A taste for tea

This month JDO/Jill is hosting MonoMonday and her theme for today is Taste. I was wanting to find something Melburnian/Australian like Manuka honey, but a combination of rain, aching knee and sad news from Scotland meant that I had to find something else and within this hotel suite. So it's the bitter-sweet yet comforting taste of tea with some extra comforting Dutch cookies (speculaas), found in the nearest supermarket in Melbourne yesterday.

When I came to live in Scotland and the boys had settled in school I wanted to do something educational and decided to enroll at the Open University to get an extra degree in IT and Computing so that afterwards I could teach others, especially the elderly and maybe the disabled to use the computer and develop special programmes for that. We're talking about 2002.  The Open University had been starting with its first totally online courses and one of the absolute hits was the T171 course (You, your computer and the net) about the history and the basics of computers and the internet. Even though most of the course was done online on the university network we did have local tutors and a couple of local tutor meetings and I met Elizabeth M. there. She lived just outside of Perth on the other side of town. We met several times per year after that and had lots of fun. She had a severely disabled daughter who needed 24/7 care, which took up much of her time. When I moved to Singapore we kept in touch and I did meet up with her and another OU friend from Perth every year if possible. Unfortunately she got struck by dementia a couple of years ago, had to go into a care home and today I got the news from the other friend from Perth that she has passed away last night. Always very sad but what is so much sadder is that her husband left her when she became noticeably ill, later her son and his family stopped visiting her too and that for the past couple of years it has been the fellow student friend plus a lady who had been a carer for Elizabeth's handicapped daughter who have been taking care of her affairs and have been visiting her. As another OU friend wrote, maybe this is the one occasion where it's actually better to have dementia, so you don't know that your nearest and dearest have abandoned you. RIP Elizabeth, you were a star and you made me and so many others laugh so much!

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