happiness · rain

The Most Romantic Non-Proposal of All Time.

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“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Junior.

It’s St. Valentine’s Day, a day when apparently many love-sick men propose marriage to their heart’s desire, as they bury said lover in mounds of fragrant roses whilst simultaneously slipping thousands of dollars worth of diamonds onto their beloveds petite hand.

I’m afraid the idea of such a proposal leaves me feeling rather flat.

How about some uncommercialised, straight-from-the-heart, free-from-gushing honesty this year?

One of the most romantic scenes I have ever seen in a movie is from “Three Weddings and a Funeral”. It is pure honesty at it’s best. I love it!

How do you feel about St. Valentine’s Day? Is it overrated, or do you enjoy the gushing and glitz?

blessings · ducks · friends · gratitude

Quiet Sunday Morning.

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It is around 8 am Sunday morning, as I linger over my beloved computer, amid the messy desk where I have dropped opened mail for over a week now. I’m stealing just a few moments, catching up with a few blogging friends, knowing that soon I must leave again.

Work beckons. I thought I had completed making most of the school uniforms (that is my business, I make school uniforms for a few local schools) for the children starting the new school year at the end of January. Apparently not. Sales of school uniforms this year have increased drastically from the last few years. Schools have under-estimated the quantities they would be needing. Which is a good thing really, as it suggests that the economy has improved in my area.

“Quack!” What was that I heard? Am I going quackers? Being so engrossed in reading about snow storms on the other side of the world, I almost missed the visitor I had in my own back garden!

"Is anyone awake yet? Where is everyone?"
“Is anyone awake yet? Where is everyone?”

Mr and Mrs Duck disappeared a few months ago. I’m positive that somewhere out there, they now have a cute little family of ducklings. I haven’t seen their family, but I have seen other Australian Wood Ducks around, who have cute little ducklings trailing behind. I see them often, toddling along the banks of the creek, which I pass on my way to work.

My own ducky friends returned at the end of last month. Both Mr and Mrs have been here a couple of times, but this morning it was just Mrs Duck, perched upon the side fence, quacking away to….who exactly was she quacking to? She didn’t say….

The day has begun so quietly, everyone in my house is having a Sunday morning sleep-in, and even the birds are quiet. It seems that in the bird-world, as well as in the people-world, one or the other is having a sleep in. Mr Magpie came for a visit, Mrs Magpie was nowhere to be seen.

"Where's my breakfast?"
“Where’s my breakfast?”

The sun is shining, the air is still, and I must leave for work again.

It will be a productive day. I know that. How could it be anything other, when I started the day so beautifully? 🙂

Australia · blessings · ducks · enchanting · gratitude

In January ~ An absurdly beautiful sight.

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“There was no sign of anybody, no sound of voices or feet. Tubs of arum lilies stood about on the stone floor, and on a table flamed a huge bunch of fierce nasturtiums. Spacious, flowery, silent, with the wide window at the end opening into the garden, and the Judas tree absurdly beautiful in the sunshine, it seemed….too good to be true.” ~ The Enchanted April.

On the last day of January I wanted, no, needed, to remember the joys of this month, as this, the middle month of the most harsh season of the year draws to a close.

I had spent the day alone, at home, with not a soul in sight; no sound of voices or feet. I don’t know why I looked outside when I did. I am so glad I did though, for there, just outside the door of my home, were my two old friends the Australian Wood Ducks, regular visitors to my garden who I haven’t seen since early September.

In that moment, all of the heat, rain, floods and cyclones of January didn’t seem to matter any more. Seeing these two creatures, so absurdly beautiful, having returned to my garden at long last, was truly enchanting. I had almost forgotten how beautiful they are, but only almost.

January is the month the ducks returned; January will remain in my memory as being an enchanting month.

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Australia · basics · music

As Australian as Vegemite ~ tastes just as good the second time around!

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“Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich…” ~ Land Down Under, Men at Work.

A whole two years ago I wrote about our beloved Australian icon ~ Vegemite. (Was it really two years ago? Wow, that time flew by awfully fast!)

How could I write a series of posts about Australian Icons without mentioning it again?

I won’t repeat myself though, you can still read the two year old post as everything I said about Vegemite back then still applies now!

And I still enjoy my Vegemite sandwiches as much now as I did back then. The main point that I really must emphasise about eating Vegemite, be it on a sandwich or on toast, is please do not add too much! It has a very strong flavour, so use sparingly!

See, you only need add a thin layer of Vegemite to your toast. Less is more! ;)
See, you only need add a thin layer of Vegemite to your toast. Less is more! 😉

Have any of my blogging friends from overseas ever had the opportunity to taste Vegemite?

If you haven’t tasted our famous National Icon, would you try it, if given the opportunity?

You may have heard this Australian “anthem” of sorts before, “Down Under” by Men at Work, as it was released in a number of countries throughout the world back in the early 1980’s. It was also the theme song of the Australia II camp, during Australia’s successful challenge of the Americas Cup in 1983.

Oh, and it was also played by “Men at Work” during the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games, held in Sydney, Australia.

Vegemite is mentioned in this song as well, so go on, have a listen. Does it sound familiar to you?

Post Script ~ After Sybil asked in her comment whether Vegemite is similar to Marmite I made some further investigations. Whilst they are very similar, the taste is different (well, to the palate of an Australian it is!) I have discovered that Vegemite contains malt extract, which is made from barley. Apparently, Marmite (an English product) doesn’t, therefore I will take this one difference in ingredience as confirming that my taste-buds are right!

Another interesting fact, the birth of Vegemite took place in Melbourne, Australia, in 1922. It was first made by the Fred Walker Cheese Company but it took a while to catch on, as Aussies were used eating Marmite on their morning toast. In 1937, Fred Walker decided to promote Vegemite by holding a limerick competition, offering substantial prizes, and from that moment on, the Aussies have been smitten. Fred Walker knew that Australia needed a brand new Australian Icon, obviously! 😉

The entire story of the history of Vegemite can be found at vegemite.com.au. I’ve even discovered that the old Vegemite advert, which I remember seeing on television as a child, is on You Tube!

Who would have known that there is so much information on the internet about Vegemite? I’m learning so much myself from writing this! 🙂

 

enchanting · son

A day spent back in time

the mantlepiece

“When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing, just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?” ~ Ralph Marston.

Monday, 28th January, 2013.

The interesting weather conditions have not let up today, if anything they have worsened. It appears that we are surrounded by a cyclone, high pressure systems, troughs and fronts, if that means anything at all to any of you. It means nothing to me, I just look out the window and see the trees blowing willy-nilly, branches flying off the trees, rain overfilling the bird bath and the birds huddling together in the shelter of our veranda.

"I dropped some!" This young kookaburra came onto the veranda today, out of the wind, and enjoyed a morsel of food.
“I dropped some!” This young kookaburra came onto the veranda today, out of the wind, and enjoyed a morsel of food.

We lost power last night at around 7.30 pm I think. After reading by torch-light for some time I decided to take advantage of the darkness and have an early night.

The power returned at some time overnight, I have no idea when, but it was back this morning. I planned a day of washing, ironing and vacuuming (all the fun stuff!) seeing as the great outdoors was fit for neither man nor beast.

Well, the Gods of the Power Plant had other ideas. By 10.30 am, the power had disappeared yet again.

All day we waited. I filled the washing machine with dirty clothes, all set to press the start button when the power returned.

I waited some more.

All set for a new year at school.
All set for a new year at school.

My son returns to school tomorrow, so we covered his books and put his name on all of his belongings. I’m not sure why I bother putting his name on things, he loses them anyway.

We ate lunch. We made drinks of tea, boiling the water on the gas burners. We hand washed the dishes that had been stacked into the dishwasher. The house remained dark, due to the inclement weather.

My husband went to the supermarket to buy kerosene for the old kerosene lamp. We may be in for another long, dark night.

I read a few pages of a new book I have. Then took a nap.

I never, ever even so much as feel drowsy during the day, but today, I did.

Can you see the dolphin leadlight-look design in this lantern?
Can you see the dolphin leadlight-look design in this lantern?

When I woke up, the night had arrived, still there was no electricity and the candles were alight.

And here is a seahorse.
And here is a seahorse.

Tuesday, 29th January, 2013.

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~ Buddha.

As you can see by the date, a new day has dawned and this post didn’t reach the point where I could hit the publish button. Thank you WordPress for auto-saving drafts! I had been saving as I wrote, but this morning I discovered that my writing had been saved mid-word, which I didn’t do manually.

This bumble bee looks far happier in my lantern than it would be outdoors right now.
This bumble bee looks far happier in my lantern than it would be outdoors right now.

Our evening meal was cooked last night by candlelight, using the gas burners of our stove top. As we began eating, the power returned.

My son had cheered, after declaring that he had never in his entire life spent such a boring day; with the return of the electricity to the house he could now watch the cricket on television and charge his mobile phone.

I had mixed emotions. Having paced around the house all day, wondering what to do next in our home which had been converted to pre-power days, it had given me the opportunity to contemplate how people back in those day filled their days, as yes, I too had spent the day feeling bored.

Mr. Frog, all aglow in the candlelight.
Mr. Frog, all aglow in the candlelight.

Life would have been so different, back in the days when life had to be planned around the natural light of day. I know I wouldn’t have been bored at all. I would take the lack of electricity for granted and plan my days accordingly.

As it turned out, when the lights came back on in our house and the candle light was no longer necessary, I felt quite sad. My eyes had become accustomed to the gentle light from the flickering flames. I had also enjoyed the silence in our home, hearing only the sounds of my families voices, the piano being played and the heavy breathing of my sleeping dog.

It had been magical, listening to the sounds of my son playing the most beautiful tune on the piano, one which he had taught himself during the school holidays. I had enjoyed the softness of the candlelight and the kerosene lamp.

I discovered that listening to the piano being played by candlelight is simply enchanting.

The gentle golden aura of the kerosene lamp was a welcome change to harsh, electric lighting.
The gentle golden aura of the kerosene lamp was a welcome change to harsh, electric lighting.

The only real gladness I had felt was in knowing that I could return to the computer, to write again, and to see the photos I had taken throughout the day.

I’m quite sure those people who lived back in the days before power would have rather enjoyed the internet too. 🙂