Moreidlethoughts Weblog

humour,art,gardens, books and whatever idle thoughts float through my mind (it's a very draughty mind.)


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SEEING RED

But first…I stood on tippy-toes and held a mirror up to the nest and could not see anything! This may just mean that a) I am too short or b) the little ‘uns have fledged.

I did some very complicated calculations and, yes, they may have left the nest.The birds’calculations may well have been more accurate than mine! 

The Man has just come home and, having 8″ on me (No,Muriel!NO!), I got him to do the thing with the mirror.No sign or sound of little birdies so I’m calling them fledged and learning about the world.

Now, on to today’s post title. In my efforts to understand what was happening/not happening with the camera(s) software, I went prowling around snapping dorky pictures and loading them on The Man’s computer. Nothing very flash, but here we go…

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Garden clogs.

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Some of our garbage bins are quite posh!

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Pentas.

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Hibiscus

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Palm seeds.Macarthur palm, maybe.

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Justicia

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Generally just called a “ginger” it seems to be listed in nurseries as Costus comosus.(Spider web is extra)

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Fallen flowers of Brachichyton acerifolia

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Shade sails on a neighbour’s house.


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SUNBIRD UPDATE

Popping in briefly to say that the sunbird eggs must have hatched, because…012.JPG

Mrs Sunbird has been leaving the nest for brief feeding flights and appears to be feeding chicks on her return.I snapped several pictures yesterday and will keep a camera handy.015.JPG

The Rainbow Lorikeets have been keeping a beady eye on the Schefflera flowers, which are almost ready…003.JPG

I took this the other day when we were still being monsooned by lashing rain and wind. Brilliant sunshine today so I may get some better pictures.

We picked the first soursop of the season last week and have more small ones on the tree.

Strange-looking things, aren’t they? But tasty!

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We’re heading off to have coffee with friends shortly, but I’ll be back.

 


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THE HAPPY CAMPER

Do you camp? Or do you run faster than Yusain Bolt as far from a tent as possible? Does “camp” in your lexicon mean blokes in ball gowns?

Well, this may not be your billy of bush tea…on the other hand, you might like to start your shiny new year with a new hobby.In which case, I’m happy to explain some of the terminology.

 

Once upon a time…when we “went camping” it involved a canvas tent, half a dozen wooden poles with iron spikes in one end (and if you didn’t have the smarts to know which end went uppermost…you found out the hard way) and fiendish fold-up camp cots whose hinges were known to sever fingers.After a few years of hauling small children and clumsy husbands off to ER for sutures, someone had the idea of sleeping on  a Li-lo, that inflatable bed which is more comfortable and affords a nice lie-down when you’ve come close to a heart attack after puffing into the damn’ thing for half an hour, before you have to wrestle with a folding card table whose hinges were designed by the cot people. (It might be a good idea to take a couple of bricks or off-cuts of timber because the odds against camping on perfectly level ground are roughly the same as David Cameron leading Britain back into Europe’s embrace.) All cooked food was cooked over open flame.No, Muriel, not a whopping great gas bottle-with-a-dish-rack. A proper fire of dead, fallen  branches with a cast iron pan for the frying of bacon.And a kettle big enough to boil enough water to wash the greasy pan and plates.Entertainment on such trips was very much d.i.y. Hiking, swimming in creeks or the sea, reading in the tent if it rained. Packing up the whole soggy mess if it kept raining and heading home.
And then came  “glamping.” This is a recently-coined term for “glamourous camping.” This new way seems to involve rather more money than I ever spent on a couple of days at a lake or seaside…For starters, one seems to need an all -terrain gas-guzzling behemoth to tow another behemoth which affords box spring bunk beds, slide-out table (ah! learned your lesson from those old camp cot hinges, did you?) microwave oven, TV/video,an extensive range of cookware, fridge,gas-fired cook top…Oh, you can have  an electronics chap sort out a suitable satellite dish to be mounted on the roof so you can watch the footy/cricket/ASE updates.
For only a little more money you could have ALL this in a single vehicle package. Big plus, you could add bike racks, allowing a BMX-y work-out before you sit down to your evening meal and the new season of  whatever TV show you absolutely must see.
Well, today I learned that an ancient tradition is being revived and is known now as “champing.”
In days of  yore, devout pilgrims walked miles to places of holy worship. Along the way, they were given shelter and basic food within the walls of monasteries, churches, convents. At no cost, though the wealthy hedged their bets with a donation of coin!
In England, You Can Camp in Abandoned Medieval Churches [article from twitter] http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/in-england-you-can-camp-in-abandoned-medieval-churches
The Sunbirds have finished their nest and Mrs Bird is (I presume!) sitting on eggs. I’ll keep an eye on things. My camera software and computer are,apparently,not speaking so I have no new pictures today.If continued bad language still doesn’t work I’ll use a camera whose obsolete software is running on The Man’s computer…are you keeping up, you at the back! Here’s one from the other day…IMG_2615.JPG
And because “pretty” is important, here’s an impulse purchase of a Calla lily…Calla lily   IMG_0520.JPG
Oh! It’s December  the thirty oneth. If you’re off to drown the last of this decidedly iffy year, be careful. I need my readers to support my scribbling habit in 2017!
I wish you health, happiness and fewer idiots eligible to vote!


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IN WHICH WINE MAY FEATURE

Well, why not? After all, those vintners have been slaving away in the burning sun, torrential rain, even frost ! It would be churlish not to offer them support.

I found this floating around the interweb, ages ago.If I ever knew who dreamed it up I’ve forgotten, but it’s clever.

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So…things have been a bit quiet on the blog front. I’ve been doing other things.Like sitting on the steps, camera ready, as the sunbirds construct their beautiful nest. They have not nested at our house for a few years, but they’re back now and we’re delighted. The cats have taken up bird-watching. Hopefully, that’s as far as they will take it.

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Mr and Mrs Sunbird begin work on the new house.

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Mrs. S flying away for more material-bits of spider web, feathers, grass, leaves…

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As of today, the little porch overhang seems to be finished and they’re working on lining.

Yes, I have lost some time to watching them! But I must get on with some work of my own…

I’ve bought a press! Quite compact. In fact, I have bigger hand bags! But it will be ideal for my restricted work-space.IMG_2587.JPG

It is a machine designed for die-cutting;probably geared towards people who like to make their own greeting cards. But a couple of professional printmakers trialled it as a printing press, liked its performance and posted their results on-line. Blimey! They should get commission – I think the local stores have sold out and I know printmakers overseas have been buying the Xpress.

So why do I not have any samples to show? Too busy watching birds and spiders! Also need to clean old plates and cut new ones and mix new shellac. But I will share my results.

Did I say “spiders”? Yes, I did. Having “lost” 3 to bird dinners, I was chuffed to find another good-sized Nephila pilipes . And a young (quite small) one had the temerity to make a web from the front of the Mustang to the house supports! The Man needed to move the car so I had to move the spider. I carried her across to a part of the garden where others have had webs and at last sight she was in the big cycad.

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I’ll leave you with one more picture from the garden…IMG_2625.JPG

A small chrysalis. Nope, don’t know whose.If it goes to term I’ll let you know.(I’ll also manually remove that  white mess. Damned scale!)

 

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Not Christian? Never mind, I still wish you health, happiness and a much, much better year than this has been.Wherever you are, whatever you believe, may it not lead to bloodshed.

 


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A ROUND-UP OF MY WEEK

Or perhaps it’s been more than a week? Time slips by and I can’t always remember where I am supposed to be on the map of whatever month it is.

Oh well…I have some photos of that road roller print exhibition I went to see. I do know several printmakers who have used heavy machinery to print images, but I believe this a first locally.

The artists  “mixed it up” a little, using lino, wood-cut and collograph as their media.IMG_2571.JPG

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And the artists, wearing their roller-printed T shirts.Yes, that’s the machine they used.

I was having a conversation, cyber-style, the other day about baking for Christmas festivities. Something I used to do, but have not done for years..

When I lived in London I used to bake mince pies to take in to share at work Of course, when it’s dark and snowy one feels more inclined to spend time at a hot oven! Here, in 30+Celsius? Not so much.

But going in to work one night with a basket smelling  like a distillery (my mince pies and fruit cakes were always liberally laced with whiskey or rum!) the woman next to me on the bus sniffed appreciatively. I opened the linen wrap and offered her one. She wanted to know if there were any vacancies at my work!

At that time I wore a dark red corduroy coat with a hood and colleagues took to calling me Little Red Riding Hood. A bit like thisIMG_0498.JPG

Perhaps I’ll make a tray of mince pies this year…

But I will NOT wear a coat with a hood!

 

 

 


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SUMER IS ICUMEN IN

Or, as is more likely to be heard in the northern parts of Australia: “Strewth! It’s bloody hot already!” Indeed it is. Some areas are getting the storms and some are getting left out.

I went with a couple of friends yesterday to see some linocuts which had been printed by a road roller. We drove south, watching the darkening clouds, quite expecting to get wet, but the clouds rolled away and dropped their load somewhere else. What I call Clayton’s storms.*

And the prints we’d expected to see were not on display!  We’d got the date wrong. Oops! So next week, perhaps we’ll try again.

There was a small exhibition by two local artists and the local handcraft store was open and we found a place to have some lunch so it was not a wasted day.

We were having lunch the other day when the garbage truck roared up the street and it was not our usual platypus-decorated one.So I grabbed the camera and raced out, bare feet hopping on the hot stones,just in time to catch this

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A bit fuzzy, but this truck ‘s scene depicts the Mackay Marina. I wonder how many cities have such swish garbage trucks?

In my last post I didn’t think to mention how I carry my alcohol. Literally speaking! In England a few years ago, I often popped into a small supermarket near my bus stop and got a couple of bottles of wine and some cheese, olives, grapes. The small necessities of life. And this supermarket is one that sells mostly “Fair Trade” comestibles.They also sold strongly-made cotton canvas six- bottle bags and I brought two back with me.They’ve been in regular use for over three years and show no signs of wear.Wish I’d brought more as everyone seems to want one!

Anyway, yesterday, I spotted thisIMG_0497.JPG

A two-bottle wine bag with a sense of humour. Mr LX, I’m sure your machine could do this! 🙂

I’m on watering duty for my neighbour and it’s time to swap out some hoses so I’ll leave you with a quick pic of a new Callistemon in my garden. It’s called Taree Pink, should any locals want to plant one. This is an accurate photo of its colour.IMG_0495.JPG

 

And the title of this post? Here’s a little musical accompaniment. I think you can follow the old English.Feel free to join the singers. Perhaps even skip about.

I’m going to christen my new pizza stone. Thanks for the tips, Mr.LX

 

 

 

*the storm you have when you’re not having a storm  see here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claytons


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WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING?

Mr Mago asked me the other day what my favourite wine is. Oh dear…how to answer such a loaded question? Without sampling  enough to get similarly loaded!

I’ve imbibed many a lovely drop of the trampled grape over the years.Many excellent vintages.And some which might have been trodden by Ol’ Gaffer Jarge  still a-wearin’ eez garmboods.

When I lived in London, I was friendly with a very,very knowledgeable wine merchant. Yes, I can hear you all thinking the obvious! But at that time I wasn’t much of a wine drinker.The ubiquitous Blue Nun for “white” occasions and Mateus Rose on girls’ nights out. Back then, I rarely drank red. And never anything sweeter than a Riesling. Today I go more for the drier wines.

And in Tuscany I was known to enjoy a drop of Cinque Terra. And a local trattoria had a jolly nice red.No idea what or from where, but it was a good fit for their pasta.

But over the years I’ve come around to two preferred wines. Gone  the days (nights!) of the Portuguese rose and raffia-bound Chianti. Down in the Barossa Valley, in South Australia, they make a wonderful rich Shiraz with that classic Shiraz peppery “kick.” Pepperjack is my favoured red these days.

Also from that State (by th’eck! They grow some goodies down there!) is what has become my daily drop. A sparkling brut cuvee which can ride up there alongside Prosecco. Perhaps more importantly, it is  comfortably within my budget!

And for a laugh, because I like a little levity, I picked up some wines whose label caught my eye. Turns out to be pretty good drinking, too! South Africa has some eminently drinkable wines, too;  when I was in New York and my friend had left a bottle for me to enjoy I did exactly that! I can’t speak for their cheeses but the wine is a delight.

I will say I do try to buy local whenever possible. So when I cross The Ditch to visit family and friends Oyster Bay  or Matua or any of the other NZ wineries have my $$.

Bored yet? Think this snobbish wine-listing  is a waste of good drinking time?  Fine!

I’ll leave you with some garden pics. I have a bottle to open…

The last of a really good display of Syzygium wilsonii

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A reliable bloomer, this orchid! Phalaenopsis

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And a Heliconia, known as Crab Claw. I wonder why?

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