" Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
                            Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
                            Brown paper packages tied up with strings
                            These are a few of my favorite things"

My favourites are the treasures I live with.  Each one has a story.  Each one is a special memory. And it is a privilege to have such treasures,  they evoke the richness of this life I am loving - the people, the places, the delights, even sometimes the "not so pleasant" memories are of value as lessons hopefully learned.

SO, these are only some of my treasures.

                               flowers

Flowers. When I have flowers in the house, I have brought sunshine inside. Popped in a white jug, they give me an instant smile. 

These cost 4.95 at my favourite green grocers, bargain. Most weeks I look at the flowers for sale, and go tsk tsk - too expensive, cause even a small bunch costs approx. 22.00. That makes these a special bargain. Maybe no one else likes pink snapdragons - their loss, my gain.

                     harold 2

Harold, my giant hippo. I carried him through customs on the way home from South Africa - he didn't seem to mind. Quite enjoyed being carried, even if I did groan about how heavy he was. He now lords it over our dining room like the magnificent beast he is. We had stopped at a roadside market somewhere in the wilds of S.A., and Harold signalled to "pick me, pick me" so I did.

                         chair 3 best

My favourite chair. From India. No, I didn't carry it through customs - it came on a big boat. Love the solidity of it, love the look and the feel of such a piece of wood. Which reminds me - is ready for a refresher coat of marine varnish - Malkie has suggested, and he is right. My favourite chameleon cushion as well - on sale at Pottery Barn in Atlanta.

                       grandma              grandma 2 

My Navajo Indian Grandmother - like me she has 2 grandies, so she is also twice blessed. Found her in Silverton, a town way up in the Rockies. She was sold to us by an Indian woman, who had the most gentle demeanour. She was so sweetly calm and beautiful, I could have brought her home as well.      

                     lights                

              Small lights, popped in a bowl. Nothing special, just cheerful and bright.

                    julie bowl this one

Lovely lovely craggy wooden bowl, thank you, Julie. (was a wedding pressie).You have such good taste. I can only imagine the lovely big old craggy tree it comes from. Nothing else looks and feels as good as wood i.e., unless it's pottery. 

                       norway

And the pottery comes from Norway. We were staying with the potter who made these, at Homlagarden.The pottery stands on top of a hill, and looks out over Hardanger Fjord.  Somehow,for me, Bjorn seems to have captured the magnificence of the landscape right into this pottery. Quite tall candlesticks, they are, but I had to get them home somehow.

                         soweto girls choir 

Soweto girls choir. Carved beautifully on the top, rough and craggy base,  love them all. Aren't the faces serene and beautiful ??  Yet another roadside market find from somewhere in South Africa. The little guy who was making them was SO proud of his work - and rightfully so. This treasure I could meditate on, every time I look at the girls I see more to ponder at and wonder about.

                                   crow

"Crow in Boots"  He captures our imagination, something about him is just great. Maybe he should be part of a bird detective series, and he is the anti - hero that always gets the bird baddy. Maybe he would be the hero of a  birdie cartoon series. Maybe he could be the baddie in a story about crows. Any suggestions ?? 

                             bowl better 2

The biggest and best salad bowl ever. If I make you a salad in this one, you better eat it !! Tripping around W.A., saw a sign for woodworker - headed off down and around and over an awful old dirt track, thinking all the time, what if his stuff is hopeless - instead we found this wonderful great bowl. And well priced. Bargain. Worth every bump in the road. Another lovely guy, horde of children, and the sort of unusual craggy wood you have to touch - and touch again.

                              art abor

Rather stunning Aboriginal Art. Found this at the Goulburn library where we had gone to see Hairy Macleary exhibition. This one I ponder about and feel an overwhelming, gut wrenching sadness. The prisoners at the correctional centre nearby are encouraged to paint. This piece comes from them. They don't get many to sell, but what they do get are precious. When we first saw it, we thought of a river running through - but now as I look at it and dream over it I am seeing more and more. And I have to hope the guy who painted this has some hopes for the future, hate that he is locked up away from his culture - but if I go further there I will cry for the waste and the hopelessness of his plight. I can only say a prayer for him.

OK OK enough !! I could keep going - love my home, love my memories - but then this story would get tedious. My treasures don't own me. They just expand me, so that my home is now the portal for the adventures and pleasures of  our travels. I have so many more stories in my head, like the leather fish I foumd somewhere in China, or the driftwood cone I made from our 8 week trip in a campervan - but those can be for a later post.

 

PLEASE PLEASE tell me about your treasures and memories - you all have them, tell me about some of them ?? Would love to hear from you all. Jeanette xxxx

Do it now !!  NOW !!

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It was also Pops birthday. Where could we go for a 93rd birthday celebration, and a goodbye, thanks for coming, celebration - Summit Restaurant at Mt Cootha, of course.

         family

That meant we could line up in the wind like a row of dorks and have a piccy taken before eating. From the left, Georgia, (plus scar on her leg from touch footy), Jonathan, Ellen, Pops (93, amazing), Jeanette, Malcolm, Bel and Dave - the mad Welshies.(Noni couldn't make it from Ipswich) Well fed bunch aren't we ?? However, I have to blame the wind - ballooned everything out to the max., including our hair.

The Summit is a restaurant I have used over the years for various celebrations. The setting is always superb - you come up the mountain, and invariably gasp at the top - Brisbane looks vast and green and leafy and SO interesting from there. Spread out over the plain, right to the water - looks like a city worth getting to know (and it is !!)

                    brissie 

                           Can you see the Brisbane wheel - looks amazing.

Now to the serious business of eating. The Summit offers an interesting early bird menu, 39.95 for 3 courses, and the meals are a tad smaller than the a la carte menu. Let me tell you, the size of my portions were just right. Not too big, not too small, just right. And the food was excellent.

              being naughty

The birthday boy, John, with his niece, Beryl. Notice they are laughing, and Bel is gesticulating wildly -modesty forbids that I go further !!

             moon      

Then the moon came up. Was a giant moon. The Jenkinses tell me it was the closest to Earth it has been for years. A giant, glowing, shining,totally gorgeous moon. 

             moon 2

         And it kept rising !! Marvellous entertainment the Summit has organised for us.

And the food - did I say it was yummy ? It was.

              hangaroo

             Malkie had the kangaroo pie, with sweet potato chips. Yum.

         bel with dessert

Bel had the dessert tasting plate. You get a stack of cakes and patisseries (to die for). She didn't eat the plate as well, even though it looks very likely.

 

As I said, this was a farewell to Bel and Dave. A few days later they climbed up on the BIG bird and flew back to Wales. 

3 mths they were here, and in that time they flew to Cairns for a few days, 2 weeks in Canberra, and 2 weeks in Sydney - so they saw a lot of Oz. NZ as well,for 3 weeks, to watch their Grandie, Ethan, play Rugby in the Under 19 Rugby World Cup. I think our Bel has a plethora of memories and pictures to take home with her to the green, green hills of Wales.  

Goodbye, Bel and Dave, till we see you again. xxxx

 

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Read right through this recipe before cooking. If any of the ingredients are missing, go BACK to your maker and supplier and request it. Then you may begin cooking.

1. Take a good dollop of excellent genetic material from the right parents.

        family 6

        Check out the grandparents too - and the cousins - one can't be too careful with this mixture. (Connette and Nick on the left, with Lachlan and Zach, Melissa and Dick Gayle,(grandparents) Christine and Frank (sister and brother in law), Henry and Frank (cousins).   

2. Season well with a HUGE dose of unconditional love. The bigger the better -

       love mixture

        This ingredient is crucial. If you haven't got it ready - don't bother cooking. (clockwise,Nick with Zach, Connette with Zach,at the dogpark, and Lachlan with Mom and Dad after school concert)

3. Add piquancy to the mix by giving the boys room to sleep calmly and comfortably.

       zacnh mixture

Zachie's room is a lovely soft grey, with extra-white trims, and he sleeps in a Thomas the tank engine bed.

       lachlan mix

 Lights out at no later than 7.00pm - Oh well, alright, 7.30 or maybe even 8.00pm !! 

4. Stir well, then add pets to the mix.

            pets 2 

Learning to be kind with their pets is SO good for the consistency of the mixture, even though Mum and Dad will do most of the work. (suck it up, parents) A pair of cats and a dog should allow the mixture to bubble up nicely.

5. Add in the amazing flavours of sporting activities - works excellently with all mixtures.

            soccer

             Soccer is the game of choice for lachlan.

               mini golf

        Zachie isn't quite up to that yet - but he does love killing a mini-golf ball.

6. Another absolutely vital ingredient is school - choose it wisely, but always choose a school just like DHUMP, where academic learning is balanced out with learning to play with friends, and growing vegetables in their own vegetable plot.

              school 22

              school 23

Top - Lachie learns as he plays in his classroom, and Miss Lane teaches the boys to get their hands grubby, and how to grow their own food. Bottom- Zach in his classroom, and helping bro in the vegie garden.

             school 24

Lachie sings his heart out at the school concert, and discovers he loves singing.(Is rather important that your school offers such programs)

 

 7. If you have available a tame Grandfather to teach the boys how to work with tools, and make things such as a play house, or a dog kennel - add him into the mixture. He will give a firm consistency to the batter.

               

 2cubby     

Zach and Lachie help Malcolm at the building of their playhouse.

       good malkie

 

helping 22 

Helping malkie with the cladding on the doghouse,

and Zachie concentrating on measuring

      helping 1

8. If the dough does not look as if it will rise well enough, add a good measure of reading.

                 room reading

Works every time, provided Mom or Dad reads every night. Rises like a hurricane.

9. And finally, if you want your happy boys to have a bright glossy sheen all over, take them out each Friday night to celebrate and enjoy.

                mobile

                 Zach and Lachlan at the restaurant with Dads mobile - great fun !!

 

There are no guarantees in this world. But Ireckon this combination of ingredients, if stirred very very well, and baked in a warm atmosphere of approval and love, should produce a happy glossy result.

. 

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Did you know ?? That inland Australia anywhere has secrets just waiting to be discovered ?  Below I talk about a few, BUT there are squillions more to be discovered - just head off and find out for yourself. Yes, the coastal areas are great, but we find the people, the places and the stories of the inland are fantastic.

              new-south-wales-map

Where were we ?? Follow the dotted line, we fetched up at the small, one motel, town of Crookwell  somewhere between Bathurst and Goulburn. The town boasted one brasserie (all we needed), and of course, being in the middle of sheep farming areas, we had a wonderful meal of lamb. Yumbo. Lamb and vegies as only country people can cook it.

Also got the word on Crookwell - everyone was so proud of their sock factory. A SOCK factory ??? Here in the back of beyond??(well, almost the back)  It was MARVELLOUS!!  And we stocked up on enough socks for a lifetime.  Souvenirs of Crookwell?? Perfect. Your birthday soon ?? Also perfect. For cold winter floors - got a bunch of those. Silk ones for summer? Yep, them as well !! Noni, I still have yours.

                      factory 2

socks 2 

More socks than you have ever seen before, they make long socks, short socks, wool socks, cotton socks, angora socks, bright socks, pastel socks, tie dyed socks, silk socks, mixtures of all the above, and much much more. Elasticized at the top socks, non-elastized at the top, it's all here!! 

    socks 1

 

 

                     socks tye dyed 1

                    Very pretty, and lusciously soft tie-dyed ones.

  socks 4

The story goes, Max Lindner began the business way way back before the second world war. The business flourished, as you can see from the factory picture below, but with the war, he needed to get out. So, he came to Oz., brought all his machinery with him, and restarted the business. Being in tiny Crookwell, the business relies mainly on mail order and word of mouth - once you have worn a Lindner sock, your feet will never go back to ordinary ones !! 

   socks 3

What a find !! And best of all, we were a bit cheeky and asked to see the machines. Mark Lindner, son, now runs the business and still keeps the same machines afloat. He took us through the making of a sock, and it was fascinating. They only use natural fibres, and their products are made in the old traditional way, and this of course, results in a top quality sock. I am wearing one of the tie-dyed ones right now as I type this, and my toes LOVE my Lindner sockems.

                     machine 2

So interesting to see the machines, and reflect on their history. Mark is a whizz on keeping them going, and now, with the birth of his son, is proud to tell us there are 4 generations of Lindners supporting the business.  Doing quite well, I would suggest. We were there on a Monday morning, early, and they had customers from far and wide all morning - most of them return customers.

We do wish them well - lovely family, good product, and bringing life to inland NSW. Have a look at their website - http://www.lindnersocks.com.au/

We moved on to the slightly bigger city of Goulburn in time for lunch - Malkie said - "The Paragon Cafe is a compulsory tradition" . We said OK. However, before he could get us there, we found this -

                   roses cafe 1

Poor Malkie, he had no chance. Was a cold wet grey day, and this warm, pink and pretty cafe with luscious food - well, how could you ever walk past it ?? We didn't.

                 roses food and more

                 Oh yes, this is where we eat.

                 roses roses roses

Was the prettiest cafe - masses of flowers everywhere. 

            roses mixture 

Dave waited patiently, while Bel photographed madly (so did I). Was toasty warm inside - who could possibly be in a hurry? BUT, but, but - (why is there always a but?), when you visit Gouldburn and head for the Roses cafe and order the apple crumble cake - tell them to PLEASE use some cinnamon on it!! Just saying - but apple crumble with no cinnamon - Honestly !! These people must be from NSW.

We eventually staggered out into the cold - we had an exhibition to discover at the local art gallery. Customers of the sock factory gave us the word - go see the Hairy Maclary exhibition on right now in Goulburn. So we did. Only approx an hour from Goulburn to Canberra, our final destination, so definitely not in a hurry.

 

1 hairy mac

Heard of him ?? Course you have. Dame Lynley Dodds (NZ author) has created an amazingly whimsical character as the star of her childrens books. Whimsical, witty, truly endearing, Hairy gets into all manner of escapades with his mates. And Scarface Claw -how emotive is that name ? makes a very scary baddy.

 

 

       images 6

     1 hairy 9 1 hairy 4  

             images 4         images more

Love the faces. Now a full series of books, the characters are all so lovable - except for scarface claw !!

Rest of gallery was worth visiting as well. 

                                       g art 2

Loved the Aboriginal Art for sale. Bel bought 2 pieces, I bought 1(it spoke to me), each different and interesting, produced by inmates of the local prison - sad, but maybe by investing in their art pieces, we may help them. Would be nice to think so. Mine is at the framers right now - I love it. Called it 'The River" and not sure which wall we will hang it on, but watch this space - I will probably tell you.

OK OK ENOUGH - Malkie said get INTO the car or I'll leave you here. Last stop - Canberra.  Stayed a night with Don and Debbie, left Bel & Dave there for a prolonged visit, and we headed home the next day.

 

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