country nights

night

At night our Village is utterly quiet, except for the trains that wind around the town throughout. I sit on my bed in our hilltop house and through the forest of trees, the street lights twinkling like fairy lights through the branches and the  waving leaves. Across the valley the yellow lights of a distant highway service station bring to mind the ramparts of a far away castle.

A train starts its climb, the sound of its efforts somehow comforting. All is right with this world.

Sleep well.

The Queen was in the throne room

Call us spontaneous, as with my sister riding in the back seat, we went in search of my mother’s family home. Mr FD and I had tried a few months back to pinpoint the seat of my maternal home, but as I was about 8 the last time I was in that area, and that is the odd decade or two (three or four, then) since, I was not sure of the way and we missed the turn off. My older sister was about 17 the last time she was there and so was able to locate it with more ease. Our great grandparents had settled the farm as new immigrants from Germany/Poland.

We pulled up and the present owner of the former dairy farm was working in the yard and so we asked permission to take a photo, though I would have even if he had said no!

 

Grandparents  House   The house originally had iron lace all around the veranda which was removed and the veranda closed in during my mother’s childhood – with nine children, the two boys slept on the closed in veranda. Being a Polish/German family the farm was always pristine, with not a thing out of place in my childhood, with a very large Victorian style garden with neat rectangular beds edged in rocks removed from the fields as borders. There was also a large orchard, but all this is now gone and turned over to lawn. Still, the old home looked wonderful, and brought back so many happy memories for my sister and I.

Afterwards we drove to Spicer’s at Hidden Vale, which is about 20 minutes from our house,  for a late lunch. My sister had already lunched at the Home with Mum, so sister and I shared a ploughman’s platter and then scones with jam and cream. We sat on the veranda of the original homestead and took in the views of the valley plains below while a jazz duo played in the background. I am told it is how the other half live. Spicers   spicer at hidden vale While there was much to photograph I had to share this photo with you – the toilet roll holder in the ladies toilet. It is the Australian coat of arms. How apt for the throne room! toilet roll spicers 1   toilet roll spicers 2

 

 

To read the history of the HIDDEN VALE area go HERE

warning men at work

The boys, Mr FD and Son have had a very eventful day at home.

Mr FD set the fire alarm off by cleaning the bar-b-que outside on the patio. He started to clean it while it was hot, and so the cleaning product started to smoke and the smoke went in through our bedroom window and set off the fire alarm.

... and the expected life span of  Mr FD

… and the expected life span of Mr FD

On the weekend, I suggested that is was time to call the plumber to fix the leaking tap in the main bathroom. Mr FD decided he would see to it, and took it apart, checked on the internet and found that it was superseded and so a replacement part could not be procured. He put it back together again, and said he would follow up today.

He certainly did, when I wanted to shower tonight, Mr FD had to go outside and turn the water back on while I showered and then turn it off afterwards, to stop the water gushing out of the bathroom basin tap.

The plumber is due in the morning. Sometimes I am actually thankful that I am out of the house all day…

I see dead things.

Driving home from Brisbane on our recent microwave buying adventure, Mr FD had to slow on the highway to avoid contact with a turtle (turtle, tortoise, I never remember the difference, or even if there is one!).

Driving home at the end of first day of term. in almost the same spot and in heavy traffic I was unable to slow or avoid a turtle (the turtle?) trying to cross four lanes of traffic. The clunk as the car tyres hit its shell was sickening.

I would like to imagine, that like the turtles in all those looney tunes cartoons of my childhood, that it actually pulled its head and limbs inside its shell and merely spun around on the road before recommencing its trek. But I know…

turtle

No doubt, in some culture, somewhere, killing a turtle tortoise is a summons for bad luck that will last a lot longer than the bad omens attached to the shattering of a mirror. I am not sure I want to know if it is.

I am a killer of turtles. It may have been a stupid turtle trying to cross a four lane highway at peak hour. I mean couldn’t it have considered itself lucky to have made the trip once and not chanced a second throw of the dice? Well, actually if it was the same turtle, it had crossed the highway, crossed back and then was back for a third journey. Either that, or it was one damn slow turtle, and maybe it deserved to be road kill. Those genes didn’t need to be passed on!

I am gutted… well, I guess, so is the turtle! [Black humour is a coping mechanism, honestly].

Should I perform some sort of cleansing ritual? Should I go conduct a smoke ceremony over my car? My name is Flamingo Dancer, I kill small, slow , dumb creatures.

Nice then

nice

Do you ever have one of those days when someone asks you, “How was your day?” and you reply “Nice, it was a nice day.” and you really can’t recall why it was nice, or how it was nice, but it was nice, and then it dawns on you that it was actually the absence of any form of irritation that made it nice?

Well, yesterday was like that.

 

…where have you been? I’ve been to Australia offending their Flamingo Dancer

fd pink

There has been a bit of a rumble in the kingdom these past couple of days. An element of interference in my universe. A territorial dispute. The “other” royals, those foreign interlopers, William and Kate, and their cutesy wutsey baby boy, George have been round and about the place. They have the temerity to venture within mere miles of Moi this weekend too!

I have chosen to take the moral high ground and have issued no invitations to them.

In fact, I have decided the best course of action, or non action might be more accurate, is to ignore them totally. Well, except for the time I am watching the news and they happen to appear before my eyes, numerous times a day. I am after a a tolerant woman, and they are young and inexperienced. One must understand that they do not know what they are doing, straying within my lands.

The days are pleasant, the sun is shining, the parrots are tweeting, tweet tweet, so what better that a morning in the garden? The basil was taking over the orchard and blocking the bath of the sprinklers and so that was cut back. Then, onto the daisies that line the stairs to the orchard terrace.

This is an area where caution is required. It is a dry stone wall and a favourite place to sun and hide for snakes, so it is with some caution that I venture thus. I always wear knee high wellingtons when I garden as a form of self protection, and have gloves as well, but where there is a will there is a way for woman and reptile. I wonder if it is a female snake? There must be one somewhere hence the spawn. Anyway, that is not my subject too. What is my subject?

Oh yes, gardening. If anyone is wondering what happened to the sweet potato I planted so earnestly some months ago, well nothing happened.  They popped up and started to grow and then they must have become a tasty meal for possum or rat, as GOF predicted. The spot remains empty.The End.

I have plans to plant nasturtium to attract bees for the fruit trees, but I am not expecting my dining companion not to return to make it difficult. The orchard garden is on the edge of our property and backs onto open bushland, home to everything and anything.

Gardening completed on a perfect autumn day, I retired inside to a lovely cup of tea, a yorkshire blend for the gardening goddess, only to be offended anew by William and Kate, sans George, meeting the cheering peoples of New South Wales’ Blue Mountains. There is only so much a goddess can tolerate, and so I called for my stick list.

Home alone though, so no minion came forth. Too comfy after my morning’s efforts to rise, I gave W&K a momentary pardon. Just this once, mind you. Just once.

 

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to look at the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you do there?
I frightened a little mouse, under the chair.

kookaburra return

Since the recent rain, the grass has greened up and the worms have popped up, and our kookaburra friend has returned.

I didn’t want to frighten him/her so this is just a hasty shot taken with my phone.

Australian Kookaburra - pronounced cook, not koooooook

Australian Kookaburra – pronounced cook, not koooooook

[Since the little pile on the ground in the corner of the fence - dog poop. Son piles up Augie Dog's poop there. Don't ask why...]

 

A somewhat better shot someone took earlier:

kookaburra 1

not a difficult blessing to count at all!

Today was a family perfect day. We met Daughter1, Mr Boy and Petite Fille for lunch before returning back to our house so that Petite Fille could have an afternoon nap while we devoured birthday cake (or maybe that should be pre-birthday cake as my birthday is not until Monday).

D1 was experimenting with eggless cake recipes as Petite Fille has an egg allergy, and also used dextrose instead of sugar as they try to be sugar free (Mr Boy is more committed to this than Daughter1). I have to happily admit that her efforts were delicious.

IMG_0489

Petite Fille put up a few protests before settling for her nap, and when she cried, Augie Dog stood at the door and whined, and once barked in agitation at her distress. Once she settled he did too. She slept for over two hours before waking for a bowl of strawberries and a walk around the garden with Grandma (me!).

My Dad would always take the babies and toddlers for walks around their suburban garden each visit, and now I get the joy of following in his footsteps. It is amazing how many times I catch myself doing something with Petite Fille that I know my parents did with my children.

Maybe in this every changing world, there really are some things that stay the same – the love of a grandparent and a grandchild. I would like to believe so anyway.

raindrops and linen sheets

Woke at 7am, made breakfast for Augie Dog and myself, Mr FD still slumbering, then Augie and I went back to bed. I woke with a start at 11.30am, Mr FD still beside me. We had a lunch reservation for 12, a celebration for Mr FD’s birthday which is tomorrow – we were only five minutes late! Not that it really mattered as it was not at any michelin star restaurant, but the local pub. We ordered their fish platters, which had those lovely chips (fries) that were crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside.

 

photo-11

 

The pub is popular with family groups and on this rainy Sunday was busy, noisy and stuffy. A cup of coffee and we were done. We drove home, my tummy working hard to digest the heavy fare.

So, what better place to digest than back in bed? I climbed back under the sheets and slept until 5pm, when I rose and fed Augie Dog again. I couldn’t face dinner.

A Sunday to be recommended to all.

finding pen and voice

opinion

Since moving to the country I have noticed a slight change in my mind set in that I am becoming more community minded. Not just in our endeavours to shop locally when we can, but also in adding our voice to other initiatives.

This morning, I was at a nearby shopping centre where the local council had set up to canvas opinions on what the community considered important for the future. In the city, I probably would have walked by, not probably, I would certainly have walked on by. Today, I set my groceries down, took up marker pen and added my comments to the paper boards they had set up.

A young woman who was staffing the area came over and asked me more questions about what I had written. I was advocating wifi and fast reliable internet access, and I explained how it would be  of benefit for the local hospital to have access so that patients could have time online with specialists instead of having to travel to the city for some appointments. The government is committed to a national broadband system, but they are picking and choosing areas, and their plans go right to the end of our street and miss the local high school and the small regional hospital that is in the Village. Stupidity at its governmental best.

I have no expectation that anything will change, but it did make me realise that our sense of place and belonging does shape our thoughts and actions. I expect that growing older also makes me more community conscious, and I did hear myself declaring a double barrel comment, “The older generation will be able to stay in their homes longer if they have reliable and affordable internet access, and I am a teacher I know how important the internet is to education now!” I almost looked over my shoulder as this public voice was so not me – was someone actually speaking behind me and it wasn’t in fact me? Nope it was me.

I’ll be carrying a soap box next! An elegant, one of a kind, soap box, of course.