Category Archives: Curiosities

Truth to Power – In Jest

These figures, Jesters, are dressed in the outfits that are worn in the village I was staying in last week. The statue caught my attention the first time I went out shopping the day after I arrived. Food popping up again! The Spelt bread was good and the prize-winning bakery obviously attractive, from the pavement. But what do these statues point to?

The tradition of Fastnacht. A festival/knees-up which marks the beginning of Lent and is particular to an area of Germany known as the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Here a link where you can read all about the goings-on during this carnival to end all carnivals. The costumes and masks are historic, each village having a well-established and unique expression.

The Jester has a special place in the scheme of things. A chance to speak truth to power, in a fun way.

Being a jester involves making fun of authorities, and the chance to speak openly and tell unpleasant truths. Under the mask the jester won’t be recognized and can say what he likes to say. (A fellow club sister of mine used to be a former minister in the government of Baden-Württemberg. She told me how she once visited the carnival in Rottweil, where a masked jester approached her and told her loads of details about life and work in her ministry, so he surely must have been an employee, but she did not recognize him.)
From the above mentioned site.

Now thinking of the discipline involved with Lent in the Christian tradition. Fasting is not outside of our practice in Buddhism. A choice indeed and one I find helpful to interrupt the habit of eating more sugar than is good. I’d say sometimes my sugar eating verges on addictive behaviour. That’s finding it hard to stop at just one biscuit.

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Beautiful Camels!

Happy New Year dear Jade Readers. Perhaps because it has been a full day, preceded by many ‘full days’, or that it is New Year’s Eve and we are heading into yet another year of Pandemic, I just felt this news article in the Guardian newspaper HAD to be shared. But why?

It is said that retaining a sense of humour is the saving grace of the religious life. Please laugh, smile, raise your eyebrows in wonderment as we head into the year to come. May we find contentment, peace, joy and a smile in our hearts. Always and forever. And YES, this is a very sad business – Camel Beauty Pageant! Really?

Camels enhanced with Botox barred from Saudi beauty contest

Saudi authorities have carried out their biggest crackdown on camel beauty contestants, disqualifying more than 40 “enhanced” camels from the annual pageant,

The camels disqualified in the competition, at the King Abdulaziz camel festival, were judged to have received Botox injections and other artificial touch-ups.

Botox injections, facelifts and other cosmetic alterations to make the camels more attractive are strictly prohibited. Jurors decide the winner based on the shape of the animals’ heads, necks, humps, dress, and postures.

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The Benefits of Breathing – Re post

Have you ever paused to notice?
if your mouth is closed
when you breathe in
and when you breathe out?

Have you ever considered?
if your mouth is OPEN
while you walk in silence
and have you wondered why?

Have you ever paid attention?
to the soft touch of top on bottom lip
and noticed the wonder of it
in your toes?

Have you ever paused to ponder?
if mouth open or closed
while breathing through your day

A friend pointed out the merits of nose breathing, whenever possible, as against mouth breathing.

Why wander the world panting? Surely life is not one long emergency.
Is it?

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Cheap Tin Trays!

A bored child
In Sussex
By the sea.



Today guests arrive for an ‘intensive retreat’, with a difference. Here is the write up on our website introducing the retreat.
One of the themes of this retreat is around seeing the reading and writing of poetry as a potential ‘path of awareness’. In finding ways to express what seems unsayable, poetry can reveal and clarify our understanding of ourselves. During the retreat, there will be talks/discussions on this topic, which will be integrated with sitting periods.

Those coming to the retreat were encouraged to bring a poem. Below is my poem.

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield

Everything from the exotic, hard to pronounce words, to those cheap tin trays, pig lead and firewood captured my bored wandering attention. Sitting at my desk I could picture that dirty British coaster filled with earthy items, contrasting with emeralds, amethysts, peacocks and palm-green shores. How unlike Sussex by the sea! The poem fired my imagination and pointed to a distant world beyond the waves I knew. It probably set me yearning to see the world.

There is something to be said for poetry.

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Alternative Fireworks.

Success! Sorry to you lovely subscribers for giving you a false alarm earlier, I was having difficulty uploading however the problem is solved.

Here it is an ‘interesting’ short video to celebrate the opening up of the year 2020.

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