Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sunday Diary

November 1st

This has been a disjointed week and this diary will be a little odd as a result. On MONDAY we had a craft show at my Probus Club and on FRIDAY we had a dress rehearsal for 'Jewelled Jeopardy'.

But in between Malcolm and I had a short break up in the Blue Mountains. The 'short break' proved to be shorter than we'd intended because the weather was against us. It has been wonderful to see good rains across the state, but mist and drizzle spoil a scenic trip, and we decided to come home a day early. Even so, I managed to take a few photos during a brief break in the weather. I'm going to attempt to 'cover' all next week's memes in this one diary! I wonder if I'll succeed.

This was the weather when we arrived! I took this through the fly-screens in our hotel bedroom.
Watery Wednesday.

This is a map of the World Heritage area we had hoped to see more of!
Think Green Thursday

We caught a cheerful ex-London double-decker bus around the place. This was a poster.
Ruby Tuesday

En route I was able to find some colourful items to fit the bill.

Blue Monday

Mellow Yellow Monday

Color Carnival

A restaurant mural
Monochrome Weekly Theme

I even found a tiny bit of movement as a man in a silver hat greeted us!

A silver salute
Motion Thursday

The next day dawned pale but sunny and we managed to get among the crags.

The Three Sisters
That's My World

The 'we' being




Shadows began to drift across the valley floor.
Shadow Shot Sunday

The clouds rolled in
Sky Watch

We returned to our little old-fashioned hotel

Where I managed one last photograph
Things Vintage

Then we went home.

On SATURDAY I rounded off the week with a birthday lunch for friend, Pam, and an afternoon classical concert.
Till next week,

An Artist's Eye

Edward Wadsworth



It takes an artist's eye
To discover it.....
The beauty in the practical.
The sheen,
The curves,
The shadows and reflections.
These are not only the propellers
Of 1940,
The necessary adjunts to a mechanical and menacing
They are shapes, contours, patterns,
Placed with perspective
And viewed
With a sympathetic eye.
Ours is a different age.
It is not combat,
Up where the winds blow,
That terrifies us.
It is the energy,
Up where the winds blow,
That gives us hope.
Let us try to blend necessity with art.
Already there are magnificent examples
Of what is possible.

Let us not say
'Necessity is the Mother of Invention'.
Rather let us say
'Necessity is the Mother of Beauty.'

More thanks to the wind here:

Shadow on Shine.



Shadow on shine or shine on shadow?
What a conundrum to tease the brain?
Shade and reflection, sheen and shimmer,
All set-off by the bright wood-grain.
More magic wood here:

Cook-Top Lasagne


Turn on the oven? What a bore!
Cook-top cooking I adore!
So much quicker in every way.
Just wash-up at the end of the day.
But Lasagne? Surely not!
It's delicious! Hits the spot.
But it needs oven-heat I'm sure;
Lots of peering through the oven door;
Lots of hanging-around and waiting.
It really is debilitating!
Fry garlic and onion in a pan that's strong;
Five minutes will do; that's not too long.
Break-up each lasagne sheet
And mix in with the chicken meat,
Plus mozzarella, chile and basil.
(Remember! This dish is going to dazzle!)
Add all this to the sizzling pan
And spread as smoothly as you can.
Now pour over the pasta sauce
Adding the water as well, of course.
Bring to the boil, simmer, stirring often
Until the lasagne starts to soften.
Fifteen minutes should be enough.
Then add all the other stuff.
Top with spinach and remaining cheese,
Then pop it under the grill with ease.
When it starts to brown you know it's finished.
Your reputation is not diminished!
You're the cook who's cream of the crop!
You're CCT!
The Chef :Cook-Top!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
250g dried curly lasagne sheets
1/2 large barbecued chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 1/2 cups grated reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
500g jar tomato pasta sauce
1 bunch English spinach, chopped
150g fresh ricotta cheese, crumbled
salad leaves, to serve

Other aspects of the kitchen here:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Manic Modernity


In a little country town, in a little dusty room
That called itself  'Museum', just for show,
I found this ancient artifact among the aged junk
And it brought back days of very long ago.
I can see them gathering round when the miracle arrived,
All shiny and so modern and so bright!
I can picture eyes wide open at the new technology;
They'd see Washing Day in quite a different light!
'Mum! It'll do the wringing!' Little Tommy is amazed
At the clever things that grown-up people do!
'It looks a trifle difficult!' That's Mother looking shy
For she's always rather scared when things are new.
'You'll get the hang of it, my dear!' That's father, looking proud,
For the gadget is from Dad to Mum, a gift;
'The children need not help you when you do the weekly wash!
You'll find the sheets are easier to lift!'
Mum tries to turn the handle but it's heavy and it's stiff;
She views her new contraption with dismay.
So now she'll have to manage without any help at all.
She just can't wait until it's Washing Day!

Accentuate the Positive!



A placid scene of sea and sky.
But surely a giant shark floats by!
 Surely I see a monstrous fin!
Against such a creature we cannot win!
In such terrible situations
Concentrate on the cloud formations!
It almost becomes your bounden duty
To fill your mind with surrounding beauty!

Lurking 'things' here:

Spring Jasmine



The smell of Spring in Merewether;
The jasmine on our fence.
The dark green leaves, the creamy flowers
Growing riotous and dense.
They last the shortest moment, then petals turn to brown,
And, one by one, they langorously
Lazily drift down.
But the scent hangs on for longer,
Perfuming all the air,
Telling us that the jasmine,
The jasmine of Spring was there.

Another herald here:

Thursday, October 29, 2009




What a way they have with colour! Our friends of the Indian race!
It's as though they take a paint-pot and splash it about the place!
We see it in documentaries which delight us on TV,
And friends who've been there all declare it's the same in reality.
I here present my good friend Kat, (we meet in cyberspace)
And you'll see there's a solemn expression on everybody's face.
Kat and his wife have just built a house and here it is being blessed.
He sent photos of the ceremony and I was quite impressed!
But look at Kat's wife's sari! The colours simply glow!
She bought it for the occasion! It's better than a show!
And though Kat's wearing snowy white the silk picks up the hues;
And we can see oranges and pinks, yellows and golds and blues.
The house is not yet finished, hence it's dull and grey,
But soon it will glow with colour in a truly Indian way.

More of the exotic East here:

Perpetual Motion

Rhythmatic Movement



Don't analyze! Let your eyes dance across the painting.
Who cares what they are? Who cares what they do?
Someone has captured the wind but cannot pin it down!

More magical movement here:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I was strolling by Brisbane Water on the Central Coast recently and I saw this mother and child. The little girl appears to be about the same age as my grandson, Max, and he is forever asking 'Why?' I felt sure she was doing the same!


Mummy, why is water wet?
Why isn't water dry?
Mummy, why do fishes swim?
Why don't fishes fly?
Mummy, why are clouds up there?
Why aren't they here with me?
Mummy! When I'm old as you
How clever I will be!


Victorians were as obsessed with Death as our own age is obsessed with Sex. Here I have tried to write a poem reflecting the wearing of Black at the time of mourning.


For a year and a day I will mourn him, the father of my child,
As the winds of grief blow round my heart, ever more chill and wild.
He was taken to live with the angels; he looks down on us from above!
Baby dear, kiss your own Papa, who gazes down with love.
I remember his face, so waxen, as he breathed his final breath
In life, my dear, he was lovely. He was lovely even in death.
They laid out my mourning costume, the thick black bombazine.
It breaks my heart to remember that he loved me best in green.
We'll stay fast in the house, my lovely, till our mourning days are done.
The shadowy house becomes us much more than the blazing sun.
I'll draw back the curtains one moment; you must kiss Papa on the face.
But to leave them open for longer would be a dreadful disgrace.
The clocks were all stopped at three, love, the time that the angels came;
To let them sound out the hours since then would bring this house great shame.
When a year and a day have passed, dear, I'll walk out in a dress of grey.
Am I really so terribly wicked to long for that distant day?
We'll visit the graveyard on Sunday; you'll wear your little black dress,
And passers-by will doff their hats to acknowledge our great distress.
Little children have to be taught, love, what a family death can mean.
I'm only just learning myself, you know, and I am all of sixteen.
More old traditions here:

Omar Khayyam


A thousand-year-old poem.
References I couldn't really comprehend.
A translation
That may or may not
Have reflected
The views of the poet, entirely.
And yet it spoke to me.
Steeped, as I was, in biblical references,
Through my family's intense involvement,
In Christianity,
It was like a gale
Sweeping through my life.
As it has swept through the lives
Of so many others.
It was
 The Rubaiyat
of Omar Khayyam.
Speak of poets...
Quote him.
Speak of philosophy....
Refer to his teachings.
Consider astronomy....
He mapped the stars.
Talk of algebra.....
He dissected the topic!
What a man!
And his message?
To live life to the full,
Without any inducements;
To embrace the present
And accept oblivion.
Now I learn that he is barely known in Iran,
Which once was his Persia!
What would he make of that?
My copy of the Rubaiyat
Is thumbed and faded now.
In a good cause.

My sixty-year-old copy.

How Belief spreads here:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Red Shoes Ruse


Remember Moira Shearer? Remember 'The Red Shoes'?
(In an era when the main film followed the 'Pathe News'?)
I remember it clearly, because of vanity;
When I was young it mattered what people thought of me!
And I was a girl who wore spectacles! Could anything be worse?
'Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses.'....the message was very terse!
I was asked out to the cinema (by whom I can't recall);
I only know I felt that I was heading for a fall!
I'd never get a cuddle in the back row of 'the flicks',
No-one would ever 'insult' me or get up to 'funny tricks'!
I had a choice ...'see or be seen'; it wasn't hard to choose.
I'd go un-specked and trust to luck I could pick up some clues!
So I saw the film as a whirling mist, although the tunes were pretty.
And I never saw the 'shoes' at all, which was really quite a pity!
As to the reason for my ruse, 'he' can't have been too thrilling!
I can't recall 'fulfillment' even though I was so willing!
So I never saw Moira Shearer; I never saw her dance.
But I still equate 'The Red Shoes' with that magic word 'Romance'.

These days my vision's perfect. An operation saw to that.
As for the romance of 'red shoes', they're joggers and they're flat!
The silver screen again here:

Picnic Party


All around the lake are dotted
Pleasant little spots like these,
Where we're sheltered, from the hot sun,
By the canopy and trees.
With our floppy hats as shelter
We can all enjoy the breeze.
Getting out our salad lunches
Making coffees, making teas.
Someone there has brought a sandwich.
Lovely! It's her usual....cheese.
Hope the insects don't come near us,
Flies, mosquitoes, even bees!
George has got his old hay-fever!
Here it comes! He's going to sneeze!
Is it swine-flu? George be careful!
Not in this direction PLEASE!

Another time, another place, another picnic here:

Monday, October 26, 2009




Somebody's counted up to twenty!
I can see a face!
I can see a grandson
In a favourite hiding-place!
Somebody's feet are running!
Someone is on his way.
If I gaze up at the tree
I'll give the game away!
Now the leaves are rustling,
Much more as the hider wriggles.
Found! When playing hide-and-seek,
Never get the giggles!
Earlier children's games here:

The Answer's a Lemon!

Like the 'last rose of summer' it hangs on the tree
Feeling as sad as a lemon can be.
It's got quite a complex, it feels so rejected,
Dangling distraught and so very dejected.
'I'm no use at all!' Yes! That must be its cry,
'I'll drop off the twig soon and then I will die!
I'll moulder away in the soil down below,
Nobody cares if I stay or I go!'
But take heart, little lemon, your big day draws near.
For any time now Mother's sure to appear!
And then you'll discover how useful you are!
You'll find that you're destined to be quite a star!
Mashed with banana, applied to her face
You'll make sure that blemishes don't leave a trace!
Mixed up with honey you'll banish dry skin!
Brushed on her teeth her bad breath wont begin!
Mixed with coconut milk there isn't a doubt
That you will ensure her hair doesn't fall out!
If she's got dandruff it's something you'll banish;
Lemon mixed-up with egg-white! The dandruff will vanish!
The list is unending! There's use after use!
And so you'll be loved on account of your juice.
Just think of the number of boxes I've ticked!
Here comes Mother now!
You're about to be picked!
Fruit inspired a lovely picture here:

64 Chinchen



A reprint because it's my favourite metamorphosis.

Long ago, for a sweet young bride,
A house was built, with love and pride,
With other terraces by its side;
It stood staunchly way back then.
And the front was made to create a store,
With the windows wide and a big front door.
It was filled with joy, in the days of yore.
It was 64 Chinchen.*
And the carts and carriages rolled on fast;
Folk came in and folk walked past,
Knowing it was made to last,
By strong Victorian men.
And the house was filled with a family,
And life was all that life should be;
It was fixed for all eternity
At 64 Chinchen.
But the years went by and the house decayed;
The windows cracked and the curtains frayed,
And wrought-iron 'lace' was no longer made,
As it had been way back then.
There was flaking paint and a thousand stains,
And the turgid smell of the ancient drains,
And the losses gave no hope of gains
For 64 Chinchen.
And the front step sagged and the cupboards jammed;
The vandals came and the skateboards rammed!
And, as years went by, it became more damned;
It could never live again.
Then the planners came, with a haughty frown,
Saying 'It's unworthy of our town!
Our only choice is to knock it down!
Old 64 Chinchen.'
But the wheel has turned and the attitide
That the things of old are just rough and crude
Has been changed to quite another mood,
And we yearn for way back then.
The house is seen by the eyes of youth,
Which discern this very treasured truth,
That the gracious homes never were uncouth.
Witness 64 Chinchen
Now the walls are white and the floorboards shine,
The new stained glass has the glow of wine;
On every side there's a hopeful sign
That the house can live again.
Now it stands so proud, with a cared-for gleam,
Strong in its every strut and beam,
All because my son had a dream
For 64 Chinchen.
*So-called because a Chinese Market Garden stood on the site in the 1800s.

Some history from the era here:

Madonna Blue



Stained glass windows in a wall
Inconspicuous and small,
Blue surround and decoration
With a mood of adoration.
As a choir we sang that day
And, when we were on our way,
I saw these little windows gleam,
With their strong Madonna theme.
I thought how comforting was blue;
Such a very soothing hue.
The elderly could sit and gaze
And think sweet thoughts of earlier days.
While shafts of sunshine pierced the air
And brought some gladness to them there.
An old-age home, quite sad, it's true
But softened with Madonna Blue.


A 'blue' memory here:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Scaring Ourselves!

Todays quote comes from the 1998 movie 'Aliens'

"We'd better get back , 'cause it'll be dark soon, and they mostly come at night"
I have used the phrases in the following poem.


They mostly come at night
And it'll be dark soon,
And tonight there are no stars
And no light from the moon.
Their eyes will shine like lamps
While their talons claw the air
And a million writhing snakes
Will frame their faces just like hair!
Their jaws will be dripping blood,
Their tongues will be oozing slime!
Their hideous hairy faces
Will be covered with venemous grime!
Their voices will shriek with vengeance
And they'll chase us down the track.............
Mum's made soup for supper!
I think we'd better get back!

More monster nonsense here:




No pen or pencil
Could better stencil
The patterns on the bark.
Each leaf outlining,
Against the shining,
In a perfect leaf-like mark.

Mandelbrot's patterns here:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Summer Snow

Taken during a holiday in Perth, Western Australia

To the tune 'Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!'

The sun up above is blazing
And it's really quite amazing
That up to the top we go!
Summer Snow! Summer Snow! Summer Snow!
The sand is all white and shiny
And we're right beside the briny!
We're feeling that summer glow!
Summer Snow! Summer Snow! Summer Snow!
We're on holiday by the sea
And it's just where we're wanting to be!
With the surf and the sand and sun
Life is delectable fun!
The climb to the top is tiring
And quite soon we're all perspiring!
Then we zoom to the beach below!
Summer Snow! Summer Snow! Summer Snow!

Sunday Diary

October 25th

This has been a very busy but enjoyable week. Newcastle itself seemed to buzz in one way or another.

The first ship of the Cruise Season arrived.

Andre Whats-his-Name did his thing at the Entertainment Centre.

And Spring sprung. This is our jasmine literally breaking the back fence and smelling great.

SUNDAY was a quiet day and on MONDAY things were pretty routine; the Probus Committee Meeting which is always pleasant, and the Choir Practice, during which we had to manage without our conductor, who had flu.

We had to manage without her on TUESDAY too, and we made one or two mistakes. These upset Lois, our pianist, but audiences seem to like them!

One of the audience members wanted to sing-along. It was her last day with the group too.

In the evening we went to Caroline's for the Book Group meeting. I only managed to get the book, 'The Brain that Changes Itself' a day or two before so I could only comment on one or two chapters. It's utterly fascinating too so I'm going to finish it. Caroline has an unusual house with very high ceilings. I took the photo below half-way up the stairs.

Book Group in session

On WEDNESDAY I organised an extra Scrabble session because Sharon, our member who is still recuperating from a bad accident was so sorry she missed it last week. However, the afternoon wasn't entirely successful, because Sharon, who's still unsteady on her feet, fell and cracked her head on a table! We were all very worried but she recovered quite well.

THURSDAY dawned rather grey but it turned into a beautiful day for our trip up to the Lower Hunter.

I was appointed official photographer for the day but I snuck into this one, cuddling Fred!

We had morning tea at Rose Cottage, and then we visited a typical country museum, which contained some nostalgic artifacts for all the country girls in the group, but which could have been displayed to much more advantage. We had a lovely lunch and then rounded off the day with a visit to some Water Gardens. It was a nursery really, but only for water-lilies and other such plants. This was the best part of the day. I just wandered in the park-like grounds.

We had a good time on FRIDAY morning, performing one of my melodramas at the local Coffee Pot Club. The whole thing is utterly amateur and ridiculous but as you can see from the shot below 'a good time was had by all'.

The 'puppets' and the puppeteers!

On SATURDAY the week dipped. We had to attend the funeral of an old friend. I hadn't seen Roma for some time but we used to be in a Writing Club together, and I acted in one of her plays a few years ago. She was a remarkable person; a writer, painter, activist for the Labour Party, great party-goer, always immaculate and pretty. I don't think I've ever known anyone embrace life quite like Roma. The funeral wasn't religious; in fact it was a 'show'. All her favourite songs were sung; people said poetry. There was lots of laughter and applause.The photo below shows Roma as she appeared in a play not long ago when she was already well over eighty. She died at 87, a performer to the end. I left the crematorium feeling happy.

Roma Duff

I mustn't forget to add yet another piece of good news for the Bryant Family. As I've already said, Rebecca has left the Income Tax job (H&R Block). On the very day she resigned the Government announced a plan for collecting income tax without involving agencies! How lucky can you get!

Till next week.

Softening the Blow!


Hardly a work of art!
In a corner set apart.
Towels airing in the sun;
Just a chore and not much fun.
But, for softening the blow,
There's sun to shine and shade to throw.
Domestically, I am a slattern.
But I do respond to a pretty pattern!
By the way, the one that's grey
Is really meant to look that way!
Dire domesticity here: