Where Does The Time Go?

I was sort of aware that we were coming to that time…but here we are! The little notification popped up….yes…it is true…

….it is the 4 year anniversary for…

CARAMEL (Learner At love)

How did that happen???

What a journey it has been! In four years there have been so many highlights, including:

  • Lots of SHARE YOUR WORLD posts
  • Lots of those BLOGGING AWARD posts
  • Lots of posts in response to the amazing A GUY CALLED BLOKE’s (Rory) challenges
  • Lots and lots and lots of SONG LYRIC SUNDAY posts
  • Posts in response to picture prompts, word prompts, provocative question prompts and so many other prompts which amazing bloggers host
  • I helped to co-host three GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFFS
  • I published three novels and one poetry book on Amazon – which I never ever ever imagined when I started blogging

…and so much more!

The highlight of blogging has always been the comments, and I feel sad that as demands have multiplied on my time, I have found it harder and harder to respond to the lovely comments from other bloggers.

But what a personal journey this past four years have been. I just want to remind you that this blog started out as CRUSHED CARAMEL. When I started out writing, I was estranged from Jack. We had not spoken for years. Four years later, I am engaged to marry him.

lol – how did that happen?

And of course, I do not want to forget my beloved Goldfinch. I started writing at a time I was head over heels in love with him. The truth is I always will be. But some of you may recall….2019 was an eventful year for me. My trip to Australia….and then the sudden crossing paths with Jack.

WHAT AN INCREDIBLE FOUR YEARS!!!

THANK YOU FOR SHARING THEM WITH ME!!!

None Of This Would Be Possible Without Caffeine

Yes….it is one of those weeks!! Not enough sleep. Working overtime for free every single day of my new job and now working at least a couple of hours in the evening too.

I am so glad it is Friday. None of what has occured this week would have been possible without the strong coffee that the Italians taught me to rely on.

Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

A Volunteer’s Work Is Never Done

Should I be coming home from paid work, and logging on to compose emails I did not have time to send during the day because there was so much other work to do?

Nope!!!

It’s is hard to switch off the volunteer spirit sometimes….the go the extra mile attitude….it is not supposed to be for the corporate world.

I just see how hard other team mates are working, and feel I want to make life easier for them by doing that extra bit to help out. But there are reasons why I should not do that. I know that.

Once, I was telling Jack how exhausted I was and at the time I was in my NHS role, and doing extra unpaid work to support the team. Jack was listening, but he pulled out a lipstick from my make-up bag (which is pretty redundant these days) and used the lipstick to write the word MUG on my forehead!

I am feeling like that tonight!!

Oh Crumbs! I Forgot To Bake A Cake

Where does the time go? Where does it go? I just don’t know. I promised Jack I would bake a cake when we were expecting some important visitors. It completely slipped my mind.

Normally it is the kind of thig he would nag me about, what kind of cake is it? can I see it? would anyone notice if I had a slice before everyone arrives? But he did not do any of that this weekend because he was so busy. I was also very busy. So busy that baking a cake dropped down lower and lower the list of priorities, and then fell off completely.

Visitors arrived…Jack turns to me while he was filling a cafetiere and asked me “Where is the cake?”

Photo by Delphine Hourlay on Pexels.com

Crumbs!!! I had forgotten. Momentary panic, followed by flinging open the cupboard doors in search of biscuits. I found a box of salted caramel florentines at the back of the cupboard – my sister bought me those. I found a box of Scottish shortbread – another gift from a friend. And even better….I found a box of champagne truffles – which my landlords gave me last month.

Our guests could not possibly have done better. My baking would have been a disappointment compared to the feast they ended up with.

Poor Yet Rich – How Can It Be?

Some of the most incredible and precious, wise and strong, loyal and principled people on this planet are technically termed financially “poor”. Yet they are rich, wealthy in everything that matTers most.

Whereas there are some who have millions to their name, yet they are sometimes destitute in everything that matters. In fact, some of them are behaving in a manner that many of us would judge as wicked. You can draw your own conclusions about which person of “wealth” inspired that last sentence.

Do not be fooled – MATERIAL WEALTH IS NOT A SIGN OF TRUE SUCCESS – and for those who believe in a Creator, it is important that you are not mislead into thinking that material wealth is a sign of divine favour due to some righteousness on your part.

It is so important to have a balanced view of our own financial status and material possessions. Right now especially, when there is growing concern about paying household bills and the cost of living.

If you are feeling the pinch, take practical steps wherever possible to avoid unnecessary expenditure and be organized with your finances – budgets, simplifying, making sacrifices – they can all contribute to some relief from the pressure of a financial tightrope.

But please do focus on what it is that makes a man or woman truly successful. You can be rich, wealthy, in everything that matters most, you can endure and conquer. These hard times will pass. Life is not supposed to be about not knowing where your next meal will come from, and fear that you will lose your home. Soon these things will have passed.

Kristin – We Love You!

It is impossible for me to keep up, but when I have an hour of an evening, I have been trying to watch an episode of either the UK Masterchef which started a few weeks ago on BBC1, or the Australian Masterchef (from 2018) which has been broadcasting on BBC3 for even longer.

Masterchef Australia is interesting. They seem to put a lot more energy and certainly a much bigger budget into their competition. You also have chance to get to know the contestants a little better as they take a rollercoaster journey of pressure tests, invention tests, elimination tests, team challenges and other assignments designed to stretch them.

Well, of all the shows I have seen….both the UK and the Australia Masterchef, I have never been quite so impressed by a contestant until we saw Kristin – I think she is Kristin Sheffield.

Her cooking and pastry skills are outstanding. But it is more than that. Jack and I have both completely fallen in love with her personality, her eloquence, her composure, her creativity. We just think she is fabulous. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I already know the results of this series – no spoilers. I have been watching all the contestants with interest, but in almost every episode I find myself hoping the camera will turn to Kristin. I want to know what she is going to make, and what she is going to say – because she always says something that registers with us or touches us.

I also realized that if this is the 2018 series that I am watching, when I visited Adelaide a year later, that is Kristin’s home. I remember the Central Market being a foodie heaven, and it makes me smile to imagine Kristin perhaps wandering around the market picking up ingredients to make something amazing.

It’s The Sweetest Pain

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: ANXIETY/DELIGHT/EMOTIONS/PAIN/PRIDE/RELIEF

I am feeling ever so romantic this week. It is so nice to be in love. Yet I can testify to the rollercoaster journey that is often involved in the transition from meeting someone to allowing them to turn your life upside down! It is a cocktail of anxiety, delight, pain, relief, pride – yes all the emotions Jim provided to inspire our song choice today.

There is a song that I fell in love with years ago, around the time that Jack and I were probably at our lowest point – it was dire – and whenever I heard this song, I wanted to collapse in a heap of tears. But I loved this song, I loved what it captures.

The song itself we owe to Diane Warren – who wrote some of my very favourite love songs. But I want to give a nod to the singer – the sensational Paloma Faith. We like her because she has been a real grafter and it is pleasing when someone gets a break after all their hard work.

I cannot play you the official video for this song, it is a little too over-excitable for my blog. But I have some treats for you, starting with my favourite – her live performance at the Brit Awards. At the end of this post there are two more videos of Paloma singing live – and I just love them.

When I first watched this video, I was a tiny bit nervous for her at the start, but she gets better and better, and the ending is so spectacular.

I tell myself you don't mean a thing,
And what we got, got no hold on me
But when you're not there I just crumble
I tell myself I don't care that much,
But I feel like I die 'til I feel your touch,

Only love, only love can hurt like this,
Only love can hurt like this
Must have been a deadly kiss
Only love can hurt like this

Say I wouldn't care if you walked away,
But every time you're there I'm begging you to stay,
And when you come close I just tremble
And every time, every time you go,
It's like a knife that cuts right to my soul

Only love, only love can hurt like this
Only love can hurt like this,
Must have been a deadly kiss,
Only love can hurt like this,
Only love can hurt like this

Your kisses burn into my skin,
Only love can hurt like this
But it's the sweetest pain,
Burning hot through my veins,
Love is torture makes me more sure
Only love can hurt like this

Only love can hurt like this,
Only love can hurt like this,
Must have been a deadly kiss,
Only love can hurt like this,

Only love can hurt like this,
Your kisses burn into my skin,
Only love can hurt like this,
Only love can hurt like this,
Only love can hurt like this,
Only love can hurt
Save me, save me,
Only love, only love,
'Cause only love can hurt like this
And it must have been a deadly kiss

Written by: Diane Eve Warren

Love-Struck!

There is love in my heart, love that is bursting to escape. It is a great pounding, thumping kind of love that is impossible to ignore. Mundane life denies the opportunity for me to sing from the rooftops and swing from the stars in sheer jubilation.

I was struck, struck with all the madness and chaos that romantic love brings along with it. I now dance upon the clouds from dawn til dusk and yet I restrain myself, for the world expects me to just sit still and process.

All that time, the external observer may regard me remaining still and devoted to my tasks – and yet they may miss the fact that internally, there are waterfalls and fireworks and orchestras all celebrating and inspiring and enrapturing me.

I am purely love-struck – and I am thankful that I met you and grew to know you and fell in love with you – it has brought something extra to my life that energizes me in ways I had no idea were possible.

Thank you!

It Turns Out TV Is Actually Better When You Are Tired

I seem to have had quite a lot to say this week. The truth is, I always do have a lot to say, only I have always been taught that it is more important to listen than to speak, and that there is a time to speak and a time to keep quiet.

Anyway, it is Friday…the end of the working week for many. I wanted to publish something more lighthearted today. So I thought I would share with you something fairly trivial but significant to me:

I have started to notice things again!

Just to explain…when I was working in an NHS role during the Pandemic, I think I had become chronically tired on some levels. I gave the best of my energy and mental alertness to work, caring for our patients, but I sometimes noticed that I was so tired by the time I reached home that I could not take anything in. I explained how this was effecting me in a post I published last summer:

Well, as many of you know, in February I started a new job. I noticed last week that now I seem to be able to concentrate on the weather report and remember what the forecaster said afterwards!

I also noticed things like…

  • during one weather forecast this week, a commercial started to play at the same time as the forecaster was speaking – it totally put him off – somebody clearly realized the technical gaff and stalled the commercial, and the disgruntled forecaster resumed his description of the wind direction
  • announcing the classic dramatization of Jane Austen’s classic starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, the broadcasting channel displayed the title as “Price & Prejudice” – tut tut- spelling mistake
  • one media outlet completely confused the facts and figures involved in two reports – a bombing in Ukraine and the floods in South Africa. It was painful as incorrect figures were displayed for several minutes on the screen while the presenter voiced contradictory information, seemingly oblivious to the false information displayed on screen
  • a presenter on a pre-recorded and edited television show was allowed to commentate throughout the filming with nobody thinking to inform him that he needed to blow his nose

So….I have learnt something – television is far less enjoyable when you are alert. You start to notice all sorts of mistakes and technical issues that make you think – perhaps the TV peeps are more exhausted than I used to be working for the NHS?

Not A Solution, But A Little Education

Following on from my post about those responsible for making decisions regarding this current worldwide social and economic system…..why am I talking about this right now? Well, a controversial policy was announced here in the UK recently, and there has been quite a reaction to it, notably from a member of the clergy. I noticed the media reported that the person who seems to have put their name to this controversial policy responded to criticisms by saying that those who are critical have no alternative solution.

Although, I think that it is pretty obvious that this house needs to be rebuilt from foundation up, rather than taking limited measures like replacing the carpets, or giving the place a quick dust over, I did think about this serious issue of often desperate and vulnerable people paying thousands of pounds for a place in an obviously unsafe boat that sets off to cross the Channel whilst huge ships cross their path. It is frightening and I understand that essentially the people who are in receipt of those thousands of pounds and providing those unsafe boats are wicked criminals.

But next to that issue, is the desperation of tens of thousands of people who have been willing to pay that price and take that risk in recent years. And then there is another issue that is also concerning – a lack of empathy from some individuals manifest in their lifestyle, social media activity and the ignorant things they say.

I have heard some remarks from people recently which caused me a great deal of concern. They were mainly younger people in their twenties and thirties. I am going to warn you now, you may feel as much disgust as I did with some of these. They said things like

  • I don’t know what all the fuss is about, Ukraine is Russia isn’t it?
  • after the Pandemic, the world needs a war to get us out of the financial mess we are in
  • there is no way I would volunteer to let a stranger come and live in my house – let alone from Eastern Europe
  • I don’t watch the news, it’s got nothing to do with me
  • who cares what is going on in in other parts of the world?
  • they can’t expect the UK to let loads of foreigners in, we can’t afford to take in refugees, the cost of living is getting higher

…and often these comments were made just minutes before or after the same people talked of their latest holiday, their new i-phone, the new dress they bought for their night out to “get hammered”.

So, not only did these remarks make me feel incensed…but they also caused me to think about a radical measure that may help with what somebody said in the media is a question of the “capacity” rather than the compassion that this country has to care for those who seek to come and live and work here due to fleeing a situation where they were in danger.

Why don’t we start an educational program specifically for those who don’t seem to have any concern, any empathy or compassion for the plight of others? Those who say things like the examples I gave above, we could assign them to spend a year perhaps in another land, thousands of miles away from England, and allow them to experience a way of life that might open their eyes to the way of life for billions of people on this planet. If we relocated those without compassion for a year or so, that would increase our capacity to accommodate some of those who come to this land in absolute desperation after fleeing a situation that may have literally terrorised them.

There is no reason why these individuals who have grown up in England or other Western lands should fear this educational relocation program. It is designed to enlighten them, enrich them with appreciation for the dignity and work ethics that billions display as they provide for their families and contribute to a warm community spirit. Yet, it may well be that those who have not lived in other lands may find it challenging to adjust at first. It will be good for them though.

After a year of experiencing the educational relocation program, perhaps these formerly brattish, entitled individuals will return to their homes with a heightened awareness of world conditions, an increased degree of compassion and appreciation and a deep respect for the billions that do not enjoy the luxuries that many in Western lands do, yet are incredible people with a huge amount to teach those of us who take for granted so much of what we have access to.

To increase our capacity further, we could also assign those who use social media in a completely inconsiderate manner to the educational relocation program. For example, those celebrities and individuals who fill their social media pages with images of their grossly expensive designer handbags, clothing, holidays to luxury destinations, their shiny cars…or other possessions and pleasure seeking experiences – without any thought for the many people who could see those images, and groan within themselves because they cannot afford to feed their family, or send their children to schools, and who feel as if their only hope for a better life is to leave their homes and travel to other lands, lands where sadly some people will discriminate against them or take advantage of them. Yes…why don’t we send those who boast about their possessions and the luxuries they enjoy to a land where they will not have any of the basic amenities that many of us take for granted.

The purpose of this radical notion is not a solution….indeed, even the suggestion of it will alarm many as it may seem draconian, or in violation of basic human rights. No, of course, there is unlikely to be an educational relocation program to increase both the levels of compassion and the capacity to care for others who are in anguish. But it is of concern that there are brattish, inconsiderate, unfeeling, selfish attitudes and behaviours out there, that make it especially uncomfortable when politicians propose what they think may be a solution to the issues connected with immigration and asylum seekers, but to others seems anything but a solution.

There are three issues that are all quite serious – one is that wicked criminals are profiting from desperate individuals willing to risk their lives for a place in an unsafe vessel to cross a busy and dangerous waterway. Another is capacity – in basic terms, if you owned a three bedroomed house (and remember, this house is one with a leaky roof, dry rot in the beams, broken windows, but it has recently had a lovely new carpet laid), how many tenants would you expect to enjoy a decent quality of life within that house? Yet, when we know that at least 120,000 (I am not up-to-date with the figures) volunteered empty bedrooms or properties to welcome refugees fleeing a violent conflict, we can see that we are still well within our capacity to welcome others. The other issue is attituded. Many people do have a great deal of empathy and compassion, and they are distressed at the plight of others. But it is concerning that there are others who seem to only be concerned with their own enjoyment of life and are happy to boast about their possessions and experiences in the public domain – although billions can only dream of such things.

Yes…it is a good job I am not “in charge” of making decisions on a national scale. But this world does need a very different kind of education in order to care for a house that is rebuilt from foundation up.