Who am I? 

  
Sister.

Daughter.

Colleague.

Friend.

Housemate.

English.

Australian.

Dual national.

Poet.

Writer.

Creator.

Dreamer.

Advertisements

What if you could live anywhere in the world… Where it would be and Why?

I like the idea of living in the south of France. A small cottage nestled in rolling hills and vineyards, where I could write and escape. I’d have croissants and fresh orange juice for breakfast; I’d cycle in town on my blue bicycle and straw basket; and live off the fresh vegetables growing in my patch of the world.

Why? I already said it. So I could escape. This world is full of craziness, depressing craziness. I’d love to move somewhere I could forget. Forget everything Western civilisation has cursed us with and just simply live the happy ever after Disney promised me in my child hood.

That or I’d stay here in my Melbourne townhouse enjoying my lattes in the musical laneways.

If you could live anywhere in the world… Where would you live and why?

Comment below.

What if… you had super powers?

Todays ‘What If’ thought… What if you had a super power? What would it be?

At first I thought invisibility but then I already manage that. It’s pretty easy for me to go days without any contact with a human being… and no the internet doesn’t count. Then I thought, telepathy… but I’ve seen that movie and it looks like a major headache. Add the ‘babel fish effect’ of understanding every language in the world would only increase the brain-explosion-meter.

I like the idea of supernatural strength and endurance. Superman is my hero. If I had this power I’d start walking. I’d follow the Princes Highway over the mountains, through the pastures, along the coast and into the rainforests and desert looping around this giant island. Yes everything the world can offer can be found here. Viva Australia!

Or I could go for the humanitarian ‘healing’ super power because everyone loves to feel better and I love making people happy. Plus it would make doctors and  hospitals redundant saving the tax payer a lot of money. But then we’d have to deal with even more overpopulation which would increase demand for housing and cost of living making life impossible.

Time travel would defintely be a major contender, although not half as fun without a TARDIS.  I’d love to go back in time and see how people lived way back when for myself. Perhaps, I could get some answers to some puzzling family skeletons. Or I’d find a culture/society that is in sync with my way of thinking. I do often find myself getting lost in Jane Austen. Or I could recreate that scene from Blackadder and go back to Shakespeare and give him a big ol’ wallop on the back of the head for being so genius that I had to wrap my brain around ‘old english’ for most of my schooling life. Not to mention the school plays; “To be, or not to be…”

Although I’d have to say (being a big fan of Charmed) that I always admired the power of telekinesis. I could use that power right now. Its a single digit winter day and I haven’t turned on my heater yet because I was disillusioned by the blue sky and sunshine stringing through my window. Now, I am faced with the first world problem of being separated from my duvet while walking over the switch. If I had the power of telekinesis there would be no problem.  I’d also be able to keep my poor fingers inside my gloves and use my mind to type my blog.

It would be pretty amazing to have any of these super powers  but somewhere inside of me I can’t help thinking just the art of being human is a super power in itself. We as a species are capable of so much; relentless warriors filled with compassion and empathy. And the attribute that I am most proud of is our ability to rally around each other in times of disaster and show loyalty to our kinsfolk.

Humanity is the greatest super power of all.

What if you were stuck on a desert island? What would you take?

In the true spirit of a 21st Century metropolitan woman my first thought was my iPhone – how impractical. As amazing as my phone is it would only give me a few days of juice and I’m guessing a desert island doesn’t have electricity. Although, I could take some solar panels with me and use that to power my phone… that way I could sit on my desert island and remain connected to the world via the satellites currently orbiting the world. Although that might require some knowledge of how my phone actually worked….

I’d also take my Harry Potter collection. That way when reality got too depressing I could just disappear into another world; that’s at least a weeks worth of distraction right there. Although I might need some tissues to get me through Dobby and Dumbledores death. I’m still not sure which one I’m sadder about.

I’d also take my journal and pens so I could write and draw my surroundings, documenting the moments as they happen and of course reflecting on the shoulda-woulda-couldas of my life before the island.

i’d also take the essential creature comforts… a tent and sleeping bag carefully nestled within the trees just off the shore, and a swiss army knife to ward off curious wildlife… plus it might come in handy when scourging for food.

Yup, if I were stuck on a desert island all I’d need is somewhere comfy to rest and my collection of HP books!

If you won the lottery, what would you do and why?

It’s the ultimate question, right?

If you could do anything… what would you do? What would make you happy?

First, I’d pay off all my debts. Why? Well except for the obvious, the biggest excuse I have not to pursue things is because I am tied down to by the ball and chain of debts accrued in my twenties. It’s what happens when we try to get an education in a capitalist society.

The next thing I would do is buy a cottage on a large block of land somewhere in the countryside or along the coast, perhaps somewhere along the Peninsula so I am conveniently located near to some of this countries finest wineries. I’ve always been in love with the countryside; I enjoy trudging along the trails taking photographs of the landscape and wildlife. Nothing gives me more warm and fuzzies like standing out looking over rolling hills seeing my breathe in the winter air as my fingers clasp some warm hot chocolate. In my dream house, is a pack of dogs in all shapes and sizes and two cats; one will be a ginger tabby called Garfield.

Before I settle down though, I would take the money and go an epic trip around the world. I’ve always wanted to go Canada because apparently they are the friendliest people in the world! Plus, I have a plethora of friends and family scattered throughout the country so Canada must be doing something right, eh? My love of Canada may also be influenced by my recent Netflix-binge where I spent an entire weekend watching Heartland. After Canada, I’d fly on down to the US go see New York (the epitome of our modern world); then to Washington (home of the worlds largest museum); and then over to Nashville and New Orleans. From the US I’d scoot over the Atlantic to Europe and make my way through the continent stopping over in my home country England before spiralling down into Asia; I still haven’t been to Japan! And before I return to Melbourne, go see those hobbits over in New Zealand.

After all my adventures I’d find a place to settle down and call home. If there is any money left after that I’d put some away for retirement, donate a portion to my favourite charity and invest in a business where I could get my hands dirty and really let my creative side shine.

And that’s my dream. To see everything the world has to offer and find my place in it. I firmly believe we should leave the world a better place than when we found it too.

Postcards and Family

IMG_8215IMG_8214

Survivor of the 1950s this card has been around the world a couple of times or maybe more. It’s a picture of The Square, Caerau in South Wales taken somewhere in the 50s.

Now, South Wales to me growing up was always “where nan came from”. I didn’t know her, she died a year before I was born. But i’d heard snippets of stories from those who had dared to cross the border into England. Questions were usually answered with vague “…a long line of miners, from villages that now resemble ghost towns, and a big family…”  My nan was the eldest of six children but crossed the border shortly after the war and began a decade or so of following my grandpa and the British Army across Europe.

On my last trip to the northern hemisphere I took a few days to visit the town that house my family. Not sure if it was due to the rain, but all I remember is empty streets and middle-aged men leaning over dusty pub bars. A melancholy story of villages that died when the mines closed and the people left. Saying that, there was an amazing Indian restaurant just outside Caerau that did the best korma I’d ever had in Wales.

I’d like to say the picture in the photograph had changed almost sixty years later but alas it hadn’t. The only difference is the subtle weathering of time.

On this same trip back to yesteryear I acquired a photo album that had been put together by my grandpa shortly after my nan died. The pictures telling a story of the young welsh girl that married a chelsea boy and travelled together with their little soldiers in tow.

The above postcard is the only postcard in the album, and I always assumed it was grandpa showing where nan was born. I turned the page many times before today, when I decided to peel over the plastic and have a peek at what could be on the other side.

It was a treasure, a written time capsule, and further clues to wet the appetite of this amateur-family-historian…

There are three awesome things about this postcard:

1. It was written by my great nan Edith to my nan Iris.

2. It places my grandpa, nan, dad and uncles in Hemlyn, Germany in 1956.

3. The handsome man crossing the street is identified as my grand uncle Arthur Edwards.

In one postcard, 50 words or so, and blue ink scribble I got an insight into another world. I had questions. Lots of questions.

Filled with the inner joy of seeing something written by my great grandmother who had always been a name and a face in a photo album, Edith came to life as a concerned and caring mother scribbling a note to her eldest daughter.

The picture of my grandpa’s military career came to life as I read about the reasons for British occupation in Germany during the 50s, and the accomplishments made by his regiment. I got a glimpse into what dads life would have been like as a six year old english boy living in Germany, and my beautiful nan raising three small boys while her husband was stationed at the barracks. It made a great Sunday conversation with the old man.

I also put an image to my nan’s uncle Arthur whom i’d only known as a councillor and possibly a communist, from soundbite stories overheard.

Postcards capture moments of a particular time and place. It is incredible when we can dig into the story behind the pictures and words… I wonder who the other people are? I wonder what there story is?… Knowing Careau possibly another distant relative?

If you’re happy and you know it…

It’s Thursday evening. I am bored. I am too tired to be too creative. See my sorry excuse for an entry of 365 Days Creating Charlie ; so I went searching on the interwebs (wordpress reader) for a good ol distraction before I attempt dinner… And I came across The Indecisive Eejit’s post Cosmic Musicology Test (credit goes to Steve Says).. Why not?

So out I pulled the trusty iPhone whose battery is vastly depleting after spending every chance I got messaging my friend in the floor above me – changes be happening at work! Gossip must be exchanged!

Anyway, the idea is you shuffle for the music player and ask three questions and see what the universe brings to you… Here’s what the universe brought me…

1. What makes me laugh?

Ally McBeal ‘Searching My Soul’

2. What makes me cry?

Various Artists ‘We Are The World Haiti’

3. What makes me mad?

Phil Collins ‘Against All Odds’

Not sure if I agree with the last two but Ally McBeal certainly does make me laugh especially as I realise I am becoming her less the law degree and childhood sweetheart.

Are you a superhero?

I have a friend Alysia

and I’d like you to meet her.

She lives next to Phillip Bay

in a wheelchair everyday.

Daily tasks she can’t withstand

so she creates with her hands.

She tries to live her best life

but lately chair is giving strife.

She got a quote for an upgrade

but its arrival is delayed.

2 years she really cannot wait

so she’s taken control of her fate

by raising the needed cash

$21,000 she needs to smash

can you be a superhero

and bring her woes down to zero

if you could spare a little gold

or help her story unfold

like, share, comment is the least

and it helps her story increase

follow the links beneath this tale

and our mission will not fail!

 

Who is Alysia?

Alysia is a freelance creator and Stampin Up Demonstrator. She is also the creator of Handmade by Alysia and is often found amongst the markets of Mornington Peninsula.

Alysia is 27-years-old and lives on the Peninsula with her husband Mat and her cute little kitty cat assistant.

Alysia has a rare form of muscular dystrophy that even has her doctors/specialists scratching their heads. Over the years her condition has worsened and she has been confined to a wheelchair with her husband giving up work to be her full-time carer.

What happened?

Alysia needs a new wheelchair catered to her needs.

Medicare (Australian health authority) cannot help.

So Alysia is trying to raise the quoted $21,000 herself.

What can you do?

Donate!! Click here

Attend the fundraiser on October 11th at Crib Point Community House.

Share her story!

Tweet @AlysiaFundraise

Facebook: Wheelchair for Alysia

Beijing Shenanigans #4

Today’s adventure started on the subway to Tiantandongmen – home of the Temple of Heaven.

Inside the green-roofed gates and amongst the Phoenix trees we found collections of women dancing in unison, little boys playing Hackensack, aged men with their cards and women with their knitting needles.

Our guide tells us that once upon a time the gardens were for the emporer only and it was only in recent history opened to the public. I wonder what he would think of the fun and frivolity happening amongst the lawns.

The temple of heaven is where the emporer came to pray and make sacrifice to the Gods. He had a little round disc in the centre of a giant circular platform where he stood facing three lanterns in the west… Beyond the ceremonial platforms were burners where the sacrificed would be burnt. It wasn’t hard it imagine what the waft of cooked meat would smell like thanks to the vendor tucked in between the trees. One of his delicacies were chips and ice cream…

Amongst the people, the many many people, were a group of young Asian school boys who greeted my brother and asked him questions in English. Their mother explained to me and our guide that the boys come from the city to the park to practice and engage in conversational English. It was inspiring to watch such young people eager to learn…

Next stop, after an hour bus ride across town, was Beijing Zoo! Our mission to see the panda (da xiong mao) was achieved… Albeit lasting a split second after the crowd push me forward enough to catch a glimpse of Mr.P as he sat up from the corner. We also saw lions, tigers and bears… Oh my, I may burst into song. The funniest scene was watching a mother monkey pull her son by his tail back into the safety of the tree after he curiously leapt to the window to greet all the visitors lining the glass walls.

By mid-afternoon everyone was weary from walking and the humidity wasn’t helping… But we just had one more place to embark before we said Zai Jian and that was the Lama Temple slightly north of the city…

Lama Temple, one of few places in Beijing honouring Tibetan Buddhism. Similarly constructed to other buildings of its era there were a series of halls with Buddhas to pray to; medicine, longevity etc… At the front of most were incense burners. Three incense sticks representing past, future and present burned as they prayed. The highlight and the wowza of the day was the 18-metre tall Buddha hiding in the back hall of the temple. It holds the Guinness world record for tallest Buddha and really is a sight to be seen.

So after forgoing the subway home for a taxi and having a nice long hot bath we ventured back out into the night for dinner. Tonight’s destination hidden within the hutongs was a lovely oriental resteraunt. Tucked I’m the corner I enjoy a glass of red wine as the hostess bang the gong in arrival of our Bejing Peking Duck where we watched the chef carve before our eyes. To say it was yum doesn’t do it justice… It was amazing!

Tomorrow is quieter we are off to Capital Museum and the bargaining in the silk market 🙂

IMG_0918.JPG

Beijing Shenanigans #3

IMG_0917.JPG

Today as we descended through the hotel lobby we were greeted by our tour guide Sarah and her driver Mr. Zheng who provided us with water and whisked us away in a beautifully air conditioned car.

As the vehicle danced and dodged its way through Beijing traffic I watched as the hutongs and skyscrapers disappeared behind us as open country beckoned on the horizon…

About 70km north east of the city nestled in the mountains is the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China (known to locals as ChangCheng or the long wall). Tall stones of brick shaped to the terrain of the mountains snakes it’s way through the vast greenery. It was interesting to note that the water drainage only flows out onto the Beijing side of the wall so the villagers below can utilise the water. The fortresses themselves were dark and on so heavenly cool especially after a sweltering hike up the endless stairs. We’d got the chair lift to fortress six and made our way west with the idea of reaching 14… I accepted defeat just after fortress 9… I think my dreams of being a Chinese warrior are over! We finished our walling adventure with a toboggan ride down…. All I remember are valleys of green and burning fingers as my hand clasped the overheated plastic brake handle… But the experience itself was amazing!

From the Wall we drove an hour to the north east of the city to the Summer Palace. Where we learn it is the empress dowager who really had the power. As Sarah told us the stories and history it reminded me of one of my favourite lines “the man may be the head of the house but the woman is the neck”…

Lots of dragon statues (representation of power) and Phoenix (symbol of the empress). In part of the Summer Palace the Phoenix statue stands centrally where the dragon is put to the side. Perhaps symbolically representing what I mentioned before.

As we strolled alongside the lake and long corridor of the gardens I imagined this almost porcelain empress with her summer umbrella floating beneath the pavilion. In reality it was over flowing with tourists and visitors keen to take snapshots of lotus leaves and dragon boats. Yes, I was one of them.

Weary we ended our day at our new favourite Beijing resteraunt: The Sunshine Kitchen (tang cheng xiao chu)… Broccoli & Cauliflower Curry was the hit of the night, alongside some scrumptious s&s pork and tantalising dumplings… Even writing now makes me yearn for more… Mmmm…

Next: Beijing Zoo, Temple of Heaven & Lama Temple