Monday, December 5, 2011

a week in photos...

Despite being home a couple of weeks or so now things are not yet settled into any kind of normal routine. If I thought there'd be plenty of time for online visiting I was wrong!

Last week I was consumed by trying to write up my trip for both a report I have to do and for my next E-newsletter. Emails have been coming in that are really interesting and I've not yet had time to get back to some of them which, fortunately, don't require immediate response.

So what have I been up to?

Coming home one night I drove by this tree laden with paper lanterns in the church grounds in Racecourse Rd. Its such a beautiful tree and its in blossom now...  the branches spread out horizontally and if you look closely you will see children running under the tree.

This is a similar tree I saw next day in a nearby street... an introduced species the Poinsiana is so colourful when in blossom. It feels like Xmas is near when the red and green are this vibrant. My neighbourhood has so many of these trees.

With all that time on the computer writing I am relishing the fact I am not stuck in one place since getting a lap-top. Last week was a search for places with wifi to spend the hours... and of course an old favourite destination is the State Library.

The cafe at the base of the Library is a great space with those comfy big chairs ands breeze coming off the river.

Only problem was the day I was there I soon realised the breeze was more like a gale which seemed to have blown away any humidity and most other customers. I retired indoors. The rain soon came!

This upstairs room is a glass sanctuary added on to the side of the Media room. The u-shaped lounge area has individual reading lamps which you can adjust ... its not unusual to see people snoozing here or at least getting very comfortable. I loved the fact you could sit and watch the rain falling on the glass roof.

I parked my chair at a small table here and was tapping away on my newsletter which is still not quite finished. Its taken a lot of writing to get the entire trip down and then the work of culling had to begin in order to make it readable. That's taking the longest time.

The weekend thankfully was taken up with quite different tasks... catching up with friends... a birthday celebration, market shopping.

Last night I created a long table out the back in the garden at home to bring together a few people I wished to thank who'd played a crucial role in getting my trip off the ground. I could have easily created a table for many more who were gracious contributers, however, I decided being so out of practice with catering I'd best have modest aims and so several key people, partners and family sat together in the wonderful evening outside enjoying each others company.

I shopped at nearby markets and took out my Ottolenghi cookbook 'Plenty' which I referenced but ran out of time to follow recipes too closely.

Out of practice is right... I forgot you need some stamina to cook up a storm. My mother, bless her, helped out... making a fabulous big nectarine cake from a much loved polish friend Krysia's repertoire... Krysia recently passed away, well in her nineties, and she would have so loved this dinner. In her memory we made her recipe, substituting blood plums, which are available around january if you are lucky, for nectarines. It was delicious even if the blood plums are unbeatable really because of the stunning colour which stains the cake as it bubbles up in the cooking!

 Not a great photo! But actually for me it does capture something of the warmth that was present at this table.

At the end of the night... a few of us sat up late and talked .... the evening was so mild and pleasant. I took a shot of the table at the end of the night My brother had strung the light over the table which was just the best thing ever. One of those odd xmas lights he found that day and thought...what the heck...we'll see how it goes!
It was sublime in that it glowed, you could see each other but it was quite ambient. I rather liked this shot at the end as a reminder of all the conversations that lingered in the air. Halfway through dinner an owl had come and perched on top of the nearby clothesline...  contentedly watching over us. Every night it comes... keeping the possums away ... stopping them from eating the contents of the garden!

This morning I took great pleasure in opening a gift that kind friend Marilena had brought along for me. She makes gift giving an art-form... i should take note. My creative energies are generally put elsewhere!

Seeds in various forms... spice mixes and Massala chai tea she'd made herself... so fresh the aroma was amazing! She packaged seeds with small labels for growing. There was a wonderful seed-bead necklace and spicy tomato jam she'd made. A handmade card and envelope and the Indian spice set with recipe booklet.

The beads on the envelope sewn from recycled paper

Massala chai tea mix on a handmade ceramic plate I bought in London

Seeds she packed into these hand sewn envelopes.

Well, tomorrow I hope to finally get the new E-newsletter out. Stay tuned if you want to read an overview of the trip for the link to the e-newsletter.

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend and life is treating you well!
Sophie xx


Carole said...

So much to see and say but I will cut down to this:
your friends and family look happy to be celebrating with you and I LOVE you library!

La Dolce Vita said...

what a great post Sophie... isn't it wonderful that our own simple life ... when shared with others can seem so exotic and magnificent when shared with others?
from your lanterns to your "Christmas Trees" I felt transported magically to your wonderful world... xx

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Wow Sophie, you have a lot going on....what a lovely tree, what a lovely dinner party.... love the little packets of seeds & your new seed necklace.... welcome home, Sophie!!

Anonymous said...


I adore eating outside. So Romantic! Of course, we are heading into Winter here so it would involve heavy coats and mittens but...that can be fun too.

Loved your images of home. Do you feel like you are getting re-settled and re-aquainted?

Happy Week lady!

Sophie Munns said...

you would love the endless niches and things to discover in the library if you liked this! Thanks for your lovely words,

you are so right ... everyday life can be full of moments that appear magical when captured and savoured. Thanks for visiting and leaving this fine thought!

thought of thou on the weekend when I met someone who has an apartment in a french village where they spend 4 months a year... hearing her talk made me thing about your time there.
Thanks you for your warm message!

Everyone here commented how magnificent the evening was ... it can be far too humid, mosquitos going nuts, etc Its been windy since,and rainy... so we were enchanted by our good fortune. Even The moon was up, but no stars ... too cloudy!

I think writing that newsletter last week transported me back to the UK ...left me feeling displaced in the end... why it helped to do practical things on the weekend.
The trip was just long enough to really shift my sense of things... still working that through!
A good week to you too!

Velma said...

i love those library pictures. in fact, i love many libraries...this was brought home to me last summer when i walked into a university library in seattle, and felt at HOME, instantly. but to sit with work with rain over and around you, how you must have felt nourished and peaceful.

Mlle Paradis said...

welcome home again - looks like you're settling in nicely!

Robyn said...

so much beauty and love being shared here...
I love all the images you put on your blogs Sophie... they're very inspiring.
You are a wonderful artist!

Maggie Neale said...

Sophie, was just thinking how I missed visiting with you and what a lovely post to visit! Loved the paper lanterns and the dinner party scene, so warm and gathered. Love the seed packets and the chai tea...will have to look up rosella. Your post a gift! be well and know that you touch others with your work.

em said...

ok, i really want to see those trees someday! how enchanting with the children running under the paper lanterns. i hung balls from one of my trees outside, but haven't photographed it yet...

and the food is scrumptious, as are the seeds... my thoughts are already turning to seeds and what to grow next spring... glad you are back!