5 December 2010

Doing nothing and everything

I crept out of bed early with the sound of rain still falling, put the kettle on for a cup of tea while I let Alice out, then in again, made the tea and came to the computer. By the time Hanno was awake, I'd already watched Dr Finlay that I recorded the night before. I really love that program. I vaguely remember it being on back in the old days but the 60s, 70s and 80s were too full of other things to watch TV so I haven't seen it till now. Now it mesmerises me with ladies embarrassed and hushed discussions about their husband's snoring (gasp!) and seemingly sweet and gentle Janet who, I think, is as sharp and cold as a steel pin, sails through it all with the perfect expression of 50s morality. I got another cup of tea, there is so much tea drunk around the doctors' kitchen table I feel left out with empty hands.

The rain always slows things down. Rain is not commonplace here and steady soaking rain makes us stop and notice the weather; we watch and we listen to it. The pattern of rainfall on the tin roof makes me feel that we are all safe, we can slow down and take it easy and with Sunday as an added bonus, the hours are ours to do with as we please. Well, I didn't stay in that relaxed mode for long because I was back at the computer, writing again, for much of the day. For those lovely readers who sent thoughtful messages about the book, the plan is to have it on the shelves in February 2012. My deadline for the first draft is March 1, then we have two months of editing, then it is sent off to the printer in May 1. I am thrilled to be working with Penguin and a wonderful editor, Jo.

When there was a break in the rain, Hanno tidied up in the garden but rushed in and asked me to follow him outside. He was removing the trellis the cherry tomatoes had been growing on and there, amidst the chick weed in the softest green nest, sat Lucy, our stately English Game hen. She sat on six eggs and only moved when the entire trellis came down around her. I wish we could give her chicks to raise. She had a brood of chicks when she came to us - a motley crew of a white leghorn, two bantam Australorps and a green legged rooster of unknown breed. But we're not set up for tiny chicks now and I fear they'd be lost to the snakes and feral cats.

Soon after breakfast I removed the sourdough starter from the fridge and fed it. After mixing in the new flour, I transferred the entire living mass to a clean jar and left it to come to life for a loaf later in the week. Washing up done, I tidied the kitchen and went back to my room to start writing again.

Late in the afternoon I made caramelised apples, to use up some excess apples, and banana cupcakes for morning teas during the week, although there are still a few biscuits left. I'll probably freeze some tomorrow. Sunday night's tea was ham and salad. The rest of the time, when I wanted to relax, I knitted. I'm knitting baby wash clothes at the moment, they're nothing fancy, just practical bamboo and cotton square cloths suitable for the most beautiful of grand babies.

There is so much that is new and exciting happening right now. These changes have brought reflection and growth but mainly a feeling that everything is right and as it should be. There is always work to be done, but that keeps us active and engaged and we enjoy most of it. Sometimes I look back to my younger years and remember good times when I thought it couldn't get any better. But it did. It got better. It still does.



  1. What a beautiful post. I looked for Dr. Finlay at our library website, but they don't have it. It sounds interesting. I used to fear getting older, but not any more. It truly does just get better and better when you're doing what you love to do, and you obviously are! Thank you for sharing your life with us all. You're a continuing inspiration to me.

  2. Hi Rhonda...

    Oh, what a lovely post...and I think tea sounds really good right about now!!! I have a few Penguin books at home. They are a wonderful publishing house, in my opinion. I'm so excited about the new book you're working on...and I'll make sure and buy a copy as soon as it's available here in the USA!!! There might not be much "going on" today as you put it...but I counted at least five things you did...so there's something good about the natural rhythms of life ;) :) :) Oh, yes...grandbabies are the best!!! Happy knitting!!! I'm knitting a pair of socks out of this Japanese yarn brand called Noro. They make a line of socks yarns called "Kureyon".. I also love bamboo yarns...and I think I'll try making dishcloths out of that soon!!! Well, Rhonda...your posts are lovely as always. Today's post was really encouraing. It made me feel really good about my everyday quiet life today :) :) Thank you!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  3. Just HAD to say that I loved the way this post finished. You're right. I'm only in my 40's but I have to agree that life keeps on getting better.

    (Plus, I made my own soap! I feel so clever!! By the time the summer holidays are finished I'll have enough bars of soap to build an extension on the house, knowing me!)

  4. Thank you, Muddling through.

    Heather, that sock yarn sounds interesting. Happy knitting, dear.

    Frogdancer, I'm so pleased you made soap. It's such a great skill to have and now you'll always have good soap and great gifts to give.

  5. How do you make your caramelized apples?

  6. Root and Twig, I just peel the apples, then cook for about 15 minutes in a cast iron pan with a knob of butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar. You can eat them plain as is, or with some custard, or top a plain cake or eat with porridge.

  7. I loved your post - I really liek an old programme called the Good Life - BBC comedy about being at home and good lifing - good luck with the writing - and lovely to read this thinking of you listening to the pitter patter of rain - we've snow at the moment - alot of snow and we don't often get it at all - and if we do it doesn't last - well - NOT normally. Its slowed life right down and allowed us to enjoy it.

  8. Hi Rhonda,
    I am expecting my 1st grandchild in May and my daughter is very much into organic clothing. I would love to make her some baby wash cloths. Could you tell me what yarn you used for them. I live at Elimbah near Caboolture.

  9. Baby Henry aka Martha is looking good! Glad she is still powering along!

  10. I'd completely forgotten about Dr Findley's Casebook. It was compulsory viewing all those years ago!

    For a fascinating read about a real life version try Will Pickles of Wensleydale by John Pemberton, published in 1972. There's quite a bit about his life and achievements on Wikipedia - where else?!


  11. Orkney, I have watched the Good Life series. Funny!

    Penny, I just pick up what I can that is organic and natural from Spotlight. There is also another place I sometimes shop in northside Brisbane - American Yarns. She has a good range of eco yarns:http://www.americanyarns.com.au/YARN/View-all-products.html

    She is having a 20% off sale from 26 December, so if you can wait till then, you'll make some nice savings.

    Margo, yes, I'm pleased to say Martha is very healthy and has produced a couple of good loaves and been given away to family and friends. Thank you for sending her/him.

    Thanks Johnson, I'll check it out.

  12. What a lovely post, congratulations on your book! How exciting! I wish you all the best!


  13. Do you mind sharing your pattern for the organic baby bath cloths. I have a new granddaughter and would love to make her some. Also what type of yarn are you using.


  14. Thanks you Jill.

    Michle, there is no real pattern. I cast on between 36 and 40 stitches, then knit garter stitch until I have a square, cast off. I am using up bits and pieces in my yarn stash. The white cloth is bamboo, the blue is cotton. Both are 8 ply and I'm using size 5 needles.
    If I use the most basic stitch I can pick the knitting up and put it down without having to worry about where I am in a pattern.

  15. I remember the original Dr Finlay series as a 'wee lassie'in Scotland (have been in Australia 40years now)- I think the Janet in that was even scarier!
    Many thanks for your wonderful blog - none of my friends/family share my passion for a simple life and it's good to know there are others who 'get it'.
    SueH, Perth

  16. What a great post. I love your blog and find it so inspiring. It rained a lot here (in Melbourne) last week and I stood for a long time with my baby on our back deck watching it pour down over the neighbourhood. We also have a tin roof and I can relate to the feeling of safeness you describe with the rain beating down. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Dear Rhonda,

    What a lovely day you had! I'm glad to hear life has gotten even better. I'm in my 20s and very happy, but I look forward to the future because I expect that things will get even better! I find that I really enjoy all the skills that I've been learning (I recently took up knitting!). The more I can do for myself and my family, the happier I am. So I'm sure in a more self-sufficient future, I will be incredibly happy!

    As always, thank you for sharing!

  18. Hi Rhonda

    Will you be releasing your book as an ebook to be downloaded on e-readers like 'Kindle'?

    I buy most book this way now as I am living in the MIddle East at the moment and we are limited to what we can get here.

  19. Hello Rhonda,
    I've been reading your blog for a little while now and really enjoy popping over every so often.
    Love all your hints and suggestions on keeping life simple - many things I can relate to because I'm already doing them, so I enjoy the sharing.
    Equally, there are many other beaut things you mention that are so, well ... down to earth ;-) always something new to learn. Thank you and, yes, fortunately, I too can say that life does keep on getting better.

  20. what a lovely, mellow tone you used in this post. Your husband calling you outside reminded me that my hubby called me outside the other day. He walked me under our maple tree & then kissed me. Then he looked up, said that's not right, moved me a bit and then kissed me again! Seems he'd found our first crop of mistletoe growing up in our tree. So, I'll remember our first 2010 Christmas/mistletoe kiss!

  21. Cheryl, yes, I have sold the ebook rights as well, so there will be kindle and ipad downloads.

    dmarie, cute!

  22. I remember Dr Finlay's Casebook from my childhood (in black and white) - gentle Janet had a backbone of steel! Not one to get on the wrong side of . . .

    I can't wait for your book to come out (neither can you I bet!)

    Thank you for the calm and peaceful atmosphere on your blog today - just what I needed.

  23. I remember the original Dr Finlay's Casebook too. I think it was on a Sunday evening and we used to watch it after church. Or was it on a Friday? Well, whenever it was, it was a "must see" series. I think that Janet was a very wise lady but you triffled with her at your peril.


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