Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Trying to catch up

We seem to be a little swamped, but we are trying to slow down and take it easy .
 The problem is  everything around us is still going full steam, and we just seemed to get swept along with the tide.
Our garden is flourishing, Thanks to  Brian and all his hard work carting water and spending ages  in the garden maintaining it.
We are picking  corn,zuchinnis and squash, spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers, rhubarb, lettuce,  and herbs.
I have been canning  most of the corn we have picked so far into kernels to  keep on the pantry shelf, we find them so handy through the winter.
We tried using the new tool that attaches to  our drill to strip the kernels off but to me it made it more like a creamed corn  consistency so I reverted back to a sharp knife and  tripped them by hand.
We ended up canning three loads, that gives me 57 pint jars of kernels. We also froze about 28 cobs as well . There are still quite a few more cobs to pick, and another lot still to mature as well.
My cupboard doors for my kitchen cabinets finally arrived, and I am really pleased with them.
I also did another big reshuffle in the pantry as well, I was using it as a dumping space while the work continued, so tidied it up, here is a before and after shot. I tried doing a fancy panorama photo shot, so that's why the things look a little wonky.

The tiler has also returned and  will hopefully today have all the tiles laid in the kitchen and all being well complete the grouting tomorrow. I have been laying blue painters tape on the tiles where I am able to walk, so that I don't  forget  and wreck his lovely work.

It is finally all falling into place now,  and once I get in and paint it , it all will be lovely  and we will finally relax a little.
I had a lovely night away  last week, spent the day shopping and  a lovely lunch with my big sister , then we both spent the night with our mum, had another lovely meal out and  sat up late  laughing and  talking  about nothing in particular. It was just lovely to spend the time together relaxing, my sister is also in the  midst of moving house and was in desperate need of a  break also.
We have had a round of end of year christmas functions for a few of the groups that we belong to or volunteer work with,  Our camp grounds had a bbq lunch gathering , the rifle club had a  lunch and presentation at the local golf club which was lovely, and our rail heritage group had a meeting followed by afternoon tea/drinks/ nibbles where two very long standing ,hard working couples were presented with life memberships to the group.
This is our small group of Rail Heritage volunteers minus a few who couldn't make it , who work really hard to keep  the Barracks accomodation up and running  day in day out, they are a pleasure to work with.
We also attended our neighbours birthday lunch on the weekend , it was a small get together of the surrounding neighbours.
We have had three baby turkeys hatch out as well as 6 chickens. we  won't try to incubate now until the end of summer, as  we are struggling to maintain even temperatures both in the incubator and the brooder.
A couple of nights ago I came out to the kitchen just before bed and  noticed that I had a visitor sitting up on my old preserving jars that I store tea bags ect in, it gave me a bit of a surprise, but I insisted it stayed while I photographed it and then I popped him back outside in the garden. I adore the green tree frogs, and we get them regularly here, especially in the toilet bowl, much to the shock of some of our guests, but we haven't had one inside for a while.
He is adorable isn't he. ?
Brian and myself want to wish each and every one of you a safe and joyous Christmas with  your family and friends, if you travel as we are, please be safe out there on the roads and take care.
Best wishes everyone until we meet again,
Take care
Merry Christmas,
Jane and Brian.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

In Memory of a special friend.

When we lived on the coast, my next door neighbour was a very dear friend and great support to me .
Hubby worked away a lot and with three young children and later teenagers she was  wonderful to have  right next door. I can not put into words  how appreciative I was  for her being there for us, she kept me sane I am sure. !!
After her lovely husband died she would pop over almost daily for coffee and a chat or I would pop over to her.
We used to go on outings, to lunch, to the movies and  sometimes her lovely daughter would accompany us and we also started to become good friends.
Then just over 6 1/2 years ago, she became ill and was diagnosed with cancer. She fought a very brave and hard battle but eventually passed away on 20th June 2009.
Her daughter  stayed in the home( she had moved home temporarily to care for her Mum) for a while and we really  had a lot in common and grew close just like sisters.
That bond still remains and as our  special lady would have celebrated her 90 th birthday this year, in November  we decided to do it for her ( she was with us in spirit),We always refer to her mum as "The Girl"
So I took a road journey to my other sisters' home
It was a long drive down through  the valley which is  known for its mining activity, and several times along the way I had to be pulled over by police patrol to let these big fellows pass by, there was a convoy of 4 of them.
I slipped straight to Newcastle and got myself a haircut,did some shopping( a real luxury these days), and met another friend for lunch, then  headed up to my friends home to stay the night.
She lives in a lovely tree studded area on a small acreage and the next morning there was a gorgeous family of wild ducks  hanging around her pool( she didn't think they were lovely as  they are causing a lot of  pool pollution problems with their droppings)

We were then taken to the train station by  a neighbour and caught the train to Central in Sydney.
We had booked an apartment for two nights  in the centre of Sydney, we were on the 29th floor ( I am
not great with heights, so I didn't even venture out onto the balcony the entire time)
We then had  our traditional wander past the David Jones Christmas windows( which were a massive disapointment  this year) , a roam through the  very expensive clothing section just to dream and then on to  "The Girls'" favourite birthday  treat of all High Tea at the Queen Victoria Building.
I must say they outdid themselves ,it was delicious and we ate every morsel, it was a lovely afternoon Birthday tea. While at the Queen Victoris building we  also checked out the gorgeous christmas tree that  is located under the central dome. The tree takes up three floors and is  beautifully decorated  with swarovski crystals.
And finally me at the base, unless you see this tree, you truly cannot imagine how large it is.
The queen Victoria building is a beautiful old lady, saved from  certain demolition at the last minute and  has been faithfully and lovingly restored.
They had a lovely spot where the kiddies could meet Santa and get photographs,

We headed back to our apartment, got ourselves all  gussied up and headed off to a place called "The Blue Bar" up on the top floor of The Shangrilah Hotel, from here you get a real  birds eye view of Sydney. We purchased one and only one coctail( as they were very expensive) and sat and enjoyed our stunning view.
From here we headed to the Opera house as we had scored last minute tickets at half price for a supposedly great  show.

The show we saw was called "Velvet" it was  a burlesque style show with Marcia Hines as the star, it was amazing, one of the very best stage shows I have ever seen.
We left the show on a total high, and came back outside to this  wonderful night time  view of the Harbour bridge on our way back to the apartment.
Next morning we were up and off, the plan was to go to Watsons  Bay on the ferry,
Over at Watsons Bay is a seafood restaurant called Doyles'  and "The Girl" used to always talk about her trips there , so in honour of her we went, but not to the flashy expensive  part,
We just did the cheapie take away part and ate it  in the nearby park .
When my friend was about to place a calamari ring in her mouth, this cheeky fellow swooped through and grabbed it right off her.
We then went for a walk up to the Gap lookout, stunning views, took this panorama, but not a great photo unfortunately.
The day passed all too quickly and we returned back to circular quay on the ferry  and on the way saw this lovely sail boat.
We once again returned to the apartment and  got ourselves all spruced up and headed off to see the stage show "Matilda"
What a great night, I have always loved this book, and then the movie and now the stage production.
we walked back to the apartment  and  collasped into our chairs and talked half the night, were were both on a high from our great weekend.
We had  a great night view from our apartment, life in the city just doesn't stop.
Next morning we had a wander around  the shops, saw this lovely old building reflected on the new and  thought how  lovely that was.
  We  were mainly window shopping , as we normally arn't big spenders, this trip was a huge expense for the shows and the apartment, so we walked EVERYWHERE, ( all my blisters will verify that) and caught trains when we couldn't , brought our breakfasts with us and just bought salad and fruit from the nearby supermarkets for meals, we saved where we could to allow for the extra treats.
We then caught the train  back to Newcastle,  were once again  picked up and returned to my friends house where I gathered my car and then  travelled to  another friends home to stay the night.
Next morning I returned home  thoroughly tired and exhausted but  feeling  great.
I think "The Girl" would have enjoyed her birthday treats and  she was in our thoughts and actions the whole weekend. We honoured her memory I think exactly as she would have liked us too and I hope that we get to repeat it again one day .
So, there is only one thing left to say... "Happy 90th Birthday Rita , Hope  it was a good one"
Treasure all those that are special to you, you never know when they may suddenly disappear  and leave a big void in your life,
Take care everyone,