I was contemplating recently those moments in life when you feel a sense of total peace, perhaps some people would relate it as a spiritual experience. For me, I think those moments are generally involving communing with the natural world – other species who have total freedom of whether they are near you or not, or interact with you or not, especially in a world where humans predate or deliberately trample on so many of those species without a second thought…considering ourselves superior…for food or sport or otherwise.
It is unusual for me to feel those kind of things with people, but occasionally that can happen too. I guess hugs with loved ones or close friends can achieve a similar feeling. Those moments tend to be quiet also, words having no part in it, fuelling that peace.
In New Zealand, it is notable that a number of the native species (the diurnal ones at least!) are quite trusting and will not be quite so fearful of humanity as the UK. Even introduced species somehow seem more “friendly” as a rule…while keeping their distance. Whether this is because of a later arrival of mankind and differing attitudes or the fact that mankind is proactively working to save so many species in NZ, who knows! Perhaps we should just put it down as a superb outcome and enjoy the mystery and inner peace it can bring.
I do not have children, nor do I really want them, but during my trip to the UK I found that for the first two weeks I was staying in places where children of various ages were part of the scenery, from 18 months to 9 years old.
You might think that this would be a concern but it was great fun! Interacting with the kids, playing games and being a little part of their lives was great. They are often natural comedians and do things that we, as inhibited adults, would never do. They seem to have so few cares and you can only wish that life stayed that way. I even met my two-year-old niece for the first time which was brilliant!
To those who thought that the answer to every “I Spy” clue was “cake”, to those who would have me trampoline whether I won or lost at a family game of croquet (trampolining sure takes it toll on your knees, by the way!), to those who spontaneously started pole dancing at the age of two, I give thanks. These experiences are ones to be treasured and really helped make the UK trip a fabulous time that will be long-remembered.
Returning to the UK, I was a little concerned of how it might feel to meet up with friends for the first time in over three years. In some cases, keeping in touch has not been easy, and I was concerned as to how the relationship might stand up to time.
I either stayed with (some for the first time) or met up with numerous friends while in the country and I must say that without exception it felt like I hadn’t been away. It was a total joy for me and pointed to the fact that these were friends that in many cases would indeed last for a long time. What a relief!
In every case, the first few minutes reflected on the past before we started to create a few new memories to take into the future.
And for those friends (and family) with whom I stayed, it really was a very humbling experience to see how much they went out of their way to help with the trip and in ensuring that a good time was had by all. Most of our hosts were even happy to drive us to places despite our having a car which was fab also. To them (they know who they are) I say a massive THANK YOU.
There are few things, for me at least, quite so quintessentially English as a lovely country pub. A place for the local community to meet, somewhere for passers-by to visit and meet the locals (and maybe make new friends), somewhere to engage in small talk about the world outside, somewhere with a real sense of history; and somewhere to delight in good British real ale!
It is fair to say that in my 3.5 weeks of UK travel I visited my fair share of good country pubs and here are some beautiful photos of some of them…and a nice pint of Tribute and a pack of Scampi Fries!
After nearly 3.5 years away from my native shores, I recently returned for a 3.5 week trip. Everyone in a similar situation who I had spoken to before expressed their dislike of taking a trip back to the UK and the constant travelling round visiting family and friends, they related their blatant dislike of the country, its weather, big population, aspects of its culture and the places.
The media (doom-mongering muppets that they are) is constantly painting the UK in various shades of doom and gloom following Brexit, the various terrorist attrocities and the recent general election…so how did I find it?
Well, the following series of posts will delve in further detail but let me just say this, those of whom I spoke earlier must either visit bad places, have dubious friends and family, really dislike their homeland or just generally be miserable because I had a fantastic holiday! And as for the media…well as usual, if you look beneath the surface, you generally find that the truth is rather different.
Here is just one photograph to illustrate the delight of the UK…the history!
Occasionally, I have recently experienced pretty painful abdominal cramps and have been exploring what might be causing this. One of the items I have a feeling could be to blame is coffee.
I enjoy coffee, especially a nice flat white, although not as much as I enjoy tea. As I began looking online for items about the sorts of things coffee could cause, I was amazed at just how bad for your digestion this drink can be…and that decaffeinated coffee (which I’m not overly keen on anyway) still has caffeine in it and isn’t necessarily that much better for you.
Anyway, I thought I would see if there were alternatives and came across something called Teeccino which is an American brand which is mostly organic and uses chicory, carob, dates, figs, nuts and natural flavourings to create a slightly sweet alternative to coffee without the nasty potential side effects. I was rather surprised that I really liked it, that it was not dissimilar to coffee in taste…and that with figs in there, it can only have positive digestive impact I suppose!
On telling parents about this, they mentioned something called Camp coffee (again chicory-based but with sugar (!!) and water added) which has been around a while which seems to mainly be a baking ingredient (but you can add water to make a drink). It is interesting that old ideas can come full circle to create a new market which can have health benefits.
Anyone else tried Teeccino? What do you think?
It isn’t something I ever thought about until recently but when you move to a foreign country where you know very few people, it can be very isolating.
It had never entered my mind before that I didn’t have many friends here or that I would actually need to work on gaining new friends. I would choose quality over quantity any day too. It also makes you appreciate the value of those friendships you have had, and have maintained, over a long period of time (and over a long distance).
Over time friendships just happen in an organic way, but thrust yourself into a foreign land and you become aware of how there is almost a necessary ‘process’ involved.
Cultural differences even though you speak the same language of course play their part but it is important to focus on shared experiences, maybe similar personalities, and shared passions and keep an eye open for people who you get on well with…and if so, don’t be shy to suggest meeting up sometime in a more social setting. Not always easy to do especially if you are quite reserved. It is so important to say “YES” more as well. You have to put yourself out there into the ‘friendship market’!