A bit of light relief …

I am still struggling over the DBT skills course. I’ve spent so many hours researching different aspects of the therapy, the doctor who came up with the idea, and about borderline personality disorder and autism. And still very little makes much sense. My biggest problem, apart from believing that DBT is controversial as a treatment for BPD and totally inappropriate as a treatment for those with autism, is that my scant research is revealing a mismatch of ‘facts’ in the story of the psychologist.

So on this Sunday I shall brighten my evening with a photograph of a ewe and lamb that I saw in the Lake District a few years ago.

And so to bed … as Samuel Pepys would have written. Except I’ve still got some homework to do. Bother and blast! Or words to that effect.

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After Storm Dennis come the daffodils

Our daffodils were ready to emerge into a brave new world only to be confronted by storm Ciara, followed closely by Dennis.
They decided they were fed up waiting and came out anyway. A few lost their heads, but most are fit and well and basking in today’s sunshine.

While photographing the daffodils a couple of our feathered residents decided to check out the action.

This chap was a bit far away for a clear shot
but I still think he looks splendid.

The cherry blossom isn’t going to let a few windy days stop it either.

Lastly, the heathers are holding their own with no sign of being intimidated.

To my delight the wildlife just gets on with ‘life in the wild’. The grass is sodden; squelchy underfoot, with so much surface water that it rises above my garden boots as I walk. There are large pools in the flower beds, and still the plants are determined to welcome the new Season.
Birds are calling to each other, making the most of the longer, brighter days, and foraging for emerging food supplies.

What’s happening with the wildlife in your area? Do you have resident birds, or are you close to parkland? Have they been affected by the dreadful storms recently? With such devastation around I take pleasure and reassurance in the wonder of wildlife.

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Uncertain Industry: a view

I love photography and I love capturing images of industry. Then turning them on their head. Icons of industry and mechanisation are as beautiful and fascinating as the landscape they are in, but for me it is the blending that holds more interest.
Whenever we visit Rugby I look forward to the moment when the cement works comes into view, sometimes against a backdrop of sullen grey clouds, other times against a flaming sunset.

Rugby Cement Works rising from uncertainty.

Do you enjoy industrial landscapes, icons of mechanisation? Do you have favourites? If you do, please add them in the comments box.
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In Transit: a love poem

Alone this night
airport near deserted,
waiting, waiting
the announcement to board.
Bored? No. Mind still working.

The tannoy pings -
paging Awatarna –
unknown name in an unknown voice
underlines I am a
foreigner here.

Transitory
hours killed in unknown shops
with reassuring names;

but I am misplaced,
in transit
between worlds that shape me -
amorphous;

this Valentine night
lost
without my valentine.

I wrote this – or the original version of it – some years ago when I was in transit between Australia and Britain. I was heading home and this describes my evening, right down to the name over the tannoy.

Have you spent Valentine away from your loved one, caught in a situation you couldn’t avoid? Please share your thoughts on how you felt.
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Happy Valentine.

Bringing in the romance

Just to set the tone for Valentine Day here are a few books and films that I have loved over the years.

For those who love nothing more than to snuggle up with a great story:

  • The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald: obsessive, and unrequited, love
  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte: love through trauma, toward eventual fulfilment
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez: exploration into the extremes of idealised love
  • The Life and Loves of a She Devil, Fay Weldon: revengeful, merciless love
  • The Gift of the Magi, O Henry: short story of devoted, unconditional love

Great romantic films spanning the last eight decades:

  • Now Voyager, Bette Davis and Paul Henreid, 1942
  • The African Queen, Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, 1951
  • Splendour in the Grass, Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty, 1961
  • The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, 1973
  • When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal, 1989
  • Ghost, Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, 1990
  • Groundhog Day, Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, 1993
  • There’s Something About Mary, Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller, 1998
  • It’s Complicated, Meryl Streep and Steve Martin, 2009
  • Just Go with It, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, 2011

These are only a handful of titles out of hundreds. I am sure you will have dozens more that you might like to add to my list.
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Quarantine: a word hitting the headlines at the moment

Quarantine is not a word that we want to hear as it usually denotes a situation that is, albeit temporary, a medical emergency with an uncertain future. Widespread diseases that have given rise to decisions that quarantine is the only option have occurred throughout history.

It is generally recognised as a given period of time when an individual, or group of people, who have – or may have – a highly contagious disease are isolated from others in order to contain the spread of the disease. There are so many variables that even the ‘experts’ may be caught off guard by a new strain or new disease.

One of the most famous cases of voluntary quarantine was in the Derbyshire village of Eyam in England. The plague of 1665 was carried from London to this rural community and in order to prevent its further spread the villagers made the extraordinarily courageous decision to isolate themselves from the outside world.

Eyam Church where Rev Mompesson convinced his parishioners to isolate themselves within the village.
Mompesson’s Well where villagers left money to pay for the goods that people from neighbouring villages brought.
What is the history of the word?

In an eleven-year period in the middle of the fourteenth century the estimated death toll from the Black Death was 30% of Europe’s population and a considerable percentage of Asia’s. Such was the fear of the plague and related diseases catching hold again that a formal period of isolation was practised. Records in Dubrovnik dating from 1377 state that a 30-day period (a trentine) was to be spent outside the city before entry was permitted.

Seventy years later this was extended to forty days and this proved to be much more effective. It has since been found that the time-span for the bubonic plague to cause death is 37 days and this extended period of isolation resulted in the health of merchants and crew from supply ships being much more successfully determined.
The term for forty days in an Italian dialect of the time was ‘quaranta giorni’ and from this originated our word quarantine.

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