Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Productive Day

You know those jobs you have to do that you keep putting off, and they stay in either (a) your head; or (b) on your to do list; or (c) on a sticky note on the side of your PC? All the tasks around them get checked off so they are the only ones left on the page, or they keep you awake at night as little peas under the mattress making you wriggle and squirm, or the post it note has been there so long it has lost its stickiness and it keeps falling off the monitor?

We all have them, we all get bothered by them and we all put them off until we can no longer bear it.  Well you know those jobs?  Do you have any festering away?

Well I tackled one of my biggest and longest ones today and wow, do I feel better?  (yes is the answer in case you were wondering!)

A big part of my job is to get all the accounts data together in a format that I can send it off to our accountants so that they can do the legal (and tricky) job of preparing the Tax Returns.  The process is not so hard, just long and you have to be thorough and you have to follow a specific process.  The issue I had was that our accounting program we use in-house is not really designed to produce tax ready reports, but it does do a great job of tracking jobs and sales and inventory etc.  So I kinda have to wax the reports so that they are in a format that I can send to the wonderful boys who prepare our returns.  Being an all or nothing perfectionist, I knew I could not do this job to perfection like I crave.  Thus the big put-off.

A long running issue is the end of year rollover.  I can't rollover the year until all the accounts are reconciled.  I can't reconcile as some of the accounts are not able to be journaled.  Putting it off year after year hasn't helped any, and now I have a big and tricky job to fix it all and start a clean slate for the next financial year. 

Cue the putting off scene ... this was meant to be done back in March, my accountant has been waiting patiently since then.  I have been pondering how to do this for months, and I finally came up with what I (think) will work.

TODAY .. I knuckled down and did it.  Well I will be a little truthful and confess that I had spent 2 weeks doing every single other job on my list, and even some minor ones that did not rate even writing down.  I had completely run out of things to do and had absolutely no choice but to grit my yellow highlighter and get it done!  And you know what?  Of course you know ... It wasn't nearly as bad as I had built up in my mind (when will I ever learn this lesson?). 

So now I am feeling pretty good about myself and the fact I sent off the (very apologetic) email to my dear and sweet accountant, along with a 3 page report of the work done.

Step 2 can commence as soon as I hear back from him.  I will dedicate the next week to staying in focus on this task as I want a big red line crossed out on my task list for good.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Go away world

I had such a lovely weekend with my parents up for a few days, hanging with my sons and spending a lot of time out at our beloved property.  Today, the stress's and pressures and crappy stuff came creeping back in.  I don't suffer from the old Monday-itis anymore so its all bright and chirpy first thing.  About morning tea time, the downhill slide starts - emails, phone calls, messages from staff.  Like sand through an hour glass (the days of our lives) it piles up and smothers my mood.  yep.  right now I feel like a pile of sand!

But I have a remedy now.  I take a little break, walk with the doggies in the garden (such that it is here in suburbia).  Look at the sky and feel the sun.  Smile at the antics of the dogs, smile at my pure white dahlia in flower, smile at the parsley green and gorgeous.

Now I am refreshed and relaxed and head inside to make a (real) pot of tea and onto the next challenge.

Makes all the difference.  Am ever so grateful I have the choice to work from home.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

High Tea at Tranby House

Had a truly scrumptious day today. 

It all started with a wonderful nights sleep and a mini sleep in.  We got to have a little dress up as we were of to have a Parisian high tea at a tea rooms next to Tranby House.  This was my Birthday present from Mr C and Ms A. I was also bringing along M&D as a Mothers Day treat.  It was such a beautiful sunny Autumn day, we could not have planned it better.  A white wicker table and chairs in the sun, with views of the river over a sweeping lawn, the old Tranby Farm house nestled under a heritage oak tree and the herb garden ... perfect. 

We ordered tea, they bought out Royal Albert tea cups and saucers, silver teapots, creamer jugs, sugar bowls with a dear little pair of silver 'lump' tongs.  Then two tiered silver cake stands arrived laden with sandwiches, scones (with silver pots of jam and cream), petite fours and little cupcakes and lemon meringue tarts.  It was all so la-de-da.  We all acted like we were born in a Manor House, and later today we would take the carriage out for a turn. 

Now, we did enjoy ourselves as it was all so novel, but I do have some critisisms.  I beleive the people who are running it today are new owners who bought it as a very sucessful business from the couple who started it back in 2008.  I have seen pictures and read reviews of what it was like back then, and it was very traditional and done to a much higher standard.

I can imagine the new owners saw how popular it was, looked at the $38 per head charge, could see how they could cut things back to keep costs down and have followed this formula since.  The reviews on Urban Spoon ssince the change are pretty bad and I will say I agree with them.  Although we did have reasonable table service, it was not what I would expect from silver service tea at that price.  The food was adequate, but again, you expect a little more than adequate in this arena. 

Sandwiches were very plain, cheap ham and beef (coles deli cheap), no herbs in the cucumber sandwiches, no dill in the salmon.  Just run of the mill.

The scones were a triumph however and I would go back just to have a Devonshire Tea. 

The petite fours and little cakes, although nice were not grand.  As some reviewers said, they looked like shop bought cakes, ones you can get in Asian bakeries or even the supermarkets.

If it wasnt for the scenery and ambiance, then I would have objected to the price.  Will be  interesting to see how they go in the next year.

BUT, what this got me thinking about, was having a go at this myself.  Even more fun, what about creating a little group of like minded ladies and hold regular High Teas? 

In the meantime, here is now they do it in London at Harrods...

We are proud to present the menu for our world famous afternoon tea.

Traditional Afternoon Tea
  • Ham Sandwich with Grain Mustard Mayonnaise on White Bread
  • Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Chutney on Onion Bread
  • Cucumber Sandwich with Cream Cheese, Dill, and Chives on Caraway Seed Bread
  • Chicken Breast Sandwich with Horseradish Cream on White Bread
  • Scottish Smoked Salmon with Lemon Butter on Rye Bread
  • Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich with Chopped Shallots and Watercress on White Bread
  • Freshly Baked Raisin and Plain Scones with Cornish Clotted Cream and Strawberry Preserve
  • Assortment of Afternoon Tea Pastries and Cakes

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bonfire Night

What a rural sight!  Utes, post and rail fences and a fire.

Something very primal about a fire.  We piled up weeks worth of branches and leaves and rubbish from the big clean-up of the property.  A BBQ, an esky and a few family and friends and you have an instant party.  It was such a cold night, but oh so warm and toasty by the fire.  We toasted marshmallows on sticks and ate their crispy, charred outsides and gooey hot insides.  As the fire died down, we moved our chairs in closer and closer until we almost had our shoes in the coals.  Does life get any better?

We now have a pile of lovely potash that will get raked up and put into my compost bin, leaving a nice clean paddock and good stuff for the soil.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Day!

Nothing in particular has made me happy, I just feel a very slow return to a little bit of glee inside.  A lightness, a sense of freedom and dare I say it, carefree.  Just a whisper of it, but enough to make me hope more is coming. 

I hope so - my body has had enough of tension.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Back to a Routine

Fell off the routine wagon the last few months.  Chaos is starting to take over again and I am feeling more and more buried in stuff.  It is time to do one of three things:

  1. Move house
  2. Move dimensions or
  3. De-clutter!
I have lived in this house now for 11 years!  The longest I have ever in my entire life lived in the same place.  My gypsy soul is screaming out for a change.  I am being buried under clutter and I need to clear it so I can breathe.

We have a plan, but it seems to get trodden over by disasters and other people.

I am aiming for the projects to start mid June.  Next few posts I will outline the plans.

Wish me luck. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Its not you its me

I used to spend a lot time with you.  But we seem to have drifted apart of late.  I don't know if its an autum thing, but I know my interest in you was waning even in summer.  We met occasionally, but the love just wasn't there, was it?  You could be right in assuming there is another who has stolen my heart, but I am here to tell you that its just a casual fling, its a bit of fun - I don't feel any great affection for them at all. Not how I felt about you all those years.

I think, and I am loath to say this, but I think I am going off your kind all together.  At least in a gay abandoned way.  I will still have a little taste here and there, but gone are the days of wild parties with you, staying up late with you, long and leisurely dinners out are also a thing of the past. You must admit, we did have a few all night benders and we were not always good together.  A few times you made me very sick - was it love sickness?

But don't worry, I will always think fondly of you.  A special place in my heart is reserved for you always, after all you have been loyal and true.

I will still visit, and we can remember the good times, but it just wont be every week, and it may even only be once a month or so.  I hope you can bear the separation.

Go and spread your cheer with the younger generation, I think they will like you too!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Not another ... Monday

Monday's, are my nemesis - and you will know this if you read my blog on a regular basis!  I am not sure why I don't like Monday's - but here a few of my theories:
  • I remember the stress and build up on the Sunday night.  All fun stopped and it was hair washing night and facing the dreaded question - 'did you empty your lunchbox when you came home from school Friday'?  Knowing full well that I didn't and 2 days later, the mostly un-eaten offerings from my mother would have transformed into creatures from the deep.  Especially if it was summer.  I would dread having to delve into my school bag and retrieve the offending plastic box, and like a prisoner on death row, walk the long hallway to the kitchen and face the music.  Then, with a peeved and harassed mother, it would be hair washing.  Don't ever make your mother cross when she has the potential (and alibi) to drown you!

  • Mondays were also the day when you had to re-establish the playground friendships politics.  It was all too common for two girls in the group to have had a weekend playdate, or even more sinister, a sleepover.  New bonds and alliances could be formed in a very short period of time, especially if (a) the parents of both girls socialised as well and/or (b) they did each others hair. Gossip would be rife, and you could easily find yourself on the outer very quickly.  By Wednesday or Thursday, things would have settled down, but Monday was definitely the danger day.

  • Mondays during my early working career were always rushed and stressed and with vows that next weekend we will not party and have hangovers and we will get our washing and housework done.  It was just awful facing Monday morning with the great clean underpant hunt and wishing I was more like my mother and had washed my work uniform early Saturday morning and now it was hanging, ready, in my wardrobe.  Recalling those days now, all I can feel is panic and trying to get ready in chaos.

  • Then came the kids and my mothers pain and frustration became my own. (hmm bloody karma) Wet, smelly and now going mouldy sports clothes would be pulled from the school bag, accompanied by whining and unreasonable children who insisted they needed these today.  Does that mean they have been in the school bag a whole week?  Bad Mother.  Then there was the guilt of trying to cobble together a satisfying yet highly nutritious lunch box - multiplied by two.  After determining that mother Hubbard's cupboard was bare, proffering $10 each for the canteen usually did the trick for the boys - but nothing for your guilt or the household budget.

  • Now the boys are grown and we are empty nesters, Monday's represent another failure.  If I have to go to work on a Monday then it means I failed to pick the right Lotto numbers ... again.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

High Tea

Here is a picture story of my wonderful and beautiful (inside and out) Sister-in-Law's High Tea for Mothers Day.  Thanks for inviting me J, it was a real treat.  She made everything on the table herself and carted it across town and set it up.

How pretty is this?  Note Mr K sitting right at the end with a tie on (with a black tshirt)

Crystallised Rose Petal Meringues

Gorgeous Little Miss G .  She was agreeing with me that the table was far too pretty to allow boys to sit with us

Little pots of chocolate mouse

So pretty

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Maybe a new tenant?

Went out to WG today, to do a few jobs in preparation for a potential new tenant.  She sounded lovely on the phone and her story fits very well with our plans.  I am hoping she likes the house - I know she will like the rest of the property.

The lawn needed another mow, its growing really well. I was thrilled to see the paddocks looking so much better and getting a really good coverage. 

Gave the inside a very quick once over, its such a easy house to clean.

Jobs still to do:

  1. Organise tradesman to come and replace the flyscreens on the back doors
  2. Clean soot from the front of the fireplace
  3. Clean and repaint 2 water stains in lounge/dining
  4. Book cleaner to do a thorough vacate clean
  5. Clean/replace water filters
  6. Get quotes to tile and paint laundry/shower/toilet
  7. Put up and secure shade sails.
Will take pictures next weekend.  Should see some good progress.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr A!

It's my 'babies' Birthday today.  He is 23.  When did that happen?  He and his brother have moved out of home now, in their own little house and their own lives.  It seems strange that we don't have him home to jump on his bed and give him presents to open.  So we are going to do the next best thing and call around there on the way to work.

Even though he is my baby, I have to acknowldege him as a man.  He has grown into the most amazing person and I am so profoundly proud of him.  He is so loved by so many, a tribute to his kind and generous spirit.  I hope he knows this. 

And his present?  No its no the latest transformer or Pokemon.  Not even a Perfect Circle CD or TShirt. 

Nope, he wanted a juicer.  A Kitchen Appliance!!  Is this the sign that your children have become adults?  So we went to Myers and bought him a Breville Juice Fountain Plus.  So he can make fresh and healthy fruit and vege juices.  He is learning about good nutrition and being super healthy which I am very proud of.

But how can I make him fairy bread for his party when he wont eat white bread, butter or sugar?  I am going to go and buy a whole lot of fresh fruit for him to juice.  I guess my baby is all grown up!


Sunday, May 6, 2012


Early start this morning, we are booked to go on a boat trip at 10am.  Mr D decides that a cooked breakfast is the go, which is great, except he decides this at 9am.  We all have 30 minutes to cook, eat and clean up as well as get showered and dressed and ready to go.  Needless to say, we were late for the boat - it waited for us, but we did cop some ribbing!

If anyone is heading down to Walpole I would insist that you don't miss doing this trip.  It was one of the best tours I have done in a long time.  Better than the guided tour through the Sistine Chapel even!  A local, Gary Muir, takes the tour on a flat bottomed boat around the Walpole & Nornalup Inlets - stunning scenery, but you know, I didn't see much of it as I was so enthralled by Gary's performance and the knowledge he was imparting.  I have never laughed, and been facinated so much all at the same time!

Highlights of the trip:

  • The smell of the WOW Wilderness Tingle Cake cooking when we boarded
  • Gary's stuffed animal demonstration of how the continents formed (huh!)
  • Seeing Albert the Manta Ray, who has lost his tail, swimming in the shallows
  • The turquoise of the water when we got close to the mouth of the inlet
  • The walk to, and view over, Shelly Beach
  • Coming back from our walk to morning tea of freshly made cake (that we smelt on arrival)
  • History, Biology and Environment - all melded together to make a facinating whole.

News Article about WOW

WOW Tour

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Road Trip

Well we did get away early, just past 6am which was great going when you have the Mr K factor.  Its hard getting up that early but wow its worth it.  Grey and wet, but when the sun started to come up it was very pretty.  I don't think I have ever driven this way south before, but wow it was a lovely drive.  Except for the gale force winds and sheets of rain around Mandurah.  Just another reason I wouldn't want to live here.

The road bypasses most of the bigger towns, until you turn off onto the South Western Highway.  I have been to all the towns we passed through, just not in this order.  Some very cute and pretty little towns - each one I fancied myself living there!


Donnybrook (mmm apples)


Bridgetown (especially liked it here, even checked out the real estate boards!)

Had breakfast in Bridgetown and regaled the story of the last time I was here (much to Master C's embarrassment).  I was 16.  I had come with a friend whose Dad was a trotter (as in horses) driver.  I was just a bit infatuated with a boy who lived here in Bridgetown, but went to Ag School in my home town of Denmark.  He was dark haired and mysterious and all the girls thought he was just the bees knees.  He was a year older than me (part of the appeal) and was very 'cool' (as only a 17 year old boy can be).  I met him at the trots and we sat in his (dads) farm ute.  All was going along very well until he put the hard word on me.  Of course I was a good girl back then, and said no.  To which he replied that I could get out of the car and walk home!  I think the not so polite terminology is 'stalk or walk'.  Gee, harsh but good lesson!  Wonder what he is doing now :-).  Sorry C!

Took the back road to Mr K's Dads farm, so skipped the town of Walpole for now.  He was not home, so we set up camp where we thought was a good place.  That's the beauty of a farm, you have plenty of choices when it comes to a camp spot.

Will regale the nights events in another post.  Ciao for now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Travel and Decisions

5 years ago, we were on route for a few days off in our trailer camper and 4WD when we get a phone call from a dear and trusted friend that she had a business deal for us.  In a nutshell, she was working for a retail computer store in the city and it was for sale.  Mr K and I spent the drive there and the rest of the weekend discussing the pros and cons and the what-ifs - great we had the time to talk, but not so great that the very essence of a weekend 'away' was not away from business.  For anyone who owns their own business WITH their spouse, they will know the preciousness of a few days away from it all. 

Yesterday we had a similar offer.  A competitor, and long time acquaintance, had a meeting with Mr K and needs to get out of his business which is very similar to our own.  Did we want to take it over?

Today, we were meant to be driving down to Walpole for a family reunion.  It's been planned for months.  It will be a 5 hour drive and I guess we now have a LOT to talk about.  We are now leaving in the wee hours tomorrow so that we can spend today gathering more information and figures to make a well informed decision.  Oh, and packing up and getting ready for a camping weekend.  Did I mention that its raining, and will be all weekend?

But, even though we will be doing family things and talking and eating and drinking, I know on both our minds will be this decision to make.

So much for a break!  Meanwhile .. you can enjoy what we were going to ...

Conspicuous Cliffs

Walpole always = Pelicans to me

I want a farm here ...

Giant Tingles

Tree Top Walk - well worth the visit and overcoming vertigo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Best laid plans

Making coffee this morning, waiting for the kettle to boil, I was checking the calendar on the pantry door.  I have written in May, on the Goal section - 'Start Working From Home'.  I had a delicious taste of how it could be on Tuesday, a little dress rehearsal, when I stayed home to work.  Between you and me, it was wonderful!  I started work at 8am and didn't leave my desk until 6pm.  Oh, well, except for when my work colleague called in to pick up the work car, we may have had a little breakfast and a chat.  But apart from that it was ALL work.  Oh except for when I got up to make some lunch, and very quickly mind you, put a load of washing on.  I may have also had a little cuddle and play with the puppies, and of course I had to peg out the washing on the line when it was done.  But APART from that, it was a full days work. 

I was so peaceful.  I could see outside - trees and birds - oh I do remember, I did pop out to the bird bath when I saw the little willy wagtails having a bath.  I knew the birdbath needed a clean out and filling up.  It only took a minute and the little birds were very grateful.  While I was out there, I noticed how dry the pot plants were, despite the rain we have had.  Only took me a second to water them.  Oh and you should see the weeds that were popping up in my thyme.  If I don't pull them up now, they will over run the thyme and I wont have any to cook with.  Only took me a sec.

It was great working from my own PC.  I could terminal server into all my files at work and while I was having a look around on my PCs HDD I found the folder with my UK/Europe trip.  I had been meaning to revisit them, but I only had a little peak in there - after all I was 'working'.  I found lots of photos and some great ideas for future blogs came to mind, of course, as fellow bloggers know, I had to make notes there and then otherwise the good ideas will get forgotten.  And while I had the pics open, it doesn't take long to resize them and save in my blog folders.  Rather proud of myself, it didn't take long and now I have some ready blog subjects with pics for the next blank day!

Have a wild stab where we are!

After all this hard work, I treated myself to a cup of tea, nothing I wouldn't do at work anyway, and had some time out in front of a few cooking shows on the TV.  Its OK, if I was at work I would have had a chat with the boys while we made tea and I normally wander out and have a chat with Ms S - her and I are the only girls in the whole office, we have to stick together.  I saw a great recipe on Huey's, have to make that for Mr K for dinner tonight.  Made a shopping list before I forget the ingredients.

Right back to work.  Had a bit of a scramble about looking for a pencil sharpener and then a hole punch.  I really will have to get more organised than this if I am going to do this on a regular basis.  I think a few shelves above the monitor will be good, and a set of matching white files ... oh didn't I see a good set up on Pinterest the other day?  I will just check out that pic then I can make a plan to set up my workspace properly.  It makes sense to create a new board called 'Home Office'.  Wow, you should see how many great ideas there are out there.  I think I now have 32 pins on that board now.  I will have an awesome work-from-home set-up. 

Did some end of month reports, and being in a creative mood, decided to make them more reader friendly and put in charts and bar graphs.  Took me a while to format it all, choosing colours that co-ordinate takes time you know.  And don't get me started on the page borders!

Checked the time, 5.55 - Wow ... where did the day go?  This working from home is great , I am so productive! I felt very creative and had printed out the 2 page End of Month report ... gee it looked pretty.

Yep, I sure am going to love this working from home caper.  I get SO much more work done!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My gift to me

My parcel arrived today.  A little box of goodies, all for me.  Very indulgent I know, but who could resist beautiful soaps? 

The problem I have now is which one to open first? 

They even sent me a real gift ... compliments of the season!  yay for me.