Don't Tell My Heart, My Eighty Eighty Heart.

It's actually eighty-two: that's how many fires are burning around the State at the moment. More than half are not controlled, they're burning wherever and whatever they like. Some small towns have been evacuated, but right now there are no direct threats. The State is blanketed in thick and hazy smoke. It has been here for two days and shows no signs of leaving. We can't see across the river. At all.

82 fires

The smoke seems to make the heat even more oppressive and for the next week we are expecting high temperatures. Next Wednesday it is forecast to be 21*C: what a relief. If only we could have some rain to put out the fires in inaccessible areas. And water the gardens and fill up the dams. Not only is our BassLink cable to The Mainland broken, and we rely on the cable to provide back up power when the Hydro dams are low, but the dams are low: and predicted to fall to 14% of capacity in the next month. It will be the end of March before the cable is expected to be repaired and they may have to cut the Internet fibre cable while the repair the power cable. Oh joy.

Apart from a morning walk, Lorelai Gilmore and I have been hiding inside. I worry about breathing in the smoke and it makes my eyes itchy and throat sore. Gilly has taken the opportunity to play in the paddle pool as soon as we get home in the morning. And at other times, especially bed time. I have no idea what the side eye is about.

Gilly pool fun

The weather is so dry that all the hopping marsupials are braving humans, and the picnic area, to try and find water.  Gilly is unaware there is a wallaby right behind her: Where's Wallaby??

Where's wallaby

Oh, there's Wallaby!! Do not fear that Gilly would ever catch a wallaby. There is a snowball's chance in Hell of that happening. It just hopped across the road in a single bound, well maybe two.

There's wallaby

I ventured out yesterday to Afternoon Tea for the two eldest HouseOf young women, turning twenty-one and eighteen. I made two zippy pouches instead of wrapping paper: the teapot was for the cutest teacup and teapot earrings and the Wonder Woman one because I didn't think Day of the Dead skulls would be very appropriate. I came home at 4pm and, apart from making Gilly's dinner and breakfast, we slept right through until 11-30 this morning. Which is how we have been spending most mornings as it is the coolest part of the day.

Birthday zippy pouches

I am knitting some socks for MrsDrWho's mum's birthday. They are made with some very pretty and soft Regia Design Line in Winter Night. I'm also knitting a cowl for MrsRenos'; birthday. I knitted it sporadically while I watched P&P, the Colin and Jennifer version, over the weekend. I can knit small or short things that don't lie on me and make me warm. Thought the cowl is long, it curls up on itself.

Socks and cowl

We didn't turn the computer on until an hour ago at 8-30pm. I have barely read any blogs or answered any emails. Rest assured that as soon as it is cooler, we will be back to normal programming at our house. So apart from drinking prodigious amounts of tea, nothing much has been happening at our house. We just all hope that the fires are soon out and that the fire-fighters, and everyone else, are all safe.

I must contemplate something that can be made with as little hot oven time as possible for my Friday food. I am planning on some sweet nibbles for MrsDrWho's Drinks and Nibbles for lots of her friends on Friday: little shortcrust pastry cases filled with lemon curd and topped with some cream and a berry. Pastry cases don't take long to bake and the lemon curd is just ten minutes stirring a saucepan on the stove. I think we can bear it.....


End It Like Beckham

I am not totally au fait with the whole soccer area, but this year has definitely thrown me a curve.  Mixing the baseball and soccer metaphors there, but it hasn't been a bad year, just tricky sometimes. In good news for me, my knee and its muscles seem to be healing at last: slowly albeit. It seems a cruel twist of Fate that the best treatment is heat, and it is so hot already. Mr Beckham seems to have exited his soccer career with grace and dignity. I am hoping for the same for 2015 and me!!!

It has been very hot, too hot to do much more than just be, and do what has to be done. We had a very merry Christmas and my mum and aunt came to visit as well. I have given away all pretence of being on time for Christmas and it has been very freeing. My family and friends are exceedingly understanding.

Gilly has received so many presents. She likes the edible ones best!! She has buried a few more big rawhide bones, but likes to actually eat the Christmas Cracker kind. Click Play to watch the little slideshow.

 There have been many, and varied, crafts this year. Not much garment knitting, but I sewed four good dresses that I wear all the time. And I am up to almost 70 shopping bags. Not all of my craft is in the collage, but it is a good representation.

Craft 2015 ish

Here are the last bags of 2015.

Last bags of 2015

I also sewed a bed for MrsDrWho's cats, well Caramello mainly. I found the colourful cat material and then the coordinating yellow and green. Gilly loves the bed. I can see that I am going to have to sew a larger one for her. She insisted on lying on it all afternoon, even though she was sure she shouldn't. I wasn't cross with her, she just looks very worried.

Cat bed, or is it

WeeMrSingapore has decided he likes "bling" so I baked him some Bling Biscuits: choc-chip chocolate fudge biscuits with chocolate ganache icing, painted with edible gold liquid and topped with a golden lozenge. Wow!! The 'gold' liquid is so very golden!!!

Bling biscuits

Our usual New Year's Eve is spent filling in all the days and dates in the Buffy Diary. This year I am down to my last Buffy Diary. There is only one left. I have looked all year to buy some more, to no avail. I shouldn't complain, I had a store of 15. I found an excellent solution: in Target there was a diary with the same clippy things as the Buffy Diary. Yay!! So I covered my diary with contact, removed 2015 and replaced it with the new innards for 2016. There were no days or dates to fill in and I had no coloured dots or stars. So it was a leisurely alcoholic ginger beer and some Brie and crackers, just crackers for Gilly, and our job was done.

New year's eve

We are looking forward to a week of mid 20s temperatures, starting on Friday. If it is too hot, I might have to visit MrsDrWho for some air conditioned cold. MrsDrWho gave me STAN for Christmas and so I have launched into a The West Wing marathon. As long as there is a cool breeze and a cup of tea we will be OK.

Not long to go now. We have watched the Children's fireworks through the trees already, but I think we will be in bed before the midnight explosions. Happy New Year, 2016.


Mourning Has Broken, Like The First Morning...

Lorelai Gilmore and I are working out our new dynamic: she's doing exceptionally well. We were very touched by the kind emails and comments when Peri died. Thank you.

Peri Naughty brought us so much joy, and it is nice to know The Labradors' antics, and endless pictures, may have amused and entertained others. It is hard to be sad when you have a bouncy and bright Labrador like Gilly. She's always busy doing something and then comes to report about her doings. She's always up for a cuddle, a pat and a rub on the belly. Oh and licking, there is always the licking.

I left Gilly by herself on the very first day because I had to go to The Hospital pharmacy. I have left her every day; I've left her in the car at the deli at the corner (on a cool morning with all the windows open for 2 minutes I hasten to add), I've left her at home in the afternoon and last night until 10pm when I went out to dinner at Mr and Mrs WeeJock&Bessie's. Their house is just along the road, and though I thought about her for the three hours I was away, she was perfectly fine and waiting for me at the gate. Usually she just goes to bed, but it rained and I think she was enjoying the rain.

She's been for a walk all by herself too. And she's had a walk with all of her friends: Jet, Rafa and Sandy.

Gilly's first walk alone

MrsDrWho bought her a huge chew bone. I thought she'd eaten it, then it 'appeared' again. This appearance also explained the sneezing. Gilly had buried the bone in the garden.

Gilly and the bone

Unfortunately, I saw where she buried it and she was not happy. I had to go inside and now I have no idea where the bone is, which is a great comfort and relief to her.

Gilly thinks I want her bone

I also left Gilly alone when I went to visit Auntie Dutch for afternoon tea. I sewed two bags for her birthday. I take such poor photos and unless it is a Labrador, I just take one. So if it is wobbly or hazy, that's the only photo I have. I know things are getting back to normal when I bust out two new shopping bags!!!
Bags for Auntie Dutch

I have sewed two new dresses. The Swirly Lime/Aqua dress needs to have a new hem. I need to undo the very long circle skirt hem and then make a new hem with biased binding, just to get 2cms more length. The Hawaii Dress needs a hem and then a belt of some kind. I am wearing it right now, regardless. Oh, and it needs ironing.

Two new dresses

My Pear Dress, which I made 2 1/2 years ago, has worn out. It has some holes and is not for wearing outside the house any more. I have some Apple material from the same range, so I will be glad to replace it with another fruity dress.

IMG_133534w

I have been poorly pretty much all the time this year and then Peri was not well and I have not kept up my Book List in the side bar of my blog. I plan to add all the books I have read, and I can, because I take a photo when I return a book to The Library. Three times this year The Library insisted I hadn't returned a book. I knew I had, but had no real proof: Now I do!!! Each time it seems the returned book wasn't scanned properly and when another patron tried to borrow said book, The System has a conniption and they found the 'lost' book. Now I keep track of each book when I return it by taking a photo. It can cost $100 to replace a Library book, so I am being canny and careful.

Library books

The weather is turning summery. The nights are warmer and the days hotter in the afternoon. I think we are heading towards a drought. The rainfall for October was 0.6ml. The lowest recorded rainfall since records have been kept was in 1949, when 9ml fell. It is either El Nino or La Nina.... It's El Nino.

Peri Pumpkin is home now, she lives in a little velvet bag on the mantelpiece with Vundy and Tori, who are in boxes, and Harki-Parki-Parker-Posey, who is in a  little velvet bag too. I got a little teary scrolling through photos looking for books, and suffered a few pangs of emptiness. But on the whole, I am glad she is in Dog and Cat and Other Small Animal Heaven. Her legs won't hurt and she will be able to run and play and eat all the Heavenly food she likes. There will be lots of sleeping in the sun, I imagine, whilst floating on a cloud.

It's Recreation Day tomorrow, where people in The North have our holiday for  The South's Regatta Day. It is a good day to start thinking about Christmas. I've already spotted a little sleigh made from some Nice biscuits and two candy canes. Soooo cute!! I'm making lists and planning my baking and crafting. I hope El Nino stays away during December when we want to bake. All Lorelai Gilmore's friends have gone to their shacks for the weekend, so we'll have a walk by ourselves tomorrow. We walk a little farther to compensate for the extra treats that Gilly has. She's spoiled, but fit!!!


Mental As Everything

This week is Mental As Week, not to be confused with Mental as Anything: which just makes me feel so old as I remember seeing them on Countdown performing The Nips Are Getting Bigger in 1979. Being 'Mental As' myself, I appreciate the efforts being made to help people understand what it is like to live with a mental illness. It is also such a relief to hear people like Garry McDonald talk about his mental illness and know that other people feel some of the same ways I do: anxiety is such an overwhelming and all-encompassing feeling and being able to live with it, and in spite of it, is a good feeling. I am so glad I asked for help and I feel very empowered by the great advice from my psychologist and the skills she has taught me.

Peri left Gilly right

It helps me cope when things are tough. It is tough at the moment because I can see Peri getting a little older and a lot more wobbly on her legs every day. Soon the day will come when she can't enjoy a walk and can't get about the house and garden. There is A Lot of Labrador Love at the moment. Still, she can be outside asleep, but the sound of the fridge opening or some crinkly paper and she is there like a shot.

Peri in the dog door

And then Gilly is there too!!!

Partners in crime

I have recovered from my dental work: having a temporary cap on my tooth, but I am poorly this week. I have a sore throat and mouth. I've been trying to soldier on, sleeping and resting, but I can't eat or talk without pain, and so I hope to see my doctor tomorrow. They fit me in because I have no immune system and can't fight back. I take antibiotics frequently to fight off whatever it is I have.

Teacup  tipcup

MrsDrWho is back from her holiday and, with her sister's encouragement, bought me a tea cup. It is very good. It brews an excellent cup of tea, you can tip the cup back the other way when you want to stop the brewing process, and it is quite nice to drink from as well. I am drinking some apple tea tonight.

Death star TARDIS

I don't think I have posted about the brooch and necklace I cross-stitched for MrsDrWho's birthday?? I bought the patterns from The Etsy and the cute tiny quilting hoops from Patchworks Plus online. I made a Death Star necklace and a TARDIS brooch.

I also remembered to take a better photo of my very own TARDIS bag.

TARDIS Bag better

The weather has been typically changeable and record breaking. We had the highest temperature for October since records began: 34*C . It was 33*C in Hobart, also a record, and then snow on the mountain the next day. It wasn't quite that hot here, but I am glad it is cooler again. Gilly loves the sun, she will lie in the sun until she is as hot as the sun, and then play in the paddle pool and dig a muddy hole.

Gilly here comes the sun

I went to Mr and Mrs Reno's for dinner last night. We ate delicious salmon and had lovely conversation. I made 2/3 of this cake recipe and all of the frosting. It's chocolate so I couldn't taste it, but both The Renos can recommend it .

All the Footy Grand Finals were on last weekend and so Peri, and sometimes Gilly, spent a lot of time at the fence at the party next door. The Labradors are always winners, no matter what the result.

Peri Party and Gilly at the fence

And now we are off to bed. I have been walking The Labradors, coming home and then going back to bed again until the late afternoon. I have no trouble whatsoever being tired again at bed time, but I can't breathe through my nose, so my sore throat wakes us all up during the night. The doctor's appointment can't come soon enough......


Vet Shop Girls

Where does the time go?? I meant to post yesterday because it was International Dog Day. We prepared for IDD by going to The Vet to see Dr David. Peri and Gilly were vaccinated and had a general check-up. Gilly is almost 7, so she pretty much qualifies as a Senior Dog now. Dr David said she looked and acted as if she was 3!!! Peri is old, but apart from her arthritis and dodgy eyes, she's doing well too. Neither of them are fat. Yay for us!!! Still, the Look of Love they give me when I am holding food, or shopping bags, is a sight to behold.

The look of food love

Yesterday after Morning Tea I went to MrsDrWho's class's history presentation. Lots of information about The First Fleet, and Richmond and early Colonial housing and way of life. There were hand dipped candles, letters written (badly) with a quill and ink, butter making documented and models galore, all topped off with some spiffy PowerPoint presentations the children made. And the icing on the cake?? The Hornpipe Jig and the singing half way through. Then it was Sewing last night, so after our walk we all had a Very Big Nap today.

Speaking of icing, I piped some Westie cup cupcakes for Wee Jock and Bessie's mum and dad. I followed the video they found and now I am addicted to the MyCupcakeAddiction YouTube channel.

Westie cup cakes

Not too shabby, and I am not very good at piping, so the video was at a fairly basic level!! Wee Jock and Bessie's mum and dad did the assistant chef jobs!!!

Wee jock and bessie

The weather been both ice cold and frosty, while at the same time warm and sunny in the afternoon. I fear Spring is on its way. Still, we enjoy our brisk morning walks.

Labradors on their walk

I have been doing a little bit of knitting: one almost finished Milo, except for the casting off, which was too tight:

Vest

and two hats: Lowline for Mr Reno and a Bus Hat for a donation. They are both free patterns, but I like High Line (LowLine) best. It is mainly purl fabric, and as I hate purling, I knitted it inside out with mainly knit fabric and turned it back the other way at the end.

Lowline and bus hats

I made some fudge, a Star Wars bag and some Spicy Pickled Red Onions for Uncle Dutch's birthday and Aunty Dutch made a cake for me!! In fact, I ate caramel cake from Mrs Reno and strawberry sponge for breakfast for four days!!

For uncle dutch

Aunty dutch made a cake!!

The cake had green tinted cream and icing. And lots of strawberries inside and out.

And now, even though I've barely been up today, we might just go to bed again. The Labradors are Very Happy because the backyard gardening man came and whipper-snippered everything weedy or tall. They can walk everywhere now, but they had to stay inside for two hours: oh the torture. We had to go out three times for a supposed wee. Nothing eventuated. They just wanted a stickybeak.

And perhaps, just perhaps, there might be Friday Food on an actual Friday tomorrow..........


Eighty-Eight Is Enough

You know you've not been on The Ravelry for a while when you click through eighty-eight pages of your Friends' activity and you don't recognise a thing. The little tags at the bottom said more than a month by the end, wow. I've yet to click through the blogs I read and and in one cold-induced accident I marked everything as "Read'. Oops!!

I have knitted something: a Dalek and Kaled for MrsDrWho's nephew, MrSingapore. He wanted a yellow and blue Dalek, so I took him to The Wool Shop to choose the colours: he actually wanted a mustard and turquoise Dalek.

Open The Dalek, see a Kaled

It is a bit wonky, but as it was going to be squooshed in a bag all the way to Singapore, it could be unsquooshed when it arrived. I cut a circle from the cover of a  plastic display book and inserted it into the base before I ended off. I am pleased with The Kaled, though it is a little large and I had to make the zippy pocket larger so it would fit.

We met a puppy

Peri and Gilly are both well. We did have to go to the vet. We met an unvaccinated puppy and then over the next few days The Labradors developed The Sneezes. Last time we met a similar puppy, Harki and Peri caught The Kennel Cough, so I was a tad concerned. The vet we saw was Dr Lisa, and I taught Dr Lisa in Grade 2!!!! How exciting and even better when she pronounced them fine. They may have had just a little cold or allergy, but no horrid diseases. Peri suffered for a day or two after all the extra jumping in and out of the car. She is fine again and runs on our walk. Gilly runs too, all the way to the top of the hill when we are at the bottom. She is a fast runner!!

Labradors running

I've felt well enough to go out during the day, and during the evening. I won two tickets to see Dylan Moran from The ABC. MrsDrWho and I went and he was very funny. I laughed all the time and was so sad when it was over. I could have sat there for much longer and been amused. I was home by 10pm. We also went to a Costume Parade from the local theatre and musical  groups. I was home by 9-30pm.  No late nights here!!!

I've also felt well enough to cook and made a yummy caramel cake for Morning Tea at MrsDrWho's school. Mine looks nothing like the photo on the cover:

Caramel cake

I did just two layers as it is easier to cut and serve, I am a poor icing piper so my swirls are smaller, and no toffee because it had to wait overnight to be eaten, and it was so cold the runny chocolate sauce set straight away and didn't drip artistically. I did send along the salted caramel sauce to be drizzle over the top before it was served. It was given 5 out of 3 for deliciousness!!!!

Cake

I met The Lovely Andrea in the supermarket as I was buying the ingredients for tomorrow's Friday Food. I must say my tea was scrumptious and I followed the recipe almost to a T!!! The Lovely Andrea and I usually meet in the supermarket, where we block aisles, or in The BlackSpot of Doomlight (tm)

The power was off from 9 till 3-ish today, while The Hydro cut trees... or something. Since I was tired after a few days of doing things, The Labradors and I went to bed at 9 and slept till almost 2-30. I just managed to boil the kettle for a cup of tea before the power was cut. That would be the most difficult thing, to not have a cup of tea all day. 

And here are The Labradors on another icy walk, the best kind according to them!!!

Gilly and Peri ice

And thank goodness for the AutoSave on The Typepad Compose page because I accidentally deleted this whole post. It is definitely time for bed.


DownThere Abbey: Period Drama.

Reader, gird your loins as you read on.

What a lot has happened recently. Ireland voted for marriage equality. Do not fear, those of religious belief, churches can marry-or not marry- whomever they choose. I like the whole equality argument. As a woman I have been discriminated against. When I started work in the 1980s I was not allowed to wear trousers to work in my classroom unless they were part of a co-ordinated "pants suit". Nor could I have a loan from a bank without a male guarantor. I think more women than men are in favour of equal marriage rights because we know what it is to have rights denied. Yes, first worlds problems as they say, but one has to draw the line somewhere.

Marriage has a chequered history. When it was invented it was mainly to formalise the business union of wealthy families through their children. It was not a love match at all. Nor was it religious. Marriages were a civil affair, later blessed by the church. So churches should be free to hold a marriage service as they do now, which encompasses the civil requirements, but really I don't care who wants to be married. If two people love each other and want to be together, who am I to say they can't? Well done Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and England.

And maybe the Federal Government will at last remove the 10&% GST from tampons and pads. They are the only gendered health items that have the GST applied. Some of the other health items that are not taxed include sunscreen, condoms, incontinence pads, nicotine patches, viagra and so it goes. There's a petition. Maybe all the men in Cabinet, especially the Prime Minster who is a man and we are soooo lucky to have him as our Minister for Women (NOT) could say the actual words period and tampon. Pigs might fly I reckon. I know the money doesn't amount to a hill of beans, but it's the principle.

Labradors in the ice

Oh look, Labradors in the ice. I am not sure why Gilly is pulling a funny face. It was -3*C the other night. No wonder we were cold. We had to break out the extra quilt and turn on the heater in the bedroom. Can't have Peri getting cold in her old age. They are joyful because they met both Rafa and Sandy this week. They all love the cold weather, it must intensify the smells.

Running in the icy cold

I did a little unexpected dog sitting on Monday. Wee Bessie was not well and her mum had to go to school and her dad wasn't free till 11am. I walked The Labradors and fed them and went straight round to look after Wee Bessie and Wee Jock. Bessie sleeps with her head hanging off the couch and spent most of the morning going downstairs to see if there was any food in her dish. There wasn't. Wee Jock was guarding the house, and full of ennui.

Wee Bessie and Jock

I made a very nice peach topped cake. In America it seems that a cake "from scratch" can be a novelty. I didn't use the almond essence and I substituted toasted coconut for the almonds. It was very delicious, I used the natural peach juice in the peach topping. The next day the topping had soaked into the cake beneath it, so this is a cake to make the day before. I imagine this with berries, or maybe pineapple too. Yum.

Peach cake

The GardyGardeners are canny OpShoppers and this week they gave me an apron made from a tea towel. Let me say, it doesn't do a terribly efficient covering job on me, but I love it. Someone has cut the curves out of the sides and bound it with brown biased binding. Very cute. The tiles are wet with Labrador footprints. we've had such heavy rain and wild winds this afternoon.

Tea towel apron

I found some iron on vinyl at The BlackSpot of DoomLight(tm). Instead of my usual thicker art-table-covering plastic, I gave it a whirl on my cheesy snack zippy pouch. Hmm, not a success. It slightly shrivelled the Twistie packet even though I ironed carefully and it was not sturdy at all. It started coming apart in two places just from being turned right side out after sewing. Still, it might be good on material and I shall try that next. It is $15 per metre and about 50cm wide.

Twistie zippy pouch

Sewing was on, off, on and then off again. Instead of sewing we had supper, a glass of wine and chatted all evening. I did make a very easy and tasty treat. So easy and tasty I baked some more today and took pictures ready for Friday Food tomorrow.

So far this week I've lost my glasses, and when I found them I also found my lost mobile and one lost Library book, I left my iPad, torch and magazines at MrsDrWho's house last night and had to go back to fetch them today. And I misplaced my camera twice today. Surely I have had a year's worth of losing and misplacing this week already?? Have not lost The Labradors. Peri and Gilly are outside eating their dinner and getting wet. Again. Wild windy wet weather is their favourite kind, and we are using all the dog Dog towels. It is still Autumn, but Winter is but a few days away. Yay!!!


She Loves You Yeah, Year, Year!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas 2014

We had a lovely Christmas lead up and Christmas Day. I made a dozen bags and gave them as gifts to many and various people. The bag is my Go To pattern right now.

  Bags in december

Peri and Gilly received so many presents but I think they will like, best of all, their Sound of Music present. Or I will!! Yes, they are goats' horns.

The hills are alive with the sound of horns

I baked Christmas treats for lots of people: Mincemeat cupcakes, gingerbread biscuits, coconut ice, peppermint fondants, white chocolate lemon truffles, Christmas tree biscuits, Christmas spice shortbread stars and mint truffles.

Christmas treats

I sewed an impossibly cute mug rug for WeeJack and Bessie's mum.

For wee jock and bessie

For The WeeSingapore Boy a Harry Potter inspired quillow.

The Harry Potter Quillow

On one side I appliqu├ęd some Harry Potter items: HP initials, lightning bolt scar, glasses, and a golden snitch. On the other side the House colours. It folds from a quilt to a pillow, hence the quillow name. Folding it up is a bit like being Captain Parmenter on F Troop though. He could never refold the map as it was originally.

Quillow pillow

And suddenly it is the new year. How did that happen??? We spent New Year's Eve in our traditional way: filling in the new diary with dates and birthdays and holidays. We were not on the verandah because it was very windy. I have not one, or two, but three new Labrador mugs!!

New Year's Eve

Peri has been inordinately cute and grubby as usual. She is starting to feel her age, but still keeps Gilly in line and runs as fast as she can on our walks.

Peri is a grub

And Miss Lorelai Gilmore is so compact, she sits so beautifully and is quite petite!!! She has been keeping an eagle eye on all the happenings in the street, especially the two fireworks displays last night.

Gilly is so compact

And here's a gift from The HouseOfs that puts absolutely No Pressure on me.

At all.

No presssure gift

On seeing it they, (like most people I know) thought what excellent blogging material it could provide. How right they are. The first week is Snowflake week, and here I am wearing the Snowflake barrette, right next to their version.

Cad1

And so a new year begins. We don't make resolutions. There are some things we might like to do this year, but other than just living, being happy and enjoying time with The Labradors, family and friends there's not much more I could ever wish for.

It has been a happy and sad end to the year. Happy because of all the wonderful Christmas gatherings, my mum and aunt came to visit and I saw all my friends. Sad because there was a death in my friend's immediate family. I do feel very helpless and can't do my usual thing of cooking up a storm because everyone's fridges are full of Christmas food and drink. There is nothing to do but live life and grieve. Eventually time passes and one day you realise are not as sad as you were the day before.

Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, the god of doorways, has two faces: one looking to the past and one to the future. The month of January takes its name from Janus. And that's what we do in the New Year- consider the past and the future.

So here's to 2015 and all it will bring.

'Clink' (That's clinking cups of tea........)


He Wears 'Core' Blimey Trousers And He Lives In A Council Flat

It's not that I am actually wearing cor blimey trousers, but by jove my core muscles ached last week after going to Exercise Physiology. I am meeting, and now exceeding, the parameters of my usual three exercises, so I asked for a new one. It is like wasabi, deceptively banal: lie on the ground, activate your core muscles about 15% (ie, suck in your stomach a bit and hold it) keep breathing normally and then lift each leg in turn, a little, with a bent knee and slowly lower it back down. I couldn't even poke myself in the ribs gently, let alone have a Labrador or two leap joyously greet me on waking.

There have been quite a few attempts at a Christmas card picture. Gilly keeps looking worried, or sad, or her ears are weird. Peri is photogenic beyond belief and sits there looking poised and perfect. In the end I chose the least weird Gilly photo. Needs must!!!

Photo perhapses

The Labradors went to The Vet to have their weight checked on Saturday. Little did we know it would be Labrador morning!! We met two lovely new Labradors. I do believe that Labradors recognise immediately the innate 'Labradorness' of other Labradors.

Lab saturday 1

No-one barked or woofed or had their hackles up. Instead there was so much tail wagging that I am sure a micro-climate was created inside!! They sniffed and wiggled and generally had a wonderful time.

Oh Labradors at the vet

MrsValley is back from her travels and we caught up for lunch today. It was lovely to see her again. I have been baking and I made some kangaroo biscuits for her. I also experimented with Reindeer 'cookie' sticks. They are not perfect. I didn't have any Smarties for the noses and the pupils are a single 100 & 1000. The warm brown colour looks pink and the sticks are crooked. However, it's a start!! I don't consider them a fail at all.

Baking

The Gradient Beams Cowl is finished all bar the buttons being sewn on. I am very pleased with it, and the Naturally Loyal 10ply worked perfectly. Not too thick, not too heavy, just right!!

Gradient beams 2014

Now I'm crocheting something. My new crochet hook is a delight to use. The handle is cushiony and fits nicely into my hand. You may perhaps guess what it is, generally???

Crochet

MrsDrWho's class made Ungingerbread Houses. They are so much fun to construct and very OTT. MrsDrWho is of the opinion that generally her class doesn't like gingerbread, but they love biscuits!! Win-win.

More Ungingerbread Houses

And here is a not very good photo of my Christmas Dress with extra tree bauble-age. I really like it. I am just accepting that I am no supermodel and I wear things I like. I interfaced the skirt part of the lapped side zip and it sticks out. I need to unpick it and un-interface it. Oh and I need to tie my belt so it doesn't look like a string round a sugar bag- or work harder on my core!!! Other than that I feel very festive wafting about. I have sewn another dress, a cool A-line shift really. My FBA was amazingly easy and worked really well.I did forget to remove the extra seam allowance when I bound the armholes so I need to unbind them and fix that. The back hem dips lower than the front. I need to make a shoulder seam adjustment. Photos to come, because we have a new mirror and can't find a good place to put it. I also read that you should take photos from above, not below, as it is more flattering. I would like to be more flattering!!!

Last but one dress

The weather has been a tad warm, but otherwise deliciously cool, even cold. There were damaging hail storms in the South yesterday, but we only had a five minute downpour. This time last year we were experiencing hellish heat, so we are Very Grateful for the coolness.

Tomorrow I am having a serendipitous hair cut. I went in on the off chance earlier this week and there had just been a cancellation. What good luck!! I am looking forward to a shorter fringe. I can't bear it in my eyes and marvel at people with an uber fashionable fringe-in-their-eyes.

Friday Food: I am thinking of either Christmas Spice Shortbread or Brownie Bites that are dairy and gluten free. And preferences???


It's Time, Men And Women Of Australia.

 

Last week Edward Gough Whitlam died.

It wasn't time to be sad.

It was time to remember.

It was time to be thankful for a life well lived.

It was time to hope one day there could be another to fill Gough's shoes.

It was his time.

I remember the It's Time campaign and the way he swept into Government, Margaret at his side as an equal, not an accessory. They were two marvellous people, and I admired them both. The Dismissal is burned into my mind, I remember the shock and I do maintain the rage even now. It is a mark of our trust in institutions, or total apathy, that there wasn't a revolution. Norman Gunston reported live from the middle of the action.

 

I can't possibly list all of his Government's achievements, but I certainly benefited from them and still do today.

It is the end of an era.

And now for something completely different: two Labradors!!!

Peri and Gilly are so cute

Peri and Gilly are looking very cute and they do love having their picture taken. JaneJet took a picture of all the dogs: Sandy, Peri, Gilly and Jet, all waiting for a treat.

Sandy Peri Gilly and Jet

Speaking of something completely different, I went to see Spamalot last week. I laughed like all get out. It was so funny and as it was the opening night there were a few things that went wrong and the cast just took it in their stride with some clever ad libs. This week I am off to see The Vicar of Dibley with Sue Hodge from 'Allo 'Allo!

Recipe to Riches has started again on Ten and so once again I am reviewing each week's winner. Last week it was Mrs Miller's Easy Bake Chocolate Cherry biscuits.

R2r1

Basically frozen biscuit dough that you bake in the oven for 11-15 minutes. I was disappointed about that because on the show the big selling point was 12 minutes, which they said about a hundred times. There were 8 pieces of frozen dough for $5-99 which works out to approximately 75 cents per biscuit. They were indeed easy to bake, but there was no uniformity of size.

R2r baking

Some were small, some medium and some large which means that if you baked a variety of sizes together the small were over cooked, the medium fine and the large biscuits weren't cooked at all and fell apart.

Too big to bake

I had no-one to taste the biscuits and so, for my blog, I ate chocolate. They were tasty, not terribly rich and the sour cherry was a nice addition. I think if you wanted 8 nice biscuits these would be fine as emergency freezer backups. However, you can stir up some Flourless Choc Chip biscuits ( no nuts) for just 20 cents a biscuit and I know they are good. You would get 30 of those for $6-00.

I have been knitting again: an animal themed scarf and the second of a pair of socks. My finger is almost healed and though it is tender, I can knit. I need to pick up my cardigan again before the weather is too hot. Still, it will be -4*C with snow on Ben Lomond tonight.

Knitting

I caught up with Kate Knightly Knitter and her lovely patient children for lunch and then the next day MrsMauritius and Bella'sMum too. In fact I did so much catching up that I had to have three days resting up in bed. Kate Knight gave me some delicious apricot jam and even though I swore I wouldn't, I went home and had toast and jam for tea that night.

I spent some time lying in bed with a cool face flannel over my eyes, but the rest of the time I divided between reading and using my Ipad. I have read so many books of late, that I can barely keep them straight in my head. I did spend a month looking for a Library book that The System insisted I hadn't returned. I couldn't find it anywhere. I thought I remembered taking it back, but because I take a lot of books back I wasn't sure. Last week The System 'found' my book. Thank goodness.

Oh and I have new solar lights. The KMart has the lights at Christmas time and I didn't discover them until far too late last year. I bought a set for $17 and put them by the path at the back gate. So pretty and sparkly. I think I need some more.

Lights

Peri has already gone to bed and Gilly is watching me closely in case I go to bed without her. They had a very exciting walk in the rain storm this morning and then had to be dried, which is a big job for them and me. It wore us all out. We'll sleep well tonight.