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Sunday, 19 March 2017

"Forever and a Day," on the Anglo-Saxon Lyre

Actually I've been in discussion with a fellow player who says that our lyres may technically be a lyre, but that they would have been called harps by the Anglo-Saxons, so we should call them harps too.  This makes good sense to me.  Now I just have to retrain my brain!

I've only recently worked out this song and would have usually got it a bit more polished before I recorded it, but I videoed it to listen back and see how it was going and the accidental view was so pretty, and it didn't sound bad at all, so I've gone with it.

This sweet song is by Portcullis Minstrels, from an album of the same name as the song.

I'm still not as fond of the block-and-strum sound compared to plucking, but it is certainly a lot simpler as far as memorizing the music goes, and makes a nice change between plucked songs.

This video has little bits of each song from that album.

In other news, we went out to a fire this weekend.  Someone had lit a backyard fire, which is not allowed yet for a good reason.  I got this funny animation while trying to get pics of the guys in the Light Tanker from my seat in the back of the 1.4.

It wasn't much of a fire, so it was just a bit of fun to be out with our friends in the firetrucks.  We had a good time that morning at Firey Schedules too, but I was driving the Light Tanker when we were out and about, so I didn't get any pics.

On Sunday we had a lovely day. We started it with a dog walk in the local sculpture park, then a visit to a fresh food store that gave us a chance to pat this sweet Greyhound.

Then it was off down to town to meet some of the local Druids for a cuppa in a cool cafe.  We talked for 3 and a half hours and it could easily have been longer.  I like Druids.  They are gentle, clever, open-minded and interesting.

Then off we went to meet our family for lunch to celebrate my gorgeous oldest niece's 24th birthday.  It was all fun.  Yay!   A perfect weekend!

Mum got her all-clear from the specialist at her post-op check today.   She is already much better.  Lets hope we can draw a line through that bad time now and she can move on and enjoy life again!    



Friday, 17 March 2017

Kangas hopping down the street!

Ha ha ha, see they really do here in Oz!

Not the best pic because the afternoon sun was behind them, but beggars can't be choosers when it comes to photographing wild animals you come across all of a sudden.
Admittedly it is a street of houses right beside miles and miles of bush reserve, but still!  Cheeky buggers!

Glad they don't do it at our place.  The ticks have been awful due to the unusually wet weather, and my friends who live near here have been covered in tick bites from ticks that the roos carry into their yards.  As a lyme disease survivor, that makes me feel very icky indeed!

We've been avoiding the kangaroo areas of bush when we go for walks.  Angus is still walking with us.  Though mum is recovering nicely from her 'op', walking such a large heavy dog will not be happening just yet. Tess comes with us some days, but not if we are going a bit further.

He's so handsome.  I must say, yellow Labs photograph nicely so much more easily than blacks!  See cute Rosie back there, wondering why her mama went back down the trail?  (Dropped my sunglasses when I put leads on them to avoid scaring a nervous little dog we met.)

After his walks he is very happy to go back to mum and keep her company as she rests.

I've been playing with hair braids a bit, having watched some youtube videos on the topic.  Braiding my hair shows Odin I am thinking of him.  He likes that almost as much as he likes offerings of mead or coffee!

At 51, it is a bit weird to be playing with hair-dos, but life is change.  I've never really played with my hair, even all those years when it was really long, so it is fun for me to learn new things to do with it.

The Legolas look:

The 'I don't know what' look.  These braids are fun to do.  They are known as rope braids.

Hmmm, I look a bit pale again there.  Have to go for an iron test soon.   Hope it is stable now!  Don't want to take any more iron supps.  They make me so sick.

I am having so much fun working out my first block-and-strummed song on the lyre. It is a gorgeous, sweet tune by the Portcullis Minstrels, called, "Forever and a Day."  Must get videoing soon.  I have three including that one that will soon be ready to show you.

I've been playing guitar almost every day too.  News Flash: You actually do improve amazingly fast when you practice every day!  Ha ha, it's not news to anyone but worth reminding myself. Musical skill stalls or goes backwards if you don't keep up your practice, and nothing hurts more than being able to play less and less songs instead of more and more!

We have been doing a bit of a reorganise this week.  Andrew is moving all his amateur radio gear out into the railway carriage where I had an art room that I never used because I like to work in the thick of life. Now it is a man cave and he can keep all of his incomprehensible and boring (to me) gear in there out of my way! !  Yay for both of us! 
The man cave in all its glory!
 Right now he is also putting together an ikea (gasp) cabinet.  We have been using this old Tv cabinet for so long and it was on its last legs, so we took the plunge and bought a new one.  This one has wheels, so we will be able to push it aside to get at the bottom shelves of our bookshelf.  It is a weird arrangement we have, but in a tiny, open-plan cottage like this one, weird stuff does sometimes have to happen.

"After" pic to come!

As part of the reshuffle, an armchair that had been out in the railway carriage for years came inside, and we started to get headaches. Luckily after a few days we linked it to mildew/mould in the chair.  Beware of mould!  As soon as we took it back out we improved and are now back to normal.

This pair of afghans also got displaced, so I gave them a wash, planning to store them afterwards, since we don't currently use them.  Instead, I am wondering if I can somehow fold and store them somewhere visible so we can still enjoy their vibrant colour.      

This one that was at my MIL's house is falling apart in some rows.  Any ideas of ways to repair it, perhaps by removing the rotten yarn and rejoining it with a crochet stitch somehow?

I have been to five cafes with friends this week, and drumming circle, plus the fireys' don and a Druid meet-up is coming this Sunday too!  I think it is the most social week of my life.  Yay!  So much for lyme-induced hermityness!  No more of that.  I'm out and proud of it!
Some of our brigade friends.  Want to know the best people in town?  Join your local bushfire brigade! 

It's been so much fun. Thanks to all my amazing friends and family for your company!  Think I'm developing a cafe habit.  Is there such a thing?  :D    



Monday, 13 March 2017

Firey's Picnic

Saturday was a very Firey sort of day.  First we spent the morning recruiting and chatting to people at the local poling place for our state election (as well as voting of course!)  I got a bit sunburned as we stayed much longer than we had planned to, but I was glad I went as it was a really nice crowd of fellow brigade members who had gathered and we gas-bagged to each other as much as to other people.      

Then the evening was the combined fire Brigades' picnic.  It was fun, though we lost the tug-o-war again.  I think the team that has won four years in a row must use glue on their feet because the grass is so slippery and everyone else finds it hard to get enough grip.  That and the tiny, small, infinitesimal fact that we didn't train once!  :D

Sister Jen and bro-in-law Craig were in our team. Andrew only got to supervise.

But he did get into the All-stars Team, which was put together to make up the tenth team to fill out the rounds.  It was more of an, "Ok I'll do it," than an "Allstar," team, really, but they had fun. 

I think the most fun of the tug-o-war is watching the kids enjoy doing it after the competition. .

The sunsetting sky was amazing, and we could see so much of it because we were out on a big footy oval.

From this:

To this:

It was a really good night.  We had a good laugh and chat with people and ate lovely food, and even won two raffles prizes from free tickets the Shire hands out!  Many thanks to our local Shire, Mundaring, who look after their firefighters so well!

Murray obviously enjoyed it too!

Sunday Jen and I went to pick up mum from hospital, minus gall bladder and already looking and sounding much happier.  That was good news!

In the afternoon, Andrew and I went up to the station to repair the fire trailer, or I should say, Andrew repaired it, and I idled nearby, ready for when he needed me to look at the tail lights for him.  The rest of the time, I played Mondream.  The acoustics in the station is quite good, though the highway was a bit loud at times.

How is this for a strange juxtaposition of subjects for a photo?

There were Equipment Officer things I could have been doing, but to be honest, I just felt like sitting.  It's been a hectic few weeks with mum sick, so it felt good to just play and sing while Andrew tinkered.  After all, he needed musical accompaniment for his work, didn't he?   

Saturday, 11 March 2017


Mum is safely home from the hospital minus one gall bladder.  I'm glad we stopped letting the local hospital keep faffing around and took matters into our own hands to find a different specialist.  It is just another example of what Lymies learn or die:  You have to be proactive in your own health and you can't meekly let someone else plot your course to health.

Drumming was fun last week.  I got a little bit of video of the others.

And a couple of photos. 

After that I was too busy playing!

We had a lot of fun at the annual brigades' picnic last night. I'll post some photos of that tomorrow!   Yes I am so late with this Friday post that it is Sunday!       

Monday, 6 March 2017

A Day Late Again!

I'm sure you'll forgive me.  It is hard fitting double house duty plus hospital visits.  Yes mum is back in there.  This time a gall-stone got lose and made mum go yellow!  Blimey!  Off to the hospital again!  She seems to have moved the stone on her own, thank goodness, and might be able to come home today, but at least it means they will bump up her gallbladder removal.  It is pretty obvious to us at least that she will never manage to get to the 4 to 6 weeks they were wanting.

Once you get into emergency departments it is like entering an alternate dimension. You just have to give yourself up to the odd sense of time they have there, because you know it is going to be a long time before you get out again, even when you aren't the patient.  There has been lots of time to people-watch, and of course the nature of hospitals means you get to see lots of what they call the mad, the bad and the sad, and to feel very lucky.

A google search for 'the mad the bad and the sad' turned up this interesting image by illustrator, Melinda Gebbie. Yep, that's close enough to some of the people we saw in the ED!  

Adding a bit more stress to a life always means other crappy things happen because your attention is distracted.  Poor Andrew had a serious water event while I was off at the hospital yesterday.  He got distracted by a visitor looking for mum and left the washing up water running.   Oh oh!   The floor of the cottage is anything but level, so water went in all directions and the sink cupboard was soaked and had to be gutted.   We're blowing a fan in there to dry it out and hopefully avoid mold. 

One good thing that came out of this was that, since the kitchen rug was soaked, we decided it was a perfect time to give it a good clean.  Blimey, those power washers are good value aren't they!  I've never seen it so clean since it was new.  I'd forgotten how much I like the pattern.  :D

We've been walking all four dogs too.  Angus gets to stay on the long lead because otherwise he and Tuppy run too far afield, egging each other on, and since he isn't our dog, he feels that recalls are optional.   

At 13, Grandma Tess still does pretty well but she gets a bit tired if we go too far.  She does plenty of 'old dog sleeping' these days.

Angus just does weird sleeping.  How can this be comfortable?

Right now he is beside me in the cat's bed.  Perhaps not so much in as partly on!

He's such a dag!  He's a sooky boy too.

It's nice to have a snuggler around, even if it does feel like he has a thousand pointy elbows when he climbs up to be near (or on) you.  At nearly 40 kilos, that's a lot of elbow!   


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Allsorts of Life

John Grey's Bulldog, Winnie, has survived her emergency spaying.  It is a magic of the internet, and of blogging in particular, I think, that you can come to love a dog you have never met.  I am so glad that sweet, thoughtful Winnie is once more blowing kisses.


It's been a hectic sort of week, with lots of back and forward to the hospital for and with mum, but she is home now and feeling a bit better.

We had three fire call outs this week.  I didn't go to the first one, made the second which was a car fire and out on arrival, and for the third, I arrived ready to go but didn't get on the truck because I stepped aside for others.  It's pretty good news that we now have too many people turning out to some of the fires, but it does feel a bit like you are all dressed up and nowhere to go!  I did get to photograph my sister Jen as she drove the 1.4 out.  Way to go Jen!      

We had some lovely thundery weather the other day.  The sky was amazing.

The storm was passing east of us when I took these pics, but later on we got our own share. We had claps of thunder as loud as any I've heard, just as we were going to bed and through the night too. It was a corker!  Luckily our current dogs aren't particularly scared, but they did get up on the bed for comfort at times.

After such a busy week, last night we indulged ourselves in a movie that is fave for us both.  Porco Rosso by Miyasaki.  It is an odd movie in a lot of ways. but what it comes down to for me at least is the beauty, the courage, and the humour.  It has a peaceful emptiness at times,  like a lot of Miyasaki movies.  There is space to rest in them, unlike most cartoons, even the very 'good' ones, which tend to be just too frenetic for me.

Porco Rosso was once a man and an ace pilot in the Italian air force, but after a traumatic air fight, he cursed himself to be a pig.  Now he flies the Adriatic sea as a Bounty hunter and say he cares for nothing.       

Miyasaki loves the vehicles of the sky, and invents many amazing ones for his other movies, but in this one he goes to town over the world war one and two planes and dog fights.  I love his vision.      

There is a very fun relationship between the young, fresh engineer and the crusty old pig of a pilot.

How does a pig get to be the romantic, sauve, tragic hero?  Well you'll have to watch it to find out, but he does, and I adore his laugh and attitude to life.

Pics were taken from the telly last night so are a bit crappy.  This is not really a kids' movie. It was made for adults, disillusioned ones, if some of the reviews are correct. Maybe that's us, I don't know, but we do always feel happier for watching it.  Give it a go!  

We've solved Cyrano's current jumping issue by moving his favorite bed to underneath the table it used to sit on.  It took him a couple of days to get the idea, but now he loves it and is so happy to have his fave snuggly spot back.

Angus has spent plenty of time with us while mum has been away.  He's been rockin' his SNAG self in Rosie's pink harness on walks.

And he's even been adorning himself with Plumbago flowers.

Angus reckons it's all about the love.


Sunday, 26 February 2017


My beloved Illawarra Flame Tree is ending its flowering cycle and beginning to put out beautiful bright green and shiny new leaves.


They are so fresh and deliciously bright! 

Want some fresh music to listen to?  Never heard a praise song for the god Thor played on a banjo before?  Well, here it is!

I love the song and I love how Banjoheathen smiles so sweetly at the end because he knows he nailed it!  Ahh, making music, it is such a challenging and satisfying obsession!

My little mummy is still unwell.  Please hold her in your thoughts and prayers.