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There’s no overarching theme to this blog post. Nope. Not a one. It’s a ragbag of bits and pieces I’ve been meaning to tell you and haven’t managed to cobble together coherently until now. Hopefully, you’ll find something of interest in it. Here we go.

When I stayed at a friend’s place at the coast the other weekend, I washed my hair in horse shampoo because it was all I could find. It was an alarming shade of purple but it gave me soft, flowing, lustrous locks and I’ve been wondering since why I bother buying expensive human shampoo. If there are any equestrians reading this, do you share your horse’s shampoo?? My next research project is to find out what was in it and compare it to what I use. If it’s the same stuff, I’m switching to horse shampoo. Secretly, I’m still hoping to turn into a palomino (tosses mane and paws at ground).

I went to see a great movie last weekend: Everybody Knows. It’s a Spanish thriller. Have you seen it? Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem were in it, so there was no way it was going to be bad. The drama was intense and absorbing, but I did have time to notice how beautiful everyone was. I don’t mean in the botoxed, straightened hair way that supposedly stands for beauty now. I mean passionate dark eyes surrounded by crows feet and frown lines, and thick, messy hair falling over high cheekbones. People had curves and paunches and looked tired. And still they were beautiful.

I couldn’t get over how dry the landscape was. It made Canberra’s parched paddocks look fecund. I can say three things in Spanish (apart from hello/goodbye/thank you). “Two beers, please,” (not terribly helpful, as I don’t drink beer, but I can order it for someone else). “What’s in the bag?” (could come in handy at airports and in lucky dip situations). “I am the tall woman who lives in your house,” (I learned that once to amuse a flatmate who spoke Spanish). I definitely want to learn more after seeing that movie.

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Can I introduce you to some bloggy people? They recently found me, so I followed them back and now I love checking in on them. No doubt you will too.

https://carolbaby.com/ writes about life every couple of days (impressive output!) and I really love her take on things. I’m usually too lazy/busy to comment on her posts but they always make me think/laugh/feel inspired/feel connected. She lives in ThePalace(Of Love) and works at SaltMinesLimited. See, you already want to read it.

Karen at https://somekindof50.com/ is much more sorted than I will ever be. She wrote a brilliant piece the other week on coping with loss. I wish I’d had it with me at this time last year. A recent post was a collection of 50 quotes, and this little group in particular spoke to me:

  • “I don’t have time to worry about people who don’t like me. I’m too busy loving people who love me.” Anonymous
  • “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot
  • “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

This week she posted about reinventing yourself, or at least working out what you want. That’s the second time in two days someone’s brought that up and it’s made me realise that what I wanted last year is not what I want this year. A little brainstorming and clarification is in order, I think.

Last but most definitely not least in the bloggy introductions is Claudia, brought to you by the insightful and funny Julie Persons. Claudia tells it like it is and she’s good at wordplay too. You can find her here: https://theadventuresofclaudia.wordpress.com/ It’s my ambition to be as smart as her when I grow up.

Let’s talk cake. (How are you coping with the lack of linking sentences between paragraphs? Hope you’re still with me.) A work colleague turned 80 recently and I made him this chocolate cake. It was sooo good, even though I made the mistake of putting it in the fridge overnight (unnecessary and slightly dried it out). There’s no photo because I forgot and because it got eaten pretty quickly, but it looked just as good as it does in the recipe. It’s my go-to chocolate cake recipe now, and everyone should expect to get one on their birthday. There’s a shedload of sugar in it, but if you’ve made it to 80 you shouldn’t have to worry about things like that.

What have you been making? If you crochet, do you know about Annie Design Crochet? I like her patterns (a lot of them are free) and her use of colour. I’ve made three scarves as presents, using this pattern: indigo scarf. Next up is this: halo shawl. I bought beautiful hand‑dyed merino by Malabrigo, which I then discovered comes from…Uruguay. Hmm. I should probably find out where to buy Australian merino. My winter project is this: carousel blanket, which I’ll finish just in time for…er…next summer. Maybe I should make it in cotton.

Have you read this book by Malena Watrous: If You Follow Me? I’ve read it twice in four months. I don’t usually do that, but the characters felt like friends and I wanted to keep them by me. She’s super smart and funny, and entangled in a complicated relationship. She wants so desperately to fit in yet can’t follow the rules and often openly challenges them. Underneath everything, she’s grieving the death of her father and coming up to the one‑year anniversary. As am I.

“It never goes away,” a friend of mine said about grief and loss. “You just learn to live with it.” That’s not quite how I feel about it, although I acknowledge that it’s much less visible now. No-one sees it but me. Rather than learning to live with it, it’s as if I carry it with me all the time, like a tiny Russian icon shining red and gold in a dark corner of the heart.

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Figs are in season! Huzzah! Be quick! Run to the farmers market to get some, because the season is so short! I’ve been buying them in bulk and gorging. You may have seen me cunningly elbowing someone out of the way because they were being too slow in choosing apples and were obstructing my path to the figs. But I will neither confirm nor deny that.

At the farmers market there was a new stall selling flowers by the bucketload, which made me enormously happy. It was such a contrast to the measly, overpriced bunches that you can buy elsewhere. The man selling the flowers had just started out in the flower-growing business and was as excited and happy to talk about it as I was to buy beautiful roses from him.

I discovered via the lovely Pip Lincolne that Nick Cave has a blog where you can ask him questions! “You can ask me anything,” he says, and people do, and he writes openly, from the heart, in return. Someone asked him, “How do you deal with evil?” and this is part of what he wrote in return:

The transcendent spirit for good can be accessed with profound effect through the imagination – the creative force can act as a counter-agent to evil. We cannot eradicate evil, yet it need not paralyse us – rather we should take what steps we can, however small, toward the betterment of the world, and our place in it. This is the essence of creativity.

I try not to allow horror into this blog, but yesterday, after the shocking news from New Zealand, I found myself out in the garden looking up at the night sky for reassurance. The stars were clear and sharp, the moon a half slice of lemon. I was looking for the Southern Cross. As I craned my neck, there it was: that comforting, familiar constellation, like an anchor above me.

That’s it for now, m’dears. Go well. Take care. (Whinnies and canters off.)

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