Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The view from the office...

Armed and dangerous, and ready for the best views from whichever 'office'
I happen to be calling home for a couple of hours. So - why so serious??? 

I used to think I had a fabulous view from Level 6 in Infrastructure House in Canberra. I did. The Canberra skyline gave way to a view of the Brindabellas that was quite a restorative when I got into wrist-slashing mode during weekly reporting time. It was pretty damned good, I have to say.As lovely as it was, though, it was the same view every day, even allowing for variations in the time of day/season/weather.

My view from work these days, however, leaves that view  (those views???) for dead. As pictures speak louder than words, this will be a pictorial post. Try not to be too envious!

The view of the back yard at Bruce's 'Fisherman's Cottage'.
This is what I see if I look up from cleaning the dunny.  Noice.

Flat 6, Bruce's Waterside Flats



'Coota Views' (downstairs)
'Coota Views' (downstairs)

'Coota Views' (upstairs kitchen) Imagine seeing this every time you put the kettle on!

'Chez Tredgold'
'Chez Tredgold' again


'Sylvan Waters'

Adobe Mudbrick Holiday Fats

Adobe Mudbrick Flats again
 So anyway - my extremely hard life is probably making you cry into your coffee, so I'll stop now. Sorry folks... Have a good one! 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

In which Betty gets out and about in the bush, and finds POO!

Oh, communing with nature – there’s nothing like it. Well, perhaps there is. I suppose the inner-city hipster version is having a killer coffee in a cafĂ© with a killer barista and great art on the walls. I suppose both of these take you out of your home-world to a degree, but I prefer mine - and it's caffeine-free! Look at this:

I wandered lonely as a cloud…

The sign on the main road said ‘Sandy Point 3km’. I drove my low-slung little Hyundai about 300m along the trail before I got a bit nervous, and found a spot to pull over.

The (at times) steepish trail was pretty ordinary, and after half an hour of trudging along and sweating in the autumnal semi-warmth, I must confess to muttering under my breath: ‘This’d better be worth it!’

Of course it was! This is Croajingalong National Park, after all.

 The view was amazing –and (surprise surprise!) Sandy Point had a gorgeous little sandy beach! It was (mostly) soooo quiet there – would love to take a tent and spend a night or two there in warmer weather. A houseboat across the lake proved to be the source of the incongruous raucous laughter – someone was clearly having a fab time over there.

The walk back is never as long as the walk there, I reckon, because you have a vague idea of how far your destination is. Therefore, I didn’t rush, and enjoyed the flora:

Not sure whether fungus counts as flora.... but anyway...
the fauna (I wasn’t quick enough on the draw with the camera, and the wallaby sharing the path hopped away, dammit!) I spent a lot of time scanning the treetops for koalas, but to no avail…

And then there was the poo. Yes, the poo.  I’m no expert on critter poop. Growing up in suburbia I’m all too-familiar with those disgusting doggie leavings on the nature strips of local streets. I’ve been a bird-poop victim on occasions, and I’m all too-familiar with the awful stuff that appears in the kitty litter on a regular basis.

I discovered some interesting poop today though. While I can’t be certain, I think it’s wombat poop. Here, have a look:

The thing is, this poop appeared every few metres along the trail, some of it fairly new, some old, and in various stages of breakdown. Oh, look – here’s another one!

 Are wombats so incontinent? Or is there perhaps a population explosion of wombats around Mallacoota? Are they just exhibitionists? (What the heck is so attractive about the track as a pooping place???) I noticed lots of potential wombat hideyholes by the sides of the track (although why ANYTHING with a bumhole big enough to produce monster turds like this would need a hideyhole, I’m not sure!) I am now intrigued, and plotting a way to find out who/what is producing these massive piles of poo that make Rottweiler poop look like icky brown tic-tacs.

I’m really loving this bushwalking lark. My feetses, in their fabulous Redback safety boots, were a little tired by the end of it all - and my horrid arthritic bits were whining at me (bloody nuisances!) but my spirit felt renewed and recharged, so *two finger salute to arthritis!* Wheeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Basil is GROUNDED!

I don’t know how he did it, the little shit, but he did. So now he’s grounded, pending the arrival of a collar with BELLS.

 I took the car into town to have the power steering belt fitted, and wandered about while I was waiting. Had some hot choc, did a bit of writing, got rained on, watched some birds, took some nice pics of the inlet under a very gloomy sky - you know, the sort of stuff you do when you’re waiting for your car to be fixed.

 Anyway – after a couple of hours I picked up my car and came home.  I opened my front door to find a feathered floor, and the sound of frantic flapping coming from the bathroom.

Basil, the little sod, had somehow caught what I think was a brush wattlebird (far too big to get through the palace’s ceiling mesh, I’d have thought) and had been having a right old game with it. I can only imagine its terror. There were feathers near the gate in the cat palace - is it possible he grabbed it and somehow dragged it in? I can't figure it out.

It was minus some tail feathers, not to mention quite a few other feathers, but it was full of fight when I finally managed to catch it and calm it down a little before liberating it. Birds 1, Basil nil, Betty cross. And Basil grounded. Grrrrr. Back to supervised walks on the lead until his bells arrive.

In the meantime, Georgie (pictured below) is keeping watch and hopefully discouraging the feathered beasties from getting too close. Georgie is made by a local lady who sells them at the hardware shop. Oaklands in Pambula also has them.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Dunnies are my currency

At Betka Beach just after first light. Stunning.
Sitting here in front of a roaring fire, kitten on my lap, Emma Kirkby singing Hildegard of Bingen’s greatest hits on the cd player, it’s hard to remember that times are a bit tough. I'm having far too much fun.

My meditation on money the other day was a little unsettling, but I live in Paradise, and I guess that’s the trade-off. Traffic jams/stress/no time to think vs bliss/no money. A no-brainer really. So, to stop myself thinking in dollars and getting all agitated, I think in dunnies now, and that is far more fun and less scary. Here in the Republic of Betty, dunnies have become my currency, and of course that makes me giggle. 

***For non-Aussies, ‘dunny’ is a slang term for toilet, specifically the long-drop or can-type affair that stands in a vine-covered shed in old-style Aussie back yards, and hosts redback spiders beneath its seat. That’s not the sort of dunny I’m referring to here. My dunnies are more modern and less spiderous. Made of gleaming porcelain or ceramic goodness, my dunnies half-flush or full-flush. This is quite a relief, as I clean several of them each week.

A load of firewood is a 5 dunny expense, but will last almost half the winter if I’m careful. So really, a winter of glowing warmth is about a dozen dunnies’ worth. Not bad. A bottle of gas for cooking that will probably last a year? 5 dunnies.

A bottle of wine is around half a dunny, unless I go for the expensive full-dunny quality stuff (which I don’t). It’s still a kind of expensive purchase though.

A trip to the doctor is about 2 ½  dunnies, and Medicare refunds one of them. A kilo of chicken breast fillets will set me back about two-thirds of a dunny (i.e., I have to clean for about 40 minutes). 5-6 weeks worth of cat bickies for Basil is a 2 ½ dunny purchase. (Perhaps I could save on that if I let him catch his own dinner….. *slapping self*) A tank of petrol? Two dunnies, but it’ll last me for weeks around Mallacoota.

A not-too-flash entry-level DSLR camera with a couple of lenses is roughly a three dozen dunny purchase, and won’t be happening in the foreseeable future.  Why would I bother, though, when my humble phone (bought in the old currency when I was still a half-mad fulltime teacher) takes photos like these:

*sigh* I LOVE this place so so much!
My friend Deb was here over the Anzac weekend, and we went to Betka Beach for some beautiful free sunrise viewing. We arrived a little after first light and stayed a couple of hours, and played photographers with our phones. What fabulous dunny-free chicken soup for the soul it was!

Of course, with the amount of free time I have complementing my cleaning gigs, I probably have time to write a best-seller that will earn me mega-dunnies – in which case I’ll get one of those snazzy cameras to capture some really good pics of the birds around here.

Life is good.