Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A pleasant weekend to top off a great week!

After all the op shop excitement, our weekend could be considered boring by some, but we enjoyed ourselves. On Saturday night we attended a 60th birthday party. The person turning 60 was one of my cousins (my father's brother's son). I only have two first cousins, as my Mum was an only child, and although Dad had two brothers, one never got married, so there were no other children except his second brother's boys. We used to see a fair bit of them while we were all children, as families do when they are younger, but have drifted apart with our own lives as we got older. So it is the old story of only seeing each other at weddings and funerals. So I was pleasantly surprised when I received the invite to John's party.

Ken and I thought we would have a quiet night on the sidelines, as we don't know any of John and Maureen's friends, but we were in for a surprise. The evening turned out to be almost a family reunion, with far flung distantly related cousins flying in from around Australia! The couple we had stayed with in Sydney earlier this year were there, and they were as delighted as we were to catch up. John's younger brother and his wife spent quite some time talking to us, as did a number of other people who were simply being friendly because we obviously didn't know many other people! And there were a number of elderly people present who were old friends of my father and his brother, and they wanted to talk to me about Dad. So it was an excellent night altogether. Neither of my own brothers bothered to attend, not that I was surprised, although the cousins were disappointed. My brothers have distanced themselves from me since our father and stepmother died a few years ago; I have no idea why, but I am assuming it is because of the age gap. I am 10 years younger than them, and I guess I was only ever their kid sister, with nothing else in common. Well, it was their loss; I know they will spit chips when they hear who was at the party, as they generally have a lot to talk about with the interstate cousins when they see them.

And so to Sunday. Ken went to a vintage car rally-thing with his brother-in-law, and I went to a Christmas luncheon for Do-Care's clients and volunteers. By clients, I mean the socially isolated people (elderly or disabled) whom Do Care find volunteers for to be friends with them. We generally have about 70 people at the annual Christmas luncheon, some of them quite lively, and some very quiet, but all enjoying themselves, and glad to be out of the "four walls" that surround them in their everyday life. The same people come along every year, give or take those that have died, or are too ill or frail to come. One of the regulars is 'B' - a man who has had M.S. for 30 years, severely disabled, and permanently housed in a complicated wheelchair. But that doesn't stop him enjoying the day, singing along, laughing and talking with the other men on his table. I always spend some time chatting to him, and holding his hand. Today, when I left a few minutes early to take a lady home, I went over to B to say goodbye for another year, and dropped a kiss on his cheek. That did it! All eight men on the table insisted on a kiss as well!! So funny, but I was happy to do that little thing. These people have so little fun in their lives.

Entertainment is provided by a two-piece 'band' comprised of a drummer and organist, both middle-aged and very familiar with the musical tastes of this age group. So we get some Christmas melodies, some Glen Miller, some rock'n'roll, some jazz, and a lot of fun, such as the Hokey Pokey, where those who are fit enough, get up on to the small dance floor and make fools of themselves - including me! Apart from being 'taxi' to anyone who needs me, I provide the name tags for everyone - a chance to practice my calligraphic skills, and the oldies sometimes tell me how much they look forward to adding a new name tag every Christmas to their collection!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Late again! Here is Tuesday's vintage lady - No.7.
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Sunday, November 20, 2005

I could smell something burning...

It is 2.45 am here in Eltham. About an hour ago, I thought I could smell something burning - just enough to make my nose twitch in suspicion. But as it is quite cool tonight, I figured one of the neighbours had probably lit an open fire, or it might have been a barbecue, so I didn't move from my desk. A bit later, Ken came looking for Topsy, to put her to bed. She often hides under the quilt on the spare bed in the front bedroom, and sure enough, that is where he found her. Next thing I heard him yell "Simon's letterbox is on fire!" and he shot out the front and downstairs to see if anyone else had noticed it. Simon is a neighbour across the road and up one house, and their large wooden letterbox had already been set on fire once before by vandals, a few months ago.

While Ken was over the road looking for Simon's hose, I called the police, who sent a van around, as well as the local fire brigade. Someone driving past had stopped, and gone to wake up poor Simon, who at that hour of the morning (2.30 am approx), like most sensible people was in bed asleep. Our street is heavily treed, and Simon's house is no exception. The tree overhanging his letterbox was singed, and if nobody had seen the fire, it is quite possible the trees would have caught fire, and it could then have spread to the house. If it happened in summer on a hot windy night, the consequences would be devastating.

This weekend is the time of the annual Eltham Festival. There are the usual festivities and stalls in the park, plant show in the hall, fireworks display last night, etc. And, as always on the Saturday night, there are always kids who have too much to drink/smoke/inject/whatever, and the community has to put up with the results. Simon is married with two young children under 5, and his wife is understandably very distressed by tonight's events. They have no idea who would be doing this deliberately, twice in a matter of months. I would like to set up a webcam or something, with a view over our part of our street, just to film these hooligans when they get up to their mischief. My imagination goes into overdrive at the thought of what I would like to do if I caught them...

Harry Potter movies..

I have just viewed the first Harry Potter movie, courtesy of Channel 9 here in Melbourne. I saw it advertised during the week, but forgot about it, as I do with t.v. shows, not being a regular viewer. But Ken was channel surfing about 8 pm and called out "Weren't you going to watch this kids' film?" to which I responded by jumping up and rushing into the lounge room immediately! I had missed the first half hour, but soon picked up the thread, as it isn't so long ago that I read that first book. I thought the movie makers did a good job, cramming in as much as they could, but I'm glad I read the book first, as I doubt if I would have understood most of it otherwise. Ken watched the first few minutes with me, but gave up trying to follow it! The second HP movie is going to be on next Saturday....WAAAAGGHH!! I just remembered we are going to a birthday party - darn it! Oh well, some of my friends have the videos, so I guess I could borrow them some time.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Yesterday's Ladies No.6, courtesy of Blogger - not Picasa.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Thursday already!!

I have just finished a post on Patra's Place, describing my busy week. No wonder I forgot about Tuesday's Vintage lady. Having just posted some photos to Patra's Place, I didn't think I would have any trouble here posting No.6 in the series, but it appears that Picassa is having hiccups again, so Ms Robyn will have to wait!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Passion - results of a quiz!

Sharon over at Beyond The Blank Page, had one of those quizzes that are abounding on just about everybody's blogs these days, so I decided to take a is the result:
Passionate Love

Right now is when everything's really starting to
heat up. And it's hot, hot HOT. You guys are
discovering just how fun certain things can be.
;) Your love is passionate and fiery and you
always drive each other wild with desire
whenever you're together. You would do anything
for each other. This is a fun time in your
life, but it can also be a little exhausting.

What Kind of Love are You in? (Beautiful Romantic Pics!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, November 12, 2005

While I am doing pictures, here is another vintage one.
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Card from a very dear friend.
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I am surrounded by thoughtful and caring people..

This time last week (and I am typing this on Saturday 12th November), we were entertaining (and being entertained by) some of our closest friends. I wrote a post about the evening on here. What I neglected to mention then, was that Sharon left an envelope with me, which I didn't open until the next day, when I discovered it sitting on the microwave where I had left it the night before. Inside was the cutest card (see picture) with a very special message written inside. I am not going to repeat that message word for word here, as it is meant for Ken and I, so suffice to say it was a message of love and friendship, with their best wishes for us both in the near future. There was also a lottery ticket, which unfortunately did not win a prize, but that didn't matter - it was the thought behind it that counts. So, thanks again, S, P and E.

While I am on the subject of caring people, I want to pay tribute to my own MOTH. The bus company usually put on a barbecue for any of the drivers who retire or leave, and it goes for a few hours so the drivers coming and going at all hours of the day, get a chance to say their farewells to the driver who is leaving the company. They all contribute a donation of money, which is given to the retiree as a lump sum - instead of buying a gift which is what most workplaces do. As there are a couple of hundred drivers at the depot, it is often a fairly large amount. Ken's farewell took place last Friday. But instead of accepting the cash gift for himself, he asked that it be given to one of the other drivers who no longer works there. This particular driver had a stroke while driving his bus in the city, and ran it into a power pole. Nobody else was injured luckily, but the poor fellow was in hospital for weeks, and will be having therapy for months. He probably won't be able to drive again, certainly not as a job. He is in his 40's, married with five daughters. Ken thought the other man needed the cash more than us, and when he told me, I agreed. What a dear, generous man I am married to.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's Tuesday - and here is my weekly Vintage Lady!

My clock says it is actually Wednesday - 12.15 that Wednesday or technically Tuesday? One of those things about Time that has confused me ever since I was a kid. When does the new day start - after midnight, or after 1 am? Hey, don't even bother answering this, I can live without knowing! Whatever day it is, I hope you like my No.5 Lady.

I have spent most of my spare time since Sunday reading the fifth Harry Potter book, thanks to Sharon who brought her copy over on Saturday night. I have heard a few criticisms of it since its release (before I had read any of the series at all) and now that I have read them all, I am wondering what people found to criticise? I thought this one was just as exciting and as much fun as the previous books. I feel like a kid again, as excited as I used to be when I was reading Enid Blyton's Wishing Chair and Enchanted Wood books - always waiting for the next one to see what was going to happen to all the little characters!

When I finally put the book down, I picked up the Sunday Age newspaper, which was given to us when we paid our entry fee into the Whittlesea Show on Sunday. Ken and I don't buy newspapers at all - ever. Ken doesn't read much anyway, but I love reading newspapers. Which is the reason I don't buy them - if I did get one every day, nothing would get done for a couple of hours every day, as I wouldn't be able to get on with my day until I read it from front to back! So, I settled down to peruse the enormous Sunday edition with all its extra sections. Lo and behold, of all things to find, just after I had finished HP, what do I spy in the paper? A link to a website that is a discussion of the death of Dumbledore! I cut it out of the paper, and later on checked it out. Well, all you HP fanatics, if you haven't already discovered these neat websites, go see!!! Lots of fun for Harry's fans!

No.5 in my 2006 calendar of Yesterday's Ladies.
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Sunday, November 06, 2005

We have such beaut friends!

Wanting to keep Ken occupied as much as possible so he won't brood too much, I have decided to have people over here as often as they will come, or alternatively go out - instead of the two of us sitting at home like stuffed owls. I started off this weekend by inviting Sharon and Pete over for dinner on Saturday evening, as Sharon is a barrel of laughs, and Pete is a great conversationalist. Being such a voracious reader, he has well informed opinions on just about anything, and can be very witty at times. Another friend called me in the afternoon to invite us to her place for dinner, and I said we couldn't, but why not come here? So Helen and Ray were added to our little party, and what a party it was! The six of us got on very well - girls in the kitchen and guys in the lounge room at first, while we caught up on all the gossip. Dinner consisted of salads, as it had been a rather hot day.
*Prawn, mango and avocado salad
*Tomato, onion and cucumber salad
*Mixed cold meats, hard boiled eggs, and beetroot.
A nice bottle of Chardonnay for three of us, and soft drink for the others who don't drink alcohol.
For dessert I made Strawberry & Sour Cream Friands, served with cream or ice cream.
Followed by a cup of tea and various nibbles, while we watched a new DVD - the remake of "Flight Of The Phoenix". Lots of action and loud noises...I think they enjoyed it, but some people say that to be polite, while they walk out the door shaking their heads to clear their eardrums!!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Kenny and Gina in a past life. sigh...
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Isn't this too cute?
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Ebay members' response to my message on their board.

As I said in my previous post here, I put a message on eBay's Collectables & Antiques discussion board, to let my friends there know that I may not be bidding so freely in the future. Late last night, I logged into eBay as I do every night, and after the usual check on my auctions, I had a look at the Discussion Board. I was absolutely blown over by the response to my post - there were 60 (SIXTY!) messages in response to me, and apart from a small argument between a couple of the posters, they were all messages of encouragement and best wishes. Another amazing example of the friendships that are made in cyberspace between people who may never meet in person, but have connected in this new medium of communication. I am going to put the link here for the eBay post, for anyone who is interested....hope it works. I am still never quite sure about this links business!

And here are some pretty vintage pictures to brighten up my sad little blog...which reminds me! Before I finish this off, here is the latest on Ken. I headed off to work this morning with the unfortunate comment to Ken "Enjoy your first day of retirement!" Meant to cheer him up...gawd, when will I learn to button my lip? When I got home, he was up and dressed, and busy making phone calls. He called Vic Roads first to see if they could allow him to hold a 'conditional' heavy vehicle licence, which would not allow him to carry passengers, but to still be able to drive large vehicles on private property. (He could stay at the Bus company in another role if he is allowed this). They said yes, but would still need the okay from his doctor. That satisfied Ken for the moment. He then made a few more calls, and took off to see a few people. All this bodes well for his state of mind - he is actively engaged in finding work of some kind, not just lying around feeling sorry for himself, so that makes me feel a lot better.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Last of the big spenders/spend-ups.

I just posted a message on my favorite eBay message board, titled something similar, to warn my regular eBay sellers that I won't be bidding as often (if at all) from now on. Ken lost his job today at exactly 2.30 pm. The cardiologist dictated a letter to Vic Roads while we were sitting right there: "Mr Wilson is not fit to drive a heavy vehicle due to his heart (medical terms given), although this will not affect his ability to drive an ordinary car", etc. (For those of you overseas, Vic Roads is the State Government authority governing laws that relate to vehicle registration and driving licences, among other things).

When we left the surgery, Ken drove to the bus company and told the boss, who was visibly shocked at the abruptness of the termination of Ken's employment. He worked a shift this morning before going to the doctor, and is out of work this afternoon. He now has to see our local GP to obtain a medical certificate, so the bus company can continue to pay him sick leave (about 2 weeks). He is also owed Rostered Days Off (don't ask me to explain that one), long service leave (13 years) and residual annual leave. So it will be a reasonable payout. But if he can't get another job (and at nearly 63, who is going to employ him?), that will be the last money he will ever earn, apart from superannuation and possibly a pension of some kind. Even that is in doubt, as I am still working, albeit 3 days a week, so he may not qualify for a pension on the grounds that his spouse is still earning.

A number of well-meaning people have said to him "Oh retirement is wonderful - you will be able to travel now!" Well, if you have been lucky (or prudent) enough to save up enough money to travel after you finish work, that's fine. But we haven't, so that is out of the question. Ken has been on the phone to friends and family tonight, and he is trying to sound cheerful about it, but underneath he says it feels "like a kick in the guts". We knew it was in the pipeline, but thought he may have a week's grace at least, to finish up at work with some dignity.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Not just another Cup Day in Melbourne!

Definitely not just another one - this was a historic occasion indeed! Fancy a horse and rider winning the Melbourne Cup three years in a row!! Couldn't happen to a nicer fella - did you see him crying with joy? I didn't back the Diva - I never back the favourites in the Cup, as they often come last, or if they do win, they don't pay much by simple virtue of being the favourite. I put my $2 on Xcellent and Strasbourg. Why? Well, I don't know a thing about horses, racing or otherwise, so I just pick names that appeal to me. Xcellent came third so I won the princely sum of $5.80 for my two-way bet. Strasbourg is still coming I think....

Cup Day tradition at our place is for me to go and pick up Ken's 92 year old Mum from her home (about a half hour drive), and bring her back here for the day. After checking the racing guide, we pick one or two horses in every race for the day (except the first couple because they are too early for us to place our bets), and on the way home we stop at the TAB and put our bets on. Back home we prop ourselves comfortably in front of the tv (130cm screen, so it's like being there), and watch the day unfolding. Cups of tea, ham and cheese sandwiches, cake and nibbles keep us going throughout the day, and when the Cup is run at 3 pm we break out a bottle of bubbly. In between races we discuss the fashions on the field, and other topics while I stitch. Ken pops in and out during the day - he couldn't stand sitting in front of the tv the whole day watching it!

In past years, friends have dropped in to watch the race with us, and stayed on for a while, but today we were on our own. Last year I set up an account with the TAB so we could conduct our betting online. All went well then, and Ken even came in minutes before the Melbourne Cup and wanted to put $10 on something! But this year, today of all days, our ISP went down right across Victoria. I had transferred some funds from my credit card to the TAB account, and was preparing to place our bets, when the computer ground to a halt. I did everything possible, then phoned the ISP and got a recorded message saying they were working to get their customers back online as soon as possible. Oh yeah, thanks a lot! With 10 minutes to go I drove like a woman possessed to the local TAB which is only a few streets away - and joined the rapidly lengthening queue - obviously people like myself who found themselves suddenly cut off the Internet! Placed our bets and shot back home in time to view the first race.

Apart from that, it was a fun day for MIL and I. Ken took her home, and I went around to the home of one of my home care clients, to take her washing off the line. Rain and thunderstorms are predicted for tomorrow, and as I won't be at her place until mid afternoon, it was safer to get everything inside today, instead of risking a sodden lot of washing tomorrow! Ken said he thought it was rotten that I have to do that, but before I could argue that it was of mutual benefit to me and my client, he explained that what he meant was, it is rotten that none of her neighbours would go in and do that for her. She is severely disabled, but has no support or friendship from any of her immediate neighbours. Very I don't mind doing a bit extra for her.

In the very early hours of Tuesday morning (Cup Day in Melbourne and I am going to be BUSY!), here is the fourth of my lovely ladies.
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