Saturday, January 28, 2012

The year just past and the year ahead

My posts for the past year seem to have gyrated between the sublime and the mundane : from art and music to house renovations and back. I guess that pretty much reflected my reality, lining my nest in between art/music assignments.

Will this year be different? I am hoping it will be the year of finding my posse here on the Central Coast but I will have to overcome my preference for my own company to make it happen.  I will be out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I envy those who have never moved and are surrounded by long time friends but I am not sure we choose our own paths. Instead they seem to choose us.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A well designed fridge

The little bar fridge that I got from Aldi was almost big enough for me but I missed having a freezer so I sold it on eBay and looked for a replacement.
Kelvinator looked pretty good when I looked at fridges online but when I looked at them in the shop I realised that Fisher&Paykel fridges were a better design because, for one thing, the vege bin at the bottom can be pulled out so much more easily. It is on rollers and because the door shelves finish above the height of the bin, the bin can be pulled out even when the fridge door is half open.
Fridge door with frog
New Zealand products have the reputation for quality and this is one example. So now I have a Fisher&Paykel fridge/freezer in my kitchen. At 380L it was the smallest and most energy efficient in the shop.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day and as I pour my glass of red the smell of frying sausages wafts over the fence. Good news is that actor Geoffrey Rush has been awarded Australian of the Year.  Marita Cheng who promotes engineering as a great career for woman was awarded Young Australian of the Year and Laurie Baymarrwangga, an elder from East Arnhemland, was Senior Australian of the Year. So we have an actor and engineer and an Aboriginal elder as inspiration this year, all from fields that barely rate a mention in Australia on any ordinary day.

Sports people and civil servants got their share of awards as well but online comments seems to indicate that giving awards to these people doesn't have a lot of support.

Up the Patonga Creek

Patonga Creek runs up the valley behind the small fishing village of Patonga at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.  Last weekend I sketched from a flat bottomed boat, riding with a couple of fishers checking crab traps.
Lower Patonga Creek with its stunning bush and rocks.
Patonga Creek: the water was so smooth that the trees were reflected in the water.

Upper Patonga Creek

In among the mangroves
Upper reaches of Patonga Creek

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reptiles and pumpkins

Yesterday evening I took out a pumpkin plant that was all leaves and no pumpkins and planted some parsley plants in its place. As I was pushed the plants into place I spied a repitle a few inches from my fingers in the leaf litter.
My garden reptile
I thought it was a blue tongue lizard and didn't worry too much but a friend said it could also have been a death adder which are also fattish and with stripes.
Blue tongue lizard
Death adder

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book finished, curtains up

The Woman in White  was gripping but I read it reaaaaally slowly to savour the text. Eventually, however, I finished the book and had to face the curtain job. I put the curtains up today. It took most of the day but it was worth the effort.
Mustard curtains -they glow when the sun shines through.
Parsifal played as I put up the curtain rail props, as I attached the rails, as I put the hooks on the curtains and as I threaded the curtain hooks into the rails. I needed all  five Parsifal hours to complete the job.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bathroom Refresh

The plumber came today and transformed my bathroom. The old vanity, bathroom taps, shower taps were replaced and I got a dual flush cistern. The new cupboard and basin are slim-line and make the bathroom look and feel much larger. They are also adult height so I will no longer have to bend to use the basin. What a difference.
Old look bathroom

New look bathroom
The old basin was fiddly to clean ...
Old vanity
The new basin (thank you  IKEA) has an internal shelf for soap dish and toothbrush mug .Why didn't someone else think of that sooner?
New Basin/Cupboard

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Woman in White

The new curtains are having to wait. A book has consumed my whole attention .... and when I emerge from it I find it hard to believe that I am not still in misty London or Hampshire but instead half a world away on the sunny Central Coast of NSW.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mustard curtains

I have had bedroom curtains waiting to be hung since arriving here and finally I am getting around to doing something about them. I bought some white material at IKEA last week and over the weekend I made lining for the curtains and took them up. They are a lovely luxurious mustard colour, Italian material bought from Fabric Fantasy in Sydney when it closed six or seven years ago.
Bedroom curtains
Now I just have to put up some curtain rails.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pearl Beach Portrait

I have been feeling a bit dislocated and I decided that now I have discovered a cafe with good light I should go and paint there more often. So I went back to Pearl Beach Cafe yesterday and painted the pleasant and friendly woman sitting opposite.
At Pearl Beach on Monday.
Unfortunately the coffee at the cafe leaves something to be desired ... perhaps I can convince them to try a coffee with 100% Arabica beans?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Pearl Beach

Today I went over the hill to the Pearl Beach cafe, then sat on a bench under a tree to watch the seaside frolickers and paint. As I took out my sketch book the woman sitting on the other end of the bench commented that she had been wanting to do an art course for ages. A sign, perhaps, that I should get my act together and organise a class.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Eyesore

Finally the ugly old BBQ that blocked the garden entrance has been moved and now when you look out the window you can see right up the garden...
... and beyond, to the fairy path where the elves live.

I tried to find a photo of the BBQ  to show what an eyesore it had been, but there were none. I must have avoided photographing it. The BBQ part was just a pile of rust that disintegrated when it was taken apart.  The brick part was moved a few feet towards the house and now functions as a shady table for potting plants.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Magnificant Gum Hits the Ground

The sound of a chainsaw has been echoing over my back fence for the last two days.  Yesterday a man hung from the huge and magnificent gum in my neighbour's back yard and sawed off branches one by one. They made enormous thuds as they fell. There were a couple of branches left by the end of the day and I hoped that the tree had just been trimmed but today they were back and now all that stands is a trunk.
This was a gum tree, huge and magnificent.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Dancing into 2012

I saw the New Year in with a particularly good view of the Sydney fireworks which little digital cameras are unable to capture.
Sydney Fireworks, spectacular as always
"Oooo, aaah," said the crowd.

Dancing in the new year
"Bippity bippity bop," said the music
"Broom, broom, grunt, fade," said the long rows of cars as they waited and waited, queuing to leave the roads leading from the harbour.