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meet wendy haynes,
leading australian wedding & civil celebrant

Wendy HaynesQuotation MarkI love my work and have been passionate about celebrancy since I was appointed in 1995.
It's been an inspiring and rewarding journey working side by side with many couples and families creating personal, unique and heartwarming ceremonies that have touched not only the couple but everyone present. 
Whether your celebration is a wedding ceremony, name giving ceremony, funeral, birthday celebration, or any other of life's 'touchpoints', I can help you to make it unforgettable, exciting, relaxed and friendly and, most of all, fun and inspiring."Wendy Haynes Signature
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See what Wendy's been up to recently! Wendy recaps weddings, events and more in her personal blog.


Thangka Painter in Dharamsala


Our hosts are very close friends with two beautiful and very inspiring people, Lobsang Choegyal, renowned Thangka painter and his wife, Dr Sarika Singh, who is one of the few women Thangka painters in the world. Thangka painting is an ancient Tibetan art form that is absolutely stunning in its detail and craftsmanship yet in great danger of being lost. I was very blessed to visit their home which also houses the Thangde Gatsal Studio. Their aim is to continue the traditional teaching of Thangka painting by training a new generation of painters. Thangde Gatsal means ‘harmonious garden of thangka painters’and is a magnificent property nestled under the foothills of the Himalayas. When I asked about how long the courses were, she said that an apprenticeship can last from between 10 to 20 years! This is not a weekend course! It is an art rich with ritual and steeped in custom.

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treasure boxes



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The Nine Ladies



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Friends for life



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Beetroot tart?


I love Roger’s ability to think outside the box - to keep things alive and spontaneous and stretch my normal ways of doing things. I was in the kitchen cooking up one of my famous apple tarts (tarte aux pommes)… done to a tried and tested recipe given to me by my daughter.  ... read more


Family recipes


Farmer  ... read more

A vow of love


It is inspiring and uplifting to watch a couple declare their love and commitment to each other. To vow to be with each other, for better or worse... ' It opens our hearts to love... sometimes it makes us cry to witness a couple's expression of tenderness, companionship, devotion, friendship...and we know that it is not always. To love no matter what.

And this same beauty is stirred in me when I see people live their lives with passion and commitment to a cause, to a person, to a place... to love.

When I read this quote from Gangaji's last newsletter, this vow to love it made me smile.

'Love is free and it has not gone anywhere. In all of these aeons that you have been hiding from love, love is still here. It is still open, it is still waiting for your commitment, still waiting for you to say, “Yes, I give my life to the truth of love. I vow to let love live this life as it will, for better or worse, for richer or poorer.”  ... read more

Love Letters Straight from the Heart



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Rituals of summer



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traditional skills in the kitchen


The couple who we are staying with in Les Plagnes, France are both dynamic and generous in their homes and in their work.

Pascal, grows organic fruit and vegetables commercially to sell to the local school restaurants (who make lunches for all of the children every day), shops and individuals who buy direct from the gardens. He also has chooks and bakes fresh bread in the old traditional ways using a wood fired oven. He has established a large community garden adjoining a public garden display where young people, unemployed people or those in retraining programs come to learn new skills in the garden. He also is employed to work in schools teaching children traditional gardening methods and baking bread. These skills are being lost in the local homes and families as people rely on supermarkets for their food and yet, they were once an important part of the social and family fabric. It certainly delights my spirit to pick fresh vegies straight from the garden and smell the delicious aroma of fresh bread.

I have made bread regularly at home especially when my children were little. It is an art form that is rich with history (having been made for centuries) and is a lovely process that is especially great to share with young children who love the magic of the bread rising and, of course, eating the end results.

On Friday night I had the privilege of helping Pascal with the baking. At 11pm, while everyone else was sleeping, we mixed the starter - a special yeast, flour, salt and water mix which begins the process.



While this gooey mix bubbled and doubled in size we prepared the tins, lined baskets and the 'mixing bowl' which was a large wooden trough with four large carrying handles. When the starter was ready Pascal added the starter, the warm water and the organic flour to the 'bowl'. Then it was our four hands in (after a good scrub of course!) The rhythmic movements slowly blended the ingredients to a soft and pliable dough - giving life to this precious mix - the magic of the bread was just beginning. We worked steadily kneading the dough until the flour was absorbed and then, when it was ready, covered the mix with a large white cloth to allow it 6 hours to do its own work. The dough was alive!

 

Off to bed to get some rest until 5.30am when Pascal got up to light the wood fired oven.

Pulling back the cloth from the large trough revealed a bubbling white thick dough which had doubled in size. 50kg of dough now needs to be kneaded. Once again we get our hands in and pull and stretch the dough making it smooth and aerated. Good fun and great muscle building!



Then comes the measuring of the dough for the loaves and the shaping. Pascal is an old hand at this, gently massaging the ball of dough between his hands to create the shapes of the round loaf... I take a few go's to get the right shape and texture. It is a dance between the two of us as we move about the kitchen and then voila! It is done! Loaves in baskets and tins ready to rise again. Time now to have some breakfast.



Getting the oven temperature just right is vital and watching him move the coals, clean the brick cooking surface inside the wood oven and ensure the oven is the right temperature is enthralling. I was captivated watching the master at work. Next, the quick transference of the loaves into the oven using a long flat wooden spatula to place them inside...and the door is sealed. Our job is done.

45 minutes later our hard work is rewarded with fresh, hot bread. After it cools we package it all up ready for the customers who arrive throughout the day. What an experience! This WWOOFing experience has given us so many gifts already... and my French is improving!




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