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Dear children this is a hill. Sunday November 13, 2016

Sometimes I know when a low is coming. I often crave sitting at the top of a particular hill. Last weekend I craved it. I dragged my children up it and I took some photographs. It was a magnificent visit, cool but sunny and crisp.

From their upturned faces I could see the walk was not the first thing on their list of hopes for a slow Sunday afternoon. I could also see they knew resistance was futile because I was talking with my (deep breath) 'this is happening even if I have to put you on my back and drag you there, even if you are almost my height, and even if you are now taller than me, and even if you complain it will still happen, so all three of you had best put on warm jackets and get thee to the top of the hill, and then you may come back and plug in to an electronic gadget once you have set the table' voice!

I live in a big town which is full of countryside. It is why I love it. The busy is there and the quiet lives very happily within it. It is full of big hills. My favourite hill looks over the part of the city where I live, work and where my children go to school. It is mesmerising to sit up there and watch life scurry on whilst breathing in the unmoving solidity of the peace. It's energising to me.

As I sat at the top, youngest came to sit with me and curled his arm into mine. We just sat. Middle child joined us and took photos of our feet against the backdrop. Eldest gravitated and showed us photos of us from behind. We were happy. And I realised I don't just drag them there because it's good for us. I drag them there because one day they will have a problem and I want them to remember what helps.

I wish for you to find what helps today.

Love from
The room above the garage.

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

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Sally Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 8:00am

Another vote for the hills, Ratg. ;-)
How lovely to read your besutiful story, very heartwarming. The test things in life aren't things, eh?!
Beautifully illustrated & your children sound sooo lovely. Thank you.

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:40am

Hello Sally, how funny that I fell out with those 'lovely' children this morning, for being selfish and ungrateful! But on the whole, they are fine shipmates :-) Good to see you, love ratg x.

Sally Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 8:02am

Grr! I should've edited: " beautiful" and "best" I meant

LP Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 8:10am

Hi my lovely ratg!
Firstly what a shame that the first reply to your magical blog was one of those odd scams. Hopefully Caroline will wave her magic wand for us again!:)
I loved not only what a wonderful mum your children have, how lovely they sound, and what a lovely place you live in, but how you can write about what we all have in common in such a heartening way.
I haven't really discovered what helps in that sense. You've inspired me to take a step back from the toolbox and practical health tips and love nature.
There was the most beautiful sunrise coming into the room as I read your blog. The sun was just peeping from behind the trees, promising the beautiful experience that was about to unfold.
It's a Sunday morning. Croissants are on their way, how lucky am I! It's so peaceful at this place.
Gardener's World is on quietly talking about foxgloves and ferns. There's a candle flickering silently keeping watch over the moment. The birds are busy and adding the perfect music to this morning.
The sun is strong and bright now.
I can't make mornings like this happen, but I guess that's what makes this morning all the more special.
Thank you for your good wishes, they came true for me today!
I hope that if you were right about a low coming that you are as ok as you can be. Wishing you many more moments to enjoy your lovey children and being outside where your heart loves to be.
(The croissants had just come out of the oven!!!) I wanted ti share my moments of firtune and joy with everyone!) ratg your are an insiration! P xxx

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 10:28am

We have removed the offending spam - very annoying!!

LP Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:20am

Thank yooooou! :)) xx

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:44am

LP, you have there a blog of beauty! I think one of the great things about our horrible illness is that the good things, when they come, mean so, so much. Nature is something solid for me in an otherwise shaky circumstance, its just there, over and over again and is a powerful accomplice to go with the toolbox. Lovely to see you, I could feel your smile off the page :-) love ratg x.

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 12:14pm

Thank you Caroline. I fear Victor may have hoped for credit card details but all he would find here is our love and good wishes :-D Ten out of ten for his patience in finding forums to pitch in...

Salt Water Mum Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 8:39am

What a lovely blog, thank you RATG,
I 'drag' my kids to the beach for the same reason. During the winter, they grump but I insist and then we go and end up having fun. The moon over the sea yesterday evening was beautiful and I felt calmer as the kids and I climbed rocks. I have been feeling low for three weeks now. I am putting my hope in the universe that it will pass soon.
The perfect blog for me to read this morning, thank you.

Sally Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 9:03am

Sorry you have been feeling low, SWM.. do you think this has anything to do with the longer nights/ lack of daylight at all? Wishing you well & that it passes quickly. Be kind to yourself & do more of what you like...worth a try? X Sally

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:51am

Do you find the beach is even better in the winter months? I love how wild it feels and it seems to be a match to my mood at times, they thrash it out and my mood always backs off. What I really love about your words is that you have been able to pinpoint your mood as 'low for three weeks now'. When very ill, I wasn't able to define how long it had been since I'd felt better. Make life as simple as it possibly can and make the focus on supporting yourself. It WILL pass. Maybe check in with us here on the blogspot every day? To know we are here might give you a tiny bit of support. You climbed rocks...fabulous! Now your mind knows whose side your body is on. Love ratg x.

Hopeful One Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 8:53am

Hi RATG- thank you for a heartwarming thought provoking blog. I believe that you experienced was because you were 'in the flow' or to use a more common phrase ' in the moment'. In these moments ( they always seem to be flitting ) the past and the future melt away and one is in the present appreciating it as it unfolds. The American psychologist associated with defining the concept of being 'in the flow ' has a complicated name pronounced as Cheek me high ( I won't attempt to spell it!) .He and Martin Seligman ( a past president of the American Psychological Association and author of a book ' The Happiness Hypothesis' ) realised that this is an important ingredient of the state of happiness. One will need to read the book to find out the various ways one can consistently achieve this flow state.

I maintain that a sense of humour , the ability to laugh fully and freely is also an important ingredient. That will most certainly help me today and I hope it helps to from descending into a low.

John told his wife, "I've got a problem." She stopped him right there.
"No dear, WE have a problem. We're in this together John. We married for better or for worse. Therefore, your problem is our problem."
John sighed in relief. "Well, now it's hardly worth mentioning."
But his wife was insistent. "Go ahead John’', tell me. What's wrong?"
John answered, "Somehow, we got your sister pregnant!"

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:54am

Hello HO! Sometimes I get too caught up to reply to your jokes but please know I always read them and always smile. The one about the photographer and Trump in the ocean the other day had me doing ye olde belly laugh and I rarely do the laughing out loud thing!! :-D Flow is something I have often heard talked about and my old trainer used to train himself how to get into the flow state. Time I looked into it more! Good to see you, love ratg x.

Hopeful One Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 4:52pm

Hi RATG Ma belle- your sentiments most appreciated.

LP Mon, Nov 14th 2016 @ 12:20am

Not sure if you'll see this HO, but I was rambling away about flow yesterday to Leah, maybe you were who I heard the idea from. Both books in my basket! Thank you! Xxx

Hopeful One Mon, Nov 14th 2016 @ 7:15am

Hi LP- message read

Sue Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 8:55am

I so needed to read that today - thank you.????

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:57am

I'm glad. Keep stepping the stones, love ratg x.

Sue Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 8:57am

And have no idea why there are four question marks at the end of my sentence.????????

Anonymous Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 9:03am

Dear tRATG. How wise you are. Far better than family therapy - and cheaper! Whilst I do not always like to quote poetry out of context, you put me in mind of the Persian poet Rumi's lines: "Reason has no way to say its love. Only love opens that secret.If you want to be more alive, love is the truest health". Thank you - and go well.

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:59am

What a great quote, thank you for it! love ratg x.

Jul Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 9:23am

Hi ratg. It sounds lovely where you live and your description of your children really wanting to get back to their electronic devices made me smile. Children forcibly taken away from electronic devices, usually benefit so much and end up throwing themselves into the activity they dreaded and never in a million years would have thought of doing. It's so much easier to leave the children in front of the computer and must take a lot of effort and determination on the part of the parent to drag them away and get them outside. Which reminds me..I must go out on my bike. A lovely blog ratg and thanks for your comment to mine yesterday. Jul xx

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 12:05pm

I feel a great responsibility as one of the last generations who know life before and after gadgets. They are undoubtedly hugely beneficial...I can honestly say my mental health improved majestically when I entered the online world rather than just a book for support. But, we must continually show children how they feel when they walk away from them. My kids now are required to use their own ipads in school time and so i feel its more important than ever to bring them to a time without. Its a parenting issue and I get very passionate (grumpy) about it!!! I'm done on the soapbox :-) How was the bike? Please tell me you had on a fifties tea dress, and a had a basket on your bike? :-D

Jul Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 12:40pm

Hi ratg. It's funny how we form impressions of people we've never met physically but "know" through correspondence /the internet. I don't want to disillusion you at all and please continue to think of me as you do. But I don't have a basket on my bike and don't wear tea dresses even in the summer ha ha!! I think you might be surprised if we ever met. I'm more of a leggings, biker boots and beanie girl I would say. Julxx

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 4:15pm

Love it, possibly a bit like me :-) It's the France thing...I picture woods, french bread picnics and frocks with flowers!

Jul Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 5:38pm

You are right. It's a bit more like that when I'm in France but most of the time I am in the south of England. near Hastings and Brighton Julxx

Brum Mum Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:17am

Hi your beautiful depiction of a family walk resonates so much with me as I dragged my two up the Lickeys, Birmingham's local hills yesterday and almost lost the dog. I am feeling very low but it's those normal things like dragging yourself out for a muddy walk that restore an element of normality and hopefully gives the kids some security too.

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 12:08pm

Hello, its good to see you BM! Sorry you are low, this time of year pulls at me too. Do you think its seasonal or has there been a particular reason? Your dog walks might just be your salvation at the moment. In the time we are out, we can get a little break from the gloom. It can be perhaps not a day-changer but an hour-changer. Walking beside you. Love ratg x.

Brum Mum Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:17am

Hi your beautiful depiction of a family walk resonates so much with me as I dragged my two up the Lickeys, Birmingham's local hills yesterday and almost lost the dog. I am feeling very low but it's those normal things like dragging yourself out for a muddy walk that restore an element of normality and hopefully gives the kids some security too.

Tutti Frutti Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:16pm

Hi Brum Mum I grew up in the West Midlands and I have fond memories of going up those hills. You are giving your children something to remember in thirty years time! Keep walking and go gently with yourself. Love and hugs TF xoxo

The Gardener Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 2:29pm

Ratg, lovely blog. Sounds like Sheffield? Generation interest here, before and after social media and computer games. We first sensed the 'battle' to come with last grand-child, now 21, whose addiction to his game-boys caused acute family rows. I would not call our children s' generation 'the good old days' (eldest 60) but 'going up the hill' was easier because there were less alternatives. Real generation reaction - I loved picnics - even tea-time sandwiches in the garden instead of round the table (it was a fabulous garden - no garden furniture, although there was a seat - if there was, my very lazy Ma might have had to use it). Anyway, I think outings were memorable - we were spoiled as we only had one vehicle, the Farm Land Rover, so we did not have to settle for Car Parks. Mountains, beaches, apricot orchard (smashing) rivers, lakes. Sicily under fig trees (hopeless, wasps) - under eucalyptus (ditto ants) abandoned terraces, super, butterflies. With 'our' kids in India, by the River Carvery - ancient jeep, hot food in sophicasted containers, dangerous washing up in the river, loads of crows. Then, the whole mob, nuns as well, went in to the river (fully clothed) and washed their hair - photo of them against a bullock wagon coming the other way. Crazy picnic - hot summer night - picnic table next to 12th century bridge, with a salmon race. We took best tablecloth, champagne, candles, 4 courses - grand-children paddled when they got bored. Biggest snag - children and grand-children had one aim - to fall in any available water if they could. Got carried away by ratg's blog - Mr G SO miserable today only music and memories keeping me going.

the room above the garage Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 4:18pm

If music and memories are keeping you going then lets them flood! Add to it a large cuddle from me. Miserable Mr TG plus dark weather will be draining. I'm in Scotland. It's...raining and very dark. Tomorrow it's a new day! Sending love TG, love ratg x.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 7:59pm

Loved the blog. Loved the comments. I'm low too. Just be something in the water...

LP Mon, Nov 14th 2016 @ 12:59am

Sorry to hear that Mary, sending you well wishes. LP xx

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 15th 2016 @ 1:32pm

Hello Marydoll, I'm sorry you are low. Keep swimming (literally and physically). Here if you need us. xx

Tutti Frutti Sun, Nov 13th 2016 @ 11:10pm

Hi RATG I loved your blog. I read the blog and started to read the comments earlier and felt totally inspired to be up hills and on beaches feeling nature all around me. I also loved your i will brook no arguments instructions to your kids.

I thoroughly intended to read it all and reply to various comments but my husband who was driving me down the A3 at the time kept distracting me by pointing stuff out. This was quite irritating at first and then I realised that it was a lovely sunny day and you can see some great autumn colours from the A3 and perhaps it was time for me to be in the moment rather than read about it! So I spent the rest of the journey happily gazing out of the window instead.

I am sorry to see so many of you feeling low today. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love TF x

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 15th 2016 @ 1:30pm

I'm delighted you gazed! It can be so restful and something we rarely do in the modern world. Not nearly enough of it. Good husband :-) Love ratg x.

Lexi Mon, Nov 14th 2016 @ 2:19pm

I meant to write this yesterday RATG. I loved this blog. Truly beautiful. Thank you. xo Lexi

the room above the garage Tue, Nov 15th 2016 @ 1:32pm

My pleasure, and its good to see you, love ratg x.

Nicco Thu, Nov 17th 2016 @ 1:08pm

Thanks for your blog - I have a favourite place where I go, too, ratg. I went there yesterday. I parked up on a verge next to beautiful woodland, under a big oak tree which was on the other side of the narrow lane but stretched its branches right across the road. The Autumnal colours ahead were fabulous. The leaves were falling all around and onto the roof of my car. I go up there when I feel sad or have a seemingly unsolvable problem, but yesterday I went there because I wanted to drink in the beauty around me and to say, 'thank you' to...? Who? God? The forces of the Universe? Myself? Those who have helped me along in my 57 years of life? Yes, all of those, and because, even though in a lot of physical pain from a damaged neck, shoulder and back, I actually felt happiness, contentment and inner peace. I even managed to gather up the old beer cans someone had thrown under the fence - took them home and threw them in the recycling bin - it felt like sacrilege for them to be there. I couldn't reach the last one but I will go back sometime and find a way of reaching it, and it will go the way the others went!

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