Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Greenbelt 2012 - All Together Now...

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!

One exhausted  but happy GB volunteer is  back home briefly  and  particularly grateful for  dry, clean  clothes, plentiful supplies of hot water and a warm soft bed! The machine is on its second load, the bedding is   airing ready for the annual church pilgrimage in a couple of days time. A gold medal to Mr GP for guarding the fort whilst I'm away; some tales to tell once I'm properly back on terra firma.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

It's Now or Never - Results Day

A delayed Greenpatch here; I've been pondering this one on and off since Thursday - the dreaded A and As Level results day here in the UK. Even though my two are through with all of this, I still feel so much for  those students who may be struggling;  I've a couple of friends whose daughters are at the   post-results stage. And failure, or as SueM says, perceived failure cuts deep.

For myself, more than thirty years on,  I'm able to look back at that It's Now or Never moment and put it in perspective. (Not for nothing was results day 1977 the same day that the death of Elvis was announced and the two have forever after become inextricably linked in my mind!) No passes at all (though I managed to scrape one  subsequently on retake) and the longed for place at college  - more a means of getting away from an unsettled household than a vocational call - became an impossible dream.  And that at one of the most high-flying schools in the country - terminal embarrassment at best, the end of The World As I Knew It at worst. I could have done with Sue's quote that Failure is simply an event not a person. Who knows - maybe somebody said as much to me, but I doubt I'd have been listening!

I could also have done with broadcaster Jon Snow's advice:

There is life after A-levels
there are different way of doing what you want to do…
play to your strengths
want to do what you want to do very badly

(note to self - does your average 18 year old listen to the Today Programme?)

I might have had mixed feelings about the current Head's motivational quoting of Dr Benjamin May on low expectation though I appreciate the sentiment from where I am now:

“The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not disgrace to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. "

Heigh ho...The joke of it is that in a weird, roundabout way I am doing what I want to do, though not in quite the way I'd envisaged way back then, A Levels seem a thousand years away. The pressure is off. Yes, the old 'Internal Parrot,' still gets a look in every now and then - well - rather more than that, but on  good days (when I tell him to get knotted! ) I've learnt  that discovering...and using my strengths can be fun!  Scarey, but fun.

Self-acceptance, that's the answer.  Though my 'stars,' might not shine as brilliantly as some, yet. every star is different, and there's plenty room in this world for all of us. Remind me of that the next time I have a fit of the wobblies.  And, as Sue M says, please do give a thought for those hard-working students for whom the news last Thursday wasn't what they'd hoped and longed for.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Recycled Blogroll: The Passionate Transitory

Approaching Hadrian's Wall Walk: Durham-Iona Pilgrimage April 2011

For the poets amongst you - thanks to Pilgrimpace for highlighting a new site: The Passionate Transitory, new online poems about life, landscape, travel and pilgrimage.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Iron On Greenpatches: The Saga of The Moths continued

Flowers and Butterflies 
Another customised baselayer. Those moths were busier than I thought!


Maison Greenpatch has been a hive of  domestic industry this afternoon.  I wonder  what Rohan would make of my customisations; flowers and sparkly butterflies hardly add to the high-tech, rugged look the designers intended, do they? On a more positive note, the spare butterfly helped  revive a favourite summer top; should be able to get at least one more season out of that one. The ensemble is rounded off with my floppy straw hat - a happy discovery in Debenhams  holiday department a few months ago. Now all we need is some sunshine!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Five Things I wouldn't Go to Greenbelt Without - 2

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 King James Version (KJV)

Or to bring the text up to date : Lay not up woolly baselayers with insufficient supplies of cedarballs or you will discover evidence of fine dining and corruption when you finally get round to rounding up your camping gear. Oh pooh!

Undaunted, I'll be raiding the town's haberdashery departments tomorrow for a pretty embroidered patch to disguise the hole. I quite fancy something like this.   No, I'll not be trying to design one myself  before anybody suggests it - my sewing's simply not good enough.  Besides, I'm still busy making up the bunting kit that Ms GP bought me a few months ago. Four down, eight still to go. And they do look rather good, if I say so myself. Add them to the lot I made for last year's Greenbelt and there'll be no danger of me not being able to find my way back to my tent.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Five Things I Wouldn't go to Greenbelt Without

The Big Green Amorphous Caterpillar  bides its time...

For all Greenbelt  afficionados - you'll have noticed a new feature on this year's  GB blog: My Greenbelt Five, where folk are asked to list the five things  to  which they're most looking forward  at this year's festival and why.

I thought I'd do one  here.  Thanks to a technical blip (partly my memory, partly my bank) I've not yet been able to download the programme, so I've no idea yet what I'm excited about - unless you count my first bath for six days after I get home. But nil desperandum, I've been inspired to make my own, alternative Greenbelt Five: Five Things I wouldn't Go to Greenbelt Without (Five Things Without Which I wouldn't Go to Greenbelt? ) Here we go:

1. Duct tape - Or should that be Duck?  After the rain we had on the Friday  night last time, there'd easily have been enough water on site to provide modest  leisure  facilities for any number of our little feathered friends.  After jamming my porch door on the first evening I was extremely grateful for its sticking powers. (The tape, not the ducks!).  It also held up the legs of my makeshift camping table  - lovingly forged from an old Sylvanian Families tin tray that used to belong to my daughter.  It's mended the frame of my 'Granny' trolley, (another festival must have, great for lugging all your clobber on site)  and I can imagine that it'd come in handy for mending torn canvas and snapped tent poles. 

2. My cosy green fleecy blanket with pretty tasselly bits.  You can go glamping in a pop-up tent as well, you know. Who needs teepees, oriental rugs and firepits!

3. My Kelly Kettle. Never try to separate a Greenpatch from her supply of boiling water and teabags! (Fairtrade, of course). Everything Stops for Tea, after all! It will work this time, of course it will.

4. My Rohan merino base layer top, (woolly vest for the unsophisticated). A couple of these saw me through a mammoth five week walking trip last year and yes, they really can be worn for days at a time without ponging too much. A real Godsend on those chilly evenings on the campsite. Worth every penny.

5. My faithful bog standard Nokia phone gets its annual workout at Greenbelt. It can't email or tweet  - I leave that to the dawn chorus - just good old PAYG calls and texts.

If I can just sneak in another one: on Mr GP's advice, I'll reluctantly add earplugs. (Who wants to sleep with wodges of greyish gunk stuck in your ears?) But needs must - I'm volunteering this year and suspect I may be pitched rather nearer the centre of the action than I was last time round.

So there you have it.  Any Greenbelters reading this, I'd love to know what you'd put on your list.

God of Our Pilgrimage

 Mr GP on the Southern Uplands Way, Durham-Iona  pilgrimage 2011

God of our pilgrimage, you have willed that the gate of mercy should stand open for those who trust in you: look upon us with your favour that we who follow the path of your will may never wander from the way of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
         post communion prayer, Tenth Sunday after Trinity 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Summertime Ramblings

So you thought Summertime had been and gone, did you? Not so: here's another found poem.  I got rather carried away with the glitter gel pens on this one, although they don't show up on the scan. 

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..."

Inkpen Common Nature Reserve this morning
No ponies to be seen, though GP dog did fall into a boggy puddle!
Greenpatch dog sets off down the long and winding road to find out
What is a permissive footpath?

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both..."

Sunday, 5 August 2012

This time last year: Thunder and Rainbows - Francis and Ignatius paint the garden aka creative prayer practices

A glimpse of life in the Greenpatch household a year ago: Light my fire - Thunder and rainbows. Eeyore, Saints Francis of Assisi and Ignatius; Julie Andrews; the first Christmas crib; Every Now and Then with Jesus; flag-making; the examen;  Jackson Pollock and decorating Greenpatch dog in tasteful shades of sage green and buttermilk..  the joys of creativity...and kelly kettles.

Put another way - it's Sunday evening, I'm out of inspiration, but would prefer not to be greeted by a grumpy menopausal potato every time I log on here. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Menopausal cloud gathering

menopausal brain fog

or... if you've happened upon this blog from a certain American healthscore site - a guide to the interior state of the Greenpatch head: stuffed full of cotton wool. (Stats  make such fascinating reading, don't  they -   and I'm not  talking about my waistline here, either! ) 

Going back to my stats, if  brainfog or The Seven Dwarves of The Menopause mean little to you, maybe you've reached Growing Greenpatches via a search on organic gardening, in which case do feel free to use my artistic efforts for your next article on rare strains of potato. Or for that matter Global Warming; It's Not Easy Being Green, is it? And as most of us who're battling The Change can certify, gaseous emissions can become if not exactly old friends, certainly frequent visitors. 

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the combo of humidity, hot weather, post -meno aches and pains and fluctuating hormone levels combined yesterday to give me a touch of  woolly headedness; meteorologically more light mist than pea-souper to be sure, but enough to make me feel as if I'd been bopped over the head with a a hammer. 

Which is why late morning found me in the cafe at BHS, trying to blast myself into gear with the help of a strong Americano before going on to meet with my spiritual director.   Whilst being crisp and to the point has never been one of my giftings; even I can appreciate that directors aren't mind readers and that a wee bit more focus might be needed. Though utterances like ummmmmmm? wassat? and bleahhhhh (!) might sound profound, they don't really give the poor listener much to work with. Let's face it; if the Almighty had had a touch of the hot flushes and  pea soupers on the 6th Day, we'd be in a sorry state by now!

So, in the interests of letting off steam and for all you Power -Surgers everywhere, here's one of my favourite comedian's take on Matters Menopausal: Victoria Wood: Menopause and health food shops.

Now...where was I...?