Weekend Coffee Share 7th January, 2018

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share & A Belated Happy New Year!

Today, I’m not even going to ask if you’d like a glass of water. You need it. While the official temperature outside is 35°C /95°F, I swear they’re taking the temperature in the shade because it’s a furnace outside and our poor air-conditioner is sounding like a train struggling to cross Mt Everest…”I think I can…I know I can’t!”

How was your week? I hope you’ve had a good one and a great start to the New Year.

My week could best be described as “The Cough”. I don’t know what possessed The Cough to use my lungs as a BnB, but surely there’s somebody closer to the beach who could have provided ocean views? Our place is a few blocks back. An easy stroll. That said, the cough is so virulent it could reach the beach from our place in an instant. BTW, I”m not exactly sure what’s causing The Cough. I took some precautionary antibiotics, but I have fibrosis in my lungs, a “complication” from the auto-immune disease. I only have 60% lung capacity as a rule so the slightest irritation to the lungs, is more noticeable and potentially serious. meanwhile, the dogs are complaining because I’m a better barker. I’m also thinking the antiobiotics might’ve upset the balance in my stomach and the cough is more about heartburn.

Anyway, enough about the Cough. Coughs are like serial killers. They’re publicity craving sponges, and you don’t want to fuel their narcissistic demands.

Just before Christmas, Geoff and the kids drove up to Queensland for a family wedding and I stayed at home to tend to the coughs and mind the dogs. It was the first time since we’ve been dating that he’s visited his family up North without me, and as much as I wished I’d been there, I also think it was good for them to spend time with Geoff’s people without me there as a distraction for a change.

As a special treat, Geoff took the kids to  Warner Bros Movie World on the Gold Coast with their cousins. Apparently, it’s the Warner Bros version of Disneyland. Not having been there, I’m harranging the rest of the family for details. They, on the other hand, are more interested in playing Minecraft. Don’t they understand that it’s feeding time at the blog, and that they have a moral and social obligation to cough up! Not ust to make their mother happy, but also to promote Australia and encourage more visitors.  Obviously, not. Yet, after much heavy-handling, I did manage to extract a few spartan details about riding the Scooby’s Spooky Rollercoaster. They were telling me about sharp twists and turns, which would have you holding onto onto your false teeth. Then, they tell me about speeding down a hill backwards,  which would have my own teeth falling out. It took quite a lot of prodding, to actually find out that the Spooky Rollercoaster is an indoor ride, and is actually in the dark. Yikes! However, theat was not enough to deter Geoff and our son from going on the DC Rivals Hypercoaster. That either takes courage or insanity and both could apply here.

They also went to the Macadamia Castle at Knockrow, located in the hinterland behind Byron Bay. I just happened to call them while they were there feasting on pancakes at the cafe. I had a bit of a moment then, because we usually go there as a family and we’ve been taking the kids there for around ten years. Some years when we’ve had a few trips up, we’ve gotten to know the keepers and had such a personal experience of the place. Even though the kids are getting older, they’re not too older for the Castle and still loved interacting with the animals.

Speaking of animals, I did hear that they had a few close encounters with snakes at the farm. I prefer not to think about that, although while I’m there I try to remember to watch where I’m walking. Snakes are far from tourist hype in these parts and not uncommon.

Without the family at home and having a break from all our activities, I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve got done at home. While it’s very boring to say you spent the Christmas holidays cleaning the house when you could be at the beach, starting a new year has inspired, dare I say driven me, to sort out the accumulating piles around the house and return to bare earth. With the rest of the family out of harm’s way, I booked a council clean-up and 6 bags of rubbish went along with quite a stash of miscellania. It felt so good. Yet, it was only the beginning.

However, my time alone at home wasn’t all work. I also got stuck into some reading. I’ve been reading a gripping trilogy by Brendan Graham, who also wrote the lyrics for You Raise Me Up. I’d met Graham at the Irish Famine Commemoration Day in Sydney and he came across as a warm, gentle man. Through his books, I’ve appreciated that he’s also a thinker. A man who asks questions and doesn’t just accept the status quo, which struck a chord with me. If you are a writer interested in the source of creative inspiration, I recommend you read this interview.


I also managed to finish Tim Harford’s: Messy: How to be Creative & Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World. I’m actually disgusted with myself that it’s taken me so long to finish what I consider to be one of the best and most useful books I’ve ever read. Somehow, I stopped with about 30 pages to go and didn’t get back to it. Part of the reason, is that I haven’t caught the train for awhile, and that’s my preferred reading location. Along with that, there’s also been all the end of year stuff, which has kept me right away from my teetering book pile in general.

Lastly, I’ve started reading Harry Potter. My daughter’s been badgering me to read Harry Potter for the last month and I keep promising and yet haven’t managed to open the cover. I’m not sure why I’ve been resisting Harry Potter all this time. When it first came out, there was very strong opposition in some Christian circles and that definnitely played a part. In that regard, reading Harry Potter felt tabou, very much like reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover back in the day. However, as a writer, it’s also important to read and analyze very successful literature to either accept or reject its influence in my own writing. I also wasn’t sure that I’d like Harry Potter and reading it strangely felt like a chore. I don’t know why because millions upon millions of readers have loved it. Yet, I’m not sure that I would necessarily relate to all these millions of readers and clearly, they are not me. I have my own opinions, likes and dislikes and I’m anything but a conformist or sheep. As the blog title states: “I’m beyond the flow.”

Harry Potter is quite different to what I’d expected with complex characterization and moves at a delightful, fast-pace where you’re constantly turning pages and looking forward to the next one. What I haven’t picked up through my casual glances at the movie, was that Harry spent his early childhood as the bullied underdog, living with his aunt, uncle and horrid cousin, when within Hogwarts circle, he was revered as a a hero. This, at least to me, adds quite an interesting dimension to the plot. Ramps it up. I guess this plot, or what I’ve uncovered of it so far, is about Harry finding himself, when everyone around him already knows. That is intriguing because most of us would like to think we know ourselves better than other people, but i guess that isn’t always the case.

Given the extreme heat and the cough, I’ve also been getting stuck into my research. This moves around a bit, but I’ve made great headway. While I’m still researching the Irish Famine Orphan Girls from the Midleton Workhouse who came out to Australia, I ended up revisiting the McNamara’s from County Clare and moving back onto the Johnston’s. The Johnstons have been a gripping area of research. My ancestors on that front were whiskey distillers on the island of Islay, Scotland and owned Tallant Distillery. The brother and his son, Donald and Alexander Johnston, went on to found Laphroaig Distillery. I’ve never been to Islay, but I did find a fantastic blog which has almost taken me there and I’m grateful for that. I we’re always saying it’s a small world, but it’s not so small when you’re trying to visit somewhere on the other side of the globe and trying to finance it.

By the way, while we’ve been chatting, the temperature outside has soared. The Ashes Cricket test is on TV and they’re saying it’s now 41°C/ 106°F in the shade and 50°C on the field and the pitch temp is 55°C. Personally, I reckon the cricket should be called off in weather like this, but it appears the cricketers are made of tougher stuff than I. (Humph! You could say that. If a red cricket ball was heading my direction, I’d duck. There’s now way I’d even think about catching any cricket ball, let alone one moving that fast. BTW, the Aussies are winning but it looks like England is trying to stretch it out for a draw.

That’s the full extent of my knowledge of the cricket.

Meanwhile, the dogs are all enjoying the air-conditioning and snoring away. We’ve ramped their training up a notch now that Geoff and the kids are home and have been training them on the lead. Thy need to be able to walk on a loose lead without using interventions like a Halti collar which has been our go to in the past. Perhaps I’m deluded, but I’m thinking we can harness puppy power and produce a pair of easy walkers.

Lastly, I know we don’t usually advertise the unwanted critters we find lurking in our homes, but last night Geoff finally caught the rat which has managed to elude multiple traps and three dogs. Lady’s been pretty keen to hunt it down, but unfortunately couldn’t climb up the bookshelf. The pups ran away and hid and I’m not going to dob myself in on that front. Dealing with the semi-dead rat was definitely a “Geoff job”.

Well, that’s enough from me for now. How was your week? I’d love to hear from you!

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share. Eclectic Alli is hosting a coffee share.  This week’s share is here. and the link up is here. Come on and join in!  We’d love to have you along!

xx Rowena

PS: I just came across this very funny post about the Great Australian Emu War: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/1699685/posts/1725886161

20 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share 7th January, 2018

  1. trentpmcd

    I hope it cools down for you and the Cough goes packs its bags and leaves! I have only read the first Harry Potter, though I saw all of the movies. I did like it, but I just had other things to read and never got around to finishing the series. Have a good week!

  2. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Trent. I ended up going to Emergency last night with the cough. The hospital is near Church and we were dropping the kids off for camp. I just felt it had got beyond my GP with the overlap with lung and GORD issues. Seems now that the antibiotics I took for the chest infection, have upset my stomach so I’m upping all of the medication and going for probiotics, natural yogurt, the works. So, I am feeling more optimistic now. The good thing about going to hospital was that they could take a lot of tests on the spot and they did a chest xray, blood tests, and all of that was what I’d expect. I’ve been trying to nut it out for myself, which I’m usually pretty good at but there were too many variables to process on my own. I have this idea that you go to Emergency if you’re dying or very ill but complex is another reason to go and the staff were lovely. That always makes a difference.
    The Emergency dept at our local hospital is going to be knocked down soon and is now at the dreadful end of life phase where the decor has moved from tired to dead beat and gasping for life. We were in a cuble for about 3-4 hours without TV etc and by the time we left, my phone had run out of power. I’m sure you know hospital decor. It’s the same the world over and so bland and depressing.
    Well, right in my line of sight there was an original photo of a local beach at sunrise taken by Ken Duncan and it actually made me feel happy. I knew he cared. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but his got an international reputation. I met him in his studio a few weeks ago for the second time. So, I sort of felt he was in there with us. Here’s a link to his website: https://kenduncan.com/prints/
    Well, I hope you have a great week. My husband has the week off and is currently relaxing in front of the cricket, such a part of Summer for him.
    Take care and thanks for your concern.
    xx Ro

  3. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Colline. A beautiful cool change swept through last night. Even still, we needed the air-conditioning on. Seems much better today.
    Best wishes,

  4. trentpmcd

    Wow, I’m sorry it got to the point where you had to go to the emergency room, but I hope with all of the tests and such they can get it sorted out. Cool about the photo – I can see how that would help. I’ll take a quick peek at his web site later.

  5. New Journey

    Hello my friend….been following along on Facebook, just haven’t had time to catch up on WP. First, hope the cough has exited stage left…sounds like you started the year sweeping the old mojo out of the house….nothing wrong with that…the pups are certainly getting big…did the 2 little ones go to a new home?? they are adorable..My son and his girlfriend are camping around the Perth area right now, they texted the other day it was 113′ out, I warned them it was the middle of summer…LOL but the temps are down in the 90’s now…I see the kids are off camping, bet they are having fun….sending you energy for the cough….welcome to 2018…..can only get better!!! xxKat

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I really needed that today, as you evidently understand yourself. Resorted to more antibiotics today.

  7. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Amie. This cough seems determined to test me to the very brink of endurance and beyond. Keep trying to outsmart it, but it has rat cunning.

  8. Rowena Post author

    Monika, I love the idea of those skid marks. It’s still got the brakes on at the moment…grr. Started more antibiotics today and I’m hopeful they’ll work.
    Hope you’re having a great weekend.
    I’ve spent the weekend at home trying to get things sorted and sleeping. School goes back in two weeks and both kids are off to camps this week. I would love to think I could go on a ferry ride to Palm Beach. Fingers crossed. Best wishes, Rowena

  9. Rowena Post author

    Do you know whether you take the probiotics with the antibiotics or afterwards? I was going to take them today and my husband queried it and the bottle said to take them afterwards. My stomach currently feels like pouring Draino into it.

  10. pjlazos

    Oh no! I generally take a probiotic every morning and every night. I get them online from a company called Ascended Health. Google them and take a look at their products. Very informative website. I also use their toothpaste and this superfood called marinephytoplankton. Read about it and see if any of it resonates with you. I swear by their products.😉

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