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Monday, 28 January 2008


I had hoped to post articles, thoughts etc. every few days, but when you have a large garden to look after, especially during the summer, days at the computer become precious. Let's hope for a few rainy days to help out.
The title of this blog came about as our book group, through our reading, tries to put into perspective, the history and especially the monarchs in England. I know that there are various sites you can access on the net, such as English Timelines and history sites that can give you an overall picture, but a good reference book would be handy. Anyone know of one?
Here is a site, that I keep in my Favourites to access with my family history research. - you could spend hours just browsing through the various topics, which then lead you into other fields.
One for your Yvonne!!

For those interested in poetry - here is a good site to also add to your Favourites -
I found this after searching for a poem that was mentioned in a book(may have been one by Elizabeth Elgin) and the extract was from The Highwayman by Alfred NOYES.
Enjoyed reading it so much, that I printed out a few more of his work.

Likewise whilst listening to Radio National on Saturday morning, an interview was held with the songwriter Paul Kelly, and he had been watching a DVD with his daughter (In Her Shoes starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette), and a verse from a poem was used -
the poet was John Shaw NEILSON - his poems are also on the site mentioned above.

In an earlier blog I mentioned a Vanilla Slice recipe. Well I made this yesterday, and had a piece with our coffee after dinner. My husband enjoyed so much that he had a second slice.
Had to laugh when he asked how I got the pattern in the biscuit. Men are not observant at times!! or is that an understatement.

A number of contacts have been made through my research - mainly on the TACK family - the Genes Reunited site is proving very worthwhile. I have had 2 contacts also to do with the MOHR FAMILY - Henry MOHR married Frances DUTTON 1883 in Queensland. Frances ws born in 1862, and her parents were Frederick James DUTTON (B 1833 Cockfield Suffolk and Emma BAILEY). Frederick James is my grandfather on my mother's side, and he was in the regiment who were sent to the Eureka Stockade.

Now if only I could make some inroads into the COWLEY family. I think I have the right family members of my paternal grandfather, Alfred COWLEY, but my paternal grandmother is a mystery. Her marriage certificate gives her names as Emily HAMMOND born abt 1898 Townsville, but the parents names given differ to that on her death certificate.
Likewise her sister, Alice has her surname shown as Hammet with different parents?
A mystery that no doubt will be unravelled in time.

A lady did contact me a few months back, to say that her grandfather I think, was Matthew COWLEY, whose father was David COWLEY, and that Matthew had migrated to Canada.
I have not been able to re-establish contact with this lady - maybe she has changed her email address.

Must finish off here and get a batch of biscuits out of the oven - Peanut Butter Cookies this time.

Monday, 14 January 2008


This is SOME of my craft work - middle cushion is knitted, other two done in tapestry.

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This is a close up of some of the Proteas that I have growing on our block. These plants seems suited to our sandy conditions, and the group we have in front of the house are in bud at the moment. The King Proteas are a bit slower, but at the side of the block, where a lot of other plants seem to struggle.
All in all they are spectacular flowers, and last well in the house - up to 2 weeks.
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One of my favourite pastimes is baking, and I came across this recipe on a website - whilst searching for bread recipes.
A very easy slice to make and tasty as well:


(other nuts, such as macadamias, can be used instead of the pecans).

250g packet Nice biscuits
120g butter or margarine, melted
125g milk or dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks (can use Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, but I used Dark cooking chocolate in my recipe)
90g pecan nuts - chopped
75g (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) desiccated coconut
395g sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Celsius fan-forced)

Line an 18cm by 28cm slice pan or baking dish with baking paper.
Finely crush biscuits in a blender or food processor. Combine crushed biscuits and melted butter (can do this in the saucepan that the butter was melted in).
Firmly press biscuit mixture over the base of the prepared pan.

Sprinkle biscuit base with chocolate chunks and chopped pecans
Sprinkle evenly with coconut.
Drizzle with condensed milk, covering as much of the coconut as possible.
Bake for about 32-35 minutes, or until lightly golden on top.
Allow slice to cool to room temperature in pan, then refrigerate for several hours until cold and set.
Remove slice from pan and cut into squares to serve.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Suitable to freeze.

Another favourite recipe of mine is FRUIT SLICE - (a recipe from my Mum)
She rates this as probably the best slice - versatile and keeps well.

1 1/2 cups SR Flour
3/4 cup castor sugar
4oz (125g) butter - melted
2 eggs
1 cup either chopped dates or mixed fruit and nuts
2 oz. chopped walnuts - or nuts of your choice
2 1/2 tsp spice - you can use about 3/4 tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger if you like)
1 tablespoon milk.

Sift dry ingredients into bowl and add sugar, fruit and nuts.
Beat eggs, add milk (you could add vanilla essence as well.
Stir into dry ingredients with melted butter.

Bake 25-35 mins at 180 degrees.
This also freezes well.

I now have to get my mind into gear to prepare the next newsletter for the Rare Fruits meeting, which is on the 2nd February at Aldershot - have plenty of material to include, and always trying to keep the newsletter at 5/6 doublesided pages, so that they fit in the envelopes.
It's such a pain for me, as I need to drive into Hervey Bay to get the printing done (would be good if the group was small, but at times there is up to 70 copies that have to be done).
Then the envelopes and taking to the post office. Not keen to keep on doing this!!!

Sunday, 13 January 2008


As a follow up to my earlier post on the Lumina bread machine - success with the Fruit Loaf, to a degree, and next time will made a bigger loaf.
I made a Wholegrain loan yesterday, using a bread mix - Laucke, and very pleased with the result.
My previous breadmaker had just about given up the ghost, and I had been using it constantly for over 10 years (Breville). I have found with the Laucke mixes that the texture is very soft, and once the bread is made, I leave for a few days in a plastic bag, then slice with an electric knife. Otherwise too soft to slice with a bread knife.
In between my baking days, have commenced rearranging my family history files, and uploading further details onto the GENES REUNITED website, which is a great place to make contact with people who also maybe researching the same family names.
Since the BBC has been running the popular series "Who do you think you are", there has been a huge increase in people undertaking family research.
I have been lucky enough to have friends in England who have taped the series and sent me copies of some of the shows.
SBS TV here in Australia has now taken on the concept, and tonight at 7.30pm (13th Jan 2008), the first in the series, with Jack Thompson as the celebrity person.

I should add to this post, that if anyone out there is researching the TACK family from Buckinghamshire, would like to make contact. There are quite a few people on the Genes Reunited site who have made contact with me about the family, and I am keeping fingers crossed that the same will hold with my family name, as there are lots of loose threads.
Anyone out there researching a DAVID COWLEY from Manchester, whose occupation was a Gold Beater in the mid 1800's?

Thursday, 10 January 2008


Our Lychee tree produced a good crop this year, and this is the last of them. With the rain that started yesterday (9th Jan), planted out a seeding that I have been nurturing - SWEET TAMARIND. The seeds came from a property near Bundaberg, (one of the Rare Fruit members) and I managed to get two seeds to strike. The pulp of the Sweet Tamarind is much nicer to eat than the ordinary Tamarind; the seedling is being given a good start, as one of our chickens died yesterday, so she has been buried with the new tree.

Next crop to look forward to is MANGO. We have managed to place small netting bags around all of the Kensington Pride variety (the bags I made from Tuille and there is a drawstring around the top, so they can be bunched in once placed around the fruit. As I only had a limited number of these bags, the next best thing was the mesh bags that hold the onions and fruit.
These also are working well, with a peg used to hold them at the top.
The big test will be whether the King Parrots will be deterred by the bags or else try and peck the fruit through the small holes!!

Two new Passionfruit have also been planted and a Longan, which is a fruit likened to the Lychee.


I have recently bought a LUMINA breadmaking from Aldi and today it gets the try out.
Making a Fruit Loaf and using a white bread mix recipe, adding mixed fruits and other goodies when the machine beeps.
anyone have a tried and tested fruit loaf recipe they would like to share?

On the subject of recipes, at my Book Club meeting yesterday, we all loved a Vanilla Slice, which is made using Arnotts Lattice Biscuits, as the base and top, with the filling of cream and packet of vanilla pudding mix.
You lightly whip 600ml of thickened cream, add the packet of pudding mix, and then beat till it is well combined. Pour this over the biscuit base, top with the remaining Lattice Biscuits (glazed side on top), and put in the fridge to set. Very yummy and hard to stop at one piece!!

The ladies in the group are all good cooks, so we are always trying out new recipes.

This morning I have also baked a BLUEBERRY AND PECAN BREAD, the recipe was featured in the Summer 2007/2008 issue of Natural Health and Vegetarian Life magazine.
Looks good sitting on the cake rack to cool, so the proof will be in the tasting.

When the cooking session is finished, I will get back to my family research, which has taken a back seat for a few months as I catch up with other interests.

FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH is a wonderful hobby and be prepared to find out details that may not always please the family. A wonderful offshoot of your research is that you will become interested in the history side of things, and want to read stories about the places and events that your ancestors would have experienced.
SBS TV has been showing the first episodes of the BBC Series "Who do you think you are" - the Australian version starts this Sunday, the 13th January 2008 (7.30pm and I recall that Jack Thompson is to be the personality finding out about his ancestors).

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


Our little book group is having its meeting today, and the book for discussion is THE VILLA IN ITALY (author Elizabeth Edmondson). I found this a good read, and it will probably not be a long debate on this book, as I have had feedback from some of the ladies, who haven't been able to get a copy of the book to read in time for the meeting.
Maybe because 3 of us hogged the book from the library, and being over the Christmas/New Year break, didn't get it back in circulation in time.
For those interested in the book here is a brief synopsis

"It's 1957, and four people are summoned to a villa in Italy apropos the will of a mysteries woman named Beatrice Malaspina
Delia - an unhappy opera singer suffering from bronchitis
George - an unhappy atomic scientist haunted by his part in manufacturing the A-Bomb
Marjorie - an unhappy crime novelist with writer's block
Lucius - an unhappy banker about to marry the bitch from hill.

Delis is accompanied by her friend, Jessica, on the run from her bastard from hell husband, a British MP.

Villa Dante is beautiful, tranquil with neglected gardens and a terrace overlooking the sea. In the grounds is a mysterious locked tower, and it's there that the four unhappy souls will find what Beatrice Malaspina deliberately left for them, leading them to the codicil to her Will and the realisation of their relationship to her"

I have set the reading schedule for the year and the books are:

THE WINTHROP WOMAN - Anya Seton February
SHANTARAM - Gregory David Roberts May
COME IN SPINNER - Dymphna Cusack & Florence James June
THE TEAHOUSE FIRE - Ellis Avery July
MUSIC & SILENCE - Rose Tremain August
THE JANISSARY TREE - Jason Goodwin September
FIRST LADY - Michael Dobbs November
SEA CHANGE - Robert Goddard December

Each year I chose the books and endeavour to have a mix of fiction, mystery, biography/autobiography etc. but it still comes down to the fact that we all end up having different views of the books chosen.

To start practising my scrapbooking, I made up a booklet for each member, with a double page spread for each month -the layout features a brief of the story, plus photos, motifs etc.
Lots of hours, but very enjoyable.