Monday, November 29, 2010

Jane Austen tragic.

Like a lot of ladies of a certain age (and some not so certain), I loooove The writings of Jane Austen.
While I am glad not to have been born in that era  (anything pre the discovery of penicillin can be as romantic as it likes but I won't be time traveling there anytime soon) I really love the language she uses and the studied way life was lived among the upper classes at that time. Leaving aside the fact that I would have probably been a scullery maid in Jane's era, the doings of the Bennets et al were endlessly fascinating to me as a younger person. However, it was not until Mr Darcy (AKA Colin Firth) burst onto the TV screen in the now famous wet shirt incident did I become a true tragic. So much so that I have just finished re-reading Pride and Prejudice for the umteenth time (on my Kindle :) How do you do a smug smiley? ) .
Well, the point of this post is that my friend Cathy alerted me to the fact that the library is having a"High Tea with Jane Austen" next week, so of course I signed up. One of the fun things they will be doing is to ask you to write an opening for a sequel to  P&P -after the honeymoon.  Rather than go for  a description of Lizzy and Darcy's early married life (and any possibly private happenings) I have jumped  20 or so years ahead, so dear reader.......

                             Chapter One. (Draft)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young couple in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a male heir.
Thus it was with Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, but alas while their estate at Pemberly had been blessed with the birth of five beautiful, but headstrong daughters, the looked for son had failed to appear. The ensuing births of these girls had been met with stoicism by Mr Darcy but was a source of much disquiet for his still beautiful wife Lizzie whom the years had treated very kindly indeed.
It was on account of an entail placed on the estate by the late Mr Darcy senior (an otherwise kindly man who feared that the rise of female independence would ruin the country ) that Pemberly and the fortune attached to it would devolve to the nearest male relative on the death of Fitzwilliam Darcy.
In the absence of a kindly brother to secure their futures, Elizabeth held fears for what perhaps lay ahead of her spirited and accomplished daughters  all five of whom were determined to marry only for love. They  would have but a small portion for their maintenance if they took as an example  Lizzie's foolish sister, their aunt Lydia in following their heart in spite of all reasoning to the contrary.
This then was the state of affairs twenty two years after the nuptials of Elizabeth and Darcy.
It being the established custom in such cases to adopt an heir from within the family, the Darcys cast about for a likely candidate amongst the children of Elizabeth's three married sisters. The scholarly Mary her fourth sister remained happily at Longbourne still as companion and tutor to the children of her cousin Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas. She was moreover invited to dine not less than thrice a year at Rosings the country seat of the de Bourghs which now rested in the hands of Colonel Fitzwillian through his late wife the former Miss Anne de Bourgh.
An immediate and enthusiastic offer by the impoverished Lydia Wickham to allow the Darcys to adopt one of her six wild and dissolute sons was under no circumstance  to be countenanced.
The mere contemplation that an offspring of George Wickham and Lydia Bennet would pollute the shades of Pemberly saw a tight lipped Mr Darcy quit the dining room for the solitude of his study until all talk of such an abomination should cease.
Darcy could only speculate in what manner his late aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh would have greeted such an  outcome! His sister Georgiana was of course spared these speculations owing to the infamous way that Wickham  had attempted to abduct and marry her and she barely fifteen, the memory of which had led perhaps to her confirmed spinsterhood.
Unhappily for Elizabeth, Jane Bingley  her best loved sister, while the very model of a doting aunt, had remained childless. She was able then to look only to her younger sister Kitty Winton, the wife of a kindly country parson of good family to supply their want.
Mr Winton's steady guidance and maturity had made of Kitty a sober, sensible kind of woman who bore little resemblance to her younger self under the influence of the foolish, rebellious Lydia.
It was this state of affairs that saw the young, handsome Frederick Winton arrive in his twenty second year to take up residence as the putative heir of Pemberly.....................................................................

I think Jane could do something with that!
Kindly meant criticisms will be taken, all the rest of you need not bother :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Etegami experiment.

I thought I would try out a couple of the postcards I have for etegami  to see how they reacted to basically the same drawing.
The first one is the one I ordered from Japan which has quite a bit of 'bleed'.
I am learning to control it a bit better but still can't get that 'blobby' look, Maybe I just have to accept the fact that you have to be steeped in Japanese culture from birth to 'get it'
I do like the juxtaposition of words and pictures so I think I will persevere. Another thing is that I have hooked up with some Etegami bloggers in Japan and I am enjoying that interaction at the moment. It certainly seems to be an older persons 'sport'
The second card which I bought at Kinokuniya yesterday when I went to Sydney is more like a sheet of watercolour paper and it saps the colour right out of the ink. It came out more like a conventional watercolour.
I did receive a card yesterday from a lovely lady in Japan (etegaminikki) done on watercolour paper so I guess it is not unheard of to use it.
Stay tuned for exciting developments re my initial stamp .

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A bit of doggerel

doggerel: n. comic verse composed in irregular rhythm.
  verse or words that are badly written or expressed (Oxford dictionary of English)

On my trip to the country I was very moved to see an old man waving to the train, it was kind of touching and naive , something a child might do so while I was on the train I wrote this;

A Country Child
I remember as a little girl,
waving to the train
imaginings of brighter lights
dancing in my brain.
I remember as a teenager,
waving to the train,
hopes and dreams of other lives
time and time again
Now time is short, I've seen those things and
I've come home ,but fain,
my head upon the pillow ill,
it does not stop the longing still,
and waving to the train.

Sorry about that folks, had to get it off my chest. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taking some leave...

The world of blogs will just have to do without me for a few days, I am off to see my darling Mum who is recovering from a big operation. Luckily my two brothers have done a fabulous job between them of taking care of her in my absence but I do want to see her before she starts a further round of treatment.
She lives about 5 hours away by train so it will take me one day traveling two days there and back on Wednesday so hopefully I will be back in reasonable health and on the internet by Thursday.
It is going to be pretty scary not being connected for four whole days, not keeping up with my favourite blogs the one consolation is that I will have my new Kindle to keep me company (an early Christmas gift from my family in Singapore, nice to have a tech savvy son who wants you to have the same experiences that he has).
I'll leave a couple of pics for you to stare at and just hum a tune 'til I get back :)
This is the garden furniture that  I painted so laboriously last week, I love the black, in a funny way it kind of disappears into the background. Phew! what a job though.
This is of a sempervivum "Pacific Red Rose" which has formed this lovely fairy ring in the pot.
 And yet another attempt at etegami.
Toodelooo Chaps.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some good, some not so good.

The Good The Bad and The Very Ugly.
First to the Very Ugly ...... yesterday was our 47the Wedding did we get so old? (I was a child bride but nonetheless).
The Bad...Two hours in the dentist's chair.
The Good...still waiting for that to happen! Just kidding, every day breathing is a good day right?

Remember that I sent off an entry to Debbie's call for autumn etegami? well here it is.

PS. an update on the veggie garden, had our first (small) meal of chard Monday along with some  rocket (arugula) and mitzuna. Yum.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I have been wanting to use that word for yonks, not necessarily applying it to myself though...sigh. Just when I thought I had this etegami gig under control, this happens. Like a true poor tradesman I am now going to blame my tools! The postcards seem to eat up my sumi ink and make it  wishy washy and the water colours are bleagh!
The zucchini one gives the nod to my favourite illustrator Gay Mckinnon at Silvergum Studio. Check out her zucchini wearing a teeny weeny bikini :D. See link at right).
Gay, hope you don't mind  my etegami 'homage'?

The good thing is I am now the proud possessor of some gansai paints. I hope they will do the trick. Trouble is they are too perfect to use. Typical Japanese presentation, a symphony of colours, a Mondrian of rectangles, in short  a feast for the eyes. (have I waxed lyrical enough?)

I have recently linked up with a Japanese lady at etegaminikki (see blog links)and tried to write to her using Google translate with the usual hilarious consequences, sadly I think in the future I am  going to be like one of those readers of Playboy who 'only look at the pictures' from now on.
The neatest thing that has happened lately is that through Facebook (still not sure about FB) I have reconnected with one of the Japanese girls who lived with me in the 1990's when she was on a working holiday. I had many girls stay over 10 years but lost all of their contact details in a flood. Viva la Internet is all I can say.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To Bee or not to Bee...

A bit of excitement this morning. Awoke to find a beeswarm right near my front gate.
Nor bee-ing of a nervous disposition this didn't worry me too much but the thought of them taking up residence in the walls of my house was not an attractive one. The sound of buzzing would probably send me over the top as readers of this blog will know there is already a plague of locust singing in my head (tinnitus).
Quick, onto the internet and find Mr bee swarm expert! Result!. Wow, he was here within the hour and shook the majority of them and the queen into a hive box with honey in it which the bees found very attractive. Not only that but he gave me a jar of honey as well! He will return after they go to bed to take them to his apiary. A man who obviously loves and cares for bees (he kept calling them 'girls', the girls are the what's new lol), he is a very successful local businessman who runs an apiary as a hobby/business, thanks so much Steve.

 Apparently they are 'caucasian' bees a darker (?) variety, good producers and quite gentle (as bees go)
Another not so happy thing to happen this last weekend was that I gave away my old flood damaged dollhouse that I had built as a Bicentennial project in 1988.
I could have refurbished it I suppose but I just did not have the psychic energy to do it. The flood destroyed a good many of the things I had valued in life , every drawing I had ever done as well as all of my art supplies and a few canvases. Three years later after much disruption and sadness I just do not want to go there again.
I listed the dollhouse on Freecycle and within a couple of hours a lovely lady and her husband had arranged to pick it up. They were thrilled and I was so happy to see it go to such enthusiasts.....Letting go of possessions is so cathartic.....I may become a trappist monk yet. lol.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A bit of this and....

Vegetable gardens are a"Good thing" but keeping one productive is easier said than done.
I have battled variously sandy soil,fruit fly, humidity and laziness to try to establish a garden that would give me that visceral connection to the earth that growing your own food provides.
Because my garden is now so massively overplanted, finding a sunny spot for a garden was impossible. I do have little plot in a neighbours yard (sharecropping) but the soil is so poor it is a real effort to keep things growing,one day without water and the plants die, A big problem when I go into hospital for a 'tune up' . My neighbour is not at all interested in gardening but she is happy to be kept in parsley and basil, anything else is a bonus.
So, I  am unveiling  the latest attempt to grow the most expensive veges on the planet....the above ground garden bed, ( one of two purchased at great expense) look forward to updates and a feast of goodies (or not)!
 The cherry tomato which overwintered here has grown enormously, climbing the trellis to about 10 feet and spilling over to produce lovely early trusses.

While on a garden theme, here is one for my friends in the succulent world, a lovely aeonium, this photo is a few weeks old and it is even more lush now.