That Was 2019

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I am writing this on the final evening of 2019 in a motel room in Rutherglen, a small town on the Victorian side of the Murray River which forms the border between Victoria and New South Wales.

Rutherglen is not where I expected to be tonight.  We were supposed to be in Bermagui on the south coast of New South Wales, however, it is right in the midst of the horrific bushfires raging in the south-eastern corner of Australia.

This photo is from Mallacoota on the coast near the Victoria/NSW border at about 10am this morning.

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I have gone back and re-read the 34 blog posts I wrote in 2019.  That is only about 1 post every 10 days on average.  At the end of 2018 I mentioned that I was going to have all of my photos sorted in 2019.  That did not happen.  The content of my 2019 posts is interesting.  They generally focus on my interests – gardening, cooking, sewing, op shopping and trying to be self-reliant and minimise our carbon footprint.  However, the posts from the latter part of the year tend to reflect the increasing concern over the climate crisis and my personal connection to it.  These included having a bushfire evacuation plan as well as growing food in extreme heat and saving our precious rainwater.

One event which I did not post about was the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) which has held in Madrid earlier this month.  Angus Taylor, the Federal Energy Minister, represented Australia, however, his prime effort was to block any real progress on global climate action.  As a result, Australia was singled out as being one of a handful of countries who set out to thwart the process.

I am reticent to use the word ‘unprecendented’ but that is the best description of the massive bushfire emergency which has been menacing almost every state and territory of Australia over the past 2 months.

Climate change did not cause the bushfires.

Climate change is contributing to the conditions which have allowed bushfires of the scale we are now witnessing to occur.

If the last day of 2019 is any indication then 2020 is not going to be a happy new year for many Australians.  My fervent wish is that my fellow citizens are all safe.

Many of us have worked diligently for years to make lifestyle changes to reduce our personal carbon footprint but our governments will not take action.  The Murdoch media and fossil fuel industries constantly facilitate climate denialism.  This cannot continue.  My New Year’s resolution is that I will take whatever action I can.

I make no apology for this post nor the fact that there will be more blog posts which focus directly on the climate crisis in 2020.  These will be balanced with important positive actions.  We must all do this together.

And one final comment.  Please read this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

 

A New Year

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The year may be new but many things stay the same.  I went back to work on 2nd January so time is tight but I am determined to make time for regular blog posts.  Unfortunately, I have been a bit preoccupied these past few days.  This has been due to the financial collapse of Bestjet and its impact.  You can read about it all here.

Anyway, we have dealt with that to the best of our ability at the moment and life goes on.  I am doing all of the things that I did in 2018 and continue to do in 2019.  Washing and ironing as well as preparing meals and trying to spend more time on sewing and gardening.

The garden is quite remarkable as we continue to harvest food with very little care or effort on our part.

Here is my haul from this afternoon.

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The lettuce, beans and tomatoes are all from self-sown plants.  We had lettuce and tomatoes in the salad with bean tacos for dinner tonight.  Since I found the beans, I think I will have beef and bean stir-fry tomorrow.

One of my goals for this year is to eat or drink some home-grown produce every day, preferably at every meal.  I am doing pretty well so far.

Tomorrow I will show you what I have been sewing.

Happy Blue Year!!

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The New Year’s Eve challenge that was posed in a Facebook group I follow was to post a photo of your take on ‘Bubbles, Berries and Blooms’.

So here it is to share with you all.

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Blue agapanthus from beside the driveway, a bowl of freshly picked blueberries from the garden and some soda water with a wedge of lime in one of my favourite glasses – the blue one of a set that belonged to my mother.

May 2019 be filled with beauty for you.

The Home List

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Happy New Year!!

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I mentioned in my last post that I did not have any major resolutions or grand plans for 2018.  However, I have created a list of things we want to get done.  We have agreed that we will not take any major overseas holidays this year but will try get some things done around the house.  We have been overseas for each of the last 4 years and while we thoroughly enjoy the trips it does not leave much time to catch up on domestic tasks.

We are at work during the week and find that we think of jobs to do faster than we can accomplish them.  Many are things we can do but some will definitely require some professional assistance.  In those cases we still need to make the contact and arrange for the job to be done.  GMan is considering taking some annual leave during the year to try to get ahead on some projects.

Here is the initial list – in no particular order.

Make 3 more raised garden beds
Connect tank and get new outdoor taps
Make outdoor sink
Have back wall washed
Replace front steps and add handrail
Revarnish verandah
Revarnish verandah handrail
Repaint ceiling in kitchen, hall, lounge/dining room and front entry
Repaint front entry
Recoat slate floor (front entry and fireplace surround)
Refinish vinyl floors
Replace 3 security doors
Paint external door to dining room
Paint board on wardrobe in 3rd bedroom
Finish painting edges of verandah ceiling
Create garden bed outside vegie garden
Make gabion seat for above garden bed
Build lychgate
Build pergola
Remove tree near front steps and replace
Remove trees beside driveway and replace
Replace garage roller doors
Finish concreting and pebbles and verandah
Paint exterior blockwork
Assess guttering – new or repaint
Battens under the house
Make rack with pulley system in workshop
Blinds for lounge/dining room

The first step will be to assign priorities to the items on the list.  There will other things added over time that may well take priority.  If I am completely honest I really don’t think that this will all be completed in 2018 but we have to start somewhere.

I am excited to report that the board on the wardrobe has now been painted so that is one thing off the list.  It was probably the smallest and easiest task on the list but they are often the ones which are most likely to be overlooked.  The 2 horizontal boards had been removed when we painted the room years ago.  GMan bought a length of replacement board but it was not put up until a few months ago.  I was determined not to leave it for years before doing the painting.

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There will be updates during the year as we hopefully make some progress on the outstanding items on the list.

 

Christmas 2017 – A Review

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Christmas is over for another year.  I did not write about Christmas preparations because there really were not any preparations.  We arrived back at the beginning of December from our 4 week trip to the UK.  I had organised a week at the beach earlier in the year and bought experience gifts for our daughters and granddaughters.

I planned the menu, gathered up the food and utensils as well as some beach attire and headed off last weekend.

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We had a delightful week of relaxation and casual living.  The biggest decision I had to make was whether to do some more of the jigsaw or play another game of ‘Upwords’.

My daughter and I went to church on Christmas Eve.

The menu for Christmas Day was chosen to fit with hot weather at the beach and there were next to no leftovers.

Proscuitto wrapped asparagus and haloumi
Cold curried chicken
Rice
Parsley and cranberry crusted salmon
Mango and avocado salad
Beetroot and feta salad
Green bean salad with slivered almonds
Meringue roulade with berries and pistachio nuts

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A couple of days after Christmas I finally wrote a Christmas letter and emailed it to my close friends.

So, that was it – no tree, no decorations, no mad rushing around choosing gifts for the sake of it, no looking for a hundred ways to serve ham in January.  I know that this is simply not feasible for many people but every second year our Christmas is an adults only affair so we can approach the day quite differently.

I feel as though I drifted through the second half of 2017 in a haze of inertia following the death of A (our daughter’s partner) in May so relaxing with all of my immediate family was just the antidote we all needed.

I don’t have any major resolutions or grand plans for next year, however, I look forward to 2018 with the optimism that seems to greet every new year.

I hope your Christmas was what you had hoped and all the best for the New Year.

My next blog post will be looking forward to 2018 which conveniently begins on a Monday.  I  like the idea of a nice, neat start to the week and year.  Anyone else feel like this?

A Clean Slate

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It is well over a week since my last post and quite a bit has happened since then.  I did not anticipate being away from my blog for quite such an extended period of time.  However, the combination of a busy final week at work before the Christmas break as well as organising and hosting a couple of family events on Christmas Day and again 48 hours later meant that the blog was firmly on the back burner in the final days of 2016.  The internet has not been entirely helpful either which made the prospect of shooting off a quick blog post seem all too difficult.

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But here we are, on the first day of the new year.  A clean slate which is completely unsullied and just waiting for us to make our mark.  I have plenty of plans but there will be more about that in some upcoming posts.

I have not been idle during my absence from the blog and I have have even remembered to take some photos of some of my projects and I will share them with you, too.

Tomorrow I will review a few things from Christmas – the successes and those which did not quite go according to plan.

I hope you had a warm and loving Christmas with those who are near and dear to you.  May 2017 bring you kindness, joy and peace.

Something to Savour

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I have been busy with other things so blog posts are not ready to share.

Here is a little something to ponder.

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It is almost the end of January.  Did you make wild resolutions you have been unable (or unwilling) to keep?  I think this is a really good reminder of what is important.  How about you?

Also, a special warm welcome to anyone who may be visiting for the first time.  Please say hello via the comments so I know you’re there.  🙂

Happy New Year

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I was searching for a photo that really portrayed my feelings for the end of one year and beginning of the next.  I did not want images of alcohol or fireworks.

I found this which summed it up for me.

New Year 2016

As 2015 is washed away by the incoming tide it is time to write a fresh new date in the sand and move on.

Wishing you a peaceful and fulfilling year.

Do It With a Diary

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I have never been very good with using a diary but I am hoping that this year will be different.

004When the question was asked on an online forum of what your New Year’s resolution would be, this was my answer:

“I am going to stop trying to squash so much into the available time and learn to allow some slack. Recently, I seem to be stressing about meeting deadlines/arriving by a certain time etc. My mental health deserves better.”

The fact that it was 4 days before Christmas may have had something to do with my response, however, it was something that I had considered several days earlier of my own accord.

Now I just have to work out how to put this into practice.  One of the first things is to use a diary.  This neat A5, day-to-a-page diary was part of a Secret Santa gift which I received so it is definitely going to be put to use.

If I write things down rather than trying to carry a whole load of information in my head it will relieve all of the things I am trying to remember as well as showing clearly what is actually doable in one day.  It also means that all of those little jobs that I think of that I am going to do one day are now allocated to a time and day.  I choose the time to fit my schedule and will then just do them.  No more forgetting the little stuff and trying to squash too much into the available time.

A grand goal and I am really hoping that I can make serious progress on achieving it.

Tomorrow is my first day back at work and I have 2 jobs listed in my personal diary.  Post a parcel and take the apparently faulty iPhone charging cable back to the Apple store as it was only bought in July last year.

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions?  Do you have any plans to do things differently this year?