Tag Archives: old post office tearooms

Hidden Treasures and Tiny Revelations…

7th September 2011

It’s a beautiful day out there, and it feels as if spring is truly upon us.  Little blue birds are singing their hearts out in my garden, and the sun is shining with a hint of summer on its breath.  I walk towards the café but it looks like a war zone there.   Security fencing, cages, street closures, huge trucks and heavy machinery, security guards blocking what’s left of the foot paths……they are demolishing the old police station and courtrooms on the opposite side of the street, so the ground is shaking and the dust is flying… Definitely not the energy of the café on the outside….

BUT!     

I walk on in through the “cages” and into the café and feel that “aaah” feeling…that gentle lift and settling of my being as the energy of the café and the smiles of those therein, reach out to welcome me.   Here it is.   Home!   The feeling never changes.   From the oven wafts the smell of a quiche and croutons baking and there’s soup simmering on the stove.   The cake cabinet is, if possible, even more extravagantly exciting than ever before.   The colours and textures defy belief!

“Heidi went wild!” says Brenda with a smile, and I can see that Heidi has not only been baking again, but like everything else in this café, she has been expressing herself in the most artistic way.

Banana and honey cake with honeycomb shards…

 

         Chocolate spiral torte    

Salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake

Dare I say more…?

But wait, there IS more on the second shelf!!!

 

Victoria sponge, and Banoffee pie (Banana – Toffee pie)

And much much more…

Sigh….

The poems and notes from the tables are waiting for me…

This one perfectly summed up my entrance to the tearooms this morning!!

 

I sprinted along at the double,

‘Cos the street was littered with rubble

But the coffee was hot,

And the smile that I got

Made the trip to your shop worth the trouble!

(Liz)

It may not be so simple tomorrow as the workers inform the gallery managers that the street required digging right up to the front wall, which means NO front entrance!   Where the footpath is will be a bulldozer and if they don’t dig carefully,  possibly a fountain!  The gallery managers suggest closure of the gallery and tearooms, but that just does not seem feasible. 

There are staff members who require hours and need to be paid, as Brenda says, there are meals being planned and confections already prepared for this week, and so the Café should remain open for business, with just a more adventurous path inwards for those daring enough to come find the heart of the building!

 

Stumbling down the street,

Climbing sand piles and rocks,

With jackhammers and diggers

Hurling aftershocks.

Avoiding trucks and blockades,

Past fences and gates

With detours to wind through

And negotiate.

Fall in through the door

Breathe a sigh of relief

You’ve conquered the outer

For what lies beneath.

Here in the tearooms

A whole new landscape

An oasis of calm

A tranquil escape

The coffee is hot

The cakes are divine

The smiles are embracing

The kindness sublime.

They say all good things

Are worth the effort or wait,

And it’s never more true

Than in this café.

In Brenda’s words, it’s the agony and the ecstasy today… making decisions for the café that are fair to all.  After much discussion,  Brenda decides to close the café to the public tomorrow but to use that time to complete other jobs here – repolish the floor, rearrange furniture, pack up wholesale items that will no longer be for sale (all those beautiful old teapots and crockery), and for her and Heidi to make a start on the Christmas cakes….. (aaargh…there’s that word…”Christmas”… it’s starting to creep into vocabulary around town, I guess it’s only a matter of weeks and the reality will appear on shop shelves and displays….and start ringing through the supermarket speakers and repelling us from shops quicker than any security guard).

The containers of all the dried fruit come out and the mass production of this season’s gift begins.

“’scuse me” says Brenda, after a while of mixing … “I’m just off to get some whiskey”   We all laugh and someone says “time her!” 

But she comes right back with several bottles of the “good drop”…

The giant containers of fruit glisten with colour and texture, as they get combined, and the bracing smell of whiskey arises as the bottles are poured into the mix.    I wonder if there will be any sixpences added to these puddings in the making.   I feel inspired to go home and plan my own traditional Christmas puddings and cakes.

 

I dropped in to post a letter,

But they said I had it wrong,

It no longer was a post office,

The post master – he had gone.

So I sat a while and had a think

Then a cup of tea and scone

(Caz)

 

 

 

A lovely place to stop for afternoon tea!

China cups and teapot and beautiful cakes to see!

You have created a nice teashop!

So when we’re back again with our friends

In we’ll pop!

Thanks!

(Colleen )

 

 

The coffee’s nice

The tea is sweet

And this is a

Great place to meet.

(Joan)

 

Indeed it is!

 

 

 

One cup… or two …

A pot of tea

Carefully brewed.

Wait three minutes

Then sip it slow…

Somehow life looks better

Over the rim of a teacup.

(Jacinta Matrenza, Mandurah)

 

 

That’s a wonderful truth!   How many of us have memories of visiting a parent or older friend at various times of our life, when we have sadness or pain, and being given a hot cup of tea to help ease our troubles while we talk, or just sit quietly.   I know some very special people whose first line of support is to “put the kettle on”.   Don’t you?

We talk between us about the healing power of the hot beverage.   From a hot chocolate for our children at night, to a cup of tea with our parents…. Many women are the makers of the “cuppa’.   But what of the joys we get when someone else makes that cup of tea for us ….?

Brenda recalls the joy of someone else making her afternoon tea, just as I remember that feeling when after a tiring week of caring for my family, I visit a friend who lets me sit down while she makes me a coffee.   It’s a simple but much valued gift.   And it is part of the charm of the tearooms too.   It’s the “giving” and the “caring” behind every cup that makes this place so very special.    

I think the longer I am in the café, the more I get to see and hear.   The “behind the scenes” is very enlightening…. You do gain such enormous respect for business owners in the hospitality industry.   And empathy too.   I helped Brenda one cold, dark evening when she was here alone, to pack up and carry in all the tables and chairs on the verandah… folding cloths, putting away plants, decorations, sugar bowls – the furniture was heavy and I even worked up a sweat.   And Brenda does this every night and puts the furniture out every morning… along with the decision making, the precision baking and prep work for the day’s fare.  Not to mention her care and support for her staff.   Again I think of the expression “labour of love” and know it to be true.

Now, back to my garden and little blue things….I made an interesting discovery last week.   I think I have mentioned that my blue wren family consists of Blue Boy, the male, and his “Henny” the female, and a young female from their last nesting season (last summer).    I’ve learned that even when the blue males lose their feathers and appear to be the same colouring as the females, you can tell them apart because the female wrens have orange coloured skin around their eyes, on their legs, and their beak colour is orange.  The males have black or very dark skin in these places.

Last week I was watching my wrens play in the garden when I walked outside.   The young “female” would sit on the branch when the father bird flew up and open her beak and hold that pose.   My initial thoughts were “Hey, you’re not a baby any more, what’s with the “feed me” attitude!”  

But then the little one landed on my hand and I got a surprise.  “Her” beak and legs and skin colouring had darkened like the male bird, even though “she” still had a grey plumage like her Mother.   

Now, that really got me wondering “Was ‘she’ a ‘he’??”   Then I realized that would explain the open beak display she was giving the male bird.   Like with baby foals, or young horses, who open and close their mouths as a sign of respect for an older or more superior horse in the herd, this was a sign of respect towards an older, more superior bird.   And that would make sense that the juvenile wren was showing “respect” towards the dominant male bird in the family.

The next day after making this observation, when the young bird landed on my hand, I noticed tiny flecks of brilliant blue emerging from the soft grey feathers, the beginnings of a spring plumage.   “She” was a “He” !!    It was no great discovery compared to events in the rest of the world, but for me, it was just momentous!   As  the days went by, the blue became more and more noticeable, as did the relationship woes between youngster and father.   The male wren would chase the little one away at any point where I was interacting with them, and the juvenile wren would make the “open beak” respect sign at him, or fly away and hide.    But he did not go far and still would come out when the coast was clear to land on my hand as he had done in the past.   I felt a bit sorry for him, with his spotty, scruffy, half grown coat, he looked kinda disreputable, and a bit “down on his luck” especially when the older Blue Boy chased him away.    At one point, when “Little Blue” as I called him was on my hand, “Blue boy” flew in with such a vengeance and chased him so blindly that they both flew into the side of my head.   Talk about the dangers of befriending blue wrens!!!

What was however, quite inspirational, was to watch the young Blue wren realize he had a song.   He would sit alone on a branch and throw his head back and burst forth into the most powerful song.   It really was the most amazing thing to witness and hear!   Over a few days, his song became loud and clear in my garden and I loved hearing him sing his presence and his heart into the world.  

I was really happy to think I now had TWO Blue boys in my garden that would respond to my presence and the camera, even if they did not much like each other.    I tried to seek “Little Blue” out quietly and give him so treats, so he would not be driven completely away.   The irony was not lost on me though, that even if my original Blue Boy would drive this little fellow away, there would come a time when the tables would turn, and this young male would become the king of the garden and chase his old Father bird away.    I guess that made me sad, even though it was simply “nature”.

So there they were, not caring that days might be numbered, or positions lost, or that the world was full of crisis, pain, wars, debt and chaos, they just felt their own song rise up in their hearts and let it out to the world for no other reason than that they were alive, and they could sing.   And do you know?  I believe the world is a better place for each and every note they freely put out there….. with no thought or expectation of anything except the joy of expressing their place in existence.

And so it is…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spidery, Bribery and Corruption…

31st August 2011

It seemed like many forces were trying to prevent me from leaving home this morning to come into the Café.   My children laughed and exclaimed as we walked out the front door “Look at this Mum!”

A very ambitious spider had spun huge lines of web across the garden path, back and forth from a tree, to the gate, and across to the garden.   There was no intricate web, just these “do not cross” lines of strong white web, that glistened and sparkled with dew drops in the early morning.   The clever thing had even strung them over to my car and locked that down.    If the web had been striped with red it would have looked like a crime scene or danger zone!

We had to laugh at the ingenuity of it ….I wonder if she thought she would stop anyone leaving and feast slowly on us all before we could escape!  We saw no sign of the spider responsible, but I can only imagine it was a big one!

Nature is so fascinating.   When I walk on these early winter mornings, the webs adorn fences and trees and bushes like many precious jewels, glistening with the raindrops or dew.   It seems like at certain times of the years, the bush and native areas, as well as farm fences are literally splattered with diamonds and pearls……  I love winter!

In at the café, the verandah is empty due to the street works, it looks very quiet, but don’t let that fool you!   A room in the art gallery has been set up so café patrons can sit inside and continue to enjoy the food and beverages away from the dust and noise of the renovations outside.  And the green couch is still there too.

 

 

If of thy worldly goods thou art bereft,

And in thy slender store two loaves alone are left,

Sell one, and with the dole,

By (sic) hyacinths to feed they soul.

For Brenda – Welcome Back

(from Sarah Roisin and Ianto)

 

Treats For Two

 I came in for a bite to eat.

I looked around and chose two seats.

It was a special day for her and I,

To sit and chat and enjoy some pie.

She is a special girl to me,

She is my daughter, now you see!!

 

(Now I can relate to this lovely image….)

Sometimes we just get the most random lines left on the notepads and yet, they are always thought provoking, if not interesting…

 

All have sinned

And NICE too….

 

 

I wonder if the sin involved eating too much?  (smiles)

 

 

 

Don’t be afraid to try something new…

Amateurs built the ark –

But professionals built the Titanic!

 

 

For quite some time now, I have been wanting to generate some interest in Haiku here at the café.  The Haiku is one of my favourite genres of poetry – to me they are like an exquisite, polished jewel… a tiny cameo image of a personal gift from the natural world, or from our own journey through it.

 

 

the sun gently rests

a warm hand on my  shoulder.

I am not alone

 

 

 

 

 

 

These eyes filled with clouds

‘Til the sadness overflowed

and began to rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little blue bird

sings till the sky shatters and

lets his heart fly free

 

 

 

 

My children love Wednesdays, and coming to the café after school to meet me.   They love sitting at the table and having a cake of their choice brought to them on a pure white plate with a flower beside it and a bowl of cream on the side.   Maya’s favourite is the Pear Frangipani, Sol’s is the Chocolate Brownie.   Their newest favourite is Brenda’s Chocolate and Beetroot cake.  I will vouch for that – it is to die for!

Their eyes glaze over as they eat. 

“Please Mum, ask for the recipe” they say, wiping their mouths.  But I inform them that a good cook or baker does not share their special recipes, and this is never more true than here at the Cafe.   Brenda’s recipes are priceless and precious, and can only be “tasted”, never seen. 

But the cake is so good it not only inspires a loss of table manners (the plates just HAD to be licked!   Ahem!) but also a bit of bribery and corruption.

“Offer her money” says my son.  “Bribe her for the recipe for Chocolate cake!”

“Distract her!” says my daughter….. “You distract her Mum, while I sneak up and steal the recipe!”

Brenda and I fall apart laughing.   Good luck with that kids!   The recipe remains private and confidential and any more of that behaviour and you do time in the gaol cells!   This is an old courthouse and police station you know!   LOL


Birthdays, Blue Birds and Kindness …

27th July 2011

I walk into the café this morning to bouquets of flowers on the shelves.   There is a birthday in the house!  And this is a very special birthday – Brenda’s 50th.   Yet it is as always, “business” as usual.  Brenda says she would not wish to spend her birthday anywhere else but here in the place that is such an expression of her own self.    Except we all know this place is not about business, but pure hospitality and the delivery of good things – service, food, conversation, comfort and even kindness.  

Let’s just think about the power of kindness because it is so important to me, and I believe tends to make a difference in the lives of both the giver and receiver.

There are many who pass through these rooms, or sit at these tables, who are here in some way to find comfort, whether in the form of a place to read the paper, share a meal with friends, or a quiet space to just indulge in the simple pleasure of a cup of tea or a slice of cake.   Several conversations this week have centred around the theme of how we all seem to put on brave faces, and muster up courage to hide away our pain and miseries behind smiles or even humour,  we work hard not to crack and let our supposed “weakness” (read “humanity”) show, and yet the quickest way through those walls or facades, is a simple act of kindness .  

How often have you been battling though some personal trauma, tragedy or stressful time, thinking you are coping very well, and then someone says a kind word, or offers you a small gift, or, in our case, Brenda delivers that hot drink, with a plate of cake and a single rose carefully placed on the napkin?   And the tears break free and fall?   I know only too well what that is like.

These past few weeks I have felt the weight of life’s sorrows upon those near and dear to me, with so many tragedies and difficult circumstances rising up to challenge them.   I have one friend who lost not only one beloved parent but both, a week apart.   I have another who is suffering from a terrible illness that causes great pain and there is no cure;  several other close friends have recently lost their life partners, including my younger sister, and yet another friend is struggling to break free of an abusive relationship and rescue herself and her children.  And that is just in my immediate circle, without even mentioning the world of friends I connect with online and whose own life stories are at times so poignant, heartbreaking, even tragic.   Even in my own life, I have my own share of hardships to deal with, not the least of which is a debilitating and very painful chronic illness  and a deep sense of isolation.   I know that these small moments of pleasure we allow ourselves, are the medicine our souls long for and when we give ourselves permission to take a break from the pain and sadness, and savour the tiny precious moments of what IS good in life, no matter how fleeting, then we open the door to healing and future happiness.    We all deserve this much!   And we must not wait for others to bring it to us on a plate, these are things we can give ourselves.

 

In my case, I won’t bore you with details of suffering, but suffice to say, no matter what kind of day I am having, even when I can barely walk at all, I only have to go outside into my garden and there awaits the best medicine anyone could ask for.   Not only do I have fresh air, wide open spaces and trees, nature and bird song, I have something particularly unique.  I live in the country, miles from main roads and with state forest all around.   In my garden, I have some wild fairy wrens (Blue Wrens) who have made their home here.   And who have, it seems, adopted ME, as their friend.

Now it is quite ironic for me, that as a photographer, I have spent years, stalking these brilliant little blue birds, struggling to get close enough for even one shot that wasn’t blurry, or that had the “tail end” of a bird flying from the frame, and I truly did despair of ever getting a good “blue wren” photo.

Then three years ago that all changed.   People who are familiar with Blue Wrens (or “Splendid Fairy Wrens”) will know that they can be very cheeky and friendly, especially if they get used to humans feeding them.   I have always chosen NOT to feed wild birds where I live as I am a cat lover and have always had several cats.   So over time, I noticed this one little male wren (it is the males of the species who get the brilliant blue plumage) who constantly hopped around my garden and flew up to land at my feet, or sat in the bush close to me, singing.   He was more friendly than any of the wrens I have ever seen around here, and so I called him “Blue Boy”  (yes, very original, I know) and proceeded to talk to him whenever I saw him.  As time went by, this little bird seemed to know I would not hurt him, and would fly up to my doorstep and call out to me, or fly in and land next to me when I was outside in the garden.  

Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I held out my hand and he flew in and sat on it, just very briefly, but “we had contact!”     The next time I saw him, I took out a few plain biscuit crumbs (low sugar) and offered him.  And he landed on my hand and ate, with his little claws gripping my finger, like the tiny hands of a child holding onto a parent.    I was rapt!

 

Over the past three years, this little bird has succeeded in introducing me to his mate “Henny Wrenny” and many of his babies.   At first Henny was very nervous and would not come close, but as time passed, she became very bold, especially at nesting time, and would knock him off my hand to come and have some treats!   Bossy little bird!    At times I have had this pair with up to three babies before me, entertaining and filling me with pure delight.

The little wrens are very watchful.   Even when they are eating, only two will eat, and one watches.   Then they alternate.   They watch the sky, for larger birds, who all seem to be a threat to these tiny avians (kookaburras, hawks, butcher birds and eagles are notorious predators), and they scan the ground for lizards and snakes, cats and dogs, and other threats.   They have different alarm calls for different animals and I have come to recognize most of them.   Their warning for a snake is the most intense and unmistakable.   They have warned me of a snake approaching my yard on a number of occasions.

 

When their babies first fly from the nest, they are quite helpless and clumsy.   One parent will stay with them and watch while the other flies for food.  It is a constant task to bring food to nestlings or fledglings, they are bottomless pits!   At times like this, the little parent birds love me offering a few crumbs, but I do not need to worry about harming their health with “human diet” as they never just eat biscuit crumbs, but stop and fetch a few bugs in between the crumbs, as if knowing a balance diet is good for them!   (Now if only to teach my kids the same thing!)

Knowing how watchful the wrens are, I have been touched by their deep trust in me.   One day while out photographing the babies, both parent birds disappeared, leaving me spying on the babies as they hopped and fluttered in a pile of branches.   This was very unusual as I know that only one parent bird would fly away at a time.   After quite a break, both “Blue” and “Henny” returned, with their feathers all wet, and proceeded to shake, flutter, and fluff on the fence rail.  They had been off for a bird bath while I babysat the little ones!!!  

It was so funny!  (and of course, their antics while grooming, were yet another source of amusement, especially when I could catch the action with my camera!)

 

 

 

 

 

So now I have as many blue wren photos as I can handle.  

Every day, my little blue friend greets me and sings his heart out for me.   It is the most precious gift, and so very healing.

So I give Brenda a blue wren image for her birthday –  This simple photo of a little blue bird, awakes a memory, a poem, and line by line, the words flowed, bringing with them a rush of feelings.  She smiles as she quotes Gerard Manley Hopkins “Spring” :

Spring

NOTHING is so beautiful as spring—

  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
  Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
  The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
  The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
 
What is all this juice and all this joy?
  A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
  Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
  Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

So for my little blue bird – a connection to this poem, where Hopkins’ little thrush sing upon a background of sky – “descending blue;  that blue is all in a rush…”   which pretty much describes my own little friends in colour and character, if not in species.

 

And synchronicity being as it is, this poem was left at the Café for me during the week…

 

 

 

Pretty little blue wren

Cheeky as can be,

Hopping here and there,

Performing just for me.

 

I wonder if you realize

Just how cute you are,

With your vivid blue colours

Pretty as a flower.

 

You like to hide in bushes

And flit across the ground

And when you sing your happy song

It’s such a lovely sound.

 

A bird that’s so endearing,

Would be very hard to find.

When I think of Australian bush,

You are on my mind.

 

 

(I believe I can thank Rosalie for this gem.  Rosalie, you really summed up the character of the little fairy wrens and it made me smile, so thank you!)

 

 

 

I have a few more treasures from the table tops at the Café….

“Whatever it is,

It always looks better in the morning”

(A Schutts)

 

 

(I smiled reading this one, guess they have never seen me in the morning! LOL)

 

 

 

And this beautiful piece from Bec Larsen (Perth)…

Nightfall

Sweeping roads fade away into the darkness

Drunken Saturday night lights left behind

Soaked days of glutony, indulgence, lust,

Eat, Pray, Love, for the love of wine,

New experiences, spontaneous, new faces,

Winding bus dissects the countryside

Glass after glass after glass

To escape the reality.

 

Winding roads revisited,

Life begins again.

 

(Thank you Bec, this evokes so many images and memories for me, I feel the stories peeking through the lines of this one.   Smiles…)

 

 

I will close with another pearl of wisdom…

 

 

“It’s not your aptitude

But your attitude

That determines

Your altitude”

 

 

And so it is …

 

 

 

 


Revealing Artists and Storytellers…

29th June 2011

White Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake

I had a discussion with friends recently about what is art and who is an artist.    It amazes me when some people say “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body” and yet they are so skilled at creating landscaped gardens full of visual delights or productive patches of vegetables, fruit and herbs.   Or, they produce mouthwatering meals and exquisite culinary delights for their family and friends because they enjoy doing so  …  or decorate a house in the most eye catching manner,  turning it into the most inviting “home”.   These people are indeed artists though they might not realize it.  They are expressing themselves in creative form, letting their soul colour their lives in a visual, tangible way that is uniquely their own. 

All humans have a creative side….we just express it in different ways…. some people are creative in less obvious ways, they use creativity to solve problems, or to fix or build things.   Some are creative in the manner they conduct their relationships……. or deal with life……or care for their loved ones…..I genuinely believe that living is in itself, an artform!   To deny that part of self that is an artist, is to deny our human-ness  AND our spirit.  Creativity goes hand in hand with soul.  

A person’s “art” is as multi dimensional as their soul….. and like an extension of self, should be ever changing, growing, evolving, transcending… so next time you think you don’t have a creative bone in your body, think again.   Every cell of your being is a creative student, every strand of your DNA is a creative master… and its up to you to let them explore and connect your inner and outer worlds.

The café is small and quirky, but also very warm, personal and inviting.   It is an extension of the woman who created it.    Brenda tells me she loves being here and it shows!   She is an artist in every sense of the word –  in her love and care for her staff, for those she welcomes into her “artspace”, and in what she offers the world.    I always feel so deeply appreciative of the energy and humanity that touches me when I am sitting in the café.

Art for Sale in the Tearooms

The stories come and go, along with their people.    It seems that so many countless stories unfurl into view at these café tables.    Small glimpses of ongoing journeys too grand to describe here, but enough to inspire are left behind like crumbs, on the tables.  Sometimes these exist in memory only; a few words overheard, or energy drifting in the air, and sometimes in written words in the little notepads on the tables.    These precious fragments hide greater stories, which are largely hidden, denied, or on the way to being lost forever.  

On the sunny verandah, an older woman shares her family history with a friend.    She has traced her ancestors back to the first settlers on board the ship with Governor Stirling, landing at Rockingham, Western Australia.   The stories she tells are stitched with hardship and yet rich with fascination for lives in a whole different world.   The same woman has been an integral part of the local repertory club since it’s very early years, and quietly admits to being the costume designer and creator for all of those early productions.   She speaks of all the outfits she has made and kept, now stored (hopefully) for others to appreciate and use.   A vision of rows of hats, and shirts, and dresses, a parade of colour and style and texture, springs to mind with a hint of the scent of naphthalene and dust.  In her collection of memories is a set of all the programs from every repertory production or play that has been staged since the theatre’s foundation.   Except one.   She admits that there is one from those early years, that eludes her.    But what an amazing set of memorabilia that must be.   Even I feel a desire to interrupt and ask “please may I see them?”   Perhaps the one that is missing is yet a story in itself, and deserves a blank page in it’s honour?    At one point this woman wonders if her children or grandchildren will be interested in the stories she has gathered from the past, but feels perhaps they will not.   A look of resigned sadness seems to pass over her face.   But I know that even if one generation might overlook the importance of her memories, there will always, always, be another who will be deeply grateful and excited to discover and relive them. 

The stories of the now might seem insignificant and hardly worth preserving, but to future generations, they will be sources of not only fascination and intrigue, but reminders, lessons and images that portray the reality of these times.

At a table in the corner sit a man and woman, chatting animatedly at times over their cups of tea, at other times lapsing into awkward silence.   What is their story?   Could it be, that this is a first meeting, dare I say it, a “blind date”?    That someone has initiated the exchange of phone numbers, and these two are now meeting for the first time in a comfortable environment such as the café, to get to know each other better?   They spend hours, and numerous cups, and eventually stand, shake hands in an amiable way, and walk away.   I wonder what stories and thoughts will unfold as they leave the café and go back to their own respective worlds.

On the green couch, and surrounds, there is much activity –  a gathering of customers who at first look like business people, holding a meeting over coffee, with laptops and folders open before them, but a closer inspection shows an aura of creativity and flair that indicates these people are in the art or entertainment industry, perhaps discussing an upcoming film festival or event.  Something very exciting maybe arising from this gathering at the café! 

Brenda, Caitlin and Rhys, are rushing back and forth with cups of tea and coffee, and trays of freshly prepared food.    They have a café full of customers, but also a volunteer in the courtroom gallery requiring a meal, the managers of the gallery across the road have ordered lunch, and there’s a regular group meeting in the adjoining artrooms that has to be catered for.   There is a flurry of activity, but the smiles never wane, and are as always genuine.

On the table tops, a pile of note pages flutter.   Here are the little treasures from the café visitors for this week and I eagerly read them to grasp the little stories scribed therein.

 

One cannot find happiness – it is not lost.

It is within all of us waiting to be let loose.

(Catherine F)

 

 

Delighted to see the tearooms up and running again –

we missed visiting.

Part of the country experience

(“The Perth Trio”)

 

 

 

Once I heard an angel

Talking just for me.

Telling me how happy

My life can really be.

If I let the past fade away

And live each day anew,

Focus on the pleasant things,

That is what to do.

When you wake up every morning

Be thankful for that day,

And let a smile, a look, a kiss,

Chase your tears away.

(Rosalie)

 

 

 

Cup cakes and roses

Are my memories of

Coffee in the

Old post office tea rooms.

(Molly and Brian)

 

 

Somewhere along life’s journey,

You may be lucky to find,

Someone who is just for you,

A soulmate, warm and kind.

 

When you least expect it,

He may suddenly be there,

A friendly smile, a certain look,

He will really care.

 

At first it might be friendship,

But then out of the blue,

You will realize

That love is there for you.

(Rosalie)

Artworks For Sale at Cafe

 

 

I think it is evident that love and friendly smiles are just some of the gifts on offer at the tearooms this week…. It seems there is always something for everyone, most of all the incentive to reveal the inner artist or storyteller ….. and where others are acknowledging their creativity, there is always constant inspiration for those around them……


Life, Death and Tragic Music…

15th June 2011

Well so much for the best laid plans……the universe apparently hijacked my journal.

My blog was all there on a thumb drive from the Wednesday at the cafe, and then, disappeared!  

So I tell myself “Let that be a lesson to you.”  Save onto the computer as well as the little thumb drive!   Ironically, it’s the first time I ever worked completely off (or onto) a thumbdrive, but was trying to be more portable (and clever!) about working between the laptop at the café and my pc at home and having lots of half completed files spread between them.   Guess being too clever can be a problem as well.   (smiles)

Maybe it disappeared into the cracks of the green couch, or between floorboards, or…. Maybe Mary disapproved of my thoughts for that week….and removed the whole drive.  I had been immersed in deep thoughts about death and dying, so maybe the missing blog is but a gentle hint that I was on the wrong track with my thoughts. 

A death in our immediate family has left me pondering the subject, the elusive nature of life and the mystery of the spirit and life beyond.   I have my beliefs formed over many decades of listening and seeing beyond the physical, of realizing there is more to just about everything in life (and death), than meets the eye.    Mary certainly would agree with me on that, and then some.   After all, beyond the Hollywood definition of ghosts, it really is about energy, and the connections between the soul and the source, and the souls’ journey through space and time…. These energy bonds are not so much about haunting a building but communicating and connecting with people from the other side, just as a radio transmitter connects via radio waves to the various receivers.   I have felt this time after time, but most recently in the past few weeks.  Within hours of the shock passing of someone who had been in my life, and my family’s life, for a very long time, I stood on the verandah of his home, in the early hours of the morning, still reeling with the chaos of such a sudden ending.   I felt the night wind in my face, and the roar of the ocean in my ears.   “Where are you?” I asked quietly, from the depths of my confusion and turmoil to the serenity of the universe.

“I am everywhere” came the reply.   And so I believed.

At the funeral of my brother in law, I was moved by the turnout of people from so many different demographics.   As I sat there, feeling the deep shock and numbness of unexpected loss all around me, and supporting the loved ones beside me, I could not help but be moved by the sight of all these people – REAL people – who had come together to honour this humble, seemingly ordinary man who had touched their lives in countless ways.   In all the tears, the broken faces and shuffling footsteps, an image arose, strong and true, that I was witnessing something more, a lesson to consider. 

How do we measure the success of a life?  What marks or heralds us as having a successful life?   Is it the physical good looks or beauty we have displayed?  Is it in the power we have attained, or the wealth and riches we have acquired?  Is it even in the work we have done or the fame and glory we might have been granted?   No.   The answer was there before me – the sign of a truly great life – was in this gathering of REAL people whose lives had been touched by one man’s journey, a life that had inspired them in some way – great or small, or given them something that they could take away with them and cherish for the rest of their lives, be it stories, smiles, laughter, tears and memories.  It was who he was, the human essence of self, that in living, had created in others a seed of shared humanity that would see him continue to “be”, even though he was no longer physically there.  So in that moment I too felt inspired that perhaps all any of us had to aspire to in this life, was simply to be a good person, to love and BE OURSELVES, and to share kindness, laughter, tears and stories with those who touched upon our lives.    And leave behind us a trail of our humanity.    It was for me, a beautiful experience to see a life so truly acknowledged that more than tears, the day became about laughter and appreciation and a celebration of the humble man who was no longer with us in the physical sense.   As we went on to share a meal and drinks at a local hotel, the symbolism of a wake also seemed so powerful – like the waves behind a powerful boat – one life moved away from us at a speed we could not keep up with, and the love and laughter, tears, stories and memories rose and surged, racing along behind his passing like a guard of honour and love.

Of course, I had spent a good part of that Wednesday in the café  sharing bad jokes with staff and customers about the music playing in the tearooms.  That could also have offended someone “out there” – the spirit of fifties music perhaps?   And that too, may have caused my journal to disappear….

“Hoop de doo, hoop de doo, I hear a polka and my troubles are through!”   What can I say?   The music of Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Rosemary Clooney…… classics from my parent’s era drift around the tearooms constantly.  Most times it is background music but every now and then it seems to burst through to the conscious mind, demanding attention, and either has you cringing, laughing or singing along.  

“It’s tragic!” says Brenda with a straight face that hides a tongue in cheek smile behind the words.   “This music is tragic”….and we all burst out laughing.   It’s so old and yet quaint that somehow it brings forth smiles, or comments like “… I remember that music from……” or  “What movie was that in?”  … or the staff burst into song at odd moments along with the old tunes.  But somehow it seems to fit the old world feel of the Tearooms.  It is “vintage!”  I can almost hear the scratchy sound of an old wireless radio crackling in the corner and expect to hear the ABC/BBC news erupting in sober tones between songs……

And in keeping with the music, some classic pearls from the café patrons…..

Roses are red

Violets are purple.

Sugar is sweet,

And so is maple surple.

(John)

Mary had a little lamb

Its fleece was black as soot,

And into Mary’s home made jam

His sooty foot he put….

 

(My lovely Grandma Daisy taught me this – Daisy Riley 1899-1995)

Ps  I just can’t write the one my Dad taught me!!!

Celia

 

(why not Celia?  LOL)

 

 Ahh – that brought back wonderful memories for me of my own Grandmother from the same era, who also shared that particular poem, and many others that were such fun to myself and the other grandkids.   It does make me wonder now we have, or will one day have, our own grandchildren, just what poems and jokes will we leave with them?

Here I will add one that my Grandmother and also my Dad used to tell us when we were little…..

“The lightning flashed,

The thunder roared

And all the world was shaken.

The little pig

Curled up his tail,

And ran to save his bacon”

 

 

More inspirations and thoughts from our Café patrons over the week…

When you’re sitting by the sea

There’s nothing like a cup of tea

A cosy fire, a luscious cake,

With poetry does me happy make.

(Mary  9th June 2011)

Ps why don’t you advertise your poetry sessions at Tom Collins House in Swanbourne,Perth?

What a wonderful café!

First vintage clothing

And now a vintage tearoom!

 

 

 

“In the beginning God made man – after that there were a lot of mistakes.”

(Dan:  9th June in the year of our lord 2011)

 

Hah! Dan…and I thought that first one was the draft only before He perfected the plan.  LOL

There once were three girls going campin’

They had their boots ready for trampin’

They packed up the car,

They were goin’ so far,

Lots of eatin’ and walkin’ and snorklin’!!

 

(17th June 2011 lunch break during final shopping day for a BIG five week trip up North)

 

Hey Girls…..that sounds like a dream trip.  Hope you have fun and drop back into the Café to share some stories upon your return!

Resting..

After 18 years cancer has sprouted anew.

Now it has a companion on the other eyelid.

I am resting after the biopsies.

Resting until I need to arrange

for new eyelids, cancer free,

and have some more creative priorities.

Listening.

Friendly women’s chat,

All I hear is the burble,

Business instructions – close by –

This is when I paid the wages –

Paid on Monday.

The student makes notes.

Did you just circle that?

I did.

Before me is the circle

Of coffee foam with a

Curvy leaf drawn…

 

 

It never fails to move me at the very human stories that pass through the tearooms … the stories on their way somewhere that simply pause to take in a bit more of life amid a little self kindness over a cup of tea or coffee.   To the person who sat pondering these things, I wish I could have shared that circle with you, but I see that you are a poet and appreciator of the little things that make up the grandness of life.  I wish you wellbeing and more gentle moments of self reflection and indulgence at the tearooms…..

 

Ahh!  Here I sit as I gaze with witless renoun (sic)

Thereupon the traffic as it glides past the window,

Window to the soul,

Soul of life.

Holiday,

Gazing at the eagles,

The eagle eyed parrot,

Hovering, gliding,

Muffin with knife,

Sand beach,

Glazed turkey.

Here I sit,

Afore I continue on my journey…

(T Ronald  9th June 2011)

 

 

Aaah indeed.  Those precious moments of self reflection, just sitting in the moment and watching life unfold around you, with your self at the heart, a silent witness … all in the comfort of a loving energy filled space like this little café.    We should all make ourselves do such things on a regular basis so that we get to know our own life better and appreciate our place in it with greater acceptance.

I know I do.   (smiles)


A Plate of Courage and Passion

Art in the Kitchen

8th June 2011

You simply cannot walk past the cake display here at the Tearooms without stopping to stare, or perhaps I should say ….gaze.   (and gaze longingly at that)   It views like a work of art.   Indeed, in keeping with the surrounding art gallery, the cabinet is like an extension of the exhibition space, full of colour, texture and beautiful creations.   It is a mini gallery all on its own.     

Local baker’s apprentice “Simon” (who has recently won an “Apprentice of the Year” award) is the artist behind some of these amazing culinary masterpieces.   Like Brenda, he makes these cakes from scratch with only the finest ingredients and methods….not a trace of premix or packet elements that you can find in your regular bakery food.   This is the real deal! 

Teamed up with the goodness and delight of Brenda’s own baking – all home made with love and natural ingredients – I defy anyone not to pause and appreciate, if not salivate over, the beautiful culinary artworks. 

I felt compelled to buy a piece of Neapolitan Cake, tempted by the layers of custard, pink and vanilla sponge, with cream and chocolate highlights, all wrapped in layers of diagonally striped pink and white sponge.   It wasn’t easy choice with the chocolate mousse cake sitting there with it’s delicate “angel wings” of chocolate adorning the top….and the rich and tasty “everyone’s favourite”  – carrot cake, begging me to try a slice.   Of course, in the stillness, I imagined Mary sitting there before me – what if I offered this cake to her?  Would she frown on my thoughts and share her own?

“You don’t have it so bad, do you?” she says.   “Do you have any idea how foreign this all looks to me?  The closest we had to bakery delights was simple home made bread, hot and crusty and tough as boots, baked in whatever oven space we could put together.  Usually without butter.   And cake, if it existed was heavy enough to slow down a bullock team.   There was no cream sponge, no chocolate wafer topping and unless you were the gentry, no cake forks!  I hope you are not going to sit there and complain about life in front of me!”

Edible Artwork

I felt sympathy.   After all, as I explain, I live on a farm where my parents, grandparents and great grandparents had worked hard to establish a life from the bush, during group settlement.   All around me, in my father’s museum, and in my parents’ photos and stories, were reminders of the painstaking labour and hardship that helped forge the “easy life” we now have.     I do have a sense of the harshness and unforgiving nature of life in this area back then.  Hands on was the name of the game.  Everything was carved or dug,  shaped or cut, or stitched or built by hand.   

As I think of this, Mary holds out her hands to me.  Chapped, scarred, toughened with calluses and lines – she waves them with a sense of sadness, and yet weary pride.   No soft skin or painted, manicured nails here.  It is hands like hers that built the foundations of, yes, this easy life we now lead.  It is hands like hers that made the sacrifices so that ours can do other things.   As I look at her hands, I feel the chill, the water constantly cold, the long hours of washing heavy clothes in tubs of water with a hard block of soap, the redness and soreness of hands never still or dry.   I feel the pain of blisters and calluses, the weight of the shovel, the axe, the heavy tools, the carting, chopping, dragging and lifting, the digging and ploughing to grow even the most basic of foods, the sheer hard labour that was the only way to make any kind of existence.   I smell the aroma of leather and horses and damp earth and the Australian bush.

“Yes” she says, nodding.    “The young people today have no idea.   Now everything is done with machines, or gadgets, you have electricity and cars and computers, you can buy things in shops instead of having to make every single item you require, and you have time free from the chores of survival to just enjoy life.   Like here in the tearooms…”

I paused in the quiet to appreciate these thoughts, and simply be grateful for how easy my life was in comparison.   Sometimes we get caught up in our own problems and believing life is tough, but if we were to be forced back in time, to have all our modern facilities removed, we might be shocked at how lost we would be…   And unable to cope with the sheer necessity for long and arduous hours of labour to achieve even the most basic of existences.   Even two power blackouts recently, one for seven hours, and one for nearly twenty hours, left me feeling rather hopeless and useless where everyday living was concerned. I know I would not have cut it back in Mary’s day.  I offered up silent thanks to my ancestors for all of their dedication and persistence and my sympathy to those like Mary who could not even begin to imagine the luxuries that we now enjoy.

“You’re trying to make me fat!!!” I hear someone exclaim from the counter, and sure enough customers, are standing before the cake cabinet, about to order, and faced with a difficult choice.    “Not that I need any help with that!” laughs one lady as she happily makes her selection.

Seems like a similar theme of appreciation is expressed by most customers, as the notepads on the table will testify ….

“Scones and Tea

Elegantly

English and

Delish!!!”

(by a “Local”)

 

“Came all the way from Switzerland

For your Bannoffee Pie!

Can’t wait to try it again.

Yum!   Inet

See you next in 2012”

 

“Mmmm a few words…

But what can you say

About a place you feel so at home,

You could just sit, relax,

And just enjoy this wonderful day”

Thanks     Andrew

 

“My wife and I have travelled from Tassie.

We love your town, inspired by the warm hospitality!

Will return again someday.

Enjoyed the 2km wharf and of course the “Goose” café.

Kindest regards

Geoff and Therese Marshall

Ps:  wonderful soup!

 

 

 

 

We also received some “real” poetry…

 

“There was a man from Leeds

Who ate a packet of seeds.

In less than an hour,

His head was a flower

And his legs were a garden of weeds.”

(unknown)

 

 

A little boost for the café poet’s morale (hey…thank you Ms R…..!)

 

There once was a lady called Wendy,

She used to be sporty and bendy,

Don’t hold that against her,

Coz now she’s a fabulous photographer.

She captures your heart,

With her fabulous art.

And so we’ll never forget our Wendy   J  “

(R.)

 

And some special philosophy to inspire your thoughts…

 

“Live a good life,

Spend some time helping others,

Love your wife, children and siblings,

Be proud of yourself.

Never hurt anyone.

Remember, life has an expiration date.”

(Ross, Nannup)

 

“Don’t look ahead,

Don’t look behind,

Be where you are now,

In the moment”

(Phil Maynes, Eungella, NSW)

ps would have liked to stay in the moment of the chocolate cake!

(Anne Maynes)

 

“Perfection lies on the edge of darkness”

(anonymous   8th June 2011)

It was another busy day at the Café – customers flowing in to treat themselves or find that special something they were searching for whether it was sustenance, courage or inspiration.   “Chocolate cake for courage, for ‘gravitas’ ” said Brenda, dishing up a moist and succulent slice on a plate beside a crimson rose and a bowl of whipped cream.   Only here could you receive a plate of courage and passion so beautifully presented. 

It was a rich and rewarding day for me, having conversations with the most interesting people – shared stories that I could take away and treasure…discussing everything from local history and detecting buried treasures,  boatbuilding and manual labour in Eritrea, to literary gems that endure for no reason other than their poetic effect upon our own memories – Oh the joys of a “good blowout on tripe and onions”  (Thanks Val!!)   Life is like that in such a place as the Old Post Office Tearooms.


Come In Out of the Cold …

 Wednesday 25th May 2011  

The aroma of home made soup drifts across the road to the car park to greet me as I unpack my gear from the car.  It is like a sensory welcome “home” reaching out along the street to call anyone within range.  “Come in out of the cold.”   And while it is still quite balmy weather for this late in Autumn, the hint of chill in the wind reminds us that Winter is almost upon us and the comfort days of soup and hot fires are imminent.  And I have to say, there is no better place to indulge in such comfort than by the fire at the Old Post Office Tearooms.

How like soup, such humble fare, to still have the power to evoke all kinds of memories and feelings from so many corners of our lives, not the least of which  is “home”.    Who can forget the healing warmth of chicken soup, or the rich depth of pea and ham, the stuff that true sustenance is made of!   Can you remember the soup that your Mother used to make?   Or your grandmother?   There is something quite symbolic about placing so many tiny elements together to create something new, something even tastier or grander than the sum of its components…   Today’s offering – sweet potato, carrot and ginger soup with it’s cashew nut cream and coriander topping is a mouthwatering invitation to anyone walking past, to come into the warmth of the Cafe.

And so I do.   But lucky me, I get to be here in this warmth and home-ness for many hours today, to soak it up on all levels and just sit quietly with my thoughts.

A Place of My Own

I have smugly grabbed the “green couch”, because that is the perfect home away from home.   Lumpy, deep, soft – the kind of couch you really DO have trouble getting out of, not just because it’s set low, but because it is so homely and comforting, your body defies any commands to rise and leave.    This is where I will spend my time with laptop and notepad today, while inhaling the aromas from the kitchen.

Kind Hearts and Good Food

The girls are incredibly busy.   Brenda is away, and Caitlin and Heidi are running back and forth, weaving in and out of the tiny kitchen and the throng of customers, with a sense of purpose, yet calm.   I admire people who can remain so serene with the pressure of many waiting for their attention.   If it was me, I would be feeling a little stressed, right about now!   But waiting does not seem to be a problem here…it is a gift.  To me, waiting is part of the joy of just sitting in this lovely old building, taking in the energies of an establishment that produces all of its fare “with love” together with so many pieces of history and art, all brewed together, like soup, if you will, and served up in the warm bowl of the present moment.     I would not wish to be waiting anywhere else!  

There are quite a few little notes laying on the tables today.   People HAVE picked up the pens and notepads I left here last week and shared a few thoughts…. Humorous, whimsical, reflective or otherwise… just little pieces of their stories as they pass through here.    Little folds of someone’s truth, if you will….

“Roses are red, violets are blue,

So goes the age old rhyme;

But I know violets are red, and roses are blue –

I’ve seen them hanging on the line.”

 

A Red Teapot and a few Words

“With a bright cheery red pot to keep me company,

My back is warmed by the fire and company.

Baked spud!!!!  

Yummm”

 (SJW)

 

“I know you believe you heard what you thought I’d said,

But I’m not sure if you realise that what you heard is not what I meant”

Work this out!!!

(Edie and Dot)

Lovingly Prepared Hot Food

“Cosy, nice place

With delicious, warm food.

A great start to our holiday”

(Dominic and Yoke May,  KL, Malaysia)

 

“Sydney I tell of

the bays, the oceans,

Where ideas splash and children laugh;

And tell of the biggest coffee cup

That I drank in the Old Post Office

In Busselton”

(Liz Ryan)

 

Reflecting

She sits by the fire with her damp hair from the rain,

Gazing  out the French windows,

As her feet warm through her patent leather shoes

By the fire.

She daydreams of her son’s wedding as

Cars hurry by in the rain.

Soup is served,

Music plays the flower duet.

She sighs and thinks ‘this reminds me of England’

And says out loud ‘gee, I miss my Dad.”

 

(Heidi)

 

Smile.

Be happy.       

A Delicious Gift

Do I confess what I ate here today?   I am not sure if this will be a good habit to get into, because anyone reading might assume far too much about me.   But the chocolate cake…..sigh….. the chocolate cake………    need I say more?

As I pack up my things to leave, a customer rushes back into the counter to say goodbye to the girls….. “Thank you” she says, “That was the most beautiful soup I have ever had – I was so cold and it has warmed me thoroughly.”  

And so it is.

 (smiles)

 

 

 

 

FOLDING TRUTH

I read between the lines
And glimpse the many colours that are shadowed within
So hard to fold one’s truth
Into such tiny places.
But that is the way life’s laundry gets placed,
The sunshine folded into sheets
And stored within lines for a rainy tomorrow.
Minute corners of comfort
Protrude between the lines of our story
Year after year after year.
Today, I pull the blanket of truth
From its hidden place
And shake out its many folds,
Unfurling its colours to the wind,
Airing the frays and tears in the
Interwoven threads of a soul’s journey.
I spread it on the Earth,
A multi-coloured landscape
A resting place to come home to
A place to lay a weary body.
I take the well worn edges and draw its
Heavy warmth around my trembling shoulders.
Fingers feel the softness and touch with tenderness
That which is constant.
Like a child enswathed, hidden and safe,
I fold myself in the comfort of truth
And close my eyes.

There are wide spaces between the lines now
And I glimpsed the tattered edges
Of your truth hiding there.
It is time for you to take out your blanket
Caress with love its tears and frays,
Wrap it around your shoulders
To keep the cold at bay.

Is it possible
That we can appreciate the beauty of another’s blanket?
In the dark night of our journey
When the lines drift free with no space in between,
Can we feel the warmth and wonder
In the folds of each other’s truth?

(wendy slee)