Old thinking

31 Aug

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

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Sometimes the old quotes grab you.  They made a lot of sense in the old days.  They make sense now.  There is a certain timelessness in true wisdom and true insight.

Disconnected

23 Aug

Yesterday was a bit of a shock to the system.

I forgot my mobile phone at home!

Quelle horreur!

Ever since I got a mobile phone (gawd! nearly 20 years ago now!), I’ve very rarely forgotten it.  I can count on one hand the times that I’ve forgotten the phone, and each time, I felt like I lost a limb (and in some situations, sometimes more than one major limb!).  There is this crippling sort of fear that encompassed me each time.  I think it had something to do with my control issues.  I didn’t feel on top of things when I didn’t have my phone.  I felt like my most convenient (and comfortable) method of communication was snatched away.  I remember feeling the same way when I moved back home in the Philippines.  Mobile phone contracts are different in the Philippines and 3G access isn’t built into the mobile phone plans so I didn’t have access to the internet in the same way I do here (24/7 unlimited connection to 3G and a pocket mifi gizmo is a necessary creature comfort to me!).

Yesterday, I went to London and discovered whilst I was on the train that I’d forgotten my phone.  I desperately wanted to get off at the next stop and go back to my flat and get my beloved phone.  I didn’t.  And for the rest of journey into the Big Smoke I felt utterly bereft.  I could feel the familiar stirrings of a panic attack beginning.  I was going to LONDON without my phone.  How was I going to survive?!?  Now bearing in mind that I had my handbag (which contained my emergency pouch – lippy, emergency meds, hand cream, pressed powder, hand wipes and tissues!), my purse (debit and credit cards) and my trusty bridge camera, I was panicking about the situations when I might have to use my phone.  Also, Alan was with me (with HIS mobile phone).

But yesterday, despite the heat and humidity (it reached 31°C in London!), was the most fun I’d had.  Alan and I had actual conversations and I was actually in the moment, enjoying each experience.  Yesterday ended up being one of the best days ever.  Sometimes, accidents turn out to be the best things.  Going off the grid, albeit inadvertently, was a good thing to do.  Maybe I will be brave enough to do this again!

National Girlfriends Day

1 Aug

To all the beautiful women I am privileged to call friend, today I celebrate you all.  I could not get through this thing we call life without you!

Girlfriends

Clarity

28 Jul

Sometimes when one needs clarity, one just has to step back and look at things differently.  Sometimes, when we’re too preoccupied with the everyday busy-ness, we lose sight of what we’ve always believed was the bigger picture.

I’ve always loved the phrase “can’t see the wood for the trees.”  That’s what happens when we get bogged down in the detail.  But then again, on the flip side, sometimes we get too preoccupied with looking at the bigger picture, we forget that it’s the pixels that make up the image.  The art of not losing sight of the end goal is to make sure you’re looking at the picture from exactly the right angle, from exactly the right distance.  When we lose our way, we get into a muddle.

Sometimes stepping back, looking at things differently, thinking about things differently helps us get out of the muddle.  Sometimes we become to preoccupied with living our everyday life, we forget to listen to our inner selves.  Sometimes taking a step back lets us hear our inner voices again.  When we do that, we find clarity again and the murky waters become less muddy.

Clarity

St Paul’s

23 Jul

Sometimes you take a picture and you give yourself a pat on the back because you took a really good picture.  Alan told me that this would be a great place to take a snapshot of St Paul’s Cathedral.

And he was right!

St Paul's Cathedral

Upwards and onwards

19 Jul

In 1666 a great fire ravaged London for 3 days, devouring 13,200 houses, 87 parishes, St Paul’s Cathedral and most of the buildings of the city’s government.  At the time, there were about 80,000 people living in London and it is estimated that 70,000 of that total number lost their homes.  The fire, which apparently started on Pudding Lane, in the bakery of Thomas Farriner, very nearly reached Whitehall Palace where the current monarch of the day, Charles II, was in residence.  Surprisingly, only 6 deaths were verified.

On the corner of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill stands a monument to the Great Fire commissioned by Charles II.  Identified simply as “The Monument,” it is described as a fluted Doric column and stands 202 feet from where the Great Fire started.  Until very recently, I didn’t know that you could go up the Monument.

The Monument

On a bright, breezy and sunny Saturday morning, Alan and I went up the Monument.  I approached this challenge with trepidation.  I am not the fittest of people and have been known to huff and puff on some days when brisk walking from my flat into town to get groceries.  I’d much rather read than walk these days.  So this activity worried me a lot.  I was afraid I’d embarrass Alan by wanting to stop in the middle of the trek up to the top of the Monument.

Up we go!

So we paid our £4 for the privilege (it’s £4 for each adult to go up but we had a 2 for 1 voucher, so it was only £4 for the 2 of us) and up we went.  There are 311 steps.  Yes.  Three.  HUNDRED.  Eleven.  Steps.  At first, I wondered why there were hooky bits along the banister.  Then I figured, about a third of the way up that you could use those hooky bits to pull yourself up the steps!  There were these lovely little alcoves as you went up and boy, was I ever grateful they were there!  You could sit down, catch your breath while not get in the way of the other people, more fit than you who trudged up that blessed spiral staircase!

Look down!

But somehow, despite the huffing and puffing, screaming leg and thigh muscles, thinking in my head that I was going to die soon, I made it up the top!  I had to catch my breath first.  But after that, after I recovered from the jelly legs and shortness of breath and pounding heart, I looked around and marveled at the view.  It was glorious!

Look down!

The mesh cage at the top was added mid-19th century to prevent any other persons from leaping off the the platform.  I think it was a good decision!

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You get to see the Tower Bridge.

The Tower Bridge and the Thames

An unobstructed view of the Shard.

The Shard

The BT Tower.

The BT Tower

The The Cheese Grater (the Leaden Hall building), the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) and the Walkie-Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) and the Lloyds Building.

London skyline

So, if you want a challenge, a work out with a reward of a brilliant view of London, go up the Monument.  Despite the palpitations, the hyperventilation, the jelly legs, the view is spectacular and very definitely worth it!

Monument to the Great Fire

Beseder the Bell and Brisket!

15 Jul

When I was little, my father talked about salt beef and chicken soup all the time.  He always waxed poetic about how life was in kibbutz that he stayed in.  He studied in Israel and loved his time there, eventually converting to Judaism.  Most of the memories that I remember him sharing with us while we were growing up was about the food that he ate.

I am more partial to chicken, but will eat beef, occasionally.  But I do love salt beef.  Especially when it’s done right.  We met the lovely Bel Shapiro of The Bell and Brisket, oh maybe, three years ago, at the Brewer Street Market (I think it was in the Brewer Street parking building).  Her salt beef is beautiful and delicious and yummy and succulent and flavourful…I could go on.  I am such a fan.  But this fan hasn’t been able to have a salt beef fix in a very long time.  That salt beef desert ended last Friday though.

I got a “naked” Old Timer from The Bell and Brisket (sans any carbs) so I could enjoy the lovely salt beef in all its deliciousness, only adorned with horseradish and mustard and complimented by pickled gherkins and beets and it was beseder!  Well, not just good.  It was AMAZING!

Old Timer

 

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