The side tracks of life

Before I even opened my eyes this morning, I could tell when I finally decided to do so, I would be met with clear blue skies and bright sunshine.  And it was a glorious day out there, a day that deserved a quick exit from bed and a deliberate effort to join the day.

Tree against blue sky
Blue skies

Just one problem, it was Sunday.  And Sundays are for laying in bed with a coffee and a good book, or catching up on the week’s news on TV.  Sunday is the one day of the week you don’t need to do anything, other than being lazy.  Permission granted, 100%.

That’s why it’s sometimes so satisfying waking up to dark skies and rain smattering on the roof.  No guilty feelings then if you decide to stay in bed till 11 am.  However, as I said, today was not like that.  This early Sunday morning promised a picture perfect day.  And the guilt feelings were already sowing their seeds, Sunday or no Sunday.

Gorilla lazing in the sun
Permission to be lazy

Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Far North Queensland, I should point out that most mornings in Cairns are met with sunshine and blue skies (except during the wet season).  But we have had a series of wet and windy days lately, this is unusual during the normally dry winter months. The return of blue skies this morning felt like a long lost friend returning, a friend who’s return needed to be celebrated with some sort of outdoor activity.

So to break with our household’s usual  Sunday tradition, coffee and breakfast was consumed with seldom seen speed (albeit still in bed).  The second cup of coffee however,  was actually had out of bed, outside on the patio.  Just look at that sunshine!

Listening to the birds chattering away I felt inspired to get out amongst it all and I announced to my other half “I want to drive out and have a look at the Clohesy River fig tree”.  His reaction? “You want to have a look at another tree?”  “Look around you, you’re surrounded by trees!”

Rainforest trees
Trees all around

True enough, we live on the edge of the rain forest and our property has beautiful large trees all around.  But I felt I needed an excuse to venture out past the front gates, and this seemed like a good one.  This tree I wanted to see is a special one, a large strangler fig.  There are others up on the Tablelands and we have been to see them several times, but we have not been to this particular one.  And it is practically around the corner.

It’s funny how we often travel longer distances to experience new things but forget to explore what is really close by.  Treasures are not always at the end of the rainbow, if we look hard enough they might just be at our own two feet.

Since Greg loves the Australian bush as much as I do, it didn’t take him too long to get into the spirit of things.  His earlier smart-alec comment was obviously due to lack of caffeine, the second cup fixed that very quickly.

Morning coffee

There is something truly unique and magical about the Australian bush, it looks and sounds different from anywhere else in the world.   And as we turned off the highway onto the road leading into the national park, we were instantly surrounded by these unmistakable sights and sounds.

Bitumen soon turned to dirt and, as we drove with the windows down to get a real feel for the bush, the dry landscape peppered with Eucalypt and beautiful grass trees, was suddenly transformed into thicker rain forest.  We went from bright sunshine into a much shadier environment.

The grass trees mentioned (only found in this country) are a amazing, they are beautiful, very slow growing and can be several hundred years old, some have been reported to be up to 450 years old.  Peppered throughout the landscape, they look like glittering green pom-poms gracefully swaying in the wind.

Grass tree
Like dancers with hula skirts they sway in the breeze

Before reaching our destination we crossed several crystal clear creeks,  and since this is the dry season, crossing them was no problem (to my husband’s disappointment, he loves 4WD adventure). The track we were on is a 4WD track, but in dry conditions even our old Mitsubishi work horse could easily make it.

The excuse for our outing, the Clohesy fig tree, is an amazing sight. It certainly is smaller than the other two well-known ones on the Tablelands, but it is none the less an impressive sight. The other two receive thousands of visitors a year, whereas this one (due to it’s location off the beaten track) stand in relative solitude most the time.

It’s base is humongous, so large you can walk inside a hollowed out part of the trunk.  The roots reaching from the top to the ground have twisted and strangled the original tree, from far it looks like one big tangled mess of string thrown away by some disgruntled giant.

Fig tree trunk
Enormous!

It’s hard to imagine that long ago this magnificent sight started out as a small seed germinating on top of another tree, sending out roots to the forest floor.  Mother Nature really is a wonderful artist!

Sights like this is of course something that brings out the photographer in all of us and I am no different.  Dozens of photos were taken, the only problem being that with something so tall it is almost impossible to capture with a camera lens what the naked eye sees.  But never let it be said that I didn’t try.

Fig tree
Magnificent giant

Getting to a destination is nearly always half the fun and this little outing was no difference.  The fig tree was magnificent, but had we not reached the destination, it wouldn’t have mattered.  The fun was getting there, enjoying the new scenery and wondering what we would find at our intended destination.  A bit like life really, the journey, not the destination, is the best part!

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Will you still need me … when I’m 64?

Yesterday morning I came face to face with a 64 year old woman.  I walked into our bathroom, looked in the mirror, and there she was, looking right back at me.  Wow, where did she come from?

Where did the fresh-faced 20 year old girl with the velvet hot pants, short skirts and over-the-knee boots go?  Fashion wise, she would be right at home in today’s world.

Or, where is the busy 30 year old, trying to juggle being a mum to two young step children (talk about steep learning curve!) while building a business together with her new husband?

Where did the 40 year old disappear to?  She was just getting used to living in a new place again and making lots of new friends.  Starting all over had never been so much fun.

Family with Nissan Patrol
Family fun

And for that matter, what happened to the 50 year old? It really wasn’t that long ago since she was here.  A few wrinkles and grey strands of hair had started to make themselves known, but that wasn’t a worry.  Life was good!

The woman staring back at me in the mirror didn’t look too bad for her age really, a few wrinkles here and there, thick hair that now needs a bit of colouring to hide the grey and a waist that seemed to have spread a bit (OK, quite a bit).  Not to mention the effects of gravity.  Gravity wants to take over and it’s a battle to get things to stay where they are supposed to be!  All in all though, not too bad.

Frog reflection
64 years old and still looking good

But exactly where did those previous versions of me disappear to?  My husband’s comment to this was “Send out a search party!”

Yesterday was my birthday, and as you’ve probably guessed, I turned 64.  That used to be thought of as old and in fairness, to a 10 year old, I’m probably ancient and ready for mummyfication.   But I certainly don’t feel old.

Someone once asked “If you didn’t know how old you are, what’s your age?”  That’s such a good question!  I really had to think about this. How old do I really feel?

Do I feel 20?  Definitely not. Though I wouldn’t mind getting that 20 year old body back!

30?  No, not really.  But I still get the same buzz from new business ventures and trying new things.

40?  No. However, the love for new places and making new friends still remains.  And adventures are still high on the list.

Maybe I feel 50?  No, not even 50.

The woman I met in the mirror yesterday looks a little bit different than the younger versions I remember from decades earlier, but the 20 year old is still there. As are all the other versions of me.

Young to old
Every age is beautiful

So how old do I feel?  The simple answer – all of the above, all rolled into one. I feel like I’m 64 years old (or should that be 64 years young?).  Who actually  dictates how a 64 year old is supposed to feel?  Is there a golden rule?  And why are we so scared to admit how old we are.

Age is just a number and as the saying goes “You are only as old as you feel”. Well, I feel 64, and in answer to that famous Beatles song of so long ago – my husband still loves me (still needs me, still feeds me and always sends me birthday cards) and, as that other song goes … I’m feeling good!

Here’s a snippet of the song  When I’m 64 (just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about)    PaulMcCartney – When I’m sixty-four

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The law of Murphy

Why is it that as soon as you think you are organised and ready to go with a new project, Mr Murphy (of Murphy’s Law) comes knocking on your door and totally upsets the apple cart?

I started this blog as a bit of a time-filler while Greg and I wait for new work permits to come from Papua New Guinea.  Without them, we have not been able to go back there to work and we have had quite a bit of time on our hands.

After a couple of months of watching morning television, I really had had enough of adverts for “senior’s funeral services”, “air-fryers”, “wrinkle cream” and all those exercise machines that, according to the manufacturer, so handily stores under the bed (?).

Seriously, how much storage does the average couple have under their bed?  There must be a complete gym set up under there, with very skinny fairies coming to exercise while we are all asleep.  According to Greg, “if you want to know where all the exercise equipment is,  go to the fat people” (and look under the bed!).

Under bed storage

Please, before you all start attacking me, this is all tongue-in-cheek, I am not having a go at over-weight people trying to lose weight, I am simply commenting on the ridiculous claims made by the advertisers to get us to buy their products.  And their repetitiveness.  I challenge you to not consider buying something after having watched the same ad over and over for a few weeks.

I have now come to understand who the target market for morning television is;  over-weight, wrinkled seniors who apparently can’t cook.  All they supposedly need is a treadmill, rowing machine, ab-cruncher or even better, one of the new wobble boards.  They can then put on the miracle wrinkle cream, hop on the exercise machine and, while watching television,  in “just a few short weeks” be 20 kg lighter and look 20 years younger (sign me up!) All this, while the air-fryer/deep fryer/or any other fryer advertised, cooks a 3 course meal to absolute perfection.

Dinner’s ready

I got into the habit of turning the TV on at the same time as the coffee machine in the mornings, while we were in PNG.  That way we could watch the Australian morning news while having breakfast.  And that habit came back with us to Australia.  I get out of bed, turn on the coffee machine and then hit the “on” button on the TV.

Morning television doesn’t exactly motivate you and  I needed something to focus on, something new in my life.  Something challenging to keep my poor, almost 64 years old deteriorating (according to the advertisers) brain in top condition.

A blog seemed like a good idea and I finally got my back-side into gear and managed to get my website up and running.  As I’m still on L-plates and not overly tech savvy (read not-at-all but learning) it has taken much longer than I thought it would.  And this is where Mr Murphy comes in (you thought I would never get there, right?).

I really want to give this blogging business a go and I started to think that the delay with our working visas was a good thing after all.  I had plenty of time to sit down and think of something to talk about.  And to continue to learn more about the whole subject of blogging and how to get more followers etc.

But no, no, no.   Murphy’s Law as we all know, dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.  So after all my time management planning,  having that smug sense of “I can do this!”, I now find that the schedule can be thrown out the window. 

Deadline

We have finally been notified that our work permits are on the way and we will probably be packing our bags in another couple of weeks.  This is really good news of course, however it probably means that my blogging will not be as regular as I had planned.  And I was so exited!

Instead the time will now be taken up making arrangements for somewhere to live in Port Moresby,  making numerous trips to the embassy to get the visas inserted into our passports (nothing happens quickly in PNG), arrange for tenants or house sitters (decisions, decisions) and do all the shopping for things we need up there.  Shopping we have had over four months to do mind you.

And while we’re talking shopping, I need an exercise machine for a couple of weeks in order to lose the extra kilos that have settled on my hips while I’ve been watching TV and eating those gourmet meals.

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No more wine – I’m trying to write!

This blogging business is hard work!  9.30pm on a Friday night is definitely not the time to do it.  Especially not after a glass of wine or two … or three … o.k., maybe four.  But they were small glasses so the fourth one really doesn’t count.

I have finally come out of the closet (so to speak) and let my friends and the rest of the world know I’m writing this blog.  I’m so surprised and pleasantly surprised at the support, really wasn’t sure anyone would want to follow me.  So a big Thank You, this has given me the encouragement to continue.

As I’ve said in an earlier post, I’m new at this.  And not just new, I’m a virtual virgin.  So heaven help those of you who have chosen to follow my blog.  All I can say is buckle up and tighten your belts, this could be a bumpy ride.  But hey, we could have some fun on the way.  And as long as we don’t take things too seriously, we should be o.k.

I have just realised I posted a photo on Instagram before I had a chance to rotate it, see what I mean, you shouldn’t drink and blog!  But thank you to those of you who still liked it and didn’t say a word, you are definitely my kind of friends.  So just for your benefit, here is the picture, right side up ..

No more wine please!

Told you, the glasses were small!

I’d love to get your input and suggestions, so please feel free to leave a comment in the comments box at the end of any of the the blogs.

For once this is going to be a short post (I can literally hear your sighs of relief from here), I really just wanted to say a big Thank You to those of you decided to go on this journey with me.

 

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I’m now on Bloglovin

This is just a post to let you all know that Scandi-Sense is now on Bloglovin and you can follow my posts there.

My blog is still a work in progress and I find I’m adding to it or changing something each day but I am slowly getting there.

Never knew there was so much to do and learn in starting a blog, my brain is in shock, hasn’t had to work so hard in a long time.  If all accounts are right, all this brain gymnastics should at least stave off early onset dementia.

So after a quick coffee and home made banana cake (love my sweets!) it’s back to work.

 

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Some friendships last a lifetime

I have now reached that point in life when I not only look to the future but I also start to look backwards.  There are so many memories fighting for space in my brain, all of a sudden I find myself thinking about something or more specifically, someone I thought I had long since forgotten.

If a face bubbles to the surface I can spend the next couple of hours trying to put a name to that face;  for some reason names and faces seem to be stored in completely different vaults in my memory bank.  Sometimes it is simply impossible to find a matching pair.  It just doesn’t compute.  A bit like socks, you put a pair into the washing machine but only one comes out.  The other one is either lost for all eternity or it will re-join the sock family a few washes down the track.

We all meet so many people throughout our lives.  Some are like ships passing  in the night, they are on your radar for a short time before disappearing over the horizon again.  You have some good time together and though you occasionally give them a thought, they really aren’t missed once they are out of sight.

Others on the other hand, drop anchor next to you and stay there for a while, maybe even for ever.  You see them on a regular basis and if for some reason they move away, you stay in touch with them. You keep them posted on what’s happening in your life and they do exactly the same.

And then there is the third type of friendship, the one that is permanently anchored deep in your soul.  This kind of friendship doesn’t depend on constant contact.  For one reason or another you just “clicked”, had lots of good and bad times together and somehow, no matter what, you really enjoyed each others friendship.  Then one day, life separates you and you lose touch with each other.

Years can go by without any contact at all and then all of a sudden you meet up again and it’s like you saw them only yesterday.  You simply start up where you left off.  Lots might have changed but somehow nothing has.  You might live in different parts of the world, lead completely different types of lives, but that special bond, that friendship formed long ago is unchanged.  Some friendships are like that and they are very special.

I talk about this because we have had a very good friend of my husband  visiting us over the weekend.  Their friendship goes back over 40 years to when they were just starting out in life.  They spent some years working together and then life took them in different directions and to different cities.

Old buddies

They have caught up with each other once in a while but there has been no regularity to the contacts.  So it was so much fun to observe these two now “mature” blokes (they are no longer the young spring chickens they once were!) spend until the small hours of the morning talking about everything under the sun and just catching up.

Friendships like these are so wonderful, there are no strings attached, no demands of “must stay in touch”; just the joy of catching up and getting the latest update on what’s happened in each others lives since last time.  If many years have past since the previous meeting, we have a laugh at how we have changed.  We make comments like  “You had hair the last time I saw you!” or “You’ve put on a little bit of weight!”, things you only say to real friends.  Things you say because you can, no offence intended and none taken.

This particular friend of my husband’s was travelling through our part of the country with his new partner.  They were travelling by car to the very tip of Australia, a trip that has become a right of passage to all four wheel drive enthusiasts in this country.

We spent a couple of very enjoyable evenings together, I made new friends and my husband re-connected with an old one.  This morning, after taking lots of photos of course, we waved them good bye, wished them a safe trip and offered them a bed on their way back.

Until next time

Hopefully they send some photos so we can follow their adventure up north and we really hope they make a short stop at “Harriet’s Hotel”on the way back (we have had so many visitors over the years our place was given this nick name).  But if we don’t hear from them for another couple of years, it doesn’t matter, when we do meet up again, we’ll just continue on from where we left off this morning.

 

 

 

 

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