Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What is it Wednesday

First of all I would like to wish you all a belated from Melbourne. I had intended a quick post on Christmas day but my plans were derailed.
We went out for a very non traditional BBQ for Christmas (almost no washing up).
Very relaxing (did I say no washing up?)

Why a BBQ? Well remember Christmas means summer in Oz and the weather seemed perfect.

Anyway we headed home in the early afternoon just in time to beat a terrible storm that lashed Melbourne late Christmas Day.

There was hail, terrible winds, and rain that caused flash-flooding across the city.

A section of the railway line I commute on every day has apparently been washed away (I haven't had a look yet). The shopping centre where Lu does her part time job has lost half its roof.

As for us we had two trees come down, one of which managed to fall between two of our cars (mine and our eldest's) without hitting either.

Our power went out for hours which kind of meant no posting!

Just as the sun set the storm began moving across and I braved the elements to capture this eerie sunset peeking under the edge of the storm (and droplets of rain still overflowing our gutters.)Speaking of droplets, to the business of the day.

What on Earth do you think this is?

Friday, December 23, 2011


Kathleen, Marcy, Pearl, Sarah, and Michelle hit the nail on the head with their guesses of a tin roof, or corrugated metal etc for this image. The image is cropped from a section of the roof of this very old, and very small garage.As you can see from this sign it is now closed for business A few weeks ago on one of our weekend rambles Deb and I wandered up to Lake Eildon. Rather than taking the sensible way home we continued clockwise around the lake following unsealed mountain roads up over Frenchman's gap and down into the near ghost-town of Woods Point (where the garage resides).

This tiny isolated town was first settled in the 1860s in one of Victoria's many 19th Century gold-rushes.
By 1864 the town had grown until it had 36 Hotels!

Most of the gold played out by the 1890s. Although the last mine did not close until 1963.
Being so isolated and with no other industry the population collapsed to about 40 in the 2006; census around the same number as its previous number of pubs! As it is an Aussie town there is still a pub there today.

With new technology and the high gold price new mines have just started up nearby. so it will be interesting to see if the town grows again.

Scattered all through the bush around the town are the relics of the old days. The remains of a 1940s Blitzwagon (referred to as a Canadian Military Pattern or CMP truck in Canada and the UK)

The main street is lined with tiny miner's cottagesIncluding this one, the smallest miner's cottage I have ever seen! It seems barely big enough to fit in a bed and a chair! I've seen bigger cubby-houses!

The post office.It was late when we arrived so we did not stay long. The road (dirt track really) climbed through switch-backs into the mountains towards Marysville. It was around 160km (100 miles) home about a third over dirt. I am used to dirt roads so I expected it would take about two hours, the road was so bad it took us nearly four hours! Over half the time in that first third.

Just before dark I paused to shoot this rill, which cascaded down the mountainside and under the road.

One of the better sections of the road.Actually, this bit is like a highway compared to most of the rest!

Now finally, in case I don't post again before I should say to all of you; thank you for a great year and have a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What is it Wednesday? + Uncertainty for Christmas

Well here I go again,

What do you think this one is? With my Aussie eye I think this is an easier one than last week. But I guess we'll see ;-)

Well our Government has decided to cut numbers in the Victorian public service by 10% over the next two years.

Personally I'm not worried, they can't cut me very easily without cutting the program I run for them (and they just made it ongoing). Also, I am fairly employable so if they did let me go I'd find something else. But I have to say a lot of my colleagues are feeling very let down at getting that message at Christmas time.

Also contrary to my expectations before joining the public service last year things are pretty lean in terms of staffing levels. How the work will get done is a mystery to me.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Potography Hiatus, Writing Bonanza

Well this one was too hard for people.
I guessed when I posted this that people would think "railroad sign".
Like a railroad sign it is a warning sign, but in a very different place.

This is a channel marker in Port Phillip Bay. I took this at the Bellarine Peninsula on the far south-west side of the bay. The Bellarine is near the mouth of the bay close to the city of Geelong.
Melbourne is about 100 km (62 miles) to the north where the Yarra River flows into the bay.
The mountain in the distance is on the far side near Dromana and has the lovely name (I think) Arthur's Seat.

I have taken very few photographs over the past few weeks (the ones of Lilli being the few exceptions)
I have kept my eye out for waterfalls and took this at the Murrindindi river in the central highlands.The semi-hiatus in photography is probably due largely to my putting a lot of creative effort into my writing.

I have finished the next draft of Veiled in Storms. I mentioned a while ago I had read the previous draft to Deb (she liked it).

This week I have been jumping forwards and plotting out books 3 and 4 in the series. Till now they have been very rough ideas, now 3 (working title Veil of Iron) is starting to look like a proper outline.

Well I have given a copy of the current draft Of Veiled in Storms to a friend to read (Cheryl did some copy edits on the first book Veiled in Shadows).

Once I get feedback from her I will put a bit of effort into tidying errors up and then in a month or two probably look for a couple more readers for opinions.

Anyone interested?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What is it Wednesday? Or is that Thursday?

I'll keep this short because I was home after midnight last night (hence no Wednesday post).
Nothing unpleasant, we had a Christmas do.

I'm also late home today so without further ado
Any ideas what this object is?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


A quick post about our pup Lilli.

Lilli continues to grow and is now getting close to adult size.One of her favourite things is the time almost everyday when we take her down to a local cricket ground so she can play with other dogs and chase her balls.

A lab running with a ball, the epitome of happy?

As you know Labradors have really floppy ears.

A bit more dignified.

But then Lilli's latest trick trying to catch the ball when Lu throws it straight up.

Dang Missed!

And again!

By the way the train in the background is the one I do my writing on to and from work.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hard to trick!

Well Anne who guessed first pretty much hit the nail on the head with her guess of " a lizard or iguana..." And most of the rest of you were pretty close with guesses of other scaly creatures

This mystery object was cropped from this close up portrait of a Shingle-back lizard. This was a guy I moved off a road in NSW about five years ago. They are slow moving with stumpy little legs so they definitely do not mix with cars.

We don't have iguanas in Oz (except in zoos) but the land down under is a kingdom of reptiles. We have 860 known species of reptiles hundreds of which are lizards, from tiny skinks a few centimetres long to giant 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) Perentie goannas (Varanus giganteus).

Anyway shingle-backs (Tiliqua rugosa) are a blue-tongued skink very common to areas west of the Great Dividing Range (and on dryer parts of the range too).
This is another portrait of an animal I moved off a road in the Grampians on my last visit.I think they are so ugly they are cute!
You can see from their shot tails why they get the name "bob-tail" which is their common name over in WA.

This piccie of my Grampians one shows why "shingle-back" is also apt.They vary in size quite a lot with adults between about 30 to 60 cm long (1' to 2'), most of them towards the shorter end of that range. They are one of my favourite lizards, and totally innocuous.
Relying on bluff to try to scare predators away. They pop open a bright pink mouth and flop out a very blue tongue to look alarming. The Grampians one obliged me with a show.
They have small blunt teeth, if you handle them carelessly they can bite, but their bite will not break the skin (it is like being squeezed by a pair of pliers). Certainly their bite is unlike dragon-lizards which I can attest from personal experience have a painful bite full of needle like teeth.
By the way all native reptiles are protected by law in Oz and should be left alone (but I can't help but move the poor sods off roads before they get cleaned up by a car.)
I have very warm memories of these guys, when I was a small child we had some living in our garden. That is a good thing because just about their favourite meal is a juicy snail.

Now I can see I am going to have to try to make the next mystery object much harder!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What is it Wednesday?

Well I'm on the way back computer-wise.

Unfortunately after spending about 20 hours reconfiguring my machine it blue-screened again with the same result - dead Windows. It was a little old so not easy to get new parts. I decided to pull the plug on it.
I caned the credit card to buy a new machine which is running nicely. Now I just need reinstall my piccie libraries etc. A couple more days and I should be back up and running.

Now for tonight another What is it Wednesday.

Any ideas what this is?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Deja vu: computer style

Thank you all for your comments about my Kookaburra post. I was surprised to hear so many people knew the "Kookaburra sits in an old gum tree" song. The song has been in the news lately I must tell you about it soon, but probably not for a few days at least

It was only back in June that I was offline for days with computer problems.
Well my machine is causing me headaches again.

I had the blue screen of death on Saturday morning and windows wouldn't start again afterwards.

So I loaded Ubuntu via a cd installation and managed to get off all my un-backed up photos which took me most of Saturday.

Now I have begun reinstalling windows. It seems to be working but I have a niggling feeling it is a hardware problem. I can't really afford a new computer at the moment (I have an expensive camera habit to support) but the old one is just too old to be worth fixing hardware issues.

Anyway it is likely this will be my last post for a few days.
As a tide you over two random photos from my web archive.

Working windmill, Oatlands Tasmania

Rainbow Lorikeets NSW

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three Things

First, those of you who guessed “feathers” hit the nail on the head.
Yesterdays, image was cropped from this piccie of a Laughing Kookaburra, (Dacelo novaeguineae). I caught photographed this fellow last time I visited my Mum.
These raven sized birds are common on the east coast of Oz. Kookaburras are the largest kingfishers in the world. Unlike most kingfisher species they hunt small animals on the land, including mice and similar-sized small mammals, large insects, lizards, small birds and nestlings, and most famously, snakes.
That reminds me of a funny thing I saw once. (Maybe a tale for another time).

Second, one of my piccies is featuring on Marcy’s MaineWords blog at the moment. Apparently the piccie has inspired her latest WIP! What a lovely thought that one of my piccies has inspired someone else’s writing.

Finally because I want to, two of my recentish piccies.

A mountain stream near Marysville.And Deb and I went to the National Gallery of Victoria last Saturday. I was inspired to practice my own version of art there.