Have a heart…

It’s an ongoing, daily, or even hourly practice!

Travelling, or indeed ‘being’, with a ‘mindful’ approach.

Mindful of ‘yourself’, mindful of ‘the space you inhabit’, mindful of ‘what you share’, and mindful of the ‘conflictus differentia’ that one encounters!

Where possible, I now cycle on the cycle-path if it’s available and usable. However, daily I need to join the stream of traffic when cycleways are not available.

20130321-215139.jpgTravelling with ‘the traffic’ (a passenger?), is quite a different prospect to simply travelling.
‘Being’ with the traffic, (the common consciousness?)is quite a different prospect to simple pilgrimatic being.

We are surrounded by ‘stuff’. The stream picks you up and you find yourself pulled by the “gotta get a double seat” milieu that surrounds you. Loud opinion, aggressive obstacles, disregard, covert gossip, music, art, popular consumption, empty promises, amplified surface, hidden depths, bling, gestures, advertising, glum faces, abstract expressions, connection, happyville, disconnection… and creme eggs! (and the like)

It’s taken me a long time, and I am not there yet, to truly move from a driverly approach to a new more ambulant(?), contented(?), endowed(?) perspective and outlook.

Yes, “drive” is what gets things done, but a mindful drive might be more fruitful.
“Every good tree bears good fruit” through a process of simple interaction, fecundity and growth.
Less haste and less speed!.
Perhaps Solomon said it first “diligence leads to riches as surely as haste leads to poverty” .
Creativity is most prevalent when one looks outside of the familiar (routine).

Mindfulness – stop, relax, breath.
The beat of your heart – we are all too often picked up be a pseudo heartbeat, pulse of the new.
The beat of the music, the media, the entertainment, the beat of information… it’s not our heartbeat, but often it takes over and we become part of it’s hypnotic ways.
Where your treasure is there is your heart also…

Rediscover your heart beat! an ongoing, daily, or even hourly practice!


Safe Space Counselling

I recently produced a logo and graphics to publicise a new Counselling Service that starts in early November.


I know from personal experience that at certain times in their lives people sometimes really need to “talk things through”.

People might be suffering with relationship problems, bereavement, money worries, redundancy or anything else.
The reasons can vary from obvious concerns to underlying issues that might not readily seem relevant.
Often we find it hard to turn to someone we are close to, and would prefer to speak to someone who is impartial. Or perhaps we don’t want to talk to anyone, because “I’m alright there’s nothing wrong, bark! bark!”.

In my case, it took months for me to realise (be told) that there was something I seriously needed to face up to.
I urge anyone struggling with ‘stuff’ in any way, to talk to someone impartial!  It might just clear the air, or it might be the a big small first step towards viewing life in a new way, or repackage things and seeing things from a different perspective.
For me it was not a conscious logical process and I can’t explain it – it was a deeper stirring and repositioning of long-held notions and instincts.  My period of transition (which is an ongoing thing) was not without ‘incident’ – as you might expect when you stir up sediment. But the first steps of “talking it through” led me towards quite an amazing, albeit sometimes still bewildering, world.

Safe Space Counselling is a new counselling service operating out of Birstall and Syston Methodist Churches.

It will be a place where people can make an appointment to see a trained counsellor and talk in a place that is safe, secure and completely confidential.  The counsellors are trained to listen and support the clients to work through their problem or anxiety. The service will open in early November. Appointments can be made by contacting 07938 779 477 or send an email to   There will be a website to view the services available from mid November at

Download Flyer PDF Safe Space A5     Download Details PDF SafeSpaceA4


The rowan…

The rowan has besprinkled her berries
the robin is now elsewhere
bare, exposed and open
tonic, nurture and growth
an anointed shield might soften over time
skin can be shed
ever so special
whispers of freedom
let it go



Addendum to the below:
What a load of rollocks I write. The old brain really does concoct some crap.
 Sunday evening, and just trying to sift the crap out of the way.
 There’s not much to it really is there? Tomorrow will bring what it brings, yesterday is past.
 My brain’s problem is it’s looking for something that’s not there. That’s art for you.
 I am breathing, I can taste flavour, I feel warmth, I can expect treasures, I have painted stones and walnut whip, slumbered children and a smile from the wife, popcorn tv, infotainment … breath…
 I am breathing, I feel warmth…

And so…

Recently mulling stuff about mindfulness; all’s well and good, but acceptance, tolerance and awakening are the watch words. At first glance a new perspective seems to deny confrontation, conflict, and argument, but how can one progress, create or develop through or around obstacles, with an ‘accepting’ attitude?
The bullish energy of selfishness and the quick-fix attitude of the post-modern ego seem stronger than the river of peace… Yes, the turbulence that the enthusiastic will can create, can cause storms and depressions, and the self might be lucky to realise that one’s ego and desire is limiting. Reality is often buried under constructions and stories. I love stories, I love creativity, but it seems too much of a good thing can crash the operating system.

Personally, a defragment, clean-up and review of subscriptions has worked wonders. Yes, the chemicals are still needed to keep the sparks firing. As Mr. H says, we all need specific clothes.
And so…
Clothed with what’s needed, with a mindful view of the stream, how do we tackle the debris, constructions and faults we perceive? Do we continue, solitary, with friends, on the low-road with views of the river? Do we venture to the heights with chosen weaponry? How do we love it?

Bike Uncategorized

cyclists are foolish? raw rant…

Commuter cyclists are foolish?

Jules Richards  ******, when a car passes toooo close & tooo fast on a narrow country road and the potential circumstances flash through your mind, you stop at the lights and ask could you give me more room next time… a verbal slanging match ensues, culminating being told to sod off! You feel worse than ever and the week’s started well. ****ed off, feel like the crap in the road I have to ride through. Why do I ****ing bother?

[friend] I know how you feel, Jules!

Jules Richards  I feel awful! onward… I really don’t know why I am so stupid, just do what everyone else does… eh? “common”? sense. Or do what you feel like and ride against the wind – Sometime’s it’s invigorating but when challenged by other “travellers” often one feels on limb and a bit foolish. When you’re on a limb anyway it doesn’t take much for the limb to break. Cycling can be freedom, but also can be tense, dangerous and a stupid thing to do, given the circumstances. I’m not surprised people want to stay in their “auto”mobiles.

Arghijklmnopqrstuvw…x…y…. z.

[friend] I don’t cycle as much as you do, but sometimes circumstances lead me to realise the risks I’m taking and I wonder, if the worst happened, would I think it was worth it if I looked back? Think these things even more with two teenage boys cycling on the roads. The Big Picture: we can’t let fear drive cyclists off the road – there are so many reasons to cycle. But the Little Picture – with you and loved ones in the frame – sometimes doesn’t look as clear. Sorry this has happened to you today

Jules Richards on verge of giving in and buying a car.

[friend] A couple of weeks ago after being overtaken just before a blind corner I also asked a driver to be more careful. During the abuse he said that next time he would kill me. 

I do not understand why anyone would even think that let alone say it.

But I can’t afford to buy a 2nd car for health, wealth and environmental reasons. 

I am going to revisit cameras though and then report them all

[friend]  I haven’t really had any altercations with drivers, tho I did once shout at a bloke driving a Chelsea tractor and talking on his mobile. When he drew up later, he lent over and spat at me through his passenger window.

It is bizarre the amount of contempt/hatred British men feel for cyclists. In France, in my experience, you get only consideration from drivers and encouragement from pedestrians – because most of them cycle as well. In Britain, there still seems to be a deep-rooted attitude that the manly thing is to drive (ie sit in a comfy chair and let an engine do all the work) and only little boys and twats ride a bike.

Jules Richards seriously thinking of a camera, have been for a while. Not at ease about having to go that route though.





And so, coffee has been my drug of choice since January. I don’t smoke, I drink alcohol minimally, my prime-vices are cheese and coffee.

Dipping my toe into the shallow end of the coffee pool, in January I started using a DeLonghi Icona ECO310 Espresso Machine. The once (occasionally twice) daily hit seemed to work well in conjunction with my other daily imbibes.
Last month I started using a Krups Twin Blade Coffee Mill to mill roasted coffee beans rather than pre-ground.

A few weeks ago I thought  I’d try a selection of beans and see what all the fuss was about.
As I say, I’m new to this coffee malarkey and come from NO position of expertise, talent or experience.  I discover what I like and what I don’t like.  Yes, there are many variables that might alter a cup of coffee’s taste etc like heat and pressure of water, grind of beans, amount of milk, type of milk, what you’ve eaten before the drink… etc but hey I’m no scientist.
So this is just a man on the web’s humble opinion.

The lovely people at Tank Coffee were my first stop – a friend had told me about them.

I tried six of their offerings, making my coffee using the machines above, with just a dash of milk:

We found this of medium strength, smooth, mild and sweet. We found the grind gave off an almondy sniff. A single large cup gave me a medium afterglow and found it very drinkable.
Tank say: This sweet and chocolatey coffee comes from the hills of Musema in south west Burundi. It has a delightfully well-rounded body with hints of cocoa and caramel. As it cools, you get a few hints of blackberry too.

We found this of medium strength, but we found it a bit bitter and with a strong black tea flavour. It was harsh and smokey. A single large cup gave me a strong afterglow.
Tank say: Mild in body, Hosnia Special has subtle and rather sweet notes of chocolate. You may well detect some lemon and black tea flavours. And if you’re tastebuds are finely-tuned, delightful herbal flavours will be dancing around there too.

We found this very drinkable! It was smooth mild and sweet.
Tank say: “You’ll love this Ethiopian beauty. Nicely rounded, moderate acidity with a decent body. You’ll discover some gorgeous floral tones in this amazing coffee and many people say, it’s the perfect start to the day.”

Again we found this very drinkable! It was smooth mild and sweet and yes I have to say a choc resonance.
Tank say: “Mmmm…beya. A coffee with an excellent body. Oh yes, this is a soft, sweet and mild coffee with wine and chocolate notes and a berry finish. It’s from the villages around Mbeya in southern Tanzania.”

My notes say medium in strength and taste, but with warm smooth cuddly afterglow.
Tank say: Fruity. That’s the word we’re using to describe this light and refreshing morning coffee grown in the red volcanic soils by the Thangaini co-operative. Delicate lemon tea aromas coupled with a smooth, silky body and subtle blackcurrant notes offer a refreshing and a rather genteel start to the day.

The last on the list and the last coffee we tried: was “a good cup of coffee”. We found it was just right, not too strong and not too smooth, we could not pin a specifc character to it. Just good.
Tank say: The tankcoffee espresso blend boasts deep chocolate and berry flavours, with some light floral notes, so it’s perfect for a smooth latte, a full-bodied cappuccino or of course, an espresso that promises a polite kick with every sip. What’s in the blend?  Our Kickstart Espresso is the perfect blend of Kenyan Thangaini, Burundi Musema, Ethiopian Sidamo and Cameroon Hosnia to get you moving in the morning!

We will be ordering our favourite in due-course – thanks Tank Coffee.


Familiarity breeds disregard…

Stare at the image for about half a minute without moving your eyes and watch as it gradually disappears. This is a variation of Troxler’s effect which essentially says that if you fixate your eyes on a certain point, stimuli near that point will gradually fade, and will disappear.

Try it!


When it’s gone look again.

Take a new look at what you have.

Thanks to: David Pegg


In the shelter of each other…

It is in the shelter of each other that people find sanctuary.

My attention was recently drawn to the above adaption of the Irish saying, “It is in the shelter of each other that people live”
For me, it’s often an opportunity to relax that brings on a longing for sanctuary.
“Oh please no,” I hear you say, “not again.”
Yup, that’s what I say too!
Trying to describe feelings or thoughts really is counterproductive, it’s sometimes just to heavy to conceive. There’s no specific challenge to be accomplished, but just a frustrating void of failure and sense of unworthiness – I’m not going into that now.
“Oh stop mawdling in misery and count your blessings, you don’t know how lucky you are – you’ve never had a hard day in your life, get over it loser.” I hear some say.
I actually find that no logic, arse-kicking or backslapping makes much difference.
I hate the idea of labelling myself and really don’t want to live up to expectations… But in 2010 I was diagnosed with serious depression.
Although it is not fully understood what causes depression, an imbalance of chemicals in our brain is thought to be a factor. The SSRI drug that I have been taking for a year now, works by regulating the levels of a chemical called serotonin; this eases the symptoms of depression and feelings of panic.
Even after taking Citalopram for a few days, it significantly transformed my mood and attitude – this was after months of serious symptoms and concern. After a season, I stepped off the dose but after a fortnight symptoms reoccurred and GP suggested continuing with a reduced dose.
And so a year on and I wish I was not taking tabs but I am. I still sense the need for a wet fish and a coffee.(notes)
I do wish I could move away from the need to disconnect, but without the shelter of others disconnection is just a way of finding sanctuary.
No man is an island but without a means of shelter my island’s sanctuary is at least a pale vapid something.
I’ll try to keep an eye out for the passing Good Ship Sanctuary.
(Learn to swim boy!)

(Addition; just watched ‘bird song’, that throws a whole new spanner in the works.)



More than simple…

Simple is not the right word….
I came across the creation below recently and it ‘struck a chord’.

Sarah May Rogers - artwork

I like to think of affective art as having a resonance, and this work by Sarah May Rogers rings my neurones.
I recall being taught that the resonating buzz between the coherence and the correspondence in an image/artwork forms a flavour, sound, dream, wonder… fabula… syuzhet… etcblah… enough nonsense.
The artwork above may at first seem a simple image but I have found it quite satisfying; a unique creation, with perfect colours, great composition and proportion, a great idea with a lasting resonance! Big Smile.

Check out her other creations.
Thanks Sarah.