Monday, 23 June 2008

....and thank you all for coming!

This is a standing joke in my circle of friends, following a drunken birthday party of mine in "My Old Dutch", a pancake house of some renown in Central London. This was once a common haunt for our "gang" (in the most benign of senses), where we'd hold many-a-party, birthday-induced or otherwise, almost always following on from a swiftie in the Princess Louise across the road. On the occasion when "....and thank you all for coming!" was a part of the proceedings, it was my birthday - who knows which year, probably 1982 or 3 based on the assembled revellers. After the ceremonial singing of "Happy Birthday to you (me)" I was required to make a speech and it went.....

"I'm very drunk, I'm very happy and thank you all for coming!" Highly original, not - probably not even that funny really, let's just say you had to be there.

As the evening progressed, this became "very, very drunk, very very happy" and so on and so forth until it all got rather messy.

Finally, she comes to the point of this.....

Today I saw my psychologist who is helping me back to wellness after my collapse in November last year. She's lovely and in another parallel world I could have seen us being friends although that may be rather unlikely in this one given our professional relationship. She asked me about my "kind to myself" self and I described that fabulous scene in "A Room With A View" where our hero and heroine embrace in the middle of a field full of yellow blooms. The scene is dripping with passion and full of seething life. Perhaps rather cringingly I see myself as a barefoot heroine seeking out real love in a world where "doing the right thing" is much more acceptable. I said that my dream had always been to be the recipient of a passionate kiss, while barefoot in a field full of wild flowers. Yeah, yeah, I know, pass me the sick bucket! Next year, who knows, I may just make my dream moment as we intend to sow a sack full of wild flower seeds this autumn.

I mentioned that I picture my happy kind self outdoors almost invariably although I'm not averse to standing by the sitting room window saying "thank you yellowhammer for coming to visit my bird table, rest assured there will be a new feast there waiting for you tomorrow" and "thanks for coming little starling, just watch how your Mum does it with the mealworms" and "oy, you may be the cutest little thing on the planet, you baby blue tit but if you persist in biting the heads off my fuchsia flowers you'll see the back of my hand".

So, I thank my little gang of birds, young and old for coming to my table. I demonstrate gratitude to them for just being there and therefore there FOR ME.

However, the "just being there" has only been possible because of action on my part. I feed huge volumes of different types of food, in a wide range of feeders at different locations in the garden just to make sure I get as big a range as possible. We get all sorts, including some quite rare species such as the aforementioned yellowhammer and a little critter called in our house a "marsh bobbit" whose name we now know to be a reed bunting, though I fear we'll never shake the habit of calling it a "marsh bobbit".

This seems like the very best kind of "doing/being" balance to me so maybe I can crack this illness by breaking the cycle of trying to do a million things at once.

This post makes me happy - I have used "" for the first time in months and more than that, I know that today's word of the day is "capacious" which anyone who knows me will recognise as an important step back into the world.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

To begin.........(again)

OK - let's get one thing straight - I never have and (in all likelihood) never will raise a starling by hand. Well, I would if push came to shove but thankfully, I've found that the starlings raised by me by proxy all have excellent parents who raise them beautifully with a little help from me. I provide food and shelter, along with a starling-friendly environment and they provide me with hours of joy in return.

The title of this blog could just as easily have been "raising yellowhammers", "raising butterflies", "raising buttercups" or "raising apple trees". Basically I've set this up to give myself a voice again while recovering from clinical depression. I'm going to try to concentrate on the things that give nourishment to my soul and "raising starlings" seems like exactly the sort of subject that is about nourishment, nature, nurture and hope.

For five years, I completed a daily blog using pbase as my vehicle. I did my blog religiously, day-in and day-out, no matter whether I felt like it or not, no matter how busy I was and no matter how much of a chore the task sometimes was. One of my reasons for this was that the website is a photographic one and my blog was also a "photo-a-day" and, not wanting to let go of the daily nature of it, I found myself locked into an hour every day photographing and writing. Ultimately I broke the cycle because I was finding the commitment of an hour a day shooting and processing a photo, then writing a piece to accompany it too much in the face of deepening and prolonged depression.

Now I feel ready to "put pen to paper" or perhaps "finger to keyboard" would be a more accurate description as I rarely write with a pen any more other than shopping lists or "ideas".

So, this is the start of a new journey. If you want to see the life, loves, joy and despair of my daily blog on pbase all you have to do is visit It's all there, dip in and out or start at the beginning if you like!