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#ShareMondays2020 – Hurting

Hurting

#ShareMondays2020 – Hurting

My image this week was inspired by my husband’s thoughts on the layout of last Monday’s image. He said it really reminded him of an album cover by the band Tears For Fears. Perhaps you remember it? It’s called The Hurting. A true masterpiece of musical commentary on social issues. I was really struck by how relevant this album still is. Mad World could definitely be an anthem for current times.

As I did previously with song titles from the late, great David Bowie, I have taken the titles from this album and reworked them into a “new” poem. Words from the past, still powerful in the present. (original lyrics by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

Hurting

Are we broken?
The children suffer
In this
Mad world.
Change.
Memories fade
Since the
Start of the breakdown.
I am
The prisoner.
Watch me bleed
In my pale shelter.
The conflict
In my mind,
Ideas as opiates
To keep away from
The idea of opiates.
I won’t become a
Wino even though
I’m hurting.
We are
The hurting.
We are broken
But it will
Change.

The title song, The Hurting, has resonated with me for many years. It was released in 1983, not long before I became the victim of serious bullying at school. It carried on for many years and has affected me throughout my life. The mental scars are worse than the physical.

Could you understand a child
When he cries in pain?
Could you give him all he needs
Or do you feel the same?

(Verse 2: Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

I was seriously ill with Crohn’s disease for a number of years before finally being diagnosed in 1995. Recurrent bouts of diarrhoea, weight loss, fatigue, onset of asthma, malnourishment and rectal bleeding. Every doctor had their own theory and most of them were really just accusations of wrongdoing on my part. Making it up to get out of school, drugs, misuse of laxatives leading to anorexia, more drug abuse accusations (you do art don’t you?), munchausen’s syndrome, hypochondria. Many of these are genuine health conditions suffered by people, they do actually need treating, but the then medical profession used these words and phrases as if this was some kind of criminal activity. Diagnosis for IBD has improved over the years, but I’m sorry to say that many young people are still being stigmatised, marginalised and misdiagnosed.

All along
You’ve been told you’re wrong
When you felt it right
And you’re left to fight
The hurting

(Pre-Chorus 2: Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

And here we are now, 2020. I’ve faced many hurts in the intervening years. Some people might be forgiven for thinking that the greatest of these would have been my abdominal surgeries. Actually, the two most painful things were losing my ability to paint and being unable to have my own children. I think most of us are hurting at the moment. Whether through isolation, fear, grief, anxiety, financial instability, separation, pressure, work stress, trauma or perhaps a combination of these. Now, perhaps more than at any other time in our lives, we need to acknowledge these feelings, be kind to ourselves and seek help if we need it – Every Mind MattersSamaritansMind

Is it an horrific dream?
Am I sinking fast?
Could a person be so mean
As to laugh and laugh

On my own
Could you ease my load?
Could you see my pain?
Could you please explain
The hurting

(Verse 1: Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith)

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ShareMondays2018 – The Deep Shadows

Shadows On The Wall

ShareMondays2018 – The Deep Shadows

I went to the Tower Of London last Wednesday, to witness the commemorative sound and light display, Beyond The Deepening Shadows: The Tower Remembers by Designer Tom Piper and Sound Artist Mira Calix. Yeoman Warders, members of the armed forces and a team of volunteers proceeded to light the installation, gradually creating a circle of light, radiating out from the Tower as a symbol of remembrance.

Lighting The Torches It was so evocative, eerily beautiful and a thought provoking tribute to those who fought and died during the First World War. With an estimated 40,000 visitors watching on Wednesday evening, I felt lucky to have a view and was delighted to be able capture some images, so that I could portray the emotional impact that this event has had on me.

Deepening ShadowsAs the Yeoman Warders directed the many volunteers to their areas, I couldn’t help but think of prisoners of war, paraded in line, heads hung low, their steps measured and cautious. Under spotlight and the wavering flames of the torches, shadows appeared on the Tower wall. They could have been the shadows of lost soldiers. Wilfred Owen’s poem Dulce et Decorum est came straight to mind:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Shadows of RemembranceI felt like I was looking down into those dreadful trenches, transported into the past and standing witness to the extraordinary sacrifice of so many. The music was hauntingly beautiful, an extra dimension to this evolving installation. You can download it free HERE to hear the words of war poet Mary Borden’s Sonnets to a Soldier in this specially commissioned piece of choral music.

The Deepening Shadows Of The TowerSet against the backdrop of the Tower with it’s own history as a palace, a fortress, a prison, a museum, with the walls covered in so much of the symbolism associated with wartime, this was a stark reminder of the tragedy of war. I want to say a personal thank you to the Historic Royal Palaces, the Tower Of London and all those involved in the production from it’s conception through to the final note, the extinguishing of the last flame. I was moved to tears.

Bugler

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A Blue For Lou

A Blue For Lou

This was the first common blue butterfly that I found this season. Late and few in numbers! It’s a worrying year for many of our insects after the late wintry weather. To make matters worse grassland, verges, parks and gardens are being cut back far too early and too frequently. There’s absolutely no need for this cutting, there’s a very important need for grasses and wildflowers. My dear friend Lou always understood the importance of letting the grasses grow and flowers bloom. The little garden that I shared with her as her lodger was a haven for wildlife. Dear Lou was terrified of frogs though, which were numerous around the garden pond! Her cat, Smudge, regularly brought frogs into the house as a gift 😂 I often came to the rescue after one of these presentations, rescuing Lou, that is, from the poor little amphibians! I still miss Lou so much but, as ever, she is still with me in my heart and memories. She used to laugh at me chasing butterflies around! She would be very amused watching me over here in Kos chasing blues and coppers around the ancient ruins. She loved coming to the Greek Islands herself so I always feel close to her here. Today is her birthday and my little blue is dedicated to her life, spirit, energy and compassion. In many cultures around the world butterflies, particularly blues, are revered as the returning spirit of a departed loved one. Save butterflies and save souls 💙

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Flowers For Lou

Peony

Flowers For Lou

I usually keep Sundays silent but today would have been my dear friend, Lou’s forty fifth birthday. I like to celebrate her life and the time I had with her, as my friend and my housemate, with flowers! This year I have some beautiful peonies to share and a little quote about the etymology of their name:

The Etymological Meaning Of The Peony Flower

The Peony is best known by its scientific name, Paeonia. This is only the name of the genus – individual varieties of Peony feature different individual Latin names. The Peony takes its name from the mythological Greek character Paeon, who studied with the god of medicine known as Asclepius. Zeus had to transform the student into a beautiful flower when he showed more promise than his teacher and incurred his wrath.

Peonies originate from China, as do so many of our favourite blooms. The translation, from the Chinese names this flower “most beautiful”. It really is and so was Lou, especially when she laughed.

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Blue Monday: Rest In Peace Sally

Blue Tit and Blue Skies

Blue Monday: Rest In Peace Sally

I’ve been posting blue images for over two years now, linking them to the Blue Monday theme run by Smiling Sally on blogspot. Last Tuesday she passed away after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure. Although I knew that she had recently had a spell in hospital, the news still came as a huge shock. I have never met Sally and we were very different people in many ways, but I liked her very much! She was a retired teacher, married for over fifty years with a close bond to her family. Many of her posts where about her husband, children, grandchildren or her new great-grandson. They meant they world to her and my thoughts are with them all at this sad time.

Sally always left me such lovely comments on my posts. She was amazed at how many natural blues I found in flowers, birds, butterflies and more! Her meme for the post was of the Blue Jay, a wonderful natural blue bird of the USA. I’d love to see them in the wild one day. She always loved seeing my photos of our Blue Tits from the UK and so this is what I choose to share with you all today, in remembrance of Sally. I will continue to post a Blue Monday every week to continue Sally’s wish to spread some joy and happiness around the world at the start of the week with her favourite colour.

Thank you, Sally, for all your support and for helping me find happiness on a Monday instead of feeling the unwanted blues! These galleries contain just a few of my Happy Blue Monday images.
Smiling Sally

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In Loving Memory Of Lou

Sunset From Zia

In Loving Memory Of Lou

Golden memories
Aglow with the warmth of the
Love still felt for you

A sunset frozen
In time, forever shining
On those left behind

The sun can never
Set on our friendship, dear friend
You live in our hearts

Louise Wood-Roe, my friend and once housemate, would have been 44 today. The memory of her is everywhere and in everything! This sunset image was taken in Kos a week before my wedding. She was with me, a bridesmaid smiling down on us with the warmth and love of the sun that she had always worshipped herself.

As has become my tradition, I remember Lou in flowers every year and I know that she would have delighted in these blooms that I saw in sunny Hyde Park, London, yesterday. I’m sure she would have pulled up a deckchair, poured the Pimms and soaked up the summer vibes.

Black And White Challenge: Day 1 – Free Spirit

Doves

Black And White Challenge: Day 1 – Free Spirit

Amy from The World Is A Book invited me to join the five-day Black & White Challenge. Amy is one of my most ardent supporters and has provided me with so much encouragement during my blogging history! Taking on this challenge is my way of thanking her for all her input, links, comments and shares. She has a lovely blog of her own filled with images and stories of nature, travel, gardens and walks. Please do visit her if you have not already; you’ll be drawn in by her relaxed writing style and the wide range of photographic styles and subjects!

I don’t often process my bird images into monochrome so I’ve been out looking for suitable subjects to share with you. I spotted these doves in the branches overhanging the lake at Claremont Gardens a few days ago, and the light was just perfect for a monochrome conversion! I’m not challenging anyone else today, rather I would ask you, my readers, if you would like to take part?

I wasn’t planning on starting with this image, but after the very sad news today of the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, I decided that I would like to make this my photographic tribute, in remembrance of one of the greatest writers of our time, perhaps of all times! Not only has he written so many inspirational books, including The Discworld novels, but in his last years he has campaigned relentlessly for dementia patients and those with terminal illness who wish for the right to choose when they die. The documentaries he made on this subject were both emotive and enlightening. The rare form of Alzheimer’s that he was diagnosed with must have been incredibly frustrating for someone of such a keen mind and quick humour. May his spirit fly free and his literary legacy inspire generations of writers to come.

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Lilies For Lou

Lilies For Lou

Every year I remember my friend and former housemate, Lou, with flowers for her birthday. I saw these wonderful burgundy lilies at RHS Wisley Gardens on Sunday and instantly thought of her! Lilies were another of Lou’s favourites and she had a number of them growing in the garden. Lou just loved this time of year for the abundance of flowers. She may be lost to us but she’s not really gone from this world or our lives.

She’s by my side when I’m in the gardens, if I see a black and white cat, when the tennis is on, when I see a yacht, watching the rugby, drinking pimms or rosé, when I see one of her favourite films, listening to 80’s rock music, eating tiramisu, loading the dishwasher (she never could get it right!), if I see a frog (she was terrified of them but Smudge, the cat, used to bring them in as gifts for her) and whenever I pick up the car keys! I was always loosing my keys so Lou brought me a Nemo key ring from Euro Disney. Now I’m always Finding Nemo 😉

Lou on the left and me on the right

Lou is always in my heart and on my mind. I have so many wonderful memories of a very special person!