This weekend I have been mostly hanging out at the very cool Stonemonkey Yoga Studio and Cafe in Leamington Spa and either contorting myself or somebody else into mind-boggling positions. Yesterday it was a back-bend focussed yoga class followed by a yoga teacher training session later in the day, and today was a thai massage taster course.
It was interesting to see how the authentic thai massage tradition has been slightly modified for our tight western bodies under UK training, with no sign of elbow-grinding or foot stomping – I like to think of it as a ‘Western-lite’, more relaxing version. I really enjoyed the day; it confirmed to me that massage is an area into which I would definitely like to delve deeper. I find administering the massage almost as relaxing as receiving it, especially when focussing on deep, meditative breathing. I found that, naturally, both giver and receiver tend to fall into the same breath pattern, creating quite an intense, nurturing mood to the process.
In between my Stonemonkey forays I enjoyed re-acquainting myself with the Regency charm of Leamington Spa, which was fully embracing all things British in anticipation of the arrival of the Olympic torch today. My own contribution to the effort was the consumption of a rather fine Victorian sponge cake – it was on a lace doiley and everything. I attempted to emulate my traveller anonymity by secreting myself away in various cafes, probably looking completely pretentious as I whimsically tapped away on my netbook whilst hiding behind a pile of yoga books. It almost worked, but there is an unfortunate lack of flat white coffees and obscenely tasty thai food to be had in old Leam’, it seems, not to mention tropical heat.
This evening, having missed the torch procession but unfortunately not the resultant traffic procession, I celebrated finally arriving home with a ‘nature walk’ around the village with my niece and nephew in the beautiful evening sunshine (yes, you read right – real, actual sunshine). We may have missed the torch, but we had our own celebration of the essence of British summertime. Holly, my niece, instructed me what to take photos of and I attempted to oblige – the best of the results are below.
Lavender, in its rightful place – an English country garden.
This garden flower was in the churchyard – I’m not sure what it is, but my creative director assured me it would make a good photo, and it turns out she was right. Its green bodice and full skirt of blue look ripe for conversion into a new flower fairy illustration – any takers?
What could be more quintessentially British than breathing in the sweet scent of wild honeysuckle as it drifts down from a hedgerow on the thermals of a golden evening?
The stunningly elaborate passionflower. This flower has all kinds of biblical symbolism – the twisting tendrils are associated with the whip used on the crucified Jesus, the five anthers represent his wounds, the dark indigo ring represents the crown of thorns, the petals represent the disciples minus the defectors and liars… You name it, every part of this flower has something to feel guilty about.