So as I return home after a month in the Beautiful Queensland Coast with my dear friends, I am struck by how down to earth I felt about this wonderful place. I immediately felt homely in this unknown place. As I left I knew that I would miss the family so much and that saying my Goodbyes would be difficult. But we are all happy in the knowledge that this will not be my last trip to Australia. It is just the beginning of my travels to this part of the world. I guess that hasn’t quite sunken in yet as I sit on the first leg of the flight home. I have rung my partner and heard that they are alright (as alright can be) at home and as my friends family will all be asleep now having journeyed back to Eudlo, where they all stay, part of me is wishing that I was also tucked up in a nice warm bed, but that is for tomorrow.
As I figure out in my fuzzy head a way to get my family over to Australia in one piece, if only it is his dream too, I could perhaps satisfy my wanderlust with regular trips if some of my contacts might put some work my way. Time to make a few more phone calls I think.
Today, my last day in Australia, we visited Coolum Beach, a lovely area which was absolutely littered with blue jellyfish, which apparently have a vicious sting to their rather lengthy tail.
Since I was attacked by a green ant only yesterday, I was not inclined to repeat the exercise with one of these beasties today, so we dodged rather a lot of them along the beach, but the waves were high, we wrote messages on the sand, whilst the boys played and ran up and down. The sun was shining and I looked at the iridescence of the water as the tides crossed my path. It was beautiful and for a moment, I lingered there not wanting to leave.
Swept away in the moment I was transfixed by the waves which reached the shore. Only being brought back to the present when the boys called out to us.
We went on to Coloundra, which is a favourite since my friends Mum currently lives there and it is where they began their time here, just after emigrating. There was a fish restaurant which served wet fish too, it was on a main road, not particularly inspiring as places go, but my meal was enjoyable nevertheless Calamari and Swordfish steaks served with chips and a side salad.
I was quite pleased to see a Pelican fly over the car as we arrived along the beach front and he rested upon the wall of a block of flats. I managed to get a photograph of him before we left. Another thing that I will remember of Coloundra.
There is snow back home, just a few small flurries here and there so I am told, but I hope that he brings a warm coat to the airport, despite the layers I have packed, I know that after the warmth of the Sunshine Coast I am really going to feel the cold at least for the first few days. I may even have to resort to Thermals, but lets hope not.
So what will I be taking with me from this trip?
Positivity, that there is so much that is better and that is actually available to me in this life, not having to wait until the next one to experience it all.
Do I believe in reincarnation…
Hmm, although I have long thought that we get one life and should live it. It’s one of those things that I hope that we do get some kind second chance if the odds have been against us in this life thus far. Not necessarily if we live a pure and chaste existence, but if we do good unto others, try to help people along the way and such like.
I have met up with someone who gave me some wonderful advice regarding writing. She has been an inspiration for looking for the good in things, even when I have felt really low. To meet her in person after all this time, could have gone well, or not and neither of us were sure. We arranged to meet in the last week of my trip. Over a coffee and cake. It was an absolute joy to spend an hour or so with her, chatting about all kinds of things and finding out that we got along just fine. It seems that we have indeed become friends and we will be keeping in touch.
As we drove back from the beach and I squashed all of my luggage into my cases in the hope that I didn’t have to take anything out. My beach combed shells carefully placed in the luggage so that they will not get broken. The beautiful “Blue Shell” given me by my friend, who said I should have it. We sat outside on her verandah in the sunshine and made jewellery from the Quandong stones which we had collected from the garden. Or rather, I drilled the holes, my friend strung them and made them into two rather lovely necklaces, which are enormous, almost architectural in their style. But I also learned that sacred jewellery is made from them by the Aborigines.’ The kids decided since there were so many of them left over, that they would also make some one for their mum and one for a friend and each other. We had picked up and cleaned up much more of them than we first thought from the garden and yet they still litter the floor at the back of the house, there are probably thousands of them and there will be many more when fruit season comes around. It is a shame that I did not get to see the blue fruit, but they have long gone, only the debris remains. But we have seen the jewellery made by the monks at the nearby Buddhist Temple, Chenrezig up on the hill nearby. The only difference being that they have added a bead and tassle to their ones. Ours are simpler, but hang beautifully as a double necklace, made by my own dear friend. There is one for me and one for my mother. Along with a bracelet one of the boys and I made from all of the beach shells and coral that had natural holes in.
I tasted custard apple for the first time today, it has an interesting taste, I think I am more taken with the Mangoes and also the quite amazing Fruit Salad Fruit, a strange looking fruit which as it ripens and sheds its outer skin, you are left with something which resembles a skinned banana, but you can taste so many other fruit.
We each described it differently after a taste, one thought pineapple, another melon, and another banana.
I tried Jack Fruit, which is another native one, it looks a bit like a hedgehog on the outside and has a pungent smell to it when it is ripe, but makes an awful mess and leaves a glue like substance, its sap which is difficult to remove, on everything that it touches. It was my friends’ first taste of the fruit too, she had read that you could prepare it and use it like a vegan version pulled pork, which is very popular. It had a sweet taste in its raw form, which was quite pleasant, definitely fruity. But once cooked takes on a whole new persona. It lost its appeal somewhat and then only took on the taste of the spices and sauce which it was cooked in. So isn’t something I’d be likely to try again.
I thought that I would do some things differently whilst I was away, but didn’t. Firstly I thought that I would write lots of poetry, but didn’t write any at all.
I also thought that I would meditate but although there were times when I sought peace and calm I did not, not even once! Well, not intentionally although the calm swept over me every time my toes hit the sand.
I thought that I might struggle to drive a manual car again on roads which I do not know, with the different layout and rules, but I took to it once again like a duck to water. One drive out in the car, ten minutes in and it all came flooding back to me, the first drive in an unknown place. The South of France all those years ago, it was as natural as breathing. I soon learned some of the routes to enable us to get back home. We did have the mobile sat nav, but when the signal was non existent or the batteries low, we somehow still made it back.
The fact that I was open to trying new things, experiences and directions, meant that this was the holiday that I needed it to be, filled with wonderful places, beautiful sights, friendly and welcoming people. It was a very pleasant surprise to be wished a safe journey, by the people I met around the town before I left. They had observed my arrival, as a tired unwell traveller and observed the change in me finding my feet and would all stop to talk and find out what I thought of their little town.
The nearest town Mooloolah is more like one of our villages, spread out over a greater area, but with similar facilities to a British country village. A few essential stores and a fuel station, but there is a good network of regular trains going past at the bottom of the garden. I have never seen such lengthy freight trains, but maybe next time when I return to this part of the world, I will take a journey on the train with my friend.
As I said Goodbye to the house, the area, my friends and their transport which has carried me safely on this journey, I watched the greenery whizzing by as a passenger in the car, thinking of many of the things that have captured my heart about this place and the many things I have yet to see and feeling quite emotional about leaving.
I will return one day, to my friends again and this place which has captured not just the imagination, but reignited my spirit of adventure and also a little piece of my heart. There is so much to see and I have barely scratched the surface, I simply have to see more.
The weather reported that the cyclone was passing over right where they were. It could have hit at any time. They had been expecting it for days, battening down the hatches and protecting the house and garden hoping that the damage it might cause if any would be minimal.
So far they had been safe. But now at that moment on this day, louder than ever the sea was calling them, they went to answer the call.
Travelling to the beach, there was no sign of bad weather. The sky was bright and clear, a real blue sky for miles with no grey of rain. They parked and bought refreshments at the nearby café. As they stumbled across the sand, past the lake and up the dunes to the top, they paused as they were met with an almost empty beach, no crazy surfers hitting the waves for once heeding the warnings of danger.
The occasional local wandering along, with dogs, racing through the sand and water, charging around barking excitedly. Or others with some companions walking and taking in the spectacle of it all. Lifeguards on patrol retrieving rubbish from the beach, no one out at sea for miles around. She stopped for a moment, looking out with her friend at the softest sand and crystal blue sea gazing in wonder at the sight before them. A wall of waves and foam, about 40 feet in height, the sand being swept up crashing upon the shoreline and their faces.
Suddenly there they were, like little storm hunters barefoot and racing towards it, they ran into the water. Embracing the storm for a moment the wind lashing at their faces and sand biting their skin, cleansed by the elements.
They had gone expecting to find great treasures washed upon the shore, a storm can bring such wonderful things to the beachcomber. Alas, no sooner had the large waves brought in an abundance of things, which they scurried to collect, then another would arrive to sweep the beach clear once again. The beautiful shells and things being replaced by fragments, shattered in the process. But they did not cause sadness, they held a beauty all of their own. For the storm granted them freedom. Yes, freedom to run to jump, to think and to breathe.
They stood, transfixed as the waves grew and broke before them, such power which no one could harness. Nature at its finest and there she walked along, arms outstretched, welcoming it all with a radiant smile. Suddenly with all the previous stresses of her mind now gone, washed away by the storm carefree she walked along with her friend, both of them in silence at the wonder of it all.
Returning in the direction of the car, greeted by wet dogs and smiling people along the way, she thought quietly of her loved ones at home and the moment they had missed. This glorious beach which would be the perfect place to walk, hand in hand with her lover and their beloved dog racing towards the surf. Wind in his fur, tail held high in excitement, hardly anyone around. Miles and miles of pure white sand, not littered by rubbish, but freshly groomed by nature for their pleasure. Her friend in tune with her suddenly voicing the same thoughts agreed, they should be here to enjoy this too it would be the perfect beach for them.
As two girls who used to spend a lot of time at the beach when we were younger, we have spent a fair bit of time at the beach whilst I am here on this trip. It seemed the logical place for us to go here on the Sunshine Coast.
If there is a beach which we can get to and from whilst the kiddies are at school then we have made it our mission to go and see it, walk along it and go beach combing. As a consequence I have lots of sun sea and sky shots that I’ve taken whilst transfixed by the waves sights and sound of nature at its wildest doing its thing.
I have collected shells and stones which I have visions of all kinds of possibilities relating to artwork, we have found lots of beautiful things which I would love to take home with me, put on a wall and cherish.
Sure some of them have been smashed in the storms which have battled the coastline whilst I have visited here. To me these are somehow even more beautiful since although they are fragments of their former shapes and size they were resilient enough to force their way through raging waters up on to the beaches we walked along and be found by us.
The Shell, Coral and Sea Glass, shaped by their journey. These are the pieces that I would make into artwork for it signifies to me what they have gone through and the fact that their beauty still remains.
Today we walked upon Alexandra Headland here on the Sunshine Coast to go beach combing and happened upon this piece of wood which was growing out of the beach but which reminded me of The Old Man of The Sea.
We decided on a little road trip the other day, to a place here on the Sunshine Coast called Currimundi Lake. Since the cyclone which was forecast to hit, was a no-show in this part of the world, we felt safe to take a trip to the beach again. Once we had mastered the industrial estate and the housing estate courtesy of the Sat Nav, we ended up in the right place and found a lovely cafe with the warmest welcome and bought some cool drinks to quench our thirst after a walk along the beach. There is a lake there when you get out of the car and you might be forgiven for thinking that you have only come to a lake. But it is like the starter course for a main course which is about to unfold before your eyes. As we walked around a small part of the tidal lake, which was absolutely beautiful by the way and a haven for wildlife. We came to a gap in the landscape. Turning the corner it opened up onto a blue skyline and an almost deserted beach, beautiful reddish and white sands stretched for miles. But that was not what I found so captivating. we were met with the sight of waves, so high that the sea spray covered the beach and all the passers by, at a guess I would have to say that they could have been 40 feet high as they rolled in and I bathed in their awesomeness and beauty. I could have watched them for hours.
It took our breath away as we stood watching the waves, the colours were magnificent, the sun was shining, there was hardly anyone around and we walked for what seemed like miles with my feet in soft sand, looking for sea shells. We had hoped that the storms had washed up some good finds, but most of the shells were broken, we found a few small ones which had remained intact along with some rather lovely stones. As surfing is the norm in this part of the world, despite the fierce weather warnings we half expected to see a few crazy surfers out there, but they seemed to have listened or gone taken a look and decided that it wasn’t worth the risk. The beach was almost deserted, but for a few dog walkers and puppies of all ages bounding along the beach. Another beautiful place here on my adventure.
Yesterday I had my tour around fantasy island as our friend refers to it.It is tongue in cheek, but also I think a place where many crave to live. They are drawn to this place of beauty, surrounded by nature, where flora and fauna abound. A sanctuary in the south. It is private gated and restricted access so I felt privileged to get a guided tour from one of the Islanders.
I have only visited once before. Last time I came away my imagination fired up and I decided that it would be the most wonderful place to be able to live. Idyllic and the new life I crave for us would fit in there beautifully.
His home with its interesting garden making use of things he has found, recycled items all around utilised within his space and others for projects yet to be undertaken. I found it so inspiring there I designed furniture following my last visit it reminded me of some of my as yet unfulfilled ambitions which I would like to work towards once my health improves.
Arriving there again I am filled with peace, my heart was racing as I arrive anticipation growing for what I might see whilst there.
We drive, or rather he does so that I may be able to enjoy the view. I am in a semi altered state. Lightheaded or as though I am in shock. It could be the antibiotics or the painkillers. Or it could be just what I see there. I look at the houses as we pass and the fields and hedgerows as we drive slowly by, observing the lowered speed limit. It is a nature foragers dream, the hedgerows brimming with wild fruit, plums, elderberries. Blackberries, sloes. He stops to pluck one from the hedge for me to try. They would make Lovely jam I said, he agreed that they do. Enveloped by countryside with no one around hares running up ahead of us along the road and birds walking across the roads in front of us. We stopped at the cockle beach where apparently you can fish for Bass. I love sea bass. There was none but the birds. Around the island three rivers meet. Further round where it meets another river, there is a slightly more recognisable seascape. I may have seen near there before but not from this side. There were some wonderful rocks in beautiful colours piled high as though dropped there by giants. I intended to take photos on this tour but my eyes are taking it all in instead. The camera on my phone does not take one shot for the duration. Which as I write this I am regretting somewhat. It is unusual for me.
Some of the grand houses, the homes with character and the cottages tucked away are empty. My imagination kicking in again as I wonder what I could do with one of them as a space of my own.The two pubs have long closed down as has the church. No longer required here lack of use forced their closure. There is one shop and there are farms in the village, it is a sleepy place. I wonder how and when it comes alive or if it is always like this. The workers have left for the day, a mass exodus off as I was arriving. Much of it looks deserted.
Our friend shows me his sculpture garden. Have you seen it before he said? No I replied. It used to be his allotment but he changed it. He built this to enjoy. In a non public place it is a community garden. He has had parties there and there is a summer kitchen with a pizza oven he has made. A pergola which has grape vines growing up it they have grapes this year apparently for the first time. There are plinths of marble and stone around and many of them hold small statues. They are not your average garden statue. Many are of the muscular male form draped around females. Holding, cherishing. I could have stayed there for a while. It was a place I could happily sit, embrace the moment and meditate. A calm place.
In the centre of the garden there is a huge stone column, about ten feet high and as yet I carved. He told me that it would become a dancing couple. I did not know when he took me there what I would find, the significance only dawning on me now in the early hours as I write this.
I was struck by the beauty of the stone. I asked who made them, he replied “some old bloke from over the road, he likes carving stone” I admired them blown away by what I saw, as he explained he told me about some them. He started the garden when his wife was gone I did not ask if it was in tribute to her. But it is clear that this man loves female company and why shouldn’t he for he is witty and charming, flirtatious and engaging and can cook. He also has several female friends who gather at his house for a meal on a regular basis.
There are signs carved in slate and sandstone sculpture along with white almost alabaster, possibly marble. They are beautiful and written with his sense of humour. The sculptures were something else and just the sort I like and appreciate. I wanted to touch them, feeling drawn to them and photograph them but it felt strange to ask. I have not known him very long and I did not want to push my luck.
He said that the locals are not interested in the garden, I asked why not it’s a beautiful place. They should use it if it’s for them too.
He said that some of the other visitors to the island had seen it. I loved it.
Upon waking in the early hours it occurred to me, I may be way off the mark here but I get the very strong feeling that the “old guy over the road” was at that moment standing by my side proudly showing me his own statues. That he not only created the garden, but the sculptures within it. That the dancing couple would be formed one day by his own hands.
Only time will tell. There are clues, he is creative and has a good eye. His mother is an artist. He is useful with his hands, builds things in wood and has a beautiful garden.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit today, I don’t know if I bored him to tears with the subject matter. I talk more when I am nervous and I am not used to having the floor. When my partner and I are out together the conversation is more evenly spaced. It can’t have been all bad. I was invited to go and visit again whenever I liked.
I might just have to go and ask him about his garden.
I was watching the tail end of a film last night. It got me thinking and also a bit tearful. There was a wedding scene. I know it’s OK to cry at a wedding, if you are happy for people. I wouldn’t want to be crying out of sadness after all.
In the last few days I have been thinking about the wedding dress and bridesmaid’s dresses safely stored up in the loft. I have often thought of getting it out and looking at it, my own dress. I think about the fact that we came so close to it, becoming husband and wife before my partner became ill and we chose to postpone it. We haven’t rebooked the date. There have been several opinions as to how we should have our wedding. Having booked the church years ago we planned it around places which held some sentimental attachment to me and it all having gone rather wrong we thought about having an extreme opposite to the Church Wedding and thought about a Beach wedding somewhere hot. A friend of ours recently suggested that she and her husband could meet us a Gretna Green on the way up to our house and they could be our witnesses, then we could have a party. I also favour a wild Scottish beach, with our wonderful dog as ring bearer and our friend the laird to take the ceremony with a small celebration in a country house afterwards. But my partner is not so keen.
But, it got me thinking watching that wedding scene, of a chap who had been rather out of the picture in his daughter’s life, her parents were divorced and the Mother had remarried. It would have been rather nice to see the whole film, but we had been watching Saturday Night Dross instead and didn’t know it was on, however since it was TV, it is bound to be on next week or again soon.
It was time for the speeches at the reception and the groom handed over to her step-father as her father to speak. Suddenly, her birth father stood up and asked that since he was her Father, he might speak. He said some beautiful things, like how proud of his daughter he was how beautiful she looked there in front of her family and friends and then handed over to her step father to also speak, it was very civilised. It was lovely to hear and I started to bawl. Somehow it was like flicking a switch to me.
The last wedding that I attended, the bride’s father’s speech had me weeping like a child, it was many years ago and before we got engaged. I had no idea that my own love would ever ask me at the time. Her father took us on a real journey through her growing up and what a wonderful person he thought that she had turned into. Unfortunately we saw a very different side of her later that evening when she wasn’t getting her own way and was screeching at him, but he could see no wrong, totally blindsided. The poor man, but it must be nice to have someone that can see no wrong and I hoped for him that it was just the emotions of the day which had her overwrought.
What got me thinking last night though as I wondered if we ever get married, was whether my own father would be there, what he would say about me if he got up to speak. If we had the beach wedding somewhere, then he might not even attend. But I genuinely do not know whether he has any wish to make a speech, or even be there if or when it finally happens. I would not want him to be there out of duty alone, I only want the people who are happy for us and want to be there, at our wedding. I am reminded, by my conscience that I promised my partner’s Mother when we got engaged that she would see us married, she wanted to speak, she was very pleased for us and knew that we loved each other so much. It pains me that she didn’t get her wish, she loved a party and was looking forward to it, before Alzheimers’ took her from us. She will be there though, in spirit at least when it happens and we will drink a toast to her. Unfortunately, I will not get to wear her beautiful necklace that she wanted me to on the day, she had wanted to me to wear it and intended to bequest it to me when she had gone. Alas someone else got there first and it disappeared.
The bridesmaid dresses in the loft may have become outdated, they would suit the beach wedding idea perfectly though, with the backdrop of a bright blue sea behind them. But despite me buying an extra one in case they outgrew them, ten years have gone by since and I think the ladies for whom they are intended may want to choose something a bit different now. Like mine their figures have changed in that time. Hmm, maybe I should try on the dress again too, but since there is no date planned at the moment there’s no rush.
As for my own Dad, well I guess that only time will tell and I hope that when we finally get married, if he wants to be there, he will find something nice to say.
Surrounded by beautiful countryside,
That’s where he took her off to hide.
It took so many years to see,
The friend who’d left Leigh-on-Sea.
Through our teens, we’d grown together,
A storm to fight almost any weather.
But like a cloud she drifted away,
In my heart a place, she’d stay.
Years went by and a message I’d send.
To the girl, who’d been such a dear friend.
Would time have changed her beyond reach?
From one of the girls who sat on the beach.
Had habits wrecked the person I know?
If she was hurting, would it now show?
But we got in touch and to my relief,
The girl I knew was still underneath.
Scratch the surface and you will see,
A part of the person she’d wanted to be.
A passion for travel was her desire,
She’d at last got away from that terrible liar.
Who’d built around her a wall you could shove,
Now thankfully found a man she could love.
They now have a wonderful family
Of beautiful children, I’m dying to see.
So into the car a visit was planned,
Will we stop by the beach, put our toes in the sand?
Should we sit for a time and dwell on the past,
Let’s sit in the park as time’s gone so fast.
A picnic with her and three of her brood.
Couldn’t give them a lift and didn’t want to be rude,
But couldn’t fit them all in the car in the back,
The years have been kind and she’s on the right track.
Stayed there for hours as though no time had passed,
Would she still be my friend? I’d know at last.
In conversation, you’d see that she’s changed,
The same girl you knew but just rearranged.
Is it her past? or just motherhood,
Quietly reserved, are things for the good?
You see that under it she’s fragile,
But what else hides behind her smile?
Was once like your sister, will be so again.
Wonder if she’s managed a refrain,
From the sad life that she’d come to know,
Before way back when she’d decided to go.
Imagine my true happiness,
When she gave me her address.
An invite for her family to see,
A shade of the girl she used to be.
This is the girl who would go with the flow,
Who is lots of fun and a pleasure to know.
She’s gone shy and quiet, doesn’t talk on the phone.
Off with her kiddies for hours she’ll roam.
Exploring the places they’re eager to find,
Space for some thinking or there to remind.
Up and down trees or charging about
“Where are you Mum?” “Over Here!” she’ll shout.
Hide and seek up hill and down dale,
A photo of them sitting on a hay bale.
A great imagination, a thirst to excite,
A great bunch of kids, they’ve brought them up right.
Over the time her children have grown
But a wonderful family they have shown,
That they stay together through thick and thin.
Way back then, he was determined to win.
Not prepared to give up at all cost,
Do not dwell on the time that we lost.
So glad that she settled and turned things around.
Glad that finally my friend has been found.