The Charioteer

Life throws, and sometimes hurls challenges and obstacles at us as we try to steer our lives in this direction and that direction. We do not always know where we are going, and often feel directionless at times, with no real destination in mind or even planned for. Somehow, we manage to navigate our way (goodness knows how when our map reading skills are non-existent), and end up getting from A to B with few diversions and pitstops along the way. That’s how it is for some people but maybe not for most people, and definitely not for me!  Why it is like that I cannot say? Still trying to work things out as I go. At other times most likely, and more often than not, we run around in continuous circles, constantly covering the same old ground, lost and frustrated at why we have no clue to where we truly want to go. We wonder why we end up stuck in the same old place over and over, stumbling and bumbling over bumps, humps and stumps in the rubbly road of repetition? Repeating the same old patterns that got us stuck in the first place. What is wrong with us that we become like hamsters on a wheel going round and round, round and round, until we become quite dizzy and disheartened with the monotony of appearing to be on the move? In reality we are still in the same place that we started when we first got on the wheel. We are really in need of a wakeup call, and a proverbial kick, up where the sun does not shine! We need to snap out of our self-imposed place of ‘stuckness’ (not a real word yet but it could be one day).

The truth is, we are all in control if we did but know it or more aptly believe it to be so. We are Charioteers in our own lives, holding the reins with the power to choose going this way or that way? That way or this? We can alter the way we go, how we go and where we go at any given time. We can choose left or right or straight ahead, even backwards if that is what we want, though if we go backwards, we are not going forwards, so maybe we don’t want to go backwards. It’s all about giving a little here and there, taking up the reins and pulling back when necessary, and even letting go if need be. I am of course talking metaphorically here, and not suggesting you drive a real Chariot and let go, or maybe even then you could just put your trust in the horses and let them lead the way. Horses probably have more sense than us when it comes to trusting their instincts. We do have a tendency to dither, duck, dive, distract and divert off course. The point is that we can keep driving our chariot on that circle or we can come off the track and take a chance and dare to do things differently. Let’s look inside the circle, outside the circle and see what else there is within and beyond, for there is much to see if we open our eyes. The circle is a wonderful symbol as it reminds as that life is indeed circular by design but, and this is a BIG BUT! We need to step outside the circle from time to time and see what is beyond our comfort zone for outside the circle we may just find what we have been looking for all along.

Be daring! Just do it! Stay safe! Stay well!

Blessed be now and always!

Liola

© Liola Lee 2020

 

Bake, Cakes and Lockdown…

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I would have liked to say that Lockdown lingers but linger would, it would be fair to say, be the incorrect word to employ or should I say utilise. Either way, it is a given to Writers or those of us like me (Wannabe Writers) that words need to work on the page, blog or speech where they appear, whether written or spoken out loud, and do their magic as powerfully, precisely and with as much punch as possible.  I am pretty certain or as sure as I can be that, at least for now that most of us are far from reluctant to see lockdown come to an end so ‘linger’ is not appropriate.  For how long lockdown continues remains to be seen, by us the masses, and decided by those in the know who compared to the masses ‘Us’ are the few.  It is a certainty, I think, that come to an end it will but what will life be like on the other side of this crisis that has unceremoniously thrown us all together, pretty much on the same side as it were.

People have been forced to take life at a slower pace (well, maybe apart from the runners who are still running here, there and everywhere weaving in and out of those of us who are wandering along aimlessly not in any hurry or not aimlessly but still in no hurry, while keeping an eye on our social distancing of course). We have all or maybe most of us, not really had much choice but to slow down and become snails in a smaller world, occupying our shells as best as we can.

Listening a little to the radio yesterday, I heard that no one can buy any flour, eggs, or other home baking items. The day before when I took over from my sister to care for our mum (something we do on a rotation system as she is a vulnerable person), my sister mentioned that she had been unable to purchase plain flour. To check it out I went to the shop to see if I could find any to buy for her. I joined the queue for half an hour or so, which was fine as the sun was shining and the weather undeniably warm. We British are experts at queueing. My turn to enter the store came round quickly enough I guess. My husband has queued  for much longer at times in the rain, so I am not complaining. Paying attention to the arrows on the floor, and the lines denoting how much distance to maintain, I eventually got to the home baking aisle. Unfortunately, just as my sister and the radio had said, the shelves were bare. Not a packet of flour to be seen nor even a single egg nor much else in fact. Strangely enough, the bread shelves in the neighbouring aisle were brimming and plenty to be had if you opted for shop bought.

So I ask, as possibly do numerous others ‘Where has all the flour gone?’

In those early weeks of lockdown, not really so long ago in the grand scheme of things if you think about it (though it seems like a lifetime ago now as we head towards the middle of the year); yes, in those weeks back towards the beginning of this horrendous crisis it was the toilet rolls, the cleaning products and the pasta that were flying fast off the shelves. Toilet roll for the first time ever was a newsworthy item. We were more concerned with the wiping of our derriere than we were with food. Though of course that did not last. It was not long before all the fruit and veg were being cleared too! For a while obtaining toilet roll continued to be a bone of contention. How times change from one moment to the next.

Things have calmed down now, and the panic buying during the earlier part of this ‘pig’ of a pandemic (I like Pigs and mean no disrespect to these omnivorous animals) has largely lost the momentum it had earlier on. So now, we can wipe our backsides, eat Italian and get our five a day if we so choose.

But I repeat, ‘Where has all the flour gone?’

It sounds a bit like the line of a song but is n’t yet, unless someone like the fabulously funny Matt Lucas gets all creative and  composes a follow up to ‘Thank You Baked Potato’, which if you have not heard it look it up as it is truly funny, while at the same time raising money for our wonderful NHS and encouraging thorough hand hygiene. Getting back to the flour; it seems everyone has suddenly become a baker, cake maker and King or Queen of the kitchen. Everyone wants to be a Mary Berry, a Jamie Oliver or a Nigella Lawson. This fascination with food is not new. Food is a big deal! You only have to scroll through social networking platforms to see how popular a topic it is, and with everyone being confined under lockdown people are busying themselves in the kitchen making all manner of wonderfully delectable culinary delights. In the main, cakes and home made bread seem to be the order of the day. So at least now we know where all the flour has gone. The British and not British public (we live in a culturally diverse society) have donned their aprons and are getting creative in the kitchen. When all is said and done, which it nearly is as I need to get something to eat as all this talk of cakes is making me hungry; people slowing down, spending time baking, making, mending, decorating and creating and spending quality time with their families is a good thing.

I wonder what life will be like after the lockdown, the social distancing, the queueing, food shortages and restrictions? I wonder if we will learn the lessons that are presenting themselves in this larger than life scenario? Will we remember to be grateful for the small things, the big things and of course each other? Will we continue to be good neighbours, better parents, and better all round humans beings after all this becomes just a memory?

I hope so! Stay well, stay safe and just for now continue to stay home and if you are out and about, in the words of Sting (Popstar for those who are not familiar), ‘Don’t stand so close to me’ , not yet anyway.

Happy baking!

Be blessed!

© Liola Lee 2020

Just writing away a bit of time this afternoon. As I sat at my keyboard, I did not really know what I was going to write, if anything (that happens sometimes…alot), so just went with whatever came to mind. It’s certainly no masterpiece but it at least gets my writing muscle exercising a little, and my brain into gear. The image is of my birthday cake last year  captured on my iPhone (made for me by my lovely talented friend Elaine). This time last year we were travelling back from beautiful Somerset in the West Country and stopped by my friend’s house in the lovely village of Croscombe. We were treated to a delicious lunch and then I was presented with this lovely and truly delicious work of art.

 

 

My Treasures…

IMG_8213Our treasures are right in front of us! Sometimes we forget! Sometimes out of sight is out of mind!

This afternoon or rather today, pondering on what to do next, I decided to search for my balance/pilates balls. I have two; a pink one and a blue one. I know they are here somewhere as no one would have thrown them out as there was nothing wrong with them. I decided it would be good to do some exercises while we are on lockdown to get me fit for horse riding once things return to some kind of ‘normal’ whatever normal is.  I recalled that my husband had recently said that he thought they (the gym balls) may be in his wardrobe put away in a deflated state when we first moved here. He believed that  they may be in a couple of boxes that have been tucked away in said wardrobe this past six and a bit years. I asked my husband if he could please get the boxes out of the cupboard so that we could see if the balls were there. He huffed and puffed a little as it was infringing a little on his banjo playing time (he has recently acquired a banjo, which is in addition to his two or is it three guitars and a keyboard),  or was it his Facebook banter that I was intruding upon? I said, of course you do not need to worry, I could just order a new one online. On that remark he said, let’s look for them. It’s funny how when you talk about purchasing something new online, mountains can be moved (here I liken my husband to a mountain lol) He went to the wardrobe and started to take things out so that we could get to the boxes wherein may be my gym balls or maybe not.

Once the boxes were out and the lids off, it was clear that the balls were not there. Now though, I had lost interest in searching for the gym balls that had initiated the search. In the boxes was something so much better than a piece of exercise equipment. Here in these two plastic  boxes were what I call my treasures. There were forgotten photographs, birthday cards, wedding cards, the children’s school reports plus some of my school reports. There was a champagne cork with an old sixpence in it with the date of my younger son’s date of birth written around the cork to mark his arrival in the world (my son was born in 1985 so we were in decimal currency but we used an old six pence because it seemed more poignant). There was the blue garter and little fake laced gloves (more knitted rather than real lace really but lacy all the same) worn on my wedding day,  which were once an ivory cream colour but now were tinged yellow with age, like something right out of Miss Havisham’s house in Great Expectations.. There were the tiny hospital labels that were from the children when they were new borns (were they really once that tiny?).

What else was there?

There were my swimming certificates and medals, and even my adult ballet Bronze certificate where I was highly commended. Yes, I did ballet as an adult for a short time, when my son decided he wanted to dance before deciding to switch to football at a later date (my son that is. I never did football apart from write a poem about it and an article on women’s football). Ah, then there was my karate certificate, and my daughter;’s karate certificate. I had done karate classes with my daughter when she had a fancy to try her hand at being the karate kid. We stopped shortly after we got our yellow belt as they decided to split the children and adults into separate classes, and so my daughter decided on no more karate as she did not want to do classes without me by her side. There were a couple of theatre programmes from my time spent at Bromley Little Theatre where I tried my hand at acting, including a lovely review on a role I played in a play called Prin.

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I played the part of a student named Melanie Kite. Something I had pretty much forgotten about until this afternoon when I came across the programme and review.

Yes, lots of happy memories. Again, just something else to try. It was fun while it lasted, even though just for a short time.

There’s more.

There were stories, journals, drawings and letters written to me by my then little ones who are all now grown up. Every time I picked something up out of the box, I could see clearly a moment in time captured and crafted with so much love and detail. It was a truly delightful journey down memory lane. Quite fitting really, as I come towards another birthday on 5th May, which incidentally is also my 36th wedding anniversary. Oh, and also there in this wonderful treasure trove, was a menu written by my husband which recorded one of our early anniversary meals in the years when we could not afford to go out. He is creating a menu for Tuesday as we will be celebrating our anniversary in doors during lockdown, and I have requested that he write it down just as he did back then.

It was a lovely way to spend a few hours, remembering, smiling, laughing and crying (happy tears).

And, now I have put my treasures away until the next time.

Stay well! Stay safe!

Blessed be!

Liola

© Liola Lee 2020

First image above is of a card drawn by my daughter when she was at junior school. The card open to read ‘To Mummy, love from Sammy’ with lots and lots of kisses.

 

Touching base…

Just wanted to touch base with you beautiful creative human beings out there in the blogosphere. Not been on here too much just lately as preoccupied with stuff and sometimes nonsense. I have a tendency to be over sensitive, and over think and over analyse things. That said, apparently those things which we worry about often never come to fruition but just now I like to ere on the side of caution. We are in un-chartered territory, for our generation or rather for the last few generations.

I truly hope that you are keeping well in these restrictive times of lockdown, self-isolation and shielding! Who would have ever believed that we could find ourselves in this unprecedented situation? I hope you are staying safe, and wish you and all your loved ones to be blessed and protected from this despicable and deadly virus that has come our way. I want it, as we all do to just go away and leave us alone! A tall order I know! I pray every night for that to happen (though I am not overtly religious but certainly believe in a power greater than us!)

The thing is, everything really does happen for a reason! I truly believe that! This virus has happened to teach us something! To teach all of us something! We are told that the traffic on our roads here in the UK is at a similar level to that of the 1950s. It has been wonderful driving on such quiet roads/motorways ( I have to drive down to look after my Mum who is a vulnerable person). I wish just now that I was in a traffic jam because then at least it would mean that things were more like the normal of a few months back.

Anyway, I do not want to dwell on the negatives of the situation that we find ourselves in. I just want to say hello to you; connect with you and wish you strength and all that is good!

Blessed be!

Liola

 

 

 

Happy Easter

IMG_6868Image captured by Liola Photographic Springtime c2014

Geese are wonderful birds that symbolise devotion, courage and loyalty.  Among other things, they are a reminder that in times of trouble we can rely on each other for help and protection. If a flock of Geese are in flight and one gets injured or shot down or ill and goes down, two will go down to protect and help it. These are birds that understand about connection and interdependence. Just now we realise as a human race under attack from this new Corona Virus that we are all in this together, and as such we must support and help each other, especially those who need our help!

I captured the image of this Gosling a few years back while out for a Springtime walk in a local park. There were actually a few Goslings. Looking forward to being able to go out  in the near future, shooting Geese with my trusty Canon. Something to look forward to!

Of course the Gosling (baby), is a beautiful symbol of new beginnings and rebirth and of course hope and the miracle that is Life.

I wish you all a Happy Easter! Stay well, stay healthy, stay home and help save lives!

Blessed be!

Liola ~ x ~