Sunday, 1 December 2013

Marjorom - or is It Organeo?

New blog has been published on:
A ramble through attributes of the herb Marjoram, how to grow and use in the kitchen and in healing.  Two lovely Potato recipes are included.

With Best Wishes


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Dog roses and my Healing Garden

 I am  have started two more blogs to make my sites a little less rambling (if possible. ) I have written a new blog and posted on this site Reiki Druids Herbal.  Hope you enjoy a ramble through the post

With Reiki Blessings

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Tussle With Bind Weed.

The neighbour behind me at the allotment neglects her plot and does nothing to deal with the bind weed that is over taking her plot.  No that is not true she strims it!!!  

As I have dug, and feed my back bed the bind weed comes through to my side as it finds it easier rather than struggling through grass.  Most of the back bed is covered with weed suppressant fabric.  But undeterred the bind weed creeps over the fence or under the fabric and emerges into the light.  I try to be philosophical about it, but every now and again I flip out and swear  and mutter about bad neighbours.  This happened recently when I found that my crab apple tree was covered in bind weed which had thread it self  tightly round branches and the trunk again. as you can see in the picture I had cleared it twice the previous month and once already in August. I was hopping mad I threatened the bind weed with a horrible end.  I even contemplating getting a 
glyphosate weed killer but many of these  de-nature the soil and kill off beneficial insects   My plot is home to numerous bugs as my anger fell I decided digging it and hoeing will be my solution and I will get an 18 inch metal barrier between my plot and theirs. I will  raise the fence to five foot either with netting or willow screening so if anyone sprays the plot behind it will help prevent the weed killer drifting over my plot and onto my crab apple tree.

My neighbours also have rampant blackberries which have also thrust themselves between the branches of the crabapple and sneak under the fence. and  grass - Oh sigh! 

 I love my young crab apple the spring blossom is beautiful and the as the fruit  does not ripen until December the  red apples  glisten in the winter sun like Christmas baubles.  I share my crab apples between the wild life and myself.  Last year it was such a poor year for the birds I left all the crab apples for them.

I did think about moving my crab apple tree but it is established now and growing really well despite the bind weed, grass and brambles that invade its space. 

There is hard work ahead but I will eliminate  the bind weed by constant hoeing and digging.  I will be chanting as Thomas the Tank engine did as he climbed the big hill: 

I think I can, I know I can 
Defeat is not an option!

With Reik Blessings and Light


P.S. I will be writing a blog soon about the crab apple  - myths, magic, and its place in the  Ogham calender.  

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Mint glorious Mints

Corsican Mint Norfolk Herbs
Next year in my garden and in my allotment I intend to grow more mint plants , I hope to grow Corsican mint and Penny Royal as part of a"no grass lawn" outside my shed.  I am going to divide the area into boxes about the size of a seed tray and  growa mixture of mints, thyme, bellis,  German chamomile, clover, and other low growing tough plants the area will only be three foot wide and six foot long.and should be able to  be walked on and for Pops dog to lie on but digging is banned!

Nepeta Six Hills -Hooksgreen  Garden 

 I am growing some of the  plants in seed trays including penny royal..but other mints I  will buy as plugs as  most of the them are difficult to grow from seeds.  I do grow cat mint and have visions of a beautiful border along my herb bed of  this blue flowered mint. This has been a dream ever since I saw  a clip of Pam Aryes sitting in her garden on a beautiful summers day along side a border of Nepeta in full flower.

I find Cat mint grow well from seed and I have enough to grow a border around my herbs beds in the garden. and bowls for the cats,   It grows well through April, May into June it reaches perfection tall, flower buds forming and that is when Ray cat nibbles and bends it and rubs his head along it  and rolls in it.  Then Pop dog who has ignored it previously discovers it and eats it and snuggles down on top of it and I am left with stalks.  Oh sigh,  I grow it for them but I can dream! I have not grown it at the allotment as I do like the idea of the numerous cats or foxes rolling in ecstasy on my herb bed.

Black Peppermint Norfolk Herbs
I am also going to grow more varieties of mint, I use so much mint in cooking, salads and teas and want to increase the amount and types I grow.  My black peppermint  no longer looks lush and flourishing but a tiny plant with small leaves, as I have picked it so often for tea. The spearmint is also a frail shadow of it self and certainly has not become invasive. These two are my favourite mint plants and are used almost daily for tea, in cooking or salads, and with fruit. I have never found mint invasive as I pick it regularly and only reluctantly stop picking the leaves when the plants needs time to renew itself

A new mint I am going  grow next year is Moroccan Mint. It is one of the best spearmints  and mixed with green rooibos tea is a lovely hot infusion or iced drink.  A small amount of  fresh peppermint adds a lovely zing to the tea. It also goes well with Chinese green teas such as the famous Gunpowder Green Tea which All about Tea mix into their blend of Tuareg Mint Tea this is really delicious.

Mints is used as herbal  remedy for::stomach aches, headaches, stress and anxiety.  It can also be used to soothe insect bites .It is a fragrant and beautiful garden plant

Buddleia Mint Norfolk Herbs
Chocolate mint Norfolk Herbs

Anyway time for tea, I think fresh mint and green Rooibos tea.

With Reiki blessings and light


Monday, 29 July 2013

Donner and Blitzen and Pops

Pops is a gorgeous dog but she has cycles of harem sacrum moments, quite a few in the past two weeks according to my diary. these moments are often only funny in retrospect,  The garden has borne the brunt of her activity  but the house has not passed unscathed..

We have been woken to the sound of Pops.
"murdering sleep, innocent sleep, sleep, sleep that soothes away all our worries.." (.Macbeth)
Pops is having a panic attack and ripping the doors to pieces in the dining room  trying to get out. I rushed down stairs to find Pops with her head stuck in that door.   She had tried to escape through the smallish hole she has made in the door over the past four years.

The cats stared with horror at the door and Pops head and retreated to their safe haven.  flying past me as I stumbled down the stairs to see what was a wrong. Not only was her head through the hole but she was panting and drooling with fright,  I did laugh but thought it would be wrong to get the camera out before I got her out of the hole she had got herself in.

Why had she panicked?  there was no wind, no noise, I extracted her head carefully and slipped on her lead and walked her into the front room soothing her and trying to think what was wrong what had changed, to make her so sacred.  Then I walked back into the room where Pops sleeps to see what could have caused her distressed and then realized it was probably the new night light I had bought for her when her old one broke. Pops is also frightened of the dark and gets very distressed if she is left without a light.  (She has so many fears caused by her first year of life before she came to me. But she is never aggressive.) I realized the new light light had an led bulb.  I then remembered Pops  had been spooked  by my Led torch  when we have been out walking.  I  unplugged it, turned on the main light and Pops settled down quietly to sleep. Wearily I trudge back up stairs, said goodnight to cats who were sitting on the landing watching Pops. 

We had a calm few days Pops loved the hot weather and was outside from the moment she woke up until bedtime.  She alternated between shady places and her sunny chair.  Suddenly she decided to dig a new shady dell in the middle of  my herb bed,  All I can say is that the English lavender bush nurtured from a cutting to a two foot high bush was shredded to pieces and my sweet cicely plant was left dangling over a precipice only supported by Pops bottom as she lay comfortably in her new hollow.  

Pops chases flies and bees, usually unsuccessfully but last week she caught one - a bumble bee she shut her mouth and angry buzzing was heard from inside her head, she opened her mouth and out flew the bumble bee angry but unharmed.  Bumble bees rarely sting as if they do the die almost immediately. I was so cross with her, but the look of bemused bewilderment and the shaking of her head and drooling tongue betrayed how frightened she was by the experience.  Oh sigh Pops my little dog with little brain!

Then there was the  night of the thunderstorm at the first rumble Pops was ripping open the door and running round looking for a way out of the house. Chunks of doors littered the floor before I could get down stairs.  I caught her and held her face and made her look at me and pay attention.  Her fear and distress was obvious,  I put her on her lead and took her upstairs, the cats fled into the linen cupboard, not because of the storm but the sight of the drooling trembling wreck that was Poppy dog.  Pops struggled onto our bed and wandered in circles then jumped off and sat at the top of the stairs for a few hours before creeping downstairs to her bed.  She did not get up until late the next morning. 

I wouldn't be without Pops but I do wish the wizard who fixed the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz could give her some courage and help her to stop being terrified by so many things.

Well here is the tale of two weeks of the mishaps in the life of Pops my beautiful, cowardly dog. Does Anyone know where the Wizard lives?

 With Reiki blessing to you and all those afraid


 P.S Pops dog has just eaten  my herb plants  bergamot and sweet cicely leaving only a stump
Oh sigh!

 PP.S Pops grab the post just as the Postwoman was putting it in to the letter box  I had to apologies for her.  Pops just wagged her tail and twirled and twirled trying to catch her tail..    

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Tea Time In My scented Herb Garden

My garden and allotment are full of herbs, I use herbs in teas and cooking, and medicinally.  On a grey  June day I wrote a list of the herbs I grow and it came to over 50 herbs.   This is a picture I took of my part of my herb collection on that same grey day.  There are thymes,  mints, rosemary, oregano,  sweet cicely, lavenders, and wild strawberries just beginning to ripen.  These herbs I use every day in cooking, for making teas and medicinally. I grow some herbs in pots but most in the ground. At the allotment I have the herbs lovage, angelica, hyssop and chamomile growing in one bed near my shed but I also grow other herbs in the fruit beds, with the strawberries borage., with the chard,oregano chives, rocket.

It gives me a sense of well being to see and  to be surrounded by herbs, and when I stop to rest and play with my dog Pops I brew herb tea picked fresh from the plants around me. Sometimes I may have a mint infusion, or black tea and lemon balm to give me a boost of energy, the combinations are numerous and from my local Tea Store I have learnt to make unusual blends.  I try their expert blends and become bolder in the combination of herbs I use in teas.  I sometimes use Rooibos  teas green, earl grey or black with the herbs.

In March to shield my plot from yet another poly-tunnel I plant a dog rose screen, which have rose-hips in the Autumn, so I have been trying out loose rose-hip tea, All about Tea combine this with hibiscus flower and it has become my favourite tea. I love the Ruby Red colour  of Hibiscus tea, a delight to eye and its flavour is tangy and citrus and delicious. Hibiscus  grow in tropical climates but in fact are members of the mallow family. The Pharaohs used hibiscus tea, and today it's still common as a toast at Egyptian weddings. 

Another combination of tea that I got from this tea store is a Faery Tea called Wendy's Tea.  Here is its description from the Tea Stores on-line store:

Wendy Tea is a magical faery blend of Rooibos Earl Grey,sweet South African Honeybush, Lavender Flowers, Rose Petals, Marigold Petals and Cornflower Petals. A refreshing, uplifting tea that will leave you feeling relaxed and ready for whatever life throws at you!
Delightful to drink on a hot June afternoon, and to share with friends and family  a spoon of honey and there is magic held in your hands and  especially  for children.  

I find a chamomile infusion is delightful, chamomile and lavender tea promises a relaxing evening and sleep,  but for perfection I mix these herbs  with Rooibos, green or black tea. ( I am a builders tea person!)

Oh I love herbs and making herb teas.I feel I might be back to  blog about herbs and tea again

This is the on-line link to All About Tea

Pops is waiting for her evening walk so I must  stop blogging and take her for a stroll in the park.

With Reiki Blessings


Monday, 17 June 2013

The first Roses of Summer

Today it is dull summers day with hardly a glimmer of sunshine, I have been out in the garden dead heading my roses, how strange that a little over a week ago I was waiting for the first rose of the year to unfurl  and now that bloom is in the compost bin.

The 9th of June was a perfect June evening I sat in my garden in dappled sunlight and saw three of my Masquerade rose were beginning to bloom, and this climbing rose held the promise of a hundred or more flowers.  It was hot evening and I was shaded by the honeysuckle lonicere sermpervirens. Opposite to where I was sitting was a lovely old English rambling rose running twenty foot down the trellis and smothered in buds but only two were flowering.

The borders in my garden are filled with shrubs and perennial flowers. On the patio area there are pots of lavender,  winter box, herbs  and bowls of salad leaves vibrant in the sun, it  is a beautiful space.On the evening of the 9th of June the silence was only broken by the buzzing of the bees and a wood pigeon cooing in the distance.

Where is my garden? Not in the country side but in a densely populated City.  Yet there in that moment there was perfect peace and tranquility.

I  captured this lovely evening in my journal and thought on this grey evening in June I would share it with you.I

With Reiki blessings


Masquerade rose brightening a grey day

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Time Out From The On-line Universe

For the past month I have been taking time out from the on-line Universe, I check in to look at emails, and do a few tasks on-line but then I have shut down the computer and got busy in the outside world.  I have never been obsessed with the on-line community, which probably reflects my age!

On the way to local shops I walk by the University bus stop where lines of students wait to be transported into the City Center, often 50 of more students are waiting there, but frequently the only sound is of mobile phones alerting the owner to a new text and the tapping of text messages, or they are using one of the many apps they cannot seem to live with out.  As I weave my way through the University group, I am rarely acknowledge.  Conversation between each other  is unusual and almost frowned upon as disturbing the 'real world'..  I call them a group but they are not a group they are isolated individuals with their eyes fixed on tiny screen where life is really happening.  When the bus draws up they shuffle forward to get on the double decker bus  eyes still fixed on a glowing light and slip silently past the bus driver briefly flashing their bus pass before their hands return to texting or surfing the internet.

I am reminded of  story of The Midwich Cuckoos,  by John Wyndham,  In the which "The Children" were alien beings who were controlled by a one group will. .  The University Students aren't controlled by the group mind but by the tiny screens in their hands, controlled by invisible beings out there in the ether.

I read a tweet yesterday about how the Dorset Wild life Trust is concerned about the use of mobile phones apps at their Reserves   The Metro sets the scene and the consequences for birds:

It’s a beautiful day to be a bird: sun above warming the feathers and lots of lovely insects down below.
and here’s the icing on the cake – a ‘come and get me’ mating call from a chirruping beauty looking for action.

But wait… hang on… it’s only the annoying chatter of a mobile phone-wielding human.

It is annoying for this human being  to hear mobile apps being played  when walking through a Reserve or woodland, but  as Tony Whitehead  of  RSPB  said:

playing a recording of bird song or calls to get a better view of a bird can divert it from other important duties, such as feeding its young.

"Night Jars are rarely seen during daylight, but at night when they are 'churring' on the branch of a  tree they can be picked out against the night sky."

Twitchers on Brownsea Island have been disturbing these rare  Night Jar  by using a mobile app. of its song to locate and draw out the birds for spotting and photo calls.  They maybe people who perhaps do not realise the harm they be doing to the birds well being, or maybe people too busy or impatient, to stand and wait for  one of these birds to reveal itself, or just be grateful to know it is there and is being protected on the Reserve..

The virtual world seems to have become more real than the actual world, for many people. 

Oh dear I  am living up to my name and Rambling! 

I love the world of the internet and the interactivity it gives, but I only spend a fragement of my time on the computer each day.  Life is out there waiting to be experienced, and enjoyed.  All we need to do is pay attention to the present moment and we can see the treasures of nature and live life fully.

With Reiki blessings 


Monday, 15 April 2013

Out look for A Reiki Druid is Bleak Allotment Wars

I love my allotment it is a place of peace and harmony for me I love growing and planting; it is a bit of a frustrating year as it is too cold to plant out overwintered herbs and perennial flowers sown in the Autumn the plants in the ground are hunkered down and are not growing. I haven't yet been able to put in my seed potatoes and even tough broad beans planted in autumn have succumbed to the rain,cold, snow and lowlight only a dozen have survived.

On the good side my daffodils are flowering and  lasting  much longer than they did last year. The bellis daisies flowered  from late February  through the snow and are flowering still.  The pot marigolds which usually by now are flowering and brightening the beds haven't even emerged yet.  The borage and cransbills both early flowers are not growing at the moment.  Everything is at a standstill waiting for the warmth of the sun.

The vagaries of British weather are not the cause of my feeling of bleakness no it has a human cause -  My Neighbours at the allotment The Community Allotmen  have continued to allow their groups and users to walk over my allotment to a path which is closer to the toilets rather than take the path take that has been built for their  users  Last week yet again a group walked into my allotment and out the tiny gap between the rail for disable users and my fence.  They walked over my herb bed which  has been tamped down so solidly by these  users stepping on to it.  I doubt my herbs there will emerged this year. .  

Now I need to explain about the path along side my plot, it  is blocked by the Community plots cold frame. Oh dear  I think a picture would do better.

As you can see there is a sharp turn and then a slope up to the gap and the raised  disabled path.  That is concrete path the path Community Plot users should use but they take a short cut through my plot.  Which was OK when regular groups were using the allotments but now there are short courses run some of the users do not respect people's allotments.  After having fruit bushes smashed to bits and my dog kicked by a poorly managed group of children, I requested that Community plot users did not walk through  through my plot.  The Manager of the plot agreed that this would be done.  It wasn't.  I repeated the request  again, in November and December Yes  of course it was agreed, yet there was no stopping the flow of their  users., across my plot and herbs. I repeat this request.again in March, again last week which in April 2013.

This was what sparked the present Allotment War.  After more short course user walked onto my plot   I reminded  a member of staff, Jenny about this agreement .  Her reply was to raged:

"What is wrong with you."
First oophs I admit that Perhaps it wasn't the right thing to say but  I retaliated with:
"Your Poly-tunnels are ugly"
Oh heck Allotment Wars! 

Yes I did say poly-tunnels I now look out on 8 rods of  plastic.  I can longer see across the allotments and my friends working on them.  I cannot see the trees or see the Kestrels in their nesting site. They have put in a huge  commercial poly-tunnel next to their original one, creating a bleak outlook for this  
for a Reiki Druid.

I  had already asked them what their planting plan was to minimise the visual impact of the the tunnels and eventually got an email saying "lovely vegetables and sunflower, not adequate in my view.  

The member of staff who was so aggressive with me also told her immediate boss that I wanted the poly- tunnel taken down.  Not true I accepted that being a Council Project the effect on neighbours had not and would not be taken into account. Yes I would like it moved- hey is that likely..

My emails to the manager were sent back for technical reasons with this message  

Mail Delivery Subsystem
5 Apr (4 days ago)
This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification THIS IS A WAR....

How appropriate!  

Next step was to phone Tony K on Monday morning.   This another oophs!  I get up at 5.30 to write, meditate ,potter be with my cats before the dog wakes up and peace runs away with the cats.

I knew Tony came to work at 8.00 a.m. so I phoned at 8.30. OK I am getting to the oophs I had misread the time and it was 7.30 the phone was answered by a senior manager,which I did not know at the time,who took a message asking Tony to phone back but also lent my a very sympathetic ear so I told all. 

Tony phoned me back I felt he was very angry After telling him about the failed emails I told him my reason for calling, I also reminded him that he thought that the path was not suitable for disabled, frail and elderly users.  He was spitting feathers at this time and said, 
I will get Rob down and he will dig out the slope or put concrete steps in.
This is on my plot! 

Oh no he wouldn't 

"It is my plot and you do not have permission to touch anything on it"

He then said,

 "You are shouting at me."
 I ask you wouldn't you shout?

Let battle commence.

I phoned the Allotment Officer who was out,  and out.  By this time I was upset and angry.  I felt Tony had been bullying me, although he may not have realised it.  I definitely want to stop anyone coming on my plot and carrying out work without my permission and which was not needed.  Council officer or not.  The Allotment officer was away, but eventually I spoke to some one in the department and He sent a note to Tony and left a message for David when he returned next Thursday. 

I have strived to  emphasise that I do not want my good relationship with the community plot broken, but  I feel sometimes things just cannot be mended.

I am sending Reiki to the situation, and asking for wisdom in handling it.  I have taken to my plot a green Calcite crystal it is:

Cooling to the hot emotions ... it clears the heart chakra of stress and other unhealthy psychic debris.
it also 
.... assist one to be more in tune with nature and  the spirit of plants and animals.*

Hopefully all out war will be averted and I can make changes to me plot that will make it once more my haven by the sea.  Mmm...  perhaps a woodland  border I have newly brought elderberry and loganberry, dog wood roses, perhaps and there is a filbert in the back border that is a start... lots of.reflection time needed ....and patience  and keeping my speech wise and not filled with "hot emotions"..  Oh tough one!. 

P.SI have now planted  a screening hedge of dog roses

I ordered from the RHS Hedge Nursery  last Wednesday, they arrived Friday I started clearer the border and planting them this weekend.  They are five foot high as they are for screening the poly-tunnels and:

The RHS Dog Rose (Rosa canina) is a large fast growing native rose, with prickly stems that carry clusters of single, scented pale white/pink flowers in summer, followed by glossy red egg-shaped hits in autumn. .. it has a scrambling habit so it forms an impenetrable barrier and will attract birds and deter intruders. 
The perfect solution for me, the wild birds and insects.

P.P.S.  A friend said to me with Reiki surely you do not feel anger and stress - I did feel very distressed by the way I have been spoken to over the path by the Community Plot and depressed by erection of another huge Poly-tunnel next to my plot.. What Reiki practice did was help my seek a positive solution by late Sunday afternoon I felt tired, my back was aching from digging out the grass edge to my bed and planting the bare root hedge, but I was singing again about Pops, my plants, birds and insects, and my friends. I was filled with a sense of gratitude to Usui Sensei, the RHS Hedge Nursery, and to the beautiful Roses I  had planted.

Wishing you all Reiki Harmony and Blessings
and the positive solution you need.


* From the book of Stones by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian

Friday, 22 March 2013

Last Day 0f Winter 2013

The last day of winter was a beautiful day sunny sparkling cloudless skies, warm enough to work on my allotment and to take time out to  meditate and have a cup of tea or two. The  daffodils and crocuses were flowering, while buds were swelling on the fruit trees and bushes.  There were occasional bumble bees lazing in a daffodil  trumpet or lingering on the open crocus flowers and then visiting the bellis daisies.

The rhubarb crowns were being to produce perfect tiny leaves which will soon be big enough to shade the bed.  The first thing I did when I got to the plot was checked my new apple tree, a one year old maiden James Grieve to see how it was faring in the wet and cold weather.   It is less of a tree more of a stick with lovely shiny bark the colour of  burnt umber brown, but still a stick! The water table has been so high this winter the young roots of the tree could be struggling to grow or even be rotting in the cold, wet and icy earth around them.  Here is hoping the tiny buds will swell and start the transformation from stick to a beautiful tree full of red apples which in a couple of years  will give in September beautiful cookers which if left on the tree will be by November sweet desert apples.. 

It was a perfect day at the plot and in the evening while walking Pops  there was a beautiful half moon in a star studded sky.  The night air was crisp but dry and Winter finished here in Hampshire with the gift of  sunlight and moonlight.

Wednesday was the Spring Equinox and dawn broke with clear skies and sunshine.  However, by late morning there was a chill in the air and growing cloud banking up and eventually obscuring the sun.  All the doors and windows which I had thrown open to welcome Spring were shut tight again  as the cold began to seep through the house.   In the evening on my walk with Pops  we faced icy rain and blustery squalls form a bitter north easting wind. Pops headed for home as soon as she could turn the right corner there was going to be no extended walk for her.  As soon as she came home she wedged herself against the radiator.

crocus flowering in my plot
The Spring Equinox brings equal day and night then gradually the light grows day by day until midsummer's day.   This  years Spring Equinox started  with Sunshine but as I sit at my computer I can hear the wind rumbling done the chimney and it is wet and very chilly outside, there may even be snow showers to come.  A disappointing start after such a long winter period of rain snow chilly winds and dull days. 

On the afternoon of the Equinox  I turned on the lights before sunset tonight as the cloud cover was so dense it obscured the light. Hey ho, sigh Spring will come and the seedlings in the greenhouse will grow straight and tall and not be leggy and weak. Whatever happens I will be growing and planting on my allotment and in the garden.  Today I snatched moments outside  to look at the beautiful daffodils shining through the gloom but  the crocuses were shut tight against the wind

So welcome Spring and the sunny days a head, and...

May the Long Time Sun

Shine upon you

All love surround you

And the pure light

within you

Guide your way home

With Reiki blessings


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Cooperation and Dissent

Ben, Michael & in the background Jenny
 filling the birds feeders
I haven't been able to get to my plot  for a fortnight due to having a cold, snow, freezing rain, North Easterly gales.

There are soooo  many jobs that need to be done before the start of the new growing season.  I managed to recruit Ben and Michael to help dig the two beds I am going to plant the potatoes in this year.  They were on loan to from my neighbours The Community Plot and they made short work of digging the beds.  Some how the path between the beds disappeared, but hey ho grass grows very well on my plot . All I will need to do is fork it over and  edge the the beds.  It felt so good to see the beds beginning to be prepared for planting.

The Allotments are less relaxing now as the previous Chairman at the allotments retired and the New Chairman is  a City Councillor and has not got his own plot yet!  The waiting list for plots here is over 500 people and the Council is keen to get this down quickly.  In April, May, June, July the number of Dirty Plot Letter quadrupled and anger grew as people whose plots were flooded for weeks on end got letters, Relentless every month these two people from the committee went round inspecting plots and drew up lists of dirty plots for the Allotment Officer to inspect and send out letters.  He  had no knowledge of horticulture and relied on the Committee Members to guide him. He is now assistant Parks Manager.

 The anger also grew amongst people  who worked as they had three months, from April to July  when they could rarely get on to their plots to work on it, because weekend after weekend there was torrential rain. To receive a  a Dirty Plot Letter in the post inflamed many of them.. Everyone had Crops fail because of the low light levels, the water table rising  higher and higher and finally an  army of slugs and snails emerged that ate  many of seedlings and plants that were growing!. A miserable Spring and early Summer seasons compounded by two of the Allotment Committee members not supporting the plot holders but the Councillors and their eagerness to get the waiting list for allotments down.

New Plot holders were expected to have a perfect plot in weeks. I blame Joe Swift's  TV program on Allotments, but that is another story, It took me eighteen months to get my plot fully productive after I took it over.  Now there is an expectation that the plots should be 79% productive at all times.  Errr last year I did not achieve that for more than a couple of months. Even the Potatoes had to be dug up early  because of a blight scare, which left three beds empty,

When I saw the dastardly pair approaching  with clipboard at the ready I felt tense and almost held my breathe until they passed without adding my plot to the list for a Dirty Letter. I became acutely aware of all the jobs I hadn't done at my plot and tt was a horrible feeling.  Fortunately the Council has now employed someone who has worked in horticulture and  I hope things will look up  this year. I also hope that  the weather will be much much kinder to all of us.

I love my plot and enjoy being there, surrounded by the fruit trees, bushes, plants,  vegetables.  I love the perennial and annual flowers I grow which draw in bees, and insects and wild life.  It is my haven and retreat,

My daffodils and crocus are flowering, my fruit trees beginning to bud and I enjoyed two sunny, if cold, days at the allotments this week. Happy days - more please Mister God!

With Reiki blessing and Light
Happy Growing
Merry B

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Snowed Under But In The Pink

I wrote a notebook entry on my website but decide I would expand on it here,  so hopefully this blog will grow.. Pop back again soon.

snowed under but in the pink
Every day I walk into my garden I notice changes the tight buds of the daffodils are unfurling, Today the buds of the wild daffodils have started to open amongst the snowdrops, one small tulip is flowering.  The days are  creeping forward to the Spring Equinox the beginning of  a new season.

The weather of late Winter has been cold,grey and gloomy.  More rain and even snow lies ahead in the next few days.  But when I see tiny daffodils, snowdrops and crocuses shining through the gloom my spirits lift.  

I had become quite gloomy in February as the weather had restricted my outdoor activity, walking, gardening and my time at my allotment.  I could feel the cold and gloom from outside penetrating my mind and heart space.  I heard myself complaining and muttering about  'Life the World and Universe' and struggled to emerge into the light.  Fortunately on my book shelf is Pema Chodron's teaching on The way of the Bodhisattva.  For three days I immersed  my self in the teachings. 

 On the fourth day I woke up feeling very strange, different, it was only gradually did it dawn on me what the change were, I no longer felt stressed, no longer felt exhausted and my mind had cleared.  All the negative and destructive emotions that had stifled me had evaporated and I felt cheerful and knew any problems that I still faced had solutions or would pass

With Reiki Light and Blessings

Merry B

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Spring Messenger

I love seeing in early spring the flowers of the celandines, daffodils and primroses in their shades of yellow. The celandine is nicknamed the spring messenger and is one of the first wild flowers to emerge each New Year.  They only open their brilliant yellow flowers when there is sunshine or bright light. William Wordsworth describes it so beautifully in this poem
from telegraph

There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;And, at the first moment that the sun may shine,Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!

Despite the cold and wet weather the Celandines in my garden are growing again, the daffodils, tulips and crocus are begining to show above ground, and snowdrops are almost ready to flower.

The blackbirds and robins are singing in the early morning and will soon be joined by all the birds in the dawn chorus.

Nature brings inspiration and beauty.The last few days there have been wonderful
sunrises and even a glimpse of the watery image of the crescent moon blushed by the rising sun
So many treasures to be found just by paying attention to the present moment

Friday, 1 February 2013

Reiki & Mindfulness Meditation

This is an extract from notes  for a talk given at a Reiki Conference in January 2013.

My flooded plot 30th January 2013
 At this time of the year it is easy to slip into bleak moods, the excitement of Christmas is gone and many of us are left worrying about bills. and how to make our money stretch to pay for extra heating in the freezing weather.  Snow,rain and low light can make us feel depressed and frustrated.  Energy can be low and our patience as well.  .There seems no solutions to the winter time  blues.  

However Mindfulness Meditation is a way of finding peace and quiet in our mind and heart. Meditation not only benefits our emotions and spirit but also our physical body.  Medical research has shown that just twenty minutes meditation three or four times a week will benefit our health. 

Yet knowing that will not stop us making excuses about why we cannot meditate.  It maybe

“I am too busy”.
“Meditate in my household with all that noise! “

You can meditate where ever you are.  Mindfulness meditation consists of everything that is inside your mind and everything in your environment. You can begin each meditation session just by listening to the sounds around you. Be aware of them but then let them go.   It may be the baby crying, the dog barking, traffic, the ticking of a clock, a petal falling from a flower or birds singing. The Thai meditation Master Ajahn Chah said when noise intruded into his meditation hut

If your mind does not go out to disturb the noise.
The noise won’t disturb you

When I visited Chalice Wells Glastonbury, a sacred place, full of legend, symbolism and atmosphere it was bursting with many different sounds.The gardens were full of people meandering along the paths talking quietly about the beauty of the gardens or maybe the legend of Chalice Wells.  It was a beautiful and tranquil space.

Even there one young man found neither peace nor harmony. He had settled in a secluded place in the gardens to meditate.  Unfortunately it was just by the well where people were filling bottles with holy water from the spring.  He became incandescent with anger because the noise was intruding on his meditation.   Every time he settled back to his meditations someone would speak or laugh, or walk by and he was disturbed yet again!  He spoke very sharply to people and I could sense his mind and body was filled with rage.  His posture and facial expression suggested he wanted to punch someone on the nose.  We had ruined his meditation, or had we? 

Jarvis Masters is living on Death Row in San Quentin.  A place which The San Francisco Chronicle described as

 “An antiseptic form of hell, nearly devoid of the things, like  intimacy and love that give life value.”  

Text Box: Death Row QuentinYet Jarvis has become a Buddhist and taken the Bodhisattva vows of loving kindness. Before an empowerment ceremony given by the Tibetan Lama Chagdud Rinpoche Jarvis had many doubts:

”Sitting on the floor of my cell trying to meditate, I was scared. The prison echoed the voices of hundreds of prisoners, cursing and arguing all at once.  Would I take vows that would eventually call upon me to sacrifice my life? How would I resist all the violence of the prison?”

But he found the courage to take the vow

“From this day forward I will not hurt or harm other people
  even if it costs my life.” 

Jarvis Masters has taken an extra-ordinary journey after his conviction of  involvement in the stabbing a guard  in San Quentin Prison.    He admits that if he had been released at the end of his original term he may have continued in his life of crime and possibly been killed on the streets or back in prison.  The Death Penalty saved him and led him on process of transformation through meditation  and becoming a buddhist.*

Like Jarvis Masters everyone is inherently good but even in less extreme environments a trivial event can start a war in our hearts.  A friend told us at a Reiki Share that she had gone out the previous evening with a disabled friend and had pre-booked a taxi to take them home.   She was furious because at the end of the evening before she could get to the taxi someone had climbed in to it.  This left them stranded in the pouring rain.  Each minute she waited for another taxi she had more and more thoughts of revenge:  Her anger was reignited with the retelling of the story to us and out spurted the words

 “I should have tripped her up and broken her legs”.

When she realised what she had said she felt terrible.  She felt she shouldn't stay and started to beat herself up about her violent careless words.   As a group we all confessed to being at times irritated, bad tempered, speaking carelessly, and being mean spirited.

We began our Reiki share by Kenyoku Ho, a symbolic brushing off of negative energy and attachments from our mind body and spirit. It also brought us into the present moment. We really slapped off all the accumulated negative energy.  As we did this we began to smile at one another and then began to laugh as all our irritation, anger, and negativity dissolved. Next we meditated on the Reiki principals taking them into our hearts and minds. Reaching out for the one we needed most to help us to release negative states of mind. 

If we use Mindfulness Meditation, follow the Reiki principles, and if we as individual sow seeds of peace in our own hearts Pema Chodron believes

“our present day actions will bear fruit in our children’s future and
grandchildren’s future”.

When you feel yourself starting to tighten your mind in anger and start to erect protective barriers around your heart:

                        “Then pause and breathe with that unsettling energy” 

and as Usui Sensi taught:

“to abide in compassion for ourselves and all living things.

With Reiki light and blessings

Merry B

Kenyoku Ho is explained in  here  Clearing negative energy   

 Here are the Reiki Principals 

*There is evidence that  Jarvis Masters  may have been wrongly convicted of helping with the stabbing of the guard, his case is progressing through the Supreme Court..