Paying the Price

A truly inspirational post. How hard do you fight for your dreams, or do they simply stay as dreams? Have a read of this amazing story, it certainly made me sit back and review my goals, how much I want them and how hard I would work towards actually achieving them. Thanks Grace and Huy for this post (more simply amazing people – I recommend you read their story).

Transponderings

Everything in Nepal comes with a price. Freedom from poverty for those fortunate to be in a position to attain it, has a steep price, paid not only in money but in blood, sweat and tears.

Behind every smiling face here, there is a story of the price that is willing to be paid.

Whilst riding up Tiger mountain just outside Pokhara Valley, I got to hear just one of these many stories.

I met a young man at the top. He was resting after a grueling training run up. It was Saturday, the only day off in the Nepali week.

He was training to get a place in the Indian army as a famed Ghurka, and follow in the footsteps of his father.

My father has been serving in the Indian Army for 18 years. He lives in New Delhi together with my mum. I live in Pokhara with my…

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Brigid’s Ritual

brigid wanna be

Yesterday, I trimmed and tidied the lemongrass in the garden.  Today, I find this photograph which puts me in memory of my beautiful, black feline, Brigid, who delighted in lemongrass as opposed to the more mundane catnip or cat grass which I grew for her and her sister.

Well actually, she more than enjoyed it, she revelled in it.  It was a sudden change, one day she was happily chewing on cat grass, the next she was all over the lemongrass like a dog who enjoys a dead fish on the beach <phew!>.  It became an addiction, if cats have addictions.  It became a ceremony.

Every morning I would hear a bleat from her and never having been very vocal all her 14 years it was an amusing thing for me.  Out the door, a quick squint in the sunlight, then to check on ‘her’ lemongrass.  She would slink around it once, eyeing off the juiciest leaves, then settle down and chew for about five minutes releasing the aromatic oils.  The young leaves would drop around the base of the plant.  Following said mastication she would lay down, roll and squirm among them for another five.  I found the scent arising from all the bruised leaves to be invigorating.  I am sure Brigid did too as I could swear she had a smile on her face after engaging in her morning ritual.

Today, like most days, I miss her company.  But simple memories bring her back.

RIP Brigid.

No One Spoke

It’s been a while since I posted, I have been busy doing mundane tasks. This morning I promised myself to stop long enough to smell the roses and it worked. I stopped long enough to read and be a part of this beautiful morning ritual with a group of people unknown to each other and fell in love again with those small, but simply amazing, moments. Thanks for bringing me back, Stuart.

Storyshucker

Friends and I enjoyed sun, sand, and surf with other beachgoers on a recent Saturday. Sitting slathered in sticky sunscreen beneath our umbrellas, we pointlessly brushed sand from our legs as we discussed evening plans. The seagulls overhead laughed louder than the swimmers splashing in nearby waves while those of us on the beach napped, read, or simply watched people. My friends discussed how relaxing it was and how nice it would be to sleep late the next morning.

Sleep late? I mentioned to them that we only get so many sunrises in a lifetime. Shouldn’t we get up to look at a few?

They stared blankly for a second then shook their heads in unison. No.

In the wee hours of the next morning, alone in the dark, I started the short walk from house to beach guided only by dim lights above the boardwalk. It was eerily quiet at…

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Blueberry Smooch

I just luuuurve blueberries, star anise and cardamom. It never entered my mind to combine them. Now my whole being is quivering at the thought of making this beautiful recipe with my blueberries which are only one season old at the moment. Mostly I commune with them each morning, tickling a few off and enjoying them standing in the sun before all of the rest of the world intrudes on our special time 😉

betterfoodwhistler

I thought I’d share this recipe for one of my favorite recipes for fresh blueberries —Blueberry Smooch.  Several years ago I first found the recipe in the Province Newspaper. I clipped the page, made my first batch but somehow I lost the recipe. I have since found a similar recipe for Strawberry Smooch on the http://www.homecanning.com website. The ingredients are similar accept I think the original one slipped in a bit of vanilla. The last couple of years I have tweaked the recipe into Spiced Smooch by adding whole Star Anise and Cardamom pods. I count the number of pods and pull them out before processing or you can make a spice satchel out of cheesecloth.

If new to canning or if you don’t have the time you can also freeze the sauce to enjoy all winter long. It goes well with just about anything from icecream, cheesecake, pancakes and…

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Libreria Acqua Alta | Venice

The joy of finding small treasures in a foreign country and the excitement of finding a new bookshop, Nora from The Art of Travelling has successfully managed to combine the two. As someone else who loves the quirky, quaint and sometimes ridiculous I have to say she is on to a winner with this one. Pop on over to her blog and have a read of her other articles too.

The Art of Exploring

Libreria Acqua Alta
Libreria Acqua Alta
I remember finding out about this bookshop while watching a documentary on Venice during wintertime with my mum last year. I found it hard to believe that such a place existed in real life and was not a part of a film set. So when I went to Venice last January, I couldn’t wait to see it with my own eyes. It was actually one of the first thing I ticked off my ‘to-see-list’. It’s no easy feat to locate the Libreria Acqua Alta, like most places in Venice, really. I was walking on a shopping street, literally about to give up, when I stumbled upon a little square, or campiello as they call it there. At the back of it, an arched entrance, lit up from inside, seemed to invite me in. Could it be it, I thought, trying to match what I saw with my televised memory…

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The Amazing Power of Scent

I don’t know about you, but for me a scent can send me spinning off into the dark caverns of memory, touching old thoughts, transporting me into hitherto forgotten scenes or awakening old emotions.

Sourdough bread, for example, that warm, wild and yeasty scent evoking memories of security; an incense bringing into sharp relief the memories of laughter and a precious friend’s welcome home from a trip to Nepal; a rose reminding me of a special time and place of joy or lavender, the rare times I spent with my grandmother on the other side of the country.

While working towards my decluttering challenge I picked up a book, long unopened, fanned through its pages breathing in the mustiness and was transported back years before the speed of the internet, email and mobile phones made us all a part of a new world and easily accessible.  Private time readings as a child, teenager and young adult was salve to my soul.  Many hours were spent in other worlds with a variety of characters, all while curled up on my bed with a late winter sun pouring through the window.

I decided against moving on those books just yet.  With autumn arrived I still have things to do in the garden, but those books …. well I am going to reread them all again before handing them over to the local charity store so that others can share the same stories.  I am going to have an amazing winter without TV, with the computer and phone turned off, and just dive into those worlds again with the cat curled up and a hot chocolate by my side.  I can smell it now.

5 Things I Did Not Expect To Learn From Permaculture

A truly inspiring article and one that resonates very deeply with me. I am learning about permaculture presently and unfortunately had to postpone my own PDC for another 10 months. Most people I know who have done the course find that their worldview changes, their world changes and that amazing things happen. Please enjoy this read.

Shake This Land

I believe in the power of a good cry. Three years ago, I read a book called Eaarth by environmentalist Bill McKibben and it changed my life. Few things have had such a profoundly lasting effect on me, and I dealt with coming to terms with his depressing statistics and threatening realities through cycles of anger, dread, denial and hope. Interspersed with fits of crying, of course. For a long time I felt weighed down by his insights and powerless that his suggestions for changing the world could actually do so… What effect can one person really make by biking to the grocery store and using a reusable bag?! I can see the parking lot full of cars and the stacks on stacks of plastic bags ready to be used! Also, I cannot afford even one solar panel, dude.

One day in the middle of a good cry, I got sick…

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