after being given some gorgeous presents
which included these beautiful flowers
and lots of heartfelt goodbyes,
I've left work for six months of Long Service Leave.
(Long Service Leave, for those of you who don't know, is additional leave that is given in Australia and New Zealand if someone stays with an employer for a certain length of time. It's to do with our colonial past; it used to be a way of enticing public servants to come out to the furthest reaches of the Empire...and it's a fabulous institution!)
This is a real change of pace for me
and it's started beautifully ~ I spent my first weekend at a retreat in a lovely, secluded property on the outskirts of Perth. It was wonderful to reconnect with Nature out in the bush and in the gardens:
Lichen on granite
I also felt blessed to spend time with some truly wonderful people. I caught up with old friends and made some new ones. We meditated and walked and danced and shared delicious, lovingly prepared meals. We also created mandalas. I drew one in white pencil, using the beautiful camellias and sweet alice that were growing in the gardens as inspiration:
Mandala in progress
Molly, poor love, had to go to the cattery.
As you might be able to tell,
she's terribly timid and it was horribly cold
so she was very, very glad to get home.
Since then we've been doing a lot of snuggling on the couch,
Molly and I,
I've been making a Monroe Lacy Stole:
I can't wait to get to the edging ~ I'm going to put in some small glass beads.
I've also been keeping warm with this beautiful, hand dyed, feather and fan scarf, which I couldn't help but buy from Spacefrog's etsy store: