May – June 2018
When was the last time you really set aside some time for yourself, just yourself? I recently got some quality time to spend on my own, quite by accident and it has done me the world of good. A change to the school timetable, where I am currently teaching, meant I had six whole hours to pass in-between lessons in a beautiful little town by the river Lot. When I grumbled to my husband about having so much time ‘to kill’ when I am always run off my feet at home, he soon made me realise that I shouldn’t be ‘killing’ time (what a terrible expression anyway), but instead using it to my advantage. It is so true, we sometimes become so caught up in our home/work life and its demands, that we neglect our own well-being, which starts to descend further and further down the priority ladder.
So, how exactly did I spend this ‘extra’ time I’m so unaccustomed to appreciating? I took a leisurely walk down by the river, admiring the allotments, followed by a picnic, under the willow tree of a ‘shared garden’ and finally I meditated, observed, listened and noticed everything, like I was experiencing it for the first time. We take so much for granted and become so lost in our thoughts that we often miss EVERYTHING! I didn’t see the time pass and I had a very enjoyable and peaceful afternoon. Maybe you should try it too!
How many times have you been driving your car and become so carried away with your thoughts that you actually forgot you were driving and find you have no recollection of the travelled distance? It tends to happen to me on a familiar route, a country road in which I know every twist and turn…except for the unexpected hazards that could arrive at any moment when I’m lost in thought and not concentrating on the matter at hand! I have recently been making a conscious effort to drive mindfully, but it doesn’t just have to be about driving. Everything we do can be carried out with care and attention if we just put our wavering mind to it!
The beginning of May began with a week’s camping holiday in Argelès Plage, on the Mediterranean Coast, about 20km from the Spanish border. The weather was generally warm and fine but we were glad we chose a campsite with a good indoor pool complex, as it is where we spent most of our time. On the way there, we had a night’s stopover near Nant, not far from the Millau viaduct, and my surprise for the return trip was a guided tour of the Lérab Ling Buddhist Temple (and vegetarian meal in the company of the Buddhist community). The temple was pretty spectacular and the tofu was the best I’ve ever tasted! Here are a few pictures taken throughout the holiday:
When we returned home, we soon got back to work in the garden. Pete got quite a surprise when he stumbled across a nest of baby hedgehogs in our straw pile. After a couple of very quick photos, we put back the straw so as not to disturb them and got a new bale delivered by a local farmer. I’ve since seen them scavenging around the garden with their mother, so they seem to be doing well and are a welcome addition to our garden, although the slugs and snails might disagree!
The wet weather spell that followed caused us some concern with our reed beds, which had stagnant water in the filter tanks that just wouldn’t drain away. It turns out our soil has more clay in it than anticipated and the run-off area must be lengthened. This means our garden will have to be dug up again, although the work will not be carried out until early autumn, before the heavy rain returns. The water eventually drained away when the hot weather came, but we were a little concerned about mosquitoes.
The most exciting work to be carried out was the installation of my parents’ new terrace. The plan is to eventually extend it to run the whole length of the house, but for the time being, we don’t have the finances (or time) to complete it! It took Pete two full days to build, which is pretty impressive. He just shrugs and humbly tells me it’s no big deal, after all, making wooden terraces is what he does for a living.
Here’s his progress, from beginning to end:
The school holidays are nearly upon us, the garden is starting to take shape and the sangria cava is flowing, what more could you want? Maybe an England v France final in the world cup and it might just be the perfect summer!