Artful work

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Today I helped judge school artists’ creative masterpieces – what a pleasure that was.

The Mayor came to help us make our final selection and stayed for tea before the prizes were presented.

He pronounced the artwork ‘fabulous’as pupils and parents from nine schools crowded into our University exhibition space and spilled out onto the lawns to enjoy a little sunshine.

If only all work days could be like this one.

🙂

Story time

Deana and Sabina

All smiles

Once upon a time there was a fundraising runner who wanted to help a university project planning an amazing digital platform for its creative writing students.

The platform cost a lot of money but the kingdom was plunged into a dark place called ‘recession’ and the usual national funders of such projects shook their heads when anyone asked for funding. The runner thought she could help.

She entered a race and collected sponsors and although her fundraising efforts were not the stuff of legend she thought her contribution might inspire the university project leaders to raise more themselves.

‘Every journey has to start somewhere,’ she thought. ‘I can at least give them a little start.’

But the project leaders had other plans. The smart digital platform had evolved into a Facebook page called BoltonStoryworld and the leaders thought the fundraiser’s money could be used to help inspire young writers through a short story contest.

‘Can we name the contest after you? That’s what we’d like to do,’ said one of the lecturers, smiling broadly.

After blushing furiously and dithering a bit and then talking it over with her wise partner, the fundraising runner decided she should probably listen to other people and stop hiding her altruistic light under bushels.

And so The Deana Morris Award was created.

Today, outside the Bolton Octagon Theatre, the runner met Sabina who had written a short story about trolls which was quite the most haunting little tale she had read for a long time.

The moral of this story – if you want something to happen then you do have to do it. Of course, the something that happens may not be the something you expect, but it will be something. And something is better than nothing. Surely?

Joyful June 11-21/6

Well, haven’t I been busy. I can’t believe I haven’t blogged for over a week.

So, joyful June continues apace, though I am running out of novel ideas. I am, however, getting a clear idea of what makes me happy.

10. Buying second hand books from Amazon and finding they are just as good as new and yet cost things like £1.50.

9. Lying in the bath on a Tuesday night, reading Grazia. Mindless celeb gossip mixed in with some ridiculously expensive clothes. Will Jennifer Aniston ever marry her rakish Ken doll fiance? Who knows, who cares. Look at her hair. (I have major Jen hair envy).

8. Lying in bed, in fresh crisp cotton linen, reading one of my bargain books.

7. Sleeping. Love sleep. Hugely undervalued.

6. Riding my bike. What youthful pleasure. Keys on string round your neck and the bliss of peddling through the fields and river paths stretches out forever. Or until you get hungry, in my case.

5. Having a facial. It’s a girl thing, i suspect. But trotting out of the salon with baby soft, glowing pink skin is very cheering.

4. Dinner with my girl friends. Or lunch. Or just cocktails. Catching up with the ladies and being able to talk openly about all that emotional stuff. Love it.

3. Yoga asana – how fantastic does your body feel when it’s all stretched?

2. Meditation – there is just never enough time.

1. Hanging out with MrM. I know ‘ahhhhh/nauseating’ but no one makes me laugh as much. Or lets me eat the lion’s share of the chocolate.

🙂

Joyful June 10/6

This week felt like the longest week. I worked 45 hours. That’s quite a lot.

I slept a lot today. Mostly with her highness, on the sofa. She slept more. Gosh, I love sleep.

Fife the cat

Fife, asleep on me, about 1.30pm

Fifi the cat

Fifi changes position, 2.30pm

Fifi the cat

Fifi wakes up, 3pm

Fifi the cat

… and back to sleep

Hanging out the Fifi has been a treat this week. I’ve been flying in and out the house. No times for games or much time for cuddles. Nice to hang out, even if we didn’t do very much.

I’m off for an early night – yes, more sleep – and then seeing my friend Clare tomorrow. We started out in newspapers together. Thirty years ago! Flipping heck!!

Joyful June – 10-14/16

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Who would have thought fitting in one thing you love to do everyday could be so tricky?

Due to the fact I spent 10 hours on Monday editing the University’s magazine the ‘fun window’ was a little limited. I made do with lying in the bath while listening to a radio play, which I do enjoy. And I had a cup of herbal tea in there too, so very relaxing.

Tuesday I went for a facial after work which was bliss. That said, I spent a small fortune on a face scrub and factor 50 moisturiser before I left, but when your floating about on a bubble of calm and your face is plumped and baby soft, then who notices the £10 notes turning into two tubes in a fancy gift wrapped bag?

Wednesday I went to see Piaf at Bolton Octagon Theatre. Really very, very good. I love going to the theatre; when it’s good it’s magical. It touches you in the way film just can’t. Obviously not a happy story but the three female actors were brilliant. The songs – sublime.

Thursday I met my good friend Mrs Tiffin for lunch and we caught up on business and our lives. Making more time to see friends is something I’ll take from this exercise. I haven’t seen Mrs T since before Christmas. Our lives have become so busy as our workplaces’ staff levels have shrunk dramatically. And of course everyone wants to up their publicity so the MarComms functions are pushed to the limits.

Thankfully on Thursday I also had yoga. Inversions: love them! Shoulder stands, head stands… with a selection of other asanas we did great. It was a lot of fun too and a really good energy in the room.

So, on to Friday. My big treat on Friday was meeting MrM after work and having drinks and tea before a taxi home. We had a delicious Thai meal at the Orchid in town where the owner treats us like long-lost friends and spoils us with free extras and brandies before we leave. He’s very kind and would you believe, after that huge brandy I slept like a log? Though I did have a very odd dream about a wooden sailing ship, a huge whirlpool threatening to pull us to our doom and an IT colleague living in his office with a single bed made up in purple blankets with flannelette sheets. Like you do!

Joyful June 10/6 – Daft for Daft Punk

I just love Daft Punk’s new album.

And I love to dance. And that album is very dance focused – with Mr Chic on board, how could it miss?

I’ve been known to dance to this when I get home, much to the bemusement of our cat, Fifi. She does not join in. She looks kind of… disappointed in me 😉

There isn’t an official video for this song yet. But surely it should be this. Oh, dancing in the 70s – how free and joyful it was.

Joyful June 1-9

First of all, confession: I am, quite shamelessly, copying this idea from Running Sunflower.

It’s June and I am going to try to do something that makes me super-happy, every day.

I have a bit of catching up to do so I’ve had one very fun day today.

jasmine in my garden

Stop and smell the flowers

In my garden is this deliciously intoxicating jasmine bush. How often do I sit beside it an inhale that lovely perfume? Not often enough.

wold rocket seeds - sown

Growing my own salad greens

I’ve always wanted to grow my own salad greens. Today I sowed wild rocket seeds into one of my window pots. There is something very cheering about grubbing about in soil, running it through your fingers, smelling earth. My seeds are sown, watered and hopefully the little babies are germinating in the evening sun.

My bike

My bike

And then I went for a ride on my bike. In shorts and sandals with my keys on a piece of string round my neck. No watch.

Remember how you used to go out all day on your bike. Maybe home for some lunch. No phone. No watch. Just you and your bike and your imagination?

I cycled down the river and watched butterflies, I even saw a little bob-tailed baby rabbit bound into the hedgerow before heading home because I was hungry. Getting on and off my bike isn’t as easy as it used to be before the arthritis. I can’t easily swing my leg over the back of my bike, like I used to. I’ve worked out a rather ladylike step over the crossbar.

Isn’t it great, feeling the sun on your skin? Let’s hope the sunshine lasts – loving it!

Test yourself

Below are some pictures I took at work while Bury Football Club were in doing their post-season training.

Today football clubs monitor how fit their players are at the end of the season and then again at the beginning of pre-season training. Gives them an idea of what they get up to over the summer, I guess.

Fitness testing

Fitness testing

fitness testing

Look at those feet go

Of course we can all access facilities like this in universities today. Many have sports science courses which are partially funded by offering services to the public. Certainly ours does and will attentively test any amateur sportsman or woman as assiduously as they do any professional.

Of course you can test yourself without any fancy equipment. A timed run is as good as any measure, I guess. But if you want all those lovely stats, a complete fitness testing session will give you plenty to pour over.

Physio score!

Well, believe it or not, all that cake eating on holiday has done my arthritis no harm at all.

Yes I am being cured by cake!

Well maybe not. Let’s say the stiffness in my hip is easing and I’ve been doing my physio exercises everyday and my yoga every day and eating enough oily fish to lubricate the stiffest of joints.

But my hips are definitely wearing the odd slice of cake.

At physio my hips were almost even. Possibly one more session. Woohoo.

Of course being off work I’ve been doing a lot of yoga.

At yoga school we were asked to make a structure out of 11 sheets of the Guardian that could stand up. It was part of a team bonding exercise.

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Meet Wellington. (Our yoga school sessions are in a chapel on Wellington Road).

And if you look carefully at his ear, I’m pretty sure Mel has managed to twist the paper to say ‘bark’…