1 small bargain for Fran and 1 great leap for the contents of Steve’s wallet

Hi All,

It’s market day! It’s also the day that we take Stewart into town to catch his plane over to Melbourne to go house hunting. Bonne chance Stewart and good luck to us in finding some extreme bargains at the markets. I have a list of things that I look for at markets. The list has been trimmed according to my changing tastes but there are a few core items that are always hunted for

  1. Terracotta kitchen ware
  2. Unusual vintage kitchenalia and interesting kitchenware especially bowls
  3. Weird and wonderful items especially musical instruments, ethnic “things” and items that fit in with our rustic beach-house theme
  4. Plants and interesting pots for plants and anything weird and wonderful for the garden
  5. Strange foodstuffs

The last item is very important as sometimes I will buy something that I don’t need merely because it is a BARGAIN! I once tried to get Steve to buy 2 lawnmowers from the man up the street who was having a garage sale because he was only charging $10 each for them. BARGAIN! Steve is not easily swayed by something being a bargain…he is highly unlikely to listen to my protestations even when I am hopping from foot to foot (a good sign that I think something is an EXTREME BARGAIN rather than merely BARGAIN!) and is my constant leveller (and oftwhile miserly stingemeister!) when it comes to spending (he would say “wasting”…) money at markets. I must admit to buying things and once I get them home, they get put into a cupboard until I pack them up into a cardboard box, along with several of their fellow cupboard mates, and drop them off at the local thrift shop. I freely admit to enjoying the process of buying the bargain somewhat more than actually owning the bargain but in the thrill of the hunt, I often need Steve to remind me about the last BARGAIN! That I bought that I absolutely POSITIVELY had to have and that hasn’t seen the light of day since I bought it. Hopefully I find some really good BARGAINS and Steve allows me to purchase at least 1 of them to salve my poor overactive bargain brain synapses.

Here is one of the bargains that I got today. This little fellow has only survived so far because his friend (below) was much more interesting…

As you can see…this little man is a leg (and an eye) short of the full insect…

This was my 1 little bargain today. I missed out on a lovely cutting board for $1, but I already have lots of them so hopefully the lady that bought it is going to use it. I picked this nice little set of condiment bowls for $3. The stall that I bought them from had all sorts of bargains. There were all sorts of really nice cushions for $1. I knew better to buy any of them (no matter how much they screamed BARGAIN at me…) because all I had to do was put BARGAIN cushion + Earl together in my mind and I got more mess than I was willing to clean up no matter how cheap the original package was…

I can see these little bowls with lovely mixed marinated olives, a mix of marinated grilled vegetables and perhaps some home made tapenade or guacamole to accompany some lovely fresh crusty bread, a large bowl of mixed salad greens, some nice freshly made dressing and something grilled on the bbq. As far as I am concerned these had BARGAIN written all over them :o)

I think winter is here. Ever since we erected the overhead watering system (indeed it started raining the second that we turned the sprinkler system on for the 1st time…) it has been cooler and has rained pretty much every day. We are thinking of hiring our services out to arid regions and desert prone areas as “rain makers”. Who needs to shake sticks around and seed clouds…we just have to pull out some black poly pipe and a few sprinklers and the rain sets in hard. I have a sneaking suspicion that this sudden decent into winter has a lot to do with the fact that Festivale is on again in Launceston. Festivale is Launceston’s ultimate wank fest that encompasses old has been singers, top quality wine (no other kind is available apparently in Tasmania), degustation (can’t be just “grub” has to be something wanky), all kinds of “boutique”; “Slow food”; “Truffle infused” (Tasmanian truffles at that…); “Clean green” and any other cliché that can be pulled out and recycled from last year to generate a massive elevated profit from what usually gets washed out from the rain. “Festivale” is an anathema to me! It symbolifies everything that is wrong with Tasmania and with society as a whole. I totally understand that people need to make a profit for their hard work but sometimes people only buy something because it is so expensive that it phases out the riff-raff and this sort of audience is thick on the ground at Festivale. Good old Darryl Braithwaite of sad old Sherbet fame is singing along with Richard (NOT Eric) Clapton (of the “girls on the avenue” fame) and everyone will be sipping their chardonnay and Pinot out of plastic glasses that they will toss into the shrubs around City Park (that has been fenced off to keep the riff-raff out…) for “someone else” to deal with once Festivale is over and done with for another year. I hate wankers. I can’t stand people that want to elevate themselves above everyone else for any reason. Pretentious people are an ugly blight on the potato of life and should be scraped off as soon as possible for the good of all mankind.

Meet Henry (of the Rollins’ variety) the rooster. We are quite sure that this is a rooster. He hasn’t actually crowed yet but he changed colour from pure black to this more interesting colour and is much bigger than most of the other chooks. He is most interested in humans and what they are up to. He is interested because humans = food and wherever they are, there tends to be some sort of grub so Henry follows me around (the provider of most of the food that gets thrown to the chooks) and he decided that as we were spending an inordinate amount of time outside messing about with the trailer (moving plants around to the other side of the house under the new overhead sprinkler system) that there must be some form of grub hidden in that big shiny thing somewhere…sorry Henry, nothing to eat here!

Here you can see 2 dogs that are now able to be walked together by 1 person. Bezial is well aware of what this thing over his nose is (a loss of his freedom) but to Earl, this is all very new. The photo after this one (blurred as it was) showed Earl with his nose down and looking like someone had eaten his dinner. Humans 1; Dogs nil…

We dropped a box of “stuff” off at the Beaconsfield Thrift shop the other day. Thrift shops are like markets to me. I love recycling and buying recycled things. Where once purchasing items from Thrift shops was looked down upon, it is now a place that you can find people from all walks of life bottoms up hunting through boxes, shelves and racks. Vintage clothing sellers…people hunting for items to on-sell on eBay…people with market stalls…genuine bargain hunters (like me) and “Indie kids” who roam in packs to bolster their street cred. Thrift shops, recycling centres, tip shops and various other businesses that have sprung from people’s desire to tread more lightly on the planet are now big business and people are taking pride from buying recycled items and giving them new life. I had a bit of a hunt through the thrift shop and bought a toy for the dogs and a very old (probably 50’s/60’s) rubber squeaky toy that I was going to give to the dogs but decided against because it is so very old. I have no idea why I didn’t give this lump of rubber to the dogs to dissect apart from feeling guilty because it is probably older than I am and it is such a shame to turn it into dog dung when it has survived until now despite being something that usually gets thrown out. It will be stuck into a cupboard somewhere until I take it to another thrift shop or perhaps I will sell it on eBay (if I can negotiate my way around all of the other seller’s hell bent on ripping everyone off…). EBay used to be somewhere you could get bargains. The online thrift shop of great happiness and indeed, my daughters spend a good proportion of their ready income on eBay purchases from all over the world. The mailmen must sit around the mailroom taking bets about where their next parcel will come from. They have bought Icelandic candy, clothes from Singapore, videos and D.V.D.’s from the U.K. and all sorts of products from America. I have bought a fair bit on eBay also but after a long hiatus I decided to have a bit of a look-see and was horrified to find that you now have to wade your way through Chinese sellers masquerading as Australian sellers. I like to support our local sellers and as such I select “Australia only” to filter out other countries. Nefarious Chinese sellers have decided to rort this system by listing themselves as “Country of origin – Australia” and no-one is checking up on them. Far from being somewhere to find a bargain, eBay is now a genuine rip off and somewhere where overpriced rubbish is dumped on an unsuspecting public. I don’t think I will be buying much from eBay any more. It’s sad really, it had real promise but even with the time on our hands that we are able to spare I couldn’t be bothered sifting through the piles of cheap overpriced garbage to find the few items of worth any more…

I thought I might take a few pictures of Evandale for you. Its a pretty town about 5 minutes away from the Launceston Airport. We headed there today as we just dropped a newly refreshed and ready to embark on his new life Stewart off to catch his early flight to Melbourne. The Evandale Markets are a great place to check for bargains and pick up some really good fresh veggies should you ever be out that way. We walked the boys afterwards and I took some photos to show you how pretty this little Tasmanian town is

Evandale is full of old buildings with stately gardens. It’s a great place to start when you want to work out how to give your garden a formal touch. Lots of conifers of all shapes and sizes and a really good use of shrubs.

This is the community centre

Another pretty old house with some lovely clipped hedges and a pair of large cedrus

This is an old water tower, once the source of Evandale’s water and now a nice tourist attraction

It’s raining…it’s coincidentally still Festivale…I wonder if tomorrow (when it is all over and some poor council worker is dragging a bin around attempting to extract hundreds of plastic glasses from various shrubs in City Park) will be a lovely sunny day? One case of Murphy’s Law that makes me smile. I forgot to mention that Saturday was “The fishing tourney”. That might not mean ANYTHING to most of you but it meant that I spent some of Saturday (while Steve and Stewart were watching television AFTER playing Mario Kart as I needed the Wii to play…) attempting to catch the biggest fish on Animal Crossing. Never let it be said that I am unable to fill my day with meaningful and important tasks. When I reach the pearly gates, I might not be able to list “Brain surgeon”, “philanthropist” or “life saver” in my list of attributes, but St Peter and I can have a really good natter about how big my Sea Bass (or Carp…depending on whether we are river or sea fishing…) was. At least I am off the streets and confined to Serendipity Farm which most of you should be quite grateful for :o) I am alternating between reading and playing Animal Crossing. Both Steve and I can’t help but feel like we should be doing “something”. It is past the time when we usually start Polytechnic classes for the year but with the recent upheaval (thanks to our useless state government who sold us out for 15 pieces of silver (stupid to the end!) and who have just decided to take their 15 pieces of silver back from the health system, the police force and most pertinently the education system) in the Polytechnic system our course hasn’t even been listed yet and so we have to wait until it is so that we can sign up for it. We are getting a bit stir crazy at the moment and want to get back to our regular routine. Both Steve and I dislike change and love a good routine. That might make us sound boring but we don’t have time to worry about how boring we sound, we need that stability and process to keep us heading in the right direction.  Today has been a most enjoyable finish to a week. The weather has fined up and is sunny, windy and about 22C. How lucky are we to live in this lovely place? The rest of the afternoon is ours to enjoy as we see fit. Tomorrow we might potter around in the garden for a bit and see if we can’t do a bit more tidying up. Depending on the weather we might do some lumberjacking and chainsaw some more firewood towards winter. It’s great to have a bit of choice about what we can do and when we want to do it. Whatever we choose to do tomorrow its a brand new day full of all sorts of possiblities and you can be sure that we will take full advantage of what we have been given :o) See you all then…

Isn’t this a really great mailbox?

We are thinking about making these ourselves for our market stall. One thing that we have an endless supply of on Serendipity Farm is small branches! If we used them to make mailboxes, it would save us having to spend time and effort to burn them and might even make us a bit of spare change. A win-win situation for sure

Isnt this a lovely Brachychiton populnea? The bottle trunk is developing well and its canopy is nice and green and well structured. Not bad for something from Northern Queensland living in Evandale where it regularly drops below 0C in winter is it? We have 2 of these on our property and we sourced some seed from a lovely specimen in City Park in the middle of Launceston so they seem to quite like it down this way

I will just finish off with 2 photos of a lovely old weatherboard house in Evandale that obviously houses a family of Penny Farthing riders. Evandale is well known for holding a Penny Farthing race all around the houses once a year and there are many Penny Farthing riders living and actively cycling their way around Evandale on a regular basis.

You all know how I feel about bike riding, but if I was forced to ride one of these Penny Farthings I think I would settle for that little trike at the back :o)


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roz Takes
    Feb 12, 2012 @ 16:52:34

    The condiment bowls are a bargain don’t know about the toys tho the boys will make short work of them.
    About Festivals..we are in the middle of the Fringe World Festival followed by The Perth International Arts Festival.One act involves angels suspended over St. George’s Terrace dropping feathers onto people below. One tourist wrote “Perth what is with the feathers?. It appears a giant duck has exploded over the city”
    I stay well away from these goings on, but have to go to Perth next Friday. Not looking forward to it.
    How lucky is Stewart going to be getting a Unit in that area of Melbourne. He will be able to eat out every night of the week. So many restaurants and everything of any import within walking distance. I think he will enjoy the change.


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2012 @ 07:46:57

      Hi Roz :o) Yes…those toys most certainly didn’t last very long but the little Marbig bee is still holding up when the multi legged caterpillar is now only legs (no idea where the rest of it went but I dare say I will be cleaning up Earls multi coloured deposit later on today…) we hate festivals. The tourists love them and most of the locals HATE them. No parking, rude people throwing up in your shrubs and tossing their half empty wine and boutique beer plastic glasses onto your lawn. It sounds like your exploding duck festival is somewhat like our Christmas decorations where Launceston City Council (who are too tight to put on fireworks for Australia Day mind you…) put up the same tired “Angels” (more like ducks) covered in feathery wings that shed for the entire Christmas period. No doubt the mostly naked Angels will be hauled out again this year to roars of derision :o). Stewart is a clever man to move into the city. No car needed…he can walk to work…his company is salary sacrificing his rent so its cheaper for him to live in the city and no transport costs… I think he is embarking on a journey that will do him a world of good. It’s always good to get out of your comfort zone and see some of the world :o)


  2. Kym
    Feb 12, 2012 @ 18:03:57

    Yes I think the condiment bowls were a great buy too. I really like Evandale, and will put it on my list of “to see.” The only thing I go to that is anything like a festival is the Perth Wine and Food Show. I go with a group of friends and it is great fun. You need to organise a driver because there is no way you can drive home lol. I think it would be quite deadly if you and I went to the markets together as I can tick of every single one of your reasons on the list lol. We would have to leave the boys at home though, don’t want them spoiling our fun 🙂 Went for a lovely walk along the dog beach with the pups today. It was quieter today, less legs for them to negotiate lol. Then we went up to Burns Beach and had lunch by the sea. It is lovely weather today, nice breeze and a few clouds to hide the sun every now and then. I will be at camp from tomorrow til Wednesday so will have to catch up with you then. x


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2012 @ 07:48:58

      Evandale is just one of the pretty little towns that you can see in Tasmania. Its very interesting to see the places that forced convict labour built and just how amazing some of the structures are. I would be doing the bare minimum if I was being starved, thrashed and goodness knows what else but these men took a pride in their work that is unbelievable when you think of their lives and what had happened to them. Have fun at camp and no drinking too much with your dorm cohorts! You need your wits about you for your charge! :o) See you when you get back


  3. Das Wree
    Feb 12, 2012 @ 18:33:55

    …and the Stewart has landed! Responding thanks to the new gizmo he just bought in a disgusting display of ‘Want-Buying’. I now own a tiny laptop! Sorry Ma, but your bargain hunting ways do not apply to devices of awesomeosity. Going past restaurants was a big eye opener Roz. Most things seem to be 1/3 the price of the average WA restaurant. I am going to have to move gym membership up my to do list 😉


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2012 @ 07:52:39

      Well done on the tiny laptop Das Wree. Your bargain hunting was obviously the superior result on the day and I bow to your technological advancement. Steve says that “all you need now is some tiny games”…ha HA! Bonne chance today with your appartment hunting but no doubt you headed out and scoped out the lay of the land yesterday visa vis appartments in the area. Good luck with the real estate agent pulling the wool over your eyes today (unless she has nice legs :o). Keep in touch :o)


  4. Roz Takes
    Feb 12, 2012 @ 19:31:37

    Spent a week in the restaurants there Stewie, different one every night from Pizza and house wine in a little Italian place on the corner to the most delicious Vietnamese meal I have ever tasted. Service is great and as you said so much cheaper. There are some great little units to rent around the area also and much cheaper than Perth.


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