Sunday, 27 February 2011

Rescue operation

There was a dramatic rescue operation at our house this afternoon!

A cane toad was stuck in the base of the netball stand...

When I say stuck - it was really stuck.
It pushed and heaved, rested...then pushed and heaved some more, but there was no way out!

I know they are revolting creatures...huge, disgusting, venomous spraying revolting creatures...
...but we had to rescue it.

Husband did the duty and ended up tipping the stand to let gravity do its thing and the toad eventually popped out.

I think it was rather grateful, and stayed around for a few minutes for a photo shoot!

Apparently the true Aussie thing to do would have been to capture it and as 'humanely' as possible dispose of it. Okay... if you want to hear it straight this varies from cricket bat humane to plastic bag in the freezer humane!?!
Sorry, just couldn' the Australian cane toad population is still the same!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Think of Christchurch

To the people of Christchurch, New Zealand... thinking of you on your long journey of recovery...

NZ Prime Minister John Key's moving speech here

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Here come the spiders...

I warned you that I would be showing some local spiders...

Golden Orbs at Roma Street park Feb 2011
Whilst the lizards here are a source of fascination, the spiders are another story. We appear to be in spider season, (if there is such a thing?) and at the moment every corner I turn there's a huge golden orb in my track.
They take great pleasure in spinning their webs just a fraction above eye level across your walkway, and I swear they do it overnight! These things are huge! I'm not kidding when I tell you that you can bounce back from a golden orb web! Thankfully they are pretty harmless as far as Australian spiders go.
On our walk to school recently we counted 44 golden orb spiders...and that was just in three trees. They were in an enormous web suspended between the trees and an overhead power line...a little village of spiders.

the spider village...
not a great photo, but it gives you an idea of what I'm talking about

Golden Orbs at Moffat beach Feb 2011

No spider post would be complete without a quick mention of the ever present huntsman. He's been a little quiet lately, but husband reported a sighting in the study last week. If golden orb spiders are huge, these things are monsters...! We are talking the size of an adult hand here! We have a hunstman lodger, he's so big he almost needs his own bedroom! You can read more here, here and here.

our resident huntsman

Fortunately we have avoided any encounter with dangerous and venomous spiders. However many stories you will read or hear, coming face to face with one is pretty rare - you just have be vigilant. We check closed in shoes that have been left outside or not been worn for a while and keep a lookout when in the garden or on a walk. Sibs and I once spotted a couple of redbacks hiding in a metal road barrier. Once seen, you will never mistake a redback for another spider. They were actually smaller than I expected, but very distinctive, an we gave them a wide berth!

So that's a little introduction to some of our arachnid neighbours...
 but please don't let this spider talk put anyone off from visiting....if I can live here... !

Is there anything else you'd like to know more about? Something less squeamish?

Monday, 21 February 2011

A beach weekend

This weekend we went to the beach...yes, we went to the beach.
Not the usual husband and Sibs going and me finding some 'very important' reason to stay at home.
I was there!

We were celebrating nana's birthday - 39 again!!

You may recall my (very non Australian) confession about a certain dislike of sand here

Moffat beach

See that patch of grass? - that was my spot!
Under the shade of the tree...that's as close as you'll get me to the beach!

papa in charge

We relaxed and chilled liked it was no-body's business...pretty easy when the temperature was hitting 34 degrees and you're not at home.
Not much else you can do except sit under the fan and read a book; dip in the pool, or join your little girl in watching a dvd of Pride and Prejudice (love the fact that Sibs loves Jane Austen).

Nana and papa looked after us and we enjoyed a family get together and birthday meal on saturday night.

kitchen at the Moffat beach house

What do you think of this kitchen?
It's pretty fancy...but I'm not sure I could live with lime and purple every day!

This weekend made me reflect how different life is now that we live in Australia.
Winter birthdays have become Summer ones and we never consider a plan B "in case of the weather".

 Life is different...
My little country girl has become a sun, sea and sand girl!

home and away....or....away and home?

Happy Monday

Caloundra coastline

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Blogging is...

the gorgeous library from 'Something's Gotta Give'

Blogging is like a subscription to all your favourite magazines...for free... enjoy whenever you want.

It's like having your own personal home library to escape to... wonder I love it!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Local dragons and lizards

I have posted the occasional photo of some local water dragons on this blog, but as I am constantly fascinated by these creatures I think it's time for their own show!

My friends say that it's "very British" to be so interested in these lizards...

Roma Street park Feb 2011

I've been in awe of these creatures ever since my first holiday visit to Australia back in 2004. I remember the first time I saw a lizard  (I think it was a large Lace Monitor, aka a goanna), I screamed that it was a croc!! I had just stepped off a little boat and was wading ashore with a 2 year old in my was frightening....and just a touch embarrassing!

I'm now getting used to all types of lizards - dragons, blue tongues, geckos, skinks, even the odd lace wonderfully exotic! We have a little blue tongue lizard living in our front garden, and he graces us with a glimpse every now and then.

a regular house guest gecko

"What's that clicking noise in our house in the evening?"
"That's just the geckos - leave them, they're ok, they keep the mozzies away".
 (not the response I was giving when we first arrived!)

a sunbather at Roma Street park Feb 2011


Roma Street park Feb 2011

just a warning....I'll be posting about spiders soon.

Any interesting creatures in your back yard?

It's Good Life Wednesday over at A Beach Cottage, so I'm linking up.
Sarah  has some lovely images and ideas to share in her blog, it's definitely worth a visit.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Smiley Monday

Yesterday I had one of those days that I felt grateful and smiley and just happy...

It was no extraordinary Monday, just another start of the week day.

With my work hat on I can often find myself discussing the 'meaning' of happiness. Of course, this is different to us all, we all have our our definitions and even  this can change...
An exercise that can help to personalise happiness and to get some perspective is to write down the positives of the day. It can be one thing or twenty.... It can be effective on a 'down day' or just to capture the magic of an ordinary one...

My happy Monday list.
  • I received a home made valentine card and breakfast in bed.
  • I had morning coffee with a friend and we just chatted.
  • I helped out with school swimming lessons and  Sibs kept catching my eye and giving me a thumbs up sign.
  • One of her school friends came and said thank you for her birthday present.
  • I had a chat with an old lady in the supermarket - she just wanted to talk to someone.
  • I managed to get an Aldi special - even though the catalogue was out last Thursday....that never happens!
  • I watched my little girl turn into a little lady at the hairdressers. She chatted away and enjoyed her head massage. There were more thumbs up signs from across the room!
  • I played the piano, and accompanied Sibs's violin practise.
  • I spent the evening babysitting for three lovely kids.
Like I said...nothing extraordinary there, but just one of those days when I actually appreciated what was going on around me.

The simple pleasures in life...

"a happy heart is a pure heart"

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Weekend happennings

Can you believe that it's Sunday again? Another week and another weekend gone by...

I am still going with the earlier to bed earlier to rise thing - not particularly successful mind you! I loved reading the comments that I got for my last post- thank you. I'm coming to the conclusion that being brought up in the Northern hemisphere (where for about 10 months a year you get up in the cold and dark) has shaped my sleep patterns! I will persevere, but I might just have to adopt the 'sleep camel' way where I get to stock up on my sleep on weekends...I like that idea, thanks Sonia, it made me chuckle.

So what did we get up to this weekend?

Well, the Saturday market routine was restored, followed by coffee and pastries by the pool. Then later on Saturday morning, squeezed in before ballet class and a birthday party, Sibs went to Ballymore to a "Meet the players" session with the Queensland Reds. (For those not in the know that"s the local rugby union team!)

She stuck out like a sore thumb in her green top as all the other kids seem to wear the red team shirt...but she didn't mind, or even notice! She had her pink butterfly pen at the ready and her dad's cap and really enjoyed getting as many autographs as she could. 

Then this morning we were invited out for breakfast. This is quite a common thing here - and it's very family friendly. After bacon and eggs (cooked on the bbq) we watched the recorded six nations rugby, and this time...I was on the winning sofa! Our Scottish hosts were very gracious in defeat!

The weekend ended with a trip up Mount Coot-tha to take a view of the city. This is a shot taken from the top of the mountain. If you look closely you can see Suncorp stadium to the far right of the photo and South Bank Parklands Brisbane Wheel to the left. Every time I see this view, it always strikes me how small Brisbane city centre is.

On the way home we checked to see how some of the locals were doing after the floods and were rewarded with the fact that Sushi Lovers, Rosalie was open for business. Of course we had to stop for a bite to eat...

They only re-opened this weekend - one month after being submerged under water. Either side of Sushi Lovers the eateries are still closed and we watched a lone painter working away in the fish and chip shop on a Sunday's still tough for many places. 

Hope your weekend was fun.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

I am so not a morning person...

I've had a little break from blogging this last week or so. I've occasionally had a little nosy browse through other blogs, but I can't seem to find enough hours (or energy) to fit everything in.
I think I must be doing something wrong!

My excuse? ... I am a night owl, and I so dislike mornings...I squeeze every last second of time in my bed.

source Okooko, New Zealand
I have been one of those people known to press "snooze" so many times on my clock that the print has disappeared from the button!

  When I first moved here to Australia I was amazed with the chirpiness of all the morning people around me. I could hear all these happy souls from around 5.30am each morning going for their runs, cycles, dog walks etc and I just wanted to hide! Husband and daughter soon got into the swing of this and they would (and still do) bounce around at this silly o'clock!

I can however easily stay up until the early hours, but this is just not the way to do things here...
So, it's time for a bit of a change...

*I have really been trying to get to bed earlier and then limiting myself to just a few chapters of my book.
*I have been forcing myself out of bed before crunch time.
*I have arranged for piano lessons to happen before school.
*I even organised an 8am meeting this morning (ok, 8am is early by my standards!)
For a night owl, this is all a challenge...
I actually feel cheated out of those late evening hours!
Can a night person ever become a morning one??

source - clipart

P.S. Following on from my last post - the other sofa won : (

Linking up

Friday, 4 February 2011

Let's re-balance with some organised calmness

It's been a pretty mad start to 2011 here in Queensland.
There's been unprecedented rainfall, flooding, a tropical cyclone...

then there's everyday stuff like the start to a new school year, new piano teacher, different day for ballet class...

This week everything has felt upside down and back to front.
We've been getting up a touch too late, going to bed too late, our planned meals haven't quite gone to plan...

Time to take a long deep breath and re-balance.

My yogalates class on Thursday concentrated on balance and strength. I struggled with the basic balance poses...everyone felt out of line after the terrible cyclone that ravaged parts of the state in the early hours of Thursday morning. Our bodies were showing signs of stress that wasn't obvious.

So this weekend things are going to be calm, cool and this house

We will plan our shopping list.
We won't be running late to dance lessons.
We will eat a healthy Saturday night meal at a reasonable time.
We will catch up on some sleep.
We will do some fun activity together.
I will get to read
We will organise school bag, books and uniform on Sunday afternoon.

Doesn't this organised calmness sound good?

There's one little problem... On Saturday morning at 5.45am (Brisbane time) Wales will be playing England in the first of the season 6 Nations rugby union game.
This is tension time in our house... Husband and I have separate sofas kind of tension time!
There's the Welsh sofa, and the English one, and little Sibs hovers between us not wanting to show any favouritism!

Maybe our organised calming re balancing should start after the final whistle?!

Happy calm weekend

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

crazy weather (cyclone yasi)


I'm trying to keep my mind away from the cyclone that is threatening Queensland this evening.
The TV has some worrying reports about upgrading it from a Category 4 to a Category 5...
It's almost unbelievable that there is potentially another weather disaster on the horizon.
Queenslanders are tired, and there is only so much resilience left in the pot.

The AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY web site has been a well visited site by many recently and is keeping us updated. You can click here to view.

A-M also has a link on her blog that shows the size and ferocity of cyclone yasi - click here

Hospitals in North Queensland have started to evacuate patients and the government is issuing warnings and safety advice to residents in the likely feels surreal.

Down in Brisbane we should avoid the actual impact of the cyclone, but it will impact in other ways....

Keep safe everyone...