Monday, October 31, 2011

Richard Mills

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I am looking forward to seeing Richard Mills conducting his own opera The Love of the Nightingale at the Sydney Opera House. It has got great reviews.
Richard Mills, sketched on 25 October at a 'Ring Cycle 2013'  function in Sydney.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Native Australian Plants

My long term project is to transform my front garden into a more useful space and today at the Woytopia Festival I joined the initiative to bring small birds back into the garden. In return I was given two native plants, a native Geranium and a Lomandra, a long leafed plant that has big spiky flowers the birds love.  Then I bought a rosemary plant to add some scent.
From left: ceramics made in Dunedin, then Geranium, Lomandra, and Rosemary 

What the tags say:
Pelargonium australe, Wild Geranium soft hairy sprawling perennial, tolerant of coastal conditions and sandy soils. Mauve flower heads appear Nov - May.
Lomandra longifolia, perennial to 1m. Glossy mid green foliage. Tolerant of sandy spoils. Full sun to part shade, well drained soils, benefits from extra water and fertiliser.
Rosemary: doesn't have a tag but my mother recommends that plants with sweet smelling leaves be planted near paths so you can touch the leaves as you pass and take the scent with you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Hot weather equals fishing-from-wharf weather. Yesterday was over 30C and this couple were sitting right on the end of the wharf to fish. Just as well they fished yesterday because today it is cold, windy and wet.
Fishing from the wharf at Patonga

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011

Last night I watched the NZ vs France Rugby World Cup final in a small local NSW pub, one of a group of four NZ supporters organised by an English woman whose partner was in New Zealand for the game. Apart from our group and two other New Zealand women, the whole audience cheered France and jeered New Zealand.
The French played a great game but the Aussie cheers weren't for good French play but against New Zealand; they even cheered when nasty injuries to NZ players were shown close up. I suppose their reaction was exacerbated because their own team was beaten by their little New Zealand cousins the weekend before but I was not prepared for the extent of the hostility.
New Zealander Piri Weepu in action (picture from the official RWC website)
Oh well, I suppose this is one of the reasons I have never been a great fan of football. I never heard one vioinist jeer another, regardless of the passion involved.

Perhaps we were just on the wrong side of the Tasman. In New Zealand the mood seems to have been a bit like that in Sydney during the Sydney Olympics. A party atmosphere and lots of visitors from as far away as  Ireland and Georgia.

Addendum: a NZ-based Englishman wrote a piece for the Telegraph about who to jeer/cheer for, he drew all sorts of crabs from the woodwork. You gotta laugh.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Life Drawing

Classes have finished for the year and I am  looking forward to some down-time. My last class was life drawing:
One minute sketches drawn while trying not to look at the paper
A bit of the more sustained drawing.
I am not sure whether I can show a life drawing on this site. Probably if I uploaded a violent movie no one would object. We live in an odd society.

Friday, October 21, 2011


In 2006 just before I left to study in NZ I bought a mobile phone, a Nokia, the simplest I could find at the time. It has just carked it ... the screen blacked out intermittantly.
As a result I am now the proud owner of an Android smartphone. It is very similar to a prototype I tried a couple of years ago ... but much smarter. Its also a good deal heavier than my wee Nokia, even without all the apps loaded.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ski fields are disappearing

Back in Australia the  newspapers are predicting the melting of Australia's snow fields if climate change progresses as predicted but...
politicians are still playing to climate change deniers.
Someone wrote a song about them:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Train to Sydney

Back to reality ...
... and back on a on the early morning train to Sydney. If you close your eyes it feels as if you are whipping along just like German trains. When you open your eyes you realise sounds can be deceiving and in fact you are trundling along... probably as fast as the tracks will allow.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tulips on the wall

After several trips to the hardware store and lots of reading of the backs of packets of screws I have my first picture rail up and my first paintings hung.
Putting up picture rails taught me that it is a job for a more muscular person than I am who owns a more powerful drill than mine. I plan to have someone else put the other rails up but in the meantime I am pleased to have pictures on at least one wall.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Stud finder blues

I bought a stud finder yesterday and planned to put up my gallery system today but it is not as simple as one might imagine. In the dining room the stud finder found so many electric wires running along the tops of the walls I decided I had better not to touch it. The bedroom had more regular studs and no electric wires so I decided I could install picture rails there myself.
I went off to the building materials shop to get a drill bit (to drill holes in the metal picture rail) and appropriate screws. I asked a couple of blokes at the shop about building methods in the 1960s and whether the wiring was pulled along the top of the walls.
'Oh an old house could be built any way at all,” I was told.
“So what type of tradesman would hang gallery picture rails?”
"Oh just a handyman!".
I remembered the handyman who had cleaned out the gutters for me and said "Oh but he might not know much more than me!"
Both gentlemen looked appalled at the thought.
"Oh yes he would!" one of them said.
"Oh be careful" cautioned the boss, "are you saying she is stupid?"
We joked about that but I could tell I had hurt their feelings.
I explained that I was worried about the electrical wires and the boss gave me the name and number of a local builder. He looked very put out though, like a doctor whose patients who come in with information or misinformation off the Internet.
Its a new world they have to get used to, patients who think they know more than the doctors and women who think they might know as much as a handyman.
I left the shop without the drill bit or the information about whether to use dry wall or wood screws. (I think the latter.) Tomorrow I will go to the friendly little hardware shop in Umina and get the drill bit and I am sure I can find information about screws on the Internet!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Time shift

This morning when I woke my watch said 6am - 11 hours sleep. I got up, showered, ate breakfast, answered some email then looked at my watch again. It was 2am. I must have looked at it upside down earlier and when I thought it was 6am it was actually half past midnight. Jetlag does funny things to your system.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


It is 5:18 on the day after a long haul flight. I am struggling to keep my eyes open even though I slept 11 hours last night.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Wide awake on a long haul flight

Note to self:  If you have a late night long haul flight:
#1 don't drink a strong coffee the afternoon before and
#2 don't drink a beer in the airport before take off to help you sleep.
#1 + #2 = "shattered in Singapore"
Orchids in Singapore Airport