Paradise has a name ... Riverbend


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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

And surely you will have your pint!

And surely I'll have mine!

And we'll take a cup of kindess yet,

For auld lang syne!

We two have run about the hills

And pulled the daisies fine,

But we've wandered many a weary foot

Since auld lang syne.

We two have waded in the stream

From morning sun till dine,

But seas between us broad have roared

Since auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty friend!

And give a hand of thine!

And we'll take a right large goodwill draught,

For auld lang syne.

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Did the light in the fridge turn off after the door was closed?

Yes! And not only did the light turn off, but the ketchup was dancing with the cheese. The fridge in our guest cottage went one better: it turned off completely! No light, no ice, no cold! And our guests had just arrived with bags full of groceries and bottles of beer and wine and other goodies!

What to do? A call-out by a tradesman on a Public Holiday would probably cost more than a new fridge. So we drove down to the Bay and visited K-Mart where we found a nice little 112-litre bar-fridge which at a height of 850mm would fit nicely alongside the cottage's kitchen counter. Another swipe of the old credit card and $189 later we bundled the new fridge on top of the roof-rack for a slow and agonising 8-km trip back up to Nelligen.

We drove at walking pace with me doing a Mr Bean and holding on to the strap that tied the fridge to the roof-rack. Of course, we incurred the ire of every wannabe Grand Prix driver behind us! Judging by the tooting of horns and digital gestures, Christmas and the spirit of Christmas is well and truly behind us! Get ready for another year of dog-eat-dog!

Monday, December 14, 2009

We wish you all a safe and happy Christmas!

There is so much more to Christmas than presents to each other, cooking large and heavy meals, opening bottles of good wine and enjoying festivities. It is a great deal more! I know that Charles Dickens is regarded as a sentimentalist. Well, we can do with a little sentiment in these days when men's minds are turning perpetually towards destroying everything and if possible everybody! There is one book written by Charles Dickens which I read every year: The Christmas Carol.

Listen to the unrefined, unenlightened Scrooge talking. He is speaking to his nephew, a pleasant cheerful fellow, possessing a warm heart, and loving life. He came to wish his uncle a "Merry Christmas".

Scrooge mounts his hobby-horse and says: "What's Christmas time to you, but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!"

That is Ebenezer Scrooge, and that is how a good many people talk these days, though they may use different words.

"Christmas! Sentimental twaddle! Wasting money on silly cards smothered in robins and holly. It's so childish! Spending money which you cannot afford on trifles. A merry Christmas, why not a Merry Monday or a Merry Bank Holiday! Pah!"

Here is the answer which his nephew gave Scrooge:

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I am sure that I have always thought of Christmas time when it has come round ... as a good time - a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers ... and not another race of creatures. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket I believe that it HAS done me good, and WILL do me good, and I say, God bless it."

That young man was right, he was right in 1852, and he is right today. There is just - something - about Christmas. The Church has other great festivals, and each one brings its own particular message, Christmas holds the beginning of the very foundations of the Christian religion, no matter which sect you may belong to and whose teachings and forms you may follow.

They're all "simple" teachings: to be kind, forgiving, charitable, and pleasant. To set aside Christmas as a time for friendliness and brotherhood. We may not observe all those things for very long, we may forget them on the morning of Boxing Day, but if we have felt them for one day in the year - well, that is something.

So on Christmas Day when you hear that grandest and most triumphant of all hymns, no matter whether you hear it rolling out of a great organ in some vast cathedral, played on a wheezy instrument in some small village church, or even on the radio or on a record, let the full magnificence of the Adeste Fidelis be an actual demand! "Come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!" and be joyful, and open your hearts and - enjoy yourself, and have a Merry Christmas.

Peter & Padma & Malty & Rover
and the Possum in his Possum Penthouse, the resident kangaroo, the almost-tame kookaburra, and all other creatures great and small.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Long may she rain!

My scientifically calibrated rain gauge tells me there has been a lot of rain during the night! At least the width of four strips of planking! No wonder all the watertanks are full to overflowing. How do you figure out how much rain it takes to fill a 22,500-litre tank? Easy! Go to your nearest hardware store, buy yourself a long ladder, lean it against your house, climb onto the roof and measure its * area. Then apply the following formula: 1 mm of rain collected over an area of 1 m² gives you 1 litre of water! If you have a very tiny house with just 1 m² of roof area, you'd be hoping for 22,500 mm of rain. Conversely, if you live in a huge house with a 22,500 m² roof, just 1 mm of rain will do the same. As will do any number of permutations between the two. With all those figures spinning in your head, just make sure you don't fall off the ladder as you make your way back down again.

* some of you may want to measure it's area but I won't be drawn on this; after all, it's Christmas time, the time of grammatical peace and goodwill.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Coming home

There's no place like home especially when home is "Riverbend" on the beautiful Clyde River.

„Willst du immer weiter schweifen? Sieh, das Gute liegt so nah. Lerne nur das Glück ergreifen: Denn das Glück ist immer da.“

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. ~ * ~ As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. ~ * ~ Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. ~ * ~ Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. ~ * ~ If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. ~ * ~ Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. ~ * ~ Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. ~ * ~ Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. ~ * ~ Be not blind to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. ~ * ~ Be yourself. ~ * ~ Especially, do not feign affection, neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, love is perennial as the grass. ~ * ~ Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. ~ * ~ Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. ~ * ~ Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings, as many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. ~ * ~ Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. ~ * ~ You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and stars; you have a right to be here. ~ * ~ And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding, as it should. ~ * ~ Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. ~ * ~ And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. ~ * ~ With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is a beautiful world. ~ * ~ Be cheerful. ~ * ~ Strive to be happy.

~ Max Ehrmann, 1927

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Life at "Riverbend"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wenn erst der Abend kommt

Friday, July 3, 2009

I talk to the trees ...

I am lying under a tree enjoying the late-afternoon sun of a warmish winter's day. I like trees. They seem more resigned to the way they have to live than I am. Perhaps I ought to talk to them more often.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

There's nothing like a piece of hot damper on a cold night

This is a traditional Australian bread baked in the coals of an open fire or in a Dutch Oven (huge lidded cast iron pot) but nowadays we bake it in a normal oven. Of course there are as many variations as there are days in the year but the basic recipe is as follow:


4 cups self-raising flour
3/4 - 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water


1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and mix in the sugar.

2. Rub in the butter with your (clean) hands until a fine breadcrumb texture is achieved.

3. Form a well in the top of the flour, pour in the milk and water, and mix well with a knife until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl.

4. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and silky, like a baby's bottom.

5. Shape into a mounded loaf, (some people cut a deep cross in the top) and bake in a preheated oven, 200 c / 400 F, for 25 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 180 c / 375 f and cook a further 10 - 15 minutes until done. The loaf should be a light golden brown colour and sound hollow when tapped.

6. If you are "game", try cooking it on a camp fire; nothing beats that extra smoky flavour, especially using Australian Eucalyptus wood to give it that special something. If you are cooking in an oven at home, try putting a few gum leaves in the oven to smoke as you are cooking the bread.

Damper is very similar to Irish Soda Bread, and probably developed from recipes brought over by Irish immigrants/convicts.

Variations of the basic recipe are seemingly endless, but you could try substituting other liquids, such as beer for a darker colour/flavour, or varying the ratio of milk to water, and so on. Try adding more sugar and butter and some dried fruits for a dessert damper. Basically, use your imagination.

If you are cooking on an open fire, you could try wrapping the dough in aluminium foil before you place it in the coals, or even try wrapping the dough around a stick and cooking suspended over the flames.

Damper is traditionally accompanied by good ol' Billy tea but why not try a heart-warming "Glühwein"?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bonjour Tristesse

There is something both sad and reassuring about autumn: sadness that another summer has passed and reassurance that this is all part of the predictable cycle of nature and that summer will return.

Autumn invites us to reflect on life and reminds us that time is not standing still. It's a muffled cry of 'CARPE DIEM'

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Counting our blessings!

We've just returned from an overnight trip to Canberra and are back at "Riverbend" and counting our blessings to live in this beautiful and peaceful place.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hot cup of tea and a cool morning

Early-morning magic at "Riverbend". There is no better time in the day than early morning to fully experience the peacefulness of this very special place. Life is stripped back to its basics: simply being and breathing!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Batemans Bay Bowling Club luncheon

If it's Tuesday, it must be lunch at the Bay Bowlo! We always combine my Tuesday morning's volunteer work at the Coastal Patrol with lunch at the bowling club. Good value at $6.50 with a choice of at least eight different dishes: lamb's fry with mashed potato (my favourite!), fish 'n' chips, bangers and mash, some casserole, shepherd's pie, quiche, the ocassional mixed grill, and others. Washed down with a glass of riesling and the world begins to look a whole lot better!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another Sunday too far away

Sunday almost gone and another Sunday too far away! It was a perfect autumn day: full of sunshine and deep blue skies.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Autumn has come to "Riverbend"

Cool nights but during the day deep-blue skies and a mild, warming sun. Many regard this as the best time of year.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lunchtime "Invasion"

The MERINDA has just arrived in Nelligen and disgorged its tourists for their 1/2-hour stopover after which the village will return to its somnambulic state. The cruise, which leaves Batemans Bay at 11 am, takes three hours to Nelligen and back to Batemans Bay, and costs $27 for adults and $14 for children.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The many moods of the river

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Quiet Sunday morning

Padma was preparing breakfast and I was sitting here in quiet reverie when there was a sudden knock at the door. "Anybody home?" Visitors at "Riverbend"? Whatever happened to our cunningly arranged defences against the outside world such as creaky gates and puddles and fallen branches on the road? One always thinks of Jehovah's Witnesses at such moments but looking through the screendoor were two smiling faces. No witnesses to Jehovah, these two. They were Diane and Jack from Nowra, inquiring about accommodation at "Riverbend Cottage". They had just spent the night at a B & B in the village and wanted something a lot quieter for their next visit to the Clyde. Welcome to "Riverbend" where there's so much peace you can carry it in a bucket!

Oyster Farmer

We live on the Clyde River which is famous for its fantastic oysters. More fantastic even than the oysters on the Hawkesbury River. They haven't made a film about it yet but they made one about the life of the oyster farmers on the Hawkesbury. We've just watched it and it's a great Australian romantic comedy - with typical Australian black humour - about love and life on the Hawkesbury River. The little river communities, the oyster farmers with their long-held traditions, and the Vietnam vets who have formed a kind of isolated commune are beautifully evoked in an affectionate examination of unusual lifestyles.

The movie is wonderfully relaxing and visually appealing, even with the shots of the very sub-standard accommodation that many of the oyster farmers endure. Some of the images are just so peaceful and moving that it's a shame some of them have to end to make way for the next scene - early morning on the river is a classic example of this.

"Oyster Farmer" is a revelation. It is warm, humourous, engaging and most of all, totally believable and very rewarding. Bring on the oysters!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Is it that time of year again?

Well, we've just had our first inquiry for Christmas! Is it getting that close to it already? We haven't even had our winter yet which here on the river is one of the most beautiful seasons. Deliciously cool nights, rolling mists on the river in the morning, and warm days with big blue skies. And above it all the silence of the river ...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another peaceful morning ...

... at Riverbend Cottage. It's been a quiet start to the new year which is just the way we like it! The occasional visitor brightens up our day and the daily tourist-boat on its way up to the landing at Nelligen reminds us that there is still another world out there. If you're thinking of a holiday at the coast, this may well be the best time as it's no longer too hot and yet still warm enough to enjoy the water.

We wish you well in the new year and perhaps we'll see you soon?
Peter & Padma and the two K9s
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