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Oiling Dad’s furniture: my precious annual ritual

So grateful to be able to honour my Dad by taking care of his antique French furniture

BEFORE #oiling #ritual #gratitude #loss @boneAndsilver

April 24th is Dad’s birthday. He would have been 84, if he hadn’t died suddenly 10 years ago. As devastating as the loss was, dragging me into a depression for 12 months, it helped me find deep resilience, and gratitude for my unwaveringly loyal friends and family.

Each year, we all eat Indian for dinner, Dad’s favourite cuisine, wherever we are in the world.

And I have my own personal ritual too, as I try to keep the day clear of work or other commitments: I shut the front door, turn my phone off, allow myself to cry as often and as much as I like, while cleaning and oiling Dad’s antique French furniture.

He wasn’t religious, (despite an interest in the Baha’i faith, mainly because it emphasised the “essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people” [Wikipedia]), so I can’t go connect with him in church. He has no gravestone or memorial plaque, as we scattered his ashes all over the globe, as befitted a world traveller and citizen such as he- I even put some illegally secretly up my local mountain.

So grateful to be able to honour my Dad by taking care of his antique French furniture

#oiling #ritual #gratitude #loss @boneAndsilver

But I’ve created the perfect ceremony for us both, finding a peaceful rhythm in the washing, oiling, and polishing of his chairs, the old kitchen table, and his ornately carved sideboard.

I reflect on the many dinner parties he held round that table; I turned 18 sitting there, next to Grandma and Grandpa.

I recall his hunt for the chairs to suit it, which I’ve now inherited- they’re not my ideal chairs to be honest, but there’s just no way I could ever get rid of them.

I reminisce about meals served, stories told, laughs shared, and connections made. Every year now I oil his furniture, and have clearly told my son ‘Nearly 19’ that it will be his duty to do the same when I’m gone.

The wood comes to life under my soft cloth. Cobwebs and dust are swept away, and I listen for the furniture sighing with delight at my nurturing.

So grateful to be able to honour my Dad by taking care of his antique French furniture

AFTER #oiling #ritual #gratitude #loss @boneAndsilver

It’s hard work too, as my arm muscles get tired, and brow sweaty. This is better for me than sitting and weeping, although I did a lot of that of course when he first passed. The best advice I ever got from a counsellor or therapist was to try to tuck my grief under my arm like a clipboard or notebook, and only take it out to look at it/feel it when I was in a safe place (like my home), and for an allocated amount of time (e.g.15 minutes/one hour/one day), rather than just drowning in overwhelm 24/7.

Brilliant.

So April 24th’s furniture oiling is the perfectly practical, sensitive, ritualised honouring of my darling Dad’s birthday, for which I am truly thankful.

How do you mark a lost loved one’s birthday? I’d love to hear about what works for you…

In gratitude for the sacred in my living room, G xO 

 

Literally ‘getting back on the horse’

I will always love horse riding

Never too old to try again #horse #riding #love #over50 @boneAndsilver

I was one of those youngsters who loved horses, were you? Pretty privileged I know. I got obsessed at about 11 or 12, and luckily for me, Mum and Dad decided to assuage their parental divorce guilt by buying me a cheap old fat stubborn Exmoor pony called Christie.

I had to babysit every weekend, and cycle a paper route before school to help pay for the feed and paddock costs; those animals can sure eat a lot of hay.

After a couple of years trying out Pony Club, going hunting, and galloping over farmers’ fields without permission, I progressed to a Palomino called Holly, who was handsome, but with a crap personality. We tried cross country jumping, basic dressage/showing, plus lots of trail rides, and I fell off dramatically twice, getting concussion and then a fractured jaw.

Me as a teenager cross country jumping

Me & Holly in 1983 #teenager #horse #love #crosscountry @boneAndsilver

My Dad was not impressed.

Still, Holly had the desired effect of keeping me away from boys… until I got to 17, passed my driving test, and suddenly discovered the freedom of nightclubs and dancing till 3am.

Who wants to get up and deal with a mean horse at 6am before school? Not me any more.

So off Holly went in a float, and I remember the feeling of relief and excitement at my new-found lack of responsibility…

Except I missed the riding.

Nothing like horse back riding for pleasure

#horseback #leisure #trailriding #australia

I missed the clip clop of hooves along country lanes, or the rhythmic thud of them galloping across peaty moors. That delicious scent of horse sweat, with the creak and smell of saddle leather; warm soft breath on my neck as I picked out hooves, or the satisfaction of throwing on a warm rug for a cold evening.

For years, I sought out horses to ride, belonging to a friend, or country neighbour; for an idyllic 3 months I even talked my way into a job caring for and learning to ride 6 Spanish stallions… considering that their basic instinct is to kill each other for territory, it was a miracle none of us stablehands were injured! I was actually a bit relieved when the funding ran out and the job vanished.

Then the pressures of motherhood finally arrived, with a new-found fragility and sense of caution; but fast-forward nearly 2 decades, and look what I did last week.

How happy do I look?

One hour in the saddle brought me so much delight, and completely rejuvenated my horse love. I’ve spent hours since then watching YouTube tutorial videos (none of which we had in the ‘olde days of yore’), and am feeling a little obsessed.

Not to mention stiff.

Like, seriously stiff.

For another 4 days.

[Hello inner thighs, welcome back, I really need you.]

Now guess what I’m doing? Day dreaming about lessons, the possible ‘trial lease’ of a horse, and perhaps even horse ownership again one day…

Am I crazy??

Maybe.

Just as my nest empties, with son ‘18.5’ moving out into the world in his new car, with his 3 part time jobs, and talks of his surf trips round Australia, I consider tying myself down to a four-legged responsibility which basically eats money…

But my teenage self is absolutely delighted, so I’m just following her for now.

What childhood hobby do you miss the most, or have you thought about taking up again?

In gratitude for the magnificence of a horse, G xO

Leaving flowers on an altar for peace after the New Zealand shootings

For New Zealand: “If you hate one person, you hate the world. If you love one person, you love the world.”

So spoke my Buddhist Dharma teacher last Sunday, as we 32 women sat in a circle, meditating for the day. We were grieving the shootings in New Zealand, the hopeful joy of the climate change striking schoolchildren, and the intimate loss of one of our women, who had just died from breast cancer, leaving behind two children and her husband.

The grace of Prime Minister Jacinda Ahern

A Prime Minister showing her heart #NewZealand #grief #heart #love @boneAndsilver

The teachings of the Dharma encourage us to take Wise Action, use Wise Speech, and choose a Wise Livelihood. Much has been made of the photo of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mourning after the shootings, and rightly so. It’s easy to see: she’s in her sad heart, feeling and expressing both empathy & sympathy for the Muslim community, and the larger New Zealand population and culture. Her wise speeches and actions are inspiring people all around the world.

Why is this such an unusual phenomenon? World leaders NEED to be empathetic, generous, kind, and most importantly, compassionate.

We all do.

The Dharma Circle involves meditation, sharing a brief check-in of where we’re at, listening to some teachings, meditating more, then witnessing 3 or 4 ‘deeper enquiries’ by individuals in front of the class with the teacher, before sharing a delicious lunch and more meditating.

It all feels like a cool drink for my soul on a hot desert day.

And more than anything, we practise compassion, and deep listening. We’re not charging in with aggressive solutions, such as our shameful Australian Prime Minister ‘ScoMo’ has suggested: more security, less immigration, less Muslims. For goodness sake!

This world needs more softness, kindness, and empathy. What I can practice on a micro level, sitting beside my son, my lover, or my friends, can ripple outward on a macro level, to touch communities, countries, even whole continents.

We can make space for wise action, wise speech, wise livelihood

Choose kindness. Take a breath. Choose softness #DalaiLama #gratitude #wisdom #empathy @boneAndsilver

New Zealand’s leader has shown this. She has stood quietly in front of grieving mothers (Wise Action), herself a new Mum (her daughter is less than a year old), and is refusing to speak the name of the killer to deprive him of the notoriety he seeks (Wise Speech).

I for one am incredibly grateful she chose the Wise Livelihood of ethical politics, and has risen up through the ranks to become the world’s youngest female head of government.

She makes me want to emigrate. She makes a lot of people want to emigrate. We are still struggling in Australia with idiotic male politicians who brought a lump of coal into Parliament to show their commitment to fossil fuels…

*blows steam out of her ears and gnashes teeth

May the young rise fast, and grab the reins of power before it’s too late. May women be fully empowered, and good men free of the toxicity which binds them. May we witness each other in heart-based actions, whether happy or sad, and model for young folk that we can choose kindness, compassion, and empathy under the most difficult of circumstances.

Leaving flowers on an altar for peace after the New Zealand shootings

Spontaneous altar in my nearby town #Lismore #NorthernRivers #muslims #love

In gratitude for meditation and wise elders, G xO 

 

I stole this from Mum’s hallway last time I was there. And I’m glad I did.

I didn't know I was as cute as that when I was 3

How cute am I? Like, seriously. And I still love hats #oldphoto #over50 #cap #memories

I’ve got to start by noting how cute I was when I was two, I’m sorry. I can’t possibly avoid it. I’ve no recollection of where I am, or who took the photo, although I can safely assume it was Dad. And perhaps I’m wearing Mum’s hat?

I’m guessing I was about 2 and a half, and to this day I still like to sport a good cap. I’d never seen this picture before summer 2018, when I spotted it at Mum’s house in England on my last visit. She must have dug it out of somewhere, during her constant, chaotic, unnecessary ‘organising and sorting’.

It was propped on the little table in the narrow hallway, next to those ceramic hedgehogs I made as a surly teenager at my part-time summer job; it made us both smile when I picked it up and commented on it.

After those 3 weeks down in Devon, doing my best to take care of Mum’s needs, filling her full of good healthy food/going to the dentist/doctor/hairdresser/theatre etc etc, the day came for me to leave for London, then home to Australia. As I packed my bag, I was overcome with the urge to take the small blurry photo, in its scuffed fake gold frame.

Should I ask Mum, I wondered? She’d probably say yes. But what if she said no? I knew she was already feeling sad at saying goodbye to me for another year, so I hesitated to add any more emotional loading on her.

Was it wrong to take a photo of myself I’d never seen before, which actually showed a lot of who I once was, and still am? A picture I could show my teenage son, and the dearest Australian friends who’ve only known me since I arrived Down Under at age 20?

Yes, it was probably wrong to take without asking.

Being playful keeps you young, over 50 or over 80

Grateful for my wise crone Mum #gratitude #wisdom #crone #wellbeing @boneAndsilver

But I knew Mum’s dementia would get in the way of her understanding of the situation, so I decided to effectively ‘steal it’ for safe keeping.

Or that’s how I justified it anyway.

And I’m glad I did, because less than 3 months later, she was placed in a temporary Home for her own safety, and then in January 2019 my legend of a cousin drove Mum to a new permanent care Home in Wales, near where she was born 82 years ago. Which means that part of that process involved reducing all her belongings to a few boxes and a couple of suitcases; that little picture of me could so easily have become lost…

So I’m happy I took it. I pass it everyday, propped on my living room window sill; I think about Mum, feeling grateful that she’s now safe, warm, fed, entertained, and most importantly, back on her home ground. There is a beautiful circularity for me in her final location, and I’ve hoped for this outcome for years. She’s back where she belongs, and I hope the land welcomes her return.

I know she’d forgive me for my theft, so I’ve done that for myself too; as Debbie always says at ForgivingConnects, it heals, and feels good.

Is there anything you need to forgive yourself for?

Thanks Mum, for your ongoing journey, and the love we share, across the oceans.

In gratitude for being a Mum, and thus finally becoming a better daughter, G xO 

Why I sailed my choir into the therapist’s office

We all need a therapist's good advice sometimes

#Australia #over50 #blogger #goodadvice

It had been nearly 6 months since I’d seen her, my ‘therapist’. I actually regard her as more of a ‘wise Aunty’, even though she’s younger than me. Living in Australia, far from older relatives as I am, and with Mum safely tucked up in her Residential Home for people with Dementia, sometimes I simply need to check in with someone objective, smart, and kind, who has my wellbeing paramount.

Yes, #firstworldproblems I know. But I’m doing my best to live gently on the earth, and make conscious choices about my daily behaviour as much as I can; sometimes, I get a little overwhelmed, and need a soothing conversation to re-centre me. I’ve suffered twice in the past from episodes of depression (one was post-natal, and the other when my father died suddenly), so I know I need to manage a slight tendency towards anxiety learnt long ago at the feet of my mother.

And this time, as I stepped into the light-filled office, with wooden bookshelves and curling leafy plants in every corner, I carried a choir of voices with me.

You see, everything is going really well right now. My son ‘18.5’ has finished his exams and schooling, so is enjoying a summer of part time work and surfing, floating between his Dad’s house and mine. I have several exciting performing gigs coming up (small but fun, which is just what I like), plus I’m sort of falling in love… well, definitely/sort of.

All of which is causing a huge kerfuffle in the rowboat of my life. My co-passengers aren’t happy: Ms Anxious is waiting for it all to collapse, Ms Avoidant wants to run away and start a new easy life in Brisbane, Bali, or Berlin, and my sweet inner Little G is sitting confused and pretty scared by this whole new landscape.

Most of the time, I’m enjoying the bobbing of the river, the gentle slap of fresh waves against my side, and the ever-changing outlook. Then my choir of voices get a bit too shrill about how far from home we’ve travelled, and that perhaps we need to turn back now? Or is it far too late for that, which makes them louder?

I can’t stop this river. I can’t make Mum’s brain better, I can’t keep my son safely tucked up at home forever, and I can’t keep my soft heart locked in a box of solitude or casual dating only.

I have to sail on down the river.

A dragonfly reminds me to be grateful for Nature

#Australia #dragonfly #Nature #gratitude @boneAndsilver

I can row, read a book and just drift, watch the dragonflies flit past, invite different passengers aboard (the choir will have to shove up to one end), or even slip myself into the waters and keep one hand on the craft.

But I cannot stop.

So the choir complain, fight amongst themselves, offer me diametrically opposed attitudes or actions, and generally confuse me completely when they get too noisy.

When I’m fighting the urge to have a small weep almost every day, I know I need some ‘wise Aunty’ time. The first thing I usually do is burst into tears, then within 10 minutes I’m feeling a bit better… which is when the real excavation begins.

Yes, I’m in a time of big changes, which feel like rapids: it’s been 10 years since my Dad passed away, and my Mum has just been moved into a permanent Home in Wales, the land on which she was born, and where she will now die. My son has his life in front of him: he’s talking about a year in a van in Europe, or a ski season in Canada; he can go anywhere and do anything, just as I did at his age. Hell, at 19 I emigrated to Australia alone and didn’t see Mum again for 4 years!

Falling in love with another human being, with their own plans, problems, dreams and foibles, is a confronting cocktail of togetherness, separation, power struggles, and vulnerability versus sovereignty.

My choir want to keep me safe and sane, I get that. They just have vastly different approaches, which rock the boat too much, making me feel nauseous.

What do you do when you notice you’re getting overwhelmed?

In gratitude for deep listening, and the power of a long, slow breath into my belly, G xO

 

Australia Day. Invasion Day. Change the date: Reconciliation Day?

 

iconic bondi beach

A sea of flesh at iconic Bondi Beach, on sand and in the water.

Today it’s a Public Holiday, and over 30 degrees C (more than 86 degrees F). It’s too hot for me, but many folks will head to the beach, while 4 days ago in Adelaide, my friends survived 47 degrees (more than 116 F!)

How do Australians deal with this heat? Lounge in backyard pools, run their aircons day and night, plus drink beer of course. Everything slows down, while the popular phrase “she’ll be right mate” is applied to the cancelling of as much activity as possible.

Such is the Australian way.

Yesterday was a significant day for our country, with free breakfasts and protests offered in equal amounts. For Jan 26 is officially Australia Day, when supposedly we come together as a nation to celebrate our British heritage, and the ‘discovery’ of this land.

Except, sadly and terribly, it was never ‘unoccupied’ in the first place, and therefore not available to be ‘claimed’.

bone&silver_flag

We so need a new flag

On April 29, 1770, Captain James Cook first set foot in New South Wales at Botany Bay (now part of Sydney). On January 26 1788, the First Fleet arrived, and the British flag was raised for the first time in Sydney Cove. This day has evolved into an excuse for a day off work, drinking beer at the BBQ in your backyard, and perhaps waving the Aussie flag (which still looks pretty damn British to me).

Which tramples over the horrific sorrows of the Indigenous First Nation people, who for 40,000+ years lived just fine without us, then had to bear the loss of their land, culture, and sovereignty; a story familiar to First Nation peoples around the world.

aboriginals-in-chains-australia

Shame Australia, shame. #changethedate

There is a strong social push here to change the date on which ‘Australia Day’ is celebrated, and I wrote about it last year too. Momentum is building, as local councils independently decide to stop offering Citizenship ceremonies or council-endorsed celebrations on Jan 26, and numbers grow at Aboriginal protests.

Yes, I am not responsible for the sins of my fathers; HOWEVER, I can sure as hell behave sensitively and with kindness from this day forward, as I listen to the survivors of those atrocities. There is no excuse. We are not ignorant about what happened: the tribes massacred, waterholes poisoned, slavery and land stealing. Our Aboriginal population still has a life expectancy ten years lower than that of white Australians , and have been confirmed as the most incarcerated people on earth [FactCheck Q & A].

Aboriginal flag for Invasion Day #Australia #AustraliaDay #changethedate #respect @boneAndsilver

Aboriginal flag for Invasion Day #Australia #AustraliaDay #changethedate #respect @boneAndsilver

So don’t invite me to your BBQ if you’re going to wave that stupid pseudo English flag. Take responsibility for the work we ALL need to do to move forward as a nation, as we acknowledge past wrongs, and sit down together to create true reconciliation.

Rant over. Opinion laid out. Plea made. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Now someone please send rain, so that Ms CrankyPants here can relax a little, and get to those Nepal photos!

 In gratitude for empathy and ceiling fans, G xO 

 

The Enthusiast! Enneagram 7 Guest Post

I love the insights I’ve gained from studying the Enneagram, and here is a Guest post I did which I hope you’ll check out 🙂

unfiltered from the heart

This is a guest post from G of bone&silver, who shares her experiences of discovering her Enneagram as a 7, which is described as the Enthusiast by the Enneagram Institute. If you would like to share your experiences with self-discovery through the Enneagram, please message me through gmail at “Tiffanybeingfree.”

Thank you, G, for sharing with us your journey as a 7!!!

Namaste 

~~

‘Do you know what Enneagram number you are?,’ I was asked. ‘Because I’m an Eight, and if you’re going to date me, you need to know what you’re dealing with, so take this book home today.’

Thus began my in-depth exploration of the Enneagram, which firstly saw me read the chapter about Eights and think ‘Phew, they’re a bit intense, I’m glad I’m not one of those.’

I skimmed through a few other numbers, got a bit bored, then asked a smart friend who used…

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Happy New Year, & what am I gonna do about Social Media since going to Nepal?

bone&silver_sillytowelface

Nothing like a microfibre towel to cheer you up #Xmas #Australia #towel #gift

Hi darling Readers- it’s been so long I know… I hope you all survived/thrived during the silly season, and have come out the other side ready for a delightful 2019?

I gotta confess: I hate Xmas. I can feel the collective stress rising in the air; I know lots of people love getting together, but an equal number of folk find it a very depressing, lonely, combative, irritating, or just all-round emotionally triggering time, not to mention the intense social pressure to spend money we don’t have on crap we don’t need.

Having said that, this year I had a fab time! Mainly because it was low key, with almost no gifts (see photo), and a mainly vegetarian feast for Xmas Eve & Xmas Day- don’t forget it’s hot down here in Oz, so we go for outdoor garden settings & lots of salads. How cute does our Xmas table look, in my Aunt’s courtyard? And underneath that mound of pomegranate seeds and parsley front centre of photo is a layer of yoghurt and tahini basted over an oven-roasted salmon, FYI.

I accepted one present (from The Comet), and enjoyed the inherent ‘cool’ factor which came with it, even while still modelling my microfibre head towel. And check out those arty shafts of summer sunlight.

bone&silver_bwhair

Do I look like Tom Cruise?  #black&white #aviators #headtowel #cool

My son ‘18.5’ graced us with his presence on Boxing Day- it’s always tricky sharing custody between various extended/blended families isn’t it- & my wonderfully quirky family filled me up with love, laughs, great food, no fights, and many hugs.

Can’t ask for more.

Sydney herself turned on the charm, and wasn’t too hot, or sultry, or stormy (there were major hailstorms only 3 days before which left a few families celebrating under blue tarped roofs).

But now what to do with my blog in 2019? That trip to Nepal has dimmed the seductive light of social media for me, and I’m finding screen time less appealing. Or maybe I just need to be more discerning about it?

My favourite Aunty in Sydney has a great saying and uses it frequently, which her daughter found cut into wood in a gallery somewhere so brought it home; I probably need to take her advice. We took these photos on Xmas Day, as I was lamenting my lack of blogging, and the evil reach of the internet:

“You can’t solve all the world’s problems G, get a grip. Relax. Just do you.” [Note: she copied that last bit from our gorgeous young (20-something) family members who use those 3 words as an answer to everything, and rightly so.]

So I will soon upload another post about Nepal, because I really do have stunning photos of the trek up the Tsum Valley. I will try my best to blog once a week; I think that’s my new realistic rhythm for this year, no more, no less. Since being on WordPress less, I’ve read 4 massive books, and that feels good; I miss so many of my fellow bloggers’ news, but I’m going to just read one post a week from each of you, so we stay connected, albeit not every day.

The sweat, dust, silence, and rivers of the Nepalese mountains just made me want to be more still, more simple; until it wears off (if and when it ever does), I have to follow that call. In the meantime, Happy New Year to you all, spread far and wide across our globe. May we all choose kindness & understanding as much as possible, and get a grip when we need to.

bone&silver_grip

#truth #youdoyou #advice #over50

In gratitude for Quiet, Family, and nut loaf, G xO 

Nepal 2: From one jeep to another, via 3 Buddhas

Ready for adventure #over50 #Nepal #croppedout #jeeptravel @boneAndsilver

Ready for adventure #over50 #Nepal #croppedout #jeeptravel @boneAndsilver

Did you miss previous post Nepal 1?

Anyway, 2 Mums, 2 sons, 4 backpacks, 8 boots and 8 walking poles got into a jeep, leaving smoggy Kathmandu, intent on fresh hilly adventures.

For a whole 15 minutes.

Until there was a loud noise from under the car, and the clutch stopped clutching.

So we all got out, and were sent up the road to a conveniently-placed shiny Buddhist temple, with 3 huge Buddhas.

“If they can’t fix the jeep within 45 minutes, we get another jeep,” promised our guide.

Fair enough. Go with the flow’ is an essential mantra for travel in a developing country, and I’m happy to say I’m generally pretty good at it.

Plus how could we not be grateful and inspired by these spiritual creations? There were no tourist faces around either, just locals doing their daily prayer practices.

I wouldn’t have described myself as particularly religious, but I was moved to tears at the sight of young and old family members walking clockwise round the figures, whispering affirmations or blessings.

Then I got distracted:

How can they possibly function? #Nepal #Kathmandu #powerpole #trust

How can they possibly function? #Nepal #Kathmandu #powerpole #trust

Exactly 44 minutes later we were summoned to our new jeep, including a cheerier driver, all our baggage already transferred, and off we set again.

For a whole 15 minutes.

Until we hit the longest, slowest, bumpiest, horn-tootingiest traffic jam out of the city, which crawled along for an hour and barely went anywhere, except regularly onto the wrong side of the road…

But more of that later.

 

Nepal 1: Kathmandu, I love your charismatic chaos

Above our cheap rooftop terrace (less than $100 for 3 nights for 2 rooms for 4 of us), beyond the dusty haze, tower the Himalayas. Supposedly. Because we never saw them from this busy, dirty, earthquake-cracked city, where pavements disappear, tarmac is intermittent, and power poles are a wire labyrinth.

We landed safely though, ate multiple samosas from a streetside seller, admired grafitti, and did a little mandatory sightseeing.

Just walking around the local tourist district of Thamel and older parts of the city was culture shock enough for my son ’18’, blessed as we are to live in a beautifully natural part of Australia:

And the power poles; I just couldn’t get over the power poles.

#Kathmandu #street #city #Nepal

#Kathmandu #street #city #Nepal

Nepal is in the Top Ten poorest countries on earth, with 29.3 million people squashed into a country 53 times smaller than Australia; almost a million live in Kathmandu itself, which sprawls through a valley my travel buddy can remember being full of rice fields 25 years ago…

Of course, the victims of urban sprawl are the environment, and the desperately poor families who cannot survive in their villages; the pollution was a confronting challenge for all of us, especially when you recognize that the majority of the inhabitants are just trying to get by, with no welfare system or reliable infrastructure.

People work hard. They move concrete, pile bricks, smash stones, scavenge for firewood, eat simply, wash in the river, and watch how the rest of the world lives now via the internet.

While everywhere, through every facet of daily actions, runs their faith. Prayer flags, altars, shrines, offerings, foreheads dotted red with bindi or tikka; it was impossible to separate the spiritual and the mundane.

Despite the constant haze, and the April 2015 earthquake, which killed almost 9000 people, and cost approximately 10 billion dollars, the Nepalese generally beam a kind, calm, humorous energy, never more so than when driving. But more of that later…

After 2 full days of last-minute trek preparations and touristy stuff, including deciding the itinerary with our guide, we were ready. We’d decided to splash out on a jeep to take us as far up into the mountains as we could get before beginning to walk, and so began our adventure. Two Mums, two sons, 4 backpacks, 8 walking sticks and boots, plus trail bars, drink bottles, and the most wonderful gadget you will ever take to a developing country: a SteriPEN, which uses UV light to sterilize as much water as you need every day.

Let’s do this!

#Kathmandu #Nepal #hotel #funny

#Kathmandu #Nepal #hotel #funny

But first we’d better check out of our hotel…

Just kidding.

Although you know what? It could have been.

And we did end up staying in pretty rough places a couple of times on the trail… But more of that later…