Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday scrapbook

First thing this morning, about 7am. A slight breeze, low sunlight, fresh air — I love sitting here looking at the treetops (that's my foot at the bottom of the pic).
Ten minutes later. This is the view from the sofa near the kitchen door, looking out on to the back deck. The front of the house is on a main road, but the back is green and lush and peaceful, and we back on to a big park.
A little while later, it's still gorgeous sitting here.
But an hour later, I've had to pull down the blinds and move to the other side of the house, into the shade, because already the sun is so hot the room's getting uncomfortable, and I don't want to switch on the air-conditioner so early.By lunchtime, we have to have the air-con on, and the blinds will be down until evening.Right now, about 2.30pm, it's 38 (100F) with a little bit of high cloud. Perth is having a stinking February: no day under 30 (86F), and no night under 20 (68F). With uncommon humidity. Yesterday, I'd been out all afternoon and drove home at about 8.15pm, and as I got out of the cool car, my glasses fogged up in the drenching heat outside. Yuck!
Mind you, this is easily put up with, compared to some of the other natural events in this part of the world.
Posted to join in Dawn's Sunday Scrapbook on the other hemisphere — where she is looking forward to some regular sunshine!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Lily (above, saying goodbye a few days ago to her favourite great old gum tree on the farm) moves to Melbourne tomorrow — from the eighth most liveable city in the world to the second*. I'll miss her terribly, but understand perfectly why she's going.
And thank heavens for frequent flyer points, occasional cheap airfares, and dear friends who'll put David and me up when we decide to fly over for a long weekend or a few days. It's out favourite Australian city too, so we're planning to visit.
Today, Lily had her interview at the Japanese consulate for a position on the JET program. She was so nervous, but said it went really well, and the interview panel were very friendly. Now she can relax and wait to hear if she's been selected — I think it's April when they get told.
:: Dreadful news from Christchurch in New Zealand — can't imagine how terrifying such a massive earthquake must be.
And a tornado — as in a twister — has hit Karratha in our North-West!

* If you didn't care to follow the link — The Huffington Post (US current affairs and comment website) has just released its 2011 list of the world's most liveable cities, a list it says is based on "a combination of environment, health care, culture and infrastructure".
Vancouver has been No. 1 for five years in a row. The rest of the top 10 are: 2 Melbourne, 3 Vienna, 4 Toronto, 5 Calgary, 6 Helsinki, 7 Sydney, 8 Perth, 9 Adelaide, and 10 Auckland.
Paris is 16th, Los Angeles 44th, London 53rd and New York 56th.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sunday scrapbook

The farm sold a couple of weeks ago, so here are a few random and last shots for Dawn's Sunday Scrapbook.
Three generations of our family have had a great time there, staying in the little shack, often with friends on every available bed inside, and in tents and the backs of cars in the paddock.
Over the years, David's parents planted trees when grandchildren were born, and Simon planted lots of trees in the home paddock.
Whenever friends and relatives visited from overseas, we'd always take them to the farm at sunset so they could watch the kangaroos leap over the fence between the farm and the national park and then graze on the open paddocks.
Our kids all had their very first driving "lessons" on the track from the road up to the shack.
When they were really little, they'd sit on David's or my lap as we drove up from the road, their little hands on the steering wheel, squealing with laughter as the cows tried to get close and lick the car windows. On our trip south a few weeks ago, Simon was able to do this with his son, Mack, on his as Simon had sat on ours over thirty years earlier.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Great Doctor

My Dear Old Mum is up in the city for a surgical procedure, so yesterday I had to take her to the clinic for her pre-op assessment.
This is a private clinic, I want you to remember.
We waited ... and waited ... and waited.
We waited three hours before she got to see The Great Doctor.
The clinic was packed, because they were mostly senior patients awaiting the same assessment which involved medication that meant they could not drive, so every patient was accompanied by at least one other person.
My mum is in her 80s and the long wait meant she'd had no lunch, and though there was coffee and tea-making gear in another part of the building, she was too unsure of the walk there with her stick, and also worried that if her name was called while she wasn't sitting anxiously outside The Great Doctor's room, she'd be forced to wait even longer.
I eventually found her, and she told me she'd watched The Great Doctor call in other patients who had appointments later than hers.
So when The Great Doctor poked his head out of his room to call in the next sucker (I'm amazed he didn't have some girlie to do this for him), I glared at him.
You see, not only was he calling patients in at random, but early that morning there had been "an emergency", so he was running late.
And to make matters worse, there were supposed to be two doctors in attendance, but one was absent.
So The Great Doctor was by now a little flustered, which meant when I glared at him, he Took Serious Umbrage. He was being told off!
"We've been running late all day today, and everybody has to wait," he snooted.
"You'll get your turn," he snooted again.
He turned to scuttle back into his room, so I called out to him.
"I don't understand why, when you find yourself in this ridiculous position, you can't ring patients and tell them there is chaos, you are running hopelessly late, and they should come in an hour or two later."
After all, I thought, you only treat people like this because they are elderly and in awe of you. You wouldn't survive in The Real World if you ran any other business this way and treated your customers in such a disrespectful fashion.
But I am not elderly, and I am not in awe of trumped-up little twits, be they surgeons or salesmen.
The Great Doctor took a deep breath and tried to look big.
"Oh that's not my problem," he snooted as he scuttled into his room.
Two patients later, it was my mum's turn at last.
When she was in his office, The Great Doctor rounded on her and said: "If you can't be bothered waiting, go somewhere else."
Great doctor, eh?

Monday, 14 February 2011

This'll make you laugh ...

For Valentine's Day — no mawkish pink fluffy hearts or maudlin soft-focus pics of roses.
Just a shot of Les and Dave, 1983, on our honeymoon, May 1983, in the house of our best friends, Dave and Cathy, in Cold Spring, NY.
We look a bit jet-lagged, and probably were. By this point we'd had two weeks in Rome (note my sensational Italian loafers), two weeks in Egypt, a few days in England and still had two or three weeks in the US to go before our return via Sydney.
When Cathy sent me this pic that she'd unearthed last year, she remarked on how impossibly young we were. But I'm more staggered by how incredibly thin we were! Coffee and nicotine will do that ...
For our 30th-or-so Valentine's Day together, David brought me a bowl of Cheerios with exactly 13 grapes and low-fat milk, and in return I'm going to be tidying the kitchen.
Livin' the dream.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


In between everything else going on around here, I've got stuck into my crocheting again, in an attempt to either finish this granny rug or at least get it to a size at which it can be useful in some way. As a cushion cover or lap rug.
Of course, it might be that I hate this arse end of summer and am projecting cooler, wintry fantasies — often when I'm crocheting I have to throw the whole thing off me as it's just too darned hot to be sitting with it over me.:: Lily and Nick (pictured above, hiking in Utah) have moved in here temporarily before they move to Melbourne. They have a house organised, but cannot move in until after the 18th of this month. Lily is also waiting for her interview here in Perth for a place on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. If she's successful, she'll be moving to Japan for a year.
I'm trying not to think about her leaving, after so loving having her and Nick living about a kilometre away and seeing her so often. But oh, I do understand the lure of wonderful Melbourne for bright, active young people.
:: The Perth festival show, Donka: A Letter to Chekhov, was breathtaking last night. Clever, moving, beautiful, spectacular. If you get a chance to see it, make sure you do.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Weekend tangents

I was just listening to the news while I checked my emails and had my cup of tea, and then caught sight of this corner of my desk — coincidentally appropriate with all the tumultuous news from Egypt (oooh ... fingers crossed). The lotus seed head — the flower is the ancient symbol of Upper Egypt — I dried out last year after Shelley gave it to me when it was beautifully green and fresh and on a long stalk.
:: My David is going to be so busy over the next few weeks now the Perth festival has started! No more quiet nights of dinner and an old episode of Cracker (I must say, they have stood up surprisingly well in the decade and a half since they were made!). Last night was the Big Festival Opening (yes... with fireworks ... stifled yawn) and tonight we're off to see Donka: A Letter to Chekhov.
:: In the meantime my best friend Shelley and the girls are soon to arrive for a sewing marathon with Lily and me, making more loveliness from this book. So I'd better quit whingeing and clean this mess up!
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday scrapbook

Quite a lot of photos my kids have taken end up stored on my computer. There's a series of about eight shots of this big huntsman spider*. If you click on the pic, you can see it even bigger!I get a lot of Will's pics in particular because while he has a fab camera of his own, he likes to use my little one. When I retrieve my camera, use it and download the pics I've taken, I occasionally get a load of his as well.I included this one, above, so you get some idea of its size against the doormat.
I think this next spider's poorly, or dead.This next one is one of our enormous bull ants — their bites really, really hurt, and the resultant swelling will itch like hell for weeks afterwards.
Plus videos — there is a series of videos showing ants removing the flesh from the dead mouse whose skull Will still has.
So this week, I thought I'd take part in Dawn's Sunday Scrapbook with some of the creatures Will has photographed that end up stored alongside my far less creepy pics!
All these were taken down south, where the house is on a bush block and there are lots of bugs. On some summer nights, there is a constant banging on the window as beetles and other insects hurl themselves at the glass trying to get to the lights inside.
This is one of my shots. Last weekend, in the strong blustery wind generated by Cyclone Bianca, this beautiful leaf insect blew on to the verandah upstairs. Its wings and body are the same shape and green as the leaves of the eucalypts in which it lives, and its legs are identical to the reddish leaf stalks. Wonderful.

:: I was looking at my recent stats and I seem to have had an awful lot of visitors from two or three so-called "adult friend" sites. I'm wondering if they ventured my way because of the title of the post before last ... what do you reckon?

* Hu
ntsman spiders are really common and not deadly to humans. They don't make webs but they can move fast and jump. And they can be big — they can eat cockroaches.
You very often see them indoors, where they like to cling to the ceiling. One jumped on to my pillow one night — the noise of its landing just centimetres from my face woke me up ...

Friday, 4 February 2011


I get an inordinate amount of pleasure from doing the laundry, which is odd, because I am not the slightest bit interested in other forms of domestic toil, though I will keep the loos reasonably clean.{Over the Line, oil on canvas, 2002, by Jeffrey T. Larson}
But give me a pile of washing to sort, wash and — oh joy! — hang out, and I am weirdly happy.
Not so happy about bringing it in and sorting it and putting it away, but I'll do it.
I enjoy the flap of cool wet linen on a breezy, sunny day, the bright pegs (always cheap and cheerful placky ones) against the blue sky, and the basic process of exposing washed fabrics to the whitening and drying effects of the sun.I even stuck to my guns in Southern California, a dry, desert environment where it rains little and the sun shines a lot, and where hanging out your washing to dry indicates your social and financial inferiority and is therefore prohibited in many neighbourhoods lest you bring down property prices and upset the kiddies. And this, of course, is far, far more important than the dire environmental effects of 20 million people all using dryers, even if they are gas-heated.
But I won't go on about that again ...{In the Light of Morning, oil on canvas, 2003, by Jeffrey T. Larson}
I laundered my handmade napkins today — including this one, which someone decided last year would be the perfect cloth for wiping down something gross, like a wet bike, or a set of lawn bowls. Grrrr.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Baby love

We had a glorious time down south, despite yucky weather caused by the approach and eventual fizzing out of Cyclone Bianca, which fortunately did very little other than drop a bit of rain, increase the humidity and rough up the sea.
But we still had a wonderful time, especially with grandchildren Mack and Harper.
Mack had a ball with Will, and lots of fun swimming, surfing, studying bull ants and beating me at Mario Kart.
He started Year 2 at school yesterday — amazing!
It was one-year-old Harper's first trip to the beach house and it was a bit of a shame that the weather was either too hot or windy, and the sea too rough and noisy, to take her paddling.
Oh, but Nanna Lesley enjoyed lots and lots of cuddles and affection!
She is an amazing eater — whatever is placed in front of her. Broccoli, carrots, avocado, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, the lot! And while it was all a bit strange for her at first, once she'd settled in she slept almost all night every night, until after 7am.
We miss both of them.
:: Started some round-and-round knitting therapy (a beanie for Lily, who is about to move to Melbourne) as we watched the news unfold yesterday of Queensland's approaching menace, Cyclone Yasi.
I think the whole nation watched anxiously all day — we all still feel such an emotional connection with Queensland after the disastrous floods in the south of the state.
This super-cyclone was even more of a worry as fellow blogger and Scrabble mate Tracey lives in Townsville, which is about 200km south of where the eye crossed the coast but was still subjected to an incredible battering. And is still experiencing huge winds today.
We experienced vicariously a little of what she went through as she posted bulletins on her blog and on facebook.
Thankfully, she and her family are safe and sound.
Seems Nature really has got it in for Queensland this year, which is a worry!