A Bunch of Fives #10

Double digits!! We are super proud to have 10 of these little newsletters up our sleeves, and just as chuffed to have you on board too. Why don't you email this to a friend who might like to pick up what we’re putting down?

From My Bookshelf:


Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden by Janet Hawley

My mum bought me this book and I am so grateful for it. It tells the story (with loads of beautiful photographs) of the garden created by Wendy at Lavender Bay in Sydney. Wendy was married to Brett Whiteley, the much loved Australian artist. She created this garden as a way of coping with the grief of losing Brett to an overdose and then losing her daughter to breast cancer. How she built this garden with little more than her own two hands and a bit of help from a couple of blokes who just happened to be passing by and ended up staying on, is extraordinary. The land is owned by the railways and was overgrown with weeds and vines and filled with rubbish. It is now a glorious peaceful garden that she still works in daily. This book is a reminder that no matter how tough a blow the world throws at you, just getting one's hands in the dirt is excellent therapy. I've always felt more alive, more at peace and more settled after a day in the garden. Problems seem a little smaller when you consider the incredible way nature can keep on going, keep on growing. If you feel life has been a bit unfair to you, I suggest reading this book, your heart will sing.


I was determined to finish Jimmy Barnes’ Working Class Man no matter how hard I had to labour through it, but I did it. (I'm one of those morons who has to finish a book once they’ve started it regardless of how I'm feeling about the action, or lack thereof.) So… no surprises here, this book picks up where Working Class Boy left off; the newly formed Cold Chisel were finally getting out of Adelaide and heading for the hills of Armidale in northern NSW. I really enjoyed the first book about Jimmy’s childhood but I truly struggled through this period of his story. If I had to finish one more paragraph with the words “…I was going to hit [insert the name of any person he ever met here]…” or “…I was a failure and I had stuffed up again…”, I was going to personally hunt Jimmy down and, well, I won’t reveal my true vicious nature here but let’s just say I would have given him a good bloody shake and a stern talking to. I hate it when I read an autobiography and end up disappointed with the subject because all I’ve learnt is that they're full of self-pity and self-importance in neither humble, nor equal, measures. It always feels a bit wrong to even have some kind of opinion on someone’s life story too, let alone a negative one, because I realise (Jimmy told me enough times, anyway) that it takes courage to open yourself up to the world. I understand that, and I do give him credit for it, and maybe I am being too critical but this just felt like one huge cathartic therapy session to me. To be fair though, he really has worked his butt off to get to where he is and still works very hard to this day. It also never ceases to amaze me as to how much trauma the human body can withstand before it claps out completely. Old JB is testament to that.

Old Timey:


The Quandialla Soldiers Memorial Hall is like the meeting place of all the people in our district, as well as a function centre, gym, school auditorium and concert venue. I have spent many a sweaty summers evening (and more recently morning) in the old girl for school presentation days, and some freezing nights for the Quandialla Ball (not last weeks though, it was really hot). This photo was taken at the ball this year, of my daughter Clementine and Ambers daughter Maeve. Amber and I were junior debs in this hall when we were about this age, and Maeve is even wearing the dress Amber wore.  Every year, the towns Anzac service is held here and the schoolkids all march down the street, and place wreaths on the cenotaph outside. It’s one of my favourite days in Quandi. A small committee known as the Quandialla Progress Association helps organise events to raise money for the upkeep of the hall and its insurance. Little towns and villages rely on volunteers such as these to keep our venues open ad operational. I am overjoyed that we have such a beautiful old hall in such good order and am putting my thinking cap on for a fundraiser ball for next year...let me know if you have any great ideas!



There is nothing quite like a country race meeting. The wider community coming together for one day of the year in their Sunday best; children all togged up, their hair set down under the careful guidance of mums saliva, and farmers having a day off because it hasn’t rained since Whitlam was P.M and it’s nicer to admire the dust from the racetrack than from the window of a ute or tractor. The relaxed atmosphere of bush races is hard to beat; sharing food and drink trackside with friends is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and that is just what I did a few weeks ago at the Grenfell Picnics. It was one of the dustiest and driest days I have seen for a while but that didn’t deter the crowd from making the trip out the Holy Camp road to the track. In my opinion it was the best meet they’ve had in years despite the fact that our hosts’ tent blew away in the hideous gale that played havoc with many a ladies frock throughout the day. The crowd was way up on last year’s turnout and there was a really lovely vibe about the place. I have to be honest here, I did not see one race nor make one bet, but I believe (because Google told me so) the winner of the 2018 Doug Allen Memorial Grenfell Picnic Cup was ‘Rehanaat’. It’s always nice to have an occasion to wear a lovely dress and fancy hat and catch up with people you really may only see once a year. Country races are a lovely tradition that have stood not only the test of time, but animal lobbyists and ridiculous OHS standards trying to ruin everyone’s fun as well.

If you're up for some rural racing action the Boorowa Picnics are being held on Saturday May 5th at the Boorowa Showground, Ballyryan Rd. More information can be found on their official page Boorowa Picnic Races Facebook

Art/Creative Stuff/Instagram:


There is a new(ish) shop I stumbled upon in the cute little town of Braidwood on our way down to the South Coast in January. Its called Saloon and its the creation of Braidwood girls Dena Pezzano and Jane Magnus who wanted to create a fashion label of beautiful and practical dresses and skirts, that can be worn with a kick arse pair of cowboy boots. The fabrics are a combination of Italian cotton and Liberty prints (I know!!) All the photos you see of these pieces are modelled by the women of Braidwood, all doing their everyday thing -gardening, feeding chooks, gathering wood and they look amazing doing it.

When I walked into the shop and had a chat with Dena, I was blown away by the beautiful shop fittings and of course the gorgeous dresses. I told her they reminded me of the women of Westworld or Deadwood and I vowed to save my pennies to buy one. I just don’t know which one to pick!! Find Saloon at @saloon_design_house or 139 Wallace St, Braidwood.



I'm throwing a little something in here for the guys this week with my podcast recommendation of The Betoota Advocate. Clancy Overdell and Errol Parker are your cynical hosts of this hilarious and satirical look at the news. The Betoota Advocate claims to be the “longest-running family owned publication in the country” dating back to the mid 1800’s, and increasingly one of the most widely read. This is fake news at its best. It is completely fictional but that hasn’t stopped some of their articles being mistaken (and reported!) by some major news outlets as ‘real’ news. The Weekend Today show ran with a story about a parking inspector accidentally fining himself, and Deadspin (a sports website) reported that there would be 3-on-3 basketball (street basketball) at the 2016 Olympics in Rio (I hope heads rolled because, come on!!!). Not much is known about the hosts as they are very committed to staying in character only that they're in their late 20’s. Maybe. I love their use of sarcasm and their commentary on ‘topical matters’ but if you’re easily offended by an over use of profanities this is not the podcast for you. The 5 minute Weekly News Bulletin by Bruce Hitchcock is very, very entertaining as well. The Betoota Advocate online You’ll find the link to the podcast on this page as well. Instagram and of course, Facebook.



Just the High 5 on rotation here at Richmond this week...

  1. Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man
  2. Goliath Is Dead – The Fireside Disciples & Kasey Chambers
  3. Rivers – The Tallest Man on Earth
  4. Run The World (Girls) – Beyonce
  5. Cups – Lulu and the Lampshades


Sarah nominated me to take part in the 10 albums in 10 day challenge thing getting about on facebook but I am having a break from that world so I thought I would share them here in one lump sum. So here they are along with Sarah’s original nomination and rules for the challenge.

Day 1 of the 10 albums 10 day challenge. Each day I choose an album that has had an impact on my life and is still on my playlist. There is no need to say why a particular album has been chosen but it would be nice. Each day I nominate someone on my friends list to do the same. Today I nominate Amber Roles even though she hates these things

  1. True Colours - Cyndi Lauper
  2. Graceland - Paul Simon
  3. Doolittle - Pixies
  4. Wish - The Cure
  5. The Joshua Tree- U2
  6. Absolutely ANY compilation of HITS from the 1980’s
  7. Best of Buddy Holly- Buddy Holly
  8. Apocalypse 91 The Enemy Strikes Black - Public Enemy
  9. Nevermind – Nirvana
  10. Some Girls - The Rolling Stones

P.S. I did write a blurb as to why I chose these particular albums but it was getting out of control and I had to rein it in. You should be thanking me, Sar ;)



My obsession with Rollies shoes seems to be growing. I have just bought my third pair because they are the most comfortable shoes EVER. And super cute. Light as a feather, they were made by a flight attendants partner after she complained of her shoes being too heavy for her carry-on allowance. What a clever fella! And they are made in Melbourne so I am supporting Australian made. Kinda means I HAVE TO buy more, right?


Psst! I'm not sure if any of you know this but Catherine and Wills are the proud new owners of a Prince; Prince Louis Darren Kevin of Cambridge was born on the 23rd April, 2018 (not really his name, his first name really is Louis but the other few that come after it have clearly escaped me). Good golly what a furore Catherine has caused for having the audacity to be up and about and looking immaculate, clacking about in high heels introducing the newest member of the family to the media less than 12 hours after giving birth! How very dare she! Well, for this new mummy unfortunately it is all part of her job as a member of the Royal family. I don’t pity her too much; she is undoubtedly going home to the family mansion already stockpiled with help at the ready, but really?! For any mother out there that has pushed the proverbial watermelon -or three- out of their family coffer (a Shakespearean term for the vjj. You're welcome), you just knew that underneath her very beautiful, very convincing smile that that young woman was actually standing there holding her child for, quite literally, all the world to see in an INDESCRIBABLE, immeasurable amount of pain, full to the brim with (I have to assume) an immeasurable amount of painkillers allowing her to stay bloody upright and keep that smile pasted to her lovely face. I guess sometimes the pros don’t always outweigh the cons when it comes to marrying into one of the world’s most famous families. Anyone that has had a child by ANY means knows that the hours after meeting your baby are emotional, intimate and very precious and the last thing you want to do is share any of these moments with a bunch of complete strangers. Imagine having no choice but to do that EVERY TIME YOU HAD A CHILD and how much that. would. suck. No thanks. Not even for the gorgeous Harry. As Meatloaf might once have sang, perhaps even in tune: “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that”.

I'm not a royalist but I do have a soft spot for this new generation of couplings coming up through the ranks. They're young, attractive and full of spunk but more importantly they seem to legitimately love each other for all the right reasons. I for one can’t wait for the royal wedding this month but I do feel for poor old Meghan…this checking-into-hospital-and-leaving-with-regal-progeny-in-tow-in-less-than-a-day business is quite the act to follow. If you're on facebook and you are not going to be offended by a bit of slightly gruff talk about the royal vagina (I actually just gave those last 2 words capitals before correcting myself!) then please read this Just The Tip -it is very funny because it is very true.

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