mental health, Philosophy, Uncategorized, Walking

Gratitude

waterfall

This is Llanrhaedr Waterfall, the highest in Wales and this afternoon we took a walk through the hills to reach the top of the waterfall. At the base of the falls there is a small car park and tea shop at the end of a four mile long narrow country lane The road stops here and you can go no further. There is no mobile signal or internet, and the silence is broken only by the sounds of red kites wheeling in the skies or sheep bleating as they make their way down the hillside with the barks of the collie dogs at their heels.

The autumn colours are deepening, the reds and oranges changing the countryside with each passing day as the shades intensify. There were a few other hardy walkers out this afternoon but not enough to spoil our pleasure in a glorious afternoon, a testing walk and a cup of tea in a delightfully quirky tea room whose decor cannot have changed in the last 50 years.

There is something very calming and reassuring about being in such a remote and beautiful place; it is more than just appreciating the natural beauty of the scenery; there is something grounding about being in a place which has changed so little for many hundreds of years. The buildings we passed were farm houses and barns, both fields and hillsides were covered in sheep and bracken and for just a few hours it was so easy to leave behind the 21st century. So much of today’s technology is amazing and helps us to connect with friends and family from all over the world – this blog is just one example- but it also a millstone weighing us all down with the need to keep up, to show that we are connected and in tune, we are having a busy and interesting life….and so on. But just for a few hours to know that no one could reach me was bliss. I had no need to be a supportive parent, a dutiful daughter, a caring friend but could truly look after myself, could relish the opportunity to replenish my inner being without feeling in the least bit guilty.

Tomorrow will bring a busy day where I shall be Mum to a frightened daughter as she heads to the breast clinic to have a lump investigated, and Granny to a little boy who can’t quite understand why Mummy is not quite herself so my gratitude for today is huge. Having topped up my reserves I shall be better placed to cope with whatever  tomorrow may throw at us.

It has taken me a very long time to learn the value of self care but I would urge anyone who is in a caring role to find time for themselves on a regular basis to do whatever makes you feel whole.

Terrorist attack, Uncategorized

After breakfast…….

…..is when I usually make a second cup of coffee and sit at the computer, check my e mails and then log on to this site to see who has written and what inspires me to respond before settling to my own Blog writing on occasions.

This morning I had already been thinking as I went about my early morning tasks of making tea, feeding the cats and loading the washing machine of subjects which may influence today’s writing. The ups and downs of house moving are never far from my mind at present, frustrations with the UK’s politicians as we grind through yet another election build to boiling point quite frequently, the latest amusing anecdotes of my grandchildren’s escapades had all flitted through my mind. Now having switched on the TV and heard the latest shocking news of the terrorist attack in Manchester last night all these ideas simple fade away and I am left contemplating the horror of what has happened.

Thousands of young people, many of them still children, had headed out full of excitement and enthusiasm to watch Ariane Grande in concert at the Manchester Arena. As the show finished and the audience began to make their way out of the auditorium a suicide bomb was detonated at the exit killing 22 people, many of them children and injuring 59. Many adolescent girls had been dropped at the arena by their parents who were then waiting outside to collect them; children and parents were separated and unable to find each other in the midst of this dreadful situation. As one eye witness said on the BBC this morning, “It was carnage.”

Once again our ordinary way of life has been threatened, our sense of well being destroyed and as yet we do not know who the perpetrator was, only that he is believed to have died at the scene.

As always the goodness in people came rapidly to the surface and the ordinary citizens of Manchester rose to the occasion by helping in whatever way they could, spare beds and couches provided for those who could not get to their homes or hotels, cabbies offering free rides to ‘anywhere’, food and drink supplied to all the rescue service personnel involved. It makes me so proud to be British when I see such a response and I like to think that should it happen on my doorstep then I would do the same.

The 22rd May 2017 will be a marker point from now on for many families who are facing this new day with broken hearts and bewilderment that any individual could take it upon themselves to mastermind such an evil act. Those of us in the UK sitting watching the devastating events unfold on our television screens feel an instant need to connect with our own children and families, a need to reassure ourselves that they are safe and well and to count our blessings that this time we have escaped such a tragedy.

I spoke with my own daughter before writing this and she had been working for the previous two days at a large show held at the NEC, Birmingham. She said that there was a much higher level of security than usual but she had felt, as always in large crowds, a sense of anxiety throughout the weekend, feeling vulnerable in a place where so many were gathered under one roof. She should have been able to relax and enjoy the opportunity of meeting with others in her profession, sharing skills and ideas and promoting the company for whom she works, not looking over her shoulder and eyeing up anyone with a rucksack as a potential assassin.

I currently live in a very rural area and will soon be moving to another similar spot; quiet villages where one knows all the residents, where neighbours keep an eye open for strangers or unusual happenings, where life  moves at a slower pace and in time with nature’s calendar and although I enjoy visits to cities after a few days I am always ready to return to the tranquility of the countryside. I take my hat off to those city dwellers who have no option other than to face the day following these awful events by retracing their steps to work, dropping their children at schools, heading off to lectures at university or into town for some shopping and a coffee with a friend. Your bravery is commendable.

None of us know what each day will bring, news good or bad, joy or sorrow but none of those young people deserved such an ending to the delights of what may well have been their first  live concert. For those who were killed their families will never truly recover from such horror; those who were injured must start the long slow journey to regain their physical and mental health. We should not forget those who escaped injury in the physical sense but who will bear the mental and emotional scars of such an event for many years to come.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Manchester and all who live and work there.