Monday, 25 January 2016


This is mango season - yum!

Our son has a very old, very large tree of beautiful Bowen mangoes in his garden.  It is absolutely loaded with luscious fruit, but unfortunately it is about 40 feet tall, so nobody can reach the fruit near the top of the tree - the bats and possums and even the lorikeets are getting their fill!
Queenslanders have always known this variety as Bowen mangoes, they were developed in that township about 100 km north of Mackay  sometime in the late 1800s.  Now the official name for marketing is Kensington Pride/  There are lots of other varieties in the shops, but nothing to match the flavour of Bowens!

A few days ago I went to our local library with Dougal and the two grandchildren for a 'mini Maker Spacers' workshop, a school holiday activity.  There were about twenty children there, all really getting very involved. There were three separate activities, each designed to stimulate creativity and problem solving.  Apologies for the slightly out of focus photos - taken on my phone which I am not very good at focusing.

 Here the boys were reading the instruction cards with Dougal to work out what floated and what sank, not always as simple as it looked!
This was the activity they really wanted to be there for - making code for a robot to move along.  They had to draw thick black lines, with patches of red, blue and green added in at intervals to make the robot do an about turn or swivel or go back according to the colour instruction.  The young girl beside Hamish had her robot moving up and down her pattern really well.  We will go back next holidays for another go, perhaps  moving on to some more complicated coding.  The Friends of the Library purchased this equipment late last year, and the librarian has to learn how to program and operate the robots before she can show the children!  There are more advanced sessions for the teenagers.
These are excellent free activities provided in the library every school holidays and are always booked out very quickly.

I had ideas of achieving all sorts of tidying and cleaning around the house during January, but the weather has utterly defeated me - we are having seemingly endless very hot, very muggy days with not much rain.  I don't have any energy for anything m ore than the bare essentials until we can get some cooler weather.  The monsoon trough which brings the wet weather seems to be well stuck well north of Australia.  I came down into Queensland briefly a few weeks ago, but has retreated out of sight now....oh well, one day....

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Windows 10 and Rain!!!

Bill has just upgraded my computer to Windows 10 and I am thrilled.  The fonts are so much easier for me to read in my Magic software.  Previously  I was looking at broken, very fine lined fonts, much harder to distinguish.

This is a slightly out of focus photo of a lovely ginger which has just come into flower.  I have shown it while I am experimenting with how everything works in Windows 10 - so far all good.

The really big news is that we have RAIN - 70 ml so far today and still going.  Our total rainfall for 2015 was only 48%  of our annual average so we have plenty to make up.  The rain has also cooled the temperature down to being very pleasant, after some very hot, very muggy days.
I was hoping to go out into the garden this afternoon, but I am very happy to find some indoor tasks and listen to the rain....or perhaps I may just listen to a book.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Well, Christmas is done and dusted and today is the start of a new year.  I must admit we were tucked up in bed and fast asleep when the clock chimed twelve. We have not seen the new Year in for many a long year now, but we are happy for all those who do go off to parties.

 This lovely allamanda is a volunteer which jumped the fence from next door several years ago, and thank heavens it did.  The house changed hands and the new owners took a backhoe to the entire yard, levelling everything - and removing the top couple of inches of topsoil!    Then they paid 'landscapers' to lay turf and plant some cordylines around the fenceline - all very boring.

 We have had an exceptionally dry start to spring/summer and that was just what my Euodia tree wanted.  It is smothered in flowers, which the birds are loving.

This photo is deceptively large.  It is a lovely little ground orchid from far north Queensland which I have just been given - a spathoglottis.  I hope I don't manage to kill it as I think it is very pretty, and is not one of those orchids which look quite ugly when not blooming!
We  have had  about 40 ml rain which has made the  days much pleasanter and has filled our tank again.  Thank goodness the rain has been falling also in western Queensland in places which have not seen rain for over twelve months - not drought breaking yet, but a good start.
I certainly hope the new Year brings you all the weather you want as well as good health and happiness.