Return, Emergency and Diet

I’m home!

Back from Cambodia.

My return hasn’t been quite what I expected. Not that I anticipated a ticker-tape parade, or an award for services to humanity. I just wanted to come home, full of exciting tales, my loved ones around me, and settle back into normality.

What I got was a stumble from one emergency to another.

The day after I surfaced from sleep, my son’s knee suddenly went red – painful enough for him not to be able to walk – and so off to hospital he went.

Christmas day was a blur. My son had been allowed out of hospital for the day, but was still incapacitated and lay on the sofa with his leg up, antibiotics at his side. We were all tense and uncomfortable. I had only had a couple of days to ground myself back in Australia and I was still suffering from classic jet lag, and although my body was home, I’m not sure that my brain or spirit had caught up.

I discovered that my car had been involved in an accident (no-one was injured  – thank goodness) while I had been away. The insurance company, in its wisdom had written off the vehicle.

I was without a car!

Boxing day hit – and so did my stomach!

“What!!” It screamed at me. “You decided a diet of rich food as soon as you arrived home was a good idea???”

I went down with a bad case of Bali Belly (even though I wasn’t in Bali!)

Had I only been home a week?

Everyone was aghast that so much had gone wrong in 2016, and then 2017 began. Let’s hope that this year we can re-set the dials of life and the balance of calm will prevail.

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Running, Expenses and Dangers

OMG! 14 days till I leave the shores of Australia.I am running out of time.

I am wondering, at this point, if this will be the last post for the year. The Education Centre I am going to may not have Internet service. Gosh! It might not have reliable electricity as far as I know. Mind you, the poor people in South Australia and Victoria

electric

The reason South Australia lost power across the state!

(Australia) have had it far worse in the last few weeks. I hope everyone is safe and can re-start their lives with a sense of thankfulness.

So far my expenses have run to the cost of my ticket and my travel insurance. I have never had insurance before, but if there are any dangers that come along at least I am covered.

So far the only thing that is NOT going to plan is my visa – so far I have had no luck getting one. The Cambodian Embassy in Canberra doesn’t seem to want to answer my emails or phone calls. I will try again this week – after all – as I mentioned before – time is running out. Let’s hope that will all work out well.icambodia

 

When I visited China I made the mistake of not getting recipes for some of the great meals I had. Hopefully, this time, I will be able to come home with some recipes to share – some of the food was delicious.

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Ice-cream to die for!

I will definitely have plenty of stories to tell. Travel is such a mind-expanding experience and I would recommend it to everyone.

It certainly makes you realize the value of your own home and country.

Looking forward, albeit nervously, to my adventure.

Speak soon.

Rice, Edges and Dumplings

I am beginning to get excited. Why, you ask?rice

Well, I’ve committed myself to eating rice. 

That statement isn’t altogether true! What I really mean is that I will probably be eating more rice in October, November and December than I normally would. And I’m getting excited because, while I’m eating it I will be in Cambodia, not in my safe little haven of home.paddy

I awoke at the beginning of the year and realized it was ten years ago that I had lived in China. It shocked me a little. Where had that ten years gone? Life was rushing headlong towards the inevitable end and if I didn’t do something soon, I knew I would use every excuse in the book to not do anything at all – you know the situation :-

1 – I’m too old to do that. (You’re never too old)

2 – I’ve got too much to do at home. (Home will still be there when you come back)

3 – I’m too scared to go out of my comfort zone. (You’re brave – go for it!)

4 – I can’t speak the language. (You’ll get by – someone will speak English)

5 – I can’t read the language. (Isn’t it weird being illiterate – but you can learn.)khmer alphabet

6 – There’s too much violence in the world these days. (The media exaggerates.)

7 – What if I get sick? (You’re healthy – don’t jinx yourself)

8 – What if … what if …

And so it goes – and always that little voice of reason cuts through the hard edges of your emotions, excuses and fears, and makes you feel foolish.

So I made a decision! I’m going to go overseas and teach, just like I did in China back in 2006.plane

Once that decision was made, everything fell into place.

So now I’m excited – I told you that at the beginning, didn’t I? – even if I am a little afraid.

Cambodia – here I come – swapping rice for the dumplings I loved while I lived in China, and the meat pies and sauce from good old Aussieland. Wish me luck – but remember – I really don’t need it – I’m going to enjoy every moment anyway!

Rubbish, Everything and Doors

 

 

It’s that time of the month again! BLOG TIME!

I’ve been away looking after my daughter’s dog and house while the family went away and enjoyed a cruise.

I focused in on my writing and managed to get the first draft of my next novel  ‘Ordeal by Innocence’ completed. I had no distractions – so was able to concentrate. It was not an easy book to write, as it deals with domestic violence. I write under the name of Marguerite Wellbourne when I write for adults – wouldn’t want the children to get hold of these books!

The last book was called ‘Tarnished Gems’ and involves four women and their checkered pasts and how they change after an accident.front

The only thing I didn’t manage to do for her was put out the rubbish bins on the day. I can remember the noise of a truck in the street, wondering why it was stopping all the time. You’d think I’d have figured it out before it had gone past, wouldn’t you. But my head was on my writing – everything else was not important!

I left the door open for the dog, and just worked!

When I got home, the hens had missed me so much that they were no longer laying eggs – the vegetable garden was smothered in weeds, but the cabbage, cauliflower and silver beat were ready to pick!

One has to have a win occasionally!                                                    

Now that I’m home, the next thing on my agenda is a workshop I will be giving on bread-making. I will be taking 3 classes this coming week.

Here is one of the recipes I will be giving the students:-

 

Chapatis:

2 cups plain flour.

1 tspn salt

2 cups SR/Wholemeal flour

3 tblspns melted butter

1 – 13/4 cups warm water.

 

Mix together the flours and salt. Add the melted butter, then add enough of the warm water to make a soft, but not wet dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Dust with flour and wrap in a damp towel and chill for about an hour or so.

Cut the  dough in 12 equal portions. Shape each piece into a ball, flatten slightly then roll until as thin as possible.

Pre heat a frying pan, grease very lightly, then place each circle in the pan. Cook until slightly brown, then turn and do the other side. Repeat with the other 11 pieces. Brush with butter, and serve warm. Serves 6 (two each)

 

Well, there you go – wonder what next month will bring?

 

Rodents, Elevenses and Dates.

Now that Winter is upon us, life in the country takes on a new direction. Last Winter, I finally, after 15 years, got a wood heater installed. Oh! Happy days!!

This year I have really enjoyed lighting the fire, and keeping warm. I sit in my cozy chair, blanket over my legs, knitting all sorts of things for my ‘at the farm gate’ stall (SWEETFIELDS), looking like the epitome of a Grandmother.

While sitting there the other day, a movement caught my eye!

mouse

Cheeky!

OMG! A MOUSE!

It scampered daringly around the room, stopping every now and again and looked at me, as if to say – what are you doing in MY house!

Yep – time for RODENT control!!

Out came my trusty traps, and I smeared them with peanut butter. BAM! 7 little blighters in one night!!

Down in the chickenfeed shed, rats are living a life of luxury. It became a necessity to buy galvanized metal bins to store the feed – rats ate through my plastic rubbish bins and enjoyed their fill of grain mix! I tried various mixes of flour/bicarb soda/plaster of Paris etc as temptations , but… no luck. Maybe tomorrow I might try the water trap. I’ll let you know if I have success.

In the meantime, I have decided they can live in the shed – as long as they don’t come into my house.

I came into my house – and drowned my sorrows in ELEVENSES that’s the Australian for ‘morning tea’.

Strong coffee and cake – Aaah  – the bliss!

Here’s the basic muffin recipe I use:-_muffins

Basic Muffin Mix:

2 ½ cup wholemeal/SR Flour mix.                                          1 ¼ cup milk

90g melted butter                                                                         ¾ cup caster sugar

1 beaten egg

Additions:

DATES

dried apricots

mashed banana

grated apple

blueberries

sultanas/etc

coffee powder

choc chips – etc

  1. Pcupcakere-heat oven to 180-200°C.
  2. Prepare greased muffin tins.
  3. Mix flour and sugar.
  4. Add milk, egg and melted butter and mix together until just combined.
  5. Mix flour/sugar and milk/egg/butter mixtures together with any of the options you
  6. Spoon into muffin tin or patty papers until ¾ full.
  7. Cook for approx 25 mins. Put on rack and cool. Ice if desired.

Fortified with cake (DATES this week) I decided to move on with my day.

I turned to doing the next thing on my list. A trip into Taree to get some new chickens.

I picked up ten more hens to add ‘new blood’ for the Spring incubations. Hopefully I will get more hens than roosters this time. Last year, out of two dozen eggs, I got two that didn’t hatch, twelve roosters (five of which are now in the freezer, three more to cull, three that the fox got and the lucky one that is left is ‘The Stud’) and ten hens.

I settled them in their new home, stood and watched their antics for a while, then reluctantly went back inside.

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Enjoying a dustbath

Yay! That job’s done – now what’s next?

That will have to wait for next month! Tell you then.

 

 

 

Read Everything and Daydream

Now for something completely different.

I belong to two writing groups – one on the Internet – (The Iron Writer) and one at my local library – (Scribblers).

Both groups challenge me and their members to write a short story of 500 words maximum and include the prompt word/s. Scribblers give me one word – here is one of my stories written with the word ‘red’ as the prompt (my blog ALWAYS uses the letters R.E.D. as the starting point.

Enjoy this story:-

Red Feathers.

818571-fireshot_capture__14____resizr___easy_onred feather

Helen surveyed the scene in front of her. The laughter and chatter rose above her like a cloud. The crowd was in constant movement, and yet she felt isolated – beyond them, like she was in a bubble of dead calm. Finding John in this swirling monster of bodies was going to be impossible.

She was nervous, and just a little afraid. She stood with the wall of a building behind her, giving herself a little security. The night was disguised with sparkles, sequins and streetlights, but she knew that in the shadows there was menace.

A couple twirled towards her, with their loud laughter assailing her ears. She didn’t move, couldn’t move, and they bumped into her, danced on and never even noticed, their eyes only for one another.

Where was John? He had promised to look after her.

Helen sniffed as tears ran down her cheek and tickled her nose. She tried to see, to search the crowd, but her height was against her. Never had she been so overwhelmed with people. Coming to the city at festival time was supposed to be exciting, but she was yet to feel that rush of exhilaration.

She was swept along the pavement with a group of celebrating youngsters, and she was pushed along, until the wall behind her ended. She tumbled into a side street, and the darkness became darker by comparison to the glow coming from the street. She felt cold and bewildered.

A hand clamped over her mouth and she felt a hard object press against her ribcage. She blinked her eyes as they watered and blurred the scene. She tried to scream, but the hand was too tight across her mouth.

An accented voice whispered in her ear.

“Don’t struggle, love! I only want your finery!”

Helen was terrified. She wanted John to appear and save her. What was she to do?

She felt the headdress ripped from her head, and she was pushed back towards the street.

She stumbled, clasping at her head, feeling like her hair had been pulled out by the roots. The lights of the street dazzled her, and she flung her arms around the first person she saw. He twirled her along, laughing with a mixture of intoxication from drink, the intimacy and the pure joy of the moment. She whirled away from him.

And then a hand touched her shoulder. She screamed.

“Wow! Darling,” John said. “ Are you alright? Where’s your headdress?’

She collapsed against him with relief.

“Thank God, you’ve found me. Where were you?”

He smiled. “I wasn’t far away. I just got us a drink.” And he handed her the long, decorated glass of a cocktail she had never seen before.

“I don’t think I will ever come to the Mardi Gras in Rio ever again.” She sighed. “ I was so scared. Fancy being robbed of my headdress. It was only made from the feathers of our red chook at home!”

Part of my flock of chickens

Personality plus

Next time, I’ll post up a story that I did for The Iron Writer.

I hope you enjoyed this – please leave a comment.

R.oses, D.iscover and E.xplore

Another month has passed and I am starting on my vaccinations!

Eww!! I hate injections.

needle

Needles! Aaaargh!

There seems no way I can get out of it. I went to the doctor’s for my annual check-up and everything is in order with my health – thank goodness. The doctor was most helpful, giving me prescriptions for all types of pills to take with me.  It is always wise to be prepared, I feel  – having been hospitalized while in China, it is impossible to talk to a doctor in a foreign country – with the doctor not understand English terms such as diarrhea, nausea, allergic reaction, and antibiotics, while I could not explain my symptoms in Chinese – it was extremely difficult, especially as I was so unwell at the time.

So…

  1. Obstacle number six pertained to money. I have already saved enough for my ticket. Yay!
  2. The ‘pop up’ problems haven’t surfaced yet. I’m trying to foresee anything that may happen and cover it now. I’ve checked out the Internet capabilities and can pay my bills on line while I’m away. My next objective is to buy a new suitcase – the one I already have is about to fall apart!
  3. How does one get over the fear of heights? I know I will be all right in the airplane as I have previously travelled like that. My other concern was the terrain around the orphanage where I will be staying – which brings me to the next question:-
  4. Where exactly am I going? I have, since my last blog, been to Sydney and seen the lady who owns the school and orphanage where I will stay. The area is FLAT!! – no problem here with heights! It is in the country, in a small but poor village. That was a plus for me, too. And finally, it was 80 kms south of Siem Reap on the shores of the large lake in the middle of Cambodia. All wonderful news.map

Now  … health.

  1. Looking up the hazards in Cambodia, concerning health, nearly had me fleeing in the opposite direction. Suggestions were – get vaccinated against Cholera, Typhoid, Rabies, Malaria and Hepatitis. I already knew Dengue Fever was something I didn’t want, either. My mind has been put at rest. I will have tablets for Malaria and typhoid. Cholera and Dengue fever is not rampant. I am already immune to Hep A so don’t need that. The doctor has organized everything I need to ward off all and every contingency. The owner of the place tells me I will be sleeping under mosquito netting, and will have only bottled water.

The obstacles are beginning to melt away.

Now I can look forward to smelling the roses, instead of spending my time perpetually worried about any and every disease known to mankind. I am excited – I will spend my time discovering the wonderful people and culture, and in my free time I will explore the beauties of the country and see the wonders around me.

What more could I want?roses