A Day In The A Blue Mountains.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I welcome you to take your time and browse , visiting my bush garden and discovering the wonders of my city within a national park; Blue Mountains National Park. Via my blog you will travel with me through the successes, trials and tribulations of gardening on a bush block. I share with you my patchwork & quilting, knitting, paper crafts, cooking and life in general.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Counting Pollinators

My health has taken a bit of a tumble lately and as a result I haven't been up to much.
But it's not difficult to become involved in the Wild Pollinator Count. I'm endeavouring to do this as often as I can in the time frame.
If you're in Australia you may want to take part too.  You've got until the 22nd of November.

Taking photographs of your finds is optional but I managed one or two not-too-bad captures today so here they are. (Bearing in mind I used my point and shoot camera.)

I chose a large stem of elder flower from which to make my observation.

I spotted a fly (there was a second much smaller fly too)

and a European honey bee as well as some unidentifiable insects that reminded me of midges; and what looked like a pintail beetle which was too swift for me to even begin to take a photo.

It's nice to see the sun shine after weeks of wet stormy weather but the prediction is for heat wave conditions with temperatures in the low forties.

Linking to Outdoor Wednesday
Outdoor Wednesday: Click on the picture below to learn more...

Our World Tuesday

Monday, 9 November 2015

Expect The Unexpected

I took this from our speeding car with my point-and-shoot camera as Mr HP and I drove home last night.  We'd had lunch with our family to celebrate the November birthdays.
I wasn't expecting much from the camera, even though the scene before me was one to behold.
I did ask him to stop so I could take a quick shot from the side of the road; but he chose not to hear. It seems there was no need ...

This is in the vicinity of Badgerys Creek, the site for what is being tagged as Sydney's next international airport, and looking west.
The blue finger along the horizon is The Blue Mountains...where we live.

Linking to:
Our World Tuesday Graphic

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Four Seasons Fill The Measure Of The Year

I don't believe it's been over a month since my last post.
October has been a mixed month, one of gluten free, dairy free birthday cakes (as I struggle with sinusitis and a bad bout of IBS);

hot summer-ish days spent on our beautiful harbour;

windy dry days followed by the mindful sweeping-up of leaves;

days of gratitude and appreciation as plants respond to the sudden burst of warm days after such a long and cold winter.

Having had such a cold winter accentuates the divide of the seasons, something we haven't experienced for some years now.
Welcome, Spring.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

French General - A Finish

Finally got to finish my French General Quilt, which I gifted to my Mum for her birthday this week.
I loved it so much I was so tempted to covet it for myself!  But I resisted, well, I guess that's an excuse to make another for myself! 
And Mum loves it!


I basted it using the plank method and machine quilted it myself.  The doily label is a vintage doily I bought some time ago and to which I added the embroidered writing myself.
It feels good to have another quilt finished! 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

When September Comes

September, for our family, is full of birthdays. And then there's father's day too, which, in Australia, is celebrated on the first Saturday of September.
It's been a difficult month for us this year, as the fathers we are missing grew again with the passing of my brother in May, and our nine year old niece spent her first birthday without her Dad. It is also very hard for Mum who has lost both of her sons and for her to know that two of her Grandchildren will never see their Dads again.  But spending as many days as possible with family celebrating birthdays helps to make remembering the birthdays of those that are absent, much easier to bear.

We've therefore had a number of celebrations since the beginning of September and they culminated with a picnic birthday celebration last Sunday at Watson's Bay.  
The weather came to the party too and we languished gracefully under a monstrous fig tree and indulged in take away fish and chips from Doyle's at lunch time. The queues for take away were soooo long!
The day ended in a beautiful show for which I am grateful.

Yesterday was our Mum's birthday so my sister and I took her out to lunch at Mother Earth Nursery Cafe at Kenthurst where we languished some more and indulged in a little bit more than fish and chips...
Affogato...looks too good to eat!

We ordered a 'little' cake for Mum's birthday...and shared it three ways.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Winter Hibernation ...

...means a good book or three to read as one snuggles on the couch, wrapped in a scarf and blanket.  
I've been coping with the cold by staying indoors as much as possible. 
As a result the garden has been neglected but I've managed to catch up on some reading.
Just like my post here I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've never read To Kill A Mocking Bird (Lee Harper).  I cannot explain why this is the case, except to say that I have been curious about the novel when it has come up in conversation in the past. 
But with all the hype about Lee Harper's new novel Go Set A Watchman my curiosity got the better of me and I became determined to read for myself what all the fuss was and is about.
Can you imagine my delight when, (on the 15th July) I happened upon a charity shop in Katoomba as I made my way to a function at the Paragon Cafe where I would meet with my Best Friend Ever. As I walked past the shop I made a mental note to pop in and a have a look after lunch.

The Paragon Cafe itself is a treasure trove of memorabilia.

 We indulged in a 50's themed Christmas in July Lunch on a bitterly cold day and as we were returning to my car My Friend, being a vintage clothes junkie, couldn't resist the Steven Walter Children Cancer Foundation - Op Shop (which has been described as a 'boutique-style charity shop') and as I'd already forgotten my mental note, I would not realise how appreciative of my friend I would be until my later find.

The store is a treasure trove...there is indeed a select array of the finest vintage items. Some may even be classed as antique but I'm not qualified to say.  We found room after room of nicely displayed collections of furniture, china, clothing, toys, and...books.

On spotting the books I began scanning the shelves for Lee Harper's first novel but quickly gave up as I couldn't really work the system employed by the staff to file their books (it definitely isn't the Dewey system!).
A staff member was stacking more books from a trolley so I approached her and asked if they happened to have To Kill A Mocking Bird and when I saw the look on her face I hoped she didn't think I was mocking her!  I could see her brain ticking over and I wondered to myself what retort she may be thinking up but after a few seconds her gaze, along with her mind I imagined, cleared and she uttered the words (or similar):  Yes we do, I've just put one up on the shelf here.
Then to my amazement she walked over to a rattan shelf and she reached up to the top most shelf and from atop the top most book, she took down a forlorn paperback copy of the book I had requested. (I would never have looked there.) Seek and ye shall find.  It is as simple as that.  I paid three dollars for it. 
Then two weeks or so later, at my local bookshop I paid $45 for a hardcover edition of Go Set a Watchman.  Oh well. (And no, it's not a first edition, as far as I can work out.)

To Kill A Mocking Bird

As a first time reader of the first novel written by Lee Harper I found myself drawn in by the character of Scout Finch and even though the setting is in a different continent and a different time to my own childhood the many similarities astounded me.  Perhaps both Scout and I commit, perhaps unconsciously, to existentialism.  
The most innocuous is what at times connects (for example) generations, or cultures. Besides, this narrative most certainly continues to relate to contemporary issues in my own homeland, and I imagine, many parts of the western world. 
Although reviews have described To Kill A Mocking Bird as a series of flashbacks in Jean Louise Finch’s life, I found them to be cohesive enough to not come across as a retelling of past events but rather, an unfolding of events in a troubling time as experienced by a young child, who perhaps is more open than most children to the impact of the behaviour of various adults and social groups in their life; as well as the conditions imposed on the children she associated  with (or didn’t)  as she grew up in Maycomb County, southern Alabama.
The questions it will trigger in the reader are as relevant today as they were back in the 1930s.   

Go Set A Watchman

This novel has a definite beginning, middle and end. It questions life issues more directly, I think, than To Kill A Mocking Bird.
The beginning was slow, reminisces a lot about Jean Louise/ Scout's childhood , and written in a much shriller voice than that of the deep and worrisome chesty tones of To Kill a Mocking Bird.  Perhaps it’s the inconsistent tone of the writing that left me feeling uneasy in the beginning. 
As a result, I found the start of the book sedate and irritating, especially since I read it immediately after Lee Harper’s first book. 
But it’s not long before Scout’s questioning of and refusal to accept the norms of her isolated and close knit community comes to the fore and once more I became enthralled and swept up by her thoughts and reasoning.
It’s been some years since Scout left Maycomb and this narrative is set during her annual visit to her childhood home. 
Go Set A Watchman, in the twenty first century, has just as much relevance as it would have in the 1950s, but perhaps we as humans have evolved enough to process the message more readily.  Whether we accept the challenge or not remains to be seen. 

 (I have read where a book seller has offered to refund buyers of the book, their money if they so wish, because they may have been led to believe it was a ‘nice summer novel’ but instead may find it to be an ‘academic insight’.  My response to that is: Hummpf. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/aug/04/us-bookshop-offering-refunds-for-go-set-a-watchman-harper-lee.)

In the beginning this book made me laugh, in the end it brought me to tears but most importantly, in the middle, as I became absorbed by the conflicts experienced and betrayals perceived by Jean Louise, the words truly made me think and caused me to question my own views and beliefs towards people of other creeds, cultures, social standing and race.  It raises the question of the probability of how civil rights and liberties are interpreted depends on which group is doing the interpreting.  

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