Friday, November 30, 2007

Island Transport.

For years we had just the one car & if we needed it on the mainland we loaded it onto the vehicular barge & paid a small fortune for the privilege. Naturally we didn't take the car to the mainland very often.

These days I have a little red Hyundai on the island. Theo parks his work vehicle at the marina on the mainland & collects fines because parking is at a premium, there isn't enough of it & no~one wants to deal with the problem despite the fact nearly all these people work on the mainland & need independent transport as the public system they promised us would connect beautifully with the boats doesn't! Now Liddy also has a mainland car (which I use because she still can't drive) & we have to park it a longish walk away to escape the fines. I could bus us to her usual park. lol.

We aren't stupid. We knew there was no bridge arriving any time soon when we moved here & accepted that there were certain limitations that went with our lifestyle choices. The barge & boat can be a pleasant trip, winding as they do around the islands but it does not pay to be in a hurry ~ ever!

Things are more regulated these days (aren't they everywhere?) but we have lived here long enough to have seen the barge so loaded there were vehicles half hanging over the ramps, (glad it wasn't me), the day one sank (yep, & she was empty; makes you wonder) & who could forget the joyful day the cement truck came screaming down the hill, horn blaring madly, shot straight down the barge ramp, onto the barge & almost off the other end, his brakes having failed on the downhill run! No wonder so many islanders end up a little quirky!

Friday's shopping.

Old mother Hubbard went to the cupboard....& it was very bare, which is what happens when I don't shop regularly. I was going to go yesterday but I felt sick & woosed so today I girded my loins, organized Ditz & prepared to face the fray. I promptly fell asleep on the boat going over to the mainland! Ditz had to wake me twice coming into the marina. Not a good start to the day. I seriously considered the bus but knowing Liddy's car needed a run I dutifully walked all the way up to her parking spot, struggled with the steering lock & battery. I nearly went straight home again. I tried again & this time found life in the old girl, much to Ditz's relief.

I'm not one for gadgets but the kettle has been leaking for a month so it was time to buy a new one. My, oh my! Wasn't that a rude shock. Serious dent in the budget. Now if I don't shop for a month (& it's been 6 weeks this time) life becomes seriously unhinged. Half my household can't use soap & relies on body wash. The other half can't stand body wash & insists on soap. No problemo if I rotate what I buy every fortnight. Not even a problem if I were talking one or two products, but no. This one wants baked beans for the carbs but that one wants spagetti because it won't give him gas & the other one prefers red salmon, red not pink. The girls won't touch any of it. You start to get the picture. I tottered round the shop mentally calculating what I could cut off my list. Not the toilet cleaner; I have 3 blokes in the house & I have a thing about the loo. Not the shampoo; Liddy's been screaming we've been out of shampoo for a month. What does she use it as? Mouthwash? Ditz takes the trolley off me. She now considers me an unsafe driver. All I want to do is curl up on the floor & go to sleep. Can you imagine the looks I'd get? Ditz would never let it happen.

Finally, finally I crawl back to the car, my wallet considerably lighter but the precious note that will buy the next lot of multi~tickets for the boat still safely tucked in my purse. Like a horse scenting the home stretch my head is up & my tail high. I put Ditz out at the marina with all the groceries & decide along the way I really don't want to walk all the way from Liddy's usual parking spot. I duck into the 7 day park. After all I'm back over on Wednesday. Ditz has her audition time. Don't talk to me about it. I am suffering serious nerves on her behalf. Ditz never suffers but firstly we got just 5 days notification & secondly they asked for a backing track. A what? Appalled I sent a frantic e~mail asking would they object if the child sang a Capella? Apparently not but now I have constant ninging as well as singing. Argh! For those who don't know ninging ( a type of humming) puts the voice on pitch. Don't ask I have no idea how this works but apparently it does.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We got home from camping just in time for our supervisor's visit.

One of the things Ditz loves to do for her supervisor is cook something yummy for morning tea.

With me being sick & not having shopped in over a month her choices were fairly limited. Luckily Avacados are in season so she made guacomole dip (her first time though she's watched Liddy do it heaps) & a fruit platter. Her flair & eye for colour show up even in the most mundane ways. Um, yes, that's pretty much the stunned look our science got.

Oh, & the Ditz auditions sometime next month for VM. She is spending hours (literally) on the computer practising her chosen song. I am about ready to rend the air with my wailing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Sian in the rainforest & yes, the light really is that green.
About this point we'd run out of expletives & were saying we'd been saturated with so much loveliness we were practically overdosed.

One of the bigger waterfalls.

Weaver bird nest. There was another one on the same branch a bit higher & further out. They build colonies though 2 together is the most we saw.

the campsite ~ the rainforest & waterfalls start just the other side of the hill on the other side, less than a five minute walk. We were grateful for the rain. The cloud cover meant it wasn't stinking hot on the site, not that we were there all that much.

One of the many waterfalls. This is only a little one.

Blue Crane ~ which is actually a heron, not a crane. lol. This is along the stretch of water we saw our platypus. The banks have to be soft for burrowing & the water pretty still.

Going walkies. Ditz was our photographer so there's some pretty shocking pics of Sian & I! Parts of the area are being rejuvenated & are heavily mulched ~ the barren looking areas.

We stopped for morning tea at the place below & were directed to the bottom of the garden to feed these enormouse catfish & tiny tortoises ~ that's what's causing the ripples.

Sian had a sensible breakfast of poached eggs on toast while Ditz & I gorged on ginger snaps filled with cream! If I'm honest all my kids worst eating habits they learnt from me ~ chocolate pudding for breakfast, icream in the coffee.

The Warrie curcuit.

The Warrie Circuit is the walk we wanted to do.
It is 17ks of the most rugged terrain & they say a 5~6 hour walk. I reckon closer to 8 for us but we didn't get to do it.
Firstly we had forgotten it was *schoolies* & our first night the nearby band let rip at full blast until about 3am so no~one slept. I figure they wrecked at least one set of amps.
Secondly because we hadn't slept we didn't get to the starting point until about 11am, which was a bit late really.
Thirdly, we got there & I chronically read all the info posted on the signboards; can't help it; it's a disease I have & what the information said was we should have a map, a first aid kit, food & water, stout shoes & be pretty fit as the level of difficulty was *hard*. Hm. We had the food & water. I never wear shoes except for soccer & as we were all woggy we could hardly be described as fit. We opted to just do the Twin Falls circuit which is part of the larger Warrie Circuit & we did an extra loop which is the start of the Warrie Circuit proper. It is stunningly beautiful but we were wise not to go this time & are planning it properly for February as even the shorter walk took us much longer than suggested (like 2 hours longer!)
The 2nd pic is just to show the sort of country & waterfalls generally. This is up in the mountains of the Great Divide & its no wonder so many of our early explorers went into this sort of country & were never seen again. This is part of the Gondwana rainforests, from back when Oz was still hooked up to Tazzie & Asia & formed when Mt Warning was still an active volcano.
The first picture is along the circuit so you can see the sort of country we were walking through. The big grassy looking thing on the right hand boulder is a flax lily & it was flowering! We also saw one poor, sad little cray in a rock pool. The temperature plummets in the rainforest & even though I wore a jacket in & we were walking steadily I froze all the way round. Warnings posted about the tracks & keeping kids under control because the edges are unsafe even though they are mostly fenced. There are 11 waterfalls along this track; some of them you have to walk under & the water is freezing! Some of it is virgin rainforest too & how it escaped the axe I do not know. Our forebears were not environmentalists!

Glow worms & Fireflies.

We had two night excursions to see the fireflies & glow worms. These are not related to American fireflies or *lightening bugs*. I know; I asked. The glow worms are light sensitive so no cameras & the pics are thanks to Gary's research site. I can't say Ditz was all that thrilled with the glow worms though these little maggots emit their light from 'body wastes'. Body waste is excreted either as a gas, as water or as light. Gary described the flashing of the fireflies as farts, which totally delighted Ditz's cruder inclinations. The maggots must eat all they need to reproduce in the maggot stage as the adult firefly has no mouth & cannot feed. (Yeah, I was fascinated; Ditz played with the dog!)

The next night we scrambled into Gary's jeep to be taken down the back of his property & deep into Yowie territory to see the fireflies. We stuck Sian in the front. She has a Yowie thing. It's not that I'm a disbeliever exactly, I just think the probability of seeing one given all the noise we were making (& remember we had Ditz with us!) was extremely remote.

Hurtling round a mountainside in the pitch black along the edge of a precipice is much more Ditz's sort of thing, appealing as it does to her theatrical inclinations. There were just the 4 of us & Gary had us counting fireflies for his research & happily told us the difference between male & female flashes (the females remain stationary). This is a unique colony as two different species of firefly live cheek by jowl & Gary is trying to determine how they sort out their mating. The mind boggles at what occupies a scientist's mind!

It truly was like standing in a fairy land with little tinkerbells flitting here, there & everywhere... Then Gary handed Ditz His firefly catcher. Once she got her first one the child was completely enchanted & happily scooted round the rocky terrain in the pitch dark nabbing fireflies. She got one of each species & one female ~ grand total of 4!

It was one thing to hurtle down into the valley, quite another to get back out after the light rainfall we'd been having. The narrow track was incredibly slippery & at some point the jeep simply refused to go forward any more & began a long downhill slide. Now my dad owned property, usually steep property, so the perils of rough terrain are not unknown to us & we happily sat while Gary apologised, climbed out & hooked up the winch to winch us over the unnavigable bit. The second time he had to hoy us all out of the jeep & Ditz & I had fun teasing Sian (booga~wooga~woo) that we were all alone, deep in the bush, in Yowie country! Yeah, well, you know, we love Sian & she's a good sport.

I think Ditz enjoyed the fireflies the most of anything we did. Sian & I were too slow for her on the walks & the walks were mostly a bit long. The four hour one did her in & she is refusing to consider the Warrie circuit. I told her if she won't walk it she can't come next time & she had such a lovely time overall I can't see her agreeing to be left behind next time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sian has been to Sprinbrook before; well, we have too, just not very recently, so she was keen to take us on all her favourite short walks. After the first one Sian couldn't believe me. She'd done a few of the walks last time with our Liddy & Liddy can do a walk in 1/2 the time most people can but unless she actually falls over it she doesn't see much. Now I'm exactly the opposite. I take twice as long to do the walk but miss very little if it's there to be seen. If it moves I'm tracking it. If it rustles I'm looking & I scan the trees for nests, which is how come I spotted a weaver bird nest not a hundred yards in & right on the track at Best of Lookout.

Ok, I'll give you these messy little constructions don't much look like a nest but once you know that's what they are they're easier & easier to spot. We saw at least 5, all inhabited, & one under construction. This was the walk we saw little *hoppers*. I have no idea what the technical name is but they look & move like tiny wallabies. We also saw what was probably a bush rat ~ not to be confused with your common household rodent. Rufous fantails & yellow robins were also spotted & a tiny logrunner right beside the path.

Now what gets me riled is we saw all this because we were quiet & patient but so many people all passed us on the path, intent only on getting to the lookout & back to their car as quickly as possible & saw none of this. I managed to flag one couple down & ask them to be quiet so as not to disturb the logrunner & they were totally astonished there was something there to see! I do not know what the lookout attraction is. It's only the Gold Coast & once you've seen all those horrible skyscrapers littering the beach from one angle you've seen all there is to see so why bother again?

We saw wrens close to the camp site & my personal favourite, a male satin bower bird. Now these not only build a bower to woo their lady love but decorate it with anything blue that they can find or steal & spend hours redecorating the bower with all their blue bits. We heard lots of other birds too. I'm not so good on recognising any but the most common calls ~ kookaburras, whip birds (lots of those) mopokes.
What I kept thinking as I walked through this amazing place was not how great God's creation is (though I did think that too) but how all of creation stands in expectation of the revealing of the sons of man. God's world desires to know who really are God's people. That is rather a sobering thought.

Platypi Spotting.

The NaNo site, which is always slow & notoriously unreliable, is doing such horrible things to my word count that I am too sick to deal with that I have abandoned it to its own quirkiness for my blog, which I am reasonably certain of not crashing again.

The one thing Sian, Ditz & I were really keen on spotting while we were away was a platypus in the wild. See picci ~ not one of ours.

Now for my non Aussie friends Springbrook sits in the hinterland of the N.S.W/Queensland border & is sub~tropical rainforest, amongst other things. It is also Yowie country ~ & no we are not talking sheep here. Think Bunyip. Think Big Foot. It is rugged terrain & after the little bit of rain we've had the waterfalls were all rather spectacular.

We camped near Purling Brook Falls, & I do mean camped. No trailers, campervans, caravans, just a little 3 man tent, a tarp & a gas burner. I do have pics of the camp site; I just have to get Ditz to do the downloading.

About a 5 minute walk from the camp site is the Purling Brook Falls & for the 3 days we were there we walked the circuit in the late evening. Sian was desperate to see a platypus & felt the Lord had said *wait*. I'd already been on Ditz's case because you see nothing if you make noise & sitting quietly with a pair of binoculars admiring the scenery is not Ditz's idea of fun! Sian did see something the first day but wasn't quite sure what. I picked a place further along the river & spent a frustrating hour watching big black shadows & enormous ripples but unable to determine exactly what I was looking at. This is, apparently, typical of seeing platypi. They are extraordinarily hard to spot even when you know exactly what you are looking for. On balance I think we did see platypi at two different locations. Plus I delighted Sian by pointing out the burrow ~ well I'm pretty certain it was the burrow.

These animals are notoriously shy & most people never see one. They feed at dawn & dusk, the best times for platypi spotting, which was why we were sharing space with the mosquitoes & gnats & foregoing cooking dinner while it was still light.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Weekend Insanity.

I got pluerisy after my twins were born. My lungs are not what they used to be. I have had a niggle in my left lung for nearly two weeks but while it was getting no better it was getting no worse either so given how much I just love doctors & medications I ignored the thing & continued more or less as normal. Life does not stop because mum is sick.

Friday, after the surgery is shut & the only 2 medical options available are 1. put myself on a boat & drive myself to emergency & wait on my own for hours on end in a disease infected environment for treatment that may or may not be available or 2. call out the ambulance & go through the above procedure, my left lung decides to have the sort of serious tantrum I can no longer ignore. I was in pain. I was reaching that point where not breathing was a better option than breathing ~ not a good place to go & not helped by Ditz hovering going,'You can't die.' Thanks, Ditz. I made myself an inhaler & breathed noxious fumes until the worst of the pain had subsided, dosed mysef with Vix, took a painkiller & went to bed.

Saturday was quite bearable & I slept most of the day having decided I'd ask the elders to pray for me at church in the morning, which they did. I felt heaps better though the niggle was still there.

Now this is the insane bit. We an an inter island soccer game Sunday arvo. Ditz was keen. Liddy wanted to sit in the sun & watch because she had a bunged up knee from her game Saturday. I put my shoes in the car thinking I'd just stand on the pitch in the sun to make the 11th man, which for most of the game is exactly what I did. I did not run. I did not exert myself in any way at all. The occassional ball rolled my way & I booted it as far from me as possible. However, just as the 2nd half got under way I moved to intercept a throw in. Unfortunately one of our teens also had his eye on the ball & went to banana kick it as I moved forward. End result: a knee to my solar plexus. I dropped like a load of lead completely unable to breath at all.

I was dragged off the pitch moaning & groaning, with Liddy scolding, 'You're not going back out there.' I did not want to go back out there. The thing is, when I was finally able to breathe again, whatever was blocking my lung had shifted & I was breathing easily for the first time in 2 weeks. I wouldn't recommend it as a way to be healed & I am still making a doctor's appointment this morning but you wouldn't believe it, would you.

Mouse Tails.

Over on Mama2my6pack Dawn posts regularly (with pics) the choice food finds her kids hide in obscure & not so obscure places. I hate to admit it but my household can outdo her. (Issi, I hold you personally responsible!)

Sunday morning I tottered downstairs after the hellish 2 nights I'd just had with my lungs deciding to pack it in, as they insist on doing whenever an infection hits my chest. I pop my single slice of toast in the toaster & the smell of singed hair assails my nostrils. With 3 females & plenty of long hair floating around the house I don't think anything of it & while I butter my toast ask the Ditz if she will please look for the offending hair & remove it.

If you have a week stomach DO NOT READ ON. What Ditz found in my toaster was a mouse. That's right, a mouse, all wedged between the wires & smoking nicely. I was not well. I was promptly less well. So pleased I never did take that first bite of toast.

I had a serious meltdown. The wretched cat has been picking off a mouse nest one by one for weeks, batting the poor little things all over the house then leaving revolting remains for unsuspecting persons to step on in the dark!

Now I am perfectly happy for the animal to catch & eat the vermin who have no business living in my house. I seriously object to him putting one in my toaster. Not happy, Iss.

The Ditz, who is a wonderful little person, took the toaster away & removed the mouse ~ except for the tail which inexplicably was glued to a wire. I had a horrible 1/2 hour trying to scub the insides of the toaster ~ an exercise in frustration ~ while trying to decide how much hot soapy water anywhere on the wretched thing was too much.
Iss, no more mice in the toaster, ok?

Friday, November 23, 2007

We have the best sports oval going.

I thought I'd add this one for fun. This is our sports oval. When all else fails we use the view as a distraction for oppossing teams. Somewhere in this photo my sons are strutting their stuff. They are the team's fast bowlers. I'm told they're fast, accurate & deadly. I wouldn't know. Unless someone is actually shattering the bails at the time I think cricket is a pretty dull way to pass the time. I can stand to watch for about an hour & hope to goodness that my sons do something spectacular in that time. Their best mate, who is taller than the two of mine put together, plays wickie.

We play soccer down here too. It's not uncommon to find Ditz standing in the middle of the pitch *stargazing*. It's nesting season & the maggies are dive bombing everything that moves out there at present so you'll see frantic kids scuttling away from the ball with their hands whirlwinding wildly & a ballistic black & white bird hot on their tail!

Cat in a Doll House.

And just in case you didn't think the cat was completely insane , here's where he likes to sleep. Yep! That's the girls' doll house! It's a tight fit these days but he squashes in somehow.

Cat on a verandah.

This is our verandah under construction. Yes, there is a big drop under it, no, it's not screwed down yet & look where our loopy cat likes to sit.

Cats amaze me with their sense of balance. If I stood there I'd take the verandah down the hill with me!


The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Laugh Out Loud.

Well folks, it's offical; we know squat all about being proper scientists!

We had our Supervisory visit this week ~ after our weekend (& yes folks, I'm getting to it but NaNo is in it's downhill slide so just be patient ; the promised pics are on their way!), & with me no longer multi~tasking. (I took the poor lady to her boat an hour early & had to turn round & bring her home again. lol.) Flu still raging & I am so tired of coughing like a drowning man. My ribs hurt. *whinge* *whine*

Sooo, anyways....We were showing off all the work we couldn't send in the mail ~ the koi kite (it turned out really cool), the research papers on kimono, bonsai, & Children's Day; the dictation & sentence pharsing & of course the science workbook. Now those of you who remember the blog I so successfully crashed may remember me mentioning that our marine biology more closely resembled art than science. Our supervisor agreed! Oh, all the information was there ~ in picture form! Our supervisor has always liked Ditz's artwork & liked her tidal pool page so much she included it under art!!! Man, oh man. Before I could become insanely embarrassed she marked every thing VHA or HA (very high achievement /high achievement.) Meanwhile Ditz was trying to pretend she didn't have a brain in her head just in case anyone actually thought of checking in there! I hate it when she does that. Perish the thought anyone might think she's smart!
Our supervisor is a sweetie & we enjoy her visits ~ & P.S ~ she has Ditz pegged!!! *yay!* Very funny to watch.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bits & Pieces.

I couldn't resist this one: Christianity with attitude!

The NaNo is inching towards 30 000 but the Ditz & I are going away for the weekend to Springbrook. Three days with a friend! We hope to do the long all day walk & see the firefly caves. The bugs should be in their luminesent stage now & glowing in the dark like Tinkerbelle. I am still wogy & not sure how well I will do but we have been planning this for months & I wouldn't miss it for the world. I'm borrowing Libby's camera ~ if I can find it, so piccies when I get back. Basically this is Ditz's graduation treat because being homeschoolers we don't do dances & stuff. I mean, people do, it's just we don't.

Seeing as the cat was a psychotic mess after yesterday, when he was the only one left in the house (even Dearest was out all day) I can't think what state he'll be in when I get home. Two concerts for Ditz yesterday & full on rehearsals. Would you believe it, the child was perfectly happy & not the least bit tired?! I wish I could get that sort of focus & concentration for her school work.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Some days...

Some days I am just to small to hold all of me. Or I need a couple of extra life times. I can't seem to squeeze in all the things I want to do & all the things that need to be done with all the things that should be done & there are only so many hours in any given day for doing any of it. At times like this I actually understand why the Celts would agree to the paying off of a debt in the next life. Why not? It's at least as sensible as anything else.

It's true I do not have a mind that deals well with the prosaic mundane matters of life & just at present it is fully occupied with things that do truely interest me: my book, which has just developed some intersting & intriguing twists, & my research on Solomon's Song of Songs. This silly fluey thing that just will not go away & matters of food consumption do not interest me in the least. Unfortunately they will not go away. I truely resent the time I loose dealing with these boring matters, particularly as I am a very slow writer & a brilliant procrastinator. Now why can't I be satisfied procrastinating with matters that need doing & bore me? Good question.


Forsake not God till you find a better master.”
Scottish Proverb

Saturday, November 10, 2007

ramblings of a temperature crazed nanoist.

Anyone who really wants to know what goes on in my warped little mind may scroll to the bottom of the page & link to my nano. I wouldn't recommend it unless you are very stout of heart. Why a non~confrontational pacifist with Quaker inclinations writes bloodthirsty fantasy I do not know. Maybe I just have a a schizophrenic personality. Maybe it's my way of venting.

Meanwhile, in the real world the rain is coming down in bucket loads & the cat is having a meltdown. Unfortunately he is having it all over me & as we are going into summer & he is a double coated animal I am staring to feel like I am growing a fur coat, he has shed so much fur over me. I am running a raging temperature & do not need a fur coat. No wonder the cat's psychotic.

Oh No, NaNo!

I've done it; I've finally corrupted the child beyond all hope of redemption. Yep, this afternoon Ditz signed up to do NaNo too!

The fight for the computer is on! I am only at 10 000 words ~ not enough. Ditz has 3 000. I am so chuffed. Not because Ditz is into something I am into (though that's nice too) but because this is the child who hates writing & turns it into a major drama any time you ask her to write anything & procrastinates like nobody's business. Whether she gets to 50 000 or not is so not the point. The point is she is motivated to write ~ lots & lots & lots.

Now I just have to figure out how I get my novel written!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


My bizarre sense of humour gets a little out of control at times & the sad fact of the matter is that I am not a realist. Reality sucks. OK, not all the time but far too often & I so dislike things like bills & schedules & agendas. Which is why I fantasise about moving to Pern. For the uninitiated, Pern doesn't actually exist, except in the warped imagination of Ann MacCaffery.

Pern is that wonderful world where humans who bond with dragons hear them telepathetically & ride them ~ & there is a Harper Hall; I'm very fond of the Harper Hall.

The trouble with my in jokes is that I'm often the only one who gets them, so I thought I'd share. Laugh if you like. Remember I haven't asked you what strange fantasies you indulge in when no~one's looking. Perhaps you don't. Now I would find that very sad. Fantasy is a wonderful gift; It touches the mundane with magic.


“Stick with the optimists. It's going to be tough enough even if they're right.”


A Bird Tale.

I have the lurgy. Writing about how sick I feel will bore all of us & not make me feel any better so I thought I'd share yet another bird story. Yep, I have a real exciting life, folks!

We moved to the island with 3 small children at a time when most of our roads were still red dirt & our one tiny shop sold everything from gas to postage stamps. If you wanted a social outing you went & collected your mail. That's where everyone gathered to chat & pass the time of day. It was an incredibly laid back lifestyle except for the fact I had 3 livewire boys.

Forget tags like ADD. They were boys & they behaved like boys have always behaved; insanely. They would slip their seat belts as I drove off down the street & proceed to jump up & down in the car like monkeys, screaming their heads off. Progress was halted while I strapped them all in again but we are talking children who were able to remove with their bare hands the plumbing caps we put on with a wrench so we're talking escape artists extraordinaire here! By the time they were 3 I was putting them out of the car if they wouldn't stay stapped in & making them run home behind us. ( We are talking completely empty roads here with NO traffic, so all I got for my efforts was 3 exceptional long distance runners!) To say I was a distracted driver would be to put it mildly. It also explains why I toddled everywhere. Speedy gonzalos was not for me.

We had been on the island for a whole fornight. The rain had finally stopped; the boys had stopped puking because they didn't like the water & the sun was shinning. I put everyone in the car for a quick trip up to the shop.

Now as we turn onto our main road that runs the full length of the island there is a patch of Malaluka swamp on either side of the road & consequentially a large number of trees. In season wood ducks parade constantly from one side of the road to the other, all their chicks in a row, as well as all the other water birds & whatever else wants water. With littlies in tow it was always a place to slow down so they could see whatever was to be seen but this particular day we got more than we bargained for.

I was just starting to pick up speed so we could make the hill when a black flash caught the corner of my eye. I slammed on the brakes as it disappeared under the car only to re~emerge a moment later on the other side in a flurry of beating wings. Never before or since have I had a whistling kite make a kill under my moving car. We pulled over so we could watch him find a tall tree where he could roost & mantle his prey.

I have run over carpet snakes the size of speed bumps, watched osprey catch mullet so big they can't get airborn, seen turtles sunbathing on their backs & dolphins play with my children but for sheer bravado the big raptors take the cake. I have a thing for these big birds riding the thermals & the way they plummet through the sky like a meteorite. Sadly we are seeing fewer now. They like big dead trees to nest in & of course these are the first ones people pull down & round here people tend to replace the ironbarks & scribbly gums with palm trees, which are really useless things & provide no shelter for out native birds.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The most horrible show on t.v.

I don't watch much t.v; actually I can't watch this particular show. It's Dino's favourite. He even watches it at sea: The Deadliest Catch.

If you're lucky you've never caught this show either & for the life of me I can't see what the attraction is for a lad who has had enough close calls of his own but there it is. This is horrific reality t.v.

These are the men who crab the Bering Sea during what may very well be the shortest crab season in the world. I know it is one of the most dangerous. This is a show I have to walk away from. I just find it too distressing. Last week one of the boats went down Out of 6 crew members only one survived & three were never found. Within hours another boat lost a man overboard. Without a life suit you get exactly 3 minutes survival time in the water. Besides, the sight of all those big seas & heaving decks makes me sea sick without getting anywhere near the water.

The crabs bring extraordinary money but I wouldn't eat one if you paid me & no crab, however tasty, is worth a man's life. Men are most extraordinary creatures. I know Dino would dearly love to try this. I pray God he never gets the chance!

An Australian Speciality.

This owl is an Australian speciality. Variously called the Boobook, Morepork or Mopoke it has a distinctive & unmistakable call.

When we built our house we very deliberately left as much of the native bushland as we could which means some of our trees are enormouse. We have a big eculypt at the corner of our bedroom & in mating season our resident Mopoke likes to sit there & call ~ for hour after hour. Now if you live with lots of wildlife about you very rapidly get used to the various noises they make & sleep soundly through even the most raucous matings ~ unless it happens to be a Mopoke.

This bird has an extremely unattractive habit; when looking for a mate it only gives half it's call. We hear a questioning , 'Mo?' & then a long agonizing wait. Eventually from the other side of the bay, down by the jetty, a lonsome bird answers, 'Poke!' 'Mo?'............'Poke!' Guarranteed to keep even the tiredest anxiously awake in the throes of unrequited bird love.

These are our smallest owls but they gave me one of the biggest shocks of my life. We hadn't been living here long & watching a harvest moon come up over the big island to the east of us was still an amazing novelty. I'd turned of all our lights, the better to enjoy the moonlight, when a dark shadow blocked the light. There was a great thwamp against the flyscreen & an almighty flurry. The mopokes were hawking moths (attracted by the lights) off our flyscreens! My heart was in my mouth by then & I was reaching for the broom to fend off invaders. Yep, I felt pretty silly waving a broom handle at a pair of hungry owls.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Spiritual Explosives.

I prayer partner with Ditz's piano teacher & her mother, the Raven. While Ditz tinkles & does silly things with her voice the Raven & I go into a huddle & discuss the scriptures or pray.

Saturday we took ourselves off because I had had an e~mail from the ensemble people about Ditz auditioning & I'd just about fainted. AUS 375 per term!!!! This is a sizable fortune for people like us. For the life of me I couldn't see how we could afford it despite also knowing it is really, really good value for money. The sort of training Ditz would get is professional & not something we could get on the island. I'm also used to the Lord dropping explosives in my lap then telling me not to panic & trust Him. Ha! I was panicking all right!

So we were two in agreement & where two or three are gathered together...

So we went to prayer. I felt the Lord was saying yes; The Raven said ''the Lord said, I will lead you & guide you in the way you should go.' All very nice but there are practicalities to these things & money is calculated to a nicety in this house. Besides the child is up to her eyebrows in things as it is. Just the same I know the Lord has been giving us everything we need just when we need it, especially music things, which are really rare on the island but every single time Ditz has needed something it has magically appeared, from music teachers to instruments. Now I have a mainland car (thanks Lid) & this is still local.

So I approached Dearest, who is the 'Money Man'. I do the week to week juggling & I can save, which Dearest, bless his little cotton socks, can't do at all, but Dearest is the Planner & calculator & if there was a way then he was the man to find it. Frankly I had given up before we'd started, regretfully but I just couldn't see it happening, & Ditz, who didn't dare hope & was terrified of voicing dissappointment, was skulking about with her ears flapping in the wind any time the word 'money' got mentioned. I left Dearest to it not expecting an answer any time soon but he got back to me within hours having found a way to do it & also convinced the Lord wants our child properly trained. I am gob smacked. Dearest sees it as an investment & as he pointed out, I'm the one who will be stuck with dragging the child hither & thither. I can see me getting a lot of reading done.

I am still terrified. Seriously, what a responsibility God has given us trusting us with the training of this child & what if she is a brilliant musician but sacrifices her soul in the process as so many have done?! I don't like roller coaster rides but I think God does. I'm hanging on for grim death & He's going Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaargh!

Friday, November 2, 2007


People, it's November & that's when those of us who seriously like to torture ourselves attempt to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days. If you didn't already know I was insane, now you do.

Take a look: - 19k -

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Birthday treat.

Liddy is terribly sweet to me sometimes. She decided I should be taken out to tea for my birthday. Where we went is to the new string of restraunts along the lakeside which accommodates outside eating along the boardwalk ~ but of course it was just an excuse to go out in her car! She bought seat covers & a steering wheel cover, black with brillant blue paw prints over them. Naturally Ditz is now refering to the car as Pawz while I say it should be Pause. Liddy is not impressed with either of us.

Nothing could show how different Liddy & I are in our thinking than where we chose to sit along the boardwalk. Liddy chose the closed in view of the malaluka swamp because it makes her feel secure. It just makes me feel claustrophobic so I sat where I had the widest, most open view & then exclaimed over the variety of wildlife I could see ~ moor hens, ducks, egrets, a frill~necked lizard, jumping fish (Liddy thought I was making them up) crows, naturally. Liddy doesn't move past the general impression that her surroundings are pleasant so I was driving her quite nuts.

What we did agree on was the food. We agreed the roast pumpkin salad sounded heavenly (aren't you glad we didn't let you come Ditz? Pumpkin! Yum!) but so did the chicken in Djion mustard & white wine sauce so in the end we ordered one of each & shared the meals between us. By the time we got to dessert our waitress wanted to know if we were sharing those as well. We didn't, though we tasted.

We had a really lovely time but then Liddy & I generally get along quite well together. Working in retail has made her super chatty & she was having such a conversation with our waitress that I thought she actually knew the girl. Meanwhile the drinks waiter turned his back on me & flirted outrageously with Liddy which so cracked me up because Liddy was completely oblivious & I knew she was. Poor boy. He was so wasting his time. Liddy's the super fussy sort.

Meanwhile Ditz was fussing because there was a car available, all hers, (in your dreams Ditz!) & she had yet to lay eyes on it so she was super excited to be going over to community band because it meant going in Liddy's car & seeing as Liddy wasn't comming she got the front seat. I was less happy. I was tired & not terribly sure where I was going but despite taking a small detour because I was in the wrong lane & one wrong turn we managed quite well. It's always better coming home.