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Category Archives: Travel

that certain sound

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Last week was cold but not wet. It’s a different story today.

Yesterday was wet. The rain has taken on that “I’m here for winter” sound, the one where it just falls steadily onto the rooftops and it’s not a downpour but it’s constant, except for the moments when the wind whips it up and you can hear the eddies because of the changed sound pattern. Then the wind drops and the rain settles back into a steady rhythm.

For us, winter started today, meaning that yesterday felt like good practice for the vicissitudes of returning to work in cold, wet weather. But I wasn’t. My team isn’t slated to return until Wednesday, anyway, and Dr B’s at-risk status means I’m likely to continue WFH for a few more weeks. I say that as a statement of fact, but am mightily pleased that that is the case. I’m never fond of commuting when it’s cold, wet and windy because there’s entirely too much of the trip that means you’re in the weather. Yeah, nah.

YoungB was planning to cycle to work, as he did four days last week, but I persuaded him that a forecast of not only heavy rain but also likely hail was perhaps a time to consider discretion the better part of valour and catch the bus. It wasn’t simply a matter of him being cold and wet by the time he reached work – there are hot showers and good change-room facilities at the other end – but because visibility will be reduced and other road users less readily able to see him, despite any hi-vis gear.

One of my long-ago bosses once remarked, with depressing accuracy, that people drive faster in the rain, so much so that you’d think they’re getting wet inside their cars. Of course they’re not, but their increased speed means longer stopping time plus the added danger of sliding if tyres don’t grip. You want to go up against that? You don’t. Cycling in the rain carries higher risk and it’s prudent rather than wimpy to avoid that escalated risk. Even Dr B decided that he wouldn’t go out for his weekly group ride, but stoked up the trainer for another long session.

Me? Well, I was working, continuing to shelter in place while bringing home the bread. I hope you are, too.

 
 

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high maintenance?!

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I think they’re much higher maintenance!

Recently, I casually mentioned to the Bs that I would need a suitcase for a couple of days away that involved an overnight stay. I didn’t mean a large one, just carry-on size. YoungB demanded to know when I’d suddenly become high maintenance? You what? Me? Yeah, not likely.

In principle they’re right, but I no longer have a backpack that’s large enough. So I ended up taking a small backpack, a shopping bag with my shoes in it, another with my swimming clobber, another with my craftwork – a small bag of crochet, because I thought that might be easier to pick up and put down than any knitting I have on the go – and yet another with food. R-i-g-h-t. That would have all fitted into the suitcase I had in mind, and been a lot easier to carry.

May all your suitcases be ideal for their intended purposes 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2019 in Crochet, Health, Knitting, Travel

 

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oh, I think that was another week

1986-06-13 Aalholm Automobile Museum, Denmark - 2

There was no Bugatti, so I thought I’d share this one, an exhibit at the Aalholm Automobile Museum in Denmark. Photo with my Dad in 1986. There’s a better photo at the link, which discusses the sale of the museum’s collection.

My work has been mind-numbingly busy, in a mind-numbing way. Allergies are still wreaking havoc all round. Whatever last week was about, I played bocce at lunchtime on Friday and made it to Saturday. Today we attended an Italian motor show. Dr B showed off his motorbike, and YoungB showed off his car. Both were much admired by fellow aficionados.

As well as lots of Alfas, Abarths and Fiats, of varying ages, shapes and sizes, there were low-slung Lamborghinis (although I’m not sure they actually come in anything but low slung, to be fair), muscular Maseratis and an astonishing number of fabulous Ferraris, including this one, which was truly amazing. My other favourite was what the organisers described as a Fiat 500 on steroids! It was gorgeous and I would certainly like one of those under the Christmas tree this year, thank you, Santa. Surprisingly, there was only one other motorbike, and one all-but obligatory scooter.

There was excellent pizza, there were cakes and gelati, and a raffle. YoungB won a prize! I think the bucket of cleaning gear will provide much long-term usefulness although it’s certainly less exciting than the prize he missed out on by one ticket, namely being able to drive one of the exhibited new Alfas for a weekend, courtesy one of the main sponsors 🙂

All up, it was a lovely day. We’re all exhausted and a bit sunburnt, but will undoubtedly be back at the grindstone again tomorrow.

May your Sunday have been as enjoyable as ours, whether or not it involved a car show of any sort 🙂

 
 

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collegial catch-ups

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Eating up big while catching up on big changes.

In the restructure, many lives were shaken almost as savagely as the organisation. Recently, I caught up on the “who’s doing what” status of the full workforce over a long lunch at what is deservedly a favourite place for business breakfasts and long weekend lunches. It would appear that almost all who wanted work have found it and a few have retired perhaps a little earlier than originally planned. The several who originally had travel planned will do that prior to job-hunting, so their long-term status is still uncertain.

YoungB is also finalising travel plans for the coming year. He was doing that with mates while simultaneously introducing them to the delights of an Asian eatery hitherto unknown to them. Over a long brunch elsewhere he commiserated with another friend about the after-effects of their recent vaccinations: both are feeling somewhat sore.

Although the temperatures are still too low for comfort and certainly for eating outside, the sunshine does help to make everything a little less gloomy and dismal. And when your brunch is so big it’s genuinely enough to feed a hungry rower, then all you need is another mug of coffee to help wash it all down.

May your coffee always be plentiful and at precisely the right temperature 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2019 in Food, Rowing, Travel

 

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but I have been doing stuff

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Since this photo, I’ve begun shaping the crown.

I don’t want you to think that I’ve stopped knitting. I haven’t. True, I have been busy crocheting my table runner while watching TV. But I have also been knitting, sometimes while watching TV and sometimes while battling insomnia. Neither is particularly wise when you have trouble counting.

I have also been dedicating time to the 3-Legged Challenge, a world-first fundraiser whose aim is to support unpaid carers. As I work for one of the charities involved, my signing up was a no-brainer. I cajoled YoungB into participating, which has, I think, well and truly exhausted my annual quota of filial goodwill from him! Never mind.

Yesterday, he and I did a truncated version of our original idea. Between travel to and fro, a special soccer match and his work commitments, we were never going to get as much 3-legged silliness as we’d originally planned. This photo of him being not too rude to me is the best I could have expected.

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“I will kill you later, Mum.”

Today, Dr B and I joined a group of staff in a 2-Km walk along part of the Hallett Cove boardwalk. We were promised no steps in the out-and-back loop. Yes, well, not quite true! But only half a dozen or so either way, and we managed those reasonably well. Let me put it this way: nobody fell over, or down, or caused anybody else to do either of those things. Win-win. Right? Lots of laughs and, no doubt, some excellent photos from our fundraising and marketing manager in due course.

The nice thing about travelling from our north-eastern suburb to the suburban far south was the amount of knitting time it afforded me. My beanie has now reached the stage where the rows are noticeably shorter and the end in sight.

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I am not enamoured of the brown. But it works with the rest of the colours and it’s not yellow, so it’s staying 😉

I’m on schedule to finish the beanie by the knitting store’s CAL/KAL deadline. Let’s hope I haven’t just hexed myself!

What have you been up to?

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2019 in Knitting, Travel

 

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puffing and waffling

It’s all secret stuff. But I can share that I’ve finished my sage-green yarn – all 200g that I wound, anyway; there are five more hanks, remember – and am now about to start the second 50g of the pink, whose proper colour descriptor is French rose.

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Quite a bit of to-ing and froi-ng in a half-treble way to accommodate fresh-picked cherries. No likelihood they’ll fall through those holes 🙂

It’s been good commuter work, this lot. I’ve toted it around the country on an unexpected long weekend in another state, as well as backwards and forwards to work most days of the week. I don’t always whip it out, but it helps to keep me alert on the homeward legs, so I don’t miss my bus stop. See? Multi-variable, useful for all sort of things.

May all your Christmas work be coming along equally as well. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2018 in Crochet, Travel

 

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this old thing?

Today we’re experiencing chilly, wintry weather. It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s “sit in front of the fire with a hot chocolate and a good book” time. Oh, and, you know, bring out your warmest woollies. In my case that would be my very old, cabled, red jumper; the one I knitted in 1984 prior to departing for the northern hemisphere. There I wore it solidly from almost the day I arrived till the day I departed. It certainly features in many photos from those years, including this one among the ruins near Nonno’s village.

1984-11-25 Roviano Lazio Italy

YoungB looked at me wearing it today – yes, it’s somewhat tighter nowadays, in case you were wondering 😉 – commented on how warm I looked, and asked was I knitting anything for him! Uuh, yeah, about that. I reminded him that he’d changed his mind about the cabled jumper I’d planned to knit for him and then been unable to decide on anything else. Also, cables? In those days they weren’t his favourite adornment. He’s lived in a truly cold climate since then and has come to appreciate cables as providing visual interest as well as extra warmth.

Also, he reminded me, I’m mending his fingerless mitts. He loves them and has worn them so much that he’s gone through the palm of one. I often say he’s knitworthy  and worth the food. How could I resist making something for someone who’s so wholeheartedly appreciative?!

If you’re in a cool part of the world, I hope you’re managing to keep warm, whether by sitting in front of the fire or from wearing something lovingly handknitted.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2018 in Knitting, Travel

 

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I know I can, I know I can

About this time of year, when I have Really Had Enough of the cold, I remind myself – or try to remind myself – that I have survived far worse 🙂

Crank up Gloria Gaynor with “I will survive”.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2017 in Travel

 

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1, 2, skip a few, 99

Dan's 65th birthday

This is probably the last family photo I have. It’s nice to see all of us being silly 🙂

Dear Mum, Youngest Aunt and I arrived at the answer by different methods – neither straightforward; you know we’re like that with arithmetic – but we agreed that, had you been still alive, this June we would have celebrated your 99th birthday.

You died well short of reaching that, and more than half our lives have been lived without you: without your smile and your wonderful baking (I occasionally get a real craving for one of those tasty, hearty egg-and-bacon pies with the light-as-air pastry, or the fabulous melt-in-your-mouth shortbread), your razor-sharp memory for sometimes obscure poetry, the weekly chinwag as to tricky questions in the Crossquiz (as it was then) and whether we’d reached excellence with the Target word, and the high-scoring Scrabble games, not to mention the occasional hand of whisky poker played for the killingly extravagant stakes of one- and two-cent pieces (legal tender in those days).

Yes, we’ve missed you, but you’ve missed so much, too: the family’s travels, the weddings, the grandchildren you’d been hoping for, all the accolades and awards across the years, and let’s not forget the music. You’ve missed a lot of singing and music-making at family get-togethers and Christmases. Middle Aunt and I still dust off our piano duets at Christmas, in what has become something of a ritual.

But you’re never truly far from any of us. For me, I see you in YoungB’s smile that’s so much like yours. I thought of you often when he was a rower, because the high school you once attended has a rowing program nowadays and our marquees were frequently alongside each other. You’re probably raising your eyebrows, wondering why I don’t mention that I see you when I look in the mirror, or every time Middle Aunt and I sit together at parties and confuse people who don’t know us well. Yes that’s true, and we laugh about it.

I see your work and evidence of your organisational abilities in the Lunchbox recipe book I use all the time. And I wish I could ask you about the everyday recipes you whipped up that I cannot remember (and that aren’t in the Lunchbox). I’m sure you knew how much I hated raisin biscuits. They were marginally nicer than the spice biscuits, both of which you baked far too frequently, as far as I was concerned; but you wouldn’t believe how often I’ve tried to find a recipe for raisin biscuits. I’ve proved they’re not fruit jumbles. That’s all I’ll say.

As well as that, I have your sewing machine (I think I can truly claim it as mine by now, but it was yours before it was mine). I have many of your knitting needles and and patterns. And I can knit, thanks to your teaching me (although I acknowledge that the Great Aunts helped). I still use my first-ever knitting needles. Although I can’t knit as quickly as you, nor do I have the same easy rhythm – and ditto those comments with regard to the Great Aunts, too – it’s true that most of the time I get there.

I’ve learnt that there’s much truth in your wisdoms that a blind man would be pleased to see it, that any small improvement renders the situation better than it was, and that if you’re out there doing it then you’re streets ahead of someone sitting at home. I often remind myself about the Devil and the tailor, shorten my thread accordingly and then squint at the needle just the way you did. I chastise myself for using sewing needles that would double as crowbars (your term again). But, heck, how are you meant to thread anything with a smaller eye?

We do these things. Life goes on. I repeat your words, which were probably those of your own mother, and so it continues down the generations. Every now and again, we add up the numbers. And this year we reached 99.

 

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Dear Dad

Us and our cousins in 2013, celebrating what would have been Dad's 100th birthday

Us and our cousins in 2013, celebrating what would have been Dad’s 100th birthday

Back when I was at boarding school, we wrote letters on Sundays. Mine always started in the same manner, “Dear Mum, Dad and Youngest Aunt, How are you? I hope you are well. I am very well.” What came after that was likely to be influenced by what I’d been doing – attending basketball matches or other sporting events, going for a walk, trying to keep warm or cool depending on the season – and questions around what might be happening at home. I liked writing letters. I still do. Later on, in the early 1990s, when Mum was long dead, Dad and I tried to resurrect the art of letter-writing. We had something of a two-person crusade going for a while. We weren’t able to keep it up, but it was fun while it lasted. And, as today would have been his 102nd birthday, I thought I might write him a letter anyway.

Dear Dad, Happy birthday. I hope you’re managing to keep warm (I think I’d have to say that; he wasn’t much of a one for the cold and it’s pretty chilly). YoungB will be home next week. It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed but his long absence has been made easier by modern technology. I wish we’d had that when I was overseas and you weren’t because, at that time, letters took a long time and phone calls were hideously expensive and remarkably difficult. We’ll have a family lunch to celebrate his return, though not everyone will be there. There’ll be lots to talk about as well as his being home again. After all, there’s to be a wedding in the family in October and that’s a happy prospect. We’re all excited about it and I’m pleased to be involved in making some of the decorations for it. No, I can’t tell you about them because the details are secret; actually, so secret I don’t know them myself yet 🙂

There’ll be the Bloody Long Walk to accomplish prior to that, of course, because we’re all training up for it. Your youngest granddaughter, whom you never met, is completing her physiotherapy training and will be able to give us some good advice. She’s been keeping an eye on us from afar, because netball has claimed her when work and study haven’t, and wondering who would be the first to succumb to injury. You know how dodgy my knees are, so I dare say you won’t be surprised to hear that I gave her cause for amusement after last weekend’s walk by requesting advice for some strengthening exercises. Oh, well, somebody had to be first and it doesn’t matter that it was me.

(In pensive vein I might go on to thank him for many things, in no particular order.) Thank you for teaching me to tie a reef knot, to milk a cow, to skirt a fleece, to whistle; for instilling in me the importance of shining my shoes (I used to get compliments for them when I was a student nurse; the credit, I think, is entirely yours), for teaching me how to change a tyre and persisting with teaching me to drive. Thank you for travelling with Youngest Aunt and me through Europe and, on the whole, not being too much of a PITA about it. I hope you were able to say the same. It was a tough gig, but we survived and didn’t we have some tales to tell!

Thank you for coming to our rescue when we lost our little 4WD over the gully, and for enduring the camp bed in the shed when you visited us on our bush block. Thank you for your sense of humour and your knack for storytelling, both of which I see in my son, the younger grandson whom you never met. You would have liked him. He shares your love of word games and he rides a motorbike. He’d have loved your old Norton. You would have had lots of things to talk about. You could have shared your impressions of Italy with him when he returns next week, and laughed, no doubt, about the crazy drivers and the terror of life as a pedestrian in their busy cities. You won’t have that opportunity and neither will he. That’s a pity but it’s life. One generation makes way for the next. And though I don’t see your looks in his apart from his colouring (which is too dark for Dr B to claim credit), his easygoing nature is so like yours that I’m convinced there’s a bit of DNA that can be attributed directly to you. Thank you for that, too.

Thank you for more things than I can think of right now, really. Although you’re no longer here, you’re always part of us. We miss you. Lots of love.

PS (there was almost always a PS): I got some new walking boots the other week because my joggers weren’t up to the rough terrain around the southern part of the BLW; although they’re not Rossis, they’re all right and provide good ankle support. And, wouldn’t you know it, I had to buy some new boots for work, too, because that cheap pair I bought a couple of months ago fell apart! But of course I still haven’t knitted any socks 🙂 XX

 
 

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