Old friends..

I am heading away this weekend for a catch up with friends I went to Teachers College with, back in the 80’s…more than 30 years ago.

When we first met up in 1983, we were 18 years old, (younger than my daughters are now), and now most of us are 52. We were straight out of High School..with no thought of Gap Years, or travelling through Europe. It was HSC, Christmas Holidays, then off to University, or for us, Armidale Teachers College.

We were kids from country, and coastal towns throughout NSW mostly, and for 3 years we had a fantastic time…socialising, studying, socialising, socialising, and more socialising!!!

For the first year we all lived on campus, most of us at Smith House, but many also scattered throughout the campuses at UNE. How great was that time!!

We were independent, yet still kind of protected within the group environment that campus living provided. We were fed 5 days a week, in a dining room which was always noisy, with big tables, lines of kids, and food that sustained us, but probably didn’t delight us…but generally we weren’t complaining .

Within our rooms, we all had a kettle, maybe a toaster, or even more special,  a toasted sandwich maker ..a Breville.!! We had posters on our walls, and maybe a Cassette Tape Deck/Radio. We watched TV in the common rooms, used the shared laundry, and managed to negotiate the shared unisex bathrooms, occasionally dodging the cold water thrown over the less than private door!!

We had talent shows, dances, and managed to make very little money go a very long way at the pubs around Armidale. It was the time of free University study, so whilst having to pay for our board on campus , our studies were free and we left College, with what was then a Diploma of Teaching (Infants, Primary)..and more importantly no financial debt to the Government that would hang around for years…lucky us.!! We were some of the last years to have that privilege.

After completing our study we all went our different ways. At that time many of us headed north to Queensland, and the Northern territory, and as young people do, kind of drifted away from each other, creating new lives wherever we settled.

This was the time before mobile phones, so keeping in regular touch meant either writing letters, or ringing on the landline, and as we moved about , most of us didn’t even know each others new addresses, let alone phone numbers. So basically we lost touch…to be expected , but sad just the same…

That is until the “miraculousness” of things like Facebook…where gradually we got on board, and managed to lurk around, snooping out lost friends, and seeing what they had grown up into…before very hesitantly making contact once again.

Some….yes, we probably needed to leave in the past..but how joyous is it to meet up once again with some true friends…ones that knew you while you were still young, and yet  becoming the adult you are now… That is a very special time in our life, and the ones who were there are special also!

These people were there when you made some really bad ‘youthful’ decisions, they probably either tried stopping you, or were there cheering you on…but guaranteed they were there to pick you up afterwards…or at least pat you on the back, and hold your hair back!

This weekend I am meeting up with some of these people once again. 30 years have gone past… we are now older than many of our lecturers were back then , older than our parents were back then, and we even have children older than we were back then…but the really odd thing is that when we talk to each other, (as we have been doing in preparation for this reunion), the 30 years drop away, and we are, as we were back then, good friends just wanting to have a laugh and have fun…. Some friendships are able to withstand a 30 year gap, and a weekend away finds us picking up where we left off back in 1985…The Champagne is on ice girls…see you soon!!…I’ll recognise you by the teal taffeta dress!!



Keeping it fun….

I’ve already written about how important the small things in life are… it’s the little things that make the days enjoyable and keep you smiling.

It might be a single flower in the garden ..( the less you have, the more you treasure them, and being no gardener ..I treasure each bloom!), or the way your weirdo dogs both look at you,  the ‘fun moments’ can make you smile.

My daughter Chloe and I have an ongoing “fun moment”….

One day more than a year ago, my husband and younger daughter returned from a Saturday morning Garage Sale Hunt, with a number of strange objects. Old boxing gloves, which I didn’t like… some coloured glassware, which I did like… and a very odd little statuette of an old Chinese Man, ..which I really didn’t like!!

Who buys stuff like that?..(well…obviously my husband and daughter..)

Anyway, instead of being thrown out immediately, the boxing gloves got to hang around for another year before finally being thrown out..the glassware was cleaned, and displayed with other beautiful coloured glass we had collected….but the little  old Chinese man has made Chloe and myself smile many times.

We developed this game , ( I can’t even remember why?), where we take turns in putting the little statue in different places that the other person will discover . There’s no time limit, it may take days or weeks for him to be discovered, and he has spent time in bathroom cupboards, under pillows, in undies drawers, or perched high on shelves surveying the scene around him.  The last week has found him sitting, swinging silently in a hanging brass bowl in Chloe’s bedroom, his little hand waving, waving, his eyes only just peeping out above the rim….patiently waiting, waiting to be discovered and smiled at again.

It was only today that I knew that Chloe had rescued him from his ‘home for the last week’, and given him a new home. I seriously hope he hasn’t been there for long, ( I have been away for a couple of days, and hate to think of him being uncomfortable in his abode of late….standing bravely between the Golden Syrup and the chilled bottle of water, in the shelf on the fridge door!!

Seriously it is the most interesting thing I’ve seen in our fridge for weeks….. but once again he served his purpose and made me smile when I discovered him there.

I’ll make sure he goes somewhere warm to recover….


A 70’s girl..(The decade, not the age!!)

Whilst doing a spot of early Christmas shopping this afternoon, I was thrilled to come across gorgeous little bottles of ‘4711 Eau de Cologne’… Tiny, perfectly designed little bottles with the beautiful gold and blue (teal??..more of an 80’s colour!!) label. This bottle has a gold and red cap…..so so perfect.

Surely for every girl of the 70’s this was the one scent we all had… I don’t think I knew of any others till I was much older and started to take notice of such things. Today I actually don’t wear any perfumes, but couldn’t resist this afternoon buying 3 little bottles for my daughters…they were just too cute! (The perfume …not my daughters….although yes they are very cute also!)

“4711 “…written in the lovely font they used , is an Eau de Cologne. I don’t even know what that actually means..but in my mind I think of it as being a perfume you can be quite liberal in splashing on yourself..Not so precious as a Chanel no 5….so there can be more of the splashing, less of the dabbing.

Describing the scent of 4711, is quite tricky… it’s not floral or spice driven…kind of a women’s perfume combined with a great men’s aftershave!…odd. But it brings to mind summer, and showers after a day at the beach. (I think there was an episode of Seinfeld when Kramer invented a perfume that smelt of the beach…well 4711 isn’t that scent !)

img_5403 Anyway… I will give each of my daughters a little bottle  when I get home… they can either use it..or just sit it on the shelf. Either way, I shall enjoy the scent of it, or the gorgeous look of it…..they don’t make em like that anymore, but I’ll be happy to have it around again… happy splashing!!


Naturally Talented…

Sometimes people just blow you away with how quietly talented they are, and just how lovely the ‘creations’ that result from this talent can be.

You meet them, you become friends, then you discover (without them telling you)..that they are madly talented in some amazing way.

I have a friend who is incredibly smart, and should be writing  amazing best sellers, another who if she so chose, could run a multi million dollar company with her organising skills,  another  who would give Jamie Oliver a run for his money, another who could style anyone into a ‘Kardashian like celebrity’…..and yet they all go about their lives quietly, raising their families, sometimes working outside the home, ALWAYS working in the home, and being part of our community.

I also have a friend who is putting her wonderful talent out into the world…thank goodness !

Samorn is a beautiful mum, of two equally beautiful daughters. As well as being totally devoted to them….she also creates the most gorgeous fabrics through the use of Natural Dyes.

Flowers, leaves, fruit, vegetables (much of it in a decomposing  state), rusty nails,  buckets….soaking, sun, wind, and rain….silks and linens….all of these things are the starting points for her beautiful creations.

To quote Samorn , (who was quoting Arthur Ashe)….

“Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can…”

Her beautiful creations are proof that beautiful things don’t have to be complicated, you don’t need heaps of materials to get started. Think simply, think naturally, use what’s around you…and the results can be outstandingly lovely.

My family are always rolling their eyes at me when I drag another fallen tree branch into the house to use as decoration, ….

“OH MY GOD MUM..did you seriously drag that down the street…how embarrassing?!?”

I admit it….I love a windy day…fallen branches are like treasure to me!!…. When a tree was recently cut down in our front yard, I had to stop myself from  telling the tree guys …..”Just leave those branches ..I’ll keep them all!!”…I’m still regretting not keeping enough to fill the fireplace during summer!

I’ll come back from a walk with a handful of Gum leaves that I’ve picked up from the ground..but once placed in just the right spot in the house ….these simple things can look ‘as good‘ if not better than any bunch of flowers bought in shop…( Although I will never say no to the occasional bought flowers !)  Unless they are Gerberas..then sorry ..but I’m saying no to them!….I’m not a fan..

Start thinking of using some Natural stuff in your home.. stuff you find in the environment close to your house… you may not be as gorgeously talented as Samorn, but hey..anyone can drag a branch inside….hang a scarf or a candle in a glass jar on it …and voila…Naturally talented!!!

You can check out the beautiful creations of my friend Samorn on her Instagram page… Samorn_saxinay

                                    Images retrieved from Samorn_saxinay with her permission.