Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The visit to the medical centre was pretty disappointing yesterday. The 'machine' had broken down in the X-Ray department so the report on my toe couldn't be retrieved. "Well," the aged doctor said - "I had a look at the film and it looks OK" - hopefully that means there is no broken bones!

With a hasty "put on a simple dressing" to the treatment room assistant - he was gone!

I'm not sure what my next step is since I have a bruised toe with the nail hanging off. I think I'll be making a visit to my regular doctor tomorrow to see what the next step should be.

Apart from the toe problem though we spent a pleasant New Years evening with family and friends, enjoying a bbq meal and later playing Wii games. That was so much fun - especially with a family who are all extremely competitive. Watched the wonderful fireworks display at 9pm on the TV and headed home about 10.30pm to do it all again at midnight. Sydney excelled itself with pyrotechnic magnificence!

Welcome to 2009! May it be a healthy, safe, happy and blessed one for all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


After a really restless and (almost) sleepless night, this morning I'm feeling rather sorry for myself. The fall yesterday has shaken me up a bit, and with the beginnings of bruising starting to show in many places, and the soreness to match, I'm planning to spend a very quiet day today. Not sure if I'll even feel like working on my stitching.

I have to make a visit to the medical centre this afternoon to get results of the X-Ray taken last night, and for my toe to be dressed so once that's done, I'll post the results.

TWO SURPRISES IN ONE DAY – ONE GOOD, ONE BAD and a little bit of Hogmany

I walked to the Post Office this morning instead of driving. Not very far – about 40 minutes there and back. A surprise package awaited me and I could hardly wait to get home to open it. It was a New Year gift and came from Scotland from a lady I’ve recently met through my family history website. She decided she wanted to search for her family and through the internet found that we share the same Great Grandparents. It has been an exciting few weeks of introduction and comparing notes. Interestingly, we share many of the same interests apart from genealogy. She explained in a note with the gift, the Scottish tradition of ‘First Footing’ or as she says in Edinburgh, ‘First Fittin’.

On Hogmany (night of Dec 31st) visits are made to relatives and friends. At the New Year bells, the first foot should be tall, dark and handsome to bring good luck to the house. It is tradition to bring a dram of whisky, a piece of coal and salt or perhaps some ‘clootie dumpling’. The whisky to toast the health of the host, the coal to put on the fire and bring warmth and something to eat so that the house will not go hungry. Her gift was a bottle of very fine Scotch whisky to help us bring in the New Year. Somehow, I don’t think our New Year celebrations will stretch to anything like that after my second surprise late this afternoon!

I went outside to remove the dead heads from the rose bushes – good for the compost heap. It has been another hot day – temperature reaching to about 35 degrees Celsius and it was still very warm. I was probably not thinking about what I was doing – I often daydream while in the garden – even now I’m not sure exactly how it happened – but I found myself in pain on the ground, my knees, elbows and nose being the most painful. I was anxious about my glasses and my teeth but both seemed OK. I gingerly moved myself over to my back and as I lay there on the hot pavers, tried to assess the real damage. From the top down I realized my nose was feeling ‘squashed’ and my lip was cut. Elbow on my right arm stung from a graze and my wrist was painful. Left arm seemed OK. Both knees were also stinging and I felt sure they were grazed too but on closer inspection when I was able to get up into a sitting position, they looked OK but bruising beginning to show. The biggest surprise when I looked further down as the pain began to hit hard was my big toe on my right foot. What a sight it looks! I won’t begin to describe it as it’s rather nasty. When I’d gathered my wits about me I realized that I had tripped on the top step of three which takes us from grassed area to paving below. I shakily made my way into the house and relayed the news to DH who is having a few days off work. A trip to the medical centre has proved inconclusive but an X-Ray was taken and I’m to go back for an appointment tomorrow get the results and the possibility of having the toe nail removed.

As I write this journal, it’s 1am – yes I have been to bed but can’t sleep. Somehow I think this is going to be a very long night!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Well - at least scissors cutting thread!

I did it - I 'bit the bullet' as we say here 'down-under'. (In other words I gritted my teeth and did it - even though I was nervous of making a mess of it)
Here's the result.

Friday, December 26, 2008


I know I said the next photo of Heirloom Homecoming would be the finished piece, but having worked on the hardanger section on and off over the Christmas period, I felt rather pleased with the way it's turned out - so far - so here it is. Now will be the hardest part for me - I hate cutting - never feeling quite confident that I'm doing it in the right spot.

I'll have to be brave though and hope I don't ruin the whole thing!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


For many years now the adults in our family have chosen not to give gifts to each other at Christmas time. The kids – well that’s a different matter – and they get spoiled rotten!

Yesterday we joined with family and friends at our son and daughter in law’s house where we had a scrumptious Christmas dinner with all the yummy trimmings. Lamb, beef, ham, baked vegetables, plum pudding, pavlova, fresh fruit salad and cream. Yummy!

Opening gifts from the tree is a special time of sharing too. Much excitement and piles of ripped paper as gifts from family members were opened. My two eldest grandies surprised me with a special gift – a beautiful ceramic bird bath. For a number of years now they have seen the beautiful rainbow lorikeets and native Noisy Miners arrive in our backyard to greedily eat grain bread and scoop from the tired old plastic plant pot saucer that holds their water. From today they have a brand new shining bird bath – well up off the ground – where I’m hoping they will soon come to drink and bathe. So far I haven’t seen any of them venture in – but being the cheeky, inquisitive and friendly birds they are, I don’t think it will be long!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The lead up to Christmas this year seems to have been so much busier than other years. I really don’t know why but there seems to have been so many things to do, functions to attend, letters to write, cards to send, Christmas goodies to bake – the list goes on. Had ‘grandies’ to help put up the tree too – they loved helping – Grandma followed up putting decorations on that were’nt so secure – and the too high places.

Put a new set of ‘sparklies’ up outside under the eaves – this time a solar powered lot which are working well with enough sunshine each day to continue to power up the batteries.

While driving home last night (approx 35km) from a (rather cold) carols by candlelight combined bbq evening, DH and I commented to each other on the few homes we’d passed which had been lit and decorated for Christmas – compared to other Christmases. So when we drove into our street and did a circuit of our tiny area we were thrilled to see more Christmas lights (almost) than we had on the whole journey home! A couple in particular are magnificent displays and must have taken hours to prepare. There’s something about lights and decorated homes at Christmas that give me the ‘warm fuzzies’!

So with only 3 more sleeps before the ‘man in red’ arrives to deliver gifts to all good children, I was just thinking how grateful I am to be living in a country which still (despite pc) celebrates the coming of the Christ Child in the good old fashioned way of mangers, shepherds, Magi, gifts, stars – and yes, even trees and lights.

To any who may either deliberately visit or accidently stumble across this journal, my prayer for you is that you might have a safe, happy and peaceful Christmas. Blessings to you all!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Had a really busy but enjoyable weekend. BBQ lunch at North Avoca (NSW Central Coast) with 'Top of the Hill' friends. Rushed back to Sydney to change and head of to Artarmon for an engagement celebration of a nephew. Sunday went to church service and later to another BBQ lunch at Greystanes with friends for a casual bible study afternoon. A very satisfying weekend all round!

Work in progress - report. Heirloom Homecoming Sampler section 2 finished.

Coming up - hardanger. Not at all sure about how to do this - will need to seek some advice I think. Only attempted this stitching once before on a tiny bookmark. This will be a challenge for me.

Next pic should be the finished piece I hope but I'm really enjoying this one even though I am having to use a headband 'blow-fly' type of magnifying goggles over my regular glasses. Not sure how good that is for the eyes generally but will have to persist despite all my best efforts originally to do without it.

Maybe my next project should be a visit to the optometrist to order a new pair of stronger 'close up' glasses!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


For the past few months I've had a really sore back, (nothing really new but worse than usual). After a couple of bouts of some kind of flu/virus which left me with an awful cough, my back pain was worse so eventually after rounds of doctors and xrays, an MRI scan was performed. This showed some nasty looking bulging discs which were pressing on a nerve. Treatment? Not much really - do nothing - or get jabbed in the back with some cortisone into the root nerve.

Decided nothing venture, nothing gain, I had this procedure done this week. At present I think it's 'settling in' - at least it's not worse than it was before. Apparently may take up to a week to do this 'settling' so I trusting that it does the trick.

No pictures this time - although strangely enough I got a couple of the procedure with the report - but I'm not putting those in this journal!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Have you ever been bitten by a Rainbow Lorikeet? No? Until a couple of days ago neither had I, but I know now how it feels - OUCH!! It happened like this:

If you've read any of my earlier posts you will remember that I feed little lorikeets fairly regularly in my back yard. A couple of months ago a flock of the hated brown Indian Myna birds turned up with a couple of them eventually trying to nest in the next door neighbour's pergola. These two have stayed in the area and have continued to terrorise the native birds which roost in the nearby large gum trees.

A few days ago I noticed one myna bird 'dive-bombing' one of the lorikeets - actually making a run at it and pecking it's little green head. I made an attempt to shoo it away but it kept coming back however, wisely, the lorikeet took off and didn't come back. Two days ago the myna bird was 'at it' again. This time injuring the lorikeet it was attacking to the extent that it couldn't fly. I saw it in the yard again an hour or so later, looking sick and again being 'dive-bombed' by the myna. It began vomiting and just seemed to be rolling on its side, not being able to get up. I managed to get a box and thought I'd cover it over until it recovered a little. I threw an old tea towel over it (or at least I tried to get it over) but the breeze caught it and it only covered half of the bird. I made a dive for it myself hoping to pick it up and get it in the box but in the process it grabbed my finger and wouldn't let go. Perhaps it thought it would have a go at me instead of the myna! After physically having to prise it's beak off, I managed to get the box over it and I retreated to the house to clean up a bleeding finger. Oh did it sting. The bird had taken quite a chunk out of me!

Inside I washed it off and smothered it with an iodine-based antiseptic cream and wrapped it up. I can tell you though my heart was thumping after the experience. While the bird seemed to recover enough to get itself out of the box about 3 hours later, I'm left with a very sore finger - but I think I'll live to tell the tale. However my resolve is to try to hire an Indian Myna bird trap and get rid of these backyard pests once and for all!

Friday, November 14, 2008


It had been planned for more than 18 months and ended up with 22 of us gathering at a resort on the Gold Coast. A week spent with family like this is just such a pleasure and getting to know a couple of new family members made it even more special.

Being one of 5 boys who now live in two different countries it’s difficult for DH to get to see much of his brothers which is why the ‘reunion’ was decided upon so long ago. The first one we had was in 1990 to celebrate a special milestone birthday – this time we celebrated with another brother who was also having a similar birthday to remember and a great night to mark the occasion was enjoyed with the highlight being (apart from the beautiful birthday cake and choir), a game of pass the parcel, complete with well thought out descriptions for each lucky beneficiary!

Being together in the one resort meant that we were able to ‘visit’ with each family but still ‘do our own thing’ at other times. The whole group visit to Seaworld was definitely a good day with everyone getting to do and see what they wanted. After everyone watching the Dolphin Show together, we went our different ways to check out displays and rides to our hearts content. Meeting occasionally throughout the day was a time to discuss what fun it was on the Bermuda Triangle, roller coaster or Water Flume ride – or how I could have possibly have missed getting photos of it while being at best viewing spot!

Whether having BBQ’s, dinner at Sizzlers or just visiting each other’s unit to catch up, all were in agreement that this was a great way to spend time together – and we have resolved to do it all again in three years time!

Thanks for the great memories family!


One of the shops I browsed when in Bowral recently (girls weekend away) was filled with the most delicious fabrics, threads, charts and gifts I’ve seen for a long time. I could have spent much more time there just taking it all in but one chart ‘took my fancy’ as soon as I saw it. I recognized the type of work that it contained as similar to a magazine chart I’d kept from years ago and on investigation found it is by the same person – Thea Dueck. I love the way she combines my loved cross stitching with little areas of other types of stitching including hardanger.

I had to buy the chart – and without even looking too far into it to see what I needed to stitch it! After checking that all out found I didn’t have any fabric that was suitable so made a visit to my local stitching shop the next week and got started on it. It will be quite long when finished but the stitched area is only about 5 ½ inches wide.

Here's the first section of it:


The weather looked promising as we set off from Sydney to meet at Peppers at Bowral for ‘High Tea’ at 12.30pm. The drive seemed short as we chatted away the ‘miles’ – we were ready to stretch our legs though once reaching Bowral and after finding a lovely sunny spot outside a coffee shop, relaxed with our lattes and cappuccinos and just enjoyed the atmosphere. A stroll down the main street and we were ready to move on to our anticipated ‘High Tea’. Set in beautiful grounds next to a golf course, the old building had been renovated and was beautifully furnished. We enjoyed an hour appreciating the food and atmosphere.

We left in time to make our check in at Fountaindale Lodge at Robertson, a tiny village further south which had at one time been a Catholic Seminary. The interior was spacious with a large stairway leading to the upper floors. As we ascended the stairs we were bowled over by a number of beautiful stained glass windows which had been preserved. The grounds were large with landscaped gardens and boasted 3 resident peacocks. We spent a leisurely afternoon visiting a local attraction – Fitzroy Falls – and enjoyed a stroll along the few shops which made up the village. Dinner in the evening provided us with a beautiful meal and after retiring to the lounge area, completed the evening by playing Charades!

After checkout in the morning we all drove to Berry on the NSW South Coast, getting there through the Kangaroo Valley. On arrival there, we were surprised to find the temperature had soared to over 30 degrees and for most of us, a quick look through local shops was more than enough in the heat before we stopped for lunch and headed out north towards home again.

For the 20 of us who made up the group it was a great break from the regular, normal activities most of us experience from week to week. For me it was a chance to get away and take time being involved with activities that normally I wouldn’t and generally recharge the batteries! An enjoyable night away!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


That pizza I talked about recently - the bits that were left over got frozen. Usually those 'think I'll save that' leftovers have a habit of ending in the garbage eventually, after lying in the freezer till they get 'burned', but after deciding to see what it was like when I couldn't find inspiration for a quick meal, I have to say that this lot tasted as good as it did the day it was baked. I'll be using that recipe again sometime soon when the tastebuds are yelling for pizza!

Meanwhile today in Sydney is a public holiday – Labour Day! I’ll be doing my small bit towards ‘labour’ by mending DH’s trousers! Three pairs have been waiting for my inspiration but now its getting to the point where there’ll be no pants to wear if I don’t do it today. So I must get busy and get the sewing machine out – I’ll probably have to blow the dust off it as it’s been a long time since it saw daylight – but hey – it’ll be something different to do on an overcast, grey, showery Monday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Pizza is on the menu in our household fairly irregularly now, but when we lived in Zambia for 3 years, I managed to make one that was quite acceptable to most who came to eat at our place - considering, that is, that there were no pizza parlours to buy the 'take away' kind until the last few months before returning to Australia. I've attempted to make them infrequently in the past few years, including home made dough and ready made base, but none of them really tasted like 'the real thing' until recently when I attempted another 'base' recipe. This one uses both yeast and semolina and gives a great tasting, crispy edged base. Just throw whatever topping on that takes your fancy. Within reason that is - ham and pineapple for him, mushrooms for me, but no anchovies or capsicum for either.

Anyway if you'd like to have a go, here's what I did:

200gr plain flour, 70gr semolina, pinch of salt, 190ml warm water, 1 tablespoon of oil, 3.5gr dry yeast (I would estimate this to be about 3/4 teaspoon).

Mix all ingredients together and knead till soft and pliable and mixture leaves the sides of the bowl. (I cheated and did this for about 5 minutes in a bread making machine). Lightly grease a clean bowl and place the mixture into this, leaving it in a warm place to rise for about an hour. When well risen, remove from bowl and knead gently before rolling out to the size and thickness needed for your pizza. Place on a pizza tray and top as desired. Bake in very hot oven for about 15 minutes.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I really am so amazed at how time can just fly by without me actually realising it. Who could have thought that it's almost 4 weeks since I posted in this journal. Not much of a journal at that rate I'd guess - but hey, I haven't been just loafing around here.

The pansies did come on and produce some pretty perfumed blooms after the shadecloth at night persuaded our possom friend that eating them wasn't a good idea! They've all gone now though - to make way for my first tomato plant of the season. Now I've discovered that 'something' (maybe I shouldn't blame possum just yet) is nipping off my tiny beetroot leaves right at the soil level, and leaving them lying limp and sad. I've never grown beetroot before so I'm leaving that opinion reserved until I investigate further - however for safety sake I've covered the tub with wire netting. Let's see the culprit get through that lot now! At least the tiny carrot seeds I planted recently have started to sprout and so far, and seem to be safe. I hope it stays that way.

I'd been thinking about learning a bit more about my camera and how to drive it efficiently and effectively so I booked myself in to a photography course and over two weekends in the past month, I actually did learn a bit more - now I need to practice! I'm hoping that with the coming of our Spring weather I can find some great subject matter and produce some good pics. I actually thought Spring had come two days ago - but it was only a rehearsal. Today we're back to dull grey sky, wind and a temperature of only 16 - brrr... I think I'll need to put the fire on again shortly - just when I thought it would be safe to pack the wood away in the shed until next winter.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The neighbours had fence-line trees removed. These had been ‘home’ to an opossum family for a number of years. We occasionally heard their ‘thump’ as they crossed from the trees to our roof – generally about 9pm in the evening, but since the trees went, so did the ‘thumps.’ Seems they didn’t move out of the area though!

This lovely tub of healthy green leaves was, by now supposed to be sprouting large pansy faces – alas, a little possum has been eating them during the night – all except the white ones that is! Why do you suppose an opossum would choose to eat red and purple pansies, as opposed to white ones – even in the dark? It’s a puzzle to me too.

I’ve not given up though! Last few nights I’ve been covering the tub with shadecloth – hopefully that will give the little buds time to at least open before being devoured as Mr or Ms Opossum’s ‘midnight feast!’

Friday, August 01, 2008

THE PIN KEEP - Jacaranda Tree

Having finished the design I bit the bullet as it were and decided to try and make a pin keep. Never having attempted one before, or even seen one – except for pictures – I checked out the internet and got a bit of an idea of how to put it together.

Well here’s the finished product. Is there supposed to be a set number of pins around the outside? I have no idea. I just kept putting them in.

I’ve put the cross stitch aside now as I really don’t have any charts for small projects so I’ve started on another pair of socks.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


School holidays – two tiddlers to look after – sunshine – all good ingredients to take a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park. Not too far from where we live, I’d been meaning to take them for a while – just waiting for the right time. I’d done my homework and knew that I could get one child in on a free pass if I completed a kind of ‘animal trail’ on their internet site so had that all printed out and ready.

Set out about 10.30 – still cool but brilliant sunshine. Car park almost full but grabbed one of the last spots – 11am began to line up for tickets – 30 minutes later we reached the box. The boys were excellent while waiting and not one growl out of them for having to wait for so long. We picked a day (of course – Murphy’s Law) when there were hundreds of others with the same idea – coach loads of Asian visitors, kids and grandparents, tourist “Pilgrims” here for the Pope’s visit to Sydney – and us!

In at last. A passport type of brochure was issued to each and the hunt was on to find the 8 animals pictured inside, and receive a stamp for each. The kids had fun doing this and it kept their interest up. A great place to take in a wide variety of Australian birds and animals including wombats, emus, koalas, kangaroos, dingo, fruit bats and heaps of others.

An hour and a half after arriving there we were on our way back home, stopping at “Macca’s” to pick up a couple of happy meals. They enjoyed their visit and I got pleasure from taking them. A worthwhile day all round!

Pics show white peacock displaying its beautiful tail feathers and wombat.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


A few months ago I decided to jot down a few of my childhood memories to eventually put them into a story form for the generations to follow me. I wrote up a few pages and over the past few days felt the inclincation to have another look at it and continue the story. In some ways I’m not sure whether it’s a good or bad thing to be doing this! Many forgotten memories – both good and not so good – have resulted in my thinking and jotting. It’s nowhere near finished so I’ll just keep plodding with it and hope that it will work into something the grandies might enjoy reading some day.

Oh yes – a bit on the wonky side (sorry, my crook photography), here’s the cross stitch I finished which I have no idea what to do with! It’s from a freebie pattern of years ago – I think from DMC. I didn’t have a coloured picture to go by, just the black and white chart so I’ve used slightly different colours to those suggested.

It measures 3 x 3.75 inches which I think might be a little too big for a pin keep. Would anyone have any other ideas? I could always frame it but I’m more inclined to perhaps use it in a greeting card. I’ll have to give it a bit more thought – I think!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I can’t believe it’s over 4 weeks since I wrote. It’s not that I’ve been over busy – just cramming a few extras into the past few weeks I guess. Like having my eyes tested. That not only involved going for the appointment, but on finding my eyes were not as good as they once had been, I needed to order new lenses for my glasses. Went to pick them up a few days later and when they were not feeling right had to trail back again. Now that would be fine if the optometrist were around the corner, but travelling 25 kms there and 25kms back took up most of the day! Anyway, that’s finished now and I’m certainly seeing a lot better since I’ve resorted to my specs instead of contacts – after nearly 20 years. I far prefer the contacts, but I guess when they aren’t doing the job well, then the alternative has to be resorted to :-(

I've also done a few other things like helping a friend put away stuff in cupboards after a big house move, and going out for dinner with friends from church. But then that's not really any excuse for not writing is it?

Anyway, I haven’t been too slack and have finished a pair of woolly socks which now are warming my mother’s toes, plus a couple of small cross stitch pieces which I’ll post later. One of them I’m in the process of turning into a pinkeep – a first for me. The other I haven’t decided on yet so for now, I’ll just put the socks up.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I answered the doorbell - 'Oh my gosh' - was my comment to the young man who stood there, struggling to hold it. Reaching out to take it, he said to me 'it's heavy!' 'Oh well if it's heavy then you'd better bring it in for me.'

He did so and put it down with a ceramic 'plonk' onto a small table within reach of the front door.

What was it? A special anniversary gift from my darling husband - here you can see a pic of it. "Thanks honey for 46 good years!"

Friday, May 09, 2008


I was peeling some vegetables at the kitchen sink with young L2 looking on with all the ‘why’ questions he could muster. He wanted to help chop the carrots. He was quite clearly frustrated by my efforts to persuade him otherwise – so we compromised. After finishing my preparation, we sat down together with the playdough of different colours and while I ‘made’ orange carrots, green peas and beans, purple eggplant and other veritable delicacies, he proceeded to ‘chop’ them on a small cutting board and with his child-size knife. How proud he was when ‘Grumps’ came in from work early to show him how he had ‘made’ dinner.
How worthwhile is it to spend these times with grandies when they are in their growing and formative years? To me - 100% worthwhile!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I pulled the plastic storage tub out and began rummaging. I really had no idea what I was looking for except that it had to be small and quick enough to complete in a few days. I was tired of the sampler I'd been laboriously working away on for what seemed an age. Amongst some papers and patterns which had been in the tub for years, I came across a piece which I'd torn from a magazine. I'd always promised myself I'd try it out as I really liked the style of this little Australian cottage. I'd done a larger one of a similar house a number of years ago called "The Briars" ( I think the design was by Juniper) and had always intended to stitch this tiny 'look alike'.

Inspired with the finding I set to using a neutral toned linen and chose my own colours from DMC floss instead of using those in the original. I think it has turned out OK and now I'll hunt around for a suitable 'early Australian' looking frame to complete the picture. Anyway this is how it turned out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

As our weather cools off I get the bug to knit. The local church where I’ve been attending a Bible Study group, recently held a ‘Soup and Knit’ night to make knitted squares which would be sewn together to make knee rugs for the elderly. I couldn’t attend that night but promised to try to make a few squares to put along with all the others knitted that night. After not having done any knitting for several months, my fingers certainly told me in a short amount of time that they were suffering from arthritic joints and it was a bit of a shock to find how painful they were after the first couple of attempts. Anyway despite this I managed to get a few squares finished and now hopefully they will be sewn by energetic people to make the rugs.

On reflecting my knitting career of recent times, I remembered that last year I had interspersed knitting jumpers for grandchildren with some tiny baby caps and booties. I really enjoyed making these tiny garments and have done them now for a couple of years in between other projects. They are quick to make and look so cute when they are finished and I love making them in different colours.

The last 12 lots I finished I sent off to a country hospital in New South Wales where they don’t get quite as much support as the large city ones do. I find it’s a really worthwhile thing to do and I know the mums of tiny premature babies appreciate having a cap and booties the right size too, when sometimes they weren’t prepared for an early birth. The real pleasure for me is knowing that my ‘love’ gift will be used without any knowledge of who I am or where the gift came from. Tiny babies - know that coming with this token gift, was my prayer that you will grow healthy and strong, and soon be able to go home with the family who love you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


It started out so well. Our trip down was great – quick – smooth – no traffic snarls. We had a great day looking around the Capital. Lunch at Parliament House, visited the National Museum and the Mint. Checked in to the gas station just to make sure the water was OK – it was down a bit so we filled the radiator and for good measure put some product in which was supposed to stop leaks. At this point I should mention that the radiator had been ‘leaking a bit' in the previous few days but a bit more water added and it seemed OK.

All went well and about 6pm we pulled in to the gas station off the tollway to get petrol. Checked the water again – all OK. A quick cup of coffee and we set off about 6.30pm. By now it was dusk, sprinkling with rain, and the evening darkness was closing in quickly. We were looking forward to reaching home to have something to eat.

We’d traveled exactly 34kms from our last stop when the car started to make strange noises. The thermometer (or instrument which tells how hot the car is running) zoomed up to ‘hot’ and before a few more metres, the motor cut out. We were still about 100kms away from home.

Well there wasn’t much we could do – in pouring rain and darkness! I said a prayer asking God to keep us safe while we were in this situation we had no real control over. Thank goodness for mobile phones though. We called our roadside assistance – (thank goodness for membership too)! A serviceman would be sent out within the hour.

A short while later, the mobile phone rang. It was roadside assistance base. Would we walk to the nearest emergency phone on the tollway and report in our breakdown? At this time we had no idea where we were located – except for the 34kms from the last gas station and this call would give our actual location. The men grabbed umbrellas and jackets and one began the walk to the emergency phone and the other to see if a place locator could be seen.

Break-down reported to the operator – no place name located however, but we were informed we were about 8 kms from the nearest township. Now our situation had been reported, we could expect a tow truck within in the hour. By now it was pouring with rain and looking more and more like we might be there for a good while. Phoned our son who lived about 90 minutes drive away, who said he’d come down to get us. We had friends visiting from Canada with us and didn’t want them to be any more uncomfortable than necessary.

We began to sit it out – traffic zooming past us at 100kms or so an hour. Each time a truck passed, the car would be rocked from side to side. By now it was 8.30pm and the need to find a bathroom fairly soon was inevitable! Eventually two of us absolutely had to venture into the shrubs alongside the road – need I say more – raining and all, it was somewhat of a relief! A van had pulled up a short distance from us - also broken down - this poor young man had only purchased his vehicle a few days previously and this was the second time he had been in strife with the mechanical state of it. Now he was also waiting for a tow truck.

Eventually the tow truck arrived and hitched the car on the back. We all piled up into it’s generous cabin and within a few minutes we were arriving at the place where our car was to be left.

It was now 9.30pm in a tiny town it seemed we were going to be hungry for a while longer but decided to take a walk through the town while we waited for our son to arrive. When we spotted a little pizza shop still open, we realized how hungry we were. We were not disappointed! With full tummies we made our way back to the service station to find our son had already arrived. It was only a few minutes later that we were back on the road on our way home arriving about midnight.

An exciting day? – Yes. A late night? - Yes. But a memorable day – in more ways than one. Despite it all, it’s situations like that which we file away in our memories and remember them, not because of the good time we had together, but because of the unpleasant parts that happened. We arrived home and we were kept safe, despite the experience – and yes, we will make sure the car is in good running condition before we venture out on another day trip – especially if we have overseas guests with us!

The footnote is that the car is not going to be ready for a week and it’s going to have it’s head gasket and radiator repaired at a cost of $2,900.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blogger's Catchup

Things have been quite busy here since Christmas. At the end of January I went to Auckland for a week for a visit with Mum. The time went very quickly as there were things to do for her but we did manage to buy a new bed and a new electric chair which puts her in a standing position from being seated - a great help in older age!

On arriving back, I spent time redecorating our spare bedroom. It was wallpapered when we bought the place 15 yrs ago and probably had been done a while before that as it had become discoloured and dowdy. We stripped it all and painted it in cream. We had a friend from the UK who stayed last week and a couple from Vancouver coming next week so it's continuing to be a busy month for us.

Last week a builder came to repair our kitchen skylight which had water damage after all the storms we've had. Water started pouring down it in Dec during the first big hail storm we had and just continued to get worse with each storm ending up with water in the ceiling, light fitting etc. (a bit hard to see in the above pic). He took out the existing skylight which was a box type with an opening window at the top and replaced it with a fixed one half the size. Part of the ceiling had to be replaced as water was bubbling it out plus repainting. Got the painting finished on Friday and when we were out Friday night there was another of these dreadful storms with inches of water - when we got home the kitchen was awash again. Apparently one of the tiles had not been placed correctly! Now we're almost back to square one. He came back Sat afternoon and fixed the tile in to place but now the ceiling is all stained again where the water leaked and dripped. Tomorrow he comes back to replace the damaged ceiling.

I had my blood count done about a month ago and the result shows my cholesterol is too high for me so the Dr wants me to lower it and lose some weight - I know that needs to be done - so I'm thinking about the low carb diet - it's fairly rigid. Presently I'm just really trying to watch what I eat and cut back size of meals etc.

Well that's about it from me - I have been pretty busy recently and hadn't had time to put anything down in this journal so I guess those who read it occasionally will now be caught up with all of my comings and goings.

Till next time - Blessings!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


My sampler that is! I really have been pretty slack in the cross stitch area of late but I am also a bit disillusioned with this piece as well. I was so enthusiastic at first to get it started – I loved the pattern and the colours – but I find the Water Color thread so heavy to pull through on the return part of the stitch that it’s become a rather laborious task. I just wish I had tried a piece first in these threads to get a feel of them. If I had, I probably wouldn’t have used them on this larger piece but would have chosen matching threads in cotton floss.

Oh well, too late for that now – I either finish it – or leave it as is – then nothing would be achieved. It probably will look OK finished and framed but at the rate I’m going, it may be a long time before that happens. Meantime, I’m occupying my time with scrapbooking, much smaller cross stitch projects and re-decorating in one of our bedrooms. Not sure which is the most tedious – probably I’d have to say stripping the wallpaper. But somehow I think the redecorating will be finished far sooner than the sampler!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Whilst ratting around in my stitching bin (a big plastic tub with a lid which I keep in the garage storage) I came across a piece I had started – oh I think probably about 10 years ago – give or take a month or two. I must say though in my own defence that I had done a couple of stitches on it about a year ago to complete the two figures, but it had been relegated to the bin when other things took over my spare time and I decided that one day it would come out again and be finished. I felt quite ashamed of myself that it had been hanging around unfinished for so long – but then I have to admit too, that I really didn’t know what I was going to do with it. I think now I should finish it and probably make a wall hanging from it.

However during all of this mulling over how long and what will it be, I began thinking of the actual pattern and found it amongst other bits and pieces in another bag. It was one by ‘The Crafty Scot’ – a woman who designed and sold her own patterns particularly with a Scottish tartan flavour. She was in Greenville, South Carolina. I really love anything tartan and when I saw these patterns advertised (again, can’t remember where) I ordered a couple in the names of our family tartans. I think the patterns are very clever and truly reflect the clan tartans. I’ve tried to find out whether this lady is still in operation – I remember sending an email message to her addie a long time ago but never received a reply.

Maybe if there’s anyone out there in blogland reading this who is ‘into’ cross stitching, they might know of this lady and her patterns. I’d really be pleased to find out whether she is still in business. I have an idea I’d like to add a couple of scotch thistles to the piece and she may just have a good pattern. Here’s hoping!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Well I think it was! I had been spending time with my mother who lives in another country not too far away over the Tasman. About 6 months ago (after gentle nagging persuasion from family members) she finally decided (at nearly 89) that she should have her hearing tested. This resulted in hearing aids to the tune of $3,600! Now being the very proud person that she is, (she doesn’t really need these aids you know!) she takes them out often and especially when talking on the telephone.

I saw her fossicking around, moving items, photographs, ornaments and wondered why – until she ‘fessed up’ that she had mislaid the aids. Both of us then back-tracked, trying to think of everything she had done the previous afternoon. We even went through pockets of clothing she had been wearing, hopeful that they may have been lodged there. While talking on the ‘phone to a friend she had removed them from her ears and had them in her hand. Obviously put them down somewhere after that – but where?? I certainly hadn’t spotted them anywhere that day.

It was no good! They simply were nowhere to be found. Downstairs, upstairs, both of us trailing into different parts of the house, trying to imagine exactly where they might have been put. Feeling concerned I traipsed down the stairs one more time, fearing now they might have dropped into some boxes of used goods we had delivered to the local op shop that morning, or even into the rubbish and on my way said a little prayer to the Lord, asking Him to show us where they might be. Looking again in places that had already been looked in downstairs I heard a shout from above.

“I’ve found them!!” I raced up the stairs. Puffed, I gasped “where were they?” Apparently mum had leaned over the sofa to put something on a small table nearby and had obviously placed the aids on the seat. That morning I had moved cushions onto that very spot but never saw them. Why didn’t we see them while we had searched almost every part of that room?

Of course we were both so relieved that they had ‘come to light’ but on reflection, I realised it had only been a very short while since I’d verbalized my prayer. I believe firmly that this was an answer to a very simple prayer – but one which was a timely reminder of my reliance on Him - in every situation.

Monday, January 28, 2008


It’s absolutely years since I made tomato relish – sounds so old fashioned these days of ‘ready made supermarket fare’ but since my tomato plants have been producing heaps of fruit I decided to drag out the old recipe book. The measurements were in pounds and ounces – and that was superseded by decimal here around the mid 1960’s so it took a bit of working out how much of what I needed.

I had been skinning and freezing the excess fruit for a little while so part of the recipe was technically not going to be correct but I decided to try out ‘my’ version anyway and see how it turned out.

Tomatoes and onions, sugar, vinegar, mustard, curry powder and plain flour are really all there is to it. Boiled for 30 minutes then put into sterilized jars. It tasted good to me and was pretty much like my mother in law made so long ago when every good housewife made her own sauces and preserved fruit and vegetables to stand the family in good stead throughout the long winter months when the fresh stuff wouldn’t be available.

Gave a couple of jars each to my K35 and C41 for their families to try. K35 was amazed after trying it and proceeded to consume nearly half a jar spread on bread and margarine. Boy, have I let myself in for something here? Although store purchased stuff is OK, the home made variety certainly beats it hands down!

Friday, January 18, 2008


My birthday! It’s turned out a wet day, but blissfully cool - not at all usual for this time of the year here.
Birthdays bring with them the fact of having to face up to being another year older – and there’s nothing we can do about it! Would I want to? Sometimes I’ve heard others say (and have occasionally said it myself) I’d like to be a younger age but know all I know now. But that in itself would also bring it’s own problems wouldn’t it?

I think I’ll just be satisfied and try to resign myself to the fact that I’m no spring chicken any longer – in fact getting to the time of life when one could easily say I’m nearer the ‘old boiler’ end of the scale. Birthdays are a great time to reflect on the past and what life has brought us. For me, the good times far outweigh the not so good. Family, friends, home, health, enough to eat, clothing, shelter… enough there alone to reflect on just how good. And another good thing – I won’t turn 66 officially until 10pm tonight so I can spend the whole day knowing that I’m still only 65!

Friday, January 04, 2008


Have you ever watched those iridescent shimmering spheres we call bubbles, float heavenward as the reflected sunlight sparkles and catches your eyes until at last they burst, sometimes high in the sky?

As I watched E4 and L2 ‘shooting’ the globby liquid into the air making dozens of them with their clacking, whirring bubble machines, I became almost mesmerized by their absolute beauty as the fragile rainbow colours swirled into space. I could have stayed there for longer, just watching – but alas, their joy was not in the beauty of them, but seeing how many ‘tricks’ they could perform while jumping, running and crouching, shooting the air.

I have to admit to ‘having a go’ myself after they had gone home and taking a few shots simply to see how they looked. One day when the air is still, I plan to do it again. I find it fascinating.