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Category: Slices of Life

In Scotland

When I was eight, we went to live in Scotland, just for a year — my dad did a swap with a Scottish teacher. She lived in our house and did his job and we lived in her house and he took her classes. We lived in this house in a pretty and historical small village.

For me, it was a magical move. For a start, I’d never lived in a two story house — in Australia back then most houses (except for inner city terrace houses) were single story.  I’d read all these lovely English stories where people had attics, but I’d never had one or even seen one, and this house not only had an attic, it was reached by a “secret” stairway through a cupboard door. So exciting. And from an angled window set into the attic ceiling, you could look out over the rooftops and see an ancient Pictish tower.

We arrived in the heart of winter and the big garden was all covered in snow — again, something magical for me, though the snow was frozen and packed too hard to make a snowman. But when the snow eventually started to melt, I couldn’t believe that the poor frozen plants under the snow could come back to life again, but they did. It was my very own “secret garden” experience and I’ve never forgotten it.

Do you know the Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett? It’s a Victorian-era story of a spoiled, disagreeable child, Mary Lennox, who was born in colonial India, and when orphaned, had to start life again in very different circumstances in England. She meets her neurotic crippled cousin and a wholesome country boy, and together they discover and restore a secret garden, and in doing so, heal themselves. I loved it as a child.

Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote a number of books for children. I was a real bookworm as a kid — nothing has changed there — and I learned quite young to remember author’s names, and that if I liked one book by an author, I was likely to enjoy their other books as well. 

My other favorite of her books was The Little Princess. Again it was about a child who started life in colonial India, but though she was indulged and pampered, she was a sweetie. When she’s orphaned her life changes dramatically — she goes from being a rich girl in an exclusive girls’ boarding school, to being an unregarded drudge. Lovely story. I might have to read them both again. (Note, the link for the Little Princess takes you to a kindle file with both of these stories.)

Eating together

I shared this on my FaceBook pages but thought I’d like to post it here as well. In my shared household days we often combined with neighbors to share food and company. It’s a good reminder to us all.

And after so many attempts to make a video show up on the blog page, I finally seem to have cracked it. 
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Annual Rituals

Every year friends of mine have a party on AFL Grand Final day (That’s Australian Rules football, by the way). It starts with a barbecue and then everyone who’s interested crowds into the lounge to watch the footie. I’m not so interested in the footie, so I only watch if it promises to be a particularly good match, and even then I enjoy watching the spectators as much as the game. Though there is something appealing about watching a fast-paced, gladiator style match between teams of fit men dressed in small right shorts and sleeveless tops. Compared with US football, there’s a lot of skin showing.

To get an idea of the game, here’s a video of the greatest moments of last year’s footie season.

But for me, it’s about the company and catching up with old friends — some of whom I only ever see at this party. Kids  are born, kids grow up, people get new jobs or new partners — it’s a bit like an annual stocktake.

And there’s always a big fire. In the daytime it works as a barbecue and in the evening it becomes a place where people gather and make music. As it’s spring here, it can still get pretty chilly at night, so the fire is very welcome. But for me the magic is in staring into the flames and watching the glowing goals. I love a good fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of spring, here is my friends’ spring garden in all its glory.  Isn’t it gorgeous?