Ice patterns by Siberian winds.

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Exausted but happy after a two hour snow walk capturing a bunch of gorgeous artwork care of the Siberian winds invading London. IMG_0012

Frozen lake with frosted snow.

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Trees from the old flooded gravel pits emurgingthrough the ice – surreal! IMG_0031

Path between one of the lakes and the river (the only thing not frozen).IMG_0037

That’s not land but frozen water! IMG_0058

The wind tried its hand at sculpture here (notice the icycle sculpture formed on the branch hanging from the weir.) IMG_0060

The river resisting all attempts at transformation.IMG_0072

Farm at the canals side busily wheeling supplies – no animals out today!IMG_0083

Boats on the Grand Union Canal. The ice was melted in little circles around them – at – 4 deg. doubtless they had the heating full on!IMG_0088

No heating on this boat!

How do you see yourself?

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Lion or pussycat how do I see myself? Being a Leo this question has always been particularly pertinent to me. Mostly I’m the pussycat but I know there is also a secret lion prowling within should it be needed. My claws are politely sheathed to avoid accidental scratching but I have them as my kids will attest lol!

Listening to an old Mark Batterson audio (Chase the Lion – if you’e a Christian and haven’t read the book I highly recommend it!) the question reappeared.

His point: It all depends on how big you view God. If you view God as bigger than your problems, difficulties, sickness etc. then you become as the lion, strong, brave, etc. If you view Him as smaller, ineffective, irrelevant etc. then you become like a Christian pussycat, affectionate, attractive but with little real power, largely ineffective.

This question is also pertinent to the whole thing happening with Brexit here in the UK. Many folks I talk to are looking in the national mirror and discovering to their surprise that, contrary to what they’ve been fed for years, we are not really a pussycat at all, but a lion. It has come as a great surprise to many (although the very young seem much affected by the big media campaign aimed to get their vote, but even some of them are now waking up – “You mean we used to do all that before the EU?” lol!)

So lion or pussycat, which should we be? For myself I prefer to be the pussycat and walk softly around others, but it’s also important to know we have the lion within should need arise. I know I’m very small and weak but I have an awfully big God!

The great debate.

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Everyone’s talking about it, even my taxi driver, who expressed very much what I was feeling – disgust at the distortion of facts, downright lies and mudslinging clouding the issues and requiring much research to get to the bottom of (if indeed one can). The issue? To leave or remain in the EU.
I was appalled yesterday to find one of my favourite groups joining in by using the murder of MP Jo Cox (by all accounts a sincere advocate of many good causes) to secure votes to remain in Europe – shame on them!
She was an EU supporter who was killed by a member of a fascist US group (Britain First groups were quick to voice that there was no connection whatsoever with them). I’ve yet to establish what was the specific reason for the killing, but it seems unlikely to be because she was pro EU (there are so many pro EU MPs to choose from).
Some seem to be pursuing pro EU goals by labeling pro exit folks racists. I find this very offensive. There are many reasons for leaving the EU I can think of, none of them racist.
Perhaps exiting the EU might even benefit genuine refugees (yes, you heard that right).
Britain is a small island with limited resources to which many would like to come. Unfortunately we cannot take a limitless number. Before the EU, when we were free to choose, we chose mostly those in urgent need of sanctuary, those married to UK citizens and those who would benefit the country by their skills. Open doors to Europeans means less places for refugees, and a very hard time for spouses etc.
I’m sad that given the chance to vote on this, instead of clear facts we are constantly bombarded with propaganda and spin. However the vote goes it is unlikely to be for the right reasons either way. Happy voting whatever your views my UK compatriots.

The only effective way to stop ISIS.

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So now my own country has joined in the bombing (UK).

I haven’t heard a single voice in favour, (and it’s a hot topic!) Everyone seems horrified that they could be so stupid. It has come to a bad state where even the most uninformed and uneducated has more sense than those who are in power. (But then sadly I doubt they are really that stupid, I’d venture corruption, either by greed or manipulation.)

I can see a possible need for force in some situations, but generally speaking you can’t bomb a philosophy, you have to disprove it. All this bombing is like throwing gasoline on a fire. The way to stop a fire is to not feed it, and douse its oxygen supply with compassion, camaraderie and love.

I Live in a Bubble.

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(from September 2014

Song Bird Songs

bubble

I live in a bubble. It seems I’ve lived in it my whole life to greater or lesser extents, but as I get older it’s more noticeable.
I enjoy, a retirement pension that supplies all I need, UK law, police force, and NHS. I am free of war, want and oppression. Along with these I live in a small, old, English town still encompassing qualities England had when I was a child, (before its decline) kindness, good manners, honesty and quiet concern. There are three lakes, woodland, an allotment, half hour rail link to central London, shops, and a big supermarket within 5-10 mins. walk, all of which I can traverse safely even late at night.
My apartment is drenched in light from huge windows, rooms perfectly painted with nice furniture. There’s even a spare bedroom where friends and family can stay, and my neighbor just happens to be the…

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One More Chill Pill. (Affection)

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“Love, love, love!” As the song goes, well it would be nice if we could all be in love (and that can sure lift depression pretty fast!) but since that is rarely in our control it’s humble cousin affection is a lot more easily available.

Here in the land of the “stiff upper lip” etc. we tend to be less affectionate than our southern European cousins. Perhaps that’s why we are such avid animal lovers. If no one human is on hand when you need that affection boost pets are always happy to stand in and stroking and petting a dog or cat is hugely therapeutic!

Again science has produced studies on the mood enhancing benefits of hugs and affection. I had my own unique experience many years ago while working as a teacher and counselor in a summer camp for teenagers. I was under intense pressure at the time due to a personnel shortage, when a sweet lady, new to the post, came to ask if I could switch roles and stand in for a difficult class as someone had come down sick. She was startled to see my facade (which I could already barely hold together) crack. (As I recall I mumbled something about “feeling more like jumping off the balcony”. lol!)

She looked totally confused (being a complete newbie to counseling etc.) In desperation she just grabbed me into an enormous bear hug and just held me mumbling some platitude that it would “be alright”. The platitude did nothing but somehow that long, long, hug (must have been about 10 minutes) did the trick. When the coordinator got time to ask with a concerned face what was wrong I was able to answer with a sunny smile that it was all fine now (He gave me a much needed day off anyway.)

I learned from that incident and found when “talking someone through something” it helped enormously to lightly touch their arm or shoulder. Since then I’ve tried hard to overcome my post war British upbringing and be more affectionate. I’m happy my children and grand children all grew up that way. I’m concerned that there are so many laws and regulations about teachers and policemen etc. not touching people. I know it’s supposedly to avoid sexual harassment, but we all know what crosses the line and sometimes kids or folks going through trauma could benefit greatly from a simple arm around the shoulder to show we care. I think we should  all dish out lots and lots of affection it might help mental health!

Fancy a Bit of Wassailing This Christmas?

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wassailing

(Taken from projectbritian.com/Xmas)

Wassailing has been associated with Christmas and New Year as far back as the 1400s. It was a way of passing on good wishes among family and friends.

One of the most popular Wassailing Carols went like this:

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wassailing,
So fair to be seen:
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you,
A happy New Year,
And God send you,
A happy new year.

What is Wassail?

Wassail is an ale-based drink seasoned with spices and honey. It was served from huge bowls, often made of silver or pewter. The Wassail bowl would be passed around with the greeting, ‘Wassail’.

There are three main ways of wassailing.

1. The filling of a common bowl or cup often referred to as a ‘Loving Cup’ and passing it around a room to be shared.
2. Taking a bowl of Wassail around houses
3. A celebration of the apple harvest and the blessing of the fruit or trees.

Where does the name Wassail come from?

Wassail gets its name from the Old English term “waes hael”, meaning “be well”. It was a Saxon custom that, at the start of each year, the lord of the manor would shout ‘waes hael’. The assembled crowd would reply ‘drinc hael’, meaning ‘drink and be healthy’.
As time went on, the tradition was carried on by people going from door to door, bearing good wishes and a wassail bowl of hot, spiced ale. In return people in the houses gave them drink, money and Christmas fare (special foods eaten during Christmas time e.g. mince pies) and they believed they would receive good luck for the year to come.