Australia · blessings · cakes · Changes · clouds · farewell · garden flowers · granddaughter · gratitude · In My World · memories · Mount Warning · new beginnings · new year · pets · photography · rain · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

Goodbye, 2020.

Words seem to escape me tonight. What does one say as the year 2020 draws to a close?

I could state the obvious, that this year has been an extremely difficult year for many people, but we all know that. It’s hardly a profound statement.

It has definitely been a year of change – we all know that as well.

So I will tell you all some new news, about my day filled with magical moments. 🙂

It rained overnight, washing away the dusty air in the valley. I awoke to a crystal clear – picture perfect, I would say – scene of Mount Warning.

As always, when Forrest and Brontë enjoyed some time in the sun, it was my Labrador, Brontë, who kept watch.

Raindrops from our overnight shower clung to my potted Petunias. I love these colours so much! Pink and purple flowers in my garden make my heart sing!

Inside the house, Bowie boy posed beautifully for the camera. ❤

And when my little granddaughter came to visit, she was very excited to finally try a piece of the Christmas cake she has been eyeing off every time she has visited since Christmas Day.

While I had my camera out, Aurora told her Mummy and Daddy to say “cheese,” then she took her own photo. Don’t you just love the imagination of children? And Aurora’s curls? ❤

Miss Tibbs prefers to hide when visitors arrive. I found her after my visitors had left, in her usual place on my sewing table.

Around sunset, a sudden noise alerted me to a change in the weather. It had remained sunny most of the day – the sun was still shining – but a sudden gush of rain fell from a huge unexpected cloud that had rolled in from the coast.

We had the most spectacular sunshower. I took a few photos from my veranda, as the rain really was quite heavy, and had whipped up a windy squall from the south.

So the day that began crystal-clear-perfect ended with a brilliant sunshower. Two incredibly stunning, yet totally different views of Mount Warning. What a way to end the year!

I feel a tad sorry for the year 2020. It has taken a bad rap, particularly since March. But was it the fault of the year that so many things went awry? I don’t believe it was. Every year, we experience the good and the bad situations that life offers, and we can’t claim 2020 to be all “bad” can we?

For me, 2020 was the year my grandson, Eli, was born. It is also the year I learned that I have two more grandsons on the way. The units I completed at university were two of my most enjoyable units so far, and I was graded with a high distinction for both units. I have had the opportunity to spend more time at home, therefore more time in my garden. Since July, I have blogged every day and made more friends in the blogging community.

No, 2020 wasn’t all bad, not for me at least.

As we welcome in the New Year of 2021, we are presented with a brand new opportunity to begin again, with a clean slate. No mistakes, no problems, just a choice of how we will react to the good moments, and the bad, that 2021 presents us with. ❤

Australia · clouds · Mount Warning · new year · summer · sunset · Tweed Valley

Flight 2021

Rain in the morning.

Today I am breaking tradition.

It’s Wordless Wednesday – the last for 2020 – and these words, found on Facebook,

seem to be far more appropriate today that just photos. ❤

The Boarding of Flight 2021
has been announced …
You Have 1 day left
before the final call.
Your luggage should
only contain the best
souvenirs from 2020
The bad and sad moments
should be left in the garbage …
The duration of the flight
will be 12 months.
So, tighten your seatbelt …
The next stop-overs will be:
Health, Love, Joy, Harmony,
Well-being and Peace.
The captain offers you the
following menu which
will be served during the flight …
A Cocktail of Friendship
A Supreme of Health
A Gratin of Prosperity
A Bowl of Excellent News
A Salad of Success
A Cake of Happiness
All accompanied by bursts
of laughter …
I wish you and your family
an enjoyable trip
on board flight 2021
Let Me Thank All
The Good People Like You,
Who Made the year 2020
beautiful For Me.
I Pray You be Blessed
With An Awesome Year Ahead.

❤ ❤ ❤

Australia · birds · gardening · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · summer · Tweed Valley

Developing relationships – overcoming phobias.

The mountain is a tad dull today, more rain is predicted.

There’s something I have never shared before and it may surprise people who have known me online for some time.

Regularly, I share photos of birds. I feed some of the tamer wild birds by hand when they visit my garden. I worry if I don’t see my regulars for a while, and gush over them when they return.
For many years, however, I had a phobia of birds.

I don’t know to this day why they frightened me so much, they just did.

It wasn’t a phobia I could easily hide either. Every time a bird came near me, I panicked. I rarely shrieked – I’m not that vocal a person – but I would break out in a sweat and have to remove myself from the situation, wherever it was. It could be a friends home, a park, the beach, even in my own back yard. If a bird came near me, the sweats and shudders began.

Many well meaning people attempted to psychoanalyse me. I must have had a bad experience with a bird, or birds, as a child, I was told. Most ornithophobics can pinpoint their phobia to an incident. I couldn’t think of any traumatic incidences I had had as a child, so I asked my parents if they knew of anything. No, they said. They were as baffled as me.

Baby Magpie spotted me in the garden, so dropped by to say hello.

Had I watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds, I was asked. He’ll no! was my reply. I would like to get rid of my phobia, not exacerbate it.

Face your fears, I was advised. Have you tried hypnotherapy, I was asked. No – and no – I replied.

Eventually, I concluded that I would simply avoid places where there were likely to be birds. That seemed simple enough. I was determined not to pass my phobia onto my children, so tried to hide my fear of birds from them. I needn’t have bothered. Children can be surprisingly understanding, I discovered. The day we were picnicing in a National Park and I turned around to find a bush turkey standing right next to me, I jumped up on the picnic table to get away from it. My children chased it away, then they laughed and told me how silly I was to be afraid of birds.

The years passed by and I coped just fine with my phobia. It didn’t hinder my life too much, and I kept myself to myself while I was gardening. No birds came anywhere near me, until one day, a magpie dared to come within a couple of metres of where I was digging a garden bed.

I shrieked, the bird flapped and moved away from me, whilst eyeing me suspiciously. Didn’t that silly bird know who it was dealing with, I thought?

What’s up with her? the magpie’s expression seemed to suggest.

That was enough for me. I retreated indoors. My safe garden haven was no longer safe.

As I walked through the garden, Baby Magpie followed.

Something about that bird’s reaction stayed with me though. I realised a few things – firstly, the bird had not been afraid of me. Secondly, I had been more afraid of the bird. Most perplexing of all, the bird didn’t fly away when I reacted badly.

Finally, I concluded that the magpie had not meant to cause me any grief. It was as stunned by my reaction to it, as I had been in unexpectedly seeing a bird so close to me in the garden.

The magpie did not want to harm me! How amazing is that? That was my conclusion back then, and I was absolutely astounded by the realisation.

The next day I went out to the garden again. While digging and weeding, I kept a lookout for the magpie, and sure enough, it returned. The bird went about its business while I went about mine. When the magpie was ready to fly away, off it went. The magpie actually seemed to enjoy my company!

The next time I went into the garden, I took some food with me. When the magpie arrived, I threw a few scraps to it, and the bird seemed pleased with my meagre offerings.

Many generations of magpies have visited my garden since then, and over time I have discovered that birds have more to fear from people than we have from them.

The result of me beating my phobia of birds is well documented here on my blog. I never sought professional help to overcome my phobia, I simply learned to trust nature. I also learned to trust my own instincts, and my instincts nowadays always tell me that birds can be trusted. To clarify that point, if you treat birds well, they can be trusted. They react the same as most animals.

I still haven’t watched The Birds, and I never will. I haven’t had any nightmares about birds in several years either, so I do not intend tempting fate by putting myself in any position that will create doubt in my mind. I have many feathered friends now, and will do absolutely nothing that may compromise my freedom to love and enjoy them.

Clearly, this years baby magpie doesn’t know I’m a recovered ornithophobic, as that sweet little bird often tries to land on me! I must admit to some anxiety when he comes too close to my head, flapping his feathers, but I cope.

Baby Magpie continued to follow me, right down the back of the garden.

The photos in today’s post were taken about two weeks ago. It had been raining, and between showers I went outside to take a few photos. Baby magpie saw me, so followed me as I walked around the garden. When I stopped to take photos, he perched nearby and waited. When I moved on, he followed me. Like all the other generations of magpies before him, baby magpie enjoys my company. And I enjoy his company. It’s as simple as that.

I hope by telling my story, it might help someone who has a fear or even an unexplained phobia. I can’t offer any magical cure, all I can advise is to find another point of view to consider the problem from. Stay rational and calm, think the situation through with a clear mind, and go with the flow. Try not to fight your fear. It was when I decided to relax that I grew to love birds.

It’s difficult to describe the difference between a fear and a phobia, but there definitely is a difference. While both can be controlled by mind-power if we so choose, from my experience, fears can be faced and overcome. From my own experience, fear is more a state of mind where we imagine something is going to be worse than it actually is. Phobias are debilitating, and in my case, unexplainable.

I will be interested to hear your thoughts on the extent to which you believe a person can control a phobia through mind-power, or by using rationalisation. Do you believe it is possible, even easy, to overcome a life-long phobia, as I seem to have done? To this day, I cannot explain why my phobia of birds is gone!

Australia · clouds · garden flowers · in my garden · Mount Warning · native Australian birds · native Australian plants · new beginnings · photography · summer · sunset · Tweed Valley

Contemplating the New Year

The afternoon sun hid behind a cloud today, so the sky colours are far more subtle than they have been recently at sunset.

For the last couple of days, the light hasn’t been wonderful for taking photos. I think we have a bit of glare from the brightness of the sky, so none of the photos I have taken look all that wonderful.

But not to worry, I have a few photos, taken a couple of weeks ago, which didn’t make it to a blog post for whatever reason, so I will share those today.

Did I mention we have two baby Butcher Birds this year? I don’t believe I did. They are still a tad shy, but visit the garden occasionally. One day, both visited at the same time.

They seem to like perching on the trampoline I have in the yard for my grandchildren.

Since I added a few seedlings to some empty plant pots I had in the garden, the birds seem to enjoy rummaging around in the dirt, for reasons only known to them. Even the little Noisy Miners have taken a liking to the new pots.

Clearly it was raining the day I took this photo of a few of my regular visitors. I complained no end about the rain causing clouds and mist which hid Mount Warning, but after having so much rain that the area flooded, it hasn’t rained since! We could do with a touch of rain for the garden, just not so much that it causes a flood again!

And finally, here are a couple of flowering plants in my back garden. The first flower is probably the most recognisable – a hibiscus. A tiny Ladybird insect had taken a fancy to the stunning orange flower too. 🙂

The last flower is an Australian Native, whose name escapes me!

There’s a few more photos on my desktop waiting to be added to a blog post, so if the dud light continues, I have a few more photos to go on with tomorrow. It’s convenient timing too, I’m using up all of my December photos before we begin the New Year.

How is everyone feeling about a new year beginning – are you ready to launch into 2021 with gusto, shouting good riddance to the old year? Or do you feel wary of the new year, planning on tippy-toeing forward after the trials of 2020?