Too hot or too cold – that is the question?

With our friends and family in the UK and Europe experiencing sub-zero temperatures and widespread snow, ice and blizzards, and us the subtropical heat of Brisbane, it stirred the question – would you rather be too hot or too cold?

This question first came up when we were living in Adelaide. It was during the Millennium Drought years, which was a period from late 1996 to 2010. It was the summer of 2008 and on this particular day about 45°C. The air-con had packed up and we were lolling on the sofas like sleeping lions, hardly able to move in the inadequate stir from the fan. If you ventured outside, you could feel your eyeballs shrivelling up and the moisture being sucked out of your skin – even the birds had gone silent and the trees were giving up their limbs to the dry heat on a daily basis. This was in the foothills of Adelaide, not even the outback where it would have been far more brutal.

I asked the question to the lolling lions; would you rather be too hot or too cold? The lions were split – half the pack preferred to be too hot and thought it was easier to cool down in the pool or by taking a cold shower and drinking cold drinks. I would prefer to be too cold – even though I hate to be cold and it can take me ages to warm up, I can’t bear having my energy sapped by the heat. At least when you’re cold you can still engage in physical activity – even more so as a way to warm up.

Although Brisbane does not experience the same extreme dry heat as Adelaide, it does have humidity added to the mix. For instance, today, the car thermometer reached 36.5°C (it said so) that’s 33°C but feels like 36.5°C when you add in the humidity. It’s uncomfortable to say the least and I don’t feel like doing ANYTHING at the moment. Domestic chores are at a minimum, my gym membership is in the doldrums and I’m grouchy (just ask Chief!)  How he manages to cycle to and from work every day is beyond me!

Tomorrow I’ll be working up an unpleasant sweat on my daily walk to the train station, before donning winter knitwear to spend an uncomfortably cold eight hours in the over air-conditioned office – crazy I know!

But in these modern times where you and I are lucky enough to have a source of heat – be it a roof over our heads, warm clothes and a hot meal at the end of the day; or a source of cool – be it a pool, fans and cold fresh water to drink, there are millions of people in this world less fortunate who are doing it tough, and during these extreme weather events, even tougher.

Would you rather be too hot or too cold? It’s a trivial question when we put our First World Problems into perspective. Until next time, stay warm, keep cool and above all keep grounded.



You Are Creative – Write Your Own Poem

You Are Creative – Write Your Own Poem

After finding a poem I love for my creativity journal, my next exercise was to write my own poem.

Don’t overthink it. Just create an image or a moment with words. Remember, you are creative. Embrace that creativity and give it a go.

In line with my most recent posts on my relationship with alcohol, the subject for my poem was not far away!

Battle of Wills

You stand before me in anticipated silence,
your firm rounded shoulders willing me to take a hold.
The silence between us is deafening.

You stare at me, and I stare back at you – which one of us will cave in first?
I want to grab you tightly around your neck; I want to twist it until I hear that satisfying series of cracks.
You will not offer a sound, satisfied that you have won.

Sighing, I reach out and touch your cold shoulder.
It’s time for you to lay back down,
It’s time for me to walk away,
Knowing that this time I have won.


You are creative – find a poem you love

You are creative – find a poem you love

Last week I wrote about my ‘you are creative’ journal.  The first page I turned to had me writing down one of my favourite quotes and this week I’m finding a poem I love.  Of course there are lots of wonderful poems out there, If by Rudyard Kipling would be one of them.

The children had several story books by Shirley Hughes following the delightful adventures of Alfie and his little sister Annie Rose. One particular book, the Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook, included a poem called – Fallen Giant; it’s about a tree and how fallen trees make great places to play on but also that once they are down that’s it, they are down for good. I found it powerful – we gotta respect our trees. Here’s the poem, hope you like it.

A big tree
lying down
is like a giant
with torn-out roots
instead of feet.
It’s like a ship
sailing far out to sea,
or a house with many rooms.
It has places to hide
and swing on
and climb along.
A big tree
lying down
is a good place to play.
But you can never make it stand up again.
Not ever.

by Shirley Hughes

Fallen Giant – Shirley Hughes

Be Inspired

Be Inspired

Another birthday has zoomed by and a whole year since writing to myself.  I took a moment to reflect on that post to see how I’m tracking a year on (thighs you still disappoint me but hopefully my latest push at the gym will trim you up. And liver, I’m not sure I’m ready to have the conversation you and I need to have just yet.)  I had a lovely gift from Flossy, my daughter; it’s from the stationery store Kikki.KThrough beautiful Swedish design, we inspire & empower people the world over, to live their best life, every day – is the company philosophy with the moto Dream Do Enjoy Share.  Some of you may be familiar with them – their stores are stationery heaven!  My gift from Flossy was a creativity journal; it will inspire me to embrace my creativity and see the world in new ways.  It has fun prompts, activities and questions to spark the creative in me.

The first thing I completed was my favourite quote which wasn’t easy as it’s hard just to have one favourite quote.  And besides, I’m useless at remembering them. However, one quote that does resonate with me is from Maya Angelou:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will ever forget how you made them feel

Then there’s a quote Flossy used  once which I’d never heard before.  Turns out it’s a Benjamin Franklin quote:

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

That’s a good one isn’t it?

The next thing I’m going to do from my journal is find a poem I love and I know just the one!  Until next time people, be inspired!


Bridging THAT Gap

Today I had the absolute privilege of spending my afternoon at an all female gathering, especially for women from diverse backgrounds. I was invited along by our multi-cultural advisor from work. As a mainstream white woman,  my presence was welcomed to help support and encourage the women to engage and practice their English speaking skills while sharing food, culture, dance and activities. The event provided an opportunity for the women to interact with other women. It was an opportunity for this vulnerable group to come to know and build their confidence around associating with women from other cultural and social backgrounds. Some of the women were refugees and some were asylum seekers and some like me, had emigrated.

We all took a plate to share and mine was cucumber finger sandwiches (crusts off).  Very English-afternoon-tea of me!

By the time I arrived, the hall was abuzz with the general hum generated by a group of women; you know the one, it doesn’t matter the nationality, it’s always the same hum (or din).  After greeting the hosts, I made my way to a table of Nepalese women – two generations.  I introduced myself and pointed to my hand-written name badge, saying my name, slowly, em-pha-sis-ing each syllable, way too loudly – what an idiot. We all smiled at each other and I did my best to decipher their names in return.  One of the younger ladies spoke some English and we exchanged knowledge of our families and how long we had been in Australia. She pointed to her mother who was adorned with gold face and ear jewellery. Our only shared language was a smile and the Nepalese greeting ‘namaste’.

Our first activity was to stand in two circles facing each other as we greeted one another and moved along to the next person. There were women of Aboriginal descent and from Nepal, Bhutan, India, Syria, Iran, Japan, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Scotland and England.  You can imagine that hum had built to a crescendo by this time. Once the introductions were over, we shared our food and chatted as best we could.  I chatted with Shahnaz, a lady from Iran who was in Australia visiting her son and granddaughter for four months. She had pretty good English language which made for easy conversation.  I met her granddaughter, Helena. She was eight years old and attending school in Australia, she had quickly picked up an Australian accent.

Next we taught them how to play a card game (last card). It generated lots of laughs and the rules went out the window but it was fun. One or two of the women told us their story of how they had ended up in Australia.

Finally, it was time to dance.  The women from Polynesia had us up first with some easy swaying moves which even I found easy. The music turned to Arabic pop (I think that’s what you’d call it).  The Iranian women had us moving our hips, moving our bellies and arms all over the place, plus a shimmy or two (actually that was just me).  The Nepalese women loved it and joined in with some mock moves of their own, emphasising the new Arabic moves they’d just learned.

It was time to catch our breath for a moment and while we refreshed, we were treated to a traditional Nepalese dance – lots of light footwork and rhythmic arm movements before we joined in.  One of the Nepalese women had a ‘dance-off’ with the Iranian dancer.  It was wonderful to see everyone laughing and having fun.

Dance was the one thing that united us all and bridged that gap – that massive gap. It didn’t matter where we had come from, how we had arrived, which god we pray to and which language we speak. For that moment we were all equal and nothing else mattered, nothing at all.

(Out of respect to some of the women who didn’t want to be photographed, I only have a couple of snaps of the afternoon.)


I’m trapped and there’s no escape.  I am up high; the fifth floor I think and the windows don’t open.  I can see the door but THEY would notice if I went for it.  If I keep looking at him; he’ll think I’m paying attention.  There are others – next to me and behind me.  I wonder if they feel the same.  I glance at my watch – again.  Why don’t the hands move? Has it stopped?  Why am I even here?  Keep writing, he’ll think I’m paying attention.

The room is not soundproof – I can hear a man’s voice next door.  I wonder if I call out whether he’ll come and rescue me.  The man in charge, by the door is talking about finding violations and taking action.  He has a gun in his hand or is it a pen?  He is becoming agitated or is it animated?  His arms are flapping or is he gesticulating? Give them projected balance as well he is saying. I glance sideways.  The woman next to me is frantically scribbling an SOS message or is it notes?  The woman on my other side is on her iPhone – she’s contacting the emergency services or is it Facebook.


The man at the door is talking about a corset while waving his gun and I begin to panic. This is terrible, I knew I should have stayed in bed today.  Perhaps he meant core set but I can’t be sure.

My forehead nearly hits the table I’m sitting behind – he must have slipped something into the water jug – soon we’ll all be unconscious and then who knows what will happen – his side-kick will shut the blackout blinds and……

Suddenly there is movement all around me and I struggle to bring my eyes into focus.  Try harder woman, your life could depend on it!  The emergency services must have made it after all and we’ve been saved from this gun-weilding, corset-ripping maniac.  “Fifteen minutes for morning tea folks – back here at eleven for the next session.”

Remembering Gran

Today would have been my lovely Gran’s one hundred and fifth birthday and by way of rememberance, I’d like to share with you the poem I wrote just after she passed away in 2000.

Forget Me Not

I’m not into poetry in any shape or form, in fact in English classes at school, it was my worst nightmare; I just didn’t get it or the point of it, let alone make it into something beautiful so how I came up with this is beyond me! The words were sitting in my head and I just had to put them on paper to express my love and memories of the only grandparent I ever knew.  Gran this one’s for you.

My Gran

Smiling face – humming tunes
Never a cross word – ready to play?
Rummy, pick up pairs – hunt the thimble
Wompom – cat on lap, Wonky, Muffin, Dotty too.

Fits of giggles in the mud.
Tea in bed – eiderdowns.
Dressed for breakfast – table laid
Country Store, Golden Shred – an apple a day!

Family around the table
Best china – tablecloth.
Roast lamb (Dad carving)
Apple batter with sugar and butter,
Creme caramel – yuk!
Bread & jam – rock cakes too,
Fish paste & celery – Battenburg cake.

Polish the hearth and collect the coal
Big radio and tick-tock clock.
Lots of books – Let’s play libraries!
Walks in the park – ‘Make haste’
Knitting in the early hours – ‘Gran can we do a row?’

A garden full of lovely flowers
Chrysanths, fuchsias, roses too
A fig tree and leaning apple tree.
A shed in every corner – playhouse, greenhouse,
So many hiding places! Climbing up the rockery
Hot, hot Summer days – “forty-forty see you!”

Bedtime – Buckle My Show up the stairs,
Apron on – bath time!
Fun in the tub – crisp towels
Sweets at home time – goodbye tears.

In memory of Muriel Wheeler
1911 – 2000

Play With The Word Count

Play With The Word Count

I can’t move my legs without pain; mainly when descending stairs or sitting down.  A deep, muscular pain, rendering my legs heavy and shaky.  A good pain apparently, of a self-inflicted nature, although she made me do it – with a wide, beautiful grin on her pretty, young face; she told me I wouldn’t be able to walk today.  I pleaded with her to take care of my delicate back and aging bones but my pleas fell on deaf ears. It only took thirty minutes and I’ve promised to return for more; next time she’ll finish me off no doubt.

Day 11, A Cup of Coffee

Day 11, A Cup of Coffee

Hi Rosemary,  it’s been a while since you and I left Adelaide and headed off in opposite directions – you to Perth and me to Brisbane.  It’s been a while too since we caught up over the phone so, we have just met for a virtual coffee – probably at the usual haunt.

If we were having coffee right now I’d be telling you how upset I was   Continue reading “Day 11, A Cup of Coffee”

Everyday Inspiration, Day 9: Writing & Not Writing

Everyday Inspiration, Day 9: Writing & Not Writing

If you could step into a machine that gave you more time, how would you structure your day? What would you write with this extra time?

Not being a full-time writer but rather a full-time temp, my day is full to the brim of other tasks; preparing for my working day, the drive to and from, the work itself, the extra mile we go and then on top of this all the chores we carry out to maintain domestic harmony. Having found myself minus the offspring, I do feel that I have a degree of extra time which at present I try to fill with exploring my relatively new surroundings.  I have also been consumed in applying for jobs – it ain’t easy out there you know! So, if I could step into a machine that gave me more time, how would I structure my day?  Continue reading “Everyday Inspiration, Day 9: Writing & Not Writing”