lovin’ the chelsea flower show

Creeping over crunchy ground,

Through leaves all dried by sun

To flowers blooming in their shade.

The secret garden lives for me,

A place to disappear, dissolve

From whirling worlds that spin too fast.

Here there is a slower pace

Where I am forced to take some time

Down beside the waters still,

And find my place of perfect peace.

I’ve been watching all the highlights from the past Chelsea Flower Shows that are on TV at the moment. If you are not from the UK then you may not know it, but it’s a really prestigious gardening show where everyone is gunning for a gold medal in the judging.

I’ve never really been a fan, I think that watching people walk through gardens is a bit like watching paint dry. But in the past we’ve enjoyed going to visit National Trust properties and walking through the gardens. With that not a possibility anymore, I seem to have latched onto watching the flower show. (Either that, or I’m just getting old).

The gardens on the show are just stunning and so creative. As somebody who loves art and anything that involves getting mucky and creative, I’m enjoying the artistry. And the water features are to die for. I don’t know about you but I find trickling water to be the most relaxing sound in the world.

I’ve been going through the old photos to remember times when we were at the National Trust gardens and I’m buzzing to get back to them. I’m tempted to get a pass when this is all over so that we can go on loads of road trips.

I didn’t really have anything that I was burning to say today, so I just thought I’d bring you something pretty and whimsical, so this is what you have. A little slice of The Secret Garden in my own style.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

torn

Life will always split at fragile points

Junctions that appear to have

Such little importance

And only when we stop

And realise that a choice was made

Can we consider

The life we could have had.

I’m a bit torn at the moment. We have a beautiful park right outside our home and all winter I have been looking forward to seeing it in full bloom and seeing everyone enjoying the outside space. And the COVID19 came along.

We have had a lockdown since the end of March and the park has been pretty much deserted. There were a few people out doing their daily exercise but that was all.

Now the lockdown has been lifted a little all the people have come out and I have my wish: I can see all the people enjoying the park. However, I’m now worried about a second spike in the infections as I watch people who are quite obviously from different households frolicking in the sun.

So I really am torn. I don’t know whether to celebrate the fact that the people are out and about or really worry about it. I don’t know the science behind how this thing spreads and I have friends on both ends of the scale, some want to return to normality and others want a complete lockdown to be extended. I really don’t know where I even fall on that scale.

I guess that this will be one of those junctions in this country’s history and we will have to stop and look back and see whether we did make the right choice. Only time will tell.

Much Love

Rachel xx

standing up to the bullies

We sat sipping lemonades, as the sea rolled in.

A sunbeam of stars tied to the tide

And soft little bubbles tickling noses.

It seemed like a step closer to heaven

When he hit me with the choice I would have to make.

Leave my integrity, holding his hand

Or run from our bench drenched in hot sun.

I climbed to my feet and stumbled away.

Better leave heaven on a warm sunny day

Than burn up with guilt

As we walk into a sunset

Heavy with grief.

So, let’s talk about Donald Trump, and more importantly the people around him. He is making some pretty outlandish health claims of late and as a President that’s pretty irresponsible. However, he does have qualified advisors surrounding him and I find it more worrying that these people aren’t stepping up and saying something.

I understand that their jobs are on the line if they go against what he says, but surely a doctor should have a moral obligation to raise concerns if he says something that is untrue and DANGEROUS!

I am in the UK so I don’t know the ins and outs of American politics but I’m sure that educated men and women should feel it necessary to stand up and say something. I think that if our queen started telling people to inject themselves with bleach, some of us might tell her to think before she speaks. (The queen is amazing and would never do that but I just felt it necessary to draw a comparison between the two heads of state).

I’ve never been in a position where I’ve had influence in politics so, again, I might not be the most qualified person to have a rant about this, but I have stood up and said something at work and in relationships. We all have the chance to step up in whatever capacity and fight for what is right.

Don’t sit back and let someone be a bully to others or force your hand into doing something you don’t agree with. And let’s hope and pray that people start to find the courage to tell Trump he’s wrong, not that it would make much difference as I’m sure that doctor urged him not to take hydroxychloriquine and yet he’s still taking it!

Much Love

Rachel xx

is it weird that i’ve got a bit of a crush on dumbledore?

No, I don’t have a thing for hair that is long

And beards that are longer.

I’m not into spells and hexes

Or men that are a hundred years old.

But I do love a man leading the way

And not through sheer force.

I admire the gentle and calm,

With no need to shout.

Order maintained through love and compassion,

A kind of leadership I wish was in fashion.

So, I’m a little bit late to the party but I’ve finally decided to start reading the Harry Potter books. I’m on the fourth book and there are things that I do like and things that I don’t like about them. One of the things that I REALLY like is Dumbledore.

I’ve always had problems with managers at work because I feel quite scared of them. I am always scared of getting shouted at and a lot of managers are shouty, so I have good reason to be nervous.

However, I have had a few managers who have been amazing and I’ve never been able to put my finger on what it is that makes them so great. After reading these books I can safely say that they are all very much like Dumbledore.

I know that if I was a teacher at Hogwarts I would feel 100% safe with him as the head. He is fair and he has such a calming effect on the school. And what I’ve realised in this book is that he does have people that don’t like him and he just seems to be OK with that. I could never imagine him lashing out even if someone really went for him.

How I wish that Hogwarts was a real place so that I could go and teach there. I think that Dumbledore would be the kind of boss that I love so much I even get a little bit of a crush on him. Is that weird or do other people out there get what I’m on about?

Much Love

Rachel xx

a little bit on writer’s block

Sitting in my solitary room,

A blank canvas of a cocoon,

Wishing that the walls were daubed with paint

To stimulate the mind, the soul, the heart.

Colours splashed in slapdash ways,

My psyche making stories from the nonsense found,

But that nonsense is my own

And in time others find their own.

So putting pen to paper surely is an answer,

Create a wall of art myself?

Doesn’t matter how it looks or where it flows,

Just start the thing

And others bring the magic to

A wall once plain and grey.

They make the story come to life,

Not you, in your tight cocoon.

when you realise we’re all a bit different

I used to see a long conveyor belt

Of girls that looked a lot like me.

Machines would churn us out and even though

My eyes were brown and hers were blue

We had to be the same in how we act,

In how we dream and how we love.

Deviate at your peril for

We’ll make you feel uncomfortable

If you dare to be unique

And so I’m baffled every time

I see a clone break from the mould.

It shocks and shakes

Me to the core.

We are all reacting to the lockdown differently and I have to admit that it’s freaking me out a little bit. It seems that for the first time ever I am falling into the calm and collected category. I never thought that I would see that day!

I always feel like we are expected to conform to some artificial norm that is completely at odds to me and the things that I want from life. And somehow lockdown has made me feel more comfortable than I did in the old world.

I really noticed the difference in how we are reacting last night when I was watching Kati Morton on Youtube. When I was going through some bad times I turned to her videos to help me through. She is a licensed therapist and she always seemed so together. I was envious of her together-ness.

But this video revealed just how unbalanced she feels in this new normal that we live in. It was strange because I wanted to comfort her and tell her to chill out and just go with it. There is something about this situation that I seem to be able to deal with better than others, when normally I’m a wreck.

I decided to write this because I don’t know whether I feel this way because I’m becoming a stronger person, or because the work I do as a recovering alcoholic is helpful, or just because lockdown is agreeable to introverts?

I have no idea, it could be a mix of all of these factors. I do hope that others are coping OK and if you are struggling I think it’s worth keeping in mind that we are all unsure what the future holds and for once we have very little control over it. I suggest that instead of engaging in that tug of war, you just drop the rope, lie down on the grass and watch the clouds.

Wishing you love and light,

Rachel xx

you took my breath away

You took my breath away

With beauty I expected least,

Like when dragged on dark and frosty fields

To watch the lanterns rise into the night.

Jelly fish that swam through heavy nights

And punctured black with eyes of light,

I’d hoped that I would feel so little,

That when we slunk back home

To place our hands round cocoa cups

I’d yawn with nonchalance

And say how bored I’d been.

But you took my breath away

And so I spoke in garbled tones

Of nothing but the beauty I had seen.

And still I see it every day

Long after flames have all burnt out,

Because I see you

Despite the cold and dark.

when you only know half of the story

He hates me

And it’s quite a simple thing.

That’s the way my mind will always read

A flash of hate, rebellion,

That boils up like a lightning strike.

There’s never been a chapter written

Earlier than the one I started in.

There’s never been an explanation

Other than the simple fact

That I could never be as good,

Could never be as liked.

If only I could one time see that character

Before the opening scenes.

To understand just what he feels

And that it has so very little

To do with me.

I still very frequently get that distinct feeling that I’m not like, that I’m not good enough. It’s always based on some sort of evidence which just makes the feeling worse, because I can prove my point to anyone who wants to tell me that I’m being silly.

However, I have started to realise that my evidence never takes into consideration anything that has happened into the moment in question. Since getting sober I have started to turn this around and it’s really starting to dawn on me, how hard I was making my own life for myself.

A perfect example happened yesterday at my new job as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school. I was left alone with the kids and within twenty minutes they were going crazy and the teacher came storming back into the room, shouting and bringing order about almost immediately.

My first instincts were to think that the kids only played up because they hated me and that the teacher hated me because I had done my job badly. I went home feeling really deflated and it was exactly the kind of thing that would make me quit without even trying.

However, I sat down today and thought through the situation with a clearer mind. I took into consideration the fact that it was a warm afternoon and these kids had been left with a novice. It was Friday and we were all tired. And the teacher didn’t reprimand me and tell me that I was doing a bad job.

All of these things need to be thought about and it really helped me take the pressure off myself. I’m sure we have all been in that place where we catastrophise something small that has gone wrong, but I would do it to the point where I would hate myself and now I’m giving myself a bit of a break.

If you’re blaming yourself for somebody’s reaction to what you have done, take a step back and think about what could have made things worse. And also, remember that you are not responsible for other people’s feelings. You need to try your best to be nice, but if someone takes offence when you are trying your best, that’s not your problem. Just be the best version of you that you can be and everything else will fall into place.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i think i might be a bit shallow

I think I might be a bit shallow

Because I love to judge a book

By just how beautiful

The cover has been made.

Hardback, with pretty little end papers

That give the most subtle of clues.

Where will the story go?

And will my main character

Kiss the girl at the end?

The most beautiful of books

All stand on show

Like a catwalk of models

While their uglier sisters

Hide just behind them,

Make up brushes in hand

And jealousy burning

Through their sepia pages.

Yes, you can call it quite shallow

But I cherish these beauties

Regardless of content.

Does anyone else really love a pretty book cover? As an avid reader the stories that I love, they colour my world, but the covers that colour my shelves are almost as important.

I have read some books that I’ve hated but I have kept hold of the physical copy purely because the cover is beautiful. And I live in a tiny little flat so I have to be very selective about what I keep and what gets shipped off to the charity shop.

I have a particular thing about end papers. I think that they can be the most beautiful thing about a book and I would love to design them for publishers. It’s one of those weird jobs that you can’t tell people you would like to do because they would look at you like you’re a bit odd.

I’m sure that loads of you have something in your life that makes you feel a bit shallow. Perhaps it’s not being able to leave the house without make up. But if you love the art of putting it on and get genuine pleasure from experimenting with it, then is it really shallow? I don’t think so at all.

In these times we should be hanging onto anything that brings us joy and things that are pleasing to the eye are an important part of that. Take pleasure in these little things and don’t feel ashamed and I’m telling you this as I rearrange my bookshelf into rainbow order.

Much Love

Rachel xx

things i find myself thinking about at 2am at the petrol station

Can I do better? I think

For probably the hundredth time in one night.

Why don’t I get a normal fucking job

That I go to between 9 and 5?

Wasn’t that what I got my degree education for?

I find myself sighing as another car passes

Without stopping for a sandwich

And two cans of Red Bull.

Am I wasting my life? I think

Biting my nails and scrolling through Twitter.

I think that I’ll start looking

For that elusive career

Just as soon I’ve slept.

I don’t make good decisions

At this time of night.