Wednesday 5 December 2012

On Fire!

Remember way back in May, check out May's blog!... the plan was to have a log burning stove in the den, otherwise known as the office, by Christmas. Well we made it, just. There were so many delays... delay in delivery of the fire, delay in the delivery of the hearth and even a delay in the builder's availability... so what is this telling me. Well, I believe that "Time" is elastic. I usually use the phrase to mean that I can fit mega stuff into a day however this time the elastic was more to do with a stretching response in my patience...

"Now" is the only way to deal with time... and then time will look kindly on us! Let's all of us have a great time this month... let's make time for others and let us really enjoy stretching the elastic!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

We are not entitled to a through train in life!

When were you last on a train? Perhaps you are a frequent traveller... if that is the case, you will be aware of how little control you have of your journey time and in some cases even your destination. I travelled by train from Aviemore to Largs on Sunday last, and found out that I am not really entitled to a through train! which got me reflecting on my life's journey... and as I work with metaphors, querying why I expect to have a "through train" in my life! You know the train (life) that takes you from the starting point to the destination with no hiccups, derailments, leaves on the line and leaves on time with no changes in platforms or stations!

My journey started in Aviemore at 10.00am and finished in Largs at 5.30pm. A journey of 7 and a half hours that took less that 4 hours by car the previous day. As I pondered the various interruptions in travel and the many inconveniences of delays and changes in stations, I embarked on changing my state which was escalating into impatience, into a more benign feeling of acceptance. A feeling of "It is what it is!" After all I had a great book to keep me company and many travelling companions to study and there was no getting away from the fact that I had no personal control of the train or train times ... the only aspect of my life that was open to my control was my attitude.
So 10.00am left hotel, feeling - anticipation, first long train journey in a while.
11.20am train left Aviemore, feeling - cramped, no seat available on own!
1.00pm change trains at Perth, feeling - apprehensive, unfamiliar territory.
1.45 embark on delayed arrival of train in Perth, feeling - grateful, but surrounded by disappointed travellers
3.30 arrive in Queen St Station, Glasgow, feeling - happy, nearly home
bus to Central Station, Glasgow...
3.40 only just caught the train to Largs... but no through train, so we change at Paisley and then after a one and a half hour bus journey later, arrive at Kilwinning, to await a train home to Largs.
feeling - delighted! and inspired as this day has shown me ... as my strap line says "Life's a journey - enjoy!"
Has this experience put me off travelling by train. Certainly not. In fact far from it. I am really looking forward to what experiences show up when I travel on the Orient Express.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Rainy Days and Holidays

 The above photo shows the sun setting over the industrial side of the Veneto. What very different memories I have of Venice! Such as the sunset making beauty of the view and then the photo which shows the modern side of the Gondoliere. Where are we without our mobiles? The contrasts are almost too hard to take in. We imagine that history should stay in its place and progress shouldn't impinge on our touristy views and yet as in the sunset... how wonderful to know that there is also permanence in the nature of things and how beauty can transform even the most resistant of places.
Our gondola tour included looking up at a hotel that was once the home of Casanova and our gondolier didn't once check his phone but spoke perfect English as he shared his love of Venice. He was able to share facts that weren't in any guide book as he worked at manoeuvering us around the canals... seemingly effortlessly! We experienced a little of history while history itself was being made out in the busy, busy Grand Canal.

And what do you think of these two  rain-drenched friends? We are having such fun. Yep that's right, such fun! The heavens opened while we were in St Mark's Square and we dived into a little bar for an alcoholic beverage, as you do, to while away some time until the rain stopped. Well it didn't. It rained and rained and so we decided to make our way through the raindrops to our hotel and lo and behold there appeared vendors with rainmacs especially just for us. One size fits all, the short and the tall. We are crossing the Rialto Bridge and enjoying every splish and splash, puddle and dribble knowing that we too are part of history in the making.

Talking about crossing bridges, the famous Bridge of Sighs is just as it is in this photo! This is the bridge that prisoners crossed on the way to their incarceration having been judged for their crimes. A beautiful bridge on the outside holding an ugly truth on the inside. We visited the cells during our visit to the Doge's Palace and were informed that one of the prisoners had been Casanova. It was hard to imagine anyone surviving such hardship, never mind managing to escape, as it seems that the bold boy, Casanova did. Venice was everything we expected and more. From the grandeur of the architecture to the rabbit warren of streets where being lost over and over again was part of the charm of this city of contradictions... with its obvious beauty, its unbelievable history and its precarious future...

... and yes we enjoyed the city's unique ambience and the fabulous views around every corner... such as the Doge's Palace from the Grand Canal, see below. However what I treasure the most, is the memory of a city being built on the flimsiest of physical structures and yet still managed to flourish throughout all the vagaries of war until ultimately it became the present day's magnetic city with its' very own unique identity. It draws every nationality to come, explore and experience its' perfect elegant style of living. Thank you Venice and the Veneto for all the memories. I will be back...

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Window of Opportunity

This is the view from my window in Capraia, in the Garfagnana Valley, north Tuscany! How lucky am I!
I was given the gift of a few days at this wonderful villa overlooking the mountains as a trial for taking yoga students next year... and the answer is yes! what a beautiful place. We really must make this happen for people to experience both the peace and inspiration of this magical place. Meryl, the lady who owns the place has taken seven years to restore this neglected building...  and has made it the most beautiful place to be... and as you know practising Living It Yoga is all about being..... this window of opportunity is just too good to miss!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Journey around Elba!

 Summer flowers shining, reflecting the sunny climes of Elba. I couldn't resist these photos as they completely reflected my own happy mood. Having arrived on this wonderful island, I felt totally blessed and full of wonder at an island so far from home, feeling so much like home. People were friendly and supportive of my attempts to speak their language and as the time passed I felt much more confident at communicating with strangers. The island is an amazing repository of a wide range of crystals and a glorious garden of flowers such as those above... not forgetting the inspiring inhabitants ...
 ...or the inspiring views. This photo on the right was taken on a day that Debora, one of my teachers, and myself got slightly lost from the others and got to know each other better. Thank you so much Debora for the fun and laughter that we enjoyed that day and what about this view... was it worth it? Of course! The island showed its full range of colours for us and the sun lit up the contours and Debora drove the roads' '"contours" with a skill and speed that was breathtaking. In fact the whole day was wonderfully breathtaking. Views, food, driving, friendship... especially the last one. It is a privilege to experience a friendship with someone in a completely different language. This last photo is of the teachers and other students in our "classroom"... the best way to learn.

Saturday 7 July 2012


As I love cooking it was a thrill for me to get a cooking lesson included in the Italian language course I attended recently in Italy. On the island of Elba to be precise! What an adventure I had from start to finish.

Flew to Pisa - on my own. Drove to Piombino - on my own! Travelled by ferry to Porto Ferraio - on my own! Well I suppose there were other people on the plane and other people on the road and there were loads of people on the ferry. It felt very grown up to be travelling to this unknown to me, part of Italy and although unbeknownst to me - it soon became my home.

Having arrived at the school in Porto Azzurro on the east of the island and been shown my apartment, I went shopping and bought loads of wonderful fresh groceries as I was self-catering. Put the shopping in the boot, shut the boot, and found out that I had locked the keys in the car. What a start to my independent living experience. It was late Saturday evening, so no mechanics to be had. However I found two angels in the supermarket - who phoned their mechanic friend - who broke into the hired car... and I paid him 100 euro for the privilege.

My feelings were... thank god there was no frozen food in the car as I had a two-hour wait before the mechanic arrived. Well, it was Saturday and there was a festa happening in the town. It is only the first day and already I am in Italian mode.

We started the course on the Monday morning with a written exam, followed by an oral one. Met the teachers and was introduced to my fellow students who I would be sharing the next two weeks with. Both German, so the only English I spoke was to myself and to my husband Andy in two brief phone calls. Talk about immersing yourself in the language ... it was braw or should I say "era bravissima!". The teachers were wonderful. They imparted their knowledge graciously and helped us through the exciting grammar and delightful phonetics of the Italian language! Grazie mille Debora and Christina...

There were tons of adventures throughout the time in Elba. Driving round the island was an adventure! I find my driving is always an adventure in Italy. Long walks up mountain sides were adventures! The island was so beautiful, with many sandy beaches; sheer cliff faces; winding, windy roads. I am sure you get the picture. I loved it so much I intend to return next year.

I left the island a day earlier than intended as the wind picked up and swirled around the island causing disruption of the ferries, and I enjoyed an exciting ferry trip to the mainland as the waves tossed the massive ferry as if it was a light canoe. Arriving late on Friday evening in Pisa I found that there was no room to be had anywhere until a kindly receptionist took pity on me and phoned around until he got me a room on the other side of town. A very posh hotel with a very posh price, but there was a bed and a very welcome shower. The receptionist as luck would have it, has a villa on Elba and was very interested in my time at school. Small world...

I returned home to find that my garden room project had gone on hold while I was away. The workmen had obviously heard about Italian time and I was so relaxed after my time away that I didn't even feel vexed. Go figure!

There were loads of other blips and slips and I will continue with the saga in more depth next week and combine them with some beautiful photos of the beautiful island of Elba.
Ciao for now!

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Light and Space

What do you think when you see this photo? Is it a question of "What's Eileen up to now?" or "What a great idea to give the room more light and space!"  This is my latest project around the house and yes I always have one on the go... don't you?

Well it started with the chimney...

The chimney in this room had been blocked up, well before our time and there was a distinct problem with its ventilation... as in... it was growing stuff! and when "excavated" we found that all the rubble of the original chimney was piled up behind the wall. No bodies found fortunately, but there had been a definite lack of consideration for the house's future.

This got me to thinking... we have been in this house for over 17 years and I have no idea when the chimney stack was removed. However I do know that there are consequences to even the smallest endeavour. Any time we start a project we find this to be so true... and the original shoddy work and lazy workers had produced major long term problems... which fortunately we are now able to eradicate... but only by completely stripping out the rubbish and making a room that is full of light and space.

So folks... let's make room in our lives for more light and space and strip out the rubbish in our lives that is hidden behind our emotional walls. You know what I mean. Let's make eradicating all the stuff, all the shoddieness that we have chosen to conveniently forget about over the years, our project.... and not just think of this as a metaphorical story! Although I must say that I do love looking at life with my metaphorical glasses on... as even opening up a chimney breast gives an opportunity to enjoy another of life's lessons.
See you next month with a photo of the room completely transformed!
Ciao amici

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Dreams can come true!

Well... it was a few years ago when at a Tony Robbins event, I was asked what I really, really wanted to do with my life. At the time I was a Chartered Physiotherapist with a busy private practice and a life full of all the many things that a wife and mother does with her time. My answer was: "to have an Italian home that would be a working haven for guests who wanted to change their lives for the better, using the concepts and precepts of Yoga and Ayurveda". A working haven for me meant that it would pay for itself but also that people would recognise that working on themselves was a worthwhile venture.

I had no idea how this dream would come about... in fact, I really didn't know that I had that dream until asked! However I also got some great practical advice... what three things could I do to start the process? Well you have probably guessed it.
Firstly - visit Italy. At the beginning it was once a year and then it became once every three or four months. Now it seems to be once a month.
Secondly - enrol at an Italian class. Attending once a week and listening to CDs to acclimatise my ear to the melodic Italian language. Now it is going to school in Italy for a two week Italian course being held on the beautiful island of Elba.
Thirdly - visualise regularly the dream coming true... and lo and behold someone found me through the internet and offered me the opportunity to take yoga classes in Tuscany!

It's now time to reach out and let the dream happen. Thank you Tony and thank you Marcia, the lady who asked me the original question. The question I now pass on to you... what is it you really, really want to do with your life?

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Castagneta Carducci

What is getting away from it all... about? Is it the blue skies? A very welcome sight to us sun starved Scots. It is the glorious sunsets? Living on a west coast gives us some tremendous setting sun scenes. Is it peace and quiet? Or are we looking for a more passionate lifestyle?

I asked myself all of those questions recently when staying in the beautiful hamlet/town of Castagneta Carducci, Tuscany. I love blue skies and particularly love blue-sky thinking. Perhaps however it pays to keep an open mind for the beauty of a grey sky and the promise of rainy days! Yes I can assure you it does refresh the soul as well as the ground. And as for the sunsets! Here on the west, it always feel that the sun is having a party and we are invited guests.

And I choose both the peace and quiet moments of serenity in the countryside far away from the traffic as well as the laughter and passion that abounds with the compulsory Italian gustatory experience. One just can't help enjoying oneself... just like our strap line and heading. Life's a journey - enjoy!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Road Ahead

Who knows what the road ahead will hold for us? this photo was taken in the sleepy town of Gubbio in Umbria, Italy and just around the corner was what the locals called a cable car and what we called a bird cage! It was such a surprise and a tremendous adventure, all the better for being unexpected. Plans are great, however it is wonderful when life surprises you with something even better than your plans... Remember, life's a journey - so be sure to enjoy it, whatever is round the corner.

Friday 10 February 2012

Sniffles pet!

How are you today? Are you well or like me sniffling and spluttering with a February cold? Apart from filling myself with vit C, propolis and obviously slugging down my wonderful aloe vera, I am sitting back and noticing that life wants me to slow down. This seems to be at odds with my nature as I want to be up and at'em, as they say. So having read two books in 3 days and having written various offerings in the form of newsletters, poems and have even got on with writing my own book, I am realising the benefits of a cold. Not only is it a cleanser and a reassurance that the body's immune system is working well, it is a marvellous healing hiatus in this busy, frantic world we live in... so the next time someone sneezes... Go ahead and bless 'em and know that they are indeed blessed. Or better still when you come down with the cold symptoms yourself accept the blessing graciously!

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Sail Away

So much has happened since I was on this beautiful paradise shore almost 10 yeas ago. It's Fiji folks and I was feeling just as castaway as Tom Hanks as this Castaway island came into view. Whenever I want to de-stress and drift away from what pressures are building up in my very own pressure cooker, I look to pictures of the sea with boats calmly moored and imagine myself in the picture with no worries or cares and glory in the cloudless blue sky and the calm sea. Such a simple tool... I can even remember the day, the warmth of the sun and the laughter of friends and the joy of snorkling for the very first time. Give yourself the gift of escaping for a moment into this paradise and then revisit it whenever you get the chance. I'll be there too...

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Buddha and Angels - in good company!


It's been a while since I last blogged. Not that there hasn't been stuff happening, but as a priority the blog was put to the bottom of the list of things to do! Now that I am living in Buddha time I am working without the help of a safety net - as in I have moved away from lists!
December was a month of complete rest for me as I succumbed to a similar illness to one I had hosted 22 years ago! Now a lot can happen in 22 years so I not only had a different mind set... as in better, I also had a range of lotions and potions to help me through my health crisis. Not to mention the many angels both heavenly and earthly that helped me recover.
I am taking the enforced leisure... and pain... as a gift. It was an early Christmas present and one that will have long lasting effects.
So this blog is a thank you to all ... to the universe and its multitude of gifts.
Grazie mille tutti! con affetto...