About this Blog

Four Wise Monkeys is designed to unite my desire to develop as a writer with my urge to blog. It is based around the proverbial Three Wise Monkeys, with the focus being on the human senses rather than moral principles. Each post will relate to a sense represented by a monkey: "See no evil, Hear no evil, Taste no evil, Smell no evil." My hope is that blogging in this way will encourage me to think of blogging as a kind of writing exercise rather than something to distract me from my writing.


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Four Wise Monkeys pebbles by Aimee Daniells.

Tuesday
Apr152014

The Hour of Hope

So long as I’ve had enough sleep (which is often debateable), I like being up before everyone else, especially on a bright, blue-skied morning. There’s plenty of aural pleasure going, what with the birdsong and the quiet roads, but it’s the light that I especially like, the cleanness of it as the sun rises into the day like an early morning stretch, polishing the leaves and spotlighting the blossom. The gardens are people-free, ruled by birds, their shadows flitting across puddles of sunlight as they hop between branches, and all the shades of green are showcased at their best. At this time of day, the world is full of promise and everything is still achievable. This is the hour of hope.

Monkey by Clive Wesley Dennis 

Sunday
Mar302014

Talking to Monkeys

I’ve been having trouble finding monkeys recently, which has served to illustrate their significance. There’s no devastating trauma going on here, but we’re having a bit of a tough time, and handling ordinary life is taking more energy than it normally does. Desperately searching for a monkey this week, for a small thing that gives me great sensory pleasure, made me realise not only how important monkeys are for general happiness, but that how accessible they are to me has a direct correlation to how settled I am in life. Monkeys are important for taking stock, for being able to pause and appreciate something good in the world, no matter how difficult things are. Monkeys are the blossom on the trees; the warmth of spring sunshine on your back; the smell of fresh ginger on your fingers or onion in a pan; the sound of birds in the morning; the hiss and crackle of grilling bacon… As I list them now, I remember them, and I set off towards a new week, determined to spot all the monkeys, and take the time to say hello as I rush past.

Monkey by Kieran Hazell (www.ownbeat.co.uk)

Saturday
Mar152014

Green Feathers

There was a parakeet in our garden the other day. Parakeets are a common nuisance in parts of London, but not here; here it was very much out of place. It was breakfast time. I was well into my ordinary routine, sitting at the table with a bowl of porridge and a book before getting ready to go to work. Glancing up to see that flash of green (accompanied by a brash squawk) felt like a good omen: here was something unexpected, hopeful almost, a small treasure inserted into an ordinary morning. Its colour more intensely bright than anything else in the garden, it seemed like a beacon, a shiny jewel. And it did have an impact on the rest of the day. I’m certain it was only because it cheered me, because it put me on the lookout for small treasures, but that’s good enough for me. Those rare green feathers sent me out the front door with a sense of hope and possibility that an ordinary weekday morning would have lacked.

Monkeys by Tony Pickering (@mrpickers)

Friday
Mar072014

Beetroot

I like everyday magic, especially when it’s related to food. Kitchen alchemy is a source of pure pleasure to me, and I get very excited by the magic created by combining flavours and textures, and by the healing powers of food. One of the things I love about cooking (and eating!) is the way it involves all the senses. And one of the most pleasing ingredients on the visual plane is the beetroot.

I always thought I didn’t like beetroot, subjected, over the years, to too many slimy pickled things in jars; when I realised its true earthy deliciousness, I started using it all over the place. I love the deep purple of a cooked beetroot, but what I love even more is the ridiculous pink that it bleeds into everything else. It’s almost unbelievable that it would come from a natural food. The beetroot’s colour infects everything else so quickly and so intensely that you have to admire its brazenness; this is a vegetable that demands to be noticed. Cream cheese icing coloured with beetroot (excellent on a chocolate beetroot cake) is a great advert for this: such an over-the-top colour produced by such a small amount of something so wholesome.  It would have you believe it’s been coloured with chemical nasties; I enjoy its sense of humour.

There’s nothing that doesn’t please me about looking at beetroot; that it even seems to take pleasure in itself provides an extra level of brilliance.

Monkey by Clive Wesley Dennis 

Saturday
Mar012014

Good Morning

When I first started living in the community I work in, I was nervous. I’m a very private person in the real world, and I was wary of having to sacrifice this. I needn’t have worried. My private and work lives cross little and the benefits of their proximity far outweigh the costs.

One of the nicest things about it, oddly, is my walk to work in the morning. I must see at least ten people I recognise every morning on the short walk from my house to the school. These aren’t people I know well enough to hold a full conversation with, but they’re friendly faces, and a bit of light social interaction is good for the soul. They lighten my mood, these ‘good morning’s we say every day, and they make me feel that I belong in this community.

And aside from that, for some peculiar reason, the word ‘morning’ makes me think, nearly always, of breakfast. It carries with it the association of oats and toast and milk; the colour of cornflakes and orange juice; the sound of cereal packets rustling and kettles boiling. These are comforting associations, reminders of the very basic things in life, the little things that will continue to make my life a pleasure, no matter what the day ahead has in store.

Those two little words can carry me a long way on a dreary Monday morning.

Monkey by Kieran Hazell (www.ownbeat.co.uk)