Monday, March 30, 2009


We arrived home last night after an idyllic two-week holiday in our 'Apple Isle', Tasmania. We were really looking forward to it after the previous trip was cancelled when the bushfires were heading our way. We had a great trip over on The Spirit of Tasmania; a delightful meal at Seasons Restaurant and then lulled to sleep in our two-bed cabin with winds of 50 knots and 3 to 4 metre swells! The next day I was still feeling those waves!

My new header pic is one I took of the first view I had of Lake Pedder at Strathgordon in the South West. This exquisite sight knocked me for a six and I returned to the car with tears in my eyes. This was the first but not the last strong reaction I was to experience in this beautiful State, where the mountains reach heaven, I'm convinced. Around every corner there is a breathtaking view!

Here are a few more shots of the beautiful beaches on the East coast. I hadn't been to a beach for many years but sat on the rocks at Bicheno and splashed around, then walked the beautiful, white sand, the tide finding my feet, followed the seagulls and collected shells. DMJ said I was being a little girl again and it felt wonderful!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw 1856-1950

Saturday, March 14, 2009


That is the question posed by the unveiling of a portrait of a dark-eyed man in Elizabethan finery in central London on March 9th. Experts say it is likely the only portrait of William Shakespeare painted in his lifetime.

Professor Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and one of the leading experts on Shakespeare studies, poses next to the newly discovered portrait. The portrait has belonged to one family for centuries but was not recognized as a portrait of Shakespeare until recently. There are very few likenesses of Shakespeare, who died in 1616. (AP)

Archaeologists have also uncovered the foundations of the theatre in Hackney where Shakespeare first wrote and performed before moving to The Globe.

Shakespeare wrote and performed at the Hackney site from 1594-7 and the Tower Theatre Company wants to recreate it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

cHair Raising!

The following are not my words, as I'm speechless!

'Oh, the frill of it all - a $30,000 prize and a flouncy chair to sit on, too. The National Gallery of Victoria this week named Melbourne's Simone LeAmon as the 2009 winner of the Cicely and Colin Rigg Contemporary Design Award for Lepidoptera, which appears to have its own skirt and corset.'

Where: The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, until August 30. Free. Closed Mondays.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Ahhh, beautiful, Sarah Chang.  This is the only Gluck piece I have for the piano.  I love playing it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Tucking into Willow's Macaroni Cheese

Here's a lovely side dish I like to include with our BBQs.

Sweet Peppery Couscous
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup Couscous
Dill leaf
2 tblsp lemon juice
2tblsp butter
Cracked pepper
2 tblsp EV olive oil
200ml chicken stock (2 cubes)

Melt butter in pan, cook corn for a couple of minutes. Add stock and bring to the boil. Remove pan from stove. Sprinkle couscous evenly over corn and cover with a tea towel for about 5 minutes.

Add pepper, lemon juice, oil and sprinkle of dill (or herb of your choice). Stir. Serve hot or cold.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Monday, March 9, 2009


by: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

A sunny shaft did I behold,
From sky to earth it slanted:
And poised therein a bird so bold -
Sweet bird, thou wert enchanted!
He sank, he rose, he twinkled, he troll'd
Within that shaft of sunny mist;
His eyes of fire, his beak of gold,
All else of amethyst!
And thus he sang: 'Adieu adieu!
Love's dreams prove seldom true.
The blossoms, they make no delay:
The sparkling dew-drops will not stay.
Sweet month of May,
We must away;
Far, far away!
To-day! to-day!'

I don't think it was an eagle in Coleridge's prose but I saw one of our wedge-tail eagles just now, hovering above, looking so tiny way up there. A couple of weeks ago we saw one coming from the smoke to safety; flying so slowly, as if it had no energy left. Our magpies were attacking it as if saying, 'go away, this is our territory'. It landed in a paddock opposite; it was huge and these little magpies, in comparison, were relentless. It took off again, travelling so slowly into the distance.....

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Relubbus Bridge - Stanhope Alexander Forbes 1929
Penlee House Gallery, Penzance Cornwall

Happily one of my favourite programs is back on TV - the English production, Grand Designs. It is a repeat but I so enjoy the shows, I'll watch two or three times. The last program was about a young couple restoring a pile of rocks to the former glory of a medieval farmhouse which had been in the young man's family for centuries. The site was in the Brecon Beacons National Park, a mountain range in South Wales. This program was made in 2001 and I'd be most interested to know whether or not they toughed it out. The position was to die for; the view magnificent but they would be living without electricity and so exposed to the elements.

Their story brought to mind a little stone cottage close to our hearts. This story is about my husband DMJ and his beginnings.

DMJ was born at Bodriggy Maternity Home, Hayle, Cornwall. In 1941 his Mother was evacuated from her home in Plymouth and sent to Relubbus Moor, St. Hilary, Cornwall. His father was in the navy and was on a ship somewhere (in fact he was on five ships during the war and they all went down). The little cottage DMJ went to after birth was called 'Rose Cottage' and Minnie Jenkins (soon to be Aunt Min) took them in. They lived there for four years while WW2 raged and it was there, near the Relubbus Bridge, that little DMJ threw his first line into the River Hayle.

Many moons later....

In 2005 DMJ took his first trip back to England since 1949 when he arrived in Australia on the H.M.S. Ormond with his parents. His host in England, as a surprise, drove him down from Stoke-on-Trent to Relubbus to re-visit the cottage. When they arrived, after directions from the local historian, they found that the cottage was under quite extensive renovations and additions.

Aunt Min used to shoot at blackbirds from one of the top windows.

DMJ found a little piece of slate at the site and brought it home as a souvenir. As yet I haven't visited England but it is my dream to do so. When the trip is planned, Rose Cottage will be on the agenda. We'll go and knock on the door to hopefully find out about more of the history. We plan to drive all over Cornwall, King Arthur territory and the lakes district and, perhaps, visit the district where my ancestors lived, Cheriton-Fitzpaine in Devon.


It is fresh today, time to put on socks instead of going barefoot.  Crazy weather; we were sweltering in top 30s last week.  These roses I've just picked - Mr. Lincoln, Camp David and Iceberg - they're on their third and final flush.  The anniversary card stays up one week.

I was woken up at 2:30am with thump, thump, thump and thud.  I presumed it was the kangaroos down for a feed of our green, grassy areas the bore sprinklers have created.  Everything else around us is crispy gold.  We had the sprinklers trained on the house when we were under threat.  One of the kangaroos must have misjudged and crashed into a verandah post!  Unfortunately, there's a sad ending; when I drove out of the gates this morning, a huge, beautiful grey was dead on the side of our driveway.  Whoever hit it had pulled it off the road.  Being a long weekend, that will lie there now until next Tuesday when the council man picks it up.  It is big and would have done a lot of damage to that person's car.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Sisyrinchium douglasii var. inflatum
Photo: Victor von Salza
Grass Widow, or the Satin Flower
Photo: Starlisa

These shots were taken at Catherine Creek, near Lyle Washington along the Columbia River.

Besides all of the above and the clever photography, I've learnt something new again today, that there is a plant called the Grass Widow! But that wasn't the reason for the post, I am, in fact, a Grass Widow once again; my man has taken off interstate to Sydney to do a flytying workshop for the Sydney Flyrodders and won't be home for five days.

My choice not to go as I have so much catching up to do - bookwork, letter writing, web building, blogging; a lot of which was pushed aside (except the blogging) over the past month. I also hope to get outside to mow some grass and, more importantly, go on long walks now that the air is clear.

The "grass" refers to the mattress, which used to be filled with grass. The "widow" is left back on the grass/mattress. "Grasswidower" can carry the implication that the husband is helpless when left home alone by his wife, especially in the kitchen. In dialect, it can also refer to a discarded mistress, or a woman who has an illegitimate child. (Wikipedia)

Thursday, March 5, 2009


"Is this a coincidence, an example of amazing
cluelessness, or something more deliberate?"

Charles Johnson

I promise, no more fire stories!

LA FENICE (The Phoenix)

Last week I watched a documentary, 'The Phoenix Rises Again', about the re-building of the famous opera house, Gran Teatro la Fenice di Venezia. It took 630 days working non-stop on the restoration and the end result was fitting for what it is, a grand opera house.

In 1996 an Italian electrician from Venice deliberately lit a fire that burnt La Fenice to the ground. He and his cousin had been hired as sub-contractors on the renovation of the opera house. As they were behind schedule, they would have faced hefty fines which would have bankrupted them.

This was the second fire to destroy the opera house since it opened in 1792. After a fire in 1836 it was rebuilt on a new site to the original plans of Tommaso and Giambattista Meduna.

When the legendary phoenix rose from the ashes again in 2003, its rebirth was celebrated with a series of concerts and partying.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


We're safe, our house is safe and the mental anguish is gone!  I took this photo just a little while ago and it's so good to see those rain clouds moving down over the fire. Thankfully we didn't get the high winds yesterday experienced in other parts of the state. The fire is on the other side of these mountains moving South, away from us. We had 12ml of rain over night, which would have helped the fire-fighters greatly.  At present there is no threat to towns and the cooler weather and showers over the next few days should help to contain the fires.

We spoke to a CFA chap this morning and he said we can now get back to living a normal life - hallelujah!  

Monday, March 2, 2009


The fires are only 6km away now and at a meeting today, we were told to leave, so I'm leaving in the morning, either to go to my daughter's or a relief centre 25km away. My husband is staying with a friend to do what they can in the morning. We are expecting 35C and winds up to 120k. Must go, I have to finish packing the car - AGAIN. It's our 30th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow; we'll never forget this one!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Beata Beatrix by Rossetti - Tate Gallery London

Silent Noon
Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms;
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.
Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky;
So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companion'd inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I came across the above painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, went to find out more about him and stumbled upon a tragic love story. Most of his early paintings of women are portraits of his wife, Elizabeth, an artists' model. He ultimately forbade her to model for other Pre-Raphaelite artists. Beata Beatrix, which portrays a praying Beatrice (Beatrice Portinari, Dante Alighieri's lifelong love), was painted one year after Elizabeth's death. Dante Alighieri's poetry was translated by Rossetti and included in his book, 'The Early Italian Poets', published in 1861.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882

Rossetti's early poetry and the only copy, was interred with Elizabeth's body, later exhumed and published in 'Poems by D.G. Rosetti'.

There is so much more to read about Dante Rosetti and Elizabeth Siddal, with thanks to Wikipedia and their references and at this link.