Sunday, 31 May 2015

At the same time morning came

There was sunlight on the ivy that made up the woodland floor around him. Sunlight that crept through the green leaves above and cast shifting shadows. Evening sunlight, bright and still warm enough to enjoy. The trees were silent; natural statues of the earth, and as he stood, looking down, a strange idea occurred to him of the ivy twisting around his ankles and rooting him to the ground until he too became part of the forest. Small memories flitted of a bed and a house but they passed and he saw now the sunlight dead ahead of him, bursting though a gap in the sturdy trunks. Brighter it blazed and turned all to white until it dipped suddenly and night arrived.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Blue Eyes and a Broken Arm

"Okay, look at me," I said as she stood on the edge of the abseil tower.
She looked up and immediately I was hit by the brightest blue eyes I've ever seen. The young girl gazed up and her clear eyes were full of confidence and trust. Her soft brown hair was tied back behind her helmet but a few wisps danced across her face.
I knew this would be an easy descent and it proved to be so and those bright eyes continued to smile up at me almost the whole way down.

A short while later another girl arrived up the stairs with a broken arm (in a cast) but having already conquered the giant swing and a climbing challenge she was quite happy to get on with abseiling and quickly showed how to do it one handed. Later in the week I encountered her again on quad biking at which she proved just as adept as the other kids.

There were others less happy about the prospect of going down the outside of the tower but with three sessions back to back I had a fair amount of success in getting some of them over the edge. Some even smiled once they realised it was going to be okay, which is always a special moment.

In other news, I painted this, based loosely on what I see around me each day:

Monday, 11 May 2015

A Titanic Weekend

Whenever you get on an aeroplane you expect to get off somewhere different, even if the flight is only half an hour long. Northern Ireland is, however, exactly like England, which may sound silly, but still I expected it to somehow appear or feel like I had landed somewhere else.
     The roads are the same, the fields identical and Belfast, pleasant as it is, could easily be confused with several other UK cities. That was my first impression, but getting past that I was able to have an enjoyable few days across the Irish sea.
     The Titanic museum is excellent and taught me much about the history of Belfast, the construction of ocean liners and, of course, the great ship herself. The sinking was a disaster not just for those on board, but also for the thousands who had worked incredibly hard to build the largest ship of the time. Their work ethic in difficult conditions and for small pay should be an inspiration to people today who try to put in as little effort as possible, or sometimes simply give up all together, in search of an easy life. It should also be a warning to those who complain that the government is to blame for their "poor" economic situation. The government (no matter who's in charge) will support you, but you have to do your bit. If you don't put anything in, you won't get anything out - true in so many ways.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

From April to Summer

The great thing about being on Abseil during a busy weekend is that you can look out and see all the other activities across the centre. The quad bikes are zipping around their tracks; the lake is crowded with canoes; there are kids climbing up walls, tyres, ropes, logs and poles; others are doing archery or orienteering or problem solving or feeling the adrenaline rush of the giant swing. There are shouts and screams, mostly of delight, from all corners and even though it can't be necessarily measured there is a feeling of fun and challenge and life.
     All this is aided by the signs of spring and even summer (occasionally). The bushes and trees have begun to bloom, and while we're still waiting for the ducklings to hatch there is plenty of new life appearing all the time.