Tuesday, January 16, 2018


So much for making plans. Since Christmas I have been ill and what I need while I wait on doctors is something light and entertaining. So here for your entertainment - and mine - are some links.

A spectacular display by the Swiss band, Top Secret Drum Corps, performing at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The brolga is an Australian crane and they perform a graceful mating dance. See. It's celebrated enough to be incorporated into an Australian Christmas carol, the Carol of the Birds by William Garnet James and John Wheeler. This was one of the songs we all learned as kids at school.

I'm not sure that this would appeal to me but then I'm not a female koala.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year's Resolutions?

I don't do these as a rule because ... well, I don't know why really. I guess I feel that you either make plans which you endeavour and generally fail to carry out - and recalibrate when things go wrong, or you don't. I prefer to have a few aims - and they don't necessarily have to be in writing - and to work towards them without the pressure of trying to live up to some vague 'motherhood statement' like I will try to be a better person this year. Yes, I know I'm unlikely to achieve all I hope to - the last two years it's been more like achieve anything - but that's okay. You just have to try. That's all anyone can do and making a list on 1 January isn't an essential part of it.

So that's been my general attitude to New Year's resolutions and this year wasn't going to be any different. Or so I thought but somewhere in the back of my mind I must have been thinking about my need to change things after the less than stellar year or so Pisces and I have had. But where to start? I’d read about seeking joy and positivity often enough to feel this was old hat. After all who doesn’t want more joy in their lives? Besides I’ve read so many books that tell you how to do this - usually with lots of impractical suggestions - I didn’t think there was anything new for me. That was until I heard about someone who had simply decided to make a point of enjoying life.

What a brilliant idea. You don't have commit to specifics. You decide to enjoy life and in the process anything can happen. It opens you to a whole range of new possibilities and not the over promoted positive thinking we're told will help us succeed. (I’ve news for the purveyors of such ideas. You can be as positive as you like but if, for example, you’re stuck in hospital or bed bound your situation won’t change no matter how positive your thinking.) The longer I thought about it, though. the more I could see how genuinely good for you finding joy and having fun for its own sake could be. If you do this other things will fall into place and you will thrive. Embracing joy won't stop bad things happening - I'll still have to cope with health issues that will sometimes prevent me doing what I’d like to and the mess the world is in won’t get better overnight - but there'll be time for fun as well if I actively seek it - and I intend to.

So for the first time in my life I'm making a New Year's resolution. I'm going to have fun. Not sure exactly what or where that will happen yet but I'm going to be watching out for every chance of fun I can find. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

and a happy New Year to all.

I'm usually not much of a fan of the Mariah Carey song All I Want For Christmas is You but I did enjoy this a capella version by Out of the Blue.  It was originally released as a charity fundraiser and is still available for download.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The New Year is Coming

and it can't be soon enough for us because 2017 has been one health problem after another. Starting with my continuing illness, which started after my hospitalisation at the end of last year and from which I'm still not fully recovered, nothing has gone as we planned. Granted these days I usually manage to stay up until around 5:30 PM with an afternoon rest of only one and a half hours (in the early stages I was collapsing by 10:00AM and the time I can stay up has slowly increased over the year) but I still struggle to do much and my - our - social life has suffered greatly as a result. I'm not the only one with health challenges, either. Pisces still has his own problems to deal and while he is beginning to feel better, he still has quite a way to go.

Then, just after we sat down on Monday and planned out how to catch up on many of the things that have had to be put on hold (because neither of us have been capable of doing much beyond surviving) disaster hit - again. A few weeks ago we bought a new oven - our old one had started belching out smoke a couple of months ago and there was only so long I was prepared to go without a functional oven - and yesterday the electrician came to install it.

Everything was going well - the oven was installed and working (not without one unpleasant surprise - the person who had installed the old oven had not done the job properly and it could have led to a serious fire so just as well it was being removed). There were a couple of other things we wanted fixed, too, and I climbed the step ladder to check out one of these. So far so good and I started climbing down. Then, as I reached for the last step, the electrician came in, I turned to speak to him, missed the step and hit the floor.

Now I have a broken bone in my foot and I'm wearing a cam boot for some weeks at least. This is heavy and awkward and I'm certainly not going to be able to do any of the many physical things that were a major part of our carefully worked out plans. It's enough to make you wonder what we've done to make the Universe have it in for us.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Small Amusements

1. I was talking to a friend who gets her grandchildren dressed and off to school a couple of mornings a week. Grandson (10) has been being generally obstructive but is finally fully dressed and in his room reading. His sister (7) is struggling. She can't find her school uniform t-shirt, only one of her brother's which is far too large. She goes off in tears to phone Mum who assures her she had put it out ready. Grandmother is trying to sort this out when she suddenly has a thought and goes to check on brother. He has on his sister's t-shirt and when told to take it off gets very mouthy. This grandmother is not one to take any nonsense and threatens she will take it off if he doesn't so he complies still having many words to say. They are running late by the time sister is dressed so grandmother says she'll drive them. Her patience is now exhausted so when grandson is dilly-dallying about getting in the car she tells him he can walk and leaves. (The school is just at the end of the street and they usually walk unless it's raining).

After school and the kids come home to get ready for grandmother to take them to swimming. Grandson comes in when he's changed his clothes and says, unwisely, 'I was almost late for school, Nan, and I was talking to my mates and we agree you were over the top making me walk.' Nan is so NOT impressed and relays this to his parents, who are equally unimpressed. Oddly enough grandson has not tried this again.

2. Then I was chatting to the sheep poo delivery man as you do and he was telling me about his ten year old son - do you see a pattern here? This time the boy is at school and does not want to do physical education for some reason. His excuse: 'See, miss, my dad has a bad back because of his work and I think I've got a bad back, too, so I shouldn't have to do exercises.' Didn't work out well for him either.

Monday, December 04, 2017

There's a Jitti-jitti in My Garden

Jitti-jitti - sometimes djiti-djiti or chitty-chitty - is the Noongar name for the Australian willy wagtail - the Noongars being the local indigenous people of south western Australia. I think it's a particularly appropriate name, too, given the way these endearing little birds chatter. Their common name of willy wagtails is because they spend a lot of of their time shaking their rumps with their tails fanned up, and as you might have guessed if you know anything about birds in Australia, they are related to the Australian fantails. They are cheeky and I've yet to find anything they are intimidated by. They take no nonsense from anyone or anything and will drive off much bigger birds without any sign of nerves. Around here they regularly take to the Australian ravens and kookaburras, both of which are much larger and can be aggressive.

For a long time willy wagtail numbers had plummeted but recently they have recovered and now they can often be seen and heard. The one who's chosen our garden as part of his hunting grounds - they catch flies, small moths and mosquitoes (the last in particular makes them very welcome as far as I'm concerned) - arrived a couple of weeks ago. He's very bold, sitting on the fence chittering at me while he waits for something suitable to eat to appear. Very handsome he looks, too, in his black and white tuxedo with his tail fanned up before he swoops and grabs whatever morsel he's seen in mid-air. He isn't the least bit bothered by my working in the garden and will fly down to grab a snack no more than a hands breadth away from me.

in local Aboriginal legend they are regarded as gossips but they figure in other stories in different parts of the country. In some places they are considered birds of ill omen though I have no idea why such a charming, little creature should have that reputation. To me they are very special little birds and I hope their resurgence continues.

If you're interested you can read more about them here. Oh and I tried to find a photo but turns out there aren't too many in the public domain and those that are were somewhat underwhelming.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Things That Go...

I've been pushing Pisces to go through some boxes of stuff I sorted out and left on the veranda mumble mumble months ago. If it had been down to me I'd have simply taken it to be recycled once I got it sorted but he was convinced that I was just throwing usable stuff out and wanted to check through it. Well, that's perfectly true but it's not usable by us and that's the point of taking it to the recycling depot, isn't it. It's a place where anything that can be reused as is will be sold on and other usable bits and pieces - like metal, paper and glass - are sent off to be used again. I'd rather it went to someone who can use it rather than just sit around here to clutter the place up. Still he, having filled the car boot to the brim, has headed off to the depot so I'm not complaining.

Anyhow his sudden spring into activity led me to go out and check the gas BBQ which has been bundled up for far too long and to see if we have enough gas should we need it (the answer to that is not really). This in turn reminded me that there was a pile of empty plant pots that had accumulated from my recent repotting frenzy and which really needed to be transferred to the garden shed (if they'll be of any use to me in the future) or into the recycling bin (apparently the local council can deal with them. Who'd have thought.).

I'd stacked the pots out of sight under the eaves but we have a garden shed, don'cha know. Why not keep them in there, I thought. So I put on my gloves and started to dismantle the pile. For some unknown reason, probably in the interests of moving along quickly when I was planting some plants out though why I thought it would work as a long term solution I do not know, I had put a whole pile of empty seedling trays into one of the large pots. I tipped them out and found one was full of spider webs. Okay, I thought, better get rid of that before it goes in the bin so I took it over to the nearest garden bed and gave it a good shake. Not much moved so I got a stick to pull the web out - and uncovered an unusually large and shiny black widow spider. Her body was about as big as the nail on my little finger so you can imagine how big she was when her legs were included and she wasn't going anywhere. I tried shaking harder. Nope. Then I banged it on the ground forcefully. Nah. Finally I flicked her out onto the garden with the stick and thought we'd seen the last of each other. Nooooo. She was not happy about giving up her home and started to chase after it - and since it was in still in my hand, after me as well. I'm not even mildly arachnophobic but even I was getting a little nervous by now - black widows have a painful bite - but she was so intent on getting home that I was able to use the container to guide her to a suitable new place where she disappeared from sight.

The pots had another surprise for me when I went back to finish dismantling the pile. There I was happily taking pot after pot out when something moved in the bottom of one - something a lot bigger than a spider. Before I had a chance to even think a large frog flung itself at the side of the pot - and I have to say I don't know who got the biggest shock. I yelled, Pisces came running and the frog threw itself even higher up towards the top of the pot. On its third attempt it made it up and over - the pot is about 40 cms deep so that gives you an idea of froggie's jumping ability - and disappeared in among the pots of cacti (these by the way are in bloom at the moment and their blossoms are truly glorious).

So there you go - some somewhat unexpected things you can find in my garden.