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‘Where there’s tea there’s hope.’ Arthur Wing Pinero.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

As you might imagine, after being so ill last week I had a very, very quiet weekend.  I slept, took flu medication, sat gazing into space for long periods of time . . . and then slept some more.  And I drank tea. Pots and pots of tea . . .

These days I drink mostly green tea.  For years and years I drank ‘normal’ tea (that is black tea with milk) and wouldn’t have thought to drink anything else.  Both my parents being English, tea was a daily staple and a cure-all for everything.  (The British consume over 60 billion cups of tea per year.  That sounds a lot—around 900 cups a year for every man, woman and child in Great Britain—but when you break it down that’s only 2.465 cups each per day.  Pfffttt.  Easy peasy.  I can do that before leaving for work in the morning.)

I can’t remember now when I switched over to drinking green tea, although I probably made the switch because I became convinced green tea was going to be somehow better for me (anti-oxidants and all that jazz.  Or perhaps I just kept forgetting to buy milk to put in my regular tea . . . )  Whatever the reason, once I switched over I never went back to my ‘English Breakfast’which is a bit surprising because green tea is definitely an ‘acquired taste’ (my friend Pam says it is like drinking lawn clippings) and I remember I didn’t really like it all that much at first.

But perseverance is a wonderful thing and slowly I became accustomed to it and now am quite happy with my healthier choice.  (The same thing happened when I decided to switch from white wine to to red.  Red wine is also supposed to be a healthier option—and I was drinking far too much white.  My logic was sound.  I didn’t like red wine very much, therefore I was bound to drink less of it.  Right?  Well, that didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would, (there are some seriously nice reds out there) but, on the plus side, I am drinking a lot less white . . . )

Anyway, during one of those flu-medicated-gazing-into-space-tea-sipping moments last weekend I did stop to wonderhow much tea is too much? Seems I remembered (way way back in the fevered recesses of my mind) that I once read that drinking too much green tea can cause hallucinations?  Could that be right? Should I be worried?

Nah.  I decided I really didn’t have the energy to fret about it.  Any green-tea-inspired hallucination was going to have to duke it out with my industrial strength flu-medication . . .  and I would just sit back (cuppa in hand) and enjoy the show . . .

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?’ Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

Every year I look forward to the cooler months of autumn and winter.   As we come to the end of another long hot summer I always start to think how nice it is going to be when the temperature drops a little and I will able to get back into wearing something ‘with sleeves’ . . . and the girls and I will be able to go for longer walks again without fear of Molly ‘overheating’ (and me having to carry her home) . . . and we can spend our evenings cuddled up on the couch together, all warm and snug in front of the heater . . . 

And then the cooler weather finally does come in, and I pull all my jumpers, jackets and scarves out of the wardrobe, and the air is crisp and clean and fresh, and it’s great.  For about a week.  And then I start to remember that I never actually really liked the cold weather much.  (Or ever.)  I have even moved cities (and countries) because I didn’t like the winters.  Sigh.

But there’s always a silver lining.  Tomorrow is the winter solstice (Australian Eastern time)—the shortest day of the year.  Yay!  That means it is downhill now all the way to Spring . . .

So until then I am going to do as my Maudie does—find a cosy spot (and my own hot water bottle) and hunker down to wait for the return of the warmer months.

It’ll be nice to not have to wear ‘sleeves’ again . . .

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Since I was little, this is my favourite place to come.’ Peter Pan. (J.M. Barrie)

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I can’t remember what Peter Pan’s favourite place was when he was little (the indian camp?—the mermaid lagoon?) but I remember mine was always the movie theatre.

Some things never change . . .

The Plaza Theatre
(see here for photos)

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.’ James A. Garfield.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

I love bread.  In fact, I never really met a bread I didn’t like—brown, white, rye, seeded, ciabatta, damper, focaccia, roti, soda, multigrain, pumpernickel, (banana—not sure that counts as a real bread but . . . yum)—the list goes on and on and on. . .

And, although I do agree with James Garfield that bread needs something to go with it, for me it’s not peanut butter.  For me it is cheese (any kind of cheese) and ham . . .  and chutney . . .  and  pickles . . . or . . . if it’s toasted, pâté.  I could, seriously, live on toast and pâté . . . and red wine . . .

Well—when I say I could live on it, I probably actually couldn’t.  My digestive system seems to have much more to say about what I can, and can’t, eat (and drink) these days.  Sigh.

Sometimes getting older sucks . . .

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.’ Doug Larsen.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I’ve just been watching the early morning news on the telly.  I’m going to stop doing that.  Seriously.

I am an early riser.  I am up before 5.00am every day (yes, even at the weekends) because it really is the best time of the day.  It’s quiet and calm and peaceful and I like to take my time and kind of ease into the day.  The girls and I usually go for an early morning walk (although they have apparently decided that winter is here now and there will be no more of these until summer comes again), then I take a long shower, get my clothes and gear ready for work and settle down for a leisurely breakfast while catching up with what has been happening in the rest of the world.

Now, I rarely, if ever, wake up in a bad mood but I can tell you this—ten minutes of watching the incessant, arrogant, posturing and listening to the inane, condescending drivel some of our politicians and ‘world-leaders’ spout (and expect us to believe) is enough to seriously damage my early morning calm . . .

But don’t worry—I am not going to vent further about it here.  Frankly, I don’t have the time or the energy for it (and I don’t want to make myself even crankier).  Suffice to say I think we all need to be far more careful in future about to whom we hand over our city (and country) keys.

And, in an effort to preserve my early morning good-humour for as long as I possibly can, I have decided that from tomorrow I shall be searching for alternative viewing while enjoying my porridge and coffee.  In fact, I think I saw somewhere that one of the channels is now showing re-runs of Pinky and the Brain . . . 

. . . although, come to think of it . . . watching a cartoon about a couple of small insignificant creatures (‘one is a genius—the other’s insane’) who are constantly hatching plans for world domination?  How is that so very different from watching the early morning news anyway . . .

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Happiness is a warm puppy.’ Charles M Schultz.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

Last Sunday was the most stunning autumn day—bright, cloudless and warm.  The girls and I spent the morning out in the garden—me doing a bit of weeding, tidying and sweeping up after the last rain storm—and girls pottering around after me, supervising and offering helpful suggestions (in between bouts of dozy little doggie-naps in the sunshine . . . )

Around mid-morning I settled myself onto the garden bench to enjoy a quick cup of tea.  Mabel sat on my lap (why on earth would she sit on the dirty old grass when my lap was available), Maudie went to investigate whatever it was that was rustling in the undergrowth down by the shed, and Molly stood guard by the back gate (‘cos you never know who might try and sneak in while she’s not looking).  As I sat basking in the warm morning sun my mind started to wander (as it is wont to do) and I started to think about a telephone conversation I recently had with my mother where she asked me one, seemingly simple, question —”Are you happy?”

I remember being a surprised by the question (Where did that come from?  We were talking about her moving house . . . ) and a bit taken aback.  I had to stop for a moment to think about it.  But, you know, I couldn’t pause for too long or Mum might have imagined the worst (because mothers usually do) so I laughed it off and answered, “Well it’s all relative isn’t it?   . . . but I’m definitely not un-happy . . .”

On and off since that conversation I have wondered about her question—and my reply.  Am I really happy?

The word happiness originally derives from the Norse word ‘hap’ meaning luck, chance or good fortune.  A modern dictionary defines the same word only as ‘the state of being happy.’  I think I’ll go with the original definition because, while I certainly wouldn’t consider myself to be in ‘the state of being happy’ all the time, I do, however, feel I have been fortunate in my life.  I have family, friends, my health, a job, a place to live, and of course, my lovely dogs.  I could be a whole lot worse off.

Perhaps I would more readily describe myself as someone ‘cultivating contentment’.

Are happiness and contentment the same thing?  I don’t know.  What I do know is, that Sunday morning, sitting peacefully in the sun with Mabel all warm and sleepy on my lap and Maudie and Molly pootling cheerfully around the garden, I felt pretty damn content . . .

. . . which, truth be told, also made me pretty damn happy . . .

How could this adorable sleepy face not make anyone happy?

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘. . . and quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle, the magpies said . . . ‘ Denis Glover.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

Tap, tap.  Tap, tap, tap.

I know what it is before I even look up.  There’s a big fat magpie baby peering through the office door . . .

Tap, tap, tap.

He steps back and looks up expectantly.  After a moment, unsure, he looks over his shoulder (past his sibling who is hopping from one foot to the other and chortling excitedly) to mum and dad, awaiting further instructions . . .

. . . quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle . . .

He turns back to the door.  Tap, tap, tap.

Okay, okay, I give in.  Time to raid the college biscuit barrel for a tasty treat for my little magpie family.

They seem particularly fond of the custard creams . . .

 

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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