Conclusion – My Australia Trip

Written 31/3/18

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.

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Handmade Quandong & Beach Jewellery

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.

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Fruit Salad Fruit – Monstera Deliciosa

We each described it differently after a taste, one thought pineapple, another melon, and another banana.

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Jack Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Daily Post – Explore

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A Shooting Star?

As she lay down to sleep, her eyes closing from tiredness.

She asked for her angels to protect her and her loved ones. To keep evil away so that they might be safe and happy and they gain rest and recovery from ailments and worries.

She can see flowers, as though someone has scattered them above her, burgundy and white but she is not sure what they are.

Once again the buzzing of the nerves through her body, like a telephone ringing in her leg. Starting at the toes and radiating up the leg. The wake up call as it were. Does she have a direct line to them she wondered. Do they answer my call in this way?

She was shaken just once but as though two hands rest on her shoulders, were vying for her attention.

Just as she wanted to sleep. Ah insomnia my old friend, so you are back again she thought.

So she waited, willing for sleep to arrive and as she did so it began. The swirling lights on the inside of her eyelids and all around her as she breathed slowly and rhythmically and tried to relax. I think she knew what to expect. This time green mixed with blue, white and gold. Like her very own Aurora Borealis happening right there above her head, a long awaited dream coming true.

Opening her eyes she was not surprised that as before she was wide awake again. Suddenly no longer tired, the body momentarily invigorated by the experience. It happens again and she can still see the lights above her. Reassurance that I did not dream it.

The dog awakes from the other room, not excited by this spectacle, he does not run to look. She does not even know if he sees it or senses it. He takes a leisurely drink and comes to settle at her side just as the light show ends. But she cannot sleep and neither can he, he returns to the darkness of the next room huffing gently that his own sleep was disturbed again but not really knowing why. He will be back when it has settled down. As her body cries out for he sleep and let it wash over her, like the waves of tiredness, rest assured he will be there a furry assistant watching her back. As she drifts off and she looks up the reassuring image before her, that of two hearts in the doorway, beating and pulsating where once was darkness stood.

Some time passes and some sleep is gained before swallowing hard as the noise of piano keys crashing is in her ears. This sudden noise a rude awakening as she is awake once more but comforted by the breathing of the hound who has returned to the side of the bed she realises the message is loud and clear, that love is strong and all that matters.

And after staggered sleep she wakes to the blessing of being able to welcome another day, the sun rising on the new horizon colourful and bright and offering her new hope. Thanking them for the comfort they bring her on the darkest night. The gratitude that she holds for these special moments, the thoughts that she has been part of something special. A shooting star perhaps, flying through the cosmos on its way to somewhere new. A new galaxy to explore, reborn with new light to shine.

Daily Prompts Horizon

Release.

Suddenly awake again without warning. The thud of a heartbeat filled her ears just like the bass sound of music in a passing car. Thud thud thud thud. Her heart suddenly racing and she wondered why.

Looking up as her eyes grew accustomed to the surroundings she noticed the thin figure in the darkness leaning against the doorframe. As it often did but this time just standing there considering it’s next move.

As the dark figure loomed in the doorway, its shape changing with every breath she lay there wide eyed. As it began to head towards her she sent it away. Those all too familiar words, Be gone. You do not belong here. Just get out.

She wished that it would leave her alone. It was never a happy feeling, she didn’t trust it for she had felt its cold grip on many occasions as it grabbed at her, always waking her from her slumber. But she did not allow it to strike fear in her any more, it did not have that power, as time went on she was gaining strength again. It was just an annoyance that disturbed her.

So was it a dream? An annoying recurring dream, that changed and mutated along with the dark character, shifting its shape as she questioned her thoughts.

She waited…. the darkness left and with it, came a warm feeling from her feet through her legs like she had felt previously. Again it moved through her and as it reached her head it pounded. Lightheaded as though to be let out as the light danced around the room above her. Little flickers of blue and white, it was usually blue and white but occasionally red and green and yellow too.

The lights although barely visible swirled above her and danced around her, she wondered what they were. A trick of light perhaps her conscious mind thought, or had they some deeper meaning? Whatever their purpose she gained comfort from them whenever they were there. A warmth spread around her like a blanket of reassurance and she felt totally safe. Somehow empowering her along the way and equipping her for some unknown battle. Suddenly she let out her breath and as she did so a sound not dissimilar to a popping bulb and then she saw it, clearly above her in big white letters RELEASE

She took another deep breath and let it out the warmth spreading through her body once again a calm feeling took over as though a storm had passed her by. Some kind of lucky escape.

As she lay there willing her breathing to return to normal she thought about what had happened and wondered as to why. What was its message or purpose?

She grabbed her phone, looked at the clock 3.33am again what did it all mean?

Daily Prompt -Surreal

A Conscious Decision

This year I have made a decision that I will not document in my diary what the symptoms of my illness are day after day. Like so many other times in my life, I followed the advice of a Doctor who told me that I should keep a record of the changes to my health.

As I think about it, my health dominated most of year and I see that as a direct consequence of recording it. It consumed me.

How was I feeling?

I dwelled upon every change and duly kept that record. But why? What good did it do? Did it give me the reassurance that it was all happening when the doctors didn’t listen? No it didn’t.

In fact it made me feel worse, it was putting a huge negative right at the forefront of my mind day after day.

I think the final straw, or nail in the proverbial coffin for this behaviour was when the Neurologist I had been referred to for seizures, wrote me off without further investigation because his first thought, that I might be epileptic was proved wrong. He did not delve deeper into what was causing worsening seizures night and day. He simply decided that he did not need to see me and the nerve pain and shaking must be caused by a trauma or psychological issue in my past.

It upset my partner greatly and it really made me wild. So I trusted my gut instinct and had a chat with my GP about the painkillers I’d been described and that the seizures had begun at exactly that time. I asked for an alternative and changed them. You’ll never guess what, I have not had a seizure since then! Sure I still get shaky and have nerve and joint pain. But not one of the three consultants or the two Doctors thought that the painkillers could be the cause, they would rather blame some issue in my past for it all.

I’m not denying it I do have to accept that last year I was sick, very sick for quite a lot of it. I’m not completely well or miraculously healed at this point in time. But and there is one, I am determined to turn a corner and improve whatever I can even if I have to take one small step at a time, even if it is all via small steps it really doesn’t matter, as long as I keep going. Along with my nature of being a positive thinker at heart after all of the knockbacks I am trying so hard to return to that state of mind.

So I am dragging myself kicking and screaming into this new year with the determination that things will indeed be different and better and my good health will once again return and the opportunities await me and I will see them in time and grab them.

I will not wait for this to happen now, or for doctors who last year failed me at almost every turn, failing on both diagnosis and treatment. I have decided that from now on, it is down to me to make improvements.

I have had to make the changes. As someone who lacks self confidence I am naturally reluctant to change so have to be pushed. I am grateful at such times for the driving force that is my partner by my side. He often wonders if I would do anything new without him. Of course I would, it would just take me longer to get off the ground and I might not see it all through.

But I am working on that. I used to have a “self destruct button” as he put it, where I would take silly risks, or not think things through before jumping in to something with both feet. He has taught me over the years to think things through beforehand. As a consequence we talk about almost everything especially if it is likely to affect us both. It not only makes us stronger but saves a lot of heartache.

So this year I would like my lovely new fresh blue diary, a present from my sister. To contain happy thoughts. Things that I will achieve. Items that have come our way. Wonderful things that we have seen, or done. Great experiences and pleasurable moments. So that at the end of the year, or even part of the way through it I can read it for inspiration, love, gratitude and so many other wonderful things safe in the knowledge that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do with my life. Live it and love it.

It’s my birthday tomorrow which always gets me thinking about the future.

I am not dwelling upon the past or an increase in my age, for that is just a number. But I am grateful for the wisdom that comes with each year that passes as I grow older. For what the previous year has taught me, the lessons and the challenges I have overcome and the things that make me, just me.

Well Here We Are….

So we flew in last night for a few days a little visit to Barcelona for my Birthday. Something else to tick off the bucket list. I am looking forward to getting out and about and us seeing some of the sights. Especially the Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies Van der Roe.

I must admit that on looking out of the window last night and being met by beautiful twinkly lights on a balcony opposite I thought, this looks nice and this morning I have apartment envy as there is a huge rooftop terrace which is rather lovely. One lucky man is wandering about on it with his coffee this morning.


Today we will get our bearings and tickets for travel and might save the Pavilion for tomorrow. We are tired today, the hotel is on a very busy city corner, so we were wide awake till 3am and didn’t sleep much after that either. I haven’t slept in a city for a few years now, it takes some getting used to. But I find that the first 24 hours we are always adjusting. It feels strange not being able to speak the language. My partner would be fine he used to live in Spain.

So as we wandered about for almost 8 hours of yesterday. We basked in Sunshine and blue skies on this fine January day, were serenaded by beautiful green parrots surrounded by fabulous architecture and surprises around almost every corner. My Birthday was wonderful. 

We are staying in the Gothic Quarter and it is a short walk to Port Vell which had some fantastic yachts in the harbour and a pirate ship!


It was the perfect day to wander along the quayside. 


My weakness is for the architecture and it doesn’t disappoint at all. Art Deco and Nouveau at every corner and beauty that jumps out at you. 

It was quite warm and the horses looked hot, we decided not to make them walk anywhere on our behalf. 

I had to photograph this Lion it reminded me so much of my Roki at home having a stretch.
In the late afternoon we were tired so stopped for some good food. After which we wandered around replenished and as we turned a corner of a side street were met with a beautiful sound. A man playing the violin in a square directly in front of the Cathedral all lit up and a full moon overhead. My phone had run flat earlier and I had switched it off and at that moment prayed for a photograph of what stood before me. I was blessed and got this one then listened to the music and went on my merry way. 


Although I had the grand idea of us dressing up for our meal out we were just too tired after walking all day so had coffee and cake late evening and went to bed.

Abuse, Trauma and Trust Misplaced

Before you assume that I am very gullible and naïve please, let me shout from my corner with my explanation. I was brought up to speak the truth, to be good. To respect my elders and follow their advice and do as I was told. As time went on following these rules I was about to become very unstuck! The very people who were supposed to teach, protect and you can learn from, abused their positions, my trust and Yes, they definitely taught me Lessons in Life that I would rather not have learned. Things that would shape me in years to come, tormenting my mind and sabotaging my thoughts, whilst haunting my dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than aware that Life could have been so much worse. I am Thankful each and every day that over the years, the experiences stopped. They were usually one off’s and once I had removed myself from the offenders then that would be it, until the next time. Until someone new decided to take an opportunity which wasn’t there, to overstep the line once again. I am thankful every day that I did not have to suffer an endless onslaught of abuse lasting years. At least that gave me the chance to rebuild myself in between. There are different levels of abuse all wrong and all leaving scars which may or may not ever heal. I pushed each time to the back of my mind, hoping that if I left it there and forgot about it, then it would be gone. Little did I know that it would merely lay dormant until some other trauma brought it out again, all right back and threw it back in my face. I got angry with myself, and over time I was more angry at having been so gullible as to be fooled over and again than I was over the perpetrators. How could I be so stupid and how could I have trusted them? I must have been doing something wrong for it to keep happening to me… and generally beating myself up mentally about my misfortune.

Did I wear my heart on my sleeve? Kind of… Did people around me know the things that I had gone through? Very few did. Some are delightfully clueless, whilst others’ like me chose to bury and forget what they did know. I dealt with it alone preferring not to speak of it and thought that was working well for me right up until yet more trauma arrived and opened up Pandora’s box once again.

I thought that it was strange when I woke yesterday morning and felt compelled to write down on paper the episodes. It started out as a list of where my trust had been misplaced (Hmm, a little of that self blame creeping back in there!) then it somehow grew into a list of childhood and teenage sexual abuse that I had experienced.

Now why on earth would anyone want to write a list, that list? I cannot answer that, I have found out that over the past few months that writing is a major part of my own healing process and it sometimes catches me unawares but when I write it down, things get better. It enabled me to write down how I actually felt about things. Last year I discussed several of these episodes with a counsellor for the first time ever. I had been referred having been diagnosed with PTSD following the trauma of an accident. As the sessions went on I had a feeling that the time was right to talk about some of the other things that had happened in my life, which had suddenly all come back to me since the accident, sometimes reliving the nightmares, quite literally I was not sleeping and had no confidence after the accident. It had had all been brought back by the trauma I had suffered recently. But in these sessions, she told me something of great importance which was a turning point for me and for which I am eternally grateful.

For anyone who has suffered childhood abuse and asked why it happened to them, I will pass on what she said to me.

“It’s not you, It IS them. You did not DO anything to encourage this behaviour towards you and YES, you should have been protected from it by the adults around you time and time again.”

Some 33 years after I was abused for the first time as a child . I had summoned the courage to speak about it stating that the abusers were either dead or long gone, they could not harm me for speaking about it now. Someone finally told me that I did not bring it upon myself and that I did not deserve it. If it had not been me, then it would have been someone else, If I had not thought so quickly as to how I could escape, things could have been much, much worse. No-one had thought to tell me that previously. It was such a relief to hear those words and I bawled my eyes out. Thanking her profusely. The release was immense. I eventually left the car park some time after my session and drove for about 2 hours, just wanting to be on the open road.

Am I healed? I actually doubt that yet. But I do believe I am getting over the damage it did for so long. I am no longer waving that Victim flag saying “Come and Get Me, have another go, see if you can break me this time” Instead I am now brandishing my sword with the war cry of “Don’t you Dare” Dressed in my armour, complete with chinks in it, battered and scarred but still fighting. I am surviving and at times I have been a mess and barely winning, sometimes not knowing how to carry on, but feeling that I have to and I pick myself up.
They say that What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… It is certainly true for me, By becoming strong, therefore I AM. My positive thinking is a part of my armour which protects me and as my anthem goes.

Something inside so strong.
I know that I can make it,
But you’re doing me wrong.
So wrong.
Thought that my pride was gone, Oh No!
Something inside so strong…

Sending shivers down my spine as I write those words down and spurring me onwards toward Victory.

After writing my list, I felt very uneasy as though something awful was going to happen. In retrospect I think it was just the aftermath of all those emotions being given head room again. I had a sense of doom all day, so I stayed indoors the safety of my home, I found things to do and ventured in to the loft yesterday afternoon, on a search for something entirely different. In doing so I found a carrier bag, it was full of old things, recipes, poems, coursework, drawings and letters and photographs and so much more. I have not yet read all that was in there. I knew that I had written out poems years ago and kept them in a book, which I had decided I must find, but I came across it quite by accident. What was a shock to me was to find a notepad. I did not recall writing in such detail my abusive experiences 23 years ago on paper. Back then I often wrote things down to get them out of my head rather the same way as I do today, but I had no recollection of having done this before, when I wrote them out earlier that morning. I am shocked at the matter of fact way I explain what happened way back then. That I had kept it and also that it has been with me in the several house moves since then, hidden away in the loft as well as the back of my mind. If only I had been given the opportunity to speak to someone about it back then, it might have made such a difference and I have been literally carrying it around with me for years.

Later, I ventured out with my family walking the dog in the evening. Nothing awful happened, it turned out OK. My partner brought Hope out of the Garage for me, for the first time in months. She is sitting outside the house in the road, with fuel, taxed and ready to drive out she needs a good run after her rest. Away for months, under wraps it is wonderful to see the bright blue shining outside the window despite the rainy day and a smile returned to my face. I was exhausted at the end of the day, but unable to rest until the early hours, again passing the 3am threshold before sleep took a hold of me but Today we will drive.

Hope is what it represents. & Hope is Waiting

The Daily Post – Angry

 

Envy, Just Look at What You’ve Missed…

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Just look at what you’ve missed…
So, don’t be jealous, be thankful.

I had a poor childhood, we often went without.
I was Bullied at School.
I was abused as a Child.
My first ‘real’ boyfriend cheated on me with my friend.
I had a miscarriage.
I developed an illness which is incurable.
I had a stalker.
I almost lost the love of my life to surgery, twice.
I have suffered in pain for years.
I have had several horrendous jobs, some resulting in redundancy.
I have suffered loss and grief time and again.
I have been raped.
I have suffered with depression.
I have considered suicide on several occasions.
I have disfiguring injuries.
I have had major surgery, which has changed me.
I will never have the joy of bearing children.
I have no child to care for me when I am old.
I could have lost my soul mate to Cancer.
I have had my life threatened with violence.
I have had people threaten to burn down my home.
I have been at rock bottom so many times that I have a seat there with my name on it.
I am fighting battles which I have not yet won.

So before you envy me for the things that I have in my life, think and be glad for all the things you have missed out on.

The Daily Post – Envy