When the Bird of the Heart Begins to Sing, too Often will Reason Stop up her Ears

When the bird of the heart begins to sing, too often will reason stop up her ears

 This one small sentence, a quote by Hans Christian Anderson; speaks volumes.

 Initial reactions to the above quote….

My thoughts re the above are that it all depends on the actual situation. Sometimes the bird of the heart is so entranced it will soar into joyous song, ignore reason and run blindly down the dangerous path which can at times lead to nowhere. Worse! It may even end in lifelong pain and regrets. Of course, cold, logical reason can drown out the song of the heart and her music is lost; leaving only an empty silence.

  There is perhaps another path to choose – One which divides off somewhere along the way. – The bird of the heart initially responds to its beauty as she breaks into song, but accepts reason’s point of view too. Reason which chases her tail while pointing out the immutable fact; that there is no gain without pain. The bird of the heart might well still choose this path which she feels leads to where her song can be listened to; accepting that there might be a price to be paid.

Continuing Musings on this Topic

my years I have made the decision at various times to take each one of these paths described above, most of which have lead to life-changing circumstances; some for the better, others for the worse. The one unchangeable fact however is that no one can alter what has passed and gone. The past is set in stone forever. What has been done has been done.  Lessons can be learned from the past. The best anyone can do with hindsight is to move on  from our mistakes, make corrections where possible and try to think more carefully before choosing further directions in our lives. Life is all about learning from both our mistakes and also our better choices.

All human beings are flawed. We, each of us, make our own choices in the end; depending on what thinking we initially apply to our decisions. There are times when we will knowingly make a wrong choice simply because our private emotions are so powerful we are simply not prepared to examine the consequences. We want our choice and we want it now!

It can take an extremely strong personality to put aside what we long for even when we are aware that taking the wrong path can end disastrously, not just to ourselves but to others too. Powerful emotions can seriously affect our choices. Our feelings are always in the picture when choices come at us in life. Feelings will attempt to dictate to us which path to take and it is a known fact that it is not wise to make important decisions when under the influence of our emotions; wherever they stem from.

Loneliness, love, lust, happiness, bitterness, hatred, envy, depression, weakness and anger are just a few of the emotions that exist in each one of us at one time or another, leading from our personal natures, our backgrounds and situations that arise in our lives.

Bereaved human beings can suffer deeply from loneliness due to the sudden death of a partner, a dear friend, a child, a parent resulting in the absence of the love and companionship previously in their lives. What new paths the bereaved have to take will depend again on the individual.  The way back is hard and the wrong choices might well be made if decisions are taken too quickly.

Sadly, some will always continue to stay where they previously were and stagnate; damaged emotionally for the rest of their lives and shunning society. The bird of the heart has stopped singing for faulty reason has perhaps overcome their thinking. Others at the right time will eventually summon up the healing strength to walk down new paths and find peace and stimulation once more in their day to day living.

Some will be blessed to find love again from whatever circumstance. Others may choose to venture down different paths in their attempts to find their way once more. Some may devote their lives to causes, others will find fresh interests. Some may never cope with the overwhelming changes. They will stand before the signposts pointing in new directions but find themselves unable to move on. They simply cling to the past and never really recover from its loss.  Others are fortunate enough to find themselves once more. They will find the courage to learn to walk again, getting back on their feet each time they fail and fall. Inevitably there will be setbacks.

A common situation when a person finds themselves bereaved or divorced is that former friends can drift away leaving the person alone and lonely. Where to go from that point will depend on the individual. Some cannot cope with this; others will listen to the bird of the heart’s singing and ‘come up fighting’ in a manner of speaking.

A person may be struggling along through a lonely wilderness seeking to find themselves again, when out of the blue, they will meet someone; or something different will turn up in their lives such as a new job and that is hopefully enough to get them back on the right track again.

Among those who are of a religious nature; some will continue to find comfort in their beliefs, others may sadly lose their faith.

I know of one friend who was a regular churchgoer and a devoted Christian. One day this lady’s husband lost his battle with cancer.  To her dismay, when she turned to her Christian friends for comfort and solace, they never seemed to be about. There can be more than one reason for this. The most common one though is that initially, a few folk can find it hard to visit a bereaved person. They don’t know what to say or do so they put it off, promising themselves they will get round to it. As time passes, it becomes harder to make the emotional effort to visit the bereaved friend and easier to put the problem to the back of their minds. In the end they just don’t do anything. The bereaved lose not only a parent, child, husband or wife but also their fair weather friends too.

My friend was so hurt that she eventually took the path away from the Church and all it had previously meant to her. She became intensely bitter at what she saw as a betrayal. In time she grew stronger. The bird of her heart turned away from all the reasoning she had struggled with. She found a new path and new faith as she devoted her life in general to helping others in trouble and there is no doubt she hears the bird of her heart singing beautifully; loud and clear. She is at present happy and at peace.

Life is a complicated journey chock full of choices which have to be made every day of our lives. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” is a well known maxim. It is the big decisions which have the greatest effect on the paths we choose to walk along. The big ones can fulfil or devastate a life, depending on which direction we take and whether we choose reason alone or also from the bird song within our hearts. The best decisions we make can stem from a combination of the two.

A very basic example is that of a friend who fell in love with a married man. Sadly the man also fell in love and initially the wrong choices were made. The two of them gave in to their emotional and physical needs. After a while though, the woman, finding herself increasingly uneasy; thought it all out in her heart and mind.

The choices before her were firstly to carry on in the same manner; thus hurting the man’s wife and children with messy divorce proceedings; or to find the strength to end the affair, hurting both herself and the man she loved. Each time she thought of this beloved man her love would swell up so sweetly within her as the bird of the heart sang on and on. Aware though of which was the right choice, reason spoke loudly too, eventually drowning out the bird song of the heart. She knew which decision to make and though sad, she made it.

Unfortunately the man did not see it in the same way. He hounded her on and off for a long time, causing distress to her and jealous suspicions on the part of her ex lover’s wife and her own husband too. – Essentially, almost a lifetime of unhappiness has followed this sad story.

After thinking on the above quote for some time…. It is my conclusion that both reason and the bird of the heart’s song will have a place in the choices we all make throughout life. In  many of the decisions or choices we make throughout life there is neither a wrong or right path to take. There is no specific rule and no sure winner! The best decisions we make will hopefully include both.



A Collection of Cat Comments

Well, would you believe it? Today the sun is out and shining valiantly and the temperature is well beyond that of the previous couple of weeks – quite the summer type weather in fact. It remains to be seen as to whether it stays like this all day. In recent months we seem to have a variety of climatic conditions all in one day.

Nobody ever knows what to wear if they are going out. Sally forth in a thin and brightly coloured summer outfit (as you would expect this time of the year) and you can near enough guarantee to be caught in a downpour before you get back home. We shall see! As the furthest I am going today is possibly over the road for a coffee with my friends and neighbours, it is not too hard a decision when it comes to what to wear. At the moment I am continually wiping the sweat from my fevered brow as I sit and type.

The house is far too warm for comfort and this is made harder as having three cats who do not go out (they are house cats) I am unable to open windows. My home is a bungalow and they would be out in a trice with no idea how to get back to me after they had initially panicked and fled the garden into unknown territory. The only solution for me is to have a series of cool showers throughout the day. On the good side though; at least I am saving money on gas and electric. That doesn’t happen often up North in Britain!

Of course the cats love the sunshine and while I am typing down today’s thoughts at my PC they are all snoozing peacefully in the various spots where the sun is shining into my home. Cats sleep such a lot. I suppose they take after their very large cousins – the lions in Africa.  They are reputed to spend much of their lives during the hottest part of the day and when they are not out hunting; simply chilling out in the sunshine. (I think the hunting bit occurs at night) Apparently lions are quite the laziest of creatures. Chilling is perhaps not the best of adjectives when you think of the extremely high temperatures in South Africa.

Hmmmm…. Perhaps I spoke too soon! Charlie my youngest cat has just graced me with her presence to give me a bit of loving. Unfortunately, this involves her sitting at first mewing sadly about the fact that I am busy typing when she is here to have a few social moments. The next step is that I relent and bend down to give her pats and strokes too. This of course encourages her to jump up onto the PC table which is quite a large one. Next to me is a space where I have a soft cat cushion for any of them to lie on when they want to spend time with me,

At first she begins to give me the cat version of some loving and spends time rubbing her head and face onto my fingers with a few gentle love bites too. Believe me it is not the easiest thing to do to type while that is going on. It is very pleasant of course but on the other hand (a metaphorical term not my actual hand) as part of her loving is to try and remove my fingers from the keyboard and transfer them onto her in a little mutual caresses it is very difficult to type while this is going on.

Thankfully she has realised at last that I have to get on with my 750 words and the loving must wait. She has hunkered down as cats so often do and is now settled on the cat cushion.  She is watching me with a definitely resigned look on her face. People think and say that cats have expressionless faces but oh buddy! How wrong they are. It is a generalisation which if I remember from my study of logic is a faulty assumption; as there are always exceptions to the rule. In the case of cat’s faces, the exceptions greatly outweigh the alleged rule. (Whatever am I babbling about????)

You would almost think cats could read! After looking over my shoulder for a few minutes Charlie has made the decision to jump down and wander off again for a more suitable place to relax in. I am afraid therefore; that is my lot in terms of a love-in for today. She will no doubt be up on her very own little blanket on the window sill in the library; soaking up the already hazy sunshine.

There are many times, especially on cold days when Charlie and my eldest cat, ten years old Bren; simply sleep the day away on my bed. I have a couple of old tartan blankets that used to cover my car’s back seat. (When I was lucky enough to be blessed in having a car) I put one on the bed while the other is getting washed – turn and turn about. In that way the duvet escapes being adorned with various shades of cat hair.

My third cat Jenty is a gentle loving little thing but quite solitary; which she seems perfectly happy about. She gets on fine with the other two in general, but is not inclined to do much socialising with them. She seems quite content to spend most of her life lying on her own small blanket at the kitchen window. In that way she can keep an eye on anything going on in the human world, watch the birds and daydream about what would happen if there was no glass between her and the winged creatures she would so love to get at. In between indulging in these pastimes she does what all cats do; she simply sleeps.

Now and then for a change, Jenty potters along the hall to the front door which is glass fronted. The rays of the sun when it does decide to shine absolutely pour in through the glass; so much that the carpet around it has faded considerably. This is one area of the house where all three of them can be seen together, all soaking up the warmth while they snooze. Now and then the sounds of gentle snoring can be heard which I suspect comes mainly from Bren who is quite an old lady now compared to the two young ones.

As I have digressed quite a bit and wandered all over the place in my literary endeavours this morning; I feel I want to remember my fourth cat who is at peace and sadly no longer with us – my beloved Cindy. Charlie misses her and I feel she noticeably grieves for her. They played together a lot. Charlie has become much quieter and clingier since we lost Cindy. I miss her more than can ever be put into words so I won’t even try. Whatever you are doing in ‘Cat Heaven’ my sweet little Cindy, I hope you are happy. It is a certainty that you will be full of chatter; as you always were when I was so blessed to have you with me. Perhaps that is why I will always have that special place in my heart for you; as you remind me of me. According to the people closest to me; I too chatter incessantly at quite a fast rate. Love you so much Cindy Lou and always will.

Ah well, the sun has gone away again as I suspected it might do. I must go and get on with the chores of the day.


My Electricity Saga

Yesterday was definitely a “rant” day. A little more sunshine for a change had cheered me up when I woke and saw the golden rays pouring through the bedroom curtains, but once up and about I received a most unpleasant shock.

My electric meter had malfunctioned! I have a pre-pay electric meter key to avoid huge bills. My pensioner’s money just won’t cope with them. At least when paying up front in this way I can keep control of it. When I went to put my usual money in the meter it registered “error 50” and wouldn’t accept my payment. Shock! Horror! There was only £8.00 left on the meter which induced immediate anxiety. I have had previous dealings with the electric company so know only too well that problems for folks like me are never quickly solved! My £8.00 would not last until the issue was sorted.

Feeling very pessimistic about the whole situation I picked up the phone and with a heavy heart rang the electric company. After waiting a resigned twenty five minutes listening to the usual extremely boring and repetitive music interspersed with an automated voice cutting in with great frequency; to tell me they were abnormally busy and my call was very important to them and to keep holding the line; as they would speak to me as soon as possible….. I finally got connected.

A woman with a rather bored tone of voice asked for the usual identifying details and then invited me to explain what my problem was. (No apologies for the long wait which will cost me about £5.00 plus on my phone bill at the end of the month of course) I don’t for one minute believe the long delay is due to a high call rate. It is a shortage of staff. Goodness knows why, as they charge more than enough for supplying electricity.

I gave her all the details and after another wait while she went away to consulted some higher authority, she returned and in an equally bored tone reported to me that the “error 50” meant a malfunction; I would need a new meter. Apparently the first appointment when an engineer could come and do this was the 29th of June.

“What!” I replied, totally taken aback by this news.”My electricity supply will run out in about five days and the twenty first is thirteen days away!” This woman was by now really bugging me with her patronising and completely uninterested tone. She came over as someone who was trying to explain to an addle-witted old dear who didn’t understand plain English! I’m far from addle-witted and fully understood what was going on as the conversation progressed!

She repeatedly told me that until my meter was registering under 50 pence there was nothing they could do. She suggested I ring again when this was so and they would then attempt to arrive at my home the same day; but couldn’t guarantee this. I demanded to know just HOW long it might take. Now there’s a surprise! She admitted that she couldn’t really say and that I had to try to understand how the system works! I understand only too well how it works – very inefficiently! The system is crap!

With a definite rise in my own irritation I pointed out that 50p would not last 24 hours so if they did not come in time; I would definitely be without any electric in my home. I explained that I live alone, a registered disabled pensioner, with three cats and no central heating, no microwave, no washer and more importantly…no lights.

In her continuing flat and uninterested tone and with an audible sigh; she told me I had to understand that their engineers might not be in the area on that day. She added triumphantly that there might well be other people ringing at the last minute with NO electricity at all and they would obviously have to be given priority even if I had rung first. I ended the call feeling extremely frustrated and worried too. Nobody seems to care a toss anymore!

As an elderly widow living on a pension who uses a key to put money in a prepayment meter; I’m obviously classed as of very low importance in our modern society.

I was going to ring again later today but decided against this. It can take up to half an hour before your call is answered; thus adding a fair amount of money to my phone bill. Instead I rang my brother and told him the whole sorry tale. To say he was incensed would be putting it mildly. He immediately told me to leave it to him and he would ring them back himself.

“They may well just say the same as they told me” I pointed out….. Prepayment customers must wait until the meter registers 50p” He was not going to be put off though. Ten minutes later he was back on the phone to tell me an engineer would be with me in roughly three hours (it was actually only one hour later when he arrived” “Halleluiah” I thought in great delight. I could hardly believe I was so lucky after all the original hassle. It is amazing how a man instead of an elderly female pensioner can succeed where I could not!

I repeated all the information he needed to know and in half an hour a new meter was fitted with £25.00 put on it in advance until they send me a new key through the post. I’m back in business again….the washer is on, the central heating is getting my water hot and I’m using my PC and Xbox with gay abandon (if you will pardon the risqué adjectives)

So if you are female and elderly, my advice would be not to waste your time “banging your head against a brick wall” when things go wrong. Find a male friend, a husband, a brother, the next door neighbour or a son to do it for you. That way your phone bill will remain reasonably static and you will be spared the inevitable hassle from some of the supercilious and incredibly rude customer service personnel that we are so often blessed with when we are finally successful in actually reaching a real voice on the end of the line after a succession of menus to be got through first.


Rain, Wind, Cold and Buses

Rain, Wind, Cold and Buses

Tuesday June 16th

We are now officially past the middle of June and still waiting for a spell of decent weather. I am not sure why but it always seems that on the days when there is nowhere to go; the sun shines down without ceasing. When however, it is a day for unavoidable shopping, or much better, a day for visiting loved friends or a special outing we have perhaps long looked forward to; the rain pours down relentlessly.

I sometimes wonder if I will ever get to put my raincoat away and wear a nice light summer jacket. The problem is, that if I do, it is guaranteed I will be caught without any head gear and the rain simply soaks through the jacket, thus ensuing I am decidedly wet and thoroughly disgruntled by the time I arrive back home.

Britain is alleged to be of a temperate climate. Well it used to be; but not any more!  The weather has changed drastically over the last couple of decades. It has become much wetter, windier and colder overall. Our seasons no longer appear in their time honoured order – spring, summer, autumn and finally winter. Our climate in these modern times has become a mish mash of everything with a definite emphasis on the wet, windy and cold part. A day in what used to be the season of winter can arrive sporting summer temperatures, thus putting our unprepared minds, emotions and bodies totally out of alignment! A hasty search through our wardrobes for thinner clothing then ensues.

Of course, it goes without saying that when we should be having summer temperatures we are caught napping by bitterly cold and often wet and windy spells of vile weather. Instead of sporting our new summer wear, bought optimistically to enjoy the sunshine the winter gear is the order of the day once more. We should know better by now!

The only way to combat our new type of British weather is to have all kinds of clothes at the ready to meet each day as it comes. Whenever we are leaving our homes for longer than a couple of hours it is best to always tote a bagful of mixed clothing items to adjust to whatever the unpredictable climate we now have, might throw at us.

It is impossible to decide on any set type of clothing if we are leaving our home at first light. An hour later, the sunshine and blue skies can and often will; rapidly turn to pewter grey set-in skies, a drastic drop in temperature and usually the extra delights of yet more rain, wind and low temperatures, generating misery among us all. If like me you have no car to jump into, you will find yourself standing shivering at what is optimistically named a bus shelter.

Anyone who has viewed these ‘shelters’ will know that to shelter you is the very last thing they are constructed to do!!! Buses can arrive early and they are often late. Potential passengers will find themselves waiting impatiently for another half hour standing in the pouring rain in the comparative ‘haven’ of the bus shelter with chilly winds swirling and biting around your exposed feet; as the sides of these flimsy shelters end around eight inches from the ground.  (Where have all these winds come from these days?) It used to be windy mainly during the months of March and October when we were treated to lots of blustery days. Now we have winds of all strengths, often at gale force too, virtually at any time.

Let us look, at another familiar scenario , the buses arrive full to bursting with passengers and without stopping simply sail past. More standing in the inclement weather in a shelter that is not a shelter in the forlorn hope that the next bus will; be early.

Now for the very worst situation of all and sadly not an infrequent one – the bus just does not bother to turn up. I really cannot at this minute, work out the complexities of how long a potential passenger has to stand and wait in these cases.

It is not beyond the realms of possibilities that a second bus will also not turn up. If the strength and will power can possibly be found, it is often quicker to walk! (Nobody could get much wetter and colder anyway; given how little protection the bus shelter affords you)

My apologies. I have digressed from my initial topic of conversation and this whinge has become more about the shocking bus service everyone who is without a car must accept; given that we only have one bus service operating in the area.

The weather though does loom large in this total scenario for obvious reasons. While I am on about buses I may as well continue with further gripes about the miserable standards we all have to put up with if by some miracle we do eventually experience the giddy sensation of seeing this sleek blue passenger vehicle bearing down upon us and it STOPS!  thus allowing us to actually acquire a seat on the bus.

Firstly they break down! (The buses I mean) though often the passengers themselves are near to having a break down too with the inconvenience these frequent frustrating events cause. People can miss important commitments such as a hospital or other important appointment or perhaps a job interview; if they are actually lucky enough to have a job interview.

Older folks can have personal problems such as needing the loo pretty desperately with the long wait for another replacement bus to arrive. Frail folk may well have to stand for interminable periods with nowhere to sit. (Unless they are fortunate enough and blessed enough to be in a bus shelter) and they are even more blessed if it is a shelter which has what the bus company optimistically call a seat! Who are they kidding! For the benefit of those who are fortunate enough not to use the buses; let me explain……

At best, if you are as small as I am, you can prop yourself against one of this approximately 6 inches wide red plastic planks. Sadly though, bus breakdowns rarely accommodate you by dropping you off at a bus shelter. It is much more likely you will be stranded somewhere out of town with no nearby loos or shops, not even a phone box anywhere. (Thank God for mobile phones)

Even if you are fortunate to board a bus that arrives at its destination on time without breaking down; another common experience is the more than likely possibility that your bus will be one of the many ancient models still on the road.

One or two of the local buses until recently, actually let in water! More than once I have been sitting in one of these ancient monstrosities, only to find cold wet drops of rain sliding down my neck.  You will experience every bone in your body being bumped and bounced up and down as you are thrown backwards and forwards in your seat to finally arrive at your destination black and blue. I believe the term for old vehicles of every type is  ‘bone shaker’ Believe me, there are a number of these old ‘boneshaker’ buses still operating locally that roar and rattle as they bang up and down along the roads; not only on the short runs, but even on journeys that take a minimum of an hour to reach their destination.

I could write a book about my experiences on our ‘famous’ buses since my car passed away! I won’t though, as I have most probably depressed everybody enough already.

All of you who are soon to be too old or too poor to own a car any more, can joyfully apply for their free bus passes and look forward with great (sorry I meant ‘little’) anticipation to many new adventures ‘On the Buses’. If like me, you are old enough to remember that comedy series, I can only tell you that the reality is much worse!

Oh! One more little point….. You will discover sooner or later that all pensioners are alluded to by some of the bus drivers as “Coffin Dodgers” What a lovely term!

Fortunately I don’t have to catch a bus today. Oh! Incidentally, outside the sun is shining as I sit here perspiring at my PC. It is soooooo very hot. Yes, you’ve got it…. I am complaining again, but ‘too hot’ is another story for another day!!!!

If I could afford it I would gladly put a large sum of money on the probability of the weather being cold, wet and windy when the next day for venturing out comes along. That’s life I guess. Until next time, signing off, feeling hot and sticky and away for a cool shower. You will note I said ‘cool’ not cold. Cold is off my list. My best advice if you can afford it…. Get a taxi!

Update….It is June 22nd. The sun has put his hat on again and is hiding behind dull leaden skies. The rain is scything down, the wind is blowing hard and the temperature is abysmally low. The barbecue equipment is stowed away in the garden shed once more. The streets are practically deserted. British summertime is abandoned, British summertime? Whatever is that ???