Tuesday, November 30

What a Day!!

I left early as I had a doctors appointment at Manly West - and I headed there with plenty of time to spare, and was called in early.  All my heart tests showed nothing - got a really good healthy report, so that is good.  My foot is another story - and I've accepted that I will need to see a foot specialist in the new year, but won't worry this year.

Perhaps it is arthritis - or something else. But again nothing showed up on the x-rays.  Then I went to pick up my new sunglasses.  For all the years I have been wearing glasses I've not had glasses with my precription in them until this time.  I now have "Audrey Hepburn" Glasses!!!

Then it was off to visit a friend who is embarking on a political career.  We chatted for a while.  Then I headed off to a friends place for lunch.  After lunch we walked back to the car and I noticed the front end was dangling a bit - the bumper area. Mmm. Nothing I did - and I don't think anyone has done anything to the car while I have been its carer.  I carefully drove to my daughter's place, she was not home, so I headed back to Paddington

I sent a message to my friend - her husband runs the Holden dealership at Caboolture - and asked that he call by and look at the car (it's a Holden Astra), but it is the end of the month and he is busy and was going out to dinner.  She suggested I ask the guy who lives downstairs - he's a mechanic.  Good thought!!  Which I did, and he looked at his mother's car, explained to me how it was done (mother got the blame!), and set out to contact the Holden guy about some bits that are needed to clip the front end back.

I learn this morning that he did not do so - so I am grounded.  Not that I am bothered by this as I had planned a day at home to do my study.  Still......

And the cricket was a draw!!!!!  OMG - I thought after such a good start that the Aussies would win.

My "pet" possum is back living in the gutter, and the lone kookaburra which is continually bullied by the noisy miners is still around.  

I better get back to house work and studying!!!

Monday, November 29

Mt Cootha-Gardens

I had a busy day on Saturday - I went to the Botanical Gardens at Mt Coot-tha (see photos and story here ) to meet a friend from the Society of Women Writers - it had been a while since I'd visited the gardens and I had not been the the cafe/restaurant, which has been rejuvenated recently and looks wonderful.   After our meeting I went for a short walk around the gardens, and took a few photos which you can see here.

Then it was back to Paddington and caught a bus to the city to the Library to collect some books I had put on "hold" and then came back.  Later I went to Wynnum to see a granddaughter perform in a Ballet Concert for the end of the year.  Busy day.

Thursday, November 25

A Day at the Cricket

What a day!  I managed to get two tickets on line - it was strange I couldn't get just one - the website said all tickets sold out - but I found if I booked two, I was OK.  Took MM and off we went.  Free transport to the Gabba - something one of the English fellows on the bus said would not happen in the UK he said.  There was much laughter on the bus from Roma St to the Gabba - and at one stage as we were travelling along between the city and the Gabba the doors swung open dangerously.  There was a Pommy guy and his son standing near the door - and someone yelled out - push the enemy out!  Was quite funny - the doors quickly closed and all were safe!

Picking up the tickets was no problem but when we got to the allotted tickets, we find we are behind one of the big screens with little hope of seeing any cricket action.  We found a vacant couple of seats as did all the others whose seats obliterated a view of the game, but when the folk arrived to claim their seats there was a challenge.  Security came and gave us new tickets, so we had to walk quite a distance to another part of the stadium.

We sat through the opening ceremony, a minutes silence for the victims of the New Zealand Mine Disaster, and the national anthems before moving to our new space.

The new seat was a challenge - within the scaffolding holding up the television cameras.  Clearly not possible to sit there!!!!  So we found another spot.  Security came and gave us more tickets - but we stayed near the television cameras.

But we had a good view - except we had to stand frequently to let guys pass.  They'd head for the bar and return with a tray of beers, and then go back to the bar.  Back and forth all day - more frequently as the day wore on.

Still it was great to be there.

What a fun day!!  The people around us were friendly and there were plenty of laughs.  The outfits people wore were hilarious.  Such imagination.  The Balmy Army, and the Jarmy Army went head to head - blow up balls bunced around most stands and were confiscated by security if they fell into the ground.  There were Pommy flags everywhere, and a few Aussie ones.

The cricket was good too.  It was good to see the Aussies do so well on the first day of the Ashes.  There were some 40,000 people there - and the crowd was well behaved there.  And the rain held off - there was a misty shower for a second or two - but that's all.

I managed to take a photo and send it on to family from my mobile phone.  Wow.  I can do it.

We did leave a little too early - we learned later that we missed the hat trick, and other excitement, but I was happy to get home and watch it on television.

One thing that totally amused me was the long queues at the mens toilets.  One doesn't normally see this - but with all the beer that the blokes were drinking, it was going straight through. The queues snaked right out of the loos and along the walkways. 

Tuesday, November 23

Sandwiches at Parliament House

The Smith Family launched their appeal today at Parliament House Brisbane, with the Premier Anna Bligh, and the girls from Moreton Bay College's Junior Choir sang Christmas Carols for the audience.  

We were there because our granddaughter was in the choir.  A delightful choir that presented their songs very well, and afterwards the girls enjoyed a wonderful cake, and we adults were treated to wonderful sandwiches and a cup of tea or coffee.

Monday, November 22

House Sitting Websites

I am often surprised how big the house sitting "market" is.  I know from previous experience how expensive it is to put animals in kennels to go on holidays, and then rely on friends or family to keep precious plants alive.  I know I have always had a great sense of relief  when I have returned from holidays and the house is still standing and that all my worldly goods are untouched!  

Until a few years ago I had not thought of using house sitters - I had no idea such people existed.  And at the time I am not sure how comfortable I would have been having a stranger come into my house.  However, I have been a house sitter on and off since 2005 I think.  Not exactly sure.  

I have listed on a website, but in truth, most of my house sitting has come from friends or word of mouth.  In fact, far more come my way than I can manage.

Often the dates clash - with some of my travels.  I don't do big animals - I'm happy to walk big dogs, but not always comfortable looking after big dogs.  I don't do horses or cows, though I am happy to keep an eye out for them, but I am not really happy being in close quarters with such an animal.  I don't do snakes either.

There are quite a few websites that list house sitters, and houses (or people really) looking for house sitters - and I recommend www.housecarers.com.au.  There is a small fee for those serious about house sitting to pay to get the details of the houses.  

I have had references from those whose houses I have cared for  but generally I don't need them.

This is the longest one I have done - and I have two months to go before the owners return (all being well.)  It has been so quiet and peaceful that I have been able to get on with my study with few interruptions.  I've found the neighbours here in Paddington extremely friendly.

My study is over for this semester, but will start all over again in a couple of weeks.

I'm going to have a break and go to the first day of the Ashes Cricket series at the Gabba on Thursday.

This bird visited me yesterday - and I noticed one sitting high in the stands watching the cricket last night. 

Sunday, November 21

Lifestyle Markets at South Bank.

Each Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, lifestyle markets appear in the middle of South Bank - a great place for shopping or just wandering.  I was there to get a replacement chain for my Pandora bracelet.  And I like looking though I did not spend a lot of time 'window shopping.'

After the march I walked across Victoria Bridge towards South Bank - there were quite a few other people doing just that too.  I had to laugh because near the bridge was a few deposits of horse poo - clearly a group of the horses had waited here and I'd suggest it was one of the groups in the march.  One father, carrying his 7 week old baby got very angry.  "This is disgusting" he said as he tiptoed round the piles.  The council should fix this immediately."  I had to laugh to myself - it was as if he'd never seen horse poo up close - and I found quite amusing.  It was something I saw quite a lot of once upon a time, before sealed roads and when the milkman, iceman, and others delivered with horse and cart.

Still I ventured onwards to the markets.  I made my purchase, and then found some other stalls of interest.  At one I bought a new necklace and ear ring set ($20) in my favourite colour.

I chatted with some of the other stall holders, including the guy I've spoke to before - Julie Holland's husband.  He mans the stall - but she creates the wonderful photographs.

Julie Holland writes some wonderful words on the cards, and takes the photos while her husband creates very interesting products using her photographs.  The frames and brooches are great gift ideas too.  You can see more of her work at www.redbubble.com/people/Julieholl

Or you could visit her blogsite www.heartsandmindsart.blogspot.com

I bought my pandora things at a stall there - they have really good deals - you can choose 6 beads, and they will give you the bracelet all for about $16.  A wide variety too.

Returned Soldiers March Through The City

As I am now living closer to the city (it is only a short bus ride away) I went into the city on Saturday to see the march through the city to welcome back the Australian military who have been in Afghanistan, East Timor, and Iraq.  2500 soldiers, along with horses, a dog and a sheep, and some heavy military machinery made their way through the city streets.  It was November 20th, 2010.

I attended - in part because I wanted to be there.  Also I wanted to visit South Bank markets later - so was able to do both.

On both sides of Adelaide Street, rows of people many with cameras, many with flags clapped and cheered and encouraged the soldiers.  It was a privilege to be there.  I'm so pleased I was there.

(One thing that really stood out was the typical Aussie humour revealed with the name of the military vehicles.)

Saturday, November 20

Monday, November 15

Funny Day.....

It was one of those day.  I was planning to work on my uni assignments all day - and I did.  But it was a bit weird.  

When I was making my breakfast, the young man who lives in a bungalow on the property came outside wrapped only in a towel, and relieved himself in the garden.  I smiled.  I bet his mother would not be impressed.  Shortly after I noticed a cab in the side street, and I watched as he took an empty Southern Comfort bottle from the taxi and "discreetly" deposited near the gutter.  Then he too relived himself.  Could have hidden but clearly though no one was looking.  

I heard the cab go - don't know if he collected a passenger or not.  

Later the young man who first peed, came out for a second one.  Same spot.  What is this?  Three times within an hour or so, some guys pee in front of me.  Clearly they did not bother to hide.  

The rest of the day was uneventful - I kept writing, rewriting, writing, rewriting, etc.  The young man had a number of guests, and I ignored them - shut the doors so I couldn't see them.  I watched a few things on television, including the Australian telemovie "Sisters of War" which was excellent.  Very emotional.  

I don't know of the party was still going on - it was not noisy, but I noticed an outside light still on - near the car port.  It had been on for hours, so I looked around for a switch.  It was 10 pm and I was going to watch the interview with the two ladies who inspired the movie, but as I touched one switch the house was plunged into darkness.  I'd blown a fuse perhaps.

I sent a text message to the young man - thinking he's know where the switch box was - but clearly he had no idea what to do, so I went to bed in the darkness, with little more than the shining moon to guide me.

When I awoke this morning, I found the electrician's phone number, and at around 8.15 am I phoned him.  He directed me through the house, into a storeroom downstairs and I had to climb up and turn a switch on.  It worked - lights were back on again.  I might add that when I stepped onto a ledge to reach the switch box I stood on a half eaten avocado. The man of the house had spent a couple of days living downstairs.  Didn't remove all his debris, clearly.

Upstairs I noticed the television was not working, so I dug around looking for the power switch for it - hidden in a cupboard with circuit breakers etc on.  I fiddled and soon got the television on.

I did watch the interviews of the two ladies from the movie - on line.  You can see the movie and interviews there too.  I recommend the movie - click on this link to find it.

Saturday, November 13

Will I or won't I?

It is mid November and soon I will have to decide what to do next year.  This house sit will continue until the end of January (though I am always aware that if something happens to my "host" in China she may come back early and I have been listening to her challenges with Bell's Palsy with interest. Luckily she seems to be improving, and I admire her for persisting with the Chinese hospital!)

I am enjoying this house sit - plenty of peace to continue my studies.  My big decision is what do I do in February 2011?  Do I stay here at Paddington if she decides to do another semester at Yuexiu?  Or do I go to China/Yuexiu?  The latter I would prefer, but family commitments weigh heavily on me.
I know I could continue my study in China - that does not present a problem to me, and I think of the $$$'s I can save by being there.  But what about Mum and Dad?  If anything happens to them I would have to return home to Australia.

What do I do?  I don't have to made a decision IMMEDIATELY, but d-day is looming.

Friday, November 12

Sandy Thorne Video

I've been working on an assignment for Uni about poetry and I came across two videos - one is Sandy Thorne, push poet, and performer.  I have heard her in person, and as someone comments on YouTube, it is a surprise that there are not more films on YouTube of her performing.  It is a film which is not easy to see, but turn the volume up and have a laugh.

The other one is a Western Australian guy - who is clearly clever with his words.

Busy with Assignments

I've been busy for days finalising assignments for Uni.  I came across this video.  I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, November 8

More on the Possums

Can you see the fur within the fern?

Here is the little possum hiding in the fern.
I think this must be the little fellow that I surprised in the fern the other day when I watered - and gave him a bit of a shock!  Last night he was curled up in the fern again, and not very happy that I disturbed him for a photo!  Eventually as the sun went down, he became a little active and was soon gone.

Today I found a little possum - I thought originally that it was dead in the gutter.  I kept an eye on it and it soon moved and eventually I could see him. 

It's gone this evening.

Thursday, November 4

Adelaide and the folks

I flew to Adelaide yesterday (November 4th) with Virgin Blue airlines.  I'd booked and checked in online, so only had to drop my bag and wait. All very smooth really - had managed to get into Row 5 too, which is good. 

It was an excellent uneventful flight.  I remember when Virgin Blue first started in Australia they used quite a bit of humour in the cabin - but there is less now, though when welcoming us on board we were told that "smoking is prohibited on the plane and in the toilets where there is a very loud alarm."

Off the plane early and my bag was one of the first off, so into a taxi to Glenelg. Always the taxi driver I get in Adelaide is a student from India, Pakistan, or Iran.  This time it was a most pleasant Indian man, studying "automotive" and he was very nice.  Even loaded by bag into Dad's car boot.

Dad, as usual, was waiting at the good ship Buffalo, at Glenelg. He's not bad - 91 years old and still driving.We went straight home and went almost straight to see Mum.  She does not realise that she is right next door to their old home.

Mum got a shock to see me.  The look on her face showed her shock and then she started to cry.  "Why didn't anyone tell me you were coming" she sobbed.  Pretty hard really as she had been told by us all - I'd even phoned her myself, but her memory is so bad she doesn't recall anything much.

The day before she had attended the Melbourne Cup Party at the home, but had no memory of it at all.  Sad, very sad.

We went to her room and chatted for a while, and I took her up to the dining room (she calls it the restaurant) for tea, and I left her there sitting with her room mate who does not speak.

Dinner was at my sister's place - with her daughter (expecting a baby in January) and her husband. Good family get-to-gether.


Tuesday, November 2

Possum explosion

As I am going to be away for a few days I was giving the plants some extra water, and I emptied a bucket of water onto one of the ferns and it "exploded" which really shocked me.  I soon saw the cause - a dear little possum, which had probably been sound asleep in the middle of the fern, was as a shocked as I was - and was clinging to the outside of the hanging basket.  He soon took a leap of faith into the garden and disappeared.

As dusk came, I heard a noise on the deck, and there he was sneaking around again.  I wonder if he will come back after two frights like that?  Possums are a big problem in this area - damaging gardens and making terrible noises as they party on the roof are two of the issues, but they are protected.

Locals do trap them and take them to Mt Coot-tha and let them go, but it seems as one goes another moves in.

South Bank

I caught the bus from Paddington into the city on Saturday and visited the South Bank Markets.  I didn't intend to spend any money, but found some things I'd like to buy - perhaps in a few weeks time.

From the pool at South Bank looking towards the city.
The grounds of South Bank, despite construction going on almost all around were neat, clean and the gardens looking very sprightly.  There are some new shops/bars/restaurants since my last visit there. I had lunch (fish and chips) which did not impress me.  Perhaps it was the guilt of eating such high calorie food..........

One item that I really enjoyed and I must go back and get some photos - was of one of the stalls in the market, full of fabulous photographs by Ben Messina.  (see photograph above).

The photographs are amazing - I cannot find the words to describe them.  Just standing in the little marquee at South Bank looking at the wondrous images of the Australian landscape is inspiring - makes you want to go and see them in real life.  He is an amazing photographer.

How time flies

I have been here at Paddington for almost two months now.  I have met quite a few neighbours, and sad to say, I've met more friendly neighbours here in two months than I did in 16 years at Wynnum West!  There are not many children around here - mostly older people though at the end of the street I know there are several families.  Still it is quiet.

"My" birds come and go - they were getting a bit aggressive a couple of weeks ago, so I stopped feeding them.  Several came on Sunday and yesterday, even the regal magpie yesterday, and they were better behaved.  If I throw the food in the air they catch it, and do not try to peck it out of my hand!

There are two metal birds in a pond in the back yard - and sometimes the miner birds stand on the metal birds heads to dive into the pond for their daily bath.  Sometimes the metal bird falls into the water and it looks so funny.  Once it looked like there was a dead bird in the pond and the birds were shrieking around it.

The miner birds do not come for a feed - managing to find enough insects and small lizards to live on, and i think they like the nectar in some of the Australian native trees that are around here.

One metal bird stands tall, and the other has fallen.