Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

I am very grateful that the only snow we have seen before Christmas this year has been the stick-on snowflakes variety! I have enjoyed so much less stress and aggravation this December which means I'm far more relaxed than I have been the previous two years. I hope your Christmas preparations have gone smoothly and you're feeling calm and free of hassle.

With this message, I send everyone my very bestest wishes for a peaceful and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to follow next week.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Science -v- spirituality; why can't we have both?

I'm fascinated by science. I dropped science subjects at school when I was 14 which I regret profoundly.

I have read a few science books in the (many) intervening years. But as we all know, a little knowledge is dangerous and therefore I am always keen to gain more. I have enjoyed all of Prof Cox's previous TV science programmes and I therefore looked forward to A Night With the Stars last night. The trailer billed it as explaining how things can be in more than one place at once, I assumed he was going to talk about super positioning which I learnt a bit about when reading Decoding the Universe by Charles Seife during the summer.

But he didn't touch on that really. In reading the above book, it helped me to (VERY) broadly follow everything covered in the programme but that wasn't what disappointed me. I don't think there are enough television programmes about science so I'm not criticising the content, quantum mechanics is a gigantic subject to summarise in an hour! Even though I was already aware of the things he presented, I'm sure there will be many who will have enjoyed it and were enlightened by it.

What irritated me was the way Prof Cox dismissed things like spiritual healing as "wishy washy" and implied such things were only practiced by people with tattoos on their bums!

Having savoured both his Wonders series, I didn't realise he was a closed-minded reductionist. I felt quite stung by his ready dismissal of such things as I quite like him.

As I said above, I am very interested in science but I am interested in spiritual matters also - not necessarily in a religious context, until very recently I considered myself a died-in-the-wool-atheist-God-Delusion-zealot-who-will-never-ever-change. I'm also quite superstitious, which I realise is totally at odds with scientific thinking but then that's me, an individual.

I'm convinced that spiritual healing (I prefer the term energy healing actually but not many people have heard of it) can work, and that positive thinking can help with everything in your life but not as a total substitute for medical assistance or doing practical things to make what you want happen. I was so sorry to learn during a recent TV programme about his life that Steve Jobs delayed surgery on his cancer for 9 months whilst he tried to heal himself, I wish he could have tried both at the same time. 

Just because we don't understand the physics or mechanics of how the mind can affect the body, doesn't mean it should be waved away with such certainty by people who haven't tried it or experienced benefits from it.

Last month, my husband caught a cold, one of those nuisance factor ones that are just annoying, your nose runs, you get bunged up, cough and just generally feel unwell but not enough to stop you working like flu does. Last time he had a cold was in early October so this latest one was only a matter of weeks after the last.

Last time, I tried visualising a bubble around my mouth and nose to stop me catching it. It didn't work, In over 30 years of marriage, I have caught every cold that my husband has ever brought home (and he mine). I've always previously seen catching each other's illnesses as an inevitability I can do little to prevent. However, I caught it a couple of days after he did, my symptoms were less severe and I got better before him. I am convinced that the visualisation helped me to have an improved experience of the illness than his.

The end of November was no time for me to catch a cold, it's the busiest time for my business, I could not allow myself to be slowed down in the slightest. I point blank refused to accept the idea that I was going catch this latest sniffle. I steadfastly would not entertain the idea that I was going to be ill.

I put some mechanical preventions in place, I ensured that I didn't share a towel with him, I cooked all our meals whilst he was in full coughing and sneezing mode and made him sleep facing away from me. I changed my visualisation technique, instead of the bubble, which you can't keep up at all times because you do have to think about other things during the course of the day, I decided thats'probably why it didn't work. This time, whenever I was near to him and he sneezed or coughed, I imagined a bottle cleaner going up and down my nose removing any viruses that had got lodged in there since last time I did it. When I was visualising, I could feel a slight tingle in my nose so I was sure it was doing something.

Result - NO cold, I didn't catch it. Geoff has been well for a couple of weeks and I got all my work done. It could be it was just sheer bloody-minded determination and singled-minded focus that helped me avoid it but this in iteself is a kind of visualisation.

My lack of a cold will probably be dismissed by peremptory scientists as a coincidence and that the mechanical measures I put in place were the way I stayed well. That might be so but I am not sure so I'm not dismissing it. I am convinced that without that visualisation, I would have got it the same way as I did all the others. Making sweeping statements saying that things like spiritual healing don't work without KNOWING whether they do is a bit like all those people who dismissed Darwin's work who now look like right berks. I do hope Prof Cox doesn't regret his repudiation at some point when we have more knowledge.

I'd like to remind him that Richard Woolley (a UK astronomer) said Space travel is utter bilge in 1956 (one year before Sputnik).

Cox himself used a Humphry Davy quotation during the programme: Nothing is so dangerous to the progress of the human mind than to assume that our views of science are ultimate, that there are no mysteries in nature, that our triumphs are complete and that there are no new worlds to conquer. (Humphry Davy invented the first electric light).

Whilst I was watching Professor Brian Cox's programme (for some reason I thought it was live), I tried to visualise him sneezing and concentrated on it for around ten minutes ... I jumped when Geoff sneezed (I kid you not!) and I stopped.

So Brian, if you're reading this and you sneezed at around 9.30ish last night - my wishy washy brain made that happen! (And before you ask, I don't have any tattoos!)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Frosted front door

I don't normally get much time to write alot in December; it's the busiest time of the year for my business. However, today has been a bit of a freebie, I was planning to be doing an extra day on the Art & Craft Market in Cambridge but the weather forecast was so bad and as only seven stalls turned up on Thursday, I'm pretty certain it was cancelled. I let the Market Manager know I wouldn't be there and I imagine I will find out tomorrow if anyone braved the cold sleety rain. The forecast is fine for tomorrow, even if it wasn't, I would still probably be there on the last full Saturday before Christmas.

So I've used the "extra" time to do some Christmas preparations (shopping list and hemming a new tablecloth I've made). I've also got a ton of ironing out of the way and made some more jewellery stock ready for tomorrow. When I'm jewellery making and ironing, I tend to watch films and TV programmes on DVD using my Lovefilm account. Today, I saw Julie & Julia. It's a marvellous film, I watched it twice and then watched Nora Ephron's Director's Commentary too.

The film is a true story about a girl in a job she hates who decides to cook her way through Julia Child's classic cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" which consists of well over 500 recipes. She sets herself the deadline of one year and blogs her daily experiences. The film intercuts with scenes from Julia Child's life in France during the 1950s, the time before she wrote the cookbook.

I was a little horrified when Nora's commentary describes bloggers as "predators sitting watching their own life" and refers to the people who are mentioned in others' blogs having their "privacy totally invaded". Um, I hope I don't do that!

There are lots of things that happen in my life and those around me that I specifically DON'T blog about for that very reason, plus other things that I think aren't remotely interesting to anyone else and others that are too private.

People who read my blog don't really know everything about the real me, I prefer to think that my readers get a partial view. Edie Sedgwick described Andy Warhol's films (some of which she is in) "It's like watching Henry Moore sculpture out of focus".

I was pondering whether this was a good analogy for my blog, (I like pondering, I do it a lot!) when I walked past my front door which has a lovely pattern of frosting in the glass, when it's daylight, some of the garden shows through but the frosted part makes the whole indeterminate - I'd therefore like to use this picture of my rented (and totally gorgeous!) front door as a metaphor for my blog. 

Fellow bloggers of the world, don't let Nora's opinion of bloggers put you off watching the Julie & Julia flick, it really is a brilliant film and Meryl Streep is just great in it. I can't wait to see her (and of course, Anthony Head) in Iron Lady when it comes out on DVD!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Excuses, excuses

Did anyone hear on the travel bulletins about a lorry of Marmite causing delays somewhere oop North on Monday? I remember commenting to DH about how it was unusual that the radio bulletins actually told you what the lorry was carrying, normally they just say the delay is caused by a broken down/jack knifed/overturned lorry. I didn't think it would affect me in the slightest. By the afternoon they were still reporting it as causing delays but it had turned into a lorry of yeast extract as someone obviously realised they were giving Marmite free advertising. Apparently it closed the motorways both ways, I guess it spread out ... (groan).

I ordered some materials on Monday and I particularly want four 18 inch chains as a bride is picking up four pendants from me on Saturday for her bridesmaids. They should have arrived on Tuesday with the postman as a Special Delivery item. When my package didn't turn up with the postman on Wednesday, I rang the supplier and apparently quite a few of their dispatches haven't been delivered because the yeast extract held up a lorry load of mail. I'm really hoping it will turn up today, if it doesn't, I'm thinking that this will be added to those other notorious and classic excuses ...

  • The dog ate my homework
  • Leaves on the line
  • The wrong kind of snow
  • Marmite on the motorway