Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Show(ing) Off.

Sunday morning I woke with purpose: To attend the local agricultural show. The fact that I was sick did not deter me. In the three and a half years that we've been living in the Ranges I'd not been, so this year I had psyched myself up for it with memories of the agricultural shows of my childhood. I was going and nothing could stop me.
Growing up The Show was a major annual event that we looked forward to every year. In the weeks and days leading up to it we'd be a hive of activity, buzzing about putting the finishing touches on our competition entries. There were painted eggs and flower displays from us kids, whilst the adults entered cookery, crafts and livestock. To win a ribbon made the time and effort worth it, but it was a Best in Show that granted you Legend status.
On Show Day we'd browse the sideshows, brave the rides, admire the horses and pet the animals. I remember always being particularly fond of the sheep. Even now as an adult I walk through the showground gates and make a beeline for the animal pavillion. I also get particularly excited when there are baby animals and/or ducks.
This year I was eager to recapture that excitement: We ate hot donuts, watched the showjumping and checked out the chickens. I spent a good deal of time weighing up the possible competition for next year in the photography, cookery and craft events, whilst wondering what one must do to become a judge (and get to taste the cakes and scones on show). We browsed the stalls and after much discussion and deliberation decided on some native seedlings for the garden.
There were ducks and chickens and pigeons galore! Shane said they were scary whilst I wanted to bring all the Indian Runners home. There were no sheep but there was a wool competition. Hardly the same, but they do both smell like lanolin. 
What do you like about Show Day?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Mail Out: When something is better than nothing.

"Don't you like to write letters? I do because it's such a swell way to keep from working and yet feel you've done something." ~ Ernest Hemingway
Written correspondence has been a hobby of mine for a long time, & Monday Mail Out is a weekly feature whereby I can share my love for the lost art of letter writing. I hope my experiences will encourage others to send out letters on Monday too, and have them rediscover the joy of sending and receiving mail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Week in Pictures...

* South Australia had some rough weather this past week. Here in the Ranges it blew an absolute gale for three days, but with the wind also came some rain, which is always welcome.
* On the evenings when the weather is calm and not too cold I've been out in the garden pruning back some shrubs in preparation for the warmer weather, which I am certain must be just around the corner...
* The daffodil blooms are too heavy for their stems. They face-planted the dirt so I cut them and put them in a vase inside. They are so pretty and look fabulous on the living room mantel.
* Bailey-dog is a snorer. He even gives SJ a run for his money.
* The sno-peas I picked from the garden this week inspired me to make my favourite vegenoodle stirfry.
* Nothing brightens a week like a pretty little parcel turning up in the letterbox.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Soul of Patrick Daly

When I woke this morning it was 13 degrees (Celsius), which was quite warm compared to the early morning temperatures of late. The sky was looking a bit grey and drab but I was feeling optimistic so decided I didn't need a scarf for the morning commute through the Ranges to work, nor would I need a pair of socks to keep my feet warm.

Now, mid-afternoon, it does not feel as though the day's temperature has increased from the 13 degrees of this morning. The wind has picked up and it is decidedly chilly. My feet and hands are icy and I really wish I had that scarf for the evening walk from the office to the car.

I've spent most of today daydreaming about all the little adventures and discoveries I could be undertaking if I wasn't sat in front of a computer with nothing to do, but as it turns out it is that fact which has allowed me to stumble across and rediscover these photos - An old Lutheran and Catholic cemetery respectively, which were taken in 2009 on my 28th birthday.

I took a lot of photos that day and the four I've selected are just a few of my favourites. The headstone in the last reads: "O Lord have mercy on the soul of Patrick Daly, who died 10 July 1899, aged 33 years". It provides no indication as to how Patrick met his untimely end, but the headstone stipulates that it was erected by friends, suggesting that the deceased had no family in the region, at the time of his death or after.

It was a day of adventure and discovery: My birthday request that year had been to take a day-trip through the Ranges to Pekina, stopping at the towns and historic sites along the way. It was a warm-but-not-too-hot weather day, perfectly autumn. As we wandered through the ruins of deconsecrated churches and passed aging headstones, the dry, parched earth and paddocks of stubble reminded us of the summer that had just passed, and provided a beautiful contrast to the pale blue sky and its scattering of clouds.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Week in Pictures...

* I've been in an organising frenzy! Even the office where I work got a spring clean!

* I used what will hopefully be the last of the supermarket leeks to make my favourite soup: Leek and red lentil. Our leeks are just about ready to pick.

* We've discovered that the Bailey-dog has a wheat allergy, so every Saturday morning I get up and make wheat and dairy-free kibble for him, enough to last the coming week.

* The daffodils are finally starting to bloom and I am pleasantly surprised by the bright yellow (I had no idea what colour I'd planted). We put them in more than 18 months ago but did not get any flowers last season.

* Bailey-dog and I have a new Sunday afternoon routine that involves a big walk around town.

* I finished one book and started another. There's no better way to wile away the hours than with a good book!

* Follow me on Instagram: Username = sorchasidhe.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mars on the Rise by Rae Gee.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"In the depths of his dream world, the sounds rose and fell, haunting cries and screams coupled with the sounds of machinery. In the waking moments, they stayed with him, refusing to die with the night, as cold and clear as the night-time air". - Mars on the Rise

Mars on the Rise is the first book in the Veetu Industries series by Rae Gee. In this story we are introduced to Erus Veetu and Cedo Reilly, two very different characters, and their dark and violent steampunk world. Erus picks Cedo off the pier and transforms his quiet and uneventful life into one beyond his imaginings.

Cedo is a storyteller: He makes his way in life telling stories to those who will listen. Cedo is a loner whose only companion is a pet cat, and he dreams of being loved. I found Cedo to be innocent and frustratingly naiive, and in many ways, very childlike.

Erus, on the other hand, is a cold, hard man, who preys on the weak and forces them into submission. Having made his millions as a warlord, he has become brutally unforgiving, and is an artful manipulator.

Mars on the Rise is a LGBT steampunk novel that has a little bit of everything: Murder, torture machines, sex, love, betrayal and devotion. Rae Gee has a wonderful descriptive talent that brings the imaginary steampunk world of Mars on the Rise to life, beautifully and effortlessly. However, I simply could not connect to the characters. I neither hated nor loved them - I was just painfully indifferent. Despite Gee's creative world, I simply wasn't invested in the characters as much as I would have liked to have been. I think this was mostly due to the fact that I simply did not understand Cedo's feelings for Erus. There seemed to be no development of their relationship, it kind of just happens. Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that Cedo is lonely and needs to be needed, regardless of who satisifies that craving. I could not help but feel that he goes to a lot of trouble for someone who doesn't really seem worth the effort.

I await to see what the next instalment brings...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Mail Out: Organising.

This is how I spent my Sunday morning: In the spare room up to my knees in three years worth of mail. I keep every letter, postcard and note I receive and the boxes in which I keep them were in a state of absolute chaos. I figured it was about time to do some organising.

I sorted every piece and put them in appropriate piles. The largest space I had out of Bailey-dog's reach was the bed in the second bedroom, so that became my "organising space".

Each completed pile was then tied off and sorted into boxes, which then got stacked neatly on the upper shelves of the built-in-robe. Out of sight but still in reach if I need.

Once that was completed I wrote a couple postcards and then walked them down to the post office with the Bailey-dog. I'd decided that the weekend was going to be free of letter-writing so that I could focus on other things, this being one of them.

Written correspondence has been a hobby of mine for a long time, & Monday Mail Out is a weekly feature whereby I can share my love for the lost art of letter writing. I hope my experiences will encourage others to send out letters on Monday too, and have them rediscover the joy of sending and receiving mail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Week in Pictures...

* Vegetarian Delights: Salad with boccocini and quorn, drizzled with my favourite salad dressing. It's my new favourite thing to eat. I've been having it every day for lunch when at work as it helps me to pretend that it is, in fact, already spring.

* I made lemon cordial for the first time ever this week using my Nanna's recipe. It made enough for 3 bottles but barely made a dent in the mountain of lemons I have. I might make another batch this week coming and have a go at lemon butter, if I find the time...

* You see, all my spare time may well be gobbled up by Neil Oliver's The History of Scotland, which arrived in the post this week. Loving it.

* Bailey-dog finally went for his post-winter haircut.

* We had SJ's builder Uncle come around to take a look at a bit of cracking along the cornice in a couple rooms, which we'd put up less than 12 months ago. We were concerned it was a major issue, but builder Uncle could not find anything seriously wrong aside from the cornice cement coming away from the wall. Apparently a common problem with stone buildings due to the clash of old and new materials. Easy to fix, though, just a pain in the...

* I can feel the days longer now. When I finish work at the end of the day the sun is still visible over the buildings in town, as opposed to having half disappeared below the horizon already.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Mail Out: Cameras and Quarantine

Sarah in Louisiana always sends the most interesting things with her letters. Most recently it was a postcard featuring original photography, a haunted bookmark, and a Polaroid pop-up card (that she made herself)...

Whilst Raquel's mail included some Cinnamon Spice tea bags that caught the attention of Customs. Even though they destroyed the envelope in the process, they've let me keep the tea bags. The envelope smells awesome - I cannot wait to try the tea!

Written correspondence has been a hobby of mine for a long time, & Monday Mail Out is a weekly feature whereby I can share my love for the lost art of letter writing. I hope my experiences will encourage others to send out letters on Monday too, and have them rediscover the joy of sending and receiving mail. If you have a blog, feel free to join in.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Week in Pictures...

* With the arrival of the first jonquils in the garden and the warmer weather I am absolutely convinced that spring has arrived. No doubt Mother Nature will prove me wrong soon enough.

* My radishes may be a funny shape but they taste fantastic!

* Does anyone else watch 'Gardening Australia'? Am I the only one who thinks Costa looks like Grug?

* Imbolc passed this week in the Southern Hemisphere.

* Bailey-dog gets so excited and says hello to everyone that walks past the cottage on the weekends (and by hello I mean he barks relentlessly).

* A work colleague and I have decided to have a lemon meringue bake-off so I've been practicing. Still need to work on the base but the pie I made this week had perfect filling and meringue. The local agricultural show will be held in a couple weeks and I've persuaded SJ to take me. It will be the first time we've been together and I cannot wait, especially since I discovered this week that it is a true agricultural show with animals and competitions and all!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters...

FingersmithFingersmith by Sarah Waters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Your heart - as you call it - and hers are alike, afterall: they are like mine, like everyone's. They resemble nothing so much as those meters you will find on gas-pipes: they only perk up and start pumping when you drop coins in."

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is a gripping novel of deception and greed set in 19th Century London, and tells the story of two orphans: Sue, a thief, and Maud, a lady. With seemingly nothing else in common, the two become entwined in an elaborate get-rich-quick scheme, with shocking and heart-wrenching results. Yet this is to be expected in a world where everyone harbours a secret and deceit is the name of the game.

There is not a dull moment in this story, and not even the smallest of details becomes a bore - everything about this novel simply works. The descriptions of life in a madhouse I found to be particularly fascinating, but it is the characters in this story that makes it so enjoyable. Waters has developed wonderfully intriguing and complicated personalities, some with good hearts but all with dark intentions, and with whom I either fell in love (Sue and Maud) or passionately despised (Gentleman and Mrs Suckesby).

Fingersmith is a long and detailed novel and some may be intimidated by its size, but Waters has paced the story perfectly and it reads so well that it doesn't feel half as long as it actually is. Plus it's exciting and addictive: Just when I thought I'd figured it out and knew what would happen next Waters would prove that I, too, had been deceived.

I L-O-V-E-D it! It would be a surprise to me if anyone who takes the time to read it does not end up loving it too.