Friday, 22 August 2014

when admin becomes red tape

Today I am assembling the many documents I need for a bursary application. My birth certificate,  my Japanese family register, which includes all the details of my marriage, divorce and the births of the girls and its English translation. My passport. All sorts of bits from Big J about his earnings. These all need to be copied and sent off with a stamped addressed envelope and a letter of explanation. Both of us expect there to be questions asked. It is never straightforward with a family like ours.....I have a real dread of this sort of thing and probably do myself no favours by assuming that it will all go wrong!

The good news is that after one final dash to Hampshire yesterday to see old friends I am able to slob around in my old jeans, holey t-shirt and holey sneakers and just enjoy being at home.

At some point the photos will be added and some of the news from Oz.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Crochet in Belgium

Photo: ‎Do you like Amigurumi puppies?

This is a Chihuahua puppy, handcrafted with acrylic yarn~! 


A small chihuahua for a little girl who lives next door to Francoise......

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Off again

Finally got my head out of my navel after the last post/rant and realised that on my own I cannot change the world, but I can make a tiny bit of difference somewhere. This I intend to do.

The rest of the break in France was as awesome as the first part and I made sure I really appreciated how fortunate I am and took a zillion photos, swam a lot, walked miles, ate awesome food, cooked wholesome food and crocheted as well as just hung out with my Big J and for a few days Hannah.

We got back on results day and Hannah was accepted to the uni/course of her choice and she will be heading north in a few weeks to study Chinese.....wooohooo.

The following day I drove to Bedfordshire to spend a night with Colette my dear, dear friend home from Japan for a summer break. This is an annual event. In about 24 hours we talk ourselves hoarse. We also walked miles this time and even did a 3 k run in the morning....I managed to run/totter about half of it, but that was something to be proud of.

On the way home I swung by Heathrow to collect Japanese granny and Em who arrived yesterday and now I am booking our ferry for a road trip to Belgium to see a special friend there. A very kind lady who looked after me so well when I was newly married in Belgium and knew no one. We have remained friends for thirty years....Japanese Granny, the girls and I are going and I have been boning up on driving in France/Belgium. I have driven there before but not without Big J in the car to rely on!

When we get home in a few days time I just want to have quiet time here. I have been away for too long.

Sunday, 10 August 2014


In the last few weeks I have been blessed to be able to travel safely across the world to see family. I arrived a few hours before a plane on the same flight path was shot from the sky. There were no survivors. The Aussie press went wild. Pages of photos of those lost, those left behind, outraged comments from the PM and the Foreign Minister spoke out against the atrocity in the UN and lead a move against the purpetrators. But, as sad as it was, days later another flight went down in an impoverished African nation. There were also no survivors. There was only a minute or two of news coverage. Meanwhile in Gaza, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan and countless other countries war rages. And now we hear of more truely abhorrent acts against people for what they believe and how they live. And deliberate acts against children.
We have limited internet access here and do not watch the TV. But when I do get the iPad I cannot help but read the news. I am just aghast. I want to do something, anything to help in any small way. Donate? Volunteer? Fund raise? My mind is racing and I just want to be of use to ANYONE be it a drink of water, a sanitary pad, bandages, clothing ANYTHING.
At home I have a pile of little knitted jumpers and some beanies to go off. If they can actually get there and where is there? So many places and so many people. I am crocheting like mad to make useful things although it seems a bit like Marie Antoinette indulgence. I get to do what I like before anyone else gets anything....
How can we from the comfort and safety of our lives really help?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Côte d'Azur interlude

We are in Cannes now, cicadas buzzing and some dreadful techno music coming from the apartments across the way...both a little pink from the sun, despite my almost paranoid efforts to slip, slop and slap.
Today we took a day trip to Marseilles and went on a boat to the Calanques. As I am on the iPad I can't put a link up, but I have loads of photos to add later.... Lucky people, watch this space. We also ate bouillabaisse while there. Delicious. Big J has been able to tick something off his bucket list. 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Photo edit

This morning I have been editing photos from the trip, mainly the bird photos and it is a big task. Most of the shots I got were of birds on the feeder in the neighbour's garden so that means the birds were quite far away, for my camera at least. Funny how that does not stop one from taking loads of pics, knowing the birds will look like a little blob of colour rather than a creature that can fly. We live in hope I expect!! 
Anyway it was fun, for me and here are one or two.
 A Kookaburra on an old (gum?) tree taken on a walk one morning.
 Galahs being interrupted by a magpie at breakfast

 A rainbow lorikeet on the verandah 

This little blue and yellow parrot is a pale headed rosella and it looks a bit like a big budgie. There were a few in the garden but they were very shy and hard to snap. Until I blew up the photo I had no idea a little dove was sitting there too. This is what the rosella really looks like: (Wiki photo not mine!).
Then there were king parrots, a pair: 
Wikipedia provided this photo too, I rarely saw them together. 
The noise of the birds is just amazing. Currawongs and magpies whistle and warble as well as caw. The parrots all screech and when a big flock comes in to roost, it is really noisy. The Kookaburras laugh and cackle, but they also do a very nice gurgling chuckle when they are just passing time. 
I saw bush turkeys, 
 white Ibis - what an ugly bird, 
the straw necked ibis 
and some beautiful little wrens as well.