Our Christmas (plants, cats & dinner…but where’s the main meal?)

Inspired by Patricia’s lovely post sanqween & I thought we’d put up some pics of our Christmas. It’s been a wet one here in the Sth East corner of Qld, but we are one of the fortunate households that have received the lush, greening, flowering benefits – unlike those unfortunate people up North who are forced to deal with dreadful flooding (our thoughts go out to them…and we’ll add a donation to the thoughts):

There will be plenty of trimming to do soon:

Our three feline friends, Apollo, Emi (Emerald) & Midnight enjoying each other’s company:

Someone’s pleased we got a couple of dry days and I mowed the lawn:

Apollo knows how to deal with the rain:

Emi’s worked out that her Christmas gift offers a high, dry, safe place…free of her bored (due to rain), too playful mates:

Pre-Christmas dinner munchables:

Entering the Christmas dinner grotto:

The table revealed…we used all Scandinavian Christmas music:

Each person gets a pre-dinner gift…mine was whiskey fudge…yum:

And after dinner it’s off to the lounge to have homemade (by S’) lemon & marzipan biscuits, choccies, and Irish coffee…and a visit to the goodies under the tree:

A lovely time was had by all. And yes, I did forget to take pics of the actual gorgeous dinner made primarily by S’…doh! Was enjoyin’ it far too much. But I did most of the decorating…so I’m forgiven. 

Christmas wish for next year? A better camera. But hey! we’re not rich…so we make do. (Blame poor focus of  pics on the fella who obviously needs new glasses…again).

A HAPPY NEW YEAR to all at Cafe Whispers from both of us…and our feline mates.

A picture of Bronson at age 17 (tale told on Patricia’s thread):

In his last year he needed a helpin’ hand…but he sure loved his water:

N’

105 comments on “Our Christmas (plants, cats & dinner…but where’s the main meal?)

  1. Glorious photos, Nas, and thanks for sharing them with us.

    I don’t have any New Year’s resolutions apart from eating less sweets. I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and I reckon it’s due to my diet.

  2. Thnx Migs.

    As for the sweets, I know where yer comin’ from…I haven’t eaten so many since last year…I stopped a few days before New Year’s eve & felt better for it.

    However, I’m still drinkin’ various grog includin’ schnapps, beer, red & white wine, Chivas Regal & Amaretto in coffee…but I think after tonite I’ll have to give much of it away & start up the Wii exercise program again…

    I’m startin’ to feel like pickled ginger. 🙂

    Tho, it will be hard not to have a few beers durin’ The Ashes…I’ve really enjoyed this series…even tho I support Australia. It’s been relaxin’ to watch. Except when they put up Howard’s face in the audience. That brought a sound of flatulence from me. 🙂

    N’

  3. Great stuff, N’, and you’re very good at threading in the pictures. I was hoping that Miglo would do mine for me, but he was laid low with the lurgie so I really couldn’t ask. So, another great new learning experience on how to set up a post and insert pictures! Easy once you know how, but wow, so many options on the posting site!

    Loved your Christmas table decor. Your cats look thoroughly loved and contented.

  4. I’ll have to work out how to put photos in the comments section. Joni knows a way but I think his way involves a link to a web site, which us way beyond my capabilities. I’ll keep searching.

  5. “Loved your Christmas table decor. Your cats look thoroughly loved and contented.”

    Cheers Patricia. Was tryin’ to create a bit of atmosphere in our humble abode. A bit of dry ice might’ve helped. 🙂

    Yes, we spoil the cats…it bein’ mostly their home & we the servants. 🙂

    N’

  6. Bugger! Does this mean I have to learn how to put photos on a thread? It’s all too hard for me. You’ll just have to believe I took some photos.

    BTW great photos, Nas’.

  7. Feral, it’s great to see you back. Your inputs on the music topics were very much missed (plus others of course).

  8. Thank you all for the kind salutations. I guess I can share my low key Xmas story with you now.
    I had a tree the size of the one on Nas’ table, which I put on the floor and surrounded with presents which I just had enough energy to wrap on Xmas Eve. There wweren’t as many as there should have been because I was out of action the whole last week before Xmas. Anyway, as I get up and about again I will be going out and rounding up what I had in mind to get(hopefully at reduced prices now!). Plus I have scheduled a trip to Sydney’s Paddy’s Market for some fun. Also, the internet proved to be a boon because I could order from the comfort of my sickbed. Then, on Xmas Day I ate very little all day until evening when I summoned up the strength to make Stir Fried Prawns with Ginger and Shallots. I ate it with glee because it was the first meal I had had in about 10 days. My kids were angels the whole time as well. They didn’t complain once as they had to learn how to cook for themselves(and not just 2 minute noodles!), and do the washing and washing up. Their help was the best Xmas gift I could hope to get. 🙂
    Anyway, onwards and upwards in 2011.
    I’ll finish with a song for my kids:

  9. Glad you managed to get through Christmas relatively unscathed, Feral and it’s great that you’re pretty much up to speed again and getting better with each passing day.

    Hats off to your kids as well for helping out. I realise it’s in their best interests, but kids can sometimes fail to see that. It will be the learning curve they needed for when they (eventually) leave home.

    Hope 2011 is a wonderful year for you and yours and for all Whisperers and their families.

  10. Feral, most kids I know would have happily left the dishes until you were better, so yours must be little angels.

    Reminds me of the story of the loving husband who insisted his ill wife spend a couple of days in bed and to forget about the dishes and other housework. “They can wait until you feel up to it”.

    Ouch.

  11. I hate to boast..but I will anyway 😀 My kids all cook for me vegetarian dishes from the girls and son makes a ripper breakfast. Mind you housework is an entirely different matter.

  12. Thnx Jane. We believe ya re: the photos. 🙂

    Feral, glad to hear yer feelin’ better & gettin’ around again. Those sound like top kids ya have there.

    Same goes for Min’s.

    Just wish our cats could cook. Still, at least Apollo cleans his ashtrays after his Cubans…and picks me up a Corona when he’s out. 🙂

    Hot & muggy here today. My fave weather. Not. Bring on the cold beer.

    N’

  13. BTW, we also have a Christmas eve dinner over at my Mum & Stepdad’s place each year. It was brilliant.

    Two thumbs up to sanqween who cooked her butt off (I help w/ the theme ideas, searchin’ for recipes, decorations, cuttin’ veges & shopping):

    Xmas eve meal:

    Pumpkin soup
    Leak & Sweet potato roulade
    potato & sage bake
    sherried carrots
    herbed green peas

    choc fondue w/ strawberries, berries & brandy snaps

    Xmas day:

    Vege sausages w/ dijon, herbed tomatoes & eggs benedict w/ hollandaise sauce
    Eggnog w/ brandy

    Beetroot & eggplant dips w/ carrots, nuts, celery etc.

    French onion soup w/ gruyer
    chargrilled spring onion & asparagus w/ macedemia oil, balsamic & parmesan dressing
    cucumber salad w/ peanuts & chilli

    Vege Wellington w/ sherry sauce
    honeyed carrots
    sticky pumpkin w/ pecans & feta
    red cabbage w/ wine & apples
    duchess potatoes

    mulled wine

    Creme brullee w/ toffee & warm berry sauce
    Lemon & marzipan biscuits
    Irish coffee w/ chantilly cream

    N’

  14. Nas’..you’re making me hungry. That’s a brilliant menu. Who said that vegetarian was nothing but rabbit food 😉

  15. Nas, when can I move in?

    BTW, I’m trying to teach my dog to iron. She pays absolutely no attention despite her good grasp of the English language.

    What on earth am I doing wrong?

  16. If you ask Tony Abbott, ironing is women’s work(except when you’re doing it for the cameras).

  17. Well, I just made the most delicious meal. It contained stri-fried Bok Choy, Broccoli, Carrot, Birds Eye Chilli, Red Capsicum, Spring Onions, Garlic and Ginger, in a sauce consisting of a combination of Sweet Chilli Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce & Sesame Oil. Served with steamed Jasmine Rice. 🙂

  18. Sorry to be late to the Xmas Music Party, but I feel as if it is still valid to contribute music until the Xmas trees come down 12 days after Xmas(well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it), as I noticed no one had added this classic to the list, and no Xmas id complete without the Backdoor Santa!

  19. Migs,
    I notice you play Scrabble on Facebook. 🙂
    However, if your top score is > 300 I ain’t interested in challenging you!

  20. Great Xmas song Feral.

    The meal sounds yummy. Tho, I’d leave out the oyster sauce bein’ a vego. The rest great.

    N’

  21. Oh, that’s alright then, Migs. I don’t have holidays. 🙂

    Feral, that sounds very edible. I made fried rice Sunday, but didn’t add chillies because I thought son #2 would be partaking. Alas, I was incorrect in that assumption,so had to add some very decent green chilli sauce made for me by my cousin. So all was not lost.

    Last night we went to some friends’ place for casserole night. There’s about 4+ families from Victoria who’ve been coming here for fishing holidays for 30+ years and they have a group cook every night.

    There were half a dozen very yummy casseroles and I took along a bread and butter pudding made with the left over panetone dipped in a very sinful custard mix consisting of cream, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract.

    To atone for that excess of cholesterol, I sweetened and whipped more cream, to which I added some Paris Creek yoghurt and took along some mixed berries macerated in dark brown sugar, strawberry balsamic and fresh passionfruit pulp. A nice healthy dessert. 🙂

  22. Nas’ Bronson looked pretty good for a 17yo cat with health problems. Obviously, he’d well and truly sussed out the best family to take over adopt. LOL!

  23. jane,
    Green Chilli sauce sounds as if it may be delicious but not quite hot enough for my son for whom the hottest Indian Curry Paste that you can buy in the shops is just not hot enough! I, of course, have to add a goodly side portion of Chutney to tame the taste buds afire from the same meal.
    Your Panettone dessert sounds delicious. My Panettone disappeared on New Years Eve with a slab of butter and a knife, into the hungry maws of a pack of 15 year olds. 🙂

  24. Feral, I can only suggest locking it up in a safe to which you have the only key!

    Luckily, sons #2 & 3, won’t eat it, so I can leave it exposed to the general gaze without a care in the world. That’s probably the only benefit of having picky eaters, I can think of.

    Feral, the sauce he makes is pretty deadly, which is why it’s lasted a while-I’m the only one who eats it.

    I add it to my home made tomato sauce to give it a bit of a rev up, despite the addition of plenty of chillies when making the stuff.

    My first husband was a Malaysian born Chinese and used to make a delicious recipe with pork ribs. I haven’t made it for a while, but from memory you place about half a kilo of pork ribs in a large frypan and add a couple of tbspns of brown bean paste, several dried birds eye chillies (to your taste) and around 2 tbspns or so of tamarind.

    Cover with water and simmer, covered, until the water has gone and you’re left with a thick sauce covering the ribs. Remove the tamarind seeds and the chillies if desired then pile on a plate, squeeze a lemon over and eat with rice.

    He also used to make a sour beef curry which was delicious, too.

    Cut topside or rump (if you’re feeling wealthy) into strips, finely dice a brown onion, ditto 2 cloves of garlic and make a paste of enough of your favourite curry powder for the meat.

    Fry the onion and garlic until transparent add the curry paste and fry until pungent. Add the meat and coat with the paste, then add enough water to make a thinnish sauce, a couple of tablespoons of tamarind, some dried birds eye chillies if desired and a couple or so tablespoons of belacan. Simmer until the meat is just cooked remove the tamarind seeds and the chillies if desired and scoff.

    Nas’ you could possibly adapt the recipes to vego ones, but you can’t leave out the belacan in the second recipe and its made with fermented prawns. You may just have to smell it if someone cooks it within range of your sniffer.

  25. “To atone for that excess of cholesterol, I sweetened and whipped more cream, to which I added some Paris Creek yoghurt and took along some mixed berries macerated in dark brown sugar, strawberry balsamic and fresh passionfruit pulp. A nice healthy dessert.”

    That does sound nice jane.

    We make very similar hot stuff at times but w/ tofu.

    One dinner I luv is Szechawan style braised bean curd from Charmaine Soloman’s vege book:

    Peanut oil (we substitute olive oil sometimes)
    garlic
    ginger
    hoisin sauce
    black bean sauce
    chilli bean sauce (we just put in long green chillies & birdseye – sometimes habanero chili added later as S’ doesn’t like it too hot)
    sesame oil
    brown sugar
    red capsicum
    organic tofu diced

    delicious w/ jasmine rice and stir fried carrots w/ sesames & sherry sauce…conghua green beans in Chinese wine sauce…and brocolli & bok choy in ginger soya sauce.

    “Green Chilli sauce sounds as if it may be delicious but not quite hot enough for my son for whom the hottest Indian Curry Paste that you can buy in the shops is just not hot enough!”

    Feral, a man after my own heart in that respect. Dad was born in India & bred on curries w/ chillies in the garden…so the hot stuff has played an essential role in our lives.

    N’

  26. jane,
    You would not believe what I have in my pantry cupboard…Belacan Paste! I just have to buy some Tamarind though. Just as long as the curry is hot enough my son will be happy. So I’ll give it a go this week. I also have a recipe book with Curry recipes from all around the region in it, however I usually eschew making them because they are either not hot enough for my son(who eats the lion’s share of what I make, and my other son is a Vego), or they involve putting together the curry paste from specific ingredients and I’m usually too time poor at the end of the school year days to get it together. However, now that it’s the holidays and I’m back in the land of the living…
    Your 1st husband’s Pork Ribs recipe sounds similar to what I do with Pork Fillet. Except I buy Asian Char Siu Sauce and marinate the Pork Fillet in it, cook it in the oven, glaze it with honey, let cool, then use in a simple stir fry with Bok Choy and Jasmine Rice.
    Also, every week, if I like the sound of it, I try and prepare Curtis Stone’s latest recipe in the Coles catalogue.
    It’s all MasterChef and Iron Chef’s fault, my kids expect it of me now. 🙂

  27. Nas, I’m a gonna try that Charmaine Solomon recipe one night. She always sold a lot of recipe books back in the day before the internet. Probably because her stuff is sooo good.
    I’m also looking to put my Japanese hat on this year because I can’t wait to start taking Wasabi up to my son!
    I also do a mean Sweet Vegetarian Curry, with Apples and Raisins, an awesome Ratatouille and a delicious Egg Foo Yong, when it comes to pulling recipes out of the Vegi drawer.
    I remember the little vegetarian recipe book I used to have, printed on some of the first recycled paper in books in Australia. You had to go into a ‘Left Wing’ bookshop in Sydney to purchase such ‘out there’ paperbacks. As I was sharing a house in Lilyfield/Balmain it wasn’t that much of a stretch. I used to feel so anarchic and countercultural! I also used to drink Celestial Seasonings tea from America, but I could never come at Ecko or Dandelion Coffee. 🙂

  28. One that I can recommend for pork fillet is an oldie and not available on the net and so I thought to pass it on.

    Marinade:

    1 dspn sugar
    1 tblspn honey
    3 tblspn lite soy sauce
    1 tspn vegetable oil
    2 tblspns rice wine
    1 clove garlic crushed
    1/2 tspn mixed spice (not Chinese Five Spice)
    1 tblspn Hoy Sin

    Marinade for a few hours, drain and place on a wire rack and bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. Baste frequently with the marinade.

    I always reserve a portion of the marinade and warm it to serve as a sauce.

  29. I break out into a monstrous sweat if I come within a half a mile of a chilli. Tried something spicy a few months back and I had to run outside to eat the wet grass. Having a hiatus hernia didn’t add to the joy.

    Won’t tell you how my bum reacted the next day. 😦

  30. The sweat’s the key, Migs. 🙂
    Plus lots of rice, pappadums, Sweet Chutney and milk. Which are the cure alls for the problems at the other end.

  31. “I’m also looking to put my Japanese hat on this year because I can’t wait to start taking Wasabi up to my son!”

    Salivatin’ Feral.

    We made a pizza two nites ago w/ wasabi cheese. Yum!

    Luv wasabi. Sometimes I put it in my salad sandwiches or have by itself on Ryvita. Great for blocked noses.

    We also luv it in sushi (seasoned tofu, lebanese cucumber strips, avocado, tomato strips, pickled ginger slices, wasabi &/or sweet chilli sauce, nori sheets & seasoned Japanese rice)…dip in soya sauce mixed w/ tabasco.

    “I also do a mean Sweet Vegetarian Curry, with Apples and Raisins, an awesome Ratatouille and a delicious Egg Foo Yong, when it comes to pulling recipes out of the Vegi drawer.”

    Salavatin’ again Feral…sanqween luvs those sweet curries.

    Egg Foo Yong…now that’s somethin’ I haven’t heard in years. Must try.

    As for spicey, I got used to hot spicey omelettes when visitin’ Malaysia…I’m addicted to them. Tho interestingly, we use an Indonesian paste in them now.

    “I remember the little vegetarian recipe book I used to have, printed on some of the first recycled paper in books in Australia. You had to go into a ‘Left Wing’ bookshop in Sydney to purchase such ‘out there’ paperbacks.”

    The oldest we have are:

    New Age Vegetarian Cookbook (fifth edition, 1975, Rosicrucian Fellowship)

    and

    International Vegetarian Cookery: Sonya Richmond 1978…
    I opened it the other day to look for a Spicey Lebanese Coffeee…add whipped cream, cinnamon, grated orange peel, nutmeg & honey.

    “I also used to drink Celestial Seasonings tea from America”

    He he…we still do…started drinkin’ it in Sydney in the early 80s & never looked back. We order it online from Health Food Express at Baulcham Hills, NSW.

    Every arvo we drink one of the followin’:

    Tangerine Orange, Lemon Zinger or Red Zinger…and Tension Tamer when we’re a bit stressed.

    “but I could never come at Ecko or Dandelion Coffee.”

    Can relate to that. 🙂

    N’

  32. “The sweat’s the key, Migs.”

    YEAAA!

    Migs obviously isn’t into my Tabasco beer either. 🙂

    “Plus lots of rice, pappadums, Sweet Chutney and milk. Which are the cure alls for the problems at the other end.”

    Indeed. Add yoghurt…raita…great coolin’ agent for the tongue.

    N’

  33. “2 tblspns rice wine”

    Min, thnx for remindin’ me…w/ Feral’s comment on Japanese food you’ve both triggered a memory…we’re supposed to have Sushi, tempura veges, miso soup and sake this hols.

    Must get the stuff when shoppin’ today.

    Domo – Arigato 🙂

    N’

  34. I was about to mention raita too Nas’. I nearly always do the one with fresh mint (which I struggle to grow up here compared with Victoria), cucumber and cumin.

  35. Min,
    Coles are putting out a fairly accurate Cucumber Raita now. Just add the fresh mint and you’d have a pretty genuine article.

  36. You may be interested in an accompanying salad Nas – we had this as one of our salads on Christmas day:

    Daikon & Carrot salad

    2 medium carrots (240g), cut into matchsticks
    360g daikon, cut into matchsticks
    4 Japanese mint (shiso) leaves (we just used mint from the garden)
    1 tblspn finely shredded lemon rind
    1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted
    1/3 cup (80ml) sushi vinegar.

    * Place carrot & daikon in seperate bowls, cover with iced water, stand 15 minutes; drain, gently squeezing out excess moisture.
    * Cut mint leaves into thin strips.
    * Place carrot, daikon and mint in a bowl, toss gently to combine.

    Serve sprinkled with rind & seeds, drizzled with vinegar.
    (Women’s Weekly Japanese)

    It’s very light & refreshing, with the daikon having a subtle radish flavour without the heat of our red radish.

  37. If it’s heat you want though, I’ve got some “Flaming Hot” chillies I got from Bunnings, and they’re flamin’ HOT!!! To much for this tongue I’m afraid – I can see them being replaced with a more mild version next year.

  38. Nas,
    My Egg Foo Yong contains:
    Bean Sprouts
    Spring Onions
    Water Chestnuts
    Bamboo Shoots, in a beaten egg mixture, which is then pan fried in pancake-sized lots.
    Pour over a Soy Sauce/Brown Sugar/Rice Wine Vinegar/Cornstarch gravy.
    Yum!

  39. Yes, I see Min has been to the Bunnings gardening section – my local has quite a good range of plants too!

    I sowed some chilli seeds in seed raising pots in about September, but I wanted some more advanced seedlings to put into the garden – a visit to Bunnings found me coming home with 4 x Pohlman’s “Flaming Hot” chilli plants, 2 of which went into a small garden out the back, one in the front garden, and one in a pot.

    I had a nibble on the chillies when they were young & green, but they had no bite whatsoever, leading to a false sense of their potency.

    Unfortunately I tried the same when they had turned yellow/orange and spent the next couple of hours in extreme pain, sipping on milk, eating cucumber and yogurt – I even resorted to some Glenfiddich (mid-afternoon), all to no avail – only time could ease my discomfort!

    They’re not bad when used in moderation (½ chilli in a pot of taco mince to serve 6 people is almost too much). I think I’ll plant some more seeds of the long red chillies (Grower’s pride Hot Pepper) next August to replace these dangerous chemical weapons…

  40. Happy birthday Kota Bear!

    Min @2.18pm, sounds similar to bbq belly pork I make. You blitz a marinade of soft tofu, red food colouring, honey (a very generous gloop out of the jar), plenty of hoi sin, green ginger chopped (5-10cm depending on how much meat), several garlic cloves.

    Marinade the pork several hours or o/night and stick under a very hot grill until both sides are just looking burnt around the edges. Cut into thick slices and fang.

    I do a similar marinade for drumsticks-roughly equal quantities of hoi sin & honey, a slurp of bbq sauce and grated ginger. Spoon half the marinade over the drumsticks, cook about 15 minutes in a 180-200C oven, turn, spoon remaining marinade over and cook another 15 mins. Eat with rice.

    Of course, you realise that reading all the delicious recipes everyone has posted has my stomach begging for food and I’ve not long had lunch! I don’t know if I can last until dinner time.

  41. Unfortunately I tried the same when they had turned yellow/orange and spent the next couple of hours in extreme pain

    And thoroughly deserved. 😛

  42. Those chillies might work well in this recipe… 😆

    I particularly like the preparation steps below 😛

    To portion the duck into manageable pieces, first remove the legs. Separate the thighs from the drumsticks and chop each thigh and drumstick into 2 pieces. Trim away the lower half of the duck with kitchen scissors. Cut the breast piece in half down the middle, then chop each half into 4 pieces.

  43. Jane, that one sounds very yummy indeed. One that I do for Chinese chicken is a marinade of honey, rice wine (2 tblspns ea), 1/2 tpsn ea of five spice powder & sesame oil and 1 tblspn soy. You boil the chicken in water with 1 cup soy, 5cm ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 1tblspn five spice powder then let stand until the water has cooled to warm. Then place the cut pieces onto a tray, throw on the marinade and fridge it for a couple of hours. And then into the oven with a little veg oil.

    It sounds a bit of a marathon effort, but it can be prepared in stages.

  44. “You may be interested in an accompanying salad”

    Bacchus that’s brill…thnx…will be a nice addition.

    LOL on the chillies. Chemical weapons indeed. I will have to check Bunnings out.

    The Grower’s pride Hot Pepper are useful.

    Was watchin’ the cricket & fell asleep durin’ the rain break…wish Khawaja had gone on longer, fine batsman…still, at least he didn’t get a duck.

    Hughes is a teaser…always looks like he’s goin’ to have the big hit…but out early. Watson more hesitant today…but reliable character.

    Off to watch the rest recorded.

    N’

  45. Bacchus,
    Sadly, I’ll never be able to eat Duck again after my father and grandfather came home one evening with a couple of Wild Ducks that they had shot themselves that day. They proceeded to gut them and pluck them in front of my very eyes. Then they cooked one(my grandfather kept the other one). Then I was forced to eat it. I found out that day what ‘Gamey’ meant. Never. Again.

  46. Migs,
    If only I had been a drinker on that night it might have helped me blot out the overwhelming of my senses. However, as a 9 year old I just had to grin and bear it. 🙂

  47. When you had a face only a mother could love, as he did, then you had to be a great actor to get work. Which he was.

  48. Although I must admit I was more saddened to hear about the lead singer from Boney M dying in St Petersburg on the same day Rasputin did. Spooky!

  49. Migs @ 8.19pm You mean that you still trust me with the key after the last time 🙂

    Feral, I know what you mean about duck being gamey..two things that I don’t eat are innards and duck.

  50. Feral, that Tagine sounds good…I do enjoy chick peas.

    And thnx for the useful Egg Foo Yong recipe.

    Migs, that’s sad news about Pete Postlethwaite.

    Yes, that a member of Boney M. should die in Russia, considerin’ they sang ‘Rasputin’…on same day as him…in same city…strange coincidence…as mentioned by Feral.

    This was the first year I used Boney M. on a Christmas compilation (for the pre-Xmas dinner period…sanqween’s Mum loves them):

  51. Well done, Jane. Takes quite a different set of synapses, doesn’t it? Those of us who’ve been schooled from early days with writing and the printed word in books which we’ve used for many decades have a mind set that really has to grapple with this stuff. It took me an age to get my three snaps into place for the sunflower posting.

    I’m astonished at the facility of my grandsons with things technological. They have only limited access to the computer, by the way, and they seem to use their time allocation well. They attend Steiner school so to date they get no IT tuition there at all. I imagine that High School will be different. Not that the absence of it so far has held them back.

    You obviously like bigger dogs. Handsome trio you have there. All quite different. Have you had them from pups, or did you acquire them at different times for different reasons? I can imagine you being an easy touch for homeless strays or orphans.

  52. Re dogs – a neighbour approached me today re her aging Jack Russell, Jelly Bean. She and her three children, since Dad left home for good, are having to move from their house to a unit.

    Jelly Bean is thirteen and a half, still lively and really quite a noisy little chap. Tacker passes by their gate and garden quietly and with some disdain while JB does his nut prancing around and barking at us.

    I had to say no to the idea of my taking JB on when they move house. They thought that I would be a good choice because they’d come back and walk him from time to time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him out with them for a walk or on a leash either. As well, we are still dealing with dog drama in the family with the new puppy next door.

    The alternative is for him to be put down, which seems sad. I said I’d put the word around down at the dog beach. It would need to be somewhere with no children because he will obviously die of old age some time soon. Any other ideas, Jane? Min? Anyone at all?

  53. Patricia, that certainly puts you into a difficult situation. You could indeed be asking for strife as it seems likely that JB and Tacker might not get along.

    Have you tried your local pound or Council? Over here we have a voluntary organisation called Friends of the Pound. They act as carers for doggies who would have ended up on death row and place them with families suited to the particular pup.

  54. jane,
    great pics. Thnx for puttin’ them up. We particularly liked the ones w/ you holding the baby next to the dog…the two dogs sleepin’ together on the couch…and them havin’ a larf in the water splashin’ around. What are their names?

    N’

  55. Thanks, N’ – have passed that article on to Jelly Bean’s mum. She was most appreciative. As also for the idea of contact with the local pound, Min. I often meet elderly people out walking who want to pat Tacker and chat about dogs they have owned. There’s a nostalgia and longing there. Makes sense, doesn’t it that the elderly would think twice about taking on a young dog, but might might be happy to enjoy the company of an older pet needing a home.

  56. Patricia, my synapses are suffering technology overload. I had hell’s delight uploading the photos and adding captions. A combination of ineptitude and snail’s pace internet connection.

    Quite a few of the photos had to be scanned onto the computer as they are years old and taken with box brownies and 35mm film.

    Migs, I created albums on webshots, an online storage site and uploaded the photos to the albums, added captions and posted the album as a link.

    I initially joined webshots on a friend’s recommendation just over 4 years ago, but have been very slack about tending my site.

    It has changed a bit and it took me a while to adjust to the changes, the cause of a great deal of swearing and cursing, vile imprecations and tantrum throwing!

    I have tried a couple of other online mass storage sites over time, but I still find websots is the most user friendly. However, ME or joni would most likely be the best ones to give you a good guide to the best facilities.

    I’d still like to learn how to post photos directly onto a comment, but for the time being I’ll stick with the link and leave the swearing and cursing to the uploads. 😉

    Thanx, Nas’. The dog next to me was my husband’s dog The Fish aka Tuna aka The Sardine. We’re not certain how old he was when he died as my husband didn’t know how old he was when he first got him.

    He was a delightful dog, but arthritis and a crook heart got him in the end.

    The two dogs sleeping together are my dear old lab, The Brown Dog and Menaceful, a blonde GSP and hound from hell! The Brown Dog died of cancer and Menaceful just vanished one day!

    Which is how I’ve been lumbered with Rex-he was part of a breeding pair of 12 years, who were split after the owners started a chartering business in Darwin and didn’t want to take the dogs up north.

    Rex pined very hard for his wife of 12 years and his family and wouldn’t eat for a week, the poor old sod! Since living with us, he has had his first taste of actual meat, juicy bones and other table scraps.

    One of the two clowns frolicking in the water is Rex, father of Menaceful, and the other is Jasper, whippet about town, excavator extrordinaire and the most expensive “free” dog in the world.

    I have been trying unsuccessfully to upload the various cats we’ve had. I think it’s because we’ve been slowed down to dial-up speed, owing to sons #2 & 3 gobbling up our data allocation with youtube and stuff.

    Will have another crack later.

    I may even bore you with my Father Christmases flying the coop! And you’re not allowed to change the Cafe’s address on seeing that bit of news, Migs!

  57. “and the other is Jasper, whippet about town, excavator extrordinaire and the most expensive “free” dog in the world.”

    LOL.

    Apollo is same…but a cat.

    Great effort jane, thnx. Look forward to the cats.

    Patricia,

    I’m glad the link might come in useful. Fingers crossed eh?

    Pets can indeed bring so much joy into the lives of elderly people. I’m tryin’ to convince my Mum to adopt another cat.

    N’

  58. Nasking, perhaps instead of pictures we have loved we should have a post on pet preferences? Re-reading my comment to yours above I realise that I see ‘the elderly’ as ‘others!’ i.e. that doesn’t include me!

    I’m pretty self-sufficient and find it hard to look to others for help, though I’ve had, and still have, many good friends, as well as some significant lovers in the past. Odd to me then, that my family, just next door, should keep remarking on the transformation in my life when I suddenly decided to get a dog, and a puppy at that, a few years ago.

    But they’re right. Pets in the past for me were generally for the benefit of the children. Now all at once I had a ‘baby’ to care for, who became a delightful companion, and still is, but rather more demanding than that.

    Having ‘someone’ in the house to talk to, to touch and to need one, is not the same as being close to one’s children and their children a few yards away next door.

    Right now we are still dealing with Tacker’s determined resistance, even hostility if he thought he could get away with it, to the new ‘baby’ next door. Such determined expression of feeling amazes me. He hesitates when I reach for my next-door key, and looks reproachfully at me as I set out along the sidewalk to their gate. He eventually comes, as he always does, and stays that few yards distant as we go inside to be greeted by that deliciously friendly ball of fur, who desperately wants to be his friend. He still snaps when Mozart forgets himself and gets just too close.

    How would I feel if Tacker were a fellah in my life? Wouldn’t I have to find a way out of this demanding relationship? Why is that unthinkable now?

  59. patricia, Tacker is an old dog now and as an elder statesman probably can’t be bothered putting up with puppyish antics. And I’d also suggest he might feel a bit threatened by his youthful rival. Things like whether he’ll be replaced in the pecking order.

    Once Mozart is a little less enthusiastic, Tacker may thaw. I think you’re wise to keep the contact to a minimum for the time being though, and eventually they’ll settle who’s on first base etc and may become firm friends.

    It may also be a bit stressful for Tacker meeting the new kid on the block away from his country.

    We didn’t have the same problem with Rex when we introduced the whippet, for a couple of reasons, I think. First, Rex still hadn’t claimed our place as his exclusive territory and second because he’d never been an only dog and was still pining for his companion.

    However, when my son brought the beautiful Axl here, Rex got very savage and bit a hole in Axl’s tongue.

    Anyway, enough of my rabbitting, here’s my pussycats down the ages.

  60. Migs, @8.08pm, thanks for the compliment. I only have one cat at the moment, well we are a one cat household, I should say.

    His Catship is technically son #2’s pet, but he is willing to let anyone worship at his paws.

    2. That you’re smarter than me.

    I’d like a link please. LOL

  61. “perhaps instead of pictures we have loved we should have a post on pet preferences?”

    Sounds good Patricia. I bet you could come up w/ a great post includin’ poetry. My wife, sanqween on here, luvs poems about animals.

    Poor Tacker…I’ve seen that same kind of jealousy in men (includin’ me when I was much younger) & cats like Apollo. He tore strips, literally, out of Midnight when he first entered our home – Midnight gave a bit of his own back too…I used to have to splash the silly buggers w/ water to calm them down, occasionally they were like a large rolling screeching furball – but thankfully they’ve become chums & now lay & sit next to each other, takin’ in the scenery, like mates used to on The Hill at the Gabba. But only Apollo has the beer. 🙂

    N’

  62. Thanks, Nas’. That was my mother’s cat Tiger from the 1930s. By all accounts he was a fine figure of a cat, unlike The Black Menace who would more closely resemble McCavity except in colour.

  63. Just looking at the pics of Nas’ and S’ garden and hit by the realisation it could be wiped out. Hope Apollo, Emi and Midnight are OK.

  64. They are jane…just bored silly. But at least the ground is less sodden today & they can get out a bit. Amazing this sunny day after all the rain. It’s surreal…especially w/ all the floodin’ goin’ on in Brissie & Ipswich.

    I’m keepin’ my fingers the rain stays away…but there are some huge black clouds comin’ our way right now. Grrr.

    Thnx for yer kind words/thoughts jane.

    N’

  65. How’s the virus, Nas’? Are you giving it hell? Glad the 3 amigos could get out and about a bit today.

    Makes you wonder how all the pets are. Nothing much has been said about them.

    It would be nice if their owners haven’t lost them; they’ll be a great help when PTSD sets in after the flood waters have subsided and the enormity of what they’ve been through hits home. And the knowledge that the worst is to come.

    I hope there are plenty of counsellers on hand. The victims have been to hell and back.

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