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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A whole new life awaits us!

It is probably a bit soon to post this, but we are already excited by the prospect of Ken's retirement!
Ken has inherited a comfortable sum of money from his late mother, which leaves him in the position of being able to enjoy never again working for a living.  At the age of 70 most people have long since quit work, but Ken kept on working "as long as the bills keep coming", as he put it.  And now that the funds from his Mum's estate are being distributed this week, he can finish up work on Friday with no financial worries in front of him.

Everybody is asking us what we are going to do now.  Well, for the immediate future - nothing much will change except that Ken will be at home instead of at work during the week!  He is so glad to be leaving the rat race of Melbourne's increasingly chaotic traffic, although he says he will miss the cameraderie with his workmates, but that won't last long.   None of them are close friends that he sees out of work hours, and if he wants to catch up with any of them at some time in the future, he can always call in at the offices.

So many retirees turn into Grey Nomads, and spent months/years driving around Australia towing a caravan.  I couldn't think of anything worse, and Ken's health wouldn't be up to doing that anyway, so that is not an option.  There are only two trips that we would like to do some time in the future before we get too old and feeble to enjoy them - a trip to Alice Springs/Darwin on The Ghan,

 and a trip to W.A. on the Indian Pacific

We both love train travel, so instead of the stress of driving thousands of miles through desert country, we would put our car on the train, and travel in comfort!  We may fly interstate to visit friends from time to time, but have no plans to do that immediately. 

Ken is not the kind of person to sit and stare into space all day.  He likes to be outside working in the garden, or in the aviaries with the birds.  He has a few mates who have retired, and are already telling him to make a day to go for bike rides with them.  And later on in the year when the weather warms up, he will want to christen his new fishing gear.  There is a lot of  work to be done around the house, so some of his money will probably go on painting the house, new curtains, possibly renovating the bathrooms and kitchen...anyway, we are in no hurry.  His first week will be spent on his own for most of the time, because I have two days volunteer duty at the Embroiderer's Guild, and Friday at the opshop.  I think he will need space on his own to get used to the idea of not working any more, so it's a good thing I won't be around for a few days!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I don't know if anyone over that way is reading this blog, but so many Americans will be affected by that terrifying tornado that has destroyed so much.  The news item I read states that there are likely to be more twisters - God forbid they are as bad as this one.  My heart aches for you all.  Why is Nature being so cruel this century?  Is it payback time for what humans have done to the planet in the past few centuries?

Monday, May 20, 2013

MRI scan results.

After all those dismal posts earlier this year about my neck and other problems, I forgot to post an update!  I had the MRI scan that the neurosurgeon booked me in to, and man I hope I never have to have one of those again!  I've been pushed into tunnels for CT scans, but they weren't too bad, as you can still see the end of the tunnel if you keep your eyes open.  But the MRI tunnel is something far more sinister.  First of all, the nurse  gave me ear plugs.  Ear plugs??  Well, it gets a bit noisy in there, she explained.  Once I was lying on the table ready to be propelled into the tunnel, they put a shield-like thing over my face.  I forget what the explanation was, but I assumed it was to protect my head/brain from anything that was being done to my neck.  I was told the process would take about 15 minutes, and they gave me a rubber bulb-thing to hold, and squeeze if I panicked and wanted to be taken out.

For the first few seconds nothing seemed to be happening.  Then it started - a loud drumming noise that went on and on.  Finally that stopped and was replaced by a high pitched noise.  Then the drumming again.  More odd noises interspersed with drumming.  I hate to think what it would have been like without the ear plugs.  I've since been told they used to play music to drown out the sound of the machinery, but it didn't work, so now they use ear plugs.  I was just at the point where I was ready to squeeze my bulb-thing and scream for help when a disembodied voice floated above me saying it was just about over and thanks for my patience.

Phew!  I took a minute or so to get my balance when I got off that table, but the nurses didn't seem surprised.

I suppose it was worth the effort though, to get the incredible images of my neck that shows "multi-level degenerative changes" in much more detail than the previous CT scans and X rays.  Anyway, the good news is that in the words of the neurosurgeon's letter to my GP -

Gina keeps things under control with acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractory and myotherapy.  I think she is doing a good job with this and there is no indication for surgery.  I am happy to discharge her from my care.

Isn't that nice to be told by an expert that you are doing a good job looking after yourself?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Japanese brush painting.

This morning I attended another two hour workshop over at Box Hill Community Arts Centre. We learnt to paint pictures with brush and black ink in the Japanese style. You can see my paintings over here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Calligraphy workshop

I had booked into two drawing workshops in Eltham recently,  but they were both cancelled due to lack of interest (only me and one other person enrolled).  Very disappointing....however, I was lucky to find out about a workshop on Japanese Calligraphy in Box Hill this weekend, so I attended that yesterday and enjoyed it very much.   There is another class next week on a slightly different aspect of Japanese brush painting, and I'm enrolled in that too.  In the meantime, you can see the results of my work yesterday at my blog  Patra's Art And Crafts.

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