Way back in the distant past when I was a Working Gal just starting a new job, a colleague took me out on a tour of the towns covered by the Council we both worked for. It was an eye-opener in more ways than one - and
gave me a valuable insight which has stayed with me all these years.
Walking through the town centre streets, looking into one plate glass shop window after another,
my new friend advised me: “Always look up!” So I did - and realised the beauty of so many of the buildings once you looked past the modern adaptations and saw the original features. Beamed frontages, fascinating chimneys, unusual tiled roofs. I
would have missed them all, while concentrating on the goods on display in the shop windows.
Incidentally this same fella earned the heartfelt gratitude
of My Boy, undertaking work experience at the Council some years later, by being the only person who introduced him to others by name, rather than as “Jaqui’s son.” A wise man, indeed.
Since then I have always endeavoured to “look up” when visiting any new village, town or city - at home or abroad - and that long-ago advice has always paid off. Recently, however, it has seemed even more pertinent
- let me explain....
In the soaring heat of the last few days, my sun-baked lawn is looking extremely sorry for itself. I have managed, with the aid of my trusty
watering can, to keep the plants in flower pots mostly hydrated. It is somewhat easier to take drink to the dahlias than to Mr B who is resistant to most of my offerings apart from glasses of “nice, cold milk.” I comfort myself with the thought
that I read in some Learned Journal that milk was one of the best liquids for the purposes of hydration. Not that I’ve tried out the semi-skimmed on the Bizzie Lizzies who have had to be satisfied with the water from the washing up bowl, once the dishes
have had their day.
So, following the advice to look up, not down, I turn my eyes away from my sorry lawn and gaze high up at the top of the tamarisk tree,
where an errant pink rose has rambled free through its branches and blossomed beautifully and somewhat defiantly. I do love a Random Rambling Rose. Meanwhile there are butterflies fluttering determinedly around the buddleia bush, prompting me to cast my mind
back to 1979 when the Youngest of the Darling Daughters spent a goodly proportion of her holiday savings on an I-Spy Butterflies book which led us all on a massive Identification of Fluttering Things Project. Sadly, I can’t remember many of the lessons
In Church on Sunday mornings we are only allowed thirty worshippers so most of the wooden pews are festooned with yellow and black tape forbidding
entrance and we have to sit at a social distance, one at either end of the few open pews. Everywhere you look, there is black and yellow tape, or notices explaining that we can’t use the hymn books, fellow worshippers all masked-up to protect each other.
Until, that is, I look up - at the soaring beamed ceiling, the famed mosaics around the walls, the bright colours of the stained glass windows, the organ pipes. So much to see and to wonder at..
It is my habit, just before bed, to head out into the back garden to look up at the stars and the moon in all its phases. On cloudy nights, I have to use my (thankfully fertile) imagination and remember our amazing star-gazing
excursion on Mount Teide in Tenerife once upon a very long time ago. Never have I seen so many stars!
Bedtime is a strange time for me - there’s the relief
of climbing into bed at last where I can rest my weary head, coupled with the certain knowledge that most nights I will be up at least once settling Mr B. I know he won’t call unless he needs me - but the undisturbed nights are few and far between. Looking
up at the moon, therefore, has a calming effect on me as I face the uncertain night ahead.
“I’m looking up at you!” I tell the Moon - and
the Man in the Moon, who, when you come to think of it, always looks down, laughs at my fancifulness. I am unrepentant -
Cast your eyes upwards. You will be amazed
what you see and how much better you feel.