This is not Neasden…

I have had a fascinating time over the last few days. I am learning to shelve my Western scepticism while I come across new and different world views.

First I went to PACOS, in the wonderfully named Taman Flash Gordon, just outside KK. They say their main drive is to “advocate and support indigenous communities in Sabah” and they do.  I met the delightful Yogi who talked to me about the two worlds the Kadazandusun inhabit and the Bobohizan (usually a woman) who is a channel between them, using chanting and rituals to connect.  I am, I hope, going to meet one as I am much excited about putting this into #Feverfall. Watch this space.

The Kadazandusun are very much connected with nature and the natural world and express their respect for it in many ways – for instance, if you don’t ask permission to enter the forest, there is a very good chance you will find yourself going round and round in circles. There is a tune they whistle to raise the breeze in the paddy fields, and rice is very important to them, so they apologise if they don’t finish it at a meal.  And so on. All fascinating and I want to know more.

And – something completely different – yesterday I went to a Chinese doctor, Dr Tan, who inscrutably did a little crystal healing, and then took out two small white electric probes which he applied to acupuncture points to help my lower back pain and my general energy. He had looked at my palms and asked if I had lower back pain and had had any digestive problems.  As you may remember, that is an understatement. Anyhow, it hurt, which he said showed there was a problem but after using them says he doesn’t think I need to see him again. He has recommended a meridian clearing procedure which I have booked for the week after next.  May as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb – I’m on a roll. I am, for instance, almost converted to drinking warm and not cold water when thirsty. I have been told so often that this is good for you that I am beginning to believe it. Cheers.

Bit of an upset

I have been off line for a week or two for many reasons. I like to think there are people out there hanging on my every post, but I doubt it – you probably haven’t even noticed!

Anyhow, here I am again. I have had my son staying, which was a joy, and encouraged us to see lots of Sabah. There is plenty more.  And at the end of his stay, both of us had epic stomach upsets which makes us think it was some horrible virus.  The best description of us both is the green emoji vomiting green torrents so I shall leave it at that. I am only just feeling better.

Lying on the sofa like Madame Recamier wasn’t good for my back alas. I twisted something and a bit of vertebra popped out I think.  So my yoga teacher told me, who concentrated on physical therapy when I went to see her. It was like the pain of child birth but although I am still tender, I am indisputably better. And keen for another bout with her – she pulls and stands on me, and pushes and rubs without mercy but somehow, I feel better afterw

But not any better on the novel front. I am feeling the stirrings of an adapted plot which is encouraging, so I am about to concentrate on it now, and see if I can take the good bits of Feverfall and put them into a book set here. Still the cure for malaria, still soul searching by our heroine, and still a bit of argy bargy on the skulduggery front but I am not yet confident that I know Sabah well enough. But I find it fascinating, and I am learning stories that I will incorporate to give my bald and unconvincing narrative some verisimilitude…

I am just so much more interested in Asia than Africa.  Not a value judgement, just my own preference, so I hope I can do something with it.  I shall spend this week struggling with the story and then work on the first chapter, transposing countries. I wish it were as easy to do as this sentence is to write. I shall update with progress.

Picking your battles

IMG_1107I have just come back from Mount Kinabalu. Not after climbing it, you understand. I am very clear about my physical capabilities and that, believe me, is beyond them. My husband and younger son, however, did – and have returned in pain, exhausted but very proud of themselves. As they should be.  It’s a long way and it seems a much longer way down.

I stayed by myself in a small hotel with a beautiful view of the mountain from my balcony. It changed every 10 minutes – the clouds came, they went, they swirled about. The light brightened and dimmed and changed colour. So I decided to paint. The first time in a very long time, and I hope it is the beginning of the rekindling of creativity. I produced something that is passable – you can see what it is, even if the mountain looks a bit like a cat wearing dark specs. It did, for a little while.IMG_1109

I painted and I listened to the trees and the birds and the insects. And of course I thought a lot. About how to be happy, and stop feeling as if there is always another mountain to climb, just one, to make me so. There is – a book to write, and a decision to make about its setting and its characters, but I hope that I am nearer to starting this properly. I felt different. I wasn’t going to the supermarket. I didn’t have to pay my electricity bill, in cash that I hadn’t yet taken out of the ATM. I spent hours in silence, and when I wanted a break from painting, I read Charlotte Bingham which made me laugh, and then on my phone I played a couple of the word games to which I have become addicted.  And I thought about being here and there. Harry is here at the moment and it makes me happy. I may have some training to do, which makes me feel purposeful, and I interact with people. My flat is comfortable, and I am meeting people to invite to it, so that can’t be bad either.  Friends are coming out, starting from July, after I have been back to UK for ten days in June. So for Heaven’s sake…

I hope my next blog post will tell of the beginning of a chapter – in my life and in Feverfall.

Non Sequitur: Harry has just told me of an inuit word: ikstuarpok, which means the excitement of waiting for someone to arrive.  Wonderful.  Can I use it, I wonder?  There was plenty of ikstuarpok last week as we went to the airport to collect him!