Sunny day sweeping the clouds away

Hi All,

Its Monday and the beginning of a new week on Serendipity Farm. I have started reading Sebastien Japrisot’s book “A Very Long Engagement” and a most interesting read it is. It has been translated from French to English most admirably by Linda Coverdale and it must be a good book because I stayed up till 12 last night nose deep in it. I must have woken up with my nose on the page several times but made it halfway through the novel. The novel is a very interesting read and I am glad that I read it, but you would have to be quite interested in the war and what happened during the 1st world war to get engrossed in it. I have requested 2 more of the books on Mary Anne Schaffer’s list. I did notice that the book translated from the French that I am reading at the moment had a lot of letters in it. The entire book “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” was written as a series of letters. I know that what one person finds life changing and enlightening in a book may not necessarily be what someone else does. I was told to read “Eat, Pray, Love” by lots of people and picked up a copy from a thrift shop and I am glad that I didn’t waste more than the 20c that I paid for this book because it was full of self-indulgence and justification for abrogating responsibilities badly written and a total waste of my time. I did read half of it (I always give a book enough time to prove me wrong) and to anyone saying that it was a book about a woman’s freedom of choice; I would say “bollocks!” It was the female version of an unemployed 40+ year old man wearing long board shorts with a skateboard tucked under one arm riding his low slung B.M.X. bike to meet his mates in the park for a days fun in the middle of the week. A sad attempt at trying to make middle age the new childhood. I am all for being honest about your life and having to make choices to make sure that you live a life worth living, but if that life change is generated by a selfish need to be “young” forever, not only are you misleading yourself, but one day old age is coming…you might choose to deny it, but an 90 year old woman with all the plastic surgery under the sun and who looks like a 40 year old is still an 90 year old woman inside. The sooner we face up to the aging process, the sooner we can live our lives to the fullest and enjoy every last minute of the time that we have here on earth. I am going to say 1 name here…”Joan Rivers”…I rest my case!


This is all that is left of senior multilegged bug. Little Marbig bee appears to be surviving quite well so far but now that the other deceased insect has departed all focus in now on Marbig bee…


Earl and his newly discovered milky treat


What that pair of reprobate “ducks” (I prefer to think of them as ninja invaders…) did to one of my precious cacti. They previously stuck to succulents. Now they have a taste for the dangers of cactus and my collection will never be the same…


The view from my kitchen sink. It should be a lovely vista of garden leading down to a picture image of the river. I get manky old half dead mint and a selection of weird and wonderful shells and rocks that I am compelled by some force other than myself to collect wherever we go (this compulsion also encompasses rumbled sea glass and various weird and wonderful found things on the side of the road as we walk.)


The weather has fined up and it’s really lovely here on Serendipity Farm at the moment. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing and my washing is drying nicely on the line. We decided not to buy a dryer when we moved out here. We figured in summer we could use the washing line and in winter we could hang our clothes out in front of the wood burning stove so a dryer was a waste of electricity and space. Today is perfect for drying and the combination of wind and warm sunshine and the 23C temperature makes me happier than mere weather should. It’s on days like these that I truly feel glad to be alive. I have a bag of blackberries sitting waiting for me to pick in the garden, Big Yin is calling out to his flock and we just broadcast some seed to the chooks to pick over out in the garden. Bezial and Earl are laying about nice and tired after a decent walk and Steve is watching one of his horror movies and I am just about to finish my cup of tea and head off to play a game of Animal Crossing before I settle down later on to finish off my book. I love reading. I love the act of reading…settling down to engage your mind on imagination and letting your mind wander for a bit. It’s made all the better if the book you are reading is one of those “can’t put you down” books that you are scanning as you peel the potatoes, while you are loading the washing machine and are in 2 minds as to whether you should put it down when you head to the loo…that kind of book. I am so glad that I found fiction all over again. I spent most of my childhood nose down in books. I only discovered non-fiction when I was older and even though non-fiction can give me all sorts of information for free, it can’t give me that good brain workout that fiction can. I am hoping that Mary Anne Shaffer’s list is going to exercise my mind and make me think. You never know when your brain is going to be challenged. I remember reading “It” by Stephen King and being profoundly affected by the concepts that emerged at the end. I think that people that can write well are people with a most special gift for us all. Television has given us a fantastic medium to be able to find out all sorts of things. I am not one of those people that say that we shouldn’t have television; I just think that there is a fair bit of toss on commercial television that does nothing to further mankind culturally in any way shape or form. I am not an A.B.C. /S.B.S. snob either. Good television is not exclusively produced in France, the U.K. and Germany. You can find it all over the place. The problem is that the garbage aimed at mainstream audiences is given top priority in producer’s offices because it sells. It’s a sorry indictment that we are perpetuating this crap by our watching habits. Sure it’s funny to watch some idiots jumping off the Sydney Harbour Bridge and painting their genitals blue and inserting them into fire ant nests but when you keep watching this crap you are allowing these television moguls to keep making this garbage. It’s the equivalent of Shelley being dumped for a book of fart jokes…funny initially but no laughing matter in the long term. We get what we ask for and we vote with our feet so if we want quality television we need to reward the people that made it by watching it in droves and by making sure that it rates higher than the celebrity bampf that we are apparently watching by the millions. It’s not just television…think about junk food…no choice of varieties in shops when it comes to our fruit and veggies (just what will last longest to make the maximum profit)…the dearth of good music being produced thanks to shows like “American Idol” and the blueprint for success that these kids are all trying to emulate to get their 15 minutes of fame. We get what we deserve people and if we want better, we need to make sure that we buck the system and remind advertising executives and producers of our consumables that they are producing/making this stuff for US not selling us what THEY want to for maximum profit.


Steve took these next photos. This one shows the harmony between the chickens and the feral cats. That harmony doesn’t extend to dinner time where these self same animals jostle for bread and at night time the cats dinner so poor Steve has to hang about until the cats finish their food or the hens will chase them off and eat it all…


This early morning photo of the side garden shows how the grass on the “lawn” (if you can call dandelions, English daisies, sow thistles and Scotch thistles lawn that is…) has greened up most miraculously after the last week of intermittent rain. Prior to this it was straw coloured and lifeless.


This bonsai currently being developed by Steve was found as a seedling underneath the large Japanese maple that stands next to the steps leading down from the deck on Serendipity Farm. Steve dug this up as a seedling when we were caretaking dad’s house while he went away on holiday and it is only fitting that it returns to it’s rightful home to live



Steve has just started another WordPress blog. He did a bit of research and found out that Window’s Live (once you hunt it out in your programs folder that is…) will allow you to use Word to type up your post and publish it straight from your Word document. That will save a lot of time and hassle and photos can be put straight into the word doc and uploaded to the blog. I might be a technophobe but I most certainly know a time saving device when I see it and so I will be attempting to use Windows Live tomorrow to post my post. Did anyone else notice that Google is integrating everything together to make it more streamlined and easier to use? That works for me. The only problem that I have is that I sense a media drive to shut down free sites like You tube and make it “Pay only”. I know that there are many vested interests in making the internet pay. It’s not enough that just about everything is cram packed full of advertising but they now need “content exclusivity”. When Wikipedia closed down for a day it was to show what could happen if this sort of thing gained momentum and we were suddenly made to pay for everything online. No more Wikipedia or free downloads for anyone. I had to laugh when I noticed that most of the uproar about Wikipedia was directed AT Wikipedia for not being available for students wanting to plagiarise it for their homework on the day that they withheld their services. I can’t help being suspicious of anything trying to isolate major highways of information for profit. The internet was invented to share freely, not be the answer to massive profits at all levels. Enormous fortunes are already made but corporate greed dictates that no amount of profit is ever enough and you have to keep striving for more. I also can’t help but want to support the underdog. I don’t think I am particularly bolshie, but I do think that years of trade unionism runs through my veins and looking out for the underdog is more than just a noble ideal its something that we all need to do. We live in most uncertain times and we need to make sure that what we are asking for and voting for is what we all need.

I think I need to get back to studying. It takes some of my time away from me and stops me from allowing my mind to wander all over the place. There is merit in forcing your mind to settle on one thing as you tend not to have the time to think about life’s inequalities and exercise your right to outrageous indignation on what is becoming for me, a daily basis. Despite wondering if I am going to use some of the information that I force my poor tired brain to endure, I am constantly delighted to find various sippets of information standing me in good stead. It’s great to have an idea about what you are doing especially when you are pruning and planning your garden. We have a large area of overgrown jungle in the middle of the front acre of land. It was once landscaped garden with lovely pathways meandering through the centre of it leading from room to well-designed room, but now it is a tangled mass of blackberries, banana passionfruit and buddleia. The birds are eating the blackberries the parrots are eating the banana passionfruit flowers (good parrots!) and we are just about to start hacking our way into the buddleia with a pair of machete’s. We won’t be tossing the buddleia onto its  funeral pyre quite yet however. We have plans for it’s hollowed out canes and will be drying it out and using it for Bug House filling. Everything has at least 1 use and sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge to find out what that use is. When you work with what you have, you need to first be aware of what you have. That runs along the lines of the cookie conundrum that Ernie and Bert lumbered us with back in the 70’s. It’s a lot easier to just burn the debris than it is to think about what we are burning and see if we can’t use some of it for profit or for our own personal use. We cut most of the limb wood and larger wood for our wood burning stove and if we leave the pile of green debris long enough the leaves drop off to become mulch and we are left with smaller branches and twigs. The twigs can be used to light the fire and now the smaller branches can be used to drill holes in for Bug Houses and to make mailboxes with. I can also use some of them to make possum protection screens for around our vegetable beds. Some day in the future Steve and I are going to look at our piles of debris that we generate on a regular basis with delight rather than the eyesore piles of destruction that we currently see.


King Earl surveying his domain. He has just finished barking at Jacko (one of the original feral cats) for being near his chickens. Earl is NOT protecting the chickens, Earl is highly indignant that something else might be able to eat them before he does…


Gypsy Pingu out on the road less travelled. She is getting much more adventurous now since she has been allowed to live in the shed. We are in the process of moving her out into the now abandoned duck shelter. We need to put a perch in there for her and make a permanent door so that at night she can be housed away from the other hens (who she is scared of and thinks are out to get her). Her earlier time living inside with us is never far from her tiny mind and she constantly tries to get back inside the compound to the ever increasing interest of Earl who has already tried to kill her once. We have decided to allow her to hang out in the shed in the day where she feels safe and provide her with her separate night time enclosure as she seems much happier now and is starting to adventure around Serendipity Farm where prior to this she was hiding under things.


Steve’s pile of leather boxes in his music room. If anyone out there has surplus musical instruments or musical accoutrements that you no longer want/need, let us know as we are collecting for Steve’s music room Smile


I am just getting used to messing about with Windows Live writer. This is a fantastic program that Steve found in our Programmes folder the other day. It has obviously been there since we bought the P.C. but I tend to use what I know and despite owning all sorts of amazing P.C. programs I rarely use most of them. This one promised to make Blogging a whole lot easier and more streamlined. I am going to have to mess about with it a bit so sorry if you get some weird tiny posts covered in emoticons for a post occasionally…making mistakes is the only way that you learn so mistakes…here I come! Technology has at times rendered me speechless and for those of you who know me personally, you will realise that for anything to render me speechless, it must be amazing indeed. Technology has also allowed me to go places where I would never have been able to go before. I met Steve online…I can keep in touch with relatives and friends all over the world in real time. I can order books from over the seas in an instant. I can pay my bills. I can become a member of an online book club with people who I may never meet. The internet, and its accompanying technology, has made life a whole lot more interesting for all sorts of people who might otherwise never get out of their immediate surrounds. Sorry about having to rant sometimes by the way. I have moments where I need to share my outrageous indignation and take no offence if you want to skip over those bits. I am growing more frustrated with how we are allowing government and big business to make our choices for us. Life isn’t too hard…its just full of more choices and we need to make sure that those choices are skewed in favour of the majority of the worlds population rather than a select few who can pay for their political clout. There…enough said on that for today, but you can see that I hate unfairness on any level. Earl just made me smile. Sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that Earl didn’t have a rudimentary brain stem, let alone brain, when he is pelting around the house with a toy in his mouth on a pilgrimage to smash a window or two but he just sat down and barked at the milk bottle. Barking at a milk bottle is something that could be construed as the act of a dog in need of mental care. Earl loves plastic milk bottles as play toys and today he got an added bonus, he got a drink of milk. We don’t give our dogs milk as a rule. Earl has just discovered the delights of a nice drink of milk and no doubt will be baying at the milk bottle for more than its plasticky delights from now on. Steve has to head out into the garden now to take some pictures so that you have something to look at in between the random ranting events. Stewart has apparently bought himself a nice mini laptop and it will be easier for him to keep in touch before he gets his larger desktop setup sent to him once he finds the right apartment. He is moving from a life of complacency where he knew everything about his world to somewhere completely new and as such he will be enjoying the thrill of discovering a new life. Steve was talking to his mum in the U.K. last night and I heard him saying that Stewart can now start all over again. He can be who he wants. He can changed what he wants. Its a brand new start on a whole new slate. A chance to reinvent yourself doesn’t come along very often so here is hoping that Stewart makes the most of his brand new life Smile see you all tomorrow (I just did my usual little smile and got a somewhat alarming emoticon appear in Windows Live! This is going to take some getting used to!…)

(By the way…I finished that French translated book and I am either a literary plebeian or Mary Anne Schaffer has very different taste to me in books…I will keep reading through, these 2 might just be aberrations from her usual good taste Smile)


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pinky
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 10:36:34

    Hi Fronkii,
    You should know by now that one persons favourite book list is never going to be what you think it should. It’s like movie critics reviews. Jason and I never go by them as otherwise we would have missed out on many hours of happy times spent at the cinema with boxes of popcorn! Mind you, we haven’t felt like venturing to the cinema since we got those awful phone calls about Mum just as we were leaving the cinema that day.


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2012 @ 13:05:16

      I think it is time that you rode that cinema horse again Pinky. Nothing like a good crick in you neck and some unpopped popcorn stuck in your molar for taking your mind off “stuff”. I had high hopes of the Mary Anne Schaffer list…I figured that anyone able to write a book as good as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society would have really good taste. I loved her book and was foolishly trying to align myself with her. I guess I will keep wading through her book list. I have just ordered Captain Corelli’s guitar…cello…trumpet or whatever it was! I remember Nicholas Cage was in the movie so am hoping beyond hope that it is worth reading… unlike my terrible experience with watching “Chocolat”, falling in love with EVERYTHING about that movie (much like Amelie) and racing out to read the book only to find it long winded…dark…boring and NOTHING like what I expected. That is a very VERY rare case of the movie being better than the book. I tend not to watch the movie from my favourite books. Stephen King has taught me better than that! Ok, Senior Wree has a teeny tiny laptop apparently and is up and doing technological theengs weeth eet (like answering blog posts) so you should be able to contact him via email. He appears to be working his way up Lygon Street and will need a good workout by the time he gets to the end of it! (and that will take him a good 6 months of solid scoffing to do so…) :o)


  2. Pinky
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 20:40:41

    WOOHOO!!! Stew has a home! Lucky fellow! 🙂 I think i’ve only really seen a couple of Steven Kings book that turned out to be really good movies like Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile but really enjoy reading most of his books. We will go back to the cinemas eventually. Definately for The Hobbitt when it comes out in December. Richard Hall really likes 201 Flinders Street. I’ve just told him via email that he’s welcome to buy it!!!! Haaaaaaaaahaahahahaha …..never look a gift horse in the mouth and all that.


    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 09:26:18

      LOL! Yeh…just “don’t mention the Pulp Mill!” (said in the loud whisper style of Basil Fawlty when he got hit on the head by the moose and went funny with the Germans :o) I still have to see Sherlock Holmes (I really want to) and there were only 2 Stephen King novels that translated at all well (you were right on both of them), most probably because he didn’t have all that much to do with producing them…


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