Sunday, May 31, 2009
A little later, I was working in my study and I heard his sanding machine whining away. By lunch time, the entire table was in pieces and all the paint was stripped and the wood sanded, and it was getting a coat of clear finish. It will go through a few versions of this before it's done, but the task is out of my hands and I'm not complaining.
We took a trip down to Cairns on Saturday (very twisty drive down the Kuranda Range) and we found a set of early Victorian shelves in a secondhand shop, to put on the wall above the table. Lovely!!!!!!
So now I have no excuse but to get on and write.
Head down today...
But I'm cooking a spinach and pea risotto for dinner tonight, served with grilled prosciutto. Can't wait.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In the back of my mind, however, I'm also tussling with decorating issues.
Our house here is really quite modest. It started out as a shed and we've been slowly extending and changing it and it's been rather fun and quite a creative exercise. Currently, I want to get the kitchen better organised and I've been mulling over getting more fitted cupboards built versus finding free-standing pieces which ft better with the country style look.
I've often read in magazines about people who find old pieces of junk at the bottom of a field, or abandoned in some other obscure place, only to turn them into something fabulous, And I've always thought those stories were fairy tales.
But let me tell you, dear reader, I was thinking about my kitchen yesterday and suddenly remembered an old table in the gardening shed that's been there since we bought this place.
'I'd like to take a closer look at it,' I told E. 'You never know...'
So we took off the ghastly linoleum top (lovely shades of maroon and grey) and E scraped back a section through layers of paint -- grey, cream, green, mauve, pink and more... to discover Oregon pine underneath.
You guessed it. It's a really decent, restorable table. And it fits perfectly -- let me say that again -- perfectly into the space beside the stove that I had in mind.
So I've a new project to squeeze in around writing.
Couldn't be happier. Will let you see the results, but I have a book to write so don't hold your breath.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
If you're not Australian, you may not have heard of Picnic at Hanging Rock, a novel written by Australian author Joan Lindsay. It was also made into a movie, but I'm not sure if it was shown overseas. It's about a trip by a party of girls from Appleyard College, an upper class private boarding school, who travel to Hanging Rock in Victoria's Mount Macedon area for a picnic on Valentine's Day 1900. The excursion ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. No reason for their disappearance is ever given, and the one girl who returned has no memory of what had happened to the others. A fourth girl had climbed the rock with the group, but returned in hysterics for reasons she could not explain.
Another text entry I thought was fun was this:
Clncy wher r u
Pls cntct ur accntnt
It's based on this very well known and well loved Australian poem, which I've copied below, in case you're interested... It shows the intense feelings many Australians have about the whole city versus the bush dichotomy.
"Clancy of the Overflow"
I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just "on spec", addressed as follows: "Clancy, of The Overflow".
And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(And I think the same was written in a thumbnail dipped in tar)
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."
In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving "down the Cooper" where the western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.
And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.
I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all.
And in place of lowing cattle, I can hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the buses making hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through the ceaseless tramp of feet.
And the hurrying people daunt me, and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste.
And I somehow fancy that I'd like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cashbook and the journal -
But I doubt he'd suit the office, Clancy, of "The Overflow".
The Bulletin, 21 December 1889.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
It seems a day
(I speak of one from many singled out)
One of those heavenly days that cannot die;
When, in the eagerness of boyish hope,
I left our cottage-threshold, sallying forth
With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung,
A nutting-crook in hand; and turned my steps
Tow'rd some far-distant wood...
I thought of it yesterday... because right now, we’re having the most incredibly beautiful late autumn weather. The skies are crystal clear and soft blue and at night the heavens are ablaze with stars. Daytime temperates are gently warm and the nights and mornings are crisp enough to put the fire on. Still a novelty for us!
Yesterday, I didn’t write a word.
We went to Yungaburra markets to buy more plants and fruit and vegies, and then we paddled our canoe on Lake Tinaroo. It’s magical to go up and down the little creeks that lead into the lake in a sleek canoe, silently slipping past magnificent rain forest trees that come right to the water’s edge, listening to birdcalls, to a waterfall deep in the forest, watching ducks take off, or cormorants diving for fish.
Also, I’m sure paddling a canoe is very good exercise for a writer. After sitting hunched over a keyboard, it’s great to open up the shoulders and use arms and wrists in completely different movements.
I spent the afternoon planting up the bank directly in front of the house. I’m slowly filling it with Australian natives, with daisies and ground covers, lilies and ground orchids. By spring it might be nice enough to take a photo and show you.
What's the weather like in your part of the world?
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
No, they're not "our" twins. This is a surrogate pregnancy. When Mattie Carey's best friend Gina has to have a hysterectomy, Mattie decides to help her and her husband Tom to achieve their dream of a family. Mattie's determined, and even meeting drop-dead gorgeous bachelor Jake Devlin won't stop her from going ahead with the surrogacy plan. But in achieving happiness for her friends, Mattie puts her own happiness seriously at risk.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sometimes (maybe all the time) being a writer requires serious self discipline.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Back Row (L -R) Matt (Vicki's boyfriend), Vicki/Victoria (daughter), Andrew (son) Barbara, Elliot
Front Row (L-R) Lauren (daughter-in-law), Lucy (granddaughter), Emma (daughter), Richard (son).
One day we'll get a group photo that also includes Emma's husband Carson and son Thomas, plus littlies Lilly, Milla and Sophie.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
Christening was lovely -- and I know my daughters Emma and Victoria will continue to care about their little niece's spirituality.
After service, everyone changed into casual gear (a must in the tropics) and went back to the babies’ place for the party on the back deck which ended up lasting all day.
Lovely to watch young bachelors go gooey over babies, too. If you'd like to see more pics, go here...
And here’s that fabulous recipe from Alison Roberts…
Dead easy rice salad:
Cook 1.5 cups brown rice and cool. (makes about 3 cups cooked)
Sauté heaps of sliced mushrooms, red and green pepper and finely sliced red onion or chopped spring onion. (asparagus is nice, too)
Throw in a bag of roasted cashews at the end. (About 200 grams)
Mix into rice and add dressing which is – half a cup of soy sauce, quarter cup olive oil, generous teaspoon crushed garlic and a good squeeze of lemon juice.