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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What have I done?

And why have I done it? I must have gone temporarily insane today.
I'm having a fit of the blues. I miss my work, and I miss my little wage. I was only working 8 hours a fortnight, but that brought in my 'pin money', which I now don't have. So why did I have the urge to splurge on my credit card today? About $160 on linens at the Eltham Antique Market, and another $70 on Paypal, for some cross stitch patterns I found tonight on a website. Oh I admit that under any circumstances I would have wanted the linens for my collection; they are absolutely gorgeous. I haven't seen anything as nice for ages, and I haven't even look at eBay for months, so as not to be tempted. The cross stitch patterns are designs that I've seen on other people's blogs, and have been looking for them myself, so again, I would have bought them eventually. But I should not be spending that kind of money at the moment.

Another reason I'm 'down' is probably because I've been reading the book "Black Saturday", and it is harrowing stuff. I've got quite depressed over it. Feel like I'm re-living those awful weeks in February all over again. What must it be like for those who lived through it?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Aussie kids get postcards from England.

Further to my previous post, I took my friend Lorna's box of fabric postcards to Strathewen Primary School this morning, and received a very warm welcome from the teachers and parents who were there helping out. It's all hands on deck at a time like this, when their world has been turned upside down. Jane, the principal, is a lovely lady, and had the kids all sitting on the floor ready to meet me. She had told them about our postcard project, and showed them where England is, on the classroom globe. Then she introduced me, and I told them about our internet craft group and how Lorna had asked her students to make the cards for Aussie kids. The little faces looking up at me (aged preps to year 6) were all interested and happy that these other kids across the world were concerned for them.

Then I put the box on the floor and let the kids choose a card each. The teachers said "Now just take the one on top, don't riffle through them!" but I said no, let them have a look through and choose what appeals to them. I gave Jane a printout of the school website and a photo of Lorna, and she is going to make a wall display of that with the cards, before the children take them home. She said after lunch when I left, she would get each child to hold up their card and read the message on the back.

The kids were simply happy with their cards, but the adults were very touched by the messages on the English students' postcards.
Some brought a smile (this boy seems to have misinterpreted the term "Down Under"!

And others caused eyes to mist over..

They all had a look through the box at most of them, and said what a wonderful thing we've done. The local paper journo was there with the photographer, and he took heaps of photos while she talked to me and some of the teachers. I asked if I could take some photos myself and Jane said of course. She got someone to take a photo with her and me with some of the kids, so Lorna can show it to her students. Even though parents had given their permission for their children to be photographed by the press, I don't think it would be a good idea to reproduce my photo of them on this blog, but I took photos of the sign outside the Wattle Glen School, stating that is where the Strathewen P.S. is temporarily located. Then there is a photo of the portable classroom where the 35 kids are having their classes at the moment.

Two more photos are of the school 'pets'. Our rural schools always have pets of some kind, usual native animals or insects. Strathewen School's pets were all burned along with the school, and you can imagine how upset the kids were about that, so one of the first things the teachers did was organise new pets - two stick insects (showing one here on a girl's hand) and two hens in a pen outside.

When I left the school I drove up to Kinglake and took a few photos to show how the trees are regenerating. Here is one taken mid-April about two months after the fires, where everything is still burnt. The other is what I took today, so you can see the difference - still blackened, but life is returning.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Think you've got problems?

We all have issues to deal with. I was searching for details of primary schools that were burnt down in the February bushfires, and I came across many terrible images. Video footage taken by a man from his house in St Andrews, while the fire raged around him. Video footage filmed by a remote-controlled camera in one of the worst hit areas. But this link will show you what's left in Marysville, "a little town lost". This is so sad. My problems pale into insignificance.

I have found the information I was searching for, and will be heading off on Monday to visit the pupils of Strathewen Primary School to distribute fabric postcards to some of the kids who have lost everything. Their school was destroyed, and they are now working in a portable class room behind the Wattle Glen primary school, which isn't very far from Eltham. The principal was delighted when I contacted her about the postcard project, and said the children would love these messages from kids on the other side of the world.

Productive chooks

Everybody-who-knows-more-than-us about chooks, have told us not to expect many eggs now, as they won't lay in the cold weather. Some friends who have many more hens than us, are only getting one or two eggs a day. Our six little hens are producing on average two or three a day, but today they threw in an extra!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lost my job.

I am pissed off, to put it politely. My supervisor called me this morning and asked if he could meet me somewhere for a coffee. I thought What??? but said okay and we agreed to meet outside the post office this afternoon at 3.30pm. At 3.15 he called to say he'd been delayed and wouldn't be able to make it, so had to tell me on the phone what he wanted to tell me in person.

I was prepared for the worst - either my client had suddenly died, or he was about to sack me. It was neither of those, but close. My client of two years has a family who have up to now been supportive and approving of my care of their aunt. One family member was responsible for her up until recently, when he became ill and had to hand over the responsibility to some female members of his family. They would barge in on their aunt unannounced, regardless of whether I was feeding her, showering her, or whatever, and demand her immediate attention for whatever it was they were there for.
I'm not backward in coming forward, as my husband puts it, so I didn't hesitate to put them in their place, i.e. tell them to leave the bathroom until I had finished washing my client, and PLEASE close the door to allow her some dignity. I tried to be polite at these times, but apparently I just wasn't nice enough.

My boss told me they had complained to him about my attitude, and said I treated their aunt like a child, so they wanted my service terminated forthwith, like right now. I told him that I wasn't surprised by this, as the staff of the accomodation facility had already told me they were very annoyed by the attitude of my client's family members lately, but like me, they had to 'button their lip'. The lady in question is in her 90's, not well, and very frail. The family insist on taking her out for hours on end, and she is exhausted for days afterwards. That is something else I warned them about, but they said to mind my own business. Well, not in those words, but I got the message.

Boss was apologetic, and I said not to worry, I know it is not his fault, the same as he knows that I'm in the right, but he has to do what his clients instruct him to do, and in this case - get rid of me. I phoned one of the other carers when I got home, and she was horrified. She said "M. will be devastated - she loves you!"
I'm thinking about visiting her in the next few days (when her family won't be around) and explaining to her that it isn't my wish to 'abandon' her. But I have to be careful. In my job, we are not encouraged - in fact we are not ALLOWED to visit clients after our role as their carer is terminated for any reason. I could get the sack if I caused a ruckus. But as I said to a friend tonight, I'm of an age where I really don't care if I upset people who have done something to upset me. If my client finds out her family have got rid of me, and she makes a fuss, they bloody well deserve it. But my boss would also cop recriminations,and that wouldn't be fair, so I will have to give it some thought.

In the meantime, I am now out of work, although my boss said he will see if he can find more work for me, but I don't hold out high hopes, as it is a small company, and they don't get much work in my area.

Sorry about the rant. So go find a more cheerful blog somewhere..

Monday, May 18, 2009

Love those animals while they hate you!

My husband loves animals and birds of all kinds, but sadly, his loving feelings are not always reciprocated. He was in the back yard with his chooks on Sunday, and suddenly appeared in the kitchen nursing his arm. I followed him into the bathroom to see what he'd done, and he showed me a 3" gash on his forearm. He'd been checking the bantam hens for lice and mites, picking them up and ruffling their feathers (excuse the pun). It seems that Matt (the rooster) took exception to Ken feeling up his hens, so he flew at Ken and clawed his arm. Ken said he wasn't upset by the attack; Matt was only doing his job, protecting his hens from what he saw as potential harm.

Pity Matt didn't think about that the week before when they were all out in the yard scratching around in the garden. Ken was cleaning the aviaries, and couldn't see the chooks from where he was. So when he heard a commotion, he rushed out to see what it was about, and found two hens being chased by one of the cats from next door. I heard him yelling at the cat, so I came outside, and saw Ken extricating one of the hens from behind a pile of bricks where she'd hidden herself. The other hen was nowhere to be seen. After a few minutes we spotted her in the yard next door. Fortunately nobody was home (we don't get on with those neighbours), so Ken climbed over the fence and tried to catch the hen. But she was having a good time and had no intention of being caught, so she flew into the yard at the back of our place. We get on with these people, so I phoned them, and the lady came out into her yard, and shooed our hen back over the fence, where Ken was waiting with a net.

While all that was going on, where was their lord and master? Matt was busy having a dustbath over the other side of the yard, and not at all concerned about his hens being turned into dinner for a hungry cat!

Ken's animal-love-turned-sour episodes continued tonight. He came into the kitchen and showed me a bleeding wound on his hand. He'd bent down to pat Topsy as he walked past the chair where she was curled up, and she bit him! "That's it" he said. "I'm over cats. All of them. Topsy has spoilt the fun of cats for me now".
It wasn't a good time for Sharon to phone and ask if we would like to take her naughty kitten Matilda in with us. Of course she was joking, but we understood where she was coming from.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh what a feeling!

I have just done something that I haven't done for years (get your mind above your belt, please). I washed my car! I bought this little sign from the Red Cross mail order catalogue, for a specific purpose.

To hang outside while we are using the garden hose when it is hooked up to our rainwater tank. Just in case people passing by are tempted to call the water police and dobb us in for washing the car, when it has been illegal for years to do so, using mains water. I have no problem with that; with our reservoirs down to under 30%, there is no way I would consider using mains water for anything other than drinking, cooking and domestic washing.
But seeing our rainwater tank is now full to Pussy's Bow, I decided to use some by watering the garden first, then cleaning my poor little car. Ah...that's better.

What a wonderful world we live in.

The world is full of creative people. I sat down here to write some letters over an hour ago. I should have turned my computer on but not gone online. It always happens - I get sidetracked. If you are curious about my waffle, pop over to my other blog here and see what I've found! You will also see what I've been doing that has left no time to post anything on this blog. Not that there is anything much to post that would interest a world wide audience!

But you're here, so I may as well start scribbling. Scribble. What an appropriate word for writing or typing nonsense. So, what has been happening here since my last post on the 4th of May? Well, we've been spending money...again. I refuse to thank our government for their handouts - we didn't spend $700 just because it was 'given' to us. We'll all have to pay it back again, for years to come. No, this expense was strictly necessary. My 12 year old Hoover washing machine has been so reliable all it's little life, and as it has got noisier in its old age, I just ignored it. We all get noisy in our old age. At one end or the other.

Moving right along - last Saturday I put a load of washing on, and while it was doing its thing, I went to the other end of the house to make the bed or something. Ken was outside, and I heard a lot of banging and rattling, as if he had put some rocks in the wheelie bin and was trundling it down the path. I headed toward the kitchen and laundry to see what he was doing, and realised it was the washing machine making all the noise. Mind you, it was still actually washing - swishing soapy water around the clothes, and rinsing, all to the correct cycle time. But I turned the power off, just in case it decided to blow up. I reset the function to the last spin and turned it back on. Mercifully it achieved the final rinse without too much drama, so I got that load on the line. But enough is enough. It had got to the stage where the windows rattled along with the washing machine, so Ken and I figured the old girl could be retired.

I dug out my Choice magazines and looked up the test results for washing machines. Front loader of course - for a number of reasons that I won't list here, but most people these days would know why. Anyway, I was happy with the front loader I've just had, so why change? After reading all the pros and cons of the thirty-plus machines they reviewed, I wrote down the brands and RRP of a couple that I liked, and headed off to Greensborough yesterday. I would have gone to Harvey Norman first, but I had to drop my printer cartridge off for a refill elsewhere, and Retravision was just down the road, so I went in there. There was no other customers in the shop just then, so I had the manager's attention, and he was very helpful. He looked at my list, checked the prices, and said he could match them. After looking at a couple of machines, I selected a Whirlpool, paid $700 on credit, and continued on my way.

As I was walking right past Harvey Norman, I thought I may as well have a look, and I was astonished to find the machine I'd just purchased, but at a price of over $1000!!! People go on about Miele, Fisher and Paykel, and all those other high priced brands. They might be good, even better than the Whirlpool or Hoover or other old brand names, but the old names are the ones I grew up with, and no, they are not made in Australia any more (don't get me started on THAT), but what the heck. The price is right, there is only the two of us living here, and I'm not rough on my appliances. $700 is enough to pay.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Weekend...

...was busy, and generally enjoyable. Saturday saw us both in the garden for much of the day as the weather was perfect for being outdoors. Ken cleaned the aviaries out (a kind of springclean in Autumn) and showed me the eggs he found: one Zebra finch egg and one Bantam hen egg.

On Sunday I worked in the morning, visited Sharon and her family just before lunch, to drop off some things to Sharon, and to collect my birthday present(s).

She gave me some beautiful craft paper, and this book on embroidery, which I had coveted after seeing her copy a few months ago.

Sharon also gave me this beautiful hand made card, and told me not to open it until I got home. Then I discovered why. She'd put a barrow load of gold 'fairy' dust in there, and as soon as the envelope was opened - POOF! - gold glitter all over everything. Wicked girl she is. Even Topsy has been touched by gold...Hope it won't make her sick if she licks it off. Perhaps golden pooh?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Cubby House for Cats?

If I put something large on our clothes horse, such as sheets or this mattress protector,

Topsy thinks I've put it there for her to play house. I'm sure she thinks we don't know where she is, and she always looks annoyed when I lift the fabric to look at her!

Warning: Don't read this while you are eating!

Ken sat down for tea last night and looked glumly at his plate. He does this a lot. As The Only Person Who Cooks in our household, I get a sinking feeling in my own stomach, wondering what I've done this time. But last night it wasn't my cooking, for a change. As a courier for a pathology service, he collects all kinds of stuff from the usual blood, urine, semen and other bodily fluids, to the occasional body part, or even animals (whole or bits).
Last night he said "I'm not real hungry tonight. I had to take a leg to one of the laboratories today. I didn't know what the parcel was, and I picked it up by one end, and realised immediately I was holding some toes". Ugh...all in a day's work.

I'm hoping I don't have a nightmare tonight (or rather, this morning, as it is getting late). But it is nothing to do with Ken's leg (I mean the other leg, not his own leg). I borrowed a book from a friend yesterday and started to read it after tea. It was one of those books that you can't put down because it gets you in. "Whispers In The Sand" by Barbara Erskine is about a woman who goes to Egypt for a holiday and ends up being 'possessed' by an ancient evil Egyptian spirit! That is a very short description of a very long and spooky story - great read!

adopt your own virtual pet!