Tag Archives: joy

Love is Blind

After gardening I notice some annoying bumps on the back of my hand. My first instinct is to worry in case they are warts.

Next day, at breakfast, I observe the rash appears less inflamed; it must be the result of something I’ve touched in the garden.

I say to Joe, ‘Feel this, what do you think it is?’

‘Braille, it says, “I Love You”, but it’s missing the comma.’

‘But ‘I Love You,’ doesn’t need a comma.’

‘Then it says, ‘immensely and deeply!’

How can I worry about a few bumps after such an interpretation?

Our library is our pride and joy: daily prompt

My most precious thing, that fills me with most joy, is my library.

In fact it is our library. Religiously we go to the Hastings Library on the Mornington Peninsula where the friendly staff welcome us. It’s a small library by city standards. Books can be ordered from the bigger libraries, and the books get recycled between four libraries.

When I am not blogging, yes, I do have another life. Gardening, cooking, ironing, allow me to listen to audio books. Chris listens to stories as he paints. We are then able to discuss which ones we think are successful and why the others don’t come up to scratch.

We have discovered many genres previously unexplored. If we don’t like them we just start another. Popular choices are often crime fiction, from the gentle Donna Leon stories set in Venice, to popular Patricia Cornwell and many in between. Books of course are a separate bedtime activity. We read till we can’t keep our eyes open and allow the soporific effect to take us to an exciting dream world that we both fully participate in.

Without books our world would be quite colourless. (sorry, we Australians still like to use ‘u’ in some of our words).


Growing gifts:

IMG_2009Sometimes the daily post suggestion doesn’t suit me, so I shall just do a ‘fill in’.

I thought I’d give you a glimpse of one of the many posies I prepared earlier in the year, when the garden was full of flowers. It is such an easy gift and so much more personal when you have grown it yourself!

Now, when there’s not much about I prepare a bunch of herbs. Rosemary is always there and usually there’s sage, thyme, basil, occasionally coriander, parsley and lemon verbena, marjoram and mint. If you want to brighten the bunch up with a few flowers; nasturtiums, lavender, or even borage fit the bill, which may help enhance a meal or just sit in a vase in the loo to brighten the day.

Sometimes these days, people think gifts should cost money. I disagree. In my younger years, I was given a rose which made me cry, I was so touched. It was not just the perfection of the rose, it was the memories it evoked. Awareness of my loss and yearning to grow a garden of my own had been denied by living in an apartments. I am all the more grateful for the opportunity to grow things and experience abundance, that I now I feel it important to share these gifts, which I share with you. I’m just sorry that you can’t smell the fragrance!

Friends and Neighbours: another snippet from ‘Enduring Threads’

Friends and Neighbours, (for Penny, Elspeth, Rosemary and Sandy, where ever you might be)

Penny Russell and I were constant childhood companions. Her family, though I didn’t know it at the time, was a split family. Her mother had two girls before marrying David. Later in life, Penny found out she had a brother in England from her father’s previous marriage. David, her father, must have been schizophrenic; he had big mood swings. When Kaye, Penny’s sister, was staying at our house, she’d sit on the gatepost to wave to her father. He’d pass without a glance at her; she was begging for acknowledgement, and he’d ignore her. Her sorrow was palpable. Penny’s sisters left home as soon as they could and moved to Melbourne. Penny always dreamed of moving to the city too, which she did as soon as she could. She lived with my parents for twelve months whilst her parents went overseas and I was at boarding school. My mother could see her potential and offered to pay for her university education. This offer was not accepted.

Angus was remembered at the Russell household due to his urinary contributions to the rain guage. David kept the official records for the rain tally, and Angus’ contributions were not welcomed.

Elspeth, who lived next door, lived in a very different family. Her father was bedridden. Her mother entertained her friend ‘Uncle Bert’ in the next bedroom, and we accepted this as the norm. My mother was aware of the circumstances, as one night some sailors knocked on our door asking for Mrs. McIntyre.

Elspeth would come over for breakfast when her mum wasn’t up.

Once, she went up to the shop where her mum put things on the tab. She bought a large ice-cream block, a family size. It was pink, white and brown, and we consumed it all. Sometimes she’d bring over jelly crystals, and we’d eat them straight out of the packet, hiding behind the greenhouse. When I was sick with mumps, Elspeth used to hop in my window and finish up any food. Mum was amazed that Elspeth didn’t get the mumps till six months later.

Elspeth came to school with me one day; usually she went to the Roman Catholic school next door. When we arrived home, her sister Ruth was crying. Elspeth was supposed to have gone with her sister and mother to Hobart, but instead Mrs. McIntyre had left Ruth at home to look after Elspeth because Elspeth was missing.

One night, when Dad was out at the farm, there was a fire in our backyard. The conversation of our neighbours, Joan and Noel Hammond, who lived behind our house, up the lane, went like this: ‘Joan, Brenda has firemen up her plum tree!’

‘ Noel, get back into bed, you’ve had too much to drink.’

In fact, Noel was right, there were firemen up the plum tree. Mrs. McIntyre entertained the firemen afterwards, and my mother just thought it was a party. It wasn’t until the next morning that she discovered that it was the hot ashes from our Raeburn on our compost heap that had started the fire and burnt down the back fence and our wood-stack.

My Mother and Margaret Pyett played cards with Joan. She had a wonderful sense of humour and always kept everyone on their toes. One fastidious woman who played cards was talking about how she had to keep boiling everything to sterilise it for the baby. Noel came in and suggested, ‘ Why don’t you boil the baby?’

The Hammonds’ outdoor dunny had worn weatherboard walls that backed onto the back lane, and Joan complained, ‘I can see eyes looking at me through the cracks!’ Noel would turn the lights on in his Jaguar to give light to anyone needing to relieve themselves, as there was no electricity out there. Noel tried to repaint the Jaguar with a powder puff, though the job was far too tedious to complete.

Margaret Pyett was another individual who was rather particular and was very fashion-conscious. When she admired Joan’s outfit, Joan said with her smoker’s raucous laugh, ‘I’m wearing Mrs. Webb’s corset!’ Mrs. Webb was older and bigger, so everyone thought this a huge joke, most of all Joan. She worked as a stenographer for the court system and was renowned for her quick and reliable shorthand. If there were a thunderstorm, Joan would be found hiding under the stairs in the cupboard. Everyone, including the police magistrate, would be at her parties, as Joan had such a wicked sense of humour and was popular with everyone.

When they needed the roof painted, Noel paid their son Peter to do the job. Peter paid someone else half of what he’d been paid to do it. Of course, it didn’t get finished. Noel was very proud of Peter’s enterprise. The roof remained half-painted. Rosemary, Peter’s sister, was younger than me, and so our paths didn’t cross much, apart from an occasional birthday party.   Rosemary left Devonport to study music.

Noel moved into the house that my grandfather had built for his parents in Nichol Street years after Joan died. Before he bought it, it had belonged to Dickie Dobbie, the police magistrate and his wife Kitty.

They were famous for turning up at parties without an invitation, saying; ‘We knew you meant to invite us!’

Dr. Budge, the optician, lived nearby. He and his wife had a child late in life called Sandy, ‘my hhhobby’, stuttered Alec Budge. ’ My aaanalogy of mmmixed fffeelings is, seeing my HHHolden utility being driven over the BBBluff by an Englishman. Sssorry Eric (Pyett), III ddon’t mmmean you!’ That is Australian humour, sorry to those Englishmen and my lack of political correctness for including it. That is as it was in the 50s and 60s. Eric chuckled about that for weeks. Alec was a wise man who recommended to my Italian fiancé, ‘let her hhhave hhher wwway 98% of the tttime, and you jjjust ssstick out ffffor the imppportant 2%.’

When he had a puncture with Sandy in the car, he went to the bushes and waited for some nice young man to come and help attractive Sandy. He then appeared, thanking them for their help.


Book Review:

A Review: ‘And Then Like My Dreams’ (A Memoir)

Margaret Rose Stringer http://margaretrosestringer.com

This joyous and then poignant love story brings into focus two inseparable lives complimenting one another fully, following M-R’s disconsolate childhood.

Margaret Rose is a master story- teller. It is the final part that I found the most compelling. Her honesty: disclosing her intimate feelings, full of pathos and then devastation, one can’t help but be moved.

I put off reading this book because I knew it was going to be sad. In fact I borrowed it from the library, as I wasn’t sure I would like it. Having read it I shall order a couple of copies, as it is the sort of book one can give to someone else going through the drama of life. It is good to know that you’re not the only one who is suffering! The ending shows the strength that M-R gained, going on to study, work and write, finding her-self again. This gives hope; even though life will never be the same, it shows how strength can be achieved through adversity.

M-R is a prolific blogger and responder to other peoples’ blogs. Many of you will know her already. I recommend, ‘And Then Like My Dreams.’



Return to the garden:


Brugmansia (Solanaceae) Angel’s trumpet making a show in a narrow arched area, where it will be covered mostly in creepers.


Children’s cubby house at the back of the garden


Virginia creeper on our water tank. March 2014

Autumn is upon us; a relief after the hot weather. As you can see the leaves are beginning to turn. The vegetable plot has done its dash, with a few eggplants still to come. Tomatoes have almost completed their task. Now it is time to make relish and chutney.

I painted the cubby the colour of the changing leaves. I enjoy looking at it hiding under the trees. It is ready for our next grandchild, the first grand daughter, to be born in April. Our two grandsons who live not far away, are a little old for it now, as they prefer to play other things. It’s good to think there are little ones still to play with it. Our young grandsons from Canberra will come down during the year, so it must be ready for them.

Getting back into the garden is so therapeutic; we finally had some rain. Green instantly reappears bringing joy and enthusiasm to replant and get ready for winter. I do like to spread manure and freshly mulch every autumn and spring. Writing at every other opportunity; life was meant to be full….

Review of ‘On A Beam of Light’

Review of ‘On a Beam of Light’ a story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, pictures by Vladimir Radunsky, published in 2013, http://www.chroniclekids.com

This delightful children’s book introduces children to the simplicity of Albert Einstein’s life as a child. His questioning led to deep questions that he continued to remember and work on throughout his life.

The illustrations show the texture of the watercolour paper with appealing, descriptive drawings. This book is not only informative, but a story that will inspire young children to realise the importance of continuing to question themselves. ‘On a Beam of Light’ shows how music made Albert happy and encourages children, when they grow up, not to lose the ability to enjoy life.