43 degree and climbing

It has been said that this was and still is the hottest day in New South Wales for a very long time. Bush fires are erupting, firemen are on a high alert, electricity supply can be cut off or in some areas it may have been. So, no one is outside. Even Nimbin Artists Gallery where I do some voluntary work has shut down for the afternoon. Not a soul in the village apparently.

What a better time to sit down and finally scribble a few words.I had not done so for quite a while, but the hot weather is almost forcing me…well, sort of, to sit down in the quiet of the home. I do say quiet. The bird songs are almost inaudible. A few crows around as usual probably spying on the egg situation in the chicken run. All is quite still as the sun pounds hard on the earth. Its rays ferociously harsh on the plants. Where to hide? In the coolest place in front of the fan where everyone has assembled. Dogs, cats and humans are all enjoying the coolness of the room.

But this did not stop me from baking bread today!

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So, here I am rambling about the weather. How mundane?  For a long time I have been delaying to put pen to paper choosing instead to read. But given the present situation what a better time to finally sit down and start and meander through the year that was.

Last year we had the visit of my cousin on my mother’s side. he only relative that came and stayed with us for a few days. My son Sulma and his lady Tum, were among us and it was the first time that Claude and him met. They did have a few days together in Nimes when they were 4 and 5. Both played and fought according to my aunt Georgette. The reunion was just brilliant.  Many friends came to join us for a BBQ and a chat. It was a very pleasant afternoon. Claude and I remained in the study for a while to catch up on family matters. Just before they left to fly back to Paris, we were all invited to visit them in Aix en Provence this year. We are all going. My aunt will be absolutely delighted .

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Tickets have been bought, houses rented, and itinerary worked out. We can’t wait!

Then, later in the year, we traveled to Thailand and stayed with Sulma and Tum. My oldest girl friend Elizabeth, came from Frejus and spent 2 weeks with us all. It was just so pleasurable to be all together.

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We flew to Phnom Penh where we met some very old friends, enjoyed the city again and I went for a checkup at my old dentist. Still there after 20 years  and enjoying the life in Cambodia.http://www.eurodentalcambodia.com/ Elizabeth took a short trip to Siem Reap and loved it, while Peter and I feasted on some delicious Italian food and French gourmet chain .http://maison-kayser-cambodia.asia/our-story-and-mission/. We scoured Russian Market again, Psah Thmey and our favourite jeweler, M. Kim Seng and his family where we splashed yet again.  We were received like old friends and exchanged news of our respective families.

Relaxed in the pool at the hotel and took short trip to around the town showing El the sites and meandering through the busy streets. And not to forget the fabulous cocktails Mai Thai at the hotel we stayed at called “Le 252”

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The most important part of the trip was the meeting with of our Khmer family if I may call it that. Hoeun, Panha and M. Kit. All used to share our home where we lived in Phnom Penh. Diners, lunches and trips around Phnom Penh on their motor bikes. The good old days! We all spent delicious moments together.

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Well, till next time!

Winter chill and activities

It has been hard to find a suitable time to put pen to paper or just sitting in front of the computer to wait for an inspiration. But here we are at last. Charged and ready to share a few moments.

Yes, we are on the verge of experiencing the first winter chills. I can see that when I first wake in the morning and see the valley shrouded in the heavy mist, the beams on the veranda are dripping with heavy dew and of course the sun rises much later. The atmosphere is more damp and a chill in the air is definitely present…Woollens are a must in these early hours. The days reach a very agreeable temperature of around 22 to 25. But not for too long as the cold approaches toward 15h..

The wood heater is already burning. The animals: dogs and cat refuse to stay out when the night falls and the chickens go to their perch early. The cows have started to demand their winter ration, the grass is still long and plenty but they are spoiled beasts and bellow as loud as they can as soon as they see one of us. The calves have also started to imitate their mums and the concert gets louder every late afternoon.

it has been a very busy few months. The Gallery is in the middle of its extravaganza and everyone worked very hard to make it happen. Many artists joined us from interstate as well as quite a few local ones. Many works have sold and we are all very proud and happy that it is going so well. After 15 years it has become an icon of the Northern Rivers. We get an average of 300 visits per day. Not bad for our little village! See our Facebook page@Nimbin Artists Gallery.

In the meantime, our son and his partner Tum who live in Thailand have joined us for a week….too short but happy to have stolen a few days together where we enjoyed some superb food as usual. A glorious green curry prepared by them was truly appreciated by 2 of our friends who joined us for lunch one day. And of course very lively conversations ensued as it is usually the case in the family. The beef was from our property, all the ingredients freshly harvested from the garden for the green curry paste, the green papaya freshly picked that morning and the bitter gourd grows wild on the chicken fence. Such a pleasure!

Sulma and Peter had a go at playing their flute and improvise on some jazz tunes. Peter played also some pieces during opening hours at the Gallery. Music has always been part of Peter’s life and the boys.

Sulma and Tum went for a lovely drive with our friend Magali in the rain forest near home where they enjoyed a picnic and a walk around.

Sulma and Tum
Sulma and Tum
Sulma and Peter have a jam!
Sulma and Peter have a jam!
Sulma with Zaina and Elsie in the sun
Sulma with Zaina and Elsie in the sun
Left over Spicy green Papaya Salad
Left over Spicy green Papaya Salad
What was left of the Beef  green Curry
What was left of the Beef green Curry
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Spicy pork and bitter gourd

The garden has not been neglected. Our friend Scott Harrower, has taken to transform the front garden with flair, vision, aesthetic, colours and shapes. It is visually superb now. A feast to the eyes ….and he has cleared up the branches obstructing the large pond which gives to the whole place a sense of depth as the expanse of a water feature always add such a calming touch. Especially when all the purple and cream water lilies are blooming.

We also had the incredible good luck to have hosted for 1 month 2 lovely guys from Vanuatu who have cleared the property, constructed a retaining wall, built a wood shelter and split some wood for winter. Trimmed some mighty bamboos, cleared the chicken run and coop, gravelled the drive with Peter, brush cut around the dam and so many other tasks that I am sure have forgotten to mention. Thanks to Murray and Joel for facilitating the whole process, feeding them, driving them and took them back to Port Vila . They all flew  back to a devastating sight. The mighty cyclone had created havoc in this small town and the surrounding islands. Murray and Joel raised some money to alleviate the plight of the villagers. Joel had not heard from his sister for 2 weeks as she was in the top island of Efate with no means of communications. All is fine now. Food and hospital needs as well as reconstruction materials were a priority. A mighty effort to say the least on their part to have attended to the need of the people of Vanuatu.

Lorrence and Watas on their last day
Lorrence and Watas on their last day
Lorrence enjoying his tea
Lorrence enjoying his tea

In between all the effervescence of these last few weeks I have knitted a baby blanket. No, no babies in perspective. But I might just sell it at the Gallery. While knitting, listening to my audio books from the library made the hours pleasant and a little calmer.

Merino wool 2 ply with crochet borders
Merino wool 2 ply with crochet borders

The winter veggies are under way : Cauliflowers, cabbages, peas, broad beans, fennels, radishes, a few beans and lettuces. I have to wait and make sure that the cabbage moths or white butterflies stay away from them.

I wonder if we will be there to harvest them! A trip is in the pipe line.

Time for drink and dinner!

Till next time