Saturday, 30 January 2016

Just sewing and thinking

The weather is variable - some thunderstorms, a bit of drizzle, some blazing sunshine.
I am sewing and thinking and attending to a few little jobs. The household budget has had a workout.
My quilt project is slow progress. Those dresden plates will look great soon. A bit of mending beckons, although that is easy to ignore.
Rather a lovely time actually.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Funny

My niece sent me these alternate meanings of common words.
I particularly like the meaning of coffee and assume coffer also applies.

Coffee (n.) The person upon whom one coughs.
Flabbergasted (adj.) Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
Abdicate (v.) To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
Esplanade (v.) To attempt an explanation while drunk.
Lymph (v.) To walk with a lisp.
Gargoyle (n.) Olive-flavoured mouthwash.
Flatulence (n.) Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.
Balderdash (n.) A rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle (n.) A humorous question on an exam.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My Australia Day

On Australia Day I relax. I sew and I make a mess. And I do a few other things that probably have no name.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Short sharp storm

We had a short sharp storm this morning. Lots of lightning when I got up but the storm did not hit until after six. Extreme winds. It is worrying when storms strike while it is dark and I can hear but not see what is happening.

Six or seven of my potplants blew over; some came right out of their pots. The chairs blew around, one for about four metres. The doormat travelled even further. The folded clothesline ended up behind some plants. Fortunately the table stayed upright and nothing disappeared over the verandah railings.

As I walked to the shop I noticed quite a few branches had snapped and come down from the street trees.

I put a bit of time into cleaning, tidying, repositioning etc this morning. Potting mix certainly spreads. At least this is a reminder and an opportunity to prune and repot. Actually that'll be fun. Off to the hardware store for supplies.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Exercise clothing

Do you exercise? Did you have a sports uniform when you were a student?
This shook up a few memories for me. I hope it does the same for you.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Sculpture at the waterfall

I saw this sculpture of a fresh water crocodile, a Johnstone's crocodile, at the Botanic Gardens. It is between two and three metres long and is displayed on a rock at the top of a waterfall in the rainforest area. It is not meant to look realistic of course, but it certainly captures the essence of the animal.


Fresh water crocs are not as dangerous as their salt water cousins and tend to be smaller. They have thinner snouts and very sharp teeth. Fresh water crocodiles prefer to live in cooler water, like in pools around waterfalls or in rivers and billabongs, but they are found in salt water sometimes.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Miss Fisher Marathon

Miss Fisher to the rescue!

My complete set.
I have some unfinished projects lying around, and hidden in many places. Of course I hide some - otherwise I might feel guilty about not finishing. Out of sight, out of mind. In keeping with everyone's New Year Resolution of being a better person than previously, I decided to tackle at least one.

How to make the task more enjoyable? Easy! A Miss Fisher Marathon was the solution.

Netflix? No. TV? No. DVDs? Yes. For Christmas I was lucky enough to get three DVDs of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. (Thank you, darling.) The TV series is based on books by Kerry Underwood and I have enjoyed several of these. The TV shows are much simpler but still relaxing, light entertainment. Phryne Fisher is played by Essie Davis, and the entire cast are good multi-talented actors. A couple of times there has been some dancing and both Nathan Page and Essie Davis dance together very well indeed. You can easily recognise Miriam Margoyles, Aunt Pru, as Professor Sprout from the Harry Potter films. The costumes are lovely and the sets are often in well known buildings around Melbourne. A feast for the eyes. A rest for the brain.

Have I finished anything? One knitting project, that could become someone's birthday present during the year. One crazy patchwork piece that should have been completed before Christmas is coming along quite nicely now.  The quilt is slow progress. Miss Fisher is needed to sashay through my home for a few more hours yet. A pleasure.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Cannonballs for everyone

I was strolling in the Botanic Gardens and stopped to admire the cannonball tree. It is in bloom and looking fabulous. I have seen these trees before in Penang, but had not really noticed this little beauty so close to my home.

The correct name of this tree is couroupita guianensis and it originally comes from tropical areas of South America. It was recorded and named in 1755 by the French botanist Aublet.

These are big trees; some grow to 30 metres tall. I don't think this particular tree was anywhere near that size.

Although this example has quite a lot of flowers, apparently some trees can have as many as a thousand flowers at a time and those stems can be many metres long. The flowers have no nectar but they do have lots of pollen. The flowers have two sets of stamens and make two different types of pollen. Bees, bats, flies, and wasps pollinate the flowers.

The fruit takes a long time to mature, about a year. In some places the fruit is fed to farm animals. It is edible by humans but not popular because it stinks. The pulp is used medicinally in the Amazon, although from what I have read it seems to be effective due to the placebo effect rather than good medicine. How could the one substance cure both toothache in people and mange in dogs?

The leaves were too high up for me to see. There was leaf litter on the ground but I could not tell which were leaves from this tree. Apparently the flowers have a lovely perfume that is noticeable in the cool early morning. I saw this tree around lunch time, so there was no smell then.

Friday, 15 January 2016

A little visitor

I was admiring the orchids on the table and I spied this little visitor crouching among the flowers.

Photo time! Identification time!
It is a green huntsman spider.  (Micrommata virescens)
This poor little fellow is missing two legs from his left side.
It was a bit tricky to take the photo while holding the ruler near the spider.

I took him outside so he could live with the plants on the verandah and catch some small insects there.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Orchids

Look at the beautiful orchids that arrived today.
So lovely. There are at least twelve spikes.

These are from my husband's sister and her family. It is exactly what my rather stressed husband needed.

A few months back Michael had a tumour removed from his neck. Then he raced away to visit his dying older sister. The pathology report said that not all the tumour was removed and further surgery was urgent. Done. Then before that could heal he had to travel to the bedside of his sister again.The wound tore open and just will not heal. The surgeon is away on a trip. Every second day my husband has to drive to the surgery and have the dressing changed. Over the holiday period I did it, and it was challenging. The heat, the humidity, daily activity, perspiration - all are defeating the healing. So this little surprise of beautiful flowers is most welcome.

The delivery was done by a little boy, about ten years old. He knew exactly what to do and was very well spoken. I guess he was helping his Dad and Mum during the school holidays. They were waiting in the car outside. It was really sweet.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Women try far too hard

I think I created it myself.
Was I working too hard or
not hard enough?
Today started brilliantly. But somehow it has become something else. I suspect I was trying too hard and lost sight of the goal posts. Women often do try too hard. We plan too much for each day and then work until we are exhausted. That's when the mistakes appear.

The dishwasher died. So off I went to choose a new one. Catalogues. Product reviews. Various shops. Look. Listen. At last I was satisfied and stood at the counter to make my purchase. "Sorry, that model will not be available in Australia for another six weeks. Then we will get it here for you. After that you should have it within a week." I imagined storms at sea, train derailments, floods, road accidents, cyclones. "What else do you have?" "I can do you a deal on this model that is on the floor. I'll give you the same price." "Yes please." Wonderful deal. It should arrive tomorrow and can be installed by the end of the week. Can you hear me cheering? Well I am.

I must have been too excited because after that there was a steady decline in levels of both competency and satisfaction. Is this a performance review?

"No, we have no record of that appointment." I have been attempting to solve some superannuation problems. It can be quite confronting. Years ago it seemed so simple, but something changed while I was gazing elsewhere.Try again. Try harder. Yet another appointment has now been scheduled.

Could not find a vital document to go with a job application. It was a good part-time job that would have fitted very neatly with my tutoring. Perfect fit actually. Then I missed the deadline for the applications. I suspect the online application form was taken down about three hours too early, but once it is gone, it's gone. I must never make that mistake again.

Never mind, now I have more time to learn to quilt a bit better. The quilt pattern from Christmas is worth the effort. Sewing is always a wonderful consolation - soothing and energising at the same time. I shall console myself. I will console myself. (Did you spot the different cases when using shall and will? Subjective and imperative, said the tutor.)
I must let myself off the hook and be glad that I have so many opportunities.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Crocs

We had a very enjoyable afternoon at Crocosaurus Cove. This is a tourist place in the CBD where people can learn about crocodiles and see them up close in a safe environment. There are more than 200 crocodiles as well as turtles, lizards, and snakes. Entry is quite cheap (we got a Seniors discount) and it is a very well-run facility.

Both salt water crocodiles and fresh water crocodiles are protected species in Australia. We live in their environment. We work out ways of living together.

At Crocosaurus Cove the crocodiles live in big tanks and are well fed. Here in the NT crocodiles are farmed for their skins and their meat. When nuisance crocs are removed from the harbours and waterways they are re-located to the farms. Crocosaurus Cove is associated with one of those farms. It is also associated with a scientific research facility.

There are plenty of signs to tell you about crocodile life. All the signs are in English. I thought they were excellent.

We watched a crocodile feeding session. Although we did not do it, there is an opportunity for everyone to feed the crocs at Crocosaurus Cove. Dead fish are tied by a long length of string to a pole. You dangle the fish near the crocodile and he will jump for it. This is a natural behaviour as crocs jump for birds that fly too close to the water.
This is from the Facebook page for Crocosaurus Cove.
The people in the Cage of Death are not identified. It is not me.

There are two different opportunities to swim, or at least be in the water, in the salt water crocodile enclosures. Both are safe but exciting. It is safe because the glass is so thick.
The most famous is the Cage of Death. That has a cost. You are lowered in a glass cylinder into the big croc tank. You are supplied with a mask and snorkel and submerged to about chest deep. There is just one huge salt water croc in that tank. He is encouraged to play the game by handlers giving him some extra fish. The croc will come up to the cage and the participants say it is absolutely terrifying. A photographer takes a few photos for the client to take home.
But there is another opportunity to do something similar at no extra charge. Another tank has a glass divider. There are about a dozen medium sized crocodiles on one side and you and all your friends can swim on the other side. The water is about 1.5 meters deep and families can do this together.

Another photo from their Facebook page
I liked the air conditioned museum containing models of various types of crocodiles from around the world. Truly fascinating. Also in the museum are skeletons to illustrate the differences in bone structure. And at certain times you can have your photo taken while holding a baby salt water crocodile. Of course his mouth will be taped shut. Even tiny crocs can bite off a finger.

The turtles are lovely. We saw quite a few different species. Pig nosed. Long necked. Turtles with high shells. Turtles with flatter shells. Red faced. Yellow faced. Turtles with flippers. Turtles with claws. There are turtles in a pool outside and more turtles in the air conditioned aquarium section.

Of course my sister and I wore our hats, even inside.
Out mother instructed us most carefully to wear a hat and have a hanky.
As well as crocodiles and turtles we saw some snakes and lizards. I had no idea there were so many interesting species of geckos. The reptile enclosure is air conditioned and there are signs at each exhibit. I wondered how anyone could manage to feed all those lizards and snakes their special foods. It must be rather complicated.

We had a slow walk around the aquarium before enjoying a cool snack from the cafe.

Here is a link so you can explore the Crocosaurus Cove website for yourself.   http://www.crocosauruscove.com/visitor-info/
I am not receiving any payment or reward for discussing our visit there. I just enjoyed our visit and thought other people might like to know what life is like here in the best city in Australia.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year.

I am so glad that 2015 has finished. Not my best time. Struggled with some of my university studies. Air conditioning woes. Travel disasters. Death in the family. My husband had emergency surgery which has not healed well. Blah, blah, blah. Aaargh! Glad it is over. A new beginning.

2016 is already off to a good start.
Ann meets a silent hero
at the Military Museum.
My younger sister is visiting us for a month. She previously visited me in 1979. Ann is an aged care worker specialising in community work. In her leisure time she is an off-road rally driver.

For the first two weeks we did nothing but talk. That was exhausting.
Christmas was fun. The weather was ghastly but it was wonderful to spend the day with family at our place this time. Ann is much more calm and composed about these events than I am. (Panic merchant) We have consumed so many calories I swear we could power a steam engine. Chocolates. Cakes. Mince pies. Cream. Alcohol. Puddings. Shortbread. Cheeses.

Now we are doing things and enjoying life.
Yesterday we went to the Military Museum at East Point. Last night we strolled down to the Waterfront for a spectacular fireworks show. Today it was a drive down to Adelaide River to visit the War Cemetery.

Now I am looking forward to having Ann's help as I tackle the quilt kit she gave me for Christmas. Thank goodness she is here. It looks hard. (Yes, I know, try baby steps.)