The Moodscope Blog



Write it Out, Get it Out

Wednesday May 18, 2022

These days, I’m sober – you can read about my journey to sobriety in my blog of 2nd February this year – but I still belong to a Facebook group for those who want to quit. I hope I can give those struggling hope and some helpful advice from one year, three months and 15 days of sobriety.

Last night, one woman wrote a very long post. She has a stressful job, and everything had gone wrong yesterday; she is in the middle of construction on her house and came home to find the contractors had made a big mistake in the work; the hardest thing was dealing with the news from her husband’s doctor: her husband has a serious heart condition and could suffer a fatal heart attack at any time.

She wrote that she has no support group and that, newly sober, she was fighting the desire to drink – to make it all go away for a while.

I saw her post just a few minutes after it went up. She had already received several supporting comments. Her reply to the first was illuminating. She said, “Thank you so much; I already feel better for just getting it all out.”

They say a trouble shared is a trouble halved. I’m not quite sure about that, but certainly women in particular process emotion by talking about it. I process emotion by writing. Either way, it is putting into words our feelings. Once defined by words, the feelings seem to have less power to distress us.

When I attended a recent workshop entitled “Overwhelm,” we were encouraged to get the overwhelm out of our heads on onto paper. Once all our concerns are written down, they become much easier to manage.

As I write this, I am sitting at the kitchen counter in my parents-in-law’s house, which we are selling. I’m at the kitchen counter because there is nowhere else to sit: all the tables have been taken away by a charity. The men from the charity are here now, loading up the white goods and the rest of the furniture they think they can sell. Now begins the mammoth task of cleaning. The only way to deal with this immense project is by writing down all the tasks and creating lists. And lists. And – sigh – more lists.

Once everything is down on paper, it suddenly seems more manageable. Once all the stresses of one’s day and life are written out, they stop churning around in one’s mind like squirrels in a cage.

Most of you already know that I live my life by lists; it’s the only way I can cope.

Do you find it helps to get it all out, or do the thoughts, emotions and overwhelm plague you even more for being written down in black and white?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



A nice day out

Tuesday May 17, 2022

It’s that time of year when fetes and festivals are taking place. I was disappointed  that the 2- day Peace Festival in nearby Leamington Spa is cancelled this year. It  started in 1977, and for years I had a stand. It was lots of fun, attracting visitors worldwide. I had one of the best vegan meals ever, provided free  by the Hari Krishnas, made lovely friends with the Baha’i , and even had proposals of marriage from various stoners and oddballs.
Like any event, there would sometimes be trouble. One year a visitor lost his pet ferret.
I ran the Anti-Vivisection stand, but for some reason he was convinced I had stolen his pet  to experiment on it. Things got nasty and “security” (middle-aged hippies in yoga pants) had to ask him to leave. Thankfully the ferret was found safe.
Another big favourite was the Festival of Mind Body and Spirit held at Olympia for many years since 1977. I was on a couple of stands, but took time to enjoy all that was on offer. I jumped at the chance to attend a Tibetan tea ceremony. First we had  a performance of Tibetan throat singing, interesting but not something I ever want to repeat. Then came the ceremony. This involved giving the monk 50p or whatever, and he gave me a cup of builder’s tea. I was not exactly hoping for rancid Yak’s milk you understand, but I felt cheated.
My favourite year was when God took a stand .There was a T.V.monitor screen, and at regular intervals God put in an appearance. There was a lot of static so it was hard to get a good look at him, but he is indeed bearded with a very loud voice. Our friends across the pond can be reassured to know that God is  actually American. Fancy that.
I don’t do holidays any more, but I do like a nice day out. Our nearest city  holds an annual big festival. It’s not our favourite place, we’ve never attended. Last summer, desperate for a change, we decided to  go. The information online spoke of craft stalls, street food, real ale, music and jollity.
“Let’s get the bus” I said to Spock.He likes craft beers, and looked forward to sampling a few.I decided not to buy anything for supper, we could bring home some tasty treats, yummy pastries.
Months of lockdown had me  feeling drab. Out came the long peasant dress never worn, earrings that made my healed-up ears bleed, purple finger and toe nails, enough  musk and patchouli oil to make the house smell like a Chinese brothel. Not to be outdone, Spock got out his shirt bought in Brighton, black with  Chinese Cranes all over it. Fine feathers make fine birds I said, as we hopped on the bus.
We decided to eat first “to soak up the beer”. There was a fairground, but  we went in search of the festival. A young man gave a lovely rendition of Knocking on Heavens Door on one stage, so we planned to return. Looking around, we were clearly old enough to be the parents, not to say grand-parents, of all around. We heard comments about our clothes, which I decided not to take as sarcasm.
Plastic pizzas, hot dogs, slimy burgers, typical fairground food, but no ethnic street food. Then a sign “Authentic Himalayan Cooking”. Now you’re talking. Two big troughs. One chicken curry, the other chickpeas in watery sauce. We opted for the latter, which came with a slab of rice and half an iceberg lettuce. Is that a thing in Tibet?
“This looks vile” said Spock, as we tried to find our young singer.
He had gone, replaced by girls doing an aerobic dance routine, with flashing lasers. I am a migraine person, but I thought it might cheer Spock up, seeing young ladies in little gym skirts leaping around. He’s the sort of chap who blushes and smirks when we see lady joggers whose support bras are inadequate to the task. He was not impressed.
The Country Crafts was one poor wretch, dressed as a leprechaun for reasons best known to himself. He sat glumly whittling some canework. The children’s entertainment was a bunch of eejits dressed as pirates, running around shouting, scaring little kids and irritating  everyone else.
“Let’s find the beer tent” I said gamely. Eventually we found it, one beer on tap. Spock went over, came back “I’m not paying eight pounds for a pint of cat piss” They had some fizzy cider, but I felt quite bloated.
And so it was that we were back on the bus an hour after arriving. The journey back was tense, my guts gurgling  alarmingly. Back home we retired to our rooms. I hung up my finery, and slipped into some pj bottoms. Lying on the bed, depressed and flatulent, I could just about see my purple toenails peeping over the bulge of my swollen belly.
What a lousy day. We set ourselves a modest plan, and failed. Later Spock called out “Shall I get us something to eat, beans on toast maybe? “ He is a card.
Have you had a holiday or trip, and wished you had stayed at home? Do tell.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Stroke of Luck

Monday May 16, 2022

Time is a one-way-street with many thousands of junctions.
There’s no going back, no matter how much we would love that.
Put another way, there’s only going forwards!
That sounds far more positive, doesn’t it?

I write this a week on from a Stroke. We in the household both marked the week-since-it-happened-point with some concern, but I’m still here. Not that we’re being flippant about that. We’ve reached a junction – a multiple-junction with many choices other than going back.

You and I have heard folks talk about Life’s ‘wake-up-calls’. For so many of us, we need something dramatic to shake us out of our trance. For some, it is the loss of a loved-one. For others, an escape from death. For still others, it comes in the shape of other losses – loss of a job, a faculty, a home, a relationship. Funny how it rarely seems to be a nice wake-up-call… unless you count lovely big birthdays or births, weddings, and retirement!

Additionally, you and I have probably heard motivational speakers share how it’s best not to wait for a wake-up-call before you take massive action or even choose a tiny life change. Truth is, people like me need a catalyst for change. People like me need a bit of stick… a fright, otherwise we fight change.

So, I’m not going to say, “Don’t wait for something dramatic to happen to you before you choose change.” Instead, I’m going to invite your imagination to dance into possible futures with me – our possible futures.

The dance begins with three gentle questions.

Who would you like to spend more time with?
What would you like to do more of?
What’s stopping you?

My hope is that you’ll catch the scent of new possibilities in your answers to these questions. My wish is that you find the courage to pursue some of those possibilities. And if you’re not ready for that yet, my desire is that you enjoy today and some of the day’s normal delights at a new level of appreciation. With a stroke of luck, it will be a good day.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Breaking the rules!

Sunday May 15, 2022

Once upon a time, four days in to a brand new job, I was put into a boardroom and visited, to be talked to, throughout the day by each member of senior management (including one woman).  I probably could have left the room but I was in my early twenties and very respectful of anybody older than me - I’d been put there, so there I stayed. 

I was taken out at lunchtime where I had lunch alone in the small canteen. I was aware of the canteen quietening as I entered. It was my fourth and last day in the job. I had dared to wear a trouser suit to work (which I had also worn to one of my two interviews). Apparently the women there, and in the related businesses, didn’t do that. I was sent home to “consider my next move”.

The phone call came on the Sunday evening and I think I was probably meant to pledge allegiance to the skirt forever. Instead, I told them that their behaviour was bizarre.  He didn’t like that word and had a little splutter. Being on a three month trial, I knew I’d never have a chance of a legal case, simply no proof. But I like to think that some of the whispering at lunch was other women wishing me well even if they didn’t approach me. And I like to think that their female lawyer was on my side when she gave me a cheque for 3 months salary and didn’t chase me up for the signed letter, which said I’d never discuss my ‘employment’ with them.  Appalling behaviour for 1996.

Anyway, today I’m talking about rules. We all have our own set of individual ‘rules’. And I’d encourage you to think about what you do, automatically, on a daily basis that follows a rule you have in place for yourself. Does it help or hinder? I’m wondering how many of us are on autopilot, doing things because we always have. And I’m wondering if they are keeping us on track or we are perhaps needing to burst the binding and hit the start button. Could it be you’re ready to start again? Your way.  

Let’s do Sunday our way.  

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



You Left Me Alone To Die!

Saturday May 14, 2022

You left me alone to die
And Oh Lord did I cry?
You left me alone to die
But I did not die, I thrived!
I built myself a better life
That is wholesome, loyal and true
I did it myself and I am so proud
And I built it without you!
I am a great survivor
At least that much is true
How would you walk in my shoes?
What the hell would you do?
The void of your loss still pains me
I guess it always will
My thoughts and brain sometimes wander
I try to keep them still
Late at night when I am working
My music gets me through
Your songs come on the radio
It is then I think of you
I will always love you
Though I know you don’t love me
What does the future hold
 None of us can see
This is not a cry for help
And there are no reasons why
I will always miss you
Yet you left me alone to die!
A Moodscope member.



Can you recommend…?

Friday May 13, 2022

How many times has someone asked you to recommend a movie, a book, somewhere to stay, a café, a washing machine etc. It could be anything from clothes to cars, cosmetics to lawyers, trades people to counsellors. The list is so long.

I have a problem in advising someone as I may like the book or the café but what right do I have to assume another person has my taste. I have often been told to read something, watch a movie, or go to an exhibition which I have not liked at all.

There is now a whole generation that won’t eat, fly, stay, read or go out without consulting trip advisor or influencers on Instagram. I remember a few years ago going to dinner with a young relative who not only checked ahead the café we were eating at but once there she looked up each meal to see the ones that had the best reviews. I wonder will there be a time where only a few will dare to read a book that has not been recommended or reviewed or stay at a place not with 5 stars on trip advisor.

I have asked when I have moved to a new place about understanding doctors. I know people who are confident in advising others how to dress, where to eat, how to heal but for me who is often on the receiving end of often unasked for advice, I find their confidence somewhat unwelcome.

I am interested can you tell me if you are the person who feels self-assured enough to recommend books etc to others, why you want to share your advice with others? What is the strangest thing someone has recommended to you?

Are you a person who often asks others for recommendations, does it help you make a decision? Are you concerned that as a society we wont do anything unless someone has recommended, what are you concerned about?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Don’t make me laugh!

Thursday May 12, 2022

I have cracked or broken my ribs three or four times. The doctor checks nothing vital is pierced, gives you a prescription for pain-killers, then adds ‘Don’t let people make you laugh’. Add to that coughing, hiccups or sneezing. With the latter, if you don’t cling on to something you end up like Tom in the Tom and Jerry cartoons, in bits on the floor after hitting a wall.

If I had a script writer and a stuntman/woman while I was away at Easter we could have produced a (very unfunny in fact) farce. I arrived at my ‘bolt hole’ ready for a bit of spoiling, good food and people to talk to. At my arrival, about 4 p.m. I was told they were basically ‘shut’. No kitchen, Covid, so no restaurant, scratch meals on trays in rooms. All to wear masks all the time. Some cases of Covid among residents, others too scared to leave their rooms. All spectral – I decided to stay put, no choice then, my house shut, no food. I went to park my car, with the tele-command for the automatic gate. It did not work. Bystanders directed traffic while I tried to attract attention – a cleaner eventually let me in. Disappointed, frustrated, hungry and thirsty I hoped for the usual coffee and biscuits. No way. One person on duty, temporary. A lift was out of order – she had stuck a ‘post-it’ on the doors of the entrance hall but had not managed to get upstairs. An elderly lady got in at the third floor then could not get out at the bottom. 45 minutes to release her. I would have been screaming hysterically, and they could not have fed a hypodermic syringe through the doors. I got to my room – beautifully sunny, thought longingly of my garden. Waited for my exciting supper and a glass of wine. Nobody had told the skeleton kitchen staff I was there! So this same lady had to dash round to find me something to eat.

On actually laughing. I can still fall about at the car chase in ‘What’s Up Doc’, with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neill? It’s still beautifully timed. They are escaping vengeance, steal an ice-cream vendor’s bicycle, then go through a Chinese dragon procession. This is in San Francisco, the police and a mad Texan join in, and all end up in the harbour.

My husband’s first boss nearly needed First Aid at the circus – custard pie throwing had him in what is called ‘fits’ of laughter. A friend of a grand-daughter, at the pantomime, had to be restrained at the first ‘He’s behind you’. I accidentally backed my first horse, with a very large rear, through a rather dilapidated greenhouse, demolishing it. I could not stop laughing, whilst stuttering ‘I’m sorry’. It was the custard pie addict’s greenhouse, who asked how I looked when I was sorry.

Do you have anything which ‘crack’s you up’? Do you, or a close friend or family member, have a loud or silly laugh which you try to control?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.




Wednesday May 11, 2022

My ex-husband is good at presents. Somehow, he knows exactly the right gift for the right person at the right time. When we were married, I always felt totally inadequate that I never knew what to get him for Christmases and birthdays.

Moving on, Himself is not good at presents and would be the first to admit it. He prefers me to tell him exactly what I would like for my birthday, preferably with a link to the appropriate website so he can just click a button and it arrives. This is better; much better.

This year, I had only one thing on my list, an ultra-sonic jewellery cleaner, which was duly presented to me last Thursday, somewhat inexpertly wrapped, but with great love.

It’s not a large machine – about the size of a rounded brick. You fill it with water, add one drop of detergent, place your jewellery in the basket, close the lid and set it going. In just three minutes, the tiny vibrations in the water dislodge all the dirt and grime, leaving your rings, necklaces, and earrings all gleaming; just as they were when you first bought them.

The satisfaction of seeing that pristine shine is out of all proportion to the size of the task; possibly because it seems like magic! If I were to clean them by hand, it would take forever to get into all the tiny places and fastenings with a toothbrush and to polish the metal and stones. This little machine does it in a fraction of the time.

One special piece I’m delighted to be able to wear again is a necklace in the shape of a butterfly, made of polished turquoise, with curled copper antennae. I love it, but the stones had become dull and the copper grimy. It is now restored to a thing of beauty, and I can wear again it with pleasure.

That cleaning was a small thing. I have committed to a bigger project later this month. My elder daughter comes home from university, and she is concerned her eczema will flare up while she is here, as she is allergic to our cat. When she lived here full-time, it was only a minor problem, but now her skin is used to not being irritated, it will react to him once more.

I’m not going to get rid of Sparty, but I can deep clean to get rid of cat hair and dander. This is sadly not something my ultra-sonic cleaner can handle in three minutes, but I know I will be happier once the house is as squeaky-clean as my turquoise butterfly necklace.

I also know I can’t do it all at once: I don’t have the energy. I shall do thirty minutes at a time; vacuuming, moving furniture and wiping down everything with a damp cloth. Then I’ll move on and do something else.

The pleasure and satisfaction of clean will be wonderful, however. And, hopefully, my daughter’s skin will stay clear.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



As our exhibition of art proceeded, I took my turn to be on duty, and did a 3 hour shift on Sales. It was a complicated procedure, with 2 receipt books, 2 lists, and a new card machine, plus 2 cash boxes, one for cash payments on cards, one for cash payments on paintings. You had to address the task , be on top of it in front of the buying customer, and record every detail asked for. The number of the painting, the name of the painter… you get the idea. 

Now I am not known for my dexterity and organisation, and started to notice a sprinkling of jokes at my expense creeping in. I thought “ Hang on, they’re poo-pooing my lack of skill in a certain area.  Internally, I started to defend myself. I was new to this, it was hard to keep on track, I’d get it right in time. And then I reasoned : Why am I taking this ? Why berate someone who is trying but having a degree of dyslexia can’t score 100%? So I started to congratulate myself when there was no hitch, and rise above the comments. 

Now I like to think that I’m a kind person and so I wouldn’t dream of doing the same back, that is, being unkind at someone’s less than perfect performance on, say, form filling.  So I got to the point on that shift where I was congratulating myself for newly acquired skills, having had no prior training and the thought came to me : I am not apologising for being me. And I’d advise you all to do the same. Stand tall. Let no one stand in judgment over you, your skills, or perceived lack of them!

Oh, and in the midst of all this I sold one of my own paintings. And then another. These small successes give me the impetus to keep on painting with renewed determination and fervour! 

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.




Monday May 9, 2022

A ‘lucky-so-and-so’ was once a ‘not-so-lucky-so-and-so’ – an ‘unlucky-so-and-so’.

A ‘successful’ person was once a ‘failure’ – however you choose to define both those ambiguous terms.

Ultra-positive psychologists would argue that success begins in the heart, so a truly successful person is always a success, was always a success regardless of circumstances that confirm or deny this. I’m not so sure.

In fact, if my dream was to be an inventor, I’d probably invent ‘The Infinite Cynical Drive’!

Returning to the ‘lucky so-and-so-with-a-dream’, we know that their dream and resolve would have been tested time-and-time again. My friend has recently lost his sister. His belief is that the Universe tests us all – making us better people. The Infinite Cynical Drive in me doesn’t believe that but it is a belief that is helping him. The ‘lucky-so-and-so’ would once have been the ‘tested-time-and-time-again-so-and-so’. Setbacks are the precursor to success.

There’s a fault, however, with my Infinite Cynical Drive. It doesn’t help me much. It may be a protection against more disappointment. When I run it, it provides me with many chances to prove that the cynical way is correct! It’s self-enhancing! Let’s turn it off for today’s blog and return to the liberating thought of ‘once’.

Today is your ‘Once’.

It may be a happy, successful, wealthy, joyful, healthy, meaningful ‘Once’. If so, “Hurray!” Or is may be otherwise. What it is most certainly is is a ‘once’ – a moment in time en route to another moment in time. If you’re being tested, you can pass the test and the test will pass. Pass or fail, the test will pass.

I return to one of my favourite questions: “What would I rather have than this?” That’s easy to answer: “A good night’s sleep, more cashflow, more space, more health, more joy, more satisfaction…” It’s a long list because I know I don’t want ‘this’ where I am at the moment.

And there’s the second powerful word of the day: ‘moment’. Today is a ‘once’. Today is a ‘moment’. If I set a new direction towards what I’d rather have, I can say, “Once I used to sleep poorly…” “Once I didn’t have enough to make ends meet…” “Once I lived in chaos and mess…” You get the idea.

Let’s set our attention on what we’d rather have, and then play the ‘Once’ card for every moment that threatens to pull us down into cynicism. Then perhaps I can invent The Infinite Forwards Momentum Drive!

A moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Have you noticed how often we are told what to do?  When we explain something in our lives, whether it be a good thing or a problem, we are often met with responses like “You should…” and an explanation of what that person thinks would be good and effective. This is great if you have asked for support or advice, or if it is from a good friend who understands you (I get lots of support on here and it’s none of you I’m referring to). It’s not so great if you are simply having general conversation. It makes the difference between somebody who hears what you are saying and somebody who hears words and is formulating their response as you speak.  The former takes no energy, the latter depletes it.   
Yesterday, I knew I would encounter a lady who does something like this and much more.  (I had no choice; she was donating something for a collection I’m doing, and it was very kind of her.)  She asked me three questions and each time answered them for me. I had a little conversation with myself in my head as, for my own sanity, I counselled myself through it.  It was a funny situation and yet exhausting. Today I still feel it - 53 minutes of being spoken at. Like walking through a wind tunnel fighting to get out. 
I can’t complain (I just have!), she was being kind at the root. But I need to protect myself from this kind of behaviour. The right thing to do would have been to sweep in, announce I was in a terrible rush, and sweep away, but it makes me uncomfortable being somebody I’m not. And she is a force of nature. A tornado. I felt squashed against a wall as I tried to survive. 
Does this type of thing bring down your mental health? Overload you? Give you resentment? I suspect I need a new tool specifically for building resilience for these situations. My youngest daughter has a ring shaped like a little snake and over the last year, to help her deal with a toxic ‘friend’ at school, she would roll it around her finger to give herself just a little distance and remind her that the person is a snake. Maybe I need something like this. Ear defenders. Or maybe a bodyguard. Oh yes, a bodyguard.
Food for thought. 
Love from

The room above the gara

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



It’s all too beautiful

Saturday May 7, 2022

Today I am writing about pure unadulterated joy. It is beautiful. I am not joking (do I ever?).
If you are of a certain vintage you may remember a sixties song by the ‘Small Faces’ group called ‘Itchycoo Park’. A strange title but there was one phrase in the lyrics that was repeated several times. It was “It’s all too beautiful”.
This phrase came into my conscious thoughts earlier today.

As usual I set out on my early morning walk choosing to go on the route that includes both local waterways. It takes me close to both the local stream and canal. As I started the early spring sunshine forced its way through the high white clouds.
After about 5 minutes I was crossing the bridge over the babbling stream. I turned along the footpath running parallel with the stream about 12 feet away. At irregular intervals there are worn earthen paths leading from the footpath  to the waters edge. I decided to be brave and descended one of the steeper paths for the first time. When I arrived at the streams edge I was delighted. I could see both upstream and downstream. The flowing water followed a letter “S”  shape. I could clearly hear the rippling water. No other noise was audible. It was beautiful!
After scaling back up the slope to the footpath I ambled around the next corner and the canal came into view. I quickly saw 2 ducks swimming gracefully through the water. I wondered whether any ducklings would be nearby. And there they were! Three furry bundles scurrying around on the surface of the water. They could not have been more than 14 days old and looked so vulnerable. But mother duck was keeping a watchful eye from close by. It was beautiful!
Finally I returned home. I sat on the swinging seat in the back garden. I gazed across and my eyes alighted on the Acer tree about 10 feet away. It is really a large bush measuring around 6 feet wide and 5 feet in height. It’s crimson leaves shimmered in the morning sunlight, illuminating the surrounding area. It was beautiful!
It’s all too beautiful and I was filled with joy.
Have you had similar beautiful experiences?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Tick all the boxes

Friday May 6, 2022

There is a lifestyle show on tv that offers people a chance to look at real estate in the country, near the coast or in another country.

People have certain criteria they want, and many seem quite fussy and not prepared to compromise. They want a place that ticks all their boxes, and this is not always feasible in the location or on their budget.

Sometimes in life when making choices about places to live, jobs, and partners among other choices, one may have to leave a few boxes unticked or be prepared to choose something not on the list that they had not considered.

Years ago, I thought the ideal job for me would be a few days a week, local and would involve children. I would never have thought of owning and running my own shop 7 days a week, I am so glad I took the risk and tried it.

A friend told me she was looking for a partner that had a steady job, no children, lived nearby and no beard. She ended up in love with a bearded father of two who was a struggling artist. So far, she has been married for 30 years.

Why do many of us feel we must tick the boxes to be happy and are not prepared to take a chance on something different.

Can you tell me If you have had an experience where ticking the boxes worked for you?

If you took a chance and did not tick all the boxes how did that work for you?

A Moodscope member.

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The small things…

Thursday May 5, 2022

Today the small things matter. I had a cup of tea in bed… (something only available at weekends), I took the dog up to the Lickey Hills with a lovely view of Birmingham, I did the crossword in the sunshine and I planted spinach seeds in a tub. These are in stark contrast to the rest of my time: my Mum has just had a hip replacement, which has required a huge amount of care from myself and my sister. 

Easter holidays were dominated by this operation. I have seen my fiercely independent Mum become quite vulnerable and the stark contrast has been a challenge for me to take on board. But today I have a day off… and I am eating pizza made in the pizza oven my newly employed daughter bought for her Dad.

So what little thing has brightened your day?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Let them Go!

Wednesday May 4, 2022

For the last couple of weekends, my husband and I have been packing up books.

As I have mentioned before – so many times you must be tired of reading about it – my parents-in-law moved into care just before Christmas, and we are selling their house. Although my mother-in-law died a month ago, my father-in-law is still very much with us.

And he loves his books. He has over five thousand books. I don’t think there is a single room in the house without books. There are books on everything! There are books on gardening; on science; on philosophy. There are books on Chinese ceramics; on art; on world history and on wildlife. There are books of poetry and plays. There are novels ranging through Defoe; Jane Austen; Trollope; Dickens and up to the latest Booker prize-winner. He loves classic crime, and so there are shelves and shelves of Margery Allingham; Agatha Christie; Dorothy L Sayers and Ngaio Marsh. Inevitably, there are books about books. So far, I have not come across a book on books about books, but we have another four rooms to go, so I have not given up hope.

He has resigned himself to the loss of the house but has not resigned himself to the loss of his books. As he worked in the British Library and is an author himself, I suppose we should not be surprised.

We are therefore packing up books and transporting them to a storage unit near the care home. We hope, when he asks for “Chemical Elements and Their Compounds,” as he did last week, we can find it.

“Um – which bookcase is it in?”

“The back bedroom, left of the bed, bottom shelf, right hand side.”

We can go to that box, rummage through and find the book he wants. At least, that is the idea. There is no way we have time to catalogue them all.

Inevitably, this has caused some heart-searching for my husband and me. I think, with some apprehension, of my own book collection. I have just done a rough count and I have – gulp – well over three thousand books myself! In twenty or thirty years’ time, it will be our daughters who must dispose of my books and, indeed, all the other detritus of our lives.

We do intend to downsize – eventually – but this has made me think I should start the process of shedding my books – and other collections – sooner rather than later.

It will be as hard for me as for my Father-in-law. For those of us who love books, it seems they become a part of us. E-books are just not the same.

Maybe I could start with just one shelf?

But perhaps I’ll read a few of my father-in-law’s books first: I’ve never read the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott – and he has the whole collection.

Oops! I think I may be reading, rather than clearing; adding more books, rather than letting them go…

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



There’s a short animation on the BBC website about the difference between larks and owls; those early risers who bounce out of bed trilling against those who need an electronic cattle prod to get them up. Scientific research shows that owls have higher rates of depression and anxiety (me!) and less likely to marry (me again!).  Society is structured around early starts so being a minority owl is a bit of a handicap.

I’ve always been envious of larks and also bewildered. How can a person run a 5k, bake a cake and still be at their desks at 8am while I’m struggling to throw off the duvet. I once attempted to join a friend for a weekly 7 am swim which I only managed twice and it felt like torture. I would rather take out a high-interest loan for a midday flight than book a cheap ‘red-eye’ and catching the dawn chorus is a no-no.

It's only since retiring that I’ve come to fully appreciate my own body clock. I often wake with a big smile knowing I don’t have to force myself up for the commute to work. I take my time getting stuck into tasks at around 12 noon usually wrapping things up between 7 and 8pm.

But this isn’t the whole story because when I’m sliding into depression, or in the depths of it, I wake feeling utterly wretched, hopeless and desperate. Getting up is a major challenge. Even if I’ve gone to bed happy and contented I know there’s a chance I will wake up in the grimmest of moods. Despite knowing it will pass once the cortisol kicks in it takes all my willpower to rise.

A lifetime of this and I’m only just learning that this is my genetic chronotype and things aren’t likely to change. I’m a little old owl in a forest of smart larks and even though I do give a hoot I’m stuck with it.

What about you?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Blank Holiday

Monday May 2, 2022

Have you experienced the tyranny of the blank page? My strongest memory was of the need to write about my Summer Holiday Break when I returned from school. I think the teacher thought she was being kind – after all, there would be plenty to write about, wouldn’t there? I remember falling into deep friendship with the word ‘and’!

When you read this, it will be a Bank Holiday in the UK. I’ve had several ideas for an upbeat blog to share this week but the truth is, I think I’ve said it all before… I’ve been writing for Moodscope for a long time. In case you feel like you, too, have nothing to say, I wondered if you’d find this process interesting…

I remembered staring at a blank page, then I remembered the strategy we used to use with a jigsaw. We would start with the edges and the corners. My page has a ‘North’ and ‘South’, an ‘East’ and a ‘West’. These are interesting places to start with.

North is where I’m headed in life guided by my ‘true North’ values. In a word, this is ‘transformation’ for me through ‘new ideas’. My life’s quest has been to find better patterns of thinking to influence my behaviours and thus my results. Moodscope is a mine of good ideas.

My East and West are how I start and end the day respectively. Currently, coffee in the morning and Netflix with wine at night. I think I need to work on this! What’s your rhythm of the day? Can you share a better pattern?

In the South lie my roots – what I’m connected to: Moodscopers, family, friends, Nature – especially woods and water. The roots feed the fruits. If I don’t get enough time with my roots, my fruits fail.

What are your Norths, your Souths, your Easts, your Wests? I’m sure this creative exercise will work for you too.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



How do you do?  

Sunday May 1, 2022

Your comments on the ‘anxiety’ blog last Sunday were fascinating to me and I’ve re-read them throughout this week, absorbing them all. I never did reply to the comments last Sunday, I do apologise. That day I hosted for a charity I regularly hosted for before the pandemic. Afterward, I needed to clear and clean up, then practice good self-care before I exhausted myself.  
My anxiety levels were high in the lead up (all settled once I’d started), and yet it was a situation I’ve been in many times. I imagined I’d be able to simply roll it out. But we have all changed and for me to expect to click back into something was my failing. Why did I expect to feel the same? Two and a half years had passed! 
So, I will look at my anxiety with fresh eyes. I’ll take on board all your valuable experience, pointers and comments and I’ll try to welcome in this acquaintance in order that I might keep some control. If I resist, I cannot win. Instead, I’ll become wiser and show it where it can sit.  Thank you for helping. 
Sending best to you from

Me in the room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.



Maybe it’s in my make up

Saturday April 30, 2022

No, I don’t mean mascara or lipstick - the last time I wore those was when my daughter got married in 2008.

I mean, that which makes me ‘me’.  I suppose each of us is on some sort of spectrum and entirely different in what makes us tick.

It took over 30 years for my married daughter to get a diagnosis of autism, though she always felt ‘different’.  Now I can recognise some of myself in her. A tendency to personal clutter, but a compulsion to pick up litter. Needing quiet space away from the children (don’t we all?). Relaxed with people who know me and reticent in a larger group.

What I think I have a problem with, is being able to look inside myself and understand what I am feeling. Most of the time I score a 0 on all the blue Moodscope cards, they don’t seem to have labels that I am experiencing. I am able to recognise a bit better when I am anxious, as I bite my lip - sometimes till it is sore. 

When I had some horrid news last year I lowered the score on the red cards and ticked 1 or even 2 on the blue cards - feeling ‘sad and troubled’ or ‘jittery’.

I still can’t make out if I am avoiding experiencing my feelings or if I just don’t feel the way that others seem to me.

I seem to have come to the end of what I composed to write. Talking of composed, I think that maybe I have not been overwhelmed with grief at times of bereavement, because I had family members who needed my support. Then when life had moved on, the moment for personal grieving seemed to have passed and I just had to get on with day to day life. I wonder if this makes sense to anyone out there?

Wishing you all well.

Another Sally xx
A Moodscope member.

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Are your emotions in control?

Friday April 29, 2022

Do you ever feel like me that your emotions have a mind of their own?

I would like to not be always reacting emotionally to things external to me. I think it is healthy to display emotions, but I notice there are those who seem to be able to manage their responses better than others.

I read an article that explained there are habits to help you manage awkward situations and difficult emotions.

Metacognition means thinking about your thinking. For over-thinkers like me it’s something we do a lot but sometimes with little self-awareness. It is the ability to examine objectively things including emotions, values, moods, anticipations, thoughts self-talk.

There are times we when we just react impulsively without thinking things through clearly. The following has happened to me, can you relate?

- Someone you know seems to ignore you when you say hello, so you feel sad.
- Someone on a forum on the internet, not this one, misinterprets your comment and criticises you so you spiral down for the rest of day
- A memory that hurts from the past drags you back into a dark place full of regrets and guilt.

The more we disregard our brain the more our actions become responses rather than choices. This may lead to the following:

- If you automatically think the worst of a situation, you may be nervous a lot.
- If you automatically criticise someone when they complain about you, you feel anger or guilt.
- If you, like me, turn negative situations into self-blame you will feel guilty and have little self-esteem.
The aim is that you can change by giving yourself some time so you have the chance to respond deliberately and intentionally.

I wonder if there has been a time you have responded and behaved impulsively and later wished you had acted differently. Can you tell us about the experience? Can you explain about the time when you stopped and thought to stop behaving like you normally would?

Maybe you are happy reacting the way you do and you do not get upset when people upset you and you feel in control of your emotions. Could you share what works for you?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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