Weekend Coffee Share: Paris and the week that was.

Although the world is in mourning after the Paris atrocities, I still feel the need to get together for coffee this weekend.  Not out of defiance or as a show of resilience but because I need to be with friends. I want to talk about all of this and what it means. How I was walking the streets on Google Earth last week researching my book and how I can’t understand how this has happened…even though it’s no surprise. Our world is at war but it’s a war with new rules we’re all struggling to understand and work out, collectively and as individuals, how to respond.

Just reminder too, that we live in Greater Sydney, Australia so our time zones here could well be quite different to your own.

However, the week didn’t start or end with Paris so I’m going to rewind a little.  Although what happened here probably hasn’t made the news, we’ve had a few storms in our own tea cup and my nerves were well and truly fried before Paris.

Up until Thursday, I’d been making good progress on the Book Project and after 9 years of procrastination, self-doubt and false starts, I’ve finally made progress and it’s been wonderful. I’m almost delirious with joy. Thrilled.

Poetry Reading Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, Paris.

Poetry Reading Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, Paris.

As I mentioned when we had coffee last week, the book starts in Paris in July 1992 when I did a poetry reading at the Shakespeare & Company Bookshop. I was only 21 and didn’t realise at the time how exceptional it was for a young 21 year old writer to get their own gig. After all, I was hardly Hemingway and had self-published my anthology on the photocopier.

At the Eiffel Tower in 1992

At the Eiffel Tower in 1992

For the last two weeks, I’ve moved heaven and earth trying to squeeze back into my 21 year old self and walk those streets again via Google maps.

It’s been an absolutely incredible journey where I’ve been living, breathing and all but eating Paris.

The mood started to change on Thursday when four Black Hawk helicopters flew overhead, just above our roof. This was the beginning of a terrifying ordeal where they were doing low-flying loops over our quiet, regional beach side town. The noise was unbelievable and that alone inspired terror. But what was the army doing here? I’ve never even seen one army helicopter here before. This was very unusual.

Living in a post 9/11 world, we’ve been told to watch out for unattended packages and to report suspicious activity. So, when we saw these four army helicopters doing loop after loop after loop of town, we were naturally concerned…i.e we panicked! The kids were really getting worried and upset and my heart was racing as well.

Black Hawk Helicopter.

Black Hawk Helicopter.

I rang my husband at work. Of course, my husband is fully capable to handling a national emergency. Daddy can do anything.

When Geoff suggested that there wouldn’t be four army helicopters out there for no reason, that just confirmed my worst fears. I locked the front door and grabbed the laptop. Surely, Google would know.

Well, it turned out to be a false alarm. It was an Army training exercise.

However, those helicopters did seem to herald in the forces of doom.

The Lifeguard's board wasn't much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

The Lifeguard’s board wasn’t much chop for taking on this almighty storm.

Friday afternoon, we were hit by an incredible hail storm. Stupid me who thinks “photography” when she sees huge, towering black clouds dripping incredibly menacing tentacles across the sky, headed down to the beach to get some shots. I ended up feeling like I was trapped inside my tin can with huge golf ball-sized lumps of hail pelting against the car just waiting for the windscreen to smash into a million pieces. Meanwhile at home, the hail had smashed through the office roof and rain was pouring in. Indeed, my keyboard was doing laps of my sodden desk.

Hail Stone.

Hail Stone.

Despite my medical condition, I was moving out piles of books and computer equipment while our daughter was chasing buckets and strategically placed them round the room. Mister wanted to get up on the roof and then went charging down the street to check on the neighbours as I pointed out that we were in crisis. I called the State Emergency Service and their volunteers saved the day, patching the roof with some corrugated iron sheets from the shed. Order was restored…aside from the mess!

The backyard after the storm.

The backyard after the storm.

This storm certainly concerned me because its intensity was uncharacteristically strong for around here, a reminder of another global crisis…global warming.

Our Border Collie doing his agility training...chasing his ball through the debris. He';s an addict!

Our Border Collie doing his agility training…chasing his ball through the debris. He’;s an addict!

I woke up on Saturday morning, feeling absolutely frazzled. My nerves were literally fried. What with the deafening din of military helicopters, I was wrecked.

Saturday, we somehow managed to get ourselves together and out to the opening of the Scout Hall. It was a fabulous day of celebrating with community and it was fabulous to see such inspirational young people and their leaders learning skills that can help them be trail blazers for their peers.

Then, we arrived home to hear news of Paris.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

I am in mourning. The world is in mourning. Can’t imagine what it would be like in Paris , although we experienced terrorism on a small scale in Sydney just over a year ago. Yes, we know that horror and I knew one of the people taken hostage and people who work around Martin Place and had to go back to work and face that horror day after day without knowing if that was the beginning or the end. The courage of the ordinary becomes extraordinary at such times.

Here’s a previous post I wrote in response to Paris: Solidarite: Je Suis Paris https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/solidarite-je-suis-paris/

So, while coffee today might not be very upbeat but coming together at such times, is what coffee and especially that proverbially cup of tea is all about…a welcome cup of healing.

So, this week, I am offering a cup of love, understanding, hugs and even a box of tissues.

I hope and pray that you and yours are okay!

Love and heartfelt blessings,

xx Rowena

This blog is part of the Weekend Coffee Share. Here’s the linky: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=582184  I recommend reading Solveig Werner’s post. She lives in Paris: http://solveigwerner.com/2015/11/14/my-heart-is-aching/

We send you our love!

We send you our love!

26 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: Paris and the week that was.

  1. eloisedesousa

    I’m so glad to meet you and share a cup of coffee with you after your ordeal. It’s nice to take a breath and offload our troubles. I hope you’ll join me for another cuppa tomorrow on my blog. 😊

  2. Nooce Miller

    I’m glad you did do a coffee share in spite of the week you had. You’re right, there is comfort in sharing and in community. That large hail does a devil of a lot of damage, doesn’t it? I’m so sorry the cloud randomly decided to drop it on your house. You might not get it often in Aus., but it is unfortunately not uncommon here in the middle of the U.S. Here’s to having a better week to come, and peace and healing in Paris.

  3. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Laura. I took quite a few shots but the ones with the resue board and the dog were particularly poignant. The sky exploded seconds later.
    The sun came out today. I am thinking of heading down and taking a couple of photos of after the storm. I’m curious to see how the beach fared. It was badly damaged in a previous storm and has needed sandbagging.

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Noose. I bought 4 different newspapers this morning to follow up on Paris…especially look at the images that are coming out and the artistic expressions.
    Last night, it was hard to believe another week was about to begin after all of that. There there was this sense of normal and routine plastered over the top of destruction and chaos both in Paris and at home with our storm. My daughter was exhausted and not feeling well and ended up staying home from school. I spent the day washing all the towels. Last night, my husband finally fixed the dryer.Knew there was a sock stuck in there but hadn’t got around to retrieving it. As it turned out, it was one of his named socks and this one was appropriately named “naughty”!
    Let’s hope for better things this week xx Rowena

  5. roweeee Post author

    I’ll have to let them know. These were all volunteers too. They pulled up in a huge truck and have tools, ladders etc. and they’re incredibly courageous and practically minded. They were like a team of angels.

  6. noelleg44

    You’ve had a very up and down week – good things, bad things, and everything in between. I hope this week goes better – and that Paris, which will never be normal again, can get back some sense of equilibrium. Prayers for the victims and their families.

  7. gaiainaction

    I totally feel with you and with all humankind in our empathy with the people in Paris, how awful this really was. I also am sad about the victims of terror all over the earth, innocent children and whole families being killed. When will we learn to live together in peace!

    Wishing you a week that is more relaxing and kinder to you too Roweena.

  8. roweeee Post author

    Thanks so much for the chocolate, Merril. I should have been offering that with the coffee. I’ve just come back from walking the dogs at the beach and taking photos after the storm. The beach is looking the best it has in ages. The road has reopened after being closed for what must be 3-6 months after the last big storm and you have to look very carefully to see any signs of the storm at all. A friend of mine is the lifeguard down there and he posed for some shots, which I’ll post today. He was indoors when the storm hit getting the gear in. Said he saw me out there with the camera and was thinking: “What the?!!! Yet another confirmation I’m more than a little mad. Turns out the car has hail damage but we won’t have an excess for out first claim so that’s good. Hope things are going well with you. xx Ro

  9. Terri Webster Schrandt

    Wow, you have been through the ringer, my heart goes out to you. I hope all is calmed down and no one was injured, except maybe your computer. Paris is another matter and your taking the time to write helped you cope with everything.

  10. roweeee Post author

    Thanks Terri. Yes, the writing helped and getting out for a walk along the beach and getting some sunshine helped. Am starting to regroup and feel stronger. Thank you for your support xx Rowena

  11. roweeee Post author

    Thank you very much, Gaia.

    I am so with you. I don’t understand any of this. My husband flew Inter-state today and I really did feel on edge. Our world is so fragile. I don’t know how this is going to change or when but live in hope xx Rowena

  12. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Eloise. I am making my way through the coffee stops and I don’t think I’ve been to your place yet but I’m on my way xx Rowena

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