Soup season has begun !

No anxieties about making soup ! I shoulda been doing more of this, as I have several thousand soup recipes. Well, OK, several then ..

Broad Bean, Pea and Rice Soup


  • 2 shallots finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen broad beans
  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • ¾ cup long grain rice
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • seasoning to taste


  • In a large saucepan sauté the spring onion and garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes
  • Throw in the oregano, peas, broad beans and seasoning. Mix well and cook for 5—8 minutes, until the beans take on a little colour
  • Add the vegetable stock and stir; bring to a boil, add the rice then cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Place the baby spinach on top of the soup and let it simmer until it wilts
  • Do your best to get it into the bowls with the spinach still on  the top
  • Serve with crusty bread

My very dear friend the-Goanna-up-in-Sydney (where I lived for 41 years) was telling me on the phone that she makes a lot of soup; and it reminded me that I should be doing that, too. You can make a perfectly yummy one by throwing a chopped vegetable into some stock, adding seasoning and a bit of cream if you have it or perhaps a drop of Tamari or balsamic vinegar – depending on what you’re cooking – and then using what Stringer and I used to call “a whooshoo” .. you know, one of those hand-held stick choppers ? .. to blend it. Of course, the more vegies you put in, the better; and who doesn’t often find a bit of broccoli, a zucchini and half a butternut lurking in his/her vegetable keeper ?

Just remember that, were you using precisely that trio, you’d need to put the pumpkin in first for a while then add the broccoli and last the zucchini: vegies do need different cooking times.

But yes: soup of the evening, beautiful soup ! – the Mock Turtle knew what he was singing about.   :)

Ah. P.S.: the original recipe called for half a cup of broad beans. I really like broad beans, so I doubled it.

I’ve allowed myself to be influenced by media !!

All through this dreadful time the world – and, of course, the US in particular – has been living through the (ugh !) Trump years, I have been dragged further and further down in my outlook on things by the various publications I read online. (This is because I don’t actually READ any more: I cannot. Too much time spent on the Web has removed my capability to concentrate or focus. Of this I am not proud, not a bit: but it is a fact.)

For instance, I check Politico, Vox and Slate; and occasionally I read what The Hill is saying. I very often watch what MSNBC anchors are saying, and also CNN. I have favourites among them, and tend to check those first. As to why I occupy so much time on all this, it’s because I long to see the end of the Trump era.

The media’s influence on me has been that they’ve never let me understand what the people, the ordinary people up there just like me – meaning not the right-wing maniacs – think about this frightful man. Throughout these 1,211 days (Brian Williams of MSNBC never lets us forget and names every telecast) of ghastliness I’ve been influenced only by what the media can say about Americans’ reactions to Trump.

Today I read a totally wonderful article about a young woman on TikTok who’s taken it by storm, and the scales fell from my eyes !!! It’s been re-posted on Twitter to an apparently endless set of joyful congratulatory comments, and FINALLY I know what the ordinary, normal Americans think !!

Oh do read about Sarah Cooper: she will not only have you falling off your chair laughing, but it will be laughing incredulously at the madman who carries a title he has never for a second deserved. Apparently she’s on Twitter .. although maybe that’s just her TikTok posts being reposted .. I’m not up at all on social networking.

This has made me a happy old fart, realizing at last that there are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (etc.) of Americans who hate Trump, possibly even more than I do ! I am now praying that every single one of them will get out and VOTE in November ..

For cat-lovers

This is a straight steal by me: far from new, and probably watched a zillion times. But as I’ve been a cat-lover all my life, and this video made me laugh so loudly that Boodie got out of bed to come and see what was going down, I thought that maybe there’s a person (or two) out there who, like me, has missed this ..

Cats showing their people what they think of bad singing, basically.

They do it so much better than I ever could !

It’s about 10 minutes long; but no-one’s holding a gun to yore li’l haid ..


My latest craze ..

.. is mosaic crochet.

I now know that there are two distinct ways of doing this, both of which achieve— not exactly the same end: they both show the same pattern, but one is spikier and has little blobs of colour at each end; and the other is smoother and doesn’t.

In fact they’re done differently. Not enormously differently (can one use two adverbs in conjunction ??), but sufficiently differently (seems one can ..) to cause me great confusion when trying the other having started out on one.

That is, I believe, 11 rows. There are 24 in one repeat of the pattern, so you will understand that it’s only an indication. I’ve chosen to do four repeats horizontally – 195 chain cast-on. I mean to do four repeats vertically, too, so that it will be some kind of square. I say “some kind” as I don’t yet know how equal are the row and column heights ..

Tinna, the woman whose pattern this is, says on her videos that mosaic crochet is really addictive. She is entirely correct. It’s hard for me to stop doing it and move to any one of the several chores that await me; but of course that could  be because I am a lazy slob. [grin]

If you think mosaic crochet looks interesting and you decide to consult Dr Google as to how to get stuck in to it, remember the two different kinds ! Tinna’s is, to me, by far the easiest; and I reckon it looks the best, too. But you may find that Marly Bird or Martin Up North or Tatsiana (from whom Martin learned) use a method more appealing to you.

Just remember that I did warn you – via Tinna – of its addictive entrapment, yes ?


Even here ..!

Oz is as bad as the US when it comes to morons who choose to believe conspiracy theories –

and who claim that Covid-19 is some kind of Trump-type “hoax”. Look at them, the mindless cretins ! – determined to increase the spread as much as they can.

To call them “anti-lockdown protestors” is an online newspaper being as charitable as possible: personally, “half-witted IDIOTS” is as polite as I can be about ’em.

Fight for your freedom ??? – rather, Fight for your right to spread disease.

The crochet tournament

So, I have no idea whether or not coordinator Lynda has allowed my second go at the first round, because I have no access to Instagram of Facebook (I am, normally, happy to say). She hasn’t acknowledged my sending her the completed Heat 1, Stage 1 re-do; so I’m completely in the dark as to whether or not I’m actually participating !

I did point out that I HAVE TO request  that the second version goes in; because if it doesn’t and the original stays there (if it’s even up !), my entries will appear as 3.5mm hook for the 1st round and 4mm hook for rounds 2 and 3.

But I just don’t know what’s happening. To be honest, I don’t comprehend why what I did is as offensive as it appears to be; but I seem to have definitely put Lynda’s nose ’round behind her ear. Would that it were not so !

That’s the first stage of Heat 1, and it comprises rounds 1-10.  Next stage is rounds 11 to .. erhmm .. 19 ? Maybe 20; can’t remember offhand.

And now that I’ve done that and am well underway for Stage 2, I’m continuing on with Michele’s Minerva scarf. On a roll, I am ! Ere very much longer I’ll be able to send her a photo of the completed article, and she will faint. Not. :)


The LAST new recipe

It’s all got a bit beyond me, this constant experimenting with new vegetarian recipes. My problem is simple, and probably incomprehensible to most cooks: I get stressed by the various timings.

Let’s say a recipe instructs me to “cover and allow to simmer actively for 8-10 minutes, and meanwhile prepare the tomato sauce”. What almost invariably happens is that I take too long to make the sauce and the [whatever], simmering away with gusto, has thickened down to the point of being glutinous. (No, not gluttonous – that’s moi !)

Multiply this by one, two or three other stages and you have a large, stressed and rapidly becoming enraged cooking person.

OK, so it don’t happen every time; and I have certainly taken to reading any recipe through exhaustively .. but as I’ve generally forgotten the opening sentence by the time I’m half-way through, that doesn’t help enormously. Sighh .. No: senility and increasing grumpiness combine to produce a steamy kitchen !


Here goes for the last recipe I’d never made before.

Pay attention this way, Sue !   :)

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Root Vegies mash

prep: 15′   cook: 45′   serves 4


    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 4 red onions, thinly sliced
    • 200g puy lentils
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
    • 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
    • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 350g peeled and diced carrots
    • 350g peeled and diced swede
    • 350g peeled and diced potato
    • 50g parmigiano, finely grated


    • Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions for 8 mins until softened.
    • Put a kettle on to boil. Stir the lentils, rosemary, stock powder and balsamic vinegar into the onions, pour in 1 litre boiling water, add seasoning, and simmer for 25-30 mins with the occasional stir until the lentils are soft but still have some bite.
    • Meanwhile, cook the root veg for 25 mins. (I can only imagine it’s really exciting if you get these two stages to match ..)
    • Mash the root veg with a masher. Add seasoning.
    • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lentil mixture into a pie dish, top with the mash, then scatter over the cheese.
    • While it’s still hot, grill the pie to melt the cheese
    • Serve pie with cooked green veg. My favourite green veg is cabbage, but broccolini passes muster; and you should prepare ’em small. Use one of these

for cabbage, and not only will you shred it wonderfully fine in  no time at all,  but you will also festoon practically everything around you with little light green bits. Yesss !   :)

Astoundingly, this is REALLY tasty. Well, I think I’m surprised by the lentils part: I expected the bottom of the shepherd’s pie to be fairly bland, but it was extremely flavoursome. Of course, I should’ve said “is”, as there’s enough left over for even the largest and grumpiest of cooking persons to have several more meals out of it. Which is how I eat, basically. And I don’t get bored, either.

So that was it. From now on I shall simply rotate among the plentiful number of recipes I’ve made before and know I like. There are so many of these that already I’ve reached the stage of saying “Oh, I’d forgotten all about haloumi pasta ! Great ! That’s my next dinner !”.

Hands up those who wish they’d entered a crochet tournament ..

Such fun !

Crochet Australia came up with this great idea a few weeks ago – or longer, I dunno – and it grew and grew. Became an Eventbrite affair, even ! There are only 261 of us entered, but that’s a number quite big enough for Crochet Australia to manage, I’m sure.

CA chose three of Oz’s best and best-known crochet practitioners to create the items that constitute the Tournament:

Joy Clements – Crochet Road

Shelley Husband – Crochet Designs by Shelley Husband

Emily Littlefair – The Loopy Stitch Designs

and we’ve begun ! Friday the first email came through at 0900 on the dot, with the first pattern, by Joy, and a timetable for the three stages of it.

You’ll find this extremely difficult to credit, but I managed to stuff up bigtime.   :(   The unfortunate C.A. chief, who is co-ordinating it all, has learned not to come near me with a bargepole, alas. And not with just one issue, but two:

    1. I don’t belong to Instagram and I CERTAINLY don’t belong to Facebook; so already I’ve had to ask her the favour of taking charge of my photos (sent by email) and putting them into the mix – which she has done (I think) with Heat 1, Stage 1;
    2. but then I really excelled myself. I actually finished the entire square because I was anxious about my gauge and, sure enough, it was right off ! Not 50cm but just under 45. ACK ! I called for The Frog and applied him.

Then I emailed the unfortunate Lynda and asked her forgiveness and permission to start all over again, if poss.

She said I didn’t need to start over because the size isn’t important. But M-R always goes at everything like a bull at a gate, and I had. So  – well, we shall see. Cross your fingers that Lynda is feeling happy next weekend, when my new email reaches her ..

Taking unnecessary travel a bit far

I am a bus traveller. I have no car, and am not on a train-line; so it’s buses for me. (When, that is, times are normal.) My bus pass is a ‘Myki’, for which I’ve set an online top-up control and thus is my life rendered painless.

In my Inbox this-morning I found this:

and thought “Hang on .. They sent me a new one, and I’ve even been able to use it !”; so I opened it with trepidation, expecting to be faced with some announcement from Public Travel Victoria that would require yet another series of phone-calls to Customer Service that always end with steam coming out my ears.

Once opened, the email said:

Isn’t that nice ? PTV wants me to know that they like me. Warm feeling all over.


No, I haven’t !

I have NOT put a blue rinse through my hair.

My new gravatar looks very much like a grumpy old broad who has dipped her head in a basin of grumpy-old-lady blue dye.

Bugger !

It is merely grey, folks. There is still some dark stuff around the back; but basically I’m just – grey.

NOT blue.

Thinks: what if I had it whitened ..? Like Goanna’s – which looks great !

[thoughtful look ..]

So you want to set up a YouTube crochet channel ..

Not I ! – and I doubt I’ve ever responded negatively to such a thought as vigorously as I did when coming across this pattern:

Gosh, this is pretty ..

It is a glorious thing indeed !

It is called “Spring Fling Garden Blanket or Throw“, and was created and made by a young Canadian woman living in London whose name is Debi. Her website is Dearest Debi and on YouTube she’s DebiDearest, with over 59 thousand followers. She looks like an adolescent, but is the mother of a couple of children. And she is, as you can see from the image, a very creative crochet designer.

Just imagine how exhausting it must be, developing a pattern like that, and of that size .. The mind boggles. Well, mine does.

And then she has to actually produce one, right ? – probably a few for her own satisfaction before she hands it over to her testers.

But that’s far from the end of it ! Because then she has to make another one, in segments, for her crochet-along videos !  There are no less than 8 videos covering all of the 108 rounds, and they show every round with nothing left out: CALs or KALs must do this or they can’t be considered useful (or usable !). So there a crochet YouTuber must go again, making it yet another time but in close-up segments, editing repeated bits to prevent the video’s being hours long, and talking over it as she goes.

Jesus. Not for me. Not that I am ever going to be sufficiently talented as to design anything.

Honestly: can it be worth it ? I might ask Debi.

Wondering if it’d be a bit risky asking her about weaving in all the ends ..    [grin]

Me not being a quitter (for once)

I thought a fair bit about my dissatisfaction with the knitted entrelac ..

Not happy, Jan !* I told myself.

So, using a new ball to prove that any images were not merely continuations of the now frogged first attempt, I started over.

This is THE BACK, people ! (Hope it’s meant to look like this ..)
THIS is the front ..

You can see that it is definitely not the same piece of knitting as previously shown, yes ?

I had just begun to feel smug about managing to do so much better the 2nd time when my day was made and smugness cemented in by L&M’s dropping by with a bunch of flowers from their sensational garden (which they know I miss more than I can say). It’s a sort of cross between a wilderness garden and a cottage garden; and when – in normal times – I’m at their place, I mostly sit on their back patio and gaze upon it ..

See what I mean ..?


*This is an Aussie thing: it became a kind of meme back in the day (which means I can’t remember when); and most Aussies of my ilk remember it

Well, it was new to me

Here are my fairly pathetic attempts at following PDX Knitterati’s Minerva scarf KAL. Michele told me I could easily learn to knit entrelac using only one ball of wool at a time, and I believed her. Just as well: she was right !    :D

But, whilst her instructions certainly did enable me to make knitted entrelac, I did not knit it very well. Far from admirable, in fact. The M-R knitted entrelac is lumpy in the corners. Uneven ditto. ACK !!

When I reached a level wherein I could ‘look back’ and see an actual hole between the squares, meaning I’d done really badly, I fell into a pit of despair.

This is it. Took me a while to dig before I fell into it .. [grin]

Anyway, apart from all that nonsense .. much and all as I do admire Michele’s ability to knit anything at all and beautifully, as well as her efforts to have students do the same, I’m bound to admit that I am not going to be a knitted entrelac star. Part of my problem right now is the long-awaited Noro Silk Garden: I do not understand what the mad enthusiasm is about !

I find NSG to be often difficult to move along the needle; it goes up and down in size to the point where one moment I’m happy with my #4 needles and the next I wish I had a pair of #7s in my hands. AND ! – in the first of the 4 balls I bought, there are no less than THREE KNOTS ! This makes me very grumpy indeed; for when one is paying through the nose for yarn that’s spoken of  by sellers and distributers in tones of hushed reverence, one does not expect to find even one knot, let alone three.

So I think The Frog is needed, here ..

Heavens ! – another FO !

Who knew ?

There I was, crocheting away like a fiend, readying a scarf/shawl for a friend’s birthday, and wondering what had made me start with 297 chains ..

Anyway, here it is:

laid on the pathway outside our side of the units.

It is, you must agree (or I will give you a chinese burn on the softest part of your arm !), different.

I started out to make Tinna’s pattern called ‘Coorie’, but became lost after the first row. I shan’t bore you shitless with the story: suffice it to say that the scarf/shawl is based on Tinna’s pattern, OK ?

Tinna on Icelandic shores

I lost the plot, as I say, very early on; and having taken some desperate measures to get help (then signed out of the d.m.s VERY promptly), was only able to achieve a kind of vague likeness. No matter, S will not know how unlike it is to what it shoulda bin.

I reckon it’s OK.