dates and needlepoint and interviews


This morning was another cold, dreary, grey, flattening sort of morning.  Melbourne specialises in these.  I have to exert a lot of energy to rise above it.  But the last few weeks, as I’ve been waiting for application acceptances and grad year interviews, I’ve been a little bit wobbly on the rise.  Checking emails every 5 minutes.  Fretting over imagined, terrible outcomes.  Wondering how I’ll ever make it to October 14th without having wasted 2 months ripping off all my cuticles.

Oy!  So, instead of working on the Spring House which continues to cover the kitchen table, I tipped my needlepoint wool onto the library table and curled up under the lamp to work on my Norwegian Queen.  Did you know the Norwegian word for Queen is “Dronning”.  I must say, to my English speaking mind, this doesn’t conjure up the most regal notions – instead, it makes me think of a right bore of a queen, “dronning” on and on and on in a pompous and repetitive manner to her ladies in waiting about all the things the King (Konge) does that annoy her.

Yesterday, when I was thinking of all the things I could do with this wee needlepoint, I looked up lots and lots of ways to say Queen.  The similarities were mostly expected – except for the enchanting Hindi word.   You want to know some?  Course you do – in French they say “Reine”, in Spanish it’s “Reina” and in Italian it’s “Regina”.  Yup – just as expected.  But in Hindu it’s “Rani”!  How cool is that!!  That Sanskrit and European languages share the same root is so fabulous!  Just tonight I heard that lovely Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, say that the thing he really began to feel when he was floating above our improbable jewel like world was the collectiveness of it all.  Such a beautiful thought – and precisely why they say Rani in India and Reine in France.

You want to know some more – all right!  In Russian they say “Koroleva”, in Czech they say “Kralovna”, and in Turkish they say “Kralice.  Must be a connection there.  In Malaysian they say “Ratu” and in Arabic they say “Malikah”.  In Japanese I think they say “Joo” and in Vietnamese they say “Nu Hoang”.  The one that made me laugh was the Maori – “Kuini”!  Isn’t that gorgeous!  I wish my Norwegian queen was a “Kuini” but I suppose I’d best make peace with the fact she’s a “Dronning”.

Anyways – etymological diversions aside – the needlepoint.  I was at a bit of an impasse.  I had – improbably – chosen gingernut brown for the background and spent last eve furiously filling and filling and filling.  Then realised this morning that I couldn’t possibly fill in around all those little red flowers – they would VANISH into the gingernut.  As I sat there, calculating how many hours it would take to pull out all that gingernut, I looked up and realised what was clearly inspiring me when I first settled on warm brown – this here print on the library wall!


I’m afraid I cannot remember the name or artist, but it is from the early American colonial period – one of my favourite periods of art.  I just love the wonky perspective and proportions – grapes hanging from huge trees ready to torpedo the small farm houses and the garden that looks ripe for sliding down the steep hill – of gingernut brown!  I’ve always looked at this painting and thought how the artist must have painted and painted the brown hill and then got to that beautiful weeping willow and thought “bugger, I can’t possibly paint in between all those delicate leaves, I know, I’ll paint around it.” And at the moment I was GLAD I’d chosen gingernut brown and knew just how to deal with those red flowers :-)

Then, I practised that ancient sport of “well, before I start a new piece of brown, I’ll just check the emails again.”  Do you know that game?  It goes like this – “before I wash the dishes, I’ll just check the emails again”, “I’ll hang out the washing and then I can check the emails again”,  ”I won’t check the emails again until I’ve added three more rows of bricks”,  ”goodness, I’ve been out of the house for 45 minutes, it’s time to quickly check the emails again.” Course you do.  But this time – oh thank my lucky stars – there was the email I’ve been waiting for.  A grad interview at the Royal Children’s Hospital for next Friday.  Yes! Phew!  Now I can get on with life.

favourite cookbook

Folks, I waltzed into the kitchen.  I cleaned up with a spring in my step.  I laughed with delight at the thought of baking for lunch :-)  And so I pulled out a real favourite – Hugh’s soda bread from his lovely “Family Cookbook”.  It’s such a good, solid recipe that allows for all manner of interpretations – today it was dates and oats. I just followed the basic recipe – eliminated the sugar (I always do that) and substituted 50g of oats for 50g of flour.  Yum!

dates prebake

Popped it into the oven and did some more washing up.  I must admit – I do like washing up in winter.  I love filling the sink with straight hot water – no cold – and then plunging my hands in.  This year I’ve either developed asbestos hands or the plumber turned the water heater temperature down when he last visited.  Either way, it’s bliss.  Fogs up my spectacles.  The steam rises around me and floats away from the dishes as I stack them on the drainer.  Oh yes, washing up, one of winter’s pleasures.

washing up

Then, whilst the soda bread baked, I got to playing with the beet tops from last night’s supper.  Chopped off the leaves for the rabbits.  And then, was so entranced by the ruby red liquid that dripped from the stems, that I chopped them up too and boiled them up in a bit of water.  I have plans.  Next time you pop into blockaday I shall either be showing you something marvellous.  Or you’ll be laughing until you cry over what happened to those beet stems.  We’ll just have to wait and see which it will be.

beetroot stems

In 25 minutes, out came the soda bread – all bursting with scrumptious, piping hot dates.  I hacked off some thick slabs, carefully layered them with thin slices of cold salty butter and gobbled them up at the kitchen bench. Yum!

post bake wrapped

Washed the butter from my hands, wrapped the leftovers for tomorrow morning’s breakfast – Hugh’s soda bread is marvellous toasted – and returned to my Kuini-Dronning.  Spirits lifted.  Belly full.  New ideas for birds and borders and purposes in my mind.

on the table little grains of rice

Take that you dreary, winter Melbourne morning!


slowly … slowly

There was a sleepless night – we call it “hover sleep” here in Bootville, that kind of sleep where you’re not really asleep, not quite awake, but oh so aware that dawn is creeping closer and closer.  Followed by another early morning, grad year interview – intense occasions after which I can always think of much better ways I could have answered their questions.

The rest of the day needed to move slowly, gently .. with a good dose of uplifting.  And, as is so often the case, such balm was found in the warmth of my kitchen, a little green machine that hums like an old Hornby train set, and a table scattered with fabric.

brewing marmalade marmalade recipe

:: late winter always means pyramids of lovely, juicy oranges – the perfect time for some marmalade brewing.  I’m following a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe which calls for a good overnight soaking.  Slowly, slowly …

marmalade cupcakes

:: not so slowly enjoying yesterday’s Nigel Slater’s marmalade loaf baked into cupcakes – with sultanas because everything tastes extra yummy with sultanas

cabbage mushing the cabbage

:: my first pickling efforts – using Andrea Chesman’s “Pickled Pantry” - my cabbage has been soaking for a few hours after mashing the salt in with my fingers – it’s almost time to add the next ingredients …

new pot

:: a new cast iron pot – bigger than the last!  perfect for slowing cooking a lovely joint – pork, beef, turkey – as long as it’s hot and flavoursome I don’t mind.  But first – this new pot needs a nice slow curing.


:: this season’s first posy of jasmine – slowly, slowly spring is tiptoeing in


:: savouring a thick and frothy hot cocoa after school – and still, after all these years, spending our afternoon tea debating Snape’s virtue.  He is hands down my favourite Harry Potter character – alas, Abby will never see it my way :-)

untidy kitchen table

:: things are moving slowly on the kitchen table – it’s looked like this since Friday – but the work has been nonstop!

little pieces

:: there’s only one way all these little seams come together and that’s slowly …


… but oh so pleasing.

kitchen day

My it’s so cold at the moment.  Our breath is frosted even in the kitchen (no! don’t give in! don’t give in! leave the heating off!).

But oh it’s so lovely to be home, home, home!  This being day three of my return to a time of quiet and domesticity – and I’m loving it.

Today – it’s been all about the kitchen ….

lentils and cup

:: cooking supper early so that it will be rich, warming and ready for the family when I return home late from babysitting.

pumpkin pleasures

:: trying not to eat all of Julian’s pumpkin pie (sans pastry) one slice at a time.

chair shuffling

:: shuffling chairs – and plotting their repainting for the umpteenth time – so as to tackle some …


:: kitchen table quilting – the recently thrifted kitchen stools are perfect for quilting – they wind up and down so can be made just the right height – no more stiff neck!

new to us china

:: I shall serve dinner in this little sweetie tonight – also recently thrifted – Mesterkokken “Flamingo” from Norway – from the fabulous Jewish thrift store up the road – they have the best European crockery

needlepoint pattern fiddling

:: fiddling with a new needlepoint pattern – something to soak up the thousands (yes, literally) of skeins of DMC embroidery wool I’ve recently “accumulated” – and baffled as to why it’s skewif – huh!

repurposing chelves

:: gloating over the repurposing of a hard rubbish bookcase – has been sitting on the front porch with sneakers on it for the last 2 years – perfect fit for the end of the kitchen table – and perfect for all the pretty and useful things (clutter, says Julian) I like to keep handy :-)


:: smiling each time I catch a glimpse of these dear little napkin rings – can’t decide whether to use them straightaway – save them for special occasions – or just wait until we have 3 so we can ALL delight in their sweetness (will Julian really care if he has a plain silver one? probably not)

alison lester

:: so pleased to have found these placemats I made – oh, 16 years ago – from an old Alison Lester calendar.  I think they need a couple more coats of sealer before we use them.  Add to the to do list.

she likes

:: my little furry companion.  She longs for toast and crepes and pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie and onions and carrots and mushrooms and speck and sausages and left over roast potatoes and … and … and … pretty much any food that touches my hands.

The perfect kitchen – in the gorgeous Bega Valley of course –  is something I regularly dream of – and collect pictures of and plot and plan with Julian and Abby and Mum.  It will have huge windows, and a wooden burning stove, and a set of window shelves facing the sun for herbs, and comfy chairs for cosying and cook book browsing and radio listening, and a walk in pantry, and a pretty white sink with a fabulous tap, and glass fronted cabinets for our glassware and china, and a cork floor (I LOVE cork), and loads of bench space, and the perfect spot for each appliance …

But right now, when there’s a lovely long stretch of days (weeks! months!) before me with not much to do but care for my family, this little kitchen here in Melbourne will do me just fine :-)

in a sunday kitchen

cosySunday morning in the kitchen.  At first, the rest of the family sleeps on and it’s just me, a cup of tea, the radio and my dishcloth knitting (I’m working on filling a jar with colourful dishcloths – it’s a very nice way to start the day).  Slowly they join me.



Julian brings his reading and wiles away an hour or so.  But then, after second coffees, he goes for a bike ride, needing to be outside on this crisp but sunny autumn day.

hill climb racing

cinnamon toast

I tempt Abby out of bed with toasted sourdough, lashings of butter and the left over cinnamon sugar from yesterday’s homemade doughnuts.  She’s always content to draw up a seat and keeps herself amused for hours.  Hill Climb Racing is a favourite this weekend (recently introduced to me by a little patient), but she also works on school assignments and progresses with her crochet.  Oh my, her crochet!  Wait til you see the pattern – it’s gorgeous stuff!

last chicken

Outside, our last chicken struts her stuff, so pleased to have the back garden all to herself …


Fu assumes her favourite position – watching the world go by from the front room …


And Lucy curls herself up in a corner of sunlight …

barley ingredients spices

I start supper early.  Spicy Barley, Butternut and Apple Porridge and its simmering keeps the kitchen toasty.

tea and soup

The embroidery basket comes out, followed by the laptop …

embroidery wool

I have plans for some rather large jars with unusual and special contents :-)

pattern ready

The afternoon deepens – Julian, who has returned home and joined in the Hill Climb Racing fun, declares it cocktail hour.  And roasts a lovely leg of pork.  He’s good like that.

cocktail makers chaos

After hours of drawing and tweaking – and lots of added input from Abby and Julian who know just how that dolphin should look and what colour the lettering should be –  my pattern is ready and just before supper is about to served, needle comes to fabric.

cross stitching

savoury barley and butternut porridge

The kind of day – so restful and creative and productive and happy – that fills us with inspiration for how we want to build our kitchen in our strawbale home.  Plenty of room for cooking and making and storing, a lovely huge window for growing and sun soaking, perhaps even a pair of armchairs for reading and tea sipping, and a loooooong table with lots of chairs for days just like this, when we are so content to let everything else spin on without us, and stay right here in the kitchen.


donuts sock knitting cosy

Oh long weekend how I do love you!

Homemade doughnuts, fair isle sock knitting, teaching my girlie how to crochet, wool shop shopping, friends over for the afternoon, movie watching, clothes washing (that always makes me feel good at the start of the week!), and hours of lovely peaceful time around the kitchen table together.

Good stuff.

p.s. that cheeky little opportunistic doggle in the top photo STOLE a doughut.



Such a merry Christmas round here with moments of …

the boot

:: packing ::

last minute sewing

:: last minute stitching ::

under the tree

:: receiving ::


:: giving ::

tieing the pudding

:: tying ::


:: steaming ::


:: dancing ::


:: cooking ::


:: brining ::


:: feasting :


:: reading and re-reading old and new Christmas favourites ::


:: relaxing  ::

picture making:: reflecting on and sharing what
Christmas means to us and why we love it so ::

Thank you for all of your encouragement and friendship throughout 2013.
It means so much to me and so often provides the extra oomph I need to push me through the busy and demanding times we often find ourselves in.

I do hope you and those you hold dear are enjoying a wonderful festive season,
whatever your special celebration, and that there is much love, kindness and joy.

~ loveliness found ~ 46/52

There you go – last week I thought it was the 44th week of this fine year – alas, I was a week behind myself.  So here we are, seven days later and yet an extra week ahead.

Never mind, it’s almost the end of the year.  And I have only one exam left.  Ooooh yes!  Summer is a-comin’

long lost fabric

 ~  very old beginnings are being resurrected
into this season’s Christmas presents ~

if I can't have the real thing

~ whilst the leftovers from one present
find their way into something very special ~

julians crystal

~ Julian’s found his collecting groove …
vintage cocktail glasses ~

cocktails and needlepoint

~ which we put to very fine use,
just a few times a week ~

so fascinated by the rabbits

~ whilst we sip our drinks,
the silly dog hops into the rabbits’ grass cutting hut
to nibble on their “leftovers” ~

the chook umbrella~ if it must rain every morning for a week,
then I shall let out the chickens with
the prettiest umbrella I have ~

sunlight ~ ah, but when that sun comes out …
we swoon ~

overnight magic

~ magic happens over night
(we love this recipe – and find that it needs
an extra half teaspoon of salt)

pig bread board

~ and I remember that the piggy breadboard
is only a lovely piggy breadboard when he is being used wisely,
not collecting simply dust ~

team work

~ there is much awesome weekend team work … ~

shadowy magic

~ … that results in the most elegant of shadows ~

cotton reels

~  … & great usefulness too ~

civilisation amongst the chaos
~ which we celebrate with another spring cocktail,
we believe in making the most of sunny afternoons at home ~

pawpaw~ fresh papaya for a late late lunch,
the sort that comes between finishing the sanding
& pondering what rag to use for the oiling ~

cotoneaster unknown one

~ the garden’s shrubs are all a-bloom,
just like that it happened, just like that ~

dogs passion for baked goods

~ the girlie comes home full of stories and adventures
- in her fabulous homemade t-shirt -
whilst the dog tries to convince her that all buttered bread
really belongs to the canine members of the family ~

the blanket cubby

~ a vintage blanket cubby is curiously still and warm
against the stiff, late afternoon breeze
that is still visiting us straight from the Antarctic ~

in the setting sun

~ our tree soaks in the long, slow spring sunset ~

kitchen chimney~ as does the kitchen chimney,
making me wish for the hundredth time,
that just one of our 3 fireplaces worked ~

One day, folks, one day.  You shall come by here to find a ~loveliness found~ post and it shall include … ” we lit our very first fire and warmed our toesies in front of it”.  Meanwhile, we shall find loveliness wherever we go.

Wishing all you dear folk a marvellous week ahead!

~ loveliness found ~ 44/52

christmas fruit soaking

~ soaking the Christmas fruit ~

orange napkin

~ hanging out the washing
when the sun is rich and warm ~

washing rhubarb

 ~ oh the yumminess of spring rhubarb ~

a stack of cushions

 ~ a stack of newly bought cushion inserts,
waiting for their pretties ~

summer smoothies

~ after school smoothies with my girl ~

crazy cushions

~ putting these funny hard rubbish cushions to comfy use ~

front room bedroom

living room kitchen

~ a Sunday morning spent tidying the corners,
claimed it was in honour of Abby’s friend visiting,
maybe it was really a form of study procrastination ~

our girls eggs lunchtime souffle

~ when that egg bowl overflows, lunchtime zucchini souffle ~

cake for my girl

~ whilst the girlie and her friend ate chocolate cake ~

julian cocktails with Julian

~ cocktail hour with my fellow,
and a bit of knitting – onto the sleeves we are ~

little flowers

~ a pretty – and tidy – table ~


~ such a sweet fluff, who loves to be wherever we are ~

my camera~ being reminded by a lovely reader (Tricia!)
of how much I enjoy finding the loveliness
and sharing it here on a Sunday ~


It’s the end of the weekend already … too fast, too fast.

Despite the dreadful weather (Spring?  Spring?  No spring ’round here ) we kept ourselves well occupied, with lots of quilting …

cosy kitchen quilting

… moveable / cut the grass / become good friends rabbit hut building …

attaching the door at work one bunny two buynny

… ah, friendlier already :-)

in they go

… pattern playing – you can see the pattern can’t you?


… needlepoint finishing …


… making the most of the newly installed clothesline – bit hard in the drizzle, but I gave it my best …

new clotheslines

… laughing at the outdoor antics and indoor smoochiness of the fluffy one …


… relishing the new season’s blood oranges …

blood oranges

… putting all those sage flowers to good use …


… sipping cups of steamy, creamy coffee to stave off the chill

steaming coffee pot

… and tonight, cosy under the freshly quilted gumnuts, stitching down the binding

binding on the sofa

Tomorrow, the girlie heads back to school, Jules heads back to work.  Me … why I’ll be here at home.  There’ll be plenty to do but oh, it will be so quiet.

I do so love weekending.


the times that are

Oy!  There’s so much busyness around here lately.  Papers written.  Case studies endlessly researched and submitted.  Posters laid out and printed.  Presentations given.  This third year of nursing is full on.  I’m now in Week 8 of 10 intensive weeks of classes.  I’m so looking forward to a break.  There’s a short one coming up – and then a month long placement in an intensive care setting.  Have I already told you this?  I lose track of such conversations these days :-)

In amongst all the attention given to hyperthyroids and damaged lungs, failing kidneys and newly diagnosed epilepsy, asthmatics that don’t want to take their medications and wounds that will never heal, there’s been a few moments found here and there for the things that I know still define me … who I am, what I treasure, how I express myself.

And I know this will always be so.  Yes, there will be lots of nursing and probably more research and study too – ’cause that’s a big part of where my family’s future lies.  But there’ll always be time set aside for stitching and pottering, sharing the slow days with my girlie and dragging home treasures from the footpath, cooking and thrifting with my love and quilting until my shoulders ache.

Hopefully, this week, there’ll be more time to sneak in a few posts here at blockaday.  Share a few of the sweet stitchy things I’ve been working on.  Tonight, here’s a snippet of the times that are …

sitting room bee:: bees, bees, bees … it’s spring … they’re everywhere I look …
their buzzing fills my ears & my imagination ::

chair cover chair back

:: all this time at the  desk demanded that I do something
about last year’s thrifted desk chair … so I did …
& now it fulfills Mr. Morris’ command -
to be beautiful and useful ::

strangest ever hard rubbish

:: possibly the weirdest hard rubbish find ever … but oh, the fun
Abby & I have coming up with ideas for them
… leads to lots of giggles from us and eye rolling from Julian ::

an open spring window:: spring, spring, spring … open windows, soft air, soaring spirits ::

quilt binding

::  a quilt is bound … well the machine stitching part of it at least ::


:: a blouse is cut out ::

white chair

:: hmmm … not sure what this chair wants to be yet … still listening ::


:: a kerfuffle of shopping and enthusiastic chickens
lead to there being 4 dozen eggs in the pantry  … lots of baked egg custard
… perfect writing food I say ::


:: an election was held … Julian & I had the great delight (and pride) of sharing
with Abby her first election day volunteering … it was marvellous! ::


:: so much to do … just the way I like it ::

And you?  What are these times demanding of you?

on wednesday afternoon …

growing quilt

… I’m in awe of my mum’s beautiful quilt

white way of delight

… I’m so happy (relieved) that we’re moving into spring – my arms are bare and my own white way of delight has sprung ’round the corner

thicket of carrots

… I’m thrilled to pieces with my first thicket of carrots – shall have to look up when they’re ready to harvest


… I’m a little bit pleased with how my wood and water colour experiments are progressing


… I’m hoping this isn’t the only sunflower that will grow in front of my bedroom window  - given I planted the whole packet of seeds


… I just love the camellias that are smothering every garden in our neighbourhood


… I’m sipping the berry, banana and yoghurt smoothie Abby made me  - just the fuel I need for a few more hours of research and mind mapping

… I’m listening to Vashti Bunyan’s whimsical magic and am so pleased that I found her via the equally magical Phoebe Wahl - make sure you scroll down to the fairy mobile so that you can watch the little video – it’s enchanting.

Half way through ten intensive weeks of classes, workshops and pracs.  Who’d have thought Complex Care would be so .. well .. complex!  I find out on Monday where and when my next placement is – two weeks in community nursing, two weeks in high dependency acute care.

I’m so looking forward to summer.

fruitcake and summer dreams

Right-o!  On this, the first day of August, the sun is shining, the days are a wee bit longer (my goodness, it was still light at quarter to six this eve) and the song twirling round and round in my head is … “Summer is icumen in, loudly sing cuckoo!”  ’Cause it’s good to be prepared isn’t it :-)

Oh I am an impatient woman.  Always waiting for the next season to come … but I do think that with each passing year, it is spring and summer that I long for the most.  So much colour, life and energy.  They renew me.

This morning, I was perched on a rail outside the university, classes were over and I was waiting for my Mum to collect me (goodness, no matter how old I get, some things never change), reading my book … Tracy Chevalier’sRemarkable Creatures“.  Have you read any of her books?  She really is a lovely writer – beautiful descriptions, such vivid characters, and her shaping of history and the women who move through it entrance me.  And this story – well, I think it is shaping up to be my favourite ever.

It tells the story of Mary Anning – the girl/woman who collected fossils along the coast of Dorset in the early 19th century (read this fabulous children’s picture book describing her story) and Elizabeth Philpot, a genteel, Austenesque impoverished spinister, who shared Mary’s fascination and together contributed an enormous amount to our understanding of the Jurassic era and dinosaurs.

One passage seemed especially pertinent to me as I shivered in an icy wind, determined to make the most of every amount of sunshine on offer … “When the sun drenched the hills I felt I could accept and even benefit from our isolation here.  When it was cloudy, however, or blowing a gale, or simply a monotonous grey, I despaired.”  Ah, Elizabeth, I understand.

Another, sent me to the shops this afternoon for ingredients … “Off you go now,  ask Bessy on the way out to give you a slice of her fruitcake.”

Fruitcake!  Fruitcake!  Just the smallest mention of fruitcake in a novel endears it to me – so wonderfully English and nostalgic.  Sends me flying back to my childhood when the Famous Five devoured slabs of fruitcake in every adventure, and my Nanny rarely arrived at our home without one.

And yet, I only ever bake one for Christmas.  Why?  How did I fall into such poor habits?  Well!  From this the 1st August, 2013, that will no longer be so.  There shall be fruitcake in the Bootville larder.  Perhaps a couple, snugly wrapped in brown paper that has turned glassy with butter, tied up with string, maturing nicely.  A sturdy slice of which is just perfect with a sliver of cold butter and a glass of milk.

But we needed fruit – my favourite recipe is Laurie Colwin’s Jamaican Babysitter’s Black Cake (can I mention, yet again, that this is one of my all time favourite, favourite, favourite books – the lovely, witty, thoughtful Laurie was a gift to all mothers who like to cook and laugh), via Nigella Lawson and it calls for over a kilo of fruit.  We use sultanas, currants, prunes, cranberries and a grated apple (not fond of raisins and cannot stand peel).  Mmmmmm … with a huge dollop of black strap molasses and 4 times the spice – plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg.

bike by the door bike riding attire with basket

how cool is my new shopping carrier … hard rubbished with mum & attached
to the back with an octopus strap … perfect!


Since the day was so lovely with sunshine, and we’re singing the “summer is icumen in” song, I took my bicycle to the shops …  it now lives on the front porch so that every time I leave the house I am reminded what a marvellous idea it would be to take the bike. I took the looooooong way there and the very looooong way back.  And I tell you, the trees and shrubs here in our neighbourhood, they know summer is icumen in.

wee nest

I spied waiting nests …



clusters of sweet white flowers and an ornamental fruit tree who had clearly set the alarm for very early …

mostly bare

a wee gathering of white, determined to show the rest of her tree how it’s done …

magnolias looking up at magnolias

sumptuous and velvety magnolia blooms turning gnarled and lopsided old trees into graceful beauties …

waiting to pop

little mustardy yellow pods all ready to burst over our streets with their frothy lilac bouquets …


everywhere camellias – clearly painted onto their glossy green bushes by the Red Queen’s gardeners.  Ha! Will you look at that – the tree that sits atop our neighbourly boundary is already dressed for the new season in tiny bright green leaves.

The changing of seasons truly is a blessing, isn’t it.  I love how each month brings forth to the stage its own performers.  Now the camellias and magnolias.  In another couple of weeks the ornamental fruit trees and the jasmine that smothers our backshed.  Then it will be the lilac flowering wonders that line our street and before we know it – the jacarandas will be welcoming in Christmas.

Meantime, whilst I add another cardigan, find my woolly slippers and wrap my cold fingers around yet another cup of tea, I shall sit in front of the warm oven, fragrant with fruitcake, read my book and smile with glee at the thought of yummy fruitcake and all that spring and summer goodness that will be here before we know it.