Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Monday, 12 November 2018


I came across this quote on Facebook. It was put there my my daughter's long term partner. He and I differ radically on many things especially religion. I am a Christian and he is an atheist but in the end we are looking for the same things in the world - social justice; a more people caring government; a narrowing of the gap between rich and poor.

I dream of a world where everyone is honest. Where I can leave my bike at any location not locked up and find it there when I return. Where so much packaging doesn't have to be tamper proof, and bags don't have to be searched as we leave shops because people don't steal things. Where we can leave our house doors opened and not locked. Where people take responsibility for their own actions and the grave problems we have with drugs and alcohol do not exist. A world where respect for one another as individuals is paramount.

Wishful thinking will not make all this happen, but we can do our part by acting with integrity and honesty. By being realistic but seeing the best in people, and assuming the best about people. By treating everyone with respect.

For quite a few years I worked with teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds, many with behaviour problems. They didn't want sympathy. They wanted empathy and respect, two qualities which would go a long way to radically changing the world.

Half a century ago Eleanor Roosevelt made the statement that, "when you adopt the standards and values of someone else... you surrender your own integrity {and} become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being." 

So it seems if you want to radically change the world you need to stick to your values no matter what, and live in hope that someday things will change.

The past week

Below is a praying mantis I spotted in my herb garden, on the oregano. The leaves are about half the size of your smallest fingernail, so you can see how tiny he really is.

We went for a walk on Towradgi beach and these tumbleweeds were covering the bank. They look like giant spiders massing down the hill.

It was very misty on the beach and very beautiful.

Peter's second eldest son turned 39 and we had a picnic under the trees at Engadine tennis courts.

Writing and posting my blog again is part of getting my life back on track after some health issues earlier in the year. I still have some doubts but am trying to make this one thing I do each week. I have been reading a book entitled The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan which has been very helpful.

Interesting sites

1. Beautiful cottage in Lithuania

Photo source
 Click here to checkout this beautiful little cottage in the countryside of Lithuania.

2. Scientists tapping algae and plant waste for energy

Photo source

Scientists are exploring the huge potential of single-cell organisms such as algae and bacteria in the production of energy. Click here to read more.

3. Five countries hold 70% of the world's last wilderness

Photo source
Just 5 countries hold 70% of the world's last untouched wilderness and  according to research urgent international action is needed to save them. Click here to read more.

Friday, 2 November 2018


Back again after quite a long break. This past year or so I dealt with some health problems and depression problems (not related) but now I am well and happy and looking forward to the run up to Christmas which is my favourite time of year.

I questioned starting up my blog again. Is it just self indulgent? Is it just plain stupid? But I love to write and a few people said they missed Piggywhistles so I decided to give it another go.

I started writing my blog for a couple of reasons. The main one is to help me look at the positive things in my life. Life events have made my life different to that of my friends. But I try not to focus on these differences and appreciate the small moments in my life. Sharing these moments on my blog makes me stop and take note of the good things in life.

I often write with my friends in Canada in mind, letting them know a little of my life here on the south coast of Australia.

And so to the quote above by Rosa Parks; 'I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.' This is so true for me. One of the mottoes I live by is,  'You have to have a plan.' I find if I don't have a plan, time just slips by and I don't get things done.

Now I am retired, days can just slip by without me doing anything much at all. I need to make a plan for the day; for the week; for the year. 

When my children were younger and had problems they needed help with we would always devise a plan to help solve the problem. I think this made them resilient and gave them some problem solving skills.

A few weeks ago I made a plan to restart my blog on the 2nd of November. I finished this post but on that day I got cold feet.

Then I came across this quote:
The enemy of a good plan is a perfect plan. 
 (Carl von Clauesewitz)

This quote spoke to me and so I clicked 'Publish'.

A walk in the Botanic Gardens

A few days ago Peter and I took a walk in the Wollongong Botanic gardens. Because it is spring, many of the flowers were out. Below are a few photos of the gardens.

I took a special interest in the red poppies. My mother has just knitted 30 of them to be worn on Remembrance Day, 11th November.

These red poppies bloomed between the lines of trenches and in 'no man's lands' on the Western Front in World War One. In the 20th Century wearing a poppy for Remembrance Day became established in English speaking Western countries. These poppies are also known as Flanders poppies.

John McCrae was a poet and a doctor from Ontario, Canada. At the age of 41, McCrae enrolled with the Canadian Army following the outbreak of the First World War. He fought in the Second Battle of Ypres on the fields of Flanders in Belgium. Alex Helmer, McCrae's best friend was killed at this battle. McCrae performed the burial service himself and noticed how quickly the poppies grew on the graves of fallen soldiers. The next day he wrote the following  poignant poem.

         In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
  The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.   Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
  The torch; be yours to hold it high.
  If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

Interesting sites

1. Chapel turned office

Photo source

This chapel in Belgium has been turned into an office and juxtaposes the old and modern in a really interesting way, Click here to read more.

2. Tiny octopus on floating trash

Photo source

This tiny octopus was found by researchers floating on a piece of plastic in the ocean. Click here to read more.

3. Australia - the successful rich economy

Photo source
We tend not to see our nation with the fresh eyes necessary to maintain perspective about where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we might be going. Click here to read more.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

A ROUGH SEA ( #3 September 2017)

Last Sunday morning I visited two of my favourite places - the beach and Bunnings.

Peter and I went for a walk along Towradgi Beach. The sea was rough and had come right up the beach at high tide.

The waves had completely swamped the local rock pool.

This sponge looked as if it had only recently been ripped from the rocks as it still had its
pinky colour.

I also came across these fish eggs. I wonder what type of fish they are from.

At Bunnings I bought some new guttering and downpipes for the front of my house to replace my old disintegrating stuff. Peter had it replaced in no time.

Now I need to repaint the pergola.

 I am tossing up between white, light grey like my door......

 or the same green as my garage door.

I fancy accessories of the blue colour featured below.


Meanwhile I have made a handful of polymer clay toadstools to use in some gardening projects.

You may be interested in knowing that my talented niece Amy and nephew Laurie are involved in setting up some of Wollongong's first break out rooms.

Photo source
 Click here if you would like to read more about it.


I am always on the look out for thrifty recipes. Here is  a standby I have developed for left over vegetables.

Cream of mixed vegetable soup

This is a recipe for creamy vegetable soup made from left over vegetables that have been frozen or of course you could use fresh if you prefer. The vegetables and proportions can be changed, depending on what you have available. This makes about 4 litres of soup. Two cans of chick peas add protein to make it a complete meal.

I began with 1.3 kg of precooked frozen vegetables that had been thawed out. These included broccoli, carrots, potatoes, and pumpkin.

1.3 kg of precooked vegetables
 I used a large saucepan and caramelised 4 Spanish onions.

Caramelised onions
 I added the vegetables and gave them a bit of a stir around for a few minutes.

I added 1 litre of water and 4 teaspoons of Vegeta and  2 cans of chick pease including liquid. This provides protein to make the soup a complete meal. Then I added 2 teaspoons of curry powder. This is optional.

I simmered the soup for 40 minutes until all the vegetables were quite soft.Then I blended the soup in my food processor with soy milk (which makes it vegan) but you could use dairy milk or any other substitute. I blended it at the rate of 2 cups at a time with 1 cup of soy bean milk. But you could vary this ratio to taste.

Cream of mixed vegetable soup.

Makes about 4 litres. Suitable to freeze.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 4 Spanish onions chopped
  • Around 1.3 kg of cooked mixed vegetables
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons Vegeta or other stock powder 
  • 2 425g tins of chick peas including liquid
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (optional) 
  • About 1 litre of milk or substitute


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in fry pan
  2. Add onions and cook until caramelised, adding water as necessary to deglaze the pan.
  3. Add vegetables and cook stirring for 3 minutes
  4. Add water and stock powder
  5. Add chick peas
  6. Add curry powder (optional)
  7. Simmer for 40 minutes 
  8. Blend in a food processor at the rate of 2 cups of soup to 1 cup of milk or substitute.
  9. Makes about 4 litres.


Thank you for reading my blog.I write it for myself first. It helps me look at the positive things in life even though they may only be small. Also if I say I plan to do something I have put it on record and this helps me to actually do it. Unforeseen life events have  led me to end up in a different position in life than I had planned. As a result I am unable to be involved in many of the activities of my friends. So I try to find joy in simple things and share some of these.

Thank you for those who have left comments and to those who have tried but been unable to. I am not sure what the problem is but will try to sort it out.


Interesting sites

Photo source
 Earthships - the ultimate in off-grid architecture. Click here to read more.

 Makeover bus stop
Photo source
For the residents of a small village in Dartmoor, England, the universally-dreaded morning commute to work is now very much something to look forward to. Last summer, the village of Walkhampton woke up to find their grim and graffiti-covered bus stop had been transformed into a welcoming living room, complete with an armchair, pillows, framed pictures, potted plants and various household ornaments. Not just a one-time make-over, the bus stop has been “re-decorated” several times since and the best part is– no one knows who’s doing it. Click here to read more. 

 Eerie music in Pyongyang

Click here to hear the eerie music played in Pyongyang, North Korea each morning to wake up the residents.

Friday, 8 September 2017

A MOUSE IN THE HOUSE (#2 September 2017)

I have a mouse in my house. I also have a full blown phobia of small furry animals - cats, mice, rats, rabbits. (Not dogs - they are hairy.) So a mouse in my house is a cause for grave concern as it can completely disrupt my life.

On Sunday night a small, dark mouse ran across my lounge room floor. Such is my horror of mice and rats that I often imagine I see them out of the corner of my eye, but then when I have a proper look it turns out to be a shadow. But this was no shadow.

From here the evening took a downward turn. Peter spent a long time chasing the mouse with a broom and I spent most of that time in safety - sitting outside in the car. I don't know where the mouse ended up but I ended up sleeping in the car...which turned out to be quite delightful.

Peter had just cleaned my car windows so I had a beautiful view of the stars. With the seat reclined in my trusty 2002 Silver Camry I could stretch out completely under my quilt which kept me toasty warn. The morning brought beautiful bird songs and I spotted several birds I hadn't seen for a while including a Catbird.

I slept in the car for a few hours the next night because I woke up at 4 am and thought I could hear the mouse in the kitchen but when I checked it out the next morning I could see no evidence.

I am pretty sure the mouse has gone from my kitchen, lounge room and dining room. I have put out baits, which I really don't like to do, because I know it is not a nice way for a mouse to die, and these have not been touched so I am pretty sure the mouse has disappeared. But where? From whence it came? And will it return or has it been too terrified by Peter crashing after it with a broom. I guess time will tell.


I came across this picture below and think it may be a good way to go with my kitchen.

Photo source

I plan to paint my kitchen black before I get my house valued. I do plan to replace the kitchen at some stage after that.

At the moment my poor old kitchen is rather sad. The cupboards are almost 40 years old. They were painted 13 years ago, but that paint is wearing off. Because I plan to replace it within the next year, I feel that I can go mad and really change things with some paint, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't matter.

Sad old kitchen


I plan to paint my lounge room white and cover the lounge.
I bought these 2 quilt covers for a total of $8 at the Salvos.

Wilbur on two quilts

I will bleach them and then use them to make patchwork
slip covers for my lounge.  

I have a lovely shiny new soap dish above my bath. I managed to smash the old one. Luckily the styles of soap dishes haven't changed much over the years and Peter was able to find a matching one in Bunnings.

New soap dish

The gutters on the front of my house have disintegrated. In order to replace them Peter has been removing old Alsynite sheeting. This has left a whole area open to the weather and the sunlight.

Roof off pergola

The old sheeting was covered in lichen which I think looked quite beautiful but certainly darkened the area and the adjacent rooms in the house. 

Alsynite sheets on the ground

Lichen on Alsynite sheeting


It's cauliflower season. I bought a beautiful creamy white cauliflower nestled in green leaves from the fruit market on Monday.

I grew up in the days of meat and 3 veg for dinner every night, although I must give kudos to my mother for being an innovative cook for the times. We did have the occasional spaghetti Bolognaise or curry or even battered Tasmanian scallops deep fried. But cauliflower remained a boiled, soggy ghostly vegetable on the side of my plate.  

These days I love it but I bake it.

Baked cauliflower with herbs (optional) and mustard seed.

  1. Take one cauliflower and break it into florets. 
  2. Lay it in a baking dish lined with baking paper. 
  3. Spray it with olive oil. 
  4. Sprinkle over some stock powder. I use vegeta. 
  5. Toss in a couple of tablespoons of mustard seeds. 
  6. Spray gently with water 
  7. Cover with sprigs of thyme(optional) and oregano (optional)   
  8. Bake for one hour at 180 degrees, or longer if you like. 
  9. Remove the herbs and serve.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the final product, but you can take my word for it that it looked delicious.

Many thanks to those of you who take time to comment. I really appreciate it.

 Interesting sites


Pods for houseless
Photo source
Click here to read about architect designed pods for the houseless in Portland, Oregon, USA.

 Incredible 'sea organ'

Photo source
Incredible 'sea organ' uses waves to make music in Croatia.
Click here to read more.