Daily Life, Weather

Hello Winter….

As always no amount of wishful thinking will change anything.  Yesterday June 1st was the day…..the day that is deemed to be the first day of Winter here in Australia.

Not cold enough for snow here in Melbourne but definitely cold.  Cold enough to see your breath oozing out of your mouth like the steam from a boiling kettle.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/chill-sets-in-for-first-day-of-winter-as-mercury-drops-across-victoria/news-story/b1759b5aaa159589fb80db16ba449241

Well that’s what it was like at 7.30am when I drove down the the pool.  I know it sounds strange going to the pool in the Winter but I’ve got to keep this old body mobile and that’s the easiest way for me to do it.  The young lad on the desk said they’d turned the gas up so the water was a bit warmer….30c instead of 29.5c lol  Still felt cool cold to me when I got in 😟

What was good about the day – and quite a few others over the past couple of weeks – was the way the afternoon turned out to be quite warm  A bit like what I call desert weather……. Really cold overnight then dry sunny and warm(ish) as the day goes by.  And by the look of last night’s forecast that’s the way it’s going to be for the next few days

So all there is to say is:-

Where’s my thermal undies and it’s Beef Stew for dinner 😊

Daily Life

Winter days in Melbourne….

Frost on the ground and the cars some mornings

Tingling fingers, toes and noses some mornings

Dry sunny bright afternoons – but where’s the rain

Oh yes,  it poured during the week

Heavy wet skies, strong winds, freezing cold rain

 Gosh I’m glad I’m retired and don’t have to go to work

That would mean having to go out in it 😒😒

 

Daily Life

Morning has broken….

Here in Australia the 1st of June and not the 21st marks the change of season and strangely for a non lover of cold weather I am enjoying this second week of Winter.  I could live (for a little while :)) with crisp cold nights coupled with chilly mornings that turn into cloudless dry sunny warmish days.

We had those sort of Winter days for several years during the long Millennium Drought (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000s_Australian_drought) and there’s no way anyone of us wants to revisit them  So I will live with our often very wet unpredictable Victorian Winters and be happy when we get these ‘special days’

One of the pleasures of these special days are the sunrises.  See the glow on the deck roof – this was about 7.20 am.  Yes that’s sunrise time at the moment.

image

A look to the left over a sleepy suburb and I realised how much that Pittosporum had grown.  It covered most of the sky making it hard to capture that beautiful sunrise.

7.25am June 14, 2016
7.25am June 14, 2016

And moving to the right you could see the sun beginning to move up into the sky from behind the back neighbour’s rooftop.

7.25am June 14, 2016
7.25am June 14, 2016

It probably sounds a bit corny but standing there I had this hymn running through my mind reminding me of school assemblies and services I attended in a small village church many years ago

http://southwellchurches.nottingham.ac.uk/bawtry/hpics.php

Daily Life

More Winter Happiness……

Winter weather often determines my mood.  Unlike a few of the blog readers I’m not a fan of Winter and often get ‘the miseries’ when the days are dull and the hours of daylight get progressively less and less.

However after a very cold night in my area (3c /37f) yesterday turned out to be a corker.  Dry and sunny with a brisk wind!  Comfortable enough to hang washing on the line and potter about in part of the garden that has been neglected for a while.

image

Then it was time for a coffee (and craft) break on the back deck and who better to share it with than my shadow called Kiera.  You’d be amazed at how warm and comfortable that little spot at the table can get when the winter sun beams through the PVC blinds.  They are a great windbreak too.

image

By early afternoon the sun had moved to the front of the house which is where the lounge room is.

So you could say – that very much like the song John Denver used to sing – Sunshine makes me happy 🙂

 

 

Daily Life

The happy side of Winter

Even though I’m not a fan of Winter some things do make me feel happy.

One of them is seeing the little Japanese Maple coloured up like this on a wet miserable day.

image

It lives quietly at the bottom of the garden and for most of the year it’s ‘just there’ but right now in June is when it shines and gets to be noticed 🙂

image

It’s a shame my camera doesn’t catch the actual colouring of the leaves but I love them and always feel happy this happens now and not later.

image

What things do you enjoy about Winter?

Oh and Thank You for all the comments on my previous post – I haven’t had time to visit all your blogs yet, hopefully I’ll get there in the next few days.

Cathy

Daily Life

Baby it’s cold outside

It’s been a while hasn’t it 🙂

Just a little note to say I’m back

The mind is refreshed as well as the body.

Even though we came in contact with the tail end of a cyclone which meant missed ports and a rearranged itinerary we had a great time on our recent cruise.

Also a very generous cruiser shared their germs with me.  I don’t remember much of the past few weeks – there have been several visits to the GP and Chemist for pills and potions as well as lots of bed rest.

In the meantime Winter has arrived!

image

With a low of 4c / 39f forecast for tonight I think it might be cuddle up and keep me warm time with The Golfer 🙂

Daily Life, gardening, Weather

On days like this…………………

Sitting in the car in the pouring rain the other day waiting for the lights to change I wondered about the merits of wintering in Melbourne.  During the recent Millennium Drought (1997 – 2009) here in Victoria we had dry sunny winters that were almost like autumn, we now seem to be back to cold wet windy ones with record breaking rainfalls.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000s_Australian_drought

Rain rain go away

Some years we pack up and head north to enjoy the warmth of winter in Queensland but (sigh) that won’t be happening this year, we’ll be venturing off overseas in September; this is one year when I can’t have it all.

So what are the positives of staying home at this time of the year.  Off the top of my head I would jokingly say ‘none’  It’s cold and I don’t do cold lol

Then I thought, that yes there are some things I enjoy but don’t get to see when we are away in winter.

The Tibouchina/Lasiandra that Cynthia mentioned the other week is in flower – covered in big purple blooms – it just doesn’t photograph well with all that sky behind it.Tibouchina Lasiandra

What looks like a mass of purple from the deck are individual blooms that are a treat to see.  Just has one failing in that if I bring some indoors the petals drop quickly.

click on the photos to enlargeT 1T 2T 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then theres the first blooms of the little dwarf jonquils/narcissus (I’m not sure what is the proper term) that fills the rose bed by the deck.  They are all finished by the time we arrive home – these are the first few for this year.

looky lookynot all barehopeful signs

 

 

 

 

 

 

I carried on, diid my shopping, then came home to join Kiera who had made herself very comfy by the fire – thankfully for us it only takes a flick of the switch to heat the house using our gas fired log heater.

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Unlike those in other parts of rural Victoria where by choice heating can be quite different – think wood heaters (Coonara)   We were up at the Violet Town market the other week and noticed one of the most popular stalls was the one selling raffle tickets – no chook raffles for them – the people up there were trying their luck at winning a trailer load of wood!  wood raffle

I’m writing this at 3pm, the temp outside is about 9c/48f – it’s freezing out there.   Yes, on days like this I definitely wonder about the merits of wintering in Melbourne lol

Daily Life, Weather

It’s here x 2…………….

Yes it’s definitely here now 🙂
Following on from my last post I can say
That Winter has definitely arrived now!

winter

Overnight the promised gales and rain storms arrived – freezing temps as well
Today we experienced what was described as a ‘Winter Weather Bomb’
which gave us
Gale force winds (100kms and more) which meant many trees came down in some very inconvenient places (over roads and railway lines) : Pouring rain, so much so that The Yarra burst its banks at Southbank and part of the CBD was flooded: Power outages, at one time 60,000 homes were affected: and there was snow at Mt Donna Buang – 1 hour away from us.

But what is good is the snow resorts have finally had a good dump – they needed it because after the warm autumn and early winter things weren’t looking good for the school holidays which start next week.

So I can say – oh yes, Winter has definitely arrived.

And look here – it even made news in The Guardian no less lol
http://www.theguardian.com/weather/gallery/2014/jun/24/melbourne-battered-by-heavy-winds-as-the-yarra-floods-in-pictures

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-24/emergency-crews-inundated-with-calls-for-help-wild-weather/5546354

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/wild-weather-batters-melbourne-20140624-zskck.html

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/freezing-wild-weather-hits-victoria/story-fni0fit3-1226964010343

Daily Life, gardening, Nature Notes, Weather

When I woke up this morning……………

Foggy morning front

This is what greeted me – FOG
Yes, all encompasing all enveloping FOG
Providing us with a very spooky looking neighbourhood

Did you know
Fog is a collection of liquid water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the earth’s surface.  And the foggiest place on earth is Grand Banks off the island of Newfoundland
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog

Foggy morning back

Lots of the nearby trees have dropped their leaves but next door’s Oak Tree hangs on until much later in the season.  And that season would be WINTER

Foggy morning sideJune 1 is the first day of the first month of Winter in Australia.
It’s now my time to grizzle about not seeing the sun and feeling its warmth lol

Mind you it’s also a time for looking forward – to seeing all the Spring bulbs.
Like these jonquils that are now rising out of the ground in the rose bed behind the garage.  And also knowing that once we are past the winter solstice (June 21) the days will become longer and that warmth will be returning:)

Roses down jonquils up

In the meantime I’ll just have to grin and bear it – and keep that happy thought in mind.  It will be a while before the grass will need a weekly cut so I’ll be able to exchange that exercise for raking up the oak leaves when they drop – that will keep me warm as well lol

Winter is the coldest season of the year coming between autumn and spring. It is caused by the axis of the Earth in the respective hemisphere being oriented away from the Sun. When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa. At the winter solstice the days are shortest and the nights are longest, with days lengthening as the season progresses after the solstice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice

Roll on Summer

Linked to Nature Notes hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

nature-notes

Travel, Weather

Hello there……………….

Home again – still trying to sort my sleeping pattern out – for some reason or another my brain thinks 4am is waking time lol

Kiera came home from the cattery and hasn’t left my side – the washing is all done – ironed and put away – must be a record for me!

Everything is so green – so very different to when we left in late August.  There are leaves on all the trees who shed them including next door’s big oak tree and the some of the roses are actually blooming.  The foliage of the winter bulbs is hidden by the rose foliage – which  means they can rest and die down peacefully till spring next year.

photos enlarge with a click

Green grows the Oak
Green grows the Oak
A garden coloured green
A garden coloured green
Winter bulbs hidden by rose foliage
Winter bulbs hidden by rose foliage

The weather was great for the first couple of days we were home – sunny and warm and then the winds picked up and picked up some more to gale force and the rain started which meant Victoria has been through a couple of days of rather nasty weather more in keeping with winter than spring. This link is for inland today but could also have been for the city and suburbs yesterday –   http://www.abc.net.au/melbourne/weather/warnings.htm

Roofs off – trees down – some of them  onto houses and cars – some over roads which has caused more problems.  And the temperature has plummeted so bang goes my idea of not turning the heating on again 😦

We had fun, shed a few tears and gained a few kilos – I’ll tell you about it another day
Bye for now
Cathy

Daily Life, gardening, Todays Flowers, Weather, Window Dressing

Window Dressing #9……….

I find it hard to believe we are now into the second month of the second half of the year.  For us here in Australia August is the last month of winter – spring starts officially on the first day of September.  Early winter this year was unbelievably cold and July has been reported as being the warmest on record – to me it seemed cold so I’m not sure where I was on those days. To be fair we did have a few pleasant dry sunny days in the high teens (celcius) so maybe they contributed to the record!
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/eastern-australia-experiences-warmest-july-on-record/story-e6frfkp9-1226688944495
Some very low overnights coming up this week so the hotties will certainly be coming out at bedtime! 

 
We have a small wattle tree at the bottom of our garden visible from the kitchen window and when it blooms in the winter I feel ‘comfortable’ – doesn’t matter what’s it like – on a dull day or a bright sunny day – seeing those fluffy yellow balls there gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.  

From the deck - Dull day
From the deck – Dull day

In fact when I see any wattle bloom I usually smile – don’t ask me why  – I just do :). 

From the deck - sunny day
From the deck – sunny day

When I see winter bulbs flowering and realise the seasons are changing – it also follows that seeing the yellow wattles in winter means the season will change.
Might take a while but it will happen.  

 Little rounds of sunshine
Little rounds of sunshine

So what does one do when all that sunshine in a different form is available for the taking – Well I usually bring some into the house along with azalea and camelias that might be out- just to give me the opportunity to smile on what could be a cold winter’s day 🙂

45 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Did you know that of the 1300 species of Acacia 960 are native to Australia – we call them Wattle here in Australia.  They are found in all states and about a third flower in winter

Golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha), is the floral emblem of Australia
And September 1 is Wattle Day

http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/publications/symbols/factsheets/national_floral_emblem.pdf
http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2003/07/03/2578547.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia

Flowers from around the world can be found here

Todays Flowers Denise 

 

Cats, Daily Life, gardening, Weather

Oh what a week and a bit it has been ……………………….

Well it’s been a couple of the coldest weeks of the winter so far – nights that had me cuddled up to The Golfer – and days that were almost like summer.  Freezing overnight and up to 17c/ 62f some afternoons!
http://www.farmonlineweather.com.au/news/melbourne-struggling-to-stay-warm/24827

One of the day started with one person leading the country (Julia Gillard) and finished with another – not a brand new one but a recycled one (Kevin Rudd) – all done legally and with no blood letting either (well that we could see that is!). 
http://www.brw.com.au/p/leadership/recycled_rudd_kevin_about_back_now_TC18yB432psJtBmhjrAyhK

All is square in the Rugby League scene after the second State of Origin match – this time round Queensland beat NSW so the decider will be played in Sydney on July 17.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_State_of_Origin_series

Rugby Union has been in the limelight with the Wallabies (Australia) taking on The British and Irish Lions.  It was even stevens after two tests and the series went to the Lions after the Sydney game – The Lions only tour Australia every 12 years so there is a bit of a wait for those who can’t get overseas to see them play before then. 
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/jul/05/lions-2013-union-australia 
http://www.rugby.com.au/lions2013/

Now we all know the population is getting top heavy with more older people than younger – lots of government services are starting to feel the demand – it seems that demands are also going to be felt in other parts of our community.  Lots of our ‘prison community’ will be elderly and last week this idea of ‘Prisons for the Elderly’ was suggested.  How do you feel about that??
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/ararat-mooted-as-twilight-jail-for-elderly-offenders-20130623-2oqrf.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-24/ararat-council-wants-to-build-prison-for-elderly/4775082

With all the high winds we’ve had over the past week or two next door’s old oak tree had finally lost all its leaves – and I’ve discovered that there is one messy part of the garden near the side fence to be dealt with.  That fence line looks so bare yet when the tree is in full leaf you hardly notice it.  We need some dry days so I can finish raking all the leaves and moving the bits and pieces back to where they normally live.
IMG_6823

I had started the clean up this morning and look what I saw – spring bulbs are on their way up.  There are heads on some and I even picked one bloom that had flowered. 

IMG_6826

IMG_6827

Not much else in the garden except my trusty helper – and she tends to ignore me half the time lol

 

Thanks for all your recent comments – hope life has been good for you this past couple of weeks!

All photos can be enlarged with a click

Daily Life, Weather

It’s on days like this ……………..

I begin to wonder if hibernation would be a good thing lol
Wednesday morning we couldn’t see further than our noses

IMG_6799IMG_6801

And we had a Brass Monkey morning today
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_monkey_(colloquial_expression)

Well -2c / about 29f in our eyes is Brass Monkey weather
It was just a little bit frosty and ‘Lance’ did not approve at all lol
(if you want you can click to see the big picture)

 However there is one good thing
Today is June 21st, it is the shortest day here in Victoria
and the time of the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice

We all know what that means 🙂
From now on our days (hours of sunlight) will gradually grow and the nights with their hours of darkness will decrease.
 Normally we’d be preparing for our trek to the warmer weather in Queensland and I did mention this a little while ago – however things have changed and I’ll tell you about that another day.

But in the meantime – here’s to warmer days!! 

Books, Daily Life

Disappointing ending ………………..

Thats how I felt about the book I finished last week

The Last Runaway

The week just gone was a mixture – some dry sunny inviting days and some cold wet miserable sit indoors days – and coupled with that feeling of being not quite right thanks to the cold I was carrying (see previous post) – meant I spent some of the time rugged up outside quietly putting some of the roses to bed for the winter and some other time indoors curled up with my latest borrowing from the library

Some may remember my delight last year at finding a new (well new to me) author – Tracy Chevalier – and how I fell in love with the books I read in Queensland.  I related the story in this post and then after we got home went on to hunt down more of her books in our home libary.  She writes a novel that is based on historical facts – not dry uninteresting reading but reading that seems to hold you from the word go. 

So I’ve learned about fossil hunting, Dutch painters and their methods, William Blake and life in 18th century London, flemish weavers, family history and life in 16th century France.  Edwardian London is covered in Falling Angels, and recently I discovered there is a copy in a rural library and that is being sent over soon – cross your fingers it doesn’t take too long because, well you know what it’s  like with Melbourne winters – they are either glorious or yucky.  Glorious I can take – yucky I can’t lol 

I was really good and didn’t look at any reviews of her latest book which I knew dealt with Quaker migration, quilting and life in Ohio during the 1850s as well as slavery and the underground railway and that meant I started to read with an open mind.  The Last Runaway was an easy read and held my attention and as with all of her previous novels was finished in a couple of days – but I was so disappointed with the ending.  Turning the pages I was wondering how they (the two central characters) would solve their problems and then it ended – they just packed up and left town – moved on to another part of the country. 

Her previous novels are listed here 
http://www.tchevalier.com/index.php/books
I’m just wondering what the subject of her next book will be!

If you like historical fiction you’ll enjoy this blog
http://the-history-girls.blogspot.co.uk/

Tracy explains researching for her books here
http://the-history-girls.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/when-to-stop-researching-and-start.html 

http://bookdout.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/review-the-last-runaway-by-tracy-chevalier/

 

Craft, Daily Life, Knitting

I knit and I give

Earlier this year I heard of a group based here in Melbourne  that wanted warm hand knitted scarves and beanies for homeless so before we went away I did manage to knit and donate some fingerless mittens but got side tracked with other events and thats as far as it went.

But listen to this, when I looked on their website I discovered they also were looking for babies and children’s knitted garments as well.  Reading that solved my problem of what to do whilst we were away – KNIT – not the big sweater I had in mind (which most likely will never get done) but small items that would be easy to pick up and put down, especially in the car.  Of course thats when I popped out into the garage to review that huge stash of ‘you know what’

So would you like to see what I achieved in that time – I left some of the making up (neckbands and buttons mainly) till we got home and now they are all finished ready to be passed on.

TaDa
13 pairs of fingerless mittens (various sizes) and
14 baby jackets ( birth to 12 months)

 

Knit one Give one – aka KOGO (an offshoot of the Knit One Save One squares for blankets group associated with Save the Chidren) are willing to accept knitted garments for adults children and babies.  There are drop off points (mainly pharmacies) in many places all over Victoria so the knitters don’t have to pay postage to get their gifts to the organisers.

My effort of mittens is too late for this winter’s drive which has just finished but I’m sure will be a welcome start for the Winter 2013.  Hopefully the baby jackets will be distributed soon – one never knows what the weather in spring is like in Victoria – yesterday it was beautifully warm, today it is pouring and rather chilly and tomorrow, well who knows, at the moment the forecast is 13c/56f with showers.

Craft, Daily Life, Knitting

What’s been on your needles this winter

Over the past few weeks you’ve heard me mention the cold weather and how easy it has been to bunker down and knit in the warm house
These are the small things that have been coming off my needles

 Fingerless Mitts from the easiest pattern of all

Using 8ply/DK and size 4mm/UK8
Cast on 35
 This will determine the length down the hand to the wrist
so that number can be larger
Just remember to adjust the stitches in 1st row

Begin
Knit 4 rows
1st row: (wrong side) Knit 5 Purl 20 Knit 10
2nd row: Knit

Repeat until it is the size you want
(as in size wrapped round hand)
Usually I would work about 46 rows

Finish on row 1 (wrong side)
Knit 4 rows
Cast off

Sew along garter stitch sides leaving a hole for thumb
Most time I make it 2 inches down from the top and 4 inches from the bottom

I personally find it is easier for me
to vary the type of yarn used and the needle size
and produce different sized mittens than adjust the number of stitches

Destined for this Melbourne based charity collection
http://www.knitonegiveone.org/
http://www.knitonegiveone.org/kogo.php?page=aboutus
http://www.knitonegiveone.org/kogo.php?page=getinvolved

25/30 June Post a Day

 

Daily Life, Family, gardening, Window Dressing

More winter wonders for the window sill

I grizzle and groan at this time of the year – its cold and miserable and there are no flowers in my garden.  Now we all know ‘cold’ is relative to where you live  – compared to other countries our cold here in Victoria is not really cold (winter lows of 4c which is about 39f)  – I can’t remember the last time we had a frost – so when I complain its not really about the weather, its more about the fact it hinders whatever it is I want to do outside.

And believe it or not I do have some flowers in the garden during Winter – not in summer abundance but in ones and twos.  I think its because I don’t spend that much time outside I don’t really notice them and then I’m flabergasted when I do lol

Take my little Lasiandra bush at the bottom of the garden – it died off during the drought so I pulled it out – or so I thought.  Its shot back up again obviously from some roots that were left behind in the ground.  Look at all those lovely purple flowers and the green velvety leaves bringing a touch of colour to the garden .  I took this on a very wet rainy day last week – and as much as I loved what I saw and wanted a photo I will just say I was safe and dry about sixty foot away on our back deck lol

The purple flowers just helped lift the little arrangement of lonesome blooms on the window sill.  Rummaging around I found those little daffodil flowers I spoke of before, some more of the tiny fuschias, some tiny lavender colour Brachycome flowers, a single blue cornflower that appeared from nowhere and some of the long blooms from the Salmon coloured Tryphylla Fuschia thats tucked away out of direct view in another corner of the garden

Today was one of those dreary drizzly winter days I dislike – not really cold but certainly not pleasant.  We did very little – in fact this is where I spent most of the day.   Snug and warm in a comfy chair next to my favourite friend, sewing and knitting close to hand.  It looks bright outside but inside was dull so I opened the vertical blinds which gave a lovely feel to the room, enough light from the window to work from without having to turn the lights on.

9/30 June Post a Day