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, July 31, 2013

Another very funny cat book.

One of my dear bloggy friends is a cat lover like me, and posted a write up about this book on her blog a while ago.  I was intrigued, and asked her what it was about.   She advised me to buy the book myself to find out.  So when I saw it on the shelf at Dymocks in Doncaster, I had to buy it of course!  And have giggled my way through it ever since.  I've got quite a collection of humorous cat books (and an even bigger collection of serious cat books, lol!) but I think this one is going to be a well thumbed favourite to be lent out to selected fellow cat lovers...

I know - copyright and all that, but I'm not claiming to have written the book - hey, I'm advertising it for goodness sake!  One part of one page, to give fellow cat lovers an idea of what it's like.


Yaaaay!  It's only been a matter of weeks but it felt like years since work started on our roof.  Anyway, as the manager promised, their plumber came out on Monday morning and finished off the last bits on the roof.  We phone the electrician to say that was done, and he said he would be here on Tuesday to fit the lights in the bathrooms.  And he was.  I think our hissy fits have had an effect, and nobody wants to be late, lol!
The same set is in each bathroom.  This is with just the light switched on.

And this is with the heat lamp/light combination.  It turns the bathrooms from igloos into saunas within minutes!  But it shows up how badly the ceiling needs painting.  Well what do you expect after nearly 40 years?  At least we can now go ahead and get the house painted without stains appearing on the ceilings  when it rains - that is why we have put it off for so long.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

More about tradesmen.

Further to my post on Thursday about non-communicative tradesmen, the email I sent to Rainshield's managers had a positive reply.  Mr D. emailed me to say he understood our feelings, and that he was always on the back of his office staff to make follow up phone calls re delays, but last week was apparently a bad one with two key workers away because of illness or family related matters.  He promised that one of their plumbers will definitely be here on Monday to finish off the extra bits.  That pacified Ken to some degree but I don't think he will completely relax until the whole thing is completely finished, including the electricians' work.

As for R., the second plasterer that said he would be here on Friday between 3 and 4 pm, he did show up.  At 5.15 pm.  When he hadn't arrived by 10 past 4, I called his home number (I didn't have a mobile number for him) and left a very terse message telling him not to bother getting in touch with us if he can't get here when he promised.  About 4.30 our phone rang, and it was R, obviously on his mobile phone and in a car, as I could hear the sounds of traffic in the background.  He apologised profusely and explained that he'd been delayed on his last job, then he got caught up in a traffic jam.  Now that I can believe, having been in the same situation at the same time the day before.  He said he was on his way home to collect equipment for our job but wouldn't be here for another hour.  I said that would be fine, and told him there was a message from me on his answering machine and it would be best to ignore it.

When he arrived, I was sweeping leaves off the driveway, and he got out of his car and said with a grin "Are you Gina?"  I knew by the look on his face that he'd listened to my message!  Anyway, he was a very nice bloke - not much younger than us, as I'd guessed - and he did a great job fixing the hole in our kitchen ceiling.  While he was working, I'd been baking a fruit slice and I asked if he'd like a cuppa, to which he replied "I'd kill for one!  I've been on the go since 6 am this morning and haven't stopped", so I offered him some of the slice with his tea.  He complimented me on it, but didn't offer a discount on the

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tradesmen who don't turn up. Grrrr....

Poor Ken had yet another taste of unreliable tradies today.   I was at the Craft And Quilt show all day, and left him at home to wait for a plumber from Rainshield Roofing to add some final bits to the roof.   We were told on Monday someone would be here today.   The bits and pieces have been sitting on the front lawn for a week.    As well as that, a plasterer was lined up to fix the hole in the kitchen ceiling left by the electrician last week, who moved the exhaust fan to another part of the ceiling. I was going to get a tradie from the local paper to do this, but he (the electrician) said he had a mate who would do it for us. The Mate lives about half an hour's drive from us, but Electrician phoned him and Mate said it was okay, he would come on Thursday (today) and do the job for us.

I got a call from Ken about 1 pm while I was admiring beautiful quilts at the Craft & Quilt Show.   He was really spitting chips.    Now my Kenny does not usually have a bad temper and he rarely yells at people, but I could almost hear him gnashing his teeth over the phone today!    He had waited until midday for the plumber and plasterer, but nobody came, and nobody phoned to say they weren't coming.   So he called them.   The guy from Rainshield claimed he hadn't told us the fixtures would be installed today, and said their bloke would be here on Monday to do it.    Ken gave him a serve and said they could whistle Dixie for the final payment ($4000, so they have something to be concerned about!).   Then he called the plasterer, who said "Oh, I didn't have your address" to which Ken asked "But didn't you have our phone number?"  . "Oh yeah. I forgot. I'll come on Saturday morning".   Ken said "No you won't - just forget about it, we'll get a local tradie like we were going to until your mate the Electrician said you were reliable".
When I got home about 4.30 pm after driving through gridlocked traffic in the city, my nerves were a tad frayed too, but Ken was still extremely cheesed off, so I soothed his ruffled feathers with appropriate comments about rotten tradies.   Then I got the local phone book out and found a plasterer in the next suburb who said he will come out tomorrow afternoon and fix the ceiling.   I said if he doesn't turn up he won't get another chance, as we'd wasted one day already waiting for someone.   He grunted something that sounded liked 'typical young ones today', and said "I'll be there".   He sounded like an older (as in middle aged) bloke, so hopefully he will turn up.   As for Rainshield Roofing, I typed out a two page letter and emailed it to the manager, saying how pleased we were with our new roof but it was a pity his staff had such bad communication skills, because we were going to leave good feedback on their website, but won't be now.   Gee I am such a s--t stirrer. Let's just hope we don't get a rock through the front window from any ex-employees. At least the company offices are miles from here, so hopefully none of their non-communicative employees live over this way.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Spiders and snakes...

My friend Cathy in Arizona left a comment on my last post, and I emailed her to ask what she meant by it.  She replied almost immediately, and I laughed so much, I decided to share it with my readers!  As I said to Cathy, Americans often say they wouldn't come to Australia because of our deadly spiders and snakes, but now if anyone says that to me, I'll just tell them to go to Arizona - it's a lot worse, lol!

I get the "nothing can get in here" speech a lot. I`ve found spiders as big as the palm of my hand in the house. Lots of yelling, dancing and screaming on my part.   Scorpion are common. The scorpions like bathtubs and my washing machine. Haven`t figured out how they can in the slippery tub or the washer. The snakes are looking for a cool place now, so when I open a door I have to make sure there isn`t a snake on the other side. They can get in very narrow places. We had one (rattlesnake) in the house a few years ago because Jack left a door open. The dogs found it and it went to snake heaven.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Roof finished but ceiling not!

We've had heavy rain all night and not one leak in sight - great!   So the roof is all done, but there is still two spots that will have to be cut out to make room for the bathroom lights, as I said in a recent post.  You might remember that I thought we might have to put something over the hole in the ceilng to prevent creepy crawlies coming inside?  And Ken said no, they won't - it's a new roof.  Ken was WRONG.
 That is the naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling, where you can see the insulation and other wiring under the steel external roof. 

I was sitting at my sewing table tonight when I happened to see a spot on the wall in front of me that wasn't there when I came into the room.  What can it be?

A Huntsman spider.  Look at those eyes reflecting the flash from the camera!  And see all that fluff around his legs?  Obviously from the new insulation in the craft room is not THAT dusty.  I went into the kitchen to find a large jar, hoping it would stilll be there when I got back.  It was, so I was able to capture it and take it out into the back yard.  It was pouring rain....poor little thing, I hope he didn't get too wet.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

We have too much electricity in Victoria!

On my frequent journeys around Blog Land I find some fascinating blogs, not alway craft orientated.  I particularly enjoy reading blogs by people who have moved from overseas to live in Australia.  One such blog is called "Housewife Down Under" and is by an American born lady.  She and her husband have been doing a lot of travelling around our beautiful country (she loves it too) and they recently travelled through parts of the Great Dividing Range, including Bogong.  I was so fascinated to read what she found out about our state electricity supply that I asked if I could reproduce it here.

The power plant is owned by AGL and is part of the Kiewa Hydroelectric Scheme. The water in the photos above is part of the first reservoir in the system of damns. The Bogong plant is about halfway through it and has two huge turbines that are powered by what looks like a rather small creek outside. What I thought was neat is that they have a system whereby they pump water back up to the top and reuse it again.
This creek produces massive amounts of electricity.
This creek produces massive amounts of electricity.
The lady working there told us how they worked and we had a long chat with her about renewable energy sources and such. She told us the plant actually didn’t run on Sundays because Victoria generates more electricity than it needs. With the shrinking of the manufacturing industry, there is far less need for electricity. And as for solar panels, it’s great if you want to use them to generate your own electricity, but they don’t really want you feeding it back into the grid because they already have too much.

Well!  What an eye opener!  Ken and I have been talking for years about getting solar panels to save on electricity not just for us, but for the health of our environment as well.  Not after reading this!!  Choice magazine printed letters recently from disgruntled people who tried to organise feeding their excess solar power back into the grid but came up against all kinds of red tape.  Now I know why.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The joys of retirement, NOT!

Poor Ken doesn't know what's hit him.  He assumed his non working life would include lots of sleeping in on cold mornings, snoozing on the couch after messing around with the t.v. and checking on the birds in the aviaries now and then.  I got news for you, buddy.  There Are Things To Be Done!  The new roof was not actually planned - it came to happen because of the worsening leaks in heavy rainstorms.  We were planning to have the house painted this winter, but for obvious reasons it would have been stupid to paint the walls and ceiling with new water stains appearing after every storm.

The other things that have been happening are on a To Do list that I created for Ken when he quit work.  Not necessarily things that I want him to do, but stuff that he has been wanting to do but never had the time while he was working.  One such thing was getting the hailstone damage on his car fixed.  It has been there for about three years, and was very irritating for him every time he looked at the dents.  So he finally got a quote to have it done, and the guy turned up today with his van of tools and paints, and did a great job on Ken's car.  (It ought to be good, for $500).  Anyway, Ken is happy about that.

  But while that was being done, tradesmen were traipsing in and out of the house, working on not only the roof, but bathroom renovations.  Not major work at this stage, but jobs that are taking a few days.  Electricians and plumbers, all of whom Ken had to speak to about what was to be done.  I got out of the mayhem just before lunch, and returned home a couple of hours later, having spent much longer at the shops than I needed to!  Ken was just about pulling his hair out - the phone hadn't stopped, people were coming and going..."I wish I was back at work!" he wailed, and I grinned and said "Well, now you know what it has been like for me all these years while you were at work, and I was the one dealing with the tradesmen!"

One of our bedroom windows had a crack in it, after birds had been flying into their reflections for years.  So I called the insurance company, and they arranged for a bloke to come and replace the window.  That was done yesterday, but it still has to have solar tint film applied to the inside like the original window did.    We thought that would all be done at the same time, but no - a different company will come next week sometime to do the tint.    The most annoying thing about all this is that tradesmen don't always come when you are expecting them; they tell you they will be back the next day to finish the job but don't turn up - and don't ring up to let you know.  I'm used to this; I've been dealing with tradies for years.  But not Ken!  He was very cross when the electricians didn't turn up last Friday as they promised, nor did they come yesterday (Monday).  Nor did they phone....When I got home this afternoon Ken was ready to tie down!  He said "I just phoned that bloody electrician to ask what the hell was going on.  He said they were on the way here now.  Then he called back to say he was delayed and wouldn't be coming until tomorrow, so I gave him a serve and he changed his mind".  The sparky did arrive, and did some of the work, but it is still not finished, and won't be until next week.  Same with the roof.  It is all on and water proof, but the oregon fascia at each end of the house has to be covered (it was originally going to be replaced but the roofing company suggested it would be a lot cheaper and just as effective to cover it with Colorbond like the roof).  We thought that was a good idea, and the steel was delivered this morning.  Guess what.  Wrong size.  More delays.

In the meantime, the house is getting dustier and dustier, and there is a large hole in the ceiling of each bathroom where the plaster has been cut away ready for the new lighting/heater combination.  I said to Ken tonight "Can you tape some paper over those holes so no creepy crawlies come visiting during the night?" and he said no, it's not necessary.  It's a brand new roof with new insulation - spiders haven't had time to make new homes in there.  Wanna bet???

And we can't do anything in our front garden until the company removes the old roof....

All that stuff in plastic is insulation.  The pink and foil is what's left over of the new stuff.  I was wondering if it would be suitable to use for wadding (minus the foil) in quilts, but decided not to try that. 

The colour of our new roof is called "Surf Mist".  Ken wanted green to match the environment (trees) but was persuaded that the white roof would be more effective deflecting the sun in summer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day two of roof works.

The men turned up at 7.30 am today - just as well they know the way into the back yard now, as we had slept in, and I would have been mortified if I'd had to go outside in my dressing gown, no teeth and wild uncombed hair, to open the gate!
Last night's red sky was true to form and it was a perfect sunny day all day, and a bit warmer than yesterday, so the guys got a lot done.  I didn't bother taking photos because from the back yard you wouldn't be able to tell the difference from the pics I posted here yesterday.  They got most of the roofing done except for the very back of the house which is our bedroom and the laundry.  We can feel the difference already tonight - the house doesn't have that chill inside that it always had before on cold nights, despite heaters being on.  So the new insulation is living up to its reputation of keeping out the cold.

But Ken always feels cold at night due to his poor health, so tonight he christened the quilted throw that I made him (I finished the final lot of hand stitching today).  He's been under there for about two hours now!

Shiftclick if you are reading this, in answer to your comment, yes the possum is friendly.  I put apple out on the front porch for it every night and she will take pieces from my hand without being scared.  I've even patted her sometimes, they are so soft!  I know it is a 'she' because when she has a baby in her pouch she comes to show us - really cute!  And she was back in her usual spot again today despite the workers thundering around on the roof right over her head!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Replacing the whole roof of a house.

Day One.  The men arrived at 8 am and erected a railing along the front of the house for safety.  It is a very long drop to the ground from there!   It was still very cold (for Australians - don't laugh you people in the northern hemisphere) only 5 deg.C, and Ken had put the gas fire on earlier.  See the little flue in the centre of the roof?  That is the flue for the gas fire, and we could see heat waves shimmering from it in the cold air.  The workers jokingly thanked us for providing a radiator for them, as they were able to stand around it and warm up their hands!

The new roof steel sections arrive on a BIG truck.
  and are taken around to the back yard.
 Not long after that, the insulation arrived.  Pink Batts with foil lining.
 Back up on the roof the guys are busy ripping off the old roof.
 As well as the old insulation (the yellow pile of stuff on the right).  I asked if there were any little dead animals such as rats and mice in it, and they said no, but there were a lot of spiders.  Thanks guys...

While all the noise on the roof was going on, where were the cats?  Tiger sought refuge under the rug on our bed until I discovered him and took a photos.
  Topsy had fled to her usual hiding place under our bed.  Poor cat, the camera flash nearly blinded her in the darkness under there.
 A team of electricians arrived to put new exhaust fans and heaters in the bathrooms.  Easier to do the wiring while the roof is off.  One disadvantage of a flat roof, not being able to get access to all that as you would with a pitched roof.

It got really busy up there at times!
 At the end of the day, they had completely replaced about one third of the roof, and you can see the pile of the old roof sections on the right.  We are hoping it won't rain tomorrow, as they are starting at 7.30 am and hope to finish the job by 4 pm.  If it rains heavily of course they won't be able to do anything until next week but the sky was red in the west tonight, and that's a good sign for fine weather.  Fingers crossed.
 While the cats were terrified, our resident brush tailed possum slept through it all in his spot under the eaves.  I think his day will come tomorrow though, as they will be working at this end of the house tomorrow...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Happy chappy!

Here is Ken watching his new Toy/TV.  It looks so much better than the old one because it is closer to the wall, and being a flat screen it doesn't stick out into the room as much.  And the extra equipment is much neater in the cabinet underneath the screen, rather than in the vertical cabinet we had before.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Fourth of July.

It might not mean much to most Australians, but to all my American blogger friends reading this:

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

New use for discarded furniture.

When Ken got his new t.v. he had to get a new cabinet for it to sit on.  The old 'entertainment centre' holding all the paraphernlia such as DVD player, digital set top box,  Foxtel black box, tape player, etc. was upright, not horizontal, so obviously a huge t.v. would not sit on top.  So the vertical unit was put in a corner of the lounge to be given away or thrown out.  I HATE to see good furniture etc. just chucked out, so after much thought and mental re-arranging of stuff in my craft room, I decided that I could use it in there.  In the meantime, Ken had scoffed at my suggestion - 'there is not enough room for anything else in that room!' he declared.   As a matter of fact he was right about that, but the way I saw it, much of the stuff of the floor could be put into the cabinet.  So I pulled things out and moved things around, got rid of a few boxes and stuff I didn't need any more,  and voila! 

One glass door cabinet filled up neatly with art and calligraphy stuff - paints, inks and pencils in the bottom four shelves, and sketchbooks, brushes and other stuff in the top shelves. 
On the right can be seen part of a trolly thing on casters, which holds more craft stuff, and all my sewing machine threads in boxes.  I bought this gadget from the Innovations mail order catalogue because it was cheaper than buying a similar product at Office Works or Howards Storage.  Of course cheap means cheap and nasty and made You Know Where, so when I came to assemble it from the pack, the sides were all skewiff because the bottom screw holes had been placed 4 centimetres out of alignment with the top holes.  I was going to throw the whole thing out in disgust, but ended up making do with it the best I could, simply because I did need those extra shelves.

One corner of my craft room/library - the new unit is up against the wardrobe door, but as it and the other trolley are on castors, they are easy to move away if I need to get into the wardrobe to retrieve fabrics or other sewing stuff.

The next corner with desk and another bookcase, with my craft magazines on most shelves.  On the left of those are some more shelves built into the corner and I've got art books and paper craft supplies there.
In front of the curtained window is the table where I do my sewing.  Under that is two large wire baskets full of fabrics and batting.

On the other side of the same window is this corner with two more bookshelves.  The black rooster is a little blackboard - pressie from my friend Sharon!  On the left of the shelves is the filing cabinet that Ken and I keep all our 'official stuff' in - paid accounts, tax records, warranties, vehicle registrations, and all that stuff.
Oh yes, there is still stuff on the floor, but as I have now covered all the available wall space around the room, it will have to stay there.
 Welcome to my little world!

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