Friday, January 31, 2014

Vanishing Cream?

This blog is an offspring from

Hi gals and guys Julia here! Glancing through my 'Priceline' catalog  that turns up quite often  I noticed for the first time that Ponds are still producing beauty aids.   Perhaps they have been in stock for ages at Priceline, but I'd not noticed them before.   Ponds really do go back a long way and  my  mother (and probably your grandmother - or even great grandmother )would have had them at the ready on their dressing tables!   There were two products (maybe they produced more back in the thirties - that I don't know)   But the really popular creams- and as far as I know there didn't seem to be any other makes, but in the UK and I expect the States there were favourites.    One was a 'Vanishing Cream' and the other a 'Cold Cream'.   The Vanishing Cream was for day use and it was very light and fluffy to put on, and and yes it really did vanish quickly on the skin.   I can remember with Mummy's permission I was allowed to use some -probably before we went out somewhere special!   Surely this was a fore-runner of our wonderful moisturizers.  For night the Cold Cream was reputed to do what all night creams do now, or if one's forebears were daring enough to use say,  a Max Factor foundation it would easily act as a cleanser.  However, if you were in  show business, remember Crow's Cremine to remove stage make-up?   Oh dear! When I was a chorus girl we couldn't afford it - so used liquid paraffin  - God it was awful! The Year of the Horse looms so I'll blog a bit about that tomorrow - have a good Saturday and if in the UK get out the wellies - thinks maybe you need a new pair!    

Moronic Parkers

Another blow against personal freedom, and thank goodness for it.
Most of the houses in Mosman are single storey buildings put up between 1880 and, say, 1935 - pretty little buildings, very individual, each with its person idiosyncrasy; no long streets of identical buildings - streets a real joy to  walk around for the pleasure of looking at the houses. Alas, many moronic owners have ruined these by erecting garages or 'car ports' in front of them; quite apart from the desirability of looking out of a window at the back of your car, this totally spoils the look of the house in front of which some monstrosity has been plonked. It seems that people are mad for garages - I'm told that if you erect one you immediately add $30,000 to the value of your property. This has upset me for years - but now, three cheers for democracy - Mosman Council has decreed that no-one is allowed to put up a garage obstructing the front of their property - and not even a car port. You are allowed, if it gives you any pleasure, to raze your pretty front garden and put down a concrete slab on which to park your beloved vehicle; but that's as far as you can go. The Council has always been excellent in preventing alterations to heritage property, and now thank goodness has gone even further. Three - no, four - cheers.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The promised recipe!

 this blog is an offspring of

Hi everyone Julia here!I hope you made use of the New Moon -and could still do so for a while!   Here's what I promised yesterday but first -
 The Story. 
We have two friends both born in Plymouth England just two days apart, so they are almost what we astrologers call time twins.      One evening Jean invited us to dinner and gave us a stunning dessert.   A few days later we had invited Ray to dinner with us   They are both Aquarians!   After we had enjoyed Jean special dessert Ray rather sheepishly asked me if he could have another helping - adding he never ever asks for seconds of a dessert!     
 Well here we go, and the dish couldn't possibly have any name but  AQUARIUS DELIGHT.  However don't assume that it'll only appeal to Aquarians!!!
 The Recipe     In a sizable fairly flat dish put a generous layer of those lovely green seedless grapes.   Cover them with good double cream and put them in the fridge overnight.  As your guests finish their main course retreat to the kitchen and, taking a tub of vanilla ice cream from your freezer, cover the grapes and the cream with a thick layer of the ice cream.   You now need brown moist sugar (not granulated).   Cover the top of the ice cream with a layer of the sugar, and with the grill on high put the dish under the heat to caramelize it.   It occurs to me that quite a few people don't have grills like the one we use, and I don't think you could put it in the oven, but maybe a blow torch would work okay.  Over to you -happy indulgence!

Shaveless in Sydney

So I was having breakfast one morning with Sachie Sitwell (start a paragraph with a bang, I say), and after he'd finished his coffee he put down The Times, drew himself up, and said, 'And now I must go upstairs and shave, which bores me so much I could yell.' I am completely on his side. Strewth, cobbers, what a bore. Somehow it's even worse now I use an electric razor: in the good old days the little ceremony of preparing the deck, as it were - the hot water, the new blade, the brush, the lathering . . . not so bad; but just standing around trying to find something interesting to focus on while moving a piece of machinery over the jaws - not the same glamour at all. The one good point, if that's what it is, is that I now often forget to shave at all; since I relatively rarely go out first thing in the morning - at least to anywhere where an unshaven visage might be recognised - I tend to put the whole thing off; with the result that I find myself in the car on the way to the opera, and, yes - stubble. Happily nobody seems to notice, or if they notice they don't actually point. I even got away with is this week at The Turk In Italy, when even my friend and wife didn't notice. Now that's a first.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's the New Moon

This blog is an offspring of

Hi Julia here!     Yes it's the New Moon, when as seen from earth, the Sun and the Moon apear close together.   This month it's in Aquarius and  all you Sun Sign Aquarians have either had or are about to have your birthday, or  as we astrologers call it your Solar Return; because  on your birthday the Sun returns to the precise position it was in on the day you were born.   Interestingly,  so many people say 'Many Happy Returns'  and I do wonder if somewhere along the line -yonks ago - some astrologer started the ball rolling and it took on (just like our blog which is growing very nicely!)   Well, for all of us, as at the time of the Full Moon we tend to get around to jobs we've been shelving or are unfinished, for today and tomorrow this is a good time to start new work or projects, and if your new work has a tinge of originality or is something a bit different for you, that's really good, since you will be picking up some of the Aquarius vibes - they are the individualists of the Zodiac by the way.   I've masses of writing to do now, but look in again tomorrow when I'll tell you a  true Aquarius story and send you a really easy and yummy recipe.  See you again soon then.  Cheers for now - yes I enjoyed the opera too - see Derek's piece - it was great fun- even a very po-faced woman sitting next to me managed to laugh fairly often!!!

Stop breathing NOW!

In the evening to the Opera House for their new production of Rossini’s Turk in Italy. There seemed to be rather more young people in the audience than usual, perhaps brought in by the posters of the principals and ladies of the chorus in rather fetching bathing costumes. A really jolly production (by Simon Phillips) of a work which certainly has some beautiful and many energetic numbers, but which in a conventional performance, and performed with less brio might well be a little tedious. I suppose purists might complain that it went, from time to time, a little over the top with some very obvious groping and mild obscenity; but who cares? Emma Matthews now at the top of her form, and singing brilliantly; delightful comic performances from Samuel Dundas and Paolo Bordogna, and all in all a good evening. One of only four productions we’ve booked for this year – the others on offer being operas we’ve heard so often we could whistle them through; mind you, this is true of Evgeny Onegin, which will be our next visit – but we’re so fond of that we couldn’t resist.
Meanwhile one of the grande dames of Fine Music has been officially complaining about a number of presenters: it seems that we make clicking noises, speak too loudly or softly, play the music too softly or too loudly. As for me, alas, I breath, and am heard to do so, and this must stop. I shall take a lot more notice of this when listeners start to complain rather than ladies who listen intently through earphones in soundless rooms.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Julia gets the giggles!

This blog is an off-spring of

Hi gang!  Julia here!  I certainly did get the giggles -  I corpsed  - as actors do when filming and simply can't stop laughing.   In fact my corpsing was so bad that when we went to bed the giggles were still catching up on me.    Fearful that Derek might think I was crying (the two sound so similar in the dark at night)  I took a half sleeping pill.   We'd had a nice evening with friends, and another guest told us how he had been reading a book called something like 'The History of the Fork'!   He learned that up to about 300 years ago our upper and lower teeth naturally met on edge, because up to then the food we ate was mostly gnawed -like picking bones.   After that time we started cutting up our food and the top teeth started to naturally rest in front of the bottom ones.   It seems this is not inherited, as the teeth would be like that if we gave a child only food that has to be gnawed.   This change came about 1,000 years earlier in the far East since people ate cut up food that much earlier.      He grinned showing his teeth on edge - my mind bogged and my response was ' thank goodness photography wasn't invented some 300 years ago' - think what it would have done to all those elegant portraits- even although people in those times would  have accepted their toothy grins as normal.   This may not seem very funny-  but try it out for yourselves, and you'll soon see what I mean.

Cats, dogs and hysteria

Lost animals causing concern in the street: notices on trees describing a cat-sitter in despair because the cat has disappeared, and its owners of course on holiday – the worst thing that could happen, losing an animal one’s supposed to be looking after; no doubt she’s not to blame, cats being cats; but a sad enough situation. Then this morning a dog gone missing, having got out of the garden, and the owner reasonably hysterical about traffic . . .. Our two got out a year or so ago and raced up the street, across Military Road (perhaps the busiest road in North Sydney) and happily were picked up by a couple of  dog-lovers out for a walk, seeing two dogs off the leash and thinking ‘That’s not right.’ So they collared them and telephoned us. On another occasion they got out when builders left the door and gate open: one went up to the Orpheum Cinema, where presumably he fancied a film; the other was discovered scratching at the door of the local vet’s, trying to get in. But very few things get the heart racing more jumpily than escaped pets.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Derek makes a Genoa cocktail

This blog is an off-spring of

Hello Julia here!   Do you like liquorice?    Anise? elderberry flowers?    If yes, that's fine!   If no, don't go near a 'Genoa' cocktail, which has as its base Sambuco with its ingredients as above.   We are great on cocktails and have favourites like 'Negroni', 'Between the Sheets' and so on.   But disaster struck last evening when, experimenting with a new one from our VAST 1000 cocktail recipe book my darling other half created this concoction!   For me it was a horrible experience - so much so that he offered me a Gin and Tonic  to compensate!   Well I stuck with it -  plus a more than usually large helping of Smiths thin chips (crisps to you Brits - quite right too! ) and more than a good handful of cashew nuts.   You have been warned. . .     But then I'm  a Campari addict and I know masses of people who think that's dreadful - no accounting for taste!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Julia has a tip or two for would-be writers!

This blog is an off-spring from
  Hello gals and guys!  I write every day and both Derek and I keep diaries.   We've both done this since well before we met and never bother to read each others.   So if you want to write, whether you are seven or seventy, do start writing a regular diary, or of course, what about a blog?   There couldn't be a better way of developing your work.   Think of it as regular exercise - like ballerinas who slog away at their plies every day.   The other golden rule, especially if you are getting into fiction, is 'write what you know about'.   However, what made me mention this to you is that for once I have had to come out of my 'Comfort Zone' for about a chapter of my family saga.   The career guys are having to decide whether to form a private company or 'go public'.  I did a lot of research and knowing I was entering somewhat uncharted waters for me,  I soon realised I was coming to one or two useful conclusions.    I  discovered quite a few  basic facts and using them is working well. I'm totally avoiding anything risky as then I'd be on thin ice.   In approaching the problem in this way I won't be boring the reader with fussy details, but at the same time I'm not ignoring my characters' reactions.   Incidentally, the cicadas are still in my lemon tree.   I think they are mating - well something of that sort is going on, but with no singing choruses.   Back to the story now and the TV -  it's not very nice weather for glorious Australian day either!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday was a dogs' day for us!

This blog is an off-spring of

Julia here!   Hi gang!   Yesterday (Friday) was a full on dogs day.   This happens about once in two months when we take Fille and Crim our fox-terrier man and wife couple,  up to a place called Luddenham in the Blue Mountains for their terrific beauty make-over.   Our friend Wendy Wouters is a breeder of this type of terrier and is an international groomer who wins stunning prizes all over the world for her work.   (If you're interested look her up on Facebook.)    Fille has her name because she is the daughter of our Fox terrier, Toorak, we brought out from the UK.   He was 14 years old and a virgin.   We had to find someone to make him look as he should - which was not as easy as it seemed  when we first came to Sydney.   Then, when Wendy saw him she noticed he was 'intact' and asked if he'd like to meet one of her bitches.   We knew he would, but quite a few folk said that while he'd perform there would be no sperm because of his age.   Well, the bitch produced four beautiful puppies and hence we have Fille.   Then she was mated with Crim, a show dog who, in his 'modelling' days won first in show over 1,500 dogs, but now they are about eight and extremely youthful and great fun, while Toorak lived until he was pretty much seventeen.     Yes they are really lively, and boy does she put him in his place!   But today, after all the goings on yesterday, they are still very sleepy.   This pair are really good dancers - you should see their pirouettes, but nothing comes up to the late Toorak who played the piano divinely!   Bye for now cheers from Julia!

Down with the Norman invaders!

A couple of days before Australia Day miles of graffiti have been scrawled over walls and buildings in and around Botany Bay and elsewhere against the whole idea of the celebration – as if the British went around scrawling messages condemning the Normans for invading and sealing their land and reviling their gods, and arguing that the Last Night of the Proms should be cancelled. The problem is, of course - or part of it – that insufficient time has passed for things to settle down, as they inevitably will (to nobody’s satisfaction, I fear, but just because in the end everyone will get bored with the argument). As for this year’s protests, I don’t think much good has been done by painting graffiti all over Captain Cook’s parents’ Cottage, brought to Australia and re-erected in Melbourne in 1934 – as though Cook, by stumbling over the continent, was personally responsible for the deaths of the aborigines killed by European diseases, and for their land being stolen by the First Fleeters and subsequent invaders. Once protesters get going there is no end to their imbecility and their capacity for harming their own cause. As for the whole problem of Australian Aborigines – I’m not getting started on that, except to say that the attitude of present-day ‘white’ or in-coming Australians is inevitably for the most part just to ignore it; while the Aborigines themselves mostly just want everyone to go away and leave them alone. Talk about an insoluble problem . . .

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Boring man speaks out.

I suppose many Australians are gearing up for two fulls days of solid drinking, over the weekend; doubtless more violence in and around the Cross. Personally, I;ve never seen the pleasure of drinking simply to get drunk, which seems to be a habit with a lot of young people . . . as usual, Shakespeare has a word for it: 'I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking: I could well wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.' (Othello, II/3 since you ask). I've only been drunk about twice in my life - the last time certainly fifty years ago - and didn't care for it at all (remember W. C. Fields, suffering from his daily hangover and asked if he would like a Bromo-Selzer: 'God, no!' he said, 'I couldn't stand the noise.') One drink a day, round about six, is the thing in our house, and we'd certainly be sorry to be deprived of it; but more for the signal that work is over than anything else. Not even very keen on wine, or at least not the kind of wine I can afford. I'm just very boring indeed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Julia is observant - as usual!

this blog is an off-spring of
 Hi guys, Julia here!  And special hellos to you in the dear old UK and the splendid USof A - especially if you're way up in Alaska!    Well yes here's the result of one of my recent observations!   It concerns that really brilliant and remarkable laundry product Vanish NapiSan, Oxi Action.   If you use it BEWARE the next time you buy a container!   You see it's that neat little lid which serves also as a cover and a container for the powder.   The underneath side of the lid has a rim which holds the powder ready for pouring into our machines, which says add a lid to every wash - yes a why not?   but compare it to the to the pot of powder  you've just finished.   The depth of the rim of my previous one is a neat two and a half centimeters deep.   On the new one I thought  it looked different.   Yes I was right! that rim  has been increased to three and a half centimeters.   (In inches:  almost an inch to almost one and a half inches!!! )  I consider this a sneaky way to make us all use more of the product,  and consequently make us buy our next supply sooner.  So it's a decided covered up price rise.   Hold on to your old lid!      The company would come up with some silly excuse like  'we find the new ones far easier for you to use - you'll spill less! Rubbish!!!!  However, I'm just thinking that maybe you're getting the impression that I'm, nothing but a grumbler - no way  - but things like this do make me cross, and in most cases emails, or even real snail mail letters to companies,  all get binned,   Pity.   Yes we all get too may emails ... but....   See you again soon!

Christmas with Rosemary Clooney

The modern world has always had it in for me. Ever since they started printing news on the front page of The Times life has gone irretrievably down-hill. Now newspapers don’t look like newspapers any more (or indeed read like them); the electric typewriter took all the fun out of typing – let alone these modern contraptions connected to some kind of small cinema screen, with a keyboard unattached to it so that it can be swept by mistake into the wastepaper basket when clearing one's desk. The telephone is no longer attached to the wall, but goes off in my pocket and squeaks and gibbers inaudibly. And now a complete radio studio has turned against me. I never enter a particular studio at Fine Music (listen now: without it conspiring to ruin whatever I’m doing, usually by making a whole programme vanish just as I’m halfway through recording it; the seat of the chair provided is at an angle which deposits me on the floor just as I am reaching the high point of commenting on the folly of recording Bach’s partitas on the harpsichord when a perfectly good piano is available; frequently by recording my voice at a level too low to be heard or so high traffic is brought to a standstill  on the harbour bridge. Yesterday the computer swallowed a CD and declined to give it back until someone with advanced electronic techniques and a paperclip operated on it; it then regurgitated the CD but  went into a sulk and declined to operate at all. I imagine it is as we speak quietly exchanging a perfectly good programme of music from Franz Lehar’s operettas for one entitled Singalong at Christmas with Rosemary Clooney.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A slight headache at the North Pole

What a fuss those of us fortunate enough to be in good health make when anything goes wrong with us. I woke with a very slight headache today, and have been wingeing all morning about it: how dare the cosmos give me a slight headache? What have I done to deserve a slight headache? What a bore it is to have a slight headache. Meanwhile of course resisting the perfectly simple remedy of taking an aspirin. How stupid can humans get? All the same, Bernard Shaw was right: when he met Nansen, the famous explorer, he asked him whether he knew of a cure for a headache. 'No,' said Nansen. Had he ever tried to find a cure for a headache? 'No.' 'Well that is a very astonishing thing,' said G.B.S. 'You have spent your life trying to discover the North Pole, which nobody on earth cares twopence about, and you have never attempted to discover a cure for a headache, which everyone is crying out for.'

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Year Ahead for CAPRICORN

For, as they say, 'reasons beyond our control', the year ahead for Capricorn was missed out of our forecasts in January on  Here it is! - with apologies.

(December 22 –January19)
The Year ahead.     Until the end of July an influence from Jupiter is focusing on Capricorns who are into a well-established relationship.   Make the most of this period to further your ties of love and affection and joint interests.    Your ruling planet Saturn is in constructive mood and adding to your practical and common sense attributes.  Uranus will bring interesting new opportunities for all, but in addition, unattached December Capricorns must be aware that due to Neptune’s influence you are likely to become carried away by romance.  Many of you have experienced meaningful changes in recent years, and because of a strong influence from Pluto travelling through your sign, a great deal has happened.   Expect to embrace new developments, situations and opportunities if your birthday falls during the first five days of the New Year.****