Monday, November 30, 2009

Night sky

After a day doing house work, and I still havent finished, this is the best I can do, lurid pink sky after a hot day.
We have had about 40mm of rain in the last few days, which is good, and certainly at the moment the sky does not look like this.
Not much to say, a worrying day which you can read about here if you are interested.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I am afraid this is a bit of a splodgy sketch as I had been in the garden all day and am tired so when I decided to do this I stood by the bedroom door and did the outline but when I went to put some paint on I am afraid I made a bit of a mess of the colors I was trying to put on.
It was lovely early on this morning, then down came the showers again and our walk flew out of the window and we decided to get wet here, cutting back and pulling weeds and doing a bit more potting on.
I have planted a pink clematis as well but I am not sure if the spot I have chosen for it is going to be very good, lots of roots in the soil but this one has been amazingly adaptive so I hope the other is too.
My lemons are all falling off the tree, they certainly dont like 43 degree C days, and on looking for my shasta daisies I cant believe it but I have three tiny plants left which I had better rescue and pot on, normally they take over. Other things like the glory vine have taken off and already need taming.
After the wild few days we have had perhaps this Haiku by Shiki is appropriate,
The thunder has subsided.
Evening sun on a single tree.
The cry of a cicada.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thunder and lightning

We lost power yesterday and the storm was so fierce I didnt turn the computers back on so therefore no post.
I sat for a while watching the rain pelting down and drew the little birds and then added some extra bits, and then a snail appeared and finally a vine with leaves and what was supposed to be a flower but it doesnt look much like one, and somewhere in the middle the bell appeared.
It is still blowing and I can hear the sound of chain saws so I suppose branches are down along the road. I have been planting some herbs I bought in the market today and throwing out old potting soil and repotting a few things. Stuff I should have done weeks ago.
I have had to watch my timing as when the rain comes it is incredibly heavy, if only for a few minutes. The garden is loving it.
The other is a little bit of nonsense I am doing a few of these, scraps of material, sewn on the machine and then some hand stitching, on some more than others. Layers, such fun.
Haiku today is by Buson
Spring rain falling
On the roof a child's rag doll-

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The stable yard at Castle Howard

This little corner had a barrow with vegetables on it and piled up pumpkins and a box of brussel sprouts, a lovely little bit to sketch.
Yesterday I saw my mother, who slept for most of the time I was there, so I arranged the flowers I had brought and after 3/4 of an hour slipped away.
It wasnt as hot as it had been but is now muggy so feels a bit worse. I was hoping we would get some rain but nothing so far.
I went to the garden center looking for dahlias, couldnt get any tubers I must be too late, we saw such lovely displays of them in the Jardin du Plants in Paris I wanted to get some in, I did find a couple of potted small ones so they will have to do. I also brought home some petunia seedlings and some geraniums, I know I usually grow my own from cuttings I have pinched but I feel I am running out of time so a mixed punnet looked like a good idea. Boy they are not cheap though.
I was hoping to have a quiet day but John decided to get the rods for the curtains up, that meant moving a heap of stuff and then having to sit and sew on the curtain rings, but it is done now and looks heaps better.
We are off tonight for a friends 70th Birthday.
The Haiku tonight is by Hyakuchi
Thinking comfortable

with a friend in silence
in the cool evening...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When in a doctors waiting room

Actually I was outside in the car waiting for John to have a small nasty cut from his back. I had wandered around the town and he still hadnt rung to say he was ready so I doodled. I must say I would quite like a vase looking a little like the one at the bottom of my sketchbook page.
I find doodling a lot of fun and I dont really feel as if I am wasting time.
Warmer today and I am still trying to get things sorted in the close bits of the garden. Pots are being moved around and a few new ideas being thought about. They may happen this season but I am not sure. A huge succulent that keeps falling over in a pot has been moved into the garden where I hope it wont get frosted.
We took the black mulberry my friend Paddy gave Tab for a wedding present over to her today, as she says mulberries have been part of all her life. We have always had one and the children will never forget the one at Cape Cassini on Kangaroo Island which covers about 1/2 an acre which we used to go and collect ripe mulberries in our bathers for the most wonderful feasts.
I have just discovered that I can get my flower stitcher onto my Pfaff sewing machine, after breaking 2 sets of twin needles on another machine so I am terribly pleased about that and plan a lot of practice on it in the next few days. I tried and tried but was obviously attacking it from the wrong direction.
Adelaide tomorrow so I may not post, I will see how I feel when I get home.
tonights Haiku is again by Basho
My horse clip-clopping
over a field...
Oh Ho!
I'm part of the picture!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sketch done on The Holy Isle

I just liked this little vignette as we walked around the Holy Isle and so it became a rough sketch and a photo, I suppose you could say it is still a rough sketch but it pleases me. A tiny corner of a house with a rose growing up the wall, the castle and farm houses in the distance.
To day I tidied up the bit of garden by the bedroom door, didnt look as if much had to be done but it was two wheelbarrows later and still a couple of things to get done.
It is so much cooler but I can see so many tough old plants that would normally be looking fresh and bright but after over 40 degrees C are burnt and quite miserable looking. Thank goodness we have several days of cool weather and perhaps some more rain.
Tonights Haiku is by Onetei
Briefly the sun shines
brightly between
cloud and sea
fading as rain falls.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trying to catch up

John has gone fishing today and although we had some lovely rain last night and it is cooler and I should be outside pulling weeds I am trying to catch up on a few things that need to be done.
The bread is baking, the dishes are done and the inside is relatively clean but not tidy. Oh no not in the least tidy as I am trying to get stuff done for Christmas presents.
John informed me that if I wanted to go to Kangaroo Island for Christmas we had no money for presents.
Now that is 2 sisters, one mother, 4 children 4 partners and 11 grand children and 1 great grand child.
Plus friends.
What a head ache, we dont give each other presents as the trip away is that.
So I am trying to think of things that dont look too home made and might be appreciated.
I am making a few of these little frames stitcherys for some, I have other things as well and need to get these done so I can make some earrings and necklaces etc for the others.
I will just have to buy for the boys, a bottle of wine each will have to do.
Time is going fast and I know that as well I have 4 birthdays just before Christmas.
Sometimes I feel like saying, this is it, no more presents but then they will be disappointed and I The sandals were sitting by the ramp down to the beach the other day, I think they belonged to the lady in black with the large dog. I had to sketch them, if nothing else.
Basho's Haiku today
Oh that summer moon!
It made me go
round the pond all night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Sketchbook page

I should have a painted sketch up but it is over 40degrees C here and my sun room where I usually paint is shut up and hot hot, I do not want to venture in there.
I am thinking of joining a group who sketch daily, but am still making up my mind, so I sat last night fiddling with a few thoughts about textiles that were going through my mind, not very deep thoughts I might add and this was the page that some how emerged.
I am doing Christmas presents and things and have just sewn up a bunch of hearts and forgot to put ribbon or lace on the material before I sew, and I am doing a bunch of painted dolls who are such fun but you cant see them either.
We did go walking on the beach this morning, the first since before I did the ligament in my knee back in July? August? It was hot even at 9 am which should have been 8 am but with daylight saving isnt. A lovely walk but a forgotten coffee order afterwards left me fuming. If people want to run efficient places that people especially locals will come back to they need to watch what is going on and not forget orders.
Enough of my rant.
Perhaps it is the heat, there is a fire out there on York Peninsular where my daughter and son in law and grand daughter are and where all their girls will be going tomorrow. Not actually near them but the forcast of very high winds and lightening strikes is a worry. We will probably be up most of the night watching if the thunderstorms start.
So far all we have to look forward to is Schoolies weekend getting old and grumpy? well yes I suppose so.
This Haiku by Soseski might do the trick!
The mightiest Gods
loom naked
in a black wind
laughing at demons.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The fun things you find

In the narrow back streets of towns.
This is a sketch I did in Berwick upon Tweed, the houses with rooms over the street. This little lane was blocked off as there were painters closer this end but I did manage a quick sketch and a photo and this is a slightly better pen and wash of the room jutting out over the street.
I have no idea what or why but I do know the where.
The scan hasnt done the colors justice.
My Biscotti recipe,
1 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 tspoon bicarb soda
3/4 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 dessertspoon instant coffee
80 gms toasted whole hazelnuts, I use what I can get straight from the packet.
120 gms dark chocolate dots or dark cooking chocolate in small chunks
125 gm unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
11/2 tspn vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180 degree C
Put flour, bi carb soda, baking powder, salt and coffee in bowl and whisk well . Stir in nuts and chocolate to coat and set aside.
In mixer beat butter and sugar untill light and fluffy, about 6 mins, add eggs one at a time beating well and then add vanilla.
On low speed add the dry ingredients until combined.
Divide dough into two, in your hands roll out into two log shapes and put on baking tray covered in baking paper about an inch or so apart as they will flatten and spread.
Bake until golden about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
Reduce oven heat to 160 degrees C
When the logs are barely warn carefully cut them cross ways about 1/2 inch across. Lay biscuits on baking sheets with cut side down return to oven and bake until crisp and golden brown about 15 minutes.
Remove and cool on trays, bisuits will be fragile at first but then ok. Put in an air tight tin when cold.
Tip. I keep my nuts in the freezer to stop them developing a rancid taste before I use them.
I hope you like them, they do take time but are worth it, or at leasty John thinks they are!
No Haiku tonight, I am late and tomorrow sounds like a nast hot day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Ideal Garden allotment

India Flint, a fellow South Australian and dyer extraordinaire has a give away on her blog relating to garden allotments, here.
I love garden allotments and whenever, if ever we are away I love looking out of train windows looking at them.
This is my ideal and has in it what I know we can grow here. Our soil is very light deep sand and can get non wetting if we are not careful with it. Using the stable manure from the ponies in the stable is a help, when I can get someone to cart some for me.
I dont know if you can see or read what I have done, click on the photo to see it larger.
I have laid out a very traditional garden with fruit trees that I love, apples, pears, apricot, nectarine, fig, peach, plum, loquat, and of course a lemon on the right root stock and a navel orange. No cherries as they dont grow here, apricots I have to say are a bit iffy too.
I have a garden shed and an area of shade with a seat to rest on after a hard days work, with a grape vine over it and a few table grapes on the back fence.
IN my garden plots are all the vegetables that I can grow and that we eat. Poles with beans, peas, tomatoes, and a passion fruit.
Beds for strawberries, asparagus (that is growing well at the moment and so are the strawberries!) Potatoes and onions, oh gosh I forgot the garlic, that is always tucked in in odd corners. The broad beans are just surviving the heat at the moment and the bush beans well, I am having a few problems with salt in the water but there should be a reasonable crop.
Beetroot and radishes, a must for summer salads, as are the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber.
The herbs, some in some places, others like the basil around the tomatoes, the chives and parsley can run a little wild and the couple of artichoke plants are doing well, just not too much heat please.
Then the pumpkins who tend to get very rampant, the lebanese zuccini is my favorite and I must have something lovely to look at so a few roses over the entrance and beside them and some marigolds to keep the white fly at bay. Talking of Bay, there is a bay tree in a huge pot by the shed but I forgot to put that in as well. Visually the Jerusalem artichokes are lovely in late summer, huge sunflowers and very nice tubers to make into a rather embarrassing soup.
I dont bother too much with mid winter vegetables, too cold and the rabbits have a field day.
I hope you like my garden allotment.
As I live on a farm, there is no water barrel, all that would do would be to breed mosquitoes, and in our heat there would be nothing left in it very quickly, our water comes from the dams.
In reality I do have to battle with the peacocks eating everything so anything I get is a bonus.
What would I wear? Oh jeans and a shirt with long sleeves and a collar and sensible shoes, but then sometimes shorts and t shirt and sandals and a hat and sunscreen.
To eat for my elevenses, well normally I dont have elevenses as I am always trying to lose weight but I suppose I could have a mug of green tea and a biscuit, one of my gorgeously naughty biscotti with chocolate. Would you like the recipe? well leave a comment and I will put it up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Only time for a couple of doodles

This is what you do when you have a sort of cool change but you know it will only last for 2 days and then it is back into the 40's, well over 100 degrees in the old money.
So the house is sort of clean and tidied, I have washed, I have been watering the garden and pulling a few weeds and then its flop in a chair in front of the fan and doodle.
Lovely and relaxing.
Haiku by Basho
He who climbs this hill
of flowers
finds there a shrine
to the kind Goddess.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The wedding

Yesterday was my lovely youngest daughter's wedding. This was a second wedding for both and if you go to my other blog here you will see more photos and a bit more of an explanation.
The first photo she was explaining in her speech that she had actually asked him to marry her as it was a leap year!
The next is of their small daughter Millie gathering rose petals during the ceremony, and then both of them cutting the cake with a meat clever!
It was a terribly hot day, most uncomfortable but we were all dressed to be comfortable, it was a Scottish wedding of some tradition with a lot of Australian flavor mixed in. The bride looked stunning, and the groom was pretty good too and the others in the family did very well and I was proud to be the mother, grandmother, great grandmother of those who could get there ( and those who for other reasons couldnt).
The caterer (me) didnt fall in too much of a heap and there was certainly more than enough food, and even though it was a hot day the oysters my John had to open in the morning were almost all consumed, about 14 dozen of them!
Record breaking number of over 35 degree days, I dont want to count them, and more to come.
We are off to a 90th birthday in a few minutes.
Back to sketching in a day or two!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

House by Berwick upon Tweed

This house is right down by the Tweed, I loved its many gables, I did wonder if it was liable to flooding being below the town walls.
We had a lovely night last night sitting on friends balcony by the sea and eating and drinking and chatting until about 10.30, catching up with the friends we met in Paris and talking about our trips, probably boring for others but fun for us.
I had forgotten I was to meet Tabby at 8 am in Woolworths this morning so there was a mad scramble to get off, and as I was going realised that Sarah was in the paddock with the young mare who had foaled, of course it was a filly and it hadnt drunk and the mare was very good but the foal was so dumb, happens sometimes and had no intention of finding her mothers udder. I had the vet out at 12.30 as it was 37 degrees by then giving it electrolytes, at 3.30. after we had moved it it suddenly got up and had a huge drink from both sides of its mother. Whew was all I could say but I didnot need this!!
I now have the airconditioner flat out, the oven on and am cooking 8 chickens, I think that will do for 40 people with all the other stuff we have and as it may well be 39 degrees by then they probably wont eat much any way.
Tomorrow I make the cooked salads, I think we are sort of under control.
Tonights Haiku is by Kubonta and sometimes I feel like this.
When the tight string
snapped, the kite fell
It lost its spirit.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Caernarfon Castle

On a day such as this it is lovely to go back through and think of what we saw on a damp day in October, this was Caernarfon Castle where John nearly scared the pants off me by taking me up a dark and steep stair in one of these tall towers, I hate heights and as my nearly blind left eye is a liability at the best of times steep and uneven stairs are not good, hanging on to a rope was not made easier either. Of course we later found a well lit and much easier stair to come down.
I couldnt help thinking of the very young Prince Charles who became the Prince of Wales here, I had skied with friends who had been at school with him here in Australia and I am afraid still have a soft spot for him, shows my age I suppose.
I had a ball with all those battlements and odd corners in this building, there will be more to come.
Adelaide was horrendous, unbelievably hot, poor Tabby the new forecast is for it still to be 39 degrees in Adelaide on Saturday, about 36 or 7 down here, and yet in Victor when I got there it was only 26 degrees, lucky them, it is awful out here.
My mother was a bit lost about where she was and who I was when I got there but soon perked up. I dont know how long the flowers I gave her will last.
Most of my Haiku seem to be about spring or autumn and not a burning hot spring like this one, so I thought I would have cool thoughts this one by Etsujin
Not until I'd looked
a long time
at the new snow
did I wash my face.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It is hot hot still

and likely to be for the next 4 days at least, breaking some sort of record that I dont want to know about.
I am going to Adelaide tomorrow and it will be 39C . I have to see my mother so I will go early and come straight home.
Yesterday was messy and so will the next few days be, one tends to get up really early while it is still a bit cool and then settle to not much during the day and water and do things late when the sun is going down.
I find it extremely tiring and have to find things I can do with my feet up as the wretched things tend to swell in this weather.
This morning in the early morning light when I went out to see if I had a foal I thought from a distance, oh yes there it is, until it hopped away, it was a kangaroo!
This is Kelso Abbey which I found a bit about, it says it was founded by David the first in the 12th century and it was destroyed in 1545 by the Earl of Hertford.
Onitsura wrote this Haiku.

How hot and dusty
these sunstruck
cobwebs glisten
between dry branches.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Not sure what my scanner is doing as this should have more colour on the right, the mysteries of getting it right.
I loved Conwy, this small walled town with castle overlooking the sea and estuary, we had a lovely time in the rain wandering around, well it only rained a bit and we had umbrellas.
Yesterday today and the next week are going to be horrid here, hot and gradually getting hotter with tops of at least 37 degrees, it is over 35 by the back door at the moment. Poor Tab's wedding on Saturday is going to be about 34 and I hope by then the temperature has gone down and not up.
Yesterday was the show, all I can say is read about it here although we had quite a good day it was far too long and tiring and the ridden is on today, I am not there!
The poor garden is going to turn up its toes as it hadnt had time to get used to these temperatures. We live in a country where there are floods on the east coast and stinking hot and dry here, but that is what usually happens, if it is wet there we get no rain.
Basho's Haiku feels a bit like the way I feel at the moment (not that I have a fever but heat does this to me)
Wandering, dreaming,
in fever
dreaming that dreams
forever wander.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Still in the UK

The first is a rather wonky sketch of Bamborough castle which I drew from the sea ward side while John was investigating plants and rocks, it is a bit wonky as there was no where to sit and I had to stand and draw the outline.
The next is a bit out of order, these pots were what I could see when we had a small meal while waiting to find out where our gate was in Heathrow airport, the most awful airport ever.
Finally we went to Portmeirion which is the gloriously mad Italianate village in Wales, not a lot of time for sketching but we did sit and draw breath for a few minutes looking across the water to the further shore.
So one picture drawn on the East cost of the UK and the other on the west coast.
Still cool today, I have cleaned the house and walked so I feel terribly virtuous.
Robyn on Art Propelled, has a wonderful piece on taking a few minutes during your day to take stock and refresh yourself. I love her blog it is well worth visiting, even though I wish she would blog more often! I am hungry for South African images.
My Haiku today is by Etsujin

Poppy petals fall
softly quietly
calmly when they are ready.

My poppy petals are falling at the moment.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Roman artifacts and Whitby

On our way down to Yorkshire from Berwick on Tweed we went through the Cheviots and saw some moorland and different country again.
We called into Chesters Fort on Hadrians wall and had a good look around and I sketched a few of the horse related stuff that they had in the very good little museum they had there.
I was determined to go to Whitby while we were in Yorkshire, a long day but very interesting, we called into Castle Howard on the way through and going over the moors was a different experience to those on the other side.
Whitby is famous to Australians as it is where Captain Cook started off from for his travels to discover Australia so we had to go as I had heard of Whitby all my life.
So here are some of the houses across the bay from where we had lunch and a very good fish pie at the Quaterdeck. I sketched both these while we had lunch, the second is of the Whitby Abbey plus a bit of the church, it was not easy to work out what was which so I sketched the outline in fist and then went from there.
The weather is a bit kinder today, yesterday was a pleasant day but as I was in Adelaide I was tired by the time I got home. more of that in my other blog here.
my haiku is by Hyakuchi
Thinking comfortable
with a friend in silence
in the cool evening...

Monday, November 02, 2009


Today we are supposed to have a cool change but it is still steamy and uncomfortable.
I went in to see Gaby and Mason, he is a terror but gorgeous.
I have been painting pages for a small book I am doing on line with Lynda Monk, also a cover for a book doing another on line class with Maggie Grey and I should be at the sewing machine doing things for Dales class as well but its sort of not happening.
Two of these sketches were done at Berwick upon Tweed, the first was sitting on the Lowry trail, Lowry lived here for some years and there are various points where he painted and this is one, but I am no Lowry and he did paint in oils.
The next is of the three bridges that cross the Tweed at Berwick, the last is a wonderful railway bridge and while I was taking a photo a train actually went over it. I was sitting sketching this view from further down looking over the mud flats, all the tides along this coast go out for miles and then come in very fast.
The last is of the Farne Islands, or what I could see of them as the day was very gloomy, this was possibly done down near Seahouses but it could have been Bamborough as well. They wer interesting as well as when I first saw them they had great cliffs and then as the tide came in the cliffs disapeared.
Looking back the weather was pretty overcast most of the time so that the light was not very bright, infact I cant remember seeing much of the sun in England, and at times it was positively gloomy, not like our light at all, but for all that it was what I expected.
This Haiku by Shiki is apt for the northern hemishpere not here.
Oh how I enjoy
eating a ripe persimmon
while deep
old bells boom!

Sunday, November 01, 2009


Well this is not most peoples London but this is what I did when I was there. Walking in Kensington Park we sat for a while on a seat by the serpentine and as the shags in the UK dont look much like the ones I know, their beaks are much longer and bigger for a start I had to try drawing one.
the bottom bird in the next sketch is I think supposed to be a canada goose but it looks more duck like to me, oh well I tried mr/mrs goose.
The huge amonite was in the Natural history museum, along with a million children, so John went off wandering and I found a seat where I could draw it. I really really want an ammonite and I tried hard to get one but to no avail. I keep hoping that he who knows best might one day remember and get me one, its not for want of reminders.
Then in the metal area of the Victoria and Albert, well I could have sketched there for ever, so many wonderful things keys and balconies and odd things I didnt know what they were for.
I was dragged away from there far too quickly but it was probably just as well as we walked miles to get back to our hotel and all that looking was tiring.
Here today we walked along the beach and had a coffee, very hot and humid so we were home quite quickly he who knows best is having a problem with his knee.
I checked the mares early, no new foals, and have been tidying the house and washing so I know think I can move a bit all the clothes are away and I have actually started doing some stuff for me.
My Haiku is again by Basho
On this well-worn stone
garlanded with
pinks of spring...
O to drink and doze!