One of my favourite places to go and visit is the local graveyard. We live on a square block, the streets conveniently named North, East, South and West, and the cemetery is on the North side of the square. I have no relatives or friends buried there, in fact, I have no connection to anyone there. But there's something about the ambience, the peace and the love that has gone into that patch of land that permeates the air and is hard to find anywhere else.
Recently, Russian socio-political discourse has been buzzing on a new topic, widely discussed in Russian society and by experts, but less so by the political elite and by international experts. The topic of discussion is rather significant and serious, and could mark the beginning of a new trend in the relationships between Chechnya and Russia, Chechnya and the Kremlin, and Chechnya and the rest of the North Caucasus.
When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is read the news. I scan as many sources as I can depending on the time I have available. Many years of doing this have convinced me that nothing is written without a reason. It is as the Russian poet Mayakovsky wrote, that even if the stars are lit, it means someone needs it.
Walking into the CARE supported clinic in Pariang, I see a little girl with edema - her belly is swollen because she hasn't got enough to eat. It's been a long time since I've seen a child with edema, and I certainly didn't expect to see one in this part of the country. Of all the places that CARE supports health care, Pariang, in Unity state, has traditionally been the least food insecure.
The terrifying financial burdens that come with living in London, the sense of it increasingly becoming a steel and glass playground for the super wealthy, can make us ordinary Londoners feel disenfranchised. The huge pressure to achieve and succeed, if not just survive, leaves little scope for moments of awe and genuine peace in our frantic minds.
Yes, I'm speaking out in public - although mainly because I'm too chicken to turn to my side and actually tell the three hipsters on my right to shut up, and enquiring whether they think the 'quiet please' signs have a hidden clause stating "unless you're wearing a beanie and trousers which finish mid-shin".
Eliana, mother of Dominic, who took my yoga session, is 85 but not, if you know what I mean. Unexpected, impatient and eager for new experiences, she sports the attributes of youth not age. We had a conversation about her fascinating life and what brought her to her vocation as a healer via a career in fashion and teaching.