Moreidlethoughts Weblog

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


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NO LONGER M.I.A.

Just popping my head around the door to let you know I am still alive.

We , or as her Majesty might say, “my husband and I…” have been/are still very busy, doing all manner of jobs around the house. Busy, but utterly boring as blog fodder.

Mostly things in the garden.With the weather beginning to get warmer I needed to clear space for new plants. And, with The Man at home most days, we finally cleared the **$&! pergola of dead vines. The problem now is what to plant as replacement? I would dearly love Mucuna bennettii but fear it might be as rampant as the previous Petrea. And the same applies to the Jade Vine, Strongylodon. Ruddy great trusses of 3metres+ flowers might be a bit of a problem, given that the head room under the pergola is a scant 2m!Ooh!but I am so tempted…

Maybe I should just stick to the more manageable orchids…at the moment I have several Phalaenopsis in flower. (Not named varieties*)

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and an Oncidium…a wonderful dark wine-y chocolate colour013.JPG

There are lord knows how many purple and mauve Spathoglottis in the gardens! They drop seed and from time to time I give away some or move them about.Consequently, until they flower I have no idea where each colour is! But I have just bought a white one and it is safely in a pot on the verandah!That’s it, at the back, in bud.014.JPG

Two more Phalaenopsis live in hanging pots, out in the garden.(*I see this one has a name! Phal. Brother Lawrence x Brother Taida…and some faded writing I can’t read.Hardly surprising since it was a gift almost 12 years ago!new orchids 002.JPG

A very brisk wind has sprung up so this one needed a steadying hand. A bit like raspberry coulis dripped on ice cream!

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A couple of years ago we acquired an Anthurium. Poor thing became horribly squished in its pot, but the other day I got around to splitting it.I think we now have seven or eight! It’s currently beneath the front steps but will need a new home soon.new orchids 006.JPG

And here is the newest Spathoglottis

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I know some of you would love to be “over-run” with things like bananas and tropical palms, but it’s not all beer and skittles, y’know. Mrs Next Door doesn’t like the bananas dropping their untidy stems over the fence. And Mr. Up The Back gets his shorts knotted if any of my plants put their heads above the parapet. So I’m stuck with an ugly, bare fence…

Banana bell dangling over the fence.

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MAKING A COMEBACK

No, not about one of those ever-returning pop stars who can’t quite seem to leave their spotlight.

This  post features some of the garden plants that are thumbing their metaphorical noses at cyclones. Some things were damaged beyond help, but I’m happy to see others romping away.

Beginning with a flower stem of Canangra odorata When the rain and the roaring wind eased and we ventured out, this was on the front steps. (And, for the moment, it’s also my header!)

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David Austin’s trouper, “Abraham Darby” I snapped this in a shower this morning.

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Cestrum nocturnum Night-scented jasmine. Utterly gorgeous! It needed vigorous pruning a few weeks ago, but it kept flowering and so I left it. Some of the taller stems were “pruned” for me. I did eventually get stuck into it, cutting two bushes back rather brutally and allowing this one to remain reasonably tall. It helps to screen two neighbouring houses.

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Clerodendrum nutans Delighted to find several flower buds on this as it struggles and almost croaked during the heatwave. And no, I cannot move it as the roots will be impossible to untangle from the  {insert any rude adjective } palms. I might try striking a cutting to grow in a pot…

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One of several crucifix orchids, this one was on a grevillea we had to cut back.I’ve poked it between fence palings for the time being.Those background cordylines belong to the neighbour. It’s known as “the borrowed view.” 🙂

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My poor swamp orchid!Phaius australis. It’s been crushed by shed palm fronds, sat on by a ruddy great toad,almost cooked in the heatwave and, most recently, blown over by the stormy winds. But it’s fighting back!

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Stag or Elk? I always have to look them up! These were both rescued from a palm that was blown down a few weeks ago.

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And this one was attached to a palm next door and the neighbour had nowhere to put it so she and I lugged it down here and yesterday The Man wired it to a post. It looks a bit ragged (well, so would you if you were hurled from a great height!), but I think it’ll survive.

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I’ll post one more comeback…the Michaelia figo, “Port Wine Magnolia.” Another fragrant plant for pathways below windows.M.figo port Wine.JPG

The removal of storm-damaged trees continues though we have no indication of when our suburb will be cleared. But we did get off lightly, compared with many others.


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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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STILL WANDERING AIMLESSLY…

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.

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Seed capsules on a eucalypt.

 

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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…

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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!!) 

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Fishing with his best friend.

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Bougainvillea in a beach-side garden.

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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!

 

 


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BEFORE THE RAIN WASHES US OUT TO SEA…

…a quick update, with the answer to the mystery image.

We don’t usually get such heavy rain at this time of the year, but last night and today it’s been, to say the least, very tropical. Let’s see if I can show you a met.office video  https://www.facebook.com/ABCtropic/videos/10153424710481681/   And that’s what I was driving in this morning.

It was really a day for curling up on a comfy chair and reading a book.But, no. Dinah heard about a good deal on a 300mm lens.So far, this is all I’ve done with it, but, weather permitting, I hope to do more.IMG_2043.JPG

And the mystery pic from the previous post? A seed from  the Commersonia, brown kurrajong in the local parlance. Mitzi came close.

Oh, I suppose you want to know what those dangly things are? Seed pods on  the Cassia fistula. And the trunk of a palm whose name I don’t know.

I have a feeling I’ll have to sweep the rain water out of the carport  again…

Have a few more from last week’s walk…

Can we say “Gulag.” Well, it looks pretty grim!IMG_4901.JPG

I counted about 20 of these homes, all with lovely views and NO GARDENS!Sheer madness if you ask me.

But wait! At the end of this row of “luxury jail cells”…a garden! IMG_4904.JPG

Maybe it’s easier to sit and look at the view than to create your own. Here’s their view…IMG_4906.JPG

As they say Oop North (England, that is) “There’s nowt so queer as folk!”

Busy, busy here so I’ll leave you with one more…water lilyIMG_4913.JPG

 

 

 


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REMEMBER ME?

Quite understandable if I’d slipped from your memories.

I usually take a break over the Christmas period.Not a sabbatical, in the strict sense, but I gave myself and others around me a rest. Well, you’ve had your break!

The thing is (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this!) as the time slides by, the re-boot becomes harder. Or I just get lazier!

But, here I am  and, having actually turned the crank, I guess I should now be witty. Or pithy.Or wise. Maybe I’ll just bung up a few photos and see  where that takes me…

Beginning with the header… I found a folder of old scans on The Man’s computer, probably loaded there when mine was in for service. Among them was this rough sketch of a barn owl barn owl_0002

I think I may have snapped a photo of the owl, years ago (remember the days of 35mm film that came on rolls? Yeah, that long ago!) and decided to sketch it.

Some of the Facebook Folk recently nagged  each other to post images from nature. I thought it would be good camera practice and something I could manage while being on phone duty…

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Can you guess? OK, some of you live in Arctic zones so you’ll, perhaps, be struggling.Baby bananas!

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Cestrum nocturnum a night-blooming jasmine/jessamine. And it belongs in the same family as the spud. I have several planted along the back boundary, where the scent can waft in through bedroom windows. And, in my very early garden ventures, had one beside the entry steps.Oops! Had to rip that sucker out because the leaves stink. Deliciously sweet/spicy scent at night, but the leaves are foetid.  And, being a solanum, probably poisonous!

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Aeschynanthus radicans  sometimes called “lipstick plant.” The stems can reach quite a length ( 1 m is common) so I have some difficulty finding places to hang the baskets. This one was hanging from a branch of the mango, but it picked a fight with some ferns and frangipani growing up. So I moved it to the bearers below the deck. Fine.Then it grew even longer and scraped the pebbles.So now it’s hanging beneath the pergola, but I think the wisteria and petrea’s combined take-over might be blocking too much light. Serious pruning needed. Hefty help needed! Apply in person.

Fed up yet? No? Lucky people – I have more!

 

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A lovely crinoline stinkhorn! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallus_indusiatus One of several smelly things we have.Sometimes in abundance! Though,personally, I think the piles of dog turds around the street are worse.

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Lichens on a palm stem.

And a cutie to finish.Because I’m really quite nice. Sometimes.

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How many bird nests have you seen with interior lighting? A pair of Sunbirds incorporated a string of fairy lights in their nest next door. And, yes, checks fledged from here.

 

Oh! I think the owl was one we had in rehab,so that would have been 20 or more years ago.

I’d like to say “normal service has resumed”…but that might be stretching it. I’ll try.

 


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SERVES ME RIGHT FOR BEING ABSENT SO LONG!

Sometimes, life throws curve balls.Sometimes laziness overtakes me. Ain’t sayin’ which…

But I was jogged by my friend, the Banished One so I opened the neglected blog and found the WordPressians had staged a coup.I suppose I’ll figure things out  in my usual stumbling way…

Here’s something to look at while I have a stumble…004

It’s a Blue Tiger Tirumala hamata. Not so many of them in the cooler weather, but they are here in their thousands throughout summer.

I was sorting through a box of what cannot be labelled more kindly than “stuff” and came across something that made me think of a summer day, years ago.

I could hear children laughing and shouting as they played in the garden. Glancing through the window I could see one of the boys running around, one hand flapping at his trouser seat. The others were collapsed in giggling fits. Then the Resident Boy burst in, looking for a cold drink. I said they seemed to be having fun. “Yeah.Jason’s doing hippo farts.It’s brilliant!” And he raced out , taking the water bottles.

Hippo farts? I blame David Attenborough.

Geiger had a trip to Dr.Vet last week. A minor blip. A quick jab sorted it.Not that she thinks a needle in the nether end is minor! But the good thing is that the test that confirmed this infection also returned a negative glucose result. “Told you I wasn’t diabolic!”

And the new banner? That one, up there /\…it’s a native small tree, related to macadamia.Want to see more?IMG_1995  Buckinghamia celissima

Buckinghamia celissima  Commonly called Ivory Curl. It’s growing down near the beach; no room in this garden for it! Mind you, I’ve been wielding the big loppers to great effect…hmm, I wonder.

Not much of a post, but perhaps my mojo will return now that I’ve made some effort.