Saturday, April 22, 2017


There are moments that stay with you - walking into green, unsettled waters with my mama and my older daughters, the sky grey above, while Beloved waits on the shore with the baby. My daughters' shrieks of glee as we jump the waves.


During the holidays we made an all too quick trip down to Victoria and then an even quicker trip down to the beach I think of as home, for my littlest ones Christening.

The stay was so-so short, and I'm still recovering from the travel - four kids, one of them special needs, one a cheeky monkey and one a baby, by myself, on the plain? Deep breath. But it means so much to see my children playing on the stretch of beach I love so much, in the house full of so many memories, bringing back echoes of when it was my brothers and I coming back shivering but exhilarated from our swims, collecting kindling and playing in front of the open fire.

Moments - a dawn walk with my reluctant and now arthritic dog; the kids all playing in the pools on the point; rising in the early morning to look for easter eggs (luckily the easter bunny came around at 3am, suspecting early risers).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

In the Garden... spice & nostalgia

Thirty odd years ago, when my husband was still in primary school, his parents built a house on a large block of land, recently paddocks, and planted trees that are now full size - mangos and macadamias, jacaranda and poinciana. We enjoy their shade and bounty every day. Next door, another family built a house and started planting - and decades of work created a tropical oasis. 

It amazes me that three decades can produce such an established garden from nothing. Now the kids are all adults with their own kids, and the adults are moving on, but the garden remains as a beautiful living testament to years of thoughtful care. 

As I plant in my own once-bare yard, haphazardly, more in romance than horticultural know-how (survival of the fittest is a tried and true garden strategy, plonk it in and hope for the best works ... eventually) coffee, tea, cinnamon, lemon, mango, veggie and herb gardens and of course my beloved frangipanis, I dream about what they'll look like in thirty years. They're straggly and somewhat sad  now - but then! (Grow garden, grow!) Whether we witness the full blooming or not. 

A space of beautiful, green growing things is such a wonderful legacy - a place for family gatherings, weddings, baby showers, birthdays. The perfect place for children to run and play in shady places, protected from the sun, with lots of leafy hide-aways, and always making new discoveries.

And of course - vanilla. My envy over this vanilla plant  (the two photos below) - matches my wonder and awe! It meanders its way right up into the branches. It turns out it's ridiculously hard to actually make vanilla from vanilla plants - involving finicky artificial fertilisation and difficult curing... but... vanilla!

My love of spices knows no bounds!