Tag Archives: health

It’s funny how one thing leads to another…

…and how an apparently negative experience can lead to others that are enriching and fulfilling.

You may remember that this summer I was ill with pneumonia. (I tried not to bitch and moan about it too much, but my normal cheerful disposition was notably lacking for those months!)

That illness caused me to reflect on my life, on many levels.

Steve was in the States when I was most ill – he rushed back as soon as he could, but by the time he got home the antibiotics had kicked in and the worst crisis was over.

This meant that, for those few days, my children were effectively nursing me. At one point my teenage son, under telephone instructions from the doctor, had to wipe my entire body with a cold cloth in order to reduce my dangerously high temperature of 107%. This intimate, loving and yet slightly uncomfortable experience made me think about what it must feel like to be really old and incapable, and having to rely on others for one’s most basic needs.

After the first couple of weeks, the worst of the illness was over. It then took two months before I had enough energy to walk for more than a few minutes. Ironically, during this time I was fine doing my job (I write, so am able to work from home). But leaving the house was out of the question. In total, three months of this year were given over to the illness, and its physical consequences.

Now that I am well again, I find that the illness has had other, more lasting effects on me. I have been questioning whether I am spending my days doing things that I am really passionate about, or whether I am continuing down a fifteen-year old path because I feel it is somehow expected of me.

I find myself quite fearful about my body, and hyper-aware of any minor ailments. I have had a sore throat this week, and have been surprised to notice that my primary reaction to this is one of fear. It’s as if I don’t trust my body not to let me down again.

I have had to work hard to regain my fitness, and have found it hard to lose the weight I gained over those three sedentary months.

But, I began this post by saying how such negative experiences can lead to other, more positive ones.

For over a year now, I have wanted to deepen my understanding and practice of yoga. Going on a yoga retreat last month really helped me overcome my fears about stepping onto a new path in my life, and since then I have enrolled on a foundation course that is the first stage in training to become a yoga teacher. The course starts in January. I am excited about finally making the decision to take the next step on my yoga journey. I’m not sure where it will end up, but that doesn’t matter; what’s important is that I am starting on it.

I have also decided to lay a few more of my childhood demons to rest. In particular, I am taking on the inner voice that tells me that I am just no good at exercising, or indeed at anything physically taxing at all. These are not my messages, they belong to someone else and were internalised by me a long time ago. I am choosing now to leave those messages behind me, to turn my back and walk away from them. To help me do this, I have engaged the services of a personal trainer, who is also a counsellor. For me, this is a big, scary leap into unknown territory and yet, pleasingly, I am feeling great about it.

So, here’s to new paths, small steps and giant leaps!

Share this


I was sitting here on Sunday afternoon, thinking about cycles, and stages, and phases. I was thinking about how the last couple of months of my life have been about sickness, about convalescence, and then about recuperation.

I was trying to come up with a word that would encapsulate, and embody, what I would like my next few months to be about. I feel that I need to get back to myself, as if I have in some way been absent from some fundamental aspects of what constitutes my ‘self’: from the things that make me feel whole, and nourished, and that bring joy and laughter into my life.

And then I found the word I was looking for. A resurgence.



  1. A rising again into life, activity, or prominence; a renascence; a renewal.

  2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigour; a revival.

A rising again into life, a restoration into vigour. Thinking about the next few months in these terms, it became clearer to me the things I can do to get back to myself, to rediscover the pleasure and joy and richness of my life.

And in the way that a word, once uncovered, often leads to another, it also occurred to me that a renaissance is also an apposite metaphor for what I am trying to grasp here:



  1. A new birth or life; a rebirth.
  2. A cultural revival; a renaissance.

To revive myself, I am going to begin again doing the things that nourish my body and my soul. I restarted my yoga practice last week, and I am going to gradually increase that until I get back to the almost daily practice of my pre-illness self. I have also just booked to go on a yoga retreat next month, to which I am looking forward immensely.

A cultural revival: today I spent some time wandering around the gallery where I work. I was struck, as I am every time I do this, how incredibly fortunate I am to be surrounded by such a wealth of interesting art. I am going to nourish my creative self this autumn by spending more time visiting other galleries and seeing more art.

But most of all, I am going to re-invigorate the relationships with the most important people in my life. After all, as Tolstoy wrote, we must ‘seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved!’

Share this

Chapter five …

… in which Anna has a Busy Day, and we learn what Will does in the afternoons.

(with apologies to A.A. Milne and Winnie the Pooh)

It was going to be one of Anna’s Busy Days. As soon as she woke up she felt important, as if everything depended upon her.

It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a Notice Signed Anna, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought About It. It was a Captainish sort of day, when everybody said, “Yes, Anna ” and “No, Anna,” and waited until she had told them. It was, after all, just the day for Doing Things.

She came out of her house and sniffed the warm summer morning as she wondered what she would do. She thought she would spend some time working out how she wanted the edging on her Candle Flame Shawl to look. She also had some Natural Dye Studio yarn that she had bought and tangled up at Woolfest that she wanted to detangle and neatly wind.

But there was a Strange and Bouncy animal there, the ever excitable labrador, Leoma. She was the sort of Leoma who was always in front when you were showing her the way anywhere, and was generally out of sight when at last you came to the place and said proudly “Here we are!” Anna’s first task of the day was to send Alex out on a Long Walk to Tire Leoma Out.

Anna then thought she would sort out what Steve was doing.

“After all,” said Anna to herself, “Steve depends on Me. He’s fond of Leoma, and so am I, but she hasn’t any Brain. Not to notice. And he respects Will, because you can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right; but spelling isn’t everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn’t count. And Alex is too young and too bouncy to be of any help, so there’s really nobody but Me, when you come to look at it.”

“I’ll go and see if there’s anything he wants doing, and then I’ll make sure he does it. It’s just the day for doing things. My mum is coming for lunch. I’ll make sure that Steve cooks lunch for us all. He’s good with lunch and things like that.”

After organizing Alex to walk Leoma and Steve to cook lunch, she thought she ought to make sure that Will and her mum didn’t feel left out. She hurried importantly getting her tangled yarn and her new yarn winder together, and showed them what they had to do. “It’s a simple enough job, even for them,” she thought to herself. “It shouldn’t take them any more than six or seven hours, which will be a Good Thing, because they do both like to feel Useful”.

Will and Anna’s mum diligently set about their task. Within a mere seven hours they had transformed this:

into this:

All of this Busyness and Excitement was a little too much for Anna, however. After making sure that everybody else had Things to Do that would make them feel Important and Appreciated, there was nothing left for her to do for the rest of the day except this:

But what of the Candle Flame Shawl edging? Anna decided that it could wait until tomorrow…

Share this

I’m back…

After last week’s dramas it’s nice to be getting back to some semblence of normality again, at least in the sense of actually being aware of my surroundings. Thank you so much for all your well-wishes, it was really heart-warming reading them! We didn’t get to Washington DC for the weekend, which was a bummer, but we’ll definitely go later in the year. The 4th July fireworks looked good though, Steve watched them from the Mall with some friends (in the rain)…

My family and friends have been fabulous this week – bringing food, cooking meals, doing laundry and tidying up; my house has never looked so tidy. Which is wonderful, and I really don’t want to sound even slightly ungrateful, but there’s lots of stuff that I can’t find at the moment, including my camera, and I don’t yet have the energy to go searching for them…

So, in the absence of any photos, I thought I’d do this meme; I got the idea from Rachel. The questions that these photos answer are further down.

The Questions:

  1. What is your first name? Anna (but I searched on my first two names: Anna Gisela). This photo reminded me hugely of pictures of my German family.
  2. What is your favorite food? Chocolate raisins. Look! These ones have got faces!
  3. What high school did you go to? Rickmansworth School. I love this picture of the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground – it’s funny how seeing something like this can transport you back in time.
  4. What is your favorite colour? Sky blue – I love the feeling that you could almost dive into a sky like this.
  5. Who is your celebrity crush? I don’t really ‘do’ crushes, but if I did then David Tennant would be my crush of choice. (edited to add that I just remembered about James McAvoy. How could I forget him?!)
  6. Favorite drink? Kir Royale, cos I is posh…
  7. Dream vacation? The Orient Express – I’ve always wanted to do this!
  8. Favorite dessert? Rhubarb crumble, preferably with home made custard, or home made vanilla ice cream on a hot day.
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Sherlock Holmes. My hero. When I was a child I prided myself on knowing every single Sherlock Holmes plot off by heart. Seriously. I didn’t have many friends though…
  10. What do you love most in life? My family. I didn’t exactly cheat for this, but I did make sure that my photo was tagged with all my search criteria ;o)
  11. One word to describe you. Loyal. Once I’m your friend I will always be your friend.
  12. Your nickname. Spanner – the other one is too rude to mention!

Wanna play? This is what to do:

Open three windows. One with the list of questions, another open to Flickr and ready to do an image search, and a third to Big Huge Labs’ Mosaic Maker (create a mosaic with 4 columns and 3 rows). Answer the first question, put your answer in the search field on Flickr and choose one of the images from the first page to represent your answer. Click on the photo then copy and paste the url into the #1 spot on the Mosaic Maker. Do that for all 12 questions, then click create and post the results to your blog. Have fun!

Photo Credits:

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/aladyde/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/laz/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodcorp/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/supernova9/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/frannyluvstrans/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/7350926@N05/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/23599623@N00/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/tommytommy/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/tezzer57/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/18831633@N05/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobbiesfolkart/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/trance-elbow/
Share this

Taking a break

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments about my 100th milestone – I was really touched.

I need to take a bit of a break from blogging – the chill I caught at Woolfest has turned into pneumonia. I’ve been trying to carry on working (luckily now part time, since last week), but apart from that I need not to do anything else at all for a while. Sadly, my boys and I were meant to be going to Washington DC this weekend to spend a few days with Steve – he’s working there a lot at the moment, and I don’t think we’ll be able to :(.

I really don’t like self-pitying blog posts; I’ll be back soon, when I’m feeling less poorly and sorry for myself.

– Anna xx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share this