Lasting Essence – an exhibition at the Arch Cafe


I have a print of one of Peter Shillito’s paintings in my front room. It’s a bright, complex, abstract design that people often comment on, and the colours in particular (strong blues, greens, purple) are very beautiful. Peter is a genuine mystic, whose poems and artwork form a whole – two different ways of pointing toward the same truth.

His exhibition ‘Lasting Essence’ is currently showing at the Arch Café, (just off Dortmund Square, round the corner from the St. John’s Centre). As well as about 20 of his paintings, there is a book of poetry with the same title, which has images of some of the paintings in it. It’s a lovely little collection. The title poem ‘written soon after a mental illness had torn my world apart’, sets the tone:

Little Tree

A small tree may grow

Its branches reaching out

like the arms of a child

Touching a golden sun

Its leaves whisper

and flutter free

Like a dove on a wing,

out into Eternity.

The theme of finding light out of mental darkness, and discovering that ‘breakdown’ can lead to ‘breaking through’, is a theme that runs through Peter’s writing. It made me think of another English poet/painter mystic, William Blake:

“What is the price of Experience? Do men buy it for a song? Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price

Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy”

Peter is a member of the Living Artists Movement, the group Ushawant Kaur began, which printed his book. He’s also a regular member of the Scattered Leaves group, where practising artists and writers share their work every first Tuesday evening at the Civic Hall. The Lasting Essence exhibition will run until the 18th of August.

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The Asda 10K run tomorrow – Raising funds for Leeds Mind and a personal achievement

The annual Leeds 10K, inspired by the late Jane Tomlinson,  starts tomorrow at 09.30 from Millennium Square and New Briggate.

Sunday 22nd July – a date which seemed so far away when I first signed up for this run, is finally here!  I’m not sure if I am excited about it or dreading it. Surprisingly though I think I’m leaning towards excitement (at the moment that is!)  This is my first long run.  My tag line has always been ‘I’m not a natural runner.’  eek !

Here is the  route – it’s going to be a great atmosphere.  Come down and join the crowds, everyone is welcome to cheer us on !

Leeds 10K – 2014



I’m running with a team from Leeds Mind. (We’ll be in the Leeds Mind running vests – you can’t miss us.)  We are raising funds which will go towards the recruitment and retention of volunteers.  If you would like to donate some money please see our Just Giving Page – Leeds Mind run the 10K. 

I’d also just like to add that I feel the training has had a quite a big impact upon my emotional well-being. The release of endorphins seem to make me feel a little bit more optimistic, which can have quite a profound effect upon my thinking.

Jane Tomlinson would have celebrated her 50th birthday earlier this year.  What a legacy she left behind, she was and her memory is so inspiring.

Thanks – Vicky


In Green

  A couple of months ago (had no internet for a few weeks due to a technical glitch) I did a very enjoyable workshop at Clarence House called Feeling Good  With colour.  It was about using colour  to improve our mood.  We did a visualisation  where we imagined sitting under a giant flower and golden sunshine pouring on to us,  discussed a poem about colour in nature, colour associations, discussed colour therapy, colour harmony, and how colours are used in different cultures.  We also went into the garden and each wrote a poem about what were experiencing.  This is the poem.

                                   IN GREEN


In green


Indigo flowers

Sat in middle.

Circle of bird conversation.

Trees smooth out                                                                       treespirit-greenwood-tree-primavera-500

Blunt sunshine

Cool breeze

Pats the back

Of golden heat

Calms the whirling

Brain chatter.

Buttercup open

Like greeting hand.

(image from

Brunch break

Eggs and Johnny cakesBloggers are frequently invited to free events, no doubt the invitee might expect their event or venue, will merit a blog post.

I recently received an invitation to attend a free bloggers brunch, complete with Bloody Mary’s. A cynic might have concluded, “there is no such thing as a free brunch” and declined the offer…I did not!

The stated aim of the venue offering the brunch, was to test run the menu prior to the its launch date,  scheduled for a week hence. They were keen for those present to comment on the quality of the food, the menu’s proposed pricing and service. I’d considered they might expect a favourable blog review. Didn’t they know I wasn’t a food blogger?  I wondered how, as an amateur blogger, more used to writing about my ways of remaining well,  I’d pitch my piece.

What I’d particularly liked about the invitation was that it stated the event wasn’t primarily about networking. The brunch was advertised as an opportunity for we guests to have a leisurely Saturday breakfast, with friends or family. The manager, and another very attentive member of staff, only interrupted discreetly to ascertain our viewpoint.

Other food blogging events, I’ve attended,…..(I like food)

mi' old yorkshirehad networking and brands as a significant part of the interaction. (not quite my cup of tea). Most in attendance at those previous gatherings were more concerned with eeking out an existence from small indie businesses, rather than making mega bucks.

At times I’d been hesitant to attend, would I be the only un-glossy  person there?  Although PR, food criticism and photography might be considered glam jobs, and professionals do frequent these events, I found them a decidedly unstuffy bunch. Their passion for food, writing blogs and photography  was most in evidence.

Naturally enough discussions about mental health are not a feature of these events. It can be disquieting to step out of circles where discussions on lived experience of  mental distress are commonplace. When I do attend, I try to dispel any discomfort I feel by reflecting that of the 20 or so present, most will have experienced life events that are equally difficult. Additionally I keep in mind, 1 in 4 members of the population are affected by mental illness at some point in their life, thus making it highly probable some in attendance are similarly affected. Appearances can be so deceptive.

Eating nutritiously, having an absorbing hobby, and sharing ideas with others has and remains part of my journey on the wellbeing route. Eating nutritiously is perhaps the one I do least frequently or well. I love tasty food and shopping for ingredients, but carrying them often sees me too tired to cook them straight away. Other interests, an inadequate kitchen space are all other excuses I make! Fortunately I know some quick fix recipes and some of Leeds cheap, quality back street eateries.

My companion and I were first to arrive for the brunch, a few blogging/foodie, cultural types sauntered in a bit later. I thought perhaps a nod of recognition would suffice, however many seemed more honed on the Bloody Mary’s, or Bloody Shames!.(all juice, no booze),  Pleasantries were reserved for the farewells, perhaps it was the post brunch, soulful, bluesy live guitar music, or the affect of the Bloody Mary’s, but people did seem more convivial by then. More used to seeing some with their other hats on, it was nice to find out a bit more about them while in leisure mode.

I felt a level of obligation to write a blog about.Soul Kitchen, my friend and I both enjoyed the Johnny cakes with eggs that we had chosen, however writer’s block had me seriously in it’s grip. Other writing and reading goals had me challenged, but I recalled the comments of a professional writer who’d said they were dubious about people who say that writing is their passion. He quipped they couldn’t be doing it right, which implied he too found writing, his chosen profession, hard. These comments helped me to stick with my attempts to transfer the ideas which swirl in my mind, in to typeface or on to paper.

In summary eating from the Deep Southern, Carribean, Creole influenced menu was no hardship, it was a very pleasant experience. I’ve since returned, the quality and taste was just as good. The pricing might mean it will be an occasional treat. Those watching pennies and calories, might choose the Fruit Loops. The venue, Soul Kitchen is situated in the airy space of the The Wardrobe bar, (opposite the bus station), an aptly named place to slip into something casual….perhaps not your pjs.

Soul Kitchen also serve evening meals.


What keeps me happy and well is poetry and dancing.

       Why I Dance…

you’re a great dancer people often say
at the end of my day a Friday or a Saturday night usually, but it can be open-mike Wednesday or jazz Thursday.
You’re a fantastic dancer people often say I say because I did it my way, I never learnt to dance
I dance from the heart. I dance because you want to, but are afraid to.
I dance because you want to jiggling your knee or tapping the table with your hand.
I dance because there is a good band.
I dance to make the whole world happy
I dance because I have such energy
I dance because the globe is dancing all cultures and I am free like you want to be.
I dance because the globe is spinning, and I can feel it.
I dance because I feel cosmic and oh so very alive.
I dance because it is the end of strife, for me and you.
I dance because whilst I’m mostly happy most of the time, I dance because I’m blue.’

I dance because I know I am only one form of dance – my dancing I never learnt to – I dance because you wanna.
I dance because there are  Asian dancers, Latin dancers, Continental dancers, and the whole world wants to be happy.
I dance to make people free eee eee
I dance to make people laugh, I prat-dance especially to the humorous and daft speedy songs. I dance because I heard a song #I write the songs I write the songs to make the whole world sing, I sing to make the whole world cry.# I dance just because he wrote that song.
I dance because dance is life, life is art art is dance,. I dance because I feel goo-ood like James Brown# and Dr Feel-Good, I dance because I have red blood.
I dance because I am young still at 50 years.
I dance because life has soul, and the blues I dance because I’m full of juice./
I dance because there is rock, rap, reggae, blues, soul, and jazz, grunge, thrash, metal, and heavy metal too.
I dance to uplift your soul, for you to feel gratitude for all that’s good in life.
I dance because there is more than enough stress, work and strife, and because only a few lucky ones have a job they enjoy and this is their leisure time now. I dance because I can leap, Kung Fu and Pow!,
#everyone was kung fu fighting, it was fast as lightning#.
I dance because I am still a child, a big one, and your a big kid too.
I dance and skip hardly ever trip.

Zippity zip zip zip.

I dance for your inner child to be free. To be carefree footloose limb-loose and happy. Heart mind free.
I dance because freedom is the most important thing, as well as compassion too.

I dance for me for you and you

I dance because David Bowie’s put on yer red shoes and dance , I must buy some red shoes
I dance just because I enjoy dance
#I dance for its own sake.
I dance because Roxy Music says so and was made for dancing
I dance because of reggae music and Michael Jackson.
I dance in the St in my ghetto of Holbeck and the kids are bored
I dance because of the song #dancing in the street#
I dance I play I speed up and away. I dance because it makes everyone’s day.
I dance because I know you cant resist me me and my joy. I dance because I feel friendly,
I dance because I want the whole world to have an orgasm of joy.
I dance because I want to the whole world to be happy and joyful.
I dance because I want world peace and music and dance were are my first languages
I dance because words can be a pain in the neck.
My body is my words, my flow is my body my body is life and undulating river.
I dance for freedom I dance for joy.
I dance to reach nirvana for unlimited, ultimate freedom and joy, until the joy juice oozes out of you
I dance because I can dance and that’s not a boast.
I dance because you are simply the best.

Copyright Milan Buddha Ghosh 5th July 2014

Sharing Stories – The Rosie Project – 15th July 6pm

Sharing Stories is a collaborative project between Arts and Minds and Leeds Book Club. The aim of the project is not only pleasurable, but an opportunity to raise awareness of issues surrounding ‘mental health; learning difficulties and autism through the use of fiction’.

This is the second year that Sharing Stories has taken place. A selection of books appropriate to the topic, are discussed throughout the year. For July the choice is The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simison, The Independent newspaper describes it as ‘pure, wonderful escapism’, just the thing for a summer read.

If you have never been to a book discussion group before, this event in the cozy Crowd of Favours bar, in central Leeds, could be a good introduction..It takes place between 6-8pm on Tuesday the 15th,…… still time to read it!

If you have never eaten lobster, and you are not a vegetarian or vegan, Tuesday might be an opportune time to cook it! …..This is Dan’s, the narrator, evening meal… every Tuesday, it forms part of his ongoing Standardised Meal Plan. Dan has a similar practical and scientific approach to everything, including finding.the ideal partner, …The Wife Project…..until he meets Rosie.

Rosie does not tick any of the right boxes on his perfect partner questionnaire, which he devised to facilitate this.. Dan values punctuality and precision ….Rosie has her own Rosie Time Zone.

Dan’s way of coping with the world is indicative of people who receive the diagnose of, Aspergers, Simison describes well the frustrations and humour involved in Dan’s endeavour to become more accommodating of other people’ s way of doing things.

Regardless whether we have a similar diagnosis or not, The Rosie Project might help readers of it understand those that do. They might also reflect that even if they don’t encounter such problems,  the need to be better understood, or understand others is common to all.


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Wellbeing Web at Tropical World, Roundhay Park

A number of our blogging reporters met recently for an afternoon outing. We were intent on visiting Tropical World at Roundhay Park. We hadn’t met for a while, so it was pleasant to first catch up over lunch at the local hostelry. We sat outside in its sun drenched courtyard, where we sampled the victuals and beverages.

We had heard there were new residents at Tropical World, five giant leopard tortoise, which are the largest  of the species in the world. One of our members imagining they might be huge, was disappointed with their size and behavior, but  concluded they must be teenagers. They were bigger than your average pet tortoise, but they weren’t gi-normous,  they were more…..a-morous! Being discreet we did not linger at that section, and therefore have none of our own photographs of them. A return visit for a photograph, might see them grown not only in size, but also in number!

Here are some really excellent photographs of inside the tropical house. These were taken with a bloggie ‘snap’ camera/camcorder by one of our intrepid reporters, (a white hat is a clue to the person’s identity),

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and here are some more photographs, taken with a smart phone, by the blogger ‘that got away’

orchidscooling streams

It was the orchids and hibiscus that added a showy splash of  colour.The jungle room is predominantly, shades of green; the desert room sand coloured and the tropical ponds mysteriously dark, making it hard to spot the wildlife. Camouflage of course is the key to a longer life for wildlife in their natural habitat. Although the butterflies were strikingly patterned and coloured they too were hard to spot against  their background, At Tropical World their friendliness might be accounted for, by the fact we humans look like tasty morsels. We rumbled a rather rare creature which appeared suddenly. not well camouflaged, and normally camera shy.  Our intrepid  reporter managed to take that all essential shot for posterity, as he did of this other strange but fascinating creature.


All members present used their device of choice to take photographs, and we look forward to seeing their contributions later.

Needless to say the tropical temperatures had us all a bit hot under the collar, and elsewhere. Even the trickling streams and water fall did little to cool us down, NO we did not get in any of them.  We were however revived by a cuppa in the nearby tea room.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, and said they’d like to do it again. We shared ideas of projects and events of interest, that might help us develop our photography, writing and filming skills. It’s good to reflect that social meetups for wellbeing, can be both pleasurable and creative.


Stop press – Medieval Congress – Sunday 6th-11th July

‘They’re off’!  Le Grand Depart race has left Leeds city centre,on the first leg of its three week, Paris bound, race. Hopefully visiting spectators will linger a while to taste all our city offers.. Leeds already has a permanent, culturally diverse population, but this additional influx of visitors has enriched us further. Entente cordiale has been much in evidence during the last few weeks, not only between the French and English, but towards the visitors from other distant shores. Another group of both national and international visitors are set to descend on our town tomorrow!  The group are medievalists who will be attending their annual congress, hosted by the  University of Leeds.


You, the members of the public, are invited to attend some of the  sessions which are held  over the  following six days, Sunday 6th July to Friday 11th July. Continue reading

Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty Exhibition

If you haven’t already seen it the free exhibition of photographs ‘captured by the public and inspired by the wonderful wildlife all around us’ at Leeds City Museum is well worth seeing. It runs until 17 August and is split into various categories – animal behaviour, beautiful botany, beautiful Yorkshire, British wildlife, Leeds wildlife, wild Yorkshire & world wildlife.

There are some truly beautiful photographs, most of them clearly taken by people who know quite a bit about cameras & photograph, albeit members of ‘the public’. The winning shot of the Leeds & Liverpool canal I thought bore a resemblance to the photo Mike Bush once took for Leeds Wellbeing Web. And the ‘Ragged Hawthorn’ which is described as ‘an iconic shot’ of the Dales National Park were two that stood out. Also an extraordinary photo of a fox escaping with an egg in it’s mouth. If you love Yorkshire, or flowers, or wildlife then you’ll enjoy this.

You can check out all the winning images on Flickr
and follow the conversation about it on Twitter #NaturalBeauty2