This remarkable sight is the bottom of the ironing basket. Granny Strange Land found it while she was staying here. I had not previously realised that such a thing existed.


The strangelings have come up with a new rhyme, which they chant at the tops of their voices as they run around the back yard, for the general edification of our neighbours.

Oyster Bay
Our parents drink it
Every day.

Do you think this is a problem?



I made this beautiful pavlova, crisp shell, soft and marshmallowy on the inside, and not a hint of chewiness. I put a strawberry coulis and fresh strawberries on top, and people added their own cream. I used Annabel Langbein’s recipe, and her concept of using your spatula to make lots of soft peaks and whirls and swirls on the top, to hold the berries.

I feel that my standing as New Zealand woman is enhanced by being able to make a good pav.


Miss Ten is a little forgetful at times, and she loses things (two school sweatshirts – since returned – and three drink bottles this year). So when she came home from her drama rehearsal with just one shoe, I was, well, annoyed.

A couple of days later, Granny Strange Land, the elder Miss Seven, and I were sitting in the audience, waiting for the show to start. The elder Miss Seven was a little bored, and for some reason she was scrabbling around under her seat.

Of the 150 or so seats in the auditorium, she had been seated exactly where Miss Ten’s missing shoe had been left, two days earlier. “Look, Mum,” she crowed with delight. “[Miss Ten’s] shoe!”

That’s the moral then. When you lose your shoe(s), instead of having to make do for some unspecified length of time (important life lesson), they will miraculously turn up. Sigh…



When Mr Strange Land came back from his last trip away, he brought back small gifts for the strangelings, and a tiny replica of the Liberty Bell for me.

It has a lovely sound that can be heard through the house and garden, when you ring it at the backdoor, or even just at the kitchen window. So it has become our general summoning bell for the strangelings, for dinner and the issuing of parental edicts, such as “Tidy up your rooms.”

“Hmmmph!” said Miss Ten. “So much for liberty.”


7 comments on “Miscellany

  1. artandmylife says:

    Gosh – I haven’t seen that part of my laundry basket for a while either.!

    and I LOVE bells

  2. Pavlov's Cat says:

    What a superior, nay, superb pav!

    Somewhere in the writing of Helen Garner, one of the short stories or essays, there occurs the phrase ‘the utter bottom of the ironing basket’, invoked as s something one reaches only when doing end-of-one’s-tether remedial housework. There is no mention of grannies.

  3. M-H says:

    Ironing baskets have bottoms? Nah, that’s just a rumour that’s put about to give women something to aim for. Shame on you, colluding in this conspiracy! 🙂 And I agree with Dr Cat about the pav – it’s really impressive. I’ve never made one in my life, so maybe that’s why my standing as an NZ woman hasn’t had much of an effect on the world to date.

  4. donnasoowho says:

    What’s wrong with a chewy pav? I think the chewy bit is the best part…!!!

  5. Giovanni says:

    What’s an ironing basket?

  6. Helen says:

    Oyster Bay is also our chardy of choice around here.
    Compliments of the season to you!

  7. rayinnz says:

    “Hmmmph!” said Miss Ten. “So much for liberty.”
    Oh how that takes me back to being a child (and the eldest)

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