Thursday, 7 January 2021


 THE WEATHER HAS BEEN DIVINE since i got home on the 29th. It's been hot enough to put the cooler on a couple of times but mornings are cool and breezy, perfect for my walk and some tidying up outside.  The birdlife is lively, lots of young ones with parents in the garden, the willie wagtails have a fledgling or two, so the kingfishers and kookaburras are relentlessly badgered and chased off for just sitting quietly in a tree. they make me laugh

Kangaroos are around,  four large ones the other night and last night i awoke at 1.30 thinking it was morning thanks to the sensor light thru a gap in the curtains. i looked out to see the very large powerful male kangaroo grazing outside the window.   he could obviously smell me as he stood up and sniffed the air in all directions.  i went back to bed feeling as though i had a bodyguard :0)    

The goanna has also been strolling around the yard but i haven't caught him on film either.

It's been cloudy so sunsets have been amazing every night.  i'm working on my book, doing versions of a night sky to use as endpapers.  and working out the faces of romeo and juliet, that'll be a good start.

   the little kingfishers are badgered relentlessly by the
   willie wagtail -     I  wonder if they are ever a problem, 
   they only seem to eat insects

The birdbaths are always being used, so many different birds to watch from the windows

the willie wagtail is so agile, it just darts out of reach so quickly.


 the tiny wrens are loving this birdbath, sadly it was lying on the ground the next day, the bowl was fine but the aqua ball was smashed.  I think the large kangaroo was probably drinking there and knocked it off its stand

new rompers for Etta, pink one i made and the
blue one is an op shop one i used for sizing.

I've just ordered two of these decorative rolling pins which i'm looking forward to using for fancy shortbreads next christmas


               Little madam is enjoying the                                  discovery of food  :0)

Rene, Sayaka, Cal and Mara are looking good and managing ok during covid in tokyo.  numbers are a worry at the moment but rene says they're used to being at home a lot,  plenty to do there.

i'm knitting a jumper for rene and i've gone down a huge rabbithole looking at the history of guernseys/ganseys, fishermen's jumpers from Yorkshire.  fascinating the way they're made really tight knit to be warm, gussets for movement, fishermen being identified by their jumpers, or at least the region they come from. Looking forward to starting it but it'll take a bit of working out a design.

Sunday, 3 January 2021


WELL GOODBYE 2020, what a year!  it was great to finally get to christmas and be able to head down to see everyone after so much lockdown and closed borders.  but i had to leave early because of the threat of victoria closing borders to nsw.  lucky i did because after a whirlwind nine days and nine beds, visiting from the grampians to warrnambool, along the ocean road to torquay, geelong and then melbourne, now i'm home to closed borders again!   

both victoria and nsw are dealing with covid outbreaks in sydney and melbourne.  it feels good to be so remote here,  regional areas so far are mostly unaffected by covid, only by the restrictions.  seems crazy to be not allowed into victoria when sydney is further from here than melbourne.  borders are strange things when they start to be used to separate communities.  it's a complex situation.

I wrote these next few days before xmas during the quiet time i had at isobelle's, a haven for a tired traveller and so nice to spend time in the house with five of my large paintings, i haven't seen them for years and years.

    Susan, Jenny and I all have bare xmas trees, a nice way to

    show off decorations

my notes at isobelle's

19th     hightail it outta nsw before the borders close, get to the bridge, there's a sign saying i 'need a permit to  cross into Victoria’ so i cross anyway and do it later, no way will I miss xmas in victoria.

stay a night at the good old Karrama motel in mildura, a favourite spot for Helen and don and the place denise and i stayed at for the art vault’s triennial


20th drive down the highway to the Grampians,  always a great trip, silos, small towns, wheatfields, funny rural decorations


a night a don’s, good to be there as always, the fruit trees all laden and looking as though they’re festooned with luscious orange, red and gold baubles

fruit trees wearing decorations at lake lonsdale, don's

orchard is weighed down with gorgeous fruit

21st on to  Warrnambool through beautiful pastoral land, more wheat but a different landscape.   fabulous xmas haybale installations :0)

great to see jen and art and finn in their new home town,  a lovely house, old weatherboard renovated lovingly -  unusual in a rental property.   close to town and work, all good.   lovely to spend time with jenny and great to see both art and finn working

Lake Bolac, haven't been there before, very pretty

wild and woolly and cold on the way to isobelle's

22nd on to isobelle’s at Apollo bay.    the ocean road isn’t a friend to me,  carsickness is always a possibility.   I

avoided actually feeling sick  but those curvy roads where you don’t know what’s coming?      well I dislike them in life as well. 

weather was unseasonally wet and cold, the sea was wild and  . . .    such a contrast and then I got to the Otways,   forest and curvy roads and lichen and foggy mists,  so many different weather conditions in such a short time,  two days  ago I was in the Mallee

isobelle’s house is just delicious,  three rooms with large plate glass windows onto the sea and sky, birds, weather,  it’s all there.  I felt like I was on a holiday as soon as I entered and then there’s the experience of being reunited with four large painting I did ages ago, from the cover of The Gathering to Kim’s portrait, paintings of Gail and Helen and finally the portrait of Isobelle and Adelaide from 2007.     I spent some time getting proper photos of them and just looking closely at my work.     Like someone else had done it.


A leisurely night of tv and cooking and a morning of the same,   slowing down after lots of driving and visiting.    I loved it.


And there was a funny little fairy wren who could see his reflection in a window that houses all of isobelle’s literary awards along the windowsill.   he was at it the whole time I was there while his sweet little partner sat bemused on the flowering branches nearby.

GOOD TO REACQUAINT MYSELF with the paintings isobelle has bought over the years

DEC 23rd      I left this morning and drove around the ocean road to lorne then anglesea, had the best ever icecream with salted caramel AND burnt toffee almond crunch !! 


anglesea op shop was open, grabbed a couple of goodies then on to torquay.  I’ve got my xmas food shopping done so it’s a laid back stay at gail’s tonight and jenny’s tomorrow.   grabbed a couple of dvd’s at the op shop I’ll watch tonight, after a scotch fillet dinner :0)

I spent the night at Gails, she wasn't there so it was another time to catch up on peace and quiet, i just laid low and saved by energy for xmas and beyond

24th  A night with Jenny and Freddie, we watched carols by candlelight and in the morning got our food ready for xmas dinner at susan's.  she's enjoying retirement and was really enjoying the preparations for xmas at her leisure.

25th.  Christmas day has been just delightful, only four of us for lunch and sean came later in the afternoon. perfect weather, sunny but not hot and after lunch we had a long stroll thru the botanical gardens which look spectacular and down to eastern beach.

We all stayed the night and had a leisurely breakfast together before i drove to Melbourne to see Sunny, Luke and Etta and to go with them to the McIvor family lunch. So many relatives!!  Etta has a great extended family of lovely people, uncles, aunt sarah, and many cousins, great uncles and aunts  - the family is close-knit and great company.

Etta has grown so much, sitting now and a cuddly little chubster,  adorable!   and it's lovely to see what loving parents sunny and luke are, they're enjoying her so much.

I drove home on the 28th and stayed at a dismal motel in Charlton to break the trip.  glad i did though because i left before sunrise and was home by 11a.m.       and fell in

a heap for a couple of days.

sunrise and wheatfields just out of Charlton

BACK HOME NOW, it's the new year, i'm on the wagon :0)

and dieting because i'm really unfit after the time not walking because of my foot.   now i've got to get in condition before my hip operation in april,  IF it goes ahead with the border closures, hopefully they'll be open before march because i need a pre-op visit in geelong, fingers crossed

weather's been overcast a fair bit so the sunsets have been sensational - such a treat at the end of the day.

this young kooka has been practising his croaky chuckle around the house.   wherever the kookas go, the willie wagtails are there to hassle them mercilessly.