All posts filed under: personal

Nostalgia looks like a hedge, sounds like a seagull, & tastes like crumpets

Mum and our cousin met me unexpectedly at the train station, so there were hugs all round, then straight home for a cuppa. I can tell she’s very happy to see me of course, but Mum also asks several times where we’re going, as though she hasn’t just heard the answer a minute ago. Which is the world she lives in now. Dementia often takes away short-term memory first, and that was one of the initial symptoms we began to notice a few years ago. ‘Shall we have a treat with our tea? How about a crumpet?’ Nostalgia coats my taste buds like raspberry jam and warm runny butter. I’m drawn backwards through the years, remembering blustery walks on the beach with various dogs, coming home to food treats like hot crumpets. Crackers with sharp vintage cheddar. Fruit & nut chocolate. Crispy fish and chips every Friday. Rhubarb and apple crumble with clotted cream… these are a few of my favourite things. But if I want them, I’ll have to buy them and/or make them. …

Musings on Mum

I’m on the train down to the quaint English seaside town where I grew up, watching the countryside flash by. Neatly hedged fields, thick-walled farmhouses, and glimpses of bigger human settlements marked by the identical carparks and superstores. I’m trying to work out how I feel. It’s a mixture of jetlagged tiredness, slight anxiety, a little excitement, and my hopeful practice of being an open, blank slate. It suddenly occurred to me that Mum hasn’t seen me with blonde hair. Well, not since the ill-fated ‘Highlights Experiment of 1985’ anyway; maybe I should pop my blue cap on? This is a new experience: wondering how Mum is going to greet me. For as long as I can remember of course, she has hugged me hello with a squeal of excitement, and teary eyes, especially once I moved to Australia in 1987, and there were long gaps between my flights home. At my financially poorest, and most rebellious, I admit I didn’t see her for 8 years; I would HATE it if ‘18’ did that to …

‘I’ve got to get this done’: dealing with a parent’s dementia from afar

By the time this publishes, I will be en route to the UK. For 3 weeks, I am going to stay with my 82-yr old Mum, who is now suffering quite badly from her dementia. I’ve written about her before in ‘Two rocks lie heavy in my heart; the first is Mum’ . She was having two visits a day from social service carers; it went up to 3 or 4, and now it’s at the maximum of 5 visits. What an incredible gift is a welfare system hey? Some hard decisions need to be made, by family members who see her way more often than I, but it’s me who has the Power of Attorney over her financial affairs and wellbeing. Mum knows I’m coming; she just can’t remember when. Usually I pop in for a few days, then head to France (Australia is a bloody long way from Europe after all), but this time I’m focusing solely on her. Having said that, I’m going to walk every day along the beach, join the gym …

‘Where have you been G?’: stilts, bands, and birthdays basically

Hi! It’s been ages 10 days since I last wrote a post, I’m sorry. Life just got busy, y’know. What with ’18’s big birthday, and 3 gigs on 3 weekends with my fabulous boss/dearest friend, I’ve just not had time to be near my computer. Which is actually very nice, to be honest. Except I miss y’all! But I had to pack my stilts for 2 different festivals on 2 consecutive weekends, including my favourite music festival of the year, at which I saw no less than 15 bands. We then flew to Adelaide for a Winter Festival down by the river, at which I drifted silently like a Cloud, AND met up with fellow WordPress blogger Eve over at Unleashing the Couger – photo credit & fancy filter to Eve. To top off the distractions, yesterday was MY birthday- a proud and delightful 52. FIFTY TWO. HOW THA HELL did that happen? I can’t believe it; when my Mum was this age, I emigrated to Australia by myself, as a feisty, stubborn, yet-also-anxious 20-yr old, …

Damn you, solo beach walker

I’m pretty lucky here in Australia: I live less than 10 minutes from a beautiful long beach, and walk and/or jog down it at least twice a week. This morning was no different, although the stormy sky was threatening rain, so there were a lot less people than usual. I power walked along– away from the break wall with its dots of fishing folk and pram pushers avoiding the sand- watching for the spouting of migrating whales, listening to great music, and enjoying feeling stronger and energetic again after surviving my week on refugee rations. I passed a few dog walkers, who have to turn back after 500 metres, to protect nesting birds.; I challenged myself to run as fast as I could for 30 seconds, and felt the push and stretch of my muscles. I smiled at the rolling waves, the odd seagull, the wind whipping my hair under my woollen hat and hoodie. It felt good to be alive, and I didn’t want to stop walking. Then I saw a lone figure further …

Without doubt, the most beautiful road sign I’ve ever seen in Australia

I get teary every time I drive past it. Which is quite often, as it’s near the end of my street on the way out of town towards the highway. That stretch of road becomes long and narrow, without pavements or overhead lights, and cars can drive at 80kms (or faster) after leaving the slow limits of suburbia. It’s officially Winter now, so despite my tropical address, it’s dark by 5.30pm, as everyone hurries home to their families and snug houses. Except Alfred. I can’t remember exactly how long he’s been around, but it’s years. Years and years of just walking in sandals on the road’s edge, leaning more and more to one side in his spine as time passes. Who is he, my son and I used to wonder? And why is he always walking, sometimes wearing a garbage bag as a jacket, whatever the weather. Nut brown legs, stained clothes, occasionally carrying a stick with litter impaled on the end of it; always walking, no matter the weather. A couple of years ago, …

So how much did we raise for refugee food, education & medical care?

I was part of a team called Hungry for Peace, aiming to live on the official rations for a week here in Australia. We set our original fundraising target at $2,500, and were hoping to have 5 of us raising $500 each… Hmmm. Turned into 2 of us aiming at $1,250 each. That’s OK, I can rise to that. My fellow campaigner is a very experienced fundraiser, having done the Oxfam Trail campaign twice, and regularly participating in various community drives, while I would say I’m usually just an enthusiastic-friend-being-supportive-of her-ongoing-great-ideas-like that-damn-hike-in-Tasmania-remember? This time, I had to put my money where my mouth was. Or rather, other people’s money where my mouth wanted to be. And DRUM ROLL…………… our team has raised $3,829.00 so far! Fundraising closes June 30, so don’t hold back now if you forgot 😉   WOOHOOOOOOOO! Such a fab feeling. It costs approx $64 to feed a refugee for 3 months on these rations, so that’s 54 displaced human beings no longer being hungry; totally worth my pitiful ‘rice brain’ whinges. On …

‘Give me avocado or give me death’; oh what the hell, give me both

Today, Sunday in Australia, is my last day living without my beloved avocados. I have two waiting for me in the fridge, seducing me with their perfect green curves every time I open the door. Which I’m trying not to do very often, surviving on official Refugee Rations as I am. Last day today! OMG I am SO READY for this to be over. There is a part of me that feels lightheadedly content to drift along in this new, vague, low energy, who-needs-to-really-eat-food-anyway kinda cult mindset… but the other 90% of me really misses the energetic, dancing, beach-jogging, feast-cooking, sharp-brained, nut-eating, green-smoothie-making, utter-food-pleasure-loving G. Seven days isn’t long I know; many refugees live for years in camps of uncertainty and severe restrictions. My Western privilege has stood up in front of my face for this whole week, don’t you worry, as well as my complete addiction to greens, as I mentioned before in last post ‘I want to eat my lawn’. I’ve also really missed the sheer simple pleasure I get from food: dreaming …

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

‘I want to eat my lawn’: craving greens on a week-long ration challenge

I’m heading into Day 5, and after this week of eating the same food as a Syrian refugee, will be avoiding rice for at least the next 3 months. Day 3 was hard: I felt really foggy in my brain, and almost angry that I was making myself do this. Thank goodness that passed. Today has been better, apart from fighting my ridiculous urge to eat anything green, including grass. On Facebook, other Ration-Challengers have been moaning about no caffeine, sugar, or alcohol; I’m just having serious fantasies about superfood green smoothies, bunches of fresh spinach, and steamed broccoli heads with olive oil and cracked pepper.I made falafel-type patties for lunch & dinner: remember I only have salt, flour, veg oil, one spice (cumin), no garlic, no onion. But oh boy, they still tasted delicious!   If you feel like helping me reach the final fundraising target of $1500 (I’m on almost $1300), here is my Donation Page link. And thank you so much. Or please send parsley and kale, express post… 😉 In utter gratitude …