Bugger!

Yesterday, $1000 service on car.

Today, on way to X-ray appointment, car makes squealing noise under bonnet and emits small puff of smoke. And stops in middle of road.

Mr Beloved waits for tow truck while I jump in taxi and just get to appointment in time….

Car taken to where it was serviced. They now have it at least all weekend. Mr Beloved, whose back is fragile at the best of times, is severely jolted by his ride in the tow truck.

We have gone back to bed.

Below, the latest in my series of #doctorswaitingroomcarpets tweets…image

Mud, mud, glorious mud….

And don’t the kiddies just love it!imageimageimageWinter has arrived, and the rain and cold on the weekend did not deter Emmalumpdogg from wanting her dawn walk. It’s been sooooo cold, in fact, that with wind chill the temperature has been below zero – enough to get her Daddy into long trakkie daks, and that’s saying something!

Last Monday, this happened:image

Her poor Daddy has also been very busy in the yard, reorganising and tidying. Whole plant tables have moved, and Plans have been Sketched. image

(Just a small Time Team joke there, since any big job will inevitably result in this….)

No point even trying to wash the floor until the mud dries a bit more…those great big feet are designed to dig in. Even with a damp towel in the kitchen to rub the worst of it off, there is mud from one end of the house to the other….

Some days….

Under bed security camera...
Under bed security camera…

From @emmalumpdogg ‘s Twitter feed this morning… (I was busy nursing yet another/the same migraine…Daddy was walking Emmalumpdogg and discovering that a clean desk policy is no longer optional)

#ThingsEmmaMustNotDo, 129: They are “The Morning Cycling and Coffee Group”, not “Meals On Wheels”.

#ThingsEmmaMustNotDo, 128: Paper recycling is GOOD. Using my tummy to do it is NOT.

#ThingsEmmaMustNotDo, 127: Regardless of their promise of long-lasting energy, batteries are not to be eaten before Morning Walk.

Photos mostly from this week….

I don’t often take photos of myself, but I did while I was waiting outside the supermarket while the wonderful Mr Belived did some shopping on Wednesday. (I’d just been to my psychologist appointment and was tired so I didn’t go in).image

image

Restless flycatcher, spotted on one of Mr Beloved’s walks with Emmalumpdogg.image The double barred finches think clever Mr Beloved’s bird feeder is the best dining spot in town!image image Rescued tortoise… Rainy morning, about 5 am, discovered by Emmalumpdogg. Poor tortoise had its neck stuck through fence but couldn’t walk any further of course, so Mr Beloved improvised rescue tools and released it down in a safe place by the creek.image Emmalumpdogg decided she is a hooman and therefore would like to try drinking out of water glass, thank you!imageMr and Mrs Superb Fairy Wren enjoy breakfast at the birdseed cafe.

At last… the office!

It LIVES!!!
It LIVES!!!

It’s been a VERY long time since we’ve been able to use this room. Depression, bad backs, depression, inertia … but this was the semester break that somehow made the difference.  The Horn sewing cabinet is folded up but the machine inside is still accessible should I want to sew (this has not been possible for the last (AHEM) years while the room has been out of commission) and while there is still some minor putting away of things needed, I have a DESK again. No more writing essays cramped on the day bed (ow my back) or in the arm chair (see previous); no, I’m back on my proper office chair, and once I get set up ergonomically again, my neck and shoulder pain should improve.

The  rug in the photo came from one of those places that overlocks offcut carpets from houses and is by far the nicest quality carpet I think I’ve ever had in a house.  Cost us $140 for 1.6 x 2.6 metres, looks grey in the photo, is sort of grey brown, and you know what? I don’t care one whit about the colour, it’s soft and warm underfoot, and will keep the cold winds from blowing through the floorboards.  Luxury! (None of the rest of our house has carpet, although there is a smaller rug under the sofa in the lounge room – the wind does tend to whistle through this house.  Or you could say we have good air exchange.)

Tomorrow is officially uni results day for semester one.   I know I’ve passed, I just want to know my final grade.

The bees love this spiky grevillea
  The bees love this spiky grevillea

I don’t know the variety of this grevillea but the tiny wrens and finches love darting in and out of its spiny leaves. The silvereyes (about half the size of a sparrow) almost hover like hummingbirds at the crimson flowers. at his plant was one  of the tube free ebies we got at the town nursery with our rates notice probably five years back, and it is obviously well suited to the area. So far we haven’t had much luck with growing it from cuttings though, but that’s more down to our novice skills than the hardiness of the plant, I suspect.

Another cold night coming.  I’m very glad of the thermal t shirts on nights like these!

So it’s been a long time…

… between posts.

A whole semester, in fact. It felt like a very long semester at times, partly because I went through a patch of very bad depression near the start of it, and really struggled.  I was studying Introduction to English Literature, which sounds like it should be a doddle after three units of Creative Writing – but it really isn’t.

image

Even being familiar with the first texts we studied (a couple of sci-fi short stories, then HG Wells’s The Time Machine) didn’t help, since the Black Dog had me so firmly in his maw that all I could do was moan and try to fend off his teeth and wipe the drool away.  It was Not Good.  A new prescription from the Very Helpful Psychiatrist did make a difference, but not before I had to ask for an extension for my first essay and bother a Good Friend in Canberra for help because I was Hopelessly Lost on how to tackle it.

Still, we got through.  And luckily, part of the course was little open book exams on the computer, six of them to eventually make up 30% of the course mark, rather than one big exam at the end of the semester. And I got the full 30% there.

new fleecey circle on top of the ottoman=bliss
new fleecey circle on top of the ottoman = bliss

Wuthering Heights: I loved it!  With the surprising revelation that Heathcliff was very likely black (son of a slave, coming from Liverpool, there are references in the text and enough context from the Brontes to make it plausible…); Edgar Allen Poe (“The Purloined Letter”) I did NOT enjoy so much but ended up writing part of my second essay (worth 40%) on; the other part of the essay was on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Dancing Men”.  Then we had a week on Shakespeare’s sonnets (only a week because our lectures and tutes were on Mondays are we got hit with a lot of public holidays and so missed classes).

I don’t know the full results yet, but I know I’ve passed well. Full results come out next Friday. O week for Semester 2 is on the 14th.  So for Semester 2 I’m tackling “Gothic Stories: Terror over Time”.  Wilkie Collins’s “The Woman in White”; Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”; Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”; Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, and selected episodes of season 1 of the TV show “True Blood” (more vampires, but sexy Southern American ones!)

I’ve started reading “The Woman in White” and it’s delightful in a high Victorian melodrama way – Italian Counts! asylums! hopeless loves and rescues! a (female) cousin with a moustache! Bad Baronets!

Meanwhile this is day 19 of the headcold from hell. It *is* getting better, just very slowly. Chai tea seems to help.  It had been stopping me from sleeping to the point where things got rather desperate, but we’re hopefully – HOPEFULLY – getting back on an even keel now.  We shall see.

Allie leaves home

His publicity shot...
Allie’s publicity shot…

Allie left home today.  Went to what should be a very nice new home where there a lot of other birdies with a lady who has other cockatiels and budgies and sulphur cresteds… we will miss his chatter, but we can’t keep everyone.  Bub and the little two (now called Salt and Pepper but very difficult to tell apart) are starting to venture out of the nesting box but are a few weeks away from being weaned yet.

In other news: our washing machine stopped working yesterday.  After much turning it off and on again and cursing at the rotten thing, we went and bought a new one. I’m hoping the technology has improved over the last 11 years and the new one will be quieter and a little bit kinder on the clothes.  The price for delivery included hauling away the old one, so at least we’re not left with the old one cluttering up the yard…

Poor Mr Beloved has a real shiner – all purple-y and green.  He had a possible skin cancer cut out on Wednesday, 6 stitches – ouch!  He goes back tomorrow to get the stitches out the the biopsy results, but the GP was pretty confident she’d got the whole thing.

I have a eustachian tube/middle ear infection thingummy and am deaf in my good ear, which is a bit of a bugger. My balance is off – I feel like elevators are going sideways.  Not a huge problem in a town where the longest elevator ride I generally need is 4 stories, but still disconcerting.

 

 

Best Dog Toy EVER!

A-Retriever-Pose
Reminding us that poodles were, after all, bred to be water retrievers

Since it’s HOT again this week we decided we’d get Miss Connie a paddling pool.  After an initial wariness, she remembered that poodles are water retrievers and was straight in after her ball (or as she prefers to call it when she has her mouth full, her “bloggroggrogg”).  She has special toy poodle size ‘tennis’ balls from the pet shop, and when they’re wet, they’re Even BETTER.

entry-by-steps
She worked out how to use the step…
getting-mud-from-yard-to-pool-via-poodle
It’s not really for CLEANING the dog, though…
You can make the ball roll around for ages...
You can make the ball roll around for ages…

When the bloggroggroggs can be rolled around in the water for ages, they get even better still.

drippygotcha
Soggy bloggrogg ahhaa!

And then you can take them out and demand that they be THROWN while they’re all soggy, which means the humans get sprayed with water too, oh yes.

A ball, in a pool!
A ball, in a pool!
high-dive
The empty side is just as much fun – you can climb from that!

She spent about 2 hours hopping in and out this arvo, having a lovely time, before eventually deciding she’d had enough and consenting to come inside to have the mud washed off.  There is absolutely NO POINT in washing the floors while she is playing with the pool!

(We have a lot of dirt and not a lot of lawn: the 2011 flood (and then the 2013 Australia Day “rain event”) washed a lot of our topsoil away and Mr Beloved is working hard to sheet mulch and re-vegetate areas, but for now: heat + dirt + running dog = dirt gets dragged into her pool.  We’ll let it settle overnight and see how it goes, but I think we’ll be bucketing it off to the garden and refilling it tomorrow.  Small price to pay for keeping the poor old dog cool.)

I also expect the magpies and butcher birds will use it when Connie doesn’t.

What a difference a week makes…

What a difference a week makes in the lives of baby birds.  Feeding around the clock will do that I guess…

The big two now are getting their quills - and getting cheeky!
The big two now are getting their quills – and getting cheeky!

The big two are already losing most of their yellow feathers and looking quite grey. And their little quiffs are starting to grow in.  They look adorable.

2014-01-19-little-two
The little two only had one eye open each today. Still covered in baby fluff and still quite white.

As you can see they’re quite well fed – lovely full crops, and they’re standing well (although the full crops and lack of coordination as yet means they tend to roll rather than stand on softer surfaces.)

A trick of perspective here  - the little two really aren't this big!
All four together – there’s only a week or maybe 10 days developmental difference between the two pairs – what a difference!

We haven’t named any of these babies yet because we weren’t sure how many would survive. But so far it’s looking good. The parent birds are eating lots of extra seeds and lettuce to keep up with the demand.

In other news – we’re about to have another week of heatwave after a week of lovely mild temperatures. I’m not looking forward to it. 32 in here already today. And the shops are starting to sell WINTER clothes!

We had the plumbers in during the week to do some work around the house (haven’t got bill yet though, ouch) – replacing some old pipes that went from under the house to drains, moving a pipe that for some stupid reason had always stopped the back screen door from opening all the way (making the back steps a bit unsafe, especially when you’re negotiating them with a basket full of wet laundry) – well, I know the reason really, it’s because the laundry (and hence the back door and step etc) were only added on in the 1970s, so that’s the way it Just WAS… ARRRRRRGH – anyway, it’s finally fixed so I don’t have to worry about either of us taking a tumble there because we had to sidle through the door awkwardly now.

And that’s about it for now. More birdy photos later in the week.