Pandemic Picnic

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Today we had a picnic. The occasion was meeting up with several of my Year 8 cohort from high school. 2021 marks 50 years since we began high school. 10 of us shared fun, laughter and crazy memories.

This event started me thinking that picnics seem to have become our default method of socialising. Even though our area has been mostly spared from Covid 19 cases, more and more of us appear to be enjoying the great outdoors for social occasions.

One of my cousins contacted me yesterday and suggested a get together with several of my extended family – a possible picnic! Most definitely count me in.

A picnic naturally means food. Do you have any favourite picnic fare? Picnics come in as many guises as participants. It is not all stereotypical rattan picnic hampers with red and white checked cloths.

Your set-up can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. In fact, one of the guests today brought a wedge of cheese, a baguette, knife and wooden chopping board in a backpack. This was happily shared with others in the group.

I would love to hear your thoughts on picnics and other socialising. Has the pandemic changed your outlook?

Finding Balance

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It is a little over 6 months since I finished work and I am now beginning to look at how I manage my time at home.

While I was working it was the time available which dictated what I achieved at home.  However, now that has all changed as my time is my own.

The first 6 months were taken up with the final preparations for our overseas trip followed by 9 weeks overseas then it was less than 2 months until Christmas and a road trip and family Christmas.

My activities can be roughly divided into the following categories (in alphabetical order, not priority):

Cooking – meal preparation – sometimes in bulk
Exercise – aquarobics, gym and walking
Gardening – growing vegetables, flowers and shrubs
Household maintenance/renovations – usually in conjunction with GMan
Online/Computer – blog, Facebook, emails
Relaxing – reading, music, television
Routine housework – making bed, washing, ironing, sweeping, vacuuming
Sewing – clothes, mending, patchwork and Boomerang bags
Socialising – book club, film society, theatre, friends, family, Air BnB guests
Shopping – groceries and miscellaneous
Travel – local, interstate and overseas

By their very nature, housework and cooking tend to occur everyday.  Formal exercise is twice a week but I am trying to include either some walking or gardening every other day.

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I try to find time for some gardening, relaxing and computer work each day.

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Sewing and socialising usually happen several days a week.

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Shopping is as little as possible but groceries are mostly once a week.

Some activities cross over such as aquarobics and socialising.  I also try to combine activities and errands to limit the number of trips I make into our local town (8km away).

From time to time a particular activity may demand a substantial block of time to the exclusion of almost everything else but I generally try to keep a mix of activities each day or so.




Newly Retired


Blog posts have been few and far between over the last 6 months as I navigated the countdown to retirement.  I had previously managed to successfully combine the running of a household with full-time work but once I could see the end in sight I tended to put several things on the back burner so that I could focus on tying up as many loose ends as possible in my job as well as training my successor.

So, my last day in the office was Thursday 4th July, otherwise known as Independence Day.

I searched for a suitable retirement image but nothing sums it up better than this photo.  We now have the time to explore our own backyard as well as further afield and simply enjoy being surrounded by scenery like the amazing Glasshouse Mountains.

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The past 3 weeks have been an absolute revelation.  You do not have to be constantly busy.  It is OK to take your time.  What does not get done today will be done tomorrow.  It has been a huge relief to feel the pressure fall away.

The first week of retirement coincided with school holidays so we had our granddaughters visiting for a few days and managed some outings and activities with them.

Since then I have caught up on sleep – no more 5am starts, exercised – walking each day and socialised – lunch with school friends, morning tea with cousins and several more lunches planned as well as a gallery visit.

Catching up on appointments is much easier without having to juggle them around work.  Dentist, optometrist, financial planner, tax agent and so on.

On the home front, meals are prepared, rooms cleaned and washing done with the minimum of fuss.  I am doing some sewing, too.

Meanwhile, we are putting the finishing touches to the plans for our next overseas trip.  We leave in a little over 3 weeks and have a couple more train trips to book.

That is only a brief overview but suffice to say that I am not bored.

I plan to share more details of the day to day activities now that life is running at a much more reasonable pace.

Thank you for sticking with me during the very lean blogging periods.


All Work and No Play….


….makes Jack a dull boy, according to the rhyme.

Well, although I have been busy with work at home and in the office it is great to ‘play’ a little, too.

On Wednesday I visited the retirement village where my mother lives and joined in their Ekka Day.  For those of you who are not Queenslanders – the Ekka is the nickname for the Royal Agricultural Show which happens in Brisbane each year for about 10 days in early August.  To celebrate this occasion there was a morning of games of chance, bags of sweets, art and craft displays followed by a themed lunch.  In the true tradition of this time of year it was a bright, sunny day but with a bitterly cold westerly wind so I was rugged up.  Mum and I inadvertently managed to match our outfits.

IMG_0736_1_1GMan and I dined out on Friday to celebrate his birthday.  We went to a local Italian restaurant for pizza.  They have the option of a gluten-free base for the pizza which suits me and we indulged on dessert as well.  Waffles for GMan and pavlova for me.

We have been socialising again today when we went to visit some friends who have recently moved into their new home.  Instead of driving down the highway we took the scenic back roads.  At Mt Mee we stopped at a lookout and captured the views.  This is looking north-east towards the Glasshouse Mountains.

010An old cottage and bunya pines.

017North-west towards the Blackall Range.

020We enjoyed a leisurely lunch, lively conversation and a stroll around the back paddock.  What more could we wish for on a sunny Sunday afternoon in winter?

I hope you have had a wonderful weekend with time for both work and play.

Mini Moments

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My focus has been on the real world rather than blogging over the past week.

We have had a long weekend here and a house-guest which was lovely.

Much of the time was spent chatting and being social so not too much housework was done.  However it is interesting to look around and see that there was not too much that needed doing.  I think that the trick is to do a little bit frequently.

It only takes a moment to get a few small jobs done.  As you know, we do not arrive home from work until after 7pm.  Last night I made salad while The Duke cooked the salmon on the BBQ. After dinner I hung out a load of washing that I had done before I went to work and brought in the dry clothes from the line and folded them.  I also cleaned the vanity and mirror in the bathroom and re-made the guest bed.


This morning I unloaded the dishwasher and tonight will bring in the washing plus finish the ironing.  There are only about 5 items as I did most of it on the weekend.

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I simply do not have the time or inclination to spend huge chunks of time on housework so this method works best for me.  It also means that my weekends are kept reasonably clear for spending time in the garden or more time-consuming jobs like preparing several meals.