down to earth: Memory Lane

Showing posts with label Memory Lane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Memory Lane. Show all posts

Moving forward, looking back

16 December 2014
These tiny pink roses were one of my mum's favourites - Cecile Brunner roses. They're easy to grow and they're what I'd call a non-vigorous climber. Also, no thorns, a definite bonus. The buds are about the size of a small finger nail and they smell divine. These are growing happily in our front garden weaving through the wisteria.

I like having the luxury of looking back and remembering what's happened to me and my family during the year. Over the past couple of days I've spent a bit of time looking through old posts and being reminded of just how many people I've connected with through my blog - both online and in person. When I started writing this blog I wanted to create a record of my own changes. I also wanted to get simple life information out to the world because there wasn't enough of it around. That was over seven years ago now. In the beginning there were plenty of people looking for ideas on how to simplify and I was happy to share what I could remember about doing housework the old way and encourage others towards self-reliance. Now there are a lot of blogs and simple living experts everywhere, how times have changed us all. I am not an expert. I'm just an ordinary woman who remembers how things used to be and can harvest some of those memories and tack them on to contemporary life in a way that makes sense. If I am anything, I will always strive to be that.

A year's worth of notebooks. I love to hand write and write something every day. I hate the thought of handwriting dying out so I make sure I keep mine up to a reasonable standard.

To be honest with you I did think of stopping my blog a couple of months ago. I wondered if it had run its course but I continue to receive so many emails about being a surrogate grandma and online friend and in the end, I realised the blog is an important part of the day for many folk, not just for me. So the blog will continue next year and I hope you'll continue reading.

Square knitting needles, bought in Katoomba when I visited Tricia. Have you used square needles before?  They're supposed to be ergonomic and easier on the hands.  And below: slow and steady with the organic cotton baby blanket.  I'll have it finished in plenty of time. 

This will be a quiet week for me. I have Christmas chores, cooking, some personal sewing and a new embroidery project to plan. Hanno is getting through the mowing by doing a small amount every day. The cricket continues, the days will slip by slowly and then another Christmas will be here. So shhhhhh. It's early in the morning here and I'm up with the elves. I'll do a few things before Hanno wakes and if I keep working slowing during the week, I'll do everything I must do without rushing, and I'll appreciate it more. 

It's been a year full of toys and story books and stepping on Legos. Again!

A year of fruit photos on our kitchen bench. I wonder if anyone likes these photos as much as I like taking them.

And a year of tea - loose for me and bags for Hanno, enjoyed on the front verandah, watching the lizards and birds and being entertained my Jamie.

Looking back these past couple of days has reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for. Kerry and Sunny have been living close by for a year now so we've finished a year of having Jamie in our lives on a much more frequent basis. I must say he's slipped  into our routine like he was born to it and he's given us a hurry up in the process. There has been dancing in the lounge room, soccer in the hallway, conversations in the garden and so many snacks and drinks.  It's been a joy. We also had Alex here with us staying overnight. He's another gentle soul who seems to have been born knowing us. And maybe that's what does happen. Maybe kids just know their grandparents because love is like glue that bonds generations together.  And next year?  Well, a new baby of course. Due in April, Shane and Sarndra are expecting their second child and I can't wait. Another little love to care for and cherish. These are the people who will replace us and be here to form our family when we're gone. I'm grateful that I have such a loving husband and wonderful family. I hope most of them keep simple values close when they're older and help encourage those who will come along after them.

I have to say though that both Hanno and I are tired at the end of this year. We'll celebrate the season along with our family but we'll also take the opportunity to rest and relax and get ready for next year. We have some movies chosen to watch, I'll have the knitting needles clicking away, I'll be hand stitching and I'll be writing.  Both here and more for Penguin, but that's another story and it can wait till next year.  See you tomorrow, my friends and in the meantime, please tell me what you're grateful for this year. 


Cup of tea?

24 April 2013

I’m not sure if it’s a sign of my age or the era I grew up in but when I hear: "Would you like a cup of tea?”, "I'll put the kettle on." or “Let’s have a cuppa.” I feel as if I’m being cared for. I grew up in a time when fizzy drink was always ginger beer. Coke was around then but it seemed out of place, sort of unAustralian, and we didn’t drink it, although as a Christmas treat, mum would buy a crate of 12 "mixed fruit drinks", delivered to our door by horse and cart. Yes, that was Sydney in the 1950s. Bread and milk was delivered every day like that too, right to our door. Our cold drink of choice was cordial and when a hot drink was called for, it was tea. Although all through my life, my mother drank the strongest black coffee that looked like liquid tar and I think was made with chicory. I clearly remember drinking milky, sweet tea with my grandmother. She had hers black and now that is how I drink my tea. There is a lot I don’t recall about my childhood but I clearly remember the feeling of being loved when I was called in for tea. 

We didn’t always have cake with our tea but when we did it was homemade and often it was fruit cake. Biscuits were bought then, a new convenience, at the local corner shop from Arnott’s tins that contained a single variety of biscuit like Monte Carlo, Spicy Fruit Rolls, Honey Jumbles, Iced Vo Vos, Milk Arrowroot or Custard Creams. Biscuits in packets were yet to surprise us but it was always a treat to go with mum to the shop while she chose biscuits that were put in a plain brown paper bag to be brought home to our biscuit barrel. When we went to the zoo, a very rare treat, we used to go to that same shop to buy a small bag of broken biscuits to feed to the animals. The Arnott family who produced those biscuits lived not far from us in a huge mansion house. It’s still there but they are long gone.  Their factory, which I think was built around 1900, was located near where the Sydney Olympics was held at Homebush.

These are the little floating tea balls Sunny gave us.

I haven’t lost my affection for tea. Hanno loves a cup around 10am and we sit together on the back verandah in the summer and the front verandah in winter and talk while we drink our tea. I always use loose tea to make a single cup or a pot and always use a little tea ball. Sunny bought us some nifty new tea balls recently. They float around in the tea until it’s time to take them out and sit them in their little drainer saucer. Tea bags are like Coke to me, they don’t exist.

My favourite tea memory is from Sunday evenings in winter, before TV started, so pre-1956. I would have been seven or eight then and Tricia nine or ten. We, along with the entire neighbourhood, would have had a roast for Sunday lunch and a small amount of the remaining meat would have been put aside for toasted sandwiches in the evening.  Around 4pm, dad would light the open fire in the lounge-room, all the windows and doors would be closed, and at around 6pm, he would load up our tea trolley with roast lamb or chicken, along with a small bowl of salad, bread, butter, mugs of milky tea and mum's strong black coffee. Mum would test Tricia and I on our spelling as we sat by the fire in our pyjamas, dressing gowns and slippers, and then we'd toast bread over the hot coals and everyone would make up their own sandwich. This was mum's night off cooking. At about 7.30pm, mum would lay out two woollen blankets by the fire so they were nice and warm, and Tricia and I would each lay on one and get rolled up like big cigars. Then dad would carry us in to bed and tuck us in. It sounds incredibly innocent now but it is what we did and I still recall it with a lot of affection.

In my mind, offering hospitality and being cared for seems to go hand-in-hand with a cup of tea or a glass of cold cordial. I’m sure it’s deeply ingrained into my being and will remain there forever. They aren’t as fancy as the iced or flavoured teas and sparkling mineral waters on sale now but they quench the thirst as well as anything else and they provide that warm and comfortable feeling of yesteryear for me. A time when there were few alternatives and everyone thought that was just fine.

What is your favourite tea memory?