Monday, January 28, 2013

Fires and Floods

Well Oz being Oz we lurch from one natural extreme to another.

While the south (Victoria) is still battling wild fires the north (QLD and NSW) are now facing near cyclonic conditions and flooding rains.

At my Mum's place in northern NSW there have been 350 millimetres (14 inches) in the rain gauge since Saturday night!

The house there is well above flood levels but towns in the region are facing floods as are many cities in Queensland.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Well the secret is out!

Well my WIIW initially stumped everybody.

But following my clue yesterday Jennifer (aka Old Kitty) worked it out.

It is indeed a windmill. This is the Callington Mill at Oatlands in Tasmania.

Originally built in 1837 it has been fully restored and is now a working mill (as well as a tourist magnet).

Apparently it is the only functioning mill of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Now before I go: Tomorrow I will be on the road most of the day so I am unlikely to post.

In fact over the next two weeks or so posting is likely to be an infrequent event.

Deb and I are making some huge (hopefully positive) changes in our lives.

I know it is a bit unfair to leave it at that without saying more, but I promise I will bring you up to date during coming weeks.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Al chalks one up!

Well this piccie I posted for WIIW has stumped everyone!

So a clue is in order.

I have posted a piccie of the object this is cropped before.
It has nothing to do with transport.
Is a large object that is old (this one is was built in the Eighteen Hundreds) and used an ancient technology.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Which Al tries again

Well despite my efforts to be trickier last week Susan guessed my WIIW in the first round (with a little help).

So this week I am trying again to put up a WIIW that stumps all concerned.

Without further ado what on Earth do you think this might be?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fitzroy Town Hall

My piccie of the day is of one of Melbourne's many grand public buildings.

The Fitzroy Town Hall and Public Library.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Syd Harb

My piccie of the day needs little explanation.
Given the Aussie predilection for abbreviating  everything Sydney Harbour becomes "Syd Harb"

I took this piccie quite some time ago. I went for a walk across the "Coat-hanger" (the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and pointed my camera at the Opera House.

The ferry is probably a Mossman Ferry (the Manly ferries are bigger and it hasn't come from under the bridge)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hilda XXI: Doug

Well the cooler weather continues for the moment.
Many of the fires across the country have been contained. But the heat is forecast to return in the next few days.
A waiting game really.

In this week’s Hilda scene: Hilda has gathered the courage to go back up to Lieutenant Tilley’s room.

The cup of cocoa rattled on its saucer as she carried it back to his room on a wooden tray. A plate of biscuits and her candlestick stood beside the cup. Balancing the tray on one hand she knocked with the other. She waited an instant before opening the door.
He’d changed, sitting now on the edge of the bed in a dressing gown. That was something she supposed, perhaps he was pulling himself together. ‘Here you go sir, a nice cocoa.’
‘Thank you. Hilda wasn’t it?’
‘Yes sir.
‘You said you’d chat for a moment.’
She hesitated, there did not seem to be any malice in him, ‘For a while sir, I have to be up early.’
‘Have a seat.’ he gestured at the chair by the desk.
He waited until she’d turned it to face him, ‘You see,I don’t know I shan’t go into a blue funk the moment we face the enemy.’
‘You won’t.’
‘How can you say that?’
‘I don’t rightly know sir. But, in respect of the fact that you are facin’ your fears now I imagine you will be alright when it comes to it.’
‘You see, there is so much I’ve never done. I’ve been in the Army since I finished high-school. I’ve done nothing, I’ve had no time for poetry or literature, I’ve never traveled outside England, I have no sweetheart to write to, or to grieve for me, I’ve never kissed a girl.’
A moment of doubt, was that what this was about? A ploy to bed one of the servants?
She glanced at him, no she didn’t think so, his eyes were downcast,focused inward. He wasn’t dangerous, she thought, rather he was frightened, pathetic. Helpless was closer to the mark.
‘I’ll write to you if you likes.’ She was amazed at herself, he might take such a thing as very forward, ‘While you’re over there I mean. I…’
She stumbled to a halt, his eyes were fixed on her. ‘You would?’
‘I would sir.’
He surged to his feet, ‘I should introduce myself properly. If you are going to be… going to be my friend I can’t be “sir” and longer.’
He held out his hand, ‘Doug Tilley.’
Hesitantly Hilda held out her hand, ‘Hilda, Hilda Attewell.’
He took her hand, ‘Pleased to meet you Hilda,’ he brought her hand up, bending forward he brushed it with his lips.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

One Apostle

My piccie of the day is one of the "Twelve Apostles" taken from beach level.

The climb back up the cliff was certainly good for my cardio fitness!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Al is going to have to get trickier

Well people were in the right kind of area for this piccie:

(I guess the water gave it away)
Old Kitty said...     “A handlebar from a boat!?”

It is boat related, but it isn’t on a boat. 50%

Linda G. said... “I think that might be part of a huge steering wheel for a boat.”

Nope (see above) 50%

Marcy said … “I think that is metal painted white, beginning to rust, maybe a metal railing but on land”
It is metal, white, beginning to rust and on land but it isn’t a railing. 50%

Christine said...
“As to WIIW, I'm stumped. I'm thinking that it could be a steering wheel on a boat. But what is Al up to on a rusty boat, I wonder and where was he on said vessel to be able to take the pic? The stretch of water has the look of an inlet or sound so the metal could be a railing on land or a pier. Do you have piers in Oz? Sorry for blathering on...”

Well I am not quite sure how to answer that Christine, it is on land or strictly on a jetty. We tend to use the word jetty in Oz. Piers like the Brighton Pier etc are well and truly extinct on Oz. We only tend to have the more functional kind left. I guess all that hard work (or blather) deserves 60%.

Which brings us to the person who has hit the answer on the head:
Susan said... “maybe part of a frame for hanging a dinghy beside a pier?”

Well that is worth 100%

The piccie is of a davit for launching a row boat.

This piccie was taken at the Low Head Pilot Station at the mouth of the Tamar river in Tassie.

 Originally the pilots rowed out to incoming ships.

The pilot station is still functional but the pilots go out to the ships on somewhat more substantial vessels these days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Exploitation by the Media and What is it Wednesday?

Well things have been a bit cooler again, but the forecast is for very hot again tomorrow.

NSW seems to be the main problem place for fires at the moment with the fire near Coonabarabran still the main worry.
Dozens of houses have been burnt out in the area.
The ABC (that is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation)  News tonight featured an interview with an elderly gentleman they flew in by chopper to see his burnt out home (the local roads are still closed by fires).
He was visibly upset but spoke with dignity.
 Despite that I have to say that the whole piece felt like exploitation to me.
The journalist in question got footage of this poor fellow in one of the hardest situations a person can face; and splashed it across the country (and maybe the world).

What do you think?
Am I being too hard on the media?

On a cheerier note it is Wednesday so what on Earth do you think this is.

I think this one is harder than last week.
No points will be awarded for the obvious answers of : "water", "sea" or landscape related answers.

What is the object in the foreground?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


My Piccie of the Day is of Melbourne CBD at sunset.
The piccie was taken at Kangaroo Ground which was one of the many Oz places that has had fires in the past few days.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hilda XX: Fear

Well sorry about my silence over the past few days. I was working all through the weekend.
By the time I got home on both Saturday and Sunday I pretty much did nothing but eat and then hit the hay.
Things are just mad at work and no end in sight.

It was very hard to go back into the office this morning after not having had a weekend :-(

Well now to this week's Hilda scene. Hilda arrives back at work after her afternoon off only to have to answer an unusual request from one of Lord Shirley's guests.

As usual the kitchen was dim as Hilda came in, Mrs Garraway sat at the kitchen table, but close to midnight she was the only person in the kitchen. ‘Making the most of your afternoon off Duck?’
‘As usual, we works hard enough and I’s always back before the strike of twelve.’
‘I know, and I used to do the same when I was young. It means you’ll be tired when you’re doing breakfasts, and we’ll have extras with the guests.’
As apprentice cook Hilda usually found herself starting the staff breakfasts on her own, with Mrs Garraway appearing in time to supervise the family’s and guests morning meal. Monsieur Glanville was seldom seen in the kitchen before noon. Hilda didn’t mind, even with breakfasts she usually managed at least two hours more sleep than she had as the scullery maid.
‘It’s not a big party is it?’
Mrs Garraway counted mentally, ‘No, just eight officers from the Warwickshire Regiment.’
‘And they’ll be gone before lunch. Not a bad day then.’
The sudden jangle of a bell nearly made Hilda jump out of her skin, Mrs Garraway glanced at the board where the bells for each of the rooms upstairs hung, ‘That’s the blue guest room, a Lieutenant Tilley. Could you go up duck? Leeanne has just gone up to Captain Rogers and I don’t want to be climbing the stair tonight.’
'I'm not in uniform.'
'I won't say anything if you don't pet.'
Hilda sighed, she didn’t particularly mind, but it was Leeanne’s job really. ‘I’ll leave my hat here then.’
Dropping her hat on the table she took one of the candle sticks from the mantle, leaning the wick against a candle on the table until it caught. When they were working the kitchen was brightly lit by paraffin mantle lamps, but late like this a candle or two was sufficient.
Shadows rippled up the servants’ stair, following her candle. Kat swore she had seen a ghost on that stair, but Hilda had no time for ghosts. There was enough in this world to be concerned about without imagining entities from another.
The blue room was the last guest-room but one from the far end of the house, Hilda knocked before turning the knob and going in. A large comfortably furnished room, two candles burned on a writing desk to one side, a figure at the desk casting a looming shadow across the room.
Hilda raised her candle and stepped across the room. The figure shrank as her candle cast its light onto it. A young man, certainly less than twenty-five, dressed in an army shirt and tie, presumably his Sam Browne and jacket were safely stowed in the wardrobe. Such a look of anguish on his face as she came in, Hilda nearly gasped. Hesitantly, she found her voice, ‘Can I help you sir?’
‘No, I don’t think so.’
What should she do? ‘You rang? ‘Sir?’
‘What’s your name?’
What an odd question, a guest in a house he might never stay in again, why did he need to know her name? Still there was no likelihood of harm in answering, ‘Hilda, sir.’
‘Well Hilda, I can’t sleep, do you have any suggestions?’
She stumbled, at a loss, she’d never been asked such a question before. She lifted her eyes to his, not something a servant was not generally expected to do. It suddenly came to her, this man was frightened. Frightened almost beyond bearing and alone.
Gently does it girl, she thought. ‘I could fetch you something to drink, a whiskey maybe? Or, a milky hot cocoa?’
‘Cocoa?’ His laugh was bitter, ‘Like Nanny used to make me?’
‘I don’t know what your nanny made, sir.’
‘No, I suppose you don’t. How old are you Hilda?’
What did he want from her? Comfort? What on earth could she offer? Nothing but a kind word, and she guessed a serving girl wouldn’t be thanked for that, ‘I’m sixteen.’
‘Sweet sixteen, I’m twenty-three Hilda and I don’t expect to see twenty-four.’
What did she say to that, ‘The war?’
‘The war, all my brother officers are excited at the prospect. They think it’s going to be all brass brands and glory. I might only be a subaltern but I’ve learnt enough to know an awful lot of our lads are going to be killed before the end. And I’ll be out the front of it all!’
‘They say it’ll all be over…’
‘Before Christmas. It won’t, nor before the Christmas after! It’ll be a bloody mess!’
She couldn’t help her exclamation at his language, ‘Sir!’
He clapped his had to his mouth, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know what I’m saying.’
She had to do something, she couldn’t leave him in such a state. But he wouldn’t want her calling anyone, for a man, a soldier being considered a coward, would be worse than the fear. ‘Don’t let it worry you sir.’ A moment to think that was what she needed, ‘You get yourself ready for bed. I shall fetch a nice warm cocoa, then if you likes I can stop and chat for a bit.’
He looked as relieved as if she had thrown him a lifeline. ‘Yes, yes alright.’
She almost fled from the room. It seemed she was almost halfway back to the Kitchen before she drew breath. How could she go back? But, how could she just abandon the poor soul?
‘One step at a time girl.’ She whispered.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Piccie of the Day: Royalty

I saw a flock of these guys to day but didn't have my camera with me. Darn!

He is a King Parrot.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


On the bushfire front: conditions are cooler at the moment but in NSW  in particular many fires are still burning. The fire fighters are hoping to get on top of them soon because the heatwave conditions are projected to return over the weekend.

Now to WIIW -
I said this was an easy peasy WIIW.

Marcy said: “I think it's a lighthouse.”

Yvonne agreed: “It looks like the edge of a lighthouse to me.”

Linda was the only person who thought she would not go with the crowd: “Definitely looks like bricks. My first thought was a lighthouse, too, but since that's been guessed I'm going to go with some sort of chimney stack.”
Normally picking something else is a safer bet.
But this week…

Christine said: “I'm late to the WIIW party. I think it's a lighthouse too. I'm almost certain I remember a lighthouse pic in a previous post.”
In fact I have posted a number of lighthouses previously

Finally Susan went with the team “No originality here. It looks like the side of a lighthouse to me, too.

Well most of you are 100% right it is a light house.

This is the Low Head Lighthouse, which stands at the mouth of the Tamar River in Tassie.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What is it Wednesday

Well things are still hot down this way.
Big chunks of the country seem to still be on fire.
But in much of the country conditions have eased a bit which gives the fire fighters a better chance.

Well it is Wednesday, so what on Earth do you think this is?

I think this is another easy peasy one!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fires in Tassie and now in NSW

Well the heat continues unabated.

Tasmania continues to burn, again the Tassie fire department is saying around 100 people are unaccounted for.

To our north in NSW there are over 140 wildfires burning tonight.

The Bureau of Meteorology is saying today may have been the hottest ever day in Oz; with a continent wide average of around 41 degrees C (108F) today. That won't be confirmed until all their data is in later tonight.

So my piccie of the day  is of a cool evening I shot last January down at the Twelve Apostles.

We could do with a bit of cool down this way

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tassie in Better Days

My Piccie of the Day is of a beach down in Tasmania.

The sad thing to say is that the country behind the beach has been burnt out since I took the piccie.

Last night Tasmanian Police said there were around 100 people "unaccounted for" in the bush fire areas.

This morning things were better, police saying they had found many of the missing people. The police still hold "grave fears" for an unspecified number of people.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hilda XIX: War

I am a bit pressed for time tonight.

So  here is this week's Hilda snippet.

The high street of Ettington village was still all but blocked by groups of people. People laughing, chatting, enjoying the August sun. England had declared war on Germany on the past Tuesday. By Wednesday the news had spread throughout the country. Ettington had half a week in the planning of the parade. The excitement at the declaration of war had rippled through the community. The Park had been gripped by it as well, speculation had been rife that Lord Shirley would allow the staff the morning off to see the parade to cheer a company of the Warwickshire Regiment as they set off of for France and Battle.
That speculation came to a quick end when the butler revealed that a group of the Regiment’s officers would be dining at Ettington Park later. Hilda had not been as disappointed as the others, after all she would be enjoying her precious afternoon off in any case.
Hilda had to weave her way up the street. Many of the folk villagers from Ettington, but others from smaller places nearby like Newbold and others off the farms all around.
A shrill voice called out, ‘Here she is!’
Hilda searched the mass of people. Wilf’s bounding movement as he ran toward her caught her eye, ‘I think you have grown this past week!’
It almost seems he has, Hilda thought, he’ll be starting Fifth Grade this year. Getting close to finishing school. She watched her ten nearly eleven year old brother capering around, am I selfish being glad he shan’t be old enough to go off to this war?
‘Hello Wilf, are you here on your own?’
‘No, Ginnie and Dolly are here too.’ His hand pointed across to the village green, ‘We’ve been watching the parade!’
‘I guessed you might have been.’
She waved at Dolly and Ginnie as they made there way toward her. Ginnie was eighteen now and looked quite the young lady. She spent more of her wages from the village shop on clothes and the like than their mother thought was seensible. When Hilda thought about it she supposed she agreed with her mother, why waste money on a dozen dresses when a few serviceable ones would do the job? But then Ginnie always did look nice. Dolly had been working for nearly two years now as well, she had stuck to her guns and was working in a shop as she had said. Not as far afield as Stratford, Mr Jones the dry-goods merchant had given her job. At fourteen she was taller than the rest of her family, she wanted to be seen as willowy, but lanky was more like it.
Ginnie smiled, ‘It finished a while ago, but we thought we’d wait and walk home with you.’
‘That’s nice.’
‘That’s us,’ said Dolly taking her sister’s hand, ‘we’re nice!’

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Abanboned fishing shack, Tasmania

The heat continues unabated down this way.

The bushfires across in Tasmania continue to rage with hundreds of houses destroyed.

Whole towns burnt to the ground.
Tonight ferries are evacuating thousands of tourists trapped by fires in the Tasman Peninsula

But, thankfully, no lives have been lost.

My piccie of the day is one I  took down that way last time I was there.

Friday, January 4, 2013


A fiery sunset piccie for a firey day.

Oz is being swamped by a heat wave at the moment. Temperatures in the 40s centigrade.

Up to 48 in South Australia (about 117 F).

Hobart down in Tassie which is normally much cooler than the rest of the country has recorded its hottest ever day (42 C = 108 F) and is  facing bush fires across that state.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Brother’s House

Well I thought I was being a little tricky with this WIIW
But you one of you is too good for me!

Linda G said “That looks like storm clouds behind the edge of some sort of billboard to me.”
That is exactly what I wanted people to think. So I guess you get the “Hook, Line and Sinker Prize”

Old Kitty said “The edge of a windmill on a cloudy day!??!”

It was a cloudy day but not a windmill.

 Marcy said “definitely storm clouds...but that thing off to the right? Hmm, it made me think of solar panels but I'm not sure...”
Looks like that doesn’t it? But No solar panels.

Christine said “I think the image is of part of a Melbourne sky scraper, with a stormy sky.”

A good guess, but no.

Which leads us to Anne Gallagher’s powers of observation
“A picture of storm clouds taken in reflection of a window, hence the white panels in the corner.”

Well what can I say, that is almost a perfect description of what is in the image.

A few weeks ago I spent a little time at my Brother’s farm. Early in the morning when I was up on my own I say this reflection in the side window of his kitchen.

The “white panel” is actually a window high on the wall opposite which can be seen through the reflection.

So Anne that earns 100%.

I give you Michael’s House. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What is it Wednesday? + 600 posts

Well tonight marks my 600th post on Blogger!

I am not sure how much credit I should claim as a good chunk of those are "Piccies of the Day" which take little effort.

Still I guess it is a milestone of a sort.

So I think the image I have picked for this week's WIIW is a bit more tricky than the last two.

So without further ado: What on Earth do you think this is?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Piccie(s) of the Day: Wattle blossom

My piccies of the day are of two species of wattle (there are hundreds of species of wattle across Oz).

Most blooms are golden like this spray.

A few like this are white