Category Archives: Outings

Remembering our grandmothers, Things that have a special place in our hearts, Exhibition of hand made items from 100g of wool, Visit to Mohair Goat Farm, Yummy quick cake recipes

Remembering our grandmothers

I wonder how you remember your grandmothers.  Did you live close and spend lots of time together?  How did they affect your life?  It’s a really interesting topic and one which I would like to explore if any of you are happy to share your memories with me in future blogs.  At a Spinning Group party yesterday I asked Anne what she remembered.  She said she spent a lot of time with her grandmother who loved hats and handbags and always gave her an Aspro when she took her out so that she wouldn’t want to go to the toilet.  I asked how she thought she would be remembered.  She said “that lady whose house was so full of wool you couldn’t get through the door”.

I lived next door to my paternal grandmother whose name was Caroline.  She spoke very little and always seemed quite hostile.  In later life I realised she was very deaf and could hear little of what was being said so didn’t respond.   I loved helping her mash up the boiled potato peelings and mix with pollard for feeding the chickens.  She did once  come out of her shell, so to speak, when she told me that when she was at school the other kids used to chant:  “Car, car, Caroline hang your britches on the line, when they’re dry bring them in and hang them on a safety pin”.  After that revelation I never told anyone my middle name was Caroline.  Sadly she died from a tragic accident which haunts me to this day.  Unfortunately I didn’t know my maternal grandmother as she died in childbirth in 1912.  I do have a photo of her and a letter she wrote to her sister just prior to her death, apart from that there is little information.

What will my grandchildren say of me.  Now wouldn’t that be interesting, though I hope they don’t have that opportunity any time soon.

Things that have a special place in our hearts

Today I thought I would share with you something that has had a special place in my heart and life since I can remember.  It’s a grandfather clock.  A couple of years ago I wrote some short stories relating to my youth which I published as an e-book.  The first was about the grandfather clock and after many attempts at getting the story started I came up with the idea of writing from the point of view of the clock, therefore the clock is the narrator of the story.

To save space you can read the story by clicking on the link below.  It doesn’t quite open as I would like.  When you click on the link it takes you to my Reply Page where you have to click again.  Very strange.  I’ve sought the help of my son but he’s busy so I’ll have to leave it as it is.

Mum, Dad and Janice - think I was 18 in this photo

Mum, Dad and Janice – think I was 18 in this photo

the-grandfather-clock-tick-tock

 

Although the clock resides at my daughter’s house, due to lack of sufficient space in my house, it still presides over events of the family.  Unfortunately its hourly ring has had to be curtailed due to it being a little annoying during the night.

Here I am with the clock last Christmas

Here I am with the clock last Christmas

 

Exhibition of hand made items from just 100g of wool plus a visit to a Mohair Goat Farm

Recently the Coal Creek Spinners Group participated in an exhibition of items made from just 100g of wool.  The variety was amazing from small toys to beautiful wraps, to hats, scarves, wall hangings, skeins of different wools  and one really special exhibit, a jumper so finely crafted it was hard to believe the skill  of the knitter (view in the video) who won 1st prize at the Bendigo Wool Show for her work.

As part of the activities of the group there was a visit to Mohair Rare, a working farm, producing mohair yarns for spinning and other crafts.  I have to thank my husband for producing this video which is very informative showing both the exhibition and the activities of the farm, explained in some detail by Lill Roberts of Mohair Rare, and returning at a later date to view the shearing of the goats, one of the shearers being a lady who kindly explained on camera the process.

 

Now for some recipes

Now that Christmas is approaching its wise to have a few goodies on hand, possibly in the freezer, in case friends or family pop in unexpectedly.  I have used the recipes I am going to share since back in the 60’s when I used to subscribe to a small publication which was full of ideas for the freezer.  Quite an innovative concept in those days plus there was always a home testers note about the recipe which I can confirm freezes really well.  I have also made and stored portions of the Fudge Icing in the fridge and used on other cakes.  Very handy.

Chocolate Cakes with Fudge Icing   

You will need two shallow foil pie dishes about 18cm across

180g self raising flour
60g cocoa
180g soft brown sugar and 180g butter
3 eggs plus 1½ tablespoons milk

Grease the dishes. Sift together flour and cocoa then in another bowl beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat eggs and add gradually beating mixture well. Fold in sifted ingredients with milk. Divide equally into dishes and bake at 180C for about 50 minutes. Fan forced ovens a little less. Cooked when centre of sponge is springy when pressed.  Cool before icing.

Fudge Icing

60g butter
60g cocoa
3 tablespoons milk
120g icing sugar

Melt butter in heavy pan. Add cocoa and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in milk and sifted icing sugar. Cool then pour from pan onto cakes in foil dishes. Leave to set.

No Bake Cake – only 10 minutes to prepare

100g butter
100g marshmallows
25g cocoa
300g Rich Tea Biscuits roughly broken
50g plain chocolate
50g white chocolate

Line a 450g loaf tin with clear film or glad wrap leaving about 2.5cm hanging over the edges. Place butter, marshmallow and cocoa in a pan and heat until melted. Remove pan and stir in biscuits. Press mixture into loaf tin and chill for about 2 hours until firm. Turn onto serving dish.

Melt plain and white chocolate in separate bowls over hot water.  Spoon on top of cake and swirl together with a skewer to create a marbled effect. Chill until set then cut into slices.

It freezes well but probably best to add the chocolate topping after thawing.

 

Well I’ve come to the end of another post, there is always more to say but I’ll leave that until next time.  To finish up here’s a Funny Minions quote:

I MAY LOOK LIFE I’M DOING NOTHING ….

BUT IN MY HEAD I’M QUITE BUSY

 

Janice 

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Catching up with the garden, The value of exercise, Another impromptu outing, Alternative uses for window spray and a speedy impressive dessert

Hello everyone, hope you are all doing well.  I’ve had a busy few weeks following my various activities which I enjoy sharing with you in my blog posts.

 

Catching up with the garden

I wonder if any of you are having the same problem as we are trying to keep pace with removing all the weeds and excess foliage springing up in the garden.  It’s become a daunting task which Ken has been tackling day by day, weather permitting.  He’s going to be making quite a few trips to the local tip when the free green waste disposal period starts in a couple of weeks.

Just some of the green waste

Just some of the green waste

We love our garden but as the years roll on we know one day we will have to face the prospect, that it may become too onerous.  What then?  I don’t like thinking about it.  Fortunately, we are not at that stage yet, so we can enjoy the fruits of our labours for another year.  Last season we decided to reduce our vegetable growing beds but even so have harvested a large quantity of peas, carrots and beetroot plus we are looking forward to the  broad beans which are starting to pod up.  I decided I wouldn’t grow pumpkins this year but having just cooked the last one from storage, I’m wavering!!

 

The value of exercise as we age

There’s no doubt about the importance of exercise in our lives as we age.  Unfortunately it’s not always possible to participate in strenuous activity, but water aerobics is one of the more gentler forms that improves cardiovascular health, increases strength, slows down age-related loss of muscle mass and the decrease of reaction time that comes with getting older.  This was brought home to me last week when a gentleman who attends the same water aerobics class as myself and  who I considered  to perhaps be in his 70’s, was wished a happy 90th birthday.  After the session we all met in an adjoining room to celebrate and enjoyed a super cake supplied by his wife.  I was hoping to be able to include a photo which our trainer took, but so far that hasn’t come to hand.  He said he has always believed in exercise and up until last year was also attending the gym.  In fact there are 4 other people in the class in their 80’s who attest to the benefits of water aerobics on their mobility.

Another impromptu outing

Following the success of our impromptu outing to Agnes Falls, which I detailed in my last post, we set off again on a nice sunny morning to explore the South Gippsland area.  Ken suggested we head to Mount Nicoll Look Out between Foster and Fish Creek.    At about 305 meters above sea level, the views were reported to be phenomenal and extend up to 97 km into the distance.  However, having traversed the very steep and quite rough 2km track off the Fish Creek Road (really not meant for our small car), we found that there was a further 200m walk up hill from the car park to the actual lookout.  We reluctantly decided it was best not to tackle the climb which was a little disappointing.  If you are interested here’s a link with lots of information:  http://south-gippsland.com/mt-nicoll.htm

We continued on heading towards Sandy Point (near Foster) following a sign to Shallow Inlet Marine and Coastal Park.  We couldn’t believe our eyes when a little track in the Park lead us straight onto the most magnificent beach which it was possible to drive along.  Absolutely breathtaking and I so enjoyed driving up and down.

There are many sites on the internet giving information about the Inlet which is between Waratah Bay and the majestic peaks of Wilsons Promontory.  It provides a secluded and peaceful setting for a range of water based activities such as fishing, boating and sailboarding.

After a picnic we headed home stopping off at Port Franklin, one of our favourite spots, to take a casual walk along the jetty.  It’s a very interesting area which was first settled in the 1840’s by timber cutters.  A good web site to visit is:   http://www.visitpromcountry.com.au/towns/port-franklin

Alternative uses for window spray

I’m always looking for new ideas, so whilst drawling through the internet a list of alternative uses for window spray came up which I thought could come in useful.  I can’t vouch for them though, because I haven’t tried them but many of them sound quite interesting.

1. Insect repellent – Most household insects hate the smell of ammonia common in      window cleaners. Spray some near windows and doors in summer to keep insects well away.
2. Microfibre furniture cleaner – Smooth and comfortable though it may be, microfibre furniture – like faux suede – can be difficult to get clean. Try some window spray – spritz lightly over the surface and then brush using a soft-bristled scrubber working in the same direction.
3. Stain remover – Window spray might be the secret weapon you’ve been waiting for. Try applying window cleaner to common stains like ketchup or red wine. Soak for 15 minutes, rinse and wash.
4. Jewellery cleaner – You can brighten up metal and gemstone jewellery with Windolene and an old toothbrush.  Spray the piece, scrub lightly, then rinse. The ammonia in window cleaner makes it a great jewellery cleaner – except for soft, porous materials like opal, turquoise and pearl.
5. In the car – Window spray makes a perfect multi-surface cleaner in the car, and is ideal because it’s non-greasy and won’t leave any residue behind. You can use it on the windows, dashboard, steering wheel and upholstery – and even on the car’s exterior to remove stubborn marks like bugs and tree sap.
6. Cut through grease – Window spray is a great foil for any greasy surface, and can soften up hard to clear stains in the oven, fans and light fixtures. It also works on pots and pans, too. Spray liberally, leave for 10 minutes then wipe away.
7. For children’s toys – You can quickly and easily clean up toys with the help of Window spray and a cloth – just remember to rinse thoroughly with water afterwards.
8. Stuck zipper – Free a stuck zipper with the help of a spritz of window spray. It won’t ruin your clothes and will help loosen up the zip so you can free it again.
9. Reduce swelling from stings – If you have swelling from a bee sting, try this simple tip beekeepers have known for years. Spray a light misting over the sting to help relieve pain and swelling.
10. Emergency spot treatment – You might remember this particular trick from the hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Window spray can work as an emergency spot treatment to help reduce swelling and dry out an unsightly spot before a big event. Spray a small amount on a cotton bud and apply directly – and only – to the spot.

A speedy impressive dessert

dsc00458

Last week I needed to come up with a quick dessert for unexpected visitors, which to my relief turned out really well, so thought it worth sharing.   Fortunately I had some crumble topping mix in the freezer which I had previously made up when following one of Jo Marty’s recipes for an apple crumble.  If  you decide to put some crumble mixture into your freezer it’s a good idea to spread it over a freezer tray before bagging up so that it is free flowing enabling you to only use what you need at the time i.e. not one big clump to separate.

This is what I used for my dessert but of course you could use whatever you have to hand in your store cupboard.

Tin sliced peaches
Frozen raspberries
Crumble mixture
Shallow baking dishes

Place frozen raspberries on bottom of each dish and spoon over sliced peaches with a little of the juice.  Thickly sprinkle over the crumble mix and bake at 180C for approximately 20 minutes.  Check frequently to make sure topping doesn’t brown too much.  Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
To make the crumble mixture
5 heaped tablespoons plain flour
60g butter, melted
5 heaped tablespoons brown sugar
5 heaped tablespoons desiccated coconut

Mix flour, butter, coconut and brown sugar together. That’s all you need to do.  I’m sure you will be happy with the result.

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There are a few other things I want to share with you so hope to blog again shortly.  Until then I’ll close with this happy photo of my Peruvian Spanish Teacher Rosa in Lima, Peru on her wedding day:

Rosa and Daniel

Rosa and Daniel

Remember some of the best things in life are free:  hugs, smiles, friends, family, laughter and good memories.

 

Janice 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Impromptu days out, A time for reflection, Is your wardrobe a mess, Panzanella salad, Project update

I just can’t believe where the past few weeks have gone.  I made a resolution to post at least every couple of weeks but despite my good intentions, I’ve failed.  I recall a sign on the wall of the office where I had my first job at the age of 16:   The secret to a happy life – never argue, never explain.  This sign was pointed out to me on many occasions by the Office Manager when I wasted too much paper failing to erase errors in my typing.  Though I’m not sure I agree,  it’s stuck with me for a very long time.

Sometimes impromptu days out can be the best

Do you sometimes wake up one morning and say to yourself or your partner “let’s go out for the day’ ?  These impromptu days out can prove to be the best.  That’s what happened last week when I woke up and thought blow all the jobs I had planned, the weather forecast was for a sunny day, so why not go out and enjoy.  Ken had read about filming waterfalls and suggested we go to Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve which is located in Gippsland around a 15 minute drive from the township of Toora and about 1¼ hours from our house (2 hours from Melbourne).   I packed a picnic lunch and we were off.

When we stepped out of the car at the falls there was a feeling of absolute tranquility.  Just standing in the peace and quiet was exhilarating.  Here’s a link so you can read more about the falls.    https://www.visitpromcountry.com.au/attractions/agnes-falls

When we got home Ken put a short film together so I could include it in this blog.  It just gives you an idea of the Falls but unfortunately not the rest of the beautiful surroundings.  You may need to turn your sound down when viewing as the water falling is really loud.

 

A time for reflection

A couple of weeks ago it was our 56th Wedding Anniversary.   The whole family met at our daughter’s house to not only celebrate our Anniversary but the birthday of our son and two of our grandchildren.  I  retrieved our Wedding Album from the back of a cupboard to take to the party and after tea and a very large cake, we sat around a huge table to chat.  The grandchildren talked about their courses and activities and future prospects, our children chatted about their jobs and hopes and Ken and I listened and reflected on our lives.  The album was passed around with much laughter.  It was so good to remember that special day 56 years ago and bring to life aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents and friends who will forever be in our hearts.

12-05-2009_10

 

Is your wardrobe in a mess?

The answer to this question for me is, yes, so when I read a plan for change, I thought I would have a go:
Sort the clothes you don’t wear. Store these out of sight until you’re ready to donate or discard them.
Set a limit. Determine the number of items you’ll have in your wardrobe, be it a core 10 or wider 33 or in between.
Set a time. Decide how long you’ll wear your capsule wardrobe. One to three months is a good starting point.
Curate your clothing. Replace ill-fitting or well-worn items as needed.
Enforce a one-in-one-out policy. When you buy a new item, donate or toss an old piece.

I wonder if it will work !!

Panzanella Salad and Garlic Bread

With warmer days on the horizon (I hope) here in Victoria and the sun still shining in the UK, this recipe is a winner.

You will  need:

* ½ loaf of Ciabatta cubed
* 500g ripe tomatoes (cherry or cocktail or heirloom tomatoes) or 2-3 bigger tomatoes
* ½ red onion, thinly sliced
* 1 long cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
* 3 garlic cloves, sliced
* ½ cup of olive oil for bread
* 4 tablespoon of butter
* Small bunch of chopped fresh parsley (1/2 cup)
* 8 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
* 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
* 3 tablespoon of olive oil for dressing
* Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Heat ½ cup of olive oil with butter together in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat
3. When butter has melted, remove the skillet from the heat, add garlic and bread and mix it well
4. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the bread is golden brown, let it cool down
5. In the meantime prepare the tomatoes, cut the cherry tomatoes in half or if using large tomatoes, core and slice into medium cubes
6. In a large bowl, mix together, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions
7. Combine vinegar with 3 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the salad
8. Mix well
9. Add bread and herbs and toss everything together
10. It can be served immediately or prepared 15 – 30 minutes in advance

Project progress

In my last post I mentioned that I hoped to make up an easy to use kit for wet felting with children.  This turned out to be a much bigger task than anticipated but eventually I was able to source all the bits and pieces necessary and now have the kits ready to go.  I tried to photograph the actual kit, but the bag caused a reflection so this is the label.

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My next challenge is to do a filmed tutorial with two of my granddaughters and post it on YouTube.  They haven’t felted before so it should be a good test for the kit.

Does anyone have an interesting project they would like to share?  Let me know so I can include it in the next post.

Until next time

THROW KINDNESS AROUND LIKE CONFETTI

Janice 

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Dog friendly short holidays, Events, Crafts, Gardening, Recipe + more

Dog friendly short holiday accommodation and horse muster

Over the Easter long weekend we were lucky enough to find the most amazing dog friendly bed and breakfast accommodation through Airbnb, a site where you can rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries.  Here’s the  link if you want to check out the site:  www.airbnb.com.au.  We travelled north to Euroa in Victoria and stayed with Tessa at The Terrace Bed and Breakfast in a self contained cottage on her property in a perfect setting.  The cottage was beautifully appointed down to the last detail and the breakfasts superb.   We were reluctant to leave when the time came and so too was our dog Ferdie who had enjoyed the company of Tessa’s little dog during the visit.

 

Our  trip was primarily to attend the annual Moora Horse Muster and take the opportunity at the same time to visit Echuca on the Murray River and view the paddle steamers.    If you’re at all interested in working horses and a glimpse back into the past, this can be a great and enjoyable experience.  The muster started with a parade through the streets of Rushworth, a town that was established during the Victorian gold rush in 1853 and was named by poet and later local Goldfields Commissioner, Richard Henry Horne in 1854,  and continued on Sunday at the Moora Recreation Reserve some 7 km away.

Since our return Ken has been busy downloading lots of film from his camera which is still a work in progress but he has produced the following video of the horse parade and muster for me to include in this post.

 

 

Gardening

My garden is looking quite sad through lack of water and the effects of the climate being so variable.  Some vegetables simply couldn’t make it especially the snap beans and runner beans though I must say the pumpkins peppers and carrots did really well.   I lifted the last of my carrots and planted some more seeds.  We’ve decided to cut back on the veggie plot, just too hard battling the elements, so are about to take down two of the raised beds and limit what we grow.

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Ken says you start off as a young man desiring acres of land, slowly over the years your expectations decline to being happy with a large plot, then it’s a small plot and then it’s a patio until finally you are really happy with window boxes.  I don’t think we have quite got to that stage although Ken has bought some of those small fruit trees which grow happily in pots.

If you are a keen gardener and want inspiration visit Lamely Nursery’s web site or Facebook page.  www.lambley.com.au.   David Glenn’s Lambley Nursery and Garden is set around an old farmhouse in the hot dry wind swept plains of the central Victorian Goldfields.  The garden features frost-hardy plants requiring very little watering and is world renowned as a benchmark in dry climate and sustainable gardening.   Ken and I visited the nursery last year and were truly inspired though unfortunately haven’t been able to get our plants to grow in the same way.

Crafts – wool dying

I recently attended a hands-on wool dying session with the Korumburra Spinners Group at Coal Creek Heritage Village.  My friend Olga came with me and we had a very informative morning using the various dyes.  There’s quite a technique to getting the process correct so it’s a matter of trial and error.  Olga’s wool dyed really well but mine felted.  I have since been told that was probably because the wool Olga used had been spun but mine had not so the effects of drying the dyed wool were different.  If you are interested in a fuller explanation e-mail me at retireandenjoy@dcsi.net and I’ll send out details.  Here are a couple of photos of the session in progress.

DSC00238 DSC00239

 

Recipe for ANT RID

My recipe today is not for food but one I was given for ANT RID which I am sure we all need from time to time:

2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons borax

Place in a saucepan and boil three minutes then cool.  Store in a sealed jar making sure the lid is tight or the ants will find the mixture.

Pour some into jar lids and place in the path of the ants.  Be patient as they will not come to the liquid immediately.  By day two they are usually swarming.  Many will disappear with some of the liquid and others will remain in the lid.  Use two lids if you think it warrants it.  When the activity stops, remove the lids and discard the whole thing into a plastic bag and then into an outside rubbish bin.

Wash saucepan thoroughly.  Best to scald with boiling water as well as washing.

I’ll close this post with

The Five W’s of Life:

WHO you are is what makes you special.  Do not change for anyone.

WHAT lies ahead will always be a mystery.  Do not be afraid to explore.

WHEN life pushes you over, you push back harder.

WHERE there are choices to make, make the one you won’t regret.

WHY things happen will never be certain.  Take it in your stride and move forward.

 

Janice

 

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Trips, projects and people who inspire

Well, it’s certainly been a while since my last Blog, but I have some stories to share and some inspirational people to chat about.

JOURNEY TO NED KELLY COUNTRY

Federal Standard Printing Works

Ken’s quest for film and information about printing methods from the past, recently took us to Chiltern which is in northern Victoria about 300km from Melbourne.  Chiltern is very close to Glenrowan where Ned Kelly made his last stand.  The purpose of the visit was to go  to the National Trust Printing Museum, which is in the original building of the Chiltern Federal Standard printing works, and see the original letterpress machinery in operation.  It turned out to be a rewarding experience.  The custodians, Robert and Mary Martin, made us really welcome and their enthusiasm was catching.  Now it’s up to Ken to document our visit on video.  Hopefully that will be available shortly.

Robert operating the type setter

Robert operating the type setter

Printing machine

 

Chiltern Athenaeum Museum

Chiltern has lots of other attractions to offer like the Athenaeum Museum where I felt I could have spent the whole day.   I was especially interested in the life of Alfred William Eustace who came out from England in 1851 and was initially employed as a shepherd.  Whilst tending his flocks in the solitude of the bush, he turned his attention to painting and music to while away the long and weary hours.  He endeavoured to capture the spirit of the bush sometimes painting on board, canvas or tin plate, but as these materials were not always readily available he then started painting on large round eucalyptus leaves from the White and Red Box trees that grew around about.  By the turn of the century his paintings had become world famous even being acknowledged by Queens Victoria.  Some of his leaf paintings are displayed in the museum.  I found this all absolutely fascinating as I had no idea you could paint on leaves.  However, having searched the internet I see there are many artists who use this medium today.

One of Alfred Eustace's leaf paintings

One of Alfred Eustace’s leaf paintings

Whilst walking in the Mt Pilot National Park I was able to pick up some of these large leaves.  Of course I’m no artist but had a doodle with a pen to see the result.  The leaves are really thick so presume that’s why it’s possible to paint on them.

 

My doodle on the large eucalypt leaves

My doodle on the large eucalypt leaves

Actually there’s lots more to tell about this trip like the Chiltern Recipe Cookbook from the Past printed in it’s original format, but I’ll leave that for next time after I tried out some of the recipes.

INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE

Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe

Some time ago a friend suggested I went to a cafe in Loch (Gippsland), the incentive being that one of the partners was from Spain and it would give me the opportunity to chat in español.  It turned out to be a great experience and I can certainly recommend the food and the atmosphere of the cafe.  You can challenge your taste buds with some of the hot sauces or experience milder flavours as well as indulge in delicious chocolate beverages.  It’s called The Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe.  Diana and her husband are working very hard to make their venture a success and have now produced an outstanding website (link below).  I’ve extracted the following from their site to give you an idea of what they are doing and what’s available if you visit or order on line.

Here Diana tells their story:
“In this beautiful Village of Loch was born the first Rustic Cacao Factory and Cafe.

When you arrive in Loch you can feel some of the rustic spirit of this country and the old-fashioned hospitality.

We, Alan and Diana, think that we just may have the opportunity of creating something different, like manufacturing genuine and tongue tingling products and merging the Spanish and Aussie tastes by cooking dishes that embrace both cultures.

Here, I manufacture a thick raw cacao with Australian sweet spices or chilli. You can have a “free tasting” of this unique hot drinking chocolate or iced chocolate, every weekend, at The Rustic Cacao Cafe.

Alan grills tasty meals on the barbecue and you can give your lunch a kick with any of his 20 varieties of the World’s Hottest Chilli sauces… if you dare!… We always have a glass of milk ready to put out the fire inside your mouth.”

The Cafe

The Cafe

Diana

Diana

Follow this link to their web site:   www.rusticcacao.com.au

Kira’s Legacy written by Joan Woods

I met Joan Woods, a local resident of Wonthaggi in Gippsland, a couple of years back but didn’t realise what hidden talents she possessed.  Kira’s Legacy is Joan’s first full length work detailing the History of the first Twenty-one Years of the West Australian Ballet Company (1953 to 1973).  It highlights the triumphs and difficulties of members of the Company in those fledgling years whilst at the same time brings to life the performances of the ballet together with photographs.

The heroine of this book, Kira Bousloff chose Perth as her home and through hard work and perseverance, so emotively described in this book, started what today is the highly acclaimed and successful West Australian Ballet.  If you decide to read this tale of the birth of a ballet company it will be obvious to you that Joan Woods not only has an intimate knowledge of the West Australian Ballet but also great affection for all the many dancers who gave so generously of their time and talent.  This is a story that perfectly illustrates that dreams can come true.

Joan plans to visit WA in the near future where she has been invited to do a book launch and signing.  The book is published by PJW BOOKS, 4/13 Hunter Street, Wonthaggi, Vic.  email:  joanwoodz@bigpond.com

Book cover of Kira's Legacy

Book cover of Kira’s Legacy

I’m going to sign off for now but in the next few days will continue with details of my quest to learn how to crochet and also my latest dressmaking challenge plus more.

Here’s a saying sent to me by my son:   “It’s easier to keep up than it is to catch up”

Janice

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CREATING MEMORIES, PROJECTS, TRAVEL, SPRING

CREATING MEMORIES INTENTIONALLY OR OTHERWISE

It’s amazing how we are able create happy and rewarding memories intentionally or otherwise by past actions.  One memory which I am able to enjoy every day, had its roots 10 years ago when my grandchildren came to stay for a weekend and I needed an activity to amuse them.  I recall browsing through various books and magazines where I saw some painted totem poles and thought what a good project that could be.    I knew Ken had some poles behind the garden shed and I had various sample pots of paint and so the idea became a reality.  It turned out to be a fun weekend, very messy, some tears, much laughter and best of all I still have those poles in the garden.  They have moved location over the years as the garden has changed design and the colours have faded but now they are outside my living room window, so every morning when I draw the blinds there’s my happy and continuing memory of my lovely grandchildren painting and placing their hand prints on those poles.

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Another memory  is of my mother participating in a drawing class at the age of 90.  In her effects after she died I found a couple of her pictures one of which was of a window in different colours.  At the time we were in the process of building a small mud brick cottage and I had the concept of having the drawing used as a pattern for a lead light window.  The chap who did the work for me reproduced the colours exactly and installed the window half way up the staircase.  I feel my mum’s light shines through that window and gives me great joy as I pass by it each day.

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KEN’S FILM MAKING PROJECT

Since Ken joined the Movie Making Club and set out on a quest to make a film of how printing had changed from the days when he was a Compositor up until the present time,  we have embarked on some very unusual adventures.  Ken needed to find a letterpress machine that was still operating and he located someone  on the internet with a company called Printing Museum Pty Ltd.  He phoned and had an in-depth conversation about printing methods and the chap said he had all types of machines, some still operating so Ken made arrangements to visit.  It was right out in the country up in the hills, necessitating us to stay away overnight.  When we looked at Google maps I thought it was an odd place to have a museum and I mentioned this fact to Ken who said not to worry.

It took about 5 hours drive to get there. We went round and round these narrow roads until we eventually came to a derelict pub and post box. There was a man collecting his mail so we asked for directions. He told us where to find the place but said “he’s a weird bloke”. Eventually we came to this really run down row of houses, most with wonky roofs and planks falling off.  The chap we had spoken to earlier drove by, stopped and said ‘that’s the place’. Ken got out of the car as a man emerged from one of the buildings and introduced himself as Kerry and told us to go further along the road and through a farm gate. Well, there was rubbish everywhere. Great first impression. I said to Ken, ‘I’m not going in there’. Anyway Ken sets off with Kerry and was gone for nearly 2 hours.   I started to wonder what had happened to him. Fortunately I had a book with me.   When Ken returned he said Kerry did in fact have printing machinery and equipment but none of it was in working order and it was all going rusty and was impossible to film. It was all packed into these falling down houses.

Kerry told Ken he wanted to set up a tourist facility and was hoping for Government assistance.   Poor man, what wishful thinking.

We came down from the hills and stayed in a small cabin by the side of the river which was really pretty and tranquil though the weather wasn’t that good. What an experience and a real talking point.

Not to be deterred, when we got home Ken set about surfing the net in search once again of someone with a letterpress machine and came up trumps finding a man in Melbourne printing authentic looking tickets for trips on tourist trains such as Puffing Billy.  We were invited to visit and Ken came away with some great footage of a machine in operation.  I will post his film when it is complete.  Goes to show perseverence pays off.

 

TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE

I recently caught up for a coffee and chat with a friend who had been on holiday to Alaska and various other destinations.  Her trip sounded absolutely amazing.  Enjoying good company, sharing experiences, chatting about adventures and plans for the future is so uplifting.

Continuing on the adventure theme here’s a link to the 10 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ARGENTINA as promoted by the Spanish Cat Language School:  There are also links to the best things to see and do in other South American countries.

http://www.thespanishcat.com/learn/index.php/learn-spanish-blog/the-10-best-things-to-see-and-do-in-argentina

It might inspire you to visit South America or think about learning Spanish.

 

Spring is coming to Australia

I am very excited to have a new camera.  Ken said that the one I was using didn’t have enough pixels to do justice to the pictures I wanted to take so he bought me one that he considered would do the trick.  Well, I’ve started snapping away and will finish off this blog with my first efforts, Spring coming to the garden:

I wish you all well and hope you are filling your days enjoying retirement or planning for when that day comes.

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:

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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 !!!!!

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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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OUTINGS, ACTIVITIES, THINGS TO DO

OPEN DAY AT A GIPPSLAND PRINTERS

Since Ken joined the Wonthaggi Movie Makers Club he has sourced different events which he considers are worthy of filming, one of which was an open day at a Gippsland Printers  celebrating  the power of print.   The effort put into the day by the owners and staff was absolutely amazing.  It gave a real insight into the processes of printing and the changes that have taken place over the past 120 years.  Of course Ken was in his element chatting to the staff involved in the different processes likewise all those who attended had a great time as you were given the opportunity to have your photo taken by a professional photographer, which was then printed in large format, you could choose a design and have 250 business or personal cards printed, children could have their photo on a Wanted Poster and there was an over-supply of pads, shopping lists, booklets and calendars;  everything was for free.    It all culminated in a sausage sizzle and a raffle for a laser printer.

Here’s the photo Ken and I had taken:

Janice and Ken at Gippsland Printer Open Day

Janice and Ken at Gippsland Printer Open Day

It’s wonderful the enjoyment that can be had by checking out local events and going along to see what’s on offer.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable day.  Whilst Ken was off looking at the printing machines I met up with a lady called Jean who told me about her interest in Scrap Booking.  I must admit I have never thought about undertaking that activity, but it really sounds as if it could be a great hobby in retirement.  Jean was a really interesting person to talk with and we covered quite a bit of ground in a short time.  Enjoying good company can be so rewarding.

Joining a club has opened up a lot of opportunities for Ken to make the best of his retirement.  Through research on the internet he has found  there are at least three printing museums with working machinery that we can visit.  He now has his map book out and is planning various trips.

PLANNING A TRIP/LEARNING A LANGUAGE

Learning another language is a real challenge but it broadens your mind and gives you insight into other cultures.  For me it has become part of my everyday life.  Each Monday I have a lesson with a teacher in Lima, Peru, who shares various topics with me including typical recipes of her region which I like to try out.  Last week it was a wheat salad which sounds really different.  Learning a language is also a stepping stone to visiting a country where the language you have chosen is spoken.  The Spanish Cat is a language school in Melbourne and they have put out a blog:  10 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PERU.  Here it is for you to enjoy.  I am sure you will be tempted to visit Peru.  I know I am:

http://www.thespanishcat.com/learn/index.php/jaggyblog/10-things-to-see-and-do-in-peru

 

VOLUNTEERING

As a volunteer with the Community Visitors Scheme, I visited Josephine in a local aged care facility today.  Sometimes these visits can be quite confronting and sobering which is the case with Josephine as she is just one year older than myself and is suffering some short term memory loss due to a growth in the brain which can’t be operated on.  However, she is always pleased to see me and I try to chat about things we did as young women which she can recall  with clarity.   It is so important for people like Josephine to have contact with the outside world and for a short time be part of that world with me.  When I leave the facility I count my blessings and know I have to make the best of each and every day.

 

CANDY FLOSS

Can you remember enjoying Candy Floss.  I used to absolutely love it and remember it was part of the joys of town and village fetes.  This was brought home to me on the weekend when I saw two mature ladies laughing whilst they ate candy floss  with the floss well and truly stuck to their lips.  I looked for a picture on Pinterest and came up with this great fun postcard.  Some of you will have seen it already because I posted it on my Retire and Enjoy Facebook Page.

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All for now from Retire and Enjoy.  Enjoy each day.  Until next time

Janice

 

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CELEBRATIONS, INTERESTING PEOPLE, PROJECTS

KEN’S 80TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Last week we spread the celebrations of Ken’s 80th Birthday over several days, after which I have to say we were quite exhausted but very content.  We spent quite a bit of time deciding how to celebrate the big day with the family.  Our first idea was to do something really different like GoKarting.  However, on investigation of the costs i.e. in the region of $900 for 20 minutes for participation of the whole family, this idea was quickly discarded somewhat to the disappointment of the teenagers.  Ken had often wondered if his children and grandchildren knew anything about his working life as a Compositor in the printing trade, starting at age 15 as an apprentice in London, until the dimise of those skills with the advent of computer technology.   With this in mind it was decided to take the family to the Melbourne Museum of Print for a guided tour.  I have to say that this was met with groans from some as a possible boring outing.  It turned out to be a most enlightening experience for all and amazement at how technology had changed the printing trade.  You can visit the site at:  www.mmop.org.au – as well as being a museum there are teaching courses on the practice and origins of typography and they also provide a letterpress studio for typographical printmaking.  I took some photos and made them into a slide Ken is busy making a film of the day so I may be able to share that at a later date.

 

 

I bought Ken a new wedding ring.  It was a real surprise for him.  He lost his ring when building his bird aviary some years ago.  Although we searched and searched it was to no avail.  It’s probably encased in concrete in the ground.

Congratulations Ken on reaching 80

Congratulations Ken on reaching 80

 

MEETING UP WITH BOB BAKEWELL

Recently I had the opportunity to have a coffee and chat with Bob Bakewell.  I was introduced to him recently through the Ken’s movie making club.  Bob is 83 and has had the most amazing and eventful life.  He shared some stories of his adventures working in Papua, New Guinea as a land surveyor in the 50’s and 60’s where he had many near death experiences at the hands of the locals including being shipwrecked when travelling between islands and spending hours in the water before being rescued.  He told me a little of the tragedies of his life.  The death of his 5 year old son at the hands of a drunk driver, the suicide of his 30 year old son who suffered from spina bifida and the light plane crash that killed his three brothers and brother in law returning from a fishing trip.  He said, with tears rolling down his face “I should have died many times, why was I spared”

Anyway I thought I would share with you one of Bob’s more fun stories as reported in his local newspaper.  This is an abridged version:

A tall tale but true Australia Day story

AUSTRALIA Day 2015 is one that Cowes resident Bob Bakewell will not forget in a hurry.  In fact, he is hopping mad, after a wallaby gate crashed his home.  Bob opened his door on the morning of Australia Day after hearing a knock, expecting to welcome his next door neighbour in, only to have on of Australia’s iconic national symbols in the form of a terrified wallaby go flying up the hall.  It proceeded to create mayhem throughout the house as Bob attempted to quieten it down.  He found that the the more he moved toward it, the more agitated and flighty it became. Bedside lamps, pictures, photo frames all went flying and the curtains and bed linen were all but destroyed in the ruckus.  The Phillip Island Nature Park were contacted and someone arrived to capture the wallaby.  Australia Day celebrations were put on hold as Bob set about a major clean up.  He was still at it the following day, the house unliveable that night.

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Fortunately Bob was able to take photos of the destruction in process which he forwarded to his insurance company.

Retirement is a time when we can share our stories and reminisce.  Hope to include more of Bob’s stories in the future.  He is an amazing character.

PROJECTS

My latest project, the publication of my book A VEGETARIAN AT THE TABLE (how to mix and match a meat and vegetarian menu at the same time) has been uploaded to Amazon Kindle.  It’s been so much work as I decided to include pictures of each recipe so of course my kitchen became a production set.  I had a lot of trouble with formatting for conversion to Kindle and am still not completely happy with how that has turned out.  Fortunately you can edit your book as many times as you like so I will make some changes.  The next thing I have to do is make a video for my author page which Ken is helping me with.  That’s work in progress.  You might like to take a look at my book on my Amazon site at:  Author page

 

Do share any stories you may have or any ideas for Retire and Enjoy.

Until next time

Janice

 

 

 

 

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ACTIVITIES AND VOLUNTEERING (8/03/15)

Hello all – welcome to autumn here in Australia where there are all kinds of activities and festivals to enjoy.  Ken is continuing his quest to make as many short movies as possible so has planned a calendar of events that we can both attend which will provide him with colourful subject matter.   There really are so many opportunities and ideas for projects to pursue now that we are retired.

Dahlia exhibition and show, Mt Waverley

If you were interested in growing dahlias or just wanting to enjoy the beauty of these blooms, this exhibition and show was absolutely magnificent.  Here are a couple of photos:

Dahlia Show at Mt Waverley

Dahlia Show at Mt Waverley

Mt Waverley Show

Mt Waverley Show

One of the exhibitors was Country Dahlias from Winchelsea near Geelong.   If you live near Melbourne it is possible to visit their 2 acre dahlia garden and wander around at your leisure.    They are hosting a festival on the weekend of March 21st/22nd which sounds good.  Unfortunately their brochure does not give a web site and I haven’t been able to find one, though they are mentioned on the net under plant nurseries.   If you live in other States of Australia, search out the events calendar for your area.  Conversely, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will just be starting to think of planting out your tubers.  I remember with nostalgia how my father loved his dahlias;  he grew those ones with the huge heads.

Quilt and felt hat display at Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne

I was so inspired by the felt hat display and came home full of enthusiasm for making one for myself.  However, I was a little sobered by the process when I checked out some YouTube tutorials.  I am undaunted and think I will pursue the idea.  It could be a good project for the winter months.  I will keep you posted.  The quilts must have taken hours of work.  I have never attempted one myself though my daughter made one some years ago.  I am sure if you want a really absorbing pastime, quilt making would fill the bill.

Here is a picture of the hat display:

Felt hats and wall hangings at quilt exhibition

Felt hats and wall hangings at quilt exhibition

Kite Festival at Rosebud, Mornington Peninsula

Yesterday we went to the Kite Festival at Rosebud.  Though this event was more for young people, racing around flying their kites, there were still quite a few older folk with their grandchildren, enjoying the spectacle of the professional display as shown here:

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I didn’t realise there was still so much interest in kites.  Ken says he remembers, as a boy, making a kite from split bamboo canes to required shape, putting cotton around the outside, then laying on tissue paper and sticking to the outside string after which he attached a tail and more string to pull it into the air.

Volunteering as a Community Visitor

I have chatted before about the Community Visitors Scheme which pairs volunteers with a resident in an aged care facility who is need of a visitor to share some time them.  There are so many people who sit alone all day and never have a visitor.  This is so sad.  After the death late last year of the lady I was visiting  I decided to take some time away but this week I was introduced to a new inmate who I will be visiting from now on.  We chatted briefly and I am sure that we will be able to develop an ongoing and fulfilling relationship.  Here is a rose for her from my garden:   P1310686

If you are interested in finding out more about the scheme in your area, visit:

http://www.communityvisitorsscheme.org.au

That’s all for this Blog.  Let me know about your activities.  Until next time,

Enjoy every day

Janice

 

 

 

 

 

 

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