The Joy of Cake.

Esther Chilton Challenge – Cake

After the event, she concluded that there is something which definitely assists in getting to know someone when meeting them for the very first time.

Cake.

Yes you see, if you give them a choice you will find out whether or not they are comfortable or uncomfortable. If they are easy going or uptight, watching their weight or happy in themselves.

Turn up with Cake. Who can resist? Especially if it’s Organic, Dairy Free, Gluten Free. Then there is no reason not to partake of cake. Unless you are diabetic or really don’t like the flavour of course!

So there it was. A very pleasant first meeting, where we arrived with cake and one of us would not take No for an answer since it would be strange for two out of three of us to be eating and the other not. So out of politeness, the other one joined in and we found that we all liked the cake after all. It’s such an ice breaker too isn’t it. To be blessed with colour, texture and flavour which should there have been any break in the conversation, or awkward silences or questions (which thankfully there were not) then a mouthful of cake will always give you a moment of thinking space.

So we all sat around the table, talked endlessly about all kinds of things, our own history, travel, families, work, recipes and making cake and got to know each other better. I know, three ladies enjoying lunchtime at a cafe is not unusual in itself, but a rare thing for at least two of us and one of us was on the other side of the world. Taking the presented opportunity, we indulged ourselves chatted over coffee, hot chocolate and a rather nice Dandelion Latte and this rather lovely cake in a place called Kunara at Forest Glen, Buderim in Queensland. An organic marketplace with lots to see and a lovely café within the garden centre. We stayed for a few hours and figured that it is well worth a visit if you are ever around there and if you are up to walking it off afterwards,  (the cake that is) then it is a lovely area surrounded in nature.

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Conclusion – My Australia Trip

Written 31/3/18

So as I return home after a month in the Beautiful Queensland Coast with my dear friends, I am struck by how down to earth I felt about this wonderful place. I immediately felt homely in this unknown place. As I left I knew that I would miss the family so much and that saying my Goodbyes would be difficult. But we are all happy in the knowledge that this will not be my last trip to Australia.  It is just the beginning of my travels to this part of the world.  I guess that hasn’t quite sunken in yet as I sit on the first leg of the flight home. I have rung my partner and heard that they are alright (as alright can be) at home and as my friends family will all be asleep now having journeyed back to Eudlo, where they all stay, part of me is wishing that I was also tucked up in a nice warm bed, but that is for tomorrow.

As I figure out in my fuzzy head a way to get my family over to Australia in one piece, if only it is his dream too, I could perhaps satisfy my wanderlust with regular trips if some of my contacts might put some work my way.  Time to make a few more phone calls I think.

Today, my last day in Australia, we visited Coolum Beach, a lovely area which was absolutely littered with blue jellyfish, which apparently have a vicious sting to their rather lengthy tail.

Since I was attacked by a green ant only yesterday, I was not inclined to repeat the exercise with one of these beasties today, so we dodged rather a lot of them along the beach, but the waves were high, we wrote messages on the sand, whilst the boys played and ran up and down.  The sun was shining and I looked at the iridescence of the water as the tides crossed my path. It was beautiful and for a moment, I lingered there not wanting to leave.

Swept away in the moment I was transfixed by the waves which reached the shore. Only being brought back to the present when the boys called out to us.

We went on to Coloundra, which is a favourite since my friends Mum currently lives there and it is where they began their time here, just after emigrating. There was a fish restaurant which served wet fish too, it was on a main road, not particularly inspiring as places go, but my meal was enjoyable nevertheless Calamari and Swordfish steaks served with chips and a side salad.

I was quite pleased to see a Pelican fly over the car as we arrived along the beach front and he rested upon the wall of a block of flats. I managed to get a photograph of him before we left. Another thing that I will remember of Coloundra.

 

 

 

 

There is snow back home, just a few small flurries here and there so I am told, but I hope that he brings a warm coat to the airport, despite the layers I have packed, I know that after the warmth of the Sunshine Coast I am really going to feel the cold at least for the first few days. I may even have to resort to Thermals, but lets hope not.

So what will I be taking with me from this trip?

Positivity, that there is so much that is better and that is actually available to me in this life, not having to wait until the next one to experience it all.

Do I believe in reincarnation…

Hmm, although I have long thought that we get one life and should live it. It’s one of those things that I hope that we do get some kind second chance if the odds have been against us in this life thus far. Not necessarily if we live a pure and chaste existence, but if we do good unto others, try to help people along the way and such like.

I have met up with someone who gave me some wonderful advice regarding writing. She has been an inspiration for looking for the good in things, even when I have felt really low. To meet her in person after all this time, could have gone well, or not and neither of us were sure. We arranged to meet in the last week of my trip. Over a coffee and cake. It was an absolute joy to spend an hour or so with her, chatting about all kinds of things and finding out that we got along just fine.  It seems that we have indeed become friends and we will be keeping in touch.

As we drove back from the beach and I squashed all of my luggage into my cases in the hope that I didn’t have to take anything out.  My beach combed shells carefully placed in the luggage so that they will not get broken. The beautiful “Blue Shell” given me by my friend, who said I should have it.  We sat outside on her verandah in the sunshine and made jewellery from the Quandong stones which we had collected from the garden.  Or rather, I drilled the holes, my friend strung them and made them into two rather lovely necklaces, which are enormous, almost architectural in their style. But I also learned that sacred jewellery is made from them by the Aborigines.’ The kids decided since there were so many of them left over, that they would also make some one for their mum and one for a friend and each other.  We had picked up and cleaned up much more of them than we first thought from the garden and yet they still litter the floor at the back of the house, there are probably thousands of them and there will be many more when fruit season comes around. It is a shame that I did not get to see the blue fruit, but they have long gone, only the debris remains.  But we have seen the jewellery made by the monks at the nearby Buddhist Temple, Chenrezig up on the hill nearby.  The only difference being that they have added a bead and tassle to their ones. Ours are simpler, but hang beautifully as a double necklace, made by my own dear friend. There is one for me and one for my mother. Along with a bracelet one of the boys and I made from all of the beach shells and coral that had natural holes in.

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Handmade Quandong & Beach Jewellery

I tasted custard apple for the first time today, it has an interesting taste, I think I am more taken with the Mangoes and also the quite amazing Fruit Salad Fruit, a strange looking fruit which as it ripens and sheds its outer skin, you are left with something which resembles a skinned banana, but you can taste so many other fruit.

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Fruit Salad Fruit – Monstera Deliciosa

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

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Jack Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried Jack Fruit, which is another native one, it looks a bit like a hedgehog on the outside and has a pungent smell to it when it is ripe, but makes an awful mess and leaves a glue like substance, its sap which is difficult to remove, on everything that it touches. It was my friends’ first taste of the fruit too, she had read that you could prepare it and use it like a vegan version pulled pork, which is very popular.  It had a sweet taste in its raw form, which was quite pleasant, definitely fruity.  But once cooked takes on a whole new persona.  It lost its appeal somewhat and then only took on the taste of the spices and sauce which it was cooked in.  So isn’t something I’d be likely to try again.

I thought that I would do some things differently whilst I was away, but didn’t.  Firstly I thought that I would write lots of poetry, but didn’t write any at all.

I also thought that I would meditate but although there were times when I sought peace and calm I did not, not even once! Well, not intentionally although the calm swept over me every time my toes hit the sand.

I thought that I might struggle to drive a manual car again on roads which I do not know, with the different layout and rules, but I took to it once again like a duck to water. One drive out in the car, ten minutes in and it all came flooding back to me, the first drive in an unknown place. The South of France all those years ago, it was as natural as breathing. I soon learned some of the routes to enable us to get back home. We did have the mobile sat nav, but when the signal was non existent or the batteries low, we somehow still made it back.

The fact that I was open to trying new things, experiences and directions, meant that this was the holiday that I needed it to be, filled with wonderful places, beautiful sights, friendly and welcoming people.  It was a very pleasant surprise to be wished a safe journey, by the people I met around the town before I left. They had observed my arrival, as a tired unwell traveller and observed the change in me finding my feet and would all stop to talk and find out what I thought of their little town.

The nearest town Mooloolah is more like one of our villages, spread out over a greater area, but with similar facilities to a British country village. A few essential stores and a fuel station, but there is a good network of regular trains going past at the bottom of the garden.  I have never seen such lengthy freight trains, but maybe next time when I return to this part of the world, I will take a journey on the train with my friend.

As I said Goodbye to the house, the area, my friends and their transport which has carried me safely on this journey, I watched the greenery whizzing by as a passenger in the car, thinking of many of the things that have captured my heart about this place and the many things I have yet to see and feeling quite emotional about leaving.

I will return one day, to my friends again and this place which has captured not just the imagination, but reignited my spirit of adventure and also a little piece of my heart. There is so much to see and I have barely scratched the surface, I simply have to see more.

The Daily Post – Explore

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

A Day Filled with the Wonder of it All

The Daily Post – Wonder

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As I stood there gazing out in wonder at the beautiful scenery once again, only this time it wasn’t raining and we could see for miles. The views were astounding.  We had arrived at the Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World.  A place we had been anticipating for a couple of weeks since I arrived and where my hosts were understandably keen to show me.

I was firstly struck by the greenery which surrounded us all, drinking in its delights. There are sixteen acres there, but before you even get to look at them, you are met by a team of tame birds at the door, who greet you with varying levels of Hello and attempts to play with buttons, hair ties, jewellery.  Some are sitting there saying nothing, others will happily begin a conversation, they all have differing characters.

We walked around the gardens, they are absolutely stunning and carefully planned and thought out with artwork, galleys for watering the numerous species. Spectacular views and areas of garden which encourage you to look further and investigate. Many of the blooms I have never seen, neither do I know the names of them but you cannot deny that these are magnificent gardens and the perfect place to spend the day walking around with the family. We took a picnic and enjoyed momentary escape from the heat of the sun under one of the many gazebo with seating provided.

Having just reviewed this visit on TripAdvisor, I felt that I could not tell everything about our visit on there as I wanted to save my favourite moments for here.  We went there for the birds, the chance to have beautiful parrots flying around my head was too good to miss, I thought that I might get a few nice photos too. I was pleased with some of the results.

We took the aviary tour. It was well worth it, the first aviary contained small finches in a plethora of colours. They are all too shy to come and sit upon your shoulder.

The second section was a whole different matter, there were three beautiful blue macaws, young cheeky birds with a penchant for clambering and kisses. They were adorable and just so playful and noisy. But I stood in awe feeling like a small child looking up as they flew around my head. An abundance of Budgerigars in most available colours all perched together up one end in a quiet corner.

At one point, just before I left that aviary, there was a cockatoo trying to remove my flip flops (known as thongs in these parts) A rather cute green parrot jumping up and down on my head, whilst a beautiful pink and grey was preening me and trying to remove my camera strap. Then to top it all, two of the young blue macaws came and landed on the same arm fighting over kisses and cuddles and playing with my bracelet and necklace.  I have to say that I was in my element and could happily have stayed there for a while, but my friend took a rather comical photograph with them all for me to remember them by.

The last enclosure contained the larger parrots, some black  and white cockatoos and the grumpiest parrot of them all, he did not want to share his bird seed with anyone , nor did he wish to be given any but he did make us laugh. His only concession was to eye up the Lorikeets with suspicion and give them a piece of his mind as they came to drink from his bowl and fluff up his feathers when they came anywhere near him. There were also a selection of other beautiful macaws and green parrots along with another whose party trick was to follow us around nipping our toes and trying to undo shoelaces.

We were encouraged to take photographs and collect feathers from the enclosure, so came out with a very pretty selection of them. I just hope that I will be able to keep them and take them back with me when I return home. Meanwhile today is a memory that I will cherish for some considerable time and because of all the excitement and fresh air I’m sure that we will all sleep well tonight.

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