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Lake Lovely

When I am feeling energetic (and, quite often, when I am not) I go walking after work.  I wish I could say I am diligent and do this every day, but I would be a liar.  I usually manage about three times a week, which is a bit pathetic, but it’s better than nothing.  This is what I tell myself anyway.

Some afternoons I go walking along the beach, which is lovely and scenic and blows the cobwebs of the workday away;  most days, however, I walk around the local lake, which is on my way home and provides me with a nice, easy, 3.5km route.

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Because I am generally quite lazy, it is good to have a circular route to walk – it means I just keep going until I get back to where I started.  I don’t have to think about it.  I don’t get tempted to turn around and head back either.  The lake also has multiple paths; some of them meander through the bush so you can jog a bit and no one can see you ha ha.  I don’t run in public unless I can be sure I don’t have witnesses.  No one needs to see that.

The lake is populated by LOTS of birdlife.  Swans, ducks, moorhen, and herons, as well as my favourite, the pelicans, and some long-necked tortoises, which I am yet to spot.

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As it is breeding season for many of the birds, there are cute, fluffy bundles of downy joy dotted around the lake, following their parents around and getting up to mischief.  There are plenty of reeds and other plant life to provide happy nesting spots and hideaways for the vulnerable babies.

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I am dying to see some cygnets.  I love the black swans – they are so majestic and beautiful.  There are a couple at the lake that have allowed me to get quite close – sometimes they waddle up to me of their own accord.  During breeding season, they can become a little bit aggressive and protective of their offspring, which is totally understandable.  It’s best to keep your distance at those times and give them their space.  Even if you do want to run headlong into those gorgeous, grey, fluffy cygnets and squeeze them in an adoring cuddle.  It’s not really recommended.

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There are also lots of cormorants.  I adore them.  Those funny webbed feet!  The fluffy, shaggy feathers on their plump bellies and chest!  The almost bat-like wings!  The way they dry themselves in the sun, holding up their wings like laundry!  The way they hiss at me when I get too close and annoy them with my photo-taking! 🙂

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The lone egret is a tricky individual to photograph.  He doesn’t like being bothered and you can’t get too close before he flies off.  It could also be because I have mistakenly been calling him a heron, and he’s not.  I have offended him and now he doesn’t want a bar of me, or my camera.  So all my shots of him are blurry (because I am far away and have zoomed my camera in).  It’s very inconsiderate of him, to be honest.

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Towards sunset, the lake takes on a magical quality.  I tend to keep stopping to take photos, which is not really making efficient use of my exercise time, but hey, the sky and water is so pretty at night!  It’s hard to take a bad photo, to be honest.

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I am always on the lookout for new places to walk ; it’s nice to have a change of scenery and some different landscapes/wildlife to look at.  The lake, for now, remains one of my favourites.  Easy to get to, easy parking, lots of people around (for safety’s sake) and lots of lovely birdies for me to photograph.  I am lucky to have these spaces to utilise and enjoy, and get that much-needed exercise.  That egret will just have to get used to me because I’m going to keep coming back 🙂

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Winter is Coming (and why I’m not going to complain about it so much this year)

I hate Winter.  I have said this many, many times.  I hate it so much that now, when it is actually still Autumn, I am already complaining and wearing scarves and boots and generally walking around being miserable with a definite case of SAD.  I hate that I have to wear trousers and jeans – ugh!  I hate that my fingers ache and my nose is red and I can’t feel my toes.  I hate that my hair goes from being a bit mad, to downright mental and ridiculous.  I spend several months looking like a drowned, frizzy rat.

I hate that the mornings are so cold and dark, and getting up is not only miserable but confusing (Body : Why are we getting out of bed?  It’s pitch black outside – surely it is not morning yet, you stupid girl!). I hate that everyone else whinges about the heat in Summer (which lasts for about three seconds, as opposed to Winter which lasts FOREVER!!!) and “enjoys” the cooler days.  Bah humbug to them, I say!

But then, after the events of this week in Manchester,  I stopped hating Winter quite so much.  Because I’m sure that all of the parents that lost children in that attack would trek through snow and ice, in bare feet, carrying the weight of the world on their back, just to see their loved ones again.  I’m cold – they’ve lost a child.  There’s no contest there.  Teenagers and adults also lost their lives – they will never feel the sting of Winter again, never get to complain about cold feet or rain-frizzed hair, never get to snuggle up with the people they love and enjoy a hot cup of tea.

The world is so scary right now.  I don’t know how it will ever get better.  And, although we are all focused on Manchester right now, there are of course incidents like this happening all over the world, in many different countries, and we tend to become jaded and desensitised about it, especially when it isn’t happening in our own backyard.  People live with this kind of terror every single day, for years on end, and it barely gets reported or, if it does, it comes somewhere down the list below some football team winning a championship and Taylor Swift’s latest relationship.

I don’t claim to know anything about politics, religion, or world affairs, or much about anything, really.  I tend to not watch the news because it’s so dreadfully depressing and upsetting.  I find myself just NOT WANTING TO KNOW.  Which is bad, I know, but I feel helpless and sad and anxious when I see/hear things I can’t do anything about.  And nowhere feels safe anymore.  And I have little people in my life who are just starting out and I fear for them so much.  I just pray that they are the change the world needs to see.  I have to believe that their beautiful spirits and hearts can make things better.

I don’t know where I am going with this post.  My heart hurts and I am just feeling cold, inside and out, and Winter cannot be blamed this time.

Be kind to one another.  Be understanding.  Show tolerance and acceptance and empathy.  We have to stop this happening over and over again.

x

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Word Book

Sometimes I lose my words.  Not just when I’m talking, but also when I am crafting and using actual words.  Like, cut-out-of-books words, that I use for mixed-media projects.  Teeny, tiny little scraps of paper with EXACTLY THE RIGHT WORDS ON THEM THAT SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR WHEN I COUGH OR SNEEZE OR START WHISTLING.  Or, I cut them out and leave it on my desk where God only knows what could happen.  Because once something ends up on my desk, it is lost in no man’s land, never to be found again (or, at least, not until I’ve given up and used a completely different word which changes the whole meaning of the piece).

So, my Mum, ever the organised and, let’s face it, more mature adult, suggested I make a little word book, with all those little-bitty scraps in them, all neatly set out and ready to use.  Her idea is simple : stick the adhesive strip at the top of Post-It Notes onto a page in a photo album (the kind where you slip the photos in to little sleeves) and – voila! – you have created a perfect receptacle for your words, sentences and letters.  You stick the adhesive strip (sticky side up) onto the pages with double sided tape and then just pop your words on top.  They stay in place, the adhesive isn’t sticky enough to make the page get stuck inside the sleeve, and everything is hunky-dory, neat and tidy.  Genius!

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So, instead of losing those words, or having to hunt through piles of junk on your desk to find them, you have a perfectly organised little file, which saves you time and energy.  So you can concentrate on finishing your crafty projects, word art, or collages, and feel good knowing you have created some order in your messy life.  I don’t know about you, but I need all the order and calmness I can get right now.

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Hope this has been helpful.  You can thank my Mum 🙂

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Easy Lemon Delicious

Lemon Self-Flagellation Pudding. When you’re sad and hating yourself for being a not very good human being, cook a guilt-laden dessert for yourself and shove it in your gob. Salty tears and a scoop of remorse add a little savoury note.

It’s been a rough week.  I hurt someone’s feelings and I feel terrible about it.  I’ve apologised and I think they’ve forgiven me but I can’t get the yuckiness out of my brain.

 I’ve had to say goodbye to people this week, a dear friend lost her beloved four-legged best friend, I’m anxious and tired, and everything seems tricky and hard.

Feeling miserable and sad and not liking myself very much, I turned to food.  Because that’s what I do.  I have been trying so hard to be good but last night was NOT the time to be disciplined.  So, baking was on the agenda.  The fat and sugar-laden agenda.

I had some lemons that were beckoning me (they’re fruit – that’s healthy, right?) and I was not looking to create anything too difficult or taxing on my limited energy.  I wanted comfort food.  I wanted sweet, lemony, saucy comfort food.  So I made a Lemon Delicious Self-Saucing Pudding.  And then ate pretty much all of it.  Hating myself with every bite. Crying over the bowl as I stood at the kitchen counter.

I use this recipe from Best Recipes.com – it’s easy and fool-proof and takes no time at all to whip up and devour.  Which is good if you want to bake it and eat it in record time so there’s no evidence of your bad adulting left behind. Unless of course your brother comes home and catches you, standing in your PJs, sobbing into a steaming hot baking dish, your face smeared with lemon sauce and cake crumbs.

Lemon Delicious (Self-Saucing Pudding)

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon rind grated
  • 2 tbs butter melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon rind grated
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180C.
Sift the flour and pinch of salt together.
Add sugar and grated lemon rind, mixing well. Stir in melted butter, vanilla and milk.
Turn into a greased, ovenproof dish with deep sides.

Sauce: Sprinkle mixture with the sugar and lemon rind.
Combine boiling water and lemon juice and carefully pour over the mixture in the dish.
Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tears optional 🙂

 

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Ellis Brook Reserve

I am unfit.  There is no denying this when you are struggling to ascend a set of roughly-constructed bush stairs and you’re wheezing so loudly you’re scaring the local wildlife.  Yes.  That is me.  Two sets of stairs in on a recent hike through Ellis Brook Reserve and I am starting to see stars and pass out.  But, to be fair, I am a little bit anaemic at the moment and I was trying to keep up with girls half my age as they whizzed up the hill on their skinny little legs.  I also did not warm up properly, nor was I actually expecting such a rough and steep climb.  Preparation – apparently not my thing.

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However, wheezing and near-death experiences aside, Ellis Brook Reserve is a very picturesque place to hike.  The terrain is a little rough and not really suitable for a gentle Sunday stroll.  My friend and I went with a new group and none of us had ever been before, so no one knew what to expect (you can read travel guides but unless you’re actually doing the walk yourself, it can be tricky to gauge how difficult it will be) but we all went at our own pace and everyone was very patient and considerate of the slower-climbing members (ie me – Miss Fat’n’Fainty).

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The scenery was beautiful, with amazing views down through the valley.  We snuck into the quarry, which is actually fenced off but some lovely soul had cut a hole in the wire so you could squeeze through.  Ah, vandalism, sometimes you can be helpful!  The colours in the rock and surrounding landscape were stunning, as were the bright blue flashes of the little native Splended Fairy Wren (wish I had been fast enough to get a photo – they are just gorgeous).

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Unfortunately, having to watch where we were treading/climbing, for fear of tripping or breaking an ankle, meant we weren’t able to stop and take in the sights as much as I would have liked.  But it was still lovely and made me feel good to be out in the fresh air and not being a slacker (ie staying home, rugged up in bed, on this cold and chilly morning).  The group we hiked with were really friendly and chatty, and made the morning very pleasant indeed.  Apparently, there are a number of trails you can follow and so maybe, next time, we will go on one of the longer ones, which may be less steep and treacherous.  I am very clumsy and have terrible balance, so someone else may find it very easy to hike this particular trail and wonder what the heck I am talking about.  I personally wouldn’t take dogs or kids on the trail we walked, but I did see some people bringing their pooches along with them.

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All in all, a beautiful spot to get some exercise and take in the natural beauty of our gorgeous state, without having to drive a million miles from suburbia.  Worth a look 🙂

Thank you for stopping by.  And a big thank you to all my new followers – your support is very much appreciated! x