Sunday, January 31, 2010

give me land, lots of land (and a calf to feed and pat)

Australia Day, January 26th, dawned hot and sunny. We piled into the car and drove to see Mum and 'Joe' on their farm. My sister and her husband made the trip up, too.

These little tykes, Jewel and Gem, are new additions to the farm menagerie. They are happy to be patted, and the kids were even able to feed the furry calves their milk in 'bottles' - plastic milk cartons with rubber teats attached.

We wandered down to the orchard and picked some sun-warmed grapes to eat. Laura and Ben checked the chook pen for eggs, and each of them took turns to hold Caramel (one of the chooks). We ate lamingtons for morning tea (for those of you not familiar with this Aussie sweet delight - lamingtons are pieces of sponge cake, encompassed in chocolate icing, and rolled in coconut). At lunchtime, Joe barbecued sausages and hamburgers, which we ate in buns with coleslaw, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, and tons of barbecue sauce. The juices dripped between my fingers as I ate, and I politely licked up the mess.

Later, we filed down to the creek, and Laura and Ben scooted about on their boogie boards, investigating nooks and crannies. A watersnake scared the pants off everyone by suddenly darting towards us as we waded in the shallows; everyone threw small stones into the water in front of it and it dived, no doubt perplexed by our panicking.

We returned to laze about on Mum & Joe's wide front veranda, chatting and drinking my sister's magical homemade punch. My sister pulled a grey hair from my head, despite my (admittedly feeble) protests. I plaited my sister's hair, then undid it, then plaited it again. Everyone teased Ben about his freaky front tooth - a baby tooth being pushed out and forwards by a new tooth, causing the old tooth to poke out sideways and upwards. My husband Fatty peered through his binoculars, spotting for birds.

When we left there were hugs all around, and everyone was smiling. We couldn't help it - we'd just had the happiest Australia Day on record.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

new beginnings

There's nothing like a brand spanking new year to fill a person with hope and optimism - at least this person, anyway! January seems to bring an array of possibilities that didn't seem credible in December - capricious December - when it seemed there was a never-ending list of things to do, gifts to buy, and places to be. January is a fresh start. In January it feels like life begins anew.

I've noticed this year there have been a number of articles about the silliness of New Year's resolutions - both in print media, and on blogs. New Year's resolutions seem to have gone out of fashion. It seems they breed a sense of failure and disillusionment when they are not maintained.

Personally, I've always liked to think about what I want to do better, or more of, or less of, at the start of each year. I can't recall ever writing down formal resolutions, but I like to take stock. I like to try to learn from the mistakes I've made the previous year. I like to plan for new ways to extend myself - learning something new, helping someone out, travelling somewhere I've never been before. It's so exciting to think that even as we grow older, we can do new things. I hope to be taking up Tai Chi in my eighties. If I'm not strong enough, I'll start cryptic crosswords. If I've lost my marbles, well hopefully I won't know and I won't care!

If anyone feels brave, maybe you could leave me a comment with your thoughts on the coming year. Any travel plans? Anyone going to learn a new language, take up a new sport? Anyone planning new careers or volunteer work? What about just a change of hair colour?! I'd love to hear your ideas ... silly, sensible and anything in between.

Happy 2010 to all of you lovely people.