Moreidlethoughts Weblog

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


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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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CORRECTION AND AN UPDATE

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.

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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

 

 


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A TOUCH OF TROPICAL SPRING

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…

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…opening to a rich, golden yellow..

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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!