Saturday, February 13, 2021
Saturday, January 16, 2021
We are told repeatedly that exercise is good for us but the problem with exercise is that it is so boring. Keeping up an exercise routine is, or has been for me, almost impossible. I would much rather do other things.
However, three years ago I bought a pair of decent walking sandals when I was in Europe which made walking so much more comfortable. I walked everywhere and returned feeling so much healthier that I decided to try to keep walking. I discovered the only way I could make walking a regular thing was to start walking before I was fully awake. By the time I woke up I was already a block away from home and it was easier to keep going.
I walked 20-25 minutes to the beach and back, long enough to make a difference but not long enough to get too boring. I did often miss days, I confess. But I kept walking when I moved to Carlton and then when I arrived in Arncliffe. I live on a hill in Arncliffe and any walk means going down the hill and up again. Very different from the Umina flatlands.
My walk nowadays takes me about 20 minutes and I have become so used to it I walk every day without thinking. I walk to the lookout over the airport to take a morning photo. I send it to a still slumbering friend who likes getting a weather report.
Then I walk down the steps to the bottom of the hill and up again past the house with the yellow flowering bush (last post)
I discovered the other day just how beneficial these walks are. In 2019 I was told that my blood pressure was bordering on the problematic and if it continued to increase I should be on medication. Last week when I had a check up I rather reluctantly reminded the doctor to check my blood pressure.
He looked at his notes and commented, “Oh, its more than a year since you were checked. You have been avoiding me I think because you don't want to take pills!”
He was half way through a lecture about pills being necessary when he paused to take my blood pressure.
Pump pump pump. Then pause. Then pishhhh as the air escapes.
“Oh,” he said checking the measuring gizmo. “Your blood pressure has dropped 10 points!”
|Ship leaving Botany Bay|
Friday, January 01, 2021
I have lived here over a year now. When I arrived the garden was lawn and the patch of ground between fence and path was weeds.
Early very morning I walked down the hill and back up. At the bottom of the hill I discovered a pretty garden with a yellow-flowered bush growing right over the path. When I saw the house occupant there one morning I asked if I could take a slip. She turned out to be an avid gardener and said:
"Why yes, take a big piece, or several, so it grows. It will grow in difficult ground so councils plant it. It is a type of Lantana, but not the one that takes over."
So I took slips and stuck them in pots over summer to see if they would take.
They all survived and I planted them in the inhospitable soil between fence and path. They are thriving there and now I have yellow flowers right along the fence.
On the other side of the fence the lawn is slowly being replaced by flowering plants, two blueberry bushes and last week, a rhubarb plant. Gardens are a marvelous tonic in Covid times.
Monday, December 28, 2020
It is 28 December, a Monday but the streets hereabouts are quiet as it is a public holiday. At 8am it is already warm, over 25C but it is overcast, threatening to rain and very humid. You can feel the predicted afternoon storms in the air.
Normally the sun would be shining and the beaches full but I haven't heard a single complaint. Last season's dreadful bushfires are still uppermost in our minds and we know we are lucky not to be mired in waves of virus.
The political environment feels much like the weather, with storms building, still suppressed but increasingly volatile.
They say being resource rich is a recipe for unhappiness in this world as resource owners are so easily able to pay off those who want power while they pillage unrestrained. We have watched environmental destruction by unrestrained multinationals in developing countries and we watch it in Australia.
How do we get our recalcitrant government to take climate action? They look away as our youth becomes depressed and suicidal. They look away as we loose our Great Barrier Reef. They have practised looking away for a long time as the Aboriginal community would attest.
But pressure is building. Governments around the world are looking at our government with increasing distaste, and finally they are beginning to act on this distaste. This may be the only way we can be saved from ourselves.
I found a large sheet of paper that didn't quite fit in the cupboard, so I took out my pencil to make a new years greeting picture. This was who popped up on the page.
Monday, December 21, 2020
It's a couple of days until Christmas, but really, who would know? One of the effects of the pandemic is that it has messed with our internal measurement of time. Or at least, it has with mine. Time has flowed along with days overlapping, months disappearing and now suddenly, it is almost 25 December. I am making stollen so I know it really is Christmas.
With a new Covid flare up, Sydney hovers on the edge of another lockdown. People are unsure what to make of the information provided by the NSW state government who seem just as keen to 'keep the economy going' as they are to beat the virus. They are also being a bit secretive about how the virus escaped quarentine. We are suddenly discovering just how many people have been granted quarentine exemptions (the wealthy, LNP mates, Airline crews among others), and because of the secrecy, people are making their own minds up. Perhaps a wealthy donor to the LNP Government? Perhaps a Hillsong mate of the PM? (The Hillsong religious sect suddenly has several cabinet members in Federal Parliament).
Having a Premier whose integrity has been has been questioned by the Independent Commission Against Corruption but who refuses to step down doesn't help.
One thing NSW does have going for it is an excellent health department with a good contact tracing capability. The chief health officer does look rather uncomfortable at the press briefings (which are invitation only, so no uncomfortable questions) so there is speculation at what is being hidden. After months of very clear and open communication from the Victorian Government (who allowed all journalists into press briefings and answered every question), NSW politicians are looking less than admirable.
Not only the NSW public, but other state governments have noticed the deficits (like NSW refusal to mandate masks) and have quickly shut their own borders. NSW politicians are not happy, but they really only have themselves to blame. As a result of the closures people from other states are racing back to their home bases
and many NSW families (including mine) looking forward to reunions with far flung members are having to change plans. Fingers crossed for the days ahead.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
I planted Sweetpeas last autumn so I had something to watch grow through the winter. They have been flowering since September and the more flowers I pick the more they flower.
The Latin name of Sweetpeas is Lathyrus odoratus and they are true to their name. If I could attach their scent to this blog post I would do so.
Thursday, September 10, 2020
A friend just texted to ask RUOK? reminding me that it is RUOK day in Australia, a day meant to promote mental health by asking people to reach out to see if others are ok.
The first item I heard on the radio this morning was an interview with Suzanne Smith who wrote the book The Alter Boys . It is about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in NSW and Suzanne's stories have left me wondering how anyone who lived through such trauma can be okay. Homosexuality was illegal so it is no wonder many homosexual men were drawn to an organisation which forbade heterosexual sex. The shame was that this sect had no accountability under the law, and still hasn't under most jurisdictions.
Then on the news I hear that the National Party of NSW is threatening to split from the ruling Liberals because they want developers to be able to bulldoze koala habitats for housing. Poor Koalas, if the fires don't kill them, the developers do.
In Australia at the moment the stand-out politician for ethics and responsibility is the Victorian Premier Dan Andrews. His daily press conferences have become a 'must watch' and are a real eye opener for those of us who don't habitually have access to such events. Day after day we listen to Murdoch Press journalists ask questions that can only be designed to catch him out. Andrews stymies them, giving patient, thoughtful and honest answers. Andrews has become so popular there is a trending #IstandwithDan hashtag on twitter. After he outlined his strategy to get Victoria Covid free there was such a combined Murdoch Press and ruling Liberals/National Party pile-on that you wonder how politicians are ok in Australia at any time. There is pervasive talk of PM Morrison being so jealous of Andrew's popularity that he would stop at nothing.
Internationally there is Trump, Boris, Bolsanaro, Xi JinPing.
I don't know. Are we OK?
Addendum: today the Australian newspaper attacks Andrew's wife. Gutter politics, gutter journalism.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Stations in NSW have become the focus for high rise buildings in Sydney. Since regulations were loosened by our neoliberal NSW state government the quality of high rise buildings has become so poor that not even investors are enthusiastic about buying them. There are still some suckers out there like the young woman who featured in the newspapers early in the year. She had spent her fortune on an apartment and was faced with a huge bill for replacing the cladding even before she moved in. She was quoted as saying ' I didn't even know what cladding was, I had to look it up!' Buyer beware.
These highrise buildings are (or were before Covid) spreading relentlessly along highways as well. A piece of publicly owned land on the Princess Highway in Arncliffe was sold (given?) to developers last year and a row of buildings rose out of the ground, ever higher. I have watched it's progress with fascination as it slowly blocked the sun from all around. Late last year the developer went bust and all the investors lost their down payments. The newspapers were full of stories of investors and those who had sold the apartments on commission. The building was eventually restarted and resumed it's climb to the heavens.
Now the buildings are finished and when I go for my early morning walk I marvel at how they dominate the landscape. A lot of apartments in Sydney are vacant now and rents are falling in line with decreasing immigration and non existent students. Not all the lobbyists in Canberra can force the borders open at the moment so the refrigerator salesforce will have to change their sales settings. The second tranche of buyers (if there was one) might be regretting their purchases by now. Houses that have had the sun stolen will be feeling equally disenfranchised.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
I have acquired a rescue cat, third hand. Frankie was originally rescued from a cat rescue place in Melbourne. After several years her rescuer moved and Frankie came to live in Sydney with rescuer's sister. Then several years after that rescuer's sister acquired a dog and poor Frankie was cast into a state of anxiety, so she came to live with rescuer's sister's mother.
Frankie is a sweet little cat, loves a piece of cheese occasionally and a cuddle always.
Monday, August 10, 2020
You have changed blogger so much it is possible to make considered blog posts from a mobile phone. The new version has all the bells and whistles but is impossible to use Perhaps it is ok for adding a photo on the fly ( I haven't tried that) and (I am assuming) from a PC but why don't you get your developers to use a phone to add a blog post with a picture?
It was all so easy before and all so difficult now. It is impossible to add labels easily, impossible to add a title to your photo and in general very difficult to operate. So difficult I suspect your user base will sink considerably.
Why don't you let the people who prefer the old model keep using it instead of pushing all your users to this new user unfriendly version. There would be many that thank you and you could check the stats and see for yourselves how many people find it useful.
The Art Gallery of NSW is helping their members stay sane in lockdown by organising art challenges. There are prizes to be won, like the box of Faber Castell pencils offered this week. for the drawing challenge titled 'Orange'. You have to use drawing tools, not painting.
I suspect their members would enter with or without a prize as anything to keep occupied and interested is welcome when you can't go anywhere due to circulating virus.
Here is my Orange entry, a Hibiscus from my still flowering bush.
Friday, July 24, 2020
I am not sure where either bits of lace came from. One was from the edge an ancient doily, the other is lace from a long forgotten project.
|The first photo was taken before I tidied up the doily lace with a band of material.|
Friday, July 17, 2020
On the Wings of an Albatross - an A-Z of Australian and New Zealand Birds
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
|Children's book: suitable for ages 3-8|
|New Zealand Robin|
One thing led to another and by mid June I was busy developing this children's book. It took a while to learn how the publisher software worked, in particular how to format for print editions.
I have just looked at the price of the paperback on the various Amazon sites.
The price of you buy in the USA is extraordinary, even without postage. IIt is much less expensive elsewhere.
Amazon.com (USA) :
Paperback Price: USD 24.68 = £19.76 =€21.91
eBook: USD 3.43
Saturday, May 02, 2020
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
I had to do something to stop myself becoming obsessed with the virus and painting became my escape route. I woke a couple of times this week, trying to solve painting issues on very large canvases, so I must paint through the night as well as during the day. Painting problems aren't the stuff of nightmares luckily. I suspect I am making up for a year of forced painting abstinence while I was house selling/buying as well.
Now I look back at 2019 and thank my lucky stars that I sold when I did and that I was obsessive in looking for a place to move to. I had a lease that was going to expire on 5 March. Instead I moved in November and now I am glad that I made the decision to break my lease, even with attendant difficulties. I found a successor immediately, and that helped.
There is a little patch of garden here where I am now living which is worth gold during lockdown when even a few steps outside feels like freedom. The few plants I had time to plant before lockdown like their new home and have been flowering I picked all the pre-winter roses in pots or the garden (that was easy as there were not many) to paint and once I started painting them, it was hard to stop. There is something so charming and ephemeral about flowers.
Saturday, April 04, 2020
The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Sometimes it is odd comments by friends that cause one to do a double take. A friend who is newly wealthy (not super rich but well off enough to be able to stop work) commented that he is put out by having to change his plans for the winter. I didn't have much sympathy.
On the other side are those who have never been entitled. As time goes on and people recover from the initial panic, there are signs of community caring everywhere. I was looking out the window just now, watching a neighbour (or perhaps their employee) maintaining the verge in front of their house. He saw me watching and waved. I waved back. Normally people might nod and look away. I looked again and saw him making for my side of the road. We spoke though the window ...he wanted to know if I was ok and was I enjoying it here in my new home. Turns out his home is down the road but he is often at the house of the neighbours - probably family I would think. so now we know each other's names - that is a good beginning to neighbourly relations. The interaction left me feeling very positive about the world.
|On my walk this morning. : Tibouchina - Purple Glory Tree.|