31 March, 2007

before the lights go out

in Sydney for Earth Hour.

Today, we made an effort to do our bit for the environment by replacing the outdoor taps with ones guaranteed never to drip (we shall see). The lawn also got mowed with the mulcher rather than the catcher, adding the nutrients back in, thereby reducing the need for extra lawn fertiliser. We also did a stack of weeding, and for some winter/spring cheer planted primula's and pansies.

Tonight we shall have barbequed sausages from the Eumundi Smokehouse purchased from the Warwick Farm Farmers Market, and watch either or both Kenny, and Little Miss Sunshine, of course with all unnecessary lights off.
Farmers Market Haul

29 March, 2007

our new verandah

Well folks, here it is, our recently finished verandah. This was a February project that took a little longer than planned as we did not plan the hot water service to blow up, or leak profusely, nor did we plan the under bench oven blowing up (literally) either!!So, after a couple of extra thousand dollars spent elsewhere on appliances, may I present to you, our verandah:
Finished Verandah
Another view:

Finished Vernadah
Underneath the awning:
Under the new verandah
And lastly, from LA-Bamboo_Direct on eBay, our 'Lotus Rain Chains' in place of downpipes. His store is well worth a visit, as there is lots of good stuff there!

Verandah & Rain Chains
Sorry about the 'quality' of this last image, as we have had some rain and it is late this evening...

27 March, 2007

Ahh... the sweetest words (this time for me!!!)

This time it is for me...
Graduated with the award of Master of Agriculture (Turf Management)!
Alas, one Masters down and another to go... Best I get back to the study...
Except this time, there is no thanks from Jasmine, no no...
But this time, from Lady, whom I was told from a very reliable source, has been visiting the neighbours by going under the fence...
As if Cooper wasn't enough of a strain!!

26 March, 2007

pink sashiko

O wow! B is too clever, we have three columns and a new colour. It complements my Sashiko.


I bought this Sashiko at a craft show last year and took it a couple of times, when I could remember, with me on work trips to Melbourne. Something like a fix for craft withdrawl. I only had a small section to go, and with a trip to Newcastle this week, that will include an overnight stay in a hotel, I thought it might be a good project to take with me and finish. That is, if I hadn't done a couple of stitches, and then a couple more stitches and finished it last night. Realistically I would probably have been too tired to do any stitching.

I really enjoyed doing this one, it was so easy to do, just follow the printed pattern. I am now itching to get another. I found this great site last night which should be able to help out here. The only thing is what to do with them when they are done. Any suggestions?

25 March, 2007

on the brink

of blogging oblivion. I am struggling to find the time, and energy to keep our blog going. I have a camera full of photos to share which I am commiting here to posting over the next week. Although with this next sentence I admit this is a shaky commitment as this week shall include more late nights for work in addition to a trip to newcastle which is going to be exhausting. Up and back in two days via Sydney airport*, to put in a full day of work reviewing/reworking a document that is one year stale. I had booked a day off this week but it is not to be.

So while time has been a challenge, the weather has not helped with the energy levels. It has been so hot, and HUMID. Yesterday, I put the last of the muraya's and clivia's in the verandah garden beds, and the wisteria's at either end. This ended with a 2 hour nap before racing to vote, followed by a trip to Borders. If we (B) can work out how to put in a third column, I plan to add in a what I am reading at the moment. I did get a copy of the Easter issue of Martha Stewart, sooo many good ideas. There was another magazine I would have liked, Real Simple but Yikes like Martha Stewart it had a price tag of $14.95, instead I had to be satisfied with a sneaky peak in store.
Martha Stewart Living Easter Edition

*My parents are flying to Melbourne for my brothers graduation, and I offered to take them to the airport. The drive from my place to theirs is about 45 minutes, their place to the airport about 30 minutes, from the airport to work about 1 hour 30 minutes, and from work to Newcastle 4 hours. I feel sick just thinking about it.

14 March, 2007

happy chinese new year

Happy Chinese New Year Dragon

I know this is a bit belated but I couldn't resist after taking this photo on a recent visit to Star City. Ya gotta luv a dragon, I certainly do especially having just finished reading Garden of the Purple Dragon, a charming little story for young people. The second in the series by Carole Wilkinson.

Chinese New Year Dragon

13 March, 2007

Meet the neighbours part IV, and the new deputy

Last night, all was going well with L making some homemade pasta, and I was at the lovely new oven preparing the sauce for the nights dinner. I went out to the vege garden to collect some fresh basil, when I heard some voices from the currently (newly sold) vacant house next door.

Over the last couple of weeks we have heard people next door, namely enjoying the pool, but as we knew who it was, thought not too much of it as at least they were not causing too much harm. However, the Street Sheriff (who shall be the subject of a future 'meet the neighbour' entry) had informed us recently that the vacant house had been broken into, and should we see anyone in the yard we should call the police. I should also mention that the Street Sheriff has had the opportunity to say a hello to the new owner when he called by last week, and that our new neighbour is Barry, amongst other details, but inadvertently he forgot to get a contact number for him.

So making pasta and pasta sauce, with voices heard whilst collecting basil, on the instructions of the Street Sheriff, call the police is what L did, at 6.54pm to be exact.

Well, after nearly 40 mins of L keeping watch through our kitchen window whilst putting fresh pasta through the little machine that rolls/cuts it, I was keeping watch out the front window to see if they were to leave and in which direction they were leaving (suspects looked like the same that were in there throwing rocks against garage wall and into the pool on Saturday) to the house across the street from us. L, who by this stage was becoming more and more aghast at the time police were taking in this matter called again. The officer who took the call (as did the first call 40 odd minutes earlier) mentioned to L that the sooner he got off the phone to her, the sooner he could escalate the call to officers out on the road.

About a further 15 mins went by, and by this stage lights were noticed on inside the house! Great, now they have broken in and the police have all but allowed this to happen!!! L, on a further call to the police told (ordered) them to get their act into gear and get here quick as they were inside... Police arrived some 5 mins later under lights and sirens and snuck around the side of the house (as viewed from my vantage point of the bay window at the front of the house). Some 10 mins later, both officers left without a person in cuffs, or anyone being escorted off the property to across the road for a discussion with the parents of across the road. Instead, under further surveillance by us, said accused were now out the front having a smoke and L was off to make a further complaint to the Police Assistance Line, not happy Jan... I got my car keys and went out to the car to go for a drive so as I could see who they actually were, and told L to call the 'Sheriff' to make sure he didn't have Barry's phone number.

I returned some 10 mins later to see the police car had returned, accused being questioned by police, and both L (the newly appointed deputy) and Pete (Sheriff) all out the front. L came, somewhat sheepishly, to me in the car and informed me that the accused was actually the new owner, and it might be a good idea for us to meet...

Welcome to the street Barry!

25 February, 2007

making hay

whilst the sun shines, well kinda. The verandah construction is continuing and we have worked madly in the spare time we have when not at work and it isn't raining. We have made significant progress thanks to family and friends; in particular dad and the favourite brother. We didn't get quite as much done as I had hoped this weekend, as I had to work yesterday and it rained heavily around 2pm today which put an end to today's efforts. Given we are in a drought I can't believe how much it has rained over the last few weeks, since we took the back guttering off.

Next weekend we should have the roof on. If I hadn't worked yesterday, we would have had the roof batons on for sure yesterday. Instead whilst it stormed last night, I was undercoating them in the garage and at 7am this morning back there giving them an enamel topcoat. This was not the smartest of moves, nor was giving the rafters a second topcoat, as neither dried all day, and created a sticky hazard for fixing the batons, and was a painful waxing technique for knees, trialled by the favourite brother who volunteered the job of fixing said batons to the rafters*.

We had aimed to have the verandah completed by the end of February, although the universe has clearly conspired otherwise. Apart from the rain, this month we also replaced the hotwater system, and will replace the oven. So in the sparetime we didn't have for constructing the verandah, we also did a fair bit of appliance shopping.

We won't know ourselves at the end of next week once the new oven gets installed (Friday), and the roof goes on. I might actually have time to do some craft, that is if I didn't have a work trip to Melbourne. So hey, you might not see us for another week!

*this task involved being up on the roof (ie the beam, rafters and batons), kneeling on the tacky paint, and hammering nails into the batons to fix them to the rafters. Hence waxed knees.

18 February, 2007

barnaby restaurant review

Why do you think I am writing a restaurant review? Especially, the 'highly awarded' Barnaby's Restaurant?
Well, you see, we have an Entertainment book, which offers all sorts of discounts from Mc Donald’s to attractions etc. We decided that, whilst we can't use the discount card on Valentines Day, we would hold off to the following weekend, to us, Saturday night.
After putting in a very solid day of work around the house, we were both tired, but still we scrubbed up and off we went on our Valentine date. We called ahead to book a table, and we were asked to sit in the bar as we were a little early, 10 mins to be exact. We had a drink and decided on what we wanted for dinner, Chicken and Vegetable spring roll, with soy and chilli dipping sauce for an entree, and the renowned seafood platter for a main. We were then escorted to the table where we were given menus and ordered straight away, time check, 8.20pm.
After about 45 mins, our entree arrived, and a couple sat down at an adjoining table about 5-10 mins later. It is needed to be said, that the entree was delicious, and gave a very real interpretation as to what the seafood platter will be, bring it on as we are HUNGERY!
Some 30 mins later, the above mentioned table who had not only ordered a seafood platter, but was having it served! Time check here, 9.40pm. I did ask a waiter nearby, about the delay (a recurring them on many tables around us) he went off, and came back a couple of minutes later and said it will be soon...
After a further 10 mins or so I had just about had enough by this stage, so I went up to the Maitre’d, to enquire as to the whereabouts of our meal. Another wait staff member standing nearby, to whom the question WAS NOT directed, came over to say that it will not be long now, and asked me to return to my table (I should have asked, ok smart ass, what am I having since you know where I am sitting???) but I was totally shocked that he simply butted in! I returned to our table and told L what had happened. Another of the 'Senior Wait Staff' came over to try and put us at ease, and offered us complimentary drinks, Great, Bourbon and Coke for me and a Lemon Lime and Bitters for L! It is at this point, I should point out, the table on the opposite side of us with two gentlemen on it had ordered coffees. Simple?? NO! They ended up waiting 40 mins for a bloody cup of coffee!!!!
Anyways, whilst we were being offered the comp drinks, the rude guy came to the table and told L that the chef had said it will be 10 mins more. Ok, we will wait...
And wait we did. 10 mins came and went, and at the 20 min mark I went off to the toilet and before I left, we came to the agreement that if it was not there by the time I returned, then enough is enough... it was not there, so we started to leave. The senior girl tried to stop us, saying that it will be there in 2 seconds, please stay... NUP, I was well and truly over it, it is now nearly 2 bloody hours!!! As we were walking up the door and register to pay for the entree, (do you think we should have had to pay for this???), a pair of waitresses were coming out of the kitchen with OUR dinner, but we were well and truly put off this meal for the delay we had to endure!
We paid our account and left! Never again Barnaby's, NEVER AGAIN!

16 February, 2007

Valet Uncle Joe

Last week, I received an email from my Aunty Pat in the UK, (Seaforth Liverpool to be exact!) with some very sad news. My uncle Joe, whom had been quite ill for some time, had past away.

I had only met Uncle Joe in 2005, but I had always heard about him over the years. On this occasion in July '05, Aunty Pat took me around to his place for an afternoon tea. I was amazed at his house, and whilst I observed oxygen lines all about the house, he was a very independent man indeed. He made the tea with a minimal of fuss, and insisted on it what’s more!
One of his many traits I remember was to go to the local pub for a beer. Even though he was ill, he made time to get down there and have a social moment, no doubt, with the boys.

Whilst it is 10.44pm Friday 16th February, I understand that it is 11.44am Friday 16th February, so the funeral would be happening soon.

For everyone over there in the UK, from everyone over in in Australia, our thoughts are with you all in your time of grief. We only wish that we could be over there for you all.