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Living, loving, Laughing and Travelling as much as possible. Come along and join in my life and travels - I'll be happy to have you there with me.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

If there’s one thing that’s consistent in my life and the neighbourhood it’s the Australian Magpie’s that live in mine and many other gardens

Black and white with a lovely warbling that’s called carolling they are funny to watch especially when the whole family comes to visit.

Some days as a treat I give them some small pieces of raw cat meat; I’m definitely their best friend if I happen to be digging in the dirt and they are cheeky enough to follow and almost sit beside me waiting for the all clear so they can set to work digging about themselves for goodies I might have loosened in the soil. They tend to dig into the soil so aren’t as messy as blackbirds (with the yellow beaks) whose absolute delight is to toss dirt and mulch to one side while looking for goodies.
click on the pictures to make them larger

Any adult feeds the young and the young ones can yell quite loud and long and give the impression their throats cut and they are dieing of hunger. Poor mum, dad or aunty can’t shovel it in fast enough some days and I’ve seen the adults almost give the young a clip round the ears if it goes on too long.

Female with grey back and young one looking on longingly for food

They don’t seem to be afraid of anything and are really quite bossy, can even front up to big crows if they dare to land in my garden. They know and tolerate the cats and I always know when the cats are wandering about as the magpies come out with a different cry to their usual carolling.

Female magpie carolling - see how she is standing up with her mouth open

Young about to be fed while others forrage around
Heres a male I saw on my walk last Australia Day (January 26th) - he's much bigger than the female and has a white back

As I said they come to visit each day and are a real pleasure to watch

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cross over the bridge

I love bridges - Do you?

I like looking at them and imagining whats on the other side.

Doors don't do anything for me - with my luck the one I want to open is always locked, the automatic ones with the little red eyes don't seem to know I'm there, those huge great big round ones that travel around at a slow speed never seem to let me get in at my speed so its bridges for me all the way.
This past week I have had the feeling I just crossed over a bridge and things are changing for the good. Its a peaceful feeling.
I like the memories that come back when I look at this photo taken in 1967 of me and 3 of our children standing on the tiny wooden one over the goldfish pond in Kings Park, East Retford.

I like remembering this very long one you can see in the distance, the Confederation Bridge joining New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and the lovely time we had when we travelled over it in 2006. Its nearly 13kms/8 miles long and you pay the toll as you leave PEI and return to the mainland. One way of keeping the locals at home lol
to get a better picture of this click the photo

I like the height and style of this one - The Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver.
Very sleek and smooth and with nothing 'fancy' about it, just there to do a job.
I like the memories these photos bring back as we are just beginning a cruise we took to Alaska from one of our favourite cities.

These two bridges have a similar shape, serve a purpose as well as looking good and blending into their surroundings.
The first one is in a little park close to where I live and the second is in Numurkah where we spent some time last November. Not very wide but low across the water they have lots of room in the span to stop here and there to look down and see if there are any fish swimming underneath.

Yes I like bridges :))

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm baaaack

Well here I am, feeling a great deal better than this time last week; its been a week of sorting out lots of things.

The main one being that last Wednesday we managed to find a permanent place for my aunt in a very nice nursing home not far from where I live. Only a 5km/3 mile drive - no time at all 'cept its on a main highway so it depends on the time of the day and the traffic lights lol

Still in a bit of pain she was very weary after her time in hospital and spent a few days resting in bed or a chair but now is taken down to the day room and dining room to socialise and take part in activities. She has had a visit from the hairdresser so looks nore like her old self and this mornings activity was the visiting manicurist who provides all the residents with hand massages and manicures - which she will love as all her life till recently she had beautiful long 'painted fingernails'

Thank you for all your lovely comments and best wishes in the last post :) (smiling)

Friends knew all was not well when I didn't turn up for a coffee morning and didn't answer the phone but used the machine instead, 'cose theres one thing they do know about me and that is I like talk and will only put the machine on if I'm going out lol

I have stayed off the the computer, in fact closed the blog for a few days, have slept well even with the worry of fires and the effect it has been having on the local population and have begun to take an interest in my craft UFOs.

What can I say 'cept I am feeling so much better than this time last week, it feels like a big weight had gone from my shoulders.

So heres a joke someone sent me - I roared when I read it as I can just imagine it happening lol


It was entertainment night at the Senior Centre.

Claude the hypnotist exclaimed: 'I'm here to put you into a trance; I intend to hypnotize each and every member of the audience.'

The excitement was almost electric as Claude withdrew a beautiful antique pocket watch from his coat

'I want you each to keep your eye on this antique watch. It's a very special watch. It's been in my family for six generations'

He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, 'Watch the watch, watch the watch, and watch the watch...

The crowd became mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, light gleaming off its polished surface.

Hundreds of pairs of eyes followed the swaying watch, until, suddenly, it slipped from the hypnotist's fingers and fell to the floor, shattering into a hundred pieces.

'SH*T' said the Hypnotist............ ...............

It took three days to clean up the Senior Centre!!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Goodbye for a while

I've decided to hold off on posting for a while - what with one thing and another this past week have been a bit traumatic and I need a rest.

After spending a long time in A & E one evening last week A Pam was only back at her temporary nursing home a very short time and she fell again. This time she has broken her wrist and been admitted to hospital. The fall happened last Saturday afternoon and after another traumatic evening/night in A & E I finally left to drive home at 2am Sunday. The hospital was chockers and beds scarce but they were trying hard to get somewhere for her.

Her cubicle was in the vicinity of some Emergency Services workers involved in the 'fire fighting' and clean up about, one from NSW with leg in plaster and neck in a brace, another sitting looking very dazed, - the fabulous Dr attending A Pam said they had come down from the field hospital in Alexandra (read about it here ) I also saw other burly fellas dressed in their distinctive yellow garb sitting about and even tho my attention was with my aunt my heart went out to them.

Our volunteers involved in this tragedy have given their all and we should be proud of them - help from overseas countries is arriving and I'm saying welcome them into the community. There have been lots of stories in the media but don't worry if their methods are different or if they think their ideas are better, accept that several heads are better than one, we can all work together, they have given their offer of help and thats all they want to do - help us in our hour of need.

A Pam is now resting in a bed, not the trolley she stayed on till 11am Sunday, yes they really were full, after 24hrs of pain ( now being controlled) the ashen grey colour has left her face and as well as looking so much better she is able to smile . At one time I really thought she was going to leave us but no she's a tough old bird and as I helped her with lunch a short time ago (a broken right wrist makes it hard to feed oneself ) she did ask if she could have a white wine with her dinner this evening. lol

Anyway I'm having a little time away from the computer so will be back another day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chicken Surprise

I think its time for a smile:))

Chicken Surprise

A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the 'Chicken Surprise', the waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot.

Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightlyand she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams down.

'Good grief, did you see that?' she asks her husband. He hasn't, so she asks himto look in the pot.

He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.

Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening, and demands an explanation.

'Please sir,' says the waiter, 'what you order?'

The husband replies, 'Chicken Surprise.'

You're going to love this.................. You're going to hate yourself for loving this!.............

'Ah! So sorry,' says the waiter, 'I bring you Peeking Duck!'


A bit tired today after a lot of running around yesterday.

Went to visit A Pam early afternoon (2pm) just as a Dr arrived to examine her. She had a fall late last week (yes she's in a temporary place where theres supposed to be carers watching over them!) and the RN's were a bit worried about some aspects of her movements - outcome he sends her off to the Emergency Dept of our local Public Hospital in Ringwood for a more detailed examination.

Knowing how long transport can take I went home saying I'd go to the hospital when she arrived, just walked in the door when the nursing home rings to say shes left, Ambulance transport got to her fairly quickly trouble is when she arrived at E & A she's classed non emergency so has to wait for about an hour for a cubicle before anybody is free to assess her.

After a while things start to happen, very cursory examination by one of the Drs ( if this happened the other day why is she only just coming here?) BP taken, ECG is done, then about an hour later an xray and then what seems hours later a CT scan on her head.

"I need to pee" "No you have to stay on the bed, heres a bedpan" "Not using that"

So its time for cajoling and persuading this very annoyed 85yr old who has dementia to do something she really doesn't want to do - success - if we looked the other way (and closed our eyes lol)

Its hard waiting and waiting with staff hurrying by but nothing happening and nobody coming to see how you are. Not sure how she would have got on this time if I hadn't been there.

About 10pm I got sh....ty and asked if Pam could finally have a cup of tea now that all the tests had been done - she hadn't eaten since lunch at 12noon - and they were all smiles and said 'Yes NAD, nothing abnormal discovered, 'corse she can, and by the way she can go home we've rung for transport'

She finally left at 11.15pm, such a late hour to send her back to the nurisng home and I got to bed at midnight.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Modern technology - keeps us in touch

Over the past days - since Saturday in fact - Dh and his exservicemen friends have been keeping in touch. Some of these Mates live out of the suburbs and this is their way to make sure those in the fire zone areas were accounted for.

Its a long entry so if you would rather not read thats fine but it does show the concern (sometimes called mateship) men can show in times of trouble that that maybe doesn't get shown otherwise'

The reference to Teleg is because Telegraphists were the ones who were in charge of communications and supposed to be able to communicate 'properly'

One of us is missing

I have had no news from Mike and it appears the telephone lines are down or the exchange damaged, as I can’t get through. Aileen and Peter, Trevor and Meegan, Tony and Meg and Gerry and Flo are all OK

I'll let you know about Mike and Jan as soon as I hear anything. As you may know Mike lives in Clombinane and there has been a death in that area. Haven't heard from Wilf, as you may all know he lives in the Mirboo area which was badly effected by fires

Den I contacted Wilf last week, here is his reply.

Thank you for your concern everyone. I am OK here the fires were about 9km from me to the north.The winds were also coming from the south so the smoke was being blown away from me as well as the direction of the fires.Apart from that Mirboo is in a farming area where most of it is cleared for farming. Most of the farmers had already cut and baled their hay so the fields around were pretty bare.

Here is a map that shows the location of the fires. If you click on the map it will expand.
At the bottom between the numbers 30 and 31 you will see a place called Limonite. There is a road running south I am just of the map there.I have my spa and baths full of water just in case the electricity fails and I have a petrol driven pump that I can pump from the three 5,000 gallon tanks I have They are virtually full.Regards

There is no news of Mike and Jan. However, the load of work hitting the aid stations where displaced survivors are congregating is huge. The registration process, and the subsequent database that will enable people to be found, could take some time. I guess we will have to be patient.

Dear all,

Still unable to make contact with Mike, I think I tracked down Jan's tel number but there was no answer when I called so it's likely they are both still at Clombinane looking after their home. Mike W checked with Red Cross and got through to the right dept, it was always engaged when I rang, and evidently they are not registered with them so they have no news. Thanks for all the telephone calls enquiring after Mike and Janelle and our other members.

Think a lot of us have been affected in some way by the fires. One of our close friends son lost his two homes in Kinglake with all their possessions and we learnt only an hour or so ago about our friend Colin. He lives in Melb but had an old family home in Marysville they have also lost so much Colin and his daughter are now stuck at Buxton

Dear all,
Just hung up from talking to Gerry. He and Flo are loaded up and ready to leave Healesville as the fire has resumed in the Mt Riddell area and it could come their way. After looking at recent devastation they are not going to defend their home, they'll leave the area. Communications have failed so they have no computer access, regular landline is on the blink and they are on mobile but its in emergency mode only. I'll let you know how things go tomorrow

Dear all,
Herewith message from Mike

D can you put out a General email thanking everyone for there kind thoughts etc I will answer them ALL when i have more time its still a bit full one here the sirens have just sounded again. My family in uk reported me missing and i have to unravel that.
Regards Mike

This is the email we received from our treasured mate who has been causing us so much angst over the last few days. Being a teleg. he has yet to discover the delights of 'caps'. Except in the wrong place, but we still love him.

Just got power and phones back 5 minutes ago. Can you forward this to all members please. We are Ok but it was a close run thing i can honestly say we spent 18 hours in hell. i did not think at one stage we would survive it. Nearly 50 degrees and 90 klick winds the thing come over the hill and was upon us so fast i could not believe it. All we could see was dense smoke rolling in then about 20 meters from us a wall of flame just appeared it was bloody terrifying but the house and we survived with no damage. The bloody thing got to with in five yards before we stopped it if it had not been for a fire truck from yea and another from Welshpool getting to us in the nick of time we would have lost it. We where on our feet fighting fire from around 3pm Saturday until 7am Sunday morning. The out come was i got blisters on the soles of my feet not from fire but just being on my feet for so long. We are still getting flare ups around us and are still blacking out hot spots but with very little to burn i think the danger for us is over. Some one died down the road don't know who yet and most of the house and farms going to to mound disappointment are lost but the actual losses we do not know as yet but every where we go and look there are burnt out houses. Saturday and Sunday i do not want to see a repeat off. As I said we are fine perhaps a little traumatized and shell shocked at the moment, but hopefully a good nights sleep tonight will fix that. Thanks to all for your concern it was much appreciated.
Regards Mike

PS he also hasn't realised that those little dots can make full stops.....................................My God.......some of those rough entry's leave a lot to be desired.

Just had a 20-minute chat with Mike on the phone .......................so you all know that he is OK. My phone conversation with him confirms that.

Dennis and I will be driving up to see him tomorrow (about an hour north of Melbourne) to deliver essentials. Mike seems to think that beer should be on the top of the list...............is this typical of ex telegs? We will let our imaginations run riot and come up with some other stuff to replenish a house that has been without power for 3 days. In anticipation, we will pass on your best-felt wishes. He is pretty chirpy and jumped at the prospect of visitors...................we shall give him a hug from each and every one of you......................

Dear all,
Trevor suggested we take a run up to Clombinane to have a get together with Mike, which we did today. Mike's and Janelle are still pretty shaken by it all and we could see just how close the fire came. Mike gave us all the detail and it must have been a very frightening experience in deed. We then took a run around the area that still has some roads blocked off and small fires still burning in places. I think what got to us was the devastation of areas and then the odd untouched area, and the collapsed houses with the tin roofs some how moulded like plastic over the remains which were often no higher than a metre or so. The historic Clombinane mansion, which evidently could hardly been seen from the road formerly, is now clearly visible standing burnt out with the tower still standing, this building was one of the oldest in the area which was named after it, and probably goes back to 1840 odd has survived over the years and now gone, this leaves Mike's home which was built in 1875 as the oldest in the district.

The intensity of the fires is difficult to comprehend; like many I've seen burnt out areas before but this is different, the ground is not blackened but white or grey in colour and has a very soft texture underfoot, kind off burnt to a gypsum like dust. Fence posts are completely gone burnt to dust as are wooden power poles. Postal cable concrete covers are burnt through, we saw a mature gum tree probably two metres in girth which had been blooming with the entire interior burnt out with just the external thin walls left and all the tree top canopy kind of blown of in its entirety and lying complete with leaves alongside. Paddocks which clearly had little vegetation on them before the fire had been burnt out completely and there are miles and miles of burnt out hills, valleys and paddocks and in the distance the entire King Lake district hills are all burnt out and all along the roads fallen trees.

All very strange and disturbing as though a gigantic blowtorch had been turned on the land. Mike said they could hear explosion after explosion through the smoke as gas bottles and fuel tanks exploded but they couldn't be seen through the smoke but one of the worst things was hearing horse screaming and cattle bellowing as they died in the flames

I fought a fire once but that was different and this has left me feeling strangely disturbed as though something alien has come my way.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just a little puff of smoke

Had to go out to Coldstream this morning and then on to Hoddles Creek via Cockatoo and this is what I saw on the horizon in the distance. Not the best pictures 'cose I was driving at the time - I know not the safest thing to do either :))

Just looking like a puff of smoke on the horizon these are a small continuing part of the Maroondah Yarra Complex fires threatening Healesville and Chum Creek. If you go to this link you'll see where I was - you can see see Cockatoo marked on the left hand side of the map. Coldstream is not marked but is further to the left


Click on thephotos to enlarge and get a better view

Monday, February 9, 2009

A changing sky

After I posted on Saturday I went outside and looked at the sky to the left ( North North East) of my deck

Not a pretty sight. :(

The closest fire to us was about a 30 min drive away, this is not storm clouds but a build up of smoke drifting down across country from more than that particular fire, during the previous night and that day we had winds of over 100kmph so it could have come from way way away. These were taken about 3.20pm

The next two were taken later in the evening about 7.30pm when the winds had dropped slightly. A little lighter with a patch of blue sky

These two were taken yesterday evening about 7.30pm. We'd had what was almost a cold day with no wind but lots of rumbling thunder, quite eerie and such a change from the day before Late in the day but those clouds of smoke are still visible.
We'd just had a short shower of rain and - can you see the rainbow :)

The next two were taken this morning about 10.30am. That blue sky is very deceiving 'cose soon after that the skies were cloudy again.

The next few days are forecast to be pleasant 20c plus/68f and but life is not that pleasant for all those people caught up in the fires and the ensuing damage. Its not over yet as they are still 'raging' in lots of areas here in Victoria as well as another state New South Wales.
I don't normally ask for this sort of thing but prayers and loving thoughts certainly won't go astray.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I am embarrassed

Yes, really embarrassed to say I did what we are all told not to do on days like we had yesterday :(

I shut myself off and did not keep up to date with weather and fire information. If there had been a problem in the vicinity of my house, and even tho we are classed residential suburban there are many trees in the area so it is possible, I would not be forwarned and therefore at a disadvantage.

Just after I posted yesterday I turned on the radio on and discovered that while I was safe in my cool little cocoon there were fires - you can read here - raging all over our state. Worse of all there had been deaths associated with these fires

This the website of the CFA our volunteer fire fighting service and this is the latest information and warnings at 9.30am

Many of these fires are close by in the Yarra Valley, there is one in the hills behind Dh's golf course at Healesville, just 20mins away. These fires are hitting tiny communities and larger ones - lots of our main interstate freeways and highways as well as local roads are closed, not a great thing to hear on this Sunday morning.

Most of the northern half of Australia is under water, down here in the south on fire and so many places in the northern hemisphere having their coldest winter ever - what is happening, what is going wrong?

Is anything going wrong or is it just one of those freaky years? Lots of things to think about

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Daisymum's Challenge

Daisymum at Notes from Daisy Mountain issued a challenge - to post a photo taken there and then about how you felt at that time

This is Leroy - one of our Burmese cats - and he has found the perfect spot to get away from all the heat of the day. He chose under the deck by the old steps that are now hidden by the floor of the deck and he looks quiet and peaceful and unfazed by the heat.

Early this morning I closed up the house and turned on the cooling - we were expecting 44c/111f.

So for the best part of the day I have been knitting and thinking or reading with no tv or radio on to spoil the atmosphere of a cool quiet house.

Yes like Leroy this is how I feel at the moment, quiet and peaceful and unfazed by the heat

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hello again

One doesn’t normally say thank goodness ‘its only going to be 33c/91f tomorrow' but that’s what I’ve been saying all week. After the horrendous time last week these past few days have been a pleasure (if 30c and over can be a pleasure)


All good things must come to an end and that dreaded temperature (40c) is being mentioned again - this time for Saturday.

These are pictures sent the other day from my daughter’s in laws in Woking, don’t they look nice and cold.

I would willingly swap some of our hot for some of their cold if it was possible - so if you don’t hear from me for a while it’s ‘cose I’ve found a cheap ticket to Antarctica or anywhere else - I don't mind where - as long as it's cool.:)

Adelaide on Sunday was as predicted HOT.

Up at the crack of dawn after a fractured nights sleep and at Tullamarine by 8am is not my idea of fun but it had to be done.
Our lovely friends in their lovely cool car picked us up at the airport and whisked us north of the city to the venue, which we had all been assured was air conditioned ‘cept they turned out to be rather old air conditioners that couldn’t cope with the 45c/113f heat and failed miserably in their allocated task which was to keep a hall and the 40 odd people COOL.

One of them packed up altogether and it was like trying to land with only one engine – a bit worrisome not knowing how we would cope - we had to be very stoic and plod on with the lunch and the talk (for the men - all about aircraft) afterwards.

Most of the fellas found comfort in the odd beer or two and us ladies either downed a few wines or cups of tea and just got on with the job of chatting and catching up – nothing different from the usual gathering and getting together of exservicemen and their wives lol
Will talk again soon