Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas decorating day 4

It's been a busy few days ... and hot ... and the FMS is giving me jip at the moment so progress hasn't been what you'd deem spectacular but I am definitely making headway.
First step after dragging stuff down from the shed is always putting away enough bits and bobs [ mostly blue ones ] to make room for the seasonal stuff. The easiest way to handle this is to put it all into the boxes the chrissie stuff was in and then I can find it when the Great Takedown is on... brilliant... n'est-ce pas? Of course, this means I have to take all the seasonal stuff out of all the boxes before I do anything else, but no system is perfect :]

Three of the trees have been located and put together.
This is an interesting operation all on its own. They used to each reside in their own box but to facilitate The Move, several of them were packed into one big box. It was the right thing to do move-wise but I miss those nice, neat, easily identifiable boxes. They said things like 4' cypress or 150cm Christmas Cashmere Pine. I knew which was what.
Now I just have a jumble of bits that need to be matched up. Does this top go with that bottom? and which stand fits which tree?
I live in the probably vain hope that one day I will find a stack of appropriate discarded long skinny boxes by the side of the road.
Not all the trees are up yet...Just the ones in the rumpus room, the kitchen and my bedroom. The main tree is still in its box. I don't remember the one in my bedroom being so big. Have I swapped it for the kitchen one? Nope... don't think so. That one looks about right. Hang a half a dozen things on the kitchen tree and decide that decorating them can wait till the weekend.
Refer back to last year's copious photos. Realise that I missed several salient spots while taking multiple almost identical ones of the living room. Bugger.
Okay. Where are we.?
Outside...ground level lights up and all the verandah stuff in place. Still looking for a 'volunteer' to climb up and do the fairy lights. Need to find the timers in the shed.
Rumpus room... done except for decorating the tree.
Kitchen...done except for decorating the tree and the 9' pine swags [2]
Diningroom / studio [anyone else's livingroom ] ... still a long way to go
My bedroom ... done except for the tree decorations
The normally neat and tidy spare room ... major disaster area: I've disembowelled the storage chest and provided mouth-to-mouth for a hug of suffocated teddies. Gotta find somewhere else to store them. They can't breathe in there.
Ok that's it:
I'd show you more photos but Blogger is misbehaving and it's taken a while to get THESE up.

Today's Christmas decorating hints:

Things don't need to have trees or reindeer on them to be christmassy. Think about those supplies that you would be buying anyway. Can you buy them in colours that will add to the festive air ? ... hunter green, burgundy, county reds, cream, gold and silver all work

  • Paper serviettes/ napkins , and paper plates ... I buy plain burgundy or hunter green.
  • Even if you don't have seasonal china, most of us have some of that ubiquitous plain white stuff. Team it with burgundy or hunter green napiery for instant christmas appeal.
  • Think about using christmas themed coffee mugs throughout december. Quite a few of mine came from the Op Shop at an average price of 50c.
  • Drag out the inherited silver and crystal. Even if you don't usually use it, grouped together on a sideboard it will add to the festive air.
  • Forward planning for next year... if you are purchasing new towels, throw pillows, etc, ask yourself whether green [ hunter or mint] burgundy or cream can fit in with your plans.
  • After christmas buy up the largest sizes of decorated gift boxes when they're on sale and use them for storage. When December arrives and the supplies come out, pile the boxes under the tree until the presents are wrapped or pile them artfully in a bare corner.
  • small inexpensive touches can make a huge difference ... I change the teatowels, handtowel, bathtowels and bathmats for cheap seasonal ones and/or plain dark green. My bedlinen is burgundy or mint anyway so I'm ahead there.
  • save and display your favourite christmas cards from years past.
  • If it sits still, tie a big burgundy or christmas plaid bow on it! Lightfittings, soft toys, ornaments ... I once threatened to decorate the 6'7" tall Irishman who was boarding with us but he moved too fast! Even the cats get bows or curly ribbon. They condescend enough to allow me this one yearly indulgence on the understanding that I will pay for it later. There will need to be substantial offerings to the gods of food.

Oakley knows I'm writing about him ... he has just removed his ribbon and bell and given them a vengeful bite while making sure that I was watching him!

Monday, November 27, 2006

it's 4 weeks till christmas ... you may now proceed to panic!

Day 1 of Christmas decorating is over... I think.
It was over 30 degrees C [ about 90F ] and in my storage shed it would've been well over 40 [ 100] so a large part of today was spent lugging stuff down to the house and then having a little lie down to recover before the next lot...and dusting... there was a lot of dust flying around. This was load number 8.

Now I don't do well in hot weather [ fibromyalgia doesn't help ] but it's my choice to decorate for Christmas. No one made me start today except my self set agenda.
Normally I know exactly where all the christmas boxes are, but the shed is in the middle of a major reorganisation. Spiffy new shelving has been acquired. It will be a model of neatness and a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-placeness... but not at the moment. Anyway, at this point, all the boxes have been located [ I think ] and the verandah stuff is in place. I have staked out the ground level fairy lights... still hoping to con someone into climbing up a ladder and doing the rest :] Not sure who, but I didn't have lights the last two years and I'm determined to have them this year.
the rumpus room is substantially done ...except for the 2nd tree ...and the swags ...
and about 80 santas.
The christmas quilts are mostly piled up in the living room and the cats are helping: Oakley is providing the quilts with extra insulating properties by covering them in a thick layer of long ginger fluff and Sophie is wrestling several xmas trees and swags into submission just in case they look like making a mass break for freedom and the great outdoors. No one can accuse Ms Sophie of not helping the annual Christmas decorating effort.
The coffee mugs have been swapped for the xmas ones but the chrissie china is still up the top of the pantry. I don't get it down and into service until Dec 1.
The rest looks like a bomb site but that's normal at this stage
I take reference photos every year so that I have an idea of where to put most of it but of course nothing is static. There are new purchases to be fitted in, new quilts on the walls to be worked around. Some of the older stuff that looked ok last january now looks tired and worn out.
All this normally takes a week. Maybe 10 days.

You may have noticed by now that there is a teeny weeny obsessive component to my personality.

Edited later to add:
Went into the kitchen at about midnight to find a seething mass of about a million gazillion ants all over the benches. Now, I have to say, that even though where I live in the bush is inhabited by what seems like just about every known species of ant, I have probably had less than a dozen inside in the two years I've lived up here. Why I don't know. They just don't come inside... until tonight!
My brilliant powers of deductive reasoning are telling me it's gotta be one of the xmas boxes from the shed. So half a can of flyspray later, there are a million gazillion little anty corpses. Guess I'll find out tomorrow if I missed any.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dam it!

It has been a wee bit windy.
I now have about 35 feet of gum tree sitting in the dam. Not actually in the water because the water level is so low, but in the dam nonetheless. It used to be attached to this:

and as you can see, it narrowly missed flattening the pump house. Some of it is sitting on the tin pump house roof but luckily only a small branch otherwise the pump would've been kablooey.
At least I know where some of next year's firewood is coming from.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Simple plan... a three minute performance at the Five Flags Hotel at Open Mike Night. Usual audience ... about three. Add in the spouses of the dancers, there for moral support, and maybe we're up to about a dozen. The crowd in the front bar NEVER bother to come in and see the live musicians. You couldn't prise them away from the pool table with a crowbar. Hell, they don't usually even turn down the juke box.

Ahh, but you see that was before they heard the magic words " belly dancers" Our music started and they appeared from everywhere.
We wiggled, we jiggled, we shook and we shimmied. The teacher totally lost her place and had to improvise because she was so nervous for 'her' girls... and we followed along just fine.
I don't think the drinking population of Campbell's Creek knows what hit them.
I won't go into the mistakes we made ... no one noticed anyway.
We had to do an encore because some of the front bar had missed it... and got our piccy taken for the local rag.
As several people demanded photgraphic proof [ you know who you are ] I DID try to oblige but
my camera decided to be flat despite new batteries. David's Carer popped out to his car and took some piccys with [ shock horror ] a conventional film camera. So you'll have to wait till they're developed I'm afraid.
In the meantime here is one I prepared earlier :]
Yes I know I'm not skinny ... deal with it!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

mainly photos today

Finished and blocked the little baby singlet today after tinking the edging I did yesterday. [tink is "knit' backwards folks. Knitters and quilters alike also use 'frogging' to describe our least favourite task ... rippit, rippit ]
I was about halfway round with the crochet edging when it became horribly obvious that I was going to run out of wool so I stopped, tinked and restarted with the same type of yarn but in cream. This will go into the pile of stuff for Christina's baby shower on Sunday. The pink set was the gift that I made for the guy-next-door's new granddaughter Mikkaela. .. and it really IS that bright.
Haven't started the baby quilt yet but at least I have the design now and once Christina has a look at it on Sunday, then I'll get cracking.
Last night was 'xmas' dinner for the Garden Club so David and I drove to Newstead and partook of dips and turkish bread, turkey, beef [ well he got mine as well] roast veggies, plum pudding for me, brownie slice for dave and coffee or tea. They were quite happy for me to have a pot of the Chai that I usually order there, and wouldn't let me pay the extra. Our corner of the room was quite happy with both the meal [ delicious] the service [ friendly and efficient] and the company [ jovial ] but there was a lot of whingeing from the geriatric brigade in the opposite corner. Why do they have to do that?
The other "highlight" of the evening was the Secretary consuming a few too many bevvies and being perhaps a little too frank in expressing her opinion of our president who had needed to drive a relative down to the airport and so wasn't there. Just what I didn't need was an elderly drunk hanging on my shoulders and ranting in my ear about someone I quite like.
Anyway these photos are the roots of the street tree I was parked next to. The hollows are fascinating .

Tomorrow night is THE performance at the Five Flags... goes for a whole three minutes. Do you think I can manage to loose 10 kilos before tomorrow night? What do you mean " not a hope?"
Ahh well it IS called belly dance after all :]

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


It got to 39C today [ 98F] and there's the smell of bushfires in the air.
No need to panic tho gentle reader ... the smoke is actually travelling from over towards Ballarat. There's a small one burning up the road at Newstead but it's heading the other way. we're fine.
Hot, sweaty and irritable but absolutely fine.

I have a heap of things to write about ...

  • nola's visit last week :]
  • Chris and Maz' visit on the weekend, including the fact that Chris has now got the new tank up the hill all connected up and it has water in it... and as a result, I now have clean drinking water thanks to the filter he installed :]
  • quilt class today and meeting up with one of the scq girls, down on hols from the Blue Mountains :]
  • garden purchases ... irises and bottlebrush mainly :] This iris is called six-pack
  • and this is Honky Tonk Blues
  • the mint green 4 ply [ fingering] baby singlet I started Sunday that I've nearly finished knitting :]
  • The Drs visit yesterday ... BP back down in my boots where it belongs :]
  • That David has mastered jigsaws on the computer :]
  • The completely un-feral hair cut on the way to class this morning :]
  • On the downside, we have the fact that a particularly nasty gust of wind this arvo dropped the car boot on my head ... hard :[

All enthralling stuff I'm sure but I'm hot, tired, sweaty, tired, in pain, tired ... did I mention tired? and hungry ...

and there's just too many things on that list to write a coherent cohesive post. So I won't even try. This is all you get today. I'm sure you'll survive the disappointment somehow.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

friday photos better late than never

Given that I left my camera behind in Castlemaine, these are from Nadie's camera and obviously she's not going to send me dozens of photos in one hit. First we have Nadie and bf Chris. The expression on his face when he saw her all spiffed up was priceless :]

David was a happy boy and the less said about the photo of me the better. I had no idea my hair looked that feral.

Check out the colour coordination ... and Christina was in cyclamen/ magenta and black !

The gorgeous bridal couple: my eldest nephew Michael and his lovely bride, Chrissie.

Daughter in law Christina showing off the bump aka The Peanut who is due in 5 weeks. She actually didn't look anything close to this obviously pregnant without the hands clasped sous-belly. The jacket was both darker and less pink than ther photo.

This is my little Italian ma-in-law, Lydia, with Nadie. Note the Short and Sweet bolero in all its glory. In less than two years there's been four family weddings so now only the two youngest: Nadie and her cousin Adam, are the targets for Nonna's not so subtle hints regarding matrimonial intentions.

guess what I just found out ?

you can't?

there's another catsmum on Blogger [ and she knits too]

You can visit her here

cat graphic

This is really just a fill up post while I wait for Nadie to send me the photos from the wedding we went to on Friday. I finished her "Short and Sweet" bolero just in time for her to wear it and I want to show you how well it fitted and how cute she looked.
Alas, the crochet from yesterday's photo had a short life.
I mean, how is it that a woman with a monumental collection of knitting and crochet paraphenalia didn't have the right size hook? or even one size up or down? I'm testing a pattern for a friend and you know how it is. The directions lobbed into the Inbox and I'd just finished S & S so I wanted to do it NOW. A US size N is a 9mm and the closest I had was a 7mm which is to say, not close at all. Did that deterr me? Not for a second.
As I didn't really know the gauge or dimensions but DID know what the end product should look like, I dived in and at about the point that the photo was taken, decided that I would be better off if I waited until I had something remotely resembling the right size... c'est la vie!
In the meantime [ because heaven forbid that I should have nothing on the needles and I don't feel like knitting Nadie's second alpaca sock ] I've cast on for a singlet for the soon-to-arrive #1 grandson. Baby Lustre yarn in mint green. Size 3mm and 3.25mm vintage casein needles.
Okay. Gotta go sit out on the verandah with my knitting, a cuppa, the kookaburras, the bluewrens and the sunshine ... it's tough but someone has to do it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

picture this

Eight women in a wide variety of sizes and shapes [ and in my case wide is the operative word ] standing in the middle of an empty pub at 10 in the freezing cold and rainy morning arrayed in tiered skirts, harem pants, spangles, sequins, lots of dangly jewellery and veils. Yes, I know, not a pretty picture... what on earth would persuade an otherwise sane group of women to agree to potentially make total fools of themselves in front of god-knows-who?
My bellydance class is going to 'appear' if that's the right word, at open-mike night at one of the many fine drinking establishments here in castlemaine, next Friday night.
Well, it sounded like fun. Why don't we all go to The Five Flags and dance on a Friday night? Good practice for appearing in public, right? In the cold light of day, with the prospect of competing with the crowd in the front bar who refuse to turn off the juke box and a dance floor the size of a pocket handkerchief, we're wondering what the hell we've gotten ourselves into :]
Some are bringing their partners and/or kids, others are equally adamantly NOT.
Now y'see I didn't bother to think twice about it. I've been dancing since I was three ... a potentially drunken pub crowd of a couple of dozen can't be any worse than waiting to go on at a dance comp. in front of hundreds of people... can it?.... tell me we'll be fine ... please...
I have this mental picture of all the diehard boozers in the front bar hearing " bellydancers" and stampeding in with a lascivious glint in every eye, only to get one look at us and stampeding back out again in horror. Could be fun at that!
...and so there we were this morning. We wiggled, we jiggled, we gyrated, we twirled our veils for our audience of one [ the bloke cleaning up from last night who happens to be our teacher's hubby which is why we were able to get the keys to the pub ] and in the process we woke up the publican. She was very enthusuastic and started talking about lebanese theme nights with appropriate menu and us. Stay tuned folks. This could be bigger than Ben Hur.

Edited later to add: well it's been raining all day, cold [ 5 degrees is cold for almost-summer ] and windy but no-one is complaining because we need the rain so desperately. I waited all afternoon hoping for a break so I could walk the rubbish bins down to the road but decided about 4pm to just do it. Of course, it stopped raining five minutes later !!!
This is the latest in the year that I've had to light a fire but then I've only been up here 2 years. Still, all the old-hands are saying this isn't usual... and to think only a couple of weeks ago it was in the high 30s [ nearly 100 F ]

Monday, November 13, 2006

a class, a GTG and a great day out

I'm going to try to compress three days worth of posts into one here in a frantic effort to catch up... oh the giddy whirlwind that is my life. [ Here you kinda need to picture me with my hand draped melodramatically across my forehead ]

Saturday dawns . I'm up bright and early to pack the car for my day-long class in Bendigo, David refuses to get out of bed so the Carer gets landed with breakfast and showering duties. Arrive in Bendigo half an hour before the class with plenty of time to set up , display the quilts, have a cuppa, etc.
One lady is late but we start anyway and she wanders in nearly an hour later ... I'm reliably informed that this is normal. An apology is offered in an offhand way which is really no apology at all. She gets her fair share of attention for the rest of the day but no more than that.
At 11 am we turn on a radio to the ABC and have the obligatory minute's silence for Remembrance Day. The Last Post is played and then, for the minute, all we can hear is the sound of native birds carolling. Such a beautiful peaceful moment.
Back to work.
Of the other 14 in the class, one is very very "high maintenance" ... a relative beginner who doesn't know how much she doesn't know and chooses to do perhaps the most demanding variation of what is on offer. I spend a lot of the day being Saint Susan. She gets as much of my attention as is humanly possible without anyone else missing out. I will be helping her with this one for a while I suspect.
Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. I do too... BUT... it IS hard work and by the time I get in the car for the 45 minute drive home, I become aware that my chest hurts... a lot ... and the migraine meds need topping up.
Saturday night is spent pottering around and doing the bare minimum of housework necessary because I have friends coming Sunday. They really don't care about the pile of washing in the laundry or the size of the ironing pile either, and the house is clean and tidy[ish] so that's enough. Rest of evening spent on Nadie's Short and Sweet bolero. Fronts coming along nicely.

Sunday, and I'm up and at 'em early. Today is a UFO day ... unfinished objects!
The girls who usually arrive at 10 are running late so it's actually a very relaxed start to the day. They mostly arrive just before lunch and we have pumpkin risotto [ my contribution] asparagus quiche, and chicken. I can't have chicken but Luz always brings it because she knows that David LOVES chicken. A new friend, that I know mainly through our Blogs arrives a little later and fits seamlessly into the group. Hi Flick! Today no one is knitting ... all quilting today.
Bugger, I forgot to take photos... but you can see Felicity's project here. Clever little beggar [ and she's giving me an Ashford wheel too... happy dance ]
I sew all of about one inch of a seam on a foundation-pieced goldfish block and finish it after David has gone to bed... but that's about normal for me on a UFO day :]
Everyone heads off about 5 ish and I think we can confidently say a good time was had by all.

Today. All that was on the agenda was coffee with jeanette and a 10.15 am Dr's appointment. He was called up to the hospital so Jeanette and I decided on the spur of the moment to jump in the car and head to Creswick [ 40 minute drive maybe?] We've seen an ad for a new patchwork/wool shop and cafe and thought we'd check it out. Total waste of time. She had about 20 bolts of very ordinary fabric and a small selection of wool. Nice embroidery supplies but not what we were after. The yarn prices were probably quite okay for alpaca blends [ mostly around $10 per 50 gms ] but with Bendigo Woolen Mills Alpaca selling for $16 per 200 gm ball, why would we bother?
Feeling a little put out after braving rain and high winds to get there, we wondered over the road and down to Persephone's Garden. Ahh heaven... A book shop, gallery and cafe specialising in gardening books and botanical artwork. Wonderful devonshire tea... lovely wood fire, comfy couches in the reading area. If I lived locally I think it would become a regular haunt. I could see it being the perfect venue for a SnB group. Nadie,these purchases can be earmarked as from David for birthday and /or Christmas if you like :]
Refreshed, we hit the Creswick Woollen Mills [ mostly finished products: blankets, cushions and offcut pieces of yardage] where I acquired the last gumleaf green QS blanket for myself at very reasonable cost, and we both bought a needle felting kit.
Into the car and back to Daylesford where we stopped at a lovely new shop called Purl's Palace. They've only been open 6 weeks and I realised that I'd seen an ad in Yarn Magazine. Another heavenly place. Noro and Collinette yarn [ in the wilds of Central Victoria... unheard of ] Brittany needles, Japanese kimonos and recycled kimono pieces, japanese bits and bobs,hand dyed wool roving [ bought some as a thank you pressie for the friend that lent me the Ertoel spinning wheel and is teaching me to spin ] most of the T2 range of teas. Beautiful scents. A marvelous selection of knitting books ... Debbie Bliss etc...and the owner is a really talented knitwear designer in her own right. I bought a book of her designs and have already picked out the one I want to make. Again, a pair of comfy couches to sink into... and the other thing that gets them maximum brownie points? We were offered a complimentary cup of T2 caramel something-or-other. Another definite possibilty for a SnB group.
They do classes in all sorts of interesting things like Nuno felting so we discussed the possibility of me teaching japanese quilts there.
Their website is still under construction but I'll post a link when it's up and running.
All in all a fabulously serendipitous day, albeit bloody cold and windy. It was pouring in Creswick but not a drop in Castlemaine. I've just heard on the evening news that it is snowing in the Alps ... in November!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

november photos and what's on my calendar

Some random November photos:
my beautiful Pierre de Ronsard rose. I keep referring to it as "she" but I guess Pierre should be a "he". He/she/it is fully 4" across.
the November page of my cat calendar [ this is the one I actually scribble things on ]
the November page of my Australian Weather Calendar ... so big I can only hang it in the sewing room and I never write on it but the photos are awesome. Perhaps because we're heading into summer soon, the photos on Oz calendars seem just SO much brighter than the dreary stuff on offer in so many American ones.
portraits of the Big Tree [ this is going to be a quilt / series of quilts ]

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sensitive New Age Cowpersons rock!

This will be a quick post because I'm teaching in Bendigo all day today but I wanted to tell you about the performance I witnessed last night. Picture four men dressed like a geriatric western version of the Wiggles.
They play music " as God intended it to be played... Bluegrass Style!"...
The red Wiggle ... I mean Cowperson ...looked like a bit like Arthur Dent in the original Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy would have looked if he was wearing a western shirt instead of a dressing gown, and as you can see, the Blue Wiggle / Cowperson looked a lot like Willie Nelson minus the braids.
Apparently these guys discovered there wasn't much call for authentic Bluegrass in Australia and so they do bluegrass 'covers' of music as diverse as Abba [ Mamma Mia ], Queen [ We are the Champions ] Elvis [ Burning Love ] AC/DC [ Long Way to the Top ] BeeGees [ Stayin' Alive - and the falsetto was unbelieveable] as well as spoof versions of Advance Australia Fair and their own alternative version of the National Anthem interspersed with some funny stage business..
It was loud and funny and very very clever. So okay, the patter isn't always very polished and is occasionally a bit repetitive but the whole package is marvelous. These guys are seriously good musos and their vocal harmonies are superb. The energy they put into the show is staggering.
Being a devotee of Clogging [ Appalachian Tap ] my feet were tapping away under the seat all night.

btw They are hanging up their spurs after this tour so if you get a chance to see them in the next month, grab it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

D is for ... [ and some important Cs I missed ]

  • David ... my second son. He is severely autistic and lives with me. This is my choice. Stephen, Nadie and I are not comfortable with the idea of him living in a Community Res. Unit. He is currently 10 kgs lighter and has one less chin than when this was taken :]
  • dancing ...since the age of 3. I've done ballet, jazz ballet, line dancing, rock 'n roll, swing, jive, two-stepping, clogging and bellydancing. Dancing was and is a huge part of my life obviously. Dancing makes me happy.
  • dirt. I live on a dirt road off another dirt road, in the middle of acres of the stuff, which means:
  • dust... on all horizontal surfaces ... my aunts will be horrified to learn that I only dust a] when I can see it or b] when visitors are due. There are visitors on average every two weeks. You work it out.
  • daughter... just the one: Nadie. She's hard working, funny, thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate, articulate, ... all the things I like in people... and beautiful... and a total adrenalin junky. This came as a bit of a shock. She seems so quiet. Jump out of plane. check. Dive with sharks. check. Hasn't had the easiest life growing up after David but doesn't use it as an excuse.
  • dreams. Don't have many. I'm not a good sleeper and rarely go deeper than a very light sleep state.
  • drought. We're now being told that this is not a once in 100 years drought... not just the worst in recorded history...all I know is that the water situation is bad. Probably not the best time to move to the bush.
  • dam... still has water in it but not a lot. This is not to be used for anything except fighting bushfires. Needless to say, I hope that I never have to use it.
  • dragons. This is really a Nadie word. She has been drawing dragons ever since she was tiny. Strangely for such a fantasy freak, she has never read the Dragons of Pern series. [ okay I've been corrected... she has SO read them ]
  • dragonflies. love watching them. Heard this weird, loud sound one day last summer and went out to discover thousands of dragonflies hovering high over the rose garden. There must have been a swarm of small insects or something to attract them but for about half an hour the noise was incredible.
  • daffodils. I'm not a big fan of the colour yellow EXCEPT at the beginning of Spring. I adore the sight of vast drifts of daffs. They never fail to make me smile.
  • dentist. I've had a wonderful dentist for 30 years who understood my difficult mouth and was compensated accordingly ... in fact I think I bought his last 3 cars. Of course, when I moved up here I changed Dental providers and being new in town, got shuffled onto one of the junior partners. In one visit he ruined 30 years of work. Really. I won't go into detail .My jaw is now completely out of whack again. Extreme pain. Migraines. Original dentist estimates it will take about $10,000 to fix with no guarantees. I am not happy. This is one of those times that I wished I was the sort of person who sues. Sorry to end on a negative note folks.

postscript: not sure how I managed to miss three very important Cs : Chris [ Stephen's much loved Godfather, and frequent visitor up here with his lovely missus Maz ] the other Chris [ Nadie's v. nice bf ] and Christina, my gorgeous DIL and mother-to-be of my grandson ] I'll move this bit over to the C is ... post later but it's here for now so you don't miss it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Now all we need is the rain

It sounded so simple. Buy a couple of extra water tanks and put one of them up the top of the hill so that we have water when the power goes out. Simple.
Yeah... right
We won't even go into the long and tedious tale of the organisation involved in getting hold of someone to excavate for the sand pad that the tanks sit on and dig the trench for the pipework. It took months.
Anyway that first tank has been installed next to the house tank for a couple of months and all 4500 litres filled up in one rain [ which is just as well given that we've only had about two lots of rain and a total of 2"in the last 6 months and that was supposed to be winter!!] This is the water I use for what is laughingly described as the "garden"
So the sight of an equally large tank just sitting there NOT filling up with water was somewhat galling [ my polite way of saying I was p****d off]
You can imagine how overjoyed I was when Chris announced his intention of dedicating last week's visit to The Tank and the Friday morning bike group at Windarring volunteered to help us manhandle it onto the trailer and up the hill.
Cue first rain in two months on Thursday.
Friday dawned bright and sunny. Biscuits [ cookies ] to feed the volunteers were baked, and at 11 am, we started. Heaving it onto the trailer was easier than I'd thought it would be and so we set off up the hill. Hang on... it's sliding off the back of the trailer. Stop. Reposition. Off we go again... picture us all RUNNING behind this huge thing ... visions of flattened clients if it slips... STOP!! heave. Go. STOP!! Heave. Go. SLOW DOWN. [ and of course, he couldn't or he'd lose traction on the slope ] Huff, puff, catch up, heave, and there we are.
Chris yells " Kangaroo" and we all rush to see ... bugger ... the first macropodal visitation since I moved in and I missed it. He describes it as red/ brown, so I think it was probably a rock wallaby [ or wobbly as Nadie used to call 'em ] Roos hereabouts are the big grey beggars not the red ones They live in the deserts of the Red Centre.

A few more heaves and the tank is positioned to Chris' satisfaction and we all trek back to the house for a well earned morning tea.

now check out the previous post for the photos that Blogger FINALLY put up. We have yarn, people!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

busy busy busy [ finally with photos ]

By lunchtime yesterday I had :
cleaned the kitchen, done the beds including new sheets on the spare bed because Chris and Maz' arrival was imminent [ which is probably the only reason that I bothered to clean the kitchen before heading out ] made lunch for D, dropped him off at Windarring, dropped the vehicle off for tyre replacement and wheel balance, walked up the hill and had a coffee, killed an hour until it was time to walk over to bellydancing, danced for an hour, walked back down the hill to pick up the car and still managed to get back here by 12, ahead of Di who brought her little electric spinning wheel and some newly carded Border-Leicester-cross. Given that ,by this stage, it was already over 30C [ 86F ] I felt like I'd already put in a full day.
You might wonder why I didn't just ring Di and arrange to meet up another day. It would be a perfectly sane and reasonable thing to do... which is why I didn't do it. Why spread the excitement and exhaustion over a whole week when you can cram it into a half day? No one ever accused me of being sensible.

This wheel is the dinkiest, cutest, little thing. I had imagined something the size of a normal spinning wheel and had offered to go to Di's so she didn't have to lug everything over to my place. Now I know why she wasn't particularly bothered... it fits in a small supermarket box.

So the wheel is set up and the moment of truth has arrived. I've read enough Blogs to know that just because I used to be able to use a drop spindle back when dinosaurs ruled the earth is no reason to suppose that I am going to be a wiz at using a wheel. This thing is suddenly looking a lot less dinky and a lot more capable of pulling my beautifully carded tops straight into its insatiable maw and probably me straight after it.
A pause while I am given a 30 second demo. She makes it look easy. Yeah. Right. I know better than to fall for that one.
Okay. Deep breath.
Pinch here. Pull back to draft as you feed the twisted bit in. Don't let the spin past the hand that's doing the pinching. Okay. Pull back. Draft. Forget to feed in the bit that's spun. Breathe. Breathe. Too fast. Too fast. Shit. [ I mean bother ] Turn it off, turn it off.
Right, deep breath. Try again. Ooh, I've made lumpy yarn...yay me.
Long story short... by the time Chris and Maz wander in at half one, I am actually producing something that looks remotely smooth and even enough that I might consider knitting it up once it's plied... Speak firmly to self and put wool and wheel away in spare room for a couple of days.

Rest of day devoted to visitors and watering the garden and laying plans for the morrow. Well, not entirely. There is also some crocheting on Short and Sweet. The back is finished by bedtime.

Awoke this morning to an unfamiliar sound on the roof. Rain. Wet stuff precipitating from the sky.
I'd forgotten what that sounds like.
Rained all morning. We got 15mm [ a bit over half an inch]
Chris promptly changed plans to work outside and installed a couple of downlights in the kitchen.
I indulged in some stash enhancement at The Bead Queen. I had a $25 voucher from one of my quilt show awards to spend so I got a hank of the Opal sockwool handye [ $18] and some beautiful blue-purple merino carded tops. [ $12] total cost to me $5. At this point Maz was able to resist temptation . THEN we went to the local Op Shop [ thrift store] and they were having an all-you-can-stuff-in-one-large-bag-for-$6 sale. Well, red rag to the bull... off we went. Into that one bag we managed to stuff 2 long skirts for bellydancing, two sundresses, a pair of shorts, linen capris, 8 shirts, pjs, 2 singlet tops, a turquoise/blue hand dyed cotton blouse to be cut up for the fabric, a dozen or so baby coathangers, and over 60 patterns and mags including vintage knitting ones , some lace ... and a partridge in a pear tree! The expedition finished with some further magazine acquisition for Maz at the Newsagent and a quick cappucino.
Chinese for dinner. Ciao bellas.