The Slippery Slope

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It is 3 weeks since my last blog post.  All of the usual home stuff has been happening as well as going to the movies, lunch with friends, family visiting and a trip to Sydney so there is possibly a reason why blogging has not been a priority.

However, that is not really an excuse as these sorts of events usually provide plenty of material for posts rather than simply not posting.  I think it is simply that I am tired and the end of the year is fast approaching – it is exactly 11 weeks until Christmas Day.

Once it gets to September, it feels as though the year is almost gone and we seem to be on some sort of crazy trajectory and hurtling towards Christmas and the end of the year.  My work is such that deadlines loom, demands increase and everyone expects the impossible to be achieved.  I am very thankful that this is the last year I will experience this pressure as I will be well and truly retired by this time next year.

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Quite aside from work commitments, most of us celebrate Christmas and it is easy to get caught up in all of the commercialism and hype.  Our Christmas celebrations are fairly low-key and are usually a small family gathering for a special meal together and modest gifts for the immediate family.  As much as possible, I aim for experiences or practical gifts.

This year our 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters will join us for a week at the beach.  We will not be too far from home so it should not be a major undertaking.

My Christmas preparation so far has been to book our accommodation (several months ago) and I bought a gift a few days ago when I was in Sydney.  I happened to see it and thought it would be perfect.

There will be a couple more gifts to source and I will need to plan a menu for Christmas Day.  We do not indulge in huge amounts of festive food and I expect there will be lots of fresh fruit and simple salads consumed during the time we are at the beach.  Some casual, relaxed down-time for everyone (including the cook) is just what will be needed by the end of the year.

I may need to find a copy of this book!

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Other Interests

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You could be mistaken for thinking that I have no other interests apart from what I write about here.

While gardening, cooking and sewing are both hobbies and an integral part of our simple, sustainable life they are not my only interests.

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GMan and I have many shared interests.  Films, books, photography, history, music, art, architecture and travel are equally as important to me as the more practical pursuits.  I don’t have as much time as I would like to indulge in some of these and they are often mostly confined to holiday times.

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We both enjoy the films and social interaction provided by the local film society screenings each fortnight in our country town.  Today was the AGM of the society and I have accepted the role of secretary for a second year.  Community organisations such as the film society exist due the generous contribution of members who volunteer in a variety of ways and I feel that it is important to give back to the community in this way.

Are your hobbies inextricably linked to your lifestyle or do you have hobbies or interests that are……..just because?

Down on the Farm

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In my last post I promised that the next post would be about what we could and should be doing to reduce other single use plastics.  However, we headed off for a rare weekend getaway.  So, here are some fun photos from our weekend away while I work on the other blog post which will hopefully be ready tomorrow.

Yesterday morning we packed up the car and headed a couple of hours west of where we live to catch up with some friends from interstate who are currently farm-sitting.

We had perfect Queensland winter weather with clear skies, pleasant days and chilly nights.

Machinery shed, windmill and old vehicles………………

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Local scenery.

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Bottle trees up on the ridge.

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Heading for home………….

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Just for show – don’t expect a bucketful of milk……………………

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My friend actually milked No. 16 and the chickens enjoyed the some of the spoils.

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We enjoyed our getaway to the country.

Christmas 2017 – A Review

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Christmas is over for another year.  I did not write about Christmas preparations because there really were not any preparations.  We arrived back at the beginning of December from our 4 week trip to the UK.  I had organised a week at the beach earlier in the year and bought experience gifts for our daughters and granddaughters.

I planned the menu, gathered up the food and utensils as well as some beach attire and headed off last weekend.

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We had a delightful week of relaxation and casual living.  The biggest decision I had to make was whether to do some more of the jigsaw or play another game of ‘Upwords’.

My daughter and I went to church on Christmas Eve.

The menu for Christmas Day was chosen to fit with hot weather at the beach and there were next to no leftovers.

Proscuitto wrapped asparagus and haloumi
Cold curried chicken
Rice
Parsley and cranberry crusted salmon
Mango and avocado salad
Beetroot and feta salad
Green bean salad with slivered almonds
Meringue roulade with berries and pistachio nuts

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A couple of days after Christmas I finally wrote a Christmas letter and emailed it to my close friends.

So, that was it – no tree, no decorations, no mad rushing around choosing gifts for the sake of it, no looking for a hundred ways to serve ham in January.  I know that this is simply not feasible for many people but every second year our Christmas is an adults only affair so we can approach the day quite differently.

I feel as though I drifted through the second half of 2017 in a haze of inertia following the death of A (our daughter’s partner) in May so relaxing with all of my immediate family was just the antidote we all needed.

I don’t have any major resolutions or grand plans for next year, however, I look forward to 2018 with the optimism that seems to greet every new year.

I hope your Christmas was what you had hoped and all the best for the New Year.

My next blog post will be looking forward to 2018 which conveniently begins on a Monday.  I  like the idea of a nice, neat start to the week and year.  Anyone else feel like this?

Blogging Benefits

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I meant to tell you that there would be a break in blog posts as I was going on holidays but I was caught up with final preparations and forgot to do a post.

So, here I am on the other side of the world and just wanted to let you know that I am still blogging, albeit on a different site.  You can follow along with my UK adventures on Somewhere, Anywhere.

We have just spent two nights with friends in south Wales and you can read about it on the travel blog.  This was particularly special because we are friends as a direct result of this blog and a close connection formed as a result of our common interests.

People write blogs for all sorts of reasons – as a diary, to make money, to promote their business and so on.  I started my blog as a way of recording my thoughts and particular interests and hopefully to connect with like-minded individuals and share ideas.

Meeting someone on the other side of the world, whom I regard as a good friend and who I have been lucky enough to meet in person on two occasions has been a real joy. I am truly grateful for her friendship.

You never know what is on the other side of that door………….

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New to Me

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Sometimes things are just meant to be.  A couple of weeks ago my mother told me that had some casual clothes – mostly tshirts which were now surplus to her requirements.

In the spirit of my relatively streamlined wardrobe and a lack of need, I refused most of them.  However, this one caught my eye.

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I had no intention of rushing out to buy a pink and white striped rugby top but when I saw this in the pile I simply fell in love with it.  This top is very lightweight and perfect for our generally mild weather for about 6 months of the year.

After wearing  it for a couple of days when I first received the top, I washed and ironed it.  While ironing it, I noticed that there was only one button on the placket.  The button was white and I searched my collection of numerous white buttons but could not find any suitable ones but discovered that I had 2 pink buttons that were the right size.

When I was planning what to pack on our upcoming trip to the UK I decided to include this top.  Even though it is quite light, it is loose enough to wear a thermal top underneath it and with the addition of a warm jacket I would be quite snug when out and about.

Even though this was an unplanned addition to my wardrobe, I am confident that it will  be perfect for my needs and get plenty of wear.

Holiday Learning

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Education comes in all sorts of guises and is not necessarily undertaken in the classroom.

It has been school holidays here for the past two weeks and our granddaughters came to visit for a couple of days.  As always, they enjoy activities which they do not have access to at home.

The citrus trees still had plenty of fruit so they picked 2 buckets full of oranges and then it was time to squeeze them.

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They both had plenty of opportunity to hone their skills and Olivia was also able to cut the oranges.

The weather has been very dry recently and last week was particularly hot so watering the garden was essential.  There is not a lot growing at the moment but plenty of water has ensured that the young bean plants survived the heat.

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It is difficult to think of anything that is more important to learn than nurturing, picking and preparing your own food.  I find it very gratifying to be able to share these skills with the girls and encourage their interest.