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October 2008
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December 2008

'A Beautiful Rind' starring Russell Cowe

I have been on a bus trip. The Leukaemia Support Group Bus Trip was never going to be like The Blues Brothers' mission, I have never even seen their film. But it was a bus trip nevertheless. I almost didn't make it. Harki's arthritic hip flared up again last week after a lively Sunday with visitors and then a week of wildly fluctuating weather and air pressure. She was really hoppy the night before and didn't even want to walk up the stairs. I gave her one of her tablets and the next morning I checked she was happy, had eaten and would come up the stairs, and then I decided it was OK to leave.

I don't want to make this like the interminable trip reports some people make their classes write: I won't say the time we left, who I sat next to or what we talked about on the bus!!! I didn't take my knitting as it seemed a bit rude to knit while talking, even though I can do that. The rain teemed down all the way there and when we arrived there were fibreglass cows!! Here is a small selection: schools decorated a cow as part of a competition.


The esteemed Jane Bennett talked to us about cheese and the cheese making process and then I went twice round the tasting table!! I did learn something horrid: if you raise the temperature of the cheese too high when it is in the vat, you kill it. The dead cheese is churned and swirled and then made into those plastic kind of cheese slices and that cheese in a blue box that can sit on the supermarket shelf and not in the fridge!! Eeeew. I also learned that their Wasabi cheese was first made as a joke and now they can't keep up with the demand, they have to cut leaves from the growing plants in order to add the needed colour. Wow!! At the moment they make about 10 tonnes of cheese a week. Ashgrove make cheddar the old fashioned way, and the cheese with rinds are lovingly tended by a specialist worker, no wonder their products taste fabulous.

Cheese1  Cheese2

Then it was on to The Raspberry Farm where we had lunch. The most delicious platters were placed on the tables, and we drank fresh raspberry 'mocktails' and then feasted on the desserts.

Food with a view

The rain cleared up as we ate and we went back home in the Sun. Jo, our wonderful organiser, did a fabulous job. I was meant to be going out for tea, but I went for a little lie down at about 3pm and the next thing I knew it was 8pm!! Here's the outward and then the inward weather. I see sheep, people.

Winter and Summer

There has been some knitting, some secret, and some boring to look at. I am on the last 10 rows of the Laminaria shawlette. I skipped two of the blossom repeats as I was worried I would run out of wool. I still may, but it is just a boring green blob at the moment. The secret knitting is still secret. Instead, I can show you some Hmm Hmm* embroidery I have been doing. I'm quite pleased with these. I have made six so far. Technically they are buttons but I will try to glue on a badge backing so they can be worn as brooches. Tomorrow I have to do a repair and alteration to my friend's dad's waistcoat. She asked me a fortnight ago and suddenly we are meeting for Sewing tomorrow evening. Where does the time go??

Hmmm hmmm things

On Tuesday I had such a busy day that I had to have an extra rest today. First we went for a walk, then I made an appointment for Harki to see The Doctor then I had to get ready for my appointment. I typed up a quick precis of the last year, medically speaking, and then spent an hour and a half-ish waiting to see the very nice doctor from Melbourne who had come down for the Bone Marrow Clinic. It was a short and sweet meeting, and I don't have to see him for a whole year, unless things go pear-shaped again. Then it was off to the Knitting Coven, then home again to fetch Harki. And wrangle Peri inside. She ran up the steps to the garage and I almost had to lasso her!! Harki had a special injection for her hips and some tablets. Then it was home again and then out to buy some groceries and dog food. And it was hot.

This afternoon I was going to MrsDrWho's school to help sort out her myriad Hmm Hmm* resources. I went for a little lie down at noon and the next thing I knew I was waking up and it was 2-54pm. I arrived at her school at about 3-20pm with a sleep squooshed face!! Luckily 'the country' is not too far away from here. Harki and Peri were very confused, all this sleeping and waking up and no breakfast???

Peaceful Interlude 

Some people thought I had been working really hard to make the bags etc in my last post. I have to say that Auntie Dutch's birthday was 6 weeks ago and I had been working slowly on her presents way before that. I am usually beavering away on two or ten things at once. Well now all my tenses are wrong because it is the next day now. I am not going back to fix them, you will all have to pretend it is still yesterday. I insist!!! I am off to bed, perchance to sleep, and then tomorrow I might have a go at answering some more of my lovely comments!! In between waistcoating. Oh and if you are near a Good Taste magazine, you must buy it, if only for their new take on The UnGingerbread House idea: it's fabulous in a very kitch kind of way. It's not your sophisticated gift house. And now I want to say 'Never look a gift house in the mouth'. It's definitely time for bed!!! I'll post about that next time.

*Hmm Hmm: it's kind of the rule not to mention Chr*stm*s until December (it still is in a certain classroom) I may already have accidentally mentioned it, but I think I got away with it.

Weighting For Godot

The Labradors have not been weighed since the 5th of August, so on Saturday we braved the scales. I think they should have been given some grams off because they were wet from the creek, but no quarter was given. Harki has done quite well and only added 200g, but Peri Naughty has whacked on a giant 500g. That's a whole pound made from porridge oats, condensed milk and other stolen food. She is on a very strict diet now. More celery and less food of other descriptions.

Weigh in

Everyone is so kind to be concerned about my tests, but to me, it was having to get up and showered and dressed by 7-30am that was the boogelly part!! My numbers were OK, and we have played about with the amount of one drug and I haven't had any horrid headaches for a whole month. Of course my feet and ankles are the size of an elephant (Banana Splits anyone???) but it's a small trade off. I don't have to see Dr B for seven weeks. I saw my alternative practitioner today as well, and I have managed to get my virtual age down from 70 to 67 years!!! She has a good sense of humour and we both laughed at that result and ignored it, but I have accidentally lost 2.5kg since last month. I've been eating more protein, more often, and fewer carbohydrates. Believe me, it has made no difference because my general puffiness has filled any clothing gaps. Tomorrow I see my GP. It is all about appointments for the next eight days.

My word there are Lamington opinions!!! I have eaten chocolate Lamingtons in the olden days that were filled with jam and/or cream. I have eaten Lamingtons shaped like little cup cakes. I have eaten chocolate cake made into chocolate Lamingtons. I think I have tried every permutation. Here, any home made Lamingtons are usually jam and/or cream free and tend to be ordinary chocolate or pink jelly. I wonder if other states have different traditions?

On the sewing front I have cut out the lining for my dress and made adjustments but Harki has been very helpful. Too helpful!!!

Harki is a material girl

Auntie and Uncle Dutch came by again on Sunday and took away more blackberries and did other miscellaneous gardening. Harki and Peri were exhausted from all the sniffing and running about they did. They scored a new rug: a Flokati rug, or to be more precise, half of one. Poppy the Dutch puppy had wreaked havoc on the other half and so now this is a rug for sunbathing. Peri thought I was going to try to clip her nails and that's why she has a worried look on her face and is sitting in a 'Ready Set Go' position.

Peri is a rug rat

Do you see the very clean tennis ball?? It is clean because it was helping to agitate inside the washing machine. I made a felted coin purse for Auntie Dutch's birthday and also a knitted bag. The coin purse is based on the one from AlterKnits Felt and the handbag my own design. It is lined with spotty fabric!! Auntie Dutch's hands are employed in the pictures for your enjoyment.

All Change Purse  Flaky Pastry Bag

My mum, who never ever wanted a shawl, saw the Swallowtail I made for my aunt and she neeeeded one. So after perusing several earlier in the year she chose The Laminaria shawlette and so it begins. I have completed the Star stitch section (which looks wrong??) and the transition and I am up to the Blossoms now. Boy those 9 stitches from 2 or 3 are killers: K1 * yfd K1* 4 times. I think I am using some Old Knittery sock wool in Forest. The pattern is not too bad as there's a rest with just purls on the wrong side. Oh, so I've joined the Unofficial A Long Lacy Summer KAL.

Makin' a shawlette

MrsDrWho, Miss Skipping and I went out for Indian. It was delicious and we ganneted the food in an hour and then talked for two more. We didn't have entrees or dessert, just mains. The tables are all 'tops' that balance on sewing machine tables, the kind with drawers that you see old Singer machines on top of. Very amusing.

Unpickled evening

MrsDrWho must be devastated to hear that her Imaginary Husband (Here Be SPOILERS) is leaving his gainful employment on a TV show.  I expect there will be an imaginary divorce sometime next year. She's a bit of a bolter, throwing over Captain Archer from Enterprise and then MacGyver and now, possibly, Doctor Who. I am inured to the Doctors' changes. It wouldn't be cricket if there wasn't a new one just around the corner.  

I have started some new socks as per my Southern Summer of Socks goal. These will be the Sun, Sand and Surf socks. I have finished the Sun section and started the Sand for sock #1. No pictures as it's dark now and I take even worse pictures in the night time. The Rainbow Croc Socks are coming along nicely too.

On Thursday I'm going on a Bus Trip. We are going to the Ashgrove Cheese for a tour and then to the Christmas Hills Raspberry farm for lunch. I am hoping to finish my dress to wear. The time is ticking away: Tomorrow I have to go for a walk, have Morning Tea with The GardyGardeners, go to the Doctor, and have tea. I think my dress will stay in pieces on the table!!

At the weekend I was very brave, for me, and I went to the new Market and said hello to Gemma from Loz and Dinny. She makes the most amazing clothes and I was able to be with the lovely things I had only seen on her blog. I was not abducted by White Slavers and it was exciting to meet her in real life.

Now I have to say thank you to someone. I don't know who it is, but they Random Act Of Kindnessed me, and asked Donni to send me a skein of her gorgeous Sir Walter Baby Alpaca. (No actual photo but this is one from my stash)  Thank you so much Mystery Nice Person!! I think my friends and I have worn out its softness by constantly feeling it. Thank you to Donni as well for her shawl pins. Promise to show mine next time, but it's green and will go perfectly with my mum's shawlette!! It just reinforces my belief that Knitters are Knice!!! Now I will go to bed, having drunk my tea and taken my drugs, and I can read my A is for Apron book. Harki is wriggling about here, needing a pat on her back and head. She thinks it's time for bed too, and "Maybe a treat", she says?? "I have my Squeaky toy and all's right with the world."!!

Sir Walter

There Will Be An Answer: Leg-a-cy

I didn't know that Legacy was started here, in The Apple Isle, by General Sir John Gellibrand. I was lucky enough to be grown up when my dad died 25 or so years after he left the Navy, so I didn't need Legacy, but they still look after 1,800 families here in our State alone. There are only nine children, the balance are mostly war widows. Yesterday I also learned that at at one stage on the Somme in WWI the field hospitals received one victim per minute for over 56 hours. I can hardly comprehend that number of people being injured or killed.  No wonder we need to remember, or rather, never forget. I checked out my dad's war record at the Navy archives. It is very strange to see his name there on his certificate of service.

Kimba, Harki, Larry, Peri  Kimba, Peri Naughty and Larry

Harki and Peri met some recent acquaintances again on our walk. We met Kimba and Larry. Kimba is black and white and sensible. Larry is brown and runs like a greyhound, so consequently he and Peri get on like a house on fire. After they walk on ahead with their Aunt, because they are faster than me, Larry doubles back, and before you know it, there he is again playing the daredevil racing game with Peri. They both go BeserkersBonkers!!! Harki and Kimba have a genteel sniff, and are politely friendly, but there's no mad dashing about.

Today it was very hot indeed. I was inside till after 2pm and so when I eventually went out I nearly passed out from the heat. It managed to get to 28*C  and so when I came home we broke out the paddle pool. It was like a heat emergency. Peri and I stood in the  water and she dug holes in it and ate the hose and ran around in tiny circles. Harki had a little play but she doesn't like getting splashed so she went and sat in the back door way and stared at me, hoping I would come and play with her. She's slumped on the floor next to me, panting, and so I have sprinkled her head with soda water. Seems to have done the job!!!

By order Summer lingers till September  Poodle-icious 

The best and only kind of fat

I finally managed to take some pictures of some patterns and fat quarters I bought at The Craft Fair.  I can't wait to knit my own Camelot and I'm pretty sure someone I know needs a poodle. My Nan had one on her soda syphon. I loved it. I think hers was crocheted though.

Rainbow crocodile socklet

I have started the Rainbow Croc Socks for MrsDrWho. These are in the delightfully spirally rainbow wool with extra green. I'm knitting them with 64 stitches just to check the pattern is correct. Also, I needed something a bit easy to knit while I was watching the last of Season 2 Babylon 5 at the weekend and then at The Knitting Coven on Tuesday.

I bought the Christmas edition of Family Circle Magazine today. I could have almost hugged it to me and done a little dance (and I would have but for my boogelly feet!!) It has lots of excellent cooking and craft and it makes me remember how much I miss FC. I have already made a list.....

FC Christmas

I have to be at the hospital at 8am in the morning for a blood test. I am NEVER awake that early and I will have had to dig out my chewed (by a baby Labrador) timer to wake me up. The Labradors will wonder what is happening as it is Going For A Walk Day and I will be sloping off without them!!!

Somewhere, lately, I saw Pink Jelly Lamingtons on a blog and so I needed some. I made them last night and we had them for morning tea with The GardyGardeners. Yum. The Labradors had the end of the jelly on baby spinach, raw. They ate it all up. How strange!! Peri is a bit flummoxed by the whole jelly situation: Is it a liquid or a solid?? Should I eat it or lick it?? She didn't muse for too long. Harki had it sussed out from the get go.

Pink Jelly Lamingtons

  • plain cake, butter or madeira. A day or two old is best  (I bought mine)
  • one box of pink jelly crystals, raspberry or strawberry
  • water, 250ml boiling and 180ml cold
  • coconut

Pink Larringtons

Make the jelly by dissolving the crystals in the boiling water, mix well. Then stir in the cold water, cover and put in the fridge for 2 or 2 1/2 hours. You have to check. The jelly should be set, but still wobbly. You'll know it is right if it sticks to the cake.

Anyway, while the jelly is setting, cut the cake into evenly shaped fingers (rectangular prisms) When the jelly is ready, put a piece of cake into the jelly and roll it about a lot until the jelly coats the cake in a thin layer. Then roll the cake in coconut till it is covered. Put the completed lamingtons in the fridge. This is quite an important step. I think you should serve them cold, straight from the fridge. I made nine and we ate them all. (The Labradors had a small one each. Very bad, I know, but they only have a treat once a week!!!)

Barack To The Future

Well here's hoping, fingers crossed, that all the good intentions are realised. I am quite happy that two of the old war lords have been overturned, just Mr Brown to go now, though he wasn't originally a war lord. I am also quite intrigued by the fact that this could almost be Season 7 of The West Wing. One of the men about to be appointed to the Cabinet(?) was in fact a role model for Josh Lyman. Fact is indeed stranger than fiction. I think both candidates made excellent speeches, but the funniest thing has been hearing Yes We Can mashed up with Bob The Builder's song.

I went to The Craft Fair and I needed two days to recover. Mrs Madcage and I both had boogelly feet and so we tottered around and caught the buses. A lot. I spent Sunday lounging on the couch in my pyjamas. At TCF I bought some biscuits for The Labradors (all eaten now) some fabric, some old pattern books (pictures to follow, it's too dark now) a raspberry ice cream, some sugared almonds and a Paw biscuit cutter. There were some nice things, all the go were soaps and teas, but there seemed to be less naffness than last time I went. We had a lovely time and the weather held out too. If I had bazillions of dollars I would have bought some of the gorgeous handcrafted wooden objects. Or bottled the fragrance that wafted around in the air. There were nice knitters, as pictured, and a boogelly knitter, not pictured.

At the Fair  Yum

Harki and Peri have been protecting me from 'things'. There is a gap in the fence with lattice behind it and I think Peri can see the two grey cats next door. She tears up the backyard and barks fiercely. Harki races up to see what is happening and then there are hackles everywhere!!! Today they had an upside down day because they had bones for Breakfast and then their Breakfast for tea. We had run out of dry food and so they had to wait till I came home from afternoon tea. They didn't seem to mind too much though. They had a special treat of expensive food on sale. I read the label and it would cost $7 a day to feed them. They don't cost anywhere near that much (doing sums in head.....) roundabout $2-65 to feed two big dogs is very economical. If they get too expensive I will have to sell them for medical experiments, I'm sure Michael Palin can arrange it!!

Backs Up

I've finished the Croc Socks and started my Sun, Sand and Sea socks. No pictures: too dark. I've finished my yet to be properly named eyelet skirt, lining and all. Pictures? Ditto. I have made Bunny pencil cases. Three of them. They are so cute!! And I have a picture. The free pattern is from The Craftzine.

Welsh Rabbits

I have been watching wodges of TV from the couch: Lewis, Burn Notice, Life and Taggart. I am also slightly obsessed with M C Beaton's Agatha Raisin books. I read Book #2 this afternoon, she's the author of the Hamish Macbeth books. I kept meaning to post earlier in the week, but I just seem to have frittered my days away. I am tired, could be new drugs or maybe I am still operating on Pre Daylight Saving time? Or maybe I am suffering from a little ennui?? Oh here's my hat, being modelled by MrsDrWho and Teddy. Teddy is gorgeous and very spoiled. He's naughty for his mum but so well behaved for others!!

Teddy, MrsDrWho and my hat

Cake In A Bowl

  • 4 tblspn self raising flour
  • 2 tblspn caster sugar (I used brown)
  • 2 tblspn cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tblspn milk Cake in a Bowl
  • 3 tblspn vegetable oil
  • 3 tblspn choc chips 
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

I didn't use a mug or a cup, I used a bowl with a capacity of about 2 cups. This will serve two normal people!!! The microwave is 1000W. Pictures show different stages in an anti-clockwise direction.

Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk the wet ingredients together and pour into the well. Fold gently till combined and then microwave on High for 3 minutes. I put the bowl on a plate as added protection. Allow to cool a little.

This is redolent of a self saucing pudding and can be eaten alone or with cream, custard and/or ice cream. I think it would be nice with some raspberries too.