Thursday, September 30

Not Waving...Drowning.

This was a visit to the Sydney Aquarium, with my son, on the 28th of Sept, which was the Anniversary of Gom & I taking possession of our current house.
It was a hot day, the year we moved in, and it was a hot day, this year also.

We had forgotten it was School Holidays, and when we first arrived to attempt to visit the Aquarium, it was packed with excited children, in snaking long queues!
We decided to beat a hasty retreat, and have some lunch instead.

It had been about 6 years since I had visited the Casino, so we decided to walk in my case, hobble over the Bridge at Darling Harbour, to the 'other side' to see about lunching in the Casino.

Huge mistake! The shabby seedy 'joint' is being renovated. Finding entry was almost impossible. We encountered some Asian Tourists, who were also having difficulty finding how to get into the place.

Eventually we gained entry to a floor, which, it appeared had a Private Gaming Only area- so we ignored that!- as well as a Gaming Room.
We met a huge Mountain of a Man, brown of skin, huge of smile, and politeness itself. Mr Obliging and Extremely Pleasant  Brown Mountain Man, informed us that Son ~ if we wished to proceed into the Gaming Room ~ would need to check his backpack into the downstairs front desk, what desk?, what downstairs?, the only downstairs we had seen was pavement at the foot of arduous stairs!  
Stairs for me, are very difficult to negotiate.

However Mr O & E P Brown Mountain Man, gave us complicated directions on how to reach this area, and thence. how to proceed to the Restaurant area.

We proceeded ~limped, in my case~ to some lifts, where we once again encountered the bewildered Asian Tourists, who agreed with us, they did not really know where they were going either. Eventually, after trekking through what seemed miles through the cold and ugly car park, we found the lifts that would supposedly take us to the Desk Area, then we could apparently be allowed access to the Restaurant Area.

After standing politely in a stuffy small area waiting for one of the 3 lifts to arrive, we were dismayed to find a crowded lift, full of hostile faces, daring us to enter. We stepped back, only to be almost flattened by extremely rude ...shall we say, tourists, shoving us out of the way, and barging into the already full lifts.

It seems some countries are so used to this type of behaviour it was accepted! We stood, astonished, as 3 more slow lifts came and went, with behaviour quite the same as before. There seemed a never ending stream of rude, pushing, sweating ignorance, just waiting to outrush us into the already groaning lifts.

We decided lunch was not worth that, so we headed off back, to take the hideous trip back to Mr O E & P B M M, who decided to 'illegally' let us through the Gaming Room, with Son's Backpack still attached.
After threading our way through the sad, tired & disgusting looking Gaming Room, we reached Mr Blond Mountain Man, who was equally O E & P. He told us he should not let us into the Restaurant area, but seeing we were there already, he would.

After reading the Price list, and deciding we did not really want to purchase the Restaurant, or even Buy Shares in the Silverware, we beat a hasty Retreat. Mr Blond MM was quite understanding, and allowed us to retreat the way we had come- in spite of the illegality of it all.

We once again encountered Mr O E & P B M M, who cheerily bade us a goodbye, and fond wish for us to Enjoy Our Day.

The Casino seemed a very sad, shabby grubby and seedy place. I felt it an ugly blot on the lovely face of Darling Harbour. Just my impression.

After limping ever more slowly and painfully back across the Harbour, we found a place to dine, which did not include prices for Permanant Residence or Lease, or Puchase of Shares in the Business, or indeed the Silverware. It did however have seagull access, and the screams of a small girl, whose meat was stolen by a cheeky seagull, who ripped the food almost from her mouth, bore testament to the fact that it was a somewhat  'risky' place to dine.

I was rather shocked to see ashtrays on the tables, and could scarcely believe they could allow smoking in a place for dining, even though it is, 'outdoors'.

The food was very nice, which, after our fruitless trek to the Casino, was most welcome. We had worked up quite hearty appetites, with all the frustrations and tramping, and hobbling in search of sustenance.

We were glad we had waited to try to gain entry to the Aquarium. The queues were almost nil, and we did get in quite quickly. However the visit was rather disappointing for many reasons, not least being the crowdedness- rudeness again with pushing tourists, obviously used to such rude behaviour.
Many of the viewing windows of the more interesting sealife were far too small for crowds, and it was, overall, not a very pleasant experience.

The shabbiness was disappointing too. One would expect better, for our wonderful Darling Harbour, and the fact is is quite the Tourist 'attraction'.

We both agreed later, that our Local Aquarium Shop is much more pleasant, and a lot of the displays are much superior~ plus it is free, and one can spend as long as one likes studying the wonderful displays.

Overall it was a nice day away from my 'Real Life' which is increasingly sad and I am struggling to maintain some balance.

America, Don't Cross the River

Friday, September 17

Finding the Sparkle

As we are now into Spring, it is that time of year when the cold still bites and the Summer seems to be teasingly evasive, and elusive.
We have flashes of warm balmy days, when Summer seems to be almost upon us, caressing us with sun, and light zephyrs of harmless,  mild air.
We are lulled into false feelings of warmth, and the bite of further cold air comes as a shock, to remind us that the Seasons are fickle, with Spring perhaps the most fickle of all.

The almost irredescant greens,  of the new bursting leaves on the deciduous trees, remind us that Summer will soon arrive.

The Jacarandas are curious, as their leaves turn yellow, and begin to fall, at this time of year, in seeming contradiction to the seasons. They are making way for the glorious display of blossom in the beginning of Summer, which here, in Oz, is in reality, November.

We do seem to be blessed with many purple/blue flowers at the start of Summer.

A rain sprinkled Agapanthus, from another Spring.

No raindrops this time.

Since our Jacaranda almost never rarely flowers, I don't have any pictures of the blossom.

I do, however have pics of our wonderful Orange Clivea.

The best ones grow clustered about the trunk of our Maple tree. They slumber peacefully during the Summer months, resting, and preparing for their magnificent bursts of colour during the early Spring.

We have several clumps of Clivea, but the best ones grow close to the trunk of our Maple, and the fallen leaves of the Maple, which cover them with the shed leaves of the Autumn fall. They keep them snug and warm under the blanket of red and brown leaves.

When we first redesigned our garden bank, I divided some of the Clivea clumps, and transplanted them a little further away from the trunk of the Maple.

They were slow to flower, and seemed to sulk a little, though they did still receive the blanket of comforting leaves, that the Maple provided.

They produce lovely red berries, which are quite beautiful in their own right. They glow, a scarlet red, and I have no idea if they are fertile or not.

At present we have some very happy succulents, which are in a neglected pot. They are flowering prolifically, and are quite lovely upon close inspection.
My favourite is the fern which has regenerated from the log banks of the garden. I know they don't flower, but I have a very soft spot for ferns.

The log wall which encloses the embankment is beginning to looks quite aged. It seems so recent since we redid this garden, but I guess time passes very quickly. It is, in fact, over 7 years since it was done, so it is little wonder that age has appeared.

Our back yard had become heavy with perfume, from the neighbour Jasmine, which is heavlily flowering. We also have  a Port Wine Magnolia, which is flowering and perfuming the air, along with another shrub with a small white flower, which I have forgotten the name of, but the perfume is very sweet.

They do "Sparkle".
However, I fear I have developed an allergy to something, since I seem to be sneezing rather a lot!
Even the dogs, and the cat, are snorting and sniffing!

Leo Sayer, Orchard Road.

Saturday, September 11

Unexpected Endings

We have watched, with some sadness the demolition of a Hotel we once owned.
The demolition is due to the Christchurch Earthquake.

It can be viewed here, if you should wish to see it's demise;

We watched as our former bedrooms, and living space was demolished.
I never really enjoyed living in this old Hotel, but I felt a sadness to see it's destruction, after all this time.
There were a lot of amusing stories connected to this Hotel, and some of them were ours.
There were a lot of sad storied connected to this Hotel, and a few of them were our, though most, were not.

A lot of our former friends and acquaintances from our time there, are now dead.
It seems strange to realise some of them were younger than we are now, when they passed away.

The Hotel had a different name, when we owned it. I am sure the change of name did not change the fundamental personality of the Hotel. It was a Country Hotel, in a village which was close to an Agricultural College.

A lot of wealthy farmers sent their offspring to attend this College for a year or so, hoping they would gain some maturity, before they might assume some responsibility on the Family Farm.
There were also overseas students, often of mature age, who were sent to the College to learn skills to take home to their native countriies.

Many acts of seeming idiocy were enacted by the students of this College. Reason would question the thinking behind much of this destructive and vandalistic behaviour. One would almost question the sanity of these students, whose level of intelligence should have been above such acts of sheer lunacy.

I have always hoped that the students who stole, from our kitchen fridge,  a Roast Leg of Lamb, complete with Oven Pan, and also stole a whole Roll of Dog Meat, ate the Dog Meat, under cover of darkness and lived to suffer the pain, and indigestion such "offal" food would cause!

As to the students who stole a whole toilet,~ ie, cistern plus pan, ~I hope they suffered from lack of 'facilities' in later life, and paid the price of being 'caught short'! I hope it scarred one of the theives as they manoevered it out of the small toilet window. Sadly, we never found any traces of blood on the window, or the garden walls. We always wonderd if some local Cow Cocky found the pan in one of his paddocks, but we never did find out where it ended.

This was one of the most played songs on the Jukebox in that Hotel.
The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, Marianne Faithfull.

Tuesday, September 7

The Lighter Side

There are times of hilarity and much laughter.

Look into my eyes.........
I stole this owl off a site of Interesting Animal pictures. Since I am an Owl freak, it really appealed to me.

One of the stories that has amused me, is a true story, shared by one of the persons involved.
I will retell the story, but I will change the names to 'protect the innocent' as they say.

Once upon a time there was a young Doctor I shall call  Dr Jodhpurs, who met and married young Doctor Spatula.
They eventually had 5 children, who of course, took, their father's name of Jodhpurs. They grew to adulthood in the same district as their parents had a general medical practice. Over the course of the growing years the family acquired two dogs. These dogs were much loved members of the family. Many interesting stories were told about these dogs, and the children of the family, of course.

The eldest dog, Thor was a male, and though he was not 'entire', he was still a male male. A younger female, Ritzy was brought into the family, and though she did not remain 'entire' either, Thor always Lorded it over her, and took it upon himself to be her guardian.

The years passed and the eldest daughter, Ms Jodhpurs was to be married. By this time, all the younger Jodhpurs had left the family nest and flown off to have careers of their own. They regularly came home for visits and always greeted the family dogs with love and affection, and of course, were in turn greeted with love and much excitement by the dogs.

On the eve of the Eldest Ms Jodhpurs' wedding, all the younger Jodhpurs siblings gathered at their parents house. The about-to-be-married Miss J also wished to spend her last single night at her childhood home.

As lots of visitors would be calling it was decided to have the family dogs groomed so they would look their best. Ritzy was bathed and dried first, and as he always did, Thor got very anxious, and overexcited until Ritzy was safely back indoors. Then it was his turn to be bathed.
Upon returning Thor indoors, the Dog Man declared he thought Thor might  not be well. He seemed tired and just wanted to lie down.

Dog Man departed, and Thor continued to lie panting. Youngest Ms Jodhpurs cradled Thor. Dr Jodhpurs Junior listened to his heart with his stethoscope. Dr Jodhpurs Senior listened to his heart with his stethoscope.
It was decided to call the Vet.
However, as they were dialling the number Youngest Ms J announced that it was too late, as Thor had passed away in her arms.

It seemed terribly sad, on the eve of the happy day for the Eldest Ms J. The younger J's decided that perhaps he had times his passing with the gathering of the entire family, as they were rarely all together in the family home.

A little time passed, and one day Dr Jodhpurs Senior was visiting a patient at her house. He met Dog Man, who had arrived to groom the elderly patient's little dog.

Dog Man had not been told of Thor's passing, so he was unaware that Thor had died. When Dr J told his wife Dr Spatula of the meeting, she enquired if he had told Dog Man of Thor's passing.

Dr Jodhpurs replied "No, I didn't tell him, but I wrote 'Dog Killer' on his van as I left!"

He didn't write any such thing, of course, but the thought that he told the story made us laugh uproariously.

As a Footnote, Thor has a nice grave, with Spring bulbs on top. Miss Ritzy was expected to  mourn his passing, but as a lot of 'widows' seem to discover, she has decided it is lovely having the bed all to herself, and all of the house as well!!

Here is another stolen picture, of Stella, the little Lioness. Look at those eyelashes!! Who knew Lions had such long ones?

This lovely rainbow over our "Mountain" ~which is a small hill to most New Zealnders, but a mountain to the Oz~was taken by Mrs NN.
Our hearts are with her and Mr NN today.

Has anyone got a solution to ridding Polar Fleece of pet hair?
It is such a problem with us, our son tells us we are in danger of becoming known in the Village as the Yak Family, because I cannot seem to get the pet hairs out of our warm fleecy jackets and tops.

It is something I am squirmingly concsious of, and often wonder if people secretly call us the Hair Couple ~or Yaks, not that our son mentioned Yaks! We appear to bristle constantly, and, I suspect, are questionable for wearing hair shirts!
Our dogs are not supposed to shed, but of course all dogs shed a certain amount, and clipping leaves plenty of loose hair about.
Getting a cat was not a great idea for the hair problem, either!
I would welcome any tips!!

This is a pic that Mrs NN took and shared with me, of gorgeous blossom on a tree we both admire. My heart sings at the wonder of spring every year.

The heart wrenching news from Christchurch, which is where we once lived, and which is Gom's native City, has saddened us.  I grew to love Christchurch when I lived there. It has a unique beauty, so different from where I was born and grew up. An earthquake is frightening at any time, and though we felt a few in our time living there, none were as large as this one.
We managed to contact friends and rellies and are happy to know all is well with them, in spite of some damages to homes.

We are a very irreverant family, and have no religion. Most of my friends know this, and it is not an issue.

Son B is a tonic to my sad heart, and he has brought new phrases to my life, for when times get tough.
Some examples~ "The Hand of Gom"- for items that have mysteriously changed or vanished.
"Gone to Gom" -for plants that are no longer.
"Gom works in mysterious ways." -for the general everyday oddities.
"The Wrath of Gom" -for the occasional irrational outbursts of rage.

We returned home from an outing yesterday, to find the lawn had been mowed- Gom strikes back!
It was nice to know he felt well enough, I guess, and we carefully kept a no comment.

Of course, no post from me would be complete really, without a GOW rant!

I abhor the current usage of the word "Carnage" in relation to earthquakes, floods, car accidents, fires,  and on and on, where no person or carnal being actually lost their life, or suffered any injury.
Do they not teach young people - namely 'Reporters' -these days the meaning of the word 'carnal' and therefore, 'carnage'???
I feel a 'Gorilla moment' coming on, the instant I see that word misused! GGRRRRR!!!.

End of Rant.
Along with all the other music I love, I do love Ragtime! This featured in the movie The Sting.

Scott Joplin, The Entertainer.

Wednesday, September 1

Can you hear the sound of fingernails on the blackboard?

I suppose, if you cannot hear that sound, or don't care to, you could be too young to remember blackboards, or just don't wish to go there.

That particular fingernail sound is what my lilfe is like, a great deal of the time recently.

Combined with the Neighbour Dog which never stopped barking for 6 days, it was positively insanity making!
Son B has had a word to the Neighbour tennant, who was the only person home, and since she is a student, and is currently studying, he got the impression she was more than happy to pass along the message. It seems to have had a positive effect, since Neighbour Dog has since been very much quieter. We are not sure how this has been achieved, but the relief is beyond belief.

Here is Morty, in a heart of early morning sunlight, reflected around him, on his little perch in the Grevillea.

The 'perch' in the shrub, was put on a post, to feed the Lorikeets, when we had an old wooden pergola.

Morty just thinks it was put there for his pleasure. He makes me laugh, because he sits and watches the little Nectar sipping birds, but he can't possibly catch any, because the Grevillea twigs are far too slender, and he would just crash to the garden below.

I love the sunlight on his whiskers.

Here is my lovely lunch guest I took our for a leisurely lunch and Nanna/Granddaughter time. We both enjoyed it, and it cheered me to spend the time chatting and laughing as we enjoyed our long lunch.

Her Grandfather was not well enough to come too, so she called in to visit him after we had returned, and he seemed pleased to see the girl of his heart.

I made a token gesture to the coming of Spring. Son B & I had reminisced about when our children were young, how much they had enjoyed me taking them on visits and tours of local Nurseries in Chrishchurch.
Since we lived in an inner city Hotel, we had no garden, so we would buy pot plants and had a wonderful display along our sunny Balcony. They would choose plants for themselves, and would look after them quite well. It sparked an interest in plants which has never left them, and so, B and I,  spent a lovely day, out and about at our local Nurseries. Gom was never keen on plants, or visits to the Nurseries,  (as you all know), so he was content to remain at home, basking in the sun.

This was the result of my plantings and I was pleased with the splash of colour.

However, Morty got among the pots, and leapt onto one, which tipped it over and broke the terracotta pot, and scattered the polyanthus and the little bulbs all over the path. You can imagine the grumbles that brought from me! Is there some Cosmic Conspiracy that has decreed I shall not have a garden??
Between Gom and Morty, I am beginning to believe it must be so.

This pic is post Morty, after I replanted the Poly, and bulbs in a plastic ugly old pot, which is all I had left.
The photos are not very clear, and the Pansies are much prettier than they appear, and seem to be settling in well... as long as no further mishaps upset things!
I also bought a Chilli plant, hoping it will live for B to use in his salads.

I had a lovely surprise visit from SG too, to give me this gift. It is a Teatowel and is covered in self portraits of all the children in his school, from Kindy to year 3.

I was thrilled with it, and think it is a lovely momento of his school days. Top Marks to the clever person who thought of this idea, it is just wonderful.

Of course SG is in this pic. We have had a little giggle at some of the self images, they are so amusing!

A real highlight of last week, was a visit from New Zealand Friends. BFJ and her husband, called up to see us for the day. Their visit was better than all the tonic in the world, and we were just sad that they could not stay with us this time around.
It is very true that there is nothing quite like old friends and we had a lot of laughs in the short time we had together.
Everything falls into a better perspective, when it is shared with friends. Even Gom had a lovely day, and seemed to be very much brighter for spending time with our loved friends.

Sadly, I forgot to take pictures. Over the years we have often missed the photo opportunities with these great friends- too excited I guess. Too busy trying to fill in the gaps.

For old times sake
Connie Francis, Everybody's Somebody's Fool.