Monday, 29 December 2014

The Teashop on the Corner by Millie Johnson

My daughter chose this book for me for Christmas because the title had tea shop in it and she knows I like tea.
I probably wouldn't have picked it myself, but she couldn't have chosen a nicer story.
The characters are warm and lovely with all their crisis' and foibles.
There is sadness, joy, heart ache, friendship, love, secrets and skeletons, happiness...everything that life and humans are made of.
A wonderful and bright feel good read.  I loved it!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near

Beautifully sad and sadly beautiful.
A strange and tangled mix of real and unreal.
I love this book.
I love it's short wonky chapters, it's words and language, it's visuals and it's tragically appealing heroes and heroines.

In real life love and hate, war and peace, sadness and happiness, beauty and ugliness, good and bad, loneliness and it's elusive opposite, exist side by side.  Just as Allyse Near has warply wefted this story together, closely and loosely, full of longing.
Ca m'amene a un endroit merveilleusement familier comme une sensation de déjà vu. 
Je l'adore.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Creative vibes

Today. 5th  November 2014

Iron melted plastic bags and bubble wrap together.
Ironed and cut my tea stained cotton ready for bunting.
Sewed some fabric circles together.
Machines need servicing.
Finished some bunting.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Tomorrow when the war began by John Marsden

A gripping and powerful read.
We live in a world where ignorance is bliss.
But how would we fare in a real crisis?
How industrious, practical, level headed and courageous would we be?

There are people in the world who already live with this kind of scenario.
For so many it is their only reality.  Surviving in fear.
We don't know how lucky we are.
Sending out all my thoughts and energy to those who need it most.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

I am not completely sure how I feel after finishing this book.
I know nothing of Icelandic culture or it's history, so it was very interesting in this respect.
However, I can't help feeling horrified, extremely saddened and ashamed of so many aspects of human history and how we have treated ourselves and each other over time.
Peace is surely an illusion and current times seem only to magnify that.
Of course we have evolved but I wonder how much we have learnt.
History is fascinating yet so tainted with unnecessary cruelty and bloodshed.

It seems too easy that one person can decide someone's fate regardless of their innocence, though I guess it happens often enough.
These were hard and harsh times especially for women.
It is at least reassuring that Agnes Magnusdottir can finally be given a voice in a time where we are, I hope, more open minded.

Monday, 20 October 2014

24 August 2014

Please nurture the souls
Of our furred and feathered friends
They know not what they risk.

Our roads are many,
Long, windy and adventurous.
In our haste to advance, expand
And dominate,
We alter natures way.

Along the cross roads,
Where paths and trails meet,
Who spares a thought
For the life bounding along?

Another obstacle to dodge
And ignore,
Who cares to move them
Or to feel moved by their plight?

Stopped in their tracks,
Bodies strewn
In shocked finality.
Our graceful emblems,
Broken limbs pointing
North East South and West.
Their eyeless gaze
Tracing bloody entrails.

Tina Pech

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

I am not interested in dissecting books and writing and stories.
I am interested in how they make me feel.
How they make me think.
My emotional response.

I try to avoid summarising the story as so many seem to do.
I try not to be swayed by other thoughts and reviews and I definitely try not to bother about how realistic a story, it's characters and places may be.
After all, I mostly read fiction which, right from the start, is imagined.  
Made up.  
Not to mention that many authors give readers a message of intent in hope of avoiding confusion.

I don't know much about cancer.
My grand mother died of melanoma but that gives me no insight into others experiences.

This story made me feel light.
There was also heaviness, the type that comes with helplessness and sorrow.
And yet, there was so much elation and humour.
Who are we if we can't laugh despite everything?

Touchiness (touchy and touching), inevitabilities, fleetingness.
Sometimes it is hard to 'be'.
Sometimes we only have what we have.
In the face of death, experience surely becomes ageless?

Mostly I loved the small simplicities, the love and the aching beauty.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

When the unfortunate inevitable occurs...

Though my mind has been wandering off on it's peculiar monologues as it often does, I must confess my sucky human crime while I am reflecting upon it and express my humble regrets.  Some might consider it a warped initiation and until this afternoon, I have escaped the hit and run ranks.
An extremely fast dark fluffy wallaby, I believe, darted out in front of me on my drive home today. I knew immediately that I would hit him head on and all I could do was brake and brace myself.  
If only I could have braced him.  
He bounced off the front of the car and glided into the road side grasses and in my shock, I kept going. Horrified by what happened and my spinelessness at not stopping, I prayed that he was dead on impact as I know that I wouldn't manage to deliver a final blow if necessary even though I was already responsible for his painful end.
There are aspects of the human condition that immediately nullify positive sensation.  
For me this is one of them.  
However, what I find even worse is that it all happened in a few split seconds and that's all it took for my pathetic mind to begin wandering off again on its peculiar monologue journeys, thinking that I should find myself some practical summer shoes.
I am not proud of my apparent lack of appropriate sensitivity, as I drove off into the sunset whilst leaving the suffering behind me.
As a driver, I feel partly responsible for all road kill.
It guts me.
For all that I manage to avoid hitting, there is always going to be one, somewhere, someday.
Is the first one the hardest? I doubt it.
I happily burnt rubber last Friday to avoid an echidna hobbling across the road. That was one lucky echidna!
So my poor wallaby friend, Despite appearances, I am very sad and very sorry and though it won't make much difference, I will plant a tree in my yard for you. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014


1. To invite or take part in a test of skill or strength
2. To make demands on

Sometimes it is not so much that we feel challenged, but that small things can become challenging without us even realising.
The only thing challenging me today is my head cold.  Sniffles, sneezes and sore nose!
However, this cold has given me...time,
and time has allowed me to be inspired.

As often happens, for me at least, inspiration comes from reading.  Today I finished Sally Wise's book A Year on the Farm, which led to...

Vanilla cinnamon biscuits
Two vegetable quiches and a cottage cheese and oat loaf,

Mango and passion fruit muffins and some dark rye bread.
I had some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and gave Herman a stir.
In a few days, Herman will become a sourdough cake.

So one never knows where their reading might take them.
I love my reading adventures.  I can't help getting excited about books.
They have taught me so much and taken me so far.

Despite being part of a couple of book clubs, it is not easy finding others who get as equally excited over a good read.  I know you are all out there, but getting even a small handful of you over once a month for book club is becoming challenging!

More book related challenges; reading daily, reading in French as much as in English, remembering what I've read...
Then there are those other types of challenges; exercise regularly, drink more water, smile, gardening, next house project, finish all those creative projects...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Bridges over Madison County

's review 
May 19, 14  ·  edit

bookshelves: favoritesdecorates-my-shelfmade-into-movie,photographiehistoire-d-amoursensualtouchingpoesie,tissues-required 
Read from May 19 to 20, 2014

I saw the movie years ago and recently picked up the book second hand.
So I knew it was a love story. I relish good love stories and have read many whether classics, chick-lit, comic, young adult, paranormal romance...the list goes on.
I read them and read, generally speaking, for the joy, hope, fun, dreams, adventure, sadness, excitement and escapism that they bring to me. 
Honestly proud to be a sap, nothing like a bit of unbelievable corny romance for a bit of fun. 
They make you hoot with laughter, blubber like a baby and cringe like a teenager, some even steam you up like?..yes well, you can imagine. 
Despite any tendencies towards cynicism, I still believe in romance and we can all use more of it in our daily lives, where ever we may find it.

Surprised that so many found this book dreary.

I felt it to be powerful and intense, sad and lonely, painful in a melancholic way and beautifully simple in a very strong way.
There are so many who have just what they settle for in life and relationships.
To find someone, even briefly, who helps you to ripen and blossom physically, emotionally, intellectually, even spiritually, can only be magical.

In Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, it is described as being like a box of matches. There are only so many and even fewer who can set the sparks free. It would be sad indeed to go through life never experiencing such a sensation. When was the last time you stayed up all night just talking to someone, oblivious to time, to everything, except that person? When was the last time you felt appreciated in such a way?
Or even ready to experience such a love?
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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Days#27 to 30

Wednesday sunshine
Primary school play
High school sport
Tea and chats

Monday, 26 May 2014


Sunday morning
Eventually it was too hot
To stay out front


Despite the sunshine
It was a flat day
Even the stars are dull tonight

Sunday, 25 May 2014


I have been sleepy
And much less mindful
With my time outside

On these days
I still spend time 
In the morning sun
On the front verandah
Which seems to be 
A winter ritual
Tea and books
Hand in hand

As well as brief moments
With the chooks
Or at the clothesline
Sometimes I have morning tea
With the neighbours
Or walk to the library


Today showed me 
The pleasure of

When my time outside
Is mindfull,
It is also meaningful.

Admittedly we had a glorious
Grasse matinee
I saw a foggy kind of haziness 
Outside my window
And continued dozing.

It was a beautiful day
Reading to Artemis in the
Morning sun
Washing and drying
Hanging out the washing
Is a slow task
The mind can unwind
And flap around in the breeze for awhile
With the clothes
It is also methodical
I have my way of hanging and
I fold clothes as I take them off the line.

This afternoon there were 3 kookaburras
In the gum tree having a laugh
And I am usually accompanied by
Our dog and 2 cats

I planted the second rosemary bush
In the front garden
And we prepared the veggie patch
For whichever winter veggies we
Decide to plant

My treat before bed
Was looking at the stars
On this clear clear night
Seeing the clusters
That make the Milky Way 
Moving around the garden 
In the cool night air
To see beyond the tree branches
The southern cross
And a shooting star
I felt incredibly still and peaceful
And was reminded of nights
Under the stars
On the other side of the world

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


A Leisurely stroll down 
Macquarie street


Fun with kindergarten 

Monday, 19 May 2014


Walk to the library
Browse books at the street stall
Post some letters
Cup of tea and sunshine


Washing on the line
Cakes in the oven
Tea in the sun
Kids running in the garden
Relaxing with friends


I never realised
How much time
I spend
Hanging out washing
Hanging out with the chooks
Roaming around the garden


Exercise at school
With first graders
Running like crazy
Leap frog


Sitting in the back yard
On the wooden bech
Under the palm tree
Chooks clucking
Bella at my feet
Reading a memorable book.

Thursday, 15 May 2014


Outdoors today
Was not so mindful
Putting away
Full moon
Night shadows


Nothing like an outdoor office.

Monday, 12 May 2014


A stroll around the garden
Pick my first ripe lemon
The branches are heavy with fruit
Bella, crazy pup
See how she runs
The stars are out tonight
An almost full moon.

Sunday, 11 May 2014


Tea & toast
Made with love
By Artemis
Enjoyed with delight
In the autumn morning sun
While finishing a family read
What more could a mum ask for
On Mother's Day.

Saturday, 10 May 2014


How to have a work meeting.

Leisurely walk to Spirey View
Little rain showers along the way
Families in tow
Picnic for Peter's birthday
Casual meeting while families play


Hanging out a few loads
Of washing in the sunshine
Morning tea on the neighbours
Back porch

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Today's the day the teddy bear's have their picnic!
A true privilege to work with children outdoors!
Had a wonderful day with a kindy group and their teddies.
Walking, playing, making, exploring.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014


An hour of sport supervision at a local high school
Tennis balls flying
Autumn sun

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Cup of tea in the morning sun.
Walk to the library instead of driving.
Lunch in the sun and finish a book
To a butcherbird's song.
Listen to the verandah roof creaking
Hardly anyone go by.
Admire the plants,
Must be a year since I planted them.

Monday, 5 May 2014


Lazy Monday 
It's getting colder
Talking to chooks and plants
Poop patrol
Play fetch
Magpie and kookaburra show down


Grey Sunday.
Clothes washed
Hung out 
Wind dried
Family walk
Flocks of galahs
Bella pulling eagerly
Drizzly return 

Saturday, 3 May 2014


A rainy night bought more grey clouds and a wonderfully crisp autumn morning.
Our time outside today was perhaps less mindfull; brisk walks from one shop to another, kids pushing the car for a kick start, feeding hungry chooks, playing with Bella in the backyard.
Some think last winter was mild, but it's pretty strange to feel this chilly so soon after the big heat we had in summer.

Friday, 2 May 2014


Improvisation needed.
Despite having spent most of the day in the middle of the Warrumbungles, due to work and cool weather most of it was indoors!
Friday night saved me.  Dinner awaited me too at the local chip shop!
Bella and I had an evening walk the long way around, in the dark and soon warmed up.
So part of my challenge will be to walk Bella more often and have little adventures together

I'll show you how to walk the dog...


I have signed up for the David Suzuki Foundation 30x30 challenge in aim of spending 30 minutes outside everyday for the month of May.
I started a day early out in the Warrumbungle National Park by checking out a nature trail for next weeks teddy bear's picnic excursion.  Luck shined upon me last year when I became a casual teacher at the Warrumbungle Environmental Education Centre.  Amazing work environment, amazing co-workers!  
All the elements were present and I indulged in some big rock energy meditation.  While the creek trickled a little tune, I breathed in earthy fragrances and watched the rain ripples make infinity circles on the pond surfaces.
On the drive home, I did something that I always mean to do but never do...I stopped to pick wild flowers on the side of the road!
Incredibly, I inspired Artemis and Armand to enjoy the afternoon sun on the front verandah, which turned into rolling on the grass with Bella, target practice on the kids with a giant nerf gun, plant pruning, poop patrol, phone calls and reading in the hammock!
All that before day#1!

Photos pending...

Somewhat simpler but no less agreeable...a cup of tea and some bibliotherapy on our north facing front verandah in the autumn morning sun, chat with neighbour included.