Friday, December 16, 2011

The rain in Spain ...

... may fall where it may, for we have a roof over the back quarter of the house! Yay!

It needs gutters still. By the way, the new gutters, alas, will be the wrong colour (upon delivery they turn out to be too light in comparison with the older guttering which is in fact Heritage Red). This is because I chose the incorrect colour. Me. Moi. (I nearly chose Heritage Red. Nearly. But I changed my mind at the last moment. :-X ). So, in time, if you come and visit the house, make sure to point out that the gutter colours don't quite match so I can squirm a bit and shuffle my feet on the ground a little and mutter things about not being that good at colour matching ...

I now know that all Queenslander houses traditionally have Heritage Red guttering. Knowledge is a great thing.

Happy Birthday Briony!

Eighteen summers young :-)
And of course, what Briony really wanted for her birthday was an authentic Indian headdress. Which she received! Here she is larking about with Yarrow, who is resplendent in her white dress (a present from Sinterklaas).

Happy birthday darling Briony!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The rain in Spain ...

... falls mainly on The Grange. The past few days the skies have bucketed rain onto our village, while just on the other side of the valley where my parents live in Eltham, nary a drop fell (!!). This hasn't boded well for The Grange building project because it is now, precisely during this drippy time of course, that the old section of roof has to come off and the new section is in the process of being fitted. The boys (Trevor, Robbie and Slim) have done what they can with tarpaulins these past few days but even so the interior rear section of the house has occasionally looked like the interior of a waterfall. Progress is slow: the boys are doing their best but it is impossible to work on a slippery wet roof in the rain. So once the rain falls, work stops and the boys pack up and go. Here are two photos taken today:

Heavy skies; the boys racing to cover the roof...
They nearly managed, before the rain fell and work had to stop for the day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Building progress

Building has been delayed by heavy rain the past week, alas. And there was a bit of a setback when the key cantilever beam, which is to support the deck roof and hipped roof, was placed incorrectly. Sigh.... Even though I *reminded the boys beforehand*. Mind you, the roofing represents a fairly complex engineering structure, so I guess it's understandable that errors are made ... after all, they're only men ... ;-). So, the beam had to be taken down and re-placed: a hefty job as it weighs more than 100 kg. Unfortunately, once the old skillion roof was removed, the skies opened and we had a torrential downpour ... So I brought out the buckets, mops and towels ...

But today the sun shines and work seems to be progressing steadily. Here's a very recent photo of the current  happy chaos :-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

A brief intermission on Stradbroke

Claudia (Briony & Bella's mother, Dr C. Catterall, environmental scientist) kindly invited us to her holiday house on Stradbroke Island for the weekend, to catch up with our McAdam girls B & B; Claudia's sister (this being Professor C. Catterall) and Carla's daughters (both also doctors, of the medical type though). John's good friend Geoff Nette (also a Dr, a marine biochemist who runs the research station on North Stradbroke Island) and his lovely wife Jo Kaspari were there too. And a lovely weekend it was too: along with the excellent company and really interesting conversations, there was plenty of good food and drink, and lots of sun, sea, surf and soft squeaky sand beneath the feet.
The headlands are gorgeous!

Lovely walks to be done on Stradbroke.

This is a previous photo of a Straddie wallaby, which I took last year . But we did see plenty this time round too.

Home Beach: a nice easy beach for children who can play safely in this tidal gully. Mind you we did some very good body surfing here too, out where the breakers are.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Building the back deck: project started!

It's taken months of frustrating negotiations with our local Council to finally get building approval for our proposed back deck. The deck is designed to complete the 'wraparound' of the verandahs of this house, and would enable us to enjoy the best views that this property affords. As was common in the early days of house design, the best view from the house was hitherto from the dunny window. (And why not...  ;-) ) .

Complying with Council requests and bureaucracy was a long, torturous and expensive process which I hope never to have to do again. Each step was fraught with costs: they requested not a plumber's report but an "On Site Sewage Management Consultant's Report" (cost: $1400 for the consultant and $900 to put the ensuing development approval through Council). They requested not a Rural Fire report (Neville Battistuzzi who is our local fire chief and who grew up here on the farm could have knocked one together for the price of a beer)... but a  report "By an accredited BPAD engineering consultant (cost: $550 for the consultant to walk onto the property and look and say "Hmm, not much fire danger here")... Anyway....

On the positive side: the deck and roof have been designed in conjunction with my friend and old neighbour Charles Howden-Ferme of Bangalow Heritage Building, using Burra Charter principles for the Queenslander House. The architectural drawings were drawn up by Michael Skinner, local artist and friend. The engineering was done by the excellent Steven Tilley from Greg Alderson and associates. I found these intelligent and flexible people delightful to work with and would highly recommend their services. On the sustainability / ethics front: all the timber comes from locally sourced, sustainable sources, milled locally (much of the timber is spotted gum, a local hardwood).

So now work has begun. It's very exciting.Our good friend Trevor Gale (Kel's Dad) is now our builder and he turns up at 7 am with his two workmen (Rob and Slim) and there is rapid progess: a delight after experiencing the geological pace of Council (Cf: it has taken18 months to get the plans through Council, but only a proposed 6 weeks from start of building till the deck is standing and roofed). Here are some early pics, after only a week of building:

Footings have been poured. Old stairs still there.
The uprights in position, held by braces. Lovely view!

Joists and bearers in place and some of the painting done.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Did you mean ...?

Well, no I didn't, but maybe, then again, maybe I did  ... ?   :-D

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hindsight is a good thing ...

Flying fox photo by Grahame McConnell
A barbed wire encounter
John, Briony and I were walking home after the monthly music jam session, when Bri spotted a flying fox entangled in the barbed wire of a fence. The poor thing had snagged its wing on the barbs and was flapping piteously. Not being one to leave an animal suffer (especially a native species and threatened one at that), Briony tried to untangle the wing from the barbs. The bat, sensing rescue, hung on to her, so John and I stepped in to help. Briony and I held the bat while John tried to free the wing. Understandably, that would have been painful for the bat, so all three of us received a few swift penetrating bites (all things considered I thought the bat showed reasonable restraint). Didn't hurt too much: I've had kittens inflict more damage. Soon the bat was free and it struggled off into the darkness. All G, as Tess would say: the flying fox otherwise would have suffered a slow and painful death. All three of us were glad we were able to rescue it and we ambled home.


The next mornings' internet research showed me that there are several nasty viruses that can be contracted by being bitten or scratched by a flying fox, most notably the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL), which is a bit like rabies. A lot like rabies, in fact, and is treated in much the same way. So now the three of us have to have immunoglobulin injections into the bite sites (that will hurt more than the original bites, I'm sure!!) as well as a course of rabies shots the coming days and weeks.

Darn. As John said "Probably would have been better to have let the blighter hanging on the fence!". But then, as Briony said to the doctor after he informed her that the inoculations would give several years' immunity against ABL and rabies "Great, now I can get to play with bats!".

All in all another adventure in the Northern Rivers...

Monday, September 5, 2011

The sad demise of Captain Rainbow

Get your hankies out, folks: this ends badly.

Our Eastern Rosella couple (the male became known to us as Captain Rainbow because of his beautiful colours) had returned to claim the nesting box as theirs once again, having bravely fought off other bird couples vying for the use of the box. It was astonishing to see how Captain Rainbow and his Missus teamed up to defend their territory, with success but often leaving them puffed out, drooped on their perch with their heads together. But they prevailed and the nesting box was deemed theirs, and the Missus started laying ... Every morning and afternoon Captain Rainbow would call her with his characteristic 'peet-piree' and they would fly off together to feed, making happy chut-chut-chut sounds as they flew. During the day he'd perch nearby and every now and then a questioning tone would emanate from the box, and he would reply reassuringly, chut-chut-chut "I'm still here my darling"..

Then this last weekend, we decided to leave the back door open during the night, as the kids were camping in the backyard in a tent and there were some storms predicted. We wanted the kids to be able to get in quickly if the weather turned bad. Normally, of course, the house is closed at night, for we won't let the cats hunt  nocturnal wildlife...

(You can see it coming)...

In the morning I walked outside to check on the kids in the tent, and saw under the house brightly coloured feathers festooning the ground, and one of our cats sitting smugly with feathers around. I recognised the feathers immediately, so with a falling spirits I checked for our Eastern Rosella couple ....  And there was only one grieving bird calling calling calling for a mate.

The past few days has taught us that it's Captain Rainbow who met a feline fate, and his Missus is still grieving for him badly. Eastern Rosellas mate for life, so this is a tragedy for the young family. I really feel for her: life will be very difficult for her now, and I feel guilty about letting the cats out this one night.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Galaxy Song (with metric conversions)

This morning at the breakfast table we were having a conversation about astronomy, moon phases and the like (as you do), and Yarrow wanted to know at what speed the Earth revolved. So I sang her Monty Python's "The Galaxy Song". The astronomical facts and figures in the song are tolerably accurate, but as they are not in metric, Yarrow couldn't get a 'feel' for the distances and speeds. So I promised her I'd convert the figures to metric.

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred [MW1] miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second[MW2] , so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day[MW3] 
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour[MW4] ,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years [MW5] side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick[MW6] ,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute[MW7] , and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.

 [MW1]1448 kph
 [MW2]30 km / sec
 [MW3]1,609,344 km / day
 [MW4]64,374 km / hour
 [MW6]Australian astrophysicist Bryan Gaensler has even stated that Eric's estimation of the thickness of the Milky Way, at 16,000 light years, is more accurate than the official 'textbook' figure of 6,000 light years :-)
 [MW7]By conversion, it’s 19,312,128 km/min, but according to google research, it’s 17, 987, 547.5 km/min

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Briony is on her HSC journey

Briony is in her HSC year and one of her electives is visual art. Last Tuesday John and I went to see the year 12 HSC visual arts exhibition held at the school. I was very impressed with the quality of the work!

Each artist provided an interpretive statement of their work. Briony's describes her collection of paintings (not all pictured):

"The encompassing concept for my body of work is of the girl represented through the series, and her passivity. Her situation is outside of her control, yet she does not panic. The octopuses represent negative emotions (depression, isolation), whilst the fish, representing positive aspects of life such as family, creativity and hope for the future, guard her form and lift her towards the surface and the light. The works in which there are no fish represent the nadirs we can reach; however, the final triptych is one of hope, as the girl and the fishes leave the octopus alone in the depths."

Gorgeous work, Briony!

Spring has sprung?

Our millefleur bantam hen has once again successfully fended off the rats and other predators and has hatched nine little babies. So cute ....

Here I am holding one in my hand: a sub-atomic particle of fluff that says "cheep-cheep-cheep". Note the fluffy feet.

On looking back over the posts in this blog, I notice that it was *exactly* a year ago that she hatched nine chicks. She's so consistent :-D

I now pronounce you ... Wife and Wife

Last weekend most of our local family travelled to Mittagong and Berrima to witness the gorgeous and loving wedding of our Oceane (nee Burckhardt) and her life partner Sarah Campbell. The statement "I now pronounce you Wife and Wife" was met with huge cheers, as was "you may now kiss the brides".

It was a very moving moment. The whole wedding was fantastic and beautiful and we had a lovely time. Thank you Oce, Sarah and families, for putting on such a joyful event!

And if you're wondering, no, alas same-sex marriage is not legally recognised in NSW. Not yet, anyway. (For those who are worried about gay marriage and are graphically inclined, you can view a graph of the consequences of gay marriage here). 

But we sure can recognise love.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Before and after ... the front door lock

Some of the original locks in the house are long gone, but some notable ones have survived. But my, the world was enamoured of paint in the 1900s! Most of the original locks on the house have been painted shut, as have many of the brass window fittings and locks. Even the elegant and cleverly designed window clips that hold the sash windows open have been painted over.

One of the notable locks on the house is the front door lock. It was heavily painted and was quite stiff. I pulled the lock off the heavy front door and had a go at cleaning it up & restoring it. Here you can see the results: before and after. One the back is embossed "Sargent and Co" - and when I googled the name it appears the company is still going strong. I have written to them in the hope they can tell me when the lock was made, which would help us date the house (1880s? earlier?), but alas no response yet. I'll add a comment to this post if I do get a reply!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Skirting the question... and more before and after

This is a section of the wall in the living room. Probably the house did not orginally have skirting boards (see the traditional original green goes to the floor). Skirting would have been expensive. This room did originally have architraves (though not all the rooms did). Sometime in the house's history this room was painted and skirting added (the cream colour stops short of the floor). Then in the 70's the room was stripped of both skirting and architraves, and panelled with the synthetic cladding, which was *truly* awful (and which we removed). The question then was: would we put skirting back, or not? In the end we did in the living room, though we've opted not to in the two 'simple' bedrooms, such as the one in the post below (More on 'simple' vs 'special' rooms later). We did find architraves in the original style which we used as replacement.

After removal of panelling

Walls restored, skirting added & architraves replaced

During and after: bedroom restoration

A bit quiet on the blogging side but much is being achieved on the restoration and farm front! One of the jobs is the slow and painstaking restoration of the interior walls. Some of the rooms had been panelled in the 1970s with a horrid synthetic multiply cladding, which we have been taking down (where it hadn't falled down already). Other rooms had simply fallen into disrepair (having been beautifully painted by Val Battistuzzi in the '70s and '80s in nice pastel shades... and then abysmally treated by the last owners). Despite having used a pressure cleaner on the interior house when we first moved in, the walls still require washing and scrubbing. Then the walls and ceilings are sanded. Then the gaps between the boards are filled with an acrylic elastic sealant. Then the painting (first by brush along the boards, then with a roller), in two coats. All in all many hours of work on each wall.

During ceiling restoration - early stages, new white coat. The walls are gap filled already.

Door and original lock restored

Ready to move in! This is now Yarrow's room.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rainwater maths

Since we hooked the tanks up to the guttering, 77 mm of rain has fallen, which has filled the first tank to 3/4 of its height.  Given that the tanks are 22700 litres in capacity, that means the 77mm rainfall has given us 17062 litres of water. So, each mm of rain falling on our roof gives us approx 221 litres of water (not a bad deal). Our annual water consumption is 195,803 liters (well it was last year). Annual average rainfall in this area is 1793 mm, which should offer us a potential 396,253 litres per annum. Theoretically, that is: at times, the tanks will overflow. But in general, we should have enough storage, unless we hit a very dry spell.

Here below is an image of the impact of the last 77mm of rainfall on our local river, the Wilson River at Eltham.  Not unusually, it's risen by about 3 metres.

The cats get the best seats in the house?

An evening scene on a cold winter's night. Our wood burning stove is the source of heat (and we cook on it too quite often). The chairs are drawn in closer, Yarrow is reading a book on the floor in front of the fire (she's reading "Little Women" for school). Sunny and Inkling are in the best chair (got to feel sorry for Inkling with his leg in plaster), our 'new' cat Minnie - who we inherited due to the marital separation of our good friends Julie and Trevor - is on the wooden chair. She's still a bit wary of the other two, but that will improve. John's successfully solving the crossword with the help of his porter gaff.

You can just see a bit of the new skirting boards and architraves that I have mounted around the room. I love the rich warm colour of the native teak floorboards.

A homely scene :-)

It never rains but it pours :-) ... which is positive news in this case

Things are looking up :-)

John and I are getting out of the dip :-))). Mam's recovering (though it has taken a heavy toll); Pap's getting used to his new medicines; Anoush is home again from her long stay in the hospital in Melbourne; Marc is also out of hospital, has cheered up and has a new girlfriend (possibly the best thing for him). Our cat Inkling has a cast on his leg, and we might not have to have his leg amputated after all.

I'm climbing back up the hill of merriness and the sun should start shining again...

But wait! The sun isn't shining: it's absolutely pouring outside and I'm DELIGHTED! This is because John and I have connected the house to the huge new water tanks with stormwater pipes, polypipe, and other paraphernalia (I built a pumphouse for the pump too) ...  and I can hear the sweet sweet sound of liquid gold H2O pouring into the tanks. The first tank is already half full (so that's 11,350 litres of water in a little over 24 hours). We still need to connect a few things and get a plumbing approval arranged but we're nearly ready to harvest our own water. Just in time for the government and council rebates :-)

See the snazzy expandable linkage that John designed and built between the two tanks? That's to allow expansion and contraction of the tanks depending on how much water they contain. Clever hey  ....

The little pumphouse is made entirely of recycled materials and allows the pump to be accessed and receive maximum airflow without it getting wet during downpours.

It never rains but it pours? :-(

Seriously, for a while there things were not looking very bright... All manner of things went amiss, amok, awry, adrift. I was sad for a while ... which is why I wasn't blogging very much.

In a nutshell: my father was in hospital; then my mother went to hospital for a minor operation which went wrong and she nearly died; my brother Marc in Amsterdam was terribly ill as well as distraught for very real reasons; my sister Anoush suddenly had to have major back surgery. My relationship with my darling John was going through a dip, which grieved me muchly :'-( ... and our young cat Inkling got hit by a car (miraculously survived, phew). On a more minor note, the header tank at the top of the property collapsed, which besides losing our water, crushed the tank beyond repair.

My life felt like this poem, which I recall reading in a book by Spike Milligan:

Since I hurt my pendulum
My life is all erratic.
My parrot, who was cordial,
Is now transmitting static.

The carpet died, a palm collapsed,
The cat keeps doing poo.
The only thing that keeps me sane
Is talking to my shoe.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New tanks have arrived

I know, I haven't been posting much. Life has been hectic... But today our new big water tanks arrived: two Duraplas 22700 litre tanks, ready to catch all that lovely rainwater and allow us to get off (pricey) town water. The good people from Duraplas asked for a couple of helpers, but even so I was wondering how to get these half ton monsters off the truck and onto the level site that we had prepared ...  but as it turns out, all you have to do is shove them gently off the truck. In the right way, of course. Thanks to Greg from Duraplas, and Hans and Tassie who lent willing and capable hands.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A good book

On the plane on the way back, relieved to be relieved of the responsibilities of running the unit in Bangkok, I read this beautiful, very positive novel, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. John recommended it to me, having found it at the local market and bought it ($2 ...  a bargain!).

Set in an unnamed South American country, it tells the story of a group of high-level executives, artists and politicians who are kidnapped and held hostage by a group of terrorists. Rather than focusing on horror and violence, it delves into the incredible bonds of friendship that form, and on the positive effect of music on the psyches of all involved.

Highly recommended, it's been on several top book lists, including Amazon's Best Books of 2001.

I'm back again

I've returned from what was a difficult and very intensive teaching session in Bangkok. The unit that I teach there concerns (the strategic planning of) information communication technolgies in tourism, hospitality and events management. Now before anyone asks what do I know about ICT, let me say that the main point of the unit is not to create students who are whiz-bang IT specialists, but rather to equip budding managers with the skills and knowledge to predict and prepare for change (IT is a very volatile area), to manage human resources so that everyone (clients and staff) benefit, and to understand and leverage knowledge management practices.

Knowledge management is a fascinating area. Gene Bellinger writes:

"We learn by connecting new information to patterns that we already understand. In doing so, we extend the patterns. So, in my effort to make sense of this continuum, I searched for something to connect it to that already made sense. And, I related it to Csikszentmihalyi's interpretation of complexity.
Csikszentmihalyi  provides a definition of complexity based on the degree to which something is simultaneously differentiated and integrated. His point is that complexity evolves along a corridor and he provides some very interesting examples as to why complexity evolves. The diagram below indicates that what is more highly differentiated and integrated is more complex. While high levels of differentiation without integration promote the complicated, that which is highly integrated, without differentiation, produces mundane. And, it should be rather obvious from personal experience that we tend to avoid the complicated and are uninterested in the mundane. The complexity that exists between these two alternatives is the path we generally find most attractive."

For those interested, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi does a lot of work in the area of positive psychology, which is an area close to my heart. He coined the psychological concept of 'flow', and has done a lot of research into creativity.

I like the way one can step quite justifiably and correctly from ICT to knowledge to wisdom to creativity :-).

I keep a blog for the unit and if you'd like to see it, it's here:

Good clean fun

Just before I went to Bangkok we had some incredibly hot days. What better way to spend weekend time than go play in one of our "swimming pools" (we have two swimming holes quite close by). Here is a clip of Tess the aerial circus artiste showing a graceful method of entering the water of Cooper's Creek at Key's Bridge. Hint: be patient, and while waiting, look for the legs in the tree ... all will become clear ...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sawasdee ka!

Sawasdee ka! I have arrived in Bangkok to teach in the Master's program at Naresuan University. I meet my cohort late this afternoon and will teach all through the weekend.

Yesterday I went to visit my favourite temple in Bangkok, the wonderful Wat Po temple. Of course I paid my respects to the Reclining Buddha, and I admired the beautiful murals all around the walls. The beauty and the artistry is incredible.

If you would like to read part of the travel epistle I wrote for John (it's ok ... I have edited out all the mushy/romantic/x-rated material...), then please click here for a pdf. For larger text size you can zoom quite a way by clicking on the + button.

Monday, January 31, 2011

I had been feeling quite poorly...

This post is for family and friends to explain some recent endocrinological events in my life ...

For a while of late I had been feeling quite poorly: fatigued, poor concentration, low mood, pins and needles in my hands and feet, a sore tongue (!) (weird huh), quite severe pitting edema in my legs, and a number of other obscure ailments such as occasional bouts of angioedema.

It all came on quite slowly and I put it down to general malaise after the severe flu I had last semester, and some poor lifestyle choices among the many insiduously entrenched in our western society (processed food, alcohol, lack of exercise). I resolved to pull up my proverbial socks, exercise more, make more healthy choices and fewer unhealthy ones ... but it didn't seem to help and I felt I was losing ground, it was getting harder and harder. When I got to the stage that I could not keep up with my weekly jazz dance class, my concentration was shot, and walking down to feed the hens became something I started to worry about, I knew something had to be done.

So I drew a picture of my body and drew arrows pointing to various areas of my body, outlining my problems both mental and physical, and gave that to my good GP doctor Dr Marcus at our excellent Bangalow Medical Centre. Marcus quickly surmised (correctly) that I was experiencing hypothyroidism due to a too-low dose prescribed by a previous doctor (I had Hashimoto syndrome as a teenager and lost my thyroid function) . And he ordered a full blood count too.

He was right about the hypothyroidism, but what we found to our surprise was that my free Vitamin B12 levels - which should be over 250 (and up to around 600 or so), were down to a paltry 3. Three! Insane. "Your B12 levels are in your boots", Marcus said, and promptly ordered thrice-weekly injections for me. His colleague Dr Graham came to see me as well and said he'd never met anyone with a B12 level so low.

But why so low? My diet is not really poor, even if I berate myself for not eating healthily. We actually have a great diet with lots of fresh vegetables, lean meat, fish, and so on (and John's an absolutely awesome cook who makes fantastically healthy tasty meals). More tests were done, and it turns out that autoimmune antibodies against parietal cells that I had been carrying around (dormant) for years had finally kicked in. And thus I can no longer produce intrinsic factor, a glycoprotein which processes B12. Without this protein, you can't absorb B12, no matter how much vegemite you eat. This results in what is called pernicious anemia, a condition once fatal but now (happily) easily treated by intramuscular injections of B12.

"Pernicious anaemia:
Pernicious anaemia is the classical symptom of B12 deficiency, but it is actually the end-stage of an autoimmune inflammation of the stomach, resulting in destruction of stomach cells by the body’s own antibodies. Anaemia is a condition in which red blood cells do not provide adequate oxygen to body tissues. Pernicious anaemia is a type of megaloblastic anaemia."

I've had four injections. I probably need about 20 to get my levels to where they should be and from then on a maintenance dose of once a month or so for the rest of my life.

I'm cool with that. At least I'll be able to scamper down the hill and feed the chooks with aplomb, I will once again enjoy John's curries without a sore tongue, I can get back to fitness classes, I can concentrate on things with more focus than a chaffinch, and my ankles won't look like marshmallow puffs.

Yay for modern medicine and the good doctors at Bangalow Medical Centre.

"I don't eat Aplomb. I like Darling Down Best Layer Mash, thank you very much."


Friday, January 14, 2011

Smith has a bath

And enjoys it too...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Damp days: flooding in QLD and Northern Rivers NSW

There is much lovely stuff that I have not yet blogged about, such as Sarah's graduation and Briony's birthday and the two short but lovely holidays on Stradbroke Island. But it's raining and damp and floods have been affecting Northern NSW and QLD. At the time of writing Brisbane CBD is being evacuated, Ipswich has been evacuated and closed down (the electricity to the city has been turned off); and Toowoomba is reeling from the flash flooding. Gympie is cut in half by floods (you OK, Tony and Tuffy?). I sincerely feel for those who are affected by the floods, espeically those who have lost homes and family.

Fortunately, here at The Grange we're so high on the ridge that I cannot imagine a flood ever reaching our house (though we do get rain inundations which turn our driveway into a small creek and we frequently get cut off by road when the Wilson River breaks its banks, which it does at around the 8 metre mark.).

The video below shows the astounding speed at which a flash flood develops, as well as its incredible power as it sweeps the cars away.

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Twisted kitten attempting Sudoku

I agree, it just kinda does your head in after a while ....

Christmas with the girls

On Christmas Day, John and I first went to Claudia's to open presents with Briony and Bella, and then to the Myth to share presents and have an extended lunch with Tess and Yarrow, and the rest of the family. Hans put up some of my photos of the lovely lunch on his blog (click here to see them).

Bella had used her photographic and organisational talents to create twelve amazing portraits of our four girls, collated into a calendar as a Christmas present for John and myself. Here above are our February, May and July pinup girls :)