Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Architecture ...

Well ... I did it. Really challenged my knee.
I went Viking cruising on the Rhine. Yep, sounds like a restful holiday but I can assure you it involved a lot of walking.

Two months ago, I wasn't sure I would be able to cope with walking the airport concourse never mind the daily scenic walks that were on offer. And as Andy and I were sailing with our pals Billy and Catherine, I didn't want to curtail their perambulations.

We started with a 6.05am flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam, then another flight onto Basel where we were to pick up our ship, The Eir. A Viking river boat is called a ship... who knew. We were very grateful that there was enough water in the Rhine for us to sail on, as during our holiday we came across other Viking travellers whose Danube voyage had been cancelled as the water level was too low. They had been transferred to some sister ships and were sailing the Rhine instead.

Eir and sister ship moored together

The Rhine, as we found out, was a very busy river with many different river "boats", long, long barges and individual cruisers. We also travelled through quite a few locks as we flowed with the river down to the sea.

Our itinerary visited many various towns and cities, viewing a broad range of architecture, reflecting the three countries we cruised through. Although we started in Basel, Switzerland, next day we moored at Breisach, Germany. Second day Strasbourg, France ... just in time for the Football World Cup! Then back to Germany, to explore Heidelberg, Koblenz, Cologne... ending up in Holland, visiting Kinderdijk and finishing at the port of Amsterdam.

Seeing the various and inspiring buildings (like how did they build that... there?) I became very aware that there is purpose in architecture. I know, I am a bit slow in the uptake...

Cuckoo Clock House, Black Forest
For instance the high sloping roofs of the Black Forest chalets allow the snow to slide off easily.

Cologne Cathedral in the distance
 Or the splendour of the churches and cathedrals that are awe-inspiring in their design and completion.


Or the castles guarding the river, their towering presence threatening any foreign invader or alternatively a perfect fit for a Disney Cartoon.

Fairy Tale Design

So that takes me to my knee, a complicated structure if ever there was one. Built for both movement and stability. No wonder it gets confused. And I hadn't helped it to function by not moving much and falling a lot. Well that is now in the past...

I only managed one walk on grass while away although I did plug into my groundology support daily. But ... and here's the key to my recovery ... I kept walking  ...
Pircturesque Strasbourg
We walked round Strasbourg, checked out Heidelberg Castle, trod the streets of Koblenz and went sight seeing in Cologne. Even took in a windmill or two in Kinderdijk...

Catherine and Eileen and beer cellar

I walked up hills and down dales and realised that each day I was getting stronger. I even took to the dance floor one evening and joy of joys didn't feel any ill effects from the unaccustomed exercise. Although not sure what the other dancers thought of my twinkle toes... as I was barefoot dancing!

Some people may comment that alcohol was an important part of my pain relief and how can I deny it when there is proof of Catherine and myself posing outside a Cologne beer house... not a bar. We are standing under a model of a friar supporting a young lad on his back. A reference to the number of clergy that managed to support their children. The people of Cologne enjoy their little jokes...

On returning home, I phoned the hospital and cancelled my operation. Well as I said the day after the dance floor experiment: "I have a damn cheek to think I need a new knee as this one is working so well for me now".

I am very grateful that whatever I am doing is working. And as the surgeon, Mr. Bennet recommended me to keep doing it ... I will!
One of the many things I am doing is affirming while walking
"I, Eileen Auld, see, hear, feel and know that the purpose of my life is to shine brightly, move freely and share abundantly"
This was a tool I learned while attending a Tony Robbins Leadership course, many years ago ... had kind of forgot about the moving freely bit!
The Auld yins
Architecture is the result of inspired thought and creative genius. It is all around us... and within us. What are you building today? I am restructuring ... more of that in next month's blog.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Strange but true

I have had quite a strange week.

It started on Sunday, with me taking my usual daily barefoot stroll. By now I am able to add walking to the famous Largs monument, The Pencil to my exercise regime. This means I have increased my walking stamina to over the 10,000 steps recommended by the British Heart Foundation... not all barefoot I must point out!

 Then Monday I made my usual monthly call to Inverclyde Hospital to find out if there was any news regarding my knee operation. The very nice secretary, Helen, was sorry but it looked like the earliest it would be scheduled for, was September...

Getting used to this conversation doesn't make it any better, but hey ho, on with my week.

Tuesday morning I get back home having visited a pal for a catch up and lo and behold the ansa fone message was to phone Inverclyde asap! and I did. Helen then gave me the great news that my new knee joint operation was scheduled for the 9th August and could I attend for my pre-op assessment the next day.

 Talk about joyous. Many of you will have received my Woohoo text as "at last" was ringing in my ears.

So yes, it was strange that one day I was being told September and the next day I was being told August, however that isn't is the strangest part.

Wednesday saw me attending my pre-op and I got thoroughly checked from top to toe. Then met with my new consultant, Mr Bennet, as my previous surgeon isn't back at full time workload.

Mr Bennet explained the operation in graphic details and then dropped in the unexpected news/bomb-shell that because I had recovered so well, he was reluctant to operate. He recommended that we agree to cancel the operation, although I obviously have to give it some thought.

 "It is quite remarkable" he said, while perusing my X-rays.
It would appear that getting better isn't the normal situation to my condition. I mentioned that I use arnica and had he heard of groundology...

Mr Bennet smiled, raised his hand to interrupt my flow.
" I am a paid up sceptic" he said, "but whatever you are doing, keep doing it".

So here I am with a quandary... and who knew that by working at getting better, I was going to change my options so dramatically, although I do realise it is for the better.

The rollercoaster ride of the joy of Tuesday, the shock of Wednesday (and it was a big shock folks) has settled into being in awe of the body's healing powers and excited about what else is possible.

Not quite sure what is going to happen now, but I intend to challenge my knee over the next week and see if it continues on its improvement trajectory... and if so, I will take Mr. Bennet's advice and cancel my operation and be grateful that I was given the intervening 9 months to change the state of my knee joint and my mental attitude...
even Buddha is cheering!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Down to earth

Grounding, or earthing, refers to connecting electrically with the earth.

Part of my personal yoga practice has always incorporated a focus on a feeling of centering of the physical body and encouraging an energetic flow through asana, breath and meditation. Plugging into Universal source if you will...

Now I have added plugging into source by plugging into a mains socket in our home, with a knee support and letting myself be earthed electrically... yes that's right  - the mains! I was introduced to this method of healing by a friend and will be forever in her debt as it has been a game changer as -

I am sleeping better, have less pain, am walking more and am generally more optimistic... even when told that the date of my operation has been postponed ... again.

As I am having so much fun with the down to earth principle of "groundology", I just had to share what changes I have made while waiting for updates of the proposed knee op...

Changes are:
  • Walking barefoot on grass nearly every day (5000+ steps)  - remembering the feeling of being a child,  unencumbered by shoes
  • Sitting for 40mins with knee support plugged into socket - official rest period
  • Sleeping on electrically grounded sheet - feeling refreshed after 8+ hours snoozing.
... and soon to add a grounded mat for when I am on the computer... it may even improve my writing!

Walkies anyone?

Now this doesn't mean I am not still incorporating all the other things I do to enhance my life. Asana, meditation, fascial releasing, nutrition, supplements, cathartic writing, meeting up with friends regularly... the list goes on. However the simple change of earthing slotted into my lifestyle very easily.

I now sit earthed, walk earthed and sleep earthed. Thank you, Mother Earth. My recent coming down to earth with a bump has expanded my repertoire of healing tools and although my knee health is not quite "a walk in the park", it certainly enjoys an amble on the grass.

p.s. anyone wanting more info about "groundology" -  email me at

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Eileen's Day Out

.... well, the sun shone and lunch was waiting so taking a ferry across the River Clyde to meet up with a friend, Mhairi for lunch was a no brainer.

Lunch venue was Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, the original one on Loch Fyne ... lunch was braw, my very favourite - scallops with black pudding, mmmm. What a treat!.
Oyster Bar!
It was supposed to be three school friends meeting up at a favourite restaurant however Veronica was unable to join us due to feeling unwell but we are sure to reschedule another trip down memory lane.

It is nearly 50 years since we all were together at Oban High School and with many an adventure ahead of us. Reconnecting with the sun, with a good friend and with my erstwhile adventurous spirit was nothing short of delightful...

On the move

Monday saw me walking the farthest I have done in a long while. Driving the farthest in 8 months and smiling most of the day! Who needs painkillers?

Loch Fyne
Stopping to sit by the loch on the way home to view the simplicity and experience the peace and quiet was just what the doctor ordered. Well he was golfing... so, each to their own.

I know that the loch looks a tad lopsided but I think it is reflecting the change in my own recent outlook. Seeing things differently results in feeling things differently until "different" becomes the norm.

What a difference a day makes, eh!
Now for the ferry home ... more delight. The sunshine bringing the best out in everyone. People all around smiling. Who can resist the stunning views of the West Coast of Scotland at its best... not me and to top it all I have the feeling of freedom and gratitude of being able to reconnect with friends.

Grazie mille for a day well spent in great company...

Wednesday, 9 May 2018


How much attention does eating a biscuit require?

It seems to me that Murphy is giving his biscuit the attention it deserves... and I am going to follow his example with my next choc chip cookie!

Mindfulness is a much misunderstood state of being. You are mindful when meditating but not necessarily meditating when you are being mindful.

Creating a oneness with the being you are and the doing you are being is an art in itself... and yes I know that last sentence requires a reread!

My recommendation is to get a choc chip cookie and enjoy the moment.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Reading material

I have for a long time, written in a gratitude journal at the end of the day. Or as I call it, close of play!   It is now such a habit that the day can't end without my replaying the passage of time and finding a raft of things to be grateful for.

Recently however I have also started to begin the day with gratitude. Grateful for the day ahead whatever it will bring ...

Among the many offerings my days hold are the wonderful authors, I now feel are part of my circle of friends.

 Included in the range of writers of fiction are quite a few poets and philosphers. Well it's good to have a mix of friends, don't you agree?

One such friend is Kahlil Gibran, the author of the famous metaphorical book, The Prophet. His inspirational take on life has kept me comforted through many a dark hour and helped me focus on all the riches that the gift of friendship offers.

So that explains why I haven't been writing so much recently, as I have been researching other people's books and enjoying a wide range of subjects ... from historical fiction to murder mysteries and beyond into what has become known as "metaphysical"!

Well, what else has a gal to do when March came and went with no new knee and the due date of the operation disappearing into a far off time ...

Reading comes high on the "to do list" but so too comes being with friends, sharing a cuppa or a glass or two of wine. Even extending the time spent together to a couple of hours of "due chiacchiere". That last mention is the Italian phrase for chat/gossip or deep philosphical discussion depending on your subject matter!
baci e un abbraccio i miei amici
p.s. fancy a chat?

Friday, 23 March 2018

cosy warm ...

Our daily view ... inside/fireside

Here I am today feeling cosy warm and sitting enjoying some chillin' time by the fire!

 It's amazing how I can fill a day with reading, writing and puzzling. Not forgetting meditating, as in enjoying the inner perspective with eyes lightly closed.  Alternatively, with eyes wide open, sitting by the window and enjoying the outer view.
Our daily view... outside/seaside

My challenging knee is, to my mind, a spiritual gift. One that I am best friends with and at the same time "soul sistering"... with more than a touch of "soul searching"!

I do feel blessed with the various view points on offer.

What is it that you are looking at day in - day out? I am finding it makes a huge difference to my perspective on all that life offers.

Whether it is resting my eyes on a favourite photo of Murphy...
Just been to the toy shop!

catching up with a favourite film
even clearing out a messy corner.

Each and every moment helps me move forward. I read recently that "Change is a journey of love".
So I am taking this as a daily mantra and adding it to "Life's a journey - enjoy". Not just accepting that the changes in my life now are all about love in motion, but also enjoying the changes in the same way that Murphy is enjoying his new gift from a recent visit to the toy shop..

However I am taking it one step at a time!

Monday, 19 February 2018

Timely reminder

Being told to stop and smell the roses is a metaphor that can be easily understood. However how often do we follow the wisdom of the saying. I know I have difficulty with the concept. It seems that I find the adage a hard pill to swallow - another metaphor!

Recently, as in 5 months ago, I received the "gift" of enforced leisure and sure enough, I worked at ignoring it. Not to be recommended as being strong willed (pig-headed) can be detrimental to one's health!

So for the past 6 weeks, I have been resting and appreciated the fact that a friend gave me roses to ponder on. A reminder that the living it yoga approach I practise... is being in the now, in whatever circumstances you find yourself.

Being still, being at rest, really just being oneself...
and yes the roses both look and smell beautiful but only if you take the time to stop!

Monday, 5 February 2018


Friendship has always been important to me, ever since I was a child. I am now approaching 67 years young and after all these years, friendship still takes pride of place in my life.

A very good friend recently passed away from this reality and her passing has given me much to think about. My friend, Alison and myself were part of a group of friends, a sisterhood who worked well together and had played even better together, over the past eighteen or so years.

Many of you will know that I had a very fragmented family set-up growing up and am grateful for all the life lessons this gave me however my upbringing flagged up a lack of camaraderie within the home. No siblings to row with, fall out with and then fall in with.

Perhaps that was why my friend, Alison and myself felt a deep bond. As two only children we were constantly searching for a sisterly relationship. An honest relationship, where you can be your true self, no questions asked.

A search for kinship in like minded souls has been a constant over the years and as my recently enforced leisure has given me much time to ponder, I realise that what I was looking for was "family". Not just a sisterhood or even a brotherhood but a fully functioning family! Who gets one of them? I have to ask. So many of us talk about coming from a dysfunctional family that I believe that this term must now mean "normal"!

I am grateful for the many friends who have been there for me, throughout schooldays, college, work situations and even retirement. Some, like Alison, have come and are now gone. Others are school friends with whom I lost touch and have miraculously reappeared in my life. And a few are a constant in my life, a mainstay core... However all of us feel the connection that pulls us together.

To you all I thank you ... not with the hand of friendship but with the warm embrace of a family hug.
grazie mille mei amici, la mia famiglia...
baci e un abbraccio


Sunday, 21 January 2018

Whatever the weather...

Well we didn't expect to experience quite such a country whiteout when we went away with our pals Catherine and Billy, to Letterfinlay!

Lovely snow everywhere and I even went a weekend without my trusty walking aid. The intention is to start using walking poles to help with the get fit regime as I will need to have good muscles for the new knee, scheduled for the end of March. Probably need to wait until the weather settles a tad,

Below is the view from our bedroom on the Tuesday morn. There is a loch and some inspiring peaks beyond the blizzard. You will just have to take my word for it!
Room with a view


Driving home on Tuesday was challenging. Driving conditions were poor due to the weather and the potholes in the road. An unexpected drop into a pothole led to a puncture and an unplanned stop, tyre change and late lunch. Well I did say I was going to go with the "plan is to have no plan"... however the other three hadn't signed up for any such alteration in the dynamic. And no I didn't change the tyre. Catherine and I left that to our heroes...

Driving conditions
More snow and disruption is forecast and I am seriously thinking of using a similar mode of transport to Murphy's...

The only way to travel

Monday, 8 January 2018

Ringing the changes

We ended 2017 and started 2018 in Milan this year. Andy and I decided that we were spending Christmas and New Year adventuring in Lombardy... and yes there were many, many adventures.

We set off on the 23rd December, ready to travel into the unknown, as this part of Italy is unchartered territory for us.

 We arrived at our hotel after an exhausting day but were delighted with the hotel, its position and its closeness to train station, metro and trams.
Day 1  Eileen and Duomo

The biggest challenge we thought was to cope with me hobbling around with my walking stick. Not so... the walking was challenging but the metro, the trains and the trams were what made me raise my game. The walking, I seemed to take in my stride.

As it was a must to visit the famous Milan cathedral, day one saw us enjoying blue skies and the milling crowds in the square in front of the cathedral that took nearly 600 years to build!

Milan is a beautiful city, especially when there are festivities every day and fabulous meals and wine to enjoy. Every meal added to our adventures. We even enjoyed the intermittent power cut at our restaurant on New Year's Eve.

Eileen's New Year Dinner
Andy at Mamma Rosa's

The weather was variable. We got soaked in some very heavy rain but weren't too keen on photographing the grey and damp times. As you can see from our wine glasses, we were exploring glass half full adventures... and keeping smiling...

We intended to use Milan as a base and take the train to various destinations but ended up only taking one journey... destination Verona, a very popular and fascinating town. Not sure how much Shakespeare knew about Italian towns or he might have mentioned the hilly, cobbled streets and the massive Roman amphitheatre! when telling the tale of star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet

Modern  architecture
Milan is working towards a greener environment. A far cry from its recent industrial focus. There are car sharing incentives and "no car" days as well as planting trees wherever they can!

We explored much of the city although a return visit to take in more of the museums is a must. Leonardo da Vinci's experiential museum was a mega three hour delight exploring what a human mind can envisage. His connection with Milan is so much more than the famous painting of The Last Supper, which is on the to do list next time...

First visit, get orientated... second visit, who knows?
New Year's Day

 Milan on New Year's eve was awash with street parties and fireworks seemingly on every corner and come the 1st January you would have thought that the party animals would be sleeping in. No... in fact they were queueing up to enter their cathedral to celebrate a new year.

Our adventure was thrilling, even in some ways life changing however it was good to get home and enjoy the sunset over the River Clyde...

Tanti auguri....