Just a Simple Soul Enjoying Simple Things



I am a simple soul; I don't need much to make me happy.  A new pair of comfortable sandals that don't rub and enflame my poor old tender feet; a pre-loved dress that fits perfectly in a colour the depth of the ocean with an outrageous pattern of exotic birds - which is so not 'me' yet somehow is. Three books purchased from the second-hand bookshop.  At last some new reading material.  That's all it takes - oh and a goats cheese and onion marmalade tart for lunch at the pub - simple needs for a simple soul.

Books are like the windows of a great tower.  They let light in.  ~ Wm. Leroy Stidger

  I seem to be turning into an eccentric at this stage in my life.  Revelling in out-of-the-ordinary books by Jonathan Carroll which are totally weird and wonderful  see Neil Gaiman's essay on the author here if you are interested, certainly not to everyone's taste, but I love the strangeness of his tales. Trying different fiction that I wouldn't have thought I'd enjoy including those about magical worlds.  Discovering a passion for apocalyptic 'zombie' movies. Developing a penchant for impractical coloured shoes. (For those of you who haven't heard of the poem 'Warning' by Jenny Joseph I have put it at the end of the post).

Real happiness lies in the little things, in a bit of gardening work, in the rattle of the teacups in the next room,
in the last chapter of a book. ~ W.N.P.Barbellion


I feel less need for conversation and more need for quiet; solitude is welcomed and the urge to write everything down before it is forgotten.

I shall probably end up an old 'bag' lady, wandering the streets muttering obscenities to myself, but doing something completely out of character is kind of liberating, and I am enjoying finding a side to myself that I didn't realise existed.

Meanwhile, back to relative normality, and a stroll we took the other day.
It was a gentle, whispering breeze kind of morning filled with sunlight.  We strolled the lanes around our local lake armed with  cameras in the hopes of catching the special feel of the day.  We were not disappointed.  Just a couple of miles down the hill from our home; turn sharp right at the bottom - past fields of corn and swaying grasses, grazing sheep and cattle and you come to the water.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks ~ John Muir

A high hedged lane creates a tunnel;  you emerge into the open where the Sailing Club HQ sits,  although I have never actually seen a boat on the water.  A couple of fishermen sit on the far bank;  there is no one else about - to be honest, we hardly ever see anyone else.  The Lake was constructed in 1802 as a feed for the Grand Union Canal.  I have been visiting here since the 80's in all kinds of weather in every season - so it comes as no surprise that I think I know it like the back of my hand - but every time I visit there is always something new to see.

The earth has music for those who listen ~ George Santayana

The water level is way down at this time of year, revealing a beach of sorts, flower strewn with Silverweed and exposed Willow roots.  We see Geese settled and sleeping in the distance and Mallard on the water's edge. 

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery - air, mountains, trees, people.  I thought "This is what is means to be happy." ~ Sylvia Plath

Thistles dominate the roadside now, interspersed with beautiful Bullrush towering elegantly above.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts ~ Rachel Carson

We amble along the lane, stopping every now and then to take pictures of the Cornfield and the Butterflies on the wild Buddleia - settling, then fluttering off after warming their wings in the sun.


Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth ~ Henry David Thoreau




We were only out for an hour - but in that time so many things caught our eye.  The Sloes and Blackberries forming  - slowly turning from green to purple.



Such a pleasant way to spend a morning - just ambling and taking everything in - soaking it up and storing it in our memory to bring out in the depths of winter when we need it most.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where non intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar,
I love Man non the less,
But Nature more.
~ George Gordon Byron

The rest of the day was spent pleasantly in the garden pottering from one job to another before sitting down to a Roast Chicken dinner followed by Cherry Pie and Ice Cream.  A perfect end to the day when the evening sky was streaked with lavender and pink as the sun slipped down the horizon and out of sight.





Warning by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple

That's it for another week - 'til next time.
Elaine


Comments

  1. Gorgeous nature ramblings and poetry. If you like unusual poetry, do read "Warning" by Jenny Joseph! I love it! It starts like this: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me..."
    It's not quite becoming a bag lady, but growing older with fun and inner elegance and daring!

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    1. Thanks Sandra. I love that poem too - I wish I had included it now.

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    2. p.s. I did include it after your reminder - thanks.

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  2. Lovely words and beautiful photographs Elaine …….. so lovely to have the stunning English countryside on your doorstep. Good to read, good to walk but, best of all ? …… cheese and onion marmalade tart at the pub and roast chicken !!!!!!!!! XXXX

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    1. Thanks Jackie - yes we are fortunate and never take it for granted. I also had a seafood cheesecake which was unusual but delicious too. And of course you just cannot beat roast chicken.

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  4. Lovely photos. Looks like you are enjoying life and that's the main thing.

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    1. Thanks Kelli. Yes, on the whole I am enjoying life - as with us all, some days are better than others.

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  5. Lovely photos. Those books look interesting, I am going to google them now.

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    1. Thank you Sarah. I have read one of my new ones already. The Night Rainbow - it was an enchanting tale and a delight to read.

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  6. Dear Elaine - As I read this "Warning" immediately sprung to my mind too - there are so many compensations when you reach a certain stage in life, not least being able to do, think, and decide exactly what you want to do and blow what anyone else might think - good on you.
    Love your new 'header' it is simple and delightful, and I admire your thistle photo it has a painterly quality to it.

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    1. Dear Rosemary
      Yes I do agree as you get older it is kind of liberating. Glad you like the header and the thistle photo - husband took that one - I just edited it a little.

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  7. Elaine you sound like someone who knows how to relax! Lovely (relaxing) post.

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    1. Oh yes - I have relaxing off to a fine art - ha!

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  8. I always fancy that I would like to be an eccentric...the English seem to do it so well! Well I still count myself as English once removed, so I'm planning on being more and more like you Elaine XX

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    1. Oh yes, there are plenty of eccentrics in England - I am glad to join their happy band, glad you can join me.

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  9. You do take very beautiful photos. Always a pleasure visiting you here!

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    1. Thanks Cro - kind of you to say so.

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  10. I like your new header. Peace sliding off the screen into this room with your latest post.

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    1. Thanks Lucille - you make me sound a little like a hippy. Love and peace man!

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  11. Wonderful thoughts I must say, and nice photos!

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  12. A lovely post, which made me smile, and wonderful pictures. I agree that simple pleasures are so often the best ones.
    Happy reading. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty. Nice to know I can make people smile. I am looking forward to getting stuck into my books. Hope you are feeling a lot better now.

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  13. And I do love your sweet soul and your joie de vivre.

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    1. Thank you Donna - how lovely of you to say so.

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  14. Delicious, all of it - your words, photos, poetry, musings, and a glimpse of your delightful garden! Thank you.

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    1. Hello Alison. Thank you for your kind words.

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  15. You definitely enjoy life so it is, and Roast Chicken dinner and Cherry Pie is indeed a perfect end of the day. Your words and pictures are delightful, as always.
    Have a nice and glorious weekend Elaine!

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    1. Thank you Janneke for your lovely comments on my posts - they are much appreciated.

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  16. I so enjoyed reading your post :) You have a wonderful way with words, forming delightful pictures that accompany your lovely photos.

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    1. Thanks Glo - kind of you to say so.

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  17. What a lovely day, might not be a purple dress, but I live in my collection of white linen dresses, the poem is wonderful as is your garden and photos...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks Amanda - it is a great poem and so fitting at this stage in my life.

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  18. Lovely, your first photo is stunning. I didn't recognise the name of the poem but as soon as I saw the first line I knew I had read it before. Love the idea of 'impractical coloured shoes' and cherry pie:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie. My husband calls me Imelda Marcos as I do seem to have accumulated a fair amount of coloured shoes - from emerald green to fuschia and every colour in between - ha!

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  19. That is a wonderful way to spend the day! I did enjoy taking that walk with you and seeing your beautiful garden. I liked the poem too a wonderful way to grow old! Sarah x

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    1. Thanks Sarah - I think we should all grow old a little bit disgracefully don't you?

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  20. What a lovely walk and lovely poetry. I want to see you new dress :-)

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    1. Thanks Su. I tried to photograph the dress but the camera changed the colour of the material from sea green to navy so I didn't bother showing it.

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  21. I agree with you, very liberating to discover new things about yourself. Exciting. I know the poem well.

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    1. Absolutely - I hope to discover even more as I go on. It is a great poem.

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  22. How I enjoyed this post, Elaine - the wonderful photos that brought me along on your walk and the words which left me smiling and nodding, "yes!" I've had a poster with the Warning poem since I was a young mother. Now, over 70, I'm sure I've turned into that old woman - and I like her! I, too, love shoes in "loud" colors or patterns and eye glasses in outrageous designs. I only wish I had a piece of the cherry pie!

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    1. Thanks Barb - isn't it good that we are turning into outrageous older women. I too have eye glasses in all colours and loud designs - seems we are on the same wavelength.

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  23. Such a wonderful post! I too am a simple soul...
    Now....I don't believe we suddenly become eccentric....I think we always have been...and I prefer to think that eccentric is just unique and individual...and you are certainly that!
    Btw...less of the "old" Gal...you are still a veritable spring chicken!
    I too love to read of strangeness and the uncanny, both often cross my path...I love all things zombie and apocalyptic...as long as they don't occur in my lifetime!
    Can't see you becoming a mumbling bag lady somehow...lol....me? Totally plausible!
    Just loved your walk and all the pics, especially the butterflies, the purple sensation seedhead and the bulrushes! But the second to last pic of the sky is truly riveting...
    The poem at the end reminded of ..."I shall pick the daisies..."...just can't remember who wrote it, or if that was even the title....marvelous post, just what I needed to lift my spirits! Thanks for that!xxx

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    1. Thanks Dina.
      Yes perhaps you are right - I have always felt that I am a bit different - I agree everyone is unique and individual in their own way. Sounds like we have the same tastes too. I already talk to myself as it is - just hope I can keep all my marbles as I get older - or the men in white coats will be knocking at the door.

      I checked that poem out - is it this one
      I'd Pick More Daisies
      By Nadine Stair, age 85
      If I had my life to live over,
      I'd try to make more mistakes next time.
      I would relax. I would limber up.
      I would be sillier than I have on this trip.
      I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic.
      I would take more chances, I would take more trips.
      I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers,
      and watch more sunsets.
      I would burn more gasoline. I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
      I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
      You see, I am one of those people who lives
      prophylactically and sensibly and sanely,
      hour after hour, day after day.

      Oh, I have had my moments
      And if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them.
      In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
      Just moments,one after another.
      Instead of living so many years ahead each day.
      I have been one of those people who never go anywhere
      without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a
      raincoat, and a parachute.

      If I had to do it over again, I would go places and do things.
      I'd travel lighter than I have.
      If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted
      earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
      I would play hooky more. I wouldn't make such good grades
      except by accident.
      I would ride on merry-go-rounds.

      I'd pick more daisies!

      Have a lovely week my friend.

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    2. That IS the poem!!!! Gosh...respect re finding it, and how lovely to read it again, somehow it puts things in perspective, and makes me want to get on with life, doing the things I enjoy! Thanks for that!xxxxx

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  24. I adore this post! I'm a simple soul also, so I appreciate the deliciousness of all you've said. Your images are sublime, and your garden to die for!

    I've always been a bit eccentric, so the mind boggles as to how I will be in future ; ) Lovelovelove the Jenny Joseph poem. Frame-worthy, that one.

    And I'm looking at all your fab books - thanks for mentioning the Jonathan Carroll. I haven't read any of his work, but I love a lot of Neil Gaiman's writing, so I'll definitely put Carroll on my to-read list. xx

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    1. Thanks Antoinette for your kind words - they are muchly appreciated. I love that poem too and always think of it when I put on my brightly coloured shoes! I hate recommending books and authors in case people are disappointed - all I can say is that they are to my taste (I warn you though they are a bit crazy weird).

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  25. Wonderful words and photos in your post. I know people who fear advancing years with all its attendant difficulties, they might read Warning and see all the other possibilities.
    Ms Soup

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    1. Thank you Ms. Soup - you are so right most people as they get older seem to lose out on the enjoyment of life - I hope I have a mischievous spirit that will carry me through into old age.

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  26. Martyn once bought me a dress that wasn't me that ended up being my most favourite ever and attracted the most compliments, Strange it is the only dress of my youth - although never worn - still in my wardrobe

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    1. I rarely wear dresses these days - but recently have bought two (just in case the summer gets really hot) so I suppose that means they will never get worn - ha ha.

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  27. I am on a blogging holiday, this weekend....

    But I have to comment here. And thank you for all the Beauty and Wisdom you give us...

    -happy sigh-

    Tessa

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    1. Thank you Tessa - kind of you to say so. Hope you are enjoying your blogging holiday.

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  28. Ah Elaine- I too identify with living simply- contentment is a good thing. If it makes us strange well then so be it. Loved the poem at the end. Here in the USA a club was started. The ladies all wear red hats and dress in purple. Actually they all look very elegant. Thanks once again for a great post.

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    1. Hi Debbie
      Love the sound of that club - lots of eccentric ladies together - what fun.

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  29. A beautiful post, with some soul restoring images. It took me to another place for a brief moment in time.
    The garden looks lovely, your cosmos are so tall !!
    Love the poppy seed heads, little pepper pots.

    Oh my zombie books.................I would never sleep again. there are enough creepy moments in this old house and I have far to a vivid imagination to take on such a read. Enjoy Elaine........

    Just waiting for the grandchildren to arrive. A trip to Hastings with them tomorrow. Hope to see the fishing boats while we are there :)

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    1. Dear Cheryl
      Lovely to see you - I have missed your presence in blogland. Enjoy your trip to Hastings - a bit of sea air will do you good. Enjoy your break and I'll see you again in September.

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  30. I loved this post Elaine. I only disagree with one thing. I am not sure "simple soul" is the best way to describe you. Your posts are always among the most thoughtful and creative that I read. I love the poem and am going to copy it for rereading.

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  31. Thank you Jennifer what a kind thing to say - now I worry that my posts won't live up to your expectations - ha! glad you enjoyed the poem - we can only aspire to being crazy old ladies.

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  32. I read 'The Night Rainbow' on holiday in France a couple of years ago or so Elaine. I think that it will definitely appeal to you.

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    1. I have read it and loved it - yes it definitely appealed.

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