“No” vember

It’s my birthday month, so when my Facebook feed delivered up the meme “No” vember: A time to practice saying “no” to people, places and things that drain your energy – and yes! to the things that fill you up. – Erica Layne, Life on Purpose Movement, I thought I GOT this…

Jacaranda sky
November, the month of Jacaranda sky and all kinds of weather: warm and sunny, hot, windy, rainy, stormy, cool… cold even.

Much-maligned Facebook has offered much wisdom of late. Other which appealed and were re-posted on my feed are: JOMO (noun). Joy Of Missing Out; feeling content with staying in and disconnecting as a firm of self-care; and Some people want a big house, designer clothes and an expensive car. Others create a garden where they can escape those people.

Sums up November for me… it’s been all about day-to-day domestic life, spring cleaning house & garden and prepping for Christmas, organising the caravan for an upcoming road trip, leisurely writing a long blog post-story about the garden, spending an hour here and there on Ancestry.com and adding details to a slowly evolving family history blog post. Interspersed with a couple of pleasant outings… Sunday at our favourite local market & beach and a family fish&chips lunch, and a lovely Saturday & a very special lunch at the home of #familywhoarefriendswhoarefamily @our_river_cottage.

Reading an enjoyable memoir Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart: A year to write home about – Seeking la vida dulce in Galicia (Writing Home Book 1) part of a trilogy by Lisa Rose Wright (whose Facebook author page is @galauthor), I wished it had occurred to me seven years ago as we embarked upon our tree change to keep such a diary… we had no idea how noteworthy our choices and the life direction we were taking would become.

Today my diary entry would’ve said:
Saturday 12 November. Cool misty morning followed by hot (opted not to join G.O. for motorcycle ride for this reason). Forecast top temps for today, tomorrow and Monday 29 to 30 degrees Celsius with possible afternoon storms. We got a nice 11 mm of rain from the storm yesterday evening which means I don’t need to water the garden until later today, and maybe not at all if we get another storm.
Load of washing and daily tidy up. Prep dinner. Potter about in the garden. Write blog post.
Lunch: Fried rice with egg, and greens from the garden.
Dinner: Too hot to cook inside. Steak, sausages and smashed potatoes (enough for leftovers so we don’t have to cook in the heat tomorrow either) barbequed by the G.O., with the last of the broad bean pesto, clean-out-the-fridge salsa, and silverbeet from the garden.

Saturday_woke up to this
Saturday 12 November. Woke up to this.
Suggestion of a storm
Saturday 12 November. Suggests a storm later.

Post-COVID fatigue dogs me still. Most afternoons I need a rest, but the upside is between nanna naps I’ve managed to read a few more of this kind of tree change memoir. Quite possibly my favourite genre. This year of the 26 books I’ve finished so far, 8 have been: Escape to Mulberry Cottage, A Year at Mulberry Cottage, Summer at Mulberry Cottage and Finding Old Thatch by Victoria Connelly; Damson Skies and Dragonflies: A Journey through the Seasons in the French Countryside (Life at Les Libellules Book 1) by Lindy Viandier; A Thousand Ways to Pay Attention: A Memoir of Coming Home to My Neurodivergent Mind by Rebecca Schiller; A Rosie Life In Italy 3: Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Rosie Meleady (book 4 is due out later this year).

In 2021, 7 of 29 books read were: Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga: A not-so-perfect tree change and You’ve Got To Be Kidding: a shedload of wine & a farm full of goats by Todd Alexander; My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream by Janine Marsh; My French Platter: A Journey to a Dream Life in France and My French Platter Replenished: In Search of a Dream Life in France by Annemarie Rawson; A Rosie Life In Italy: Why Are We Here? and A Rosie Life In Italy 2: What Have We Done? by Rosie Meleady.

And so on over the years; reviews posted on Goodreads.

These days an added bonus, their real-life story doesn’t end when the book does: most authors have social media platforms so now via Instagram -my preferred social media- I’m following Janine Marsh @thegoodlifeinfrance, Lindy Viandier @la.belle.vie.in.burgundy, Victoria Connelly @victoriaconnellyauthor, Annemarie Rawson @latelifeadventures; Todd Alexander @toddalexanderwriter and Rosie Meleady @arosielifeinitaly. Such is the algorithm; others similar show up in my feed and I’m following non-authors @gareth_at_keeperscottage and @ paul_at_keeperscottage for a vicarious fix of what it would be like to up sticks and relocate to an old stone cottage in a Scottish country village.

My camera roll tells the story of my own village life…

Day-to-day domestic life_01
Day-to-day domestic life with Jacaranda flowers.
Spring cleaning
Spring cleaning curtains because its windy (with Jacaranda flowers).
Ready to go
Caravan with Jacaranda flowers… packed ready to go just in time for COVID wave 4. Sigh.
Neighbouring Jacaranda is a biggun!
Life goes on
Sadly, while we were away last month we got a message that a fox killed the white rooster named Ketut and remaining couple of old hens we’d shared with our neighbour and most of the neighbour’s new hens. By the time we returned home, one of the remaining two hens was broody sitting on a clutch of eggs. Life goes on…
Our favourite beach
Sunday at our favourite beach.
10am the morning after our lovely long day out @our_river_cottage
10am Sunday morning the day after our lovely long day out @our_river_cottage.
Purple rain
November in my garden. Jacaranda flowers aka purple rain.
November in my garden. Another Jacaranda in the front yard, and more purple flowers.
Potato vine
November in my garden. One of the things we love hate about November… potato vine aka nightshade jasmine. Others we just hate: hayfever; ticks… we’ve found 2 ticks on Diesel in the past week, fortunately he is on preventative treatment; venomous snakes… on Wednesday Diesel & I encountered a fat black snake at the reserve down near the dam, and on Thursday the G.O. encountered a brown snake alongside our neighbour’s back step.
In my garden_04_Need to harvest garlic soon
November in my garden. Need to harvest garlic soon.
In my garden_08
November in my garden. Jasmina climbing rose and the new Heidesommer beneath.
In my garden_07
November in my garden. Looking out my back door.
In my garden_02
November in my garden. Pottering about before the heat hits.
In my garden_03
November in my garden. Those Jacaranda flowers get in everything.
In my garden_06_right in my garden
November in my garden beautiful mess.
In my garden_05_right in my garden
November in my garden. Step right in… there’s a path there somewhere.
Ginger garden
November in my garden. Ginger and turmeric have popped back up, and the yellow, pink, white and a new mauve Buddleia are coming along the fence line.
November in my garden. Of all the roses Elina got a slow start because it was a bit crowded but back now bigger better than ever.
In my kitchen
November is good food month in my kitchen. Featuring broad beans, coriander, silverbeet and other green leafy things out of the garden, pesto of all kinds including garlic scape + lemon zest, and preserved lemon paste made from the lemons I salted in July.

Closing food-for-thought this month… “It’s a way to live richer than Gina” the last words from Linda Woodrow’s excellent article Can you garden your way out of poverty?

You know what? I do feel richer than Gina.

18 thoughts on ““No” vember

  1. I do dislike saying No to someone’s face… But to a way of life, or an ‘opportunity’ I don’t want, or *stuff*, yes, those I love saying No to! And I’m getting better at the face to face version too. Saying No leaves so much room in your life to embrace all the Yes Please stuff, doesn’t it? Give that lovely Deez a snuggle for me and a fraternal nose boop from Mouse. Just a few months now till we see you all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Saying no thoughtfully is a learn as we go thing, which in my experience has been at times hard won… we’ve all been there. I now say thank you but no thank you to well-intentioned offers that don’t suit me, as a reciprocal politeness. But to catching up with you next year, yes!


  2. Happy Birthday! I love these meanders through your garden. Thank you for taking me along, I just need a cup of tea. It looks so lush and tropical. My mother’s home in Florida had a huge Jacaranda tree in the front, it was lovely when it was in bloom. I must admit that the snakes would terrify me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’d love you to be here for a garden wander and a cup of tea. I’m appreciating the lushness as it is now in case we get a hot dry summer and the garden turns crispy. Despite the mess they make I love Jacaranda because we have one on my grandparents’ farm. The venomous snakes terrify me too, I was a couple of metres from the black snake when I saw it and I moved quick smart in the opposite direction… returning later with the G.O. in the ute to retrieve the dog’s ball.


  3. lol This: ‘Others create a garden where they can escape those people.’ and also a bit of drooling over your jacaranda tree. The pic in which there’s a carpet of lavender took my breath away. We are rich, and sometimes we have to do a life inventory to remind ourselves of the riches we do have instead of those we don’t. -hugs-

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful and the pics were wonderful, especially your garden and the doggy. Thankyou for your blog Dale, great to read first thing in the morning and put smile on my face . Xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Chele. I love reading blogs in the morning with a cup of coffee before I start the rest of the day. I’m glad you started your day with mine. Who knows why WordPress sometimes says anon… sometimes it has a mind of its own.


    1. I’ve been there too… not so long ago… with the best of intentions. So much happier [and calmer] when I spend more time on my garden and doing the things I love. The venomous snakes terrify me to… I can still move quick when I need to!


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