My Writing – Eunic e C English


Don’t let that put you off. My writing has been described as ‘deceptively simple, and usually has a subtext’.  My University lecturer pointed that out – .meaning there is a whole lot more going on between the lines if you care to look.

I can write something in all seriousness (let me think of something) but my reader will burst out laughing because it is so funny. Beats me.

My puncuation is woeful. I have always assumed, maybe arrogantly – definitely hopefully -that my Publisher would allocate an Editor whose mind actually gets that stuff; adverbs, adjectives. I am basic mathematics, they are trigonometry. My brain simply wont go there. Its like sheet music without the video of an orchestra playing the tune.

So you get a comma where I am drawing breath, a full stop where I momentarily stop speaking. A new paragraph when I am changing thought, or going off at a tangent.  Then…if something new comes to mind and ……… when words fail me…………

T’internet, as they say in Worksop, gives us frredom of poor speech. Sad but liberating.

It’s not rocket science its writing. Self-expression. I assume if you are here you care. If you dont care you simply hit a button and tootle off.

We are sharing. That’s how I work.

Australianisms: Although here in Australia we speak English we seem to have taken that English and rearranged it to suit ourselves which is very confusing for overseas visitors and New Settlers (migrants). We use colloquialisms meaning certain phrases actually refer to something else eg “I’ve been flat out like a lizard drinking” means: working really hard or been really busy”

I write as I speak (with a Scottish accent lol) so if you dont understand something please feel free to contact me for an explanation.

In the Next Life – Poyum

  • 0n The Move

    At the time of writing I am in the process of moving into a newly refurbished suite in the residential care home attached to our Independent living village. I am sure I will still find something to write about, so do hang around, chums!

  • ‘Coal Conflict
    coal makes money
    money buys food
    coal built our house
    then buried him alive
    while stealing
    what was not
    theirs to take
    he black gold, coal
    smothered in its
    black dust
    the lungs of
    Children who trembled
    with a shovel
    in the dark
    Coal makes a price
    but comes at a
    terrible cost

    Eunice C English 2023
  • Resignation – a poyum

    For Cecilia, who passed on today. The world was a happier place wherever she travelled.

    We were in the same branch of the University of the 3rd Age Garden Club which members travelled around many historical homes and stunning gardens.

    Cecilia was Austrian, I am Scottish so tended to travel around together. She could be outspoken but honest.

    Cecilia loved going on cruises,Tenerife, where her son had an apartment. But her great love was her grandson Thomas, who lived with her.

    “Once seen never forgotten!” I can never be sad remembering Cecilia.
    For Tom of our U3A outings around England

    The poem is also for Michael Gerard Collins for whom kindness is a way of life.

  • Hello Denmark!

    It’s wonderful that sharing my early life and memories on here triggers off good memories with you too and that you share your parts of your life with me. This blog that keeps me occupied into my old age is going to places around the world where I have never been including one in Russia (?) plus  other far-flung parts.

    PS Hello Denmark please say ,’g’day’ to our real princess, your Princess Mary of Denmark and give her our love.

    Today came full circle when I heard from Matt Ward who used to be the Editor of Opus at the University of Newcastle when I was a mature student around 2020. Later he edited Skive . Ì have pleasure in including his memory.

    SYNCHroNICITY once more.

    Passionfruit ice cream

    Hi Eunice,

    Thank you for the link on Alloway Primary School memories. You’re a fine writer.

    It reminds me of my boyhood, sometimes picking passionfruit. From my blog from a few years ago:

    PASSIONFRUIT — a short memoir.

    The boys would stop on their way to school to pick passionfruit from a vine that hung over a fence. They’d rip the fruit off and then fill their pockets with them. They always thought that the owner was an angry farmer who’d chase them with a pitchfork, but of course that never happened; they never did see who owned the passionfruit vine.

    When they neared the school they ran down the large ‘Grease’ movie-like stormwater drains and smashed the passionfruit against the concrete walls, to break open the tart-tasting yellow pulp. Their hands would be briefly stained by the passionfruit skin, but they’d lick that off their own hands (the purple would stain in the natural dry river beds the skin possesses). They’d then suck the pulp out like it was nectar and they pretended it was! Nectar like the Gods imbibed even though they wouldn’t learn of the Gods in an ancient Greek or Roman sense for many years.

    When they arrived at school they didn’t wash their hands — they left them sticky cos they were boys, and boys don’t mind being messy.



  • Its An Experience                                               Visiting Van Gogh

    Here is Karen Ractcliffe’s Report, We highly recommend it.

    The photos my friends were allowed to take are amazing.

    Note: Having to book through Tikitek can be a daunting experience, but dont worry. My email received a very kind phone call from the special Van Gogh booking team listed on the web site and a lovely Team Member sailed me through till the virtual [ickets pinged on to my phone. Huge THANK YOU

    Spot Karen in the picture

  • More on My Journalism

    Name Dropping 101-Peter Allen Ebtertainer

    Ive always been interested in how celebrities live in real life. This was on one of my freelance story- gathering trips:The Tenterfield Saddlery and Peter Allen.

    visited the saddlery when I called in on Peter Allen’s Uncle (the Judge,)with a friend of his). On his grand piano was just a small framed picture of his nephew. All very low key while at the same time Peter Allen was at the Height of his fame and success in America. Quietly proud was how his Uncle spoke of Peter It seems Peter had used the grand piano over the years but one small special photo was all that adorned the glossy mahogany lid where normal life went on.

  • F@acebook At Its Best…sharing the love

    This Prince was always getting into trouble too, but his name isnt Harry or Andrew, just Prince.

    No not Prince the would-be- nameless singer. This Prince was by nature an entertainer.

    “The runt of the litter”, as Kerry referred to him on fb today, he came along as a puppy many years ago, and being the character he was, and thanks to the generosity of Gillian and John, he brought many moments of joy to all of Gillian’s Fb family and friends.

    Today, on the news of his passing these memories prompted me to pay my respects and share a memoir of_ good times even though Prince and I never met. The many memories of condolence show he lighted/lit many lives in the same way.

    Prince. Always sat comfortably.Usually on the best furniture!

    My post to Gillian and John today:

    Oh no I still think of him as a puppy. He always lolled comfortably in photos never ,’en garde; ready for trouble like a doberman though was that a deceptive pose? But the best were the two of them (Prince and John) ed.), fast asleep together wherever and whenever. During my darkest hours
    hen Mum’s dementia was taking hold a nd Dad’s kidneys were failing along would come Prince to make me laugh out loud. Good heavens was that over ten years ago?Thank you for sharing him Gillian…

    My message on Facebook
    Prince had such a loving relationship with his family, despite getting into so much mischief.

    Goodbye for now Prince, and thank you. Good boy.

  • My Other Life/Blog

    My other main blog at the moment began as funny things relating yo beingan Oldie living in a retirement village with the Welsh-sounding name of Gdsunwatingrm, so as not to upset anybody.

    Since there is precious little going on in the world that is fun at the moment, I try to keep ‘Life With the Cardigans as light or interesting as possible, and as my health continues to deteriorate and my mobility is getting more difficult, connecting like this becomes more and more important. And it seems that some of you feel that too, because you are hanging around, which gives me the incentive to do or find, something to share with you.

    Parkinsons is a nasty disease, but now I have become more active with the local Parkinsons Support Group where before I really didn’t want to see how I would become. Arthristis in my spine and knees etc is making keeping mobile painful but it must be done, so this is an incentive to get moving to find something to write about, and I am hoping my current secret project will bear fruit pardon the pun, and give you something you too could get involved in.

    Watch this space. I have also just started using my hiking poles indoors instead of leaning on my walker, because Parkingson;s research is proving that the brain exercise involved in moving sbout using two long poles, is very beneficial. As long as I dont trip myself up and break a hip!  An online seminar on the subject has me booked in for the 29th. More on that later. You are continuing to find me from all over the globe. This week I reached Japan.

    ‘Now I am going to redo my online account since my jumpy fingers hit the wrong keys for my password too often and I have to re-identify myself and all that

    konichiwa: to you, I hope.

    blog logo
  • Anzac  Memorial Swansea New South Wales Australia

    It looks a rather clunky bit of metal on an everyday basis but every year on 25th April at the Dawn ANZAC Day memoial service,  weather permitting, something magic happens.

    As the sun rises the rays come through the metal open Centre of the ANZAC Monument, Swansea, New South Wales and it all comes to life. 

    This photograph was taken this time by my friend Darlene Bird, (who is an ‘early bird’ obviously!)


    My Grandfather was also at Gallipoli with the British troops. He was only 17 and lied about his age to join up. But that is another story.

    Swansea is the place where the channel leads from the lake (Lake Macquarie) out into the Pacific Ocean so quite a dramatic area visually.

    Then sometimes the bridge over the Swansea Channel stops the traffic as it rises to let shipping through. Always fun to watch!

  • I am no Oil Painting

    But with my Photo !ab App anything is possible! such fun.

    Tell it as ìt is
    Now why cantit work in real life?

    Thank you Photo Lab, I never looked so good!

  • Now Where Were We?

    Hello again, have you seen these other posts from my blogs?



  • Doant Stress, Pura Vida and She’ll Be Right!

    Every country has its own way of saying “do not worry”. This train of thought came about after reading about the Costa Rican saying of “Pura Vida” on Eunice’s Diary, which came about when Eunice became a follower of my blog today.

    (Hello Eunice from Eunice)

    It seems we could have a similar frame of mind which should be interesting to see. Strangely enough I had a diary called: till last year when I continued onto these blogs under MeeMemoirs. Now there is a : by another Parkies patient, and mine seems to have gone!

    So Eunice and I are following each other now, as you do in the blog world!

    Now I’ve got myself vaguely confused getting the websites names correct and I haven’t even started on the subject of don’t worry!

    So I won’t worry about talking about that now and we’ll start again tomorrow on a separate blog but don’t worry she’ll be right. Pura Vida. Bye the noo! (Scottish for “Goodbye for now)

    Visit The Other Eunice

  • Sorting Out Our Politicians!

    It’s Child’s Play

    It’s Child’s Play

    or so it seems: like a bunch of kids yelling across the room at each other, forgetting our lives are at stake while they try to score points off each other. I want to tell them:

    But of course they wont be told!

    I am non-political but I am grumpy
    and I am getting tired of the Election already

    but my heart breaks
      for the innocent people in Ukrane who are suffering so badly vecause one inferior man in another country wants be prove himself superior to the whole world – and has got it so tragically wrong.


    Nuff said

    Thank goodness for free speech or that would have me locked up in other countries.

    pphoto of the electorate

  • The Robin and the Rainbow – poyum

    Earlier today

    against a sullen sky

    I saw a rainbow

    on a bitter cold

    December day

    while to my right the sky

    was blue and sun was


    weakly but shining


    It’s snowing in Sheffield

    and Maltby

    our driver said

    as the rainbow was fading

    and the traffic lights

    changed to green

    It was too cold

    for Xmas shopping so we

    bought our food and 

    had our lunch then 

    hurried home to where

    the boiler burbled busily

    and the radiators radiated

    while the kettle boiled

    but first I had to feed

    the birds they need it

    here in Britain where

    global warming has

    messed up their migration

    and mobile phones

    have mixed up all their

    patterns so the pundits say

    A robin

    red breast glowing

    not a cliché really glowing

    was busy at the feeding table

    he watched me then he flew

    away to let me make his tea

    A robin and a rainbow

    in one day near to Christmas 

    and now it is tries to snow

    outside my window

    but our low valley

    hides us from the

    worst of winter

    and as I write

    the brave robin is back

    his chest like brighter blood

    against the grey and

    slate and sleeting sky

    A robin and a rainbow

    a robin and real snow

    I am living in a Xmas card

    and my world is magic

    but real

    Until I step outside

    the shielding door

    into cold reality

    but still

    I saw a rainbow

    and a robin

    and a robin and some snow

    on one cold damp and dull 

    December Day

     (C) Eunice English

  • My Big Day Out – as a Mature Exchange Student – in England

    There are two journals relating to fhis: ‘Le Journal de Eunice’, and ‘Campus Lìfe’.

    The first blogs my lead-up to being acepted as an Overseas Exchange Stuďent. I really badly wanted to study in Italy. I love all things Italian! But if I went to the UK I would only be a traìn journey from my elderly parents, and could spend time with them. That really is another story ( Title: What’d She Say! Tom.)

    Campus Life began wìth one large plate glass window, anď a violent storm, and concluded in front of another even bigger glass window, bearing a cut oùt circle the perfect shape of a soçcer ball, and an open suitcase full of shattered glass!.

    Herewith is one of of my first experiences…

    At my age, things soon knock you about.  I got up my courage to climb on the inter-campus bus for the 15-minute trip to Crewe campus, it being my day off.  The bus shelter was blocked by three coaches, disgorging teams of hockey and soccer players, come to knock the bejazus out of our lot.  I was not going to stay and watch in this weather.  With a sense of deja-vu, I showed my brand-new student card to the driver, and climbed the curving steel stairs to the upper deck.  Nothing had changed, except for the brighter furry seat coverings.  This was one of the really old double-deckers we used to go to school on, its yellow paint muddied by the to-ing and fro-ing of the country lanes every hour or so.  The driver must have been new, because he got the dinosaur of a bus stuck trying to manoeuvre out of the car park, which was crammed with huddled hatchbacks, none of which was likely to move to let the monolith lumber through. 

    In a longer time than the actual trip itself, the bus finally reversed back to the bus shelter, found a clearer and wider lane, and set off again.  No one cheered so it may have been a regular occurrence.  He hit the speed bumps with a vengence, at an angle, and caught me unawares.  I left my seat involuntarily, and landed again without grace (she probably wasn’t on the bus, ha ha). The windows were running with condensation left by the previous passengers, and I cleared a circle to try and catch a photograph of the buildings I have loved on my other bus trip to Crewe station.

    The residents of Hassall Road must have finally got tired of students in cars hooning out of the campus gates and down the road, or vice versa from the pub, because the road is beset by small half-islands in alternating waves, which the traffic has to weave in and out like a computer game.  The bus did well, but any more and I would have been seasick.  The sun broke through and shone on my face for a few moments, before remembering where it was and going back behind a cloud, but it was a nice reminder that I lived in a sunnier place.

    We are off! Past the salubrious and dignified homes of Hassall Road, a right turn on to the Crewe road, past a sign to ‘Cranberry Lane School’ (now surely a school with a name like that would have lovely children?) and up to a rare set of traffic lights, next to a sign pointing to the M6 motorway, but we continue on, our lane becoming more winding and narrow.  We soon go under the overpass of the M6, its traffic tearing along busily on the straight route.  We get a warning sign saying ‘l/\/ (winding lanes) for 3 miles’.  I hang on tight.

    We pass a centuries-old russet tumbled brick cottage on the left, its greenhouse now covered in plastic sheeting instead of glass.  Do they self-sustain as in days of yore?  There are lots of signs of yore around here.  They were good builders in yore.  We reach Crewe Green.  More houses of yore.  My camera can’t click fast enough to capture these jigsaw puzzle pictures.  The Domesday Book website tells us that:


    Eleacier: Earl Hugh.

    Town. A mill, farm and hall mark the Domesday site on its outskirts.

    Was listed in the Domesday book, which was written way back in yore.

    I am hungry to go and see and touch these links with history, a subject I shunned in my youth.  It blows my mind that particles of clay mixed with water, and baked in an oven, can have provided shelter for centuries in one spot.  Granted a great deal of repair and renovation has gone into these edifices, but the roots are still whole, and that amazes me.  The website quotes:

    Bartholemew’s Gazetteer of the British Isles, (1887) described Cheshire thus:

    “Cheshire, a palatine and maritime county of England, bounded on the northwest. by the Irish Sea, and bordering on the counties of Lancaster, York, Derby, Stafford, Salop, Denbigh, and Flint; extreme length, northeast and southwest, 58 miles; extreme breadth, 40 miles; average breadth 18 miles; area, 657,123 acres; population 644,037.
    Cheshire forms, towards the Irish Sea, a flat peninsula, the Wirrall (12 miles by 7 miles), between the estuaries of the Mersey and the Dee, and inland a vast plain separating the mountains of Wales from those of Derbyshire. This plain is diversified with fine woods of oak, etc, and is studded with numerous small lakes or meres. A low ridge of sandstone hills runs north from Congleton, near the east border, and another extends from the neighbourhood of Malpas to Frodsham, near the estuary of the Mersey.
    The chief rivers are the Mersey with its affluent the Bollin, the Weaver, and the Dee. The soil consists of marl, mixed with clay and sand, and is generally fertile. There are numerous excellent dairy farms, on which the celebrated Cheshire cheese is made; also extensive market gardens, the produce of which is sent to Liverpool, Manchester, and the neighbouring towns.
    Salt has been long worked; it is obtained from rock salt and saline springs; the principal works are at Nantwich, Northwich, and Winsford. Coal and ironstone are worked in the districts of Macclesfield and Stockport. There are manufacturers of cotton, silk, and ribbons, carried on chiefly in the towns of the East division; and shipbuilding, on the Mersey. Cheshire contains 7 hundreds and 503 parishes, and is entirely within the Diocese of Chester. “

    The whole area would get lost in the Hunter Valley, NSW in a space between Newcastle and Singleton, but it is busy bustling area indeed, with plenty of lovely tree-studded, and sometimes tree-filled land.

    Right now our bus passes a silver birch wood, or so I judge.  The small trees stand straight, with only the knobbly knuckles of dark wood and their silver toning giving me a clue to their type.  I can’ t wait for spring to start these trees budding bright green before my eyes.  Again, though, I am struck with the stark beauty of winter trees against the sky.

    ‘>>>’ suddenly warns a set of arrows, and the lane veers sharply to the right.  One wonders if the arrows might not be better a few yards back, before one nearly drives straight through the unforgiving hawthorn hedge.  Just as suddenly, the lane opens on to the mess of a modern roundabout, and buildings under construction.  It is like emerging from a time tunnel and blinking at the light.

    The sign says ‘Crewe town centre’ straight on, but our bus tilts over to the left, as it steers sharply to the right, and in a few seconds we are at our destination: MMU Cheshire campus.  More old interesting buildings, but I have had enough for one day, and follow the crowd walking to town. 

    I am in search of a mirror that I can put at head height in my room, and I have £10.  It is not the fault of MMU that I am not in a wheelchair and therefore at the correct height for all the mirrors in Westfield Flat.  It is definitely disconcerting to have all the mirrors mirror the one area of my entire body I most wish to avoid – my middle, and even worse, my big end (as they say in motoring circles).  It is proving salutary, this constant focussing of mirror on my least popular parts.  My hair is a mess, since I have to bend to waist height to see how it is looking.  In this weather, it is not much of a problem, but to uphold the image of my University as a place of people of culture and good grooming, I stride out, in my stretch blue denim jeans (with elasticised waistband), in my new trainers and thick purple socks, hiding two sticking plasters where the blisters used to be. 

    I am thinking everything is very dark today, as I tread boldly along the bicycle track towards Crewe town centre.  To my left gleams the Mecca I have been hoping for; a huge new B&Q hardware warehouse, placed just where I would have wanted it.  Ten minutes walk from the bus, ten minutes back, maybe fifteen now I am tiring. It is even conveniently placed on a dogleg pedestrian crossing.  I nearly baulk here. There is a lot of traffic whizzing off from a huge roundabout, and I press the button.  Next to me is a light showing the red man walking.  No go.  This is the only indication of what I am to do.  While I am looking out at the traffic it has changed to green man walking, and I hastily step on to the crossing, trusting in God.  I am half way, on a bridgeway, and B&Q beckons brightly, all friendly orange signage, one of which says, very largely, ‘coffee shop’.  They’ve got a deal!

    Somebody knew I was coming, for they have marked the route through the car park with yellow lines, and I have a path to follow to this glowing cavern full of treasure.  Spa baths, on their ends in nests of cardboard, are on special for £299.00.  I want one!  But I have only ten pounds in my purse, and I will not go near a money machine, I will not go near a money machine, I will not…..

    Finding a white plastic-edged bathroom mirror seems like the proverbial needle, but it is all so fascinating, and I could build a whole house from the things I see and like.  Starting with a full-size conservatory I can take home on the bus in a package.  Now that would go well just outside the window here, so I could put two armchairs there and watch the sports field.  Silly me.

    I am watching the hanging signs, and they are clear to read, in huge letters.  ‘Bathroom accessories’.  Yes!  Bathroom mirrors?  Yes!  White plastic, cheap? Yes! Yes!   Two choices. Oh dear.  Very bad to give a Libran a choice of two.  I weight the pros on cons for about ten minutes, which should have given all the security cameras in the shop time to get into focus on me.  I like the cathedral style, but it doesn’t give a good all over impression of the head and shoulders, which look vaguely unfamiliar, having been missing for ten days now. The circular mirror is large and functional.  I pick up the cathedral shape, and start to walk towards the checkout, but the scales tip, and I turn back for another look.  I mean, I am only here for ten weeks, I am not redecorating Buckingham Palace.  I go for large and functional, and the coffee shop.

    4.99 in dollars is a bargain.  In pounds it sounds cheap, and that is what it would have cost in the Reject Shop, but converted x2.38 dollars, that is a high price to pay for a clear view of the wrinkles on my neck.  The deal is done and I have had my retail therapy.  I walk out through the checkout and to where the coffee shop is, but the doors only open outwards, in case someone sets fire to the chips and we need to evacuate.  I want in, I want coffee, I want it now!

    I walk along to the other entrance, the doors swing open automatically and the alarm goes off before I even set foot in the place, but I am on a mission, I am holding their bag, and I have my docket.  Now give me coffee, with sugar, and milk.  I must have it, I’ve been good, I deserve it, it is mine, it is here somewhere.  Above me the sign ‘Coffee shop’.  Big orange sign, white large letters.  White large coffee,that will do nicely.  One girl serving slowly, two people waiting.  My hopes dim.  A sign to the right shows the toilets, so plan B in action.  I check my diary and find the bus returns to Alsager in 25 minutes.  So can I do it in the time?  I go to the ladies.  Very nicely appointed, as it should be as an indication of a building trade showplace.

    Back in the coffee shop she is still bumbling around at no great speed, so I abandon all hope and leave the building.  The security cameras can find another body to follow.  I repeat my steps, and wonder how far along this path I came.  I also realise that the day is actually far brighter than I thought, once I remove my glasses, which have darkened automatically with the UV light.  Wow, it’s quite bright out here!  I’m doing well, with the spring in my step being provided by my new trainers, but the backs of my legs are in pain as usual, and my bones are starting to hurt. Following the students off the bus I was 20, half way to B&Q I became 25, across the crossing and I was 30.  By the checkout I was 45, the coffee shop 50 and by the time I got back to the bus stop I am definitely 58, and could have been 70 by the time I was now shuffling to the Wesley Centre cafeteria, back on campus. 

    I had finally found ‘Martin’s Café’ open and used my meal card for carrot and coriander soup, with bread roll, and a huge cup of dark coffee that even three of those putheringly stupid little milks couldn’t brighten.  I was now 40 again, sitting there, eavesdropping.  Definitely drama students on the next table.  They can’t help trying to attract attention. 

    It’s been a long day, and it is only 1.50pm.  Time for a nap.  Some of the teams are passing by, heading for their coach back to their own campus.  I am tireder than they are.  Back in my room, the open vertical blinds show orange and scarlet clad hockey teams locked in battle.  It is raining gently.  They don’t notice, and in my room it is nice and warm, and my new office chair has arrived, courtesy of dear Lynne Pitt, who has done so much to make me feel at home.  The waiting typing chairs means there is no time for lying down, I have to write about this day.

    It isn’t that I did anything very exciting, it is that I came 12,000 miles by myself and did it at all.  I can’t see where I am going very clearly, but I go.  I don’t know where I am, but I get there, and more importantly, I find my way back.

    Today, some rich person went out and bought himself a Mercedes, and I bet he feels good.  I made myself get on the campus bus to a strange place, and I feel better.

    #change of tense is deliberate at the beginning and the café scene

    Related: Ĺate Blooming Love

  • Late Blooming Love

    Eunice Ç English

    An ageing romance writer without a romance to write is a sad case.

    Something should be done

    Carole D’Arcy

    These thoughts sifted through Carole’s mind as her chin rested on her hand, her elbow rested on the long wooden table made up of several conjoined pine-topped student desks, and her body slumped tiredly.

    Jet-lag is a terrible thing, and despite her best efforts, Carole had arrived ten days ago, ready to sleep when Britain was awake, and vice versa. It had been a long flight from Sydney, twenty-one hours with only a two-hour stopover at Singapore. She was still sleepy, and finding it hard to concentrate in class.

    She had been met by her sister at Manchester airport, then transported into the wilds of Wilmslow through picture postcard snow scenes. Fortunately her sister’s modern home was centrally heated and very cosy. The ten days had been spent with Pauline and her husband, David, and various members of the family who called in to take Carole to dinner or to see the sights.

    Then the day had come to leave the family embrace and head for the campus, where she would spend the next ten weeks as a writing student. No romance writing on the syllabus, but perhaps time to jot something down in her spare time, if there was any. An exchange student has only one semester in which to study in the new country.

    It had been a lonely week since she came to live on campus in Alsager. Any people her age were either on staff, or in the village, a fair walk away. The young students seemed to find her invisible, and she sat alone in the canteen, or took her meals back to her room in Westfield Flat, which fortunately was well away from the liveliness of the other halls. But she paid for her quiet and solitude with isolation.

    Carole was not on foreign soil as such, having been born in England fifty-seven years ago, but she had lived in Australia for thirty-three of those years, with only a couple of trips back. It was familiar, yet new, many changes having taken place due to the proximity to the European countries that were now so accessible to the British in search of sunshine. The decimal coinage was not the same as the old pounds, shillings and pence she had grown up with, and the decimal coins were worth double the Aussie ones, but bought less somehow. There had been a lot to get used to.

    She had left the sunshine behind, and the 42C heat and humidity, and was quite prepared to enjoy the snow and chill winds, provided she was well wrapped up. Her new black microfibre parka was doing the job nicely, and her toes wriggled warmly in the furlined brown suede boots that the shop assistant had assured her would be all the fashion for at least the next season. Everywhere was well heated, sometimes too well, and Carole felt the need to open windows and let some fresh air in. The writing room seemed stuffy.

    Carole may have been plump, some would say overweight, but she preferred the description given by a male friend of ‘voluptuous’. Her local store had a clothes section for her size signposted as ‘extra gorgeous’, which she liked. Her hair was threatening to go grey, left to its own devices, but a good hairdresser intervened, and Jo had the blonding down to a fine art. Carole hoped it would last the three months she was out of the country, until she could get back to Jo and the salon again.

    She looked around the table at the fresh young faces of the other students, and momentarily felt old, until she told herself firmly that age was only a state of mind, and she was young at heart. Friends were more likely to say ‘emotionally immature’, but not often! The students seemed to have accepted her readily enough, and her input in class last week, when she was introduced, had them in stitches. After all, writing was her forte, and story-telling was part of the game.

    Her gaze was wandering around the class languidly then ‘zing’, yes ‘zing’ (like the Judy Garland trolley song ‘…zing went the strings of my heart…’), and her eyes felt like they had done a cartoon ‘boiyong’ on springs as well. There was a new face in the class this week, or new to her; at least as much of the face as she could see behind his long hair, which now fell across as he turned to listen toMeriel, the lecturer, as she commented on something he had written.

    He was a long-haired older male, his face partly hidden by his soft brown hair (‘clean hair’ she noted), and his voice, as he started to read his script idea was deep, but warm. The voice of a poet, and when she found out later his name was Jim Browning, he could well have been a descendant of the famous poet, Robert Browning.

    He paused and looked across the table as he drew breath. Soft brown eyes, like melted Demerara sugar, met her green eyes, and both seemed to stop breathing simultaneously. The class was watchful. Then Jim gave a little shake, lifted up his script and continued.

    Carole was shaken to her core. Jim had had an immediate impact, and she had long thought she was past all those kind of feelings. Her whole body seemed to come alive. Every pore seemed to be open to absorbing his essence, and parts of her were tingling that had been dormant since her dear partner Neville died, or at least since her favourite man Rodney had gone on his heart tablets.

    Rodney had not made her feel like this in many years, and their friendship was now that of comfortable old friends, plus Rodney was far away.

    Carole looked across at Jim, absorbing him. His fingers were long and sensitive, and she blushed as she imagined how they would feel spanning her ample breasts. The room seemed
    unnecessarily hot, since it was trying to snow outside.

    Again Jim paused and looked up and across at Carole steadily, and she smiled, but too soon the lesson was over, and in the clamour he had gathered up his things and gone. He seemed a fairly introverted type, judging by the way he sat, hair over the face hand up as if to fend off his neighbours.

    Carole felt let down. He was the only person near her age, though a few years younger, and she would have liked to have talked to him.
    There was a good chance she would run into him again, since many of the students lived on the campus like her. He would not be in her building though. Carole was sharing with three young men in a quiet building over by the sports field. They were quite separated from the general hubbub of the campus, and all the action.

    A few days had passed, and the weather had changed to springlike sunshine, although spring was some weeks away. The daffodils were shooting through the damp rich soil, as if they thought the sun would never come again. Early crocus, looking rather spindly, gave bursts of lilac colour here and there in gardens as she walked into the village. It was Wednesday and that was walking-into-the –village‐day, and a break from study; and the canteen food. Fhe young ones the walk was a short stroll, but to Carole it required a determined effort.

    Fortunately she had found ‘The Coffee Pot’ café tucked away next to the bookshop exactly halfway on her round trip, and this had become her refuge.

    Firstly though, she thought she would see if she could access some cash from the ATM. It seemed much less in pounds than it had begun as dollars, and she had to be careful. The village charity shops (called ‘opportunity’ or ‘op’ shops at home) had some good-quality clothing, and she was desperate for a change. There was only so much she was allowed to pack for a long-haul flight, and it was disappointing how much had to be left out to make the correct weight.

    There hadn’t been much time for trying on clothes when ‘doing the shops’ with the family, so she fervently hoped something would be waiting on the racks today. The bell ‘tinged’ as the door opened, and two friendly ageing faces greeted her with a smile. Carole headed for the remembered ‘large’, (sorry, ‘extra-gorgeous) rack, and spotted a green velvet skirt; long, slightly A-line, looking brand new. There was something about the colour that made her think of hunting. There was a colour called hunting green wasn’t there?

    In the changing room she peeled off her padded jacket, cardigan and stretch jeans, and pulled on the skirt. The fabric had a slight stretch, and it was very comfortable. It also matched her blouse.
    ‘Does it fit?’ called out the lady at the counter. Carole threw back the curtain, one hand holding the skirt in ballroom dancing style, and pranced jokingly out into the shop.

    It had been empty a minute ago, and she had not heard the doorbell go, but right in front of her stood Jim! Her cheeks could not go any redder, and were already rosy from the cold wind and the shop heating. Jim had a big grin on his face, and so she decided to brave it out. Twirling around she asked him. ‘How do you like this? ‘Very nice’, was his reply, and she thought he meant it. They chatted for a couple of minutes, two shy people conscious of the watching counter staff. Carole desperately wanted to ask him to go for coffee at the ‘Coffee Pot’, but she had to pay for the skirt. She ducked back into the fitting room, and battled into all her own clothes, hoping he would still be browsing when she emerged, but her heart sank to see the shop once again empty. How did he manage to get in and out without that dinging bell?

    Back in the street there was no sign of him either, and she was enveloped by loneliness. A hot chocolate and cake in the café were not the usual comfort food, and the second leg of the round trip seemed a long way. There was no further sign of Jim, except when he was surrounded by young people at a table in the canteen, and she was not going to set herself up for ridicule in front of them by going over and starting a conversation.

    She was really out of practice with the dating game, and the young students didn’t seem to flirt at all, just a couple of words and back to one of their rooms.

    Listening in unintentionally on several student canteen conversations it became obvious that the students did not know how to play the game either. So many of them, male and female seemed to be sufferig agonies for love, or lust, and not to mind who knew it. But thenon but then they were ďŕama students!
    Carole could not get Jim out of her mind, but she knew the weeks were flying by and she told herself it would be too hard to get into a relationship now and have to leave him behind, even if he had been interested.

    One day she ran into him as she was heading for her room. He was emerging from the student union office where he ran the student magazine. He was always involved in something, but never anything she could share in, except for when he had told her his new band was playing at the pub, and by the time she had arrived (at the usual Australian going out time) his segment was nearly over, and he did not see her packed among the drinking melee. Carole was about to go over when she saw him sit down with a woman more his age, and realised he had a partner. How foolish she felt then, and headed out to find a taxi. They were not as available as she was used to either.

    Now he was coming towards her, a big smile on his face. Slight panic struck her dumb, this mature woman who had flirted her way through several offices in her working life, and enjoyed male company. This man mattered, and she was like a teenager.
    ‘Hello;’ said Jim, how are you enjoying the classes?’ ‘Oh I can’t get enough of them. There are too many tutorials and not enough group events.’

    ‘We feel the same about it.’ A voice was screaming inside Carole’s head saying ‘What the hell are you waffling about woman, ask him for coffee, ask him to bed, don’t just talk about classes for God’s sake!’

    ‘I saw your band play’ came out like a prim Sunday school teacher. It was hopeless, she was past it. How fat and old she suddenly felt. ‘It was good, but I got there a bit late. Well I had better go and get some tea.’ Jim didn’t take the hint and offer to go to the canteen with her, and headed in the opposite direction. It was Friday and Carole still had lots of credit left on her meal card when she carried her take-away dinner out of the serving area. There in front of her was Jim, sitting alone, looking sad.
    ‘Hi would you like a free dinner, I have tons of credit to use up and you would be doing me a favour, unless you are a vegetarian of course, it is quite nice for once, pork and all the trimmings, would you like it? A pause for breath.
    ‘Are you sure?’
    ‘Yes, here, take this one and I will go and get another. Do you mind if I join you?’

    ‘No that would be good.’ Jim looked relieved. Carole headed into the servery, walking on air, feeling nineteen and 50 kilos light.
    They were really getting along great when one of the young band members joined them. The conversation turned to music, and once it got technical she excused herself and left them to it.

    They ran into each other once more, when Jim said they had a concert and he would do a song for her. The one she had said she liked the first night he played with his band in the campus disco, sitting on the stage floor totally absorbed in his bongo playing and ignoring the audience. That was the attraction. Carole had picked someone unattainable to fixate on so she would not be distracted elsewhere, or so she told herself..

    These feelings for Jim were not going away, and it was starting to hurt. He was never seen with his girlfriend and lived in another building just off campus with some other students, but she could not just go over there and see if he was alone. She did send some emails with pieces for the magazine but these were not commented upon until before class one day, when Jim stopped to say her poem might be going in the next issue, but it would be published after she had gone.
    ‘When are you going home?’ he asked.
    ‘In two weeks.’
    ‘You have got me thinking that I should do something like that.’
    ‘Well you would like our campus, we are near the city, and the beaches, if you don’t mind a bus ride. We would see you had a good time.’ (‘Wouldn’t we just!’ said the wicked voice in her head).
    ‘Looks like our concert has been cancelled.’ Carole felt like a blow had struck her. She was so looking forward to this final night of music and who knows what before she headed home. Now it was just work, work, work to finish three lots of assignments to hand in.

    She told herself to ‘get real, get a grip’ and all the other motivating catch phrases, and time flew as she finished all her work, which she loved doing. She had met another mature Exchange student, Sue from Buffalo, New York, who had all the guts and go Carole realised she had lost over the years since Nev died. The two caught up with each other a few times when they were both on the same campus, and the local Italian restaurant was their favourite haunt.

    Sue had met a man in Manchester, and had gone into a relationship boots and all, or no boots and all, but now she was suffering because her man had suddenly got cold feet. They both commiserated, not knowing whether it was best to have given love a shot in such a short time, or to be like Carole, heartsore and frustrated. It also gave them a few laughs, and a sense of being ‘one of the girls’ again.

    Jim was frantically finishing the film script that had been occupying his working time all semester, and Carole had not seen him. Her old school friend from her happy childhood in Scotland had come over for the weekend and they were all outside at the parking space when the doors of the gym slid open and a man in very short nylon shorts, curving against firm brown muscular thighs came striding out, carrying a sports bag. Boy those were great legs! His longish hair was tied back and his profile was so handsome.

    Schoolmistress Lesley and her husband Alan followed Carole’s gaze as she gasped ‘That’s Jim!’ At the same time he looked in her direction, and although he could not have heard, gave her a friendly wave. She weakly raised her hand in return. Alan opened the car door and they started to get in, as Jim appeared around the other side of the building. He stepped up to the door of the Union office, and those long masculine legs in the short red shorts were etched indelibly in her mind forever.

    Lesley and Alan were unaware of her feelings towards the attractive man, and they all got in the car and drove off for a wonderful day visiting antique barns, historic cafes and fascinating old churches, the sort of pursuits she genuinely enjoyed, and very suitable for a matron of her years, but the long legged image popped up from time to time, and was enjoyed ‘for its artistic content.’

    Everything was now finished, the bags packed and repacked in a repeat of what she had done before leaving. Eventually lots of bags went with her when Pauline and David collected her from the rapidly emptying campus. Many daffodils had now bloomed, and as they headed for Manchester hundreds more nodded in the sunshine, glowing yellow, a sign of spring to come, and new life.

    The next ten days with her family were bittersweet, knowing it would be some time before she saw them again, and the flight home was uneventful. She watched several dvd’s, too sad to chat much to the other passengers. After disembarking at Sydney Carole walked the corridor to the carousel. She found her luggage without trouble, and nervously presented them to customs, although there was nothing to declare. All she wanted now was to see the face of her son waiting on the other side of the barrier to take her home.
    At first there was no sign of Richard among all the foreign faces and just as she was feeling a little wobbly, there he was striding among all the throng, looking like a displaced Viking ancestor; his blonde hair and beard contrasting against the dark beards and turbans of the families joyously meeting relatives.

    There own meeting was more restrained, as befitting someone who grew up with British restraints, but they were soon chatting away as Richard pushed her trolley out of the sliding glass doors and into the Australian night…

    Three months had passed, and it had been hard to settle down again in her little flat, with no family nearby. Carole went to visit her other son and his family, and loved cuddling young Myles again. They lived a couple of hours travel away, but the trains were tiring. Her grades arrived in the post and reflected well the effort she had put into her class work.

    There was still three weeks until the next semester started. Carole was tired of editing her book. Then she had the chance to interview the skipper of a boat that was in the news, and several days were spent setting up then writing and editing a newspaper feature.

    Carole felt she was back on her feet, and on with her life.
    The phone rang early one morning. Carole looked at the clock. 4am! She nervously lifted the receiver, hoping nothing was wrong with her folks in the UK.
    ‘Is that Caròle?’
    ‘Yes, who is this?’
    ‘Er, um, this is Jim Browning. Do you remember all that information you gave me about your University?
    ‘Well I put in an application and it came through. I wasn’t sure how you would feel about me coming over, but the place sounded too good to miss.’
    ‘Well that’s great. When are you coming?’
    ‘Er, I arrived yesterday, and I have jetlag, which is why I can’t sleep. You gave me your phone number one time.’
    ‘What did you say?’ Carole started to giggle hysterically..
    ‘Well, I am here on your campus, in International House, and it is full of young students. I think I am the oldest student on campus.’

    ‘Darling, I know just how that feels! Go back to sleep now and I will be over in the morning to rescue you. I have got some great beaches to show you, and I promised you some great times.’
    ‘That you did.’ Chuckled Jim.
    ‘Well you just hang on to your Akubra hat, mate. This will be an exchange visit you wont ever forget!’.
    3680 words

    ©Eunice C English

  • Betty Hudson – The Jacket Lady and Legend of the Motorcycle World

    You may recognise sèveral motorcycling  faces on my video, taken a few years ago. Seems they like to warm up for the beginnIng of the world motorcycling year at Castle Donington in England. This is a special day, as riders and machines are tested ànd prepared for the high-powered, high-speed year ahead. But who is the white haired older woman moving comfortably among them, getting celebrity treatment in the racers’ VIP area?

    And what’s with all those famous names scribbled all over her coat!

    Watching motorcycle racing has been Betty’s passion since her teenage years, and now her family is grown and living their own lives, Betty buys her season tickets, packs her camping gear and heads for the next meet, leaving husband of many decades, Terry Hudson, to his own devices.

    This works well, since Terry has very successfully taken up photography, and since joining a photography club is free to roam taking fantastic pictures like the one here, with no one at home to complain!!

    Once at the race track Betty heads for Pit Lane where even the younger riders seem to know her.

    She allowed to tell them what they did wrong in that last race (well she will anyway!) But she is an expert. After 60 years of following the sport, she is a welcome Guest in Pit Lane; entry is now guaranteed by a special VIP Pass on her lanyard.

    Betty took me along. It is a noisy and exciting place to be in Pit Lane.

    In each team area gleaming machines were being revved, tuned, run again, before the leather-clad rider swung his leg over, got the feel of the machine, and roared out into the sunlight and off around athe tracķ. See the short video below.

    Betty keeps right up to date but can tell any current World Champion all about his first race! She doesnt need to ask them to sign her white nylon jacket, they come up and reach for the pen, pleased to join the elite names autographed there.

    Photo courtesy of Terry Hudson

  • Hearing Aids – a poyum

    Been going over my old cd’s now I m back on the computer(who moved all the keys?), and found this forgotten poyum/poem from 2009. Hearing aids are the bane of my life. The more they improve them the harder they are to find.

    I pick my new ones up his week, Rechargeable {woohoo0) so no more dropped tiny batteries, or running out just when you get to something interesting.

    These are tiny, still with the part that fits behind the ear but it does fit neatly and Ive gone back to the soft plastic mushroom thilngy. Am I boring you? Your turn will come!


    Talk quietly please
    My new hearing aids are on.
    I hear the drip drip
    Of the raindrops
    The mutter of the fridge
    The tap tap tapping
    of someone pasing
    in high heels
    The rolling of the traffic
    On the street outside.
    Talk quietly
    I d not want to hear you
    Loudly giving your opnion
    So I will softly smile
    But never tell you
    That my hearing aids are off!

    ©Eunice C. English

  • Christmas 2020
  • Big Boy’s Toys -Amazing model boats are a very grown up hobby.

    Over in Mee Memoirs I wrote about my old school  friend John (McCarron) and our mutual childhood interest in sailing model boats on the boating pond in Ayr, Scotland.

    The Children’s Boating Pond

    These days I am happy to view the real sailing boats over by the Yacht Club, or coming and going in Newcastle Harbour.

    But John went on to Greater Things and that deserves recognition. Check out these amazing models. This will ‘float your boat’! Fabricated and constructed in metaĺ and wood,in what John stoically calls his workshop (or Man Cave as they now like to call them)..

    In Britain there are clubs where these motorised models are put through their paces to sink or swim on the quality of the workmanship.

    I witnessed one such club meeting at the romantically named PAPPLEWICK GREEN, a Victorian Pumping Station now beautifully restored and open to the public.

    Quiet, intense concentration was the pervading mood. It wasnt obvious to the onlooker that these men were having great fun, butI am assured they were!

    What happened when one sank? (Back in Scotland we – or a safety minded adult – would have to remove his sandals and socks to wade very carefully in the murky water to retrieve our sunken vessel.

    So much detail
  • The REAL Shabby (But Regenerating) Chateau Latest News

    From thr Chateau du Gudanes. France:

    Some wonderful events have been under preparation during the global lockdown.. Nobody I know has been more affected by the sudden change in world conditions than this Australian family who were putting everything into this new home and lifestyle in France,

    The inspiration for my Shabby Chic Chateau decorating ideas

    They have used the time well to put together some cultural events that will make lilfetime memories.

    Karina, who prefers to just use this name on here, tells their story below: Some time ago I wrote When Living the Dream Means Change long before Karina wrote the actual story of how they have been faring. I love being an unobtrusive bystander as someone else lives the dream I never actually dreamt was possible.: Editor.

    At the Château the sun is still shining and the trees are alive with birdsong bidding farewell to the last blooms of the garden – roses, lavender and anemones all unfolding in a final display of colour…And amongst this warmth and sunshine, following the challenges we have all faced over the last year and more, we feel it is a fitting time to now look forward with more hope for the

    Bonjour from Château de Gudanes.We hope that …you are keeping well and enjoying a lovely ending to the summertime.

    And so, we thought that today may be a lovely opportunity to share with you all the happenings at the Château and we do hope that this will be a welcome surprise in your mailbox. 

    To begin in February… of last year! An important meeting with the Historical Monuments of France was scheduled and a group of ten were to travel from Toulouse to inspect the Château. We received a very official letter in December urgently requesting this visit as they heard we had been undertaking work without permission!

    The Château being a Class I Historical Monument requires permission from all three levels of this government organisation in order to carry out any work no matter how small. Knowing well this fact, and that they are legally able to seize the property from us if they are unhappy, we haven’t been undertaking any work over the last years as we have still been patiently waiting to hear back from them for more permits – so far four years and counting! 

    Fortunately,  emergency works are exempt and when we explained the only work we had done was to re-build a wall that had completely fallen in, and also to add several bathrooms which were necessary to inhabit the property, they were very understanding. You may remember in 2018 how this wall fell in the middle of a cold winter night, destroying all of the gardens below and almost taking the Château kitchen with itIt took a year to engineer and re-build the wall making sure that each and every stone was carefully placed to resemble the original and to seem as if it had been there foreverYou may also remember that in 2019 we completely re-furbished one room to create three beautiful, new 18th Century inspired bathrooms with traditional fittings and fixtures from Burlington, Sanitan and Herbeau and wallpaper from Antoinette Poisson. The bathrooms aren’t entirely finished – we still have the dressing area to be completed this yearThis room was converted into a bathroom space in the 1960s when the Château was used as a school holiday camp venue for local children. We decided to put new bathrooms in the same space as this made plumbing easier and also in this way we didn’t have to modify other more historically important areas to add bathrooms or change the structure of any other roomsAnd as it turned out, when the Historical Monuments visited they were so thrilled with the work they felt they could trust us enough to give us permission to go ahead in other areas without applying for further permits. After so many years this was a great relief to hear.
    In January of this year we have been continuing on with the work from the consolidation phase. The first storey in the Renaissance section of the Château was where we decided to start. We began by treating both the old and new beams and then painted the new French beamed ceilings that we installed in some places earlier. Many of the rooms in this area have hand-painted Renaissance beams and so we researched Renaissance paint colours and palettes to find colours that would fit with this style and respect this period time. We chose a light golden peach and grey blue. 
     In several of the rooms, where the walls were too uneven and rocky, we installed plasterboard and have since finished priming, plastering and painting these too…In the same rooms, we installed flooring – terracotta tiles in some areas and old wooden floorboards in others. Terracotta tiles were originally laid in these rooms in the 18th Century and we relaid the terracotta using the same pattern. Though much more plastering of old mouldings, treating of beams and flooring still remains to be done, optimistically we hope the first floor will be largely finished before the end of the year!

    Then, we will return to work on the ground floor…

    Meanwhile, in the garden things have been growing equally as fast!
    We began by developing a garden plan for the whole estate. There are about 12 acres to consider with ancients orchids, woodlands and terraces. 

    Overall, the concept for the gardens are to mirror the restoration of the interior of the Château. It’s about keeping the freedom, the natural state and the wilderness of the gardens as they currently are while just enhancing them a little. 

    And so, I have been spending most of the evening light clearing, weeding, mowing and planting. I have now been at the Château for over a year on my own, and with Australia still in lockdown from international travel, spending time creating in the garden has been an important way to keep my mind occupied and constructive as I am separated from my family.

    Since early spring I have planted and seeded an array of fruits, vegetables, flowers and trees. Both a mix of more mature plants as well as some we hope will grow over time. 

    I have even created a pond! This is the first of two that we plan to have in the gardens. The second will be a bit larger and have a natural, Monet inspired bridge!

    Recently some beautiful old statues have been added which will be  focal points of several allées and paths that have been created by planting magnolia and Japanese cherry trees. And at the base of these statues clematis have been planted so that each summer they will be beautifully dressed in blossom…All of this has been in the earnest hope to finish more work in advance of next year, when the Château will finally be able to welcome guests to stay once again.

     It has been with much excitement and anticipation that we have recently released our 2022 program for bookings. And in addition to our annual 7 Starry Nights, Cooking In The Cuisine and Weekender Stays in 2022 we are very excited to share that the Château will be hosting two new experiences…

    In June 2022 for the very first time the Château will host a weekend of classical music bringing together a chamber ensemble of twelve classical artists from around the world for a formal concert by candlelight in the Château’s 18th Century gold gilded music room. Following the concert a formal dinner will be held in the Château’s Dining Room. The next day there will be a musical program of charming classical favourites as we picnic together in the Château jardins. And then the day after, a wonderful night spent at another magnificent Château close-by!

    And in late August the Château will be hosting its very first fine art retreat! Under the tutelage of two fine art tutors, our guests, both debutantes and experienced artists, will be able to explore and grow their artistry inspired by the beauty both within and outside the Château… If you would like to know more about the Château’s 2022 stays we kindly invite you to click the button below to visit the Château website:Château Stays 2022We are also very excited to now announce our 2022 tour dates and are looking forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to join us on a historical tour of the Château! Revealing the story and unlocking the secrets of this historical monument dating all the way from the 13th Century to the present as she undergoes her restoration.

    If you would like to read more about our 2022 tours you may wish to click the button below to visit the dedicated page on the Château website:Château Tours 2022If you aren’t able to join us in person, you may wish to to know that there is now the possibility to visit Château de Gudanes virtually from wherever you may be in the world!

    You may remember over Christmastime with the purchase of any item on Shop The Château we offered the opportunity for customers to take a complementary online tour. Sharing the history of the Château, current restoration and secret discoveries!

    So far, we have released the first part of this tour and will soon be releasing part 2.

    However, whilst we work on this second part we thought that in the meantime you may like another opportunity to join us at the Château from afar.

    And so, part 1 (of 2) of the Château de Gudanes Online Historical Tour is now available to purchase on Shop The Château for a donation of €8 to the restoration. And of course, part 2 will be available to order soon. 

    In part 1 of the tour we begin by sharing our own personal journey of how our family discovered the property and began the restoration of this historic building. Sharing never before seen photos and video of the Château in ruins before we decided to purchase it…The salle à manger before the restoration work beganAn ‘after’ photo of the salle à manger, which is still a work in progressAnd then, we travel back in time to the 13th Century when the first stones of the Château were laid. Sharing both the inside and the outside estate of gardens, orchids and woodlands. Both fact and fairytale and piecing together the mysteries of the past!

    To join us on this tour we invite you to click the button below:Château de Gudanes Online TourWith this final news our latest update from the Château draws to a close. We sincerely look forward to reaching out again soon with more updates about the gardens and restoration work that are in progress. In the meantime, we hope that you have a beautiful and warm rest of the summer season and beginning of fall. 

    With our warmest wishes,
    Karina, Jasmine and the Château Family x

  • My Beatles Poster
    I was a Sixties Beatles Fan

    Found this while otrying to find papers to put through my new all-,singing all-dancing birthday paper shredder.

    It is so tattered and is in bits but has all the lyrics to the songs on the album on the back of the poster so quite a collector’s item.

    I also still keep my Beatles scrapbook which I did as a 15- year old school girl. I used to buy a fan magazine and in it are these sketches on from the photos found there Of course the signatures are not real I faked them at the time,⁰ naughty me .kñhttp://mybeatkesscrapñook

    Oh, how I loved gentle funny, musically- inspired George
  • Australian Research Brings Pakinsons Breakthrough


    Taking place at the University of Sydney

    Introductory Invitation to the Recent Event

    Just woke. It’s been a good and tiring day. Now rested. Sat in online by invitation on a one-hour seminar from Uni of Sydney re: progress in Parkinsons research that was mind blowing. How can I, a 75-year-old Grandmother whose typing is currently being badly interfered with by Parkies tremors, convey to you in a nutshell (walnuts are so good for us) that there is light at the end of the tunnel that is not an oncoming train.

    Below is my first impression at the end of a long day:

    To think: it is thanks to funding through Slake it Up Foundation Australia and other bodies that Australia is providing world-changing science.

    For instance: inside each cell is.World upon World coming down to inside the cell (?) where resides a garbage collector that disposes of the rubbish, then everything ticks slong nicely. A whole stream of genetics is involved. If not etc …

    It was all about biomarkers, world-changng assays and a world of bioscience that is the Star Trek Beyond the Final Frontier where the language spoken is in code, where, say, letters for infinitesmally minute -say 2ky – predisposes the genes of a person to the awefulness of Parkinsons.

    Not only that. There is the Great news that, thanks to this unnassuming but brilliant team’s research clinical trials are already under way by the Big Pharma that sets tthe little garbage collector in every cell back on its feet and trundling away happily. Simples!! So what?

    A cure or antidote for Parkies that may positively affect members of my fàmily in the future plus endless others IS HAPPENING!.

    And all is all explained on the srimplest of cute-looking çharts!

    One hour later I was still enthralled, so after a cup of tea and brain shutdown there you have it: A blonde ggranny’s impression, of something super!


  • Garden Update

    My first attempt with Canva Designs. Quite pleased!


  • My Shabby Chic Chateau Look contd
    Click here to visit

    I have had another bright idea along this theme. Just waiting for the postman to arrive. Such fun!, Eunice

  • People Are Discovering Picnics

    We had lotsof picnics when I was growing up. Usually sandwiches, an apple or banana, and a thermos of tea, carried in a basket to the seaside in Ayr, Scotland, or to a local park.

    The advent of McDonald’s in Australia took the place of traditional picnics in our family, and my son surprised me yesterday by saying they as a young family did not picnic, they ate out in cafes and restaurants. Understandable, considering the heat and flies in summer.

    Valentine Lake Macquarie

    So it was very interesting to see so many families yesterday taking advantage of the latest lift in Lockdown Restrictions for pople to picnic or exercise in open spaces.

    The only problem w as that when my son and I took my birthday picnic to the nearby lake each parking area was full of lots of two people discovering the joys of picnicking and barbecuing, perhaps for the first time, while we had to drive round five of my usual places find a place to set up our birthdays picnic! (Our birthdays are a week apart) Most annoying!

    Stopefully some healthy lifestyles may result from this safter all?

  • Growing Old Disgracefully

    Eunice gets inspired by Joanna Lumley and the Kilted Coaches and here is her exercise video featuring log tossing!

    NOW FOR EUNI IN ACTION! — Just being Silly


    Iscreenshots by Mee, courtesy of BBC and ABC Television

  • Blast From The Past

    The 1960’s hit pop sòng ‘Çome outside ‘ by Mike Sarne was a true indicator dance Hall culture on my area and era, the 1960’s!. Originally on Living With the Cardigans here is the fun song on Youtube.

    This is a silly song from the Sixties in England when I was a teenager who went dancing. Oh happy days.

  • Rosalynd’s Angels Are Flying – Everywhere!
    Look closely at the work involved

    Every home needs an angel. These little angels fit into the palm of your hand.

    They help thank the Westpac Rescue helicopter for getting Rosalynd O’Shannassy safely from the helipad at the John Hunter Hospital to the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. Just in time to avoid a ruptured aneurysm following a brain bleed.

    There was no titaniumm coil available to treat her here and time was running out, so she was airlifted to Sydney.  During surgery another aneurism was found. Both are now being monitored.

    That was the bbeginning of a seven year journey of recovery for Rosalynd O’Shannassy.

    Rosalynd is so grateful to the local Wwestpac Rescue helicopter Service that saved her life. Since retiring she started making angels. Each is complicated and time-consuming, but she doesnt mind.

    Part of each sale goes to support her illness, but the rest goes direct into the Westpac Helicopter Rescue Fund.

    Why angels? Is it connected to a comment in the Herald newspaper made by a recently injured man whose rescue made the paper?

     He thought the loud rotating opeller noise of the approaching Westpac Helicopter was “the beat Of Angel wings”.Apparently this is not uncommon.

    How I see the Helicopter as it flies over my village now!

    Official photo of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter heading up the Hunter Valley today.

    Despite the Angels  being time-consuming and complicated to make, Rosalynd is more than happy to make each one as a  labour of love. 

    Read Rosalynd O’Shannesy ‘s Story – in her own words. ComIng Since Federal MP for Shortland, Pat Conroy MP, featured the Rosalynd’s Angel he had received on his Facebook page and in his online newsletter, the Angels have taken off and sales have soared. Rosalynd is in Heaven and over the moon about this, even though it means many more hours with the glue gun and fiddly bits of fabric…

    She has been surprised by so many requests for Angels with coloured dresses, other than the white we usually associate with angels. Black is her latest success.

    So Rosalynd’s Angels have been flying to NSW, Victoria, Queensland, United States.and Canada, and this looks set to continue.

    The Covid -19 pandemic lockdowns have made delivery difficult, but now an amazing gesture by Nextra Newsagency in Charlestown Square is giving her usband,

    Chief Chauffeur and Delivery Good Guy a break. Rosalynd says, beaming proudly:

    “He is a real Angel with his support!”.

    A special display has been set up in the Nextra Newsagency in the huge shopping complex, Charlestown  Square, near their home with Rosalynd’s Angels on sale. This is a huge help when fund-raising activities are not possible. Only five people were allowed to meet together for a recent morning tea in Belmont, because of Lockdown conditions.

    Already Rosalynd is planning a Christmas display for the area in the Westpac Rescue office for the Pilots to see as they pass, to remind them how much their work is appreciated. It is hugely demanding, as Prince William himself asserts of his similar role in helicopter rescue. Hundreds of Hunter Region people owe their lives to their bravery and expertise.

    And each little angel purchased is a visible 

    Thank You

    Rosalynd O’shannassy

    Rosalynds Angel Classic Design

    For iformation on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service  please visit the Official Westpac Rescue Helicopter Web site:

  • We Got to Wangi Wangi
    Very cold Late afternoon at Wangi (pronounced Wonjy Wonjy)

    Picnic packed: Hot bacon, potato and lentil home- made soup because
    the wind was bitter cold, as warned by the weather bureau or BOM as we know it (more. on that later). Well they got that right.

    Wangi Wangi, named by the traditional land owners, is 10 or more kilometres round the other side of the lake, with a totally different mindset to “we are posh” Warner’s Bay opposite.

    Perfect for painters, In the morning the lake glitters with millions of diamonds. By evening,just before sunset, the water is molten gold, as featured in the Jane Fonda version of ‘On Golden Pond’. It is just good for the soul to sit there and drink it in. No wonder our most famous local artist lived there.

    But Dobell, as he is referred to here is famous for his portraits. This one above I am most familiar with, having passed it in Newcastle Regional Art Gallery many times.

    There has been a week of wonderful Covid careful events as part of the Dobell Festival.

    My intention was just to go there and look at the view this time, but things went a bit ‘pear-shaped’, and it really was freezing, so this is all I managed.

    However, I do have a candidate for a portrait!

  • Dobell Inspired

    Art is in the eye of the beholder

    My light fitting flowers and a portrait

    Sitting in my recliner looking up at my pastel sketch of a friend’s daughter on the weekend of the Dobell festival, and seeing a hint of that elongated style of his that, to me, is what makes William Dobell’s work memorable.

    In truth this was done from a photo that my friend said was not really like his beloved child, who I have actually never met, and at the time macular degeneration was already distorting my vision,so this was what I saw.

    There was a vulnerability in the eyes of the sitter I could not escape; a wistfulness of soul that still catches me every time I view it.

    This morning I am viewing the bigger picture: the pleasant cimposition of colours between the framed picture and the floating acrylic birds on my light fitting.

    It has a Japanese art feel to me, (we will ask poet and Japanese- influenced trust, Jan Dean, her opinion).

    But every person views one picture differently.

    And that is what art is all about, is it not?

  • Culzean Castle Revisited
    Official Photo
    Video of Culzean (pronounced ‘Cullane’ Castle

    Scotland is full of castles. These days they are pretty well- maintained and no longer old ruins.

    This is the castle of my childhood, where our church would hold its annual Sunday School Picnic, or we would go with visitors.

    It appears to be a busy and interesting place these days. Please view the short video from the link.

  • Being Happy –

    Can take some work, plus a handful of B, D and magnesium tablets.

    It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days. An outing with my son and fresh home-brewed coffee in my thermos, carried in a hand-woven basket given to me for my birthday by Fabiola, my Fabulous Physio*. Add home-made sultana scones, a couple of squares of chocolate and a water view, and I am content.

    Life isn’t always this way, so I treasure the moment and wish I could share it with those in a war torn country, or starving in a refugee camp.

    I live for the moment, because the way the world is, by next month it could be us starving in a refugee camp.

    May Peace find us all.

    Sit beside me for a moment and gaze upon the sparkling water. Drink in the view and feel calm, as I do.Tomorrow it may be all rough, choppy waves and tossing boats, bills to be paid, jobs to be done, doctors to see. But that is another day, and this is now.

  • My Romantic Short Story

    Eunice C English

    Set in the Harley Gallery – Welbeck Estate, Worksop, Englandhoto ECHobson

    The clever lighting of the Harley Gallery glowed softly as Carole bent closer to a huge ceramic pinecone. Not something she would want in her living room, but on closer inspection she was impressed by the amount of work that had gone into recreating something that was lying in its thousands only feet outside the door on the estate. She knew this was what the artist intended, for she had studied the brochure.

    She was lost in deciphering the different colours that had gone into the glaze, for she had tried ceramics and found it didn’t ‘ding her bell’. However, she appreciated those who had the patience and skill to make something that people could collect and love for generations, breakages permitting.

    Carole, straightened, slowly and carefully as you do when over fifty, and as her eye level rose, caught in her vision between the stands, was a pair of well-polished brown brogues, leading to well-pressed fawn trousers under a gabardine raincoat reminiscent of Dick Tracy, Ace Detective.

    Moving up, the jersey was fine wool, but a little more modern in style, while the shirt was blue chambray with an open collar. The collar was a little rumpled. This man obviously was no slave to fashion. His throat was tanned, and his chin was firm, with a hint of a dimple. The stuff of romance novels.

    Straightening fully, Carole was startled to meet laughing blue eyes, observing her in turn. She coloured with embarrassment, but a voice in the back of her mind said, ‘he’s familiar’. She gave him a half-smile, and turned away to the next exhibit.

    The man said nothing, and she moved on around the gallery. The room that had been a proper ambient temperature for artworks seemed suddenly very hot. Carole was dressed for winter in layers of light wool three-quarter coat over an angora sweater, smart slacks and high-heeled winter boots (though she was already regretting these). Her blonde hair was smartly cut, though last time she lived in the area it had been a long honey-coloured wild mane. Of course that was forty years ago, and a lot of water had filled the local canal since then.

    She was wearing a necklace, formed after hours of sorting gloriously coloured and patterned glass beads. She had found her own form of artistic expression in these necklaces, and some of them glowed in their own glass display case at the far end of the gallery. TShe had just brought in another consignment.

    Her thoughts drifted back to her school days at Retford, many years ago now, before she met and married John and they emigrated to Australia. The marriage hadn’t survived the trials of starting a new life with a young family in a strange land.

    She had married young, though 21 had seemed very grown-up at the time. After her divorce Carole started to make a new life, and this included art classes that led to making new and firm friends.

    Carole’s thoughts drifted on as she moved along the exhibits, but her thoughts kept pulling back to school, and going to school on the top deck of the 85 bus, the windows steamed up as the rain pelted down outside.

    ‘Ding!’ a light went on in her head, and she whirled around. The man was still there, still smiling.

    ‘Derek Faulds’, she said, ‘Is that really you?’ Silly thing to say, but when confronted with your high school crush looking even more handsome, the brain goes into mash mode.

    ‘I wondered if you would remember!’ he said in a warm voice, deeper and more resonant.

    “The school bus! Carole laughed. Although the trip as the crow flew was only eight miles, the bus wandered through all the villages for 45 minutes.

    ‘You were often catching up on your homework’. How did you ever manage to write on a moving bus?’ he chortled.

    ‘What brings you here today?’ Carole asked Derek.

    ‘Those were my daughter’s ceramics you were inspecting so closely. I came to see how they looked under the lights. These are her best yet, and they are selling well. Her Mum would be very proud.’ Carole’s heart had dropped when he mentioned a daughter, and then a wife.

    Before she could form a question, Derek added, “Sheila died three years ago, while we were living in New Zealand. I have just returned here. Sarah, my daughter has been living in London since she came to Art College. What about you? Have you been here all this time?’

    ‘No, I married and went to live in Australia. My parents still live here though, and my father is unwell. I have come back to live near them and help out. My family is grown up and have their own families. We Skype all the time”.

    ‘What about your husband?’ Derek asked bluntly.

    ‘Oh he is fine. He has a new wife and family. Derek’s smile widened, and the creases around his blue eyes deepened. His hair was still wavy, but grey where it had been dark. It suited him.

    Derek looked at his watch, and Carole’s spirits fell. Was she going to lose him yet again? She had so loved sitting next to him on the school bus all those years ago. They had laughed and talked, and got along really well, but Sheila had somehow got in the way.

    He must have read her mind for he said, ‘Well it is lunchtime, would you like to have lunch in the café next to the gallery?’ Carole beamed and nodded, too overwhelmed to say anything.

    As the gallery doors slid open silently on to the courtyard beyond, they moved out together, but never felt the blast of cold air hit them.

    The winter sun broke through.

    (Fiction, based on a visit to the Harley Gallery at Welbeck Manor, Worksop. I have permission from the Director to refer to the gallery and its work.)

  • Lunchtime With Pelicans

    Lake Macquarie NSW Belmont |

    Update for Karen (in answer to comment!

    Cheated with an pp!

Just came upon this on Google search while looking for my poyum called ‘A Necessary Evil’ about coal Mining

hHonoured to be included

In the next life we meet
On a wíndy beach
in a rocky cove
The loose sand whistles
over the wet
Í am walking a small black dog
On a long lead
It runs to you and stops
Tail wagging
tongue lolling
You bend to touch
His wiry fur
He licks your hand.
You look up
As you bend
And meet my eyes
Surprised they
match the
Green of
the heart of
The tumbling waves
I go to move on
And smile at you
You turn and walk beside me
Our hands touch
Then gently clasp
Nothing spoken
Às we move on.

Eunice C English
Dec 2020

DRAGON DAYS– a short story0

Modern Day Baby Dragon?

One day, when the sun was shining, all the baby dragons in Paula’s house decided to go and play in the woodland.
Mummy dragon, whose real name was Paula, had said they could go on their own this time, because she was waiting for the arrival of their new brother or sister – or both, or two boys or two girls. You never knew with dragons!
Before they set off Paula told them where to find food and drink in the woodland.

Then Brown and Spot all set off together with Freddy and Lulu, but being dragons they soon wandered off in different directions.

Spot found the shady pool by the big rock first and the tree root with lots of yummy witchety grubs. 
He wasnt greedy, and left plenty for his siblings. One by one they shuffled into the clearing, tired but happy. They had a great picnic of fresh witchety grubs, green pond weed with slime, and water. When they get bigger, Spot told them, they would be able to throw flame from their tongues to hsve barbecued witchety grubs! “Oooooh”, they all said together.

Natural swimming pond created at Gringley on the Hill

For the rest of the afternoon the tiny dragons played together; running under the waterfall, sploshing in the mud on the edge of the pond then jumping ‘splat’ into the water, swimming around pretending to be the Loch Ness Monster and making each other laugh so much!

When the shadows came over the pond they knew it was time to go home for tea. They went in a line, like elephants do, and followed Brown home through the trees.

They had a great surprise when they got home. The newest little dragon had arrived! It was curled up in a basket at Mummy’s side, fast asleep. They all came over to see their new brother, very quietly, and Mummy gave them all a hug to show they were special too.

Grandma Dragon had arrived to visit and she made them toasted crumpets with honey to celebrate. Guess how Grandma toasted those crumpets? Then they all curled up together in.their big bed of soft ferns and fell fast asleep. The End….for now!
©Eunice C English

Heh heh! Nice one Eunice  – on becoming notorious

That remark from Damon at the Herald usually means he will convert it into one of his funny topics over which I have no control. but I do have an actual following (accordind to my doctor and local Federal Politician, toot toot ïwho look out for what Damon çalls our Double Act, referring to comedians. Ah well, fame at any price or being the Local Idiot? Watch that page. I googled ‘Eunice C English.Topics,Herald’ (as you do) and was surprised how much I had actually contributed. Usually I forget what I send till someone tells me it was in print. Usually it is my Physio Kelly who says her husband, is a genuine fan gives me the message via Brian. He has also commandeered the coffee cup I made Kelly last year for using while reading his newspaper.Now that is a fan! Maybe I should start merchandising?

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