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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse - did you see it?

Now that question is only meant for readers in Australia, New Zealand and one or two other isolated places in the southern hemisphere. There was a great fuss made over the eclipse leading up to the actual event, and Ken and I thought it was a bit over the top. The media kept referring to the colour of the moon when it was in the state of total eclipse as 'blood red'. From where we were watching in our back yard, that was being rather melodramatic. It was more like a muddy brown colour. Perhaps if we had been in outback Victoria or NSW it might have looked more colourful. Over to you, Merle and Jeanette!

Being in a state of perpetual busyness!

The title to this blog was prompted by Connie's latest post on her blog, in which she apologises for her absence from the blogging community, and pleads 'being too busy' as the reason. I left a comment there about a t.v. show I'd watched earlier tonight. It was an interview with author Hugh Mackay, a psychologist and social researcher. He has just published a book titled "Advance Australia Where?" and the interviewer asked him about the ways Australians have changed over the past 30 years. One of the most interesting aspects he has noticed (in my opinion) is that everyone is always 'busy' these days. I've noticed it too, and sometimes it annoys me to blazes, and at other times I'm totally sympathetic! Depending on the person and in what context they use the phrase.

In Connie's case, she has a very reasonable excuse, many of them in fact - and goes on to say what she has been doing instead of blogging. Hugh Mackay suggested in his interview that one of the main reasons why we are so busy is technology. Internet/email, mobile phones, SMS, etc. all contribute to the way we communicate with each other nowadays, and because these mediums are all going pretty much 24 hours a day, we feel that we should not turn anything off, just in case we miss out on something! Do you ever feel like that? I know people who never turn their mobile phone off - not even when they go to bed! Mine is off as soon as I get home. I can't see the point of leaving it on when we have a perfectly adequate land line/fax machine available in the house. The internet is only switched on at night when all my chores are finished, although occasionally I'll turn it on during the day if I'm not busy (blah! blah!).

My previous post about my job uncertainty has left a few people wondering what the upshot is. I still have to find out a few more facts before I can make informed comments here, so please bear with me.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Job uncertainty.

On Friday, all the Home Carers who work in our Shire, would have received a letter from our employer, Southern Cross Care Vic. A month or so ago we had been told at a staff meeting, that the Shire council contract was up for renewal, but as the client base have been happy with the service, SCCV didn't think they would lose the contract. Well, they were wrong. Still, at least they'd warned us. Another company will take over the contract from 1st October. The letter states the primary reason for the selection of an alternative provider was based on financial grounds, and not a reflection on the quality of services provided by SCCV.

There is to be a staff meeting tomorrow (Monday) at which our supervisors and senior management staff will discuss the outcome of the change. The way I see it, we (the carers) may have two choices. We might be able to continue to be employed by SCCV in another area outside of our Shire (that is, if there is enough work). Or, we could apply for a job with the new company, and hope that we can retain our current client base. We've been told that this is the most likely scenario, but there is no guarantee.

I am angry. REALLY angry. How dare the Shire of Nillumbik council make this kind of decision based on financial reasons? What about the clients - elderly and disabled people who have got to know and trust their carers? I bet the Powers That Be in the council have never stopped to think about how it feels to need the services of strangers to bathe, dress and feed them in their own home. I hate the idea of a complete stranger coming into my home and doing all that. Not to mention the housework, shopping, etc. I will attend this staff meeting tomorrow. Depending on the outcome, I will be contacting the new service provider to find out more about my employment options. I will also be writing to our Council and the local paper (possibly even the national paper) and voicing my anger and disappointment over the decision, which will adversely affect so many people. Once again, the Money God has come before care and compassion, and I'm on the warpath.

A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon in Melbourne.

I am a volunteer with an organisation called "Do Care", for which the volunteers visit elderly, disabled, or otherwise socially isolated people in their homes. Once a year our local branch puts on an afternoon tea for the clients and volunteers, most of whom have got to know each other after a few years of meeting up at various meetings and events. This one is called "A Pleasant Sunday Afternoon" and is held in winter, as there is nothing much else happening (unless you like football) for older people to do. The Do Care staff organise tea, coffee and cake, as well as some light entertainment.

Today, the numbers were a bit 'light on', possibly because the flu has knocked so many people for six lately. But it was still fun. The two Japanese ladies whom I visit for Do Care never attend this function, even though I offer to take them. They say they would feel uncomfortable due to their limited English skills. So I took one of my home care clients instead. Beryl has a Do Care friend, but she (the volunteer) prefers to spend time with her family on weekends, understandably. Here is a photo of me between Daphne (in red) and Beryl. I am a home carer for both these ladies, and it is nice to see them out and about on these occasions. They were both born in England, and they have a lot in common, so it is a good chance for them to catch up with each other.

The man at the keyboard in the picture below was our entertainer today, and he was very entertaining indeed! He put on a short Buster Keaton silent movie and played the accompaniment, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed that. Then he had a quiz, where everyone had to guess the name of a person in a certain melody. All good clean fun.

Tim Tams

Sara left a comment on my Friday Show and Tell item, and asked me about Tim Tams. Said she had been hearing about them and wondered what they are. Well everyone in Australia knows, but for those of you overseas who don't, click on this link, and find about Australia's favourite biscuit! TIM TAMS!

Later today, I plan on doing a post about the possibility of losing my job, and on a happier note, writing about this afternoon's activity - a Do Care afternoon tea function with other volunteers and their clients. I'm taking my camera, so expect photos!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Show And Tell Friday.

Kelli over at There Is No Place Like Home hosts Show And Tell every Friday. Click on her link to see everyone's entry for the week! Here is mine:

I stitched this for my friend Helen, for her birthday a year or so ago. She had just had her kitchen renovated, so I thought this would be an appropriate touch!

My response to Isabelle's meme thing.

Jobs I’ve held
I started work when I was 15 years old, working in an office, and I continued doing office work in many places until I turned 51. I retired from full time work so I could concentrate on volunteer work with elderly people, and after about six months of that, I was offered part time work with the elderly, and I’ve been doing that ever since.

Movies I can watch over and over
Some of Elvis’ movies I never tire of, while others….once was enough! Other than them, “The Train” starring Burt Lancaster and more recently “The World’s Fastest Indian” are two movies I have probably watched about 20 times, with friends and family.

My Guilty Pleasures
Mmmm….how honest do I have to be? I partake in lots of pleasurable things, but why do I have to feel guilty about any of them?

Places I have lived
I have only ever lived in suburban Melbourne – south east and north east suburbs.

Places I have been to on holiday
In Australia: Sydney NSW; Brisbane, Townsville, and Cairns Qld; most of Tasmania, much of Sth. Australia, and most of Victoria.
Overseas: USA, Japan, Taiwan, Phillipines, Hong Kong.

Shows I enjoy
Does this mean TV shows? “Antiques Roadshow”, “Are You Being Served?”, “Hogan’s Heroes”, and the one with Hyacinth Bucket, the name of which escapes me at this minute, but you’ll all know, I’m sure!!

Favourite Foods
(also salads, roasts, casseroles, desserts, cakes, French food). NOT Thai, Greek, Italian, or Indian foods. I’ll eat them to be polite, but not by choice.

Websites I visit daily
Blogspot, Hotmail, (for news and emails).

Body Parts I’ve injured
Brain (seriously! head injury after motorcycle accident resulted in temporary epilepsy). Other minor motorcycle related injuries have resulted in arthritis in lower back and feet.

Awards I’ve won
Toastmaster Of The Year (3 times) and numerous other Toastmaster awards. Several awards from Vic. Police for my role in Neighbourhood Watch. Other community stuff that I have certificates for, but can’t be bothered getting out to list here!!

Nicknames I’ve been called.
NOW you’re pushing my limits. My full name is a closely guarded secret because I hate it. Gina is a shortened version of it, given to me by my first boss. Before that I was called ‘George’ by kids at school, and ‘Felix’ by our school bus driver. In 5th grade at the age of 10 years (in 1958) I was called ‘Widgie Wykart’ by the grade teacher, which really hurt as I was not a widgie, and did not like being put in that category! (Wykart is a corruption of my maiden name)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Topsy, wanting her dinner.

After Val and Helen left the house this afternoon, Topsy came out of hiding and demanded to be fed.

"Ahhh..that's what I want - bickies!"

Blog Friends at my house for lunch!

Val and Helen came for lunch today. This is just the third time I've met up with Val and I hope it won't be the last - she is excellent company! Helen is much more than a new blog friend; we've known each other for about 28 years - since we moved to Eltham, in fact. I wanted to introduce them to each other because they both have working backgrounds in libraries, and my instinct was correct - they got on very well. Here they are just as we were finishing lunch...they weren't quite ready for this pic - sorry ladies!

For lunch, I cooked the Oven-baked Frittata on the cover of the current issue of Super Food Ideas

Val had promised to help me set up Google Reader, so I could see at a glance which of my favourite blogs had been updated. Once we'd organised that, we had about an hour's fun experimenting with other aspects of blogging - changing colours, adding Polls and other elements to our blog, and other stuff. Here is Val setting it up for me:

For a closer look at the tablecloth on my dining room table, go to Patra's Place.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pussy cheques???????????

Look at what I found over at Woof Nanny's blog:
A website that advertises among other personalised items - cheques with your own chosen designs! The link I've provided above shows their cat designs. Could it only be in America? How long before it hits our shores? I want kitties on my cheques...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Our garden, such as it is.

Bloggers around the world love to post pictures of their gardens, and it must bring so much pleasure to others who love gardening. I'm not a keen gardener, and Ken just likes to potter, weeding and pruning. We tend to plant things that are either native to this area, or easy care stuff, so they look after themselves pretty well. Today I noticed that there are signs of Spring around our place, so I went mad with the camera and took these pictures. They are nowhere near the standard of English gardens on other blogs, but hey, it's our Hacienda after all!

Ten years ago, Ken was going to put this wheelbarrow out with the rubbish collection, as the bottom was rusting, and the tyre had gone flat. But I grabbed it back in the nick of time, and planted tulips and daffodils in it. They were lovely for those first few years, but when they died off, I planted petunias. They have continued to regenerate year after year, even though I've never even changed the soil! I'd bought some hyacinth bulbs earlier this year, but forgot to plant them at the right time, so I stuck them in the barrow amongst the petunias and forgot about them again. Look at the result - they didn't mind such harsh treatment it seems!

This white daisy bush was brutally cut back last year, but this winter's rain seems to have spurred it on to greater heights, almost to the point where if you stand next to it, it will push you over!

These daisies are a pretty shade of purple, but they are very invasive. It was only six months ago that I pulled the whole lot out...I obviously missed some.

The geraniums are taking over their section too - to the point of pushing over the bird bath!

More pictures of our garden.

When we moved into our house about 28 years ago, these clumps were all over the place. I just left them there, as they seemed to be doing all right without any intervention from me. After about ten years, they weren't flowering as prolifically, and one of my gardening friends suggested digging them all up, separating the rhizomes (or are they bulbs?) and replanting them. As Sally was much more energetic than me that day, she did the digging and separating, and I said she may as well take some home, because if I replanted them all, there would be no room for anything else. I think it was Sally who told me they were Dutch Irises. Well, someone did. More recently, someone else told me that was wrong, they are Something Else irises. Anybody like to have another guess?
Here is a closer shot if you want to have a guess at identifying it.

This one is an Aussie native, called 'Kangaroo Paw' (the flower in full bloom looks just like one - K's paw that is!). My friend Cheryl gave this to me in a pot for my birthday, and I must have chosen the right spot to plant it because it has doubled in size since April!
Daisies with a difference...these are under my clothesline. They are an Australian native daisy, and do have a correct botanical please Helen!

Doves! Too lazy to build nests in trees, ours go up market and settle under the eaves. Right outside our bedroom window. Their morning trilling drives us crazy!

We're back! Where there is apple, there are Lorikeets.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Casey Stoner does it again!!

Our little Aussie battler (well he is only 21) has done it again - won the GP at Brno in the Czek Republic today! Go, Casey!

That event topped up our Sunday very nicely. We woke up to a fine sunny Sunday, and as I hadn't been for a pillion ride on Ken's new bike yet, we decided to go for a short ride. "Short" because I wanted to see how far I could go before my lower back started to protest. Ken's previous bike was built for speed not for comfort, as the saying goes, especially for the pillion passenger. But the Suzuki has a reasonably comfortable pillion seat, so off we went. Our first stop was at one of Melbourne's water storage/treatment plants - Sugarloaf Reservoir, which is about 15 minutes ride from our place. We were pleased to see the water level was slightly higher than the last time we were there.

As my back was feeling okay, we decided to ride on to Yarra Glen and visit a friend of Ken's, who we knew would love to inspect the new bike. This pic is taken from the road into Yarra Glen, looking down on the town. It is hard to tell among the trees, but it is a lovely setting.

Ken and his mate outside P's house, looking at the house across the road.

...which is for sale, and is just the kind of place that Ken and I would love to retire to if we had $690,000!!!

When we got home, some friends were waiting for us. "Where have you been? We want something to eat!" (I put some apple out IMMEDIATELY)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A new link on my side bar.

Thank you to everyone who posted comments on my Friday Show & Tell - looks like I struck a chord with a lot of people! One day I will put the whole story about that concert on my memoirs blog (Patracat's Memories) but don't go looking for it yet. I've got heaps more to write about my life before I get to that era!

Now, about the new link. I saw this on another blog, and as we all do, had to check it out. The Old Painted Cottage is a combination of selling shabby chic gear and just a lovely spot to spend some time looking at beautiful cottages and their decor. I think most of the bloggers on my side bar will just love this site!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Friday Show & Tell. Long Live The King!

Friday Show & Tell is hosted every week by Kelli. If you visit her blog you will find dozens of interesting stories and photos from bloggers all over the world, with their own Show & Tell!

Thirty years ago today, Elvis died. Nine months before that, I saw him in concert at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. We had front row seats, so I got some great photos, as well as one of the scarves he threw to the audience. My Friday Show & Tell is a tribute to the King. Here are just a few of the photos in my album. The concert was on Sunday November 28th, 1976.

This photo of me holding my Elvis scarf was taken ten years ago. I sold the scarf at auction (we were broke at the time and desperately needed money), so I had this taken just to remind myself that I did once own this scarf!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A visit from another Blogging Friend!

Connie (AKA Meow) came to visit me at home today. She brought a gorgeous bunch of daffodils, and a pile of Elvis books, which she decided she didn't want any more, and wondered if I did. Funnily enough, I had already sold my copies of the same books on eBay last year, and done quite well for myself, so I suggested that she list her books and make some money, instead of giving them away! She also brought a copy of her CD "Songs From Around The Blog World" for me, despite my saying that I didn't think it would be the kind of music I enjoy. I Wuz Wong! Boy was I wrong....We put it in my PC and played a few tracks, and I was astonished to find that I did in fact recognise and enjoy many of them. Later on when Ken came home, he wanted to know what the CD was, and when he played it on his sound system, he came in to tell me it was great, because there were some tracks on it that he had been after for ages, but could never find them! So thank you very much from both of us, Connie!

I greatly enjoyed our time together, despite the age difference; Connie happened to mention her Mum's age during conversation, and I was mortified to hear she was my age! I do not feel old enough to be Connie's Mum - I'd rather be her friend!! We had a giggle over that. I threw a pizza together for lunch, followed by Hummingbird cake with a cuppa for me and a Coke for Connie. I put a nice cloth on the table for us to sit at:

We spent the afternoon looking at my swap cards, some of my linen, and my family photo album. We have a common denominator in our ancestry - both of us have German background, so Connie was interested to see my family tree and piccies of my great-great-grandparents. Topsy was her usual unsociable self with a stranger, but did let Connie have a brief pat before turning her back on us!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More visitors of the Feathered Variety.

I don't know if it is because this winter has been much wetter and colder than the past ten years, but we are having more birds than ever in our yard lately. The galahs in this photo are often around, but don't always stop at our feeder, so I grabbed my camera as soon as these guys lobbed on the verandah. Just before they arrived, we had a flock of Corellas there briefly. That was VERY unusual - they are in the area, but again, rarely come into our yard. By the way, this looks like it was taken at night, but it was actually about 4 pm. We'd had dark clouds all afternoon, but I must admit to being surprised at how dark this photo looks!

As you will have seen if you've been reading this blog, a pair of King Parrots visited us last week, and have become daily visitors to the feeder, which is wonderful to see. Eastern Rosellas and Crimson Rosellas are in the treetops, but are too timid to come close to the house. The Owl can still be seen most nights high up in one of our eucalypts in the back yard. And the Rainbow Lorikeets staked their claim here years ago, and if they are ready to feed, everyone else is shunted off quick smart!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hooray! I finally got the official Show and Tell icon on my post! Now to choose something to show...

This item is one of three ornaments that my father gave me when he was cleaning up the family home in preparation to move out. Like the cherubs I had on here a month or so ago, I can only guess what this was used for. Underneath it, there is a circular red mark which reads 'Alexandra Porcelain Works Made In Austria' around the perimeter. Inside this, there is a crown with the words Royal Vienna.
There is a number (1504) pressed into the porcelain, and another number painted on it: 9890 over 10.
I took it to an antique shop once and the lady beind the counter looked down her nose and sniffed "oh, art deco - so common, worth nothing". Well, I can live with that - I really don't want to be worried about it getting broken if it was valuable! But one would think she could have been a little more polite.

Helen - Hyacinth Bucket she is NOT!

My friend Helen has exquisite taste in furnishing her house. Everything is charming - from the furniture itself, to the linen and fine china that she delights in using. She is often at my place for a cuppa, and I have learnt from her to do things more chipped mugs, cartons of milk and biscuits in the packet on the table! Now when anyone comes, even unexpectedly, I get out my matching China (not Royal Doulton but still nice), milk in matching jug, bikkies on a pretty plate and of course a hand-stitched cloth.

Once I asked Helen to cast her eye over our house and tell me what she would change if she lived there. Alas, poor Helen was tongue-tied - our place has too long been a haven for motorcyclists, steamtrain buffs, American western movies posters, etc. and is way past a makeover into a genteel atmosphere befitting classy ladies and gents! Ha ha - don't take me too seriously! As much as our home is completely the opposite to Helen's, it is home to us and we are comfortable with it. But I do like to visit with Helen and indulge in dainty daydreams...she has a lovely post on her blog today, complete with pretty picture of her dining table set up for afternoon tea. Go here for a peek.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday Show And Tell (Saturday in Oz)

We had a pair of visitors on Friday - Aust. Native King Parrots. Thanks whoever invented digital cameras - what an opportunity!

This was the first photo I took, when I noticed they had landed on the feeder on our front verandah. This is through the wire door, as I didn't want to scare them off by opening the door.

The male on the left has raised his wing ready to take off. Just in time to snap this, showing the blue under his wing. The female on the right is less brightly coloured.

Friday, August 03, 2007

In defence of truck drivers.

One of my American friends Patty has a new job. Well, she's been there two months, so it's almost new. She works for a trucking company, and she has posted some photos of the office and yard. But that's not the reason I've mentioned her now. She has written a couple of paragraphs about how, since she has been working with them, she has a different perception of truck drivers and what they put up with on the roads. I think it is very relevant, in view of recent events in Melbourne involving trucks. Have a read here and see if you agree with me (and Patty).

adopt your own virtual pet!