Friday, November 6, 2009

Long Time.....some news

(Image courtesy of

How does one start a blog post after an absence of 3 months. Hmmm....

I am officially reinvigorated about blogging. Browsing through my Persephone Biannual which arrived on Monday I got to the 'Our Bloggers Write' page. There was a post from Simon (of Stuck in a Book) at the top of the second column, oh and down at the bottom a post from little old me. That was the point I let out the yelp that made my husband jump and ask what was wrong. You see, if you actually were one to check the statistics on my archive page you would notice I have posted just 11 times this year. Shame cries the gallery! So for an excerpt from those slim pickings to make the pages of the Persphone Biannual I was pretty chuffed!

Trouble is I don't have many books to write about at present. We have a wonderful blessing on its way (due mid April 2010). We are so happy and all seems to be well with the little one - it was so cute when we had a scan a while back; it was bouncing! But, the little darling has been making Mummy rather sick for the last few months and reading on the train has definitely not been a possibility!

But, I have been officially nausea free for 6 days and counting (it probably has something to do with the fact that I finally got a script from the Obs for anti-nausea medication - and Murphy's law would say once you fill said script, the nausea will stop).

So I am reading once again, Persephone books as it happens. Reviews on "The Making of a Marchioness" and "Greenery Street" to come shortly.
Very little crafting has been done by yours truly, but lots of knitting being done for baby by others. Much of that is now sitting in our cradle awaiting the little one's arrival, so perhaps I can show that off over the coming weeks. And there is the possibility, with the bloom of my middle pregnancy I might slowly get my crafting mojo back and do some myself. First thing to tackle, though, is the pile of mending sitting by the sewing machine. One does need a clean slate to work:)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wow! The months fly by...

Wow! It is a long time since I last posted. Was it really back in May? My, how time flies! Looking back there does not seem to be much of significance to report. I have been doing the usual working, sight-seeing, reading and cooking. Not actually much sewing happening at all. This winter has been all about knitting and I am mightly slow at it! Best of all DH has been home all the time, which probably plays the greatest part in explaining my absence.

So what's happening?

I'm currently listening to........the the Simpsons which my husband is watching and the rain beating down on the roof.

I'm currently reading....Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford, having just finished Angel by Elizabeth Taylor.

The last movie I saw.....was Harry Potter - it was so good.

I can smell.....dinner cooking in the slow cooker - hearty beef stew. We haven't made the recipe before so hoping for the best. We had a bit of a disaster week of food a week or so back and DH is still complaining about being starved.

The best meal we have had of turkish lamb pizza, it was such an easy recipe. I should post it.

Waiting for our new bed.....we put an order in for a beautiful sleigh bed by a custom furniture company and it is now a month overdue. I hope it is worth it.

Today.....I had the day off work! Yay - I so could be a stay at home wife! I did my ballet exam this morning, lunched with DH at a Thai restaurant - a brilliant thai yellow vege curry - and then a quiet afternoon at home.

Tonight....watching the final episode of Grand Designs for this season. DH and I love the show. We like to watch for ideas we would like to implement in our own future home.

Next year....we are on the move again. Another posting, another state.....this time Queensland. We will be living in a town about two and a half hours out of the capital city Brisbane. I will have to start the job hunt all over again! This time it will be much more challenging.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What Ya Readin': Miss Buncle's Book

I can not heap sufficient praise upon Miss Buncle's Book. I rarely sit down and read a book through these days, but that is precisely what I did with Miss Buncle's Book. Miss Buncle's Book was belatedly added to the list of Persephone books I wanted for my birthday. My birthday treat was going to Persephone's shop to purchase some of the books I have been coveting for a while.

Miss Buncle is dealing with declining returns from her investments and must find a new source of income. She decides to write a book. She bases it on her experience of village life with very clear characterisations of a number of her villages dominant personas.

Upon publication there are ructions in the village as people take offence at how they are portrayed. They are determined to unclover the writer - but Miss Buncle is too innocuous to be suspected. The extremes the villagers go to to get a confession are hillarious.

Please, please get a copy if you can. Yvonne was in raptures too! And, she brought to my attention that Bloomsbury are republishing Mrs Tim of the Regiment later in the year. I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Anzac Day

Anzac day was Saturday and we had a very busy day. We got up at 4:30am to go to the dawn service and then DH participated in an event at a local Returned Servicemen's League (RSL). For non-Australians, Anzac day is kind of like Veteran's Day or Rememberance Day.

I heard this song a couple of months ago at an army band event and I thought it was appropriate to post it around Anzac Day. For any Melbourne people, the Defence Force School of Music has free twilight concerts during the summer months. They are a lot of fun and really worth going to.
Anyway at the last concert we went to, the band performed the song "Poster Girl" by Beccy Cole, and I was almost in tears. It has a really beautiful message.

Beccy went to entertain the troops in middle east a couple of years ago, and some of her fans rejected her because of it. She wrote the song Poster Girl in response.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What Ya' Readin: 'Cold Comfort Farm'

Initially, Cold Comfort Farm rather underwhelmed me. Its tagline as "the comic classic of rural life" and its opening paragraph held so much promise that I set my expectations high.

Cold Comfort Farm is a novel of gentle wit. When Flora Poste's parents die suddenly she is left, at age 20, possessing "every art and grace save that of earning her own living". Despite her Father's reputation as a wealthy man, he turns out to have been a poor one and she is left only a small inheritance. She decides to find a relative to live with who will house her in exchange for "her beautiful eyes and a hundred pounds a year", and whom she will take "in hand, and alter his or her character and mode of living to suit my taste. Then, when it please me, I shall marry".

Flora chooses to live with her peculiar extended relatives, the Starkadders. The Starkadders are in possession of a large farm in Sussex. They are ruled over by the tyrannical Aunt Ada Doom and the religiously fevoured Amos. Slowly, Flora either reforms or dispenses with each of the farm's residents. She does it with such poise and, seemingly, such little premeditation that one can't help but be impressed.

Stella Gibbon's Cold Comfort Farm is somewhat Austenesque in its humour and, I now believe, holds a well earned place in the affection of its many readers' hearts some 80 years after its first publication.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On weekend crafting

I finally got around to do some weekend sewing. You may remember this skirt. Well, it never looked any good on me, rather like a potato sack in fact, and so it had just hung in the wardrobe since I made it. So I decided to cut it up and turn it into these.

I don't actually have a baby to give it to, but I am sure one will turn up eventually! They are designed to fit a 6-12 month old. The pattern is from volume 1 of Sew Hip!, the new UK sewing magazine.

Since these only took me 15 minutes from wo to go I can see more going into the present cupboard in the near future.

On Wearing Red with Pride

I had plans for a different post this evening, but then I received this email from one of our military friends. I thought it was worth posting for wider circulation. I think it has a particularly relevant message given the two Australian soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan last week.

"Last week I was in Melbourne attending a conference.

While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer.

I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their uniforms, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red blooded Australian who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work, and enjoy our home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers.

He knelt down and said 'hi,' the little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.

The young soldier didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy.

Suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughters name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Corporal and had been in Afghanistan for 5 months now.

As the mum was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mum was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second.

Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie.

They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.'

He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a Kiss on the cheek.

He finished by saying 'Your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'

The mum at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mum.

I was standing no more than 6 feet away as this entire event unfolded.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause.

As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own.
That young soldier in one last act of moment turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices.

At the end of the day, it's good to be an Australian.


Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday.

The reason?

Australian's who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'.

We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for Country and home in record breaking numbers.

We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.

We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions..

Many Australian's, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Australia supports our troops.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that every Australian who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Australia on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football team

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family, It will not be long before Australia is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is...'We need your support and your prayers'.

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.

Lest we Forget."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Ya Readin': 'Resistance'

After seeing Elaine recommend 'Resistance' by Agnes Humbert on her blog I rushed to my book shelf to pull off my copy and discovered that though I had a book of the same title, it had a different author. Undeterred, I set about reading 'Resistance' by Owen Sheers.

The premise of the novel is that in late 1944 the Germans have successfully invaded England. In a remote Welsh valley, not long after, all the men disappear in a single night. Without any knowledge of their menfolk's safety or whereabouts the women are left to cope with running their farms.

Some weeks later a single German patrol of six men comes to the valley. They have been sent by the SS Command to recover a map. When winter comes suddenly, cutting off the valley from the outside world, the Germans and villagers must negotiate an uneasy truce to ensure their survival.

Owen Sheers has created a convincing story line. Both his German characters and the Welsh women are portrayed with compassion. Both sides are tired of the war and in their isolation their common humanity overcomes their countries' equinimity.

Owen Sheers' Resistance is a vivid and compelling novel. As a first novel, it offers a tantalising glimpse of what Owen Sheers' may come to offer as a novelist.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

On going to the ballet

Yesterday we ventured into the city to go to the ballet. It wa a stinking hot day. What I am noticing about Melbourne weather is that it goes from one extreme to another in the space of just days.

We started off the day with a visit to a few of our favourite bookshops.....Reader's Feast, Hill of Content, and The Paperback Bookshop. I was very restrained and didn't buy anything, though I added to my 'to read' list. DH was not so stoic, he succumbed to a Penguin Book of Classical Myths. I understand, however, that he has had his eye on it for a while.

We lunched at Noodle Kingdom which does just beautiful noodle soups. Afterwards we wandered over to Pelligrini's - that Melbournian institution - for a granita. So good!

Then it was down to the state theatre after that to watch the Australian ballet perform Firebird and other Legends. This production is the ballet's annual tribute to the works of the Ballet Russes. You can see pictures from the production here.

The first ballet was 'Les Sylphides'. I love Chopin's music and this ballet is so soothing to the spririt. The fluidity of the ballet dancers truly belied the techinical complexity of Fokine's coreography.

We have a painting of scene from Les Sylphides on the wall. My Grandma painted it. Last year we had one of our friend's from church over. In her late teens she danced with the Dresden ballet in Germany. She was looking at our painting and said "oh, is that Les Sylphides". We had to check the back of it to find out, as I had never thought to look before. And she was correct, she knew the coreography so well she could tell just by looking!

Next was Petrouchka. Again, coreography by Mikhael Fokine. This was a complete contrast to Les Sylphides as the set, costumes and coreography are bright and colourful. I was particularly taken with the portrayal of the Moor, which at our performance was danced by Luke Ingham. I have been inspired to make a quilt based on the colour's of the Moor's compartment. The set used a colour combination I had never thought of as 'going' but it really worked - red, deep purple, lilac, green and dark blue.

Finally, Firebird was performed. This time Graeme Murphy had reworked the story and coreography. I don't know the traditional coreography so I can't comment on the contrast, but I enjoyed it very much. The chorus - the enslaved - danced in shells in the first act and the dancing of the firebird by Reiko Hombo was just superb.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

On a wet and rainy weekend

Last weekend we had a bit of change of weather here in Melbourne. It was very wet and rainy. Nothing like some nice lemony goodness to cheer you up in that sort of weather. So, I baked a lemon cake out of the excellent Gentle Art of Domesticity. Jane's blog Yarnstorm -which I see has moved urls recently - is also excellent for wiping away the damp day blues.

And, in the spirit of the French film festival which is on in Melbourne at the moment we watched some French films which one of my friend's at work had lent me. Both starred Daniel Auteuil who is wickedly comic. My favourite was The Closet. In The Closet Daniel's character is facing dismissal from his job and attempting to commit suicide when his crusty, ex-lawyer, neighbour convinces that he can not be fired if pretends he is gay. The other film we watched was The Valet which was also good. Unknowingly, until I checked his screen appearances on IMDB, I had actually seen Auteuil previously in My Best Friend , a film which I can highly recommend.

And well, Monty found the weather a little lowering to the spirits and thought the day was best just dozed away!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On Being Connected at Last

Finally....we are connected to the internet. It only took Iprimus two months to work out what our connectivity problem was. Turns out they had failed to put the correct codes on the line. Oh well, alls well that ends well! Now I have to go back and complain that we have been charged for two month's connection when we, um, didn't have it.

I had grand plans to post pictures of some weekend cooking tonight but DH is on duty at the base until tomorrow morning and I can't work out what cord goes with the new camera. So, photos will have to wait for tomorrow night.

What to post on....

How about some fantastic Australian blogs I have recently found....ok by recently I mean last November, but anyway. Here they are full of crafty and sustainable living goodness. I get so inspired when I read these kind of blogs and I am always excited to find blogs being kept by other Australians. Two of these bloggers are even Melbournians.

Down to Earth
Blue Bird Makes Her Nest
Pigeon Pair

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On being in Melbourne

I have been meaning to write for some time now but, frustratingly, almost three weeks after moving into our new home our telephone provider still has not managed to set up our internet connection. I am writing this brief post in a lunch break at work.

We had a lovely time in Europe. Berlin and Turkey were particular highlights.

For now, I just wanted to let you know that I am still around and intend to come back!
Some of you may have seen the coverage about the Victorian bushfires. Though I am a newcomer to Victoria, it is evident that this is a state in shock and mourning. Even for those of us who have not lost family, friends or property, these past few days have been very sobering.

Saturday was the hottest day on record for Victoria - clocking in at 46.4 degrees celsius (116 farenheit). The extreme temperatures fuelled bushfires, the ferocity of which Australia has not seen before. At this stage, the death toll stands at 181 (though this is expected to to rise to as much as 300) and more than 750 homes have been destroyed. It is Australia's worst natural disaster.

There are still 25 fire fronts burning, and fire crews and police have not yet been able to reach the worst affected area. The army has even been called in - there was some amazing footage the other night of armoured vehicles rolling down country streets. And, because we have already had panicked calls from England - no DH is not out there.

We are safe where we our house is. On Saturday night we could see the red glow of the fire over the (not too) distant hills in front of our place. There are water bombing helicopters going over pretty regularly too. Now though, the fires of most concern are in the north of the state. Fire fighting reinforcements have arrived from interstate and I believe there are 35 fire-fighters coming over from the US. The Prime Minister has taken condolence calls from all over the world including the Queen and the US and Russian Presidents.

It is a surreal experience to have a disaster affecting so many around you, and not be able to do anything much. At this stage, I think all that can be done is to pray for those affected and donate money to the Red Cross appeal. A work colleague and I had planned to donate blood today but the Red Cross has been so overwhelmed with donors, that they have asked people to delay doing so until the coming weeks. They reminded us that burns victims will need blood products in their treatment for many months to come - and the blood donations will need to be sustained over that period.

It is indeed a very sad time for Australia.