Count Your Blessings

It’s the third Christmas since the day my beloved husband died (990 days to be exact). Although each day had been as long as an eternity yet, it seems as though he only passed away yesterday. This year I am learning to appreciate time on my own, I am also learning to be happy facing the misery of being left a widow instead of, running away from it as I did the last two Christmas

I learnt to count my blessings, and that I did not have to plan a big Christmas dinner for anyone, and definitely counting my blessings that I did not have to shop with thousands of other shoppers. I smiled watching how people rushing around buying as though the shops would be closed for weeks and not for just one day. Anything but to do with the real spirit of Christmas: Shouting the insults at one another, fighting for a spot in the car park that already full. So many dramas that being put into one day of the year for families to connect or to disconnect? And if Christmas comes once a month, would families have enjoyed each other more without too much effort? We’ll never know.

Perhaps I envied those, who have families gathering around them?  Who had to get up on Christmas morning and in a hurry to get “things” done? Perhaps I should have felt guilty that I did not have any worry making sure the family Christmas dinner is up to the usual expected standard; like the turkey might be too dry? Or the pork is not crispy enough? And what happened to the pudding?  But instead, I did not have to rush out of bed, and then I took my meditating time wandering through my herbs garden, listening to a birdsong,  picked some fresh herbs to make a creamy omelette that would turn into a soft fluffy scrambled eggs for breakfast. How perfect! Not to mention the aroma of my favourite freshly brewed organic coffee, just the way it should be on Christmas morning and I better get used to it.

Well, like a bear, I decided to hibernate this Christmas, in the luxury and abundant quietness, away from the hustle and bustle of the festive season, allowing not, the crowded loneliness and the loud misery affecting my soul. I am counting my blessings indeed, for a lovely Christmas morning, totally alone. And yes, I did turn my phone off just for Christmas.

“Christmas Roses”

A Very Dreamy Story

A Dream Within A Dream

By Thai Peck

The theatre – more like a palace really – heavily ornate in gold-plated furnishings.  The passage was wide and bright with mirrors reflecting all the lights of many huge crystal chandeliers.

The music was still ringing in her ears as she was walking along the corridor. Perhaps it was from Mendelssohn’s violin concerto or could it be Dvorak’s cello suite; whichever, she was too happy to care.

She was loved, adored and he was kind, handsome and he loved her! Her heart skipped with happiness as they made their way down a grand staircase. Her hand gently ran over the beautifully carved balustrade, a gleam in her eyes showed much admiration for the artistic labour of the past, she took a deep breath as though she wanted to inhale the spirit of this grandeur, her eyes glancing up at him, she smiled; a quiet gratitude. He watched her, a gentle smile beaming on his handsome face, it was such a pleasure witnessing her expression of appreciation, and he held her gently down the steps, as though she was the most precious thing on earth. 

The foyer now looked like an art gallery. A bright red velvet-cushioned bench beckoned them to sit down and contemplate an enormous painting on the wall. The light rain was falling steadily outside. They waited, his hand holding hers, their eyes gazing at the same direction where so much information appeared slowly on the painting pleading the artist’s hidden story.

A stranger stopped by and parked himself by her side, pleasantly commented on the painting. An amusing reply from her: “Those human-beings in the painting are staring at us with wonderment too!” It took him a moment then the stranger gave out a hearty laugh while her lover squeezed her hand gently, looking at her with an approving smile full of love and admiration.

The stranger stood up, took a bow and walked away, she noticed that he was in full dinner suit attire while she and her lover were casually dressed: he, with a pale blue open-neck shirt and she wore a flowing reddish silk dress and a cardigan over her shoulders

They walked out of the theatre foyer; the evening light was softer but no less bright. She exclaimed: “It stops raining!” He smiled happily: “So it is!” A young pretty lady came to greet them: It was his sister who was looking cheerfully with tender friendliness toward her. All three walked together among the crowd.

It was late but there were still so many people around, outside in a sort of carnival atmosphere, everyone was cheerful and happy. She was walking holding on his arm feeling as light as a feather, she wore no jewellery, carried no handbag, no “iPhone”, no purse and she felt so free.

They stopped by a stall selling beautiful handcrafts and artwork including many beautiful silk scarves. How she loved touching the soft flowing silks gently against her cheeks, they were the most luxurious colours that she had never seen before. He offered to buy her one, or two or as many as she liked, but she wanted nothing, she needed nothing as long as he was by her side and while all she wanted was to feel his soft breathing on her neck.

His sister, however, bought one for herself; it looked so pretty on her, a mixture of pastel colours that looked just like a watercolour painting from somewhere… Watercolour…? Out of nowhere…? Why did she think of watercolour…?


(All of a sudden, the bright light dimmed and it became so dark as though someone slowly turning the switch off…)

“…What happened? Where was she?” She tried to peer into the darkness gathering her thought but her mind wandered far, so far…

Grandma! Grandma!” 

She heard a voice calling but did not know where it came from. She did not know why someone called out: ‘grandma‘. Whose grandma??? Her own grandmother had died seemed like centuries ago!

How pale the light turned, perhaps night had fallen, her vision blurring. She tried to stare into the dark shadows catching sight of the man she loved but she could hardly see… Then all of a sudden! She sighed with relief as the white light regained its brightness. Through this blurred vision yet she could see it so clearly:  There she stood with her lover by her side yet, for a moment where she thought she had lost him… Her heavy eyelids closed contentedly… A smile on her dry lips…


In a half-lighted room, the doctor whispered softly to the young woman standing by the hospital bed: “I think your Grandma has gone.

The young man put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her; slowly the young woman leaned her head on his shoulder. It was a summer evening; the golden sunset was going down slowly outside the window, casting a brilliant glow about the small room, the young woman was wearing a flowing reddish silk dress and her young man in the pale blue summer shirt…

The end


“…I stand amid the roar of a surf-tormented shore, and I hold within my hand. Grains of the golden sand – How few! Yet how they creep through my fingers to the deep. While I weep – while I weep!  O God! Can I not grasp them with a tighter clasp?  O God! Can I not save one from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?” 

Edgar Allan Poe


Author’s note: “From a vivid dream, this story (published 2015 WP) was created in loving memory of a beloved.” 






Autumn Rain

While in the northern hemisphere, people are looking forward to spring, here we are rolling into autumn and it is my most favourite season. The lovely rain arrived after weeks and weeks of sunny weather that burnt the grass and while walking in the rain I could smell the wet fallen leaves on the brown looking lawn, reminded me of a poem written by D. H. Lawrence

“… Falling seeds of rain; the seed of heaven on my face falling – I hear again like echoes even that softly pace… The winds that tread out all the grain of tears, the store harvested in the sheaves of pain…”

Puddles from pools of water splashed as I stepped into them as in the childhood puddles I was so fond of and wondering where I would end up. Nowhere I guess, but just to wait and wait till winter to descend with cold wind and freezing sunny days drying my puddles out. I am so much older now to believe in the fairy tales and what a shame!

Though I still love the rain in autumn as I love you…

Night Butterfly

“This is the most controlled floral I’ve done in a while. I loved the streak of the blue-purple amethyst that’s like a butterfly in the night. And alone in the night garden I sat thinking of you. The summer evening filled with sweetness while the heat of the day turned my hydrangea all brown. Iris was also your favourite flower as with yellow rose and red cyclamen and many more. So when I happened to paint them you entered my thoughts, and I felt so alone without you. No hand to hold or even just to touch the tips of your fingers. Here in the night with the moon and the stars, I sat alone in my garden…”

Missed The Moon

The moon above the cloud over Seattle
The moon above the cloud over Seattle

Super moon came and went for three days now and I still haven’t been able to have a glimpse of it. Not because I did not look, but the sky over Fremont clouded so thick every night with constant rain. There were sunny patches but only during the day when gusty winds occasionally managed to chase the clouds away.Photo by Thai Peck

Wandering through the rose garden by the Seattle zoo where autumn is making room to welcome winter as the leaves turning from yellow-red to brown while the trees looking bare and shivering. Scattering around were some lonely flowers desperately hung on to thorny branches knowing soon enough they too will fade and die.Photo by Thai Peck

But fear not, when spring follows winter, the next generation of roses will assuredly bloom much more beautiful as I watched a team of gardeners hard at work nurturing them with definite care if not tender and loving.Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

And I remembered on this spot where I sat, in the brilliant summer sun of last year. The roses may have been so much prettier though I saw none but pain and grief through tears…Photo by Thai Peck

Suddenly the sun moved behind the cloud, casting a more sombre shade and I thought I felt some tiny drops… is that rain?

Extra Steps…

Photo by Thai PeckDespite of how slow I walked during the last five weeks wandering over England, Scotland and Wales, my left knee started to give me some discomfort during the last few days while stopping at my son’s house in Surrey on the last leg of my journey.

Surrey, England
Surrey, England

Photo by Thai Peck

It turned out that I have sprained my knee without knowing until a slip on a doorway at a café yesterday, which gave me an excruciating pain that the doctor had to be called, now I was ordered to rest from all my modest up-hill-and-down-dale wanders. The next five days will be just rests and exercises for my knee to heal before a long flight back to Australia.

I tried not to think that my journey should end on a low note, that was not what I intended. Maybe I should consider myself fortunate that I am not in a worse situation and the high note is yet to come?

The woodland in Surrey
The woodland in Surrey

Photo by Thai Peck
Photo by Thai Peck

Anyway, the weather has been good everyday, and the granddaughters have been wonderful for hugging and kissing on daily basis.

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck





Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai PeckMy son thought it was a drastic measure on my part to get out of babysitting, and worse still to get some attention by two good-looking strangers who just happened to be around helping me every little step from the café to the car. It might have been only 50 steps but I managed to drag them out to a hundred, at least!

Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck







Last but not least, I am now also a proud owner of this cool walking stick, which came with a flashlight and an alarm and it can be folded down to the size of a folded small umbrella. Serious James Bond’s stuff indeed! 🙂


Photo by Thai PeckTintern was also a very pretty little village on the bank of Wye River in Monmouthshire about five miles to the border with England where my train arrived in Chepstow. There is a bus from Chepstow taking you all the way, to the town of Monmouth passing through Tintern every hour.Photo by Thai Peck

DSC01851I hopped on the bus just outside the hotel heading to Monmouth, though I did not think much of the town itself, the bus ride was worth every penny for the scenery. The valley and meadows were such picturesque landscape to marvel on. Henry V was a Monmouth baby he was born in Monmouth Castle in 1387.Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

My many morning walks through the meadows by the river are still the best things on this trip. Where I also met many nice people from everywhere including Australia. Wye Valley shall definitely be the place had the most magic for me…Photo by Thai Peck

“… I hear this water, rolling from their mountain-springs, with the soft inland murmur. Once again, do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs that on a wild secluded scene impress. Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect the landscape with the quiet of the sky…Photo by Thai Peck

…The mountain and the deep and gloomy wood; their colours and their forms, were then to me an appetite; a feeling and a love that had no need of a remoter charm…Photo by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai Peck… For I have learned to look on nature, not as on the hour of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes the still sad music of humanity…Photo by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai Peck… I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused. Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air, and the blue sky and in the mind of man: A motion and spirit that impels…Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

… Therefore am I still the lover of the meadows and the woods, and mountains; and of all that we behold. From this green earth; of all the mighty word… ”  William WordsworthPhoto by Thai Peck

His Love In My Soul, I Wandered!

Saint Michael
Saint Michael

Leaving the grey cold and windy morning in London, I took the train to this valley called Wye. A three-hour journey by train and it’s so worth it to finally be here!Photo by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai peck

Photo by Thai PeckI wandered in the warm sunny afternoon, through a churchyard’s gate came a bright green meadow.  By the wild flowers among the tall ferns and stubborn weeds, below the river was running through, almost quietly though loudly the free birds sang, high above the treetops.Photo by Thai Peck

A place where dreams could come true, where I could breath a thousand breathes, where my heart skipped a beat joining the free birds song, yet with each step taken I thanked “thee”. For watching over me!Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai PeckCome wander with me…


Kiss-It, Sunday Morning!

Photo by Thai PeckSoon after breakfast, I went out for a walk. Over the rolling hill and down by the lakeside. I could not have asked for a better morning to be in nature, all was tranquil and peaceful. I realised then, I did not miss Chelsea Beach at all for the last two weeks.Photo by Thai Peck

Fresh gentle breeze passed over the earth like happy sigh and the birds were out noisily greeting the day. By a garden, flowers smiled cheerfully with the morning dews still glistened on the petals so delicately.Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

I made my way slowly up to the top of a green grassy slope encountered no human yet but half a dozen contented sheep busily grazing their breakfast.Photo by Thai Peck

Here I could breathe out and inhale til my lungs expanded, the sky above me immensely blue. A sweet pain gripped at my heart, I called his name out loud and I was so sure he heard me. Or was it just the sound the sheep made as if telling me to be quiet?Photo by Thai Peck

I would have linger up there longer by eleven o’clock, the sun was high, the morning became a lot warmer, I was glad I did not wear my warm jacket. Again I walked slowly down, carefully not to slip thus came rolling downhill; it would make quite a spectacle then.Photo by Thai Peck

Now, more and more people appeared: couples hands in hands, dogs on leash, dogs running, kids running, kids on restrain… Suddenly, the whole atmosphere filled with noises, laughter, shouting, talking in all different languages and different tones; some sounded flat, others musically.Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

As I continued walking by the lakeside looking out to the sparkling water, people and ducks went out swimming. If there was a race I think the human would have won! A group of young Indian women and men went out to a pier posing for their snapshots. First the women, showing off different angles of their bodies: arms stretched, legs bended, hair fluttered in the wind, standing, sitting and even lying on the pier for a seductive pose… I didn’t bring my sketchbook, as it could be a few quick life study sketches during the times while these people were having fun, until someone’s iPhone accidentally felt into the lake. Oh, dear, dear…!

I walked a bit further til my feet were screaming of aches and pains. Stopping by a teahouse for a quick sandwich and a cup of tea, then wandering in the square, watching buskers performing their talents.

"O mio babbino caro..."
“O mio babbino caro…”

One more sleep then “Goodbye!” to Keswick. When the local said it sounded like “Kiss it!” to my ears.




I left Edinburgh this morning covered with thick fog that from the train, lush green landscape was only visible in a few metres. Yet arriving at the Lake District early afternoon the sun shined softly and the temperature was much more comfortable, I was eager for a gentle walk down by the lakeside

The hotel is on Main Street in Keswick and my room is looking toward the back, which is much quieter even though I could not see all the activities that happen on Market Square as I did in Lymington.Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

My first wandering down to the lake was so different from the last few days walking on old cobblestone streets through ancient cities of York and Edinburgh. The afternoon sun splashed layers of lights over the undulated mountaintops as though a wash of watercolour was flowing carelessly, listening to the most soothing sound of music being played sparkled with each touch. Such beauty! I could cry…Photo by Thai PeckPhoto by Thai Peck

Photo by Thai PeckI came to a garden so lively with colours bursting, a lovely vibration invading the tranquil atmosphere. Each flower, each shrub showed off their unique beauty. And why? A lone duck seemed sad and lonely as though waiting for her beloved who was nowhere to be seen.Photo by Thai Peck

How grateful I am for thoughts so tender that came over me helping me to appreciate this moment in time.Photo by Thai Peck

“What though the radiance which was once so bright, be not forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour, of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower; grief not, rather find, strength in what remains behind. In the primal sympathy which having been must ever be, in the soothing thoughts that spring, out of Human suffering, in the faith that looks through death, in years that bring philophic mind…”

William Wordsworth