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Friday, 26 December 2008

Flickr: ATC Beginners

Flickr: ATC Beginners


Well I have finally taken the plunge and made up a few ATC's.
The idea has intrigued me for a few months, so after reading about them, and looking at lots of completed cards, decided to have a go.
It is one of those things where everyone develops their own style, and here are my first attempts.
There is also a good blog on the Flickr site and I have joined the group and added these photos as well.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


My childhood memories of this story are dim, but I can say that this time around, enjoyed reading the tale of Anne Shirley coming to live with Marilla and Matthew at Green Gables.
So many pages reached out with lovely phrases, morals etc. that it was hard to remember all of them. One I liked ;
"It wouldn't be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There would be no scope for imagination then, would there? (Anne talking to Matthew).
and another -
"I do love patchwork, said Anne dolefully, as she hunts through her work basket. I think some kinds of sewing would be nice; but there's no scope for imagination in patchwork. It's just one little seam after another and you never seem to be getting anywhere".

Having never read the other books that follow on from this story, I have now accessed the Bookmooch site, to obtain the other books.

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA by Catherine Paterson

I admit to having a few tears as I came to the conclusion of this book.

A young boy, Jess, finds a friend in Leslie (yes a girl), and together they invent a secret place in the woods to call their own (Terabithia). But this story is really about Jess, growing up and believing in himself. He loves to draw and being the ony boy in his family, appears to be left out of everything and feels totally alien to the everyone.
His friendship with Leslie changes this, and it isn't until Leslie drowns trying to get to their secret place, that he realises what life is about.

Great story.

Friday, 5 December 2008

A Daring Book Challenge: Reviews October-Decemeber

A Daring Book Challenge: Reviews October-Decemeber

The Illyrian Adventure by Lloyd Alexander

Another book for the Daring Book Challenge.
This is a girls own adventure story and a bit of escapism. Vesper Holly is going on an adventure.
Following the death of her father, Brinnie and his wife Mary, are appointed as Vesper's guardians and it doesn't take long before Brinnie and Vesper sail to the country of Illyria, to search for a legendary treasure.
Good story that has adventure, archaeological mystery and the inevitable sides of good and evil.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Some of the selection of plants that we have growing on the property. The Proteas are starting to flower and will do so for months.
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This is a photo of my husband's "toy" and I have to admit to enjoying being a passenger on it as well.
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Candy's Crochet: Upcoming Giveaway!!!

Candy's Crochet: Upcoming Giveaway!!!


I think that I have made mention of this site in an earlier post, but a good time to recommend it again, with the blogs that I have now on my site.
It is called the Poem Hunter, and a wonderful selection of poetry to browse through, especially when you come across a poet, or part thereof mentioned in a book you are reading and you want to know the rest of it.
You can also publish your own poems on the site.

Monday, 1 December 2008

John and Thomas TACK

Here is a photo of the twins in their later years. Wonderful that these photos were sent to me by a family relative.

John (Jack) Thomas TACK

This photo was taken at the weddiing of Elizabeth Ludgate and Thomas Tack in 1903.

Back row (standing)
Elizabeth Ludgate (nee Holland); Nellie Ludgate (nee ??); James Ludgate; John Tack; William Ludgate; Billy Lovell; Eliza Ludgate; George Ludgate;
Front row (sitting)
Lydia Ludgate; Thomas Tack; Elizabeth Ludgate; Louise Ludgate

The other photo is of the twins -John and Thomas

When I first started researching Michael's family line, I hoped that I would be able to go back a few generations. After many hours spent looking through records, the results have exceeded my expectations.
I can remember when I first started compiling family names, and one of the questions I put to Michael was "well can you remember your grandparents names?" His reply - I don't know - we just called them Grandad and Grandma. My hopes dashed before my eyes.
Next question, where did they live?
To a young child, these matters would have been inconseqential, and when you reach the latter part of your life you start questioning why you weren't more inquisitive.

My research to date, has revealed that the TACK family had resided in Buckinghamshire
from about 1720, with William Tack born in that year. He married Anne and they had the following children all born in Ashendon Buckinghamshire:

Thomas born 12 Jan 1752
Ann born 19 Jun 1744
Grace born 1746
Francis born 1756
John born 3 Jun 1759

John Thomas Tack is descended from Thomas Tack, who married Sarah WAYIN 12 Feb 1772 at Hillisden Bucks. Their children, all born in Ashenden were:

Mary born 1772
Henry born 1775
William born 1779
Thomas born 1782
Ann born 1788

We then follow on with Henry (born 1775) who married Ann Wood in Ashendon 16 Oct 1794
12 children were born:

Sarah born 1796
Mary Ann born 12 Aug 1798
Elizabeth born 1800
William born 1801
John born 1803
Richard born 1804
Harriet born 1806
Ann born 1808
Henry born 1810
Maria born 1811
Phillip born 1814
Mariah date not known

The next link in the chain is when William (born 1801) marries Mary Allen in Ashendon 13th Oct 1823.
Their children were:

John born 1824
Henry born 1827
Elizabeth born 25 Jul 1829
Ann born 22 Apr 1832
Sarah born 1835
Mary Born 1838
Rebecca born 1843

Henry married Mary Lovell 15 Apr 1850 in Wing Buckinghamshire, and they were the parents of John Thomas Tack.

John had 7 siblings, one of which was his twin brother, Thomas. Ironically, they married sisters, - John married Louise Ludgate in 1904 at Windsor Berkshire, and Thomas married Elizabeth Mary Ludgate in 1903.
Both twins lived to a good age, with the death of John 12th March 1960 and Thomas on 20th March 1970.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

I love your blog - swap bot

This is another blog that Angieszka runs - she has the great site called house of art as well.
Very talented people out there, and great inspiration.

House of Art

House of Art

Another great site from my swap partner in Poland, which she runs with 12 craft girlfriends. She mentions that its all about creating and enjoying, and eventhough in both English and Polish, am sure I can get the gist of it.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

WomenTrip Explore The World

WomenTrip Explore The World

Another great site from a partner in the I Love your Blog Swap -3.

So interesting to read through other blogs and see the layouts that have been used.

Escaping the City

Escaping the City

This is one of my partners for the Swap-Bot I LOVE YOUR BLOG SWAP ~ 3

Great site.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Best Recipes- recipe database and cooking discussion forums

Best Recipes- recipe database and cooking discussion forums

Whilst searching for a different recipe for Bread and Butter pudding, came across this site which has lots of good recipes.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

CSR Sugar

CSR Sugar

A good site if you want to find recipes for Christmas sweets etc.


I have just taken out of the oven, a tin of Almond Bread, and thought other people may like the recipe. This is sort of a bonus recipe for me, as when I make Ice Cream (which uses only the egg yolks, I am left with the egg whites). If I am not able to use them within a day or two, then I freeze the egg whites in a small container.

All you need for the recipe is:

3 egg whites
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 cup plain flour, sifted
125g whole unblanched almonds

Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry.
Gradually add sugar until mixture is a good meringue consistency.
Fold in flour and almonds
Spoon into a lightly greased loaf pan or nut loaf pans.
Bake in a moderate oven 180C for 35-40minutes depending on your oven
Leave in pan until completely cold.
Remove from pan
Wrap in foil and put aside for 1-2 days
Using a sharpknife, cut water thin slices (I have yet to master this thin)
Place slices on baking sheet
Place in a very slow oven 120C for 45 minutes to dry out thoroughly.

A variation of this can be made by substituting a mixture of Pistachios and Cranberries - very nice.


Cross Stitching is one of my favourite crafts, and invariably have a couple of projects on the go - have finished a small motif called I Love Knitting, which is cute and I am going to send this for my knitting swap which is coming up shortly.

Today I came across a great site for free patterns and it was featured on a Cross Stitching newsletter that I receive. Check it out, as it is worthwhile, and they have 5 free patterns each day to download:

Plus if you click on this link, you'll automatically receive a gift when you subscribe. I will be using this site all the time; there are hundreds of all different types of patterns, and there are new patterns added everyday. Have a look at the site.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


I came across this site, after doing a Google Search and was rapt in the number and variety of swaps that have been organised.
My first two have been completed and were - Postcard with a Fridge Magnet, and a Chunky Pages Christmas Book. Had fun with these and my next one to complete and post off is for a Christmas Card swap.

Now that I am hooked, have also joined:

January Colour Me Silly Swap (which is for the colour Blue)
White Chocolate & Postcards
Stocking Stuffers for Knitters
I Love your Blog Swap

I received one of my Postcard swaps in the mail yesterday, from Malaysia - a lovely postcard showing the Rhinoceros Hornbill, Malayan Tiger and Orang Utan. Also a key chain and magnet.


Each of the ladies made a page featuring one of her favourite recipes, which are as follows:

PINEAPPLE CARROT CAKE (from the kitchen of Anita Fogg)

Sift together and side aside:
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat together
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add and mix:
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

Add sifted dry ingredients. Pour into a 23 x 33 cm pan (or two smaller ones) that has been greased and lined with baking paper. Bake at 180C (or 160C for a fan-forced oven) for about 45 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean, it is done.

50g butter (softened)
250g Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Icing sugar (sifted if lumpy)

Beat until of spreading consistency and spread onto cake.

BABOTIE - KENYA SETTLER'S DISH (Recipe provided by Val Benstead)

500g mince meat
2 slices of bread
2 medium onions - sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon curry
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 eggs
500mls Milk

Soak bread in milk, then squeeze out and retain milk.
Fry onions in a little olive oil, then sprinkle with curry powder and salt.
Add vinegar and meat and fry for a few minutes.
Mash bread and add bread, sugar and one beaten egg to meat, mix well.
Place in a well greased dish
Add second beaten egg to milk and pour over meat - dot with butter.
Bake on high for about 30 minutes.
Serve with rice and grilled tomatoes.

PEAR AND BLUE CHEESE TART (love from Yvonne Zendler)

2 onions lightly browned in butter
Small bunch of Silverbeet shredded and lightly steamed
200g Blue Cheese chopped
425g tin of Pears - drained and cut in half
4 eggs
500mls Milk
3 tablespoons of Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Shortcrust Pastry

Line flan tin with pastry - Place browned Onions in flan
then steamed silverbeet
Lay Pears on top
Scatter cheese between Pears

Lightly beat eggs and whisk in Milk and salt and pepper
Pour into flan
Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese

Place on heated baking tray in a 200C pre heated oven for 40 minutes - or unti set when tested with a skewer.



2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
Juice and rind of 2 lemons
1 tbsp custard powder
60g melted butter

Beat eggs well, add sugar and beat until creamy.
Add lemon juice and rind, custard powder and melted butter. Mix thoroughly.
Microwave on High for 3 minutes, reduce microwave to Medium High and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Allow to cool.

Makes 1 jar

This was my recipe contribution


Here it is almost a month since my last post - where has the time gone to.
I know that I have been reading, making cards, setting up the reading schedule for the Book Group for next year (this time around, I have made a decorated folder for each person, with beads and ribbons along the side. The format is different as well in that 6 books have been set that must be read, then each person provided a list of the other books they would like to read.
We all thought that this would be a good way of catching up with the books on the shelves that seem to get passed over.

Whilst on the subject of books, have just read THE GANG OF FOUR by Liz BYRSKI, and I would rate this as one of my favourites for the year.
Tells of the lives of 4 women, Robin, Grace, Sally and Isabel who come to a turning point in their lives, when Isabel decided to take time out from her family, career etc and travel overseas to find out more about her mother, who was a ballet dancer.
Don't want to give too much away, because it is a wonderful story and so much so that I have ordered a copy of this book from BOOKTOPIA BOOKSHOP PTY LTD, which has its own web site -

The book group meeting last week, saw the first pages of our Memory Books produced, and it was interesting to see the formats that the other ladies had used. Now that they have the gist of how you can embellish pages and what to use, next time around will be even better.
Our topic for next month is POETRY.

Friday, 17 October 2008



I came across this designer while browsing through my Cross Stitcher magazines, and there was a vibrant design - blue and white, of tea cups. Very striking and of course, just had to have.


This is the project that the Book Group is undertaking, and we are starting with the first topic - a favourite recipe.
It will be interesting to see the results at our next meeting, which is in November.

The idea is that each of us has a book, which can be an exercise book, a hard covered book, whatever. The page is to be created on a single sheet of paper or cardstock; the topic can be typed or handwritten - embellishments can be added.

The completed page to be wrapped in fabric or paper or whatever the giver wants to use. It will then be a "lucky dip" as to which page you end up with.

This will be the start of your Book, and a new theme will be chosen for the next project.

I wanted to run with this idea, as the members of the group are all creative, and it will nuture their creative juices.

Further posts will follow.


This book is a Newberry Award winning classic and also the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal.
Published in 1960 and the story is set on an island in the Pacific and is based on fact, that in the early 1800's, an Indian girl spent 18 years alone on a rocky island off the coast of California.
The lived alone on the island from 1835 to 1853 and is known to history as The Lost Woman of San Nicolas. San Nicolas is about 75 miles SW of Los Angeles.
For some years, historians thought thatit had been settled some 6 centuries ago, but carbon-14 tests of excavations on the Island show that Indians came here from the North, long before the Christian era.
The girl in the story is called Karana, who was left behind. This occurred when a ship came to the Island to evacuate the people and when Karana realised her brother had not boarded the shop with the tribe, she made the decision to dive overboard and swim back to the island. Because of the stormy weather that was prevalent at that time, the ship had to depart and the youngsters were left behind.
And all because the brother Ramo, had not obeyed instructions, and gone back to the village to get his spear.
The brother Ramo dies, after being attacked by a pack of wild dogs and Karana is left alone to fend for herself.
A very moving story.
This was a book from my list for A DARING BOOK CHALLENGE.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008



This photo shows my grandfather, Alfred Cowley holding me, and was taken 1952 outside the incubator house at the poultry farm at The Gap, Brisbane.

I will keep adding more family history and photos so that other researchers can view and also share their stories with me.

Alfred was born in Swinton Manchester 2 Jan 1893, and his parents were Alfred Henry COWLEY and Elizabeth Ann SHAWCROSS.

At this stage, my research has led me back to John COWLEY(born abt 1796 Ireland)married to Jane ROBERTS (BORN abt 1799).
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This photograph shows my grandfather, Alfred Cowley, with my father, Kenneth Patrick Cowley, taken at my confirmation in the mid 1960's. The garden is at our house at The Grange, Brisbane.

Have decided to post the photographs, as other family members researching the Cowley family can then access them, along with any other information.
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This photo is of Alfred Cowley, his wife Emily, and the eldest of my brother's, Michael. This would have been taken at Michael's first communion, and the setting is the front lawn of our house at the Grange.
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Monday, 13 October 2008

Wots My Genes - The Best of Genealogy

Wots My Genes - The Best of Genealogy


What a delightful book to read - great story and an insight into the art of cheese making.
Blessed are Corrie and Fee, for theirs is the kingdom of the world's tastiest farmhouse cheese. Tucked away in a corner of Ireland, the lifelong friends turn out batch after batch of perfect Coolarney Blues and Golds, thanks to co-operative cows, non-meat-eating fecund milkmaids, songs from The Sound of Music and the wind blowing just so in the right direction across the green meadows of County Cork.
Add to this mixture, Corrie's long lost grandaughter, Abbey, fleeting from a remote but by no means backward Pacific island and an unfaithful husband. And stir in New Yorker, Kit Stephens, heart-broken, burned-out and looking for a purpose to his wasted life.
the magic that Corrie and Fee weave in and out of the cheese vats is legendary, but can they use their powers to turn bitterness and betrayal into love, or will the secret ingredient be lost forever?

That pretty much sums up the story, and loved the character of Corrie and Fee, and also Avis, who helps run the farm, and keeps in girls in order.


This book was the final in the Historical Reading Challenge, and a huge book to get through. In saying this, it was interesting to read of the English court and politics in that era (1461).
Margaret of York, the sister of Edward IV, is used as a pawn in the political stakes, when is married to Charles of Burgundy, so that King Louis of France can be kept at bay.
Margaret though loves someone else, who is a close advisor of Edward, and married, and over the years, they are able to meet up.
When Charles of Burgundy dies, Margaret returns to England for a visit, hoping that her true love will now want to marry her, as his wife has also died. He intimates that he will come to France, but the story ends with his marriage to someone else.

Monday, 6 October 2008


You would think that when our writing group was assigned a topic to write about - the letter H, there would not be a problem. Whilst pondering on the issue, the name Heraklion came out of the memory banks.
I have been very remiss over the years in not recording my travel experiences, so there is no time like the present to make a start.

In recollection, there was no reason why I chose to visit the island of Crete. The travel plans and destinations were to be at my whim as I was on a 12 month working holiday and the world was my oyster.
The year was 1979, and in retrospect, the world was a much better and safer place than what it is now.

My travels had started in Singapore, then onto Hong Kong, India and then to Greece. A friend had also decided to take some time off work, and we had arranged that when I hade made a base, then she would meet up with me in Greece.

Whilst in Athens, and staying at one of the hostels, I visited the attractions, and then must have decided to catch the boat to Crete. Piraes was my departure point, and I was on my way to Heraklion.
What awaited me on my arrival was a mystery, and I knew that I would be able to indulge my interest in history and visit places that I had only ever read about in books.
One of the important landmarks Palace of Knossos was at the top of my list, and I can still remember wandering around the palaces and feeling in awe of the ancient civilizations that had made their mark on the landscape.

A few days were spent in Heraklion, and I must have decided to catch one of the buses and discover more of the island, which is how I discovered the village of Malia, about 34kms from Heraklion. Arriving there late in the day, necessity kicked in and I found somewhere to stay. Obviously I must have liked what I saw and I felt comfortable with everything, as I stayed for nearly 3 months and had a wonderful time.

It felt very strange at first to be the only Australian in the place, but it didn't take long to meet up with a couple of Scottish girls, Iris and Kate. I can remember that they had such broad accents,(both being from Glasgow) that it took a while to understand what they were saying. You must remember also in those days, that very little English was spoken in the village, except for the cafes, shops and some of the tourist attractions. A photo on this blog will show what the back streets of the village were like in 1979. No doubt this has changed over the 30 years.

That period in time was one of carefree days, time on the beach, working part time at one of the restaurants and the disco; sight seeing and living in a picturesque location.
When Jenny arrived in the village, she also worked in the restaurant, and often we would walk back to the pension, in the dark, with only a hand torch to light the way.
The pathway would be through the fields, with just donkeys for company and no thought entered our heads that we would be in danger. During the day, the fields were a mass of wild flowers, and the smell of wild thyme was heady.

When we weren't working, then we would take a bus and visit the villages along the coastline. One of our favourite places was Ayios Nikolaos, with its many waterfront cafes. Malia also had historic interest, having - the Palace of Malia,which was reputed to have been built during the same period as Knossos.

Time caught up with our idyll, and it was with regret that we had to leave the island of Crete, and the village of Malia and carry on with out travels across Europe.

Next destination - CORFU.

The photos featured show Kate & Iris at Ayios Nikoaaos; the pension in Malia, called Sirocco,cafe Kalypso where we worked

Monday, 29 September 2008

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Lazy Days#links#links

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Lazy Days#links#links


I know that I will be cutting the deadline very finely, but have had to wait for nearly 3 weeks for the last 2 books on my list - this one and the Daughter of York by Anne Easter Smith.

I enjoyed The Manor of Death which is set in the West Country of England in the late 12th century.
Crowner John is tested by both the murders he needs to solve, and also his personal life which is getting much too complicated for him.
The story revolves around piracy and smuggling, and Sir John, and his able side kicks, Gywn and Thomas, are thwarted at every avenue in solving a series of murders.
John's wife, Matilda, retreats to a convent, where she refuses to have any contact with her husband, and John's friendship with Nesta, his mistress, is closing its chapter, when Nesta decides to marry a stonemason from Wales.
Richard the Lionheart, requests that John take up a post in London, and we are left wondering whether Matilda will join him there, or will John sweet talk Hilda, another of his loves into accompanying him.

Bernard Knight knows his stuff, coming from his background as a Home Office pathologist and also Professor of Forensic Pathology at the University of Wales College of Medicine.

Great read, and would rate this as a 4.

Reading, Writing and Ranting

Reading, Writing and Ranting


Here is another completed project, and also made into a Coaster:

It's a crossword, and a design from the Crimson Moon site.


Here's hoping that the photo looks okay on the site.

This was a free pattern that I stitched and is featured on the website: 2008 (it;s a freebie).

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

*~Postcards~*#4 - Swap-bot

*~Postcards~*#4 - Swap-bot

North Woods Stitcher

North Woods Stitcher


I always feel the thrill of the chase, when I do some family research for someone.
This time is has been on the surnames of JUNIPER and GUTEKUNST.
The Gutekunst name is German and the family came to Australia (Adelaide) from Nagold Germany.
Such a wealth of stories that are waiting to be told, when you start locating not just names and dates of births, deaths and marriages, but photos and also details on the National Archives site.
I usually hand over to my friends what I have found on my initial searches, and then hope that they become addicted like I have with the research bug.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Cross Stitch Happy: Cross Stitch, Coffee & Cats

Cross Stitch Happy: Cross Stitch, Coffee & Cats


The month is nearly finished, and this is my first post. My excuse is that I have got back into my cross stitch, and also machine embroidery, and as any craft person will tell you - time just seems to slip away.

One of my favourite cross stitch designers is Jill Oxton, and I was lucky enough to obtain her Volume 1 magazine through the Bookmooch site. As my budget permits, I have been acquiring the back issues of the magazine - Jill Oxton's Cross Stitch Australia and the patterns are wonderful.
Have started an aboriginal design - a Platypus, which is stitched in vibrant colours, and I can see myself sewing the others in the series.

One of the ladies in the craft group had a clean out of some!! of her craft books, and I was able to obtain more cross stitch magazines.

Back to my sewing.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Reading, Writing and Ranting

Reading, Writing and Ranting


I had no idea that my there was Italian roots in my background, until my family research on my mother's side led to this discovery. Now with the older family members passed on, I may never know the details of why my grandfather, BENEDETTO GARGARO migrated to Wales.
It is known that in the mid 18th century, Italian rural society went through major changes. These were a growth in rural population outstripping resources, rising food prices and by the turn of the century the impact on the "stagnant rural life" of the occupation forces of Napoleon's revolutionary armies. Most commentators at that time thought that the increase in migration would be a short term phenomena. The North of Italy had started the process of industrialization which was supposed to absorb people from the land when times got hard. Many other factors also contributed and by the 1870's the main regional origins of Italian emigration to Britain were the valleys of Parma in the north, and the Liri Valley, half way between Rome and Naples. A railway network had been started by this time and this helped the people from the Liri valley to migrate to the North of Italy, and then onto Britain.
The people from Parma were predominately organ grinders, while the Neapolitans from the Liri Valley (now under Lazio) made ice cream.
(these details obtained from the web site of the Anglo-Italian Family History Society).

Benedetto's place of birth is not known, but may have been Naples. My only reason for thinking this is that he was an Ice Cream vendor for many years (as evidenced by the Census returns). His birth place on the returns is only shown as Italy (Italian Subject) - how much easier if a town had been noted as well).

I know from his marriage certificate that his father was Joseph Gargaro and that 2 of Benedetto's siblings also came to Wales. The 1901 Census shows that Domenico (aged 40) and Mary (aged 36) were with the family as that time.
Mary was married to Joseph DI COBELLIS, and they had a daughter Teresa (aged 5).

When and how Benedetto came to Wales is unknown at this stage. He was born about 1857, and on 29th Sept 1885, he married Mary Ann BARRY in Cardiff Wales.
Mary Ann was 15years old at the time. They had 9 children:

Johanna born 1903
Rosina born 7 June 1886 (my maternal gt. grandmother)
Joseph born 1888
Mary born 25 May 1890
Samuel born 1 Dec 1892
Richard James born 30 apr 1894
Ellen Mafeking born 1900
Catherine Antonia born 1906
Gelardo Alberto born 1897

Rosina married George Watson on the 26 December 1906 in Cardiff Wales, and after a few years discovered that George was already married. She must have been devasted as the family were devout Catholics, and this may have been the reason that she migrated to Australia, no doubt pregnant at the time. My grandfather, George Joseph Watson was born in Sydney 19th January 1911, and the birth certificate shows the father's name as George Watson, Labourer at the Fitzroy Docks Cardiff, supposedly 27 years of age and born in Dublin Ireland.

Rosina moved to Brisbane, when I don't know, because on the 4th April 1920 she married David Henry SMITH, using the name Rosina GARGARO, and having the occupation of Spinster. The marriage took place at the Mission Hall, Leichhardt Street, Fortitude Valley. When I showed the certificate to my mother, she couldn't understand why the marriage took place at the City Mission, but now that we are aware of more of the facts, can understand that Rosina felt that she could not be married in the Catholic church because of her first "marriage".
My grandfather was the only child born to Rosina, and never spoke of any family background till the day he died.
The life of Rosina came to an end on 27th November 1964.

Other siblings also migrated to Australia:

Ellen married Richard Hartley 27 Dec 1921 in Cardiff and they migrated to Australia in 1924 with their daughter Rosena Maria.

Richard James was the other sibling who came and his is another story in itself.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of Benedetto, but there is a small photo of Mary Ann with her son-in-law Bill Partridge (Joan's (Johanna) husband).
Having trouble uploading this, and will try in another post.

Friday, 29 August 2008


I am so glad that I decided to start inputting family details onto the Australian Ancestry site, as a contact that I had lost touch with has sent me an email.
The lady is a distant cousin, and maybe between the two of us we can delve further into our Cowley family background.
Both of us have not been able to locate a marriage for David and Catherine - maybe David used another christian name; or else they never married!!

David was the son of JOHN COWLEY and JANE ROBERTS, who were born in Ireland and migrated to England. All of their children were born in England, and from the Census records I believe the children were:

Jane born abt 1858 Liverpool
Elizabeth born abt 1859 Chorlton
John born abt 1861 Liverpool
Catherine born abt 1864 Liverpool
Alfred Henry born abt 1868 Chorlton (this is my link)
David born 1 Jan 1871 6 Broughton Street Manchester - died 4 May 1897 2 Corinth Street Harpurhey
Matthew bjorn abt 1874 Manchester (my distant cousin's link).

I know that John Cowley married Mary LEYLAND 24 Aug 1884 at Christ Church, Bradford/Beswick Lancaster (Mary born abt 1864 and her father was William Leyland).

From the Census they had 3 children:

John W born abt 1885 Pendleton Manchester
Florence born abt 1888 Harpurhey Manchester
Helena born abt 1890 Harpurhey

Alfred Henry(my gt. grandfather) married Elizabeth Ann SHAWCROSS 16 august 1891 at St Edmunds Church, Newton Prestwich Manchester.

Their children were:

Alfred born 2 Jan 1893 Swinton Manchester (my paternal grandfather)
(Ann)Agnes born abt 1895 Manchester
James born 14 July 1899 92 Carisbrook Street Harpurhey.

Matthew Cowley married Maria Fielding (born abt 1875 Blackrod Lancashire)

The 1901 Census shows Matthew, Maria and daughter Elizabeth living at West Derby Lancashire. Elizabeth was 2 years old and Matthew's occupation is shown as Steam Engine Fitter. The family went to live in Montreal Canada, and I wonder if other children were born in Canada?

Friday, 22 August 2008

Medieval Challenge: challenge update

Medieval Challenge: challenge update


This book is also known as TO SHIELD THE QUEEN
Rating 4
Set in England (era of Elizabeth 1 and Robert Dudley)

After reading The Proud Villeins by Valerie Annand, I knew that I would not be disappointed in this story, as Valerie also writes under the name of Fiona Buckley.

Our main character, Ursula Blanchard, is an impoverished young widow, who comes to court as one of the Queens Ladies, and gets caught up in the politics and intrigue of the court - especially when rumours abound of Robert Dudley trying to do away with his wife, Amy Robsart. Ursula is then asked to go and stay with Amy, to guarantee her safety.
Ultimately, Amy is found dead, lying at the bottom of the staircase of her home, with a broken neck, and Ursula is then set on a course to find out the truth, especially after her trusted servant, John Wilton is found murdered.

A great read, and once again, I come across William Cecil in the characters, as he was the Secretary of State in the reign of Elizabeth 1.
Cecil also features in another book I have read - The Firemasters Mistress, by Christie Dickason.

I have now ordered another book from my library, to follow on with the tale of Ursuala.(A Doublet Affair). A list of books as follows:

The Doublet Affair
Queens Ransom
To Ruin a Queen
Queen of Ambition
A Pawn for the Queen
the Fugitive Queen
The Siren Queen

I have to say, that once again, I would recommend this author.


Monday, 18 August 2008


Rating - 4
Set in - Holland

Another first time for this author and would definitely read other books that she has written, such as:

Banners of Silk (about Charles Worth)
Gilded Splendour (Thomas Chippendale)
Jewelled Path (Faberge)
Tree of Gold (Silk Industry)

The story set in the 17th century, is of Francesca Visser, eldest daughter of a struggling artist (who I might add loves playing cards and frequenting the taverns), and her dream is to become a Master Painter.
Francesca is apprenticed to Jan Vermeer, and goes to Delft, but her apprenticeship etc. is going to be controlled by Ludolf Van Deventer, who wants to have Francesca as his mistress, or better still his next wife (he has murdered his 2 previous wives).
But Pieter Van Dorne (the tulip grower) captures the heart of Francesca - throw into this, conspiracy on the part of Ludolf as he is involved in spying for France.

A rich historical romance story - lovely details of the artists Rembrandt and Vermeer and the painting techniques used.
Very interesting to learn of the symbolism used in painting - eg.

Love between a man and woman symbolised in a picture by a rose held, or pleasingly arranged - whereas a fallen one on the ground depicts either the pain of love or unchaste love, according to the subject of the painting.

Rosebuds in still life could be interpreted as the dawning of romantic love.

Nautilus represents wealth, exotic shells of all kind being costly

The fan was a symbol of extravagance

The hourglass warned of the passing of time and the foolishness of piling up riches on earth.

Pewter plate, poised precariously, told how easily life could be cut off.

The grapes and the wine symbolised Holy Communion and Christ, with the hope of resurrection.

Francesca's 2 sisters have their own stories as well, which do not detract from the story, as can sometimes be the case with sub-plots within a book.

Would recommend this story to anyone who is a lover of historical fiction/romance.

Reading, Writing and Ranting: About Me

Reading, Writing and Ranting: About Me

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Sunday, 17 August 2008


THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper

I have been lucky enough to be given the other books in the series to read and am hooked!! Only one more to go and already I am feeling that I could sit down and read them againi.
A twist also is that being set in Buckinghamshire, the place names are familiar to me and my husband, as this is his place of birth. In fact his ancestors have been in Bucks. since the 1700's (so far anyway in my research).
The characters are wonderful and there are snippets in the other books as well that reach into your mind and you smile and agree with the author on her take of the situation - especially in relation to the present day ethos of greed and power.

Young Will is the hero of the saga and what a task he has been set - on his 11th birthday he is made aware that he is one of the Old Ones (of the Light) and his quest is set before him.
I don't want to give too much away, but would recommend that all of the books be read - eventhough this one, the Dark is Rising could be read on its own, but you wouldn't get the full enjoyment I believe.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Here is a list of the books that have been awarded the Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor for childrens literature:

The Black Cauldron - LLoyd Alexander
The Black Pearl - Scott O'Dell
Calico Bush - Rachel Field
The Cricket in Times Square - George Selden
The Door in the Wall - Marguerite de Angeli
The Egypt Game - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler - E L Konigsburg
The Headless cupid - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The High King - Lloyd Alexander
Hitty: Her first Hundred Years - Rachel Field
Homesick - My own Story - Jean Fritz
Island of the Blue Dolphins - Scott O'Dell
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth - E L Konigsburg
Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes
Missing May - Cynthia Rylant
Number the Stars - Lois Lowry
On my Honor - Marion Dane Bauer
One-Eyed Cat - Paula Fox
Philip Hall likes me. I reckon maybe; - Bette Greene
A Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L-Engle
Shiloh - Phyllis reynolds Naylor
The Sign of the Beaver - Elizabeth George Speare
Sing Down the Moon - Scott O'Dell
The Slave Dancer - Paula Fox
Thimble Summer - Elizabeth Enright
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle - Hugh Loftiing
The Winter Room - Gary Paulsen
The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare
The Witches of Worm - Zilpha Keatley Snyder
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze - Elizabeth Foreman Lewis


I have chosen Book 2 of the sequence - The Dark is Rising as one of the reads in The Daring Book Challenge.
Had just started reading, when a friend of mine came along with the other books in the series. So I have had to put aside what I had started, and commence with the first book Over Sea, Under Stone.
the other books in sequence are:

The Grey King
Silver on the Tree

Was interested to read the background of the author, as Susan Cooper was born in Buckinghamshire England, the same county as my husband, and all of his ancestors. My research so far has found them there since the 1700's.

A Daring Book Challenge

A Daring Book Challenge

Elizabeth George Speare

Elizabeth George Speare



I have finally made a start on my list (my only excuse being that I have been reading other books!!).
Anyway I was able to get a copy of this book from the BOOKMOOCH site - my local library did not have a copy. I knew little of the author, and enjoyed the book so much that I finished within a few hours.
Also I was not aware of the Newberry Medal and Newberry Honor Books Award (of which this book was a winner) - Joh Newberry, a famous 18th century publisher and seller of childrens books in England. The awards were first given in 1921 and have come to represent the best in childrens literature.

Anyway the tale is of Kit, a young teenage girl, who leaves Barbados after the death of her grandfather, and arrives unannounced at the home of her aunt & uncle in Connecticut. She does not fit in at first, especially with the strict Puritan values and can ony dream of returning to the warmth of Barbados.
Time changes her outlook, as she settles into the family routine, and she meets Hannah, who is a Quaker, and known as The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
Lots of suspiciou abounds in the community and Kit is also accused of witchcraft.
The charge does not eventuate, when the truth comes to light, of her friendshipi with a small girl, Prudence, who has comes to Kit to learn to read and write.

All ends well and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Young Adult novels.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


My latest challenge!!
I am comfortable with the crochet that I have been doing, so for a change, this is my new project. Have started on an easy design, just using wool at the moment and have managed to obtain a few books from EBay, plus one from my local library.
Compared to cross stitch and needlepoint, the work builds up quickly.

As yet, I haven't found many sites on the new for Bargello - will try for some blogs as well.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


I attended the second session of a writing class today (which I am enjoying tremendously). Besides having an assignment to do for each lesson, we have been writing paragraphs for a short story.
Our mentor started this exercise last month, where each of us had to write the first paragraph of a story - could be as short as one sentence or a good sized paragraph.

After reading our paragraphs to the group, you then passed the page to the next person, who wrote the next section (or paragraph).
It proved that we have good imaginations!!

Today followed the same theme, and we are nearing the end of the story. Only the final paragraph to be written.

From there, we will be talked through the editing process.

Whilst searching the net for publishing blogs etc. I came across the site called INSIDE DOG, that is listed for children/younger readers, and there is a wonderful list called LIFE AFTER HARRY; 100 BOOKS TO KEEP YOU GOING.

The link is on the previous blog.

Booklist: Life After Harry: 100 Books to Keep You Going,

Booklist: Life After Harry: 100 Books to Keep You Going,

Monday, 4 August 2008


Labourer, Father, Soldier and my Great,Great,Great Grandfather on my mother's side.

Frederick was born around 1829 in Cockfield Suffolk England. His parents were Francis DUTTON and Frances TAYLOR and from what I have researched so far, the Duttons had lived in this area from the 1700's.

As Frederick was growing up, changes were occurring in England:

The Metropolitan Police Force was established by Robert PEEL around the era of time of Frederick's birth.
There was the first major cholera epidemic in Britain 1830-1832.

The impact of industrialisation, which was to have a huge impact in Britain, could have had its beginnings in 1831, with the SWING RIOTS in the rural areas, against the mechanization of agricultural activities. I wonder whether this in later years, led to Frederick becoming a soldier.

1831 also saw the opening of the New London Bridge over the River Thomas, with another sweeping change in 1833 - the abolition of Slavery throughout the British Empire.

Come 1850 and Frederick marries Emma BAILEY, who was born in the village of Shimplingthorne in Suffolk. Not long after the marriage, their first child, Mary Ann was born, followed in 1851 by the birth of Diane in Chatham Kent.

Frederick enlisted in the Army at Bury St Edmonds on the 19th February 1981, at the age of 17 1/2 years, so both Fredrick & Emma were young by today's standards, but in that era, would have been seen as commom practice.

The Regiment that Frederick was accepted into was the 12th Foot East Suffolk Regiment, and maybe he was lucky, as in 1854 the Crimean War began, and on the 3rd November 1854, Frederick and his family arrived in Melbourne on the ship Empress Eugenie, as part of the Regiment.

Some members of the Regiment were despatched to Ballarat, and Frederick and his family were stationed there for 2 years. It seems highly probable that he participated in the Eureka Stockade rebellion (Sovereigh Hill, Ballarat) on Sunday 3rd December 1854 and its aftermath.

At this time, the first telegraph line was established linking Melbourne and Williamstown, and the first steam railway was opened in Melbourne.
The following year, 1855, James Harrison took out a patent for his ice-making machine, which ws the world's first mechanical refrigeration plant.

The Dutton family were then posted to Tasmania, as records show that Anna Maria was born in Tasmania 8th August 1856, and Frances Jane and Reuben (twins) were born 23 August 1857.

Following Frederick's posting in Tasmania,he was then transferred to New South Wales, as in June 1860, Frances Jane was born in Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

Brisbane was the next posting for Frederick, where he served from January 1861 to March 1862. During this period,a son, Richard Henry was born (6th August).

Frederick's short life ended in 1862 in Brisbane on the 4th March. He was buried in the Church of England Burial Ground Brisbane, and his grave has not been found and may have been "removed" when the Qld. Government built its Hale Street bypass some years ago.
Frederick was given a Military Funeral and the notice in the newspaper read:

March 6 1862 Military Funeral - The Funeral of Sgt. Dutton, late of the detachment of the 12th Regiment stationed here, took place here yesterday afternoon.

The deceased, who was 33 years of age, had been suffering for some time from a complaint of the lungs, and his death, which took place on Tuesday evening, last, was somewhat sudden.
The funeral was the first of the kind, which has taken place here, and hence attracted much attention, a large number of the inhabitants accompanying the cortege to the cemetery. The procession left the barracks about five o'clock, and consisted of the officers and men of the detachment, the Volunteer Band, a few members of the Volunteer Force and a number of the police.

The female relatives and friends of the deceased were also present.
The funeral service was read by the Rev. G. Bliss and procession formed afterwards in the following order:

The comrades of the deceased came first, in double file, with arms reversed;
Next followed the Volunteer Band playing "Dead March in Saul";
Then the volunteers and police, and lastly the hearse.
In this order, the procession moved towards the burial ground, accompanied by a large number of citizens, the band playing at intervals through the route. At the grave, and at the conclusion of the burial service, three volleys were fired over the deceased by his comrades. The scene was solemn and imposing throughout.

So ended the life of Frederick DUTTON.

Since undertaking my family research, I often ponder on where and who I would have been, had not my ancestors came to Australia - my mother maternal ancestors were convicts, but that;s another story to write.


Fans of the BBC show TOP GEAR will recognise this name - Richard is one of the presenters and in 2006, crashed a high speed racing car and sustained serious brain injury.
This is a very moving story of how it happened and his road to recovery.
Both Michael and I shed a few tears as we were reading through this story.

To watch the show now, you would not think that he sustained the injuries that he did.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008


I have been wanting to read this book since reading a review, and finally was able to obtain from my local library.
After having read quite a few books on people buying houses in France and Italy, this story struck me as "oh good, someone is bucking the trend" and challenging themselves.
The author and her partner, Sandy McCutcheon, fell in love with Morocco whilst on a trip, and decided to go back, buy a house in the old sectin of Fez, the Medina and restore back to some of its former glory.
As usual, they have lots of frustrating episodes with tradesmen, but that seems to be the norm. in whatever country you mention.
Wonderful photos featured throughout the book, and the "massreiya" must look fantastic by now.
I also enjoyed the historical facts that featured throughout the story, as I admit to not being very knowledgeable about that part of the world - such as:
Fez was once the largest city on the planet. Founded in 789, it became the centre of Moroccan scientific and religious learning, a status due to the altruism of a remarkable woman named, Fatima al_Fihria.
She was one of a group of refugees who feld religious persecution in Kairouan, Tunisia, in the 9th century. Fatima was from a wealthy merchant family and used her inheritance to start a place of learning. Karaouiyine University was completed in 859, and is the oldest educational institution in the world.
Classes in religion are still held in the complex, which also contains a mosque and a library.
Being a woman, she couldn't actually attend the university herself, but plenty of men did - Muslims and Christians from all over North africa, the Middle East and Europe.
In fact, Karaouiyine had a major impact on mediaeval Europe. In the 10th century, Arabic numerals, including the concept of zero, were taken back to France by a student, who went on to become Pope Sylvester II. He used his newfound understanding to invent a more efficient abacus, the basis of modern computing.
Karaouiyine University also rejuvenated and spread the Indian concept of the decimal poiint, for which accountants are no doubt eternally grateful.

Thanks to the author for a great book.

There is also a blog that you can read through -

Sunday, 27 July 2008


I am going well - have just read the 2nd book in the Historical Reading Challenge and enjoyed the story immensely.

Rating: 4
Country: England

I had not heard of this author until seeing her mentioned on the Historical Reading site, so decided to get into her world.

The story starts around 1040 AD with Sir Ivon De Clairpont, a Norman Knight who has been captured and taken as a thrall, after the Massacre of Gildenford, wherein the knights were betrayed by the English earl, Earl Godwin.
Ivon cannot accept his fate and attempts 3 times to escape his bondage, but eventually realises that his only way out is to kill himself.
Following his 3rd attempt at escape, he is injured in the chase by his captors, by an arrow to the ankle, and one of the thrall women, Gunnor is to look after him.
She has been trying to catchi his eye for sometime, but Ivon feels that as he is a Knight, he is above the other thralls.

Eventually the barriers break down, especially after Gunnor realises that Ivon wants to do away with himself, and they settle down and have children.
Through the plagues etc that follow, Ivon and Gunnor are left to look after their grandson, called Ivon Oddeyes (the de clairpont men have eyes that are 2 different colours). Ivon grows up a confused boy, as his grandfather has told him the story that he is descended from Norman knights . Ivon witnesses many atrocities, all mainly by the Normans, and eventually when he marries and has the opportunity of becoming a freeman, he will not accept his Norman background, and refuses.

And so the story follows through the descendants up to the 1200's

I am looking forward to the other books in the series

Would recommend to any reader of historical fiction.

Thursday, 24 July 2008


This dish is delicious and was cooked as part of the cooking demonstration at our Rare Fruits Social Day this month:


2 eggplants (aubergines)
2 cloves garlic - sliced or chopped
1 large onion - chopped into small cubes
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 green chillies (optional)
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon Maldive Fish (optional)
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons milk (any supermarket milk - no need to use coconut milk)
Oil for frying

First slice egg plant into thin strips, and mix with turmeric powder and salt, and deepfry until brown. Keep aside to drain oil.
In a pan add about a tablespoon of oil, mustard seeds, garlic, curry leaves, chillies, Maldive Fish and onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add the fried eggplant, salt, sugar, curry powder and fry for a further 5 minutes, the eggplant will reduce in quantity.
Next add the lime juice and milk, stir well and turn off stove. Cover and leave for 2 minutes, the heat still in the pan will reduce the liquid, if any.
There will be a bit of extra oil in the pan, this can be drained off (the extra oil comes from the deep friend eggplant.)

This goes well with rice. It can be served warm or cold.


I now have some of the recipes for the dishes that were cooked at our Rare Fruits Social Day, and will post them for anyone who would like to try.


4 cups garlic chives
2 eggs

Top and tail garlic chives. Wash and cut into 2 inch lengths.
Put 1 tablespoon of oil into heated wok. When wok is hot, put in garlic chives, fry until wilted and crack eggs into it. Put in salt to taste, stir until eggs are set. Dish out and serve as a vegetable.


1 bunch of sweet leaf vegi. stripped for the leaves, washed and torn into pieces, to release its sweetness.
2 tablespoons of soaked dried prawns
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 inch square balachan (shrimp paste)
1 or more chillies, hotness to your taste
1 tin of coconut milk
1 small sweet potato, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces

Blend dried prawns, garlic, balachan and chillies until fine. Put 2 tablespoons of oil into hot wok, put in blended mixture. Fry unti mixture is fragrant or aromatic., put in the prepared sweet leaf vegi. Stir fry until wilted, pour in 2 to 3 cups of water, stir and put in sweet potato pieces. Cook util sweet potato pieces are soft, then pour in the can of coconut milk. Put in salt to taste.
When it comes to the boil, it is ready.


2 cups black rice
2 screw pine leaves for flavouring (dauan pandan) or vanilla essence
1 can of coconut cream
2 cups sugar
2 litres of water

Wash pandan leaves and cut into 2 inch lengths. Wash black rice and put in a large pot. Put in th pandan leaves and boil rice unti soft and sticky. Watch the pot because when the rice is sticky, it tends to burn. When it is soft and sticky, put in the can of coconut cream. Put in sugar, stir until dissolved and bring to the boil. It is then cooked.
Discard the leaves, or one teaspoon of vanilla essence can be added during cooking.

Can be cooked in a crock pot for the day and add the sugar and coconut cream at the end of cook.

These recipes were provided by Margaret, who was born in Malaysia of Chinese parents. Her cooking is influenced by Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


Now that I have posted our 2008 list, maybe other readers are interested in what we have read in previous years.




1984 - George ORWELL




Now that I am adding more postings on books/reading etc. I felt it opportune to post the reading list for the book group that I run.

When I selected the books for the year, I made up a small scrapbook for each of the ladies, with motifs and writing about each book. Must admit to being quite pleased with the result, and the ladies just loved their copies.

Anyway here is our reading list:

SHANTARAM - Gregory David ROBERTS (May)
COME IN SPINNER - Dymphna CUSACK & Florence JAMES (June)
FIRST LADY - Michael DOBBS (November)
SEA CHANGE - Robert GODDARD (December)

So far, we have enjoyed most of the books, but I was not over enthused on The Tenderness of Wolves and Music and Silence.


My first read for the challenge and what an absorbing story.

This story is away from the norm of Heyer's Regency novels, being set in the 1400's
(England and France).
A forward in the book by Heyer's son records that:

"this was first published in 1925 when my mother was in her early 20's. Nevertheless many of her readers will not have seen it before.
My mother was her own sternest critic and many years ago, stated there were some 5 to 6 titles which she never wished to see reprinted. This is one of them.
After her death in 1974, I was persuaded to read the book once more, and soon came to the conclusion that, in this instance at all events, her judgment had been too harsh.
In the book, it is easy to detect in it a quick eye for historical detail and an ability to paint a scene from another age which were to become the hallmarks of her later works."

The dialogue between the characters is in "Old English" but you get used to this as you progress through the story, and in fact it makes the story, so cleverly has Heyer written.

The main character is Simon the Page, who becomes Simon the Lord, all by his own doing and in doing this, becomes a close friend and ally of King Henry.

Romance is introduced into the story towards the closing chapters when Simon's resolve crumbles, when he meets Lady Margaret of Belremy (France), who has refused to surrender to the English.
Simon is resolute and very chivalrous and never thinks he will meet a woman who can measure up to him.

A very enjoyable read and would recommend to all Georgette Heyer fans.

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Historical Fiction Challenge

Reading, Writing and Ranting: Historical Fiction Challenge

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


I came across another book challenge whilst reading through my posts from another challenge that I am participating in.
This one is called A DARING BOOK CHALLENGE
and they are from the Daring Book for Girls list. Lots of old time childrens favourite, plus some I have not heard of.
Thinking of joining this one as well, so I will certainly have a wide scope of reading to keep me going through the year.
Plus my own Book Group list of books, which I have only 2 more to read.

Have chosen these books - so far!!



Here is an easy pattern for a Balaclava, which my mother has recently made for a friend of my brother's who has gone to work in Holland.
Mum did not want to knit using circular needles, so I found a few patterns, as she used these as a base, and adjusted accordingly. Plus it is a lot easier to read that others I found on the net.

Size 3.25mm needles( or size 10)
1 ball of 8ply yarn (100 grams).

Knit first row into back of stitch, then continue in Rib of K2,PS for 6 inches.

Continuing on 3.25mm or size 10 needles, change to Stocking Stitch and knit 3 rows.
On the 4th row - Purl.
Purl 35, cast off 42 stitches, Purl 35.
Work on this last set of 35 stitches (leaviing other 35 stitches on stitch holder), and stocking stitch for 3 1/2 inches (finishing with a Knit Row).

Break off wool, leaving enough to be sewn into seam later.
Now pick up the other 35 stitches from the stitch holder.
Stocking stitch for 3 1/2 inches, starting with a Knit Row and finish with a Knit Row.

Next Row - Purl 35, turn needle, cast on 42 stitches, turn needle and Pul 35 stitches from stitch holder. Now you have 112 stitches on your needle.

Next - Stocking stitch across 112 stitches for 20 rows, then decrease for head.
1st Decrease - K12, S1,K1, PSSO - 8 times (104 stitches)
2nd row - Purl
3rd Decrease - K11, S1,K1, PSSO - 8 times (96 stitches)
4th row - Purl
5th Decrease - K10,S1,K1,PSSO - 8 times (88 stitches)

Continue in this manner decreasing one (1) stitch each alternate row until last 5 rows
K2,S1,K1,PSSO - 8 times (24 stitches)
K1,S1,PSSO - 8 times (16 stitches)
Knit 2 TOG across (8 stitches)

Pull wool through these 8 stitches twice and fasten off tight, then sew down back of Balaclava to beginning (ribbing).

To finish off the front face, Mum used 2 needles (3.25mm or size 10). You will find it easier picking up stitches if you use a smaller needle (or crochet hook if you prefer)and then transfer to your size 3.25mm or size 10 needle.
Pick up between 60 & 70 stitches from the left hand side and the bottom with wrong side faciing, then start knitting K2,P2 with the right side facing, for 5 Rows.

Cast off loosely on wrong side (6th row).
Knit same with top and other side, knitting 5 rows and casting off on the 6th.

Catch in the corners neatly and when finished, press lightly with a damp cloth.


The photos show the finished Balaclava

Thursday, 17 July 2008


I hadn't browsed through the Historical Tapestry blogsite for a week or so, and after catching up on the posts etc. decided to check out a couple of the other links.
What a great find - another person has on her blog a reading challenge.
The time frame is from the 1st April to the 1st October, and you select 6 books that you want to read, and then post a review of each of them.
Had quite a lot to choose from my list, so have selected the following, as they are available from my local library:

SIMON THE COLDHEART - Georgette HEYER (this is on my bookshelf to read)

I had selected other books, but these were not available from the library, but maybe later on they will become available:


The Historical Novel society publications have numerous listings, and as I read through each journal, make a note of the books that I would like to read, so had plenty to choose from.

I don't think that I will ever run out of books to read, especially now that there are so many wonderful book blogs on the net.

the site for this challenge is

Sunday, 13 July 2008


Our Rare Fruits Group had an enjoyable day yesterday, as a few members of different nationalities showed us how to cook the vegetables etc. that they use.
We were shown how to cook with Bitter Melon or Gourd - both as a hot dish with pork, and also as a salad.
Banana Blossom that was made into a salad.
Sweet Leaf and Kan Kong was also cooked up, and I especially enjoyed these dishes.
Another side dish was a large bunch of Garlic Chives that had been chopped into 3/4cm pieces, cooked in oil till it started to wilt, then 4 beaten eggs were added to the dish.
Another Malaysian speciality was Black Rice - this was delicious as well.

In the Sri Lankan area, a yummy Eggplant dish was cooked, as well as a Chicken Curry.
The recipes I can post later on, as these will be included in our next groups newsletter, which I will have to edit in a couple of weeks time.


I finished reading this delightful book, with a few tears in my eyes.
The story is about Kate, who is sent to live with her Uncle and help out on the farm.
A Hungarian story, first written in 1935 - I was lucky enough to obtain a copy of the book on Bookmooch as a friend in the craft group wanted a copy.
The book has drawings throughout the story, and you get a feel for the customs of the people as well.
Will try and obtain another copy as I am sure my grandaughter would love this story.

A comment on the back cover says
"A genuinely joyous and beautiful book ....a astory that 9-12 year olds should not miss (The New York Times).

I have to agree and would add - for adults as well.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


I received the latest catalogue of The Fox Collection yesterday, and you can now buy the cotton yarn - 11 shades of colour, so I can now stock up on my supply, as I use this yarn to knit dishcloths.
There are numerous free patterns that can be accessed on the internet, and I continue to find great motifs.
Am thinking of knitting up quite a few of the squares to make a knitted rug.

Monday, 30 June 2008


I admit to not having heard of this book until one of the ladies at Craft today asked me to check the Bookmooch site to see if I could get a copy.
Well I was lucky, as there were 3 copies of the book, and I have mooched one of them to get it sent to me.
The story is set in Hungary, and searching on Google, I found that the author has 2 other books - THE WHITE STAG and THE SINGING TREE.

Received another 2 books in the mail today via the Bookmooch site, and I reciprocated by posting off 2 books I had been asked for - one to New South Wales and another to West Yorkshire.

Will say yet again - a wonderful concept.


I am now another step closer in my family search for my great grandfather.
Today I received a copy of his death certificate, which shows that his second wife's name was Emily Kitchen.
He married Emily at the age of 70 years, and she lived to a good age as well, as I located on the Brisbane City Council site (Grave Location Search) the burial details.
Emily was 103 years, and David was 93 years when he died in 1990.

Now my next step is to apply for their marriage certificate.

Thursday, 26 June 2008


I bought this book a few days ago, and last night cooked one of the recipes - BAKED RAVIOLI.
I had never thought to cook the ravioli this way before, but it is definitely a lot nicer, layering the ravioli, pasta sauce and cheese.

For dinner tonight, I will cook the TANGY PORK CHOPS.


Well after only 6 months, the bread machine gave up the ghost. Being under warranty, I was able to take the machine back to my local ALDI, and get a full refund.
So I am now the owner of a KENWOOD BREAD MAKER (BM250). Made my first loaf today, and looks good - haven't given it the taste test as yet. This machine also has the option of making Gluten Free Bread, which is a bonus.
I think that the Lumina machine may not have been slotted in correctly, and somehow the paddles jammed.
While on the subject of food, a recipe that was featured on the Sanitarium Nutrition Service website is - TWO POTATO BAKE.
Very tasty potato dish, and I halved the recipe, as there is only me and my husband.

1kg sweet potato, peeled & thinly sliced
1 kg potato, peeled & thinly sliced
35g packet salt reduced French onion soup
2 x 375g can light and creamy evaporated milk
3 slices wholemeal bread, crumbled (I used packaged breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts (I used slivered almonds)

Layer sweet potato and potato in a 20cm x 35cm rectangular ovenproof dish.

Preheat oven to 180degreesC. Sprinkle with soup mix. Pour over evaporated milk.
Combine fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs, parmesan and pinenuts and sprinkle over potato.
Bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour or until golden and slightly thickened.

Sunday, 22 June 2008


This website is just wonderful and I have received quite a few books this week:


Have started reading the Maisie Dobbs story, and am hooked. I enjoyed the first two novels - MAISIE DOBBS and BIRDS OF A FEATHER, so when I saw Pardonable Lies on the bookmooch site I wanted to read it.
It looks as though there is a new story as well = MESSENGER OF TRUTH.


I made mention in a previous post about the blogs; well I had a great time yesterday afternoon working my way through just a couple - such wonderful links on the sites that you get involved at looking at all the great books that people are reading etc.

Good Reads is a site that I joined, where you can list the books that you are currently reading, what is on your shelf, and give reviews on the books that you have read. Wonderful site.

Another one I spent a bit of time on is called HISTORICAL TAPESTRY

Have only touched the surface of this site, but pretty rapt with what is listed and the layout of the site.

It seems that my "to be read" list is getting bigger and bigger (isn't it great). Now if only I could just hide away from the chores and read with interruption!!

Saturday, 21 June 2008


One of my favourite bread recipes comes from a magazine that I bought from the newsagent - THE GOOD LIFE BREAD BOOK, which has a wonderful array of bread recipes - for bread machines and by hand.
The recipe is for a CRACKED WHEAT AND SUNFLOWER BREAD and I add a few extras:

1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 2/3 cups wholemeal flour (I have used both bread mix flour and wholemeal flour)
1 cup bread flour (I am using Bakers flour at the moment)
1 tsp bread improver
1 1/2 tablespoons milk powder
2 tablespoons cracked wheat (I add Wheatgerm)
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
310ml water

I also add a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

This recipe is done on the basic setting of your bread machne. Put the ingredients in the order that your bread machines requires. This makes a 750g loaf.


I am a fan of this author, but admit that I didn't get wrapt in this story.
Read as very wishy/washy and prefer the author's later books which have much better story lines.
Ones that come to mind are TEARS OF THE MOON and the sequel, KIMBERLEY SUN - which are set in Broome; THE VALLEY (story covers history, families and a mother and daughter search for the past - set in the Manning Valley of New South Wales).

Noticed in my book journal that I had also read THE LAST MILE HOME, and my comments mirror the ones above. Very bland characters.

THE REEF - a bit slow at the start,but interesting sections on the diversity of the Reef and the studies being carried out. Also brings in tourist developments as well.

Sunday, 15 June 2008


I have gone back through my records, and realised that I do have a marriage date - 26th August 1937 in Brisbane.

No dates of death as yet - so that is the next step.


A few more names to add to this family connection, via a contact from the Genes Reunited site. The contact is relaited via the Waldron side, and kindly sent me information from a book that was printed, no doubt from another Waldron family member.
Helping to fit the pieces to the puzzle, and I need to delve deeper into the Adams side to find out more. Haven't been able to find a marriage for Clarence and Evelyn - maybe I should search on the New South Wales records.

Evelyn's parents were Albert Samuel Waldron and Edith Emma Reynolds. They both worked at Newstead House - Samuel went to work there as a Coachman, looking after the horses and met Edith, who was a housemaid at Newstead House.


Monday, 9 June 2008


After researching these families for a few years, and feeling despair about ever having contact from someone connected to these families, a contact has been made via the Genes Reunited site.
David and Rosina were my great grandparents on my mother's side, and have always wanted to find out more about their lives.
My contact lives in Sydney, and I am in the process of sorting through the old family photos that my mother has given me, as well as other paper work.
David Smith was born in Grays Essex England and was the youngest of reportedly 12 children (that was something I didn't know).
Always a thrill to find distant relations in Australia, and also in many other parts of the world.


I have just finished reading "A Place in the Sun" which is the 4th volume of the saga featuring the Askham family. A great story and was able to follow all the families, eventhough I had not read all of the others in the saga.
This author is good to read and over the past few years I have read -
NEVER SUCH INNOCENCE ()1st book in the Saga
MY NAME IS MARTHA BROWN - great story which is woven around an actual event that occurred in England in 1856 in Dorset.

Would recommend this author for anyone.

Friday, 6 June 2008


Our Book Group meeting is next week, and when I prepared the newsletter, thought that the ladies may be interested in accessing some of the blogs that deal with historical fiction.
The recent magazine of the Historical Novel Society (Solander) has a good article on the many blogs that are on the net.
In our discussions we often chat about different historical eras, and always get stumped with the english monarchy, mainly because we can never remember the time periods and who was ruling when.
So I have copied the article and will hand out at the meeting.

Once again, I am sure that just by entering Historical Fiction Blogs into Google, there would be numerous sites that come up.


My stash is getting low, now that I have posted off 5 of the dishcloths to a friend of mine. Had sent her a few last year to see whether she would like using them, in preference to the shop bought sponges (YUK). They must have been successful as she sent me an email a few days ago, requesting some more.
In lieu of payment, she offered to get me something that I couldn't access in our area, so have asked her to keep her eyes open for 8ply 100% cotton yard.
Haven't seen much around here, but I know that I can buy it on the Net.

Maybe I will have to force myself to get back to the knitting shortly. Have numerous patterns for the dishcloths and the latest batch I found on the net has all the Zodiac Signs.


One of my brothers has a friend who has gone to work in The Hague, and asked Paul to get her a knitted balaclava. So he immediately contacted Mum, of course.
Anyway, after much searching on the net for a pattern, I found a few which I then mailed to her. She particularly didn't want to use a Circular Needle, as she is not comfortable using them.
The latest update I have had from her is that eventhough the pattern mentioned Double Pointed Needles, she is using straight needles, and going to work the pattern from her experience knitting teddy bears and their clothes.
If all goes well, she will rewrite the pattern she is using, and then I can post it on the site for anyone else that would like an easy pattern for a balaclava.


I have been hooked on the crochet again, and have finished another Afghan - the pattern was kindly provided by one of the ladies in our craft group. She had made a few changes to bring in line with the terminology that we Aussies are used to.
So I decided to search on the net and came across a good site -
No need to add that I found a few patterns that I could tackle, and have now started on a Double Ripple Afghan.
My next project was going to be a Navajo Rug, but after 3 attempts, I decided that maybe I was a bit too enthusiastic and my capabilities were up to it.

Friday, 23 May 2008


My crochet interest hasn't waned, and yesterday I completed my third small rug.
Decided to get on Google and look at more patterns. Say no more - there are great sites to download free patterns, and I also checked out a few of the crochet blogs.

Found a great one set up by a lady who is really into recycling.
Her site is and there are great ideas, plus links to other topics.

Her crochet bag patterns made from plastic shopping bags look wonderful.


I chose this book for our Book Group selection this year, because as usual, you real the "blurb" about the book and think "that could be an interesting story".
The story starts out in 1629 when a young musician arrives in Denmark to join the orchestra in the court of King Christian IV.
From what I have read so far, there are many stories that appear to be woven into each other, and no doubt this will surface towards the end of the book.
But I must say, it hasn't grabbed me - that is, not a book that once you start reading you don't want to put down.
So I will plod on, and see if my interest gets awakened further.

I received in the mail yesterday, the latest publications from the Historical Novels Society. These publications are just wonderful, and my mother enjoys reading them when she comes for a visit. She always has a big list of books to get from her library when she goes home.

One of the articles in Solander is about the lure of Scottish romance. Diana Gabaldon comes into this category - her character Jamie is portrayed as a real hunk and everyone I know that has read this series, thinks along the same lines.
Another author mentioned in the article is Lois Greiman, whose book Bewitching the Highlander appeared iin 2007; also Karen Ranney - The Scottish Companion.
Will get onto the bookmooch site and browse for these authors.

An article also on Historical Fiction blogs - haven't ventured into these as yet, but that will change today, and there are quite a few that sound interesting.

My book group ladies will be interested as well, as whenever we read a historical novel, all of us try and picture the historical period and who was in power at the time etc.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Artificial colours in food

It was heartening to read another health newsletter recently, that reported that on 10th April in the UK, it was a day of celebration as UK food regulators finally admitted that artificial colours should be banned.
However, Australian regulators don't see it that way.

The colours to be banned in the UK are:
Tartrazine (102)
Quinoline yellow (104)
Sunset yellow (110_
Carmoisine (122)
Ponceau 4R (124)
Allura Red (129)

So it appears that the regulators are listening in the UK -
the article states that the Daily Mail launched a "Ban the Additives" campaign in Sept 2007 to encourage manufacturers and supermarkets to remove nasty additives from their recipes. The Food Commission has set up a website listing more than 1000 products containing the targeted additives. The campaign has gained support from all the major supermarkets who are working to remove artificial colours from own brand products. Giant confectionery firms who have agreed to reduce additive use include Marks UK, Cadbury Trebor Bassett, and Nestle Rowntree..

Wouldn't it be nice to see something positive like this happen in Australia.

This is just one of the articles in the newsletter - fed up with food additives.

My shopping is very basic these days, as very few items are purchased that have "numbers" listed on the packet. I bake my own bread, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, and we eat a very balanced diet. Our vegie garden is being planted out for the winter months, and the fruit trees are progressing nicely.
We are lucky to have neighbours who share their crops, and presently have a great supply of mandarins and other citrus fruits (organically grown as well).


In the latest newsletter for the Rare Fruits Council (Wide Bay branch) I included an article on the artifical sweetener, Aspartame, and the terrible health effects of it.
Today I have caught up with my emails, and there was my regular newsletter from The Food Coach website. The Article of the week is How a simple diet diary revealed aspartame poisoning.
It would appear that a researcher conducted a 2 year 8 month experiment on the effects of aspartame on rats. She fed some of them the relative equivalent of two thirds the aspartame contained in a cane of diet soft drink
(see this incredible study).
The photos of the diseased and genetically altered rates that accompany her article are terrifically shocking. How did something so toxic find its way into out diets:
Aspartame is simply the most dangerous substance that is added to food, if you called processed food "food".
I am constantly shaking my head when I see the so called food that some people consume, and then they also have a can of soft drink in the other hand. What's the saying - Rubbish in, Rubbish out. In this case, the long term health benefits are disastrous.
Maybe in years to come, there will be a class action against the food manufacturers, for the so called "preservatives" and other ingredients they are adding to our food.


Besides getting on hooked on crochet, I have been catching up on reading, especially some of the books that I have received through Bookmooch.
3 books by Elizabeth Lowell have been particularly good, and I have found that whereas Nora Roberts stories tend to be very predictable after a while, this author brings interesting elements into her stories.
So far I have read - Jade Island, Amber Beach and Midnight in Ruby Bayou; in each of these stories, you get a good insight into the gems themselves. I am waiting to receive Pearl Cove, which I believe has a bit of Australia in it.
Would definitely recommend this author.