Author Archives: Felicity from Down Under

About Felicity from Down Under

musician, knitter and sewist

a little bit of the past


Part of a past that seems so long ago I might have imagined it. It was real enough.

As I set up my new WFH workspace – call it an office, if you will, though I’ve merely seconded the spare bedroom – I decided that I needed a few of the silly, sentimental things that link me to that life before organisational slash and burn; where, although I was falling-over busy, I knew that the welfare of the people always came first. So, as well as setting out my jug, coffee plunger, office mug and mug rug, I unwrapped the little perpetual calendar that was a gift from my erstwhile boss. You need something to track the days when there’s a sameness about them all.

I suggested to Dr B that we should hang some of our paintings on the presently bare walls, just in case I’m ever called on to participate via some sort of video-link. He thought that was an excellent idea and agreed, when I suggested it, that a particular triptych would fit the bill beautifully. That might be part of tomorrow’s tasks. It will achieve two goals: smarten up the “office” and give the triptych a forever home; which, I might add, it’s been seeking since the artist gifted it to us before YoungB was born.

My computer set-up has been a case of serendipity at many levels, including YoungB’s giving me some old equipment that he’d recently replaced with newer items. I now have a large monitor and a decent chair. Waste not, want not, and no need to worry about whether there’ll be another e-waste collection in the foreseeable future. Everything and everyone taken care of, and we could probably call that a zero-waste exercise.

I’m not yet officially home based, but will do a peak-hour trial next week to ensure it’s all systems go for when we get the green light. My previous attempt at a trial found enough technical hitches in the set-up to mean that I managed about 30 minutes instead of the anticipated two hours. With regard to the official approval, just one level of endorsement remains. This means I will be at the office for most of Monday, and Dr B can’t yet stop worrying about how vulnerable we all are; masks notwithstanding.

May little things from your past also help you to get through today’s uncertainty 🙂

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Posted by on March 28, 2020 in Health, Musing


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essentially serving in viral times


Easily laundered and adequate for providing some protection when out shopping

In the strangely altered world that Covid-19 sees descending upon us – perhaps too slowly here in Australia, in the sense that federal messages lack clarity with regard to what is and is not allowable – stress is plainly taking its toll. Many of my fellow workers are finding it difficult to focus. The differing loyalties of private citizen and public servant are tested on a daily basis. We watch the numbers unfold and we keep working.

I can report that, from my perspective, the world is much quieter without planes overhead and with a reduction in the number of the vehicles passing our front door. As public service is essential service, I am still commuting daily by public transport. There are fewer fellow commuters. We are probably not the regulation 1.5 metres apart, but at about one person per double seat, that might be the best we can do for now. Nobody coughs. Nobody sneezes. I’m sure nobody would dare!

YoungB is now established in his home office set-up and officially working from home (or WFH, as the current jargon has it). My office has trialled it for a small team. There’s an overall business contingency plan (BPC) that is encouraging us to set up now, so that we’re all ready to jump should the word come from on high. Which “on high” that is may come down to being a decision as to whether we eventually heed state or federal edicts. Whichever it is, it won’t be up to me. I’ll just do as I’m told.

I have made a couple of masks that are definitely not hospital grade, nor intended to be. It is true that, in earlier days, hospital masks were made of gauze fabric, and sufficiently effective to have been around for many years. Times change, and newer production technologies mean that more effective materials are now available for those running the highest risks.

However, like those earlier hospital masks, what ours do is provide some protection against droplets: protecting us from the droplets of others, and others from our droplets. For the small amount of time Dr B is out and about doing essentials, it’s enough for him. He meets criteria for two of the high-risk categories and is increasingly anxious about the casualness with which fellow citizens are behaving in our neighbourhood. He can’t do anything about their behaviour, only his own. This mask helps to give him some degree of comfort.

The fabric is a very old cotton from my inherited stash, lined with a softer cotton that’s a plain, dark colour. The pattern is something of a hack from many of the excellent tutorials out there in www land, particularly YouTube. Dr B has a large frame, which meant that I needed to get the size right. I’m not convinced I got the pleats right – perhaps I should have used the iron more judiciously – but the resulting mask is a comfortable fit. I needed to tweak the length of the elastic to ensure a close fit around his face, but that was all. Most tutorials recommend bag ties for the nose-grip, but I used pipe cleaner because that’s what I had. It works.

To our immense relief, all our Italian family members are safe at this time.

Wherever you are, I hope all your family members are safe, too.

Stay home. Wash your hands. And take care. 🙂


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now to neutral



Layout established, all squares now blocking on my pegboard.

The rainbow hues are bright, and the fully completed squares are now blocking while I wait for some uninterrupted time to join them into their final format. The joining round will be white, and I intend to put some colour into the bordering rounds. I haven’t yet decided which colour or colours that will be.


Another lovely pattern, but not quite so easy to remember

The neutrals are also lovely, but the pattern requires more concentration. Dr B will not leave me alone to work on them, so getting them made and joined is going to be a long job. It’s the same as ever: if I’m around, I’m fair game. And, as much as I enjoy discussing pivot notes and the harmonic ramifications of modulations to distant keys, they, too, need a fair amount of concentration. I can’t do both simultaneously without both suffering. When I’m being asked to make sensible comments about harmony, I can’t crochet something that requires strenuous counting.

But to keep it real, I’ve decided I’ll do two slightly different colour combinations that won’t tax my brain too much when it comes to settling on a layout.


Second colour scheme. Edging round will be cream.


Always the way, you only notice an error after you’ve made it! A better idea of how they’ll play together.

May all your mathematical and musical problems be less taxing than mine 😀

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Posted by on March 23, 2020 in Crochet


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YoungB’s toes were once irresistibly tiny, too. Hard to believe how many years ago that was 🙂

About to celebrate YoungB’s birthday, and arranging to have an on-screen call with the rest of the family… these are trying times worldwide. Both YoungB and I are still at work, but unsure as to how much longer that will be the case. Other businesses and government departments have already implemented shutdown and work from home, where feasible. Retailers are reducing their trading hours and shopping centres are no longer crowded and bustling. But we are still out and about, whether or not we should be, and public transport is still being used by too many people.

To brighten the world, there’s another new baby cousin in the family. We’re not going to be able to visit to check out her toes, although I’m sure they’re every bit as tiny and irresistible as her cousin’s. In fact, as irresistible as any baby’s tiny toes, as the above photo illustrates. Yes, it’s blurry. The focal point was not on the toes; they’re a happy inclusion. If you could see those feet now!

I’m still working on the crocheted blankets. As I’ve said, they’re extras – likely to be christening gifts – but I am continuing to work on them. If we do go into shutdown, I might have more time to dedicate to the final rounds of both.

Wherever you are, I hope all is well with you and yours.


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ten tiny toes


Aren’t they just the cutest little tootsies?

We have a new little cousin in the family, and we visited her when she was only a few days old. Who could resist those tiny toes?! Mind you, the rest of her is pretty irresistible, too 🙂


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and one must eat, right?

How to cook perfect spaghetti alle vongole | Life and ...

Dr B enjoyed spaghetti alla vongole (Guardian photo)

I know I’ve said before that Adelaide has many first-class eateries, both CBD and metropolitan. Occasionally, there’s a large amount of travel involved, which can be a disincentive. Having said that, I often point out that, when I was a youngster, we would think nothing of driving a very long way to the seaside for exceptional coffee (of course the vendor in question has long since vanished). You can do that when you’re young. Right?!

When YoungB does a radio gig, or is at the station for a committee meeting, he occasionally grabs takeaway pizza from a nearby Italian pizzeria and restaurant. Last weekend, we dined in the restaurant section. It’s about 30 minutes from our place (and considerably less from YoungB’s workplace or mine), meaning that it requires minimal effort for us to get there from anywhere. We rumbled up in YoungB’s sporty little Italian car, whined the turbos a few times and parked right out the front. As you do. Right?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dr B can be very picky about Italian food. He was full of praise for the meal – particularly his fresh, South Australian seafood – and we all enjoyed the ambience. YoungB was nicely surprised, too, as he’s hitherto only been in the pizzeria. We agreed we could take overseas guests to dine there and feel that we’d be in good hands.

May all your culinary adventures be equally delicious and effortless 🙂


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Posted by on March 13, 2020 in Food


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yeah, orright


Just about time to crank out the handknitted headgear, too 🙂

All things considered, it’s looking like time to reinstate the winter sheets. You what?! I  know. Sunday was warm to the point of being what some might consider hot – we reached the forecast maximum of 31 degrees – but the nights are cool enough, and YoungB’s cabin doesn’t retain heat as well as the house. He asked for warmer sheets. I’m on his side. The only delay might arise from the need to purchase new bedlinen for his new mattress (a larger, thicker one than its predecessor).

On the weekend, I was looking at wool over at my LYS. Only looking, honest (as well as checking their bedlinen; nothing suitable for YoungB’s bed, alas). Wool is something of which I need no more for years, but I like to check out what’s in vogue this season, even if I don’t purchase anything. I have a large enough stash to keep me going for a while and for the sorts of things I make, stash yarns are usually  more than adequate; unless someone requests something specific that requires yarn that either I don’t have or couldn’t substitute.

Further progress on squares for baby blankets? Yeah, no, not so much. YoungB and I had a night-time outing on Saturday, after what had been a busy working week for both of us. We caught up with Youngest Aunt and Uncle for a meal together at a nearby pub before heading off for what was actually the second part of Youngest Aunt’s birthday present:  a night-time walking tour of West Terrace Cemetery, with theatrical re-tellings of some of the more hair-raising tales. Adelaide is renowned for bizarre murders, so the selected stories didn’t disappoint..

The tours do run outside of Fringe and Festival times, but for us it was a Fringe gig. It was also a cemetery none of us had ever before visited, as we have no forbears buried there and YoungB – who did his high-schooling practically next door – didn’t visit it as part of any cultural excursion. It’s large, and would repay a visit during daylight hours, one of these days. My godfather is buried there with his family, so I could take a bunch of flowers for him to make it worthwhile.

I hope your weekend was more productive than mine, but I’m claiming cultural education as my reason. Could you really disagree with that? 🙂


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