Domestic, er, bliss….

I have almost reached the bottom of the pile.

We got home late on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday I unpacked, put away, cleaned, and did 4 or 5 loads of laundry. Mouse spent the entire first evening walking around the house and lying down on empty patches of floor, our bed, the sofa and his three beds, to re-establish his own personal ‘flavour’. He managed to be under foot the maximum amount of time, but the delight on his furry face at being back was so touching I hadn’t the heart to ask him to go and lie down.

Now that we’re back and I’m fully in the swing of domesticity again, I’m looking back fondly on some of the meals I didn’t have to make myself.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, in that order.

How easy it was to keep the caravan tidy, the beds made and the dishes done. And how very good it is to have a bit more space again, despite the domestic requirements!

(A point of information: we don’t have a hot water system in the caravan. Until recently, I had to boil the kettle several times to get enough hot water to wash up. And then I had a brainwave! A hot water urn. It holds 8 litres (nearly 2 gallons) of water (enough for two loads of washing up) and can hold it at the boil if necessary, but also keeps it at perfect washing up temperature all day. It’s plastic, lightweight and can be stowed away for travel.

It’s good to be home, but I do still have my fingers crossed that the trip down to NSW we have booked in October will go ahead. It will give me a chance to catch up with friends and family, as well as satisfying my slight homesickness for the region we’re going to.

Just at the moment, it’s not looking great; the number of cases in Sydney is climbing exponentially as cases come into the country with returning travellers, and then run amok in the local population, some of whom are not especially compliant…  By the time we’re supposed to leave, we’ll both be fully vaccinated. Wouldn’t it be nice if that allowed us to cross the border freely…?

Once I’ve finished all the domestic stuff, I can finally turn my attention back to the sewing room and my newly-serviced sewing machine. Oh, and my plans to completely rearrange the whole sewing room. Eeek!

Looking forward to it 🙂

Please explain

There is a catchphrase in Australia which addresses egregious mistakes and idiocies or being caught out in obvious lies.

It’s known as the ‘Please explain’, after the now-famous usage of said phrase during a televised interview, by an outspoken female politician of notoriously inflammatory, racist and extreme right-wing views*. She had not understood the interviewer’s use of the word ‘xenophobia’…

We nearly used it ourselves today.

Having all three greatly enjoyed our evening out at Dunwoody’s the other night, we thought we’d give it another go. The Husband jumped on the phone to make a booking for tonight, only to be told “we don’t accept dogs” when he did so. He pointed out that we’d had a dog with us only a few nights ago; had the policy changed? Apparently it had. We withdrew our booking. After a moment’s thought, I suggested we call back and speak to the duty manager for clarification, and perhaps a reason for the change.

Having given them a good review on Mouse’s blog, I was quite prepared to call them out for back-tracking. Mouse had behaved perfectly – better, in fact, than some of the younger guests. The other guests had liked him, and he had not caused any inconvenience to anyone.  Maybe I could go on TripAdvisor or Google and tell our story, because I always make a point of giving good reviews where they are deserved. Dog owners need to eat too, and well-behaved pets should not be excluded arbitrarily by whoever answers the phone because of a personal preference or faulty interpretation.

We got the duty manager. You’ll be happy to know that Dunwoody’s retains its shiny halo 🙂 Policy has not changed, and they do allow dogs in the outdoor dining area. All three of us will be there tonight for another sally into the delights of the menu.

Sometimes, you just need to gently ask “please explain?”…


*Please note that if you happen to agree with this politician’s views, I am not interested in entering into debate and reserve the right to deal with comments on the subject as I see fit.

Evidence of (not much) industry

I brought handwork on holiday with me.

Of course.

About 75 hexies. I have all blue & white and some pale pink scraps with me.

But it’s only enough to keep my hands busy while my ears listen to a talking book or two. Trouble is, I’m now so fast at making hexies that I have a rather large pile made for the few hours I’ve worked on it. I have no idea what these hexies and the other scraps I brought with me will evolve into. Time will tell.

We’re having a wonderfully lazy time. In earlier times, I used to pack activities into our trips to Cairns, mainly revolving around food: the tracking down, smelling, sampling, tasting, enjoying and taking home of. These days, I’m someone limited in how much luscious cheese, hand-made chocolate, artisan coffee blends and succulent tropical fruit I can actually safely consume. I choose my meals…. sensibly although not boringly (see below!). It’s not quite as much fun, and importantly, the absence of gastro-touring leaves us free to do, well, nothing very much, and do it lavishly!

‘Fishy benny’: eggs benedict with smoked salmon and sautéd mushrooms on rocket and rye, topped with a lemony hollandaise

Before lunch today, we indulged today in a spot of bogus caravan-shopping. There’s one big caravan yard in Cairns and about half a million RV, camper van and camper-trailer yards, but none of the latter are of interest to us. We took Mouse and toured the caravan yard, went into every caravan (not Mouse, he inspected the outsides) and assessed it. All very slick and shiny, but just not, well, comfortable. The kitchens had large shiny appliances and sleek surfaces, but almost nowhere to do any work. Perhaps they don’t expect people to actually prepare meals, just heat up ready meals or reheat a pizza. They certainly don’t expect people to have books, or sewing machines, or sports equipment or a large collection of spices, or even, heaven forbid, a dog. There are buttons and switches and fold out this and drop down that, but the furnishings are nasty, there’s nowhere to hang a large fluffy towel or two, and heaven forbid you should have a coffee machine. So until we win the lottery and can have our ideal caravan built to our specification, we’ll stick to Miz Lizzie, who can comfortably and neatly accommodate everything we want to bring and use.

Mouse has written about his expedition out to dinner with us last night. I have discovered that if I reblog his posts here and then want to update the original, the updates don’t carry over. If anyone can point out how to do that, I’d be grateful. In the meantime, you’ll find it here if you’re interested.

‘Raunchy huevos’: omelette with chilli,spicy beans, avocado, roasted chorizo, roasted tomato and sour cream, with tortilla chips on the side.

And now I feel a large snooze coming on. Lunch was pretty delicious, and I shall join the Husband and the dog in our small but comfy and air-conditioned home away from home.

Tomorrow we have a small road trip planned. I’ll tell you all about it then.

Happy 5th birthday, Mouse-mouse

It is his Lordship’s 5th birthday today.

Wake up, birthday boy!

Breakfast of champions

We have a series of fun things to do and gastronomic delights planned. After a light breakfast and a saunter around the holiday park, he will be escorted by his Staff to ‘Brother Jenkins Café’, a very nice place a stone’s throw away, where he will be regaled with bacon and puppacino. A small snooze in the sun to allow that to digest, and then we will head out to Touch Park in Aeroglen, near Cairns Airport, where 3 or 4 acres have been fenced for the delight and leisure of Cairns’ doggo population. He will be free to romp, run and roam to his heart’s content.

Home again, and I will produce the Oinkers, a bag of porky delight: air dried anonymous bits of pig on the bone, sliced thin. He can make an Oinker last for at least half an hour… I also have slow-baked chicken tenders and beef and tomato jerky. So, party food taken care of, then.

If he’s in the mood, we might take him along to Ellis Beach on the Captain Cook Highway, so that he can have a good sniff about there, and a run if he feels like it. If he doesn’t, then snoozing on his Floof in the sun will be the order of the day. He’ll find a way to let us know…

It has been both a pleasure and a privilege to have our lovely boy to care for these past two years, and we hope for many more. Our recent visit to GAP has shown how important it is to find homes for these gentle, loving and rewarding dogs, to make up for the harsh and sometimes brutal lives they led before.

Wishing you many returns of this happy day, doggo. 


The Travels of Mouse: a new dog park!

Now that Mouse has his own blog space, I have to ask his gracious permission to publish his thoughts here. Thank goodness he said yes!

Happy Greys Social Club

Hello people, Mouse here.

I’m delighted to report that the Staff have located a new off-leash and fully-fenced dog park for me to zoom about in. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was a bit off-colour yesterday morning due to all the packing and upheavals, and didn’t feel like eating my breakfast, so Mum packed it up and brought it with us. Good job, really, as by lunchtime I was starving! As usual when we go north, lunchtime happens right around Bowen, and it’s pie-time. Funny, that…. Anyway, Dad was able to indulge (with a little help from Me) and Mum had a ham salad roll (I helped a bit with that, too). She said it was lovely bread and very tasty ham but it was far too large, so she had half and ate the other half another time.

We were making good time in the…

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ScrapHappy July: more for Hopscotch

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

Here are the latest blocks for Hopscotch. I have 8 done already, so these are blocks 9-10. I’ve decided this is going to be my usual format of 5 x 6 blocks. However, as these blocks are 15 inches square, it’s going to be a fair size for a lap quilt: 75 x 90 inches. I’m currently a third of the way through and I already have another 6 blocks laid out waiting to be sewn, but still the supply of scraps seems endless… Still, I must be making some sort of dent in them, wouldn’t you say?

Now, I do have another scrappy item to show you. These days, with the weather a bit cooler, I’m living in yoga pants. Very comfy, but with one major defect: no pockets. On morning walkies and when I’m sewing, I need pockets: for my phone, for doggie poo bags, for hankies, and so on. You get the idea. So I thought I’d improvise a bit. One pair of the Husband’s work pants has finally given up, and I took the scissors to it. I wanted a belt, a side pocket and a cargo pocket, and these pants offered all three. I cut across the pants leg below the cargo pocket, and up alongside it. A hem around the pocket area, and blanket stitch to finish off the waistband, and it was done!  Oh, and I added a leg strap to stop the whole thing swaying about like a hula girl’s hips. It looks a bit unusual, but the cargo pocket can take a used poo bag till I get to a bin, and is a nice long way from my nose! It’s also comfortable, and I like that it’s recycled from something that would otherwise go in the bin.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). Noreen has left the group as she’s a bit over-committed with other things, but today we’re welcoming Debbierose; she’s starting a crazy, scrappy patchwork quilt, so do go and check it out.

Kate (me!)Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith and Debbierose

See you next time for more scrappy loveliness.

Tyger, tyger

A quick snippet of a future project.

The Husband’s younger sister is a footy fan. In Australia, this rarely means soccer, sometimes means Australian Rules Football (AFL) and mostly means rugby, either league or union. She supports a team called Wests Tigers. Well, you know where this is going, don’t you?

Yup, she’s getting a supporter’s quilt in Tigers colours. But I’m blowed if I’m calling this quilts Wests Tigers, so it’s getting called Tyger, after the William Blake poem. Hopefully the quilt will burn as brightly as the tyger in the forests of the night.

The design is going to be more sampler-y than my usual. The blocks will all be in shades of charcoal, orange and white in various layouts. They’ll be arranged around a central tiger image which is a transfer I’ve made and ironed onto white fabric. There will also be a deep checker-board border at the bottom to bring the length up to 5×6 blocks, my usual lap quilt format. This will also have the virtue of using up smaller scraps of the fabrics.

I have some lovely orange fabrics picked out, I have a large piece of the charcoal/black print and the white/cream will be simple tone on tone prints.

This is as far as I’m taking it till Twilight is done. I’m itching to get started on it, but will exercise self control till Twilight is on its way to my niece.

You can find the William Blake poem here if you don’t already know it.

Radio silence

I’m sorry it’s been so quiet around here.

I’ve had a lot on, but it’s all chopped into small, not-blog-worthy chunks. I’m still getting used to the whole diabetes thing, and managing the weight-loss that my doctor recommended.

Then there was the work of setting up Mouse’s new blog and the research and pulling-together of information for it.

I’ve been assembling Hopscotch blocks, making orphan blocks from leftovers, putting stuff away and tidying my sewing room. A bit of a rainbow mix.

I’ve started to have some very early ideas for the sister-in-law who still doesn’t have one of my quilts but is interested in having one, which will be next out of the traps after Twilight is finished. I’ve cut backing and batting so I can start quilting Twilight, and I’ve decided on the colour and bought the quilting thread. Coming soon.

And finally, I have been a bit distracted. A close member of my family has been diagnosed with bowel cancer and is waiting for surgery, then pathology, then classification of the cancer so that a treatment plan can be developed.

Faced with news like that, finding beauty becomes a good bit harder.

But I’m keeping my face turned towards the sun 🙂


Mouse goes solo

Hello, people, Mouse here.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m going out on my own with my own blog. My friend Lotti and I decided that it was time for us to widen our social circle, so I briefed the Staff to make it happen.

You’ll be pleased to learn that the Happy Greys Social Club is now live. I am Executive Editor and Creative Director, Mum is Admin, Lotti is Guest Contributor. We are hoping to meet other greyhounds and their Staffs for coffee and conversation on a semi-regular basis. Mum has also helpfully suggested some Staff-inspired topics such as Forth-coming Events, Meet the Members, Resources and Information, Comment Protocol, and a full set of links to all my Travel Reports on this blog.

The Board Meeting. Much to discuss….

It’s an exciting day for all of us. Lotti and I and our Staffs had a coffee morning and Board Meeting to sign off on the details, and then we pressed the button to go live. I hope that if you’re interested in my travel reports here you’ll also enjoy our occasional posts there, so please do subscribe. My blog looks different from this one; you’ll find the menu in the small black bar above my logo – please click on the left hand icon.

I’d love to hear what you think!


Twilight 5: all bordered out

The top is done.

I didn’t have enough full strip sets to do a continuous border in the same design, but I did have enough to do all round minus the 4 corners. With the scraps and ragtag of what I’d made, I constructed the corner blocks you see, which I’m very happy with. The two colours of shot cotton that you see at top and bottom corners came from small pieces in my stash, since Spotlight no longer sell shot cotton for some totally spurious reason. They used to have a very nice selection, but no more, which I’m very upset about.

I have also bought fabric for the backing, a dark petrol green/blue with a sheen on it. Almost a shot cotton in that the light sits on it differently according to whether you see shine or shadow. I needed 3.5m and bought 4. I hope it’ll also be enough to bind the quilt as well.

I so wish the photos could capture the colours in this quilt more truthfully. It has made the selection and placing process more time consuming, but also more rewarding. It looks… nice… in the photos, but in real life it’s actually quite beautiful, even to a non-purple-lover.

There’s beauty and practicality in a simple design. It looks clean and lets the colours sing, but it’s also finished a lot faster than a quilt with loads of piecing. I’ll be sending a photo to my niece to ask her whether she’d like geometric or organic-style quilting. I’m also debating the colour of quilting thread. I’m quite tempted by magenta, or maybe turquoise… Of course, it won’t show a great deal unless you get up close and personal, but one of the bright jewel colours really appeals.

But that’s a decision for another day.

(In case you’re wondering, there’s no Parterre block this month; I’ve had too much else on. I’ll be back next month with another bright flower.)