Category Archives: Christmas

The End of Singing Season

Well, ‘Singing Season’  is officially over for me for this year.

Unfortunately for all those who had put in an enormous effort, the City of Darebin’s ‘Carols in All Nations’ was washed out, so I only got to do two of the three big gigs we were working on on.

I must say, though, that it came as a perverse relief not to have to go anywhere yesterday.  After the effort and long hours associated with the preparation and performances for the two events I did get to, it was lovely to just stop. I even had a ‘nana nap’ yesterday afternoon, and feel much better for it!

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The photos I’ve included are from the rehearsal and sound check at BMW Edge, prior to the first public performance of the Women’s Anthem. This was written by Kavisha Mazella, in consultation with Mary Crooks of the Victorian Women’s Trust, to celebrate the centenary of women getting  the vote in Victoria. I wrote more about this here.

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The day before the performance, the ABC TVshow Stateline featured a six minute piece about the anthem. This can be seen here, until March 2009. (For those of you who know me, you’ll see me three or four times throughout the clip – don’t quite know how I managed it with more than 300 other women there…)

This really was an amazing thing to be part of – I’m still on a high whenever I think about it!  You can get an idea of how big the choir was from the  pictures – we almost out-numbered the audience! And, we did two performances (each time singing the anthem twice) to different audiences, and got standing ovations each time.

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So – the singing is done for the year – now to the Christmas cooking! The first batch of cakes and puddings have been made, and now I’m off to do the second lot.

Enjoy your day!

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Filed under Christmas, cool things, Lipstick & Spurs, music

In my garden

Here we are, November has come around again and the countdown to Christmas has begun.

Apologies for my extended absence. A couple of days away from the blog to work on assignments and book keeping tasks ended up taking five weeks!  Everything is finished for the year now, though, so I’m back in the saddle, and will do my best to post regularly.

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While I was away, Spring came into full force, and the garden is looking magnificent. We have two nests in the trees in the back yard, one of which is at eye-height. I’ll hopefully be able to get a photo of mother and babies over the next couple of days to share with you.  Right now, they are so tiny that they don’t even make any sounds (they only hatched on Tuesday).

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The vegie patch got planted, too, with three types of peas; golden nugget pumpkins (which already have fruit on them); butternut pumpkins (squash); capsicums; chillies; eggplants,  watermelon,  and, of course, tomatoes – lots of tomatoes.  Unfortunately, the silverbeet has gone to seed, so I”ll have to work out how best to replace it.

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The rhubarb re-shot…

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And the fruit trees are laden with so much fruit that it promises to be a bumper harvest. The plum tree, below, is in its third year of fruiting, and looks to have matured fully now. It has so many plums that it will look like a Christmas tree when they ripen. It looks like there might even be enough to make blood plum paste this year! Yay!

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I’m so excited that the garden is doing so well, despite the on-going drought, and despite the fact that the only water it gets is from the washing machine or shower (or the rain, but we can’t really count on that, even though it is raining as I type). The fact that we have birds nesting in it, and other visitors like geckos, means that it is healthy, and that is good for everyone. The fact that it is still so productive despite the drought, is a miracle!

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Abject apology

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I’ve been so caught up in the Christmas fun that I’ve neglected my responsibility here, and I can only apologise… I’ve been madly taking photos, which I will upload over the next week or so, to make up for the posts I’ve missed.

Happy New Year – I hope 2008 is a good one for all!

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Merry Christmas!

                                                                         Christmas lights 1

Christmas lights 2

After a stressful walk to the local letterbox in Station Street, on Friday, I decided to take the dogs around the block for a little extra recovery time, despite the fact that it was almost 10pm.

Imagine my delight when I walked around the corner and was greeted by this wonderful display of  decorations and lights!

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Admittedly, this particular neighbour always puts on a good display, but I don’t ever seem to go that way at night, and had no idea just how gorgeous it would be when lit up. Just seeing the effort that these people have put into their display helped to restore my equilibrium.

This post began life as a rant about the cause of my stressful trip to the letterbox, but I really feel that that would be pointless, and could spoil the feeling that these beautiful lights gave me, so – in the spirit of the season – I will forgive and forget.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and best wishes – whatever your beliefs. Have a happy and safe time with your friends and families.

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Filed under Christmas, fairfield, melbourne

Counting my blessings

City Square Christmas Tree

This Christmas tree, located in the City Square in the heart of Melbourne, is spectacularly tall. I wasn’t able to photograph anyone beside it, to give a sense of the scale, but, as usual, the City of Melbourne has really gone to town (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Apparently there is a lighting ceremony every night from Nov. 10th (last Saturday) to December 24th, with the lights having been sponsored by a prominent light-globe manufacturer. If you want more details about this, you can find it here.

You’ll know from earlier posts how much I enjoy the Christmas season, so it will be no surprise that I stood gawking at the tree for quite a few minutes yesterday. When I got home, one of yesterday’s batch of Christmas cakes was sacrificed so that we could be sure that they had turned out as hoped. The verdict? The whole thing disappeared in about two minutes flat, and was very nice with ice-cream (though not quite as good as the pudding will be on Christmas day)! I should have known that a CWA recipe would be foolproof!

Meg came home from camp, yesterday – she was only gone one night but the house was too quiet without her. She and I collected Dad from hospital this morning, stitched and a bit sore, but in good spirits. All of us are optimistic and sharing a laugh, and most of all, we are together – all reasons that I am counting my blessings…

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Friday again…

christmas cakes

Today is an auspicious Friday – it is the last day of my academic year, I got my last assignment back and I made the first batch of Christmas cakes.

Of course, not all is sweetness and light – I had to say goodbye to all my study friends until the new year, and Dad is having surgery as I type. The nature of melanoma means that there will be an anxious wait for the next week for the pathology results, even though we are optimistic.

I’ll be keeping in touch with one of my friends from the CAE – Bruce Clarke– through his blog Write On!. Bruce is a really talented writer; probably the most polished ‘new’ freelance writer I’ve ever come across. You should check it out when you get the chance.

On the Christmas cake front, I think I’ve finally found the recipe I’ve been looking for! I’m so excited – all the while I was trying out ‘rich’ fruit cake recipes, and what I should have been making was a boiled fruit cake! This might not seem important to most people, but I do love Christmas cooking, and now that my Grandma has gone, it is left to me to hold the fort (a self-imposed responsibility, of course).

Due to one of those very unpleasant and unexpected things that happen when someone in the family dies (like one half of the family suddenly telling the other half that they never really liked them, and winding up the estate on their own), my Grandma’s cookbook went who-knows-where, probably in the bin. For the last six years I’ve been trying to find a recipe just like hers, and I think this is it – hence my excitement.

Cakes are one of the things I like to give as gifts at Christmas, so I’ve been saving large Tuna tins for the last couple of months. They make the perfect-sized cake tin for this. The recipe, for a boiled-fruit-cake, was one a friend pointed me to on the ABC Sydney’s website. The only variations I made to it were to omit the lemon and almond essence, and the walnuts – mainly because a couple of friends had nut allergies (and I don’t personally like lemon essence) – and to divide the mixture into smaller tins.

If you want to do this, I found that each tin takes 1 1/4 cups of mixture and that they need to be cooked for an hour and a half. The three tablespoons of extra sherry called for at the end of the recipe became four, because I put half a tablespoon onto each of the eight cakes.

Happy cooking – hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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One down, one to go…

Birrarung Marr

Pretty much finished my editing class today, meaning that there is only one assignment left in my other subject and I am done for the year. Then the preparations for Christmas will really kick into gear, and I’ll get some more time to spend on my photography.

Personalised calendars are on the list of gifts, again, for this year. My aunties and uncles all loved them when I did them a couple of years ago, because I included all of the family’s special dates, like birthdays and anniversaries. Now I just have to update the dates and change the photos, and I’m done.

Next year, I’m planning to put all of the Blogday images onto the calendar – with all of the images posted in a month on the one page.  It will be a good record of the project, and nice to see all of the images together. Had better make sure that I keep them diverse and interesting!

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