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.)

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Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and Rhode Island bantam hens.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Have you heard of BookCrossing?

Just before Christmas I went for a walk along the Yarra River with my friend Val. We took photos and did some sketching, and I posted the story here. But I forgot to mention something very interesting that happened while we were strolling along. We found a bench in the shade and went over to sit down, and found a book lying on the seat. Both of us being booklovers, we had the same reaction of “Oh no!! Someone’s left their book behind!” But when Val picked it up, we noticed a printed sticker on the front. It read “I’m not lost, I’m on a journey” with some more writing under that. It turned out to be a book registered with BookCrossing, an organisation whose members deliberately leave books in public places, marked so that they can be identified as a ‘travelling book’. Every book has its own identification number, just as they do in a library. The idea is that you read it, then leave it in another public place for someone else to find and read. If you have access to the Internet, you can register with the website and look up the book you have read, post a comment about where and when you found it, and where you left it afterwards. Apparently there are several million books ‘travelling’ around the world – isn’t that fantastic?

The book we found was “Anne Of Avonlea”, which is the second book in the "Anne Of Green Gables” series. Much to my astonishment, Val hadn’t read it! She was a librarian in a university before she retired, but I guess they wouldn’t have children's classics there. Even so, Val is such a prolific reader, I really thought she would have read it. So I’ve told her I will lend "Anne Of Green Gables" to her and she MUST read it! I’ve passed on the BookCrossing copy of "Anne Of Avonlea" to a lady who lives in a country town. My friend Helen had her sister Shirley staying with her over Christmas, and I popped in to say hi. I was telling them about BookCrossing, and as they are also great readers, I asked Shirley if she’d like to take the book and leave it somewhere in her town when she goes home. She thought it was a great idea, and as she had read "Green Gables", she was keen to read the follow up book.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

All over for another year.

Thank goodness the Silly Season is nearly over - just New Year's Eve to get through, and life should start to get back to normal, whatever that may be in your corner of the world. While Ken is off work for the public holidays of Xmas Day and Boxing Day, plus the weekend, we have been working in the garden to get it ready for summer.

About a month ago, we had three dead trees taken down and mulched. This left an enormous pile of mulch in the front yard, which has taken weeks to move and spread around both front and back yards. It had to be done by shovelling the mulch into the wheelbarrow - back breaking work at any time - wheeling it up the path to the back yard, and up some steps to the rear of that yard. Tipped out of the barrow, and spread over the garden with a rake.

Today we tackled the front yard. Poor Ken could only shovel one load into the barrow before he was breathless, and had to sit down. So I did all the shovelling, while he did the less strenuous raking. Tonight we sat down to tea, both exhausted, but pleased that we have moved most of the mulch where we want it. My back will be paying a hefty penalty for doing this!!


This is all that's left of the pile of mulch, which before we started moving it, was nearly 2 metres high.
We put it here,
and here...
and there.
This is one of the beds in the back yard where the mulch has been spread. Ken is pulling weeks from the lawn, which suits us both. It doesn't take as much energy for him, but I can't do it for long because of the arthritis in my hands. He doesn't have any arthritis, lucky man. But I guess I'd rather have my health issues than his...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

So, how was YOUR Christmas?

Weather-wise, it was quite perfect here in Melbourne. At this time of year we could be in a heatwave, with the thought of traditional roast followed by plum pudding, simply unbearable. Or it could be the other extreme - cold, wet and windy. This year it was a mild to warm day with enough clouds to take the sting out of the sun. Cool enough to enjoy the hot roast dinner, but warm enough to also have a seafood salad. We had both! We had lunch at Ken's sister's home as usual, and we brought MIL from the hostel to have lunch with us. MIL seemed to enjoy herself most of the time, but had a few bad moments too, as you would expect from a nearly-97 year old person in poor health. But for the most part, a good time was had by all.

I had dropped hints to Ken that I wanted an electric knife or an electric can opener for Christmas, and bless his little heart - he bought both of them! MIL and SIL are very superstitious, and I had an awkward moment when they asked what Ken gave me. I said "An electric knife - but I ASKED for it!!" and they just said "Don't forget to give him a silver coin", so I handed him 50c when we got home. He just grinned. For those of you who are mystified by this little anecdote, it is supposed to unlucky to give someone a knife or scissors for a gift - "It severs the friendship", says MIL. But if you pay the giver a silver coin, it negates the bad luck somehow...

Moving right along, my other pressies included a board game version of Sudoku (I'm addicted to this), chocolates, nuts, biscuits, an LED flashlight, a cupcakes apron, cat fridge magnet, an Elvis oven mitt, some doilies, a beautiful owl brooch, handcream, ceramic Xmas dishes, bling and beads for embellishing my stitching, a silver keyring and a Gorillapod. Gorillapod??? Leave a comment if you are curious! Val has one of these nifty little things and I always commented on it, so she bought me one for Christmas! Spoilt again by dear friends and family!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

*****Happy Christmas*****


To all my cyberspace friends - best wishes for a merry Christmas, and a safe and peaceful New Year.
Gina

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dinner at the Sky High Restaurant.

Thirty one years ago, Ken and I got engaged at the Sky High Restaurant on Mt. Dandenong, but apart from an occasional drive up there to show overseas visitors the magnificent view of Melbourne, we'd never been back to the restaurant. When I asked Ken a few weeks ago what he wanted for his birthday, he said he'd like to go to the Sky High again, so I made a booking the same day. I booked a table for four, as some old friends said they'd like to join us there. We had a lovely night; we hadn't seen these friends for over a year, even though we talk and email each other often, so it was great to catch up. Of course I took my camera, and took about 20 photos, most of which I won't be posting here!
The Dandenong Ranges National Park on the outskirts of Melbourne is one of our top tourist attractions. See the television towers at the top of the hill on the right? That's where the restaurant is. It's about 45 minutes drive from our place.

The restaurant is in two sections: the top floor is a private function centre, and the ground floor is the public bistro. Our table was right at the window you can see under the balcony on the left.

Our friends messing around with their camera at our table. You can just see a bit of the view from the window behind them.

Unfortunately it was too cloudy to get a clear photo of the view, but if you click on the link to the website, you will see much better photos than this. The cloud cleared during the evening, but my little digital camera isn't good enough to take night time photos. But we arrived early enough to get some snaps of the beautiful gardens around the restaurant.



Leigh Conkie lives and works in Main Road Eltham, and his front yard is always full of fantastic finished and unfinished carvings.

Ken and I have occasionally thought about going in and asking how much a particular carving is, when we've seen something that really appealed to us, but I think I can safely say that we wouldn't be able to afford anything!


As soon as I saw this stone carved peacock, I had to get a photo, so I roped Ken in to pose with it!
Me sitting in the "Wishing Tree", another popular spot in the gardens for photo opportunities, especially children! There were five kids swarming up and down the branches before I got to sit there.

Another birthday for the Old Feller.

Ken turned 67 last Friday. His sister brought their Mum over to our house for tea. I usually buy Ken a crayfish for his birthday tea, but they were about $40 each, and we were going out for dinner with friends on Saturday night, so I couldn't justify the extra expense for a few mouthfuls of cray! One of Ken's favourite meals is chicken and chips from Sammy's Charcoal Chicken shop in Eltham, so I decided that would do him for tea. I bought a mud cake for dessert, put a few candles and a Happy Birthday sign on it, and that was his birthday tea - how easy is that! MIL likes chips too, and she enjoyed being with us for a simple meal away from the hostel.
Before SIL left, I got a few photos of the four of us in various groupings with MIL. This one is a nice shot of Ken and his Mum, but I seem to have shrugged at the wrong moment!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Walkabout with Val.

Valerie and I haven't been walking for months. It has been too hot, too cold or too wet, but last Wednesday, it was a perfectly beautiful day so we each packed a picnic lunch and set off for the Fairfield Park Boat House on the Yarra River. Most people living in Melbourne would have heard of this spot, even if they haven't been there. This is Merri Creek, which runs into the Yarra near the Boat House.


From a vantage lookout point, you get a nice view of the Melbourne CBD skyline.


We parked the car in the carpark and set off to walk to Dights Falls. (Click on the link to find out about Dights Falls).
Val, standing on the Yarra river bank. We had our lunch just up from here, under the shade of the tree you can see further up the path.

We had some company for a few minutes!



Dights Falls. Not exactly Niagara, but it's our own little water fall!

This sign gives information about the original inhabitants of the area.

After we'd had our lunch, we strolled back to the Fairfield Park Boat House and sat on the balcony enjoying a cold drink while watching people rowing boats along the river. This cafe has quite a history, so if you have a moment to spare, do click on the link and read about it.


Val set her camera up with the timer delay thing, and we had to squeeze up close to get us both in the photo. Trust me - no other reason -LOL!


We like to sketch when we go out for a walk, and when we were sitting in the cafe, we decided to draw people who were sitting nearby. I'm sure this guy was getting suspicious of me while I was doing this sketch. I was trying not to make it obvious what I was doing, by looking at Val who was sitting opposite me!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Generous visitors!

Our friends from 'up the bush' came over for lunch last Sunday. We hadn't seen Rob and LeeAnn for about 18 months, due to both Ken and Rob suffering health issues during that time, pressure of work and other commitments. So it was great to catch up. It was a perfect day - sunny but not too hot, so I made a quiche and a potato salad, and we sat out on the patio to eat, drink and chat.
Ken took this photo of Rob and LeeAnn with me.

I'd made a fruitcake to have with our cuppa, and LeeAnn brought a plate of her delicious cupcakes - too pretty to eat! We'd eaten half of them before I remembered to take a photo:

Not only did she bring cakes, she also brought a HUGE parcel of goodies for me!


Working in an opshop, she comes across lots of linens and other pretty things that she puts aside for me if they don't sell after a month on the shelves (they are thrown out unless she grabs them first!). So after 18 months, she had accumulated a lot of lovely stuff. I felt my bag of goodies for her was totally inadequate, but LeeAnn doesn't think like that; she is such a kind and generous soul - not only to me, but to many other fortunate people in her life. Thanks again, dear lady - it was great to see you both, and let's hope we don't have to wait for another year to go by before we catch up again!

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