Thursday, December 31, 2009

Late evening

                                                Gerald Gee

(Forgive me, Gerald, if it was meant to be a watery sunset!!!)


My offering does not include pines but I think the green is PINE GREEN  as requested.

This is another painting from Gerald Gee, whose work I really enjoy. He published it only today.
Please visit him at


The Unseen
Is a more powerful image
Than the Seen.
He could have painted a disc,
A coin,
A plate,
Any old circle of white.
He could have hung it there
In a convenient space
Between the trees.
The light could have streamed from
That predictable moon.
We could have said
And turned away.
But, because the moon
Has invaded our minds
Rather than our eyes,
We savour it, taste it.
Trace it's outline
Again and again.
That invisible moon
Is made manifest
The magic of imagination.
His and mine.

 Another way of looking at the moon here:

The Breaking of the Drought!

                                            Press photograph


She'd heard of rain but never felt it!
She'd dreamed of rain but never smelt it!
Then they received a Christmas gift
Giving New South Wales a lift!
The Farmers, who'd been waiting, waiting
All at once were celebrating!
Like pigs they rolled about in mud
Welcoming the flowing flood.
Little children splashed and shouted!
Greenery shot up and sprouted!
Other places may be dry;
They watched the storm clouds passing by.
Other years may scorch and burn,
But here they've seen the rain return.
Plant the crops without a fear!
Happy New Year! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!


Who cares if I'm one year older!
Who cares if the wrinkles spread!
Who cares if the date
Says 'Getting late'!
I'm alive! And I could be dead!
So to all of you other wrinklies
Hanging on as the clock winds down
A Happy New Year
Don't shed a tear!
Go out and paint the town!
Last  year's greeting here:

See tomorrow's blog for a glimpse of life about sixty years ago.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Exit 2009

letter 'X'

EXIT 2009

Where has it gone? That fading year?
It's said goodbye, that is very clear.
Are we still living where we were?
Has some scandal caused a stir?
Are you friends again with Sue?
Has one grandchild become two?
Are a few more wrinkles on your face?
All I know is the wretched pace
Is picking-up a fearful speed!
So much to do! So much to read!
So much to hope for and to fear!
Think I'll have another go next year!

This time last year here:

See tomorrow's blog to welcome 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Handle with Care



Tea-cosies shaped like houses are very often seen.
Handbags shaped like cottages are part of the female scene,
Money-boxes masquerade as homes, down the chimney goes the money,
And ornaments like dwellings can be cute and rather funny.
But a house that's like a basket! That's something rare indeed!
Something that I rather think the world just doesn't need!

A very special house here:

See tomorrow's blog for a farewell to 2009.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Little Blue Ball


We really do hold it in our hands.
Let's hope that we don't drop it!
It's slipping through our fingers
And only we can stop it!

More slippage here:

Festive Food!

Topic: FOOD.


Pre-Christmas cheer in Merewether;
Good friends breakfasting together.
Orange juice, champange-diluted,
Drunk from glasses slimly fluted.
Croissants, filled with crisp delights,
Tempting tastes and blissful bites!
Nibblies on every platter.
Lots of laughter, cheerful chatter.
Something that we all hold dear.....
Good friends, good food, and Christmas Cheer.

 An unusual meal here:




Not the original Scarlett, I know.
Nor is this Rhett the original beau.
But they are so perfectly romantic,
We can't spoil the mood by being pedantic!
Clark Gable wasn't a patch on this
Gorgeous man who's about to kiss
A girl whose luminosity
Knocks spots off that old Vivien Leigh!
Clark Gable, they say, had very bad breath!
And Vivien's mewing bored me to death.
I know the purists will shout me down;
They may even ride me out of town.
But I have to say the couple above
Seem the epitome of LOVE!
Who they are I haven't a notion
But, my, can they express emotion!
In my next life I'll scorn a tiara!
I'd rather come back as Scarlett O'Hara!
A truly 'scarlet woman' here:

See tomorrow's blog for a little perspective.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another Chance

The Australian 'Spring Clean' takes place about now, even though Spring started in September. The end of the year really IS the end of the year in OZ so there is a six-week holiday for schools etc and social activities don't start again until February. So the sense of a brand new beginning is palpable.
The line in blue
comes from
New Year's Reality Check
 by Joanna Fuchs
Another year, another chance to start our lives anew,
A chance to straighten-up those things that now are all askew!
Is a drawer higgledy-piggledy? Is a cupboard a disgrace?
Is everything you own in some un-labelled 'other' place?
Is a shelf you labeled 'Urgent' full of items since ignored?
Is the box you saved for 'Photos' where the cotton reels are stored?
The New Year is a beacon, shining  Promise in our faces;
We know in 2010 we'll always stick to labelled places.
'For one brief shining moment' we'll be neat and organised,
But if next March finds us in a mess we shouldn't be surprised!

A good or bad example here:

Sunday Diary

December 27th

A very brief diary entry this week, not because life has been full and exciting but because it hasn’t. Not that I’m complaining. I’m in my annual ‘Spring-Cleaning’ mode, except that Spring started in September. This is a New Year clean. I always like to take advantage of the hiatus at this time of the year to tidy cupboards and throw-out unwanted clothes etc, so that I can start the New Year in an organised fashion. I know it wont last beyond March but at least I can start right.

My friend, Margaret, in NY, will be interested to hear that one of my projects is sorting through the old letters she sent me earlier in the year. I started dipping into them, but now I have time to read them at my leisure and to reminisce. I intend to cull them, keeping phrases and paragraphs that I think might be of interest to any genealogist in my family down the track. I’ll add them to my ‘Life Story’ already written for the same purpose.

So…… little to report for the first part of the week, except taking Blake to see ‘Avatar’ (not in 3D, unfortunately…. but I think all the swooping and bang-banging might have been too much for me in that medium anyway.) I thought it was a magnificent piece of work, with a good ‘message’ for once. But I’m glad I haven’t got to sit through it again!

A bit too much of a good thing!

This was  TUESDAY, the day we ‘minded’ Blake because Rebecca had to work and school holidays had begun. The two cousins came  round in the afternoon; here they are admiring one of Blake’s ‘gadgety thingies’. I told Blake he’d get ‘square eyes’ and Harry got quite upset about this, even asking about Blake’s eyes later in the week. I must watch what I say!

The rest of the week involved preparations for Xmas. I packed my 72 Lucky Dip presents and that took-up quite a lot of my time.

XMAS DAY was very pleasant, weather-wise. We’d all dreaded either heat or torrential rain. The rain arrrived in the evening, but it was only slight and brief here and the parts of NSW on which it fell were so dry that it was welcome whatever the season. Brian was on Fire Service night duty so he came home just for Xmas morning (100  miles each way!). He and Rebecca put on a delicious brunch. The gift opening was a delightful riot of course.

Harry unwraps 'something'!

My favourite Xmas picture: Blake uses a new gift to snap Max opening one of his.
Note Max's expression!

After this Greg and family moved off to Michelle’s parents and we called-in there briefly too, just to wish them well. In the evening, after Brian had returned to Sydney, Blake and Rebecca came to me for an evening meal. This was spoilt by my having been given the wrong prawns (the mainstay of Australian festivities). I’d planned neat, old-fashioned prawn cocktails, but the parcel I’d saved in the fridge proved to contain huge prawns that had to be peeled! (This did NOT please Malcolm!) After the meal we enjoyed a game of Blake’s new Monopoly which, of course, is now played with Australian place-names and credit cards. Altogether a very enjoyable day (except for prawn ‘bits’ in the deep freeze!)

On SATURDAY the weather was dull and drizzly and quite cold. But delightfully refreshing. Great rains have fallen across the State and it’s been the first wet Boxing Day for seven years! Greg called round with old friend Nick and his French wife Claire and it was lovely to see them both again. They are visiting Nick’s Australian parents.

The two Australian traditions, the Boxing Day Xmas Test Match (cricket)  and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race filled the TV on Boxing Day, SUNDAY. As can be seen in the photo, the weather was overcast with heavy showers. Anybody who came to Australia for the sun this Xmas would have been sorely disappointed!

Till next week,

Picnic Perfection



A loaf of bread , a flask of wine;
Come share this country find of mine.
A picnic table tucked away,
Where eucalyptus branches sway,
And leafy shadows move and spread,
Echoing greenery overhead.
The curving path, gently inclined,
Leads to this spot, a magical find.
Here, you and I can reminisce,
Thankful life has come to this.

A ruined picnic here:

See tomorrow's blog for Rhett and Scarlett!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Diagonal Delight



Christmastime has come and gone with all the celebration.
 Now's the time for a little boy to enjoy some relaxation.
Gone are the days of dreaming and the wild anticipation.
A cubby-house is quite a simple sort of  re-creation,
But it can be the stage for any sort of situation.
What's the best thing in the world? Why! Imagination!
Another view of the same topic here:

See tomorrow's blog for some summer delights.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Bells

Margaret Preston (1938)

(Australian wildflowers)

A simple card, a simple wish,
To all my blogging friends.
'May you find Peace and Happiness
That never, never ends.'
Brenda Bryant

Last year's greeting here:

See tomorrow's blog for the aftermath.

Thursday, December 24, 2009



Carols By Candlelight have been
A feature of the Christmas scene
Here in Australia as long as I remember.
The summer nights are often hot
And people gather in a spot
To sing by candlelight all through December.
I took this photo in the park,
Where carolers met after dark,
When Blake was just a boy of five or six.
The mistiness was accidental
But I find the shot so sweet and gentle,
And not the result of photographic tricks.
The viewer, no doubt, pictures calm;
A quiet prayer, a hymn, a psalm,
But the truth was very far from that illusion.
Below see Blake up in the trees,
Acting as do chimpanzees
While human-beings flock in wild profusion!
It wasn't quite what we expected;
The Christmas Story was neglected
Pop-songs and popcorn seemed to rule the night.
But when I see this  lovely face
Life seems to go at a slower pace
And I know I somehow got the picture right.


More Christmas thoughts here:

See tomorrow's blog for my Christmas Greetings.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Photographic Trick!


See a Xmas Tree in the centre of the city
Surrounded by parcels bright and pretty.
Against the grey of the wintry sky
The tree is tall and wide and high.
And the gifts are big just like the tree!
Just think how enormous they must be!
But yes, the camera does lie!
I hope I managed to trick your eye!
For a table-centre I bought this tree;
It's about as small as a tree can be!
As for the gifts, I made a stop
At our local $2 shop!
This is my Lucky Dip collection!
Now let your eyes make the correction!

My eyes let me down here:


The Three P's

(Pollution. Poverty and Puzzlement)

Forget about Climate Changes
And the part that humans play!
Forget about all the Experts,
Lecturing every day!
Concentrate on Pollution;
The coal, the smoke the plastic!
Imagine a clean, sun-driven world!
Wouldn't that be fantastic!
Concentrate on Poverty!
Some lives are just a bitch!
Shouldn't we share some wealth around,
The poor helped by the rich?
Climate Change is a Puzzlement.
For it's happened to earth before.
So are we to blame this time around
As we're certainly to blame for war?
Three P's! And one's Pollution;
Then comes Poverty.
The final P' is a Puzzlement
And that's the uncertain 'P'.
Pollution and Poverty are real
They're definitely tragic.
Cure them and cure the Puzzlement
Now wouldn't that just be magic!

A different slant written when the Credit Crunch was at its height here




Wreaths have a noble history dating way, way to the past,
When a wreath was called a 'diadem', a name which didn't last.
Diadem meant 'thing bound round' , so the circle was always there,
Though fabric was very often used to encircle royal hair.
The Persians, Greeks and Romans, had this fashion to the fore,
And 'diadems' were not a thing that common people wore.
In the early Olympics, winners were always crowned
With olive leaves or laurel; with these their heads were bound.
In Rome a chief or hero was acclaimed with a laurel crown;
 Julius Caesar  wore one and everyone bowed down.
From diadems came glittering crowns, when gold was incorporated,
And kingly heads with precious jewels were gloriously weighted.
'Crown' comes from 'corona' which also means 'a wreath',
As the crowns ringed and encircled the royal heads beneath.
In Eastern Europe common people lit wreaths to usher Spring,
When it was dark and dismal and they were shivering.
And when Christianity arrived they continued the tradition
And candles, lit at Advent, were a welcome new addition.
The 'crown of thorns' was echoed by the novelty of holly.
These wreathes were very sacred, and not in the least bit 'jolly'.
In modern times a wreath is used to express our sympathy
If someone known has passed-away; it's laid with dignity.
But a wreath is also a joyous thing, when it's set-up on a door
As a sign of friendly welcome when a party is in store.
The circle of the wreath persists because a circle has no end,
So it represents eternity for the house and for the friend.
Nowadays, as we see above, wreaths are for decoration
And anything and everything can be an inspiration.
Here, in Australia, we find poinsettias look quite fine
Saying 'Happy Xmas! Come in, Friend! Let's have a glass of wine!'

Here are some examples of the names of modern wreath types. Study the mosaic on this page and see how many of these you can find!
1. Dried Flower
2. Wild Vine
3. Harvest
4. Scented
5. Herbal
6. Evergreen
7. Holiday
8. Table
9. Floral
10. Fabric

Another celebratory poem here:

See tomorrow's blog for two different aspects of Carols by Candlelight.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ruddy Cheek!

Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas


We see the well-known Santa in the top picture above;
He wears the red-and-white array that we have come to love.
We recognise it everywhere, on Xmas cards and such,
And we don't consider what may lie behind it, very much.
Saint Nicholas (the man below) once brought the little toys,
The oranges and biscuits for much poorer girls and boys.
His name was changed to Santa Claus when it was Anglicised
But his present-giving attributes were always recognised.
Now, advertising's powerful, on that we all agree,
And Coca-Cola made a meme that's gone down in history.
In 1931 they thought of 'Santa! Red and white!'
They wanted their advertisement to look all bold and bright.
They gave their Santa ruddy cheeks and a great big beaming smile
And the well-known fat bonhomie of the 'Ho ho ho-ing' style.
Poor old Saint Nick was relegated to the history books
And the Coca-Cola Santa reigned supreme in clothes and looks!
Now, when we see 'our' Santa Claus, we think it a tradition,
We never think 'commercial' or a mercenary mission!
So now, when you sit on a ruddy Santa's knee,
Remember that he's only young!
He's the very same age as me!

He's wearing red and white in this one here:

See tomorrow's blog for some Xmas decorations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Frozen Fennel


The frozen fennel flares its fronds
As icicles form on farmyard ponds.
While other flowers droop and die
This tattered treasure braves the sky,
Copying blooms of sunnier days
And mimicking the sun's bright rays.
Like Christmas stars the flowers gleam,
Each one a little shining beam.
Like a pale star on a moonless night
Each gives a gentle creamy light.
Unnoticed in the balmier days
And starved of any fulsome praise,
The fennel now has pride of place,
Frozen in beauty, fixed in grace.

Feeling Blue.



Early spring. A picnic table
Looking as blue as it is able.
On the table a blue, blue flask.
For a bluer thing you could not ask.
Blue, blue sea and blue, blue sky.
But I'm not blue and I'll tell you why.......
I'm the photographer! Oh! You knew!
A Happy Snapper not feeling blue!

A more elaborate picnic here:

Noteworthy Idea!




How about this for a great idea? Post-It notes in a pen!
You're sure to need to take notes soon, you simply don't know when!
Those useful little yellow squares are always in demand,
And a pad of them is rarely, if ever, close at hand.
But if they're coiled up inside the pen, joined by just perforations,
You can rip one off and scribble, in all sorts of situations!

I wonder if this signature was ever on a Post-It note! See here:

Too Much Information!

Because we live in a Global Village,
News of murder, rape and pillage
Streams into our humdrum  lives
Whenever the daily news arrives!
Be it by TV screen or paper
Every nasty little caper
Of some obscure obscene dictator
Reaches us by 'communicator'!
Hiccups of climate, merely local,
Are joined by a chorus, very vocal,
Of people in far-distant places
Who are enduring far worse cases,
And so we get het-up and nervous
Because of the media that serve us!
Isolated in Australia
We worry about some distant failure!
But, supposing the Industrial Revolution,
The cause of all our disillusion,
Had come to be, but not 'the news'
To put a slant on all our views!
If Gutenberg were still to come
And computers, still unborn, were dumb?
If all of us were isolated,
The Global Village not created?
We wouldn't know about polar ice
And how we all must 'pay the price'!
We wouldn't know glaciers were shrinking!
Sea-level rise wouldn't fill our thinking.
The Gulf Stream, which 'they' often mention
Would be beyond our comprehension!
Today we're threatened by 'what if'
Like lemmings approaching the final cliff.
Will we freeze or will we drown?
Will rising waters consume our town?
'They' keep up a barrage of awful doubt
We can't do anything about.
Just think, without the daily 'news'
Telling us what we're going to lose,
We'd live in our little local area
Much less troubled and unwarier.
We might remark 'This year the weather
Seems more extreme', but altogether
We wouldn't live in doubt and fear
Day by day and year by year.
In a bewildering world like this
Wouldn't some ignorance be bliss?
I love I.T. It's changed my life
But doesn't it add a lot to strife?
Of course we should think about pollution,
And the forests' diminution,
But, as things stand, we're all uptight
About things we simply can't put right!
We're threatened by The Bogey Man
So we don't do things that we really can.
We're overwhelmed by the Planet's fate
And find it too awful to contemplate.
'Eat drink, be merry, tomorrow we die'
'Chicken-Licken! Watch the sky!'

I show I DO care here:

Camel Corps Christmas


Something you've never had before!
A Christmas card from the First World War!
A Christmas card from the Camel Corps!
Happy Christmas!
This was a rabble of a brigade
Of Australian soldiers who made the grade
By being the toughest ever made!
Happy Christmas.
Chosen because they were rough and wild,
Easily roused and easily riled
(All the others were meek and mild)!
Happy Christmas!
The British were always on their guard
When the C.C. approached their barrack-yard,
Because controlling them was hard!
Happy Christmas!
Once they went in for a kill,
But found their hand-grenades were nil
So they just rolled boulders down the hill!
Happy Christmas!
It happened so very long ago,
But I thought I'd cut-out bells and snow
And send you a Camel Corps 'Hello!'
Happy Christmas!


A much more poignant look at the same history:

See tomorrow's blog for the low-down on Santa!

Sunday, December 20, 2009



The line in blue is the start of a humorous Xmas poem quoted on the blog above.


When I was a child I believed in Santa Claus!
It was very easy to believe in him because
I saw him on the Xmas cards, I saw him in the shops,
I saw him by the Xmas trees with angels on the tops.
I believed in him because my parents said that he existed
And the thought of that divine old chap just could not be resisted.
But oh! The let-down in the end when I learned the awful truth!
That he'd only been a fable told to glorify my youth!
I became a hardened cynic at the age of nine or ten.
From then on I always doubted any Mystical Old Men.
I became a Disbeliever, and my instinct is to doubt.
I don't believe a single thing until I've checked it out!

Back to the days of wonder here:

Dare to Imagine.


John Lennon wrote 'Imagine', can we now not write 'Dare'?
Dare to think outside the box , we who have wealth to share?
I dare to imagine a situation where wealthy folk like us
'Adopt' some struggling country, and, without futile fuss,
See things through on a 'buddy' scale, as children do in school,
Instead of making Global thinking such a rock-solid rule.
What if Aussies 'adopted' the Maldives and put all their energy
Into saving one country only from the ravages of the sea?
What if Europe 'adopted' Bangladesh, while the mighty USA
'Adopted' the poorest Africans and helped them on their way?
Let China take care of its own Third World and India do the same.
Being fair is bound to be the trickiest part of the game.
The Copenhagen debacle seemed to prove without a doubt
That working on a global scale never really will work out,
Since all the huff and puff results in ever more dissension
And a world which listens and marvels with growing apprehension!
'Green' energy is on its way; we can hear the 'windmills' humming.
A fantastic revolution is definitely coming.
So finance remains the problem; how to do things fairly,
How to help the poorer countries now surviving, barely.
Yes, I 'dare' to have an idea, which the experts may 'pooh-pooh'
(But then it seems the 'experts' sometimes haven't a clue!).
Introduce the Buddy System! Think individually! Think small!
After all, even my idea is better than none at all!

Mrs Pankhurst 'dared' here:

Bright Xmas!

To the tune of 'White Xmas!'
I'm dreaming of a bright Christmas,
Just like the ones we have each year,
With the bell-birds singing,
The hammock swinging
And skies always blue and clear.
I'm dreaming of a bright Christmas,
With every Christmas card I write
'May your days be snowy and white,
But may all our Christmases be bright.!'
Xmas fun here:

See tomorrow's blog for a very unusual slant on the season.

Sunday Diary

December 20th

During a week in which 'Copenhagen' dominated the news, I'll start with something cheerful.  Below is the news photograph of local students who topped the state in their chosen subjects in their Higher School Certificate examinations. Some of them are minor subjects but, even so, I was thrilled to see this line-up! As a feminist ( not rabid) I get great pleasure out of seeing so many delightful females topping the list. And it makes me feel doubly sorry for the poor young women in some countries who never get the chance!


Then, of course, to change the mood, came the bush-fires! The weather was stinking hot during the week and the Bush Fire Brigade was kept busy. The blaze below was north of Sydney.

Spectacular but lethal!

Newcastle was spared such horror and on SUNDAY we all enjoyed a quintessentially Australian day as Harry's Little Nippers group enjoyed a Xmas party on the beach. (Becca had gone to visit her in-laws in Tamworth for a pre-Xmas get-together.) The weather was perfect and the beach was thronged with Nippers of all shapes and sizes.

Just one group of dozens.

Santa arrived!

Proud grandparents.

On MONDAY my Probus Club held its annual Xmas lunch at the Madison Hotel. The Committee put-on a sort of comic/religious skit which worried me a bit. As one of the Three Kings I went to a lot of trouble with my costume as you can see! (I'm the blue lady with the paper hat on!) In the event it all went off quite well except that the people outside the door sang in a different key from those inside!

The Cast.

The Diners

TUESDAY  was a rather fraught day with lots of interruptions. I'd sold our old microwave on e-bay and I had to wait around, not knowing when it was going to be picked-up. At the same time I had to do some cooking for the evening. (I am very fragile when I'm baking, not being much good at it). When the microwave had gone, I got stuck-in to domesticity, only to have Greg ask me to mind the boys for a while and then to view a house in which he was interested (but turned-down.) Running behind time, we suddenly learned that we had to be at Joy's place an hour earlier than we thought! The Book Group evening was great, though, when we finally got there. My photographs were very poor due to some rather brilliant lantern-thingies Joy had on the tables.

But I did get a shot of the food!

And a rather romantic one of Joy and Dave by lantern-light!

The Scrabble Ladies went out for lunch on WEDNESDAY. Here they are prior to going home after a good game.

Ann, Maureen, Susan, Helen and Pam

On THURSDAY Malcolm and I looked-after Max as Becca was feeling unwell. He was no trouble, but we had to stay in the air-conditioning because of the heat, so the day seemed long. Three year-olds need constant entertaining! Harry had his Pre-School Graduation in the afternoon and we all went to it.(!!!) It was unbearably hot but the children all behaved well and they sang 'The 12 Days of Christmas' taking individual parts, which I thought pretty clever!

I caught Harry just as he spied Greg in the crowd!

The intense heat continued on into the evening when we went to 'The Stag and Hunter' to help celebrate friend Isobel's eightieth birthday. Isobel ran our Play-Reading sessions last year and she's a great favourite. But most of the guests were theatrical types as Isobel is very much in demand as a director.

Here we are preparing to sing a little song I  wrote for her.

And that was the Party Season finale! I enjoy parties but they sometimes get a bit much at this time of the year. FRIDAY and SATURDAY were days of blissful normality. It actually drizzled on Friday and it was blessedly cool, and, on Saturday it was a 'perfect English summer's day' and that, in my eyes is as good as it gets. No doubt the coming months will test our heat-resistance, but the days in between are wonderful. As to Climate Change, the outcome of 'Copenhagen' is depressing and confusing; let's hope humanity just muddles through!

Till next week,