When the rains come

thief

Police cars, helicopters, fleeing criminals; not the usual school day, but the day we had today. A group of young car thieves stole a couple cars and attempted to flee. The police were in pursuit when they turned and rammed the police cars, fleeing on foot into the bushland across the road from our school.

Police helicopters were called to track the escapades, who were eventually captured. Strangely, the police instructed us not to go into lock down as the young thieves had run in the opposite direction to the school. They brought them back through the bush to the waiting police cars outside our school though!

Most of us were oblivious to the happenings as we continued teaching class. Minerva and I were concerned about the continual overhead buzzing of helicopters, but as we are not far from an airbase, there was the probability that it was something in relation to that. The sirens were a little worry though, but we expected the lock down – which we had drilled in only days earlier – to be enacted if required.

So, though being on the spot, we had to wait until the evening news to hear the details!

Cyclone Marcia

The state has gone into its own lockdown tonight, as a cyclone, Cyclone Marcia, now predicated to cross the central Queensland coast as a category five, is expected to hit land over night. Having been through two very nasty floods in the last four years, people are now rather versed in preparations.

We are in south east Queensland and about three hours drive from any coast, but still expecting major wind and rain. Our little town floods too easily, but we are placed high on a hill. We might be cut off, and perhaps have no power if it is a worst case scenario. I feel so sorry for those people around Yeppoon and Gladstone on the central coast. Let us hope things aren’t as bad as anticipated.

The scientists have warned that with climate change we should expect more severe cyclones. There is a second in the Gulf of Carpentaria, which is shared by both Queensland and the Northern Territory.It is a high end category three at this stage. I think it is expected to impact the N.T more so than QLD.

Interesting days, indeed. I shall be checking the creek before heading off to work in the morning. I won’t be risking life and limb through heavy rain, only to have to turn around and make a fast return journey before the flooding cuts me off.

Happy Year of the Goat!

doing small things

pantry

Once we were a family of five in a house and any food item that entered our house was soon consumed. I bought economy size. Now, we are not a family of five, as chickens grow and make their own nests. Economy size is no longer required.

Once, I would buy a large bottle of mayonnaise knowing it would be consumed well before its use by date. Now, it won’t be. Even small sizes aren’t always consumed before the clock ticks over.

My problem is that without warning those chickens can return, a phone call on a Sunday morning and news they are on their unexpected way. Lunch?  Of course!

Also, a couple of days of heavy rain can see us cut off  by flood waters, thankfully not frequently, but it can happen. Last time our Village centre was out of action for weeks, not just days.

Now I find that I am making more elements of our meals, the basic elements, than I ever have. Mayonnaise, just a few minute and I have a fresh version. A well stocked pantry is getting me through most events. What the pantry doesn’t handle a little creativity and substitution often makes up the difference. It is almost fun, pulling off the Flamingo Dancer’s version. Failure is not a fault, it means that I tried!

The benefit that I never realised until recently, well, when I started thinking about writing this post, is that this has served to simplify our meals and even our lives. No longer do I run to the supermarket for costly ingredients that will only be used once. I choose recipes that I know I already have ingredients for in the pantry. And no, we do not eat the same thing every meal.

I think we are also eating a healthier diet. I do have to think and plan more, but that is a positive. I also order our groceries online, so the spontaneous buying of “new products” no longer blows out the budget, and in turn cuts down the unnecessary extra salt and sugar of processed food.

When I make something from “scratch” I feel as though I am caring for my family in the best way. I also feel a link to all the women in my family from previous generations who have done the exact same thing. I guess, I am trying to say that I feel it all a very holistic experience, and that has been a surprise.

It is getting to be a very overused adage, but once again it proves to me that the simple things in life really are the best. As though I didn’t know that already!

cook book

A tale of a woeful ramble and trouble afoot.

bed

Gather round, people and I’ll tell you a tale. A tale of a woman who set forth on a ramble and met woe on her way.

Granddaughter, Petite Fille was promised a ramble through Grandma’s garden, so Petite Fille sat quietly while her Mummy placed her ladybird rain boots on her tiny feet, in the fear we might encounter dragons along the way. Okay, snakes, not dragons, but it is my tale.

Petite Fille, Mummy, and Grandma set forth on their big adventure to the vegetable patch. It wasn’t long before Petite Fille found that her feet were too small for her ladybird rain boots and that made it difficult to walk down the hill. Her Mummy picked Petite Fille up to carry her, but it was Grandma’s house and so Grandma must be the one to carry forth Petite Fille.

Down the hill rambled the Mummy, the Grandma and the baby girl. Through the rainforest and opening the gate, they investigated the vegetable patch and the plants that grew there. Out the other side and onto the mail box to collect the mail was the next part of this rambling tale.

The problem was that silly Grandma had thrown her usual common sense to the wind and had sallied forth in her turquoise thongs (flip flops, okay.) Not the right footwear for a ramble in a country garden.

Grandma carrying Petite Fille did lift her foot to walk over the garden edge onto the path, when what did happen but her thong, a flip flop did do! Grandma stumbled forward but her thought was to protect Petite Fille, so the woman swung sideways, to save the babe. A quick hand from the Mummy following close behind, did stop the tumbling of both granny and child.

Poor old Grandma though had done herself a harm. Her back did tell her that her ramble had come to a sad end. A week later, Grandma is still popping pills, visiting the physiotherapist and lying low. Dear oh dear me, and Grandpa never brings enough tea…

So, let the moral of this tale be,that Grannies should not venture forth in inappropriate foot ware, especially if they are rambling with a babe in arms.

Her sensible garden shoes are now by the door, and never again shall they miss a ramble with Mothers and Girls.

the end

family and a portmanteau, hopefully without ado!

table 2

A little bit excited this morning, for today, we are doing Christmas, Take 2. Daughter2 and Her Beau have arrived and later we will be joined by my sister, her daughter and husband, and their four children (the youngest being that little 825gram baby girl born in June who has since been pronounced “perfect in every way” by her doctors), as well as Daughter1 and family (yes Petite Fille is returning!), Son and Mr FD’s sister. Whew!

Simple meal this time, though I am tackling a turducken. My first. It is not a huge turducken, but considering the challenge a simple roast proved on Christmas Day, I am psyching myself up for the cooking! My daughters and son in laws are far better cooks than I, so I have plenty of assistance should I need it! Apart from the turducken, we shall barbecue bratwurst sausages which will suit the wee ones.

I have asked everyone to bring a salad, but to keep it simple. No stress intended for anyone. I think my sister is contributing a cucumber and tomato salad that our Mum always made, which I have found out is German in origin, naturally, but so simple I am sure it has spread across cultures. Sliced cucumber and tomato in a bowl, salt and pepper to taste and then fresh cream dressing. Just cream, nothing else. Nom nom. Mum grew up on a dairy farm and she knew many ways to use cream. One of the best was thick cream on a slice of bread sprinkled with sugar! Triple nom nom!

Bad, but good at the same time, if you know what I mean.  A little like me!

Tomorrow, we will be driving into the city to meet D2’s future inlaws. We have been conversing on Facebook but are yet to meet face to face, so Tuesday is the big day. We are meeting on neutral ground for lunch! They will be in awe of course.

Enjoy your day, I am going to make the most of mine!

Flamingo Dancer.

open 

Portmanteau : link to definition

Carrying my place with me

 

vase

I don’t know why taking the rubbish out to the bin led to my comment, but as I walked back through the front door, I couldn’t help remarking to Mr FD that “we really do live in the best place in the world.”

For those new to the flock, Mr FD and I decided on a tree change just over two years ago. We moved from a large, two storey house in a Brisbane suburb to live in a small “village” about an hour’s drive from the city. Our home is smaller, more manageable to suit our downsized lifestyle, and has the textures of brick and natural wood we love. Every room has a view of trees.

We have a tall cathedral window in our living room that gives us a floor to ceiling view of tall towering gum trees and our garden, as if there is nothing between us and the world outside. In fact, it does its job a little too well, as once or twice a week we hear the bam! of a bird making contact with the glass. We joke that one day the window will break and then we will replace it with a huge stained glass STOP! sign window, to warn the birds.

Living here means that I have a 40 minute drive each way to teach every work day, but that is a small part to play for the joy of living where we do. (And we traded my car in for a hybrid to alleviate the fuel issues). I can walk onto our patio any morning and watch a variety of birds catching their early worms, or maybe follow a wallaby making its way across our lawn. Our trees are old and very tall, and as I write this blog, sitting near the open window, I can hear the wind blowing through the branches of the gums. Just hear the serenity!

Our property is just over an acre on the side of a hill, and so we have the added gift of sweeping views across the valley. There is even a lake to be seen in the distance. Surrounded by trees, the front road is hidden and we can pretend the rest of the world has ceased to exist. I do, for days on end, when not interrupted by the need to go “out there”.

Add to that, our first family dog, a cream, golden retriever named Augie, who arrived as we did, and the cup really does runneth over.

“We really do live in a beautiful place,” I said.

Mr Fd replied, “Someone from overseas wrote to me that they were sorry for what happened in Sydney (a terrorist siege that resulted in the deaths of two innocent hostages) and I said, that though there are horrors vested upon us, on the whole we do live in the best country in the world.”

The best place in the best country in the world, that is where I live.

 

When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.

                                                            Alexandra Stoddard

 

Just putting this into words, has made me realise, that living here has made me a better person. I am no longer concerned about image, or ambition. I have slowed down. Now moments mean more than things. It would be nice to think that I am also a kinder, more forgiving person; mellowed a little, but at the very least, I am happier and so very content.

I wish to you all, that in 2015 you may find your little piece of paradise. If you have already, that you may hang on to it tightly and let it fill you, heal you and make you the person you wish to be.

Flamingo Dancer.

via Flamingo Dancer blog

seek no answers here

phone

Me: “The notice says that the surgery is open every second Saturday.”

Receptionist nods in agreement.

Me: “Would that be the first and third Saturday, or the second and fourth Saturday of the month?”

Receptionist looks at me as if  I have just asked her to donate her kidney to me.

Me :”I was just wondering which Saturdays the surgery is open.”

Receptionist: “We were open last Saturday and we are open this Saturday.”

Me: “I don’t need an appointment. I was just wondering what the schedule is; first and third Saturdays, or second and fourth for example.”

Receptionist shrugs her shoulders and looks at me as if I am a sandwich short of a picnic. “We were open last Saturday and we are open this Saturday, because a lot of people want to get things sorted before going on holidays”.

She’s lucky the pen she handed me to sign my medicare form is not already poking out of her left nostril.

“And after that? In the new year, how will I know on a Saturday, whether the surgery is open?” Am I speaking in tongues?

Receptionist mutely stares back at me.

“So, basically, what I have to do is phone to find out if you are open on any particular Saturday?”

Receptionist nods silently.

I was imagining her going into the back room and sharing with the other nurses, “There was this woman who just asked me which Saturdays we were open!” and her colleagues would all hoot in merriment at the stupidity of their patients.

 

“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.”
― Euripides, Bacchae

A moment in time between a Flamingo Dancer and a bird of a different colour

Mr FD spied with his little eyes, one of these sitting on top of a basket of old blankets outside the patio door.

Tawny Frogmouth 1

Tawny Frogmouth

 

Except our photos are more like this :

IMG_0775

IMG_0777

It was evening, hence why he was out and about

 

I just grabbed my iPhone to snap, but I wasn’t going to miss the moment just to perfect the photo.

The Tawny Frogmouth may have been a baby, as it was still rather fluffy. We wondered if it was the product of the fortification we witnessed between a pair of Tawny Frogmouths in the branches of a tree near the front of our block a little while ago… It seems to be a bit of a spectator sport for Mr FD and I, watching creatures fornicate. When we were a courting couple we arrived  home to see two cats fornicating under Mr FD’s share house, and one of the resulting kittens became a family pet, for the next 18 years! We also spied a pair of canoodling green frogs on our drive way not long after we moved into our Brisbane house a decade ago. We did not see another green frog until we moved to the country.

The little guy had settled on top of a basket of old blankets I was going to store in the garage to make forts with Petite Fille should ever the need arise. He flew away eventually, ending Augie’s dream of a tidbit for dinner (don’t worry, Augie Dog does not eat birds and was well enclosed in the house anyway!)

Another round of applause for country living.