Sunday, September 19, 2010

Should auld acquaintance be forgot . . . . .

A few weekends ago, I attended a Cousins Reunion.  It was a get-together of the offspring of my Dad's extensive family, held at South West Rocks on the mid north coast of New South Wales.

It was so lovely to catch up with cousins I hadn't seen for literally most of my life.

How to have a long conversation with your cousins - sit along a long log!

One request was that family members bring along any memorabilia in their possession that other family members may find interesting, and my goodness, there were some absolute gems come to light.

My Dad was the baby of a large family, in fact when he was born in 1916, his eldest brother had already marched away to that great adventure, the Western Front.  I imagine my Grandmother, nursing her baby son and worrying about her 19 year old far away.

He was a member of the 1st AIF 33rd battalion, and by June, 1917 the battalion was part of the assembled throng waiting for the detonation of the massive landmines which signalled the beginning of the Battle of Messines.  Anyone who has recently seen the movie 'Beneath Hill 60' will kind of know the story.  It was the biggest explosion ever witnessed on earth up until that time, reputedly heard by the British Prime Minister in his office in London.

Zero hour was 3.10am on the 7th June, 1917.  Those baby-faced adventurers could have been in no doubt that their lives were about to change.  How do you think you would cope at that moment?  We could not have been sure how our uncle felt, until one of my cousins brought to the reunion the following letter.

How my Grandmother must have wept when the letter arrived, presumably some time after the telegram which informed her of the Army's great regret that her son had been killed in action on 9th June, 1917, bravely serving his country.  He is buried with 77 of his brothers in arms in a Belgian wood.

War is such a waste of life . . . .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Okay, this is better

That photo of the Dutch Iris was troubling me so much that I have edited it and here it is again -

Yes!  Better!  Now I can relax about it.

Look at this, sitting on the edge of my grey water drum.  Don't go swimming in there, will you!

Sniffle, sniffle . . .

I have again succumbed to a cold, just what I didn't need.  Excuse me while I blow . . . .

So many things are happening in the garden, but my photo taking has decreased to an alarming level.  The Avalon daffodils all flowered, beautiful, delicate, lemony petals - I haven't a single shot to show you!  The roses  are all leaping ahead with leaves and buds - and aphids!  I have permanently stained fingers from squashing them, I'm sure it doesn't really do much good but I try to avoid the toxic sprays.  I have discovered that shaking them off the leaves onto my hand and then shaking my hand over the fishpond works!  Those fish, I swear, could eat aphids all day.  Speaking of fish, there is much chasing activity going on in the fishpond - spring is obviously here and there is a lot of lurve dancing going on in there!

I sat out in the sun this morning with my large box of large tissues and marveled at the fact that I have done absolutely nothing in the garden except pull out a few weeds and trim a few roses and yet everything is going way above and beyond to reward me with loveliness!

The white iris are flowering, even the ones that I moved in the autumn.

I have a sea of lavender - can you have too much?  I think so, some will be dispatched when the flowers are finished.  In the meantime, the bees are going crazy.  There is some delicious honey being made somewhere around here.

Most of the lavender is this -

and some is this -

Okay, one lot is English and one lot is French, but my befuddled head doesn't let me work it out at the moment.  I ought to know . . .

There is even a clump of the last one in white - and that's certainly not something that I planted!

Underneath the westringia by the path is this dear azalea who, despite never being watered, bravely flowers it's little head off at this time of the year.  For the last two years, I have promised it that I will trim back the westringia and give it some space and some care - this I will do this year!  Yeah right, says the azalea!

Bluebells and umm, something! ( I only know it as Society Garlic).  Note to self - a nice combination of colours to be encouraged.

Dutch iris in the western bed.  My goodness, what an odd angle my house is standing at!  I should learn to edit my photos and straighten things before publishing.  I should also pick these flowers and enjoy them inside.

Not a good photo, but in the foreground on the right is a sweet little white violet - excuse me, how can you have a white violet??  Should it just be called a white?  And the normal violets called violet whites?  Oh please!  I think the antihistamines have gone to my brain.

Anyway, the white violets self seed everywhere, particularly in the gravel path and I have learned to recognise them coming up when they are just tiny and move them into the garden where I can enjoy them without walking on them.

I inherited these two pots from Mike's mum when she went into the nursing home.  She had had them on her front verandah and had never planted anything in them, because nothing seemed to go with the colour of the pots.  On Monday, on my way home from Castle Hill, I called into Bunnings to get some potting mix to repot the pelargoniums on the verandah and found this geranium - supposedly the first one bred to flower in deep red.  I thought it would match the pot beautifully.  The other one in the background is hot pink - and doesn't match the pot at all!

Speaking of deep red, and of repotting the pelargoniums, look at the colour of this -

Is that delicious or what!

I went to Castle Hill on Monday to check out a new sewing machine for the quilting frame.  The present machine is rubbish (in my opinion) and weighs sooo much that it makes it almost impossible to use.  What I looked at was a Nolting machine from America, it was so beautifully engineered, with every feature you could want and weighs about 15 kilos.  I am totally in love with it and want it so badly - Mike came with me to look at it and totally gets how much easier it would be to use and how much I want it - I am holding my breath that all my birthday and Christmas presents for the rest of my life are about to materialize!  In one box!

And speaking of sewing, it is starting to mount up!  I have my sister-in-law coming up on Friday to work on the quilt for her son's wedding, to which we received an invitation yesterday.  Yay!  A trip to Tasmania!  They have lovely gardens in Tasmania.  As well as that, the Fedex man banged on the door not ten minutes ago with a roll of fabric that I bought online to recover the sofas in the lounge room with.  It's a sumptuous green to go with the sumptuous green that I want to repaint the walls with!  And to top all of that off, there is a parcel in the cupboard of the sewing room which contains the most delicious silk which will become a wedding dress for my son's fiancee, hopefully well before their wedding in April next year!

So what am I doing here, typing on the computer!!  Have another nose blow and get yourself off to the sewing room!