Thank You Australia!

I was very surprised to open my email inbox and to find….wait for this….

Twelve Apostles, Australia, Rocks, Stones, Coastline

…the Australian government have granted me a visa!!! Wow!

I am slightly confused I will admit. I applied in March 2020. Yes, I know! I had already bought my tickets in February 2020….and then I applied for my visa….and then….nothing.

I was watching the news, the news was telling us that Australia were shutting their borders….the news was that England was going into Lockdown One. It was all a blur. Of course my airline tickets were totally refunded in the end.

But oh how I broke my heart over not being able to see my Goldfinch. I know when I say something like that, some people become rather confused and ask me what on earth I mean. It is complicated!!! It was complicated!!!

I had spent the happiest summer of my life with Goldfinch in the summer of 2019. I had only been going out with Jack for a few months when I made the decision to visit Goldfinch because….well….because. I have my reasons. There was a lot of emotion.

Somebody told me at one point that the entire Pandemic was my fault – that the universe was working against my decision. But I don’t find that either funny or any sense. I don’t. It just happened that I like everyone else never imagined that our plans and lifestyle could be thrown in the air because of such a dangerous invisible enemy.

Oh my. It feels very odd to be granted a visa for Australia now….now I am set to marry Jack….now I am well, you know… Oh sigh….it makes my heart go all wobbley.

Bracing Myself For The Cold

Every weather forecast I have seen this week warn us that the cold is on the way!! The map turns from yellow to blue.

I now have my woolie hat and gloves in my bag. I have my very warm and bright red coat (yes, the one that Jack bought me!). So, I am going to be alright when I leave the little nest.

But I realized last night, my winter duvet is still at the dry cleaners. Will I have time to retrieve it before the cold rolls in at the weekend? Gulp!

bedroom (3).jpg

If Only I Could Be A Penguin

When I have been on my feet all day, my heels and soles are burning, my ankle is hurting, my calves are throbbing, my knees are twinging and thighs are pulling tight, and to be truthful, I wonder how on earth I am going to get myself home!

Well….I was watching a documentary about penguins (because it lifted my spirits) and wow, what an inspiration. If only I could move around like a penguin!

I would start the day sliding on my belly all the way down the hill to get to work. Yee-hah!!! What a rush that would be! I am sure that would set me up for the day.

And if I know anything about penguins after watching an hour of footage dedicated to their travels, it’s like they prefer to avoid the miserable scenario of waddling uphill. What they prefer, is to swim through the water and then propel themselves up through the air for a dramatic landing.

There must be a way I can also launch myself from work up the hill to where my nest is. It would be such a brilliant way of travelling home each evening – don’t you think?!!

It’s Just Not Cricket

I found myself reading and watching quite a lot of news coverage about cricketer Azeem Rafiq over the past couple of weeks. I do feel for him. Who cannot feel compassion for what he has been through? I can believe that there have been some very ugly attitudes and behaviours. I think the report that upset me the most was that as a fifteen year old, other cricket players forcefully poured wine down his throat. That is rather disturbing. Such a lack of respect for another person’s identity and beliefs is so ignorant and callous.

I don’t know a lot about cricket, or the regional or national cricket clubs. But I do understand large organizations. In some ways I am amazed at some of what I heard. It did seem as if senior management and agencies were pretty hopeless in general from their responses to questions at a special parliamentary hearing today.

I found it brought back personal memories of my own experiences though. I am doing well, very well. I am going to marry the man I love dearly. But it is still hard to get my head around the scale of what happened in the past.

Offensive name calling is not “banter” even if the person saying it is laughing and even if the recipient lets out some laughter (which is not an uncommon reaction when you are frightened, shocked or bewildered). I am not going to repeat the names and terms that Azeem mentioned he was called. It was clear how wrong it was for any of his colleagues to use those terms. He expressed at one point at how much an apology can mean. I understood from his comments that a couple of fellow cricket players have offered personal apologies and that meant a lot to him. With regards to the club itself, I guess Azeem and others feel it is more than time for a recognition that there was something very wrong with the mentality, the culture and until there is a collective admission of that wrong, how can the world of cricket move forwards with confidence that efforts to reform or change are genuine and comprehensive?

Cricket, Grasshopper, Katydid, Lobster, Insect, Insects
Yes, yes, I know this is the wrong kind of cricket – but isn’t he cute!

I spoke to Jack this evening. He knows that I never wanted to cause trouble to him or anyone else, but I felt something today. I think Azeem’s comments prompted it.

Friends and colleagues (as well as strangers using mostly online platforms) called me a flirt, a hussy, a slut, a slag, a slapper, a whore… along with all manner of colourful adjectives. I was relentlessly teased. When I use that term “relentlessly”, at the height of the “banter” I was teased around twenty times a day in various forms – verbal, text messages and online comments which my friends showed me others had posted. I was excluded, snubbed, and felt more and more isolated with the challenge. People told me it was just a bit of banter. I thought I liked banter – hey, I’m from Liverpool! – but it did not feel anything like fun.

It broke me. I did. It was only when I was the victim of a serious crime that I was removed from that situation. But my feelings today were, “what if another woman (or a man) was subjected to that again?”

cyberbully

I don’t know anything about cricket or cricket players. But I do understand that ugly attitudes and behaviour, sometimes from the jolliest and most likeable of people, can spread under the guise of “a bit of banter”. So, I do respect Azeem for what he is doing now. This is not about suggesting that other cricket players are terrible people to their core. I am sure they have may appealing and positive qualities. It is about admitting something that was brushed off, dismissed as “just a bit of banter” was actually something that should have registered with them as wrong, in fact cruel. Their conscience needs sharpening in this area. They need to learn and repent and move forward with a different attitude.

I picked up on the thought that some of the people who used these offensive terms don’t seem to remember using them. It does not seem to reflect that they have pondered seriously that those terms should never have been used.

I still do not know if I would have the courage to articulate to a charitable organization that I love that the disrespectful and unfeeling attitudes and behaviour of other volunteers in this area of how they treat a colleague was so significant, so shocking, that until they address what happened, officially acknowledge it, offer an official statement of remorse over what happened and pledge to educate others regarding unacceptable remarks and show a determination that this must never happen again.

I noticed that Azeem was referring to mistreatment over around a ten year period, from 2008-2018. It was not as long for me. It was less than three years, from 2012-2015. But it was intense. Perhaps more intense because it effected my work, my accommodation, my social circle. It was everywhere I went. It was every time I logged into my email account. It was so pervasive and suffocating.

I can be happy that for me…I have been able to get on with my life, and I have ended up engaged to the man all that trouble started over. But now I am asking myself, as a someone who experienced that level of harassment, mistreatment, bullying – is it the right thing to do to approach the organization (which I still work for) and say, I think that in the name of making sure this does not happen again, I believe more needs to be done. Jack listened to me…and I know he would be supportive of any decision I made. It’s not easy though.

That is why I respect Azeem Rafiq. I am sure he loves cricket and the cricket world. But he knows that what happened was wrong, and if nothing was said or done, it would become more wrong, and more ugly.

Cricket, Sports, View, Close, Stumps, Bat, Pitch

Food Induced Writer’s Block

I try to check into WordPress a couple of times a day. Fifteen minutes whilst drinking my morning coffee. Occasionally ten minutes at lunch time. Half an hour or so before I go to bed. I don’t have much more time than that. I prioritize on reading posts from other bloggers. But I do like to keep my own blog site alive and kicking, so I try to write a little post and schedule it to be published.

I have found though that when I think about what to write – all I can think of is food!!! I am blaming the bloggers in my WP Reader. Post after post of delicious foodie blogs – tantalizing photos of scrumptious offerings.

Food, Foodies, Chicken, Chicken Wings

It is hard to think of anything else!!!

What Might Have Been

After a full on day yesterday, I spent around half an hour reading WordPress posts before settling down to sleep. I always look out for Cyranny’s Quickie because I love her questions. This was her question last night:

I answered off the top of my head, but then when I was in bed I kept on thinking about it. I leaned into Jack and said: “If I had not been so bothered about my finger nails, would I have ever have learnt to play the guitar properly?”

Guitar, Hand, Ring, Red, Shadow, Music, Singing, Love

Perhaps I do regret that I gave up playing the guitar. I love music. I always have. I particularly love singing. But I would have loved to have been able to play the guitar.

Well….there is plenty of time ahead!

Share My Life

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme: BIRTH/LIFE/DEATH

Oh, so many songs I could have chosen, but one kept on coming to mind. Everyone has their favourite Whitney tracks. Next to “I Wanna Dance With Someone” is another epically dramatic sensational love ballad which I fell for the moment I first heard it. All these later, it still does it for me!

“I Have Nothing”….oh so wonderfully dramatic! I have to dedicate this song choice to Jack who has made my life far more dramatic than I had ever anticipated! “I Have Nothing” was a hit, a huge hit, alongside other songs featured in The Bodyguard, the film that of course starred Whitney and Kevin Costner.

Share my life, take me for what I am
'Cause I'll never change all my colors for you
Take my love, I'll never ask for too much
Just all that you are and everything that you do

I don't really need to look very much further
I don't wanna have to go where you don't follow
I won't hold it back again, this passion inside
Can't run from myself, there's nowhere to hide

But don't make me close one more door
I don't wanna hurt anymore
Stay in my arms if you dare
Or must I imagine you there
Don't walk away from me
I have nothing, nothing, nothing
If I don't have you, you, you, you, you

You see through, right to the heart of me
You break down my walls with the strength of your love, mm
I never knew love like I've known it with you
Will a memory survive, one I can hold on to

I don't really need to look very much further
I don't wanna have to go where you don't follow
I won't hold it back again, this passion inside
I can't run from myself, there's nowhere to hide
Your love, I'll remember forever

But don't make me close one more door
I don't wanna hurt anymore
Stay in my arms if you dare
Or must I imagine you there
Don't walk away from me
I have nothing, nothing, nothing
Don't make me close one more door
I don't wanna hurt anymore
Stay in my arms if you dare
Or must I imagine you there
Don't walk away from me
Don't walk away from me

Don't you dare walk away from me
I have nothing, nothing, nothing
If I don't have you, you
If I don't have you, oh you

Written by: David Foster and Linda Thompson

Still Forgetting My Scarf

When I was a child, I had a habit of losing scarves. I would leave the house with a coat and scarf, hat and wellies, but I often came back without the scarf.

I remember being a little annoyed by scarves. Some of them seemed to be made of prickly wool, and I would pull them off me, and abandon them. Poor Mumma.

It seems I have not learnt.. Today my lovely scarf vanished somewhere between my leaving the house and arriving at work. I am cross with myself. Oh well, maybe I will find it on the walk to work tomorrow.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Their Reputations ON THE LINE!

Right at the start of each episode of Masterchef: The Professionals, a man with a very sensuous voice says something like “twenty professional chefs are putting their reputation on the line.”

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I would be alright with that line if they all did well. The problem is, they don’t all do well. I love the show, because, well…pictures of lovely plates of food. But when it doesn’t work out…oh I do feel for them! Even more than the normal Masterchef or the Celebrity Masterchef. Can you imagine how it would effect them going back to a restaurant and everyone who watched the show thinking, “I don’t want to eat where he works!”

I don’t really know why they do it!

Cookathon

I spent the whole day cooking. Happy place! I was making soup and pie and freezing most of it. My kitchen is now effusing cooking smells – you know the aroma of sauteed leeks, and a herby tomato sauce bubbling away in the oven.

I was so engrossed with my cooking, I did not notice Jack had been trying to ring my phone (it was in the bedroom under the duvet, after I pressed snooze around eight times this morning before I dragged myself out of bed).

So I opened up my inbox after finishing all the washing up and Jack had sent a deluge of work that needs to be done before training sessions on Monday.

The bubble of cooking did not last long. Back to the grindstone!