Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Vegie Patch

So I just went out to the vegetable garden and picked a couple of lettuces, some spring onions and what I suspect will be my last handful of cherry tomatoes - yes, there will be salad later - and I thought you might be interested in seeing just what's happening out there.

So here you are.

While you can't make out what many individual plants are, there are - starting from the top left hand corner - garlic chives, honey pod peas, beetroot, rainbow chard, carrots, several types of onions, snow peas, Italian flat leaved parsley, kale, lettuce, calendulas - for their flowers (in salads and the house) and the about to be pulled out remnants of the tomatoes. Then, in the shadow of the banana leaves, there are more lettuce,  and silver beet (Swiss chard). Over the path there are spring onions, onion chives, coriander, celery, more beetroot - what can I say, we like beetroot - and more lettuce. The edging on the right is curly leaved parsley. Yet to come up in the bare patches are dill, borage, more carrots and more snow and honey pod peas.

In the far distant left hand corner - although it doesn't look like it from the photo - there is just enough room to legally put in a chook pen. I'm researching coops at the moment but I'm hoping there'll be four or five hens in residence by spring. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Auprès de ma Blonde

I had all sorts of other things planned for this post but I've had this traditional French song stuck in my head for the last few days. I kept finding myself singing the chorus for no apparent reason but I couldn't remember the rest of it so, of course, I googled it and found this lovely version by Olivia Chaney. I hope you enjoy it too. You can find the lyrics and a translation here if you are interested.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry

You might remember my blogging about this new competition earlier in the year. The results are in now and congratulations to Kevin Gillam and Tim Jones, who placed first and second respectively. You can read their poems on the website along with a complete list of the finalists and the judge's report.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pregnancy to Baby Video

A couple made a video of their pregnancy by placing the camera in the room which was to be the nursery and took a photograph a day showing the changes in the mother to be and her surroundings. It's beautiful and moving. I hope you enjoy it, too. From the Australian Women's Weekly magazine website here it is. Thanks for sharing this, Denise.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Still Busy

so here's something for you to enjoy.

This video of rays leaping came up in my Facebook feed and I found it mesmerising.

And just because I think it's lovely here is a link to an image of a spiral galaxy.

And then have some bonus baby meerkats from Edinburgh Zoo.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Memories and the Internet

So, while I've been pulling up carpets and tossing rubbish, I've been taking a trip down memory lane courtesy of Apple radio. I've been listening to the top 100 hits of the seventies, not a decade I usually spend much time listening to - and even those songs I really didn't like much at the time I now find come with memories attached. It's been really enjoyable to let my mind wander back to the times when life was very different. Video Killed the Radio Star was one of these triggers. With video stores almost all gone along with VCRs it was a salutary reminder of how much technology has changed in the last forty years.

This morning, as I watched a three year old busy with an iPad, I had to wonder just how much of what we now think of as the norm will hold up in say ten years time. I suspect the internet will be an even bigger part of our lives than it is now and those few who are currently are holding out against the push for bill paying, banking and finding out information using the internet - all for our benefit supposedly though I have my doubts about that - will eventually will have to accept that this is the way of the future that we will all have to adjust to.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

We Haz a Skip Bin

and it needs to be filled so we get full value out of it before they pick it up on Monday. The kitchen reno guys had it about half filled and general "stuff" like old and worn out furniture and so on has topped it up to about three quarters. Pisces has been ranging around looking for other things to add to it - and trying to ignore the one obvious and very big item. This is all the carpet which has to go before we can put in the new floors and, since the flooring is the next job in line after the kitchen is finished and the hallway is tiled, we really need to get going.

The result is I have spent most of the day on hands and knees cutting carpet into lengths we can handle and then dumping them in the skip. If I was appalled at how much "stuff" we had accumulated when I had to empty out the kitchen for the workmen I'm equally appalled at how much more there is in my study which has to be emptied out or shifted around to get at the carpet. Add in the accumulation of something like twenty years of dirt that has made its way through and under the carpet despite regular vacuum cleaning and this has not been a pleasant task. Never mind though. There's only half of one room to go. Then we have to tackle the clutter in what is laughingly described as Pisces' study. Wish us luck.

Friday, June 12, 2015

More Distractions

First my friend Dorathy sent me the link to this Google ad. Oh the cuteness.

Then there was this which really appealed to me given I have a cat who loves to play fetch, having learned how to by watching the dog.

Finally there is the heartwarming story of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which cares for orphaned elephant babies with the aim of returning them to the wild. I've seen a documentary on this and the relationship between the carers and their charges is truly lovely.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Baby goats in pyjamas playing 

Cuteness personified

Size - does it matter?

Men Have Been Working

and so have we.
Our dining room is currently submerged under piles of  "stuff" that has come out of the kitchen cupboards. All I can say is we have far too much "stuff". The thing is none of it is of any great value and much of it is left over from when there were many more people living in the house and is no longer needed. These are things like my battered jam making saucepan. Why have I kept it? I haven't made jam in thirty years. Then there are pyrex casserole dishes that came to me after my mother passed away and which I have never used - not once - and so it goes. None of it is worth trying to sell because frankly no-one would want it. Do you know anyone who would want a brawn mould? No, neither do I. So a huge declutter is going to have to take place before we put things back in the kitchen. Luckily our local charity shop happily takes bric a brac so, once the kitchen is finished, I will sort through everything and we'll take all that is surplus to requirements there. Maybe someone else will be able to use them. The only other alternative would be the local rubbish dump and, while they may still end up there, at least I will have tried to find them new homes.

Oh and below is part of the kitchen now it's been stripped of its doors and ancient cupboards. We've had such a battle getting to this point that I'm still not feeling as if it is really going to ever be completed but - fingers crossed - it's beginning to look possible.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Peacock Spiders

These tiny and startlingly colourful Australian jumping spiders are nothing short of spectacular. They dance and now science has discovered that they also make music - of a sort. Have a listen here. There are even more of them than suspected with up to 20 new species discovered in the past four years. The two newest have been given wonderful common names. Meet Sparklemuffin (Maratus jactatus) and Skeletorus (Maratus sceletus).

I find these little creatures irresistible and I doubt if even a convinced arachnophobe would feel otherwise. What do you think?

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Of Ping Pong Balls and Mousetraps

I'm not very susceptible to advertising in general. In fact, more often than not, when they do register they irritate me so much I am completely turned off buying the product. I tend to ignore them on television, too - if I have got my laptop open, I find they give me a neat segment of time in which to do some French or German exercises. The only ads I actually pay attention to are those in the local supermarket catalogues or - if I'm in the market for a particular item - I'll check out the specific prices at retailers who sell what I want. No doubt this means I sometimes miss out on bargains but I figure it's worth it to avoid the inanity.

Sometimes, though, advertisers do get it spectacularly right. I'm thinking of ones like this First Moon Party one and these. Just make sure Tony Abbott, our Australian Prime Minister and self appointed Minister for Women, isn't watching any of those. They do mention "lady stuff" and he chokes on words like tampon as you can see here. Then there are the ads that aim to entertain as well as sell  like these and this one from Pepsi. They won't necessarily make me buy their products - in fact, apart from the Pepsi one, I have already forgotten what the products are - but they are fun to watch.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I think It's Really Happening

That's the kitchen renovations. We've a date and a time, the selection of appliances and fixtures has been made and all that remains is for them to turn up. Fingers crossed that it all falls into place. I'll let you know.

In other news I seem to have either strained or torn one or more of my intercostal muscles. I've previously had cracked ribs on three occasions and I have to say that this is equally painful. I struggled through a Pilates class yesterday which, although the physio modified the exercises so as not to aggravate the injury, was probably a mistake, because it is worse today. The worst of it is that it can take weeks to heal and every breath stresses the injury. I have so much to do at the moment that this is the last thing I need. Ah well, as one of our Prime Ministers once said, "Life wasn't meant to be easy".

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Les Machines de l'île - Nantes

During the Perth International Arts Festival, held every year in February, Perth was visited by two  amazing giant puppets for two days earlier this year - the Little Girl and the Diver. I didn't attempt to go and see them myself - not being able to stand for long or walk any great distance puts a bit of a crimp in plans that most others find easy - but the news and media coverage was so extensive I didn't feel too left out.

I wanted to find out more about these creations so I went to YouTube - gotta love the internet - and I've just spent an entertaining hour or so watching videos of some of the other puppets. As well as the lifelike human figures, the puppets range from the beautiful to the bizarre and many variations in between. There is a definite steampunk feel to some of them like this wonderful elephant, which sprays the unwary with water in the summer (much to the delight of children). Then there's the world's largest walking robot, the fire breathing dragon. The attention to detail adds so much to the realism.

The Royal de Luxe company which made them is French and its workshops are located in Nantes   where visitors can see how the puppets are made and operated and watch these spectacular creatures in action. Definitely one for my bucket list.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Ooh, Lovely

Facebook is a wonderful source of information and also the weird and the beautiful, isn't it. Today's bit of whimsey comes from Wire Sculpture by Fantasywire, I think this is extraordinarily lovely. For me it's hard to imagine how something was basic as wire could be converted into something so ethereal and delicate as this piece of sculpture. The fairy figure swings gracefully around as long as there is wind. Have a look here and see if you agree.
. Have a