Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happiness is.....very long and p/h

I've come to believe that what we put into life is exactly what we get out of it. 

Traditional Chinese philosophy assumes that life is tough; it's hard but sprinkled amongst the hardships are trickles of happiness which we need to grab hold of and make the most of.

In the Western world we seem to assume the opposite: that we have a given right to happiness as much as having a right to the air we breath.

And I wonder, is this a healthy attitude to have? We seem to want more and more and expect more and more and then we crumble when bad things happen or we feel we haven't succeeded in having a life full of bliss and joy.

I've experienced this sense of failure myself with my diagnosis and prognosis. I went through crumbly bits: my big pants not only fell down but my naughty dogs ran away with the elastic in a game of tug which resulted in my big girl pants being down far too long!  Brrrrrrrr, draughty!

And even before the return of the cancer, I spent days being afraid.  Dreading test results, worrying about it coming back. What a waste of life hey?

Bizarrely, I'm not afraid any more.  After all what more can it do to me? But I look back and I know fear cost me valuable time.  Fear sucks.  Literally, it drains every little bit of colour in your life and turns light into dark.

But it's ok now.  I'm not afraid anymore. I won't see a lot of things that I thought I might: children getting married, grand children starting school etc, ...but if I dwell on this then  I take away the value of the things I have seen, that I have been part of. I've had an amazing life and it isn't over yet!

I guess I've just decided I won't be a victim any more. I will get bad results. I will get bad news but right now, at this exact moment in time, I'm ok.  I'm good.  I'm happy with my lot.  It may not be what I ultimately hoped for or expected but by taking this 'in the now' approach, I'm finding joy in the most amazing of things. 

For example, I had to give up my gardening and it broke my heart. Seeing an empty poly tunnel and watching how rapidly my ex-field reverted back into a field was soul crushing. Ten years of work gone in a single spring.  On a plus, I'm hoping to start exports of dock leaf eco-friendly loo roll soon!

I decided I had two choices...see the failure I perceived, or make something good come from it. So I chose the latter.  A box of wild flower seeds chucked all over resulted in this.

A little bit of my Norfolk childhood in a wild Irish garden!

The cancer will  ultimately destroy my body but I'm dammed if I will let it destroy my life.
I'm basically becoming a giant boob which is kind of funny really if you have the same warped sense of humour I have, but I will not let becoming a boob destroy my hope, my joy of life, the love I have for those around me.

So, that tells cancer!

Now for some more niceness. 

I think I've said before, I don't have a bucket list.  I've achieved everything I ever wanted to so don't feel the need to add things to my life to make if feel fulfilled. I do however have an attitude that if something comes up that I haven't done before or that reflects something I've loved or enjoyed, then I will go for it.  Don't get me wrong, these aren't things I feel I HAVE to do before my use by date comes up but they are things I want to do. If I never do them, it won't may any difference to me. I guess it is a bit like knowing the difference between want and need.  I might want to do these things but I sure as heck don't need to.

And this is no different to the attitude I had before cancer.  I leapt at every opportunity life threw at me and that is why I have had a life well lived.

So what have I been up to?  Well, bizarrely, I have a huge love of trains and trams.  I think it stems back from being from Norfolk but having to live in Manchester as a child.  To visit family in Norfolk in the 1970's and early 80s we had to catch a train...sometimes two.  And we loved those train rides.  I still love sitting on a train and just watching the world pass by.

Moving to Ireland I was introduced to the Luas trams in Dublin.  I could quite happily sit on one all day.  You see 'real' Dublin, get to meet 'real' Dubliners and they provide an amazing opportunity for people watching. 

I mentioned this on fb and a friend in Norfolk, Jo,  contacted the Dublin Luas company, who in turn contacted me and guess what???  They gave me a tram for the day! My own tram!  It was amazing.  My hubby and I got to have a tour of the Luas headquarters.  We had a tram with our name on the front.  Rather cheekily they also gave me two security guards, a lovely gentleman who conducted the tour and a driver of our own.

We were then treated to a trip through Dublin, from Red Cow to The Point.  Then we had lunch and were driven all the way back again.  OMword.  Def a high point in my life.  I know, it seems a bit sad and geeky to some of you but I don't care! Toooot toot!!!!

Ready for the off!

In the control room

In the maintenance shed

With my very own security guards

Can you see what I see?

Yup!  My own tram!

Be afraid!

My wonderful driver and guide.

Lunch at a hotel where they actually had live ivy growing up inside by the escalators

A full wall size painting of some Irish singer/band or the other ;-)

A sheep in the lobby, waiting for lunch

I have absolutely what these bears represent, but they were worth a photo op!

And back in the hotel room:happy but shattered!
It was an amazing day.

The new Holmsey book is coming along beautifully.  Paula Hickman of Bear Tails Illustrations
has finished several of the illustrations and has shared one with Holmsey's friends.

It's stunning isn't it?  I love it. Holmsey looks amazing.  The book 'Can I Be A Hare?' will be released soon!

It's been an education, this book writing stuff.  I know for sure that I will never, ever sell through Amazon and other alternative book selling companies.  The attitude they have towards writers and the money they skim off sales etc, are to my mind purely unethical.

I prefer to sell through Paula directly, at Bear Tails.  I'm so very lucky to have met her.  She has a real passion for the stories, the artwork and the professionalism to deal with sales etc.

I've bought several of her books and these have to be my favourites.

'Alphabet Autos' is really funny. I got it as a joke for my son and found both he and my husband were laughing over it.  If you have the slightest interest in classic cars then this is the book for you. I wish I'd had it when I was teaching my little boys to read! Paula's caught the essence of the classic cars used perfectly.

'Have you seen?' is my grandchild's favourite book.  It's very cleverly written and frankly if I have to read it again I may go mad!  She would happily have it read to her 100 times a day but when granny reads it to her (me) then she expects the animal noises as well...and boy, that can take some creativity!

Now, the next post you get from me should have some actual crafting: crochet and stitching hopefully!

Have a great weekend (and well done if you actually managed to reach this far lol)


  1. What a wonderful, inspiring post! Many blessings to you.

  2. Thank you Gaynor. I have been struggling with my own lesser health issues this year. It has not been a good year for me. You have inspired me my friend. God bless you. I love your wild Irish garden.

  3. What a marvelous adventure you had with your own tram for the day! Your garden of wild flowers looks fabulous. Thank you for inspiring each one of us.

  4. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way.

  5. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way.

  6. Prayers, hugs, good thoughts, and admiration of your spirit. So happy for you and your tram ride. Toot toot indeed!

  7. How exciting, and such a lovely treat for you both.
    The new Holmsey looks super.
    The poppies looks amazing and definitely a little bit of the Norfolk roadside, it looked just like that approaching Hunny from Heacham when I went in August and I commented to Dh that I wanted a border like it at home....maybe next year.
    Love and {big hugs}

  8. I put a few 'unknown' seeds in our garden bed this spring, since hubby lost interest rather QUICKLY, and have had the most beautiful golden flowers! I harvested seeds two or three times, and shared them... that is how I received them! They are almost spent now, but what a ride! Speaking of rides, how cool was your tram ride? WOW! What a terrific thing Jo did for you! The new book will be a hit...for sure! You are in my heart and prayers, always! Big Hugs!

  9. What a lovely post to read--you are so uplifting even when you have such a battle on your hands, Gaynor. I love the garden you randomly created with handfuls of seeds. And how wonderful to have your own tram for a day--so very special...

    Sending you a hug and many positive thoughts and prayers.


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