This hardy plant is common to most of Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia...it is also found in some profusion here in Tasmania, particularly around old rural properties having been conveyed here by early settlers along with other plants like hawthorn, gorse, blackberries and thistles to use as hedge and barrier plants, and, I suppose, to bring with them a little bit of familiarity into their strange new environment.
My first introduction to Romania came about when I was eight years old and read Bram Stoker's "Dracula" for the very first time. This book was such a revelation to me, an absolute joy to read. The first book after my favourite Little Golden Book "The Sailor Dog" of very early childhood that is...both remain a constant favourite to this day. But that is another story...
"Dracula" simply put me under a literary spell...the countries, language, cultures, insights into political and historical events in Europe written about in the book required me to read it with a dictionary and atlas beside me, the first book I remember that interested me enough for this additional research. Exactly where was Transylvania? My school atlas had different names than those in the book. I know I plagued the librarian at the Bellerive library when I couldn't find out what I needed to know elsewhere, I am sure she would hide in her office if she saw me coming. Both the school library and our set of encyclopedias at home were pretty limited...how fortunate are children today with access to the web and so much information available for the asking.
The way the book is written as a compilation of several persons viewpoints and diary entries fascinated me. In later years I used a couple of paragraphs from chapter three, for the literary recitation piece for my Schools Board Art of Speech oral examination. No hardship, my memory was such back then I could have gone on reciting for hours, of anything I had once read. The examiner gave me a perfect score as she said I made the hairs on the back of her neck rise and gave her goosebumps at the imagery I presented her...and that section is not even scary...just wonderfully evocative.
Since then, some of the politics of this mountainous country have impinged on my consciousness over the years, particularly the repressive, authoritarian period of Elena and Nicolae Ceaușescu. I remember well the very shocking, if unsurprising, news of their execution, following the revolution in the late eighties...
I am more happily acquainted with some of the works of Romanian composer and musician George Enescu and the voice of soprano Angela Gheorghiu. I find myself wanting to spell the name of the country as "Roumania" however, and think this must be a throwback to my school days, maybe that was how we spelt it, back in the day.
But, I digress...how easy it is.
This week I drew an image of a dog rose from one of my photographs. I coloured it with my Derwent Coloursoft pencils rather than use water colour. I don't have watercolour paper on hand at present so I drew this on a piece of Bristol Board, which I have found does not work too well with wet mediums.
Because I knew from last week's experiment that my scanning and reproducing process darkens the final image, I purposefully kept this one pretty pale, which suited the rose anyway.
I scanned and printed the image before blending the colouring even though it was pretty rough just to see how it panned out. It seemed fine for the inchie as the minor flaws do not show in such a tiny image.
After I had completed the inchie I decided I was being lazy, so I got out the blending solution and paper stumps and got to work. The Coloursoft pencils do blend out well with a little attention. I will probably use these larger images on cards, if they look suitable.
Don't forget to check out the other Romanian inchies...
This was always a favourite family occasion during childhood. Mum would pack one of her substantial picnics and the day would be one constant social exchange on the picnic rugs on the lawn behind the car. Family, friends and acquaintances from all over the State would call by, often bringing picnic treats to share.
The Regatta remained an annual event during our smalls growing years, although never with the same social aspects, although the three oldest swam one year in the trans Derwent and received commemorative medals, Chris was too young to enter. Maybe he will do it at Master's level...he is old enough for that now!
The Regatta always marked the end of the school holidays as back then most schools started the new school year the day after regatta day. It was also always sunny and hot, in my memory at least, as this period used to be one of the most reliably summery parts of the year here in Southern Tasmania. Regatta events included yachting, rowing, swimming, diving, wood chopping, greasy pole and other silly events, the side shows...all the fun of the fair in fact. The linky above take you to the regatta website which has good number of videos and historical photographs.
Things have changed a lot since those days...but I have very fond memories, particularly of this merry-go-round...well, not this one exactly, you understand, but one similar that I rode on a few years later than this clip from the website, dated 1930's ;)
On Friday my friend with the nectarine tree kindly called to say we were welcome to have some more, so nectarine chutney was immediately on the agenda. Just as well the lads popped over and collected them when they did, as the storm on Saturday has probably put paid to any remaining fruit.
While I was cooking the chutney and poaching fruit for the freezer on Saturday, my daughter messaged me to say her neighbour had given her a bucket of plums for me, so away we went to pick them up.
After a couple of hours of cutting out the stones, I had them cooked ready for final attention on Sunday morning to produce a dozen bottles of delicious plum sauce...,I think this is my favourite condiment of all time.
The house has smelt delicious all weekend, thanks to the generosity of others, and the pantry is looking nicely replenished. I still have tomato relish to add but fortunately Tim's tomatoes went in a bit late, so I have a breathing space for a few days.