Saturday, February 22, 2014

What happens when you forget

Today is a bad day.

The trouble I have is a poor memory.  Travelling along feeling mostly good and then I stuff it all up.

M and I went to see Jimmy Barnes last night at Taronga Park Zoo as part of their twilight concerts they hold in summer.  Absolutely gorgeous afternoon and night we got a great spot although I think it would have been hard to get a bad spot and it was a great concert.  The support act was Jon Stevens and the Dead Daisies.  Good hard rock.

As it is our 40th wedding anniversary tomorrow I ordered the picnic hamper as well with not a great deal of thought.  The hamper was lovely but hello, it was full of dairy and wheat.  I steered clear of the dairy as I am still recovering from my last transgression and will probably bear the scars forever but this morning I woke up in a great deal of pain with an upset stomach which I haven't had since giving up wheat.  Pain killers helped with the pain and I will just have to wait for my stomach to settle.  I also have no energy.  I know, will she ever learn but you know when you are feeling good you forget just how bad you can feel from just one bread roll.

We are going out again this afternoon to the food and wine festival in Hyde Park with friends and tomorrow is the rugby.  If I could get out of either of these events I would but unless I really get sicker I can't.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Moving on - the only way is up

Funny thing about battery charging and iPads - you have to actually plug them in otherwise it doesn't work.  Probably an indication of how far gone I was last night.

Still aching but I dragged myself up early this morning and we walked in the cool which makes it all worthwhile.

Today is cooler than it has been lately.  The heat has been a killer and I try to walk Lucy in the mornings around sunrise otherwise there is no energy left at the end of the day.

Work has been hectic this week.  I seem to be dancing up and down on the one spot and not getting anywhere.  The relief cleaner complained that she couldn't clean my office because of all the papers everywhere.  Hopefully next week, when people are away at a conference for 4 days I will be able to get stuck into it without the constant interruption.

The trouble with 5 weeks holidays is trying to remember what happened and what was said last year. Have been trying to go through my 2013 day book to see what I haven't done.  Oh well, it will all work out in the end.

I finished all the irrigation systems that I planned to put in.  I have three large gardens left which I was going to leave until next holidays but they make deep watering the gardens so easy that I am going to try and put the rest in when I can find the time.  Hopefully one tomorrow.

Have planted out all the new plants I bought plus have planted out to the garden some of the cuttings I have struck.  The salvia cuttings my friend brought me in Mid January have all grown roots and I have potted them on and they are looking good.

I rescued a friends maidenhair fern last year as it was "dead" and have revived it and sent it back with strict instructions not to try and kill it again.

Today is just cleaning house and grocery shopping.  Such an exciting life I live.

Oh I finished another dog book "amazing Gracie".  Made me cry but then ads can make me cry.  It is a lovely story about an albino Great Dane who was deaf and how she saved her owner when he thought he was saving her.

To feel the love and loyalty of a dog is such a special gift - no conditions, no strings.  I have been blessed.

Happy lunar new year everyone - the year of the horse has begun. Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Friday, January 31, 2014


I have two drafts sitting waiting for me to finish them and publish them but it is all too much.

My body is aching all over.  I know I have to replace the pain relief patch tomorrow but I also know it has run out already.

It is amazing.  It has taken 4 days to put me back where I was 5 weeks ago.  Exhausted.  I can barely keep my eyes open and now even though I have my ipad plugged in the battery is running down so this is a short post.

More later.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Live every moment and enjoy, these days come only once

Have changed things a bit since last time I checked in.  I was walking Lucy late morning or afternoon last week but the heat has been so debilitating that I now set the alarm for 6 and get up and walk her then.  

Lovely cool mornings with fog some days.  Looks quite ethereal.  Just floating above the ground.

Except this morning.  Since yesterday afternoon we have had this fine misting rain and that is what we had this morning when I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and walked outside.  Anyway it looks like we will have an afternoon walk again and hopefully it won't get too steamy.  At least I don't have to water the garden today.

We went to see "Saving Mr Banks" on the weekend.  It was a delightful movie and even M enjoyed it.  Apparently the girl who plays P.L. Travers as a young girl is the granddaughter of someone my sister plays bowls with.  We had dinner out afterwards and it was a lovely night.

I spent most of Sunday putting in another watering system in the Murraya hedge garden along the fence at the back of the pool.  This has been the hardest one to put in as the hedge is really well established and I felt a bit like the prince in Rapunzel having to slash my way through the bushes.  But I got it in in the end and I think they will be a lot happier with a regularly good soaking rather than the haphazard way I was watering them before.  M spent the day watching the cricket and would come out every now and then to see if I was alright.  At one stage he could only see my feet sticking out and was a bit concerned that I wouldn't be able to get out.  I must say that the knee pads I bought from the nursery were a godsend and I was surprised that I wasn't as scratched as I thought I was going to be.

Yesterday I caught up with the ladies I used to do folk art with.  I have known them over 20 years and wish I could summon the energy to go out one evening a week but I just can't so I will have to make do with lunch every now and again.

I had another train ride today down to North Sydney to pick up my new prescription sunglasses.  Wayfarers this time and I love them so much.  I meant to get them last year but go waylaid by another pair that I haven't been happy with.  So now the balance has been restored.

I have a few garden type things to do this afternoon.  I have an English box that I have had for eons and trained into a heart shape but somehow I think it dried out last year - not quite sure how - and it has not recovered.  It is struggling along but I think the time has come for it to move on.  I am going to replace it with a japanese box this time and will post a picture when it is potted.  I think it will grow more quickly than the English box and is better suited for what I want.  Also I am impatient and want to get this sorted out asap.

I also bought another punnet of those petunias I bought a couple of weeks ago - Shock Wave Coral Crush.  So they have to go into the garden and I have to pinch out the dead flowers from the ones that I have already planted.

I realised that I hadn't finished staking up the orchids I repotted last week so that has to be done too.

After dinner tonight we have drinks with friends to celebrate a birthday.

Tomorrow is the zoo and high tea with J.  Thursday is lunch with M's brother and sister.  Friday is going to be my gardening day again and I will put in another system if I can but I need sunshine for that to help straighten out the hose.

Saturday is lunch with the ladies I used to do pilates with.  Sunday is Australia Day and we have been invited out.  It is up to M if he wants to go and then next Tuesday it is back to work.  That five weeks has gone in the blink of an eye and I am going to miss the sleep-ins.  Even on the days I walk Lucy I go back to bed when I get home and quite easily can go back to sleep.  This exhaustion that is on me is bone deep.

But first - walk Lucy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cockatoo Island Adventure

Today we got up really early (remember we are on holidays and anytime before 7 is really early for us) and drove down to J's place.

From there we caught the river cat to Cockatoo Island.  River travel is such a lovely way to travel and I envy the people who can do it everyday although I was a bit upset at all the lovely old buildings and houses that have been destroyed on the river to build really really ugly apartments.  But as J said, she agreed with me but if someone offered her one of those ugly apartments on the river she wouldn't knock it back.

The weather here and all up the eastern states is meltingly hot so it was nice to be on the water where there was a constant breeze.

 This is actually not at Cockatoo Island.  This is a place called Rivendell which is across the river from the ferry wharf near J's.

It is part of the Dept of Education and Communities and is a child, adolescent and Family unit.

It originally was a convalescent hospital.

My grandfather was a gardener on this estate in the first half of the 20th century which is my connection and one of the reasons I took this picture.

The name Rivendell of course comes from J.R. Tolkien's book "The Hobbit" and is a place to rest and recuperate - a sanctuary for those on difficult journeys.

Anyway the ferry ride took about 25 mins and as always river travel is so interesting.  The mullet were jumping and the day was absolutely stunning.

When we arrived we decided that the convict precinct would be interesting.  We walked through the Dog Leg tunnel, cut out of solid Sydney sandstone, to the other side of the island and then climbed a lot of steps, the Southern stairs,  up the cliff face to the Ship Design Precinct.  Great views when I finally recovered my breath and nerve.

This was the Sutherland Dock.  When it was built it was the largest graving dock in the world.  Of course this is no longer in use which upset M at bit.  Such a wonderful facility that is no longer being used except of course we got to go there.  We started walking along the top of the cliff but couldn't get too far because the volunteers had warned us that the seagulls were still nesting there and there were babies.  Of course rather than upset them we looked for another route around that building.

 This is in the convict precinct.  The island was used as a gaol in the 18th century.  This is the mess hall looking across what I think was the prisoners exercise yard or maybe it was just a courtyard.

This is what is left of the guardhouse where the soldiers lived.  It was being set up for a wedding hopefully a bit later in the day because the sun was relentless even with the cool breeze.  Those small openings that are on either side of the fireplace are actually slits where they could fire their rifles through should they need to fall back and stockade themselves in the quarters.  It overlooked the cells but we couldn't get there because once again baby seagulls thwarted us but that was okay because there was so much else to see.

These were the solitary confinement cells and have only recently been recovered by an archeological dig.  They were apparently filled with water.

Anyway I have so many photos but this could rather turn out to be like a slide night of olden times.  We also visited the Industrial Precinct and have plans to return and explore further and will probably use the guided tour and I probably also should take notes as my memory is definitely not as good as it was.

 My goodness I am looking forward to retirement.

We had an amazing time.  Very little of the island is actually off limits.  We went there during the week so crowding wasn't a problem and had lunch residing over one of the most magnificent views in the world.

Home now with every cooling device we have turned on. M is watching the cricket with his eyes closed.  Was thinking that I would go to the gym this afternoon but have revised those plans and think maybe just a quiet drink on the deck and a chat to my sister will be a much more civilised way to end the day.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I love being on holidays!

It has been really busy lately and trying to carry on while unwell is beginning to be difficult.

Dinner out on Saturday night and  Lunch with friends on Sunday at home was lovely but my stomach has reacted badly.

On Sunday, M dug out a large patch of agapanthus to give to the people coming and they bought me cuttings of salvia, both blue and pink which are now sitting on the windowsill with Buddha waiting to grow roots.  Agapanthus appear in my garden at random and he seems to have left one so this tradition will continue.  I don't think so.  There are still a lot of roots left but M assures me they won't re grow. Don't know whether that is true so will dig out as many roots as I can.  While he was digging them out he slashed the watering system I had repaired last week so I had to cut and rejoin it.  Another trip to Bunnings is on cards for more joiners.

My wisteria is flowering at the moment.  My books are telling me to cut it back but I am loathe to when it is still flowering.  Also I will repot an orchid today. Keep your fingers crossed for me that they survive.

G took me to see part 2 of The Hobbit on Monday in gold class.  Lovely big comfy chairs with footrests. So enjoyed it.  Unfortunately I couldn't take advantage of the food and drink delivered to my seat as I wasn't well enough to eat.  Another time perhaps.

Tuesday was garden day. Walked Lucy first thing and then  after breakfast, gardening, ironing and watching tennis or cricket when it is too hot in the middle of the day and then back out in the garden when it cools down a bit.  Bliss (except for the ironing bit of course).

I ended up repotting most of the orchids. Goodness knows the last time I did this.  They were extremely rootbound and took quite a lot of effort to get out of ther pots.  Some pots had to be soaked in a bucket.  There was also a trip to the local nursery for more orchid potting mix and stakes.  I bought a pair of strap-on knee pads too because I am finding all the kneeling I am doing a bit wearing on the poor old knees.

Put in another watering system in a front garden.  Have nearly got this installation down pat and it went quite smoothly.

Tried to take a photo of this pretty spider.  I think it is a St Andrews Cross but it might be an orb weaver.  I have great trouble taking photos of things close up with my point and shoot.  I thought it would be easier but it isn't.

I went back to the nursery today to get more orchid mix and wooden stakes to hold them upright until they re-establish all the roots I had to hack off.  Fingers crossed.  I am sure the nursery people rub their hands together when they see me pull up saying oh goodey she is back.  M and I dropped in our way home from a leisurely lunch with an old work friend of his and his wife.  Very very pleasant.

Tomorrow is another gardening day after the Lucy walk and fruit and veg shopping and then Friday is  Cockatoo Island with J and M.  Just because we have never been there.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Out of Sync

I am feeling ill this morning.  My stomach is churning. It will pass I know.

It is 3 years since my back operation. Hasn't that time flown.  Anyway the neurosurgeon has sent me another questionnaire to complete.  He has sent them before and one of the questions is would you repeat this operation again and I think previously I have always answered no because even though without this operation I wouldn't have been able to continue working or anything else for that matter it was honestly the most traumatic operation I have ever had.

This time I wanted to answer maybe but since that wasn't available I answered yes.  I finally realise that I wouldn't be living the life I am living if I hadn't had this op and I know one day I will probably have to have another similar op in the future as my back joints are disintegrating.

Anyway, enough of this. Time to get up and go to the gym.  I will feel better when I do I know.

When I was watering the front pot plants something caught my eye.  On closer inspection I realised it was a cicada.  So many of them this year.  A couple of days later I had a chance meeting with another black cicada while I was hanging the washing out.  I thought it was a beetle but on closer inspection it was another one.  They are such exquisite insects and we have seen so many at close quarters this year.  When we were youngsters we used to have to climb trees to catch them but not this year (not that I would be climbing any trees at my age).

And talking about my age, I got all the way to opening the front gates on the way to the gym when I discovered that I had two different sneakers on.  M thought it was hysterical but I just sigh and realise that I maybe need a minder.

And last but not least the port wine magnolia is flowering again.  I walked out of the garage the other day and the perfume hit me.  Bliss.  This is a flower from one of the ones I struck.  Sorry it is a bit blurry but I hope to improve taking photos soon.  M has banned me from striking any more because we don't have room for them so I am going to try gardenias next.  The radicans type.

Have a good night.

Time is moving fast again

This post was written last week and has been sitting in the draft pile since.  I wanted to insert some photos and since I can't seem to do that on the iPad it had to wait until I got to the computer.

I can feel the holidays slipping away.  It has started to get busy and I am starting to feel annoyed and trapped.  That is a funny feeling isn't it?  At the start of the summer holidays it seemed like I had so much time and now I can feel it slipping away and I am starting to panic,

Today is a lot cooler than it has been. M has gone to golf and I am meeting some people for yum cha.
But the garden is calling.

M and I finally got to the hardware store yesterday.  We thought we would do the right thing a shop locally so visited a small local hardware shop that has been taken over by a larger chain but nonetheless it is the remaining hardware shop in the area.  All the others have closed over the past year.

I was so disappointed.  The shelves were virtually empty.  It looked like there had been a massive rundown sale and there was hardly anything left.  I got a few of the irrigation fittings I needed but not enough to finish one garden.  As we were leaving I said to M that I would drop him at home and drive to Bunnings but he said he would come too.

In short I think I got everything I needed plus some little plants which I hope I have time to plant today.  M wants to send the picture of my irrigation fittings to the first hardware store and let them know that I have more stuff then them.

I bought a punnet of petunias for the pool camellia garden.  It is a hard garden.  It is partially shaded by my beloved japanese maple and I had originally planted it out with agapanthus but after 15 years we realised that they were actually pushing the pool fence over so the laborious job of digging them out began.  We gave some ( as many as they wanted) to the local high school for their gardens and I have replanted sasanqua camellias in there which I must admit are struggling.  At one end is also a little patch of herbs which are thriving.  This year, between the camellias, I planted salvias but they too have struggled.  So hence the petunias and it's adios salvias.  (I left the salvias and hopefully the extra care the petunias are getting because they are new will help revive them.)  I am putting in an irrigation system and have to buy some lucerne to mulch so hopefully this garden will improve.

Time to get out my January gardening book to work out what I need to do this harsh, weather wise, month.