The Moodscope Blog



Another world

Thursday January 7, 2021

The past few weeks I have been immersing myself in another world of grand castles, proud nobility, incredible extravagance and people who served them. Yes, I discovered Downton Abbey. There is something when reality is too harsh to immerse yourself in another world and why not a world of jewels, evening gowns and amazing meals served with crystal and silverware.

It was just what I needed to stop my mind over thinking. I think not have to worry, but being able to watch and just be an observer helped me remain calm.

I was wondering how many people use series that show a different world either in a different time, or place, or culture to just escape somewhere else. There may be people who like science fiction or fantasy, or maybe old black and white movies. You may have a go to book or author that helps you live in another world or place.

I wonder what it is about watching a series about people whose lives are so different to one’s own. Is It that while the characters stories may be different to ours there are still themes of being yourself, daring to be different and following one’s dreams.

Of course, some Moodscopers may escape with more literary works, poetry, plays, large books like War and Peace or Ulysses.

Whatever you choose book, movie, a series, television, even a painting it does not matter. So, let me know what you choose when you need a break from the reality of your life.

If you do not can you explain why it does not help you?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Easy Does It

Wednesday January 6, 2021

There are wonderful times when the depression lifts.

I hope, for you too, depression is not a permanent state – although I know for many it is long term and can seem like a whole-life prison sentence without reprieve.

I’m lucky in that respect. My bipolar disorder means although I am unlikely ever to be free of these periods of depression, they are intermittent and these days, thanks to medication, less frequent and of shorter duration than formerly.

I came out of this one on 28th December; it lasted 24 days and seemed like forever. While it lasted, it was completely incapacitating. My husband and children shopped, cooked and cleaned while I wandered around in a fog and forgot everything they told me within ten minutes. I tried to carry on working, but it was impossible, and I had to write to my clients explaining I was ill and would not be available until further notice.

But it lifted. On 28th December I awoke clear-headed; the fog had gone. My body was my own again. Suddenly, I could feel my fingertips at the end of my arms - which were of normal length. I wanted to jump and laugh and celebrate. But I couldn’t, because my legs were still wobbly. The energy levels are taking a while to catch up.

It is frustrating because, of course; all the tasks I wanted to do in December are still there; they haven’t gone away. The difference is that now I can see them again, without the fog, and I’m feeling overwhelmed. Quite frankly, it’s depressing!

I texted a friend about this. “So much has been neglected while I have been ill,” I said.

“Not neglected,” she replied. “Reprioritised, and rightly so.

“You must recover fully,” she continued. “It’s important to get your foundations strengthened first.”

She’s right. If it had been the ‘flu, or covid, I would not expect to bounce back immediately; I would take it slowly and give myself time to recuperate. I might take a measured return to work: part time to begin with. I might sit down and read a book with the cat on my lap. I would not berate myself for taking the time to convalesce.

So often we, who might know better, still refuse to treat our depression as a real illness. We think of it as being only mental and emotional, and do not appreciate the full effect it has on the body. Depression is often physical as well as mental and emotional: it is a whole-body illness.

So, let’s be gentle on ourselves. I know this is easier to say than to do but we should take this lesson to heart. Live every moment; take baby steps; set small, easily achievable goals.

Today I will go through my emails. Tomorrow I will reconcile my bank statement. Small, needful tasks; I won’t ask anything more of myself.

We recover faster if we take it slowly, wherever we are in our illness.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Find Warmth in the Cold

Tuesday January 5, 2021

Have you ever felt the moment, where your mind and body are shivering from life and you just want to take a break and escape from the cold present? For me, it was the new normality the past 10 years.

I've always had a "thing" for operations. With my innate heart disease and couple of additional health issues, I can proudly count over 12 operations at the age of 33.

Ok, you might think now: "This is not funny at all, dude!"

Well, yes and no. My last operation in 2010 marked the way to my depression. I broke my lumbar vertebrae and had to undergo emergency surgery.

When I woke up after the operation, I couldn't lift and feel my feet.
This mental shock and the ones that followed (I had to undergo a second emergency operation soon after, because I had severe headaches due to a loss of brain liquor) triggered countless ups and downs for the next 3,650 days. Not a very delightful picture, right?

Today, I'm sincerely grateful for everything that happened during that fateful day and for every moment afterwards. I see every day as something special, not with shiver. Every encounter as a gift, not a pain in the a**. Every mental struggle as feedback to be more kind to yourself rather than judging your own failures.

The bottom line is:

If you feel that you're the victim OR the one that can change your own future by starting NOW: You're both right :)

I've tried countless methods to overcome and to "heal" my depression. Just concluding: "Don't try to deny your own feelings. Accept them gratefully with utmost sincerity and think about, what really defines you."

The depression does not identify you. YOU'RE the one in charge.

Right now, I still can't feel my feet, but I can walk and run with all my might. My brain also functions properly (maybe sometimes a little bit crazy :P). But it was ME, who tried everything possible to make MY situation better.

Currently, I'm doing physical and mental activities 7 times a week (Running, Body weight workouts, hiking, walking, cold yoga, meditation, mindful breathing, cold showers, ...) and I seek comfort in the discomfort.

So find your inner fire and ignite it in the cold :)


Xiaoao xoxo
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Jumping Janus

Monday January 4, 2021

Is it time for a jump to the left?

Or perhaps a step to the right?

I think I’ve had my hands on my head rather than my hands on my hips, and let’s not talk about the pelvic thrusts… that drives me insane*.  (*If you’re scratching your head wondering what the reference is, it is an adaption of the words to, “The Time Warp,” from, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”)
For most of us, I’m sure, 2020 was as surreal as, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” being both rocky and horrifying, and I certainly felt time was warped. Moodscope has been like a clock, a calendar, and a compass – setting a time each day, the date, and delivering direction. Our blogs have given a welcome rhythm to the week and the comments good company.
Willingly or unwillingly, it is time for change – some small and some huge – hence the jump and the step reference. January is named after Janus – the Roman god of transitions and beginnings. He ruled over changes from war to peace, and even over passages, doors, and gates (according to greek mythology). I see 2021 stretching ahead like a long corridor with many doors off the passage. Many of these will be entrances to new exciting possibilities, and those are the only ones I want to think about today.
Most images and statues have Janus looking two ways – to the past and the future.
I think we are going to need a new figurehead for 2021… and let’s call her, “Janet,” dammit! Janet is an upgrade on Janus, for she will need three faces – one looking to the past for the lessons we can learn, one facing the future with courage and a sense of possibility, and her new beautiful face focusing on the present – one day at a time.
I was delighted with all of those who responded to the “2020 Something Old, Something New,” blog so let’s not repeat that message. Instead, I would like us to chat in the comments about how we can be ‘Janet’ to one another, especially getting us through 2021 one day at a time.
I regularly draw strength and delight from the memories of the past our bloggers share – with the Gardener standing out as having had such a treasure house of exotic experiences that come to new life in her posts. That anchors me to a sense of reassurance that we will continue even if the world is changing. What are your most powerful memories that give you strength?
Off the top of my head, I don’t recall many future-focused blogs, so I wonder how we can reassure one another that there are better days coming? We need voices like Dr Martin Luther King Jr who will share bold new dreams. What are your dreams that give you hope?
And as for today, what keeps you strong ‘in the moment’?  I have spoken many times about rhythms and rituals, so I shall leave today with another thought: where shall I put my attention today to give me energy, strength, and encouragement? I know it is going to be on simple delights. For example, I simply ‘had’ to photograph the leaf-like frost patterns on the roof of the car this morning.
Let’s chat and do let me know if you are willingly planning a change – whether it be a large jump or a small step.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Good luck Ella 

Sunday January 3, 2021

A French lady I do not know came to my house today. We bumped into each other through an online neighbours’ group. We could only speak outside as our semi-lockdown means no going into each other’s homes. She was collecting some boxes and bubble wrap from me. 

Ella is leaving, with her daughter, after a separation and 4 years of living here. She is moving away from my town, back down to London, which has more familiarity and more friends to envelope them. I could tell there was sadness but also decisiveness and determination. Not determination to leave but determination to make herself feel better. I admired that in her and I was so glad that I’d had a few minutes to hear a bit of her story. 
Feeling fragmented in a sticking plaster world is very true for so many of us.  I was grateful to meet a new friend, albeit for just moments, and to know the world is still turning, still breathing, still finding a way. She can do it. I can do it. You can do it. 
We are doing it. 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.




Saturday January 2, 2021

I’ve been feeling down of late. The slog of lockdown in the winter and the post Christmas slump has left me firmly sullen, not to mention the added stress of balancing homeschooling and working now the schools are shut.

But tonight is New Years Eve, and a thought has just flashed across my mind. In a year as horrific as 2020, do I still have things to be grateful for? And the answer is yes. Even in the bleakness, I managed to write a mental list and it has lifted me right up, even if just for a few moments.

So, dear Moodscopers, shall we stave off blue January with a little positivity? Share your gratitude in the comments.

I shall start: lockdown has meant more quality time with my children, it has reinforced my closest friendships and I have returned to work after 5 years of childcare.

With love and wishing you all the very best possible for 2021

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



I have never written a New Year blog post.

These blogs are usually full of stories that are meant to inspire, or discuss resolutions for the New Year, or talk about plans and dreams for the future, or challenges from the past year are considered to see how they can be coped with. There is talk about lessons learnt and how there is so much promise in the new year.

I don’t think I could write a blog like that this year or any year for that matter.

So why is a blog about the New Year so important? Is it possible to write one not mentioning resolutions, or plans, or hopes or dreams or mentioning the past year?

As many know, I had a dramatic start to the year so if I write about that it seems I am repeating myself and maybe a bit too much navel gazing. However, because my New Year was so challenging it will affect how I feel about New Year’s Eve and the new year in general.

We are not the only culture that celebrates a New Year. It is a celebration held around the world and in ancient to modern times.

Why are we so fixated with the New Year, we have a new moon every month but there is not a big fuss made of it.

I am out of ideas; I am keen to know what you want in a New Year blog and/or do you have any expectations of the new year or is it just another day?

A Moodscope member.



Hogmanay chimes 

Thursday December 31, 2020

It’s that changeover time of year. The bit where many of us wipe clean the slate and make a promise to self. Personally, I don’t do that but I’m happy if others do, it can be a great point of focus. For me, this is my time of year when I’m burned out and darkness can creep in, to my bones. January and February are battle months and so end-of-year promises are just extra weights slipped into pockets. So I won’t. That said, it’s been a long while since I’ve been consumed by depression, I’ve managed to skiff around it. It’s eyeballed me and I’ve stuck two fingers up whilst retreating with a jive. 
I’ll stay up to see out Auld Year’s Night and I’ll chink glasses at the bells. Us three girls will probably ask our young man to stand outside the door so he can enter as our first foot, carrying coal and shortbread. We’ll laugh, we’ll sit together, and I’ll probably answer my own conversation (did I say… teenagers… yep). 

I’ll be signing out of the news, staying out of the stories as they rage. For me, the news can only be dipped into if I’m to make it to Spring and I will need to choose the source with care. My volunteering won't stop, most of it has moved online with only one or two bumps and it helps me stay meaningful, which I find essential in health.

This is a long way of saying that, if you are somebody who benefits from the chime of the new year, then rip that calendar page, wipe that slate and sashay through, dancing with the new start! And if you’re not, it’s ok to adopt the new year in the Spring with daffodils or in the Summer with the academic timetable. You need take no pressure, it’s your choice when and where you draw a fresh start. 
Be safe and well my friends. 
Sending best from

The still fairy lit room above the garage. 
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Can Something, Hope, Wish Day Come…

Wednesday December 30, 2020

Those of you who have followed this daily blog for some years, and who have seen me through more than one bipolar episode of mania and depression, know I often turn for comfort to the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Hopkins was a nineteenth century poet. He died in 1889 and was almost unknown in his lifetime; not achieving any kind of popularity or recognition until the mid-twentieth century. He was a Jesuit priest whose periods of dark depression resulted in both struggles with his faith and a deepening of that faith. His life was dogged by failure, yet he produced (to my mind at least) the most glorious body of work; celebrating the wonder of nature, the unquenchable spirit of humanity, and expressing the agonies of deep depression.

It is his Desolation Sonnets, as they are known, which get me through my own nights of darkness. This time, as I lie awake at 2am, 3am, 4am, it is his poem “(Carrion Comfort)” which has supported me.

“NOT, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist – slack they may be – these last strands of man
In me or, most weary, cry I can no more, I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.”

It has been that phrase, “Wish day come,” that has been the anchor which has held me steady.

Maybe it is having been brought up on a farm where the milking started at 6.30am. Rain or shine, summer or winter, illness notwithstanding, the cows had to be milked. For me, the day can reasonably start at 6am or, if I push it, 5.30am.

Awaking in the winter darkness, my first thought is to check the time. Inevitably, it is far too early to get up – there are still hours of night to endure and the demons of that night to withstand.

Here, Hopkins helps. That phrase, “wish day come” has given me something to hold onto. I turn over, burrow my cheek into a cool place on the pillow, and start to plan the day ahead.

I know I won’t be able to achieve nearly as much as I hope – my physical strength in these times is as compromised as my mental and emotional strength – but at least I can make a list of the things I want to do or – given that I have little enthusiasm for anything – a list of things that must or could be done.

I begin to make lists of household tasks, the cards I would like to make for friends, the blogs I intend to write on this forum, the articles for LinkedIn. All of them are intellectual exercises; none of them have emotional resonance but they are something to keep my mind occupied while I wait for sleep, or 6am, to come.

And then, during that day, there is the list. The thing, the next thing and the next.

No thinking and no despair.

Carrion regardless.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



The Energiser

Tuesday December 29, 2020

[To view a video of this blog post, please click here:]

Sunday’s blog post featured Salt Water Mum’s suggestion that we should be cautious about the energy people bring into our homes. Leah has also shared about how we can be the ‘go-to-person’ to reflect our unique abilities, gifts, or talents. These ideas have inspired me…

Last week my space was invaded.

A being from another age visited my messy office, accompanying her wonderful mother. At 5 years of age, she-who-shall-remain-nameless, is my new Bestie. I’m not sure what this hurricane of happiness was wired into, but I know that I want some.

In two short hours, she taught me much about how to become an Energiser.

Firstly, I learned that there is a currency more precious than gold when it comes to relationships: attention. She got mine, full on. Children want quality attention AND quantity attention… and we are all children.

Secondly, I learned the joy of being an encourager. It still puzzles me at nearly 60 that people say of me, in my presence, “Oh, don’t encourage him!” “WHAT???!!!” That’s the main art we should all dedicate ourselves to going into the 21st year of the 21st Century! My Stella Nova got all the encouragement I could muster, and let me say her chief delights were the words, “Bum,” and, “Wee.”

Thirdly, I learned to be an Idea Amplifier. All her ideas were fair game, I thought, even though many were potentially inappropriate for an adult audience. I learned to ‘amplify’ her ideas by saying, “Yes… And…” to them… ALL of them! We all know how horrible it feels to have an idea crushed by a boring adult or a jealous peer.

Fourthly, I stayed Open to her ‘map of the world’ even though it was very strange when compared to my own. Children are open-minded, and that’s a world-view that I wish to nurture and celebrate in my own life.

Finally, she liked my Unique take on many of her ideas – like being Leah’s ‘go-to-person’ – I was the go-to-person for improvising very rude songs!

What am I saying today? Let’s make it our ambition to be an Energy Provider in people’s lives – The Energiser. Our powers are five-fold. We can pay attention, encourage them every step of the way, amplify their ideas by saying, “Yes… And…” to them ALL, stay curious and open-minded so that we can see the world through their eyes, and be prepared to invest our own unique abilities in their well-being.

Truth be told, after two hours, I had to go and lie down in a darkened-room in the quiet… but for two hours I gave my utmost to add fuel to an already incandescent flame.

“Come on Baby, Light My Fire!”

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Ghosts of Christmas Past

Monday December 28, 2020

Well, it’s all over – the Christmas that never was for some people. Yesterday’s guests had all spent their working lives in Africa – good climate, good pay, endless servants, and expectation of retirement on handsome pension. Then came Mugabe. Out, hardly any pension – all they can afford is a near hovel in the French countryside, can’t afford UK. Our main memories (we had several Christmases in the tropics) were of obligatory turkey and Christmas pudding when it was over 30 degrees. If we were lucky, despite too much food and alcohol, we could fall in the pool.

My easy-going second son has become a sadist. In Australia, restrictions have lessened. Photos of a tanned family on the beach. Phone call – discovery of new tapas bar. Son with them after 135 days lock-down in Melbourne. Another son, had tickets for Perth via Singapore – Australia will have them, obligatory 15 days in a hotel – but Singapore will accept no flights from UK. No rush to ski slopes, shut. No rush to second homes here in France, Brexit and no restaurants or bars. This son’s best effort, Christmas on Phi-Phi Island (Thailand) with a donkey to carry the champagne.

When the family was young we’d load the whole lot in Land Rover and escape relatives to hired villas in Italy or South of France. Presents on roof rack. But stockings! A nightmare. Traditional comic, French Bandes Dessines not the same. British kids did not like French and Italian chocolates. One Christmas ‘Fritto Misto’ huge range of fish deep fried, delicious. Marvellous cakes, ice creams. Rosa, maid, never moved from her village, near Naples, illiterate – came in on Christmas day. Our four kids (then) ‘belli bambini’ hugged and kissed (memories of boys’ faces).

The ‘Great Escape’ from kind relatives, but feeling like the foie gras producing geese. In Durham, all day stuffing, no chance of a walk. We did not have our car. And Durham Cathedral! The music! Midnight mass! The joy of all those people! But Mr G’s brother and wife did not indulge, we dared not get a taxi. Most boring Christmases ever – but we HAD to go – the last one my sister-in-law had terminal cancer.

The best HAD to be India. The nuns in the refuges were worried about jealousy among the kids. But they accepted that our ‘sponsored’ girls could have personal presents. Otherwise group presents, artists materials, musical instruments, TV (first visit). Sponsored meals, so nuns could have a day off. 58 girls, ex-beggars, abused, daughters of prostitutes – all new dresses – dancing. Neighbours, including boy who had rickets, in callipers, he had fallen, covered in bandages – gayest of them all in the photos. I was so proud of Mr G – suffering indignities, eating disgusting cake (only for the sugar content and stickiness, did not dare lick fingers). When our lips erupted from too-strong curries they took pity on us. Midnight mass in Bangalore Cathedral, attacked by mosquitoes. Carol singing, going round in the private school bus till the early hours. It was tough, but SO good.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



It’s my house…

Sunday December 27, 2020

This will be our first Christmas in a house that I actually own (or will own when payments are paid!). My very first time, as an adult, where I’m not renting. I am not wondering ‘can I put a nail in the wall to hang a decoration?’ ‘Will the landlady discover we have a dog?’ ‘Will the landlord ever get the dishwasher fixed?’
This Christmas, as Diana Ross sang: ‘It’s my house and I live here… ‘ 

But there are a gazillion things that need to be fixed. Over the past weeks, I’ve had the plumber and electrician here - again! The electrician came, said little, did the work, charged a fortune and left. The plumber arrived in a bad mood and quite literally cursed his way through the work and then proceeded to break not one but two parts of my boiler. Cue more cursing. Then he had to order the parts and he is yet to return. While he was here, I was trying to work and keep the dog from chewing his ankle. But the plumber’s dark mood, cursing and his litany of medical ailments really got to me. I felt drained when he left.

A dear friend of mine has been going through cancer treatment this year. During her chemo, she decided to be proactive and get her garden sorted out. Her neighbours recommended a local man and along he came, huffing and puffing about his hard day. She, like me, is friendly and offered him a cup of tea. Their talk turned to the American election and she quickly realised that garden-man is a Trump fan, a racist and a misogynist. He shouted at my friend, ending with the words: ’I hate people like you’ and stormed out. She was in bits. I was furious on her behalf. I wished vile things on this man for upsetting my beautiful friend.

I have another lovely friend who hired a cleaner to make her busy life easier but the cleaner turned out to be a manipulative, nasty man who made her life far far more difficult. It took my friend some time (and money) to end the arrangement. When she finally blocked his number, the relief she felt was immeasurable.

I was telling all this (and there’s more!) to a wise friend of mine.  She said her very first question on getting a recommendation for a tradesperson is: ‘What energy will they bring into my space?’ so she meets them first before deciding. And she will send them home midway through the job if she feels uncomfortable. 

My home = my space = my sanctuary. 

Is this a metaphor for life - especially for those of us who suffer from mental health issues? Should we ask ourselves: ‘What energy is this person bringing into my life?’  ‘If I’m having a bad day, maybe this person is not the one to ring… who do I need to talk to today?’
It’s all self care isn’t it? 

Something I’m slowly slowly learning…

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



The Go To Person

Saturday December 26, 2020

Are you the go to person?

I wanted to call this blog ‘Your gift’ because I was thinking of the emphasis on commercial gifts and buying things, but we all have a gift, a special skill a quality we are known for.

I thought asking people to explain their gift may sound I am asking you to boast. This is more about being the go-to person.

In my partners family he is the go-to person for anything practical, I am the go-to person for anything about children’s books, and mental health. When I was younger, I was the person to ask about family birthdays and the family tree and stories about my parents and grandparents.

I hope that makes it clearer. Even if you feel that you are not a go to person, you maybe, but not seen it that way before.

So, what sort of go to person are you? Is there a skill you have learnt this year that you have shared with others? It doesn’t have to be something serious; it could be you are teller of funny stories; you recommend movies or TV shows.

I just wanted to learn more about Moodscopers and what they can do.

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



We Are Family

Friday December 25, 2020

I was thinking today that we are a family on Moodscope or rather, similar to one big family.

We are here for each other, we are friends, we help each other, we disagree, we quarrel, we have tiffs, we reconcile and we need each other.

So for any Moodscopers out there, who cannot be with family or friends on Christmas Day and feel alone and lonely, don’t forget, your other family is here for you, ready to talk, listen, disagree, help, give advice and send virtual hugs and understanding.

Sometimes I prefer my Moodscope family to my own!!

A Moodscope Member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Merry Moodmas 

Thursday December 24, 2020

I went to church this week and it was full of all the hymns and soothing we can be (and I am very) grateful for. All services, within all religions, nationwide, were ceased this year and silence fell. I’m not a church go-er as such but I do feel very at home there. 
Before her dad drove 450 miles there, and all the way back, to bring our first born home from University this Christmas break, my eldest daughter recorded an in-person but physically distanced Christmas service with her choir. Online was how I attended.  
No, it is nothing like the same as standing inside a jaw droppingly bewildering building. Nope, it doesn’t offer the acoustics which crawl inside our skins and make the emotions rise like ferociously bubbling hot water on the stove. I did not feel the companionship of the pews surrounding me as we shared the moments of awe listening to tear driving harmonies. But it was still absolutely wonderful. Wonderful to feel that, however challenging and tenuous, it found a way through. Aside from the main, distanced choir, readers read from their living rooms to me, singers recorded from their bedrooms. Mary didn’t have The Savoy, she didn’t even have a Premier Inn, but she had something far more precious. She had people who said “We can do this” and that is everything. 
Each one of us will likely mourn something this Christmas day. Even the shared knowledge that we have all stepped through this jagged and fragmented year together, is not quite enough to mellow some of the stings. But (and the ‘but’ is always important and I believe it is perfectly good to start a sentence with ‘but’), we have made it through to this mile marker and, in equal measure, we can be proud and grateful for some things. 
Light your fairy lights for they demonstrate that we need darkness to see them glow. And I wish you a little treat, a little sound, a little connection, and a little pudding this Christmas day. Chocolate for breakfast is very acceptable, tinned soup is very acceptable, jumping onto Twitter and searching the #JoinIn hashtag is more than acceptable. Let it all just be! 
Thanks to you my friends, we have held tight and I wish each of you reading this a very happy Christmas, in whatever form it falls. 
Much love to you from me, in the fairy lit room above the garage. 
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



My Best Christmas Present ever!

Wednesday December 23, 2020

We all have Christmas memories. This Christmas will certainly be memorable; maybe not for the most positive of reasons.

I thought I’d like to write a blog today on our happiest Christmas memories. I hope we all have some – especially those Christmas gifts we treasure.

I’m going to tell you about the best Christmas gift I ever received; and I would invite you, in the comments, to tell me about your most treasured gift.

I got my best Christmas present in 2004, and this is how it happened.

I had given birth to my second daughter at the end of September. As we also had a lively two-and-a-half-year-old at the time, my attentions were almost totally occupied with childcare; and I had little time to notice the new neighbours. They were obviously Americans, from the local airbase, moving into the rental property opposite; and our experience of such neighbours was that they were friendly enough but not exactly neighbourly.

Now it was mid-December.

It was around 6.30pm. I had given the girls their baths and now I was feeding my little one while her older sister ran around in a state of nature, drying off those bits the towel had not reached.

From the street came the sound of sleighbells and Christmas music: it was the local charity Christmas collection.

For my elder daughter, this was pure magic. “It’s Father Christmas!” she shrieked. She ran downstairs at the speed of light, opened the front door, and scampered down the path to the “sleigh;” where the fattest member of the local Round Table, dressed in red and fur and a long white beard, sat enthroned on a farm trailer, throwing chocolates to all.

It took me a few seconds to realise my daughter was bulleting, stark naked, across the gravel drive, toward Santa!

I will forever be grateful to Belle, my new neighbour. She had been attracted by the Christmas music and looked out of her window, to be confronted by a naked child hurtling down our shared drive, lumberingly pursued by a woman still clutching a baby to her breast.

Belle has told me since, the thought that ran through her mind was, “This woman needs my help.”

She ran out of her house, scooped up my daughter, retrieved the scattered chocolates, and supported me back to the house. She helped me put both children to bed and departed with the words, “See you tomorrow.”

She did see me the next day, and the day after that. She became my dearest neighbour and friend. When, inevitably, she departed for the USA, we kept in touch. We still message each other nearly every day; I have visited her twice. That two-year-old is now studying medicinal chemistry at Edinburgh and the babe at my breast will be taking GCSEs next summer. Belle and I are still close friends.

Belle is the best Christmas present I ever received.

Tell me, what is your best Christmas gift, ever?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



These daily habits

Tuesday December 22, 2020

I have been a Moodscope reader for more than 5 years now, and every time I saw a blog post that actually changed my mood or uplifted me in a way, I would wonder if I could ever do the same, pay it forward to the community and make somebody else feel a little better through my words or my experience.

Recently, I was chatting with a friend, and I was complaining about how hard and different things are these days: my family is in another country, Christmas will not be with them this year, my friends are all over Europe and since Covid, I wasn't able to visit any of them, my marriage has its ups and downs, and overall, I just do not feel good. I was fired 3 months ago, luckily I found another job, but the feeling of just being fired is an awful feeling to deal with. He stopped me then and asked me "Why aren't you sharing all these emotions with other people? You know you're not alone in this, right? And you know there are thousands of people that go through the same things as you do." I instantly thought of the Moodscope blog, which helped me so many times. 

After this discussion, I stopped for a second and thought that I am not a complainer most of the time, and I just choose to see the "victim" in me: I have a loving family - indeed, far away, but they're there, I have a loving partner who's doing his best to cope with the reality we're all facing, I have friends that are looking forward to meeting again and have amazing experiences together. I just can't change the fact that the world is completely numb right now and there's nothing wrong with accepting that we cannot control this situation, but we can nurture ourselves with kindness, with love, and with gratitude that we're still alive and we can still see the sun in the morning, have that sip of coffee and breathe that fresh air. 

Discovering what makes me a little bit more content with life is a daily habit, and it's worth investing the time and the energy in it. Counting daily blessings is one of the habits I nourished recently, and today I'm grateful that I had the courage to write this very first blog. 

Maybe more to come? 

With love, 

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



2020 Something Old, Something New

Monday December 21, 2020

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue,
and a sixpence in her shoe.

Part of the purpose of the old rhyme, is to ward off the Evil Eye.

If you have escaped evil in 2020, well done you!
Most families have had their history changed forever.
So what to do?

There are many treasures from the ‘old ways’ to carry forward. Driving on a wet Winter’s day to Shaftesbury yesterday, I was struck by the beautifully desolate countryside. It reminded me of the novels of Alan Garner – very English, very Ancient, deeply magical. What ‘magical’ learning or tradition would you keep and honour from the past? What ‘old ways’ have stood the test of time for you?

Something new, for me, has to be the New Global of the primacy of online experiences. Moodscope has been great at this for years, and now the whole world is realising that online communities and experiences are part of the ‘answer’ (though what is the question?) What new changes will you nurture, grow, and embrace going forward? What’s ‘New’ for you (in a good way)?

Something borrowed gives us continuity with someone else who has already succeeded in an area we’d also like to enjoy success within. For the bride, this and the blue was to do with fertility. The last thing I want is more children, but I’d love to borrow from someone else’s success in another field. That would be hypnosis for me – if anyone knows where to start. How about you? Who do you know who you would like to share in their success? What success specifically are you interested in enjoying?

Something blue. Blue still means ‘sadness’ as the dominant association for me. 2020 for so many was so sad. I believe the right kind of grief is so very, very good for us. And I believe that we should always honour memories of those we’ve lost, or that which we’ve lost. However, there is also a shift that needs to happen… to remember the chapter or even the Act that was, and to build from there.

My Mum is never coming back – nor my Nan nor my friends who’ve passed. These will be sad associations forever, but from each one, something new grows. Like the proverbial seed that ‘falls to the ground and dies’ – the new springs forth. Every time I absentmindedly find myself gently clapping my hands to invisible music, I feel my Nan. That is reassuring.

What of failure – my other blue? 2020 has been a year of spectacular failures for me. What I am learning is that those with a Possibility-Mindset learn to fail fast, learn from it, then put their mind to earn from it as they move on.

There is TOO MUCH here for you to respond to all of it, but I would love to hear from you in the comments about something old, or new, borrowed, or blue…

The wisdom of folk is folk wisdom!

A Moodscope member.



Wash day red hands

Sunday December 20, 2020

I grew up without a dishwasher. Dishes rota was just a normal part of daily life - sometimes fun, sometimes hated. I experienced my first dishwasher age 27. I had it for four years from brand new. When I sold the house, I sold with it a sparkling dishwasher used perhaps twice. Maybe even just once. Fast forward three children and loads of cooking and my dishwasher is on about twice a day, minimum. 

The dishwasher broke down. It’s eleven years old. The repair person will come in five days. This is inconvenient. And there is an upside. The kitchen is now always tidy. There are no longer queues of crockery awaiting space to go in, or queues of pots piled on the bunker, clean, waiting to be put away. There is no little bowl and spoon placed next to the sink, by someone pretending not to notice the dishwasher needed emptied. There’s no continuous rumble underpinning my thinking mind. There’s no long “beeeeep” the minute my head hits pillow. There’s no full clean load preventing the breakfast rush from finding a place to be. Nope, this inconvenience has an upside.

I’m keeping that. Inconvenience can show us a new way. If we can relinquish our rigid habits, we might just find new, fresh, efficient ways forward. 

Let us bring changing times under the crook of our arms and not resist or scowl. We might just like the eventual outcome. 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.



Moving on

Saturday December 19, 2020

So much has changed, is changing, for me , for everyone.

Our lives have been reshaped by an invisible force beyond our control and we are forced to adjust the way we live, work, love.

I live alone have done for many many years. I left home at 17 to find my way and successfully advanced through a career I still enjoy and I own my own home. Sadly no children, but I have loving parents and they need me now.

I have had to make a decision to stay here in the comfort of my safe home or sell and move to a spare room in my parents home so I can be there for them. Dad is not too well and Mum struggles to cope.

It took about 5 mins to decide. 

My house is going through a sale. I hope to be in  the room next to the garage by Christmas, work stuff, everything I need with me.

My heart is full and content.

I am lucky to have them and will cherish every moment good or bad. After all home is where your family are. 

Love to everyone, be brave be fair, but most of all be true to yourself. 

Love from

The Attic
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.

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