I can safely say I’m sick of cold, wet weather.  Sunshine has been sporadic for the past month or so.  Apparently, so far, it’s been the coldest, wettest spring in Melbourne for several years.  Great.  I shouldn’t complain – it would be the same or worse in the Manawatu.

I am still jobless, sadly.  I have applied for a few jobs but haven’t been able to get an interview as the other candidates were of a “high calibre”.  Great.  I am disappointed in the agency I’m signed up with.  I’ve had two phone calls from them in three months.  I called back immediately after missing one of the calls but by the time I managed to contact them, the position had gone.  Thanks.  Not impressed.  The woman I had before was brilliant.  This guy doesn’t sound like he gives a shit.  I saw a job advertised this morning.  It was for a one year contract at the same place I had an interview at late last year.  I figured I should apply for it, after fiddling with my CV again, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t do it.  The interview had been one of the most humiliating experiences of my life: – a panel of about five people seated around me, unsmiling and unfriendly.  I stuttered, spilt the glass of water, and seemingly didn’t answer their odd questions to their satisfaction.  Just to get to the interview was a one hour tram ride from the CBD.  I can’t go through that experience again.  I willed myself to apply, but then just cried.  I can’t do it.

Some days I’m really depressed about the situation.  Other days I try to think positively and fill the day with interests.  I’ve done a couple of (free) courses online, the latest one being a four-week photography one through RMIT, after a six-week genealogy one through the University of Tasmania.  I am doing weekly blog entries about genealogy.  I have just written another one which has taken most of the day.  When it’s fine (which it certainly isn’t today), I go for walks and take my camera with me.  In the evenings I watch one of many excellent TV series and movies on SBS On Demand.

A trip is planned with the girls in November.  C wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday overseas, so we are going to Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.  If I applied for a job, or got given a temporary contract, I would have to say I can’t work for about three weeks in November/December.  Perhaps I’m better off being unemployed until then, although that’s a long time to be without a job.  The trip is something to look forward to in any case.  I feel in need of a holiday.  It gets very lonely being at home all day every day (even with the company of a cat).

I’m rather disappointed in the lack of communication from some friends.  Perhaps they are embarrassed for me being out of work, after my “great move to better things”.  I don’t want their pity.  Some positivity would be good, but I get nothing at all.  Disappointing.  When I don’t get responses to emails or messages, I feel there’s no point trying again.  Isn’t it rude not to respond?  I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand people.  I found an old email as I was emptying an account before closing it.  I guess I kept the email because it reminded me of the duplicity of some people who call themselves “friends”.  In the email she called me a bitch (among other things).  She said as a friend she could say such things.  Yeah right.  With friends like that, who needs enemies.  She’d said some nasty things about me to others as well, so it’s no loss.  Needless to say, she hasn’t been a friend since.  It just made me aware, after reading it again, that I just don’t understand why some people behave as they do.  What did I do?  I’m totally unaware of whatever they think I’ve done.  I grew up preferring animals to people.  Still do, for that matter.

I’ll continue walking my path alone.


Kalang park, Blackburn


A walk in a park

Friday dawned bright and sunny.  My place of residence doesn’t receive a great deal of light, so it was an opportunity to go out.

I considered returning to Wattle Park and then, perhaps, walking to Aldi from there to buy some groceries.  Then I wondered what groceries I really needed, and that it required a lot of walking.  Then I considered journeying into the CBD to return to the Botanic gardens.  I hadn’t had a lot of success with bird photos there, so looked about on Google for other parks I could get to.  A general search didn’t reveal much, so I then used maps and looked at the green areas close by.

I discovered a green patch with a lake, called Lake Sanctuary, at Blackburn, just three train stops from me.  Clicking on it revealed that it was a place for birdwatching.  That made my mind up.

The forecast had clouds for later in the day so I had a cursory lunch and headed out at 12.15 for the train.  From Blackburn station it was a 15 minute walk to the park.  Lots of kids at the playground near the carpark, so I ventured further in.  I found the track that circled the lake.


There was a bench seat facing the lake so I sat for a while, and saw no birds.  I could hear plenty – rainbow lorikeets, wattlebirds, magpies, all up in the canopy.  I did see a few magpies flying around, and then finally saw a dusky moorhen and a wood duck.  I was about to get up and keep walking, when I spied a white dot on the opposite bank.  I couldn’t really see what it was – a heron?  I got my new camera out and zoomed in.  It was a Nankeen Night Heron!  I was thrilled.


The zoom was fantastic.

I spotted a magpie and rainbow lorikeet in branches above me and attempted to photograph them.



I waited for a couple of women to pass.  They had binoculars so were evidently birdwatchers.  I wondered if they’d seen the night heron.  I walked along further and saw a wood duck on a log, preening and flapping its wings.


The women were paused at a viewpoint further on.  When I approached, they passed by, back to the track.  They didn’t smile, just looked at my camera.  I thought fellow birdwatchers might be friendly (they would’ve seen me taking photos), but not those two.  They walked quite quickly, so I don’t imagine they saw or looked around much.

I crossed to the other side of the lake and walked away swiftly from a whining child who, thankfully, was going in the other direction.  I was walking slowly along one of the tracks…


when I heard what sounded like a grey warbler.  Then I saw movement and discovered it was a fantail.  I hadn’t known until quite recently that fantails were in Australia.  It was a “grey fantail” (they even have different types) and looked like the New Zealand fantail but without the yellow colouring.  Unfortunately, it was too quick for me to capture it.  As soon as I found it with the zoom it flew off.  I continued walking and saw more movement out of the corner of my eye and a little grey bird flew past and then a blue bird.  I gasped and stopped.  There were birds everywhere if I stopped and listened and looked for small movements.  The little blue bird, a superb fairy wren, came out to the path and darted in and out of the grass, seemingly unaware of me.  I tried to get several photos, but again, trying to zoom in on it as well as follow it proved difficult.


It then became aware of me and flew up into a branch and, like many birds, started preening so I couldn’t see its head.


I saw no other birds after that, but did hear them, including brown thornbills.  I sat for a bit but people passed by.  I double-backed, but more people were around so no more birds except the odd wood duck and a Pacific black duck.  I got one more glimpse of the night heron, which had moved a little further along but was still visible for those with a keen eye (or zoom lens).


It had been a very pleasant, and rewarding, walk.  I had spent two hours at the park in total.


One to bear in mind for any visitors.


I could’ve sworn I wrote a draft about my trip to Brisbane, but it appears not.  I won’t split this up, so it will be a long post.

It was a wet day when I left home.  I caught the train to Southern Cross, arriving about half an hour before the bus I had planned to get departed.  My original plan was to have something to eat at Southern Cross.  Instead I just bought a ticket and caught the next available bus – a double-decker one.  I had allowed an hour to get to the airport, but we were there in 30 minutes.  This meant I was even earlier than I needed to be.

I printed out my boarding pass (I had checked in online), and went in search of food.  I ended up having a muffin and a ginger beer.  Then slowly wandered down to the departure gate, idly looking in book shops.  I was pulled aside for a scan to see if there was an “explosive residue” on me.  For fuck’s sake.

Waited for the Virgin airline flight, gazing out at the rain.


I had been able to choose a window seat for free, but all I saw was cloud – featureless white cloud as far as the eye could see.  It was so featureless that there was no sensation of movement – just the noise of the plane.  It was as if we were stationery.  Quite weird.

Finally we descended into Brisbane, beside what looked like a huge cloud statue of an elephant lying down.  Brisbane was grey and threatening rain, but it was warm.


I wish Melbourne had trains to the airport.  It would make things so much easier, and there wouldn’t be the worry of traffic jams.


My cousin, H, was arriving from a work trip to Sydney, so I waited for her.  Together we got a taxi to her place in Chermside.  I was introduced to her lovely cat, Molly.


After a meal and long chat, we headed to bed.

Saturday was a bit grey and windy, but we walked to the local mall.  H bought a few things at the supermarket, then we had a coffee.  Thankfully, we share the same views on politics and religion and could chat away quite happily.

H rang her mother, J (my father’s sister) at the retirement village to let her know we were coming, then drove round to see her.  She’s 95 and recently recovered from a fall and mild stroke, but she was as active and talkative as she was at her 90th birthday.  Amazing.  It was good to see her looking so well, and the only medication she takes is a blood thinner.


We only stayed an hour, but I hoped I would be able to see J again.

We returned to H’s place and made lunch, then set off for the beach at Sandgate.  It was very windy.  The seagulls just hovered.


We sat on a park bench and ate our rolls.  There were quite a few parasurfers, if that’s the right term.


Lunch finished, we went for a wander along the beachfront to the pier.


Shorncliffe pier, image from Flickr

We walked to the end of the pier.  The waves were very choppy.  Quite a few fishermen were trying their luck.  On the way back we saw what looked like blue plastic bags floating in the sea.  They were jellyfish.  I didn’t take a photo as I was afraid of dropping my mobile phone into the sea in the strong wind.  This is what they looked like.


I can’t find a name for them, other than “blue jellyfish”.  A kid showed off a few fish lined up on the boards.  A few were quite small – too small I thought, and I felt sorry for the fish.

We returned to H’s place.  There was a loud thunderstorm which continued for some time.  We watched “Beck” on SBS on Demand on H’s TV.

For dinner, we got an Uber ride to Nundah and ate at a pub which served Italian food.  I was amazed at how quickly the car turned up.  It was raining but we sat outside the pub under cover.  Lovely meal, cooked and served by real Italians (a rarity in NZ).  It was wonderful to hear the accents.  After dinner, we headed across the road to a small bar called Village Social.  There was a band called Heads Hands and Feet playing – a three-piece band made up of a bearded guy in dreads on keyboard and vocals, a Maori from Chatham Islands on guitar and vocals, and an old English guy on drums.  They were good.  I enjoyed their music.


H used her app to get another Uber ride home and it showed up almost immediately.  I was impressed.  H said that the drivers are much more polite, and if you lose something you can contact them.  This contrasts with an experience that a friend of J’s had – an elderly woman with a walker trying to get into the back of a taxi and the driver not getting out to help at all.  If taxi drivers are complaining about Uber they need to up their game.  If I ever need a taxi, I’ll download the Uber app.

H likes to go to bed early (and gets up early) so I headed to bed and watched episode 3 of “Southcliffe” on my mobile.  I didn’t sleep well that night (not as a result of the programme I might add).

Sunday dawned bright and sunny.  H headed off to her gym.  When she returned we drove to Nundah to check out the market.  Lots of stalls but H didn’t seem interested in any and walked past them all.  We sat and had a coffee (she loves her coffee), then walked back to the car.  A pointless exercise, I thought.  Not that I was interested in buying anything or watching the entertainment, but even just a browse…?  Oh well.



It was nice not to have to wear a singlet or jacket.  You can see from the photos that all you needed was a short or sleeveless top.

H’s idea was for us to go to Southbank and meet her son who was going there with his wife and young baby.  However, he was unsure when he was going to be there and sounded reluctant to meet us, so instead, after lunch, we drove north to Bribie Island.




It was a very pleasant drive.  It was wonderful to see the countryside.  I had never been north of Brisbane before.  I spotted a pelican as we crossed the bridge to the island.

We found a carpark by the beach and wandered down in barefeet.  It was so pleasant and seemed like summer.


In the distance is Moreton Island (and a container ship)

H and I walked south along the beach, me careful to avoid stepping on the many bluebottles washed up.  No-one else seemed to care about them.  I spotted some seabirds and later found out they were greater crested terns.



I had taken a camera but didn’t have a zoom lens on it.

We returned from our walk and went into the surf club for a drink.  I had a nice cool beer and H had a lemon, lime and bitters.  I found out later that there was a bush walk nearby that we could have gone on, but H seemed keen to head back.  Her son wanted her to babysit but hadn’t given a time.

So we drove back to H’s and waited for him to drop off they baby so they could go to the gym.  In the meantime, H made roast vegetables with lamb, which we ate in a bowl for some reason (and without gravy).  Eventually, H’s son and his partner turned up about 7pm!  They said they’d be an hour but it was more like two.  The baby slept for a bit, cried for a bit and H fed it some milk.  Then it cried again.  H put some kid’s programme on TV and it watched, fascinated.  Unfortunately, we had to put up with the “Wheels on the Bus” song about four or five times.  It was just after 9pm when H’s daughter-in-law showed up to collect the baby.  You may be able to tell that I don’t particularly care for babies.

Monday was another sunny day.  Unfortunately for me, H had decided to go to the gym again, so I was stuck at her place without a key.  I think it a little selfish if you have a guest (surely you can forego the gym for a day) but that’s my opinion.  We could’ve spent the morning at Southbank or something, or I could have gone for a walk.  Oh well.  I ended up watching the last of “Southcliffe” and thought the last two episodes were a complete waste of time.  H returned about 11 am and we talked for a while.  Then she took me to the airport about 12.

The plane was delayed for half an hour after we’d boarded, so we sat waiting, looking at the blue sky.


The flight was full and I had been called to the desk for a new boarding pass.  They had changed my seat to a window seat, which suited me fine.  At least this time I would get to see something.

20160912_141926     20160912_142051

As we neared Melbourne the temperature dropped and the clouds got thicker.  It was ten degrees colder than Brisbane – not a surprise.


I sat upstairs in the double-decker Skybus this time.  I tried to get a photo of the CDB as we neared it, but the bus was too bumpy.

At Southern Cross I waited for a train back home.  Again a delay but I finally reached home about 6pm, to a very happy cat.  She purred non-stop on my lap.

Back to the cold and wet.  Roll on summer.


Good day

I had a wonderful day today.

Firstly, the sun was shining – always a bonus, and it was warm.  Windy in the morning but not cold.

I walked to Box Hill to buy a few needed food items.  When I got back I sat outside in the sunshine with Jasmine.  I took my new camera out in case some birds happened by.  Naturally, as I was prepared, none showed up.  Only when I don’t have a camera do they come and pose.  A day or two before a red wattlebird had come quite close and I could have got some wonderful shots of it.  It wasn’t to be.

I had an early lunch (using some of the ingredients I had bought) and read a book on my bed where some sun was shining through.  I then decided to make use of the sun and walk to Maranoa gardens to see if I could capture any birds there.  I wandered around, sitting occasionally in case some birds wanted to co-operate.  I captured a noisy miner and a young magpie.


The rainbow lorikeets were noisy but, as usual, stayed up high in the canopies or flew swiftly by.  I continued wandering and sat again, trying to capture some red wattlebirds, and then some little brown thornbills.


No real luck there.  I took a few photos of the lovely grevillea and other flowers and then headed to the exit.  Just before I left, I spied a red wattlebird and tried zooming in.  I think I got one decent photo.  Still, it was fun, and I was impressed with the zoom capabilities of the new Canon.



I caught a tram back into Box Hill, deciding that I wanted a new bag for the camera.  However, I couldn’t find any.  Instead, I bought some wine and some curry sauce, and a jar for teabags, and walked back home.  Altogether, I’d walked over 8 km today.

Returned and had a cup of tea and some dark chocolate.  I went online to search for some storage options (I still have unpacked boxes) and a camera bag, while listening to some cruisy music.  No luck on the camera bag – I will have to go into Eastlands mall and have a look around – but did order some plastic drawers which at least look better than boxes.  Free, next-day delivery a bonus.

I cooked chicken satay and rice for dinner and watched “Who do you think you are?” which featured Peter Garrett from Midnight Oil.  Interesting.  Nothing else on TV so I returned to the computer and watched a Polish series called “The Border”.

Fabulous day.

Haven’t written about my Brisbane trip yet.  Will do so soon.



It’s strange, but I can’t “do” anything if I know I’ve got to leave soon.  I’m currently waiting until it’s time to catch a train to Southern Cross, in order to catch a bus to the airport, in order to catch a plane to Brisbane.

I’m bored.  At these times I wonder what I normally do, but because of time constraints psychologically I feel I can’t embark on anything such as family history research, or even watching a movie.  I’m afraid of being too engrossed and will forget the time.

It doesn’t help that I have recurring dreams of missing trains and planes.  Not recently, mind you, but often enough to be aware of that fear.

I had a cough, which I suspect I picked up in Geelong but it had disappeared.  No sign of it over the past few sunny days.  But today it’s grey and damp and the cough is back.  Interesting.  The cough mixture I bought at the pharmacy does nothing.  When I had the cough last week it only occurred morning and night.  Today it’s… during the day!  Annoying.

You see how bored I must be – talking about coughing.  I even went onto stuff.co.nz.  Nothing’s changed there.  Still really pathetic “news” articles.

Jasmine was sleeping happily in her igloo but I got up to do a few things and she stirred and followed me.  Now she’s miaowing, probably feeling my restlessness.

40 minutes to go…

Well, after that exciting non-event of a blog entry, I shall end here, probably play a game or two of Freecell, put some food out for Jasmine, and watch the clock.

A weekend in Geelong

V from my workplace had invited me for a weekend at her place, which was very nice of her.  We had arranged 19-21st August while she was on long service leave at home.

It was a gloomy, rainy day – pouring at Mont Albert, when I caught the train.  Got to Southern Cross then waited for the 3.10 to Geelong.  It had been a while since I’d been on a V/Line train (last time to Bendigo last year).


It looked a bit brighter towards the west. The suburb of Deer Park looked awful – houses so close together you could jump from roof to roof.

Further out I saw half-grown lambs.  I hadn’t seen lambs since last spring.  It’s odd not to have seen sheep for about nine months.  I was delighted to see a flock of galahs flying and also some shags around a pond.

We arrived at an ugly industrial area that sounded like Kurayo, but discovered it was actually spelled Corio.  We were basically at Geelong and it hadn’t even felt like an hour.  I had enjoyed the trip.

V met me at Geelong station just as it started to rain.  We headed to a fresh food place in Pakington Street and V bought some ingredients for the evening meal.  She was going to make pizza bases.  I spotted some rather nice pizzas and pointed them out to her out of interest, and she decided to buy them instead – good choice.  I’m all for time-saving.  The houses in West Geelong were wooden and reminded me very much of NZ.  V’s house was no exception and had lovely oak-panelling.  Lovely big kitchen, split level, an office each for her husband, C, and herself and a library with shelves built by C.  It was a wonderful room with a large selection of fiction and non-fiction.

After pizza V showed me some of her genealogical research.  She also had a mini office next to the kitchen (perhaps it used to be a walk in pantry) which was filled to the brim with folders, boxes, filing cabinet, etc of her research.  She had obviously been doing it seriously for years.  I was envious of the space and organisation.  She showed me large sheets of a family tree that an ancestor had drawn up.  He had collected family details in 1870 which made for such a treasure trove.  One branch of her family alone filled most of those boxes and folders.

Saturday dawned sunny but windy.  After breakfast, V visited the fresh food store again.  It was a good shop full of nice things I would love to try.  V’s mother dropped by and it was arranged that C would drop her off to the hospital to visit V’s father who had pancreatitis, and then drop us off at Eastern beach for a walk to Western beach.


On the way we passed a fabulous old house, known locally as the ‘wedding cake house’.  Apparently it had been shipped over in bits from England.


Google Street view

It was a cold wind and we were heading into it on our walk, but it was an interesting one with all the differently painted bollards.




We had a cup of coffee at one of the cafés along the way – this one more of a fish and chip shop, but a nice view.  We chatted about work and her insane boss.  It was her boss that put the kybosh on me working longer there, only to be contrary.  Apparently she was dismissed from her last job (why do these people get employed?).  Anyway, having got that out of her system, we continued on, past the ‘carousel’ (which I just call a merry-go-round).


The horses had been found in a state of disrepair (with an example to show), which they had restored and made into a fully-working carousel.  I was tempted to go on it.  There was also an old organ there which had, until recently, been in working order.


Just lovely.

The sun appeared as we headed towards the end of our walk and C came to pick us up.  There was still a cold wind though.  After picking up V’s mother from the hospital we headed back for lunch – a roll with cheese, ham, etc.

After lunch we went into Geelong centre to visit the wool museum and library and heritage centre.  We spent quite a bit of time at the museum, which was hosting a scarf exhibition/contest with some of the scarves for sale.


Apparently it’s an annual event.  Many of the scarves were lovely and some, of course, quite weird.  We didn’t think much of the judges’ decisions as to at least three of them.  One looked like doilies sewn together, made of plastic, another was made up of cut up coloured plastic straws and another was just skeins of wool in a loop, tied together in about four places (no real skill involved there at all).

The museum itself was well done, even though I come from the land where back in the day there were about 60 million sheep.


Carpet making

There were reproductions of shearing and other sheds and workman’s cottage, and the three of us (V’s mum included) pointed out old things we had had in our houses growing up, such as aluminium teapots, old tins and enamelware, etc.  On display were three uniforms from the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and we thought the designer should’ve been sacked.  At the end of the tour through the museum they had a reproduction of typical suburban house of the 50s and it immediately reminded me of my grandmother’s house in Westmead, NSW.


The hallway, apart from the carpet, was pretty much exactly as my grandmother’s had been, with the same layout.


There was little time left to explore the new library and heritage centre but we headed over there anyway.  The library reminded me of the public library at Palmerston North – a bit of an industrial feel on about three levels with a mezzanine.  I was pleased to see Australian literature was separate from the rest of the fiction.  My local library lumps them all in together, which is frustrating if you’re wanting to read Australian fiction.  Nice views from the higher levels.


The heritage centre was closed, unfortunately, but V took me up to look through the glass door to get my opinion on the colour scheme.  It was horrendous.  The walls were a luminous hot pink, not at all restful for study.  V said she was going to let them know how awful it was.  Perhaps if enough people complained…

Back home and V’s mother headed off before dark as she lived in Clifton Springs, quite some distance away.  V made a lovely chicken and vege meal taken from one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes.  I missed seeing the rhythmic gymnastics on TV (Olympics) as C thought it was rubbish.  Naturally, he was more into the AFL games.  We did, however, see an interesting documentary on Versailles.

Unfortunately, my mobile phone battery was getting low and I had forgotten to bring a charger (idiot).  Daughter, C, sent me photos of Jasmine on her lap (she was staying over at my place).

Sunday dawned and the plan today was to head along the Bellarine peninsula.  V took me first to the botanic gardens which had been set up very nicely.  In all I was impressed with what the council had done around the place (even though they’d been sacked) – better than Palmerston North’s council in my humble opinion.

After V got her drive-through coffee, we headed to Portarlington (for some reason written as one word instead of Port Arlington).  The wind was still cold but we had a pleasant walk along the main street and popped into a couple of interesting shops.


I saw a beautiful little bird with yellow wings, but didn’t have my camera.  (Always the case.  If I had had my camera it would’ve flown off.  Birds only hang around long enough for a shot when I don’t have a camera!)  I didn’t attempt to take a photo with my phone – it would’ve been too small to see.  I think it was a New Holland honeyeater, judging by photos and the brief glimpse I had.

On the way to Queenscliff (which I knew of from Phryne Fisher stories) V stopped at a place where ex-convict, William Buckley, was said to have met up with Europeans after spending 30-odd years with local aborigines – a fascinating story.  Apparently a book has been written about it and we both agreed it would be an interesting one to read.  From the coast we could see the skyline of Melbourne on the opposite side of the bay.

On arrival at Queenscliff, through a beautiful tree-lined avenue which reminded me of driving along the shores of Lake Taupo for some reason, V saw that there was a tour of the fort soon.  I didn’t know there was a fort at Queenscliff (and if mentioned in the stories, I had forgotten).  It was lunchtime and cafés were full so after a look in one shop we headed for the fort.  On arrival we were asked for identification and wrote down names and addresses.  It was then I saw some cadets coming out – I hadn’t realised it was a working fort.

The tour was an hour-and-a-half long and included the haunted keep.


Apparently the windows in the lower section were often found open even though people kept closing them.  Some windows were slightly ajar and the guide asked us to close them.  There were once some archives kept there but a man who worked on them was plagued by ghostly noises, etc, and had everything moved out.  I didn’t see any apparitions or feel anything, sadly.  The ghost was shy.

The tour went past some buildings that had been part of the original township of Queenscliff, but were now in the confines of the fort.


The higher lighthouse (there is a lower white one to the south) is one of only three black lighthouses in the world, and the only one in the southern hemisphere.


The tour continued along the coast in bitterly cold winds and the guide told us about German ships and Japanese submarines trying to get through the heads in wartime.  This I did not know.  I thought only that the Japanese had bombed Darwin and got into Sydney harbour.  I hadn’t realised that they, or the Germans, went as far south as the entrance to Port Philip Bay.  The navigable space between the heads is very narrow – amazing that large ships can get through.


Old naval mine

There was lots more to see including tunnels, cannons, guns, and the museum was interesting, but my phone battery was in danger of giving up completely, so I turned it off.

Unfortunately by the end of the tour it had started raining.  We returned to the full café and had coffee and cake.  I would have loved to have walked by some of the impressive buildings there but it will have to wait for a nicer day another time.  Instead, we had a quick look in a couple of the vintage shops.  I wouldn’t call them antique – I don’t think anything was older than the 1940s-50s.

V continued on through Ocean Grove where relatives still had one of the original old holiday homes (what I would call a bach), surrounded by large new mansions.  Barwon Heads was nicer, but it was getting too late for another stop or walk (the rain had stopped after we left Queenscliff).  On the way back V drove round a winery/restaurant where she had married C just last year or the year before (I can’t recall).  She had shown me a wedding invitation which was in the form of a penguin book – it was fantastic.

A fabulous day, marred only by heavy rain in Queenscliff.  The evening meal was a lovely one of Thai beef, this time a recipe from River Cottage, with wine, naturally.  There was a fascinating movie about Genghis Khan on TV (“Mongol”) that held us enthralled (in Mongol with Mongol actors, unlike some movies that use Japanese actors).

Naturally, a beautiful sunny day greeted me the next morning.  I had a leisurely breakfast and V dropped me off to catch the 10.46 train back to Melbourne.  A pleasant journey back, this time on the other side of the train.

I took a couple of photos despite protests from the phone (warning, warning, beep, beep, battery low).  The You Yangs, although not very high, had dominated views from everywhere.


I love the cloudscapes.


There was quite a wait at Southern Cross before I realised I needed to change at Flinders (and the trains were doing the loop not heading my way).  Got home in time to have lunch and see Jasmine had been sleeping.  She enjoyed purring on my lap that evening.


Aye, well

I felt I should drop by. Strange, what did I use to blog about? Now I don’t feel a need. Perhaps it’s because H gave me a diary and I’ve been writing there instead.  It is difficult once you get out of the habit.

I am currently unemployed. My contract ran out and could not be renewed much to the disappointment of my immediate boss and colleagues. I applied for a couple of jobs but obviously didn’t have the required experience. It is a worry but the tax refund makes up for a couple of months of unemployment. I do hope something comes up soon. Do I have any regrets? No. The only thing I really miss apart from H, is being able to drive to my brother’s for a weekend of peace, lambs and Siedler.  I do miss that. There are some people I miss from work but continuing seeing most of them meant continuing working there and I no longer wanted to. Nope, I don’t regret my move. It’s just living with uncertainty.

I will spend a weekend in Geelong soon and am planning a visit to one of my cousins in Brisbane. It costs as much to fly there as it does from NZ to Aus, which surprised me. But it is a 2 hour flight. I hope I can visit Sydney soon and would love to go on an overnight train.  The only thing holding me back from lots of travel is the need to put Jasmine in a cattery (and I don’t have a car).

So what have I been doing? Lots of genealogy while I have a sub to findmypast.  I’ve embarked on another blog challenge – this time writing about 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. So far I’ve done the grandparents. I start another genealogy course on Monday through the University of Tasmania.

There have been other niggling things to get sorted: the split-system air conditioning wasn’t working to blow out warm air; a blocked toilet; registering Jasmine’s microchip (which, according to one website, involved a trip to the vet); registering Jasmine with the council (yeah, cats are registered here and I wonder what the money’s for considering she spends most of the time indoors); ringing my aunt; tax return, etc. Of course the real estate agent dealt with the first two problems but it was good that I was home.  The other things niggled at me as they weren’t as straightforward as I’d hope they would be.

I’ve been watching some great TV programmes on SBS On Demand. There is so much good quality stuff to see. I’ve also been playing Sims 2, my only “vice” if you can call it that. I don’t know why I should feel guilty about it. Illogical isn’t it. Why should one feel guilty about a fun pastime?  It must stem from childhood. There were always chores or homework or practicing the piano to do.  Anyway, I have combined my interests in things medieval and non-serious writing by blogging a story of the lives of Sims in a medieval-themed neighbourhood.

I’m typing this on my tablet, which I hate, mainly because there is some warmth by the window here as the sun shines through on this side. My PC is in the spare room on the dark side of the building, unfortunately,  which means it’s cold.  If there are any typos it’s because of the vagaries of predictive text and the need to scroll back to proof-read. I’m now dying for a cuppa so will end here.