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Showing posts from July, 2011

Autumn of roses...and hand writing?

My last roses and my favourite plens I read an article in   The Australian   newspaper last week about handwriting disappearing from classrooms in the US, with the new national curriculum putting more importance on  the computer keyboard than writing skills. There is a strong argument that children need correct typing skills for efficiency; but surely the core standards for young students should be using a pen, pencil, crayon -  whatever the implement – to write. I remember the “good old” days when the teachers drew horizontal lines on the blackboard, all in chalk, and they would then form beautifully cursive letters for we little children to copy, carefully, in our own lined exercise books.   Once we reached Grade 3 we used a “dipping pen” which we dipped in the ink of the built inkwells of the desks .   And if we “dripped” the nuns would get very cross. I asked my niece, who is training to be a primary school teacher what the standards are in the Western Australian school envir

Parents and Children…and Seasons in the Sun

The bougainvillea and palms think they are still in summer  It’s been a week of contrasts.  The weather can’t decide whether it should still be winter or sneaking towards an early spring. And so my garden is filled with cascading bougainvillea  and colourful geraniums, against flourishing and abundant lemons, but drying and languishing dwarf butter beans and tentative broad beans and sugar snap peas.  The vegetable patch looks lush…but is providing very little…style over substance at this stage, I think.  Confusion all around. Lucinda's petunias are finished just as the lemons ripen And my son can’t decide if adulthood is all it is meant to be.  It is such a matter of seasons, this maturity thing.  For plants, it seems less complicated…unless the weather upsets the natural order of things. For people, it’s also a matter of circumstances…and timing.  The geraniums and ivy don't seem to care about the season It’s tough as a parent to see one’s child trying to dodge the pitfall

Food...simple pleasures and lovely manners...

Mia with the heart of palm in Royale Taikitumu Villas, Rarotonga May 2011  (photo author)  My last few months have been complemented by food.  Firstly, I had my companion visiting me on his annual trip from Switzerland.  He loves my cooking and so I was able to try out my favourite and new recipes with an appreciative audience. Tasmanian salmon with aioli (photo author) Then to my arrival in Rarotonga where I scoured the markets for some beautiful fresh produce, and where I encountered for the first time the wonderment of real “heart of palm” which can only be extracted when a  coconut palm tree has to be cut down…a tragedy perhaps but a privilege to be able to  eat its heart with a light vinegar dressing in which to dip it before welcoming its texture and exquisite taste….a true taste sensation.  And enjoying such a morsel while at the same time winning, with my companion as my partner, the boules competition at the   Royale Takitumuu Villas Resort  with an amazin

People who need People …from Suwarrow to Dalkeith…we are the same…

Nassau island...beautiful people....May 2011 (Photo LP)   In the last four weeks my journey has taken me from the horror of the "rust bucket" vessel on which we "cruised" through the Pacific Ocean, and the  wonderful people with whom  I shared the voyage, to the islanders I met on  the remote Cook Islands  , to some members of Australia’s Defence Force with whom I shared a week in presenting The Ambassador Program.  And finally to a day with  a married couple who needed to spend some “quality time together” after the husband’s  medical problems and chose to spend it talking about table etiquette with me. And in between there was a funeral for a friend who departed way too soon.  Teresa on Puka Puka with her grandparnets  (Photo LP)       Confucius wrote “All people are the same, it is their habits which are different”.  And what a sage he was!  On the " rust bucket" I shared a sometimes frightening voyage with a disparate group of trave