Springingtiger's Blog


I Smell Spring
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Friary Garden, Alnmouth

Today it felt as if Spring was finally on its way. We have had a couple of bright sunny days in a row. In fact the meteorological spring began on the first of March, but I think most people consider Spring as beginning at the Equinox on the twentieth of March. I don’t mark the seasons by any particular date, but by feeling and today feels like spring.

wpid-2013-05-07_17-51-47_HDR.jpgIt isn’t easy to explain my seasons. I think there are several factors of which I’m aware and they do not relate to any date or calendar. The lengthening days are a big part of it. I miss the light so much in winter that arriving home in daylight after 18:00 ways lifts my spirits. It was only a few weeks ago that the night began around 15:00, now the long summer nights are accelerating towards us, I can feel them coming and it makes me feel good. I should have been a bear so that I could hibernate all winter, instead my body and mind just go into a slowdown for three months. Last year I felt like hibernating early, days of unremitting greyness will do that. Last summer was so wet that my rhubarb rotted in the ground. I spent my childhood in Yorkshire it never occurred to me that rhubarb could react like that, I thought rhubarb loved the rain, but I suppose we all have our limits.

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Winter Trees

If this weather continues I may soon be able to walk on my lawn without sinking. I am very hopeful as I can see my spring bulbs showing. The snowdrops are in flower and the heads of the daffodils are beginning to swell. My hedge which I have not yet got around to cutting is developing leaf buds as are my roses. I must get the secateurs and loppers out soon. The strange thing is that despite the strange weather last year I still had roses on my bushes into December. This year I don’t think I’ll open Mr. Titmarsh’s guide to the gardening year as it assumes the seasons appear in proper sequence and I’m no longer sure they do, certainly not on schedule. I know Spring is coming because I look at my garden and start feeling uncomfortable at all there is to do. Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll make a start.

There is a change in the air when Spring is coming, I can smell it just as I can smell the onset of autumn, sometimes before the leaves show any inclination to change colour. Soon It will be time to give some thought to my summer baskets, my fuchsias seem to have survived the winter this time, I’m glad I put them in the cold frame. I think what really tells me Spring is here is a sense of aliveness that disappears in winter, my optimism which has been semi-dormant all winter is awakening again. I can get out and walk and feel the energy in my body returning with the fresh air and daylight.

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Summer Lillies

Some people like to plan their new year in mid winter around the Equinox. So do I, but I don’t start feeling my plans as real until I feel the Spring shedding its light on them. They are like seeds sown in the dark of winter they have been asleep but now I feel them germinating. We may be two months into the new year, but only now do I feel renewed. There are things I want to do and now there are no more ‘buts’, it’s time for action.



I Need a Bigger Bath
September 30, 2013, 23:14
Filed under: disability, Gardening, Scotland, Travel | Tags: , , ,

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I know Werner said, “All you get to do today is what you get to do today. ” unfortunately sometimes all you get to do is more than your body thinks you should,  and so I am soaking in an Arnica oil bath. When I called,  what I believed to be a temporary halt to the day’s activities, I needed a rest, with my feet up, in my recliner. I found my wife sitting in it, that it is my spot moves her not at all.  And so I lay on my bed, too tired even to drink my tea.

It has not been a bad day. Unfortunately there is so much to do in the garden,  I am just playing catch up, I’m nowhere near implementing any of my plans for the future. I did some weeding,  a lot of weeding,  why does it never make a difference,  is the Creeping Buttercup really out to get me? I managed,  at last,  to cut my grass. Heaped black spotted rose leaves into the incinerator,  sadly I have not, as yet,  been able to light it, but not for want of trying.  I prefer to garden when my grandchildren are not in earshot, my language can be a little expressive. I even got a bit of planting done.

Indoors i took advantage of a working Internet connection, not something I see every day, to put some apps onto the Nexus 7 my mother and sisters in law, bought me for my birthday. When I say that they bought it,  I mean they gave me the money; mention of the Nexus seemed to mean little to them. I love my new Nexus, I have the world’s best family, bar none. I have started loading films onto it, I love the screen. When I went on to the Play Store,  unasked,  it loaded three books onto my Nexus;Treasure Island,  The Three Musketeers and Alice in Wonderland, how did Google know they are three of my very favourite books,  should I be paranoid?

I even managed to get to the garden centre,  Neelam had a coupon to use in Dobbies by today. She is a member of their gardening club, which amuses me as I don’t think I’ve ever seen her lift a spade. I suppose she is a gardener in the grand tradition, the grand tradition of ladies with gardeners. It’s a pity we don’t keep pheasants,  I could change my name to Mellors. By the time we got home I needed to rest and slept through tea time. I awoke conscious of the complaints of my joints and muscles, hence the Arnica bath. When we were away in Aberfeldy,  our bath was so long and deep total immersion was possible,  but in this standard tub i am compelled to choose which bits to immerse at any one time. I need a bigger bath!

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Peaceful Nature

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Today, between showers, I was doing some dead heading. I removed the seed pods from my lilies so they may save their strength for next year. I removed the spent heads from my roses, they have given a great display this summer, but there are now few buds left waiting to flower.

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As I pottered about my garden a gentle rain began to fall, but I did not rush for cover. For a while I just wandered about enjoying the scents and quietness, I felt no urgency and neither did my cat as he was content to continue chewing grass. I feel at peace in my garden, indeed in most gardens. There is something very soothing in the atmosphere in the garden. It came as no surprise to me to read in “Amateur Gardening” that studies by Hozelock and by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences have found that patients with depression suffered “significantly reduced” anxiety after gardening. I took a glance at the Social-Care Online website, as one does,  and found there several studies supporting the benefits of gardening for people with mental health issues. I also, when doing a quick literature search on gardening and autism, found the Royal Horticultural Society   promoting gardening in Special Needs Education and downloaded the PDF of the Kingswood College report “Green Spaces” which looked at the benefit of gardens for people with autism. It is clear that gardens are good for us.

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I wonder whether a factor in the rise of cases of autism as well as the rise in certain psychiatric conditions may not be down to our increasing dissociation from the natural world. When I was a child the number of children displaying the symptoms of autism was very much smaller than today, however the frequency of outdoor play was very much higher. Throughout history there have always been instances of mental illness, but their rise to near epidemic proportions seems to have coincided with our migration from the soil into the mills, factories and offices of the towns and cities. What if the only thing wrong with us is the way we live? Perhaps we all need to get back to the land.

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Summer Loving
May 25, 2013, 22:11
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, Gardening | Tags: , , ,

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“We’re getting our vitamin D today!” , said my wife as we sat in the sun, first to eat our lunch, and then to do some work on a course she is designing. I know that even a wee bit of sun makes me feel both healthier and happier, give me two consecutive days of sunshine and I’m as high as a kite. After two depressing (literally) summers, I am hopeful of being able to enjoy this one without having to take refuge in the Mediterranean to preserve my sanity as I did last year.

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Of course it is not the sunshine alone that boosts my spirits, but being able to catch up on the many outdoor tasks still waiting, some for well over a year. The inability to impose some sort of order on my garden depresses me, over a couple of years this has the cumulative effect of rendering life joyless and grey. The sense of accomplishment gained from a good session of weeding, or cutting my jungle of a lawn restores purpose and order to life. I have a need to impose order on my environment and take it very ill when that desire is frustrated. It is true, that the need could be satisfied differently, but why should it have to be? I am very much more relaxed in the sunshine and yet I get so much more done than in winter; I tend to do more than I realise because it is so effortless and then I pay for it later.

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I love the length of the summer day, it is now late afternoon at 22:00,  by 05:00 the Sun will  have risen and the birds will be singing. I suppose the extra hours mean that, while I am getting more done, I have much more time in which to do it. It may be that if one were to divide the hours of daylight by energy expended, it would be seen that I really am working at a more leisurely pace, but for considerably longer. I know this, pacing myself gently in the summer Sun gives my day a sense of both accomplishment and of being on holiday. I do love summer.



Urgency of Time
May 24, 2013, 23:22
Filed under: Gardening, Writing | Tags: , ,

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And so the urgency of time
Pushes me up to my limit,
Thus am I, facing my deadline,
Do I have the means to win it?
I have had a very good day,
Today has been full of sunshine,
Gardening, rather than what to say
Today, filled every thought of mine.
In sunshine, weeding and sowing
In my garden, my delighting
In simple pleasures like mowing
Today, banished thoughts of writing.
My blog is something I must do
Because I have said that I will;
I’ve left it rather late it’s true,
And that’s why I am writing still.
                       This fun
                                Is done!



My Body Says…

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And so it rains, and rains. It was a beautiful morning and a dry afternoon, I at last managed to cut my grass. I know most people did their first cut ages ago, one of the problems with working shifts is that our weather doesn’t always cooperate with one’s freedom to take advantage of it. Having finished my night shift this morning, I did less than I might have otherwise, before putting my feet up. I had hoped to do more this evening, but it was never a realistic hope.

One of my ongoing problems is that other people’s schedules and priorities too often differ from mine. I schedule my day to include certain activities, then other people throw my plans off. I must admit that it rarely occurs to me to factor the unpredictability of other people onto my plans. It would be a good idea for me to actually check other people’s schedules, so that my expectations of their impact on my schedule might be more accurate, although, in my experience, people rarely run to time.

I might be less disappointed with the amount I get done, were the expectations of my mind in alignment with my physical capacity. I have a mind that has changed little in half a century living in a body that has changed substantially, and substantially increased. I schedule my day for a body that moves faster, and with less need for rest, than the one which I currently occupy. I won’t complain, this body serves me very well, it would probably serve me better were I to use it with more consideration. It has got me successfully to this point, I tall should show it more respect and gratitude. Dain Heer suggests we actually ask our bodies  “Body, what do you want?” and listen intuitively to its response. And so I am honouring my body by soaking out in a magnesium bath while honouring my mind and my commitments by simultaneously blogging on my phone. However now my body says I should relax before rinsing off under the shower; I shall not argue, goodnight.



My Body Says…

And so it rains, and rains. It was a beautiful morning and a dry afternoon, I at last managed to cut my grass. I know most people did their first cut ages ago, one of the problems with working shifts is that our weather doesn’t always cooperate with one’s freedom to take advantage of it. Having finished my night shift this morning, I did less than I might have otherwise, before putting my feet up. I had hoped to do more this evening, but it was never a realistic hope.

One of my ongoing problems is that other people’s schedules and priorities too often differ from mine. I schedule my day to include certain activities, then other people throw my plans off. I must admit that it rarely occurs to me to factor the unpredictability of other people onto my plans. It would be a good idea for me to actually check other people’s schedules, so that my expectations of their impact on my schedule might be more accurate, although, in my experience, people rarely run to time.

I might be less disappointed with the amount I get done, were the expectations of my mind in alignment with my physical capacity. I have a mind that has changed little in half a century living in a body that has changed substantially, and substantially increased. I schedule my day for a body that moves faster, and with less need for rest, than the one which I currently occupy. I won’t complain, this body serves me very well, it would probably serve me better were I to use it with more consideration. It has got me successfully to this point, I tall should show it more respect and gratitude. Dain Heer suggests we actually ask our bodies  “Body, what do you want?” and listen intuitively to its response. And so I am honouring my body by soaking out in a magnesium bath while honouring my mind and my commitments by simultaneously blogging on my phone. However now my body says I should relax before rinsing off under the shower; I shall not argue, goodnight.




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