Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Thoughts with Barry

It's been a bit of a sad time over Christmas with our thoughts on the other side of the world.  Our very dear friends on nb Wintòns Folly have had devastating news.  Barry hasn't been himself of late and we were distressed Christmas Eve when we chatted on FaceTime to see him struggle to concentrate and participate in discussion.  We had been thinking he might have depression until then but this seemed worse.

The next day we had another FaceTime call from Carol with news that he had been taken to hospital by ambulance that day.... Christmas Day!  What they suspected may have been a stroke was ruled out but things weren't good.  Boxing Day we learned that he had a brain tumour.  It was devastating news.  How helpless we feel talking on FaceTime with Carol and all of us trying not to cry!  More tests and scans have since revealed spots on Barry's liver.  Decisions on what will happen next are to be made in the next couple of days.

Barry is in hospital in Stoke on Trent as they were at their daughters place Christmas Day.  Nb Winton's Folly is at Braunston.  With Barry needing to be in hospital or near the hospital for a while it makes things a bit difficult having the boat so far away.  We joked about Mick jumping on a plane to go and move the boat for them.

Salvation arrived by chance encounter.  Carol bumped into Ray and Diane from nb Ferndale while she was at the shops in Stone.  They were moored on the visitor moorings.  In true style of boaters helping each other out, Ray offered to move the boat for them with the help of Gordon from nb Ewn Ha Cul.  It's a trip of a good 6 days in freezing Winter weather.  To complicate matters there is a Winter stoppage in their path from 5th January so a decision had to be made quickly.  It's a big ask for folk to drop everything over the New Year period to spend long days cruising and locking and Carol didn't know what to do.  The weather forecast wasn't too bad..... Carol would love to be sleeping in her own bed..... Barry wouldn't be worrying about the boat if it wasn't by itself in Braunston.... Aston Marina is familiar and there are people they know moored there.... it's close to their daughters place.... if the boat wasn't moved now it would be there until after the stoppage was over in early Feb.  Carol made the decision that if Ray and Gordon were truly willing then she would be very grateful to accept their offer.  A quick message and a quick discussion and a plan swung into action.

Carol wants to say a very heartfelt thank you to Ray and Gordon, and also to Roly from nb Klara (yes, that's where we got the name) who has offered to drive the guys to Braunston to start their journey.  She wants everyone to know what a very kind and generous thing they're doing.  We wish them a safe trip and hope all goes according to plan.

We can't quite believe that in such a short time it's gone from exciting plans for their trip to visit us next September to this!  Devastating.

Sunday, 28 December 2014


Last Sunday we had a Christmas get together with my two brothers and their families and my step mum.  We had a picnic in a park so the kids could play.  I did take my camera but realized when we got home that I hadn't taken a single photo.  I'm out of practice.

My sister and her kids have been at my mum's in Bendigo for the week so were there on Christmas day.  The kids enjoyed their pile of presents from father Christmas and the tooth fairy even made a visit to Jamara.  Minka painted me a beautiful picture.  

Our thoughts have been constantly with our very dear friends who have had a tough time and bad news over Christmas.  We love you guys and hope so much that you have a positive outcome.

It's been lovely to hear from so many people over Christmas and we hope everyone had a wonderful day.   We tried to take a photo of Klara in front of the Christmas tree with a Santa hat.  Here's what she thought of that idea :

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Two weeks off work

I don't think there's ever been a year that I've looked forward more to a couple of weeks at home.

It's been a month or so of ups and downs for us.  We've been missing... again.... our floating life, we've been waiting anxiously for our planning application (details to come on Monday), Mick's been to hospital for some tests, we have enjoyed having barbeque dinners after work, we love having Klara in our lives, we are looking forward to a couple of visits from UK friends next year, we've not much liked some of the very hot days we've already experienced, and we have watched with dread as the bushfire season has taken hold.   The sound of the town fire siren, danger warnings on the news, and my employer's pager calling him to volunteer firefighting has become a part of our lives once more.  I didn't miss this time of year at all while we were in the UK!

We have been getting regular visits from a group of kangaroos that gather out the front or over our side fence in the evenings.  I tried to get some photos but the camera battery went flat.  Maybe next time.  Klara encountered her first close up wallaby the other day while out walking with Mick.  He said she didn't know what to make of it.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Puppy day

Sunday we had a visit from my friend, Vic.  She brought her kids, Andy, Paige & Ben and also the guide dog puppies she's raising.  Shenya is a year old and going off to her training in a few weeks and the new addition, Petrina is 7 weeks.  Klara, Shenya and Petrina had such a fabulous day.  They ran and romped and played and splashed and wrestled non stop the entire day.  Klara did her best to teach Petrina to put her front legs into the drinking water but unfortunately Petrina was too short to reach.  By the end of the day when they all went home Klara collapsed on the kitchen floor in exhaustion and refused to get up again. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

All in a weeks work

1. Steal one thriving tomato plant and eat all the developing fruit
2. Foray into the chicken run causing absolute chaos of panicked hens (Mick really must lock the gate when he goes in there!)
3. Begin digging up mature orange tree
4. Pull the wiring off the brake and indicator lights on Micks truck
5. Playtime with a baby bird that was unable to fly back up to its nest
6. Destroy best dog bed leaving a trail of stuffing all over the yard
7. Excavation project underway beneath the front fence
8. Garden hose game involving dragging it around the yard and chewing the nozzle
9. Make a start on picking every flower growing on the row of agapanthus
10. Discover new fun in splashing water from indoor water bowl onto kitchen floor

Phew...... What a week!!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Start of Summer

 What a scorcher we had for the beginning of Summer.  I looked on our outdoor thermometer in the middle of the day the week before and it was 35 degrees.

We took Klara to the creek for a paddle last Sunday.  For the first time..... only because her stick got swept out a little..... she actually swam.  It's nice to know she can!  She wasn't willing to repeat the exercise so we will have to keep practicing.   She loves water and has now started dipping her paws in her drinking water all the time.  One of our three well growing tomato plants was destroyed the other day and a constant stream of garden prunings of her choice accumulate around the back door.  She's also started noticing her reflection in the back door and runs up to wag her tale at herself!

We had my work Christmas get together last night.  It was in Mount Macedon.  Our grass is gone now and everywhere you look is brown.  How amazing it was to drive up the mount to find green grass and lovely green shade trees.  It really did feel like a little piece of England. 

It's been nice the last few weeks to be getting back to doing some of the things I enjoyed before we went away, like a trip to Ikea in Melbourne, dinner with my old workmates and a visit to Daylesford to The Mill antique market. Mick says we have "one foot on the jetty and one foot on the boat" but he's not referring to nb Parisien Star.  We are at the end of a long process with the council planning department for a potential project and didn't know if we'd be staying in this house or not.  Finally it's looking like we'll be moving on again.  We will know for certain on the 19th and then we can forge ahead with a new adventure!  More about this later.....



Sunday, 16 November 2014

Echinda on the road to Inglewood

We had a lovely day out today... driving.  We decided to drive to Inglewood.  We took Klara with us in the car as a start to her learning to come along with us on outings.  She was good as gold.

As we drove along we saw something ahead slowly ambling across the road.  It was an echidna!  By the time we reached him he was on the roadside so I got out of the car to take a photo.  It's the closest I've ever been to one (with the exception of one our dogs discovered beneath a bush years ago, but that one was just curled in a ball).  Today the echidna kept waddling along and didn't mind at all when I came close.

We enjoyed browsing a few antique stores and sat outside an old fashioned general store for lunch.  On our travels we passed Tracey, who lives in our old house, and both pulled over for a chat in the middle of the isolated road.  We arranged to see her in the afternoon to collect some plant cuttings from our old garden.  Most of the plants in that garden came from cuttings from other people's gardens so now we will have new plants the same way.

Klara was very tired when we got home.  She had enjoyed bumbling around Tracey's garden, supervised the planting of the cuttings and then collapsed on her mat for a nap. Its a tough life for a little dog!


Friday, 14 November 2014


Mum and I had a lovely day out on Monday.  We went to visit Lavandula lavender farm.  They have gorgeous shady gardens and a very nice cafe with seating in the shade of a grove of Ash trees.   We had lunch watching the antics of a couple of geese families with a host of youngsters.

Shade trees are so important in an Aussie garden and those we planted at our old house are looking fantastic now.  We get to admire the ornamental pears at the front as we drive past each day.  Now it has us thinking about planting some more here at this house.  We do have a fabulous big tree to the West of the house and it's perfect for keeping the sun from the back door.  There is several scattered around our half acre garden but I think next Winter we will plant a few more.