Monthly Archives: March 2015

Writing, Food And Friendship

Sharing Two Favourite recipes

Life can revolve around the dinner table where we share daily events, joys and sorrows. But is this becoming a thing of the past? Many modern families take a packaged dinner out of the freezer and zap it in the microwave. Quick, easy and to all accounts nourishing. For the body, yes, but not the soul.

Picture 018_1                    meal2 Several years ago I attended the Qualitative Inquiry Conference at the University of Illinois USA. While there, I had a chance to meet for the first time, a friend I met over ten years ago on the internet . Cindy took me to a home cooked lunch in an Amish home. We sat with other guests and discussed families, friendship, different cultures and of course the unseasonable heat. Without air-conditioning we sweltered. United by a common bond we reached for chicken and salads, laughed and swapped stories. It was as if we had known each other all our lives. index I arrived home to Melbourne to rain, hail and a top temperature of 10 Celsius. I soon grabbed my slow cooker. There is nothing better on a cold winter’s day than sharing a hearty beef casserole, crusty bread and stories with family and friends. however, for me it is the getting together, the talking and sharing that counts. If I had a put a feather on our plates we would have thought it was chicken.

On the wall of the Amish home was a beautifully needle worked sampler.

Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.

My passion is writing and the journey it is taking me. Years ago I would never have believed the novel I was sweating over would be published. I certainly would not have believed that I’d have completed my academic journey and, for the first time in my life, travelled alone to America. I love the old homily; Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is the gift: the present. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring. In the meantime here are a couple of recipes that have become favourites in this household.

indexAmish Overnight Pasta Salad 2 cups lettuce (cut up) 4oz cooked tiny shell macaroni 2 hard boiled eggs (sliced) 1 cup ham (strips) 1 cup Frozen peas (thawed) ½ cup Swiss cheese (shredded) ½ cup Miracle Whip ¼ cup dairy sour cream 1 tab onion (chopped) 1 tab mustard. METHOD: Put lettuce in bottom of a casserole dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Top with cooled macaroni. Place egg slices on top. Layer ham, peas, and cheese. Combine Miracle whip, sour cream, onion and mustard . Spread over salad sealing to edge of dish. Cover and refrigerate 24 hrs. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Toss before serving. And below is one of my all time favourite recipes.

index Auntie Clarice’s Quick And Easy Casserole 1 kilo scotch fillet (cubed) or 6 forequarter lamb chops (cut in half) Dip in seasoned flour In pan, brown meat and 2 large sliced onions. Add 1 cup chopped green and red capsicum, ½ cup chopped carrots, ½ cup chopped celery. Broccoli can also be added. Place in slow cooker or casserole dish Mix 1 large tin tomato soup 1 dessertspoon Worcester sauce 1 tab vinegar 1 dessert curry Pour over ingredients and simmer or bake 1 1/2 hrs (or 8 hrs in slow cooker).

These days I also take short cuts and buy some of the tasty seasoning packets for slow cookers/crock pots available in local supermarkets.

I love sharing a meal with loved ones because I revel in the communication and conversation that bounces around steaming bowls. It’s a chance to keep in touch, to celebrate successes and empathise with disasters. It gives me the opportunity to show the people in my life that they mean the world to me.

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Swimming and writing for fun.

Often it is the day to day experiences that trigger stories.

This morning I was afraid to go into the water. What if Musk duck was there? I had never seen a Musk duck in the canal before and he really was quite an ugly specimen. Half cormorant, half duck with a bulbous flap of skin under his chin. I was worried that I’d given him the wrong impression. I certainly hoped not, but research had revealed that inadvertently the way my flippers slap the water during my early morning swim could echo his mating ritual. Standing on the sand, boogie board under arm, I scanned the water my imagination going wild. Was he paddling around out there just waiting for me? I nearly turned around and went back inside.

musk duck But how many times have I been told, ‘Why do you travel by train at night? And alone. Aren’t you afraid of being mugged?’ I’ve done it for years without a hint of trouble and to stop now would be ludicrous. Talk about clipping your wings. Maybe one day I’ll live to regret my rashness, but so many magical city nights would have been lost if I’d stayed home because I was afraid of what might happen.   It is so easy to give in to fear, but one thing I’ve learnt is be prepared, then face the fear and move on. Scared? I’m often scared, but if fear takes over, opportunities are lost. I remember the time I went swimming with the dolphins. The experience will delight me for the rest of my life.

dolphin

SWIMMING WITH THE DOLPHINS

He knocks on the door and waits for me to hurry up the hall, turn the key and let him in. I see the familiar mischievous gleam. What has my married son dreamt up for me this time? A new computer? Learning to kayak? A trip to the Air Show? He is always trying to take me out of, what he calls my ‘comfort zone’. He hands me a ticket, saying, ‘You’ll love it Mum. And don’t worry, we’ll be with you.

I stuff bright bathers and a large towel into my beach bag and on the way to Sorrento I keep asking myself, “Why am I doing this? Dark clouds block out the sun and my stomach churns when I see from the top deck of the Queenscliff Ferry the Pope’s Eye. This manmade horseshoe of rocks in the middle of Port Phillip Bay has formed an artificial reef. Already many boats nuzzle it like a litter of piglets. Soon I will be joining them and the water looks deep and cold.

My first challenge is when I’m given a level-five full-length wetsuit. I squirm, pull and tug, trying to get my body encased neck to ankle in rubber. It’s worse than a full body corset and I breathe in as I pull the zipper to beneath my chin. Young swimmers eat your heart out. This aging body can now blend with yours. Hidden is the cellulite, wrinkles and dimples that reveal my senior years. I sign the consent form. Am I on any medication? I proudly tick, no. Is there anything that can make it difficult to climb over the side of the boat? Yes. I’m certainly not as agile as I once was and I treat my new titanium hips with care.

The sky lightens as we speed towards the Pope’s Eye to practice our snorkelling skills. My nerves are as agitated as the wake of the boat and it is forbidden to wee in the wetsuits. There is a toilet on board but the trip, and my emergency, would be over before I managed to struggle free. There are sixteen on board and five crew. A German couple, Israeli family, a father and his two boys, a mixed bunch of Australians, my son and daughter-in-law and myself. I try to spit professionally into my mask to prevent fogging but find my mouth dry.

Our instructor informs us that there is no guarantee that we will see Dolphins but if we are fortunate enough to spy a pod there are strict rules. We must not swim towards them and if they become curious and come over to investigate we must not touch them. While she is speaking the cry goes up Dolphins, and is echoed by everyone on board. The engines stop and the crew shout instructions, “Mask and snorkel only. Stand at the back of the boat. Quick. Into the water. Now,” Two lines with white floats are thrown overboard. “Get on the platform. Jump in. Move down the line. Don’t let go of the rope.”

I plunge in. Through my misty mask I see a dolphin heading my way. “Put your head under the water,” my son says pointing down with his thumb to make sure that I understand. “ Look down,” but the rope is swaying in the current and I feel as if I could be swept away by the tide. I look back at the boat and see the crew excitedly pointing, “Look down.” I plunge my head under and at first see nothing. My breath is rasping and echoing in my ears.

Suddenly, below me I see three dolphins swimming lazily towards me. Two adults and a baby tucked in beside them and I forget everything as I watch them swim past and out of sight. Their sleek bodies, their closeness and the rhythm of their passing takes my breath away and I raise my head. My son is shouting, “Did you see them? Did you?” I can’t stop smiling and give him the thumbs up before plunging my head under again, struggling like a fish caught in a net to keep my body in position. A large dolphin effortlessly, sensuously glides past. His flowing movements and majestic silver body are so perfectly in tune with his environment that I feel tears sting my eyes.

On board everyone is wide-eyed and smiling. Our multi lingual babble releasing our excitement and tension as we are bonded by the experience. We crowd to the side of the boat when we see flashes of silver as frantic garfish leap out of the water trying to escape dolphins hunting below. Occasionally a dolphin soars out of the water, and flops back with a splash. Two were not feeding. They were intent on procreation.

On the trip back I try to get my shoulders free from the wetsuit but only manage to pin my arms to my sides. My son and his wife pull and tug and finally rescue me from the top. I roll the suit down. The result is a lump of black rubber around both ankles. After much tugging I finally pop free, totally spent and thoroughly exhilarated.

patterson canal

Today I enjoyed my swim. Musk duck turned up but viewed me with a wary eye. I swam to shore, stood up and showed him that I was definitely a much larger species. I waved my arms, shouted and in my full length wet suit must have been a formidable sight. He sped off down the canal as fast as he could paddle. Very effective, but I can’t help wondering  what the neighbours now  think about ‘that crazy woman’s’ unusual and unexpected display.

Marjorie’s Last Dance

Live now. Seize the day. We all know these things, but it can be hard to live by our beliefs.

Not so for Marjorie Jean Nash. She lived life to the full and loved every minute of it. But all long and fruitful lives must come to an end. How fitting that Marjorie’s adored family ensured that her send off was a celebration of her life.  Where? In a beautiful little chapel used mainly for weddings at Inglewood  Estate located in a secluded valley of Kangaroo Ground.

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I arrived far too early, even before the guest of honour had arrived. To fill in time I walked in sunshine past the ivy covered chapel and around a small lake by a curtain of trailing weeping willows

willow  church 3 Peaceful, meditative, a chance to reflect on the extraordinary life of an elderly, vibrant, fun-loving woman. I remembered writing a brief biography for her eightieth birthday and would like to share it with you in memory of Marjorie.

The music swells, skirts twirl, feet tap to a staccato beat. It is 1943 and a handsome Australian flying officer grabs Marjorie around the waist and rocks her high above his broad shoulders only to deftly roll her back onto her feet. She twirls away, but he catches her outstretched hand and pulls her to him. Everyone is looking, applauding their energy and vitality, their skill.

To dance with the famous Australian actor ‘Chips’ Rafferty, and to have him tell her fortune, leaves seventeen year old Marjorie breathless and with memories that will last a lifetime. But Chips isn’t the only dancer in the room and soon she is twirling and spinning with another young officer, and then, another. Marjorie loves to dance.

Life was not always bright lights and fun. The First World War took her father, Percival William Icke, away for five years. He left behind a wife and six children and when he returned he had another five children. In 1923, Marjorie was born in Ballarat, a famous Australian goldmining town. She was the third child in the ‘second family’ and her big sister, Myrtle, from the ‘first family,’ looked after her. In such a large household big siblings cared for little siblings. However, Marjorie’s mother was the undisputed matriarch of her large brood. She always called Marjorie by her given name, but her father had several nicknames for her: Marnie, Minnie or Mickey Mouse.

The entire family of Mum, Dad and eleven children eked out a meagre existence on a settlement farm at Pashendale. A soldier’s settlement was a small parcel of land allocated by the government to returned soldiers in recognition of their contribution to Australia. It was a great idea, but impracticable. The farms were too small to do anything with, apart from raising a few cattle, pigs and a couple of sheep. During the great depression, burdened by financial difficulties, many soldiers and their families simply had to walk away from their farms to search for work in the city. Although times were tough, Marjorie has many happy memories of growing up with enough children to form a cricket team. “Pashendale is very hilly,” she says. “We used to blow up a couple of car tyres and have races sliding down a steep grassy hill.”

However, the time on the farm was short-lived and the family moved to a house in Merino. “At that time,” Marjorie says, “My grandfather had a goldmining shed out of Ballarat. I wanted to go to the toilet and he told me to go behind a tree.” Marjorie doubles up with laughter when she says, “A little fox terrier dog bit me on the bottom. I wondered what had struck me.” She shows me a mark on her wrist. “See this,” she says. “When I went to primary school I was living in Ballarat with crabby Auntie Gertie. One day I went to school with a lolly in my mouth and the teacher whacked me with a ruler on the wrist. You should have seen it swell. It was one time Auntie Gertie stood up for me. She really told that teacher off.”

Marjorie also vividly remembers the day her sixteen-year-old sister, Dorothy Pearl, died. They were living in Casterton at the time and Dorothy’s young man let her drive his car. The wheels caught the gravel; the car spun out and overturned. He only broke an arm, but Dorothy died from head injuries. Marjorie says, “She was going to a ball that night and I remember her lovely white, silk and lace party dress and pearl bag laid out on the bed where she had put them.”

When Marjorie was sixteen, and had just started training as a nurse’s aid at the Ballarat Base Hospital, the Second World War began. In 1940 she joined the Women’s Australian Air Force (WAAF) and was based at Melbourne University. The one part of her duties she really enjoyed was looking after medical students. “They were just like my brothers, and I knew how to keep them in their place,” Marjorie says. She eventually completed her training at the Prince Henry Hospital.

During her time with the WAAFs, Marjorie became a corporal and eventually rose to acting-Sergeant. At one stage she was delighted to have one of her brothers under her command, but her most important memories are of enduring friendships, parties and fun with her mates. Young, intelligent and full of life, the girls would catch a tram every chance they got, for a short ride to the heart of the city. The teashops in the Royal Arcade were great meeting places. They would drink coffee, chat and laugh as they watched the world go by. Marjorie had a great war.

It is fifty years since she was in the WAAFs and every year on ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp) commemoration day she still meets her mates to reminisce about the experiences they shared during those difficult years when Australia was at war. It was at Prince Henry Hospital that she met the love of her life, Henry Edward Tynan. They lived for each other, became engaged and planned their wedding. One day, when he was driving home from Sydney, the wheels caught in the gravel, the car spun out and crashed into a bridge. Marjorie felt that life was repeating itself when, just like Dorothy Pearl, Henry died of head injuries.

In the 1950’s a polio epidemic hit Australia and Marjorie was sent to nurse polio victims at the Ballarat Rehabilitation Hospital. She worked in the children’s wards caring for babies struck down by the terrible disease. To try to strengthen and straighten their limbs she would put the baby into a bath and exercise their joints in the water. These days polio has almost been eradicated, but water therapy is still highly regarded; only now it is mainly the elderly who exercise stiff limbs in hydrotherapy pools.

In 1955, when she was thirty-two, Marjorie met Harry Nash. Born on the Isle of Dogs, England he jumped ship to come to Australia. She says, “He was a merchant seaman. Totally handsome and always a good worker. He told me he was looking for a good sort.” He obviously found one because they eloped and married in Wesley church in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. They had been married forty-six years and had four children when one day he arrived home unexpectedly and Marjorie knew something was very wrong. “His face was as red as a turkey. I knew that he wasn’t well and needed to see a doctor. I tried so hard get him to go, but he refused. Instead, he went back to his ship. Later that day they called to say he’d had an ‘accident.’ He’d really had a stroke and was paralysed down one side. It changed his personality. Over the following years sometimes I wished his tongue has been paralysed as well.” Harry died on ANZAC Day, 2002. Marjorie’s family and many friends gathered around to love and support her through this difficult time.

Arm in arm Marjorie and her ninety-one year old sister, Myrtle Annie, face the future. They may be getting older, but both look and act much younger than their age. Marjorie in particular is very active, and as her daughters say, “Mum’s heart is bigger than her body. When we were growing up, she was always helping anyone in need and it was nothing to come home and find some one sleeping on the couch, or extra chairs pulled up to the table. She fostered a boy for many years and took in a woman and her child because they needed a roof over their head and a good square meal. She’ll talk to anyone on a bus or tram, bring them home with her, and they soon become part of the furniture.”

wake  funeral crowd After a celebratory service where family and friends shared with us anecdotes and memories we quietly filed out to the toe tapping strains of The Good Ship Lollypop (Marjorie’s favourite song). Marjorie was an inspiration to us all. Always busy, always happy she lived on her own terms, independent and proud of it. She took great delight and pride in her family and loved every one of them with a passion. Farewell, Marjorie. You will be sadly missed.

Brenda Addie: Actor, Playwrite, Author and Traveller Extraordinaire

Greeks, Romans and Spaniards, Ole

Brenda Addie is Dean of Academic Studies and is responsible for the Academic Program at Whitley College Melbourne. Her passion is the theatre and ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE THEATRE TOURS started as an idea to trace the history and development of world theatre through travel to and engagement with significant world theatre sites and current productions. But it’s not just about famous writers, actors or directors … it is also about place. And with each place comes the signature, the colour, the richness of the work. Brenda has personally researched all the areas the tour will be visiting and will take her fellow companions to off the beaten track destinations and accommodation.  For this reason myself and a friend caught the train into Melbourne and tram to Melbourne University to attend THE HOMAGE TO WORLD THEATRE FREE INFORMATION SESSION Starting at 6.30pm in the GRYPHON GALLERY, 1888 BUILDING, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE.

FrontSGS%20Buildingbrenda

brenda food We were greeted with drinks and nibbles and soon discovered how easily you can see the world and see world theatre. Brenda’s presentation was impeccable and left us wanting more. Suggested authentic local restaurants and cafes definitely appealed to this foodie. Below is a section from her website. Find out how you can join this amazingly talented and inspirational woman on her quest to see the world and see world theatre.

… designed for the cultural hedonist, the aesthete – the adventurer, the lover of art, language and history and the lover of the unusual.

Tour Highlights:

  • Ancient Greek theatre in an Ancient Greek Amphitheatre
  • Odysseus’ Ithaca
  • Athens & Epidaurus Festival
  • Almada International Theatre Festival
  • Merida Classical Theatre Festival
  • Toledo: Goya, Van Dyck, El Greco, Teatro de Rojas
  • Teatro Gil Vicente in Cascais
  • Roman theatre in a Roman Amphitheatre
  • Spanish theatre in 16c Corral de Comedias de Almagro
  • Don Quixote and the windmills of Castille La Mancha
  • Almagro International Festival of Classical Theatre
  • The Grec Festival of Barcelona

 

Where we go

See The World & See World Theatre with our unique world theatre tours!

Always a writer

The Veneta (Welcome) Fiesta: celebrating the world of Latin America, Portugal and Spain

From the moment I became passionate about writing I see life’s everyday happenings as stories. I have become an observer who wants to capture and record what is happening around me. I also make up stories about the people I see: such as the middle aged couple sitting in front of me on the train, or a young mother in a supermarket wheeling an empty pram. I give them lives that go beyond their wildest dreams. Therefore it was only a matter of time before the social event I was attending just for fun at the Frankston Art Precinct became fodder for my camera and my pen

. centre   art centre

I started snapping pictures and jotting odd notes into a small book I always carry about all the delicious sights, sounds and colours.

phamphlet The Frankston Art Centre newsletter pinged into my inbox trumpeting the arrival once again of the South American Ventana (Welcome) Fiesta. This festival celebrates the vibrant world of Latin America, Portugal and Spain. Added to this was a promise of generous tastings of Spanish style wines made from grapes bought from Spain by the Crittenden Estate Vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula. Plus a buffet of gastronomical delights from the Americas.

food  swordfish On arrival, glass of red in hand, I was in heaven when plied with swordfish, fresh salmon, olives, cheese, pitta bread, dips, and to my delight, a plentiful supply of sweet-potato chips. The whole evening became even sweeter when I was informed that everything was free.

painting      jesus paint 2

After trying all the culinary delights I was drawn to Jesus Moreta’s Conexion paintings. Bright, colourful, detailed and innovative they were prominently displayed along with many other talented artists. A feast for the eyes and the soul.

Handicrafts from Peru

handcrafts   dolls 1

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The Q’ewar Doll Project, Peru

dolls

The dolls of the Q’ewar Project were delightful. This project began in early 2002 in the rural highlands of the Andes mountains in Peru, South America. The women of the Q’ewar Project live in extreme poverty and for most this is the first chance they will have to learn skills and earn money in a human and respectful working environment. Q’ewar has created an atmosphere which fosters self esteem, personal growth and a way to gain economic independence through learning life skills in a community setting.

About the dolls

I was told all the dolls are made using natural fibres. The interior is stuffed with pure sheep wool and the dolls’ hair is made from Alpaca yarn. The women card and spin the wool used in all facets of doll making and for knitting the dolls’ clothes. The women colour the hand dyed fibres with dye from indigenous plants.

Little Chips Handcrafts

chips

When you buy a doll you are giving your support to the Q’ewar project, a social and economic initiative working with the indigenous women of the area. The dolls are distributed by Little chips Handcrafts Shop 5 372 Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras, Melbourne, Australia.

To order a doll contact Annie Angle on Mob: 0457 413 015 or at annie.angle@gmail.com. the dolls can be viewed at http://www.qewar.com.au

dancers

We were taken out of the art centre and into Cube 37 Gallery where fascinating masks leered at us from walls

. mask  mask 2 mask3

A performance of the ancient traditional cocoa ritual left us spellbound.

At this moment my Iphone battery decided to die. A blessing in disguise as I sat back and soaked up the cultural experience.

The evening is still in my heart and in my mind. I came away with a sense of community and sharing and caring, my mind overflowing with brilliant colours and hypnotic dancing. Of arts and crafts, rituals, handicrafts and song and enough stories to keep me busy for weeks to come. Ventana Fiesta 2015 Frankston’s boutique cultural festival VENTANA is now in its ninth year. This annual celebration of Latin American, Portuguese and Spanish cultures, people and stories aims to provide intimate and authentic experiences through dance, music, food, art, crafts, film, poetry, language, sports and educational workshops. This year’s events are dedicated to Afro Latin American cultural fusions! The Ventana Fiesta takes place in the Frankston and Carrum Downs Libraries, The Frankston Arts Centre, Frankston’s pristine Waterfront, White Street Mall, Wells Street and Wells Street Plaza during February and March 2015. Ventana Fiesta