It IS easy being Green


Summer Trees UK

Summer Trees, UK

The word green has so many different connotations. It might simply be a colour, although nowadays it often has a more ideological meaning. It can be an adjective, noun or a verb. It’s the colour of harmony, balance,  growth and renewal.


Global Day of Climate Action, 2015. Perth, Australia

In describing people as green,  I used to have an image, as many others do, of someone who wore hair-shirts, was vegan, didn’t use plastic bags and drove a Prius if they owned a car at all.


Shanga Recycled Bottles Screen, Arusha, Tanzania

We don’t all have to wear hair-shirts. Yet I am someone who, when I get the occasional plastic bag, will wash it out to reuse it. I’ll  make sure that I upcycle, reuse or repurpose anything rather than throw it in the bin.



‘Standing up for what matters’ 2016 Perth

Amongst other things, I go on protests to save and protect our environment or promote social justice and equity, and I also take the easy route of e-activism. I campaign to get Green members elected into parliament. I don’t eat meat. And I try not to leave too much of a footprint when I travel.


Terraces of ‘food crops’ and forest, Nepal.

Even though I live in a city, I’m blessed that I’m still surrounded by my little haven of green – large gum trees that attract cockatoos; small native plants that flower, attracting insects and birds; grape and passionfruit vines; citrus and other fruit trees; and a veggie patch.


A corner of my garden.

For those of us who are so fortunate, it’s easy to be green.

There are Mornings and there are Mornings.

It’s almost Sunday here. Saturday morning seems a long way away. It turned into a good one. I live a fortunate life for which I remind myself frequently to be grateful for. I woke very early knowing that I had to get up. Those sensations again, difficult to describe: singing in my ears, a vague far away feeling, confused thoughts. I raise my head then swing my legs off the bed and head for the kitchen. I know I’m shaking and open the fridge. Juice. I need sugar. I don’t bother with a glass and drink straight from the bottle. Then I check to see how bad.

The small bead of blood forms on my finger tip moments after I felt the pin prick. I push my finger to the strip that sticks out of the small machine and hear the beep. Seconds later a number flashes on the screen; 2.8, too low. I grab a mini-Snicker out of a tin. It’s gone in seconds. I need food. My body craves it. Everything tells me to eat except my logic; that tells me have a banana and go back to bed, you’ll be fine. I don’t because the urge to eat more is stronger, much stronger. I open the tin again and this time it’s a mini-Twix.  Now, banana or bread? The bananas look a little green; bitter.  I choose the bread; fresh home-made, brown and filled with seeds. The shaking has already stopped and I’m not sweating, but I eat it anyway. Over the years I have become familiar with how my body works now that it no longer produces its own insulin.

Outside it would have been light for at least an hour already. I stand undecided. Should I make a cup of tea and sit recovering, watching the day begin, or go back to bed for an hour? My eyes and head feel heavy so I head back to the bedroom. Minutes after my head sinks into the pillow I’m asleep.

The alarm wakes me. I shouldn’t have gone back to bed. Now I feel sluggish. I’m supposed to be at the beach in half an hour. I’m meeting a friend and we’re walking our dogs. If I hadn’t already made the arrangement I’d go back to sleep, but that would be giving in to this thing that has tried to rule my life for so many years, and I won’t let it.

Blue, blue, blue. The sky is cloudless and the sea is broken only by the thin white break at the reef. I step off the path onto the pale sand and feel it hot beneath my feet. Waves gently lap on the hard sand of a low tide. I can make out the patches of weed and reef as the water is like glass. My dog bounds off in sheer joy to boisterously greet her friends. They cavort around in the shallows, blending sand and water. I breathe in the air, look  out at the ocean and feel my shoulders drop and my rib cage expand. Each day the beach is a little different, but in these long hot summers I nearly always swim and whatever the weather, I walk. There is a smile on my face already as I look for my friend who can’t be far away and I let my mind forget the start to the day for I have this, my new beginning. Me time.


Another beautiful morning on the beach with my dog


The Nightclub

The music pounds and I feel the bass vibrating through the floor. People dancing, swaying, laughing, voices trying to be heard. I scan the room. Is he there? It should not be hard to find him as there are so few black people in Newcastle. I weave across the dance floor, the easiest way to get to the far side of the room. Still there is no sign of him. Anger and longing conflict. My jaw is clenched.

I’m dressed in tight-fitting clothes; a pair of beige stretch riding jodhpurs, a skimpy top and my latest acquisition – some stiletto shoes made from shiny ostrich leather. I know I look good and sashay in case he’s watching. I hear the opening beat of Nina Simone’s, ‘My Baby Just  Cares For’ and feel a hand on my elbow. Joy, my girlfriend, pulls me into a jive. Despite the shoes, I manage. There is so much joy in the song and we laugh and smile as we dance, but my eyes scan the crowd.

The music changes. Marvin Gaye, ‘Sexual Healing’. Joy signals a drinking motion with her hand. I follow her towards the bar.

He’s there. Tall, dark and handsome – so clichéd, but true.  He doesn’t call a greeting but holds my gaze, smiles, walks over to me and pulls me towards him and the dance floor. Then he whispers, “Hi,” into my ear. Of course I melt as the music, words and the movement of his body reduce me to a hopeless temporarily ex-feminist.


Daily Prompt: Powerful Suggestions

I don’t often listen to advice, unless I intuitively feel deep inside it’s something that I really should do. I’m sure I have been given some great advice in the past that I have acted upon. I know some suggestions have had a profound impact on who I am and what I do, but it was  a rebellion to advice that was undoubtedly responsible for changing my life path.

When I was younger I was told to remain in a teaching job in a depressed Britain during the height of ‘Thatcherism’ in the early 1980s. Unemployment was high and I had a ‘good job’, had a car and owned a house. Instead I turned my back on that so called stability and went to Zanzibar, East Africa as a volunteer teacher trainer.

I would never have been able to imagine from my tiny terraced home in Sheffield, the amazing things that I have been able to do since getting on that plane, in the days when communication home to family and friends meant writing letters and one phone call a year; when all food came from somewhere on the island, except for the limited allowances of imported rice, sugar and flour; and when my transport was my bicycle.

Of course I started that journey in a place with some hardship, but also so many positive and incredible experiences, and it is these and the following adventures  that form who I am today.

I look back and smile.

Fishermen East Coast of Zanzibar

Fishermen East Coast of Zanzibar


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