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, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

To all who read this blog - may you and your loved ones have a safe, healthy and happy 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in Melbourne.

December 25th was a memorable day in Melbourne for more reasons than one. The Reason For The Season was not smiling down on us on His birthday! A severe storm lashed our city and suburbs, causing family celebrations to be either cancelled or wiped out by rain, hail and wind The news reports said Eltham was the worst hit, but apart from our street turning into a raging torrent for an hour or so while the rain was pouring down, there wasn't much damage in our neighbourhood apart from foliage being ripped from trees and shrubs, and formerly pristine swimming pools turned into mud ponds within minutes.

Our local shopping centre fared badly. I went down there on Boxing Day to buy some milk and bread, and the shops were still mopping up mud from the floors, and throwing out stock that had been on the floors and completely ruined. Trains were cancelled due to part of the tracks being washed away.

Ken and I missed much of the action, as we spent the day down at Frankston at Ken's niece's home with his family. SIL collect MIL from the aged care hostel and took her down to Frankston. Ken and I had reservations about this, as their flat is upstairs and we were worried how MIL would cope. But with many willing hands to help her, she managed the stairs, and enjoyed the day with her family, although it got a bit noisy at times with the two excited little girls jumping around to show everyone their presents! But it was fun, the food was delicious, and everyone was pleased with their presents. I loved all my bits and pieces - here are some of them:

Ken and I had bought ourselves a video camera, and promised each other we wouldn't buy anything else, but when Ken saw this art set for $12 he couldn't resist buying it for me, even though it is marketed for kids!  When it comes to pencils, paints, pastels, etc. I'm just a big kid at heart, lol!

Two friends each bought me a coffee mug - one with owls and one with blue wrens.
A matchbox size pack of mints with a beautiful Japanese picture on front.  And a box shaped like a book, ie. you open it up and instead of a book it is a box with a black velvet lining.  Very pretty.
Hand stitched teacosy.  I was with a friend at a teacosy exhibition earlier this year, and when I exclaimed over this one, J. immediately said "I'll buy it for you for Xmas!" 
The cutest Cat book!

I also received other books, chocolates, fridge magnets, and other goodies including a gift voucher for an hour on a sailing ship! Ken got one too, so we are looking forward to doing that sometime in the near future.
Hope all my blog friends had a lovely Christmas, and my best wishes to you all for a happy, healthy and safe New Year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

More photos of our garden - back yard.

I think the name of this ground cover is Canary Lotus...whatever it's called, it has really taken off in this spot on our rockery.

'Peaches & Cream' Grevillea.
Can't remember what this is named either, but again, perfect for the rockery.  Tiger is always checking this out,  because the skinks (tiny lizards) love hiding in the dense plant and he waits for one to come out and sun itself, then he pounces.

Some of our juvenile Gouldian Finches.  There are about 20 of them in this aviary, in various stages of development.  The bird on the bottom right hasn't coloured up completely because he is younger than the others.  It takes nearly 12 months for these birds to fully develop their beautiful plumage.
Topsy is checking out the new patio door.  The two cats had clawed a hole in the old one, and can't figure out why this new door is so hard to claw a new hole in!
Tiger keeping an eye on things from the table at the top of the yard.

Photos of the flowering shrubs in our front garden.

Happy Christmas to everyone who may be reading this today! In the past few days I have been photographing our garden, front and back - the flowers on our shrubs are stunning this year, so I'm taking the opportunity of recording them in their glory, as who knows when they will flower like this again.
This is one of our native Hibiscus shrubs.

This Oleander shrub has been here since we bought the house 30 years ago, but I've never seen it looking so beautiful before.

One of several varieties of Geranium in the garden, which are all in full bloom.
Pretty Ivy geranium spilling over from a pot.
As one comes toward the stairs to the front door, you see the Oleander and the Agapanthus.

After all that walking around the yard taking photos, I was so tired I needed to lie down for a bit.  Tiger decided he need to lie with me and guard my toes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Traumatic week.

Well, at least the tank is fixed. It took two days to empty the water into the storm water drain, as nobody wanted to use it for anything. The plumbers came on Monday, moved it across the yard a bit, added more sand and compacted it down, then replaced the tank a bit further away from the fence. The fence seems to have moved back a little, as we can now close the gate. All we need now is some of that rain that has been flooding W.A., N.S.W. and Qld, and we'll have a full tank again. Perhaps I should not be asking for quite that amount of rain; those three states have been through a very bad time in the past week with severe flooding.

The next thing that upset our little applecart was Telstra's techno blunder last weekend where their customers' account details were made available to the general public. As soon as they discovered what had happened, they pulled the plug on Big Pond email until they resolved the issue. I couldn't email in or out for a few hours, then it was okay. But Ken has lost his email account with all the addresses and saved emails, and still hasn't got it back. He is in company with thousands of other people according to Telstra's website. They have to issue new passwords to all their customers who were affected, and it is taking ages. Ken finally got a new password tonight, but they told him he has to do something with the modem before he is back online. I asked the Telstra techie why I hadn't been affected, when we are in the same room on the same cable, and he said it was because the Bigpond account is in Ken's name, and mine is a secondary account, which wasn't affected by the bug last weekend.

Then to top it all off, Ken's I-phone had a hiccup today. He tried to make a call, but it kept on telling him onscreen that the SIM card was disabled. After an hour on the phone to Telstra (again!) we were advised to ring Apple, as they were the only ones who could fix it. Luckily we are quite close to a major Apple Shop in Doncaster, and were able to see them tonight at 9.40 pm (they close at 10 pm). We were highly impressed by their service. They checked Ken's phone and found that the SIM card was faulty, and replaced it immediately, free of charge. They didn't let us go until I had made a call from my mobile to Ken's, to make sure all was working properly, and it was. Praise be! Ken vowed to buy an Apple computer in the near future, he was so happy with their customer service.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Huge waste of water.

If anyone around my side of town wants a free car wash, drive over here some time before next Wednesday. We have to empty our rain water tank. All five thousand litres. If it isn't used up, it will go into the storm water drain. I've washed my car, Ken plans to wash his car and the bikes, I've hosed the whole property, front and back, until it is almost a sea of mud (not really), and the tank is still nearly full. I visited the CFA (Country Fire Authority) and Edendale Farm (our council's environmental farm and plant nursery) to ask if they wanted the water, but they both said they didn't need it as they had their own supply.

The reason for our panic? The tank when full weighs about three tons (don't ask me what that is in metric, I have no idea. I was born in imperial times, and will think in imperial measurements until the day I die), and the ground underneath one side of it is subsiding. It is next to a brick wall, and when it was originally installed, it was about 10 inches from the wall. It is now just touching the wall, and if nothing is done, the wall will be pushed over and possibly rip part of the house away with it, as the wall is attached to the house. We had a plumber here last week to look at it and he said "Empty it as soon as you can. We'll be back next week to move the tank and bring more sand to tamp down before replacing the tank." I asked if he'd ever seen that happen before and he nodded, and said yes, many times. Funny when something like this happens, I feel like I'm the first person it has ever happened to! But it is good to know that the plumber has fixed this problem for other people and knows what to do.

On a brighter note, I found a cute little Santa hat in a shop this morning, and couldn't resist buying it to try out on our pussies. They weren't very impressed, but we thought they looked cute! This is Tiger, only sitting still long enough for a quick photo before he pulled it off himself.
Ken holding Topsy, who was puzzled by the fuss but not very stressed, unusual for her!

I've always liked these Nativity scenes done in figurines, but they are usually very expensive. Yesterday I walked into our opshop and there was this set on the counter for $12. It is now in our house in the entrance hall! Couldn't believe my luck.

American cookies!

Cindy over at Cindy's Stitch In Time had posted a photo of her home baked Xmas cookies, and they looked so yummy I asked if she would post some to me in exchange for a pack of Tim Tams. She agreed, and they arrived today:
Well packed.
Such a variety! There were already some missing by the time I took this photo.
These green ones didn't make it intact...Christmas tree cookies?
And probably because I had admired them on her blog, she included a felt gingerbread man and felt brooch - thank you, Cindy!

adopt your own virtual pet!