Well, well, well – just when you thought I’d dropped off the twig!

Hello y’all. It’s crazy I know – I’ve let MONTHS pass and not a word has been writ on this here blog site. I have, you’ll be pleased to know (or not, you might be furiously BORED to know) that I have instead been working on another blog site. An eponymous one – which is to say, it’s named after me. Henrietta.co. I’m not generally referred to as Henrietta.co, but you get the picture I’m sure. www.henrietta.co – not com! Anyhow… that other blog site, that mistress of mine that has got between us, is all about a whole other world of ramblings on life, the universe and everything, but most importantly, it is where I have been publishing my short stories, The Teaspoon Chronicles. I have been rolling them out at the rate of one per week, every Tuesday, for each week of summer, and for those not good at maths, I will publish #8 tomorrow. The series are all there on the site, so you’re welcome to hop across and read them and to let me know what you think! I do LOVE a bit of feedback from others – not JUST my loving mother, who thinks I’m the next J K Rowling. This is the logo for the series, but you’ll find them all under the short stories tab. But hang on a sec, read the rest of this one first!! SoCo Farm is now pretty much complete, at least it’s complete enough for it to be on the rental market. That is, unless some renters are livestock and require the lower fences to be replaced... read more

Bonfire of Insanities…

Tell me you missed me. I missed me!! You must all be thinking I dropped off the perch and you’d be right, I did. But I did for a good reason and now I’m back and I’ve got some news for y’all. You know how I keep going on about how I don’t know what kind of a blogger I really am? Travel? Lifestyle? Farmer? General Guru on anything and nothing?… Well, I’ve decided to formalise my undecidedness by starting a new website that doesn’t pretend to be just the one thing. And you know what I’ve called it? www.henrietta.co I’m not just the one thing – I like to be all over the shop. So now when you want to read farm stuff, that’s all that SoCoFarm.com will be about and the rest of my ramblings will spill over onto my other site. It’s almost ready. When it is properly ready (ie, when I finish doing what the queen of all things internet, Jenna Black, has told me to do so that she can fire it up), you will be the first to know and you can, if you so choose, subscribe to the site in addition to SoCo. I hope you do. I hope you don’t just abandon me out there in cyberspace talking only to myself because let’s face it, that would be embarrassing. And lonely. And who said tragic?? The new site will be a combination of blog posts, commentary, and some more creative stuff to tickle your fancy, should you require any fancy tickling. In particular, I have been working on a collection of... read more

Me and my Big Foot

The King of Terrors enlivened some interesting engagement last week – which is what you’d sort of expect, given that comforting cliche about death and taxes… HowEVER…. I find the whole realm of fear fascinating, kingly or not so kingly. So I’m going to tell you about a really scary thing that happened this week. No one had to die, nearly die, or be going to die in the making of this blog post, I hasten to add, though a morbid fear of all of the above did at times, grip me. Remember when I told you about Coolangatta Mountain? The mild HILL I can see from my kitchen window at SoCo? Well, I have a few apologies to make. My first apology is to Conrad Martens, a highly regarded colonial artist who’s depiction of the HILL looked like a serious case of poetic license. Seriously, I thought the guy must have been on drugs.   The second apology is to all Australians past and present, for my rudeness about how you guys wouldn’t know a mountain if you tripped over one, even if it sits your kitchen window sill. And my third apology is to Coolangatta Mountain itself. To all, I beg most humble pardon. Why the grovelling? Because yesterday, I went up that hill in a truck called Big Foot and it scared the freaking hell out of me.   Now my husband and children will be quick to tell you, should you feel inclined to ask, that it is not often I am wrong. I’m a bit like The Fonz in Happy Days, really cool and... read more

Winter is coming….

Is that June I hear knocking at the door?? Is 2015 half spent??? Is the darkness coming??? You know, it’s quite a curious thing that just when you start bleating about how time is cheating you out of a happy, relaxed life, and how can the year already be half over, and God I miss summer…. stuff can happen that makes you actually feel pretty blessed that it is rainy and cold, and that it’s nearly June, and that you’re alive and kicking. I have had three such things happen to me this week. I’ll do this chronologically. As some of you may already know, Mothers Day didn’t end well for a certain member of my family. We’d had a beautiful picnic up at Leura Cascades in the Blue Mountains (biting, cyclonic wind aside, oh how we prevailed), and following a warming hot chocolate at the groovy little Leura Garage cafe later in the afternoon, we then sallied forth on our two and a half hour drive home. The road was a car park. Good thing it wasn’t Husband’s Day, as I did not listen to a word of complaint about the traffic and ‘why do we have to do this every year’? It was MY day, and our tradition is that my beautiful children make a gourmet picnic and we take the scrabble, a rugby ball, and other assorted amusements, like wine, and we stretch out on picnic blankets in what has to be one of Sydney’s prettiest parks. Autumn’s golden parade flutters winsome against a backdrop of stoic green native bush, and the mountain air is brittle... read more

Shifting focus, and other ambitions

And so another week has fled the scene and left May in its wake. How did that happen?? I’m glad you liked my big reveal and I’m even more glad that no-one gave me a hard time about my cross obsession. One dear friend commented that she is the opposite to me – she cannot have a cross anywhere near her. Now if you didn’t know this lovely friend of mine, you might wonder if she was a vampire – or is it garlic vampires hate? Either way, I totally respect a contrary view to mine and I love love love it when people do feel inclined to comment. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Thank you gorgeous Jane and others who sent me messages! On the subject of warm and fuzzy, I want to broach the delicate topic of technology as a way in to this week’s post. That’s because there is an exhibition on right now at the Art Gallery of NSW that you shouldn’t miss – The Photograph and Australia. For people like me, it’s very reassuring that the bulk of the exhibition is made up of shots taken over a one hundred and fifty year span, with often nothing grander than a simple box brownie. Why is it reassuring, you may ask… Well, because it’s nice to know that old technology is still viable. It means I am still viable. I may not know how to take a daguerrotype, but neither will any of my children and at least I know what one is and how to spell it. Trump. Problem is, I... read more

The Cross Lady

I spent the first three posts this year posing as a travel blog, and had intended the next three being a history of Berry blog. UNTIL…. my very clever and savvy daughter pointed this out to me. ‘You’re not a history blog, Mum. People get sick of history!’ Well. That there just took the wind out of my sails – I was Endeavouring to enliven the story of our past for the purpose of Enlightening the likes of exactly her! What is the youth of today coming to? ‘Well, what do you think I should write about this week’ I enquired of my bloguru. ‘Easter, Mum! ’. ‘I thought I wasn’t allowed to ‘do’ another history blog – Easter was LAST MONTH!’ With the website being down, I’ve got all out of whack, but that hardly explains India’s suggestion. I had however, prepared a blog post with an Easter theme and at the risk of losing all of you right here right now, I’ve done an edit job so as A. not to waste it, B. not to waste the bloguru, and C. because it’s a nice foreword to my great reveal – that I’m The Cross Lady. So let’s get on with Easter…. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking how absolutely bizarre it is that at this time of year, when we commemorate the pretty gruesome murder of and consequent resurrection of someone we culturally believe to be the son of God, we give each other brightly wrapped chocolate eggs reportedly delivered by a beneficent bunny. On the surface of things, every bit of that situation is discombobulating (such... read more

Autumn tales of the Shoalhaven Incubus…

Autumn. The 19th century poet John Keats called it the ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, which pretty much nails it for me. Mellow fruitfulness sounds so mouth watering and makes me think of plump pumpkins and slow roasted lamb and a Central Otago pinot…. And as for the mists, Berry does good mists. Actually, I do good mists too, especially after a good Central Otago pinot. Far now from the maddening crowds of a January USA, let’s go back to that south coast idyl – beautiful Berry. Everyone loves it, everyone tells me every time I say we have a farm there. “Oh, I love Berry!” But how many people know anything about its history? You know, there are a few parallels with Aspen that have made themselves clear to me in doing the research for this post. I know, no snow, more’s the pity, and no snow bunnies, or Zadig and Voltaire shops for them to shop in, no ‘the beautiful people’ jet set and their paparazzi entourage. But from its modest beginnings as a timber town, Berry, like Aspen, has in more recent years, turned from timber to tourism to turn a dollar. And, like Aspen, you need a dollar, if you want to buy land here. But like I said, Berry’s beginnings, too, were humble. That is, apart from a pretty un-humble guy called Alexander Berry, after whom the town is named. He and his brother David, that is. So who was this dude, Alexander Berry? I can tell you, reports about him differ, but the general gist is that he was a bit of... read more

Cruising California in juggernaut Hank

Last week away, then we’re back to business SoCo. I didn’t post last week because I was away – not sure if you’ll want to hear about that particular week of clean living. Nothing fun happens when you’re deprived of coffee, tea and wine. Mostly because you’re in bed snoring by 8pm. Yup, thought you’d be bored. I was in two minds about leaving Aspen – I loved it, but there is always an overwhelming sense of gratitude I feel when a ski holiday comes to an end and none of my family do. Come to an end, I mean. To intensify this, on our last night, Hugh and Emma showed me a photo of where they had been that day. They handed me a phone to look at the photo. After screwing up my whole face, like I was in the teeth of a blizzard, to try to see the damn thing – and failing to distinguish the photo from my own hand, I had to capitulate and go and find my glasses. Intuitively, I knew that whatever these two madcaps were wanting to share with me, it was going to be big. And it was. As the thrill of their day crossed from the phone to my eyes to my consciousness, the bags started packing themselves. This is the photo. “back country risks include death’. I figured that if Hugh and Emma had found their way to the back country to dice with death and I hadn’t known that that’s where they were – then it was time to leave before I killed them. So off we... read more

Aspen – the Panic revisited.

Week three of travel bragging – you up for it? I hope so – ‘cause this time it’s Aspen. Aspen. Playground for 1. rich-bastards, 2. Australians and 3. rich-bastard-Australians. Heaps in all three categories. If I was worried about the cultural experience my children would miss out on traveling in the US, I didn’t worry enough. I mean, half the bloody neighbourhood was there. In fact, apart from the dulcet tones of a few kiwis (don’t worry – it’s no Bondi), the dominant accent one hears in this tiny town is none other than the dinky-di. We flew in to Denver from Washington, and spent the next four hours of our lives watching the Colorado landscape whizz by the windows of our mini bus transfer to Aspen. Yuck, you might spontaneously say out loud. But you must understand, I am known to be a nervous (did I say neurotic?) nellie when it comes to small planes, and will avoid avoid avoid wherever possible. In fact, when they invent a bus road from Australia to Europe, I’ll be on the inaugural trip. Front seat. However lame that seems, you may remember that there was a fatal air crash at Aspen airport in January 2013. I remember it well because it was the day one of our kids was due to fly in from LA to have a week on the slopes before heading home from a US uni exchange. How does a mother take that news? She does not. India wisely followed my strident instructions, flying instead to Grand Junction from where she caught a bus up the mountain. And... read more