Saturday, November 19, 2011

I say Tomaarto

A big thank you to Toni Henderson for teaching me to animate a tomaaarto. And to Candy Bowers for teaching me to Hip Hop Hack. We had fun at The Edge on Thursday and Friday last week....we were participating in libraryhack. stuff. If you're aged 15-25 you should get on down there. It's pretty cool.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digital Poet in Training

Here's a bit more stuff from the workshop today using Open Source software called Gimp. You can get Gimp here. Jason Nelson was our teacher today. You can see some of his digital poetry here.

Learning at the Edge

I haven't blogged for a while because I've been busy working (hoorah) and studying.

Today we've been having fun at The Edge.

Check out what Amanda and I worked on today.  We created a map on Google and tagged it with photos, video and embedded links.  We think we're pretty clever.

View Points of interest at SLQ in a larger map

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Confetti across Cyberspace

Confetti by Delphine Menard
The licencse terms of this photo are here

Today a fellow blogger is getting married.

Verity has not one - but three blogs! A prodigious output indeed.

One is compelled to reflect on one's own happy day of yore....

At the time I believe my nephews thought I looked like a religious statue - my frock cleverly concealing any hint of the feminine form.

My beau had considerably more hair then than he does now.

And mine is of course now considerably greyer.

My bridesmaid is as beautiful today as she was 20 years ago.

Some of the children who were at our wedding are now themselves married.

Some are now no doubt are experimenting with love in all its forms.

I hope they are having as much fun now as they did on that day, playing in the 18th hole of the St Lucia golf course, which to their minds was a jolly good sandpit.

Dear Verity - the Virago-ites wish you all the very best on this happy happy day! And indeed in all the days to come. May your marriage be a fabulous sandpit - filled with buckets, spades, rakes, some water and not too many cranky golfers.

Dear Fleur has put together some of our thoughts about the venerable institution of marriage - bless her - such a power-load of work.

Love - whether or not you choose to frame it in marriage - is a splendid thing.

Happy days to lovers and golfers everywhere!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011


The wattle is out in our suburb and it smells divine.  No doubt this is causing angst for some fellow hayfever sufferers but I love it.

I went for a walk this morning.  It was a bit nippy in the foothills of Mt Coot-tha and I was rather sorry I wasn't wearing my mitts.
I ran into the cheerful wandering weeders near the Hut on my way back from the coffee shop.

And spotted this luminous beauty on the path.  What is it?  Can anyone identify it for me?  Is it boronia?

I'm glad I walked.  It's been a while and I needed to walk off the trifle I had made on the weekend in honour of the international guest who came to dinner on Saturday night.

I tried out the recipe for Lime Curd Trifle here .  Of course Woolies and Coles only had lemon curd didn't they?  Then I foolishly tried to make creme anglaise - twice.  Eight eggs later, I chucked both efforts down the garbage muncher - such a waste I know - I could have cried.  I jumped into the car for the 3rd time that day and went and bought custard in a carton.  If I had been watching Masterchef this week apparently I would have picked up tips.

I really should have made the trifle the previous day.  It is always better after a good long soak.  It was the first time I had made a gluten free cake so that was interesting.   I don't fancy this trifle as much as Aunt Jane's tipsy trifle in Babette Haye's 200 Years of Australian Cooking though.  

And the quantity is ENORMOUS!!  Please note this recipe would be marvellous for a function of say 30 people!! 

Can you make custard?  Or Creme Anglaise?  What's your secret? 

Friday, July 22, 2011


Right!  Who's seen this movie and wants to talk about it?  I saw it last night with Maree and Melinda.

I wanted to see it last week but then I fell foul of a vicious tummy bug   It was probably just as well I didn't go then because SPOILER ALERT!!  there's lots of spewing and diarrhoea in this movie which is tough enough to watch in reality, let alone on the big screen. I must give a high five to the makeup artist before I forget....those girls looked really sick (and not in the way you young folk mean Caspar!)

Should you go and see it?  Well yes, so we can talk about it silly.  But don't take your mother or your grandmother because they're likely to be grossly offended and walk out.  I have been ruminating all night trying to come up with a clever summary or logline - like "It's Borat meets My Best Friend's Wedding" - but part of the movie's problem is it is hard to define.  It sure does divide its audience - they seem to love it or hate it.  I of course, as usual, fall right in the middle.  I hate being a fence sitter - apart from anything it's mighty uncomfortable.  That reminds me of a funny scene in the movie....

There were some really knockout performances in this movie and some really great casting. I am now a devoted fan of Maya Rudolph who plays the part of Lillian who gets lucky and is about to be married.  This woman seems to just glow and shine like no other.  She is not typical Hollywood material by any stretch of the imagination.  She is not conventionally beautiful but she radiates empathy and humanity and I was captivated by her.   She's Gwyneth Paltrow's childhood friend apparently - lucky Gwyneth.  

Kristen Wiig  gives a fabulous portrayal of the deeply complex and flawed lead, Annie,  for whom we can't help but feel sympathy. Annie is Lillian's besty and wrestling with the dubious honour of being crowned Maid of Honour. 

Australia's own Rose Byrne is a stunner as the interloping new besty and bridesmaid with designs on the role of Maid of Honour, Helen.  There is a raft of bridesmaids to absorb, including another Australian -  Rebel Wilson as Brynn,  Ellie Kemper who plays Becca (just delightful to watch) and the extraordinary Melissa McCarthy who plays the mega bridesmaid, Megan (yes, bad pun I know).  Was anybody else disturbed by how much Melissa resembles Ricky Gervais ?  

There's not much eye candy for the girls though - Michael Hitchcock does nothing for me and Chris O'Dowd, who is a kind of thinking girl's boyfriend, seemed uncomfortable with his role - at one stage I was even beginning to doubt he was a police officer ! 

I did laugh out loud in many places.  There are so many good scenes and so many good lines....."Why can't you be happy for me and then go home and talk about me behind my back like a normal person?" is one of my particular favourites from Lillian.

But there were too many just plain uncomfortable scenes which didn't work that spoiled my enthusiasm. I walked out feeling that I had seen about five pilots for sit-coms jammed into one movie.  Matt Lucas from Little Britain plays the part of an extremely oddball and funny flatmate for  Annie (Kristen Wiig) and  these scenes are typical of the ones that jar.  It is as if the cast is too big for the movie.  At 125mins I  feel it could have done with some judicious editing.

The director, Paul Fieg is new to me and I think I'm correct in saying that this is his first feature.  Interestingly his television credits include The Office (US version) and Arrested Development.  I was also interested to read that he always wears a suit and tie when he directs. Right.  A man of style.  Paul does a lot of acting (he's got more credits for that on IMDB than anything else) and you can catch him as the Dad in the carwash in Bad Teacher which debuted in Australia last night.

To be fair the movie doesn't pretend to be anything it's not....the poster screams at you that it is produced by Judd Apatow, the same chap that produced Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin and Superbad. So of course there is going to be teenage toilet humour.  Only I don't think that is meant to be the audience demographic.  I suspect most of the audience going to see this movie were probably expecting something PJ Hogan-ish or Robert Luketic-ish.  

Weddings on the big screen are the stuff of fantasy - they don't mix well with spew and well.....that other stuff.  I don't think this movie knew what it was.  Comedy is difficult.  Its success does depend largely on making us squirm and laughing at other's misfortune.  Only in this story the discomfort was too great and the tragedy too real.  This is an important story - it's about girlfriends - something too little explored on the big screen - Thelma and Louise comes to mind and that other lovely little nugget of a movie Jucy.  These worked because they were honest and I want to say modest but that sounds silly. Maybe I'm talking about that intangible quality - integrity.   Bridesmaids thought it could eat the cake and have it too.

So what do you think?  Am I right or am I right?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Next Big Thing

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel
Eugene Delacroix
Saint Sulpice Church Paris - France
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License

Isn't this rather beautiful? This painting features in Making Things Better aka The Next Big Thing by Anita Brookner.

It was long-listed for the Booker Prize in 2002.

I was a bit excited about reading it as this is the first Anita Brookner I've read that features a male in the lead role, so to speak.

Julius Herz is retired and reflecting on his life to date. It could be argued that he is in his dotage. He is ailing physically and mourning the lack of someone to look after him in his old age.

Julius did marry once - to a cheerful, practical sort of woman - Josie - but cramped living conditions, which included his demanding and morose parents, spelled the death-knell for any hope of proper intimacy.

Brookner's novels may be slim but they're never an easy read. She seems to delight in tackling the difficult subjects like old age and loneliness that other writers might choose to give a wide berth.

Not our Ms Brookner. She plunges in where angels fear to tread and paints a sobering picture of something that most of us will face - decline and decay - and possibly regret. As my father regularly intones in lines attributed to Bette Davis I think - "Old age isn't for sissies."

Like many of Brookner's characters, Julius was an obedient offspring. Not necessarily the favoured son by any stretch of the imagination...but the one that tidied up and tried to make things better. When his brother Freddy, a promising concert violinist starts to lose the plot, Julius is the only one who visits him in the Sanitorium and witnesses his decline.

Late in life, Julius is given a chance at freedom. His parents having passed on, a distant acquaintance, who helped the family re-settle in London from war-torn Europe, bequeaths a significant proportion of his estate to Julius which frees him from the necessity to work or worry about a roof over his head.

But is it too late? "He was not trained for freedom, that was the problem, had not been brought up for it." Poor Julius feels so overcome with the challenge of freedom he suffers "a feeling of unreality, so enveloping as to constitute a genuine malaise." A quite amusing dialogue ensues during an appointment with his doctor where Julius earnestly asks if he could be suffering a similar experience to Freud's on the Acropolis. The Doctor ignores the question of existentialism and pursues a comfortable line of enquiry - blood pressure.

Friends and acquaintances suggest that what Julius needs is a holiday. In his obliging manner, he attempts to re-visit the joys of his youth, when he sampled the delights of brief getaways in Paris with obliging young women. It doesn't take long to get to Paris from Waterloo...but the people have changed and of course Julius has too. He feels his age and decides to return home earlier than planned. Before he leaves, he pops into Saint Sulpice to check out Delacroix's painting. I'll leave you to read the book and find out the epiphany or new reading that Julius takes away with him from the viewing.

I always feel a wee bit more edu-muckated after I've read Brookner. I learn new words - this book brought me meretricious, which I always forget means "befitting a harlot - or showily attractive" - a most useful word - must use it more often. Then of course there is fiacre - which you might think is something to do with a fiasco - but no, it is a French four-wheeled cab - never enough cabs I say. Finally inanition.- emptiness esp of nourishment i.e. how I felt earlier this week after a particularly nasty tummy bug.

In conclusion I have to say that on the whole I found The Next Big Thing a bit of struggle - rather like Jacob wrestling with the Angel. There is a very telling line early on when Julius forms a friendship with a younger man - a co-beneficiary of the estate bequeathed to them. They dine together on a regular basis "Herz had little experience of dealing with younger people but understood instinctively that one kept out of their lives as much as possible but was curious and indulgent towards them....It was a matter of discretion not to talk about oneself. To do so would be to shock Simmonds with the prospect of what awaited him."

I guess I'm not shocked. More gloomily depressed. One doesn't want to shoot the messenger of course, but it has to be said that Brookner fair puts you off old age, so she does.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Making Things Better

Some of us are very busy reading in celebration of  

There are prizes and everything......

Chip here is reading Brookner's Making Things Better....he sincerely hopes this foray into human activity does make things better and not worse, though he morosely suspects the latter.

Chip is a bit like a Brookner character...he is lonely and lives a fairly caged existence. His every need is provided for but he lacks companionship or any significant other.

Of course, there was a time in his youth, when he thought he fancied his cousin.  Misty was a pretty, petulant thing but then the humans interfered, as humans do, and they've been separated ever since. He makes sure he sees her every day, as she lives right next door, but it's a quiet life.  

Half the time he doesn't even know if she sees him.  Misty's name became eerily prophetic that day she was gorging herself on nut grass, blissfully unaware of the danger lurking in the unclipped chicken wire which scratched her eye, making her blind overnight and detracting somewhat from her beauty.  No other suitors come knocking at her door now but he admires and defends her foolish pride steadfastly.

It's grey and wintry in Brisbane today and Chip longs for the sun of summer although the oppressive heat brings the threat of exhaustion and prostration .  A guinea pig's lot brings its own small trials.

Chip knows he mustn't grumble.  Broccoli stems, carrot sticks and apple are provided regularly.  The straw could be changed more frequently but the humans mean well.  He is grateful for any attention really.

It's just that every day is the same with no hope of change on the horizon.

Chip has thought of travelling - his mother often told stories of the early years when she had been allowed to roam free around the small suburban block.  But then the human mother and father took charge and any idea of "continental" travel was quashed. His mother became withdrawn and needy after that.  No delicate morsels could tempt her.  Her decline was slow and somewhat pathetic.  Chip dreams about her still but in happier days which makes the pain of waking all the more unbearable. 

Chip wonders if an iPad might provide some comfort but then demurs - it would jar aggravatingly with the Victorian decor of his hutch. 

An old-fashioned book will make do and, if consumption proves indigestible, it can always be recycled as compost...some of us were not born for great deeds but take comfort in contributing, however frugally, to the great circle of life.

With thanks to Isabel for participating in this bit of nonsense and taking such an excellent photo of Chip.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Leaving Home

The great thing about writing book reviews is it makes you think.  The great thing about reading Anita Brookner is she really makes you think...and then want to talk to someone about what you've read.

Thomas at My Porch and Simon of Savidge Reads are co-hosting International Anita Brookner Day this Saturday 16 July.  They remind us that "thirty years ago ...Anita Brookner had her first novel, the aptly titled A Start in Life (or The Debut in the U.S.) published at the tender age of 53."  They're encouraging everyone to read and review her work.

Well, thirty years ago I was twenty and probably about to read Anita Brookner for the first time...I had in fact just left home.  I haven't read Anita Brookner for yonks and welcomed the return.  Leaving Home is one of Brookner's more recent titles and how curious and spooky that I should choose it from the library shelf after all these years.

Thomas is quite correct.  There really is no excuse not to read an Anita Brookner - they are mostly under 200 pages and a relatively easy read.  I polished off Leaving Home in less than a week but was left with a slightly maudlin feeling - or one of deep melancholy.  Don't get me wrong - I tend to lean towards the melancholy in terms of taste, but this time I was feeling a bit impatient and disaffected with it.  "Where's the drama?" I wanted to scream - reminiscent of my colleagues' John and Billy - who won't mind being called old (in the nicest sense of the word) friends/screenwriting lecturers from AFTRS days.

Peta Mayer says there are ten things you should expect from an Anita Brookner novel - my review is probably a reflection of  Point Number 5 - Expect to see a reflection of yourself, not necessarily in the best light!

I was forced to reflect on my feelings...something which I think we should do more of....really critically analyse our responses to things.  Why was I so disaffected?  What is great writing after all?  Had perhaps Anita Brookner drawn a very accurate depiction of a character that was perhaps just a little too close to the bone for me?  What were my thoughts and feelings when I made the momentous decision to leave home? What was I hoping to achieve?  What had I made of my life?  Had I really rebelled or had I conformed in the end?  And was that a character fault or the way of all things?

My memory of Anita Brookner's work is that she really hones in on one character's experience.  It becomes at times somewhat claustrophobic - particularly if the characters don't do much or are great thinkers...which is the case in this instance.  Our main character in Leaving Home is Emma. Emma is a writer reflecting on her journey to this point.  The novel opens with her remembering a dream from her youth (there's another one of Peta's points no doubt - Point Number 9 - Freud).  The dream points to the necessity of Emma leaving home in order to carve out, she hopes, a less sad and lonely existence than that of her widowed mother.  

Emma is the epitome of Englishness.  What do I mean by that?  Well she is unfailingly polite, restrained, tactful, discrete.  Emma writes thank you letters.  Need I say more?  I do not think Brookner chose her name lightly - Jane Austen's Emma must be one of the most famous character's in English literature - and yet Brookner's Emma is, I think, very different.  Emma is anxious to leave home gracefully -  "It would have to be managed, and managed, if possible, without disloyalty, more or less invisibly, above all in good faith."

Emma is an only child and a daughter - which can bring the double handicap of being expected to be very good - and whilst she cares genuinely for her mother's feelings, she wrestles with the expectation of her uncle to be her mother's supporter and provider.  Emma in short needs to rebel.  But, dear reader, Emma is English. People who queue find it hard to rebel.  She settles on studying classical garden design, is offered a scholarship in France and away she goes, in search of "another source of authority, another agent of influence."  Where better to learn to rebel than to ensconce herself in Paris - the very home of revolution?

We then witness Emma's various attempts to seek out real and/or satisfying relationships both with members of the opposite sex and her own sex.  Of all the relationships, her friendship with the aptly named Francoise is the most complex and challenging.  Complex because Francoise is almost a reflection of herself but not quite.  Francoise is also an only child and a daughter.  But Francoise could almost be the French version of Jane Austen's Emma.  Whilst not beautiful, she is certainly striking and "electric with an energy that made her presence in the library dangerously welcome." Francoise is not a match-maker as such, but is certainly keen to see Emma "break out" and find an "amoreuse".  Francoise only handicap is her controlling mother, who is keen to marry her off to the local prize beau - "Jean-Charles - a pale, slightly corpulent man of indeterminate age."  The relationship is challenging because, whilst Francoise is an agent of influence and change, her authority becomes a threat to Emma's own self-determination.

It would spoil the book if I told you too much more.  There is drama - eventually - in Leaving Home.  Brookner saves it til the very end.  It wasn't til this passage that my heart fluttered in recognition of the Brookner of yore..."It takes a kind of genius to save one's own life, the sort of genius that I so signally lacked."  Now things were getting interesting!  What would happen next?

For me Brookner's strength is her great depiction of character.  Emma is by no stretch of the imagination a conventional hero.  She says as much about herself and I don't think it would take too much away to quote some of the novel's last few lines....

"Not everyone is born to fulfil an heroic role.  The only realistic ambition is to live in the present.  And sometimes, quite often in fact, this is more than enough to keep one busy."

What do you think?  Should we all be legends in our own lunchtime?  Is Emma a victim of her Englishness which she can never escape?  Or her cloistered upbringing?  Or her sex?  Is she a victim or a hero?  Is she Anita Brookner's alter ego wishing she had been Simone de Beauvoir but rather glad she wasn't?  And yes I know that is very naughty of me to say - I am being deliberately provocative, boys and girls!  Who else has read She came to Stay - funny how the heroine is called Francoise - non?  C'mon - what's your take on this slim but tardis-like novel? 

Saturday, June 25, 2011



1. The act or product of shortening.

This according to the freedictionary online....

Knitting can seem tricky....all those abbreviations...



psso=pass slipped st over

I invented a new non-standard abbreviation yesterday while doing a particularly tricky bit of fact I can testify that I had an abbreviated arm in a manner of speaking

Henceforth feel free to use the following abbreviation at will...



Hold Cat Underarm While Knitting

It's tricky but it can be done....

Yes, I know I should do a You Tube video but you will just have to be content with a still image

Grand Purl Baa and I had lots of fun celebrating her birthday yesterday (her birthday is actually today)...Amongst others things, we inspected a Boys Town home and shoe shops, we sampled fish and chips....we knitted squares for a baby blanket ....birthdays...birthdays...birthdays....what fun!

I am using Mini Mochi for the squares....isn't it divine?  It's machine washable....80% merino - spun in Taiwan for Crystal Palace in California....and yes, as they say, it is as soft as a kitten...but not as soft as Wes!! I love Crystal Palace's motto or whatever you call it - Straw into Gold....I was only saying to Robbie the other day as we were cleaning out the guinea pig cages..."All this straw... where is the gold?"  I bought Mini Mochi at the wonderful Yarn Over (previously American Yarns).

Grand Purl Baa is using Schoppel Wolle's Zauberball which I really love and was hoping to use for this blanket.I think Yarn Over will be getting some soon too.  The colourway is called Tropical Fish.  The pattern we are following is available for free on Ravelry.  It is called Squares on the Roll by Frankie Brown - but if you love the pattern please consider making a donation to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation

Cats, Fish, Wool ... Heaven.....Happy Birthday Loani!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011


See that patch of green grass to the left of the big gum tree on the right?  Well ...yesterday was another successful day digging into the Daw family history.  Accompanied by Miss Pat aka SIL (sister-in-law), we climbed all over Balmoral Cemetery looking for Cuthbert John Daw's grave.  And we found it in that patch of green grass!

Grave hunting is never easy.  We had done our research.  We knew it was in Section 4 Grave No. 215 but we suspected there would be no headstone and we were right.  But we found it with the very patient aid of the lovely sexton at Hemmant Cemetery over the phone and here's a BIG TIP - always charge your mobile phone when you go grave hunting - so you can call the sexton when you give up and so they can call you back!!
Brisbane City Council has a fantastic searchable database for graves here.

Here's Miss Pat pointing it out for you.....

Here's another view.  

Isn't Cuthbert a lovely name?  It's old English and is actually two words - cuth and beorht meaning famous and bright (according to the Collins Gem First Names book what Jackie McKimmie gave me 500 years ago before Bel was born).  Apparently it fell out of use as a name just after the Reformation until the 19th century when it was brought back into use by the Oxford Movement.  What is the Oxford Movement you ask?  So did I ...go and find out for yourself or we'll get distracted from Cuthbert.  
We don't know if this particular Cuthbert was bright and he certainly wasn't famous.  Cuthbert was Miss Pat's great-uncle.  He was the older brother of her grandfather, Robert William.  He was born 10 June 1896 at Bulimba.  Cuthbert was most likely named in remembrance of his grandmother on his maternal side - Ellen Cuthbert.  

Cuthbert and Robert had an older brother Thomas George.  Unfortunately when the three boys were quite little (Cuthbert was 4) their mother Jane (nee Silcok) died of pulmonary phthisis in 1901 and they were placed into care.  They lived with several families - their aunt for a while, and then a Mrs Morrison of Paddington.  

Eventually (we're not sure when exactly), Cuthbert and Robert (he was known then as William but later became known as Bob) went to live with the Rex family of Bulimba.  

Cuthbert died 22 January 1905 after suffering from pulmonary phthisis (aka consumption or TB) for a considerable time (according to a letter from the Department of Family Services sent to me in 1989). Four years later, at the age of ten,  Robert was fostered to Mrs Sutherland of Coopers Plains.

There's a lot more research to do in this area.  I have been able to dig up a little bit about the Rex family.  In the 1903 electoral roll there are three Rexs living in Bulimba.  Margaretta Rex in Riding Road and Eleanor and Ernest Samuel Francis Rex living in Parry Street.  I suspect the boys were placed with Ernest and Eleanor.  In 1908 there are four Rexs living in Bulimba - Ernest and Eleanor and Margaretta has been joined by Florence Annie. Having said that, Ernest and Eleanor are also listed in the electoral rolls as living in Lower Bowen Terrace Merthyr so I think they moved there during that time. 

I found a birth for Ernest Samuel F Rex in Truro Cornwall in 1881.  I found another birth for Forence Annie Rex in Truro in 1883.  So I deduce that they are brother and sister and emigrated here.  I found an Ernest Rex aged 5 emigrating to Brisbane from Cornwall on the Roma in 1887.  

Ernest and Eleanor married 26 February 1902.  So they were just a young couple (in their early 20s) when they took the boys in.  Did they know them I wonder?  Ernest Rex was a leadburner.  I don't know much about leadburning, do you?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Test Pattern

Remember Test Pattern on the tele?

Well this is a Test square for a baby's blanket...

What do you reckon?

Is it too trippy?

I love the texture of it and it is lovely and soft and I reckon will be as warm as toast....
It will be fun to toast this particular baby's head....

Wouldn't it be nice to propose a toast with these glasses from Etsy?

If you are a follower and comment on this blog you too could go in the draw for a $50 voucher in honour of my fiftieth year.....but I have to get to 50 followers first....

Go on...

Friday, June 10, 2011


My idea of heaven is a leisurely lunch with a very good friend on a Friday!

Just check out this platter.....

We had the best table in the lovely sun (it's been a bit brisk in BrisVegas of late)....
I think many people have vamoosed for the Queen's Birthday long weekend, so the restaurant was the quietest I had ever seen it and we were spoiled for service.

Which restaurant?  Ouzeri in West End.

The last time I was there was after a book launch for Anthony Lawrence at Avid Reader.  Was that really nine years ago??????

Time flies when you're having fun.  Thanks for a wonderful lunch Maria!!!

Got any friends who want a gift voucher for Etsy?  I'm still trying to get to 50 followers on my blog.  Get them to follow me and they can go in a draw for a $50 voucher at Etsy.  

If they were looking for inspiration to write poetry they couldn't go past these Greek Muses drink charms could they?

Remember - follow me and comment on my blog to go in the draw.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hats off....

To my new followers for joining the throng....

It was a lovely day in the park on Sunday....there was the smell of sausages smoking on the barbie...the birds were singing in the trees and humanity was out communing with nature and generally enjoying themselves....

Some lovely people delivered nature to my door last week....
The flowers are a bit past their prime now but they are still beautiful...

You could have flowers for ever and be donating to Japan Earthquake Relief at the same time...

if you bought this bag from Minaniemi on Etsy - a local Brisbane designer....

Minaniemi means 'Smile to everyone' in Japanese.

Isn't that lovely?

But remember - my goal is 50 followers, so we've a way to go yet before I can do the draw for the prize of a $50 gift voucher at Etsy...

Get your friends to follow now!


Saturday, May 28, 2011


These pelicans were hoping for a giveaway...

They were not disappointed....

Neither for that matter was I....

A very beautiful lunch at Brett's Wharf after a fantastic Citycat ride on the now peaceful Brisbane river....

Looking at our tall buildings

and the mangroves....

I love how in a mater of hours they vanish....

Don't you miss out on the Etsy giveaway.....

Once we get to 50 followers, all the names go in a hat for a $50 gift voucher at Etsy....

I don't think you can get real Pelicans on Etsy,...or lunch for that matter...

but you can get just about everything else.

Go on, follow and post a comment to go in the draw.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fabulous Fifty!!

On this day - fifty years ago - John F Kennedy declared his intention to put a man on the moon before the decade was out.  Fabulous but true!!

Oh - and I was born...

Today is National Simultaneous Storytime, organised by the fabulous folk at ALIA.

When was the last time someone read you a story?

When was the last time you read someone a story?

Here's a fabulous story....Feathers for Phoebe by Rod Clement

Children all over Australia listened to this story at 11am today.

I'm a bit late but you can listen to this story anytime you want and a very good one it is too.

What's your favourite story?

Want to find out about some great free stories to read on your e-reader?
Check out this fabulous blog by friend Helen.....

I want to share the birthday joy by giving one of my followers a $50 (Australian) voucher to spend on Etsy.  For you fabulous folk in the US of A - that's worth $52.5331!!!!

But I need to get to 50 followers.

When I get to 50 followers, then I'll use a trusty method from my good friend Grand Purl Baa (used on Melbourne Cup Day every year to pick the winning horse).

Everyone's name will go in an ice-cream bucket, they will be chucked ceremoniously across the kitchen floor and the first one wins!!!

But you have to follow my blog and you have to comment on this post.

Ready...set....go.....once upon a time......

Monday, May 23, 2011


It was a foggy start to the morning. 

People have been busy over the weekend getting ready for the Council clean up...

Other creatures have been very busy decorating trees and bushes.....

I enjoyed a fabulous coffee towards the end of my morning walk at our new coffee shop in Kirkdale Road - it will be a pizza shop too, but the oven hasn't arrived yet. 

The coffee is SO cheap (by Brisbane standards) - $3 - and is made from Genovese beans. 

Called Cap'lina, I wish the local owners all the very best - their service is cheerful and attentive.  The shop is open from 6am til midday during the week and til 1pm on the weekends.  It's where Saba hairdressing salon used to be.....

Hoorah for small business - 'tis the backbone of this great nation.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I went to the beach this week - some people I know are still swimming but I am a wus of the first order so I declined.  We went for a drive on the beach which I still find a surreal experience.  Can you believe that the noise of the surf is so loud that people can't hear you when you're driving along?  Bizarre.  So everyone has to be very careful and look out for each other - not that there are many on the beach but still.....  

We saw some of these chaps - about three pairs altogether - having their dinner by the sea.

They hopped away when we pulled up to take a look at them. 

Main Beach, Stradbroke Island is very beautiful - that's for sure.  You can't really see it in this photo but they have started mining on this side of the island - but not for much longer.  

It's a contentious issue - mining.  It has provided incomes for many families on the island for years and it will be very difficult to adjust.  I hope that in the next eight years, other less damaging and equally rewarding enterprises can be found to replace it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Easter is a time of gathering with friends and family or puddling about at home fixing up the garden or the is a photo of cousin Joe who has come to visit..he looks twice his size because he is trying to make Tweetie notice him....which she steadfastly refuses to you can see here....

Back to back they faced each other....etc...

Cousin Hoss is here too....and he dearly wishes I would take him for a walk....

But I am about to participate in a Readathing on Librarything......
and read some more of Su Tong's Boat to Redemption

...and then figure out what to do with the fruits of our harvest......

Maybe tonight Hoss, when I feel sufficiently guilty about the amount of chocolate consumed....

Happy Easter in blogland everyone!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Plus or minus one ear....

Have you ever heard of a Smoot?  I hadn't....until Librarything wrote to me this morning and told me that they had added some new measurements to our collections, bless them. 

I am happy to report that, of the ones I have catalogued (which I calculate to be about half of our collection), we have 45,215 Smoots worth of books - that's if you laid all the pages in all the books end to end.  "What's a Smoot?", you may well ask. As I did.  Smoot, according to Wikipaedia, is a non-standard unit of measurement.  Back in the day, before I was born, Oliver R Smoot Jr obligingly lay down on the Harvard bridge and let his fraternity from MIT measure the bridge in Smoots.  It's about 1.7 metres or 5ft and 7 inches - plus or minus one ear.  If you don't like that measurement, Librarything have obligingly provided other comparisons - blue whales, elephants and bathtubs.  I am happy to say that we are 0.02% of the way to the moon with our books. 

Our book stack is somewhere between the Taj Mahal and Big Ben. We would need 69 U Haul boxes to pack them up or 16 Ikea Billy bookcases to unpack them. 

I do like counting and indexing.  Do you?  It has become a tad obsessive lately and the family is becoming worried.  I catalogued the pantry this week in an effort to demonstrate to hubby that we needed no more noodles.  So far, it hasn't worked.

PS My book review of James Kelman's How Late It Was, How Late: A Novel made it to the front page of Librarything - hooray! I also posted it on the Complete Booker blog which is a great blog site for reading up about Booker Nominees and Winners.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where the Sky Meets the Sea....

I don't know about you but I like to try to colour coordinate my icecream with what I'm wearing.  You can't really see it in this photo but I assure you that there is pistachio icecream in this bucket...together with yummy meringue and amaretto icecream.

Here is my good friend  at the scene of the crime... a rather good icecream shop at Noosa called Massimo's - check it out next time you go there.  

We did walk some of the icecream off by going along the boardwalk and looking at the beach...check out this amazing cloud formation....very Bali Hai don't you think?

For those of you not familiar with the term Bali is a link to the seminal video from my childhood....

Thank you for a wonderful 24 hours dear friends.... 

Julian cooked up a most fabulous meal...without fail, everytime, he exceeds my expectations...such a good cook....the Queen of the Tea Cosies is one lucky gal :) indeed am I to have such a generous special islands....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Knitting with Millamia

The Queen of the Tea Cosies is heading home and so one should get cracking on knitting projects to have something to show for all the time one hasn't been in paid employment. 

I am knitting a vest for someone's is a Debbie Bliss pattern but I am knitting it in Millamia wool which I discovered at Threads and More.  My first ball of wool was a disaster but the lovely people at Millamia replaced it straight away in response to a post I made on a Ravelry bulletin board. Millamia are Swedish sisters based in London.

I am really enjoying knitting with this wool now.  Its very springy to the touch and I think will make a good vest for the baby.  It is 100% extrafine merino made in Italy and machine washable.  Fabulous stuff.

The colours I have chosen are midnight and putty. 

This pattern incorporates cabling with a bit of intarsia.  I will have to teach myself swiss darning to complete ...let's see how I go....

The lovely piece of pottery in the picture is from my dear friend Deborah in Melbourne.  She gave it to me yonks ago and I had it on my windowsill at work.  Now it's on my new study desk in our bedroom. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Man Booker International Prize 2011

I've set myself a read at least one book from each of the Man Booker International Finalists for 2011.  The winner will be announced at the Sydney Writers Festival 18 May.  The shortlist can be found here.

The Brisbane City Council library has come to my aid with most of the authors.  On Thursday night I snavelled up Anne Tyler's the Accidental Tourist and Su Tong's Boat to Redemption.  

 John Le Carre has pulled out of the running already, saying that prizes aint his thing.  That leaves 12 writers in the running for 60k quid - not to be sneezed at.....including our very own David Malouf.  Here's a link to a recent ABC Radio interview recorded with the lovely Richard Fidler talking about Happiness.  He would be happy if he won the prize, yes?  I've just realised I still haven't read Ransom ...I've only read Johnno...oops...better get onto that quick smart.

Anyway, today I finished Anne Tyler's the Accidental Tourist which was great - easy to read and laugh out loud funny.  Nick Hornby endorses it which is probably a good thing but I still haven't read Nick much to little time.

Anne Tyler has written heaps - Digging to America was one of those ones I meant to read last year, but never got round to doing so.  It was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2007.

Anne has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize a couple of times including for the Accidental Tourist and won it in 1989 for Breathing Lessons.  Yes, Accidental Tourist was made into a movie starring William Hurt and Geena Davis but I haven't seen it...I think.  Has anyone else?  Was it good?  I think it would make a great movie.

Here's a nice bio of her in the Guardian.  I will definitely be reading more of her stuff.

I particularly liked how the dog was such a big character in the book.  We humans are often defined by our pets I think and they deserve more recognition in our fiction.  So there.