‘At least one good thing has happened this year,’ said a friend, ‘I’ve got to know my neighbours better.’ It’s important, isn’t it? If neighbours greet us by name and stop for a friendly chat, it can cheer us up. What about our non-human neighbours? Can you name the trees you pass? The birds you … Continue reading Noticing nature: by naming
A healer with a unique understanding of the human mind told his worried followers to consider the ravens and the lilies of the field. Roll on 2,000 years and Phil Hammond, an NHS doctor, prescribes CLANGERS: eight habits for a healthy life. N is for noticing the beauty around us. ‘Try to be as still … Continue reading Noticing nature: sitting still
In primary school I dawdled on my walk home, gathering conkers or twirling sycamore seeds. I fed our garden birds and pestered sea anemones in rock pools. Attempts to find a wildlife career were thwarted until I met my husband, Rick, and together we wrote several books on early naturalists. Then, from 1997 until 2017, I … Continue reading Guest blogger for April
Last week I said that when I’m ninety-nine I’d like to do something as impressive as Captain Tom Moore. That’s if I can live an active life until then.
There’s a new mood in the air, a call to action that’s different from BC – before Covid. Maybe it’s the enforced stillness allowing us to view in a new way those things that aren’t right. Or perhaps the individual sense of threat we’ve all experienced has stimulated a desire to act. In many spheres, … Continue reading (Be) Active – Older People’s Activism
The room was buzzing. All day we’d been blowing up balloons, hanging bunting and strings of coloured lights, and erecting a wobbly screen for the slideshow of her nine decades. On every table, tea lights flickered in a sea of twinkling confetti 9s and 0s, and pots of daffodils stood ready to rejoice in my … Continue reading The Covid Party (or being active before we had to stop)
I read once that there seems to be something in their primal make-up that makes women long to be in a supportive and helpful group: somewhere they feel they belong outside their family group. The writer – whose name I can’t remember – thought that it may come from the need in early tribal groups to have childcare in case of illness or the death of the mother in childbirth.
No one in the UK is going to forget March 8th, 2021 in a hurry. Parents in all four countries will be celebrating children being back at school or shortly to return. It’s also International Women’s Day, and as women have borne the brunt of home-schooling, the phrase ‘women’s liberation’ will ring with particular jubilation for those mothers.
‘Make It New’ is a slogan widely attributed to Ezra Pound and assumed to be one he used to lead the charge for the modernist literary movement of which he was a champion. But the phrase is very old: There is nothing new under the sun.’ Ecclesiastes 1:9 ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Revelation … Continue reading Make it New: The Art of Unlearning (taiji)
One of the many questions that students ask their taiji teacher is ‘who was your teacher?’. I’ve had many teachers and have learned equally from my taiji sisters and brothers. Taiji is a social art as well as a martial art and I enjoy talking about my teachers.
Qigong is a very all-inclusive modern Chinese term that applies to integrated mind-body-breathing techniques and practices. It encompasses all forms of energy exercises, mind-body healing, or therapies. Qigong is a Moving Meditation and Mind-Body wellness practice which is a combination of Movement, Posture, Breathing, and Awareness. What have you been learning since the pandemic started … Continue reading What does Qigong mean?
L is for Learn, the second letter in the word CLANGER in Phil Hammond’s acrostic: Connect Learn (be) Active Notice Give Back Eat Well Relax and Sleep C for Connect was the theme of January Autumn Voices blog and now Learn is the theme for February. Learning taiji has been a life-long endless passion of … Continue reading Taiji – the art of doing nothing
It seems almost impossible to forget the songs we heard in our youth. My best friend at school was a huge David Bowie fan, and, with this month being the anniversary of both Bowie’s birth (in 1947) and his death (in 2016), listening to Radio 6 Music’s retrospective connected me to every day we spent in her living room after school.
My friend emailed me yesterday to say that she and her husband are moving house next week. They’re moving to a smaller and more manageable one-storey house with a garden.
Audrey was getting me a glass of water after I’d ferried some rescued paving stones through her house to her neglected back garden, untouched since her husband died. I’d already cut back some brambles and discovered some grass underneath and she now needed a solid path to be able to get out there to enjoy … Continue reading If you don’t like cats, look away now…