Curling and Other

curling 3

How much do I know about curling? No, not the kind that requires tortuous hair preparation or a snarl of the lips. I’m talking about the sport that is now in the Winter Olympics with all the national pride that engenders. I’m vaguely aware of the rules and certainly know that in the last century up at the top of our hill there was a pond which froze over every year, providing  and opportunities for local kids to indulge in a game which involved sliding a stone over the ice, regulated by ordinary household sweeping brushes. I think.

Wikipedia says:

“Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric rings. It is related to bowls, boules and shuffleboard. Two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones, also called rocks, across the ice curling sheet towards the house, a circular target marked on the ice.[2] Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.

The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. A great deal of strategy and teamwork go into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve. This gives curling its nickname of “chess on ice”.[3][4]

I do know that 70% of the world’s  curling stones are quarried at Ailsa Craig, the volcanic plug which forms an island halfway between Southern Scotland and Northern Island. The sport definitely has its origins in Scotland, but it’s amazing to see how teams from Scandinavia and Canada and other countries have adapted it. Maybe the next step is the Jamaican Curling Team!

I love the proficiency of Olympic athletes, regardless of medals and countries. I always feel a small regret that I didn’t keep up my swimming when I could, but I don’t think curling would have ever been my area of expertise.

So we accept our limitations, appreciate the skills of the competitors and feel glad that we’re competing over athletics, instead of being at war.

I’m off to hospital again tomorrow for some minor adjustments which will contribute to well-being. And that can only be a good thing.

Meanwhile I can appreciate the fact that I am warm and watching the Olympics all the way from Russia and as Scarlett O’Hara was wont to say, “Tomorrow is another day”.

 

Getting Back to Blogging

I really did intend to start blogging again after Christmas and then events in the shape of a leg infection which meant nearly two weeks in hospital, including a few days in the Edinburgh Royal, literally stopped me in my tracks.One good result of my trip to Edinburgh were the results of various tests which show slow healing in my body or a least no deterioration. This makes me want to do what I can to promote the healing after years of alcohol abuse. Of course such healing is not just physical but psychological and spiritual. I believe the spiritual to be most important.

Since I came home a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been catching up with reading, produced one small weaving called “Tangled Up in Blue” inspired by Bob Dylan’s song.

Tangled up in Blue 21

One reason I find it so hard to write at the moment is that the publication date for my weaving book is getting closer. I’d like to have that done and dusted before I can empty my head completely and start another book.

In the meantime I’m taking notes, shifting ideas, journalling and sketching, swirling it all together to see what come out.  Best of all, I’ve been exchanging emails with an old friend (as in former) who has come back into my life after 50 years. We live 4614 miles apart but there is no distance in the way we think and I am so grateful for this contact at this point in time.

Meanwhile life on Arran is in its usual winter mode, with ferry cancellations, no newspapers and everyday plans tossed on their head. I’m not sure why it always comes as a surprise that the winter takes hold and dominates from time to time. After living here for 40 years I’m finally learning that if the wind does howl and the cold penetrates to the bone, it’s time to appreciate my cosy flat and watch it all unfolding outside the window.

This week it was warm enough to spend a little while out in the garden, photographing the plants and flowers as they are now. Most of them have survived the winter winds and I look forward to the days when the sun comes back and the flowers like this cyclamen bring their colour back again.

Cyclamen1

The Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn, in his discussions on mindfulness, shares that when outside he is mindful of how plant life contain the sun and rain in them – regardless of whether it is sunny or rainy. He  says he sees the sun’s rays and the moisture from the rain in the leaves of plants and trees.

A beautiful way of interpreting the potential of every plant.

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