Tag Archives: Blogging

Home is the Traveller ..

After deciding I would start posting regularly to this blog, I then had the good fortune to be away for the last 9 days. I left my iPad at home as I had assumed that there’d  be no WiFi – mistakenly assumed as it turned out.

We had a wonderful trip on the South Australian end of the Murray River, travelling on a small boat called the “Proud Mary”.  The only bad part, was that I’d forgotten to take my camera.

I spent some of my childhood in Swan Hill and have strong memories of camping along the Murray River with my father. However, the South Australian end is so different – whilst I remember tall river red gums bringing relief from the heat of the long, flat, dusty roads – and the silence except for the bird calls, our trip was marked by the tall sandstone cliffs that the river ran along. I had no idea that they existed. The other surprise was the amount of so many small holiday communities and small towns. My memories of over 60 years ago are peppered with the absence of civilisation. Perhaps the NSW end of the Murray has changed in that way also – and I’m now consumed with a burning desire to revisit the places of my early childhood to see if the same sort of changes have occurred.

The boat we were on was quite unremarkable in appearance, however the large living/dining area was nicely decorated with wood panelling and carpet reminiscent of grander  days. The cabins were quite small but adequate but the bathroom used river water in the basin taps and toilet and I assume in the shower. This meant using drinking water for teeth cleaning and an inability to rinse any light coloured items of clothing because of the colour of the river water. Not the end of the world, although a couple of times I found myself wetting my toothbrush under the tap immediately after placing a glass of clean water on the shelf!

The food on the boat was magnificent.  Jack,  our Mauritian chef, and  his offsider did a magnificent job.  We all came home several kilos lighter  heavier – I haven’t weighed yet and might wait a while so I don’t get such a shock 😉

Each day we docked somewhere along the way and either did a nature walk with the Captain, or transferred to a bus for a visit to a local highlight – an  almond farm, a small local school with an impressive and different approach to learning, a flat-bottomed boat trip though the wetlands and more. Our bus driver was a charming and knowledgable young-ish local who provided us with  excellent information along the way.

This is a trip I can highly recommend. One tip: if possible, get a cabin on the top deck – you’ll have more stairs to deal with, but some people found the noise of the engines a distraction when they were trying to sleep. When we docked overnight at an established mooring there was access to connect to the electricity network, but at other places the engines had to keep going at a lower pace at night for the lighting and air conditioning  and probably for the pumps to provide water etc.

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The Oxford Comma

I have three blogs and am constantly amazed at the difference in the “hit” rate. But that’s a story for another day. The  Wordpress.com News blog had a link today to  an article on getting more page views for your blog  – something that’s relevant to one of my blogs. However I became entranced with the March 22 post on the Oxford Comma . Despite loving English, I had never heard of this –  a comma that is optional before the “and” at the end of a list. Whenever I’ve felt the need to use such a device, I resort to the use of semi-colons as I was taught to do in primary school! The Oxford Comma looks so wrong to my eyes, but the example given really tickled my fancy:

“Leaving out the final comma in a series can also cause ambiguity, often to humorous effect. Consider these examples I’ve borrowed from the Wikipedia article on the serial comma:

  • To my parents, Ayn Rand and God.
  • Among those interviewed were his two ex-wives, Kris Kristofferson and Robert Duvall.”
Did anyone else have the no comma before ‘and’  rule drummed into them at school? Am I ‘misremembering’ or is this an Australia/UK difference in usage? Mmmm – must check the Macquarie Dictionary!

I can’t keep up with my social life ….

By nature, I’m quite a shy, reclusive person – if there’s a party going I can easily get sick with the ‘flu at the thought of having to put in an appearance. I don’t like to go out on consecutive days … the fact that my current interests/commitments require my absence from home on three days in a row each week is a constant source of frustration to me; but clearly my desire to go outweighs my desire to not go …..

So where is this leading, I hear you mutter … well, in a frenzy of self-inflicted sociability, I have just come to the end of an EXTRA three days in a row – and, I’m appalled to hear see these words leave my fingers, but I enjoyed them.

Day 1, Saturday: I had booked into a seminar on Blogging for Family History at Richmond Villa, the headquarters of the Society of Australian Genealogists at The Rocks – a most appropriate place for Australian’s researching their roots. Whilst not covering everything I’d have liked, I learnt a lot of interesting tit bits about making better use of my computer, and family history resources for bloggers.

When the seminar was over, I decided to walk back to the train, at The Quay, through The Rocks – since Grandpa Flea retired nearly 8 years ago, I have had very little “me time” , alone with my thoughts, and especially, very little time to go window shopping and browsing without a body guard intent on making sure that I buy nothing unless it can be eaten – “Can you eat it? Don’t buy it!” – not that it stops me, but it becomes a little wearing over the years …. so I spent a wonderful couple of hours wandering the streets. I had intended to go to Buttons, Buttons, Buttons the antique button shop in Nurses’ Walk, but I was quickly distracted by the street market in The Rocks, and by the Craft NSW gallery. Before I knew it, it was getting dark, so I reluctantly left.

Day 2, Sunday: On Sunday morning, I met a friend at Customs House at The Quay. We had intended to have lunch there, but the outdoor cafe must only be erected for special occasions as it had, very annoyingly, disappeared. After lunch elsewhere, and much talking, we headed up to The Museum of Sydney for a talk, The Fabric of Society, by Dr Annette Gero who has just published a magnificent book, by the same name, on the history of quilts in Australia. Her talk was associated with the current exhibition at the Museum, Skint and concentrated solely on the history of waggas and contained a lot of information accompanied by some very interesting slides.

I should say here, that I very nearly headed today’s post Synchronicity, as I had brought a book, The Gentle Arts, with me to show my friend a photo in it of a wagga rug that my mother-in-law, Lucy, had made. In the lead up the Bicentenary in 1988, community groups received grants to identify and document objects of historical significance in their local areas. Lucy had been approached about her wagga rugs and some letters she had dating from early last century. She happily donated one of her waggas to the Pioneer Women’s Hut at Tumbarumba, and it later was included in a Bicentennial touring exhibition of women’s quilts. When Lucy was alive, she was very disappointed that her wagga was not identified with her name, in either the book (which I had come across by accident in the optometrist’s while waiting for an appointment), or the touring exhibition. Wagga rugs have been part and parcel of my husband’s family for generations, but until I met the family, I had never seen one. Our family claim to historical fame was a fox skin quilt that my father had made – he had shot the foxes, tanned the hides, then cut and sewn them into a double bed quilt which had the fox tails hanging down each side of the bed. Both waggas and the fox skin quilt were products of a need to stay warm with limited money. My friend had never heard of waggas and was most interested in the book and the talk.

After the talk was over we raced upstairs to have a quick look at Skint before the Museum closed. And this is the amazing, slightly scary, sychronicity of it all – there, under glass, was Lucy’s wagga. Beneath it, a little sign with the attribution: Mrs Lucy Gallagher, 1980. I very nearly cried. She would have been so proud to have seen it. So, there will be another, less hurried visit to the exhibition with Grandpa Flea and our eldest daughter who was very close to her grandmother. And I know that a few tears will be blinked away that day.

Day 3, Today: A full day outing to Sans Souci where, along with the members of Grandpa Flea’s Probus club, we boarded a rather rickety looking boat for a “luncheon cruise” along the Georges River.

I don’t often go on these outings – originally because I went to a Knitters’ Guild meeting on a Monday, but these days because I try to catch up with the things that I don’t have time for in the rest of my busy life (ROFL) – but today I went because was hoping the boat would go past the waterfront house I lived in for 6 months when I first arrived in Sydney. In those days a waterfront property like the one we rented was not an object of desire – quite the reverse – we lived there only because we could afford the rent. There was no road access and we had to cross a narrow footbridge across the Georges River in an inlet, then follow a goat track around the waterfront for quite some distance to the house. The house would have been a beautiful old home in its day, but it was then very run-down. It had a long shotgun corridor down the middle, and the doors were all locked on one side of the corridor. We had a very large room at the front of the house which served as the bedroom – my mother put the wardrobes across the room to divide it into two sleeping spaces, one for my parents and the other for my brother and me. To get to the other rooms, we had to go out on the verandah. The end of the verandah had been closed off to make a bathroom and a small kitchen. From the kitchen we walked though the verandah doors into a very dark living room. The people who owned the house lived on the other side of the locked doors. The pan toilet was outside behind the house – heaven only knows how the “dunny man” lugged the clean and dirty pans to all the houses off the track.

And did I see the house? Well … maybe … we certainly went by the inlet where the house had been, but we weren’t close enough for me to be sure which inlet it was. I guess I will just have to drive over there one day and walk around the track again.

All in all, a VERY satisfying three days. And now I’m off to bed – exhausted – don’t bother knocking on the door until tomorrow afternoon!

Under the sun with Roxy …

Roxy
Roxy is a beautiful woman who lives in Portland, Oregon. I first “met” her when I started blogging. Janette “introduced” us through our blogs. Roxy is a Master Knitter (TKGA) and a writer. Over the years I have bought her three books for my grand-daughter – although she only gets them after I’ve read them!

I can recommend them – the heroine is a young apprentice sorceress who is also a knitter! She knits magical items including a bag that is bigger on the inside than the outside and self heating gloves and socks – wouldn’t it be wonderful! Of course there is a handsome prince, evil doers and lots of adventures.

Janette and her partner have been entertaining Roxie and partner Kyle during their Sydney visit, and it is Janette who arranged lunch so that Roxy could meet her cyber friends – Rose Red and Grandma Flea alias -ME.

Thank you, Janette for arranging this. It was wonderful to meet Roxie and Kyle face-to-face, and to meet Rose Red.

The place where we had lunch today was Sous le Soleil in the Clanville Road park at Roseville. This is a treasure of a place – an old house, with tables outside under cover, looking out to the trees and green grass of the park. A small but more than adequate menu, and friendly, efficient service.

Sous le Soleil is housed in an old house typical of the area. Inside are four rooms full of beautiful French goodies – toiletries, home accessories and accessories/clothing for women and children, including some magical crocheted rattle toys – boats, elephants, mushrooms etc with a bell enclosed. Pricey, but beautiful. I didn’t indulge today, but will look there again closer to the end of the year when I’m buying cakes of soap etc.

I will certainly visit there again.

Midnight multiplication …

If you are observant (or even if you’re not), you’ll have noticed that my blog posts have multiplied over night. In a fit of frustration with blogger, I decided to transfer the contents of my old blog from there, to wordpress and to merge the two – strangely enough it seems to have worked – sort of. At least I haven’t lost both blogs in the process!

And, wonder of wonders – I’d given up hope of ever finding the blog layout I started with on wordpress, but fiddling around, it has reappeared – not only that, the photo in the header also reappeared! Small things – great joy!

PS Another email from my friends at Reader’s Digest – this time I have a “PRIZE PAYMENT PENDING” – pending my returning anything to them and having my name come out of the hat that contains 1,000,000 others?

Friday fungi … & Updates


Another Norwegian fungi photo. I love the contrast of the colours here. This photo reminds me a little – just a little – of a spectacular set of fungi photos on misterfricative’s blog – check out the set called “Fruiting bodies” – while you’re there, check out the blog – mister fricative has a very quirky sense of humour – I love it.

UPDATE – Flood
As our house dried out, some of the floorboards started to warp – obviously there was a lot more water than we originally thought. We have still to get a quote on the repair, so the insurance issues remain to be sorted. Although the developer has assured us that the flooding occurred because the residents didn’t keep the drains clear, and we in return have assured him that the drain was clear, he is bringing a hydraulic engineer to look at the drainage, just in case we get a 1 in 100 year downpour …..

UPDATE – Reader’s Digest
Don’t run away – I won’t bore you with the details again – but today I received another email from Readers Digest, this time offering wine. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it?

Have a good weekend 🙂

Did your comment get lost?

I’m still learning how to use WordPress – it has a spam comment catcher called Akismet – I keep seeing that it has protected me from x number of spam comments – but I have never seen what they are. Tonight, I happened to catch one in action – it was Lara of Discoknitter fame! I think she would be even more surprised than I was to discover she was a spammer! Photographer, artist, blogger, knitter, Mother, partner – but spammer?? I wonder what the secret criteria are that Akismet uses? Maybe it’s the rhubarbandcustard rule … 🙂

So, if you have left a comment and I’ve ignored it – I didn’t see it (make a liar of me if your comment is there and I haven’t responded – sorry, sorry, sorry!). Please feel free to comment again – I’ve put the settings back to comment moderation (just in case I was getting spammed) so I’ll definitely see the comments, polite or otherwise 🙂 that you leave.