Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I feel like I am going insane.
I don't seem to be able to hold the threads of stable emotions with or without drugs.
I hurt the people I value.

I don't want to be in people's lives because I am too much of a mess and no one can support me and I hurt them with my expectations.

And even though I know this I can't change it.

So I want to sit in my cupboard, in the dark and touch no one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the day before Christmas

Santa's coming tonight.
Good luck to him, poor bugger.
It rained last night so with the 35 C day today I think that red suit is looking like a misery. And when he steps into my house, he is going to find his suffering added to.

On Thursday, something went wrong with Ponyo's tummy and the laundry was a complete disaster area after his night's sleep. Well, I cleaned it up, aired the house and decided that he is big enough now to be an outside dog.

So Friday night he barked a little, but Saturday night, with his Uncle Doug to share the yard with, he barked all night.

I needed sleep -desperately-so last night I did a deal with the little devil and let him sleep in the laundry again.

This morning Mum greeted me with the news that she thought he had been sick. Understatement. Every excretion a dog can make was made. The smell was profoundly bad. Even now, showered and at work I feel like I can still smell it.

I am guessing his diet of garden hoses, camellias, bark, tissues, and anything else he can get his teeth onto is catching up on his tummy.

But in any case, we have a very seriously funky smell going on in the house that a hot and sweaty Santa is not going to 'dig'.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twas the night before Christmas

Well actually it was the weekend before my parents arrive for Christmas......

Not much time for a wordy story as I am now fighting the clock to get ready for Christmas. I am up at the crack of dawn blogging because that is the only time left.

I needed to get the garden to the next stage. I begged the kids to help. My shoulder has been a complete cow for months now. But despite unhelpful kids and shoulder, I was determined to get this done before mum and dad arrive for Christmas.

So I got up on Sunday morning and went flat out. And when I didn't finish, I got up Monday morning and did some more.

And when I didn't finish, I got home from a Christmas 'do' and worked some more.

And by then it was 10pm and too dark for photos ops.... hence the dawn blogging!

Now for the photos!
First the before and after progress collection.....

See... progress!
The front view
Really should shift the hose for the show off shots!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Garden Hazard

Erin, Ponyo and John
A happy picture of an adored pup. A face of calm puppyiness?

What this picture doesn't reveal is that the dog is a maniac.

This week I estimate he has eaten about $100 worth of camelias. They were the large camelias I bought to replace the small ones he ate earlier.

He has eaten a Japanese maple and has started on his second.

He ate a pistachio tree.

And the top out of the lilac tree.

The very expensive ground covering wattle has been reduced by half a couple of times now.

And he mowed down a magnolia tree.

This weekend I think it will be fence building time where a section of the yard will become his  own yard while we are out for the day. I simply can't afford his tastes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happiness is a new shelving unit

So I gave myself a super long weekend to rest my arm and it turns out I couldn't sit still that long......
On Tuesday I headed out to find a Chinese Tallow tree and came home with two shelving units.
Lovely Shelves and Lovely Little Jazz
Back at the old house there are still a few things I haven't moved across, primarily because there is no room. Now with these shelves I am hoping i have room for some more of the 'stuff'!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A month has passed

It is a month since the kids did the great job on the side garden.

Since then my arm has steadily got worse despite physio but it seems to have turned the corner now. Fingers crossed.
That's the short story: The long story is that I went to the doctor who asked me what hurt, what happened and could I lift my arms- no more than 5 minutes of his time. He sent me for an ultrasound then another doctor got the results and after 3 minutes of chatting, prescribed a steroid injection into my shoulder.
So in 8 minutes of consultation, I was sent off to do something I don't feel comfortable doing.

Meanwhile I took myself to a physio. Who spent 30 minutes or so working the various angles of freedom and restriction of movement then set to with massage, heat, buzzy thing and ultrasound. And follow up exercise. The progress then was great, not so great and now good. I have stopped the exercise and sought a work place assessment as I am positive that typing make it worse. I am not doing vacuuming or hanging up washing. 

Mum came and helped plant a pile of plants. She is impressive. I plant as many and have to spend an hour blogging to congratulate myself. She just thinks she should be cooking dinner because I have been at work!

The less I do the better my shoulder gets. But there is a limit to what I can ask the kids -and mum- to do, so yesterday I set out to mow the grass out the front.

My Mower, though I paid quite a lot less for mine.
I bought the mower on ebay: I should have realised that it wasn't going to be simple. 
No fuel: Of course and no can either.
No oil: again, naturally.
Two set of instructions: One for the engine and one to assemble everything else.
Assembly instructions are not for what I have in front of me and in broken English and some diagrams bad enough that I can't even tell what they are supposed to represent .
The seller has been helpful though so I have over the last two weekends got it sorted and I headed out yesterday to mow for the first time.

Not the lawn mind you, but the ragged nature strip. Probably called nature strip because all that is growing there is what Nature gave it. 

Looking down the hill at my first mowing: Not first ever for me, but first  for my new home.
And look at that sky? I love Canberra.
My mower is turbo-charged. When I hold an extra leaver, it engages and powers itself forward. I didn't realise that when I bought it and in the context of this buggered shoulder, it is a God-send.

Looking up the hill: See that building that looks like a McDonalds drive through? That is the monster that cost me so much angst with the mean builder.
The mower is HUGE. I think about 4 paces up and down my yard, and it will be done. In my head when I was buying it, I was resisting my compulsion to buy the smallest-cheapest. In retrospect though, with a buggered shoulder, tiny garden and limited storage, I really should have bought the little one. Never mind, I have a very manly lawn mower and I am sure I am impressing the neighbours with all my gardening antics.

As I began gardening, shifting so much soil, I imagined all the neighbouring gardeners (all men- I don't know what the ladies are doing) thinking, 'look at her go, who would have thought that chubby old thing would have that in her'.

When it was lawn time, 'She is a determined one, you got to wonder where she gets the guts to keep going'.

And out there with the lawn mower, I liked to think I became one of the boys.

I suspect instead what they have been thinking all along was, 'hope the weather holds, I might get to sit outside and have a beer when I am done'.

Like Dr Phil says, 'You wouldn't worry what people think about you if you knew how seldom they did it'.

Anyway, whether they know it or not, when I mowed the front lawn, I was feeling mighty proud because I have taken my garden from raw builders muck to mowable and that is a pretty cool thing.

The hay fever that followed was not so cool
ahhhh shooooooo

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday, Sunny Monday

So there are all these plants that need holes dug and it turns out my arm isn't suffering from imaginitis, it might actually be tendinitis.
Imagine my delight to discover the kids holding a working bee.
I am thrilled!

And I have been talking to their father who was looking for a dining table. Well I haven't been happy with the look of the one I have. The oval shape is inefficient for the space it takes and the unstained chairs are frankly never going to be stained as I am just no good at it. So I offered my table to Andrew and very promptly have found myself a new one :) Well a second hand one actually.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday, bloody Sunday!!

I have had a day! And don't worry this story ends up ending happily, but in the middle, I get so bloody mad I created a scene!
The morning was spent pottering around virtually. I played a few games, looked at dining tables, Christmas presents and driving lessons for Miss 16.

Eventually, I got out and swept down the back veranda. Here is what you have to visualise: woman with broom swinging it back and forth with a dog wrapped around it. Ponyo thinks sweeping is an outrage and must be prevented. It isn't efficient to sweep that way and the broom is quite heavy with a dog attached!

With that done, I cleaned down the dust and grub covered outdoor table, lit the BBQ and cooked sausages for the me and the kids. As this has become a regular thing there has been a build up of fat in the bottom of the BBQ and I ended up with the first few sausages blackened rather than cooked. Ponyo got them. Lucky dog. He went back several times to like the rim of the bowl in case there was any remaining grease.

After lunch Kate and I went off to the Yarralumla Nursery to collect the allocation I am entitled to as a new home owner.

Now this is something that should be straight forward, but hasn't been.

Trip 1: I visited last summer and asked the question about how to go about making my collection. I was told to bring evidence of my address. A bill or something and my driver's licence.

Trip 2: I bring along evidence and licence and am told I have not brought the correct things. Specifically I have to bring a correspondence from my lawyer about the sale of the land. 

Trip 3: Armed with a very thick letter from my lawyer about the settlement process, the contract etc, I thought I had it in the bag. Not so. The letter did not prove that I bought the land, just that I was going to. Sigh. I was given a brochure with the requirements.

Trip 4 (today): I read the brouchure. It mentioned a bunch of things I didn't have and few I did. I don't have a mortgage so I had no bank papers, I don't hold the certificate as they are in a safe with the lawyers but I did have my rates notice. I didn't know if they wanted the entire 6 pages or not, but I wasn't leaving anything to chance.

I thrust the wad into my hand bag.

I thought a moment then went and got my entire filing box of all documents related to the home and put it in the car.

I arrived. I presented the rates notice. And the girl refused to acknowledge it as sufficient. She pulled out her brochure and showed me that it said one of the other documents 'AND the rates notice'. 

I pulled out my brochure, given to me last time and pointed out where it said 'OR rates notice'.

She wouldn't budge. I asked whether she was serious. Was she seriously going to send me home-again-to get more papers when I had on three occasions now made this 50km round trip. She assured me there was no other way. I said she must surely have discretion. No customer service based business could be so short sighted to give her no discretion. She insisted. (And returned my raised voice with her own) By now I was seething and assured her that I just knew they were going to mess me around. I stormed off to the car and hefted my box of files into the store. And one by one, I stacked every conceivable document I have ever received from either government or lawyer about the house. She quickly took what looked like a random sample and set about arranging my allocation.

I was rude and mad and ashamed and so bloody angry to have been treated like this. I told her it was very unfair to have me standing there looking like an idiot when all I had done each time was bring what I was told would be sufficient.

Well I made myself calm down. I was disgusted with my temper and the situation too. Kate and I went about choosing the plants. They were very expensive so the $220 would have been much better spent at Magnet Mart, but I wasn't about to look this bad tempered gift horse in the mouth because it was bound to bite me!

When we got to the register, the girl was keeping her head down doing her very best to avoid my eye. But though it cost me something to do it, I caught her eyes and apologised to her. If the system is so inflexible, then it is not her fault. And it was one of those things. I guess she immediately saw that I was a human. And apologised to me in turn. And you know, that makes all the difference.

Sigh- I am such a hot head. I hate it.

So, we left the nursery with $220 of plants that were not exactly what I wanted just at this moment but had considered wanting eventually. I bought nearly all the Correa Dusky Bells they had. I want to encourage all the wrens and nectar eating birds to come and play. 

Correa Dusky Bells

And some hardenbergias to sprawl under the natives I have planted down the back. 


A few more diosmas. I love diosmas. There are so soft and lush and hardy and I can prune them without needing to know anything about pruning.

Diosmas- Natures most sensible border plant
Here is my theory on gardening. Pick something you like and plant lots of it. Then it looks like you know what you are doing because it is a 'theme'.

So in my garden I want: Diosmas, Japanese maples, crab apples, correa, camelias, pittosporum, agapanthus and I am going to start getting connifers.
The house ended up with a brick that is kind of pinky/mauvish which I don't like to be frank, but I am going to pretend I do. Already I am building up a pallette of purples and pinks in the garden.

Weeping elm in the centre and a row of camelias.
I love autumn colour but it comes at a price: Autumn colour means a winter grey garden.

So I am thinking hard about the balance of deciduous and evergreen. 

So the weeping tree, even when bare should be attractive so I have placed it opposite the lounge window..but with evergreen plants either side. A row of camelias. I will probably plant the correas in between the camelias. Imagine sitting in that window in winter, enjoying the northern sun and little birds just meters away.

Or maybe it will just be a very silly dog eating my plants :P
Ponyo finishing off an entre of Camelia en Potte

Monday, October 1, 2012

Long Weekend Gardening

On Thursday I ordered my turf from Canturf.
They called me 4 times to make sure the order was all set. The final one on Friday checking if I was sure given the weather.
I was sure: The forecast was for rain clearing on Saturday (6%) and fine Sunday/Monday.
Were they sure? Because there seemed to be some hesitation about whether the equipment was going to manage given it was raining.

Anyway, very early Saturday morning it was delivered after a deluge of rain the night before.

I got not one, but two certificates of authenticity to go with the grass. I never imagined you could get inauthentic grass.

I got all sorted into my gardening gear, loaded three rolls of grass into the wheel barrow and sank 10 cm into the mud. And it started to rain. Again.

So I went and did laundry for the day.


Starting late to give the ground time to dry out, I was back at it by 10 am. About 11.30, my bum was aching and my arms and just as I was wondering how on earth I would finish, Bill arrived to offer a hand.

Once there were two of us, it was so much better. It's fun working with someone else. I don't remember it hurting after that though it took another two and a half hours.

Side yard after all the heartache
Bill talked and talked and talked. It's just lovely and Ponyo was an attention seeking piece of Pest. As soon as I had one roll down, he was trying to eat it, roll in it and poo on it. Trying and succeeding at all.

I have to admit that of all the many things I can do really well, laying turf is not one of them, but it is good enough. The dust will be settled. With water it will establish and with time it will be fine.

Today, being a long weekend, I got another day in the garden. Stiff and sore I was much slower but still had plenty in mind to do.

I started with three bags of agapanthus. One of my favourite plants. Mum and dad had dug up a huge clump at the front of their place in Narooma and sent me home with a large portion of it. So today with secateurs and the knife from my lawn trimming, I prepared the aggies and then got digging.

A border of Aggies
Then it was time to do some cleaning up. After all this gardening there is dirt everywhere and aggie scraps and leaves and mulch and more dirt. 

Ponyo thought the whole process was for his personal enjoyment and he kept me company a lot of the time. Often appearing between my legs (not so convenient) looking for a brisk patting- which I couldn't resist giving him. He spent much of the day in the front yard and unlike Rusty, resisted the urge to chase cars. And came when he was called... mostly. And chased the water as I tried to water-in the plants.

A picture of progress
All up, I am knackered. My busted arm from falling a month or so ago is aching. My hands are so tired I am pausing in my typing. Ponyo is 50 shades of filthy. But I will officially call the long October weekend a success!
As well as eating dirt and chasing the sprinkler, Ponyo ate the top of my newly bought lilac tree. Grrrr

Monday, September 24, 2012

Birthday Weekend

 It was my birthday. I always get a bit tense before my birthday because I am so bloomin fussy. In the past there were things I would want that I couldn't buy myself and it was the only time in a year when they just might materialise.
Anyway, so it all became loaded with emotions that even now, I get swept away with. Quite ridiculously as I actually have just about everything I could ever want. 

A little over excited the night before (I know, it is pathetic), I didn't fall easily asleep and no sooner than I had, the phone rings and it is the kids father. He has had an accident and needs me to take him to the hospital.

I got back, went to shoot a quick email to work to say I would be late and found a message in my email form one of the kids asking for some photocopying to be done.
By the time it was all said and done, it was one hour before the first birthday greetings began to arrive and that's not much sleep to be sensible with. Especially some one as pugnacious as myself.
A box- a tell tale box is delivered
I squabbled with my poor Mark again and managed to patch it up in time for the deliver. 
Oh my!
I saw one of these boxes arriving for a colleague and I was so impressed. 
I wished I had one too!
:) And now I do :) 
How posh. How wonderful
I wish I hadn't been so tired because I couldn't make my delight obvious through the fog of sleeplessness.
Thank you darling Mark, they are perfect!

With a few more phone calls on the heels of saying goodnight to Mark, I gave up trying to sleep and eventually headed off to work..... 

Even more around the other side but my photo was blurry
Even more flowers: from Jen and Anna and from the girls in the Exec Suite. I was so spoiled. It would be the nicest workplace birthday I have ever had. I think Hayley is building a lovely team spirit. At 4pm, we all stopped work and had a lovely afternoon tea as three of us were having a birthday this week.
All day long I was greeted by all and sundry with birthday wishes. It was very cute.

Flowers on left from Jen and Anna in my favourite colour: Red
When I got home, can you believe it? There were more flowers. From Michael and Gabrielle. The most enormous bunch I have ever seen so i actually had to go shopping for a vase big enough to hold them.

My 'Birthday' Lounge
To celebrate the birthday and because I had so much flextime built up and because finally Garry has an Executive Officer to help look after him, I took today off.

After a delicious sleep in, I got moving and started in the garden- finally vacated by the builder next door. He did not return it to its former state, but I was ready to just move on. 
With Bill's help, I have spread all the dirt I had left. I used the crowbar and he manned the shovel and we dug a hole and planted the weeping elm.
I still need to water it in, and pick up the tools, but I wanted to finish this first so Mark could read it before he goes to work :)

The bad dog is eating my magnolia tree. he has already chewed off a quarter of it.
My bought-on-internet maples are starting to leaf up. They are going to be so pretty

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Where am I and what am I doing?

It is a few weeks since the last blog and in fact nothing much has changed except one vital thing. I am back on antidepressants.
My feelings about this are only mixed because of the external worries. For myself, life is so much better on them that I wouldn't blink an eye to be told I had to use them for life. It's only that people judge me. Judge me well enough to not need them and judge me unfit for things because i am on them.

Yesterday I was told that I had never been seen without a smile on my face. Well that is magnificent because that is who I want to be. I feel that IS who I am. But heavens above it is a struggle to be her.

At some stage about three months ago it had seemed like a good idea to go off them. Everything seemed to be getting sorted. And gradually I reduced the dose. And things were ok. Some issues were building, but I was ok. 

I changed jobs and that worried me a bit. But again it was ok. A few more issues cropped up and I started to sink. So I went and saw a counselor who told me about addiction and give myself time. Just the message alone set me on course for a while (which suggests there is definitely a cognitive component to this),

But as time went on, the weight of misery built up, the fog crawled over and settled on my skin. Every morning I woke up miserable. Angry and miserable. Convinced the only way I could cope was to care about nothing and no one. This was building while I went through yet another change of jobs. Long hours of coming up to speed.

Last weekend was the flash point.
An incident at work left me feeling profoundly unsettled. Paranoid actually. More fights with Mark.
I was soundly told off by my children that I was a no good, angry mother. 

So I packed my bag and left. I won't tell you what I planned. The packed bag was a good sign but there were definitely darker thoughts when I couldn't figure where on earth I could go. (quite literally)

Somewhere before Lake George I did a U-Turn and went to the doctors instead.

And here I am.

The problems are still the same, but I can let go of the anxiety and I can wake without the overwhelming urge to rage at life. I spent my first re-drugged Sunday sitting in the sun, dog at my feet, kindle in hand and it was bliss. The fog had lifted.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just Read it- it is beyond a title!

Sent August 13,2012
Hi Darren,
You suggested that the brick cleaning would be in a couple of weeks. That's about now. Is that the case?
I have been on hold now for 3 months at your request. Shortly I will recommence my gardening to take advantage of the spring growth season and have the lawn established before summer. The weeping tree must go into the ground before spring.

I need a commitment now, to the timing for restoration of my yard. I have gone above and beyond in generosity of resources and patience and need you to reciprocate.

The day I mentioned the pup to you, requesting the yard be left secure, someone removed the pile of bricks that was blocking the escape path.
I have now blocked it with a pot plant.

Your fellows have been using my water and leaving the tap dripping.

And using my power- which means untying the small piece of wire which stops the lid of the box banging all night when the wind blows. So I have had two midnight trips out into sub zero nights in my Pjs to tie it back up again.  
I could have put a lock on it. I didn't. 

The picture below shows some of the differences to my yard in a before and after shot. The after shot was taken over a month ago. 
It is worse now. 

If you would rather not respond to my email, please feel free to forward it to the owners of the block and I will seek repairs via them.

Cathy Stevenson

Received 29 minutes later... 
The brick cleaning will be done this week. We have not used your power or move any bricks. There wasnt any bricks at the corner of the patio. Your yard did not look like that when we started. The pavers and tree were not there.  I am trying to do the right thing. Please do not e mail me again. I will have a load of top soil delivered as promised when I have time. I am very busy keeping my clients happy, I dont need their neighbours on my back. When we clean up the yard you can finish your landscaping.

These two emails are copy and pasted without alterations.
Read the letter from himself in my blog 6 July where he mentions moving the tree and pavers...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Sunny Sunday in August

Today has been a beautiful day, though it has ended rather awkwardly.

It started with a sleep in. That means I slept until 7am. I don't call it a sleep in- but Mark does. It was a good sleep though and for me quality probably means as much as quantity.

Mark and I chatted for a while then once he had drifted off to sleep, I headed to the kitchen and started warming milk before going down stairs to fetch Ponyo, who sleeps in the laundry over night. As usual he was over joyed to see me and got into a complete fuss telling me that he doesn't like waiting fr breakfast. But waiting is my next training goal. He is not allowed to eat until I say 'yes'. Fortunately for him, I say it as soon as he is still.

Ponyo knows how to sit!
One thing leads to another. Having been to the laundry I see clothes that need sorting and washing. Going to the clothes line reminds me to water the plants. Wandering around watering, I can see all the builders' rubbish that has blown in, so I pick up a garbage bag full.

I am led next to the fish who need two buckets of water to get their pump running again and I am on the deck looking at the bargain BBQ. I haven't glanced at it since I bought it. Everything is filthy with the builders' dust so I pull off the cover and give it a shake and for the first time see if I can ignite the BBQ. Tadah! It lights! Just like it should!

My next brainwave is to actually use it to cook! Before you know it, I am back from the shops and cooking sausages. I hurriedly clean down the table, put out juice, sauce and fresh bread and we all sat out in the sun eating lunch together. It can't get better than that!

As soon as the food was done, I cleaned up and put the resulting rubbish out. That takes me to the garage and to the front yard and next thing I know I am watering the garden and talking to the kids' dad. And surveying the disaster that was once a side garden waiting for turf. Sigh. Don't dwell. 

And I didn't! Because I am drug free now! 7 complete days with no anti-depressants. Not sure if I am totally out of the woods yet, but I am going to try really hard to deal with things without over reacting. 

More work in the laundry, then I thought it would be nice to sweep all the bird seed and grass and bark chip and semi devoured plants (dog, not snails) and dirt, dirt, dirt off the veranda. Broom in hand, I headed out the door, twisted my ankle and went down hard. My ankle screaming in pain on one side, my knees cut on the other, both hands bruised and scraped, all the resolve of before vanished and I lay on the ground and cried for a while as I tried to figure how to get up.  Sadly, my 20 year old son watched my distress and made no offer to help. Kate, however did. I couldn't see though that, if I needed some strength to lift me up, she would have the strength to do it. So there I lay - being gawped at by all till my ankle decided it was nothing worse than a twisted and allowed me to put enough weight on it to get up.


I am hurting now as the bits that were jarred are making themselves known- but then I was so stubborn that if I could get myself up, then I was equal to the task of sweeping. So swept the veranda with Ponyo trying to kill the broom. 

..and when it was all done, I sat in the sun and read.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A fence is built

I have probably said this before, but I can not be bothered going back through all posts to check, but one of my favourite people of all time was my Puppa Commins. Sometimes I think he may have seemed as gruff as Rumpole of the Bailey, but he and I got along beautifully. It is not obvious why because his nickname was sporting- and I was 13 by the time I could catch a ball. 

But I know one of the things that we shared. 
We both loved pets. 

Most of my earliest memories were around Puppa. I remember Aunty Jane warning me not to lick my knife because Puppa would murder me. I have it in my head that it was when Pip was born. But it can't be - because I was only 3 1/2 at the time
This is the store long before my time but looking more like I remember it than it does these days. I have just found out that both it and the family's office on the left were both built and owned by my Great Great Grandfather, TC Humphrys.
I can remember when Jock was born. That was June 1970. I was staying with Aunty Jane above the office and at lunch times Puppa would come up the stairs to spend time with us. One lunch time he took me next door to Keast's General Store (The store was so 'olden days'. It sold biscuits at the back and habby at the front. It was dark and interesting). He talked the lady there into giving us an empty cotton reel box which we took back upstairs next door.
Puppa cut a hole in the lid and from then on, when he came to lunch he would pop a few coins in there and we were saving for fireworks!
I don't remember the fireworks at all but I do remember the cotton reel box. 42 years later.

The office and the next door store before the office was sold after more than 100 years in the family- maybe 115 years?
 The lane way was still open between them in 1970 and we had a side door into the building from the lane.
There was a Goldeana (sp?) tea sign painted on the wall of the store. I took a photo of it in 1981,  before the not-very-sympathetic extension to the office buried it for ever.

After that, Puppa and I hung out together a lot. I would run down the hill to his house and visit. We would spend hours in the aviaries sitting and talking. Cleaning and feeding. I am going to guess that I talked a lot and he listened.

I remember chatting with him while he worked in his shed. He was a great one for pottering around in the shed. I think there was an urge to create in him that was never expressed in the career that was chosen for him as a lawyer. 

When he and nanny set to retire from Junee, he commenced building an aviary in our back yard so we could have his birds. It was my first year of commuting to Wagga for high school, and I arrive home to join him on the grass as he tied wire. Amazing how much of the aviary was constructed in a sitting position. But maybe by the end of the day it was sitting time.

By the time his birds joined us, we had a menagerie to match his own. Dogs, cats, birds and fish. And so this has always defined home for me.

Moving into this new home I was leaving behind a fairly impressive menagerie. Fish, lizard, 6 birds and Rusty. Since moving here I have been slowly replicating it. (I wonder how frustrated Andrew might feel, being left with that host of pets?)
The fish are in the pond outside;
I brought most of the canaries with me. 
But I am not going to bother with the lizard- definitely not on my list of creature comforts.

The dog issue though had been simmering. 
'No fences, no dogs.'
 I have been chanting the mantra at the kids who are completely aware of what a soft touch I am.

They are well aware that I was regularly trawling the web, looking for cardigan corgi pups. As the year progressed though, it was becoming very apparent that Cardis were in short supply. So I started wondering if I would instead consider for a pembroke (the sort the Queen has). But even the pembrokes were nowhere handy and maybe I would have to look at freighting or a very long trip in the car. I got a little serious with that idea until I found out how much it was going to cost.

I got a fence quote or two and the fence was begun.
In the end I chose Colorbond as it looks neat and will not be relying on me to be a good girl and keep it painted. And a plug for the Exclusive Building Group and Marco who did a fine, fuss free job!
Tadah- side gate completed. Limited shot as the side looks dreadful with all the neighbouring builders' mess

So I was looking through my usual sites at pups when I saw straight away that a new ad had been listed! Cardigan Corgi Pups. 6 of them at Cootamundra. Only a couple of hours drive away. 

The pups shown were not from this litter
As luck would have it I had a day off the next day and so at the first decent moment to ring in the morning, I did. It was my usual 'casing the situation' call when more often than not I get cold feet and won't commit, but before I knew it I was completely carried away and two hours later had agreed to buy a little tri-coloured pup called Andy. And to save me from too much driving, Peter offered to meet me in Yass. So instead of a two day trip to goodness knows where, we had a 50 minute drive to puppy paradise!

Meet Ponyo aka Llynrick Prince Andrew (OMG)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Before and After- watch my yard revert to a builders mess

Before on Left: After on Right
So if you have been reading this blog, you would have been watching the slow progress I have been making. The triumph in small things
Let me treat you to my new before and after shots.

Main is after and before inset

This used to be ready for turf
Remember: this is my block. Where they have been given access because I am kind. I am going to need to spend hundreds of dollars to repair my yard.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


While I could be talking about a bit of sword play (because my temper has been up) I am as you guessed, talking about enclosing the back yard with a side fence.
Votes please:
Horizontal Slat Gates
Vertical Slats
Gate example 2
To consider: Colourbond will not require as much maintenance. It won't look quite so pretty, but it is neat and I guess the slats will one day be dated. But they will be handsome IF I remember to look after them and a potential pet doesn't scratch and chew at them...

Mark? Mum? What do you think? I am leaning towards colourbond tonight. Looks neat.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Hi Mark and Cathy,
Thankyou for your E-mail.
We are in the process of building a house next to yours.
Unfortunately privacy can sometimes be an unavoidable issue.
We have erected temporary fencing on the boundary to contain excess building materials and rubbish but when you are building a garage wall on the adjoining boundary it is impossible not to use the adjoining land.
I believe that your landscaping is premature and damaging trees and paving is the last thing I want to do.
I personally moved a potted tree and pavers that were placed near the soon to be erected brick wall so that they were not damaged.
The topsoil was spread over the area. (should not have been placed there in the first instance). Let alone the garden edge set-out markings.
The garage wall is complete and your side of the boundary was left clean and tidy.
I take pride in the manner my employees and sub-contractors carry out there work and apologise if they have unintentionally upset you.
The Bricklaying trades will be completed in the next week or so, As discussed previously once the Brickwork is pressure cleaned, I will notify you
so your landscaping can commence.
Darren Clarke
H & D Developments pty ltd.
Ok so this is the letter sent to us in reply to Mark's very polite email remarking on:

1. the unexpected encroachment of construction materials (metal fences etc.) and workers on our garden, leaving minimal privacy for the family.
2. the damaging effect of said people, and materials, in transit across our garden (pavers moved, markers on the ground lost etc.)
3. the loss of 5 or 6 barrow loads of top soil that was piled in readiness for spreading.

The overriding impression is of liberties being taken in the interests of convenience, which is not acceptable.
I am totally gobsmacked. Actually I was so livid, my temper got the best of me and I seethed like lava, and threatened to engulf the messenger (Mark) rather than the cause.
I still can not get over the fact that this builder thinks that my life should go on hold for the indefinite period that it takes for a house to be commenced and finalised.  Both blocks were made available in May last year and it took a year for them to begin building. As if it is reasonable to expect your neighbours to live on bare earth while you get around to building.  The block was bought by an investor, so there was no telling when it might begin. But why do I need to justify myself? This is my home. My land.
It is really so infuriating that I want to rave - yet I know the madness is so obvious to sane people, I do not need to say anything else!
Except that I have not enjoyed showering with a dozen men a meter from my crinkle glass bathroom window. I am torn between cringing to stay out of sight  - or shocking them with what I have to see when I am stripped in the morning. It isn't a pretty sight, let me tell you!
 PS There is rubbish through my yard and there are bricks and stuff in piles too, so the clean and tidy bit is a crock of not-clean-and-tidy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Shopping online

Bill's computer has had the side panel off and a pedastal fan blowing on it for over a year now. Then Sarah accidently bumped it over and for some hours it was dead and doing a good job of convincing us that it was going to stay dead.
Bill did a  bit of intensive care and it got going again. But who knew for how long? Meanwhile, with winter here and a wind blowing across out feet at the dining table, I wished for better things!
Bill doesn't pay board and from time to time I over pay him back when he does some shopping. My hope was that he would save up and get a better computer. I noticed however that his shifts were becoming quite scarce and a few well chosen devious questions and I had uncovered that he was actually going backward in his savings- getting further from the computer and not closer.

At the same time I was thinking about coming summers: back at the old house there was a very old gas BBQ. Sufficiently greasy that my car and my clothes would be ruined if I was to move it. That or I would donate a weekend just to cleaning it before I shifted it. So I was watching the classified for a BBQ.

Allclassifieds is my favourite, but I seldom find the bargains there - I bought my car from an add on Gumtree and in the end that was where my BBQ was.

Now here is something: I have a bad habit of getting cold feet at the last minute. Yes I have been to rug shops, got the biggest heaviest rug down, run off to get the cash and not gone back because I changed my mind. Kate has seen me do it enough that she is now quite strict with me when we go shopping. When it came to a Yucka I had Mum on one side telling me they were bad plants and Kate on the other telling me that I had promised the lady I was going to buy it..Guess which I was more afraid of!! (The yucka is on the front door step)

The Yucka: Because I am more afraid of Kate
So I found an advert for a BBQ in very good condition. ( I think I was actually looking for a lawn mower) $60, two gas cylinders and one of them full. I am thinking I will have my moneys worth just in gas bottles....
I arrived at the house. Looks like a run down rental. Hmmmm is this where I want to be on my own?

I ding the bell. I wait. I try to peep through the curtains to get the measure of where I am. I decide I can wait exactly 30 seconds more before I run for the hills and send s polite TXT saying that I came but no one answered the door.
At 17 seconds the door opens and I am lead through a student style house but a returning diplomat!

The BBQ is lovely and clean and as good as new. Not dirty, not rusty and not covered in spider webs. My car proves itself to be the best little Honda Jazz ever by fitting that huge 4 burner BBQ, hood and mount and 2 gas cylinders.
Good little Car! Lovely BBQ. Thank you Mr Diplomat!

Bill helped me get it out of the car and in return i gave him a link to an allclassifieds add for a 2nd hand computer. That has also come here now and he was breathless with joy at his new computer's magnificence. Trained by his mother in the art of loving a bargain he has assured me that it has the 7th best graphics card IN THE WORLD that alone would have cost what the whole computer cost him. (Does that sound familiar?)

Oh and last night on Ebay I won the lawn mower......

Sunday, June 24, 2012

From little things...
(Something to listen to while you read perhaps)

So it is two weeks since the last blog and that pretty much wraps around the time the black dog struck back for a little while.
Woven into this blog's narrative of building a new life is the undercurrent of fighting with that bloody dog. With all the achievements of late, I had decided to halve the dose of antidepressants. At first things were fine- unchanged. Then after a fortnight it was getting a little less easy sailing until last week I was back in the thick of it. Massive and frightening mood swings.

This week I went to the doctor for a chat. She has given me an official schedule to step down the dose. I asked her about the moods. The deep lows followed with highs within the same 24 hours. She explained the 'highs' are me. The lows are the depression. And now I look at it, the further I am from the dose, the more difficult it is for me to stay steady.

I take the dose after my morning shower. Allow some time for the stuff to get into my brain you would expect that afternoons would be my good times and late night and early morning my worst. And early mornings have been devastating.

I nearly went back to full strength, but this weekend, things seem to have settled. I feel myself again.

It is incredible. Honestly. People tell me I don't need them. They simply don't have a clue what it is like to be in this body!

Last weekend when it was bad I couldn't make myself go out into the garden for any serious length of time. I couldn't lift. It seems absurd. Maybe it is my imagination- but I couldn't lift the heavy pavers. I tried to decide what to do with the pavers and I shifted them back and forth until I turned my back on them and walked inside again.

But today I have been out. It is cold and clear and glorious. The whole time I gardened, Sparky the canary sang. It was one of those life is perfect times. heady and wonderful. THIS is who I am. I was strong. I dug lots of holes. I made decisions.

I shifted a good quantity of the pile of dirt.
Progress has been made. In the garden.. and I am still on half a dose.....

(And that is despite walking into a very messy house and being yelled at by the 13yo who thinks I shouldn't call through the house for people to pick up their plates.)

I have another blog to write about computers and BBQs but it can wait!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Long Weekend Plans

Well the plan was to go straight out into the garden this morning and get lots of work done. The reality though was that I woke in the early hours with a sick tummy, blogged, found my Mark on line and then fell asleep on him- not once, but twice! In the end I slept 'til mid morning.
Then I kept him company while he slept 'til late morning.
By the time I finally got myself organised, half the day was gone.

The routine is then that Saturday will absorb itself. Clean the kitchen, feed the birds deal with laundry, empty bins, sweep the veranda... blah blah blah..
Anyway, I got out and finally played with the pavers.

Here is where I am heading-ish. A quick scribble showing large pavers through the centre, small pavers and eventually some pebbles in the gaps.
The fish have been installed in the large black pot and I must remember to put the solar powered pump in it tomorrow!