Tag Archives: Australia

Farewell Australia………..

I feel so sad and happy as well (if it makes any sense!) as I write this post!  Sad that even though I love my homeland country, I don’t feel the connection that I have know in the past to live and work here again.  It’s a horrible feeling, discovering this, as I had hoped to come back here and settle for good.  Not to be!  My love for England…..the magnificent countryside and all the historic towns and villages, along with the coast of the South West, that we love and know well is calling me back.  I suppose I needed to come back to Australia to realise this!  I feel happy to be gong back to be part of rural England again.  Life is so uncertain and unpredictable.  Lets hope we create the life we love finally!!!!

Jenny Kirwan (me!) and Steve at Malaysia Menu restaurant in Mermaid Beach
Jenny Kirwan (me!) and Steve at Malaysia Menu restaurant in Mermaid Beach

So, we finished on a high, at a wonderful authentic Malaysia restaurant a few paces down the road in Mermaid Beach.  As good as ever, complete with plastic tablecloths over pale pink proper tablecloths!  This old fashioned place is loved by locals and visitors alike.  Wonderfully cooked fresh Malaysian food, served by the friendliest staff.  If we ever return to the coast, this will be on our list of places to dine.  Being BYO wine, we took a lovely bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc which worked a treat with this type of food.

Seagulls on Mermaid Beach sharing a fishy meal
Seagulls on Mermaid Beach sharing a fishy meal

So, England here we come!  The weather there is lovely at the moment, being the end of their summer……sunny with tops of 20 degrees C.  A very lovely welcome for us indeed!  We’re flying with Emirates to Dubai, then on to London Gatwick, arriving at lunchtime. Unreal.

The south coast of Dorset.....magnificent!
The south coast of Dorset…..magnificent!

 

Easter Lambs have arrived!!

 

How happy am I to see the new lambs arrive, just before Easter and my departure back to Australia.  I counted five little creatures, but there may be more.  Their mothers gave me a wary look as I took a few shots.  They will do well again this year, fattening up in the lovely green fields.  It will be sad not to be around to see them grow, but my sunny, warm homeland of Australia is calling me back…..

Holy Rosary Primary School, White Hills, Bendigo,Victoria, Australia.

I was just sorting out some photos and came across this picture of me and some class mates at the primary school I went to in Bendigo, the town I grew up in, in Australia.  I think this picture was taken when we were in grade 3 or 4? not sure.  That would make it 1975 maybe.  I remember everyone in the picture including their names.  I wonder what they are doing now?

Me and some of my class mates at Holy Rosary Primary School, White Hills, Bendigo
Me and some of my class mates at Holy Rosary Primary School, White Hills, Bendigo

Class mates from left are:  Brett Reid, Maree Tudman, Andrea Hibberd, Tim Crawford, Jenny Nally, Tim Armstrong (with his eyes closed!), Clare Burn, Loretta Young, Jenny Kirwan (me with daisy bracelet), Terry Hewwitt, Marie Camm (behind Terry on another table) and Nicola Ricci (think I have this last name wrong and sorry to anyone if I have spelt your name wrong!)  We had a great class and we were all pretty friendly!  I loved this school!

Fresh Flowers for the Cottage.

A pale pink display of flowers I picked for the dining room in our cottage.
A pale pink display of flowers I picked for the dining room in our cottage.

I spent the morning watering the garden and the poor dehydrated tomato plants, picking plumbs, runner beans and lettuce, collecting mail from the big house, then after a lovely coffee with Steve on the terrace, I started picking flowers from the garden for our little cottage.

The flowers Picked this morning would cost a fortune in the Albert Park Fruit Shop (where I loved to buy flowers in Melbourne) or perhaps a little less at my much loved South Melbourne Market flower stall!   Their freesias were always good quality at this popular market stall and pretty cheap in comparison to their neighbours in Albert Park!  These were my favourite buy…..usually in creamy white.  ( Gee, would we kill for a South Melbourne Market Dim Sim!!!!)  Oh well….dream on Jenny!

Sweet peas on my dressing table make a dreamy fragrant and fresh addition to our bedroom.
Sweet peas on my dressing table make a dreamy fragrant and fresh addition to our bedroom.

My mum and two sisters, Jane and Fiona would know how I love this special garden, part of this big estate.  I have always been a mad flower lover…..I think I got this from my mum as she was always doing flowers at the church and our home was always beautifully adorned with her special arrangements.  She did a flower arrangement course at one time and I remember she also did a course in hand painting ceramics, mainly pretty flower painting on plates.  That’s where my artistic talents come from, my beautiful dearly missed mum!

flowers on my bedside table marry beautifully with our patchwork duvet cover and pillows.
flowers on my bedside table marry beautifully with our patchwork duvet cover and pillows.

We have to make the most of the summer here in England as it lasts for such a short period, unlike my home in Australia.  Summers there are long and hot.  It is something you get used to.  The climate provides a wonderful outdoor lifestyle unlike here in England. 

yes, even outside in our decking/bbq area I like to have a vase of flowers on our table.
yes, even outside in our decking/BBQ area I like to have a vase of flowers on our table.

Golden Gage…..what a treat for plum lover me!

One of many plum trees in the orchard.  This one is a beauty, called Golden Gage.....wonderful!
One of many plum trees in the orchard. This one is a beauty, called Golden Gage.....wonderful!

I will never forget living here in Hampshire on this property.  I’m always discovering interesting things about plants and nature and I’m so blessed Steve has set up this website for me…..I will always be able to refer to it in future years when I’m old and grey, walking and  writing books!!

I found this variety of plum today when I was in the orchard picking a selection of plums to put into a dish for the big house.  It’s called Golden Gage, a variety I have never heard of and certainly have never tasted.  Not surprising I guess, living most of my life in Australia!

Golden Gage plums picked fresh from the orchard.....how lucky am I?
Golden Gage plums picked fresh from the orchard.....how lucky am I?

So unlike any other plum I have tasted.  Not as juicy, I would say and not so sweet, but refreshingly sweet, if that makes sense.  The colour is gorgeous; starts from a beautiful lime green then when fully ripe, a lovely golden yellow.  I like to eat them just before they reach their fully ripe state of golden yellow.   How lucky am I as a plum lover to discover this today?  Poor Steve is working hard inside on his computer and when I came back into the cottage with a broad smile on my face, he was wondering what all the fuss was about.  “Over a plum!  I’m trying to work here!” he said.  Oh well, I just get caught up in my own little world I guess!!  My next job is to water the tomatoes with the dogs!!

If only my sister Fiona were here!

A handful of roses picked from the garden.
A handful of roses picked from the garden.

If only my sister Fiona were here to see how happy I am to walk out into the big garden and come back to the cottage with an armful! of roses and other flowers to fill vases.  Fiona is a lover of flowers just as I am.  She arranges beautiful displays of flowers every week for her partner Rob’s bar and restaurant called “OST” in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

Beautiful pink geraniums are everywhere in the garden
Beautiful pink geraniums are everywhere in the garden

So, Fiona, who is all the way over in Australia, this post is for you my darling little sister.  Every time I pick flowers in the garden I think of you and how much you’d enjoy being with me too.  I miss you so much……….

A vase of cream roses adorn a shelf in the bathroom of the cottage.
A vase of cream roses adorn a shelf in the bathroom of the cottage.

Perfumed Roses are a sight to see……

How incredible it is for me to be surrounded by such beauty as I step outdoors at this time of year!  Wow, if only my mum in Australia could see what I can…so many beautifully scented roses everywhere in this extensive big garden.

The Paeony Roses are now blooming in the sunken garden
The Paeony Roses are now blooming in the sunken garden

As I walk across the large terrace of the big house on this estate, I get a lovely waft of  perfumed roses.  A beautiful climbing rose covers part of the rear of the house, living happily with wisteria.  The balconies surrounding the terrace are also covered with a creeping white and pale pink variety of rose which has a very suttle scent and as it catches the passing breeze, it provides an delightful scent in the air.

The sunken garden is surrounded by a number of varied varieties of roses and a border of lavender surrounds the top wall of this wonderful display.  Just as well I am a great lover of flowers and for me this is paradise in the countryside for sure.

A special white variety of rose in the sunken garden.
A special white variety of rose in the sunken garden.

As the very warm spring is drawing to an end, one would think summer has already arrived with the spectacular garden that is blooming before our eyes.  The grasses in the lower fields are full of buttercups and forget-me-nots and a vast array of other pretty blue, white, mauve and yellow wild flowers.  As I am out with the two dogs each day, as well as checking on the lambs in their fields, I often stop to pick a hand full of these flowers to fill a vase in the cottage.  Although they don’t last very long, they provide a wonderful display and reminds us of the season we’re enjoying.

Buttercups fill a vase in the Cottage's kitchen.
Buttercups fill a vase in the Cottage's kitchen.
Roses from the garden
Roses from the garden

So, I must finish this blog now as I have to tend my own little garden!  My runner beans and broad beans need checking for the greedy caterpillars, slugs and snails that love to gorge on my tasty plants.

G’day, Australia Day!

“Happy Australia Day!” to all Australians today, January 26th.  Wish I was back home to commemorate this day but perhaps next year?  I’m thinking of everyone at home and hope everyone has a great day.

My brothers and sisters......Peter, Me! Fiona, Jane and Gary Kirwan.
My brothers and sisters......Peter, Me! Fiona, Jane and Gary Kirwan.

Usually we would celebrate with a BBQ and some icy cold beers or some lovely chilled white wine or sparkling red wine!  Seeing we are here in England where the weather is still a little depressing, I think the next best thing is to make our favourite pizza to serve with some decent red wine.

Pinocchio’s Restaurant in Toorak Road, South Yarra, Melbourne was a favourite haunt of ours.  Jimmy or Arthur would always make us a great pizza called Garden Cottage.  This fabulous pizza dough would be topped with their home made tomato base sauce then hot salami, green peppers, mushrooms, onions and mozzarella.  We would always ask for the addition of pineapple!  Gorgeous!  Served with a Greek salad, and a BYO bottle of red from the wine shop next door, we were in heaven…….it was usually on a Sunday afternoon as well!!

So tonight, we will try and replicate this pizza at home and say “Cheers” and I will think how proud I am to be an Australian and think of …….the fabulous BBQ’s and endless sunshine! Pots of icy cold Carlton Draught…….sunbathing on Middle Park Beach, the South Melbourne Market dim sims, tram rides down to St Kilda for Thai food, early morning walks around Albert Park Lake. Queensland Beaches and friendly drinks in the Surf clubs……camping on Rainbow Beach and building a fire in the campsite.  Sunburn and the smell of Aerogard (the best fly and mosquito repellent in the world!)  The Australian accent I miss greatly and often think on a cold day of one of many of Rex Hunt’s famous football commentary quotes ( in my opinion)  ” If  you haven’t got a coat on today, then you don’t own one!” and (when the sky is looking like a thunderstorm is brewing) “The sky is as black as a dog’s guts!”  Rex is a bit of a legend in Australia as is my favourite football legend, Ron Barrassi.

And there’s my dear Mum and Dad.  My Dad is an inspiration to me and doing a great job with the help of all the family looking after mum who is recovering from major back surgery.  I miss them so very much and can’t wait to see them soon.

Rainbow Beach and our Nissan Patrol!
Rainbow Beach and our Nissan Patrol!

Sisters Forever!

I checked email messages on my old email address today and I was very excited and delighted to receive a message from my younger sister, Fiona.  She lives in Melbourne,  Australia and we haven’t spoken since her Birthday last May, 2010.

Fiona and Jenny Kirwan at their brother Gary Kirwan's Pub, The sherlock Holmes Inn, Melbourne, Australia.
Fiona and Jenny Kirwan at their brother Gary Kirwan's Pub, The sherlock Holmes Inn, Melbourne, Australia.

 I still miss her dearly, even though we haven’t been part of each other’s lives for some time now.  We are only 18 months apart and we were very close to each other growing up.  She was (and still is) a great animal lover.  Growing up she had pet guinea pigs and rabbits and would you believe a pet rooster called “Gertie.”  This rooster was a horrible creature and would chase everyone around the back yard and out into the paddock, trying to attack anyone with its ever-growing spurs!  Fiona was the only one who Gertie didn’t attack.  She seemed to have power over this animal and would eventually pick him up easily and put him back in his large cage.  I was terrified of this bird!

So, I hope this is the start of Fiona keeping in touch again.  She has my new email address and hopefully she will read this post.  If you do Fiona, I always have and will continue to love my little sister dearly.