I haven’t taken photos for ages, but recently I got a couple of Androids from the local phone shop. The devices contain cameras (not too bad, in my opinion), and most people agree that phone cameras, while not perfect, have improved over the last few years.
I took these on Saturday afternoon.
Location: Highgate Wood, Old Railway Line Parkland Walk Hornsey
In a couple of months’ time, I will have been blogging for eight years. I chose WordPress and believe that it beats all other blogging platforms. Initially sceptical of blogging, I have posted regularly during that time, though not always in the last couple of years.
So what do I like about blogging, and WordPress in particular?
It seems a great opportunity for self-expression, a haven for people in the creative arts – and free, of course. WordPress offers plenty of space. Bloggers meet other bloggers online, receive and give feedback. Blogging is a form of publishing, so a blogging platform provides the writer/artist with a space to share their work. Crucially, WordPress gives the blogger the tools to create a static webpage with the option of having the blog (recommended) as the landing page. I’ve tried to make my blog a website too, with links to music files.
As the year draws to a close, I need to make some important decisions regarding my current novel and revise accordingly, but I will continue updating my WordPress blog and look forward to many more years of doing so.
I haven’t blogged much recently. After finishing a major piece of writing – crime fiction – and returning to work, I needed a break of sorts. I’ve been polishing my piano repertoire with Mozart, Chopin and Liszt, and practising my four languages.
I’ve also found time to deepen my interest in breathing. I first became curious during a stint of CBT, during which the practitioner gave me a book and CD that included various exercises. At the time, I was still smoking – quite heavily, in fact – and I had a high rate of breaths per minutes, roughly 16/17.
Four years on, my breathing rate has dropped to 10 or 11, and I feel much calmer. Quitting smoking played a crucial role in this, but so has abdominal breathing.
I don’t feel qualified to make suggestions about which breathing exercises people should attempt – but clearly simple breathing techniques done in a relaxed manner should benefit most people. Obviously, anyone with a medical condition should check first, but generally there’s something for everyone.
Just a few of my thoughts.
I’ve reached that point again – polishing a novel, sending it out and waiting to hear the outcome. In the meantime, I’m trying to relax. By that, I mean paying close attention to my breathing, slowing it, allowing the breath to take on its own natural rhythm.
I’ve read lots about it. Apparently, the improved breathing rate has a wide range of positive effects on a person’s health and nervous system. There are many articles on the internet and in popular magazines, but I do wonder whether the reader needs to take more care and critically evaluate some of the claims. For instance – how safe is it for the average person to alter their breathing rate without any supervision or professional advice? Can it, in fact, do more harm than good? I always hunt for the science behind the breathing technique – and if I can’t find any science to back up the claims, I give the technique a miss.
At the moment, I’m experimenting with Coherent Breathing – a technique that involves the person breathing in through the nose for six seconds, then out for the same duration, creating a sense of balance or symmetry.
Personally, I’ve found simple breathing techniques beneficial – for example, four in, eight out. Obviously, the breather would need to build up to the longer exhalations/pauses; plus she or he would have to avoid air hunger at all costs, as that would defeat the object of the exercise. So, always read the science and make sure the breathing technique will not exacerbate an existing medical condition (crucial!) – and enjoy.
Back to gloomy autumn weather and a wait to hear news on the latest novel, a psychological thriller.
Talking of which…after high temperatures and a late summer, the weather suddenly changed. I woke up at around 3am on Thursday, aware of the steady thud of rain outside. Lightning flickered, causing the clock radio to crackle. Thunder roared close by.
Generally, I like storms, but I lay there unsettled, thinking of another storm that took place when I was a child, maybe five or six years old. When that storm occurred, I fled from the bedroom, convinced that the house was haunted and that the ghosts were pursuing me. Obviously, I have no idea whether the house was really haunted. However, from time to time, I’ve found certain places or atmospheres disquieting right from the start, and still do occasionally. So I suppose I must believe in the possibility of hauntings and ghosts, although the whole thing scares me.
Anyway, I think the above would do well in a psychological thriller.