North & Co celebrate their 1st anniversary
On the 1st August, 2018 owners of North & Co. Menswear in Dural celebrated the completion of their inaugural year in their new Dural business venture.

“We love feedback from our clientele, it allows us to cater for exactly what our customers want” explained Carol, co owner. Upon walking into North & Co Menswear you can tell that this is exactly what the pair have accomplished during the store’s first year of trade, while still maintaining their core value of quality and comfort.

“We’re so thankful for the local community that contributed to our success this year”, says owner and owner, Mario Grixti.

Our backyard
This is a beautiful shot captured by my husband, Peter. It is always a magical and enchanting experience to be visited by flocks of birds.

If you have a great local photo please email me and I will share it with our community.

A cautionary tale
Those regular readers of Heartbeats will have noticed my absence last month and will also be aware that my daughter, who lives in Nairobi recently returned to Australia to have a baby. The reason for last month’s disappearance of Heartbeats was because I travelled with my daughter and her two sons back to Kenya.

Given that my daughter had been here for 3 months and that she had the paraphernalia associated with young children we had a mountain of luggage. Crib, cot, car seat, car capsule, pram, toys and then the clothing. As we had an evening flight we spent the whole day packing. Exhausted, but with a sense of accomplishment, we loaded the 2 vehicles necessary to transport us to the airport. We felt that we had made sure that we would arrive 3 hours early just to make sure that there would be no problems with all the luggage. My daughter is a well seasoned traveller so there was never any question that she was confident about our travel times; although all concerned found it intriguing that we were booked on such a late flight, 10.55pm flight. We arrived at the airport at 7.55pm to be told that the gates had closed. It was then that we realised that the 20.55 flight actually meant 8.55pm not 10.55pm which my daughter had interpreted. Oh dear, here we were, exhausted with all this ‘stuff ’ and two tired babies. We returned home, rebooked the flight for the following evening, paid the extra $2000, kept the cars packed and returned the next day to the airport at 5.55pm.

A traveller’s nightmare. My advise is to always run a second eye over flight times especially if they are in 24 hour time.

Image is of me with my grandson in a wild life sanctuary in Natasha, Kenya…I am telling him to watch the hind legs of the Giraffe, that is how close we were.

A Case of Missing Oranges
We had been watching the trees at the bottom of the garden as they were full of almost ripe fruit.

This year they were smaller than ever before and we put it down to the drought, which seemed harsher and longer than we could ever remember.

Anyhow, they were almost ready and at last one day my husband said he would take some buckets down and visit the tiny orchard and then our neighbours.

He had gotten into the habit of going for a rare visit to those next door and those who were at the top of our long battle-axe driveway, to give them a small gift of the golden juicy fruit and of course to enjoy a friendly chat.

Afterwards he would bring them home for us to share and to hope it would be one of those rare occasions when I actually made some marmalade..filling a number of odd sized glass jars with the sticky, bubbling orange jam. Then he would give some away at the club and pretend we were real farmers with bountiful crops to share.

The little orchard was at the bottom or top of our garden, depending on which way you looked at it….down the creek or up the drive. Before long, in fact much sooner than I had expected him, I heard the heavy tread of his old work boots on the gravel and then up the verandah steps.

“Oh, you didn’t pick any” was the surprised greeting he received.

“There weren’t any to pick” was the dispirited answer.

“Possums or those wallabies that have been hanging around… maybe birds?”

“No…they would have left a few hanging as well as scraps on the ground.”

There was only one species who would have have crept in and stolen every single orange from the trees. Far more than a family could eat.

Would they choke with every bite of the juicy fruit? I hope at least that they were in desperate need of them.

It left a horrid taste in our mouths.

Drought hits home!
Last week I caught up with an old friend in Forest Glen, and it is here that I am shocked to see the reality of how bad the drought is in NSW. Their enormous water tank is now empty. A feature lake near the house is a shrinking puddle. My friend is having to adjust an already tight budget to pay for water to be trucked in to keep their home functional. She gathers drinking water or enjoys an indulgent shower at friends ‘in town’ when she does a grocery shop. Our acreage neighbours are doing it toughbut spare a thought and extend a helping hand to our farmers (and their animals) who are bearing the brunt of this drought. Words and illustration by Susanna Mills

Thanks to Glenorie playgroup mums
At our home we have built accommodation for guests and travellers who need to be housed for short or long stays. Last week we had a couple and their 2 year old daughter who had journeyed from Salt Lake City. They arrived on Monday morning, and left, to return home the following Saturday. Despite it being their first trip to Australia, they seemed very content just to explore our local area. They were a lovely couple, but it bewildered me that they were not more adventurous of spirit, deciding to spend a lot of time bunkered down in our guest house. I suggested that we take their 2 years old daughter to the playgroup at the top of our road so that she could have a play date with other children. I want to thank the mothers at the group for making the young mother and her child welcome and embracing them into their fold. I am grateful that they were able to widened their circle just a little with the help of the Glenorie Playgroup.

Open Studio
Over the weekend, four local ceramic artists opened the doors of their studios to the public for the first time as part of the Australian Ceramics Open Studio weekend.

Janine Schenkel, Rona Sissons, Jen Lyall and her daughter Emily Byrne spent the weekend in their studios at Berrilee and Glenorie, where all were welcome to learn about their local artists, the ceramic process and purchase unique work.

Neighbours, friends, pottery students, colleagues, artists and members of the community were free to explore each workspace, have a cuppa, eat some biscuits, and take their favourite pieces home. It was fantastic to see the studios filled with both familiar and unfamiliar faces – including those from the Anglicare Retirement Village Pottery Group Castle Hill, who chartered a bus and made a day of it.

Thank you so much to everyone who visited. we’ll see you all again next year!

20 years in business
This year marks 20 years since Aaron and Alison Hansen started Prime Pool Care.

“We wanted to go out by ourselves” say’s Aaron. “We chose the pool industry as it would suit our needs. We had started a family and wanted the sort of business that was flexible to suit as our family grew.”

It was a humble start. With Alison at home looking after their first child and doing the book work, Aaron started to build the business – one customer at a time with leaflet dropping and door to door greetings.

“We would like to thank all our great clients for their continued support in helping us to get to where we are and look forward to many more years of keeping them happy!” Sincerely, Aaron and Alison Hansen.