Saturday, 14 September 2019

We’re Pooped!

Perhaps it’s only one of us that’s pooped as Jan had the energy to start testing the garden bore water reticulation system this morning.
For my part, I’m sadly lacking energy after the last few days of gardening.  The portion of the front yard where that Peppergum tree used to reside has been levelled and weeded.  We then went to the hardware for some weed mat and fertilizer.  Once the weed mat was laid I cut holes in it for the two citrus trees before planting them.  Next was a trip to the landscape supplier for a cubic metre of red dyed Gum chips and a concrete tree ring.  We barrowed and spread the chips before I dug the hole for the third citrus tree.  This part of the garden is now complete and hopefully, no more weeds.
We now have a Lemon, Lime and Orange tree in the front yard.
The strip garden full of agapanthus above the retaining wall is a disaster.  It’s all my fault!  When we had the large gumtree removed I spread the chips from the stump on the garden not realising they were full of horrible long stringy native grass seeds.  This grass has taken over the garden.  I’ve been forced to dig out the agapanthus and carefully remove the grass from their roots.  Then the remaining grass has to be removed and the agapanthus replanted.
I’m also going to have to rebury the water reticulation pipe.
The worst part of the job has yet to be started.
All this area has yet to be done Sad smile
I’m starting to think painting is a pleasure Smile

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

At Last

Well readers if you hadn’t worked it out by now “I hate painting!”  With the ceiling and walls of the front room now redecorated I think I’ve painted the interior of the entire house.  I don’t plan to EVER do it again.


Jan has already had a visit from the sales person regarding a quotation for ‘plantation blinds’ and last night another salesman arrived to measure the room for its new timber flooring.  Today we had a third salesman look at the door opening. 


The house used to be ‘open plan’ but we want doors so rooms can be closed off thus reducing the area to be heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.  I’ll have to do some modification to the opening for the proposed ‘french’ style door.  Whilst I’m writing of doors, I’ve repainted the heavy timber front door.  Jan chose the colour.  I can’t remember the name, but it looks vibrant lipstick red/pink to me.


We celebrated this painting milestone with a BBQ.  There must have been a mistake as the meat was properly cooked.


My next outback trip along the Holland Track is getting closer.  I’m travelling with blog reader and good friend Ken.  My major concern has been the amount of rainfall in the region.  The terrain is so flat the only place the water can go is into the wheel ruts.  Ken; being the optimist; sent me a website link to a recent track report.


This is his idea of easing my nerves!  The most recent weather forecast suggests the region is now categorized as at extreme bushfire risk.  Therefore, if we don’t drown’ we will be burned to a crisp. Smile  Should be interesting!

Saturday, 7 September 2019

An Apology

A quick apology to our readers who have left a post comment that was never published.  I appear to have a problem with Blogger (hopefully now resolved) which wasn’t notifying me when comments had been left for moderation. 

I’ve now been through the list of unpublished comments and rectified that.  Except for those comments offering me Viagra or a Russian bride. Smile

What a mess

With some bemused interest I watch the British political system tear itself apart.

Ever since the UK joined the EU British politicians have used it as a convenient source of blame thus avoiding responsibility.

As part of an effort to win the "unwinable" election Cameron offer the electorate a "binary choice" (in or out) vote with the additional statement "there would be no second referendum". He also stated the EU would need to be reformed and he would get a better deal for the UK prior to the referendum. There was no EU reform and no tangible better deal. The majority of the electorate subsequently voted Out.

Teresa May negotiated a compromise withdrawal agreement attempting to please the majority of parliamentarian which failed in the house three times.

Boris Johnson then promised either a deal by 31 October or the UK would leave without a deal. That appears to have been thwarted by Parliament.   Effectively parliament has rejected the only deal being offered by the EU but won’t agree to leaving without a deal.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have major divisions within their parliamentary caucus's. Although one might think the Conservatives have been able to eject their rebels which has also left them further weakened.

Parliament has enacted legislation which will force the government to seek a three month extension to the 31 Oct deadline if they cannot obtain a "deal" from the EU.

The EU is obviously not going to give the government a deal other than the previously negotiated Withdrawal Agreement already rejected three times by Parliament.

It's in the EU's interest for this delay to continue thus forcing the UK to accept either the existing agreement or something that looks very similar. Such an agreement doesn't provide the UK with any form of real independence but rather makes it a vassal state having to take EU requirements without any vote in the drafting of them. Hence the reason for Parliament previously rejecting it.

What will Johnson do? One scenario might be for him to inform the Queen he is no longer able to effectively govern and recommend she requests Jeremy Corbyn forms government. Corbyn would need to form a minority government. He would get the support of the Liberal Democrats and SNP, but only on the condition he took 'Leave' off the table. He wouldn't get the support of the Conservatives or Brexit party.

Corbyn has stated he would get a deal from the EU. However I can't see the EU offering him anything other than the current agreement. Moreover Corbyn would be faced with the situation of having to call the election that Johnson wanted.

Labour, Conservatives and Brexit party would all campaign on the platform of leave. Albeit Labour and Conservatives "with a deal". Liberal Democrats and SNP would campaign on the platform of remain.

What would be the result. SNP would likely take all the seats in Scotland. Conservatives might take some seats from hard leave Labour electorates in the north but lose remain seats in the south to the Liberal Democrats as the Brexit Party would split the conservative vote. The Brexit Party might gain a few Labour seats in the north.

The result would likely be a hung parliament. Something the EU could live with. Meanwhile the UK parliamentary system remains in chaos.

What a mess!

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Blogger visit and more work

Yesterday we finally managed a meeting with bloggers Robin and Jenny of Romany Rambler.  They flew into Perth from NZ to participate in the ‘longest card game in Australia’.  This is actually their second attempt having been thwarted during an earlier attempt.  The longest card game in Australia is the rail journey on the Indian Pacific train crossing the continent between Perth and Sydney. 

During their visit I tried desperately to give them food poisoning (I’m an expert on the practical aspects of the subject) in an effort to prevent them from undergoing the journey.  Unfortunately I appear to have been unsuccessful.  However you will be pleased to read we managed to put most of the world’s ills to right.  Regrettably we were unable to resolve BREXIT.


I had planned to show them the sun setting into the Indian Ocean but we ran out of time.

The one thing I’m not prepared to forgive is them bringing their rotten Manawatu weather with them! Smile

So what else has been happening?  The front room has been emptied of stored furniture and other “stuff” which has enabled me to fill in all the holes ready for sanding and painting.  All the old carpet edging strip was then removed.  Removal of the tack strip isn’t difficult.  It’s the rusted concrete that were the greatest problem. 


Now for the sanding Sad smile

I haven’t forgotten we need to remove the old evaporative air conditioner from the roof and make good the hole.  We’re going to need a few matching concrete roof tiles and as the house was built in 1983 I’d started looking online in salvage yard websites.  Prices varied up to $10 per tile.  In the end we drove to the nearest salvage yard where we discovered they didn’t have any.  However the yard owner suggested we try the original manufacturer (Monier) as they were still making the tile (news to us) but had renamed them from ‘Elabana’ to ‘Hosienda’.  The local manufacturer was only 2km away so we went the additional distance discovering they indeed had a compatible tile.  The newer Hosienda model is about 20mm longer, but that won’t bother us as we can’t see the air conditioner on the roof. 


Original on top

The good news was the price of the tiles ($3.20ea).  Much cheaper than the salvage yard!  Hopefully 10 will be sufficient for the task.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Elachbutting Rock Trip–Day 3

Last night was considerably warmer that the first night when I almost shivered in my thick Fairydown Everest model sleeping bag. I bought this bag before we were married and usually I overheat in it, but nights in the desert can get bitter.  The dry air and lack of vegetation allow the daytime heat to rapidly dissipate.  I also tend to rise at first light in an effort to cook and eat breakfast prior to the arrival of the flies.  Yes… I don’t like sharing my breakfast!  Of course that means dinner is usually eaten after dusk.  So two meals a day! 

Today we visited three different rock locations.  The largest and most interesting was Baladjie Rock beside Lake Baladjie.   Rather than take all three vehicles I travelled in my brother’s Toyota.  He could scratch his paintwork bashing through the scrub Smile


The first feature had some interesting gnamma holes.  A gnamma hole is a cavity formed in hard rock which can sometimes contain water.  The Australian Aborigines would know the locations of the holes and use them as a source of drinking water.  Something the early European explorers and settlers adopted.


This particular rock wasn’t particularly high but then the terrain was so flat it still made an acceptable survey point.


Looking west back towards the pastoral land


And to the east vast areas of not much


Various interesting rock formations create by wind and rain



Lake Baladjie is a salt lake.  In the winter it contains water with a significant level of salinity, whilst during the summer it would be a sea of white salt


Janet went rock climbing


On top of that large boulder held in place by weight and friction.


More interesting shapes and colours in the rock formed by the climate.


That evening I managed to give myself food poisoning….. Have I mentioned I’m a rotten cook?

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Elachbutting Rock Trip–Day 2

An opportunity to explore Elachbutting Rock today.  It’s sandstone like Uluru (Ayres Rock) but is much smaller and not a monolith (one piece).  The rock changes colour with the sun and rain. 

There is a 4x4 track to the top which eliminates the need to climb.  From the top there are 360 deg views of the surrounding area.  To the west and south are wheatfields.


The pastoralist to the west has planted one field with rows of trees.  One assumes it’s either a strategy to reduce salt contamination or perhaps he’s earning extra cash being paid for carbon sequestering.


The view to the south. 


Australian flora has to be particularly hardy as rainfall is very infrequent.  Vegetation was growing on the top of the rock in the shallow crevasses formed by erosion.


These prickly orange plans were hanging on to life along the edge of the natural drain


On the west side of the rock is a track to Monty’s Pass and the ‘Wave’.


Monty’s Pass is a tunnel through the rock formed by a huge chunk of the rock breaking away from the main formation sliding down to create a gap.


Jenny stands in the entrance

The tunnel is approximately 30 metres long with some smaller broken pieces at the far end.


It’s only once you’ve scrambled out of the far end you look up and notice Guillotine Rock hanging ominously above your head.  



All the sandstone rocks in this part of Australia appear to have numerous cracks and I suspect these are what causes large portions of rock to break away from the main structure.  Infrequent rainwater would leak into the cracks and the freeze during the bitterly cold nights.  The expansion would create sufficient force to break off sizeable portions.

Janet found a natural seat


Just me unsuccessfully attempting to be “arty”


The other notable features on this side of the rock are the caves and the wave formation formed by the wind an rain.



And the ‘Wave’.  not as big as the Wave at Hyden but much less visited.


I cooked dinner that night.  My plan was to use the camp over to cook a pork roast with roast potatoes and corn on the cob.  The first step was to get a fire going for some embers.


I lined the oven with foil and fitted my home made trivet in the base.  It was only when I placed the pork in the oven I realised there wouldn’t be room for the vegies.


The solution was to individually wrap the vegies and add them directly to the embers.  The port stayed in the fire for three hours which was probably 20 minutes too long.  It was just starting to get a little dry.  However the crackling was crisp and tasty.


The vegies also turned out well.  I’ll have to attempt this again. 

That evening John gave me a photographic lesson.  He was a professional photographer before retiring and I want to attempt some shots of the night sky.

The Milky Way. The bright star in the bottom slightly right of centre is actually Jupiter.  you should be able to double click this photo to see it’s original size.

IMG_3902 Yes… I need more practice!!!