Debut! – The Superstars

Well, we did it!

On Friday The Superstars had their debut performance outside of OAK Tasmania – and it was a HUGE success!

Final Rehearsal L-R: Tim, Sally, Kelly [back], Megan and Kathryn

Final Rehearsal L-R: Tim, Sally, Kelly [back], Megan and Kathryn

We were asked to come and play at the Ability to Create exhibition opening at Waterside Pavilion, Mawson Place down at the docks in Hobart. It was a very grey, showery day but we had a great time – and I think the audience did too!

An example of the beautiful art work we helped to open

An example of the beautiful art work we helped to open

I cannot begin to tell you all how proud I am of this group. I’ve been away, trying to recover from a really nasty virus – but even without me cracking the whip, they’ve still been rehearsing and honing their performance skills. And all their hard work and talent shone through ❤

Kelly singing up a storm! [Photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

Kelly singing up a storm! [Photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

And of course there was dancing! [Photo courtesy Chris Rules]

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that a lot goes on behind the scenes to make The Superstars happen that most people don’t see. None of this would happen without the support of OAK and their fabulous staff. Giving their best for the clients is their job and they do that brilliantly – but the support and encouragement they give me as a contract tutor cannot be overstated. You know who you are – thank you ❤



Sickness and Shakespeare

It’s been a wild week – in more ways than one!

In truth, I feel more than a little cheated. After unseasonably warm weather, I was out in the rain and wind and got cold early in the week. I even picked ripe strawberries earlier in the week!


I started to get the sniffles on Wednesday and by Thursday I was a mess! I’ve spent (for me) a lot of time in bed with David Tennant and a box of tissues.

Now before you get the wrong idea, I’ve been watching and (when I’ve been able to) reading a lot of Doctor Who for my current unit at Griffith University. Doctor Who has become a legitimate area of academic study, which makes me even more inclined to consider post grad work in Screen Studies! So I re-watched a good deal of the Tenth Doctor. Although I really like all the actors cast as the Doctor, I think Tennant has been my favourite so far, largely because of his versatility 😀

So I’ve been watching Tennant in Hamlet (Doran 2009) with Patrick Stewart and Much Ado About Nothing (Rourke 2011) with the utterly brilliant Catherine Tate. That led on to Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V and (somehow) to Excalibur (Boorman 1981) which features the late Nicol Williamson as Merlin, one of the greatest actors of his generation and reputedly the best Hamlet ever.

Last night I moved on to The Hollow Crown: Richard II and tonight I’m planning to snuggle up with Jeremy Irons in The Hollow Crown: Henry IV and if I last long enough, Tom Hiddleston in The Hollow Crown: Henry V. Apparently, there’s a new season coming out this year and I also want to  – more DVDs I need to find room for 😀

As you might have gathered by now, I love Shakespeare. I was thinking recently with all the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death that I should re-watch what I’ve got and replenish my collection. For me it’s the musicality of the language, the silliness of the comedies, the depth of the tragedies – it’s pure comfort food when I’m feeling like this. While I’m still sniffly, it’s nothing more than an autumn virus but it’s left me very foggy and aching.

Those of you who follow my blog will be pleased to know that the Elderberry Cordial I made earlier this year is a winner! I’ve been having a hot cordial before going to sleep and it’s really helped break this virus – and it tastes lovely 😀

So there’s been little gardening but the autumn vegetables are booming (next week I must plant onions!) and the six baby rabbits are turning into eating machines!


Finally, (and I’ll likely be soundly told off for this!) it was this beautiful little cherub’s 24th birthday earlier this week and I think this is my favourite photograph of him as a little boy. I cannot begin to express how much this man has changed my life – undoubtedly for the better – and how proud I am of him and to be his mother. Of the many things I’ve done in my life, he is without doubt the finest.


Anyway, I’m off to bed with Jeremy Irons and an Elderberry Cordial. Wherever you all are, I hope you’re well and happy ❤

Do you like Shakespeare? What’s your favourite play? Leave a comment below – I love to hear from you all! 

Surviving the Storm – A Sunday Night Recap

Well, it’s been quite a week! I’m not sure where it disappeared to, but I’m rugged up on the couch and it’s Sunday night here in Hobart.

At the moment, Tasmania is in the path of a series of westerly fronts, bringing much needed rain but some very damaging winds. There was some respite yesterday so I took the opportunity to spend some time in the garden, rearranging mulch, repairing torn bird netting and salvaging what I could of the broccoli crop.

And of course, I got to spend some quality time with the chickens and the now month old rabbits ❤


Earlier this week I processed the rest of the chestnut crop, which was pretty poor this year due to very little rain in summer and no water to spare for the trees. But I find them so delicious and useful that every little piece has become precious to me and my family. I’d never really paid much attention to chestnuts until I moved here, with a mature tree in the backyard that provides several kilos of nuts every autumn with minimal care.

For any of you interested in how I process them, I did a post here a couple of years ago.

On Friday, I got a parcel in the post from a woman I met through Facebook, who lives in northern Tasmania. In it was a self addressed post bag for some chilli seeds – and two beautiful, handmade beanies.


The photo doesn’t really do them justice, they are really a very dark black and a luscious purple – my favourite colour 🙂  Fran is also a blogger and you can find her here. I finished packaging her seeds during the week, I’ve been drying them slowly on paper.

IMG_20160513_210229Like most repetitive tasks, I think there’s something incredible meditative about sorting seeds. For me it’s akin to weeding or planting but a little more demanding, particularly when you’re trying to keep track of numbers and sort out obvious broken or dud seeds – much easier with peas and beans!

Nevertheless, it’s one of those jobs that I really enjoy doing on a cold night with some good music or a favourite movie on.

One thing I should’ve done though is wear gloves. Despite using broad head tweezers, I still got enough capanoids on my fingers to sting!

Once sorted, I put the seeds into paper packets I make from old (preferably heavy weight) paper. The recent batch for all my seeds this autumn came from some old (and quite dreadful) music books I found in the local tip shop. Although I revere books, I’ve recycled these so that no innocent child is ever forced to play those songs again – they are truly dreadful!



I think the finished product looks rather nice and I hope Fran and her family enjoy the produce. One day we’ll meet in person I’m sure 🙂

The rain and wind came back with a vengeance today, so I took the opportunity to catch up with my current studies at Griffith University. I’m doing an online degree and this unit is Television Studies. My head is still full of textual analysis and particularly David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. For something most of us take for granted, television is really quite a complex and surprisingly demanding area of study – and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning some of the history and depth of the medium. This week I have to finish drafting my major essay on the enduring appeal of Doctor Who which has meant I’ve had to watch quite a lot of it (mostly David Tennant) in recent weeks.

Seriously, I love my life 😀

Stay well and be happy wherever you are ❤

Introducing – The Superstars!

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks but life got in the way as it tends to. Nevertheless, here it is!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends around the world,

Let me introduce you to The Superstars 😀


The Superstars [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

From left to right: Megan, Kelli-Lee, Kathryn, Sally, me, Jacqui, Brendon and Tim.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to get a weekly gig, playing music every Monday at OAK Tasmania. OAK do a lot of things but where I work, they provide recreational services to people with disabilities. My job was basically to be a human jukebox for an hour and a half every week to a discerning and quite demanding audience!

As time progressed, I started to make some really strong friendships with some of the folks I was playing for and I eventually started doing a separate session, tutoring a group that performed at the in-house end of year parties.

Since the start of this year I’ve been working one morning a week with a smaller crew and we’re playing our first show later this month. I’m unbelievably proud of these people and how hard they work – and I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we have together!

We talked a lot about a name and Kathryn (our newest member) came up with The Superstars! We all agreed it was the best description of everyone in the group, who all bring something special to the songs we perform.

In particular, I’ve been working a lot with Jacqui, who was very uncertain about crowds, doesn’t like lots of noise and tends to be quite shy. Now, she joins in the general silliness, even dances sometimes and she sings – wow does she sing! We’ve become quite close and I treasure her kind, gentle, loving friendship.

The Superstars05resize

Jacqui and me [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

I believe everyone has talents and abilities that you might not see at first glance and these wonderful people are no different. I’m privileged to work with them ❤

Hobart folks, The Superstars will be performing at the Ability to Create art exhibition opening at Waterside Pavilion Friday May 27th at 1 pm. Come down and celebrate with us 😀

Strange Days – Autumn 2016

In light of all the sadness of recent times, I thought I’d give an update on the urban farm. Along with music, writing and all my magnificent friends, this has undoubtedly been the glue that’s been holding everything together these past months inside my head.

I’m grateful not only that I have these things in my life but I recognise and celebrate their importance.


As I type, we’ve finally had some rain but it has been a very warm and dry autumn for southern Tasmania. In years past, the Prune Plum pictured above would be bare stems by now but early May and it still refuses to drop its leaves!

Elsewhere around the garden there’s other odd things happening……


The picture above is some of my Raspberries that really shouldn’t be producing this late in the season – they are generally a summer only variety! And in the greenhouse, I discovered Strawberries and new flowers and fruit on many of the chillies!

One of the better things about this protracted warm weather has been the amount of growth in the vegetable garden. I’ve been literally inundated with chillies this season and they’re not letting up – some of the well established plants are still flowering and setting fruit!

At the moment, I’ve got the dehydrator packed with the last of the Roma tomatoes and various chillies and the basil is just crazy! The winter broccoli is starting to head and there’s plenty of growth on the Silverbeet (Swiss Chard) and the winter Endive and Chicory plants are almost ready to start picking. The Asparagus I grew from seed over the summer is looking positively lush in its permanent bed, producing lots of surprisingly large feathery fronds before winter bites. My big fear at the moment is that all the Kale I’ve planted will bolt to seed before it’s big enough to pick!

I’m going to do a last big cut of Rhubarb this weekend and cook it up for winter desserts. Then, once the plants shut down for winter, I’m going to dig all the crowns up and divide them. For any of you in Tasmania, contact me if you want a Rhubarb crown – I’m happy to barter 😀

And then there’s these little moppets…….


They’re three weeks old now, their eyes are open and they’re out “exploring” (read constantly annoying their mother). In truth, I’d given up on Bella being pregnant (this was the second time she’d been serviced by our lovely buck) and I’d even put her back in her regular two tiered hutch near the others in preparation for winter. She is so big it’s really hard to tell if she’s pregnant anymore!

Then my gorgeous neighbour Karen came up early Saturday 16th April to let me know she found a little pink, blind newborn outside Bella’s hutch. (She is now officially the Best Neighbour Ever!) We all raced out to find two in a nest Bella had made in her upstairs sleeping area and about four more in the bottom of her hutch. They were cold so it was all hands on deck! Normally, I don’t like to disturb or touch newborns until they have their fur but we had little baby buns up our jumpers (I even had one in my bra) to warm them while we carefully checked the rest of the hutch and made sure Bella was alright. We ended up with a very smug mamma and six very healthy little kits ❤

Last weekend we moved them all back into the ground level nursery hutch and everyone’s thriving 😀

Tuesday we had the first snow on kunanyi/Mt Wellington for the year and I went to Launceston on Wednesday to attend a memorial service for Kevin Gleeson, who passed away recently. While it was great to catch up with many friends, it was a very sad day. When I was driving up, I noticed deciduous trees (looked like Prunus sp.) budding up and flowering – strange days indeed!

Take care friends, wherever you are and may all your gardens grow well ❤