Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category



As we exit lockdown here in Sydney, I wanted to drop you a short note to let you know where we’re at. A couple of readers have been kind enough to make contact to check on us, and I didn’t want to leave you hanging!

In short though, we’re doing very well! Retirement has proven to be an absolute joy and I’ve been spending less and less time online as it evolves. During lockdown, we’ve focused on our family, friends and neighbours, renewing old bonds and building new ones, trying to take care of those around us. It’s been an incredibly rewarding time, despite having been stuck at home for nearly four months.

My focus has changed a great deal since starting this blog in 2009. Back then, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial was all about bread and baking, interspersed with the occasional story of our family life. I made a concerted effort to keep things light – aiming to provide a space where folks could come to enjoy an easy, gentle read. These days, my focus is on sustainability (as you’ve probably noticed over the past couple of years), waste reduction, and, as time passes, increasingly on issues of social justice. None of which make for light reading. In addition, WordPress have changed their posting interface, and I’m finding it cumbersome to navigate.

So that’s where I’m at right now. As my friend Lisa is fond of saying, we’re living our best lives! I didn’t want you to interpret the radio silence as a bad thing – I simply haven’t had much to blog about or the energy to put the words together. Thank you for your concern though! I’m hopeful that I’ll still put up the occasional post, but I’ve never been one to force content when it hasn’t wanted to come out naturally. In the meantime, I hope you’re all traveling well during this strange and bizarre period in history. Our best wishes to you all! ♥

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The Glass Lid

Last week we broke our ceramic wok.

To be honest, I’m not sure how it lasted as long as it did. But I was desperate to keep the glass lid as it’s the perfect size for my dough bowl…but it’s a tricky item to store. My initial plan – to store it upside down above head level, balanced on a stack of mixing bowls – did not meet with approval. So my oh-so-clever husband created a dedicated spot to store it by adding two spare knobs to the old warming oven we use as shelves.

I was reflecting (ha!) this morning on what a blessed life I’ve had. It’s been pretty tumultuous too, with our fair share of sickness and loss and sadness, but it’s always been underpinned and supported by this amazing relationship which started when we were just 18 years old. And I never take it for granted – possibly because I’m a sentimental fool – but every little word or gesture, every kiss on the head, every small act – feels like a gift. Last night he saw the glass lid precariously jammed (upside down) on the top shelf, shook his head and smiled, then solved the problem. He didn’t berate me for being daft or insist we get rid of it. This is how it’s been for 38 years.

A couple of days ago, my daughter-in-law told me about how she was upset because she’d spilled something all over their new tablecloth. She said Big Boy saw her distress, shook his head and smiled, then scooped up the cloth and said “don’t worry, it’s gone now”. And I told her it was because he’d trained at the foot of the master, and that she was going to have the best life ever. 💕 

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When I was 17 years old, I had this Norman Rockwell poster on the wall of my room at college. And at the time, I took its instruction to heart – treat other people as I wanted to be treated. View other humans with kindness and compassion and charity, especially those who were less fortunate than my university peers and me.

In hindsight, it was a remarkably socially privileged view of the world, but at the time, I didn’t have the life experience to interpret it any other way. And I’d argue that many people never do – they feel sorry for those whose lives don’t appear as comfortable or happy as theirs, they give to charities because it’s the right thing to do (and it is, don’t get me wrong), and they think “there but for the grace of God go I”.

Fast forward nearly 40 years to a recent conversion I was having with Small Man.

We were talking about the work being done by the folks at Fashion Revolution, and specifically about Lucy Siegle’s excellent but slightly traumatising book To Die For. I read him the information panel in the photo below…

And I said to my son, “It’s not just that this is a terrible thing and basically slavery. But what you have to understand is that that woman IS me. She wants exactly the same things in life as I do – a place to live, enough to eat, happiness and security for her children”.

It’s not until we truly understand that there is genuinely no difference between any of us, in fundamental human terms, that we’re able to feel real empathy rather than just sympathy. Whilst we continue to see a “them” and an “us”, there will always be suffering. In a world which is today so deeply divided on politics, religion, race and gender, understanding this feels more important than ever. ♥

. . . . .

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

John Donne 1624


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“What’s your favourite quote?”, my young friend Imaan asked me.

“This one by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet”, I told her…

All things summon us to death: nature, almost envious of the good she has given us, tells us often and gives us notice that she cannot for long allow us that scrap of matter she has lent…she has need of it for other forms, she claims it back for other works.”

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704)

Then I added…“I think we forget that we are just atoms from a dead sun in temporary form”.

A week later, this beautiful framed artwork arrived in the mail. It now has pride of place on our living room sideboard, a reminder that life is transient and fleeting. Thank you so much, Imaan! ♥

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Scraps of Matter


All things summon us to death: nature, almost envious of the good she has given us, tells us often and gives us notice that she cannot for long allow us that scrap of matter she has lent…she has need of it for other forms, she claims it back for other works.”

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704)

We are but scraps of matter on borrowed time, waiting to be recycled into something else. Regardless of our human age, the atoms we are made of are billions of years old, on an endless transition from one form to another. We get to use them for an eye-blink … and then they move on. I find that oddly comforting!

And who knows, maybe one day some of “my” atoms will end up in a magnificent fossil like this one – wouldn’t that be grand? ♥

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