Sunday, 20 December 2009

Christmas lights

I find it hard to believe that it is a whole week since I last posted, I don't know where the time has gone.

If you click on this photo it should enlarge. We had the Carols in the Gardens last night, with a crowd of over 2,000. The evening was a huge success with the weather doing all the right things for us, not too hot and a lovely gentle breeze blowing. The Friends sold safe-flame candles, a great invention - they have a built-in battery and a coloured flame light. One of the performers asked the children to hold their candles up high, then swoop to one side, then the other, wriggle, twist etc. The kids loved it and the sight was beautiful with all these coloured streaks of light in the dark. My daughter in law Nikki took this photo - Maggie Grey would approve all the swoopy bits! I came home absolutely exhausted and stiff and sore, but thrilled with a job well done. The Friends conducted a raffle as well as selling candles and glo-bracelets and we sold out of absolutely everything - makaing a good profit for the night.

Jock has this large soft toy 'Rabbit' which he tosses and pulls and bites at its ears and generally has a wonderful game with. He races through the house carrying the toy - and outside if he gets out without being spotted!

I washed all his bedding today and threw Rabbit in the washing machine as well. Jock was totally disgusted when the toy came out clean and sanitised - no interesting smells so he was not interested in playing with it!! No coubt that will change when we return from holidays. He goes off to the dog kennels for his holiday tomorrow morning early.
We leave tomorrow afternoon, hopefull by 3 pm, but I haven't started gathering much together yet - we have been inundated with visitors, but I love seeing them. We have two cases of mangoes to take south with us, also some bags of lychees. This has been a fantastic season for both fruits, but both crops have ripened very early. Our Walkerston family has a superb mango tree, a very old fashioned variety, but there is hardly any fruit left on it to take south - the fruit bats and the possums have had a field day.
Time to go and collect a few things before bed. Christmas wishes to all my readers, I hope all your wishes are granted. I will be able to read blogs while we are away, but doubt I will be able to post. Cheers

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Look what I have!

Here is a photo of my Christmas present - a new second-hand Bernina 1630 sewing machine. I had my 1130 in being serviced and was idly looking at new machines - with no intention of buying one, when the dealer told me he had a 1630 which had been traded in and was as good as new - had only been used for one project. I couldn't believe it, the client was trading it on a new machine because it was 11 years old!!! My 1130 is much much older than that and has had a lot of very hard work, but it still sews beautifully and I wouldn't trade it for anything. My machine was the first in this range and the 1630 was the last but the tray table will swap over, and my 1130 feet will fit the 1630. There are masses more stitches on the 1630, so a very steep learning curve will need to occur after Christmas before I use it very much. Meanwhile I occasionally pick up the manual and try to make sense from it - I am not turning the machine on till we return from Buderim...........then it will be play time.

Here are another couple of photos from the Royal Tasmania Botanic Gardens, both from the Japanese garden, which was truly beautiful.

Jock has a new name - garbage guts! We spent quite some time at the Vet's this morning as Jock has been throwing up his food forthe last few days - except that it has not been happening during the day - more like midnight in our bedroom! He has mild gastro, caused by eating all sorts of things he is not supposed to, including licking all over a cake of soap he pinched, digging out my plants to chew, sucking old mango seeds after the flying foxes have dropped them - and generally acting like a naughty teenager! Thank goodness he will really be okay, he had some blood in one of the thrown up offerings and as we go away in just over a week, he will be in kennels, so we needed to make sure. He is definitely by far the most inquisitive of the five dogs we have owned since we have been married.
My list is getting shorter, but so is the time till we leave. We are going half a day earlier now, staying at Rockhampton (three and a half hours drive south of here), then we will only have a seven hour drive the next day - much easier to cope with.
Cheers for tonight.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Mt. Lyell copper mine

Oops, this photo should be much further down, I managed to delete it while I was writing the blog and the only way I could get it back was in the wrong place - of course!!

I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took at Mt. Lyell copper mine in the southwest of Tasmania. The mine was started in the 1860s, when mining methods were very definitely not eco-friendly. The resulting landscape resembled a moonscape by the 1960s. I know the mining caused terrible damage, but I feel a little sorry for the poor maligned miners who lived an appallingly hard, isolated life and had no idea they were causing so much harm in those days.

We had a fascinating 4 hour guided tour of the area, I think it was the highlight of Bill's trip as he and the guide discussed the geology and mine workings.

The original company which owned the mine sold out in the mid 1960s. The mining methods have since been altered (with modern technology) to a much safer method and the present owners are reclaiming much of the blasted areas. The original company left a very large amount of money for reclamation with the Government, much of which is apparently still waiting to be spent.
The photo at the top of the blog is of an experimental tailings dam which is working very successfully - so successfully in fact that there were two different sorts of frogs croaking when we visited as well as a family of ducks on the water!
These flowers were all growing and flowering around the edge of the dam as well as some lovely mosses. I don't know the name of the sedge above, but the flowers were such a lovely bright colour.

This unobtrusive but pretty flower is Patersonia, and the photo below is of a sun orchid. They were just starting to pop up all round the place.

This lovely bright one is called Blandfordia. it looks like Christmas bells to me and was making a great show.
The wildflowers all round the west coast were really pretty, we were obviously there at the right time.
I am nearly catching up with all the things on my list - the cakes are made and one is iced, the Christmas cards have all been sent, I have finished my present shopping - but I still have to wrap! I have even defrosted and cleaned freezers etc - I hate that job and find excuse after excuse till crunch time hits.
Tomorrow I take a couple of housebound library patrons to a Christmas party put on every year by the Library staff. This is so much fun - there are usually about 80 patrons there, many from local nursing homes, and in various stages of incapacitation. There is always a luscious morning tea, then the Library staff and local councillors come along and sing Christmas Carols with everyone. As many library staff from all the other branches try to come along as well, the other libraries must have the barest skeleton staff for the morning.
I need to pay some bills before bedtime. Cheers.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

More Tassie photos

I haven't quite fallen off the edge of the earth though sometimes you must all wonder if I am continuing to blog! I came home from Tasmania with a rotten sinus infection which took a lot longer to cure than I wished, then I have had a sick computer as well. Our office is chaotic at present - Bill has 7 computers all hooked up while he is trying to set up two new ones which arrived on Friday!!! He is transferring files from one to another and looking for manuals with registration numbers in to put up programmes - and telling me that of course I have lost them, he has looked in all the bookshelves and they are NOT there! Funnily enough they always turn up later in the same bookshelves. I will just be glad when everything is sorted, but then the steep learning curve will start again as I need to learn Windows 7 as well as the latest version of Quicken. Every new version of Quicken always has something in it that I hate, but I just have to get used to the system.

Anyway, while the internet is working, I thought I would load a few more photos from our trip. I had to take the photo above to send to my sister. Years ago she came to England with Bill and me and we drove around for several weeks. When we were in Yorkshire we kept getting stuck behind tractors in narrow lanes - over and over and over. When we came home (this was before digital cameras) we couldn't believe that we had not taken one photo of a tractor on the roadway in front of us!
This was taken at Woodbank, one of the beautiful gardens we were taken to see during the conference. It should enlarge if you click on it. I was fascinated by the numbers of dead trees standing in the forests. Our guide said that Tasmania has no termites so sometimes the dead trees will remain standing for up to sixty or seventy years. In Queensland they would be eaten out and have fallen over in only a couple of years.

These two photos were taken in the Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens - the roses were just glorious and the colour in the irises was stunning.
Here is our adolescent boy who has definitely reached the naughty stage! He is still gorgeous, but is into everything and has discovered he can jump onto beds and chairs - till I see him, then he is off in a flash. He loves pinching small toys belonging to our grand daughter which she leaves on a bed here - I have to make absolutely sure everything is zipped up tightly inside bags, if there is even a little crack he manages to get into them again.

He is so curious about everything that happens and is into every cupboard I open, just to look and see what is there. He also loves the car, heading straight in if the door is opened. Jack used to get car sick so he hated going anywhere in the car, quite a nuisance when we needed to take him to the kennels or the vet etc.
I had better stop while the going is good and see if this will post. Cheers.