Category Archives: gardening

deep gratitude

Leisure enough to observe and enjoy the mesembryanthemum

After a busy weekend – plus lots of laundry, of course – I was less than bright and bubbly come Monday morning. It was fabulous to know that I could either roll over and go back to sleep if I wanted to, or simply take a few extra minutes then grab my coffee after everyone else had finished. Some sort of mix generally has more appeal and I don’t wand to miss out every morning on having coffee with the menfolk.

The days are sunnier and warmer (I say optimistically, though we’re also enduring low temperatures and torrential rain – but the ground isn’t as chilly as it has been and the daylight hours are definitely longer). The airborne nasties are making their presence felt and pollen levels are now indicated on the official weather site. Our noses are sufficiently sensitive to know that antihistamine ingestion would not be out of place. Sneezing inside a full-face motorbike helmet is yukky and dangerous. That happened to YoungB a few years ago and, as much all of us laughed when he told us, there’s no doubt it’s best avoided.

I can head out to long lunches or afternoon tea dates with friends and other family members, and casually spend the afternoon walking around a new housing development before hopping on a train to come home. All during working hours. And I can have late nights on the weekend after social outings that I was able to accept very last minute, because I don’t have to worry about being at my best the following morning for work.

I’ve resigned my union membership, which feels rather strange after so many years of solidarity. Without that ongoing financial commitment, I can take out a subscription to an e-book platform. I know that some of the lighthearted titles I have on my – lengthy! – book recommendation list won’t be available through the local library and I wouldn’t buy them myself as p-books. Some platforms have certain titles available free with a monthly subscription, making that cheaper than buying and therefore a cost-effective option. I just have to remember not to stay up all night reading, simply because I know that I don’t have to be up early next day. It’s probably not good for my blood pressure.

I have yet to start any Christmas crafting. The pageant is looming and, although I’m not there to see it from the office window, I’m sure the tree is going up in Vic Square. Another year is drawing to a close. We’ve had highs and lows and the pandemic is not over, but we’re all still here. I’m grateful for that, too.

And, you know, sunshine or storm – some days both! – we’re warm and secure.


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tantalising teaser

Sunshine helps the agapanthus flourish

It’s amazing what a few days of sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures will do for overall wellbeing. It’s also helpful with reducing the “have to wash” laundry backlog. Of course, the “have to put away” laundry backlog has increased commensurately. I note only that, while I remain a finite energy machine, I appreciate the glimpse, the promise, of the hot summer days that are surely just around the corner.

On a day that was sufficiently sunny and almost-warm, YoungB hopped on his treadley for his daily commute. He wanted to trial a different route and to put the new – to him – end-of-trip facilities to the test, but he might have been less keen had there been a torrential downpour or killer winds.

He reported that the facilities are infinitely better than those in the previous job, which didn’t have any, and on a par with those available in other parts of the precinct. Not unexpectedly, like most places with large workforces, the shift-based honour system for lockers isn’t always as honourable as you might hope.

Bike storage and showers are secure, but getting a locker? Not going to happen. YoungB half-joked that he’d be prepared to perpetuate the injustice if he were ever fortunate enough to find an open locker. In general, however, lack of a locker won’t deter him from riding his bike more frequently once the weather is more consistently agreeable.

In the meantime, the wind and rain remind us that spring is only just here, and it’s foolish to expect much nice weather this early in the season. Taking that into consideration, and rather than having to battle the elements as well as the lack of locker, YoungB is happy to use public transport.

The sunshine will return. I hope you’re getting some sunshine, too.


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green and growing, thank you

Flourishing after being rescued from a building site

It’s winter. It’s cold and miserable. I thought that YoungB showed a fair amount of dedication the other day when he headed out to catch up with friends. In this weather, if it had been me? I might have coughed down the phone and pleaded potential contagion!

No, really, I probably wouldn’t have done that. I’m pleased to be WFH at present, however busy we are and as flaky as the technology occasionally proves, because the notion of standing around at cold, wet, windy bus stops is as unappealing as ever. Besides, my brolly might blow inside out.

Not being in the CBD means that I am, of course, completely out of the loop with What’s Happening to the GPO Renovations! But I can provide a little garden update: the geraniums I rescued from a local building site continue to flourish. Well, I never.

Whatever your weather is doing, I hope that you, too, have something cheerful and flourishing to ponder.


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employment-go-round again

I’ll miss watching the progress – and the view 🙂

YoungB’s contract is at an an end, so he’s on the job-hunt. Again. The thing about our recent elections – both state and federal – is that the change of government (at both levels) means that there are opportunities aplenty in different fields, some of which he might find appealing. He’s had his resume professionally tarted up – I beg your pardon; updated – and it’s impressive.

Me? I’ve officially notified the Powers That Be the date on which I’ll be retiring later this year. Leadership at work seems surprised. I don’t know why! My age is no secret. I’ve clearly been suffering work-related aggravations to existing health problems ever since I started there. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my intentions. Why is it suddenly unexpected, and something they hadn’t foreseen? You know that emoji where you smack yourself? Yeah. That seemed about the right response; but I didn’t.

Someone who appreciates why retirement is a good idea asked me what I’m going to do – apart from all the obvious things like crochet and knit, of course – and I said I might cook. She thought that was a wonderful idea. So did I. I like cooking. I would have to shoo Dr B out of the kitchen – it is his domain, after all – but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me elbowing into his space if it means he has more time to do other things. I would bake, too. It would be gratifying to go back to making bread. That was one of my great pleasures that simply disappeared.

Dodgy back and leg notwithstanding, some routine exercise will also feature large. It’s most likely to be continuing the hydro-pool exercise classes that I presently attend. They’re generally kind in terms of both parts of the physique and, because it’s a therapy pool, the water is always wondrously warm. I would be free to join a book club. Or a gardening club. Or a photography group. Or all of the above!

I could once again suss out options for joining local choirs. This time, when they all respond with some version of, “We rehearse and perform during the day, during the week,” thus putting such delights entirely out of full-time worker contention, it wouldn’t matter. I’d have that availability.

I might by then have reached the top of the waiting list for eye surgery, and, postoperatively, be able to see better than ever – really ever, as I’ve been wearing specs pretty much all my life – and then I might be able to reinvigorate my sewing and make some inroads on all those projects that are presently too difficult. Oh, boy. And people wonder if I’ll have enough to do. Smack-yourself emoji again, I think.

Meanwhile, however, there’s a certain amount of excitement and tension around YoungB’s potential new job. There are choices in fields where he has qualifications and expertise, and there are choices in fields that would suit his outgoing personality. There are jobs with crossover. He’s already sent inquiries and job applications. It’s going to be an interesting few months, watching how everything turns out, but he is likely to have some much-needed downtime before starting in any new position, whatever the field.

During that downtime, I anticipate the mealtime conversation will centre on matters mechanical. I’ll be knitting in my room, if you’re looking for me 😀


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weeds and blooms

More or less most of my garden, although there is another geranium

I’m still clumping about in my moon boot. Because it tends to make me unbalanced, I’m not being particularly dedicated about outdoor activities that require bending over. I might tip beyond a point of no return. This obviously includes weeding my small garden. I think you can see that in the above photo. I’m pleased that the flowers are blooming and the nearby apricot blossoms are also flourishing. YoungB is looking after his potted plant well enough that it has several new shoots. I don’t know if that counts as dedication, but it’s not full-scale neglect. We’re in front.

I am dedicated enough about my crochet that I’ve now finished working back along row 6 and am just over halfway along the row 7 squares. One night, I was so tired that it took me three or four attempts to get just one centre right. I read that as a message and went to bed once I’d finally finished the square and attached it to the blanket.

There’s a run of periwinkle centres in this row, so I’ve made a few. I’m attaching middles in batches, too, where there are repeated colours. There are no rules about the best way to get it done. Sometimes I can do batches, sometimes I can’t. Sitting at home is better suited to that sort of piecework approach, because I’m far less likely to lose anything. I can hide away in the spare room while the Bs watch TV.

I hope you’re finding pleasant hiding places, too, when you need a break from the madness of the outside world.


Posted by on September 19, 2021 in Crochet, gardening, Health


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warmth you can feel

The rescued geranium also enjoyed the sun

Earlier today, I sat out in the backyard to crochet some more of the temperature blanket. The ambient temperature was bearable, and when I was out of the breeze, the sunshine on my back was palpably warm. The extra lumens were also useful aids to visibility and certainly helped me to see what I was doing. I enjoyed myself for at least a little while.

I have had a slow couple of weeks with regard to crochet, or any other sort of crafty endeavour. Work has been busy and will continue to be so for the next few months as new agreements go out, others come to an end, and continuing agreements hit peak reporting. It’s the nature of the job. Unsurprisingly, it has meant I’ve been utterly sapped of energy by day’s end. If I’ve sat in front of the TV with Dr B once or twice, I don’t remember it!

One night, I talked myself into working out from two powder blue centres I’d managed to make while commuting. I couldn’t wield a hook long enough to add either of them to the blanket. That’s what I was doing today. But I must report that today’s minimum was so low that it’s going to require an Indian blue centre! Clear, frosty nights precede clear, sunny days; like today. The sun is just far enough back to our side of the planet that you can actually feel its warmth.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are.


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back past the hottest day

Bright magenta getting its first outing. All ends woven in.

I haven’t done too badly with crochet this weekend. The weather hasn’t been conducive to long hours outdoors although I managed to potter about in the garden for a while on Saturday morning and it looks better for the attention. Laundry has, necessarily, been undertaken but hung indoors.

That square with the purple outer edge represents our hottest day so far this year. I don’t anticipate the magenta will get another outing until much later in the year, but I know that the holly – which is the outer edge of the square to the left of the purple-edged one – has a bit more of a run coming up in the next row. That’s the sort of colour you’d expect in any representation of Aussie summer, according to Dr B. He was utterly unconvinced about the magenta.

In terms of recording temperatures, I have now reached the point where maxima match earlier minima. This means that the pale eucalypt and powder blue will see lots of use. I would like to stay home and crochet all day, so that I could finish row 2 and make a start on row 3, but tomorrow is Monday so the paid employment beckons.

I hope you’re also having a few colorful spots in your crafting endeavours 🙂


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not that right

I spotted these colourful hollyhocks in a neighbourhood garden

The other day, the Bs were out on a motorcycle jaunt. I decided to go for a walk. I know I’ve written at length about the walking options in our neighbourhood. That day, I decided I’d do the right-hand loop. In my mind’s eye I could see the long, straight uphill haul that would be my halfway point. I put a load of laundry to do its stuff – see what I did there?! – grabbed my water bottle and off I went.

And that was sort of that, because I wasn’t paying attention to anything much and turned left, not right. It makes no difference at all to the distance travelled, merely puts the ups and downs in reverse order. Perhaps it was my subconscious telling me that going the other way made for a warmer start, and that the shaded part of the path would be less shady if I left it till later; all of which was and is quite true.

I’ve been out walking a few mornings lately – the energy of it, all before work! – because it’s a time of day that, dislike it as I might, seems to fit in better with a working day that exhausts me. There’s less traffic about, so the air is crisp and not yet filled with exhaust fumes, and sometimes I do stop to look at the flowers. I don’t feel virtuous, but it must be doing me good.

I hope all your exercise makes you feel virtuous and does you good 😀


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waving goodbye-hello anyway

Borrowed a lovely photo of Sydney celebrations

I’m sure I’ve said before that there’s no real “new beginning” with a new calendar year. It’s just another day. We might want 2021 to be different, but we’re still in the middle of a lot of what 2020 threw at us and many parts of the world are heading into repeat lockdown. Here, concerns remain re outbreaks in eastern states.

During 2020 I learnt that, although we can manage with only a 4-pack of loo paper per loo, it feels like the worst sort of Domestic Provisioning 101 fail: poor forward planning and organisation, and tricky if you’re nowhere near the shops. I also learnt that awful loo paper is, indeed, awful.

I learnt that sometimes I have unexpected gardening successes. My geraniums are still flourishing and beginning to flower again to greet whatever 2021 has in store for us. The kalanchoe is also flourishing (nicely neglected as it is).

I was reminded that UHT milk still tastes fairly awful, but – as ever – when it’s all you have, you can make do with it. And, as awful goes, it’s not in the same league as awful loo paper 🙂

I was reminded, with great force, that computers are simultaneously a blessing and a curse as I endured technology problems that felt like the IT team didn’t meet its KPIs. At. All. Perhaps the team was sulking. Perhaps its hardworking members were actually exceeding their KPIs and the system was simply not up to the task (I suspect the latter).

I was reminded that I am absolutely not a public servant. While much has improved, many of the underlying systems that prompted me to leave a gazetted Commonwealth position over 40 years ago have not disappeared; and implementation of draconian policies remains unappealing. No matter. As I’ve said before, the section where I work has some heartwarming outcomes. Perhaps that’s enough.

Whatever 2020 held for you, and whatever 2021 holds for all of us, may there be heartwarming moments that help to diffuse the grumpiness arising from having to deal with tetchy technology.

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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in gardening, Musing


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growing despite setbacks

It blew over and kept growing anyway

It’s been a day where Dr B has worked on home maintenance and I’ve more or less taken care of laundry and the kitchen. He made the pizzas tonight. I mean, there are rules around cultural appropriation. Right?!

It’s been entertaining to receive some “Santa 2020” photos, with Santa physically separated from the children by a variety of means including extra large seats or piles of parcels. Most people comment that they’re weird. I see them as historical documents. Some years from now, people are going to wonder what that was all about. My observation is that the children seem happier sitting with their parents, but what would I know? The children are growing, and the annual photos prove that. Santa might sometimes be happier, too, without the children screaming quite so loudly.

The agapanthus are also growing, although they are now well past their best. One was broken by wind, two others bent over but didn’t break. The one in the photos is practically horizontal with the ground, but still blooming beautifully.

If you’re horizontal, I hope it’s from choice and not the effects of a gale 🙂

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Posted by on December 12, 2020 in gardening


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