Christmas Day in Ballarat

We’ve had Christmas picnics before, but we usually decide based on the weather forecast. This year, it was all about baby Matilda, born on Christmas Eve. What else could we do  but pack up our lunch and some presents, and drive to Ballarat to meet her?

We arrived an hour or so before Lucie’s train was due. Apart from the busy to and fro around the station, the place was almost deserted as we went for a little walk to fill in time. Few shops were open, of course, and little traffic, a really novel way to see the place in broad daylight. Luckily, I took the camera (baby Matilda!), so I enjoyed taking some photos of the interesting old buildings.

After we’d collected Lucie, and the new Dad, we went to the gardens at Lake Wendouree, where it was too windy for picnics, but not too hot in the shade of big old trees. In a nod to tradition, I’d brought my sad little Peanuts fake Christmas tree. Here it is packed up in a box after lunch, along with the tablecloth, which had to pinned down with anything weighty to keep it on the table. It was a memorable day!

2015 in review

Another year over, and the stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog. It never ceases to impress me that what I type in our small corner of the world is then read by people all over the globe, in places I have never heard of, and will probably never get to see. Knowing it is read by people I know is perhaps more daunting than the idea that anyone anywhere with internet connection can look at my photos and read my poems and prose. I’m not given to New Year’s resolutions, not my thing, but I do plan to keep on blogging!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas Eve Baby

No poem today – it’s Christmas, and it’s been an unusual one. Quite apart from being hot and windy (with a Total  Fire Ban), and not having everyone home(a rare event these days anyway), we ended up having a picnic lunch in Ballarat, before going to the hospital to meet the newest family member.

She arrived on Christmas Eve, and her Mum, Dad, Aunt,Uncle and Grandparents all agree that Matilda Merrilyn Hazel is a keeper!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Gathering

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One of the hazards of volunteering in an op shop/thrift store is the strong possibility of gathering appealing old objects such as these vintage amber glasses – 3 large, 2 small – which followed me home last week. The melamine tray they are sitting on I found in another oppy, and I use it all the time. So when I saw that the theme of the photography challenge is “gathering” this week, my hunting and gathering habits first came to mind.

Later, I went out to the garden and gathered these roses. Papa Meilland had plenty of blooms, and the weather forecast was for very hot and dry, so they would have been frizzled by mid-afternoon if I hadn’t picked them for inside.

This time of year is generally all about family (and friend, and work…) gatherings and shared feasts, but this year things are fairly quiet for us, as we await the birth of our second grandchild in the next day or two. We still don’t know where Christmas lunch will be, but we do know it will be some sort of picnic, and that there should be one more in the family by then.

Can’t wait to meet her (or, possibly, him)!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ooops

Oops is right – somehow it got to be Friday without me making any post! This week’s (almost last week’s) photography challenge is to share photos of something that went horribly wrong. That’s not really something you can set up, because that would be cheating, and not Ooops at all…so I’ve been trying to think of some disaster that I actually took photos of. Not many…there’s the aftermath of the possum in the pantry…but I couldn’t find the photo. Here’s what happened when a curious bird wandered into the house. We keep the cat in, but don’t always succeed in keeping the birds out.


Less of a disaster (nothing died…), my one attempt to date at choux pastry forgot to “puff” when I baked it. Oh well, icing and lollies fixed it!

Not really a disaster, some of the photos I took of my son’s burning Guy earlier this year turned out to be inadvertently disturbing.

The full figure is obviously not human, with it’s tiny dragon head – however the close-up of Alex’s old shoe being licked by flames doesn’t include any clue to what is actually happening…ooops.

Friday Poem: Tower Song

I wrote this poem in the middle of the night – another sleepless night! I actually got up, turned on lights and sat in the living room until it was all on paper, then went back to bed – and slept. Usually, I just stay in bed, despite all the advice I have read to get up and do something for a while. Maybe the experts know what they are talking about…

Well, anyway, here’s my poem.IMG_6671 (Large)

I lie awake at night
Alone in my tower
And plan what I want you to be:

So that one night, or one morning,
Or on some happy day,
You will appear, you will come to my window,
You will call out my name,
You will ask me to let down my hair;
And I will.

You will climb up to me,
You will come into my bower,
And we will be happy,
You and me as we are
Together, together alone.

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I drew the scene as I imagined it, and even painted it. All that romantic thought needs some roses. My Hot Cocoa rose has been flowering prolifically this year (feed and water roses – they like it!). I don’t know what the other flower is, but the lime-green is a pleasing contrast for the roses.

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The first photo is of Acacia paradoxa (Kangaroo Thorn), with the late sun illuminating the hairs on the pods – and the spiders nest amongst the thorns.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Eye Spy

Is it just me, or has someone pressed a cosmic fast-forward button? (I know it isn’t just me – it’s this holiday time of year…and I’d like to stop it and get off. If that was an option.) Suddenly it’s Wednesday, and I’m only just getting to the weekly challenge – Eye Spy.

The cat refused to co-operate (no surprises there…), so I found this little fellow instead. He followed me home from an op shop/thrift store, so I have no idea who he is…

He’s getting into the spirit of the season, though, under my non-traditional Christmas tree. On the wall, a photo from our trip to the PNW includes the sign on our motel “See you nexttime”, and in the next room, my plaster saint oversees a flock of flying pigs, which are a symbol of infinite possibilities. And, in this case, eye-poppingly shiny!IMG_6753 (Large)

For the record, here is Morgen, not looking at the camera. Because she’s a cat, and being obliging is not her thing, thanks very much…and by the way, where’s dinner?

Weekly Photography Challenge: Transition

I haven’t been online much because I’ve been busy with transforming our living room walls from a sort of terracotta to palest pink. I’m not done yet – back to it soon! But I did think to take some before and after pics for this weeks challenge, so here’s the transition to date…


My husband has been saying things like “What’s wrong with this colour? I quite like it” for several weeks.

A friend I hadn’t seen for years visited as I prepared to start, and the first thing she said was “I like the colour!”

Great, but it was time for a change, and the room is in transition right now. It will be all finished by the time Bryan gets home from his trip! I like change, although I probably like it best when I get to drive it myself…