Protecting The Precious

My parents are in their seventies. Jack’s parents are in their eighties. Goldfinch’s parents are in their nineties. We are going to do everything we can to protect them and support them and love them. They are precious to us! This weekend is all about Jack’s parents. I am hoping it all goes well. I really want it to go well.

Although I am absent again for another weekend, I have been working little by little on my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post and I am pleased to be able to schedule it to be published during my weekend.

The SHARE-YOUR WORLD questions are provided by wonderful Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, and this is her post for this week:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/03/09/share-your-world-3-9-2020/

Questions

Are you a sweet, sour, tangy or other type of person?  Take that as you will!

carmaI think if you ask anyone who knows me, they are going to say sweet. Afterall…I am Caramel!

My mum is very sweet. She is so very very sweet. She loves people. I think I have inherited her sweetness and love for people.

I love people. I love people. Some might see harsh, rude, ignorant, selfish…I see neglected, unloved, lost and lonely. All I want is for people who have suffered to be loved the way they ought to be. I want people to thrive. I want them to learn how wonderful life should be, how wonderful our planet home should be and what they need to do to contribute to that.

happinessIf you dig deeper and deeper into Caramel what you will find is a hope for the entire universe to be at peace and all to thrive on love and joy. I have all sorts of quirks and oddities, my strengths and my weaknesses, the things I am proud of and those I am ashamed of, the lovely parts of me, the naughty parts of me. But at the end of the day, I want very wonderful things for the entire human race – don’t you!

Does the whole coronavirus phenomenon worry you?  Or are you more a “meh – it’s just another severe flu scare” type of person?

Hmm. That’s a good question. It’s an important question.

From what we know of the virus so far, I personally have little to fear if I was infected myself. Someone of my age can expect a relatively mild illness that lasts for around a week or so.

However, I have grave fear for the wonderful vintage generation. Those who have inspired and encouraged us and been there for us when we needed them – well they are at great risk.

I am concerned because although I have seen some people panicking, I have also heard others make remarks that indicate they don’t think it’s a big deal. I was talking to a man in his seventies today. He said he is self-employed and there is no way he is able to give up work. He also said he would not want to be told he could not see his grandkids. He is worried about his holiday in May. He does not want to be told that he can’t go by the government. I came away from that conversation wondering whether he gets what is happening, what is about to happen.

We are being asked to take very seriously the advice on handwashing regularly and thoroughly. Currently here in the UK, we are being asked to strictly self-isolate if we have a fever or a cough. It seems very likely that during the weeks and months ahead we will be asked to take further measures. It may well be particularly our older generation who are asked to self-isolate. We are mindful that this could be very challenging for their emotional health. We are being asked to think of everything we can to cheer them up and make them know how much we love them, how precious they are to us.

There is great concern for our older generation. They will be worst hit. We want to try as much as possible to reduce the peak of the outbreak, “flatten the curve”, delay the spread (it will spread, but we want it to spread slowly rather than rapidly). Why? Because many of our most vulnerable will need intensive or extensive hospital care. We want to make sure that care provisions are available.

This is not a time for panic. It is not a time to horde toilet rolls. But it is a time to listen and obey. It is very important to be unselfish. It might be inconvenient, there may well be financial losses, but we are all much more concerned with the loss of life ahead. Some of the most wonderful people we know, people who have worked hard for decades, reared families, been steady and reliable, generous and hospitable, shrewd and practical – so many of that special generation who saw things like the second world war, rationing, and many challenges and changes – we now want to protect them as best as we possibly can.

They are a wonderful and priceless asset to us. Even before the weeks and months ahead, I am already sensing the sadness and grief to come. Your older family members or neighbours are at great risk. So please please please take this seriously. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. If you have a fever or a cough please please please self isolate.

When was the last time you were snooping, and found something you wish you hadn’t?

Snooping! Me! Never!

Well…I was not deliberately snooping. I was helping a friend to move some furniture around their office. I was with them the whole time moving things as per their directions. They asked me to open a drawer to look for something. This friend had obviously forgotten that they had hid some slightly embarrassing material in that drawer. It was a photo of a woman’s derriere from a particular angle.

As soon as my friend saw my face, he jumped across the room to close the drawer! He was obviously embarrassed. I tried not to make too big a deal of it. Although I was shocked to see the photo myself, it did not surprise me that he had images that I guess would fall under the category of pornography. He is a guy who likes women (note I deliberately used the plural). By the looks of things, he likes a nice round derriere.

But it was his office, his desk…none of my business.  Still I laughed.

What’s the most pleasant sounding accent in your personal opinion? Everyone has a pleasing accent to someone!

Ooooh…I do love an Australian accent nowadays.

I have some colleagues who are French. I love to listen to them chatter away. Their conversations sound so beautiful. I often have no idea what they are talking about – it could be the price of bread for all I know. But it sounds poetic and romantic and sigh…just lovely.


Gratitude

Your chance to share your joy!

Joy…My joy! Ahhhhhh! Life on planet earth!

I see the earth thriving, and all it’s creatures thriving. I see war, crime, disease and death as long forgotten. I see all the damage done since Adam’s choosing independence from our Creator being undone.

My hope and joy is anchored on the Creator, the giver of life. He alone can undo the damage. He alone can restore life to those who have lost iit unjustly. He alone can wipe our tears and heal our hearts.

There is nothing, nothing, that he cannot undo.

Lighter And Brighter

londsprIt’s getting lighter each day. Despite the grey rainy days, I have noticed the days are getting longer. Today is looking delightful, and I suspect I know the reason why.

On this glorious day of Jack’s return, I am trying to make the time go faster by doing finding little tasks around my flat and adding to some of the unfinished posts in my drafts folder, There are a couple of award posts taking me ages to complete. But they will be finished eventually – little by little.

But my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post for this week has been much quicker to finish. Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has given us some light bright lovely questions this week, as you can see from her original SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/03/02/share-your-world-3-2-2020/

QUESTIONS

Can you bake a cake?

If I have a recipe in front of me, then yes, absolutely – I CAN BAKE! Without a recipe, I would not know where to begin. My brain does not retain baking instructions. I just read and obey baking recipes and it almost always works out a treat!

Here were the cakes I made last year for THE 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF!!!

What’s one thing that can instantly make your day better?

My sister Milly calling me. Any of my family calling me really. But I am especially close to Milly.

There are lots of things that can make the day better – from blue skies, to people’s smiles, flowers in bloom, the smell of the local artisan bakeries. There are so many little lovely nuggets of delight everywhere I go.

When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your sandwich or not?

saI think I did actually. I also remember going off white bread at a very early age and preferring wholemeal. My parents told us to eat up every crumb.

We were very active children. Most children are active I suppose, but I think we were especially active. Three times a week we would go straight from school to the local swimming baths. We would be there for anywhere between four to six hours swimming up and down, up and down. We climbed trees, we  played football and all sorts of other energetic activities. We needed our food to keep us running round like that.

memsoOne of my favourite memories from childhood is when Mum would take us on impromptu picnics in the summer. She was studying for her Open University degree in psychology. In the summer she would make jam sandwiches and pack a big carton of milk into cooler. Then Mum, Mandy, Milly and me would head up to the county park behind out house. She would find somewhere to lay her picnic blanket so that she could study in the sunshine, while us three girls were climbing trees and playing Hide and Seek. Happy memories. I don’t remember any of us being fussy about crusts.

Memories! I want picnics with Jack to build happy memories!

What’s something your family would be surprised to learn about you?

I can’t think of much that my family don’t know about me. I don’t have an answer really. Am I supposed to be springing surprises on my family?


GRATITUDE IS AN ATTITUDE!

Please feel free to share some gratitude from this past week!

llosprriThe thing I am most grateful for at the moment, is that Jack is back with me in London! I have missed him so much!

It felt as if to welcome Jack back to England, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the sky turned a beautiful blue! Jack is back…the world is a happier place for it!

Jack and Caramel…happy times ahead! He will be next to me again tonight.

 

In The Dark

I am late again! So much to do, so little time! I don’t like to miss the weekly SHARE-TOUR-WORLD questions provided by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. This is her original SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/24/share-your-world-2-24-2020/

Questions

What do you think of best friends of the opposite sex?  Or to put it another way “Can men and women ever be platonic friends?  Doesn’t sex always get in the way?”  

platonicI don’t want to be dogmatic about a question like this. But a lot of the relationships I have had with men have ended up with one or the other of us developing a crush on the other at some point. If the feelings are not reciprocated, then sometimes it’s been no big deal, other times it has become awkward.

I have lots of friends who are of the opposite sex. But best friends? If I was so close to a man to call him my best friend. I think there would be an attraction there. Touch…you know hugs and sitting close together and hands…it can so easily lead into more. Before you know it…I fear we’d be at it like rabbits!

What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome?

Some of you might recall that for over eighteen months this blog was called CRUSHED CARAMEL. I changed it just a couple of months ago because a situation that had crushed me was resolved to a large extent.

gosI faced a situation that was new to me. I didn’t face bullying at school. I was on the school sports teams and in Set One for everything. I had lots of friends. But I was just over thirty when I started to be the target of what I can only describe as teasing that developed into something very malicious. It started because of Jack taking an interest in me. At first it was just teasing from people that knew us.

That teasing advanced though. As it spread, it warped into something very different from teasing. I was called so many cruel names. I was called a tart, a slapper, a slut, a slag, a whore, a witch and other names. In addition I was called miserable, ugly, fat and grotesque. People claimed all sorts about the relationship between Jack and I, especially after he moved into the huge flat I was living in (six of us shared an enormous flat. We had our own rooms and bathrooms but shared a massive kitchen dining area.

cruThe worst of the comments came from strangers in their comments on social media. Social media is not my world, but friends showed me what was being said about me. I became upset and I made a hash of addressing the issue with Jack. I was too emotional. He wanted me to ignore what was being said. But I found it hard to.

Looking back the worst comments came from strangers. But people I saw every day, friends and colleagues were teasing me. Most of the teasing from those I knew was fairly innocent, it was more along the lines of Jack and I being a couple (even though we weren’t) but some of it was becoming outrageous. The people who were allowing their humour to become more and more shocking were laughing, and I think they thought I was laughing along with them.

annie disappointedThe truth is, I found it hard to separate the outrageous teasing from my friends from the vicious insults that came from strangers. It was two years of not being able to go anywhere without someone mentioning Jack and I. (He and I were not even on speaking terms.) It seemed to be an inescapable situation.

Over those two years of nastiness, my self esteem eroded, my relationships with friends suffered as I started to resent the comments they were making about Jack and I. I kept on pushing myself, I was working at least 40 hours a week as an international volunteer. I was pushing myself to socialize with people, even though I didn’t feel like it. I was also swimming twice a week, running for around fifteen miles a week (three or four times a week I would run), playing basketball and going to a boot camp. I was hardly eating. I hated the photos other people had taken of me without my permission and posted on social media.

By the end of those two years, I was battling despair. I thought Jack hated me. I had no idea who was my friend, who I could trust. I hid the situation from my family because I did not want them to know how much I was suffering. One night just after my birthday, I felt that I could not go home. I had seen Jack four times that day, and I could not bear to see him again, it hurt so much. Instead I went to a park and sat on a bench and cried.

distressedWhen I arrived it was light (it was the end of June, when the days are longest), but I sat there lost in my sadness until it was dark and there was nobody around me. At some stage a man sat next to me on that bench. Anyway…I don’t feel like writing about what happened, but the next morning a security guard found me unconscious and my head bloody.

So, my answer to this question is…all of this was a struggle to overcome. It took some time to rebuild Melody Finch. But look at the outcome…Jack and I have ended up in love! Who would have thought!!!

What is the darkest thought you’ve ever had? What about the darkest thing you’ve done that you’ve never told anybody about? 

illDarkest thought? I don’t really know. I think my thoughts had been darkening during those two years I mentioned above. I had come to feel I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up ever again. But perhaps it was worse when I was in a hospital bed a couple of days after I was attacked (a security guard found me in the bushes and called an ambulance) and feeling desperately sad. I felt very alone.

Throughout the previous two years, I had kept going despite the cruel things said about me. I kept giving, I kept on pushing myself. But I remember when I was in hospital thinking to myself that there was nothing left to give. I felt completely hollowed out.

loneThe two years of bullying I had endured before the night I was attacked had fractured so many relationships with people around me in London. My thoughts had gradually darkened and it had insidiously pushed me more and more into a state of emotional isolation from people I knew. Constantly putting a brave face on and pretending I was happy, when the truth was that I was crushed by the cruelty.

So at first, I did not know who to call. I didn’t want to be a burden to my family. I knew they would be devastated by what had happened. But I remember a passage from Psalm 139 came into my mind. Memory is a funny thing isn’t it? But at that moment, I could recite every word from Psalm 139, including the verse:

Even the darkness would not be too dark for you,

But night would be as bright as the day;

Darkness is the same as light to you.

daI remembered a friend of mine explaining that we might feel trapped in a state of mental darkness, unable to see any bright future, swamped by gloomy thoughts. That kind of darkness can be a scary place. But our Creator can see our situation as clear as day. he knows exactly what it will take to help us to recover.

Those words brought me enormous strength when I needed it. I realized that my sister Mandy was the person to call. I was sure she would be less emotional than the rest of my family and that she was very practical. That’s what I needed right then.

What is your least favorite food?

broaBroad beans. I have been vegetarian since I was six years old, but the one vegetable/legume I cannot get on with is (or should that be “are”?) broad beans!

Other than that, I don’t really have any strong dislikes. I love variety. I won’t eat anything that used to have a face…and I try to avoid broad beans wherever I can. I love trying new flavours.


Gratitude

Share a thought, write a story or poem or share a meme about gratitude.  If you’d like to.  As with the other questions, this is optional.  

I wanted to share this for a little while. I have a postcard perched on to of the alarm pad next to my front door. I look at it almost every day. It is a lovely thought to leave the house with. I never know what the world is throw at me. But, I am ready for it.

I am not a fan of cheesy quotes…but I love this one, and the way it lifts my spirits everytime I leave my little nest.

IMG_20200301_185244

 

Gold Stars, Super Stars, Seeing Stars

heasIt’s a very late entry from me for this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD. This week has been tough. Nothing out of the ordinary – just working too many hours and suffering blinding headaches! But, I keep on telling myself to keep going and if things don’t look as if they weill change – I will give my notice in and find more suitable paid work.

It is always a pleasure to answer the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions provided by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, and although late, I hope my post was worth the wait!

This is Melanie’s original SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/17/share-your-world-2-17-2020/

QUESTIONS:

How can someone win a gold star (i.e. win your approval and/or admiration) with you?

Ooooh, great question!

Woman, Old, Senior, Female, ElderlyI guess be human. What I mean by that is I feel drawn to people who are not afraid to admit their weaknesses. I find it endearing. Of course I am drawn to beautiful qualities like kindness and industriousness. There are many people I admire. But of all the wonderful qualities I am drawn to is HUMILITY.

There are some amazing people on this planet, and most of them are packaged in an ordinary exterior that you might easily walk past without realizing how extraordinary they are.

My best friends are those who had struggles and won my admiration by the way they battled with challenges. They found a lifelong place in my heart.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

tearDance! Dance like a superstar! Well, that is the at the top of my list. I would love to have more time to kick my shoes off and dance to my favourite tunes. I manage my time well. I am able to keep on top of work, studying, housework, keeping in touch with friends and family and lots of other important aspects of my life.

If there was a bit more time in the day, I would like to do some of the things I enjoy for pure fun.

There are a lot of things I would love to do if I had more time. But I will have more time! A lot more time. So I am content that right now, I have to give attention to the more important things and make the most of my spare time.

Do you have a favorite type of exercise?

walskSince my head injuries, walking is the best form of exercise for me. I have to be careful with more strenuous exercise. When I have tried running I have blacked out several times. It’s not good. I even have to be careful dancing – yeah, it sucks! Too vigorous and I will be on the floor seeing stars!

Before I was attacked, I ran a lot, an average of fifteen miles every week. I loved basketball which I played every Friday. I also went to a boot camp every Thursday, which was awesome.

I am also a lifelong swimmer. But after a couple of scary experiences (after my head injuries) I need to go swimming with a friend.

Do you sleep with a top sheet? Why or why not?

I do. I think it’s just the habit of a lifetime.

I love making my bed look lovely! Making the bed look pristine and inviting has been an art I enjoyed since I was in my late teens. In my school days, I would not have cared at all.

In the past I had a top sheet and several blankets. I think many people would wash their sheets, pillow cases, and duvet covers once a week. If you used woolen blankets, they would be washed less frequently.

Anyway, now I have a duvet, which is snuggly warm. I have a summer duvet and a winter duvet. Twice a year they have a trip to the laundrette to be washed and tumble dried. I guess the idea of a top sheet is that it is another layer between you and an item of bedding that is not washed as frequently.

This is the official song of bed making apparently:

This is your space to write about anything you’d like

What? Anything? Ooooooh…what do I want to write about? How about Part Two of my LEARNERS AT LOVE Series?

Surprise surprise! WHERE IS THIS PLACE THEY CALL “HOME”? in Kindle format is on Amazon right now! The paperback is on it’s way!

Life’s Little Pleasures

blaWell…it’s Wednesday. All the days seem to be blurring into one giant conveyor belt of work, work, work and very little play at the moment. I went through a minute wobble yesterday at work, where I thought I was going to burst into tears and cry “I can’t do this anymore!” However, then my manager arrived, and I witnessed her have a horrendous afterternoon and still hold herself together. That made me feel better. Aaaaah! Sigh. Most of patients are great, but occasionally we receive abuse extraordinaire!!!

To cheer myself up, I came home and worked on my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post. Writing is one of life’s pleasures. I am sure you know that these questions are provided by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. This is Melanie’s original post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/10/share-your-world-2-10-2020/

Questions

Do you snore?  How do you know it, if you do?

snoI don’t think I am a regular snorer, because nobody has ever mentioned it.

But I am sure that when I have a cold and my nose is all bunged up I have snored. I am sure I have woken myself up with my blocked nose snoring.

I think I have always been on my back when I have been aware of stuffy blocked up nose snoring. Usually I would roll back onto my side and breathe in some olbas oil to try to decongest my nasal passages.

What do you find funny? 

I grew up in Liverpool. Teasing seemed to be a part of daily life. Honestly, I liked that. We laughed at ourselves, we laughed at each other. It’s harder to enjoy nowadays because not everyone likes that mild sarcasm. But it’s still a very dominant aspect of the humour within our family.

comI also sort of find it funny when someone does that fake boasting/showing off thing. For example, a colleague was talking the other day about how she has had to recognise her stress limits. She said that she has come to realize she is not Superwoman. To which I immediately replied, “You can’t be Superwoman because I am.”

Or if someone pays me a compliment (I always feel a little bit cringey when I receive praise), I have a habit of saying, “Well, my father has been telling me I’ perfect for years, and I used to think that’s just Dad being biased. But when other people tell me the same, I start to think maybe I am pretty amazing afterall!” Hee hee! The look on people’s faces!!

I like that kind of exaggerated statement kind of humour. Especially when someone is dramatic along with it. I love physical comedy and impersonations (so long as they are not cruel.)

What was the last furry thing you touched?

coaSome of my friends have pets, but I have been busy these past few weeks, so have not seen many of them. Other than some friends of mine who have dogs (I went up to Hampstead for the day and we walked their dogs), I think the last thing I touched that was furry was the faux fur trim on Jack’s parker. He has an expensive coat, with a big hood. It is useful for him to have a big hood sometimes.

It gets a bit old when strangers recognise him and want to chat to him. One or two in an afternoon is alright. But I think two interruptions to our time together is my limit. After that I appreciate if Jack and I can just be left alone.

How do you handcuff a one-armed man?

I guess you would handcuff them to something or someone else. I don’t know. I have never thought about it. Hopefully this hypothetical man will have enough sense not to get arrested, and not to need handcuffing!


Gratitude

This week I challenge you to list five things you’re grateful for.   

annie asleep swissFive things…I could easily give you five things. There are so many things I am grateful for! But thinking back to this past week:

  • I am grateful for sleep. I have been working so many long hours. I just love slipping into bed and drifting away into unconsciousness.
  • I am grateful for my colleagues. They all work very hard. We are very short-staffed, and it is tiring. But seeing how hard the whole team works does help me to endure. If people were messing around and wasting time, it would be harder.
  • Marks And Spencers Food Hall. I keep nipping in after a long day at work. I have had some lovely M&S food this past month.
  • I am grateful that even though he is away, Jack keeps in contact every day. He is a keeper!
  • I am very grateful for all the wonderful support and encouragement from other bloggers and writers on WordPress. I am grateful to all those who host prompts and challenges, which have helped me to find my own style of writing. This past weekend, my first ever book went live on Amazon. In the acknowledgments, I expressed my thanks to those on WordPress who have made it possible for me to hold a copy of a story I wrote in paperback!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thank you to the amazing group of writers and bloggers who use WordPress and have provided support, encouragement and inspiration during my epic writing journey.

Special thanks to:

Kim, whose writing prompt inspired Annabelle’s story

http://www.writersideoflife.com/

and

Paula, who helped Annabelle’s story become a real book

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

A Breath Of Fresh Air

wodslI have the afternoon off work! Yayyyy! I am going to go out for a walk and fill my lungs with some fresh air. Well, that is a relative term for London air!

This is my post for this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions! I am sure you know it, but these delightful questions come from the wonderful Melanie, creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Take a peek at Melanie’s original post below and see all of the other bloggers sharing some of their world this week:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/03/share-your-world-2-3-2020/

QUESTIONS

When was the last time you tried something new?

IMG_20200205_161039If we are talking about food, I am always on the lookout for fresh flavours for my tastebuds to trial. I have been vegetarian since I was six years old. For many years I had a fairly boring diet, and finding new flavours became very important to me. I tried the new Greggs vegan steak bake recently. I think I prefer their vegan sausage roll. Oh and then there is The Cornish Pasty Company – they have some lovely vegan options that are quite exciting There is a limit to how much pastry I can face in a normal week, but I will look out for them when I am on my travels around London.

I have a number of “foodie” friends and they often give me something they have recently discovered to try for myself. A friend of mine bought me a jar of passionfruit curd. I have always loved lemon curd. Who would have thought passionfruit curd would be so delicious!

leosI recently tried a vegan burger from Leon. It was yummy! Because it has been January / Veganuary, there have been lots of new vegan products to try. I have enjoyed most of them. I love their lentil masala, and their cheesy jackfruit bites. I also liked their vegan hot chocolate which I had made with coconut milk. One or two of the savoury vegan products I tried tasted too much of coconut for my liking, but everything else was lovely.

IMG_20200205_161241Jack bought me a jar of sea salted caramel spread just before he went away. I have tried caramel spreads aplenty, but this one tastes just perfect!

I have been working in a medical field again these past few months (after over a twelve month gap away from anything medical). I really do like the team I work with. They are wonderful, everyone of them. But during my normal shifts (I have done a lot of overtime to help them out recently) the colleague who I work with most is always getting me to try something new to me. She is a lovely person and I like the way she teaches me. It does feel like every shift I work with her I try to do something new to me.

I must admit my friends and I are like hungry vultures! We talk about new food, new cafes and restaurants a lot! I guess I try new recipes on a regular basis, new cafes and restaurants. My friends sometimes take me to places that are new to me. I like discovering new music. There is a fair amount of NEW that I encounter in my life and enjoy.

If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?

Well, I have an emergency backpack under my bed with some useful things inside it already:

  • Photocopies of important documents like a passport, birth certificate, driver’s license
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food. (Every year we check the food in our grab-bags is still in date)
  • First aid kit
  • Wind-up torch
  • Wind-up radio (not to listen to my favourite tines)
  • Some cash
  • A list of important contact details and phone-numbers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Several pairs of clean underwear
  • A little purse with a fold away toothbrush and toothpaste and soap in it
  • A tiny fold up microfiber towel that opens up to be the size of a bath-sheet

Backpack, Bag, Woman, Girl, FemaleIf I was told I had the time to add a few things, I guess I would probably stop to add some of the contents of my handbag and some other useful things. I have a bunch of keys which has front door keys for all of my close family member’s homes. I would pop that in the back-pack, My little basic phone, it’s charger, and my debit card would go in. My London A-Z maps book.

I don’t know how much space I would have left, but maybe I should grab my sleeping bag? I would make sure I was wearing my walking boots and my fleece and waterproof. I might add a notebook and a couple of pens or a pencil. I have a very small pocket Bible too. I would make sure I had written down all the important phone numbers of my close family and friends and I was not just relying on my phone to be able to contact my loved ones.

Nobody really can know for sure when they are going to have to grab whatever is in reach and run run run!

What simple fact do you wish more people understood?

Simple fact? I feel a bit cautious with this question. Everything that has popped into my head seems a bit patronising! But meeting volunteers who work part-time and keep their life simple was a huge breath of fresh air to me as a teenager. I met them at just the right time. Before I complicated my life with debt.

desI guess I am baffled by how many people spend their time/life to reaching the goals this system thrusts in front of them. Students study at university, often accruing thousands of pounds of student debt. They have no choice but to then take on a full-time job (some of which are soul-destroying) to start repaying the debt. The first big pat on the back they receive from this system is when they are told they can have a mortgage to buy a box to live in and call their own. That means they are now trapped for many years to come working full time to repay the mortgage.

So far I have managed to avoid all of that. I have avoided debt, I have lived in beautiful homes, none of which were my own, mostly rent free (in exchange for being “security” when the owners were abroad).

basicAs a volunteer I have been provided with basic accommodation (sometimes I was in my sleeping bag on the floor wedged in between a bunch of other volunteers, but mostly we had a bed to sleep in). I have learnt many many new skills in a wide variety of fields, travelled all over the UK and several other lands, worked with many people of other cultures and languages and made wonderful friends for life.

Although I have not been paid wages for all the work I have done as a volunteer, it has been incredibly enriching and simply a wonderfully exciting life! The thought of being tied to full time paid work to pay for a box is suffocating to me.

Buildings, Skyscraper, Sky, CloudsThe way this system works is frankly baffling to me. I have fought against it’s mindset since I was a child because I saw it as unhealthy. I have been inspired by people who have managed to avoid becoming a slave to this system. One of the stories I have heard many times, I included in a post. I think it highlights the trap of being sucked into a system that defines success in a way that does not make sense: There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Fish

So, I guess I do wonder why many people fall into the trap of pursuing the goals and dreams that this system suggests. Why people celebrate having a stressful full-time job that robs you of really getting out there and living and enjoying creation and the rest of the human race? Why people celebrate being given a mortgage that will enslave them for many years? The attitude many have towards debt is quite alarming to me.

What food item do you go through fastest in your house?

Hummus, Chickpeas, Paste, Basil, FoliageI eat a lot of salad. Every day I have a large portion of fresh salad vegetables.

I go through a lot of hummus each week. (I make my own.) I experiment with flavours. Coriander, basil, or sun-dried tomatoes, beetroot, caramelized onions, spices. I am always looking for new ideas to give a different flavour to hummus.

I have been vegetarian for years but I am not very good with dairy anymore, so hummus has become one of my staples.

GRATITUDE

Please feel free to share something that really makes you happy!

mesaI love seeing messages from people I love. Sometimes text messages, but because those close to me know I don’t use my mobile phone much, most of my loved ones send me emails.

I love emails from friends and family. Most of them are volunteers and work on projects both in this country and all over the world. When I come home from a long day of work and look at my inbox, there are messages and photos from my loved ones near and far. My heart lifts to see them and it brings me enormous pleasure to read their words and see what they are experiencing in their little corner of this amazing planet.

I love my friends!

Freedom To Dream

woalsI was just working on my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post for this week when I discovered that I still had last week’s in my drafts folder. I had forgotten to publish it – sorry Melanie! There you see in the picture the corner of the globe I reside in, that funny shaped (sometimes frightfully self important) island just a short hop from the mainland of Europe.

Well, I enjoyed answering these questions very much, so I thought I may as well publish last week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD as it seems a pretty cheer post. We all need a bit of cheer don’t we!

Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, gave us the questions I am answering here in last week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD, as you can see from her post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/01/27/share-your-world-1-27-2020/

QUESTIONS

What age would you like to live to?

Freedom, Girl, Dress, Hands Up, BlondeI would like to live so long that age no longer matters. I don’t have plans to slow down or stop living.

I would love to bump into a friend and who asks me how old I am. When I reply, “Oh it must be 4,359,287,341,781,008,371,873 years since I was born”…naturally my friend will say, “You don’t look a day older than the last century when I saw you.”

I would like to see my great great great great great grandchildren have children and grandchildren and great children.

I want to take part to the fullest extent possible in the restoration work after this corrupt system is gone. I want to help build houses and landscape the land in different parts of this planet. I want to see deserts blossoming again. I want to see every inch of this beautiful planet. I want to study whales, especially blue whales. I want to build a boat and sail around the globe in it, as slowly as possible! So that I could visit every bay along the way.

I have huge plans for forever.

What mystery do you wish you knew the answer to?

Stone Arch, Geology, Formation, StoneOh I guess there are things I wonder about. I wonder about rocks. Geology is fascinating, but there are so many things that geology seems to have captured, but it would be incredible to see the reality of what those rocks record.

There are items I have lost over the years, and I could never work out where they went to. I guess I am still curious about where they ended up. I don’t just mean odd socks.

Cream Puff, Strawberries, CreamThen there are baking mysteries. Take choux pastry. I just find it amazing that the way you mix the ingredients that are in other forms of pastry results on this hollowish shell of pastry that you can stuff with whatever you fancy – savoury or sweet. The science behind it is mysterious to me.

There have been personal mysteries over the years. I knew of someone who disappeared. Literally disappeared. His family have been devastated. The police could not find any evidence pointing to “foul play”, so in the end they came to the conclusion that he disappeared of his own accord. But his family and friends have no idea if he is alive or not. It’s heartbreaking.

There are mysteries out there. But I don’t tend to dwell on them in all honesty. There is a lot to keep my mind busy. Smaller mysteries might not even matter in the passing of time. Bigger mysteries, well I think many of them will be solved eventually.

Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?

of great interestIt so often has. This is one of the reasons why human rulerships fail.

Wasn’t it the Stanford Prison Experiment that provided a shocking example of what being in a position of dominance can do to people?

I think people have different ideas as to how to behave once in an authoritative or responsible role. I have worked with some amazing “superiors”, who really cared about us, ensured our working conditions were good and that we understood our assignment and had sufficient training. They took a personal interest in us. They were humble and listened. They encouraged us and inspired us. Most importantly, they set the example. they did not expect us to do anything that they were not willing to do themselves!

I can’t abide those who “lord it over” others. Demanding others follow their orders blindly without dignifying them. When someone in a responsible position is tempted by the offer of personal gains, whether it be financial, material, sexual or other “advantages”, it takes someone with integrity to shun those who want them to misuse their authority.

cruslI also find it very uncomfortable when people display an inflated pride in their race or the wealth and accomplishments of the country they were born in or reside in, whilst glossing over the criminal acts that have resulted in enriching of the nation.

Take the country I reside in. It makes you sick when you realize some of the cruel abuses of power that led to England becoming wealthier and wealthier. How can anyone in their right mind view the mercenary domination of others as “greatness”? It is shameful and despicable. The wealth of this country and others was often gained when people in other lands were abused. That is still the case today.

What some corrupt rulers will do to cling onto their authority is alarming. We know what rulers will do in the future to try to maintain their power. That will highlight the extent of their corruption. They will commit the crime that receives their final judgment.

What outdoor activity haven’t you tried, but would like to?

yekspOh…there are many I have tried, but I guess even more that I have not tried.

I guess I would love to learn how to surf or maybe windsurf one day. Surfing looks like so exhilarating, and I am a complete water baby, so I think it would be something I would love!

One day during forever, I think I might like to spend time near a beach known for great waves, and learn how to surf properly.

GRATITUDE

Please free free to share some gratitude from your world!

Mountain, Nature, Panoramic, SkyBlue skies. For the past week of so, we have had a lot of blue skies and sunshine. It’s still winter, but the sunshine and blue skies just elicit the biggest smiles. It’s lovely!

There is a freshness in the air and signs of life to come are everywhere I look! I am feeling more and more excited as the days pass for the spring and summer ahead. My head is full of dreams of sharing them with Jack!