For my daughter

If hugs were leaves, I’d give you a forest!
If love was a planet, I’d give you the universe.
If friendship was life, I’d give you mine.

Whatever you need, if I have it, it’s yours
When you speak to me, it remains in my vault

Published in The Lark


I am getting frail…

I feel myself gettng worse in health, respiratory failure, and the neurological symptoms. Today felt like autumn so I felt a sadness. I hope autumn is mild so my breathing stays good. Last winter was too cold and too long. So many chest infections.

I loved this warm September, Gardening, friends, two prize-winning articles, and my faith in God, gratitude, and finding joy in everyday things. I love my life.

To the woman who tried to fake an email from my former husband, a good try but he uses his second initial, so that was deleted immediately. Also, we have never once emailed each other. Nevermind. I know you keep trying.


Aine MacOadha, Poet, died the day before yesterday. The poetry world has lost a gentle soul with fire in her. She touched my life with generosity and compassion.

Here is my interview with her.


A tough week…

My resignation from SWAST has been the gossip and prying of my town on Facebook. I wish I had altered my profile settings when I took a step back on my humanitarian work. What empty minds people have.

I am so fed up with people who argue the toss when they are wrong. And don’t bother to check facts. They are destined to crash and burn. And wreck lives. So to the gardener who was verbally aggressive to me about what I know as fact, here is my email to you referencing the Consumer Act 2015 Section 3.3


Services must be performed with “reasonable care and skill”[16] and also “within a reasonable time”.[17]

The Act also ensures that any statement a trader makes when a consumer is either deciding to enter into the contract or making a decision about the service after entering into the contract is now a binding contractual term. Previously such terms may only have given rise to an action in the tort of misrepresentation but now a claim may be brought for breach of contract.[18] This means that a claimant’s case will generally be easier to prove and expectation damages may be awarded rather than compensation based on the principle of restitutio ad integrum.[19]On top of the usual remedies consumers now also have the right to repeat performance[20] and price reduction.[21]
Civil Law on overhanging plant growth

Establishing Ownership of Trees

The tree belongs to the person upon whose land it has originally grown. Even if its branches or, worse still, its roots have begun to grow over or into a neighbour’s territory, it belongs to the landowner where the tree was originally planted. Even if the tree bears fruit or flowers on branches which overhang into your land, it’s an offence under the Theft Act 1968 to keep them or to take cuttings of flowers, for example.

Obviously, many neighbours will not tend to worry about that too much but should a neighbour, for example, see you collecting apples from their tree even though the branches have grown onto your side, they are legally entitled to ask you to return them.

Overhanging Branches

If the branches of a neighbour’s tree start to grow over to your side, you can cut them back to the boundary point between you and your neighbour’s property, as long as the tree is not under a tree preservation order. If it is, you’ll need to seek further clarification. However, the branches and any fruit on them which you may have cut down on your side still belong to the tree owner so they can ask you to return them.

I was so upset I could not get home alone. I cannot abide conflict and you refuse to deal with your anger. You need to because you have a child now and she heard your anger, That’s bad parenting.

I decided to visit as I had not heard from my real friend. Your back door was open. I needed to go into the park, needing healing from a mean editor.

I left your parent’s home very upset. I did not get home on my own.


Thank you, Pete

Peter, how do I begin to thank you? You make my whole life manageable. I advertised for a cleaner at a certain fee. When I pottered with small jobs in my garden while you did some heavy work, we chatted. You finished twenty minutes early so I made us some tea.

You told me you wanted to be my cleaner. I replied that I could not afford your fee each week, but you persisted as taking my stated price meant you always had a guaranteed two-hour job. I was amazed as you said it would be mutually beneficial, as I had recommended you to others since you fitted a mirror and shelf in my bathroom.

You don’t just clean, you change my bedlinen, you set up the coffee maker, you open the deliveries of my protein drinks. You move anything heavy. You have grown fond of me.

I love going into the bathroom after you leave. The scent of my earth-friendly cleansing wafts towards me. The sparkle, even though I’m not messy.

You do small things unasked; changing the kitchen towel that hangs on the stove. You replenish the basket of toilet tissue, even though I then take away the organized look so it appears more luxurious.

You put together my garden swing seat. You didn’t mind that I finished painting the gates myself. Someone you asked why there were drip marks outside on the brickwork. My daughter did some painting but has no idea of how it’s done. I was horrified at her workmanship, but so touched by her desire to help. You understood.

My workspace is put back after you clean more or less unmolested. You realized what I need besides my laptop, and now you replace my clutter as it was.

When you go your time, you refuse extra pay so I make sure once you have accrued half an hour that I “tip” you. Most weeks I text you at some point to tell you that I appreciate you because you have customers who are so demanding and want decking or a summerhouse built in a day, not thinking you already have two months of work booked. I always ask if you would like or want a drink. You are wise about hydration.

You were alarmed when my inhalers were not in their usual place. I reassured you because now they stay permanently in the bag I take around with me together with my cell phone because now I forget them.

My gratitude is inexpressible. My admiration is unquenchable. And when we laugh together, my heart sings.

I write what inspires me. I’m quirky. Recovered from severe trauma. Loves God. Traveller, poet.Please support me at


Kris Bedenian on Gratitude

Guest blog

Our Mindset Is Everything

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

– Eckhart Tolle

I can’t help but wonder if my mindset was the cause of my breast cancer. Since nobody can tell us the exact cause of cancer; why it invades one person and not another, it makes me wonder.

Can we manifest illness by the way we think and process life? I’m not saying I took my health for granted but did I genuinely express my gratitude while running myself ragged at times?

Perhaps, I pushed myself way too much. I don’t stay in my pajamas often, but today is different. I decided to take a much-needed personal health day.

Could this instantly gratifying world be exhausting us? Do you allow enough downtime in your life? How about getting off the treadmill of life for a day?

A personal health day might be the thing to refuel you. A day for myself includes healthy food with possibly some chocolate, writing, reading, and napping. It also provides time for self-reflection as it’s imperative to our overall health.

What might be on your list of things to do on a personal health day? Our individual needs vary when it comes to precisely what we might do with our time. Deciding when to take one is a life skill. A break can help our perceptions, which shape a person’s beliefs and decision-making abilities.

I’m hoping to promote a mindset that is well-rested, encouraging an abundantly filled life.

The amazing attitude

There aren’t two people with the same attitude about life. So, whether you have a positive or negative mindset, can we all make room for improvement? Are you positive most days, but certain things knock you down? For some, it might come more straightforward to be grateful. However, these changes are entirely doable for all of us.

  • Do you acknowledge the importance of expressing gratitude while experiencing it daily?
  • Do you enjoy and recognize the small pleasures in life?
  • Do you feel a sense of abundance in your life? Remember, it’s not all about money.
  • Do you contribute to the well-being of others?
  • Do you appreciate the people in your life?

Gratitude begins in your mind and manifests into the physical realms of your life. Let’s sharpen some skills to create some great habits; that will lead you to those beautiful results — that we all go in search of.

The amazing skills

Just like a resume lists your attributes and skills, I want to include these as well. These can help turn your mindset into a goldmine. Please acknowledge the ones you already have and know that we all have room for improvement. Which ones are your strengths? How about weaknesses?

  • Able to see the world with tons of possibilities for opportunities.
  • Being able to use your freedom to grow without holding yourself back by limitations.
  • Despite your circumstances, always being able to be grateful is important.
  • You are using your circumstances to create something more significant in the future to serve your life purpose.
  • The ability to create meaningful life experiences that will be cherished by others.
  • Promote creativity within yourself and others, while being an inspiration and encourager.

Although these skills will take time to cultivate; they aren’t impossible with some practice. Being patient with yourself while creating some amazing habits is essential.

The amazing habits

Are you looking for more joy and happiness in your life? We all find ourselves in ruts on occasion; could it be the habit of gratitude lacking in those times in our lives? Here are some excellent practices to embrace.

  • Pray and say thank you often.
  • Start a gratitude journal. Make a list of everything you have in your life. Reread the list while genuinely feeling grateful. Say thank you.
  • Start being consistent with moving and using your mind. Physical and mental exercises can leave you in a mental state of well-being. Therefore, bringing more wellness your way.
  • It helps to practice kindness to yourself and others. Think about the things you do for others; how about doing those things for yourself?
  • However, selfless service without expecting anything in return is truly rewarding.

The amazing results

Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked resources that we could be using daily. It’s free with so many benefits. It doesn’t take very long to do, so what holds us back?

Perhaps focusing on the payoffs will be motivating enough to get started.

  • Gratitude can improve your physical and mental health.
  • Gratitude can improve your relationships and even opens new ones.
  • Gratitude fills you with more love and empathy while pushing out hatefulness and anger.
  • Gratitude can increase your confidence and self-love in the perfect dose.
  • Gratitude may even help you sleep better. Who couldn’t use that?

When you are feeling down or stressed, could it be your gratitude needs strengthening?

Sweet dreams

Perhaps it’s time for a pajama day. While you’re lying there, start counting your blessings on the sheep passing by. One by one until you fall fast asleep. Let your subconscious mind multiply your blessings upon awakening with a well-rested abundant mindset.

Gratitude promotes a positive attitude, so if you are experiencing mental or physical burnout, perhaps the proper rest is a priority. Do you need a day for yourself?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’m writing this as a thank you note for personal health days whenever necessary.

I’m also thankful for Trista Signe Ainsworth, for she is a big influencer of a day for yourself. In addition, her publication, Thank You Notes, promotes a heart of gratitude daily.

I’m a writer, who has journaled for 23 years. My recent battle with breast cancer has given me a new perspective on life. Writing is a way for me to give back.

Published in Thank You Notes

I was delighted to discover Kris Bedenian, and when I saw this well crafted and eloquent article, I was compelled to request her guest blog.


My phone almost broke…

The weekend was hot and the air quality seemed poor. The sea breeze was cooling though.

So after my laptop screen broke on Friday, I had to download WordPress app to my phone. I had not bargained on how much it would drain my battery. And then the charger failed, but I had not realised. Not until I did not hear the sound made at connecting to the charging port. Thankfully, I managed to get to Dave’s phone shop early. I got a new charger.

It seems I have horrible neighbours after all. I at first thought i had an upgrade. The horrible truth is that they are straight out of a soap opera. Foul language, raucous laughter, and talking very loudly in the garden all the time. Last night they were abusive and foul mouthed toward me. Apparently the woman got wet once when i watered the garden. I try very hard to not let the hose put water through the fence. I point it skyward so that my hanging baskets get the water falling down like rain.

So she still sits in the same spot and expects a different result. They know that I water my garden each evening. At roughly the same time. There’s some intelligence missing there.


I got though the night…

Self Heal in my garden

Yesterday was a difficult day for breathing. Late, I dealt with my mail. There had been some packages that I had not managed to open in my to and fro between the garden, the house and going out. The need to be nebulized niggled. I went upstairs to cool my neck, face, tummy, and feet and laid on my bed with the ceiling fan on for ten minutes or so. Then I turned it off and went to sleep.

I have wakened feeling ok. I was at the Bridge of Varolius and remembered who I thought the woman in Dave’s shop is or reminded me of. The teaching assistant at my daughter’s first school. I found myself drifting to sleep to sleep when I heard my name. I got up and showered and let Geoff know I’m alive by asking if he’d be cycling today. He will be course fishing. I know what I’d rather do. Cycling any fine day. I used to run the 100m at school. I ran for pure pleasure and the thrill of physical movement like a horse at gallop.

I am grateful that I have travelled so much as a child with my family, and then with friends. Then with the NGO and later getting my degree and doctorate at USC. My accent got me invited on some great road trips, an epic was driving to Phoenix for three days, then Flagstaff oh the complete difference! And then to a remote cabin in woods near the Grand Canyon before finally heading back to L.A.

The Highway 1 is my favourite drive in Southern California. And having discovered Los Olivos, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and other gems on route to Big Sur, Monterey and more before San Francisco waa awesome. I can skip San Francisco. The others are greater memories.

Then I travelled with my boyfriend before we married and then as married in France and Switzerland by train air and car. The drive to St Mandrier was challenging and I did not do my fair share. But being told “We need Lyons but not this Lyons”, and being directed against my better judgment in to what led to a stadium did not get my wrath. After driving around Brussels as the navigator and French speaker for five hours only to find the address was a tiny allee, so no wonder no one had heard of it gave me no mud to mud to sling. That night was 9/11. After stopping so we and our child could use the cafe, we heard it on the radio. Next morning in St Mandrier I bought Paris Match and read about the 3 planes. The calls of goodbye I love you .


It Makes Sense Now

The horrid rude and sarcastic man on Nextdoor known as Anthony Hunt, who I could not find on Facebook, is a Tony Hunt who has perpetually mocked me and ridiculed my attempts to advocate for paramedics getting through traffic. He got Barbara kicked off Nextdoor as a fake account because as the survivor of domestic abuse, she has no ID to to prove who she is. That poor woman. She was distraught as her nephew pays her mobile phone bill from a town in the next county. Some people have such aimless lives. We met while i waa walking one day and we came to where she waa lodging and we realised we lived in the same road. And yesterday afternoon I met a lovely lady who has been here longer than I have and we have never met. So odd.

Nothing better to do than torture and hurt others. He gave himself away by telling me I got banned for being rude. The cheek of him. I signed out after thinking the lies told by Benn Jackson had been sorted by admin only to find he created a fake account. So I left. Why be around idiots?

Mr Jackson though committed harrassment by having people phone my number and send texts. The police have all those numbers. Just not enough evidence to take action. Well the police have more information now.

My laptop screen broke this morning. I was scanning a bar code and it went dark. So Dave is doing that for me. It will be fixed by Tuesday. I am so grateful for Dave. Such a great guy. Not many like him. At age 31. He is rare.

On my way down the high street i inhaled someone’s cigarette smoke. She was walking along oblivious to the fact that she was spreading smoke. They should have certain areas so that the smoke stays in known places. So many people are vulnerable to cigarette smoke.

Because this is on my phone I will end by saying how perfect the two days have been and such a great evening last night giving away my figs. And before that I planted three plants and Charlie gave me poppy seeds this morning.


Suicide Note Of A Former Soldier Who Fought The Taliban

Loving son, brother, friend never got to be husband or father and FORMER proud British soldier. That word is the key to my decision today to commit suicide. Though I physical die today we all know I died in Hellmand Province in July 2009 when we lost 6 in a week to IEDs among them Tace and H and I was there for both. People think IED they think your killed outright if your lucky you are but often your just waiting to die or your seriously maimed that’s the next best thing. I sat with Tace as his hand shock and he yelled in pain for his Mum till it finally ended. It was a relief. I lied to him telling him it was all going to be ok we both knew it wasn’t. H was lucky. People don’t realise IEDs create smoke, dust, smell and that’s burnt flesh, blood or explosive and if your near by blood and other bits that get on your uniform. Your deafened by the noise, your ears ring and your first thought isn’t someone died, it’s I didn’t is any part of me missing. Your thrown up in the air you have no control of where you land. In my case on both days no I didn’t die I walked away. I survived 3 IEDs that week the next one in August 2010 I survived but I lost my left arm, I was too close but someone died, ironically I lost the hand that Tace held. You never give them you right hand that one is still on your gun. Between those two dates I killed as many Taliban as I could each one for the boys we lost. I’d have killed more if I could have it helped me to forget the horrors I became immune to it. I enjoyed it I admit it. I got my nickname post-it as I would write the day, time and number of them I killed. Yes I denied it all this time but I did it and they are in my top box in the living room. The count was 57. It’s a good number in a year and I can say I’m proud of it. Proud I killed 57 Taliban fighters but sad it wasn’t more double would have been good.But it’s after when you come back it starts the sounds, smells the full horror it turns up at any time. a noise, a smell and your back there sometimes a face anything triggers you. They send you to rehabilitation for your lost arm bit of therapy for the PTSD then they let you go. Bit of money but that’s it thanks for your service as the Yanks say. Your a civilian and your not a priority so your on lists to see various people who don’t know what it’s like really they haven’t served haven’t been there. You can’t tell them the real issue I want to go back I want to keep on killing Taliban it makes me feel better.Then there’s Di. The war took that future from me the one with a wife, children don’t even remember that dream. Truth is I left her because she didn’t get it. She thought going on with the wedding was a good thing. Talking endlessly about dresses, food, venues, cake when all I could see was Tace the day I asked him to be my best man. She didn’t even know I’d asked him because she assumed it would be her brother after all he was my best mate and we met through that. But he wasn’t my best mate. He couldn’t be we had different lives great bloke but he worked in Asda not much like a war zone in anyway I’d stopped being Henry. I was Post-it he was still Jack. So I walked away I know my timing 3 days before wasn’t great but better than going through with it. I’m rambling because I want to write it all down. Everything even the bits you don’t know. I want you to show everyone what I was like when I made the decision to take my life.But I know you’ll be devastated Mum. You’ll want to know why? What did you miss? What could you have done? Should I have done more? But truth is you couldn’t you did everything you could the private therapist was working and in all my dark days I never even thought about suicide. So why? You ask.I fought in a war that they said was changing the face of a region bringing it into the 21st century. A world where people could grow up, listen to pop music, girls could go to school without fear, girls could dream of being anything they wanted to be. No more burkas if they didn’t want them, hair and beauty salons and to finally own a pet. Yes to own a pet. You knew I was still in contact with Aalem and his family. His two girls were at uni one wanted to be an architect the other an engineer. They wanted to rebuild and improve their country. We talked about my visiting but we’d delayed it due to Covid. What you don’t know is he got a letter saying he didn’t qualify to come to the U.K. in the evacuation he was now considered a threat. A guy who was an interpreter and scout for us. A man who I’d sat down in his home, with his family, to eat with many times. He’s left to face a future going backwards. See that was our legacy the glue that stopped me thinking of suicide. We had done our job these people had a good life free of fear of the Taliban they had a future it was getting better now they just pulled the rug from under them. Their back to square one we wasted 20 years and all those lives ours and the civilians for what so a politician can try and remain President. So people can say no more Americans are dying in a foreign land, to save money. See Mum no legacy and I tried to contact Aalem all day Saturday because he was scared they’d come for him. His phone dead is he ok I don’t know, did he escape I don’t know. I’ll never know but I can’t watch these politicians slapping themselves on the back for a job well done getting people out, telling veterans we didn’t make sacrifices in vain. We did you never sacrificed anything your greedier, you lie and you have now started the killing again you’ve thrown the people in Afghanistan to the wolves. Sitting somewhere in a house, in Kabul maybe, probably watching people maybe even family killed around him you’ve created the next Bin Laden. The next terrorist not against the Taliban but YOU. You who left him behind to suffer he will blame YOU not them he will come after US not them. It will start again. It already has with the bombing on Thursday already a politician is saying well hunt you down. It will be your fault. I can’t be a part of history like the Vietnam veteran before me forgotten because of a failed American war just like this one. You’ve killed me along with them another victim. I’ve made peace with just leaving now. I want you to know I was getting there but this just started it all again and I can’t go through it again. I’m sorry. I love you Mum I’m sorry it’s so close to you losing Issac but I just can’t do it all again another 11 years of therapy etc. Can’t pick up and start again because that one thing I had was that glue we made a sacrifice for them to have a better life. It was worth it is not now it’s ruined, spoilt gone. Please don’t be annoyed you’ve seen my darkest days I can’t do them again. I’m tired of waking up sweating after seeing Tace blown six foot in the air to land impaled on a rusting piece of discarded metal with both legs hanging there. So I’ll miss Sunday dinner best Yorkshire puddings and roast tattles ever. Please look after Storm she’s a great cat tell Maisie she really helped me but I can’t stay just for her please keep her I know you will be company for your one they’re sisters after all. I’m off to see H and Tace. I’ve done my research I’ll just go to sleep. See you again one day. All my love to everyone.Post-it for me Mum post this. Many of us are still fighting this war in our heads and probably always will but not me anymore I’m done fighting I can’t do it anymore.Eternal loveyour Henry.””