Honouring the ancestors and a funeral custom
Posted Sep 9, 2017
Ay my last t'ai chi lesson, I asked a question, which led to the teacher telling us two things about Chinese customs relating to death. The first was a ceremony she still does when attending a funeral. Before she leaves the house, she gets a box of matches and covers it with newspapers and leaves it outside the front door. On returning from the funeral, she unwraps the matches, lights a match and sets fire to the paper. Then when it's burned and still smoking, she steps over it before entering the house to prevent spirits entering the home. I said I thought it was a bit like smudging to cleanse and purify.
The second was about the ancestor shrine and how all the members of the family were honoured. Twice a year, there is a celebration where people bring food and drink and burn paper money and then eat the food. My teacher knows her ancestry for 600 years, which is pretty incredible. Apparently one of her ancestors was a governor/general of Hong Kong.
In the west, we hardly know past our grandparents.
Surviving the wet
Posted Sep 1, 2017
I had a sort of conservatory built several years ago. It's always had problems when it rains. The builder came back several times and did various thing to try to alleviate the problem - covering to the wall, enlarged the downpipe, fitted a larger collecting hopper so it didn't overflow, but still the rain poured in - not all the time, but definitely in heavy weather. So I brought in a roofing company to look at it. The chap took one look at my box gutter and said it was the wrong type. When they came back to fix it, I was told that there was an end cap missing and the gutter hadn't been sealed together properly at a join. It was a big job and meant that the roof had to come off. Hey ho, I thought - bingo, job done!
But no! Next time we had heavy weather, I still had leaks, although not the amount of water that had previously come in, but still enough to need a basin. So the roofing company came back and put more sealant on the roof. So - what happened the next time it rained heavily? Still some seepage. So - back came the roofers to inspect, looked at the guttering at rooftop level on the main house. Oh my, the guttering was hanging off, which explained why lots of water was coming down and why the walls couldn't cope. So - today, back came the two men who did the second lot of work and fitted some new gutters, and it's really strongly held together. Lots of fixing points.
Wish me luck when it rains heavily next time!
Posted Aug 26, 2017
This week, I've had three achievements. In yoga class, I managed a balance I'd previously really struggled with and made a good fist of it on one side, although the second side wasn't so good. I have also managed to do a horse's head on one side, hooking my fingertips together. It's been ages since I could do that. I'm still not that close on the other. The last one was today, when I managed to do a shoulder stand. I'd been rather frightened of doing this in class, but I used a block under my upper back, which gave me the lift I needed to be able to continue into the pose.
Boosting the immune system - lymphatic draining
Posted Aug 23, 2017
I had my first lymphatic drainage yesterday, which was an interesting experience. I was surprised to find out how much lymph we have in our bodies - about the same amount as blood, but doesn't have a pump, so it relies on exercise and movement to flow round the body. It's a sort of screening and disposal system for all the rubbish that builds up in the body and empties it back into the bloodstream. They include T-cells which kill invaders and destroy abnormal body cells.
It was a more extensive process than I had initially thought - massage with oil, starting with the stomach, then progressing to other parts, including legs, arms, chest, back, neck and face. An early effect was a headache, but this morning when I got up, I noticed that my ankles were slimmer and had lost some of the puffiness they had gained. I've also got a programme of self-care to follow daily.
Memories and Bossel
Posted Aug 13, 2017
I've been going down memory lane and thoroughly enjoying it. Having engaged a little with a German-speaking researcher, it prompted memories of Bossel, a once legendary Scout, who I met at one of the H2G2 meets in London. By that time, I was a fellow Scout. Here's what he had to say about Scouting:
His organisation and work-rate was astonishing.