Friday, 30 December 2016

Twilight Reviewed

Dearest Emily,
The twilight of the year, is a traditionally reflective time.
Christmas is over- the festivities meaning for me a mid-winter celebration- a feast, a party to inject joy. A time to bring people together to eat, drink and be merry in the depths of dark, stark days. A chance to cook up and clear the store cupboards of nuts, fruits and preserves-creating space for filling again throughout the coming year, as new life is sown for the birth of spring up ahead.
The shortest of days have passed, and each sunset creeps in a little later.

For me, the beauty in these early sunsets is how they herald an earlier end to my day in the Winter months, sending me burrowing indoors at the Rabbit Hole, to bake tomorrows bread, paint, write and basically hibernate a bit just like Granny Elsie used to do, until the Spring starts springing...
It's easy to do that here on the West-Wight- to go with the flow of the seasons and natures directive.
It suits me very well Em, I like my now five year old routine of rising at 6.30, and going to bed reasonably early too. It makes me feel good, and it somehow makes everything seem easier to do.
Here under beautiful 'Wight-Light' present unless it's the most foggy of days, when the light is dimmed down over sunset and then switched off- it makes it simple to  switch-off too.
Unwinding each evening for a good two hours- writing, reflecting upon the day, and making lists (I won't look at, but help me empty my brain onto paper) seems akin to me to metaphorically put back all of the books I've taken off the shelves in my mind each day, and to put them back in some order.
And so, on New Year's Eve, there's a tradition to do a big reflect on a year's worth of events- big 'books' of the mind, heavy to put back on a shelf, and to decide quite which section to put it in.
Right now, many on the face of things seem simply dreadful- the illness and passing of Grumpa, whom I dearly miss.
To continue the death-thing, there was so much of it this year, luminaries dear, such as David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Rickman, and too many more, along-side all those we did not know caught up in terrible wars, terrorist attacks, accidents and illnesses.
And, other tumultuous events exploded- a referendum to the populace to answer a simple question- yes, or no to being in the European Union- without any ideas of what that might entail, gave a government a 'poisoned chalice' to negotiate uncertainly for the foreseeable future.
Then, a neanderthal narcissistic bigot became head of a world super-power, who seemed to want to be best-buddies with another already heading up another big chunk of the land we call earth.
The stuff of an apocalyptic sic-fi novel Em? No- at the end of 2016, the world spins on some axis, but uncertainty is the only true power it seems.
But, dearest Em, to take the dystopian sic-fi paperback and throw it in the bin, and begin 2017 with a Gaiman-like fairy tale view-point:-
Uncertainty is an allie.
Uncertainty is a reality that holds all of the vital- life-affirming ingredients of the bread we bake each day of our earthly lives.
Hope, faith, optimism, honesty, reflection, morality, compassion, debate- all these emote and question borne up out of uncertainty.
These are all very 'alive' qualities. Each of us, touched by uncertainty, sadness, shock at world events, hold a key that unlocks the secret door to examine our own individual stand-point in the changing landscape around us.
And, I'm certainly hopeful,  that these experiences, if we allow our own uncomfortable truths to surface and be examined, can bring out the best in our questioning and beautiful selves.
We can, awaken and re-kindle compassion daily, explore our own moral- compasses, draw upon our own individual strengths and weaknesses, and see in sharper-focus our own personal humanity.
And, in doing so, we can become an army of souls, dead and alive who share just what really matters to those being humans, alive and vital on this earth today.
However the pivotal events of 2016 play out in the future history books, our own truth today, can be the current 'awakening' of our individual souls to be Master to our depths of reasoning and core-values.
The common-good can be a core of our own individual 'Fairy-Tale'.
Yet, whilst, and if, we do some personal navel-gazing, be certain dear Em, of one thing.
Nature just keeps-on, keeping on.
Night, follows day. Winter is followed by Spring, and there is new growth.
The new growth flourishes, later in the cycle of the year to fade and die-back.
Then, to be re-born.
'Twas ever-thus, Emily, what-so-ever we humans were being busy about!
That, at least, is our certainty.
Deep, and yet, deeper.
I, on the other hand apart from some bouts of navel-gazing, intend to resolve for myself a challenge of not buying any new clothes (or old clothes from the chazzers hereabouts) a fun foray into mending and making as needs or fancy-be.
I'm going to set about Camper-Vanning my little 'Mobile Bookshop' to Fetes, Fairs and Festy's.
Life, and Lipstick dearest Emily.
May the force be with you, and Bel and Flo,
Your ever-loving Grandmother,
GiGi Xxx

Monday, 12 December 2016

On Hiding Lights under Bushels

Dearest Emily,
It's been way too long since we last saw each other- you and Annabel and especially little Florence are all growing up. Do you think I'll recognise you? It has been over three whole months after all!
I've done you another picture. It is of School Green opposite the Rabbit Hole.

As you know Em, the light here is so amazing, and looking out of the Guest room window when the sun is high, I see the trees, now spare of leaf, casting long reflective shadows over the green.
Morning frosts are now frequent as we head towards the Winter Solstice when day and night are equal, and then its all about the progression towards waking up Spring again, and new growth.
I love the seasons here Em, so obvious in their eternal passage.
Most of all, I like things that happen, right under my nose.
It's probably a retail-thing, Em, or certainly a Book-Shop thing, as it is necessary to be fully 'present' each day- to listen to what you are being asked for, and try to find it- and also to the added conversation that meanders here and there.
This has been true of my Bookshop, and of  The Bookroom, where I worked previously, so I'm quite used to that. But, the Rabbit-Hole, Em, is a whole new kettle of fish.
Here, I'm consistently surprised and mostly delighted by how the now combination of books work their chatter magic on customers- but add in tea, cake and gossip (not me Em, that's Sarah- she's good at that!) and a prevalence of sparkling vibrant women hereabouts- and you get all sorts of magic...
To set the scene against a fab radio 4 comedy series I've been listening to each week- 'The Fair Intellectual Society' where a group of 19th century Ladies, meet up each week under the auspices of sewing and embroidery. They are actually a rather clever lot- who do scientific experiments, study the planets, and generally work big stuff out- but can't do anything about this in general society as women were not encouraged to think.
So, each episode introduces a hapless male- for example Isaac Newton who blunders about with one of our heroines one day, and she watches an apple fall on his head.
Working out what's going on she chatters unheard by Newton.
Newton has a secret, he is Gay. Our heroine makes a bargain with him, he is to put her theory out there under his name, and she won't tell anyone that he's been seen with a fellow.
And, that's the premise for each episode, Em, a man takes the credit for one of the Ladies theories and I've been very amused.
Here, I've got my own comedy series playing out weekly right under my nose.
I've told you about the vagabonds who meet weekly for my Secret Knitting Club haven't I.
Yes, that lot who mostly bring needles, and sometimes yarn, or sometimes don't even bother with that cover, but whom collectively simply decide to meet for fun purposes, to talk, life, lipstick, and sing very loudly...
So much for the Secret Knitting Club, I did try to reign them in, to focus on knitting for garments sake, but I am defeated. They are not about knitting, at all.
And so, when another customer, sat all-a-vegan caking in the window and asked if she could run a Secret Knitting Circle- my hopes were ignited once more- visions of my past Knitting School, where Hedge fund Managers, Solicitors and Fashion students really really wanted to be shown how to turn a heel, danced before my eyes.
'We want to meet each full moon', she said and I said that was fine.
So, we met, needles and yarn came out- a dog was in attendance.
It was fabulous Em, we knitted (a bit) whilst discussing Deep Philosophy, each from a different path, but all ultimately following the same road...
So, now Em, I have two Secret Knitting Groups, neither of which is about knitting.
One day, maybe I'll get it right.
In the meantime, who am I to argue, it's all fascinating!
Enough for now ma petite, I'm off to finish baking some sourdough bread for Mummy and Daddy for the weekend.
Can't wait to show you my little mobile bookshop in my tiny little new/olde Camper-van.
She has a name of course.
Blanche Du-Vanne, and I will see you on friday, loaded up with Chrissy-pressies and books.
Can I sleep in your room Em? I don't snore.
See you then, lovelies,
Your ever-loving Grandmother, GiGi xxx