I have realised that although I have a few small videoclips of him singing, as yet we don’t have a picture of our Roki In Song.
When he first came to live with us he didn’t talk much. Silenced by fear he made a few noises to express pleasure, barked if you asked if he wanted food. Gave a little rumble if you scratched his tummy or ears. It took some getting used to and realising that it was simply his way of expressing happiness. He makes some funny sounds.
Kato used to sing, we encouraged it from the very first and he loved to sing the song of his people sometimes at the most inopportune moments. He also loved to sing Happy Birthday and would burst into song after the first word with recognisable words throughout.
When Roki came into our lives, we decided to teach him to sing too.
The first time we all howled together he looked confused and I think so did we. He was two years old. This little puppy voice which had not been encouraged to speak came out, sounding very hoarse and croaky but his tail wagged and his face lit up when he realised that he wasn’t going to be told off.
We made it our mission to let him sing every day, so in the mornings when everyone is awake we all sit on the bed and have a Song, the family or pack (if you prefer) all joining in and I tell him that I love his singing and he is a very good boy.
His voice is getting deeper now that he is four years old, not a sudden change like when Kato became ill, but the strength from within that resonates, it comes from deep down. It is soulful yet happy and the whole bed shakes when he sings now, the paws bounce as he throws his head back, just like a wolf his neck extended to allow the depth of his voice to come out and travel through the air and the tail still wags.
He has learned to talk to us more now too, answering questions and saying Hello.
Although he was adopted by us you might think that he has been here all his life. We are very pleased and proud of the boy he has grown into. Adoring, loving and full of character and as gentle as a lamb with friends and family whilst protecting us from intruders and predators as well.
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.
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.
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.
To all the people who have made my life brighter this year with their writing, their images, their ideas and their inspiration.
Yes I mean you!
The readers, friends who cajole, inspire, support my ramblings and my thoughts however dark or bright they might be and who comment and share in the moments with me.
I have not written as much this year as I did last year. I am disappointed about that but my health has changed the way my life was going and I have had to learn to adapt to the way things have become. The new normal for me for the time being. I do not know what next year will bring. I only hope that it brings better health, less stress and more happiness for all of us. I hope that I will write more next year, both poems and happier posts, sharing good news with you all. This year has been a new kind of difficult, challenging in so many ways but I am hopeful for a brighter future.
As for Christmas in our home I figured out a few months ago that this Christmas was not going to be the usual what can we all buy each other that we don’t really need scenario. I have not had a proper job for two years so I informed family and friends that if I couldn’t make it, then I wouldn’t be doing it. Thankful that they accepted this I set about making their gifts and I have included here some of my snapshots of the things I’ve made.
So I embraced my creativity in other ways. Thanks to the people in a group or two that I joined on Facebook I have learned how to make things with foraged fruit and herbs, some of which will be given as gifts. I remembered that I enjoy cooking and making things so tried my hand at biscuits, truffles, gingerbread and cakes. I also made oils for cooking, jam, herbal massage oils and teas. I have made scented bath salts, Jewellery and Christmas decorations. I am also using recycled packaging wherever possible for these gifts. I also joined a group which showed me so many things that I had forgotten like ways to reuse and rethink and repair and recycle. I have so many wonderful ideas planned for next year that I want to try.
I have been cooking for weeks, trying things out and some have been gratefully received and others have driven my partner crazy. If I fancied making something new I set about finding a recipe to give it a try. He could not understand why I wanted to mess about with it all, but on limited means and I have made the most of the opportunity having learned new skills this year and revived older ones which I have forgotten. I spent a wonderful day recently with my sister where we made biscuits together, it’s something I don’t think we have ever done, we learned together and I loved the process.
When I have not been able to sleep, often In pain I have got up and made something. It hasn’t cost me much, only time and energy. Sometimes on my feet for hours, I have been exhausted but nevertheless for these simple things I have had a sense of accomplishment, which has been so important to me.
Homemade gifts are not everyone’s cup of tea. I have noticed a shift in the past few years where it has been more acceptable than it used to be, for that I am extremely grateful. I think it is lovely when someone has taken the time to make you something and it’s appreciated it is much more personal. I understand that not everyone has the opportunity or the skills to do that, but if you do then why not? It has brought back the real meaning of Christmas to me and I have made my gifts and are giving them to special people with love. So far they have been happily received and compliments abound. Especially with the foodstuffs.
This year we are at home in the South, much as we are missing our beloved Scotland I have dreams of a Christmas spent in our cottage of the future, especially when they play the reruns of the film The Holiday on television. I want to decorate our little place with things from the garden and the woods, home made decorations and lights on a tree a roaring fire in the house and the smell of woodsmoke and pines, while I cook the Christmas dinner, all snuggled up together with the family. I still have those dreams I’d like to fulfil.
So whatever you are doing for these holidays, however you choose to spend them. I hope that you are with people who mean a lot to you and you spread a little happiness.
As we look forward to a new and exciting year ahead, things can only get better.
In the past week or so I have been thinking a lot. I’m told that my brain is fluffy since we arrived. I do feel a bit more fluffy since I have arrived, less stressed about most things and I have caught up on my sleep at last. It is good for the soul being here. I am probably letting things wash over me where previously I might have worried about them. I don’t know if it is a good or bad thing I have only been worried about him. Lately he has been doing the worrying about everything else which is really bad for him. He is getting about 4 hours sleep a night and his health and brain is suffering doing himself physical damage because he is run down. But he is like a man possessed trying to get things done, as though his time is running out. I hope it is not.
We do not have an endless time here and will have to go back South for many reasons but he does not have to do it all now. There is time and there is no schedule up here. The summer is coming, we will make preparations for our next visit before we leave.
I have been in a fuzz on the full blood pressure tablets lately but really struggled with breathlessness when I have cut back to half, despite becoming fitter due to the hill walking. So although there has been less of the usual stress clearly my body is still letting me know it still needs that different pace and medication is slowing it for me.
I am two cups of coffee into the day before I can function but am sleeping so much. Knowing that Endometriosis can wipe out your energy reserves at the drop of a hat. I am still in pain but trying to work through it on most days, not overdoing anything just trying to do something constructive each day. It doesn’t help that our time clocks are way out of sync. We are getting to bed as it gets light whilst he drops off to sleep on the chair after dinner. I have trouble waking him up to get him to bed and by the time we get there we are hearing the dawn chorus. So half the day is gone by the time I rise. He leaves me to sleep and then resents the time it takes for me to get off the ground.
We are trying to raise funds here by selling off some of our excess items but there are not that many up here since the break in and the hardships that followed. We will do the best that we can in order to stay here as long as possible. We do not wish to return to our lives down South at the moment, they have caused so much misery and heartache in the past 12 months that I would rather have hunger and a very basic life here feeling safe and healthier than I have been in months.
I was walking the dog at 3am this morning. It was a beautiful full moon last night and the Farm track was lit up, bathed in its light with twinkling lights along the coast. It was almost silent, but for the small animals in the hedgerows. During that short walk, everything seemed totally right with the world. I felt true happiness in an instant. I could have happily walked across the hills for miles. No one around, alone with the dog and my thoughts. Silent from argument and cross words caused by pain and stress, the worries washed away in the moonlight. I loved the outlines of the tress around in the woods that surround us here. The bull in the field that we visit every day, slightly surprised to see us and snoring gently by his barn.
We were totally at peace there in the moment. Whilst I walked along hoping and praying for a small miracle to enable us to stay here and calm our souls some more. It struck me that here in the darkness, I felt totally safe as though it was the most normal thing in the world to wander the hills in the dark at that hour. It was truly invigorating. I noticed that for the first time in months, I do not feel depressed. For someone who has battled with this depression for a few years now, it seems as though being up here has lifted a huge weight from my mind for as long as I am here. It makes me wonder if a more permanent move would be better for us all instead of the back and forth.
When the weather is warm and we have just enough to get by, then we are extremely happy up here. A little left over would be a godsend. I worry about lack of contingency funds. Since the truck has played both of us up in the past week and we are several miles from shops for supplies.
As he heads off out today, the truck has struggled again to start. There is muck in the fuel lines we think from when it ran out of fuel and it is causing us real problems. The tank is full and there is fuel cleaner in there but it is still threatening to conk out at any moment which is an extra concern we really don’t need. A return from the mechanic and it seems that it might be something more an auto electrical problem, here’s hoping they can get it fixed.
As those who are following will know, I’ve been off the radar somewhat in the past few weeks.
I was feeling very stressed and rather unwell I decided not to burden everyone with the details and have not been writing much. The situation in the South had become unbearable and both our health has taken a turn for the worse. The getaways have become a matter of urgency. I have now taken the family and we headed off back to our Sanctuary this past week and am already feeling a positive shift. It is where we needed to be and never fails to lift our spirits once we arrive.
We have brought the new boy with us, the journey was eventful since he was not a willing accomplice in the car. He doesn’t like it at all, the calming biscuits had little effect and he got scared. Since he was safely secured in the back he couldn’t get to his Mama in the front for a cuddle. Poor thing he cried for a lot of the journey and was like a whining child with no sleep when we arrived.
Thankfully he has settled in a bit now we have arrived and we have all caught up on our sleep. We are delighting in showing him the sights and sounds around here. He has not been into Forests before, or seen any other wild animals but Foxes & Rabbits. Being a bit of a Town Bear he has to learn not to bark at everything that is new or thunder through the woods into the unknown but he’s doing well.
He has met Stag’s, Horses, Hares, Rabbits, Field Mice and the Cattle so far. The sheep have been moved so there is no sign of them.
He is used to the open fire now and the wind in his fur, the sights and sounds of the tractors going up the lane and has found the exact same comfy spot, protected by bushes that Kato used to sit in to watch the world go by currently surrounded by daffodils, he is very happy.
He is peaceful and as long as we don’t go near the car he is enjoying the long walks over the hills and sleeping at the foot of the bed.
So however you are choosing to spend your Easter weekend, we hope that you have a great time with your loved ones. We will be cosy by the fire and enjoying the peace and serenity here.
All these years and all this pain.
I wonder what there is to gain?
From time spent waiting for them to mend,
Broken pieces of my beloved friend.
Just fix him up the best you can
So life goes on for this lovely man
You see he has still things to do
Mountains and seascapes, enjoying the view.
A day with smiles and without pain,
Would give so much to see again.
And signs of way down deep inside,
Where Happy used to once reside.
The brightness of a sunny day,
Can often chase his clouds away,
But damp and cold within his night,
Will often give him stress he’ll fight.
So take up the challenge, make him well
I know that only time can tell.
If he’ll be who he once was again
But years go by it’s not a game.
Places to go, people to see
He’s coming there along with me.
He has so very much to give,
Give back his life to let him live.
It was his favourite of all the cars that they had owned together. They had enjoyed many Saab’s over the years but this one remained in his memories and had a lace in his heart. Of all of them this one was his smile factor.
A bright yellow Saab 900 convertible. It was not the original shape vehicle, but the newer model on a 1998 registration. A 2.3 petrol engine with an Automatic gearbox and as it changed through it’s gears it flew with a whisper quiet engine. They loved it. It took them all over the country on many trips away, exploring together in the sunshine. Even in huge rainstorms you couldn’t help but smile. It made you feel like you were a small child that had found the biggest puddle in your favourite wellies. A car which made you feel totally safe. It’s big comfortable black leather interior always looked smart and turned heads approvingly down whichever street we drove.
They took it to Belgium and France on holiday, on day trips. Visited family and felt sure in the knowledge that they were perfectly safe exploring new things together. Those were happy times when they were younger and more carefree.
When he decided to get her new car some time later, he gave it up included into the deal. He regretted it, not for weeks but for years but did not say so for she would have wanted him to keep it.
Although they had many other Saab’s of the same model it was never quite the same. Later when the truth emerged that it was his favourite they looked for another to recapture the times gone by, to create new memories and to drive through France again exploring new things together. They haven’t managed to get another one yet, always somehow missing out when they see one, but she has not given up hope of fulfilling that particular wish just yet.