Saturday, 12 August 2017

Coca Cola Cake

Have you ever tasted a Coca Cola Cake?
I had noticed internet chitchat about this cake intermittently over the years.
Finally, I made one.
What was actually in it? Diabetics beware! Not a lot of soft drink, but a smattering of ingredients that are generally not really recommended as healthy. There was only one cup of coca cola, but an entire packet of small marshmallows and two cups of sugar. Let's be truthful - nobody eats cake to be healthy, ever.

The recipe said to make it as a slab, but following such advice was not on my agenda. Used a cake tin that looks a bit fancy; it filled a large tin. When making this cake, the batter is quite runny as it goes into the cake tin - surprisingly runny.
A dollop of icing and a few choc bits added finishing touches after my masterpiece had cooled.

What is the verdict?
This cake tastes fine, freezes well, and has enough preservatives to extend my life for an extra ten years. It is a firm cake; more like a mud cake than a sponge. One slice is definitely enough with a coffee.
Yes, I will make it again one day.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


My daughter Camilla married the man she loves.

A few relatives were visiting us at the time for a separate occasion, so this seemed a good time to add to everyone's happiness.

It was a No-Fuss wedding at the Registry Office. They wanted no flowers, no photographer, no white dresses, no gifts, no music, no reception, and no silly nonsense. That evening they went down to the Surf Club with their dog, and many friends congratulated them.

Her wedding ring is the engagement ring she inherited from her great-grandmother. She had it cleaned and resized. His ring is silicon because he is a mechanic and he did not want it to be caught in machinery.

I am delighted to have Kevin as a son-in-law.

Thursday, 20 July 2017


Is it possible to grow hyacinths in the tropics?
I did.
Our daytime maximum is around 30 degrees Celsius, but it is usually cooler inside because of the thermal mass of the building.

I'm not a skilled photographer so it may be a little difficult to get a true idea of how lovely the flowers were.
These flowers had a surprisingly strong perfume that did not fade away in the heat. That was an unexpected bonus.

There were three bulbs and eventually there were six flower spikes. The tallest flower reached about 25cm, that's all.
The leaf and flower stage lasted for about a month.
I have saved the bulbs for next year. Happy days in the fridge.

The hessian shape slips over an ordinary black plastic pot and looks neat but casual. An extra layer of cellophane helped with waterproofing.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017


I saw this clever cartoon on a Facebook page about grammar. I hope you are amused; obviously, Queen Victoria is not. I like simple puns and grammar jokes.

For the history purist, this cartoon does contain some inaccuracies. (The grammar nerds are busy with guidance.) The animals should all point the same direction. The skin tone should be a little darker; although I find it more engaging this way. Maybe the stool is an anachronism??

I appreciate the joke and am not really concerned with the faults. Happy smiles to you.

At the bottom of the cartoon are the source, the artist, and the date. The artist is Dan Piraro.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Keanu's quilt

Another quilt for a little baby.

Keanu has been waiting since March, but, at last, his quilt is finished.

It looks a bit better than this.  The gentle tropical breeze(!) would not cooperate and be still while my hero took the photo.

Quite a few dramas along the way. I have such a lot to learn. I am pleased that my quilting is improving. There are parallel lines, one set following the strips and one set at an angle to those but not at 45 degrees. The corners are still not as neat as I would have liked, but the important thing is that the child receives a gift made with love.

Keanu is a dear little boy, very happy and calm. I'm sure he will use this quilt for years and for many purposes.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Diffuser reeds

My sister-in-law brought back these lovely diffuser reeds from South Africa. The ornamental ends are ceramic and are attached to bamboo sticks that absorb perfumed liquid. Two proteas and one wheat.

We received three lovely reeds, but it took quite a lot of searching to find the correct perfumed oil. Only difficult, not impossible. I have tried replacing the liquid with a homemade perfumed oil a few years ago, but it was not as effective as the bought product. No faking it this time.

Perhaps some other enterprising artists should jump on this bandwagon.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Driving about

We drove down to Batchelor and Adelaide River.

There was a little market at Batchelor which we supported by purchasing some coffees and the ubiquitous sausage sizzle. And bought some other useless ornaments that I did not need but felt might disappear in a puff of smoke if they did not come home with me.
Thankfully my husband hauled me off to visit the local museum. Absolutely loved that. Batchelor has a long and interesting history starting with farming, branching into mining, then military stuff, mining again, and lastly education. It is a very pretty place in the middle of not-quite-nowhere.

Off to Adelaide River and the Railway museum. Loved that too.  I'm not sure why, but I really enjoy looking at old engines and things. I looked at the water tower and immediately thought of those television shows where people convert similar structures into homes. The museum has a lot of material. Some of the displays deserve better attention, but the manpower is not available.

Adelaide river has seen more prosperous times, but it hangs on. It is a popular stop for the grey nomads with their big cars and caravans. There's an amazing war cemetery. We of the Never Never country. Gold mining comes and goes.

The reservoir that originally provided water for the steam trains is gorgeous.

The Adelaide River Railway museum has quite a few buildings
and interesting bits and pieces.

Time and the tropics.

It's a bit tricky to maintain the site but the old equipment is fascinating.
This reservoir is not used now, but once supplied all the water for the steam trains and the little community.
It's big. This photo hardly does it justice.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Pacific Requiem

During the performance.
I'm in the middle row with the altos but partially obscured.
The Darwin Chorale performed Pacific Requiem last weekend as part of The Territory Remembers commemorations. It was quite challenging to learn and perform well, but the result was worth every second of all those rehearsals.

It is 75 years since war came to Australia and the Northern Territory was bombed. The Pacific Requiem, by Michael MacNeill, is a work of reconciliation. This means it is one way we can all come to feel that the war is long over and that participants should be forgiven. Those who fired the weapons were just ordinary people doing what they were told was right. They have friends and family who mourn their loss too. This requiem is for all.
MacNeill's requiem contains pieces in Latin, English, and Japanese. It is based on the traditional requiem service of the Christian church, in Latin, but supplemented with folk songs from Australia, USA, and Japan. A children's choir sings some sections.
Our performance was in the Uniting Church in Darwin. This church is itself a war memorial. We were lucky enough to have the composer present at the final rehearsal and at the performance.

Afterwards, Michael MacNeill addressed the audience.
The church was decorated with cherry blossoms, red roses, and wattle flowers. All the singers and musicians wore sprigs of those flowers too.

The following morning we sang at a church service to bless the new Peace Garden at the same church. The Fujita family sponsored that event. It was so moving that tears poured down my cheeks.

Who is Michael MacNeill? He is an Australian now, but he was born in the USA. His father had served in World War II in the Pacific as an American Marine. Michael MacNeill taught English and Drama in schools, and also developed a sound reputation for composing musicals and operas. He is no musical lightweight.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Storms and bubbles

The large bubble at the bottom is 10cm across.
Last night we had a couple of very windy storms coming from the west. The strong winds forced water and air into tiny cracks or openings in our building.

This morning I found this.

This window is completely exposed with no shade or shelter at all.

The bubbles are a combination of air and water. The force has been enough to lift the paint away from the concrete wall. I wonder who invented such strong paint.

A small amount of water had leaked in via the window fitting, but that has not caused the paint to bubble.

Our body corporate management has been notified, because if it happens in our flat then it also happens in every flat directly above and below us - 28 floors. Our building is insured for storm damage and an insurance assessor will have to inspect this. Nothing is actually broken. Let's see what happens as the monsoon continues.

During the afternoon the weather was fine, warm and sunny. The sun shines directly on this window every afternoon of the year. The bubbles decreased dramatically. I wonder if they will grow again tonight while I am dreaming.