Friday, 19 May 2017

Google Search: The Pre-Internet Brain.

Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist/artist/designer who creates visual masterpieces, one of his pieces is a poster reading, " I Miss My Pre-Internet Brain," He has designed many more since this one which was included as part of the collection: "Welcome to the 21st Century."

Coupland is 54, a few years older than me and, like me lucky enough to have actually owned a pre-internet brain and can therefore compare past and present. It's quite a concept and makes me feel privileged to have been born in the 1960's, a generation of children who may well have been the last lot to grow up in a world of self-discovery and wonder, curiosity and creativity as well as in my case anyway, hunger and quite a bit of deprivation. I didn't know I was deprived though so it didn't really matter. I knew I was hungry quite a lot but then I just assumed everyone else was as well. Wasn't it a great feeling to see your big brother walk up the road with a rabbit tucked in his belt, or to not get caught whilst scrumping? (Younger people will need to google) 
A big joy of childhood was the library, a big quiet building where one could wander for ages and ages and go home with lots of dusty books under your arm. (yes, yes, today you know exactly what you want to read, you've seen the reviews online and a pristine book will arrive wrapped in a box) I still love the library, I still sit down in my Lloyd Loom chair and retreat into the world of 11th century Paris or Tudor England or anywhere in the world at any time at all for that matter, even space if I feel so inclined. The library today though is a noisy affair with lots of bleeping going on and people talking into their laptops. Old people shuffle about too embarrassed to ask how to actually borrow their books as the machine has replaced the librarian.
In my day my friends and I on the rare occasions that rain stopped play, would idle away time colouring in. That meant using colouring pencils to colour in pictures in a book. Now, that's an exercise in 'mindfulness.'
The thought of being stuck indoors was a frightful one. Why would anyone want to do that? There were, (still are actually) trees to climb, rivers to swim, orchards to strip, fields to scour. I think I spent about a third of my childhood in swimming pools, proper swimming pools with a proper deep end, not namby- pamby shallow  'safe' boring drips that pretend to be pools today.
Then there was school, Primary School was good fun, Secondary School not so much but I did learn a lot. Curiously although I hated Physics, my teacher to my hilarity was called Mr Grime, I learned an awful lot although didn't realise it at the time. Who knew flow tanks would have been so helpful?
I wasn't allowed the luxury of further education and went to work in London just short of my sixteenth birthday. At twenty I was promoted to a Chief Referencing Officer, fancy being a chief of anything at that tender age. My job was to travel across all of the London Boroughs collating evidence of land ownership. This would see me chatting to a Lord and Lady in Kensington one day and a big burly gypsy on a caravan site the next. I loved that job and it has stood me in good stead as a researcher.I expect all the information I found by trawling around with my pencil and pad can now be found on the internet, not so the myriad of stories behind the facts however.
Nearly thirty years later, my pre-internet brain is shared with my post internet brain.
Today as I walked around the park with my dog I came across a lot of young mums pushing their babies in their buggies. Ducks, swans, herons, cormorants, woodpeckers, parakeets, tits, a sly fox all totally ignored, bright orange and red crinkly leaves left underfoot and not kicked up in delight, squirrels left alone to squirrel their nuts. All the while the babies moaned and the mums listened to music or talked loudly into their hands-free sets.
The dog trod in a sticky pile of something and was covered in burrs, as I extricated them I realised my hand was covered in poo. I had my wellies on so climbed down the old roots of a tree into the stream and splashed about as I washed my hands, I dried them on a waxy leaf... much to the horror of a lady walking by who politely passed me a packet of disinfectant wipes.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Nothing Succeeds As Planned.

This is a photograph of me and my eldest daughter, she is thirty years old now. The photo was taken by her grand-dad on holiday in Spain.
I had Emily when I was 23.
I had no plan for our lives, other than to be happy.
The early years of my marriage and motherhood were lovely. We owned our house (well, with a mortgage) my husband had a good job in The City and I was a stay-at-home mum. Me and Emily had a blissful couple of years. Then when I was pregnant with my second child, my husband lost his job and the recession kicked in. Our riches turned to poverty.
Our freedoms turned into prisons. The prison of poverty and depression.
My husband fell into a despair. But I had two young people to nurture.
A lot of people were in the same boat and we all helped each other out, some managed to stay strong while others fell by the wayside.
Then circumstances picked up again and we were OK for a while. My husband chose to spend a lot of time in the pub, but that was alright with me as it just meant that I could enjoy my two precious daughters.
I ignored my husband's mood swings. I was too busy playing with my daughters and my nieces and nephews. I absolutely adored being a mum, an auntie, a sister-in-law.
There are good memories: lovely restaurants when my husband was working, brilliant gigs, Oasis and  Pink Floyd in 1997 resonate in my memory. The Oasis gig will live me forever.
But there were nagging problems in the marriage. A sense of isolation. My husband was never there. He missed birthday parties, births, joyous special individual moments.
He was an angry man. But I remained oblivious to this anger, in fact I found it boring- which is weird, but then I had been brought up by an angry dad so maybe the anger or discontent didn't have the desired affect he wished to pronounce on me?
Life went on.
The girls thrived. We got a dog- Alfie, a black Labrador.
Emily went travelling while my younger daughter attended college. My husband was still in the pub.

My brother became seriously ill. My sister-in-law and I were very close, our children had grown up together and I love her very much. My poor brother died slowly, bit by bit really, over the course of three years from a brain tumour. He died on November 8th 2002.

But on the night of 7th November 2002, my husband complained of a bad headache which turned out to be a brain haemorrhage.
A real nightmare ensued.

My husband 'recovered' although when he awoke from nine hours of life saving surgery, he said he wished he had died.

Still, we ploughed on.

Then, in 2007, our car broke down.

How silly is life?
I suggested to my husband that the car had overheated and we needed to let it cool, replace the water and start it up again. My husband was enraged at this suggestion and threw a very large, very heavy bunch of keys at me, hitting me in the face.
A young boy, walking past witnessed this and it was the look on his face that ended my marriage.
The disbelief at the anger, the over-reaction, the bullying behaviour? I don't know. But the look in that young boy's eyes changed my outlook forever. And I thank him for opening my eyes, to my marriage and the direction of my life.


Fast forward ten years.
I live in a funny old rented house. I live with Emily and our dog, Billy, a chocolate Labrador. My younger daughter lives nearby with her partner who is lovely.

We are happy, we love each other, support each other  and life goes on.

Nothing succeeds as planned.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: Life Stage Depression: Conclusion.

As we have seen in the posts entitled ' Mental Health Awareness Week: Life Stage Depression'- some issues are pretty perennial, such as relationship concerns, health worries and money worries.
Trauma can occur at any stage in life and there is no predicting when the stresses of life will suddenly mount up to the point of feeling overwhelming.

We all go through tough times, but it's not just what we go through that determines our ability to cope, but how we deal with the stress- how we still manage to meet our needs as best we can, retain hope, and feel empowered. Once we understand the typical stresses of the cycle, we can prepare ourselves and others to best manage them.And a big part of this lies in having good support from others.

So what can we learn in general?
Well, first and foremost relationships matter. Having warm, good and wide-ranging friendships and relationships helps us all mentally, physically and even financially.

The one and only constant in life is change. The body morphs, circumstances alter, no new second is the same as the last. Resilience means flowing with the changes, not fighting them. Adaptability is perhaps the greatest human asset. And of course, everything passes, including hardships.

In the words of ex-slave and self-created man, George Washington Carver:

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic to the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." 

Mental Health Awareness Week. Life Stage Depression. Part Four.

                                                             Stage Five: Middle Age.

Challenges facing people in their forties and fifties might include:

Awareness of unfilled dreams.

Job insecurity or stress. Work becoming intermittent.

Concerns over children or ageing parents or both.

Family or relationship breakdown or job loss.

Realisation that time is finite.

Health issues or poor physical health.

Try and maintain an optimistic attitude. Eat healthily, sleep well, exercise and socialise.
Remember :
' Forty is the old age of youth and fifty is the youth of old age.'
Not that old age is necessarily a bad thing. In fact some people report to being happier than ever in their senior years.

                                                           Stage Six: Old Age and Retirement.

Challenges facing retirees and the elderly may include:

Unfulfilled needs for status, meaning and purpose.

Loss of sense of belonging to a community.

Lack of self-esteem and self-advancement.

Increased frailty, illness, and waning physical and sometimes mental health, both personal and that of a partner and friends.

Loneliness from friends dying or moving away.

Feelings of isolation due to negative attitudes towards the elderly.

Worry about 'becoming a burden.'

Conflict with a partner from suddenly spending so much time together.

Going from a context that easily meets many emotional needs to one that doesn't can cause a person to ruminate, stress and, unless they find ways to meet those needs outside of the work context, become depressed. Less human contact can be a major problem and keeping connections going may be as vital for health as regular exercise, good food and sleep.













Mental Health Awareness Week: Life Stage Depression. Part Three.

                                                     
                                         Stage Three:    Young Adulthood.

Pressures for young adults include:

Starting a new job (or not)

Settling into a relationship (or not)

Moving away from the family home (or not)

These issues can all pose problems for the young adult. It is important to realise that not  experiencing hoped-for transitions can be just as much of a problem for young adults as the transitions themselves. Romantic and career successes may prove harder to achieve than they had hoped or anticipated.

New responsibilities can also be trying for some young adults. One client of mine told me he was terrified at the prospect of paying bills. A different client told me she was starting to despair that 'time was running out' for her to 'find the one and fall in love.'

A young adult may go through several relationships as they try to find out who they are and who they are compatible with, so relationship issues may present difficulties.

Career choice and advancement and the acquisition of material wealth and 'success'- whatever that means!- may also be a major focus during young adulthood as we start off in the pursuit of 'The American Dream.'

Encourage young adults to keep their friends close, a strong peer group will help them support each other.

Eat a healthy diet. Exercise. Limit time in the virtual world.
Make an effort to have fun.

                                                     Stage Four: Parenthood

Challenges facing new parents include:

The sudden realisation of serious responsibility. Some people will develop  fears they didn't have before, such as a fear of flying, because now they have to be around for the baby.

Perfectionist demands on themselves or even the baby, which clash painfully with reality. They may blame themselves for feeling angry or resentful, sometimes needing reassurance that they are only human.

The physical and emotional stress of a difficult birth, which can lead to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and may precipitate depression.

Difficulty meeting their needs for rest, adult connection and financial security.

Worries or preoccupation with the baby's health.

Strain on relationships brought on by stress or lack of sleep.

Inability to strike the right work/life balance and overworking if parents are working as well as parenting.

OK, so this all sounds a bit bleak. Many  many parents are thrilled by their new arrival of their new-born, but this list is aimed at those who may be struggling.
And it must be mentioned that sometimes the much wanted transition to parenthood does not happen. People who have dreamed of having children find that it is not a possibility for them. This can be extremely distressing and could trigger feelings of being overwhelmed with sadness and could lead to a point of feeling that life is not worthwhile. If this is the case- seek help.

Be kind to yourself, try to be realistic and accept that parenthood is hard work. If you feel that you are struggling in an unacceptable way please see your GP,  Post-natal depression is a treatable condition.





                                                       

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: Life Stage Depression. Part Two.

Mental Health Risk Stage 1: Childhood.
So what are the risky times in childhood?

Potential difficult experiences for a child include:

Going to a new school, starting school for the very first time.

Establishing new friendships.

Moving away from familiar routines.

Being bullied.

Death of a family member or pet.

Divorcing parents.

Arguing parents/ abusive parents.

Too much time spent in a virtual world online so that the real world can start to feel non-negotiable.

Undeveloped relationship skills.

Of course none of these events necessarily produce a depressive episode. And it should be noted that some adversity in a child's life can actually strengthen mental resilience. It is important to support your child, look out for changes in behaviour or mood however subtle. Help your child to have fun, relax,, eat a healthy diet, exercise, read books, be creative.
Teach your child how to explain events to themselves in ways that are not depressing.

Offer unconditional love and support.

                                                       Stage Two. Teenage Years.

The 'teenager' is a relatively new term and it is probable that many young adults have never been particularly comfortable with that 'in-between identity' of being not quite an adult but no longer being a child either. The actual term 'teenager' may actually be an unhelpful label these young people now have to deal with as well as raging hormones and mood swings.
They may also be feeling anxious about forming more adult relationships, struggle with feelings around sexual awakening, pressures to conform or indeed to not conform. Worry about the future, pressures over drugs, rapid physical changes.
Conflicts with parents are common at this time leading to more pressure.
All of these pressures and feelings can be difficult to deal with and on top of all this they are having to study and pass exams as well.

Addictive behaviours such as drug or alcohol consumption, smoking or self-harm may start during the teenage years and could persist as a misguided coping mechanism if not superseded by healthier ways to meet needs.

Treating teenagers as young adults, helping them develop responsibilities and deal with the complexities of life, and actively teaching them emotional skills by re-evaluating explanatory styles, understanding their and other people's primal emotional needs, and even helping them examine their expectations from life, can all be powerful ways of supporting teenagers through difficulty.

@artycelia

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: Life Stage Depression. Part One.

"I beg your pardon,
I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine
There's gotta be a little rain sometime"

-from Rose Garden by Joe South.


Challenges are an inevitable part of life but some common life stages pose greater risks to our mental health than others.We all go through them, they are our rites of passage: birth, the transition from childhood to adulthood, marriage, death
Often it is at times when we face change, such as illness, divorce, retirement that we suddenly find it harder to meet our needs- and it is at those times that we are at risk of becoming depressed.

When pressures and demands prevent people from meeting important needs in their life, they naturally feel stressed. And. in turn, when people reach a point of feeling helpless to meet those needs, they can start to feel trapped. Mulling over unmet needs can stress the brain and eventually produce what we call clinical depression.

Depression is a growing problem in modern life. It can strike at any age, no age group is immune.

Clearly, there are multiple different causes of depression, there is no blanket explanation. But it is not who you are or what happens to you that determines whether you will become depressed or not.

No-one chooses to be depressed.
Some people react to the idea that 'depression is not primarily a biological disease' with a knee-jerk response like, "Are you saying it's people's own fault that they become depressed?" As if it's nothing to do with a person's emotional history and learning. They interpret the idea to mean that depression is somehow a choice a person makes, or a reflection of personal weakness.
But of course, the truth is far more subtle than that. A small proportion of people do perhaps have a genetic predisposition to reacting to life's events with greater stress, and of course, no-one wants to be depressed. Strong, intelligent, good people become depressed. Sometimes life can be overwhelming for anyone. But it's important to remember:
Depression isn't solely an event driven phenomenon.
People can and do have all kinds of terrible things happen to them without becoming depressed, while others seem to become depressed even when outwardly their lives seem to be perfectly fine.So it's not just about what happens to a person so much as what they inwardly do with what happens to them- how they respond and whether they are prone to negative rumination.
Negative rumination or mulling can happen even during periods of stability and calm. While outwardly life may be calm,  inwardly anxiety may be churning. Conversely, a person's life may be outwardly harsh but inwardly they be calm and optimistic.

Resilience can be learned and developed. If someone has been traumatised or spent years listening to someone else interpret life depressingly, then it is not their fault . If life becomes incredibly overwhelming, that is not their fault either.

But there do seem to be times in a person's life, often times of transition, when it becomes harder to meet their emotional needs. This leaves them vulnerable, and potentially more prone to depression. But it's feelings of helplessness and hopelessness about ever meeting those needs again that allow depression to take hold.

If someone has learned depressive attitudes, had traumatic, emotional conditioning or not been exposed to enough reasonable challenge in childhood, these periods in life may pose a greater risk.

Human beings suffer in context. They suffer in the context of their current situation, but also in the context of their emotional history and learning and their innate character traits.
Relationships probably have as much to tell us as other life contexts about why some people depress and others do not.
What's more, attitudes, feelings and ways of responding to life can all be learned from other people, so the more depressed people there are, the easier it is for depression to spread through communities.

Some people learn depressive attitudes from others. Living with a depressed person is. unsurprisingly, a risk factor for becoming depressed.

In Part Two we will look at Life Stages from Childhood to Old Age.

@artycelia

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week; Staying Small.

Growth and change can be uncomfortable so we 'stay small.'

Other people would not understand a 'new you' so you' stay small.'

If you 'stay small' you will continue to fit in, you can keep plodding along.

All pervasive conforming keeps you small and can lock you into a self-image you may not like.

 Humans are pack animals and as such we tend to move with the herd, go with the flow. This can be detrimental to our mental health. Do you feel locked into conformity?  Do you have to dress a certain way to succeed in your job? Is this way of dressing denying your creativity? Are you being moulded into a person you don't really want to be?

Is your relationship in a rut? Are you stuck in a routine? Are you conforming to a relationship stereotype?

Have you found yourself in a job which is actually stifling your core character? Are you in accounts when you would be better suited to the art department?

Are you afraid to change ? Do you wonder whether your friends would be able to accept a new you?

How would your life change if you chose not to 'stay small' but became dynamic, sociable, fun, loud, proud and internally very, very tall?

Let's do some Soulwork.
Soulwork is the process of working on your soul. This is done through the active practice of self-discovery, acceptance and healing.
As Master Lao Tzu once said,
"One who knows others is intelligent. One who knows himself is enlightened."
(Tao Te Ching verse 33)

Exercises:

What does your spirit love? What makes you laugh, excited, happy, exhilarated? Is it painting, dancing, walking, reading, singing,
Decide to OWN what you love. Embrace it. Practice it. Become it.

Writing assignment: With no holds barred and letting your imagination run free write about who you are going to be.
If you could look your best what would you look like? How can you transform your look?
If you could do what you wanted all day what would you do?
If you were  a vibration what would you be? Calm/ quiet/loud/ joyous?
If you could start over and choose new friends who would they be?
If you could change your life what would your new life look like?

The Power of Music.
Music is SO powerful. It has the ability to transform your energy.
Music has the power to transform the vibration of you.
Think of the new, tall you. What music do you like? Is it rock/indie/ soul/ dance/ classical?
Experiment with different music,
Joy, hope, optimism, power and of course harmony can be discovered in the new music you choose.

Change the Routine.
Disrupt your routine.
Drive a different route to work, see new sights.
Change your food shop, change the types of food you eat. Discover new food.
Get out of your comfort zone.

Clear the Decks.
Be ruthless. Go through your house (or where you live) and throw out all that is junk, old magazines, clutter, useless stuff. Tidy and clean.
Create room for new and clean energy to flow in.

Curate a New Image,
The way we look means so much to us and those around us.
Get a new look by thinking about textiles, fabrics, colours.
Think about the energy of spirit in colours, bold reds, thoughtful greys, sombre black, innocent and clean whites, gregarious golds.
What historical fashion era are you/ 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's ....
Research the 'look' you wish to achieve.
You can change the way you look anytime you like,
Dress for you and not what you think you should represent. Are you dressing as a sensible parent when inside you feel like a happy hippy?
Buy new shoes and see how wearing them shifts your energy.
New colours, new bags.
New hair?  New colour. New energy.

Finally.
Love the new you.
Love your new outlook.
When you love yourself , your aura will shift, you will attract more positive energy.
Love your abilities, your mind, your sense of humour, your kindness. Love you.

And.......STAND TALL.

@artycelia

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Black Dog at University.

Update: 8th May 2017.
Five Suicides at The University of Bristol.
University of Bristol.

Most of the headlines on today's newspapers are about yesterday's 'Autumn Statement. I watched that on TV yesterday and listened to the debates.
Scrolling a little way down my news app (The Times and Sunday Times) I am shocked and dismayed to see the news of three suspected suicides at Bristol University, all of which have occurred in this new academic year.
We all read and watch so much news that our 'shock' reaction button has become somewhat muted but I find 'news' like this utterly shocking as well as so desperately sad.
I walk my dog around a beautiful park everyday, there is a particularly lovely old tree that has little flowers planted at its base, the flowers are incongruous to the seasons, obviously picked up in a nursery and planted with hope that they will survive the frosts to which they are unaccustomed. The tree has recently had some of its branches lopped. This is in an attempt to stop people hanging themselves from this, The Suicide Tree.

The deaths of three eighteen year old students fills me with anger as well as grief. Why has this been allowed to happen? Surely the first suicide should have sent shock waves amongst the staff and alerted them that a closer watch on their students was necessary?  Surely there is an action plan that is set in place as soon as such a tragic event occurs, don't ears prick up and eyes open wider when there is a sniff of danger in the air?
It would seem that the answer is no.
What has happened to us as a society when the death of a young person because they were struggling with their mental health is just a statistic and not a story that deserves thorough investigation?
Leaving home and going to uni is a huge step for a young person . As a 'grown-up' I am well accustomed to the excitement of 'newness' wearing off pretty rapidly and 'mundaneness' slipping in almost unnoticed. As a grown-up I can deal with social media, even scathing or patronising remarks from people who should really know better, (Twitter can be evil, esp during political debates) As a grown-up I have developed a thick skin but I have had to grow up in order to acquire it. Young people today, those in the 16-24 year old age group will be the first to have grown up with social media and the benefits and drawbacks it brings. They will also have grown up with the words: depression, anxiety and disorder.
These words have crept into our language with devastating effects. These words allow the ownership of negativity. These words do not encourage the fight against these monsters of doom.
And we need to fight them and we need to teach our young people to fight them.
We need to re-frame words in order to remove their power.
From a very young age I was told never to use the word 'depressed' in vain. I could be 'pissed off' 'fed up'  or'very fed up' and believe me I have been but that early lesson has prevented me from owning depression.
Anxiety is another word that seems to actually induce anxiety.
As does panic and compulsive.
These words don't mean we are ill or that we will never recover they are just words.

We are living in a world that has changed vastly in a short space of time. Who would have envisaged living in a world where it is so much harder to communicate with each other despite there having been a nuclear explosion in communicative development?
It's mad.
And it can be very difficult sometimes to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It can be very hard to struggle through difficult and confusing times in life. It can feel lonely.
But with help and support it is possible to get through such dark times.
'Through' being the operative word.

@artycelia

Celia Turner. SAC Dip. ( Professional Therapeutic Counselling)
celia.turner@hotmail.co.uk



Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mental Health Awareness: Depression.



I remember coming home from school one day when I was about thirteen. As usual I went into the kitchen to talk to my mum. Mum was always quite laid back and calm.
'Mum, I'm depressed' I said

My  mum rounded on me , the ferocity in her voice shook me to my core, this is what she said:

" Don't you dare use that word in this house! Depression is a very serious illness and that is a word you don't ever want to own, don't ever wish such an illness on yourself, that is a dark, lonely, ugly place you never want to visit, it will ruin your life. You can be fed-up, very fed-up, peed off, I don't care but don't ever use the 'D' word with me.'
I had never heard such a tirade from mum before, it was almost surreal.

I have never forgotten that day and indeed I have been 'fed-up' and 'very, very, very fed-up' over the years but mum's words of warning that day have always rushed back into my brain thus keeping depression at bay.

I think it's important that we teach our young people the importance of not 'owning' a feeling. It would have been easy for my mum to take a different, more 'mum like' approach as would probably happen today but I am really glad she reacted like she did.

I have two daughters aged 30 and 27 and they have heard the 'D' word story  many times over the years- such was the impact it had on me.


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Mental Health Awareness. William & Harry.

My parents told me that 'everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing' when they heard of the death of President John F. Kennedy.  


Like a lot of people, I was in bed when I heard the news of the death of Princess Diana. I was so shocked and upset, I remember being glued to the television all day, in a sort of maudlin daze.

I clearly remember the funeral. My family were driving to a wedding. Me, my husband (at the time) and our two young daughters listened to the coverage on the radio. I cried my eyes out all through the journey, but I confess those tears were self-indulgent. I kept thinking of William and Harry and comparing them to my daughters. How would my little girls cope without me? What if that was me? (Horrible, I know but my wrenching tears were as much for me and my 'what if's' as they were for the boys and the Princess and Prince Charles, for whom my grief was also heart-breakingly sad)

I share a July 1st birthday with the late Princess and although I realise a lot of people will dismiss this, we Cancerians are 'the mothers of the zodiac' and are exceptionally loving toward our children, ultra protective, very intuitive , a bit loony but fun and very tactile.

For the boys to have enjoyed this relationship and then to have it severed in such a shocking manner and having to keep a stiff upper lip about it must have been unbearably awful.

They have chosen not only to have shared this personal grief with us but to head a charity in order to support others who are struggling with aspects of their mental health.

I totally applaud them.... and if I could, I would give them both and Kate a huge hug. Well done.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Learning to be Cheerful.


 Can you learn to be cheerful? Is it a realistic goal? Can you choose a path of optimism? What is optimism?

Daniel Goleman states in his book, Emotional Intelligence  (1995) that optimism " means having a strong expectation that, in general, things will turn out all right in life, despite setbacks and frustrations...optimism is an attitude that buffers people against falling into apathy, hopelessness or depression in the face of tough going."

Life is tough. Whether you are a student, a teenager, a young parent, an old parent, employed, unemployed, in love or nursing a broken heart. Life is a road which carries many bumps, it is how we choose to navigate the road which can make the journey enjoyable, miserable, magnificent or dull.

There will always be something with you as you make your journey.

It will go everywhere with you.
It will be on display at all times.
It has no size.
It has no colour.
People will make judgements about you on the basis of it.
Its impact on your life is profound.

What can it be?

It is your attitude.

An optimistic attitude prepares you to anticipate success and to bounce back from set-backs. A positive attitude will enable you to see obstacles as opportunities and to remain motivated in order to achieve your goals. An optimistic outlook will help you make self-fulfilling prophecies work for you rather than against you. If you expect things to turn out well, they are more likely to do so.

Optimism is such a wonderful tool because it gives you the confidence to cope with positive and negative events. It helps you to approach situations with assurance, persistence and an expectation of success. Being optimistic means you have a natural aptitude for happiness. That you can manage your perspective and that you can take an active role in creating the life you want.

A valuable lesson to learn here though is that for some people, an optimistic outlook will simply not work. Some people, believe it or not, are quite happy being miserable. I had a long relationship with such a person, He would use my 'optimistic outlook' as a weapon against me. Obviously the relationship ended. As far as I know he is still quite happy being miserable. But that's life. His glass will be forever half empty. At the end of a tunnel I will see daylight, he will see the headlights of an oncoming train. I will see a silver lining, he will see rain approaching. I'll see the doughnut he will see the hole.

You can keep your glass half full by accentuating the positive aspects of a situation. This doesn't mean you are ignoring or denying the negative aspects it's simply a decision to seek encouragement rather than discouragement.
Another key aspect in keeping your glass half full is to express gratitude for what you have or what you have experienced. People who show their appreciation feel more alert, optimistic, enthusiastic and positive.
Of course it is true that when the going gets tough it will be more difficult to be grateful than when things are going well. However it is a valuable lesson to learn that it is during hard times that we need gratitude the most.

Remember:
"The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.'
Marcus Aurelius
(AD 121-180)



@artycelia


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Google Search: Sunflowers and other Stories.

Having been brought up in the sixties and seventies I do admit to having a bit of a hippy outlook on life but I think this has served me well. I was always encouraged to read and constantly had my nose in a book. Enid Blyton taught me not to be afraid of spiders with her stories of Aaron the spider who was really a prince. I have infuriated my daughters over the years by my insistence that that huge hairy eight legged specimen in the bath was actually a prince trapped in a spider's body. They learned from a very young age how to use a pint glass and a piece of card to let the arachnid out of the window. Same with bees and wasps,' Buzz, buzz, buzz busy bee, busy bee, buzz if you like but don't sting me.' (I made that one up) Walking around the park would have me singing 'There once was an ugly duckling....' although I certainly didn't read that book to my own children over and over again, like my mum did to me ( I still bear a grudge)
As a child I played outside all day long. Imaginary friends would surround me in the woods along with fairies and elves. Trees would have faces to match their personalities, my imagination was that good.
As I grew older I became enchanted by the Greek myths. I still love them to this day. A recent guilty pleasure was discovering the film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief which I love.
So why the picture of sunflowers? Well my hippy childhood taught me to see the stories behind the scenes; a gift that the young today may never learn with boring old Google giving them black and white answers to all of their questions.

Google: Sunflower; (Well, take a look)

Sunflowers : The beautiful sunflower takes her name from Clytie, a water nymph who turns into a sunflower after grieving the loss of her beloved Apollo. The mythological symbolism is that Clytie (in her form as a sunflower) is always facing the sun looking for Apollo's chariot to return that they might rekindle their love.

The sunflower grows tall and moves to face the life giving rays of the sun and is often used as the symbol of spiritual faith and worship.

A vase full of sunflowers brings sunshine to the gloomiest of days.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Yin and Yang. UK and US

Image result


The referendum in Britain which has resulted in 'Brexit,' the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump in America has highlighted in no uncertain terms the yawning gap between the elite and the 'ordinary people.'
In the United Kingdom there was a sense of profound shock at the result of the referendum and let's face it, if David Cameron had had any doubts about the result would he have allowed it to go ahead?Yes, it was in the manifesto but we are used to politicians conveniently forgetting promises.
The shock took a while to wear off, there was a lot of indignant bickering and feisty arguments but the bottom line was that the politicians had misread their electorate. I think it's fair to say that the referendum provided a perfect stage on which to protest and maybe a lot of the 'Leave' campaigners used their vote as a protest against the general scheme of things.

I am still protesting.I am using my protest vote to challenge every last detail of Article 50 which I think will be detrimental to Great Britain. I feel passionately that the vote to leave the EU was absolutely the wrong decision.


The shock we felt at our referendum result pales into insignificance compared to the seismic shock waves which are still shaking the American soil. Donald Trump is the President of the US.


The Hopi people use the word 'koyaanisquatsi' to describe how they feel about the modern world- a term which roughly translates as ' a world out of balance,' a world which overuses rationality at the expense of our intuition. We have lost sight of the greater picture- the mystical ' feminine' wisdom.
Yin and Yang out of balance. Rich versus poor. Strong versus weak.  A gulf between those in power and those in the workplace. An attitude of us and them.

 Since the referendum last June the passionate feelings of the Remainers do not seem to be at all diminished. I based my vote to 'remain' on my intuition and thorough research. I feel strongly that in a world which is truly 'out of balance' a world in which the 'leaders' seem to be economical with the truth it will be ever more important that we exercise our intuition as well as our rational thought processes in order to steer are paths toward a more peaceful and harmonious future.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Follow the Dream.

Image result for alice down the rabbit hole drawings
"I could tell you my adventures- beginning from this morning,' said Alice, a little timidly, ' but it's no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.'
Lewis Carroll.

When Alice disappeared down the rabbit hole, she had one goal in mind, to chase the White Rabbit. While looking for him she was forced to question all of her basic assumptions about reality- and to develop her courage, compassion and humility. She also had a great time.
Her goal wasn't important, it was the journey that mattered. Alice's desire to find the White Rabbit was just an excuse for her adventures in Wonderland.
Everyone needs a White Rabbit. Everyone needs to have dreams which inspire us to reach for the stars, to push through our fears and to explore our potential. When we chase our dreams, we are forever growing and changing, simply because our desire motivates us to keep moving on.
What if Alice had hesitated at the top of the rabbit hole, wondering whether chasing the rabbit was silly or impossible? Or whether there was something more worthy she should be doing? Or whether someone else might be much better at chasing White Rabbits? Whether she was being too unconventional and take up knitting instead? Or whether she should just be satisfied with her life and forget all about the White Rabbit?
If so, Alice would be forgotten by now- and what an adventure she would have missed.
Yet how often do we give ourselves similar excuses for not following our dreams?
We are here to learn, grow and have fun. Life is an adventure in consciousness. By following our hearts we can choose to grow through happiness. There will be many challenges along the way- from Mad Hatters to Mock Turtles- but we can see every event as an opportunity, as part of our adventure.
This doesn't mean that we all have to be wildly adventurous. White Rabbits come in many guises, from setting up a business, to bringing up a child, to committing yourself to a relationship or running a marathon.
All that matters is having the dream and throwing yourself into it. Some people, like Alice, have one White Rabbit which guides much of their life's journey. Others have a whole warren of rabbits leading them down many different holes.
It doesn't matter- all that matters is having a dream.
Think big, think without limits.
And enjoy yourself.

My Polish Friend.

Jay.

I take my dog for a long walk everyday and everyday is a different experience. Today I noticed a lot of Jays flying about. I love Jays.  I am always delighted to see such a magnificent blue flash appearing overhead. But there is another reason that I am always pleased to see a Jay.

About ten years ago I was working in a dental studio. The man who ran the studio fancied himself as a bit of a ladies' man but I wasn't interested in him at all. It was the old man who did the technical work who held me in thrall. His name was Heinz and he was in his early seventies. He was short and round, his cropped hair was grey and he had made his own teeth. He was Polish. We became great friends. We made a very unlikely couple. Me, tall and slim and quite a bit younger than him. I suppose people presumed him to be my dad but he came to mean much more to me than a surrogate parent. He was so kind even though he had lived through terrible times. He described being poverty stricken while growing up in Poland, he told of his escape from his homeland and his tough life in Britain. But he never felt sorry for himself, just grateful for the life he had made. Always the under-dog, he seemed to accept that his dentistry skills would be taken advantage of by people less skilled in technique but more polished in talk than himself.
We went out for lots of meals.  He would dress up for our evenings and always wore his hat. He had impeccable manners. He would stand up in the restaurant until he had seen me settled and then would make a grand gesture of seating himself, placing hat and gloves neatly on the table next to him. The waiter would not be permitted to remove them to the cloakroom. It was these little gestures that I found so charming.
We would chat and laugh for hours, I can't even remember what we talked about but simply feel a rosy glow at the memories.
I did remember one occasion however when he told me about his 'hunting hat' that he had had for years. He used to have a Jay's feather poked in the rim but had lost it.
The day after this particular evening I was out in the park with my dog, (this was Alfie, my previous dog) and lo and behold a Jay's feather fell to the ground. I should have been astonished but I wasn't. It was one of those magical, mysterious things that happen sometimes. Best not to reason why.
I will never forget the look on Heinz' face later that day when I handed him the feather. Years seemed to fall away  and his eyes filled with tears.(So did mine). A magical link between us was cemented with that feather.
On Valentine's Day that year , 2007, my phone rang and it was Heinz. He wished me Happy Valentine's Day  and thanked me for being such a lovely lady and good friend. He said he never expected he would find such happiness so late in his life and that our friendship had made him a very happy old man.

Out of the blue Heinz received a phone call from an old ex-colleague asking him to go and work for him in Sierra Leone. Most old men ( and Heinz was an old man, not sprightly and fit) would not have given this idea a second thought, but not Heinz.
Off he went with his feather in his cap.

I received a letter from him, inside were a few photos of him in Sierra Leone. Smiling at me with his lovely kind eyes. He looked pretty pleased with himself. He returned to the UK to sell his house and  tie up some loose ends.

Then came the phone call. Heinz told me he was gravely ill. He also told me he didn't want to see me. He wanted me to remember him in happy times, looking well.
 Death came and took him swiftly away.
I loved that man. The memories of our funny friendship will stay with me forever.
The Jay is a lovely reminder of our time together.

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Emotional Exit.

Even the word is harsh - Brexit- it sounds tough on the tongue, an ugly word, brutal in pronunciation.
A politically emotional word, one that makes me flinch while others preen.
I think of Paris, the Paris of today as well as the Paris of my past, a visit on a school exchange aged 14, a romantic trip with my first real boyfriend, bomb blasts, carnage, heartbreak, tragedy. But I feel these feelings with a sense of love, a sense of comradeship. I think of Portugal and my first paintings inspired by the colours of the cliffs, the freezing sea, the wobbly restaurant attached to a rock face.Sardines on the beach and yellow houses. The quiet of the afternoon, the clanging of church bells.
I find it hard to believe that we are going to turn our backs on something so wonderful. Our friendship and alliance with Europe has brought us so much: sumptuous food, oozing garlic, red wine drunk in pavement cafes, rich aromatic coffee, gingham tablecloths, hams, croissants, pizza.
And then there is fashion, who remembers the dull high streets of the 1970's, Shoefayre being the highlight of a rainy Saturday afternoon.
When I think of Europe I see colour, bright reds, swirling skirts, lipstick on smiling mouths, The emerald green of a silk scarf caught in the breeze, shiny hair in curls, dancing. Happy waiters, surly waiters, petite waitresses standing to attention, fishermen clinging to steep vertical cliffs, eager for a fat fresh fish to take to market.
To me Europe means art, fashion, food and wine. sunshine and sea. Glamour.

I dearly hope our European neighbours will continue to open their doors and their hearts to us brutal Brits who have rudely dismissed the hospitality offered by our cousins abroad.


@artycelia



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Isle of May.

Headline: March 29th 2019.  The Isle of May.

Despite two years of tough negotiation the nation finds itself broken, hungry, skint and scared.

The cost of our dairy and meat products have surged, the price of an average carrot is now 90p.  There has been no asparagus in the shops at all. An iceberg lettuce is a relic from 2016, never to adorn a prawn cocktail ever again. Prawns are as rare as hen's teeth anyway so maybe that's not too much of a problem.
Our cattle have suffered a catastrophe as there are no vets to inoculate them or treat them when ill. 
The fruit available is well and truly manky as the pickers went home leaving the scrumpers to raid the fruit bowl of the land.

A cheap flight to Portugal now costs an average of £999 return but no-one is going on holiday as there is no healthcare provision should they fall ill. (And the foreigners hate us)

Everyone knows someone who has had their personal data hacked- the tech industry is in technical meltdown.

Canary Wharf stands eerily silent as the bankers have fled tatty London Town.

Northern Ireland seems to be doing well though, about time that lot had a break. Black market goods are freely flowing across the soft border and they have a surplus of spuds!

The deficit which has always been huge is now humongous as Davis got bored negotiating and gave out a £50 billion bung.

There have been near riots at the school gates as parents refuse to kit their kids out in the required school uniform which has soared in price since the days of cheap imported clothes. Long gone are the days of a uniform to last a term- we are back to the days of trousers and skirts 'that will last.'

The joy of going out to dinner has gone completely, well unless a curry or a Chinese is your thing, then you are laughing.

German beer and French wine are off the shelves, priced completely out of reach but never mind. 

Cheers anyway- you got what you wanted.

Monday, 27 March 2017

In Reply To: 'Brussels chiefs ready for nasty split.' The Times. March 25 2017





I can't believe we have got ourselves into this mess. I know 'feelings' upset a lot of people on these forums which is quite ironic but blimey , why are we doing this? 

To extricate ourselves is going to be painful, expensive, chaotic and probably futile. It is like dissembling a jigsaw, scattering the pieces all over the floor of a huge warehouse and then scrambling about trying to put the pieces together again to create a pretty picture.

We are where we are in the world. A dangerous world that none of us expected to be in, whatever our age.

We are a member of the European Union, a union (as we have sadly seen) that stands together in the face of adversity. A union that brings us together, teaches our children to share, to enjoy the foibles that being a little bit different but mainly the same bring. To share culture, history and solidarity. To move forward together knowing that someone has your back.

Our leaving is going to be expensive and nasty and a long time coming. Meanwhile, the standard of living we enjoy at present will soon be a thing of the past.

I know I will be moaned at and criticised but I am beyond caring. I feel in my bones that the decision to leave the EU is wrong and I feel really sad and bad about it.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

In Reply To " Remainer Spree Leaves Economists Baffled." The Times: March 17th 2017.




It's interesting and amusing how the referendum has introduced a new form of stereotyping.
Remain voters are portrayed as young to early middle-aged, quite well off and supremely intelligent, probably slim, fit and good looking . Those who voted to leave are portrayed as being as old as Methuselah, a bit on the poor side, lacking in intelligence /decidedly thick, probably a bit tubby, unfit and frankly, ugly. 

But here in Great Britain (soon to be re-named The Isle of May) we are a diverse community, no size fits all.

I voted to remain. I am in my late forties (so I tell myself) not well off at all, quite clever in some areas but quite thick in others, slim, fit and good looking. 

I did have a bit of a spend up this week but not on a new car like a few other posters here today but on a new pair of jeans from Primark.

I think it is reasonable to forecast some very tough times ahead and after reading the interview with David Davis in the Independent earlier this week I don't think it unreasonable to describe a new stereotype: Scarily clueless politicians who are determined to walk the citizens of Great Britain over the White Cliffs and deep down into the beautiful briny sea.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds.

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds
Oil on paper by Celia Turner.

Autumn.... Winter and now Spring.

The trees flush red and drop their leaves, the flowers wither and the crops stop growing.
Persephone has travelled to the Underworld and Demeter roams the earth missing her daughter.
But Spring will come again and Persephone will return to her mother.
The grasses will become green, the flowers will bloom, the trees will sport blossom, then leaves and then fruit.
Demeter and Persephone will walk hand in hand, talking and singing and laughing and the evening primroses will open just to see them passing by.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

In Praise of Red Lippy

Oil on card by Celia Turner.

My beloved grandma always wore red lipstick, she would not leave the house without a full face of make-up crowned by her lush red lips. It must be in my genes because as long as I've been wearing lipstick ( which is a long time) it's been red. At the moment it's Alarm by Rimmel to walk the dog around the park and Gabrielle by Chanel for special occasions. Chanel lipsticks are an extra special treat as they come in lovely little boxes tucked into  lovely little Chanel bags. A beautiful present to yourself.

Although this doesn't apply to me, red lips have been seen for centuries as a stamp of immorality. In more God- fearing
medieval times, it was believed that creating a plump sexualised mouth would take you on a one way ticket to the devil's doorway. Several hundred years later, Parliament passed a law condemning lipstick, considering it a sign of witchcraft. Good job I wasn't alive in those times, yet another reason to pop me on the ducking stool.

Confusingly there have also been long stretches in history that were entirely pro-red lippy. The Sumerians invented the stuff, just 200 miles outside of Babylon. Egyptian women liked to deepen their lip colour, in fact they were so embraced with beautifying that they were buried with pots of rouge. Queen Elizabeth 1 was famous for her strong red lips, making them regal not sleazy.
And then to Hollywood, with its Technicolor films and beautiful studio portraits;  red lipstick proclaimed GLAMOUR. Think Jean Harlow's pointy pout in the 1930's, Veronica Lake's in the 1940's and of course the purring pouty pout of pouts, the one and only Marilyn Monroe in the 1950's.
These were women with overtly feminine power. They loved being women, they knew their allure, they celebrated their feminine strength.
Even the act of applying red lipstick is empowering. By dressing your lips in red, it draws attention to you, especially your mouth and subsequently the words that come out of it. Red lippy is a symbol of prowess. Unlike other cosmetics that correct or camouflage something we aren't keen on, red lipstick is about assertion. Red lippy is a statement.

Red lippy is a beautiful case of chicken and egg. It may require confidence to wear but confidence can actually result from the wearing of it - and no-one needs to know which came first.
Go on, treat yourself.
You are definitely worth it.

Monday, 13 March 2017

When No News is Good News.

The Tooth Fairy. Oil on canvas.  Celia Turner.

A little while ago I found myself sitting in the dentist's waiting room. I don't mind visiting the dentist, in fact I actually quite enjoy it, so different is the experience compared to when I was a child. Back then it was such a gruesome affair, brutal even, compared to modern day dentistry   I remember the waiting room of yesteryear, very uncomfortable rickety chairs, peeling paint and pictures of gnarled old trees adorned the walls. My brothers and I would make up stories about those trees, anything to keep our minds from Mr Paddyachy, he of the white coat and cruel intentions.

In the surgery of modern times there are no pictures or peeling paint. On the wall is a flat screen television. Sky News is on all the time. We, the patients, are treated to scenes of utter devastation, tiny babies being pulled from the aftermath of an earthquake, dusty faces and bewildered eyes stare at us from the ruins. We see a shot of a bedroom hanging from the side of a building, the bed has a red bedspread. Old women, bent over, wander amid the debris, headscarves askew, crinkly eyes crying. The scene is eerily silent. It is also silent in the waiting room.
Next on the screen is a big man shouting and pointing at an audience. He waves his arms about, he has weird hair and for some reason seems a bit threatening.
Next up are tanks and soldiers, BOOM and BANG and bodies under blankets.

Then, just like that, we are given the latest sports report. This has always confused me. Why IS sport so important? Why is it on the News? It seems distasteful to end a distressing news report with a downcast description of a lost football match.

The children in the waiting room look uncomfortable but there is nothing for them to do except watch the television.

Figures from the NSPCC's  Childline Service show the number of children and young people looking for help with anxiety has jumped sharply, the report states that there were 11,706 counselling sessions where anxiety was mentioned in 2015-2016,This is an increase of more than a third (35%) on the previous year. The report also states that the problem seems to be getting worse, with provisional figures showing that from April to September the service dealt with an average of more than 1000 cases of anxiety a month. Children as young as eight have called the service to discuss their fears, with girls seven times more likely to contact Childline than boys.
Childline president, Esther Rantzen said children and young people are sometimes upset by world events, " Seeing pictures of crying and bewildered toddlers being pulled from bomb damaged homes upsets all of us," she said. "Often we fail to notice the impact the stories are having on young people."

I can absolutely relate to this; I can remember seeing footage from the Vietnam war when I was a very young child and being really, really upset by it.  'The News' was then deemed to be a 'grown-up' programme and I never dared to break the serious silence my parents kept up when watching it.Therefore I didn't ask what was going on, I simply remained haunted by the terrible pictures I had seen.

We now have 24 hour news channels, often the news is just there,as background noise but it is important that we realise that all this 'news' can be overwhelming and frightening to children. We must try to educate and reassure our young people and to take care that they are not overly exposed to violent and dramatic scenes on an everyday basis and to keep 'news' in context. After all 'The News' rarely exposes its audience to 'good news.'

On my next visit to the dentist I took the painting pictured above, I told him it was a gift for the young people to look at while waiting for their appointments. He told me they have the news to watch and I replied that the news was often too grim for such a young audience. He said it was real life.
If I was a child again I think I'd rather look at a pretty painting than at a screen full of crumpled buildings and sad looking grandparents wandering around in a daze.
Real life can wait.

We'll see if he puts the painting on display. I hope he does.


@artycelia



Friday, 10 March 2017

Two Days in March

I take my dog, Billy, out for a long walk everyday and nearly every day there is an incident of some kind. Friday's incident was very unpleasant. I was happily striding along with Billy who was on his lead when a Jack Russell ran up to Billy and started to viciously snap at his face. The Jack Russell was circling Billy and launching his attack. The owner came into view and I told him to get his dog away. The man laughed at me and said, "What do expect, he's a Jack Russell." I replied that I didn't care what he was, he was being aggressive and was out of control.  I told the man to get his dog back on a lead. The dog had no collar and the man had no lead. He didn't even attempt to call his dog off Billy. I told the man I would kick his dog away if he refused to do anything. At this the man took umbrage. He raised his hands in the air and said aloud, "You are going to kick my dog, YOU are going to kick my dog.' The horrible little mutt was still yapping and biting at Billy. I was getting very annoyed and didn't really see why I shouldn't kick his dog away. The man walked on ahead and I held Billy still until finally the Jack Russell ran away. The man then turned around and attempted to take a photograph of me which he promised to put on Facebook to, in his words, 'shame me' for threatening to kick his dog.
In the distance I saw a Jack Russell circling a little Cockapoo and heard the shrill scream of a frightened child.
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I am queuing up at the checkout in Asda on a very busy Saturday afternoon. The supermarket is really busy with people doing their weekly shopping. There is a corridor of sorts which leads out of the shop, it is a really busy thoroughfare with people bustling hither and thither. A very tall black lady glides along with a square cardboard box balanced perfectly on her head. She draws glances of astonishment from all and sundry. The lady working on the checkout raises her eyebrows and mutters something disparaging under her breath. Other people shake their heads and laugh. The black lady does not move her head at all, the cardboard box and its contents remain perfectly still. No  'Bags for Life' necessary.
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I bought my dad some cockles in Marks and Spencer. I had bought some for myself the week before and they were delicious but more than that, they transported me back in time.
On tasting the salty sea flavour of the little molluscs I was immediately reminded of trips to Greatstone Beach as a very young child. My mum and dad and brothers would journey to the beach on cold Sundays with our tin buckets to collect cockles and winkles from the windswept wet shore. I remember being so small that as I crouched down the sand and seawater would ooze into the top of my wellington boots. I also remember my hair smelling of the sea for days after our trips.
We would take our booty home and mum would boil up huge (they probably were normal size) saucepans of water and we would tip in the cockles and winkles. The kitchen would be steamy with the smell of hot sea.
We would then pick the 'beauty spots' out of the winkles with a pin and stick them on our faces. We would all huddle around the formica table and eat our spoils with some bread and butter.
The yellow lino floor would be dotted with beauty spots for days afterwards.

Dad was delighted with his little pot of cockles from Marks and Spencer but remarked that they weren't quite as tasty as the 'real thing.'