Thursday, July 28, 2016

I’m Writing This For My Mum...

...because even though we haven’t discussed it yet, I know she feels the weight of the approaching Tuesday. Very nearly a year since we ate soup in her kitchen, while her own beautiful Mum lay peacefully in a hastily set-up bed in the living room, slipping quietly, sweetly, away.

A little while after that, I stood at a lectern and tried my damndest to speak my intent through a tight throat and teetering-on-the-edge tears. A eulogy written on a scrap of paper, since stored in a box amidst tax receipts and old bank statements. It seemed right to proper-like type it down.


Jean started out as my Nana but when I was thirteen that changed. When I was thirteen, it was the heyday of the Ironman surf competition. Grant Kenny, the Iron Man Champion, ate and advertised a lot of Nutri Grain breakfast cereal: Iron Man food. When I was thirteen, Nana loved nothing more than a good boogie board in the surf. On one such occasion, some nine-ish year old kid observed her manoeuvres, paddled up to her and yelled: YOU’RE NARLY! YOU’RE JUST LIKE GRANT KENNY! Nana became ‘Granny Kenny’ forevermore.

It’s the summer holidays spent at Cowes that prompt many of the sweetest memories. Built by my grandfather, the house was basic and perfect, sand ingrained in the worn-in-places floral carpet, Great Nana Ritchie’s shell craft dotted about. The heart-shaped drive, the towering Norfolk pines, shady oaks, the trail to the back-beach and the stinky, dark, spider-infested outhouse. Weeks and weeks of every summer spent with Granny and various extended family combinations, merged with lazy days at the beach and Canasta tournaments that stretched into the wee small hours.

Master of the guilt trip, it was impossible to be in the presence of Granny Kenny in the faint vicinity of a beach and NOT swim. Even in the bleak, wind-buffeted landscape of a winter-struck Phillip Island, she would unfailingly have you in the water with emphatic use of words like INVIGORATING. And, EXHILARATING. Or she’d pull out ominous threats delivered with dire portent: YOU’LL ONLY BE SORRY IF YOU DON’T. Inevitably, they were indeed, invigorating and exhilarating swims. And hours later, once the hypothermia had eased, I was indeed Glad That I Did.

It’s little memory flashes of Granny that I have held close, through her illness and now her absence. Of course, there are the giggling, wave-catching, boogie board races to shore, or a vision of her bent over her card table, jewels nestled in dark green velvet, absorbed in the dark art of pearl stringing. Or the catch of her breath as she inhaled the ti tree at the Cowes back beach – followed by an inevitable Oh, isn’t it just lovely? There’s her watery-eyed chuckle and that ridiculous floaty, sitting thing she could do in the water – her toes just breaking the surface, an occasional flick of the hand maintaining buoyancy. There’s the way she called me a little tyke all the way into my forties, the way she would cling to my hand and whisper I love you, through the fug of her dementia. 

There’s also no forgetting the glee when she finally earned her driving licence. She probably wasn’t Australia’s absolutely oldest P-plater. Certainly, she was well into her sixties, and pushing that P-plater cut-off. Once she’d nabbed that licence, she embraced self-chauffeured independence with gusto! A master of the scenic route (questionable navigation) and dodgy parking, Granny Kenny would also sometimes forget the handbrake. Sometimes in shopping centre car parks. Sometimes at the top of small inclines.

When I was seventeen, she drove both of us to Cowes for the weekend. Two thirds of the way there, Jean Anderson, Granny P-plate driver, wafted off to sleep, off the road and aptly crashed into the sign for the township of Anderson. There was airborne-ness and sudden wakefulness and an eventual upright landing in a paddock. Both of us entirely unharmed, we stumbled from the car and breathed relief. A gentleman witness, running to our aid, breathed similar relief. Then breathed fire. Furiously, he demanded explanation for terrible driving in perfect conditions. On and on he raged, his face puce and ranting in mine, his spittle landing in my right eye – the eye of the innocent, seventeen year old, non P-plater.

My darling Granny, you are stuck fast in my soul. Watching you slip away with such grace and peace was the purest privilege. A blessed and beautiful full stop, to a life filled with love and lived in CAPITALS.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

I Made a Thing!

A Finished Thing! A Woven-in Ends Thing!

A Thing crafted over a kazillion kid swimming and music lessons and half hour work breaks. Lots of slivers of crafty therapy slotted into long days. (But only two instances of red traffic light craft with kids screeching GREEN! GO! at relevant sort of moments).

Way back, the original intent was for some out-of-character, understated, blankety loveliness. Elegant, textural, minimalist. EXACTLY LIKE KYLIE’S! (Love your blanket, K). 
See that yellow border there? Pure colour therapy. I couldn’t look at another ball of charcoal grey.

Today I came to terms with the fact that I will never be understated or elegant or textural or minimalist (sob). And nor will my blankets. I went out and chose yarn for the next blankety therapy thing.

Sixteen colours. YEE HAR!


Vital Stats Bizzo: 1500mm x 1300mm, 56 squares of some pattern found in some book which I have placed somewhere verrrrry safe. (???). But I evolved the pattern umpteen times (after losing my book) and these were crocheted on the fly, and well, you know? Border also helpfully pulled out of thin air. Yarn: 8ply Totem and Cleckheaton Country. Toasty warm but a bit on the scratchy side. Which is why I forked out for cashmerino today and shall henceforth live on plain pasta on toast. Or something.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Er, no. I have not been away having a baby.


I’ve been busily camping between two houses (don’t ask) because we decided to move with a week’s notice (don’t ask) and an internet connection seems as unlikely as a Socceroos World Cup win (don’t ask). I’ve been working my cotton socks off – seemingly 24/7 – and doing my damndest to remember to be Earthmother Person inbetween. There’s an occasional win (and it turns out I AM SO DAMNED GOOD AT THE SEX ED THING – I don’t even raise a faint blush – NOT EVEN WITH RANDOM POP QUESTIONS OUT OF LEFT-FIELD – WOOHOO!) but there’s a lot of head firmly in hands. I have been a crapola friend because I am never around and when I remember to return a call it is 3am. This has proven generally unpopular. I have shrunk (it’s not like I had a height excess thing on my side) as my spine slowly compacts with all the sitting about bizzo.


Today I peered past my computer screen and looked out my window and spotted this tenacious little guy. He’s about the size of my thumb. I have small thumbs.




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello, I Used to Blog Here...

I thought I’d flounce in, armed with my newly-reset Google password access, sleeves rolled-up, all purposeful and actiony! I’d throw open the curtains, let in some air of freshness, set the dust bunnies all a tizz...


The dust bunnies look so cozy all clumped in the corner, snoring away, oblivious-like. I just watched the Gmail account stretch languidly on the sofa, comfortable in the certainty that if you’re quiet for long enough, even the spammers go away. I’m not sure I’m even s’posed to be here?

The Foxy Lady and the Koo extricated a pledge of sorts. A blog post by year end. Nitpick ye not! At time of typing, six hours and fifty-three minutes of 2013 are yet to tick in Pago Pago, American Samoa.


In September we had a Grand Adventure.

In the three days before the Mr and I hauled three kids and four pieces of luggage on to a plane Europe-bound, I:
• smashed the car and made it die;
• noticed $4,000 had been stolen via my credit card;
• caught some Hacking Flu-like Thing;
• spread Hacking Flu-like Thing with (unintentional) wild abandon (including, seemingly, via the phone).

On the day that the Mr and I hauled three kids and four pieces of luggage on to a plane Europe-bound, I:
• had the gut-wrenching realisation that some ridiculous airline policy involving non-opening windows, dictated that jelly snakes would not see me through a lengthy bit of kid-accompanied travel which made previous camping commutes look a breeze.

29 hours after the Mr and I hauled three kids and four pieces of luggage on to a plane Europe-bound, I:
• (and the Mr and the three kids and the four pieces of luggage) arrived at the house of my inlaws;
• could not access my multi-currency passport account to pay for a Grand Adventure;
• wistfully reminisced over the cancelled credit card;
• began to take pictures. 

’Scuse me, while I rummage around in the cupboards looking for the bloggy gadget that attaches 1,071 holiday snaps...

1. We arrived as Summer wilted away:

2. For good times with beloved ones:

3. Fossicked for fossils on the Jurassic Coast and met two Real Ichthyosaur Hunters who offered excellent hunting-type tips and gave the Middle Kid a fossilised (not fresh, obviously), Ichthyosaur poo:

4. The kids (and on occasion, me, when not perfecting plate-spinning skills) seemed to climb everything: quarries, bumps in the Peaks District, even a Dutch Ayers Rock (ironic on soooo many levels):

5. Many museums visited:

6. Many galleries visited:

7. Masterpieces of the Louvre digested using inside-eyelid skillz:

8. Paintings of fame, (Mona From an Angle), viewed:

9. Long-suffering hosts embraced hitherto unvisited touristy haunts:

10. A trip to the Beestenmarkt and a view from my own past...:

11. ...For the infamous Kobus Kuch appel taart:

12. The kids embraced new cultures with raw herring aplomb:

13. Developed a touristy radar:

14. Made friends wherever they went:

15. Were impressed by the Big Things (Don’t catch the lift! Climb the stairs!):

16. Most

17. Loved

18. The

19. Simple

20. Things:

21. As well as Parisian croissants

22. And best ice cream ever-ever-ever tasted:

23. And quirky chewing gum art:

24. (We searched the whole of the Wobbly Bridge until we found the artists’ favourite piece: the 2013 Fried Egg):

1,071. Goodbyes always-always-always the hardest:


Hello 2014.


PS. Thank you JanetStuartHelen, JudeCharlesThomasElla, KerrieChrisBo, EllenAllardJorisSaar for your fabulous hospitality and wonderful company (even if my children now believe that EVERYONE in the WHOLE of EnglandHollandFrance ALWAYS eats dessert at EVERY meal). xxx

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Four-Month-Late Catch-up Post...

Alas, alack, I have sighingly come to admit, that my juggling talents can no longer extend to holding down a blog like a real blogger should – unless someone invents an eight day week. Simultaneously, I have come to admit that I am extremely bad at knowing when to quit. I thought it’d sit more comfortably to be a fair-weather blogger, who pops by on an Every Now and Then, (rather than being dignified and throwing in the towel). Eye roll.

Following is some recent happenings stuff. I can’t remember the other stuff because I have turned into a fair-weather blogger, who only pops by on an Every Now and Then, (rather than being dignified and throwing in the towel). Double eye roll.

The bit about the camping...
Same place as last year, excellent company, all-day swims, explores and adventures. A stunning display of kids-in-car behaviour, with only ONE jelly snake flying out the window over the nine-ish hour journey. So impressed (relieved) that the evil parenting technique STILL works.

Wildlife spotted:
2 x Red-bellied Black Snakes
10,000,000 x Kangaroos
22 x Lace Monitors
5 (or 7,000) x Brush-tailed Possum (never could work out if it was the same characters sitting in the Weet Bix box)
20 bazillion x birds/fish/skinks/interesting insects
1 x Less Interesting Paralysis Tick.

More on That Less Interesting Paralysis Tick...
The little blighter may or may not account for a very sick, big kid for an uncharacteristically-long time. She missed the first day of school and the next and the next and after the weekend, the next and the next and she’s still not back to ‘her’. I have a self-imposed ban against medical Googling but was well into it, after the third frustrating doctor visit. After breaking my medical Google ban I became promptly aware, that while ticks are parasitically impolite when they burrow their head into your shoulder and feed on your blood, they ain’t got nothin’ on the Bot Fly. I can only assume that coming to know about the Bot Fly in the first instance and viewing one fifth of the Most Revolting Bot Fly Removal Video Ever, is the penance one pays for breaking a self-imposed medical Google ban.

The Day the Small Started School...
I had toyed with scheduling my dental appointment on the First Ever Day of School. I trusted this would distract me from the inevitable My-Baby-Has-All-Growed-Up sooky mama-ness. As it turns out, it is actually hard to weep, when your kid is that ready.

The Finishing (Including End-Weaving-In) of the Blanket of Squeak...
Unfairly named, the Blanket of Squeak is actually only soft and snugly. It’s just that I always expected acrylic yarn to have that squeak-factor. A worthy experiment, nonetheless I reckon I’d opt for a breathable cotton next time – the kid is so attached to her blanket I am even prising the thing off her in forty degree heat = Blanket of Sweat.

The Usual Compulsive Knitting For Winter in The Festering Heat of Summer...
In reaction to the completion of the above blanket and its veritable explosion of (sometimes wincing) colour, I started to prepare for a Melbourne winter and gave my eyeballs a rest with grey grey grey. All finished, except for weaving in those blooming ends and the blocking bizzo. More to come, possibly even with snazzier pics, after the sorting of the blooming ends and blocking bizzo.

The Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve Red Cardi Number...
Because I can try ’til the cows come home to be one of those dignified designer-types dressed in understatement and confidence-inspiring muted tones, I know I’ll never be able to pull it off. My personality is too prone to outbursts of blunt, or undignified displays of excitement, or just whole doses of daggy. So I started on a cardigan in an apt blast of red. Come to think of it, I was also married in red, (though I reckon that had more to do with colour co-ordinating with a London bus).

The Something Entirely Unexpected...
It started with the Middle Kid’s Most Excellent Cello Teacher. Actually, it starts and ends with him – because I lay every blame squarely at his feet. Towards the end of last year, parent classes were run, with the aim of better enabling kid-music help at home. What I could never have imagined, is that playing the cello, (read: beginner squeaking and squawking), could come to feel as essential as breathing. I understand that this comes over as rather DRAMATIC but there is something incredibly meditative about beginner cello squeaking and squawking (unless you’re having to listen to someone else’s squeaking and squawking). Meanwhile stuff like this and this and this prompt anything from goosebumps, to forgetting to inhale, to an adrenaline-surge keeping me awake into the wee small hours. There has been much eyebrow-raising (my own included) and some discussion debating the mid-life crisis-ness of this new development.

But at least it isn’t a red Ferrari.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Squeak Squeak...



I’ve lost my voice. For days. Getting the big kids out the door for school has been an exercise in wild gesticulation. 

Ironically, my voice always seems to reappear to summon great coughs of hacking-ness...



The Small has been worse. (But today she isn’t grey. YAY!)

Ruptured ear drum, then Friday night in Emergency, with lots of cuddles but not many soothing words from Mum except for the best intentioned...



For a few weeks I’ve been stitchety-stitchin’ a blanket for her Big Girl Bed. Never ceases to amaze me how a crocheted row or two squeezed between bits of a day can grow so speedy-like.



255 stitches per row, all of ’em trebles (I’m talking UK language here), two rows of each colour and entirely prompted by Lucy’s blanket of happy. I reckon I’m halfway-ish at 1.5 metres wide and just over one metre long. The Small and I have been snuggled under it as I go. 

Perfectly fabulous until I reach the end of a row, flip the whole shebang over and all the ‘warm’ disappears. Bad, bad mother. Sorry sweetie.

Remember the Epic Blanket, crafted from Yarn of All Manner of Gloriousness? It is coveted and stolen from my bed on a regular basis. That Epic Blanket almost required a second mortgage. I will never ever tell you how much the Epic Blanket cost to craft. I will most certainly NEVER EVER tell the Mr – even though he reckons he’s worked out the yarny yardage. Hmm.

The Small’s blanket is a toe tip into the World of Acrylic. I am a great big acrylic yarn snob but I can see the benefits of this particular one greatly extend beyond the cheap as chips. No need for a second mortgage and no itch factor! Best of all, so far, no sign of what I had been dreading – you know that acrylic-y sound I mean? The sound of...



Monday, October 15, 2012

Randomly Mused

For obvious reasons, I always look before I empty the Middle Kid’s pockets. I always do a quick reconnaissance, before I touch anything inside his school bag. I thought we’d hit an all-time EW! high, when I spotted the DEAD BIRD LYING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCHOOL BAG.

He said he collected the interesting piece of wood because it looked like a vulture. He has his eye out for two of the same in complementary sizings, so that we can arrange all three on the wall, in duck-like fashion.

I have an addiction to frozen blueberries. I cannot stop. I do an excellent impression of a Blue Tongued Lizard. The kids are mortified and keep warning me about the legend of the great aunt who turned bright orange from eating too many carrots. (She really, really did).

The Small drew a cockatoo on the wall. The Small scrubbed at the cockatoo and said it wouldn’t come off. Secretly I like the cockatoo. 

Secretly I am collecting roadside-find picture frames. I plan to paint the empty frames white and mount them on a wall. Then there will be an open invitation to draw artful, direct-to-wall things. I also quite like the notion of a champagne-fuelled gallery launch.

Jodie and Sarah’s Mum wanted an update on the state of the Dinosaur Egg. I am very sorry, Jodie and Sarah’s Mum, for the disappointing and hard-to-grasp imagery. A jungly garden seems to have grown around the Dinosaur Egg and there is no longer a clear line of sight. For three weeks during a wet, wet winter it looked doilied and verdant. Until a fungal affliction struck and the verdant was replaced with white spots. The white spots have eaten away at the doily bits. As far as a doilied, Jurassic-type Dinosaur Egg goes, it looks extra convincing.

PS. Jodie and Sarah’s Mum, if you are considering a stab at mossy creations, might I forewarn that success seems to depend on a truckload of commitment. It’s like keeping an ever-thirsty pet (don’t even think about a holiday).

PPS. Worthy of note is a distinct lack of green in either of my thumbs.

The eldest has adopted a parsnip as a pet. This is Phillippa. I note Phillippa seems to be wearying of the experience and would probably prefer to be baked.

A Well Known Magazine published one of my patterns and forgot to ask permission. The Well Known Television Version of the Magazine filmed their own version of my tutorial and forgot to ask permission. I sent them an invoice. I emailed an invoice chase-up. Invoice was paid. Sometimes it’s all about the principle.

I am overusing the word ‘snazzy’. ‘Spiffy’ seems to creep in occasionally too. The other day, a youngish client asked me to make a poster design look ‘sexy’. But I am 41 and obviously nearly ancient. And I have a constantly weird-coloured tongue from too many blueberries. I can do snazzy posters, but ‘sexy’ is patently well beyond reach.

Hope you’ve had a SNAZZY start to your week!