Life, photos but not the universe

Walking the Julia Bradbury walk.

I read this In any and every moment, your energy level depends on the choices you make. The way you think and act and speak and feel all contribute to the amount of energy you have to work with. today and it made me think of some stuff that’s been floating around in my head for a few years.

I discovered a long time ago that reading certain kinds of books put new thoughts in my head and a kind of osmosis happened where I found myself thinking and even acting like the characters in the book if it was well enough written and if the characters were strongly drawn.  After a while I found that if I was feeling particularly guilty or rebellious, a quick read of an Elizabeth Goudge book would get me thinking accepting, kindly and willing thoughts (even though I was, at the time, lapsing from catholicism as fast as I could).  And if I felt dippy and indecisive there were a couple of kids’ adventure books that would get me moving again.  If people were trying to make me behave too sensibly, there were a million heroines who would help me slip back into a dreamy state where I didn’t have to pay attention to outside demands (It’s one of the things I am most sad about, that powerful, openly positive heroines weren’t readily available in the literature I grew up with – women’s strength was mostly represented as resistant, covert and subtle rather than  in-your-face, bloody minded and confident.  I could say a lot more on this but will digress some other time : )

When I started playing the fiddle I used to listen to violin music all the time – People I knew would say they hated listening to a recording of something they were trying to learn because they’d never be that good.  Usually this was entirely true but it wasn’t the point.   It wasn’t about copying the skill or technique of a virtuoso player, it was about letting their musical character infuse me with a touch of what they were doing and about hearing how they listened to what the composer was telling them.  It was also about letting my body pick up something of the way they handled a bow or a trick of their physical attitude which could change the way I felt when I picked up my own bow.

People get to look like their dogs.  Not because there’s any true physical resemblance (I hope*) but because the trusting, affectionate, playful nature of a good dog is catching. smiley dog

(Also, the mournful, reproachful resignation reproachand the occasional obstinate dimness and refusal to pay attention : )  I’ve seen it happen with my children, the trusting playful and affectionate bit.  (that reminds me I must let the mournful, reproachful dog in so he can give me some affection and etc.  But he’ll probably be obstinately dim and refuse to come in – by the time I’m back, I’ll be just like him – confused).

And, to get to the point, just recently we’ve been watching Julia Bradbury on TV, striding around the Lake District, following in the footsteps of AW Wainright.  I have to say I find her slightly irritating, a bit self important and self congratulatory but I was increasingly fascinated by her walking style.  All long legs and boundless (bounding) confidence, she’d set off up a steep mountainside and it looked really effortless and – good!   She may be a bit of a celebrity overstatement but Boy! (?) can that girl walk!

In contrast, over the years I find myself more and more often, shuffling and hobbling around like an old woman.  So one day (on holiday), when setting off to trudge along the towpath to do some shopping, I caught a glimpse, in my mind, of the bouncy stride of Julia Bradbury and made a conscious effort to emulate it.  I have to say the result amazed me.   I caught up with the others in no time and had to curtail my stride (note, not my hobbble or shuffle – my stride!).  And though I puffed and panted as much as always, I wasn’t any more breathless or achey than usual.

Of course, the negative aspect of all this is also there.  If I pay too much attention to the evil character, the appalling musician, the snappy terrior or my aged, hobbling relatives their characteristics stick and I need a constant supply of positive inspiration from alternative sources.  Also, I recall being unwisely infected by my children’s reckless spending on things I couldn’t afford and didn’t really need, after they left home and started making their own choices about life.  And I remember, just after  Eldest was born, finding that I was turning from a kind, thoughtful, paragon of a young woman (yeah yeah, I was a perfect person, don’t doubt it) into a whinging, wailing, selfish, demanding brat.  Rather like a big baby in fact.

I know that not everyone has this chameleon like habit but it’s probably worth making an effort to choose wisely what you read, watch and listen to and who you spend time with and to bear in mind that the things you find most fascinating about them may rub off on you whether you are aware of it or not**.

Well.  Now I have to hoover and go shopping.  I can’t immediately bring to mind any image or character which will enhance my enjoyment of hoovering but when I go shopping I shall walk the Julia Bradbury walk through town.  Expect me back in seconds!

Meanwhile :-

A reservoir we passed next to the canalReservoir by the canal

and  a heron we followed along the bank for a while

HeronYay! I caught him flying 🙂

I’ll leave you with him looking like a Phoenix rising (though actually, he’s landing)

Heron - Phoenix

See you later 🙂

*I rarely stand around with my tongue hanging out.  If anyone catches me doing that please let me know immediately!

**I have to wonder about Barney’s favourite light reading – true murder stories!  Speaking of which I am currently reading The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld.  Not my normal kind of reading at all but it’s for Mr Middle’s book club.  On the other hand I’ve ust finished The First Circle by Alexander Solzenichtskin which is just amazing.  A huge study of courage and hope and survival in the soviet prisons, under Stalin’s regime, which is extraordinarily illuminating and honest. If you have several days to spare and aren’t daunted by volume, I recommend it.


September 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. ah! the heron in flight is a delight!!

    and I totally get what you mean about slipping into characters

    I must stop watching Sex & The City – it’s giving me ideas about footwear that I can’t afford


    I wouldn’t dare watch S &the C I. It would certainly give me ideas I can’t afford!
    I’m glad you liked the heron – it’s the single photo that stopped me in my tracks when I looked through the whole 7,000 🙂

    Comment by I, Like The View | September 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. …..absolutely AWESOME photo of the heron……omgosh….

    7,000? *laughing* Aren’t digital camera’s awesome!
    Can you imagine having to print 7,000?!

    I do know the ’emulating’ business. Sometimes it’s what’s saved my arse.
    I suspect today’s one of those days it’ll work for me rather than against me, too.

    ((((((((((( mig ))))))))))))) They’re wonderful photos–but aren’t they always here?!
    Ty for sharing them with us.

    It’s always such fun sharing them Mel. And thank heavens I don’t have to print them all!!!! I believe I’ve deleted about half of days one and two so far : )

    I guess the emulating thing is a bit about sharing too? Or borrowing anyway : ) I’ve been very grateful to book characters once or twice for getting me through somethng I didn’t want or didn’t like or was just scary!

    Comment by Mel | September 22, 2009 | Reply

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