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, March 31, 2008

Darwin here we come.

Half of our friends tell us "it's going to be bloody hot up there at this time of the year - you'll hate it". The other half say "You'll love it!" Well, I'm an optimist, so I'm crossing my fingers that the heat won't be totally unbearable. I HATE extreme heat and humidity, but we are only there for five days, and Melbourne is having a cold wet spell at the moment, so I'll probably be glad to get warm again for a few days.

A friend expressed concern that I had posted the dates of our absence on my blog. "You've just announced to the world that your house will be unoccupied for a week! That's asking for trouble!" Have another look at my previous post, my friends. Where did I say our house will be empty? It won't! We have a very reliable house sitter, who will be arriving before we depart, to live in and look after our pets, and stay until we return early on Thursday morning. She came over on the weekend to find out what was expected of her. I showed her the dog and cat food and explained who has what and when. Ken showed her the aviaries and explained which birds need what seed, and how often.

Then Ken showed her the home theatre system, 8 remote controls, and how to work everything. She looked doubtful, so when Ken turned his back I showed her how to turn the t.v. on and off using one remote control. She asked where the spare bed was, and I said "We don't have one. We sold that last year. You'll be sleeping in our bed". She put a shocked expression on her face and said "You mean I'll be sleeping in the nuptial bed???" We had to laugh - our friend is single and senior, and has a great sense of humour!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Top End of Australia.

I don't quite know why I haven't posted this before now. We booked this holiday weeks ago, but I think as it gets closer, it feels real, whereas earlier, it was all a kind of dream. Probably because it happened so fast. Our friends M and L told us in January they had booked themselves on a trip to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. M. is very canny when it comes to looking for cheap airfares, and he found a return flight for $20 each way Melbourne-Darwin. A few weeks later, he rung us to say the same airline still had tickets available for the same flight, but for $10 each way - did we want to go with them? Well, considering that the standard return airfare Melbourne to Darwin is more like $800, we would have been stupid to say no!

Ken has been to Darwin twice, over 30 years ago (before we met), and he has been saying for years "I want to take you to the Top End - it's such a great place to see". The only thing stopping us was the cost. So when this opportunity presented itself, we grabbed it. We are flying up with M and L on Friday 4th April and returning on Thursday 10th. M. has sourced great deals on accomodation and car hire, so we are going to have a great few days for minimum cost. We hope to visit Kakadu National Park, or Katherine Gorge, but probably not both of them, as they are several hundred kilometres in different directions from Darwin, so either place means a whole day trip. I looked up opshops on the Internet and have a list of seven in and around Darwin, so if the guys want to do their own thing one day, L and I will be delighted to go op-shopping!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Week Two - Tea Blog-a-thon.

March 23 - March 29

Share tea from the perspective of literature. Post a tea quote, a verse or poem, or story. Tell about a favorite tea book. This would be a good time to share how you use tea to encourage others. Do you minister to others by sending them tea themed cards to friends and shut-ins? Or another way you use 'tea' to share joy with others? I know some of you do --- so tell your story!

I have a number of lovely books on afternoon teas, some of which have already been mentioned by others on this thread, so I have selected two of my favourites to show here: "Taking Tea With Alice". This photo was taken from the website, as I have given my copy to a friend!

This is another gorgeous book "Victorian Entertaining" Here is the cover and two of the pages inside:

Finally, to finish off this post, here is a poem a friend wrote to me inside a card:
When the world is all at odds, and the mind is all at sea,
Then cease the useless tedium and brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its fragrance, there is solace in its taste;
Laden moments vanish somehow into space.
The world becomes a lovely thing! There's beauty as you'll see,
All because you briefly stopped to brew a cup of tea.

The Cats In Our Yard.

This is Mocha. He is the New Small Person next door, brought into their household to keep Latte company. Latte is creme coffee coloured, Mocha is...well, you can see for yourself. We are thinking of renaming Topsy "Short Black".

Speaking of Topsy, I took this photo when she came inside after spending the afternoon in the back yard. She'd obviously been behind the aviaries, which are close to the back fence. The small space between aviary and fence harbours weeds and giant spider webs, so we leave it alone as it is too small an area for us to squeeze into and clean out (well, that's our excuse). But it is a great play area for Topsy and her pussycat friends, and we often see them emerging covered with grass seeds and spider webs like this!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Visitors bearing gifts!

On Good Friday, LeeAnn and her hubby Rob visited us for Dinner and DVDs (Standard fare at the Wilson's). Being Good Friday, I thought I'd better do the right thing and have fish and chips. About 6 pm Ken asked "Hadn't you better go to the shop and get the fish and chips?" HALLOO!!!! Who said anything about BUYING greasy fried fish and chips from a shop?? No way. I'd bought FRESH fish the day before from a very reliable source at our local shopping centre: Barramundi, Flake and Rainbow Trout. I'll admit I had frozen chips on hand, but let's face it - who cuts up potatoes and makes their own chips from scratch these days? I made up a lettuce and tomato tossed salad beforehand, and had two cookbooks open at pages with delicious fish recipes.

When our friends arrived, I asked LeeAnn how she liked fish cooked. She looked at the recipes and said she liked to cook fish simply - wrapped in foil with a bit of butter and seasoning, and baked in the oven. I agreed with her that fish has such a subtle flavour, excess spices and flavours disguise the real fish taste. So that's what we had, and Rob said it was one of the best meals of fish he'd ever tasted. My husband said nothing. He doesn't like to eat fish unless he's caught it himself...

LeeAnn does a lot of cooking for Lodge and other functions in their local community, and one of her specialities is beautifully decorated Cup Cakes. She'd had photos of them on her blog a while ago, and I asked her to bring some next time they came here. So she did - and these were our dessert:

And here is me, cup of tea in one hand, pigging out on my fourth cake!

LeeAnn also brought three doilies for my collection. (They can be seen here) These dear people never come empty-handed. Cakes, doilies and Rob brought a couple of bottles of beer to share with Ken. What did they go home with? Well for starters, probably partial deafness! We played a bit of Andre Rieu, all of Ratatouille, all of Rock Around the Clock, and bits of the BeeGees, Jerry Lee Lewis, and some of Ken's best LOUD movie scenes, during which LeeAnn and I escaped to the other end of the house!
We gave them a copy of the Andre Rieu DVD, as I had a spare copy. They should have gone home with two Easter eggs, but I forgot about them - waaaaaahhhh! They were sitting in a basket on the drinks cabinet, and I didn't see them until an hour after LeeAnn and Rob had gone! Don't you HATE yourself when you do dumb stuff like that?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter to my Blogland Friends.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My favourite tea cup and saucer set.

I've found a new blog! Well, goody for you, readers are saying...okay, I've discovered some blogs that I haven't seen before, which will be added to my Favourites. This Blogger is one of the many who love teaparties and all the associated paraphernalia. She has put out a challenge to her readers to write about a different topic each week, and when we have done ours, to let her know so she can link us all up on her blog and we can go visit each other to look at everyone else's teacups etc. This kind of visiting has been done before by many, but I liked this theme in particular, so I'm in.

The first topic we are invited to write about is a favourite teacup. This is easy for me. I have a very special tea cup, saucer and plate set that was handpainted for me by Helen many years ago - I can't remember if it was for a birthday or Christmas, but I was delighted to have such a personal gift from a dear friend! Helen has since suffered a stroke, and while she has made a great recovery, she won't be doing any more China painting - although more by choice than not having a say in things!
Here is my tea set:

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I am not Irish. I have not a drop of Irish blood in my least I don't think so. But I'll be wearing green clothing today as I always do on 17th March!

Monday, March 10, 2008

More about other people's blogs.

Do you ever wonder how some people who write absolute drivel, get their books published? And what's more, other people actually buy, and READ them? Another reason I read more blogs than books these days is because the blogs are vastly more entertaining! Take Pete for instance. I have two of his blogs (Crooked Paw's Retreat and The Butcher Shop) on my sidebar and visit them two or three times in a month. Why not more often? I don't need to, because he doesn't post stuff every day. He only publishes his writing when he has something worthwhile, and I always find it worthwhile! Ken got quite annoyed tonight when he was trying to do something on his laptop, and couldn't concentrate because I was giggling so much!

Some of the big-name music acts of the 60's and 70's are re-releasing their biggest hits, but they have slightly altered them, properly reflecting the passing of the years. Here are some of them. Go to Crooked Paw's Retreat to read the rest of this, and be prepared to chuckle all the way!

Gone fishing? No - just busy!

I was startled to see that my last post here is dated February - and now we are almost half way through March! What have I been doing that is so important, that I have neglected this blog? Well, nothing really. I've been posting plenty of stuff to Patra's Place and some of my other blogs, but haven't had much to write about here. I've caught up with reading most of my favourite blogs by Other People, and like Isabelle, sometimes wonder what it is about mine that brings people back to read it after their first visit. I'm not asking for feedback here - just thinking out loud! (Typing out loud? You know what I mean..) I can only suppose that people read mine because they find me interesting as a person - that is the reason I read the blogs of other people who, in the normal course of my life I would never have got to know. But I'm glad I have got to know you!

This weekend just gone was a holiday weekend in Victoria - Labour Day, the origin of which has been long forgotten by most people (if ever they knew it), but happily anticipated by most of us, as the weather is still nice enough to warrant going out for a day, or going further afield for the whole weekend. We hadn't planned anything at all, other than to relax and catch up on various household tasks. It didn't turn out like that, much to our surprise! Sharon and Pete brought Sharon's Dad over to meet us on Saturday, and we thoroughly enjoyed their company for a couple of hours.

After they left, we had intended to fill some prescriptions for Ken's medication, but got sidetracked when Ken decided he wanted to purchase the "Ratatouille" Disney animated movie that scored an Oscar or two this year. So off we went to JB HiFi, where we spent much more than we could afford, on "Ratatouille", "Surf's Up", and a couple of CDs including André Rieu and Ricky Nelson (now there's a blast from the past!). I knew Helen was keen to see "Ratatouille" so I called to see if she and Ray would like to come around after tea and watch it. My casual invitation was happily accepted, so Saturday night was spent with our good friends, enjoying this hilarious movie.

Sunday threatened to be a scorcher, so we decided to head off on the Suzuki to cool off. Ken phoned some friends who live about an hour's drive from us, and they said "YES! Please come over, we'd love to see you!" C. is one of my longest standing friends - we met through being Elvis fans while still at school. Her hubby F. is great mates with Ken, so while they watched some movie clips in F's home theatre room, C. and I sat in the cool of the kitchen and talked about Elvis and other mutual interests.

We got home about 6 pm, to find the girls next door nearly in tears because their 3 month old Burmese kitten had climbed one of the tallest gum trees on the block next door, and wasn't able to get back down! Ken and I tried to reassure them that this is all part of the kitten/cat survival skills learning cycle, and that Mocca (her big brother is Latte) would eventually find her way down. But, she didn't. Her owners had the SES out with their ladders but the tree was too tall even for them, so they left. Ken went out with a torch just before midnight and came inside to report that Mocca was not on her own. There was a Powerful Owl watching her from another tree. This was not a good sign. These Owls are among the biggest of their species here, and are known to eat possums, so a kitten would be just another meal, albeit a rather furry one (in this case as Ken pointed out, a rather expensive furry meal). There was nothing anyone could do by then, so everyone went back indoors and crossed their fingers that little Mocca would survive. It appears that she did. We haven't seen our neighbours to speak to, but they have visitors today, and there was lots of laughter and happy noise coming from their house, so I'm assuming Mocca is safe and indoors tonight!

Today - Monday, was even hotter than Sunday. I had one job this morning but was home by midday, and stayed inside for the rest of the day in air conditioned coolness. We spent much of the afternoon listening to music - André, Elvis, Chet Atkins, and various others, while Ken fiddled with his sound system. What is it about blokes and their hi-fi/music set ups? When it is set up and working nicely, why do they have to keep on messing around with it? Oh well, it keeps him out of mischief I suppose...Hope your week is going to be a good one.

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