Maine, Shropshire, Cornwall, Bali, Singapore…
Updated: Apr 10, 2022
Shuttle bus driver positive Trump is great for the country. Straight down the rabbit-hole, via several big metal tubes in the sky.
Bathtub in the room. Right now that's all I need.
From another sea shore. The view from my new bedroom. The weather is a little different, and there'll be no bare toes on this beach this time. But it is so, so beautiful, and I'm with one of my best friends in the whole world. Lucky doesn't come close.
Having thoughts of my homeland, Scotland. The Labour opposition is divided, directionless, and currently completely useless. But north of the border politics is everywhere, charged with hope, anger and a fierce desire for change. Again and again, this change is thwarted by the dead weight of Westminster. Who would remain tethered to this block, especially as the boat begins to list?
Scotland could wait to find out what happens after Brexit, though it is hard to see any likely outcome other than more of this and worse. Or it could cut the rope, pull itself back into the boat, and sail towards a hopeful if uncertain future. I know which option I would take.
5 cups of tea by 10 am. 6 new workshops in the pipeline. Let my inner web wizard perk up. And may all speakers send me the required info. Please.
Sitting here in snowy, serene Maine, remembering India, with her colours and delicious chaos, and planning my next trip there, (January, 2018).
This spectacular planet, and the human wings I have been so blessed with.
Spending several weeks in an incredibly serene and beautiful snowy world, alone with the most creative and productive human being I have ever known, (Jean).
How I keep hoping it is contagious.
So far so good.
I definitely feel a little inspiration fever rising.
Mike Pence might royally object, but luckily my friends don't mind at all if I go hiking, (even eating lunch alone, unchaperoned), with their hubbies. Lucky me often having more than one great friend under one roof.
"Being single" is so far from not being in relationship that I am always taken aback by the question. My life runneth over with the greatest relationships imaginable.
I am positive that periods of doing absolutely nothing, or whatever seemingly pointless things marinate us in pure pleasure and total relaxation, are just as important to our health, well-being, attitude and happiness as all the hyper-productive busy-ness that we westerners are brow beaten into believing we should be up to, every waking hour. Today I am a happy, guilt-free, slug.
Walking in Maine. Snow in April, relishing the intoxicating scent of happy pine trees practically laughing in the sunshine.
Next week I'll be in Iceland, somewhere I've always wanted to visit. However, I'll be there for exactly one hour and twenty minutes. A very brief layover. This face will be squished up against the window, seeing as much as is humanly possible on landing and takeoff.
Counting down Maine sunrises. Only two more to England. Once more in that paradoxical traveller’s place of getting ready to leave someone I deeply love... but on the way to see others I adore. So much love and friendship scattered in so many places.
I could not be more fortunate.
Went seeking swans, unsuccessfully, apparently they are still hatching their eggs. So instead went for a walk down lots of memory lanes. I lived here from age 15 to 18, my final school years to art school, and I always keep coming back.
I don't know if it is the same for those who keep living in their "hometown", but it's almost overwhelming how many memory hotspots there are from those fraught, exciting, tender years. And there couldn't be a more charming, and relatively unchanged, beautiful town to have had as a backdrop for all the dramas of youth.
Then the soundtracks start up in my head. Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, John Martyn, and on and on. Such intense, difficult, happy, sad and marvellous days they were.
Finally found one swan. Papa swan cruising the hood. Perhaps my favourite creature. Fierce, loyal, beautiful.
The Secret Garden was my favourite book as a child, and England continues to be, for me, a land of quiet corners, gentle mysteries... and rain.
What a day. Spent with four newly discovered aunts I haven't seen since I was about 8 years old... and many cousins.
Generous, lovely people, helping me piece together the greatest puzzle of my life, my Dad. Their lone brother with seven sisters.
What comfort finding so much genuine kindness and warmth in the gene pool.
Life never ceases to amaze.
I do love train travel and all the endless possibilities. Then there was the automated recording in the loo, reminding travellers not to flush unpaid bills, hopes, dreams or goldfish. England and its wonderful quirky combination of properness and humour.
Liz Greene workshop off and running. As a friend said after the first session; she's simply the beginning, the middle, and the end. So honoured to have had her as a teacher, and this work she has been doing on Jung's Red Book is breathtaking.
Nothing better then being in the presence of someone who speaks a language you love with so much eloquence, knowledge, insight, and wisdom.
Many close to me know of the “mystery" of my father, and how he vanished from my life in 1966.
I looked for him many times, but could find nothing, even although he had been in the RAF and a POW.
Then one of his seven sisters found me on FB, (I kept my birth name on there just in case).
All of this occurred as I was on my way to the UK, and scheduled to run a workshop in Cornwall, with Liz Greene, on Jung’s Red Book.
We planned to hold it in a small, slightly nondescript town, which I had never even heard of, (I had never even been to Cornwall before), because it was the closest place to Liz’s home that had a train station.
Then my new found family informed me that this is the exact town where my father spent the last years of his life, and was buried.
It’s a cliche, but it really would be hard to make this stuff up. And then again, it is exactly what running a workshop based on the work of Jung might evoke.
I feel quite stunned by the whole sequence of events, a mix of emotions I don’t have words for.
However, along the way I have found nothing but kindness and support, from patient friends, generous strangers, and newfound lovely family.
A special thanks those volunteers in Liskeard museum, painstakingly keeping records, never knowing when they are creating a map to someone’s past. Especially as my father’s gravestone has no dates or life details on it. I also found his house and the book shop he owned, how touching to find out he loved books as much as I do.
A journey's end, with brand new beginnings imminent. My father was born on May 27th, 1923, and my grandson Henry is due within days of what would have been his 94th birthday.
Finally I can shout it out to the world. These sensible kids took a few days to quietly bond with their little one before informing the wide world, while this Grandmother was beyond itching to tell all.
It's also hard to be an astrologer without pointing out that my beautiful grandson is a Taurus, born on the Wesak (Buddha's birthday) Full Moon, to parents who met in Pamplona at the running of the bulls.
How precious is that.
Henry Steven has arrived.
2 years ago today they had the most exquisite wedding in Venice, then 2 weeks ago they welcomed their beautiful baby, Henry, into the world, and 2 weeks from now they move to Chicago.
Congratulations on living life to the fullest, my Lovelies.
I am finally sick of fish and chips, it's officially time to head back to Bali.
Once more it will be with both anticipation and sadness. Leaving Beloveds for Paradise.
Surely one reason for a heavy heart is overflow. Striving for one that is full to capacity while still light enough to soar.
Life's great paradox: what makes us the happiest can also make us the saddest.
Tuesday I leave. Woolly socks I won't miss.
The non stop reunions continue. Had not seen Darryl since 1999, he was my 1st love from age 16, briefly my 1st husband, and a lifelong friend. And his ever laughing, lovely partner of 30 years, Linda.
How odd that sleeping can be more expensive than flying. Travelling from the UK to the US later this year, and the flight cost less than any room I could find in the city I am going to.
Hit the jackpot with a whole row to myself on the flight from London to Java, so slept beautifully... I may actually now be over rested.
Then watched “Gone With the Wind” and was taken aback by how a film I once enjoyed now feels so different. The narcissism, cruelty and racism are so extreme it allows for no artistic excuses, shocking to realise I could ever stomach it.
Boarding for Bali.
Back in the rice fields. I arrived at 1 am, and I couldn't help immediately prowling around the whole property. Once more I'm amazed by its beauty, even on this moonless night.
I always forget just how wondrous it is. It's a rediscovery every single time I return.
The finale. After technically being homeless for the past four years, although always managing to stay in the most beautiful places imaginable, my very own house is at last coming into being.
After building 14 structures in Bali there is only one simple rule, get out of the way and just let as much of the outside in as possible. A place as beautiful as Bali is her own designer and architect, just follow her lead.
And of course, must have plenty of hammocks, garden bathtub (again with amazing view), and Wi-Fi.
Henry Is 3 weeks old.
Brewster and Brigitte have cloned themselves, but oddly enough they seem nothing but annoyed by their identical progeny. There is much ruffling of feathers, and the pecking order is being loudly established. Bruce and Barbara are holding their own, brother and sister, and I suspect maybe even more than that.
My uber talented sister/friend is finally here in Bali. A long awaited event. For 13 years we've been talking about it, but who's counting. What joy to have her just a coconut's throw away.
I can't bring myself to take any photos right now, because I am in the middle of a group of enthusiastic, wildly creative students of photography. Every shot I take just pales by comparison.
One of these days I'd take the class myself, (bit of a challenge when you are the organiser).
Spending several days within feet of the ocean, on the cusp of two worlds, constantly bathed in her sounds and rhythm, is the best therapy I know of. One more dip, and from this silver sea and black sand beach, it's back to the vivid green of the jungle and rice fields.
More Obama sightings in the ricefields of Bali.
I've never used a hashtag before, and maybe they're just for twitterers. None the less I'm inspired to make my very own one. #haventohappilygrowoldin
Heading back to the UK in August... yeah.
I ventured out on my scooter just post-dawn today, heading for an immigration appointment in the big city. How different Bali looks in all its early golden emerald brightness.
First thing I came across was a glistening mountain of pig entrails practically in the middle of the road, and before the revulsion took hold I remembered that in these villages animals live outside and have actual lives before they give them up.
Countless dogs were prowling and preparing to take their 1st naps of the day after a night of carousing. And yes, some are manky and obviously not Purina-fed. Yet again, they live free, and more often than not they appear enthused with their lives. And of course a huge bow to all the kind souls working hard to make their lives better, but I'm not 100% sure a pampered, cloistered, duller dog's life is preferable to many of theirs'.
Then there were all the young children sweeping their own school yards before class, with much laughter and enjoyment going on. In my experience it is extremely rare to find a Balinese person who feels any chore is beneath them.
All in an early morning's musing whilst zipping along the back roads of Bali on a cherry red scooter.
While searching for a name for our last house, came across a goddess I've never heard of; Manasa. Her symbols are the swan and the cobra. How glorious is that.
Unfortunately, I can't name the house after her, as apparently she is quite an irritable, furious goddess, (the snake and the cobra could be a clue), and particularly vengeful towards those who don't worship her.
Instead the name will be Sakti, (the Balinese spelling for Shakti)... the primordial cosmic energy and dynamic forces that move through the entire universe. The personification of divine feminine creative power. Still not that lightweight, but at least without the permanent bad mood! No tempting fate allowed here, for rather obvious reasons.
I still like this Manasa very much though, and on the next trip to India, finding out more about her will be a goal
When I 1st saw this land I knew that one day I wanted to spend my sunsets staring out at the jungle in a steamy tub... and yes it is west facing. My absolute ultimate idea of luxury.
Even after 4 years I am still surprised that we get "cardie winters" up here in Bayad. July- September-ish, my Balinese friends think it is positively dingin (cold!), and show up in their fleeces and gloves. It might the most ideal climate ever.
That one M&S cardigan, that has travelled the world, can now have a life.
Seemingly endless rain in this the so-called dry season. Our staff tell us it is because quadruplets have been born on the island.
Watching everything get greener and greener, in our giddily rain drunk little corner of the world.
Meliponines - you learn something every day. This the name for stingless honey bees, now residing in my bathroom. In our quest to use no poisons a rather swish condo has been built for them, because they had decided this was their spot and they were going nowhere.
Another day - a bigger dining room, the bathtub WILL look over the jungle, and the kitchen almost has cabinets. And it all happened while I sat up here in my teak tower, working on this computer.
I hate the trash, but I don't want to stop seeing it. We all need to keep it in our sight until we are so thoroughly disgusted that we collectively do something about it.
This week-end I'm off to Singapore and, for something new, I'm staying in a "pod". Treated myself to a superior one, which apparently means you get into it from the side rather than clambering in from the end. It even comes with a mini fire extinguisher, presumably in case of any mini fires.
Pleasantly surprised that I actually like Singapore, and big cities are usually my least favourite places. Super clean and very friendly, every time I stopped in my tracks looking lost and bewildered (often), someone voluntarily came up to ask if they could help me find where I was going, (they always could). It also feels unusually safe, and yes there are the floggings and capital punishment, etc, but what struck me was seeing young children travelling by themselves on the train. One lovely little Indian girl, no more than 9 or 10 years old sat calmly sewing her ballet shoes, and a little blonde boy, (even younger), dressed in cricket togs, bat in hand, was happily reading a comic. They were both definitely travelling solo, as they entered and left alone, and it seemed not a bit odd to anyone. I don't believe there are many cities left where you would (or should) see this.
Henry report: not even 10 weeks old and he has 2 passports and has already travelled from the UK to Chicago to California. Definitely my grandbaby.
Singapore and its slings were lovely, but it is hard to beat limoncello hour at sunset in the rice fields. Happy to be home.
"Enhanced global trade now threatens our health, our sovereignty, our democracy. Once it made us rich. Today it impoverishes us."
Strictly local, free range and humanely raised, there can be no other choice. Too expensive? We can't actually afford NOT to any more. If the poisoned food doesn't get us the criminal cost of healthcare will.
Being healthy and having healthy friends and family. By this measure alone I am as rich as I could ever possibly be. Of course it will not/cannot last, so may I find the wisdom to relish every minute for as long it does. These are the golden years. Petty stuff be gone from my head.
I can do yoga until the ducks come home, and I'll still never in this lifetime have the agility and balance of these Balinese builders.
As an aspiring vegetarian it's interesting how used to the taste of crow I've become, probably because it's such a regular part of my diet. Have I become more willing to eat it, or did I just always stubbornly refuse to swallow it before?
The dark art of diminishing, humiliating, weakening and then deliberately damaging the lives and reputations of others. It's insidious and evil behaviour and lies at the black heart of being a bully. How can so-called intelligent, accomplished, professional, feeling, thinking adults bow to being treated this way? The horror of watching exactly how every cruel regime and dictatorship in the history of the world gradually slithered its way into being. We are collectively stupid if we think this is just random bad behaviour.
Today in Bali is Buda Wage Klawu.
Apparently a day for honouring the goddess connected to personal wealth and resources. A good day to buy things, but an unlucky one for paying off debts or putting money into savings. Rather dangerous advise for some.
Ever fascinating; there are some very beautiful offerings being made in our kitchen today.
Everyone has gone, sitting at the top of the lowest part of the property, just me, the sunset, and a little shot of limoncello.
A young couple and their son are checking in today. Their self descriptive profile gave me the 1st hope-filled smile of the day. Actual people are the greatest antidote to all the vile stuff churning out there. "A muslim and a jew; a hot-headed Arab and a cold-blooded northern European; two New Yorkers."
Days of chickens and construction; sounds like it should be boring, but it ain't.
It's a chickens world, and yes they strut right into the house at every opportunity. Why did the chicken... do anything? Because they felt like it.
One of the great truisms of travel, (in lands where the elderly are not hidden away). Countless times I have been almost brought to my knees by such encounters. The older Balinese are the dearest, although in this tropical weather no-one seems to get too lined.
Some views are too alive and complex and glorious to allow a camera to allow access to all they are. From the new patio, a vista to mesmerise forever, that's the plan.
It would be lovely to think we could "positive think" our way out of this one, without sullying our enlightenment and peace of mind. However there aren't any wars, actual or icily cold, where resistance occurs without (heaven forbid) engagement, and the energetic fighting of fire with fire. NOT violence or aggression, but indignation, participation, and determination are the only sparks that light such fires (I believe). It's far too easy to lackadaisically sit back, quietly tut tutting, only espousing the positive and being smug about our spiritual awareness, when in actuality we only have this luxury because for so many of us, all of this ugliness is never likely to cause us that much direct personal agony. When we look in the mirror we see the right ethnicity, the right religious background, our passports have the right gold lettering, and our wallets contain the right pieces of plastic.
I have no answers, and I don't have a clue what to actually "do" at this point, but I do know that saying nothing, and staying all zen and nice is not one of the options.
Despite all the wars that continuously devastate our world, I naively thought the one my father fought in, the one that shook the soul of the world, had actually started to change things. Apparently not.
Bathtub on its way to its final home, I am quite sure the Balinese think I am completely crazy.
In 3 days I leave the gorgeous nature filled rice fields of Bali for the marvellous history filled sophistication of Oxford. In awe of the diversity of this planet, and completely floored by my luck at having the privilege to experience so much of it.
A challenge is managing my wardrobe awareness.