Monday, November 05, 2018

GOOD VIBRATIONS


Two Views of Ramada Reef Resort, Palm Cove, north of Cairns

Harry and Meghan’s recent 16 day visit to the Antipodes brought out the best in people....highlighting goodness, sincerity, caring and love - pushing aside the ugliness we too often witness in this world – ugliness, which appears to be increasing daily.

The natural, genuine charm of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex cannot be ignored; should not be ignored.  I don’t care if one is a Monarchist or is someone beating, out of tune, the “Let’s become a Republic drum”. ..it is clear from the goodwill and happiness shown during the Royal visit there are lessons to be learned by each one of us, whether we’re willing to admit it or not.  

Of course, there are the cynics...there are always cynics and critics.   I’ve never had a fondness for cynicism, in particular.  I think cynicism is bred from an insecurity of one’s own self   Of course, this is just my opinion.  I am able  to speak on my own behalf only, not the behalf of another.

The Invictus Games displayed the powerfulness of the human spirit; individual determination; respect for one’s fellowman; potent purpose, not allowing adversity to be the conqueror. 

Witnessing positivity, instead of negativity for a change was, and is, uplifting.  It warms the heart....inspires the soul. 

Becoming aware of, and understanding, to the best of our ability, the challenges some face daily; learning to treat others with tolerance, respect and patience...have to be steps in the right direction. 

Harry’s reaction and interaction with, perhaps, his biggest fan, 98-year old war widow, Daphne Dunne when he spotted her among the thousands gathered outside the Opera House, was a memorable, tender interlude, to say the least...as were the moments that followed when Harry introduced Meghan to Mrs. Dunne. 

Forget “When Harry Met Sally”. ..it pales in significance.

And then there was the terrific sit-down chat between Harry, two Invictus competitors, Nicole Bradley and Matt Model...hosted by the irrepressible Paralympic Gold Medallist - Dylan Alcott... see below....

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6299323/Prince-Harry-declines-sign-pair-Budgie-Smugglers-presented-Aussie-athletes.html


Unforgettable, also, was the meeting between Harry, Meghan and five-year old Luke Vincent in Dubbo.  Precious moments, which will remain embedded in our mind for a long, long time; certainly in mine. 

Luke, who has Down syndrome, stole everyone’s heart as he played with Harry’s beard.  Young Luke endeared himself to all who witnessed that affectionate, warm encounter.  Generous, sincere hugs were shared between Luke, Harry and Meghan.   

Surely images of that darling little boy’s actions, playing with Harry’s beard and hair – the affectionate hugs - would have shattered even a heart made of the hardest granite. 
My heart is made of mush - it was smashed to smithereens.  I had to glue the pieces back together again.


Similar happened to me one day when I was working as Functions-Conventions’ Coordinator at the Ramada Reef Resort, Palm Cove, in Tropical North Queensland.  (In case you’re wondering, I don’t mean a child playing with my beard or hair)!

On the day I’m referencing, the resort played host to a group of Down syndrome children.  That particular day remains one of the most fulfilling times of my life. 

It was impossible to be unhappy while in the company of such gentle, loving souls.
One spirited little girl took an immediate liking to the resort manager. 

Originally from Austria, our manager was a nice man, but one with a rather stern, humourless nature...when working, anyway. 

The staff always respectfully referred to him as “Mr. Burckhalter” (name altered to protect the innocent).  However, his young fan, the joyful little girl, insisted on calling him by his first name - “Balthis”.  She became his shadow, following him everywhere, tugging on the sleeve of his jacket, or patting him on the bum if he dared turn away. All the while, she constantly, loudly and clearly, and innocently, called him by his name, “Balthis”...much to the staff’s amusement. 

No offence was intended....none was taken. 

A couple of long tables were set up, and the children gathered around them excitedly.  They enjoyed the feast before them.  Joy filled the air.

The spirit of every member of the staff present, (our boss, Mr. Burckhalter, included), 
was lifted higher than Mount Everest.

That wonderful, enjoyable, exceptional day spent with the group of special children – I say “special” because the children were special in every way - was one of the happiest, most rewarding days of my life.

Special Angel Pasta: Preheat oven 175C.  In bowl, add 1 bunch kale leaves, in pieces, no stems, 2tbs olive oil, 2tbs parmesan; season. Toss to coat with your hands; massage kale 1min. Spread on baking tray; bake 15-18mins; toss 1-2 times, until crispy; set aside.  Cook 455g angel pasta al dente.  Cook 4 thick bacon rashers until crispy; drain; crumble. Drain all but 1tbs of bacon fat. Lay 4-8 lobster or Moreton Bay bug tails flat on a cutting board with the shell side facing upward.  Cut tails in half lengthwise; slice all the way through the shell; season lightly. Bring pan used for bacon to med-high heat. Add 1tbs butter; swirl to coat. Place tails meat-side down in pan; sear 5mins, until shells turn orange. Remove from pan; set aside. To pan add 1tsb butter. Add 2 minced garlic cloves; cook 30secs; add pasta, 1/4tsp crushed red pepper, 1/4tsp cayenne; season. Toss well; cook 2mins, just until pasta is hot.  Add 25 cherry toms and 240g cubed fontina/gruyere or gouda cheese. Remove pasta from heat; drizzle with juice of ½ lemon juice; toss well; add kale. In a small pan melt 4tbls butter over med-heat until just browned. Pop seafood meat out of shells; divide pasta among plates. Top each with lobster and chopped basil. Drizzle with browned butter; top with crumbled bacon.

Cheese Sticks: Preheat oven 180C.  Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper. Set aside. Whisk together 1 large egg, 3-1/2tbs thick natural yoghurt and 2tbs melted butter. Add 160g grated extra tasty cheddar cheese; stir well. Combine 1-1/2c whole-wheat flour with 1tsp bicarbonate soda; tip all at once into the cheese mixture. Stir well to combine. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead for a minute. The dough shouldn't be sticking to your hands, but it shouldn't be dry either. Divide dough into 2 parts. Roll each part into a thin sausage shape and cut into approximately 5 cm long pieces. Roll each piece a little more to make thin finger shapes and place on baking tray, spreading them out as they will expand in the oven. Bake for about 18-20mins until the breadsticks are lightly brown.

Baby Corn-Noodle Fritters: Place 85g dried rice vermicelli noodles noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 3mins or until softened.  Drain. Cut into 2cm lengths. Combine 2 thinly sliced shallots, 125g baby corn, thinly sliced, 1 long red chilli, finely chopped, 2tbs soy sauce,1tbs  oyster sauce, 1tsp sesame oil and 1/4c S.R. flour in a bowl. Add 4 lightly beaten eggs. Stir to combine. Stir in noodles.  Heat 2tbs peanut oil in large frying pan over med-high heat. Using 1/4c mixture at a time, cook in batches, 2mins each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to paper towel-lined pate.  Serve fritters with sweet chilli sauce and salad.

Tropical Banana Bread: Preheat oven 175C. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In bowl, whisk together 1/2c liquefied coconut oil and 1c light brown sugar, packed; beat well to combine. Add 1-1/2c unsweetened applesauce and 2tsp vanilla; beat well.  In separate bowl combine 1-1/2c plain flour, 1tsp baking soda, 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp ground ginger, 1/4tsp nutmeg and 1/2tsp cinnamon; whisk well to combine. Add dry mixture to coconut oil mixture; whisk just until smooth. Fold in 1/2c drained crushed pineapple, 1/4c pineapple juice, 1/2c flaked coconut and 3 ripe bananas, mashed. Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with banana slices, if desired. Bake 50-60mins. Cool in pan 10 mins; then put onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

31 comments:

  1. Ah, clarity of thought. My cynicism is bred from my insecurity. Ok, I will wear that. We have had experiences with Downs and disabled children and while they can take some looking after, they were lovely. I don't suppose Harry wrote his speech for the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games, but never mind, he delivered it so sincerely and I loved him for it. He is a good dude, methinks.

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    1. Hello, Andrew...I don't know whether Harry wrote his own speech at the Closing Ceremony or not...I don't know whether or not Meghan wrote her speech at the Closing Ceremony, either...but both delivered their speeches, without referring to written notes. Meghan, actually, was flawless during the making of her speech...without notes. Not once did she stammer or stumble over any words.

      I thought both spoke extremely well...and spoke sincerely...as I saw and heard it.

      However, I wouldn't be surprised if, in fact, either one, or the other, or both, perhaps, wrote their own speeches - or put their heads together in collaboration.

      It also wouldn't surprise me if Meghan wrote both their speeches; or, if they didn't compose their speeches, they both had a major say in what was written if both speeches were, in fact, written by speech writers.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. So nice to see the young and attractive doing what they do best...being themselves. Their lives are so challenged and restricted, I am sure. Our young and attractive leaders are self-centered pompous asses. I know...they are.

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    1. Hi Tabor...Harry, to me, has never come across as pompous...and Meghan, certainly not. I think they make a lovely young couple...natural and sincere.

      Harry deserves praise and admiration for what he has done with the Invictus Games...and his openness regarding mental health.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  3. do you know that song Good Vibrations? now I am humming and will be all day long ha. The other day when I was making the crackers I thought of bread sticks and now I see yours; I must attempt them. There are too many non feeling folks nowadays, we need to get back to genuineness; great post.

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    1. I certainly do, Linda...it played a role in my teenage years! Great song! :)

      The cheesy bread sticks will make a good snack with the Festive Season rapidly approaching.

      Thanks for coming by :)

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  4. No one can be indifferent to a young, highly photogenic couple, whether they are royalty or not. Megan, artist, is playing the role of her life and, so far, she's doing it excellent. She's got good chances of becoming one day Queen of England.(I myself am not for monarchy).

    Your experience with down- syndrome children, while coordinator at the Ramada resort,is heart warming. These kids are kind, innocent, and... special souls challenged by Fate and definitely challenging us.

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    1. G'day, DUTA...Meghan's chances of becoming Queen of England one days are nil...but she is fast becoming Queen of Hearts. It's not an easy life or role she's stepped into, but, as you say, she's handling it, and herself, excellently. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. Awww! Beautiful moments from people who have generous hearts.

    You understand, i am certain, why i love working as a volunteer with rEcess (special needs kids program).

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    1. Hi, messymimi...Their visit to our fair shores was highly successful. They won over hearts everywhere because of their naturalness.

      I certainly can understand your love for your volunteer work...very fulfilling, indeed...and your good heart is much appreciated, I am sure.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. My grandniece has Down Syndrome . Some might say severe. But, she is lovely and loving and tries hard to participate in life. Love her to pieces!

    Harry has always been a kid that went his own way. He did a lot for his family and his countrymen when he admitted to needing someone to talk to years after his mother's death. Bravo, Harry!

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    1. Hi Peace Thyme...the love these special children give and share is a love so pure, so genuine. Their joy is contagious.

      Harry is to be admired for his honesty about his own mental battles... Good on him, I say, too. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. I like Harry, he's a good sort. William too, but Harry's the favourite here. So lovely to see them both interacting with people the way they do. A far cry from the rigidness of the Queen's younger days. It's good to see times change like this.

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    1. Hi River...Yes...Harry is a good young man. There's something about him that warms my heart. Both he and Meghan were wonderful with everyone they met...they certainly weren't selfish with their time.

      The young Royals are a good mob, I reckon! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. I have no interest in the Royal Family and didn't follow their visit. I wish them nothing but well, and don't envy any of the family their position.
    In my exposure to children with Downs Syndrome they were incredibly loving and thought nothing but the best of everyone. Which is a lesson for many of us.

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    1. Hi EC...As I wrote...I enjoyed following their visit...and I enjoyed, also, watching various events during the Invictus Games. Very inspiring, to say the least.

      Thanks for coming by...and thanks very much for your email. :)

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  9. Love the Royals myself.
    Harry and Megan seem a lovely couple.

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    1. They do, Margaret. I think they will do a lot of good. Their heart is in the right place and they've got their heads screwed on straight! :)

      I remember clearly, as a Brownie, going by train from Gympie to Brisbane and back again to see the Queen and Prince Phillip...back in 1954. It was so exciting. And then, in 1970 I saw her and Phillip again...in Brisbane. He was such a handsome man.

      I'd rather have the Royals as our "heads of state", or whatever we choose to call them, than an elected head.

      The young Royals really have warmed our hearts...and the littlies will continue to do so, I reckon.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. It was nice to see them down under

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    1. G'day KB...It was, and their visit to your fine country was a joy to watch as well. Let's face it...you guys over there across the Ditch are Down Under, too! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. I think Harry is a very genuine person and I'm glad that they are both such good ambassadors and his work for the Invictus Games is much to be commended and admired. There has been a lot of discussion recently about people who are 'different' and what causes those who consider themselves 'normal' to indulge in ridicule. I cannot pretend that as a young man when a friend had a child with Down Syndrome that I didn't find it difficult at first. Now I view 'disability' as just a different normality.

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    1. Hi Graham...The young Royals aka Harry and William and their spouses are doing themselves and their family proud, in my opinion. And I believe they will teach their children well.

      It is true what you say..."different normality"....a wonderful way of expressing it.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. I am an avid follower of the royals especially Harry and Meghan. I watched their trip to Australia with such joy as you have recounted in this post.

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    1. Hi Annie...I follow the Royals, too...I guess I have done since I was child. I think the young Royals are great.

      The recent visit by Harry and Meghan was wonderful...I binged on it! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. I read this blogpost six days after you wrote it... so now it's Happy Birthday Lee! Not only am I sending you good vibrations, I am sending you excitations too!

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    1. G'day, Yorkie...thank you for your good wishes. I had a pleasant day...spent quietly, by choice...just me and my two furry rascals, Remy and Shama. Their birthday was on 4th November...so, with our respective birthdays a week apart, we combined our Scorpio celebrations! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. As always, the recipes look and sound scrumptious.
    It is wonderful to see leaders who concentrate on good and bringing joy to others instead of constantly hurling lies, insults and threats to others.

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    1. So true, Sandra. We need more goodwill, respect and kindness in this world.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. waw..the foods look and sound delicious.
    interesting series of photos.
    greeting- evi erlinda

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  16. I love the Royals, and I think Harry has just been voted the most popular Royal … and you can see why :)

    I loved the pictures you included in this post.

    All the best Jan

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