Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A ghost in the press

Funny how memories are set off. I was reading a book and a inconsequential conversation between two boys about the ‘ghost in the press’ caught the attention of long forgotten memories. At the first mention of the ‘press’, my mind went to printing, until logic suggested that, as they were in their bedroom, a clothes press was more appropriate.


What child doesn’t fantasise about monsters under the bed? I made a point of never having a foot or a hand over the edge of the bed just in case. I mean, you never know, right? I went through a phase of “if I can’t see them, they can’t see me” too, which started a lifelong habit of needing to be covered right up to my eyeballs. I still like to be completely covered - still afraid of the bogey-man? Perhaps, though I suspect the bogey-man has morphed into its adult form of a variety of nameless, faceless fears, but… it was the wardrobe that did it.

Many was the night I’d lie in bed staring at my dark-wood wardrobe, almost seeing it open and the skeleton hiding inside coming out to get me. It wasn’t always a skeleton. Some fears were far worse, some more insubstantial. Either way, the wardrobe was a horrifying element in the half-dark of my room.

Today, I wonder if the ‘skeletons in the cupboard’ talk of the adults around me weren’t at least partly to blame. The cupboard grew in my very vivid imagination to hold all manner of ills. I suspect there’s a little part of me… ok, perhaps not such a little part… that’s still somewhat afraid of what could come out of the wardrobe as soon as I let my guard down. I have no wardrobe in my current bedroom and the one I photographed is perfectly harmless… this wardrobe is in my mind - a dark, closed receptacle of nameless, faceless things that may or may not exist. Is it just me?

Naturally, if you had to ask me what I fear, I’d put my hands behind my back, lift my head and that same little girl will confidently say, “Nothing!” 

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Wordy Wednesday

I did consider doing a Wordless Wednesday, but, frankly, Wordless just isn’t me. I had an interesting photo to post, but then found that I had the need to explain the photo and talk about the day that surrounded it, however mundane that day may have been.

forest path

As the world is preparing for its ‘doom’, I decided to go and take a walk in the forest. I’d heard there was someone setting badger or fox traps and wanted to get rid of them. Ah… the peace of the forest. The quiet was tangible. Even my footsteps made no sound on the springy forest floor.

At this point in my walk, I was torn between the unending path ahead of me and the obviously man-made ‘structure’. We have debated back and forth what it was for and come to few useful conclusions. My guess was that someone was trying to dry those logs for firewood. I wonder who. It was an intriguing find. It definitely wasn’t there two days ago. This land is littered with some very interesting artifacts. I think I may well go for a photo walk tomorrow. You’d be surprised what you can find in a forest in the mountains!

Actually, I like the analogy of this scene. Life is presenting me with a puzzle right now and yet, I see ahead of me a beautiful path I am compelled to follow. It has no end. This is part of my journey.

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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Oh Tannenbaum, Oh Tannenbaum…

I was all set to ignore the fact that Christmas was once again pounding the doors of civilization down, but then it got the battering ram out, crashed through our defences and invaded our carefully preserved un-Christmas.

In short, our host gifted us with a real live (or was live until recently anyway) Christmas tree. Now I don’t, for a start, do ‘live’ trees. My experience being that they don’t stay live for very long and end up being vacuum cleaner fodder. Aside from that, I definitely prefer seeing the trees ‘out there’ than in my lounge. Actually, for the past few years, I’ve been going to great lengths not to have a society-approved traditional tree anyway. Who the heck put those spikes on those branches??? I feel like I’ve just had 3 rounds in the ring with a porcupine!

xmastree Requesting humble forgiveness for the poor quality of the photo.
The flash destroyed the look, but without the flash... eternal dark.

There now… festive look is done ‘n dusted… I have a pot of ham hocks on the stove that I’ll no doubt find a way to serve up for dinner and the fire is lit. I hope it stays lit. Yesterday’s fire did very nicely until late. A repeat performance would be a real treat.

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Wednesday, 05 December 2012

The Hermitage

Today, I truly feel like a farmer’s wife again. As I sit here, I have a pot of Hermit Soup (a name I’ve just given it… for fun) on the stove - to be served with buttery slices of crusty Killruddery cheese bread.

hermit soup

Jurgis is snoring in front of the fire, sinking ever lower into the couch. We have spent the dark afternoon time watching videos on permaculture planning and design, drawing up elaborate plans involving chickens, vegetables, fruit trees and forests. At this point, I’m relatively content.


It’s out second day at The Cottage in the Wicklow mountains. We woke up to what we thought was a thick frost layer this morning. It was, instead, thin, icy snow and it stayed. Needless to say, I slipped on an icy log. I consider the place now initiated into my stability. No harm was done, though my dignity suffered yet another blow.

I set up the compost bin today and frittered away 10 minutes picking up pine cones, which are now, hopefully, drying out nicely over the fire. If not, they look decorative(ish). Jurgis has started clearing the pine. That will be a major job. We’ll need to get some serious equipment in to clear the part we’ve demarcated for the veggies and fruit trees. Right now, cleaning and clearing is about as much as we can do… at least until we get to see the owner again. He was meant to arrive last night, then today… maybe tomorrow. Time will tell. I have an internet bone to pick with him *Needs Internet*. The cottage is warm. Barring a fairly serious plumbing issue that was meant to be sorted out today (I think the plumber got lost or something), we’re fairly comfortable. It’s a huge change from the ‘palace’, but has its own compensations.


So why hermitage? We’re about 4km away from the nearest village, Roundwood, which boasts a population of 800+ and 5 pubs. Yes, it’s like that. We’ve met one of the local population, a chap who came to drop the top halves of a few pines that were threatening to fall on the cottage. He was nice and is now a familiar face. We’re considering a walk into the village on the weekend to see what it’s like and perhaps meet a few locals.

Life, at this point, is pretty good. Now if I could just get online… I’m missing talking to my little girl.

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Friday, 30 November 2012


set in ice


Numbers are a strange thing. I don’t deal well with numbers normally, except for a strange habit of counting absolutely everything in site and some things not in sight… oh and memorising telephone numbers.

A little background to the story…

We’re in the middle of a rather dramatic change - again. Whenever I’m faced with change, I tend to go into varying degrees of panic and anxiety. I consider myself to be practical and adaptable and I am… really. It’s just that some changes seem to be harder than others. This time, it means leaving behind a much-loved place, its people and the wonderful time we’ve had for a complete turnaround in lifestyle. Nothing new there really. We’ve made far more radical changes than this. I did, however, ask for a sign. What I got was signs… over and over.

The first time, I was going into the old dovecote to hang out some dish towels on the indoor rack that’s stored in there. Smack in the centre of the threshold, lying face up, was a shiny new 10c piece. I picked it up, thinking nothing of it at the time beyond that it was a peculiar place to find a coin. A couple of days later, I was going into one of the rooms off the old horse yard and, again, smack in the centre of the threshold was lying a shiny 10 cent piece, face up. This time it got my attention and I walked off pondering it a little. It went a little beyond the uncanny when I went into the kitchen later to yet again find, smack in the centre of the front of the basin where I was to wash salad greens… you guessed it… another 10 cent piece, lying face up. There’s a message there. From whom, I have no idea. Telling me what? Again, I have no idea… I can only guess. I looked up the number 10 in terms of numerology, but the coins? I’m very open to interpretations. Needless to say, I’m voting that it means that our fortunes are changing for the better ;)

So… having said all that… this is what I found:



The number 10/1 brings all sorts of new changes into your life, and there seems to be an element of luck within those energies.  Through this vibration you have the insight to recognize and understand the needs of humanity, and the ability to bring peace and harmony to all.

The number 10 relates to the Wheel of Life in the Tarot deck.  It is the first digit with the zero in the scale of vibrations and endows the individuals with extra vitality.  They may use this vitality to earn the crown of attainment and to maintain the symbol of wholeness.

Number 10 is the symbol of Love and Light.  It creates all that can be imagined and contains the code, image and ordain.  Image it and it shall be, ordain it and it will materialize.

The power of manifesting creative concepts into reality is inherent, but this power needs to be used with wisdom, since the power for absolute creation contains the polarity power for absolute destruction.  Self-discipline and infinite compassion must accompany the gift of the former in order to avoid the tragedy of the latter.

Number 10 is the symbol of ‘wholeness’  -  humanity 1 and God 0 in Unity -  the gift of power and protection.  People travelling the Day or Destiny number 10 are beginning new lessons in cycles of knowledge and great responsibility rests on these individuals.  Having reached this conversion point, they need to now use their strong willpower to undergo the discipline necessary to prepare for the Aquarian Age, where they will need to cope with new discoveries.  Having come through into this new energy they will then need to look at using their true leadership qualities if they are to live up to the life that they have chosen.

Number 10 is the symbol of ‘wholeness’  -  humanity 1 and God 0 in Unity -  the gift of power and protection.  People travelling the Day or Destiny number 10 are beginning new lessons in cycles of knowledge and great responsibility rests on these individuals.  Having reached this conversion point, they need to now use their strong willpower to undergo the discipline necessary to prepare for the Aquarian Age, where they will need to cope with new discoveries.  Having come through into this new energy they will then need to look at using their true leadership qualities if they are to live up to the life that they have chosen.
Number 10 is formed of the pillar and the circle.  It is both masculine and feminine, or Father/Mother principles.  Words keyed to the rhythm of 10 are created in a special sense.  They are productive and have the power of acquisition and attraction.  These qualities characterize the 10 person and he is seen as a centre of force whose influences are wide and pronounced.  This number responds to whatever Karmic reaction he experiences in life.  It may be good or evil, depending on whether he uses his power wisely in accordance with the dictates of Spirit, or yields to personal inclinations regardless of the promptings of the Higher self.  Whatever plans number 10 expresses himself upon, he is a person with power.

10 is the number from which all things come, and all must return.  It is considered the most occult of all Hebrew letters and is the fundamental and formative number of the Old Testament.  It intones the power of the manifested Universe and 10 is the pure white light of 1, and synthesizes all the colours of the spectrum.  It blends and harmonizes the tones of the 7 planes of being into a single rhythmic unity.

The Kabbalistic symbol of the 10 is the ‘Tree of Life’, with its 10 gleaming centres of life and power.  The Kabbalistic Tree is formed of the 10 centres or points of light through which the entire process of creation is given numerically.

The advanced individual who has 10 as his Destiny number fulfills his life more fruitfully by working towards peace and fellowship among the races and nations of the world.  His word is power and his presence, peace.

The Tarot symbol depicting this power is the Wheel of Fortune.  This person is always an old soul and is one who has had many lives on both the higher and lower degree and one who has learned how transitory are things of the earth alone.
10 signifies purification.

*In gratitude for information from http://numerology-thenumbersandtheirmeanings.blogspot.ie/2011/05/number-10.html

Goodbyes are never easy

I think I have too many blog posts around with that sentiment. Some day, we’ll actually be in one place long enough to avoid having to say that. On the other hand, we are making good friends all over, people who find little niches in our hearts and get comfy there. We’re also not too far from Killruddery, so if we have a mind to, we can go back to visit. To put it mildly, Killruddery was a special place with very special people. We will miss it terribly.


In spite of the heartsore, we left with good ‘vibes’. The Thursday before we left, we went to dinner with Anthony and Fionnuala. It was a relaxed, informal affair where we chatted about our plans, The Cottage, plans for Killruddery and general waffle as conversations go. Friday was the start of the second weekend of the Christmas Fair, so we didn’t really get to speak at length with anyone. Fair time tends to be a crazy headless-chicken run-around for all staff. Saturday was spent in a futile attempt at packing, knowing all the while that there would be no time to pack on the Sunday. I did, however, manage to fit in a little milk tart making!

Sunday morning, I cleaned up while Jurgis chased deer and fed pigs. We had a lunch date with Lord and Lady Meath. Lunch with the Meaths was unusual, especially as we weren’t ‘regular’ staff. They were wonderful! We had a lovely roast beef dinner with wine. I think I have a new alcoholic passion…. ginger wine! Ooh, it was delicious! It reminded me very much of my old favourite cocktail, the ginger square. Of course, it doesn’t take much to get me to imbibe ginger in any form. We chatted about anything and everything, from deer fencing and pigs to trips along the Garden Route to saving tiger turd in Nepal. Warm, and definitely fond on our part, farewells were said and good wishes abounded before we rushed upstairs in the hopes of getting the roast done before our visitors were due.

We had Mirek and Larissa, our Polish and Russian friends, over for dinner, another wonderful couple to whom I owe a debt of friendship…. even if Mirek ate my mushrooms! I did a pork roast and served milk tart for dessert. We drank to everyone’s health with a fine bottle of pro seco bubbly that was given to Jurgis on his birthday. We’d kept the bottle to celebrate the arrival of his papers, but figured celebrating friendship was a grand occasion to open it. As usual with Mirek and Larissa, we laughed a lot in a variety of languages. It was a good evening. Though I paced the floors for hours afterwards, drifting between intense sadness, happiness and frustration over the still-unpacked goods, I knew all was well and would turn out fine.

Monday, all thoughts of ‘turn out fine’ were forgotten in my wailing and gnashing of teeth over cases that wouldn’t close. I went downstairs to say goodbye to Aislin and Cathrine. Gosh, I’ll miss those girls. Of course, we promised to keep in touch. Finally, the last suitcase umphed itself closed and was dragged downstairs. We came up by the kitchen stairs and left from the main entrance… I think that was a fine way to leave! I said goodbye to my portraits and thanked them for listening to my nightly waffles, joys and frustrations. Anthony and Fionnuala were to take us up to The Cottage in two cars, as they were going on a family trip into the mountains at the same time. Fionnuala very kindly packed us a ‘doggy bag’ of goodies, which, aside from being kind, turned out to be a wonderful thing. That night, we dined on reheated sausage rolls with Killruddery Christmas cake for dessert. Not bad for a first meal. Kindnesses and fond memories were recalled as we settled into our new home.

I drink a toast to friendships forged!


Monday, 22 October 2012

The quiet inbetween

I’m often asked, now that the tourist season is pretty much over, what it’s like during the week. We have one more weekend to open to the public, then the only public will be here during special events and pre-arranged tours.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Enjoy the absolute peace. It’s tangible!

magical light

Magical light


mossy tree

Mossy tree


office entrance

Entrance to ‘the office’


the office

‘The office’ where I work

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Monday, 15 October 2012

Good morning, Autumn!


A quilt of mist

covers frosty grass

as a blue sky blazes


I walk beneath

a fiery green bough

on paths of gold

and red

Diamond dew

sparkles on leaves

draped low

over the beds



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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

They sailed away for a year and a day…

We ‘set sail’ from Brazil a year ago on a mission of sheer unadulterated madness - according to our contemporaries anyway. We got a slew of comments ranging from the positive “Go for it!” type to the “Are you crazy?” to “How irresponsible”. I eventually stopped telling people about it just to stop listening to the naysayers. Call me an ostrich.

The contrast was beyond description! I was trying to look for images that represent each place. We went from this…


Sao Paulo epitomised everything I hated in a city…. the dirt, the litter, graffiti, pollution, vile smells, concrete. I ached for green, for softness. I would plant tufts of grass in planters in our tiled yard. This photo puts our city life into a nutshell, the very close proximity of neighbours, the concrete and our striving for green even there.

To this…


Wales… how can I even describe our impressions there? Unlimited beauty, open space, Grass! Air that was clean and pure. Even animal dung had a clean smell about it. We worked hard… very hard… but it was good and satisfying. I enjoyed the goats! We fell in love with Wales. What a beautiful place in every sense of the word.

Wales came to an abrupt and rather tragic end due to circumstances out of our control. In a bit of a panic - we hadn’t planned to move on so soon - we went to stay in Northampton at the centre where Tat used to work.


We met wonderful people and had the chance to relax and recoup… until relaxing became a chore. We weren’t used to it, but weren’t allowed to do anything. Luckily, there was a stunning nature reserve nearby where the hours could be whiled away pleasantly.


Oh… and we got to see our first Snow!!!

Of course, we couldn’t stay there forever. We were in the guest rooms and they had an event they were booked out for, so we were on the move again. Moving on was becoming a little scary. None of this was in the original plan. This was where old and dear friends stepped in. We were on our way to Hemel Hempstead.


Northampton had prepared us for being back ‘in town’, though we were very much on the outskirts right next to a nature reserve. Luckily, Hemel Hempstead was a pretty place. We had fun times with our friends who’d known us since Tat was just two bricks and a ticky high. It was a time of shared memories.

Towards the end of our visit, I started stressing again. I got very sick with a cough that wouldn’t let go. I got to a point where I literally cried to the heavens one day… “Where to next?” The answer came from New Zealand and we applied to a place in Ireland.


Our first steps on Irish soil after the ferry trip over… a very special moment! As I stood listening to that ocean, a deep sense of peace came over me.


Tir na Si (Land of the fairies) was a delight to the senses! Most of my work was in the tea room, but I snuck out whenever I could to spend time with my donkey friends. The animals were my favourite part of Tir na Si. Our hosts were lovely and we had a very comfy room. When not working, the farm was so nice to explore and relax on.

We were happy… but again, ‘fate’ stepped in. There was a mixup with our dates. Jurgis had mentioned the date of our return ticket that had to be changed (the booking system didn’t have a ticket date far enough in advance) and they misunderstood. Family was coming over from overseas and they needed the room we were in. We were sad to go, but our next ‘home’ was so exciting…


Killruddery… there is so much to this place that it needs numerous blogs of its own. Adjectives fail me here. We’re very privileged to be living in the main house and need to walk through the tour part (I call it the museum) to get to our apartment. It’s so funny how one drops to a whisper when entering that part of the house. Jurgis is in piggy heaven. I work in paradise. That’s our lives in  a nutshell right now. We’re hoping this is going to be long term(ish). We’re super comfortable, loving our work and the people here are beyond amazing.

In short, this year has been a hellava ride. Would I do it again? Absolutely! Would I do it differently? Absolutely! Am I sorry I did it? No… not in the least. There are things I miss about Brazil. I was thinking of my students tonight. I miss them. I miss a few personal things that got left behind and yes, I miss the comfy salary I had and having two computers (sharing a laptop has it’s challenges). There are things about Brazil itself that had wormed its way into my heart.

Each place we’ve been to since has a place in my heart too. We’ve learned some valuable lessons and made life-long friends along the way. We definitely have come off with many stories to share when we’re old and senile ;) Here’s to the next year or ten! Cheers!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sunday Memories

I was feeling a little nostalgic anyway, playing with Overenthusiastic-Odie….

odieI gots a stick, I has!

I miss having my own dogs around. Luckily, I have an abundance of dogs and other critters who make me smile here. I spent yesterday playing with Lupa, a rather goofy 7 month old German Shepherd.

lupaI want to let go, so you can throw it, but tug-o-war is so much fun!

We don’t work weekends. Really. Honestly. Ok, sometimes. Thing is, farming’s like that. You’ve read ‘Animal Farm’, right? Today’s politics involved the chickens. You’ve met the existing chickens… Now meet the newbies!

These arrived here with warnings that they were wild and could fly and liked to sit in the trees. Um… ok… We clipped their wings, put them in the hen house and set about trying to make friends with them. A couple of weeks later, they no longer squeeze themselves into the corner to get away and they do come forward when greens are offered, but… they fly! They fly to the window sill with their clipped wings (to clarify - only one side, before anyone tells me we did it all wrong).
Today, we got another addition to the flock, Crocky’s sister, who looks a lot like that feather duster. She was put in with the other chickens by her now-ex-owner, only to be pecked on, so she was moved in with the frightened newbie group. We plan to try and put the whole lot with the old birds tomorrow. On Wednesday (or thereabouts), the new chicks should hatch. That’ll add another dimension to the whole drama. This should be an interesting week!
I’m now sitting here over my cup of dandelion and lemon balm tea with a wee drappie of honey. It’s delicious! I was feeling a little under the weather this past week. Hopefully this will give me the Oomph! that went missing.
I wanted to show Jurgis a video and was looking through my files with pictures of South Africa when we had a bit of a discussion about the location of a remembered landmark in our home town. That took us to Google Maps. I’d have lost a few kilos if I’d walked the distance we covered this afternoon :)
I’ve come to the conclusion that I had an idyllic childhood. How many children get to go to school in a school as full of character as this one. This is the old Albert Jackson Primary School. Its walls were solid stone and thick. It breathed history, but was bright and cheerful. It looked no different to the way it looks now (the building is protected by heritage laws), though it’s been many, many years since it held any children.

Albert Jackson Primary School (modern)

Albert Jackson had no playground of its own, so, at break time, we’d all line up and cross the road ‘crocodile’ fashion to the Donkin. Now can you imagine a nicer playground for school breaks? A view of the ocean, vast lawns, funky monuments and plenty of pigeons to absorb the lunch crumbs.


The Donkin is named after Sir Rufane Donkin, governor of Port Elizabeth in 1820, when the British settlers landed. The unusual pyramid next to the lighthouse is a monument to his wife. I thought the story to be really sweet:
“His life is also one of romance and undying love. He married Elizabeth Markham in Yorkshire under a traditional organised marriage which was the custom in those times for the social upper classes. But Sir Rufane Donkin truly fell in love with his beautiful young wife. In most cases the wives of high ranking military officials stayed at home while their husbands were abroad. However Elizabeth Donkin chose to be with her husband and travelled with him to India where she was to become seriously ill, and died in August 1818 after their first son George David was born.
The effect on Sir Rufane Donkin after her death was immense, and to such an extent was placed on leave from his post, however he was given the task of organising the 1820 Settlers in Port Elizabeth. He was officially the first governor of PE from the 6 June 1820 - 1821. His wife Elizabeth was buried in Meerut in India but her heart was embalmed at his request.
…… Love it is said is as strong as death! Sir Rufane Donkin built a memorial to his wife Elizabeth known as the Donkin Memorial atop a hill above the city centre and named the city, Port Elizabeth, in her memory. The Donkin Reserve is open to all in perpetuity according to his will.”
From The Port Elizabeth Times

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

It takes all kinds

Meet Maeve…


She leaned up against me today, cat style. I had to grab for support. She almost toppled me! She was being affectionate. She loves a tickle behind the ears. She knows me.

I had finished my working day and was going back to harvest a leek or two to go with dinner. Close to the pigs, one of the moms stopped to chat. I was pointing out the pigs and was about to suggest she goes around the side to see them better when I saw an odd-coloured pig. I looked more carefully. There were children in the pig pen!

I raced up the side yelling to the mom to get her kids out of the pig pen. Two moms, actually. They’d let their little ones, no older than 5, I’d say, climb over the wood and diamond-mesh fence into the pens. About a foot or so away from the fence is the electric fence - two lengths of electrified white ‘ribbon’. So, apart from the fact that the kids could have been belted by the fence, there was the pigs themselves…

Maeve is friendly, but stroppy. Sophie is more laid back, but she has her 8 piglets in there and isn’t very tolerant of strangers. One day I went into the pen dressed differently (I didn’t have work clothes on) and she charged. Luckily, she realised who it was as she came closer. We’re talking serious pig tonnage here! Ever see a bull charge? Same thing, except on a set of very short, very powerful legs. The piglets are no longer tiny. They tend to run, en masse, to see what new food is heading their way.

What on earth was going through the minds of the two moms that they’d let their little girls in polka-dot skirts and tights climb the fence into the pig pen??? The mind boggles! We’re talking here about two hefty adult pigs plus 8 hefty porkers, a vast amount of mud and an electric fence. After yelling to get the kids out, I pointed out that the fence was there for a reason… to keep pigs and kids separate!

Still… what the heck? Really? I wonder if it’s the same mentality that gets kids injured at zoos and the poor animals get blamed.

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Making friends with the dark

…0r at least being accepting of the dark.

I live about as close to paradise as one can get. Yes, there are things I’d love to improve our situation with, but otherwise, we’re in a good place, surrounded by lovely people. Still, there are times when I look out at the bright sunshine and all I see is the dark within me.

Art by Chris Spring 

The dark is heavy and impenetrable. It actually pushes that bright sunshine aside. Smiles become work. laughter is forced up from a memory of the feeling. I walk with my head bowed. “What’s wrong?” asked a colleague. “Nothing,” say I. “Where’s the bubbly, smiley Corrianne I’ve come to know?” she asked. “I shot her,” was my reply. I smiled at her. “She’ll be back tomorrow.” I hope.

You see, it gets comfortable in the dark. I’ve always loved the dark. I think, for me, it’s a time when the excess of stimuli that comes with the day is quietened. I have to be careful, though, that the dark doesn’t overtake me.

This dark is different… definitely not comfortable. It’s a time when I stare at beauty and I hurt. It’s a time when click through my friends online and I’m tempted to just close my accounts and cop out of it all. It’s a time when I sit, looking inward and what I see makes me cry. My thoughts are uncomfortable with sharp edges jabbing my mind.

I go off to cook dinner, not because I want to, but because it’s a requirement of relative normality. I put on some fighting music, something to stir the beast in me. Some songs make me cry over the onions (I knew there was a reason I like cooking with onions!) and some had me belting out defiantly against the world and all that ailed me.

Yes, tomorrow I’ll let the ‘other me’ back. I might even let her play a while.

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Sunday, 16 September 2012


Last week just whizzed by. I tried to catch it and stall its rushing, but my efforts were in vain.  It was a busy week and, at the same time, a very quiet week.

Let me first introduce you to Crocky and his harem. Crocky is our highly temperamental feather duster…. sorry… silkie rooster.  We have a sign on the fence warning kids (especially the grown kind who have offspring) that he can be mean and has drawn blood on a few occasions. To date, we have no data on his attacks and can’t decide what makes him go for the jugular on some days, but not others.

His harem is delightful though. We have Rhode Island hens and Barnevelders. The one Barnevelder is currently broody and warming a nest of prospective feather-bundles. We have speculated at length what they’d end up looking like. A mix of Rhode Island or Barnevelder and a white silkie rooster who carries his brain on his beak? They’ll be interesting if nothing else!

Meet my glove’s nemesis…. mustard seed. The mustard is used here primarily as a green manure. We let it grow, then chop it straight into the soil where it was planted. Picking the seed was bad enough. It’s sticky and pulls at your hair (really tall plant). Then getting the seed off the stalks. Can you see the prickles? They’re little splinters that are out to get you. The mustard shredded a few pairs of gloves already. I’m no fan of the plant, but I guess it’s good.

mustard seed
Some wanted to know where I live. I have to be discreet here. We’re guests, after all. The driveway leads right up to the main house. The second-storey bay window is our day room. We look down on the driveway. If you have a moment, do find the first episode of “The Tudors” on Youtube. At the start of the episode, the horse comes galloping up that very same driveway! Yes, it was filmed here. “Camelot” was another that was filmed here. In fact, the list of films and TV shows that were filmed on this estate is pretty long.

Another view… in this case, the first floor (second, to Americans) bay window is our apartment.


Last night, we had our staff party at the Beach pub in Greystones. Ah, it was lovely! As per all drinking occasions, best friends were made and life-long bonds were forged (whether they’ll be remembered in cold daylight is another matter entirely *grins*). We drank, we sang, we danced, we yelled over the band and missed most of what was said (at least, I did). In short, we had loads of fun.


I love my job. I love where I live (not just the house… the place… the town… the region). I love the people. I love my life. It is good :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A fowl food rant

I don’t like gooseberries. Really! Ok, I like gooseberries, but the ingrates grow on thorny bushes that defy my attempts to keep them alive. There I was, picking off sawfly larvae and getting repeatedly stabbed by a nest of thorns. Right. Keep your durned larvae. See if I care. I’ll eat the raspberries and blackberries instead. So there!

I think there’s a food conspiracy out today. It started with chicken food. Or duck food… whichever way you prefer to look at it. Frank suggested the chickens may benefit and even like some duckweed from the longponds. I met Sayo and promised her an adventure that may or may not involve swimming. She cautiously agreed… what a good sport she is!

View of the longponds from my bedroom

I must point out at this stage, that Sayo is petit and does everything with Japanese efficiency. I am probably the direct opposite. Leaning over the water, noting that the local hare has dug a cave system near the edge - at least, I assume it’s him - I saved myself from going for the promised swim in the chilly morning air by doing a sort of dive-roll off to the side. I looked at my pitiful collection of duckweed and Sayo’s full bucket and decided that the chickens weren’t all that hungry anyway.

And no, I took no photos - for those who have the temerity to even suggest it. Hmph!

The chickens greeted us with the usual friendly, gentle “crrrrrck…. crrrrrrck” when they saw the buckets. See, they’re used to bread and cake treats in the mornings. The stroppy little silkie rooster just squawked and crowed and flapped and flustered as he always does. We tossed the duckweed to them. They rushed over, looked at it, looked at us and… “What is this?? Where’s our bread? Our cake? You expect us to eat vegetables??”  There’s nothing like a flock of chickens standing at the fence with heads cocked, looking at you as though you’ve deprived them of their very sustenance. Keep in mind that they do have regular chicken food, so they’re not starving. All the animals here are very spoiled. I caved. I sprinkled some cake over the ‘vegetables’ and they demolished it. Spoilt brats!

The rest of my day was the usual… totally different from any previous day. Cleared mud off the electric fences in the pig pen - we have determined pigs. Jurgis went chasing Lisa and her piglets twice - she’s become quite the escape artist. He also fixed up a nice brush cutter for us for the walled garden. That’ll help in our war against the thistle and nettle. I spent a fair time cleaning the soil off our drying garlic, then harvested some calendula flowers for drying. That will make a nice salve once I’ve sourced some beeswax. I need to have a chat with our bee-keeper on the subject.


Now back to fowl food. What is with this world that they sell ready-trussed chickens that still need to be plucked? If I wanted to pluck my own chicken, I wouldn’t buy it from the supermarket! The thing had so much feather, it about flew out of the fridge! Either way, I plucked (grrr!) the chicken, then spatchcocked it and roasted it in wine with freshly-picked tarragon and our own garlic. Very tasty! All in all, not a bad day and no, I’m not going to blog the fact that I was carrying my dinner to the table and managed to drop the plate-full of food on the carpet. Can we say emergency cleanup?

Thursday, 06 September 2012

Wisps of thought


Words burst forth
from the bubble of my thoughts
Whirling, dancing
Floating on the air of my mind
Teasing me
with their will-o-wisp ways
Nay, said they!
You'll not pin us down on paper

You may well gather, from this bit of wordy drivel, I'm struggling to pin thoughts down long enough to blog them. As it is, I started on this a few hours ago and all the lovely prose and words of wisdom I had in my head are gone...... *empty*

Sunday, 02 September 2012

Needing therapy for the shopping therapy

I don't have a picture for this blog. I looked for a picture. Apparently no one else suffers with shopping. How odd. Wait... this one should do...



Now I can do online shopping. I think that is, in all probability, because it's not here.Otherwise, besides shopping for food (as opposed to starvation), I avoid shopping like the plague. Here's why....
I had just finished with the first class of the day. This was in town. There wasn't enough time to go home, but there was too much time to go on to the next student. I have put off buying some necessities for years, so I decided to pull myself up by the bootstraps and just do it. I needed some underwear and socks.
First stop, a shop where I've had success before. Should be a breeze. I looked in. Two men manning the cash register and no fitting rooms. Here they think nothing of trying on bras over their clothing in full view of the street. Not for me, thanks, so I turned my attention to the 'socks' or foot-stockings. I hate pantihose, so I wear ankle-highs. The "Posso ajudar?" came, as expected. "Yes. I'm looking for the thicker stockings, as I walk a lot and want them to last longer than a day at a time." He took me to the thicker stockings. Great! Then I looked in dismay at the white, black, maroon and dark brown colour range. "Don't you have beige or something at least remotely my skin tone?" I asked, not expecting much, as this is, after all, Brazil. "Oh but this brown would look lovely!" Uh... yes... I looked down at my pale tan shoes and even paler skin tone *sigh* He spent ten minutes trying to get me to buy the brown. I must point out at this point that the brown was a dark brown... very dark. No thanks.

I kid you not. The first time I went into a lingerie shop in Brazil, they were quite nonplussed that I refused to try on my wares in the front shop. I watched a woman try on a corset over her dress with hysterical laughter building up. It took all my self-control not to gawp at her.
I gave up and went to the next shop, a lingerie shop. This should be fun (not). A friendly girl asked if she could help. I explained the bra sizing I'm used to... the kind where the cups are different to the backstrap, so you can get something that actually fits. Here, if they don't try to sell you small, medium or large, they sell size 20 through to 54, but with no cup size. The girlie looked confused, then looked at me, pulled out a bra and said, "This should fit you beautifully." I looked dubiously at the offering. I think not, but I decided to prove a point. I went in, poured myself into the synthetic scrap and said, "You'd better look at this." It was patently obvious that it wasn't even a remote fit. She tried one size up and one size down, then a different make. No go. She called the owner, who grimly (she was a rather grim lady) advised me to try yet another set. Nothing doing. "But this one will fit you!" she demanded. Oh no it wouldn't. I peered at my squished appendages. She thought it looked just fine. I ended with saying that, believe it or not, I know my body and I know just what would happen if I tried to move in those. The lack of shock absorbers on most buses would leave me embarrassingly compromised.

*Note... this blog was never finished. I'm going through my old blogs and decided to publish it, as it had me chuckling :)

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Granola Bars


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granola bars



18 bars

Because I'm usually out on the road at mealtimes, keeping up with edibles that are light, can be carted around easily and eaten on the run can be a challenge.

The cheaper snack alternatives out there are high carb, high fat, often stale and frequently messy, so I decided to try my own granola bars. I love granola : ) For me, a small yoghurt and a granola bar is enough for lunch. I have no control over the quality and ingredients of the bought bars.

This recipe is fantastic! I don't remember where I got it
25 minutes to make (if you have the fruit pre-chopped)

* 1 egg
* 1 egg white
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 3 tbsp canola oil
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
* 1/2 cup diced apples, raisins, or dried fruit (optional)

My own variations:
Used half a cup of chopped cashew nut, half a cup of mixed dried fruit, half a cup of coconut, and 1 tablespoon honey (as I didn't have enough brown sugar)

Coat a 13" X 9" baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
Mix the egg, egg white, sugar and brown sugar until smooth.
Add the oil and vanilla; mix 10 to 15 seconds.
Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just blended. Add oats and incorporate.
Mix in extra ingredients (apples, raisins, etc) with a fork.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan; press into pan with wet fingers.
Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan.

Note: I didn't leave mine to cool in the pan, as my oven bakes really hot and it looked like it was beginning to burn. I cut the pieces in the pan and turned them out onto a granite slab to cool. They're perfect!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Dream… Live!

(A repost)

A young man on the verge of his dreams passed this onto me. Thank you, Ohara!
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It's never too late. The time is Now!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A sheep thing


This post was a classic case of ‘following the herd’… a blog post that everyone has passed around at some point in their blogging. I found it amusing. I still do. Need a chuckle? That is, aside from those moments when you nod and think “Yes"!”

* I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
* Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
* I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
* There is great need for a sarcasm font.
* How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
* Was learning cursive really necessary?
* Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
* I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
* Bad decisions make good stories.
* You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
* I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
* "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -ever.
* I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damnit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
* I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
* I keep many people's phone numbers in my phone just so I can look like I know many people.
* I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
* I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid " routing option.
* Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.
* I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
* I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
* How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
* I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a roadhog from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
* Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Trousers? Trousers never

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get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
* Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?
* There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
* Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
* Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my behind everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Friday, 24 August 2012


Vir dié wat sukkel met Afrikaans tik, veral daai kappies en doitjies...

Char. Keystroke 1Keystroke 2UnicodeChar.Keystroke 1Keystroke 2 Unicode
á Alt+0225Alt+160 00E1Á Alt+0193- 00C1
â Alt+0226Alt+131 00E2Â Alt+0194- 00C2
è Alt+0232Alt+138 00E8È Alt+0200- 00C8
é Alt+0233Alt+130 00E9É Alt+0201Alt+144 00C9
ê Alt+0234Alt+136 00EAÊ Alt+0202- 00CA
ë Alt+0235Alt+137 00EBË Alt+0203- 00CB
î Alt+0238Alt+140 00EEÎ Alt+0206- 00CE
ï Alt+0239Alt+139 00EFÏ Alt+0207- 00CF
ô Alt+0244Alt+147 00F4Ô Alt+0212- 00D4
ö Alt+0246Alt+148 00F6Ö Alt+0214Alt+153 00D6
û Alt+0251- 00FBÛ Alt+0219- 00DB

I'm so lucky! I have a keyboard that doesn't need fiddling to get the right keys. I need to find something like this for Lithuanian now. So far, I only have the č (Alt+269), which I need to be able to type my name.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Kaalvoet Klonkie

I found this lovely artwork online entitled “Kaalvoete” byElizabeth Kendall.

I was backing up all my blogs from Multiply. It’s not such a terrible thing. I’m rather enjoying the trip down memory lane. I found a blog which had absolutely nothing to do with Kaalvoet Klonkies, but, as often happens, the comments evolved into a hilarious bout of South Africanisms and Klonkies.

Kaalvoet klonkie basically means ‘barefoot ragamuffin’ – or at least, that’s my interpretation. To me, it holds no negative connotation, though some say it has. My gran sometimes called me a kaalvoet klonkie on those days when I played outside barefoot and grubby.

In the comments of that blog, my Dutch friend,Riete found and posted a poem/song by Gill Steward that gave us a chuckle.

Kaalvoet (pronounced "Carlfoot") Klonkie, the Barefoot Flea
(Tune: On top of Old Smokey) (Johannesburg 1970)

I'll tell you the story
Of Klonkie the flea
Who dabbled his tootsies
In my cup of tea.

'Twas there that I saw him
And asked him his name
And now I will tell you
His reply to the same -

"Sir, my name is Klonkie,
the barefooted flea
And I'm fishing for tackies
In your cup of tea.

Some fleas wear pink tackies,
And some fleas wear blue,
So I'm fishing for tackies
And any will do,

Because as you'll notice
My tootsies are bare
And it makes it much harder
To run through your hair!"

So that is the story
Of Klonkie the flea
Who's still fishing for tackies
Although there's no tea!

‘Tackies’, incidentally, are what South Africans call trainers, tennis shoes or sneakers. We’ve always joked about “…butmy fleas have pink tackies!” This brought back memories :)

Thursday, 09 August 2012

Kaalvoet Klonkie


kaalvoet klonkie

I found this lovely artwork online entitled “Kaalvoete” by Elizabeth Kendall.

I was backing up all my blogs from Multiply. It’s not such a terrible thing. I’m rather enjoying the trip down memory lane. I found a blog which had absolutely nothing to do with Kaalvoet Klonkies, but, as often happens, the comments evolved into a hilarious bout of South Africanisms and Klonkies.

Kaalvoet klonkie basically means ‘barefoot ragamuffin’ – or at least, that’s my interpretation. To me, it holds no negative connotation, though some say it has. My gran sometimes called me a kaalvoet klonkie on those days when I played outside barefoot and grubby.

In the comments of that blog, my Dutch friend, Riete found and posted a poem/song by Gill Steward that gave us a chuckle.

Kaalvoet (pronounced "Carlfoot") Klonkie, the Barefoot Flea
(Tune: On top of Old Smokey) (Johannesburg 1970)

I'll tell you the story
Of Klonkie the flea
Who dabbled his tootsies
In my cup of tea.

'Twas there that I saw him
And asked him his name
And now I will tell you
His reply to the same -

"Sir, my name is Klonkie,
the barefooted flea
And I'm fishing for tackies
In your cup of tea.

Some fleas wear pink tackies,
And some fleas wear blue,
So I'm fishing for tackies
And any will do,

Because as you'll notice
My tootsies are bare
And it makes it much harder
To run through your hair!"

So that is the story
Of Klonkie the flea
Who's still fishing for tackies
Although there's no tea!


‘Tackies’, incidentally, are what South Africans call trainers, tennis shoes or sneakers. We’ve always joked about “…but my fleas have pink tackies!” This brought back memories :)

Saturday, 04 August 2012

A lesson in judgement

We had our farmer's market today and I was asked to do an honesty box for the market aside from the usual honesty box in the shop.

The honesty box is simply where we put out fresh produce from the farm and people pay what it's worth. It's totally unmanned. I just check it periodically and top up the veg. 

I had put out some veg, walked away for half an hour and, on returning, saw it looked very empty. The spinach was missing. I had chosen this spinach because of it's lush shine, so it was noticeable at a distance. I looked in the money jar.... 1 cent lay there. My heart sank. I felt an overwhelming sadness at the state of society. It was with a heavy heart that I went back to the garden to find goodies to top up the box. While in the garden, I got some carrot for the horses.

I had just put the rhubarb and radishes in the box, then walked through to chat to Oscar and Chunky when I was approached by the lady in the next door stall. She explained that a woman had come and was worried that the spinach wouldn't be there when she got back, but she had to go and get change for the box. I nearly cried! My faith in humanity was restored and I learned a valuable lesson in judging too quickly. People are amazing! :)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Whatever comes next

So many years ago, when I took my reading training wheels off and graduated to 'grown up' books, one of my first books was "Moonraker's Bride" by Madeleine Brent. I was so excited. I had spent a fair amount of time in the children's section of the library gazing longingly across at the adults' section.

he book was, in many ways, an eye-opener for me. I learnt of a strange new world, China, of Boxer rebellions, missionaries and how, in a day, a heroine's world can be turned upside down by a twist in fate. To this day, I love Madeleine Brent's books, though, sadly, there aren't many. Each one takes me to a different world and is relaxing pleasure that requires little thinking.

Going back to that one book, there is a part where the old lady who looks after our heroine and the mission is busy dying. They were struggling to feed themselves and the orphans in their care. The old lady's advice was, "When you don't know what to do, just do whatever comes next." With all the arrogance of youth, I thought that was rather a stupid thing to say. If you don't know what to do, how on earth would you know what to do next? How can you do something when you have no idea what to do?

Thankfully, though, the advice stuck with me. I've had many opportunities to remember it when the storms of life have seemed to pick me up like a piece of flotsam and toss me down onto the rocks. When my mind is buzzing with problems and 500 solutions, none of which seem to be the answer, it is this advice I turn to. Simply doing something... anything, however mundane... is often the catalyst that moves me into solutions. It is a peculiarly mind-clearing action.

On the subject of mind-clearing... What do you do when your mind is clear - too clear? As a writer, I have a very up-close and personal relationship with that status. Blank screen, blank page, blank mind. A frustration that reaches deep when I know I have so much to say!

"When you don't know what to do, just do whatever comes next."
When you don't know what to write, just write whatever comes next. This is when I delve into the mundane if I have to and mundane is something I have plenty of. The thing with mundane is that defies my attempts to keep it mundane. It is the most remarkable thing. I would start out simply describing my day, a remembered scene from long ago, an object, a character in my book and before I know it, I'm embellishing those thoughts with flights of fancy and sometimes not-so-fancy flights.

Isn't this a little like those word association games we used to play? Shall we call it thought association?

By Corrianne Lasevicius (aka Tint)

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Road hog!

Never a dull day! I started the day crushing eggshells for the chickens. Lord Meath cracked a joke about me possibly having to sleep in the kitchens, as the lock and door handle had been removed for repair. I love encounters with him. I grabbed a bowl and headed off to the walled garden to pick raspberries. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

The trouble is that I'd already picked all the easy ones! The central row of bushes remained. It was suggested that I use a walking stick or umbrella to pull the branches towards me for picking. Great idea... if I had either of those items. Never one to let a bush get me down, I decided to go into the bushes. Again... sounds easy, right? They're as tall as me and planted really close together. I now know were to hide if I want to disappear from society! Oh... and I got my first horsefly bite today... ungrateful little beast. I was gently trying to shoo it off too. I don't swat and kill like everyone else does. Hmph!

My next task was to fill the honesty box (basket, really). I was commended for the good job I did with it yesterday - throwing in a little idle boasting, though it's really not much to boast about.

It's basically a basket with pickings from the walled garden that people can take and pay what they feel it's worth. Have I mentioned before how wonderful it is to see your 'food' through from the planting to the harvesting and cooking?

Back to our road hog... While I was busy picking beetroot for the basket, Jurgis let me know that it was time to move the pigs. They love beetroot leaves (normally) and could I pick some to help lure them. They've been in the pig 'maternity ward' up to now - the sheds - and it was time to put them back into their paddock... a separate one from where the piglets are currently frolicking. Maeve first, as she was the one most likely to give us strife. And did she give us strife?! She saw her opening and trotted off. It was just Jurgis, Sayo and myself, feebly waving our beetroot around that Maeve decided to totally ignore. Out she went... on the road to the shop, which is where the public come in for their very dignified visit to Killruddery. I freaked! I had visions of mommies with babies in prams seeing this huge tonnage of road hog advancing on them. That Maeve is friendly and is only enjoying an outing would not occur to them, I'm sure. I called for help and was told, "Don't worry. Maeve knows her way around." Only later did I learn that it wasn't her first time out. We eventually headed her off. That was after she took a roadside mud bath (try ushering a mud-coated pig along) and managed to get me shoved into a nettle patch, at which point my thoughts towards her turned as muddy as she was. We finally got her to her paddock and went to let Lisa out - this time, making sure all escape routes were secure. We were busy letting Lisa out when Maeve strolled up to see what was happening. They discovered the pile of discarded feed off to one side and nothing we did would move them until they were good 'n ready. I personally think they were just putting us in our place. *Mentally adds pigs to the list of fairly uncontrollable animals along with goats, sheep and cattle* I think that's what makes them so interesting though :)

After spending a while watching Sophie and her piglets, we went off for some lunch, which turned out to be a serving of popcorn each washed down with Coke. Uh huh... yes... healthy, I know...

I was weeding under the mustard after lunch. Now let me get it down for the record. If it were up to me, I'd buy my mustard, decently packed in a little metal tin or bottled. Them seed pods are sticky and reaching in among them did nothing for my glorious hair do - which needs help on the best of days. I was fully sporting the highland beast look by the time I was done.

Dinner tonight was a delicious concoction of fresh garden peas, fresh garden courgettes, fresh garden garlic (getting tired of the freshness yet?), onion and not-so-fresh supermarket chicken over pasta. It was yummy. I washed it down with the last of my South African wine. Now that was good!

Sunday, 08 July 2012

Wreathed in mists

As I gaze out at the Little Sugarloaf over the quiet gardens, I see the 'ghosts' of yesterday's children laughing and frolicking on the lawn. Time (and weather) is a fleeting thing, is it not?

It was a glorious day yesterday. One father was rolling down the hills with his little ones. He looked bashful when he caught me watching. I commented that every garden needs a hill...and it does!

Walking through the veggie garden, the bees and bumble bees making the most of the sunny weather, I could almost See the peas growing fatter. I gave the chickens their treat and went on to the pigs. The piglets were out romping. We can't get enough of watching them. Rough-'n-tumble play in the mud. They're just kids really. It's remarkable to think they're only a little over two weeks old.

Ah.... we're in such a beautiful place and truly happy. I love my work, the people, the place. I go for walks in the forest and forage for the most fascinating mushrooms. We can walk the same path five times a day and see something new every time.

The mists of our lives, so far, have been fickle. Perhaps, just this time, the mists will clear to find us still here, happy in our new reality where the sun shines from within the soul even when the skies are grey.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

In defence of praise

Who doesn't like being praised for their work? Is it an area exclusively reserved for bosses? What is it about praise that makes people so uncomfortable?

It's something I started noticing when I passed my colleagues doing what I thought was a spectacular job. I told them so and got a response that implied that they thought I was mocking them. I definitely wasn't. I was genuinely impressed with their work.

I praised my husband for the excellent job he did for me (a small, but, for me, important task). He thought I was being sarcastic. I now wonder if it's the way I say it...

Telling my boss that her organisation of an event was very impressive ended up looking as though I was 'sucking up'.

Is there no easy way to praise? I know I'm guilty of not always accepting praise with grace. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all accept praise with a simple and gracious, "Why, thank you!"

A blog worth reading on the Power of Praise can be found here.