Hobbies

My bobbin lace making has come along a bit… I have made very little though. I had a vision of making everyone a lace edging for a handkerchief and giving them away at Christmas. Then it got to bookmarks. So far I have made about 1/3rd of a very thin lace edging for a handkerchief. I shall start earlier next year.

I found one shop with one kind of Jap. paper, white with lots of strands in it, it cost the same as going over the Opera House, so I gave away the Opera House! I walked all round the outside, and don’t really go for looking over places anyway.

I have started back the painting lessons, trying to be a bit more creative, a bubble inside which stands a horse and his cavalier, taken from a photo of a horse-show from my neighbour’s son. I am painting two, at the same time, but the reproduction of exactitude is lacking. We’ll see the ending whole, not doubt excellent. [Modesty!]

I’ve never spent that much on material but as it was 60 inches wide I didn’t need much. Having cut it as the Vogue pattern suggested – making the waist size 18 and the all below size 16 – I got in a panic when I thought I couldn’t get in it – but once pressed all was well – tho’ sitting has to be thought about!

Sitting has to be thought about

I’ve finished my set of chessmen, knights and all! (One of the dark ones still looks remarkably like a rampant boar, but that wood splinters easily, and I decided against trying to make it more equine.) I don’t think any two of the pawns exactly match and the white king is about a quarter of an inch taller than the dark one, and one of the white bishops almost as tall as the queen – but who wants standardisation?

One of the things I saw at the Creativity Workshop was painting with a balloon. Have you ever tried it?

My knitting machine has a half-finished sleeve dangling sadly from it, where it has been for about three months. However I do hope to do something about that soon.

‘Lather’s Lung’ sounds horrid. I shall be much more careful with my mask in future!

Uppers and downers

“She has been busy organising her exhibition. Busy doing a million things in fact! She’s been enjoying the burst of energy these drugs have brought, I think, and has been quite funny about it all. He seems to be standing the pace too!”

“X got asthma but we got some medicine and he’s heaps better now. Just hope we don’t get a hyper reaction to it – sometimes he loses whatever sense of responsibility a 3 year old can be said to have!”

“… won’t be independent for shopping etc. if I have to give up the car – I can’t really quite decide if I ought to stop because of eyes but in the meantime go on! So glad to hear that your eyes were ‘better’ with the different man – it is a completely hit and miss game as far as I understand it and one just to trust them.”

the paediatrician

“…there was time to get X gooed at by the paediatrician at the hospital (‘Isn’t he lovely?… Yes, quite well… Bring him back any time -$31 please!’)”

“I cured myself eventually by announcing to the consultant that his precious blood pressure pills were killing me and I was getting lower and lower in spirits – so had tried without them on my own and found myself feeling better. So we abandoned them and I revived at once and am now full of beans – still short of puff but that is now put down to smoking all my life, until a year ago, instead of ‘heart’ which it was first thought to be… The greatest joy is to feel alive instead of permanently half dead and blacking out at the thought of doing anything… thank goodness this nice consultant is amenable to being told that I don’t want too many of his pills – still having 3 different things to take each day despite knocking the worst one off: what would Maggie [Thatcher] think? I am sure they all cost the earth, and being ancient I get them for free.”

Grand kids

“Enjoying being with the family but had forgotten how tiring making sand castles could be.”

“We were so lucky when we were young to know a different world. True we had the War aftermath and other things but not terrorism in our midst. It is scary trying to explain guards and police to young children.”

“We asked him if he was going to Las Vegas in the hopes of paying for the reception, but he came back quickly with ‘No, to buy a house’! I hope it was a joke!”

“She is a born comic. I felt really sore from laughing when I went to bed about an hour or so later. She’s a complete extravert. Her hair has grown about 1-2 inches since she had her 2mm cut, all over, apart from a long bit in front, and dyed red/auburn, and looks gorgeous.”

[re some photos] I’m sure we’re the only ones on earth to have grandchildren who are a throw-back to crossing with a possum or straight from Mars!”

knickers stealer

“X is more creative verbally, I think. Pumpkins-with-8-legs-who-steal-your-knickers are still in vogue, by the way. He wanted to spell it out with wooden letters one day. He found a 5 instead of an 8. We asked where the other 3 legs had gone – Grandpa decided a Brussel sprout had them – it’s a pity about this family!”

Going, going, gone

“I hope your parents are as well as age allows – it is hard to see loved ones fall apart.”

“I can appreciate how you miss your parents, I have had two husbands, but my mother meant more to me, and it is so natural to wish we had done better for them.”

Dead & buried

“… I miss X a great deal – in a very strange way. And this year I have found more letters which she had written to me. I do not know why I kept them because I am not a ‘keeper’ at all. But of course I know that you must miss her in a very different way and that it cannot be easy for you. It all seemed to happen so suddenly. I think that she found it difficult to cope without X as she had always been dependent on him. And of course all the time she was seriously unwell – a matter she never mentioned and which I sort of forgot about I am ashamed to say.”

“We are going to have to try to talk to my father about selling his house, which won’t be a very pleasant task. He is permanently hospitalised…”

“Yes, I understand how you feel having lost both parents. I also have regrets of not appreciating them fully and of things left unsaid and undone which should have been expressed and put into practice. But that is life.” [And death!]

Partner is getting old and a bit senile, but in a beautiful setting!”

“We’re kept pretty busy, partner endlessly repairing the house and me trying to keep the garden under control. We love the house, and so here we stay, despite the family thinking we should move to something more convenient. In fact they’ve given up, and we have more help, particularly in the garden.

We plough the fields and scatter

“My vegetables are OK but the rest of the garden is a disaster. It’s a sort of vicious circle – I don’t put enough effort into it to make it look nice, so it’s unsatisfying, so I don’t put enough effort in! My latest effort is a rain forest crèche on the dining room window sill. I’ve potted up vast numbers of ‘Greenpeace’ native seeds I was given last Christmas. I have put them in a very expensive potting mix and watered them daily for weeks. They’ve not so much as stirred – ungrateful things!”

“Spring has arrived early and it is a delight to admire the pink flowers of the camellia tree and the yellow ones of the mimosa in the back garden.”

“I fear my first beans will fail despite covers as I had to put them out as the roots were too huge for their starting pots. Dear X upset a box of very expensive Alpine Strawberry seeds, but fortunately they have started to come up in parts, so I am still hopeful. Parsley in the airing cupboard – the first lot caught me out and shot up unexpectedly but I am on the watch for this. Far easier to buy but not so much fun.”

“…the spray for the various beetles didn’t quite do the trick so the result is some rather mucky looking raspberries but they puree all right with a little hard work removing bad bits and the ‘livestock’! They take a long time to pick but as there are so few nice ones the problem of going round giving them away does not arise so much.”

“Other things have come on too, so I have been able with great delight to pull up the last of the over-winter carrots and throw them away. It was getting quite a struggle to separate the eatable outside bit from their vast central rock-hard stem.”

coarse carrots

“I have planted some broad beans which the pigeons are rapidly demolishing I think, and some potatoes got thrown in very casually one day. It is all rather half-hearted and vague but I enjoy trying to keep it comparatively tidy to the last. I shall have two tubs and a grow-bag on a patio I hope!! Alternatively of course it might be a bit of flannel and a packet of cress on the windowsill.”

Everyone has a book inside

“You are not allowed to laugh or grin, but I am trying to write a Mills and Boon-type historical romance. I have finished the first draft, and am having a rest for a few weeks so that I can go back to it with ‘fresh eyes’. The historical imprint is longer than some of the other imprints, and there tends to be more story (it is still a romance, though) and whether there is any, or how much, of the physical is up to the writer. [!]…My manuscript isn’t very long – only about 77,000 words – but it has been instructive writing it. I have enjoyed doing the research.”

“I love hearing from you and always have such a good laugh at all your stories. Have you thought of writing a book? Your command of the English language is very good and you express yourself so well. Go for it!!”

“The book died, I am afraid. I put together an assorted 45,000 words. Then, of course, during the summer, everything became very difficult. Two publishers said that, although it was not without interest to a limited readership (damning with faint praise), such books simply would not sell unless they had a minimum of 70,000 words. That either meant rewriting or padding out what I had written, or else thinking out new angles which might be of interest – and that would mean research, if I was to get the facts right, and, in all the circumstances I could not face up to it. Somebody, some day, might find it interesting, but I fear that the hour is past.”

would-be authors

“I find that just getting my book published is all I care about. Vanity and not money is my main motivation.”

“I’ve finished typing out as a book the stories I used to tell to families there because a few of the people go on asking when I am going to publish them. It is however noticeable that none of the children have asked the same thing, so probably the book will never get accepted.”

What some do for fun

“We can concentrate on our training… we start at 8 a.m. day one and partner rides about 60 kms to where I am waiting and I run 23 kms over a mountain range. Then we sleep. Day 2 partner kayaks 67 kms down a river and I ride 70 kms. We’ll be tired at the end of it!!”

“We went to see this really funny movie called ‘Crocodile Dundee’, which is about this guy who lives in the Australian outback, and this female New York reporter comes to him because his leg had been bitten off, and he crawled to the hospital, and she wanted a story. Anyway, it ended up him coming to New York, where some really funny things happened, e.g. this robber stole this woman’s purse and ran off with it in the street, but Crocodile Dundee picked up a tin from the woman’s dropped grocery bag and threw 20 metres to hit the robber on the head. Anyway it was a choice film.”

“… 80 of her friends came [to the 21st party] – I was most impressed that none of the 80 smoked. Without exception they were all into rock-climbing or tramping or diving or … other disgustingly healthy pursuits!”

“We have been visiting friends. They spend about 3 months in the old goldfields prospecting. They stay in Tarnagulla which is a town of about 100 now but was approx. 70,000 during the gold rush. The trees have grown back and it is v. peaceful with the birdsong… [re postcard photo of Great Ocean Road] There are now only 8 apostles left. One crumbled into the sea, captured by amateur video, quite recently.”

gone fishing

“They had a little boat and the weather was good… One snag for him was that she caught lots of fish including two big ones they brought home and are now in the deep freeze, and he only caught 2 trout that weren’t big enough to keep!”

“I’m also playing rugby again this year and Mummy’s paranoid I’m going to get mortally injured. So much for family support!”

“… a man came in the other day who was 199 kg!! and he went bungee jumping! – they had to give him 2 bungee cords because one would have snapped.”

“The weekend was really fun, we played games the first evening, lazed around and played beach cricket the next morning, had a few deep and meaningful discussions interspersed with racing around the sand-dunes, games in the afternoon, dinner, then a bonfire on the beach for a large portion of the evening while we talked about direction and our lives and roasted marshmallows. (We ate the marshmallows, not talked about them!)”

campfire