♑You are welcome on my blog with journals and slideshows of pictures. I’m enjoying my life after retirement on an island: Britain, the seat of Mars, rocked by the storms of change. Even amidst mixed feelings about the attitude of British people in general, which is part of my learning to come to terms with a different culture, there’s a strong pull of this part of the world, calling me home. Where my heart is. Nature and living space.
I lost my heart here during more than 20 years of happy holidays, crossing the North Sea Channel for the whole month of June, each year. The history of the Celts and druids, unspoiled nature, woodland and seaside, the presence of coastal paths and the moon-landscape of Dartmoor, grazed by ponies, sheep and cows, with larks rising in mad song, which reminds me of unbounded joy, this woke up my exploring and curious mind.
I am in the S. West of Britain, in living conditions I’m comfortable with, at last… gosh, it took me a while to learn the ropes of sharing a home with others. With strangers. There’s much more British landscape to explore for me, like Cornwall, Wales, Exmoor and the Lake district, or Scotland and the British islands. Lundy, the Isle of Man, the Scilly islands.
I’m fond of the Cornish and Scottish people, as far as I’ve met a few. They’re straight and more direct, in communication, just like the Dutch. I’m privileged to find the freedom of adventure, going on trips after ending my working life. Soon with the freedom of conquering the hills on an e-bike! Although those narrow and hedged lanes… are a challenge, at times. I’m prepared to throw myself in the hedge when danger lurks.
How Britain shows itself to me, a witness with Dutch eyes? It’s like watching a soap opera with dramatic scenes. In parliament and in the streets of Britain’s town centers. Animosity, nationalism, shouting as a cover-up of insecurity and fear, obesity as cover up as well, literally, bickering for the sake of wallowing in drama. A substitute for the emptiness inside, a missing of purpose and trust. It’s how I perceive it.
It seems to me, that the British culture is choking in its (imagined) everlasting glory from past centuries while safeguarding the living conditions for the British population is ignored and the democracy is betrayed by the government. But oh, how it brags on serving it and holding it high. Pomp and circumstance as a camouflage of deflating moral standards.
On the other hand, with the government mirroring it, many British citizens are living on instincts, often lacking awareness of inner life, motive and drive. Showing up with that same camouflage. There seems to be a growing cynicism and loss of faith and trust, a giving up on oneself and the world at large, sort of. What was it that the Greek Aristotle said, long ago?
Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives – choice, not chance, determines your destiny.
Ignorance in the company of instinct driven behavior, easily persuaded by drink and drug use, with abuse of it in tow, plus domestic violence, it’s all present in Britain today, 2019. Friday afternoon? The entire nation goes in party mode, ready to leave the work floor and its tribulations. Returning to it on Monday, groggy, without a glowing spark to change the circumstances, without the choice to change what can be changed. Britain’s population swims in perilous waters!
I’m afraid Britain has tried to prolong living in a fairy tale far too long and that it’s forced now to wake up. That’s how I observe Britain with my Dutch eyes. How far do we have to walk away from our comfortable chairs, before we begin to wake up to a harsh reality of our own making, returning to sobriety, using common sense while thinking for ourselves?
If I’m informed correctly, since Margaret Thatcher proclaimed the individual person as superior over the society at large, the British economy has turned into a slow sinking ship. How long will it last, this moving around of furniture on the Titanic? I’m pointing out the death throws of EU members’ banks dragging the British banks with them in bail out procedures. Hopefully, Britain is out before the furniture goes down with the Titanic.
One needs only to switch on the television in Britain, or glance at the headlines of papers and magazines, exposed in supermarkets and at newsagents’ shops, to see the level of civilization Britain has allowed itself to sink into, or has been steered into. Murky waters. I’m reminded of Aldous Huxley’s book “Brave New World”:
“The citizens of the all-powerful and ever-watching World State are arguably reduced to infantile participants in a system that values order and simplicity over personal determination and responsibility”.
The British population mirrors its government, in that its moral standards have fallen asleep, flown out of the window. A large part of the British population lives in great contempt towards its government, feeling ignored, seeing the village – post office and – bank closing, many communities falling apart due to a severe cutting of costs, austerity measures that disrupt a healthy cohesion and sense of belonging. Initiated since the 2008 financial crisis. It’s symptomatic for the whole world almost. Those at the bottom are offered stones while desperately in need of bread.
“What man is there among you, who if his son shall ask him for bread will offer him a stone?” Lucas 11:11
What has become of the world we live in today? The spark of life, the flame that feeds the elements: fire, air, water and earth, the building blocks of creation, that bring physicality in form? The consciousness behind it seems to take matters in its own hands. As I perceive it, from my visionary corner, it may be imminent that we begin to awaken to what’s really going on, understanding the purpose and nature of the changes we witness on all levels of life now. Planet Earth is changing in sync with our global society in turmoil, nothing is the same anymore. We’d better inform ourselves and be prepared.
Not all is lost, I’m watching village-communities joining hands, improving living standards and local economy. All by citizens making efforts to be the change they want to see in the world. Sharing their time and energy in building up a sense of belonging in their community and using their creativity in a lust for life, instead of a defeat.
The motions of planet Earth’s body, its weather and its atmosphere, the changing cycles of our Sun, the nature of sunlight, gravitation and how we begin to perceive time speeding up, all are observed under a magnifying glass now, so to speak. What an adventure, to become visible to ourselves in full display of our true colors!
Peculiar testing of our waters is coming to a conclusion, or so it seems. The expire date of many scientific convictions, statements of natural laws and history archives, plus our own personal belief system, seems to be in a process of change, at times becoming part of our past.
The truth in science is equal to a deal, made by corporations. The box we choose to live in is about to burst. Will it be Pandora’s box? Or a graduation present?
The wild and dramatic affairs on the global stage, an amphitheater with politicians, actors wearing masks and props made of cardboard, plaster of Paris, a sound system of twitters and tweets, insults to invisible opponents, easy come easy go. The drama presented online, in social media, the drive to create sensational news more and more, with a decline in reporting factual truth. The presentation of fake news, the numerous false flag events. In short, the agitation-industry is thriving, satisfying our need for contentment, when that’s not found within. It’s the nature of cynicism.
The Wizard of Oz, hiding behind his curtains, is almost revealed to the world, it seems. Adding more smoke and mirrors is the result, as long as it lasts, but of course futile, when the moment of truth arrives for us all. The machinery of power and money is slowly grinding to a halt due to its own defects, built in the construction. A lie to life and love will always be exposed, that’s the wheel of karma or a law of nature, of life itself.
How many of us are on edge these days? Especially younger generations, seemingly unable to find a purpose in their lives? What’s the point? What’s the meaning of it all, while alive on planet Earth? Does the future look bright? The challenges are numerous and the number of people beginning to take matters in their own hands is growing. Much that is happening for the good of all is present in silence, unseen in the web.
We need sobriety, optimism and initiative, the world is turning upside down, bringing an end to old systems for a reason, I believe. Life is changing, on many levels, calling for a reset, a return to our true human nature and an awakening to inter-dependency and a choice for a humane system, freedom of expression and working conditions in proper jobs. The shepherd needs to wake up to his role of king and the king needs to step down and walk amidst the herd, as a shepherd, which means good stewardship, equality and co-operation, together, in the living and loving of life, to each his/her freedom of expression.
For myself, I feel it’s helpful to have left the work floor, liberated from its burdens, as a self employed woman. I’m in favour of sustaining myself, in all sorts of ways, creating the comfort of living in friendship with the elements, in nature and in the company of kindred spirits, both young and old. The voice of children is a joy in the streets of my town.
I’m reaping the harvest of my life’s adventures and initiatives at the same time. That’s the fertiliser for my present and future years. I can’t tell others what to do, although I’m inclined to have a view on everything and everybody. I’m in training now, with my inner voice. My role is to live what I believe and know to be true for me. And to express this in my life in most practical and creative ways, with the use of strong intuition, in gratitude for very good health and many creative skills.
How many of you are experiencing being the changer and the changed both? Is it realistic to want one’s life mapped out from the start to the finish? To many, it seems to be a race against time, in competition with…… gravity, old age? It may be a sensible choice, in one’s career, to raise a family, creating an income with the hope to secure one’s loved ones and savings which are also loved dearly, these days.
But, while conditions of living are transforming and lies are presented as truths, observed by a growing collective human awareness, with many of us realising that nothing is the same anymore, where’s wisdom to be found?
Little guarantees, but choices as many as moments in our lives, as I perceive it and I intend to make efforts to live in that freedom of choice and creative skills. For that, one needs to leave one’s inner fixations and compulsive behavior, it requires gymnastics, flexing the muscles of one’s mind, body and spirit. To me, the wind of change calls forth the separating of the chaff and the grain, as within so without.
Being secure and cared for from the cradle to the grave isn’t guaranteed on planet Earth. Maybe it’s a reality for “the happy few” that don’t know what it means to have a conscience. It’s highly unlikely that we wake up while sitting in our comfortable chairs, is it?
We’ve got to take matters in our own hands (again) and learn to honor ourselves and others, living in the freedom of expression, while honouring that quality in others. All colours of the rainbow of emotions and feelings are legitimate. It’s how we act on them that counts, not the judgement and conclusion which holds us in a reactive mode by our instincts, yelling “An eye for an eye!”
I believe we’re challenged now to be present in our lives and daring as well, while pondering the question “How do I make peace with myself, in my life?” and “How to live and love, in solitude and companionship both?” “How to live together?”
Philosophy has been defined as “the love of and the seeking after wisdom”. Socrates said “Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher and philosophy begins with wonder” This, I guess, sums up who I am and how I choose to walk my path in life, with a mind of my own, doing the work my hands find worthy of doing. Down to earth and artistic in an expression of all sorts, be it in creating a home interior, a garden, or a landscape felted of wool.
Royal rags are my favorite outfit, though some of you may wonder what I mean by that. Remember Barbara Streisand, the 70’s? In her outfit of 2nd hand clothes on stage? Something like that said this nomad. After all, I’m an old hippy at heart, once in Twiggy resembling outfit and Indian dresses with mirros and red henna hair, finding my feet in the ’70’s, wrapped in thigh high suede boots, like those worn by the Abba ladies:
I’ve found, as I move through the recent decade, where change has swept like a storm through my life, that I am as much the changer as the changed. Therefore, I can’t expect to know what’s ahead of me, really. It’s a learning curve by surrendering to my experiences and paying attention to what matters and to all that matters not. There’s much to let go of, like a tendency to analyze too much for too long. This page is long!
I’d rather surrender to what life holds in waiting for me and walk with eyes and heart open, in trust and acceptance of how it shows up and what it shows me, also when it’s not enjoyable at first glance. Responsibility is embedded in my actions when free will is at the base of my conscious choices, I believe. Each moment offers such freedom of choice, once I’m disciplined by paying attention and being truthful to myself and the lightheartedness that is in my nature. With joy for nature’s beauty and landscapes.
Getting things done, well organized, resourceful and diligent, with great patience often. I’m a builder, not a squatter among ruins and others build their own reality, be it a sandcastle, a straw-bale house or a cottage of quarried stone with a thatched roof. How can we conduct the whirring windmills of our mind and create harmony?
I love the drops of splashing backwater on my face while standing on the bow. That’s just a description of how I prefer to experience the elements. I need to feel the wind and sun in my face and to be touched by life, by people, taught by Gaia and her nature’s beauty, her wisdom and her nurturing quality, in unconditional companionship. It’s why I enjoy taking pictures and making drawings of nature.
Walking in the empty and remote spaces of Dartmoor, or over footpaths through woodland that is largely untouched by people and machines, with gnarled old trees and boulders covered in moss, or walking along the flood mark at sea, picking up pebbles, some with holes in it, feeling the thrill of being a beachcomber, on bare feet without a care in the world. That’s my way of recharging my batteries. How I love to live with the elements. I do enjoy being alive now, learning each day, it’s interesting and intense!
So far my views on life in general and mine, at present, December 2018
This text on page 288 of Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden” sums up my stance in life:
“The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men, and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now”.
And the note at the start of Thoreau’s “Economy” a chapter in that same book, reflects my present approach to my inner “Mother Superior” while sending her shouts in the cloud:
“I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up”
Here’s a slideshow with pictures of my short time in Moretonhampstead, early 2018. I hope it’s visible, there seems to be a problem to show it here. If that’s the case, please go to my Dutch page “Hollandse pagina… ” and find the slideshow over there, scrolling down to slightly below the center of the page.
The highlight of my stay in Moretonhampstead is my volunteering at Proper Job Chagford. Here’s what this recycling re-use project, started in 1995, pioneering, is about http://www.proper-job.org/
Also, the saving of a black lamb was memorable, a few weeks old, abandoned in the snow by its mother who didn’t have enough milk to feed two of her own. Also, the heavy snowfall in March 2018, of which I’ve made many pictures during a long Sunday walk to North Bovey. Over the lanes, without hardly a car in sight. I caught the snow by holding my umbrella, which grew heavy with a cap of snow on top!
When it doesn’t show up, go to my YouTube channel here:
And now that we’ve arrived in October 2018? What’s on? Early summer of 2018 I’ve returned to Ashburton, where I lived earlier, in 2017. I live close to the home where I rented a room for 7 months, last year 2017. It was a decision that had to be made, although none of the housemates wanted this. But there was no other way. I’ve enjoyed living in this home much and restored the name of the house on the front door, in gold: Avalon.
I’m thinking about what could be a proper name for the house where I live now. After 3 years living in the UK, I’m more at ease, secured with a long term contract, living as a caretaker of a large house and garden. Living on my own for most of the time. Privacy again and no frustration of having to share the kitchen with filthy housemates. There’s a lovely garden to work in, grow vegetables and flowers, entirely fenced off by old stone walls, with my hammock installed during summer.
After 35 years living on my own, in Holland, sharing homes with others, in England, while adjusting to a different culture, where folks often don’t say what they think or feel, either skilled in creating storms in a tea-cup, or withdrawn and lethargic, was at times challenging. I doubt if I will ever step into a house-sharing adventure with strangers again. English people tend to not think things through properly, often immature, with, little awareness of applying self-reflection.
I cherish solitude and my own space, my private room, plus quietude in the home and in nature. During my first years of moving around, I’ve seen different parts of Devon. I’m happy with the nearness of the sea and the Tamar Valley area with Tavistock, Bere Ferrers, with its beautiful river landscape. Calstock, in the S. W. of Devon, has its own unique charm, with artistic and eccentric folks jumping around.
Also Totnes, with the river Dart, the footpath all along this river, towards Ashprington, plus Dartmouth and King’s Wear, the bright light of Brixham’s harbor and the coastal paths, the cliffs of Berry Head. Shaldon beach is one of my favorite swimming spots. Many miles of coastal paths are waiting to be explored in the years to come. Be it while settled in Britain or in Holland, picking up the rhythm of my yearly holidays in June each year. Maybe more often and who knows, in due time, a second jump overseas, for a life in the S.W. of Britain.
I join volunteering work in the community and participate in social events, at times. I’m a craft-woman and artist, creative in many ways. I’m wary of gossip, the recent racist talk coming to the rise more, since before and during the Brexit procedure. It’s shocking at times, how poorly informed some people are, while shouting and screaming, safe in the box of their opinions, with hearsay and ignorance as welcome company.
As a writer, I appreciate quietude much. And also, as is the term nowadays… “me-time” or “cocooning” in order to recharge my batteries. I’m not running after those who don’t “get me” in an attempt to make them change their mind and approve of me, my Dutch directness and frankness. To prove my point and show my true colors. I’m learning and growing savvier in taking care of myself and choosing a nurturing company.
I’m an incurable optimist, at times impatient with lethargy and complacency in others, but, ultimately very patient in the efforts I make to create and improve my living conditions and at the same time co-operating in new ways of living together. I’m a Capricorn, born on New Year’s day. A sure-footed goat, who jumps from rock to rock and enjoys the views from great heights, like on the Tors of Dartmoor and standing on the hills of Devon, or the cliffs at sea.
I send my shouts in the clouds, to wake up and shake the dust out of moldy ideas and views, to digest good food for thought. The initiatives to enrich our lives and how we make use of our abilities, is largely our own choice, in the company of our sense of belonging and our being at ease, first and foremost with ourselves. How much do we dare to yield our personal power for the better and create a life in well being? To make peace with our life. Alone and together?
From the lounge on the first floor of the house, I often enjoy the view on the hills to the South, with brown cows or white sheep grazing the slopes. I celebrate the sunrise in summer, during an early hour, in the highest level of the garden, drinking my first mug of coffee, waking up with a view over the roofs, toward the eastern sky. There are many trees, shrubs and stone walls covered with ivy or other growth. Squirrels too are jumping from tree to tree, harvesting the hazelnuts. Red robins and sparrows are present too.
I’ve become friends with an elderly lady who offers me apples from her garden, the end of the summer. We discuss our history and culture, hers is English and mine is Dutch and she shares her 92 years long life-experience as a nurse and midwife with me. Many a grown-up man and woman in town, once were caught by her hands, with a first breathtaking cry.
She’s fond of her independence and she knows exactly how she wants her home and garden like she’s become used to have it. It’s hard for her to let go of taking matters in her own hands as a former nurse and midwife, with a strong sense of duty. Cleaning women and carers, nowadays, don’t always show up with diligence and a perceptive attitude, she tells me. She’s concerned about everybody’s comfort except her own.
I witness the carers in my old friend’s home, acting on automatic pilot, saying things that sound hollow because of their not being present in their words. I am amazed at times, about the negligence of basic qualities in domestic care workers. Stress, underpayment and work- pressure tend to kill the skill of presence, creativity and improvisation.
With a Dutch-Frisian background, growing up in the ’50s, with a mother who stayed at home, raising 9 children, including me, her oldest daughter, I’ve learned a few things. Although I am an explorer and curious at heart, even rebellious in asking questions and commenting, my sense of duty and harmony in our home was strong at an early age.
I had to practice self-discipline and the skills of domestic care were taught in those days. Traditions and rules in lifestyle and social traffic were still strong. Amidst a baby boom, the Dutch population worked hard, recovering from WWII. Shut up, do your work!
Monday was for washing, Wednesday for minced meatball-day and Sunday was a resting day, with 2 visits to church. No playing in the street, in our Sunday costume! My mother and us children walked inside the church like a row of geese, 10 in total, to the front pew which had “our names” on it. My father, the 11th goose, was ready to climb the pulpit after we had settled ourselves and the organ started to play.
We were obliged to show up as role models, for we were a minister’s family. Imagine growing up in a house made of glass: God’s eyes and the eyes of the congregation were upon us. No wonder I was fond of being outdoors, hiding in nature! This is my background, born in Holland in a small village near Hook of Holland, The Netherlands.
“It was through the feeling of wonder that men now and at first began to philosophize.”
Where I live, I’m fond of walking through the narrow alleys with stone walls, to shops and other destinations, avoiding the main road with fast driving cars. On my way to my favorite shop, I often meet a cat-friend. She’s outdoors all day, I’m told and she’s got beautiful whiskers. It’s why I gave her the name “Moustache”. When I call her by that name, most often she runs toward me, mewing and purring. Such a compact and healthy furry cat. At times, I’m tempted to take her home with me, but she’s settled.
Here are a few impressions of Ashburton and its surrounding landscape:
First walk from Ashburton to Dartmoor, end of springtime 2017
Going back in time, here are a few impressions of Dartmoor, summer/autumn 2016:
A few impressions of Wookey Hole, where caves are. My first year in Somerset, 2015, though I didn’t live in a cave 😉
A lovely bird, recovering, after it flew against my door-window in Wookey Hole.
This green bird flew against my window and sat dazed and concussed for 20 minutes on my terrace. I watched it from a safe distance and had to encourage it to make a move, when it found its bearings again.
It looked at me sideways with a bright eye, moved its wings and…. off it went on its green wings, steady. I felt so relieved, after finding 2 small birds flying against my window to their death. I’ve held them in my hands until they lay silent. It’s a wonder and mystery to me, how small birds, with their fragile structure of bones are able to fly.
See how it looks like near Horrabridge in the South-West of Dartmoor, where I moved to after leaving Wookey Hole in Somerset:
And to end with a few, to me, prophetic last words of Henry David Thoreau, in his book Walden: “The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
🕉Blessed be, Marian 🕉