Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've just received the first Newsletter from Bruno Torfs Garden with some good news that most (almost sixty percent) of Bruno's unique sculptures and most of his paintings (stored in the kiln) survived the inferno that ravaged the little town of Marysville in Victoria Australia.  He lost his workshop and gallery.

They face the huge task of rebuilding and have had so many offers of help it's been overwhelming.  They'll be open next weekend, 2nd & 3rd of May, then closed for at least two weeks as they work full time on the restoration.

A special edition coffee table book is currently in production and one can register your interest to buy on the website,  Here are some more pics of the sculptures.  His paintings are wonderful too - on the website.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I've reached 100 posts and here are 100 cockatoos!  Well, this was only half of them, grazing in our back paddock a few minutes ago.  Hope you can click on it to get a bigger picture.  It's a beautiful morning here, crisp, around 7 degrees C, the sun is shining and we're going for a nice leisurely stroll around The Pondage.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Cacatua galerita

A wet Cocky - hooray, we're getting rain! - are we out of drought?

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo - Calyptorhynchus funereus

Purple Swamp Hen - Porphyrio porphyrio - New Zealanders call them Pukeko

Black Ibis or Straw-necked Ibis - Threskiornis spinicollis

Our pet Australian Magpie - Cracticus tibecen

We call her 'Broken Beak' and have been feeding her minced steak for months. See the story 22nd December 2008. When she came to us she had a very sore, bleeding leg - she'd lost a toe, was skinny and had very dull, scrappy feathers. She is still smaller than her mates but has put on weight and her feathers are now shiny. She hangs about all day long.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Inspiration needed

Terpsichore, Muse of Lyric Poetry & Dance
Jean-Marc Nattier 1739
The Muse Inspiring The Poet
Henri Julien Felix Rousseau 1844-1910

Friday, April 24, 2009


Marilyn Jones in 'Swan Lake'

Marilyn Jones OBE
One of our very own, Marilyn Jones, has been awarded the Green Room Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to dance. She has been described as "the greatest classical dancer Australia has produced". Congratulations, Marilyn.

I remember following Marilyn's career when a young girl, her romance with Garth Welch, her wedding and the wonderful career they shared as principal dancers.

At the age of 69, she has rejoined the Australian Ballet for her first performing role in 12 years. She will dance Clara the Elder in the Sydney season of Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker. Marilyn and Garth danced together in the Australian Ballet's production of Nutcracker in 1963.

In 1991 she set up the Australian Institute of Classical Dance to promote new choreographers and guide teachers and students. The Institute recently brought together eight young composers from the Sydney Conservatorium with eight first-time choreographers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


We haven't had a landline for the past day and a half and it's amazing what one can get done while it's out. What was obvious to both DMJ and me, apart from the phone not working, was the dependence we have on the internet for communication; email and Skype. We so missed it!

So I went back to nature; the weeds are taking over again and we picked the last of the tomatoes and the capsicum before the frosts get to them. The tomatoes can ripen on a flat basket in a sunny spot and I've roasted the peppers to jar up with EV olive oil.

Chicken Cacciatore tonight!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Me 1977

Here I am, jeans rolled up, picking up shells - nothing's changed! I remember that day well; my 12yo son took the photo. Hard to believe he will be 44 this year and my daughter 46!

I'm slowly scanning some of the old photos into a folder in My Pictures. I very rarely bring the albums out, so thought I'd create a screensaver that I'll get a lot of pleasure watching whilst doing the worst job in the world, ironing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I was complaining that I couldn't take close-ups of my Roses, they always turned out blurry.  DMJ showed me how to use macro on the Canon PowerShot he 'handed down' to me when he bought his you-beaut Canon EOS 400D with all attachments.  He also tells me that there is a macro lens I could have been using!  I'd better get the book out and read up.  I took the above shot just a few minutes ago.


Christian D. Larsen 1874 - ?

I suppose most of you would know of Christian Daa Larsen. I didn't know of him until yesterday when I came across The Optimist Creed, included in his book, Your Forces and How to Use Them, which can be read HERE. Larsen founded the New Thought Temple in 1901 and wrote several philosophical books.

The Optimist Creed - Christian D. Larsen, 1912

Promise Yourself
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in a loud word but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

Empowering words; a little like Desiderata, which I've taken with me with every move since the 60s and is on the wall behind me. Along with my brothers I went to Sunday School to the age of 15 but ever since I have followed my Father's philosophy and lived by the Golden Rule.

Monday, April 20, 2009


There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Sunday, April 19, 2009


My Great-great Grandparents left Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon, England with three children on the ex-convict ship "Duchess of Northumberland" on 25th February 1841, sailing from Plymouth with 229 other passengers on board and arriving in Port Phillip Australia (later New South Wales) on 3rd June 1841.

My Father's surname was first recorded in Britain in 1194 to a Robert de Hiwis of Devonshire (one of the many variants dating back hundreds of years, possibly influenced by the Nordic warriors).

Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary School (1642)

Cheriton Fitzpaine has many fifteenth-century houses, including the longest thatched house in England (the Primary School), its former use deemed to have been the church house. It stands next to St. Matthews Parish Church (14th century), a Grade 1 listed building.

Read more about Cheriton Fitzpaine at

Saturday, April 18, 2009


British Museum London (eponymous vase c.480-470BC)

Siren painter is the nickname of an ancient Greek artist who decorated but did not sign Attic red-figured vases. His real name is unknown, as are the date of his birth and death.

Following to common scholar's practice, this artist's name was derived from the subject of one of his artworks, a red-figured stamnos which illustrates a scene from Homer's Odyssey (XII, 39): Odysseus is tied to the mast of his ship when he is passing along the island of the Sirens, dangerous bird-women. The Siren painter was presumably working in Athens in the years 480-470BC. Wikipedia

Some of his preserved vases are on public display at The British Museum and The Louvre, Paris.

All of the above was prompted by Grace's description of John William Waterhouse's painting, Miranda, The Tempest, 1916. I keep learning something every day.

Ulysses & The Sirens - John William Waterhouse 1891

Friday, April 17, 2009


It seems the whole world is talking about her. Susan Boyle, 47, stunned the judges and sent the audience wild with her performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" on the TV show, Britain's Got Talent. It will be interesting to see if she gets the make-over and brings out a CD. Click HERE to see the video. Oh, I must add that I've watched it several times and wept.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Eildon Pondage January 2006

Here, where my breathing is the sound of Life's whisper ...
I hear the Voice of my Heart's prayer ...
I know the Reality of my truest Yearnings ...
The Longings that no one else could understand ...
Are clear to me here.

And I want to linger ... hold on to this fragile Treasure ...
Lest my senses have stolen from them an instant of Aliveness ...
And my breath be lost in the clamour of the world's noise.
Please, Life ... grant me this Place ...
for my Soul's eternal dwelling.

31st January 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The pleasure of words, Le Plaisir Des Mots, the title of one of Georges Jean's (b.1920 Besancon, France) books which was awarded the 1980 Fondation de France prize.

The little book now in my possession, Writing: The Story of Alphabets and Scripts, thanks to a stall at the Easter market, was also penned by Jean and the English translation published by Thames & Hudson, London, in 1992.

Inside the front cover he writes about Jean Froissart, the 14th Century cleric, who decided that his vocation was to "celebrate the great deeds of princes and to sing of courtly love".

Statue of Jean Froissart, Chimay, Belgium

This from Wikipedia:
Jean Froissart (c.1337-c.1405) was one of the most important of the chroniclers of medieval France. For centuries, Froissart's Chronicles have been recognized as the chief expression of the chivalric revival of the 14th century Kingdom of England and France. His history is also one of the most important sources for the first half of the Hundred Years' War.

Battle of Poitiers 1356 - Miniature of Froissart

The pleasure is now mine to open this little book, gaze at the coloured plates of the illuminators' works and read about the art of writing. Thanks to Royal Armouries for the following video.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Gari Melcher - Mural of Peace, 1896

My new header features Dawa, a little Tibetan monk I brought home on a Monday. Dawa means moon or month or children born on a Monday. I feel very happy when I catch sight of him and I know that I'm getting a message; perhaps to slow down and take stock.

Monday, April 13, 2009


New View from Kitchen
Cootamundra Stump
Last Flush
View East

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I took this pic last August when our Cootamundra, Acacia.baileyana, was looking its best.  The Cootamundra has a short lifespan, 7 to 20 years, and this one has been there for ten.  Sadly, shortly after flowering, the tree split in two, leaving one side dead.  Today we have a wonderful neighbour coming with his chainsaw and a team of his Easter weekend visitors to put it to rest.  

I made some patty cakes for my family visitors and later this morning will make a carrot cake, which will go nicely with the hot Earl Grey on their break.

We all ventured up the street yesterday to the very popular Easter market.  I bought some novels and a delightful little handbook, Writing, The Story of Alphabets and Scripts by Georges Jean, published by Thames & Hudson, London, on which I'll elaborate at a later date.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Did you know that a Pocillovist is someone who collects egg cups as a hobby?  Pocillovy comes from the Latin pocillovum ovi, meaning a small cup for an egg.

Wishing all my bloggy friends a very blessed Easter with family and friends.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


John Charles Huffam Dickens 1812-1870

The former seaside home of English novelist Charles Dickens, where he wrote part of his classic David Copperfield, is for sale at $A4.1 million.

The cliffside house in Broadstairs, Kent, was built in 1801 and has six bedrooms and its own cells. It was the residence of the fort captain during the Napoleonic Wars and originally named Fort House.
This was later changed to Bleak House - the name of another famous Dickens work. He is thought to have planned that novel there and part-written David Copperfield in the sea-facing study.

Bleak House, Broadstairs, Kent

His later house, at Gad's Hill Place, Higham, Kent, is now a Visitors' Centre. There is a delightful story written in the early 1900s about Gadshill, as it is sometimes spelt, at this link.

Gad's Hill Place, Higham, Kent

As an aside, I remember my Mother saying to us children, "What the dickens are you doing?"; so I went to look up the saying and found this -

What the dickens - exclamation of surprise or puzzlement.
This has nothing to do with Charles Dickens, as is often assumed. Dickens actually comes from a 16th century euphemism for the Devil. It may be an altered pronunciation of devilkin, meaning related to the Devil and it was certainly in use long before Charles was born. Shakespeare's 1601 play The Merry Wives of Windsor contains the words 'I cannot tell what the dickens his name is.'

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


by Philip Scott Johnson
500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Music: Bach's Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello #1 in G Major, BWV1007
performed by Yo-Yo Ma

Nominated as Most Creative Video
2nd Annual You Tube Awards

For a complete list of artists and paintings visit

Higher resolution version at

Contact information:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Our thoughts and prayers today are with our Italian friends and their families in the Abruzzo region of Italy. DMJ was there in 2007 as a guest of SIM - Scuola Italiana di Pesca a Mosca (school of fly-fishing) in the little village of Castel di Sangro in the province of l'Aquila, the epicentre of the earthquake. He made many friends and the hospitality shown him was sensational. Il dio e con voi.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Our trees are turning - this photo I took exactly three years ago but this year they're not nearly as colourful.

ODE TO AUTUMN - John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease;
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

In a letter written to Reynolds from Winchester, in September, 1819, Keats says: 'How beautiful the season is now - How fine the air. A temperate sharpness about it. Really, without joking, chaste weather - Dian skies - I never liked stubble-fields so much as now - Aye better than the chilly green of the spring. Somehow, a stubble-field looks warm - in the same way that some pictures look warm. This struck me so much in my Sunday's walk that I composed upon it.' What he composed was the Ode To Autumn. The Literature Network

Sunday, April 5, 2009


While in Tasmania, I visited the lovely little town of Ross but I wasn't prepared for the sad story of the women's prison, situated high on a hill behind the town near a lovely old church. Female houses of correction, or 'female factories', operated in Australia from 1828 and the Ross Female Factory existed between 1847 and 1854.

Most of the women were put there for the crime of getting pregnant. Conditions were miserable, cold, wet and windy and the infant mortality rate was high, with babies buried un-named with not even a sign of a little cross.

Old Stables

...there was a violent exhibition of disorderly conduct on the part of the women confined in the Nursery and the Crime Class. On the occasion of carrying one of them across the yard solitary confinement, the Constable Taylor, was attacked first by the woman followed by the vigorous co-operation of the rest. Missiles were thrown at both the constable and the Asst. Superintendent Imrie. The efforts at pacification were ineffective until Mr. Imrie produced the batons. The rioters stood back and eventually the woman sentenced to solitary confinement accompanied Mr. Imrie to the cells. The women holding passes were separated from the yard but their cheers and shrieks added to the confusion.

Comptroller General of Convicts Records 1848.

Commandant's Quarters

The local church ladies have stitched these little bonnets (above pic) in memory of the babies thrown into unmarked graves. Much of the fabric and thread used is antique, passed down from that time.

Bleak view to Prison site from Graveyard