Tag Archives: travel

Happy #Wensfriesday!

It’s time for a mid-week Friday treat. Continue reading

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Autumn trails continued

As last week’s walk was fun, I thought we could take a different route today and visit the farm about two fields over from the house. Don’t worry about your wellies (Wellington boots) as it has dried out since this morning. I suggest a light coat since our indian summer has definitely warmed the fields and valley. Let’s go visit the avenue of ancient trees.

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Autumn Trails

As the days get shorter and night draws us under its sparkly blanket, an overwhelming urge to hibernate takes over the soul. Warm mugs of sugary beverages are welcomed and wholesome food becomes a part of the norm.

My family tends to shy away from extra curricular activities that take us into the shadowy hours, preferring to hurry home and snuggle in front of the television or beside the fire with a good book.

I would like to take you on a tour of our little world, presenting the highs and lows of living out in the countryside with deer striding past your door in the middle of the night and the melancholy sounds of the foxes in symphony as you try to sleep with the forest just outside the bedroom window.

Let’s start with a early morning dog walk through the meadow…

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A silky nightdress covers the meadow, distorting the soft light of dawn. The further you walk under its silken sheen, the easier it becomes to make out the dips and folds of the shape of the land beneath. A cold nip in the air keeps things crisp and the crunchy frost spiking up the grassy slopes bends and succumbs to my heavy boots leaving a marked path over its body.

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The moon still smiles down at the earth, refusing to disappear, showing off her beauty to those happy enough to keep her company until the sun gathers enough energy to unveil the beauty of the meadow.

A view of the farm and hills in the distance show remnants of the hot summer in the golden ears blowing in the wind, calling out to my dog to run through them. Green spots of new life lay hidden beneath the gold, waiting for the longer cooler temperatures to breathe life into the autumn display.

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At the top of the hill, sweet chestnuts and acorns send squirrels into a frenzy of preparation. You can hear them scuttling over branches and drying leaves, frantically storing their supplies for the winter to come.

As Henry (my dog) snuffles in the undergrowth hoping to catch these interlopers masquerading as nut technicians, I stop to collect my own supply. The anticipated taste of sweet roasted chestnuts undermines the annoyance of their spiky coats keeping them safe and warm from prying fingers. That’s why wellington boots are a great addition to any wardrobe when tackling the outdoors – not just for the terrain but for assisting in prizing open those formidable green spiky shells holding treasures within.

The Meadow offers a magnificent view of the sky and surrounding areas. Sometimes, it has a cathartic effect of soothing frayed nerves after a long day or releasing inhibitions when trapped in ones own mind.

After strolling back down the hill and turning right onto the path that cuts through the middle of the Meadow, Henry knows it is nearly time to go home. He takes advantage of his remaining minutes of freedom by lolloping through the green, turning and twisting his body at a steady run so that he covers more ground.

All too soon, it’s time to go home and begin the day.

I hope you enjoyed taking a walk through the meadow with Henry and me.

Walkies with Henry

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If only the two legged creatures in charge of the world were just as simple, just as breath-takingly beautiful as our surroundings; imagine what a wonderful world this would be.

I breathe in the serenity of my surroundings and exhale the abusive stature of man. 

 

Under a canopy of green, I watch the clouds play hide and seek against the blue.20170520_182354930_iOS

Basking in the panorama unfolding before me, I run.20170520_182612469_iOS


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Free as a bird, I fly down the hills and through the valley of dancing dandelions that smell of fox and deer.

 

20170509_190923296_iOSThe light is fading from the day, changing what was once bright and blue to shades of grey.

I can taste the cool breeze; soon, all the birds I love to chase will find their nests, leaving me to the silence and chilly air. I stand there, up on the hill, watching the life drain from another day.

 

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Until we meet again, under the azure sky, I will listen to the soft lullaby of the birds as they sing their babies to sleep and doze to the hum of the beetles’ wings on their journey home.

Good-night.

 

 

 

 

Monday Coffee

20170520_182708673_iOSIf I were to whisk you away,

far from the maddening crowd  of everyday

To a place where clouds drift on an easy breeze

And dandelion dandruff makes you sneeze;

If I were to whisk you away,

Far from here

Would you come with me? Would you, my dear?

To a place where dreams become reality

A restful place just for you and me.

I’ve packed a flask for us and included a container with different tea bags and coffee, just in case you fancy something different. Thank you for joining me out here on the hill right outside my front door. It’s the best time of the day: when the moon flashes her smile at the sun before he disappears to light up the other side of the world. Here, let me lay out a blanket for you and we can sit and watch the stars show their faces, one by one as the colour drains out of the sky.

It has been a busy week and weekend and I’m glad that I don’t work full time. I get to appreciate the days when I can sit and write, dreaming up places and events that mimic real life. Yesterday I took the family out on a walk in the woodland next door to us. It was the first time for all of us to explore the area together. Usually, I tend to disappear into the forest with the dog and return an hour or two later completely relaxed (it’s better than going to a spa!). They loved it and hated it at the same time. Bugs flew up their noses and into their eyes while the challenge of climbing a large tree with the remnants of a tree house let them forget their studies and stress for a while.

You see, I have three children writing different exams. One child has finished but the other two will be completing their exams over the next few weeks. The stress levels have been high; food has been a top priority as well as soft drinks. When they do emerge from their little caves to refuel, we try to make it as fun and relaxing as possible for them. The walk was my way of seeing all of my children at the same time and actually doing something fun for an hour before they disappeared back into their caves.

Now, I know I have a different personality to most people, but if I lead you up a rather dubious track, wouldn’t you follow me? With all the confidence in the world, I tried to convince my little sprogs to follow me down the hill into a thicker part of the forest filled with swamps and gorgeous little streams, but they refused! Oh, the shock! The Hubble started the recourse, heading for a well used track that made mine seem unkempt and dangerous. I was rather put out by this and felt the need to sulk a little. Seeing my upset, the littlest sprog offered to follow me into the swamp, against the advice of the other mutineers who I should have left stranded at the top of the hill. Lucky for them, my common sense prevailed and I led the little sprog down a safer path to the same destination I had planned all along. They followed suit, complaining again about the bugs and nature.

After taking copious amounts of photographs for my memories, I allowed them to escape back to civilisation and food. The Hubble fell back and waited with me while I took in the terrain, enjoying the peace of listening to the water and the birds try to synchronize their songs. I love this place. It is the epitome of serenity.

With a reluctant drag to my feet, I followed the sprogs home where household chores welcomed me with open arms, as usual.

What did you do this weekend?

Tuesday Coffee

Thank you for joining me a day late for our weekly coffee catch up. After a rather tumultuous weekend, I am glad to get a chance to put my feet up and chat to you.

As always, I would love to hear from you on how your weekend went. What was the highlight of the last few days and what were the lows? Feel free to reply in the comments or link your blog post to mine.

I was lucky enough to start my weekend on Friday – our moving day! With a fantastic team to help us pack up and leave on schedule, the day skipped by without much incident. Later that evening, after performing speed unpacking in the kitchen, I left my poor family and shot off in my bat-mobile to a weekend away at an activity centre that promised to be filled with fun and games, and boy, was I not disappointed.

My backpack looked as though I would be staying for a week instead of just a few days, but there had to be space to keep the snacks and drinks necessary for sustaining myself and my fellow workmates. Now it can be quite daunting to go off for a weekend away with the people you work with, especially when you don’t know that that well.  I was pleasantly surprised with the kindness shown by each member of our team and the amount of laughter that was generated by the teaching staff. Setting ourselves challenges to overcome our fears, we plunged into the forest on zip lines, kayaked across a reservoir, abseiled down a tower, played games like crate stacking and pushed ourselves through long walks in the forest. It was an incredible experience and I managed to achieve third place in the archery!

One of the highlights of the weekend was being asked to tell ghost stories around the fire in the middle of the woods. While the light still played tricks with the trees’ shadows, I laid the foundations for a thrilling night and later delivered some urban legends from my home country.  As terrible as it sounds, I was pleased with their terrified responses and felt accomplished. After all, who wants to be a thriller writer and not have the ability to send shivers down companions’ spines during story time?

The end to the long weekend saw me returning to a house that had an organised/chaotic feel to it thanks to my very hardworking family.  Feeling extremely guilty, I got stuck straight into unpacking as many boxes as I could and re-organised our messy garden. With all the exercise I did over the weekend, my body was already aching so it didn’t make much difference to my poor, tired limbs.

While we sit here, in this pretty little kitchen, I am pleased to see my dining room table looking fabulous with its tartan table cloth and fresh flowers parading their colours in a neutral vase. The sitting room is set up and comfy with a cracking fireplace and the bedrooms are spacious, ready to swallow up tired members of the family.  Don’t look to closely along the landing as that seems to be the holding place for the boxes I expelled from my sons’ room this evening. Instead, help yourself to another ginger biscuit and tell me more about your weekend.

 

Monday Coffee

20160606_121010000_iOSThe cat is scratching at the door, hoping for someone to stand there and watch as he takes a moment to decide whether or not to venture out into the wilderness. While he sits there contemplating life, come on into the mess and join me for a cup of coffee and some packing.

As you sidestep the boxes lining the passageway to the kitchen and take in the ambiance of plastic containers blocking the dishwasher, tell me about your weekend. Did you manage to get all the writing done that you needed to or finish off the project that has been waiting to be tackled? I spent the weekend celebrating my littlest sprog’s birthday and cleaning out the shed. Both seemed satisfied with the results asI have a happy sprog and empty shed.

Here’s your mug. Be careful, it’s hot!

As the shed spewed out its contents into the garden, my happy little workers (aka my sprogs and hubble) became rather distracted by the interesting boxes littering the area. Toys and photographs that had survived a year in the dark recesses of their forced solitary confinement in said shed dazzled them with their memories and soon all work came to a halt. 20160604_070908000_iOSExclamations of joy could be heard by my lovely neighbours when a cuddly bear received long lost kisses and a few tears were spilt over the discovery of a journal dedicated to the first born. The unlucky sprog that found the journal was so unimpressed with the effort made, she burst into tears and had to be consoled. You see, I started writing this special journal back when the sparkle still glinted in my eye and I thought the world revolved around my only child.

Of course, when the other sprogs descended on my rosy, ecstatic world, time became a rare commodity and technology had moved on from paper journals.

Trying to reassure her that she has her own special journal saved on a disk somewhere seemed to stop the waterworks and the extra mummy hugs and kisses hopefully sealed away the pain of thinking she was less loved. Being a mum is tough and convincing each child that they are unique and special is really exhausting.

After settling them all back into their chores, we managed to clear the garden, pack everything back into plastic boxes and start on the garage. What an incredible amount of junk we keep in our storage areas! Moving has its own good purpose – cleansing the soul and the clutter!

Now that most of the troublesome areas have been sorted, we can breathe a sigh of relief and let the removals people do the rest. From next week, I will be reporting to you from a different town/village. I can’t wait.

Until then, thanks for joining me for our last coffee together in this house.

 

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The view from my desk.

Monday Coffee

It will be time to say good-bye soon. Our bat cave here in the foresty groves of Woodley will be gone and a new bat cave will have to be sought. It’s a strange feeling, leaving the friends we have made and the areas we have grown to love. Over the past week, our fellow dog-walkers have said their good-byes and sent on their well wishes. To some, I have promised copies of my books and to others, I am holding onto their contact details to continue our blossoming friendship.

Henry the dog will be sad leaving his friends.  He has met so many lovely four legged friends and has spent many an hour frolicking in the field in front of our temporary home, racing and barking with his playmates. Now, we are looking forward to pure forest with an abundance of space that sparks the imagination. Like my dear friend, Colleen the Fairy Whisperer, I hope to meet some fairies in the forests close to the new house and spend time getting to know their secrets.

With the summer quickly approaching, the promise of long, late evenings and early mornings means more time spent outdoors – something I thoroughly enjoy. The countdown has begun and soon the packing will become a priority, even to a prolific procrastinator like me!

While we still have this time together in this house, let us enjoy a cup of coffee and a slice of home made chocolate cake as we reminisce over the very short year we have spent in this space. The world is so big and we have only bitten into a tiny inconsequential piece of it, craving to take a larger chomp when finances allow.  The children already have itchy feet and are planning their own trips for next year.  I fear the world is going crazy and I don’t relish the idea of releasing them into the wild on their own.  But alas, the world is no more crazy than it was a hundred years ago and I can’t stop them from growing up.

If you could choose a place to go, where would it be? How many homes have you lived in in your lifetime? For me, this will be the eleventh in 42 years! Who can beat that?

 

 

Musical Delight

Imagine reaching the wedding venue and after the lights are set up and the last minute details finalised, you find a baby grand piano just sitting there, waiting for someone to stroke its ivories.

Meet a close family friend, Matthew. He’s our talented musician that brightens our family parties with his music. I had the pleasure of capturing him in action, taking in the incredible view out of the Stamford Plaza in Brisbane, whilst playing a few tunes just because he can!

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Enjoy.

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Dear Reader,

I am reporting to you live from the most incredible country, Australia! The weather has warmed up considerably since its first frosty reception (probably to acclimatise us) and we are now experiencing days of pure sunshine bliss mixed with cool evenings.

There is no way I could invite you over for a coffee because the drink of the day would have to be a cool drink, cold beer or crispy wine. Once you’ve chosen you’re poison, come sit next to me by the pool.

I have a secret to share with you – not a nice one. Yesterday, I think we missed the Grim Reaper by a hair’s breath. I don’t know if you caught the report on the accident at one of the local theme parks on the Gold Coast, a terrible tragedy that took four lives. We were supposed to be at that theme park and when the tragedy occurred we would have been there. It was only by providence that we missed the time slot and decided to forfeit our day at the park, driving past it and going to the beach and shopping centres instead. 

As we lolloped amongst the waves, the news hit the headlines and we were struck with disbelief. Our family is large and the probability of us being on that ride would have been very high. The seriousness of this has stayed with me all night and I had to share my worry with you today. You see, when I travel with my sprogs and Hubble, I always guesstimate the probability of us dying in some freak accident.  As I drive down unfamiliar motorways, I keep a wary eye out for the Reaper, in case he has one of our names on his list.

It’s a morbid way of looking at life, I know, but we can’t live forever. It’s just hard to accept that one of us might not get to see a full life. Maybe.

Anyhoo, shaking off my morbid coat, I can officially re-declare my love of Oz and it’s inhabitants. The place is a mixture of Zimbabwe and England, taking all the best weather, space, technology, infrastructure and  design to create a eutopia that most crave. As we sit sipping our chilled drinks, soaking up the rays and twiddling our feet in the crystal clear water, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a life we should aspire to. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to count our last days on earth in this place, or another like it. We will see what happens.

Well, I’m ready to go in for a dip. The thermal heating has cracked the cold barrier on the water and this sun is baking my shoulders. Fancy joining me for a swim?