Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Yes folks, the great man himself apologises that he cannot make the party in person, but has sent us this lovely version of a wonderful old Christmas tune ...... it will make Aussie hearts everywhere long for home!
And for the pets choir, he sent this one in ...... http://www.duluxchristmascarollers.com.au
Thanks Captain V!!!
Monday, December 22, 2008
To spice up one quart of apple juice, use one stick of cinnamon, about twenty whole black peppercorns, 3 whole cloves, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. (The sugar quantity can be reduced down to one tablespoon, but I like it sweet.) In addition to these four ingredients, prepare some zest from a citrus fruit. In this example, I used the zest from half a Meyer lemon, but lemons, limes, and oranges all work perfectly. Use the zest from half a lemon, lime, or lemon-sized orange for each quart of apple juice. If you're using medium lemons, use about a third of the zest. Large oranges - use a quarter of the zest per quart of juice.
Select a pot or pan large enough to hold all the apple juice. Toast the cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns to bring out their distinct flavors and aromas. Do this by simply heating your pan over medium heat with the spices in the pan. Toss the spices in the pan occasionally to prevent burning. The spices should become very fragrant within a minute or two.
Pour the apple juice into the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. When the apple juice gets warm, stir in the brown sugar so it fully dissolves.
Once the apple juice is boiling, reduce the heat so it just simmers (small bubbles form and rise to the top in a steady rhythm, but not at a furious rate). Add the citrus zest at this time. We don't add the zest earlier because we don't want the brief hard boil to break up the zest to the point where we will have difficulty straining it. If you're careful, you can add the zest with the brown sugar and watch the temperature to bring the juice up to simmering but not to boiling. Maintain the simmer for thirty minutes. I do this with the lid off because it's easier for me to keep it at a constant simmer this way.
Pour the mulled juice/cider through a fine mesh strainer and into the container of your choice. If your cider has a great deal of particulate matter, you may want to place a cheesecloth or coffee filter in your strainer (or sandwiched between two strainers) to filter out the fine particles. Serve hot.
A comment was that you can add a bit of butter & rum as well .....
What makes this house interesting is the numerous official reports from soldiers over the years have been recounted and documented including this one by Major John Bloor
Captain J. Bloor, February 1973: "Whilst on picket duty, at about 0450 hours, I crossed the road in front of the new barrack block to go down the stairs leading to the path around the lake. Out of the corner of my eye, just as I mounted the gutter on the lake side of the road, I noticed an object standing by the double doors of the kitchen. I stopped and took another look, because usually there is nothing in that position. I saw an apparition which was like a shroud hovering by the door and moving slowly from side to side. The form was about 1.8 metres tall. Brickwork could be seen through it. The apparition was moving very slowly and moved through the outer door of the kitchen and stopped by the inner door. The top half of it could be seen. It stayed there for some time and then turned around and returned to its original position. Once again it rotated slowly from left to right and then suddenly stopped. I got the impression that it had suddenly sensed my presence. It then moved about six metres to the east which, due to the building corner between us, put it out of my view. I moved back to the centre of the road to a position where I could see the apparition beneath the window of the kitchen. It was still moving slowly from left to right. Once again it stopped as if again it had seen me. It then moved back to its original position and disappeared. The whole sighting lasted for a couple of minutes."
Sergeant, 1982: "I was performing a security check of the main building of Fortuna and as part of my duties I was to check incoming telex messages. I checked the door to the telex room and found it to be locked as would be expected. I then proceeded to the main keyboard located in the switchboard room, and, as I was removing the telex room key, I heard a woman's voice say softly: ‘What are you doing here?' I was extremely frightened as I had carried out a full check of the doors and windows of the building and knew it to be secure. I then hurried to the telex room (a distance of some six metres). I approached the locked door and just as I was about to insert the key, the door slowly opened. I had not touched the door at this time and there were no strong draughts that could have caused this movement."
Corporal, 1965: "At 0300 hours, I was adding logs to the open fireplace in the billiard room (now the Corporal and Sappers mess). Suddenly I heard the sound of footsteps approaching the double doors that connected the ballroom and the billiard room. As I turned towards the doors, they both opened fully. As the building was locked and I was the only occupant, there was no logical explanation."
Footsteps are reportedly heard in what was once Sir George Lansell's bedroom and it's adjoining bathroom, also in the billiard room and officers mess. A female voice is also often heard. The voice, which seemingly comes from no visible body is supposedly that of George Lansell's first wife, Bedillia, who died under "uncertain" circumstances in the 1880s
It appears it has now got to the point where the soldiers refuse to stay overnight at Fortuna, though the Army does run Sunday afternoon tours around Fortuna, and with the proceeds hopes to restore the mansion to its original grandeur.
BY NINO BUCCI[BB]
4/06/2008 8:44:00 AM
SAVING Fortuna Villa as a cultural icon of Bendigo means the council must act now, a local group said last night.
The Villa Fortuna Action Group outlined its plans for the Fortuna Arts and Cultural Enterprise at a public meeting, calling on the City of Greater Bendigo Council to act soon in order to save the historic landmark.
Defence Department personnel are due to vacate the 19th century building in coming months but action group president Merle Hall said the council did not need to wait for Defence approval to place a bid for the building - despite comments made by City Futures director Stan Liacos in The Advertiser last Thursday suggesting the council's options are limited.
Ms Hall said the council must offer a priority or concessional purchase to the Defence Department as soon as possible, or risk having the Federal Government deal with the site in its own way.
"It's time for everyone to realise just how close we are to losing this forever. The idea is to raise awareness so that the council is aware that the community would really love to have this property as a major asset of Bendigo.
"If the council purchases it, we're giving them an excellent project plan that will show them how it can be utilised."
Ms Hall said Fortuna Villa could centralise many community functions and events, and she contended it could be self-sustaining in just a few years.
Representatives of vastly different community groups attended the meeting.
They included descendants of quartz mining magnate and original villa owner George Lansell, and a member of the indigenous Jaara people.
Ms Hall said the action group was yet to discuss its intentions with the Department of Defence, which uses the facility for its Geospatial Analysis Centre.
She also acknowledged that limited contact had been made with the council, although councillors Elaine Harrington and Rod Fyffe attended the meeting last night.
A business plan established in the next two months will be presented to the council and the community.
Ms Hall said the arts and cultural focus of the redevelopment had been chosen because the villa was ideally suited to it.
‘‘Some of our earlier groups have had the idea for this for a number of years.
‘‘We have a wonderful model for it in the Abbotsford Convent project in Melbourne.
‘‘It is in the black after only five or six years.’’
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Just noticed this - must have happened on our way to Hill End I should think, when Keith pulled up at Echo Point in the Blue Mountains. I didn't see anyone with flags - and who did the climbing, I'd like to know? I don't think anyone will notice tho, so we'll just say nothing, OK?
(In case you're thinking there are two Australian flags - nope, one is the New Zealand flag (bottom right), which is different to the Aussie flag. That's in deference to any Kiwis who might feel left out! Apologies to any other nationality, I'm happy to add your flag if it's not there, just let me know!)
And here's the Lone Star state just for you Grandma Mimi Meli!