Friday, July 30, 2010

farewell geoffrey

It has been an unusual July, with a great deal of rain. The tanks are full, the garden is lush and green and everywhere is rather boggy and soggy. If we get the frosts predicted in a few days the whole place will be like an ice block. Hopefully the weather will benefit all the new plants that we have put in and get them off to a good start.

The end of an era was seen this week when we decided that Geoffrey the Winnebago was a luxury that we could no longer afford and he was collected and taken to a dealership in Sydney ( hopefully for a speedy sale ).

So long Geoffrey, and thanks for all the fun. We are now officially grown-ups of fixed abode.

christmas in july

It is only in the past decade or so that Australia has embraced the fact that Christmas is hot and sunny and ideal for prawns on the barbie style festive dining. Many of our friends have strong childhood memories of being forced indoors on Christmas day to eat a hot meal around the table, with great tales of spending the day with semi-permanent red and green dye stains on their heads and down their faces after being forced to wear party hats which melted in the heat.

Christmas cards remain traditional, with pictures of snow covered houses, holly and red breasted robins.

Recently 'Christmas in July' has become extremely popular. The weather is suitably cold, with snow on the Victorian ski fields and log fires burning. Also the festive fare is all in season- turkeys are born in Sep/Oct so too young to eat in December and too old and stringy to eat the following Christmas. Sprouts are fresh and ready to pick, the trees are covered in mistletoe berries and holly trees are a luscious red.

So on tv for most of July we watch Nigella, Jamie Oliver etc cooking all their traditional British Xmas recipes while families are decorating their trees and boiling sprouts.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

pinder ponderings

The mighty shade house has now been constructed and anchored to the ground, so seed planting has started on an industrial scale. We only need to grow and harvest around 100 Kg of salad leaves to break even on the cost now.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

I have started the Thursday morning tennis competition, and I am being constantly berated for not playing 'patient tennis'. This involves lots of running around, prolonged rallies, large numbers of lobs and generally trying to stay in the point as long as possible. This philosophy does not come easily to someone who is lazy, unfit and impatient, and whose definition of good tennis is to try and hit the ball as hard as possible and get the game over with minimal effort.

As I pointed out, the word 'patient' in my vocabulary means a sick cat or dog, not a lifestyle choice.

Patient tennis resulted in my losing 3 out of 4 of my sets. However on Saturday where the tennis is social and not a competition the aggressive approach notched up several wins.

A weekly trophy is handed out ....namely 'the drill'

From Protea Farm 1

...and I am this week's proud recipient.

I should add that 'drilling' is hitting a ball exceptionally hard directly at an opponent in an unsporting fashion and a way likely to cause extreme bodily harm. Extra bonus points were added due to the fact that my 'target' was the club President.

Therefore I should not feel proud. Not at all. Not even a tiny bit.

Monday, July 19, 2010

small farm field day

The weekend was a busy one with the small farm field day in Mudgee- a sort of agricultural show where you can buy all sorts of stuff from combine harvesters to frozen sheep sperm and all things in between.

Our guests were the regulars who attended last year, although this time they were a bit more flash and arrived by helicopter.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

We have decided to keep the car parks for the riff raff, but would prefer it if in future all guests used the helipad facility.

Vanessa has purchased an enormous shadehouse/greenhouse for industrial vegetable growing, so we started the kit assembly yesterday. It was slightly baffling, but the skeleton has now been assembled.

From Protea Farm 1

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

autumnal Mudgee

Ness has taken some great pictures of Mudgee in autumn.......including finally the superb Mudgee post office and the deco picture theatre.

From protea

From protea

From protea


Of course I also need to add a big thanks to my fab niece and nephew and family for all the entertainment during my stay in the UK....pictured here in World Cup pose.

From Protea Farm 1

Monday, July 5, 2010

home sweet home

After a prolonged break from blogging I am back home. It has taken 5 days to get the body clock back in sync, partly due to sitting up half the night to watch Wimbledon and the World Cup and partly due to the dramatic temperature difference. Heathrow was over 30 degrees and I arrived to the coldest day in Sydney in over 60 years. Fortunately Ness and james dog were waiting at the airport with a thick coat and woolly hat for me.

We did not realise just how mild our first winter here was until now- regular frosts and even snow forecast this week.

Ness has not been idle in my absence- not one for just keeping business ticking over, under the new management there have been many changes........ a major one being the provision of breakfast baskets on request. So at 7 am this morning I was taking a fresh loaf from the breadmaker and preparing sausage and bacon packs for guests next door. Being up this early has its advantages-sitting on the verandah with my coffee watching a large roo hopping up the drive and king parrots screeching in the trees.

Having been in the UK during the fascinating general election and all the shenanigans with the coalition I managed to miss the fact that back home little Kevin Rudd has been ousted in a bloodless coup and we now have our first ever woman prime minister.

It was great to catch up with a few people back in the UK, particularly Nancy and family in Lancs and the mad bunch in Tuxford whose company was a lifeline in difficult times, but there was not enough time to really see many other friends which was a shame.

However, despite the freezing cold and the large pile of end of financial year paperwork to tackle it is great to be back in the country that now feels well and truly like home.