Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Snake photo

I saw this short article on the Facebook page of one of our local TV stations. Pythons are plentiful here of course, but this one is a beauty.

Renowned Territory bush photographer Paul Arnold has become the subject of a great photo shoot, after rescuing a large snake from a road in the rural area. Fearing it would be run over, Paul returned the python to the scrub as his buddies watched on (from a distance).

This terrific shot was taken by Damon Wagland. Look at the position of the snake's head. So many different lines drawing the eye and creating interest.

Paul Arnold is a local photographer who specialises in environmental subjects. His studio in town looks like a bush shack and he dresses the part at all times. 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Spelling with i and e

When you learned to write stories and such you may have learned a jingle about the letters i and e. I certainly did. i before e except after c.

Then there are exceptions to the rule. Aaaagh! So many exceptions!

I found this little poster and thought it worth keeping. You might think the same.

I like the subtle changes in pronunciation of words that appear similar. English is not for the weak and feint hearted. Feint or faint???

I also found some more information for those who deal with homework.

The Complete I Before E Rule - With Explanations
Each part of the rule.
Use i before e
Use ie as in thief, believe, priest, etc.
Grief, thief, relief, chief, mischief, priest,, grieve, thieve, relieve, achieve, sieve, niece, piece, apiece, centrepiece, siege, besiege, pier, bier, tier, frieze, field, battlefield, yield, shield, shriek, friend, fiend, view, review, preview, patient, impatient, patience, fielder, wield.
Except after c
Use cei as in receive, deceive, ceiling, etc.
Receipt, receiver, deceit, deceive, deceitful, ceiling, conceivable, inconceivable, receipts, conceited conceivably.
Or when sounded as "EYE" as in Einstein

or "AY"as in weigh.
Use ei in "EYE" words such as Einstein, Eileen, Heidi, stein, Steinbrenner, etc.  These words are generally regarded as being imported from other languages after the rules of English spelling were set.
Ein, Einstein, Eileen, Holstein, eider, eidetic, feisty, heist, Eisenhower, Eiffel, height, Heidi, Heidelburg, farenheit, heigh-ho, Weissmuller, Poseidon, Rottweiler, apartheid.
Use ei in "AY" words such as weigh, eight, vein, veil.
Weigh, weight, eight, freight, freighter, neigh, neighbour, sheik, sheikh, heinous, lei skein, vermeil, inveigle, feint, sleigh, deign, reign, rein, Pompeii, feign, veil, unveiled, vein, Seine, reindeer.
Neither, weird, foreign, leisure, seize, forfeit, and height, protein and caffeine forfeiture, codeine, heifer.
Neither, weird, foreign, leisure, seize, forfeit, height, weirdo, foreigner, leisurely, seizure, forfeiture, protein, caffeine, codeine, heifer, surfeit, counterfeit.
Do not let the C-I-E-N words get you uptight!
As in efficient, ancient, conscience, and sufficient etc.
Science, conscience, ancient, efficient, sufficient, scientist, conscientious, inefficient, efficiency, proficient, omniscient, scientific, prescience, inefficiency, coefficient, proficiency, omniscience.
Interesting Homophones: 
          bier/beer,                                                                 bier/beer,
          ceiling/sealing,                                                        feint/faint,
          lei/lay,                                                                     Eire/heir/air,
          neigh/nay,                                                               piece/peace,
          pier/peer.                                                                reign/rein/rain,
          seize/sees/seas,                                                       sleigh/slay,
          they’re/there/their,                                                  vein/vain/vane,
          weigh/way,                                                             weighed/wade,

Saturday, 25 May 2013

What is water?

A was offended by the actions of the young men who hacked a British soldier to death this week. They acted as if they knew it all. The man who spoke so publicly seemed insane to me. The soldier was a musician. Did his wife see him leave the house that day thinking she would never see him alive again? Did the murderers' mothers and fathers chat at breakfast and know what the plans were? What was the reality of the people involved?

A few days ago I was speaking with a friend and she told me about her reality. She had been very busy visiting her son in the hospital each day for the past month. He has a serious illness which does not stay under the radar, but jumps up from time to time and requires lots of support. She could have gone to work, but her priority was her son.

I work part time in a menial job. The other workers have varied backgrounds. Some are university graduates. Most are reliable workers whose future fell crashing down at some time. The reality in this work is not about satisfaction, achievement, generosity, love, kindness, physical fitness, beauty, or philosophy.

A friend sent me a link to This Is Water. Reality is the water around us. I started to watch and thought it was rubbish, but a niggling thought kept me going. It is worth it. The video is based on a speech and so has a different structure from the usual style. The essence is asking us to think about reality and what the daily life is really like for other people. I hope it stirs your thoughts the way it did mine.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Book bag

I made my friend a book bag. Not an over-the-shoulder bag, but a carry-by-your-side bag. Yes, in this photo it is already full of books.

Jenny is quite feminine, so I hope it suits her. I did some crazy patchwork with beading and embroidery. Pieces that were just lying about waiting to be useful. Used some lace scraps. Kept it simple.  The lining is calico.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Italian Festival

Yesterday our city held an Italian Festival. It was organised by the Italian Club.

Yes, we are definitely a multicultural mob here. No ghettos. Everyone mixes together.
Thousands of people enjoyed themselves at this free event in the heart of the city.
Getting ready

Lots of Ducatis and Vespas.
I was surprised at how many families here are originally from Italy. I read and hear these names every day, but had never really thought about the traditions and histories of these community members. The lists of names displayed told a story of adventurous and healthy people setting out to learn and live, see the world and thrive.

Italian beer and Italian wine was available.
Few Italians lived in the Top End prior to the 1950s but the wave of post-war migration brought people to Rum Jungle where there was a uranium mine. Hard physical work in an isolated and hot place. The township of Batchelor was the accommodation village at that time.
Many of these families later settled in Darwin and established businesses. Now their children are in respected professions as well. Some Italian families have done well in the construction industry. Yes, I expect they are bilingual and speak Italian at home, even if they were born here.

The Italian Festival had not been held for 23 years and back then had been in a different location. This year it was held in the heart of the city on the lawns outside Parliament House. It was a beautiful, green and shady setting.

Lets do the shopping in this Maserati.
The Senior Italian Ladies Choir sang a selection of folk songs, and my choir, the Darwin Chorale, supported them as did the Filipino Rondala Band. O Sole Mio, Quando quando, and other old favourites. I found singing in Italian to be rather a challenge, but the audience were appreciative.

Is this your Lamborghini?
A few kind people allowed their cars to be displayed. Anyone for a Maserati? A Lamborghini?  I did not even realise these cars were here but they look as if they are used every day. Perhaps I am walking around with my eyes closed.

This photo is rather dark
but hopefully you can just make out the flag throwing troupe.
I enjoyed the display of folk dancing and the flag throwing. Great coffee and cakes. Italian food. Italian drinks. Paintings. A mask making competition. Cooking exhibitions and recipe books. A singing competition. A spaghetti eating competition.

I had a wonderful time.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mothers' Day 2013

Enjoy Mothers' Day.

When I was a child my mother insisted that we  gave cards and gifts to people who acted towards us in a motherly way. Aunts, neighbours, friends, people who worked alongside us. Get the idea? The emphasis was not on being a biological mother but on the actions. After all, some mothers do not fill the mothering role as well as other women who are not mothers.
My mother never asked for a Mothers' Day gift and sadly we rarely gave her anything or celebrated the day at all with her. She was a very humble person who reached out to others, not thinking of herself.

Here are some pictures I found that are about Mothers' Day. Share them; others have shared them with me.

Not everyone has a mother, so value yours.

Monday, 6 May 2013

A singing joke

In my choir we sometimes sing without any instrumental accompaniment. a capella.
So I enjoyed this simple alpaca joke.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Orthodox Easter

Shopping catalogue
This weekend is Orthodox Easter.

Yes, not all Christians celebrate Easter on the same day and in this case there is quite a gap between those dates.

We have thousands of Orthodox Christians here in Darwin, mostly Greek Orthodox. There are some Russian Orthodox and various African groups too.

My friend George has been very serious in his Lenten fasting, which began 40 days ago on Clean Monday. No eggs, cream, milk, cheese, fish, meat, or sauces that contain these things. No purchased stir fry sauces because many contain oyster sauce. George is a chef so has necessarily been cooking with these ingredients, but turns around and makes a little vegetarian meal for himself every time. He has not had any tea or coffee through Lent because he would normally use some milk in that.

Tap the red eggs together and say
'He is risen'.
Last night, Saturday, was their night for the homemade fireworks. This was done properly here with Police blocking the roads and so forth. In the past the fireworks has been a problem as they tended to be bombs rather than fireworks. It is illegal to make and set off fireworks here without a permit because of the uncontrolled mayhem, injury, and risk of fire. In the other states it is just plain illegal. The current Greek Orthodox priest has played a vital role in getting everything under control in the NT. Laws now accommodate the customs of various groups that use fireworks in celebrations. Central locations are used rather than everybody's back yard. Safety courses are conducted. Police assist by blocking roads and providing a presence. The hospital appreciates this and so do all the pets.

Do you make Greek Easter biscuits, koulouria? Sometimes I do. This is my recipe which I adapted from my friend's traditional recipe. Helen's made a humongous pile of biscuits suitable for gift giving.

Greek Easter Biscuits (Koulouria)
Makes about 30.

            1 cup sugar
250g butter
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups plain flour
3 eggs
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds

1.     Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Prepare 2 baking trays.
2.     Into a large bowl measure sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla, nutmeg, 2 cups flour, 2 eggs and salt and beat at low speed until well combined.
3.     Stir in the remaining cup of flour and make a stiff dough.
4.     In a cup beat the remaining egg and set aside.
5.     Take about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a snake about 20 cm long. Fold it in half and twist several times. Place it on the baking tray. Continue until all the dough has been used. Biscuits need to be about 2 cm apart. It should make more than 30.
6.     Brush the tops of all the biscuits with the beaten egg.
7.     Sprinkle biscuits with the sesame seeds.
8.     Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and then store in an airtight container.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

May Day

Do you celebrate May Day?
It is very important to me because it marks progress in industrial conditions for workers.

So I celebrate May Day. Yes, I have marched through the streets in a May Day parade. I have always belonged to the union and I do my best to behave in the workplace in a manner that reflects the value of a fair day's work. A fair day's pay for a fair day's work. I have always been paid according to my job and skills, not according to my gender. I believe in treating the worker with respect in order to maintain a happy workplace where the tasks actually are done to the industry standard. Some rather hideous things can happen in unregulated industries in some countries. Management!!
This weekend there will be a huge free concert sponsored by the trade unions in our city. I will enjoy watching the parade through the streets too, but just watching now.

But May Day means something different to other people in other places. I saw in the blog A Little Fur In The Paint the loveliest images about May Day.


The following pictures are from that blog. Romantic. Idealistic. Charming. Nostalgic. They remind me of the folk dancing I did as a child at school. We had a May Pole and performed at festivals and fetes. I loved it.