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, September 28, 2013

Spring in our back yard.

When Ken first took the bandage off his eye after the cataract surgery, one of the first things he saw was a purple flower in the front garden, and he remarked on the clarity and brightness of the colour. It struck me at that time what a coincidence it was that so many of the spring flowering plants in our yard are purple, mauve and pink shades.
Ken was looking at a Cineraria when he made that comment, but I haven't included a photo of that.
Here are the others:  Native Hibiscus
Native Mint Bush
Native Orchid
Not purple, but a gorgeous little shrub that I planted last year and this the first time it has flowered - it is called Jacobinia Firefly.
And this as you will all know is a Cymbidium orchid. We've had these in three pots for many years and they rarely flower, but this year they all sprouted a stunning display.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

This afternoon at Westerfolds Park, Templestowe.

I was on duty at the Embroiderers Guild exhibition this morning, and on the way home, the sun burst through the clouds and it was promising to be a lovely spring afternoon.  When I got home I suggested to Ken that I make up a picnic lunch, and we spend the afternoon at one of the many beautiful parks near us.  He agreed, and insisted on driving, as the eye surgeon told him after the cataract surgery that he could drive by the weekend.   So I packed chicken and avocado sandwiches, swiss roll and a thermos of tea into a bag, and off we went. 
Westerfolds Park has the Yarra River running through and alongside it, so there are river views just about everywhere you turn, as well as walking paths along the banks.  We chose to eat our lunch first, then go for a walk.  Last time we were here, Ken didn't get very far before he had to rest, but this time he deliberately slowed his walking pace down from his usual fast strides.  I was glad because he usually leaves me behind, but this time we strolled for about an hour, which is more than he has been able to walk for ages.  He has finally come to terms with what the doctors have been telling him - pace yourself!  And it worked.
I don't know what it is about transmission lines, but they fascinate me.  They remind me of the book "War Of The Worlds" which (when I was a kid) had an illustration on the front cover of great machines striding across the landscape.
 All that yellow in the above photo is/are?  daisies!

We sat down for a few minutes and Ken spotted these at our feet.  "Dirty buggers" he said, referring to smokers who leave their cigarette butts everywhere.  I chose not to remind him that he did exactly the same thing years ago.

Flower Power!  Children Of The Sixties....well no - we were in our twenties by then!

In one of the car parks, Ken saw two immaculate vintage Jaguar cars, and wandered over to have a closer look.  It turned out they were in a wedding party, waiting for the bridal party to have their photos taken among the gum trees.  We later found out the entire bridal party were Greek - I love how they wanted to be photographed in such an icon Australian setting!

We got chatting to them and they offered to take our photos sitting in the cars! Good PR of course - we brought home a brochure about their business "Jag Jaunts", and told them we would contact them to book a ride one day!

I offered my congratulations to the bride as we walked past and she thanked me with a big smile! It is lovely to see many couples choose not to bother getting married. I can't understand why. I had one disastrous marriage, but hey, that was just one man. There are plenty more fish in the sea, and I was lucky enough to land one of the best for my second hubby :-)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just one little comment...

Ken took the patch off his eye this morning, 24 hours after the cataract surgery as instructed.  After a few blinks to refocus with the other eye (still with cataract) he looked around the kitchen and said everything looked so much sharper and more colourful.  The skylight in the ceiling had been cleaned when the workers put on the new roof, but it was never really dirty - just had a few dead insects lying around on it.  Ken looked up at it and said "I always thought it looked dirty, kind of muddy, but now it looks so bright!" 
Then he looked at me and said "Even you look prettier".   I didn't have an answer to that - back handed compliment maybe?  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cataract surgery.

Another hospital trip over and done with.  Ken had cataract surgery on his right eye today.   In spite of everyone else we know who has had this (including his mother a few years ago) telling him that it doesn't take long, doesn't hurt, and his sight will be so much better, Ken was uptight about it over the past few days.  He's been in and out of hospital so many times in recent years, I told him he should be used to it by now - ha ha, not funny, said Ken. 

We were told he would only be in the hospital for a couple of hours and I should wait, rather than go home after dropping him off, and coming back again.  Well, next time (his left eye) I will go back home!  We got to the Eye & Ear Hospital about 7.15 am. (we were told to arrive between 7 and 7.30 am) and parked my car in the undercover car park around the corner.  (Street parking is one hour max with parking meters, so I figured I may as well leave it undercover and pay whatever it would be).   Sat around in the waiting room until about 9.30 am, when Ken was called into the area where the operating theatres are.  Another hour's wait, and he was taken into a side room for pre-op stuff- drops in the eyes, hospital gown, etc.  Then he was told it would be another hour.  I went to the hospital cafe and had a coffee and did some stitching. 

When I came back, he had just gone into the theatre, so I went for a walk around the block.  I got a message on my mobile phone just as I walked back into the hospital, saying Ken would be ready to go home in 30 minutes.  So I joined him in the post-op recovery room where he was having a cup of tea and sandwiches, and chatting to the nurses and other patients.  He was relieved it was over, and said that everyone was right - it only took half an hour under local anaesthetic, there was no pain or discomfort, so he was happy, and said he won't mind having the other eye done when the eye surgeon advises him to.

Back to the reception desk to pay the bill.  Anaesthetic  $385.  Hospital $700.   Surgeon's bill to come in the mail - about $1200.  All of which we had been told in advance.  But we got a nasty surprise when we collected the car - $65 for parking - you should have heard me yell!  Ah well, you live and learn, don't you.  As I said, next time I'll drop him off at the front door and either go home, or do some shopping in a street where I can park the car for a few hours for a few dollars!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tall ships visit Melbourne again.

Ken and I love sailing ships.  And steam trains.  And old cars and bikes!  So we go to any exhibition we hear of that features vintage transport.  This past week Melbourne had nine sailing ships in port for the Melbourne International Tall Ship Festival 2013.  Two are based in Melbourne (both of which we have sailed on around the bay in the past),  two from Sydney, one from Hobart, one from England, and three from the Netherlands. 
We drove over to Williamstown on Friday afternoon to see them close up.

And today we drove to Mornington to watch them sail past on their way to Rosebud where they will be moored overnight before they continue on their journey.  It was a perfect day, sunny and not too windy, although that meant that some of the ships didn't use their sails, but they still looked fantastic.

I kept changing the settings on my camera trying to get it right in the bright sunlight, so the pic below looks a bit odd due to a different setting.
  Two ships in the distance as the sun was disappearing.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Final resting place.

We went to the Kangaroo Ground Cemetery again today.  We met one of Ken's cousins there, as we'd asked him to show us where his Mum was buried (we couldn't find the grave on our first visit).  The other purpose was to select a spot for our own grave sites.   We had decided long ago that we want our bodies to be cremated, and at first said that our ashes could be scattered or buried wherever the surviving partner wanted.  But having seen this peaceful cemetery in such a beautiful country setting, we've decided we'd like somewhere nice for our souls to float once the ashes are interred.  Ken's cousin said his wish is for his ashes to be scattered somewhere by his children, and I explained that as we don't have any kids, I wouldn't put that kind of commitment on any of our nieces or nephews, so we feel it is best to decide where and pay for the plot in advance, so whoever is responsible for burying the second to die of us two, won't have to worry about what to do with our remains.    At some stage in the future, we will probably do one of those prepaid funeral things too, but we'll have to look into that a bit more.

While we were strolling around the graves reading the inscriptions and wondering about those people who have passed on, Ken remarked on the spot where his aunt's remains are interred, saying  "I like this area on the side of the hill, it has a lovely view".   We all laughed at this - as if our ghosts will be concerned with the view, lol!  Then he said more seriously "Well, seeing it won't be too long before I'll be living here, it is nice to know where I'll be".   I gave him a light smack, and said "I need you here for a few more years, so don't get any ideas about those views just yet!". 

Sadly, he could be right though.  He had his regular check up with the lung specialist yesterday, and asked again if he could have the lung reduction operation to improve his breathing.  Dr. G. finally told him the truth  (why do doctors feel they have to hide it from you?  I guess it must be very difficult for them to make that decision).  He told Ken that the operation would not achieve anything.  Lung reduction only works if part of the lung is badly diseased, but Ken's lungs are so severely damaged that there is no individual part that can be removed.  I asked about oxygen therapy and again Dr G said in Ken's case it is not a workable option.
He said that the only thing that would help Ken is a complete lung transplant, and due to the existing cardio vascular issues, a transplant is completely out of the question. 

He said he has been amazed that Ken continue to go to work until this year, and that he probably overdid it by doing so.   If he had quit work a few years ago and been able to slow down, he would probably be feeling a lot better  than he does now.  All Ken can do now is slow down his pace of living;  don't go for long walks, don't walk up hills or a lot of steps, no more gardening, washing the car, etc.  At least he can still ride his motorcycles and drive the car, so he can continue to be out and about when he's feeling okay, like he was today.

But today had another down side.  After we left the cemetery we decided to drive on further and have some lunch in a country town, so we drove up to Yea.  We'd just gone through Glenburn when we noticed a police car chasing after us with all lights flashing.  Ken pulled over, and they pulled up behind us.  Ken got out of the car to ask them what was wrong, thinking something was wrong with his car - perhaps the back numberplate had fallen off, or his lights weren't working.  The cops looked surprised and said "Didn't you see us on the side of the road?" and Ken said "Yes, but what about it?  I wasn't doing anything wrong". and they said "You were driving 95 kl an hour, the speed limit back there is 80 kl."  We nearly had a fit!   They got back in their car with Ken's licence, and spent about 10 minutes doing whatever they do - checking the car's registration, Ken's licence details, etc. and finally reappeared saying that they had to book him, but in view of his good driving record, they would state on the fine that he was only doing 89, so that reduced the amount of the fine to....wait for it... $180!  God only know what it would have been if they'd been less lenient!  And only one demerit point, not three. 

We drove on to Yea and spent a nice afternoon (and a lot more money) on lunch and some new clothes for Ken which he found in a menswear shop.  We'd spent all yesterday afternoon over at Greensborough looking for shirts for him, but he couldn't find anything he liked.  Today we had to drive a hundred kilometres to find something he liked!  Some men are harder to please than women when it comes to clothes!

Monday, September 02, 2013

More celebrations.

Today, September 2nd, is the 13th anniversary of when Ken quit smoking.  We are going out to the Fawkner cemetery in the morning to organise the plaque for his parents' grave site (the original plaque for his Dad now has to be changed over for one with with both parents' names), and after that's done, we'll go and have a nice lunch somewhere.  Some people think my annual recognition of the end of Ken's smoking days are a bit over the top  (I give him a card every year to say congratulations on quitting the fags).  But after 45 years of a pack a day, and nearly losing his life to them, I figure it is worthwhile to praise him for staying smoke free.  He will probably die of the consquences eventually, given the state of his lungs as he gets older, but I'm hoping to hang on to him for a few more years!
Love you, Babe

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Our very own bit of Australia!

Finally, the dream of most Australians - to own their house outright -has come true for us!   Thanks to Ken's inheritance from his darling Mother, we paid our mortgage off earlier this year.  But it wasn't quite complete.
The title was still in the name of our bank, and we had to go to the Land Victoria office (formerly known as the Titles Office) and have the title changed to our names as owners.  I did this last week, at a cost of $215 (they get at you in all ways, don't still have to pay for the piece of paper that says you own your land) and we celebrated afterwards with lunch in the CBD.  The original is now safely in a security box at our solicitor's office, with a photocopy here at home.
This is what the original title looks like.  The lady at the lending department of our bank told us that the Titles office would issue a new one and destroy this, and advised us to take a photo of it, as it is a historic document that dates back nearly 100 years.  So we did take a copy, but lo and behold the original was handed back to us along with the new title - the lady said keep it as a souvenir!

And this is the new one - all computerised now, but with the same information on it.  For obvious reasons, I have cut the address details out of the scan before posting it here!

adopt your own virtual pet!