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LIFE… from Melbourne

Summer at our little sanctuary in Melbourne

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Day Lillies

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Zak, lord and master of the house

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We have five bird baths in our garden but this is the birds’ favourite

 

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Two of many New Holland honey eaters nesting or playing in our garden

 

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one of two pomegranate trees in our garden

 

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freshly squeezed pomegranate juice

freshly squeezed juice from our home grown pomegranates

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a regular visitor for crab apples and red bottle b

a regular visitor for crab apples and red bottle brush flowers

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freshly picked from the red crab apple tree

 

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Sunshine captured in jars…red crab apple jelly

 

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Freshly picked from the yellow crab apple tree

 

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A little girl who loves flowers and honey bees

A little girl who loves flowers and honey bees

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pots of geraniums...always evocative of summer

pots of geraniums…always evocative of summer

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Zak loves the bird bath too..

Zak loved the bird bath too..now he only gets out on a lead when the birds are about

 

 

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Iceberg roses in June

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A pair of rainbow lorikeets invite themselves into our naked crab apple tree to sample a hanging honey seed treat

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Pomegranate trees showing off their autumn colours

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A honey eater’s cup shaped nest revealed after pomegranate tree lost its leaves

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The last of the pomegranates…small but still holding plenty of juicy crimson seeds

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winter roses in full bloom

 

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Woodlands replete with little angels

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Thirty minutes west of  Melbourne’s CBD is a paradise with a lake set in expansive lawns, a beautiful rose garden whose scents engulf you long before you see it, and an Italianate mansion built in 1877.  Now known as The Werribee Mansion, it was actually named ‘Wyndham’ by the man who built it.

Melbourne, why have you kept this paradise such a secret?

There are some of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen dotted about the park. Children delight in the spacous manicured lawns, the Sculpture Walk and the ‘climbing’ trees. My family and I spent a day there this summer with many other families enjoying the same things we were.  We will certainly be returning to this paradise.  We first knew about Victoria’s most elaborate private residence when it appeared in an episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

The Werribee Mansion has also been used in the making of other movies.

One of the most intriguing bits of history associated with this property, for me, is that between 1923 and 1973 it was owned by the Catholic Church who developed it as a seminary,  Corpus Christi College, for the training of priests and brothers,

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Entrance to the vast rose garden

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Trees with colour that will astound you

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A favourite climbing tree

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Even giant Meccano creations to play on along the Sculpture Walk

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We watched a beautiful wedding taking place amidst the heady perfume of colourful petunias

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The Romanesque rear of the mansion

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A clever heliograph situated in the large preserved laundry building shows May the maid going about her daily washing chores in bygone days

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The beginning of the Sculpture Walk

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Take a walk down to the Werribee River and theoriginal orchard currently being restored by volunteers

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The Stables and the Luncheon Party (far right)

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Goodbye for now Werribee Park, but we’ll be back with more family and visitors to Melbourne

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For more about the amazing history behind Werribee Mansion visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werribee_Park

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I felt I had to write about this remarkable Australian doctor who has devoted her life’s work to treating women suffering from obstetric fistula, in Ethiopia.

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Dr Catherine Hamlin

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Dr Catherine HamlinAC, MBBS, FRCS, FRANZCOG, FRCOG, is an Australian obstetrician and gynaecologist who, with her late husband Dr Reg Hamlin, co-founded the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, the world’s only medical centre dedicated exclusively to providing free obstetric fistula repair surgery.

Dr Hamlin has been recognised by the United Nations agency UNFPA as a pioneer in fistula surgery, for which she developed specialist techniques and procedures. She, her husband, (a New Zealander) and the hospital’s medical staff, have treated more than 34,000 women.

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See    Vesico Vaginal Fistula

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Dr Hamlin, now in her late eighties, heads the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. The surgical technique developed by the Dr Hamlin has a 93% cure rate for obstetric fistula cases. The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has established a purpose-built village called Desta Mender (Village of Joy) to provide long-term care for women whose condition is caused by giving birth at a very young age, and some sexual practises. The hospital is dedicated to improving health, reducing infant mortality and empowering women.

The Hamlin College of Midwives, set up by Dr Catherine Hamlin and Dr Reg Hamlin, trains young women as midwives to work in the Ethiopian countryside where there is presently no access to medical assistance during pregnancy and labour. The College’s mission is to have a midwife in every Ethiopian village.

The Hamlins’ long association with the College of Midwives began in 1958 when they answered an advertisement in the Lancet Medical Journal for an obstetrician and gynaecologist to establish a Midwifery School at the Princess Tsehay Hospital in Addis Ababa. They arrived in 1959 on a three-year contract with the Ethiopian Government but only about 10 midwives had been trained when the Government closed the midwifery school. The Hamlins went on to establish the College and fifteen years later they founded Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

Catherine Hamlin lives in her cottage on the grounds of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital as she has done for over thirty-five years. She is still very active in the work of the Hospital and operates every Thursday morning as well as running a clinic. Her son, Richard Hamlin is involved in the activities of the Hospital and sits on its Board of Trustees.

There is currently a dispute between three members of the Board of Trustees including the chair, and Dr Catherine Hamlin, regarding the direction the hospital is taking. Dr Hamlin has withdrawn support for her Australian fundraising trust over the religious dispute that threatens her charitable medical work in Ethiopia.  The board had moved to take a hardline Christian approach. As a result of the dispute, the board has halted all fund-raising in Australia.  Dr Hamlin believes the board was attempting to take control of the management of the hospital against her will.

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Bernadette Lack

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Bernadette Lack is a young Australian midwife who is running the Great Ocean Road marathon from Lorne to Apollo Bay; a gruelling 45km.  She is raising funds for the Hamlin College of Midwives, an organisation she is passionate about.  The College and Hospital rely heavily on funding from overseas.  When Ms Lack was informed that Hamlin Fistula Australia wouldn’t  accept her donation because the board was in disarray, she contacted Lucy Perry, official spokesperson for Dr Hamlin in Australia. Ms Lack has been assured by Ms Perry that the funds she raises in the marathon will be sent directly to Ethiopia.

Both Dr Hamlin and her hospital are the recipients of numerous awards. Dr Hamlin, known for her dedication and humility, says of the plaudits she has received ‘I’m doing what I love doing and it’s not a hardship for me to be working in Ethiopia with these women’.

Crab Apple Jelly Made From Crimson Malus ‘Gorgeous’ Variety:

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Jars full of sunshine

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Red crab apple just picked & ready for the pot

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basketful of yellow Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ crab apples (not so good for crab apple jelly)

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I am often asked by friends who love my crab apple jelly  “Oh, can you eat crab apples?”

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Little balls of yellow amidst the summer green

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Jelly made from these red crab apples has a beautiful delicate colour

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I remember as a child eating crab apples straight from a tree. They were sour, but if I picked the really ripe apples, they weren’t too bad, quite refreshing in fact.

 I have two crab apple trees in my garden; one has red apples and the other yellow. Not only do the cherry-sized apples enhance the beauty of the trees, in Spring we are rewarded with pink/red delicate blossoms. Crab apple trees are much loved by visiting honey eaters and small parrots.

 Every year I make crab apple jelly, which is just as nice on toast as it is served with pork.  Here is the recipe I use (no, you don’t have to core & peel the apples)

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View from my writing desk

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Recipe for Crab Apple Jelly

 

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 kg crab apples

1 unwaxed lemon

sugar

a piece of straining muslin

2-3 clean, dry, warm jam jars, about 250g each, with lids or covers.

 Makes 500g – 750g of jelly.

METHOD:

Sort the apples discarding any bruised or marked fruit and all leaves.

Wash the fruit, cut in half and place in large pan, add water to just under the level of the fruit. Peel zest thinly from the lemon and add that, and the peeled lemon to the pan. Part cover pan with lid and simmer for one hour. Transfer mixture to muslin to drip slowly overnight into bowl. Do not squeeze the bag, as this will make the jelly cloudy. I tie the muslin bag onto the tap over a bowl in the kitchen sink after dinner, and remove it first thing in the morning.

 Measure the juice into a clean preserving pan and for every 600mls of juice add 450g sugar (or part thereof). Simmer over low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, then increase the heat and boil hard for 5-10 minutes or until setting point is reached. Take pan off heat and test for set. (put saucer in fridge, and place tiny bit of jam on saucer and leave for 5 mins. If setting point is reached, a jelly will form). Place back on heat if not ready to set.  Be careful not to over-cook.

Once setting point has been reached, skim the jelly, then stir and pour into jars. Store in cool, dark pantry.

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Autumn colours

Zahra’s Law – the very least we could do for you Zahra.

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Zahra Baker

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A tough new law inspired by the murder and dismemberment of 10-year-old disabled Australian schoolgirl Zahra Baker has come into effect in North Carolina.  But I wonder why it has taken so long for such a law to be implemented. Zahra is by no means the first person to be murdered and dismembered in the US. It’s tardiness has denied Zahra full justice by being treated as a lesser crime. In my mind, it takes a particularly evil person to murder a child and then dismember the body.

Zahra’s Law makes dismembering human remains in North Carolina a Class one felony, allowing prosecutors to seek stiff penalties against offenders. The new law also applies to secretly dispose of a body or conceal a death.

Zahra Baker, born in the NSW country town of Wagga Wagga, moved with her father, Adam Baker, to the US after he met North Carolina woman Elisa Baker online and wed. Elisa, 43, entered a guilty plea to Zahra’s murder and dismemberment in September and is serving a 15 year prison sentence that outraged the local community because it was considered not harsh enough.

Adam Baker escaped punishment even though he showed wilful neglect of his young daughter. It appears both her parents let her down.

Zahra, who at the age of five had her lower left leg amputated after battling bone cancer, was reported missing from the family’s Hickory, North Carolina, home on 9 October 2010, and weeks later parts of her body and prosthetic leg were found tossed in bushland.

Read more about Zahra’s story

Ode to Zahra and other innocents: Zahra, Daniel, & Caylee; No Summer Will They See

Read more about Caylee’s story

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Caylee Marie Anthony

Man makes statement: ‘I’m definitely not dead’

IAN ALLEN

Last updated 11:43 18/10/2011

Graham Brooks, Renwick Photographer

ALIVE AND WELL: Renwick man Graham Brooks has publicly quashed rumours of his demise. He’s not ready to dig the hole, he says.

A Marlborough man has issued an unusual reminder to friends and family – “I’m definitely not dead”.

The Renwick rumour mill has been working overtime on lifelong resident Graham Brooks, and come up with the crazy notion that the 61-year-old suffered a massive stroke and died three weeks ago.

The former newspaper photographer laughed it off at first as well-wishers visited the family home to offer condolences to his wife, Cynthia.

However, after hearing he was losing photography jobs, he knew it was time to set the record straight.

“I definitely didn’t have a stroke and I’m definitely not dead,” Mr Brooks said.

“I’ve had my guts full of this. It has gone beyond a joke. A local businessman drove up my driveway, parked, looked me in the eye and said, `You’re not dead’. He didn’t even get out of the car, just turned around and left. I thought, `What the hell is going on here?’ Maybe I’m a reincarnation.”

Even when people see Mr Brooks is alive and well, they still assume he suffered the stroke and is on the mend.

But it’s the patronising looks of sympathy that irritate the most, Mr Brooks said.

“People put their arms around my shoulders, look me in the eye and say, `How are you feeling? I heard what happened’. I tell them it is a load of b…….”

The rumour has taken on a life of its own, he said.

“People hearing it for the first time think it only happened a few days ago and that it must be true because someone told them. Even when people talk to your face they think you must be hiding it.”

There are two plausible reasons for the mix-up, Mr Brooks explained.

“A close friend of mine died a few weeks ago.

“He developed a virus in his heart and was taken to Wellington Hospital where he suffered a stroke. His name was Graham Valk.

“His sister-in-law knows about the rumour and jokes with me, saying `How are you feeling’?”

However, Mr Brooks has been walking about town looking slightly worse for wear lately.

He stepped into a hole – for a tree, not a grave – and twisted ligaments in his knee while saving his wife from a dog attack.

“Maybe people have seen me hobbling around town with a crook knee. But I’m not on death’s door, not yet anyway.”         – Marlborough, New Zealand

Source: Stuff.co.NZ

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