Category Archives: Frienship

FINDING AN ON LINE COURSE, VOLUNTEERING, KEEPING IN TOUCH, RECIPES AND CRAFTS

Finding an on-line course that has the bonus of being free

Have you heard of FutureLearn?  I recently found this site where you can browse free on line courses from top universities and specialist organisations.  You are able to join courses that are about to start or are in progress or register to find out when courses will run again.  Ken booked in for three courses, two with regard to film making and one run by the University of Southampton, UK, dealing with the Battle of  Agincourt in 1415.  There are opportunities for you to offer your opinions regarding the course you are taking, ask questions and join in a forum with other participants.  Amazingly the courses are all free.

There are a large number of topics available on a variety of subjects so have a look at their site:

www.futurelearn.com/courses

U3A courses

This morning I attended a course at my local U3A on Memoir Writing.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or whether it would help me with the writing of the book I have in progress covering our ‘alternative lifestyle’ days.  That still remains to be seen but hearing snippets of other peoples life experiences was so interesting and inspiring.  Human endeavour is absolutely amazing and should be documented.   As I have mentioned before, if you are unable to find the type of course you are looking for, have a look at the U3A website where they offer on-line courses in variety. www.u3aonline.org.au

Volunteering

After the death of Josephine, the lady I was visiting through the Community Visitor Scheme, I was undecided whether to continue on the program.  It can be a challenge when you realise that many of the inhabitants of the Aged Care Facilities where you visit  are only a little older, and in many cases, younger than yourself.  However, when Rosemary, the Co-ordinator of the program, rang me and asked if I would be interested in visiting Dorothy who is 102 and in need of a visitor who could chat and listen to her life stories, I just had to accept.  I visited Dorothy for the first time this week and spent a really enjoyable hour in her company.  I was amazed to find that she can see perfectly without glasses and loves a game of bowls in the recreation facility at the home.  She told me about her family, the number of which she has lost count, and of her late husband who she met when she was 14 but didn’t marry until she was 24.    I anticipate having many happy visits with her.

How rewarding volunteering can be!

Keeping in touch with family and friends

I was reflecting recently on friends and aquaintances that had passed through my life and who I no longer had regular contact with.  This got me to thinking how great it would be to re-establish some of these connections so I made some phone calls and wrote some letters.  Everyone I contacted was pleased to hear from me and although it hasn’t been possible to meet some personally due to tyranny of distance, we have exchanged e-mail addresses and agreed to keep in contact.  One really enjoyable experience was finding the son of a friend on Facebook and asking if he could put us in touch again.  He arranged for us to chat on Skype when she visited him and it turned out to be a very long conversation.  We first met when both 16 at an interview to enter Secretarial College.   She has now bought an iPad but has not yet mastered using Skype though I’m sure she will quite soon.

Fortunately I have managed to keep in contact with most of my cousins in England and a few friends of my late mother, two of whom still write long and interesting letters.  Sadly one of my cousin’s has developed alzheimer’s and is no longer able to communicate, so I am glad that I maintained contact with her over the years.

Friends and family make up the fabric of our lives.

Update on my felt-making project

My friend Olga recently returned from visiting family in Chile and kindly brought back a present for me of some beautiful carded wool in brilliant colours.  I decided I must make a vest-type jacket for her as a thank you.  I did some practice panels,  and eventually a panel which will be cut into two for the actual jacket.  I still need to do more panels in order to complete the vest.  One panel I made was a complete disaster as I didn’t use sufficient material and it turned out covered in holes.  Perhaps there will be a use for it in a later project.  Ken  took some film of me doing the felting with the idea in mind of eventually making a short film of the process.    He produced what I thought was a nice title showing some of the coloured wool.  There’s a lot of perfecting on my part before a film could be made but there’s a challenge on the horizon.

 

Title for proposes movie showing carded wool

Title for proposed movie showing carded wool

Sharing recipes

A couple of weeks ago I decided to look through all my cookery books with the idea of discarding those not used.  Goodness what a collection and what memories were contained within those pages.  I spent an enjoyable couple of hours recalling successes and failures.  My most used book is one given to me as a wedding gift by my Aunt Helen.  It has lost the cover and the index is stabled together at the back but it’s still the book I pull out first for an old time favourite.   Another of my well used cookery books is one I bought when I first came to Australia in 1976 and is The Rodale Cookbook from Fitness House, Pennsylvania, USA.  One of the recipes I’m confident you will enjoy and which I always have in the cupboard is

Almond Crunch Cereal   

Preheat oven to 225F/110C
3 cups uncooked rolled oats (not quick oats)
1½ cups dry coconut shreds, unsweetened
½ cup wheat germ or soy grits
1 cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup honey
¼ cup oil
½ cup cold water
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup raisins (optional)

Combine oats, coconut, wheat germ or soy grits, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Toss ingredients together thoroughly.

Combine honey and oil. Add the cold water, a little at a time, mixing until crumbly.

Pour mixture into a large, heavy, shallow baking pan which has been lightly brushed with oil. Spread mixture evenly to edges of pan.

Place on middle rack of preheated oven and bake for 1½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Add almonds and bake for a further ½ hour. Mixture should be dry and light brown in colour and feel crisp to the touch.

Turn oven off and allow cereal to cool in oven. If raisins are to be added to cereal, do so at this point. Remove cereal from oven, cool and put in a tightly covered container. Store in a cool dry place. Yield 8 cups.

A recipe from my book:  What to eat if you don’t have meat

BEAN CURRY

1 medium tin red kidney beans
1 clove garlic crushed
4 mushrooms
4 medium carrots
300ml stock
2 cooking apples
2 medium onions
3 large potatoes
2 tsp Madras curry powder (or your own mix)
1 tsp yeast extract

Fry onion and garlic gently in oil then add sliced apple and continue cooking until pulped. Add sliced mushrooms and carrots together with curry powder, stock and yeast extract. Cut potatoes into small chunks and add to curry. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer very gently for half an hour. Add kidney beans and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes.

It’s well worth making up a double quantity of this recipe and freezing because it will be a firm favourite with everyone.

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Well once again I’ve come to the end of the blog but will sign off with a quote:

LIFE IS LIKE A CAMERA

  • FOCUS ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT
  • CAPTURE THE GOOD TIMES
  • DEVELOP FROM THE NEGATIVES
  • IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT, TAKE ANOTHER SHOT

 

Janice

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ACTIVITES, PROJECTS, IDEAS VOLUNTEERING AND MORE

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Hello everyone.  I have lots to chat about so here goes.

Recently I came across BLOGLOVIN which is a platform that allows users to read, organise and discover their favourite blogs on mobile and desktop.  You can easily find blogs on any subject in which you have an interest.  I have been inspired by the creativity of people especially the dressmaking and crochet blogs which provide so many ideas and in many instances free patterns to download.  My eyes pop at the possibilities.  Of course some of you may already subscribe to Bloglovin but if not here’s the link:   http://www.bloglovin.com

Update on my crochet and dressmaking 

I’ve been continuing to enjoy the weekly meetings with the group of ladies who crochet, knit and chat about all manner of things.  The envelope purse I was making morphed into a small bag to carry my crochet hooks and pattern book.  I’ve since made a cushion cover which I have to say left a bit to be desired in shape.  The ladies of the group suggested I enter my “bag” in the local show in the Beginners Section but I’m somewhat reluctant.

Joining a group at your local Neighbourhood House or Learning Centre is a wonderful way to get to know people and learn a new skill.

I’ve finished the two piece I was sewing in Peruvian Cotton and am reasonably happy with the outcome though I did make a mess of the shoulder seams at first.

 

Milton Film Club – do watch the film they produced

Ken recently received a newsletter from his film club with details of films that had been made by various clubs around the country.  I selected one which I’m sure you are going to really enjoy showcasing a ukulele-playing group of women from Milton-Ulladulla, NSW Australia, with a sense of humour and rhythm who enjoy just jammin’ with their ‘ukes’ and having a glass of bubbly or three.  Apparently some of the members were a little hesitant about making the film, especially in regard to the personal clips, but they bravely went ahead and you can see the result here.  They call themselves CHOOKS ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

 

 

Ken’s latest video

Ken’s latest video is a reminder of how we used to travel way back in our past.  We can both remember standing on the platform waiting for the train to take us to London.  It came thundering along like a huge monster belching and hissing steam before finally coming to a stop.   We also remember as children standing on the bridge over the railway line waiting for the train to pass under and envelope us in steam.  It all seemed great fun in those days.

At Coal Creek Community Park and Museum in Korumburra (120km south east of Melbourne) you can ride on the Count Strzelecki Steam Train and take part in other activities.  I submitted the video to the Museum and received a notification that they were so impressed that they were going to include it in their web site.  Watch the video and enjoy the experience.

 

Whilst waiting for Ken to do his filming of the train I popped into the General Store in the village where they sell all kinds of sweets packed in the old fashioned way together with other goodies.  One of the things that took my fancy was a small pack of recipe cards which the lady in the shop told me were reproductions of recipes of cakes and breads made every week by a volunteer for over 30 years and served in the cafe in the village.  Here are 4 of the recipes that I have tried and which turned out really well.  You will be amazed at the simplicity:

JOHNNY CAKES

250g plain flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbs baking powder, biutter

METHOD – Mix flour, baking powder and salt, slowly adding water until mixture is stiff.  Make into small cakes and fry slowly in butter (5-8 minutes each side).  Serve with honey, jam, molasses or golden syrup for a real bush treat.  The flavour is greatly enhanced if served with Billy Tea.

PIONEER BOSTON BUN

1 cup mashed potatoes, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup dried fruits, 1 cup milk., 2 cups self raising flour.

METHOD – mix potatoes and sugar into a cream, add the fruit, mix well then add the milk and flour gradually.  Put into well-greased sandwich tins and bake in a moderate oven for half an hour.  When cool ice lightly and sprinkle with coconut.

BUBBLE BREAD*

METHOD – Mix 1 cup plain flour, 2 tbs grated cheese, 30 gas butter, pinch salt, mustard, cayenne, squeeze of lemon juice and a little water to combine.

METHOD – roll out thinly, cut into fingers, cook in a very hot oven.

* I sprinkled the fingers (and twisted them) with black pepper.  They turn out like cheese straws.  Very yummy.

BISCUIT FRUIT SLICE

Place in a saucepan 125 gms butter, half cup sugar, 1 cup mixed fruit.

METHOD – crush 250gm arrowroot biscuits then mix with boiled mixture.  Press into greased tin.  Cover with lemon icing.

(ALL RECIPES COURTESY OF COAL CREEK MUSEUM)

A new member of the family

Last week we adopted Ferdy, a fox terrier/x, 8 years of age from Save-A-Dog at Malvern, Melbourne.  We have been looking for a companion for Sophia for some time without success.  Apparently small dogs are very popular so it has been quite a search.  We took Sophia to introduce her to Ferdy before making a decision and they got on really well from the first sniff.  Ferdy is a little over-weight so has had a hard time keeping up with Sophia when we go out walking but I think he has already lost a little bit of his fat.  He likes a lot of attention so we are being really careful to make sure Sophia is top dog.  I think it will all work out well.  Here’s a photo of them together:

Volunteering

I received the sad news this morning that Josephine, the lady I have been visiting in the aged care facility, (Community Visitors Scheme) is fading fast.  Recently it has been very difficult to communicate with her due to the strong medication she has been prescribed which makes her sleepy.  Jo is only one year older than I am which is very sobering.   During her lucid days we were able to chat about our youth in the UK as we came from more or less the same area.

For Josephine

For Josephine

Volunteering in whatever field you choose is very rewarding.  If you are interested contact your local Council or search the internet.

Interesting people

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet up with Noelen Lyons who is a Genealogist and Family History Researcher also a Cemeteries and Local Area Historian.  Although she is a very busy lady she has promised to give me a little of her time to have a chat about her work and hopefully give me a few snippets I can pass on to you all.   Her moto is:   To know who you are, you have to know where you came from

Buddhist Prayer

In closing off I would like to share with you this Buddhist prayer:

MAY YOU BE WELL

MAY YOU BE HAPPY

MAY YOU BE PEACEFUL

MAY YOU BE LOVED

Until next time

Janice

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RECENT ACTIVITIES (16/08/2015)

Goodness me, I can’t believe it is such a long time since I last blogged.  I seem to have been chasing my tail and feel I should slow down but on the other hand there is so much to do and enjoy.    First of all I want to chat about books and how I have been inspired by other retirees.    First a little apology to the male readers of this blog because the first book is slanted towards the ladies.

BOOK LAUNCH OF:  OLDER & BOLDER – LIFE AFTER 60 – Author Renata Singer

Last week I went down to Melbourne to attend the launch of this book.  It was a coming together of women to connect, share and inspire.

Older and Bolder is a rallying cry to living audaciously in the last third of your life.

For the first time in history, women can expect to live well from their sixties for another three decades. A drab existence of retirement, disease and disconnection is not an option for this generation of women.
In Older and Bolder, Renata Singer contrasts the stories of the pioneers of active, productive old age against the anxieties of those facing the milestone of turning sixty, considering each viewpoint in the light of revealing research. Older and Bolder is her rallying guide to living audaciously in the last third of your life.

Here’s a picture of the book to help you find it in the book store or library if you decide you would like to read it:

preview_Preview

 

One of the ladies featured in the book, Elizabeth Kirby, participated in the launch.  What an impressive life she has lead;  a star of the Australian soapie No.96 in the 1970’s, a politician, a radio broadcaster, an Order of Australia Medal recipient and now at 93 a PhD graduate.  Here is a link so you can read more about this amazing lady’s achievements:

Dr Elizabeth Kirby

BASS COAST WRITERS SHOWCASE

My local library hosted a writers showcase where 10 authors from the area were given 5 minutes to showcase their book(s).  It’s really surprising the talent and interest there is in writing.  The youngest published author was 22 and the oldest 80+ and all managed to inspire the audience.  I have decided to read The Dandelion (Fiction) by Terry Guilford, who is a local Psychologist.  I liked the sound of the the relationship plot.  A lady sees her husband sitting in a park with another woman and waits for him to tell her he is leaving.  When he doesn’t she decides to make the decision and leave herself.  Haven’t started yet but will let you know what I think.

MY FELTING PROJECT

At last I have managed to source some carded wool from South Australia suitable for felting.  It arrived a couple of days ago and I am absolutely thrilled with the quality.  Now I need to get down to work so I am planning a free day next week i.e. no housework or cooking, as  once you start on the project you have to follow through.  I ordered three different colours, shown here together with a Felting Book I found at the library which is full of really good advice.  I intend to make a hat;  if successful I will post a picture, if not !!!!!

P1310876

Have a look at Bennett & Gregor website to be inspired:

Corriedale and Marino type fleeces

CROCHET LESSONS

After seeing some beautiful crochet work, I was at a loss to understand why I had never learnt the art.  My mother was always crocheting so I ask myself why she did’t teach me.  Perhaps she tried and I wasn’t up to the task.  I still have a shawl she crocheted for me when they were very much in fashion back in the 60’s.   I mentioned this fact to my friend Olga who said she would teach me so under her instruction I have been practicing different stitches and enjoying it very much.  I did a circle which turned into a small hat, mainly because I kept going round and round.  I think it’s going to take a while to perfect the art but I will keep trying.

 

I still have a few other things to share with you but that’s for next week’s blog.  I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying your activities.

 

Janice

 

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PROJECTS, THE GARDEN, A RECIPE, GOOD FRIENDS

PROJECTS

Felt hat project

I am still in pursuit of assembling sufficient information and skills needed to be able to make a felt hat.  Last week I collected flowers from the garden to try and make some natural dyes.   I followed a recipe I had seen on Gardening Australia.   My efforts all resulted in very pale colours.  First I soaked red salvias, blue salvias and yellow/orange calandulas in glass bottles using cold water and then brought these to a  simmer in my electric preserving pan.  Next I drained each colour and put in a separate pan and added some white wool bringing that slowly to a simmer for half an hour.  I definitely need to do more research and practicing but I’ll keep trying.  I know you can buy special dyes but I think it would be nice to achieve a result by my own efforts.

Video for Author page

As mentioned in my last Blog, I needed to make a video for inclusion in my Author page on Amazon.  Location for filming the video was the first hurdle.  Ken said he could add film behind me if I sat in front of a green screen which is the recognised method of superimposing someone or something on a background.  I bought some green material and we taped that to the wall and then I sat at a small desk in front of the camera.  I’d written out a sort of script of what I wanted to say but of course I couldn’t look at that because I had to face the camera and speak.  Ken was so patient;  it took me 11 attempts to sort of get it right.  I had no idea how hard it would be to talk without making mistakes.

Ken superimposed me on different pieces of film he had but nothing looked right.  I had the idea a library background would be good so Ken went up to the local library.  He described to the librarian what we were trying to do and approval was kindly given.  Joining the film making club has certainly given him some new skills not to mention a few headaches besides.

If you would like to see the end result it can be accessed on my author page at:

www.amazon.com/author/grahamjanice

 

THE GARDEN

I can’t believe how colourful the garden is even though it’s winter.  Some of the fruit trees still haven’t shed all their leaves but at the same time are budding up, likewise some of the ornamentals.  Even sweet peas, which self sowed, are whizzing up.  This surely must be a sign of how confused nature is due to climate change.  I planted garlic on the shortest day of the year, which is what I normally do, then read in a gardening blog that wasn’t the best way and it should be planted sooner.  Anyway I’ll keep with my method of planting on the shortest day and harvesting on the longest.  My last crop was fantastic.  A while ago I planted broad beans which are now looking healthy and strong and I am fortunate enough to be able to harvest carrots, lettuce, beetroot and corriander as required.  Gardening is very rewarding if you are able to accept failures along with the successes.

 

 

RECIPE

Once again I have to thank Jo Marty for kindly allowing me to include one of her recipes in this blog.  This time it’s for Spaghetti and Pea Pesto.  I tried it out last week and it tastes really delicious.   In Jo’s words ‘the recipe is super cheap yet flavourful and filling’.

200g frozen peas, defrosted, generic is fine
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons almonds/35g, skin on is fine
100g cheddar cheese, grated, reserve a little for sprinkling over
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup vegetable oil (olive oil is best but any mild oil will do)
500g spaghetti pasta

Method
Half cook the peas. Set 2 tablespoons aside for garnishing later.
Place the almonds in a food processor and blend well. Add the garlic, peas,cheese,salt and pepper then vegetable oil. Blend well until smooth.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente according to the instructions on packet.
Ladle out and reserve approximately 2 cups of the cooking liquid then drain the rest.
Add 1 cup (i.e. Half of the reserved cooking liquid) of the cooking water to the pea mixture in the food processor. Blend well, stopping to scrape the sides and base.
Return the spaghetti to the pot then over medium heat toss through the pea sauce until well heated and well mixed. Add more of the reserved cooking water if necessary.
To serve divide amongst 4 bowls and garnish with the reserved whole peas and grated cheese.
Serves 4

ENJOY ………………………………….

GOOD FRIENDS

25th June was the birthday of my good friend Olga.  It was a happy celebration.

Olga blowing out the candle

Olga blowing out the candle

 

A get-well message to Joan Blain, a regular contributor to the blog, who is in hospital with a broken ankle.  I hope she is catching up on her reading.

To everyone else, keep well and treasure each day.

Janice

 

 

 

 

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LOOKING BACK AND SHARING SPECIAL TIMES (14/04/15)

Looking back over past achievements and getting together with those who shared those times can create many hours of enjoyment. I would like to relate one such story with you of how music became our lives.

During the 1960’s my brother, Ted (Vocal, Lead Guitar, Organ), got together with a group of friends, Alan, (Bass guitar), Colin (Drums), Peter (Vocal and Rhythm), Andy (Lead Vocalist and Song writer), to form a Rock Band. Ken, my husband, who had been an avid jazz fan up until that time, took to the music and became very involved, eventually performing the task of Manager touting for venues at which the group could perform and going out one day with our little Vauxhall Viva and returning with a Bedford Utilabrake van for the purpose of transporting all the equipment.

It was a heady time filled with hard work, ambition to succeed and purchasing of equipment to create better sound quality. The group first practiced in a room adjacent to my parents house and then in our garage and later in a room at the Red Lion pub at Northchurch (UK)  One of their first big opportunities came when they won a Beat Group Competition at Hemel Hempstead (UK) with the name THE ASSOCIATES.   What excitement. The boys were always supported by their girlfriends who travelled around to the venues with them putting up with late nights and lots of just sitting around.

Over the years the group supported many well-known bands one of whom was Bill Hayley And The Comets at a venue in Dunstable. Once they were booked as top of the bill in Llandudno, North Wales and another time in Newmarket where their PA amp blew up. The other group performing that night were The Idle Race who allowed them to use their equipment. The lead singer and guitarist was Jeff Lynne who went on to front ELO and write their songs. He was also in the Travelling Wilburys after being producer for Tom Petty, George Harrison and Roy Orbison. Now I realise that many of my readers may not be aware of these names, but it could be of interest to some.

The group continued for many years until the music scene changed. Alan (Bass) is the keeper of the Groups history and has been in contact with us over the years sharing stories, photos and a copy of a record The Associates made. He has maintained his interest in all things musical, likewise my brother Ted, who still has his Fender and Gibson guitars plus others I believe.

Though Ken and I are unable to meet up with the members of the group due to tyranny of distance, we were so happy when Alan sent a photo of a get-together they had recently at a birthday party. I wonder if you can spot which is which now, but first Ken and I toast them with this photo from those days  (venue unknown).  Just look at that hair-style!

 

Janice and Ken in the 60's

Janice and Ken in the 60’s

THE ASSOCIATES

and here they are now:

Mail Attachment_2

Listen to Virginia Water (written by Andy) from their record.

 

 

I have so enjoyed preparing this Blog;  I hope it will inspire you to remember your special times.

Back soon

Janice

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ENDURING FRIENDSHIPS (17/03/15)

Still volunteering at 80

I was reminded this week of how important enduring friendships can be and how they show us what hidden depths people have.   These friendships connect us to our past whilst at the same time being part of the present.   No matter that we aren’t able to meet in person very often, we can immediately pick up where we left off when we do get in touch.   One such friend is Janet who I met when her family were evacuated from London during the second world war and opened up a small hardware shop in the main street of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire where I lived.   We became great friends and spent many hours together after school.  We had a signalling system whereby we stood outside our respective front doors and waived an umbrella to indicate whose house we would go to.

After the war Janet returned to London with her parents but we have always kept in touch, meeting when possible and of course writing.

Since retiring Janet has dedicated her time and energy to looking after small children in need of care as well as helping with her own grandchildren when they were young.   I was amazed 18 months ago when she told me of the terrible shortage in London of foster carers for babies and although she was mindful that she might not be accepted was going to apply.  Well, can you believe it, she was accepted, and has been taking babies in ever since.  I received a letter from her yesterday and this is some of what she wrote:

“I look after another baby now he was eight months when I started 6 months ago.  He is so lovely, just could not resist him, and his name is Teddy.  He is the mother’s third son and has a brother who is only 14 months older and one of 7 years.  I am as busy as ever as you might guess”.

What a wonderful woman taking on such a responsibility.  She will be 80 in two months time.  With her letter she included a card with a picture of my old home.  The house is sixteenth century and reportedly had a monk buried beneath the front parlour.  Originally it was near to a medieval hospital for Lepers and a health-giving spring.    Many years ago the house became a cafe with accommodation.

 

When I lived here it was called Monks Cottage

When I lived here it was called Monks Cottage

 

 

 

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