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, January 30, 2010

Weekly menu and op shopping.

For years, I have planned a menu for each week. I do the bulk of my shopping on Wednesday night (just ask if you are wondering why Wednesdays). After tea on Wednesday nights, I check the weather channel, and make a note of what the temperatures will be for the coming week. Then I sit down with my current favourite recipe book or magazine, choose what I want to cook for the week, and write a list. I've been using scraps of paper, but this year I decided to be a bit more tidy, and created this little sheet. I fill in the forecast temperature (so I know whether to plan hot or cold meals). The name of the recipe comes next, and the 'source' is the book or magazine, and relevant page number.
Then I make out my weekly shopping list with the ingredients I'll need, and voila! Don't have to think about THAT for another week.

Now that I've bored you silly with that, you might like to see what I bought at Savers in Greensborough yesterday. But you'll have to go over to the Op Shop blog here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Do you like cats? If so, you must see this!

Isabelle in Scotland has two utterly adorable black cats. We have one, not quite so adorable, but just as cute as any black cat can be.
Isabelle has written a tribute to her furbabies, and it is really beautiful! I left a comment saying that she has encapsulated just what it means to be a Cat Lover - and if you are, you'll agree! Click this link to go straight to her blog post.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day - 26th January.

(This image and many others, can be found on this website)

This is one of my favourite days of the year. Ken and I invite about ten of our friends over to our place every year on this day, to celebrate being Aussies, and living in what we all agree is the best place in the world to live! I told Ken the other day if I had my way, I'd invite about 50 people over, but he gets stressed if we have more than a dozen, because he thinks we can't accomodate a lot of people, i.e. not enough chairs, too crowded if we have to go inside because of the weather, etc., so I curb my enthusiasm, and we enjoy the company of our usual crew - eating, drinking, talking and laughing over the past year's events. We were lucky again with the weather - it was hovering just under 30 deg.C, and we sat in the shade of our patio umbrella all afternoon. I had printed off some Aussie trivia quiz questions I found on the Net, and we had fun puzzling over some of the questions.

We had a few mad moments. Mal opened a bottle of soda water, which had been shaken at some stage, and it erupted all over me and the kitchen floor. Jen had put a bottle of champagne in the freezer, and when I retrieved it a few hours later, I dislodged a plate which had been sitting on the top of the fridge and it smashed on the floor. Sharon had brought a trifle for dessert, and as I lifted it from the fridge to the table, it slipped from my hands and much of it ended up on the floor. We managed to salvage what was left in the bowl, thank goodness - it was delicious!
Here is the front of our place on the 26th - big flag in one window and two Aussie themed tea towels in the other. We also have the flag flying on a pole in the back yard.

No, we didn't win Tattslotto last week, so we'll just have to survive on what we have for the time being!! But celebrating being an Aussie always makes me aware that we are not badly off at all; our debt is due entirely to our way of life, so we must pay the penalty of living the good life that we are able to enjoy here in Australia.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh dear...

For years I have been buying a Tattslotto ticket for the Saturday night draw. Very rarely do I splurge on any of the other weekly Lotto or Powerball games. I figure $5 a week is enough to waste on gambling! Some people spend a lot more - I've been behind somebody in a queue, and seen them hand over $100 or more, and walk away with a swag of tickets. I wonder if they ever win enough to recoup what they've spent? I also wonder if the small spender like me ever gets lucky enough to scoop a million or so?

This week I feel like putting every last cent we have on Tattslotto, and that wouldn't amount to much after this past week. Why is it that when you think (a) things can't get any worse, or (b) things are starting to get better - they do get worse, and they don't get better! Our hot water service died this week. I discovered water running down the side of the tank and yelled out to Ken to take a look. He looked, and said "Oh, no..." This was at 10 pm on Monday night. I found a plumber who advertised himself as on call 24 hours, and sure enough, he answered his mobile phone. I told him about our HWS and he said "It will be okay overnight, and I'll be there at 8.30 am." He arrived on time, and confirmed Ken's diagnosis that the HWS was stuffed. It was 16 years old, and he said we'd done well, as it was way past its use-by date of 12 years. He organised a new one to be delivered, and while we waited, he disconnected the old one, heaved it on the back of his truck to be taken to a recycle centre. By the time he'd done that, the new one had arrived, and he spent the next hour installing it, filling it up with water, and arranging for an electrician to come later and do his bit. We had hot water by 6 pm that night. For a total cost of $1750 - which is added to our home loan account.

The next day I collected my mail at the post office and among the half dozen letters was one of those plain window faced envelopes from a government department. Yup. Speeding fine. $234 and 3 demerit points. Apparently last December I'd been travelling at 73 kph in a 60 kph zone. Shit. When Ken heard how much the HWS cost, he wondered if he should delay putting new tyres on his Honda, as the old ones are 10 years old, and a new pair will cost $400. I said don't worry about the cost, you can't skimp on safety. $2384 gone in one week. Some people these days earn that much in a week. For us, it is more than we make in a month! Oh well. We battle on regardless and rewardless, but I do hope that just once, this week - we might be lucky in Tattslotto.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Going to the movies.

We went to the movies last night, for the first time in ages. For someone who has as many movies on DVD and video as Ken does, it is very hard to get him off his bum and go out to see new movies at a theatre instead of waiting for them to come out on DVD. Some friends (L and M)had told us they were going to see 'Sherlock Holmes' and I asked if we could join them. Ken made disparaging remarks to the effect that Basil Rathbone was the only person who could play the part of Sherlock Holmes, but I ignored that and said I'd go online to book seats for us.

I asked M if they'd seen 'Avatar' and he said no, but it is on at the same theatre. So I asked Ken if he'd rather see that, and he said yes, because someone at his work said it was worth seeing. M said to call him once I'd made the booking, so I did, and they invited us to have dinner with them before we went out. I love it when things happen spontaneously - it seems to be more fun than when you plan in advance.
After a delicious tea of quiche, salad, crepes with berries and icecream, we took off for the cinema. As 'Avatar' is in 3D, Ken and I had to obtain the 3D glasses, so M and L left us to go to their movie.

On Friday night, Ken and I had a look at previews of 'Avatar' on the internet, and while Ken was looking forward to all the special effects, I wasn't over-excited about the prospect of two or three hours of shock and awe! Blog friend Anne had told me it was romantic, and a bit of a tear-jerker, and I couldn't see how that was, after seeing the shorts on You-tube. But she was right. Yes, the sound and visual effects were sensational, but the storyline was also terrific. Certainly sad in parts, but the goodies (aliens) won over the baddies (American military!), so all ended well. Ken emerged from the theatre blinking happily, saying "I'll be getting that when it comes out on DVD!".

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

One week later.

This time last week I was boasting about our perfect weather. I should have known better! Yesterday (Monday) the temperature in Melbourne reached around 45 deg.Celsius in some suburbs - that's 113 deg. Fahrenheit. I spent most of the day indoors with the air con. running, as well as a fan in other rooms if I wasn't in the lounge room where the air con. is situated. I went up to check the aviaries about noon, and refilled the birds' water containers. An hour later, I went to the post office and the fruit shop in the local shop arcade. You could have fired a gun down Main Street - there was not a soul to be seen walking along the footpaths, and the shops were very quiet.
Topsy stayed inside all day, lying in one of her favourite spots behind the curtains in the lounge room. The sun comes in there in the afternoon, but Topsy doesn't seem to mind.

Ken poked his head around the door about 11 pm and said it is still 39 deg. outside. I don't know how people survive without some form of cooling. But we all survived before air conditioning was available on the domestic market. I think I find the heat harder to cope with as I get older. I'm just grateful I don't have to go out to work any more. I do worry about Ken; with his heart/lung condition. He is not supposed to be out and about in extreme weather conditions (very hot or very cold), but he heads off to work every day on his motorcycle, and drives around Melbourne all day delivering urgent blood and other unmentionable substances. He says it isn't so bad because his car is air conditioned. Well, that doesn't help when you are hopping in and out of the car! He comes home dripping with perspiration, and completely exhausted, but after an hour or so of lying on the couch under the ceiling fan, he recovers.

This must sound positively unreal to the people on the other side of the planet. We get daily reports on the Foxtel Weather Channel of the extreme cold in Europe and the USA. It would be great if we could do some kind of weather swap even just for a day - our sun to melt their ice, and their snow to cool us down!

Apart from the weather, there isn't much to write about. We celebrated our 31st Wedding anniversary last week by dining at our favourite Chinese restaurant, and visiting MIL afterwards. She was delighted to see us - she NEVER forgets to send us an anniversary card, and this year was no exception, although Ken's sister organised it for her, as MIL can't get out and buy cards herself.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Monday 4th January.

It was a satisfying kind of day. Probably not of much interest to most people, but we bloggers like to stick our nose over the fence (or the ocean) and see what our bloggy neighbours are up to, so here is what I did:
After my daily exercise routine and breakfast, I did a load of washing. With blue sky and sunshine like this, why would one bother using a clothes drier? (Sorry to stick it up you snow-bound people, lol)

Drove down the road to the post office to collect my mail (I should have walked, I know, but I thought it might be too hot to walk back - my excuse and I'm sticking to it). The mail included a bill from Telstra that was three weeks old, therefore two weeks overdue. It had been put into another post office box and obviously sat there until the box holder checked his mail and found my bill sitting in there. Slack mail sorters...The nicer items included a Christmas card from England, probably delayed due to strikes at both ends, a fabric postcard, and a surprise packet from Sherri in the USA - one of my stitching friends who owns a needlecraft business. I saw a specific kind of needle-threader on her site last year, but it was unobtainable in Australia, so she sent me one! Aren't people kind?

Continuing on with my day. On my 'to do' list was sorting out my buttons into jars of colours. That took about half an hour.

Of course there is always ironing, but this was the only item worth photographing - a cute cupcake apron that my friend Louise gave me for Christmas - love it!

Finally, my to do list included darning the holes in Ken's bike socks. These socks are about $25 a pair, and they develop holes in the heels and toes within a couple of months, but I refuse to buy new ones at that price! I phoned Helen to see if she was home and wanted company, and she said yes, so I took the socks and wool etc. around, and we sat outside in the sun darning! Her hubby asked if he could bring his socks out to be mended but Helen immediately said "No! Yours are acrylic. Ken's are wool. But while you are here, can I have a glass of water?" Ray looked tired, so I said "I'll get it for you", and Ray smiled and said "We've got our own pink pixie to do the work today!" (my pants and top were both pink).

We rewarded ourselves with a cup of tea and some of Helen's delicious fruit cake, and Ray came outside again to join us in the beautiful sunshine. He nodded off, and Helen was reading some magazines I'd brought around, so I snuck inside and washed all the dishes that were on the sink. When I went back outside, I said "You're in luck today - your pink pixie has just washed the dishes!"

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year resolutions..

I don't usually make new year resolutions, but I've made three already this year, one of which I've already fulfilled: I've thrown out my oldest slippers!!! I've had them for more years than I can remember, and they have been the most comfortable slip-ons I've ever had, so even though they had holes in the toes, and the sole was wearing out, I kept on wearing them around the house. Ken was always nagging me to get rid of them because they looked so awful, and I've finally given in. Why is it that men want to keep all their old comfortable clothes, but don't like their women to do the same thing?

The second resolution is to keep up with Pam Kellogg's "One Biscornu a Month" plan. This won't mean anything to those of you who are not needlecrafters, so I won't bore you with the details, but if you do want to know more, just click on the link and read about it. While you are reading Pam's blog, have a look at the photo she took of their garden under a blanket of snow. She makes the comment that people on the other side of the world often express a desire to see a White Christmas, and she says "You can have it!" I had to laugh - all those bloggers complain about the cold, and the mess after the snow melts, but you keep on posting beautiful photos, so it must mean something to you! I love seeing snowy scenes on my friends' blogs; Isabelle in Scotland is another one who has gorgeous Christmas card type photos.

My third resolution is easy enough, but whether we (Ken and I) remember to do it for the next 364 days, is another thing. Ken installed a rainwater gauge last year, but didn't keep a record of the rainfall. So I bought him a rainfall chart for Xmas, and we plan to record all the rain this coming year. I just went out and had a look at it, and from 8 pm last night until now, we have had 19 millimetres.
That's a lot of rain for us! The garden is looking great - can plants look happy? I think so - they look all clean, green, and freshly washed.

Our 'resident pair' of Rainbow Lorikeets arrived a few minutes ago, demanding their breakfast. I asked where they slept last night in all that rain, but they just chirped at me impatiently.

Speaking of plants, we planted this native hibiscus last week. It loves hot sun, and as if to prove that, this is what it looked like yesterday in 40 deg. heat!

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to everyone reading this blog!
Ken and I had a quiet New Year's Eve. It had been a horribly hot day (I think it got to nearly 40 deg.C/110 deg.F in some parts of the state) and after being out driving around all day, Ken was stuffed when he got home. He had a rest until we had dinner (ham and coleslaw salad) about 7.30 pm, and then we headed over to see his Mum. When she lived at home, she always celebrated New Year's Eve by sharing ham sandwiches and shortbread with anyone who was there at the time (and we called in to visit most years), so in her first year at the aged care hostel, we thought it was important to continue her little tradition. I didn't bother with ham sandwiches, but I bought a box of imported Scottish Shortbread (Maclean's Highland Bakery) and we took it to share with her. She was delighted, and we spent a happy hour with her before returning home to wash dishes and relax in front of the t.v.

In the hour we were with MIL, the temperature dropped about 10 deg, from 35 to around 25 deg. It had started raining heavily, and thunder and lightning was competing with fireworks around the suburbs. We stayed up until midnight, to see the fireworks on t.v., but Melbourne didn't rate a mention, so I'm assuming it was a washout, cancelled due to the rain. Sydney staged yet another spectacular show on the Harbour Bridge, prompting Ken to remark again, that the Bridge will collapse one day with all those explosions.

The rain has been heavy and constant, so our tank is filling up again. I just hope the catchment areas got enough to top up Melbourne's water supply; our storage is lower than any of the other capital cities, and if it doesn't improve, God help us if we have bushfires again like last summer. Poor Western Australia have had a bad start to 2010; bushfires near Perth destroyed 40 houses yesterday. Ken and I were watching people over there being interviewed on t.v. and he said "It looks familiar, doesn't it?" and I agreed. I'll be popping into the Bendigo Bank next week to donate something. The rest of Australia was so good to Victoria last year, the least we can do is reciprocate to those who need help now.

adopt your own virtual pet!