Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, 24 July 2016


This simple quote holds a lot of meaning. Conformity for the sake of conformity can crush the soul. You don't have to look like everybody else. You don't have to think like everybody else.

No point living a double life. No point pretending you're a round peg when you're actually a square peg. It takes too much energy. No point comparing yourself to other people.

I come from a family of square pegs and managed to produce a couple myself. I think the quote above is really good advice for everybody. Better to be a square peg than a sheep.

A piggy picture.

Peter had a birthday on the 9th July. It was also his son-in-law Ben's birthday, so we had a little family birthday party for them both at Berkeley.

When I say 'little', nothing with Peter's family is actually little. Peter has 5 wonderful children who all have  great partners, and then there are 6 grandchildren. Ben's parents came as well as his 2 nieces and my 2 daughters came too. Peter has a small house. All in all there were 25 of us. But Peter's family all dig in and bring food and Peter does all the pre-cleaning and tidying, so this makes things very easy.

Peter doesn't see his grandchildren very often because he lives about an hour's drive away from most of them and they are all busy. So I always try to make it special to come to Grandpa's place. 

I am trying to make some traditions.

I decided to decorate with a woodland theme. I don't really think the photos do the setting justice. I was quite please with the effect.

These days when there are so many people we use disposable 'crockery' and 'cutlery, although I know this is not very 'green'.
I happened to have some blue plastic plates already so used these and it looked quite good.

I added balloons and flowers and pine cones. There were a few ceramic frogs dotted here and there.

I will add to these limited decorations each year.

The grandchildren decorated some hedgehog biscuits by dipping them in chocolate and walnuts and adding eyes and noses. I pre-made the biscuits and then provided melted chocolate, crushed walnuts and blunted kebab sticks to 'paint' on the eyes and noses. The only problem was that although the biscuits  were supposed to be shared for dessert, each child made two biscuits and wanted to eat both of these themselves.

The picture below was what we were aiming at but the kids did a pretty good job since the eldest was 7 and the youngest was 2. We will make them again next year. If you are interested you can find the recipe here.

I tried to do activities that all seven children can do as I'm sure that even if I chose more age appropriate activities for some of the younger ones, they would want to do what the older ones were doing anyway.

The kids also decorated the birthday cakes - one for Grandpa and one for Uncle Ben.

 Peter was extremely worried about getting icing on his carpet. But I spread a plastic tablecloth on the floor under the kids' table and they were very good. No mess at all.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of people as I was just too busy organising food to be taking pictures.

On Sunday we had a second celebration at Menai club. Megg cooked another 2 birthday  cakes.

Basically the same people attended as the day before, but with a few of Ben's friends added in.

The next day Peter and I headed off to Umina Beach for a short stay.

Peter and I spent five nights at Umina Beach in our caravan. Winter is a great time to go caravanning by the sea. There are very few people around and the rates are cheap.

Ours is the Hiace van still attached to our caravan.

While we were away I played around with some of the special effects on the camera on my phone. This was the walk down to Umina beach from the camping area.

Umina Beach at Sunset was very pretty.

Below is a photo taken at the same time as the one above and from the same position on the beach, but facing west. It almost looks like there is a bush fire behind the trees.

Peter and I visited Patonga, a pretty little village not far from Umina. It has a lovely little harbour.

This is the shadow of Peter and me looking out to the beach at Patonga


Patonga is a pretty little village not far from Umina. They make the best fish and chips. Lovely and crunchy.

After lunch Peter and I took a bike ride around the village. 

Here are some of the ubiquitous Central Coast ducks at Patonga

We visited Davistown a couple of times - once to see Peter's cousin and then again to ride along the foreshore. We always stop at the Little Teapot Cafe and I always have their delicious apple crumble and Peter has the burger with the lot.

The tide was low at Davistown as we rode our bikes along the shore. 

On the way back to Umina from Davistown we called at the pie shop at Ettalong which had been recommended to us.

It was a beautiful day so we sat outside. My spinach roll and Peter's steak and onion pie were delicious. We shall make this another regular stop on our trips to the Central Coast.

Sadly we had to come home on Saturday as I had to start tutoring again on Monday.
On the way home this car drove past us with a dog enjoying the ride. He had his head out and a pair of goggles on to protect his eyes.

Interesting Sites

 World's tallest skinny tower

Photo source
The world's tallest skinniest tower is in Brighton, England.

 Click here to read all about it.

 Coral reef sculpture

Photo source
Artist Courtney Mattison  has crafted a large-scale ceramic coral reef installation to celebrate the exotic beauty of coral reefs while highlighting the threats they face.
Click here to read more.

Film to end tradition of slaughter of whales

Photo source

Sea Shepherd has been working to shut down the Grindadrap in the Danish Faroe Islands since 1983. The Grindadrap (literally translated as “the murder of whales”) is considered a cultural tradition in this small group of rugged islands located halfway between Scotland and Iceland.
Click here to read more.


Sunday, 10 July 2016


Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Philippians 4:6 (The Message.)

Piggy picture

 Peter has a 6th grandchild - a 5th granddaughter. Lucy

I don't usually put pictures of the grandchildren on my blog, but it is a bit hard to see much of little Lucy here. She is beautiful.

My daughter Jade has just completed an exhibition at Gallery 9, Darlinghurst. Jade makes strange creatures and sculptures fabrics she dyes.

This is one she sold. It is about a metre long.

Here are a few more pieces in her exhibition.

I have begun fixing up Jade's old room. She left 18 years ago and it had largely been a storage room. But I have decided to have it as on office so I don't have papers all over the place for my tutoring. I have a couple of comfortable chairs in there as well.

These chairs had been sitting in my garage for a while (long story) waiting to go onto Gumtree and I decided to use them in my office.

I bought some cheap soft blankets from Aldi for $10 each and threw them over the chairs.

The TV is sitting on an old sewing table that belonged to my grandmother. I picked the two grey chairs up off a rubbish pile. Rhiannon and I sanded them back and painted them.

Now I need to do some decorating.

Our church just paid off a $5m debt, so there was a week of celebrations.

And I will finish here with some lovely eucalyptus leaves from my garden.

Interesting sites

 Floating house on Thames

Photo source
A floating property  has set sail along the river Thames, totaling eight meters in height and weighing 70 tonnes. The dwelling comprises two bedrooms, a living room, a working bathroom and even a garden complete with real grass, a doghouse and an apple tree.
Click here to read more.


  Solar boat crosses Atlantic

Photo source
Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, a small autonomous boat is braving wind and waves to demonstrate the power of solar energy. Isaac Penny and Christopher Sam Soon’s Solar Voyager embarked from Boston on June 1, and they hope it will land in Portugal in October.
Click here to read more.


 The Mafia gives Italians cancer

Photo source
When doctors in rural Italy began to see a surge in cancer cases, they were baffled. Then they made the link with industrial waste being dumped by local crime syndicates. Ian Birrell learns about the tragic consequences.
Click here to read more.