Category Archives: Enjoying good company

Getting ready for Christmas, Crafts, Good company, a recipe and trips

Getting ready for Christmas

Puddings:

We say every year we can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas.  I wonder how many of you have made your puddings ready for the big day.  I made mine some weeks ago and as customary Ken and I stirred the mixture and made three wishes.  We always take photos and I think perhaps I should put together a montage of these photos from over the years, though this could prove a little confronting observing the passing of the years.

I always make a few individual puddings so they can be enjoyed later in the year usually at Easter and on Ken’s birthday in June.

Gingerbread houses:

For the past 11 years I have made gingerbread houses for the grandchildren.  Last year I produced 14 little houses ready to be decorated.  This was because I had three additional people in the group, the two sons of my daughter-in-law and the girlfriend of my eldest grandson Nicholas.  Even at 20, Nic still wanted to decorate a gingerbread house.  I did receive help in glueing up the houses as my granddaughter Emma came to stay for a few days.  With much soul-searching I have decided to discontinue the tradition this year, though I am going to make two large gingerbread houses for decoration by my three granddaughters.  It’s a little sad 😥  but they grow up.  They all agree it will be one of their important childhood memories, decorating the gingerbread houses ready for Christmas.

If anyone is interested I would be happy to supply the gingerbread house recipe and template.

Crochet and Sewing

Recently I have been going along to a crochet class at my local Neighbourhood House.  It wasn’t quite what I expected as many of the ladies attending were knitting or doing other crafts.  However, with the help of Elsie Hope, who fronts up the group, I have started to master the first steps on my way to be able to crochet, a skill in which I was sadly lacking.  I’m making an envelope purse but not sure how long that will take.   My new sewing machine has proved to be a gem and I am very pleased with the dress I completed a couple of weeks ago.  I feel inspired to keep sewing but the reality is that there are only so many dresses you can wear so will have to curtail my activities a little.

 

First efforts at crochet

First efforts at crochet

 

 

 

 

 

The dress worn on a day out with Olga during visit to Jan Huggins

The dress worn on a day out with Olga during visit to Jan Huggins

Enjoying good company

Nothing beats a day out with a good friend.  That’s what I was able to do a couple of weeks ago when Olga and I went in search of gifts she could take home to Chile when she visits family and friends in December.  We shopped ’til we dropped, had lunch and afterwards visited Jan Huggins for a cuppa and cake and a nice long chat.  Jan and I met when we were in hospital at the same time having hip replacements and have kept in contact ever since.

A salad recipe for entertaining with Hokkien Noodles

Packet of noodles, 4 spring onions chopped, 1 red capsicum sliced thinly, 100g snow peas sliced, 1 small carrot sliced.  Pinch of mint and coriander.  100g roasted cashews.

Cover noodles with boiling water for a couple of minutes then drain.  Combine all ingredients.  To make dressing you will need to whisk together 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbl olive oil, 1 tbl lime juice, 2 tbl soy sauce or kecap manis, 3 tbs sweet chilli sauce.  Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

 

Update on trip to Printing Museum at Chiltern

In my last Blog I wrote about our visit to the Printing Museum at Chiltern, Victoria.  Ken has now produced a video documenting how a local newspaper was produced up until the 1960’s.

 

Sailing on the Enterprize – Melbourne Tall Ship

Sailing on a tall ship has been on Ken’s bucket list for a long long time.  He was able to fulfil that dream last week when he took a trip on the Enterprize.  I have never seen him so excited.  I have to say I didn’t share his enthusiasm so stayed on dry land.  He enjoyed it so much he intends to take another trip during December.  He’s in the process of making a video so will upload that next time.

 

Ken, ready to set sail

Ken, ready to set sail

GET WELL

I would like to send get well good wishes to my friend Joan Blain (UK), who has been in hospital for some time.  Joan suffers from MS which has necessitated her staying in hospital for some months after falling and breaking her ankle.  I hope you will be home for Christmas Joan.

Especially for you Joan

Especially for you Joan

I hope you are all enjoying pursuing your different projects and learning new skills.  Here is a Chinese Proverb for you:

LEARNING IS A TREASURE THAT WILL FOLLOW ITS OWNER EVERYWHERE  

Janice   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:  [email protected]

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

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

 

 

 

FELT HAT PROJECT, ADVENTURE IDEAS, A QUICK RECIPE IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING

FELT HAT PROJECT

I am happy to report that my felt hat project was a success, in fact I was so inspired that I made two hats.  There were two options open for the hat felting process;  the first was to lay the wool out on a template and the second to use a ball and cover it in layers with the wool.  I chose the second option though, on reflection, I think you may be able to get the design a bit more consistent with the former method because you have more control on how you lay out the fibres.  That’s for next time if I decide I need another hat!

I took photos of the hats on Photo Booth and came up with these as the best examples:

In case you are inspired to have a go here’s the YouTube tutorial I followed.  It’s a bit quirky but fun to watch.

 

 

 

PERU, LAND OF HIDDEN TREASURES

Following on from my post about the 10 best things to see and do in Peru, I thought you may be interested in the Peru Official Travel and Tourism Portal.  I subscribe to a newsletter called PERU THIS WEEK, which is packed with information about Peru, not only travel but lifestyle, recipes, music and culture.  This site makes you want to pack your bags.

http://www.peru.travel/en-us/

 

ALL IN ONE QUICHE – IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING AT SHORT NOTICE

This quiche really is delicious and so easy to prepare:

200g smoked salmon chopped, 1 cup grated cheese, 3 eggs, 1 onion chopped, 1½ cups milk, ½ cup cream, ¼ cup melted butter, ½ cup self raising flour.

Place all ingredients into an airtight container.  Shake well.  Pour into a heavily greased flan dish.  Bake 180C for 45 minutes.  Garnish with smoked salmon.  Serve cold.  For vegetarians replace salmon with chopped vegetarian sausage.

S1010012Photo taken in my garden last summer.

 

BITS AND PIECES – crocheting, water aerobics and books

I’m still practicing my crocheting skills and have managed to make a very large circle with different patterns.  Nothing to be proud of so far.  I had a bathing costume malfunction and couldn’t go to water aerobics until I bought a new one.  I think the costume was about 15 years old.   I’m now the proud owner of two bathing suits being unable to choose which one I liked best so bought both.  I finished reading The Dandelion by Terry Guilford (mentioned in my last blog).  I enjoyed the psychology advice given to the main character but have to admit to skipping a few pages.  I’m now reading a book of short stories, entitled BRAVO,

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which was kindly sent to me by the author, an American lady, who is a volunteer in a school in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The school was set-up especially to help educate indigenous disadvantaged children.  It has had enormous success thanks to donations and volunteers from all walks of life.   The book is in both Spanish and English (Spanish on the left page and English on the right).  I am reading the stories to my friend Olga whose native language is Spanish.  It’s good practice for my pronounciation and causes quite a lot of hilarity when I get things wrong.  Olga is a wonderful help to me in my quest to converse in her language.

I hope you are keeping fit and well and filling your days with enjoyable activities.  Until next time,

Janice

 

 

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 !!!!!

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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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

UPDATES/PROJECTS/ACTIVITIES

Hello everyone – sorry I’ve got so behind in updating the blog but I have been occupied trying to get my new cook book finished.  I received advice on the importance of  including photographs of my recipes in the book so that’s what I have been doing, not realising what a massive task it would be.  Ken has been my photographer and thanks to him the job is almost complete.

Oscar’s doggie antics – Sophia’s best friend

My little dog Sophia loves to meet up with Oscar, who is a fearless little terrier, when we happen to be walking on the beach at the same time. Sophia always knows if Oscar is about when she sniffs the imprint of his paws and dashes off to find him. He in turn races to meet her with ‘open paws’, much wagging of tails and sniffing. Today Sheri, the owner of Oscar, posted the most amazing story on Facebook. I know you will find it fascinating. Here it is:

Another close call for the fearless Oscar today. He and I went for a walk along the Kilcunda beaches, starting from Shelley Beach and around the corner onto the main Kilcunda beach. Halfway down that stretch was was a great big bird sitting on the sand. Still a fair way from it, I saw it half-walk, half-fly out into the water a ways – it looked like it was struggling a bit. When we walked up past where the bird had been on the beach, Oscar decided to go for a swim, as is his wont. All of a sudden the big bird (bigger than Oscar) turned around and surfed in on a wave straight towards Oscar! I don’t know who struck first – the bird or Oscar. But the bird quickly had Oscar by the neck and onto his back. Oscar was trying to get free but his paws were above him and he couldn’t get much of a wriggle up in the water. The bird wasn’t going to let go – it looked like it was trying to drown him. By this time I had gotten my coat off, tossed my iPod and phone up the beach and went in after him, into about hip-deep water. Fortunately the surf wasn’t very big today. I just swatted at the bird (huge wing-span, I might say), grabbed Oscar away from it and we got back up onto the beach. No skin broken, but some fur missing around the front of his neck. Oscar was making a strange hacking, convulsing noise – I thought maybe the bird had damaged his windpipe or something. I tipped him upside down but he didn’t lose any water. So when we got up to the carpark on the bluff I called Neville to come down and pick us up. Also because I was dripping wet!  And it was cold!  When Nev got there, I pointed out where the bird was (Oscar had recovered by this time and was keen for another play). We saw a woman come along with a little staffie, and the bird, who had gone back out onto the water, made a beeline for the staffie! The staffie obviously isn’t a swimmer so it ran barking up the beach away from the water and the bird gave up and went back into the water. It looked like it had either a broken foot or broken wing.
When we got home Nev called Wildlife Rescue who sent someone from Phillip Island Nature Reserve out about an hour later. Nev went down to see if she needed a hand (I stayed home with Oscar, as we were still thawing out). AND, wouldn’t you know it, I was wearing a brand new pair of Brooks runners – not enough time to take them off, as Oscar was in trouble – so I had to spend some time rinsing them out well enough – I hope!
By the time the rescuer and Nev got there, the bird had gone out into deeper water and the rescuer said she couldn’t go out that far. Nev suggested he walk out alongside the deeper water on the rock platform. Sure enough, the bird came back in towards him and followed him back to the shallower water! The rescuer then waded out with a big blanket, flung it over the bird and wrapped it up. She said it was a Southern Giant Petrel and that they are quite aggressive by nature. And that they would check it out, put it in a cage, give it some food, and release it if it recovered. She didn’t think it had a broken wing or foot, but maybe that it had gotten knocked around in a storm out at sea and was just exhausted. Interestingly, she told Nev that they had rescued a pair of these same birds a couple of weeks ago. Overnight in the cage one had killed and eaten the other one! I hope none of the fairy penguins hear about this!
And you would think Oscar would have learnt a lesson.  No way – all the way back up the beach and the bluffs, having trouble breathing, he was still wanting to get back and have a go. As with the seals, every time we walk past that spot he will be looking for that bird…

This is Oscar:

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Update on tofu making

Well my tofu making did not get off to a very good start.  I haven’t heard that anyone followed the recipe I gave for which I am thankful.  I made three attempts and the results were pitiful.  I went to the beach three times to collect sea water.  The last time a young surfer gave me a very strange look as I bent over a rock pool with bottle in hand trying to fill it with sea water.  It was windy and starting to rain.

After each failure I rang Bruce, the master tofu maker, and he made various suggestions as to what could be going wrong.  The curd was just not coming together.  Eventually he said he would come round and we would make tofu together which he kindly did.  The problem turned out to be in the grinding of the soaked beans.  I used my kitchen mixer whereas he had used the traditional grinder.  Before coming he practiced using a liquidiser to grind the beans, and that’s what we did together.  SUCCESS – is it worth all the trouble, I’m not sure, but have decided to have another go on my own.  I don’t like being beaten.

Update on felt making

I haven’t lost interest in the idea of making a felt hat.  I trawled the internet for courses but found them to be too far away to travel plus they were costly, in the region of $120.  Borrowed some books from the library and also watched YouTube tutorials.  Last weekend went to Spotlight and bought 70g of Merino Wool which was packaged and ready for use in wet felting.  I was horrified to see that it was imported from China and cost $14.95.  Now this is not economical but it will allow me to make a practice run.  I have looked on eBay where larger carded quantities can be purchased at a fraction of the cost.  My idea is to buy one of these larger amounts and have a go at dying it from natural infusions.  Could be challenging !

Leche asada

Each week when I participate in a Spanish language lesson with Rosa my teacher from Lima in Peru, we share a variety of topics.  Recently she has given me links to recipes, written in Spanish, which are very popular in South America.  Leche asada is one that I would like to share with you all because it is so easy and is similar to a Creme Caramel.

2 cups evaporated milk, 2 eggs beaten, 4 tbs sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.  Beat ingredients together except nutmeg,  poor into 6 individual moulds then sprinkle over nutmeg.   Fill an oblong roasting pan with boiling water (bain marie)  stand filled moulds in water and bake at 175C for about 40 minutes until set.  You can make them a bit more special by first caramelising 200g of sugar  in a saucepan for 5 minutes.  Poor into moulds before adding the milk mixture.  Chill for at least 3 hours.  

I can’t take credit for this picture as it came from the recipe I was given but I thought you would like to see the end result.  The ones I made turned out really well and were absolutely delicious served with raspberries.  Olga my Chilean friend gave them her seal of approval.

postres

 

 

Outing to Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day

Ken was keen to do some filming so last Sunday we went to the Annual Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day at Dandenong.  Unfortunately it wasn’t well attended, probably because of rain and wind, but we managed to make the best of it.  There were some magnificent Clydesdale horses and foals and Scottish Dogs sporting tartan colours but what stood out was a Town Crier competition.  One of the Criers was a lady with a massive voice:  here she is strutting her stuff:

town crier

 

I think I’ve made up for my lack of news over the past couple of weeks.  Hope you are all travelling well and enjoying life.  Do share your retirement stories with the blog if you feel so inclined.

Janice

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:

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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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