News from the animal house





Keiko likes to watch me paint. Sometimes he likes to help me paint.

Notice the pronoun? That’s right, our little girl cat IS A LITTLE BOY CAT.


He’s pretty relaxed about it.


My poor little Zadie had to have surgery. She has a luxating patella, which basically means her knee was dislocating and making her lame. Corrective surgery entailed deepening the groove in her bone and pinning the ligament in place. Hopefully, this will keep her bouncing around like a loon for the rest of her life.

Our old dog, Scamp, is having ongoing treatment for arthritis and Keiko is booked in for his de-sexing. I am getting to know the team at the local vet clinic uncomfortably well.





Update to the vegie garden situation. I am too lazy to take photos, so all these are taken by Leo. From spring into summer…



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The sunflowers are HUGE. The zucchinis are out of control and making a bid for freedom across the path. I ate all the rocket. The radishes went to seed and then the aphids ate them. The carrots are delicious and so were the broadbeans.

The vegetable garden is now everyones favourite part of the garden.

Summer holiday at home

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Summer looked much like winter for a few days there. But we are reaping some bounty from Leo’s vegie patch, nonetheless. Carrots, broad-beans, broccolini, lettuce and herbs. Library - 2884

But now the hot weather is returned. We recently lined the laser-light that covers the deck with willow screens. As a result, the temperature is much improved on the deck; you can actually sit out there on a warm day now.Library - 2885 Library - 2886

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The nicest part of holidays for me is some time to dabble with a bit of painting and to sit under the trees reading books that I’ve been wanting to read for ages. Lovely.

Boxing day

There’s a lot of stuff I love about Christmas. A shopping list that includes items such as cherries, prawns, chocolate santas and bourbon is one of them.

shopping list

Also, I love receiving useful and entirely practical gifts. Such as a giant inflatable swan for the swimming pool.

giant swan

There was no shortage of volunteers to test it out.

testing the swan

Spending time with the family is definitely the best part of Christmas day.

Of course, some of us were a little worn out this morning and found it hard to get out of bed.

the aftermath

And then the delicious quiet and calm of a day at home on Boxing Day. No shopping madness for us, we prefer to lie around reading books and listening to records, all Christmas bounty; eating sandwiches made with leftover ham, drinking rum eggnog and watching the cricket on tv.

I hope your Christmas and Boxing Day are wonderful too.

‘My wicked heart will ramble on in spite of myself’


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Yes, it’s a Thomas Hardy quote, in honour of the fulsome ‘Jude the Obscure’, a David Austin rose. He is a beauty, isn’t he? Gorgeously scented too, but a terrible cut flower; all the petals drop almost immediately. Is that why he was named after such a sad and sorry literary character?

I can’t even read the book, the synopsis is enough to make me want to poke my eyes out with a fork. Also, I was made to suffer through ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ in high school, and studying a book in high school is enough to put you off any author for life.

I’ll just enjoy my beautiful roses instead.

Perfectly pink



When I began tending this garden, some thirteen years ago, I declared there would be NO PINK.

‘Attention all!’ I said ‘This garden will be a thing of exquisite taste and rare beauty. I do not want any common-as-muck pink flowers of any kind. Pink is offensively suburban and I won’t stand for it.  I have spoken.’

No-one was listening, but I do think the dogs were quite impressed by my speech.

And thirteen years on…



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Yes, I had standards once. It appears they have slipped.

Or maybe I’m just less of a dick these days.



Here is old Pierre de Ronsard, happily recovered from rabid bastard possum attack. Pierre adorns the side of the arbour that faces the vegie patch. Which is coming on, but we could do with more sunshine. The other Pierre, who is adorning the opposite side of the arbour, is working on a Mystery Project. Details to come.

Meantime, I am embracing the pink.

God, I hope that’s not a euphemism for something disgusting.

Rose time and some random thoughts


Look, I know we’re all shocked that it’s November already. But let us just accept the fact and get on with things, okay? No point now bewailing the months we’ve wasted watching old nineties movies or looking at stupid stupid Facebook. These things are done now and it’s time to Draw A Line and move on. Some other things have happened, but I don’t have time to explain them all because I have 9,345 roses to look at in my garden.

Alright, I don’t. But I wish I did.IMG_0709

I was thinking about Jane Austen the other day. She never had a hot shower. Or tasted Vietnamese food. Imagine.

Pots on the steps

My life partner has been taking up the air space around here recently. He went and turned fifty, what a cheek. I have known him since he was nineteen and we have been together all that time. This amazes many people, but not as much as it amazes us. Especially me, because I am a natural loner and have never had much faith in marriage as an institution.

David Austin 'Grace'

Beautiful garden bed. Note ugly gas tank in the corner.

On Monday, we ran out of petrol on our way to Brunswick Street. I helped by telling my darling how I thought this would happen and if he only listened to me it would not have happened and sitting in the car while he walked to the petrol station to get a container of petrol. Then he took me to lunch. The man deserves a medal. Or at least a certificate of appreciation.

Echium and wallflowers

This may be the worst post title I have ever come up with. It sounds like a really, really bad poem.

Apple blossom time

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My photos really do not do justice to the glory of the spring garden. The light is soft and lovely, every leaf is sparkly, every flower a little miracle. The apple blossom looks fresh and innocent, as if in the Garden of Eden. Ah, Spring.

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This paltry display is the first ever flowering of the wisteria that I planted at least three years ago. I am unreasonably excited by this. It’s Wisteria floribunda ‘Macrobotrys’, also called Japanese wisteria.

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I intend to give it a very hard prune after the flowers have finished. Don’t want to be overtaken by unruly wisteria. I have enough unruliness around me.


Just sayin’.