Sunday, May 31, 2009


the thrush visits us annually

she came in this morning

quite curious about the flash of light.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


We went down to the "big smoke" for two days as DMJ had meetings to attend. On Friday, he sent me off, thinking that I was going to buy a new winter wardrobe but I had other things in mind. I headed for Allan's Music, which has been going in Melbourne since the 1850s. I bought the above book and I'm itching to get into it but I don't think I'll have a chance this weekend, as we have two days of visitors expected.

I love classical and can sit for hours and play but I've found that the majority of visitors enjoy hearing popular music. This book has some lovely songs; here are some:

Wonderful Tonight
Cry Me A River
Can You Feel The Love Tonight
My Old Flame

and out of 150, I should get repertoire together if I'm asked to play.

My usual audience

Thursday, May 28, 2009


To us here in Australia, the sound of rain on the roof is magic after eleven years of drought. We have a 'teaser' every now and then. Two days ago we were lucky enough to get 12mm, which put a few litres into the tanks. Sometimes we get a few huge drops, then it peters out - weird. Now it's sunny again, the grey clouds threaten but pass over and the sky's blue again.

There's nothing on the way either; we're right down the bottom right corner of the map. You can just see the outline of Victoria.

We have a corrugated iron roof and, when it rains, we'll put the TV on Mute and listen to the rhythm of the falling rain. And there's nothing like it when you're warm and cosy under the doona!

Dan Fogelberg on Johnny Carson Show 1990

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I missed last week's episode of Mad Men. I'm a 'maddict'.

Monday, May 25, 2009


"For it is in giving that we receive" - St. Francis of Assisi

We've just watched part of Oprah's Big Give about the little boy, Drew, who gave away his 5th Birthday Presents to a needy family. The story was told in church, the Minister asked everyone to go home and find something to give and it snowballed, helping so many people.

Yesterday, we cleared out a shed to make way for yet another ride-on mower, a slasher and a trailer. Things we'd stored ten years ago when we moved here are still in boxes, never looked at. I put them to one side to take over to the barn for a Garage Sale. Today I've decided that it will be a FREE Garage Sale, anything left will go to the Op-Shop.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I made it this afternoon and this is all I got for sweating over a hot stove for an hour but, it's worth it!! A friend put it on the table when we were treated to his wonderful cooking on our trip to Tasmania. I couldn't wait to make it but had to wait even longer for the Redcurrant Jelly; until we took a trip over the mountain to one of the larger supermarkets. This is not really Hicksville in the Sticks, they just don't stock gourmet foods! Here's the recipe.

ONION JAM - Louise Pickford, from her book, "Sauces"

Although perfect with grilled chicken, onion jam is particularly versatile as it can be served as a chutney with cold meats and cheese, or as a sandwich filler. It keeps well in the fridge but I doubt it will last long - it's just too moreish!

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 red onions thinly sliced
4 fresh thyme sprigs, lightly bruised
100g light soft brown sugar
100ml red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves: 6-8

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onions and thyme sprigs with some seasoning for 20 minutes, or until very soft and golden. Discard the thyme sprigs and stir in the sugar, vinegar and jelly.

Simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and jam-like. Pour directly into a sterilized jar and leave to cool.

NOTE: Once opened, refrigerate the jam for up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


This is a real work in progress, something I was passionate about in the early stages but it then became a task and I wanted to move on to something else. The Strawberry Thief, Bird and Woodpecker were destined to be cushions but I'm always changing decor and went off the navy. So, the two above I've placed on a little occasional table under glass, where they're on show but not 'showy'. They do need ironing again but the creases aren't obvious under glass.

It must be at least six years ago that I started them; I don't have much to do to complete Woodpecker but I'm wondering what to do with it; maybe frame it for a little wall...

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day
As Sung by Cat Stevens - Lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon
The view from my desk this morning

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is where I walk, around the Pondage....
in all kinds of weather, it makes one feel good....
a wonderful way to start the day....

this is the view to the other side....
below is a friend, David, flyfishing....

catching and releasing a lovely trout...

we're blessed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


My Grandmother, May, was born in 1880.  I'd say that this photo of her was taken for her 18th Birthday in 1898.  She married in 1908 and her first child, Maisie, was born in 1909, followed in 1914 by my father Allan and his brother, Ronald in 1918.

These tins I remember from girlhood, visiting Grandma at Mont Albert.  She later came to live with us for fifteen years and I suppose the tins came with her!  I'm proud to say that I still have them; they'd be quite rare.

This is the reverse side.  I love the 'Methods of Serving' on the Dessert Prunes tin.
  • AS A CONFECTION - Place fruit straight from can in suitable dishes on the table in same manner as sweets are served.
  • COLD DESSERT - Serve fruit direct from can with cream.
  • HOT DESSERT - Place required quantity in a suitable vessel, half cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes.  Do not allow to boil.  Add sugar, cinnamon, or lemon to taste.  Serve with cream or custard.

Monday, May 18, 2009


We were driving home yesterday over the Black Spur, a beautiful tourist road between Healesville and Narbethong, Victoria. Much of the beauty was destroyed in the devastating bushfires of February this year. I took the shot above; amazingly the resilient tree ferns were the first to appear amidst the blackened tall trees remaining and the sight is still eerily beautiful, especially in areas where clouds are low.

Much of the mountain was destroyed in the bushfires of 1939 and re-planted by Italian prisoners of war.

The mountain was previously called Black's Spur; some say the name came from the pack horse teamsters in 1862 meeting long lines or aboriginals on the ridge between Healesville and Narbethong. The Upper Goulburn natives, or Taungurong, were pushed out of the central highlands and moved to Coranderrk near Healesville leaving little evidence of their existence.

In March 1863, after three years of upheaval, the surviving leaders, among them Simon Wonga and William Barak, led forty Wurundjeri, Taungurong (Goulburn River) and Bun Warrung people over the Black Spur and squatted on a traditional camping site on Badger Creek near Healesville and requested ownership of the site. They were anxious to have the land officially approved so that they could move down and establish themselves. Wikipedia

Photo from Bruno's site - click below for more

We detoured up through Marysville as I wanted to visit Bruno's Art and Sculpture Garden. They have done an enormous amount of work cleaning up. The paths are exposed, not like the jungle it used to be but they'll bring it back and nature will help, I'm certain. The whole town is getting a lot of support from visitors. I couldn't take photos of other people's hell on earth. It was so distressing seeing that previously idyllic little town. We drove on, very sombre.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel:
For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter and confounds him there;
Sap cheque'd with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'ersnow'd and bareness every where:
Then, were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it nor no remembrance what it was:
But flowers distill'd though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

Shakespeare Sonnet #5

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I have no idea what this is. I saw it through an antique shop window years ago and had to go in and pick it up. I liked the feel of it, the look of it, so I bought it. It was only A$40.

It has what appears to be Griffins on the front and back and pheasants on the side medallions. It stands about 14cm (5.5 inches) and is made of some sort of dull alloy in the middle, but the medallions could be silver. Those little stoppers come out easily. Maybe one drinks from the large opening and the other is to let air in to allow an easy flow. It also has little webbed feet.

Perhaps it is used in a ritual ceremony. I call it my Griffin flask. I would really like to know, so please get back to me with clues.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Just a quick note today, as DMJ is nudging me to work on the website.

I've had a penfriend for about fourteen years now. She lives on the other side of the State, we've never met but write to each other two or three times a year. She has a computer but will not hook up to the internet as she thinks it's the work of the devil. The lady I walk with thinks it's evil too. Another friend of many years, a couple of years older than me, doesn't own a computer and is not the slightest bit interested in getting one.

A friend in Tasmania said that all she gets from her sister in Victoria is jokey emails, never a letter! So I wrote her a lengthy email the other day and she was thrilled. I should have printed it out, or written it long hand and posted it.

I've kept up the letter writing as I love receiving the reply. I must admit, though, that I've been typing them lately, in a nice font, Flair Roman, but I must get back to long hand and the fountain pen.

I used to wonder why anyone would want a web log, for all the world to see but, now that I'm blogging, I'm meeting so many clever, wonderful people from all over the world - my penpals, really.

Well, I'd better go and do the morning dishes, the washing, the vaccing, the dusting and then, maybe there'll be a little time left for the website before I prepare dinner!

Monday, May 11, 2009


limbs without shelter
chilled carpet of rime -
roo flees the dawn


Sunday, May 10, 2009


As soon as Mrs Dashwood had recovered herself, to see Marianne was her desire; and in two minutes she was with her beloved child - rendered dearer to her than ever by absence, unhappiness, and danger.
Elinor's delight as she saw what each felt in meeting, was only checked by an apprehension of its robbing Marianne of further sleep; but Mrs. Dashwood could be calm, could be even prudent, when the life of a child was at stake, and Marianne, satisfied in knowing her mother was near her, and conscious of being too weak for conversation, submitted readily to the silence and quiet prescribed by every nurse around her.
Marianne continued to mind every day, and the brilliant cheerfulness of Mrs. Dashwood's looks and spirits proved her to be, as she repeatedly declared herself, one of the happiest women in the world.

From 'Sense & Sensibility' - Jane Austen

Remembering my dear Mum on Mother's Day and this is the card my daughter sent me - I well remember the little blonde 'sandwich maker' trying on my shoes. Inside it says, 'No matter how grown up you are.'

Friday, May 8, 2009


I've always been fascinated by Japanese architecture...........

the fantastic cantilevered roofs........

And on the western front, 'Prairie Style' (below) .......

The Westcott House, Ohio (Frank Lloyd Wright 1908)

The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Westcott House underwent four years of restoration recently; the full story is here.

"Many aspects of the house resemble those of a Japanese Shinto temple. These included small divided-light windows reminiscent of a shoji screen, clay tiles on a low-hipped roof, and open sleeping porches on the second floor. Drawings of a proposed lighting fixture for the pergola had text describing a Japanese lantern in which light is to be suspended when used." Matt Cline in Architecture Week.

Frank Lloyd Wright visited Japan in 1905 and many of his design traits after that time were attributed to his infatuation with traditional Japanese design.

Robie House Chicago (1908-1910)

In 1957 Wright, at 90, returned to Robie House to protest the intended demolition - it survived and is in the final phase of a decade long restoration, hoped to be completed for the 100 year anniversary in 2010.

While I'm on the subject of architecture, my deep empathy goes out to the people of Montecito California on the tragic loss of their homes to the brushfire. Thankfully there has been no loss of life, as I believe all residents were evacuated.


I had to put this up - DMJ got this pic just minutes ago
through our dining room window - a little wren having a drink.
It was freezing this morning; white grass and thick fog.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


'Picasso' holding up beautifully
after the severe frost this morning.
I love a splash of red in the house.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Have you ever 'Googled' your name?  I'm not happy.  Yesterday DMJ 'Googled' his website and there was my name, all over the dubya-dubya-dubya!  And here I am thinking I'm flying incognito, using a name that doesn't ring true and my real identity is exposed!

I even get a mention on Wiki-name; they say my surname means "from the manor"!  Funny that, in Italian it's an ordinary passageway - 'corridorio'!  Haha.

DMJ loves it, he's the extrovert, always has been.  Nothing much I can do about it now.  But from now on I'm Ladybug, everyone knows me as DMJ's Ladybug, so no more Coccinella, my derivative of the ladybug species, Coccinellidae.  That all started when I was told I couldn't have the URL as it was already taken. 

Oh well, I care.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I'VE BEEN TAGGED - uum, thanks....

I know, but this is Susan's sunflower and she tagged me! Apologies to Michelangelo - I love you! Who IS this guy?! This is blasphemy!

I thought this was a breeze until I noticed unimportant things that make you happy. Here are my six daggy answers but not necessarily in order!

1. Using my very heavy silver embossed pen - Medium Black, if you don't mind!
2. Watching our vegies grow.
3. Strolling along a quiet beach collecting shells and driftwood.
4. My ride-on mower - love it!
5. Buying interior decorating and gourmet cooking mags.
6. Being let loose on a cosmetic/perfumery floor of a major department store! Like a kid in a lolly shop and a bull in a china shop!

But I won't be tagging anyone - sorry, I broke the rules but I don't know six bloggy people well enough to do it to! I know, I'm a spoilsport......

Monday, May 4, 2009


"Uncertainty" by Arthur Hughes, 1878

I really have 'blog block' in a bad way today. I worked all morning on the fly-fishing website and my head is still pounding. I am just another who loves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood works and have the next pic on my desktop.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Recently I read about the work of Rick Everingham, an ex-pat who now enjoys a new life with his wife, Desley, in Soiana, Tuscany, where he gets so much inspiration for his painting. Rick says, "This is a country with an over-all patina that I find irresistible."

His paintings resonate with me as they encapsulate the "go slow" lifestyle in Tuscany, of which I only had a glimpse two years ago; three weeks is not enough!

Have a look at more of Rick's work at his website and see a slideshow of his work here (the slideshow may not be always available).

Saturday, May 2, 2009


The frosts have arrived, so I picked at least a dozen eggplant yesterday and went surfing for recipes.  The following I found on Jamie Oliver's site and will make a nice side serve for lunch with visitors on Sunday.  At least it will use up two aubergine.

  1. 2 nice firm aubergines, the round purple Italian ones if possible, sliced lengthways 3mm/about 1/8th inch thick
  2. extra virgin olive oil
  3. white wine or herb vinegar
  4. 2 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves finely sliced
  5. a small handful of fresh mint leaves finely sliced
  6. 1 clove of garlic, peeled and very finely sliced
  7. sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a griddle pan until nice and hot.  Lay your aubergine slices on it side by side and when they are nicely charred on both sides, put them into a bowl.  You will probably need to do this in several batches.

While the aubergines are grilling, put 8 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of vinegar, with the parsley, mint and garlic, into another bowl and season with salt and pepper.

When the aubergines are all done, add them to the dressing and mix around, then check the seasoning again and divide on to the bruschette.  Press the topping into the toast so all the lovely flavour gets sucked in!

Friday, May 1, 2009


The sunshine seeks my little room
To tell me Paris streets are gay;
That children cry the lily bloom
All up and down the leafy way;
That half the town is mad with May,
With flame of flag and boom of bell:
For Carnival is King to-day;
So pen and page, awhile farewell.

Robert Service 1874-1958