Retreat, Exits and Distractions

Over the years, life has thrown a lot of curve balls at me, and the miniature painting done by my cousin prompted me to write of life’s distractions and consequent memories. Whoever is at the retreat, discovers the solitude and beauty of nature is a balm to a fractured soul. I know how that feels. Hope you enjoy the little story, just in time for Valentine’s day.

The miniature paintings that my cousin does are used on greeting cards (at AU$5 each) and she is willing to do single, special ones just for you. If you are interested, please message me and I will pass on the information.

I write as well, but romance and relationships are not my normal genre (I write picture books and chapter books for children – see https://www.facebook.com/BooksByMaureenLarter and https://www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia ), but I have ventured into adult fiction. ‘Tarnished Gems’ is available and is about the lives of six women, who become entwined after an accident. Again, message me if you are interested in this book. I write under the pen-name Marguerite Wellbourne, as some of the content is not suitable for children.

Cover of my book

The miniature by Lynnetta McGrath is :-

The Exit.

The sea has always beckoned me. I can sit and contemplate the view for ages. The calming effect of merely watching waves come and go towards the shore is mesmerising.

While driving to Sydney to visit a friend, an intriguing turn-off from the highway distracted me. I had to see what was at the end of the road, and so I took the exit. The bitumen petered out and a dusty track meandered on. I followed.

A small quaint bed and breakfast establishment was hidden at the end, in a semi-secluded spot overlooking a quiet beach.

I stopped and immediately decided to stay the night. I wandered inside, paid for a room and purchased a bottle of red and a sandwich, then strolled over to a picnic table and sat down to enjoy the snack and the view.

It so reminded me of the day you proposed.

Where had those forty years gone? Why had you been taken from me so soon? The cancer had been cruel and left you a mere shadow of yourself, but I could still see the love for me in the depth of your confused and desperate gazes. I remember holding your hand in mine and giving you secret, but heartfelt, permission to leave this world, even though the tears made silent tracks down my cheeks.

You sighed, like the whisper of the waves upon the sand, then retreated to be one with the Universe.

And so I sit and watch the sea … and remember. Not just the end, but the constant joy you gave me over the years.

When the sun sank behind the distant headland, I got up and felt at peace. I rang my friend and told her I would see her tomorrow. I had another sandwich and took the last dregs of the wine to my room.

Later, as I sank into sleep, I smiled. The memories were no longer sad.

You would always be my love … my valentine.

Roll, Easy and Daisies.

 This year, summer has been really hot. (I live in Australia) We had 42°C last week – three days in a row. I feel for the other side of the world where the snow was thick and the temperatures extremely cold. Is it global warming, or a wobble in our Earth’s axis that might be to blame? Whatever the reason – everyone – please keep safe.hot

The promise of more hot weather to come, has meant that cooking is off the menu – if you know what I mean! Salads are the way to go. Cold drinks are important to keep you hydrated. Water is the best option – so make it easy on yourself and have some water always at hand.

Flavouring the water with fresh fruit is always a treat and gives variety and a sweet burst of energy – you don’t need added sugar to achieve it.

Try crushed, fresh strawberries, or slices of lemon, lime or orange – or a combination of all three – with a little passion-fruit added for zing! and of course, add a little ice if you wish.water

When it comes time to eat, add a small dash of protein, a nice refreshing salad, and a fresh roll.

To make a salad, good quality ingredients are always the best. They can be anything you like to put together, from potatoes, eggs,capsicum and mayonnaise, to cold pasta or rice with a sprinkle of corn, peas, cooked bread, prawns and cold, crispy bacon with a herb, garlic and olive oil dressing. A green salad can include lettuce, beetroot leaves, baby spinach, diced cucumber, sliced carrots, halved or sliced tomatoes, or any raw vegetable you desire, with a lemon juice, olive oil  red wine vinegar and salt dressing. Play with the combinations!

You can even make home-made rolls that are fresher than bought ones – and much tastier. Knowing the ingredients also means you are not ingesting anything chemical that may or may not be in commercial mixes.

Bread Rolls:-

img21Bread Rolls.jpg

If you must go out – remember to cover up, use sun screen and wear a hat. Australia has a summer-running promotion with advertisements on the television – Slip, slap, slop (Slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sunscreen).sunscreen

After all – the Australian sun (gosh – that’s the same sun you get, too!) can burn and there is a high incidence of sun cancers in this country. Skin cancer and melanomas are deadly! We don’t want you pushing up daisies anytime in the near future if you can help it!daisies

Remember to be careful in the snow, too. There are people who are suffering there, just as much as in our heat. Be kind, don’t be judgmental – and care for your selves and your fellow man. Go out of your way to help another person. If we all did that, the world would be a better place.

With Kindness

Maureen

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Maureen Larter

P.S. – a lovely story about Australia, health and the weather is ‘Cassie Crocodile catches a cold’Cassiefront – ( getBook.at/CCCCe ) written by me and illustrated by Annie Gabriel. www.facebook.com/AnnieGabrielArt

Annie Gabriel is an illustrator, textile artist and book artist, who comes from a background of art and primary education. From ab early age, she was constantly drawing and painting. One of her first inspirations was a book called ‘The Little Brown Mouse”. The little girl in the story painted her friend, the mouse, and so Annie began painting mice, too. As they say – the rest is history!

Annie

Annie Gabriel

These days, Annie makes ‘one-off’ books for her grandchildren, and teaches them about art when they visit. Inspiration can strike at any time, and any place, and the stories from Maureen Larter are always a pleasure to create.