No name no packdrill

Hi All,

Blimey! It’s just on 1.30pm and I have only just posted today’s post. It’s Saturday afternoon and as usual, I want to get ahead so that I can post reasonably early (at least before the sun hits the yard arm) as I know that all of you good folk have things to do and miles to go before you sleep. We headed to Deviot today and I took lots of photos so I might use some more of them today in my post to show you a bit about where we live. I managed to get a picture of the goose/eagle. It has the talons of an eagle and the appearance of a goose that is landing. I guess that would make it a geagle or an e-oose. Neither of which appears to have ruffled the feathers of the starlings and blackbirds that were investigating the grape vines within Marion’s vineyard. I think I just accidentally added “e-oose” to my personalised word dictionary. I doubt I will be using that word much but should I ever need to use it again, it won’t need to be spellchecked (lucky me!). When you are sick, or recovering from being sick, it takes a whole lot more out of you to walk your dogs in the early morning. Walking our dogs is a bit of a challenge at the best of times. It isn’t that they are dangerous, they are more likely to frolic someone’s little fluffy to death rather than swallow it whole, it’s just that they are incredibly strong (like Mack trucks) and equally as determined to check out any other dog that walks in the immediate vicinity, any person, rabbit, bird, wallaby, road kill etc. and at least one of them MUST urinate every 100 metres or it’s just not cricket. I don’t like to think of the day when we lose either one of them (as in cease to be…not run away) but when we get our next dog, I am inclined to make it a Jack Russell Terrier! Good luck trying to pull me to Queensland like Bezial does (and sometimes succeeds) if you weigh less than 10% of my bodyweight. Bezial is right up there at just on 40kg and good luck to me stopping him if he wants to pull me downhill thanks to my dicky knee…I just have to go! It makes what should be a nice walk into a walk fraught with planning, the need to have quick reflexes and always having to think laterally and all of this before we have woken up properly and had our first cuppa! The dogs have NO idea how lucky they are. They get to drag us around like red headed step children every single day! You would think that they never get out because of all of the pulling and dragging (me, when Bezial is on the way back to the car). You can’t tell dogs about the starving children in India…they are clever enough to pretend not to understand English while you are lecturing away. That soon goes away when you use English to mention things like “dinner”; “treat”; “cat” or anything else that they can’t disguise their understanding of due to their overriding need to have it at any cost (especially “cat”!).

Our diploma lecturer told us to start having a look at gardens that we liked and have a go at working out why we like them. I like this garden. There are several reasons why I like this garden. I like it because it is somewhat symetrical and I love the conifers. I like the driveway and the gate posts. I like the light rendered colour of the fence and gate posts and I like that your immediate perception of this garden is “balance”. We will be having to learn a whole lot more about aesthetics in this next Diploma that we are undertaking and will be learning how to put “your” ideas into practice and bring them into reality. It is going to be interesting!

This is a closer view of the area next to the house. I like the fluid lines that the person who designed the garden has used to soften the entry to the house. It is very inviting and kudos to whoever designed this.

Here’s another garden design that I like. I think I like it because it has a lot of structure. I like the gates and the use of hedging right through the garden and how the hedge isn’t dead straight but meanders around large conifers and gives quite a romantic formal feeling to the garden. I really think that people should use more conifers in their gardens. They give the most amazing sense of structure and formality and backbone to a garden and tend to be very hardy.

Steve and I have taken to watching a show called “Come Dine with Me” but only the U.K. version, the Australian version is rubbish. I think it is a combination of another country acting badly combined with a really clever narrator. The Aussie version has James Valentine who used to host kids T.V. shows on the A.B.C. when my children were young and who simply doesn’t cut the mustard like the U.K. host does. He is hilarious, dry, witty and very observant and makes this show something not to be missed. It is commercial television and I am praising it! Not because of the content, but more because of people who would otherwise have nothing to do with each other being forced to prepare, cook and serve food together. Great fun and you can also learn some good recipes from the show. Not everything commercial is crap but most of the “reality T.V.” shows being pumped out using the same overused crap formula are utter garbage. Sorry if you like them, but just keep your love in the closet like the rest of us do for your own good! Please don’t try to tell me about the benefits of “The Block” or “Australian Master Chef” or “America’s got talent” (isn’t that an oxymoron?) because not only will I not believe you, but I will most probably tell you exactly why I don’t like your favourite show in no uncertain terms. It would be like lauding McDonalds as a viable alternative to real food to me. You would get the same results. Don’t even bother :o) I am too old to pretend that your opinion matters more than mine. Let’s just agree to disagree (but you are wrong…) and leave it at that (because I got the last word).

Here’s a stretch of road that we were walking the boys on the other day. We decided to take this photo as the owner of the property over to the right has planted all different kinds of olives along their fenceline and have put boards with the names of the respective olives on the trees so that you can tell which is which. We have a little olive tree that dad planted on the property up near Steve’s boat/trailer shed. It’s going great guns with no care whatsoever. I am thinking about planting more olive trees up the top of the property to take advantage of their love for rocky arid places. You can’t get much more rocky or arid than the top bush block…

I will let you decide what the heck this bird is but as you can see, its pretty big. Those glass houses underneath it are large and you can see its large compared to the vines underneath it. I am going to call it the “goose folly” because who would think to put an enormous and most probably hugely expensive bird of prey/water fowl (still can’t quite make my mind up what it is…) on a pole and justify the cost by thinking that it is going to act as a sort of massive great scare crow. The birds are already ignoring it and methinks that only foreign birds flying by on a drive-by scouting for grub are going to be put off by it. The natives are all over those vines and can’t wait for those poor little rock hard green rocks to turn into tender fleshy bird fodder…

This same vineyard with the massive great Trojan duck, has this stand at the front gate. I haven’t ever bothered looking at it much before and sometimes it has bags of “stuff” on it. Now that I have had a closer look and see that it is most obviously “free stuff” I might be paying closer attention on the way past when I next see bags of stuff on its shelves.

I have just checked to see when my copy of “Under the Tuscan Sun” is going to be available for me to pick up from the library. When you use T.A.L.I.S. you can check out the library catalogue and place a hold on whichever book you like all from the comfort of your computer chair. I have been waiting for a while to read this book. I had the movie taped but it got mysteriously “wiped” by someone who doesn’t like “chick flicks”. I decided that it would most probably be better for me to read the book anyway. You can’t hide in a book and if it is a good book it’s worth the effort to allow yourself to become tangled up in it for the period of time that you are reading it. I have spent days carrying specific good books around with me in my bag and reading them to the exclusion of anything not absolutely necessary in my life. I love books. They are a window to other people’s minds and are often the most poignant reminder that we are all related no matter how unique and individual we feel. There is something incredibly comforting about settling down into someone else’s mind to see what makes it tick. Good music does the same thing to me but good music combined with good lyrics can make me cry faster than a good novel ever can. I am a quintessential sook and music strikes some sort of primal chord in me that is directly related to my optic nerve. I have a long list of books that were apparently Mary Ann Shaffer’s favourite books. This lady wrote “The literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” a most delightful book that I finished on the way back from Western Australia on the plane. Thanks to Nige Slater and his book “Toast” and Mary Ann Shaffer and her incredible piece of beautiful literature I got through some incredibly long flights with accompanying waits in airports with a degree of ease that I wouldn’t have thought possible. I simply wasn’t there anymore, I was away in the countryside with poor young Nige and his awakening sexuality and his desire to create good food. What a fussy little bugger you were Nige. If you had been my son I would have just given you custard (something you liked apparently) and been done with it! On the way back I was firmly ensconced on Guernsey Island just after the war. I was meeting and falling in love with the islanders and the delightful Juliet who was hot footing her way to the island to meet them right next to me. Books transport me somewhere else. After a particularly good book I feel like I have discovered some special thing about life. I am infused with good will and I feel mellow. I get heaps of entertainment out of a great movie; don’t get me wrong, it’s just that a book allows your mind to paint the picture for you exactly how your mind will understand it the best. I love good books and this list of Mary Ann Shaffer’s, who was a librarian and a book seller in her time, promises to amuse, delight and give me something special that I would otherwise never have experienced. I think I might share the list with you. I have put the first 2 books on hold. I know that I can read 3 books in a fortnight (with ease) so should my copy of “Under the Tuscan Sun” arrive before the 8 – 31 days that T.A.L.I.S. is telling me that it is going to get here in, I will be able to manage reading this book and giving it the justice that it deserves along with the 1st 2 books on the list provided by Mary Anne Shaffer’s daughter of her favourite books. Here is the list…

Time and Again

A Very Long Engagement

Corelli’s Mandolin

Angle of Repose


Flaubert’s Parrot

Covenant with Death

In the Time of Butterflies

Women of the Silk

The Samurai’s Garden


If a Lion Could Talk

My Antonia

Brideshead Revisited

The Pursuit of Love

Straight Man

The Playmaker

A Dry White Season

House of Sand & Fog

A Gesture Life

English Passengers

The Human Stain

Fall of a Sparrow

Black Dogs



The Shell Seekers


A Prayer for Owen Meany

Cold Mountain

Poisonwood Bible

There you go…don’t say that I don’t give you anything! You may be well ahead of me and have read every book on this list. I am going to work my way through this list, hopefully with incredible delight. I will let you know after each book how good it is in my opinion. I have really missed reading and since I have taken up fiction again with a vengeance, I will be regaling you with anything that I find especially good or exceptional. I get little sippets of wisdom from writers whenever I post a post. I read a really good one by W. Somerset Maugham the other day. “There are three rules for writing the novel; unfortunately no one knows what they are!” Love it! Well I guess I should get stuck into doing my evening chores before I settle down to enjoy my afternoon. Sorry if that sounds weird, but I like to cut up the cat’s meat-log nice and early. I also like to get any prep done for tea a bit earlier than it needs to be. No idea why, that’s just how I roll. Steve is having “interesting” shepherd’s pie. That means that various non-shepherds pie things are going into it. We have a dearth of green beans (4 bags of them if I am being honest) that our neighbour’s daughter Wendy has given to us. I like beans but 4 Cole’s bags of them is a bit much for even a bean glutton like me to eat so I figure I can take some of them to the girls place next week. Madeline loves to eat beans raw so they will at least be making someone happy. I like free things, but have NO idea how to eat 4 Cole’s bags full of green beans (or the 9 zucchini’s that I now have). I am going to start using them in everything that I eat so as not to waste Wendy’s most generous gift. Hopefully I finish off “The Mud House” today. I am almost to the stage of simply taking it back to the library. I am ready for literary greatness for my first foray into books in years rather than mediocre humour. I know that sounds like literary snobbishness but I merely want to bask in the delicious sensation of cleverly crafted literature that delights my soul for my first few books. Allow me my foibles please. Tomorrow I will be A.W.O.L. Steve will be out here on his own for 2 days where he will have a great time with Earl. I am taking Bezial into town with me so as to allow Steve some ease of walking. Earl on his own is fine and I can walk Bezial at night with his old friend Qi and at least one of my daughters (stop moaning it will do you good!). I have 3 posts waiting ready for Steve to post and even though I wrote them last week before my cold hit home hard and prevented me from having both the inclination and energy to head into town and tackle the blackberries they are still relevant and hopefully entertaining. I am fully aware that some of the content is now in retrospect and that makes for interesting reading and for you all to exercise your brains constant readers so have some fun isolating what is past tense from these 3 posts. See you again on Friday when I will be back…refreshed and ready to go all over again :o)

This is the view opposite Marrion’s vineyard. I have to admire the person that owns/built the vineyard as it’s well made. I have heard from many sources in the know that the owner is truly mad. He has enormous ideas for the place and no capital to pay for them so he tends to get people working for him and then telling them that he can’t pay for their work at the end of the job which doesn’t do much for his reputation, but he certainly has some interesting ideas and you can’t get rid of people like that. Too many sheep in society and not enough eccentric crazy people like this man.

Little chalets that you can stay in on the vineyard. I would imagine that it would be nice to be a tourist staying there as the man is most definately strange and goodness only knows what you would get for your breakfast the next morning…

Here’s one for you Western Australian’s. Corymbia ficifolia is EVERYWHERE in Tasmania at the moment. You don’t notice one eycalypt from the next most of the time (unless you are plant genius’s like Steve and I but we will let you off on that one ;o) but as soon as this baby flowers you KNOW what it is. All kudos to Western Australia for this beautiful baby. That’s where it comes from and now everyone wants it. Bask in your glory W.A. :o)

Constant readers meet Klunka. Klunka was in the way of Bezial’s relentless need to find even the smallest patch of water and make some sort of a splash in it. Steve was able to get past Klunka but Klunka wasn’t going to move for anyone! The boys had their splash and squeezed past Klunka on the way back. I had to still the urge to give Klunka a pat. What a true and faithful steed to wait there patiently while it’s owner took the boat out on the river somewhere. He will be waiting steadfastly there till whenever his owner sees fit to return and will slowly grind his way up the road to goodness only knows where his barn is to have a well deserved rest. Kudos to all faithful Klunka’s out there and know that without you, we humans would be stuffed!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kym
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 17:09:57

    You are sounding like a right pom there Fran! Blimey and miles?… Steve must be rubbing off on you lol. Right I’m off to see a bloke about some grog lol x


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