Friday, June 29, 2018

19 gun salute for ME

Normally my arrival at work is unremarked but this week I got a 19 gun salute!!! Well, not me exactly, it was the visiting Prime Minister of Vanuatu but our arrivals exactly coincided so I stopped to pretend I was in the motorcade, inspect the Federation Guard, say gidday to Malcolm and Lucy, sing along with two national anthems and have my ear drums blown out by a 19 gun salute.  Actually I didn't count them so it could have been less.

There weren't many people there - normally it's protestors with visiting heads of state but even the most avid activist can't get too outraged by Vanuatu - so it was mostly public servants procrastinating getting to their desks and some primary school children who seemed a bit confused and probably couldn't find Vanuatu on a map. Although it is quite hard to find, being very small.  These photos don't show that it was exactly zero degrees. Our poor South Pacific visitors would have been struggling.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Coastal wildlife

Back down the beach this weekend - a short break from the minus five mornings before they started up again on Monday....  The coast was cold, but so lovely during the day I forgave it the frosty mornings. Mid-morning walks were particularly delightful - down at the river with the pelicans.

This intrepid group are the ocean swimmers off for their few km round the headland. Crazy. Seriously, it was freezing, and if I had put myself in the water even with a full length wetsuit I think my heart would have stopped. That kind of clear cold that you don't even know is cold until your blood freezes and you fall, lifeless, to the bottom of the ocean. The group looked very chipper. I don't think they know what's in store for them.

I was at the beach with friends who are thinking about a place of their own down there. So I went with them to an open home round at Maloney's Beach, which is a lovely little enclave of houses tucked into the national park. Which is great for wildlife ... except that wildlife sucks. It eats all your grass, leaves a literal carpet of shit everywhere and drives your dogs insanely crazy. We saw a Pomeranian chase four kangaroos down the road despite being about a tenth of their size. Pomeranians are not known for their sound common sense - do you know how kangaroos kill dogs? They get them into a pond or dam and drown them by holding them underwater. This is TRUE, and can be googled.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Frosty the snowman

It was minus five last night, and still only one degree when I dropped the boys at school .... frost thick on the ground and no buildings open for another twenty minutes! Haha, time to toughen up. At least number two had a nice orange puffer jacket on .... I looked at this photo from Sunday and realised that it was really time to retire this one. I look like a hippo in a sleeping bag. And perhaps purple trousers with an orange jacket was a mistake.

But number two was super happy with it, and it looks very cool on him with ripped jeans and converses (sigh), and it keeps him nice and toasty.

Number one son came with me to walk the dog - he's also wearing an old jacket of mine that keeps him nice and warm. He doesn't like his gloves (that he picked out himself, shopping is such a nightmare, it never works which is why I happily give them any item of clothing in the house if they will actually wear it) so he's trying to keep his hands warm. It was very bleak and very windy.

Other than cold, the week has been busy. Number one is having assignments and exams, which is a bit stressful for him. Number two had his mini-play on Tuesday night, which was a half hour mash-up / inspired by Midsummer Night's Dream (he was both Puck and Egeus). I have had a slightly crazed sitting week and my husband had an incoming group of Germans (he is currently running courses at the uni, much fun). Two weeks till school holidays....

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Autumn rhymes with boring

Here is the finished blue and brown triangle quilt. I did just stick with triangles in the end - different sizes and heading in different directions but still just triangles. Very autumnal colours but perhaps not very exciting.

I am not a huge fan of this quilt (as you can probably tell from the  name), but it is an interesting exercise in colour. I remember only two dyes - light blue and brick red - but perhaps I had some leftover black or yellow that I threw in there as well. It is definitely all the same cotton though, and it's not a very good one. God only knows where I picked it up - it was probably on sale - and it is very light and falls into a slight crinkle. It's definitely cotton otherwise it wouldn't have dyed so well, but I don't think it is 'quilt shop quality'.

So perhaps making the whole quilt of it was a bit risky ...especially then doing straight lines. It ended up really really wavy on the edges, and there is some pleating in the backing and some strange wobbling as you get to the final corners. I am blaming it on the dodgy fabric and not at all on the dodgy quilting.

Here is the back - still using up stuff from the shelves! I went with as co-ordinated as I could.

Monday, June 11, 2018


Whenever I don't know what to do next for a quilt, I pick up a book by Gwen Marston, and find something. Despite looking through the books for years, and making heaps of quilts inspired by them, there is always something that catches my eye that I haven't done before. And this time it was sticks! I am still going full steam ahead with solids. And yellow ... so yellow background and multicoloured sticks.

Time will tell how well it works. I love how vivid the red quilt is; the yellow might be a bit more one dimensional. This is from "Freddy and Gwen Collaborate Again".

We've been having a great long weekend. I have done about a million loads of washing, practised my guitar, sewed and went for another run this morning. There were more people running than usual on my normal route but I didn't think much of it until I rounded the first point and saw a big "finish" banner with people standing on either side cheering! It was the Sri Chimnoy, and I went through the finish barrier (it was across the whole path) with people clapping but I'd only run 300m at that point. Bit awkward.

And that hanging thing I thought was a bell actually is a bell. It didn't have a clapper, but today they had a solid pipe of wood supported by a sling at both ends hanging from the roof of the pavilion, and they swung it forward onto the bell a bit like a battering ram. It made a lovely rounded deep bell noise.

Last night we went round to friends for dinner, which was lovely, and met their two new dogs. One is a lovely Tibetan spaniel with a fluffy tail, and one is a little fat black pug dog. Number two son thought she was lovely, and it seemed to be entirely mutual. Funny little creatures (both of them).

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Another long weekend

Someone at work sent this around yesterday ... we take our laughs where we can find them in our office. It's the long weekend but we're not going anywhere - raining and cold today and I don't have any enthusiasm for anything new or exciting.

I went for a slow damp run this morning around the lake. All the carp had their little mouths out of the water. There were hundreds of them - backs and tails showing - and then sucking at the air. Is this normal carp behaviour? I thought they were going to kill them all a while back with carp herpes (or "cerpes" as number two calls it, apparently they did a noxious species unit last term) but if they did infect them it's not working. Unless this was the literal last gasp of hundreds of dying carp?

The chinese gardens have a new little pavilion with an excellently gorgeous bell. At least I think it's a bell, it could be an ornamental large hanging thing. I know absolutely nothing about it, and I don't care enough to google, but it was very pretty, and looked good with the last of the autumn leaves and the grey sky.

I ran for 3.2 km which isn't very far at all; it's taking ages to get fitness back after the broken toe. I should go more I should practice the guitar more, do some more weaving, get back into dressmaking, try something from the recipe books and watch a Handmaid's Tale. Today I would be happy just to cook dinner and get the washing dry.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Cold and sleety

It's a cold and dark and rainy afternoon, and we are hunkering down very pleasantly. I have paid the bills, and the boys are drifting around because we have three hours of "device free time" before dinner and they act like the world is coming to an end. Number two son has put his dressing gown back on  - my husband thinks he looks like he's in some English club but I think he looks like a grumpy homeless man.  I have told number one son to tidy up the stationery and pen drawer by the computer so he has pretended deafness and vanished upstairs, which is what I wanted.

I have been sewing on with solids - this is pink and yellow. It is very pretty and bright and not at all like the outside scenery. I'm using as much as I can from the scrap bin.

Here is the view walking up to my work on Wednesday morning. I quite like parking in the overflow carpark and having a stroll before the day starts. It's only about ten minutes but some days that is all I get in the fresh air...this was Parliament House slowly emerging from the fog. Politicians in the Mist.

My husband has just shared with the children the photo of his graduate year that was in the Department of Defence newsletter when they all started in 1988. Amazing what the graduates thought was appropriate office wear - many of the women are in dirndls and sensible sandals - and only two of the guys are in suits. They all look about twelve years old, and very happy to be making $18,000 a year.

I asked who one of them was who looked familiar but I have never met him - "that's Ian!! He hated Canberra and left within a year ... but we have his saucepans." Yes, thirty years later, we are still cooking with the secondhand saucepans of a failed defence graduate. And, apparently, his baking trays. I don't know why I'm surprised - our main dinner set is one that my husband put together at much the same time .... with his whole family saving up coupons from Coles and swapping them a plate at a time. I feel like it was back in the Jurassic, when stuff was expensive and hard to get.