Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nothing much to report

I feel like I should be full of exotic tales given I'm here in the South Pacific ... but there's not much to say. We work during the day, then think about work in the evening, then go back to work again!


The Parliament is in temporary premises at a sports complex while the permanent Parliament building is getting refurbished. It's taking years and they've set the sports complex up very nicely. I didn't realise the committee rooms used to be squash courts until someone pointed it out to me! And the grounds are beautiful, everything just grows and is wonderfully green. It's rained every day, which is like heaven to me.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Samoa

Well, after whinging that I never get to go anywhere for work, I find myself in Apia, the capital of the Independent State of Samoa, for two weeks. I am - in theory at least - assisting their parliamentary staff as part of our program with them, although whether anyone is really learning anything from my random pearls of wisdom I do not know. They are very kind and I am having a lovely time, which must count for something!



I feel very lucky to have something so exciting to do so soon after the European adventure - and it is so nice to be back in the Pacific again after nearly three years! It is really familiar, although I've only been to Samoa once before, when we went on holiday to American Samoa in 2010, but I know about some of the challenges of a small country in a big sea. Not that I have any answers to any of it ...



Everything is closed in Samoa on a Sunday so I went for a long walk this morning and visited with some fishies in the afternoon at the Palolo Marine Reserve. Walking distance from the hotel, and just magical at high tide. Floating around looking at pretty little fish in water as warm as a bathtub! I have missed it. A lot.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Free man on Sunday


Here is me going back to scrap and solids for a bit. Very simple, just scrap blocks outside large purple squares. It is OK, but I had another idea half way through, and I think I like that one better, so I will try it and see what turns up. 


I  did different quilting in all the plain squares just for fun, and a straight line down the middle of the scraps. I called it "Free Man on Sunday" from the Manchester Rambler song - I may be a wage slave on Monday / But I am a free man on Sunday. And there is my life :)


The back is more random yardage as I diminish the stash! Going great guns.The quilting looks a bit prettier from this side...


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Flora and fauna

I went for another run Tuesday lunchtime - Parliament is on a break so I get the chance for some fresh air during the day. Aren't these ducklings gorgeous! I couldn't get any closer though, that duck is giving me the evils. I had to keep moving or it would have come after me.



The birds at home are much friendlier. We feed the magpies so they don't swoop us, and one of the babies this year only has one leg. It hops around nicely though, and my husband now hand-feeds it. With grated mozzarella.



The parents will come down and peck it out of the way absolutely ruthlessly - despite being smaller than their adolescent offspring they have kicked it out of the house already. A lesson there for all of us. This is me being smaller than my adolescent offspring while trying to take a stylish photo of  the checked coat that I bought on sale. Not quite pecking it out of the nest yet but can't be far off.



When I walked the dog on Saturday I stopped at the end of the ninth fairway to take this shot. It is one of my favourite views on my various walks - I like the gum trees and the hills in the distance. I can't usually stop here for a photograph because someone is hitting a golf ball right up the middle, and I try and stay out of their way. There is also a house behind me with a kelpie that barks like a crazy dog when she sees Mishka, which sets off the two fox terriers in the house next door. They are all behind good strong fences but it freaks our dog out a bit.
  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Another weekend

My husband went down the beach this weekend to do some much-needed gardening and check in on the place. I am feeling seriously beach-deprived but the boys had things on in Canberra so I got to stay here and drive them around. Saturday afternoon was the latest production's cast after-party - number two son declined to bake anything so I made miniature spinach quiches. If mum does it, it will involve a vegetable.



The party itself was lovely - out in the countryside - most of the time the mums could quietly sit outside and chat while they watched the video of the show, sang along and shrieked at each other. Theatre people. From there we went back into town, dropped number one at the movies to meet his friends, went home for dinner, then went back to pick the boy up. Sunday I went for a 7 km run (slow, hot, and unfortunately on at the same time as the Red Wig Run, lots of people in red wigs aimlessly meandering all over the path, I lost any remaining charitable feelings quite quickly) then took number two son to the rehearsal of the NEXT production (a Christmas show, not religious thankfully). And rehearsal was only an hour, so not quite long enough to come home, so I went to the shops and bought exciting things like insect repellent and teenage boy pyjama pants. And, if I'm being entirely honest, a really cute pink and purple check woollen coat that was about a million per cent off in the sales, and which I definitely don't need.



We planted some herbs outside, now there's no chance of frosts. If we remember to water them they should be fine. We buy the herbs in the supermarket in little pots because they are cheaper than the cut ones, use them, then plant them - or at least we are now, we never have before, so this is an experiment.


I got to do a tiny bit of sewing on selvedge blocks! There was a massive pile of them and it made about eight blocks. Never mind, they are fun to do and I'm not in a rush...
 

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sweeter than syrup

Here is the finished quilt from my Bonnie Hunter-inspired sugar bowl blocks. I did it in pinks, with a nominal light/dark pattern but some of the lights and darks weren't terribly obvious, so you kind of have to squint to see the layout. I was planning initially on a pink border but I think the green works better. Why have one colour when you can have two? Four! More!


It's quilted in an open meander that was meant to be a bit like kelp but just looks like giant squiggles. A bit lazy but gives a nice texture (especially from a distance ... a long distance).



And on the back we have a variety of things pulled from the stash which have been there for too long! I went for vaguely pink-ish, and some of them are beautiful fabrics which I really loved, but I haven't used them for years. Which means they are probably not going to get used, and I am using them up on backs.



It is called "Sweeter than syrup" because of the pink and the sugar bowls. Other than finishing this, the week has continued with lots of rushing around - number two son had his end of year concert on Monday and Tuesday evenings. We went to the Monday one because I work late on Tuesdays, but apparently Tuesday was better! Of course. It's a series of items that the students have put together so was different on both nights. They recorded it, so I should be able to see it later, with judicious fast forwarding to get to the bits my child is actually in. I'm a Bad Person.
 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Middle-aged parent weekend

Lots of busy and not much achieving this weekend, which isn't so unusual round here. Saturday was number two son's birthday, so started off with presents in pyjamas as is traditional. Here he is posing goofishly with his new marker pens. He is very fussy about his marker pens, these are Copics and he's slowly building up quite a stash.



The rest of Saturday I went for a 6km run, did a couple of hours on my uni assignment, a little bit of sewing, and made a sponge roll for birthday cake. Then I picked up a couple of number two son's friends and left them at a Korean bbq restaurant to have birthday dinner on their own. My husband dropped number one son at another part of town to meet friends at a pizza-and-board-games restaurant (yes, such a thing exists, I was not aware) and met me at yet another restaurant for dumplings and szechuan chicken. I went home and filled the sponge roll with cream while my husband brought number-two and friends home for birthday cake and sleepover. Here is the sponge roll, filled with cream, and with strawberries and blueberries! Exactly what he wanted. I'd never made one before and it turned out OK, but not fabulous, the texture was a bit weird. Tasted great though.


The next morning I made pancakes for sleepover breakfast and went to book club, where we had read (or partially read, or tried to read) The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer. I really loved this book - I knew nothing about the case at all and had never heard of Garry Gilmore - but found it a really engrossing read. Opinion within the group was divided! Except that Gilmore was clearly a horrible character.

The rest of Sunday I did some more on the uni assignment, a little bit more sewing, grocery shopping, laundry of course, number two son had rehearsal for his school performance, and then Sunday evening is wine, Doc Martin and Doctor Blake. All as it should be...