Sunday, July 31, 2011

Open House Day Two

What a lovely day for wandering around the city, checking out some interesting corners!

The police horse exercise yard - pushing the giant ball around prepares the horses for pushing against crowds.
One small child stumped the policeman, "Why don't some people like you?" in discussing the horse's face protector. General laughter, umming and ahhing. Policeman's final answer, "They just don't."

Quilt at La Trobe's cottage:
The bed belonged to La Trobe, but the tour guide didn't have any information about the history of the quilt.

View from offices only a third of the way up Melbourne's first skyscraper:

As those shadows get longer, and all the open buildings close, it's time to head home. Or off to visit an 11-yr-old for her birthday. Happy birthday, Ellie! And then home.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Open House Weekend

First day of the Melbourne Open House weekend. And the Craft And Quilt Fair. A recipe for sore feet!

First stop was the former Public Records Office (Births Deaths and Marriages), which has been refurbished as a law school. Grand staircase:

Modern architecture addition:

Then across the road to the former Land Titles Office, now empty. The solid slate fire-proof shelving now holds only dust:

Curved bluestone staircase between levels:
Who knows what this space will eventually become?

Lots and lots of walking and a few other buildings followed.

Eventually I headed for Jeff's Shed, where the exhibition was open until 7pm. I didn't last that long, but I did walk around for a few more hours. Lots of wonderful quilts to look at, and lots of stuff to buy. However I made only one purchase, which I might post about when I've had a chance to use it.

Amongst all the quilts I found this ribbon pinned to a friend's quilt:
This was the first quilt she started (although she did finish one or two others before finishing this one, I think). So winning a ribbon is a fantastic achievement! My tiny contribution - I was one of a group of friends who got together to help her baste the quilt on the large tables at the local neighbourhood house.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The wind was cold, but the sunshine was lovely today. Not quite golden sunshine, but definitely yellow:

Another dose of lime sulphur for the swamp gums (Eucalyptus ovata) which are still suffering from powdery mildew.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dodging Showers

Pruned a few more roses between showers. Did some sewing during showers!
Grevillea "John Evans". I think the liquid in that flower might be rain rather than nectar. But the honeyeaters do like this shrub.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hail Is Hard

To photograph, that is.
Hail was bouncing everywhere, but melting fast. This rather pathetic shot was the best I could get.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lunch With A View

Looking towards Barwon Heads and Bass Strait from the restaurant window:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quiet Saturday

Started pruning my roses, sat quietly watching white-plumed honeyeaters (Lichenostomus penicillatus) in my John Evans grevillea, and enjoyed the beauty of the fully-open flowers of my Chayya vireya.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


The hardenbergia (Hardenbergia violacea) is in full flower now, although a little damp in the rain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garden Path Idea

Saw this path through a small garden near my work today, so I'm posting it here for someone who I know wants to try something like this:
I didn't look closely enough to notice what they used as a base for the mosaics. I'll have to have another look next time. Has anyone done this? Any tips for the novice?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quiet Day

Sitting at home doing a bit of stitching.
Happy with my small stitches until I made a mistake and had to try and unpick a bit but couldn't see the thread to cut it! Think I need to get some new glasses.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lime and Mahogany

Back to (almost) daily photos:
These geranium leaves are a lovely spot of bright colour on a grey wintry day.

My Brother

A long time ago in a town in the centre of Australia, a baby boy was born. He was a little premature, but when he was strong enough to leave the hospital, instead of going home to his mother he was sent to Melbourne, to be adopted into a different family.

Instead of the six older siblings he was born with, he now had just two older sisters. Here they are introducing him to one of his new grandmothers:

He learnt to walk:

Went on family holidays (this one on a Sydney ferry):

And was pretty good at cricket:

But his teenage years were difficult. Through him, I saw a side of Australia that was not pleasant. Once he was stopped by police three times while walking home from a mate's place, and questioned as to what he was doing, where he was going. I was angry on his behalf, but he just shrugged it off. "They do that all the time, Sis." Do they? I'd never had it happen to me then, and all these years later it has still never happened once.  As the only kid in the suburb who was anything other than the whitest white, he stood out. He was not known by his name, but by various racial epithets, some less than polite. As many teenagers do, he took up drinking and smoking, habits his parents found unacceptable.

When he was about 16, he said he wanted to find his birth family. I was working in the city, so during my lunch breaks I went and searched the electoral rolls of South Australia and the Northern Territory for people with his birth surname. We didn't have the internet for finding information in those olden days! Dad helped him write to every possible relative, and about 12 months later an answer was received. One of his older sisters had found the letter at her uncle's home. She was overjoyed, as she knew her youngest brother existed, and had been trying for years to find out where he was.

Some time later he decided to move to Adelaide to live with that sister "for a while". We saw him off on a train at Spencer Street station one night nearly 30 years ago, and never saw him again.

Until last week.

I'm glad for my parents that they have seen him again. I'm glad I got to see him again. But what can you say to someone after such a long time? So many questions remain unasked and unanswered. My brother has a life I know nothing about, surrounded by a large extended family I don't know. He lives in the town he where was born; the place he belongs.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Another cold day, but not bad for working in the garden. I did more of my winter pruning, while some magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) sang to me from various high spots:
I think the song of the magpie is my favourite sound. If you've never heard it, there's an MP3 file on the page I linked to about.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Evidence of Wildlife

It was a bit cool (8.9 degrees) and damp (raining, actually) in Lal Lal today. But it was exciting to see lots of evidence of wildlife on the block. There were areas where the grass had been flattened, with droppings that looked like kangaroos had been visiting. In another part of the block, there were lots of what appeared to be koala droppings, including a couple of small ones which may have been evidence of a baby.

Many of the trees are infested with borers, most probably the larvae of a longicorn beetle. The first sign normally seen is when the tree snaps in the wind, and you can see that the heart of it has been eaten out. However, today there were lots of places where something has been eating the borers:
Chunks of bark have been torn off, and in each case, a borer hole is visible behind the bark. Presumably the borer is no longer there! According to the forestry fact sheet I linked to above, black cockatoos will tear through the bark and wood to get to the larvae. So it looks like we've had some black cockatoo visitors.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Trekked across the city today to visit the Hottie Exhibition at the OpenDrawer gallery. And there was my cover, hanging on the wall amongst about 115 others:

Here's just a little taste of the rest of the exhibition:

Afterwards I visited an amazing supermarket near the gallery. It was like visiting another country; there were so many items I'd never seen before. It was also a little out of my price range. $140 dollars a kilo for dried mango? It costs about a tenth of that at the Arabic grocery shop near me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cold Grey Day

With a touch of spring.
A neighbour's almond tree has a few open blossoms.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Windy Day

It was a very windy day today, which made photographing anything in the garden a little difficult:
Those are jasmine flowers (Jasminum officinale) blowing in the wind. Apparently flowering is triggered by cold temperatures at night; we have had some of those. But the buds usually don't open until the weather starts warming up.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Vireya Chayya opening to provide some colour on a grey day.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


My eldest niece, visiting from Brisbane, and my son outside Southern Cross Station.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Winter And Spring

I started my winter pruning today by attacking the pink trumpet vines (Podranea ricasoliana). Didn't take any pictures of that, because the before and after would have looked very much like the pictures last year, although this year I didn't develop a blister!

Here's a surprise, though. Nearly a month earlier than last year, my first Spring Star (Ipheion uniflorum) flower is open.