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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Apologies to Adelaide from this Victorian resident.

Link to Premier Brumby's rudeness here
I was absolutely appalled at the comments from our premier John Brumby, saying Adelaide is a backwater compared to Melbourne. People in the public eye, especially politicians at that level, should keep their mouth shut and their thoughts to themselves when it comes to other cities and states of Australia. As much as I love Melbourne and consider myself very fortunate to be living here, I have visited Adelaide on several occasions and think it is equally beautiful; in fact all our cities have their own attractions and should not be denigrated (is that the right word?) by someone who just happens to prefer somewhere else.
To anyone in South Australia who reads this blog - I am personally very embarrassed about Brumby's rudeness, and hope it won't cause permanent bad feeling between our States.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In yesterday's mail...

I received an absolutely fabulous apron, which you can see on my Aprons blog. As well as that, a parcel arrived from my penpal in Japan. She always sends me calendars - not one, but three. One for me, one for Ken's Mum, and one for one of my Japanese Do Care elderly ladies that I visit. I have first choice, but it is not a hard decision. Ken's mum loves the gardens:

Atsuko is keen on the Sumo wrestlers:

So that leaves me with traditional art work depicting Geisha ladies - which I would have chosen anyway!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Australia Day celebrations.

Ken and I have celebrated Australia Day with a party at home for friends for a few years now. This year we couldn't do it on the 26th because we went on the Ride to Remember, so we had our party yesterday (Monday 28th) because it was a public holiday, so most of our friends weren't at work.
I had the usual stuff up in the front windows of our house.

Ken put together a hasty flagpole and hoisted our Aussie flag (that we'd bought for the bike ride on Saturday) in the back yard.

Here we are out on the patio, ten of us fitting snugly in the shade under the umbrella! (Nine in this pic because I was taking the photo) That is Helen in the wheelchair, with her hubby Ray in the sun hat, obscuring Ken.

I had intended to photograph all the food before we started to eat, but everyone came rushing in to help themselves as soon as I called out that it was ready! This was all that was left for me to photograph!

At the back of the table was cold chicken, green salad and potato salad.
At the front were hard boiled eggs, cold meat platter, and my annual specialty - prawns with avocado and mango on lettuce - yum! On the other table was a quiche cooked by Helen and a pumpkin and spinach salad. Every year all the women bring one part of the spread, and I provide the eggs, chickens, and prawn salad, as well as the dessert. Dessert is always a green and gold Pavlova (meringue shell topped with cream, bananas and kiwi fruit, for overseas readers), and a platter of fresh tropical fruits with a bowl of cream. We finish up with tea or coffee and lamingtons.
Before, during and after all that, beer, wine and soft drink is flowing freely, so all in all, we have a fun day. Once we've had a few drinks, we sing the national anthem with great enthusiasm, and somebody proposes a toast to Australia. I doubt that we are the only household who does this every year; I know of many other similar events happening over the weekend!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Australia Day: 26th January.

Today is the day we celebrate being Aussies - living here and enjoying all the good stuff this country has to offer. Even those who are adversely affected by drought and floods (all at the same time in some cases), still stopped today to celebrate being here. This is where Ken and I were today:
Vic. Police Blue Ribbon Foundation, Ride To Remember.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation is the fund raising arm of our Police. Funds are raised in memory of all Police killed while on duty, and much of it goes to the Trauma Units of our public hospitals.

The post below consists of some of the photos I took today.

Our Australia Day Ride to Remember

It was an early start for us, as it took nearly 40 minutes from home to the starting point at the Formula One racetrack in Melbourne. Great sight when we arrived though - bikes stretched from one end of the straight to the other!
Pit Lane at Albert Park, 7.30 am.
The souvenir stall did a brisk trade in Aussie flags and other memorabilia.

We stopped half way, at the Woori Yallock cricket ground, where the Police provided everybody with bottled water. Bikes almost circled the cricket ground where a local match was being played. The locals had been warned about our group's visit, but it must still have looked intimidating! This pic. shows just one side of the ground.

Ken and a friend discussing Ken's bike, at the cricket ground.

Bikes arriving in the Upper Yarra Reservoir Park.

Most bikes had flags attached, but the Harley riders had to be bigger and better than everyone else - lol!

Nearly 1000 people had to queue up at one food outlet for their lunch of a hamburger and sausage in bread! We stood in line for nearly an hour.

Once everyone was safely in the park, the cops joined forces (excuse the pun) and left the bikers to themselves. Ken and I are going to suggest to the organisers that the police should circulate among the bikers - after all we were there to show our support for the Foundation.
The Police "Code One Rock Band" entertained us for a couple of hours. Does any other police force have their own ROCK band? Ours has several other orchestras and bands as well as this one.
On the way home, on Reefton Spur Road, looking in the direction we were headed. This region is one of Melbourne's most important water catchment areas.

Reefton Spur Road - looking back where we had just ridden.

Marysville - our last stop before we headed for home.

The cafe where we stopped for a much needed cup of tea.

Ken looking pensive...we were both aching after riding for nearly 300 kilometres!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Un -Australian behaviour.

We Aussies like to see ourselves as people who give others a fair go. Unfortunately there are bad apples in every case...this was on tonight's news:

Looters have ransacked a number of inundated homes in the flood-hit central western Queensland town of Emerald, adding to the woes of locals still waiting for flood waters to recede. While residents living in Emerald's northern parts have returned to their homes after they escaped unscathed, 166 houses and 97 units - mostly in the town's south - remain under water.

Police said they were investigating reports of break and enters at a number of evacuated home units between Tuesday and Thursday morning. "As the area is still surrounded by floodwaters, it is unknown what property has been taken," police said in a statement. Five complaints were under investigation but the number could rise as residents return to their homes, police said. Emerald Shire mayor Peter Maguire reacted angrily to the reports. "I think people that do that sort of stuff are the lowest form of scum," he said. "People are in dire straits and can't get to their property, and then people go out and, I don't know exactly what's happened, but people are taking advantage of those who are in those sort of situations. We'll tip them (the offenders) in the river, it's running fast enough to get rid of them."

The main road into Emerald, the Vince Lester Bridge, is set to remain closed until at least Sunday afternoon while engineers wait for the Nogoa River to fall low enough for them to inspect the underside of the roadway. The river, which peaked at 15.4m on Tuesday night, is falling at a frustratingly slow rate. It was still at 14.85m at 3pm (AEST) on Thursday. Australia Day celebrations have been cancelled in the town, with the venue still under four metres of water. However, Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) spokesman Andy Christie said the community spirit is strong, with those who escaped flood damage responding to the aid of those in need.
"A lot of the people I spoke to, when they found their own homes weren't affected, the first thing they did was jump in their car and actually drive around to see who they could help," Mr Christie said. Supplies are currently being transported to isolated areas around the region, particularly the Gemfields district, with refrigerated trucks delivering milk, eggs, bread and other essentials to stranded locals.

Farmers along the Nogoa have lost at least $80 million in damaged crops, infrastructure and livestock. Rural lobby group AgForce will request military assistance to help feed stranded cattle on farms in the flood-hit regions. President Peter Kenny said up to 90 per cent of stock was unaccounted for on many properties, and large numbers of stranded cattle would be impossible to salvage.
"There have already been reports of cattle being washed 40 kilometres downstream while unfortunately, larger numbers of younger calves have perished," Mr Kenny said.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd came to the assistance of those in disaster-declared areas on Thursday, allowing individuals to access grants of up to $10,000, and businesses up to $25,000, to clean up and restock, under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. The Queensland government also opened the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal with a $100,000 donation. The public can donate at any branch of the Commonwealth, Westpac, National Australia and ANZ banks.

Meanwhile, Australia Day celebrations have also been cancelled in Rockhampton, about 200km east of Emerald, as the city prepares to be hit by flood. The Fitzroy River - which bisects Rocky - is tipped to rise to over eight metres on Tuesday. A disaster management centre will be established in the city on Friday. Rockhampton's Australia Day fireworks and celebrations were due to be held on the banks of the Fitzroy. Gavin Steele, the executive officer of the area's disaster management group, said the expected peak of 8.2m would not cause significant damage to property.
"Part of our flood plain area will see some inundation there, probably between 10 to 20cm of water in most cases," Mr Steele said. "Most of the houses in that area are used to flooding, so their habitable areas are well above that mark."

©AAP 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I have Work!

Yes, the tide has finally turned in my favour. Slowly, but that's okay by me. A company who is new to the Care-giver market here interviewed me in late December, but didn't sign me up until mid January. They don't have any regular work for me in the area I want to work in (close to home), so I have started out 'on call', filling in for carers who are ill or on holidays.

Yesterday and today I spent three hours in a highlevel aged care facility 12 km from home (15 mins drive) which suited me well. I was assigned to be a companion to a lady for the three hours each day, spoon-feeding her morning tea and lunch, taking her for a stroll in the garden in her wheelchair, and just being there for her. As she has advanced dementia, of course she doesn't relate to me on a personal level, but it is enough to talk to her, hold her hand and give her a hug now and then. This is rewarded by a smile, and a look which indicates that she is aware of my presence and is happy about it.

The sad side of this work is seeing the other residents in the home. I've done this work before many times, but my eyes still fill with tears when I see old men sitting in a chair with glazed expressions, getting up and wandering around aimlessly, then sink to the floor and lie there, staring into space. As long as they haven't injured themselves, the staff leave them where they are, because if you disturb them they are likely to struggle and injure themselves and/or the carers. I wonder about these people - they possibly fought in WW2, saw and experienced things that our generation will never see. Even if they weren't in the Armed Forces, they are of the generation that helped to make our country what it is today. To see them on the scrap heap of life just breaks my heart. Whatever you are doing on Australia Day, spare a thought for those forgotten souls.

Australian homes too cluttered!!

I just found this on the MSN news site - it rang warning bells with me, and I'm sure it will with a few of the readers of this blog!!

Clutter filling Aussie homes: survey
Wednesday Jan 23 18:26 AEDT

Australian homes have on average three rooms cluttered with unneeded items, a situation that can cause anxiety, guilt or depression, a survey shows.
The Australia Institute report, Stuff Happens: Unused Things Cluttering up our Homes, reveals 88 per cent of homes have at least one cluttered room - most likely the spare room.
Report author Josh Fear said that people move house, add rooms to their homes and purchase storage containers to accommodate stuff they never use.
"One person interviewed said that at one stage she actually wanted her home to burn down in a bushfire - it was that cluttered," Mr Fear said in a statement.
"It's a little like the obesity problem. Most of us would prefer to have less clutter, just like most of us would like to be slimmer and fitter than we actually are."

The survey found four in ten Australians were psychologically affected by their clutter, becoming depressed and anxious, while others suffered guilt and embarrassment. Mr Fear said people should shop only for what they need and avoid impulse purchases.
"It also requires a healthy scepticism towards commercial messages trying to convince us to buy things that we don't really want or need," he said.
"If we follow these principles, perhaps we can reclaim our homes."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Where have I been?

Well, right here actually - not far away at all. I was surprised (and touched) to receive some emails and phone calls recently from friends who said they were getting worried because I hadn't been seen posting to my blogs lately! I guess I didn't think I had much to write about lately, nor did I think many people would be around to read them anyway, it being the holiday season in Australia. Although, I am surprised at the number of people in my orbit who haven't gone away for an extended holiday this summer; most have stayed at home like us! Let me see...what can I write about? I've put a few new items of linen on Patra's Place, and there is always plenty happening on the André Rieu blog. Haven't updated Aprons for a while, but there will be a new one there shortly, as I've just had a win on eBay which needs to be paid for before I receive it of course. My swap cards blog has been sadly neglected of recent months...but I'll get around to updating that some day.

I have been taken on board by a job agency, but so far they haven't offered me any work in the area I want to work. Not that I'm in a hurry; I've got used to not working now, and am relishing each day where I can choose what I want to do. Doesn't pay the bills I will have to accept work when it is offered to me. The day before he turned 65 (December 18), Ken told his boss that he didn't have to return to work the next day, as he could retire on a full pension if he wanted to. The boss asked what he was going to do, and Ken replied that he wanted to continue working for another year or so, but wanted some holiday time, as he hasn't had any since he started working there two years ago. So the boss said he could have the whole of March off. Hmmm....I can't see us going anywhere for a holiday. Ah well, I guess I've had mine these past three months, being able to relax and have me-time.

Ken's Zebra finches have been busy. He put 4 nesting baskets in the aviary less than a month ago, and three pairs have already laid eggs. He told me tonight that one lot have just hatched! It's going to be noisy up the back of our yard soon; those finches say "meeep meeeep meeeep!" all day long! The only time they go quiet is when Topsy escapes the house and goes into the yard to check her territory. She jumps from the fence to the roof of the aviaries, and sprawls across it, gazing down at the poor terrified birds, licking her chops!!! Ken and I shoo her off as soon as we discover her up there; it's a wonder none of the birds have died of heart failure.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A King's Birthday.

Elvis: January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977.
Elvis would have turned 73 years old today if he was still alive. Gone but never forgotten.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Our wedding anniversary.

On Sunday, Ken and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary. When it falls on a weekend, we usually go out somewhere nice for dinner, sometimes on our own, sometimes with friends. This year, we decided to go for a drive in the country, and end up having dinner at a country pub somewhere. But after speaking to LeeAnn and Rob, we decided to join them at the Kyneton RSL for dinner at 6.30 pm. What a fun night! We drove to their cottage first, then went to the RSL and enjoyed a delicious meal, after which we went back to their home and stayed until after 10 pm! LeeAnn wanted to show me a special table cloth, but ended up showing me most of her incredibly beautiful collection! How wonderful to find someone else who loves vintage linen as much as I do, and has an equally fantastic collection to drool over!

She gave me several goodies to bring home - card, champagne and chocolates for us both, and an apron and two other embroidered items for me! The apron can be seen here, but I haven't photographed the other two yet...give me time! In the meantime, here is a pic of Ken and I. LeeAnn had to take several until Ken was satisfied that he looked at least recognisable, if not handsome; I think he worries about what gets published on here - grin! I got a lovely shot of Rob and LeeAnn, but will be emailing it to them first, before putting it on here. They might not want that..

Gina and Ken, 6th January 2008

adopt your own virtual pet!