Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The forgotten Dickens collection...

We were doing a bit of a tidy-up in our shed just before Christmas. Hubby came across a large box and said, "You don't want to keep these old encyclopedias do you?", box poised over the trailer. Luckily I took a look and my eyes boggled! Fifteen books by Charles Dickens containing 32 of his 63 stories and three volumes of Tolstoy's "War and Peace"; all un-opened and only one slightly nibbled by a mouse.

Not the complete works, as at first thought but nevertheless, a little treasure trove.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

From My House To Yours...

Cavour Square, Rimini Italy

~~ To my Dear Friends in Blogland ~~

Wishing you all

a Joyful Christmas,

love, peace and goodness

throughout the coming years!!

Photo: Fabrizio Gajardoni

Friday, December 17, 2010

Norway delights...

Overlooking the town of Skien

Delightful, everywhere we went.  The hospitality in Norway, at Gjøvik and Skien made us feel so welcome!  In the photo above (imagine this scene now covered in snow) you'll notice a tower; it's 300ft high and at Christmas time it has lateral stanchions covered in lights coming down in the shape of a tree and is lit up every night, glowing over the town of Skien.  If only we'd been there a little later to see it.

Skien was founded in 1110 and is one of the oldest towns in Norway.  It was originally the site of a monastery and is the birthplace of Henrik Ibsen, the playwright.

Following is the menu; my photo is not clear enough to read:

This menu has been specially made for the visit of the
Australian Fly tying ambassador
Mick Hall

~ Starter ~

Carpaccio de servo selvatico
Raw fillet of wild roe deer served with
Parmigiano Reggiano - roasted pine nuts and
dressed with vintage Balsamico and extra virgin
olive oil

~ Main course ~

Roasted steak of moose served with
wild forest mushrooms
roasted almond potatoes
seasonal vegetables
home made cranberry jam
Game sauce

~ Desert ~

Home made wild berry cheese cake

All raw ingredients used in our game menu are wild in origin and 
harvested by the Clarke family locally from 
the forest in Norway

Prior to leaving for overseas, we received an email from Barry and Agnes with the above menu attached.   What a beautiful idea; an invitation to their home with a menu already planned for our visit!  Check out the 'Raw fillet of wild roe deer served with Parmigiano Reggiano', etc.; that was sensational and the roast moose steak that followed was was amazing, so tender.  I was a Miss Piggy when the wild berry cheese cake was served and the only one to have a second helping!!  Unfortunately, jetlag caught up with me and I was a party-pooper at 10:30pm, leaving the others to party on.  It had been a huge day!

Roe deer fillet

Roasted Moose Steak


After a sound sleep, we arose bright and early for our trip to Oslo airport.  We climbed the stairs and were treated to a hearty breakfast to warm the cockles.  As with Ole's apartment in Gjøvik, the house was so comfortably warm; the morning sun was throwing beams through the trees and we were told that it was -7°C outside.  As I write, it is -12°C, wind 10 km/h, humidity 85% but it has been a lot colder.

A big thank you to Barry and Agnes for a memorable visit and thank you Ole, for showing us just a little of your beautiful country.

A thousand words will not
leave so deep an impression
as one deed.

Henrik Ibsen


P.S. My second 'Blogiversary' falls on the 19th December.  Thank you to those who have shown an interest in my humble blog!  I value your comments but more so your continued friendship.  Love to you all and Blessings for the coming Season..... and beyond!  

♫♥Love is all you need, love is all you need, love is all you need♥♫

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cocky, what's happened to you?

I snapped this cocky a couple of weeks ago;
the crest was bright red
and when it went to raise it,
all of the feathers stuck together 

I saw it again about a week later
and, after a lot of rain,
the feathers were washed out a bit 
but still a bright pink

Funny that the colour
isn't anywhere else on its body

This time of year they get in to
the plums; maybe it's plum juice;
I don't like to think
of anything worse...

Thankfully, it's still with us

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It IS a small world after all........

'Rose Cottage', Relubbus, Cornwall

A little over a week ago I received an email from a lady who had stumbled upon my blog and my post of March 2009, "Relubbus Moor", in which I related the story of my husband returning to England after 56 years and visiting the little cottage he lived in after his birth. She said, "Whilst wandering through the cyberspace earlier, looking for references to places that I have known, loved and wondered what had happened to them....I found your blog - and photos of a little Cornish cottage that we had the pleasure of owning for a while."

A day later I received an email from her father, Roger. He had bought the cottage after the death of Michael's 'Aunt Minnie' and owned it for about 10 years.  In 1941 Michael's Mother, Kitty, was pregnant with him, his Dad was on a ship somewhere serving in WW2 and Kitty was sent further south from Plymouth to live at Minnie Jenkins' cottage at Relubbus in Cornwall.  Michael was born in August that year and went home to the cottage with Kitty.  For the next four years he was doted on by Kitty, Min and her Mother.  Minnie was unmarried at that time and had to be self-sufficient.  The women planted violets and made posies to sell at the local market.  Min used to shoot at crows from the top window; probably to keep them away from the vegie garden.

Aunt Min and 'Sparks'

Roger related another amusing story about Aunt Min:

"Villagers told the story of how Minnie fed an old fox quite regularly.  One day the hunt came who were chasing the fox.  The fox ran to Minnie at Rose Cottage and she let him in.  The Master of the hunt, with other red clad mounted "persons', demanded that Minnie hand over the fox.  Minnie went back into the cottage and re-appeared some minutes later armed with a shotgun.  "BE OFF!", she shouted.  "The fox is my friend.  If you take my fox, I will shoot your horses in exchange."  The hunt departed.

"Soon after we bought Rose Cottage (this was a singular saga in its own right) we found a dead fox in a small hovel where there was a semi-rotary pump to pump water from the mine adit in the corner of the garden.  We heard that the old fox had become lame and could not hunt properly.  Some villagers had left out scraps for it in respect for Minnie's memory but when it knew its time had come, it returned to Rose Cottage to die.  

"A blessing on their memories."

Stonehenge  Photo: Simon Wakefield

Roger also made mention of ley lines, something I didn't know of but I'm going to look further in to as I find it most interesting.  Click on the highlighted text for Paul Deveraux's site, one I found explaining all.  Roger said, and I quote:

"The ley lines that go through Stonehenge are well known.  A lady rented the cottage from me for a while and claimed that the ley lines go right through Rose Cottage.  She claimed to have been "visited" by Minnie."

Probably Autumn/Winter

Yesterday I found a photograph of the cottage house, no longer a cottage, as it now stands extensively renovated, immaculate sweeping can be viewed here.  Roger visited the house after the renovation and his comments the other day were, "they had ripped the soul from the cottage and destroyed its "presence".  It was a soulless showpiece and to my viewpoint, a tragedy, a great and irredeemable loss." And this, "It will remain forever bright in my memory, for the love and comfort it exuded from its ancient stones were well beyond earthly price."  We couldn't have put it better!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oprah Down Under

Oprah cuddling a Koala at Hamilton Island yesterday

Ayer's Rock

Today she visits Uluru in Central Australia and tomorrow, Melbourne. Apparently the show about her Australian tour will be aired in January.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Norway felt like home...

We arrived in Oslo late afternoon and it was already night time.  Our dear friend, Ole, greeted us and then we drove for an hour and a half to where he lives and works, Gjøvik.  We dined at a Chinese restaurant that evening; yes, we'd travelled to the other side of the World and ate Chinese food and drank Italian wine!!  However, the company was wonderful, as was the food and wine.

We excitedly jumped out of bed to see our first Norwegian morning.  The above shot is the view of Lake Mjøsa from Ole's apartment.  I foolishly stepped outside in my dressing-gown to take some photos and quickly got back inside; the temperature inside was just as we'd left Australia, around about an easy to live with 20C.

Michael toured the Mustad hook factory that morning and later on I joined him for lunch in the canteen.  We were then taken by Gai up the hill to an authentic 1700 Norwegian village.  The buildings were moved to the site and the village is open to the public on the weekends.  Unfortunately, we were there on a Friday but it didn't diminish the experience; we could still look in the windows of the buildings and see them set up as they were three hundred years ago.

Entrance to the Village
Looking down on the town of Gjøvik
and Lågen Mjøsa

Upper Gjøvik 1700

We walked a little further on and, as we approached a little bridge over a little pond completely iced over, we spied a little Mink sitting very still, hoping we'd just move on.  We took a few shots and then it scurried over the ice to the cover of bushes.  It's marvellous to know that they haven't yet been farmed to extinction!  Fur is huge in Italy at present; every fashion shop has it and it's not fake!

The next day we travelled four hours south to the town of Skien to stay the night at Barry and Agnes's home.  I felt very much at home in Norway; the countryside on the way down to Skien was very similar to the hills and open spaces back home, except the houses and trees were different.  Practically every home is made of wood and is painted either white, red or black and not a eucalpyt to be seen, mainly pines.  It's a very pretty country.  

View over Skien
from Barry and Agnes's dining room

Prior to our visit, we'd received an email from Barry with an amazing 3-Course Menu attached, promising wild game harvested by the family from the forest in Norway.  But that's another story.