Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Taming The Wasteland Continued. The 2022 Version.


So this is where we were up to, in February 2019. I'd just put in terraces and started to plant a few hardy things.

Looking down the garden, the new steps were in place but the old pavers were heaped up on the very uneven lower patio and I had sleepers ready to do terraces on the RHS of this pic. 

The old shed was still there too.

And here we are now...

 Shed is gone and new retaining wall in place. Look how lush and green everything is! We've had a wet summer, but the terraces are also doing their thing and stopping the water from running off willy-nilly.

 But...there is more to come! That old patio is about to be replaced and yours truly thought she'd save herself some money by lifting the old pavers herself.....

Firstly..this is the reason that we need a new patio...that and the fact that it is generally on a 20 degree downhill angle :-)

I had about three goes at it to get this far. Thought I'd broken the back of it but the worst was to come....

 On the final day it was stinking hot and the ants were out in force. Every brick was coated in ant tunnels and had to be hosed down with a pressure hose.

Here's the finished blank slate, ready for the landscapers to arrive tomorrow...

 And here's the stack of pavers I lifted, cleaned and stacked.💪

Morticia admires my handiwork.

So stand by for future updates. I like doing this here as I can collect all the dribs and drabs of photos scattered between my phone and facebook! It's a nice record.....

Monday, 25 January 2021

My First Completely Blackwood Christmas

 I moved into my house in Jan 2016. That year Mum and Dad visited and we had Christmas morning here at home but headed out for a big lunch and most of the day with Kindergarten Friend and his family.

In 2017 the whole family arrived from the UK and we decamped to Middleton for an awesome Christmas by the beach.

In 2018 and 2019 I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in the UK with my family, but that wasn't going to happen THIS year was it? (CURSE YOU COVID19)

So in December 2020 I had my first ever, totally Blackwood Christmas.

I went mad with decorations. There was not a spare space on any flat surface.

As Christmas approached and I was assured of the presence of the BA and her new beau, I was also surprised to learn that he was determined to cook! As he was, until recently, a chef, I decided to go with that offer for this year at least!

On the night before Christmas I was frantically sewing him a linen dressing gown as requested by the BA. This endeavour was decidedly slowed by the constant stream of Netflix Christmas movies, supposedly playing in the background, but actually stopping me from doing much of anything. I think I watched 'The Holidate' and 'Tall Girl' but there have been so many junky Christmas movies this Christmas, I may have the wrong two. Anyway, by 3am I gave up and went to bed, deciding that the bottle of champagne I had consumed in the process was probably inhibiting my sewing judgment...and anyway, I needed to try it on him before I hemmed it.

As a result, Christmas morning church did not eventuate and it was about 10:30am before I dragged myself out of bed and got a call from the BA.

"Err Mum, would it be ok if we brought another person to lunch today?"

"Sure. The more the merrier...and anyway, I'm not cooking :-D"

It turned out that one of The Chef's best buddies was on her own for Christmas, so naturally, I was delighted to welcome her to our little group. Four is a better number than three anyway.....

We even managed to rustle up a few presents for her! The BA created a goodie bag of pamper products and I managed a calendar and a succulent from my garden, in a pot I had leftover from presents to my staff. 

The BA and The Chef did very well and he was extremely pleased with his dressing gown!

And the coffee maker from the BA.

So then it was time for lunch. The Chef took over my sad little kitchen, ably supported by his Buddy. 

He completely deboned a chicken and reassembled it with stuffing, then served it up with a delightful array of vegetables and an avocado salad. Well, it is Summer here after all!

This was followed by delicious creme brulees with such a layer of caramelised sugar, you had to crack it twice with a spoon to break it! Sorry, too busy eating it to photograph!

The Christmas crackers were a bit of a hoot. I had forgotten to get any until Christmas eve and of course all the shops were out. All I managed to find was this pack of 6 mini crackers. When I got home, I did discover a set of 'make your own' crackers from 2015 when we'd spent a strange Christmas house sitting, in between houses. I rustled  a few up, putting the mini crackers inside the bigger ones. Of course, because I didn't know the Buddy was coming until Christmas morning, I'd only made three. So I just got a mini one...

The size difference is not because I am further away.......

After lunch was your usual Christmas food coma...

But we revived enough to play games into the evening, after which The Chef took the Buddy off to another gathering whilst the BA and I spent a precious few hours together face timing the UK and watching movies snuggled up together on the sofa. It was really a super Christmas. Of course, we missed the Fam Bam but we were relaxed, it wasn't rushed and we did everything you want to do at Christmas. Oh, the BA also got me a super gift! A painting I'd admired in a local gallery on my birthday in December. Happy Arizaphale!

Even the dog behaved well!

So that's a wrap on Christmas 2020. Here's to 2021 in the UK but many more lovely Blackwood Christmases to come.


Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Taming The Wasteland: Look How Far I've Come

 On the back of viewing an exquisitely styled open house, further up our street, and coming home to feel that my place is a bit dowdy, dark and dumpy, I decided to look back on how far I have come with my garden.

I give you: The Wasteland then:


An in between shot...

And now:

 Although there are less weeds at the moment :-)

My terraces a few years back and then one taken last week....


The bank, down from the patio, just after I'd plugged in a whole lot of little cuttings. 

It took a few years but now........

I planted some Full Moon  convolvulus in the first year...

Here it is now...


And the other side of the staircase then

and now

Still a bit of work to do here :-)

The next step is to plan out the bottom half of the garden which is pretty bare at the moment...

But hey! I think I can pat myself on the back.

I comfort myself that although the house up the road was styled beautifully and had a great view....its back garden was rubbish 😂

Until next time!

Saturday, 25 April 2020

The Twin Strands of Grief

It was going to be bad. I knew that.

I don't often receive phone messages from my dear friends in the UK. They are facebook averse and communicate mainly through email so when I got the message to call, I knew it was going to be bad.

This is Dear Friend 1. On Sunday the fifth he had a massive heart attack and died.
We did not see it coming.

Dear Friend 1 and I have known each other for 24 years. We met in the early days of parenthood; I can't actually recall the exact occasion, but it was early. The kids were still in those baby capsules we carted them about in. I had met Dear Friend 1's partner through baby massage classes and then in one of those complex webs of connection that happen in small cities, been introduced to Dear Friend 2 and his partner through mutual friends V and D and probably Dear Friend1 at the same time. We formed a tight knit group supporting each other through all those early minefields of child rearing, with good food, good company and the occasional glass of wine.

     Dear Friend 2 and Dear Friend 1 enjoying a small tipple in my newly landscaped garden circa 1997

This group were my lifeline. They became like family. Even this year as I visited the UK I said to them that after 16 years in Adelaide I still felt more loved and accepted coming to Southampton and meeting up with them.
 L-R:Dear Friend 2, Dear Friend 1's partner, Dear Friend 1, Dear Friend 2's partner and me. NYE 2018-19

DF1 was in good form, if a little slower and enjoying semi retirement. We only caught up a couple of times as I had opted for a shorter trip but we hugged goodbye and were pleased to acknowledge that, given my Mum's condition, I would be there next Christmas as well.

"See you next Christmas!"


When I learned he had gone, my first thought was how much I would miss him.
I can still hear his laugh, still feel his energy and vitality.
So many of his wise words still echo in my brain.

 Christmas Eve 2018

In the morning I awoke to realise I would never again receive my annual CD of the best music he'd discovered in the past year. I have 17 of these CDs. With liner notes.

His loss is mind numbing and gut wrenching and world shaking. But he has a partner.

Somewhere in my own grief I have to make room for hers.

And here are the twin strands of grief. How do I help, love and support my dear friend in her massive loss, whilst wrestling with my own?

A number of times recently, I have succumbed to the bottle and ended up sending wine smeared, self indulgent messages to her, reflecting my grief, only to wake up and feel awful for inflicting that upon her.

How to navigate this?

I am clueless. I am also 12,000 miles away so I can't bring her a casserole, not that casseroles are my strength.

This morning (her time) I called and we had a good conversation. She is vague and in shock, struggling to make day to day decisions and to keep herself moving forward. I managed to stay calm and (relatively) upbeat, affirming her feelings, sharing memories that had us both giggling and commiserating over animals who will not play the 'bodily functions go outdoors' game. After I got off the phone I howled again. Long and hard.

I'm just not sure how to do this.

Friday, 13 March 2020

A First Hand View of Guts

My guts specifically. Which I am not sure are meant to be spilled across the footpath. Or across the blogosphere for that matter.

After 24 years my bebe, the BA has decided to move out.

This is perfectly normal. She needs to stretch and grow.

I am completely fine with this.

I am also completely bereft.

It is some time since I wrote those words. The BA is now happily ensconsed in a share house with two other school friends. They are 15 mins from the centre of town and  a short walk from one of the premiere music venues in Adelaide.

So...all good then.

I'm not going to pretend this has been an easy transition. After all, my BA was the only flesh and blood relative I have in this country.  We have three cats...but they're not much on the communication front.

Over the last few years we have tended to pass in the night, but at least I knew that.....on most nights....she would arrive home.

She's been the best kid really, contacting me constantly on various social media platforms.
But she is gone.

 I'm surprised I didn't see this coming.