Now that we are approaching the lightest part of the year (how I don't know, honestly it is only a couple of weeks since Christmas isn't it?!), lots of us are taking to the great outdoors...
We have had a glorious prelude to summer (oh please let it be a good one!) and along with millions of others, I have 'casted my clouts, before May be out'.
The summer clothes came down from the loft a lot earlier than usual and I then went through the annual process of sporting out which of them were still worth keeping and/or wearing. Rather scarily, I am disposing of an awful lot this year, helped along by my daughter, who at the ripe old age of 14, has decided she ought to move on from wearing stuff for 11-12 year olds!
Anyway, I am desperate to get out and up on the downs...
There are places up there where I can sit and forget everything except the sun and wind on my face, the sound of the breeze through the leaves and grasses, and the glitter of the Solent away to the south.
I feel a very strong link to my ancestors up there; I can never prove that I was from here in the far far distant past, not prove with documents, and family trees... But I know that I was.
Every time that I drive up and down the A3 past Clanfield, I feel that pull...that sense of belonging somewhere. A few years ago, we did some research into our family history and discovered that our children, by a random stroke of fate, had ended up attending the same school as their great great grandmother...sitting in exactly the same classrooms as she did.
It's a very strange thought...
They attended Buriton Primary School, a delightful village school in the heart of the downs; the village has a wonderful and ancient church...my forebears are in the churchyard, something I had no idea of during the 16 years of attending school nativity plays!
Buriton used to be a major stopping off point on the way from London to Portsmouth; Henry VIII would have passed through on his way to review the fleet...
Nowadays it is a sleepy village, just off the A3 Dual Carriageway, 2 pubs, no shop.
If you go up Kiln Lane from the crossroads by the Master Robert, you can turn left and enter the recreation ground through a gate set into the hedge.
I highly recommend it, you are greeted with the most wonderful scene; the smooth green of the recreation ground, complete with cricket pitch; the Victorian school buildings on one side,,,and the tree covered downs rising up on the other. The effect is of being in a vast amphitheatre, or bowl; for me it is quintessentially English.
In the Village Hall car park, also next to the recreation ground, is my favourite Horse Chestnut tree; it is no exaggeration when I say that I have had thousands of conkers from that tree!
I have rambled away from my point here-sorry-which was to say that if you are hoping to get closer to that sense of connection to the Divine Spirit, to your Guardian Angels, to Mother Nature...then you need to get outside!
It doesn't matter if you live in an urban area; I know I am incredibly lucky to have the downs and the sea on my doorstep; what matters is that you take yourself outside.
Take off your shoes and feel the ground beneath your feet; feel that connection to the earth.
Lay down and spend some time watching the clouds passing overhead; have you ever really watched the ever changing skies...it is beautiful...
If you have a really special place, somewhere really personal to you, then go and sit with your eyes closed; take some deap and slow breaths, in through the nose, and out through the mouth...
Ask for your Guardian Angels to come close, to keep you and yours safe; ask them whatever you want! when we are outside, it is easier for them to hear us.
In a couple of weeks we are going on holiday, to Cornwall. we did not manage to get there last year and I cannot wait...
We will drive down the hill into Padstow and it will feel like coming home; a different home, a home from home...
I have special places there too; I am looking forward to reconnecting with those places, spending time in St. Georges Cove/Bay flying the big kite, building labyrinths in the sand.
All the different types of sand...
Soft Pillow sand
...ask my daughter!
I really am rambling now, and I haven't even had a drink!