Thursday, January 31

More Past, or Passed...

SG began school today. It seems incredible to realise he is 5, & is off to begin his adventure in Education.

He rang me, bubbling, & delighted, at his first day at School! He had a wonderful day, really likes his teacher, & has a new friend- a girl! His exact words were "I had a New Friend Made!" Wow!

It turns out, she is a girl, who was one of his friends at Pre School. It is nice to think he still likes her at 'Big School'.

We could not attend his first day drop-off, nor the collection. No car.

My Daughter J said she & his Sister collected him.
Because his sister is 18, he regards her as a second mother. She regards him almost as her son, she loves him so much. With many hugs & kisses, they greeted him.
DJ said the parents with Video cameras are quite offensive really, to other parents. One little girl was tracked for meters, photos & film footage of her back collected ad nauseum. DJ could not help but wonder why?? Just how many shots of your daughter's back, walking away, do you need?


I have previously posted about the car fiasco of DJ's & SIL. We lent our car to DJ to prevent her losing her job.


I am about to name names as to the wreckers who supplied parts for this rotten car, with written guarantees, which have proved to be worthless- of course!!. If you live on the Central Coast, NSW, & want the name of this germ, I am willing to give all details!! Please email me!!

Now, we have had to lend our lawnmower, since theirs has a broken handle. It was a gift from the FIL, to his son. SIL took it to the repair @$$hole who told them it is a 'cheap thing, not worth repairing' - that is a rude fecking insult. Don't look gift horses in the mouth. What a rude swine. One hopes his camel dung hill, is infested with fleas, & his ant polulation increases daily!!

The fact that SIL left it out in the rain probably doesn't endear him to our hearts, but on the other hand, the repair man doesn't have judging rights on the price, or quality, of an article.

Our DJ said to me, when the $hitheap of a car clapped out, that she wondered what else could follow. These things come in "Threes" were her words.

I told her not to say such things, & not to tempt Murphy, or whoever.

Well, now there is the mower. What the hell is next on the list for Losers??
Or the CCTPPO??*


To Someone I Love.

You know I love you more than life.
I gave birth to you-

I can no longer hold the candle

At the door of your defence.

I cannot wear the mask
In the face or your pretence.

Or try to shed a light
On the path of your destruction.

Or your reasons, & excuses,

Your tides, your deduction.

I know you made the choices
for the drugs & your destruction

And your denial refuses,
To admit your wasted talent.
Your gifts untold, recluses.

Your art will remain unkown.

Your poetry - unsown.

A wasted talent

O my son,

A seed perhaps ungrown?


I suspect the Black Dog is upon me.

I just think to acknowledge the prescence.

Bob Dylan, Not Dark Yet.

Tuesday, January 29

Voices From The Past.

Just before I begin this post, I would ask all the Blogger friends to join me in sending good wishes & positive vibes to my friend Julia, of Camille's Place.

Julia's Dear Husband has had a very nasty accident, & so all positive thoughts will hopefully help to speed a recovery. Julia knows I am not a religious person, & I don't pray, but I know a lot of you do, & believe your prayers have power.

A domestic accident, a fall from a roof. I am terrified of Gom threatening to get on our roof, & having a fall.

It has been a long weekend, & it has been hot & sticky, steamy, humid, ghastly, for my mere mortal body, with all it's faults.

On the other hand we have spent some lovely time with family & friends.

Yesterday we had another visit from our DogTech man. Leo has passed his preliminary probation with flying colours. He performed very well considering he is such a dominant male dog. He got a good report. He performed very well on his first outing, & did all the requisite obedience tasks, so we were very pleased. He is trying very hard to control his urges to bark. He is a good influence on Honey, hopefully.

I think too, the owners have been trained to a certain extent!! Haha. Which is probably more than half the DogTech man's task. We are very pleased with our progress, & modification of Leo's behaviour, so feel it was not wasted time or dollars.

And the DogTech rep? to die for, so handsome, so downright gorgeous!! A truly likeable person, & very easy to talk to, & very understanding, of nervous doting, elderly, dog owners! Also, the dog, of course!

The 'voices of the past' part of this blog, is next... just taking a bit of time to get around to it! But after all, it wouldn't be me, if I didn't beat around the bush!

This is a copy of a Wedding portrait. I was sent this wonderful photo by a cousin, who is doing a lot of research for family tree information, & trying to collate all he can, about our long gone relatives.

We are unsure of the identity of this couple. My Beloved Brother & I agree, the Groom looks rather pleased with himself, & perhaps a little pissedpie-eyed?

The poor Bride looks very apprehensive, & it may be due to the constriction of the dress in the waist region? I am fascinated with her dress, & how elaborate it all appears. I feel some serious 'brass' might have been invested there- or perhaps a talented relation or mother might have created it, with love & devotion.

This next photo is of a known, & loved Great Aunt. Here she is pictured with a Niece- we are unsure of which niece, sadly.

This Great Aunt was greatly love by my brother & I, as children, & I know my mother dearly loved her as an Aunt.

Her story is very tragic. She was stricken with Polio when she was 18. She was engaged at the time, & as family lore has it, she released her fiance from any obligation, as at that time, Polio could result in death, or severe disability.

As it happened Mary, which was her name, was left with a limp, & a turned foot, which necessitated shoes, & slippers which needed to be tailored to her disability. I often used to wonder about the cad, who was her affianced, who deserted her, on an easy 'out'. I wonder, did he really love her, did he regret his decision to opt out of their 'contract'?

Mary was a gentle, beautiful person, who was loving & quiet, with a wonderful bubbly sense of humour. How sad her life was, really. She nursed her mother until her death, then her father until his death. A cousin, who had been Mustard Gassed in the First World War, came to live with them, & Mary took care of him until his death. A lonely, sad, life, spent in the devotion & care of others.

Mary was a non identical twin, & her twin sister got married, & had a family. I know Mary would have made a wonderful mother. Perhaps the Niece she is nursing in the photograph is one of her twin sister's children. She was always gentle & kind to us as children, & we were very sad when she died, alone.


Recently, a loved Aunt, from another side of the family, told us she had burned letters she had written to her then-to-be-husband, while he was in Prison Camp during the Second World War. She also had the letters he had written to her, & those were destroyed also.

As it happens, the Aunt is our Father's sister. Her Husband-to-be was our Mother's brother. We have always felt a special closeness to both of them.

On hearing of the destruction of the letters, my brother was shocked, & said our Aunt should not have destroyed the letters. I could see both points of the argument. I know from past experience, I don't always want someone else reading my letters. I know in time, it is irrelevant, & it is always so interesting & intriguing to read old letters, from people who have gone ahead.

I can also see my Aunt's point of view. Not wanting her heart & soul exposed to others. As she said, they were her words, & his words to her, so she didn't feel the need to share those with anyone else. My brother was sad. I am inclined to agree with my Aunt.

I wonder, is that a female reaction, or is it a general reaction?

The 0dd thing is, I find old letters so intriguing, & I love stories that are based on facts, often gleaned from old epistles.

Would you like to think your letters of agony & perhaps purging of personal griefs, or pain, were out there for others to read?

Would you like to think your love letters were left for posterity, & other readers to pore over?

Seals & Crofts, We May Never Pass This Way Again.

Saturday, January 26


Yesterday was Australia Day, 26th January. After the sun burned off the heavy thick fog, it was a fine day, a little humid, but sunny with light clouds.

Jet planes flew overhead, taking 5 years off my life, with the noise! It sounded as if they were about to land on the house. I don't think the dogs had time to react.

We didn't do anything particularly patriotic, like throw the thong- footwear, not the other type- or host a Barbie. Our BBQ fell to pieces some time ago, & since neither Gom nor I are fond of cremated meats, we never bothered to replace it. Towards the end of it's life, it only got used about once a year. That usually meant the gas bottle was empty, having leaked the contents since the last time of use, I suppose.

We manage to cater quite well without the BBQ. Gom has a Deep Fryer that he likes to use with flair. He loves his electrical gadgets, & has many, of the kitchen variety, that he desired. Not all of them get used. Partially my fault I suppose. I dont like Popcorn, & the kids are not here that often. I keep meaning to make the waffle batter, but forget. He stopped making milkshakes when our Granddaughter moved out.

There is an Icecream maker-- such a pain to use, & takes such a lot of space. Now we have a chest freezer, he would have plenty of space, but he is apt to sneak beer in there, when I am not looking, to get a quick cold batch, if friends come over.

There is a Bread Maker. That was a big hit for a while. Then the Pantry Moths got into the mix, & we rather went off the idea of a fridge full of mixes. We do have a grill, that we use to cook all our meat. It is a Breville, & we got it new for $5 at a garage sale, to replace our George Foreman, which had lost it's teflon coating. I suppose we ate it, along with bacon etc, & never knew. I am sure we will have teflon in our bodies for ever now. We actually like the Breville better, & the coating seems to be staying put. It is great for eliminating fat from the meats.

There is a Cafe Press. That used to get thrashed when our daughter & granddaughter lived with us, & still gets the occasional workout. I don't like bread- well it doesn't like me, & gives me indigestion- so I eat wraps, or Pita bread, quite often, & toast them when I can be bothered.

He also has a Pie maker, which is fine, but the cutting of the pastry to fit the dishes is a pain in the...

Here is a the sky on the eve of Australia Day.

I don't know that there were any parties nearby, today. The Noisy Neighbour-dog had his own frenzied barking party, & later the kids were out with a ball, but apart from that it was a quiet day. It is a long weekend, so we are having a bit of a gathering here this afternoon. We have invited friends, & family.

I went out yesterday, into the wilderness that is the front garden at present . It was rather like being in a steamy jungle, with all the green, vigorous growth from all the rain we have been getting. The Ginger is flowering, & I tried to get some good photos of the pretty flowers.

I hadn't realised before, what a delicate perfume the flowers have. They are prettier in real life than they look in these photos. The yellow is brighter, & the stamen are quite orangey red.

The Ginger may have been a mistake, it is tending to run amok. I found a lovely little green frog on the leaves one day, & now when I cut it back, I am cautious.

There is a woody overgrown purple Budleia, which I believe attracts butterflies, but I can never see any, though they fly over our backyard in quick flight on their way to something attractive. They never seem to stop & I cannot get a photo of one of them.
This our Cycad, which has really enjoyed the rain, & has grown new leaves surprisingly quickly, recently. I love the fact that these plants are prehistoric relics, & have been here since the dinosaurs roamed among them.

When we bought this, it was such a tiny little plant, I wondered that it might not survive. It seems happy in the wild disorderly garden of ours.
I began this post last night. I had phoned a relative I had been meaning to call for some time. She was having her dinner, & rang me back later. We talked for some time, & it was quite late when I got off the phone.
I went back to doing this post, & had added a photo of some forgotten old rellie's wedding.
Next thing I knew Gom was roaring at me to wake up!!
In the shock & blur, I must have deleted the old Rellie Wedding pic, so that will have to be for another day!
I guess you know you are addicted to the computer when you can just fall asleep whilst posting!!
Seals & Croft, East of Ginger Trees.

Friday, January 25


Here is Leo. Tied. Wanting to be free, to run off & see what Gom is up to. Gom is repairing a small section of fence he put up to stop the dogs going & snuffling under the fence, upsetting noisy barking neighbour dog. He barks quite enough, without our dogs egging him on! It is a dull overcast day, & I had thought to get more photos, with perhaps less glare. Not having much luck, but this Grevillea is not too bad. Same old, though. Sorry I have no exotic flowers to show. Nor any exotic birds, or even interesting bugs.
We have these 'free' Begonias. They just come up whenever & wherever. I think in America, they are known as 'Volunteers'?

There were some sweet little ferns growing by the makeshift fence. Gom made short work of them, & alas, they are no more.
I wanted to post about pressure today. I am feeling under pressure to get some sort of sewing done. It is me that is pressuring me. I need to get off here, stop admiring everyone elses nice quilts & get sewing! if there are any puncutation police reading this, you will note I have left the apostrophe off elses- the truth is, I am not sure where it should go.
Back in the day, when I was living other lives, I found I hated pressure. A lot of people thrive on pressure, they love to be 'on a deadline'. Somehow it gets the adrenaline pumping & they assure me it gets the best out of them.
It has the opposite effect on me. I loathe pressure, just feel flustered & upset by it. I like to take my time, spend as much time as I need for a project or task. Deadlines make me very nervous.
A large part of Hotel life was pressure. One minute the bar would be empty, the next a line of thristy drinkers would all be clamouring at the bar. Gom loved it. He shone when he was under pressure. He loved the hustle & bustle, the excitement of it all. We had an excellent bar maid, who was just so efficient under pressure. Nothing got her flustered, & she could cope as well as anyone I have ever seen.
When we were in the Inner City Hotel, for a time I was manageress of the Restaurant. When it first opened it was at the forefront of Bistro style meals, in our city. It was busy beyond our wildest dreams. Opening for lunch & the evening meal, it just boomed, & we never had time to stop or think.
I would stagger upstairs at the end of the night, & just fall exhausted into bed. If I sat down in the afternoon, I would instantly fall asleep. I could understand that sort of pressure. I didn't really enjoy it much, but I could see the point of it all, & with great staff we could have it all running smoothly.
Cooks were probably our biggest worry. Many of them did not work well under pressure. Some of them threw tantrums, & walked out. One poor boy lost most of his hair, & his skin began peeling off. Pressure, we decided, as he told us he needed to leave. Another wore Army clothes, & made huge lunges with his personal giant knives. I was terrified he would kill someone. He had to go. Another argued hysterically with customers, telling them he would never cook a well-done steak! No matter that we told him the customer can have his steak cremated if he likes.
Some of the cooks were fun. We had one with fiery red hair. He talked non stop, & told us all sorts of intimate details about his life & times. He wore very tight jeans, & he told us he didnt wear undies. Our barmaid told him he would end up sterile. He was so worried he went out & bought undies & some looser jeans.
We called him Cookie, & we once backed a winning racehorse called Excessive Talk, in his honour. It wasn't named in his honour, we just backed it in his honour.
Back to pressure. When I worked in an office in a huge company, & had to send off telexes (remember those? I wish we had had email!) & organise conference calls, I was always furious when, at the last minute executives would come begging for 'urgent' calls, tickets, telexes, faxes to be sent. I knew those execs had been sitting about on their rear ends all day, drinking gallons of awful office coffee, or in the case of the MD & the Financial Controller etc, the coffee in the percolator that we organised every morning. Just as it was time to be getting on home, in would come a flustered exec, full of pleases, & BS about why they had to get this or that done urgently. To me that sort of pressure was just infuriating.
Mostly it was rot anyway. It was to go to Europe, & most of the countries we dealt with were happily alseep, & unaware of any urgency. To his credit, my immediate boss, who was Swiss, was the most unflappable person you could meet, & he had a wonderful calm pressence. He would take the steam out of the pressure.
How do you find pressure? Do you thrive on it? Or do you fold under it?
Queen, Under Pressure.

Thursday, January 24

Signs of Summer.

I love the stone fruits of Summer.
To me, biting into a plum always makes me think of encapsulated sunshine. I can taste the sun, if such a taste is possible. I also love nectarines, & peaches, apricots, & of course cherries. These are the only fruits left in the house at present. These fat, dark, delicious plums. The sweet white fleshed nectarines. Not artfully displayed. I am sure the northern folks reading this would give their eyeteeth to be able to savour these fruit, amid their cold dreary winter.
SG came with his mother, to visit yesterday. He asked if he could have the last banana to eat. Of course! said Nanna, delighted that he at least likes bananas.
Why is it that children don't seem to want to eat fruit these days.
When we were children, we loved fruit. We had 2 Nectarine trees, different varieties. Two Peach trees, likewise. Our Grandfather had built a pyramid shaped trellis for the passionfruit vines to grow over. We would sit in the 'teepee' formed by the vines, & gorge on passion fruit.
We had two 'Tree Tomato' trees- they are called Tamarillos now. They were so delicious. The frost would kill the leaves, burning them black, but we always seemed to have fruit off them. I see them in the shops here, but they are so expensive, I don't buy them. We also had a lemon tree, & we had a whole hedge of Fejoas. What a strange looking fruit they were. Wrinkly green skins, & curious white/cream flesh. They taste rather like fruit salad. I never see them in the shops here. Perhaps they dont travel well.
Our Grandmother would stew the fruit, & she also bottled a lot whenever she could. She had a huge old Welch Dresser, that stood out in the back porch, because the kitchen was too small to accommodate it, & it was always filled with preserved fruits, jams, jellies. I can remember the muslin ball hanging suspended over the pan, in the concrete tub, in the washhouse, dripping the juice from the quinces. We would eat beautiful clear quince jelly on our fresh bread. She would also preserve a lot of the passionfruit pulp, so that we had that for treats in icing, cakes or puddings.
Our mother would take us on blackberry picking expeditions to the dusty steaming paddocks where the blackberries grew in wild tangles, and the tall grasses grew, with seed heads that made us sometimes sneeze at the pollen. We would come home scratched & bloodied in patches, but happy with our black treasure, of juicy fat blackberries. I don't suppose it would be possible today, as the Blackberries are a pest to be erradicated, the farmer who leaves it growing is to be frowned upon, for his lack of diligence.
Our Grandmother would make Blackberry & apple pies, & blackberry jelly & jam, for the winter. Freezers were a thing for the future in those days, so preserving was the way to go, if you wished for produce in the winter months. When we had our Passionfruit vine, I froze the pulp, unsweetened. No hot cooking or messing about with preserving jars.
I can still see my Grandmother, standing in the kitchen in her apron, her red face shining with the sheen of perspiration, from standing & stirring the jam or jelly, or preparing the fruits for bottling. How she would have loved the idea of freezing things. She loved gadgets, & was always eager to try new things. I am sure she would have loved flying as much as I do!

Here is a picture of our Tibouchina in the back yard. It is a self sown tree, that I moved when we redid the back yard, & I was very surprised when it survived. The colour is quite true to life, in this photo.
And here is the little Prince of Orange, or Ixora. It is growing in a pot, & I keep meaning to plant it into the garden. The glare of the sun has spoilt the picture, so I still need to learn about macro!

Oscar Lopez, Fire & Fury.

Wednesday, January 23

Trying to Walk The Line.

Aint misbehaving... really!Leo has had a face trim, & a couple of pounds of his wool clipped off. He was very good while I did this, so that is an improvement too. I guess he figures any attention at all is ok!

We had SG yesterday, & it was so hard to convince him he was not to cuddle Leo or let him lick him.
"But he loves me Nanna!"
It is not an easy thing to stick to. Gom had a little gripe to our Daughter J this morning.
"They wont let me play with the dogs!"

We are still sharing our car with our daughter. You don't want to know the saga behind that, & it seems a farcical tale, quite beyond belief.
All I can say is, if you are thinking of buying a used car, NEVER buy a Mitsubishi Magna!!
NOW they find out they have dodgy tranmissions. NOW they find out they seem to be unrepairable.

This was the mornng view from the balcony looking to the East.

Somehow it looked a lot better than the view looking South!

We have been out & about getting small luxuries like deodorant, & vinegar.
We dont use a lot of vinegar, & the malt vinegar we had, was found to contain a large 'beast' of some sort! I am not sure how old the bottle was, but it was a bit scary to contemplate how long it might have been in there, & I had used the vinegar unaware it was lurking there.

I sincerely hope the last time I used it was for cleaning. I suspect it was, but none of us have died or been ill, so I guess no harm done.

As we came home, & drove around the large roundabout on the Highway, we saw Emergency Vehicles, Ambulance, Tow Trucks, Police, all congregated on a small road off the roundabout, that more or less leads nowhere. Just a Tyre company, a Car wash, & a Bottle shop. Of course we wondered, What the??

Then we saw a car, flipped onto it's roof. Lying there like a beetle, it's 'legs' sticking up in the air. For the life of us, we could not understand how such an accident could have happened. We didn't stop to rubberneck, or clog the traffic. We live within walking distance, & can in fact still see the vehicles at the scene. I hope no one was hurt.


I never dreamt, in my youth, that I would turn into my Grandmother. I stare in disbelief, when I do look in the mirror. It is not something I want to do, these days. Who wants to realise they are now their own Grandma!

At first, when people said it, I paid no heed to what they said. Increasingly, I am beginning to realise it is true, & must have been for some time.

Not that I disliked my Grandmother. I loved her dearly. She loved me dearly, & was a wonderful Grandmother. I loved her puffy hugs, her soft body, her kind concern, & love that shone from her eyes. She seemed to be the perfect Grandma. But after all, who wants to be their grandmother, regardless of how much they loved them.

Sure, I wanted her wisdom & her breadth of knowledge. Her non judgemental ways of looking at people. Her patience & tolerance with people. Her gentility.
Selfish as it sounds, I didn't exactly want her figure. Perhaps not even her face.

I knew I was never going to turn into my mother. By the time I was about 12 I was taller than my mother, & ended up much taller, & though I was very slim when I was 19, & could share clothes with her, it was inevitable I would get a little larger as the years went on. The fact the I got a great deal larger is hard to realise.

In a way, I am glad my mother is now dead, & cannot see how large I am. haha. I always felt rather like an elephant around her, once I had grown to full maturity. Her feet were so small, she had trouble finding shoes to fit. Her tiny waist remained tiny.

I kid myself I am not gargantuan. I am puffy, like my Grandmother was. Had I taken after my paternal Grandmother, I would have been tall & angular, & looked somewhat severe. Perhaps I do look severe?

Who ever sees themselves as others do? Being the photographer, I rarely see photos of myself. I tend not to look in mirrors, if I can avoid it.

Jean Michel Jarre, Equinoxe Part V.

Monday, January 21

Fooling around with photos.

It seems I am on a new learning curve with this camera of my granddaughter's. It has macro, which is a feature my waste of money expensive camera has NOT got! I only discovered this yesterday after taking these new pics of flowers.
This first one is a grevillea, the one that the Shrikes so love.
I was also happy to discover a programme on the net called Picnik,
which can eat hours of my day, just playing about!

Here is a photo of Leo being a very good boy in the lounge in his little corner. We feel he is making good progress, & is already quite transformed from the horror he was a week ago.

The acid test will be when more visitors come to the door I guess. We had a visit from known friends yesterday, & they noted what a difference there was in his behaviour, & even Honey is benefitting from this new regime. So all is good on the dog front.
A note here, DogTech has a website if anyone is interested in checking them out. Just click on the name.

On other fronts, the weather is most peculiar, almost wintery in appearance. Windy, raining, & a lot cooler. Yesterday was so humid it was horrible to even move, but today is much nicer, though not cold at all.

This is another Bromeliad bract. I always wanted to own one of these when I lived in New Zealand. They were very expensive to buy, & I always felt if I did get one, it would surely die. Now I have them growing wild, in the garden. I love the exotic look of them, & I love the little blue/purple flowers.

This is another Bromeliad, showing the small bluey flowers peeping out of the water. They always remind me of little birds beaks, waiting to be fed. The ants seem to rather like zipping about on these.

This is actually perfect sewing weather! So what excuse can I think of today for my procrastination??
On a drive past an Op Shop, on Sunday, I noticed heaps of 'donations' piled up outside the door to the closed establishment. The public have been repeatedly asked not to leave goods when the shop is closed. It attracts thieves, & the goods end up scattered about the place, often to get wet & ruined.
It is nice to think that people have good intentions, but often I think they are too lazy to find a proper dumping ground for their tat & trash, & so they kid themselves that they are 'donating', when they are just getting rid of their garbage.
Of course, not all of it is garbage, & the charities could surely make a little money to help their good causes.
There have been some interesting items on TV showing the dumpers, & the scavengers, rooting through the piles that others have left, & blatantly stealing anything they deem fit to take. It does seem a pity that charities have to resort to having cameras outside their shops in the hope of catching the thieves. Quite often these 'mongrels' are well dressed, & drive expensive vehicles, & certainly would appear not to be in need of theft as a way of gaining material goods.
As an op shop browser, I have noticed some of the charities have become rather 'expensive'. It makes me rather angry to see what I regard as rather steep prices on things that have been given in the best of intentions, to 'help the poor'.
Is greed creeping into the Charity business?
Joan Baez, Please Come to Boston.

Sunday, January 20

Red Gum Flowers.

I wish I could say this was a tree in my garden. They are lovely. In someone else's lovely neat garden, & looking so healthy too.

Here are the little cups that form once the flower is spent. I remember playing with them as a child, & pretending they were little cups in a teaset.
These are the buds on the other little tree.
I used a little camera we got at a garage sale for $5, which we have given to our Granddaughter. She is not very interested in photography really, but has taken some nice photos of people with it.

I happened to have it in my bag yesterday, so whipped it out to take these pics. I think the neighbours wondered what I was doing. They surrepticiously came out & pretended to potter about on their front lawns, watching me. It was a little cul-de-sac, & I suppose any stranger would be noticed.

The rain has stopped for the time being. Steam is rising from the ground. Sitting in front of the fan is the only way I can keep sane.

Ben Harper, Gold to Me.
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Friday, January 18


Every now & then, I will use a word, that is not exactly a word. Such as Maltry. Though I Googled it, to see what came up, & I find it is a Surname.

My use of it is to indicate something that is mean & paltry- hence, maltry. Not just paltry, but mean as well. I know many maltry people, & one of my friends had an employer she said was so mean, he wouldnt even use a full laugh! Just a strangled sort of nasal whinny. Maltry, we decided, fit it perfectly.

For a time, in one of my other lives, I worked in shoe shop. My two co workers initially, were old enough to be my mother & grandmother. Not a great deal of laughter went on in the shoe shop. Tending to people's footwear needs is not brain surgery, but you can meet some interesting characters. The downside of that is, you also meet some awfully whiffy feet!!

When I had been there for some time, the business was booming- it was on the crest of the style popular now, with one foot on display & racks of just the right foot, meant people could try on as many as they liked & when they needed the mate to try we could get it, & watch as they made their choice. Occasionally someone would steal some shoes, & often they would send a child back with the two right feet, & attempt to get a refund, or another pair of shoes.

Ineterviews were conducted, & I was invited to give my opinion on who seemed suitable. A nice young girl called Kaye was employed.

Kaye was young, pretty, bright & so hilarious. Many a day I would be crippled with laughter behind the racks of shoes. We made words up all the time, it became a hobby, & we had nicknames for all the passing parade of people who walked past the shop every day, on the way to their employment. Sometimes we laughed till we cried.

Looking back, the 2 older ladies were quite tolerant of Kaye & I with our hysterical laughter.

The older I get the more I appreciate people who are genuinely happy with their place in life. Their level, if you would. I did get a haircut yesterday. For once I was quite happy with the result. (Of course it looked great when I came out of the salon, but today, I can't seem to achieve the same end result.) Nevertheless I am happy with it, not too short, nor left too long. Even Gom commented it looked nice, some of you who read here often will remember the occasion when he muttered "She made a bloody mess of it, didn't she?" He didnt know he had a near death experience that time!. Daughter J thought this a good cut too.

The man who cut it, has his own modest little salon. He has no airs or pretences. He is nice to customers & staff alike. He charges moderate prices & gives care & attention to his art. It makes him happy, he told me. He is not looking to retire yet, though I think he is 'old enough' chronologically. He says he likes his garden & growing vegetables, but it would not be enough to fill his days. He is married, happily. He is originally from Italy. He loves his life here. A truly happy man.

Gom was such a man when he was a Publican. It was what he loved, so he never felt he worked a day in his life. He enjoyed people, was very good at calming alcohol befumed brains, & rarely lost his temper at anyone.

He was attacked with a large walking stick, which broke in half on his watch when he put his arm up, to defend himself. The stick broke, & a piece flew into a young girl's face, cut it badly, & she almost lost an eye. He has had a gun held to his temple, when he was robbed. He was once whacked in the groin with a large shoe when a huge Lesbian had an enormous row with her partner. As it happened one of our Barmaids was a Lesbian, & her partner was furious, as she said Gom was one of the nicest men she had ever met. She leapt upon the offender & shoved her out the door!

He has had his suit coat ripped in half, his cheekbone fractured, after being shoved into a wall. He still loved being a Publican, & he did run a tidy hotel most of the time. Alcohol will always bring about the unexpected, but Gom did not drink while working, & he always said, if you are not drinking you have the advantage of your wits. I have never seen him afraid of anyone.

When we owned our Country Hotel, we had the toilet stolen, -yes the whole pan, ripped out of the floor!- the lights smashed, furniture broken. All sorts of things happened in that country hotel, & the worst offenders were the students at the nearby Agricultural College. Gom even got them whipped into line, & cut down on the the damage & drunkenness, to the local policeman's undying gratitude. We did make a lot of wonderful friends, & had some great hilarious times.

It was never my choice of life, but Gom was so happy, & it was as though he was born to it. He misses it still, & it is a shame he has no hobbies to replace his time spent 'working', which he regarded as his hobby.

Have you ever noticed that we seem to eat with our eyes, as much as our actual appetite?
Those huge square platters with small stool- like piles of little bit of things like spiach, minced, or pumpkin pureed. Then the urine-like trails, of various sauces, or jus, or salsa splattered about. Finished off with 2 crossed hairschives.

Have you notice how starving you feel after eating one of those? How ripped off you feel, when huge wads of money are transferred from your account to pay for the scraps of food you actually recieved.

Have you ever been eating some item, & absentmindedly put it down, then suddenly realising your stomach is telling you, 'But wait, there was more!'?

I find the smaller the actual dinner plate, the more I feel I have eaten. So trying to trick myself into dieting might be worth trying.

On the other hand, I am really put off by overly large servings of things sometimes. I see some photos from Restaurants in the USA boasting of the size of the meals, & I just feel sick to look at it.

Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman.

Thursday, January 17

Running on the Spot.

This is a pic of Leo, with his little pink belly showing through. He made a getaway bid yesterday, chewed through the green ropey thing we tied him up with, & he went outside to sit under the table, beside his beloved Gom.He also sneaked in the door- which Gom had left open- & snuck up to the bedroom, to sit by Gom's feet, as he searched for some papers. Gom 'pretended' he hadn't noticed. haha.

We have training exercises to do with Leo, & I am seen as the Big Bad Bitch Wolf, I think, & he is reluctant to approach me in case I tie him up again. I must ask our DogTech man about that. I think Gom should take a turn at being the Big Boss Wolf too.

I am not sure where we will do our training today- the backyard is very soggy as we have rain! Again. Thank goodness for some relief from yesterday's oppressive heat, but of course it is still humid. I wont grumble though, as it is cooler, though still enervating.

I have just been having a quick read of some of my favourite blogs, & was totally fascinated with this story at Christine's Winnowings blogspot. Please check it out. Who would have ever guessed the humble mushroom hid so many wonderful colour secrets!! Of course credit needs to go to Miriam C. Rice, for unlocking all those secrets! I would be tempted to get the book, but I dont think I need to begin any further hobbies!

Yesterday saw us running our daughter & Sil about, still trying to sort out the car fiasco. I have managed to talk myself into seeing reason, & letting our daughter use our car for work. It was either that, or she lost her job. At least it is she who will be driving, & not Sil, whose skills in that area, I regard as maniacal a tad faster than I like. DJ is now added to our insurance, so at least we & she are covered. It is her passengers I am not so keen on, but she may not need to use our car much anyway.

On my list of People to be Very Wary About, car repairers & wreckers have gone to the top of the list. It did seem very odd that the car, when taken for repairs, barely able to be driven, had a full tank of petrol. It has been in pieces in vairous workshops since, unable to be driven anywhere, so they are told, but Sil found it had barely enough sniff of petrol left to coast it to the closest petrol station! How curious. Evaporation??

Thank goodness for nice neighbours. Mrs Nice Neighbour is very good friend, & a willing ear. Bless you for being there Mrs N N.


Another Waiting Room story.
The GP's we go to for our health worries or check ups, are a very popular husband & wife team. Consequently the waiting is usually rather lengthy, but that is all part of it, & I usually take a book with me. It is nice to think I will not be hustled & bustled with my consultation too, so we make allowances.

I watched in secret amazement as a Doting Dad, with a little girl, obviously Daddie's Darling, read to her, patiently, let her climb all over him, & smiled indulgently. Then she took her shoes off, & offered them to his nose, so he could sniff them!! Offered them right onto his nose in fact! Still he smiled indulgently, & looked at her with complete devotion! What is he thinking! She will grow up to be a monster! She looked to be about 4 or 5.

Another routine visit to the Dotor yesterday revealed another interesting, though rather terrifying story. The man sitting next to me, was covered in bloodied patches of what looked like dressings, all over his legs, & arms. There were also quite a lot of holes, & slices of skin off his legs.
It was a hot hot day outside, & though the airconditioner was roaring away, it still seemed slightly steamy & sleep inducing. I swear I nodded off at one stage, & the man with the patches, was almost falling off his chair, as he, several times, nodded off.
He got up, & went to talk to the receptionist, about something, & then he told her he had been in hospital -again.

When he came back to sit beside me, I jokingly asked him if he had been "Wrestling with the Roses?"
He then told us he had been attacked by dogs! Imagine our collective horror as he told us the story. He has a small Papillion/Jack Russell, a very small dog. Two huge, known-to-be vicious dogs got out of an open window in a vehicle, & attacked the man's little dog. Of course he scooped the dog up, & so the dogs just attacked him. His legs had huge gashes that looked to still be bleeding under the patches. His arms were bandaged, & black all over the parts that were visible.

He told us the dogs owner managed to get the vicious dogs off him 'eventually'. I had to ask if his dog was ok, & he laughed & said "Yes, actually he is fine."
Of course then we all asked if the dangerous dogs are going to be put down. As my name was called, I heard him say he didnt know, as he 'knows the man'. I got the impression he wouldn't be making a complaint about the dogs.

When I said "Poor man" to my Dr, she said, "Did you get his life story?" Her eyes widened in horror too, when I told her about the dogs. She owns a similar dog to our Leo. I dont know that her dog is such a bully though. I am glad we are having Leo's behaviour patterns modified, even if it breaks our hearts not to be able to cuddle him at present.

I wonder what fresh Splatters the Universe will throw at me today.
I am wanting a haircut. That is always good for weeping & gnashing! Getting a haircut, is always a sort of psychic 'hair shirt' for me!

A new edition of my favourite magazine, Australian Country Threads, arrived in my mailbox yesterday, so all is not doom & gloom.

Roy Orbison, Blue Bayou.

Tuesday, January 15

Zipping about.

This new 'learning curve' for Leo & his doting parents is not so much a curve, as a complete perpendicular cliff face!

I don't know how we are all going to survive. It is only day one, & already there have been tears, & tantrums, & that is only the humans!

Last night began the New Life. Leo has become too bossy & dominating by half. He is sure he is the Leader Of The Pack. Gom aiding & abetting him, assured him he was right. The difficult part now will be teaching him he is not the top dog, he is just a lowly mutt on the bottom of the ladder.

Here he is sulking in his new designated corner of the lounge. We are not to look at him. I tried to call him to get him to look up for the camera, but,... well, he was going to teach ME about ignore!He is to be tied, to his corner, until he learns his place. No more choosing on his part.

It is breaking Gom's heart. He just dotes on that dog, & he is going to be the hardest to convince we really really need to do this, or Leo is going to bite someone. Then what would we do. The thought of him being put down is unthinkable.. if you see what I mean!

Sherry, at Q's Corner, has the most delightful photos of birds on her blog, & she asked me if I could show some of ours. I did get a great photo of a Cockatoo which I posted here, but other birds are too quick for me to capture. We have a Grevillea growing in our back garden, & the native Shrikes love this ratty old shrub. They spend a great deal of time getting the nectar from the flowers,
& they have become very bold when we are sitting out under the pergola. They will fly under the pergola, over our heads to access the shrub.

I did my best to get a shot of either of the two that were there this morning, but they seemed to know I wanted them to be still, & they just kept darting away. They are not showy at all, & blend right into the shrubbery. This picture has one bird in the centre, & there is a little green on it's wings. Sorry it is such poor quality.

We do get a lot of beautiful butterflies in our garden, but I can never seem to get a photo of any. They just don't settle, & I dont know enough about them, to know what would be likely to attract them to settle. There is a lovely black & white large variety that visits, & it has bright red spots at the base of it's wings. I would love to get a photo of one.

I have been taxi service for our Daughter J, over the weekend, & yesterday. She has been stranded with no car, & what a tale of woe that is. I have nothing but contempt for the absolute turd swine of a man who caused a lot of the misery, & delay on repairs.

Back to yesterday's experience. We went to the local Supermarket, whose manager needs a good kicking shaking to awaken the slothful shelf stackers, & staff. Memo to me ;Never go there for something I really want, or need!!

There was a large display stand close to the entrance with Christmas stockings, & ornaments, & trees- all the leftovers from the Season of Goodwill. There were some hyenas women grabbing & grasping these items, determined not to let another soul near them. The fact that most of the items were going out at 5c 10c & 20c was an added attraction.

The ugly face of naked greed on their part took our breath away! They had armloads of things. They appeared terrified lest some other person got a share, or even the chance to touch, any of the items. I was on a mission for some item, which of course, they didnt have currently in stock- they never do have anything useful, or any of the advertised 'specials'. And sod the 'raincheck policy'. I want it NOW. Not in a week or so. I don't want to have to make another trip to get the wretched item. GRRRRR.

I had intended returning to see if the Hyenas had left any scraps, but forgot in the anger of the moment. Daughter J had returned, -she said another larger Hyena had bulged her way into the fray, & so the whole stand was swamped with heaving Hyenas.

We decided we definitely didn't want anything that badly & went off to attend to other matters.


After I took DJ home, I noticed a bus from one of the Retirement Villages, pulling away at the lights. I watched as the white haired occupants stared out the windows, resembling so many iced currant buns, with coconut sprinkles. I wondered if one day I will be one of the currant buns, sitting in the bus waiting to taken 'home'.

This area is often referred to as "God's Waiting Room" or, in farming terms, the "Holding Paddock".

It is big on retirees. It is one of my fears, having to live in a "Home for the Aged" I suppose there may come a time when I would be happy to go.

However, right now, sorting out the 'monster' dog we have created is more pressing. I am hopeful we can achieve a good result, but it is not going to be painless- for any of us!

John Denver, Some Days Are Diamonds.

Monday, January 14


Maybe I am getting the hang of these photos after all. I am still trying to work out how to get a satisfactory down load off the camera.
Prior to getting this new computer, I had Arcsoft Impressions, & it worked a treat. Currently I am using the hp programme, which came with the camera, & am not happy at how it works, so I am trying to get the hang of using Picasa.
We are having a visit today, from a Dog Whisperer.
For some time we have had trouble with Leo, having 'little accidents' in the house. Recently, he has become worse, & so the time for action has come. I have spoken to the Whisperer, & what he says makes perfect sense, so I am very hopeful we can have a positive outcome.
It is raining in a soft steady misty way. The actual temperature is much lower than it was yesterday, but I suspect the hideous humidity must be running at about 98%! My hair is dripping & any exertion results in further perspiration floods.
All my life I have suffered from extreme sweating of the hands & feet. I was born during the war, & the quality of the wool available to knit bootees- remember those?- was very poor. My mother said as fast as she knitted them, they shrunk badly, & she had to knit more.
My Beloved Brother has the same problem, but to a much lesser extent. My eldest son, has the same extreme as I do. It also affects our scalps, so we have a hard time keeping dry hair in the the humid summers in Australia.
When my granddaughter was little she once told me she had the same problem as me, with her wet hands. I was surprised as I had not noticed it before. Turned out she had sneaked off & wet her hands to trick me!
When I was at school I had problems with my work, due to sweat damage on the pages. I am left handed too, so the problem was made even worse. I would resort to using a blotter or a handkerchief, as a mop for the wet drips.
Imagine being a teenager & having a boyfriend who might want to hold your hand! The horror of it! Standing at the counter of a shop, trying to remember never to touch the counter, because wet hand prints will remain. Eyes would widen in shocked horror, at the little -or large- pool of sweat left behind.
When I learnt to drive a car, I was about 27, & had some professional lessons. I explained to the driving instructor, my problem. He laughed it off saying not to worry about it. He was rather laughing on the other side of his face, when he saw the pool of sweat left by the back of my legs on his driver's seat. Next time I took a towel with me, so sit on. There was nothing to be done about the saturated steering wheel!! I did dry it off with remaining dry corners of the towel.
When my children were babies, they would invariably be rather damp feeling when I had held them, in the summer time. It made my life an utter misery, at times, & I cursed the fate that gave the genetic fault. I also cursed the fact that my son has inherited the problem. Rest assured during the course of my life, no curse word has been left unused for the condition!
I feel that all this high humidity 'greases' the Speed of Stupidity, which is a wonderful concept I found over at Mike's. He has supplied the formula for working it out. I am not good with figures, but I will take his word for it, & am stunned I had not discovered this factor of life for myself.
I suspect this Speed of Stupidity, is also what strikes young males, whose testosterone levels add to the mix. They kill themselves off very efficiently, in bullet like vehicles. The pity is, they often also, kill off their mates, & girlfriends.
In other news I have some sort of asthma which is troubling me, & my chest at times sounds like squinting bagpipes.
Don't ask me how I know they are 'squinting'- I just do!
Some thing or some one, wakes me at 3am every morning, & once I have been woken up, I cannot for the life of me get back to sleep, so I often get up, & read.
This weather absolutely precludes any sort of hand craft or I could surely knit or stitch, in the wee hours.
The whine & wheeze of the chest alarms even me, at times. Since the dogs usually come out with me, they hear it too, but they seem to have got used to it now.
Eric Clapton, Tears in Heaven.
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Saturday, January 12

Cider Rules

Long ago, in another life, when we were Happy Young Publican Husband, aka, HYPH, & Meggie, we would quite often be invited to attend various functions to launch new products or beverages in our line of Liquor dispensation. Often these were fun filled affairs, with the sampling of many of the products offered in generous oversupply.

One such occasion was for the launching of a new Cider, released on the market in a fresh attempt to attract the monied, & foolishfashionable, young guzzlers of sippers of alcoholic beverages.

Cider had never known much popularity as a drink in New Zealand, & in fact I had never tasted it in my life, & I doubt HYPH had ever tried it either. We had English friends who said they had had it, but didn't drink it now.
Perhaps I know why, now.

This launch party for the New Cider, Strongbow, was to be held at a very new venue, called the Old Orchard, which had recently opened, & was being touted as a lovely function centre.

I did not particularly care about the idea of Cider. I had my favourite alcohol, & safely limited myself to only that particular drink, & left it at that.

Hyph was not fussed about going to this launch, but we had some friends in another Hotel who were going, & I was eager to see this beautiful new "Old Orchard".

Off we went. It was indeed a very nice venue, all tastefully decorated for the launch of Strongbow. There were 2 varieties of cider- I can't even remember the names of them now. Plentiful food in the form of nibbly small things were on offer, & everyone was encouraged to help themselves to large cold glasses of cider.

It seemed to taste very nice, this new Cider drink. The four of us began to find it was in fact increasingly pleasant, as the evening wore on. It was a very warm evening, & the atmosphere was very romantic & convivial somehow. The food was delicious, & the Cider got better with each tasting.

The launch came to close, we all bade each other farewell. Strolling out into the night air the first hint swept over me. I suddenly felt a great deal less than sober! HYPH amitted he felt strange. Our friends were finding they had lost their vehicle. In fact they had lost all sense of direction! Another party had stumbled, fallen down, & couldn't even seem to find which direction was up!
Much laughter was heard all about the carpark.

It is a terrible thought now, but in those days it was almost acceptable to drive after functions such as those. Luckily we all made it home, but it taught me a few valuable lessons. One, was to never ever under any circumstances drink cider of any type again!
I can see why it is called StrongBow! It has the kick of a mule. The resultant hangover was what it must feel like after going 12 rounds of boxing!

Who would think that a drink made from the humble & innocent apple could wreak such havoc on a person's well being the next day! Monumental is how I would decribe the hangover. Not just my own hangover either. Comparing notes it was discovered a lot of us had been cured of the Cider light, forever.
Cider Rules for me, are Dont Ever Touch It!!
It didn't dampen my admiration for the Old Orchard, though, & I did attend another function there, & still enjoyed the atmosphere & ambience of the place again. I do believe it is still running today.
It is another hot day here, & alarmingly 'bright'. In fact it is glaring!
We went out to some excellent garage sales, & I had a great day, with very generous finds.
I took this photo from the car, as I waited for my daughter. Just look at that blue sky.. blindingly beautiful, I would imagine, if you are in the northern grim grip of winter. It is very hot so the colours refect that fact, I rather feel.
I bought a brand new pair of sweet modern, leather shoes for my granddaughter, for $3. The girl they had been purchased for, refused to even try them on! Incredible. My DGD loves them, & my daughter wished they had been her size.
I found a wonderful small electronic 'computer' for our Grandson. He was so happy with it, & loves the fact it has a screen & a keyboard just like a laptop computer. That cost me $4.
Daughter J had been lamenting the fact that she didn't own a gravy boat, & I chanced upon one with a saucer for $1.
Gom found a novelty lamp he fell in love with, & I found a paper shredder, & some great books for both of us, for next to nothing. It was one of our better days.
I love meeting the people too, & saw the work of a woman who engraves glass. Just spectacular. She also paints so she is a very talented lady. Her husband is immensely proud of her art, he told us.

Aren't these trees lovely. That is a Eucalpyt, -Gum tree- to the left with a palm underneath. I don't know what the lime/yellow tree is, but I love them, & they are so fresh looking all summer.
Our daughter currently has no car, due to major breakdown of the damn thing..
I went & visited to deliver the treasures I had found, & stayed while she took the car, & did her shopping. Gom stayed home, & had a leisurely brunch, & kept the dogs company.
Now it is drowsily steamy & we are slumped about, trying to keep cool.
We won't be using Cider as a cool aid!!
The Yardbirds, Heart full of Soul.

Thursday, January 10


I seem to feel as if all the wind has gone out of my sails. Or someone let the air out of my tyres.

Not sure why, but possibly the aftermath of swirling currents of calamitous events occurring with other members of the family.

Rather like the afterwash effect when a speedboat goes roaring up the river. Of course, because we are a close family, the ripples are always felt, from the smallest pebble fall, to the fastest 'speedboat'.

We have also had Small Grandson for the morning. Not that he was any trouble at all. He built a house, & put the family inside, then he made a TV, and cupboards! Now there is a boy who has his priorities right. He also neatly packed it all away when he finished.

SG then went off to investigate what Garden Vandal aka Gom was doing.
Of course he found him doing further mischiefs in the now bald patch of dirt, that once contained, Morning Glory, a wonderful healthy fruitful Passion fruit vine, a pretty Fuchsia, a creeper that was a gift, a rather nice orange flowered succulent, to say nothing of the lovely pink flowering ground cover that once graced the barren earth. There were some bulbs which I doubt have survived the poking of the Vandal's evil pronged fork.

There are plenty of other weed infested patches of garden in the back yard. I cannot for the life of me work out why he is so obsessed with this poor patch.
He could uproot, poison, torture, dispatch all the other weeds he likes, but no, he just keeps returning to this.

Here is the current baldness. Gom has been threatened with death, if he so much as touches the Port Wine Magnolia tree in the corner. Not that that necessarily means he won't. At least he hasn't as yet. His lemon tree is on the right. His assorted garden uglies solar lights, etc are now residing on the baldness. Only one of them works, the lighthouse. The large round concrete lid is a sewage main access. Hmmmn perhaps he might end up down under....

I have moved this photo, so it probably wont enlarge on clicking. I had got my pics round the wrong way again! I will leave the other at the bottom, & it very likely will enlarge. Not that there is much to see. I did like it when the creeper covered the bald ugly sewer hatch, & draped over the stones, which have been rather poorly placed, so are not even a feature.

Here is a little orange orchid that was growing opposite the back door when we first came here. It got relocated when we redid the back yard, & it has sulked for 4 years since. This is the first flower it has had in all that time. Normally there is a flower on this for most of the year.

Here is one of our last Agapanthus, I don't understand why it is so late blooming. Our white ones didn't show at all this year. Must be sulking for some reason, & yet everyone else's seemed to flower ok.
Here is the wider view of this flower. I rather liked the way the succulent rosettes & the fish fern framed it, & the rather bald branches of the Tibouchina, it almost looks like some florist has been busy. Just one of nature's accidental arrangements!

This sodding humid weather stresses out most of us, & I find myself wanting to just remain inactive as much as possible.
Cooking is a hideous thought, & I wish I could just lose my appetite. Sadly that never seems to happen! I am now resembling a large tanker looming on some horizon! haha.
Next time I am in the market for a bra, they are likely to direct me to the tent department. A pup tent perhaps, but nevertheless...

Josef Locke, I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen.

Wednesday, January 9

How does the garden grow?

What a nasty morning I am having.Haha. I have already done one post, & another complete one, with all the pictures in the correct order, & I must have touched something, & in spite of Blogger telling me all was saved, the whole post just vanished into the ether!

Before I get onto the garden again, I have been given this lovely award by Julia from Camille's Place. I will have to think about who to give this to, when I have a calmer mind.

The awards rules are to“Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about blogland!Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!

Thankyou Julia! You make my day too, when I see your beautiful skills.

Now, back to the garden makeover.
As you will see by some of the photos, the garden was largely an overgrown wilderness, when we bought this place. The old trees & shrubs had been badly neglected, & it was all full of weeds with no real retaining walls apart from the front one, which was made of old railway sleepers, & were rotting away.

This is after the thieving, conmen rogues men, a father & his 2 extremely dimwitted sons, claiming to be landscapers, had been despatched.
Gom built the fence at the top, & redid all the retaining walls, after the shoddy collapsing mess left by the 'workers'. To Gom's credit, he toiled away & did a wonderful job of it all.
The Aspidistra in the centre of this photo was eventually moved, & broken up, & used to plant areas on the top level. Now they are largely unseen, but are very healthy.

This pic shows Daughter J & SIL, with Honey. (No they didn't lend a hand!)

This was taken before Gom had finished repairing all the walls. The Incompetents had tried to move the front retaining wall out by about 5 feet at one point. Luckily Gom saw the post concreted into the lawn, & stopped them. After they left, the post & concrete were still where they left them in the lawn!

As it was they moved the front wall forward, due to incompetent laziness & stupidity a 'miscalculation'. This entailed us having to buy about 5 tonnes of soil to fill the gap, & it was a mighty huge task getting that all into place.

This is Gom toiling away removing the old weeds & shrubs.

Here an old Macrocarpa or some sort of pine family, that had been quite pretty until an old 'handyman' completely ruined it, by hacking the lower branches & of course it never recovered. (No, Gom is not the only Garden Vandal!)
Here is a view from the top, with all the various plants & weeds. The woman who owned the house before us, had just planted willy nilly, so there were a lot of unexpected things growing in weird places. Mint & a Sage bush in the front corner, about as far away from the house as you could get!

I had to fight hard to retain the fern trees, & my beloved maple!

The 3 cocos Palms on the front lawn had been planted in strange locations too, & they were beginning to bear fruit which is smelly & dirty. Though they gave the place a certain tropical flavour, they were badly positioned, & when an enterprising young man drove by, & offered to remove them for $100 each, we jumped at the chance. He was very efficient, & took all the detritus away with him too.
Once the walls & clearing was finished we laid paper all over the garden, covered it with wood chips, & began our planting. It all looked lovely, & now it is almost a jungle again!
Bread, Guitar Man.

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