Archive | July, 2016

Wildflowers by the roadside

I am continuing with my cycle training this month, but am paying as much interest to the wildflowers by the side of the road.

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A field of wildflowers near Charlbury.

I caught a glimpse of this field through a gap in the hedge. Continue Reading →

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Wildflowers at Aston Rowant

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Wildflowers at Aston Rowant nature reserve

I often do hill climb intervals up the Chiltern ridge. There are numerous different climbs, which make a varied and testing training route. Today I tried a quiet road, which I had not been on before. After 500m, the road petered out and became a farm track, so I stopped the hill climb interval mid-flow. I was going to do a u-turn and search out the next hill, but felt inspired to take a rest and went into a nearby field. The field happened to be a nature reserve with a profusion of wildflowers; I have rarely seen such a rich diversity and carpet of wildflowers in Britain.

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The site is just next to the M40 motorway. I have been on the motorway hundreds of times, but you never get to see any wildflowers, just some green fields from a distance. Continue Reading →

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Loch Lomond meditation

Around the turn of the century, the great yogi Swami Vivekananda visited Britain. He gave lectures and taught the basics of yoga and meditation to British seekers – Vivekananda was one of the first to bring the great spiritual traditions of India to the West. He stayed several months and it included a trip to Loch Lomond, where he chose a spot on the lake to meditate.

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Loch Lomond, with the sun temporarily disappearing behind a block of mist and cloud.

Continue Reading →

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Constable’s Hay Wain in Flatford via Todmorden

Last week I was in Yorkshire. When in Yorkshire, I often like to cycle into the picturesque Yorkshire Dales – picture postcard villages, limestone crops and sweeping meadows.

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Littondale, Yorkshire Dales.

But this time I was drawn to the rugged industrial towns and moors of Calderdale – the windswept moors above Haworth and the old industrial towns of Todmorden and Burnley.

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Just out of living memory, this part of the world was at the heart of the industrial revolution – with cotton and steam transforming the world. Yet, this once brave new world now stands forlorn as industrial history; derelict buildings stuck in the wrong age; the odd chimney retained as a tentative tourist attraction for towns struggling to cope with relentless economic change. Continue Reading →

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Indian stories by Sri Chinmoy

stories-1-coverThe Works of Sri Chinmoy: Stories, vol. I

‘Stories Volume I’ is a collection of Indian based stories written by Sri Chinmoy.

In many cases, they are based on traditional Indian stories from the age of the Mahabharata and Puranas. It also includes stories about the Moghul Emperors, and great Indian spiritual Masters of the recent past, such as Lahiri Mahasaya and Troilanga Swami.

The stories are told with great simplicity and directness, but at the same time contain profound spiritual lessons.

In recent years, I have tried to get into the Mahabharata, but have often found it difficult due to the sheer volume and complexity of the stories (plus a never ending list of characters with difficult names!). This collection of short stories is a very good way to gain an insight into some of the main characters, such as Sri Krishna and Arjuna. After reading this collection, I now have a bit more confidence to delve into other Indian spiritual classics. I would recommend this book as a very good introduction for those seeking to gain an accessible insight into the spiritual history of India. Continue Reading →

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