Ipad sleeve

Here I am not a big  fan of crochet clothing ( sorry Carol) but I made a Ipad sleeve during my drive to Melbourne. As the men were driving along, I crochet along. I had to start so many times….Lucky it was 2000 km. I bought some bamboo and cotton yarn at the start. But in retrospect I found this yarn extremely stretchy. I did not follow any patterns. Can’t read them in crochet.

Don’t ask how I did it, but here it is.

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Inspiration on the new deck!

I am here today sitting for the first time outside on the new veranda and new deck that Peter and a friend Benoit have finished building. A completely new outlook over the paddocks and the hills across the valley. Just stunning and so appealing to be sitting here and writing. Truly inspiring.

It is really a totally new experience to sit out among the trees, the bamboos, the flowers and the smell of burning mosquito repellent. (not bad as scent goes) The black and white breasted pigeons are perching on the mighty bamboos and cooing their heart content. The butchers birds are demanding their daily ration of bits of meat. They have arrived and perched on the surrounding trees twittering noisily. The Noisy Minahs are quarreling for space in the grevillias for the last few drops of nectar. The sun is setting down in the west starting to glow and scintillating slightly in between the trees and the breeze is definitely getting cooler but still very agreeable to be out.

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In the meantime the butcher birds are really getting more vociferous as Fripouille the cat (which means brat in English) is stalking them with devouring eyes. But they surely know by now what his intentions are and making a raucous to warn him off. So, Fripouille, sits also among the trees hoping and hoping for a decent bite. But this is not going to happen. Fripouille is now stuck high on the branch and is deliberating how he is going to come down. That is more crucial for the moment.

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The quite largish white breasted pigeons are flapping their mighty wings and trying to find a spot for the night. The cows across the paddock are for ever eating grass. Insatiable creatures. Just munch and munch. They have not come up to the fence today bellowing for an extra feed. That is because, we have cleared a big patch of sweet potatoes early in the afternoon and they had a little feast with it as well as the bamboo culms and small branches that I trimmed. They have pretended to like them, not quite sure about it, but ate them in the end.

The chickens are making their way slowly back to the coop ensuring that they have not forgotten that lonely insect on a twig not far from the entrance and where they will get another scoop of grain before Peter shuts the coop door for the night.

A few swallows are catching the last few flying insects on the wind and the cockatoos calling with their grating screams are surely going to roost at some stage not too far away.

The plovers are starting their nightly call for safer ground and the swamp hen is already on top of the sedge near the dam ready to settle down. And I almost forgot Elsie our faithful Labrador that has just arrived and sits by my feet looking forlorn: “Dinner time boss, I am getting hungry you know, it has been a long day”. Well, how can I resist that look? Won’t be too long, I almost finished writing this paragraph and your bowl will be full shortly. So, her head goes down for now… maybe she understood. Well, she surely saw that I was not in a hurry to move right away.

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As it is definitely getting cooler, I am going inside to light a fire for the night, and Peter will starting to cook the salmon with our first batch freshly harvested of sweet red potatoes just a few hours ago.That is the first time that we managed to grow them properly and they were quite large. I was so excited about it that I rang our friend who actually told us how to do it properly. He was elated that we finally managed to grow them and enjoying eating them.

The sun has now vanished and the ski is clear . That breeze is definitely much colder and it is about time I packed up and move inside where it is warm and cozy.

Till next time.

REJECTION. One insight.

Today I decided to put pen to paper to recall a very interesting (maybe) event and moments that occurred in 2007. Where to start ? It might be hard to bring all these to surface again, but I am pretty positive that something might come out of it. Well, the positive element is already here, otherwise I would not be writing it. Let’s try it and see what happens as I unfold the story.

In March 2007, my father, a very important persona in the way he shaped my thinking and my life reached the decision to cut all bridges to our relationship to both of us. My husband and I. Countless discussions and discourses took place reflecting on different aspects of the inner workings of what we are. My father was not an “educated” man, just an ordinary man that could comprehend the machinations of the mind and their ramifications in our life and society.

A call in the early March 2007 took me by utter surprise. Yes, the element of disbelief was enormous.

“No more conversations, no more phone calls, no more getting in touch.” “you are up yourself, selfish and know it all, wallowing in self indulgence, wasting time and being unconscious of your acts and attitude” He said.

Words failed me utterly. I had no response to this onslaught on his part. I was stunned , deeply hurt, flutters in my stomach played havoc, I felt that I was going to be sick and my throat was drying up fast. The only response that I gave was : “what about mum, how I am going to find out how she is” She had been unwell for the last few years. “ don’t you worry about all this, well, goodbye”.

I was left totally not only speechless but a sense of gloom and doom enveloped me. Anger surfaced pretty fast and I started to justify my attitude and my position. My image was totally destroyed. Questions emerged. What did I do to them? Why is he so callous? Who does he think he is to rebuff me in such way? He is an arrogant man, wanting to be always right. And it went on and on like that trying to find gaps in his thinking and attitude which I attributed to him getting too old and may be going senile….That was so far from the truth as I realised later

For days I was trying to justify, to substantiate where I had been wrong. What events lead him to take such a dramatic position towards me? What warranted such an outburst from him? Stories of endless justifications lasted for weeks. Unable to sort it out. So, I decided to write to him since he would not let me renew any forms of relationship. I wrote pages and pages, discussed it at length with the boys and my husband. In the end I could not come to sending him the letter and pages that I had painstakingly written.

I remained silent, deeply hurt , confused, puzzled, and flummoxed with no resolution in sight. Then we left for Bangkok for 4 weeks where we met with our son who was at this stage on a posting in Hanoi, but flew to be with us. We churned the same stuff over and over again as I was trying to find solace and confirmation of my attitude and position. To no avail of course. I was on the wrong track… maybe.

Then, still disconcerted and not being able to come to any solution as to what I could do, my mother rang me one early morning in July just 3 months after this saga and told me that dad had passed away suddenly that very morning at 6 AM. Fear enveloped me totally. I was again in disarray.

We packed our bags and left for Melbourne as fast as we could. I shall pass on this period as it was again a moment of deep pain, emotional suffering, stress, anguish, bitterness and distress for everyone present. I might recount it another time.

After deep reflection and introspection in this whole matter, I finally realised (maybe) the point my father was trying to make. In his wisdom, that is what he decided to do: to pierce the abscess of what he saw being my most fundamental problem. When I say ‘mine” I also mean the issue that is plaguing most of us. Let me try to explain finally further the point of the title of this writing.

Rejection. Fear of not being accepted by our family, peers and friends. Not belonging or being seen as not belonging. Always wanting to please anyone in order to look good and nice and safeguard our image. How is the writing above going to illustrate this?

As we grow up and start being part of society the most important thing is to feel wanted and included. Normal. Then, an event occurs…the arrival of a sibling for instance, then we start feeling left out. We are going to make sure that we are always in the forefront just in case we have lost this number one spot. That is only one aspect of it. There are countless examples that we can dwell on to illustrate this. A friend dropping you for another, we dress to hide a little fat on the belly…so that we still feel ok, we put make up on so that we feel beautiful just in case also we are told we are not…and on it goes. Many of our acts in life are to enhance our image, our position, our sense of worth and our importance. If something goes against any of that we feel cheated and can easily be depressed and we start playing “catch up “with other things. Compensating. Yes, that trip to Bangkok, wanting to be away and “forget”. Of course this was not going to resolve the issue.

What my father had done was to confront me with my self importance and go to the bottom of my attitude of seeing myself as being rejected. In his rejection there was in fact a deep sense of care and love. He wanted me to face this issue with all the force of rejection. Powerful. Confront myself. What I did and  what my attitude showed was the opposite. Exactly the opposite. I looked for justifications, belittled him, poured scorn on him, and in my blindness I rejected his premise. A fool’s attitude in fact. I was so taken  by sense of righteousness that I missed the point, hence missed the lesson at the time. I was not prepared nor was I ready to see my own game.

If I had confronted my deep sense of rejection I would have thanked him for his action. But no, I did not see it. How can you even start seeing anything if you are obsessed with yourself all the time and want to show daddy how great you are, how good you are, how caring you are, then, you are not seeing what is truly motivating you, what is propelling you, and what is really driving you.

Yet, he saw it and moved on it. How profound that is when you reflect on your actions. When you start seeing your actions….always with the aim to please or not loose face or look good at all times. He did not want to be pleased. He wanted me to understand. How liberating that is when you see that his motives were pure, loving and warmhearted. He rejected me in order for me see through the pain and the pantomime that I was inflicting on myself. In this rejection, he also hurt himself. Severing ties with his daughter in order to achieve a greater outcome for “me”. Not only for “me” but for the advancement and understanding of what we are, and to decipher the inner workings of the human beings. He had this question at one stage for us : “how do you see you children, as human beings or as children?” The reply was difficult to give. I wonder what reply I really gave. If my memory does not falter I think, I said it was a hard one to come to terms with..maybe both I said…Children and humans. But now can I really say that?

Now I understand how he saw “me”. And Only now, can I say to him thank you with all my heart!

Till next time.

 

Drive to Melbourne

Here we are in among the trees, the famous eucalyptus of Melbourne for a brief moment. That is where I started this blog.

A totally impromptu trip down the south. Family and friends were present. Coming from everywhere to spend just a little time together. Visiting a few friends briefly. Picking up some presents from Fran and Les. Seeing Nicole and Nathalie. Sue, Peter and their family for fabulous time together. Without forgetting the little Charlie that I managed to cuddle and feed. Thanks Jen for this little moment of feeling the tiny bundle in my arms. Pam and Catherine out from England. Naomi and Gary from Sydney. John back from Perth. Maria  with Ross and Zoe and Isabelle.

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Catch up with G’s mother, Val for a lovely moment chatting about our progeny and their endeavours, trips, works and their vacations abroad. That is also without saying the wonderful dinner that was cooked for us. Simple,tasty, varied and so well prepared. Many thanks for this Val!

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At Sue’s place  there many were old acquaintances and friends. But the marathon feast was Peter M with the help of everyone present who managed to cook for 70 people. We had enough food for 100. Lovely Indian curries, full of flavours, spices, salsas, salads, and deserts galore. I never had so many slices of pavlova in my life. My husband Peter also of course gorged himself…what a sweet tooth he is! So did I  for that matter and never looked back. They were just scrumptious, so was the Tiramisu.

 

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We drove this time with Benoit a friend from Nimbin who had to pick up a bus in Ballarat. We took it in turn to fly on the highways. We stayed together in hotels and motels along the way. All The start of the drive was rather scenic and then miles upon miles of flat straight highway. At times driving around these parts of Australia is rather boring and monotonous. Lucky that we were 3 to do the trip. Taking turns every 2 or 3 hours. Chatting, story telling, playing some music which quickly got on our nerves while driving.

First stop Dubbo. A lovely motel half way there. A rather busy town. How can one starts describing Australian town. In my eyes they all look the same. A few colonial buildings, historic relics, war memorial lost on the main square, fish and chips shops where the smell of fat is enough to make you run.
When I think that, when I first starting teaching and first arrived in Australia, that particular smell of fat(God knows what it is) used to attract me like a magnet and I used to dive into the shop at lunch time to get my fill of greasy chips, battered fish and scallops, which by the way had nothing to do with the real crustacean, but just a deep fried potato cake. The whole lot wrapped in 2 layers of white butcher’s papers, vinegar optional, tomato ketchup and a wedge of lemon for the fish. Hot and fatty. Getting back to school the smell used to invade the whole staff room and I would happily share some of it with my colleagues. Today this smell makes me nauseous and I run the other way at the presence of this obnoxious odour. Anyway, the Australian town is blend and had no particular attraction. Businesses, sheep, cattle and a few other things I am sure. The landscape was nothing to rave about as the rain battered us the whole way down to the Victorian border. Still on the border we can’t bring fruit with you in the car. Fruit fly are supposed to read the signs along the way, especially capsicum and tomatoes. I am sure there would be some special schools for these creatures to teach them how to read. But there might be a point also in the government forbidding these vegetables from across the border.

Just before Dubbo, we steadily climbed to about 1000m. The highest town in Australia…Armidale. Quite quaint, rocky, and the home of University of New England. Indeed with its valleys, undulating hills, green plateaus surrounded by mountains it does reminisce of England/Europe. Very green at the moment as the rain pelted down, and had done so for the last few days. Everything was getting a good soaking. We went on driving through state forests and little villages and hamlets. Very desolate, yet at times picturesque.

Then the front passenger seat belt got unstuck. Alarm bells started ringing. A loose bolt. Panic. But a quick call to the local emergency road assistance got us on the move again. A trip to Subaru is warranted as it is a brand new car and still under warranty.

After a frugal breakfast and a tank full of petrol, we headed for Richmond Hill Hotel, in Richmond, Melbourne. An old suburb where we used to live many years ago Peter and I when the kids were little. We took Benoit around our old haunt and showed him around. The boys grew up in the street among a truly multicultural setting. A dead end street where everyone was out, the doors left open and the gang in the street used to come and go at leisure. We revisited the house and saw all the neighbours, but did not go in or got in touch with them. maybe not the same people after all these years. The only person I managed to get a glimpse of is Moira. Our ex neighbour from across the road who was still there, on the phone. A quick sneak from outside through the open curtains. Was not game to talk at 10.30pm.

Then the next day after breakfast laid on by the hotel, we drove to Mediterranean food supermarket. An old place where we used to get and shop for all sorts of Italian goodies. Cakes and breads made on the premises…the real thing. Excellent coffee for a fraction of the price of the trendy shops in town. Imported olive oils, anchovies, olives, tuna, sardines and dried cod. Of course a shopping spree was necessary. Lovely organic hams and salami. Superb hard cheeses and French butter of all things. In brief a real feast for the eyes and above all the tummy. Lashing out!
Benoit was quite amazed to see all of these wonderful delicacies. We also bought a few things to picnic at Sue’s place.

Then, we drove to Benoit’s hotel where we left him to pursue his own adventures. He is buying an old bus that he wants to fix and travel around Australia with his family. Peter and I stopped in a park and had a real Italian sandwich with organic salami and hard crust bread rolls. We had not had these for years. Slowly, and loosing our ways a few times, we made it to Sue’s and Peter’s in time for the reunion. Brief it was indeed.

It was lucky that we managed to get a house-sitter for these few days. It is not easy to get people to look after a farm and a little kitten. Last year we were invited to Melbourne also, but the timing was not right. It depends who is around and who is available.
We always say that we should not have any animals, but we always add more to the menagerie.

Benoit, left for Ballarat to get his bus and he drove back home while we Peter and I drove back slowly, taking our time to admire the scenery. We were also surprised at the quality of coffee that was served in all the towns that stopped at. Many moons ago like 30 years, it was a real dilemma to find something decent. When the boys were little and we used to do lots of camping around Victoria, if I did not have my fix of coffee in the morning I used to get miserable, despicable,moody, nervy and no one would talk to me in case I yelled at them….Problems of addiction I suppose. Peter and the boys used to drive to different villages to try and find some Italian pizza shop that might serve a decent coffee. Today everyone in country Australia provides something reasonable and drinkable. Times have changed and presently 2 small cups is more than enough. Also gone are the days of instant…NESCAF! A truly disappointing drink. Nothing that taste even like coffee and when you think of what goes in it, you don’t want to know or touch it in spite of all the flamboyant publicity about it. Nevertheless, I was quite astonished to see that most of my friends and family swore by it…The only thing I could say is: how can you do that?

The food was nothing to rave about and the price was too much.Your usual hamburger, fish and chips, pizzas. All fattening and unhealthy. So lovely picnic with simple fare sufficed. But we hit a great little Vietnamese soup place in Box HIll that was just delicious and we went back for more on our out to Geelong.

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On the way back, I rang up Magali, our house sitter, to see if she could stay another day. No problems. We stopped in different towns this time.  We took our time. Home sweet home. And above all it is nice to get back home again and find that all your menagerie is happy to see you and you are delighted to be back home and sleep in your own bed at last.

Now that this trip is over the other one is looming. Bangkok, London and Paris.

Till next time