WHAT IS IT? Alcedo pusilla

The clock’s on steroids again!

But I’ve managed to find a ” little bit of spare ” and I have another quiz for you. No cryptic clues this time. What is this?

I’ll give you…a week? Yes, answer next Saturday. MONDAY UPDATE. Well, silly Dinah didn’t clear the label, did she! And clever Miss Scarlet and Christopher and Celia knew how to sort-of cheat. Only a little bit.      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Kingfisher  the link has  a little more information. The bird in my photo(yes, Celia, in my hand) had flown into the house and was sitting on a window ledge. Since we have louvres and screen there was no way it could get out, but I managed to drop a napkin over it and pick it up. No harm done and it flew away none the worse for wear.Just as well the Little Black Devils were not around! 

Don’t s’pose anyone’d like to take a guess at the Emmeline reference? A sort of two-for-one quiz. Go on, waste a few minutes!

It’s raining! And most welcome it is, too. Still chilly, but soon well go straight from winter, whammo! into summer. I miss the “proper” Springs of the Old World.

The rain is doing wonders for the terribly neglected garden. There are several  many things that need to be lifted, pruned, repotted, dumped…my excuse is that they must wait until I’ve finished my current art projects, as my hands, like Emmeline’s, must be ” purfickly clean.”

But I was happy to see buds on one of the orchids

I think this is a yellow one.

And...drum roll …I have two “back from the dead” darlings! My rose “Apricot Nectar” was all but gone…sniff,sniff and I decided I’d try lifting it this winter and putting it into a big pot. Even bought some “proper” rose potting mix. Just didn’t get around to it, did I? And then I noticed the tiniest green shoot, low down on the stem. Very low. Oh dear! Had it reverted to root stock? Only one way to be sure – let it grow and see if it flowers. And it did!

I’m so happy. And yes, it will still be lifted and grown in a shrub tub. It may be a valiant little thing, but I’m not taking any more chances!

And my other Great Revival Story is a yellow justicia.

It doesn’t look very spectacular here, but it’s been in a frightful sulk and I was about to consign it to the compost. I think it would be happier and certainly a better performer in  really good soil. Perhaps this, too, will “go to pot.”

And, for once, I remembered to take a photo before they were added to the salad…

Heartsease, Johnny-Jump-Ups, call them by any name, they look beautiful, scattered on fresh greens!

Now I’m hungry!


Brr! Just a short one today, folks, as my fingers are too cold to type for more than a couple of minutes. [Even now, I find I’ve inadvertently struck a “wrong” key!] 

The Chilean volcano continues to get up noses. Literally, in some cases! Still, it did add to our moonglow the other night…

But it’s difficult to adjust camera settings in the dark. And cold. And on sloping ground. What an excuse-fest!


I have another small amusement for you. Not too difficult this time!

My first is in P. Like swimming!

   My whole sounds like a recent figure of speech.    

Answers in the comments, please.


And now, for all the thirsty masochists…ginger beer.

For this, one must begin with a “live” plant. Like this:

In a screw-top jar big enough to hold more than 600ml/1 pint combine the following:

8 sultanas

juice of 2 lemons

1 tsp lemon pulp

4tsp sugar

2 tsp ground ginger

600 ml cold water


Leave this in the jar (lid screwed closed) for 2 or 3 days (longer if in cold weather)

When fermentation begins, that is, when it starts to move, begin feeding it. Give it a name, if you like! Every day, for one week, add 2tsp ground ginger and 4tsp sugar.

It will bubble and swirl and keep you entertained.

After  a week of feeding this “thing” you can make and bottle the ginger beer. (I’m digging into the dim recesses of memory now, so it might be a good idea to seek out other recipes for comparison!)

But as I recall … add 1200ml(2 pints) boiling water to 1kg of sugar and stir to dissolve. Add juice of one lemon to the plant and strain through muslin into the sugar-water. Squeeze cloth dry and add 8.4 litres (14 pints) cold water and bottle in clean air-tight bottles. Keep for 3 days before opening.

Your muslin strainer will have a rather unpleasant lump of sludge after you’ve squeezed all that ginger-y goodness through it. Scrape half of it back into your (washed) screw top jar, add 600ml cold water and commence to feed as before.

Now, it goes without saying (or should!) that all equipment must be super-clean. Sterilise the bottles. And, whatever you do DO NOT, EVER, LEAVE  THE BOTTLED BREW IN A HOT PLACE! If you do, be prepared for a visit from the bomb squad…

One hot day, The Man requested some ginger beer to take to work, ” because the other chaps asked where I’d got my refreshing brew.” So I put a dozen bottles in a box and gave strict instructions that it be put in the fridge at work. sigh…

What do they say about men and instructions? The box was left in the workshop, a big ol’  galvanised steel barn of a building with no air-con and a thermometer close  to bursting  its tube. Man! 12 exploding bottles of ginger beer covers a big area.Noisily. And messily.

About the bottle caps – I used a small device that fitted over the crown cap and was struck with a mallet to seal the cap. A bit scary since whacking it too hard might shatter the bottle and not sealing it properly would mean an air leak and wasted brew. But it is possible to buy a capping device that’s operated by a lever-thingy, which, so I’m told, exerts just enough pressure to seal the cap, but not so much force as to crack a bottle. Hmmm

I got the ginger beer bug, along with the home-made bread craze, from my neighbour. She learned, the hard way, that at the height of a Queensland summer, protective clothing is advisable…

Happy days!



















Still busy, folks. And I was reminded today that Monday is a public holiday for most of us. The westerners like to dance to their own music so they salute Her Majesty on a different date. No, I don’t know when and can’t be bothered to consult a calendar.

Anyway, what I’m getting to, in a very roundabout way , is that, despite most people having a day off to celebrate a birthday which was actually almost two months ago, some of us will still have to apply olfactory organs to whetting devices.

But just to keep you lot on your toes…

What is this?

No clues, but I’ll leave it up til Saturday. (No, Nurse, it is not a whalebone corset!)

And for those of you who say you’re no good at guessing, perhaps Messrs. Fry and Laurie might be of assistance. ( I was about to type NSFW in the title line, then realised that might attract some kinky people. And we don’t do kinky Chez Dinahmow, do we? *)


* No, we all go to other blogs for that!

One final observation – had I been the contestant dismissed for being dirty, I’d have claimed a different spelling and meaning.