Bring me Sunshine…

Fancy a break, but you can’t get away just now? Grab a copy of my book (on special offer in the Kindle store) and indulge yourself in a virtual holiday on a beautiful ship as she travels around the Med. Feel that sun on your face. Aaaahhh…

“James leads me up the maze of outside stairways he discovered on his wanderings, until we are virtually at the top of the ship, where there’s a terrace of completely unoccupied sun loungers. Bliss. I spend the afternoon reading then sleeping then
reading again until I’m so hot I have to go down all those stairs to the middle pool for a swim…”

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92. The Calm Port in a Storm Please?

Today started out beautifully then took a strange turn towards the disruptive, then the very unpleasant. Was it a wrong turn or was it (yet) another exercise in being in the moment? If so, I’m neither impressed nor amused. I clearly have a lot to learn in that department then, even after all this practice.

I was happily sitting at my desk contemplating the shadows cast by the clouds onto the breathtakingly beautiful Purbeck Hills opposite, when a guy in a hi-vis jacket walked across our path wielding what can only be described as a giant candle snuffer. Okayyyyy. This clearly needed investigating, so I went out to greet him. It turned out that a water leak had been reported by someone whose job it is to gaze at water meters, so he was checking out all the mains pipes in the area. It got even more interesting when he asked to come onto our property and check the water stopcock. Having no idea at all where it is, I said of course he could, and followed him round the back of our home to find out where it is exactly, as he appeared to know. Having located the outside tap, he carefully balanced the long pipe on the metal and put the candle snuffer to his ear and listened. Aaah. So that’s how they do it. Then he lifted a small metal cover in the paving slab which revealed the pipe where the mains water comes in ( I know we should know this stuff, but we don’t – well, we do now), and did the same thing there, muttering thoughtfully to himself that there was a bit of noise but this wasn’t the right place. Seeing him on his way I joked that he might need his water divining rods, but I really don’t think he got it.

Gosh. What a thrilling start to the day. Haha. Waterman had just left the premises when the bin lorry turned up, followed immediately by two Scottish and Southern Electricity vans, one of which was towing a mini bulldozer. Life is just so exciting here. There was a bit of a clash and some tooting of horns as the three vehicles jockeyed for space in a tight cul-de-sac, but eventually the bin lorry vacated the area and the electricity guys settled themselves into comfy parking spots then spread out like a SWAT team across the surrounding properties. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% concentrating on work at this point as it was all unfolding right under my nose. There’s a definite downside to having lots of windows in my office. Eventually it was our turn, and they descended on us like black t-shirted flies saying they needed to investigate the underground cabling as one of the neighbouring properties was without power. Oh, go on then.

That bit of investigating revealed that the power cable probably running right under our newly planted acer was the culprit, so Team Leader asked if they could very carefully dig a hole to investigate further. Which sort of begs the question as to what they would have done if we weren’t here. Just dug it all up anyway? I wonder. Moving on. This is where it got a bit more interesting (seriously) as now they had to drive the digger across the lawn to dig the hole near our precious acer. Noooooooooo! How can you ‘very carefully dig a hole’ with a digger?! The drama was somewhat relieved by the jolly electricity man who was driving the digger. Now, I know I’m guilty of wandering around singing random lines from a song, and very often the wrong lyrics (which used to drive my son Matt INSANE), but you don’t often find a man doing the same thing. Digger Man carefully negotiated our car and trundled across the lawn, all the while singing ‘Ding, Dong, Merrily on High’ with a big smile on his face. Actually I had to hide my manic laughter at that point. The digger ended up about 3 feet from my office window. Here’s the picture to prove it.

Digger

Turns out that part of the cabling wasn’t the problem, so Team Leader said they needed to go further round the back and could they please dig a whacking great hole in the ground just by the washing line? Which was hung with freshly washed laundry. Fabulous. Washing safely retrieved, they set about digging an even bigger hole – presumably because there was no acer to consider – and at this point I definitely heard ‘You’re the one that I want, oh honey, oh, oh, oh’ coming from Digger Man.

Fortunately this particular hole yielded more treasure in the form of the damaged cable, which they duly fixed. Except that another entity has to come out to replace the paving slabs. At least while we wait we have a lot of cones to admire.

Cones

The digger was loaded back on the trailer to the strains of ‘Sweet Caroline’, and Stephen and I looked forward to finally getting a bit of work done. Looking back it was actually quite funny, but given how hard it is to get someone out to look at a problem on your property, it was actually very disruptive to have two van loads of men turn up to sort out a problem you didn’t even know you had. Well actually we didn’t have it – the bloke next door did – and as soon as it was fixed the unmistakable aroma of cooked bacon wafted through our kitchen window. Poor guy. He goes swimming in the sea at 6 o’clock  every morning without fail, and he always does himself at the very least a bacon sarnie as a reward. Imagine that – coming back from freezing your nuts off to find the electricity is out. My heart goes out to him.

Does it finish there? Not it does not. Our beautiful, crazy cat Rowan has been missing since June 3rd, and in amongst trying to actually get some work done, I try to post regularly on relevant Missing Pets Facebook pages to keep in her in people’s minds. We are keeping the hope alive that she is still out there somewhere simply because we can’t contemplate anything else. Posting about her is always upsetting as we miss her like crazy and I hate stirring it up, but as I’m on social media a lot anyway for business it’s become another task I add to the to-do list.

What I didn’t expect and was in no way prepared for was a truly horrific post that came up once I got onto my Facebook feed. I’m not sharing the details here as I don’t want you to be as upset as I have been since I saw it, but I was shocked to my core that not only would someone do such a thing, but that they would take a picture of it. How sick have we become? I kept it hidden for hours and hours and eventually cried all over Stephen as it exploded beyond my control.

Regular readers of the blog will know how Mindfulness helped me through the darkest hours of my treatment for lymphoma, and that I have used it ever since as a constant support – but how do I cope when every moment, every ‘now’, is filled with this image? I’ve been battling with it all afternoon and all evening, and now, as I struggle to find a conclusion to the blog, and a resolution to my feelings, I recall the words of lovely French Monk from my favourite blog of all time – #64 – that all I can do is be present with my feeling of heartbreak and revulsion. I can’t help the victim and I can’t condemn the perpetrator to an eternity of similar treatment, much as I would love to. French Monk said that if we deny something it gains in strength, so the only way is to be with it so it loses its power. So that’s what I’m doing. A very unusual blog for me, about something that has rocked me to my core, but I had to let you know that this is a long journey, and I’m not there yet.

Sending much love to you

Margaret

 

 

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91. A Fine Line.

Cancer isn’t selective. It is, however, divisive.

It can be the fine line between life and death.

It is definitely the line between a good night’s sleep and hours of wakeful terror.

It draws the line between those who have received a cancer diagnosis, however given (in my own case a gentle, “I’m 90% sure we’re dealing with lymphoma”), and those who haven’t. It draws a line between your ‘old’ life and a life that rapidly becomes filled with hospital appointments and the whole new language that comes with treatment. It forces you to make decisions about that treatment, and therefore implicitly your future. My immediate worry was about the mortgage, and what would happen to those I loved if I didn’t make it. At that point, after a difficult few years, I wasn’t in a position to secure their future. But something else happens too. In Blog #4, way back in the early days as I was starting treatment, I wrote,

There is something amazing about the human spirit and its capacity for survival; whatever the situation, there is a primal instinct that draws us together in times of danger. We become a clique, a special club. Was it Groucho Marx who said that he didn’t want to be a member of any club that would have him as a member? He hadn’t been on a cancer ward. I was welcomed with smiles and kindness by everyone, and I feel very safe.”

And it’s true. Being part of that special club opens doors, gets us a special discount (sorry, but it’s always a pleasant surprise), it breaks the ice at parties, helps to start difficult conversations and it brings people together from the four corners of the world like possibly nothing else can. The staff on the wards were the cheeriest I’d ever met, and they considered themselves to be doing true nursing. I heard that there was a waiting list to join the cancer unit because it was here they could make a difference, whether that involved sitting with someone while they bawled their eyes out (me) or laughing their socks off at a silly YouTube video sent by their son (also me) or administering toxic drugs (all of us). Cancer may be divisive, but it is also inclusive, and in Breast Cancer Awareness Month I would like to extend our thoughts to every single person facing any kind of cancer – no matter how rare, how common, or how fancy its name. Spread the love, people. Let’s do it.

Sending much love

Margaret

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90. All At Sea

One of the best things about the beautiful weather we’ve had in the UK is that we’ve been able to Plan Things. I mean, we do plan things in general, but there’s usually the need for contingency plans in case of bad weather. So, for instance, clothing for a sunny day out over here might initially involve t-shirt, shorts, flip-flops, sunglasses and water, but there’s a sub-text of thick jumper, waterproof, hat and possibly gloves because it might well change. It’s one of the joys of living between several weather patterns that can change at the drop of a hat, so you can imagine that when we get a period of settled weather it’s a bit of a shock; in fact, staying cool suddenly became a daily challenge rather than a rare novelty, and it was in the spirit of all this consistency that I finally went sea kayaking.

I’ve wanted to do this for ages, but I’m a cautious soul at heart and there’s always been a “yes, but…” holding me back, the chief excuse of course being the weather. Well that one was neatly dispatched by the apparently never-ending blue skies, so with no excuses left I actually booked a session with Steven Malone of H2oadventures and finally became one of those people that I’d envied for so long, floating way out in the bay in the blazing sunshine.

Here’s the evidence:

DSCF4481

It was stunning.

The only noise came from the paddle cutting through the waves, and when we got further out into the bay and I stopped paddling for a while there was silence. Just me and the sea and a very deep sense of peace. It was the perfect place to just sit and be with myself, and allow the thoughts that usually clamour for my attention to take a back seat for a change. It occurs to me now, that riding the waves out there (thankfully very small that day) is the same as riding the waves of our daily lives. Sometimes they’re big crashing ones that we fear will destroy us, but periodically we have a more settled time, even if it’s just for a few moments, when we can take stock and say, “This is just beautiful, and I’m so lucky to be here.” And I truly believe that it’s in those moments we get the chance to refuel and recharge so that we can carry on and face the scarier waves.

I’m now at the fifth anniversary of my own big scary waves, and I’m still working hard at seeing the beauty in every moment, because at one point there was a distinct possibility I wouldn’t have any more. So although it’s taken a while to get here, we’re now in a part of the world that is literally begging us to venture out and appreciate it, and we’re surrounded by fit folks who can help us do so. Not kidding you, the people here are seriously fit and healthy. The guy who lives up behind us is in his seventies and he walks down (and back up) several very steep hills to swim in the sea every day, and a high percentage of the runners we see around are older than you’d expect. There’s a “do it NOW” feeling here. Don’t let life pass you by. Grab it with both hands and get out there and allow nature to give you the deepest healing possible, because that’s what nature can do, if we would only allow it to.

So that’s what we’re doing. Thank you, Steven Malone, for a truly amazing introduction to the wonders of sea kayaking. I am totally hooked and I will be back.

Wishing you all good health,

Margaret

 

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89. It’s Life – But Not As We Know It

And so it came to pass that after what seemed like months of legal delays, missing paperwork, breakdowns in communication and all the general teeth-grinding frustrations that crop up at these times, we finally moved to our own particular version of paradise. Although we previously lived on a very gorgeous part of the South Coast, the (relative) wilderness called loud and long, as did the need for our own space and especially a garden, so we’re now enjoying life in a little town that has no superstores or retail parks, and no major chain coffee shops or ‘lounges’ or restaurants. Oh and the quickest way to reach it is by chain ferry. Yes indeedy. Swanage is a little town with a massive heart that it opened up to us the very first day we arrived.

The experience of moving was itself traumatic of course, but it gained a certain edge due to me slicing my heel open on the tape gun two days before The Big Day – pretty messy, as you can no doubt imagine (never realised so much blood got pumped through your heel) – then the actual Day Before The Big Day Stephen sliced open his finger from top to bottom on a glass that decided to break in the washing up water. Oh yay. A LOT more blood. Of course I’d already packed the First Aid kit (oh come on, you have to pack it at some point – not everything can be left out until the last minute) as I thought two mature adults should be pretty safe just chucking stuff in boxes. Apparently not. Fortunately for us our lovely neighbour Rose came calmly to the rescue not once, but twice, and along with a lightning visit to the nurse at our local surgery and a whole lot of Steristrip, we made it to our new home exhausted, but reasonably intact.

By the time the removal van had driven away and we’d made some headway into locating exactly where we’d lobbed stuff, Stephen’s pristine and ‘make sure you keep it clean’ dressing was absolutely black and the steristrips were falling out the bottom; not a good thing with an open wound, so after a brief consultation at the local pharmacy we made our inaugural trip to the cottage hospital. Who has a cottage hospital anymore? It’s a totally gorgeous place with lovely staff who sorted Stephen out with a cheery ‘Welcome to Swanage’ and some clean dressings, and so towards the end of a very long day, we finally made our way to the local pub for some much needed refreshment. All hail to The Black Swan for a fabulous meal. We will be back. A lot.

For the first week or so we really were in heaven. The summer has arrived in glorious Technicolor, and we at last have the sea views we’ve longed for. The sun rises over the sea, which is visible from our lounge window, and it sets over the gorgeous and historic Purbeck Hills, sending a deep pink glow into our kitchen and the other end of the lounge. We have foxes, badgers and a deer that pops in regularly, the birdsong is astounding, and the garden is full of butterflies, bees and every insect imaginable. We felt truly blessed. And we do still feel blessed but there is now an aching, fluffy, black and white shaped hole in our hearts, because our beautiful Rowan has gone missing. I’m no stranger to the poignancy of grief, but it is odd to be in the presence of such natural beauty and perfection and to feel sad inside.

We did all the right things with the cats, kept them in until they were clearly ready to go out, stayed close with them outside while they explored, then on the 3rd June, after several days of appearing relaxed and totally chilled, Rowan just didn’t come back after her evening wander. With the amount of wildlife here we’re thinking that maybe she ran away from something and can’t find her way home as she doesn’t know the area well enough yet. If she’s trying to get back to our old place that presents a lot of difficulties as there’s a big chunk of water between here and there.

It’s hard to find a silver lining in something like this – and you know I’m not a ‘sky is blue, the birds are singing, it’s all perfect’ kind of person – but if there is a silver lining, it is that in losing Rowan we have got to know literally LOADS of people who have really, really taken us to their hearts. When I originally moved down to the South Coast my sons were still small, so there were plenty of toddler and pre-school groups to join and meeting people was easy. Somewhere very quietly inside, and I definitely didn’t say this out loud, I was wondering how easy it would be to know people over here. With my history of thinking such things I should have known better. I needn’t have worried. We have been busily putting leaflets through doors, leaving them in shops, attaching them to lamp posts and giving them to anyone who even makes eye contact with us. I’ve posted on every possible Facebook page and joined closed local groups so that I can spread the word, and even the lovely people from the dance class I’ve just joined have happily taken a leaflet and promised to help in the search. The goodwill and support we’re receiving from people we’ve only just met is astounding.

After a week of frenzied activity we asked Susannah Rafelle, the animal communicator I wrote about in Blog #80, to try and contact her. At that point it seemed Rowan was alive and well but couldn’t get home and described an area that could have been allotments, with a lot of low buildings. Sheds maybe? There are literally loads of those around here. I read about someone who dowsed for lost cats, and unable to contact them directly set about doing it myself, dividing a map into quadrants until the crystal quite definitely indicated a row of mobile homes in the holiday park next door to us. We set off a-hunting for her and discovered that it’s a beautiful site with stunning sea views, and an absolute idyll for wildlife as it’s at the bottom of a nature reserve. There were plenty of places for her to hide, and as the crystal led us to a very quiet and secluded part of it I could imagine she felt reasonably safe, if indeed she was there. This is where the whole cats-being-the-opposite-of-dogs bit really kicks in, because if a dog is lost and its owner appears there would usually be a massive and very sloppy reunion. But with a cat it’s whole different game, and if she was/is there, she wasn’t coming out, despite us calling for her, sitting quietly, rattling crunchies, not rattling crunchies, and – oh yes – talking to more people.

So the searching and talking and lighting a candle and visualising her coming home and posting continues and we very definitely haven’t given up hope, but you know what, Rowan? Stephen and I feel we’ve had a fabulous, nay, overwhelming introduction to the good people of Swanage, thank you very much, and your Big Adventure has very much served its purpose. If you would come home now, or present yourself to someone who can read your microchip and bring you back to us, that would be totally cool and we would all appreciate it very much. Please. Even Titan misses you, and I really didn’t ever think I’d write those words. Here’s the good lady herself. Any help you could give in guiding her back to us would be very welcome.

Rowan big

Wishing you good health and happiness,

Margaret xx

 

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88. A Tale of Two Tails     

Some of you might have followed the escapades of our youngest cat, Titan, in previous blogs. Here he is. All sweetness and light, isn’t he?

Titan rat

Except he isn’t. Don’t be fooled by that cute, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth look. Make no mistake, this weeny little cat is a lean, mean, killing machine who has excelled himself recently. No doubt the neighbours are delighted that the mice/rat/vole population has been decimated since he joined our happy tribe, but we’re not. Well I’m not. I’m a bit squeamish about catching and rounding up his unwilling houseguests (despite having kept pet rats in the past), so we have an agreement that Stephen catches the wildlife, while I sort out the sick. Let’s just say it works for us.

The hunting seems to go in phases, where we have a few weeks of no bodies or little brown animals scampering around, then suddenly we’re inundated. This week has been particularly challenging as on Wednesday we noticed a particular smell in the kitchen. There’s a really good reason for the expression, “I smell a rat”, as anyone who’s kept rats will agree. Apparently they don’t have bladders, consequently leaving a trail of urine wherever they go. As pets they are funny, yes, clever, yes, entertaining, yes, and very smelly, also a yes, no matter how much you clean them out. Trust me, we’ve had six.

A few years ago we had a similar situation when a rat managed to get behind the washing machine/dishwasher/sink unit and after several days of rat hunting and half-destroying the kitchen, we managed to rescue it. To counter any such repetition of events we stuffed towels into likely gaps, which seemed to work really well, if looking a bit weird. Then recently we had a bit of a redecorate and very stupidly decided we might be safe enough now to take the towels away as they didn’t look that great, TBH. Anyway, back to Wednesday evening, when we realised we’d made a very silly decision as there was clearly a rat camping out behind the units again. Aaargh. It really wasn’t the time to start heaving everything around, so we went to bed hoping Mr/Ms Rat would make an escape bid during the night.

Clearly by the next morning it hadn’t, as judged by the increasing ratty aroma. Sigh. We were off to London for a book launch later that day, but felt the need to try to rescue the poor thing before we left. Plus we didn’t want it starving to death behind the units as that would have smelt even worse. That’s happened behind a bookcase in the not too distant past. Yuk. Moving on.

We set about heaving the dishwasher and washing machine out. And then taking the kickboards off.

Here’s the evidence

Kitchen 1

Kitchen 2

We’re not normally this messy, promise. This is what happens when you have to take all the contents out of the cupboards to check it hasn’t climbed in there through the holes where the pipes go. Then just as we were completely unprepared, a baby rat belted out from behind the washing machine, round the front of it and back under the sink unit. Nooo! We spent a good while trying to get behind there without completely destroying the kitchen in the process, and eventually had to give up as we had to leave for our train. At least leaving all the units out gave us a bit of hope it would escape on its own. Our lovely neighbour Rose comes to feed the cats if we’re away, so I had to leave a note explaining why the kitchen looked a lot worse than usual. I’m hoping she believed me…

Friday whizzed by in a tired blur as we got back really really late from the book launch and we couldn’t bring ourselves to start banging around again at the end of another long day, so with heavy hearts and a bombsite of a kitchen we headed for bed.

Guess how this morning turned out? Yes! More head scratching and prodding of units to rescue the rat, which was starting to feel like part of the family by now. Hopefully a live one. You might wonder why we assumed it was still there. The big clue was in the ginger ninja waiting patiently by the washing machine (no, not to do his washing – it wasn’t his day). It’s usually pretty obvious where Titan has left his guest as he hangs around whichever piece of furniture it’s hiding behind until he can’t literally can’t keep his eyes open. You know cats sleep 80% of the day? Not when they’re staking out their prey. We had one baggy-eyed cat this morning. Ha!

So there was a lot more banging around and sliding of things down tiny spaces to try and scare/coerce/prise our little rodent out, but eventually through extreme boredom combined with no outcome we decided to abandon our search and go shopping, just for a change of scenery. And then when we got back and saw just how the kitchen looked, we decided we were fed up of living in such a tip and that by now the rat would surely have either died or escaped. At which point Stephen noticed that Titan was staking out a new area. Hurrah!! It was alive! This should be a doddle after the shenanigans in the kitchen. So hoping it’s the same rat and not a new one. Hmm. Gentle investigation revealed a little furry face poking out from underneath the book case in the hall, so we lined up the rat-catching pint glass at one end, blocked the other end with a cushion and gently tried to encourage him out.

Here’s the pic (you can’t see the cushion)

Bookcase1

At which point he scarpered through the TINY gap between cushion and wall, then legged it across the hall to hide behind our very heavy sheesham sideboard (which we’re trying to sell BTW just in case anyone out there is interested). So we gently heaved that out to discover – no rat. And that door is CLOSED.

Sideboard

So where the hell was he now? With three cats prowling around you’d think one of them would have noticed Rattius legging it across the lounge, although TBH Titan by this stage was looking like he’d had a night on the razz. The lounge is pretty naked at the moment (post decorating) and the only POSSIBLE place if he managed to squeeze through that tiny gap in the door, was the one remaining bookcase in there. So out that came. Sorry, no pic. And there he was! Hiding in the hollow corner underneath it. Yay! Stephen rushed off to get The Glass while I kept watch. At which point Rattius belted out towards the back wall and along behind the sofa. No! It wasn’t me! Not my fault! Stephen reappeared with The Glass and, not best pleased,  cautiously investigated the back corner of the lounge which includes a desk and a whole load of stuff, whereupon Rattius decided to make a break for freedom and headed out to the conservatory, hotly pursued by Titan who’d sleepily clocked that something was going down.

You’re probably bore shitless by now, but it has taken up a LOT of my time this week so I just had to inflict it on you. With Titan bundled safely behind the conservatory door and the two Oldies on the decking – they don’t move for anything except food these days – we opened the door to the outside and The Prisoner leapt to freedom, trampling right over Rowan’s tail in the process. She was like, ‘Oh there’s something walking over my tail. Oh. It’s a rat. Can I be bothered anymore? Nah.’ Well praise be for that. Rio made a very half-hearted attempt to follow behind, but fortunately I managed to distract him. And so Rattius is gone. And we’re exhausted. And the place is a tip. But he’s free, and I really hope he survives and stays that way.

And one final thing. Did I tell you I have a new book out? Yep. Follow the link at the top of the bar on the right and you can read aaaaallll about it. Ideal summer reading and a lot of fun with a bit of darkness thrown in. Enjoy.

Wishing you all good health and happiness

Margaret xx

 

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87. I Can’t Do This Alone

I’m relieved that I’ve managed to come screaming in with a blog just before the end of April, as it was getting a bit embarrassing. There’s not much point keeping a blog if I don’t, er, write in it, is there? A bit like having an empty journal by the side of your bed that you’re absolutely, definitely going to write in tomorrow. Or maybe the next day.

As per the excuses in Blog #86, it’s not that there hasn’t been anything to report, it’s more that there’s been so much happening that I haven’t had the time to think about writing here. And one of those things is that I have finally finished and published my second book. Well praise be for that, as it was taking up every waking moment and even my totally wonderful support team were probably getting a bit jaded. In the Acknowledgements I say that writing a book is never a solo journey, and I don’t think it can be. Artists of all kinds need muses and sounding boards, and in my own case that means friends who thought they were just friends, and family who were quite happily chuntering around being just family, may quite possibly have found themselves as characters in It Could Only Happen At Sea. Sorry peeps, occupational hazard apparently if there’s a writer in your midst.

I guess seasoned writers out there are having a ‘der, obviously?’ moment, in contrast to me. I’m having a massive light-bulb moment, which has got me thinking about the way we’re all interconnected, a theme found in Buddhism in general and Thich Nhat Hanh’s writing in particular. Because if I’m not completely me without them being in my life, then presumably it works the other way too and they aren’t 100% them without me being in their lives (even if they might like to be), so on some energetic level we are all connected however difficult we might find it sometimes. More of this in a moment. Clearly this isn’t spiritual rocket science, but the whole process of writing my book and getting myself into the heads of the characters has brought me to thinking about it on a deeply personal level. Because it’s not just friends that we’re part of, is it? We’re also part of the driver that cuts us up in traffic, or any other person who causes us to have an extremely uncharitable thought. Or somebody out in the wider world who is doing really bad things. Those people who quite possibly represent the shadow side of ourselves we’re ashamed of and don’t want to acknowledge. How does that work then? That troubled me a lot.

And in the way that the Universe provides what’s needed just when it’s needed, the daily newsletter from the wonderful Pam Grout popped into my inbox. She was writing about the Hawaiian forgiveness practice of Ho’oponopono, something I’d heard about vaguely and added to the ‘must look into this’ category, so this was clearly the moment to be looking into it. Rather than make a total fist of summarising it and probably writing a massively long blog as a result (which I’m trying not to do), I suggest you follow this link by Dr Joe Vitale and read about the inspiring Dr Ihaleakala. What I will say though, is that as a result of reading it and buying the book and the t-shirt, I’m trying very hard to practice taking responsibility for myself in the context of being connected to, and part of, everyone else. Oooh. Tough call. I love to have food for thought and this is a whacking great feast.

The funny thing is that now I’m at the end of the book, I see the real journey is only just beginning. Because in the process of writing it, rather than playfully introducing characters and trying to spin a good yarn, it turned out that I was unwittingly delving into some very dark and difficult ‘stuff’ from my own life. Writing about it was incredibly cathartic (where have I heard that before? – oh yeah, the blog!) and I came to see that in the spirit of Ho’oponopono I owe myself and the other person involved a big chunk of love and forgiveness, where previously all I found was sadness, blame, anger and a certain amount of embarrassment for getting into such a situation. It is an interesting journey to be sure and not at all what I expected when I set out to write contemporary fiction. I hope you enjoy reading it, should you feel so inclined.

Wishing you good health

Margaret xx

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