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 29, 2008

We have a new erection!

All right, all you naughty people out there - settle down! I meant in the back yard, not in the bed.
As mentioned in my last post, we'd bought a gazebo in kit form and Ken needed help erecting it. He hates it when I take matters into my own hands and ask someone to help him. We women all know that men hate to ask for help, but sometimes the wife (or other female partner) is just not strong enough/tall enough/good enough to help build things, so she finds help elsewhere.

In our case, it was Sharon and Pete who came to my rescue. Pete was sensible and read the instructions first (Ken NEVER does that), and he moved things right along with the help of Sharon who is a tad taller than me. Ken was busy at the BBQ but getting hot under the collar because the Gazebo was growing before his eyes, so I relieved him of the cooking duties, and let him go and direct the traffic. Here they are sitting under our new gazebo, and what a perfect day it was for just sitting and chatting over drinks and nibbles.

There are a few odd bits and pieces lying around in the photo (step ladder, cushions, packing materials, etc) that won't be there once we've cleaned up the patio, but we're happy to have it done. It can be moved to other parts of the yard without too much trouble, so there might be more photos from time to time, of our gazebo in a different spot.

Ken's next job? Installing his Christmas present to me in a spot where I can use it. But that is nowhere near as big as the gazebo, and all he has to do is put some nuts and bolts into a beam and hang my present from it.
His Mum is still in hospital and her condition is stable, although she still gets confused about mundane things such as what day it is, and who has visited her that day. This coming week should provide some answers for the family on her condition.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

I came home nice and relaxed from my walk with Val in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Ken came home exhausted after battling with the traffic all day. We were anticipating a quiet night wrapping gifts and watching carols on t.v.
At 7 pm the phone rang. Ken's sister called to tell us she was driving to their Mum's home to collect her and take her to hospital. We hopped in the car and took off to follow them. We arrived at the hospital about 8 pm and left about 2 am, after MIL was finally admitted. She was breathless, weak and confused, and blood tests revealed that she had an infection as well as an allergic reaction to some new medication. When we got home, I made up some sandwiches for us (we hadn't had tea), fed the cat (she hadn't had tea either), washed my hair (wouldn't have time in the morning) and hit the sack at 3 am.

The alarm went off at 8 am and I got dressed, fed myself and the cat, wished Ken a happy Christmas, and went to work. I was home by midday, found Ken still in bed, so I made us some brunch while he wrapped his gift for me, which took about half an hour as it was in several bits that would have to be assembled (eventually. Maybe next year). We opened our presents after we'd eaten, and about 3pm left to drive to his family Christmas gathering. SIL had decided that the family should all go to her stepson's new house this year for Christmas Day, so Ken and I dutifully drove the 64 kl. there and joined the rest of the family who were all there except SIL and BIL, who had decided at the last minute it was all too much and they stayed home on their own instead. (Ken and I would LOVE to do that. Just once.) We left the Country Retreat at 5.30 and drove back into Melbourne to visit MIL, who was marginally better than she was 24 hours ago, and delighted to see us. We arrived home about 10 pm, having driven over 300 kls. for the whole day.

Today, Boxing Day - was going to be a quiet day. I worked this morning, and again came home to find Ken still in bed, which pleased me, as he was tired out after yesterday, and I was quite concerned for his own health, let alone his Mum's! It was HOT here in Melbourne, so we spent the afternoon inside watching a DVD, then checking the aviaries to see if all the birds had enough food and water.
I was lucky enough to get a pic of most of the budgies all in a row. There are a few others in another aviary.

You might remember the baby budgies I had on here a little while ago? Here they are all grown up. If you look closely you might see the two yellow birds and the white one have red eyes. This is not the camera flash - Lutinos and Albinos have naturally red eyes instead of black like the blue and green birds here.
We've lost count of the number of finches we have - this is only one aviary; the one next to it is also full of finches!

They really are sweet little birds. Notice the ones on the left with black beaks? They are babies; the beaks don't turn red until maturity.


We had an early tea, and went in to visit MIL who again was very happy to see us.
We spoke to one of the medical staff who informed us that MIL had to be assessed by various professionals before she was discharged, and would go into respite care until we find permanent accomodation for her in an aged care facility. This is not definite as yet - but the nurse warned us that in the Doctor's opinion, MIL is no longer capable of looking after herself alone in her home. She's done very for nearly 96 years, so whatever happens from now on, we'll be trying to make her last days/weeks/months as comfortable as we can.

I could ramble on and tell you what gifts I received but as much as I'm delighted with all my gifts this year, it has never felt less like Christmas to us, so I'll leave that for the time being. To wrap this up, this is a photo of Ken's weekend project - a 'build-it-yourself' gazebo. We bought the kit last weekend and this is as far as he got. Looks like a giant spider sitting on the patio. We've invited Some Very Good Friends over for a BBQ on Sunday and I'm hoping that the Male Good Friend might be persuaded to assist in putting the cover over the frame!

My afternoon walk on Christmas Eve.

I spent the afternoon with Val on Christmas Eve. We went for a walk alongside the Eastern Freeway. Sounds crazy doesn't it? But hidden behind the sound barriers are beautiful parkland, wetlands and walking tracks. It was a lovely peaceful afternoon with no hint of what was to happen later on.

Val walking along the track.

Gardiner's Creek. The freeway is on the other side of the wall/sound barrier.

Unusual rock formation along the creek bed.


We climbed these steps to reach the footbridge which crosses the freeway.
Me in the centre of the bridge.
Looking down on the wetlands from the overpass.

Looking toward the city (but you can't see the skyline from here)
Looking in the other direction toward Ringwood
We found some nice spots to stop for a drink, and enjoy the peace and sunshine.

...before walking back into suburbia.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas envelope

Yesterday I received the latest issue of Post Script from the Calligraphy Society of Vic. The envelopes are always spectacularly written, I thought this was well worth scanning for readers of my blog to see!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One small part of our back yard.

There is a rock retaining wall just outside our back door, which has a glorious purple flowered plant cascading down one end. It looks so pretty on a sunny day, that I decided to photograph it for the blog.

This is a close up of the flower:

Topsy likes to lie in it, thinking she can't be seen. Sorry Puss, I gotcha this time!

I told someone recently my tomato plant was doing well. "Tomato plant?" she echoed. "Just one??" Well, yes. There are only two of us in this house, and one healthy plant will provide us with enough tomatoes for the summer. The other pots contain sage, rosemary, parsley, chives, oregano, and mint (out of the picture).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gladiators return to Colosseum after 2,000 years!

If somebody told you that, would you believe them? Ken told me yesterday he heard it on the radio news in the morning while I was at work. I didn't say anything, but thought to myself, he was probably dreaming. He has a large collection of all those Biblical/gladiator movies and must have been watching one recently. Well, guess what? He wasn't dreaming. Go here and see for yourself!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our friends have a new Kitty!

Sharon and her family have a new Little Person in their household. I believe they have almost come to blows when arguing about who is entitled to the most cuddles!

This year has gone so fast!!

I was just looking at my last few posts, and hardly recognise those baby budgies. They are now fully grown and living with the other adult budgies all in one aviary. I should get a new photo of them all, they are so pretty, but they fly around madly when we walk into the enclosure, and it's impossible to get a good photo.

Ken celebrated his 66th birthday on Thursday. We went to one of our favourite Chinese restaurants for dinner, and I'd secretly invited another couple to join us. When we arrived, I asked for the table I'd booked earlier, and the waiter said "For four?" I mumbled something and Ken said "No, it's only two" and I said "Shut up".
A minute later our friends walked in. Ken realised what was going on, and laughed! We had a 'banquet', which is about 8 courses of different foods, but just small servings of each. It was absolutely delicious, and I was stuffed by the time we'd finished. I'd had to unzip my pants to make room for my bulging tummy (lucky I had a long over-blouse) and when I stood up to take a photo, my pants started to slide down and I nearly dropped the camera in my haste to grab my dacks!!!! I didn't dare look around to see if anyone else saw me, but I didn't hear anyone laughing (or choking on their food), so I think I acted quickly enough.

Funny how people always ask "Are you going away for the holidays?". Ken and I never have time off work over the Christmas/New Year period. He has to apply well in advance for his annual leave and would be unlikely to get that time off because so many others in the company want it off too, and the company doesn't close down over January. As I am employed on a casual basis, I tend to take up the slack where others go on leave. My two clients have other carers as well as me, and they are both having time off in January, so I'm covering their shifts as well as my own. So I'll be working six mornings a week for most of January. The best thing about working at this time of the year is the traffic on the roads. Should I say the lack of traffic on the roads - with no schools open, and so many companies closed for the month, it is actually pleasant to be driving around all day!

A cute 'award' from Merle.

Merle has given me a cute award. I don't put these on my sidebar, but I do appreciate other bloggers thinking enough of me to do this. Thank you, Merle!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Christmas to everyone reading my blog.

(This is one of many E-cards available from Dover Publications)


We did, but some neighbours in the next street didn't fare so well. Ken was riding back home after filling his bike tank with petrol, and came to a sudden halt when confronted with this:

A giant gum tree had fallen across the driveway of the house, crushing the car parked outside, and ripped the powerlines right out of the house itself. The owner told us he was supposed to be trading in the car on a new one next week, but was philosophical about this, saying he'd get more from the insurance anyway!!

Our weekend was more peaceful, thank goodness! Heavy rain all day Saturday kept us indoors except for a brief foray into the shopping centre, where we bought the DVD of Andre Rieu in Australia,
and a CD of Christmas songs, Aussie style.
The radio stations have been playing them all this week, and Ken decided he had to have a copy of the CD - great for a laugh!

On Sunday, the weather cleared up just in time for us to have a BBQ lunch with friends who hadn't visited us for ages. Ken hadn't fired up the BBQ for over a year, so we were a bit concerned about what it would be like, but it worked just fine and he didn't burn anything - LOL! After the BBQ meat and salad lunch, we sat outside all afternoon nibbling on cheese and strawberries, and drinking wine (the girls) and beer (the guys). The garden had dried out enough to show them the chooks and budgies in their respective aviaries, and proudly collect 2 fresh eggs while we were up there! Nice way to spend a lazy Sunday.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Val gives me a lesson in book binding.

Most of us are passionate about something in our lives - maybe families, hobbies, jobs, etc. Val's passion is making books - small notebooks using handmade or other pretty paper. We attended a class together a couple of months ago, and came away from there with enough stuff to make another book. I never got around to doing it on my own, so Val offered to show me another way of book binding. Here is the result. Difficult to see the details, but I'm very happy with my little book, and plan to use it for writing calligraphic letters and symbols.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bloggers Christmas Lunch.

Monday turned out to be a perfectly lovely Melbourne summer's day - sunny and warm, but with a faint breeze so it wasn't too hot. When my guests arrived I asked them if they would like to dine inside or out on the patio, and everyone voted to go outside. So here we are:

From left: Helen, LeeAnn, Brigid, Val and Gina.

From left: Connie, Helen, LeeAnn and Brigid.

Everyone brought a plate of food, and LeeAnn excelled herself with this enormous cupcake surrounded by normal size cupcakes - our dessert - YUM!!!!

Then we exchanged pressies: Connie gave us chocolates and some little Christmas ornies. Brigid gave everyone a tiny knitted Christmas stocking and hand sewn coin purse. Val made us each one of her exquisite hand made note books, and LeeAnn gave me so many gifts I had to take separate photos! The following photo is of a gorgeous ornament that LeeAnn found for me. Her other gifts are on my other blog because they contain embroidery.

Brigid also gave me a bag of goodies unrelated to Christmas giving - this stack of books on Calligraphy, and some vintage Chinese papers! Brigid has put her own write up and photos of our get-to-gether here.
My bloggy friends are so generous - thank you all very much!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

This and that...

Before people start emailing me to ask if I'm still alive - yes, I am (and so is Ken). I just haven't had much time to spend on the computer in the last week or so, except for paying bills online and checking emails. I've been flat out finishing a cross stitch picture for a friend's 50th birthday (it's on my other blog if you want to see it), and this week I've been doing my Christmas cards. I like to get them out on or soon after December 1st. I'm in the middle of stitching a couple for some special friends too, so that takes time.

I've been having friends here now that summer has started - Helen and another friend came over last week for lunch and we sat in the kitchen all afternoon and gossipped!
Next week five of my blogger mates are coming here for lunch. We were going to go out to eat, but I suggested it would be more relaxing, quieter (not having to compete with other groups of celebrating women), and cheaper (we all supply one plate of food) to have it here, and they all agreed. Miss Eagle rescued this wooden clothes horse from a kerbside waste collection, repainted it white and pink, and gave it to me, to use for displaying my linens. So I have it in the kitchen and change the cloth and doilies over each week.

Our chooks are all well, and are laying eggs again - two a day, which is nice. The chickens are growing fast, and the baby budgies are all out of their nest and flying around the aviary like little mad things. It amazes me how fast they learn to fly - almost instantly! Not like humans learning to walk!! Bob asked me if we sell them. Not unless somebody asks if they can buy one. We don't deliberately breed them to sell, but if a friend wants one for a pet, we are happy to sell them one. They all go in one aviary together once they're out of the nest and able to feed themselves. Budgies live in big flocks in the wild, so they all get on well in the aviary where they can fly around without bumping into each other.

Here are some photos of the hens that I took a week ago. Two of these are sisters, and the one with the bit of brown on her chest is a Belgian D'uccles hen, which we bought from a breeder.

The Little Red Hens as I call them, are my favourites. Here is one of the pair that reared the two chicks, seen here behind her.

This black hen was the replacement for the rooster we had to get rid of. He was black, so the breeder gave us a black hen instead.

Finally, nothing to do with chooks, but I was pleased with this little display of red flowers on our patio a few weeks ago: a red geranium, red gerbera, and the gorgeous red cactus, the name of which I can never remember, but I know Jeanette will tell me!

adopt your own virtual pet!