Moreidlethoughts Weblog

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


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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! ūüôā

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

PhalaenopsisIMG_2539.JPG

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

crab claw Heliconia.JPG

 

 

 

 


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IN WHICH I GO BAT-SHIT CRAZY

That might sound a little harsh. I love bats. Back in my London days, I had a bat box in Epping Forest. I’ve rescued bats. I find them endlessly fascinating.

But it must be said, they can be messy little beggars. They seem to be competing with birds and possums over who can make the most and stickiest mess. Of course, we have now paved the back pathway and we have ¬†rather a lot of palms overhanging the garden and path…

But back to the mystery object of the previous post. It was a yo-yo. No, it’s not Johnny’s yo-yo. Did you ever play with yo-yos? When I was about 7 or 8 someone gave me a yo-yo and I spent hours trying to master it. I could get it to unwind in a downward motion.But would it wind back up? Would it heck as like! My yo-yo suffered from terminal gravity. Until…I had a brilliant idea. Actually, at that age I had quite a few brilliant ideas, not all of which were feasible.But I was hell-bent on beating that bloody yo-yo…

Convinced something was wrong with its cord, I scrabbled in my mother’s sewing box and found some shirring elastic. Bingo! I’d defeated ¬†gravity! Maybe, if I’d kept practising I might have been as good as this¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x7ZxW4vinI

Let’s have a look at the local beach.Recent rain has washed away the dust and this is how it looked when I had lunch with friends at the “pub with the million dollar view.”IMG_4770

Turning South. My house is out of frame to the right and a few streets over.

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And this little chap hopped out of my car the other day after I’d taken a load of pruning trash to the tip. I think it’s Litoria fallax. If anyone can confirm that, please do.

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And in other news…I have been instructed in the starting of ¬†the Mustang. First, I must connect the battery. And, once the engine turns over, I must shut it off for ¬†few seconds. Then I turn it on again, this time running it for 15-20 seconds. Then I let it sit for a couple of minutes. And the next time I turn the key…I can actually put it in reverse and back it out onto the drive!

All this is so that if My Man is not home when the tow truck comes to collect the Mustang,I can line it up to be loaded on the truck. Yes! One of them is going to a new home.

That’s it for now! I’m off to stretch my legs while daylight lasts.


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BITS AND PIECES

Hello! Yes, it’s moi, returned from the wilderness of cyberpurgatory. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say “boneyard” since great swathes of my toy’s hard drive were cluttered up with useless, dead or not -activated¬†¬†programmes. All swept clean now.And if it knows what’s good for it it will not get in a mess again.

So, once back in harness (keep that word in mind) I had some messages in a queue… among them was this¬†https://www.facebook.com/Extreme/videos/1014215408635670/

Of course the wonderful Mr Hoffnung sprang to mind.And if I don’t keep a tight rein I’ll be wandering down that lane all day.

There was/is a lovely art exhibition touring and I was pleased to see it.Twice! Various artists have produced works influenced by past and proposed coal mines in a particular area of Queensland. Here is a link to Bimblebox, a nature reserve that is under dire threat by proposed mining leases.http://bimblebox.org/  and a map, just in case your geography is sketchy!IMG_4671

My last post (No, Muriel, you needn’t blow the bugle.Different sort of pos-put that bugle away! NURSE!) …my previous post slid in under your radar, didn’t it? I thought someone might pick up on the oblique reference.Maybe my readers are not Psalm readers?

Dashing away again, I’m afraid. But I’ll leave you with another ¬†Hoffnung classic.You’re welcome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iHCMwA7n7I

 

 

 

 

 


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OF BREAD,SPIDERS AND OTHER THINGS…

Let’s start with the bread. I’m not sure what came over me, but I thought, quite recently, that I should bake a sourdough loaf. I don’t know which neurons in my cerebral cortex ¬†might have mis-fired, causing this daft idea to spring up. I mean, this is summer. In the tropics! It’s hot. When the rain starts, the insect population explodes. And I have to muck about with gooey flour-and-water paste?

This was Attempt #1. It was fermenting very nicely and I was reducing/feeding it every day for about a week, then I put it in the fridge, only feeding it once a week. But when I came to proofing it (in readiness for actually baking a loaf) the hooch had built up to an alarming level! And it did smell more rancid than I thought was right. No reason to suspect contaminated flour, but I was not happy with my brew, so i ditched it. Just in case

sourdough starter day 2 002

And I read even more recipes and suggestions.Blimey! The interwebs are full of advice, a lot of it conflicting! Finally, for my next attempt, I settled on Hugh Hyphenated -Wotsit, probably familiar to tv viewers in England. He has a televised growing-and-cooking show.

So far, so good. Although I have had to keep this batch in a glass bowl as I could see the monster escaping from the jar I’d been using. I’ll start reducing ¬†it when I feed it this evening. I think it will likely be early next week before I bake…

Now, tell me, do you think 12 years is old for a car? I certainly don’t. Hell’s teeth! The Man has two cars, each almost fifty years old. Granted, they’ve needed a little TLC, but they both go. My 12 year-old workhorse went back to the dealer yesterday for the third time in 3 weeks! Last Monday/Tuesday, the changed tappets (deemed to be the cause of a minor but messy oil drip). While doing that, they changed the timing belt. Fair enough, it was beginning to lose its grip. But oil was still marking the carport. Not quite a “spot” drip;more a “dribble” drip, if you see the difference.

So…yesterday morning I drove to my friend’s house, dumped my sports bag there, then took the car to Toyota again. Friend and I went to the pool and thrashed out a few laps. After our swim we had lunch at a fairly new cafe with drinkable coffee and ¬†went to see “The Butler.”

Good movie? Not really, in my opinion. Far too long and a rambling, clunky script.

And then I went to collect my car. They say this drip came from a leaking sump pan.A sump pan which sure as shooting was not leaking before they dealt with tappets and timing belts! But they sealed that leak ( band aid? bubble gum? weld? ) and said they’d also checked out “everything else” (which they should have done last week) and oh, dear! the power steering pump is about to go to that car yard in the sky. New part + labour will come to chump change from $1,000.00. I’m seriously considering getting a horse!

It was almost 5pm when I got home. I thought I’d better squirt some water on my newly-transplanted ferns. And pull a weedy plant that was likely to collapse on them. And in grasping the weedy stem…I didn’t notice this fellow. He/she objected to being squeezed and bit my finger.

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It felt sharp, like a bee sting.I thought “Ice will be the best thing.” But I had no ice cubes in the freezer.Oops! So I toddled across to a neighbour. She has just bought a rather posh-looking new fridge/freezer and hasn’t quite got to grips with its workings…no ice cubes! But she did have one of those dinky little gel packs that you freeze to put in lunch boxes (presumably, kids know not to eat them!) The finger was throbbing ¬†by now and becoming very sausage-like. Kylie said “Call me if you get any worse!”

The thing is, after a long, hot day and ¬†the car drama, I was looking forward to a long cold glass of bubbles. Not sure alcohol was the best idea, but the ideas department tends to be pretty much depleted by 6pm when the digestive forces take over. Oh, bugger the spider! I thought and poured a glass of Prosecco and cut an apple and some sharp Cheddar. I say “cut” but it was more “hack” since I couldn’t hold a knife very well. And I thought I should take some photos…

The reason I switched from left-handed to right handed was because it’s a right-handed world. As a child, I found it so awkward to use can openers, sewing machines, clockwork toys, inkwells-in-desks…I became right-handed. And where, on any camera, is the shutter release? Yes! So using Rebel was no good, but I was able to take these wobbly snaps with the little Powershot. Of course, I have no problems drinking from my left. I’m ambivalent.

So…yesterday was a little more eventful than most. But entertaining, I hope. And now, I think I’ll tease you. Tell me what you think this is1-IMG_4200


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THE WANDERER HAS RETURNED…

Edited to add another link relating to woad.Scroll down.

Yes, folks, I am home again. Been home a few days, in fact, but somewhat busy.

Have ¬†I really not written since ¬†the New York segment? ?? Apparently. I expect I was having so much fun, racing about the countryside, meeting other bloggers, making new friends, learning, first-hand, about tortoise biology….Others have written about the blogging house party in Norfolk so I’ll skate over that lavatorial episode.

Instead, I’ll jump ahead to my cross-channel quickie.

I flew to Toulouse to spend a few days with Ange¬†in a lovely old farmhouse in the country. My first time in the south! Hard to believe that in all my years living just across the “sleeve” I never got that far south!

What treasures I missed! Still, I did make up for some of that and have certainly whetted the appetite for more!

Ange and her family live just outside the village which, once a month, at midnight, is closed to vehicular traffic for this little parade.

http://www.iter.org/newsline/115/1659   click the top image

courtesy http://www.iter.org

Foolishly, I, with TWO cameras, took neither, not realising quite what we’d see as we drove into the village late one night!

The logistics of moving an A 380, albeit in its component parts, are mind-boggling. And not a little hold-your-breath scary! But I’m so pleased to have seen it, being a bit of an aeroplane freak.

And the next day we headed for Carcassonne (passing the Airbus parts in the workshop yard on the way!). I think my earliest knowledge of Carcassonne came from a jigsaw puzzle depicting mounted knights riding up to the castle. Not quite as forbidding today, it’s still an impressive place. The winding, narrow streets are (as you’d expect) a tourist mecca, with, sadly,some of the merchandise marked “frabrique en Chine.” But look carefully and you can still find items produced locally.Or, at least, in the Eurozone. This, I think, is vital, given the fiscal mess so many places are in.

But let’s keep politics out of this!

Sorry.Can’t! Political clout has always played a part in history and the next place I visited was no different.

The Toulouse area owed its prestige and wealth to the humble plant,Isatis tinctoria,  from which an all-important dye is derived.We visited http://www.bleu-de-lectoure.com to learn more.

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Ange’s son, assisting in a demonstration* Note the greenish colour of the cloth-this will dry blue.

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Blue bunnies. Erm…just what is in those carrots!

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Blue doors and shutters at every turn…

IMG_0139And, apparently, blue cars!

And just to show that I’m not completely besotted by blue, here’s something black…

black petunias

Petunias! Aren’t they gorgeous? Madame,the cafe “Rouge Gorge” owner said she had planted red-and-black,to complement the decor, but the frightful early summer of cold rain made the reds revert to a faded white and pink. But these beauties thrived.

Had enough of France? OK…back across the Atlantic ¬†for this:

subway ladies

A block-mounted print of one of my friend, Victoria’s, subway paintings. See her site and Etsy shop for more. Some of you already know that I have other work by Victoria and it was lovely to see her again on this trip. We cruised a couple of exhibitions and wandered around East Village haunts and talked a lot! This little gem now hangs above my desk.It puts me in mind of Degas. What do you think? Thanks, Victoria.

Of course, it would not have been New York without my favourite guide...but that’s for another post!

And I think the cats ¬†have something to say, too, now that Estorbo’s people have restored his password and are home with him. For an armchair safari I can highly recommend this blog¬†and this one.

* Aeration/oxidation is an important stage in the process.See this link http://www.botgard.ucla.edu/html/botanytextbooks/economicbotany/Isatis/  for more information.
I’ve found a link to the lyrics of a song I have been known to sing, first, at school and later at parties. ¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Woad_Ode


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I LIKE NEW YORK IN JUNE…

…yes, I do! Hotter than a jockey’s saddle, but hey! It’s New York.

So very different from my first visit! IMG_3825

Trees with leaves! And the banner, above? Some of the roses on my friend’s terrace. I do have some other pics, but I’m a bit pushed for time, so here’s a small amusement for you…

Wylye Girl, over at the River Cottage (no, not Hugh get-yer-hair-cut) has a post about ageing and how to tell whether you are showing the signs of same. It amused me, possibly because I am approaching that time of life when people expect one to show such signs. Unless, of course, you’re like me and quite happily get on a bike (eventually!) and pedal around Central Park. (no photos of that, I’m afraid. Daisyfae and I were intent on not being taken out by a herd* of skate-boarders.More later…)

Anyway, while you wait to hear more about my cycling adventure, see how you score. This is an Anglo-centric quiz, but I’m sure you can adapt it for your own locale. These responses are mine.

…came across some new research that claims to have found the top 50 signs that you are getting older so I thought I would see how I stacked up against them, so here goes:

1. Feeling stiff. Yes, but some things have been stiff for years.

2. ¬†Groaning when you bend down. No. Might groan if I can’t bend!

3. ¬†Saying ‘In my day’. Probably.

4. ¬†Losing my hair.¬†Yes, to the extent that I no longer tear it out when ranting. The cats are looking a bit mangey…
5. ¬†You don’t know any songs from the Top 10. ¬†Didn’t even know there still is a Top Ten!

6.¬†Getting more hairy (nose, ears, eyebrows, etc).¬†I notice they don’t mention the Menopausal Moustache. So neither shall I!

7.  Hating noisy pubs. Yes.

8.¬†Saying it wasn’t like that when I was young. Does repeating #3 suggest the author is getting old?

9. ¬†Talking a lot about joints/ailments.¬†What is “a lot”?

10.¬†Forgetting people’s names. Like the new James Bond? Or the fellow who wants to be my next MP?
11.  Choosing clothes and shoes for comfort rather than fashion. Honey,comfort has trumped fashion for more than 40 years.It is possible to have both, y;know.

12. ¬†Thinking policemen/teachers/doctors look really young. ¬†Well, given that most who are older than I have retired…

13.  Falling asleep in front of the TV. Oh, yes.

14.  Needing an afternoon nap. Only at weekends when we have leisurely lunches involving wine (sorry, Z!)

15.  Finding you have no idea what young people are talking about. I often have no idea what ANYONE is talking about

16.  Struggling to use technology.  Like DVD recording and electric can openers?

17.¬†¬†Losing touch with every day technology and tablets. see #16 ¬†Oh,wait! Maybe they mean the pill kind of tablet? Forgetting to swallow them. Um, yes. But only because I forgot to pack them…

18.  When you start complaining about more and more things.  See! Repeating questions again!

19.  Wearing your glasses around your neck.  Good God! No. When I need them, I need them in front of my eyes. Not dangling around my navel.

20 .¬†¬†Not remembering the name of any modern bands. ¬†I’d also like to forget that I heard some of their music.
21. ¬†You avoid lifting heavy things due to back concerns. ¬†Hey! That’s not age, that’s the wisdom that comes with age. Says she who was side-lined 6 months ago!

22. ¬†Complaining about the rubbish on television these days.¬†Doesn’t seem to have any effect ,does it?

23.  Misplacing your glasses/bag/keys. Does it count if you did these things at 20?

24.  You move from Radio One to Radio Two. For me, that would be like switching from Triple J to Classic FM.  (All radios Chez Dinahmow  have been tuned to Classic FM for 20 years.Sad.I know)

25.  You start driving slowly. Start? With constant roadworks and heavy traffic slow is the norm (except out by the golf course!)

26.  Preferring a night in with a board game rather than a night on the town. I wonder if this is not a typo?     Broad? Bored? Knight?

27.  Spending money on the home/furniture rather than a night out. Probably.This is a small town.

28.¬†¬†You talk to colleagues so young they can’t remember what an Opal Fruit¬†is. Who the bejeezlehoop has conversations about Opal Fruits? In my day (!) colleagues talked about a)other colleagues b) the boss c) the chances of snagging a Saturday date.

29. ¬†Taking slippers to a friends’ house.¬† Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

30.  Listening to the Archers. Blimey! Is that still running? No, never did

31. ¬†Falling asleep after one glass of wine. Define “glass” in terms of size

32. ¬†Never going out without your coat. I live in the tropics.Don’t have a coat

33.  Getting bed socks for Christmas and being genuinely grateful. Pretty unlikely.On both counts
34. ¬†When you can’t lose six pounds in two days any more. Wouldn’t you need to be bulimic?
35. ¬†Gasping for a cup of tea.¬† Not me. I’m a coffee gal.But I still don’t see that tea-drinking qualifies one for an Old Fogey award.

36.  Taking a flask of tea or coffee on a day out.  Nope

37.  Joining the WI. Here, that would be the CWA. And my answer would still be no.

38.  Taking a keen interest in the garden. Less keen than when I had a much bigger garden and much younger body

39. ¬†Spending more money on face creams/anti-ageing products. I don’t spend any money on such things. Probably why people think I’m old!

40. ¬†Taking a keen interest in Antiques Roadshow. No. I have a lot of “old” things. And one of them refuses to throw the rest of them away.

41. ¬†Taking a keen interest in dressing for the weather. Again with the “keen interest.”No, I don’t

42. ¬†Putting everyday items in the wrong place. My bone folder in the pantry does NOT count. That’s not an everyday item…

43. ¬†Obsessive gardening or bird feeding. Not obsessive.And I don’t feed wildlife (unless in rehab.Them, not me!)

44.  Really enjoying puzzles and crosswords. Nope. Too busy.

45.  Always driving in the slow lane or under 70 in the middle lane. No. see #25

46. ¬†Consider going on a ‘no children’ cruise for a holiday.NEVER! sprogs or no sprogs. not.my.thing.

47.  Your ears are getting bigger. Are not!

48.  Joining the National Trust. Why?

49. ¬†Drinking sherry.¬†Hmm…the elderly ladies whose tipple is sherry have probably been drinking it for years in the belief it would not make them tipsy.So, no.

50. ¬†Feeling you have the right to tell people exactly what you are thinking even it it isn’t polite. It is seldom polite.
* is there a collective noun for 200+ skate boarders? Herd suggests Serengeti wildebeest, which certainly was what it felt like the other day!