The Celtic festival of Samhainn brings the end of the harvest season and the start of the winter.

Beltane – the end of winter – feels a long way away at the moment but the start of winter is important too, and this morning I thought to myself, there’s always an opportunity for a fresh start.

This winter, more than ever, needs to be a time of restoring, resting, reviving, recovering and preparing for new growth in the spring.

Beltane has a new significance for me since I heard the gorgeous Beltane Dance by Monika Stadler and it’s now a favourite piece in my harp repertoire. I adore the harmonies, the light joyful slightly hypnotic feeling and a few times when I’ve played it, the sun has actually come out. Truly.

Be it a new academic year, a new calendar year, a solstice, a season or even just the declaration that the old is no more and the new is here, I guess I’m saying you can turn the page whenever you please.

I had a musical meltdown last Sunday night, the cumulative effect of an intensive but transformative month working on a new harp project combined with the first painful encounter with my ex-boyfriend at Saturday’s race. Nothing was said, I’m not sure he even saw me as we didn’t even look at each other but it was the first time I’d seen him in well over a year as I had done a pretty good job of avoiding any events where he might be. I hadn’t expected him to be there and it really shook me up.

Thanks to a really helpful productive supportive chat with my mentor on the harp programme I’m working on, everything that was going on was aired and explored. In the time since, some of it has been resolved. The cleansing this has brought about has been quite profound. The idea of backing yourself, supporting yourself and trusting yourself was the main thing I have taken away from Sunday’s session and my spirit really does feel like a load has been lifted.

The last few weeks have seen me getting more comfortable with being on video, but along the way I have been faced with my own physical appearance in a much more intensive way than usual. I’ve always struggled with my weight, and most days when I look in the mirror I still see the small chunky 7 year old girl with bottle thick glasses, built for comfort not for speed as my Dad has always said, and who got dumped in primary school for the prettier girl who she sat next to.

The video project brought about the harsh realisation that I don’t look or even feel like myself at the moment, and actually I haven’t for a long while. A race photo yesterday proved the final straw, and the contrast between this picture and one of my favourites from two years ago was really painful.

Lifting the load has exposed some other things that needed to be very sadly left in the past, and so this Samhainn I am moving onward into the next phase of my adventures.

The Lion of No tattoo (a daft play on words on LionO from Thundercats) that now takes up the whole of my back is already earning its keep and has gently reminded me to say No when I need to.

All the big race entries are now in for next year, they are gloriously terrifying and will give me a great incentive to look after myself as the training volumes increase once again, and also to get out there in the hills over the winter and the coming spring and make the most of all the incredible scenery I have on my doorstep.

I’ll never be a glossy honey coloured sleek and slender whippet of a runner, I’m definitely more of a snowy white happy wee Staffy chugging along at the back admiring the scenery. 


I’ll leave tall, dark and skinny to my own pets. Right now all I want is to feel strong and fit again, and I know that once I do, I will feel better on the inside as well. And I am really looking forward to buying some new jeans with my Christmas money.

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