29 July 2005

Show and tell - front porch

Show and Tell: Front porch

Here's mine. Not much to tell. Wait ... yes there is. On the front verandah we have a watering can, a shoe rack, a twig broom, and a cat. Botanically speaking there are two cumquat trees, one on either side of the front step. Heritage apricot climbing roses adorn the two verandah posts (Crepuscule, and Buff Beauty).

We bought the house 10 years ago. The front verandah was concrete. We replaced it with wood, as it would have been originally. The house is about 100 years old.





See the cumquats!

See the blue sky! (See the rusty red roof!) It is a beautiful winter's day here today. See the rose, blooming in JUNE!? (Crepuscule, 1904 noisette climbing rose)

An elderly cat called Meg lives on our front verandah. She used to live in the house, then we got a greyhound and she retired to the verandah. The patriarch found her an old cane chair in a dumpster and the children made her cushions to recline on. She is enjoying her retirement. (The rear cushion has the words "Meggie Moo" embroidered on it).




Her best friend these days is the watering can. She is not very bright.

Word for the day: besom

28 July 2005

a blog-virgin no longer

I got tagged! Meme, via Kath.

id•i•o•syn•cra•sy - a structural or behavioural characteristic peculiar to an individual or group. Write down 5 of your own idiosyncrasies, then if you wish, tag 5 people.

1. I have an internal compass. You can spin me round seven times with my eyes shut, but I can still tell you where north is.

2. I have a deformed right thumbnail. Otherwise my hands are attractive looking. For hands.

3. If the person next to me starts singing the harmony, I can't maintain my own part, I have to follow them. Likewise if they hit a wrong note, I do too.

4. Champagne gives me asthma. I adore champagne.

5. I turn bright red every time I speak in public. Even in small groups. (I also do Spoonerisms, frequently).

And I'm going to add a little extra category: interesting idiosyncrasy of your partner/best friend/mother/whatever: My husband's nostrils flare when he is not telling the truth (very useful!)

And now, to tag. If you wish to participate, Sueeeus, blackbird, susie sunshine, mav and a new-to-me blogger totally crunchy, I would be interested to hear of your idiosyncrasies.

27 July 2005


A jumbly, eclectic sort of day. Bits of my many selves.

In the morning I donned the corporate costume and caught a taxi to the city for an 8.00am meeting with important people, including the Vice Chancellor of the institution where I work. Mr Soup packed the children's lunchboxes and did the school run.

In the afternoon I joined a small group of women in the hall at our children's school and we sang our hearts out. We sang a miners' song, an aboriginal blessing, an 80's Tears for Fears song, an ecclesiastical number in Latin that soared to the ceiling and sounded glorious and oh so godly, and something else that defies description but was about a river, flowing and growing. One of the teachers put her head around the door and we turned, expecting her to ask us to keep it down (we were clapping and stomping and being rather loud at one point) but she grinned, put her thumbs up and said 'sounds fabulous!' before disappearing back to her class. Following this wonderfully cathartic session we enjoyed a biscuit and cup of tea together before collecting our children with beatific smiles on our faces.

Home for tea and chai and cake with the children. Picked tamarilloes from our tree. Greeted husband. Cooked dinner. Watched Frasier on tv and knitted until my wrist ached. Cup of tea in bed and read Book I of Homer's Iliad in preparation for lectures tomorrow.

I feel blessed and fulfilled juggling work, study, children, friends, singing and other creative pursuits, a home.

I also feel exhausted much of the time.

Word for the day: protean


26 July 2005

self portrait tuesday


A week without an oven. No quiche, lasagne, cakes, muffins, roast vegetables, baked potatoes, apple crumble ... Lived on pasta, soup, bean hotpot, beef casserole, spaghetti bolognaise. (So not too bad actually). Then the man from Fisher and Paykel arrives. Disappointingly, he is not from New Zealand ... (I had been looking forward to a few gratuitous fush & chup jokes to enliven my week). A pleasant young man from a middle European principality turns up and declares 'Your khhhelement it is brock.' He replaces the brock khhhelement with a shiny new one in two minutes flat and bingo, the oven is fully functional and I am $145 poorer thank you very much. To celebrate I photograph the oven and the muffins ensconced within it 15 minutes later. I am a happy woman.

And my house smells divine.


Hmmm, may submit this one to The Mirror

Word for the day: odoriferous

Updated to add: eagle-eyed readers may notice I am wearing the same jumper as last Tuesday. I lack originality in winter. (It has been washed, I swear.)

Note to self: iron ballgown for next Tuesday.

23 July 2005

another one

Please go and read Lady Linoleum's Where I am From poem. It is magnificent. (I love this project).

Word for the day: evocative

22 July 2005


I've been thinking nostalgically of my old Honda Scamp, thanks to that Q&A game a couple of posts ago and wondered if I could find a photo online as I don't have any of my own. I found this. The little red car, third one down on the left, is a Scamp. Scamps have two cylinders only, sound like a bee on speed, and have air-cooled engines (ie. no radiator). When we took mine for a test drive prior to forking over the $900, it was running on one cylinder. They offered to fix it so we bought the car. It took us 3 weeks to find reverse gear, so I spent nearly a month driving around and around looking for parking spots that didn't require backing out of, and never making 3-point turns. It was a car with personality.

birthday wishes

Three little pea cards

21 July 2005

I joined in!

I joined in Blackbird's interactive internet game. Here are my answers to the questions she posed to ME.

1. You have to have an amputation (but all is fine, you just HAVE to choose) pinkie toe or pinkie?

Pinkie-toe. Cos I can hide my unsightly pinkie-stump under extravagantly expensive and exquisitely decorated beaded slippers while recuperating from said amputation.

2. What's your favorite beer?

Gin and tonic. Oh ok, Corona with a lime wedge. I know I know I'm a walking cliche.

3. Who would you rather get stuck in an elevator with? Jennifer Anniston or Angelina Jolie?

Angelina Jolie. More interesting tattoos. And cute baby (I am sooooo clucky).

4. What was your first car?

Dark green Honda Scamp. (A Scamp is the same size as a Fiat Bambino - basically a lawn mower with a roof.) Cost me $900 when I was 19. Once we crammed four people and a double bass in it, but it only made it halfway up Punt Road hill that night. Had to pull into a side street as Scamp got slower and slower ... and cars behind began hooting ... stop to rest, then rev and begin again. Nervously.

5. Quick! tell me your husband's shoe size!

Size 7! We all have freakishly petite feete in this family!
PS. I have no idea what size that is in European or American shoe sizes! Small anyway! (Was that quick enough?) And enough exclamation marks?!

20 July 2005

good things, bad things

• I have a headache
• I'm cold
• The oven has not miraculously repaired itself overnight
• I am craving lasagne, apple crumble, anzac bikkies, cake. Anything cooked in ovens.
• I hate the word 'bikkie'. Also choccie, brekkie, googy-egg (ughh ... gag ...), hubby
• Went into uni this morning to sign up for tutorials and collect reading material
• The house smells of new paint
• Maybe this is the cause of the headache?
• Must buy tim tams
• And sweets
• Must be hormonal
• My new glasses are ready to be collected
• Have been falling in love with A Life in Wales.

Word(s) for the day: flotsam and jetsam

19 July 2005

self portrait tuesday


Taken last week. As you can see I haven't yet purchased a compact little digital nifty. This looks suspiciously like product placement, doesn't it?

Links to other self portrait tuesday bloggers here. And welcome Squished Piggies to self portrait tuesday!

Word for the day: flummery (because my oven broke yesterday and we're living on stove-top food)

18 July 2005

creative pursuits

All in all it was a creative weekend here at Chez Soup.

I made a horse to go with the little wooden cart found in an op shop recently

Mr Soup painted the hallway (excuse bad photo ... poor light ... the green is much greener in real life)

and Son No. 1 enjoyed a little pyrotechnical expression. This is one of his bombs, photodocumented for posterity:

It starts off innocently enough

When the sparkler reaches the main body of the bomb it flares up and excites small brothers

Suddenly ... whoosh!

and finally the caps buried inside explode, adding a satisfying aural element to proceedings.

The dog whimpers, the audience applauds. The child bows.

We are so proud.

15 July 2005

another poem

A very dear friend from across the seas who reads my blog but doesn't have one of her own (but she should!), had a go at the Where I Am From poem. It brought tears to my eyes ... I am so emotional these days. She graciously allowed me to post it on my blog. Thanks SCK.

Where I Am From

I am from the old copper tea kettle, dinged, battered and sticky, from Coats and Clarks All Purpose White (the economy roll) and the rummage sale blue pants, three sizes too big, but triumphantly made of denim like the other kids wore.

I am from the house on Nora Creek Road, chipped red shutters and tired white paint, a red metal roof that sings in the rain, dark orange water from a well nearly dry, sour and unforgiving.

I am from the honeysuckle that grew wild on the hill, from pinecones scattered everywhere, and poppies with papery orange petals, out back by the old church pew.

I am from choosing birthday dinners and megalomania, from Nelsons, Outhouses and Applegates, from HCK and all the Cerethes there ever were.

I am from the over indulgers and bewildering intellects.

From be careful or your face will freeze that way, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself, from dumb Kopf, idgeyut, spiteful wench and don’t be schtewpid.

I am from Thanks be to God, the Lord be with you and also with you, from Be Not Afraid and Beatitudes, from In the Stars and On Eagle’s Wings, from Glory Hallelujah.

I am from a land that’s evergreen, and amber waves of grain, from teachers of kings in a faraway place and Yankee ingenuity, from rice with everything (but NEVER milk and sugar), and a block of ice cream cut three by three for all to get their fair share.

From an ancient tiny woman squatted with a bread board across her knees making wontons the way they’re supposed to be made -- the only time I ever saw her. I am from red suspenders and the yellow straw hat with a hole worn through, from you’re a good kid and I believed it.

I am from a stack of boxes tucked in a closet that survived hundreds of miles and dozens of addresses, from fervent poems scrawled on scraps of paper, and every letter I’ve ever been written. I am from walls adorned with nearly a decade of Fourth of July masterpieces wrought from the hands and imaginations of the people I love.

14 July 2005

take your pet to blog day

This one is for arc and mav at port2port. Because I like rhythm in my life.

he misses them

The children have returned to school. The beast is missing them. He lies here amongst the detritus of family life (roller blades, toy soldiers), looking wistful.

In other news,

Thanks to the Lady Linoleum I have been singing

Once was a girl in a pale pink coat,
yodel-layee-odel-ayee-odel-ay hey ho!
She yodelled back to the lonely goatherd-alayee-odel-ayee-odel oh!'

all day.

I want to make a skirt out of the Passing Ships fabric from cabbages and roses dot com. But due to the exchange rate I think it will have to be a pincushion.

Thanks to maria, chloe, sck and others, I have been practising italics and bold, diligently.

Word for the day: brouhaha

12 July 2005

self portrait tuesday

Here's a rather pretentious one, cos I am taking myself a tad seriously these days.


This is where I am at right now. Enjoying this space between semesters to read whatever I want to. And in the middle is the Homer, the biggie, which I have to (re)read before the 25th of July. So it's there to remind me.

And the glasses, and the white and blue tiles of my kitchen. Voila, c'est moi.

joie de vivre

I collect the children from school. First day back after the winter holidays. They are subdued. It's cold and dull outside. So we put the Neville Brothers cd on, loud. They perk up. They dance!
There is a special beauty in watching a 6 year old dance. And hearing a 9 year old belt out at the top of his voice "Just give me music or give me death (doo be doo be doo), It's gotta have a beat, the kind that makes me sweat!"
The 11 year old classical violinist retreats to his room to shut out our blasphemy.

11 July 2005

opposite ends of the spectrum

And now for something completely different ...

I just saw THE most beautiful film tonight. It's French! It's about embroidery! And it's gorgeous. And it stars a beautiful young redhead. If 'A Common Thread' is in a cinema near you, go see it.

Someone put me on to this ... Tom Cruise Blog. Very funny.

And now, goodnight and thanks for all the fish.

PS. There is a lovely article on Loobylu in today's Age. It's probably online too ... yes just checked. It's here.

10 July 2005

Where are your big brothers?

Yesterday it rained all day. The children found my old typewriter (from The Olden Days, as they call anything prior to 1995) and spent a happy couple of hours tapping away, composing deep and meaningful gobbledygook. I heard a few giggles and whispers but didn't take much notice. Later that afternoon No. 3, who is just beginning to learn writing and reading and all that spelling stuff, came up to me proudly.

No. 3: Guess what. I know what Mummy begins with.
Me: Mmmm hmmm? (distracted by really good book)
No. 3: M!
Me: That's right! Well done my love.
No. 3: And I know what Daddy begins with.
Me: Do you? What darling?
No. 3: D!
Me: Uh huh. Brilliant child.
No. 3: And I know what the F word begins with!
(shocked pause)
No. 3: F!!!

9 July 2005

where I am from

The other day I came to Mojavi's Simple Things and was led to a beautiful poem and open project. Fred, a teacher, has taken George Ella Lyons' poem Where I'm From and asked his students to write their own story, using Lyons' poem as a base.

He then opened this project to the world, inviting people to participate via the internet. I copied the poem, and the template, intending to have a go over the next day or so. Then bombs exploded in the city of my birth and I have been thinking a lot about where I'm from. And I found I had tears in my eyes as I wrote.

I invite you to have a look at the original poem and the template and try writing your own poem. Play around with it. Share it with me if you wish. Or not.

Here's mine.

Thank you for this gift Mojavi, and may your god go with you.

Where I'm From

I am from a blue coin purse, Matchbox cars in a drawstring bag, running along the railing in a new country, and the sari pin with mismatched stones - one blue, one turquoise.
I am from the homemade school uniform that came down to my knees, the handknitted jumpers and the maryjane schoolshoes.
I am from the summer-sweet apricot trees, from my very own Faraway Tree conquered at noon with gumboots on the wrong feet.
I am from lick the bowl and summer canasta and The Perry Bladder, from Lace, and Moon.
I am from the non-campers and the Home for Deaf Dogs and not with the good scissors.
From half-pint and you'll grow into it, eat your peas and I've told you a million times not to exaggerate.
I am from god bless and gobblers. The Sunday School bible of the most glorious blue. From goodnight and may your god go with you.
I am from this green and pleasant land, egg and chips and roast lamb. From Wait and See Pie and beef stroganoff with a ring of peas.
From the Domesday Book, the Cockney girl and the Oxbridge boy, the Nightingale who died before her time and Gethin pulling brother Harry off the barbed wire at the Western Front, both dead.
I am from the Jacobean wine chest filled with dusty projector-less films that once showed a tantrum at Regents Park Zoo, the wooden slide my uncle built and the nose bleed.
I am from beauty, rich and rare.

8 July 2005

horrible day

Today is Friday


and my thoughts are in London

7 July 2005

tentative explorations

I have been exploring the far off hitherto unexplored regions of Blogland. On my expedition I discovered:

1. there are many people for whom Star Wars is much more than a film. This worries me. One day they might have children and those children will grow up thinking this is normal. Those children will then go out into the world. Some of them may end up in important positions.
2. there is a blogger out there who uses the word 'set' for 'sit' and 'sat'. Is this her own little idiosyncracy or is there a part of the world where people spell sit 'set'? This intrigues me.
3. there are many bloggers who knit a jumper or woollen toy every few days. This amazes me and makes me feel inadequate.
4. American people use one 'l' for many words where Australians and English people use two. (woollen, chilli, travelling, unravelled)
5. There are a lot of technically proficient people out there. I could learn a lot from them if I took the time. But my eyes start to drip blood and it's time to leave.
6. Many bloggers take themselves very very seriously. This amuses me at first. Then it makes me sleepy and it's time to leave.
7. Kath has the most exquisite looking girl child in the world.
8. So does that talented Portugese blogger.
9. Some bloggers make me snort English Breakfast tea all over my keyboard.
10. There are more errant apostrophes than you can poke a stick at. This annoys me.
11. There are other Pea Soups out there. One is a consultant in Chicago AND London, and the other studies psychiatric epidemiology. Both are men.
12. I am spending way too much time on the computer. I have still not learnt how to do bold or italics.

6 July 2005

a list

some things I like, in no particular order

1. the nape of No. 3's neck
2. autumn leaves
3. Bach and Handel (ok I know that's two ...)
4. No. 2's sense of humour
5. old fashioned crockery
6. photography
7. old fashioned roses
8. singing 'Blue Moon' to No. 2 every night
9. B's hands
10. maltesers
11. No. 1's generosity
12. knitting
13. No. 2's out of control laugh
14. watching No. 2 with his dog
15. watching No. 1 with his violin
16. the owl and the pussycat
17. Venice
18. lists
19. a glass of merlot and dark chocolate in winter
20. gin & tonic and milk chocolate in summer
21. singing
22. community
23. raspberries
24. breastfeeding
25. interesting glasses
26. op shopping
27. the sound of the cello
28. porridge, every morning
29. a pregnant belly
30. my family
31. calligraphy
32. ladybirds
33. Circus Oz
34. Leunig
35. pure cotton sheets
36. smoked salmon
37. 1964 Volkswagon Carmen Ghia
38. whimsy
39. Royal Botanic Gardens (Melbourne)
40. my snot-green dead-yak coat
41. Tom Stoppard
42. quince
43. words

some more words for yesterday's list ... whimsy wistful pipkin groat and tippet (the last three are from Beatrix Potter's 'The Tailor of Gloucester'. I like the fact that I can increase my vocabulary by reading literature meant for toddlers. I even looked them up in the dictionary.)

lovely lovely day

Yesterday was a blustery sunny winter's day spent at the Botanic Gardens.

Somersault competitions were held.


No. 1 officiated.

Then it was time for quieter activities ...

No. 1 took his book

No. 2 took his dog (the photo is actually of dog and No. 3 ...)

No. 3 took his own seating arrangements. And his knitting.

The patriarch snoozed.
Try not to look up his nose. But please do notice the complicated cable stitch aran jumper. Because it took me 12 years to knit. Yes really.

I sat snug in the bosom of my family.

5 July 2005


I love words. Some particular words I adore are serendipity decolletage besotted berserk beloved pudding chaiwallah snot velvet sizzle alas chutzpah and sparkler


self portrait tuesday


4 July 2005

20 things I believe in

Today I made a new friend. It feels good.

Things I believe in

1. buying local
2. organic food
3. recycling and reusing
4. stories at bedtime, every bedtime, no matter how old the children are
5. good children's literature
6. the value of play
7. solitude, regularly
8. lifelong learning, formal or informal
9. rituals
10. English Breakfast tea
11. whole food
12. making a home beautiful
13. noticing the little things
14. restricting children's electronic media exposure
15. increasing children's exposure to the arts
16. the importance of my women friends
17. good grammar
18. lipstick
19. life is too short to drink low fat milk
20. the thrill of making a new friend

3 July 2005

potters and mermaids

I have been googling for a ceramic water filter - one of those aesthetically-pleasing terracotta ones rather than a nasty plastic job. And I stumbled upon this. I am somehow delighted to discover that such a group exists. Long may they last.

And I think I want to live in New York. Any state (hey, any country!) that has a mermaid parade is my kind of place.

2 July 2005

show and tell

It must be Friday still somewhere in the world

a slice of family life ... toothbrushes, a rose tin, bath photos and a lice comb

1 July 2005

kitchen views

A little while ago Shelly and her mum posted views from their kitchen windows. I kind of liked this idea (and their views) and thought I'd show mine. My kitchen is a long galley kitchen overlooking the family room, but at the end of it is a glass door to the garden. This is what I look out on

shed door

Not quite the same far horizon. We have a teeny tiny garden, and in it is a teeny tiny shed that was quite ugly until we painted it blue with a hot pink roof and stapled plastic geckoes/lizards over it (see how many you can find). Now it is less ugly.

The view from my kitchen sink into the family room looks like this


I wonder what it says about me, that I so enjoy the rhythm and routine one finds in blogworld? That I like order within my chaos? I love how there's Self Portrait Tuesdays, and port2port do Take Your Pet to Blog Day on Thursdays, and there's a tussle between Photo Friday and Illustration Friday and Say La Vee's Show and Tell Friday (today was toothbrush but I just couldn't get it done in time).

PS. Digital camera helpers: please tell me what colour knitted (sadly, not felted) flower brooch you would like. Hot pink, pale pink, plummy purple? Place your requests now!