Morning routines

 I sip my first cup of tea
surrounded by birdsong
as bees breakfast on the columbines.

Now that warmer weather has arrived, I have started having breakfast outside in the garden instead of mindlessly slumping on the sofa in front of breakfast TV news.

We’ve had a run of lovely mornings; blue sky, sunshine, fresh cool morning air.

I find this so calming. The immersion in nature relaxing my body and mind. The felt sense of my belonging, my need for this outdoor world.

I resolve, even when the weather is bad and I have breakfast indoors, to stay away from the morning TV news with all its negativity and trivia, telling me things I don’t need to know, ignoring the things I consider to be important. It gives me the impression that the world is a dangerous place, when just outside my window the world itself is telling me a different story. It sends me into my day with a sense of unease.

There is news in the garden too, much of it in a language I barely understand, passed on in song or bee-dance. Some of it is every bit as sensational as the TV news, tales of life and death. Did the baby blackbirds in the nest in the hedge make it through the night? (its awfully quiet in there). Did the deer eat my broad bean plants? There are stories of growth, news of the flowers most ripe with nectar and pollen, of turf wars between the robins.

Out here there is no clock in the corner of the screen hurrying along the minutes, so I linger, then sit down to work a little later than I planned. I take indoors with me a sense of calm that permeates my day.


What are your morning routines? Do they make you happy?

An encounter

Yellow-tailed black cockatoos, original painting on silk


I walked, insignificant beneath

giant eucalyptus,

peeling bark hanging in strings,

revealing subtle pinks,

oranges, greys.

Through tree fern gullys, tracery of

fronds filtering the sun,

shady green, dappled.

And everywhere, birds flitted,

colourful, exotic to my eyes.

The parched fallen gum leaves

crackled beneath my feet.

I was almost, but not quite, lost,

weary after hours of walking,

but now heading in the direction

of home.

My head was full of colours and sounds,

the smell of eucalyptus

welcome in my nostrils.

And then, a familiar call,

a stirring in the trees ahead,

the sense of being watched

a glimpse of movement,

and suddenly I was surrounded

by black cockatoos.

I stopped in wonder,

in awe.

I must have spent an hour

watching, camera clicking

while they chatted and pecked

and clambered around the branches.

They knew I was there.

They didn’t care.

I was the one who was

blessed by our meeting.

I really should be working

The sun streams onto my desk

distracting me with an open invitation.

I wander outside into the crisp

freshness of September

(I really should be working)

air cool, sun warm,

what a delicious combination.

I stroll, and admire the flowers.

This year’s robins practice their trills

and chase each other around the garden

(I should be working, really)

Dewy cobwebs sparkle.

The Chinese lanterns glow

like orange setting suns.

(Should I really be working?)

I have all the time in the world

to work,

long years of it left,

but this one moment of early autumn,

this particular combination of weather

and flowers and birdsong

will never happen again in

exactly the same way.

So I savour it.

Mull of Galloway

Savouring the end of summer

among the last blooms of

thrift and sea campion,

the cries of unseen kittiwakes,

clouds of swallows and martins

and the arrow-straight splashing dives of gannets.

Mull of Galloway lighthouse

It’s that time of year when every bit of warm sunshine is savoured. The air is cooler now, the wind is blowing from the north, but out of the wind the sun is still hot. We sat in the sun on the Mull of Galloway, sharing the end of summer with the birds. Soon they will be leaving, the kittiwakes out to sea, the swallows, house martins and gannets heading south for warmer climes. A day to remember, sunshine,warmth and memories to light us through the winter darkness ahead.

Mull of Galloway

Colourful cliffs at the Mull of Galloway

A walk in the rain

Ghostly pine trees,

hilltops lost in mist,

lake reflecting grey.

Drizzle,

then rain in sheets

scudding across the water.

Sweating in waterproofs

with leaky boots,

step by step

we are rinsed,

refreshed,

washed clean,

revitalised.