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.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

This one is for Ms Robyn!

A day or so ago, Ms Robyn posted on her blog a photo of herself as a child, sitting astride a motorcycle. I commented that I would look for a pic of me on my last bike and post it here. I got my motorcycle licence when I was 19 - firstly because I've always loved bikes, and secondly because I couldn't afford to buy a car, so it had to be a bike! I started out with a Honda 90cc step-thru, which I had for seven years, until I was hit by a truck, and the bike was demolished (I nearly was too!). After that I had several bikes, and the last one I bought was the one in this photo - a 250cc Yamaha Virago.

The photo was taken by a neighbour, who came over to have a look at the bike on the day I rode it home. She said the look of rapture on my face was worth a thousand words, and went to get her camera! It was about 15 years ago I think...can't remember exactly, but I would have been about 45 years old at the time. I had this bike for about 5 years, and only sold it because by then I had a car as well, and I couldn't afford registration and insurance on two vehicles. I still miss that bike...:-(

Gina on her Yamaha "Virago", cc 1990
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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bargains and gardens..

I ran puffing and panting into the home of my last client for the day on Wednesday afternoon, apologising for being late. She just smiled at me; she knows that if I don't turn up or ring her more than 15 minutes later than my due time, there would be something to worry about. "I have been shopping for my winter wardrobe", I told her. "It took a bit longer than what I expected. I tried on about 10 pairs of slacks, and half a dozen jumpers. Ended up with 4 pairs of pants and 3 jumpers, all for $40."
"Oh - forgot to say, I went to Savers!" Savers is one of the biggest op-shops (thrift shops to our overseas readers) in Melbourne, and I get most of my clothes there these days, excepting shoes and underwear that is! They don't have much in the way of linen though - I am obviously not the only one who looks for hand embroidered goods, and I suspect that what they may get donated is possibly held aside for certain buyers. I know people who work in op-shops get very cross when they hear that said, but a place that gets as much donated as Savers, would surely get a heap of linen along with everything else, but you never see it there.

But I don't have to worry about it - I have some very kind friends who look out for me, as well as some of my homecare clients. With most of them being elderly, they generally have some of their own work lying around, and sometimes give me items that they insist their family doesn't want. In that case, I consider myself the 'guardian' of their linen, and would cheerfully hand it back to the family if they wanted it. One lady showed me some of hers yesterday (she is keeping it) and she said her sister has a stack of old linen that was stitched by their mother and aunties many years ago. The sister was going to put it all out in a garage sale next week, but my Client remembered me and stopped her! She is going to get it all from her sister and show it to me next time I am there (in a fortnight), and if I want any of it, I can have first pick before she turfs it out - WOW! Hey, it might come to nothing - I don't collect whitework (I already have a lot), or crocheted items, and some people only have those kind of things in their linen cupboards. Still, it is lovely that people think of me when the subject of old linen comes up; I guess it is partly because I treat my clients as friends, not just a house to clean. This lady lives only a street away from us, and I have invited her to morning tea one day soon, as she is keen to see our renovated back yard.

Which reminds me - our Landscape bloke came today and made a start on the front yard. We now have a nice (instant) lawn out there, which Ken immediately fenced off as soon as he got home from work! Just with stakes and string, but he said he doesn't want anybody coming up the driveway and on to the lawn area like they used to. Not everyone does that, but our driveway is a bit steep, and if our visitors don't trust the brakes on their car, they tend to park on the lawn area because it is level. Well, NO MORE! (what about me though, Ken - my brakes aren't too crash hot....NO!)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Anzac Day - not just another public holiday.

Anzac Day 2006 - Lest we Forget
Ken and I always try to watch most, if not all - the Anzac Day March on TV every year. Today was no exception, and it was good to see Melbourne's Autumn weather at its most beautiful, for the thousands of people who attended the March. We had guests over for lunch; a couple in our age group who we have known for many years. They are both very keen gardeners, and have been looking forward to seeing our renovated back yard. As the weather was so delightful, I decided we would eat 'al fresco' - on our rarely used patio. Sally is an excellent cook and so I had a certain standard to aspire to! We had Spinach & Ham Quiche which I cooked this morning, with tossed salad and Turkish bread (from our local hot bread shop), followed by Apricot & Walnut Loaf which I had cooked last night. All washed down with a bottle of McWilliams Inheritance Fruitwood - a sweet white wine that the four of us enjoy more than the drier varieties. This was followed by several pots of tea accompanied by chocolate biscuits - a most pleasant afternoon with Elsie the dog in constant attendance, and Topsy looking longingly out of the windows!

Monday, April 24, 2006

"Ten Simple Pleasures".

Ms Robyn has one of the most interesting, amusing and thought provoking blogs around, and she often issues challenges of one kind or another to her readers. This time she named ten blogger friends to run with this theme, so here I go:
1. Picking up my cat and having her purr blissfully into my ear.
2. Starting a new stitching project.
3. Finishing a stitching project!
4. Eating chocolate.
5. Drinking cappuccino at a cafe with a friend.
6. Lying in a nice hot bath, surrounded by bubbles, glass of wine, and a good book.
7. Hearing hubby getting excited over a bike race on tv. (at this moment!)
8. Seeing new plants take off in spring time (after wondering all winter if they are going to survive!)
9. Listening to my elderly home care clients reminisce about the past.
10.Lying in bed beside hubby, listening to him breathing. (Five years ago I lay awake every night worrying if he would live through the night).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Fifty-eight and counting...

Two years to go until the big Six O, and if all my birthdays are as much fun as yesterday, I will have nothing to complain about. We left Melbourne at 11 am in rain that was bucketing down, but after an hour’s driving, we had left the rain behind. We stopped in a small town on the way up to Bendigo, to visit some friends we hadn’t seen for a while, and had a quick bite to eat. We got to Bendigo just in time for the start of the Tattoo at 2 pm. There was a warm-up act on first, involving a comedian dressed up as an old man, ambling around the perimeter of the audience, shaking hands with people in the front rows. I wasn’t taking much notice of him as I was impatient for the pipes and drums to start, but when he came level with our row of seats, he caught my eye and beckoned to me. I looked at Ken and he shrugged, so I hopped down on to the stadium floor, and the man took my hand and started dancing to the music that was playing over the loudspeakers. He started out with a kind of waltz, which turned into a jitterbug, and as I used to dance a fair bit years ago, I was quite happy to go along with him. I was only there for a few minutes, but the audience were laughing and applauding, so I guess I must have done okay!

The Tattoo was great as usual, and when it ended at 5 pm, we headed off to find somewhere to have dinner. We went to the Bendigo R.S.L. first, as that had been recommended, but they were booked out for the night, so we drove into town and parked outside the first pub that had a vacant car spot nearby. It turned out to be an excellent choice; the food was delicious and even though the place was busy, we had a table for two in a nice secluded spot and it wasn’t noisy. We left there around 8 pm, and started for home. Ken took a wrong turn about half way home and we ended up on a back road with no street lighting, out in the middle of nowhere! So we huddled over the street directory and eventually figured out where we were. We passed the Melbourne Airport on the way home, and noticed a lot of cars parked off the side of the road, watching the planes come and go. Ken asked if I wanted to do that for a while and I said “Yeah, why not?” so we stayed for about half an hour and had two planes come in right overhead – gosh they are huge, and LOUD when they are so close!

So that was our day – different, but we had fun. I was very spoiled with cards and presents. As well as taking me out for the day and for dinner (we had agreed that was to be my birthday treat) Ken gave me a bottle of my favourite wine. His Mum gave me $50 to spend on eBay (!), Sharon and Pete gave me a book on Elvis and a cute cat shaped picture frame, and other friends gave me notepaper, chocolates, a vase, a glass platter, a hand embroidered apron and some Tattslotto tickets. Like I said, spoiled and happy!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The ongoing saga of our back yard blitz.

Further to my previous post here about going shopping for plants last Sunday. The Better Half finally stirred himself into action and we set off just after midday, after I had explained where I wanted to go to buy some plants (Hurstbridge - about half an hour's drive north of us). But what does The Driver do? Points the nose of the car toward the city. "Where are you going?" I asked. "To Malvern," he replied. "MALVERN???" I screeched. Malvern is south of our place, nearly an hour's drive. "Well, I've seen this lovely purple shrub that I want to show you, and I haven't seen it anywhere else". What do you say to that....nothing. So we finally arrive at the place where he saw this plant, and it's a b..... SALVIA! Apologies to anybody who has a passion for those plants, but it ain't no native Australian plant! We then drove all the way back north again, and on passing through Warrandyte, decided to stop at the big nursery in that suburb. They had a huge array of plants, with lots of native ones, but very expensive. They also had one lonely Salvia in a pot, which they sold to Ken for $2 just to get rid of it, so that made him happy. (I made up my mind where it was going to go - not with the natives - lol!)

We finally reached my original intended destination at Hurstbridge, and spent a couple of hours and a hundred dollars there. They had a lovely selection of native and indigenous plants at reasonable prices, so we chose some of the bigger ones - three Grevilleas, one Snow Gum, the Golden Wattle (Australia's national floral emblem) and half a dozen smaller shrubs and ground covers. We didn't get home until 6 pm, and we were too tired to plant them, so I put them all on the patio and watered them. On Monday Ken said he was too tired when he came home from work, and on Tuesday he said the same thing. I knew this would happen every night, so on Tuesday, I took myself and my gardening tools out the back and planted everything. A couple of hours later, after dinner, Ken went outside to inspect everything and came back in to announce that it was all wrong - they were too close together, they needed bigger stakes, he didn't want his Salvia in that spot, blah blah blah...Short but loud argument followed, with himself vowing not to have anything to do with the back yard from now on, if I knew best, I could bloody well get on with it, etc.

Hey, everything will be fine. I'm heading off again tomorrow (actually today, now!) to Edendale Farm (our local council plant farm) to buy a heap of smaller plants and hopefully get them all in over the weekend. Ken made the point that in 25 years here, I have never done anything in the garden (GROSS exaggeration), so why am I starting now? Well, why not? I've never had the time (or the inclination) before, but now we are starting from scratch, I have come over all enthusiastic. Look, if it turns out THAT bad, we/he can always pull everything out and start over. Bit like a bad hairdo isn't it - if you don't like the haircut, don't worry - it will soon grow out again.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nothing to write home about.

Nothing to write about - full stop! Life goes on regardless and rewardless, work as usual (no dramas lately!), and nothing exciting happening on the home front. We haven't done any planting in the back yard yet, but I am hoping Ken will be agreeable to go shopping for plants today (Sunday), otherwise we are going to run out of time to plant anything. We have had some good rainfall lately which has made the soil nice and soft, so I want to get as many plants in the ground as possible before winter sets in and it is too cold to plant seedlings. One of my experienced gardening friends says he plants all year round, but I would rather go with the advice of the books and tv shows who advise that autumn is the best time, as it allows the plants to set their roots and get plenty of water in the coming months.

Next weekend is the Easter long weekend, and it will be a busy one for us, so I want to get plants in tomorrow if possible. Easter Saturday is my 68th birthday, and we are going up to Bendigo for the day to attend the Federation Tattoo in the afternoon, followed by dinner in town. I refused to come home after the Tattoo and cook tea on my birthday! For overseas readers, Bendigo is one of Victoria's largest country towns; about two hours drive from where we live.

We usually spend Easter Sunday with Ken's family, at least with his Mum (if the others are at their holiday house), and this year it looks like we may be going down to Frankston (south-east suburb of Melbourne, about 80 mins drive from our place). Ken's niece lives there with her partner and their two children, and she has hinted that she'd like to have us all there this year. So poor Ken has two days of long drives ahead of him, which means we may just stay home and relax on Good Friday and Easter Monday! Anyone who would like to visit on those days will be most welcome!

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