Moreidlethoughts Weblog

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



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





A reliable bloomer, this orchid! Phalaenopsis


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

crab claw Heliconia.JPG







In my recent post, here  I said I had a purple Spathyphyllum. Had that been the case I probably could have expected botanists to traipse up the path to see this amazing new plant.

It is, of course, an Anthurium. Talk about brain fade. And I’d somehow managed to post it upsidebloodydown.


There, that’s better!

The update saddens me. The Dysphania pupa will not be morphing into its moth persona. About half an hour ago I went to check, as I do every day. The leaves were crawling with green ants! I don’t know what happened (this is the first time I’ve noticed ants on the folded-over leaves), but it appears to have been pierced by something. I’m sad.IMG_0387.JPG

But perhaps another Four O’Clock Moth will choose to breed on my tree. It’s why I planted it, after all…

Any readers from my home country will be familiar with manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) so you might recognise this cultivar.Its label says it’s  “Pink Cascade.” Still manuka to me!IMG_0393.JPG





Which, to some readers may seem a little odd.

Actually, it feels a little odd to me as we have had cool, showery days, which is not our usual weather for the season.

No complaints, though! The herbs have kept on keeping on, David Austin’s “Abraham Darby” has rewarded me with over 12 blooms, the best so far.IMG_2509.JPG

Over the past few weeks I’ve been  tidying and training   trying to train a runaway Trachelospermum jasminoides  to grow up to the verandah wires, instead of flinging itself into the clutches of the gingers and taking an orchid with it. Eventually, I saw sense and gave up trying to untwist its wiry stems.Out with the secateurs and damn the consequences! Two nights of rain and some warm sunshine and it was off, like a race horse on oats. And one flower already! (Though this picture is a wee bit of a cheat as it’s on a plant up by the back fence.) Everybody, clap your hands and shout “Hoorah!” for this little sweetheart.Why? The  nasty basta   neighbour over the fence doesn’t like it on the fence.In fact, he doesn’t seem to like anything in my garden! IMG_0376.JPG

I think I may have mentioned that the  &*&%#@***ing Eupanacra caterpillars had chomped ALL the leaves off ALL my Spathyphyllums? I have, over the years, mastered the “Gallic Shrug” as, I think , do all good gardeners. We suffer some predation and enjoy the resulting butterflies.Still, it’s  disappointing when one loses an entire flowering season! But, ta-daa! The rains and not-so-cold temperatures helped and  now I have blooms on 3 white  and one purple.IMG_2511.JPG

Pigeon peas. Being leguminous they are wonderful for fixing nitrogen. And their flowers are lovely, too. Beautiful dark shiny red buds…


…opening to a rich, golden yellow..


Petunias are a fantastic filler in blank spots. So many gardeners regard them (and other bedders) as too “municipal-type” plants.I can understand that, but I can also see beyond the the regimented colour bands. When I see broad swathes of red, white and purple petunias I feel as if I’ll be shot if I don’t sing  someone’s national anthem! Feel free to wander around my garden, with all sorts of bits and pieces. You don’t have to salute here. IMG_2487.JPGIMG_2492.JPG

Oops! Did I say “tropical” and then post petunias? My bad…Okay, here’s  something that is a tropical plant. A dwarf Heliconia. Sorry, if it had a varietal name, the label’s long gone.But I think it’s Jamaican Dwarf. The bright blue seeds are what draw my eye.IMG_2524.jpg

A few months ago, a friend dug up some Canna roots for me. I’ve long admired the brilliant red cannas in her garden. Well, the other day, the first flower bud opened. And there will be more!   IMG_2508.JPGThank you, Ali.

Other than grubbing out weeds that do not provide much in the way of sustenance for beneficial bugs, I have been busy elsewhere. But I’ll pop in again with, I hope, something entertaining.

What sort of elsewhere busy-ness, you ask? Well, still hammering the writer’s keys , but also reading. I seem to be on a fantasy kick…ask Uncle Google about David Mitchell.

Now…my glass is neither half full nor half empty.I shall rectify that!










But before I start on the one hundred + photos I took…

Updated with a link.See footnote

Mr.Yellow has gummed some leaves together and appears to have settled down to become his moth self.(This was in the making stage.Obviously.) I cannot find any accurate information on the duration, but someone up in the Northern Territory recorded it as being almost 3 months. Temperatures down here and August v March may make a difference. Stay tuned!IMG_0226  6pm Aug 27.JPG

The Sunbirds  are real characters – whenever I’m watering the gardens they’ll “ask” to be sprayed with the hose. The other day I actually managed to sneak back with a camera;this is the closest I’ve ever managed to get to the flighty little beggars!I hooked the hose in a branch and they took great delight in sliding down the banana leaves and flying through the spray.sunbirds bath 2.JPG

Banana leaf slide

sunbirds bath 3.JPG

Mr and Mrs Bird, drying off on the rose arch.


And now… a few pictures from the Libris Awards exhibition.

The major prize-winner, a collaborative work by George Matoulas and Angela Cavalieri

“Europa to Oceania” quarter cloth binding




Janice R Nedela  “Unreadable Book #2”  Acrylic sheets




Caren Florance. “Pleasure Demolition”  letterpress, paper, thread



Jack Oudyn.  “Keer-Weer -turn again.” Waxed Vietnamese paper.




Winner of the Regional Artists’ Award. May-Britt Mosshammer. “Tapping the Knowledge.” Books, bronze, paper



I’ll post more, but right now kitchen duty beckons!


Because so many are not only difficult to photograph as they are displayed, I’m not going post all of them. But there is a list available from the gallery’s website




Well, ready to do battle with a couple of onions and some parsley…


We’ve had this magnetic knife holder for a couple of years and today The Man installed it.Why did this take so long? Mostly we were not certain where any live wires might be! And that short bladed chap on the left? Used to be longer until She Who Shall Not Be Named used it on a coconut…

Not a lot to write about , but I thought I might show some recent pictures.

The passion fruit vine which was slugging it out with the wisteria and Petrea volubilis is producing fruit.In fact, we’ve eaten several already and might have had more were it not for some late night thievery.I suspect possums.empty shell.JPG

Several empty “shells” litter the garden…  

Here’s one that we’ll have!IMG_2488.JPG


Two of the jasmines are doing well after the unseasonal rain.


Jasminum officinale (above) and J. sambac (below)


The Man called me outside this morning to see this…IMG_0206.JPG

And here’s a finger (mine) for size comparisonIMG_2480.JPG

When I find out what it is I’ll let you know.Meanwhile, if any of you can ID it, fire away! 

Mr Google tells me it’s the larva of the Four O’Clock or Peacock moth  we found a few weeks ago! Dysphania numana for those who need to know.



Callistemon. I think its label called it “Green Ice”



I’ll leave you with this Dendrobium orchid. Mr/Mrs Caterpillar has munched through its leaf and now it’s our turn to eat…





Actually, not really aimlessly.Enjoyably is a better word.

A walk in the sunshine is often a good way to focus crowded thoughts. So that’s what we did the other day.With a camera.Of course.


Seed capsules on a eucalypt.



Acacia holosericea  Velvet leaf wattle. I did have one growing  by the back gate, but, like all its kin, it was short-lived. But I’m clearing a HUGE clump of gingers so maybe I’ll put in another wattle…


This was as close as I dared! That mud is sucking-treacherous and I didn’t feel like getting wet. Mangroves along an inlet, in case you’re wondering.

A tradition has grown up around “lost or forgotten shoes” down at the beach. This “decorated” palm is known as The Thong Tree. (No, Muriel, not that sort of thong.Muriel!!) 





Fishing with his best friend.


Bougainvillea in a beach-side garden.


Pandanus nut. How big? Hmm…not quite as big as an American football or Rugby ball. When ripe, it will be bright orange.


This is just a sample from our meandering.The sun had turned up the thermostat and we wanted coffee so we headed back to the home jungle…IMG_2465.JPG

Yes, somewhere in there is where we live!