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Monday, 19 April 2021

A Blackbird Singing

Photo by Rainhard Wiesinger on Unsplash   

As I returned from an early morning walk on Saturday, and climbed the cat steps towards home, I stopped and listened to the beautiful song of a blackbird. He sat in a tree above my head, and went through his whole repertoire - sweet, melodious and relaxed. When I returned from my evening walk, via the same route, there he was again, in exactly the same spot. singing his heart out. It was as though he was proclaiming to the whole community, "Here I am! Your resident songster. Let me soothe you with my melodies." 

Take a listen (link below) and see if your are soothed.


Here is another link to R.S.Thomas's lovely poem 'A Blackbird Singing'

Writing Prompts:
  • Write down what comes to mind when you listen to the blackbird.
  • Write about the sounds that you find soothing. 
  • If you were a bird sitting in a tree, what melodious words message would you give you give to the world?



 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

On your marks. Get set. GO!

Photo by SB on Unsplash   


 From tomorrow you can get that much-needed hair cut, go to any shop you like, go swimming, visit the library, have a self-catering holiday, have a pint in your local beer garden, go to the zoo or have a driving lesson. As lock-down restrictions are lifted, allowing you much more (albeit still limited) freedom, how are you feeling about it?

Most people, I suspect, will be cock-a-hoop, making all sorts of plans to enjoy activities that have not been allowed for months, but what if you're not sharing that excitement and looking forward with anticipation?

The thought of visiting busy places again will be filling some with dread. Despite having had the vaccine, I know some elderly people who are reluctant suddenly to get back to 'normality'. Those experiencing physical or mental illness may be feeling nervous, anxious or panicky as lock-down eases. Perhaps some feel under pressure from family and friends, or even guilty about their lack of enthusiasm.

MIND, the mental health charity, recognises that these changes can be stressful and has a helpful website about managing feelings as lock-down eases. You can visit it here .

Writing prompts:

  • Write about how you are feeling as lock-down restrictions are eased.
  • What are you most looking forward to being able to do from tomorrow?
  • What are you least looking forward to? 
  • Make a list of all the things you have discovered about yourself and others during lock-down. 
  • Write about what has changed for you, if anything. 
Appropriately enough the phrase cock-a-hoop has its origins in the 16th century and apparently meant 'to turn on the tap and let the liquor flow prior to a drinking bout.'

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Carers

 


"There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers."

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter is an interesting woman. Born in 1927 (the same year as my mum), she's been married to former US president Jimmy Carter for almost 75 years. Click on the link above to find out about her. Click here to read about the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers.

According to her quote (above) I think I fall into the first and last category, but I know many people who are currently caregivers. We've come to learn a little more during this past pandemic year about these dedicated, unsung heroes, but the facts and figures about caring in the UK remain shocking, not least that, according to Carers UK, carers save the economy £132 billion a year. 

Whatever kind of caring it is, whether for someone who is ill, disabled or elderly, there's no doubt it's hard work, requiring dedication and time, and can result in the carer's own mental health suffering. 

Writing prompts:
  • According to Rosalynn Carter's definition, which kind of person are you? Write about that role (those roles) for a few minutes.
  • Make a list of all the caring responsibilities you have at the moment and how they affect you physically and mentally. 
  • Think of someone who, in the past, has cared for you. Write about that person and experience. Set a timer for seven minutes so you know when to stop.
  • Write about a time (real or imaginary) when you will become a caregiver.
  • Imagine a time in the future when you may need someone to care for you. Write about how that might be.


Thursday, 1 April 2021

Laughter is the Best Medicine

 

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

"At the height of laughter the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities." (Jean Houston)

Have you laughed today? Perhaps something has tickled your fancy and made you titter; or maybe you've been silly with your grandchildren and started to giggle. You might even have let rip with an uncontrollable belly laugh if you were really lucky. 

It seems laughter is really good for our physical and mental well-being. Click here to find out more. You can even do laughter yoga now.

You might want to wait until you're outside before having a laugh with friends, as the "Corona virus is emitted in tiny droplets when we breathe, talk, cough or laugh."

If you can't wait until that next meet-up in the garden, and you're sitting on your own reading this, here's something to get those chuckle muscles moving.

Writing prompts:
  • Do you agree with the quote above? Write for six minutes about the 'new possibilities' laughter could bring.
  • Write about a time when you had a really good laugh. Who were you with? Why was it funny? Maybe writing about it again will bring a smile to your face.
  •  If you haven't been laughing much recently, try to write about why not. Set a timer for seven minutes so you know when to stop.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Love not Hate

 

Photo by Christopher Beloch on Unsplash


"I have decided to stick to love ... Hate is too great a burden to bear." 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Writing Prompts:

  • Write for seven minutes about the person you love most in the world (alive or dead).
  • "Love your neighbour as yourself." (Mark 12:31) We've probably all got to know our neighbours a little bit better over this past year while being forced to stay at home. Write about your experience of this relationship. Is it easy to love your neighbour? 
  • Are you 'burdened' by hate? If so, describe that burden and express those feelings in your writing for five minutes. Set a timer so that you know when to stop.
  • How do you think 'love' and 'hate' have shown themselves over the past year. Write about it.


Friday, 26 March 2021

Colour Your World

 



What is pink? A rose is pink
By a fountain's brink.
What is red? A poppy's red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? The sky is blue
Where the clouds float through.
What is white? A swan is white
Sailing in the light.
What is yellow? Pears are yellow,
Rich and ripe and mellow.
What is green? The grass is green,
With small flowers between.
What is violet? Clouds are violet
In the summer twilight.
What is orange? Why, an orange,
Just an orange!
We're waking up from our winter stupor; the days are getting longer and we're finding more energy. Spring sunshine seems to arouse an instinct to throw open our windows, tidy the garden and clean the house. The greys and browns of winter are changing, and colours of nature are becoming more varied and vibrant.

Some of us are thinking about redecorating and bringing a new, fresh look to our homes. If so, the colour you choose can have an effect on how you feel. Click here to find out more. My grandaughter recently had her bedroom redecorated for her birthday in rose gold and forest green - a beautiful combination of love and youthful vibrancy.  

Just for fun: try this quiz to find out what colour your bedroom should be; listen to 'Colour My World'  by Petula Clark .

Writing prompts:
  • What is your favourite colour and why?
  • Write about the colours you have observed around you in nature recently.
  • Do you think colours can affect your mood? Make a list of colours, then match them to a list of moods or emotions. Turn them all into a poem, or choose just one to write about in detail for a few minutes. 










Tuesday, 23 March 2021

One Year On

 

Photo by Caleb Hernandez Belmonte on Unsplash

We're one year on from the beginning of the first national lock-down. It's time for remembrance for all those who have died from Covid, or whose health has been damaged, and for their families. It's a time too to remember all those people, especially in the NHS, who have worked tirelessly and unselfishly to help others during this time of pandemic.

So, have a minute's silence at 12 noon, or light a candle in remembrance this evening, and let us hope that in year on from now we will all be in much safer and happier place. 

Writing prompt:
  • Write about what this past year has taught you about yourself and about others. 
  • Write about how you have changed during the past year.
  • Make a list of ten good things and that have come out of this past year. Choose the most significant and write about it in more detail.
  • Make a list of ten things that have been difficult over the past 12 months. How have you overcome them?
  • Make a list of ten things you are going to do when the restrictions re lifted.