Baby Archie is Wearing our Ugg Boots!

Here in Australia we were so proud to see baby Archie wearing the tiny sheepskin boots given to him by retired Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on our behalf. Called Ugg boots here for as long as I remember (although there has been a legal challenge to the brand name from outside the country) they are made here in the Hunter Valley and they are the softest cosiest things you can put on your feet, so no wonder Archie looks comfy. His tiny toes would be toastie warm!The photo was taken by his Mother, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.

Ugg boots are an Aussie icon. Worn by both men and women, indoors or out, they are the nearest thing i can think of to an adult ssecurity blanket! At the end of a long day I would pull on my soft grey original-style ones, feel my toes sink into the soft fleece and sigh as the world slipped away. Sadly, I lost that pair to my teenage son but how could I as a mother deprive him of such a source of comfort? As Aussies we do have an emotional attachment to them, in the country or city.

See the Ugg boots factory website The Mortels website describes itself thus:

Mortels manufacturing base is located at Thornton, and they retail their locally manufactured product from showrooms in both Thornton and Warners Bay. Mortels only distribute in Australia through their own retail outlets to preserve their brand and the quality of Australian manufacturing. They also offer a large range of their products through their website, direct sales to local, national and international customers. Mortels sheepskins are specially selected from Australian grown sheep….

Oops I didnt intend to copy all the above, but this is such an Australian local no-hype company and I have really enjoyed wearing their products. It includes the style of boots Archie is swearing, so now you know where to get them!

Photo courtesy of Mortels web site

Name Dropping: Sir Peter Cosgrove – retired Australian Governor General.

I met Sir Peter early on in his military career in the 1970’s when he was an officer at the Singleton Army base and I was involved in local tourism.

‘A real man’s man’, as they say, totally involved in the running of a busy training camp and the welfare of his troops. A no-nonsence kind of person, got to the point. Got it done.

My connection was through the Army museum on the camp. I remember having a short but interesting conversation about what they were training to defend us from, since Australia seemed a very safe continent. That was a real eye-opener!

He managed to keep the local town of Singleton onside, despite our houses being constantly rattled by the Army’s bombing and shelling practice. He had the total respect of his troops. He and his wife, Lynne Cosgrove were very popular at social eevents.

He has gone from strength to strength but I haven’t followed his career until he appeared on the news doing a good job as our Governor General and the only person I know who could keep this current bunch of politicians in line.

Even back in the 1970’s Sir Peter had a presence, and he is one of the few people of whom I have ever stood in awe.Biography

Take the Grandchildren!

Baby Tasmanian devil. Photo courtesy of website. Click on pic to visit

Australia has many unique animals. Our family used to love visiting the Reptile Park, especially Eric the huge crocodile. You dont need to worry about the snakes there. They help provide anti-venom that goes out to save lives. heck them, and everything from cute koalas and huge hairy spider to baby Tasmanian Devils out at the Australian Reptile Park. Link above.

Need Peace and Soothing?

“I will give you rest.”

A really nice, gentle app with lovely music, a daily word from the Scrptures, short prayer and gentle love. No shouting, accusing or upsetting. My counselling friend, Kim, plays the daily message in her car on the way yo work. I find it gently soothes me before I go to sleep. It is above all gentle, in the way I see Jesus as gentle. I am not preaching, just saying it works for me. The app is free. T

here are actually 2 ‘Pray As You Go’ apps for download from Google Play or whatever. The other takes you directly to prayers for your particular need – good for young people. The one in the link above provides a quiet moment.

Peace and love.

The Olive Tree Wedding Gift – Update

Update:. The Queen was very pleased to hear about the tree planting inspired by, and now part of, her Commonwealth Canopy initiative. Recently she sent me a lovely letter in response to my sending her the story. It may not be the done thing to discuss it but I will say that I was so impressed that not only was Her Majesty very interested, she also wished Ainslie well after her injury! What a wonderful Monarch to still take an interest in her subjects at the far end of the Commonwealth. Please plant more native trees to help purify the planet and protect our wildlife.


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What to do you give a couple for their wedding who have just moved recently to a beautiful wooded property? Another tree of course!

This was the case when my Godaughter Ainslie Newby married Matt Hallcroft in the most fun and romantic outdoor ceremony you could ever imagine on 6 of April 2019.

The Brandy Hill property, near Port Stephens in NSW, covers 2 acres and has native trees, a 4-
bedroomed modern house, bountiful gardens, plus a huge a huge man-cave of a shed that includes a bar.
Since they would now have 6 grown-up children between them, there were no constraints on having a formal wedding. This was to be something joyous that all ages, family and friends, could get involved in,
including dressing up as pirates and maidens. The weather was perfect and it was a huge success.
But there was another story running parallel to the special day. As Ainslie’s Godmother, I was unable to attend due to ill-health, but I wanted to give the couple a gift that would signify all that the the couple had been through in the 5 years since they met through online dating.

They had only just met when Ainslie had been badly injured by a car hitting her motorbike on the way to work.

It had taken months of healing and rehabilitation that should have strained their new love, but instead made them stronger. Now they were to be married.

After reading about the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has instigated to help replace native woodlands and forests all over the Commonwealth, the idea of planting a tree to
commemorate the wedding was eagerly accepted.

A tree with longevity was needed. The Hunter Valley was once populated by cedar trees, but these had long been cleared by the early settlers to build houses and make furniture.

Another idea was prompted by my being on the Facebook friends list of actress and author Carol Drinkwater, whose best-selling books featured a romantic life restoring an olive farm. I knew that olives are being produced successfully in Australia, and my own two small potted specimens are growing bravely. I looked on Google for a possible outlet where an established tree could be found and ‘voila’, the

perfect location presented itself with the Lonely Goat Olives Farm providing not only a choice of perfect olive trees ready for planting, but in a beautiful sloping location in the Wattagan Mountains.

Ainslie loved the idea, and put it to Matt, and everybody got very excited.

Olive trees are beautiful, hardy, can live over 1,000 years and provide food. Contact was made with Keith and Elisabeth Hallett for the couple to go together to choose a tree. All was set for a lovely outing away from the wedding plans. It was a week before the wedding.

Then disaster! A nasty accident saw the bride-to-be hospitalised and bedbound until the day prior to the wedding, with a nasty gash to her leg. The wound needed surgery, antibiotics and bedrest.

When the day to go choose a special olive tree came Matt set off alone, but thanks to the kindness and help of Keith and Elisabeth he came home with a very special Corotina olive tree already bearing fruit, 1.6m high and weighing 90 kilos.

“This tree”, said Keith, “is very special because it has two boughs intertwined as one.” Very symbolic. Keith said there should be a good olive crop in two years. Matt came away one and a half hours later also carrying a wedding gift of a bottle of olive oil, determined to take Ainslie back for a romantic weekend in one of the cottages on the lovely property at a later date.

Ainslie was not discharged from hospital until the eve of the wedding. Everyone had rallied round to help, and one of the guests even collected the cake on her way to the ceremony. Everything went according to plan.

Later, Ainslie and Matt held a special planting together of their symbolic tree, complete with a plaque showing their new family motto: live, love, laugh, grow.

My olive tree inspiration

Matt at Lonely Goat Olives with the chosen tree

Photos below courtesy friends of the couple posted to FB. Used with Permission. Photos by:
Jayde McLoy Abdilla
Aimee Coupe
Damo Hallcroft
Natalie Thomas

Lonely Goat Olives photos courtesy of Keith and Elisabeth Hallett:
More information on://

Its Pleasant Peasant Pizza Night!

My kitchen smells divine, and Rustic Italin.I used to go out with a rustic Italian. Too tired to do much, but made a pizza to share with my neighour.

Not being one for following tradition, and espousing Dominos, I add herbs to my plain flour, and minced garlic, before adding the olive oil and yeast mixture I have kick-started as dried yeast in a cup of warm water with a pinch of sugar.

By the time I am ready to go it is frothing at the bit and hot to trot. I mix it all together using a knife, gathering it all together, then …timer weñt. Here it is

Actually the photos don’t do it justice, there looks to bè way too much cheese while the thinly cut ham is hiding. Ìt is actually a pleasant blend of flavours; ham cheese pineapple mushroom, à tiny bit of onion and mozzarella thinky slice, topped with shaved oarneañover a garlic and herb base that acts as garlic and herb bread combined. The crispy but soft-inside base is spread with chunky Italian pasta sauce instead of stronger tomato paste. ‘It’s a wee bit goormay’ we would say in Scotland. An Aussie may say, ‘you’re havin’ yerself on mate’, but an English person may wrinkle the nose and say ‘it looks positively disgusting’. I guess you have to be there?

2.15 am and by the picture stage above I realised I had already broaçhed the same subject in the same way not many posts previously. That is twice now I have repeated yself. Actually I had to go bacķ in to finish writing it now because Ì was too tired to think.

My body is biting at me back big time for treating it with such disrespect yesterday. Way too much protein and at the wrong times to interfere with my medication absorption. Now having a massive fibromyalgia attack. could hardlý get out of bed boy did it hurt to move. I’ve got the restless legs going on underneath but not obviously tremors on the outside apart from my left arm being jerky and the restless legs. I woke up from a nightmare when I thought I was suffocating. I was feeling it hard to breathe in the dream then once awake. What’s up? Maybe it was sleep apnoea? No indigestion thank goodness but I had slept through my 10pm overnight Madopar which I have just taken with paracetamol. I was really overtired all yesterday from staying awake to watch too many comedy clips on YouTube by Ladbaby, a couple could come from Nottingham, 20 miles from Worksop, where I lived. You may notice squiggly tails on some of the letters, caused by very light fremors in my hands. Im giving up here now because my mind is doing mini mind shutdowns. Back to sleep I hope 2.41am

Continue reading “Its Pleasant Peasant Pizza Night!”

Float Your Boat

On Saturday evening Angela and I set off for the yacht club nearby to bag a good spot for watching the Float Your Boat Parade, a Lake Macquarie Council initiative. To give them credit they do try, and the event was a big success, with people travelling from as far as Singleton,87 kilometres up the Hunter Valley to view the spectacle

The flotilla of led light decorated boats was due to set sail this night at 6pm, so we found two surprisingly comfy outdoor chairs on the outside deck

and waited, and waited. It was so nice to be out in the evening for a change.

On checking the itinerary we learned the float-by was not due at our part of this big lake of many bays until after 8pm so we enjoyed a really tasty roast lamb dinner out on the deck in quite balmy air that was only just taking on a chill.

The water was very calm, reflecting all the lights around the lake’s edge.

The effect of the architect’s design is to feel as though one is sitting on the deck of an ocean-going luxury liner.

My better photos have to be uploaded from my ipad but these give an inkling of the bright colours of the shark, dinosaur, pineapple, red stilletto shoe, and sinking Titanic as they passed, then returned closer to give us a good look.

That was enough excitement for one day so we came home and tried casting our photos to my tv to see what we had taken on our phone cameras.

Uncanny Elvis Tribute Artist

Note: clicking on the blue lettering should lead to my Youtube videos. You may need to tap the speaker icon to unmute and the square in the bottom right-hand corner to turn it sideways! Please comment below if it doesn’t worķ. x

Do You Like Elvis? Phil Nicholson’s voice is uncannily like the late Elvis Presley.

Known as Arron Phillips, Phil Nicholson and his wife Pauline have a lot of fun going around mostly the UK singing Elvis songs, using backing music but definitely his own voice for all the lyrics.

Pauline makes his very effective and professional-looking Elvis costumes, of which he has several.

Some of my best evenings out have been at the Olive Grove Courtyard Arron Phillips at Olive Grove and local clubs enjoying Arron’s performances. Like Elvis he has a quick wit and enjoys a bit if banter with the audience, in the same manner.

Of course I have seen many Elvis impersonators around but Arron (not Aaron) is a tribute artist, not an impersonator, he stresses, and while I have listened to Elvis many times throughout my whole life and like most of us am totally familiar with Elvis’s voice, however the timbre of Phil’s voice as Arron singing Elvis is just so much like Elvis Presley that I can’t tell which is the Elvis CD and which is the Arron cd without looking at the label.Phil Nicholson as Arron Phillips singing Love Letters

I think it swould be awesome if be were to include an original song of his own into his set, after all the songs only stopped because Elvis had left the building, so to speak.Arron Phillips sings Gospel

In outback Australia we have the hugely popular Parkes Elvis Festival, where in the full heat an sun of an Aussie summer everyone, even the kids, dresses as Elvis, and Elvises from all over the world come to meet and perform. It makes the national news as the whole country town gets into the spirit. Maybe the 21 hour flight may be as daunting for Phil/Arron as it was for the real Elvis Presley, but they are missing one of the best voices of all of them, plus a real character and nice person who in his own way puts the joy back into being Elvis, before the burgers. click here to see the 2020 Parkes Elvis prigram

And 9 years ago the Singing Santas doing ‘Blue Christmas’Singing Santas Blue Christmas at Dobbies Garden Centre near Worksop, UK to a recording by Elvis (or is it Elves)? This one for you, Phil!