Friday, November 9, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012
But it’s not even that. Tuesday was sniffing, sneezing and feeling like s**t.
Wednesday and Thursday – not a sniffle nor a nose blow.
Today, Friday – dripping nose, blowing constantly. I’m even on to the toilet roll now!
Could it be hay fever? I’ve never had that, in all my life.
It’s not an allergy is it – to red wine? Noooooooooooooooooo
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
If you never learn the language of gratitude, you will never be on speaking terms with happiness.
A father and mother kissing their dying little girl goodbye. If you are wondering why all the medic people are bowing: in less than an hour, two small children in the next room are able to live thanks to the little girl's kidney and liver.
Monday, October 22, 2012
So here I am – again.
It’s been a strange year, not altogether pleasant either. The times that I have been the happiest have been when I’ve been away from home. That’s not right, surely. In my working life, I mean when I got paid for working for others, my home was my refuge, my haven, and I loved it. I used to work in an area that had me assisting the homeless, dysfunctional, sick and unemployed so at times it was somewhat testing if not scary even. So to come home at night was an absolute dream.
I’ve been outside of the paid workforce now for three years and I feel like I’ve lost touch with the world. I was confident in the work that I used to do and quite happily voiced my opinions when required. I usually had a funny story relating to the workplace that I could tell (never breaking confidentiality) and friends would ask for advise or just be happy to use me as a sounding board. But I also believed that I had such a lot to learn about living sustainably with gardening, cooking from scratch, baking bread and everything else that once retired I would be fulfilled. Hmmm.
Now all I can tell people is how high the broad beans are growing or that my sourdough bread is coming along nicely or that spinning wool is not for me. Not exactly exciting for most. Somehow I have become a recluse, silent and nervous with people I don’t know. Staring at the computer screen, wondering why I bother. Nobody reads boring blogs and I don’t seem to have anything interesting to say. But here I am. I keep trying and I plan to go back and read some of my early posts to see how far I have come in my plan to live more sustainably. I know I have improved in some areas but lost out in others such as my personal belief in WHO I AM. I don’t know anymore and some days I just don’t want to be here – anywhere – it’s all too hard. But let’s stop there before I begin to wallow!
One really, really good thing is that I haven’t had a cigarette now for six weeks and I have no plans to have any more. I knew it would be hard so I took advantage of the prescription available from the doctor which blocks the receptors in the brain with regards to nicotine. The drug itself has a bit of a dodgy reputation so I have continued to visit the psychologist and warned friends and family to tell me of any drastic personality changes. So far, so good. But then as I am a bit of a recluse that could be cheating. If only they could make a drug that blocks the receptors in the brain that encourage eating too much!
Yes, the Tulip Festival in Wynyard, Tasmania was last weekend, 13th October and my friend Sue and I drove up for a couple of days as neither of us had been before. The flowers were stunning and we were both impressed with the town and its use of tulips in the verges and town centre. There seems to be a great pride in the town and after the Saturday morning foreshore market had been dismantled and removed there was not one item of litter to be seen! Very impressive I must say, as it had been very busy when we stopped for a mooch around. It was a lovely market, with a huge selection of items for sale at “real” market prices. It wasn’t full of cheap and nasty either. I even saw kitchen tools that my mother used in her kitchen that I remember, they looked as old as my mothers too but were still going strong. (My mother would have turned 100 years old this year). I was able to pick up a couple of cake baking pans and a small radio for M’s workshop, none of which was over $2. My friend Sue surprised me with an early Christmas present. She had spotted the perfect baking bowl for my sourdough bread. Once again it was similar to the bowl that my mother used so many years ago and is the perfect size and not too heavy.
After the market and a visit to the tulip fields we went to the nearby Table Cape Lighthouse and climbed the 70 steps to the top for these magnificent views:-
The weather wasn’t the kindest on the Saturday, being a bit cool and the occasional shower of rain but it didn’t manage to diminish our enjoyment. The day ended with a spectacular fireworks show and we had the best view from the pub (the meals there are pretty good too).
So, that was last weekend. Let’s see if I can think of things to write closer to home…… Next time.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Monday, August 06, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A Canadian couple that has been growing a beautiful, meticulously-maintained front yard vegetable and herb garden has been ordered by city officials to uproot most of it by September 1 or else face lofty fines. CBC News and others are reporting that the town of Drummondville in Quebec is actually planning to ban all front yard gardens in the municipality beginning this fall; a move the spells the end of food self-sufficiency for many Canadians living in the area.
Michel Beauchamp and Josee Landry love to grow their own food. But the back yard of their well kept, Saint-Charles area home does not get enough natural sunlight throughout the day to grow the many varieties of fresh fare they have long enjoyed. So they asked their town's Environmental Services Inspector if it was permissible to grow food in their front yard, and they were given a verbal affirmative that this was not a problem.
"They used to have flowers growing, but Beauchamp has high blood pressure and wanted to eat healthier. So they planted cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchinis, beets, onions, and Brussels sprouts, among other vegetables," said CBC News about the garden. According to the same report, Beauchamp has lost an astounding 75 pounds since first planting the garden, and much of this is due to his having been able to grow and eat his own healthy food at home.
Drummondville changes its mind, betrays Beauchamp and his wife
But after the couple invested roughly $2,500 to install the garden, which is among the most tasteful and orderly front yard gardens that you will likely ever see, by the way (http://grist.org/list/city-officials-are-waging-a-war-on-gardens/), Drummondville officials turned on the couple and told them that they would have to remove most of their garden or else face a daily fine of up to $300 -- and the couple was given just seven days to comply with this demand.
According to city officials, every front yard garden in Drummondville has to contain at least 30 percent grass, a requirement that Beauchamp and his wife did not comply with when they installed the garden. It does not appear that the couple was ever even told about the requirement; as they had previously received approval to plant the garden as it currently is.
When Beauchamp and his wife challenged the city on the order, officials did not relent, but instead gave the couple a compliance extension, telling them that they had until September 1 to rip up part of their garden. The two are still fighting the city over the issue, though, and continue to try to convince officials to do away with the silly ordinance.
"It must be a right to be able to grow our own vegetables on our land," said Beauchamp to CBC News. "It is nonsense to ban it."
Meanwhile, Drummondville officials are moving forward with a new ordinance that will completely restrict front yard gardens altogether, no matter their size, which puts Beauchamp and his wife and many others out of the food self-sufficiency business. Since many back yards in the area are too small or do not receive the proper amounts of natural sunlight, many areas' residents will essentially be restricted from ever growing their own food unless they move.
Food oppression also escalating in the U.S.Similar jack-booted oppression by local officials is taking place in the U.S. as well, including in Tulsa, Okla., where a woman recently had her entire front yard garden illegally bulldozed by city officials (http://www.naturalnews.com). Similar cases of home-grown food destruction have taken place in Georgia, Michigan, and New Jersey.
Sources for this article include:
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036709_home_gardens_attacks_self-sufficiency.html#ixzz22l1M5OOe
I have shamelessly lifted this from a friend’s facebook page. This is too important to ignore and I hope that Australia does not follow in these footsteps!
Monday, August 6, 2012
Since M and I have returned from our holiday in Bali we have both been sick. Chest infections, coughs, snotty noses. aching muscles and no, I repeat, no energy or inclination to do much! I have known M for twelve years now and I have never seen him take to his bed before, ever.
We have had a few days here and there where we worked at maybe 80% of a functioning level but still the coughs continue.
It has been a hard winter down here in the far south of Tasmania and the nights have been very cold. A lot of the days have been too, and wet. I think a lot of our small country town has been hit with this dreaded flu as has the surrounding district. We have also had three deaths in a matter of weeks. We have another funeral to attend tomorrow. One of the deaths was possibly flu related but the others were bowel cancer in one and old age in the other. Friends have taken to their beds and I have become almost a hermit. I don’t want to infect anyone although I don’t think I am contagious any longer, but I also don’t want to mix with anyone who could be sick. I’m just so over feeling like crap I don’t want any more germs!
Now, having had my major whine I can report that I did have a wonderful three days with my friend Sue who turned 60 recently. She also wanted to avoid the ra-ra-ra that comes with a significant birthday here in our town, so we beat a hasty retreat to Cradle Mountain.
We stayed at the Lodge and what a fabulous place to stay. Within an hour of booking in there was a knock on our cabin door and one of the staff members stood with a bucket of ice containing a bottle of Tasmanian Sparkling Wine “for the birthday girl”. What a fabulous surprise. They knew it was Sue’s 60th birthday as I had ordered a surprise birthday cake for after our dinner that night.
We ate in the bistro and I made Sue wear the tiara that she had brought to Bali for me to wear on my 60th birthday. Payback is a wonderful thing! We had a wonderful meal and I had managed to have a quiet word with our waitress about when to bring out the cake. Well, not only did these two beautiful young, women bring out the cake, with candles lit, but they also sang Happy Birthday to Sue too.
We finished in the bistro and asked that the remainder of the cake be put in the fridge as it was incredibly rich and neither of us could even finish the slice on our plates. Then into the guests’ lounge with big leather chairs and a roaring log fire.
We chatted on with a young couple and met another couple who had also received a bottle of sparkling on arrival – and an upgrade. Why the upgrade we asked. “Because we just got married” was the reply. Once again I was impressed with the service and thought that the Cradle Mountain Lodge had towards their guests.
We went back to the cabin before it got too late and off to bed. We were hoping for snow but knew that it was highly unlikely as the sun had been shining all day and was supposed to be repeated tomorrow. And it was. But first the car looked like this
Boy it was cold first thing. We took great care walking to the lodge as we had been warned about possible black ice. The breakfast, which was included in the price, was A M A Z I N G! Just think of any food that you might possibly like to have for breakfast (or even eat anytime) and I think that it was in the buffet. We thought that we would try and be restrained so we started with some fresh fruit – and then greed and the thought that we wouldn’t be here for lunch took over. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and a baby croissant and four cups of coffee (small cups). But there was everything from sushi – porridge – baked beans – salamis and cheeses - pancakes and even bread and butter pudding! I noticed quite a few men taking full advantage of what was on offer, two or three times!
After breakfast we caught the bus to Dove Lake and walked as far as we could, first one way and then the other. We actually got too warm in the sun. It was a beautiful day.
When we returned to the Lodge we had a glass of mulled wine each and decided to explore the surrounds. There were a few “easy” walks and one of those was called “The Enchanted Walk” which took us past the Pencil Pine falls. The mosses, lichens and rocks certainly had the feel of a fairy forest. There was proof that wombats were in the area but we had to wait until much later in the day for our sighting of the wombat. We saw lots of pademelons, wallabies and a very tame and demanding possum.
Another splendid meal and more mulled wine that evening followed by chatting by the log fire. We had to leave the next day as this was just a flying visit but I will definitely be going back. The drive home was as uneventful as the drive to the Mountain had been, although the weather was definitely changing. We tried to estimate the time from A to B and we think it was around six hours, allowing for a lunch break and stops along the way. I dropped Sue home, along with the cake we had remembered to collect from the kitchen fridge, and made my weary way home. To be greeted by M – in bed – “Didn’t you get my message – I told you I had the flu and maybe you should think about staying away”.
That’ll teach me not to turn my phone on……….
Thursday, July 19, 2012
This is what M has been working on since we’ve been home from Bali. It’s the new improved model of hoophouse. It has the wooden floor to enable him to lay plastic out to cut to size. The plastic is then welded together and a hem sealed on the ends to have rope slid through to tighten the plastic around the skeleton hoops. This will make for a much tighter (and neater)fit and when the summer months come along and the plastic has more “give”, it can be easily tightened again. Plus, if the plastic needs to be removed for repairs or replacements, it is just a matter of releasing the ropes and slipping it off. No more staples, brilliant.
Now I’m sure that it is a lot more technical than how I have written it above but I don’t have a head for that sort of fact. My head is full of trivia and I know that one day I will need one of those little bits of trivia in a hurry! So there’s no room for other stuff. But M knows what it is all about and is very excited to have finished this workshop. Now he can get onto producing the new proto-type of his relocatable, rural and commercial hoophouses (although he has said he would like new names – sigh).
He wasn’t happy with my suggestion of “Condom” (well it is plastic and slips on and off…..) so I’m still working on that one. He has had a number of enquiries from his website but had to complete the workshop to be able to build them through winter.
The new system will make transporting them a lot easier too, so trips all over Tasmania will be coming up soon. It will be soooooo good (not to say reassuring) to have some business happening again. I’m sure our anxiety will soon be lifted.
So fingers and toes crossed and I’ll let you know.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
we had travelled south to check out some of the spots that are so popular with the Australians. When M and I had visited Bali in 2010 we had no interest in checking out Kuta or Seminyak because it seemed that they were the popular spots for a. the surfie crowd and b. the general Australian public. We wanted to be with and experience the Balinese people. But this time we thought well, we’ll go with the flow and some of our group did want to visit Seminyak in particular for the shopping. I have said it before and no doubt I will say it again, but I do not like shopping. Particularly if I don’t need anything and it’s just a “spend money cos I can” sort of affair. Anyway, we loaded into the car and headed south. Putu dropped us at the main shopping drag and we split into two groups, serious shoppers and lookers. Well, was I impressed? NO! I could have been in any Australian tropical town, with shops aplenty and bars advertising the weekend’s coming AFL matches to watch with a huge plasma screen in the bar. I don’t watch football at home, never mind when I’m on holiday on a beautiful island. So I dragged myself around, and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t being that gracious about it, and finally stopped at a cafe for a drink where we met up with the serious shoppers.
We called Putu and he picked us up and took us to another beach at Sanur. This is known as “the old people’s beach”. Yes, we did see quite a few more mature people there but it was a pleasant place to stop for lunch, almost on the beach and enjoy the sea breezes. I would say that there are a number of Australians living there as we saw quite a few with dogs walking, jogging (yes they must have been crazy) and generally being ignored by the usual Balinese hawkers. We wandered the beach, enjoyed watching the local families having a good time and chatted and just enjoyed being there.
The next stop was to be Jimbaran for our evening meal. All along the beach there are seafood restaurants, on the beach itself. What a magical spot. The waves were coming in, the sun was setting and the menu was amazing. Putu had told us to order the “family bucket” (shades of KFC I thought) but it was just a translation malfunction. I can’t remember the term now but it definitely wasn’t bucket.
We ordered drinks and decided to try the local Arak, which mixed with orange juice was called an Arak Attack. This is not a drink that I could honestly say yum to. There seemed to be an underlying taste of diesel somewhere in there. However, four Arak Attacks later I was probably enjoying them no end!
When the food came it was unbelievable. There was lobster, snapper, mussels, calamari and prawns, accompanied by rice and spicy vegetables. We ate and ate and ate. And all the time we were eating we were aware of the musical group that was visiting each table to sing a song.
The musical groups at bars and restaurants all seem to know the same songs and perform them very well. We were serenaded with an assortment, from Cold Chisel to Johnny Cash.
The photographs cannot do justice to the evening. If I had the choice, I would love to dine there every night. Not for the food so much but the sensation of being connected to the beach, sea and sky. When the stars came out and we were able to watch the twinkling lights of the planes coming into land at the airport, and at the same time dig our feet into the sand and listen to the children frolicking in the sea, ah bliss.
But we had to leave as it’s an hour’s trip back up to Ubud so we called for the bill. I have never had a bill that cost over 2 million before. The rupiah is crazy, there are a huge amount of noughts to worry about. About one million of the bill was for the drinks, that’s about $4 per drink for 5 people and the meal was $21 per head. For so much seafood that was wonderfully cooked and presented, there were no complaints.
We all slept well that night.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Whilst we were away we had a regular driver called Putu. He is the cousin of Suri who looked after us at the villa. She cleaned up after us all without a single complaint – even the dirty ashtrays! Anyway, Putu is a new Dad and his little baby girl Emita (apologies for any wrong spelling as I’m sure that’s not right) was one month plus one week old. This means in Hindu that it’s time for a ceremony. We were given the privilege of attending on a sunny afternoon at their compound.
The proud grandfather
When we arrived the main man who was to conduct the ceremony was about to start. There was incense, lots of it; offerings and oil. At one point Putu’s father came to the table with two young chickens in hand. Oh, oh, what was going to happen here? Well, nothing as far as I could tell. Maybe something happened to them behind the scenes but we never heard or saw anything.
The main table and offerings
Guests looking on
This was a very casual ceremony. We couldn’t help comparing it to an Australian christening, where everyone is smartly dressed and children are kept quiet in the church etc. Here it seems that every day life continues around the prayers, even the dogs wandered in and out. Towards the end of the ceremony we were warned that Putu would be lighting three pieces of bamboo which would explode with a “Very Loud Bang” and is meant to warn the evil spirits to stay away.
So we were all ready for it but it wasn’t that loud, didn’t even bother the baby! Notice in the photograph the hand holding the cigarette. That’s the grandfather who is a chain smoker. He is also a school teacher and we did wonder what the school rules were about smoking!
And then it was all over. We all had a cup of tea and some snacks and a cuddle of the baby (of course), who had been very good throughout and we were then invited to have a wander through the compound. It became apparent that this family compound was pretty substantial and that they were not a “poor” family. In the next photograph you will see rice, which had been sent to the compound from around Bali, to be dried and bagged.
Laid on the ground to dry in the sun (with the odd chicken having a bit of a nibble)
Gathering it together to be covered under tarps.
Further along in the buildings to the left of the picture were the piggies. All 68 of them and all different shapes and sizes. I did ask some questions about how old before they go to market or local restaurants (I think I may have eaten a bit of one the day before in Ubud) but in typical fashion I can’t remember the answers!
Finally it appeared that Putu and his friends were going to have “a bit of a session” in the local garage next door. There would be beer and food and the local arak. I decided that maybe this should be a bit of a boys thing and declined the invitation and the other two girl friends said the same so we left M and W with the boys to finish off the day in true Balinese fashion.
They had a ball.
More to come……..