We have just been away in Japan to visit our daughter and we were there in time for Sakura - the celebrations of the cherry blossom.  People bring picnics and sit under the cherry trees to enjoy them at their best.  Everywhere there is the sound of cameras clicking as people have their picture taken underneath the trees even when it is pouring with rain.  They really take time to notice the arrival of spring and celebrate it together.  Arriving back I was aware of all the shifts here too.  The blackthorn is looking particularly lovely and in our garden a new crop of tulips is emerging.  I really felt the value of that marking of the arrival of the blossoms.  Sometimes they only stay for a day or so but they do not go unnoticed.  Cowslips are emerging already and we have a lovely drift of white violets growing under the roadside hedge.  Well worth bending down for a sniff.  They have a delicate sweet scent.


We do not send out emails to alert people to interesting things that are happening unless they work in with our usual newsletters because I hate being bombarded with mail and we promise not to do so.  But sometimes I wish we could because such interesting things are going on.


Look out for information about Dying Matters week at the beginning of next month.  It is growing every year and there is very likely to be something interesting happening near you.  Visit the website www.dyingmatters.org.  We are running a Death Cafe in Swindon as part of the Swindon Literature Festival on Monday May 12th - 4.30-6.30.  Do call us if you would like to book a place.  We are delighted at the response already.  01367 240508.  Not reccommended for the recently bereaved but very worthwhile and helpful events.  No charge except for the delicious cakes and drinks from Cakes and Ale on the Devizes Road in Old Town, Swindon.


So to three other interesting events further afield.

In York there is the Before I Die Festival which has some very interesting and varied events.  If you live near there, don't miss it.

Sobell House in Oxford are running two excellent courses in May - 10th and 16th.  One is an introduction to Songwriting and the other Working Creatively with Grieving People - words, music and the search for meaning.  Visit www.sobell-education.org.uk for more details.

There is a new show all about funeral poverty by the brilliant theatre company Ice and Fire.  It is called the Nine O Clock Slot and is only being performed in London unfortunately.  But I am sure it will be worth seeing.   I have my tickets booked.  Running this week. There is so much to say about families struggle to meet the costs of funerals and I am sure they will be raising a lot of important issues.  We will also be dealing with this subject during the Kicking the Bucket Festival.

This blog is rather long now.  Nothing for several months and now this essay.  I shall try to be better organised.