Creating My Odyssey

Quirky artist / writer / explorer / wild west, steampunk & ghost nut /renaissance soul / mental health & lifestyle blogger

Wednesday, 31 July 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: MADEIRA - AN INITIAL TASTING: MADEIRA - AN INITIAL TASTING Our first positively exciting landing at Funchal Airport, Madeira , took place on a January day four ...



Our first positively exciting landing at Funchal Airport, Madeira, took place on a January day four years ago.

     That airport boasts one of the world's most dangerous landings, requiring pilots with specialist training to undertake it. That first landing consisted of what seemed to be bloody hell! close-quarter views of sea horses on the surface of the deep blue sea through our window as we banked a one-hundred-and-eighty degree turn before straightening up and touching down smoothly on a runway that's sandwiched between cliffs and sea. 

     It all depends on the particular mood of the wind at the time which landing is deployed. Yes, there is another manner of landing, almost as exciting, although the first just has the edge. Instead of making the tight turn, the plane flies in a straight line past the cliffs, and you can almost observe the naked sun worshippers on the beach below.This time, our fourth visit, we made the same banked landing – whoopee! - and this time the wind buffeted the plane so much that the captain had his work cut out in making as smooth a landing as possible. Very bumpy. We all clapped as the plane touched down.

     So -  Madeira. Absolutely love it! I'd always wanted to visit a tropical (or at least sem-tropical) destination. As a kid I'd dream about palm trees, exotic plants, fish and birds, and draw or paint them. I'd dream of wearing floaty hippy clothes, go barefoot and swim in warm, shallow lagoons surrounded by lush greenery. I wanted to snorkel among coral reefs and schools of colourful fish. I'm yet to learn to snorkel, and haven't managed to swim in tropical waters yet, but give it time.

     But back to four years ago. We couldn't quite believe how warm Madeira was and had to remind ourselves of the date on our phones. January. Twenty-one degrees. Nice. One of my general observations and bemusements was that native Madeirenses - yes, that's what they're known as (I Googled it), or the Portuguese - often wore furry boots because it was also their winter, and we visitors wore flip-flops because it was so warm. 

     We returned the following January to the same hotel, Four Views Hotel, where again, the view from our windows were panoramic, encompassing the port about a mile away...

...and the Sao Joao do Pico Fortress up the hill to our left.There it is - that big grey hulk nestled among the greenery!

he year after that we rented an apartment in March. Big mistake! It was frequently chilly and it rained a lot. And they have air conditioning but don't have heating in their homes. Husband, who's as skinny as the proverbial drainpipe, had to buy a jumper. Maria, the lady who came to clean our apartment just before our departure, recommended coming during the summer. It's not too hot because Madeira, being an island, is cooled by sea. Maria was right. We went in July this time and the weather is perfect!

     Since our first visit I've been wanting to write about Madeira, but there are so many facets to it that it could turn into a flippin' epic. 

     We walked levadas, the irrigation channels for the many banana plantations used as walking trails. Some of them frequently have perilous drops and no barriers – eek!     

     We took local bus rides - easy-peasy once you know how. Husband found a Bus app that helps you get around very easily and cheaply if you can cope with manic bus drivers who drive perilously close to sheer drops, hairpin bends and roads curling virtually vertically.

       And Monte...

     Monte is our favourite spot. It's a gorgeous, quirky town halfway up the mountain above Funchal, Madeira's capital, where we partook of food and drink sitting and peering down into a vast chasm. And Monte is the home of traditional wicker toboggans, pushed by two men and once used by workers a hundred years ago to get down the mountain. Now they're a tourist attraction. 

     A surreal spot for me is the shanty town above Monte's square, which again is among virtually virtical pathways and steps and ridiculous houses are built out of found 'stuff' for walls and built on terraced ledges, and dogs that bark at one another from the balconies of these stilted houses across valleys and chasms. 

     As I say – surreal.

     There's a lot of surreal and quirky stuff in Madeira. We've just started speaking a bit of the lingo. Full of 'Shhhh's'. We've also made a lovely – dare I say it? - quirky – lady friend who works in the restaurants we frequented. We suggested she visit the UK. 
     'Ooh, no'! She uttered. 'Far too cold!'
     'At the moment,' we stated, 'it's hotter than here!' 
     'No!' She exclaimed in disbelief.
     So, we've made a friend. Another girlfriend for Husband! And she's made us promise to return. Okaydoke.

     I miss Madeira. Vehicles stop to let you cross the road at pedestrian crossings even if you only look as though you may be crossing. Apparently pedestrians have right of way. I like it.

     I'd love to hear your stories too!

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Thursday, 25 July 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: A TAD MOODY: Returned to the UK from Madeira yesterday, after a ten-day holiday. A fab trip! Fairly buzzing. I have yet to write about Madeira, and I hav...


Returned to the UK from Madeira yesterday, after a ten-day holiday. A fab trip! Fairly buzzing. I have yet to write about Madeira, and I have stuff half written in 'drafts'. Yesterday I was in pretty high spirits on the flight home, despite the fact that I was rather emotional and tearful, denoting a brilliant trip despite a couple of emotional hiccups on my part - too many days away (no, actually) and me feeling I look older (comes to us all!).

But today, although morning coffee was good and cheerful and the weather is a stonking heatwave, I began feeling 'off'' this afternoon. We had been discussing my plan to enter art competitions and whether or not I should be doing this. Why am I doing this? Win prizes, make money? Achieve fame? It can happen, but highly unlikely, particularly considering the huge number of artists after the same things. So there was a rather negative consideration, but something very much to think about.

I was also typing an article on our introduction to Madeira, including the aircraft landing which is pretty barmy, which I need to print out for our writing group tomorrow. Was I suffering from post holiday blues? And I was rewriting a chapter of my novel, Alias Jeannie Delaney, which Husband has critiqued and I have to fix. The novel, as you may know if you're following me, has caused me years of angst, brought on initially by my perception of disinterested family. So when working on it, I can get pretty gloomy, although I am making progress.

So yes - pretty gloomy. I'll be okay, though. I just have to think about the exciting things that will be happening - steampunk events, an estuary-side holiday in Devon in September, holidays with our twin granddaughters...

Fact remains that, when you've suffered depression, even if you have, like me, been cured, you're not going to have a life totally free of glooms. But at least they don't last for long. I usually wake up the following morning feeling sparky again, thank goodness! 😃

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Tuesday, 23 July 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: WOMAN IN GOLD: Woman in Gold I watched this film on telly the other night, and frankly, I was spellbound! I do get gripped occasionally by a g...


I watched this film on telly the other night, and frankly, I was spellbound! I do get gripped occasionally by a good novel or film, and it's fantastic when that does happen. 

Much of the time when watching films, I can't make head or tail of the plot, but in this case, no problem at all, and the acting was fabulous all round. I do love Helen Mirren! 

The link in the title tells the story, but I'll post one here anyway, courtesy of IM0b:

Sixty years after fleeing Vienna, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an elderly Jewish woman, attempts to reclaim family possessions that were seized by the Nazis. Among them is a famous portrait of Maria's beloved Aunt Adele: Gustave Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I." With the help of young lawyer Randy Schoeberg (Ryan Reynolds), Maria embarks upon a lengthy legal battle to recover this painting and several others, but it will not be easy, for Austria considers them national treasures.

Definitely worth watching, and I learned a bit more about WW2. Anyone else seen it? What do you think? 

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CREATING MY ODYSSEY: I'M WORKING ON A NOVEL: I'm Working on a Novel (This image helped inspire my own cowgirl alias persona  Kitty Le Roy)  I'm working on...


I'm Working on a Novel

(This image helped inspire my own
cowgirl alias persona Kitty Le Roy) 

I'm working on a novel 
Been writing since year dot.
It's really a flippin' epic,
Which means an awful lot.

It's all about a cowgirl,
The fastest gun out west,
She adorns herself in trousers, 
And curses with the best.

She smokes a slim cheroot,
And throws a good hard punch,
She sure enjoys her whisky, 
And all before her lunch. 

She rides a horse called Flicker.
He's assuredly her best friend,
She becomes an outlaw,
She's imprisoned in the end.

There's more than that to tell you. 
She's so beautiful as well, 
Like a very pretty boy, 
She's charismatic as hell.

She's broken out of prison, 
To rescue folks back home.
She is made a deputy,
And kills the baddy alone. 

She's working for the lawman,
Then she gets shot one day,
She decides to be a rancher,
Assuredly safer that way! 

She has a beloved boyfriend,
They have twin boys as well,
All seems good to start with,
But things are not so swell.

Boyfriend is shot and killed,
And the twins are trouble,
Her brother is a threat,
Life is rather a muddle.

To cut this story very short,
She soon becomes the mayor,
She runs her town with iron fist,
And there's a further layer.

There is a happy ending,
Bad brother is dead at last,
Her sons have become her friends,
She can be forgiven her past.

Right from the very start,
I've loved this story forever,
I have found it really exciting,
It is a grand endeavour.

I have written the whole damn tale,
And even written 'The End',
Now Husband is helping me edit,
He is my new best friend!

When finally I have it in print,
And make myself a small fortune,
We'll have a great celebration,
After all these years of absorption!

This is she! 

This is me!

Anyone else working on a novel or poetry -  western or otherwise? 


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