29 December, 2005

activity advent in review

it was just too frantic to report on the activities as they happened, so instead here they are (even though some marked '*' didn't actually happen), and the double ups will be explained here, although a quick reminder B is the odd numbers and I am the even numbers:-
  1. lets go shopping at Castle Hill
  2. DVD Night choosing from list on L's PDA
  3. Breakfast in bed and Christmas Cards
  4. Breakfast at Summer Hill
  5. Give L a massage tonight
  6. Have a picnic in the Backyard (this was great fun but I think the neighbours and their friends thought we were mad, it looked like they had the bible reading crowd over)
  7. Give each other their favourite flower (I really liked this one, I was suprised with a hand delivered bunch of Oriental Lillies mid morning, as B was passing through on his way to a meeting, he really lucked out on this one though I couldn't find a heliconia anywhere. B ended up with a printout from the computer)
  8. Take Macc for a walk to see Christmas lights and special garden *
  9. Milkshakes at Cronulla *
  10. Fish markets for breakfast, lunch or tea *
  11. Spoil L
  12. Do Christmas cards and tree
  13. Put up the Christmas tree
  14. Go out for Gelato
  15. Walk Macc down and around the Park*
  16. we seem to have lost the envelope for this one
  17. Gelato in Parramatta *
  18. again, we seem to have lost the envelope for this one
  19. Paint our nails (toes) *
  20. Go our for Gelato *
  21. This ones a secret, this is a PG site, and besides it didn't happen *
  22. Paint each others toenails *
  23. Christmas lights * we had already down this a couple of days before with the favourite brother, nephew and mum
  24. Christmas lights * same excuse as 23

In review we didn't seem to get round to quite a few of the activities, however it was a lot of fun doing the ones we did, and opening the envelope each morning. Definitely something to do next Christmas.

04 December, 2005

I'm loving these activities

Day 3 called for breakfast in bed, except the pantry was bare, so we had a cup of tea in bed and got breakfast on the go instead.

Day 4 called for breakfast in Summer Hill. I had French Toast Brioche with raspberries, mascapone and maple syrup (yum), and B went for the usual big brekkie fry-up minus the mushrooms which he gave to me. I don't mind saying myself that this was an especially good advent calendar activity as it gave me the chance to check out Reclaim.

Apart from our advent activities we achieved a fair bit this weekend - the side of the house got painted in murobond banksia and the back doors undercoated.

03 December, 2005

I passed

1 subject to go!

02 December, 2005

lunch with A

today I had lunch with A, she had a free day and chose to share a couple of hours with me. It was great, people should have their friends visit them in their lunch break more often. We went to a new noodle place where you choose the type of noodles you want (in my case Hokkien), style (thai), and protein (combination seafood, chicken and beef). We sat and talked, and talked and watched the pedestrians pass by, then had a quick look at the new shops in Westfield.

This evening B and I will be undertaking Day 2 of the activity advent calendar - a DVD night watching a movie from my list of movies to see.

PS. the movies for our dvd night were Mona Lisa Smile, and The Notebook

01 December, 2005

borrowed ideas

those who know me, know that I am a bit of a bah humbug when it comes to Christmas. Having a birthday exactly two weeks before Christmas day, I have a few simple rules; we don't do anything Christmassy, put up the Christmas tree or send out the Christmas cards before my Birthday, and I will not be grateful for a combined Birthday/Christmas present unless you make it really, really good.

This year however, I have softened, we have adopted the idea of an activity advent calendar. I first saw this in Notebook (my new fave magazine), and was prompted into action after reading Loobylu's list which B had also read, and was extremely keen to do. So with a slight twist, I was allocated the even dates (Dec 2, 4, 6, etc) and B the odd dates (Dec 1, 3, 5, etc) to assign a specific activity, that remains a secret until the envelope for that day is opened.

So unlike those from whom we have borrowed the idea, I cannot list the activities upfront, instead I will reveal them as they happen. I can see that this may cause us some problems, particularly if we get an invitation to do something, as I have already forgotten many of the activities for my days. So we shall see how we go....

Today, being the first day of the activites, I can reveal that a trip to Castle Towers Shopping Centre was undertaken with the highlight of the evening being coffee and cake at Gatoni's, and what a cake... Raspberry Delight, we are off to a good start and I am won with this activity advent calendar. I think this could be something we do all year around.

Rasberry Delight

Rasberry Delight 2

27 November, 2005

a great day for ducks

and tea cake.

The Easiest Lemon Tea Cake

Chef: Alison Alexander
Degree of difficulty: Low
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

You need:125g. unsalted butter, at room temperature2 eggsfinely grated zest of 1 lemon3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon caster sugar1 1/2 cups self-raising flour1/2 cup milkTopping:juice of 1 lemon2 tablespoons caster sugar

Method:1. Pre-heat oven to 180deg.C. Line a 20-22cm cake tin with Glad Bake.2. Place all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with electric beaters for 4 minutes, scraping the sides to make sure all ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for about 35 minutes or until cake is cooked when tested with a wooden skewer.3. Remove cake from the oven and rest in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Brush the cake evenly with the topping. Serve warm.Topping: Combine lemon juice and sugar in a small bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved.

It has rained heavily all day today and been really cold, but not to be put off, B and I spent the day travelling the Hills District in search of specific plants for the garden;
- roses for the front yard, in particular Kentucky Derby (B's favourite) and Scentimental.
- 3 Curry plants, and
- Scented Gernaniums (apple, lime, ginger, and lemon)

We also managed a visit to Bali Garden, no success there unfortunately, I was after a Mimpi (carved sandstone lady with frangipani's on her head), and lunch at Windsor for the best fish and chips (about the only good thing going for Windsor these days). Now back home it is still too wet to plant out anything so instead we shall eat teacake and watch 'What Not to Wear' snuggled under the doona.

16 November, 2005

a duck, mobile phone and long hair

This post is brought to you because it is over a week since our last post...

I have hopefully saved a wood duck from certain death. Travelling home along the M4 at breakneck speed this afternoon I spotted a duck in the centre of the M4 (I have noticed a theme here, the previous entry also being about an incident on same road), by centre I mean next to the concrete barriers that separate east going traffic from west. The duck was just sitting there, he didn't look hurt, he was alive. However, being on the M4 he wouldn't survive long, and also being on the M4 next to the fast lane, it was not safe or possible to stop/turn back and rescue him. Instead I rang the helpful RTA helpline and after being put through to their emergencies number and explaining the situation, the 'man in charge' well at least the man on the phone promised to send out a crew to rescue the 'little fella" (his words). I was much relieved and thankful that he took me seriously, I half expected a response like 'well, what would you like me to do about it' or 'this is the emergency number, it should be for real emergencies, and you shouldn't be ringing me on your mobile whilst driving, you can't disguise that mobile by your long hair'.

06 November, 2005

What the?!?!?!?

Picture this....
Travelling along Sydneys M4 (Freeway from Sydney to the Greater West, thats not actually free as there is a toll on it, but thats another story!) at approx 100klm/hr.
I looked over my right shoulder (in order to see that the lane was clear to change into it...) and in the Hyundai Excel two lanes over was a guy with Rosary Beads in his hand! Not just holding them, but actually saying three (maybe more) hail mary's! What for?? Your driving along a bloody freeway you idiot!
If you get caught using your mobile, you get fined. If you drive whilst under the influence of alchol, you get fined or if really bad, imprisioned. But, driving along a freeway at over 100 klm, is just plain stupid in my books...
Not that I have anything against using a set of Rosary beads (in the right place... like a church or at home, or if you are the PASSENGER), but NOT when driving!
Take note, if I see something as stupid as this you will be BLOGGED!!!!

a certain kind of torture

it is back to reality. Tassie seems an eternity away. We are back home and I have been imprisoned in the study preparing for my exam tomorrow. There is a strong element of hopelessness in this endeavour - I am sure that the results are not going to be all that positive. So start praying, ramp those prayers up from 2pm - 5pm. I need all the help I can get.

31 October, 2005

Breakfast with the sparrows

This morning we were up with the sparrows and shared breakfast with them at Salamanca. It was too nice a morning to have breakfast in the hotel, so B and I strolled over to the Salamanca area to peruse the many cafes open for breakfast. We quickly settled on one place at a table outdoors. It was a perfect morning, made even more perfect by the entertainment provided by the little sparrows who were brave enough to pick at the leftovers of the breakfast of the gentleman sitting at the next table.

Speaking of perfect, after seeing B to his conference I met up with Steph whose husband is attending the same conference, and we did the Cadbury Cruise Tour. A chocoholics fantasy come true. As we chugged up the Derwent River in the purple and gold Cadbury Cruise ship, I felt like I was having my own Willy Wonka experience. Once at the factory we were read the rules, basically not to touch anything, keep to the left and keep with group, oh and enjoy as many of the samples provided us – YES. Our tour guide was Catherine, she was great – so many interesting facts. And the factory shop – I came away with over 5kgs of chocolate: Snack, Turkish Delight, Marble, Mint Triple Deck, and Old Gold, not including the small box of Favourites given to us at the end of the tour.

After the tour of the Cadbury factory it was back down the River to where we had departed and a quick dash back to the hotel to dump off the loot, and then back down the conference centre where I met up with B for the trip to Mt Wellington. What a day of experiences, it was amazingly fresh and clear skied on Mt Wellington and we were able to appreciate Tasmania from another perspective.

We capped the day off with Dinner at Sisco’s where we had the most fantastic Paella, so good it will be tempting to have it again tomorrow night, although we have promised ourselves a Seafood Platter.

30 October, 2005

As far as my legs would carry me

I have just got back to the hotel room to refresh before meeting B for lunch. With a few minutes up my sleeve I thought I would share my morning.

This blog was going to be titled ‘raining one day, sunny the next’, as today is in such stark contrast to yesterday. It is so fresh and beautiful that after a quick breakfast (the continental again in the hotel, and yes I did try toasting the croissant, and it cooked perfectly, I set the dial correctly this time and made sure it was REALLY FLATTENED), I saw B to his conference and then set out in the direction of the Salamanca precinct. Nothing opened before 10am if at all, being a Sunday I guess. But not wanting to waste any time (at sometime I have to get some study done) I did some window shopping and then decided on the 5 minute walk to Battery Point. I took longer than 5 minutes – so many lovely gardens to stop and look at and get photos of.

battery point stairs

view from the top of the stairs

garden I

garden II

garden III
Point was cute but again shops, mainly antiques, didn’t open till midday if at all. So I headed back to Salamanca, visited a few of the art galleries, made a purchase of some sweet little embossed porcelain stars (thinking ahead to this years Christmas tree) handmade by a local. I also discovered a handmade chocolate shop which smelled heavenly, and made a mental note to come back later in the week. Although I am thinking a sample for this afternoons study session might be a good idea…….

Tonight we have cocktails at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

29 October, 2005

Come sail away with me honey

What will be, will be…….

I can’t get that tune out of my head since the cruise to Peppermint Bay today. It was absolutely fantastic. I am so relaxed and had a really enjoyable time.

After being woken by the sound of rain (so noticeable coming from Sydney) and realizing I was totally unprepared for such a situation (I had a morning planned to visit Salamanca Markets). I didn’t think it would be such a great day.

The markets were fun, I was there at 8.30am, the only person without an umbrella, raincoat or something to protect me from the rain, but with so many distractions from the products on display, I quickly forgot about being drenched and equally didn’t notice that by mid morning the rain had stopped. I had all but dried off by midday when I was due to for the cruise to Peppermint Bay – I didn’t really have time to change clothes I only just made it back to the hotel to drop off my purchases and race back to Brooke St Pier in time to be one of the last passengers aboard.

Before I sing the praises of the cruise though…some pictures of the markets and some of the stalls I made a purchase at.


Pansy, Fern & April

Iris Stall

Cheese Stall
The cruise to Peppermint Bay was well worth it, the ship was state of the art, I had a window seat and had wonderful views of the amazing coastline.

An eagle (?) was spotted at one point and so was fed a fish, and I think it was another eagles or falcons (?) nest was pointed out to us, its nest is the size of a double bed.

bird taking off with fish

birds nest
We also looked at some other birds although I can’t remember what birds they were, they flew fast. Underwater cameras were used to show us the kelp forest and marine life, this would be an amazing place to go diving, I imagine.

salmon farm enclosures
The underwater cameras were also used to show us inside a salmon farm, and whilst we were watching salmon jumping out of the water from the deck of the boat, an enormous seal graced us with its presence. It was really special. The staff of the boat did a great job of spotting these creatures and commentating.

Peppermint Bay
Peppermint Bay itself was really pretty, and lunch in the café was very good. I went for a walk to the gallery and bought myself a pair of knitting needles made from Tasmanian Oak, it was the hot pink spotty ends and the urge to get creative that got me.

I loved the cruise so much I would do it again tomorrow, this time with B of course.

flaming croissants

I was not expecting to make a burnt offerings confession this week…we are in Tasmania and so have a week of eating out. Having said that I have had dinner in the hotel room tonight (frozen meal which required microwaving – that’s cooking of sorts) whilst B attends a dinner associated with the conference he is in Tas to attend.

My confession is not dinner tonight but breakfast this morning. Opting for the Continental Breakfast (stewed fruits, yoghurt, cereal, breads and croissants) served in the restaurant of the hotel where we are staying, as a walk to the nearest café’s seemed out of the question, due to the fact that it was raining quite a bit and B had the conference to get to. It was going to be a big day (more on that later, I want to get this off my chest). A croissant with jam would get me off to a good start, but I’m sure you’d agree, a croissant needs to be warm. Now the only way this would be possible would be if the croissant could go through the hotels toaster (you know the kind, you put the toast on the toaster conveyor belt and it falls out the other end toasted). I examined the opening, it would be very tight, the croissant could get stuck. So I decided on stewed pears and yoghurt whilst I considered my options for a croissant. B got me a coffee and I asked him for his advice:

B: you could flatten it before putting it in
Me: yeah I had also thought that might work

A survey of the restaurant, only a couple of other diners, I’m going for it.

Now I don’t know why but I grabbed a croissant, squashed it, and also grabbed a slice of fruit loaf, and before placing them on the conveyor belt for toasting I checked the dial indicating the level of toasting was for light. Great, we were in business, so I offered my selections for toasting. All appeared to be going well, the croissant had clearance, however a heap of smoke started at the midpoint, too far for me to reach in, I looked over to B for help but he was reading the paper, I had to act:

Step 1: start waving your arms around, this helps to dissipate the smoke, not
Step 2: turn the dial to lighter, this should work if you don’t turn it too far like I did to darkest
At this point when flames are now about 10cm’s height from the back of the toaster
Step 3: look to your husband for help, realise he’s got no idea of the drama unfolding, wave your arms even though you know from step 1 this is of no use, and decide as the toast and croissant appear, that if you are discovered now by the staff, you will take an indignant position that it was the fault of the toaster. Hide the croissant under the fruit loaf which looks more burnt than the croissant. Why, I ask, because I don’t think the croissant should have been in the toaster, and it must have been the butter in the croissant that caused the flames.
Step 4: go back to your seat and observe from afar patrons entering the restaurant and all those that comment that ‘someone has burnt the toast’.

I ate the croissant but couldn’t eat the toast, it looked like a piece of coal, and I confessed in a way to the waiter guy something like “sorry, I couldn’t eat the toast, it got a bit burnt” which made me feel a bit better, he blamed it on the toaster. I then wondered whether it really was my fault, so thought I’d ask if you could toast the croissants to which he replied “so you really would like to burn the place down” laughing as he walked away.

22 October, 2005

It's only a house

Well let me tell you about the story of a strange little house. Remember, that this happened to be a conversation on a Friday night…

Ring Ring... Ring Ring...
Me (B): Hello!
Michelle (M): Hi B, I was wondering what you are doing tomorrow, as we want your opinion of a house we are looking at?
B: Ummm... nothing much, but the other 'B' has asked me to look through a house too...
M: Oh, he has gotten to you first has he? Well we really like it, and would like to get your opinion...
Yeah that’s fine... where and what time and do you want to meet, here or at the house?
M: Well it’s at ... (address inserted here) ... It has 4 bedrooms, study, L shaped lounge/dining, a rear deck, and kitchen overlooking a deck on the side of the house...
B: Oh umm… does it happen to have an entrance from the side of the house rather than from a 'Front Door'?
M: Yeah..
B: And is this entrance from under a single carport by chance??
M: (Now very suspicious of my questioning...) Yeah why??
B: Can I call you back in a little bit, and upon the ok of this I hung up and called my friend 'A'

B: Hi A, what are you up to?
A: Nothing much, I am at work you know...
B: Yeah I know, but I’ve got a quick question to ask?? What is your old home address in ... (insert suburb here...)?
A: (address inserted here)... why??
B: Oh umm... I will tell you later... Ok?? Of which she said yeah and I hung up...

B: Hi Michelle... How much is this house, and I will tell you who the seller is!!!
M: Oh, ok... it’s $$$$ Why? You know who owns it don’t you???
B: Of course I do... It happens to be 'A's' MUMS!
M: “Oh S*#T” she says... And an ongoing conversation ensues...

About an hour later when 'A' finished work, and had looked it up on the net to confirm the family home she had grown up in was for sale even though she had been told it would not be ready for sale until the end of NOVEMBER!!!

A sounded quite upset about the sale, a feeling I am only too aware of, as I felt the same when after dad died mum sold up. Not for any reason other than it was a bit too big for her to maintain...

After arriving at the house, we parked out the front and waited for M, but after about 5-10 mins, decided to just go on in and get a look at it...
Not bad really for the money, but it was looking a little 'tired' nothing a lick of paint and either replacing the carpets or polishing the floor boards wouldn’t hurt. Whilst we were looking through the house, a familiar looking face was walking up the driveway with a grin from ear to ear, having parked her car out the front, and noticing/recognising the new Prius parked opposite. At the same time, L was smiling at her colleague walking up the driveway. After about 15-20 mins of looking at the house, 'kicking the tyres' sort of thing if you were looking at a car, we all agreed that the house had a value at the lower end of the bracket it was being offered at. One good thing came out of all of this, A has not been lucky enough to see her nephew, and there sitting on the shelving was a photo of him. And what’s more, we were tricky enough to be able to distract the agent, so I got a snap of him with my camera phone (Nokia 3660) and sent her an email, or was it an SMS? Either way, A was grateful of finally getting to see him.

We stayed there for almost the entire open house (45 mins) and after several phone calls to M, they had made a wrong turn and were lost. We waited for the agent to leave, upon which M arrived with family in tow.

So, all in all, forget about 6 degrees of separation… I as a much younger boy, had the odd party or two in this house, looked through it for friends who want to buy the house, and we had friends who were looking through the house as well. AND, whats more, the aunty of the colleague of L, looks as though I went to school with in primary school… All too freaky for me!

the last one to leave the nest

well she actually left the 'nest' a long time ago, in fact she was the first to leave the nest, being the most independent of us 4 siblings. Anyway, congratulations to the Next-Sister-Down who has announced her engagement to partner Paddy - and no he isn't Irish.

21 October, 2005

3 weeks old or thereabouts

thanx to S, R and M for joining us this evening, we hoped you enjoyed B's Sticky Chicky for dinner. And a big thanx for the additional guests you sprung on us.......

Met unnamed, unnamed, smudge and willow.

19 October, 2005


man driving white ford, registration AFG 57G, with a 'baby on board' sign, east bound on the M4 this afternoon. Does your wife/partner know you drive like an absolute lunatic? Travelling at least 20kms over the speedlimit is dangerous and it really ticks me off that you were almost in my boot before rudely overtaking. Maybe you should stick the 'baby on board' sign on the dash to remind yourself to drive more carefully. Why should the rest of us have any care and consideration for you, you arrogant, self-centred road hog, if you don't drive more responsibly.

Also, you probably did not notice, but I was travelling at the speedlimit (ok just over it in some places) and you didn't get that far ahead. Hardly worth putting yourself (and I'm only thinking of the 'baby') and the rest of us at risk.

17 October, 2005

molly dye dinner success

success, success, success. No burnt offering this evening. We had the most delicious dinner care of my erratic culinary skills, and an almost foolproof* recipe care of the Molly Dye section in The Sunday Telegraph from a couple of weeks back, submitted by Lesleigh McLeod, of Camp Hill.

Thank you Lesleigh, for your recipe for Honey Lamb, it was delicious, and since you were kind enough to share it with NSW, I'm sure you won't mind me sharing it on our website. It will also guarantee that I won't lose it, like all the other recipes torn out from the newspaper.

*foolproof if you read past the ingredients and through the instructions and note that the recipe requires 1.5 hours cooking time covered and an additional 20 minutes uncovered. Something I didn't do and resulted in us sitting down to dinner not before 9.30pm.

16 October, 2005

the day the greyhounds have their picnic

although a bit overcast and cold, we wouldn't miss the GAP annual picnic for anything.

Macc and co....
Macc just loves being with other greyhounds, having an Aussie Pooch Mobile bath, and taking second prize in the raffle, which will see him sporting a flash new collar with his name embroidered on it.

Dog Wash AGM 2005
B and I on the other hand just love catching up with other greyhound owners. One of the people there had a great t-shirt from an American online store Fast Jack Sportswear. You just gotta love those designs.

Best Buns Comp 2005
The sausage sizzle wasn't bad either. Our contribution of the Sare Lee chocolate slab cake was a bit of a disaster though - it helps to read the instructions - remove paper and plastic whilst cake is still frozen - as we didn't do this, the chocolate cake lost its icing.

13 October, 2005

update... although be warned!!

Just to bring you all up to whats been happening here in the world of burntofferings....

L has been for a barage of tests. These tests have been for everyknown form of Hepatitis; HIV and Hormone levels just to name a few. The results show she has no Hep, she is HIV negative and all in all, she has a problem with her insulin levels!!! Why I hear you ask? Wait and we will see if you can guess after I tell you of the test I went for!

My test, what a joke! I had to pay $90 bucks just to have a bit of pleasure! Thats right, $90 bucks to have a wank and supply some sperm for analysis. Do you get the picture yet? And whats more, I got $50 something bucks back!

Yes we have started down the path of IVF. I wont bore you with ALL of the details over the coming months, but it will involve daily blood tests, could involve daily ultrasounds to determine amount of eggs being released, and best of all (not according to L), the daily injections with an epipen!

So hopefully soon, we will have some sort of news for you... Stay tuned!

Flyby Melbourne

I have just returned from a flying visit to Melbourne for a workshop. Not very well thought out on my part, although my excuse is the last minute nature of the bookings. I went down the day before the workshop although arrived too late to do any shopping, and the workshop took up all of Tuesday, finishing as the shops shut, and I was booked to fly home that day. I should have stayed over, but I was there on business. Although, I did manage a look through the windows of Douglas and Hope, a quick look through Alice Euphemia, and discovered Hello Georgous where I purchased a really cheap pair of slip-ons. The highlight of the visit though was being able to catch up with the (not so) little brother, who was in Melbourne for Uni. We had dinner together at my favourite little Cafe Andiamo in Degraves St. It was really great to catch up and the Penne Marinara and sticky toffee pudding was heaven after almost a week of rice.

09 October, 2005

from the sick bed

I only managed one day at work last week. After a fairly productive long weekend around the house and garden, which saw two trips to the tip, and a trip to the riding school to pick up horse poo for the garden, tuesday night saw me come down with some sort of 'bug'. It has not been pretty around here at all, and even though I have done nothing but sleep and make trips to the bathroom, I am completely exhausted. I am going to have to get some energy fast though, as tomorrow I fly to Melbourne for a workshop on Tuesday, returning to Sydney that night. Oh woe is me!

But enough of the self pity - if I hadn't been sick I might not have had a visit from A, or got to see 'Three Dollars', which A kindly brought with her. Great movie even if the ending was a bit sudden. Also, I got to have lots of snuggles with our latest houseguest 'Winston' the Littlest Sister's Tonkinese kitty kat. He is very affectionate and although we were a little bit anxious as to how he would go with his four legged cousins and vice versa, we had no problems. Although Jasmine was a little outsparkled by the fancy collar little Winn sported (made by the littlest sister).


Winston's collar

01 October, 2005

DA has now been lodged...

As you (may) have noticed, the website is down...

This is not a permanent thing, and it will be back!!!

So stay tuned!

25 September, 2005

oh shyt... (you know what I mean...)

This morning, everything was going great. As I had thought it was supposed to rain today, I figured I would go out and water the garden a little in order to get the most out of the rain, a deeper watering.
'L' came out to assist, as she had wanted to move a small area of earth from the garden to create a little spot to park the bins in (all 3 of 'em), she noticed that there is actually a really bad odour coming from where the sewer vent is...
sewer vent
So on closer inspection, she actually noticed that it was not just a sewer vent with a small overflow of bad air, but it was like the river Mersey back in Liverpool trying to come through the little opening!
See what I mean...
So, after a couple of calls to some plumbers, the worst one was a plumber at $160 call out fee + $80/1/2 hr... We said 'thanx, we'll let you know' and needless to say, he is still waiting to know...
But, we found 'John' who came out for the lovely price of just $140.... 'WHAT A BARGAIN'!!!!!
Here he is...
john the plumber
So, after about 20-30 mins of digging and shoving an electric eel down the sewer, we were given the 'All's Clear Dear' and permission was granted to flush the dunny and all was well.... Or was it??
On a closer inspection of the pipes, he noted that the thermostat in the hot water system looks as though it is constantly on =(big electricity bill); it looks as though over the many years that this house is (around 80) that there may be a problem with one or two of the connections that needs some sort of attention, and that all up, he liked our house (leadlight windows in particular), and I thought we were paying him to fix the blockage, not to give us his 2 cents worth, (but it was FREE advice).
So, after all that, there has still been no rain, but we are no longer blocked up. I only hope that the next time I am the slightest bit constipated, a mere casting back of the mind to the electric eel should fix things....

no burn dessert

no burn dessert

We had friends over for dinner last night, P and M with little L, and A. I made dessert which we have had quite a bit in recent times - last weekend when K and R came to dinner (made by B) and for Father's day. It is a really simple dessert which requires no cooking, and tastes great. It is just Chocolate Ripple biscuits sandwiched with cream, and left to sit in the fridge to set, and embellished with sliced strawberries. So easy.

24 September, 2005

it's a jungle

A couple of weeks ago, the back corner of our yard looked like this..


and has now progressed to this...

de-foresting the back corner
jungle removal in progress II

Although my favourite bit of our garden at the moment is this....

louisiana iris garden

Although it is a work in progress the brick edging gives an indication of what the rest of the garden will look like. The plan with this little bit of the garden is to plant the Louisiana Iris's purchased yesterday at Sydney in Bloom from the Iris Haven stall.

In this photo, horse poo is in place and the little sandstone bird, also purchased from Sydney in Bloom, which will sit amongst the flowering Iris.

louisiana iris garden II

The brick edging came from a pile of bricks which was amongst the jungle in the back corner and is no doubt from the back wall of the garage, which I guess was removed for ease of access when the previous owners were doing the rear extension. Watch this space as we look for ways to reuse these bricks in our home makeover. There is more than enough bricks for the garden edging, and for some reason the bricky who we have asked to do some steps and a retaining wall avoided committing to there use in this work. We are open to all suggestions?


23 September, 2005


I am having a couple of days at home to catch up on study - my break from uni has been cut short due to an impending supplementary exam. However, I am not off to a good start - yesterday attending Sydney in Bloom with mum, and now concentrating on catching the blog up with our lives. Some time later the garden will also need a weed.

I have been quite consumed with tweaking this and that in and around our house, mainly the garden, although some painting and curtain making has been carried out. For your viewing here are some of the before, in progress, and after photos. Special mention is made of the help - the constantly appearing 'help' in the fluffy fur coat, and the trusty green trousered help.

Painting - before



Curtain Making

in the way and cute

pattern matching

curtains finished

In the Garden

potting production

wash dog

22 September, 2005

b's favourite flower


I went to Sydney in Bloom with mum today, and bought these waratahs for B, whose back is making him a bit miserable at the moment. I think we might consider growing some waratahs in our backyard.

I am also considering making a mosaic like this one for the backyard. This was part of one of the garden exhibits at Sydney in Bloom. As we have been clearing out the jungle in the backyard we have been finding heaps of sandstone which would lend itself very nicely to similar creations.

butterfly mosaic

19 September, 2005

winners are grinners

generally the mail does not bring us much joy these days, its usually bills, bills and more bills, especially now that we are on a self imposed ban from ebay. So you can imagine our surprise with the receipt of a letter congratulating us on winning the Gardening Australia Festival Grand Prize. This generous gift was bestowed on us for taking out a Gardening Australia Magazine subscription. Our prize???? A 323L Husqvarna Trimmer and edger attachment.

When we have tamed the backyard with of course these new pieces of equipment we will be creating the following vege patch and arbor, both exhibits at the Gardening Australia Festival.

vege patch


Peter Cundell you're my hero! We'll be back again next year to renew our subscription, and could you make the prize either a blower or mulcher this time, I think we're on a lucky roll now.

13 September, 2005



The circus is in town, well at the local park, which is 2 minutes walk from our place. B and I took Macc for a walk to check it out, but there wasn't really anything to see, just the big tent and lots of caravans, no elephants, ponies or anything, oh well, it was a nice evening for a walk.

11 September, 2005


this blog presentation is brought to you with a 's' theme happening...

Officially the day commenced with swearing as at 12.01am and mid-view, we discovered we had hired a rather scratched copy of Spanglish.

With six/seven hours sleep we woke to light shower of rain and so took the opportunity to plant out the plants purchased yesterday at the Indian Bazaar, which saw us get totally soaked. Breakfast (raisin toast & a cup of tea). Phonecall to A, and an invite to join us on a Sunday drive, (she might as well have stayed the night) and the 'S' theme was offically born....

First stop was a trip to the buddha belly. I had in my mind a way to hang some of the smaller framed pictures down our hallway, without having to put up a heap of picture hooks. I could get one of those timber rods with the carved ends from Bali used to hang quilts, this would require just two hooks to hold the rod, and I could hang the pictures from that, it would be something like a picture rail. With three in stock, a purchase was made of a 3 metre rail that, on the walk back to the car was dubbed the spear.

Next stop was Newport for fish and chips. Unfortunately the seafood shop we had travelled to visit was no longer. Instead it was fish and chips at a seafood takeaway chain. Not quite to the standard of the old fashioned one that has been levelled to the ground.

Sink or Swim....
To get to the nursery at Glenorie we took the scenic route which required a trip on the car ferry.

Ferry View

Nice House

Shortly after we got off the car ferry, and still following the 4wd towing a trailler that had also been on the trip across Berowra Waters, we came to a stop. A snake was making its way across the road - we think it was Diamond Python.