Winding down after exams…with Keats

I am mindful that my blog has been neglected I have had reason to rant…but I confess I too have been winding down after exam invigilating, supporting students through the exam period and being a mature student. Though I still have an exam to do!! However, I have not been lazing around and have enjoyed a few cultural experiences alongside the usual challenges of my counselling and freelance work.

Last weekend I attended an event organised by the Redbourn Museum where we were fortunate to be visited by Professor Nicholas Roe from St Andrews University a historian and writer specialising in Keats one of the greats.  We were treated to a great talk and I managed to purchase and have signed his latest book on John Keats. This followed an interesting evening of poetry and wine in the museum gardens where various poetry lovers read from their favourite books; I chose Rupert Brookes, a few Haiku gems and one or too old favourites.

I had forgotten just how much poetry had featured in my own life and reflected on happy memories of reading from my mother’s poetry books as a small child. Writing poetry, indeed any writing is always therapeutic and it can be fun don’t forget even if you just write it for your own private reasons. However, don’t be shy try and get it published you may surprise yourself.

Normal daily blogging will resume now and for those students awaiting exam results try not to get too stressed enjoy your break you have earned it and I wish you all well with your results and chosen career paths. I will be writing about how choices change in the forthcoming weeks…and sometimes unexpectedly for the better.

 

Being kind

Being kind and grateful feature frequently on my blog and I often say how kindness is not a weakness. Today I will quote a few words from ‘Alfie’ by the great Burt Bacharach to ponder:-

‘What’s it all about, Alfie
Is it just for the moment we live
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind
And if only fools are kind, Alfie…’

On speaking about kindness and being grateful with various pastoral colleagues it often seems that to some modern day people it’s uncool to be either…but I am an old-fashioned girl and believe we only get out what we put in and demonstrating kindness in all that we do, considering others… then we are happier ourselves. At the end of the day be grateful for any small achievement, success or happy moment and I promise you will wake up the next day feeling more positive and ready to face the day ahead.

Speaking to a recently bereaved gentleman yesterday; I reminded him to think about the good times and funny moments he had shared with his wife and after our unscheduled encounter he said he felt better and that made me feel grateful for my training too.

To the icecream man who gave me a free icecream this week after a hot afternoon invigilating- thanks for that tiny act of kindness Mr Whippy. You made an old girl very happy.

 

 

In Support of Mr Men Books

Regular followers will know I keep out of many topical discussions but today… Watching GMTV I felt compelled to respond to the crazy suggestion that the funny Mr Men books are sexist and damaging to girls!! What??!!**

The idea to suggest such editions as ‘Little Miss Chatterbox’ are demeaning to girls is complete nonsense. My daughter was bought that book and being a chatterbox was part of her charm and her social skills from an earlier age have been second to none and an asset.

To attack my own personal favourite ‘Mr Tickle’ with an inuendo he was a sex predator even more ridiculous. For me he was, and always will be, the ideal man as he could lie in bed and reach downstairs for the chocolate biscuits. I still stay clear of ‘Mr Grumpy’ haha

Obviously, whilst I am support of women being encouraged to be confident it is a statistical fact, and sadly so, that we have more to be worried about the mental issues, and lack of confidence in young men with rise in depression and male suicides.

I will end my rant with a memory of a great ex-boyfriend who loved women but used to remind me that more often than not Walt Disney’s baddie was a woman! Though the more modern Disney films have great role models for girls…‘let it go’.

Allow children to be children for heaven’s sake!

What’s wrong with me…get writing

Having many strings to one’s bow often means that some aspects of who we are and what we do get neglected. Mine of late has been my own writing projects in terms of both marketing them and writing itself.

My regular followers and friends know that the past few years I have been a mature student and also working with dementia clients and their families which has taken me away from ‘my writing babies’. So today I am back being a writer and dusting off my manuscripts along with all the other poor tortured writers and back pitching…

At a family event this weekend I was reminded about one of my very special projects now available on Amazon. ‘A Mother’s Love’ which includes great advice from my mentor and best friend:-

Mother-s love (1)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annie-Manning/e/B005XXYJL0

A Mother’s love

The older I become the more, and I guess obviously so, my friends and extended family members are losing their parents. The loss of a Mother cuts deep and I described my own feelings at the time of just losing my sense of purpose – when I say that to the recently bereaved I always get a nod of acceptance. Bereavement brings a whole range of emotions and at times these feel so over-whelming. Some may argue it doesn’t get any easier and they are probably right but acceptance becomes stronger and we do start to remember their love and the gift they brought to us.

After being nagged by many of my friends and family I wrote my own thoughts and experiences of my own relationshipwith my mother down. It is true that writing is indeed therapeutic.

‘A Mother’s Love’ Gospels according to Dorothy is available from amazon kindle to download.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annie-Manning/e/B005XXYJL0

Mother-s love (1)

**Cover illustration courtesy of Paul Manning

 

Beautiful cat..’Keep Scratching’

Just returned from a trip to the vets with our amazing cat Lenny. Poor lad such a beautiful furry boy… just a domestic long haired but convinced he is a posh cat  – when he is not thinking he is a dog! Cat’s are so switched on they see that cat box and suddenly become as strong as a lion as one tries to wrestle them in.

If like me you are a real cat lover (crazy cat woman) you may enjoy my anthology of cat poetry on Kindle books available from Amazon @ £3.50:

Keep scratching‘ is published and written under my pen name Evelyn King with purrfect cover illustration by Paul Manning www.p-manning.com

Keep_Scratching

Making it count

My regular followers will know I talk often about living a day at a time and making it count. I also encourage kindness and remind people often it is a strength not a weakness.

In life, if we are lucky, special people come into our lives, our paths will cross and unexpectedly we learn so much. I am also personally aware that a dearest friend may not have necessarily been in one’s life a long time for that person to make such a difference and have a positive impact either.

For personal reasons I have been re-visiting some of my favourite poems, one of which was given to me when my mother died ‘How do you live your dash‘ an extract follows:-

‘I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend

He referred to the dates on her tombstone from the beginning to the end

He noted that first came her date of birth and spoke the later date with tears

But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time she spent alive on earth

And now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth

For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash

What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash

So think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged

If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real

And always try to understand the way other people feel’

So, if you have people in your life that you love, then tell them so today, don’t save the words just for ‘special occasions’ as today is that special occasion!

 

 

The many uses of music

Those that know me well know I am a music lover always have been. Music can lift our souls, get our feet tapping and motivate us in so many ways. Some say music breathes life into our soul and I tend to agree. Writing for songwriters is also therapeutic and enables them to tell their story.

Let’s be honest those epic films we know and love would be nothing without the music score setting the mood, the drama and emotion.

It is a well documented fact that those people with speech challenges i.e. stammering, their stammer seems to disappear when they sing.

Recently I watched a teacher (Christian Foley) using his amazing ability to rap making his lessons more interesting for his students with great results. It immediately reminded me of an old Welsh History teacher who taught us the Kings and Queens of England by reciting a rhyming poem/song – which to my own amazement I can still recite. Moreover I remain amazed he could recite them himself after a lunchtime tipple which was a regular event in those days.

I use music therapy within sessions with dementia clients to help stimulate happy memories and prompt discussions giving an insight into their lives with beautiful results.

For me life would be impossible without my music, an old fashioned girl; a loft full of vinyl and my little CD player still brings hours of joy whilst studying.

As my mum used to say ‘music gets my motor running!’ How true.

Old loves

Through our lives people will enter at various stages and leave an imprint on our hearts. As we grow older and often have time to reflect, often it is then that we truly recognise why and the impact they had.

Everything happens for a reason and we make decisions which may feel are right at that time for our own personal growth. But as my wonderful mentor used to frequently say ‘memories live longer than dreams’ and maybe the dreams we thought we wanted to chase don’t actual exist and the stars we try to reach for we actually already had.

As part of one of my  psychology study assignments I found myself confessing experiences and relationships and the fact that ‘feeling loved’ however long it lasted will of course keep us warm in our old age. Here’s hoping.

I will end on lyrics from a great musician and song writer Zarr

‘love is hard to find…I’m reaching for you but you are like the stars..far so very far.

 

Musical bumps

Musical bumps…and I don’t mean the game we played as children which I believe the fun police have said is now too dangerous!!

I am referring to when we hear a piece of music or a song and we are immediately transported back in time to a memory, a place or a person. These ‘bumps’ can of course be great prompts to bring back happy memories and in my work with dementia clients this can prove invaluable.

On the other hand one can hear a piece of music which may remind us of a loved one we have lost and we may feel reflective and saddened, but even those feelings are useful in helping us to allow our bereavement process and healing to continue.

Let’s face it the music score creates the scene, the atmosphere and the moods in any great film as the amazing John Williams has continued to prove over some four decades. Personally, I would be lost without my music whether it is lifting a mood or emotive to shed a tear or two.

My music list and appreciation is both long and eclectic and in case a certain man is reading my blog today…we had Barber.