Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who moved the cheese?

The Little Shop by Christa Kieffer
The Little Shop

At last I can see the fridge empty. The last of the cheese sell by dates was today and apart from trying to shift it on a buy one get one free basis, and having frozen some, we have a clean fridge. What follows will be a thorough clean of the display cabinet and a new order for next week.

Stock management is difficult to gauge. I can understand supermarkets having loyalty cards because they register what you have bought, leading to analysis of your buying habits. Here in the village shop its an alltogether more low key affair. We pay more attention to what the customer says and then purchase some variety. One lady asked for Shropshire blue cheese which sounds lovely but can only be obtained by us in a large quantity and as she told me that she is only allowed a limited quantity per week, it would take months to clear that.

We have brought in more yoghurts, natural and greek yoghurt and cottage cheese for the people following their New Year diet, but I have to say that the Somerset Brie packs a nice punch in a baguette with cranberry sauce on a cold day.

Its still early days for us and in a bid to bring in more healthy options we are researching which wholefood products will suit our clients.

And then there is Valentine's Day and Easter to plan for. We shall be asking all the men in the village whether they have got their card and gift planned. Every little nudging helps, but it will not be in your face. The local florist is on hand to work on surprises.

I rather like the variety of clients ; small children spending pennies gathered together over the weekend, and older people coming out in between rainy showers to pass the time of day and purchase a pack of tea. Halfterm will be soon and we will stock glace cherries, iced lemon slices and chocolate buttons for grandmothers who will be making fairy cakes. Magical.

The pace is gentle with plenty of banter and village chats. Some people are practising a rather Texan accent as the village panto is being performed in a few weeks time. Frought times in the square!

The shop definitely has a rhytm and we do not simply see it as a shop, but a meeting place, a place where you can get information and where the owners care about you as a customer, where there is time to stare and ponder ( even if it is unintentionally!).

That is the snapshot of January in the village shop.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008



Did not mean to stun you all in silence with yesterdays post, but thank you all for your good wishes. After receiving some negative news, I reflected on how that news is received by me as a person, by my family and how I can relate that to the bad news we get bombarded with about global warming. I realised that when faced with bad news, I have a tendency to shut down and have a wish to disengage from it and I wonder dear reader if that happened to you too?

When we do, we also close our engagement to any opportunities that this change brings with it.

Personally, I now know that my garden will include a variety of scented plants and a small corner that will be dedicated to reflection with a small solar powered water feature. I sat quietly listening to some choral songs as when my son sings his voice has a clarity that lifts my spirits up. While listening I clearly envisioned a small corner in my garden and began to realise that I have the opportunity to create something peaceful and lovely in a small part of the garden. That idea did not figure before today and thus from my stumbling block a stepping stone has been created to something new and beautiful.

As I looked out of the window at the churchyard, I saw the celandines and snowdrops, a bright sun and a clear frosty day. Things look extremely beautiful today.

Maybe, just maybe this is a stepping stone and not a stumbling block.
How lovely nature can be...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gaia in the waitingroom

My work as a bereavement counsellor brings me in touch with many people who have difficulties coming to terms with the effects of the loss of a person they loved very much in their lives. My previous work experience lies in crisis management.

Imagine how we would feel if we received a visit from Gaia, turning up rather feverish, wondering what is going on, looking dazed, unsure about the diagnosis. The temperature is erratic, she has definite moodswings and no one seems to take these symptoms to heart. Some dismiss them as mental behaviour that has been exhibited before ( like a case of bad PMT) and because she is the caregiver, and fulfills many other's needs, hers are often overlooked. How would you respond to such a person in your home?

I reflect on this question after a hospital appointment with an unexpected outcome. My health has been precarious just like Gaia over the last few years, and we have symptoms in common which gives me an empathy angle on her scenario.

How do we generally react to bad news; many go in shock and then denial. Others become extremely angry, or think that if they can but keep busy, the pain will go away, the fear will go away too.

So it could be with Gaia and me; we can both sit there and exhibit more moodswings, with the difference that mine are not likely to be of seismic proportions. Mine will be insignificant compared to hers. She has a fever and her temperature gauge is not quite normal. My reaction to today's news is a sort of numbness which will be followed by action ( and the odd moodswing I am sure, accompanied with cries of its not fair). I bet she does that too. although her tempestuous outbursts are noticed more widely.

The solution in managing a crisis from my experience has been not to only look how the symptoms of the crisis can be reduced or made more comfortable but to look at the causes and look for a solution in another level of existence. To work with physical muscle weakness in one side of my body, I have engaged with the creative which involves other parts of my brain that have not been fried as well as using knitting as a mechanism that was automatic to enable loose brain connections to reconnect. This has had some success.

I will continue to work this way even though the news today seems to indicate that another circuit is under threat which may mean the loss of one or other function. Shock, ofcourse, then I want a second opinion and some idea about what can be done to minimise the effects of this breakdown. How does Gaia feel? The strain on some circuits as well as temperature rises are pushing her to her limits too. A second opinion is however useless, she tells me, they have already done that to oblivion. How will she tell the ones she loves that if they do nothing, she will not last and neither will they. I feel another pang of empathy and nod.

The next step will either involve mankind falling into deep depression and gloom and doom about global change while others have the potential to become fearful for the future.

That could be my response too : I could give up now, say so be it and watch as another brain circuit goes out of action. Or, I can acknowledge that it is happening, I can work with the transition it is trying to persuade me to go into. I hesitate, I want things to be the way they were and am still stamping about saying its not fair. Then follows a moment where I wonder what it is that I can do, am reminded of the words :

If you believe that one small living creature cannot make a difference, spend time with a mosquito in a small room.

I have empathy with Gaia, but am hopelessly unqualified to provide her with an instant fix. She knows that the resources she spent millenia saving and preparing are being used up much faster than she can cope with. There is a loss of function, some areas will change and become redundant; some circuits and functions will shut down. We can feel very sad about that and feel helpless. On the other hand we could look at the circuits and functions that are working well ( like how we can capture the energy from a moodswing) and how we can turn that into a positive. Lets be mosquitos and engage with creativity to find another outcome.

For me, a piece of chocolate seems the answer right now as well as a nice piece of music to delight my ears. That way my optical senses will have rest and may not fry as soon as scheduled.

There can be miracles by Leon Jackson

Monday, January 28, 2008

A gift of unconditional love

Today, someone called into the shop, did not necessarily buy anything but went to the scales to weigh the above. ( its about 10 cm wide)After this, she looked me direct in the eye and said, here you go, a gift of unconditional love for you. Rose quartz I said, how lovely, admiring the colour and wondering how and why it came in my possession. DH commented on the fact that it seemed perfectly appropriate to be giving me a gift of unconditional love as he felt that that is exactly what I embody. I felt blessed and very much appreciated at that moment, both by DH and the universe.

This follows a gift bag at the beginning of the week from a customer who brought chocolates because she likes the fact that there are two cheery people in the shop.

Rose quartz is a soothing, calming crystal that is known to promote love and healing. It helps to bring clarity to the heart and is a valuable tool that focuses on emotional release, balance and peace. It helps to clear negative emotions such as jealousy, anger and fear, and also eases heartache and psychic traumas.

Even though all quartz crystals have the ability to transmit and amplify energy, the rose quartz is unique in that it is especially good as a channel for divine energy. It draws and holds the energies of love and healthy release and assists in opening the heart chakra to help promote the healing of past emotional hurts and grudges.

With my cup of tea, sitting in the room that overlooks the garden, I meditated on this gift and its significance, and felt very blessed and peaceful.

The universe and its people never fail to amaze me. Thank you.....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Marmalade and cheese

Marmalade Garden II by Liz Myhill
Marmalade Garden II

Sunshine at last and an afternoon to go and work in the garden. Running a business from home 7 days a week leaves little time for ironing school uniforms let alone time to spend weeding your garden.
The job outstanding from last week was to deal with all the branches we cut off. Smaller items were shredded and some sawing took place this afternoon, preparing some small logs for Mildred the Rayburn. We laughed together at the thought that we must be mad to be cutting our own wood and using small branches to keep warm but checked our words immediately against the commitment we had made to use whatever resources the site gave us.
We could just bunch them up and take them to landfill but that means taking it all through the shop and the idea of the garden is that we would use what is available in the microclimate and increase soil fertility using compost and bokashi. The work gets you warm quickly and provides an excuse to sit down in the afternoon sun with a cup of tea and a slice of slightly out of date cake.

Once the hard landscaping has taken place and the woodash added to the compost heap and fruittrees, the garden will start to open up and provide surprise after surprise. Bulbs are poking through the earth and the birds are singing, even pairing up on occassions which is far too early. I also hung a fatball in the tree that is being feasted on, not that I manage to spot a bird doing that as I am usually inside.

The waste routine continues as the collection every week is kept to a minimum: recycling paper, boxes get donated and collected, plastic bags reused and brought back. Food waste gets devoured by 3 hungry boys who currently shout ( what cheese again!), and there is a promise that the cheesemountain is reducing.

I have grated the remaining cheese and will be keeping it in the freezer to make cheese on toast, or sprinkle over pasta or other dishes. I also made a note to keep enthousiasm in check next December when I order cheese for the festive season.

The shop is quiet, guess many people are feasting on what they were given as food goodies and others are jogging and on a diet, hence the out of date cake.
Fickle lot these customers, off cake and cheese at the moment but fresh fruit sales are up and celery is in demand.

The last remaining seville oranges have been donated to a willing soul who will turn it into marmalade to be sold at the church fete later in the year.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Work and home

Working from home is great and simultaneously offers a few challenges thrown in.

If the weather is bad, I need not step outside and we can just effortlessly walk from home to workspace. No need to commute either saving fuel, money and time.

In principle we could have as many breaks as we would like, yet in practice getting time to eat lunch seems sometimes a luxury. What is evident is that the boundaries between work and home are less defined. There is no commute to change my thoughts from work to home and vice versa, I am thrown in within a nanosecond. While cooking tea in the kitchen I can hear what is going on in the shop and feel a sense of loss of privacy. It is not unknown for me to be peeling potatoes and being asked when we are expecting a delivery of one or other item which seems odd. That is what I mean about the boundaries between work and home.

Our workplace is our home and our front door is the door of the shop. The children have found this difficult as they like to shout their news out when coming through the door and can no longer do that. The creature that has it sorted in their mind is the dog. She barks at strangers or people who venture a little too close to the kitchen door and seems to know exactly when its time to pick up our son from school ( and she gets a small walk).

The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster and a steep learning curve. Working for yourself from home definitely reduces the carbon footprint. We did not know what to expect and in general we are feeling a little more in flow with the rhythm of the shop. Homelife is still unsettled. Where previously a mountain of washing could be found is now a mountain of paperwork to contend with. Which shall I tackle next.....I wonder?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Garden update

After a few days pruning and clearing the overgrown bushes, the fruit trees are showing promise. The plan is to work from the walls back towards the lawn and create plants that fulfill a variety of purposes. The trees will not only provide fruit later on in the year that is edible ( hopefully) but they cast shade and can be used to grow climbing vegetables such as beans and squashes. Underneath the fruit trees I aim to encourage plants that create natural mulches such as rhubarb and comfrey although there are others that might suit. I am looking to create a garden that requires little maintenance and where nature will do most of the work and I will sit and enjoy. Can it be? I base this on the fact that in forests, no gardeners till and work hard, not ones you see anyway. I also would like to incorporate plants that will provide me with dyes to enable me to colour yarns that have been spun on my spinningwheel.

At this time of the year, colour is limited but bulbs are peering through the soil such as the yellow crocus I spotted this morning. In the churchyard, white snowdrops can be seen in small patches in and around resting places.

The aim of the garden is for all elements to live in harmony ; people, insects, plants and wildlife. Instead of a garden that focusses on my needs only, I want to look at the requirements of the plants, the wildlife and the insects in the garden and harness their potential. This means putting myself in the picture not as in control of my garden but as an integral part of its being.

The cuttings are being shredded to reintroduce the nutrients in the garden, and any compostable material is being composted. There are 2 bins already and I hesitate about introducing another one, but currently I am creating a lot of waste material. If I take it off the property I will need to reintroduce resources into the garden by way of bought compost.

This is a labour intensive way of dealing with waste material. I want to see if comfrey, nasturtium and rhubarb can provide a mulch for the fruit trees that provides the necessary nutrients without me having to shred it, slash it, compost it, turn it and put it back on the land. No idea if that will work but we will find out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gardening with nature

Bench by Edward Noott

Sitting in the garden this week, I noticed how I had tried to dominate the gardens I have had before. I wanted them to be shaped in a way that pleased me, plants that would look nice and honestly never had given any thought as to what would naturally go well together. What do the plants need in my garden, what complimentary plants do they need to be healthy, for wildlife to thrive and work as part of that ecosystem.

My thinking over the years has changed from buying vegetables just as they came in the supermarket to wanting to invest my time in growing them myself. That has made me realise that there is a great effort involved in that. All the tilling, weeding and enhancing the soil structure was probably not necessary or contemplated 300 years ago. There were not as many pests on plants as there are now; was there an ecosystem in place that worked for the benefit of all? Have we missed something in the equasion?

I know that when I clear a patch of land it is guaranteed that nature will fill it up again with weeds. Thus by clearing the land I prepare the exact conditions for weeds to take hold. What if it were possible to work with nature and provide each plant with nutrients that other plants in their shade could provide without effort?

Thus I am not churning the garden up as planned but I am waiting to see what is where and gradually will be introducing more edible plants for my benefit and theirs and watch what happens. The trees that are in situe will be pruned, fed and watered and I will check what is happening.

This comes from a vision that food can be produced on a small scale, in synergy with nature and not entirely under the control of man. As before on this blog, we shall see what happens. Nothing really is impossible. It might even turn out that food can be happily grown beside flowers and respect can be given to all the wildlife helpers who manage to make pollination happen effortlessly. Could this be a possibility?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hopping for a mate

The north wind has been blowing hard today, dark clouds filled the sky and the friend who turned up to help in the garden looked a little worried. She did a splendid job cutting back bushes and foliage, creating a lovely cutting area; these are bushes and branches that need to be cut small or need to be shredded when I have decided on a shredder. Our youngest son, missing his cricket space, is keen from time to time to destroy the odd thing in the garden so we are hoping to harness that energy and turn him into a shredding machine.
We talked about putting a morello cherry tree in the shady corner as apparently they do not mind shade and it would be a rather pretty tree to have.

In the shop we seem to be rushing about most of the time. The post office counter is now open too and we have had fun sending parcels to all corners of the world as well as marvelling at the many many things you can actually do at your local post office. You can bank, pay bills, top up your phone, send parcels, buy stamps etc etc. If you have not visited one lately, please do. They provide a valuable service in the community that in many parts of the country is under threat.

At the end of the day, DH was doing some paperwork when out of the corner of his eye, in the animal food section he spotted a late shopper; the word must have got around that we are kind to animals and people. Mr Toad has left his hibernating spot early this year to come and do a bit of local hopping, maybe looking for a mate already? That is however not a service we provide. I guess we are on a pathway to the gardens, or.....Mr Toad is trying to tell us that we have a pond nearby. Please, not in the shop. He got picked up and deposited outside on the lawn in front of the church gates. I like wildlife but health and safety dictate that frogs are not welcome.

Now, all I need to do is to go and clean the shop thoroughly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fruit detectives

Ginger Jar with Peaches, Apricots and Tapestry by Loran Speck
Ginger Jar with Peaches, Apricots and Tapestry

The plan for an edible garden includes fruits and soft fruits. We spent an agreeable wet Sunday afternoon checking the garden and finding some interesting neglected and overgrown trees. Amongst them were :

We brought the peach tree grown in a pot as well as red and blackcurrant bushes, some strawberries in pots and some alpine strawberries. The wish list includes a patch of rhubarb and raspberries. Amazingly, many are already in the garden, growing against the walls. If space permits, a thorn less blackberry would be welcome.

On closer inspection we also found a vine, which will need cutting and pruning and may give us grapes if so inclined.

I am easily pleased......the fruit garden seems sorted, needs pruning, feeding and training, some additions which can probably be received in cuttings from others.

The work plan also includes cutting back a holly, a large conifer and nameless bushes to give more light and space.

The only downside is that we are not able to take anything out of the garden without going through the shop. We are not allowed a bonfire in the garden. The only options are shredding and composting. I am looking at borrowing a shredder from someone but would like to invest in a shredder that is not too noisy if anything like that exists.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

the garden...finally

Its a good time of the year to start planning a new garden. The thought might be a bit overwhelming as is the temptation to rip out everything in sight. Gardens are made up of areas and layers and although our garden might look a mess at the moment and may not be reflecting what we would like to see in it, I am sure that it has some lovely bulbs hidden in the layers of leaves that clutter the earth. I look forward to their surprising entry into the world.

Logs and dead foliage do however provide shelter for small animals, hedgehogs etc so leaving them untouched is not a bad thing either. Some of the flowers have seed heads that birds will love when the weather is cold.

The way we will be tackling the garden will be in sections. That way, we will have areas that can show us what is there, we will have less impact on the residential wildlife and we can feel less overwhelmed.

The things we are considering are as follows:

1. What to keep where it is now.
2.What we want to keep but possibly move.
3.What we definitely want to get rid of and why.
4. Any pictures of gardens we like (from magazines etc): this provides inspiration.
5. Any favourite colour scheme.
6. A plant budget.(If there is one).
7. Do we grow plants from seeds or invest in some bigger plants?
8. Freecycle a list of plants for cuttings and offer any plants we do not want to other gardeners.

We will concentrate on an area that is least sightly and turn it into an edible garden. As it is a rather shady plot it should provide a nice area for salad greens and some herbs.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Changing the impossible

The impossible is defined as :
  • not capable of occurring or being accomplished or dealt with ; such as an impossible dream
  • something that is totally unlikely
  • something that cannot be done
  • a term used to describe someone’s behaviour.

“The impossible - what nobody can do until somebody does”

If someone had told you 200 years ago that people would be flying around the world, visiting families at the other side of the world in 1 day you would have answered them that that is simply impossible.

If we challenge our thoughts that global warming needs to be engaged with and that the concept is impossible my reply usually agrees with the quote from St Francis of Assisi :

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

When faced with a challenge, a need for change and an outcome in your mind that seems impossible, the very thought of it has to create a response in the universe. There is a response and a choice : it does become possible but only if you make the choice to face whatever impossible challenges are in its pathway. That in itself is a choice.

Yesterday I attended my graduation ceremony. What at 25 seemed like it had passed me by when I was a young woman, with a small child has become possible at 47 with 4 children and a disability. The dream at age 40 to support children in achieving their potential, in all walks of life, in challenging circumstances seemed impossible when a virus changed my health and working with children endangered my immune system. The vision did not go away. The possibility of achieving that ambition seemed however impossible. You can imagine the rolling eyes of my husband when I uttered : You know, I know that I am in bed unable to move, but I have a place waiting at college and I am going to finish that degree. Unlikely, impossible were only words that others uttered. I myself had moments of sheer frustration lying in bed wondering how on earth I would get there. However, yesterday, sitting at the front together with my other disabled friend; ( and having posed together as the ‘ disabled students’), I felt tears in my eyes. I know it was only possible because I refused to believe that it was impossible. At moments where in sheer frustration I felt I would never achieve that essay, that deadline, that placement……..I received help, I received encouragement and support. I could not have done this without the support of my family, friends, the college and the fantastic peers on the course. A place where disability was aired, trashed, discussed and accepted in the end. By opening a conversation about it, by listening to their fears about disability, and voicing mine about vulnerability and frustration, they actually strengthened the resolve within me to achieve the impossible by accepting that I still am the person I am, outwardly changed but the same person with the same dreams within.

If today you are faced with redundancy, a health diagnosis, a family situation, a financial crisis and you think you are facing the impossible…….take a step back, assess your values and beliefs about the situation, check your dream and take one step forward. If you need help with that….ask someone who knows you well.

The same could be said about the challenge of global warming, of the difficulties we face with our climate on a worldwide scale; it seems impossible and my reply will be just the same as Pitbull Dog……just watch me!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A place to live

Castle Combe Village, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom by Julia Bayne
Castle Combe Village, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom

5 years ago we moved into the countryside which to some of our friends seemed a controversial thing to do, based on the fact that everything you could possibly want could be found in a town environment. In many ways that was true, and in other ways we missed a major component - a sense of belonging as although the town had everything you could possibly want, the element that was missing to us was human contact.

When you go shopping in a supermarket, how often do you engage with that experience? How often do you have a conversation? How often do you have eye contact?

The principles of downshifting and reducing our ecological footprint were based on a desire to do a variety of things in one place without the use of a car if possible.

In buying the village shop we are :

  • living in the centre of the village
  • we work from home in the centre of the village
  • we shop in the centre of the village
  • our children go to the village school or use school transport to get to larger schools
  • we gather as a community in the village and take part, promote and encourage local events.

At the same time, we have learnt that if we reduce our needs to a local level and reduce our desire to buy what we want instead of what we need, we can source many items locally.

Our aim over the next few months will be to gently promote locally produced food ( bread, vegetables and meat) and ask people if they are willing to shop here instead of doing a 3 mile journey in their car, park in a difficult place and queue for their food. The price will be the same but instead of many cars going on the village roads, they could walk, they could buy it here, have a chat and catch up with others. There is no way of knowing what people will do, but in offering the options we will monitor what happens.

The first thing will be to put a notice up , engage and have a conversation with people.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Christmas Cards

What can you do with Christmas cards? Some to treasure? Scan them into your computer.

  • Cut off the sides and reuse as notelets when someone phones.
  • Make gift tags out of the pretty ones.
  • Use the pictures to make cards for next year, sticking them on a white card background
  • Use decoupage techniques to decorate a box as a gift.
  • Recycle them for the Woodland Trust
  • Gift them to your nearest scrapstore for craft projects

At the same time, I check my list for those that I have received and create my address list for next year, note who I have not seen for a long time and who I am going to invite to meet again in person.

Happy New Year to you all.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

10 ways to tidy your paperwork

Writer's Desk I by Joaquin Mateo
Writer's Desk I

  1. Make yourself a cup of beverage of your choice and look at your desk area.
  2. Get a large box and put everything in it which will leave you with a clean desk.
  3. Only put back what is useful and works for you.
  4. Use plastic folders for documents and label them ( in my case to file, to do, to order, to pay).
  5. Put all your office tools ( stapler, paper,cellotape, envelopes, ink cartridges etc), in a neat order so you can access them when you need to.
  6. If you have a filing cabinet, separate business and personal.
  7. For business ; categories could be suppliers, customers, accounts, procedures
  8. For personal :utilities, banking,taxation; choose what system works for you.
  9. Whatever is left in the box; recycle, reuse or gift away.
  10. Organise your computer and email inbox in the same way. It may not work for others but you will know how to categorise it so it works for you.

This really reduced my stress levels and when stuff arrives, it gets filed in the plastic folders and I know exactly what to do with them.
More tea.....

For some continuing tips on organising your workspace you could look at the following websites :
Marcia Francois
Organising your workspace
eliminate chaos in your inbox

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Silence, 1848 by Antoine Augustin Preault
Silence, 1848

To say that the last few weeks have been chaos would be an understatement. I am away from home on a course at the moment to get to know some intricate software and at the same time, take stock of what the last few weeks and the amount of change have meant.

To find myself at the coast in Devon, at a small family run hotel with a room all to myself is a luxury. At the same time, I am gazing out at the most gorgeous wild sea. I am seeking silence, no conversation and time to reflect. What I find is that the coast is anything but silent. The waves are pounding the beach, the palms are waving wildly and the South East wind is hammering the window and sliding through any gaps.

The world today is dominated by noise and often nature's sounds are not heard. At the same time, sitting on my bed, feet up, knitting in hand, I notice that over the last week I also have not heard any noise from the inside. I have been too busy.

When you seek out silence, you hear your breath, your thoughts and above all, you hear your search for freedom and your own truth. What I noticed, is that in the last few weeks, although very busy and reacting to a new business and life around me, I have neglected my inner space, my spiritual space and listening in the silence, I can hear its whispering. I am resting. The reason I need that space, is that within, within the silence, words and sentences are created like the ones you read now. Listening, poised with a pen, I know that the words flow and with it, I know that what is my inner voice, finds a way of expression, silently.

In my hotel room, while I notice there is no conversation to be had with anyone, I sit and wait and marvel at the conversations the sea, the wind and the palms are having with each other.

You don't need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Don't even listen, simply wait. Don't even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will offer itself freely to you to be unmasked. Franz Kafka