Eucalypts, Dads and Recession

The beginnings of Spring were making the mornings crisp and the days bright and sunny. I live in Australia, and this time of the year is lovely. The gum trees (otherwise known as Eucalypts) had not shed their leaves in winter, but now they seemed to have lost the dull olive green of Winter, and added a flush of bright green or red new growth. It seems appropriate that we forget the difficulties of the past few months, and embrace the birth of another season.

Talking about birth, this month we also celebrate the fathers of our society. Father’s day falls at the beginning of the month and we remember our Dads with love and a certain amount of longing. In my case, my Dad has been gone a long time now, but I miss him and his wisdom, every day. He was English and lived through a war while he studied in the local cathedral, sure he was safe from the bombs. He lived through the recession that always seems to hit after the horror of war. He lived to migrate to Australia with his new wife and daughter (me) and he always held hope and excitement for the future. He was a great man in my adoring eyes.

The story below, reminds us that even after terrible troubles, life is what YOU make it. Hope you read and enjoy.

***

The tree.

Pam dragged herself out of bed and trudged to the kitchen.

It was raining … again! She was over it! Her wellington boots had become a fashion statement, and every time she walked outside, her feet sank into the ground, instantly filling with water as she went across the yard.

The mud squelched and stunk sour. The plants in the garden were actually drowning. Waterfalls of water gurgled along the edges of the garden edging, as it dug into the dirt and created trenches that grew deeper every day. It seemed to have been raining forever.

What was the point! Life was so miserable.

Then she remembered the drought of two years ago. Dead plants, brown and withered grass. The cows being hand-fed and looking downright depressed as well as thin, ribs clearly apparent. Then the bush fires, eating up the dead undergrowth and roaring through the nearby forest like a disgruntled dragon, scaring the living daylights out of her, and destroying friends’ homes and properties.

Nature was cruel. Thank goodness she didn’t depend on its vagaries to earn a living!

She reached up without thinking, took down a mug and turned on the electric kettle, all in one automatic action. Subconsciously she shuffled to the cutlery drawer for a spoon then put sugar and coffee in the mug in front of her. She stared at the noisy kettle while it boiled.

Each day was the same. Each day she felt unloved and alone. Each day blended into the next. Each day she wondered what she had done wrong with her life and why she was in this predicament. Each day she started with a cup of coffee and no-one to share her day with. Each day was the same – hadn’t she already said and thought that.

She sighed.

She glanced out the back door as the rained dripped from the gutters. It was a silent, drizzling, misty rain, fogging the landscape and adding to the misery of the day.

Suddenly a shaft of sunlight made its way through a tiny slit between the clouds.

It lit the drooping leaves of the tree by the chicken shed.

For a few moments the leaves shimmered and sparkled in a slight breeze and the day, at once, became enchanted. She stood, coffee forgotten, as she experienced the thrill of a moment of pure happiness at the scene.

She smiled as the kettle finished boiling, so she poured the water into the mug. Picking up the cup, she walked to the back door.

This was where she was meant to be. Life was good after all.

***

Now to have something to eat! This is my grandmother’s recipe, from England, when families had to make do with what they had. They were very inventive!

Grandma’s Baked Bread Pudding

½ loaf stale bread

2 eggs

1 tblspn butter

1 tspn mixed spice

2 tblspns sugar

2 tblspns golden syrup

1 cup sultanas

½ cup SR flour

extra mixed spice and sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 180 – 200°C.
  2. Soak bread in warm water, then squeeze well.
  3. Add rest of ingredients. Mix well
  4. Press into a greased baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle top lightly with a mixture of spice and sugar.
  6. Bake for about 1 ½ hours.
  7. Cut into slices. Serve with cream, ice-cream or custard. Serves 8-12.

***

One of the things which war, recession, disasters and hard times do, is bring together families as never before. The community comes together and neighbours help neighbours. We see it happen after bush-fires, as in Colorado in the US at the beginning of the year, and when the bush-fires ripped through Australia two years and a half ago. I have written a picture book for children, to tribute the firefighters of those times, as well as a couple that highlight the importance of family. They are AU$18 each and I can post them anywhere in the world, if I have your address. email me at maureenlarter@gmail.com for more information.

My facebook pages are:

https://www.facebook.com/BooksByMaureenLarter

https://www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia

https://www.facebook.com/Sweetfields-Publisher

Linkedin : MLarter

Instagram : lartermaureen

Twitter : @MaureenLarter

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