Storm clouds, decisions and rats.

I went back to the coast yesterday, back to my coastal walk that has helped me to think clearly so many times in the past.

I went in an attempt to de clutter my mind and find some space. Decisions need room to move around and settle, to try out the fit.

I’m thinking the storm clouds brewing might just say it all.

And the huge rat (I’m talking the size of a small cat) that ran across the path in front of me, what was that all about? I know about black cats but rats?

016

Step #1 – Reassessment

DSCN1359From Everest Base Camp to the south west of Western Australia. Three months, family dramas, a dose of redundancy and a reality check later and I think I’ve begun to understand the luxury of being able to do what I wanted to do and the pleasure of being able to enjoy every day.

Today I’ve driven to the mouth of the Margaret River and watched the waves pounding the rocks as the river surged outwards into the Indian Ocean, I’ve bought a bottle of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from a boutique winery, I’ve eaten a lunch of mushroom risotto on the balcony of another winery surrounded by the lush greenery that is the south west of this state and now I’m heading off to buy venison sausages.

Is this life not a luxury?

Tomorrow I’ll be on my way back home having had a relaxing and thought provoking few days.

Life, as is its wont, is not prepared to let us rest on our laurels for too long and insists on throwing the odd curve ball our way. When this happens we tend to react instinctively, often retreating into ourselves and possibly making rash decisions. What I’ve learned that we need to do though is to stop, to gather our thoughts and to assess how best to move forward, not to rush in where those proverbial angels fear to tread.

A few days, a few weeks, however long it takes.

Only a matter of weeks ago I was existing on a diet of carbs – pizza, pasta and potatoes, I was pushing myself physically and mentally to achieve my goal and I was walking in the shadow of some of the highest mountains on the planet.

After an amazing and momentous experience life then decided to slap me in the face and I was brought crashing down to earth, reality hit me in all its forms.

These few days away has seen a regrouping, a reassessment of my life. Sometimes what we think we want, what we believe we need, is in reality just a pipe dream. Yes, our fantasy life is appealing but is it what we really want or need?

We all have dreams of what we would like our life to be but if we had all that we wanted, would we be happy? Generally, I think not. Life is not about getting all that we want, life is about making sure that there is always something that we are aiming for.

Our future goals are what make our life worthwhile.

Going Rural

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe small country town of York is about an hour an a half east of Perth and it’s a place that I’ve never been to. Not that there’s much there, but it is a quaint olde worlde town that deserves a stopover.

I was there yesterday, the beginning of the week, but apparently it’s better to visit later in the week or on the weekend when it ‘comes alive.’

A friend has gone rural and settled herself on the outskirts of York on a couple of acres and is in her element. Chickens, geese and a couple of sheep, affectionately named Salt & Pepper (and you’ll see why in the photos), and open paddocks, she’s even bought a ride on mower.

She has room to move and to breath.

Not a bad way to live.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What a cute chicken house – or should that be coop?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meeting Salt & Pepper – not sure I’m an animal person!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pepper – posing or threatening?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Val’s new toy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ‘joys’ of country living – bogged in the fire break!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They have impressive street corners in York.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Redundancy Day – Moving On.

Redundancy

Today was the day that has been coming for the last 5 weeks, my last day in gainful employment, until I find another job that is.

So …. what to do next?

Options:

  1. Eke out a meagre living on my savings while sulking and watching daytime television.
  2. Write dozens of applications for jobs that I don’t really want simply because that’s what’s expected.
  3. Do something different and challenging.
  4. Make a plan and move on.

I’m thinking that 1 and 2 would be the easy way out while 3 and 4 are the way to go.

Now to keep up the momentum and work out a plan – suggestions welcome.

Everest Base Camp Trek: The Final Hurdle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe river of mud, yak poo and urine beneath my feet had become a blur some kilometres back, all that mattered now was that my feet were taking me forward, not what they were stepping in.

I began chanting to myself, one … two … three ….

One, two, three, counting my footsteps, counting the steps getting me closer to the end. Every turn on the track spat out more steps upwards, never ending, one, two, three.

One … two … three … Yangjing’s encouraging ‘not far now,’ urging me forward, washed over me as the mud ran under my feet. I’d long since stopped looking for the end point. The late afternoon dampness enveloped me, so far removed from the morning crispness we had set off in some 10 hours ago.

Yangjing, one of our guides - I owe her a huge debt of thanks.

Yangjing, one of our guides – I owe her a huge debt of thanks.

At what point had enthusiasm for the day’s challenge turned into a struggle and then into a determination that blotted out all else? There was no option, I had to keep going, I would reach the end.

Ironic, that as we headed theoretically down the mountain, the track took us upwards to our destination. This was our starting point just over two weeks ago, obviously we set off in a downwards direction but who realised or remembered that this is what we would face at the end. I certainly never thought that one of my biggest struggles would face me on this last day.

The entrance to the Sagamartha National Park, the gate that we’d originally passed through enthusiastically and with a verve that had gone missing in me in recent hours came into view, but still more steps.

Upwards.

One … two … three …

Finally, after what seemed like forever, I walked under that arch, through that entrance way and back into Lukla. That main street didn’t seem so long the last time I walked it. One … two … three ….

One … two … three. The slippery rocks that paved the way needed a watchful eye and careful footwork, the open ditch needed to be crossed, I almost stumbled and needed Yangjing’s steadying hand.

More steps up to the lodge, I grabbed the handrail needing all the help I could get. It was no longer one, two, three but one … one … one …

And then it was over.

I’d done it.

I’d trekked from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and returned. The tears held determinably in check for the last couple of hours erupted, there was no stopping them. The seat that I collapsed onto was so welcome, my legs no longer capable of supporting me.

Others in the group who’d arrived half an hour in front of me shouted their congratulations and high fived me, but all I could do was sob. Anande put a warming cup of hot mango juice in front of me, at least I think it was mango, he accepted my gulp of thanks and refilled the cup as I emptied it.

From my sitting position I unloaded my pack from my back, leant my hiking pole against the wall, leaned back and breathed.

Yep, I’d done it and despite my tears I was grinning inside.

DSCN1251

 

Pieces of Perth: Forrest Place

An enduring memory I have of Forrest Place is sitting having coffee early one morning and watching as hundreds, possibly thousands, of workers poured from the railway station opposite and marched through Forrest Place. All purposely heading in one direction.

It was like a scene from a sci-fi movie with the population all being drawn by some invisible force towards an unknown destiny. In this case it was offices and shops that were drawing these people to their daily grind.

But I digress from the point of this particular post. Forrest  Place has always been a link between the railway station and the shopping and business district of Perth. Created in 1923 as a thoroughfare for traffic it became a large pedestrianised square in 1987 and is now an iconic spot where you can meet for coffee or a light lunch, enjoy one of the many activities it hosts or just sit in the sun and people watch.

The square is a combination of the old and the new. The west side still houses the beautiful old buildings of the Post Office (built in 1923) and the Commonwealth Bank (completed in 1933). The Donnybrook sandstone of their facades has weathered wonderfully and creates a time capsule that has gradually been surrounded by modern development.

The eastern side of the square has the modern glass and chrome of Forrest Chase the shopping arcade that houses Myer and a multitude of boutiques and specialty shops.

Over the years Forrest Place has become the place to go to, to participate or simply be a bystander as meetings, rallies, school holiday activities, markets and fashion parades take place.

But the powers that be are introducing a sense of fun into Forrest  Place. In 2011 a modern green sculpture was erected at the northern end of the precinct. The winner of a competition to find a suitable work of art the sculpture has had mixed reviews. Officially titled ‘Grow your own’ it’s more colloquially know as ‘The Cactus’ and my personal opinion is that it’s probably been placed there to distract the eye from the road works and extensive redevelopment that’s currently going on behind it.

When I was there recently I spent some time watching as children and adults alike enjoyed the walls of water that erupt from the paving creating ‘rooms’ that change configuration every few minutes.

If you’re in Perth on holiday you really can’t miss Forrest Place and its attractions. If you’re a local who rarely visits the city, make the effort, take the train into the city and spend some time learning what the place has to offer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA