Tuesday 18 December 2012

Silver And Gold

This badge takes me to a time long ago, when our children went to Sunday School.  Sam didn't pay much attention in class.  Sarah did, and she got all the questions right.  Sam, on the other hand, winged his way through it.  When singing "Silver and Gold", for the third line, he would always sing:

 "....He was asked for his arms, but through in his palms..."

The girls called him T Rex.

These are the correct lyrics.  YOU probably know them....

Peter and John went to pray.
they met a lame man on the way
He asked for alms and held out his palms,
and this is what Peter did say"
Silver and gold have I none,
but such as I have give I you.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, in Jesus' name rise up and walk.
The man went walking and leaping and praising God,
Walking and leaping and praising God,
"In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, In Jesus' name rise up and walk".

Saturday 15 December 2012

Growing the Business

As I sit and type, I can hear the constant drone of the bobcat.  It is our Sam, working on dispersing the mounds of soil in the paddock next door.  This soil (fill) will become the 'base' for the concrete slab and the very beginning of our new venture - the addition of another Workshop - meaning the expansion of our family company.

I was talking with Grandpa this morning and we were discussing how many businesses in our own industry and other industries are having to close their doors and walk away from companies they've poured their heart and soul into.  It saddens me to think about them, as we (the Machinist and I) know all too well how this feels - especially to be so close to - well- to closing down.  I am constantly in awe as to how much work has come our way.  But moreso - how the work has come our way.  From the most unsuspecting sources:  from acquaintances of friends, from other business associates and sometimes - even out of the blue. 

In all of it, though -  the excitement, joy and challenge, -   the health and well-being of my family is of the utmost importance.  My greatest quest, but also the most difficult task is to assist, to calm, to encourage, to nurture a house full of dear hearts – all of different ages, needs and desires.  Oftentimes, I find it hard to motivate  myself and sometimes, my dear hearts don’t want or need assisting! Oh and our home is not always peaceful either.  As anyone who has experienced this will attest; living and working under the same roof is sometimes – well – difficult.

I think of my mam – Granny – at this point.  In the midst of her many busy days when we were youngsters I would hear her say under her breath:

“God, give me strength…”

Monday 10 December 2012


For those of you who have read my blog for some time, you may have a sense of knowing how I roll.  For those new to my blog, I say "Hello!" and "welcome" and "thanks for visiting".  I have made some new adjustments, which you will see right at the top.  I've added 'buttons' - (yep, I'm getting fancy!).  These buttons will tell you a bit more about me, my family and my Manufactory.  It may make what I write and ramble on about a bit clearer. 

Chin chin!

Over the last months (since my brother's birthday post) I've taken the Grands to a number of doctors and specialists appointments, in various towns.

My brother went on holiday to the UK.  On his return, mam and I went out with him to celebrate.  (Celebration is good, there doesn't have to be a reason).   Anyway, in our celebration mode, my mam turned too quickly, and even though her arm was hooked in my arm (singing as we went), she fell and I couldn't catch her and she was slipping away from me - ever-so sloooowwwly.  I couldn't catch her and it was horrible.  Mam was still laughing as she fell and hit the ground, saying "what a silly fool I am.." and then "...Helen, something's cracked..."

And so - hospitals, operations and more specialists.  Mam is an ox. No partial hip replacement will keep her down. (I'm exhausted).

Still, you have to stay on the bright side, and even when I load the walking wheelie trolleys into the car, I chuckle, despite the skill it takes to load everything including the shopping.

What else?

Lots of paperwork for the Council, as we are building a new Workshop.  Lots of paperwork for the bank, as we are hoping the Bank is going to pay for said Workshop.  Lots of paperwork and book-keeping for the Accountant, as he is putting the numbers in an attractive way for the Bank.  It's all in the figures.  This is the circle of life....

Oh and we hit a kangaroo on the way home one night after a movie I enjoyed, but the Machinist disliked.  (Ok, I'll tell you the name of the movie: Wuthering Heights).  It's an horrific experience hitting a kangaroo.  He stood there, suddenly but defiantly glaring into our lights.  He hit the front light, then the windscreen, roof, landed on his stealthy legs and bounced off.  From inside, we saw the windscreen shatter, but it didn't shatter in a glass-strewn-all-over-the-place type of way.  More of a spider web getting bigger kind of way.  Then the airbags exploded.  White puffy clouds in front of us.  We couldn't see a things.  The Machinist guided the car to the centre of the highway.  There was a sickening smell, with smoke coming out of the dashboard.  I shouted to the Machinist "...get out - quick!" as I was convinced the car was going to catch alight.  The Machinist, ever so slowly (????) got out of the car and started gagging.  I was convinced that he had internal bleeding.  The car neither caught fire and the Machinist doesn't have internal bleeding.  The result?  A massive bill for the windscreen and an even bigger one for the replacement of the airbags. 

Machinist "....I knew I shouldn't have watched that stupid movie!"

Saturday 14 July 2012


I love impulsive days where you just decide to do something because you FEEL like doing it at that time. Today was such a day.  The Machinist took me into town and bought me new boots and clothes.  We had burgers (even a gluten free burger!) and discussed our new health plan.  Part of it will be food, the other - a change of lifestyle where LOTS of delegation and surrendering work to others takes a big part.  I love the sound of it already! 

Much later, we had dinner with my brother and ex sister in law.  It's seldom that we can get together, because we are all in business and work hard and have little time for socialising.  Today, however, was their birthday and I love that despite a marriage that ended some years ago, they are still best of friends and they love each other, and make the effort to be together on their birthdays.

And so - this is a birthday wish for both of them -

I love you both very much.  I hope to share many more birthdays with you.  I am so proud of who you both are and what you have achieved.  Thankyou for all you have done for us.  Thankyou for your generous hearts.  


Oh, and B and W - thanks for paying the restaurant bill!  You know it should have been our treat... but you are both so stubborn.  And we all know who you get that from....

Thursday 12 July 2012

Calling A Diet A Diet

It's very rare, of late to spend a whole day at home.  On weekdays, I am taking the Grands to their doctor's appointments or keeping my own, along with the Machinist.  Otherwise, there are jobs to be picked up or jobs to be dropped off in town (sixty kilometres away from where we live and work).  Accountants to consult, banking to be transacted, hardware to be bought, vehicles to register.

And... blood to be let. At the Pathology clinic, that is.

Some months back, I booked an appointment at a Sydney doctor's practice for our Emma. In the meantime, Emma embarked on a new health plan and had no need to see this specialist doctor.  And so - I took her place and I'm glad I did.

I, too will be embarking on a new health plan, - dare I call it a "diet".  Although we all like to publicly refer to it as ' ...a new lifestyle...' or '...a new way of eating...', I'm convinced there's many of us that still use the term 'diet', and when we do, it makes everything clear and there's no questions needed to be asked and everyone knows what's going on.

The diet I refer to is the HCG diet.  I've read about it and am reading more and more.  I will even be adding to the diet blog I set up some time ago...

All being well, I will start tomorrow.  The diet, not updating the blog...

Wish me luck good health!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Workshop Development

The Machinist has received a lot of new work and challenging projects for our Engineering business. Some products are to be duplicated in the hundreds and some products are to be designed from scratch.

 There is a need to build a second workshop to accommodate new machinery, as well as newly manufactured products and we are currently in the process of working on and submitting a Development Application to our local Council.

We were advised to seek and employ a Development Consultant, but true to our family trait, we are DIO (doing it ourselves).

 For those of you who have dealt with (especially) small country town Councils, you will understand what we are going through.

In a way, - adding to the Environmental Effects Statement with additional comments and CAD drawings is a process which makes you think - really think -  about what you have to do - the extent you have to go through to achieve the final result.

The Machinist and I are in total awe at the size and prospect of this extra workload.  Where to start?

Suddenly, I break out in my best Julie Andrews impersonation (The Sound of Music)

"....Let's start at the very beginning....a very good place to start...."

We laugh.  And laugh some more.  Because deep down, we know that all will be well.  Excitement reigns. 

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Hen Whisperers

At one stage, we had over 50 ex battery hens.  They were so gentle, and I admit - I talked to them.  The Machinist took over my role as Chief  Hen Feeder and he, too, began talking to them. Nowadays, we have one Rhode Island hen, and she is scraggly looking, seeing as it is time for her moult. I cannot bare to leave her alone in her (Rolls Royce) hen house, so I let her stroll the garden.  She loves to climb the steps to the back deck and resume her roll as top of the pecking order.  No more thieving magpies and no more kitties;; - they've migrated to the front of the house and guard it with a passion.

There are so many detailed things one has to do in the morning, sometimes, too petty to even mention.  One that always makes me smile, however, is the ice-cracking of the water in the communal bowl.  The dogs and the hen drink thirstily and peacefully together when the ice is removed or we've exchanged the cold water for luke warm.  The hen then has first dibs on the dog food, throwing her scrawny neck back at each picking.

The Machinist asked me the other day if I thought we should get some more hens.  Knowing us, I replied that it would be better to wait and allow the Lone Hen to savour her days without the introduction of potentially new upstarts.  When we have a large flock, producing more work and cost we declare we shall have no more, but again, knowing us, we never do anything in halves.


Tuesday 8 May 2012

His Lady

I didn't think it that important. I wasn't going to go.  But I'm sure glad I did.

The ultrasound revealed I had a 20cm (8 inch) ovarian tumour.

"When did that happen?"  "How?"

To cut a long story short, and not to downplay a major abdominal surgery, the tumour was benign and I'm now recuperating very well.  (Thanks so much for asking!) 12 days after my surgery, our first grand-baby - the beautiful, gorgeous Keiralea Anne De Bruin joined our family.

I simply cannot describe the love.  I tear up when I think of her, and sometimes - even - when I'm holding her, as I kiss her and feel her baba-soft cheek skin.

The Machinist insists I am now his Lady.  His Lady of Leisure.  I am his 'delicate' English rose.  Sometimes, he calls me "... the Ruby he found and claimed from that small country town in Africa, never to return..."

I am currently in limbo.  I am seeking projects.  I have plans.....

Thankyou so much for reading!


Thursday 9 February 2012

My Valentine

My daughter, Sarah, invited me to be one of her guest bloggers and to write about my love story in the lead up to Valentine's day.  Why not pop over to Sarah's Blog, "Middlepaw" and see why the Machinist will always be my Valentine

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Tying Loose Ends

I can hear the gentle wooshing of the rain as I sit and type.  The Machinist has finished watching his favourite program and has just walked through to the lounge, where I sit behind my desk with a dim lamp light.  He draws the curtains.  It is part of his evening routine, as he is such a creature of habit.  He draws the curtains, locks the front door, goes to the bathroom, then takes his supplements.  He's like clockwork and I love him for it, as he is a great support, dependable and reliable.  He is steadfast and comforting and assuring even- especially in these times of uncertainty.

I find that there are so many projects that I want to complete, both in the house and also in the garden.  Before I can whole-heartedly throw myself into these projects, however, I have to finish packing up the shop.  My brother has bought most of our equipment, but there is always so much of the smaller items to deal with: glasses, crockery, cutlery, small appliances, stationary, table signs and numbers, menus, left over giftware, jams, sauces, honey and small quantities of dry goods like peppers, specialised flours, spices etc.

During the days of packing up The Daily Pie, I am also 'flirting' with a HUGE decluttering at home.  Some days, I take things from home to the shop, and others - I take things from the shop - home.  The rest goes into a huge trailer parked outside, ready to be towed to the local tip.  Some days, it feels like I am getting "nowhere", as while I spend so much time in each day repeating this routine, I am not doing the regular chores like washing, cleaning, and even - shopping.  We have plenty of stock in our home pantry, but lack fresh fruit and vegetables and other perishable items.  Hence, we're still not eating as healthy as I would like us to eat.  My waistline proves it!

And although we are still saddened by our elective closure of the Cafe, we are all excited about the future...

Tuesday 24 January 2012


The Machinist and I did a lot of gadding about during our Christmas break.  We went on a few day trips around our region.  I'm still grazing on the memories of drives we took in the new Land Rover Discovery.  This is what it looks like:

What a pleasure to travel on hot days in a beautifully airconditioned car!

We went to the National Gallery of Australia:


The War Memorial:

 The National Zoo and Aquarium:

We took a trip to the beach.  Some of us swam, some paddled, some frolicked in rock pools and some, well - they just got sun burned.

Later in the Christmas break, the Machinist and I took a trip to Cooma, which is a town in the Snowy Mountains.

It wasn't snowing when we were there (ha!), and after passing through we descended the Brown Mountain, and spent the night at a quaint Bed and Breakfast, which was and still is the General store and Post office called The Two Storey B & B at Central Tilba

But... the one place that I truly adore and even dream about was the culmination of our travels, namely, the one and only Foxglove Spires Garden at Tilba Tilba.

What can I say?  You can read more here.

I am truly besotted, especially as I read the creator and owner of the garden, Sue Southam's book: Velvet Pears. 

And so, to bed!  Where I can read more of these beautiful pages, and perhaps even dream of them!

Wednesday 18 January 2012


Life is oftentimes bittersweet.  The realisation that we had to close our beloved Pie Shop, The Daily Pie was one of those bitter times.  While we packed and cleaned we had a constant knot in our throats.   One day, Sarah and I went up to the shop, intending to take pictures and write descriptions for the sale of equipment.  (I had been up there previously, alone on a few occasions, just wanting to 'think'.  I was adjusting myself to the prospect of no longer having the shop). As she approached the pie display fridge, (which we endeavoured to keep choc-full of ample pies, beautifully arranged) she took a step back and declared "...it feels like I'm selling my soul.." 

This little heart-declaration caused us to postpone the photo session until... well.....we still haven't returned for that, but we will.

There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in the hospitality industry.   I knew straight from the start, that we would never have been as successful if it wasn't for the help of a VERY DEAR FRIEND of ours, fondly known as "Cheffy".  He helped us regularly, without return or promise of return. He is generous of heart, methodical, punctual, reliable - a perfectionist and a true gentleman. The unsung hero (to us, anyway).

And so, it is farewell to the old, as the promise of something new breeds unpredicted, yet sweet excitement!

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Our Pet Family

I can't believe four months have past since my last post!

Wilson is a big boy now.  He has a friend; also a poddy lamb which we raised to be his companion.  Wilson's friend is Leo.  Wilson, we've learned, is a Merino lamb and Leo is a Border lester cross.  They eat and eat and eat in the paddock at the side of our house. They are truly 'Fat Lambs'.  Somewhere in the paddock lies two lambs tails and two gonad sacks. The Machinist jokes about finding these body parts and using them to spur his lads into action, should they ever become slack while at work in the factory.  The lads just laugh about the Machinist's threats, as they know his task of finding said parts would be like finding needles in a haystack.

In other pet news, my lovely Lilly - a Schnauzer cross Pug has been fatally mauled by Polly, our Staffy cross Silky.  We were all out at the time of the alpha-female power struggle and poor Sarah had to come home to the end of the battle. We rushed Lilly to the vet, and all was looking good "No news is good news", the local vet advised our Sarah.  And then, around 9.30pm that night, there was a phone call...

I still can't get over it.  I've never grieved a dog like I do Lilly.

There is MUCH more news, but the Machinist is calling me to bed.  We hope to visit Jenolan Caves tomorrow with the rest of my lovely family and we're hoping to make an early start (well, as early as one would like to call early while on holiday.  Our first in three years).

More later....

RIP, my lovely Lilly xx


 Table talk amongst our children is and always has been, -  a rabbit warren . We start off in one hole and end up in another -  quick smart....