19 September 2008

Shiver me timbers - it's Hanno's birthday!

It's Hanno's birthday today - 19 September, he is 68. It's also International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a fact I'll remind him of over lunch. LOL! We have made plans to have lunch at a restaurant up in the mountains, we'll meet a friend there and, no doubt, have a lovely time. I have to tell you, he is getting better with age. The days we spend together here now are the best days of our lives - we have the freedom to do whatever we want and each day is full of interest as, piece by piece, we work towards our plans. It's a wonderful thing to know you can completely trust someone and to have a deep mutual respect. I doubt there are a lot of things we can be sure of but I know, without a doubt, that we'll be together until we die. Hopefully that's a long way off for both of us.

One of the ladies who reads my blog has two cartons of size 27 Fowlers jars to give away. They have no clips or lids but are in good condition. If you live on the north side of Brisbane and can meet her somewhere local to collect them, send me an email: rhondahetzel at gmail dot com and I'll pass on her details. First email to arrive from Brisbane's northside will get them.

When my mother was alive she used to often send me letters written on fine air mail paper containing news of the family and carefully cut out articles from newspapers and magazines. They were all articles she thought I'd be interested in and it always made those letters fascinating because not only did I get to read interesting, funny, sad or bizarre articles, I also discovered what she thought I was interested in. She usually had me 100% right. Anyhow, now that mum has gone, my sister/friend Kathleen still regularly sends me letters full of the best articles that otherwise I would never see because I don't buy magazines. Yesterday's was a long complex letter with, naturally, a "Jean cutting" and a little card. The card says: "When I count my blessings, I count you twice." It's an old Irish proverb. I love that the card is of fish swimming upstream against the tide - something I have done all my life. Kathleen knows me well. (Thanks Kathleen Alice.) The Jean cutting was an article by Germaine Greer talking about her own aging. She is almost 70 now and is still in fine form. I sometimes see her on ABC TV now and having spent much of her recent life in the UK, I was surprised and delighted to fine that she now lives near me here in south east Queensland.

She writes: "If I eat too much in the evening I can't sleep, so I don't cook big dinners or eat them or go out for them or accept invitations to them. This means I've dropped out of the bottom of the chattering classes and cafe society. I'd rather be somewhere, anywhere else, on this most adorable of planets. I can be happy wherever there's a patch of waste ground with a few wild things on it. I'm happiest on my scrap of Queensland any time, but best of all in the indigo evening, as the sunlight on the rhyolite crags above the darkening green canopy turns gold, then rose, and fades altogether, and the microbats swing overhead, the stars rush out, and the forest comes to life." Nice. Welcome home, Germaine.

We are still getting a lot of food from the backyard. They are always simple meals, we are passed the days of extravagant food. Last week we dined on the most delicious Dutch cream potatoes, newly dug from the garden. I peeled and chopped them into chunks, fried a small onion in olive oil, then added one teaspoon of curry powder and one teaspoon of turmeric, salt and pepper and let them cook to develop that lovely golden colour. After about 10 minutes I added half a cup of water - that was allowed to evaporate off and they were ready. It was served with a garden salad, just picked and on the plate ten minutes later. Dessert was strawberry tarts with fresh strawberries (pictured above). I had some uncooked pastry leftover from the lemon tart I made when my cousin Suzie was here so I used that to make a few little tarts. I filled them with home made strawberry jam, the last of my September 2006 batch, and still as good as the day I made it. The cooled tarts were topped with fresh local strawberries bought for 99 cents.

Life's good.



  1. Happy birthday Hanno Hope you have a lovely lunch and it is such a delight to spend the day with your loved ones. I hope too that I spend the rest of my days with my beloved but at the moment we seem to be swimming against the tide with his health problems. Hve a blessed day the two of you

  2. I so love reading what you write, Rhonda. So very thoughtful and soothing. A very happy birthday, Hanno - and many, many more!

    Susan in NY

  3. It's also my daughter's birthday today -- number 19! Nineteen on the 19th! Happy birthday to Hanno!

    Kristina in Nebraska

  4. Happy Birthday Hanno! I hope you both have a wonderful day together. ((((((hugs)))))

  5. Happy Birthday to your MR.
    Spuds and strawberry tarts looked yum!

  6. Happy Birthday Hanno, have a lovely day and enjoy your lunch.

    Cornwall was a county of pirates, smugglers and wreckers (still is some would say) we talk like that all the time. LOL.


  7. Happy Birthday Hanno..... and many many more..... enjoy the day...I am amazed you are still getting goodies from the garden.. you both are incredible.....

  8. Happy Birthday Hanno!
    Rhonda what a wonderful thing to receive actual letters - I miss getting letters in the mail - although my oldest friend Jen is a better email buddy I hear from her more often this way. But I do love opening the envelope and the excitement of making a cup of tea and sitting on the verandah and then losing myself in someone I care abouts handwriting and words.

    My husband and I met at high school then we parted i married someone else and then 18 years later we got back together. When we were moving his things there was this box that his flat mate (who had lived all over the stat with him)told me was the first thing he moved to every house but they never knew what was inside it. It was every letter, placecard, coaster with a silly love heart and our initials, that I had ever written to him. And yes I still had all his letters even after five kids and 14 years with someone else. Our letters are now together in that box.


  9. A happy birthday to Hanno - have a wonderful day! I love the bit about Germaine Greer - she used to write a wonderful column in one of our saturday papers here in the UK, and was a great gardener (probably still is!).
    Diana x

  10. Happy Birthday to young Hanno I hope he well both of you have a wonderful, peaceful and happy day.

  11. Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday dear Hanno
    Happy Birthday to you!!
    Be so very glad you can't hear me singing. Hope you have a great one full of joy, love and fun.
    Hugs, Bobbi Jo

  12. Happy Birthday wishes to Hanno. I hope you both enjoy your special together. :)

  13. Happy Birthday Hanno! I hope it's another year full of wonderful memories, peace and blessings.

  14. Happy happy birthday Hanno! Enjoy the week-end. Hugs Sharon and Claude

  15. I hope you both have a wonderful day out together. Happy birthday to Hanno!

    Regards, Marilyn

  16. Dear Rhonda Jean,

    Give my regards for a happy birthday to Hanno please. And many, many more.

    It is so encouraging to read your blog Rhonda. To read that your mate gets better with age and that these days are the best of your lives is so wonderful. So many of us dread to get older, but you are forecasting to all how wonderful it is! I am personally loving the stage I am in now...early 40's (is that middle age?) raising my young daughter with my husband of 12 years. To think that I might think it is even better with more freedom, once we have less responsibilities at our jobs is a nice thought. Thanks so much for sharing so much of your life with us your readers.


  17. Happy Birthday Hanno!!! I hope you and Rhonda spend a little extra time together today;)

    The potatoes look so yummy! We have a barrel of potatoes we need to dump and I believe I will try your recipe with them.



  18. Rhonda just reading what you wrote today shows just how much you love and respect Hanno, this is a wonderfull thing, so many women say they love there husbands yet don't respect them.I don't get that! Happy birthday Hanno and have a lovly relaxing lunch.

  19. Happy birthday Hanno from the Illawarra. I hope you have a great lunch and a fun day. YLike me you're one of those people who never age while everyone us does. ;)


  20. YO HO Hanno ! Happy Birthday and many happy returns. Hope you have both had a good day My Hearties. Now I am completely at a loss and can remember no more "pirate speak" .
    Cheers, Eileen.

  21. (siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh...)

    Sounds lovely.

    Happy birthday, Hanno!

  22. Many Happy Returns Hanno.
    My mum sends me newspaper clippings too. They are usually accompanied by a letter containing about 2 lines only. Mum never says much in her letters. I find it very amusing. I love the way you speak about Hanno. It's how I feel about my husband.

  23. Happy Birthday to Hanno, hope you have the most wonderful day.
    Rhonda I have my mothers letters to my Dad when she was ever away, it is so lovely to read how much she missed him, she was such a reserved person, but her love showed thru in her writing. I wish you many happy years together. Joy

  24. Well this is the second year I am wishing Hanno a very Happy Birthday and want to tell him what a very lucky man he is!!! ;)

    Ontario, Canada

  25. Yo, ho ho and a bottle of rum. Now I know why the guy in the market was talking like a pirate today. Happy Birthday to Hanno, it is my beloveds birthday today also. I make a potato dish similar to yours except I put some peas in, and finish with a bit of yoghurt and a couple of hard boiled eggs.
    Take Care

  26. Happy Birthday to Hanno. Hope you both enjoy the day.
    Getting hungry just looking at your fried potatoes, yum


  27. Happy Birthday to Hanno. Here's to many more. God Bless you both!

  28. Happy Birthday To Hanno! It's also my sister b.day so we will celebrate and remember Hanno also.
    THe pots. looks yummy!
    Have a great wk.end.

  29. Rhonda,
    Happy Birthday Hanno. I know your dear wife made it a special day.
    Wed. was my husband's birthday and mine is Sunday...we both turn 46.
    ~~ hugs to Alice ~~

  30. I hope it was a wonderful Birthday Hanno! Best wishes for many many more.

    Cathy C.

  31. Happy Birthday Hanno, have a lovely day! You and Rhondy really do live the good life. Viele Gruesse aus dem Westerwald von Hilde

  32. Happy birthday, Hanno.

  33. Happy birthday to Hanno :-D I hope you both had a wonderful day!

  34. Happy Birthday Dearest Hanno! You are loved by so many women :)

  35. Happy Birthday Hanno. I hope you both have a lovely meal out.

    My husband will be 68 in a couple of months, and although I'm 11 yrs younger, it makes no difference. We are both as close and companionable as we were when we first met 25 yrs ago. He's my rock.

    I send cuttings to my daughters whilst they're away at Uni. My eldest daughter gets the recipes, and fashion clippings, retro fashion and style pieces, literature, and the younger one gets pics of cats, chocolate recipes and shoes!

  36. Eye Ey Captain :-) Happy Birthday Hanno, Hope you have a lovely day and a gorgeous meal.

    I loved that saying Rhonda about counting your blessings, beautiful.

    Glad to hear you are both well again.

    Lv Steph xx

  37. Happy Birthday wishes from France for Hanno ! And thank you Rhonda for your blog I visit daily

  38. Happy birthday to Hanno from a young person who discovered your blog recently and feels more and more inspired by it... I wish I had a life like yours.

  39. I love the recipe for those potatoes, must try it out soon. We only grew a few potatoes this year but it was still fun digging them up.

    Happy Birthday to Hanno! Have a lovely day!

  40. Hello to you both!
    Happy birthday Hanno, hope that you enjoyed your birthday.
    It seems like only yesterday that you were celebrating your birthday but I think that's because I'm new to this wonderful blog and have been reading the archives LOL!
    All the best

  41. Happy, Happy Birthday Hanno!
    Hope you have a wonderful day!

  42. Hi Ho, Matey! Happy Birthday Hanno. Today is also my husbands birthday, what a party!


  43. My warmest Happy Birthday wishes to Hanno! I hope he (and you) have a wonderful day! :)

    It's such a joy and so inspiring to stop by your blog. You're a wonderful encouragement to keep on living and enjoying the simple life. What a blessing!

  44. Happy Birthday to Hanno, enjoy your day. My husband just had four months off and we spent a wonderful summer together. We called it our "down--to--earth" summer. We gardened, walked, read,
    I quilted, he played his guitar. Now he's back to work to make money for our retirement and I am a very happy homemaker continuing to live simply so we can be together at home as soon as possible. Bless you for all you help.
    Fall greeting's from Canada,

  45. just popped by to say Happy Birthday Hanno,I hope you've had a wonderful day :)


  46. Happy happy birthday Hanno!!!

    Your potato recipe looks yummy, have to try it on the family.

  47. Happy Birthday Hanno!

  48. Wishes for a wonderful and Happy Birthday, Hanno!

  49. A little late with my hippy hoppy happy birthday greetings. I hope Hanno had a great day and many more to come.
    love Jenny

  50. what a beautiful meal, rhonda. it would have warmed my whole soul to eat it, be sure! glad the birthday was so memorable and happy for you.

  51. Happy Belated birthday Hanno! Hope you both had a wonderful day, Love from Macaky, Julia

  52. Happy Belated Birthday Hanno! Hope you had a lovely day. The pictures of the strawberry tarts let me drooling...were the tarts as good as they looked?!!
    Hugs, Aunt Bea

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Rhonda, when I read your great quote from Germaine on Friday, I remembered reading something in a similar vein from Jilly Cooper. I've just found the book, Super Cooper, and the quote:
    "...each year as I get older, life gets better and I get intense pleasure out of my books, my work, listening to music, my garden, my friends, my family and my lovely Common rippling green and rain-rinsed down to the river. I am getting smug again. Far up above I can hear God stretching out to the heavenly cornucopia for another banana" [skin].

  55. A very happy birthday to Hanno! You and Hanno remind me of an older couple I was very fond of, a lady who tutored me in math, and her husband. They were always so lively and were having so much fun together! I remember looking at them and thinking that's how I want to be when my children move out. :-) And I was only in highschool then. :-))


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