Big questions

The boy

Is there anything more pleasant than skimming knees and stones with your best buddy when you’re a young boy?

There’s a boy like this in every class: noisy, unafraid and full of life.

But somewhere along the line, he was too full of life —

Leading to problems at school, and visits to doctors

And then, a diagnosis with four letters.

Somehow, that label stuck with him, and although he’s only 11,

People whisper about his tantrums, violent outbursts and shake their heads.

I know this boy. He’s the one who walked up to school with me the other day,

The one bursting with love and wonder and tenderness

At the birth of his baby sister.

He spent 20 minutes describing how wonderful she is.

Yes – there’s a boy like this in every class.

Which leads me to wonder if the only labels kids really need are the four letters: L O V E.

For more stories, please visit: Camera Critters.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to Jillsy’s May Challenge, which is about childhood. Why not join in?


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly. — The Beatles

It’s been a tough year for many of us. Knocked down, heartbroken.

But we’re still standing, still choosing to stand up and fly.

Are you?

For more stories, please visit: Camera Critters.

The art of forgiveness

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” — Mark Twain

I’ve been thinking about the nature of forgiveness.

How everyone says what a release it is finally to forgive; yet it is one of the hardest things for us to do.

Is it the pain that holds us back? Or is it simply the fact that we have to learn to love ourselves more than we think we deserve before we can love others the same way?

Forgiveness won’t change the past – or the resentments we can find there – but it might, perhaps, transform our future.

What are your thoughts on the art of forgiveness?




Inner beauty

Living up to the ideals of society is pretty tough. Especially if you are a young girl or a woman.

School friends, adverts, TV, billboards – they all show us how we ‘should’ be: thin, with glowing skin and perfect teeth.

It’s not good enough to be yourself, they seem to say.

A while back this photo caused controversy in the fashion world. Why? Because it shows a normal woman. (They wanted to photoshop her stomach so that it disappeared.)

I for one think she is beautiful.

What does this say about our own self-image?

Our pre-conceived notions can blind us to the beauty of others. And worst of all, it can stop us from seeing the beauty that we are.

It may be a cliché, but I urge everyone to go out there today and see the deeper beauty that is you, or your daughter or sister, or friend or wife…

Tell them how gorgeous they are. Tell yourself how beautiful you are.

Because even the humblest flower in the woods shines with a lovely light.

Let’s celebrate!

It was Sweden’s National Day last week.

The Norwegians celebrate their day with parades and joy and noise on the streets and the Irish have beer and hats and shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day …

… while the Swedes aren’t quite sure what it is they are celebrating.

There is singing and dancing in traditional clothes.

Look! I spied this woman gearing up the day before and snapped this shot from a restaurant window.

There is the embracing of other cultures and traditions. We were lucky enough to see this dance group from Lithuania. Such pretty costumes and just look at the delightful expression on the face of the girl on the right! (No, not my right – your right!)

The flags in the breeze seem to be celebrating a new kind of ‘Swedishness’ – something that goes beyond being proud of your country to the opening up of attitudes towards others, to something that breathes tolerance and acceptance for all.

And I guess that is something worth celebrating – or, at least, striving for.

For more slices of life, please visit: My World!

Nonsense? Yes please!

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if imagination and silliness were on school curricula every day?

I hope to be silly even in old age… and by the looks of things, I’m succeeding! How about you?

My new readers

I seem to have attracted some new readers.

They are faceless, of course,

But not shy about telling the world exactly what they think!

Like this…

Only one question remains: how did they know I was slightly mad?

The sad ballad of the separated lovers

Her heart was torn in two…

Someone had separated her from her one true love.

She gazed out of the window and longed

… and longed…

… and longed.

Thinking only of his return.



When, oh when, would they be re-united?

Free to dance and whirl together

In love?

Little did she know that it might take a while…

Making the breast of things

The wonderful singer Lhasa de Sela died at the age of 37 from breast cancer. This got me thinking that it was time to book myself a mammogram. After all, caught in time, breast cancer doesn’t have to be a killer.

I had heard vague rumours about the procedure but nothing to worry about. Although perhaps that sign in the changing room that said something about using air pressure and ‘the breasts can stand it’ might have been a warning…

I took off my top and stood there in front of a gleaming white machine with see-through plates. I soon found myself hugging the machine in some kind of weird pole-dancing posture while the nurse grinded the plates against my breast bone while jamming my breast uncomfortably between the plates.

Now, as flat as a pancake is not an expression I normally associate with breasts – well, not since school anyway! As the plates squashed together mechanically so that not even a pin would fit in there, the nurse came and tightened them even further for good luck – and I had the rather disturbing experience of feeling my boobs run out onto those plates like thin crepes.

After two X-rays, I started putting my top on. “Hang on!” the nurse cried out merrily. “Two more to go!” Ah – they squash the boobs laterally first and then horizontally. “Some people take aspirins before they come!” she said. (Now you tell me!) By now my boobs were running over those plates like batter. Who knew they could get that thin – and bounce back to normal size afterwards?

Five minutes and it was all over. And to be honest, a visit to the dentist is far more painful!

So, if you are aged 40 or above, make sure you book yourself in for a mammogram. After all, it’s all about one of the most important things in your life: your health!

Contemplating your navel

As a language expert afficionado, you get asked all sorts of odd questions.

My editor wrote to ask me a vital question: What do we call that stuff that collects in the filter of a clothes dryer? I immediately told her the exact scientific word: fluff.

She then mailed me back and wanted to know what you call the stuff that collects in your belly button.

I know, I know… my day is filled with tasks of startling importance!

Naturally, I told her that we call this stuff ‘belly button fluff’, but then decided to dazzle her with the extent of my knowledge and let her know that the real term for these kind of ‘fluffs’ is, in fact, lint.

Yes – you get pocket lint, clothes dryer lint and – wait for it – navel lint!

I’ll wait while you applaud me for making your day.

Now, navel lint is truly fascinating to many, it seems. In fact, a Dr. Karl Kruszelniki from Australia even went as far as to delve into the in and outs (pun intended) of belly button fluff. He was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2002 for ‘achievements that cannot or should not be repeated’.

Thanks Wikipedia for this disturbing image!

This stuff defies the laws of gravity and – contrary to popular belief – it doesn’t migrate downwards from your armpits but upwards from your underwear.

One thing I wonder though is this: if your belly button sticks out does that mean you collect less fluff than if you’re an ‘innie’ and your belly button is sunk into your tummy?

I’ll just tiptoe away now and leave you to contemplate your navel – or maybe even someone else’s!