Friday, April 29

Ants, and more ants.

With the constant wet weather the ants have moved indoors.  I've never seen so many.  It is more than the geckos can manage and I think some of them have disappeared - perhaps died of overeating.

This morning I found great trails of them in the kitchen, so out with the Pea Beau.  I 'hit them with the old Pea Beau" and there are tiny bodies everywhere.  I'll vacuum them up later.  Hopefully there won't be a lot more headed this way any time soon.

I do marvel at them though.  They other day one of the magpies did a poo on the deck.  A great splat!!!  I was not sure whether to hose it off or wait for the rain, and chose to do the latter, but I need not have worred.  Soon there was an army of tiny ants and they each took a handful (or a mouthful - ugh!) and disappeared.  Within an hour or so there was no sign of the magpies bowel activity!  Amazing. 

I know they have their place in the ecology - but I wish they'd stay outside and I wish they didn't have such powerful nippers.  So many times one has found its way onto my skin, and bitten with great power.  Mind you, it doesn't leave much mark and the pain is only momentary, but still.  It's awful when they get inside one's clothes and keep biting.

Anyway today I have devastated their colonies, and will have to go around and sweeip up the tiny bodies.

Monday, April 25


It has been a very quiet week.  I did spend Wednesday at a series of meetings - took the photos at an event for the Wynnum Chamber of Commerce, then a meeting about funding for projects, then had coffee with a friend at Wynnum West, then visited my daughter (had a small glass of champagne), and then attended another meeting.  I managed to do some shopping at Coles,before heading back to Paddington.  Phew.  Somewhere in the middle of all that I visited Spotlight - it was funny as I had my dark glasses on, not my usual lenses, and I found it difficult to find what I wanted, but the purple wool was a standout, and I took all that was on the shelf, some needles (I've never seen the new style knitting needles for use when you have many many stitches in a row).

In any case, at the end of the day I was knackered.  Didn't get home until very late, and barely had enough energy to put the groceries away, and stagger off to bed!

I was a bit tedious on Thursday - so just worked around here.  I'd left the wool and needles in MM's car, so I didn't get that until Friday.

On Friday MM came for lunch - made some prawn pancakes - Yum.  And then I started on my knitting project.

On Saturday, I did some work around the house, (and more knitting) and in the afternoon headed off to the city.  I had to get some photos developed at Officeworks, and then wandered into the Myer and Centre and bought some Sesame Balls from the Chinese bakery there.  It is called Breadtop.  Now I don't know that Breadtop would be like to be referred to as the Chinese bakery, but the products on the shelves are identical to those that I was familiar with in China.  I was not a great fan of the food in the bakeries in China, but some products I just love.  Sesame Balls are just one of them!  (I see on their website that the items have English and Chinese names - so I am not far wrong in describing them as a Chinese Bakery.)

On Sunday (yesterday) I baked some chocolate cakes.  I was not sure what to give the grandchildren - I know they would have a plentiful supply of Easter eggs, so I gave them a small  collection and made the chocolate cakes, that had a small egg on the top.

The cakes were pretty yummy.  I did well!

We had a lovely lunch - picky salad, as we call it.  Bread, ham, lettuce, tomato, cheese etc on the table and everyone makes their own sandwich/salad.  Then we had chocolate cakes, followed by Easter Bunny chocolate rabbit. 

I headed back to Paddington in the middle of the afternoon, and on the way remembered the new area at Kangaroo Point.  A TAFE college used to sit high on the cliffs looking across the river to the city, but some short years ago the college was demolished and now it is a park, with a wonderful cafe on top of the cliffs.  Some brave people practice rock climbing down the steep cliffs, and as I pulled up and wandered to the edge I could see that some were doing it as I stood there.

I took a few photos and resolved to return. It was pretty busy - lots of people around picnicking and walking. 

Back to the Paddo house, and I chatted with a friend on Skype, before sitting down to watch TV and work on the knitting.  I will have to get some more wool - when the shops reopen after this very long long weekend.

Tuesday, April 19

Night Photography

What a blessing that I am living not too far from the city!  The family gave me a coupon to have a Night Photography Lesson with Penny Koukoulas and it was booked for last night.  I was aghast that the rain chose to fall all day, and in fact all night and I wondered how it would go.  I did ponder if my phone woudl go off with a message 'Class postponed' - but it didn't happen.

With all my equipment (camera/camera bag, tripod, coat, umbrella etc) I set off to catch the bus giving me plenty of time to reach the class.  Alas, the rain had caused some trauma with the bus timetable - and I had a long wait for a bus, and in the end arrived at the class 'on time'. 

There were 6 of us in total with Penny, and we met on the bridge between the Art Gallery/Museum and QPAC, and took our first photos there.  Luckily it is under cover so the continual rain did not both us.
Looking to the city from the bridge between QPAC and the Museum
We practiced with various settings, before moving on to our second spot which was not far away - in fact on the opposite side of the bridge, now looking over the traffic at the interection of Grey Street.   With the traffic movement (especially the big council buses we were able to experiment with different shots.)

We walked around the Art Gallery - all under cover, thankfully as the rain continued, and took shots at various places experimenting with different settings. 

We ended up looking back over the city, from another area, where we experimented with filming sparklers.  Rather fun really, and then with mobile phones.

Sparklers with the city in the background.
 Two hours went very quickly!!  Most enjoyable and I did learn a lot.  Need more classes though.  And I did learn that the tripod that came 'free' with my new lens, is not good enough.  It has the occasional wobble, so I will be looking to upgrade soon.

Monday, April 18

Near the city

I really do enjoy moving around and living in other spaces, and learning that in Australia we have such a diverse culture.  I am fascinated by the large numbers of people around the Paddington (Brisbane) area that eat out constantly it seems.  There are folk who are clearly fashion conscious and those who seem to defy all fashion rules.  Paddington is the place to buy second hand good - several second hand clothing shops as well as a wide variety of antiques. Most of the homes around the area are older timber Queenslander style - though many would be very modern inside.

Along Latrobe Terrace and Given Terrace there are many shops and restaurants and cafes and it seems the locals head out early.  Weekends are busy breakfast times, but lunch and dinner seems to also pull in the crowds.  A new place opened a week or so ago and I venture in yesterday.  I can't recall the name but it is part home decor/clothing and cafe with tables around a deck with great views over the south of the city and suburbs.  I will have to go back there one day and enjoy the coffee, food and view, but yesterday I was on a mission.  A long walk along Latrobe Terrace to the bus to travel into the city to return some overdue books at the library.

I also took a few photos in the city - as it was not the hustle and bustle of city life during working days, and a slower pace being a Sunday, I was able to get a few interesting shots of the buildings.

Looking towards the Town Hall clock from George St

Looking up in George St

In George St, Brisbane City.

Friday, April 15

Birds inside the house!!!

I am reading, "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck, which I am totally engrossed in.  This morning I chose to read another chapter before doing the things listed on my 'to do list' and I'm reading quietly in the loungeroom and became aware of lorikeet chatter very close.  I stood up and crept quietly into the kitchen, and there sitting on the tap was one of the very push birds that really likes to push my buttons to get fed.  He's a bossy bird - and I seldom feed him.  (Home owner suggested that I do not!)

I had time to go and get my Samsung camera, and take the photo, before I tried to shoo him out the open window.  But he did a few laps, banged into a few windows before finding is way out the open kitchen window.  He sat stunned on the sill for a few seconds before he took off, and he and his partner flew off.

The butcher birds have been back, but I've decided NOT to feed them daily.  They too are getting too pushy, and being surrounded by more than a dozen birds that seem to be losing their natural fear of humans, is getting a little uncomfortable.

Wednesday, April 13

Music - Chinese classical guitarist

Each morning, one of the first things I do is turn on the radio - to Classic ABC - 106.1.  I spend my morning (and often the day) listening to the amazing classical music that I enjoy.  It is also my habit to listen at night for an hour before I fall asleep.  (It is on automatic on that machine, so it turns off after the period of time I have selected).

This morning I have discovered a new wonderful performer.  A Chinese guitarist - Xuefei Yang.  You can listen to one of her concersts here, and I will also put the link to the ABC program when it is available.

The piece played this morning was extra ordinary.  I must get a copy of it.  I'm not normally a guitar fan, but her music is just so amazing.  You can read her story here - Xuefei Yang

Tuesday, April 12

Interesting Flower

I was doing a bit of clearning up in the garden yesterday and found two flowers - they have short stems (about 7 inches in the old measurement).  Picked the two of the flowers and brought them inside and put them in a vase with one lone gerbera.  But the flowers do not last long indoors - or perhaps there is some ritual that needs to be performed.  After less than two days they are quite droopy and sad looking.

Thursday, April 7

Birds, birds

Some of the birds!

What has happened?  There are more and more birds.  Never have I had as many as ten butcher birds and three magpies (two are young ones) waiting for me at the back door. When I opened the door two flew inside the house and one crashed several times on the windows before finding his/her way out. 

This morning there was a lineup of lorikeets - I seldom feed them, mainly because they poo everywhere.  Clearly they do not have strong muscles around their anuses!!!

Still, I'd fed the butcher birds this morning - on the left over mince.  Maybe it is the mince that appeals to them!!!  Still how did the magpies know? 

In any case I know they stalk me - they site on the rails outside the window.  Sometimes they will sing to me, perhaps to entice me out with a handfull of mince, and sometimes they sing as I feed them.

I do love them but I think I'll stop for a day or so - they seem to be getting too demanding.

Tuesday, April 5

Morning at GOMA

I remember a long time ago, when I visited an Art Gallery, it was a quiet place, where few people visited, and silently gazed at the various art works.  The Gallery of Modern Art is nothing like that - and it is a treat to go with the grand children as I did today.

They had already been there for 30 minutes or so, playing with the white lego, and when we caught up, they were keen to explore more of the amazing exhibits there.  It was crowded (school groups were there, plus it was school holidays for some) - so it was rather a noisy busy place.

Plastic bags

Shanghai Supermarket Exhibit

Shanghai Supermarket Exhibit

You'd recognise some products - familiar packages and names along with the Chinese names.

More supermarket

Recognise some of these products?

Silver balls

Inside another exhibit