Showing posts from September, 2023


   A few weeks ago I bought a singing bowl whilst visiting a Nepalese craft fair. There's a certain skill to inducing a sound but once perfected the effect is a harmonious reverberation that lingers for several minutes. Sitting cross-legged which is never easy with my unstable right knee, the bowl induces a feeling of calm and self-compassion.  It's another stopping place on my path of discovery in the world of retirement. So much so that two weekends ago I attended a Sound and Meditation workshop which left me tingling with the vibrations for 24 hours afterwards. Buoyed by the experience, last night I went to a soundbath in a village church some 15 miles away. Lying down in the darkness of the aisle, atop a yoga mat and huddled in layers and a blanket, I closed my eyes and let the oscillations take over. The sound, generated by various singing bowls, bells,  rattles  and  gongs , was complemented by the acoustics of the stone building and I pulsed from within. Sound baths are

Chilled to the Bone

  I can't say that I generally feel the cold. Indeed Mister E and I are happy to keep our house at a maximum temperature of 18 to 19 degrees celsius. It's just as well bearing in mind that we have had no oil supply to run the central-heating boiler for several weeks. That really didn't matter when we were being blessed with summer weather but the recent tilt into autumn has certainly not gone unnoticed. Whilst an inability to warm the bathroom radiators to dry towels, along with a lack of heat in the utility room for airing clothes has been a nuisance, it's hardly been a great bugbear. Gradually, however, there's been an increasing awareness of the chilly evenings and I've found myself reaching for a fleece to put on. With some heavy rain and no sunshine, the effect has become pronounced. So much so that, travelling to London on Saturday, I was really aware of arthritic inflammation and pain in my left hand. Whilst Mister E drove, I found myself rubbing the swol

The Runaway Train

  The state-pension triple lock has featured in media debate in recent weeks with speculation as to whether or not the Government is genuinely committed to maintaining it or not. Some politicians of course are not reticent in putting forward arguments for its abolition. I am a member of the cohort who, because of changes in Government policy, was denied her state pension at first 60, then with relatively short notice at 62 as well. Luckily, I am now growing in confidence that it might actually start to be paid when I attain 66; those only slightly younger than myself must wait until 67. Whether the pension, which we now have to work longer to earn in full, will be worth a realistic sum going forward, is of course dependent on the Government's commitment to the lock. There are those who argue that the country cannot afford the increases it guarantees and whereby the state pension rises annually in line with inflation, average wage growth or 2.5% whichever is the greater. What they o

Bitter Sweet

  It is said that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. Embrace positivity and turn your misfortune into a beneficial and perhaps even enjoyable experience. I thought I'd come up with something similar within the constraints of my greenhouse recently. Somebody earlier in the year suggested that I grow cucamelons. I confess that I found the prospect of growing a cross between a melon and a cucumber rather exciting, duly sowed the seeds and nurtured the seedlings that followed. There was no hint on the seed packet as to how large the fruit grew and I think, understandably, I was expecting something perhaps mango sized.  When the plants became overcome by tiny fruit, at best 2 centimetres in length, I reached out to colleagues in the village gardening club for guidance. The consensus was that this was the limit of their size and that they go well as an addition to cocktails as well as being eaten as a sweet canap é . Reader, to my mind, they can best be described as an