Mars in Retrograde

The air is heavy with ozone and the scent of ultraviolet begins to make me feel light headed.  The waves are crashing down around me and the seabirds are flying into the wind, then letting go and being blown backwards and sideways on the strong Atlantic gust. I watch them as they spiral this way and that. It looks like they are enjoying it. Like they're on a ride at a fun fare: wings up, here we go, whee!

Everything looks normal on the surface, but I can feel something else is going on. Maybe it's this Mars (and Jupiter and Saturn and Pluto, and Mercury still to come) in retrograde. This war and action and anger planet slowing everything down, towing us all under with its gravitational pull. A heavy blanket wave. Gush. Like being underwater, but everything is just a bit too crystal clear. A bit too sharp. Yet things have slowed down and are heavy and clunky, instead of light and buoyant. See what I mean? It's a total contradiction. What to do?

Has anyone else noticed? I feel like I am the only one...some days, you've just got to sleep it off I think.  Can't wait till bedtime.

15 Reasons Why #kernowfornia Is Ridiculous and Must Stop Immediately

I love y'all. You know I do.  I've been living in Kernow for 11 years. But as a native Californian, I've got to put the record straight. The truth is: there is no comparison.  Apart from surf, palms and VW camper vans the two have nothing in common. I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you. So grab yourself a cup of Joe and have a little read because it's probably just beginning to rain outside. Which brings me to my first point:

  1. MIZZLE.  According to the Met Office 'Most coastal areas of Cornwall and Devon have 900-1000mm of rain, but up to double this amount falls upland on Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and Exmoor' (3 June 2015).

Just for reference, on average we get approximately 470 mm of rain a year in California. That's less than half or depending how you look at it, less than a quarter of that wet stuff annually. THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Perhaps, in my opinion the biggest difference!

Also, just to rub salt in the wound, the average precipitation over there IN THE SUMMERTIME (that's June -August,  for those of us who need a reminder) is 1mm. One stinky little millimeter! 

So don't be giving me dirty looks the next time you've got to stand outside in your board shorts and soggy flip flops with a goddamn brolly to shield your Sizzling Summer Bank Holiday BBQ sausages from fizzling out in all that rain. Or on the big day of your dream Cornish Beach wedding you get hailstones thrown at you instead of confetti.  You know we've all been there. Don't say I didn't tell you so.

2. SUNSHINE. No duh, for the lack of Vitamin D. It's almost too painful. I'm not sure I even want to put it in writing. Life is tough enough as it is. But hey, you've brought this nonsense on yourselves, so here goes.  California gets on average 2958 hours of sunshine a year (usclimatedata). Cornwall gets...don't hold your breath, a whopping 98 hours of sunshine per year (heart sinks). That's that. Let's not add insult to injury. 

3. SEAGULLS vs SEA LIONS. Hey, I know, they were here first. That's what we (us humans) don't respect. But they'll keep reminding us of it when they get hungry.

Just look at that face, aww....right? Butter wouldn't melt.  

4. GOLD MINING vs TIN MINING. I get it, I get it. We've all got to make a living somehow. And mining, heck, that is some seriously hard living. In fact, Cornish miners were so sought after they were in very high demand overseas across the Atlantic in the US and in Australia. I love the fact that Kernow has a rich history filled with folklore and legends around the mining industry. Those of you who know me also know that I am a big fan of Cornish Knocker Ale.

I'm  just saying, which sounds better to you, Gold rush or Tin rush? (which just kindda sounds like thrush...ew)

Cornish Faerie 'knockers'

Cornish Faerie 'knockers'

Southern Californian Gold miner

Southern Californian Gold miner

5. CIDER & ALE vs WINE & POT. Drinking and scrumpin' vs Sipping, swirling and smoking. This one is a tough call. Kernow has some terrific breweries with some spectacular smaller scale craft micro breweries springing up every year. Rebel and Black Rock  are some of my favorites. In fact, we've also got some excellent gin and vodka distilleries making huge international waves. Read my review here.

Okay, so maybe this one is a draw. But still...medical marijuana folks, it's legal in Cali. 

6.  UKIP vs Democrat/ Republican/Liberal/ New Age/ Anything goes really....  Oh yeah, I just went there.  The point is, California is open and has the image of being a very liberal laid back state (it's all that sunshine). The truth is political demographics vary hugely from county to county.

They also voted this guy in as governor, an Austrian immigrant. Hmmm... now, we all know where UKIP stands on foreign immigration policy and the like. Let's leave it at that shall we?

7. ETHNIC DIVERSITY. Just a quick stat blast thrown in here for good measure, since we are already on the topic. According to the 2011 Census which can be found on www.cornwall.gov, 99.01% of Cornwall's population identify with 'White: British, Irish, or other'  with regard to their ethnicity. Whereas, in California, there is a Minority-Majority meaning no single racial or ethnic group forms a majority of California's population. In other words, a very wide and beautiful spectrum of ethnicities are the majority. Just saying...

8. BLACK MAMBA vs CORNISHMAN JACK KNOWLES.  With his last LA Lakers game on 14th April, five time NBA champion Black Mamba aka Kobe Bryant, jersey number 24, kicked basketball ass. Again.  We all know haters gonna hate but all went well with his athlete friends and frenemies salute the big man in this Nike clip.

Hey now, hold on there! I actually LOVE rugby. I think it is a fantastic game. Better than basketball even! And in actual fact, I'm not trying to make any comparison with this one, if anything, just celebrating great sportsmanship and dedication to the game.

Jack Knowles is quickly becoming a legend. Have a look at this recent magnificent tackle during the England-Ireland six nations match. It's a beauty.

....now, if he could only just bring his hairdo into the 21st century...

9. SPANIELS & RETRIEVERS vs CHIHUAHUAS & BULLIES.  Don't even start. You lot know I love my doggies. All breeds and shapes and sizes. Heck, I even named this damn awful website after them. I'm just saying, breed specifics: gun dogs go hunting  and lap dogs go chillin' It's a lifestyle choice. Ahem, owner specific: Busy and always needing to 'do' vs tranquillo and happy to just 'be'.      (btw: they only shake and tremble because they are short haired and it's too cold for these breeds in the UK. Fact.)

And anyway, who could forget the recent Muffin or Chihuahua meme?  

I found some more. 

Sharpei or Croissant?

Dog or Bagel?

Hamster or... wait, hamster?

Ok, now I'm just getting silly, But I think I have found a new way to combine two of my favorite things. Food and Dogs!

Getting back on track. The list goes a little quicker now.

10. SPICY FLAVOUR vs SHORTCRUST BURPS. The myriad of colorful and delicious flavours from South of the borderTamales and Burritos, to Korean Hangover Stew, Japanese Shabu-Shabu, Ramen, Hawaiian Poke,  Ethiopian Key-Wat or Berbera, Ukranian or Polish Borscht, Kielbasa, Gefilte fish, Pastrami and Provalone, Cherry Strudle etc etc etc (all cooked with sheer and utter authenticity)...

Or The Almighty Pasty.  By all means, a clever creation. 

This one, as a massive foodie, is of course a biggie. It all boils back down to point number 7, ethnic diversity.  Where there is change, there is hope. And it's this type of thing that gives California it's edge...and the sunsets...and the weather. And the grass.

11. DROUGHT vs FLOOD. Every year we flood. Every year they call on water reserves.

12. HOLLYWOOD vs HALL FOR CORNWALL.  Puh-lease. Have you seen the shows?

13. THE SUNSHINE STATE vs THE TROPICAL RAINFOREST. It's a matter of preference. Oh wait, but Cornwall's got the Eden Project.  Sorry but even as beautiful as it is, the Mediterranean Biome doesn't count. 

14. HAVE I MENTIONED LEGAL MEDICAL MARIJUANA?

15. SUN KISSED & SEXXY vs WINDSWEPT & WEATHERWORN.  How do you like to feel?

That's a wrap kids. I love it all. I hope this settles things.

I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm just saying there ain't no such thing, and this #Kernowfornication needs to stop. Stat.

Peace out sisters and brothers. As ever, catch you in the rainbow. 

xo

Snapdragons

Every year we play around with new plants and flowers in the garden. This year Paul threw a couple of Snapdragon (Antirrhinum magus) plantlings in with the bunch for the height. Have never had them before and I am delighted to say the seem to have settled in nicely with the rest of the gang. 

They have been growing and growing and just getting taller and taller (some varieties can grow up to 8 foot high!) up until last week when I noticed a few buds at the top of the plants. Then today finally, a flower. Definitely a present worth waiting for. There are plenty more buds just ready to burst open over the next few days. Can't wait to see what colours we get. 

Like fireworks, the natural world just explodes in a rainbow of colour.

This is yoga.

Mellow Mondays - Morning Ritual I

Wake up World

My fellow green thumbs will know that wonderful feeling you get from the daily garden roundup. For me, it is a morning ritual during which time I offer up my slumber to the natural world. I step outside into the garden, often still in my pajamas, and have a slow look around. Then I begin to move. Barefoot, I walk my way to waking. It's a mellow and gentle way to wake up, which for me, is the only way. Freshly brewed cup of tea in hand I sleepily make my way around the garden to greet and check over my plant babies.  

I inspect the leaves and remove any nocturnal tenants (snails, slugs and hungry, hungry caterpillars of which there are many this time of year) that have nestled in overnight and snacked on the sweetest greenest shoots. I relocate them over to a grassy patch in the garden because they have just as much right to be here as everyone else.  

I notice a new ant trail has developed in the night. I inspect where it ends and where it begins. The bugs are still sleeping in the cool undergrowth of the leaves as I rustle around delicately trying not to stir them. Bees are already bombing around busily bumping into things. They've got places to go, pollen to meet. The birds are chirping, persistently. 

Life is awakening, and it encourages you to awaken with it. 

By the time I have completed my full sun salutation, my soul is living, breathing, singing, loving. I have, just like in asana, activated all of my physical, emotional and spiritual faculties. Eyes are softly focused. Ears are tuned and receptive. Temperature noted on bare skin. Tummy's rumbling (anyone else ready for breakfast apart from the caterpillars?) Morning dew on grass, cool and moist under my feet.  Light perfume whiff from the purple petunias (who knew?). THE SMELL OF SUNSHINE. 

Yawning in between sips of tea, I observe how the flowers, the weeds and all the wildlife around me playfully shake off the night's rest from their perfect little bodies and stretch out in all their glory, rising to the rays  of the new morning sun. I crouch over them, feeling, listening and tending to their every need. Day after day after day. There is so much abundance here, in my tiny little garden. Such blessings. This is yoga.

Wake up world. 

I had to thin out some painted poppy (Papaver Somniferum) and Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) that are doing really rather well in this climate. My brother got me these seeds from a wonderful organic family farm called Green Journey Seeds, in Lane County Oregon. All organically grown flowers, edibles and medicinals and they have the sweetest motto: 'Peace is Growing'. Indeed it is 

My teachers of course had the difficult job of watching over my every move. You know, to make sure I was doing it right.