This is a poem, or at least an attempt at poetry, in response to this weeks Trifecta Challenge. The aim is to write between 33 and 333 words based on the word survive using its third definition:    to continue to function or prosper despite : withstand <they survived many hardships>

Here goes….


Stuff it! That’s what I do. 

I continue to function

Or prosper despite

The cruelness inflicted by you.

We, my family, withstand

After so many years

Being forced to resist

The hardships and suffering you spew.

Four past generations declined,

Untimely deaths far too soon…

I continue to function, prosper despite

This cancer that’s come to me too.

Your hardships we take in our stride,

Mustered our strength

To pull through

I shalln’t just survive, I will thrive.



New Year’s Honours

Today I’m honoured.  Not with an OBE or MBE but with something much more special… the Liebster Award thanks to Nick!

Liebster Award

To find out more about Nick visit his thoughts and no-nonsense straight talking on current events, work and family.   All I can say is thank you Nick, you made my day after a darned, dastardly and altogether dodgy year.

The Liebster leaves me in no doubt that 2013 will get better every day… but before I skip over the hills into a beautiful new dawn I have responsibilities to fulfil and “Dutiful” is my middle name.  So to work:

  • Post 11 random things about myself
  • Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated me
  • Pose 11 new questions to other bloggers (link to let them know)

11 Random Things About Me

  • I’m teaching myself Gaelic for fun in 2013.
  • I’m fascinated by mythology.
  • My eyelashes are growing back… I have more than 3 on each eye now  ¦-)
  • Sparkling mango juice is my new vice.
  • I’m already way too excited about seeing Muse live with my son in May.
  • I’d like to learn to play Bassoon.
  • I’m part of B4Peace.
  • In 2012 I grew an orchid past its flowering season. I’ve never managed it before.
  • I love sci-fi.
  • I can’t wait to eat fresh berries again, every day.
  • Likewise for pate on toast but no more than once a fortnight!

Answer 11 Questions Asked by Nick

1. What was the last thing that made you cry?  
A card my Dad gave me before chemo on 28th December. He has a way of 
saying things that reach straight into my heart.

2. If you had a super power, would you share it with anyone? 
Yes, those who are good, kind and decent. 

3. If you could talk to anyone alive or dead, famous or not who 
would it  be?  Kathleen Lonsdale.

4. Would you rather go back in time or travel to the future? 
Travel to the  future hoping we have our act together by 3013!

5. If the person you loved was dying and the only way you 
could save them was to press a button that would kill thousands
of people you've never met before, would you do it?   
I couldn’t kill others and my loved ones wouldn’t want me to. 
We’ll find each other again in the next life.

6. Would you rather 10 minutes of love or 10 minutes of lust? 
As a chemo chick I don’t look so hot these days… 
I sizzle half the night but it's all down to chemical chaos! 
So love it is. 

7. How many fingers am I holding up right now? As many as you like.

8. If you could change the topic of your blog what would you 
change it to?  Confounding Confusion, Chaos & Coincidence.

9.  What's the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?  
Personality....  looking great on the outside can't disguise 
a rotten inside.

10. Dogs or Cats?  Cats

11. What's the last thing you regretted doing? Being unable to help 
my son when he ripped his ankle tendons and ended up in A&E

Pose 11 questions for new nominees:

1. Sweet or savoury?
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
3. Beach or Mountains?
4. Do you have a middle name?
5. Are you superstitious?
6. When was the best year of your life so far?
7. Have you ever played chess?
8. What was your funniest experience in 2012?
9. Who is your all-time greatest movie hero?
10. What news headline would you most like to see this year?
11. Where would you like to be on New Year’s Day 2014?


The Better Man Project  
The Winter Bites my Bones
In focus 
Say it once 
Men will pause 
Overcoming depression 


Peace be with you today and all days

A post inspired by Kozo and B4Peace.

Peace, or being at peace, has not always come easily for me. As a shy child I lived in a world where only those closest to me felt ‘safe’ to be with thus much of my time was spent (happily) alone in books, with nature or drawing and painting. As a teenager the harsh realities of life threatened to overwhelm me as my conscience expanded beyond my own back yard. I saw the brilliance and brutality of our world; seeing other’s pain, being unable to make it stop, has always pained me a great deal.

Whilst some might consider it a curse, now in what I hope is the middle of my life I consider this empathic nature a blessing. It’s a gift that makes kindness of paramount importance in my thoughts and deeds and by choice, because all conscious behaviour is a choice, I practice the everyday art of small kindnesses.

Small kindnesses are just that; tiny inauspicious acts that pass by largely unnoticed. The beauty is they don’t have to be noticed; their magic is subtle, quietly slipping into the recipients heart or soul when the work of the day is done. I choose to extend small kindnesses to animals and nature too, after all we wouldn’t be able to survive here without them. Some might argue what’s the point, I believe it makes a difference and that’s what I care about. Making a positive difference.

To stimulate the taste buds here are a few recipes for small kindnesses,  everyday things I like to do to brighten and lighten other’s days. They bring peace to my heart and help create harmony for those around me.

Give way: traffic in most of our cities is horrendous and driving can prove extremely stressful. It’s frustrating to be stuck in queues, unable to exit junctions or park. But we’re all stuck in the same queue and if we carry on pigheadedly it just gets bigger and bigger. When I’m crawling along at less than 2mph and see someone who wants to pull out, park or make a turn, I give way. It takes a few seconds, it doesn’t make my journey any slower and it sets the other person on their way. Small, simple, easy. I might receive a grateful smile or look of relief and that in itself makes giving way worthwhile. If you don’t drive try giving way on the side-walk or the subway, it has benefits there too.

Yield Sign

Feed the birds: I live in a rural area where there are many small birds. Most only live for around one year. In bad weather years like 2012 bird populations can be significantly impacted. Some may think so what, how does that matter to me? It matters for many reasons including the integrity of the food chain – a food chain that ultimately leads all the way to us. Many plants rely on birds for pollination, dispersion of seeds or protection from pests. Feed the birds and we help feed ourselves. They’re also pretty and it’s great to see them bring awkward, hungry fledglings to the garden in Spring knowing that I’ve lent a hand to a new generation. Small, simple, no real effort at all.

Superb fairy wrens mark 2


Money fairy: a while ago I noticed certain of my friends always paid for everything – drinks, food, taxis etc if a group of us went out. Its generosity beyond measure but my friends aren’t made of money and I was brought up to pay my way.  Some of these folks are very tenacious, refusing to let me or others contribute. So I become the money fairy. The money fair is slightly sneaky but wholly well-intentioned. She makes it possible to share the cost by slipping cash into her friends coat pockets, wallets or purses then exclaims surprise if they discover some extra notes and declare  ‘Oh, I wonder how that got there?’ Another money fairy favourite is to book a venue and pay in advance so there’s no bill to pick up at the end. I love my friends very much and its important to me not to take advantage. The good money fairy aims to give, not just receive…. for want of a better term she could be called a reverse-pick-pocket!

Good manners cost nothing: Two little words, please and thank you. I say them for the tiniest things. I probably drive some of the people I know mad because I can say them ten times in two sentences and they’re not just words, I say them with meaning and sentiment. At home, in shops, the hospital or out on the street I’ll be there relentlessly saying please and thank you for anything and everything I request or am grateful for. You brought me a cup of tea – thank you. I’d like orange juice please. Thank you, keep the change. Will you help me understand please? Thank you for looking after me, loving me, being my friend…..

Gratitude Journal

Give it away:

I regularly give things away to charity and I encourage my family to do likewise. Anything that hasn’t been worn for 12 months is unlikely to get worn again. We don’t need a clothing bank at home but other people need clothing, shoes, spectacles, toys. These can all be given away, found new homes instead of being hoarded in the garage or thrown away. We all end up with things we no longer need, like or fit into so why not give them away. There were times, years ago, when I went without in order to feed and clothe my own son. I don’t want others to have to live like that when I now have a simple means to help them. I can’t help the whole world but helping one other family in need is better than helping none at all.

Without money

Without money (Photo credit: Toban B.)

So that’s it, a little of my recipe for peace and contentment. The art of small kindnesses costs nothing much at all, it can be practiced everyday and I hope it helps makes our world a slightly better place. I suspect it does, it certainly can’t do any harm!