Saturday, March 25, 2006

More on Poetry and Song

I'm a firm believer in the power of the written word in the form of song lyrics and poetry when it comes to evoking powerful sentiments. This song means says much on many levels. It's a love song, it's a song of hope, but to me the following lines speak strongly on my 'take' on life with MS.....


"It's the heart afraid of breaking.
That never learns to dance."

....................................................

And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live."



It's called THE ROSE by Bette Midler and Amanda Broom and is from the film of that name about the life of the late Janis Joplin...................
Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger,
An endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower,
And you its only seed.

It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance.
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance.
It's the one who won't be taken,
Who cannot seem to give,
And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live.


When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

I'd like to add a special thanks to my friend Jan of Wisteria House for letting me use her wonderful photos.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Taste of Planet Paradise #1

WELSHCAKES

Ingredients

8 oz. self – raising flour
4 oz. margerine
3 oz. caster sugar
3 ozs. currants
pinch of mixed spice
2 tablespoons milk
large knob of lard or Cookeen

Method

Rub the margarine, flour, caster sugar & mixed spice together into a fine mixture.
Add the currants.
Add milk and knead into “dough”
Roll this out into a layer about 1cm thick.
Cut out into shapes using pastry cutter.


Dash out to the nearest cookware shop to buy a flat thick iron bakestone or griddle - not the ridged ones. After recovery from hernia operation dig out an old heavy bottomed frying pan or the like, to use instead.

Heat the bakestone on a moderate heat then add small knob of lard (puke!)
Place as many welshcakes as you can onto the cooking vessel and cook on either side for about 5 mins. Keep repeating this until all the dough is used or the legs are totally done for.

Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to cool.

Depends on the size of the pastry cutters this should make about 2 doz. I always double the amount and put some in the freezer for when uninvited guests pop in.


HEALTH WARNINGS: Do not eat if on The Best Bet Diet

Also keep some antacids or pantoprazole at the ready if anyone suffers heartburn or ulcers. Otherwise - enjoy!

GET STUFFED!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Out and about on Planet Paradise # 1


This is possibly one of my favourite places on Planet Paradise, only a 15 mins. drive from home. It is the Lower Lliw Valley Reservoir and there is a 3km walk around it. However for those who can walk further there is a tarmac path leading to the Upper Lliw Reservoir. This was taken in Autumn but we love to go during the spring as well when the leaves and buds are sprouting.


What captured my eye most in these was the reflection in the still water. That morning there was a stillness in the air which was almost palpable, broken only by the occasional baa-ing of grazing sheep and a woof of a dog from a distant farmyard; even the birdsong didn't interrupt upon the tranquility, if anything, it added to it.



This next photo was of trickle of water running down the hillside and cutting through the pathway almost like an uninvited guest but oh! what a wonderful sight was that of our guest! It gave us a thirst to drink of it's clean coldness.




The next takes us back to the beginning of our tour-a New Year's Eve lunchtime at Caswell Bay. The air was cold and clear, cutting like a diamond cuts through steel, although it didn't deter the odd surfer.



We had to laugh when we saw these ladies. "Is this the way to the wellie department in Harrod's?" I joked with my loved one. I felt like crying out- "Laydeez, you took the wrong turning on the M4! You're heading for the Bristol Channel, not Chanel No.5!"


And the following looks as if it's taken at twilight. Lighting can be deceptive during the short days of winter - this was 1p.m. in the afternoon. Brrrrr! Hope those wets suits did the trick, unless those surfers didn't actually get into the water. It's been known to happen frequently in Poser's Paradise!



This is of Mumbles Head taken from West Cross, Planet Paradise- not on New Year's Eve in this case, but on June 21st- the longest day.

Again - the longest day. but further along the Gower Pensinsula at Worm's Head. This is at high tide but during low tide it's possible to walk across a causeway to The Worm. Many a walker has been caught by the high tide and air-lifted from there.


Finally - dusk further west at Planet Paradise. This is of Porthgain in Pembrokeshire where a 17th Century smuggler's haunt , named 'The Sloop Inn' serves the best crab sandwiches, crab salads, dressed crab, undressed crab ...oh! and the best grilled sea bass served on top of a pattie of creamed potato mixed with spring onions drizzled in a light ginger sauce. Did I mention somewhere earlier that I love food? I'm the ulimate wannabee gastronome.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Laughter is the best Medicine

Quote:
‘The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.’
~ e. e. cummings



It’s believed that a good bout of laughter provides a safety valve which shuts off the flow of stress hormones which is triggered by our biological ‘fight or flight’ response when we feel stress, anger or hostility.

Unblocked, and in the absence of laughter, these stress hormones can weaken the immune system, increase the number of blood platelets (which can clog the arteries) and raise blood pressure.


When we laugh, natural killer cells which destroy tumours and viruses increase, along with Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T-cells (important for our immune system) and B-cells (which make disease-fighting antibodies). As well as lowering blood pressure, laughter increases oxygen in the blood, which also encourages healing.


I believe that laughter is a vital coping mechanism, which gives us a cathartic outlet for dealing with stress, humiliation, embarrassment, pain and suffering.Where else to go but here to find that laughter ………

Squiffy's House of Fun ~ Laughter for MS


Here is Squiffy himself on his completion of the 2005 Flora London Marathon, not that he was laughing at that very moment, but weeping with a mixture of exhaustion , happiness and a whole range of other emotions - I witnessed it all.

You can read his own account of it .....

HERE!

I have to admit to having tears of laughter running down my face at some of his worst jokes ever e.g.

Patient: Doc, everywhere I look I see frogs, rabbits, and kangaroos!
What’s wrongwith me?

Doctor: Don’t worry, it’s just a hoptical illusion.

I’ll just end with another quote…

‘Seven days without laughter makes one WEAK.’ ~ Anon.







Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Springtime in Planet Paradise



WELCOME TO GLYNCOLLEN WOODS








SUNLIGHT THROUGH THE TREES



TICK-TOCK the DANDELION CLOCK



CHERRY BLOSSOM TIME





VIBRANCY




BLUEBELLS




SPOT THE SQUIRREL



SQUIRREL NUTKIN




TOWARDS ABERAERON




ABERAERON


THREE CLIFFS - The Gower Peninsula.



TORPOINT - The Gower Peninsula



Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Introducing 'Us'.

‘Us’ are myself and my husband of nearly 29 yrs and friend of 33 yrs, though I would guess that having the wicked sense of humour which he has, he may dispute the term ‘friend’ . The term ‘partner in occasional disharmony’ is the term which he uses as we both share the same modem but not the same PC, metaphorically speaking. However to use another euphemism, we do indeed sing from the same hymnsheet most of the time.

An addition to ‘us’ arrived over 21 yrs ago in the form of a son, who now occasionally lives on Planet Paradise but mostly on Planet Zog as they do at that age.

The two men in my life are mostly my reason for living but often , because I’m a constant butt of their jokes, being the accident–prone Person with MS which I am, they are often the reason for me wanting to dash off into the sunset of another planet.

Of course, everyone who knows me would know that I speak in jest, so here they are....


I call head of the family, silently to myself, Simon Peter, because he is the rock upon which our small family unit is built. The light of our life and fruit of our loins is nick-named Stiff by his dad though search me if I know why - I guess it’s a father and son thing so I tread warily upon such territory. We women are unwelcome guests in such a place at certain times- maybe we women don't need to go there either?

And me? No need of another mugshot


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Things I enjoy # 3 - Food

I love food- don't we all? In saying that, I don't necessarily mean that I love eating- of course I do, but I love to cook; I love to cook for others when my revolting and rebellious hands listen to what my de-myelinated brain tell them.I find that cooking, when not under the duress of scheduled mealtimes , a very therapeutic thing to do.

For example, if I'm upset and angry there ensues a lot of chopping and dicing of vegetables(sometimes of fingers as well); if I'm feeling calm , there's no better feeling than rubbing flour and margerine together and feeling the lightness drift ethereally through my fingertips like unexpected snowfall in springtime. It can be a very soulful experience.

This book is a compilation of my own Recipes - the name says it all. It was written by me with full colour photos by myself (except for the cover) and all proceeds from its sale go to

MSRC


It costs a mere £5.50 on request from their office or from myself


Email me!


It is no regular cookbook as it contains not just Recipes but fun and jokes from the online community at
MSRC therefore I consider it a team effort.

Please check back occasionally for more original Recipes from me in this post.

Things I enjoy #2 - Poetry

I love the written word. I love language. My first language is Welsh , however I speak little of it these days as not many of my friends understand it it. Welsh poetry is simply divine- if I posted any here then no-one would understand.

I love English Poetry just as much and even more when I hear it 'performed' or read 'live'. This is one of my favourites with accompanying picture, not that it is a wild flower but it just seems to fit in with these words by William Blake from his 'Auguries of Innocence'.


"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.


Things I enjoy #1 - Photography

Planet Paradise has some spectacular scenery and one of the things (only one of the things) I enjoy, is taking photographs of it to show my friends around the world. This was taken just yesterday- snow in March on Planet Paradise? almost unheard of, but here is the proof.


THE BRECON BEACONS MOUNTAIN CENTRE




AT STOREY ARMS


Breughel-esque or what???