Two old tarts and Top Gear

Hi All,

I have discovered 1 downside to being 50. The recovery rate is somewhat slowed. Kym headed home to Western Australia on Sunday and it is Tuesday and I am still trying to tell my body that bread isn’t my friend. It has decided that it LOVES bread and flour products in general and appears to want to make up for lost time. Lost time equals a fat derrière body so you can just about give up on that idea! I stopped trying to match Kym and Steve when it came to wine consumption. I bow before their ability to imbibe and pass the torch to them both. I can, however, eat for the queen and it only took me a few days to jump right back into bad habits. Getting back into habits that you have cultivated can sometimes be a little difficult but my 50 year old body can get reacquainted with my 50 year old willpower all over again.


Can you tell it’s cold and windy? Kym standing next to the lighthouse at Low Head near Georgetown. No penguins but I think that they all blew away


Me telling lies about the size of the fish that I caught


The only way that we can keep Earl out of the banana’s…

What is going to take longer to get back into is reading my RSS Feed Reader. I shared Pinterest with Kym and showed her how it can be a useful tool to while away an afternoon but was too scared to open up my RSS Feed Reader and so it had remained sealed like King Solomon’s tomb for the entire 9 days that Kym was here. I am a prolific blog follower and commenter and the blogs that I regularly follow must have thought that I had expired (some may indeed have drawn in a sigh of relief 😉 ) but narf7 is back…in pog form! It is going to take me a solid few weeks to get back to waking up early enough to deal with the backlog of blog posts in my feed reader as the feed reader wasn’t the only thing that had to be neglected while Kym and I cavorted around the countryside reinvigorating entire swaths of wineries.


2 reprobate hippies and their long suffering (under walked) dogs on Paper Beach in winter


I can’t even remember what was so hilarious…probably still under the influence 😉


Guess who doesn’t have this sock/boot any more…sigh…


When I was rootling around to find another earring to replace a faux one that was giving my lobes jip I found this silver gem bracelet that my wonderful daughter’s had bought for me a few years ago. No point leaving it in a velvet bag so narf7 is now decorated and shiny with bling 🙂 Cheers girls, I LOVE IT 🙂


More bling, bought in a little shop in Liverpool but sadly broken on one of the links


Some of the gemstones in the bracelet. I am going to have to get it fixed as I love this bracelet as well 🙂

Steve and I decided to put our studies on hold. I can’t say that I was sorry about that because our lecturer tricked me. He allowed me to think (uncorrected) that the unit that we are currently being subject to was “creative writing” when it is actually something entirely noxious and the word “creative” is dangled as a lure for unsuspecting narf7 moths. The unit is actually “creative thinking” and requires a degree of researching and waffling that even I find obsequious and repulsive. We have to learn all about the 6 hats of Edward de Bono. Beware folks! This might sound like a most entertaining children’s story or an excerpt out of a Rolling Stones magazine describing the crazy antics of Bono’s insane half-brother but it is a sad indictment of an entire cultures need to stuff everything into controlled boxes including creativity. No longer can we create wildly via thought. We need to farm our creativity and much like farmed fish, something has to give. You can’t stuff creativity into a box folks and expect it to give you something unique. What you end up with is a series of hats that are supposed to funnel you to a directive. They even tried to lure me with colours! As the irascible bolshie woman that I am I find it difficult to do what I am told at the best of times but when I am given a series of coloured hats to attempt to funnel my “creative thought” towards a target I find my heels dug in sharply and Steve is going to have to drag me forcibly through this unit. I feel a battle brewing on the horizon!


Me looking decidedly like Katharine Hepburn but Ms Hepburn would NEVER allow her ankles to be photographed like shameless narf7!


Steve was the little engine who could…but not for very long! 😉


It’s egg central on Serendipity Farm and ducky has started laying her lovely blue eggs again! It must be all of the rain (and slugs/snails/leeches) that she is eating. “Duck eggs on shopping day girls” 🙂

I published my first solo post on the wonderful blog Not Dabbling in Normal on Monday and if any of you would like to see a short post by yours truly (I KNOW…it is a miracle!) feel free to perambulate yourselves over to NDIN and check it out. I have yet to wood burn my post 50 message of enlightenment but “I can and I will” is my new motto. I can wash and vacuum out the car and I will…I can plant a tree a day and I will! I can stop procrastinating about my latest study unit and I WILL get stuck in and finish the bollocking thing…you get the picture. Life is found in the “doing” not the planning and the first 50 years of my life has seen an imbalance of power with a lien decidedly biased towards the planning stage. Post 50 brings me “nearer my God to thee” and so I want to get stuck into the actualities of living. It certainly took me long enough to work it out but at least I did. That’s a good start…


The road and most of Serendipity Farm!


The top part of our ex-driveway…


The twin canyons that have formed to allow the water to run straight down the driveway and into the Tamar River…never let it be said that we didn’t let the water do whatever the heck it wanted on Serendipity Farm…sigh…


Almost 200mm down folks! Looks like we are going to have to do some serious drainage work on our driveway ASAP 😦 (when it stops raining that is… sigh…)

Kym headed home after making her very own first Stromboli. She wanted to know how to make a good reliable pizza dough and I immediately thought of the Stromboli dough. It isn’t actually a Stromboli dough, it’s a dough for calzones that I found online and discovered that it is amazingly malleable to various dough based recipes. So far it has baked excellent calzones, Stromboli’s (both savoury and sweet) and pizza bases both thin and crispy and thick and tender. I needed a post about “flour” for my NDIN (Not Dabbling in Normal from this point forwards folks) blog post and I immediately thought of sharing, developing community and how flour has allowed humanity to grow and prosper. There may or may not be a degree of historical realignment skewed to my version of events in my post but no-one can dispute the importance of grains and cereal crops to mankind. Kym made a fantastic first Stromboli and I actually remembered to take photos so you can share her glory here


“More cowbell baby!” if you don’t know what I am on about you NEED to hunt down the Saturday Night Live episode with Will Ferrell, Christopher Walken as The Blue Oyster Cult…hilarious AND full of cowbell. “How’s THIS for a cowbell Bethany? Steve says “MORE cowbell baby!” 😉


I might not have been able to take Steve with me on the day but here’s the front end of a cow doing a great job of looking like him 🙂


Yup…Steve or Hippy Jesus…you choose 😉

Kym’s husband Bruce…a saint of a man who needs a medal, required only one thing of Kym when she returned back home…well he required two things but he only got one. The first was that Kym turn up on time (sorry Bruce that was ALWAYS going to be a questionable ask…) and the second was that she pack her bag with as much Tassie cheese as she could stuff in. Considering she only had 3kg of space she did an amazing job and included 2 large blocks of chocolate to (literally) sweeten the deal. To facilitate the cheese giving we decided to head off to Ashgrove cheese factory to sample their wares and see what we could find for Kym to bring back for Bruce. We discovered more than cheese and returned home with some of their amazing milk, some Gloucestershire cheese offcuts for Steve (future Stromboli happiness) and a good selection of some of the more delicious and unusual cheese samples for Bruce.  We also discovered a selection of fibreglass cows and a large Tasmanian native pepperberry shrub in full pepper production that I may or may not have pinched some berries from. Bruce also got a wheel of double cream brie that should keep his cheese buds happy for a while.


“Sorry? What was that cow?…”


“Bruce needs Kym to empty her suitcase and fill it with cheese eh?” 😉


Kym sharing how she feels about that idea…

I headed into town on Monday to do the fortnightly shopping and to meet up with my daughters to “do lunch”. I was still dazed and confused after my 9 days of carousing and ended up taking twice as long as Steve does to do the shopping but at least I returned before Earl started to eat the furniture. We were going to head off to have lunch at a local Korean place but ended up picking up Subway to go and I must admit I have a decided soft spot for Subway sandwiches. Mine was HUGE. The girls serving us appeared to be having some kind of meeting with a higher power and they appeared to want to impress the suited man with a clipboard. The girls and I ended up with more salad than we would have thought possible to stuff onto a sandwich and my request for “extra jalapeno’s please” resulted in an entire jar being tipped on. I haven’t had Subway in quite some time and as a customisable meal it has a lot of things going for it. We arrived back at the girls house after an extended shopping trip all over Launceston at 3.15pm and after hurriedly scoffing my Subway (second degree mouth pain courtesy of jalapeno central) and swilling a much welcome mug of hot tea I raced off to pick up a sack of chook food and back to the grumbling stomachs of Earl and Bezial who usually eat at 3…needless to say they were a bit miffed. Earl (the gizzard of the South) actually refused his meal initially! I am not the only one who is going to have to get reacquainted with old habits 😉


This is what happens when the clay under the soil gets sodden…arrivederci wattle tree!


This used to be dry as a bone…not any more! Now we have a swamp to make our melaleuca trees happy (and the moss…don’t forget the moss!)


The perfect place for a pond…in fact…the powers that be appear to have chosen it for just that purpose!




Daffies covering more mush 🙂

Today (Tuesday) I got up at 4.30am. I am trying to get my head around early mornings all over again after 9 days of waking up at 7am and going to bed at 11pm. I love the extra time that getting up early gives me but there are swings and roundabouts to everything and the swing is that with early mornings you have to have early nights. I have been enjoying spending time watching a bit of television with Steve lately. Kym got to watch Aussie rules football twice in the 9 days that she was here. That is a sporting record for this house Kym! It is also the very first time that Aussie Rules football has been allowed to remain on our television for more than the 2 seconds that it takes to realise that something sporty has managed to find its way onto the screen. All this week (as a lead up to Father’s Day) we get to watch a mega marathon of Top Gear. Top Gear is an enigma folks. You don’t need to love cars to watch this show. The collective genius of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond is the stuff that ratings executives dream of. You take one naughty boy (Clarkson), a man child (Hammond) and one intellectual duffer (May), you combine the three and pure magic happens. I challenge any one of you pooh-poohing me from your computer screens right now to watch a classic episode of Top Gear and not laugh at least once. Add the enigma known as “The Stig” to the equation and you are hooked. This show is as addictive as crack cocaine and twice as much fun. Steve and I are watching it and recording it because the earlier I wake up, the sleepier I am getting. I fell asleep on the couch last night at 8pm. Not too bad for me but a sign of what is to come. Soon I will be dozing at 7pm and night time television watching will be a distant memory. Swings and roundabouts…it all comes back to what you are willing to take up, and give up.


Kym and I sitting in front of the amazingly gorgeous quilt that Kym made for me for my birthday. Isn’t it wonderful?! :). I am a very lucky narf7 to have such a wonderful talented friend :).

dogs and kym

Bezial and Earl photo-bombing! At least you get to see more of the gorgeous quilt 😉

I just added “The Stig” to the dictionary on Word…crack cocaine folks! ;). Well this is going to be where I finish today. I have a day of trying to force coloured bowler hats onto my uncooperative head and I can’t see it ending nicely. Steve and I have to cram a fortnight of work into 2 days and the subject matter is decidedly slanted at raising my ire and my natural bolshie tendencies so I don’t like my chances of not twitching so I decided to get this post done nice and early in the equation so that my twitching and angst doesn’t get transferred to my blog. See how much I love you all? ;). Have a great week folks. I post every Monday on NDIN (Not Dabbling in Normal) so feel free to head over there and see what narf7 can do with a few words and pictures. Until we meet again for our communal cuppa over the airwaves, take care and wherever you are, remember that life is in the “Doing” not the planning…Mr de Bono could have done with taking that to heart!

33 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 23:01:36

    I got Bruce to read this with me and he had a nice chortle at my expense! 🙂 He has already enjoyed one of the cheeses I brought back for him. You didn’t mention if you bought the sewing machine?? I am back to work again, and feeling so knackered lol. I’m looking forward to the weekend when I can sleep in. Sorry about the RSS feeder, but I did say have a look Fran, but no you bravely assured me all would be okay 😀 I haven’t had time to make stromboli yet but I have bought the flour and yeast so it is on the list for the weekend. I’m feeling a bit nervous about doing it without your attentive help, but I guess I can always call. Missing you all and once again thanks for your wonderful hospitality. Oh yes I hope you have managed to find ways to use the bacon…


    • narf77
      Aug 22, 2013 @ 04:31:59

      I used most of the bacon in another Stromboli last night and some of it disappeared down the throats of some happy dogs (tail wags to you from Sidmouth 😉 ). Glad Bruce had a laugh and also glad he liked his cheese. We used some of that Gloucestershire cheese in the Stromboli last night along with cheddar, feta and parmesan and Steve pronounced it “Delish!”. Give me a ring if you have any problems but the only problem I can see you really having is that it might take longer for the yeast to fuzz up initially and for the dough to prove if you can’t find a warm place for it, but to be honest, you can proof bread dough in the fridge (it just takes a LONG time) so obviously yeast is a resilient little critter. I ended up not buying the sewing machine because I am saving up for a better one :). We went hunting online and found an Aussie site that ships for free when you spend over $400 and their Janome’s are cheaper and you get bonus kits with them as well so we both figured if you want something, you may as well get the best you can initially (our motto) :). At least I now know which is the best machine for me. I started knitting up some of my wool last night. I found a pattern on the back of one of the balls for how to make some foot sock/slipper things. The ball that had the pattern on was only 1 of 2 that I needed to make them though but I did have 2 balls of other wool that were as thick as the wool with the pattern on so I decided to give them a go. I was watching Top Gear last night and managed to almost complete the pair of sock/slippers in a few hours! I am going to head to the op shop (when it stops raining) and go hunting for old t-shirts to make t-shirt yarn out of as I figure I can use it for knitting as well. I want to make some knitted floor rugs and if they knit up as fast as those socks did, I could make some seriously big rugs in no time :). Remember, let me know if you need a hand with that Stromboli dough but to be honest, you already made it once and it went off without a hitch. Just keep some extra flour if you feel the dough (after rising and when you punch it down) is a bit too moist. Bread/Stromboli dough is VERY forgiving :).


  2. teawithhazel
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 08:30:57

    sounds like you had a lot of fun the way where did you steal that ‘warning road closed’ sign from? love it..


  3. Lois
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 09:18:22

    Wow! What a great post and fab pics!! Great fun!


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 04:12:48

      Cheers for visiting Serendipity Farm Lois, glad you had a good time and please feel free to come back any time, there is always a kettle on Brunhilda (our 4 oven wood stove) and at least 1 biscuit (cookie) that the dogs haven’t managed to extract from Steve with their magic eyes ;).


  4. Jo
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 09:22:25

    I am so glad to find someone else who thinks de Bono’s hats are tedious and pointless! ‘Bono’s insane half-brother’ – love it!
    I am hearing you on the pain of the rain – I was out in my backyard in a downpour desperately tying one of the lemon trees to the fence, as the rain, wind, and giant load of lemons was threatening to tip it over – it was wobbling dangerously in the saturated soil. Hope I can save it. Hope you can save your driveway.


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 04:16:59

      Cheers Jo :). We have given up on our driveway for now as it shows no sign of letting up any day soon. We can only hope that the whole thing washes away to bedrock and that should solve the problem ;). There are a lot of wattle trees falling over out here thanks to their shallow root balls and the clay base that is completely saturated and no longer able to hold their weight. They are just slooping over all over the place! The tree I showed you in the first block that fell will be a good addition to our firewood supply for next year and we were contemplating what to do with it as it was in the way of our new garden…problem solved! Fingers crossed for your lemon tree and I fear I have a few days left of Mr de Bono before I manage to exorcise him from my brain. Once this last assessment is over and done with we will throw Mr de Bono and his 6 hats into the Tamar River! 😉


  5. cathyandchucky
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 10:25:05

    Build that pond and the duckies will be happy. Maybe you should incorporate a waterfall stone area down the Mellaleuca side of the driveway? Seriously though, do you really need to get up that early Fronkiii? Surely it is nicer to spend time in the evening with Steve and why couldn’t you check out your reader at night rather than the morning? Your followers are all over the world and wouldn’t begrudge you waking up later? 😀 In saying that, the older i’ve gotten, the earlier i’m waking up anyway and I just can’t sleep in past six thirty unless I go to bed after midnight, then I wake up at 7.00!


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 04:19:45

      I am getting up at 4am now which is entirely respectable compared to the 2.30 I was getting up before Kym visited ;). I am using my time to get ahead on our assessments that we didn’t do while Kym was visiting and thank goodness I am because they are the most seriously boring units known to man! I doubt rocks would stay in place at the moment Pinky as the water flow is ceaseless and it has a determination that moves mountains (literally!). Tassie is right back to being the rainy state again! 😉


      • cathyandchucky
        Aug 23, 2013 @ 09:49:17

        I guess the water will still seep out of the surrounding hillside for a fair while too Fronkiii.

      • narf77
        Aug 23, 2013 @ 16:22:08

        Probably taking wattle trees with it as it goes but looking at it positively, they are next years firewood! ;). I still haven’t had time to get to my RSS Feed reader, I fear it has taken on a life of it’s own. I am too busy trying to wrap my laughing gear around Mr de Bono and a whole lot of ridiculous thinking tools that are doing my head in but if my head is twitchy, I can only BEGIN to imagine how twitchy my lecturer’s head is going to be when he gets a gander at my assessments 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Aug 25, 2013 @ 09:13:45

        Maybe you should change to a Psychology degree instead. It sounds like thats what this guy is forcing you to become or need one of 😀

      • narf77
        Aug 25, 2013 @ 10:05:17

        No idea Pinky but he certainly is pushing this load of hogwash…not that anyone other than Steve and I are attempting it at the moment 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Aug 25, 2013 @ 10:11:54

        You shall be experts when you finally finish it!

      • narf77
        Aug 25, 2013 @ 11:12:40

        Expertly confused…learning just enough to make us dangerous 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Aug 29, 2013 @ 12:15:27

        Hahahaha all you have to learn now is how to hitch Earl up to a harness so he can help you haul away those fallen trees like one of those Mush dogs 😀

      • narf77
        Aug 30, 2013 @ 11:18:31

        The problem is Earl turns wood INTO mush…no good for Brunhilda and so we have to spend our time chasing him away from the woodbox 😉

  6. christiok
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 10:57:05

    SUBWAY! We love Subway, especially this summer, when Keith and Austin have been building the deck and going to Home Depot every other day…one simply has to stop at Subway. When I told Keith that you went to one for lunch, he said, “We could survive in Tasmania!” 🙂

    I love your thoughts about our linear, control-freak need to “farm our creativity,” and how tasteless and mushy a thing it is. Creativity is wild! We love wild salmon in these parts.

    “Nearer my God to Thee” — lololololol!!! Enjoy the rain — you, Noah with the beard (or is that Jesus?), and the pair of dogs. It will dry out soon enough.

    And congratulations on your blog column over at NDIN! You are branching out and I’m watching with interest. p.s. beautiful quilt, Kym. 🙂


    • brymnsons
      Aug 22, 2013 @ 18:24:56

      Thanks Christiok, blush blush x


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 04:22:38

      Not long to go and you will be “Mother of the bride” and everyone will be complementing you on your gorgeous daughter AND that amazing jam. Don’t be surprised if a small jam making industry springs up ;). I adore Subway. I love how versatile it is and anyone can get a Subway these days. Even if you are gluten free they can toss all of the ingredients sans bread into a salad for you. I even get 2 choices! I love the veggie patty sub but sometimes (when I am feeling particularly healthy) I have the salad alone. Have a fantastic time at the wedding Christi and please give Molly a hug from us 🙂


  7. brymnsons
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 18:26:49

    That’s a good plan Fran. I saved for ages for my new machine as I knew what I wanted and when it comes to mechanical thingies it is better to get the best you can afford. Omg I can hear my mother lol, it’s just the thing she would have said… x


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 04:24:52

      I hear you Iris! ;). Yeah, Steve said that we may as well put a bit more into it and get the best machine possible for the money. The shop was more than happy to let us wait a bit and we will probably buy a machine from them even though the machines online were a bit cheaper and you got some free stuff. I like to support the local economy :).


  8. Littlesundog
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 02:36:44

    Parts of this post had me in stitches, laughing. The Katherine Hepburn photo started the hilarity… you are correct, she wouldn’t have been caught dead with her ankles showing! You know what is best? Your smile! You look so happy in these photos! It’s great to see you having fun and cutting up.

    Rains, floods… they come and go. 2007 was a tough year here with so much rain and flooding. I’ve thought of you often the last weeks. It’s a bit disappointing to see how the rain has changed parts of Serendipity Farms, but in other ways, it has revived and nourished.

    I was happy to see a couple of photos of Earl… he’s such a handsome boy!


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 04:27:12

      Earl reminds me (by putting his beak on my knee) that I HAVE to put at least 1 photo of him in every post for you :). Serendipity Farm needed a good drink of water but she has now had a drink…another one…a few more…a shower…a bath and now she is entering into a swimming marathon in the local Olympic sized pool! I can’t say that I will be sad to see the rains slow down a bit but I WISH I had a large rainwater tank…all that lovely free water washing down the hill…at least ducky is happy. She has been laying us eggs again :).


  9. Finn
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 06:33:08

    After the week long bender you just had I’m really impressed you’ve got the energy for a marathon post. Respect!


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 16:16:44

      Cheers Finn, I had to dive straight into concentrated media studies as we needed to catch up to submit our assessments and so my brain hasn’t had time to even consider the damage that I did to it over the 9 days prior…I am sure that sometime soon it might let me know that I really shouldn’t repeat that event any time soon but for now, I am cramming it full of de Bono’s coloured hats and SCAMPER and various other ridiculous thinking tools in a vain effort to both satisfy my lecturer and learn something…sorry to say it isn’t working all that well 😉


  10. Chica Andaluza
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 07:30:19

    Damn that Mr De Bono – had to study all that years ago when I had a proper job! It takes me so much longer nowadays to recover from a good night out so 9 days of carousing would probably take me a month or so 🙂 Love that photo of you and Steve….


    • narf77
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 16:19:11

      Yeah…I am with you on Mr de Bono…he was a decided anal retentive bollocks…probably in cahoots with Mr Freud. I am doing my best to derail his organisational desires whilst driving my lecturer mad… not too sure how I am going to but at least I am trying! 😉


  11. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Aug 26, 2013 @ 03:06:43

    Dear Fran. A lovely post (except for the fact that you are being washed away). Lovely to hear about the good time you had with Kym. Love the photo of you and Steve.


    • narf77
      Aug 26, 2013 @ 04:20:28

      Cheers Jean, poor Steve almost dropped me. I might have lost weight but he completely underestimated how heavy I was ;). Now THAT would have made for an interesting picture! ;). It’s still raining here and we have decided to give up trying to fix our driveway till it stops raining enough for it to stop eroding. There is one patch on the driveway where the water is bubbling up underneath the tarmac and it is actually soft! Thank goodness we live on a steep slope or I figure we would be under water and we would have to use the Mumbly Cumumbus for transportation 😉


  12. Linne
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 14:58:32

    By the way, was that the driveway you just spent so much time repairing so Kymmie would have a smoother ride? Sad . . .

    Maybe you need to install dual streams next to the driveway, one on each side, with cute little waterfalls and holding ponds at intervals. If you dig the ponds deep enough, you could double up with trout farming, maybe.

    Good thing I live on the other side of the globe, isn’t it?

    Truly, you have my sympathy; though. All that hard work and now to do it again . . .

    I will have to read up on Mr. de Bono; hadn’t heard of him before now and I’m sure it will give me something new to rant about . . . I have such a different view on creativity from what you describe of his writing, I can’t even imagine . . .

    Gotta run; will catch up with other posts soon, I hope. Hugs. ~ Linne


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