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This week I signed up for Pinterest and I have to say, it was done with attitude, as I had no desire to add to my social networking sites.

‘Why?’ I hear you ask.

I wanted to find some adult colouring sheets and there are hundreds, if not thousands to be found there.

Recently, several people have shared a page on Facebook about an adult colouring book that was available for sale. The child within took a trip down memory lane, remembering Christmas Stockings filled with goodies, the most precious being a colouring book and brand new felt tip pens.

A quiet longing to sit and add colour to a black and white page crept up on me, surprising me, inspiring me to go on a search. I found Paisley Cats, Geometric Designs, Whimsical Gardens and so many more fantasy filled images.

Childhood games and activities did more than occupy my time as a child. They played an important part in shaping who I became as an adult and I think that sometimes it is good to retrace our memories and learn how to play again.

Maybe, just maybe, you would benefit from taking a trip down memory lane too. Paint a picture. Write a poem. Blow bubbles. Try your hand at skipping. Build with Lego. Make shapes with Play Dough/Plasticine…………

Now I will say ‘Cheerio’, so I can get back to blending shades and colouring within the lines.

coloriage-adulte-difficile-16 gratuit à imprimer

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Do you ever get caught up in the baffling scenario of thinking ‘no’ and mysteriously ‘yes’ comes out of your mouth?

When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you aren’t saying ‘no’ to yourself. Paulo Coelho

This quote by Paulo Coelho struck a chord with me this week and is something to ponder on as I continue my regime of taking some additional ‘Time Out’.

A beautiful spot close to where I live. Water and greenery is an instant tonic and I have settled for this as my current desktop image as it was at a local wedding venue.

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All dried upMy feet should have been getting wet when I took this picture on my Monday walk.

I was stood on the bed of a small stream that has dried up due to the lack of rain in our harsh Australian climate. While family and friends in the UK have been dealing with rain, rain and more rain, we have been drying up and cracking up, for the want of that magical stuff called water.

According to last weekends paper we have not had any rain since November, although we were teased a couple of weeks ago when the roof of our garage had a polka dot look about it. One big drip per square inch and that was it. Our excitement turned to feelings of longing, and the forecast is not predicting a change any day soon.

It has been good to walk again. The early mornings are cool enough to enjoy the air and I am starting to re-kindled the love affair with my heart and spirit as I talk to God and listen to His voice. I was reminded that if I don’t look after me, I can dry up too, just like that river bed. Feelings of self-doubt and criticism revealing itself  and, like the trees planted along the banks, I also need to grow my roots further down into the water course to draw up the moisture.

My hunger for some rain continued at Writers Group yesterday when we were asked to write a Haiku. A three-line, Japanese style poem with a syllable count of 5-7-5, which I thought I’d share it with you.

Summers searing sun

Scorching earth, frying mindscapes

Waiting for the rain.

Now it is time to put on my walking shoes and see what little gems I can discover about myself today.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets 2014

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This is another image taken from my dads home. He would be horrified, if he was still alive and knew that I had posted it online, for the world to see how he lived. As much as it use to shock me into action on a return visit to the UK, I have come to the realization that it was his choice to live as he did. I took around 200 photos the day this one was taken, each image portraying the neglect and deterioration of a home and its contents.

There was a time when I wondered why on earth I had taken them. To start with it fueled my guilt of emigrating so far from this place called home, I was embarrassed that I could let my father live in these conditions. These days however, they seem to touch my more creative side and I can detach the emotions, looking at them with a more artistic eye.  Looking back, I believe I wanted to create something beautiful out of what seemed ugly and confronting. On a subsequent visit to the UK, I discovered that my nephew, who is a professional photographer, took many of the same images, compiling a book as part of a uni assignment. What he did was breathtakingly beautiful and I may atempt to do the same one of these days.

The clock reminds me that we can live a life focused on the past, or choose to make the effort and keep things moving. The worm-eaten timepiece had not been wound for years and as you can see by the holes, was slowly being devoured by Woodworm.  In life it is easy to let small things eat into our lives, causing us to stand still emotionally. Sometimes we need to take hold of situations, treat the negativity, clean up our behaviors and use our gifts and talents for the purpose they were created for.

Orphaned lambs come to mind as I see the stoneware Hot Water Bottle. Many a time on the farm, we had to care for lambs who were rejected by their mother or orphaned through a difficult birth. A large box would sit to the side of the Rayburn (wood burning oven) and this hot water bottle was used to warm up many sad and sickly babies that had spent a lonely, frosty night in the cold. I loved the lambing season and a recent trip into the country brought a huge grin to my face when a field of lambs were frolicking in the warmth of a sunny day. I might be a city chick these days, but a country girl is still in there somewhere and I very much believe, that when life throws cold and frosty experiences at us, there is nothing better than the warmth of love and friendship to get us through.

The stoneware bottle holds Pheasant feathers and I wonder why these were considered worthy of honor. We grew up on the produce of the land, so they were not rare. It is one of those little mysteries in life that I will never find the answer for and I can live with that. We all have our treasures in life, sometimes they have a huge monetary price tag and other times they hold little to no physical value. Their unique worth is in holding untold stories and secrets and I know I have a few of those myself.

Dust and cobwebs like the ones pictured don’t appear overnight. They build up over time and often get overlooked. I am reminded that I have a few projects like that. Filed away stories and pieces of poetry that need to be collated, sent somewhere and used. My NaNoWriMo effort is still waiting to be brought out into the open, get dusted down and cleaned up (edited).

My thought for the day is…

We can not buy back lost time, it is a priceless resource and we should use it wisely.

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P1040345

This weeks photo was taken at an old mill in Avoca, Ireland.

Catching up with family is always important when we travel, but we have taken to combining our trips with exploring new and exciting places we have not been before. On this occasion our decision was to take up the offer to visit a close friends daughter, who now lived in Bally James Duff, Cavern, Ireland.

Our trek from Devon took us North, weaving in and out of minor roads, instead of the motorway, so we could enjoy the smaller towns and the countryside. Northern Wales was breathtaking, our approach to the mountains of Snowdonia not disappointing. Hair-pin bends and views were a plenty, my camera pointing in all directions, only to be faced with better view around the next corner.

Our night in Holyhead had us surveying the bleaker landscape dotted with stone circles and ancient looking sights. Where our ‘Time Team‘ education had us marvelling at our wisdom and academic know-how, on all things ancient.

Early next morning we boarded the ferry and fortunately had a calm trip across the North Sea. The previous days crossing had been cancelled due to the rough seas, so we had a full boat, feeling like sardines, as our car was parked beside trucks and busses. We thoroughly enjoyed our boat trip and looked forward to the return trip.

Avoca was an unexpected destination, as we were headed somewhere else. The lack of accommodation had me navigating the roads, as well as scouring the brochures for a place to stay. The ‘Wooden Bridge Hotel’ caught my eye and we changed directions, finding what is reported to be the oldest hotel in Ireland. An old coaching house, at the intersection of three roads, beautifully whitewashed, with unbelievably thick cob walls and tubs of flowers, all eager to great the visitors.

Once checked in and cleaned up we took off again, Avoca being a short drive and the place where the TV series Bally Kiss Angel was filmed. I had my photo taken outside the pub, wandered the church, then came across the old mill. Once again we had discovered another ‘Oldest in Ireland’, with a plaque declaring that it was built in 1723. We spent a lovely time watching a weaver at work, then explored the gift shop, before heading off to ‘The Waters Meet’ which we’d seen sign-posted.

This place seemed to cast a spell over the two of us as we reflected on the joining of the two rivers. We were close to celebrating our wedding anniversary and many an analogy could be found as we sat on the banks, drawing in the magic and inspiration. We were not the only ones to have been inspired by the scenery here. Thomas Moore who lived in 1779-1852 wrote…..

There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet
Oh the last rays of feeling and life must depart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart

Yet it was not that nature had shed o’er the scene
Her purest of crystal and brightest of green
‘Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill
Oh No ’twas something more exquisite still
Oh No ’twas something more exquisite still

‘Twas that friends, the belov’d of my bosom were near
Who made every scene of enchantment more dear
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve
When we see them reflected from looks that we love
When we see them reflected from looks that we love

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace

We were sad to leave Ireland and promised to return one of these days. Although I have a hankering to see some of Scotland on our next visit to the UK. I can already hear the Bagpipes, see men wearing Kilts and am ready to trek a glen or two.

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P1010385I love the green of England and miss its healing charm to calm and nourish the soul. This picture was taken in Devon(UK), between the Lace town of Honiton and Cullompton.

As a child, we would visit here when the wild, untamed, rhododendron bushes were in full bloom, their splendid array of colour impressing even my child like imagination.

The fence in this picture, although new, reminds me of life growing up on the farm and my ability to vault over wooden five bar gates. They held no power of containment for me as a child. In a fluid, gymnastic like movement, I could fly over the barrier and keep on running.

I was nimble back then, athletic in the true sense of the word and school sports days saw me winning awards for obstacle races and hurdles. Even the long and high jump held promise, although my short legs often let me down.

Jumping a gate, rather than opening or climbing over it was how I faced life. Full on, ready to jump over any hardships that got in my way. Some days however, a gate became my resting place, rising above the ground on which I stood. From there, life and circumstances took on a different view, my surroundings becoming my friend and counsellor.

Age has slowed me down, my lifestyle placing me on an office chair, in front of the computer for much of my day. The walking that brings me so much pleasure is missed, due to a long list of excuses. Now I tend to lean against the gates and peer into a promised land, remembering the past and still believing the future holds good things for me. Some days I think I need to embrace those childhood memories and jump over the various situations I find myself in, rather that think, ‘Oh well, that’s life’.

My random thought to go with this Blog Post is………

Sitting on top of a gate is a bit like sitting on a fence. You catch a better view of all the sights but you never get anywhere. Maybe it is time to make a decision and climb down, then race off to accomplish the things I/we/you have been destined for.

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UK September 2008 023This image was taken back in 2008 on a visit to the UK.

It is special because it is the front door of my family home, the place where I was born, navigated childhood and left as a young  bride.

Inside the awkward door and the thick cob walls is a small room with flagstone floors, framing a threadbare carpet square. An old Inglenook fire-place, complete with bread oven and blackened by centuries of use, is carved into one wall. The recess is over looked by a mantle, holding treasures of a bygone era along with family photos, cobwebs linking each object together. An Aga, covered with fatty grime, dirt and dust sat to one side and the smell of old soot always seemed to hang heavy in the air. Furniture consisted of a square table with four chairs, a Victorian sideboard, two armchairs, a small desk and lots of paperwork and clutter filling every available space.

There was another large door on the opposite wall to this and that is the one that was in constant use. The inside and outside space sadly looking rejected, reflecting the life of my father, an old farmer, refusing to leave his home of sixty-five years in anything but his ‘wooden box’, his words not mine. He lived contentedly amongst this chaos, suffered unnecessarily with a stubbornness that kept everyone at arm’s length and verbally abused anyone who tried to help.

My trip that year coincided with a hospital stay and like a good daughter I rolled up my sleeves and started to clear the mess, strip back the dirt and even cleared a path to the front door. What was a quaint old door with mystery and intrigue became a sterile mess that needed even more work once I had finished, producing a picture that is not on my favorite list. The once highly polished brass door knocker, now tarnished, suddenly became visible, filling me with a sadness that couldn’t be polished away. Layers of paint were also peeling, revealing a long history of colours and shades, reminding me of all the highs and lows I had experienced in life.

Then, rather than appreciating my long hours of labour I was chastised, his anger never abating or forgiving. An attribute I had grown up with over the years, making it so much easier to emigrate to the other side of the world.

Now as I look at this image it always brings a smile to my face as I think of a father who succumbed to the revenges of time. Age slowly creeping up on him, just like the ivy and its tendrils gripping every part of life and ability. He was well-known for his eccentricity, quick temper and dark moods. Every village more than happy to have that one character that sets themselves apart, so long as they did not belong to their family.

It reminds me to leave some things alone, not dig too deeply into the past, or attempt to do the impossible. I wanted to clean up my dad’s life, create a healthier environment, find his better side, feel loved and valued. Instead the great divide became wider and regret became my friend.

My dad has passed away since that time, the room was cleared and worm-eaten furniture along with so much of his life was burnt, my brother more than happy to strike the match. We both mourn and chuckle at our attempts to please this man, reminding ourselves often that some times we just have to let things be.

My thought: A leopard can not change their spots, but we can choose to view them through a soft focus lens and move on.

(c)Sandie’s Snippets 2013

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