Tag Archives: balance

Attention Please…

…I have an announcement to make! It’s about the scheduling of posts on my blog over the next few weeks.

Laptop, Computer, Business, Table, Paper, Flowers

I have a thousand ideas, and literally over two hundred unfinished posts in my drafts folder. But I really do have an frightfully busy month ahead and I think I need to give attention to some projects at home I have been neglecting.

Therefore…over the next few weeks I will be balancing my blog out with some fresh content – CARAMEL’S CORNER BOOK REVIEWS and SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY – with some republishing of some of my older posts. That will just help me to take the breather I need at the moment to get on top of everything and also everyone who would like some attention from me right now.

So….are you ready for some highlights from CARAMEL (LEARNER AT LOVE) published over the last two and a half years? I truly hope you enjoy these flashback posts as much as I do!

What Did Marta Have To Say About It?

I have a very close friend named Marta. We shared a flat together when I first moved to London along with two other girls. She is one of the people I have been most open with about everything. I opened my heart to her. I love and her trusted her deeply.

Marta has been a huge support to me since I was the victim of a crime in a London park. Prior to that, we had been like best friends for almost five years. I ought to tell you more about Marta in another post because she really is a fascinating person, and has helped people overcome astonishing situations.

She is a very strong woman – mentally strong I mean. That is very important because she works with some very severe cases of mental health.  So, she has been a great listening ear to me since I was attacked and she has helped me hold myself together emotionally and keep my mental balance.

I know that Marta is deeply fond of me.  She loves me to the bones.  She has gone to great lengths to help me since I was attacked.

But leading up to that night, Marta sometimes confused me when it came to how perplexed I was about the challenges with my ex-flatmate, who we are calling Jack Barnes, if you remember from my post:

You see, Marta did not like Jack at all!  She did acknowledge his hard work on behalf of charities she herself felt passionately about.  She approved of his using his influence in a positive way and encouraging young people to get involved with voluntary projects.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fdusigsfdu.pngHowever, Marta was not at all keen on Jack in person.  She did not enjoy his company as she said he always wanted to be the centre of attention.  Marta said Jack was a show-off. For example, Jack spoke several languages fluently, at least eight languages.  He would seize any and every opportunity to use his languages.  So if he met anyone, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Greek, Romanian, German or Polish, he would start chattering away in their language to practice his conversation skills. Marta thought this was pretentious. Marta herself spoke four languages fluently. I did always wonder whether there was a tiny bit of envy on Marta’s side. I don’t know?

Marta was there the first morning I met Jack. We were having breakfast with some friends and he arrived late and he sat opposite me. It appeared that the way I tucked into my stack of pancakes had the ability to captivate him. She always said she had noticed the way he was looking at me and she knew he was going to chase me.

As time went by, she commented more and more on the way Jack and I behaved at parties. She said we both loved to socialize and get involved in dancing and chatting with as many people as possible and we both jumped at the chance to sing. She said she thought he and I could get on very well. However, she also declared that I would be bad for his boastful nature, because I would make him feel even more special, if I responded to his interest.

Marta became engaged to Pedro and when she was planning her wedding she repeatedly asked me if I wanted her to invite Jack, and then seat us together at the wedding reception, because she was sure Jack would be my future husband.

Now, that might sound a bit odd, but sometimes Marta said rather odd things. I never could quite work out her motivation. She thinks outside of the box all the time, she has to working in mental health. For example, she decided she wanted to cure me of my vegetarianism (I have not eaten meat or fish since I was six years old). The way she went about doing this was so bizarre. If we were at dinner and everyone was eating beef, she would moooooo into my ear. If everyone was eating lamb, she would baa baaaa into my ear. Why would making animal noises make me want to start eating meat?

So, I was never really sure if she was trying some kind of reverse psychology on me with what she said about Jack. Was she playing mind games? I could never tell if she wanted to encourage me or discourage me. She has been known on more than one occasion to pontificate about all sorts of subjects and her opinions sometimes knocked me over with the forcefulness they were expressed with. I knew she did not like him. But she kept on saying that he was undoubtedly in love with me.

Can you see why, even though she was my best friend, I didn’t feel I could rely on Marta while I was dealing with the challenges involving my flatmate Jack?

Whispering secretsI had dinner with Marta and her husband Pedro during the week that followed Jack and I sitting down over a cup of tea and Jack saying wonderful things to me. Marta asked me many questions about Jack. She liked to analyse things.

I admitted I was delighted with him and hoped that he was genuine and that now things would be different. I also mentioned that I was a bit worried that there seemed to have been an increase of rumours and it could spoil things again.  Marta had already given me a lot of support already regarding the gossip I was made a subject of and had actively tried to stamp out rumours.  Now as Marta could be very strong with her words, I was not sure how much I could believe what she told me next:

Mel, you do realize that he is the one that started all these rumours and he keeps on feeding them – it’s all his fault!

I glanced at Pedro who seemed to have been studying my reaction.  Pedro nodded with an apologetic look.

Pedro, tell Mel what he was telling everyone at lunch on Monday.

Pedro looked anxious, “I don’t think you really want to know Mel.

Marta objected, “Tell her.  She needs to know.  She thinks he is wonderful, but she needs to know what he is really saying.

Tie, Necktie, Adjust, Adjusting, ManPedro readjusted his tie uncomfortably as if he would prefer not to be getting involved at all, “He was talking rubbish. He told a group during a business lunch that you had sent him a love letter, that you are obsessed with him, that you think you are married to him.”

I could not help a flush of embarrassment colouring my face, “I sent him a thank you card.” I started to wish that I had not of course.

There’s more Mel, tell her Pedro.”

Pedro was more firm in his response.  He stated emphatically, “I do not believe it is going to help Mel.”

Marta raised her eyebrows at Pedro and turned to me and said, “He gave them the impression that you had thrown yourself at him. He said you have expressed your passion for him, and that since he is a man he thought he may as well make the most of it and let you.”

What! What does that mean Marta? Express my passion? Is that what he actually said?

Marta nodded, while Pedro shook his head, “No, he didn’t say that. Mel, you know what a bunch of guys can be like. It was the other guys who were teasing him. They were saying stuff like you have been harbouring a secret passion for him all the time you have been living together in the same flat. Someone said he should be scared that one night he will walk into his room and find you waiting for him in his bed. Someone else started pushing him to admit that something must have already happened between you and him. A few of the guys were saying some pretty crude stuff, I am not going to upset you Mel – you know what guys can be like when they have had a pint of beer.”

My head was reeling a little envisioning the scene Pedro had just described. I felt provoked but in my determination to see Jack in a positive light I asked Pedro, “What I want to know is what did he say? Did he make sure they knew nothing has happened?

Mel, he tried to stop them once he realized they were going too far and being pretty insulting. But as soon as he tried to shut it down, someone pulled out their phone and started showing everyone a photo someone had posted on a Whatsapp group of you and him together, where you are letting him feel your behind. Jack just tried to laugh it off.


I felt emotions start to flow like lava within me. The happiness my flatmate Jack had elicited within me during our chat over a cup of tea, was now draining out of me like fast flowing water disappearing down a plughole. All sorts of words went through my mind, words that my mother would never let me say out loud.

Marta saw that I had finally had enough. Tears were starting to brim. She sat close to me and gave me one of her huge hugs.

Just in case you are new to my posts, this is going to make a bit more sense once you read:



via PONTIFICATE — Word of the Day Challenge


Well…I have been managing to publish at least one post a day for a long time. But this year, a lot of those posts were ones I already had in my drafts folder. I am not finding time to do more new writing. So…you will see a few posts that I wrote and published in 2018 that I am re-publishing (including the infamous STORM IN A TEACUP SERIES!)

I do have a blessed life here.  Despite being the other side of a trial that has turned my life upside down…I find myself here in this beautiful part of London, in a beautiful little abode, with interesting and satisfying work, and lots of lovely people in my life, not the least of whom is my beloved Goldfinch.  I rise early and have a leisurely breakfast and my coffee.  Then I shower and dress and then I climb three steps and I start work.  Three steps!!!  What a terrible commute to work – and they are all uphill!!!

Adult, Breakfast, Bedroom, Blanket, Bed

This part of London is completely new to me. I have been exploring whenever I have free time. Spring and summer are giving me more daylight hours to go venturing out to discover. Last week I found a pretty park.  I went there tonight with the book I wanted to finish and my fleecy picnic rug.  It is about a 40-45 minute walk from the house.  It is not the best park in London. But with beautiful trees and grass you can’t really go wrong. Lots of families, joggers, cyclists, people chatting on benches, drinking coffee or eating ice-cream at one of the little cafes.

I arrived at about 5.30pm this evening.  I had to finish the book I borrowed from the  local library…I read it in that beautiful park, the sun warming my back and the gentle breeze caressing my hair. I let tears roll down my cheeks as I read slowly every emotion packed sentence.  What a story.

Then once I had finished it, I sat up and did a little “people-watching”. When I was bored I lay down on my back and looked up at the blue sky, the branches heavy with verdant green towering over me.

Park sky

It’s nice to be snugly warm and yet to be able to detect that lovely faint breeze. I realized the sun was sinking and was now behind a very impressive cedar tree. I felt tears in my eyes again. There was a huge cedar tree outside the building I went into every morning at 6.45am for breakfast….and there was a huge cedar in the private park in front of the apartment I lived in with two flatmates for my first two years there. Before I moved into the flat where the trouble started. The trouble that led to a life-changing event.

My sister was in Lebanon for three months at the start of last year.  She told me all about the cedars there and showed me lots of pictures. Then two of my best friends went over there for two months and came back just as enthusiastic as my sister about the scenery and the food.

I want to go to Lebanon.

There are a hundred places I would like to visit…ideally to have several weeks in each location, maybe longer. There are a thousand things I would like to do.

But this word BALANCE and another word PATIENCE and what else?  Oh yes, SELF-CONTROL. There is no way all these places would exist if I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to see them all and enjoy them all at some point! I am sure. It would be too cruel. This earth is there to explore and discover. I am sure one day…we will set out on a voyage together and spend one or two thousand years  I would like to be with Goldfinch, discovering new places, new foods, new scenery, new cultures and music and experiences. I would like to do a lot of exploring with him and then at the end of each day find somewhere we could sit back and I could hold his hand and rest my head on his shoulder and we can talk about everything we saw that day.

River, Embankment, Tree, Water, Lake

I have a lovely balanced life here…which is what I have needed, starting over again. I have needed to do this gently. Right now, I have the ideal situation for building up my stamina (especially with work spread over five storeys of the building – I am getting plenty of chance to run up and down stairs), pushing my body a little bit more each day, always with the knowledge I will be able to rest up after work…getting back into routine.  Growing stronger every day.  I am enjoying my work very much…and I am loving my rest/relaxation time very much. I can see I will be spending more late afternoons in the pretty park I found.

There was a point when I could not have imagined I would be able to come to a park on my own and feel so peaceful, so full of blissful content and feel safe.  So many memories would be triggered of that night.  That summer evening when I went to a park on my own and sat on a bench and allowed hot spicy tears roll down my cheeks.  So many memories of the security guard who found me the following morning and called an ambulance.   So many memories of everything that happened that night.

But look at how far I have come.  I can go to the park on my own and feel happiness down to my toes.  I can hold my head up knowing I have not just survived, I have thrived…with the support of my family and friends.  I even have a Goldfinch who makes me feel as if I could fly.

Despite the cruel events which shattered my world…I am in one piece…I am in a safe place and I have  a balanced healthy and happy life. I enjoy my work, I enjoy my rest/relaxation time.  I enjoy Parklife.


My Sprinkle Of Fun

I have ended up becoming a creature of habit these over the last three months. It’s been almost all work work work and very little play. Monday to Saturday it is all wake up, shower and dress, work, home, eat, shower, bed.

Office, Work, Business, Computer, LaptopAs well as work, I have been enrolled on a course I have to do at home. Well, I have designated one evening per week for the course (because I that’s all I want to give it – if I stick to that schedule, I will finish the course in three months, which the course providers state is the minimum time frame). Why should I rush it? I don’t see any point in rushing through it just because I can (merely on account of not being allowed to have a social life anymore). I have often rushed courses just for the sake of getting a qualification. I don’t see any need to rush it now. It would be better to limit my pace and use what I learn at work to make sure it has sunk in properly.

ruiegdfhlahSundays I am housekeeping and doing all my laundry. I love cleaning and ironing, but sometimes I have been so tired that I have to push myself to get up out of bed and start work.

I also spend time chatting to Jack and to members of my family. This Sunday I met a friend of mine. He lives in London, but his whole family are up in Snowdonia (as a lot of mine are). We walked and he bought us takeaway lunch, which we ate while we continued walking. It was great to see someone on a social basis.

dfhgdsfdaflWhen I was chatting with Jack on Sunday morning, I mentioned to him that I am missing dancing. I love parties where we can have a dance. I have started to play some music for half an hour at the weekend to have a bit of a dance – just to have my fill.

I am compiling a YouTube playlist for myself…and so far there are five Dua Lipa songs on there. I am not a fan of any musician, but I do know a great beat when I hear it. I like that some of her songs combine a sentiment with a phenomenal dance track.

I am trying to have fun as well as have a bit of exercise. During these strange times, I believe it is good to stay balanced. Work is a fine thing. But playtime is so important. So my crazy dancing to really top dance tracks is a sprinkle of fun over my otherwise fairly dull week.



There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Fish

plastic in seaWhen I was out in Australia with Goldfinch, I remember some conversations we had about the scale of pollution that has become manifest in recent years. I could tell that Goldfinch feels angry about nature being “raped”.

I still hear shocking opinions. I was working with a man recently, who said that scientists don’t know what they are talking about. He reckons there is nothing wrong with the earth and that whatever we put into the air and waterways, the earth can deal with it. Interesting chappy…especially when he told us his life story. I realized he was not the kind of person I wanted to end up in a deep discussion with. I don’t know if you ever chat about these subjects with family, friends or colleagues but it can be easy to start going round in circles.

burning fossil fuelsWhose responsibility is it to change? Is it governments? Is it us as individuals? Some have already made significant changes to their lifestyle hoping they will help to make a difference. They may feel frustrated at times, wishing that more would follow in their steps.

I said to Goldfinch that I believe the scale of changes needed is enormous. I expressed my view that not only do the “controls” need to be handed over to someone capable, powerful who cares about Creation and not about profit, but in addition the wants, the aspirations and the dreams of all of us need to change. I mentioned to him a story I have heard several versions of many times.

pressre.jpgRecently I was talking to a friend who is passionate about climate change and living a environmentally friendly lifestyle. She was telling me about how strict they are with their teenager who is preparing for exams. She said that he needs to pass those exams to get into a certain school. He needs to get into that school to have the best chance of going to a top university. Because they want him to have opportunities to have a lucrative career and to be able to afford some of the things her and her husband haven’t been able to provide for their family.

I was looking at her wondering whether she realized what she was saying (by the way her teenager is stressed out by these exams and is argumentative because his parents won’t let him hang out with friends when he wants to, because they want him to stay home and study). It sounded to me as if they are planting dreams of wealth and luxury into his heart – but they are hoping he will also be passionate about veganism and recycling.

contentAnyway…while people are not content with how beautiful life can be with just a little…while people want more and more and more, and dream of possessing ludicrous fortunes…what chance do you think there is of pollution halting?

Well here is the story that you may have seen before. It made a huge impression on me when I heard it and it has shaped my life and my attitude to earning my bread and butter. I rejected the goals that my school teachers waved in front of me. I have loved living simply so that I could spend most of my time as a volunteer, rather than earning money I did not need.

Fisherman, Fishing Boat, Boat, Fishing, Sea, Water
Myriams-Fotos @ pixabay.com

This story has been told thousands of times with many variations.  This is one version I heard.  It is a story that makes me smile from ear to ear as it shows up something pretty stupid about this striving after the wind, striving after endless more that is promoted today.

supper.jpgThe fisherman returned home in his pirogue and was met by an expert in economics who was working on expanding the economy in that developing country. The expert asked the fisherman why he was back so early. He replied that he could have stayed out longer but that he had caught enough to care for his family.

“So now, what will you do with your time for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman responded: “Well, I do a little fishing. I play with my children. We all have a rest when it gets hot. In the evening, we have a meal together. Later, I get together with my friends for some music, and talk with other villagers.”

The expert interrupted: “Look, I have a university degree and have studied these matters. I want to help you make your life better. I recommend that you stay out fishing longer. You would earn a lot more. Soon you will be able to purchase a bigger boat than this pirogue. With a bigger boat, you would earn still more.  Before long you will be able to build up a fleet of trawlers.”

HQ.png“That sounds interesting.  What I would do then?” the fisherman inquired.

“Then, instead of selling fish through a middleman, you could negotiate directly with the factory or even start your own fish-processing plant. Do you realize you would be able to leave your village and move to London, or Paris, or New York and run the whole thing from there. You could even consider putting your business on the stock market and earn millions, perhaps more.”

Raising his eye-brows, the fisherman asked, “How long would that all take?”

“Perhaps 15 to 20 years,” the expert answered.

“And then what would I do?” the fisherman continued.

“That is when life gets interesting,” the expert explained. “You see, then you could retire. You could move away from the hustle and bustle of it all to some remote village.”

smiler 1“And what then?” asked the fisherman.

“Then you have time to do a little fishing, play with your children, have a siesta when it gets hot, have supper with the family, and get together with friends for some music.”


When I hear people complaining in the western world about not being able to afford a new phone, or a holiday…I wonder…well, I just wonder!




A Bit More About Blogging

former.pngI worked on this post over several days, in my leisure time…something that will make sense by the end of this post 🙂

I have had a busy week, with Jack and then a lot of work to catch up with. But I really wanted to work on a post in response to the questions from Dr Tanya, the creator of Salted Caramel, who has asked some more great questions about blogging. Take a look at Dr Tanya’s original post below:


Cost of Blogging — Questions

Does it infringe upon your leisure time?

such funErm…well, I wouldn’t say “infringe”.

Generally, I would use my leisure time to socialize with friends. One of the reasons I wanted to be back in London is the social life outside of work. I have many dear friends here in London. Of course, recently a special someone has snapped up most of my leisure time.

relaz.jpgWhen I am back in the little nest on my own, and have finished my house-work etc, I can choose how to relax before it’s time to go to sleep. There isn’t much on television I would enjoy, so normally I would turn on my lap-top and check my e-mails and write to family and friends, or phone someone I wanted to chat with.

I often use time in the evening to read other posts from other bloggers. But I have found there are so many posts there, I can’t get through them if I only check my WP Reader once a day. So I also check my Reader in the morning when I am eating breakfast and drinking coffee, and also when I am having a lunch break.

bloggingWriting posts is a whole different matter. Two days a week, I only work in the afternoon, So I usually am at home in the morning doing housework. So after I have done what I need to do, I sit down and write posts – numerous posts. During those two mornings I will write several shorter posts and work on longer posts (like award posts, or parts of my Annabelle Riley story). I then schedule those posts to be published at other times. Occasionally I find myself with other leisure time at other times in the week and can type up a short post.

Because I have such a huge catalogue of content in the e-mails I have sent to friends and family, it speeds things up massively that I can copy and paste and then edit my post to make it suitable for blogging. It speeds up writing enormously.

Worse still, does it distract you from your work/studies?

helping arnoldNope. Work, both unpaid and paid, is more important than blogging. I have been trained that work is work. You give work your best.

I work around forty – fifty hours a week on average, although my hours vary…some work for money, to pay my rent etc and some work on a voluntary basis in connection with the charities I work with. All the work I do receives my full attention. I don’t use phones or laptops for any personal use (with the exception of when I am cooking – it is nice to listen to music when I am cooking, and when things are in the oven, I might be able to do other things, such as reading posts on WordPress).

Is it taking a toll on your personal relationships?

pjsMy family and friends are very important to me. I spend time with them, or communicating with them, frequently and regularly. Often it is the e-mails I have sent to family and friends that form the basis for posts I publish on CRUSHED CARAMEL.

Blogging is something I do when I am on my own. The reading I do before bedtime. The writing I do those two mornings when I wouldn’t be out socialising.

Has your health suffered?

former.pngSince I received head injuries (when I was the victim of a crime some years ago) I have not been able to spend my leisure time the same way as I used to.

In the past I played basketball, went to a boot-camp, ran at least three times a week (one eight mile run and two four mile runs) and I did a huge amount of socialising. I was travelling all over London and beyond to parties and live music events. I was going away almost every weekend to stay with friends, and trying to squeeze in lots of hiking and cycling and anything active and outdoorsy – climbing trees, wild swimming, sports days – I loved anything energetic.

I miss that lifestyle. Having to rest could easily drive me crazy. I need things to keep my mind busy.

curled up on sofaBut I am not able to do what I used to. I still have a healthy social life. I like to make sure I spend two or three evenings (or other times) out with friends (or indoors with friends). But I need more rest than I used to. I have crazy headaches at times, and I also have black-outs and difficulties breathing at times.

So, I needed restful things to do in my leisure time. My life-long habit is writing letters and e-mails. I have a lot of material in my e-mail accounts that I can adapt to posts for my blog. I also have been writing a book for my little niece. Blogging is something I can do while I am resting. I have found it very enjoyable.

Have you gained weight?

Woman jogging and listening musicSince I stopped doing all the sport I used to I have gained some weight. But that is not due to blogging.

I have gained some weight because since I was attacked, I have not been able to maintain the level of activity I did before. That’s because of the head injuries I received. The problem I have had is my brain not always telling my heart to beat faster. I am fine with walking, and swimming. But when I tried running (I used to love running!), I kept blacking out.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

annie drinking coffeeThe challenges to my writing are not so much ideas, it is more the effect of headaches. When I wake up my head is a brute! It can take me a while to be able to function properly. But the wonderful combination of ibuprofen and coffee normally aid my writing capabilities.

Well…some mornings I might not necessarily have any fresh ideas. But my drafts folder has posts that I have previously started when I had an idea but not time to develop it. So if I am ever short of ideas, it’s great to just peruse my drafts folder and pick something to work on.

Have you ever suffered from blog related stress or blogger burn out?

weekend nearly overHardly any. I accept that there is a limit to how much time I have (as do we all). Blogging should be enjoyable. If I cannot get through every single post that appears in my WP Reader…so be it. I hope I will live to read more another day!

We all have different circumstances and situations. We all juggle different responsibilities and obligations. Blogging should be something recreational (unless you are making a business out of it, or secretly trying to take over the world). So if it ever feels like a burden, maybe it is time to make a slight adjustment or be more reasonable about your limitations.

enjoy.jpgI respect all bloggers are doing what they want, what they can, what they enjoy. I would hope they are prioritising on spending time with family, friends, their work and their health. I would not want anyone to suffer because of losing balance. I especially look out for the posts that appear from bloggers who publish infrequently. It’s always quite exciting to see their posts. I think I make more effort to comment as well on their posts to encourage them.

I try to read almost everything from the bloggers I follow, because I appreciate their support. But it is clearly something I just would not enjoy at all, I might skip it. As with any other area of entertainment, I am selective. My mind is not a sewer. I won’t let just anything flow through it!

Blogging should be fun! Don’t let it be stressful! To keep it fun, never forget what really matters in life! Family, friends, work, your health!! Your life should be many shades of wonderful…and if you have some spare time, sit down write a gorgeous post and share it with us! Forget about your worries and strife over blogging – look after the bear necessities and enjoy! Have fun!!!

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

I am loving writing a bit each day.  I am not particularly creative and talented like some bloggers.  Believe me, this is no false modesty.  I hope nobody can accuse me of conceit, but I have a healthy estimation of what I am and what I  am not.  I do attempt the occasional creative work – but the results are poor in comparison to the work of the great talents among our very lovely blogging community.

I am very well aware that there are some extraordinary writers and brilliant poets churning out delightful posts regularly, whereas my blogging is very much more based on things that are going on in my life, whether that be simple little conversations or major events.  The writing prompts are helpful in directing my thoughts and I draw great inspiration from other bloggers to produce something read-worthy myself. Throw in how much fun I am having with the challenges and nominations.

Yup! I am enjoying blogging.  I am enjoying reading other blogger’s work,  I am enjoying the interaction between bloggers.  I want to keep my oar in and remain involved with other bloggers – simply because it is fun and very enjoyable.

Related image

Image Credit: Lonely Planet

However, I want to talk to you about my behind.  That’s right…my derriere, my bottom…whatever term you prefer.  I started blogging around five and a half months ago, and I do believe that in that time my behind has started to expand somewhat. I am having to eat less to compensate for the time I allocate to sitting at my desk trying to create posts. But I feel I need to be outside in the fresh air more and be more active to regain my formerly pert derriere.

In addition, my sleeping habits have been effected.  I am sometimes finding it hard to shut down WordPress because I am trying so hard to read all the wonderful posts out there which are displayed in my WordPress Reader. It seems like a never-ending mountain of posts to read.  So at times I have had black sunken eyes after not achieving as much sleep as I need (and I admit since I received head injuries during the attack, I seem to need a lot more sleep).  Twice this month I slept through my alarm and then when I woke up in shock at realizing I had to start work in 20 minutes, I was running around in panic like a headless chicken.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to be a bit more balanced in order to be able to sustain both my own blogging and my capacity to read, support, encourage all the talented writers who are also using this platform.

So, I am not going to wait until January…I am going to make a resolution now.  I am going to draw up a schedule and I am determined to stick to it.  At the moment all my paid work is done over three days in the week Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,  So I am going to try to be content with a brief post if any at all on those days and I am going to severely restrict the time allotted to reading.  So although I will briefly check in on those days, I must make giving my all to my employer my priority and not be exhausted because I have been reading so late.

The other four days of the week, well I juggle my own house work with voluntary projects and commitments.  I also make the most of seeing friends (especially Goldfinch) at weekends.  I want to be a bit more strict about making sure I am active on each of those days though.  So I plan to have an early morning walk or jog depending on how much time I have available.

I am convinced this will be a wise step to help me to maintain a more balanced blogging routine.  In addition, I have to admit, I am thinking of my own emotional state after Goldfinch has departed for Australia.  I need to be outside in the fresh air.  I need nature, I need beauty.  I need to climb mountains, forge streams, follow rainbows, find new dreams.  I need to live boldly.  I need to boldly go on.   I need to… what’s that phrase?…it’s on the tip of my tongue…

“I need to boldly go where no man has been before!”

I need to be immersed in life.  Voyaging through this world of adventures.  I need to set my sights on new horizons and reach out for them,  I am enjoying blogging ever so much.  But I fear that unless I take steps to establish a more balanced routine, all you are going to see on my site throughout the winter are dirges about losing my Goldfinch!

So…please don’t think I am going to disappear…just might be seeing and hearing a bit less of me – especially Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. For the sake of my emotional state, for the sake of my complexion and bright eyes, and for the sake of my derriere.  You do understand don’t you!








When I Grow Up…


No, it is not 12th August…I am just very behind with my writing.  My drafts folder has twenty posts which I have started but need to finish.  Last month turned out to be a bit crazy and so, here I am trying to catch up.

I was really taken with  the writing prompts from Sarah Elizabeth Moore in her August Write away Challenge, so although I did not have time to keep up with them during August, I am going to crack on with the prompts that caught my attention because they were brilliant writing prompts and she presented them so beautifully.

So my answer to:

Well, for a start I did not want to grow up at all.  It really distressed me when I hit the age of ten.  Everyone teased me, “now you are in double figures”, and I knew at that point there was no turning back!  I wanted to be a child forever.  I am sure many of you would have had similar sentiments at one stage that being an adult has always seemed an unavoidable outcome.  But if we could remain in a Peter Pan state, many of us would take that option.

Now, at a very early age, adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I hated that question.  I had a vague idea of what everyone on the planet should be doing when they grow up, caring for the animals, growing vegetation, building their own house and furniture, making their own clothes and curtains, and supporting their neighbours, enjoying happy times together, eating, dancing, singing.  I think I described my vague idea of how things would turn out for me in this post:

Later, I had a little friend at school who was very creative, I was always academically minded – maths, reading, comprehension, writing were my strengths.  I could not draw or  play an instrument or design something. (I did love sports though.)  I was fascinated my my little friend and she did influence me…in fact I think she is the reason I became vegetarian!

So…when my teacher recorded each one of us saying into a microphone, “When I grow up I want to be a…”, my idea came straight from my little friend.  So when it was my turn, I announced to the class and to my teacher: “When I grow up I want to be a…sculpture.”

I had not realized that a person who carves a sculpture is called a sculptor.  Oh well!  It gave my teacher a laugh.

I was probably seven or eight years old when I started to stand out with the ferocious pace at which I worked through every comprehension exercise, workbook and reading book the school possessed.  The teachers even at primary school started trying to fill my little head with ideas of being a doctor or lawyer or politician like some of my other relatives.  But I had already rejected that idea in my young heart.

Why?  Well, when I was six years old I was given a public speaking assignment in front of an audience of around two hundred.  The theme I was assigned was bizarre considering I was only six.  It was “What is the value of a university education?”  My first question for my mum was, “what is university?

Well, off I went and read all sorts about universities…and I came to the conclusion a university education does not guarantee the career of your choosing and many young people become involved in harmful habits while living on a university campus.  I presented the results of my research with conviction and won the public speaking contest.  But the information I had read had taken root in my heart.  I fought the idea of going to university the rest of my schooling life, which is pretty hard when you get A grades in every subject except art and 100% scores in maths tests.

I did understand the need to be able to work once I left school to earn money.  My parents had taught me a hard work ethic.  But at school they, kept on trying to get me to choose a goal, a form of work that I would enjoy and find satisfying.  It was very stressful to be asked this question when I truly had no idea what I wanted to do.  I told them:

  • A bunjee jumping instructor
  • A canoeing instructor
  • A spy
  • An actress
  • A writer
  • A journalist

That was good enough for my teachers…they helped me to develop a career plan in order to become a journalist.  Did I want to be a journalist?  Nah!!!!  But it did help to have something to suggest to the teachers, so they would leave me alone.

My parents wanted me to go to university because they were worried that without a university education I would struggle to make ends meet.  I eventually enrolled on a course to train to be a legal secretary and then after achieving my diploma within a year…I ended up working in finance for eight years.  But I have also earnt money by cleaning, gardening, decorating, walking dogs, cooking, driving and working in healthcare.  I like variety.

constructionHowever, this was just paid part time work, in order to earn my bread and butter.  I knew exactly what I wanted to be the moment I walked onto a construction site as a volunteer.  From then on, I knew what I wanted to be for the rest of my life – a volunteer, working on projects wherever there was a need, teaching people the skills I had been taught.

I was not wrong.  I have learnt an array of useful skills that can be a help on projects all over the world.  I have always had more than I need, and far far more friends than I can keep up with.  I have had incredible opportunities to travel.  My life has been rich and exciting.  I view paid work as a way to earn my bread and butter.  But my career, the purpose of my life is to get involved in as many projects I can as a volunteer.

I still think that the way the world works right now is upside down and back to front…I think the vague idea I had at the age of five, of what everyone on the planet should be doing when they grow up – caring for the animals, growing vegetation, building their own house and furniture, making their own clothes and curtains, and supporting their neighbours, enjoying happy times together, eating, dancing, singing – was very sensible actually.

One thing is for sure…if you do have a demanding career after years of studying at university…I hope you also have a good work/life balance – ways to relax and refresh yourself, a hobby, a loving family or group of friends.