Daily Archives: September 2, 2015

Calen’s Sandbox Challenge Week 4

This week, in the sandbox challenge, Calen says:

Tell us a little bit about:
a) what relaxes you, and
b) what brings you pleasure

So, what relaxes me?

I have been staring out of my living room window at the sunset, racking my brains for an answer to this question. For a moment I thought that this activity may be a form of relaxation, but I realise it isn’t. When I look out of my window I’m always focusing on my writing – looking for the right word or idea, as if it will drop out f the sky – and usually it does, making me able to return to my laptop and carry on tapping at my keyboard.

I rarely relax – I hardly know how to. There was a time when lying on the floor, listening to The Planets, by Gustav Holst did the trick. When I meditated regularly that relaxed me, but these days I forget to make time to simply be.

What relaxes me?


  1. Watching movies late at night with my son, but we’re unlikely to do that again for a while, if ever.
  2. Thinking of a man I haven’t even set eyes on for over 15 years. I curl up on my side in bed, and imagine conversations we could have if we were to meet, and then I drift gently to sleep.
  3. Cocoa, to a limited extent.
  4. Reading.
  5. There isn’t a 5…

What brings me pleasure?


Before last weekend this list would have been longer, but it’s still respectable.

  1. My family – most of them.
  2. Seeing my sister happy and relaxed, and feeling confident that her happiness is set to continue.
  3. Writing.
  4. Good comedy, and lots of it. Laughing until it hurts.
  5. Gardening, playing scrabble and laughing with a special friend.
  6. Rollercaoster rides – especially vertical drops.
  7. Living alone.
  8. Any cat
  9. Idle chat
  10. My flat
  11. Bees.
  12. Cheese
  13. Flowers and Trees
  14. Reading
  15. Working as a volunteer in Oxfam
  16. Quality drawing paper and a 1B pencil
  17. Carpentry tools
  18. The smell of wood
  19. Using essential oils
  20. Spring mornings
  21. Summer evenings
  22. Autumn leaves
  23. Snowdrops telling me winter will not last forever.
  24. Primroses repeating the promise
  25. Being surrounded by pure, clean plant fragrances
  26. “Lush” products
  27. Beautiful fabrics
  28. Eating in good company
  29. Silence
  30. Listening to Leonard Cohen, John Otway, Tracy Chapman, The Pogues, Radiohead…
  31. Looking at my jugs – yes, my jugs – made of china and clay.

That will do for now…

©Jane Paterson Basil



harvest past, the fiery globe of setting sun
paints autumn shades on dying leaves
stripped of chlorophyl
they unclip from trees
their useful season spent

sinking in final spiral dance
shimmering in precious metal hue
they land to papery stillness
rustled only by rippling wind until
wrapped in wool against skin-thick chill
children come, giggling and kicking up a
burnished whirlwind
as they play
their temporal innocence untinged
by insidious truths of death and decay

birds synchronise their flight
making changing patterns in the sky
preparing a take a trip on tired wings
and visit kinder climes

wild creatures prepare hibernatory nests
for a safe escape from winter
summer’s abundance is stockpiled in these hidden dens

the weakest will slip too deeply beyond coma
and into death

bees weaken
become ill, limiting their ability to fly
falling from heights
they crawl staggering on the ground
while I sadly wonder if they know
their time has come to die

fruit has been plumped and ripened by sun and rain
harvested, eaten or stored for the days of
nature’s freezing sleep
flowers have shed their petals, their seeds
have ripened and taken a chance with the breeze
trusting it to drive them to fertile soil to take their space
in this crazy, spinning, living, multi coloured place

I close my window in the evening
I shiver as I pile a thicker quilt on my bed
sip comforting cocoa
and think of the sweet awakening of spring

Written for Esther Newton’s weekly challenge.

©Jane Paterson Basil