Monday, June 27, 2011

A Four Poster Romantic Makeover

 Verandah Room with new four poster bed. 

A four poster bed always seems to add some magic. We decided to do a little shoogle-nifty with the beds in the B&B and sacrifice our own gorgeous four poster bed to put into the Verandah room to add a little bit of sugar-plum, fairytale love.  

I made wafty white curtains for the bedrails, but immediately took them down again as it detracted from the way the new space flows. I think the four poster bed has created a gorgeous luxurious and slightly princess feel for the room and it's taking all my willpower not to just move in there with Handy Husband and put 'Do Not Disturb' up on the door.

What is your idea of the perfect romantic bedroom? 

The room was like this for a few years

And like this when we bought the place

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dolphin Love

My friend on her stand up paddleboard with dolphins. 

Our bay is home to many dolphins and quite often we see them right up close to the shore as we walk along the beach.

It was the dolphins, on a crisp June morning many years ago, that helped us fall in love with the bay. Already blown away by the endless empty beaches, we were lying under a tree on the icing-sugar sand, gazing at the unbelievable blue of the bay, when a group of dolphins appeared in front of us, just a few metres off the beach, surfing into the shore. They really seemed to be playing - catching the tiny breakers and leaping with delight.

Last night we went for our usual walk. I had spent most of the afternoon in a gruelling tourism meeting  and needed a hit of sea air to remind myself why we live here and run this sometimes challenging business. (It's unusually quiet down here this winter in the B and B). One of my friends from the meeting had clearly had the same thought because there she was, despite the cool weather, riding the gentle waves at the mouth of the creek on her stand up paddleboard, a short distance away from us. I was waving and hollering to her when up popped the dolphins. Right underneath her.

Luckily Handy Husband had his handy camera in his pocket, so while I jumped up and down with unbridled, childlike enthusiasm at their proximity to her (and to us), he started snapping.

It's not unusual to see the dolphins so close. There are people in this village who make their living out of the reliability of seeing at least one pod every day somewhere in the bay, but as I say to HH every time we see them (and he laughs at me jumping up and down and pointing), the day I stop being excited about the dolphins is the day we pack up and go back to the city.

Anyway I'm supremely grateful to the dolphins. Who knows, without them we might not have fallen in love with the place, gone completely crazy one weekend and actually moved down here to live.

I've always fancied the idea of swimming with dolphins, but I also have a suspicion that it's not the done thing these days, like cuddling koalas. Not very eco-cool. What do you think? Can I? 


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Duck Hash for Dinner anyone?

We took a little detour back from town the other day, via the local council's recycling centre - a favourite haunt of Handy Husband's. One of the good things about living in this area is that when people take their old junk to the rubbish tip, it doesn't automatically get chucked into landfill. Anything that is worth selling onwards goes into the 'tip shop' as we call it. (I've also heard it called 'Rusty K-Mart').

A large part of my childhood was spent sitting under my mother's Portobello market stall in London, so I have no problem with pre-loved stuff. I love it. Lots of things in the B&B have come from the tip shop (it can be amazing what people discard) and they are easily cleaned up with a coat of paint and HH's skills.

I also love going along to look for old books...

Yesterday I found a stash of old cookbooks and although I  got the whole lot for a dollar, this one -'The Australian Guide to Homestead Fare' - is priceless. With more than 300 classic recipes like jellied tongue, stuffed heart, liver croquettes, soused fish(?), melton mowbray pie, half way pudding, parisian tea cake and cashmere chutney (to name a few), I can't help wondering who owned it, who threw it out and why?

This whole hoard of books obviously came from an avid home cook, chocolate fanatic (there are three specialist chocolate books) and I suspect a local dairy farmer's kitchen (or maybe I'm just influenced by the picture of the gorgeous homestead on the cover). All grist for the imagination.

So, even though I might not be cooking 'duck hash' or 'piquant sausages' for dinner tonight, I'm certainly brewing up a story of some kind. Then again, maybe I should try and tackle the golden syrup roly poly or steamed marmalade pudding at least...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Feeling Grateful for Every Minute of Every Day.

I haven't been here for a while. I finished that tricky little film with the scary deadline and fell into a fit of exhaustion. For days and days I couldn't look at a computer or TV screen.  

Then the sudden death of a friend hit us both very hard. 

Only a few years older than me, our friend died within four weeks of her diagnosis. We hadn't seen her for years and we felt so far away. Her husband is one of my husband's oldest and best friends, so we've listened and cried together across skype, sent flowers, our thoughts and all our love to him.

HH and I keeping hugging each other - extra tight. 

Before she died, my friend apparently said she wasn't sure what she'd be leaving behind - what her legacy might be. Even though she was a successful film editor (whose many documentaries have been shown all over the world), she wondered what she might be remembered for... 

I will remember her for her love of life as much as her talent. More than anyone else I have ever met, she (together with her husband) truly embraced life with infectious enthusiasm, delighting in everything it has to offer.  From climbing mountains to discussing movies, cooking, travelling, reading novels and throwing fancy-dress parties, they grasped life together with a playful glee. 

So, after a couple of weeks of shock and gloom, it's time for me to remember her gift and get back to being grateful for every minute of every day. 

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