Saturday, 24 October 2009

Who Do You Think You Are? Part Two

Exercise 3 - My First Thoughts on my Achievements

  • I was the best tree climber in my year at school. I was bigger than a lot of the other kids and although I wasn't quick, I was strong. I loved climbing trees. Up there I could escape. I knew the best trees in the school grounds. Some trees I could get so high up, I could see over the woods. I would sit up there and just enjoy.
  • I won the junior reading cup. This involved reading a selected passage and the one who read it the best, won. I still love reading stories. I loved this part of being in school most. I could hold a class in the palm of my hand with a book. My last school felt I spent too long reading stories, that I should rush through them and onto the next thing. My Mum and I used to read to each other. She would buy a book and come snuggle in bed with me each night. We did this long after most parents would have stopped because we both enjoyed it. I remember when we were younger my Mum used to make up stories too, the hippo that lived in the drain by the bus stop and lived on the rose hips from the bush in the field behind.
  • Gym. Being a larger kid, it took a little longer for me to gain control of my body, but I did, eventually. We used to have to do gym and make up routines on a theme. The very last term we did gym, my group did a fantastic routine. Our teacher considered it perfect and we nearly got to go in the school's honours book but one of the girls couldn't do the final head turn right, she kept forgetting. I had made the most progress of all of us and I won the Progress in Gymnastics cup. I loved that I had finally gained control.
  • Riding. I decided at about the age of 7 or 8 that I wanted to ride. My Mum is terrified of horses but let me go to the stables at the end of our road anyway. I loved it. I still do when i get a chance. I love the whole feeling of it. The speed. The horses themselves. Getting out and about. Learning to do things well. I was a good rider for my age but I stopped. The stables shut and it was harder to get anywhere to ride. I went back to riding a few years ago and I loved it, cantering across the top of a hill on a windy day, figuring out how to tell that beautiful horse to step sideways.
  • One of our PE teachers gave us the opportunity to learn to kayak in the schools pool. I was the only one from my year that did it and found my self with a group of younger girls. I loved it. I loved that the power in my body gave me the ability to move swiftly. One time I was ill and missed a session introducing new strokes allowing finer movements. The next week the teacher set up a course for us to get through. I had a go without the new strokes and I did it, very slowly and carefully and thoughtfully. I went on a camp in Scotland and went for day kayaking on a loch. Suddenly having space, I was able to develop a paddling rhythm that I never could in the small pool. I loved exploring. More recently I did a kayaking course on the River Fal. The Fal is part of a flooded river valley and the sea causes it to be tidal as far as Truro. It is very beautiful and there are many little tree lined creeks. We got to explore some of these. I never got to buy a kayak but F and I have been looking at some with speculation more recently, the sit on ones for playing in the surf.
  • I went to Malta with my family and one day we went on a days boat trip. For lunch the boat stopped in a cove and we were able to swim and explore. I spent quite a bit of dive diving of the side of the boat. It was a long way down. I had never been able to persuade myself to dive off the high diving boards in a pool but here I was with no one watching, diving from just as high. My Mum tried to persuade me to jump but I soon discovered that that hurt and diving was far, far safer.
  • On the same holiday I went scuba diving for the first time. I loved the feeling of freedom of movement. I loved the quiet. I went several times. Didnt see much. A sea slug I think was about it. The last time though was through a little wreck. I always wanted to do more and I did eventually. Unfortunately I discovered my ears are a real weakness. I had always been prone to ear infections and this was still an issue, even if I had no idea I had one. One day I went diving and discovered in the worst possible way that I had one. I burst my ear drum. Diving isn't a risk I am willing to take any more. I had a hole for nearly a year, I couldn't swim and had to be so careful washing my hear. And the pain! It is a regret because I truly loved it.
  • As a child I remember being on a beach and picking up handfuls of sand. I was most surprised to find I had picked up a tiny flat fish. I am not sure my folks understood why I spent the rest of our time there intently picking up sand. I had a similar encounter with a bat. My parents were bell ringers and I spent a lot of time fiddling with things I shouldn't. One day I picked up some mould from the bottom of a vase and it untucked its head and looked at me before flying off. I have also had fantastic encounters with a seal and a badger. In primary school I was a loner and spent a lot of time catching crickets with my hands. I also used to catch birds as they would sometimes fly into my parents bedroom or our conservatory. Then there were my encounters with an Adder and a Slow Worm. i never did anything nasty to any of these animals, i was just fascinated by them, they were special moments of curiousity.
  • I remember spending time building things as a child. Extravagant constructions of paper, card and toilet rolls. I remember spending a lot of time making a model of a playground out of matchsticks for guides. I could become very absorbed in my projects and spend a long time happily alone doing them. Knowing my Mum was elsewhere but nearby should i need her.
  • I remember loving David Bellamy. From an early age I was fascinated by him and the things he spoke of. I love bogs and mud probably because of him. I was one of his books before I could even read and I still have it, well thumbed and adored.
  • Carrying on with bogs. I love bogs, mires, swamps, reed banks and fens. I adore them. One branch of my family originates from the fens. Maybe love of bogs is in my genes. I love willow carr, a type of habitat found hereabouts. Low willow trees growing out of shallow mud and water. Lovely woodland bogs. Green and verdant and wild. I feel a connection to them. For me they are sacred places.
  • While on my teacher training, I learnt how to make animations. I really loved this. Only simple things. As a group we had to do a cross curricular animation in English. I suggested RE, because it is full of stories and we did Moses parting the dead sea. It was so simple but so effective. I also did another animation of some blobs of playdough shaped into worms wriggling around each other. Simple but fun.
  • I find beading satisfying. I particularly love using beads to form 3D shapes. Changing sides of beads to make a simple stitched piece curl into a spiral. Making hexagons, squares, triangles. I loved the way combining two stitches created the eggbox bracelet i made recently. I love freeform pieces. Funky shapes.
  • Actually my love of geometry goes deeper. I always loved it. I liked geometrical constructions in Maths. Not surprisingly I loved CAD. The planning of breaking an object down into shapes so you can logically form it on the screen. Some of our tests in my City and guilds required a good geometrical understanding. I think the most satisfying test was to draw a lightbulb. We were not given enough dimensions to make it simple, drawing it correctly was quite a lovely little geometrical puzzle.
  • When I first went to Uni in the city I did a Tai Chi course. I loved it. She didn't just teach us Tai Chi but other forms of meditation as well. I remember losing myself in a lovely walking meditation one time. In the short course we didn't get very far throught the forms and I got glandular fever and wasn't able to do it the following term. My most powerful memory of it though, was one of the last sessions. I connected with something inside myself. I guess those forms blasted me open. I left class feeling like I could touch and feel everything. I was so sensitive. It was such a high and so beautiful. Maybe I connected with some past life stuff, there have been many hints I have a far eastern connection. Maybe I was a master of Tai Chi and practiced it every morning with the rising sun in more than one life. Maybe I opened up to much and it in some way caused my illness because I didn't have the training to deal with it. I don't know. Do you?
  • My parents garden always made me happy. Not just because of all the trees to climb. My folks have some currant bushes and even though i would never touch the currants (I was very pernickety bout fruit and veg as a kid) i loved picking them. I would go and take a stool and the big orange bowl and sit in the sun. My Mum hated doing it but loves making jam and things so this suited us both fine. Dogs would litter the grass, basking in the sun and when they got too hot they would move under the shade of the apple trees.
  • I love watching the environment. My folks had a veg patch but it wasn't really there thing and it got left. Because it wasn't mowed, all sorts grew on it. Now nearly thirty years on, it's nickname is the copse. Full of low trees such as buckthorn and hawthorn. There is however a very special tree that I have watched grow and feel a special connection to. A grand oak. In the roots of this oak sit the dreams I held when i moved here and they came true. I always sneak off and give it a hug when I go home.
  • During my teacher training we had to spend a morning making a papier mache mask. We wers upposed to do it in pairs. I was so excited about it and wanted my own just made by me. So I did (not sure what the teacher thought). I had to shift my tail to get it done but i did. I had an image in my head. The teacher felt we should make big oversized and exagerated masks. Mine isn't like that. she was the most delicate in the class. Elegantly shaped cheek bones, forehead and chin. A dainty nose. Covered in little squarish pieces of tissue paper in blues with glitter sprinkled over. She is a sea sprite, an elemental of the water.
  • Once upon a time I was on an engineering taster course. We had to make a crane as part of a team. It had to be able to move loads along and up and down. Ours was a truly elegant design and I loved it. We won a little prize.
  • I love stationary and paper. My Dad was a printer before he retired. I would raid his sack of paper offcuts for nice coloured strips of paper. His stationary cupboards and catalogues were fair game. Every visit to the factory and i would be there, nose in cupboard. I love pens and pencils. I love the smell of hot ink on paper. I have lots of pens and pencils and papers now. I love the tools of craftiness. I like power tools as well. I like my drill. I liked cutting flooring with a jigsaw and laying it. I liked soldering when I did electronics.

You know what, writing these things has bought a smile to my face. It surprises me a little that I havn't written abou my first class honours degree and gold medal. My music exams and prizes. Other competitions and prizes for a wide variety of things. I guess these things are achievements in most peoples book but they are not the ones that made me happiest, in fact I am not sure they made me happy at all, they felt pretty empty.

I did this exercise before and it is strange how different the two lists are. This one makes me smile. The other is full of things I felt should be on it. There are also so many things I have forgotten... The time I climbed down to an isolated cove for a skinny dip. The set of runes I made from clay i dug up and baked in the oven.

1 comment:

  1. You are a truly gifted and beautiful woman. Thank you for sharing your essence. So many wonderful experiences!