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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Captivating Currimundi Lake

125We 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.

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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.

via Daily Prompt: Captivating

Tinkerbell

Playful faerie or naughty nymph,

Visits me to steal my oomph.

A poke in the ribs, or even a kick,

Whenever she arrives she’ll pull a trick.

No foreboding a sense of fun,

Shows me that she’s just begun.

A powerhouse of such energy.

Woken from slumber so I can see.

Making her point with all her might,

She won’t give up without a fight.

Occasionally I think she would

Speak to me if I knew she could.

Got me again the cheeky Tink,

Making me just stop and think.

Jumping up onto the bed,

Trailing hand upon my head

Not worried by her I have no fear,

Just letting me know that she’s near.

She dances round the room so bright,

Leaving behind her a trail of light.

Bounces around and off the wall,

Hope she doesn’t break and fall.

And with this chaos I often gasp,

Which makes me stop to ask.

Laying here I will often yearn,

To find what it is I have to learn.

As I lay in my bed wide awake

When darkness leaves for daybreak.

Sprinkled a little faerie dust,

So that in her I will trust.

Again I will check at my side,

For my ever present little guide.

Playful faerie, my Tinkerbell,

Skips off again without farewell.

Daily Prompt – Sparkle

My Blogging Birthday.

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I read an article the other day on Linked in which inspired me to write one of my own on the subject of blogging. Later last night I read another linked here from a blog I follow A Thousand Bits of Paper  who tells of her draft folder and subject matter and how she dives in and out of there. I think that we all do it. Save some for later post it when it seems right, or not at all. I have on several occasions written thought I had finished a draft and then not felt quite right about publishing. Waiting for the right time to do so and having to edit it so much because the timing is out. But since I have the opportunity to elaborate here on my own blog about my own writing I feel inclined to.

As I head towards a whole year as a blogger, it feels kind of strange to be writing this. Firstly that something I had thought at first might not take off or might be short lived would become quite a big part of my life. When I thought that a little bit of writing here and there would turn into something that would consume so many of my waking hours and that my thoughts, however random they might be would be down on paper and/or the blog and I would be letting it all out in the open.

At first my partner was apprehensive about it. Having life as we know it out there for all to see and that is why you do not see his name here when I write. It’s easier that way. I wanted to keep him separate and protect him in some small way.  

Blogging has changed my life, I hope for the better. I have an outlet for thoughts and creativity which means I no longer carry them around bursting at the seams, an emotional wreck full of baggage clogging up my life, which is how I felt previously.

True, I haven’t done a great deal of go getting or living in the past year and have often felt constrained but not in the same ways as before. So it has helped me grow as a person, my writing has improved I think and I have connected with some wonderful people and writers along the way. I have found them to be both informative and supportive and thankfully right when I needed it, totally non-judgmental. I had been so fragile previously I don’t know if they sensed this in my writing, or just that I have been so extremely lucky. Either way, I am truly grateful for them and the experience of writing. I will continue with this blog it wasn’t a five minute wonder for me. More like the start of something wonderful and your comments have spurred me on. I have written a book and got it out there on Amazon at least. It’s a little acorn at the moment, but I felt that I would continue with my poems and there might be enough for a second one, who knows maybe even a third on the same vein. I am testing my writing language. I may decide to write that raunchy book too, since they also seem to be all the rage and at least it will get that little lot out of my head and I think that there might also be a novel hiding in there somewhere.

I still have a fight going on with my partner from time to time about my writing.  After all, He has demands upon my time more so while I have not had a job. I need to work but since I haven’t been able to this has kept me sane and given me the outlet to keep working towards something however small it might be. I also need space for my own thoughts, to release them without judgement. We don’t always agree and I don’t want to argue. We don’t often unless it’s something important or I feel really strongly about, but we talk about everything. I mean everything and sometimes I just crave some peace and quiet and it feels like overload. If I can’t get out on my own then I go and write. It helps to have some of your own space to do this uninterrupted. I make sure that I write most days even if it is just a diary entry just before I sleep. The pages on my phone have become my silent notebook if I need to write in the early hours or the morning and not all of it gets published here.

I used to carry notebooks around when I was working. I still have many of them and will go back to that since the batteries on the phone are always running low and it still needs to work as a phone I have been thinking of getting an electronic notebook though it might save me time when I’m going to work again. I like to get things put on the laptop and backed up since losing my hard drive a couple of years ago. I found it devastating. I don’t like to lose things.

I have recommended and encouraged others to venture into the world of blogging, to begin their own journey and see where it takes them for me  so far it has been such a wonderfully rewarding experience.

Today I received a notification that I had received 1337 likes to my blog.  A strange number to celebrate, but hey I’m glad that people out there in the big wide world are still liking what I write. I also now have 160 followers, so to all of you. I Thank You, I am grateful for you all making it worthwhile.

 

The Yellow Mini

It was her first one. Mum’s first car of her very own. A yellow Mini with a Black roof and bonnet stripes. In the brightest yellow that she could find. Yes it was loud and it resembled all of the things she wanted to be. Racy, Daring, Fun and it reminded of her of a bee, which she loved, because it was bright yellow and black.

It would take her to places she had never been before where the only limit was the fuel she could put in the tank. She would pack her bag and drive to her parents, once the caring for them was over for the weekend, she would return to her family. Racing the fast cars along the forest roads with a smile stretched out across her face. She felt alive behind the wheel, with a spirit of adventure, just for that short time.

It gave her the freedom she had so long craved. Freedom from the day to day, whatever the weather. The other motorists smiled as she passed them by. Her happiness beaming like a beacon across her face. She loved that car, for all it represented to her and they had no idea.

The Daily Post – Yellow

 

I knew it…Someday I’d get there

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So, how would I feel when it finally happened and was it different to how I expected it to be? 

Yes, totally.  I clearly did not know what to expect when I arrived at the place which I had longed to see.  It was my reason for wanting to visit Barcelona in the first place. To visit and pay homage to Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

For those of you who do not know, it was the German Pavilion first built in 1928-29 for the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain it was demolished in 1930 and later on, they figured that that was a bad idea. It was an important building and pivotal in the architects career.  So the foundation set about reconstructing the building on the original site, in 1983 and in 1986 work was completed.  It is now open to the public and can also be hired for private events.

At this news, I thought what a wonderful place to have your wedding photographs taken. I felt that the clean lines, beautiful chrome and glass and exquisite stonework, would only enhance the photographs from the best day of a woman’s life.

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We had tried to find it for three of the five days which we had planned for Barcelona and yet, it was not easy to find at all.  We went past the signs for it on the bus, but still couldn’t find it. I had seen photographs of the place, but I didn’t know what surrounded it, something to look out for and three different maps didn’t show us.

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Once we were inside, you could see the iconic Barcelona chairs displayed. I somehow thought that there would be more furniture inside it. My mother was distinctly unimpressed with the whole place and within a short time was clearly bored.  We had taken a while to get there and were both tired. She agreed that the building construction was very good, but that was it for her.

I wanted a little bit more from the experience, I had thought that I would have a little time to relax there for a while and meditate, but my legs were aching from the walking and I could not get comfortable or shut out the sights and sounds around me. For a moment I stood next to the statue within the place.  It was not quiet enough, but would have to do.

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Dawn by Georg Kolbe

Just Wonderfully simple.

The Daily Post – Someday

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.