Easter Picnic

So nice to have friends who love to be outdoors, enjoying the autumn colours and crisp air before the cold forces us indoors to mulled wine and chai tea or to the edges of fire buckets – which we all love equally as much.

I have foraging friends who enjoy finding food in the most unexpected of places. This time, Chestnuts, which were slim pickings this year due to Summer’s merciless heatwaves.

Low Res Friends and Mushrooms016 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms019 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms020 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms022 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms024 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms025 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms026 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms027 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms039 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms044 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms046 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms047 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms048 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms049 Low Res Friends and Mushrooms050After this we congregated at one of our houses and settled in for warming comfort foods and managed to chat and play chess amongst the mayhem of children running wild.

(I had visions of smoky photos by firelight and many hand busy cooking, but my camera didn’t make it out of my bag that night. Sometimes it is good to just enjoy the moment.)

These times are some of the best of times and I thank God for good friends.


National Folk Festival 2014

I can not believe it is that time of year again, where we don our velvet rags, our tasseled tops and, upon entering the gates of Epic in Canberra, become engulfed in the other world of folk.

This year I fell in love with Morris Dancing (I never thought I’d every say that).

Found Jordie Lane.

And added certain folkie clothing staples to my wardrobe.

I think I’ve been to every Folk festival 7 years running now. Yikes.


Son National Folk Festival National Folk Festival Morris Dancers Morris Dancing National Folk Festival Morris Dancing National Folk Festival National Folk Festival National Folk Festival National Folk Festival National Folk Festival National Folk Festival National Folk Festival National Folk Festival National Folk Festival Jordie Lane National Folk Festival



Soph Turns 5

I managed to pull together a small party for Sophia a couple of weekends ago. We always seem to be busy around her birthday. This past one we we traveled to Wagga and then Canberra in the weekend, so I deliberately kept the party size manageable.

I really love to cater a party all on my own. I like the food to all be complimentary and according to my tastes, I like to serve people new things that they might not have tried before, my version of food – and then I like the idea of getting the same when other’s hold parties.

However, reality intervenes and my ideal isn’t realised very often, so another great and equally good option is to ask people to bring something to share and few friends helped me out this time (thanks Julie, Keren & Fi – my homies!)

I think the kids loved it. It was themed ‘Magical Forest Party’ and they spent a lot of time running around in the trees.

Later in Young we had a small party with the other side of the family, which my beautiful SIL, Glenda, made so lovely, and Sophia’s thrown-together mushroom cake received a reincarnation as a Number 5 cake.

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Note on decorations: Not quite as many or exactly how I imagined these. They were supposed to be mushrooms, but Sophia had a hand in them and I don’t know what I’d call them now (‘Pretty, trippy, bally things’?). My favourite thing about these is that they are totally recyclable, in fact I’ve already recycled the felt balls into a necklace and the string into bracelets for some clay beads we made, only the paper tops had to go into the recycling bin, but I intend to get/make a paper making kit and then I can DIY it all!

Felt is a wonderful medium which can be almost endlessly reused/recycled and comes from a completely renewable source. I’m thinking of doing more around it (I get totally frustrated with all those craft projects out there which require buying plastic doovas which can only end up in the bin once you are sick of it. Anyway, watch this space, maybe during Uni break!!)Low Res Soph's 5th Party 004 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 005 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 007

Our hoard: When did this happen? (Absent: Hector, Dulcie, Michael & Emerald)Low Res Soph's 5th Party 009 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 011 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 013 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 014 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 015 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 019 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 023 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 025 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 026

Following face guaranteed when a Pinata is involved:Low Res Soph's 5th Party 028 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 029 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 032 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 033 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 035Low Res Soph's 5th Party 036 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 037 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 039 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 040 Low Res Soph's 5th Party 041



I caught sight of a photograph of myself dancing.

Now, I do find dancing rather ridiculous. Mostly I see people dance and I think: ‘why would you dance?’ And other times I just wanna DANCE!

Dancing is an ephemeral activity, it is being at one with the moment and its translation to photography totally changes its meaning and purpose.

For one, my memory of dancing is contained through my own eyes, and photographing it to ‘capture’ that memory is hardly possible while you are boogeying your behind. To see a photograph of the act is to accept another persons translation of your own activity, it changes the memory, it even changes the activity.

For me, dancing is completely in the moment. It is, primarily, an experience for the dancer. It is, secondarily, a spectacle for the spectator. I wish I had done dancing lessons as a child. The experience of using your body to engage with the present moment is one I just love. It is freedom and joy and life. It is cathartic.

Once it is over it becomes a fuzzy memory. Maybe something I will not participate in for a long while yet. Something that in many ways I am glad to forget about or reduce to a fuzzy memory, where I don’t think about what an idiot I looked like (as I am certain I do!) but I remember my feelings in that moment, my beingness, these can’t be captured on film, they just become a part of your whole being, a sum of who you are and who you have been.

Sometimes photography fails us.

Do we have to reduce everything to a 2D image? Can’t some things, many things, most things remain inside our souls. The visual is not all there is to life. Reducing something to a visual diminishes life in many ways I think.

Photography is valuable in many ways, but it can not replace memories and it definitely can not replace being in the present moment. We can not remember everything, though it seems, through our addiction to the medium (I wonder if we can blame our online lives for this), that we are trying to.


The Bus in Pictures

Bus etc001 Bus etc002 bus March 14003 bus March 14004 bus March 14005 bus March 14006 bus March 14007 bus March 14008 bus March 14009 bus March 14010 bus March 14012 bus March 14013 bus March 14014 bus March 14015 bus March 14016 bus March 14017 bus March 14018 bus March 14019 bus March 14020We have been working on getting the bus painted and sealed before Winter sets in, but it seems every time we go to do something we end up completely detoured and working on something else. We knew this side would be a problem and it has been. Henry has had to cut out a lot of the steel frame, which has been bent up and bashed a bit, he will have to weld in some new steel. Meanwhile, while we had the frame ripped out, he decided to refurb the fuel tank and retro fit the grey water tank and so we have been doing that all week. The fuel tank is red for speed…or danger.

The grey water tank is not finished yet. It was fitted out beautifully, but then we realised there was no drop between the inlet hole and the shower drain hole…and water doesn’t really flow uphill – according to the laws of physics…or so Henry tells me (not really, I’m not that dumb, promise!). So we will have to redo that.

Meanwhile, instead of getting depressed about it all, we installed the drain holes in the shower and basically one-third of all our plumbing. (When I say ‘we’ I mean Henry does about 85% of the work and I just pass him the drill.)

On the homefront (mostly only mornings and nights are spent at ‘home’) it’s funny learning more about your children as they change and grow over the days/months/years. Gunther has learnt that he really likes snuggling and so a few times Soph helps him bring his bed into the living area and he snuggles on the floor. Yes, I know, cute.

And Sophia is picking up photography, as no doubt all of her generation will, this was only the second attempt and, sure thing, I am in focus! However she asked me to do it one more time as my hand was ‘in the way’ (she’s already considering composition), but that third attempt – definitely not in focus.


Martin Buber showed me the light

Martin Buber showed me the light.

Martin Buber was a philosopher on education. Now, that sounds slightly dull but, truly, it is not. If we take the point of view that education occurs every day of our lives through nearly every relationship then really he educates on relationships.

He was declared an exceptional teacher by his students (and you’d think they ought to know):

(He was) the greatest teacher of our generation. He was an educator in the true sense of the word and within the limits of his own definition of it. He did not try to impose a self-evident formula upon his pupils, but posed questions which forced them to find their own answers. He did not want his pupils to follow him docilely, but to take their own individual paths


The right way to teach, he said, was ‘the personal example springing spontaneously and naturally from the whole man’. This meant that the teacher should constantly examine his conscience. Indeed, every man should do this; but a teacher most of all, as he could not teach others if his own example was flawed.


What struck me while reading through some of Buber’s philosophies was his extraction of the term ‘dialogue’. Dialogue is what occurs between people.

There are three types of dialogue:

Technical (based on the need to acquire an objective understanding)

Monologue (men talking to themselves really, while pretending to talk to another) (this happens most of the time)

Genuine (meeting of souls, ‘I-Thou can be spoken only with the whole being’ (Buber 1958, 24). It is turning towards the other, is not found by seeking, but by grace

Too often (most often) our interactions with each other revolve around monologue. I say my monologue while you barely listen and then you say your monologue while I barely listen. I might seem to agree but my thoughts are still my own and your thoughts hardly affect mine. This is not true conversation, but it is what people often call dialogue, this is how people usually relate.

Buber’s take on dialogue firstly involves the important step of inclusion, which is not empathy, it is the ability to extend oneself and experience an event from the point of view of oneself as well as of the other at the same point in time, he called it developing a ‘dual sensation’.

What Buber is essentially prescribing as true dialogue is a connection of souls. He talks much of the in-between, what is in-between our words, what is in-between two people, he talks of walking the path where ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ becomes ‘we’.

Towards the end of his life he valued highly the state of silence, attentive silence where there was space, space to feel and to know.

I have seen the light because I used to be quite good at finding the in-between and connecting with ‘the divine’, and also I felt I was better able to reach the hearts of other people, or perhaps it was that my heart was involved in the connection more than it is today.

Over the years I’ve lost a little of this. I’ve become a lot more concerned with my own opinion and so I’ve become too monologous for my liking. (Would it be accurate to say that I lost my heart behind all my head knowledge? Perhaps)

I’ve lost too much dialogue in life.

There is not enough silence.

Actually I found this occurring more and more after having kids. I had to talk more with children (give instruction etc) and I had less time to talk adult to adult, and even less time to find space. When I met with friends I just regurgitated information or blurted out everything I’d not been able to all week or month or however long.

Sometimes I stepped back from myself and asked: ‘is this me?’

It was a different me.

I have also stepped into a realm of head knowledge, both through discussing the things my husband likes to discuss and through university studies. I am glad about this, but it has made me a little opinionated….

now, I am pretty happy to be opinionated about some things. I am so passionate about human beings treatment of this planet and its other inhabitants (both human and other) that I find it hard to see any greys (though I am realising that there are differences of ways here). And there are a bunch of ethical issues that I am pretty black and white about. I am anti-corporation and I despise global markets and abuse of military power….etc etc. blah blah. You get the picture.

But in all this lambasting there are people.

There are the people involved.

There are the people listening to me.

There are still the people around me.

And while it’s good to take a moral standpoint, it’s even more important to create a silence for truth (of heart) to emerge, to create with words and with silence an atmosphere of love and acceptance and stillness.

I’m going to have to rediscover this stillness, I’m going to have to still myself and my busy mind to get there.

But I like this in-betweenness, I get it and I want it.

*This is personal, but I feel it’s an important truth/philosophy/understanding to share. Maybe you will relate? In the quest for a pared back, less consumerist life, one that does not buy into some of our unchallenged Western ideas of ‘a good life’, I feel it is important to raise this issue as, surely, it is relationship that lies at the heart of meaningful living and understanding of ourselves.