Pearls of Wisdom

#5: Wilful Waste makes Woeful Want.

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Image: Good News Unlimited

This was one of my mother’s sayings. She was born a few years before WW1 exploded, remembered The Great Depression of the early 30s and was a young mother during WW2. She knew all about ration coupons, food shortages, stretching money and resources and making do; cheerfully. But this saying is much older than my mother; it has its origins in an old Scottish proverb dating back to the 16th century. The Americans would later shorten the saying to Waste Not; Want Not. Regardless of which way you say it, this pearl of wisdom is greatly needed in the world of today.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines Waste as an unnecessary or wrong use of money, substances, time, energy, abilities, etc. OR :to use too much of something or use something badly when there is a limited amount of it: so when we consider that we live in a finite world, simply every resource with which we are blessed needs to be valued.

There are lots of ways we can be wasteful and every single one of them will come back to bite at some stage. The saying is about wilful waste, the kind of waste that has no regard for others or the future, the type of waste that thinks “there will always be enough for me” despite the fact that millions are starving and homeless, despite that our primary producers, the people who actually provide the food we consume, are struggling because of droughts and fires and mismanaged water systems, despite the fact that we are literally killing our planet with our waste; the wilful waster will continue until the woeful want bites hard.

I want to touch briefly on three problematic areas of waste.

#1 Food. Did you know that In Australia: Over 5 million tonnes of food ends up as landfill, enough to fill 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. One in five shopping bags end up in the bin = $3,800 worth of groceries per household each year. 35% of the average household bin is food waste.
Food Waste Facts – › what-we-do › environment-fact

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#2 Water. Without water we will not have food. To be sure governments must get real about water security but we each have a personal responsibility to manage our use of this precious resource in responsible, preservative ways.

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#3 Waste. We must reduce our waste. Buy less, use what we buy; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We must be better stewards of our God given resources. Below is the headline from an ABC article written by Yara Murray-Atfield

Australians create 67 million tonnes of waste each year. Here’s where it all ends up 27 Dec 2019, 2:50pmFri 27 Dec 2019, 2:50pm

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A Garbage dump in Australia. Image: WWF-Australia

Indeed Wilful Waste makes Woeful Want.

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Image: Greenish. SKP. TGCC: Green Slogan

Pearls of Wisdom


#4: If the cap fits; wear it.

This is another old British saying, in America, apparently they would say, If the shoe fits; etc.

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Image: idlehearts.

Whichever one is used, the idea behind the saying is that if someone levels a criticism at another, that person should just suck it up and accept the criticism by wearing whatever cap or label the other has found appropriate to put upon them. Now, some criticism, if done in a humble and caring manner and has the intent to promote peace, can actually be constructive but mostly criticism is destructive and comes from a desire to put another person in their place.

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Image : Pintrest.

People can and do say all sorts of things about other people; and sometimes it is like, whoa, don’t hold back, say whatever it is you think, no filters needed. This is a rather reckless course of action and there is a lot of truth in that we only see in other people what we have in ourselves, it really is the one finger pointing at another and three pointing right back at ourselves.

I prefer to use If the cap fits; wear it as a tool for self reflection. I have a strategy in place for when people say things about me: so here goes, A Self Reflection Strategy but remember self reflection must be honest.

#1) Is there any truth in the statement made? Yes or No?

If No; dismiss the statement. It is only words and often words reflect more of the speaker’s attitudes and insecurities than the person spoken about.

If Yes, there is some truth:

#2) Is there something I need to do to rectify my speech, attitudes, behaviour? Can I learn something from this? Do I need to apologise?

If the answer to any of these questions is Yes; Just Do It!

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Image: The Tao of Dana

Remember, your cap can always be changed. It is called Growth!

Pearls of Wisdom.

Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve; it gets rubbed off too easily there.

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Since it is St. Valentine’s Day I thought it appropriate to write a blog about hearts and this saying which warns not to wear your heart on your sleeve is an oldie. To wear your heart on your sleeve means to openly and in public show love and affection; perhaps in an over the top manner and the idea that your heart can be easily rubbed off if shown too openly would suggest a love that is showy and shallow.

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The origins of the saying are found in Shakespeare’s play, Othello, where Iago says that to openly show his feelings would be like wearing his heart on his sleeve and this would make him vulnerable. (Othello, Act 1, Scene 1, 56–65.) I suspect the saying has filtered down through that old British stiff upper lip tradition where to show one’s feelings can be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

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While I do not advocate great displays of public affection simply for show and I know that the deepest loves are private and personal, it is a sad situation if we are unable to show the people we love what is in our heart. To love is a risky business; being vulnerable comes with the territory, but how much richer life is when we take the risk. As another old saying goes, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The people we love need to know it, they need to hear it, they need to see it in our actions. Be brave, show that heart; wear it on your sleeve! Life is short and when it is over, that the people you love, know with all assurity, that you loved them is the best legacy.


Pearls of Wisdom.

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Pride comes before a Fall.

This is an old and common saying; it is anchored in Biblical writings and is as true today as ever.

Now pride has two sides; there is the wholesome pride which demonstrates itself in enough self pride to dress and present ourselves in a respectable manner, to take pride in a job well done, to take care of home and garden, to celebrate the achievements of our children and those we love, and yes, to be proud. It would be a very dark and dismal world if we all decided to take no pride in anything. However, this wholesome pride is tempered with self-discipline and an attitude of caring for others which supersedes selfishness.

Then there is arrogant pride; the sort of pride which makes one believe they are entitled and simply so important that the law and the rules of common decency do not apply to them.

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Rarely a day goes by when one does not hear about this type of pride. It flourishes in politics, religion, business, entertainment, sport and crime. I suspect jails are full of people who have discovered that a fall comes after arrogant pride.

The antidote to arrogant pride is healthy humility. Healthy humility does not make one a door mat neither does it allow others license to violate your personal boundaries. What it does do is give an individual the grace to submit to ideals, laws and rules which are for the good of all and the grace to yield, give up, their self awarded importance in order to bless others.

Arrogant pride will undo us and the fall will come. The wise will choose humility before it is thrust upon them. For as the scriptures say:

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6

And God’s gift of grace is no small thing.

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Pearls of Wisdom.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due.

Well, finally we arrived at Z in the Places You Will Go series. I enjoyed going back through photos, reliving memories and remembering the stories on my way leads onto way journey through life. I am always thankful for opportunities to learn and understand more about life and am overwhelmingly humbled at what a tiny speck of dust I am in time, space and matter but concurrently how incredibly precious. Beyond that God has a purpose for my life and that of every other soul, irrespective of time or place.

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For the next series of blogs I want to write some Pearls of Wisdom and this is a collection of sayings that I heard whilst growing up. Most of these were common sayings of the day but I noticed if I used them in the classroom, today’s students had no idea what I was talking about. The meanings of these sayings are anchored in old wisdom which is timeless and still applicable to our modern world.

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#1) Give credit where credit is due.

This was a saying of my father and I am very thankful it was something I was taught. To give credit where credit is due is to recognise the good work of an individual or group regardless of whether you like them or agree with them. To give credit where credit is due helps us to be balanced, to not run wildly with our own personal bias, it tempers us from being self righteously judgemental, it supports people from different backgrounds and histories to be able to work together and it reminds us that humility is more powerful than arrogance.

Can you image what a difference this attitude would make to social media, and the media in general, where we can quite calmly crucify others, overlook any of the good they may have achieved because we don’t like them, or their politics, or their religion, or the colour of their skin, or their lifestyle, or their gender, or any other reason one can make up to support cruelty.

I am sure, like me, you don’t have to look very far to see this happening. Please, get off the bandwagon! Give credit where credit is due.

The Places You Will Go.

And Z is for Zurich.

The Matterhorn

We caught the train from Milan to Zurich; a 3 hour 45 minute trip which is simply spectacular. In Switzerland I wore out my WOW! Around every corner the breathtakingly beautiful scenery left me speechless; except for my WOW!

Map from Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan, Italy to Zürich, Switzerland

The Milano, Lugano, Bellinona- Zurich rail route is one of the most scenic in Europe. Travelling northbound the route passes the Lake Como District of Northern Italy, enters the 9 mile Gotthard Tunnel, plus a number of smaller tunnels and travels alongside Lake Lucerne. A highlight is the little white church in the pristine green fields which the train passes three times as it travels through the circular tunnels built into the mountains.

The Floral Clock with Lake Zurich in the background.
The River Limmat through Zurich.

Zurich, is an important international banking centre and the financial capital of Switzerland. There are no luxury palaces here but neither are there any slums.

Zurich Streets looking good.
The Old Town .

Zurich also played a role in the Reformation when in 1519 Ulrich Zwingli became lay priest at Zurich’s Grossmünster church and began preaching reformation of the Catholic Church thus forming the Swiss Reformed Church.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU and the Swiss Franc is the currency. It is a neutral country, and does not take part in armed conflicts in other countries. The Swiss are protected by their own citizen soldiers with mandatory military service for all able-bodied male citizens when they reach adulthood. The military is also open to women who may volunteer to join.

Zurich Tram for efficient public transport.

You have got to love Switzerland, lying in the Heart of Europe it is a small country with a wealth of natural beauty and national pride; a country keen to protect its peace and uniqueness.

We took a cruise on Lake Zurich. Beautiful clear mountain lakes and rivers.

The Places You Will Go.

York: Why York

We love the White Rose of York.

We stood outside York Minster. “I don’t think I want to go in; I’ve seen enough churches full of dead people,” I said.

“Well, we are here. I think you should come in,” said hubby.

Inside York Minster; a living church with an 800 year history and a 2000 year history beneath the floor.

So I did and I am pleased so say I am glad I did so. Not for the Minster so much; yes, all very nice, lots of statues, stained glass, dead people and loads of history but what made this quite mind boggling for me was to go down under the Minster into the Under-croft and soak up the 2,000 years of history tucked away down there. THAT was worth the visit to York Minster!

In 1967 work began on the foundations of York Minster to underpin the Central Tower which was in danger of collapse. During the excavations evidence of the Roman settlement Eboracvm was uncovered. This had been the site of a Roman Fort and barracks for Roman soldiers established in 71 AD. If that was not enough, there is also evidence of the 9th century Viking settlement of Jorvik, an Anglo Saxon cemetery and foundations of the earlier Norman Minster built on this site before the building of the current Gothic style Minster which began around 1220.

In the under-croft

The result of all this is an amazing museum showcasing through archaeology and artefacts layers of power, culture, religion and history colliding. Revealing York Minster opened to visitors in 2013 and makes a visit to the Minster very worthwhile if in York.

Statue of Constantine the Great outside York Minster.

Outside York Minister is a statue of Constantine the Great who in 306 was proclaimed Emperor of Rome whilst in the city of York. This was a key turning point in the history of Christianity as it was Constantine who granted Roman toleration for the Christian Church, thus halting Christian persecution and turning accepted worship from pagan gods to Christ.

We also visited Jorvik Viking Centre. Between 1976 and 1981 archaeologists discovered houses, workshops and backyards of the 1000 year old Viking age city of Jorvik. At the underground Jorvik Viking Centre visitors travel in a little carriages through the excavated village where the citizens hold conversations in Old Norse and engage in everyday life complete with the sounds and smells of farmyard animals, fish, roasting boar, burning logs, molten iron, blacksmithing and the smells of the market with open air animal slaughter and human smells; all of them not that pleasing to the nostrils.

The Micklegate Bar; entrance into York from the South Gate.

We entered York at the Micklegate Bar, the most important of York’s medieval gateways. In centuries past the severed heads of rebels and traitors were unceremoniously displayed above the gate but this practice ended in 1754.

We wandered The Shambles and walked the city walls. Actually, I loved the city of York and am so thankful for all the experiences our visit there afforded; even going into the Minster!

The Places You Will Go.

X is for eXhumation.

I was not sure what to write for X. Most places beginning with X are in China and I have not travelled to China. But I have been to Leicester in Leicestershire, England and stood at the site where, after 527 years, the body of King Richard III of England was exhumed.

We arrived in Leicester on 29th July 2014 and were fortunate to be able to go through the newly completed King Richard III Visitor Centre which had opened its doors to the public on July 26th 2014. The centre which is on the site of Greyfriars, the medieval friary where the King was originally buried, showcases the life of King Richard III and the story of how his remains were discovered in 2012. It is quite a story!

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This is a common image of Richard III. We have it framed in our home.

King Richard III was killed on August 22nd 1485 in the final battle of England’s Wars of the Roses at Bosworth Field in Leicestershire. He was England’s last Plantagenet king and now the kingship went to Henry Tudor who became King Henry VII. Richard’s naked body was unceremoniously slung across the back of a horse and taken into Leicester and put on public display for all to see that he had been defeated and was dead. Shortly afterwards he was buried, without ceremony, without a coffin, without a shroud and certainly not in any way fitting for a king, in the church of the Franciscan Friars, the Grey Friars, in Leicester.

In 1538, the Friary was dissolved and the church demolished. Remember in the last blog on Whitby we talked about the dissolution of the monasteries after Henry VIII sundered England from the Roman Catholic Church and then went about seizing and destroying monasteries? Well this was part of the same destruction. The land was sold to a wealthy local and became private property, eventually becoming a car park of the Department of Social Services in Leicester.

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Arguably England’s most controversial King, Richard has been portrayed by Shakespeare as a Machiavellian monster in his Richard III play and accused of murdering his nephews at the Tower of London, known in history as The Princes in the Tower saga.

Nevertheless, throughout history Richard III has had his supporters who believed none of this Tudor propaganda and this culminated in the 1924 establishment of the Richard III Society.

I quote the Richard III Society mission statement:

The Society aims to promote in every possible way research into the life and times of Richard III and to secure a re-assessment of the material relating to this period, and of the role in English history of the monarch. The Society believes that many features of the traditional accounts of the character and career of Richard III are neither supported by sufficient evidence nor reasonably tenable.

My husband has been a keen Richard III champion since he was in his 20s and the unfolding of the Richard III story and the subsequent discovery, in September 2012 of Richard’s body in the car park beneath the letter R, was for him both an exciting and emotional journey. To stand at the place from where Richard was exhumed was the absolute highlight of our visit to Leicester.

We also visited Leicester Cathedral where plans were being made for the Royal burial of King Richard III which occurred on March 26th 2015; only 530 years too late.

Humorously the title: Richard III: Hide and Seek Champion 1485-2012 has been given but as Philippa Langley, who instigated the project to dig for Richard said, “In the second parking bay, I just felt I was walking on his grave,” … “I can’t explain it.”

‘Beyond reasonable doubt’: archaeologists give first-hand account of Richard III discovery in new book
Exhumation. We have this book and a number of others on the topic. If you are interested lots of information can be found on the internet.

Maybe Richard just wanted to be found!

The Places You Will Go.

Windswept Whitby.

Such a lot of History.

Whitby is a seaside town in Yorkshire with a long and interesting history. We found it a wonderful place to visit for a number of reasons.

Yorkshire Dales

In the mid 1800s both my and my husband’s forebears left Yorkshire in Northern England to migrate to Australia. We loved driving through the Yorkshire Dales and I thought how difficult it must have been to leave this beautiful countryside for a place totally alien, far across the sea and make that home. Adding to that past family history, at Whitby we discovered much which appealed to our interests of literature, religion and history.

The Abbey
In the graveyard of St Mary’s with the town in the background.

Whitby was the inspiration for the novel, Dracula, written by Bram (Abraham) Stoker and published in 1897. In the novel, Dracula is shipwrecked off the Yorkshire coast whilst on his way to London; he comes ashore at Whitby in the guise of a black dog. He attacks his first English victim in the St. Mary’s Church graveyard at Whitby with the ruined Whitby Abbey as the backdrop. This popular culture connection leads to the present day Dracula Tours conducted in Whitby.

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The site where the ruined Abbey now stands was once a monastery (established 657 AD) which was an important centre of Anglo -Saxon religion. It was the location of the Great Synod of Whitby, held in 664 AD which determined the direction of the Church in England. In the 9th Century the monastery was abandoned, it is believed, because of Viking raids. After the Norman conquest of 1066, a new Benedictine monastery was established. Over time this grew into one of the richest monasteries in Yorkshire and the magnificent English Gothic architecture structure of Whitby Abbey began to be built in the early 1200s.

Whitby Abbey in ruins.

But the thing about history is that it moves always and forever forwards, so in 1539 when King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and began the dissolution and suppression of the monasteries, Whitby Abbey was abandoned. Today the imposing ruins of the Abbey stand as a sentinel on the windswept headland overlooking the harbour and town below.

View from the Abbey with a replica of The Endeavour; cashing in on The Cook connection.
The workmanship of these buildings is amazing.
Whitby Harbour
Just a view from another angle.

On the West Cliff at Whitby is a monument to Captain James Cook famous for sailing and mapping the east coast of Australia in 1770. Cook was born close by and served his apprenticeship in Whitby, thus beginning his career as a sailor and explorer. The Captain Cook Memorial Museum is situated in the house where Cook once lived. The Cook family were regular church goers at the local church, St Mary’s, which belonged to the Abbey and was built in the early 12th Century.

A Plaque inside St Mary’s; Whitby in the Cook Family box pew.

Inside St Mary’s, which is still a working church, is very interesting. The interior is filled with box pews which were popular the 17th and 18th Centuries. Families had a little box of pews which were named for themselves and this is where they sat. In this Church I found a memorial plaque to Captain James Cook in the Cook Family box pew.

St Mary’s Church: Whitby

V is for Venice.

The city of Venice is built on the 118 islands in the Venice Lagoon. In the 6th Century AD, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent invasions of the Goths, Vandals and other barbarian tribes, the locals, who knew how to navigate the canal network of the lagoon moved out into the sea as a way of escape. For centuries this proved an adequate defense as invaders who had no understanding of the ever evolving, intricate and invisible passages through the lagoon were simply thwarted.

Santa Maria della Salute church.

There is no place like Venice; a city built on mud. Long wooden poles are driven down through the mud until they reach firm ground and this forms the foundations of the majestic buildings which line the labyrinth of canals; literally a floating city.

The always busy Grand Canal.

We stayed on Venice Island, just opposite St Mark’s Square and a wonderful water taxi ride along the Grand Canal from Venice’s Santa Lucia Railway Station, to the Alla Salute stop at the Santa Maria della Salute church. The absolute peace and quiet of our Venice accommodation was luxury after the hustle, bustle and traffic noise of many previous large cities. We rode the waterways, walked the cobbled streets, crossed the bridges, walked the Rialto just like Shylock, ate great food and spent money.

Crossing the Grand Canal to St Marks Square.

Our travel agent had done a marvelous job planning our trip, but at Venice she made a mistake; she had us alighting the train at one stop before Santa Lucia. None the wiser, we bailed out of the train and hailed a taxi. As we drove across the causeway into Venice, I looked to my left and said, “Isn’t that our train?” And yes, it sure was; speeding on its way to the final stop, which, we in due course, were delivered to, because it is from here that the water taxi leaves to travel down the Grand Canal.

Lovely quiet spot. Off the Grand Canal on a side canal and on Venice Island.

I loved Venice but it is fair to say that the local Venetians do not love all the tourists who swamp their beautiful city. On any given day there are more tourists in Venice than residents and in fact, many residents find living in Venice no longer viable as the tourist Euro is so lucrative that the born and bred Venetians have been priced out of accommodation in their own city. They fear that Venice is being used as some sort of “Disneyland” for tourism and it is to the destruction of this unique location. Many locals want to see tourist numbers capped before the romance, art, architecture, history and beauty of Venice is irreversibly spoiled for future generations of both locals and tourists.

Canal Scene.

Like many other locations in this world, beautiful Venice must be protected; not sacrificed on the altar of greedy lucre.