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.)

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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.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Paper crafts.

My friend Val has been busy with paper again, and inspired me to make some of my own Christmas cards. You can see what we have been doing on my art and craft blog.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Blue Mountains bush fires.

Americans have another name for what we Aussies call 'bush fires'.  They call them 'wild fires', and watching what is happening in NSW right now, the term 'wild' fire is certainly more appropriate.  Memories of Black Saturday are still recent in the minds of Victorians, and we worry along with our fellow Australians that the Blue Mountains fires will be even worse.

 Our next door neighbours moved to Eltham from the inner suburbs two years ago, and I called out to M. over the fence today to ask if they had a fire plan.  He looked blank and said "Not really".  I said to him "It’s a lot different living in Eltham to where you were before.  You really need to sit down with H. and discuss what you are going to do about the kids if you two are at work and a fire comes through".  He said "the school will have a plan", and I replied "In Eltham??  There is only ONE road in and out of Eltham and if there is a bad fire on a bad day, nobody will be able to go anywhere, so you need to think about planning to leave the kids somewhere out of Eltham".   Then Ken came out and put his two bobs worth in, telling M. he needs to clear all the branches and leaves off his roof and spouting (they’ve got a flat roof like us).  The poor guy was starting to look a bit worried by then! so I said "Don’t worry too much – nothing might happen at all, but at least if you have a plan, you won’t panic if a fire happens and you know what you need to do in advance".

When Ken was working, I used to wonder what the hell I would do if I was at home on my own, and a fire came through here.   We had a rough plan, but nothing written down or communicated to other people.  This year with us both at home we can work out something more detailed.   Ken's main concern is his birds.  If we knew days in advance what might happen, we could possibly catch all the birds up, put them in suitable cages or boxes, and take them somewhere safe, but we don't know anyone in the inner suburbs that has a big enough aviary to take Ken's birds as well as their own.  Ken says he would probably have to open the aviary doors and let them fend for themselves.  We would grab the cats and put them in their carry cage, and I have a briefcase already packed with insurance, land title, rates notice, car registrations, medical scripts and other important papers that you would need in the days and months if you lost your home to fire.

I am planning to store my entire linen collection in a secure storage facility in the inner suburbs.  I've looked at them online, and it wouldn't cost the earth to do it, as I would only need a relatively small space, not needing to store furniture and big stuff - just boxes.  And I said to Ken depending on the amount of space we get, we could store other stuff there too, like family photos and other irreplaceable memorabilia.

God, my heart aches for all those people in the Blue Mountains, as well the birds and animals.  There will be a huge loss of wildlife, as well as stock (I don't know if there is any farmland up there; it is mostly timber country).  I could kill those kids they've caught who started some of the fires.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Busy Saturday.

Ken took off for a bike ride with his mates down to Phillip Island this morning.  They didn't go to the GP race track as the races aren't until tomorrow, but so many riders go down on Saturday, it has become somewhat of a pilgrimage for thousands of motorcyclists.  They simply enjoy the ride, park their bikes in Cowes, have a coffee or lunch, and go home again!

I also had a very enjoyable day with various friends.  I met Connie at a quilt show in Nunawading (you can see photos here)  and we spent a happy couple of hours together admiring quilts and having a scone with jam and cream while we chatted.
From there, I drove to the iconic Box Hill Town Hall which was formerly the administration building for the former Box Hill City council, but after the state government changed the shires and councils, the new Whitehorse Council now has its offices elsewhere, and this building is used as a community hub with art galleries etc.  I was there today to see an exhibition of Chinese Brush Painting by artist and teacher Echo Wu.  I took some photos, although I probably shouldn't have, but there were no signs up to probibit photography. 





From the Town Hall, I drove a few streets down to visit Sharon, and return some books I'd borrowed from her.   I stayed for an hour or so, enjoyed a cup of tea and cake, and catching up with her news.

Then I went to Balwyn to drop something in to another friend.  Val had been to our place the previous day and left something behind, so I returned it to her seeing I was on the road all day!

Finally headed off home intending to stop off in Eltham and buy a chicken for tea.  But I got sidetracked at the Oxfam book fair....It was open from 8 am to 6 pm, and by the time I called in, they were getting ready to close.  But I managed to find 4 books for $2 each, so that wasn't too much damage.  Got my chicken after that and was so relieved to pull into our driveway, knowing I wouldn't have to go out again!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pondering the future...

Maybe Ken will outlive me after all!  I hope not though, as I hate the thought of him trying to cope on his own,with his health problems.  I got one of those government bowel cancer test kits a couple of months ago.   I put it out of sight and out of mind, until the government sent a letter asking if I had done the tests yet.  So I dug it out from where I had buried it under books and magazines,  duly carried out the icky test, and posted off the results.
Two days later I got a letter from Dorevitch Pathology telling me the results were positive (not in the "good" meaning of postitive), and that I should see my doctor immediately.  I don't like being told what to do by some faceless government authority! so I just filed that letter too.  But no, they had sneakily sent the report to my doctor as well, and the next day I had a phone call from the surgery telling me I MUST come in and see Doctor C. about my test results.  I told the girl I had received the letter from Dorevitch, and I'd come and see the doctor in my own time, don't hassle me!  She was a bit shocked I think, so I thought I'd better get it over and done with.

Today I saw Doctor C. and knowing what I'm like about what I consider unneccessary invasive surgery, she didn't make a fuss.  Just told me calmly that the test showed some blood and she will book me in for a colonoscopy to follow up on it.  I said  "You can book me in but I don't have to show up", and she laughed and said "I suppose not, if you don't want to!"  We talked some more, and she admitted that only one of the two tests was positive, the other was clear.  So she gave me another kit to do some more tests and said if they all come back clear, she will be convinced that my explanation for the blood is a valid one, and will cancel the colonoscopy appointment :-)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Making time for myself.

I've been so involved with doing stuff with Ken since he retired, I haven't had a lot of time for my craft stuff, apart from some embroidery and patchwork.  So with the forecast for this weekend being cold and wet, I was determined to start work on some Christmas stuff and anything else I could fit in the time.
On Saturday I spent the day at an oil painting workshop, which I really enjoyed, and it has inspired me to do more with oils.  But not this year - too much else to do!  If anyone is still reading this blog, and would like to see my first oil painting, it is over here Patra's Art & Crafts blog. 
If you've been here before you'll know about my stitching blog, and there is a new post about an item I finished today.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mrs Wilson Snr's final resting place.

Yesterday we went to the Fawkner Memorial Park to see Ken's Mum's ashes placed into the space allocated for his parents.  Ken placed the container next to the container with his father's ashes in it, and commented on how heavy it was.  The attendant agreed, saying that the cremated remains of an adult person weighs about 2 -3 kilograms.  He then put the plaque in place, sealed it up, and left us to reflect on our memories.   I took some photos for posterity...the rose gardens are in full bloom and despite the rainy day, they were so beautiful I had to photograph the flowers too.







Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Sassafras - tourist village in the Dandenong Ranges.

Sassafras is one of many charming tourist towns in the Dandenongs.  Others are Ferntree Gully, Olinda, The Basin, Tecoma (of Macdonalds fame) and Kallista.  One could spend a whole weekend just driving from one town to the next, stopping to look at shops, gardens and other attractions. 
As we drove through this town, we decided it was the ideal place to stop for a much needed coffee.

The most well known cafe in Sassafras is this one - Miss Marples Tea Rooms,


but they had just closed for the day at 4 pm when we got there, so we strolled down the street, and found another lovely little place where we had delicious coffee with almond and apple cake.

 I love this photo of Kenny, he looks so happy and well.
This was the second photo Ken took of me; I deleted the first one because I had my arms resting on the table and you could see the rolls of fat, so I crossed my arms over all that for the second shot - ha ha!
When we left the cafe, we wandered back up the street toward the car, but could not pass this little place without a peek inside.   Did I say little?  Appearances can be very deceptive; this place was enormous inside!  They sell a huge variety of teas and coffees, but most of the shelves are full of teapots, cups, and other paraphernalia to do with tea drinking.

The next two photos are just some of the teapots in the front window.


And these are inside the shop.  See what I mean about the size of the place?





The sign outside says it all - I've never seen so many teapots in my life!!  If you haven't been here, and you love a cuppa, do make the effort to drive up there one day.  It is worth the drive just for this shop alone!

The Beautiful Dandenong Ranges, outer Melbourne, Victoria.

We haven't been up to these hills for years.  Well we've driven through them on the way to some other destination, but we haven't stopped to wander around in the Ferntree Gully National Park.  It was such a gorgeous Melbourne spring day on Monday, it was too good an opportunity to waste, especially after the frenetic pace of life we've been leading lately, running from one appointment to another, waiting for tradesmen, and so on. 
Driving through the stately eucalyptus forest.

Ken breathing in the clear fresh air at the picnic area at One Tree Hill.  (We have no idea why it is called that - there are thousands of trees here!)

One finds these signpost things everywhere, but they are all different, depending on where you are.

A memorial to some far sighted person in the local community.

The last major bushfire in the Dandenongs was several decades ago, but the scarred trees take a long time to heal.  They are alive with healthy leaves and branches near the top.  Actually we aren't sure if there was a smaller fire in this part of the Dandenongs on the Black Saturday week...if there was, it didn't destroy the area as fires did so many years ago.  I said to Ken "the Dandenongs are a bushfire waiting to happen.  There has been so much regrowth since the last bad fires, and they usually happen about thirty years apart".    Ken said "Don't even SAY that - nobody knows where or when the next bushfire will occur".

A nicer shot of healthy trees.

There were patches of these pretty white flowers everywhere.  When I was a child we called them Snowdrops, but I think that is an English flower, and I'm sure these ones would be native to the area.


The Lyrebird is common in the Dandenong Ranges, but very elusive, and I only walked less than one kilometre, so I wasn't expecting to see or hear any.  Ken wasn't up to walking that far, so he waited for me in one of the stone shelters in the picnic area.


October so far.

I am shocked to find how fast another year is slipping away. What do I do with my time since Ken retired? I haven't done as much sewing as I used to, taken no craft or art classes. Just as a record for myself, this is what we've been doing this month:
1st Oct. - shopping with Ken.
 2nd Oct. - Marg and Maryanne here to look at my linens. - Dead trees chopped down in back yard - $1100.
3rd Oct. - Food and groceries weekly shop. More shopping with Ken. Delivered patchwork to EGV member for Xmas exhibition.
 4th Oct. - Opshop in the morning.  Afternoon spent looking at cars, buying spare part for my car.
 5th Oct. - NOTY exhibition, Ken's cousin here for tea.
6th Oct. - Friends from Narren Warren visited, another friend dropped in. Neighbours dropped in to meet friends (mutual interest in vintage cars)
7th Oct. - Ken collected hearing aid - $1000. - Gas fitter came to measure up for new gas fire to replace existing one that died last week. $800 deposit paid.  In the afternoon we drove up to the Dandenongs and had a lovely quiet afternoon.  It made such a nice change of pace from tearing around buying stuff for the house.
8th Oct. - Two hours at Austin Hospital with Ken while he was assessed for pulmonary rehab. which starts next week for eight weeks - two days a week.  More shopping.  Acupuncture treatment for both of us.
9th Oct. - Food and groceries weekly shop in the morning while Ken was having his eye checked by the optician; he's had a bit of pain where the cataract surgery was.  In the afternoon I went to visit Helen and Ray.  Ray unable to drive after an operation, so I took him to the shops to do some messages that he wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.  Had a cuppa with them both when we returned.  It was lovely to catch up, as I simply have not had time to spend with my dear friend Helen, and it bothers me, as she always says she loves my visits.  I have two other disabled friends that I've neglected these past few months too.
Feel bad about it, but at the moment my Kenny takes priority over everything else.
Tomorrow 10th October - we go to Fawkner Memorial Gardens to have MIL's ashes interred finally - it has taken way too long, but never mind - tomorrow she will be with her hubby in their space on the Memorial Wall.

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