Music, Smiles and All Good Things

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“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” 
~ Confucius, The Book of Rites

 

Ben and I ventured to the Mullumbimby Farmers’ Markets yesterday morning. We got there a little later than usual, about 8.30am, because after my pre-dawn meditation I sat down at the computer and hammered out some more words for my memoir. The reward for all my toil? Breakfast at the markets – whatever I wanted, plus a good local coffee.

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Normally I’d race around first and grab the things I want that always run out – kale, certain kinds of bread, organic free range eggs, hibiscus and ginger kombucha drinks, but the weekly busker was so engaging, his music so mellow and warm and inviting that we grabbed a coffee, stopped at a table in the middle of the markets and sat down to listen.

So, it seems, did just about everyone else.

The tables were packed, and people found spaces on the grass to sit in the early morning sunshine and listen to the performance too. It was like being at our own private concert.

There was lots of smiling and clapping. Little toddlers danced blissfully, friends hugged, and strangers came together to share in the magic that is music.

Such simple pleasures, but oh so good!

The busker’s name is Mark Heazlett. He’s a local musician from Brunswick Heads here in the Northern Rivers. He sure did make the market a wonderful day out. If you’re ever round our way I can thoroughly recommend a trip to our Friday Farmers’ Markets. Maybe I’ll see you there! 🙂

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Hooray for friends!

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“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” 
~ Elbert Hubbard

 

Isn’t this the most colossal bucket of flowers for ten dollars? They are grown and sold by two elderly brothers who live up the road from us. You can read more about that here.

I’ve had a lovely time finding vases for all of these luscious blooms.

Anyway, I’ll keep this post short and sweet. A friend has come to visit for a few days, and right now we’re doing ‘friend’ things, as much as my energy will allow. Tours of our farm, adventures in the local area. Farmers’ markets. Lots of cups of tea and chats.

I’m so glad for friendship. It truly is the most precious of gifts. And I consider you a friend too, although perhaps we have not yet met.

I also have another shout-out for a friend of mine this morning, currently living on the other side of the world. Kimmie, I love you, and I miss you heaps!

Excellent. Hugs all round!

Okay, we’re off to the Mullumbimby Farmers’ Markets for some breakfast and to fill my basket with fresh produce for the week ahead. Excitingly, I shall be wearing my gumboots because we’ve had RAIN! After such a long dry summer, a little mud has to be a good thing. 🙂

We’ll stop in at the Chocolate Shop on our way back from the markets, because what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t take our guest to such a fabulous place? Then we shall come home, drink chai tea, eat a few sweets and talk some more, as friends do.

Lots of love,

Nicole

xx

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It’s Friday – You’ll find me at the Mullum Markets

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“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.” 
~ A.A. Milne

 

It’s Friday. I look forward to Friday all week. Why? I get to have breakfast at the Mullumbimby Farmers Markets.

As I fed out hay to my cows this morning my own thoughts were filled with breakfast…

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There’s this delicious Thai sticky rice roll, filled with spiced sweet potato. Oh it’s fabulous.  All chewy and warm and good. It’s a breakfast favourite.

Or maybe something from the Sicilian Nomad’s kitchen – a fry up of fresh seasonal fare. Or miso and some freshly made sushi hand rolls. Something from the French Patisserie?

And chai, or a good local coffee.

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Today we’ll eat our breakfast and chat to whoever’s sitting at our communal table, we’ll say hello to friends, have a lovely social time, and then we’ll fill our baskets with herbs and vegetables, fresh baked sourdough bread, good local ladyfinger bananas, eggs, and whatever else looks good.

I think I’ll buy myself a bunch of flowers too.

We’ll have all of that done and be home again mid morning, and I’ll have the rest of the day to write and work, to nap, and to dig in the garden when it gets a little cooler in the late afternoon.

Oh, I love Fridays!

Sending all my love to you. Or maybe, I’ll see you at the Mullum Markets too! 🙂

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The Joy of Guerrilla Art

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“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

I went to my local Library in Byron Bay yesterday, and was delighted to find a small house made entirely of books (used in such a way that they were still readable) displayed prominently in the middle of the room.

The librarians had found it left outside the front doors when they came to open up.

This is how they displayed it.

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What a wonderful thing to find on your doorstep!

There is a tree on the roundabout in Mullumbimby, a small town a little further up the road from our farm, that has also been subjected to an act of Guerrilla Art.  It has been yarn bombed with a rainbow profusion of spiderwebs.  Every time I see it, I smile.

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Art connects us.  Art opens new doorways and windows in our minds.

Today I’m grateful for the anonymous artists who brighten our world.

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My Friday Morning at the Mullumbimby Farmers’ Markets

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Excitement! I went on a short outing today to my favourite local Farmers’ Market at Mullumbimby. After the last few horrendous days of Lyme herxing I appreciated the fresh air and change of scenery…

My first stop was an excellent breakfast from The Nomadic Kitchen – Rice, banana and tomato sauce, and fried egg. I can’t begin to tell you what a rapturous combination this was, and it fuelled me up for the morning shop.

2013-03-22 07.42.28I then filled my bags with organic sourdough pumpkin bread, swiss brown mushrooms, sweet little muscatel grapes, kefir, and a few varieties of fresh garlic;

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as well as organic zucchini, lady finger bananas, eggs and bees wax tea-lights;

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some tasty kale (my current addiction – and my cows’ too, who ate all the kale I had growing at home!!!) and pak choi;

2013-03-22 10.03.16and a multitude of smiles and hugs.

Here’s the organic beeswax lantern (also available at the Markets) where I burn my little tea lights.  Makes the whole house smell of beeswax and honey and it glows translucent and shimmery when it’s lit!

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Nap time for me now – you can’t have too much excitement in one day.  Much love to you, and some healing hugs.  Bless ♥ xx

The Mullumbimby Chocolate Shop

Not far from my farm is a wonderful place which comes straight from the realm of childhood dreams. It’s the Mullumbimby Chocolate Shop, and it’s dear to my heart for many reasons.  I sometimes pay a visit and get a little bag of lollies, and then sit outside at a local cafe and write, sipping tea and fortifying myself with the occasional milk bud, cobber, or malt ball.

Stripy bags of happiness…

 

I so love this magical shop.  Sharon Allen owns it, and runs it with her mum, Ruth.  Sharon and Ruth’s own brand of personal magic is one of the reasons this little place is elevated from plain old yummy to extraordinary.

It’s a place where old-fashioned manners and courtesy are the norm. There’s a little step for tiny children to reach the counter, and they let you buy just one of something, if you want. Sharon and Ruth don’t care how long you take to make up your mind, or if you only have five cents, and they treat everyone with love and kindness and respect.

Sharon is the kindest, most lovely lady – and as knowledgeable as Willy Wonka himself!

All your childhood favourites are there, and many more confectionary treasures you’d never even imagined!  I’ve never come away from a visit without having been offered a taste of something new.  Yesterday it was Butterballs, the visit before Sour Mandarins.

The shop is as popular with adults as with children, and as I was waiting in line yesterday for my musk sticks and licorice, I watched two burly road workers on their break getting a two-dollar bag of mixed lollies each, and agonising over their choices as much as they probably did when they were six or seven!

Sharon was in the store alone yesterday, while her mum is off celebrating her 70th birthday.  As usual, she was full of stories about local life, and all the funny things that happen in her shop.

So many choices, and all of them delightful!

She told me one story that I’m still smiling about…

A little boy came in recently with his mum, who let him buy lollies for his upcoming birthday. They they sat outside at a local cafe Lulu’s, to eat some lunch.

While they ate, the little boy kept coming back into the shop, waiting patiently for his turn, so he could ask Sharon questions.  After each question he’d go back outside to his seat for a while, then think of another question, and come back in again.

“Excuse me, do the lights for your shop stay on all night?”

“No,” Sharon answered.

The next question: “Excuse me, do the toilets here stay open all night?”

“No.”

A bit more thought and then: “Does the air-conditioner stay on?”

“No.”

And one more: “How many people can fit in your shop?”

Sharon had to think on that.  Quite a lot of people can fit in her shop.  She’s even had a band do a gig in there!

Finally Sharon went outside to the little boy and his mum, to ask if she could help them.  It seems Mum had promised her son that he could have a sleep-over with some of his friends for his birthday. And the little boy had presumed Mum had meant a sleep-over in the chocolate shop.

Imagine his disappointment when he realised the birthday sleep-over was meant to happen back at home instead!

Who wouldn’t want a sleep-over in a lolly shop?

If you’ve ever in the Byron Shire, and you find yourself in Mullumbimby (or Mullum as the locals call it) I do recommend a visit.  I also recommend the chai tea at Lulu’s.

Living where I do has much to recommend it!

Jars of sweet pleasures. Which ones will you choose?

Wednesday morning, 5am.

It’s raining here. That’s not unusual for where I live.  The Northern Rivers wouldn’t flow if they didn’t have replenishment.

Each morning I wake up early, around 4am, and then I meditate for an hour or so, lighting some candles and incense to keep me company in the dark. My meditation can take one of several forms, but I always include some time in silence, and some healing work for friends, family, clients and the planet.

This morning I finished my meditation, cocooned in that lovely space of my inner world, and then as I slowly adjusted back into the flow of life I heard the richest of orchestras around me.

There was the constant drum of rain on the tin roof. The frogs are croaking and calling to each other.  Crickets and cicadas add their drone to the moist dark air.  The gutters gurgle prettily as they swallow the rain and convey it to our water tanks.

Wind chimes tinkle in the breeze.

The trees creak and groan as they sway and dance under the rolling waves of rain and wind.

Cows and calves, waking up, are calling to each other, as mother and child reunite for the first feed of the day.

Behind it all is a dull roar.  The creek is up. We’ve had constant rain for days, and heavy rain all night.  Even in the dark I can picture it. The muddy water swelling up in the rainforested channel as it makes its way from the hills at the top of our farm down to the river on one side of us, or the creek on the other.

I can hear it tumbling over the rocks, making little waterfalls.

I put the kettle on, and prepare fixings for tea. My own blend this morning.  Smoky Russian Caravan and Chinese Yunnan, with lavender blossom and fennel seeds. It’s a rich aromatic brew for a robust start to my day.

I’ll drink my tea, write my blog, and work on my novel until dawn breaks.

Then I shall don my leopardskin-print gumboots, take my big stripy umbrella and wander down the hill to the causeway in my pyjamas, and see if we are flooded in.  Such adventure!  Today, nature shall decide what my day will look like; whether I go to town (Mullumbimby  LOL – city dwellers would consider Mullum a hamlet)  to work on my new website, or stay at home and work on my book.  Living here I am constantly reminded that I am a very small human on a planet that lives and breathes, and snores in her sleep, and washes her hair to suit herself.

The rain is still thundering down. The birds are beginning to sing. I pour another cup of tea…