and Goldfinch!

It will be alright… it will pass.  We shall bear it on our chin, with a grin…like any true Northerner.  We will get through this!

For the last two Junes I have found I had to work at not letting “flash-backs” from that night cause me distress.  Usually I go away…but this time I will be delaying my vacation by a day or two.  So the anniversary of the day I went to the park…I will be at work.  We will find out if that is a good idea.  Then the next day, the anniversary of my first day in hospital – I will be travelling across the country in a train.  I hope it will be a journey unlike the one in my post “One Epic Day On The British Rail Network.”

Then I have two weeks of touring the country, seeing family and friends…I shall take photos and share with you wonderful tales of my adventure with you.

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moreroses

I have more photos from the day out with my visitors.  Rather than one huge post…I will break up our sight-seeing trip around the “big smoke”.

You might not really like scrolling through other people’s “holiday spam”…so I will be kind to you!