Arncliffe Under The Lights

Our primary school, like many in Sydney, has families from all over the world. Many of these families are Muslim, and this time of year is very important to them.

Every second year our school celebrates with a big community dinner under the lights. We all bring a plate to share, mains or dessert. This year I baked a coconut cake. I think it went down a treat as by the time I went to the dessert tables it had gone!

Respectfully we wait til sunset before we start our meal.

This is the third and final Community Dinner for our family, as part of the APS family.

Each time my heart fills. I will miss this feeling of local community.

The tables filled up as families arrived.

The food was placed on long tables under cover. There were picnic tables out on the top court. It was cold out, but the community spirit warmed our souls.

What are you reading Mary? 27/5

Reading, and actually finishing books has become challenging lately.

Recipe books, on the other hand, have been an easy type of book to dip into!

This morning, after an excellent pork roast last night,from this particular book, I’m investigating further.

A did the honours with dinner last night, and it was perfect.

This recipe book was compiled by the CWA (Country Women’s Association) as a fundraiser for farmers during the current drought. The recipes are from farmers, and cooks, from around Australia. There are interviews with various farmers and primary producers, who have supplied recipes. They give us an insight to their life on the land, and their connection with it. It’s lovely.

I have just been reading about Gillian Leeds, a cattle farmer from Jerilderie NSW. Her story has its ups and downs, both personally as a young widow, and as a breeder of shorthorn cattle. The bit that made me laugh was, when she entered a bull in the Dubbo Show for the first time, in 1982. When the bull won its class, the young man leading it said to Gillian “Put your lipstick on, we’re gonna win this!” He was right, the bull won Grand Champion. Gillian was the first woman to win at Dubbo Show, and the only woman breeder at the time.

I love that they won. I love the advice from that young man. So often it’s Mums who say put your lippy on – he must’ve had a great Mum too.

If you’d like to buy a copy of this book go to –

The porchetta on page 149 is a winner!

He has gone

A week ago last Friday morning, Alastair received a call from his brother. Although we had anticipated this day for quite some time, it was a shock to hear that his Dad, John, had died. John had been living in a nursing home in Maidenhead for almost exactly ten years. After Joyce died we knew that he couldn’t live independently, as he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia for a few years then. Over the years his mobility had decreased, and his awareness as well.

In the past few weeks his condition had worsened and we had been in close contact with the charge sister. When Al asked on Tuesday if he should go her answer was “not yet”.

If anyone deserves to rest in peace it is my father-in-law. He was a delightful man, a great role model to Al, a caring Dad, Granddad and father-in-law, and a devoted and loving husband to Joyce.

Anticipatory grief is hard, we have been missing the man we knew for years as this disease took over.

Al and I will be travelling to England in a few days time, to stand with our family and friends to farewell this true gentleman. We will all miss him very much. Here he is, from a few years ago now (what’s twenty or more between friends), on holidays in Greece.

What Mary Read

Last weekend I finished reading “Say Hello”, by Carly Findlay

I enjoyed it thoroughly – I laughed, I cried and I felt uplifted when I finished it.

Carly is a friend of mine who lives in Melbourne. We met through her blog, quite a few years ago now, and in person about three years ago. She came to stay and we went to the Bus Stop Films Showcase Night. It was fun walking the red carpet together.

I was thrilled to attend her Sydney book launch. She was interviewed by/ in conversation with Annabelle Crabb, who is also a favourite of mine.

Carly’s story is one of growth, strength and resilience. Being born with ichthyosis, a rare skin condition has meant her path has been uncommon. This is a book she has written for all the Little Carly’s out there, who wish that people would just “Say Hello”.

Carly does not see herself as inspirational, but she is, for all the right reasons. She is A Published Author!

Three cheers for you my friend!

He is Ten!

Today T is ten! He is magnificent and lovely and a joy to be with.

Last night he threw this pose when I said I needed some last photos of Nine.

His day started with presents in our bed, though for the first time he was the only one in the bed. A and G were up, dressed and breakfasted as they needed to leave at their usual time. This used to be the time we’d all be contemplating rising. Ahhh, having a high school girl has brought some changes!

Breakfast and up to school where he had a good day from a reports.

Thai coconut chicken for dinner, and a pavlova for Birthday cake dessert rounded off a lovely day for our Ten Year Old Boy.

May his new year bring all the good things his way.

Here’s to good health and happiness Master T!

What Mary Read

Today I finished reading “No Friend but the Mountain –  Writing from Manus Prison” by  Behrouz Boochani, translated by Omid Tofighian.  This is a spectacular book, on so many levels. Behrouz is a prisoner on Manus Island. He refers to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre as a prison and he is correct.

He has been on Manus, locked up for several years. His supposed crime is to seek refuge in Australia, and to arrive by boat. Seeking refuge is not a crime, but what has happened to him, and many others, under the direction of the Australian Federal Government is.

Reading this book has been devastating, engaging, informative and horrifying. That the government seeks to destroy these humans through imprisoning them is something I find hard to comprehend.

The last few weeks have seen so many details come to light about the cost of  running our off-shore detention centres, and the tender process or lack thereof. It is time that every man living on Manus is transferred to Australia for effective medical treatment, as there would not be one who is not in need of psychiatric care.

Behrouz has won both the won both the $25,000 non-fiction prize at the Victorian premier’s literary awards and the $100,000 Victorian prize for literature. He deserves these accolades.

If you only read one book this year, make it this one. If you only buy one book, purchase this. It should be mandatory reading for every single person who thinks they have a future as a politician in this country, on whatever level of government they aspire to.

Photo A Day – Week 6

Playing catch-up here, after going MIA for a week. Rest assured daily posting has been taking place on Instagram.

Day 12 – Work

My lads getting on with it, at the dining table

Day 13 – Super Duper

My love surprised me a day in advance.

Day 14 – Love

February is for lovers, this was part of our family Valentines picnic dinner.

Day 15 – Ink

Carly in the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald!!

Day 16 – Balance

These two, taken by Photography by Tracey Devereaux almost two years ago.

Day 17 – Kindness

Our dog doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.

Day 18 – Shadow

Captured on the way to school.


Dinner on the verandah with the family.

We call it Picnic Dinner, thanks to our holiday in Greece a couple of years ago. There, we found ourselves staying in small apartments without kitchens. Calling platters picnics made it fun. Small supermarkets had all we needed.

Tonight’s was superior. We all loved it, and the request came to do this more often. I think it’s a distinct possibility.

Mothering days

Today was one of those days when I thank my lucky stars that my full time commitment is to my family. In fact it’s been one of those weeks when managing the family has been intense.

Today I went up to T’s school bright and early for my first Recorder Parent Helper morning for the year. I ended up taking the newbies out for a practice session – and couldn’t really believe I was tutoring. Not too hard to lead little ones on three note wonders! T is in the ensemble, hence the volunteering. This will be my fifth year in the job!! Up til last year I didn’t regularly do anything much apart from assisting on the excursions.

Then at 11 I was collecting G from her school. She had a dentist appointment (her expander had snapped) where her dentist concluded that no repair was necessary as it’s done it’s job. Now the decision as to whether she’d like braces is up to her, it’s a cosmetic thing from here on. I breathed a sigh of relief really!

Then it was off to the GP for the lass. Then the pathologist. Then back to collect the lad late from school.

Piano lessons around the corner for both of them rounded off the afternoon. No wonder I lay on my bed for an hour after that.

A came home and bustled around cooking dinner and implementing surprises. The darling had a bunch of red roses and a silver vase for one bloom conjured up for me as February is for Lovers around here!

Such a beautiful surprise. He is a romantic, that man of mine. I count my blessings.