England. Thomas Skelton.

Thomas Skelton (4girlsandaghost.files.wordpress.com)

I visited Muncaster Castle in the beautiful Lake District of England a few years ago and the haunting face in this painting stayed with me long after my visit. Meet Thomas Skelton. He was a court jester and trusted servant of the Pennington family. Here is the story that haunted my visit (from The Witching Hour)

“Known for sitting beneath an old chestnut tree outside the front entrance of the castle, Tom Skelton was often asked for directions. This position also gave him opportunity to witness the comings and goings of people to and from the castle, which is how he allegedly spotted Pennington’s daughter Helwise sneak off with a local carpenter.

When Skelton told his master what he’d seen, he’d been ordered by Sir William Pennington to get rid of the carpenter. Only one method of disposal would work for Tom. The fool got the carpenter drunk on cider one evening and, for a somewhat poetic lark, he used the carpenter’s own tools– mallet and broad chisel– to decapitate the poor, love-struck man. Tom is rumored to have said, “When the lazy dolt wakes up, he’ll have trouble finding his head.”

Skelton then presented his lord with the head of the carpenter, but it is unclear from historical records how the Sir William Pennington reacted. Ghostly footsteps and what sounds like the thunk of a body being drug up one particular set of stairs add an element of reality to this Muncaster legend.”


It was once thought that Thomas Skelton was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Tom Fool but history places any meeting between the two after King Lear was written.

Muncaster Castle. (upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/27/Muncaster_Castle.jpg)

Have you been to Muncaster Castle? Were you haunted by Thomas Skelton…? I’d love to hear all about it!

El Salvador. The Ring of Fire.



Erupting volcano (http://inapcache.boston.com)

As part of the famous Ring of Fire, the tiny country of El Salvador has more than 20 active volcanoes dotted around the landscape. The largest is San Salvador which stands tall over the capital city by the same name. It last erupted in 1917 after an enormous earthquake in the region.

In December 2013, the Chaparrastique volcano erupted in the coffee growing region to the East of the country. Thousands were evacuated but thankfully there were no injuries or loss of property. Chaparrastique is the third largest active volcano in El Salvador.


Ring of Fire (earthobservatory.nasa.gov)

Have you been? Have you seen or climbed these amazing volcanoes? We’d love to hear about it!


Beyond the Map. Children at play.

Ice play

Photo credit Светлана Квашина (http://500px.com/)

Here’s a beautiful collection of children playing around the world. The photography is pretty amazing and shows the ingenuity of kids all over the world!

To see all the photos check out http://www.boredpanda.com/happy-children-playing/



Egypt. Our Memories

Cairo market

Cairo market

We visited Egypt in 2008 and have wonderful memories of ancient mysteries, crowds and noise, street food, swimming, drinking sweet tea, exploring the Nile and riding camels to the top of Mt Sinai….

Here are some photos from our trip. Please feel free to share your experiences too!

We went with Intrepid Travel and would highly recommend them (Jordan and Egypt trip) www.intrepidtravel.com/au





Bread delivery Cairo

Bread delivery Cairo

Tea time

Tea time

Walking up Mt Sinai

Walking up Mt Sinai

Top of Mt Sinai

Top of Mt Sinai

Sawa camp

Sawa camp

Sawa camp

Our beach hut at Sawa camp

St Catherine's

St Catherine’s

Ecuador. Diversity at the Yasuni National Park.

Diversity Yasuni National Park (http://www.gannett-cdn.com)

Yasuni National Park in Ecuador’s North is arguably the most biologically diverse place on Earth. The park hosts an immense variety of tree species, birds, bats, insects, frogs, and fish and is also home to large populations of high food chain carnivores.

“Inhabiting the Yasuní are various different indigenous groups including the Waorani, Shuar and Amazonian Kichwa. Some of these peoples – such as the Tagaeri and Taromenane – still voluntarily maintain no contact with the rest of the world. These warrior-like hunter-gatherers have been living in harmony with nature for centuries. “(http://newint.org/yasuni/about/)

Yasuni National Park (http://st1le.org)

Yasuni National Park (http://www.thetimes.co.uk)

Yasuni National Park (http://amazonwatch.org)

Yasuni National Park (http://cdn.lightgalleries.net)

Have you ventured into the Yasuni National Park? Share your experiences here with us here….


Beyond the Map. Walk In Her Shoes Challenge 2014

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge

This year I’m taking part in the Care, Walk In Her Shoes Challenge raising money by walking 100km in a week!  The back of my little boy’s head sitting up in the pram has been my walking view for 3 hours each day! We have explored many parks, streets, riversides and bridges with my faithful pedometer ticking along. We are 70km in and on track to meet our 100km by Sunday!

Here are a few snaps from my walks and some info on Care the reasons behind the challenge.

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge -Sydney Harbour

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge views…

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge – Sydney Olympic Park

Walk In Her Shoes Challenge – The Bay Run at Haberfield

CARE is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting global poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls. CARE Australia is a non-religious and non-political charity, working together with communities to provide emergency relief and address the underlying causes of poverty. From decades of experience, we believe supporting women and girls is the most effective way to create sustainable outcomes in poor communities.” (From  http://www.walkinhershoes.org.au/Home)

Meet some of the women and girls who face the daily burden of walking to collect water, food and firewood.

For more information on why we need to walk, raise money and assist these girls and women visit http://www.walkinhershoes.org.au/why-walk



East Timor. Uma Lulik.

Although language, culture and traditions across each community in East Timor varies, there are several elements of life  that connects them all;  the common understanding of the language Tetun, the worship of ancestors and the importance of Uma Lulik or the Sacred House. These houses are symbolic of self-determination, self-assurance and confidence.  They also represent the strength, loyalty and beliefs of a nation enriched by its ancestry. They vary in size, shape and design but are equally impressive. Enjoy…


Have you been to East Timor? Did you see these Sacred Houses? I’d love to hear about your adventure!




Word from the West. Zest.

Zest Awards 2014 (http://www.crn.org.au)

Last night was the 4th annual Zest Awards; an evening to celebrate all the wonderful community work that goes on in Western Sydney.

“The ZEST Awards are the annual celebration of the innovation and creativity of the Community Sector and its workers. ZEST, now in its 4th year, gives us the opportunity to recognise and honour the leadership, capacity building and partnerships which allow the Sector to support local communities.

The event raises awareness of the impact of the Community Sector in the region and promotes a positive image of Greater Western Sydney through highlighting our assets, our diversity and the creative and innovative work happening throughout the region.” (Zest Awards website)

Congratulations to all the nominees and winner for 2014!

For more information visit http://zestawards.com.au/