The True Meaning of Paradise……Poem

I need some sunshine

More than just sunny rays

I need a purpose for living

To see paradise again….

I need to sit on Friars Cragg

Alone in silence and peace

I need the Robin to stay with me

To help the fog to cease…

I need my room with a view

Every now and then

To give me that sense of tranquility

To bring me back to life again

The images I hold onto

When I visit my paradise

Are ones of simple peace, calm and beauty

Images and memories which have no price to me….


Chose this song as it came to mind when I saw the Robin that keeps me company at Friars Cragg….



Final day in Paradise….

After yesterdays perfect weather, we were expecting grey and rainy today, such is the weather in the Lakes….it had been such a beautiful evening the day before, it was hard to imagine

I’d decided to get up before the rest of the world woke and take a trundle down to Frairs Cragg to be truly alone in the silence of the morning. So as my watch said 05.30, probably stirring the rest of the B&B from their slumbers, I set off in the early morning light….

The only sound to be heard were the morning birds and the ducks and geese waking and cackling in the distance. I kept stopping and listening…no human sound apart from my breathing to be heard …the tranquility beating it’s heart in time with mine…..

The sheep and geese shared the lakeside free of humans until later

I just kept stopping and staring….and listening…just me and the world around….

And finally arrived at Friars Cragg, deserted and mine for this moment…

The lapping of the water, the sound of laughing ducks and geese in the distance having their own conversation the only sounds to be heard….and then….magically….my Robin appeared to wish me good morning

So many ashes have been scattered here, a favourite spot of many and I want some of me scattered here too… eyes began to leak as both me and the Robin sat perfectly still just staring at one another…it’s calmness and mine making us both feel at ease.

As it flew off into the trees, I decided it was time to make my way back. The promised rain began to gently fall. A couple of dog walkers now enjoying the peace with me, smiled and said hello, exchanged a few words about this beautiful time of day and before 7am found myself back in my room with a cuppa…Keswick was waking up but I’d enjoyed it as it’s best..

Now that’s what I call the perfect start to a day….

After breakfast I stayed in my room for a while, as I’d promised to do a Zoom call with a student. Sarah went to read her book having a cuppa coffee in a nearby cafe….I joined her after a while, the rain now steady, the sky a tad gloomy, but we ventured out towards the old railway walk, just for a trundle under the trees only to find they’d shut that part now. It’s been under development for a while but they must have reached the town end now by the old original station…

We went back out towards the main road through Fitz Park where we saw this amazing chainsaw work of an Eagle out of an old tree stump

Crossed the River Greta

And picked up the path further down only to find more ‘Path Closed’ signs…🙄….so we gave up that idea and headed back into town where we picked up our supper and headed back to our rooms for a cuppa…….

The scene from my window showed just a small chink of hope for a break in the rainy weather today….although we are in Cumbria……and I wasn’t hopeful…

Late afternoon I ended my stay in Keswick ås I started it in the morning….a peaceful walk to Friars Cragg. The crowds had all dispersed and the rain had eased so tranquility reigned once more. The mist was coming down over the hills but a last bit of bright sky was desperately trying to light the evening sky

I witness the amazing sight of the geese marching from the water in a long line up to be with the sheep for the night…and mum and baby duckling looking serene in the evening light…

In the morning we’ll be leaving, ahomeward bound. I’m really looking forward to getting back home, away from the unexpected crowds I came upon. To see my paradise through this haze of strangers was hard this time. To see people discarding face masks as the new disposable litter was even harder, my wobble not fast enough to catch them up to suggest they’d dropped something…….. but I wouldn’t have missed it…..still my paradise , just have to choose my moments, when to venture out ….

Not sure when I’ll be back…before I came I was thinking next month….now maybe I’ll leave it til the crowds have gone…who knows in this uncertain new normal….

Day 2 in Paradise…..

As I lay awake waiting for my alarm to go off, another major difference occurred to me of my arrival in paradise……the distinct lack of faithful dogs with their owners. I’m usually outnumbered and make friends with more dogs than I’ve seen in a long time. But not this year…..

My alarm finally sounded…I pulled back the curtains and this view greeted me…reminding me why I’d so wanted to be here…

Keswick felt deserted….only I knew it wouldn’t be later…but our allotted time of 8am arrived and breakfast beckoned. Sarah tapped on my door and off we went…

Catherine had put us on our favourite table by the window looking out onto Cats Bell…

I never eat breakfast unless I’m away….but I always have the same thing at Appletrees, didn’t have to say – poached eggs, mushrooms and baked beans with mixed toast…..and a pots of tea…all perfectly cooked, perfectly served.

We decided that today would be the day that Sarah climbed Cats Bell as it was going to be dry, cool and sunny and tomorrows weather less favourable. Me and Sylvia had made that climb many times and then another one in the afternoon! I was going to try and zoom in with my camera and spy Sarah waving….😂

As she boarded the launch to take her to the starting point of Hawes End, I trundle down to Friars Cragg and unlike yesterday found it deserted….and my bench empty….I’ve put an arrow for where Sarah was heading for….

My favourite bench in silence and I spent a perfect half hour just enjoying the peace.

I then decided to take the boat round the lake to see if I could spy Sarah from the Lake. The launch has been adapted for Covid so the seats are further apart. I zoomed into Cats Bell and could see the snake of people making their way up….but no sign of Sarah yet….so many people up there today…

The lake was lovely and calm….and it was a lovely half hour tootling round…..Sarah kept sending me updates and I snapped away hoping she’d be in one of the piccies….but then just got distracted by the views around me…

I  went back to Friars Cragg, but no emptiness to greet me this time so I turned off to the left and walked to the bay and then left again towards the wood that would take me back to the launch area.  It was then that Sarah txt me to say she’d reached the top….I zoomed in and snapped away and amazingly when I got back to my room I immediately knew I got a shot of her at the top….I know you probably don’t believe me but we know it is her figure, her clothes…

Time for a cuppa and a rest in my room before venturing out again to get my sarnie for my supper….

After a walk round Hope park to see the flowers, I trundled back for another rest and cuppa so I could go out again with Sarah later.

We’d been looking for the Milenium Stones the day before but couldn’t find them. I’d gone into the Tourist Information and chatted to the man there. Turns out we’d just not gone far enough round the lake. I chatted to him for ages as it was empty and he seemed quite lonely. He told me about the poor bus drivers who’d been abused by some holiday makers for simply not running a full timetable 😔… could people do that?

So once Sarah had recovered from her climb we ventured out into the late afternoon sunshine determined to find the Stones.Just before them we discovered the Milenium Bench…almost as nice as Friars Cragg!

Then headed round the bay and there were the Stones…..

It was so peaceful, so still and the perfect sunny evening.

Before heading back, we spied a paraglider in the sky overhead. I was due to do a tandem paraglide in April over Keswick but obviously it had been cancelled. As I looked up at them soaring in the air stream above, I could just envisage me there….one day hopefully, one day…….



At last I’m back in paradise ……..or has it been invaded….

It’s been a bad few weeks for me on many counts, but last week Sarah told me I could finally go in her car. They’d not have Covid patients for a while, so she felt it safer than before…my mind immediately went into overdrive. Where could we go, what could we do?

We’d talked about her coming on the local train with me to the seaside town of Bridlington, but I’d looked up the rules and safety notices and they didn’t seem to have any except the wearing of masks. No seats could be booked, so how would the train company know if it would be overcrowded? No I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I’d looked at going to Keswick on the train, but although that routine was once second nature, the web site looked like gobbledygook, routes appeared to have changed, I couldn’t work out what to do after such a long absence of booking tickets 😔

Then she told me she had this week off….

How about Keswick, me said? Within a nano second I’d looked up my wonderful Appletrees B&B, read the new rules and felt immediately safe and sound. It was always super clean so I knew it would all be done even better….Sarah rang Catherine and she was equally as overjoyed as we were to be able to return…excited doesn’t describe how I felt, I was overjoyed at the thought.

Appletrees from Hope Park…

So yesterday we set off early doors, heading for paradise. Sarah loves it almost as much as me! Well no one can love it as much as me so a close second is pretty good.

I’d already thought that if I didn’t feel safe outside, if it was busy, I would be quite happy simply sat in my room looking at the view…

Of course, ‘packing’ a suitcase is one thing I hadn’t done for months 😳…what went in where? What did I take? As the week went by, each time I thought of something I would put it in a pile ready. This time would be the first time I’d have my trusty camera with me, so the charger for that was the most important thing I could think of 😂🤣

My suitcase had been by the front doors for hours when Sarah txt to say she was leaving hers 😂🤣……goodness knows if I had everything….but we settled down in companiable silence, after none stop talking from me for a while 🙄 to a nice journey.

There was a distinct reduction of lorries and Monday morning traffic in general, which was nice. Also no coaches taking travellers around the country. That was weird. To see different landscapes, different  scenery …even my windmills that I hadn’t seen for months…that was the biggest change. Hills in the distance, the rugged landscape of the Pennines a sheer delight…

The view at Mainsgill…

We stopped at our usual place for a cuppa and a bite to eat, Mainsgill….all very civilised and well organised and even had the camels to admire 😂

And then, refreshed, we continued on our way towards the descent into paradise….and what did it do….rain 🙄…..but as arrived in paradise we parked up the car, and the rain stopped😇…..

We decided to walk to the lake first as due to Catherine’s new routine we couldn’t get to our freshly steamed room until 4pm. As soon as we turned the corner we were shocked at the vast number of people around 😳….and soooooo many looked like they’d never been to Keswick before. I christened them the new staycation folk….nowhere was quiet. I soon realised I’d not only forgotten my glasses but my hearing guards too 🙈🙄. I havn’t worn either for months…

I was quite disappointed, I must say…but pleased for Keswick. It had never occurred to me that those who normally go abroad might come to Keswick, but from the conversations I heard, that was certainly the case…one said it all when I heard them say..

”just think, we should be in Spain…”…..

As we reached my favourite spot, Friars Cragg, I spotted the Robin that always makes an appearance there…

And then we stood at the end….and stared, just stared….

Eventually we ventured into town to buy our supper and again it was very busy everywhere…not for so long have we been surrounded by so many people. I was desparate just to get to the peace of my room.

4pm arrived and we were waiting on Catherines doorstep. Her smiley masked face appeared at the door and all was right in the world again. She took us through the new rules for breakfast, new rules for the rooms and lamented the lack of a hug…

As Sarah went to her room and Catherine bade me farewell, I sat in silence and stared at the view I’d missed so much…..and just sat, with my cuppa tea

More from paradise tomorrow…..❤️

Lost season……Poem

Feels like we lost the spring

And now maybe the summer too

No visits to my paradise

Although temptation is coming into view


But we’ve also gained so much more

During this strange world time

We’ve gained the ability to stop and stare

And appreciate close up, that season of springtime


So now we’re in Summer

Will that pass us by?

Or have we finally learnt

Just to see what’s nearby?



A piece of TV nostalgia …….

My friend Sylvia txt me the other day……”are you watching BBC1? Lots of memories”

I switched on my iPad to live TV and was immediately transported back decades…..

I wrote about me and my friend Sylvia a couple of weeks ago, how we were losing time this year to make memories…you can catch up here if you missed it…

From my early school days right through my life, I’ve loved the Wimbledon time of year. Tennis used to rule my life. I had a coach from the age of 11 and while most of this time was idyllic, after all I was playing tennis at every opportunity, there are some memories, permanently locked away in a box never to be allowed to escape. So I remember the good things and bypass the rest

A different era, when I arrived at school at 8am, the first one there, and just practised serving on my own on the tennis court. Even back then I’d take a flask of tea and sit on the steps when I’d finished and have a morning cuppa as everyone else started to arrive. In the winter, I was allowed to use the gym, where they’d painted a line across the back wall, the height of the net so I could keep practising.

A new history teacher arrived one term. A very good tennis player apparently and he couldn’t resist offering to play a game against me at lunchtime …..I can see his face when I served an ace for the first point…..😳…..he gave up lots of his lunch hours to teach me new serves, new shots. I only beat him once, but it felt very good 😂…..

I belonged to the club in the town next door and made the first team even though I was only a young teenager. I even won the ladies singles title one year….

A long haired 16 year old me…😂

I made the County Squad and won a junior title and was runner up in the Singles the following year…

I’ve still got the handbook where my name appears as the title holder…

I eventually got my coaching qualification and unbeknown to me, was offered a job but my mum kept the letter from me until it was too late as she didn’t think it was a ‘proper job’ I say, it was different times back then. Sports centres hadn’t come into being yet and I imagine she was just looking out for me. They’d never seen me play tennis. My dad did come to a final once but snook away before the match started as he couldn’t stand the prospect of seeing me potentially beaten….I won that one.

At school my A level teacher said how I was never going to pass any exams if they continued to allow me to play tennis when I wanted…..I remember the “you showed them” look my PE teacher gave me when I passed them all……

Careers advice was pretty set back then. You went to Uni, or you went to college. I’d heard that the first Sports Centre was about to open somewhere and said I wanted to be a Sports Centre Manager…they’d never heard of them so said, “it’ll be college then”……as I said, different times…..

In my teens I would make my way down to Wimbledon on my own to queue just to get in. It was a long trek and I must have worked it all out by myself; no internet to help then so goodness knows how I managed it all. Different world. I even made my own way to Tournaments and booked hotels on my own…..I really can’t imagine how I found out everything, but I obviously did….Even though I won lots, I would never have made it to the big time. I simply adored tennis. If I lost, well…it was just a tennis match and there was always the next one…

Once inside those hallowed Wimbledon gates, I’d sit and marvel at my hero’s there in front of me. Billie Jean King, Yvonne Goolagong, Stan Smith and all the rest. Then one year, I won a ticket in the club draw…it was like winning the Golden Ticket for me. An actual seat that was going to be mine for the whole day. At the time that was my paradise and I was in heaven.

I went many times after that, then when me and Sylvia met years later I taught her to play….well we simply laughed our way through an hour on court. We put our names in the Wimbledon drawer for tickets  and by magic we got 2 for the centre court…..we had a fabulous time. Took our own picnic and I introduced her to the paradise that was Wimbledon and we went many years after that…

One year we went to a Champions Night somewhere in London. It featured Boris Becker. Sylvia convinced me she’d be fine driving there, but little did I know that Sylvia had no sense of direction…Suddenly left was right and right was left and we got in a right hilarious pickle. We spent a few hours touring the streets, stopping at garages to ask for help. I found a map in the back of the car and we eventually screamed out with relief when we found our venue.  An hilarious few hours, with tears streaming down our faces – goodness knows how we got there in time, but we did and goodness knows how we got back home again, but then I probably learnt to keep the map on my lap going home…😂

It looks like I saved some tickets but not all. Maybe saving memories wasn’t a priority in my early days…

So back to the programme that Sylvia txt me to watch. Well it was all that era. All those memories flooding back before me. Even back then I always had a camera with me and treasured the piccies of my hero’s but me thinks I must have left them in a previous house move. I went hunting for them immediately after the programme. I turned the house upside down, but they were nowhere to be seen. I’m not a hoarder so not many places to look.  A whole era of photographs seemingly lost….they may be lost and sad though that is, I’ve still got my wonderful memories…..

So why have I written all this? Maybe to share with Sylvia once more…..


The guilt of not being on Zoom…….

Zoom has turned out to be an asset and a nightmare for me during lockdown. An asset to keep in touch and be involved in many Deep projects and keep in touch with playmates. A nightmare due to the way that the virtual world works – instantly creating silence and a blank screen after, after what has often been, an hilarious noisy hour….creating a confusing entry back into the real world of my own……

A simple click of a link and hey presto, you’re transported to others homes, without effort just a click of a link ….so why is it sooooo exhausting?

Anyway, last Monday, after 2 weeks off from group zooms, I was back. The first one was with my playmates from Minds and Voices. It was the perfect one to start with. Gentle, amusing, and calm.

To avoid the blank screen, silence and emptiness at the finish, I’d got my camera ready and was going straight for a walk. But, what I hadn’t expected was how exhausted I would feel. Zoom is always exhausting, but two weeks away and it took me by surprise that 15 minutes into my walk, instead of carrying on along the lane to the sheep, I turned homeward and 5 minutes later I was home and 5 minutes after that I must have fallen asleep. I felt shattered, spent, finito and I had 2 more Zooms in the afternoon…..😳

Luckily I woke with half an hour to spare before the next one with George and Philly and playmates talking about our project. If I hadn’t have had the nap, I don’t think I would have coped with it. But I don’t want to have a nap after every zoom. It’s a waste of trundling time….

The final one of the day was with my lovely Zoomettes

…..I love meeting up with my fellow female playmates….but 3 in a day finished me off.

I had 2 more days where I had 3……but I hate cancelling ones I’ve already committed to so my lesson learnt will be never to have 3 zooms in one day.

So why is being on screen so tiring? Well it’s the concentration that’s so exhausting, after all you’re not having to go anywhere. But concentrating is one of my hardest tasks. At events and when travelling, you get to zone out, disappear into your own world; people often not even noticing….But not possible on zooms….you have to concentrate to keep up with the words, the questions etc.

So what’s the answer? Not sure. We have little choice at the moment. They’re our only way of meeting up. I could just opt out of them all, but then I’d also miss them so much. Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

If only the world hadn’t changed………..but it has….