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.

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.

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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I’m Alive!

I am relieved to have some sleep on the second part of this journey.

We passed by Bengalaru and Goa and Colombo and have been crossing the sea. As we travel I am thinking of these places, wondering what some of them are like. I never studied geography at school, I foolishly thought that I would never get to see the world. Dreams and ambitions were not to be encouraged and neither were flights of fancy. Curious as to what I would see and experience at ground level. I make a mental note to look such places up later and find out more about the wonders of the world in which we live. We have Drawn level with places named Nikitin Seamount and Investigator Ridge which are on our right whereas to the left of us are Phuket and Singapore A short while ago we crossed the equator and suddenly the blue hue that has been with us for many hours changed.

I ventured along the plane to see what the outside looked like. A wonderful skyscape there before me, like icebergs silently moving by amidst the blue waters below. But here we are above the clouds. It plays tricks upon the mind, as though you have seen something entirely different. I take photographs not only to savour the memories and moments but to paint such things later on.

I knew that I would be making memories on this trip. I am visiting beloved friends who I dared not hope to see so soon, after all they emigrated to the other side of the world. Normal people don’t get to go and visit.

I wanted to show my Mum and my Dad these pictures. I took video as well. It reminds me of a very early memory I have as a child, when my father showed us slides on a projector of his flight to Italy in an aeroplane, there were a lot of photographs of clouds. At the time I did not understand the magic of being above the clouds. But as I have grown up, it is something that I have grown to love. I have no fear of flying just anticipation and joy at the new things I get to see along the way.

As I did on the other flight at what looked like sunrise to me. I am utterly confused and have just witnessed the most beautiful sunset and have been basking in its glory. As I glanced out the window It looked just like God’s feet are sticking out from the heavens reminding us that he is higher still than we can even imagine. It is about 7.30pm wherever we are currently travelling past. Touched by it’s beauty I am overcome with emotion as this part of the world our sky is plunged into darkness. I feel totally alive. I hope that I never forget the feeling of being up here travelling at 37000 feet and cruising at almost 600 miles per hour. The sun as it breaks through some hours from now and the clouds again look like a swirling seascape of surf underneath us. Looking as though we are barely moving but being transported on cloud nine, my new experience has definitely begun. What a wonderful way to experience a rebirth, to recognise that the future is going to be different and better and fun and I will embrace whatever energy I have to experience whatever I am able to.

This is such a gift for which I will be forever grateful and indebted to he who loves me and decided that I should go now whilst I am still young enough to enjoy it.

In the words of Nina Simone which ring around my head “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good.”

We have reached the halfway point on this leg of the journey as we head onward past Jakarta and towards Australia and all the treasure that it holds.

Full Moon over Baghdad

There is something quite surreal to be looking out of the window of an aeroplane at 4.30am local time cruising at 41000 feet past Baghdad and seeing a beautiful full moon out of the window. Lights of an unknown landscape are scattered below me.

At times, it looks like we have somehow come to a halt in the sky, so it’s difficult to believe that we are actually travelling at almost 600 miles per hour.

I didn’t think for a minute when we booked the flight about the countries it would pass over on the way around the world. Bizarrely it didn’t even cross my mind, but as I look at the flight path and it takes me past so many areas that have appeared in the news over the past few years and months, it does get me thinking. But I am not worried, just thinking…

En route we have passed Germany, Belgrade, Budapest, Istanbul.

The awesomeness of this trip of a lifetime suddenly kicks in and I am feeling such gratitude for the opportunity that has been given to me.

I remembered that I thoroughly enjoy flying. The take off, being in the air, the views from the window. Where we I travel once I am on the plane all of the stress that I have felt in preparing for the trip, after the meltdown of finding the airline had cut the luggage allowance, once I had arrived at the airport is gone and but a memory.

As I continue to write we are flying on past Basrah. I don’t know what I expected to see through the clouds it looks just like any other area at night.

The world feels such a small place when you view things on the map and you remember people you have met and the places that they come from. I find myself thinking “ So I know someone from Tehran”, as though they live just up the road and I could pop in to see them.

Many years ago I had a boyfriend whose family were from Kuwait. Although I have never visited these places before, there is something that links me to them as I travel on this journey.

The hostess has just handed me a hot tortilla wrap. It was unexpectedly delicious. It is 2am at home and I wouldn’t normally eat a chickpea curry wrap at that time of the morning, or even anything similar to it but extenuating circumstances apply. Like that occasional naughty kebab on the way home after night outs in my youth.

So although I might body is starting to tire, I didn’t sleep much last night either due to last minute packing and excitement. But I dozed earlier and have awoken with renewed energy and enthusiasm at what else I will see on the next leg of the journey.

Between the snatched sleep I have been listening to Jazz and relaxing chill out tunes. Since my eyes are tired and dry I didn’t want to try and keep track of a fast moving screen with a movie if I was to have any hope of sleep.

I took a little walk around this level of the airbus earlier, since nice my hips were threatening cramp and realised that there were lots of empty seats, people camped out with legs sticking out of blankets everywhere and the poor tired baby who cried for the first two hours has finally gone to sleep. Alas I spoke too soon and the little one has started up again. It always makes me want to give them a cuddle and see if I can help. Sometimes I miss that connection from a past life as a babysitter and honorary auntie.

We have Dammam and Bahrain left on our way to Abu Dhabi and will arrive in about an hour from now. So far it’s been a lovely flight as it is just getting light and the scenery changes again we are blessed with the sunrise from the tail camera on the plane and a new day in this time zone at least. Welcome to March.

Such Excitement

Such excitement I can hardly breathe.

If you wish hard enough and do believe.

Then all the bad luck we’ll rearrange.

And things at last are going to change.

That it really will come right in the end.

Thanks to my dearest on whom I depend.

He’ll embrace my heart to follow my dreams,

To make things happen and set the scenes.

Of adventures to happen in this life,

After all the trouble and strife.

The trip of a lifetime, a far off place.

He’s there in my heart and back I’ll race.

To tell him of the places I’ve been,

And all of the wonders I have seen.

To share with my love my stories and cheer

Of all the new things that I hold dear.

Things that he pushed me to achieve

At times my aching heart will heave.

To not have him there right my my side

My hand to hold my journey to guide.

But even though he’s there at the start.

We’ll never feel we’re really apart.

To head off alone can fill me with dread,

But I’ll always hear his voice in my head.

To leave him here I do feel mean,

But he’s sending me off to fulfil a dream.

So when time is done and this Earth I leave.

My life lived and travelled I do believe.

Northbound Journeying

Our journey up here was interesting to say the least. Our darling boy came on the longest trip he had ever been on in the car. He hated almost every minute of it and was very distressed crying and whining. He did not understand that it would be alright when we arrived. He wanted cuddles and reassurance it with his Mama in the front and him in the back it wasn’t possible. At nighttime he didn’t like the traffic noise of the lights of the vehicles behind us. It was a long Journey anyway it made all the longer by stress and tiredness. 

As we reached the border we were met with a beautiful red and orange sky, following the contours of the hills and mountains with silhouettes of the trees and occasional building or cottage.

Higher than our current landscape set way above our heads the colours did not reach all the way to the road ahead of us. 

It’s ethereal light creating another world somewhere above ours where all was at peace. Our own route now being cast into the darkness as we travelled onwards, but yet we were bathed in this warm orange glow. It warmed the soul sending shivers down my spine. “Look at that Sky!” he said to me. I am, I answered my voice almost hoarse with emotion tied up in a truly beautiful experience. Taking us away from the situation we have been in and leading us hopefully towards the next step. The orange sky like a molten sea coming down through the hills that night pooling into lakes with pine trees all around as we reached the border and our welcome to Scotland. The smile spreading across my face, heading home at last. 

Mi Casa Su Casa – Casa Lola Via Laietana

It was a wonderful day, we had wandered about looking again in awe at the sights that surrounded us when we were heading back to the hotel. On our last night I was determined that although it was nice and I mean the food was really nice, I did not want us to be the Brits who always go to the same place to eat on holiday. That I would be such a cliche. So I pushed us to go back to the hotel to get freshened and dressed up. Mum had promised me a birthday meal whilst we were away and I did not want to go somewhere local once we came back, what would be the point of that. We were in this wonderful place and although we were tired, there were restaurants aplenty there. We were heading back with our feet aching when we stumbled upon Casa Lola. It wasn’t a cafe at all it served tapas and other lovely things and the decor put an immediate smile upon my face. I stopped to take photos from outside and a man strode towards us smiling. Come inside if you like, he said inviting us in. I said that we weren’t ready to eat, he said that’s Ok you don’t have to, you can come in just to take photos. So I did. It was five minutes walk from the hotel even in the heels I was definitely going to wear so I asked if I could see the menu and he told me that it is all freshly cooked at the bar where you can see it. I figured out that there was food I could eat and would also enjoy being an awkward diner due to allergies I have to check.

All good. I Thanked the man for allowing me to take photos and explained that we had to go back to the hotel but that we would return. He probably hears that all the time I thought, but I wanted to do this.

We walked back and got sorted out dressed up changed and walked back. He was pleased to see us “Thankyou for returning,” he said. I said that we would I replied. He showed us to a seat and we ordered wine. We still had half a bottle of a lovely Tempranillo Merlot sitting in the hotel room from the night before. It was so fruity and tasked like raisins but so smooth too, we had savoured a glass each before crashing out to sleep the night before. So we ordered a Tempranillo which was just as good, by the glass as it was already late we did not think we would have time to drink it all.

We began with a starter of Tapas I ordered steamed mussels which were absolutely right and tomato ciabatta bruschetta whilst Mum ordered cod. She made me try it, it was cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth and was served with a grilled red pepper and asparagus and lightly dressed with sea salt.

For our main course, we tried the seafood paella. It was darker than I had anticipated and served in a cast iron skillet but the flavours were intermingled beautifully. Mum was distinctly unimpressed with the seafood on top.

We sat observing the other diners, there are convex mirrors on the walls which made her view so much easier. Three ladies at another table were having a lovely time and we commented on it was like watching me with my two best friends when we got together. Although that has been far too long since that happened.

We looked at deserts which are notoriously difficult for me as Mum fancied one. I considered ordering the cod starter which she had chosen. It tasted so good. She went off to investigate them and spoke with the man who arrived back just before she did with a wonderful fresh fruit salad that he had made for me. The strawberries within it were so fresh and juicy it was just right.

He also asked the waitress to bring me another glass of red wine which was “a gift, on the house”

By 10pm it was starting to get busy in there. A man joined the ladies for Tapas and drink and then proceeded to rearrange the front of the restaurant to set up a sound system at about 11pm and started to play some really good tunes. A real mix of music and including a bit of jazz and some mixed up old songs. I’m not great with loud music but this was not too loud. You could still hold a conversation and Mum was considering getting up to dance, saying that was one thing that was missing from our holiday. Dancing. I told her that she could but I wasn’t drunk enough to attempt to dance. A necessity before I would have. I have never been a dancer.

We ordered coffee and as it arrived I smelled the coffee. We had not had a cup all day, no wonder we felt so tired and were flagging! But I have to say that at that point it tasted and smelled like the best coffee in the world! It was smooth on the tongue and livened the senses. I bowed to the coffee gods, thanking them, it made mum laugh.

At the end of the meal I thanked the man. Explaining that this I had a wonderful birthday meal and such a lovely evening in this wonderful place. I also thanked him for the wine. He said it was a pleasure and Thank you for your custom it was lovely to meet you.

We walked back to the hotel. We had a lovely evening and enjoyed the remainder of the lovely red wine as I rang my partner to tell him all about it. It really was the best way to spend our last night on this wonderful place.

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The Daily Post – Invitation