The simplicity of my day to day.
This is where I write my thoughts, feelings and my daily trials, tribulations and happy things
|Prompt eight for
In Victor Hugo’s classic story, Le Miserables, the sewers of Paris played an integral part.
“Paris has beneath it another Paris; a Paris of sewers; which has its streets, its crossroads, its squares, its blind-alleys, its arteries, and its circulation, which is of mire and minus the human form.”
( Victor Hugo, Leviathan's Intestine, book II )
The sewers were designed a century ago and yet remain pertinent today. It stands as a monument to man’s sanitary genius.
Under the feet of the citizens of Paris, the sewers unfold 2600 km of galleries and gutters. Some 300 million qm3 of rainwater and wastewater pass through them every year, hurtling down the pipes of this singular, gravitational and visitable network. Moreover, the waters are directed to power plants where they become treated and cleaned. The sewers also house other networks: portable drinking water, non-drinking water and even fiberoptics since several years!
A museum has been built purposely for anyone interested in the history of the sewers.
If anyone wants a fascinating and informative tour whilst visiting the city of love, I can recommend this.tour, especially if you are a writer and would like to set your story in the Parisian sewers. Forget about the images of narrow and dark tunnels, a visit to these sewers will set your reader’s heart a racing as your protagonist is pursued through this underground maze.
|Prompt 7 And all those friends that were such a chore
You're gonna need 'em more than ever before
As a child, so scared and fearful,
School terrified and alarmed.
Children gravitated as magnets pull.
Laughing, holding hands.
Making friends with so much ease,
Yet not for me, for I would freeze.
Home is where I longed to be
Not thrust into rooms of noise and mayhem
And crowded places, squeals and noisy games.
“Will you be my friend?”
One other child as scared as I,
Held out one chubby hand.
She saved me, as I did her.
Yet life took us far apart,
But thoughts of her still crossed my mind.
Returning home across the miles
To see my family, I thought
I’d seek her out. I knocked upon her door
My heart was beating fast
An old lady stood upon the step,
And yet with unforgettable smile
She asked. “Yes? Can I help?”
I said, “Tell me about your life.
And all the things you’ve done?
It’s over forty years, but
Do you remember me?”
|Waiting for my real life to begin.
Today I heard a piece of music with this title and it set me thinking. I wonder if we are all guilty of waiting for our real lives to begin?
Didn’t it happen the day we are born? Maybe, but nature forces us, from the very first gasp, to strive, to evolve, to learn to be…What?
Once I had mastered the arts of walking and talking, people soon began asking what I wanted to be when I grew up. Why? Hadn’t I started my real life yet? As a child, was I not yet important? Were they telling me I would become, more, better, worthy, when I reach that wonderful stage of “grown up.”
Perhaps my real life began when I left school and went to college? Or was it when I found true love and married my husband? Perhaps it was when my husband and I became parents. Was this my real life? No. I don’t think so because now I was so tired, mired in child raising, cooking, cleaning, money worries, and schooling. I imagined a time when there was space just for me. I was waiting for my real life to begin.
Then my children became older and more independent. They left. I was no longer needed and felt empty for a while, waiting for something.
My husband and I traveled often for a few years, leaving the stress of work life behind us. Even though cruises and nice hotels were fun, it didn’t feel like real life. It wasn’t until my children gave us grandchildren and I felt needed again, did I wonder if this was what, “real,”meant?
I now feel settled and content within myself. I no longer stress about the little things. I’ve learned what’s important. Life seems genuine. We’re still waiting though. Waiting for retirement. Time when we can cash in on all the years of saving for the golden years.
But now at last I feel as if my real life has begun.
|Prompt six: It is important to start socializing the idea of reforms now—sometimes they are upon us quicker than we think."
“Reforms Are like Going to the Dentist: The Longer You Wait, the Harder It Will Be. But You’ll Have to Go After All”
Reform is defined as: To correct someone or something or cause someone or something to be better.
Some historians labeled the period 1830 to 1850 as “the age of reform.” Women, in particular, played a huge role in these changes.
The key movements at that time were, womens sufferage, limiting child labour, abolition, temperance and prison reform.
The reform in Australia which had everyone talking, or at least having an opinion on, was the gun reform.
Background: After a 1996 firearm massacre in Tasmania in which 35 people died, Australian governments united to remove semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns and rifles from civilian possession, as a key component of gun law reforms.
In the 18 years before the gun law reforms, there were 13 mass shootings in Australia, and none in the following ten years. There were declines in firearm deaths, particularly suicides and total homicide rates followed the same pattern. This proved that by removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians was an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and prison reform.
The reform which will impact me at my time of life and one which has been many years in coming is Aged care reforms and reviews
Reforms to the aged care system in Australia are intended to improve the quality of care. They are also making it easier for older people to access government-funded aged care services and support.
New aged care legislation has been introduced to federal parliament.
Aged care providers are expected to seek deferrals to mandatory on-site nurses.
New report says technology is the answer to delivering better care by freeing up staff.
What I fail to understand is how the current problems the aged care sector is experiencing has gone on ignored for so long. Why does it take years of suffering, not enough staff in nursing homes, bad food, incompetence and political blindness before something pushes governments of all persuasions to act?
|Prompt five for
In this age of the “Me Too,” movement the pendulum has swung far away from its usual arc. Women no longer allow men to speak down to them, patronise them or sexually demean them.
Well, perhaps this is how the media portrays the status quo, but is it really so?
That scenario is the end play, the place where women hope it will be, one day. No, we still live in a very patriarchal society, let’s not pretend it is any other way.
However things are definitely changing for the better.
This week was the 10 th anniversary of a speech given in parliament by the then Prime Minister of Australia. Julia Gillard had been ridiculed for her voice, her dress sense, her large bottom and her relationship with her partner. There was one parliamentarian, Tony Abbot who seemed to delight in getting under Julia’s skin until one day she gave a fifteen minute speech in the house which was the forevermore called, “ The Mysogeny Speech.
I was watching a replay of the speech from ten years ago and I sensed the mood had changed. What society will accept now from men toward women is different. The change has been a subtle one but the fact I was more shocked at her treatment from the perspective of 2022 rather than how I viewed it in 2012 says it all.
More women are winning the race for the top jobs although, rather than the norm, it is the exception.
New Zealand has had a very popular woman prime minister for many years. She has carried out her duty to her country in difficult times with steel and determination yet also with a woman’s touch.
The United Kingdom has a new Prime Minister a woman, Liz Truss. She has a huge task ahead of her, it will be interesting to see her balance the role of the top job without losing her femininity. Is it possible to avoid losing something, some gentleness when holding such a position ? Do women have to “grow balls,” to command respect?
|Prompt 4 for Journalistic Intentions. “Mister…I was born for it.”
I don’t think we are born destined for anything. Babies are a blank canvas, easily steered into mastering anything. Farmer’s children grow up with an affinity for animals, children of sports people are taken to sporting events early in their lives, and given the opportunity to play a sport because that’s what their parents want.
Chess masters teach their child chess at a very young age, tennis champions children have lessons from their parent as soon as they can hold a racket. Yet people say, “ he was born to be…
Opportunity makes champions.
So what do I think I was born to be? I could have been so much more than I am. The reason I say that is because of the very fact I wasn’t given the opportunity to go to a good school or even expected to get more than a rudimentary education. I wasn’t given music lessons or even access to a musical instrument. I left school at fifteen to help in our grocery business.
Maybe I was born to be a mother, but somehow I don’t think I was. When we had our first daughter I felt like a fish out of water for several years. I never felt good enough somehow. When she was three years old I gave birth to twins. I remember the matron at the hospital telling me that God only gave us what we deserved, that I must be have been born to be a mother. I struggled with three children under four with no available help from family who lived in another country.
Our family is large. We have 6 grandchildren now and five great grandchildren. They say I’m the glue who hold the family together and yet I still feel the same doubts about myself.
So what was I born to be? Whatever it was it passed me by.
| Journalistic Intentions prompt three: Kohirabi.
Well I know little about Kohirabi, so decided to write about a unique Australian rare tree and its nuts.
Bunja Pine. The pinecones contain seeds four centimetres long. Raw roasted or boiled by the Australian natives
What is it?
Araucaria Bidwilli, is commonly known as the bunya pine, sometimes referred to as the false monkey puzzle tree. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree. Bunja pines can produce dozens of massive cones that can weigh up to 10 kilograms. Beware they can drop from up to 50 metres without warning! The pines contain seeds four centimetres long. They are eaten raw, roasted, or boiled by the Australia natives.
What does it taste like?
It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like the taste of the Bunja Pine nuts. The flavour is described as similar to a starchy potato or chestnut.
How to cook
Roasted on the fire like you would a potato. They can be ground into a paste or flour and cooked into little cakes.
How to enjoy raw
The Bunja is ready to harvest when they fall to the ground but be careful many people have been killed or badly injured by a falling pinecone. The leaves are very sharp, and the nuts are right at the top of the pine. The need to be boiled or roasted for an hour to release them from their shell. Gently crack the shell with a hammer or rock. The nuts are a highly nutritious, protein rich food.
Bunya Nut Fritters
300 g bunya nuts, raw
80 g cheese
120 g Milk
1 tsp baking powder
80 g plain flour
1 tsp salt
0.5 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Onion powder
1 can canned sweet corn kernel
Preparing Bunya Nuts
To get at the nuts you need to pull the cone apart and peel the tough husk away from the seed. It’s best to do this as soon as you can as the husk becomes harder to remove as it dries.
Use a pipe cutter or guillotine to cut each nut in half and remove the nut from the hard shell.
3. Add bunya nuts to the bowl and put lid & measuring cup on.
4. Grate finely 20 secs, speed 8
5. Add cheese and put lid & measuring cup on.
6. 8 seconds, speed 7
7. Add remaining ingredients (except corn) and put lid & measuring cup on.
8. 10 seconds, speed 6
9. Add corn
10. 8 seconds, speed 3
11. Spoon mixture into greased frypan in batches and cook approx 1-2 min each side.
I was born in a green and pleasant land. A land of fertile soil and plentiful rain but now live in a harsh environment, with poor soils, unpredictable rainfall and high temperatures.
It was much the same in the nineteenth century when the first European settlers arrived on the shores of Australia.
They were met with unfamiliar conditions and natives who had never seen white men before.
The natives had lived and thrived for thousands of years on this land. Their country. A country managed by the people who lived by the seasons. In Western Australia the Nyoongar people observe six separate seasons.
• First summer
• Season of the young
Dry and hot
Season of adolescence
Hottest part of the year.
Season of adulthood
Cooler weather begins
Season of fertility
Coldest and wettest season of the year
More frequent gales and storms.
Season of conception
Mixture of wet days with increasing number of clear, cold nights and pleasant warm days.
Season of birth
Longer dry periods
The first settlers knew nothing of the climate, the seasons of this foreign land and yet they were farmers and sure of their farming knowledge. Convinced they would continue to grow crops successfully here as they had for years at home.
If only they had taken the time and patience to make allies of the natives. Instead, they thought them ignorant and tried to destroy them. Massacred them, destroyed their camps, and feared them.
The settlers were soon to learn their old methods of growing food here in Australia would fail.
The first thing they did was to clear the trees, scraping the last bit of vegetation from the sandy soils. The outcome of all the clearing is that now Western Australia contains 70% of the land affected by salinity in Australia.
More than 2 million hectares are currently affected, and around 4 million hectares of land are currently listed. More than 1 million hectares of agricultural land in the south-west of Western Australia (WA) is severely affected by salt. The lost agricultural productivity from salinity damage is estimated to be worth at least $519 million per year. Even though climate change has resulted in reduced annual rainfall, saline water tables have risen in many areas, meaning that dryland salinisation is a threat to an additional 2.8 to 4.5 million hectares of low-lying or valley floor soils.
|Journalistic Intentions prompt: 1 Food:Indigenous Recipe Collection.
I live in a land down under
Where long before white man arrived,
The bush was a place of pure wonder,
And the natives were sure not deprived.
They dined everyday according to season,
Rare were they short of a meal.
They lived in a state of perfect cohesion,
Could choose on the day whatever appealed.
If they felt like a steak or big pot of stew,
They’d go on a hunt for a day, maybe two.
Bring back a fish, crocodile, kangaroo,
Or if smart enough, an emu or two.
Its oil had numerous uses
The meat was roasted on coals
Yams cooked in the juices,
While they sat, Dreamtime stories were told.
Until,I was 28 I’d never left my country of birth. It was then my husband and I with our three year old daughter came to Australia in 1972. We settled in Perth Western Australia and for the next thirty plus years we raised our family. It wasn’t until we were in our sixties we decided to travel. As we weren’t well off financially we were on a strict budget. Our first foray abroad was to Thailand and Malaysia for seven weeks. We flew to Bangkok where we had booked a hotel for one night. After that we just went anywhere and everywhere carrying just a backpack each. It was an amazing trip.
We had the travel bug by then and over the next five years we went to India, The Phillipines twice, SriLanka, Vietnam twice and Indonesia several times.