Things I have learned in Australia.

I could not write about all of the things that I have learned or loved during this trip.  I knew that I would see things, the like of which I have never encountered before.  I knew that I would love most of what I would find here and that I intended to have a great time with my friends.

I did have to make certain adjustments to the way that I am used to living. You see as an adult with no children, I had no real understanding of the day to day running of a household with a family in it.  My hat goes off to my friends, whilst I was previously in my own comfortable bubble of blissful ignorance I have seen some of what is involved in getting things done in a household with children so I salute those who are doing this every day. For the first week here I felt absolutely wiped out, by so many things, exhaustion being only one of them and the cold that followed.  I found the noise difficult to get used to and have become a much lighter sleeper during this trip.

I am used to motherly instincts kicking in, since I am Mama to a wonderful dog, so if he stirs in the night, then I am awake.  But with children about I was on tenterhooks. After weeks here now I am not so skittish. I am also enjoying the numerous hugs which are planted upon me throughout the day, or leaning in to see what I am doing, or just to tell me something and the little gifts that I have been presented with during my stay.  It has been wonderful being part of this family for the past few weeks and I will miss each and every one of them when I return home.  I am also extremely grateful for them for making me so welcome, not only in their home but also their hearts.  I have known their Mum since we were children at school, but for a large chunk of their lives, I was not in touch with them, having only caught up again recently. It seems like we are all making up for the lost time.

My friend said to me only the other morning, that she wanted to show me so much whilst I am here, she doesn’t want me to go home and not have done something that is wonderful and we could have done, since she doesn’t know when we will get to do it again. So we are not staying in and relaxing around the home, we do that when we have collected the kids from school and are all indoors for the evening.  We are out in the car, gallivanting, visiting wonderful beaches and just sitting there on the sand, talking about the things that we can remember, when we were younger. The people we grew up around and experiences we shared.  It reminded me that this is exactly what friends do, they should do. It is totally normal.  I never thought that I might be totally normal.

We are enjoying the time we are spending together, the voyages of discovery, the sightseeing. Neither of us are particularly happy shopping, we ventured into a shopping mall here last week I think that although the building was pretty in places, but it is the most uncomfortable we have felt since I arrived and we could not wait to get back outside and do something else.

Don’t get me wrong, we have on occasion perused some of the shops, like galleries, artisan shops and the like, but generally speaking,  we are making memories and thinking of ways and things that are different from the norm.

I am writing this month, but not in the ways that I thought I would.  Bizarrely I have not written one poem since leaving the UK. I thought that I would write plenty of them, in the spare time of the evening.

No, instead I have been writing Trip Advisor reviews, which thankfully people are reading them at a steady rate. It is also a format where I am able to include my own photographs and of course helps any other people who may be thinking of visiting the area as well.

We haven’t been too far from here Queensland has so much to offer that it really hasn’t been necessary to travel very far at all. I think the furthest distance we have been has only been about 50Kms from the house.  But we have still seen so much or maybe it just seems like it since I hadn’t left the house for such a long time before coming away. We are out on most days by 11am and return to collect the children from school by 3pm, so I guess that limits how far we can go, but I am so grateful for the use of the car to drive us about, it makes such a huge difference when you are not reliant upon public transport. It also meant that we have been able to pick up any provisions which are necessary too. We have had some lovely meals.

I have tried, Australian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese food at home and out whilst here. I will not return to the UK as a slim summer version of myself since I haven’t managed to lose any weight.  My friend likes cake and has a sweet tooth. I think I do too but am trying to curb my urge to eat sweet things, so have been eating a lot of fresh fruit and also dairy free deserts, which are plentiful in this part of the world.  We don’t usually have dessert at home, but I have also noticed that the food portion sizes here are much larger than I eat at home.

I will take with me some wonderful memories of this place.

For instance the smell of Eucalyptus in the rain and the trees that you catch a waft of as you head through the mountains. The vision of the enormous blue and black and white butterflies which fly over the garden and have managed to escape my camera lens for the duration of this trip, yes a whole month! I delight in their presence yet feel the frustration of just missing out, so many times a day.

The sound of the wonderful birds who visit each day some of whom sing recognisable songs which I have recorded so that I might listen again and again when I am home. The sound of the rain on the roof of the house and the 5am train that thunders by lighting up the bedroom where I sleep. The verandah which is filled with gecko’s each night who sound as though they are blowing kisses, whilst running around chasing all the bugs and the one that hides in my room and comes out at night. And the sound of cicadas chirping in the evening and the lizards who run for cover as we pass them on the way back from school.

The day that I was covered in Parrots all vying for my attention and had the biggest smile on my face.

I was thinking as we drove back earlier the other day, of the blanket of trees covering the road. The lush green surroundings which were so unexpected when I arrived, the earth around here, a vivid reddish brown and rocks in beautiful coloured layers all along the roadside as we drive through the hills.  The gang of Kangaroos, we drove past just standing in a field on one rainy day that we went out in the car.  Being up a mountain, with an amazing view which I could not see for the rainclouds which were rolling in and not minding one little bit. The fact that it kept happening, on several occasions we went out to enjoy the view from a height.  The happiness and elation of standing on the beach with my friend, taking in a fabulous view of the surf meeting the sky, the salt being swept towards us and landing on our skin, sun warming me to the bone. The fact that my hands and my feet do not hurt when I wake up in the morning, they ache from the walking on sand and up hills by the end of the day, but it is a satisfying ache that I have done things, achieved something, gone out and seen a part of the world that I had previously only dreamed that I would.

The beauty of a Buddhist Temple on a cloudy day, with it’s Garden of Enlightenment and the plants and peace and calm that surrounds a place that until recently, I probably would not have even thought to visit.

I dare not hope that I could have come here to this amazing place, for such a length of time.  I am counting my blessings each day, waking to sunlight and birdsong, surrounded by trees I don’t know the names of and wanting to know more, about the place, the things that I am seeing, wanting to explore. Wanting to write about it all, in detail, so that if at some time in the future my memory fails me, I will be able to read about these wonderful things, experiences and the life that I will have had.

It feels a little surreal, at times as though I am on the outside looking in to what has been happening. After all I am the person who did not have much ambition in my younger years, although I wanted to travel I didn’t really get the opportunity to do so when others went off to see the world, I was left behind, just getting along with paying the rent and things. But now, things are different, that very same person is getting to see places which not everyone does. I am conscious of the fact that this is not just a dream place of mine. Others dream of these places and here I am getting to live someone else’s dreams too. Documenting this trip, with photographs and diary has been easy, when we are out, barely any time goes by before either camera or iphone is poised to record what I am seeing.  But there are many things and moments, which I have seen and which I will cherish, when driving the car for instance when I have been unable to stop and take a photo.  Instead, storing it to memory and hoping that it will remain there for years to come.

I may not have children with whom I can share these experiences by way of storytelling. I do however have you the wonderful people who continue to read my blog. And that is why I write it.  Maybe for some who are cautious, or hesitating in some small way it will serve as inspiration to take the trip, do the thing, be the person that you have always wanted to be.

I knew that this year would be important, I had sensed the changes in myself and they seem to have been a long time coming. There have been changes for the better, there have also been things which will teach me as time goes on, if not in the here and now, then in the future I am sure.

I will be able to look back upon this year, when I reach the end of it, with fondness for the things that have happened.  Above all, whatever life chooses to throw at me, I have decided as this year began that this not going to be another bad year, this is going to be one of the best! I have wanted to take control of my destiny, we are even now, only ¼ of the way through it and there is so much that can happen during the rest of it.

I am inspired, feeling creative still, I want to do so much and for the first time in a very long while, this break has given me the energy to do some of it. Feeling that this is the start of good things to come, like the corner has been turned and I am looking ahead up a long straight road, with no obstructions, no dangers waiting to pounce. Although that may be foolhardy since no one knows what is around the corner.  Excitement is kicking in about the things that we will get to do when I return home to my love, the time that we will spend together. The memories and photographs that I can share with him and also the new ones that we will also make along the way with our little family.

So in conclusion.

As I wrack my brains to try and find the answer, I wonder is this actually a voyage of discovery for a land that I had not yet seen, or is it in fact another great part of my own journey, which I have begun to enjoy at last. Some of the things that I will take with me from this trip are the simplest things, which money cannot buy and which I will cherish. The laughter as we went around a mountain road, listening to a song that we grew up with wrecked as another cover version and the various comments we made. Giggling together as we shared a joke or a look, just as we did when we were children of course we are all grown up now, but it is times like these when we forget it all and revert to the kids that we were, just enjoying the moment together as old friends. I don’t think that there is anything better and I know that I am truly blessed to have had this experience, my gratitude is immense. Although I am sad on my last night here to be leaving these wonderful folks for the time being, I know that one day I will return again for more adventures together.

And finally on my last full day here I managed to get it, albeit a distance shot of one of the beautiful black and white butterflies, just as I was bitten by a green ant. Something else I have learned, Green Ants are not my friends and neither are Marsh Flies! They like to nibble.

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Levels of Weirdness and Unity.


It’s funny the things that bring us together. The familiar weirdness that two or more people share, which becomes a small group, then sometimes a bigger one.
What springs to mind is the myriad of things that bring us together in the first place. A hobby or a pastime. An illness or A favourite something or another, all over the world there are people joining together like never before. There are Groups for this or that bringing people together in some small way. Share your likes and you will find other like minded people who share them too, who can illuminate where something was missing, forcing you to look at something their way sometimes just for a moment, or maybe change your perspective forever. Yet, because you share that common interest you are susceptible to their outlook. I guess it is what helps us grow as people. Sometimes we get misguided or manipulated or just plain confused along the way. Sometimes it can bring us new friends or experiences which we had not thought to try before.

But in among it all for at least a while, there is unity a common bond and a weirdness which connects us and I celebrate that.

 

Christmas, The Holidays How are you spending them?

This was going to be my “Happy Christmas” post when I began it last week.

We are still enjoying or enduring the Holiday period here in the U.K. As we head now towards New Year. I am grateful for the fact that I am enjoying it.

This Christmas I knew would be vastly different for us and I honestly did not know how it would go. After the year that we have had it couldn’t help but be. It is the first one where we have not had Kato physically with us, he was here only in spirit. He entered my thoughts daily and although I looked for signs I did not see any. However I still felt that he was part of the family here enjoying Christmas morning together.

The past week we have been getting ready for the occasion and I have never felt so unready before. I went for a job interview the week before and it went well. I came out with such a positive feeling about both the job and myself and hoped that I may be offered one of the two positions they had spoken about. That weekend, my partner told me to call my friend who was emigrating this week and book a ticket to visit her. It was a wonderful thing to do, I feared that she would be too busy but she jumped at the suggestion. So I had a fabulous time with her and her family before they went, I came back having felt such love, I was on cloud nine.

On coming home I tried to fit in getting the house “Christmassy” but had only just enough money to get food and a few small gifts for family, so had to buy gifts wisely. Whilst my partner and I sold a few items, the people came to collect. The truck went this week, I didn’t feel stressed about letting it go. The relief that we would have funds for the shortfall again this month outweighed that.

It also meant that Hope, my Beautiful blue car has been brought out of the garage and I  able to drive her again for the first time in months again thanks to the assistance of friends who made sure that she was safe for me. I played Santa and delivered gifts and cards on Christmas Eve and got to see and hug another friend I have not seen this year.

So being broke has been the new norm for this past year along with so many other emotions. But as we end the year I can’t help thinking we have lost a lot of people. Not just the ones who are old, but the ones who are taken far too soon. When faced with this situarion, you cannot help but rethink how you wish your life to be as the new year approaches.

I did not hear about the job, but that did not stop me from applying for many more this week. At some point, someone will offer me one, when the time is right so I must trust that the right one will come along too. It felt like I have turned a corner being invited for an interview can do that to you. Lift you up spirits and all and make you concentrate on the positives.

However recently my partner has been ill, he is feeling very stressed out about making ends meet but it has all come together just in time and he is wondering where the next bit will come from, looking for things he can turn around for a little profit to keep our heads above water until that elusive job comes along. But his heart is heavy and it’s making him tired and he is in pain with the various health issues he has and damage to his body over the years. He has been told to take it easy by the doctor, but the doctor knows that he doesn’t know how. Which can be a bit of a cycle for him, it also makes me worry about him.

This Christmas we did not get fancy gifts for each other. He bought me something lovely when we were in Scotland in the Autumn and I have kept it for Christmas. I bought him something he needed, a pair of boots to keep him comfortable whilst we walk the dog together and our present to each other was our beloved Roki. For Birthday, Christmas and my Birthday. No other gift is necessary as we have the love and happiness that he brings us. We collected our new baby seven weeks ago and he is the family we craved to have again.

We awoke on Christmas morning and all piled onto the bed for a big family hug. The day was mild and bright and we made plans to go out and see it. I did not spend the morning wrapping gifts for others as I had in previous years. I had managed to wrap the few that I had bought and most had already been given by then.  We sat talking, played music and had a lovely breakfast of smoked salmon omelette which is an all family favourite. I thought about the big Meal that I would make later and planned to speak to my friend to wish her a safe journey.  Our Christmas Day was non eventful to the outside world but just right for us. We sent and received messages of good cheer to family and friends but to see the face of your child as you give him presents on Christmas Day was just the perfect way to spend it.

Our boy had two fleece blankets which were donated by the emigrating friend and he was so thrilled with them. He had a rope toy which I had given him a couple of days earlier when I had returned from my trip and a woven cloth toy, which in our house is known as “A wonderful fling to be flung” which my mother had made for him. He also had some treats and was so ecstatic that he didn’t know what to play with first. So he just decided to pick up as many as he could at once, throw them all into the air and then roll on them. He is happy. I sent a message to his old family Thanking them for the most wonderful gift to us and received a touching response.

It was late evening by the time I had prepared and cooked our Christmas meal which meant we were up until very late and watching the films on the TV till the early hours. It didn’t matter so much. On Boxing Day I collected my brother and took him to our sister and her partner’s house for a feast. It was lovely, I haven’t seen any of them in months it was just nice to sit around and enjoy a meal, we also watched a funny film and laughed together.

They say it becomes different as you get older, but that is the true meaning of Christmas to us. We have love. We are not in Scotland for the first time in three years we have stayed at home. That in itself felt a little  bit odd but less stressful for me as I didn’t have to pack or travel Christmas week and it never quite feels like the holiday until you arrive at your destination.

My good intentions as to how we should spend Christmas did not come about, again we did not decorate the house for the occasion. My partner said it wasn’t important and we just ran out of time before the big day. This Christmas was about sharing Love and Time, after all who knows how much of it we have left, that was the most important thing and we achieved that.

So however you have spent yours and however you choose to spend the holiday time you have left, I hope that you enjoy it.

I want to Thank you for following my blog since I began in February, for the friendships that grow along the way and the support that you have shown me over the past few months.  I hope that we all continue on our journeys through the next year and find new inspiration, experiences to write about and I will enjoy hearing about yours.

The Daily Post – Festive

The Boundary Line – A Poem

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The Boundary Line.

A tight rope marks the boundary line,
Of what is his and what is mine.
There it’s clear for all to see,
A wire runs across to the tree.
A simple border there to define,
A place where you don’t cross the line.
This is a marker there to set,
Just in case he tries to forget.
That there was more given generously,
So as not to cause animosity.
He talked about building a fence,
And when he started this pretence,
Of deciding where his border would go,
Removing the line, well wouldn’t you know.
The best way to do this is to remove the tree,
The one that’s there for all to see.
So he chopped it down and hid it away,
They wouldn’t find it when they came to stay.
But through carelessness, so sure was he
He didn’t count on the things I see.
I walked around and slung over there,
Was my tree stump short and bare.
I took the post with the wire grown through,
And positioned it, in full view.
A reminder of a boundary gone,
And the man who has done me wrong.
For twenty four inches more of land,
So that next to his house, a shed he’ll stand.
He should have asked and not just take,
But he will learn from his mistake.
He does not own, the whole hill,
This place where we are residing still.
We have not gone, are still around.
Here to remain and stand our ground.
They tell us strong fences, good neighbours make.
But he should remember there’s give and take.
Not take and take and just keep on
Until there’s nothing left and it all is gone.
So while he will sit and criticise,
He will do well to remember, that we’ve become wise.
To the stories he tells and the liberties taken,
Which at times, leave us upset and shaken.
But we will fight on and not be deterred,
And timing is right, has not been deferred.
We’ll be “saving our stamps” as he’ll often say
Until our help is required one fine day.
Then we might choose, whether to be
Those friendly helpful people he’ll see.
Or will he arrive at a closed door.
Advantages taken again, no more.
The boundary line has truly been crossed
When into the rubbish it was tossed.
It showed no care and disrespect.
For a friendship now gone due to neglect.


The Daily Post – Trust

The Girls from the Beach

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.

The Daily Post – The Girls from the Beach

 

 

George’s Hidden Treasure

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When we came and found it,
We looked here and there.
Picked a spot to sit,
but wasn’t even a chair.
I thought I’d tell what I know about George,
And the friendship that we would forge.
You see, the house it had been stripped,
Of all his worldly goods.
Or so we thought, as we tripped,
Around the sheds and woods.
But as we ventured all around,
The odd treasure still to be found.
An occasional thing had been replaced,
Or scattered about, a little defaced.
In the sheds hung his old tools,
The scavengers, were only fools.
Inside the house there was a table,
But with small minds they weren’t able.
For a moment to stop and think,
As to why it was covered in ink.
I wanted to do a little research,
In the garden, of pine and birch.
There’s bottles and baskets and old clothes,
Digging around an old treasure trove.

Picture a place with a scene of beauty,
Looking around at nature’s bounty.
A place filled with such mystery,
As I began to research his story.
There were pots that had been made by hand,
Strange things I’d found buried on the land.
Antique ladders, a walking stick
To get you about when you’re in the thick.
A painting or two hidden above the stair,
Behind the wall when I stripped it bare.
Writing was not just his legacy,
He was an artist who craved to be free.
Visiting ladies to the hilltop would clamour,
To his studio to sit, with none of the glamour.
He would sit alone and he’d paint
In the house, so cold and very quaint.
Perhaps he had some heating supply,
Upon which he could rely.
There disrobed on a couch she might lay,
Whilst the farmer was off, making hay.

Around these parts it was said, he’s a scribe,
The odd bottle of brandy was known to imbibe.
Walking around, you should take a look
Searched to find copies of his book.
For this is the place he chose to reside,
Next to the house where the horses will ride.
Lived there alone and up there he hunted,
With coldness of winter he was confronted.
Wrote books about writing and he had laid claim,
of stories and cooking which wasn’t so plain.
There was a short doorway, it wasn’t so tall,
But it did for him, he was decidedly small.
Some time ago I read of his travels,
But with time, the story unravels.
But over the years, the things that he crafted
Remain buried here and they’ve lasted.
Things he created, sit out the back,
There in the garden, a wonderful plaque.
His scattered remains of the man he once was,
We leave it right there, just because.
Although the scribe has temporarily vacated,
The delight to share, is unabated.
The place where he once took his pleasure,
He still resides in his time of leisure.
As guardians here now we’ve been sent,
His spirit has shown, for us it was meant.
For right up here might be where it began,
The house that belonged to a little wee man.
He visited once to bid us adieu
Now raising a glass to him, Salut.

My Dear and Cherished Friend

It’s good to have that one good mate,
One who knows you oh so well
And to which you can relate.
with whom you can shout or yell.
Who knows you like a sister,
The one who knows you’ll be there
If she’s trouble with her mister.
One you can show that you care,
And with whom you don’t feel a mug,
When you’re going through it all.
She’s always there to give you a hug,
Whenever you might fall.
When time is short and she is feeling sad,
She hopes that you’ll understand.
You’ll offer her support so she won’t feel bad,
Be there to hold her hand.
Always there with a hug and kiss,
She’s wiped away a few tears.
The one you ‘re really going to miss,
when not seen for months or years.
Someone that you’ve known all your life,
On whom you can depend.
There through the trouble and the strife,
My dear and cherished friend.

 

The Daily Post – Friend