The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay

Still puppy, plant and house sitting in The Hunter Valley. Loving the green rolling hills and abundant wildlife – hating the heatwaves. Yes, plural. The Labrador continues to wake me up three times a night for ablutions. One of us will be popping Valium shortly and it won’t be me…

Kangaroos Across The Road

The Library at Maitland currently has a lovely exhibition as part of its Walls That Talk series, celebrating 100 years since the publication of The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay.

”At a time when children’s books were usually filled with fairy tales and whimsy, Lindsay’s tale of a quarrelsome, endlessly renewable pudding marked a complete change of pace. Lindsay complemented his playful use of Australian slang with over 100 distinctive Magic Pudding drawings.
Norman Lindsay’s timeless classic follows the adventures of koala Bunyip Bluegum, sailor Bill Barnacle and penguin Sam Sawnoff – owners of the much-desired Magic Pudding ‘Albert’ – as they try to outwit Possum and Wombat, the professional, and extraordinarily persistent, pudding thieves.
First published in 1918, it is still in print and has been translated into Japanese, German, French and Spanish as well as having been published in Britain and the United States. It is regarded as a classic of children’s literature.” – Courtesy of Maitland Library.

The Magic Pudding is right up there with The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as Classic Australian Children’s Literature. I think everyone of a certain vintage grew up with Bill Barnacle and Albert.

I hear tell that prior to Christmas the Library was selling Xmas Puddings too. What a fun initiative.

Courtesy of Maitland Library Facebook Page

The Exhibition finishes next week. If you are in the area it is worth dropping by. You can pick up the Labrador as you go past.

It’s In The Cards

I was recently gifted a box of Dreamtime Oracle Cards by a friend which are based on the beliefs of our Indiginous people. Stop rolling your eyes – I know what you are thinking……

Oracle Cards have never been my thing though in my last working arena it was a tradition to read the Cards around the table at the annual Christmas luncheon. (Don’t even ask). No Work Christmas function this year so I thought I would continue with this ritual at home. Funny enough the cards have never been wrong. Didn’t I ask you not to roll your eyes?

My card this year was the Campfire Card which explains the importance of fire for both cooking and the sharing of knowledge amongst our ancient people when they gathered around the fire to eat. My own life very much resonates with this as I hail from folk who came together at day’s end and
dined with a glass of wine or a frothy, music playing quietly in the background, making time to share the days events as well as events of the past. They were storytellers and we grew up looking for the fairies at the bottom of the garden and the pot of gold under the rainbow.

I continued this ritual when I had my own family. No morning or evening television at meal times and always, ALWAYS, a clean tablecloth. Actually, no morning TV – EVER. No time nor inclination.

There was always space at the table to share with friends and enough food to go round, and my humanitarian daughter was regularly bringing home young men and women who needed a feed and maybe even some respite. “ Mo, some roast beef and Yorkshire pudding will sort them out”.

Food and Stories have been the constants of my life. The Depression parents instilled in me that it was “ better to pay the butcher than the Doctor”.

I am fortunate in this sphere to be connected to storytellers too, with tales of food, of camerarderie in hard times, of books, movies, gardens, of journeys and all sorts of adventuring. Some of you even share stories within stories for which I am grateful.

My Oracle Card said “ Everyone has something to share, some knowledge that you did not yet know. Knowledge can come from the most unlikely of people and places, so value the sharing of wisdom, whenever you get the chance.”

No resolutions, no goals for the New Year. Never bothered with that stuff. But I’m gonna embrace the advice of the Dreamtime Cards with a firm hand.

A Scone That Hasn’t Quite Risen

In the first week of December I had dinner with my daughter in Canberra.

In the first week of January when I met her at the local airport she greeted me with “Mo, you’re going grey!” Happy New Year to you too, biatch.

So five weeks into retirement what possibly could be sending me grey?

Is it because I’m missing the daily two hour train commute?
Is it because all the healthy living – food, exercise,mindfulness – doesn’t sit well?
Is it the freedom to do my own thing that I’m not coping with?
Are the decision making processes required to decide which book to read each day just too demanding?

Nope, none of these things. I’m putting all the blame on Bentley, my Labrador Grandfurbaby, with whom I am currently sharing living quarters. A lovely dog with a beautiful nature he is just simply exhausting.

First of all, he has me up three times a night for bathroom duties. Three times a night!!!!!! My human babies were sleeping through the night within six weeks. I’m a morning person – up with the chooks and often before them – but this broken sleep is a killer. I’m very close to hitting the wall especially that we are now into our ninth day of heatwave conditions.

I acknowledge that it’s a positive that he lets me know when visits are required and that there have been no accidents. How does he let me know ? By licking and slobbering all over my face. Holy Guacamole! Is it a really sad state of affairs to admit that I’m almost at the stage that I’m used to being awoken in this manner?

Oh, and Bents doesn’t like the rain so thanks to my daughter’s poor parenting practises one is required to stand there holding an umbrella over him mid stream.

Can dogs be diabetic, I’m wondering?

Bentley always wants to eat. I’m already nervous that the daughter will weigh him when she flys in as she likes her dog lean and trim. Did you know that Labs have a chemical imbalance which stops them from knowing when their tummies are full? Might have to use that excuse myself…..

And not just kibble, but pumpkin or prawns too

With his hearing impediment (totally deaf) he doesn’t pick up on social queues. You can be walking him down the street and a growling Rottweiler appears and Bentley wants to lick him. He can’t distinguish between friend or foe, which is sad and also awkward (and sometimes scary). I’m thinking I’m going to have to walk him with a golf club in hand for emergencies.

Yes, Bentley is a scone that hasn’t quite risen. Love him to bits but I’m buggered.