Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Whatever the weather - dress for the occasion.

Here I am all dressed up for two very different occasions.

First one is - the return
Just back from walking in the rain ... 
and the wind ... and the hail. 
However I am, as you will notice, still smiling! Just ...

I was dripping, but all the better for my walk. Honest...
As Billy Connelly has been oft quoted "There is no such thing as bad weather - just the wrong clothes!" My raincoat was an all weather coat, perfect for the ever changing Scottish weather conditions.

In the background is our new courtyard. Only a year after we started the process. Must remember that fact when thinking about any proposed 2020 plans.

... and of course I am still working with the plan  - to have no plan. That is probably why I kept putting off submitting two chapters of my book to a publishing contact.

Emailed them off today ...
and rewarded myself with a walk,
and then the gods rained on me ...

The second occasion is - the departure

Is it the same wummin? I hear you ask. Oh yes it is!
This time I am all dressed up, ready to set off for a family adventure to the Panto. Oh yes I am! 

and it was a perfect evening of Scottish humour wrapped up in the glow of Snow White's fairy tale.

Worth remembering that whatever the occasion and whether you are coming or going, it is good to dress the part. Whatever you consider your part to be.

So in keeping with the pantomime theme, 2019 is behind you...
and 2020 could well be the year of your very own fairy tale.
Which role have you been rehearsing for:
Sleeping Beauty? Fairy godmother or the "Godfather"? Or being part of an ideal couple like Fiona and Shrek?

Whatever part you have to play in 2020, I wish you happiness in your starring role with the best supporting cast you could ask for...

Wednesday, 18 December 2019


As you know, I love the Italian language ...

"Una festa" means a party in Italian and "festeggiare" is the verb meaning to party or to celebrate.

And so we get the English word "festivities" which we have changed into the Festive Season when describing Christmas activities or New Year gatherings.

For an Italian, festive seasons are with us all the time.
In Italy they celebrate when the vines ripen ...

 and then they get to party together as they gather the grapes and the olives in autumn  ...

 and continue to enjoy the fruits of their labour long after the harvest is done.

 However, in Italy, una festa isn't just any excuse for a party. It usually signifies a blessing and blessings are to be shared.

Gatherings, are around families, within towns, include neighbours and friends and have a focus on a particular event coming to a satisfactory conclusion.

I like that thought, don't you.

It flips 2020's New Year's resolutions into what blessings 2019 brought us - gratitude.
It alters Christmas festivities into events that bring people together, giving the gift of time - presence.
It changes our perspective, as we move from getting into giving - abundance.

Wishing you all the blessings of this special time.
Especially lots of hugs.
Leaving you with a hug from the Canadian blessings, known as Murphy and Rosie.

Buon Natale a tutti ...

Monday, 4 November 2019

Heavenly connections.

I am into my skies just now ... what can I say ... they are heavenly.

 ... whether is it the pink sunset peeking from behind the tree outside our home or the whole sky on fire, a mass of orange glow as the sun fades over Rothesay!

The photo on the right was taken from one of our new attic windows. Installing velux windows in the loft has certainly added to my connection to the sky above.

... and here on the west coast we can enjoy some superb sunsets. Even the westerly squalls can inspire, especially when taking shelter from a down pour.

Then there are the rainbows that have arched over head, on many of my drives around the country. Rain lashing, wind screen wipers flashing and then the magical appearance of the coloured bow. The wonder that science now explains with its knowledge of refracted light through water.

Can you image what the people thought, before science had an explanation of the curved light show? Even today knowing what causes it, doesn't make it any less spectacular ...

Next time you see a rainbow, a sunset or a sunrise imagine what it meant to people thousands of years ago ... as they looked up into the heavens.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Harvests ...

Back a week already and I can't believe I have exchanged a sunny Italian autumn for the usual seasonal Scottish wind and rain. Just over a week ago we were esconced in a Tuscan agriturismo and enjoying the fruits of the vineyard, otherwise known as a glass or two of wine! Today it is a big bowl of lentil soup with some garlic bread. The garlic bread is to remind me of the tastes of Italy, as if I will ever forget ...

Seasonal weather aside, autumn is the time for considering all that was planted in the spring and cared for over the summer ...
or like my Italian adventures, over many summers ...

Here we are, caught on camera, enjoying a "gelato" on the island of Elba!

This was a flying visit (ok, we took the ferry) to reconnect with the people I met some years ago when attending the ABC Elba Italian school. It was wonderful to meet up briefly with Cristina and Manuela and introduce our son Kenneth and his partner Natalie to what I consider to be the perfect way to learn Italian ... outdoors, under a tree, a stone's throw from the pool and a short walk from the town of Porto Azzurro and a favourite icecream!

Now getting ready to book in for next year ... well, I did promise.

Reaping the rewards of learning Italian, is our annual holiday in Italy. Although I still think of it as researching for my book!  Travelling to a now familiar country, learning about its traditions and its people and growing friendships with those welcoming people is as akin to any harvest I have known.

It is interesting to consider that at this time of year we still think of harvests, although very few of us grow produce, plough fields or help gather in the corn ...

However we all do still plant, nurture, weed and harvest. Our time is invested in what we consider to be important/worth growing. For some of us it is wealth, others it is property while others it is friends and family or perhaps it is all of the above ... whatever it is, it all takes time, accummulated time is needed for any harvest to show.
cin cin
The above photo is our last evening in Castagneta Carducci. Here we are enjoying a "rose" evening together, having invested many visits to this particular Enoteca over a period of three weeks.

This year we were fortunate to be able to revisit the vineyard we stayed on last September, especially as this year we had nearly three weeks staying in and around the region and had the company of Kenneth and Natalie for one of the weeks. We also managed to extend our knowledge of the region by visiting unfamiliar places as well as our tried and trusted venues. Each one a delight especially when experiencing the wine tasting.

The best of the best

A wonderful example of this was a wine tasting at the agriturismo chiappini, where we were staying.

Unfortunately we weren't allowed to help with the harvest, but we certainly enjoyed what previous years crops had produced. It is good to remember that it isn't just one year or even 6 months that is needed but sometimes it is many years before you can reap the benefits ... and of course that isn't just with wine.

The bottle in the picture is an award winning wine from the Chiappini cellar. A wonderful taste of the exquisite wines from the Bolgheri region. Definitely one to savour.

We were recommended to have a glass with either an "aged" cheese or a good steak. Or curled up in front of a warm fire.

Could be perfect for today then as I curl up in front of the fire remembering that it takes planting, nuturing, weeding before the harvesting of whatever it is we are growing.

Growing a family is one of the most precious harvests we can have ...  here are the cream of my crop.
Two of the best of the best ...

p.s. I found out what October means to me ... soups!

Monday, 30 September 2019

Ships that pass ...


It is now the end of September, my favourite month of the year. Not just because it is my birthday month, although that does shape my viewpoint, more that I have come to think of September as the beginning of things ... I was born in this month 68 years ago, started college 50 years ago this month, enrolled in Italian classes and embarked on many other adventures around this time of the year.

Adventures that have given cherished moments of sharing time with family, friends and colleagues. Even some unexpected connections with strangers, taking pleasure in those curious coincidences, when random events lead to the choice of developing a relationship or to pass by as ships in the night.

I have even cruised on some real ships in September, visiting places on far horizons where I experienced the physical meaning of ships passing in the night. The quiet movement of two entities, sharing a vast area of sea but not stopping in time to connect in anyway except to acknowledge their safe passage past each other.

As this September has been focused on sharing "quality" time with family on a fabulous vineyard in Italy (more of that story next month) I had many moments available for pondering on the many ships that are important to us. Those moments were by the pool, on the beach, watching a sunset, savouring a particularly wonderful red wine or following a road to its destination and being surprised and delighted by the journey itself.

Those ships start with "Ownership": what we call ours or think of as belonging to us. Or importantly, the other meaning ... of admitting to being responsible for our actions.

Which leads me to "Stewardship": the recognition that we have a responsibility to look after what we think of as ours and even to care and care for, what is beyond our ownership, to cherish and honour the consequence of our thinking.

Then there is the call for "Leadership": what many consider to be someone telling others what to do, but is more a reflection of someone of integrity, acting with courage, leading the way with what they do ... not what they say.

And in amongst them all is "Friendship": the ability to be close to others, giving and taking support when necessary. It is a privilege to be a friend and one that is not taken lightly or thought of as only transient. Then it would be more like an ally or an allegiance, to be in agreement when pursuing a like-minded goal.

Lastly there is "Fellowship": an unfashionable word with its association of religious activities, however it is the word that brings all the "ships" together. I think of fellowship as working together towards a common goal. One that will not only enhance the present but will create an abundant future for successive generations. Something like a vineyard in fact!

"Quality Relationships" folks ... that is the name of the game ... and many of mine began in September!

Phew ... that expensive red wine was certainly worth it, as it got my synapses working! Or was it the sun setting over the sea that widened my horizons. Widening horizons seems to be what my Septembers are all about.
I wonder what the month of October means to me. Well, I'll no doubt find out about that tomorrow ...

until next month folks,
ciao, ciao ...

Friday, 30 August 2019

on yer bike!

Well I did it ... eventually ... I got on that bike of mine.

What can I tell you...
Firstly, it wasn't easy. Well that was a given.
Secondly, I need to keep at it, most definitely!  After all I have the helmet but not the knee pads ... at least not yet.

And lastly, it is one more box I want to tick on the fitness regime. Walking - tick; swimming - tick. Will keep you posted on the saga that is bound to unfold.

Friday, 19 July 2019


Goodness ... gracious ... gorgeous!

Starting the blog with a couple of favourite family pics, our two gorgeous grandchildren Rosie and Murphy.

Here is Rosie in all her gorgeousness.
She is wearing a girlish smile for the camera even though she is only a couple of months old.
How do they do it?
How do they know how to smile to make our hearts melt?
  ... and how lucky are we that they do!

There is a sense of communication beyond words that connects us at a level of love that is unconditional ...

 And here is Murphy. We thought he couldn't get any cuter, but we were wrong!

Now we have his "Tiger" face to wow his ever increasing fan club. Another celluloid moment of deep connection that instinctively knows how it is that we are all supposed to be. Full of goodness, being gracious and every bit as gorgeous as we can be ... even as a Tiger.

I realise that some of us think we need more help than others in the goodness, gracious, gorgeous department but I know for a fact that being unconditionally loved is our natural state of being!

Recently, I have experienced some personal moments of communication that went beyond words. Such as when connecting in our Power of Eight group in the 10 minute silence we share, focusing on others and their needs. Opening our hearts and minds in a specific manner as recommended by Lynne McTaggart in her Power of Eight (PO8) book.

I have written about this PO8 format in a previous post ... or two ...

Last year I embarked on regular PO8 gatherings, meeting up with fellow like-minded travelers to focus on specific intentions. As a result of our magical meet ups, we are experiencing many, many marvellous miracles and unexpected connections. The following story being just one of them.

6 weeks ago a lady contacted me to enquire if anything in my Forever product range would help her dog Juno.  This lady and myself had known each other over a period of 20 years and she knew that I was convinced of the nutritional power of Aloe since first being introduced to it 20 years ago.

Juno was suffering from some very distressing skin allergies and as it happens there was a topical application in the Forever range that I thought could alleviate her symptoms.

Juno's owner, Margaret and I met and discussed what would work for her beloved pet and yes I recommended that Juno should begin drinking the aloe vera. Well, you wouldn't have expected anything else now would you?

However we also got chatting about how Margaret had come to phone me. There had been two or three convoluted connections/recommendations that had eventually led her to my door. I mentioned the Power of Eight, how all our lives are interwoven, how our thought patterns affect our lives and of those around us and how we can use that knowledge practically. 

As a result Juno started drinking aloe vera, Margaret joined our group and last month our group intention focused on Juno   ...
As you can see here Juno, in all her gorgeousness is able to communicate her feelings ... as just like Rosie and Murphy, without any words she reaches in and touches our hearts.

So was it the focused thought?
Was it the aloe vera?
We can't say...
What we can say is thank goodness something led Margaret to my number 8 door.