The sky is falling in. . . .

Not really but the ceiling was falling down.

portico ceilingOur carport was suffering from a sagging cornice and I tried to repair it.  The trouble was that it couldn’t be repaired by me!

missing corniceIn this photo you can see where an exploratory cut was made to see what the problem was.  The result of that was the 4×2 lengths screwed to the ceiling to prevent it from imminent collapse.  We had no idea that the ceiling had come adrift from the battens.  Thankfully it didn’t fall down and we are now in the process of getting the ceiling replaced.

plasterboardTwo days ago the ceiling was taken down and new plasterboard installed.

plasterboard 2The following day the joints were plastered to be followed by sanding and the cornices installed.

cornices ceiling upThe next task will be the electrician to install new lights then we are getting a painter for the first time in our married lives!  I am usually the one who does the painting, in fact I have painted this ceiling and beams once since we moved here but we are getting a professional this time.  We are looking forward to the finished product.


Tah dah!!

denim recycledWhen I looked back to when I first posted about this chair and my plans for it, I discovered it was way, way back in November 2014, that is almost two years ago.

If you look at that post you will see that I did say it was a long term project but I hadn’t envisaged it being that long!

denim chairPlenty of pockets for bits and pieces.

the final piece addedThe back piece was the final piece added.  Now it just needs to find its way to Canberra.

A Scottish novel which although old was new to me.

I have discovered that the novel I am reading at the moment is Scotland’s favourite novel.  The novel was first published in 1932.  I only happened to be reading it as a result of listening to a podcast of Top shelf on Bookshelf on the ABC.  The author Ryan O’Neill talked about five books, movies or music which were important to him.  He mentioned Sunset Song and how it had an influence on him.  He thought it was the best Scottish novel ever and as it was set in the north of Scotland near Stonehaven and included Scottish vernacular I was interested enough to order it online as it was not available at our local bookstore nor at the library.

A Scot's QuairThe book I bought was called A Scot’s Quair which is the trilogy, beginning with Sunset Song, followed by Cloud Howe and Grey Granite. The author is Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

I have also discovered that a movie based on the book was released this year.

How I discovered that the novel is Scotland’s favourite was through a retweet from Val McDermid on Twitter.

Val McDermid retweetI was interested to look at the long list and find that there were several novels I had read but also many I haven’t.  I will need to put those on my reading list.

I am about 2/3 of the way through Sunset Song and it is kindling many fond memories of my time in the highlands of Scotland.  Well worth a read for those nostalgic for Scotland.


Tuesday travels. . . Swindon, The Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway

steam museumOn my recent visit to the UK I was based in Swindon for two weeks.  I had chosen Swindon as it was on the train line to London and it was central to the south west region of England.  I bought a South West Flexi Rail pass and that meant I could have eight days of train travel during my two week stay.  I can highly recommend the Flexi Pass as a great means of travel if you don’t want to hire a car.

The Steam museum of the Great Western Railway is one of the main tourist attractions in Swindon.

steam museumWhile I was looking after my granddaughter we visited the museum which is ideal for young children as well as adults.  There are lots of interactive activities for little ones and my granddaughter had a great time.

The Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway is in the heart of the former Swindon Railway Works. The museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway, a network that, through the pioneering vision and genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, set the standard for rail travel.
This story is brought to life with famous GWR locomotives, imaginative story-telling displays, videos – mixing rare archive film footage with the stories of ex-railway workers – hands-on exhibits, interactive displays and a large number of rare GWR objects memorabilia. The museum is peopled by character figures life-cast from Swindon people – many of them former railway workers.
Stepping into the museum, visitors are taken into the world of the railway worker at Swindon, passing through a series of reconstructions, carefully assembled using original equipment, supported by video and interactive displays.  (from the website)


The displays are excellent and you need to allocate at least a couple of hours to get the full benefit of the museum.

After visiting the museum you can then visit the Designer outlet which is nearby in  grade II listed buildings from part of the Swindon Railway Works.


The art of Robert Ingpen

ingpenI have written previously about my love of Robert Ingpen’s art. Today on the ABC website there was an article about Ingpen. A book has been released called Wonderlands and it chronicles the art of this wonderful illustrator.  I had noticed this book on a recent visit to a bookshop in Canberra and was intrigued to have a quick flip through.  One of the books mentioned was Ziba Came on a Boat.

ZibaI didn’t know of this children’s book and I decided I would look out for it as it tells the story of a refugee.  I was eventually able to get the book at our local bookstore and the illustrations reminded me of the Voyage of the Poppykettle.

WonderlandsWonderlands is a beautiful book and there is an exhibition in Geelong  until 29th October featuring Robert Ingpen’s Storybook Art to commemorate his 80th birthday.  I have convinced my husband that we need to see this exhibition so we are off to Melbourne next weekend.



Rhubarb, rhubarb!

We have a rhubarb crown that produces prolifically in our garden.

rhubarbI have used the rhubarb as it is blooming but I have also frozen copious quantities of it for use when it is not blooming.  Lots of good intentions to use the rhubarb but they never come to fruition.  I was looking at one of my cocktail books and found a cocktail that uses rhubarb syrup so I thought I would give that a go.

rhubarb syrupNo glamorous photos but it is certainly a lovely colour.  This syrup recipe makes enough for a few drinks.

A Rhubarb Collins


    • 1 (4 ounce) stalk rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2 -inch pieces (about 3/4 cup total) or 3/4 cup frozen rhubarb chunks. I used frozen chunks and a cup rather than 3/4
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 ounces gin
    • 1 ounce lemon juice
    • 2 to 4 ounces Champagne or soda water, chilled


    1. In a small pot, combine the rhubarb and sugar with 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until slightly thickened and bright pink in color, about 20 minutes. Let the syrup cool then pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Press down gently and discard the solids. DO AHEAD:
    2. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of the rhubarb simple syrup with the gin and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until completely mixed, about 20 seconds. Strain into a highball glass and top with Champagne or soda water.
 The rhubarb simple syrup can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
This is a great way to use up rhubarb as the syrup can be used in non-alcoholic drinks or on icecream.