Moreidlethoughts Weblog

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




Sung about, written about and probably even cursed by light sleepers, the Mocking Bird eluded me until now. I think this is a juvenile (because another bird was bringing it grubs and bugs to eat).IMG_2109

And, because I know some of you want to hear  it…

I was lamenting the lack of arachnid Kodak moments. But the rainstorms the other day must have brought out a load of Incey-Winceys. So far, only  Orchard Orb Weavers that I can see (Leucauge venusta), but they’re new to me so they count!

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And the real reason I’m here…Maggie, the ancient and venerable Border Collie.IMG_4949

Post-prandial snooze.

OK, this is a short post, but I have other things to do. Those of you who dip your toes in the muddied waters of Facebook know how to find me.




I was all set to be ready, this month.Even if I had to resort to a “grocer’s bunch”…I was going to wow everyone with my Flowers In The House.

And then it rained. I mean, really rained.The sort of rain that whooshes down, drenching everything, then goes out to sea and we all dash about washing the curtains that got wet and rejoicing in the lovely, soft, damp earth that makes weed-pulling a picnic in the park.

And then it rains again.Look, not to bore you, but we have had quite a few rainy days.And some thunder storms.

So…back to the “grocer’s bunch.” Um, no. I think someone left the grocer’s would-have-been contribution out in the rain!And the cheeky blighter was still asking half my housekeeping budget for the wilties!

So what does Dinah do? Calls on an orchid to step into the breach…IMG_4346


Phalaenopsis. It may have a cultivar name, but its label is long gone. The Man brought it indoors last week, fearful that the rain would mash its petals.Mostly, it sits on the dining table, looking lovely. No, this is NOT the dining table! This is a scruffy old table where we do all sorts of grubby things. Like mixing shellac, painting things and potting seedlings. But the orchid is indoors in the top picture.

I’ve done a massive amount of weeding and some more pruning and hope to get some things out of their pots and into this rich, soft chocolate-y soil. Soon, very soon. And I re vamped the herb boxes and put in some rocket/arugula which is coming along very nicely.I always have trouble with that in summer heat, but it’s looking good. If I can find a space that gets enough sun I might plant some chard(silver beet).

The orb spider’s cocoon is still under its leaf and tied back to a pole for safety.Another female spider is looking quite plump on her web, but the other one was gone yesterday morning. Still very slender, I think she became a snack.😦

Is it just me, or are other people struggling to keep up with blogging? I know some of you feel “empty” and I can understand that. But blogging , for me, was  a comfortable way to write. And I felt connected.But lately? I find it harder to write what I think people might like to read. Maybe I’m being pulled in other directions? Yes, I do venture into Facebook’s waters, but that’s hardly “writing.”

I suspect that I’m getting a taste for gallivanting! Good thing I renewed my passport!

I’d better get back to the kitchen and show my Kerala coconut curry some respect…

Here’s my spider and her beautiful golden egg sac…020

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If you click these pictures you will (should!) see that beautiful golden silk shining in sunlight.No wonder it was used on the raiments of the wealthy and clergy!

Time has passed…the curry was, indeed, delicious. As was the juice of the crushed grape. And, to top it off, we enjoyed a re-run of QI.





And I note that my previous post, back sometime in the Iron Age * is called Flowers In The House. So I can’t really use that title.

But it is why I’m here. If Jane, with all the hassles she’s had, can manage FITH, well, the least I can do is poke a few chrysanths and carnations in a jam jar and head over to her place….

Well, not the only reason. My friend, Mig, who also has not posted for a while, reappeared today and I thought “Blimey! Someone else with an over-filled plate.”

Really, though I say I’ve been busy, my life is not quite as hectic as some lives. So here I am!

I continue to be distracted by the local wildlife.Nothing new in that! The other night we heard a possum thump-scritching across the roof and swishing down through the palms. First for quite a while. Still haven’t seen him/her, but there has been evidence.

And on Saturday I saw a “new bird.” Well, it was new to me.Turns out these are common , but I’d never noticed! Yellow Fig  Birds are or were a sub-species of the green ones. They look like this  

And the spider! I mustn’t forget Ms.Blue Eyes! I must have seen dozens of them, but only the other day did I see her in the right light to notice her eyes (well, some of them!) – like tiny blue diamonds! She has made her bronze-gold web in the carport and, so far, is safe from any birds that might fancy a snack. Here she is, in  the best image I could get without triggering a trap line. If you google you can find images of beautiful textiles made with her web.Well, not this one, of course, but some of her kin.

And, since I seem to be blathering about birds, bugs and suchlike, here is a short video of some Spangled Drongoes. We often hear them, calling, a harsh chit-chit-chee. Their song is much more melodious and on this occasion, we had three, in a palm outside our bedroom.

And now, for Jane, some Flowers In The House. 005 006


I’m off to Arlington to see who else has flowers…

The Iron Age…the ridiculously long time it takes me to get through a brimming basket of laundry.Probably because I so dislike the chore I put it off for as long as possible. I could do with a Laundry Lucy !




(and a spider alert!)

The 3801 (train folk say thirty-eight oh one) is probably the most famous steam locomotive in Australia. Oh, OK, I might be shot down by those who like others better. But there is no denying that 3801 is  one helluva train.

I’m not going to type up all the specs; you can read the details here

Back in 1988, as part of the Bi Centennial celebrations, the Flying Scotsman was brought out to Australia and the 3801 was run with her.

It was a drizzly day when a friend and I drove up to Brisbane for our run of a lifetime. Two of the best loved trains in the world and we had tickets to ride!

On parallel tracks, slowing and overtaking (there were a lot of cameras on both trains!) from Brisbane to Ipswich and back. The ride of a lifetime.

We were on 3801, which meant we got some wonderful shots of the Scotsman and, back at the station, despite the rain, some decent film of “our” engine, too. I should still have the negatives, but, despite  a search of several boxes, I can’t find them. This poor sketch hardly does the grand old lady justice.

Now, at about this point the arachnophobes can leave us and go and make a cup of tea. Check the teapot, first!😉

edited to add this     gotta love the Goose!

When I was much, much younger I hated spiders. I kept telling myself I wasn’t scared, I just didn’t like them. This didn’t stop me from playing “up in the bush” as we called a rough patch of weedy trees and manuka
And lots of spiders! I remember, chiefly, the nursery spiders 
And one nasty little boy, knowing I hated the  things, delighted in chasing me with a manuka branch, complete with a web and, usually, a rather cross Mrs.Spider attached. 
One of my natural phenomena books had a photo of a tarantula and for years I kept a piece of paper folded over that page. Yes, really! I was such a sook. But that tarantula,or rather, the picture, helped me. How? 
I traced the photo. Then kept drawing around the outline, enlarging it each time. And then I pasted the ever-expanding spiders (I just glued the feet so that they “came up” from the page) into a book which I used to look at every day, telling myself they were “my” spiders and I was not scared. But I never did grow to like Charlie!
I was, however, quite enchanted with this when it popped up (ooh! see what I did?) in my reader this morning
And that segues nicely to something else I’ve been doing…
More details of that when all the books have been completed and sent to their various homes.
Time to put on my chapeau de cuisine…


SPIDER POST ALERT ! ( in case you’re a spider-wimp!)


Not a scary, horrid-hairy, ginormous, swallow you in one gulp sort of spider.

Oh, no. Dinah wouldn’t be so cruel to her  readers.Would she? Read on to find out.If you dare!

We have been doing some long overdue work in part of the garden.


Our new-ish neighbour has cleared the boundary strip and we (that’s The Man, mainly) have cleared our side of the fence. This has allowed in a lot more light and created some open spaces that just cried out for plants. So I’ve been relocating some of the overgrown pots  and cuttings. Shade-lovers, mainly, because although on the north-eastern side, they still have quite dense shade from the palms.



Probably a Christella of some sort. It (and several others), like Topsy, “just growed.”

And this morning, while hosing yesterday’s newbies, I noticed droplets on a damaged web.A neat quarter has been broken away from  an orb web. The spider is still in residence and I managed a photo. Better still, I’m pretty sure I’ve identified it. Yay! It’s not often I can.

I thought it was in the Tetragnathidae so I Googled that and found this interesting (well, interesting to spider buffs, that is!) link Known by a common name of “long jaws” for good reason, these cute lil guys have a courtship technique not unlike snogging in the back row of the Gaumont Cinema.

This is a macro shot that I did manage to get. Not the best, but neither was the weather! Clicking should make it a little clearer.



Now that I’ve managed to educate you on   scare the tripe out of you, I’m off to the purveyor of plonk. A girl can work up a navvy’s thirst just to plant a few ferns, y’know!





Coming home the other night, The Man doing the driving, I asked: “Do you prefer kinky or straight?”

And without missing a beat, he said:”Your hair?”

I suspect this may be a sign of the (rushing-to-the-finish-line) times. Thirty years ago he’d have pulled off the road and suggested we find out…

Truth can be harsh.

I’m working on some lino plates and with good luck and time on my side I hope to have a print to offer as a blogiversary prize. But that will not happen if I dither about on the blog.

Southerners are posting glorious photos of tulips and crab-apples and forsythia. Up here we have a different show…

I was heading to the Botanic Gardens gallery the other day when I turned a corner and saw this!









Yellow Tabebuia (T.chrysantha)      see here for more info  Had it not been on a blind corner I might have got a better picture. But, trust me, it is stunning.

Back home again I stumbled into yet another of my eight-legged friends. oops!









I’ve been told these little fellows are “jewel “spiders, but they don’t seem to match any of my pictures. Well, whether they are Austracantha 0r not, they are rather pretty.

Not sure whether the next picture qualifies as “pretty” but it’s definitely “kinky.”








Strange…my eyes look green!



A tarantula. So Archie was correct in guessing “front end of a very large spider.”

Probably a    Texas Brown Tarantula (or maybe an Arizona Blonde. Yes, really!)  Aphonopelma hentzi.

But I can’t be sure since I was not the intrepid hunter of the poor beast. (Can one call a spider a beast? Taxonomic trouble again!)

The picture I showed you in the previous post is a crop of a photo I took of The Man’s paper weight. He’s had this treasure for around 40 years.

And the reason it’s on the fuzzy side is that Mr or Mrs Spider is encased in perspex

I actually feel rather sorry for the poor thing; it  looks awfully moth-eaten!

I just know someone’s going to ask what size it is! Hang on…

…I measured! From the tip of the back legs to the tip of the front legs is 10cms ( about 4″ to you folk over there who still use gallons!)

And, no, those are not fangs you see between the front pair of legs! Heaven forfend! They are the palps. If you’re really keen to know more about spider sex, read this.  Or Go here for some interesting facts.

OK, all you arachnophobes, you can come out from wherever you hid. No more spiders today! Art-y things now…

Saw an exhibition of lovely (my opinion) drawings by this artist yesterday. I don’t use pastel or charcoal. And rarely pencil.Why? Because I get into such a dreadful mess. I get the wretched stuff all over everything. Not a good look if the finished work is on grotty, smudged paper!

But, y’know, I might just re-think my aversion after seeing yesterday’s  treats.

One piece I particularly loved and I would have been sorely tempted to “bend my plastic” had it not been sold. Cecilie used ink and pastel on white paper and the more I looked, the more shades I could see. The ink may have been sepia-toned, or darker and the pastel was(it seemed) white through to cream tones. For someone whose own pallette tends toward the primaries, I was a little surprised to be so moved by the pastel tones.

So perhaps I’ll dig out some pastels and chalks and see if I can keep my paper clean… stop laughing!