Weekend Coffee Share – 11th November, 2019.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

I’m not so sure you’ll be wanting to come round to my place this week. Not only is the house a disaster zone, but the air is redolant with the aroma of choking bushfire smoke and while I was  picking our daughter up from school today, a warning siren sounded on the radio from the Rural Fire Service warning that the fire status is catastrophic for Greater Sydney tomorrow. People have been warned to get out and not to expect assistance from fire services. They could well be overwhelmed with not enough resources to go round. Many schools will be closed and there really is that sense of Armageddon in the air. Meanwhile, I’m trying to “Keep Calm & Carry On”. We’ve had dire warnings like this before about others pending catastrophes (Y2K for example) and nothing’s come of it. Just because the conditions are condusive doesn’t necessarily mean disaster. That said, there have been over 70 bushfires raging over the weekend. However, aside from the smoke, they haven’t impacted on us here.


This photo was taken later in the afternoon just as we were leaving. The Jacaranda tree has a very special place and was in full bloom and absolutely stunning. 

The highlight of the last week was heading down to Sydney on Saturday to attend The PLC Garden Party. That’s what my old school calls their annual fete, which pretty much gives away that I went to a high faluting school. I met up with a group of friends for traditional lunch of champagne and chicken sandwiches at the ex-students stall (usually known as the “old girls”). I skipped the champagne and bought myself a $6.00 chocolate cupcake with a mountainous swirl of butter cream on top. It was interesting trying to eat that elegantly in front of my friends as I face-planted into the icing, resembling a grubby two year old. Of course, I should’ve known better but clearly my sweet tooth overrode all sensibility.

The cake stall wasn’t my only point of weakness.

There was also the book stall. No doubt many of you have also succombed to this weakness and like any other form of addict, really should go cold turkey and implement a firm policy of total avoidance. 100% abstinance. However, when it’s the end of the day and you can fill a box for $10.00, practicality sets in although many would see this as a guised form of FOMO (fear of missing out).

The other aburdity of bringing home even just this relatively small box load of books, is that I’ve put the house on a diet and I’m actively putting this bookcumulation process into reverse and clearing the shelves, piles, columns away so we can aquire that very rare commody…breathing space.


Before I move on from the school Garden Party, I wanted to share one of our important annual rituals. Every year the Knox Pipe Band plays at the Garden Party. They’re our brother school and that also btw was where actor Hugh Jackman went to school and I’m not sure if he was the only lure for some of my school mates to audition for the Knox Musical, but he was the lead male back in the day and not a bad incentive. Thoought you’d appreciate a few photos. BTW I should also point out that my school used to be the Presbyterian Ladies’ College and both Knox and PLChave Scottish heritage hence the pipe band.



It was actually quite a social weekend. It started on Friday night when we attended a birthday party at the “The Treehouse”. That’s what my friend calls his pole home up among the gum trees and it appears that the local wildlife have also made themselves at home, which includes at least one possum, rainbow lorrikeets and cheeky sulfur-crested cockatoos which my friend refuses to feed because they’ll chew up your house. I made an ambitious Caramel Nut Tart. It’s taken me two years to muster up the courage to make it. We have it at the Macadamia Castle up near Byron Bay and the recipe was published in a local cookbook. Yum. So proud of myself for doing this and I’m planing to make it for Christmas Day.

Rowena Japanese dinner

Out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant with a friend.

I stayed with my parents on Saturday night and spent the day in Sydney. I went back to the Church I grew up in on Sunday morning nad chilled out for the rest of the day with my parents and brother and even tinkered away on the piano. I’m rather deluded when it comes to these piano efforts. I expect to be able to pick up the music I used to play back in the day and play it like no water’s passed under the bridge and I’ve been keeping up my practice. Yes, very deluded. However, I’m adding ambitious to that description because I’ve photocopied the music for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Phantom of the Opera’s Music of the Night. By the way, I probably should mention that my mother is a piano teacher and accompanist and has loads of music at my fingertips. Indeed, her loungeroom with the grand piano and all the music is a musical bonanza. I often take my violin down but didn’t this time as it would’ve spent the day in a hot car, which it doesn’t like. 

Jack Quealy WWI

Private Jack Quealey

Lastly, I’m still deeply embroiled in my research. The twists and turns keep changing. However, I’m fundamentally researching my Great Grandmother’s family, the Quealys of Lisheenfurror, Moyarta, County Clare. My Great Grandmother’s brother, Jack Quealey, served in WWI and I was researching his war service in more detail this week. Trying to nut out even a general idea of what he went through is very difficult , despite reading through his service records with a fine tooth comb. However, they mentioned he was wounded and that put a sort of stake in the ground. I was able to work out that he was was most likely wounded in the battle of Mouquet Farm near Pozieres. I then turned to the old newspapers which are online and found some gripping letters home which were published in local papers, which gave incredible insights into what our soldiers and my Great Great Uncle went through.It was incredibly humbling and I don’t know how anyone made it out alive. By the way, working on these war records atm has been great timing. Today, is Armistace Day. 

So, that sums up last week.

How was your week? I hope you’ve had a great one.

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by  Eclectic Ali. We’d love you to pop round and join us.

Best wishes,






12 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share – 11th November, 2019.

  1. tidalscribe

    I wish we could send some or even all of our rain to be dumped on all the terrible bush fires. The Yorkshire floods are terrrible for those whose homes are wrecked, but rather flood than fire, at least you can float out on a rubber dingy.

  2. trentpmcd

    I did think about you when I read that the Sydney area was under threat. I hope the fires stay away from you and that the smoke doesn’t get too bad!

  3. IreneDesign2011

    Send you the best wishes for the weather and hope, no more will be damaged by those fires, Rowena. Wish you lots of rain.
    Your Caramel Nut Tart looks more than delicious 😀
    Is it possible for you to share that recipe?
    Wish you a nice new week.

  4. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Tom. I think they’ve planted a lot of our Australian eucalyptus trees in LA and they have the eucalyptus oil and burn a treat. It’s now just after 1.00pm and so far Sydney is going okay but there are a couple of out of control fires in the state and must be terrifying for people living there. We used to get really bad fires locally here every January and then they stopped and it looks suspiciously like a fire bug to me who must’ve moved away. I did get some awesome photos one year when we managed to get up close not that far from home either. Must dig those out. They were pre-digital. I got a few awesome photos of the sunset yesterday from the front yard. The wires were in the way but with the smoke I didn’t dare drive down to the beach. However, I think the wires add a strange sense of the macabre to them. I’ll be posting them soon. Hope you’ve having a great day. Geoff is working from home and Rosie has deposited her ball beside my laptop. She is actually sitting down but the ears are raised and rather than jabbing me almost aggressively with her paw to throw it (we call her stand-over dog) she is actually sitting down. Make that past tense. I can see duty calls.
    Best wishes,

  5. Rowena Post author

    I will need to rewrite it and disguise it a bit. I like to make the steps a bit clearer. It’ll be a little while. Stay tuned.
    Hope you have a great week too.
    Best wishes,

  6. Rowena Post author

    Not sure if it’s the greatest Aussie export. Grows in very dry and challenging conditions but as you said “burns like crazy”. I have now isolated myself to the loungeroom with the airconditioning on. Went out to make pancakes in the kitchen and the traces of smoke even got to me out there. Thankgoodness for the laptop and Internet and family at home. Dog services also appreciated.

  7. Gary A Wilson

    Hi Rowena. I too have worried about you and your family. The smoke that was both visible from our home and then the next day all around our home just a few weeks ago gave me pause for concern but I also thought of your corner on the other side of the globe and spent a few moments reminding myself that the little I know about you and Geoff is enough for me to know that you will do the wise thing as needed, but still, I hoped for rain or something that would quickly knock down your fires.

    Also – I had to laugh at your FOMO at the used book table. I have been known to act like this in new book stores with text books I had no hope of understanding but they sure looked interesting. We have floor space in our homes only thanks to the development of the humble Kindle. . .

    Be safe my friend, all of you.

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