Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A day (or five) in the life...

This morning 'by the river' on my walk...
on a clear day...

On Saturday, after the library and my coffee...

I baked a fruit cake...

Here's the recipe...

Notes: I only used 3/4 cup of brown sugar.  A mix of the following flours - white, wholemeal, spelt, buckwheat, almond meal. And spices - mixed spice, allspice, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg.

And being the weak willed woman that I am, I succumbed to the temptation to knit up my op shop find wool.  Using this vest pattern (having previously used it to knit a vest for Marnie and Hayley) but doing it in 3x rib this time...

And reading The Good Women of China.  Definitely not a bedtime read.  The (true) stories are heart-wrenching and amazing...
I read chapter 5 (The Mothers Who Endured an Earthquake) before bed last night and then couldn't sleep for thinking about what these women (and their children) went through.

Today is beautiful and sunny, but we had rain the previous couple of days and everything is

I had headaches Monday and Tuesday (due to a low pressure weather system going through) and was in 'go slow' mode, but today all is well and I'm catching up with things...

Washed my car
De-spidered the garage
Did a 'stock up' supermarket shop
A trip to the post office, and my back issues of Grass Roots magazine I had ordered arrived...
so I got to browse them while I had my coffee today

But now, I've gotta get out and mow those lawns :)


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Weekend Words

From The Shadow Girls by Henning Mankell:

I don’t know what made me survive when the boat was smashed against the rocks and desperate people down in the hold were clawing and tearing their way out. But I know that the bridge that we thought we all saw as we stood on the beach in the northernmost part of Africa, that continent we were fleeing and already mourning, that bridge will one day be built. It will be built, if only because the mountains of corpses pressed together on the bottom of the ocean will one day rise above the sea like a new country and a bridge of skulls and bones will form the bridge that no one, no guards, dogs, drunk sailors, or smugglers will be able to topple. Only then will this cruel insanity come to a stop, these anxious flocks of people who are driven on in desperation only to end up living their lives in the underworld, becoming the cavemen of modern times.

I survived, I was not consumed by the sea and the betrayal, cowardice and greed. I met a man who held a palm frond in his hand and said that there were people in this land who wanted to hear my story and who would let me stay. But I have never met these people. I have given everyone my smile but what do I get in return? I thought he would be here to greet me, but no one greeted me. And perhaps I will be obliterated. But I think I am stronger than the grey light that wants to render me invisible. I continue to exist even though I am not allowed to exist, I am seen although I live in the shadow world.”
(the words of Tea-Bag, one of the ‘shadow girls’)

Henning Mankell never disappoints. This time he brings to us the plight of the refugee/illegal immigrant. Whether it is one of his crime series or a stand alone book, there is always that undercurrent of social conscience. I don’t know what it is about the way he writes that draws me to his books. Perhaps it is that he says enough to set the scene/facts/scenario, but doesn’t interpret. He leaves that for the reader, encourages us to think, imagine, explore, and perhaps, rather than just reading and forgetting, to go on and make a difference, even in the smallest way. And this book was written in 2001, but still the injustices continue.

I urge you to read this book...and remember…


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

a mixed bag

Where to start.

Maybe in chronological order...

Friday - had a visit from Becky and John...

They live in the US and made contact via my blog seeking information about 
Mennonite churches in Australia.  I passed on info and contacts and we continued to email and as they were travelling in Tasmania, they came to visit.  It was nice to meet them 'in person'.  Oh...and they loved Tasmania!!

Saturday - did my usual morning wander to library and op shops, and picked up this bargain at the Salvo's...

This beautiful GREY!! (my colour) wool from the Faroe Islands.  There were only 6 balls ($1 a ball...bargain!) but should be enough to knit a vest/sleeveless pullover.
The yarn is a mix of Faroese wool, Shetland wool and Australian lambswool.  And I found their website:  Beautiful yarn and knitwear.

But...I have to finish my cardigan first.  Right??  Back and two sleeves done...

Maybe I could knit up a sample of the new yarn, just to see how it goes... ??

Sunday - at church we had a young lady from the south of the state come and sing, play the harp, and speak...

And in the afternoon I took a stroll by the river...

 The trees are greening...

And the ducks are...
doing what ducks do...which is...not much!

Monday - some of us have work to do, but these guys, over my back fence, were taking it easy...

Tuesday - cleanings window so I can enjoy the view...
 from my bedroom window

and from my lounge room window

Wednesday - It's raining!!  So I can take a break from the garden and catch up with emails and letters.

But first...



Sunday, October 14, 2018

Weekend Words

Song Of The Mystic - Poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

I walk down the Valley of Silence —
Down the dim, voiceless valley — alone!
And I hear not the fall of a footstep
Around me, save God's and my own;
And the hush of my heart is as holy
As hovers where angels have flown!

Long ago was I weary of voices
Whose music my heart could not win;
Long ago was I weary of noises
That fretted my soul with their din;
Long ago was I weary of places
Where I met but the human — and sin.

I walked in the world with the worldly;
I craved what the world never gave;
And I said: 'In the world each Ideal,
That shines like a star on life's wave,
Is wrecked on the shores of the Real,
And sleeps like a dream in a grave.'

And still did I pine for the Perfect,
And still found the False with the True;
I sought 'mid the Human for Heaven,
But caught a mere glimpse of its Blue:
And I wept when the clouds of the Mortal
Veiled even that glimpse from my view.

And I toiled on, heart-tired, of the Human,
And I moaned 'mid the mazes of men,
Till I knelt, long ago, at an altar
And I heard a voice call me:— since then
I walk down the Valley of Silence
That lies far beyond mortal ken.

Do you ask what I found in the Valley?
'Tis my Trysting Place with the Divine.
And I fell at the feet of the Holy,
And above me a voice said: 'Be mine.'
And there arose from the depths of my spirit
An echo — 'My heart shall be Thine.'

Do you ask how I live in the Valley?
I weep — and I dream — and I pray.
But my tears are as sweet as the dewdrops
That fall on the roses in May;
And my prayer, like a perfume from censers,
Ascendeth to God night and day.

In the hush of the Valley of Silence
I dream all the songs that I sing;
And the music floats down the dim Valley,
Till each finds a word for a wing,
That to hearts, like the Dove of the Deluge,
A message of Peace they may bring.

But far on the deep there are billows
That never shall break on the beach;
And I have heard songs in the Silence
That never shall float into speech;
And I have had dreams in the Valley,
Too lofty for language to reach.

And I have seen Thoughts in the Valley —
Ah! me, how my spirit was stirred!
And they wear holy veils on their faces,
Their footsteps can scarcely be heard:
They pass through the Valley like Virgins,
Too pure for the touch of a word!

Do you ask me the place of the Valley,
Ye hearts that are harrowed by Care?
It lieth afar between mountains,
And God and His angels are there:
And one is the dark mount of Sorrow,
And one the bright mountain of Prayer!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Babies, Books and Baking

Granddaughter Hazel is off to a good start with some of her book collection...

And I've almost finished reading Sky Burial...
such an interesting read 

 Looking forward to starting Buy Me the Sky next.  Had not read any Xinran previously, but really enjoying her writing.  And just to clarify, when I said I don't like romance stories (in a previous post), I still don't, but this is a (true) love story, and that's different...

And I love Xinran's dedication to her husband in the book: 

"...who knows how to share love and experience and space and silence"   

Such a great combination!!

Also been baking...
 Rhubarb Loaf

Here's the recipe:

Rhubarb Loaf


  • 1 cup (250ml) milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup extra brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 20g butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 170 C. Lightly grease two 23cm x12cm loaf tins.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together milk, lemon juice and vanilla essence. Stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, oil and egg. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda, stir into sugar mixture alternately with the milk mixture just until combined.
  4. Fold in rhubarb and nuts. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pans.
  5. In a small bowl, combine extra brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the unbaked loaves.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, until a fine skewer inserted into centre of a loaf comes out clean.

(Notes:  I only used 1 cup of sugar in cake, and may go even less next time.  Substituted some of the white flour with wholemeal, spelt, buckwheat and almond meal. Substituted some of the cinnamon with cardamom, allspice, mixed spice.  I found the 20g of melted butter for the topping too much as it wouldn't 'sprinkle', but just 'clumped', so next time I'll either use less butter or just brush the top of the cooked cake (while still hot from the oven) with melted butter, and then sprinkle with spices and sugar. And I cooked it in one large baking dish rather than the two small.)  The original recipe is HERE  if you want to take a look.

delicious dusted with icing sugar, and a cup of tea

Don't blame me if you can't stop eating it!!


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Weekend Words

I shall know by the gleam and glitter
Of the golden chain you wear,
By your heart's calm strength in loving,
Of the fire you have had to bear.
Beat on, true heart, forever;
Shine bright, strong golden chain;
And bless the cleansing fire
And the furnace of living pain!

--Adelaide Proctor

Hold on, my heart, in your believing-
Only the steadfast wins the crown;
He who, when stormy winds are heaving,
Parts with his anchor, will go down;
But he who Jesus holds through all,
Will stand, though heaven and earth should fall.

Hold on! An end will come to sorrow;
Hope from the dust will conquering rise;
The storm foretells a summer's morrow;
The Cross points on to Paradise;

The Father reigns!  So cease all doubt;
Hold on my heart.  Hold on, hold out.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Home and Yarn Along

Just back from a week up north (Gold Coast, Queensland), meeting my new granddaughter.  We did a few walks around the area they live, and took a quick trip to the beach (it was quite windy)...
Hazel (2 months), Ben, Hayley

Looking north to Surfer's Paradise...
doesn't look much like paradise to me with all those high rise buildings

And south to Burleigh Heads...
more my style...(almost) no people :))

Also got to catch up with my 2 brothers (and sister in law), who I haven't seen for about 8 years...
Malcolm, Lyn, Bob

The flights up and back were quite eventful with delays and flight changes.  Flew up with Virgin (only? a 3 hour delay), and back with Qantas (major drama!) with delays, airline changes, being put on a wait list (even though I had booked and paid for my fare weeks in advance), and then hours later being put on their budget airline (Jetstar), because apparently it's a common practice to double book and then hope everyone doesn't show up!!!  We've filed an official complaint with Qantas, and I definitely would not be recommending them to others.

Despite the hassles, it's all good travel practice for when I venture further afield :)

AND's nice to be back home!  While I was away Spring arrived in earnest…

My Greengage plum tree was bare when I left...
and now it's covered in blossoms

 so pretty...

And my little apple tree is budding...
it's only 2 years old

The forget me nots are flowering...

As is my Bay tree...
I didn't even know they got flowers??

Oh my goodness...this is getting so long I'm going to take a coffee break...
and browse the latest Grass Roots and Aust. Country Style


And because one has to eat, I've made a Shepherd's Pie, which should do me for a few days...

And for YARN ALONG...

Have had this blanket finished for Wrap with Love for a few weeks...must get it in the mail to them tomorrow.

Finished reading Wild Fire while I was away.  Really enjoyed it and had no idea who the killer was until they told me (maybe I'm just slow?), but I was a bit disappointed with the final (happy) ending for Jimmy Perez. (Ooops...maybe I shouldn't have told you!)  And they all lived happily ever after...  I prefer endings that leave you a bit up in the air about the romantic/relationship outcome.  It's not a romance (thankfully),  but there is an undercurrent.  I guess the author had to tie in the loose emotional ends because apparently this is the last book in the Shetland series :(

I'm still knitting my cardigan (back and one sleeve done and onto second sleeve)…

Might start reading this Henning Mankell book I have, unless I find something inspiring at the library this afternoon.

And listening to Passenger. can breath a sigh of relief...I'm done!!

See...this is what happens when I go away for a week :)))