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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

My final posting here for 2007

Happy New Year to all my blog friends!

A major win for me over technology!

Last Friday in Melbourne started out warm and got hotter. In the morning, I thought about some of my elderly friends who would be sweltering in their non-airconditioned homes, and decided to invite two of them here for afternoon tea. I knew they both liked André Rieu, so it would be a good opportunity to show them the new Wonderland DVD. This all sounds very nice as I type, but it was not that easy! Ken's home theatre system is very complicated to someone like me who would rather just press an on/off button to watch t.v., so he has always been in charge of anything more complex than watching Ovation on Foxtel! I have never played a DVD on it before, but if I was going to show my dear old ladies André at his best, I had to learn fast!

They were due to arrive at 2 pm, so around noon, I found the DVD and starting turning on the various components, i.e. t.v., DVD player, and amplifier. I put the DVD in one of the three DVD players and nothing happened. I tried to find the right channel on the TV for playing DVDs and got wavy lines on the screen. In desperation I phoned one of Ken's friends who works odd shifts, and luckily he was home. I told him what I was trying to do and he chuckled, knowing what I'm like! He asked which player I had the DVD in and I told him. He said "Try the LG player". I did, and it started whirring satisfactorily. But there was still no picture. M. asked if I had the TV on the AV setting and I replied that I didn't know how to find it. He talked me through all the buttons and we finally struck gold. Voila! There was André!

At 2 pm, my friends arrived and were soon comfortable in my nice cool lounge room, with cups of tea and slices of Xmas cake. We chatted for a while, then I proudly turned on the DVD player etc. and all went without a hitch. They were mesmerised right from the start - clapping at the end of each song, humming along, and laughing at the right places! I don't think they wanted to go home, but Ken was due home by then, so they took their leave after I promised them we would have another André afternoon very soon!

To finish this post off, I want to thank André if ever he reads this or hears about it - if it hadn't been for him, I would never have been forced to learn to play a DVD on our system. My Elvis DVDs sit on the shelf staring at me reproachfully; most of them have never been played, but I guess I have no excuse now!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another bird family in Ken's aviaries.

The bird in the middle has his head on one side!

These tiny birds (smaller than the budgies) move so fast it is difficult to take a good photo of them. One of these looks like he has fangs, but he doesn't!

A friend of ours who lives in the next street decided to get a pair of these Zebra Finches about six months ago. He housed them in a standard metal bird cage, and to his surprise, they quickly laid eggs in the seed container and hatched two babies there! So he rung Ken to ask if he'd like some in one of his aviaries, and Ken said okay, but just the two, as he isn't ready for more birds other than budgies at the moment. When G. brought the finches around, and Ken put them into the aviary, it was an eye-opener for G. He was so used to seeing the finches hop from one perch to another in the cage without spreading their wings, it was wonderful to see them hovering, then flying from one end of the aviary to the other (3 metres). He said to Ken "I can't bear the thought of the others being cooped up in a small cage now" so he brought the rest of them here! So Ken now has eight Zebra Finches, of which two pairs have already mated up and are building nests!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Christmas Day.

I've spent much of today gloating over my stash of Christmas goodies! That sounds disgusting, doesn't it - consumerism gone mad. But I've been spoiled yet again this year by my friends and Ken's family (not mine - nothing from them at all this year, but that's another story). I'm not going list everything I received, but let me tell those of you who are reading this, and who gave Ken and I gifts, I love all my gifts, and will be contacting everyone individually shortly.

Ken found another Chocolate House this year, in spite of me saying please don't - I'm getting so fat around my middle, I need to stop eating chocolate...well cut down at any rate. But how can I not eat this?

He also gave me a hairdryer to replace my old one that blew up a couple of weeks ago, as well as one of those USB memory stick things so I can save the stuff on my PC in case of a crash, or whatever else. Trouble is, the label says it is only suitable for Windows 2000, XP or Vista. I'm on ME. So it might not work.

Ken's sister L. gave me two exquisite embroidered suppercloths which you can see on Patra's Other Place, as well as a Mauve Binchy novel. Another family member gave me a doiley embroidered with a Crinoline Lady, which she had done for me, and that is also on the other blog.

We spent Christmas Day with Ken's family at his sister's home, and my time was mostly taken up playing with Ken's niece's two little girls. Their Mum is always pleased to spend time with her Mum and Grandmother while I distract the kids outside playing ball, or hide and seek, or whatever. They all tell me what a great Auntie I am; I say it is because I can give them back when I've had enough - lol! Here is me with the pair of them on my lap:

Visiting Helen on Boxing Day.

After admiring everything and mentally drafting thank you emails and letters this morning, I spent the afternoon with Ken at Helen and Ray's home. Helen was home from Xmas Eve until Boxing Day Eve. She spent Xmas Day at her younger son's home with the rest of the family, and had a lovely day, she said. Today was R & R, but she was happy to have us drop in for a cuppa, and to give me her gift - four beautiful bowls with my favourite designs:

Helen is greatly improved - she can lift her left arm up and pick up a coin, and can walk with the aid of a stick, although she will probably use a walking frame for a while to be safer on her feet. She is still at the one-hand typing stage which is driving her nuts! So she's restricting herself to short emails at the moment, but I'm betting as soon as she is home for good (in 4 weeks or less), she will be fit enough to get back into blogging and catch up with everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to all my Blogland friends!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Early Christmas presents.

LeeAnn gave me a loverly bunch, not coconuts - pressies! on Saturday night, which included these: a book which I have heard about and wanted for a long time; a packet of Christmas paper napkins (I love paper napkins!); a peacock brooch, and for the rest of my goodies, you will have to go to Patra's Place.

And this is what Ken received: four bottles of different beer in a neat box, with extra bits tucked in!

Rob and LeeAnn are good friends indeed; proof that you can make new friends of people you meet in cyberspace!

Christmas lights.

I promised Jeanette I would take some photos of houses around here that have been decorated for Christmas. Of course to get a picture at the best time, you have to drive around at night and so far I haven't felt like going out again at night, after being out and about all day! But on our way home from Kyneton last night, we were only a few streets from home when we passed a house that still had its display lit up, so I asked Ken to stop the car while I took a photo. At 2.30 am, it is VERY dark, so you can't see much of the house, but their decorations sure stand out!

The best Christmas Party!

On Saturday, Ken and I drove up to Kyneton in country Victoria, to spend the evening with LeeAnn and Rob at their Lodge Christmas Party. We were there last year, and enjoyed ourselves so much, that we begged for a repeat invite! We had a cuppa with LeeAnn and Rob for an hour beforehand, admired their Christmas decorations, and exchanged gifts. I'll be taking photos of our goodies later on; as most of my readers know, LeeAnn is a very generous and giving lady!

Just a few of the Christmas ornaments on the mantelpiece, from their huge collection.

We sat at this little table to share gifts and a cuppa with our friends - doesn't that look charming!

Later on that night....
Gina and LeeAnn wishing each other a VERY Merry Christmas...nudge, wink!

Some of the tables in the hall. Ms Santa Claus and her elf helper (daughter) in the foreground!

Gordon McKenzie was the main attraction at the party; he was there last year too, and Ken and I were very pleased to see him again. A very versatile and polished entertainer.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Budgies and black cats.

Ken inside the aviary, trying to coax the young budgies out of the nest box. There are two of them in the two top photos, with the parents, who are green.

Two of the five babies, still unafraid of human hands. Ken is very gentle with his birds, and they seem to sense it, and trust him for ages before they get old enough to be wary of him.
These two are the ones with more yellow than the others, although only one is a true Lutino with red eyes.

Why do cats find warm places to lie on a hot day? We couldn't find Topsy anywhere last week on one extremely hot day, but eventually I peeped under the daybed in a spare room and there she was, looking cross as usual when she spied the camera. Ken said she probably goes under there because it is dark. But 'dark' can still be hot - stifling in fact. Ah well, her choice. I left her there.

News and photos of Helen & Co.

Here are two photos from our party:
Jenny, Helen and Gina.

Gina, Jenny, and Sandra, Helen seated.

On Wednesday evening, friends Jenny, Sandra and I loaded up Sandra's car with all kinds of Christmas goodies, and visited Helen in the rehab. centre for a pre-Christmas dinner. Jenny provided a delicious selection of salads, table decorations and red antler ears for fun. Sandra provided the dinner set, mince pies and shortbread. I brought the tablecloth (of course), napkins, tea, milk, sugar, thermos of hot water and my own home-made Christmas cake.

Helen was expecting us, and she was dressed up in a flattering top and skirt, face made up and hair newly cut and coloured - she looked a million dollars compared to a month ago! She is making a steady recovery from the stroke; she can now stand for a short while, can walk a little way with a walking frame, and she can lift her left arm quite a bit higher than the last time I saw her two weeks ago.

We had a great time as we always do together - long term friendships are wonderful, aren't they? I'd printed off copies of some of Isabelle's blog, as I knew it would amuse Helen in particular, but as booklovers, we all had a chuckle at Isabelle's answers to a meme about books!

I took these pics of Melbourne's skyline on the way home from the hospital.

Where has this week gone??

Kathie from Wide Blue Yarn in the U.K. had an amusing paragraph on her blog to describe the sensation of time flying by:
Is it a bird? A plane?
No it’s the weekend flying by at the speed of sound…blink and you’ll miss it!!
And that’s exactly what I feel I did. I achieved nothing, I didn't get any extra sleep and I pretty much feel like I've gone straight from Friday night to Monday morning!!

Still grinning here! My week was like that. According to my diary, on Monday I had an appointment with Centrelink's job agency in the morning, and after lunch a lady came over to collect some stuff she'd won on my eBay auctions. Turns out she is a keen cross stitcher too, so we spent a pleasant couple of hours looking at my stash.

On Tuesday I had lunch with a very special lady who has appeared suddenly in our lives like the proverbial Good Fairy. She and her husband bought tickets for us for next year's André Rieu concert, after I'd said we couldn't afford $500 for a luxury like that when I'm unemployed. We were like long lost twin souls - didn't stop talking from the minute we met (1 pm) till when she dropped me back home (5 pm)! We are both Aries girls, and have so much in common, I think this friendship will go on long after André has come and gone...

Wednesday was spent with the Community frail and aged group; we took them to YanYean Reservoir for a picnic. Perfect day, and I forgot me bloody camera. On Wednesday evening, my friends and I visited Helen, but that is a separate post.
Thursday I visited my two Do Care Japanese ladies - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I always enjoy my visits with these sweet old ladies!
In a few hours it will be Friday morning, and I was supposed to be going for a job interview. But the agency phoned me to ask if I could go on Monday instead, so that leaves Friday free to take an elderly friend to the Eye Clinic in Carlton to collect her new glasses. Before we go, I'll get some housework done, with a bit of luck.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Walking to soothe a troubled soul.

Knowing I'd been depressed about my job situation for some time, a good friend called me to ask if I'd like to accompany her on a walk along the banks of the Yarra River - something she does often on her own or with friends and family. I accepted her invitation, and here are the photos I took along the way. This was my lovely Friday.

this Moorhen scuttled off to the water as soon as I appeared with my camera.

Above pic shows the junction of the Yarra River and Mullum Mullum Creek - mentioned on the information sign below. It was a sacred site to the Wurundjeri aboriginal tribe.
Above: historic homestead. Below: information sign about it.

Me - feeling totally relaxed after all that walking!

More about black Christmas trees.

One of the many fascinating aspects of blogging is reading other people's opinions of things, and the Black Christmas Tree item certainly sparked a few of you into responding!
Alice: I also think it is important that fake trees look reasonably lifelike. Not keen on those white plastic ones..
Kathie: You stay on your soap box my girl! You are so right about the real dark side of Christmas. I just hate all the commercialism that has taken over the original reason for the season. You haven't offended anyone (anyone who reads my blog has to be broadminded in more ways than one!)
Jeanette: I'd love to see a pic of your daughter's house. You've just reminded me to go on a drive and photograph some of the stunningly decorated homes around Greensborough.
Lindsay: Good analogy about painting a house black then trying to brighten it up!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Black Christmas Trees?? What next?

I just read this on NineMSN News:

It is very thought-provoking - people have varying opinions on the topic. What do you think? I think the journalist hit the nail on the head when she referred to this as "The darker side of the festive season". It seems more like something that Harry Potter would have in his school for witches and wizards - not something a Christian family would have in their homes to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Stupid water restrictions on vegetable gardens.

Miss Eagle has just emailed me this information about a petition to the Vic. government, regarding water restrictions on vegetable gardens. I've signed it, and I think a few people reading this will probably feel the same way, so read the links and see what you think!

I am writing to advise of an online petition organised by Marika Wagner of Bulleen Art & Garden. You can see The Age article here:
and the petition is here:
Thought you might care to sign. I also support Kevin Walsh's comments on the need for an E level of water restrictions: for the elderly and edibles.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Lutino budgie again - a bit bigger now!

Isn't he just the cutest little bird? If it wasn't for his beak, you would be forgiven for thinking he is a canary! Completely bright yellow, but with the standard pink eyes of a Lutino.

adopt your own virtual pet!