Monday, June 23, 2008

Quotes for living - 7

Shoot for the moon.
Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.

[Lester Louis Brown]

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday morning at home....

Carole and I have been spending some precious time together today. Mark's at work, Matt's doing his tennis coaching, and John's playing at a gig in Camden, London. We finally re-hung the photo of Carole on her wedding day on the bedroom wall, and then made a coffee and sat down together to watch the final episode of the BBC's production of Jane Eyre. I find the following scene so moving (I apologise for the Spanish sub-titles!). Jane's wedding day had been so traumatically interrupted. She ran away, but now - many months later - she returns to find the once majestic Thornfield Hall in ruins. She learns the whereabouts of Edward Rochester and makes her way to his new home....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nature red in tooth and claw... wrote Tennyson. And I had a vivid demonstration of it this afternoon. I took my friend, Ian, for a walk over Ampthill Park. Whilst walking along the footpath around 'The Rezzy' (a small lake), a wren started churring frantically and a young rabbit ran down the path straight towards us. My immediate reaction was, "stoat!" and, sure enough, a stoat appeared, bouncing down the path in pursuit of the the rabbit. The rabbit turned into a gap in the scrub right by where we were standing, now closely followed by the stoat. Moments later there was a pitiful scream and we saw the stoat with the rabbit in a death-grip. Seeing us, the stoat dropped the rabbit but returned moments later and dragged it through the large mesh fence and into the long grass.

15 minutes later, and a few hundred metres to the west of The Rezzy, we heard more frantic squeals and looked up to see another stoat chasing after a rabbit. It brought it down less than 5 metres from us. We moved closer and the stoat bounded several metres away, characteristically sitting up on its haunches to size us up. It then moved closer...and then further away continuing to regard us quizzically, giving us cracking views. After a few minutes we moved further back, allowing the stoat to bound up to the rabbit, grasp it, and carry it away with ease.

Incredible. I've never actually seen a stoat catch a rabbit before, and today I saw 2 kills within the space of a quarter of an hour almost at my feet. What is it that they say about buses....?!

Music that inspires - 7

Here's a very different piece of stirring music...this scene from Casablanca always brings a lump to my throat. Is anything threatening to drown out important things in your life? Stand up and confront it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Confronting darkness

This blog has been a means of marshalling my own thoughts regarding life, particularly with regard to fostering and maintaining a spirit of adventure. So I can't resist sharing the following words towards the end of Simon Barnes' book, How To Be Wild, which have really challenged me:

'Let us go back to Reepicheep, the gallant martial mouse in the Narnia books, and his intervention in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when he and his shipmates are confronted with the dark island. And as the horror of the dark island becomes clear to everyone on board the ship, they all seek to turn tail, save, of course, Reepicheep, the only person of the company blessed with a tail:

"But what manner of use would it be ploughing through the blackness?" asked Drinian.
"Use?" asked Reepicheep. "Use, Captain? If by use you mean filling our bellies or our purses, I confess it will be no use at all. So far as I know, we did not set sail to look for things useful but to seek honour and adventures. And here is as great an adventure as ever I heard of, and here, if we turn back, no little impeachment of all our honours."