Monday, 30 July 2012

Red Mist and Reiki Rescue

Last Wednesday was a lovely summers day.  I was working on my plot tidying cutting grass, thinking and reflecting and singing to my lovely dog Pops.  I was working near the gap leading to  a disabled wheelchair path, I heard. Jeanette,"the self styled Inspector" of the allotments, talking on her blackberry to the Allotment Officer  saying

 "it needs to be strimmed right down"

As she was standing on the disable path I knew she meant the area of grass area  which had once been planted with irises, day lilies, and other shrubs which had become overgrown the grass edges to the path and also my willows which border the path.  they do not hang over the path but they bend with the wind.  Jeanette  then came onto my plot and never said a word to me.  She hinted that she would like a cup of tea but  a red mist had enveloped me. 

Hedgehog caught by a strimmer
wild life
 I felt sure the contractors would carelessly slash down the down the edges of the path and the wild area without regard for what was living there. I have hedgehogs coming to my plot, they are on red alert in on the endangered species list. Strimmers, garden chemicals and farm machinery are the cause of  many deaths of these iconic animals..  Only last year I found a hedgehog sliced across by a strimmer it died horribly before I could get to the vets.  Also on my plot and the plots nearby  are slow worms and  lizards, all of which  are easily killed by strimmers.  On the waste ground is a bumble bee nest from which the new queens have not yet flown. Lizards bask in the sun on the waste ground  and  along the path when it is quiet. 

I grow willows whips which I coppice in late autumn and use as  bean sticks, weave into garden baskets, make into living chairs.  .   I was so angry  and fed up.  How could I let  this lady generates  such negative feelings in me?  I cut down more of my willows to keep them well back from the path and made sure my achilleas were tied back as far as I could get them.  Then I went and sat down with pops and sent Reiki to the situation, I felt calmer and gathered my stuff and went-wandering home with Pops.

When I opened my door without thinking I went to the phone and  called the Council and asked to speak to the Allotment Officer, David.   He was not in but I spoke another officer in the Parks Department. I  told her the wild life that was on my plot,  the area alongside the disable path and living on the waste ground.   I volunteered to cut the path and clear the waste ground  and  make it a wild life haven.  

Next morning I got a phone call  From David to say the contractors have been cancelled and he was looking forward to seeing what I could do with the waste ground.  I was delighted and Friday I started cutting back the path.  The women with a plot oppositee asked what I was doing and they and they were keen to be involved in creating a wild life haven and offered to cut back the last section of the path - it was hard work so I agreed  very willingly  to hand over the shears to them.

The contractors arrived to do other work on the Allotments shortly after but had no instructions to clear the areas I was concerned about.   I was sitting  with  Brian's on his plot when who should come down the disable path  but Jeanette!   She was checking if the contractors had cut the path.  At that time there was still a section to be cut back.   Brian and I nodded in her direction but she had her inspection hat on.and ignored us as she was busy talking on her blackberry. 

The red mist had gone and I was able to look at her with calm.  On Sunday she came down the path along side my plot and stuck her head out of the gap onto the disabled path and looked up and down. 

"Oh the the contractors have been back".

"No" I said

We did it.   David gave me permission to cut it back by hand and clear the waste ground to create a haven for wild life.  

It was quite a windy day and my willows whips fluttered forward and softly flicked her face. 

 "these should be cut back."

 she said as she stalked through the gap and away.

I said nothing. 

There are now five of us volunteering to cut back the path and make a wild life haven.

With Reiki blessings to us all
and to all living creatures


more information about hedgehogs can be found in my post here:

If you want to see the damage strimmers do put hedgehog strimmers in an image search

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bees, Butterflies, Sunshine

On Monday after a lovely time spent at my allotment I came home and made a cup of and went into my into my front room to see the setting sun in the west lighting my room with a  rich golden light.  It caught my sun catcher and shards and shafts of light were shimmering round the room.  The moment was magical and I was grateful for the sun after so many dull grey weeks.

Earlier at my plot the borage growing round the strawberry bed had been alive with bees busy foraging, there  were bumble bees, honey bee, leaf cutter bees, hoverflies and here and there were butterflies  In a brief span of time I saw three small tortoiseshell butterflies emerging in the bright sunlight.  It was months since I had seen  so many butterflies as the warm sunny weather this week brought them out from the shelter of their cocoons.

Tortoiseshell butterflies were once a common sight in gardens and the country side, but  because of the cold dry weather in 2011 and the cold wet months of April, June and July in  this year they have been badly affected and are in decline as are so many other butterflies.  Giving space to a wild flower  meadow had created a wild life haven were  a dozen or more butterflies flew and danced over my plot stopping on the blue hyssop flowers, then onto the red clover before resting on the yellow daisies growing from the bee seed mix I had scattered amongst my fruit tree.

I love days like this with the peace and serenity of working on my plot on a lovely Summer's day and then coming home to a sun filled room.  The final end to a perfect day was to see the new moon rising as I walk with Pops in streets lit by a moonlight and the  rays of the setting sun. 

With Reiki blessings

Thursday, 19 July 2012


When I was leaving the allotments on Monday there were whispered warnings that blight was about.  I was told to go straight back and cut the tops of all my potatoes,

"No "I said

"Oh foolishness!"

was the reply but I slipped round the blockade and escaped.  I had been digging, weeding and hoeing for three hours and still had to walk home with Pops my dog. 

I always go via  St James Green to give her a run before she bounds home and I trudged in her wake.  I wondered if I had been "foolish but" regardless continued my journey homewards. 

My plan with my potato crop was to plant early Duke of York, mid season Picasso  and main crop Rooster.  The Duke of York I  dug last week, in August the Picasso would be ready.  Finally the Rooster could be harvested September October time.  Hmm if any of the crop got blight the potatoes would rot in the ground and contaminate the ground with the disease. 

On Tuesday I dug up the Picaso a really good yield from one kilo of seed potatoes and lots of big tubers perfect for Jacket Potatoes.  Should I also dig up the roosters.  My heart sank I already had more Potatoes than I knew what to do with?  Oh sigh!  I looked at the roosters some of the leaves where brown was that wind burn or blight?  I decided I would dig them up next visit and store them  and dig over the bed and edge it ready for the winter crops.

Were the wise old timer plot holders right to panic about potatoes blight?  Yes It can wipe out the plants overnight and, worse still, it can infect the tubers causing them to rot in storage. In a sack it will travel from potato to potato ruining the lot.

During  the past week the conditions were perfect for the potatoes fungus Phytopthora Infestans, It has been warm, wet and humid.   Tuesday the humidity was 90%  the spores spread through the air  and the spores have had a "Smith period"   more 48 hours of perfect weather for them to spread from one end of the allotments to the other helped by strong winds.

I may go down to my plot on Friday and find that the main crop potatoes now have blight and are rotting in the ground.  hopefully they will still be OK, or was I foolish to leave them?

The commercial grows are already struggling with waterlogged soil and now we have Smith Occurences of 10 degrees centigrade and high humidity of over 90% not just for 48 hours but day on day. Potato blight is one of the worst disease problems for the potato growers.

I should be grateful for the my harvest of potatoes and not whining about the  my spoilt potato harvest plan.  I did enjoy a lovely jacket potato last night and today I am going to make leek and potato soup, potato and celery soup, potato and onion soup..........

With Reiki blessings


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Nature's healing


My allotment is my haven and a retreat but  during the last week

 I felt very apprehensive about going to my plot

The police have been making a forensic search of some of the allotments, because Dave, a friend from the allotments, may have committed a horrendous murder.  On Wednesday, although I did not know if the police had finished their work or not, and despite the weather forecast being bad I felt I needed to go to my plot

Pops and I set off on Wednesday in bright sun shine and we pottered down the lanes and allies to the allotments. but as we walked along still in bright sunshine to the north black rain clouds were gathering and then a thunder storm broke streets away from where we were walking. It was so close the forked lightening was followed simultaneously with loud thunder bolt which struck a house just on my right, while we were still walking in sunshine..

I entered the Hope Cottage gate to the allotments, Pete gave me a cheery greeting as we passed his plot but the other allotments seemed empty, Pops, on the lead as always, was following the scent of a fox as we walked along. She kept trying to veer off the path to track the foxes. I think Pops thinks I have rubber arms and only remembers I have the other end of the lead when her tracking is stopped by me refusing to be hauled through a blackberry thicket.

Eventually we got to the plot and was greeted by Lindsey and Jenny from the community plot.. Lindsey was surprised that I had come down as the forecast was for heavy rain. As he spoke it began to rain. I opened my shed and made a dash to fill the kettle before the rain became torrential. Pops is very reluctant to go into my shed as she was tied up in one as a puppy, but eventually she came in, fear overcome her dislike  of drenching rain!  She settled down and ate my lunch while I drank tea.

When the rain stopped we emerged and I looked round my plot. Although my grass had been cut short only two weeks ago it had grown a foot high the whole plot resembled a wildflower meadow full of pot marigolds, achillia, cransbills, cornflowers, love in the mist, meadow sweet, borage, a swath of bee seeds had produced the most stunning yellow daisies which are in full flower, there were sweet peas, and even the  weeds and grass were flowering. It looked so beautiful and tranquil.

The bumble bees that are nesting in my cold frame were busy foraging for food. A foot from the cold frame borage is growing round my strawberry plants, It was full of bumble bees and solitary bees busy amongst its flowers. The nest of bumble bees is flourishing.   I think the borage has saved their lives as even in the rain they can shoot out and collect pollen and nectar and then quickly fly back into the nest before their hairy bodies becomes water logged.   if this happens they drop to the ground unable to fly and can become chilled and die, 

The sun felt warm and welcoming and I dug up the Royal Duke of York early Potatoes . I had six kilos of potatoes to take home. I also picked a bouquet of flowers for my friend Chris. Then the heavens opened again and Pops and I scrambled back in the shed. When the rain eased I decided to set off home.   However, before I could pack my rucksack the rain was pounding down again.  Jenny from the community plot invited us into the Polytunnel and we took cuttings of lavender, hyssop, and rosemary. Working together this was wonderful a relaxing activity . The rain eased and I decided to go home.

As Pops and I walked through the plots I was surprised to see my friend Chris was also at her plot. I took  the bouquet of flowers I had made to her. She invited me into the shed and with another friend we had a cup of tea and chatted. Five minutes after I went into the shed it begun to hail. Pop with a whimper  laid down inside the shed. After the hail storm came more rain with no respite.   I decided despite the deluge Pops and I would go home. How much wetter could we get?  A lot apparently!

The streets and lanes we walked down were flooded and we had to paddle in places. But soggy and tired we eventually got home. After toweling down Pops and myself I gave her lunch and some treats and made myself yet another cup of tea.

When I reflected back on the day at the plot I realised that nature had healed any negitive energies there.  The rain  that drench me seems to have washed away the horror of the week. My plot is still my haven and retreat. The beauty of my wildflower meadow was breath taking. I am blessed and very grateful for nature's bounty.


With Reiki Blessings 



Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Inner light and broken lives

The Quakers believe that every person has an inner light,

and that light is a spark of God.

Throughout my life I have worked with children, teenagers and adults who have broken lives. Some of the children I have worked with have hauled themselves up from the fringes of society and made a success of their lives.

The majority of these children lived in substandard housing, often in the private sector. If a house is damp it feels chilly all the time. Even newly painted walls will soon grow the black mould with its characteristic unpleasant smell.  The mould can be very harmful to young children’s lungs and clothes hanging in a musty or damp room smell, not the fragrance of clothes conditioner put the unpleasant smell of poverty. In school some children can smell the scent of poverty on these underclass children. Many move away but some taunt them and bully them for their poverty. 

Another problem for many  of these children is that their school dinner could be the first food they ate in the day and frequently the last meal of the day. School holidays were dreaded by them as they look forward to more  days when hunger would grip them. .

One of the children I worked with was Lucy a lovely, intelligent girl, her mum
managed the families money well and made their home lovely, though they were extremely poor and lived in sub-standard housing .The furniture was second-hand, her mum shopped in charity shops for herself but bought new clothes for Lucy at New Look. Lucy was bullied by girls for having clothes from that shop.  Lucy defended herself by telling the girls that her mum only bought what she could pay for and would not get into debt.  Many of these girls were standing in "designer" clothes bought from a  catalogue, for which the mothers often struggled to pay even minimum amount due each week.   Style was bought for the price of unmanageable debt. 
Lucy's life was broken by awful tragedy but she was a girl who hauled herself up from the fringes of Society into a better life.. She had support of a strong and caring mother.

There were many children, teenager and adults I have worked with that couldn't escape from the underclass. For several years I  worked off site, in London sometimes with one person, often with a whole year group from the Upper Exclusion School. I saw it as  my role to create a safe haven for them  . It was hard work but the attendance was above average. I taught IT and Media and made sure the majority of the children had certificates for each subject at Entry Level as well as English and  for the majority  also GCSE level Media and IT This was achieved through a team effort with the wonderful talented  support staff.

Amongst the children there were some that put up barriers to prevent anyone from glimpsing any part of their inner world. Others were more open and I could see the goodness within them. A few of these children were murdered or took their own lives. I have also  taught those  who as teenagers or adults have been convicted of murder.

 One of these was Greg, the child of a woman who was both a heroin addict and a dealer,  She would leave Greg in dirty nappies as this was where she hid the drugs. He had experienced vile brutality and was very violent himself at times. Eventual leading to exclusion from the Exclusion School.  The one exception, was because of his good behaviour in the outreach centre, he was allowed to come into the IT classes at the community centre and write. His poetry was powerful and evocative.

After Greg had left school he used to come back to see us at the Centre, he held down a good job with a construction firm for a while. Then the day came when he arrived and told us he had killed someone. He wanted me to be with him when the police came for him. He phoned the police and we sat and waited until they arrived. The police arrived in force, expecting from Greg's reputation, for him to be an extremely violent person. One of the  Community staff went outside to see the police and ask for only two officers to come into the  centre. Greg went with them calmly and with dignity. I  hold and I am a witnesses  the sparks of goodness and light within Greg

My last blog was about my friend, Dave, who has now been charged with the brutal murder and dismemberment of David Guy. I am so sad that this has happened, I have enormous compassion for David's family and friends. I am appalled that Dave is being charged with this awful crime  However, I will always hold and be a witness to his kindness and his inner light the contrasting aspect of him from the recent  dreadful fatal violence he may have committed..

With Reiki Blessings to all


Saturday, 7 July 2012

Dave - my friiend.

Dave is, I believe, under arrest for the brutal killing of his friend.and disposal of his dismembered body in the sea.  The upper torso of the body was found last week on the beach.   He is in custody now for another 32 hours.  He is  a friend from the allotments.

When I first got my overgrown plot Dave helped put up my shed and dug over half the plot for me.  My dog Pops loves him and when ever we are at the allotment he always has time to cuddle her and play with her. Dave has been kind and friendly to me but I am aware that he has deep and dark moods.  He swings from happy and optimistic to angry, agitated moods.  His plot is somewhere where he can recover be close to nature, grow food and find peace.

Dave is one of the underclass of society he was left by his mother when a toddler and he lived with his father. When he talks about his dad it is always with affection but his father was a tough and sometimes brutal man.  From childhood Dave worked with his father as scrap  merchant. He had no schooling  as somehow he slipped out of the education system  His father's family had always been Totters.   In the 20th century the horse and cart had been exchanged for a battered lorry.  Dave still follows in this trade.  His shed on his plot is an Aldin's cave. 

I feel so sad that Dave is in this dreadful situation, however, what happened to the victim is horrendous and brutal.  I have asked myself could Dave have done this murder and disposed of the body in this way?  Yes in a dark mood fuelled with Alcohol, which is such an enemy to those with mental health problems. 

What ever is the outcome of the police investigation Dave will always be my friend and I am grateful for his kindness and help for me at the allotments.  He knows so much about nature and the wild animals and insects, how to look after trees, to grow good fruit and vegetables. 

Dave has a son he kept in contact with him despite the break up of his relationship with the boy's mother.  His son is serving in the army in Afghanistan.

The allotment is buzzing with Dave's arrest and the searching of his plot.  I just feel sad.

I am sending Reiki to Dave, to the victim of this awful crime and his family and to Dave's son

With Reiki blessings


Monday, 2 July 2012

Lucy a Mistake?

My thoughts keep returning to the news story of a young Chinese woman in Shaanxi Province who was forcibly taken to hospital to abort her second child. Feng Jianmei was held down by four people as she was given an injection to bring on the abortion of her 7 month unborn baby, the labour  took 36 hours.  Minutes after the abortion, a family member posted on the internet a photograph of  her aborted second daughter, clearly perfectly formed at seven months, lying next to her on a hospital bed. The image went viral.

The images that accompanied this story were poignant and invoked my compassion and respect and admiration for Feng Jianmei's courage in refusing to crawl away out of sight to live with her memories of her lose and her terrible ordeal.  The first picture was heartrending, this was followed by a picture of  her first daughter lying beside her in hospital,  A place her mother must have felt to be very unsafe after the violence done to her and her baby.    A place were anger fear and outrage were ripple throughi its wards and corridors as three officials have been suspended for the illegal act of violence against a mother and her unborn child that China's one child policy engenders. 

My  friend Lucy, whose Chinese name means Mistake, was a second child.  Her family suffered financially and socially because of her birth.  She said that her mother hid her pregnancy until she was past six months after this date in China it is illegal to abort a child.  Her mother was beaten and kicked by a woman from the Family Planning Unit when it was found out that her mother was having a second child.  This attack may have been an attempt to force an abortion.

As a result of Lucy's birth her father lost his job and the family were ostracized and sank into poverty.  Elders of the family kept them from starving but strongly disapproved of her parents. It was these elders who named the baby Mistake.  Once Lucy was old enough she was dispatched to England and told she would not be welcomed back into the family.

The  activist lawyer Chen Guangcheng was sent to prison last year for exposing what he says were over-zealous health workers in Linyi City, Shandong Province.  He says they illegally forced women to have late-term abortions and be sterilised. 

Feng Jianmei's story has reached the world via  the courage of a relation  posting the picture on the Internet.  The family must have realised  they would be in serious trouble with the authorities. Feng Jiammi's sister-in-law  and a lawyer have described how family members  have been followed, harassed and attacked  as traitors for speaking to foreign media. The person who posted the picture Feng Jiammei and her still born child has been severely beaten and is in hiding. Was this act of courage inspired by Chen Guangcheng stand against sanctioned violence against pregnant women who already had one child? 

The Shaanxi Province had failed to achieve its target of enforcing the One Child Policy for two consecutive years and the authorities were acting more strenuously to achieve a 95% one child birth per family..This weekend  outside  the hospital  were Feng is still a patient protesters  against the family shouted and  held a banner reading:

 "Beat the traitors and expel them". 

After his arrival in the United States, Chen Guangcheng  said he hoped,

 "Everybody works with me to promote justice and fairness in China".  "We should link our arms to continue in the fight for the goodness in the world and to fight against injustice,"

China does not intend to change its One Child Policy. 

Reiki’s healing light for “goodness in the world” and gratitude for those who have the courage to fight against  injustice whatever the cost to themselves and those they love.

Reiki healing and love to Feng Jianmei and her beautiful first daughter, her second daughter now in transition, their father and family. And to all women who have been forced to have an abortion.

With Reiki Blessings


I have seen the picture of Feng and her dead daughter and it was a terrible heartbreaking sight which made me weep for her and all the women who have been so violently treated so officials can meet the local one child per family target. It was important to me to be a witness to this event. 

Reiki wisdom to the Chinese Government and its officials