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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A very hot day in Melbourne.

Everyone was asleep except me and the chooks!   I thought it would be fun to get some photos.  The chooks like to get under this Acacia shrub and peck around in the shade.
  Then they come out into the sun and have a dust bath, spreading out their wings.
 They look like they are dead, but when I get too close, they spring up, ruffle their feathers, and waddle off.
 I had a dish of water under the table and umbrella, and the chooks make the most of it.

The cats aren't silly - they were both inside in the airconditioned lounge room, but still like to lie in the window to get some sun.  Tiger was sound asleep....
 ...until I tapped on the glass.

Topsy was asleep too.
 She was not amused when I poked the camera at her.
  Ken was having a bad time in the heat, so he spent the afternoon snoozing on the couch.

Lunch at De Bortoli's, icecream at the Chocolaterie!

Last week Ken and I went out to lunch with a friend.  We went to De Bortoli's winery near Yarra Glen and while the amount of food didn't justify the price, it was very pleasant sitting in the restaurant catching up on each other's news.  Below as follows:  Ken listening to Julie.

The view from the window where I was sitting.

Ken took this pic of me.
After we'd eaten, we went for a walk around the grounds of the restaurant, which overlooks the winery.

 The car park was nearly full.  One doesn't just roll up to this place - you have to book in advance!
Acres and acres of grapes.

On our way home, we passed the entrance to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, so I persuaded Julie and Ken that we couldn't miss out on this opportunity to visit such a place!
SOOOOO many chocolates!

 The workers can be seen making the chocolates behind a glass wall.
 From the outside, it could be anything.  I'm told it has only been open for a year or so.
 Julie and Ken trying to locate her car in the very crowded car park!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Australia!

Some people say that this country shouldn't celebrate the 'birth' of Australia on 26th January, as the Aboriginal people were here thousands of years before then.  That is perfectly correct, but those people didn't call the land Australia, and chances are they didn't even know how big their land was, or where it starts and ends.  As far as today's population is concerned, when the English people who came here and claimed it for themselves, and eventually named it Australia, that is when our history began.  The Aborigines have their own history, and while they obviously weren't happy about the changes that came about over 200 years ago, that's life.  It's happened in all countries since mankind starting roaming around the earth, and it's a case of survival of the fittest, just like the animal world.

Anyway, our own celebration has been going on for twenty years, and today we continued this little tradition with 7 of our oldest and closest friends for lunch and laughs.  The girls bring the food and the guys bring the grog drink, and Ken and I provide the place, as well as extra food and drink.  One of the things that many people do for fun on Australia Day is have a trivia quiz with their friends.  These are printed in national papers each year, but I make up my own, finding questions and answers in various books and on the internet.
Here are our friends puzzling over the quiz today, in the shade of our gazebo which we set up every year for this occasion, and usually leave it up for the remainder of summer, as it is a lovely spot to sit on a warm day when you want to enjoy the summer, but don't want to get sunburnt!

 After all that mental effort, I rewarded them with dessert - two pavlovas, cheesecake and fresh fruit salad.
I saw this Aussie Map pavlova in an advertisement last year, and kept the recipe to try this year.  It was a bit time consuming, mixing the pav. mix and spreading it on to baking paper in the shape of Australia, but it worked.  But then when I put the cream on top, it ran over the edges and poor Australia lost some of it's coastline, lol!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

All over and done with.

None of it was as bad as I'd anticipated.   The stuff I had to drink was lemon flavoured...sort of - which made it slightly more palatable than it would have been without flavouring.  But there was such a lot of it, and one has to drink more water and other liquids on top of the medical stuff.  I'm a small framed person, and can only fit a certain amount in my tummy without wanting to burst.  So I probably didn't drink as much as I should have, but I did my best.

Most people say you run back and forth to the toilet many times in the 24 hours between drinking stuff and having the colonoscopy done.  I only went twice.  Messy, yes,but I won't go into any more details.. But I didn't feel ill at any stage, just slightly hungry, and very full of liquid.  But apparently my preparations were good enough.

The first nurse took me into a room to remove my skirt and undies, although I could leave on my shoes, bra and teeshirt. (Shoes??? Yep, leave them ON!)    I had to put one of those blue 'gowns' on and a white chenille dressing gown over that.  From there I was led to the theatre where the procedures are done, and told to lay on a bed where they put an oxygen mask on me, and inserted the intravenous needle into my arm to anaesthise me.  That was the last thing I remember until I woke up an hour later in the recovery room.  I was lying in the same position, and couldn't figure out whether I'd been 'done' or not, until a nurse came over and said 'Hello Gina, you're all done.  Feeling okay?"  To my relief, I was.  After spending weeks worrying about getting sick after the anaesthetic it was a happy moment to wake up feeling perfectly well, and being offered tea and biscuits!

After a few minutes, I was helped off the bed and into a room with comfortable armchairs, where some other ladies were sitting waiting to be taken home.  I was there for about half an hour, during which time the surgeon who had performed the colonoscopy on each of us, came and spoke to us.  He said to me that my results are fine - no polyps or any other issues, and I don't need to have another colonoscopy in the foreseeable future.  (Some people have to have them regularly if they've had polyps removed).  He said if I wanted to check myself, I could get a test kit from my doctor every few years. 

So!  Very nice to know that my belief in myself was justified.  I know some people thought I was being cocky when I said I didn't believe I had cancer, because I try to eat regularly the kind of foods that are known as cancer fighters, such as broccoli, strawberries, and several others.  I never smoked, and only drink alcohol occasionally.   The only thing I don't do often enough is exercise properly, but fortunately for me, I've always been skinny up until middle age, and never had a tendency to put on weight.  This is a family trait, so I'm lucky to have inherited those genes.  I know luck and genetics play a large part in how good our health is, but I firmly believe lifestyle and healthy eating has a lot to do with it.  Who knows what the next 30 years will bring to me, if I live that long?  No use worrying about the future; I'm just very happy to be healthy at this moment!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Just a bit nervous.

We coped okay with the heat wave last week, thanks to the new roof and effective air conditioning, and limiting our activities outdoors.  Today it was so much cooler (by comparison to 44 deg.C) that I cleaned out all the aviaries, pruned the wilted branches off shrubs and trees, raked the lawn, swept the paths, and generally cleaned up outside.   I'm not naive enough to think that it is all over for this summer; it is only half way through January, and going by previous years, the worst is yet to come in February.  Hopefully Australia Day (26th January) will be sunny and warm enough for the nation to celebrate, but not hot enough to exacerbate the bushfire situation.

We had a scare nearby last week - an out of control fire in Kangaroo Ground on one day.  Fortunately it was brought under control by our brave firefighters and probably the local community most of whom are well aware of the dangers and have bushfire plans in place.  One of my friends said she was evacuated from her home in Research when the Kangaroo Ground fire was burning, and I said 'WHAT??'  as Research is the next suburb to Eltham.  She explained that her home is situated between KG and  Warrandyte, and if the wind had kept blowing in the same direction, she would have been right in the line of fire, hence the evacuation orders.   Oh man, that is too close for comfort.

The funniest thing about these extremely hot days (funny-weird, not funny ha-ha) is that nobody around here uses their swimming pools then!   All our neighbours either side and across the road (five houses) have swimming pools, but on those hot days, it is completely silent outside, no sounds of splashing at all.  I asked one of the parents why the kids weren't in the pool and he said "It's too hot!"  and explained that they would get sunburnt or heatstroke if they were outside for any length of time.  I suppose he is right, but I remember when we had our pool, I would go outside on those hot days and splash around in the pool for about five minutes,  just enough to cool my skin, then come inside.  I'd do that every half hour or so, and it kept me cool for the day.

All that is not the reason for the title of this post.  I'm having a colonoscopy on Monday, which in itself is nothing to worry about, I've been assured.  A 15 minute procedure.  But it is the preparation that I'm dreading - drinking a heap of stuff to make you go to the loo - a LOT.  Ugh.  Then the anaesthetic to relax me before the procedure.  Ken says I'm being silly - he had both ends done at the same time and suffered no after effects.  But I've had just two operations in my lifetime where I had a general anaesthetic, and was violently ill as soon as I woke up.  I told the hospital about this when I took all the paperwork in last week and the lady at the counter assured me that I wouldn't get sick as this was only a light anaesthetic.  "And things have changed a lot since then".  Yep.  That's what they told me last time.  No doubt you will all be back here in a few days, wanting to know how it all goes....haven't you got anything better to do?

Monday, January 06, 2014

35th Wedding Anniversary today :-)

Ken and I can hardly believe we've been married for 35 years!   Last week his cardiologist congratulated us and said "Twelve years ago if you had told me you would still be here to celebrate your 71st birthday and this anniversary, I wouldn't have believed it!"  We celebrated by going out to dinner at our favourite Chinese restaurant in Eltham - Noble House.  We were joined by our long time friends Mark and Louise who live nearby and often join us for celebration dinners such as this. 

If you think we look drunk, you're wrong - we are just tired and full of food!  We had a banquet dinner - great food, about 8 courses, small serves about 15 minutes apart, but by the end of it, we were all absolutely stuffed!  Only one bottle of wine between us girls, and a beer for the guys. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a safe and happy 2014 to all who read my blogs. Ken and I weren't doing anything exciting last night, but a friend came for tea, as her husband was working. We watched t.v. for a while, but it was pretty boring, so we decided to drive over to Doncaster Westfield shopping centre to watch the fireworks in the city. For those of you who don't live in Melbourne, Doncaster is a suburb about 8 miles north east of the CBD, and is higher than most of the surrounding suburbs, so from most points you can get a good view of the city on a fine day (or night). A few years ago Ken discovered that the Powers-That-Be at Westfield kindly leave the above ground car parks open on New Years Eve, so people can drive up there and park without having to pay, in order to get a birds eye view of the city fireworks. We've done it twice before, and know that you have to get there before 11 pm to get a good spot so you are on the balcony without anyone in front of you.

We got there about 10.45, and got a nice spot. We'd brought chips and a bottle of champagne with three plastic wine glasses, and by the time we opened the bottle at about 11.45, everyone in the car park was having a good time, talking to strangers, and making room for latecomers to share the view. Ken had locked his car but left the window wound down, and I wanted something from the car, so I just leaned in and unlocked the door - oh dear, what a mistake. The car alarm immediately went off with the horn tooting, which made everyone jump and Ken yell "GINA!" Oops. Well, everyone knew my name by then so I got lots of laughs and "happy new year" good wishes after that! The fireworks at midnight were spectacular as always, and once they'd finished, we stayed on chatting to people until most of the other cars had gone. It was a fun night!

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