Two Moments in the Rain.

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

pexels-photo-459451.jpegThe Rain comes down sideways in Scotland drenching you to your soul, cleansing your mind of everything that needs to be gone, but getting into every crevice and stays there. Much like Scotland itself does. It gets in your head, unforgettable followed by the emotions of other seasons all brought to you, often in one day. The dampness carried around with you in your bones, never quite letting it go.  But you love it for what it does to you. The hours you could spend watching rivulets of rain pouring down a window in quiet contemplation.

The rain in Australia is somehow different. Yes, it will also soak you to the skin, but the warmth that follows it will brighten the day, drying out the very core of your being, bringing a different kind of happiness, as the steam rises from your clothes along with your worries, lifting your spirits and making you think of better things, a temporary blast of freshness which the world around you sings it’s Thank you. Scents and sounds of the forest thankful for the blessing of an impromptu shower. Droplets of rain disappearing in the heat.

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Vegan Honey – Wild Food Recipe

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I have been working on my knowledge of Wild food and foraging over the past year or so.  I began to do this partly out of curiosity and also out of necessity. I have been looking for home remedies which I am able to make on a limited budget, in my own small kitchen, from things which are growing outside my front door or close by. This is to try and help my own health along, but also because I am also trying to live more sustainably, by using the things that I have already and recycling. It has also encouraged my family to save jars for me to use, rather than recycling them via roadside collections. This enables to me to stretch both the imagination and my creativity at the same time and even when I have been out of the workplace I have turned my hand to doing something useful.

With that in mind, I stumbled upon a recipe to use up the swathe of dandelions in my garden and set about making Vegan Honey.  I am not a vegan, but I do have food allergies and intolerances and try to eat healthily.  Having found the delights of the humble dandelion last year, I decided to delve further into its uses both culinary and medicinal.

This is a Bee Free Sweet Preserve, which resembles honey and can be used in exactly the same ways.

So on a sunny afternoon, the day before the lawn was due to be cut I thought I would save the dandelions from the garden, I picked about half a colander of them. Since there have been blooms for a month now and the spring flowers are also out, I have no qualms about using them. As always, I leave some for the bees since it is one of their first foods of the year. There are plenty in the garden but they would be going to waste on this particular day.

I have also noticed the thing about Dandelions is that once you take the flowers, they produce so many more blooms the next day they are abundant.

Fortuitously I found a recipe for Dandelion Honey, which got me thinking.  I do like to adapt recipes though it helps me figure out what works and what doesn’t in them. It’s all trial and error, but sometimes it goes well. So as I did not have all the ingredients to hand, I searched online for other recipes that I might adapt.  I also searched the freezer, where I had stored some apples.

Thankfully my friends and family are getting used to my concoctions these days and either wrinkle their noses up when I describe things, or alternatively agree to give them a go. Some have even come back for more, asking me to make them again.  I must be doing something right.

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If you would like to make your own “Honey” You will need time on your hands and patience. It is time consuming, but the taste is very pleasing and you will have your own little taste of sunshine for your morning breakfast, or afternoon tea if you prefer.

Here’s the equipment you’ll need:

A Large Pan, Knife, Wooden Spoon, Muslin Cloth to strain, Jug and Scales to measure, Sterilised Jars. I used 9 small jars.

Ingredients:

Dandelions – ½ Colander collected is equal to around 4 cups petals once split.

2 Cooking Apples

1 Lemon

Water 2.5 Pints or 5 Cups.

Sugar  Approximately 1.2Kg

Method:

Collect Dandelions on a Sunny Day from a place which is free from insecticide.

Rinse them in cold water, this gives any bugs a chance to escape.

Water the plants with the excess water, thus releasing the bugs to freedom again.

 

Remove all the petals and separate them from all the green stems and flower base. You need to keep the petals for your honey. Warning – This is very fiddly and time consuming, you may actually lose the will to live!

Once you have petals, I ended up with about 4 cups of them.

Wash and Peel the Apples and slice them.

Wash and Cut the lemon into quarters.

Add 2.5 pints or 5 cups of water,

Bring to the boil and then continue to fast boil for 30 minutes.

Allow to steep overnight in the pan. If you do not want a really lemony taste, then at this point I would remove the lemon pieces and crush to retain the juice in the mix since it helps the setting process. But since you are adding sugar, the end result is sweet.

The next day, measure the liquid and weigh it, heat in a pan adding the same weight in sugar.

I ended up with around 2 pints of juice at this point which weighed just about 1150kgs.

Boil until it reaches setting point, to test this take a spoonful, pour it onto a plate, leave it a few minutes and if it has a crinkle to it, or does not run, then pour into sterilised jars and seal.

It can take up to 2 days for the mixture to set apparently, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed at this point. But since I like Runny honey anyway, I’m generally pleased with the result and it has a pleasing Honey colour to it. Not real honey, but with all the goodness that Dandelions and Lemons can provide, I bet it will still soothe a sore throat and who would know?

 

Writing under a Pseudonym

via Daily Prompt: Nervous

It is strange now I come to think of it, I have been a writer for over two years now. I began on my writing journey long before that of course. Writing poetry which I never thought would see the light of day, for my own satisfaction, or healing. When I felt ill equipped to deal with what life had thrown at me, I sought solace in my writing. It made me feel better. I would write my deepest darkest feelings, or unrequited love, or break ups in verse and then put the pages away.

I decided two years ago, after some difficult things in my life to follow the advice that I had been given and find an outlet for my creativity. I decided to write down my deepest and often darkest thoughts. I had done this for some time, but as I began to do this again, suddenly the floodgates opened.  I was writing poetry, several poems per day, almost every day for months. I did not know whether it was any good or not. But it gave me a sense of purpose, right when I needed one.

It occurred to me that at some point I should probably do something with them. I read them to a few people, they told me that I had a talent and that I should publish them, or get them published.  I did not know where to start so I began writing my blog. I thought that whatever direction my creativity took, I would be able to express it there.  I include my photographs, occasional artwork, poems and musings. I must admit that back then I was nervous.  I worried what people thought alot more than I do now. If people liked it, I would soon know about it and if they didn’t, then well I wasn’t writing under my own name so if it was a disaster, then at least I could stop and my own reputation would be intact. It seemed like a win-win situation for me.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I began to put together my first book of poetry and came across some old papers in the loft.  Along with quite alot of junk and magazine clippings and artwork, I found my poems, well the ones that I had kept and proceeded to type them up so that I could have them on the laptop. Who knows, I thought maybe I will publish some of them after all.

I reached 100 poems, before selecting the ones which I would put into my first book, 100 seemed like a good starting point. I thought of a title and worked to put the book together, it even included some of the oldies that I had found.   But, this is when and where my cunning plan backfired. Under my writing name, no-one knows me. In order to promote a book, how does one go about it, well they usually send off to publishers, or magazines or they decide to self-publish and hope for the best.

I opted for the latter. Lesson’s learned is that the thing about writing about your thoughts, hopes, dreams, private life etc under a pseudonym, is that it eventually throws the challenge back at you. You either have to stand up and say, “This is me” at some point, or avoid the spotlight and continue to remain in the background and possibly go unnoticed. So my self-published book has not been actively promoted and there are no book tours for me so far. I am a poet and a faceless author.

So as a writer am I satisfied that I have gone about this in the right way? The outlet of blogging has suited me for a couple of years.  But as time goes on and my experiences and writing have improved I think that I crave more now.  I have some regular readers and have been writing reviews on Trip Advisor for the past year, with over 14000 readers there they have been well received and I have reached level 5 as a contributor also under my blogger name.

As time goes on I would love to write as myself, broaden my horizons and earn a living doing this thing that I love. I always intended to write more on this blog as time went on but have up until now remained a writer in hiding, nervous of taking off the mask of anonymity.

Is it time to bite the bullet and put myself out there? Am I ready to create my brand and market myself?  I am still unsure along with what my future as a writer may hold, but please come and take a look from time to time here, you might see changes in the website along with the changes in me. My journey is ongoing, I have not yet reached my destination.

No More, but Forever In Our Wonderful Memory

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Our beloved boy passed away this week. His departure has left such a gaping hole, we are wracked with grief and trying to stay strong for each other.  He touched lives wherever he went, everybody loved Kato. 

RIP In Memory of our beloved Kato Teddy Bear, Prince of the Night 18/5/11 to 26/7/16

We’ll no more hear the Monday Song,
As by the Wednesday, you were gone.
No more hugs from Sookie Boy,
Who was our huge bundle of joy.
No more sadness, no more pain.
No more dancing in the rain.
No more carrot on Friday,
Now that you have gone away.
No more snoring as you kip,
No more laughing victory skip.
No more Bear Monster under the bed,
Resting there his weary head.
Skipping with tail, excited to hear,
Visitors and animals, come near.
“Have you been in my pots?” and back he’d race.
My angel with the grubby face.
My furry assistant, seated behind.
Will always remain here in my mind.
The one who yells in the garden, “Go Crow”
Huge love for everyone that you know.
I shall wear your favourite top.
No-one there to chase the mop.
No dancing feet or playing paws,
Or mischief breaking Mummy’s laws.
No more sharing Aloe juice,
You are gone so what’s the use?
The furry tummy is not here to rub
No more gathered, after school fan club.
The children will not come and shout
“Where’s Kato is he coming out?”
The Morning Mummy, smiling boy
Would bring my heart so much joy.
The things you knew, were immense
Mixed with happiness and nonsense.
No pussy cats running across the street
“They live there” their parents off to greet.
No sharing morsels when I cook.
Are you coming back? Can’t bear to look.
My heart is aching while this I share
The love we had for our little Bear.
The memories and the love we had,
For you furry son, your Mummy and Dad.
There for me, through thick and thin.
Couldn’t make you well and that’s the sin.
But you never let on that the end was near,
As you sat by my side, smiling here.
Thank you my son, you brightened our lives.
I wish like a cat, you had nine lives.
Your garden is empty, there’s something wrong.
They cannot hear your Monday Song.
The talking when I ask “Who’s there?”
Rushing home to see our little Bear.
Fly with the birdies, sleep in the sun
Over fields and forests, you now run.
Come Back Back Back, to see us soon.
As we lay crying in our room.
For now my darling, you are free.
While Daddy’s here to comfort me,
And I with him and you there too.
I will try not to remain so blue.
As we lay together on the floor,
I barely could have hoped for more.
More time with you, It was too soon.
As darkness filled a quiet room.
I kissed and stroked your fluffy ears
And could not hope to fight off the tears.
As we lay snuggled on the floor,
I kissed and stroked your silken paw.
No more horses with bowed head,
To visit you, Our Son is dead.
So as our memories, far too few.
Sent with love to follow you.
The buried face and cheeky eyes,
I know where your spirit flies.
So as I raise my sorry paw,
To you my darling, wish I’d done more.
So years to fill and much to gain,
Wish I could have helped remove your pain.
We loved you, you knew it for sure
And in return, your love was pure.
Not ‘cupboard loving’ that wasn’t for you.
What we shared, was great and true.
You were waiting for your Scottish trip,
So around your garden, you could skip.
On soft grass and heather to rest your head,
But could no longer wait our little Ted.
So to guide the way a candle you’ll find,
In our hearts as you travel upon the wind.
So when we are up and standing there,
Our spirits will soar for our little bear.
I’ll watch out for you, there’ll be time,
And you’ll let me know, you’ll send a sign.
A kiss to your memory where you stood
And danced around the little wood.
The cows will moo, the eagles will cry,
As we say to you our last Goodbye.
In beautiful memories we’ll place a plaque,
So you will always find your way back.
As life will go on and tears will subside.
A place feeling empty where you reside.
Our hearts are broken and our tears will fall.
Reminders of you, your blanket and ball.
Empty collar and harness, your work is done.
May you rest in peace our beloved Son.

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Daily Post – In the Wind

Uncle John’s House

 

This is the house that ignited my passion for houses. The one on the left. I am not sure how old I was when I first saw it, but we had been invited to it and my Auntie Julie was very proud of her husband, who had designed it and their best friend and neighbour who had built it and the house next door, the one with the white gates. The house next door was slightly different. I know that I was a child and at that very point, I wanted to be an architect like my uncle, despite not knowing much about the work, other than you got to design great places for people to live and have fun in. SO that was it really, thus my love affair with houses was born in an instant.

We used to go to family get togethers’ there and I do not know what inspired me to turn down the road for a look when I was out in the car the other day.
I hadn’t seen it for some time, it seemed such a huge house when I was a child growing up. In fact it was a detached three bedroom home when he built it, with the benefits of an open plan lounge/diner leading out to the garden. So different to our semi-detached post war house, but it still looks great today.

It is what inspired me to design my house, in the hope that I could entice him into doing the architectural drawings for it, before he retired, but I’m too late.

 

To Make Britain Great

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This poem is written in the aftermath of this week’s decision to Leave the European Union. For the Good or Bad of our future is a simple matter of opinion on which so many are currently divided. This is a timely reminder that whether you agreed with the outcome or were against it, we have to join together to make it work.

In moments of recent uncertainty,
My thoughts are peppered with “What might be?”
Should we have chosen to remain,
Will their loss be Our gain?
“There’s Hundreds of Millions of pounds available
To spend on our resources here we’d be able.”
Did we believe the politicians lies?
They did it again, it’s no surprise.
But as they go to greater lengths
We decide to show our hidden strengths.
So instead of thinking “The end is nigh”
Remember that the limit’s the sky
Before we joined the European Union, easy to forget
That our Kingdom was once United, don’t waste time on regret.
Were once Great Britain, will be so again.
So from back where we started is where we begin.
Everyone’s worried, our future’s unknown,
As we took this decision to go it alone.
A chance to rebuild and find a new friend,
New business relations, or money to lend.
Did we cut off our nose to spite our face?
Forget that our Kingdom is of mixed race.
It’s not about colour, Black, Brown or White.
It was simply about standing up for what’s right.
To make our decisions, affecting our land
Without bureaucrats leading us by the hand.
So as we found out how the votes have been drawn,
It’s about facing the day, with the new dawn.
Making our country one of the best,
Not settling for anything less.
Creating a place where we can be free,
To live and work together, happily.
A place where children can grow,
Learning that what we reap, we sow.
As time goes on so much may change.
Lives adjust to the new and strange.
So many have fled our sinking ship,
We hope that you enjoyed your trip,
But now is not the time to gloat
An Island fighting to stay afloat.
But to those who seek to take fright,
Off to places where the future’s bright.
This is not the place to decide to desert,
Whilst you are in pain and feeling the hurt.
Left reeling from the this country’s action,
It was just a temporary reaction.
We will come back kicking with all our might
Encouragement again to our Kingdom unite.
The backbiting, name-calling is just so wrong.
If we can’t stand together how can we be strong?
When neighbours can’t be side by side,
In this place where we all reside.
So embrace your neighbours, don’t battle with words
As we work, join together ever onwards.
There’s surgeons arrived here to save our lives,
So why are kids out there fighting with knives?
There’s houses which after wars they rebuild,
So why are they are unwelcome, the clever and skilled.
The nurses who came and our wounds they tended,
Away from their families, when fighting has ended
Let this not be a time for hate
The future’s arrived, so let’s not wait.
In a new direction, we have been shown
As we step off out into the unknown
We will not destroy it, it is not too late,
To once again make this Britain Great.

 

It’s More than just Bad Language

The Daily Post – Struggle

Far More than just Bad Language, it’s also knowing Right from Wrong.

This post is far more than just about bad language in our society, it is about knowing right from wrong. Due to recent events in the news, where people no longer seem to know what is out of order. They have crossed that line, the one which we are taught when growing up, not to cross, when we are taught what is right and wrong and how to react. This is not about one single act of violence against innocent people going about their lives, it not just about bad language it is about Anger and Hatred in our society. My thoughts are with everyone who has suffered loss at the hands of someone else, of the people who were taken without thought, far too soon and their loved ones who are left behind.

As I ask myself and those around me, what made everyone so angry all of the time, what removed the ability to see what is right and wrong? I, like so many others am searching for the answers, this is simply my own point of view.

When did the world become so intolerant? Where children were brought up not to swear will suddenly let rip and every sentence is filled with expletives. I find it unnerving, it didn’t used to be the norm. Is it an age thing. I’m not old, so I don’t think it is. Of course there were people who swore a lot when I grew up, but they didn’t do it at everyone, they usually had to be severely provoked for the occasional swear word to escape their lips. To be fair, I came from a home where religion played a pretty large part. It was not acceptable to use these words to express your anger or frustration. I know times have changed, but it seems that so many people have forgotten that there are other words which also suffice. Apparently if you are in your twenties or so, it is perfectly normal to “let them have it with both barrels” if something displeases you in any way and in no uncertain terms. I know someone who is like this, who has what I’ll politely refer to as a “fiery temper” she was not chastised by her parents and got away with it, but not with me. As a consequence, she usually has a certain level of respect afforded for me, which she lacks in others. It is not just her though, I have noticed in the workplace, walking down the street, in stores, it makes no difference it is wherever you go. Perhaps it is as simple as that in others too, people will get away with it if you let them.

So, what made the world so incapable of articulating their anger without peppering the conversation with the F word, or worse? Ok so maybe I am a little old fashioned along with my values. As a consequence some language makes me feel uncomfortable and I guess that’s partly what I have a problem with, I don’t want to be around it so I ask myself, am I over sensitive? Don’t get me wrong, there have been more than enough times when I have wanted to let rip too, but I wasn’t brought up that way, so I have an inbuilt off switch, something that does allow me to weigh the consequences of my words and actions. Where my common sense kicks in and tells me that “This is not a good idea” and I tone it down. I still get my point across and to some people it drives them all the more mad that I am not ranting and raving about it in the process. I have worked around people who F and Blind as it used to be known. I’m not pretending to be a saint, sure, I get cross and upset, but is there really a requirement to abuse the person you are angry with over some triviality. Why do people think that shouting abuse at someone would make them more inclined to listen to your point? I have also found that this is usually done by the people who claim to be intelligent and at least have an understanding of the common language.

So have we all resorted to guttural language to get our point across and anger when we cant?
When did we become so Angry? Are the people who are getting angry, going to know the difference between the right and wrong ways to enable them to change things, or are they just fed up at not getting their own way. Will they be so inarticulate that they will be unable to get their point however valid it may, or may not be, across to the masses? Or am I so outdated in my approach that this is all the masses understand? For this has now become the norm. In moments of extreme frustration I have been known to resort to the same level, to get my point across. I am not proud of such an outburst, immediately regretting it and such behaviour usually backfires on me. I have always prided myself on a decent command of the English language that I was able to get my point across without the use of such words. Am I old fashioned that I feel offended when I see Facebook comments that are littered with such words. It is wrong that I don’t want to read them, the person who writes them might be truly upset, or they just might be venting uncontrollable anger and I don’t want to get in their way. There is no willpower, no control over their anger and where does it lead.

I am a peacemaker by nature. I don’t like conflict, I will try and diffuse a volatile situation wherever possible, dealing with my own feelings of discomfort later. I have been downtrodden by the process at times, but I will only take so much before I go into battle with my assailant. It is the curse of the millennial that nothing is good enough for them, that they are hard done by, when they do not get what they want and they feel that the world owes them better. Is it that they weren’t slapped at their outbursts, shown that it was not good behaviour to use such language and show disrespect to the people around them. When did they lose the tools to show their displeasure in normal language, or were they not taught them in the first place and if not why the hell not?

In my own home, I now swear from time to time, it isn’t pretty and it happens rarely, but not as rarely as it should. Does that make me a hypocrite? No, I don’t think so because it rarely affects anyone else, it is usually borne of frustration or physical pain. When I’m outside of the home, it is a different matter, if other people are in earshot, I am conscious of my words and getting my point across in a “grown up” manner without the use of expletives, as a consequence I’m very rarely misunderstood when something angers or upsets me. It takes a lot for me to really blow my top and I try to remain calm to get my point across, but when that just isn’t possible, you’d better watch out.

Is it about respect, not just for their elders, or lack of it?
There were simply words it was not polite or excused to use when we were growing up. You would be chastised for their use and called a fishwife, it was just not acceptable behaviour. So when did it all change? Sure there were people who swore when they got upset, but you gave them a wide berth and stayed away from them, so when and why did it become the new norm? I am curious to know what influenced it?
I don’t think that the world in general has become a worse place, it is the people within it who have made it so. A place where people think twice about bringing children into the world, because of what is going on here. The people have become far less tolerant over time. There were wars, but there have always been people who do not get along and they have fought. But there certainly seems to be more anger and hatred than there used to be and more wars, which usually seem to be brought about by greed. More and more, it seems that people resort to explosive anger and violence just to get their point across. There are too many voices and they are all shouting, so now no-one will listen, so is it down to who is shouting the loudest that will win and be heard. Did the world stop discussing things, simply because people stopped doing what they said they would do? They changed their minds and didn’t think to tell the others, thinking that they didn’t have to be held accountable for their actions any more. The world would let them away with it and it has. Where punishment for your wrongdoing is either non-existent or disregarded due to it’s lack of severity.

We are surrounded by loud mouthed abusive children, who have now grown into disrespecting adults who are incapable of doing anything, who survive on their cunning by trying to be clever and outwit the people remaining who do have a sense of right and wrong. A disposable society which does not value anything or it’s worth, just it’s price. They now grown into adults who have children of their own who are being brought up in their own image and it is getting worse!

Don’t get me wrong, Good People still exist….

I know many people who have become great parents who are teaching their children right and wrong and whose families show each other the proper respect and this continues into the outside world around them. I also speak to teachers who are dealing with the aftermath of the “no punishment” brigade and go to work every day in fear of their safety. For the abuse they will receive from their pupils and are rendered powerless by the authorities to stop it. Living on their wits, when just a stern word could cause them to lose their lives due to the weapons which are brought into schools by children and used “to teach the grown ups a lesson”. These Teachers do this job, because they live in the hope that they are making a change for the better, that if they listen to their pupils and their voices are heard, if they teach them right from wrong, then the world will become a better place. Then the marks made on society will be achievements and good, not how many people’s lives have been lost or people maimed and damaged in the process of rising to the top.

We should not accept living in a society born of fear. Where you cannot leave your home without carrying a weapon, where you cannot own something nice, for fear of someone else wanting to take it away. For people resenting what you have because you have worked for it. Wake Up World, there is still time to change this and it isn’t going to be achieved by killing people who don’t see your point of view.