Beach Finds

As two girls who used to spend a lot of time at the beach when we were younger, we have spent a fair bit of time at the beach whilst I am here on this trip. It seemed the logical place for us to go here on the Sunshine Coast.

If there is a beach which we can get to and from whilst the kiddies are at school then we have made it our mission to go and see it, walk along it and go beach combing. As a consequence I have lots of sun sea and sky shots that I’ve taken whilst transfixed by the waves sights and sound of nature at its wildest doing its thing.

I have collected shells and stones which I have visions of all kinds of possibilities relating to artwork, we have found lots of beautiful things which I would love to take home with me, put on a wall and cherish.

Sure some of them have been smashed in the storms which have battled the coastline whilst I have visited here. To me these are somehow even more beautiful since although they are fragments of their former shapes and size they were resilient enough to force their way through raging waters up on to the beaches we walked along and be found by us.

The Shell, Coral and Sea Glass, shaped by their journey. These are the pieces that I would make into artwork for it signifies to me what they have gone through and the fact that their beauty still remains.

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The Warmth of The Sun

It is something that should not be underestimated. the Warmth of the Sun.

Before I came away on this trip, I was feeling tired. For tired read totally exhausted. My body felt as though it was giving up on me, failing me at almost every opportunity and although I believed that there was a light at the end of a tunnel, I just couldn’t feel it. But I had to keep believing in the fact that it was actually there.

Depression had taken quite a grip of me for a while, despite my attempts to “not give it any house room” and as simple as it sounds now, it has become clear in the past few weeks that what I needed a holiday. A real, relaxing, holiday with the sun on my skin and heat which warmed my bones from the outside in. Away from all of the things that had caused all the stress. A break from it all. Despite the trip to Barcelona last year, this has been my first downtime holiday in eight years. Since we got the house, that has been our go to place away from it all. Which was my off switch from work when I needed to get away. But due to the lack of work seems to have become another on the list of unfinished things which we have been unable to resolve. I love being there, it truly feels like home when we are there but it needs a lot of money we just don’t have spending on it to get it up to scratch and I know that it is weighing heavily on our minds that the climate causes us issues which even if we got the place tip top, we would still suffer in the winter there, thus requiring a warmer climate for at least part of the year.

This holiday has been wonderful. I have spent quality time with my friends and their family, which has been great. I have seen so much and felt the excitement of new experiences running through my veins. A renewed zest for life. I felt as though I have reset my system to deal with things that the future may hold and I feel much calmer now. I have also had some awful nightmares in the past month, but I have awoken from them knowing that they were just that, bad dreams and being able to let go of the details. The angst that has followed me around for so long, the looking over my shoulder spending waking moments and sleeping ones thinking about the antics and ravings of a disturbed neighbour had worn me down so much that I no longer felt safe in my home, or the life that was happening around me. As though every last bit of control that I had over my life and destiny had been removed. It is not the way that a life should be lived, little more than existing from one day to the next. It is not the life for me.

I don’t have it all worked out yet, clearly it is one step at a time. But I do feel better equipped mentally to deal with what is coming my way in the future. I have been trying to figure out my purpose as some of you have read for a while now, I still don’t have the answer, but I feel that I am now much more open to opportunity should it come my way and I may even be able to see it, if it presents itself instead of missing it by a mile.

I have missed my family a lot in the past month. I am reliant upon them for love and support and I am looking forward to seeing them again. I am looking forward to the intimacy of holding them close to me seeing their smiles in front of me, not just as a memory held dear.

I know that I need to find something for work which physically I am able to do. My physical capability has diminished so much in the past year that I do not know what I will be able to do, but there has to be something. I had hoped that a huge amount of sleep would mean that my energy levels would go up but honestly I can’t say that has happened. I am still incredibly tired. So maybe the Dr was right maybe CFS or Chronic Fatigue IS what has been happening to my body. I found out that I am not able to sleep at all if I miss my painkillers. I tried, but all of the pain that was there previously returned with a vengeance. So it hasn’t miraculously gone. I do not take lots of them but going without is foolhardy.

It was a huge relief to be told that the results of my MRI were clear and good, so there was no neurological reason for the seizures that I had last year, or the shaking which has at times taken me over. But what I have noticed as clear as day is that the warmth of the sun and being in this climate has stopped the tremendous pain that I have felt for months in my hands and feet. Although I still have it from time to time it is a lesser scale and less frequently. It took some getting used to the heat here and I don’t know how I would cope when it gets hotter but, this introduction to a warmer climate seems to have done me the power of good. It has also made me realise that if i can feel the benefit of this in just one month, then think of the effects that a move to a warmer climate would have on us as a family in the long term. Conversation with my friends here extolling the benefits of the warmth make me realise what I already knew from previous jaunts to the sun, that not only does it suit me, but I like it. Which is bizarre since it has rained a lot here in the last month. But it is generally warmer and you can’t feel that consuming damp that gets deep into your bones.

I don’t know that my partner would cope with the Australian heat particularly well, or that he would make a trip out here and it certainly wouldn’t be fair on our dog to make a long haul, but it has reaffirmed that we should attempt to get to warmer climes and Southern France or Italy still looks incredibly inviting and much more likely as a place where we could happily settle.

Could I make a living being a writer? I know that hat I keep asking this question but it’s because I don’t know the answer. I honestly don’t know, but I am not giving up on that idea. I have to find something. I have realised that I do need to find my career niche, but I may have to settle first with a job, just something that covers the bills. It depends on the location we find I guess, I only hope that health improves to enable that to happen.

Going Native

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The Back Garden…

 

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From the Front Step.

This is our view as we arrived at the cottage. It’s overgrown, more so than last year when we arrived midsummer I think, but it will soon die back again and we won’t have time to clear it all on this short trip.

But we are home.  I wonder how long it will be before we have gone native.  It used to take Kato about 24 hours, before he got used to the sights and sounds around him.  A huge sleep in our house and out to his favourite spot to look at the view, followed by a walk around the perimeter.  Figuring out what had changed whilst he was away.

This time it was just us walking about. We opened the house up and got the luggage in made a cup of coffee and sat out on the step. Looking at his favourite spot.

Suddenly my partner jumped up, come on. It’s time.  He got the ashes we had saved for the purpose and we stood by his favourite spot and said Welcome Home our Darling Boy, you will always have a part of you in Scotland as we scattered them to the wind.  I prayed that he would be happy to be here, that he would now rest wherever he wished to be and that we would still feel his presence whenever we needed to.  We wiped away tears, as we have done every day since then as we spend time here, it hasn’t got any easier for us that he is no longer here.

He is in our thoughts constantly. I guess that we are still in grief for our boy, despite our attempts at carrying on.

So, about going native…

How long did it take? Well we still felt like holiday makers for a couple of days, we got supplies from the shops and funny looks because our accents are so different coming from the south.  But within about 24 hours, a few of the local phrases and the hint of an accent had begun to creep into the vocabulary.

The water up here is different in taste. The air is clearer and the light brighter, but it always feels like home at a slower pace and we settle right back in.

I realised yesterday that I have not looked in the mirror for five days, there is one on the wall, but it’s positioned a little too high for me to see into, so I haven’t bothered.  Normally this would bother me, on trips to the shops etc, but this time it hasn’t.  I only put on Mascara to go and visit one of my friends the other day, other than that, my face has been completely free of make up and it hasn’t bothered me at all. But I do remember to use moisturiser each day and cleanse the soot off at night.

I did look in the mirror yesterday after that thought occurred to me, but only since I had been collecting kisses from puppies at the supermarket and needed to wash it.

I have the wild hair to go with it, but am happier than I have been in months.  It’s so good to be away from the normality, back to basics and thinking about what we use and recycle up here.

I saw a field mouse run through the back of the house the other night in the old croft. It was only out the back but I will have to keep an eye and make sure that our food supplies are kept secure, last night as I sat in the caravan one ran over my foot out from under one of the seats, startled that I was there.  Usually by this time of the year, it would have the caravan to itself and all would be quiet, almost hibernation. I don’t see the point of setting traps when we do not live here all the time, it’s only one or two in different places and as long as I don’t keep food where they can get to it, I see that they have as much right to shelter here as I do.

Meanwhile we are enjoying the peace and serenity of the place with all the wildlife that surrounds us.  As my partner sat enjoying a cup of coffee, a whole family of deer, Stag, Doe and Fawn wandered up to take a look at him and meet him on the path outside our door.

Last night in the twilight, of a beautiful moon we heard the owls as they flew across the garden, over the trees which bend to the wind calling out to each other, life continuing and nature at its best.

This morning, he called me to “Quickly come and look,” there was a beautiful bird of prey swooping down into the field, it was there for a while.  We stood and watched it in the sunshine before the rain came. I always collect the beautiful speckled flyaway feathers that I find, as there are often hawks here, occasionally Eagles fly overhead, but usually the smaller birds. I take the feathers back South to remind me, but it’s good to be back here in the midst of it all.

It is raining again, for the umpteenth time today, we have mist across the fields and the wind blowing the clouds across, it will pass and we will be warm inside.

The Daily Post – Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re feeling Blue, There is always Hope…

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When you’re feeling Blue, There is always Hope!

Well that’s what he said to me the other day… It has been a tough couple of days here at home, actually it has felt like a tough couple of weeks. I went from a happy high, to feeling melancholy, as though there is a cloud that has been hanging over us, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Whatever have caused it, I dearly wish I could remove the cloud. Things have not been going our way lately. Suddenly and inexplicably it is like it’s all been hitting the fan all at once. It started who knows when I am not sure.

My beloved has injured his back again, for the second time in as many months, the last time the pain lasted till a couple of weeks ago and he felt a little better. But then he lifted the garage doors open with the help of a friend, so he didn‘t think that he was being foolish. But they have been closed for some six months and something clicked out, more like a squelch apparently and he has been in mortal agony since then. So getting Hope out again, has been tinged with injury for him once again, which kind of took the shine off the event. He is not a laying on his back doing nothing kind of guy, so has sneaky attempts at doing random things, because they need to be done also since he is in yet more pain than he normally faces, he has required my help, despite not wanting it. A very independent person who is faced with yet more restrictions as to what they can and cannot achieve is certainly not a happy camper. With this in mind, we have been doing some spring cleaning sorting out around here, so that things are at least happening.

We have all been craving the green and quiet of our Scottish getaway so much lately, but have been unable to make the trip there and stay there. The time is just not right to go at the moment and it seems that whatever funds we do to try to raise any have been met with obstacles and no-one has bought anything from us, right when we need it. This has caused unrest here in the home, since we are not where we want to be and we have been scraping by. We should be there by now, up on our hill, enjoying the scenery and preparing the ground so that it isn’t four feet high in the summer, if we can get up there in late spring and chop it back, then it does not grow up past the windows by the summer and we can walk around with ease but we haven‘t been there for what seems like an age and were unable to do anything to either house or garden last time we were there. By the time we get back there they will be thinking about the harvest nearby and we will not be able to get the help we need to clear, which means a lot of work which is actually beyond our own capabilities. We have friends who work the farms, but barely see them in the late summer when they are working long days to get the harvest in. It makes for a quiet time with just us around accompanied by the constant whir of combine harvesters and other machinery and movement of cattle.

Yesterday, it was threatening rain outside, other parts of the country had a heavy rainfall, but ours did not arrive until the evening, so I sat on the back patio and spent a couple of hours weeding all the pots before I began the cupboard. I only did them a couple of weeks ago, but it’s surprising how quickly they return. The Dog was feeling clingy, since we had given him his flea and tick treatment the night before, which means that he follows me everywhere and keeps coming over for kisses and cuddles, he is a little bit groggy from it all, so I am reassuring him that I will not leave him. It is a heinous crime if I leave the house lately, but I am met with a hero’s welcome when I return. Goodness knows how he will be when I return to a day job again. He is happy when everyone he loves is around him, he can see them all and knows we are all safely at home.

So my partner and I are sprucing things up here and I have been sorting out some of the rubbish that we have been keeping since God knows when. This is not stuff I can sell to get funds to help us out of the mire, this is actual rubbish and I cannot understand why I had been keeping paint, putty, tile adhesive and other wonderful DIY objects which I no longer need. Probably it was in case I did, but I must have had the paint testers for about 15 years. A quick shake of them and any that are liquid have been saved for possibly a project here or there, when I might need 1sqM worth of paint in an interesting colour to brighten something up with, as I though of what I had painted with them previously, at least two bathrooms, various pieces of furniture, cupboard interiors all sprang to mind. I also found some lovely exterior paint, which I will be repainting the bench outside in ready for the Summer Seagrass to go with the blue, both colours I love. It is the remainder from my old garden which hasn’t dried out in the tin and I think there is just enough left for the job. It’s strange what we keep isn’t it?

My friend was painting one of the rooms in her house, I told her that I have been thinking of painting my hallway too. It’s a tiny room and I have now lived here for over 5 years and still have not done it. When I was younger, in the first few years after we got together we did not spend Bank Holidays together, since he often worked them. So, traditionally for me, I used to spend Bank Holiday’s painting and decorating, when I was not out doing something interesting or partying with my friends. I kind of miss that, not the partying but the decorating (Bizarre I know). I moved in here and I have only painted the bedroom walls since I arrived. Although the kitchen and bathroom have been done for me. Five years on, it’s looking a little bit tired and in need of a bit of TLC now, jobs to be done.

It turns out I have paint, not just the tester pots. I have the paint which I had anticipated using in the hallway and it turns out rather a lot of brushes. I used to buy them whenever I could, knowing that if they are cared for, then they will last many years if you buy the good ones. I cannot use the same brushes as my partner, he paints in a different way to me and there are very few straight bristles at the end of it. So there are brushes for him and my own ones. That may sound harsh to the uneducated, but have you tried to get good gloss paintwork with a brush that looks like it has been used down a toilet?

So I was quite pleased when I cleared the cupboard yesterday afternoon. Where I keep tools not the shed, I only did that again the other day. But my cupboard, with my tools and found about ten brushes in every size needed to paint the house. These are staying here. I also found the paint, masking tape, cloths, white spirit, gloss paint, tile paint, enamel paint, vinyl matt, vinyl silk and the rather nice metallic paint which I did the bedroom in. So I think that I may have to start the hallway after all, since I have all that I need to do it, I have no reasonable excuse.

It is now organised so I will be able to find things. I have extra space, sorted through and put all hardware in one place, plumbing in another box, electrical in another and all the loose tools I could find, which he hadn’t cleared off with, back in my toolbox. It was nice to find that I actually do still have two good hammers, half a set of screwdrivers and put all the loose screws in yet another jam jar. At least they are all now in one place and as I told him, I now know what is in the cupboard. This random place, where I found all the puppy harnesses, from when he was small. The very first Halti lead, which had been chewed through, and the harness which made him look tiny, there were blankets and chewy toys it brought memories of my puppy flooding back, he was very interested in the contents of the bag. I couldn’t part with them, they have been put away again along with the Land Rover seat covers. The vehicle having been disposed of about three years ago now, but these kept in case we reach the goal of getting a diesel one at some point. The seashells and other items from my beach combing, awaiting the day that I use them in some arty project. There were silk flowers. A tile cutter which I bought, Some Lino cut rubber stamps which are treasure from the house in Scotland. I have yet to print from them since failing on my first attempt. and had a rethink, perhaps I will do rubbings from them instead. There was also Compost and Fancy interior Plant Pots. Tools and Ladders and two vacuum cleaners. Always necessary to have a spare one in this house. We have a furry dog.

Despite this cleaning, tidying and sorting frenzy that I have been doing over the past week or so, I have been feeling rather unsettled. I can’t put my finger on when it started, but it is like waiting for news and now I come to thinking about it we are. My partner is waiting for hospital appointments which will tell us how his health is progressing, referrals to surgeons who will decide when, not if, surgery is necessary and set the ball rolling with that. I know it has been pretty bad and the injuries he sustains whenever he does anything are causing me concern. With a degenerative condition and things wearing out, you are one step away from thinking “What if ?” I know for a fact he has injured himself so many times in the past year and not healed properly. He is more fragile than he would ever admit to and this is putting further constraints on what he can do, whilst all the while he is making plans.

This morning I woke up giving myself a mental pep talk. Telling myself that I cannot afford to stop what I have been doing lately, I don’t wish to stop. I need to carry on, but for some reason, I hadn’t written a poem for several weeks and this has bothered me. But as I write this today I have written one it does not rhyme, like many of the others have done so does it feel like a poem? I am as yet undecided.
I was concerned that as I had got to my goal for the book and that was it. But I had already surpassed the figure of poems I had in my head for that and just need to sort them out and decide the contents now. So perhaps that time has come to do that. The work is there, although my work is not yet done. I still have work to do.

Had my sub conscious has been listening to my partner who has been saying that I cannot sit around writing indefinitely, there are many other things that need doing? I cannot afford to just sit and write all day and he wants things to be done around here. I woke up this morning thinking that I had absolutely nothing to write. I was going back to sleep once I had let the dog out, but although he is now sleeping soundly, I am not. I have taken the chance to write this. Not knowing what was going to come out of my head. My body aches from lugging things about and yesterday’s weeding. I did not sleep well and could have done with a couple more hours sleep, but my mind is travelling again, at warp speed as I write, well, this and the new poem, I am thirsty for the feeling I get when I write.

I keep reading that we should write when it comes to us and I have been trying to do this whenever it does, grateful for the release it has given me along with the new experience and finding out that someone, somewhere actually reads it from time to time. I am fearful of this writing drying up. Telling myself constantly to finish what I started. Too many thingse over the years have been started and then discontinued. I want continuity in my life. I want to be doing this still when I am old. Don’t get me wrong, I would also like to earn a living from it and sooner rather than later would be great.

Perhaps the time has come, whilst I feel that nothing new is arriving on the page, that I should figure out the contents, edit and so on, it might just push me forward and get the creative juices flowing once again and get that book out there, the last 3 months since I started sometimes feels like an age, but I have always suffered with a certain level of impatience to get to the end result.

After all, do I really need to cover old diaries with sticky back plastic and scraps of paper to get creative and kid myself that I have the next notebook ready for what wonders my mind beholds. Erm, actually no, that is another project will have to wait. I have writing to do. Just as I do not need to search the social networks to see if people are happy or not, or how I can become happy again, or what I should be eating, or not. My three square meals and the odd jaffa cake for good measure will sustain me.

My feeling of reaching a plateau needs correcting. I need to do that wonderful thing, get the ball rolling on this thing, the future. And as he said to me the other day, if you are feeling blue, there is always Hope as he sent me out to play in her for the first time in months. I do not drive unless I have somewhere to go at the moment and try to cram all the jobs that need doing into one journey. Ticking all the boxes as I go. That way I can justify to myself the fuel used. But I was sent out with nothing to do, no where specific to go, which left me clueless, a decision to make. What will I do? I was out on my own as well, so there was no one to ask. This may sound a little barmy to you, but in the past few months I have rarely been alone and decisions have been made between us, almost everything being a democracy. I have had the family around me and done the food shopping and been to appointments, but little else. I needed a break from what has become the norm, I just didn’t realise it.

So it was an unexpected shock to the system, but one that I actually thoroughly enjoyed. You see I love driving, it really doesn’t matter what I drive. But it I have to admit, it is wonderful to be back in my own car, instead of the truck out in the open air after all this time. So I searched for a green place to drive through, country lanes, surrounded by trees. The light dappled overhead, birds singing. The sun was shining, it was on my skin and I had the wind in my hair, the smile firmly placed on my face. A couple of hours went by in no time at all, I thought it was early, but I hadn’t put the clock forward in the car since I last drove it.  I thought I was getting alot of miles covered in the time I was out.  Oops, no I had just lost an hour! I came back thinking to myself that I should not have driven out without purpose, he told me I did have a purpose. We had an awful day before that and I needed to lift my spirits again. It worked, he wanted to send me out again yesterday but I could not justify doing the same thing every day, after all I would run out of fuel. Now that really would be a crime…

Springtime Flora #2 Pots, Palms, Poppies & Nemesia

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A Shady corner of the Patio, with Pots, Palms and Poppies with a little Nemesia.

Whilst I am enjoying the sunshine and over the past few days writing about so many other subjects, this is the place which grounds me.  Before I take off once again, into memories and my imagination and the words reach the page.

#LinkyourLife

Her Memory of Tennis in the Sunshine.

Initially there were several reasons as to why I began writing this blog. It started out in my head as an outlet for deeper feelings and how I would deal with them as they sprung up, like loose floorboards in an old house and hit me squarely between the eyes, often catching me unawares. I think that over time it will grow into far much more than that, as it has already shown signs of doing.

Today I am feeling as though another reason for writing this will be to remind my partner and I years from now, what was going through our heads, the memories we have made and the ones that we have cherished.

Since Alzheimers is a genetic disorder, there is some concern on our part, that it may follow down the line over the course of time and this may serve to remind us of some of the wonderful times we have had and how loved we both are. I would love to write his own story, and share his memories which seem far more interesting than my own, but he is not inclined to allow me at this point. It would make interesting reading though but he remains a very private person.

Last year we finally lost his mother to a lengthy fight with Alzheimers Disease, she lived a life which had been both tragic and wonderful at times. She lived to what is considered a good age, but unfortunately she could not remember most of it. In latter years, when I visited her sometimes her eyes would glisten and a flash of a memory would return, along with the excitement of being able to share it with someone. On the occasions whilst she could still tell me, snippets of stories would come back to her and she would recount them, although sometimes they would be all intermingled. To me it didn’t matter how she remembered them, whether they were entirely factual or not, it just proved that her brain was still working, despite some short circuits and that she was in there somewhere. She was a good friend to me and I have been thinking fondly again about her today, as I often do. It was devastating when she could no longer speak to share her thoughts, my last conversation with her was in October 2014 and after that her silence was awful, which the chatter of others around her was deafening, she passed away in March 2015.

She often told me about the Grand old house in Kent where they used to live as children, it was where she had grown up with her two brothers before the loss of her beloved mother in her teens, it was very clear that she was happiest there. They had a large house with Tennis courts out the back and she was playing tennis in the sunshine, they backed onto woodland behind the house and the trees offered dappled light across the house and shade when out on the court. She often spoke of the tennis courts, she must have enjoyed the game. I think it was due to it being a bright sunny day today that, it reminded me of this.  It would be a wonderful day to play tennis, I would have loved to have played the game with her.