the outer kingdom and inner dominion…


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It seems a month or so ago when I wrote there was change in the wind, I was correct. The change in the wind has not altogether been the weather. True, we have had an extended winter/spring, but the changes were also born from inner need, and a rash decision…

Our weather here in Alice has been like no one local can recall. We have been here 25 years and it is certainly different than we have experienced. When I started writing this, a few days ago the morning temperature was 3C. Yesterday at the same time, it was 20C. In anyone’s book that is quite a variance. The miraculous result of our ongoing winter/early spring weather is that both the domestic gardens and the bush have made huge strides in recovering from last summer’s plague of giant grasshoppers and heat, followed by the early winter hail storm that pretty well finished things off. That Mother Nature, you can’t beat her and you can’t figure her out!

While the outer kingdom has been busily regenerating, my inner dominion has been a little volcanic. I made a couple of habit decisions a month or so ago. I first decided to start meditating again. To do that I needed to modify my morning routine. For approximately the first three hours I am up, starting at about 4.45am, I am doing self-nurturing things. I begin with meditating for however long the urge moves me, sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes as long as 50 minutes. I then go for a 40 minute walk. I don’t time it, but I have two routes and they both take about that long because that is how much my body will tolerate and still have energy left for other activities as the day progresses.


Desert Pea near Botanic Garden

During the walk I have begun listening to podcasts. I have immersed myself into a new world and I am learning. What is the saying? When you know better, you do better. And that means change. Listening to people who are able to articulate their inner and outer journey is valuable to me. It has reminded me to trust my inner voice, which is so sweet and persistent, compared to the ‘self talk’, ego voice which is mostly berating and negative. I now realise I hear them as two different voices and it’s important to differentiate. It takes some getting used to. The self talk must change…starting with, the crisis of writing confidence I have also been wrestling with. I have been reminded that all great artists, a category to which I do not, nor do I care to, belong, have confidence issues most of their lives. I know my writing is improving all the time, and I’m satisfied with that. It is the subject matter I have been a bit worried over. What do I possibly have to say? And then…at about the same time I was writing this post, I had one of those shower-epiphanies–you know, when you are showering and allow your mind to wander and suddenly it bestows upon you a revelation.

Cue Hallelujah Chorus.

‘What if I see my writing as snapshots of the ordinary, but light-filled, similar to my photographs?’ I can happily live with that. Time will tell if others can happily read that!

So, “Go away negative self-talk, it’s a new day!

Also part of my new morning routine; I am not writing emails first thing, as I have done previously. I am writing ideas. Some might make it to the blog one day, most won’t. After about an hour of writing I allow myself to check emails and answer them. I have to make exceptions to this practice if there are family things going on with our daughter or with my Mum and close friends/family overseas.

img_2459The new routine was going well, though not easily. But that was to be expected. And then… I tried to fix a ‘little’ computer problem that was a result of upgrading my operating system. As these things often do, the ‘fix’ was waaaaay worse than the original problem. I back up everything, always. I knew I would get it all back together eventually, but did not expect it to take 8 days 22 hours and 42 minutes, but who’s counting? Two days into that process, my left arm developed a strange ‘rash’ that I decided must be eczema. I’ve had problems with this in the past, but nothing as nasty as this one, and I’ve always been able to identify what I had eaten that had caused it so that I could avoid the food in future, or eat in limited quantities. This time my efforts were for naught. Finally after a week with no improvement I went to the doctor. He took one look and said ‘If you hadn’t had the Shingles vaccine three years ago, I would say you have Shingles. It is classic looking for that.‘(That’s why he’s the doctor, ahem.) I had a quick flashback to the nurse who administered the vaccine telling my husband and I, ‘The efficacy of this one is only 80%.’ Whether it is hubris or a case of positive thinking, one does not think they will be in the unfortunate 20%. Still, I consider myself very lucky that my experience was not as bad as that of my Grandmother or my Mother-in-law. I’m sure the vaccine* has helped mitigate the more miserable and serious symptoms. 

I can now go back to eating normally, having eliminated a whole swag of foods from my diet for the passed week, and the rash should be healed in two-four weeks.img_2412

So, my friends, life is never dull. If it is, you aren’t doing it right.

(*If you are over 60, I would recommend getting the Herpes Zoster Vaccine. We had to get a script from our doctor, take it to the chemist who ordered it and then we picked it up and took it to our GP, whose nurse administered it. If you have ever seen anyone with normal to serious Shingles, you would not hesitate to do this. It is a very painful and nasty thing to experience. My own was only minor pain the first few days and lots of itching.)

the opposite of darkness…


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Recently I read a blog post about that time of the day when the sun has dipped below the horizon, but it is not quite dark yet. ‘What is that called?’ the author asked the fellowship who follow her blog. ‘Twilight’ my mind thought softly, and I noticed others said the same. Twilight. Ephemeral word and… state of being and… sky to behold. A memory worthy of shivers, recalling the many twilights, both morning and evening, I have seen.


Near Cincinnati, Ohio.

Someone volunteered another word– ‘gloaming’. An old English word kept alive by the Scots, to glorify either end of the day. I couldn’t stay awake late enough for a gloaming photo in July, in Scotland, when the sun would barely set before sunrise again. Shivers shoot up my back with fingers extending across my shoulders at recognition of something I want to remember. Is it a piece to the puzzle of the Universe? I always ask this question. I know that it must be, and yet I have no idea the significance. Perhaps it is just the Universe showing us its majesty.


glowing gloaming at home in Alice

Another contribution offered the French word, ‘le crépuscule’. Wouldn’t you know the French would have a beautiful word too? Again the chills ran up my spine. I found a resource online so that I could be certain of the pronunciation. The Italian word is very similar ‘crepuscolo’ –equally poetic. What a marvel the internet is, when one is enlightened and inspired by it.

It seemed to me this illumination of the Earth’s lower atmosphere fell perfectly into the theme of ‘enlightened,’ inspired by another blogger, Ailsa, who writes about some of the darkness in our world and her efforts to share positivity and love to counter it. See what Ailsa and others have written on the topic here. Join in. Illumination is the opposite of darkness. There is darkness in our world, but we can choose to light the way, if we try. 

Be enlightened.


a tale of two thongs…


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Early one morning I came upon a pair of thongs. They lay in the middle of the footpath, as if someone had just walked out of them, and gone on their way, barefooted. It is not the first time I have discovered homeless thongs. The humour-loving, curious artist in me took a photo. I edited the photo so it would be viewed more as an art work than a photo. I tagged it on Instagram #thongsasart and wondered if anyone would be as amused as I.

They kind of were.


Right and Left Thong, as found.

The next day as I walked by the same place, the pair of thongs had been moved. Not by me. I almost never move anything that I photograph outside. It is kind of my little challenge to myself to photograph things as I find them so that I have to work with the existing light and environment. The thongs now looked as if they were escaping into the tall grass at the side of the footpath. I photographed them again.


Day Two, the great escape…

Day three. Separation of the pair gnawed me with anxiety for their future. It was not good for a pair to be separated. Now there was nearly 30 feet (pardon the pun) between the two. They had lost sight of one another.

Day four. Before setting out for my morning walk, I found myself nervously anticipating what might have happened to the separated thongs. The closer I got, the more wary I became. Grass. Had. Been. Cut. Town Council workers using their big mowing machines would never see the thongs. The pair meant nothing to them. They would take no notice if the blades transformed them into mulch.

I was almost afraid to look. There, in the newly mown grass, was Right Thong, face down. But where was Left Thong? Hesitatingly I stepped slowly into the grassy area, running my eyes along the ground. Something blue was at the base of a small tree. Ah. It was what makes a thong, a thong…the flexible, rubber wishbone that embraces the foot. It lay disembodied from its sole. A metre or so away lay a star emblazened remnant, once part of Left Thong. To its right lay another piece. I felt like a forensic scientist collecting data, though I already knew the truth of Left Thong’s demise.

Day five. You know that feeling of being curious, but not really wanting to know if the outcome is bad? I walked and tried not to look too far ahead, thinking perhaps I should just leave the story to its own conclusion. The podcast I was listening to distracted me, and before I realised, I looked down and there I was next to Right Thong. Right Thong was facing up again. I could see small signs of its ordeal, but it was gently smiling at me–as if to say, ‘it’s okay’. I stopped to photograph the survivor. As I was taking care to focus, a young woman walked by, sending a nervous glance our way.

I said aloud, ‘I know this looks crazy’–as if somehow my saying it, made it less so. We both knew it didn’t.


Day five. Right thong smiling at me.

Inside I thought of the words I’d just heard in my ear. They were by Frank McCourt who wrote the wonderful memoir ‘Angela’s Ashes‘.

[By writing] ‘I learned about the significance of my own insignificant life’

Yes, it was an insignificant thong, the image of which was made by an insignificant artist. But if we are to believe that nothing ever leaves the ethers, those images are forever. Making art makes us human. Being aware of that makes us grateful.

finding beauty…


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Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
                                          -Thomas Merton

Some things are happening. Inside. As of yet, the outcome is not evident, but I know when things are afoot. I find great comfort making images of things outside of me, which reflect the inside of me as well.

Processed with Snapseed.

Standing alone and crooked, this tree surrenders to itself.

As you would have seen many times, the subtitle to my blog is ‘surrender to yourself’. I explained how this came to be and what it means in another post a couple of years ago. It’s a nice post, go ahead and read it if you haven’t. Surrender makes way for new things to come.

Echoing in my mind has been something a friend said to me a few weeks ago ‘go out there and find that beauty’. Thank you F. We just never know the effect, a few words we share might have on someone.

Surrendering sounds easy. It kind of is, and isn’t. Remaining open and letting things go, so that they might be replaced with new challenges and discoveries is scary, exciting, hope-filled, and for me, necessary.

What are you willing to give up, in order to have what you want? -Elizabeth Gilbert

I thought I would post some recent photos so that you will know I have not lost interest or forgotten you. I’m surrendering to my inner voice at the moment. Forgive me if I’m slow to read or respond to your comments. I’m not far away, just a little ray of light, really.

xx A

it’s not over til it’s over…


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Recently I read a blog that retold an old Zen story. The story goes that an old farmer had a series of incidents in his life, each one seeming either very bad, or very good. After each one, his friends either commiserated with him or congratulated him, and each time his response was the same… ‘maybe’. In other words, he wasn’t buying into the outcome, one way or the other, because after each seemingly good outcome, some catastrophe would develop and after each disappointing outcome, something good would come. The story wasn’t over until Life said it was.

When I was 17 and in my last year of high school, we were required to take entrance exams for certain Universities that we wished to attend. I had not realised results could be withheld until it was known the score. My results were sent directly to the one and only University I had chosen to attend. They had a rather high standard for admittance, and I had a lower than expected score on the entrance exam. I was sick the day I took it. Even though my grades were well above average, this exam was crucial. I missed out.

For a while I convinced myself I didn’t care and that I didn’t even want to attend University. And then came a letter. The University had a ‘quota program’ for students who were in the exact position as myself. I would need to bring a portfolio of my work and be interviewed by a staff member of the Fine Art Department, to which I had applied. The drive was several hours away and my dear, supportive Mother delivered me at the appointed time. To say I was nervous might be the understatement of my life to that point. Petrified might be closer to the mark. The interview seemed to go fine but the Professor who interviewed me showed me some of the other portfolios and I could see the competition was of a high standard. Many students had had four years of art in high school and their skills were far beyond mine. Our little school had not even had an art teacher until my final year. To try and get a portfolio together, I had taken two classes at once most of the year, using a free period as extra art time.

After weeks of waiting, the news was good. I was accepted. Years later the professor with whom I had interviewed, told me, often the students who are admitted under the quota program achieved better results than those admitted under normal circumstances. He felt it was because the quota students ‘wanted it more’. Maybe.

On our return trip from a short break in Sydney, Don and I were seated in our respective window and aisle seats in economy, with a seat between us. Because we are very frequent flyers, Qantas will often leave a seat vacant between us, for more comfort. Just after the door had closed and I had fastened my seat belt, I heard the head attendant saying to an elderly woman, you can have either seat 20B or seat 5B. Don and I were in row 5, and yes, you guess correctly, she chose 5B. She was a large woman, not so much overweight, as just tall and wide. She was also not nimble, and the seats are narrow. Seemingly inexperienced with flying, she attempted to climb over me as I was trying to get out of my seat and give her easier access. She didn’t grasp what was happening. Awkward. The attendant, gently took the woman by the arm and pulled her aside to allow me to get out and then for her to get into the middle seat. It was crowded. I adjusted myself, leaning toward the aisle side of my seat, and continued reading. After we took off, an attendant came to assist the woman to the toilet. While she was away, another attendant quickly whisked us out of our seats and into Business Class seats for the duration. Life, as well as the attendant, had seen a different vision for us.

Countless experiences of this nature fill my life. Life knows what it is doing, even if we sometimes don’t. It’s never over, til it’s over.

Processed with Snapseed.

the photo I nearly missed, after the sunset…not over until it’s over

where does the sea of modern media take you?


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Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

I’m not a water person. I’ve tried wading into the sea many times— just in case I’d changed my mind since the last time. I’m a mountain person. Mountains wait for you to come to them, but you can enjoy them from afar too. If you wade into the sea, sooner or later you will find a wave that is larger than you think it is going to be. It may swamp you—knock you off your feet, even, and take you where you don’t want to go. This is not always a bad thing, I know. But this post isn’t about swimming in the sea, it’s about how I avoid being swamped by the deluge of modern media, and use it to inspire.

A few days ago I happened across an article written by James Clear. I’d never heard of him before. Had I not signed up for a curated series of articles through a site called Medium, I would still not have heard of him. The article was titled ‘Forget about setting goals; Focus on this instead’. He talked about goals being the things we want to achieve, but the systems we put in place being the manner by which we achieve them. I liked the clear (pardon pun) way he set out the article and at the end he offered a subscription to a free newsletter he writes; which led me to a free article he had written called ‘Mastering Creativity: A Brief Guide on How to Overcome Creative Blocks’(you have to sign up for his newsletter to get access to this article or I would give you the link). I have been trying to start a new creative practice of drawing for some months now. I’m  getting nowhere. Ok it’s probably because I’m just not drawing much. Ahem. Other areas of creative endeavour are flowing along, some better and some less so, but not the drawing. I thought perhaps reading someone else’s view on the pursuit of creativity might be called for. I liked his simple and direct way of making practical suggestions, most of which were things I have read before, but it never hurts to be reminded again.

James’s article and subsequent information is an example of how I am often led through a logical progression to break up the cobwebs and introduce new thought patterns. You probably have your own ways to use things like Instagram, Twitter and blogs as inspiration. In some cases I deliberately follow accounts I know nothing about. I don’t necessarily want to learn how to do whatever the subject of the feed, but it helps expand my thinking toward what is possible. I follow an Instagram account about sourdough bread baking by a fellow who is an artisan baker in Italy (Insta: ca_mia_breadlab); also an account about extreme knitting by a young woman who uses custom made knitting needles the size of drain pipes (I know!); an Instagram account about a young woman who executes incredible street art; also an artist who draws unusual little characters that are tremendously empathic beings (I’m so infatuated with her work). I also follow a few photographers (this link is for Australian based photographer Leanne Cole, whose work I love and who remains very accessible) that publish images I can relate to and learn from, as well as people who live in other parts of Australia and other countries. It’s a big world out there. What is the point surrounding myself with that which I’m already familiar?

• Twitter – I often see articles of writing that interest me, most recently a book titled ‘We’re All Going to Die’ by Leah Kaminsky—not a grim reaper sort of book, but a book about culture and our experiences and conversations around death.

• Blogs – seem to evolve as friendship as well as inspiration because often the authors write from a very personal viewpoint about things in their lives. I’m more partial to blogs that are well written than I am likely to follow just because they are different. Blog writing is an art of its own. (here is a recent, and very short article with very useful writing tips)

I realised a couple of years ago I needed to curate my social media encounters the way a museum curates works of art, and the way I choose my friends—carefully, meaningfully. If it becomes too much, before long, nothing is special. But that is just me. I am easily stimulated, and equally, easily over-stimulated. I need to follow authors and artists that don’t overwhelm me. Sometimes that means I ‘unfollow’. You may be able to ignore what you don’t want to read, but I have to look at it and digest it before I can accept or reject it and move on. All that functioning and sensory input overwhelms my brain easily.

Processed with Snapseed.

this serene image wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t learned to shoot and edit iPhone photos from iPhone Photography School, all online

It seems to me in today’s world, there are two ways to go (probably more). You can purposefully seek media encounters that inspire you, or you can allow the flooding deluge of it all to carry you hither and yon. I may visit hither and yon one day, but when I do it will be a purposeful journey, taken because the inspiration has led me there and not because I was knocked off my feet and washed upon its shores unexpectedly.

How do you use modern media to inspire you?

(note: the link to the Artisan Baker in Italy is for his airbnb residence where he teaches bread baking; Instagram is where I found, and follow him, if you are so inclined)

a pause for thought…


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There are many things in the world, which I do not understand. And the older I get, the more I realise there are more things that I don’t understand, than that I do understand. And yet, I know I am wiser than ever before in my life.

It is not normal for me to be able to photograph things I don’t understand, so when it happened twice in one week, it gave me pause for thought, and that is why I share it with you.

One morning as I walked I came to the road that I cross. There in the exact middle of the road was a piece of litter. Rubbish. Refuse. Sunlight fell across it, as if to highlight the faux pas. Since I am a light chaser, and there was not a car in sight, it was a shot I could not resist. I actually believe we can highlight inequities more effectively by using beauty than by raging.

the beauty of ungliness

the beauty of ugliness

Litter is possibly number one on my list of things I don’t understand. I know the excuses for it, but none of them are valid reasons, in my experience. The very least we can do to help the earth and to be thoughtful of our environment is take our rubbish with us or deposit it carefully.

The second event happened only a few days after the first one, but in a completely different place, Adelaide in South Australia. We were visiting our daughter and while she was at work and my husband was at the reference library, I was doing shopping errands in the city. As I walked down the Mall I saw a woman bend to give a man, who was begging, an apple. He accepted it and seemed to put it in his pocket.

A short while later I was walking passed the spot again, and saw this…

misunderstood apple

misunderstood apple

The apple. At the time, when I saw the man, something about him had struck me as slightly ‘not quite right’. His beard was a little too well trimmed, his clothes a little bit too clean and tidy. And yet, he was clearly begging. And clearly he was not begging for food. I suppose it is possible he can’t eat apples. I can’t eat raw apples, so I can allow that may be possible. Perhaps my assessment of his appearance was judgemental, thinking that homeless people are all a bit scruffy looking. Perhaps he was being thoughtful and leaving the apple for someone who needed it worse.

Later that same morning I was approached by an elderly man asking for money. Not food. Money. The experience with the first man made me wary of the second one. Not that I usually contribute to street beggars, but it made me wonder. If I gave him money, would he use it for alcohol or drugs or food? Was I being compassionate by refusing—or by donating? How does one know what to do? Soon after, as I passed a mobile coffee and cafe vendor who I believe to be reputable in helping to feed the homeless, I made my contribution to him. Perhaps that was the right thing, perhaps not. How does one know? I have come to believe that it is the intention with which we do these things that matters. Is there compassion and love behind the act?

These are two very different events, most of us have seen many times in our lives. We are confronted with decisions and therefor, actions, or not. After 63 years on this earth, I wish I had gotten beyond my misunderstanding of such commonplace things. But I have not. Share your thoughts with me. Illuminate me.

Boggy Hole…


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In Australian vernacular, this is called a ‘bog roll’. 


bog roll

The photo below is Boggy Hole. No relationship, except that one must occasionally use a bog roll when visiting Boggy Hole, because it is about 2.5 hours out of town, in the middle of everywhere, or nowhere, depending on your perspective.


Boggy Hole

One can get ‘bogged’, which means ‘stuck’, usually in mud, sand or bull dust.

One can get a ‘boggy bog roll’ if you leave your bog roll somewhere to get wet.

And one can do all of the above at Boggy Hole if you aren’t careful.

Happily, we only did one of these things. Can you guess which one?

Boggy Hole is in the Finke Gorge National Park and it is not easy to get to. It is rated medium to high difficulty for 4 wheel drive vehicles and it is every bit of that. Three vehicles of us, nine persons altogether, decided to have a day out and enjoy our gorgeous landscape before the heat of summer sets in. These photos are not indicative of how rough much of the terrain was, but you can’t take photos inside a vehicle that is bouncing from wheel to wheel and back again.

On the way I was mentally snapping photo after photo, because, of course, when you are traveling with a group you cannot stop everyone so that you can take a photo. More’s the pity. Fortunately for me, we did have a couple of ‘pit stops’ and a flat tyre, as well as a challenging bit of landscape, that slowed us down and gave me a chance to take a few extra photos. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful to me.

Once we arrived at Boggy Hole, we all broke out our various contributions of food and drink and settled in for a few hours of chin wagging…and photo snapping. In the distance we could see some large birds on the water, among them Pelicans, Jabiru (large cranes), a couple of Darters, and some Black Swans. We all wondered how these water birds found their way to this remote place. But that is Nature for you–full of mysteries. Unfortunately they were too far away for me to get meaningful photos, and they scattered as soon as we got within any kind of decent range. There were quite a few dark cygnets swimming along with the larger Black Swan, very cute, of course. Did you know that Black Swans are indigenous to Australia? They are only seen worldwide because they have been sent, as novelties, and then bred afterward.

The walking was taxing, lots of deep sand and many rocks and deep weeds to navigate through. Between that and the tumbling action of the vehicle on the rough terrain, my body feels like the day after a first session of new exercise. But I can assure you, it was well worth the effort. It was one of those perfect weather/companion/scenery days that we will look back on in 20 years and smile…perhaps, while using some bog roll.


On the way to/from Boggy Hole, a ‘necessary pause’ allowed this photo

the gold and the ring…



I have just successfully completed the final hurdle in the track and field event that was the transferring of our internet account to the new National Broadband Network.

I think.

To be perfectly honest, it has been a tedious week at times, but at the moment I am standing on the dais accepting my gold medal for installing our NBN modem and net phone and having everything operational. Advance Australia Fair!

About a week ago I got the news that the replacement skylights for the ones smashed during the hail storm had arrived.


We are still waiting for the second lot to arrive. Immediately following that news I managed to lose my reading glasses out of a pocket on my morning walk. I found what was left of them.


what was left of my glasses

Also smashed.

Apprehensive that there was an unfortunate pattern developing, I was greatly relieved when I was able to get into the optometrist the next day and order new glasses. I’m waiting for those to arrive–hopefully not smashed.

The day after the glasses incident we had an appointment with our tax agent. We have never resented paying taxes because we know if we hadn’t made the money in the first place there would be no tax to pay. Yes, occasionally we’d like to see it better spent, but that’s a separate issue. It took both of us about two hours each to get all the details and receipts together for this appointment and so far we have not heard from the agent that we have forgotten anything. Could there be another gold medal in the offing?

And just when we were feeling like the week was a bit of a slog, here came a FaceTime chat from our daughter and boyfriend in Greece.

💕’We are engaged to be married’💕

Boyfriend surprised her with a ring in the bottom of a wine glass while overlooking the sea, from a cliff top wine bar on Santorini. Could it be any more romantic? We are very happy for them, and for all of us. Daughter and Boyfriend have been together for 4.5 years, having met two weeks after she moved to Adelaide and having moved in together only a few weeks later. When love happens, it seems it is obvious, at least in our family. Hubby and I spent only 6 weeks together before becoming engaged so we kind of know how it can happen. We enjoy the future in-laws and of course our son-in-law-to-be and look forward to the future together.

The next day we celebrated with a beautiful walk at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, something we have been meaning to do for years. And then we were back to seeming like we weren’t quite clearing the hurdles again. There was the morning I sat on the toilet and ‘mid-stream’ noticed a very large spider next to me. There was a worrying message from family, flaring of arthritis, and things seemed back to normal.

At times Life feels like preparation for the Olympics. We train and practice and drag ourselves back from defeat and frustration, time after time. And then we have a win. We have a win that makes the rest of it seem worthwhile, or at least tolerable. I’ll accept the gold for the technical win, but the real win, of course, is seeing someone I love accepting the ring.


our little girl

the euphoria of bread and butter pudding…


I don’t make many cakes or desserts or slices because we would just eat them. But once or twice in the winter I make bread and butter pudding. In recent years I made it just for Him because I didn’t like the gluten free version and I couldn’t eat the wheat version. But now that I am able to eat my own sourdough spelt bread, I thought it was high time to revisit this favourite of ours.

It is a comfort food that goes waaaay back to the days when people could ill afford the many sweet treats we now lavish upon ourselves, often to detriment. Historians have traced it back to the 11th and 12th centuries in England, then called ‘poor man’s pudding’. My husband would disagree with the idea that good bread and butter pudding is anything but the highest culinary accomplishment, be it for rich or poor man. He goes to his ‘happy place’ when I make this bread and butter pudding. Such is his euphoria, he seems to struggle to find enough ways to express his joy, each complement greater than the last. This time he declared “You could feed this to anyone and they would love it”. Well, of course that’s not true, there are plenty of people who won’t or can’t eat something like this. But if you can, and will, I recommend it.

fresh from the oven in the early evening light

fresh from the oven in the early evening light

Ardys’s Bread and Butter Pudding

8 thick, or 10 thin slices good, but stale, bread (I use my homemade spelt sourdough here)

Approx. 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened to room temp., or spreadable consistency

weight or push the slices down into the liquid

weight or push the slices down into the liquid

Approx. 1/3 C sultanas (raisins)

Approx. 1/2 C apricot jam

2 C whole milk

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla essence (extract)

1/2 C sugar

Butter all slices of bread on both sides. Then spread the apricot jam on one side only of each slice. Butter sides and bottom of a deep casserole (about 2 quart).  Place one layer of bread into bottom, sprinkle with 1/2 the sultanas.  Place another layer of buttered bread on top and repeat the layering.  Add a third layer of buttered/jam bread for the final layer. 

Mix together the milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar, stirring well to combine, then pour over the bread layers.  Let this sit for 45 minutes or longer, during which time you can weight the bread down into the liquid, or press it down with the back of a spoon a few times. Make sure all edges are soaked so they don’t burn when baking.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 185 C, (375 F).  Bake for about 50 minutes, or until golden on top and knife comes out clean when inserted into centre of pudding.  Serve warm topped with more milk, cream or ice cream, or enjoy on its own.

Serves: 6-8

(The recipe can also be found under the heading of Breads/Baked Goods)

the proof of the pudding...

the proof of the pudding…