All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Ten of my favourite photographs…

Today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge is all about photographs. Photographs that fill us with joy. Photographs that render us speechless. Photographs that have our minds buzzing with all sorts of happy chemicals. As is my prerogative, I’ve decided to split today’s challenge into two parts. The first part being ten photographs that I have taken:

and the second part being ten photographs from established professionals:

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Ten of my favourite foods…

And we’re back. After running out of internet credit two days ago there’s been a slight pause in the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge, but I’m stocked up on GB again and raring to go with day eight: ten of my favourite foods.

Now, I’m not a very adventurous eater, nor am I a person who considers food to be something magical and delightful. Food, for me, is a necessity. It is something I must eat to stay alive. But saying that there are things I prefer eating above others…

~1~
Poached Eggs on Sourdough Toast

The best breakfast in the world. Ever. Nothing beats the poached egg on sourdough toast. Not even bacon.

poachedeggs

Ingredients

2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 eggs, at room temperature
Bread, toasted, buttered, to serve

Step 1: Pour cold water into a large saucepan until 8cm deep. Add vinegar. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low (water should still be simmering around the edge).

Step 2: Crack 1 egg into a shallow bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir water to create a whirlpool. Tip egg into water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes for a soft yolk or 3 to 4 minutes for firm. Using a slotted spoon, remove egg from water.

Step 3: Skim foam from water. Poach remaining eggs. Serve eggs on toast.

~ from Taste.com.au

~2~
Jacket Potato (with butter and cheese)

My idea of comfort food. I’m a huge fan of the humble potato. Especially when cheese is melted atop it!

jacketpotato

Ingredients

Sebago potatoes
Cheese (to taste)
Butter (to taste)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200°C. Scrub potatoes with a brush. Pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Using a fork, pierce potatoes in about 6 places. Place directly on oven rack in the centre of oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender when a skewer is inserted into the centre.

Step 3: Cut a deep cross in top of each potato. Using a clean tea towel to hold potato, squeeze base gently to open up top. Add your choice of topping and serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~3~
Pesto Pasta

Simple. Easy to make. A refreshing, delectable meal.

pestopasta

Ingredients

375g dried linguine pasta
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve

Step 1: Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions until tender. Drain. Return to pan.

Step 2: Meanwhile, process basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan, scraping down sides occasionally, until almost smooth.

Step 3: With motor running, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Process to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Add pesto to pasta. Toss to combine. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~4~
Coconut Rice

Is there anything better than rice? Of course there is. Rice that tastes of coconut!

coconutrice

Ingredients

2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice
2 cups good-quality coconut milk
1 3/4 cups water
2 heaping Tbsp. dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coconut oil, OR vegetable oil

Step 1: Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot. You will also need a tight-fitting lid.

Step 2: Place rice, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

Step 3: Once the coconut-water has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low (just above minimum). Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. To check, pull rice aside with a fork. If most of the coconut milk-water is gone, go on to the next step.

Step 4: Replace the lid and turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot on the burner to steam another 5-10 minutes, or until you’re ready to eat.

~ from Thaifood.about.com

~5~
Lasagne

Ever wanted to pretend you were a loveable cartoon cat?

lasagne

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg beef mince
160ml (2/3 cup) red wine
2 x 700ml btls passata (tomato pasta sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 x 250g pkt dried lasagne sheets

Besciamella (bechamel sauce)
125g butter, chopped
115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
1.5L (6 cups) milk, warmed
40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
55g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated mozzarella
40g (1/2 cup) finely grated parmesan
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add the mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 4-5 minutes or until the mince changes colour.

Step 2: Add the wine. Cook for 4 minutes or until the wine has almost evaporated. Add the passata, tomato paste, oregano and thyme. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Meanwhile, to make the besciamella, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Remove from heat. Stir in the flour. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until smooth. Place the milk mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add half the cheddar, half the mozzarella and half the parmesan. Stir until well combined. Stir in the nutmeg.

Step 4: Spread about 2 cups of the mince mixture over the base of a 3L (12-cup) capacity, 5cm-deep, 21 x 32cm (base measurement) ovenproof dish. Arrange 3 lasagne sheets on top. Spread with 2 cups of mince mixture. Pour over 21/2 cups of besciamella. Top with 3 lasagne sheets. Continue layering with remaining mince mixture, lasagne sheets and besciamella.

Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes. Combine remaining cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle over the lasagne. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and golden. Set aside for 15 minutes to stand. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~6~
Potato Bake

Second only to the jacket potato in the comfort food stakes.

potatobake

Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
1 x 300ml ctn thin cream
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
1.25kg sebago (brushed) potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
2 large brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
100g thinly sliced prosciutto
60g (3/4 cup) finely shredded parmesan

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a 2.5L (10-cup) capacity ovenproof dish with melted butter to lightly grease. Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Step 2: Arrange half the potato slices over the base of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half the onion. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over half the cream mixture. Continue layering with the remaining potato slices, onion, salt and pepper and cream mixture.

Step 3: Cover with foil and place on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until potato is tender. Scatter prosciutto over the potato bake and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for a further 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the potato is very tender.

Step 4: Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~7~
Potato and Rosemary Pizza

You may overdose on carbohydrate, but at least you’ll die happy!

potatoandrosemarypizza

Ingredients

Dough
4 ½ cups organic plain four
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¾ cups ice water
oil for brushing

Potato and Rosemary Topping
½ cup mozzarella, grated

¼ cup parmesan, grated
4 kipfler or dutch creams, peeled, boiled whole and sliced
1 sprig rosemary
sea salt + pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg

Step 1: Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl with a wooden spoon. Mix oil and water into the flour till all flour is incorporated. Continue mixing until the dough is of a slightly sticky consistency and sticks a little to the bottom of the bowl, but not to the sides. If dough IS sticking to the sides of the bowl, more flour is required. If it is not sticking to the very bottom, a little water (one to two teaspoons) should be added but make sure you add a little at a time. You can mix by hand or machine.

Step 2: Flour the bench surface before turning dough onto it and then shape into a rectangle and slice into six pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flouring hands to stop sticking, then coat the surface with oil and wrap each ball in food grade plastic wrap. These will keep in the fridge for a maximum of three days and about 30 days in the freezer.

Step 3: Stretch dough to two centimetre thick and ten centimetres in diameter circles, or stretch to fit the pizza pan. The best way is to stretch to a smaller circle and then toss in the air, but a rolling pin will do the job, if not as well! If the dough is very elastic and keeps springing back to its original form, let it rest for a further 10 to 20 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Step 4: Scatter the cheeses over the pizza and place in the oven at 230°C until the cheese has just melted. Take the pizza out of the oven and add the sliced, par cooked potato, rosemary leaves, and a little more cheese. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg and replace in the oven until the dough is cooked.

~ from Poh’s Kitchen

~8~
Spanakopita

The most adventurous food on my menu. But with something so delicious, how can you resist?

spanakopita

Ingredients

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch shallots (spring onions), finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.2kg baby spinach or silverbeet
2 tablespoons chopped dill
250g feta cheese, crumbled
150g full-fat ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons grated kefalotyri or parmesan cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
12 sheets filo pastry
120g butter, melted

Step 1: Heat oil in a frypan, then add onion, shallots and garlic. Cook for 1 minute until softened, then add spinach and half the dill. (If using silverbeet, remove leaves, and chop before adding; discard stalks). Cook, stirring, over low heat for 1-2 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Drain in a colander and cool, then combine with cheeses, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 2 1/2-litre baking dish with butter. Lay one sheet of filo on base and sides and brush with butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets. Spread cheese mixture over top. Cover with remaining filo, brushing each sheet with butter. Trim excess pastry with kitchen scissors and tuck edges into sides of dish. Brush top with butter and score in diamond patterns.

Step 3: Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Rest for 10 minutes. Warm remaining butter, add remaining dill and, when serving, pour over sliced spanakopita.

~ from Taste.com.au

~9~
Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken. The only way it can be improved is to slather it in herbalicious breadcrumbs!

chickenschnitzel

Ingredients

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
550g chicken breast schnitzel (uncrumbed)
Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

Step 1: Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon rind, parsley and garlic powder on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate. Whisk egg and milk together in a shallow bowl.

Step 2: Coat 1 piece of chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture. Coat in breadcrumb mixture. Place on a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, flour, egg mixture and breadcrumb mixture.

Step 3: Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 4 to 5 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

 

and

~10~
Chocolate Caramel Slice

Because we all need something sweet in our life. And with this delicious dessert, there is nothing sweeter!

chocolatecaramelslice

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted

Filling
400g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
60g butter, melted

Topping
60g copha, chopped
125g cooking chocolate, chopped

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 3cm deep, 28 x 18cm (base) lamington pan.

Step 2: Combine all base ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Press into prepared lamington pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven. Cool.

Step 3: Make filling: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking, for 8 minutes or until golden. Pour over cooked base. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until set.

Step 4: Make topping: Place copha and chocolate into a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Pour over caramel. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares to serve.

~ from Taste.com.au


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Ten historical moments of epic magnificence…

In today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge I’ve been tasked to pick ten of my favourite historical moments. For a history nerd, the difficulty isn’t thinking of historical moments, it’s in picking just ten from the millions of possibilities. But let’s see how we get on!

~1~
Callanish Standing Stones
2900 – 2600BC

The Callanish Stones (or Clachan Chalanais or Tursachan Chalanais in Gaelic) are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age.

Callanish

~2~
“I have a dream”
28 August 1963

I Have a Dream” is a public speech delivered by American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. in which he calls for an end to racism in the United States. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, the speech was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

~3~
The Beaumont Children
26 January 1966

Jane Nartare Beaumont (aged 9; born 10 September 1956), Arnna Kathleen Beaumont (aged 7; born 11 November 1958), and Grant Ellis Beaumont (aged 4; born 12 July 1961) were three siblings collectively known as the Beaumont children who disappeared from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, South Australia, on Australia Day, 26 January 1966.

Their case resulted in one of the largest police investigations in Australian criminal history and remains one of Australia’s most infamous cold cases. The huge attention given to this case, its significance in Australian criminal history, and the fact that the mystery of their disappearance has never been explained, has led to the story being revisited by the press on a regular basis. It is also viewed by many social commentators as a significant event in the evolution of Australian society, with a large number of people changing the way they supervised their children on a daily basis.

beaumont children

For baby boomers growing up in the late 1960s, and for those who came after, the subsequent police investigation into the abduction and probable murder of the Beaumont children has been both repelling and haunting. On the fortieth anniversary of the children’s disappearance, many questions still remain: What happened to Jane, Arnna and Grant Beaumont at Glenelg on the day they disappeared? Who was the man last seen with the children that day? Why has there never been a public inquest into the children’s disappearance? What links are there to the abduction of two young girls from Adelaide Oval in 1973 and the infamous Family Murders in the early 1980s? Are the Beaumont children still alive, as many still believe, or buried in some unmarked spot?

The mere mention of the words ‘the Beaumont children’ brings so many memories of that time flooding back. For those who have come after, and know only the half-truths and the urban myths, there is a yearning to know more – to understand the unimaginable and try to answer questions that may never be answered.

For over four decades now, we have all been searching for the Beaumont children.

from ‘Searching for the Beaumont Children’
by Alan J. Whiticker

~4~
Feminism
1837-Present

Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher, is credited with having coined the word “féminisme” in 1837. The words “féminisme” (“feminisme”) and “féminist” (“feminist”) first appeared in France and the Netherlands in 1872, Great Britain in the 1890s, and the United States in 1910, and the Oxford English Dictionary lists 1852 as the year of the first appearance of “feminist” and 1895 for “feminism”. Depending on historical moment, culture and country, feminists around the world have had different causes and goals. Most western feminist historians assert that all movements that work to obtain women’s rights should be considered feminist movements, even when they did not (or do not) apply the term to themselves. Other historians assert that the term should be limited to the modern feminist movement and its descendants. Those historians use the label “protofeminist” to describe earlier movements.

The history of the modern western feminist movements is divided into three “waves”. Each wave dealt with different aspects of the same feminist issues. The first wave comprised women’s suffrage movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, promoting women’s right to vote. The second wave was associated with the ideas and actions of the women’s liberation movement beginning in the 1960s. The second wave campaigned for legal and social equality for women. The third wave is a continuation of, and a reaction to, the perceived failures of second-wave feminism, beginning in the 1990s.

feminism

“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”
~Anaïs Nin~

~5~
The Battle of Bannockburn
24 June 1314

The Battle of Bannockburn was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence. Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. The English king, Edward II, assembled a formidable force to relieve it. This attempt failed, and his army was defeated in a pitched battle by a smaller army commanded by the King of Scots, Robert the Bruce.

bannockburn

Scots Wha Hae
By Robert Burns

‘Scots, wha hae wi Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae yer gory bed,
Or tae victorie.

‘Now’s the day, an now’s the hour:
See the front o battle lour,
See approach proud Edward’s power –
Chains and Slaverie.

‘Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn an flee.

‘Wha, for Scotland’s king and law,
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand or Freeman fa,
Let him on wi me.

‘By Oppression’s woes and pains,
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free.

‘Lay the proud usurpers low,
Tyrants fall in every foe,
Liberty’s in every blow! –
Let us do or dee.

~6~
The Glencoe Massacre
13 February 1692

Early in the morning, in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite uprising of 1689 led by John Graham of Claverhouse, a massacre took place in Glen Coe, in the Highlands of Scotland. This incident is referred to as the massacre of Glencoe, or in Scottish Gaelic Mort Ghlinne Comhann or murder of Glen Coe. The massacre began simultaneously in three settlements along the glen—Invercoe, Inverrigan, and Achnacon—although the killing took place all over the glen as fleeing MacDonalds were pursued. Thirty-eight MacDonalds from the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the guests who had accepted their hospitality, on the grounds that the MacDonalds had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William and Mary. Another forty women and children died of exposure after their homes were burned.

~7~
The 1745 Uprising
1745

The Jacobite rising of 1745 was the attempt by Charles Edward Stuart to regain the British throne for the exiled House of Stuart. The rising occurred during the War of the Austrian Succession when most of the British Army was on the European continent. Charles Edward Stuart, commonly known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie” or “the Young Pretender”, sailed to Scotland and raised the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands, where he was supported by a gathering of Highland clansmen. The march south began with an initial victory at Prestonpans near Edinburgh. The Jacobite army, now in bold spirits, marched onwards to Carlisle, over the border in England. When it reached Derby, some British divisions were recalled from the Continent and the Jacobite army retreated north to Inverness.

1745uprising

which culminated at

~8~
The Battle of Culloden
16 April 1746

The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745 and part of a religious civil war in Britain. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

culloden

Culloden
by Andrew Lang

Dark, dark was the day when we looked on Culloden
And chill was the mist drop that clung to the tree,
The oats of the harvest hung heavy and sodden,
No light on the land and no wind on the sea.

There was wind, there was rain, there was fire on their faces,
When the clans broke the bayonets and died on the guns,
And ’tis Honour that watches the desolate places
Where they sleep through the change of the snows and the suns.

Unfed and unmarshalled, outworn and outnumbered,
All hopeless and fearless, as fiercely they fought,
As when Falkirk with heaps of the fallen was cumbered,
As when Gledsmuir was red with the havoc they wrought.

Ah, woe worth you, Sleat, and the faith that you vowed,
Ah, woe worth you, Lovat, Traquair, and Mackay;
And woe on the false fairy flag of Macleod,
And the fat squires who drank, but who dared not to die!

Where the graves of Clan Chattan are clustered together,
Where Macgillavray died by the Well of the Dead,
We stooped to the moorland and plucked the pale heather
That blooms where the hope of the Stuart was sped.

And a whisper awoke on the wilderness, sighing,
Like the voice of the heroes who battled in vain,
“Not for Tearlach alone the red claymore was plying,
But to bring back the old life that comes not again.”

~9~
Sabina Spielrein
1885-1942

Sabina Spielrein was a Russian physician and one of the first female psychoanalysts. She was in succession the patient, then student, then colleague of Carl Gustav Jung, with whom she had an erotic relationship during 1908-1910, closely documented in their correspondence from the time and her diaries. She also met, corresponded, and had a collegial relationship with Sigmund Freud. One of her more famous analysands was the Swiss developmental psychologist, Jean Piaget. She worked as a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, teacher and paediatrician in Switzerland and Russia.

In a thirty-year professional career, she published over 35 papers in three languages (German, French and Russian), covering psychoanalysis, developmental psychology, psycholinguistics and educational psychology. Her best known and perhaps most influential published work in the field of psychoanalysis is the essay titled “Destruction as the Cause of Coming Into Being”, written in German in 1912. Although Spielrein has been mainly remembered on account of her relationship with Jung, she is now increasingly recognized as an important and innovative thinker who was marginalized in history because of her unusual eclecticism, refusal to join factions, feminist approach to psychology, and her death in the Holocaust.

Sabina Spielrein’s relationship with Carl Jung was explored in the motion picture ‘A Dangerous Method’:

and

~10~
An Unearthly Child
5:16pm, 23 November 1963

Doctor Who first appeared on BBC TV at 17:16:20 GMT, eighty seconds after the scheduled programme time, 5:15 pm.

And now it’s over to you. What are some of your favourite historical moments?


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Ten places I’d love to visit…

~1~
Newfoundland, Canada

Newfoundland

Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit Newfoundland during my Canadian odyssey in 2000. But no matter, it gives me an excuse to return to this magical land to explore this rugged, inspirational province in greater depth and detail.

~2~
Rome, Italy

Rome

I’m jealous of Louise, my first girlfriend, because she’s been to Rome. Grace, too, has spent time in the Italian capital. Up until this point in my life I haven’t had the opportunity. But I’m damn sure that at some point in my life I will. I’m determined of that fact.

~3~
Shetland Islands, Scotland

Shetland Islands

During my month-long sabbatical in Scotland in 1999 I wanted to go to Shetland, but couldn’t afford the ferry cost, given I was a poverty-stricken backpacker. One day, I’m determined to visit these far-flung isles, especially after seeing them light up the screen in the television series Shetland.

~4~
Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu

Like Rome, I have long wished to walk the grounds of Machu Picchu. One day I will make it to Peru to do so. And I will take in the majestic table mountains whilst I’m there! :)

~5~
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona

During my hospital stay earlier this year my support worker brought me the Lonely Planet guide to Spain to keep me entertained. She knows how important it is for me to visit this cultural, gastronomical, mecca. And like all the other places in this list, I’m sure one day I will!

~6~
Grand Teton National Park, USA

Grand Teton National Park

Sare, a blogging friend, sent me a postcard from this location when she visited it a few years ago. Said postcard takes up pride of place on my fridge, beckoning me to visit every time I go to get some milk. One day I shall.

~7~
Isle of Barra, Scotland

Barra

One of the few islands in the chain that makes up the Outer Hebrides that I haven’t visited. I’ve always wanted to.

~8~
Antarctica

Antarctica

I’ve been fascinated with Antarctica since I was a young wee thing. I think because I’m pathologically drawn to cold, desolate locations.

~9~
Paris

Paris

A city I’ve wanted to visit since it featured prominently in the Doctor Who story City of Death. When Highlander also filmed in this magical city, I was determined to visit it one day. Something I probably should have done whilst living in the UK, as it’s quite a journey from Australia! :)

and

~10~
Shakespeare and Company, Paris

Shakespeare and Company, Paris

And whilst in Paris I would have to visit this quaint, beautiful bookshop. Which is, without question, the only bookshop I have dreamt of visiting.

What about you? What places on Earth would you most like to visit? And why do they burn so bright in your mind?


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Ten works of art that have changed my life…

In today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy Challenge we turn our attention to works of art – paintings, film, television, books, music etc. – and look at which ones have had a particularly life-altering impact on my life. Starting with the obvious…

~1~
Doctor Who (1963-Present)

doctor-who-50th

My love affair with Doctor Who began during the show’s twenty-fifth anniversary, when I watched the story The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. Little did I know then that this television series would go on to become one of the most important works of art in my life.

For twenty-seven years now this show has been the source of tremendous comfort, inspiration and excitement. It has soothed my soul through countless depressive episodes, been there to support me when I’ve contemplated suicide and stood by me during periods of intense self harm.

For two-thirds of my life I have had the good Doctor and his assortment of companions to guide me through life’s ups and downs. I seriously couldn’t comprehend my life without Doctor Who. It is in my blood. It is part of my DNA. And I will love it until my final, dying breath.

And now a flashback to 1988, and a clip from the very first Doctor Who story that I remember watching:

~2~
Quest for a Kelpie (1986)

9780863155802

It began, as far as I was concerned, with the fight.

At midday one Friday, about the beginning of September 1743, a month before my tenth birthday, my mother called me in. As there had been no fishing for a week because of storms, there was no fish to take up the country, and I had a bit leisure to play with my little brother Isaac and the twins. Not Ellen, of course. She had her own friends, always.

“Come in, Jeannie,” mam called. “Away over with your dad’s bite. You can take the wee one with you, an’ be sure he takes no harm. Now mind an’ dinna spill it or I’ll skelp you.”

“Aye, mam,”I said. I knew fine she wouldn’t – if anybody skelped me it would be my dad.

How did this work of art change me? This book made me want to be a writer. What more can I say?

~3~
Psycho (1960)

psycho

This filmed changed my understanding of what great cinema is. Before I watched it I was gorging on a diet of Hollywood blockbusters and cheesy romantic comedies. Until I watched this, film was just a sugary snack, something to munch on when you felt depressed. But watching this masterpiece of direction made me realise that film didn’t have to be a snack, it could be a hearty main meal. This film set me off on a journey that took in some of the great artists of motion picture history; Welles, Altman, Truffaut, Wilder, to name but a few. This film began my love affair with Hitchcock, a relationship that has been ongoing for twenty odd years now. It changed the way I viewed film, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

~4~
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)

381578-the-legend-of-zelda-ocarina-of-time

Is a video game a work of art? Let’s end this insipid date here and now: of course it is! And this video game, this inspirational, incredible, breathtaking journey, is without question, without argument or debate, the greatest video game ever made. From the moment I placed the cartridge into my trusty N64 back in 1998 I was blown away by the commitment put into this work of art by its talented team. The graphics, the music, the design, the everything!

This is one of those journey’s that you simply have to take in life, so if you haven’t already done so, do it now. Stop reading this blog post this very second and travel to your nearest video game store, pick up a 3DS and copy of the game, and play it immediately. You will not be disappointed.

~5~
One Tree Hill (2003-2012)

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In late 2010 I had been sleeping rough for eighteen months. Throughout that long, brutal period of time there was little in my life worth writing home about. Joy, happiness, inspiration…everything had deserted me. It was just me, surviving through each horrible, endless day. Then a homeless service offered me a place in a boarding house. I jumped at the chance to get off the streets and merrily made my way to the northern suburbs of Melbourne to check out my new ‘home’. It was a cupboard. There were no windows. No natural light. But it was a room to sleep in. A chance to get off the streets.

Shortly after moving in, depression took hold. I found it difficult to rouse myself from bed, spending entire days laying face down in my cupboard, unable to summon any strength for normal, day-to-day activities. I took solace in a succession of DVDs that I’d borrowed from the local library. Veronica Mars, 24, Supernatural, all were devoured as time-killing measures, all acted as white noise for my pointless existence. Until I placed into the drive the first disc of season one of One Tree Hill. Within six episodes I was hooked. Within one season I was a rabid fan.

I fell head over heels in love with the lives and adventures of the high-schoolers of Tree Hill. Peyton became an object of intense lust and admiration. Hayley, and her singing, soothed my troubled soul. Whilst I promptly decided that, were it possible to date fictional characters, Brooke would be my soul mate. But it was the shows writing that enticed me more than my carnal desiring of its female stars. Episode after episode the dialogue and interaction of the characters blew me away, with entire episodes devoted to exploring character and their relationships. Something I had never seen in a television show before.

After watching four seasons back to back, I left my cupboard for the first time in four weeks, desperate for seasons five and six. Watching that show provided me with a renewed zest for life. It inspired me to return to writing. It forced me to reevaluate my decisions and where I was heading. Without One Tree Hill I would be dead. I’m not saying that to be over dramatic, I’m saying it because it’s true. One Tree Hill saved me from myself. And for that, I will forever worship and adore Mark Schwahn’s poignant creation.

Not my top 10 One Tree Hills scenes, but the top 10 scenes of a fellow YouTuber:

~6~
The Pioneer (1904)

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This is my favourite painting of all time. I first saw it not long after arriving in Australia, whilst exploring the lengthy hallways of the National Gallery of Victoria. From my first viewing of this intricate, soulful piece of art, I was transfixed. I wanted to know more about the couple, about their life and family. I wanted to know how they survived each day and what drove them toward a better, brighter future.

When I became homeless in 2007 it took on an even deeper meaning, for I could relate to the various stages of their life. The first panel with them sleeping rough, dreaming of a better future, was exactly how I felt during those first months of being homeless. Whereas the second panel, and the start of the couples family, reflected my own dream of family and togetherness. Whilst the grief (and change) reflected in the third panel mirrored the changes and grief that I knew would follow me throughout my life.

It is a magnificent piece of art and, in my humble opinion, should be regarded alongside the Mona Lisa or The Kiss.

~7~
Memory and Dream (1994)

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But that’s what we all are – just stories. We only exist by how people remember us, by the stories we make of our lives. Without the stories, we’d just fade away.

How did 50pence change my life? It’s not a huge amount of money, it’s pretty negligible, if truth be told. But in late 2001, my life was changed by this paltry amount of money.

I was perusing a charity shop in Inverness, on my way to work another tedious shift at the YHA, when I saw Memory and Dream peeking at me from the bookcase. It was only 50pence, a bargain, so I took it to the counter and purchased it immediately. The author, a Canadian, had been recommended to me by my friend Deborah, and I had been on the lookout for him for months, so finding such a bargain was a stroke of good fortune.

That night at work, given it was quiet because of the off-season, I settled down to read my new purchase. Within minutes I was spellbound. Charles de Lint has a way with words that few other writers can match. He is lyrical, spinning wondrous stories populated by charismatic, compassionate characters. You genuinely care about the people de Lint writes about. They get under your skin. They make your heart hurt.

But it’s not just because Memory and Dream is a remarkable story that it makes this list. No. Memory and Dream did something no other book had ever done. It made me realise that there was a market for the sorts of stories that my soul wanted to tell. I was forever blending the mythical and magical with the humdrum of contemporary life, but until I read Memory and Dream, I didn’t realise there was a name for it; Urban Fantasy.

That’s how 50pence changed my life.

~8~
The Virgin Spanking the Christ Child before Three Witnesses (1926)

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This painting used to fascinate me when I was younger. I was drawn to it by the vibrant colours, sharp angles and subject matter. For better or worse, this piece of art has probably changed my life more than any other, for it was instrumental in setting me off on my journey with kink; a journey that I have been traversing for over thirty years now.

~9~
The Stamping Ground (2001)

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The first single I ever brought was Naked, by British pop starlet Louise. A particularly loathsome piece of music that I purchased only because my teenage self wanted to imagine Louise stark naked. The first album I ever brought was Naked, by British pop starlet Louise. A particularly loathsome collection of music that I purchased only because my teenage self wanted to imagine Louise stark naked. But the first album I brought that actually resonated with me, that I brought for reasons other than teenage lust, was Runrig’s The Stamping Ground. And it blew my mind. There was actually music out there that spoke to me, that made my soul sing and my heart quiver. Runrig has gone on to become my favourite musical act of all time. Their songs resonate within me more than any other. Their music has formed the soundtrack of my life. Without them, I wouldn’t be Addy.

My favourite song from the album The Stamping Ground, performed live in 2014:

and

~10~
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

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Little did I know that wintry January day that reading a magazine would change my life. I was browsing the shelves of Forbidden Planet, a comic and genre store in Cardiff, when I picked up the latest issue of SFX. Flicking through the pages I stumbled upon a review for a brand spanking new television series called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The review was favorable so I decided to keep an eye out for it.

A few days later I was flicking through the various television channels when I came upon an episode of the said television series. It was the fourth episode – Teacher’s Pet – so I watched it to see if I agreed with the magazine review. I did. I was taken by the characters, the sparkling dialogue and blend of fantasy and reality. So it became weekly viewing and, by the end of the first season, I was obsessed.

Like Doctor Who, Buffy has changed my life because it saw me through some of the trickiest, more painful, chapters of my life. It was there for me during the loneliness and depression of post-school life. It was there for me when I decided to take a chance and go traveling. And it was there for me when I made the even bigger decision to emigrate to Australia.

But after it played an integral part of my abusive relationship, I wasn’t able to watch Buffy. It became a trigger for me. A source of pain and frustration. An endless reminder of the trauma my abuser had put me through. For years I wanted to watch it, but couldn’t. And I thought it would be relegated to the dusty archives of my life; the show I used to cherish but can no longer relish. But earlier this year I decided to face my trigger head on. I missed Buffy. I missed Willow and Tara. I missed the sage-like advice of Giles. So I curled up with some chocolate and endeavored to watch every episode; to relive one of the greatest television journeys ever made. It did trigger me, I’ll be honest about that, but I got through it. All 144 episodes were watched, all 144 episodes were enjoyed. And I found my love of this show hadn’t dwindled.

It will, like Doctor Who and One Tree Hill, remain one of the most influential television series of my life.

A fan’s collection of favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer moments. let’s be honest. All moments are awesome!

So there we have it. Ten works of art, picked out of millions, that have changed my life. But what about you? What works of art have changed your life for the better (or worse)? I’d love to know! :)


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Ten people who inspire me…

In today’s installment of the Ten Time to Be Happy Challenge I’ve been tasked with sharing ten influential people. People who inspire me. People who fill me with joy. People who make me happy. The only catch; they have to be people I don’t know!

~ In no particular order ~

~ Click each image to enlarge ~

What about you? Are there any famous people (or not so famous people) who inspire you toward greatness?