Thursday, 17 April 2008

Roofers at work

I've been watching (not all the time) two men putting tiles on an extension of a house a little way down the lane from me. I'm impressed by how quickly they can do the job, without harness, thick clothing or gloves. They balance on just the apex of wooden baton, leaping around without too much apparent concern. I watch - in case I have to dial 999 and rush out with a blanket and soothing words. The wind howls across the open field and is now a bitter easterly one with no mercy, but still they labour on.

One of them also has a nice physique that I admire from a distance and sigh from distant memory of times gone by.

I'm about to clear out another compost heap, wearing woolly hat, my lovely man's old fleece jacket and a pair of boots to die for. Somehow I don't think the two roofers will be watching me in quite the same way.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Outlook - sunny, but cold

I checked the weather forecast this morning before deciding on how many layers of clothing to put on. It was 'Green Gym' day at the water meadows where a BBC team were going to film us in action, to be aired next wednesday. A cold easterly was due, but despite layers of mist when I set off, the sun quickly burnt through as I arrived. Small groups of us were given choices of mending a post and wire fence, clearing wood from fallen trees and sawing branches. Being tall and strong, I picked up my favourite Bow-saw and began sawing branches working alongside a colleague. In just a few minutes a camera with a hampster attached was thrust in the line of fire of my bow-saw and I stopped and started when told. The film crew were there for the full three hour duration, and the actual footage to be shown will be edited to 40 seconds, so I am confident that my identifiable features will not be broadcast around the nation, and even if they were, I would not be recognisable due to an exhaustive red glow to my cheeks from the endless sawing required in order to get 'the perfect shot'.

What did amaze me is the turnout of volunteers this week... hmm, could it be due to the prior announcement of a film crew? No... how cynical of me! Although, I never realised there were so many registered volunteers until now. Hair had been cut, combed and styled and lipstick was worn by many... mainly women. It was a glorious day in many ways even though my right shoulder seems bigger and just a tad sore. I look forward to more clearing of the water meadows so that cows - apparently Dixter's - will soon be introduced to graze, and in turn, keep at bay the Himalayan Balsam, (of which I haven't a clue as to what it is or looks like.)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Post Script to A Moment in Time

My much earlier post spoke of the death of my paternal grandmother and the affect on her grieving husband and my father - her seven year old son. My father found it very difficult to speak of his mother and it was only years' later, when I was a teenager and my father had suffered and survived a heart attack that he spoke of her and of the time when his father nearly put an end to both their lives after she'd died, from what I understand was cancer of the womb. Her name was Maud, and my father said that he believed my grandfather loved her deeply. It's only now that I can fully appreciate what it is to lose the one person you deeply love. After 24 years of being married to someone I didn't love, then to find a man whom I adored and loved more than anyone or anything else in the world, I am there in my grandfather's shoes, feeling as he did, hurting as he did and understanding why he nearly put an end to his own life and that of his young son.

If, and it's a big IF... there is life after death, then my grandfather is now reunited with Maud and my father is now reunited with my mother. My father never felt animosity towards his father for what nearly happened, he always said, that if it was his fate to die that day then he accepted it. He trusted his father and respected him. He also said that even though he was only seven years old, he understood his father's grief, because it was his own grief too. Quite something for a seven-year old! But then, my father was special.

One day I might be with my lovely man again... when - I don't know.

Stark Contrasts

I really love the stark contrast of red against light or dark, always have done. I remember when as an infant in primary school I drew dark red leaves with black veins and outline which brought gasps from my teacher. I love art in any form and have always wanted to write and paint well.

Similarly, I look for the truth, honesty and humour in others and am immediately drawn to them. Last wednesday while working at Chipping Norton for the Green Gym... we were planting in the gardens of St. Mary's Church... I, being of strong build, used my garden fork to dig out the weeds so that others may plant. All went well until tea break when another said, "Isn't that jumper you're wearing too good for this kind of work"? I looked down on my jumper - a relic from the 80's - and replied, " what about my jeans and boots... are they to your approval?" I smiled as I said this, so as to lighten the response. No reply, just smiles from others.

Later, on another patch of ground, I followed a small group with my trusty fork and was about to dig up a clump of weeds, when one of the party shouted at me in militaristic tones, "No, don't do that! This area is to be for naturalisation... we do not want the weeds dug out!!!" Rather taken aback by the abruptness and rudeness of this retort, I left the area and stood with my fork in hand and watched. Walking by, was a man who'd heard the retort and spoke up..."Don't let her talk to you like that... who does she think she is anyway? If I were you I'd go home and sod them all!" I looked at him and smiled, answering, "Yes, I think I may as well go home now." The woman who'd shouted at me looked taken aback. She said, "Umm, sorry for cutting across you." I said nothing, but walked back to the van where I put all the tools. We are all volunteers on the Green Gym, but one or two believe they are better than the rest of us and think that talking in a bullish, commandeering way is how to get things done. How little they know about human beings!

I have volunteered to undertake a Leadership Course, while the woman who domineered the day refused. This speaks volumes about the meaning of leadership.

In my entire working life, I have always been amazed by the ways of other humans in the pursuit of dominance, no matter in what field, and in what little way. I have held many positions which have required leadership, management, empathy, understanding and emotional intelligence... all were difficult. Now, I am battered and bruised by grief, so I don't let other people 'get to me' like they used to. I turn away, or give a humourous response. Am I wrong? If this other person continues to harrass me, then I may just give her a dose of her own medicine and doubly so, because I am able to. Let's hope the situation doesn't arise, because she will find that I am not what I first appear to be.