Saturday, 9 November 2013

My Favourite Things - Part 2

It's been a struggle to keep adding to my list of favourite things. Our eldest cat, Freddie, died just over 24 hours after my last blog and, as anyone will know when they've had loving animals in their life, my heart was heavy with tears.

It seems to be the mornings that hurt the most, when he and I would have been alone together in the office. After his morning meal he would come to me for a fuss before he curled up beside my chair and had a 'cat-nap'. He was with me for 15 years and it's not going to be a speedy adjustment to his passing.

It is because of the hurt I've felt that I have continued, although slowly, with my list of 'Favourite Things'. It has been important for me to remember that such heartbreak comes 'within' life and not to 'devour' it. And so, after every little crying session, I've forced myself to think of additions to my list so as to bring the balance of life back. When I need to be sad, I'm sad, but when the tears are over, it's time to get back on life's train.

When I said, in my last blog, that doing a list of 'Favourite Things' was therapeutic , I had no idea how valuable a therapy it would turn out to be, and continue to be.

Of course, I'm not going to keep blogging lists, I'd bore everyone to tears, but these additions to those mentioned before, I publish as a dedication to a beautiful soul who oozed wisdom and had much to do with the making of the person I am today.

In memory of Freddie Andrew Webster, 25/04/1998 to 05/11/2013.

1. Warm towel when I get out the shower
2. Nat King Cole
3. Squidward (from Spongebob Squarepants)
4. Led Zeppelin IV (Four Symbols LP)
5. White Linen air freshner
6. Fireworks (organised displays only)
7. Revels (I may not eat chocolate often, but these will always hit the spot)
8. The film 'Deep Impact' (because it could happen, and how humanity can still be self-sacrificing for the sake of others.)
9. Watching the degu make their bed after a cage clean
10. The hymn 'Dear Lord and Father'
11. My partner holding my hand
12. The old 'Tom and Jerry' cartoons
13. Hindu chants (Asian, Near and Middle Eastern music in general)
14. Platform shoes (considering my height)
15. Buddha (skinny one for meditation and fat one for a smile)
16. Ralph McTell's 'Streets of London' (very poignant)
17. Terry Wogan
18. A certain line from 'Mrs Brown's Boys' (I'm not telling which one)
19. Puppies with big clumsy paws
20. Lego
21. Lord of the Rings
22. The sound of an Infants School playground
23. The end credits to 'X Factor' (because it's finished)
24. Central Heating
25. Arm and Hammer toothpaste
26. Watching the sunset from Lindisfarne
27. 2p machines in Blackpool (yes I do watch 'Tipping Point')
28. Potato and Leek Soup
29. Tomato Soup
30. Ralph Catts' laugh (he's a fellow student at UCM)
31. Yellow highlighter pens
32. Stationary in genera
l 33. Desiderata (usually credited to Max Ehrmann)
34. Walt Disney's 'Mary Poppins'
35. Esther Rantzen (for Childline)
36. Greg Lake's 'I believe in Father Christmas'
37. I'm a Celebrity ... get me out of here (but not when their eating creepy crawlies)
38. Sunlight
39. Twiglets (it's that 'Marmite' taste)
40. The song 'Fly me to the moon' (especially sung by Frank Sinatra)
41. Our degu fighting over 'who's got the biggest walnut'
42. Any 'Queen' song (but not too keen on Radio ga ga)
43. U2's 'The Joshua Tree' LP
44. Donkeys
45. Tigger (from 'Winnie the Pooh')
46. The Tao Te Ching
47. Gary Barlow (excellent songwriter but does a lot of good work too)
48. Beaumaris
49. Miss Dior (perfume)
50. The urge to sway when singing the hymn 'One more step along the world I go'
51. My partner Pat doing impersonations in embarrassing places
52. Having my feet massaged/tickled/stroked
53. My favourite tree at Luther King House Theological College
54. Phil Waldron (fellow student - excellent sense of humour but also gentle and kind)
55. Wholemeal bread
56. Singing 'loudly' in the car
57. Walt Disney's 'Jungle Book'
58. 'Compare the Market' adverts (Meerkats)
59. Coffee
60. General Assembly Meetings - lots of Unitarian faces, lots of Unitarian friends
61. Philip Schofield
62. Any book written by Graham Hancock
63. My partner's fascination with 'baby' programmes (CBeebies)
64. Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' all three volumes
65. Cognac

It is important in life to remember that our hurts are our joys and our joys are our hurts. Both are important in order to be sure that we have lived our lives with love.


Monday, 4 November 2013

My Favourite Things

Isn't it strange how we remember the bad things in life easily but not the good? In Customer Service training, it is common to prepare a new workforce in the statistics that a customer will probably only tell 1 or 2 people about a good experience and yet tell 15 to 20 people about a bad one. What a miserable lot we are.

Yesterday, while driving home from chapel, I started thinking about the Julie Andrews song 'My Favourite Things' ..... you know the one, from 'Sound of Music' ..... "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ..." About half way through I started wondering what the words would be if I had written the song, what are my favourite things?

At first, Julie Andrews was a hindrance because I couldn't get her list out of my head ..... the 'sing-a-long problem. Then I started using her list as a guide. 'Raindrops on roses' does nothing for me but I like thick snow where no foot (not even a paw) has trodden. 'Whiskers on kittens' reminded me of how much I love our Matthew (the cat) padding my face to wake me in the mornings. In the end Julie and her list were no longer required, I was building momentum on my own. Here's just a few (in no particular order):-

Dunking bread into soup or stew
Bay City Roller songs (they're usually happy and bouncy)
Marmite and cheese on toast
The mountains of Snowdonia
Listening to Ludovico Einaudi with my eyes closed
Fields covered in bluebells
Bohemian rhapsody
Being greeted by the dog when I come home (my partner never shows that much excitement)
Brass bands
Red welly-boots
Sitting outdoors on warm summer evenings with friends, chatting
Watching the guinea pigs at 'Pets at Home' (I want one but we've got enough animals)
Long, slow walks (although I don't get the opportunity often enough)

The list is still growing and surprisingly getting longer as I continue to search my brain for the brighter things in life.

It gets easier when you start categorising e.g. favourite films, favourite books, favourite places, favourite food etc...

This is good fun, I highly recommend it. It makes you feel good too. I wonder how long my list will get?

Sunday, 27 October 2013


I dreamt a dream of yesterday
It's presence clear and strong
It told me of tomorrow
and the gift of right and wrong

It held me in its wonder
And smote me with its might
It growled its evil thunder
And soothed me in my plight

"Be gone!" my silence whispered
"Take all of it away,
Tomorrow is my mystery
And deceives what is today."

Its fingers grasped me tightly
And laughter filled my head
"Don't you wish for yesterday
And regret the things you said?"

My wincing heart then crumbled
And my dreams became a mist
And the things which I depended on
Took on their evil twist

"Come with me to yesterday
And view the things so wrong
I'll show you how such mournings
Are not where they belong."

A scrape of ungreased latches
The creaking of a door
My steps so slow and cautious
As I glanced toward 'before'

And then the dream stopped me
"Why follow what is gone.
The dealt hand of experience
Is where it must belong.

Temptation is to listen
To things that are not there
To brood on where the living
Was cruel and so unfair

Your heart is not broken
It only shed the shell
Of the hurt that you keep living
While you grapple with the spell"

The hand of my tomorrows
Gently touched my cheek
"You failed to answer rightly
But it doesn't mean you're weak.

For yesterday is always there
It cannot be ignored
And its memory will always raise
The acts that you deplored.

Follow not the voices
That lead you to the doors
where you locked away your past
and turned on your 'before'.

You are what you have been through
It made you what you are
The price you paid for yesterday
Will always have its scar

Let it lead you to tomorrow
And not toward the past
Feed it with the dreams you've made
And a love you know will last

And when you've learnt to have such faith
Your cup filled by 'today'
Then well oiled doors will let you in
To sweep the past away."

I dreamt a dream of yesterday
And I'll dream it many times
As I live in my tomorrows
'til acceptance becomes mine.

Copyright - Shammy Webster