Does anyone recognise this location? Think of young men and women learning to fly on broomsticks in the first of a magical movie series.
Yep! This is part of the quadrangle in Durham Cathedral, UK, one of the locations used in the early Harry Potter movies. Apparently, a portion of the upcoming The Avengers: Infinity Wars movie, due in 2019 (I think), was filmed here in May.
This is a beautiful cathedral with a deep but quiet sense of history. Dating back to 1093, the architecture and stonework have stood the test of time, as has the incredible stained glass Rose Window. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited within the cathedral, so here’s a link if you’d like to know more.
I had dinner with The Clan last Saturday and, as we normally do when the bellies are filled and chatter increases, we moved to the outside tables of the dinner venue for tea, coffee or whatever the folks preferred.
An elderly blind man was making his way on the pavement, white cane tapping before him. There was enough space for him and other pedestrians to walk safely. But not enough, apparently, for this teenaged girl: she had those Princess Leia headphones clamped on her head, she was preoccupied with her phone, and she walked right into the elderly man, cane and all. Several diners rose, ready to help, but all was well, fortunately.
I have plenty to say about folks who are so plugged-in to a digital universe they’ve forgotten how to function in the one they’re in, but this post is about an act of kindness.
“You know, your dad helped a blind man once,” said one of my uncles. “Years ago.”
Oh? I know my father never hesitates to help anyone in need. But this was news to me.
“He was supposed to meet us for a game of badminton but he never showed up. We were worried so we called your mum but she didn’t know where he was either.”
I looked at my father, who stared back. “What? I had no mobile. How to call?”
The story unfolded: my father came out of his office and found a blind man sitting at the bus-stop. When his bus came, he thought he should check if this was the bus the man might be waiting for. The man cited a bus number that did not make a stop where they were. Indeed, that bus came nowhere near where they were.
My father said he explained the situation to the man, and offered to take him to his destination. So they boarded the correct buses (a change was needed somewhere) that took them to the man’s home, forty minutes away.
The man was safely delivered to his frantic family, then my father came home. He missed his badminton game but claimed he had plenty of exercise anyway because he walked home, having used up his transport budget for the man’s fare. Yep, my father is one of those who only carries the amount he needs.
I have no recollection of this event happening back then, but I will remember it now.
I’m pretty sure folks know by now that leaders Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un will be meeting on 12 June in Singapore. As I write this, it is in the early hours of 11 June. Both leaders have apparently arrived in the city state but have yet to meet.
But here they are on an artist’s easel!
I chanced upon this talented gentleman in a mall, and he was kind enough to allow me to photograph him and his work. Thank you!
I have a nightmare. It doesn’t occur at night, though; it’s more like an all-day fear of what might be.
You see, I have this condition called an ‘essential tremor’ in my right hand. I’ve been to doctors and I’ve been MRI’ed, tested, poked and measured. The good news is that conditions like Parkinson’s have been ruled out; the bad news is there is a definite shaking when the hand is in use (which is the main difference between the tremor and Parkinson’s, where tremors occur even at rest).
If I hold a lighter to light a candle, I miss the wick. If I try to play a scale on the piano, the cat walking across the keyboard sounds better. I’ve stopped taking photos. I drop things and now avoid glassware or sharp objects. This avoidance is not medical advice, it’s just my fear of injury because I’ve jerked, sloshing liquid out of a cup. Then dropped the cup.
My nightmare is that this tremor degenerates to a point where I can’t sew, knit, butter bread, stir milk into tea, hold a writing instrument, point the mouse …
Some of you might have read that I’ve been trying bullet journaling. I have no artistic genes whatsoever, but I enjoy colour and looking at beautiful images, whether out the window, on Pinterest or here, where there are so many gorgeous photos. So I decided that I was going to try capturing some of this beauty on paper – my way.
I’m not going to beat myself up (I’d probably miss anyway) if my doodles are horrendous or if my handwriting is sloppy or if I jerk and create an unintended slash. They will all be regarded as artistic attempts and converted into something colourful and cheerful.
I will practise, and draw lines and circles, and every straight line will be a victory. I will set little goals to work towards, so that I can check ‘done’ every so often. I would like to see how far I can go and how far I’ve come.
I’m told there is no cure and that the tremors could get worse, but I’ll know I didn’t sit passively for the nightmare to take over. Oh, but I will say this: the tremors seem to have reduced. Perhaps it is writing and colouring. Perhaps it is switching to wooden knitting needles. Perhaps it is returning to beginner level chromatic scales. Perhaps it’s plain old using muscles in the hand. Who knows.
We’ll see what happens at the doctor’s appointment next month.
You see, I didn’t have to be at work and I discovered – with the hugest amount of glee – that the household chores had been either taken care of or could wait. Which meant I had pretty much the day clear to do as I pleased.
So I declared it Be Kind To Self Day. Or at least till it is time to prep for dinner.
First, I brewed a cup of coffee – not instant. And added milk and vanilla syrup, although why there’s even vanilla syrup in the house is a mystery since I never bought it. Whoever owns it will have to make do with a tablespoon less. Or two.
Then I logged on to Pinterest and viewed bullet journal spreads like there’ll be tomorrow. Tomorrow will come, I know, but I might not have this luxury of time and computer hogger-ship. And looking at beautiful images on a large screen beats the teeny phone one anyday.
Why bullet journals? Because starting such a journal is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I have a diary that keeps my appointments and to-dos in order but leaves little room for ideas, thoughts, reflections and random, hideous doodles. This week, I bought a Leuchtturm1917 and a bunch of fineliner pens and brush pens. Then found I had neither the guts nor ideas to start, despite having read blogs on bullet journaling.
Pinterest is an awesome place for ideas and links to other equally awesome websites. But I have to admit, it can be thoroughly demoralising to realise the chasm that separates all that awesomeness from the reality of starting out. Anyway, I have four pages mapped out so that is a great achievement for me, for now.
And while on Pinterest, I had Lang Lang’s performance of Beethoven’s ‘Emporer’ Concerto playing on YouTube. This was followed by David Garrett’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Converto in D, then Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. As I type this, the Piano Guys are doing their unique interpretations on everything from Christina Perri to One Direction to Mozart. Music bliss. Sensory bliss.
So now it is 4:30pm and time to let the real world back in. Folks will be coming home and dinner needs to be taken care of.
But it has been a therapeutic, soul-refreshing kind of day. I’m content.
I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up my prescription, tablets which cost $8 a box. As I was allowed to buy a maximum of 5 boxes, I did just that. I queued, paid with my credit card, took the boxes and left. And, no, silly me did not check the charge slip, which explains the mayhem that ensued.
You see, my credit card requires a signature for purchases above $10. The fact that I hadn’t been asked to sign anything for a $40 purchase only hit me as I was halfway down the escalator to leave the building. Upon checking the receipt, I found that I had been charged – you guessed it – $8 for all five boxes.
Dilemma! Go out the door (the car was right there!) and no one would be any wiser. Or go back up and pay the full price. I will be honest to say it was so tempting to head right out – I would have saved $32 and, I mean, who would have known?
I went back up.
There were two others ahead of me and so I queued – again. When it was my turn, the cashier was supremely confused at my explanation. “Did you not want 5 packs, then?”
“I want all five.”
“You’ve got five, haven’t ya?”
“Yes. But I paid for only one.”
Believe me, it was really tempting then to just leave. “So I was charged for one box but I have five boxes.”
At which point the manager sauntered over. I retold my story. By this time there were three people behind me in the queue, all listening with great interest.
He glared. “So you tryin’ to pay for the other four you took?”
Hmm … that didn’t sound exactly right. Took?
“I didn’t take the other four. I came back to pay for the four boxes your cashier didn’t charge me for.”
“Lady,” said the gentleman behind me. “Just take your stuff and run. I’ll swear I never saw you.”
“You shouldn’t have come back!” chipped in the lady behind him. “I’d have just kept going. They don’t even get it!”
I checked with the third person, just so she didn’t feel left out. She cackled. “I say go. Not too late. I’ll hold them up if you like.”
Eventually, the manager got it. The cashier got it. The cashier also got it from the manager but that’s another story.
I paid the full amount and left. I will always cherish the support these total strangers offered. But I think I’ll go to some other pharmacy next time. And check my receipts before walking off.
Who knew it would take this much effort to right something?