Sunday, April 18, 2010

Time for an Honest Scrap!

Clare at Curbstone Valley Farm very kindly bestowed me with the Honest Scrap Award recently and I have finally gotten around to acknowledging this lovely gesture ... and to participating in this meme.

First ... I have to think of 10 honest things to tell you about myself that you probably wouldn't glean from my blog. This task is not an easy one ... I know for a fact that I'm pretty boring really and there's not much about me that would make a fascinating read!  Neither do I think it will be highly entertaining or even remotely amusing!  Anyway ... here goes...

Number 1.  My childhood dream was to have an elephant as my pet!  Yes ... whacky and sweetly perverse I know, but oh so true!  Common-sense considerations such as where on earth I would have kept it, or what on earth I could have fed it ... were never given a moment's thought!  I just knew it would be wonderful.  What's not to love about a pachyderm?  Just look at this gorgeous creature ...
Sadly, though my Dad thought I'd be just as happy with a Cattle Dog named Rover!! 

Number 2.  It's been over 30 years since I last played the piano and I've actually taken it up again.  I never liked it much the first time around ... another of my Dad's brilliant ideas.  I was taught by an old Irish nun, Sister Cecilia.  I would nervously try to get through each and every lesson while eyeing off the rather hard, thick stick of wood sitting on the top of the piano.  If you made what she considered a careless mistake, she would rap you across the knuckles with that stick.    

Maybe that had something to do with why I never developed a passion for this skill.
Well, anyway, I've been wondering often over the last few years whether I might like to try to play again. Lovely hubbie bought me a piano for my 50th ... it was a total surprise!  So, now I'm practising and trying to revive my long unused skill.   Believe me, it's no mean task .... I'm am not particularly gifted in this area and all that rubbish about once you've learned something it's so easy to pick it up again ... well that is just plain rubbish!   There's nothing easy about trying to get these old fingers and memory working again.  Thanks goodness, it's only the kookaburras and wallabies who have to put up with the racket!

Number 3.  I used to wait with anticipation every year for a new Catherine Cookson novel ... and then I'd read it right through to the end without a break immediately after purchase!  Loved everything about her writing ... shocking but true.  It's something I would NOT admit in public ... should really have been reading something far more high-brow as friends considered her books a bit of 'fluff!"  But there it is.  I was devastated when she left this world never to write again!  I have the complete library of her works and all the videos as well ... I still re-read the books and watch the movies every now and then.  I even made sure hubbie and I visited the north-east country when we went to England on our first overseas trip - I so enjoyed finally seeing all those places mentioned in her work .... Harrogate ... Tynemouth ... South Shields.

Number 4.  I was a child bride ... married when I was just shy of 19 ... and proud to say we're still together after more than 30 years of marriage.  So many well-meaning people thought to tell us at the time that we were both too young and it would never last.  They didn't know that I was fortunate enough to pick a lovely bloke!  We met the year after this following photo was taken ... during our Senior year of High School.  Wasn't he a spunk???  He' still gorgeous and even though we've both probably had our doubts over the years, we remain the best of friends and in love.

Number 5.  The thing I am probably the MOST proud of , however, are my two gorgeous boys.  Well-meaning people yet again told us we were far too young to have a family straight away, but even though it was very, very hard at times, there was never a moment's doubt that they were and are the best thing in our lives. Well, now they're men, but somehow they'll always be my blonde-haired, blue-eyed babies!

Number 6.  Even though I love all my grandchildren sooooo much ... there will always be a rather special place in my heart for the little guy who really struggled to make it into the world!  He's a precious little soul. SSSHHH!  Don't tell the others!  I was fortunate enough to be at the hospital when all my grandchildren were born ... but the day this little man was born was unlike anything I'd experienced before.  I don't think I've prayed so much in all my life!

Number 7.  I love purple! Lilac! Lavender! Mauve! Violet!  Always have.  My room as a child has purple everything - curtains, bedspread, sheets, rug and the walls were painted purple.  My lovely Dad ... who couldn't do handyman jobs to save himself (but he could grow a mean rose or two!) ... decided to paint my bedroom walls in my favourite colour as a special treat. 

He couldn't find the right shade of purple so he decided to mix up a batch.  Of course he hadn't estimated the correct amount it would take to paint the entire room ... so he kept running out of paint.  Every time he came back from the hardware shop with another can, he would mix up a colour that was a slightly different shade to the last one he'd created.  As a result, the wall panels were almost every hue of purple you can imagine.  Today, you will find lots of purple in my garden.

Number 8.  Love tea ... hate coffee!!  Love dry white wine ... hate red!!  Love fresh bread and tasty, even smelly cheeses ... hate eating lots of healthy salads and squash!!  Love Scotch and Dry ... hate beer!!  Love dogs ... hate cats!!  Love the cooler weather .... hate the horrible hot summer weather!!  (That's not good given where I live!)  Love classical music ... hate hip-hop!  Love Cold Play, U2, Paul Kelly, Snow Patrol, Boz Scaggs, Linda Ronstadt ... hate Elvis, Michael Jackson, Enrique Iglesias, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton and Pink Floyd!

Number 9.  I grew up in rather poor circumstances ... but I never really realised it at the time.  We only ever got one present for Xmas and it was usually something small.  I still the remember the Xmas that I received a standing blackboard though ... it was my dream to be a teacher one day and that particular Xmas present was just the most perfect ever!  .... Yes I have spent all my working life in front of a blackboard!  Not that you would be able to find the blackboard very easily in my early childhood classrooms over the years .... luckily I'm a short person because my classrooms were always full of things hanging from every nook and cranny available!  This is one of my very first classes way back in the 80's.

Number 10.  Despite the fact that I grew up in a town that was surrounded by seven beaches .... I have never lived right on the beach.  In fact, I prefer to live where I can see hills!  I had a view of hills from the modest house hubbie and I bought after we were married ... and I now live in amongst foothills.  Whenever I travel I find myself looking for hilly spots to visit.  During my last trip down south to see my boys and grandchildren I had the chance to travel to an area known as the Glasshouse Mountains ... I can spend hours just soaking up the view from a vantage point such as this .... there's something magnificent about such an outlook.

Whew .... well that's over!  Now it's time to mention blogs that I enjoy reading. There are SO many fantastic blogs that I follow, but in choosing for this meme, I'm going to fly the Aussie flag and I'm going to choose blogs that have relatively few followers.  

Most are not well-known blogs, but I think they deserve a mention.  I also couldn't keep the list to just 7 ... and that's another honest thing about me ... I like things to be a little ordered and tidy.  10 in one list and 7 in the other is not very tidy!   Lol ... now there's lots that can be read into that!

OK ... blogs I enjoy:

I simply love the stunning photography at David Kleinhert Photography  This is a photoblog that highlights some of Australia's great fauna.  The photos are incredible!

I love the quirky sense of humour and the great stories at Adventure Before Dementia   Diane tells her tale of migration to Australia and her life here since, including what's going on in her garden here in my home state.
I also really enjoy Diane's hubbie's blog called Our Brisbane and Surrounding Areas    He takes fantastic photos of our state's capital city, Brisbane and gives a fascinating insight into this particular corner of Queensland.  I'm going to count these two blogs as one!

Another little known blog  Frangipani Gardens  is written by Pitta who lives north of my city up on Cape York.  She has a very simple blog that shows the tropical plants growing in her little garden in the middle of the rainforest ... but she is very knowledgeable about her tropical plants.

In The Shade Of A Nut Tree   is a blog, written by Kathryn, documenting all the ups and downs as she creates her new garden.  She is a transplant from ole Mother England and is coming to grips with gardening downunder.

African Aussie  describes the development of her tropical garden and her vegie patch here in north Queensland, as she tries to use  permaculture principles as the basis for all gardening.

Then there is Mandy's blog      She shares what she has learned on her gardening journey since moving into the house and garden she presently lives in. She has developed a lovely garden and I really enjoy the insights she gained as she struggled to understand what works best at her place.

the burrow   is a blog from yet another fellow Queenslander (Yes I know I'm being rather parochial!).  She has a great sense of humour and although she posts infrequently, they always make a great read.

Then there is a wonderful blog from Joan Elizabeth called  Blue Mountains Journal   in which she shares beautiful photos taken around a most spectacular part of our country.  She also includes appropriate verse from all sorts of fabulous writers such as Walt Whitman, Walter de la Mare, Robert Frost ... just to name a few of the latest!

Now for a blog that some of you probably already know, but I really enjoy reading.  She is a die-hard rose lover and keen on creating a wonderful butterfly, bird and bee garden area as well as a little cottage garden full of our natives.  Heidi's blog A Year In A Gippsland Garden   is such great fun.

Finally I have to mention the fascinating blog of Titania.  Now this lady has several blogs ... all very different and well worth a read ... but I do love her gardening blog  Yesterday Today and Tomorrow In My Garden    In this blog she shares her amazing garden and her incredible knowledge of plants and gardening in general.  Such a wise woman whose wisdom obviously comes from many, many years of success in the garden.

 Right so there it is ... this is the LONGEST post I've ever written ... applause please!  I don't know how many have stayed to the very end, but thank you if you have!  I do hope you get a chance to visit these blogs from downunder even if it's just a quick visit to say hello. 


  1. Thank you for commenting on my blog. It's always great to hear from Australia. We've visited twice now, and on our recent visit we got to see that cute boy elephant calf at Taronga. My OH had to drag me away! We've been together a long time and feel very much like you do. I love shades of purple. I've been meaning for ages to have a go at mosaics, and seeing yours may just have spurred me on!

  2. Hello Bernie, load applause given :-) Fascinating post, we have a lot in common despite the miles, except its red wine for me please ha! Thaks for the list of new blogs to read, it may take me some time.

  3. Hi, Bernie - I'm giving you a standing ovation. That's certainly opening up and being honest. Thanks for the extra blogs too - there's a bunch I'd not come across yet.

  4. Thanks for the applause Chris ... Lol! I just don't seem to have developed a taste for red wine ... yet! Hubbie thinks there's still hope for me!

  5. This is my patch ... I enjoyed your blog a great deal, so I'll be popping into to visit more often now. Glad to hear from someone else who appreciates the pachyderm! By the way, collages are easy ... have a go!

  6. Flo ... you're very kind but a standing ovation ... I think not! It's hard trying to find things you want to share with others who you don't really know all that well ... but my work is done now.

  7. Hi Bernie, for some reason I now picture you with a pet elephant called Rover :D
    I also loved the image of a multi shaded purple bedroom - how wonderful! I painted my daughter's bedroom purple too, but was boring and stuck to just the one shade.
    I really enjoyed your focus on Australian blogs too - most of which are new to me, so lots to explore! Thank you very much for mentioning mine as one you enjoy :)

  8. Hello Bernie - I really enjoyed your post. I've only read over at Heidi's blog and the others are unknown to me - I'll try and get over and read at the others some time this week.

  9. Lol ... GG! I'm trying to imagine a cute little elephant named Rover, but it's not working. Not the name I would've chosen if I ever did get the elephant!

  10. Thanks Rosie ... I do hope you'll find something of interest in the other Aussie blogs.

  11. Wow Bernie, that's quite a blog post! I am sorry, you never got your elephant but keep hoping. One of the best blogs I've ever visited. Thank you for mentioning Diane and me in this post

  12. Thanks Bill for popping in to visit ... glad you enjoyed your time here. You know ... I don't think I've ever got over the disappointment of not getting that elephant ... hee hee! As for mentioning your blogs ... you're most welcome. I enjoy them both a great deal.

  13. (Stands up and claps) I made it to the end, and I so loved the very happy-looking elephant at the beginning. I can see why you'd want one. I hope that the second time around you find more joy in your piano playing. I'm sure it will be much better without the knuckle-rappings. It sounds like your little grandson is quite the fighter, and struggling while so young does make him a little extra-special. Oh, and congratulations on more than 30 years of marriage too! We were similar, meeting as teenagers, and all the 'elders' were skeptical. Think it made us try harder to ensure the relationship worked!

    I love the blogs you chose. I'm familiar with a few, but the rest are new to me. I'm off to check them all out now!

  14. Hi Bernie
    That’s quite some blog! Your fingers must have ached by the time you got to the end. I feel I know you a little better now. I have a picture in my mind of you sitting on your veranda Playing the elephant song from the Disney film Jungle Book on the piano while you pet Elephant” Nelly” holds sheet music in her trunk with a large bottle of wine in an ice bucket by your side!!!
    Great blog :0)

  15. What a lovely blog Bernie. We have so much in common and are so far away from each other. I taught Kindergarten in the public school for thirty-four years, was also married young and have two children. Also, we both love gardening. You have inspired me as I played the piano as a child and gave it up - maybe....

    My son and my grandchildren are wonderful musicians, my uncle from Ireland played professionally, so maybe I should take it up again.


  16. Bernie

    Has the piano come right back to you as they say?

    And maybe you WILL get an elephant some day!

  17. What a post! Learned some very interesting things about you, great to see some local blogs highlighted too. A big thanks for the mention. Definitely guilty of infrequent updates though!

  18. Bernie,
    what have you done? I have increased my reading list by 500%! What lovely choices you have suggested, I love every one of them, and so cool that they are all from Australia. Great to get to know you a little better. Thanks for listing my blog!

  19. Thanks for your comments Clare ... it's always nice to meet someone who can identify with your life story. I do hope you get to visit some of the Aussie blogs I mentioned ... well worth a visit.

  20. Hi Lavinder Lady ... you had me giggling like a silly schoolgirl with your comment!! I've got a picture of myself out on the verandah with Nelly.

  21. I have just been browsing through your blog and love it, especially the post on the wallabies. Thank you for mentioning My post and Bill's, we were chuffed. Your character wrap was interesting as many of your likes and dislikes are similar to mine, except I wanted a Polar Bear as a pet when I was young. I think an elephant might have been safer.

  22. Bernie ~ what a fun post! I enjoyed your stories and links to fellow bloggers :) It's a treat to get a glimpse into your part of the world! Cheers from the Pacific NW ~ Jenni

  23. Bernie, A wonderful post, thank you for sharing part of your life with us. Have a wonderful day.

  24. Great post, and a nice look into a gardener's other life outside the garden. I loved all the links to Australian blogs, and am having fun discovering them... thanks!

  25. Bernie - I love the picture of you sitting at the piano! Actually, I loved ALL the pictures and the window to your world! This is a great idea for a meme. Heidi (Gippsland) gave me a peek into the idea just this weekend. (I was so busy following "Dry Tropics", I missed this blog.)

  26. Well thanks also to Diane, Jenni, A Garden Of Threads, Laurrie and Shyrlene for visiting. It's taken me a while to catch up with some of you ... sorry about that!

    Diane ... you're most welcome. Your blog deserves a mention and I do hope some people have dropped by for a read. A polar bear ... wow, now that's a first! I've never heard of anyone wanting one on those for a pet. Lol!!

    Jenni ... glad you enjoyed your visit to my downunder blog. It's always great to meet bloggers from all over the world.

    Garden Of Threads ... I actually found it rather difficult thinking of things to share ... but I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

    Laurrie ... I'm so glad to hear that you're dropping by the other Aussie blogs. I'm sure you'll enjoy them all.

    Shyrlene ... well I'm happy you've found this other blog of mine. This way is a more personal look at what goes on here ... so do drop by when you can.


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