Weekly Photo Challenge: Breakfast

Well, I must admit my breakfasts through the week are pretty lack luster affairs.  A normal morning consists of a 40 min walk with Linus, my wonder dog, followed often by a 300m swim before I even consider breakfast.

Breakfast is just all bran in a bowl covered with full fat milk with a glass of water, a vitamin C and iron supplement along side and that’s all folks.

Now, weekends are another story.  With time to prepare and no reason to rush I have a number of options.  Sadly it’s a bit hot for much now but in the cooler months it ranges from orange pancakes (sometimes with melted dark chocolate drizzled over) to full on  bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns if I can get the other half out of bed to cook it for me.  However, that is not always the outcome and when I have to make my version of a full on breakfast it is usually this little number, ‘savoury cheese and bacon muffins’, done in ramekins.  I prefer to call it ‘breakfast in a ramekin’.  It has all the breakfast ingredients (back bacon rashers, cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs, spring onions, eggs, milk and chives) but done with little drama or for that matter the splattering of grease etc.  Unfortunately I did not get to make it this weekend so I’ve had to take a pic of a pic from ‘Cook Express’ in order to show you my little taste of weekend breakfast heaven.  So no credit for this photo…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wonder

Well, this week I could not believe my luck.  Talk about a wonder!  I’m highly allergic to bees and wasps so I’m afraid I had to take these photos through my kitchen window as I have both these and paper wasps all around at the moment.  Despite a slight blur here and there I had to share these pics of a mud wasp.  It really was an amazing wonder to watch.

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I’ve put a few of the above as stills too as they are easier to see in larger format. 

Mud Wasp: Mud Ball

 

Mud Wasp: Working on wall of nest

 

Mud Wasp: Bringing prey to nest

 

 

It’s a Privilege, Sir: Remembering on Remembrance Day

I have had the privilege to interview a few war veterans for my own research as well as for my volunteer work doing Oral History interviews for my local museum. I’m often surprised at how veterans can look back at war and still find humour and brightness amongst the dark. Perhaps it is the resilience of youth that got them through the rough times. Whatever the case, I have found each and every one of them inspiring men. It is not necessarily what they have done in war but their strength of character to carry on that intrigues me and captures my heart.

The men of EQ-P, whom I remember today, were not so lucky as to have survived the war but they too have captured my heart. Up until a couple of years ago I did not really know them. I only knew one by name, he being my cousin, the others were not even a name. They were unknown entities. I knew them as nothing more than six other men my relative served with and that is all. Today that is no longer the case. Each one is a person I can fondly remember.

In a time when few of us now remember the fallen through first hand knowledge it is more important than ever to do more than the obligatory respectful one or two minutes silence for those who died for our freedom. Why? It is hard to feel the emotional impact of each life lost if we do not know those we are standing silent for. A name does not mean much without putting something more substantial behind it. Let them not be just a name. Let the silence mean something more than just being respectful.

This year and in all my years to come, I will remember the boys of EQ-P. May they live once again through my research. 

Another year not forgotten. 

Another year remembered with love.

 

In Memory of the Boys of EQ-P of 408 ‘Goose’ Squadron

The boys of Lancaster Mk II LL637 EQ-P died on the night of March 15 1944, on an operation to Stuttgart, Germany. They are buried in Hilsenheim Communal Cemetery in Hilsenheim, France.

Norman Andrew Lumgair (Norm) was a Farm Lad from Manitoba, Canada. With nerves of steel he became the Pilot of the crew. Known for dressing up with a bow tie, even as a school boy, he loved to impress the girls. He died on his sixth Op at the age of 21.

 Douglas Cruickshank (Jock) was a RAF serviceman from Yorkshire, United Kingdom. He entered the RAF before the outbreak of war. After serving his country in South Africa he later returned to the UK to become a Flight Engineer. He died on his fifth Op at the age of 22.

 William Taylor (Bill) was a Farm Lad from Saskatchewan, Canada. Even before he left school he wanted to serve his country. Although he wished to be a pilot he was to become the Bomb Aimer of the crew. He died on his fifth Op at the age of 23.

 George Parker was a Teacher and Coal Truck Driver from Alberta, Canada. With his educational background he became the Navigator. A loving husband, he wrote his wife everyday he was overseas. He died on his fifth Op at the age of 28. He left behind his wife and two young children.

 William Lawrence Doran (Larry) was a Mucking Machine Operator from British Columbia, Canada. As a Wireless Operator he was the link to the outside world. He had a strong interest in Journalism and was well thought of within his local community. He died on his fifth Op at the age of 29. He left behind his wife.

 Robert Henry Hudson (Bob) worked for a surfacing company in Leicestershire, United Kingdom. He was always the boy with a smile on his face. As the Mid Upper Gunner he had a cold job. He died on his fifth Op at age 19.

 Robert George Alfred Burt (Bud) was a Machine Operator in a Shoe Factory in Ontario, Canada. As the Tail Gunner of the crew he had the coldest and most isolated position. He is fondly remembered as the teasing older brother. He died on his first Op at age 19.

They served together, they died together but they are remembered forever in our hearts.

 

The following poem was written by William Taylor’s sister.

The following are a few links to Remembrance Day videos on You Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq5hFrb7b_E

Bryan Adams – Remembrance Day

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kX_3y3u5Uo

Terry Kelly – A Pittance of Time

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

This week I have made a decision, as part of my personal ‘Remembrance Day Challenge’, to have all posts this week relate to Remembrance Day with November 11th being a post in remembrance to the boys of EQ-P.

Luckily this weeks photo challenge, ‘windows’, worked in quite well. I have chosen a series of window/perspex shots of a Lancaster bomber in memory of all of those who flew in Bomber Command. Consider it a window into the past…

A Remembrance Day Challenge

 The Story

On the way home from work one day a number of people sat on a city bus waiting for their stop to arrive. It seemed as though it would be a day that would finish like any other. One man however, had noticed that there was a veteran on board. The uniform was a dead give away that the soldier was in the forces but it was the colourful bar on his chest that told the story of the places he had been. This was not an elderly man who had served in a bygone war nor a youthful boy fresh from training but one who had been overseas many times and was still currently serving his country.

At some point the bus rider made a momentous decision. Just before his stop he made the choice to get up and make his way to where the veteran was sitting. He stopped beside the soldier, thanked him for his service and shook his hand before leaving the bus. He made the soldier’s day. The veteran came home to his wife feeling good about himself and wore a smile that did not leave his face for the rest of the evening.

It took but a moment to say thank you but the soldier and his wife still remember the kindness of that stranger and well over a year has passed.

The Challenge

Find a way to make a veteran’s day, let them not be forgotten this week. 

Ideas to help you along on your challenge:

1) Like the true story above, thank a veteran.

2) Buy a veteran a cup of tea, coffee or a meal and take a moment to share in their life.

3) Research a veteran you know nothing about and then share the information with someone else.  (For example give the person’s name, show a picture and share a paragraph or two about what you found out about them.)

4) Tell someone about why a relative or a friend who served in a war is special to you.

5) Do a chore for the veteran so that he or she can spend that time with their family or doing something that is important to them.

6) Write a special “thank you” message or poem to a veteran or even to your local legion/RSL.

The Point

The point is to let a veteran (alive or passed on) know you care and remember them beyond their name, beyond a picture, beyond the day!

Make a difference. That is the goal.

 Be inventive, be spontaneous or plan it out.

Whatever you do leave me a message about it!

The Visitor

Yesterday I was back in the groove. I had spent the morning writing for my book and I was pretty pleased with myself. Everything was going great until about 12:30pm when out of the corner of my eye I saw movement.

I don’t have a dedicated room set aside for work. Usually I work on my lap top from my kitchen table. Sometimes I even sit on a cushion beside my dog, typing away out on the deck adjoining the kitchen. Luckily I was sitting at the table inside with a clear view of the entire deck from my sliding glass doors. Hardly a breeze could be felt through the screens and the day was still heating up.

Linus, was oblivious to the world, feet hanging out of his raised bed in complete relaxed slumber as he attempted to save energy for his evening run. Behind his peaceful doggy abode lie something much more sinister.

My mouth gaped open. I’ve lived in Aus for a few years now but this was the first time I’d ever seen one. I looked at my furry baby blissfully unaware of the danger and quietly said to myself repeatedly, “Oh my God!” My brain reeled. If I make a noise now and wake the dog he might hop up and there could be a confrontation. By now I had shifted quietly to my feet and was watching every move.

It had no fear and had every intention of taking its time swaying to the beat of its own drum, unlike my heart which was pounding in my chest. I tiptoed to the other room for the camera and the phone. My hands shaking as I re-entered the kitchen and thumbed through the numbers for someone to call.

The grey mass, at least a metre long, was by now sunning itself happily at the end of the deck. My God, was it planning to stay?!!! What the heck was I going to do? The dog could wake and mayhem might break out at any moment. I snapped off a few photos with the idea that if I or the dog was to get bit I at least had some way of identifying the type of snake to either the vet or the doctor. Hopefully not both…

All of a sudden it decided to move toward the house. I froze. I was safe behind the screen but if it got to the wall and then decided to go right instead of left it would be on a path toward my dog.

Luckily, after heart stopping moments that seemed like minutes, it turned left and for a moment it looked as though it had made its way into the pool area.

By this point I had my neighbour on the phone and was detailing the situation. A calm man by nature, he made me feel somewhat at ease as he told me to make lots of noise now that the creature had moved off some distance and then when safe get the dog inside. Sadly he was not at home to help but I was just glad to have someone on the other end of the phone.

Under the rental agreement I’m not to have my dog inside but I wasn’t taking any chances. Hanging up the phone I picked up a metal bowl and a colander and clanged them together as well as rattled the screen door as loudly as I could to create some vibration to hopefully keep the unwanted intruder at bay, if only for a few minutes while I called my dog, now looking at me in groggy surprise, wondering why I was making such a racket.

I told him to stay while I continued to make random vibrations and looked anxiously around the door to make sure my slithery acquaintance was not stuck up against the wall where I could not see him. Seeing no motion near the door I tentatively opened it and with nothing there I called for Linus to come. He did but when I told him to come into the house he hesitated. I had to encourage him to enter. This was something new to him. He was well aware that putting his feet in the doorway usually came with a gruff,“Out!” Today however, it was encourage with an anxious high pitched, “Come!” With that he was in and safe.

I then began to relax. We were both okay and in one piece with no harm done. I decided to call my mum for moral support and was telling her what had happened when it reappeared! Okay, this was just a step too far for me. I quickly hung up to call a number of snake catchers non of which were able to come straight away and some who were asking an exorbitant amount of cash for their trouble and with no guarantee that there would be one less dangerous snake roaming my lawn. I was not impressed.

My anger made me realise one very odd but true fact. Having grown up in the backwoods of Canada I would have been less afraid and a down right more happy to have had a black bear on my back deck than an eastern brown snake. I could somehow fathom dealing with a big old bear. We had a number who use to frequent our yard on their trek to and from the apple trees. Dangerous as they were I could at least see them and often times smell them but the snake was a creature entirely void of such strong features.

In my rummaging to and fro to the computer in the other room which was hooked up to the outside world I lost contact with the snake. It had gone somewhere else I suppose, looking for food or on a merry stroll through semi rural surrounds. Maybe it was just tucked up in the shrubbery, I don’t know, but I was not taking a chance on letting the dog back outside and into harms way.

Its impact on my day was complete. I wrote nothing more as the dog spent several hours between standing, lying, staring wide eyed and looking ill at ease in his new surrounds while I looked up various poisonous snakes and tried to verify its identity. It is, as far as I can tell, an eastern brown and it is still out there somewhere probably waiting for a quiet moment so it can reappear again in the heat of the day to sun itself or meander through to wherever it has the inclination to explore.

I’m now as shifty eyed as a mother duck with several precious ducklings.