Warm Heart Wednesday

Jenny, thank you, I have decided to join you! Journal of Joy!!

For 7 long months I have told myself that I am too occupied with my responsibilities and illness in the house for the last 2 years.  Maybe this will give me the kick start needed to get back to my blog.

What do we all do when we meet up with someone who will listen: we moan about the weather, the late bus or the missing post.  Put all these negatives to bed; why…. Jenny said so!

To tell of my best moments from last week will give me huge pleasure, as I think everyone else is tired of my exciting news.

One: I have finally retired from a 16 year occupation working for charity, which was pretty much my life.  I was reluctant to leave it all behind, feared retirement, but am now happy that I can be at home every day and share my husbands daily challenges.

Two: The Hospice gave me a terrific send off and I was overwhelmed by the amount of staff and volunteers who turned up to say goodbye!  The words that were spoken about my time with them were beautiful, and humbling.  I was spoilt!

Three:  The very best one!!  I am returning to Ireland, the land of my birth after all these years: nearly 50 in South Africa and now we will be leaving the UK in January.  The removal truck was booked on Saturday!!!  So excited as it will open up a new life for us both and maybe bring some positives into my darling husbands life too.  And my writing and other hobbies may all see light of day again!

I have written this post for Warm Heart Wednesday.



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Utopia of Mine

There would have to be sand and sea and blue skies.  Always water for me! The sound of rushing water is peaceful.

Viv one

And so too is the sound of beating rain on the roof after a long hot summer.

Or a waterfall pouring down a mountainside.

Utopia means ‘no place’ in Greek. But the ‘perfect society’ on an imaginary island to Sir Thomas More.

I wouldn’t have to dash off to an island like Thomas imagined; but it would have to be a place of peace where friends could hang out…. like this….. ? Wine on tap??


All places and things would be free with no queues and no closing times; this way no one would be rushing about getting stressed.   Life would be slower.  The people of the world would be at peace with each other.


I would write, have time to write, plan my day and be organised.  I would even love the world to go back to letter writing.  Receiving letters was always so exciting!!


We might have to do something about the mobile devices that are stuck to peoples’ hands; have a revival of face to face socializing…. tough call…. it would be moving back in time, ignoring the technology that rules our lives.  Could I do that?

old watch

Actually my Utopian needs would be simple; health and happiness and to be left to live in peace with those I love in a beautiful place near a real beach with crashing waves.  It couldn’t be on an island far away from friends and shops!  Nah….

My Utopian way of life would still have structure, because we all need to have a purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.

And……if I really think about it, Utopia is ‘no place’, because it can be right where you are, right now, if you want it to be.

Happiness is an inside job!

Letter U for Alphabe Thursday

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25 Years of Splashy Fen Music Festival, South Africa

The longest running music festival in South Africa, Splashy Fen, opens their 26th line up this weekend.

This is a link to current festival.  But do stay and see pictures of our memories too!


Splashy Otter

In 1995 we attended this festival and joined the craft and food area; ‘not many bands to report on, sorry’ as we lived in our own world of crazy people amongst the tradespeople!


It was really cold at night! Heading into winter….

The sangria man began his rounds early in the morning!Unusual people with there own style!



Tie dye was the in thing.  Music all around.  The didgeridoo competing with the drums!

Doreen says: ” Splashy is a stress free zone.  It’s a perfect decompression chamber for over civilised  people!”

Splashy Fen 002

Splashy image 1

Our house for three nights below!  All in all this remains an exceptional memory indeed.

Splashy Fen 001

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39 times Q

On my quest to write a quick entry for the letter Q on Alphabe Thursday, a question arose for me to quantify, just how many words I could use in this way; quite a quirky idea!Clovelly

I find myself in a quaint little village, riding my quadbike across the cobbled quadrangle on market day.

I realized I must have been a queer sight when the group of Quakers stood staring as they queued outside the post office. Was this another time zone? Through the window the post master was using a quilled pen to write on his quire of paper.

Beside me a fellow with an impressive blond quiff was shouting about his cheap quinces. He had a very querulous sounding voice. Over under an oak tree a tuneless quintet Quill penplayed for some energetic townsfolk performing a quadrille in the sunshine, while old men sat around quenching their thirsts, quaffing down copious amounts of ale, the smell of which made me quite queasy.

Further along to the right of me there was a quilt seller and to the left some quality quiches, which made me think as I had a couple of quid, this might qualify for a stopover!

When I saw that the currency changing hands had no Queen on it, I quit the idea, and with no qualms, and not a glance behind me, quickly set off down the cobbled street towards the quayside.Ducks

In a quagmire a little way off there was some very loud quacking to be heard, as if the quadruplet of ducks called out to me; I queried the reality of this. I was in a quandary again as to whether to leave, when the quintessence of my whole experience was made clear.

It was no quadratic equation at all. It was a quotidian dream.


How many words did you have to look up the meaning of!!

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Going Home

Reflections in the glass in front, not five metres away showed the extent of the explosions behind me as the enemy forged down the High street. Where could I run?

copyright:: Marie Gail Straford

copyright:: Marie Gail Straford

How could I get home alive.  If my home still existed.

The sounds were deafening, a kaleidoscope of colour filled the skies all around me, and then all went quiet as if someone hit the mute button.

The reflection now told me all I needed to know; only colour left in the glass, but then added shafts of brightness from above drew me upwards; it was beautuful. I was home.


This an 100 word challenge linked to a picture for Friday Fictioneers. for Rochelle.

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Buzzing Electrician

In 100 words I tell a story for Friday Fictioneers, which is prompted by the attached picture, copy righted to Ted Strutz .  I call my story “Buzzing Electrician.”


He followed in footsteps he adored and trusted, his Dad’s. It was 1957 and Daddy did all the odd jobs needed; you had to when you lived in the middle of nowhere in South Africa.

He loved tools better than toys, he was only three, worked alongside copying and learning.

One day, screwdriver in hand he ran to Daddy,

“Daddy, bees live in there!” Pointing back to a socket on the wall.


A fair observation of mild electrocution; happens if you stick a screwdriver into an available hole in the wall!

The budding electrician was watched more closely after that.

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Kaleidoscope 2A complex pattern of changing scenes and shapes. A child’s toy.

kaleidoscope too

This can be the closest thing, in my mind to our colourful lives. This is of course if yours is colourful.

Believe me. It can be.

Try to paint a picture in your head, using images from all the time frames in your life; almost like throwing the contents of your shoebox of old photographs onto the floor.

Merging lives

Pick out from the bits you can see clearly, the moods, the situations, the patterns and indeed the other people that have touched your life so far.

These form changing scenes all adding colour, depth and meaning, much like a kaleidoscope.

Allow the images to merge together, go fuzzy around the edges, and they will mesh together forming the real picture of you.

losing focus

All your life situations will touch each other and see each other. Now that would be a scary thought, if it were possible! A phantasmagoric picture of real images and situations in a dreamlike state.


As the bright patterns of your kaleidoscope change, as the photos move like a trick of the light, then all will be accepted, all will be right and good. Your colourful life will be in place and in tune with yourself.





This was written for the letter ‘K’ challenge over at Jenny’s Alphabe Thursday.

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Black, White and Grey


The art class was full, I knew instantly that I shouldn’t have come.

Two months since he had left on the worst day of my life.  I hoped not to get into conversation; I hoped no one asked anything.

Just keep your head down and you will be fine.

“Now class, if you are all ready at your easels, I will unveil todays subject.”

The sheet dropped and I stared at the boat, so grey; so colourless, much like my life.  Brush stokes flew around my canvas.

“Goodness, you are doing well today!”

“He drowned, see.”  I didn’t say.


Written as a 100 word picture prompt for Friday Fictioneers.

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Dinner for One

Ben stood motionless at the window and waited.  Why?  He did last month and the month before that?  Because it was his week.

They would never have missed it.  Sunday lunch was a family ritual that held them together.


Him,  insane?

He knew that everyone was wrong; the media were wrong; the police hadn’t found the car in the river nor anywhere else. His baby sister would run across the courtyard up to his door, with Mom and Dad in tow. Yes, one day they would, and he would tell the world how they had little faith!


A picture prompt for Friday Fictioneers (100 words limit)





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I Believe

“I believe that we are destined to live our lives according to an unknown pathway; there is a plan mapped out for everyone of us.” Pathway-Warren

The way to the top may not be easy, like all roads and pathways some are complex, some exciting and other parts long straight and boring.


I believe along the way we pass through a series of stages, areas or boxes, for want of a better word, populated by those attracted by you and to you, humans whose hearts beat with the same rhythm as yours.

plainsI believe that some people are more special than others; they may enter your pathway, your box; some, for a reason, some for a season and some for a lifetime.

Pathway 2

Sometimes we come across an old friend from an old box, who is for a while welcome, and who can “throw” the system in your new box maybe, but cannot divert the flow you must take in the long run.


I believe we have a little control of our own with minor decisions, which pathway, the highroad or the lowroad?  However the major decisions are not ours to make.  When we have to move on to the next stage of our journey remains part of the unknown pathway to the top; your personal plan.

I believe.

Top landscape

 My thanks to my nephew, Warren and Vivienne Leigh Visser for the photography.

“The wonderful Drakensberg mountains, Cathedral Peak,  in South Africa.”

That was entry for letter “I”- Alphabe Thursday over at Jenny’s.

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