The day we watched the funeral,
when all the nation grieved.
Sat inside with children home,
Choirs on TV.
A raven watched beside us,
Beside the open door.
Catching little snippets,
Coming back for more.
Black were all her feathers
Black were her bright eyes.
But though the day was heavy,
The sun shone in the sky.
Other ravens gathered,
Smart in feathered suits.
Regal, loyal, slick with time
Wearing formal boots.
Lined up at the palace,
Making good the tower.
Celebrating Queen’s long reign,
Warm and strong in power.
Nobody was counting,
Looking at the sky.
Watching for the minute when,
Their Monach passed them by.
So, nobody missed her,
One less precious bird.
Hanging on the commentary,
Huw Edwards every word.
Solemnly she stood there,
Forgetting I was there.
Forgetting all the other birds,
High up in the air.
And as the crowd stood sombre,
Her majesty was led.
A million mourning faces.
A raven bowed her head.
She turned then from the TV,
A tear filled, beady eye.
And left me to my musings,
As she soared into the sky.
Summers end, new school year, pencils in a row.
Children reinvent themselves, some refuse to go.
Autumn hides the cobwebs just as spring brushes them clean;
Subscription to the promise of a new you yet unseen.
Starting fresh sounds simple, leave the ghosts behind.
Clear the debts from credit cards, from lovers, heart and mind.
Open up the blinds again, paint the rolling view,
Truly understanding what it feels to know your you.
Hold your nerve a little longer, time is still at play
You got through the hardest part, first few steps, first day.
All the courage you require is curled up in your heart,
Every move in this game now awaits your hand to start.
Who could squeeze their life inside a tiny little room?
Make their food with dolls house plates, a bucket and a broom?
Trust in friendships lasting from another place inland
Feel that even far away, their hands are in your hands?
Looking past the clutter, seeing what’s beyond.
Pushing through the brambles to the lilies in the pond.
There’s a view beyond the spot we stand on in the rain.
There’s another path beside this bumpy, strange terrain.
Keeping safe your mindset when the noise is getting loud,
Standing still and centered in the roaring gush of crowd.
Slowing down each racing breath, finding space inside,
Moving air to crushing lungs where fear is trying to hide.
Starting life in places new, without an anchor firm,
Centres you from deep directions, ones you’ve yet to learn.
Sometimes taking one more step beyond our comfort zone
Further than we ever dared, far away from home;
Distils every drop of courage, cleaning jewels of fate
Suddenly where once were walls, there’s an open gate.
Suddenly where once was distant; brush it in your hand.
Suddenly no longer dreaming, walk on soft green land.
Take this moment look around, all the steps so far,
Nothing vital left behind, perfect as you are.
Friendships travelled with you, words and thoughts and line,
Breathing slowly when you feel, nowhere close to fine.
Every gloomy hurdle, every battle won,
Finds your light the brighter, closer to the sun.
For every moment conquered, everything you feel
Shapes the life you’re made for, every dream made real.
For my Treasure xxx
There’s a place called land of Limbo
On the outskirts of the town,
A place where friends are seldom made,
In case you let them down.
In case the big black dog returns
Claws sharpened on your door.
And all the bags stored under beds
Are hurled in cars once more.
In case the roots you want to grow
Entangle up your heart;
And all the dreams they cut from you,
Will never get to start.
In Limbo, safely nurturing,
Your life behind the hedge
A world away from breathing deep,
And stepping from the edge.
A world away from what you were,
The girl whose almost gone.
Before the tiniest of smiles,
Was painted daily on.
Cross the tracks to Limbo land
The hardest place to find
Routes are snared and treacherous,
Especially in the mind.
Limbo isn’t on the map,
Or on the subway line
Destination, final stop; keeps
Changing all the time.
In real world , time is still sometimes;
A breath deep, drawing, peace.
Surrounded by the simple pleasures,
Books and flower and leaf.
Feet are anchored, roots are long;
Earth’s rich, musty loam,
Precious heady, springtime mornings
Finding our way home.
There comes a moment when we turn
to see our shadow roam,
when all the holding fast is done,
and we can feel we’re home.
One day the door of limbo land
Is left wedged open wide,
And finally the everywhere
Comes tumbling in outside.
In Seeking , travel is a choice;
To step along each track.
And find exciting different routes,
When its time to go back.
No need to drag out dusty cases
Hidden under beds.
You’re here already, listen , hear
What all your friends have said.
A spell in Limbo is essential
Patch up broken wings,
But wings and meant for flying
And your soul now needs to sing.
And if we see as wise ones do,
Life not in black and white.
The jewel colours swirl freely,
On the silky tails of kites
For all the beasts who gave you strength
showed what was never you,
And made a life outside of Limbo
feel so fresh and new.
Take respite under limbo ‘s spell
A warm , soft, heavy blanket
Then, Hear your instincts loud and clear
Trust what you love and thank it.
And where you land, the route you take,
hold onto all you’ve learned.
Your self respect and courage now,
is well and truly earned.
When I was little sweets were banned,
and only for rare treats.
There’s plenty fruit and bread for toast,
You don’t need these to eat!
But shops had jars all glistening,
and sparkling sugar beckoned.
And being young, the thought of waiting: even for a second,
Was torture for my little head,
And I became adept,
At savouring each morsel as the pleasure long, I kept.
When others scoffed their chocolate bars,
in one enormous bite,
I’d wrap each piece and have a store,
for secret stash at night.
It’s true to say if you can handle,
hurdles from above
Boom ! down they come, like rain from Heaven ,
wrapped in bows with’ love.’
‘Cause ; you can wait a little more,
for life to be complete,
You proved that , when you nibbled chocolate
underneath the sheet!
But now I’m 50, It is time,
to raid the corner shop.
To stock up on Lindt chocolate
until my Jeans go pop.
If sugar is a metaphor
for all good life can bring,
Then now I want to paint and love
and laugh and eat and sing.
And never wait a moment,
for a sugar laden pleasure,
I’ll be a mad old blue haired woman,
taking things at leisure.
Patience is a lesson,
which has kept life at the door.
So now I’m off for doughnuts
and a travellers explore.
To places dreamed, while under covers
on those torchlight nights.
Patience has paid off,
and the vista is in sight.
The dream is always there,
waiting for your chance to take it.
And nobody can make your Patience
worth it ’til you make it .
I’ve been like marmite to the ones
who couldn’t work out why,
That one so cheery was not simply.
watching time go by.
You must have faith that there are flavours,
morsels still to find,
For time and days are side-lines
if you sweeten hands and mind.
The rainbow jars of favourites,
will be waiting on the shelf.
All their colours shiny, urging
Us to treat ourselves.
And when the day will come at last
The first foot out the door.
That first breath, first step,
A new world we’ll explore.
Like popping candy covering
an ice cream rich and sweet.
New flavours will explode and burst
And joy will be complete.
how lovely it can be,
To savour favourite dishes
when the fridge has been empty.
Or feel the breeze in windswept hair
Too long indoors and dry.
And gazing at the lucky Robin
Wishing you could fly.
Look at the woman standing there,
with wisdom pure as taste.
Who cares what others think of her
There’s no more time to waste.
Time will Swerve back round again
Just like she never left,
A few more wrinkles , wisdom deeper,
Our souls endure no theft.
If you are waiting for a taste
Of something you remember,
As time speeds up, and tries to win
Don’t let yourself surrender.
For at that point, the pinnacle
Is nearly in your sight,
The hilltop peak, the ocean floor,
The will to win the fight.
And that’s the sweetest taste of all.
When patience can be savoured.
When all your courage, strength and love
Comes back in rainbow flavours.
There was a little fib,
Which turned into a lie.
As time drew on, its vastness grew,
Beneath the cloudless sky.
The gossip started as a way
To feel a little tough,
To have a little power when
Inside was not enough.
The lie grew legs and turned into,
A Chinese whisper sort,
Who cares they thought, whose going to know ?
I’ll never should be caught.
When drinks were had, or over tea
The guesswork now was fact.
The lie forgotten, judgement done,
The victims life was hacked.
In fallout from a small untruth,
More stories bred like rats,
Behind the backs of those who
AND THAT they said was that !
Why someone feels they know you more
Than you can know yourself,
Its strange and sad and curious
And impacts on your health.
The perpetrator carries on
with blithely scattered words,
Forgetting that the wind is strong
She carries what is heard.
Like viruses the inky stain
Of wronged and dirty black,
Has seeped into the crevices
There is no going back.
The lie has spread like seed or mould
Grown spores and legs and arms ,
Despite the surface scrubbed and bleached
Despite the bullies charms.
A victim hides their light away
For fear of being seen,
For fear of reasons to be harmed,
By sharpened sticks so mean .
For words they do as much to harm
As stones thrown by a hand.
A stone flies once and you can see,
The place where it will land
A lie will tangle others in,
Like fish caught in a net.
With so much darkness, thrashing blind,
The way clear we forget.
Best swim alone against the tide,
If that’s the safest way.
Feel kinder waters buffer you
To help you on your way.
For truth is vast, an ocean deep,
New treasures float in view;
A million rainbow fish swim past
In line with perfect you.
Hurt people do hurt people.
Let their words grow wings and fly.
Keep strong in gusts of icy words
And never speak a lie.
A blanket covers fields and streams, Stitched finely with gold thread. As night descends we sink in dreams, In patchwork caves of bed. The winter hills and earth and trees, though simple dark and bare, Are sheltering the mystic creatures Snowy owl and winter hare. A glimpse is all it takes to know We aren’t here all alone. That fur and hoof and feathered beasts, Are slinking back to home. A frozen face, weary from storm Patient winter cannot sleep. Her eyes are sharp her cloak is warm, Her shelter hard but deep. With years of life and etched in time, Her fields and hedgerows stand. Embracing tiny babies With her gnarled and gentle hand. In beds of straw and hay and scraps, All stolen from the yard. The mothers strive to keep at bay A winter long and hard. And with a wing and paw and nose The outside pushed aside, 'Til spring time scent wafts nest and air, They curl and snooze and hide. And all we see is cold bleak earth, No colour life and sound. Imagine all the hidden hearts, Still beating underground.
At this time of year we usually start gathering up memories of all the adventures we’ve had, the travels we have been on and the places we have explored. Scrolling through our face book feeds , we get used to being taken from country to country and restaurant to restaurant.
This year we were more likely to have been transported into the living rooms and opinions of celebrities, old box sets and adverts for things which we might get back to, dreams to purchase or get a buzz from .. one day… one day …… Our t.v and actual diets have had to adapt, due to the limitations of the pandemic.
My art group and plenty of organisations supporting those with mental health issues or, indeed, having mobility problems themselves; are pretty used to this need for acceptance and flow. In our conversations on the phone or during online get togethers every week for this entire year : although there have been a myriad of concerns, feeling isolated, having to be patient, waiting longer for someone to help because the usual support network isn’t there…. the skills gained from long term health conditions have primed many people for further isolation with a spirit of making do.
Throughout the year, numerous artworks have been achieved by you, from everyday drawings in lockdown which you used as inspiration and which generated a wonderful community group, to the Artist’s collaboration with my poet friend Ruth which rippled out across several regions and included both written and painted work. Even a little science.
Please visit our site SeaSparkle. Org to see all the artwork achieved by Artists, friends, clients, and groups this year.
In a year which created bubbles out of our houses and complicated rules for how to tango around a friend in the street with a mask on, one constant was our furry friends for company and good hugs. We lost two of the best you could ever hope to love , and still miss Skye and Pumpkin dearly. (see earlier posts) But these three cheeky faces have been a distraction and very welcome company, especially during these months stranded with no family on a clifftop!
We had a recent scare with Bear having a serious injury on Sunday , and cutting an artery in his foot. He needed emergency surgery on a Sunday no less.. An expensive fright. It has been incredible to receive all your support and we are very grateful.
He has made a good recovery and is milking the cuddles for all they are worth. Max and Molly the cats, and Sugar the chicken have accepted the newbies, and the evening love-ins on the sofa are a welcome end to the day, especially after yet another teenage bedroom battle.. and once I figure out how to dog proof my flower beds from the Bear, and my builder finishes the decking, (only ten months Dave) !!!! life and the garden will resume some kind of normal, in an un-normal time.
Scrolling through the ipad, we read another post on self improvement..
It makes us think of so many people in charities, groups, churches, food banks, community groups and neighbourhoods, working silently with no recognition or gold stars, no clapping or extra pay. Or even pay at all. The thing is, that people are actually doing incredible things everywhere and have either no time or no inclination to tell the world about it.. Thankyou for the kindnesses we have received throughout the year and for the people who have swept into our lives just as we’ve needed help most.
It is the loveliest feeling in the world when children start mimicking the positive things that adults do, and can still feel empathy when they have been let down. In a world that can seem hard to understand, lets hope they come through this being a little more patient and kind to their neighbours. They will certainly have gained endurance skills we can only marvel at, in this adapted world.
The two of us have had a busy few weeks, making art for the local notice boards, putting together cushions from scraps sewn by a friend with dementia, helping a friend to still have Christmas when her festive things were in boxes from a house move, and surprising her with a secret tree, food and decoration delivery, and keeping up community art zooms and daily whatsapp chats. recording an online zoom nativity, and finishing off small bits of art for friends. If a few small acts of kindness became second nature even between teenage meltdowns, (one of which left a crack in the back door) something is going in!! ..
This year has seen a deterioration in my personal bone health with less hospital and go access than ever. It has now taken two years to get treatment. I’ll spare you the details but instead, focus on the lockdown art and what we’ve made from it. It makes me proud to show you the outcome of those months, time spent every day super early drawing so that other people could later join in too. Banking a range of pictures and paintings which have now become prints and cards.
It has not been an easy year. Several times our only plans have been cancelled. We were meant to travel three times abroad and couldn’t, have guests to stay, and couldn’t, go away for birthdays and couldn’t. As a young carer the events and groups were cancelled for her and replaced with a noisy but fun sounding trumpet lesson! We know and trust change is coming. The faith in ourselves and our stamina, our plans and what comes next.. have kept us warm and moving forward for many months. I feel certain you like us have felt a rainbow of emotions this year. Patience has been hard to come by when the timescale is a moving target.
We are all learning how resourceful we are and finding joy in the details of life
Making and appreciating new friends has been a great benefit of this year. Sadly not every friendship we have will go the distance especially in a changing world as we evolve and grow into ourselves. And actually that is healthy. If being around a person in particular makes you feel flustered, sad, anxious, or scared; Take steps to remove yourself from that relationship. Even a regular friendship can lose its way sometimes, leaving the door open for new conversations. Making space will always create opportunity.
We were extremely fortunate to meet a great group of women in the Cedar programme this Autumn. Our lives can always squeeze in a supportive circle of folk who truly get what you experienced. I have learnt that by being open, we enable this process in others and this gift can come when someone least expects, but really needs it. Please do reach out and speak to someone if you or they are struggling.
We all live our lives in our little houses. our little universe… but those friends that you meet along the way, that you bond with; especially now, hold on to them. They showed up .
In the next year, we will pursue plans to extend sea sparkle art and wellbeing classes whether that continues to be online or together.
and who knows what else might be up our sleeves
As we move into the next chunk of time anticipating or dreading Christmas, depending on our health, tier, situation, or circumstance we can reflect on one or two fundamentals….
Nobody ever got richer or cleverer sending mass messages to everyone on their friends list that need ten replies before sundown. Choose your scrolling wisely.
Charity shops can no longer shift your stuff, so there is no point clearing out everything you own because a minimalist Japanese lady tells you to. Although, there is sense in a calm space.
You already know what food makes you sick so stop eating it and wasting time going to appointments relearning the obvious. There are no g.p.s so use them wisely. Your stomach does not know its Christmas.
Not everybody will approve of your taste, style, decisions or way of life. So do stop trying to please them all. This pandemic gives us a global and a personal amnesty on all previous self sabotage. Check into a tribal bubble that has your back.
Your glove will find you. Your calling will come. The tiny beautiful things you do today will move mountains tomorrow
Eat slowly, light nice candles, hug something, read all the things you always meant to, remember most things we need don’t cost much , see the top half of the glass, breathe slowly , write or share your thoughts, and remember to laugh. Wishing you the festive season you want and need , whatever that looks like. Thank-you for being a support for Lizatthebeachhut and Seasparkle this strangely shaped year.
We wish you the Happiest of Christmas wishes
love from Liz and the zoo xxx
I was noticing how much time I am taking up in the last week or two, and decided to write on behalf of my household. It is quite clear I am pretty much in charge these days and fill in the hours that must have been so empty without me by creating a never ending need for the carpet cleaner and a discerning taste for pyjama hems and ankles. I have a feeling that stuff must happen while I am in my fluffy bed, because it all looks different when I wake up . The big one that feeds me when I sit next to my bowl , splashes a lot of stuff out of tubes in the mornings. I tried tasting it but I just got a blue moustache and a telling off ….
So, as usual, I am in charge today. Paw in hand I am giving Mum a break while she tries to explain to the smaller one (again) why coal, pencils, socks, cheese string wrappers, slime tubs, lipstick, hair bands and crisp packets are very delicious but I’m not allowed to eat them for some bizarre reason…
Still… being a good boy (or girl) does have it’s advantages.. There are some pretty good hugs around here.. And the food is excellent. I would like to present you my first poem in appreciation of my new home. Hope you like it. x
Poem by Bear
There once was a puppy called bear
Who lived in a home with sea air
His days were filled up with learning to know
which was the carpet and where not to go
He tried to make friends with the cavies and cats
And chewed all the corners off tables and mats
His paws were huge and his fur was all tangly
His eyes were like buttons, his legs growing gangly
She grumped in the morning when ankles were bitten
And thieving was common of socks, homework, mittens…
But end of the day when school end was done
It started to sink in that this was quite fun,
Big paws are great for a play and a cuddle
They make the room fun when parents see muddle
They take you for walks when it’s rainy or fine
and they curl up inside a warm bed around nine
It’s good being small you can hide under dressers
And shake all your toys till they spew out old feathers
Your mum feeds you lots when you do your big eyes
You have to remember to sit for a prize
Love is so easy to give to your tribe
They always still hug if you’re manic at five
I’m learning that hands are better for pats
My teeth are like needles, and humans hate that
My best fun is paper to shred into bits
And icy cold carrots are a teething hit
I love My bed best when a heartbeat I hear
It makes me feel safe and I drift somewhere dear
I didn’t like feeling alone in my cave
The hall wasn’t great for my nightmares and fears.
Dogs are like humans, they need to feel safe
we need you to know it can take many years
I am so excited for beaches and woods
for hugs with new friends and all that is good
life’s big adventures, fun and travels to come
But I like it best when I’m curled up with mum xxx
See you soon on the Beach ! Love from Bear, Mum and the zoo xxxx