Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)



Because too much of our past is slipping by unrecorded and uncared- about.Tweets don’t last! But I have found a most entertaining record from England’s Tudor times. Seems there were other dangers, besides the risk of the executioner’s axe or incarceration in The Bloody Tower.

I’ll certainly take extra care next time I go prancing around a maypole. Or play Christenmas games!

Sporran hi-jacked my laptop yesterday, claiming unfair monopoly, and wrote a post on the cats’ blog. I wish she’d take over all my secretarial duties!

And several people have asked for my no-knead bread recipe. Well, I use the method of Carol Bates, with a bit of Dinah-tweaking. And I don’t want Carol sending the Copyright Police after me so I’ll just give you a link to her site.   If you thought baking a simple loaf was just too laborious I urge you to try this.

I was introduced to Carol’s method ‘way back in the early 1980s. My then neighbour had bought a bread-making kit and the method was so easy-peasy  and the recipes so delicious I bought my own book from Carol.

And it’s nigh on impossible to “go wrong” with this  bread. I recall a day when my neighbour had put her bowl of dough on the roof of her laundry, several steps lower than the kitchen and in a beautifully sunny spot. Then she nipped out to the shops, forgetting about the dough. Dear God! That bowl of flour, yeast and water turned into a heaving, oozing mass, escaping its bowl and threatening a rooftop takeover!

                                                                                            Invasion of Dough-Heads?

But H. , on returning from her shopping foray, simply scraped it back into the bowl and put it in a cool place til it recovered. The resultant loaf was fine.

We did have some yeasty adventures. The ginger beer story can wait for another day.

I actually sat down at my other keyboard on Saturday! I am unlikely to be offered a Carnegie Hall gig, but I managed to find all of the notes in a short practice piece. Some of them in the right order! Of course, I have had some training from the most excellent Mr. S. Fry. 😉




In our part of the world we’ve been more fortunate than some, but we have had some very heavy downpours.

Yes, I know it’s our “wet season” and I know we need good rainfall to flush algae from waterways and top-up reservoirs….but jeepers! enough with the mouldy stuff , OK?

I’m beginning to feel like a character from a Somerset Maugham novel!

My chief concern is that I can only proceed slowly on the books. I don’t want to have too many damp pages at once. So how do I manage? Well, I think Heath Robinson would probably have come up with a better contraption, but I use this:

With ceiling fans whirring gently (as opposed to clattering like mad helicopters) it does help. Of course, it’s in the middle of the floor. And a great temptation to little black furballs. But, like Mr. Hobson‘s clients, I have limited options! And I can’t use this when drying glued pages.

But I’m not the only one suffering. If you’re interested you can read more about this “project” on our blog.

And for further notes on the daily doings Chez Dinahmow, the cats can help.

Back to work…



Contrib: Rusty

Dinah tells us about these many ginger cats she sees at the place where she swims. So we tell her to make contact and bring us proof, not that we think she is making free with the truth, but people do not always have the same perception as we cats; indeed, people are given to exaggerations on many occasions, such as the stories they tell about sporting victories and the reasons for not returning from the Emporium with what we consider to be sufficient supplies of Crunchies and Jellimeat.

It seems there are, indeed, “many” ginger cats.

ginger cats at pool 1Breakfast (Just waiting in case she leaves any…)

playing with a plastic forkA discarded plastic fork provided kitten fun.

after breakfast washA good wash after breakfast is important and if you can find a sunny spot, all the better.

after breakfast snooze…all the better for snoozing, too!

2009_0220snake0004This is as close as you’re getting, Two Legs Person!

Dinah says she has counted 7 ginger cats and I say this is a Ginger Fellowship and the Lady  Boss says there more than 7 and she says it is a Conspiracy! She also says that she would like to catch these Fellows (Ginger Order) and take them to the Person-Whose-Name-We-Do-Not-Speak, thus ensuring that the Fellowship will be limited to present members.



And at this point, I reclaim my blog…

It’s been a run of break-downs and blow-ups and various failures Chez Dinahmow…the microwave (marvellously handy place to hide food from Feline Thieves as they can’t open the door!) ping-ed and arc-ed so I’m guessing its magnetron is kaput. My sewing machine went pffft! and belched smoke yesterday in what could be a blown motor or, more likely, since it’s engineered by Swiss genius, burnt circuit board and the bonnet hinges on the Mustang need replacing.

I felt I could use a little cheeriness…and look what was on my doorstep when I came home from the pool……a parcel of sketchbooks! The exchange we began a year ago. This is my book, all finished except for the cover.

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0001My opening page

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0002…and the facing page.

My book then travelled to Melanie in The Bronx2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0003who added this embroidered piece, picking up my black and red colours and swirls and sent it on to…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0004Katie Jane, in Cincinatti, who does lovely stained glass work and has made this page a look-alike.

From Kate  it went international again to Ellen in Mission, B.C.  Knowing my fondness for corvids…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0005…Ellen has added this!

From Canada, the book came back to Australia…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0006…and  Brigitte, again picking up my swirly lines, gave me this and sent the book to Alison…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0007…who added this linoprint, plus…


an embossed version of the same plate.(difficult to see here)

Alison passed the book to Heather…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0009…for her collaged linoprint.

From Heather to Frankie…

2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0010…the first half of Frankie’s spread…

…and the second half…2009_0221mfirsttravellingbook0011

What a lovely collection of friends and memories! I am so glad we did this and I hope everyone else has had the same frisson whenever the postman knocked.

Sure, some of us feel our artwork  leaves much to be desired, but the whole point of starting this exchange was for fun. I’ve had fun and perhaps, just maybe, my sketching is improving.

Thankyou to all of you who added your colourful, whimsical pages to a book I’ll treasure.

I’ll post pictures of the covers once they are added.


What else is happening in my world? Printmaking. Of course. I am, once again, up to my ears in ink. (see what I mean about the human tendancy to exaggerate? – Rusty.)

Perhaps the cat is right. Perhaps the ink is not quite that deep. But I do have a lot on my plate(s) so the blog may be neglected for a while…

But I’ll be paying a few cyber visits. Oh, thankyou so much for asking! Yes, I’d love a coffee. Straight-up, no sugar. A glass of wine? Don’t mind if I do. Shiraz would be fine, thankyou.




And now, for your delectation, a test of your cognitive abilities. Keep in mind (as I try to now that the birthday cake is going into candle-overload!) that the brain will last longer and wear better with constatnt use and stimulation. So, Auntie Ethel, turn off that stupid  TV show and give your neurons reason to fire. Synap out of it, as a friend of mine says!

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator? 


Stop and think about it and decide on your answer before you scroll down.



The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.



2 How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator? 





Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?

Wrong Answer.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.




3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. 

All the animals attend …. Except one. Which animal does not attend?



Correct Answer : The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there.? This tests your memory. Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.




4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and 


You do not have a boat. How do you manage it?




Correct Answer:? You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the 
Professionals they tested got all questions wrong, but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four-year-old.













continuing the wild and wacky adventures of wildlife carers…


Part of the extensive garden. Sometimes, I actually had roses!

We were not to know,  when Spike had that disagreement with another possum, that we were about to be gate-crashed.

Spike left us early in December and although we half-expected him to come back from time to time, we were not surprised that he didn’t. Nature’s hard-wiring usually beats human “interference.”

Besides, there were other things needing attention. With  holidays looming, the duty roster (we took turns to answer after-hours calls for help) suddenly featured our telephone number more often! And The Man’s mother was coming to stay. I didn’t want calls at all hours while she was here so I did extra time beforehand.

And there was some re-arranging of the spare/sewing/writing/junk room to be done.

Everything ordered and slotting nicely into place, yes? Well, not quite…

When we built the house we stopped  the walls of the central hallway about 18″ short of the rafters (open-plan with exposed ceiling beams), to allow for greater air flow. And to be a bit “different” from most other houses!

Biskit, one of the cats, used to like sleeping on a shelf above the water heater in the bathroom and, from there , she could climb onto the top of the wall and swing from rafter to rafter til she reached the kitchen. Then she’d jump down to the fridge, then the counter, then the floor. Until one day she mis-judged her swing and fell from the ceiling! So The Man added an “extension” piece of rafter, making it too far for her to stretch her paw around. Boy! was she cross at that!

Where was I?  Oh yes…On the opposite side of the hall was the spare room, with a built-in cupboard. Open at the top. And this is the cupboard that was to become the home of our next possum.

At night, with mosquitoes and other bugs bothering us, we closed the doors when the lights were on and opened a back door at lights-out.

Jolly convenient for the New Boy! He’d rock up at about 4am, scrabble around in the kitchen and wake me. I’d grab him by the tail* and take him down the yard, into the goats’ paddock and tell him to “go find a hollow tree!”

And he’d be back up at the house before me!

One morning, after this ridiculous ritual, he went up the wall and over the edge and into the spare room cupboard before I could catch him. I could see the little bugger on the top shelf, blinking at me! And he used the Biskit Method of getting to the kitchen, much to her disgust!

I’d had enough of 4am possum patrols. As far as I was concerned he could stay there. Anyone who wanted to evict him could do it with my blessing. But not my help.

And then Mother arrived and I had to explain that she’d have a room mate. I think she was a bit nervous at first and afraid room mate might mean bedmate!

Sooty Paws (I’ll leave you to figure out how he got that name!) lived with us for about 7 years. Longer than many survive in the wild.

2008_1218oldiestamborine0010The front pergola – aka Possum Highway

* This is not cruel; possums evolved for a life in trees and the muscular tail is used for grasping, swinging, balance. Also, you’re clear of those sharp bits when you are holding the tail!


Check out my Slide Show!

I was playing around with the “slide” thingummy. I will probably use this to post the travelling sketchbooks when they are done and getting my foggy brain around it seemed a smart move…

So here is my test run. I thought I’d added captions. Clearly, not!

That inelegantly sprawled creature with the white flashes is Sporran. If you can pick Geiger from Sporran in the second shot, you’re a better man than I am! And Rusty, well, you don’t need telling the third one is Rusty, do you?

It seems an easy tool to use so come back another day and I’ll show you my etchings sketches.

And now it’s time, once again, to run the gauntlet of the Friday supermarket crowd. God! I miss real, proper markets!

Yes, I have changed my header. This is  of high  tide in the mangroves at the bottom of my street.



…is often a matter of old dogs being unable to (easily) learn new tricks. And I am a classic example of this.

Now, there are some things I will never have time enough to learn, like the fixing of computers when they tie their silly little chips in knots and refuse to function. It’s infuriating and frustrating, but when the Toy dies I simply pull its plugs and haul it back to the repair shop. And wait. This time, we’ve had a new motherf motherboard. Oh, yeah…a new CPU, too.

So things should be sweet, yes? Hmm…

Ages ago, I took part in an ATC swap with a blogger in Massachusetts after she offered a cute little card that struck a chord with me. See, superannuated hippie that I am, I remember the first Moon Landing and Neil Armstrong’s famous words. At the time, his ommission of that “a” annoyed me a little. But I loved the idea that, back then, we still had hope that the world was emerging from cold war darkness into a positive time, with so much good to flow from space exploration.  Maybe not.

So…M’s lovely card arrived in a charming  “snail mail” packet and I have still not blogged about it! I’ve had some difficulties with my camera cable so I tried scanning. Blah! Picture too fuzzy and too big for WordPress so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer while this is sorted. But trust me, it’s a lovely card.


In the meantime…who’s feeling peckish? This is a great weekend lunch dish. Couldn’t be simpler! I line a baking tray with foil, roll out some puff pastry and top it with courgettes, aubergines, whole garlic (currently small Mexican bulbs are the best), some roasted capsicums, tomatoes, pumpkin, baby squash, maybe a few mushrooms if I have not scoffed them all, olives, some cubed feta, a generous slosh of olive oil and some fresh herbs and a little sea salt. Whack it into a hot oven til the cheese and the pastry is looking golden. Scatter fresh basil and eat. Perfect on the shady deck with a glass of something cold.


Sporran continues to improve. Sometimes, she limps a little, but she’s been climbing the fence and was up a tree the other day so I guess she knows her limits! The sunbirds are nesting again behind the front stairs and three cats are most interested in proceedings!


For several years now I’ve subscribed to Robert Genn’s newsletters. While not every issue is “me” I often find myself following a side trail and today , more than ever.

If you read this blog regularly or know me personally, you’ll know I am passionate about reading. And that I try to share this passion with school children. Not always successfully!

So I thought I’d give you a link to Bob genn’s current newsletter

(  as I found his quote from Updike struck a very loud chord. Certainly, from my standpoint, the message is more easily conveyed when I deviate  slightly from the page. If I can engage the kids in  a little fun, perhaps by using rhyme, “funny voices” or some other approach, they will be more likely to want to continue. What is happening in this instance is that they are no longer sitting passively, listening to me drone on. They are teaching themselves!

Read Updike and I think you’ll understand why I still do this on a voluntary basis.


Now, having lost my internet connection for a few hours and still unable to figure out the camera cable I’m off to do some essential shopping. What is essential? You have to ask? Oh, please! La Cave needs restocking, the chilli chocolate has run out, I have a huge craving for some blue vein Brie…

Back when revived! And just for fun and to keep you on your toes, try this test, which I nicked, shamelessly, from Ryan

No, I have not got my results yet. Lost the connection, remember. But I think I’m heavily weighted in favour of Picasso, ancient icons and Oriental.

UPDATE  results just in

Compared to other takers

  • 40/100 You scored -1 on Impressionist, higher than 40% of your peers.
  • 80/100 You scored 13 on Islamic, higher than 80% of your peers.
  • 72/100 You scored 11 on Ukiyo-e, higher than 72% of your peers.
  • 68/100 You scored -4 on Cubist, higher than 68% of your peers.
  • 35/100 You scored -18 on Abstract, higher than 35% of your peers.
  • 56/100 You scored 2 on Renaissance, higher than 56% of your peers.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful

13 Islamic, -1 Impressionist, 11 Ukiyo-e, -4 Cubist, -18 Abstract and 2 Renaissance!

So there!



” Confetti With Eagle Feather.”

An installation by Sporran.

This work was completed, entirely by the artist, over several hours. Well, it was not there when I went to bed, but was there when I stumbled out at 6am!

Confetti seems to be Sporran’s pièce de résistance, which could be horribly expensive if she ever gets into the cupboard where I keep my “good” paper!

For the record: no eagles were harmed during this process!


From art to food. And why not?

I think my favourite meals are those leisurely weekend lunches, especially when the weather allows for al fresco. And if at least part of the dish can be fresh-picked from the garden, even better.

Weekdays, I either don’t eat lunch, or just grab an apple. So the shared meals, with conversation, a glass or 3 of wine are a lovely way to relax and remember that life is NOT all about rushing around to timetables.


Anyone out there following weather patterns? If so, you’ve probably noted that some areas of Queensland have been experiencing a nasty cold snap. Yes, even up here, 300kms north of the tropic line! It’s so cold my skin is cracking and I do not relish the idea of messing about with wet paper, cold water and ink, but it must be done, so, til next time…it’s on with the Peruvian woolly hat and an extra sweater. (Yes…I’m a big sook!)