It  is now just over 12 months since my doctor leaned over and poked me in the belly, made me stand on her scales and gave me a lecture on being overweight.  It took a day or so for my resentment and indignation to abate.  I knew she was right.  I had no excuse for not exercising.  And thus began my habit of walking regularly and eating well.

Last Sunday was a particularly fine Winter’s day here in Canberra so I decided to do some walking in a nearby Nature Reserve and this time I took my camera.

A 10 minute walk from my home finds me on a track alongside farmland.  Half and hour later I’m in the Nature Reserve.  Just before entering the reserve, there is an old bush cemetery where the remains of BFF’s great-great-great grandparents were buried.

The Brindabella Mountains form the western border of the ACT.  Just over the mountains is the valley where Australian writer Miles Franklin grew up.

The Pinnacle is a grandiose name for a hill in the Nature reserve which offers sweeping views of the ACT.   The beauty is that you can hardly see any man-made structures.  We are so lucky to live in Australia’s “Bush capital”

Just before reaching the Pinnacle, there is an outcrop of rocks from which some lovely views can be seen.

Here is Black Mountain From the top of one of these rocks.

I came across a kangaroo on my walk. It was standing about 30 metres in front of me on the track.  We stared at each other for about 30 seconds and when I made a move to get my camera from my backpack, it bounded away.

The walk took me just under 3 hours but included several stops for taking photos, having a drink of water and snacking on an apple.  I’ve lived where I live for over 30 years now and only discovered the beautiful nature park that’s practically on my doorstep last year.  I’ll be having many more walks through the reserve in the years to come.

Meanwhile – here’s a photo of grandchild No. 7 together with a photo of the chicken and leek pie I baked for the Winter Solstice back in June.

Well, that’s enough rambling for the moment.

Carpe Diem


Acting out of character

I know that when my doctor poked me in the belly and admonished me for not doing anywhere enough exercise I felt resentful.   How dare she!

Well, since then:

  • I have bought a pedometer to keep track of steps throughout the day;
  •  I’ve started walking to the local shops rather than driving whenever I need to buy a small number of items;
  • I go for a 1 hr walk several times a week;
  • I have a quick walk during my lunch hour when I’m at work; and
  • I’ve acquired a bicycle and am just getting used to riding a bike with gears.

That’s so unlike me.

And I’ve further improved my diet.  I now have fruit and nuts for snacks rather than cheese biscuits and I have been using more fresh vegetables in my cooking.

I know it’s pathetic – this deep craving of mine for approval.

But do you know what.  I actually enjoy my walks.

Coming Out

Evocative sounds

I am anosmic. Can’t smell a thing.  Have never been able to smell anything.  If you are going to be lacking one of the senses, I’d rather be anosmic than have sight or hearing impairments.

People who can smell often find themselves (I’m told) having memories triggered by a particular smell.  Obviously this doesn’t happen to me.  But if I hear Frank Sinatra singing Love and Marriage or Doris Day singing Que Sera Sera, I’m immediately taken back to our kitchen in Concord and I’m 4 years old again.

There were no televisions then.  But the radio (or wireless as it was then called) was ever on and providing the background sounds to my early years.

I don’t know why, but if I hear Ain’t She Sweet or California Here I Come I’m back in the stalls at the Ritz in Central Concord on a Saturday afternoon as a six year-old.

The sounds of the sixties are most evocative.  I clearly remember the first time I heard the Beatles.  It was electric.  The Beach Boys, the Atlantics, the Stones, the Kinks, the Doors – it was a bewildering time for me but the music was great.  Waterloo Sunset struck a chord (so to speak).  I seemed to be an observer of life rather than a participant, looking at the world from my window.

In my dark periods  the sounds of Mad World and Everybody Hurts provided a perverse comfort and those songs are still dear to me.

Relaxed and Comfortable

Last Christmas I was given two theatre vouchers for the Premium Lounge at one of our cinemas.  The vouchers were due to expire on 30 December this year so last night BFF and I went along to see HP7(P1). (again)

Now BFF and I had never been to the Premium Lounge before so it was somewhat of an eye-opener.

On entering the Lounge, you are given a menu so you can order some food and drink at the bar before entering the theatre.  You also specify when you want said food and drink served.

You may sit in the lounge and have pre-theatre drinks if you want but we were keen to get inside because our seats were not adjacent and we needed to negotiate with other theatre goers to end up sitting together.  A mission we accomplished.

The seats!  Recliner comfort.  At the push of a button! And a small tabletop between our seats where our wine and crumbed chicken tenderloins would be placed at the requested time.

A girl could get used to this.

It made for a pleasant evening and but would be quite expensive if you needed to pay for your tickets on top of the food and drinks.  Maybe we’ll have a once-a-year indulgence from now on.

Seeing HP7 again was worthwhile too.  I won’t read the books and have only seen a couple of earlier movies so I missed some things first time round.


Today is the Spring Equinox and it was quite a magnificent day.  My eldest granddaughter, a 2yo, and I went to Canberra’s annual celebration of Spring, Floriade.  There we met my second daughter and her two children.  The day started cool and cloudy but by late morning the clouds had left us and we felt the beautiful warmth of the sun on us.


Tulip Time at Floriade

My grandson was keen to ride on the Ferris Wheel (or the windmill as he called it) so we all enjoyed a leisurely ride with some great views of some of the flower beds from above.

Flower Beds

Flower beds from above

The grandkids were also impressed with the umbrella trees, the sight of which had my granddaughter singing the Rainbow Song.  I reckon those umbrellas are ripe for the picking.

Umbrella Tree

Ripe for the Picking

The kids enjoyed the petting zoo where they could get up close and personal with calves, lambs, piglets, kids, ducks, chickens and fluffy little bunnies.

It was just a lovely day and what impressed me most was that everyone there had big smiles on their faces.  Needless to say, my granddaughter fell asleep as we drove back to her place and enjoyed a good nap before her mum returned home from work.

Last night, as has been customary for a few years now, I had dinner at BFF’s home along with her partner and her two teenage daughters who are living at home.  For dinner we made a Linguini and Vegetable dish that was absolutely delicious.  While the linguini was on the boil we fried a couple of finely chopped long red chillies together with 2 chopped cloves of garlic.  To this we added a carrot, a leek, a zucchini and a red capsicum – all julienned.  After a few minutes we added some white wine and when that had boiled down, we added some cream, some crab meat and basil.  Finally we stirred in the linguini.  As I said – delicious.  We then all watched the fun, musical quiz program, Spicks and Specks, and then the enjoyable Gruen Tranfer – a light-hearted look at the advertising industry.  As always, it was an enjoyable night.


This morning as I was in a state of half-asleep-half-awake it came to me. WAGE BILL.  The only clue* I had not solved in yesterday’s Guardian cryptic crossword as published in the Canberra Times.  I often have trouble with Enigmatist’s puzzles so it was with a sense of accomplishment that I completed the puzzle this morning before tackling today’s offering.  Of the Guardian crossword setters, I like best the works of Araucaria and Paul.  So it was a delight to see that today’s puzzle was set by Paul.  I was able to complete that together with the much easier Gimini Cryptic crossword, the quick crossword and the Sudoku within 2 hours.

I often wondered why a crossword setter would choose the pseudonym “Paul”.  It seemed so unimaginative.  Then I visited his site and learned the origin of  “Paul”.  It is the setter’s trubite to his older brother who died in a car accident at around the time the setter was getting his crosswords published.  Quite moving.

I think the best pseudonym chosen by a crossword setter is “DUMPYNOSE” whose puzzles appear in that right-wing piece of rubbish, The Spectator. “Dumpynose” is an anagram of pseudonym -the perfect pseudonym for a cryptic crossword setter.

As I spend a couple of days a week looking after grandchildren, I have come to learn many things that I had not anticipated.  Such as the names of the Wiggles, the Tellytubbies, the characters from In the Night Garden.  One must know these things in order to conduct conversations with the little ones.  In yesterday’s puzzle, my knowledge that one of the tellytubbies was named “LaLa” was essential**.

* 2D. Buff will pick up Spooner’s cost to employer (4,4). (Think Buff = beige; BEIGE WILL = Wage Bill to Spooner; and a wage bill is a cost to employer.

** 9A. Energy shown by Tellytubby writer in battle scene (2,7) – (energy “E” shown by Tellytubby (“LALA”) writer “ME” in “IN” gives the answer  ” El Alamein”, a battle scene.

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