Another restless night I’ve been, Filled with things that I have seen. Crazy thoughts or lucid dream. Noise so loud I wake and scream. I write it down nothing to lose. The brightest colours and vivid hues. Bright lights and beings visit me, They are just some of what I see. And as I am brought back awake, with buzzing nerves that start to shake. I wonder was it all a dream, The lifelike things that I have seen. The noises I heard inside my head, That seemed so loud there in my bed. Light so bright moving through, Not just white, red and orange too, Green and violet and brightest blue. Would you believe if I told you? Sometimes swirling it will surround, Lands like a blanket on the ground. But its not grounded its over me, Leaves me questioning my sanity. Bathed in an ethereal glow, I look for light at my window. Unsure of this blessing or a curse, I wake to write it down in verse. As the words come back to me, Of all the things that I see. Arms hug tightly that they bind, The restless things there in my mind. The pounding chest which starts to heave, Strange people and things up and leave. There are beings I’ve not seen before, You sometimes read of in folklore. When I awake and my limbs freeze, A silent image, a glimpse, a tease. Then I awake with a start and its gone, where the brightest light there once shone. More than once I’ve felt abused. Which left me angry and confused. Sometimes it scares me half to death, And I wake fighting for my breath. Or send it packing with a shout, Ask the unknown what it’s all about. But sometimes the answer won’t come to me, About the things that I can see.
This image is the feminine version of the masculine I saw in a dream. It came to me and with one bright blue and a bright white Iight in his other eye came right up close to me and looked straight into mine. He looked curious about something, his head on one side. It unnerved me and I awoke, questioning and asking what that was about. He gave me a name, I am none the wiser at this point as to why. I felt inclined to draw the face that I saw, although I am not sure that I can do it justice my brief sketch is below. But he was almost like faerie like or elfin both in movement and stature.
The next day I saw this wonderful feminine image and was so drawn to it with the same face and now I am also curious.
Christina Smith the artist is located in Wimborne, Dorset and creates these wonderful talking sticks from cold clay and driftwood, making unique and very beautiful pieces of art. Find her on her Facebook page Ferae Naturaeor via her webpage. www.spiritofthetrees.biz
Christina has very kindly given her permission for me to use the images for thisbeautiful piece of artwork to share with you.
I have on so many occasions in the past few months attempted to write an update to the blog. To give some kind of reason as to why my writing seemed to have just come to an abrupt halt here online. It’s as though I feel that you deserve an explanation for my absence, the hope that perhaps in all this time (dare i say it) My writing may have been ever so slightly missed.
I haven’t been doing anything spectacular. No more trips abroad for the time being. It has been a year to this week when I wrote this when I visited Corsica and the memories have come flooding back, my brother so small in stature, yet still as large as life appearing in descriptive music and favourite songs, special moments, when dragonflies, robins, butterflies and white feathers appear. Reminding me that although he is no longer here in the physical sense, he is most definitely still by my side spiritually and for this I am thankful. I am still grieving for him and dealing with that it sometimes catches me out and leaves me weak and vulnerable.
Life in its various forms has taken a bit of a backseat as ill health has stepped to the fore and rather dominated, stamping over hopes and dreams and causing mayhem at every twist and turn. I have fought again, to try to overcome the irrational fears in my head of dealing with an illness which still has yet to be given the correct diagnosis. I have tried sometimes in vain, to treat it homoeopathically without causing further health implications and at this present time, again my health is suffering. For a small part of the summer at least, I have been able to enjoy the warmth of sun on my skin and time sitting in my little garden. A small corner of solitude which has been so neglected and yet still rewards me with flowers and colour to lift the spirits and delight the senses. It is good for the soul. Despite the short bursts of scents (my sense of smell has still not returned) and colour it calms the sensory overload. There have been times, when my nerves have spasmed and dislocated joints quite often in my sleep, when I am fortunate enough to get some. These do not follow a pattern they choose randomly and I am left in pain until it reseats itself sometimes days later. My neurological symptoms have worsened over the past year and I am still waiting for the neurology appointment I was referred for in November 2018. Meanwhile the nerve pain is at times unbearable causing me to cry out in pain, sweat and shake and causes numbness which makes me clumsy. The restless legs at night are only controlled by taking Gabapentin which I’d rather not take. My pain relief these days is Tramadol and I am conscious of the fact that both of these are controlled drugs and could be highly addictive. I do not wish to take them, but since I am unable to take codeine based drugs and no other options are available to me I am left with no real choice. I am regularly covered in bruises from clumsy incidents, my hands don’t work properly and I get disorientated. It is embarrassing, I don’t have a social life, save for visiting a few understanding friends when I am able. On good days I can hardly function for a few hours and on bad days I can’t get out of bed. One of the things about how things have been is that for someone with a good command of English and grammar, it seems to have gone to pieces. I often have word blindness and brain fog, I type now since hand writing is no longer an option due to pain. I find that not only do I forget the words I intend to put down, but I often am unable to spell words which I know well. I type them the wrong way round as though some wire in my head has come loose and the short circuits caused by the spasms have dislodged the memory. It is deeply frustrating and means that typing anything now takes me twice as long and spell checking is always essential. It also happens when I read things, I see them round the wrong way too.
Anger and frustration over this time has caused me to write things which I do not feel that I should share. Personal feelings when I have been angry or upset I still write about them and hope that I have the sense not to put them into the public eye, for fear of reprisal later. Along the lines of if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you should say nothing at all. I find myself asking”When did I turn into a person who got so angry, so impatient for change and yet bitter about the cards I have been dealt”. I am fighting my own demons every day and sometimes it feels like a losing battle. It is depressing. There have been family issues and upset and health scares in my beloved, I have watched his health decline rapidly, reach a plateau where I am grateful for any small improvement in his health, whilst his pallor has turned from white to grey to tanned and everything in between until the depression has taken a hold of him and he has felt as though he was dying and I was certain that he was. His fight against cancer was getting the better of him and he became more and more depressed. His constant pain getting him down so far that he did not feel as though he could pull himself out of it and the positive mental attitude dwindling before my eyes. It took a turn for the worse in early spring he was assualted and robbed in the front garden and late spring someone else threatened him with a knife outside his own house. It seems that there are more junkies who will now do anything for their fixes and life becomes as cheap as their next fix from a schizophrenic drug dealer who thinks we are out to get him. Yes we have been angry, felt cheated by our health and unable to do a damn thing about it to improve it. We do not want to settle for a life like this, where our dreams are shattered before our eyes and we are left behind, shadows of how we once were. Life is not supposed to be this way. Our life is not cheap or worthless it is still worth fighting for. Our darling dog had surgery, he was hosting a tumour on his back which had it been left would have paralysed him. Thankfully the surgeon was able to skilfully remove it and he has now made a full recovery back to health, his skills at assisting us when we have health issues have also improved out of necessity and we are so grateful to have him in our lives.
So after the spring upset we headed north, to our home in Scotland in the hope that it would bring us peace and comfort. I pushed him to go, thinking that it would do us both some good to get away from here. It has always been my serenity and peaceful place up until the horrors of last year and I hoped naively that that was now over. The reality however was far, far different and I am wholly responsible for the worst imaginable Summer there. Now neither of us have a wish to return there and we had such plans for the place and the things we wanted to do to our home. We had taken up furniture and things and I was hopeful that my creative streak would once again return to favour me with poetry that I could share and things that I could make.
We had a very long and exhausting journey there and once we arrived and set up the house we had been there less than a week before we were both verbally and physically assaulted by our next door neighbour. It seems that the grudge he has held for so many years since we bought the place now harbours a dangerous resentment and in his mind we need to be eradicated. So it began, almost two months of sheer hell, dangerous goons sent up to scare us away and threats to kill, a man with a knife despatched to finish us off and the daily torment of a workman who ran the engines on tractors, diggers, lawn mowers and machinery for 8 hours a day. He even left them running unattended right outside the house and clearly delighted in his work, when he wasn’t falling off them drunk. Of course we involved the police after the first incident and were advised not to confront the neighbour or his associates at any point. So we became prisoners in our home and were not even able to out in the garden without being heckled, abused or tormented for the duration. We were followed in the car, had visitors abusing us in the night time and walking about shining torches into the house throughout the night in an effort to scare us. The fully working farm at harvest time made less noise than these guys. For my part it worked I was a nervous wreck who sat up throughout the night worrying and regularly tearful, it rendered me incapable of doing things and we were around each other almost 24/7 which often caused friction. The guilt of making us go there was huge and excruciating. Our family, friends and neighbours were concerned for our safety and our family were just too far away.
By the end of July we had enough. The police are taking it seriously and we will most likely have to go to court, they were talking about witness protection for us. It was worse than a soap opera, friends were saying you couldn’t write this stuff and yet. We’re living this nightmare. Both literally sick with the worry and worn out and run down, we packed up and came back South hoping for some rest when we got back here. The journey was hellish and my man was so ill that I did not think he was going to be able to get us home, but he did. He still has not recovered, he had pneumonia and a dislocated shoulder and neck, yet still drove us back as I wasn’t able to either. He has some stubbornness and perseverance!
So this last month we have been attempting to gather our strength and rest, well he has although the concept of rest and recuperation I believe is is alien to him. My parents have finally sold and moved out of what was their family home for the last 35 years. It was extremely stressful for all concerned and distressing for my younger sister as she saw her childhood home pulled in so many directions until it was shredded. I found it less so and just pushed myself to deal with the task in hand and try and hold them all together. Trying to help go through sections of the house which had remained largely untouched for about 25 years was a voyage of discovery, that’s for sure! I moved out from there 28 years ago. Trying to do this with poor health has severely taken its toll, I damaged myself lifting heavy things and clearing out. But as of last week, they were finished and we all said Goodbye to the house in our own separate ways. I took cuttings from the garden that my mother had cherished and nurtured in the hope that it would gain a new life in some small way as she has done. Time will tell whether they are happy enough to reward me with growth. I was also allowed to give a new home to some old furniture from the garage and my grandfathers and father’s tools. So I am hoping that I will be able to use them for small projects when my health allows.
So as we settle back in down South after the changes have taken place and hope that we remain safe and are able to get well, or at least not any worse I hope that I get the chance to welcome my creativity back with open arms. I am looking forward to once I have the space and have cleared the debris of the summer and my parents house, found new homes for acquired items and disposed of others which are no longer wanted. I am hoping that the peace I have regarding their home now being gone remains and does not turn to grief, I think that despite my sentimentality, that part of me is firmly in the past and I moved on from there a long time ago. They have new homes now and are living their lives differently, we have all grown. I can then return to the task of getting my own house in order and going through the rest of my brother’s belongings. It has been over a year since we lost him now and although I feel his presence, it is not necessary to keep every thing that he owned, there are things which can be of use to others. I just need to sort them out.
I realise that as time goes on our dreams and our priorities change. Sometimes these changes are forced by circumstances beyond our control. Those changes seem to be the hardest ones to accept and I will be dragged through them kicking and screaming and hopefully come out the other side intact. I am still writing, it is sometimes the only sanity that I have in all the madness around me, giving me a moment of clarity especially when I am awake throughout the night in pain. It is my therapy, helping me to adapt and grow. I just hope that I am strong enough to keep up the fight, to nurture and cherish those around me who show me love and friendship, who have my back when I have theirs, who listen when I need them to and who speak when they need to. The give and take friends, my tribe.
I will once again share my poems with you. Carefully selected of course and I hope to stop writing what I refer to as “whine poetry” and make a return to the happy, grateful side of my personality. Perhaps I will find a new place that will become my muse, some fabulous life experience which brings back happiness, some joie de vivre.
Photographed in my friends garden in Eudlo Queensland Australia, it seemed that there was such love in that small town. Almost everywhere I looked I could see the love, hearts were everywhere when you began to notice them.
Although known in their house as the Love Heart Tree It’s official Name is the Bleeding Heart Queensland Poplar, (Homalanthus populifolius)
Like many gardeners, I have long thought disdainfully at the Dandelions creeping through gaps in the pavement, through pots of blooms and pretty much anywhere they can get. There seems to be an endless quest to rid gardens of these bright and cheerful plants and many resort to harsh chemicals to do just that. But last summer I made a discovery about this wonderful weed. It is amazing, that something which has been considered bothersome is in fact packed with nutrition and healing properties. So I thought in my quest for better natural remedies and health, that I would give it a try. I had nothing to lose.
I made some oil which I thought might help with arthritis pain. It is also good for aching muscles as well I have found out and has a slightly warming sensation on the skin. It is olive oil infused with dandelion and smells rather nice. It is also a pretty good skin conditioner so even if it didn’t work I would still use it. But to my surprise it did. So I made some more and gave them away in bottles as Christmas gifts. As I patiently wait for more dandelions to bloom again this year I’m finding out just how useful they can be. Since the oil has only two ingredients, it would also serve as a dressing oil for salad so is multi purpose.
I rather wish I had the means to store them up on the hill and can only look forward to the day when I will be able to. I fully intend to make use of natures bounty when we spend more time there. Whatever the season there is always something I try to bring back when we return South, it makes me a little less homesick.
Meanwhile I exhausted the southern lawn of dandelions right up until the end of November and gathered a stock of them picking them every other day since the Summer. I was interested to learn that if you dry them, they continue to open and you end up with the pretty seed heads or “clocks” even when they are no longer attached to the plants. This also happens whilst they are in oil. It doesn’t matter, I dried them anyway and now have them in jars. I was also pleased to note that since the winter had been fairly mild, at least up until recently here in the South, they continued to grow and flower.
I am now looking at the many benefits of this herb both topically and it’s culinary uses. Salad leaves are popular and I did incorporate them with spinach but my partner wasn’t keen on the more bitter taste. Using the roots for tea is another use but I have not perfected the knack of drying the roots out properly yet without moisture getting in, I will however work on this again this year having just discovered that I also love the taste of a Dandelion Latte.
So as the new spring Dandelions are poking through the as yet unmown lawn, I have left these as Bee food, as it is their first readily accessible nutrition. But since the lawn is due for a mow any day now, I will have to get out there and start collecting them as it would be a shame for them to go to waste. Meanwhile I have cultivated areas of the garden, where they steadily growing undisturbed in pots for the Bees and I to share so they won’t go hungry.
To make your own Infused Dandelion Oil.
Rinse Dandelion flowers collected from a safe source (free from pesticides) in water and leave them to dry naturally in a warm place. This can take a couple of days.
Use a Clean Screw Top Jar and put the dried dandelions in, cover with Olive Oil and fill to almost the top of the jar.
Screw the lid firmly, shake gently and leave on a sunny windowsill for minimum of 2 weeks, tipping the jar to rotate daily. The mixture will be golden in colour.
After 2 weeks, (or more) drain the oil into suitable containers for intended use and discard the preserved flowers, or use them in cooking. It will last for a good six months if kept in a cool dark place.
Since this oil only contains two all natural ingredients it can be used for both topical or culinary uses.
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.