Why do I run, cycle, play football and tennis? Well, there are many reasons.
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A beautiful seasonal quote from the inspiring Damh the Bard.
"It’s nearly here...the major Sabbat of Samhain will arrive, bringing with it dark evenings and opening the door to the cold of Winter. Lanterns will be lit and placed in windows. Faerie Bells will ring and doors and windows will be opened to allow the spirits of those departed back inside, to share a meal, so we may remember them. Photographs of loved ones will be placed on altars next to the slowly drifting smoke of incense, tears will be shed, and smiles will be shared. Candle flame will be caught in the reflecting water of the cauldron, and Journeys will be taken. Magic will be cast, and the names of those gone before across the bridge into the Otherworld, and the many more lives that lay beyond, will be spoken into the wind, letting them know that they are never forgotten."
This paper is a an evolving examination of issues around, and responses to, the challenge or caring for elders, on the emotional, mental, physical, practical, spiritual levels.
In a growing number of countries, such as England, government-funded care for older people is being increasingly rationed, leaving growing numbers to fend for themselves.
Deloitte announced that it will offer up to 16 weeks of fully paid leave for a wide range of caregiving, including maternity and paternity leave, eldercare and aid for other sick family members or partners. The policy is a recognition that caregiving isn’t limited to new parents, but affects a far broader class of employees.
The nineteenth century British economist Alfred Marshall said: "The economist, like everyone else, must concern himself with the ultimate aims of man." The ultimate aims. He must concern himself, in other words, with values.
Way back in 1999 I registered the internet domain name silburyhill.com and paid to maintain it for several years, without ever really doing anything with it. I eventually let the registration lapse, but even now, new developments at Silbury continue to resonate in me in a way that I can't easily put into words.
Why did I feel compelled - no other word will do - to acquire silburyhill.com as my first personal URL (and why did I pay a not inconsiderable sum to hold onto the URL for a few years, despite being far from ready to launch my own website back then?)
Fascinating In Our Time edition about Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. The Arthurian legend is one of the most enduring and popular in western literature, and and its characters are as well-known today as they were then; and the book's themes - chivalry, betrayal, love and honour - remain as compelling (to me, as to so many others, since childhood).
Ode argues compellingly that marking time with natural rhythms and seasons can grow compassion and commitment to all life. The underlying wistfulness and enhanced "sensitivity to the passage of the seasons" is embodied in the likes of Monty Don, who combines a kanyini-like love for the soil and place, with a sense of gratitude that seems to come "from the other side of sorrow and despair".
Pace David Bowie, and in the light of the hagiography building in some quarters around the late Steve Jobs, one wonders who are the real enduring, beyond "just for one day" heroes, ancient and modern?
A good candidate from my childhood is Alexander the Great, from the moment I first shed a tear when reading in a Ladybird history book (a constant companion, and part of a set which I preserve with fondness and gratitude to this day) about Alexander dying (at just 33, thereby giving him a special bond with Jesus in my young mind) "far from his homeland". As a long-standing, albeit non-heroic exile from my own homeland, this still resonates...
"I thought I saw a swallow land, upon my hand, on summer day" - Roy Harper
For the sensitive gardener, this is the peak of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the weekend following Midsummer Day is the time of quietness, and of flower festivals and of fragrant old roses around mildewed old church doors and of wandering among indecipherable gravestones and of coming hollyhocks and of lemon balm and of long, long ago memories, but always, "history is now, and England".