Saturday, 29 June 2013

Neesie Natters

Neesie Natters

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye

...Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye...

Dearest Neessie Natters

Have you got time to stop by for a cuppa, there's a few things I want to say?

Fancy that, you're leaving for the other side of the world...and the beauty of the blogosphere is that we'll not miss you at all!

In fact knowing you, you'll be drafting your next blog as soon as the Air Hostess says:

"The Captain has turned off the fasten seat belt sign...
You may now move around the aircraft and are free to turn on your electronic devises..."

It's a shame you're not leaving on a Wednesday as it would be a great WOYWW What's On Your Work desk Wednesday - there you'd be with your cuppa, your computer, your trusty old camera, maybe some artwork and perhaps a champagne on a tiny weeny fold down table...

You'll be finishing off your doodle with your favourite Cripple Pencil so that you can send it in for this weeks artists playroom challenge at Just Add Water Silly, whipping up an incredible zentangle and it will be finished whilst you are still flying over Australia...

Or maybe you'll be preparing your Simple Woman's Daybook ?

Outside your Window - well I don't wish to alarm you but if you see anything other than clouds, it's not good ...although we know you're a fan of I love a cloudy day. If you see a Little Wandering Wren flying by it's just me saying Au revoir, but any other birds, butterflies and the like, ask the Captain to concentrate...

You are thinking - whether it is appropriate to open the overhead locker to get your Mojo out... worried that your 2 Bags Full will fall...

You are thankful - for the pretty vanity pack the Air Hostess has handed out and whether you could use this as your next blog giveaway (you owe Dion Dior and Gina Rossi Armfield something nice....)

In the kitchen - well you will have the choice of some pretty snazzy cuisine, I doubt they'll have something from Mark's Veg Plot, but you never know, as these Airlines try to impress in Business Class. Get your menu card out and order one of everything (tell them you are a foodie blog writer - just pretend you're from your bog favourite My English Kitchen) and remember all those calories don't count when you are up in the air, enjoy!

You are wearing - your airline PJ's, some lovely airline grey socks and slippers, having dangled your attractive eye shade of the back of your seat for later use, and you will be looking as gorgeous as all get out...

You are creating - well knowing you, to idle a bit of time away on your 23 hour flight, you'll be doing a mandala card for the nice lady in the row in front. You just can't stop yourself...

"Just tell me 40 of your life's significant events and I'll draw them up by the time we're over Indonesia..."

You are going - to invite the Air Hostess to stop by for Tea & Cookies when she's got a collect a parcel you've made for the Captain all Tied Up With String.

You are wondering - whether you can pluck up the courage to ask for a kids pack so that you can do the colouring-in book...

You will be missing - your friends Down Under Muffin

You are reading - the back of the packet on those "stay alert" pills you are taking so you don't drift off before you watched all those movies you wanted to catch up on...

You are hoping - that Mufty Pup is also having a good trip on her long flight to the UK, hoping that she's sharing her cabin with some nice friends and not one single Cat Beringer Art.

You are looking forward to - returning to Blighty, catching up with family and friends and seeing Muffin again.

Dearest Nessie (I'll be serious now... and forgive me if I have left out any of your lovely blogosphere friends in the above)

I am lucky to have known you whilst you passed through Australia. Your cheerful, happy on screen blog persona is just how you are in person. We have all loved you here in Melbourne. I will miss my dog walking, Bookclub, Blogger friend who makes me laugh everyday.

I send you off back to the United Kingdom with a big hug and lots of love for the next phase of your life. You are truly an inspiration and I will miss you dearly...
Thank you for all the fun times we have had together and for introducing me to the Blogging world and endless hours wasted in front of the computer. As my Blog Professor I feel I should tell the world that you should not be judged on the standard of my little offerings to the blogosphere, and if only I was operating on a computer rather than an IPad then life would have been a whole lot simpler.... LOL ;)

As we (your Aussie Mates) count down to your last days in Australia, we remember with fondness at all the times we've shared together over the last four years. I believe we met quite quickly after your arrival Down Under? One of the Mum's in our Bookclub recommended you to join our merry little band...You were the exotic one in the group having arrived from Doha, the rest of us a motley crew with a variety of backgrounds in Europe, Asia and the US could only scratch our heads and wonder about life in Qatar...

You went from Bookclub member to leader in a blink of an eyelid... You kept us organized and reading... And behind the scenes you were developing an on-line following of friends through your art with their encouraging words and many blessings. For these friends it will make no difference to where you are in the world but I for one will miss having you just down the road.

Take care and see you out there in the blogosphere.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Great Afternoon Tea Treat

"Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, that I love London Town"... Afternoon Tea!
The best Afternoon Teas are a grand occasion... a special event to be lingered over, with time to savour. To delight in the cute exotic sandwiches, to marvel at the fancy cakes, to indulge in the scones and clotted cream, but most of all to enjoy the company of friends or family... 
The best Afternoon Teas have fine tableware, tea strainers, fresh flowers and of course sugar lumps!
Did you know? The tradition of the English Afternoon Tea comes from one of HM Queen Victoria's ladies in waiting Anna, seventh Dutchess of Bedford (1783 - 1857) In her day, being posh she would have eaten a huge breakfast, very little lunch and then an interminably long wait until dinner. She describes a "sinking feeling" in late afternoon and so one day she instructed her Butler to bring her Afternoon Tea with cakes in her boudoir.... Don't you just love that word Boudoir? Sorry I digress...

Strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolate at the Eastern and Oriental, Penang

Let's raise our little pinky finger to Anna for trending #afternoon tea because somehow without blogging and Twitter, the delightful experience of taking afternoon tea caught on... At first this was only among the upper echelons of society but later teashops and tearooms opened for the general public to enjoy...
The best Afternoon Teas arrive piled high on a lovely cake stand, as at the Terrace Tearooms, Botanical Gardens, Melbourne.
Top marks for the pretty tea cups too!
Somewhere along the line, maybe in a boudoir in Essex in the 1980's, someone decided to add bubbly or even Champagne to the High Tea...

A glass of bubby makes an afternoon tea special. Photo courtesy of Tophams Hotel, Belgravia, London, UK
Wren has enjoyed some memorable Afternoon Teas in the past year...
  • At The Bedford Swan Hotel UK to celebrate my Great Aunt's 90th birthday, complete with swan scones and old time singers...
The Swan Hotel in Bedford, the birthplace of the Afternoon Tea. Photo courtesy of the Swan Hotel website
  • At a secret hotel in London Victoria, UK Dec 2012 - three generations of us in the Capital to see the Christmas lights, for shopping and Carols at Kensington Palace. We had great fun, infact such a good time was had by all, that no-one can remember the name of the hotel!
  • Royal Botanical Gardens, The Terrace Tearooms, Melbourne April 2013 - 50th Birthday bash for a special friend.
  • Windsor Hotel, Melbourne June 2013 - Bookclub girls out on the town.
For more on this pop over to Neesie Natters for her excellent review on a Fancy Afternoon Tea at the Windsor

My perfect Afternoon Tea would start in a lovely setting and is often a step back in time. At the Eastern & Oriental, Penang, you are greeted by elegantly dressed doormen, who open doors into a grand hotel reception area, outside huge palm trees sway gently in the breeze, the Tearooms overlook the water... That will do nicely!
Black Mercedes cars stand on parade in the front driveway to wisk guests off to explore the Island...
Then it helps to have the best fine china, pretty tea cups like at the Botanical Gardens Melbourne are lovely and it is important to have a huge selection of exotic teas, even if you end up choosing English Breakfast! Top marks for the sandwiches at the Eastern and Oriental with their different selection of breads, the Terrace Tearooms score highly with their home made sausage rolls and quiches catering for those who don't have a sweet tooth... if you do have a sweet tooth then book your flight to Malaysia now!
And enjoy these Afternoon tea cakes at the Eastern and Oriental, Penang, Malaysia.
Right I'm just off to get some afternoon tea for the kids - glass of apple juice and a biscuit anyone?!
Little Wandering Wren

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Wren's Wander Sun 9th June and Sat 15th June 10.30-12.30

If feels very fitting for Little Wandering Wren (Australia) to be announcing that if you are in the Wren's Nest, Dudley area (UK) you should try and get along to Wren's Wander this Sunday...
The guided walk is taking place at the Wren's Nest National Nature Reserve. Learn about the geology and industrial history of this internationally renowned Site of Special Scientific Interest. Includes the opportunity to find fossils. All welcome, but children must be accompanied. Suitable footwear recommended. Tour lasts approximately 2 hours. No charge.
People in Dudley may think it's normal to have a nature reserve where virtually every rock they pick up has a fossil on its surface - it's not! Dudley is famous throughout the world for its fossils. It could claim to be the birthplace of the science of palaeontology back in the 19th Century. Whilst they're at it, they also claim to be the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It's where Abraham Darby was born. Seven Sisters Caverns are the only example in the world of surface opening limestone caverns. The first industrial steam engine, which pumped water from mines, was installed here, next to the Wren's Nest, before anywhere else in the world.
Further information can be found on the friends of Wren's Nest website click here for all the details.

It sounds like a brilliant walk and I have it on my Bucket List go for a wander at Wren's Nest and find a fossil next time we're back in the UK.
In the meantime it's Queen's Birthday weekend here in Australia and we get Monday off, except if you are a University Student then you may even celebrate with an exam, as is happening in our house. With everyone with their noses in a book studying, we're off to the beach where there is no WIFI to enjoy some good walks and wanderings of our own...
Have Fun!

Little Wandering Wren

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Last Rose of Summer

Today I'm bringing you something special, it's 'The Last Rose of Summer' in my garden.

We used to gather round my Grandmother's piano in the front room for family sign-a-longs... All the old favourites would come out such as "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...", My Old Man said follow the van, and don't dilly dally on the way...." and my favourite 'The Last Rose of Summer.'
Originally written by Irish Poet Thomas Moore in 1805 the words have stayed with me to this day. Beethoven, Mendlessohn and Ernst all composed music based on the poem, I'm not sure whose music we were singing along to, but I do know that to this day, I always look out for my last rose of summer in the garden!
The lyrics are pretty sad! I don't scatter the rose petals over the garden, but rather leave to enjoy for as long as possible, as a reminder of the summer and as a way of looking forward to the new rosebuds after winter!
'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.
I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter,
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.
So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love's shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

The Last Rose with Andre Rieu his orchestra, choir and the sopranos Suzan Erens (Holland), Carmen Monarcha (Brazil) and Carla Maffioletti (Brazil) in Kerkrade HollandComposers: Music: Thomas Moore, 1779-1852From: The Flying Dutchman 2004
<a target="_blank" href="">last rose</a>

Monday, 3 June 2013

Leaf peeping and crunching

Our streets look glorious at the moment, all covered in brown and gold leaves. They make such a wonderful crunching noise as you walk through them that you can't help feeling happy, even if it means that the real Aussie winter is fast approaching....

Yes we're lucky, June is a lovely time of year in Melbourne. Autumn, officially 1st March to 31st May is now over, but it's not too bad... It's cold in the morning but not chilly-cold like in Europe. Today it was plus 10 degrees Celsius... by lunchtime it will get up to a top of 16 degrees. Oh and the sun will be out (we are on the same latitude as Athens) the sky is blue - are you jealous yet?!

We had rain this weekend. The first winter storm came through. We had 48.6 mm of rain on Friday night, the most rain for a June day since records began. Here are the waves left in the mown fields at the football fields...

Last week we even had fog! Which is so rare that no one ever asks for fog lamps here when buying a car... Rain and fog, now that does seem more like Europe than Australia...

Melbourne weather never stays the same for too long. So today Mutt and I decided to head off into our local park to catch the last of the leaf peeping! Leaf Peeping is a term coined to describe people travelling around New England in the United States to watch the autumn foliage. In Victoria people travel out of Melbourne to a town called Bright which has spectacular autumn foliage. We don't have time for anything more exotic than to head to the local Park...

It looks like we were just in time! The council were out in force sweeping up the last of the autumn leaves. We came across a leaf sweeper... now that's a job for life in these leafy suburbs....

He was having such brilliant fun, blowing leaves around like confetti. It almost inspired me to search around in the shed for our leaf blower...

Just look what a lovely job he did on these paths... And this is as far as he got before it was time for a tea break...

Then on the way back we could see that the whole neighbourhood had been busy getting into the act of sweeping up leaves... big bags of leaves were littering the side of our footpaths.

Now the leaves have gone, we're getting ready for the start of the ski season next weekend. It's all go here!

Little Wandering Wren