Monday, November 7, 2011

Wonderful NaNoWriMo Pictures

It was only when Mum downloaded a copy of 'No Plot No Problem' that Imogen and I started to think seriously about joining in NaNoWriMo. Before that I'd never really thought about it before. Write a novel in a month? I've only ever finished one story before and that was hopeless. But it sounded so fun. We thought a little bit and when were we finished our little bit of thinking we said,

"Why not?"

So we booted up the computor, opened a word document and... were interrupted after a few minutes when something else for the wedding needed to be done. Over the week I continually tried to plot out my story and every time something happened. We had people to dinner, the wedding happened, we all got sick and so on. But the day before NaNoWriMo started I sat down and remained glued to my computor screen until I had banged out a sort of plan. Then, feeling very pleased with myself, I switched off the computor and went to do something else.

NaNoWriMo started, I hit the power button, opened up my plan and... it wasn't there. I'd deleted the whole of my plan by accident. Only a few notes on the characters and the story remained to show that I'd spent ages planning. NaNoWriMo was upon me and I had no plan. I flipped to my empty word document that was waiting to become my novel. I clicked back on the missing plan.

"Oh well," I thought. "I'll just have to make it up as I go along. I didn't like that plan much anyway."

I had a vague idea what was supposed to happen in my story so I just shrugged and began to type. Words started to trickle out of my fingers and onto the page and I giggled quietly to myself as some ridiculous characters jumped into the story with both big feet.

When we were finished for the day Imogen and I decided to do some drawing for a break. Imogen whipped out her sketchbook and was happily drawing away but I had no ideas. If I didn't want to draw a fairy or anything like that, what did I want to draw? I just sat there doodling away. As something vaguely head-shaped appeared on the page I started to take a little more interest. A roundish body joined the head and I added some stick thin arms. When a couple of huge feet and a mug of hot chocolate on a tray appeared I knew who it was. It was one of my NaNoWriMo characters, big nose and all.

Over the next few afternoons and evenings I added similar pictures to the first. My main character turned up, a few sidekicks joined her. I whipped out the inking pen and drew over my sketchy lines. I tipped out my colouring pencils and picked out suitable colours but I wasn't satisfied. I wanted more colours. I needed at least three shades of red on one picture. Finally I had a cast of crazy, wonderful, magical characters sitting in my book.

Since I'm so pleased with them I decided that I'd scan them and share them on my blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Party Hats and Fairies

It all started with my birthday. For my birthday dinner, everyone wore party hats. Pink party hats with funny fairies on them. Even while I was laughing at the sight of Dad in a tiny pink hat, my mind was working.

"That fairy would make a great picture," I thought. "Or maybe I could make my own picture based on it."

As soon as possible, I sat down and began to draw. With a party hat in front of me I started to copy the fairy into my sketchbook. With some minor changes, a couple of additions of my own and plenty of silver and gold pen my fairy appeared. But she didn't occupy me for long enough. I grabbed my pencil and started to sketch again, working out how to draw the body, arms and legs and try to avoid making a dirty grey mess of my page.

Later I discovered that my new small drawing-on-the-go notebook was the perfect size for my fairies and I started filling the first page. In a few minutes I had a fairy in pleated skirt with tall boots standing on the page. I drew my colouring pencils towards me and rifled through them. I pulled out a yellow and looked at the dress. I decided that this fairy really did need a yellow dress and started colouring. Orange boots? Of course. Why not make the wings orangey-red at the tips and make them fade into yellow? When the last bit of skin was coloured and the last strand of hair was brown I ran to show Mum my notebook.
Since then I've drawn even more fairies. Ballerina fairies, party fairies and butterfly fairies and just about anything else I can think of. While supposedly watching a movie with Gemma-Rose I asked,

"What should my next fairy be?"

"A party fairy," she replied.

I thought I might draw her in something puffy, maybe with frills and quite a lot of pink but Gemma-Rose had other ideas. Our fairy ended up in a long light blue dress with purple frills, gold and silver dots and pink hearts. On my own I don't think I'd have ever thought up a fairy like that.

There are more fairy pictures on my artworks page.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Beach Holiday Diary

Last week my family and I went on holiday to the beach. I thought I would share some extracts from the diary I wrote on holiday.

Sunday 2nd of October

Piles and piles of boxes, bags and backpacks lay in a sea on the dining room floor…It was horribly cold and seemed unlucky weather for a beach holiday.

Dad and Callum loaded the van…We all piled into the van and set off for Swanhaven. I read ‘No Name’ by Wilkie Collins on my e-reader. We went down the Jamberoo Pass. I enjoyed going down but Imogen hates going down the passes. After making a short stop for supplies we finally arrived at Swan Lake Cottage…

Our cottage is wonderful. Dad and Mum have a really tall queen-sized bed. Gebbles and Sophie also have a queen-sized bed. Imogen and I have the bunk beds.

In the afternoon Mum suggested we went for a walk down to the lake. It rained a bit but we walked down the cycle track. It petered out after a while but when it did, we could actually hear the sea…

I'd also like to thank my three new followers. It was a lovely surprise to come back and find you'd followed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Trying Singing

Some time ago Imogen borrowed a book from the library filled with the words to eleven Gilbert and Sullivan plays. Not only did the book have the words to the eleven plays it had some of the music with a piano accompaniment. She, being a really good singer, was able to sing whatever she liked and sort of play the accompaniment. I on the other hand refused to even attempt to sing with her and flatly refused.

Recently we borrowed the book again and Imogen, after much persuading, was able to convince me to sing a little. She decided that we could sing a piece from the Mikado with the Mikado himself and Katisha. I sang the Mikado (never mind that he's supposed to be a bass) and Imogen (who is without a doubt a soprano) sang Katisha though she's a contralto. Much to my surprise I actually enjoyed the singing and wasn't too hard to persuade the next time Imogen suggested a little singing.

Since then we have done some singing most afternoons and I (horrors of horrors) might even be starting to like singing. Imogen generally sings the ladies' parts and I sing whatever mens' parts that might be going spare. When we sing duets I take the man's part and Imogen the lady's. Sometimes I even sing pieces on my own while Imogen plays the accompaniment. Though I still don't think that I'm ever going to sing as well as Imogen I'm happy to join her at the piano. Maybe (just maybe) I might be losing my fear of singing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Meme

I love books so when Imogen from Dancing with Dragonflies tagged me for her book meme I was delighted. I was bubbling with ideas so I got down to work to fill in the questions.

Novels I have enjoyed recently

The Ruby Talisman by Belinda Murrell

The Horse Who Bit a Bushranger by Jackie French

Clearheart by Edrei Cullen

The Locket of Dreams by Belinda Murrell

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

My Favourite Genres

Fantasy, Historical Fiction and Mystery

My Favourite Authors

Jane Austen, Rick Riordon, James Dashner, Angie Sage

Novels I’d like to read

If Only They Could Talk by James Heriot

The Sherlock Holmes books

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Moonstone by Wilke Collins

The Stories of Father Brown by G.K.Chesterton

Fire in the Stone by Colin Thiele

Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery

Novels I am currently reading

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

My Favourite Novels

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley

The Dragon Whisperer by Lucinda Hare

My Favourite Series:

The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordon

The Septimas Heap books by Angie Sage

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JJ.R.R. Tolkien

The Thirteenth Reality Series by James Dashner

And now that I've answered all the questions I'd like to pass this meme onto:

Sara at God's Girl

Sophie at Sophie's Seabed

Bethany at Bethany's Cave

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baskets of Books

Over lunch yesterday Imogen and I made a startling discovery. Sophie hadn't read even one of our favourite books. I couldn't imagine not having read A Little Bush Maid, The Borrowers or Heidi. This had to be remedied. We couldn't let any sister of ours go without reading the best books in the world.

"We'll gather some books for you to read," we promised Sophie.

So, after we washed the dishes Imogen led a raid on the books shelves. I stood next to the stool she was standing on and held the books as she pulled them down.

"Has she read The Little White Horse?"

"What about Kensuke's Kingdom?"

The pile grew and grew as we discovered more and more of our favourites that Sophie had never read.

"I want some books to read," Gemma-Rose said.

"We'll find some for you too."

We started a new pile for Gemma-Rose and popped in Fantastic Mr Fox, A Bear Called Paddington and The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark. When we decided that we had found enough books for now (we were limited to one books per author) Imogen said,

"I should make you up a basket of books too."

I liked that idea. There are so many books on the shelves that I haven't read and I really didn't know where to start. Imogen did though and started a second raid on the bookshelves.

She handed me The Woman in White, Sherlock Holmes, James Heriot and Robin Hood among many other books. My basket quickly filled and when Imogen decided that we had enough for now I was at liberty to choose myself a new book. Having looked through my books I decided on The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

For the rest of the day I read and day dreamed about The Woman in White. Imogen was right about Wilkie Collins books. They are great. Now I have heaps of books and don't desperately need a trip to the library.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Returning to the Regency Period

"I've bought you a new Jane Austen book," Mum said. "It's called Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners, and it should be here soon."

I love new books and a Jane Austen book is wonderful. I waited impatiently for the book to arrive but I didn't expect it too soon. After all it was coming from America. So I curbed my impatience and got even more Jane Austen books from the library.

Several weeks passed and no book turned up. Every time the parcel man came to the door I'd look up excitedly but every time it was something else. But finally, ages after it was ordered, the book arrived.

My book was white, stiff and very new, filled with life saving skills for the Regency period. Naturally whatever I was reading at the time was neglected horribly and I returned to the time of Jane Austen.

I do love all things Jane Austen!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Drawing Paper Dolls

When Imogen and I started our first blog 'Paper Dolls by the Serendipity Sisters' we decided to post up a paper doll every month. At first we posted up paper doll after paper doll, each one a variation on the same doll. But, after some time I started to lose interest. Each one was just another Annie Belle. Ideas were getting scarce and I missed some months, nearly forgot others and eventually just forgot to draw one at all.

Months past and I couldn't be bothered with drawing paper dolls. No Annie Belle paper dolls were posted and the artist (me) had a very long rest. But on the first day of spring Mum declared an official art day. An idea popped into my head. Why didn't I just invent a new paper doll? Something different and interesting.

We piled paper, pens and paints onto the table and I grabbed a sheet and my pencil and got drawing. Ideas started to flow in and I was hard pressed to remember them all. Why not a fairy? I'd never drawn a fairy before. How to attach wings? What should the dresses look like?

"What do you think?" I asked Imogen at last, holding up my sheet of paper.

"It looks really good," she said.

I looked down at my fairy and mentally compared her to the last doll. She certainly was different from Annie Belle.

"I like it," I decided and started drawing clothes.

A cloud dress? Why not? Every fairy needs a set of wings. Finally I had four fairy dresses and one set of wings. I handed it in to Imogen for scanning and colouring. While she was colouring the clothes on the computer she asked,

"What's her name?"

I hadn't thought of that. We searched the Internet, begged Mum for advice and rummaged through our own brains for the perfect name but nothing seemed to fit. Finally we thought of one that fitted.

"I like the name Francesca," I said when Imogen suggested it.

So the fairy ended up as Francesca the Fairy and finally 'Paper Dolls by the Serendipity Sisters' has a new paper doll. Admittedly she is very late and I did take a rather long holiday but at least I drew one.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Risking 'Jane Eyre'

I've read all six Jane Austen novels but I've never read any of the Bronte sisters novels. Imogen has read 'Jane Eyre' but that's all. So when Mum suggested we go and see the new 'Jane Eyre' movie I was interested. I've got a reputation for not liking many movies but this time I decided to risk hating 'Jane Eyre' and go.

Originally Mum wasn't going to go to the cinema with us but when Imogen and I pleaded with her she agreed to come and watch with us.

The lights dimmed, we settled into our seats and the huge screen flashed on and the speakers boomed, but this wasn't the movie. All that was on the screen were ads, long boring ads for newspapers and nursing homes.

Finally after add after add 'Jane Eyre' began and we sank into her miserable world. I half expected that I was going to cry or even sniffle but thankfully my eyes remained firmly dry as Imogen pointed at tiny details I might have missed if she hadn't shown them to me.

"It's Queen Henrietta Maria," she whispered.

I searched the walls of the creepy old house and found the painting of the queen. It's funny how things you learn about creep into unexpected places. We were learning about the kings and queens of England not long ago and Queen Henrietta Maria was one of them.

I watched interested, hoping that this was one of the few movies I actually like. Thankfully it didn't disappoint me. I believe that 'Jane Eyre' is one of those very few movies.

As we emerged into the sunlight we discussed the movie. Mum had enjoyed the movie as much as I did and we compared it with the other version we saw. Imogen says it's closer to the book than the other version but I can't compare it to the book, having never read it. Now I'm going to read 'Jane Eyre'.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Losing Myself in the World of Jane Austen

Imogen walked in the door. On her back was a bag of library books. She opened it and pulled out two thick juicy looking books.

"I found these for you," she said.

I looked at the titles. 'Jane Austen, The World of Her Novels' one proclaimed. The other said 'Jane's Fame'.

"Thank you," I gasped.

I was blissfully happy. Two new Jane Austen books to read and they were big ones. I wandered over to an armchair and flopped down already flipping open 'Jane Austen, The World of Her Novels'.

I opened the page to Chapter One and lost myself in the world of Jane Austen. Soaking myself in knowledge of the Regency period I would emerge only once in a while to spout out some interesting fact. I would corner Imogen or Mum and say something like,

"Did you know that Colonel Brandon doesn't have a first name?"

or, "Did you know that in the movies the producer added scenes showing the hero doing manly things like chopping wood, shooting or fencing?'

"Edward Ferrars chopped wood?" Imogen would say incredulously. "That's ridiculous. He's a gentleman."

"I know," I would giggle and hurry back to my book to find out more.

Unfortunately for me the books, though really thick didn't last very long. I finished 'Jane's Fame' yesterday. I shall have to go to the library to find some more. Poor librarians when I get to the Jane Austen section.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Beautiful Performance

People streamed into the parish hall. A hum of voices and the scraping of plastic chairs on the wooden floor filled the room. From my place in the audience I could just see the choir moving into position in front of the audience and finding their pages in their books. If I lent a little to the right I could just see Imogen sitting in the choir but Dad and Callum were hidden by old ladies.

The conductor stepped up onto a little table so that the whole of the choir could see her. One of the singers sat at a keyboard and started the soft accompaniment. At the wave of the conductor's hands the choir burst into song. I don't know how they understand the strange language of waving hands and sticks but somehow singers do.

Imogen's high voice was clearly noticeable among the slightly lower voices of the other sopranos. I could hear her through the whole performance but especially on the high notes. Imogen has the highest voice in the choir and is the only one comfortable on the highest notes.

If I listened carefully I could make out Dad and Callum's voices rumbling away in the bass section. Even when they were being trains and chuffing along it sounded brilliant. I don't see why any choir would want to pretend to be trains but still they did it wonderfully.

The choir sang heaps of songs, broken up by a few solo performances. One of the singers sang two solo pieces. One of them had the audience chuckling and whispering to each other. The other was much sadder and the audience sat hushed through it all. Another time the conductor's husband played 'Over the Rainbow' on the keyboard.

The whole performance lasted an hour and half but it didn't feel half so long. It didn't feel like I had been sitting there for that long when Dad, Imogen and Callum came to collect me.

In our parish there is a group of ladies who are famous for their sandwich making abilities. We always hope when there is an event in the parish that they will be organizing the food. Thankfully they were at this event and had brought heaps of their sandwiches along with loads of scones, cupcakes and biscuits. Gratefully we dug in.

I loved listening to the performance and hope that I can go to more. I've been to two performances by the Berrima Singers now and loved them both.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Imogen comes in at eight thirty for bed. She finds me sitting on the floor in my pyjamas, sketchbook in hand scribbling away. I look up and grin sheepishly. I've 'been in bed' for half an hour all ready.

"Why aren't you in bed?" she asks.

"I got... distracted," I say, holding up my sketchbook.

She takes a look at my half finished picture and (very kindly) doesn't get upset.

At seven fifteen in the morning Imogen comes into our bedroom. Again I'm sitting on the floor sketching away. She comes over and attracts my notice.
"What are you doing?" She asks me.

"I got... distracted." I grin, close my sketchbook and stuff my pencils away. "I'd better get moving."

Lunch time arrives and Imogen wanders into the bedroom and would you believe? I'm sitting on the floor putting the finishing touches on my picture.

"What are you doing now?"

"I got... distracted. Look! I've finished my picture," I say, not very bothered by being caught drawing.

Imogen takes a look and praises the picture sky high. A grin spreads over my face from ear to ear. Ideas start flowing through my head for other pictures. What amazing outfit should I use? I flip to a blank page and start scribbling.

Today Imogen, having seen my newest pictures, said, "Why don't you post your pictures on your blog?"

"That's a good idea,"I said. "I'd like to do that."

When we counted up my best pictures there were so many that Imogen had another fabulous idea.

"You should make a separate page for your drawings," she said. "I'll set it up for you."

So she pulled out her laptop, clicked a few buttons, scanned my drawings then called me over.
"Would you like your page to be called "My Artwork?"

"Yes please," I replied.

Imogen clicked a bit more, uploaded all my pictures and clicked on my new page. There, arrayed in all their glory were my drawings in the order they were drawn.

"Would you like a new blog background?"
I nodded. She opened a new window and began clicking. With amazing patience Imogen lasted through my uming and ahing and found me the perfect, pink (of course), beautiful background.

Thanks to Imogen I have a new page on my blog, a wonderful blog background and all my drawings on my blog. I have the best sister ever.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Exams and Flowers

The temperature dropped as I trotted towards the exam room. My breath looked like dragon smoke in the freezing air. I clenched my hands inside their bright purple gloves, trying to get some warmth into them. I sat, the only one waiting for an exam, on one of three ice cold plastic chairs outside the building. Beautiful music drifted out from the exam room where the examiner was playing.

I slipped one purple hand out of its glove. All the tiny warmth I'd built up in my hand vanished into the frigid air. Digging numbly in my music bag I located the list of my pieces. Quickly I shoved my hand back into the glove.

The examiner came to the door.

"Charlotte?" she asked.

I nodded. I followed her up the steps into the exam room. Some wonderful person had put a gas heater in it. The examiner sat back down at her desk. I pulled out the piano stool and wriggled my fingers out of their gloves yet again. Despite my attempts to keep them warm they were still purple as my gloves.

My fingers ran up and down the piano as I played scales. Though they were working hard no pleasant warmth spread through them. They remained stubbornly cold.
"Oh well," I thought. "I'll just have to play with cold fingers."

So I did. I rumbled away, hoping that I'd remembered everything that my teacher had told me. I think I played rather well considering my hands were so cold. Finally after what seemed like an hour of torturous singing and ear tests the examiner folded up my piece of paper.
Thankfully I skibbled out. Imogen was sitting outside waiting. She handed me her bag and trotted off. No sooner had I sat down to wait for her than I got nabbed by my teacher's wife. Though I'd wanted to open my result with Imogen I had to open it early.

But as soon as I could I wriggled back to the exam room and sat down on a low wall. Someone started playing another piano and I couldn't hear Imogen's exam. Slowly my eyes started to close. But the wall was too cold and my feet were nearly numb so I couldn't go to sleep. But I was exhausted. All the extra lessons and practises were over!

Imogen finally came out and we hurried back to our teacher to open her results. After ages in the freezing cold place we were glad to come back to the nice warm van.

"Let's have morning tea out," Mum said.

We cheered. Mum treated us to hot chocolates and doughnuts. I was starving and very glad to eat something. While Gemma-Rose finished eating Mum went to do a little shopping. We stayed at the table and waited.

Mum appeared with a trolley at the checkout. We saw two bunches of flowers sitting in the front.

"This one's for you, Imogen," she said handing a bunch of orange flowers to her. "And this one's for you, she handed me hot pink flowers.

Our grins spread from ear to ear. We've never been given flowers before as congratulations. When we got home Imogen and I tried our hands at flower arranging. We mixed the pink and the orange flowers in the vase.

We made a huge cake from two sponge cakes, whipped cream and strawberry jam. It was so tall that the slices fell over as soon as they were cut and I got rather good at catching slices as they collapsed onto the side.

On the whole the exam weren't too bad. I think that the time in between exams is wonderful. There is the couple weeks spent resting from practise and lessons. And when we begin again in a little while we'll be all rested and ready to start preparing for another exam.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rumbling on the Grand Piano

"Tinkle, tinkle, achoo, splat," Some one's got a cold and it's exam week.

This seems to happen every year just when we need to be well for our exams. Winter is a rotten time to have to play your best. You tinkle along thinking,

"This is going wonderful. Maybe I'll get to the end this time," then you feels a cough tickling your throat or your nose begins to run. "Oh no," you think, "can I get to the end before I cough?"

But the urge gets stronger. You try desperately not to cough or sneeze but finally just as you are nearing the end of the piece it explodes out of your throat. Your finger slips on the most important chord in the piece. Splat. You've hit a wrong note. But then the other fingers slip as well. Crash, Bang, Discord!

"Not again," you think, running for the tissue box. "I'll never be good enough for the exam."

This week Imogen and I have our piano exams. The weeks leading up to this week have been rather hectic. We've had heaps of extra lessons and done hours and hours of practise. So much practise that Imogen was forbidden from practising for two whole days. What a hardship! (We've also done a lot of splatting)

But with all these lesson, practises and all that splatting am I nervous? Unfortunately not. No matter how hard I try I cannot get an attack of the nerves. It appears that I'll just have to go into my exam without trembling from head to toe. How very unfair.

On Sunday we got to play on the exam piano. It's pretty horrible. You can't play a short sharp note at all, the keys squeak (so Imogen told me. I couldn't hear the squeaking) and the peddles look like they've been bashed. But there is a consolation. The exam room is large (and freezing) and echoey. You play a loud note and the room magnifies it till it's twice as loud. I didn't realise this at first and banged away like I usually do. My usually quiet piece of music boomed out.

"Oops," I thought. "A little bit quieter perhaps."

My teacher thought so too.

"Never mind," I consoled myself. "I might have to play the quiet bits softly but I can rumble on the piano in the loud bits."

With an internal giggle I played the piece again a little softer. This appeared to suit my teacher as he didn't ask me to play any softer.

My thoughts on the exam? It's going to quite fun! Rumble on the piano, sing a few ear tests and skibble off for morning tea. Sounds great to me

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Jane Austen Girls

Imogen and I are Jane Austen girls. We've read just about every piece of Jane Austen's writing we can get our hands on. Imogen has even read all six of her novels. I though am horribly slack. I have only read five.

While wandering around the library looking at just about every section as we'd already ransacked the story section we found a wonderful shelf. Tucked in between books about Shakespeare and King Henry 8th and his six wives (not to mention all the computer program books and gardening books) we found a shelf devoted to Jane Austen and her books.

A tiny book caught our eyes almost immediately.

"The Jane Austen Handbook," the title announced and the subtitle said, "Proper life skills from Regency England."

So of course we pulled the book out immediately and flipped through it. How to dress properly, how to travel, where to travel, types of carriages, what an entail actually is, how to elope to Gretna Green, the book told us everything a young lady might want to know.

We popped the book into the already bulging bag of books we'd already collected. We scanned the shelf for more interesting books. A yellow and black spine stood out among the brown spines, the black spines and the boring grey ones.

"Jane Austen for Dummies," We read.

We had to borrow that one.

"The Jane Austen Handbook" was a great find. Soon after the library trip I curled up in the little patch of sun I could find that was free from cats and read it from cover to cover. I now know what a lady should be taught, what clothes to wear at what kind of day and that handkerchiefs were a relatively new inventions in Regency England.

"Jane Austen for Dummies" gave the ins and outs of Jane Austen's life, the original names of her books and her most memorable characters.

My favourite section was the most memorable characters. It wasn't really a surprise to find as Most Memorable Leading Lady Miss Elizabeth Bennet and as Most Memorable Leading Man Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.

But Shock and Horror when I read the section on manners and found a list of Jane Austen's most gentlemanly heroes and those that failed to make it. Mr Darcy was listed among those that had failed. His fault was meddling where he shouldn't and insulting a lady to her face.

Having read the books on Jane Austen and her books I feel like trying the one and only novel that I haven't read before. "North Hanger Abbey" doesn't seem to me as nice as the others. Imogen read it and didn't like it as much as she did "Sense and Sensibility" and "Persuasion". Of course none of the other novels can ever be as good as "Pride and Prejudice". But it would be interesting to read it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Bridemaid's Dress in the Hottest Shade of Pink Ever

Our eldest sister, Felicity is getting married in the spring. Imogen and I are two of her bridesmaids and Gemma-Rose and Sophie are her flower girls. This is so exciting but we have had some pretty amazing problems getting the bridesmaids dresses.

The first problem was finding the dress. Mum searched the Internet with a fine toothed comb to locate a shop that made a dress that we liked, could make the dresses to our own particular measurements and that Felicity liked. After a long while on the computer Mum found the perfect dress.

But then came problem number two. We had to ask Felicity's opinion of the dress. She lives way over on the other side of Australia in Perth. It's difficult to catch her on the phone to discuss the wedding preparations. But eventually news leaked through that the dress had been approved. Felicity decided that she'd like Imogen to wear blue and me to wear pink (of course!).

Measuring had to be done next though. Mum cornered us in her lair with her measuring tape (actually she called us into her bedroom). We were wound round and round in measuring tape and numbers were noted done in a notebook.

"We'll just check your height again," Mum told me.

I kicked off my pink slippers again. I stood by the wall behind Mum's bedroom door and was nearly squished when Dad opened it suddenly. Mum placed a book on my head and marked away with a pencil.

"You've gotten shorter!" Mum exclaimed.

She hurriedly measured me for the dress length again. Sure enough I was a few centimetres shorter than last time I was measured. Mum measured and remeasured trying to find my actual height and the length for the dress. But I didn't get much taller. Eventually we gave up. I was obviously not going to get any taller any time soon.

After a few days Mum sent off the order for the dresses. All we had to do now was wait and get some flower girl dresses. But a few days later there was an email.

"The lengths for the dresses don't seem right," the email announced. "Please send us the heights of the young ladies (it actually said that)."

After another round of measuring Mum sent off our heights. I still wasn't any taller. Another email arrived.

"The heights match the length," it announced.

We breathed sighs of relief. Thank goodness Mum had measured us right. And so we went back to waiting.

So we waited patiently, thinking that the dresses would come in early spring. But this morning when we were saying our morning prayers the parcel man arrived. He handed Mum a large grey post pack. We crowded around Mum vying for the best place to stand.

"I think it's the dresses," Mum announced.

She ripped the bag open and pulled out two plastic wrapped parcels. One was the hottest shade of hot pink imaginable and the other was vibrant blue.

"Wow," I said.

"Go and try them on," Mum urged.

Imogen and I fled to our bedroom. I pulled the packaging off the dress and unfolded it. The pink look even pinker without the wrapping. But the dress didn't look quite right. There was supposed to be chiffon layer. I turned the back of the dress towards me. The zip was on the wrong side of the dress. But I took a look at the inside and laughed at myself. They'd folded the dresses inside out. I unzipped the dress and turned right side out. This side wasn't quite as bright but it is still the most beautiful shade of pink I've ever seen.

Imogen and I did each other's zip up and paraded out to Mum. Thankfully Mum didn't ask for a longer skirt for me. If the skirt had been any longer than it is I would have been walking on the end.

The dress is beautiful. I can hardly wait for spring to wear it. And the skirt is long enough for me to do some growing in the next few months.

I can't actually post any photos as we're not allowed to reveal the dresses till The Big Day. But later after the wedding I will post up some photos.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Knights of the Old Republic

Buried deep in my memory was a game. Not just any game but a Star Wars game. A game where you become the best Jedi around. Not many days ago the game resurfaced in my memory. It didn't just sink into back oblivion like normal. On the contrary, I remembered it and thought about it some more.

We used to play Star Wars, Knights of the Old Republic on the weekends. Duncan would help me in all the harder things like walking in a straight line (my computer skills were pretty hopeless) and we'd charge around the galaxy defeating bad guys and learning to be the coolest Jedi in the galaxy. But then the game was uninstalled and confined to a Styrofoam box where it remained for years.

I know it lurked in the back of my mind. I still remembered it occasionally and thought of it as the best game I'd ever played but sooner or later the game would sink back into the huge pit of forgotten things in my mind. But then on this particular day when it didn't just get forgotten. On that day I made a decision. I wanted to play it.

It was easy really. I just stepped up to Mum and asked her. She agreed at once and we skibbled off to install it. With very few glitches (the game wouldn't run at first) we got in the game. Then Imogen and I started the game. With a few more minor glitches (we couldn't make our person walk forwards, backwards or any other direction) we were underway. Of course these were very minor problems and no match for Imogen and me. We did beg a little help from people with more computer experience actually.

Now we play Star Wars to our hearts content. We rush around the planet (we're stuck on one planet and are trying desperately to get off) defeating Sith Soldiers willy nilly. Not too much longer and we'll be the best Jedi. Might take a little working on actually.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gloves that Nearly Weren't

Winter for Imogen and me means dry peeling fingers, sometimes covered in red and purple chilblains, feeling like hunks of ice. We felt warmth draining out of our hands as they stumbled over the freezing piano keys. Piano practise turned into torture time for our hands and ears. I hate cold hand, so cold that they hurt, and I hate stumbling over the piano keys because my hands are frozen. I wanted a cure so I set out to find one.

For Christmas one year I was given a crocheting book. It, supposedly, would tell me everything I needed to know about crocheting. The truth was I had no idea how to crochet. It was only when Mum took pity on me and taught me to crochet that I learnt. But still the book lay on a shelf, unused.On my hunt for a cure to cold hands I came across my book. It caught my eye. My mind raced as I saw the cover. Could there be a solution in that book? Quickly I pulled it off the shelf. I flipped through pages of beanies, scarves and cushions. Nestled in the middle of the book, between a cushion and a beanie lay a pattern for fingerless gloves. I saw the solution at once.
Wielding my little used crochet hook I nosed out some wool. Being me, lover of all things pink, I predictably chose pale pink wool. A small ball of smokey grey wool grabbed my eye. It sat in the middle of a tangle of soft wool. I thought for a second. Would that tiny ball be enough to make two pairs of gloves? Maybe not. What if I ran out of wool with only one glove made? I'd have to begin again. But the wool went so well with my pale pink wool. Before I could change my mind again I pulled out the wool and began to chain.

After several attempts at making a foundation chain I finally got one that really was twenty chains long. Then I discovered a problem. When I knit I go on auto drive and let my mind do something else, reading perhaps. But whenever I thought about something else I lost chains, gained chains and some of them turned out completely wacky. So, in desperation, I counted every chain as I crocheted scared that I'd make a mistake. I mentally glued my mind to the subject and crocheted as though my life depended on it.

With one evenings work done I went to bed feeling like queen of all crafts and was congratulating myself on a job well done. I vowed to myself that I'd do heaps more crocheting the next day. As it was I got far more crocheting done then I had counted on.

Having been out of bed for less than a quarter of an hour I started to feel rather strange. I ignored it and carried one stirring porridge. My dressing gown started to feel far too hot. I believed the feeling was just heat from the stove at first. I shrugged off my dressing gown and went back to the steaming pan. The porridge finished just as my ears began to ring and things went dark.
"I don't feel very well Dad," I began, though I could hardly hear myself.
Something happened. I can't remember falling but when I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was a very pink pajama top. Thing cleared a little and I saw Mum, Dad and Imogen bending over me. Apparently I scared Dad out of his wits. Thankfully I didn't finish falling. Dad caught me as I toppled over.

After I finished scaring everybody I was packed off to bed and ordered to remain there. So, like a good girl I stayed in bed where I couldn't scare anybody. But there is only so long I can stay in bed without getting bored. So I grabbed my crocheting from the floor.
"If I have to stay in bed I might as well do something useful," I told myself and crocheted away.

With all that time on my hands my gloves were finished that day. Thankfully the grey wool was enough to finish my gloves. There was even enough to sew the gloves up with. But I wasn't content just to fix my problem. I wanted to make Imogen gloves as well. So day after day I nagged at her to tell me what colours she wanted. Several weeks went by in this fashion until Imogen finally thought about it.
"I'd like brown gloves with whatever other colour you want," she told me after another nagging session.

And with that I promptly forgot that I was going to start the gloves. It was only when I guiltily remembered Imogen's gloves that I even chose the other colour. So I crocheted a few rows and forgot them again. Imogen though remembered. Having spent all that time thinking about the colours she wasn't about to forget my promise of gloves.

"Are you going to finish my gloves?" She'd ask.

I would countless times remember guiltily that I hadn't worked on them in several days. So I would whip out my crocheting and crochet a stripe or two. It took me several weeks to do hers. I felt so horrible when I remembered her cold hands. Sometimes that would spur me and I'd do a little more. But eventually I ordered myself to finish those gloves. So I sat down with a cat cuddled up on my knee and single mindedly crocheted. My technique worked. I did finish them.

Now Imogen and I play the piano wearing homemade gloves. Our hands are kept above freezing point and I have fulfilled my glove making obligation. But it's a bad idea to ask me to make gloves. But the main point is I finished the gloves that nearly weren't.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bandits and Princes

I like fiddling around with a sketchbook and a pencil. I have sketchbooks filled with some pretty horrible drawings done two years ago and a few recent pictures that don't turn me red. Finally I have sort of mastered proportion. Anyway, Imogen decided that my pictures were good enough to post so I have. I have put up my two best pictures.
First is Princess Khaleilia. She is heir to the bandit throne. When her grandfather dies she will be the ruling queen. She leads the bandits on raids in the kingdom.
The other picture is of Prince Corin. He is Crown Prince of the kingdom that Khaleilia raids. In the picture he is dressed as a bandit though.

Corin didn't scan very well but Mum fixed him though. He was far too pale to begin with. Hopefully he is dark enough now to be seen properly. At least I've learnt to colour my pictures in darker.

Khaleilia went a lot better. She was darker to begin with but Mum and I still made her a bit darker on the computer.

What do you think of Corin and Khaleilia? They are my best pictures in the whole of my sketchbook.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Thing

As with my last two posts, this is another creative writing exercise continuing the adventures of Algernon Dragon. I hope you enjoy it.

Algernon Dragon hurried along the path towards his house. He buttoned his coat up to his chin and wrapped his scarf tighter around his neck. The light was fading. Cold crept in through any cracks it could find in Algernon’s coat. He shivered.

He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a torch. He pushed the button and a beam of light shot out. His house was not far away now. Algernon thought of the hot chocolate he would have when he got home. The thought made him hurry. If he was quick he could have a hot bath.

But the night had arrived. The light of the torch made the shadows darker and more menacing. Algernon gripped the torch tightly in his paw. He glanced around. The darkness seemed to be alive and moving. The wind whipped through the trees and whistled through the branches. He quickly looked back at his tiny puddle of light. The light flickered suddenly. It danced and jumped around. Algernon shook it violently. The beam of light settled down again. Algernon sighed with relief. But then the light deserted him, plunging Algernon into the dark.

Algernon looked around himself, his paws shaking. The shadows seemed to move and dance like monsters from the stories his mother used to tell him before bed. A small shadow crept from the trees and began to slink towards him. Algernon peered as hard as could, but he couldn’t see what it looked like properly. Was it a snake? Did it have huge teeth? Maybe it was poisonous. Was it icy cold? Did it have rock hard scales? Could the shadow be a dragon slaying monster? Algernon didn’t want to know.

He saw two glowing green lights shining in the middle of the shadow. Every dragon knows that dragon slaying monsters have glowing eyes. Were they hypnotic? Algernon looked away quickly. He’d be hypnotised if he watched them. But the Thing might sneak up on him. Algernon sneaked a look. If he didn’t look at the eyes he’d be safe.

But then Algernon saw a white flash just under the glowing eyes. Were they teeth? Were they poisonous fangs? Algernon couldn’t move. His sneakers seemed to be glued to the path. His muscles seemed frozen into place. The glowing eyes and the flashing teeth were so close he could smell a strange fishy smell. Did monsters eat fish? Algernon didn’t care. His legs finally unfroze and he pelted down the path.

His dragon sneakers slapped against the path, thumping in time to his racing heart. Algernon felt a cold sweat trickle down his snout. Something hit his leg. It was cold and hard. Was it the Thing’s teeth? Or maybe it was a claw. Algernon screamed.

Algernon’s furry hat slipped down covering his eyes. He screamed again. Had the Thing blinded him? Algernon felt his sneakers slip on the path. His legs flipped from underneath him and he flew towards the ground. Algernon’s nose crunched into the cold hard ground and he winced. For a few seconds he lay winded on the path. The Thing jumped into his mind. Where was it?

He pulled his nose out of the path and sat up. Algernon couldn’t see anything. He felt the warm tickly fur hat on his nose. Algernon sighed with relief. He wasn’t blind after all. He heard pattering footsteps. The Thing was coming. Algernon felt it rub against his leg. It wasn’t cold and it wasn’t scaly. It was warm and furry. The Thing climbed slowly into his lap. Algernon heard a noise like a little lawnmower. He grinned. The Thing certainly wasn’t a monster.

Algernon pulled his hat off. Sitting on his lap was his cat, The Kibble Eater. She rubbed her wet nose against his sore nose. He picked her up and stood up slowly. His knees hurt and his nose was swollen. But Algernon didn’t care. He was going home.

Algernon slipped his key into the lock and unlocked the door with a click. He pushed the heavy door open and turned on the hall light. Algernon dropped The Kibble Eater onto her favourite chair and headed for his bathroom. He turned the tap on and hot water splashed into the bath. He pulled a bar of soap out of the cupboard. The phone rang just as he was about to put the soap on the edge of the bath. The soap slipped out of his hand and onto the floor as he ran for the phone.

Aunt Bertha wanted to talk to her nephew. It had been her birthday a few days ago. She loved chocolate and Algernon had sent her a ginormous box. But Aunt Bertha wasn’t quite happy with her present. She might like chocolate but she didn’t like this particular flavour: Fishy kibble. Algernon groaned. That cat! She loved chocolate and had done a swap.

Aunt Bertha talked and talked and talked long into the night. Finally she decided that Algernon was innocent. She hung up the phone and left him to return to his bath. The water was cold and he bent over to pull the plug. He felt something slip underneath his foot. For the second time that night Algernon’s feet slipped out from underneath him. Soap!

The soap was added at the request of Imogen.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

One Bar is Too Much Soap

I wrote this short story as another creative writing exercise. I had to write about someone doing a job using active words. The first time I tried to write it I couldn't think of a single thing to write. After a good long sulky fit and a week of thinking time Mum gave me a topic. So thanks to Mum I actually finished my writing.

Algernon Dragon swung his long shiny dragon car into the supermarket car park. He spun the wheel and the dragon car slipped around the corner. Algernon squeezed his car into a parking space meant for normal cars. Most of it fitted. Only the boot and nose of the car poked out of the parking space. Algernon didn’t care.

Then Algernon padded over to the trolleys, He pulled out a trolley but shook his head. He didn’t want a trolley with a baby seat attached. Algernon shoved it back. He grabbed another trolley. This trolley looked right. Algernon grasped the handle and pushed it through the automatic doors.

He opened his shopping list and hunted for the first item. Peanut butter was first. But there were three kinds of peanut butter. Did Algernon want smooth, crunchy or super crunchy peanut butter? Algernon liked some crunchy peanut butter when he had toast. But he also liked smooth peanut butter in sandwiches and super crunchy peanut butter was also delicious. He thought a little more. Algernon didn’t want to leave one out. Algernon grabbed all three. They went thump into the trolley.

Next Algernon hunted for the cocoa pops. He liked them for breakfast with some milk. Algernon gaped at the cereal section. There were hundreds of breakfast cereals. There were wheat biscuits and muesli, cornflakes and rice bubbles. Finally Algernon spotted the cocoa pops. But next to them were cocoa flakes and cocoa balls. He rubbed his aching eyes. Shopping was harder then he had thought. He grabbed the normal cocoa pops. There was too much choice.

Tinned peaches were next on his shopping list. He looked through the piles of cans. There were kidney beans, apricots, pie fillings and tomatoes but Algernon couldn’t see the peaches. He padded a little further. They weren’t there. That section was stuffed with cosmetics. He thumped his tail in frustration. Algernon stomped back. He peered under the tomatoes and looked behind the pie fillings. Algernon sighed. He would have to go without the peaches. Algernon searched through the trays one last time. He lifted the tray of apricots. There the peaches lay exposed. He grasped a tin and tossed it in the trolley.

He looked at his list again. Algernon headed off to find the cleaners. He needed some washing up liquid. He chucked a bottle in. He thought about it. Did he usually get this brand? Or was it that one? Algernon put the washing up liquid back. He reached for the other one. But then he paused. He did get that one, didn’t he? Or was it the other one. Algernon groaned. He took both of them.

Algernon hunted for soap next. He found soap in six packs, single bars and huge boxes. He thought quickly. If he got a lot of soap he might have to wash behind his ears more than once a month. Algernon threw a single bar of soap in to join the rest of his shopping.

His cat ate so much kibble that Algernon needed to get a huge bag of cat food. He heaved a massive bag of fishy smelling cat food into the trolley then changed his mind. He put it on the floor and took out the cocoa pops. Algernon heaved the kibble back into the trolley and placed the cocoa pops carefully on top.

Algernon gazed with love at the fruit and nut. He’d run out of fruit and nut three days ago and hadn’t been able to eat it with his yoghurt. He grabbed two bags. Algernon turned to leave but paused. Would two bags last long enough? Algernon tossed in another bag.

He raced for the ice cream. Chocolate ice cream was his absolute favourite dessert. Algernon slid the freezer lid back. He reached in for the ice cream. Algernon flinched as his paws touched the icy tub. They went numb suddenly and Algernon dropped the ice cream back in the freezer. He rubbed his cold paws together to get some warmth into them. He blew gently on them. His fiery breath made them glow. Algernon grabbed the ice cream quickly and almost threw it into his trolley.

Algernon lifted the trolley up and dumped its contents on the conveyor belt. The cocoa pops fell on the floor. He bent over to pick it up and knocked the soap flying. Algernon dived to catch the soap and landed on his snout. Algernon winced. He scowled at the soap and dropped it on the conveyor belt.

With his paid-for-shopping in bags Algernon went back to his car. Three other cars were waiting for him to move it. The drivers shouted at Algernon. He just smiled and waved a scaly paw at them. Algernon opened his dragon car’s boot. He dumped the kibble in first. It landed with a thump. Algernon placed the chocolate ice cream with extreme care beside it. Algernon didn’t want to freeze his fingers again. Putting the shopping in his car was taking a long time. Algernon picked the trolley up and tipped all his shopping in the boot at once. The soap dropped on the ground. Algernon glared at it. He thumped the boot lid down.

Algernon slid behind the wheel of his dragon car and heaved a sigh of relief. He didn’t like shopping. Algernon turned the key and the powerful motor roared into life. Algernon pushed the accelerator with his back paw. He drove away in a cloud of dust leaving the soap lying in the middle of the car park.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Crafty Magic

Years ago Mum, Felicity, Duncan and Callum did creative writing lessons. Recently Mum found the book again and asked Imogen and I if we'd like to do creative writing too. As Imogen and I love writing we loved the idea. On Friday we did the first exercise. My piece of writing turned out so good that I decided to make it into a post.

I love my craft books, stuffed with projects begging to be made, my bags and boxes filled to bursting with cottons and fleeces, corduroys and jerseys, soft and colourful, my thick bright embroidery cotton and my reels of matching l threads waiting to decorate and join together the perfect project.

I love to snip and snap with my sharp sewing scissors, pin and sew, to see the project grow under my fingers and to watch my magical needle dive and surface, dive and surface, joining my fabric, covered with flowers or spots, with threads of crafty magic. I adore watching it change from a pile of fabric and a reel of matching thread to a toy, a doll or a tiny dress.

I love my sewing machine, heavy and white always ready to help me finish a larger project. I love to press my foot on the peddle and to see the fabric joining under my guidance, to hear the machine whirring and the needle stabbing through the fabric and to cut the last thread and to turn my creation right side out and see the perfectly sewn end product.

I love to emerge from creating with my finished project and to display my handiwork or to wrap it in patterned paper as a gift for someone’s birthday. I love to see it making a space look beautiful or to see someone made happy by my homemade gift.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Many First Holy Communions

When I was six and a half years old I had my First Holy Communion in a tiny log chapel in the bush. We were at Fitzroy Falls Conference centre for the homeschooling camp. There were two of us girls having our First Holy Communion that camp, my friend Lucy and I.

Mum's First Holy Communion

I can't remember when I got my dress but I know it wasn't new. I had worn it before but for that very special occasion it was dressed up. Felicity sewed pretty pink roses on the waist and neckline of my lacy dress. My veil was very old. Imogen and possibly Felicity had worn it for their First Holy Communions.

Duncan's and Felicity's First Holy Communion

I was really small then. I was so short that my feet didn't touch the ground from where I sat on the log pew. Lucy was quite a lot taller and could rest her feet on the ground. She looked like a cloud in a puffy dress that nearly reached the floor. Her veil kept slipping and she had to push it back onto her head to stop it from falling on the floor.

Callum's First Holy Communion

Dad baked us a Communion cake. It was huge, big enough to feed over a hundred people. The icing was cream with fondant icing pictures of a chalise, the Eucharist and a cross. Actually the cake was three cakes stuck together with icing.

Imogen's First Holy Communion

So many children surrounded Lucy and I when the cake was brought out that there was a solid wall of bodies. They were attracted to the cake like metal to a magnet. It was a good thing the cake was so big as everyone wanted a piece.

My First Holy Communion

It all happened so long ago but I can remember some parts perfectly. I suppose I remember it so clearly because it was such a special day for me. I wonder if Lucy remembers it like I do.

Sophie's First Holy Communion
Mum suggested that I find a photo of all of us on our First Holy Communion day. It took a bit of looking through boxes of old photos and flipping through albums to find some of the older photos but I even have a photo of Mum on her First Holy Communion Day. She had her First Holy Communion when she was an adult unlike all the rest of us. We were all about seven years old.

Gemma-Rose's First Holy Communion

Imogen and Callum received First Holy Communion at camp like I did. But then we stopped going to camp so Sophie and Gemma-Rose didn't. They received First Holy Communion at our parish. We did have cake still though.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Easter Egg Hunt

We stood outside the house, cups in hand, waiting for the Easter egg hunt to begin. Everyone was there, even Duncan who is twenty two. We all participate in the Easter egg hunt. Gemma-Rose had already found four eggs even though we weren't supposed to look before everyone was ready. Mum gave the sign and everyone disappeared, trying to find the most eggs.
Tiny foil wrapped eggs lay in ingeneous hiding places. Some were easy. They were snapped up as soon as we started. But others need sharp eyes to be found. Mum has gained skill in hiding the eggs. Every year they get harder and harder. But we also get better at finding them. Still some of the eggs were really hard to find.

People patrolled the garden, ducking every so often to pick an egg up. Areas were checked and rechecked and still more eggs were found. But the amount of eggs being found was becoming less. We decided to count out how many eggs we had found.
Shining eggs spilled onto the outdoor table. Imogen counted them two by two. We needed to know how many were left in the garden.

"Eight left to find," Imogen announced as the last two eggs were put back.

We scattered back into the garden. We had to find at least some of the eggs before we finished.
"Seven," someone called.

"Six," another person shouted later.



"Three," we finally called.

No one could find another egg. We had to leave it at three. But as we flocked towards the door Mum pointed out one of the missing eggs to Gemma-Rose. Only two remained in the garden. But on Easter Monday Gemma-Rose found another of the missing eggs. But the last one is still missing.

I can't remember a year when we've found all of the eggs. One, two or even three eggs never get found. But maybe we might find them all next year. Who knows. I love Easter egg hunts!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Thursday

Evening came and the family gathered at the door. It was Holy Thursday and we were on our way to mass. Coats were donned and shoes were buckled as we prepared for the first of the Holy Week masses.

Six tall cream candles stood in front of the altar, three on one side and three on the other. All the statues were covered in purple cloths and a jug and bowl stood between the candles. Members of the parish choir trickled into the church. This year Dad and Callum were asked to sing in the choir. They joined the choir members around the organ.

We were kneeling down praying when one of the ladies in the choir came over.
"Would you like to sing?" she asked Imogen.
"If Mum says I can I'd love to," Imogen answered eagerly.
She loves singing at the Holy Week masses. With Mum's permission she left us and joined the choir. Of course Imogen hadn't practised any of the music but she did remember most of it from other years.

Mass began and the incense began to float around the church in a misty cloud. Oils blessed at the cathedral were brought in one by one. Father said a prayer as the three children carried them in.

Then Father took off the outer part of his vestments and two altar servers picked up the bowl and a huge pile of white towels. They slowly made their way around the church stopping every now and again to wash a foot.

After communion Father processed slowly around the church with the Blessed Sacrament. We all knelt. The choir sang as Father processed. Mass ended quietly with no recessional hymn and hardly any noise. Barely anyone spoke as they left the church. Holy Thursday is over for another year.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Palm Sunday

For me Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. Of course it's actually the last Sunday of Lent. It has a different feel to it than the other Sundays of Lent to it with the palms (very often in our parish we can't get any palms so we use ferns), the blessing of the palms (or ferns) and the readings. This year Sophie and Gemma-Rose decided to get bad colds with the stomach bug. Mum was going to stay home with them but Imogen offered to stay instead. So three members down, our family left for mass. Unusually I was the only of us girls there.

With our palms (ferns actually) we knelt down, waiting for the start of mass. I kept my palm from last year in a drawer but something happened to it. Maybe it disintegrated or perhaps the cats ate it, but now I can't find a trace of it. I like the hymns. They were ones I remembered well. We could have used Imogen in most of them. She sings soprano and the hymns were too high in places for me to sing comfortably. But we muddled along.

Somehow every year I manage to miss being splattered with holy water. Our pew never seems to be in the right place to get splashed. But I'm hopeful that one day I will actually get hit. Holy Week has now started. We just have Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday's masses to go to and Easter will be here. I wonder if my palm will survive the year this time. It'll be interesting to find out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Very, Very Fun Afternoon

Mum, Sophie and Gemma-Rose went out this morning to visit friends so Dad took Imogen and I to our piano lessons. Knowing Dad this day was going to be good. He has a way of making things very fun. I wasn't disappointed.

We had finished lunch, done the dishes and I was settling down for the afternoon when Dad came up.

"Do you want ride your scooters?" he asked, remembering that we usually went to the park on Thursdays.

"Oh yes please," I replied.

"I'll just finish this bit of work and then we'll go," Dad said, and went to find Imogen.

A little while later Imogen and I were by the door with scooters in our hands. We hopped in the van and headed towards Lake Alexandra. Armed with a thermos flask of coffee and backpack of things to do Dad settled down on a park bench. Imogen and I opened our scooters out(hoping we could remember how to put our scooters together as this was only the second time we've ridden a scooter). We managed just fine much to my relief.

Heaps of people were going around the lake on many types of transport. I saw fleets of scooters, two prams, several bicycles, a girl on roller skates and many people using their feet. In other words the lake was crowded. There were as many different speeds as there were people. The people on scooters zipped along while the prams went at a snail's pace, the bicycles weren't that fast, the girl in roller skates didn't move at high speeds and the walking people generally were looking at the ducks.

We left Dad at the bench and started along the busy pathway. Dodging the walking people, stopping for the prams and watching very carefully for the other people on scooters (they are really really fast) we rounded the lake. Imogen was just that littlest bit faster than me. She always has been. Whatever we do she is a little bit quicker. But I was just glad not to be left in the dust.

I never noticed the time passing. We arrived soon after lunch and by the time that we were tired it was well past four o'clock. The amount of people there had dwindled quite dramatically. It was two tired and happy girls that loaded themselves back into the van. It was a very good afternoon. I didn't think that we'd get to go to the park this week and thanks to Dad we did!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Trials and Tribulations of a Tired Tummy

It all began when my tummy gave up. On Saturday morning I was feeling fine. I was really happy as I had a stack of new books just dying to be read. That was at breakfast time. My tummy was fine all through the usual morning jobs, the weekend cleaning and getting ready for the last day of swimming this term. But when I was in the swimming pool it was a totally different story. I slipped over the edge with a little splosh. "I'm going to do heaps of laps today," I told myself. I pushed off the edge, ready to swim millions of laps. But after a few laps I felt a niggling pain somewhere around my tummy. "Oh well," I thought. "It's probably your imagination." I, being a rather silly kind of person, ignored the niggling pain and kept swimming. A few more laps made the niggling pain into something I knew wasn't my imagination. But as I said before I'm rather silly at times. "It'll probably go away soon," I decided and kept swimming. But it didn't go away and it get any better. After about eighteen laps I had decided that this wasn't just a little ache that was going to leave me alone. But I carried on a little longer. But the more laps I did the worse the ache became. At the end of twenty two laps my tummy was getting rather annoyed. It was insistent. No more swimming. "Stop! Stop!" It wailed at me. "I can't take any more swimming!" "I give up," I finally told it and pulled myself out. My tummy wasn't satisfied with that. I splatted over to Dad, water dripping from everywhere. Clothed and dry, I sat down with a book. But that annoying tummy wouldn't leave me alone. The pain just stayed and got worse. "Maybe some food will settle it," Dad suggested. "Why don't you eat your muesli bar?" I wasn't too sure, and in any case I wasn't hungry. But anything that might stop my tummy being sore would be welcome. It didn't work. So I sat and tried to read while Sophie and Gemma-Rose swam happily. "You don't look too good," Mum said when we got home. "She's got a sore tummy," Dad told her. I was sent off to wash the chlorine out of my hair. Lunch was made when I was finished. But sandwiches and left over dinner didn't sound good to my tummy. "I don't want sandwiches," my tummy moaned. I wholeheartedly agreed with it. Thankfully Imogen came to my tummy's rescue with some soup. The tummy didn't mind soup too much and finally it was happy for a few minutes. But the calm didn't last. My tummy began to ache again and ached all the way from lunch to dinner. I was getting rather desperate for it to stop after that. And to top it all I got a nasty headache. From half past ten to bed time is quite long enough for any tummy to hurt. I woke the next morning and carefully checked for signs that my tummy was still upset. I couldn't find any pain and hoped that it might have gotten better. "I can go to mass then," I thought and wriggled out of bed. But I knew something was wrong when I got out of the van. My tummy wasn't hurting, but there was the feeling that it might happen at any second. My feeling wasn't wrong. Part way through mass I felt a jab of pain in that annoying tummy. "I'm sore again," the tummy announced. "Uh oh," I thought, "here we go again." Of all the places it could have chosen to hurt and it chose the middle of mass. But though it hurt and ached I made a discovery. Sore tummies do not like high notes. The tummy wasn't happy for the rest of the day. Even cocoa pops and crumpets couldn't make it feel any better. But I did get to read a lot. My tummy couldn't stop me from doing that. Thankfully my tummy is better now and I can do more than just read a book and feel miserable. I don't really want to repeat that particular experience but at least I got a post out of it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Poems and Lives

Not long ago Imogen wrote a post on her blog, 'Dancing with Dragonflies', called 'Purple Potatoes and the Creed'. My post is about another chapter of Father Knox's 'The Creed in Slow Motion'. Today we read about another chapter. We settled down on the sofa, preparing for another wonderful talk. Mum opened up the laptop and the chapter title came up, 'Maker of Heaven and Earth'. "That sounds good," I thought. "Father Knox will be able to think of a lot to say on that subject. This will be great." Father Knox filled the chapter with explanations that were designed for girls our age to understand and comparisons that helped us to understand what the words 'Maker of Heaven and Earth' really mean. Then, in the middle of the chapter, Father Knox came up with the best comparison of all. He compared our lives to a poems that God writes. Just as a human poet is allowed to change what he writes, so God may rewrite our poems. When something changes in our lives our poems are being rewritten. "God must be very busy writing all those poems," Imogen laughed. Mum continued to read after we discussed this, and had made all the jokes that were necessary. The rest of the chapter was also good but I think the best bit was about the poems. When we had finished the chapter we were at liberty to talk and joke some more. "I must be a poem as long as the 'Ancient Mariner'," Imogen decided. "I'm one of those muddled up poems," I said, not to be out done. "One of the ones with double meanings everywhere?" Imogen asked. "Yes," I replied. "Heaps of double meanings. Is Mum a ballad?" "No a sonate," Imogen decided. "Yes," I agreed, "Mum's definitely a sonate." So Father Knox has given us another wonderful comparison. We're not likely to forget about this in a hurry. I think the 'The Creed in Slow Motion' has explained a lot of things to me that I never understood before. And there is still a lot of the Creed left for next term.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Wake Up Call

The cats run in and out of mine and Imogen's bedroom all night long. We have to leave our door open all night so that we aren't woken up by a pitiful meow asking us to open the door. So the cats are quiet during the night. But the early morning is another matter entirely.

This morning I drifted happily from sleep into a mostly asleep state. I opened my eyes a fraction. I didn't want to wake up too early. But something huge, warm and furry landed on my bed with a thump. I sneakily glanced at it. Sammy was on my pillow of course. "I'm not awake," I thought. "Go away Sammy. Not time for breakfast yet. I'm still asleep." Sammy didn't believe me though. A nose poked me in the neck. "Time for breakfast," the nose told me. "I'm hungry. I want food." "No," I replied mentally. "I told you before. I'm asleep. Go away." Sammy's not stupid. He has an amazing talent for telling if I'm only pretending to sleep. When he didn't get any reaction Sammy pawed me. But for all his trouble I only turned over. The pawing stopped. "Ah," I thought. "Now I can go back to sleep." But Sammy wasn't to be put off like that. He waited a few minutes then yank! I felt his teeth latch onto a lock of hair. I still didn't get up, much to his disapointment. The weight left my pillow a little later as a hungry Sammy went to try his luck with Imogen.

The warm drowsiness crept over me again. My eyelids drooped again and I was on the verge of sleeping when... Sounds of scurrying, a thump, a small squeak and I'm awake again. Jenny is on the window sill. I blink and Sammy has homed in on me. Another thump and he's pawing me again. There is only so long that I will let him do this. "All right," I grumbled. "I'm coming." Sammy sensed his breakfast coming and turned into Mr I-Love-You. He snuzzled around my legs, face, chin and arms encouraging my slow progress from the covers. As soon as one of my feet touched the floor I was surrounded by frantically mewing cats. "Breakfast! Breakfast!" They called. "Hurry up!" With a sea of fur around my feet I struggled to the kitchen. On the way I glanced at the clock. "What!" I exclaimed. "Sammy! You've gotten me up a six o'clock!" Sammy didn't care. He just wanted food.

I grabbed the food and headed for the bowls. The mewing went even more frantic. The cats jostled to be the closest to the food. "Me first!" they seemed to shout. "I'm hungry." Kibble rattled into the bowls and noses were plunged deep into the food. Happy cats guzzled at top speed. Feeding time was over for another morning. An equally happy Charlotte headed back to bed. "After all," I told myself. "It's only six o'clock. I can stay in bed for another half an hour." Happy in the knowledge that nothing would bother me, I sank into the warm covers.