Celebrating Nana’s Birthday

Image from mrwallpaper

Image from mrwallpaper

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance.  They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life.  And, most importantly, cookies.”  ~ Rudolph Giuliani

My beloved Nana and I were always the ‘September Girls’, her birthday being the 2nd and mine the sixth. It was a special club the two of us belonged to, and since she passed away last year it’s the first September I’ll spend without her.

Yesterday I thought of Nana often as my husband and I travelled through the hot, dry Outback. It would have been her 98th birthday – so close to that magical 100 where we’d joked she would have tea with the Queen.

It was fitting that I started my day with one of her favourite meals – a perfectly toasted sandwich and a cuppa chino (as Joycey used to call her cappuccino). We found a funky little cafe aptly called The Queens Beans in Roma – decked out with gnomes, fairies, astro-turf and all manner of funky retro chic. Nana would have adored it.

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After an early start we drove and drove. Endless miles of dry and barren country, road trains, red dirt, paddocks covered in the silver stubble of long dead grasses, relentless blue sky, flocks of hungry emus and lonely herds of sheep and cattle. Drought is biting hard out here. All the memories of our own struggles on the farm came back (you can read about them here and here), and more than once we commented on how grateful we are to now call coastal New South Wales our home – where it rains often, and beaches and good coffee are just around the corner.

We punctuated the day’s road trip with visits to tiny towns for lemonade iceblocks, cold drinks and toilet stops. There’s been next to no phone coverage, and little on the radio. But that’s okay. I love that after all this time my husband and I still have so much to talk about, to laugh about. Road trips are great for that!

Finally we arrived at our next overnight stop late yesterday afternoon. We dined on a bush veranda at twilight, looking out over a magical sunset, grazing kangaroos and twinkling stars. As beautiful as it was, the skies hold no promise of rain.

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Today we’re meeting a friend at the Barcaldine Bakery to drink tea and eat cake in Nana’s honour. And then on to Longreach, for family research, writing and a little work.

I’m missing Nana more and more, rather than less. It’s only now I’m beginning to appreciate how much she shaped me as a person, and how she continues to. Surely I’ve been blessed in the Grandparent department.

In tribute to Nan, I’ve included links to some of her recipes and wisdoms below. I hope you enjoy them.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

Nana’s Recipes:

Nana’s Curried Sausages

Nana’s Passionfruit Slice Recipe

Nana’s Pikelet Recipe

Nana’s Gingernut Log Recipe

Nana’s Traditional ANZAC Biscuit Recipe

Nana’s Wisdoms on Love and Life:

Flowers, Friendship and Gardens

Listen With Your Eyes

Advice for Life’s Bumpy Bits

And to conclude – a song my Nana used to sing me all the time when I was little. (Hey, it was the 1970’s!)

Hasta Manana, beautiful Nana…

13 thoughts on “Celebrating Nana’s Birthday

  1. YAY! you found the perfect little café for your nana’s birthday. We haven’t had rain for a long time in Rockhampton, looking forward to the next downpour to freshen up the land. Thanks for taking us along with you on your road trip. I haven’t journeyed out west yet, but it is on my to do list. Enjoy the ride 🙂

  2. What a lovely tribute to your Nana Nicole and you’re right, those who are lucky enough to have been worked on the by the grandmother department have surely received a special and unique gift to pass on and share with others. She is very proud of you. xox

  3. Dear Nicole Lovely to hear of your travels to our neck of the woods. Isn’y Queen’s Bean a gem? Enjoy your time in Barky. Ingrid, our daughter is marrying a boy from Barcaldine on Friday. I imagine your Grans may have know each other. His gran, Bet Stevenson still lives there. Thank you again for another wonderful blog and enjoy your travels out west. Love Nikki and Peter XX

  4. Welcome to our neck of the woods! Isn’t Queen’s Bean a gem? Hope the rest of your road trip goes well. Our daughter Ingrid will be marrying a boy from Barcaldine on Friday. His gran still lives there so your Nana may well have been a friend, knowing the size of Barky! Bett Stevenson. Happy travels. Love Nikki and Peter 🙂

  5. What a wonderful day and what a wonderful husband you have. I played the ABBA clip to my 17 month old grand son Logan. He was interested for about 30 seconds and then went back to tearing up a magazine whilst I sat on my bed singing along with Agnetha. Thought about my father, and the thought of seeing him again has brought a big fat cheesy smile to my face. And yes, I am missing my dad more and more with the 10 year anniversary coming up. I would have loved him meeting his great grandson but I guess, he already has. Thank you Nicole. My family think I have a close, personal relationship with you because I often say, Nicole said this or Nicole said that. I know I am rambling but the day I happened upon your blog was the day my life opened up to something really special, thank you, love Joanne xox

  6. Gosh what a splendid tribute to you wonderful Nana . I’m sure she would be so happy that you have remembered her in such a way .
    Thank you for sharing with us .
    Cherry

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