Thursday, 29 June 2017

Plates, glorious plates.

The crockery was so elegant that it was never used.~ anon

The real Blue Willoware is worth a small fortune these days. It was designed in 1780 by one Thomas Minton for 'Salopian China Manufactory' & based on a bogus Chinese legend of eloping lovers. Traditionally it is a blue & white pattern originally designed for the common household crockery but it can be found in black, green & brown as well. I have never liked the other colours & it seems a lot of people agree with me because it has never really gone out of fashion.

Anyway our lot arrived in 2 big boxes because our Woolies, who used to sell individual plates & bowls for a dollar or so each, stopped doing that so I could no longer replace all our missing bits & pieces.

CG is responsible for a good deal of my problem. Originally, because the fake stuff is so dirt cheap, I had bought a set of 6 plates & bowls from Woolies for about a dollar each. At the time geometric patterns were all the rage & I abhor geometric patterns.  They give me a headache.  Ugly.  Ugly.  Ugly. The blue soothed my soul ~ & as I have said my aunt owned this set so lots of good memories.
 I believe it is no longer a *thing* & families no longer do this so much but in our household all our kids had chores ~ & they had chores because I loath housework & am very bad @ it. Nothing too onerous: make their own bed; learn to cook; wash up the dinner things in turn.  We still don't have a dishwasher.

My kids were regular kids.  None of them liked doing the washing up but they understood everyone did it eventually & normally it wasn't much of an issue.

I can't remember what set her off but, this particular night CG took a real snoot about doing the washing up. As she collected the plates she banged them on top of each other until I thought she'd smash them to bits then stuck her nose in the aim & proceeded to storm towards the kitchen in a mighty huff.  I suggested she might like to NOT stack so many @ once but...

They say pride goes before a fall ~ & fall she did. Every dish we owned crashed out of her hands & landed loudly on the floor. I don't know who was more shattered: CG or our crockery!

Woolies was still selling the willoware but the design was slightly different, so we lived with mismatched dinnerware. Meanwhile it kept disappearing.   I was down to just 3 dinner plates & four bowls...who knows?  The girls used the bowls to take lunches to work & ODD admitted to breaking @ least one but as to the other...or the 3 missing dinner is owning to anything.  I suspect my boys.  In which case those plates are probably @ the bottom of Moreton Bay by now.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Bits of pieces.

Some things are necessary ~ & they will never be particularly pretty. Presently they are not even usable as our electricity is not hooked up to the kitchen ~ & won't be for some weeks yet though we have discovered what is taking the lad so long. Having arrived, left, & returned without doing very much @ all the lad confessed the kitchen was a good excuse not to have to sleep @ home.  Apparently here, minus a baby squawking through the night, is far more peaceful.  Plus he gets in plenty of fishing.

Work is still in progress so though I have put the new pots & pans in their drawer  we are still waiting for the final clean up & preparation.  Until then ...

 Meanwhile...Today we went inter island visiting to catch up with church members which was very nice but completely exhausting but we got home in time to collect our big parcel.
 My lovely blue & white willow~ware has arrived!  When everyone is home there are 7 of us before we count in any extras: wives, friends, when the Moth ordered he ordered 2 sets which gives us an 8 seating & a few spare from what is left of the old incomplete set.
So, I'm unlikely to ever actually use the tea cups with their saucers but they're pretty. The little saucers will be wonderful for bible study morning teas & I am so tired of mismatched everything! So there you have it!  Eventually I will have a complete kitchen. ☺

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Of Plates, & Pots & Frying Pans.

 Don't you find family resemblances weird?  Here's the Little Man & the MOTH.  All the Little Man needs is the set of whiskers & he'd be a dead spit for his Grand~dad!

We stopped in on our way to do some kitchen shopping.  As the MOTH promised we are replacing absolutely everything in the kitchen. I have some brand new stoneware pans, stainless steel pots, large cutting boards, cutlery that matches & we ordered the dinnerware I wanted on~line.  Hopefully that will arrive sometime this week.

I have stuck with the same design that I have had forever with the dinnerware.  Firstly I really like the old blue willow pattern design.  Blue & white is my very favourite.  Even so I love it because it is the same pattern my Aunty Shirley used to have.  Everything about her & the Old House at Wellington Point holds good memories for me, so every time I use this dinner set I think of her & good things.

I used to get up quite early always @ Trafalgar House because that was  the coolest part of the day & as the sun hit the garden & it began to steam the aromas were heady. My cousin, 10 years older than I but still the closest to me in age, would make herself a latte before getting ready for work.  Of course I had to have one too.  I adored my cousin & we would sit in the sunshine on the front verandah sipping quietly as the shadows made way for sunshine & the air steamed in the growing heat of the day.

Next was oatmeal done the old fashioned Scottish way, slowly, overnight, & ladled into the breakfast bowls with plenty of brown sugar & cream. We would eat at the long table on the enclosed side verandah that doubled as my aunt's art studio & which always smelled of turps & thinners despite the louvers being wide open.  By then the room was filled with sunshine & the warm air starting to get hot. There were always a variety of paintings in various stages of unfinish to gaze at, & because my aunt always used knives to paint, her paintings were textured.

My aunt's life was not particularly happy in many ways.  She made a poor marriage.  They were ill suited to each other & & my uncle's bedroom horrified me.  His walls were stacked to the ceiling with old magazines & newspapers ~ feet thick!~ & he was a smoker in bed.  My mother declared it a fire hazard. However My aunt was creative & her gardens were wonderful oasis of originality & unusual plants @ a time when that was rare.

When I dream of her house it is with unnerving reality. I loved it more than the modern house I actually grew up in ~ perhaps because I was always happy there.
Meanwhile the rain & cold have meant lit fires & very happy cats!  The terror with which they greeted the appearance of this black monstrosity in their living room has been replace by sheer adoration & if we fail to light it before the cold sets in we are greeted with querulous queries as to why we are being so lax!  Yes, they can make themselves very plain!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

 I guess everyone thinks their grandchildren are beautiful.

 The Little Man is beautiful in every way ~ bar one.  He is not enamored of sleep.  In fact, this is why I am usually called in to help ~ so everyone else can sleep!

However last week was different.  T1 was working.  Dilly wanted to go on a bush walk with the Young Adults. Me, I'd've shoved the kid in a sling & walked with him but that is not how my Dilly thinks so I was asked to pull an all~dayer... on my own.  Everyone else was out.

Do you know how long it has been since I have been solely responsible for a very young child?  Twenty~two years! Yep.  That's how old ODD will be come August.  Yikes!

I was the only one who seemed remotely concerned about it.  T1 blithely proclaims I've raised 5 [3 under 2 @ one stage] ~ what's a lone singleton to a pro like me?

So by 9am The Little Man & I were in sole possession of the house & I was mentally calculating [as you do] the likely number of hours we had to fill in before a parent would reappear & reclaim their protegee because the Little Man is in the process of cutting out one of his day naps...

I have got very sneaky.  If the Little Man suspects he is being abandoned to his Móraí's tender mercies he screams blue murder so I made sure we were out of the house when his mother departed it. We took the mop [aka the Teddy~dog] & by the time we got back everyone was happy to sit quietly for a bit.

When the grizzles started I decided we would walk the other way because there is a little park beside the creek.  Any time we've walked past, the park has been quietly abandoned, the swings hanging still, the slides empty, the climbing frame solitary upon the sand, chooks parading in stately splendour across the grass but Saturday morning there were @ least 2 other children with their grans.  I had already checked so I knew there was a baby swing ~ which promptly put the lad to sleep & not what I wanted @ all just then.  Instead we went up the slide & I popped the lad in my lap for the ride down.  Not the quiet playing on the grass he is used to @ home.

We detoured on the way home as I keep seeing these environmental spaces but hampered by the stroller & a dog had kept passing them by.  This time I didn't.  We humped & bumped over the thick tussocky grass behind the high fences  ~ & very dull it was!  There were no little paths to wander along just this awful spindly malalooka swamp & a heap of dumped rubbish! 
As we walked I noticed the Little Man's double crown [just like his dad's!] & the way his curls swirl in such an interesting way. Then all of a sudden he slumped forward ~ out like a light!

I left him in the stroller & we got 2 solid hours when he slept & slept & slept. Later on we just enjoyed outside @ the front of his house until Teddy decided to be really wicked & went visiting the neighbours!  He is NOT an obedient dog.

I think we had a succesful day.  No real crying.  Lots of outdoor time. And he was in a good mood when his mother arrived home.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Walks, kitchens, gardens.

So I was helping out with the Little Man again.  It is getting to be a regular occurrence every other week or so. I remember why we moved out of the suburbs & into the wild. The Little Man loves being outside, even from the confines of his stroller so that is where we head any time he fusses as his suburban yard is both small & dull.

If we head down the highway we come across a large gate before too long.  There is no padlock, just a council sign saying it is parkland though very odd it is. On one side there is a long row of big fenced yards, then a dirt *road* [wider than a path but obviously not used for vehicles] then a strip of scrub & then the highway.
I unlatch the gate while the Little Man waits patiently  then we head bumpity~bump down the dirt road listening to the birds & the rustling trees until it all gets too much...
They are all cherubs when asleep.
If we walk the other way we come to 3 or 4 small farms where we can watch the horses. Down the bank is a half finished dam full of egrets & if we are still & patient the chooks come clucking through the weedy grasses.  The farms are rather derelict & run down, leftovers from a simpler age & an anomaly buried amongst the brick veneer homes & tidy lawns but we like them.  
All our kitchen benches are now in & I am so happy with how it is working. The stove has moved just a little bit but it is enough to give me 3 good working spaces along the back. It is very workable for our needs.  I will sometimes bake if feeling inspired but I don't used a lot of gadgets or nick~knacks & I am a good plain cook so we really don't need an awful lot of storage.  I didn't want corner cupboards or top cupboards: both are impossible to reach & I'm getting to old to be standing on my benchtops! We are shopping next week to replace our pots & pans & other necessary items & hopefully we can get the electrician in to hook us up.
Then there is the garden.  The MOTH has been hard at work building all his little boxes & after much discussion we finally hit upon something we both like & were keen to grow ~ weeping maples.  Half a dozen different varieties arrived by mail last week, bare rooted & grafted, all needing to be potted up & staked in the interim. We now have one of each variety from here. I think they are so pretty though how much colour we will actually get remains to be seen.

Tonight we are tucked up cosily, the fire ablaze, rain pattering on our tin roof, the cats snuggled close.  All is well with our little world.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Bringing Home the Wood.

 Yes, it is winter. You wouldn't know it during the day because it is warm enough in the sunshine for just a T~shirt or a light jumper but our house is cold in winter.  The angle of the sun just doesn't catch any of our downstairs rooms & as the MOTH & I feel the cold we do not enjoy winter.  Not our winters, not anybody's winters.

Consequentially last winter we finally put in the fireplace we had always wanted but could never afford & it was sooooo lovely!  Toasty warm! Bliss.

The drawback, of course [there is always a drawback] is that fires need fuel. We have a wood fire because wood we have in plentiful supply.  It falls out of our trees all year log, washes up along the beach & our big storms bring down whole trees.  All we have to do is cut it up & lug it along to the house. This is easier said than done.

Quite often we do a scrub bash somewhere we can pull up the car but our next~door~neighbours have a lot of fallen timber along their foreshore they want removed so the MOTH has been gradually cutting it up & we lug it up our rather steep hill piecemeal.

This is what I went to do yesterday afternoon before the cold set in so that when I actually got around to lighting the fire I had plenty of wood. Ha!

Unhappily both cats were on hand to help!  Kirby peered  around the corner of the house as I passed & followed as far as the first post where he sat & yowled! Gotta love that yowling.
Meanwhile Marlow arrived, shot between my legs & hurtled down the steps at a frantic pace. He loves going walkies with me but as he constantly gets underfoot he is not my most favourite companion when I am working.
The steps are steep.  I had to negotiate them with my arms full of wood, a yowling cat & one twinning between my legs. This is how I know there is a God.  We all survived. ☺

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Still Keeping On...

It has not been a good week.  The world has gone mad in so many ways.  I can only watch in disbelief at what it is spewing forth ~ & as the MOTH likes to point out, it hasn't even really begun yet.
Just the same the world continues to toddle along & us with it because we are to continue doing His work until He collects us to take us home. For us that means working on our house so that it can be used for His glory. I spent last week oiling our timber benchtops ~ a stinky, sticky job but one that would save the lad heaps of time so he could focus on the things we can't do ~ like actually lifting the things into place & gluing them down, drill all the necessary holes & reconnect our water...

He still has the breakfast bar to go & some fiddly work on the tower then it is just easy stuff like the handles & trim.  I have been told I can start moving things back into my kitchen ~ so another cull I expect.  No point in keeping anything I don't actually use.

I mentioned this front garden that the Little Man & I pass regularly on our walks some time back so I took a picture so I could show you.  Most of the gardens look like the one below.  Seriously. Given I actually believe lawn should be banned in this country [we are water deprived & grass is a heavy  water user] they do not impress me in the least so this nautical theme at least has that in its favour ~ but what were they thinking?

And in case you're wondering, no, we do not have grass anywhere.  The pavement is our council's doing [we don't own the nature strip] & I have been trying hard to kill it off, if only because it wants to invade our garden beds.  Horrible stuff!

 Meanwhile I have been having one of those quiet chuckles to myself that is a Móraí's prerogative because my DILLY has visions of a quiet, indoorsy little boy when T1 draws him like a magnet when the Man Stuff comes out.  It's hysterical. Like father, like son! The lad was trying to wind line onto his reel & I think his little helper was more of an impediment!

Despite the fact that winter has officially arrived according to the calendar our weather continues mild for the time of year & after a fortnight's downpour all the bromiliads decided to flower.  Even the MOTH was charmed.  We have a haze of mauve under our palms.  So very pretty.