Monthly Archives: December 2008

At the beach

We met friends at Wenderholm Regional Park today, for a picnic lunch. What a lovely beach, especially for children. A beautiful grassy park, with masses of pohutukawa trees, well supplied with picnic tables and barbeques, tui chortling in the trees, then a 5metre walk through native grasses to gently sloping sand, tiny waves, tidal flats, a low tide lagoon, all in between rocky headlands, with views out to Tiritiri Matangi. We saw dotterels and oyster catchers, and found tiny hermit crabs in the shallows. Sheer bliss, and just what we need after the long year settling into Adelaide. It is exactly one year today since we flew to Adelaide to start our new lives there, and much as I love it, the sights and sounds of home have restored my soul.

Homeward bound

The cat has been taken to the cattery, our bags are packed, our neighbours will be collecting our mail and keeping an eye on our house, the taxi has been ordered, and we are ready to catch a flight home to New Zealand in the morning. We will be seeing friends and family, and spending a few days at Innisfree.

Blogging will be sporadic! If you’re looking for something to read, you could always try new blogger Vibenna.

Friday Feminist – Cicely Hamilton (2)

Cross posted

There are very few women in whom one cannot, now and again, trace the line of cleavage between real and acquired, natural and class, characteristics. The same thing, of course, holds good of men, but in a far less degree since, many vocations being open to them, they tend naturally and on the whole to fall into the class for which temperament and inclinations fit them. A man with a taste for an open air life does not as a rule become a chartered accountant, a student does not take up deep-sea fishing as a suitable profession. But with women the endeavour to approximate to a single type has always been compulsory. It is ridiculous to suppose that nature, who never makes two blades of grass alike, desired to turn out indefinite millions of women all cut to the regulation pattern of wifehood: that is to say, all home-loving, charming, submissive, industrious, unintelligent, tidy, possessed with a desire to please, well-dressed, jealous of their own sex, self-sacrificing, cowardly, filled with a burning desire for maternity, endowed with a talent for cooking, narrowly uninterested in the world outside their own gates. and capable of sinking their own identity and interests in the interests and identity of a husband. I imagine that very few women naturally unite in their single persons these characteristics of the class wife; but, having been relegated from birth upwards to the class wife, they had to set to work, with or against the grain, to acquire some semblance of those that they knew were lacking.

Cicely Hamilton, Marriage as a trade, 1909

The cake that taste forgot and other joys of Christmas

I vaguely recall rashly promising that I would blog the process of icing our Christmas cake, provided I hadn’t been pouring too much brandy into the cake (and me).

The cake is now iced, and photos taken, but it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m busy running around doing this, that and the other thing. So the blog of the process will have to wait until next year, and all you get to see is the finished product.


The strangelings stood at the end of the bench in a fascinated row, and offered helpful suggestions as I iced the cake. I think that accounts for its appearance.

When I was child and a teenager, my parents would take us to Midnight Mass, and then we would come home, cut the cake, and drink a glass of sherry. We won’t be doing the church thing with our girls, but we will cut the cake this evening, and I will read “The Night Before Christmas” and then we will send them off to bed. Some of them are still believers, in Santa, that is, so later on, we will put stockings (pillowcases, actually) at the ends of the beds, and fill them with goodies. Not full to the top, you understand. Santa is always fairly modest in his gift giving around here – books, clothes, sweets and a small toy each. The girls are very excited, but we have issued them with strict instructions about not opening presents until 6am.

Because I am busy, and have far too much to do, I spent some time yesterday making my first ever batch of pickles.


This is Red Onion and Capsicum Jam – beautiful on crackers (biscuits for American readers), lovely with lamb and ham, and alongside vegetarian bakes. I am very proud of them, and having found out how surprisingly easy it is to make them, I think I will be making more. That’s my first resolution for 2009 – make pickles and chutneys and jams.

I made the pickles to give to friends as a Christmas offering. This year I have also been making chocolate fudge and caramel fudge to give to the girls’ teachers and our neighbours and friends. I promise to give you the recipes in the New Year.


And there you have it – my second resolution for 2009 – some more recipe blogging.

Thank you for coming by and reading my blog this year. My best wishes for a happy and blessed Christmas (if you do Christmas, that is) and a peaceful New Year.

Update: I’ll be adding The Secret Talent of Albert Otter to the Christmas Eve reading list, on what the girls are rapidly finding to be the longest day of the year.

Frst LOLCat

Not espeshly funny but iz mine!


There’s a curiously similar cat over at DragonWright’s place.

Moments of enculturation (5)

Stolen from Mim, who got it from Lauredhel, who got it from strangedave who got it from …

I’ve done 54 of these “Australian” things.

1. Heard a kookaburra in person

2. Slept under the stars

3. Seen a koala.

4. Visited Melbourne

5. Watched a summer thunderstorm

6. Worn a pair of thongs

7. Been to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock).

8. Visited Cape York

9. Held a snake

10. Sang along with Khe San

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Friday Feminist – Cicely Hamilton

Cross posted

Marriage being to them not only a trade, but a necessity, it must follow as the night the day that the acquirement of certain characteristics – the characteristics required by an average man in an average wife – has been rendered inevitable for women in general. There have, of course, always been certain exceptional men who have admired and desired certain exceptional and eccentric qualities in their wives; but in estimating a girl’s chances of pleasing – on which depended her chances of success or a comfortable livelihood – these exceptions, naturally, were taken into but small account, and no specialization in their tastes and desires was allowed for in her training. The aim and object of that training was to make her approximate to the standard of womanhood set up by the largest number of men; since the more widely she was admired the better were her chances of striking a satisfactory bargain. The taste and requirements of the average man of her class having been definitely ascertained, her training and education was carried on on the principle of cultivating those qualities which he was likely to admire, and repressing with an iron hand those qualities to which he was likely to take objection; in short, she was fitted for her trade by the discouragement of individuality and eccentricity and the persistent moulding of her whole nature into the form which the ordinary husband would desire it to take. Her education, unlike her brothers’, was not directed towards self-development and the bringing out of natural capabilities, but towards pleasing some one else – was not for her own benefit, but for that of another person.

Cicely Hamilton, Marriage as a trade, 1909