Saturday, November 30, 2013


It is always great to see the jacarandas bloom at this time of year.  Perth has many leafy suburbs and the older ones in particular are often a sea of blue when the jacarandas are flowering.  There are some streets lined with them.

Our next door neighbour has two jacaranda trees in her front garden and I can see one over in the next street as well.  The colour seems to dominate, it is so bright.

When I worked at the Forests Department in Como, from my office I could see across South Perth and Kensington and, being older suburbs, every second house seemed to have a jacaranda tree.  It was a delightful sea of blue and one I looked forward to each year.

The only drawback they have is that the bees love them and when the flowers drop to the ground the bees will often be there too so not a good time to go barefoot, especially young children.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Yay!!!  After about 6 weeks with nary a drop it's raining.  Not heavy rain but quite constant gentle rain and I'm loving it and so will our garden.  With water restrictions (only allowed to use set sprinklers on two days a week) it is difficult to water sufficiently well with hand held hose.  Along with these showers the temperature has taken quite a dramatic plunge.  It was 24.4ºC in Swanbourne (on the coast just north of us) a short while ago and it is now down to 16.6ºC.  Would be similar where we are but a tad warmer.  This is quite a contrast to yesterday when it stayed warm till late afternoon (it is now 12.40pm here).  Knowing our weather, if the sun shines it will warm up during the afternoon.

Our friends in the eastern states have had more than their share of rain (and large hail) in recent weeks and we in the West always offer to share it with them but unfortunately with a distance of some 3,600 kilometres (about 2,400 miles) between us that is impossible.  While they are deploring the weather we sit and hope and today our hopes have been rewarded.  Rain....glorious rain....and a promise of more showers tomorrow (perhaps).

Another reason I am delighted is Phil will celebrate his 84th birthday on Monday and I've invited the family to join us for coffee/tea and cake on Sunday afternoon to wish him a happy birthday.  Ours is a small house with a not very large living room so I'd hoped to be able for us to sit out on the front lawn if it was cool enough to do so.  They are forecasting a temperature of 26ºC (78.8ªF) with a sea breeze all day so that should be perfect (or as H.E Bates' Pop Larkin would say "Perfick".)  Thank you so much Mr Weatherman (who in our world is known as "Hughie".  Don't ask me why that just is).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Phil and I both had appointments with the Professor this afternoon (was nice to be able to go in our own car) and with both of us having excellent Hab1c readings (6.8%) the Prof was very pleased.  That may not make sense but to us it certainly does.

Phil's blood pressure was really good but mine (as usual) was high on the first reading but reasonable on the second one.  The Prof reckons I tense up when I know I'm having my B/P taken so that's why the first one is always high.  Could be that I guess but who knows!!!

Have been told quite seriously to go back to my GP to further investigate why my Vitamin B12 is low. May have to have injections or perhaps tablets which would be better.  Seems it is one of the medications I take for my diabetes that can cause low B12 levels and yet it is one of the best medications for diabetes as it doesn't make you put on weight as so many of them do, including insulin.

I guess what it boils down to is you take what you have to and try to tolerate the side effects by doing something to counteract them.  As Phil said when we were driving home "it's all a big balancing act as we age trying to keep everything going well without upsetting the apple cart".  How right he is.

I have an appointment with my GP on Friday afternoon who may send me for a further B12 blood test and this one, although it is the determining test, is not covered by Medicare.  Fortunately it only costs $30 so I can do that without many worries.  Perhaps I can then begin to feel better and not so damned tired all the time.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not complaining one little bit.  To have been granted all these extra years past our promised three score years and ten is a bonus.  We have friends in their 90s.....perhaps we too will reach a ripe old age .... we can but hope and try to look after ourselves and each other.


Things chance so quickly don't they?  Our car is back (the part arrived and by the time Phil arrived this morning the car was ready to drive home) but I'd already published this post so will leave it stand as I love the story about the ducks.......

Feel sad for our little car but not for us as Phil is now on his way to pick up a loan car from the RAC so we will have wheels again, hopefully until we get our little Getz back.

A lovely lady from the RAC rang us yesterday afternoon to tell us that sadly they've not yet been able to obtain the part they need to repair our car.  I thought with the number of Hyundai vehicles on the road parts would be easy to come by but obviously this is not so.

I checked on taxi fare to! $50.  Our dear daughter phoned yesterday evening to find out what was happening and when I told her the cab fare she immediately asked her hubby if he could take an hour off work to run Phil over to pick up the loan car.  Our wonderful son-in-law, being who he is, said he'd be glad to do that for us and it's fortunate that his office is not all that far from our home.

Thirty minutes ago our front door rang and there was B and now they are on their way northwards so we will soon have wheels again.  Wonder what it will be?  As long as it goes is the main thing.

Hope they don't get held up in traffic.  About an hour ago I heard on the radio that traffic was held up for a couple of kilometres on our Kwinana Freeway.  Paul Murray said he would try and find out what the hold up was and when he came back on air after some commercials he said the reason for the holdup was DUCKS.  Hopefully by now the ducks are safely across the freeway and the boys will get through OK.

I decided to search for pics of ducks crossing road but instead came across this book which was written about 60 years ago (it was on Wikipedia of course).  I believe it's still on sale so may be a nice book for a child.  I wonder if any of you has seen it over the years.  Mixed revues of course but apparently has great illustrations:

Traffic is quite often held up by mother ducks taking their ducklings from one place to another at this time of year.  It's amazing on roads where the speeds are up to 100km/hr that people manage to stop and drivers are patient enough to make sure the little creatures are safe.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Our poor dear little Hyundai Getz is not well.   She had problems with a couple of her cables so couldn't get herself into gear...just got stuck in reverse so ........ I am grounded.  I wonder if that is my problem as well...I often have trouble getting myself into gear these days!!

This of course is not our car but one very much like it and ours IS yellow (wonder why that is?).

Phil went to Woolworths to do our weekly shop on Thursday evening (he usually shops during the day to keep out of the way of busy shoppers) but it had been a hot day and he was tired so left shopping till the cooler time of day.

Took 4 large bags of groceries out to the car, started it up but had to reverse to get to the exit to Stock Road and just couldn't get the car out of reverse gear.  A couple of helpful fellows managed to get the car to a parking spot and then the RAC was telephoned for help.  Mechanic arrived and immediately knew what the problem was.  I won't try and explain it except to say a couple of cables to do with gear changing are worn.  This apparently is not uncommon with manual cars and our little girl is now over 9 years old so guess it was due to happen.

Next step...arrange for car to be towed but not to RAC service near home but north of the river which was the only one open at night.  Had to accept that 'cos if car towed home and then towed again it would have cost us as only one tow per breakdown is covered which is fair enough.

Little things go awry and they did as the RAC had been told corner of Canning Highway instead of Leach Highway (we are not mobile phone users but I always insist Phil take ours when he is out and so glad I did on this occasion) and then while waiting for the tow truck that driver also phoned to say he couldn't find the car.  Finally everything fell into place and Phil got a taxi home with a really nice Indian driver who helped load and unload the groceries and wouldn't take a tip.  Restored Phil's faith in taxi drivers quite a lot.  (Incidentally for people overseas, tipping is not something that is usual in Australia although with taxis it is sometimes done or in restaurants but it's not compulsory).

Rang RAC next day...they were fully booked doing servicing and the same on Monday but would order parts on Friday afternoon and do their best to start work on Monday (perhaps).  Here it is now Tuesday morning at nearly 11am and I will have Phil ring them at noon to see what progress they've made. Apparently to get to these cables the firewall etc etc etc has to be removed so it is quite a big time consuming job with an end cost of nearly $800.  Just before Christmas is not a good time for this to happen but we do need wheels these days.

We are fortunate in having an IGA store only 2 streets away but there is a particularly steep hill on the way back home and Phil is after all nearly 84 and it has been quite warm weatherwise.  He has manfully put on his backpack and gone down to buy milk (something you can't buy in bulk, or at least we don't) and a couple of other items such as bread.

To make matters worse we both have an appointment with our endocrinologist tomorrow afternoon which we can't miss (we both had excellent blood test results which should make him smile) and appointments with our podiatrist on Thursday afternoon which we can postpone if need be.  On top of that I had a letter from my GP yesterday to see him about my Vitamin B12 blood test so will wait on news of car before I can make appointment with him.  Wonder if that's why I am so tired lately...have to check that out.

I don't go out and about much these days but now being without the car makes me realise how important they are to we oldies when public transport etc is out of the question (for me anyway) so hopefully when I look out our front window in the next day or so our little car will be sitting under the carport ready to take us wherever we want to go.

Monday, November 25, 2013


I wonder if you thought I'd forget about the XYZ of Aussie flowers.  I've been a bit preoccupied over the past few days (more about that later) but I reckon I'd best finish off the series so here goes.

Are you surprised I found some "X" plants?  There was always Xanthorrea (the grass tree) of course but I've mentioned that a couple of times already. I also found a couple of quite pretty flowers.

Xanthosia rotundifolia is a species of the plant family Machlinayaceae.  The informal name for this species, SOUTHERN CROSS, is derived from the common name of the constellation CRUX.  The flowers, white/cream in colour, symmetrical, and cruciform in outline, are reminiscent of the distinctive southern stars (our very own Southern Cross that graces our skies at night).  It grows as a shrub of between 0.35-0.8 metres (1.1-2.6 ft) in height and blooms January to February, April to May or July to December.  It only occurs in southwest Western Australia, in a variety of soils over granite or laterite.

Xylomelum angustifolium (Sandplain Woody Pear) is a tree species in the family Proteaceae, endemic to Western Australia.  A mature tree grows from 2-7  metres (6-22 ft) though trees up to 10 metres (33 ft) have been observed.  It has a smooth grey trunk and produces cream flowers at various times of the year depending on which area it is growing.  The woody fruits are picked for the cut flower industry.  It can be grown as a showy shrub in a container or as an informal hedge.

I have shown several pictures here as it is somewhat different to other flowering plants I have shown and it is one I know very little about myself although I do remember hearing the name:

Saturday, November 23, 2013


My two adoptive parents Harry and Gwin Ruston were both born in London, he in 1885 in Bromley by Bow and she in 1897 in Little Ilford, East Ham.  They were married in South Tottenham and after their marriage lived in London.  They both worked at the Sugar Commission, he as Head Clerk and she as private secretary to the big boss.  (Incidentally, my birth father was also born in East London in 1910,  Walthamstow to be exact).  I have a huge London connection all round.

It was after the cessation of WW1 that dad became very ill with the Spanish 'flu and the doctor told them that they should consider moving to a warmer climate for the sake of dad's health.  This they decided to do and they sailed from London for Australia on the ***"Euripides", disembarking at Albany on 9th May, 1920.

The "Euripides" was built in 1914. It was 15316 tons and it's cruising speed was 14 knots.  It left London on its maiden voyage on 1st July, 1914.  Upon its arrival in Brisbane it was taken over as transport for the Australian Expeditionary Force, resuming normal service in 1919.  In 1932 it was sold and renamed "Akaroa" before again being requisitioned for World War 2.  It was broken up in 1954.

I am now more knowledgable about the ship mum and dad sailed in than they would have been.  Isn't the wide world web wonderful?

When I see films of England something within me stirs and I almost get a feeling of homesickness.  It actually brings tears to my eyes.  Why?  Is it because my folks were English and often spoke of their country of birth and always referred to it as "home"?  Any letters from mum's family always came from England which made me feel close to them. I have of course now been married to an English born man since 1967 and he tells tales of when he was a boy and young man in middle England.

It's so difficult to explain.  I am very much a proud Western Australian (Australian overall really),  (you would perhaps have had to be born over here in the West to understand that statement) and yet I have this feeling of also being very much English.  I hated it when our PM years back decided we were no longer British but could only describe ourselves as Australians (in the census etc).  To my mind I am still British.  Almost as though I have dual citizenship which in a way I guess I have as years ago (not sure it would be the same now) I could have had a British passport.

Please forgive me for this somewhat confused post but being adopted always makes one confused about where one belongs and this country of birth thing confuses the issue even further.  Why I am here on this earth has never been a question I've asked.  It was a random event that just happened over which I had no control.  I was very fortunate that it all ended well for me which is probably being a tad selfish.  Am I at my age allowed to still think of myself as a tiny bit English as well as a dinkum Aussie?

***Another extraordinary thing that links my parents with my birth father is that he as a lad of about 14 also emigrated from London to Western Australia and from records I have found it would seem he also sailed on the "Euripides" and disembarked at Albany in 1923.  Unfortunately those records were sketchy but it was the correct name and age and not a common surname so I am sure it was he.

Monday, November 18, 2013


This is the centre of Meriden (my husband Phil's home town) taken probably prior to the turn of the 20th century and these next two were taken by Phil's cousin's husband this year and emailed to us (Leslie incidentally is now 92 (it his birthday day in fact) and quite a dab hand with computer technology):

As you can see not a lot has changed in over one hundred years; just been prettied up a little and these boys are, of course, wearing modern clothing, and it still seems a popular place for the youngsters to get together.  The road showing on the left has now been bitumenised whereas in earlier times it was a dirt road.  It was a little further along that row of shops where Phil's dad had a greengrocers shop for a number of years.

Meriden is said to be geographically the centre of England.  Whether this has actually be physically proven is not really known but until it has been proven otherwise, the people of Meriden will stick to that theory and be proud of it.

Life was very different in England when Phil was a boy; their house in Meriden was 5 miles outside the city of Coventry.  He has so many happy memories of his youth and I am always trying to get him to write short stories of those memories.  Some of them are quite funny about people he knew who were so different to the people we know today.

He was of course there during the dreadful blitz of Coventry and they were very fortunate not lose friends or loved ones during those air raids.  He was 11 at the time and remembers it all very well.

He emigrated to South Australia with his first wife, Susan, in 1960.  The ship had berthed at Fremantle on the way to Adelaide and Phil and Susan went on a bus tour while here.  They fell in love with he little they saw of Perth and determined that when they had spent the obligatory 2 years in Adelaide they would return to Perth. They both had good jobs in Adelaide but decided to try their luck in the West. This they did in 1962 and eventually built a house here.  It appears Susan was not happy in their marriage and they were divorced in 1966.  Now he has me to contend with.  : )  I must admit I've always been glad he decided to make Perth his home or how else would I have met him?

He has never returned to England and my mum's step-mother (remember me mentioning Mary's visit from England?) told Phil to remember England as it was when he left and not to go back.  I feel it was very sound advice and he has never regretted not going back for a visit.  At the time of the deaths of his mum and dad we couldn't afford for him to make the trip and now he feels there is nothing left there anyway.

Through me now being on the internet and doing lots of genealogy I have discovered some of Phil's cousins who still live in Warwickshire and we are in touch with them via email.  They have sent numerous family photographs which has given him an insight about what has been happening with family members over the years.

This is a photograph of the green in Berkswell (also near Coventry) where his maternal grandparents lived all their lives.

This is of Blind Hall Farm in Berkswell where Phil used to help out on weekends when he was a boy.

I always comment to Phil about how green the countryside always looks and of course his response is "Well, when it rains as much as it does over there, of course it's green!".  It was partly because of the weather. among other things. that he decided to leave England.  He has certainly been a lot healthier in Australia so I guess he had a point about the weather.


Westringia dampieri is known as the Shore Westringia.  As the common name suggests it is mainly found close to the sea front south of Carnarvon, Western Australia, around most of the coast and across the Nullarbor into South Australia, where it extends as far as Kangaroo Island.  In the Esperance region it also occurs in the inland mallee region.

Westringia damperi grows to around 1.5 metres (5') in height and grows on deep calcareous sand or directly on broken limestone, often too harsh for other species, so plant competition is seldom a survival issue.   It can usually be found with some flowers at almost any time of the year, particularly during warm weather and after rainfall.  The little flowers are so dainty:

These are very popular in home gardens, particularly near the sea, as many are known for their hardiness in dry sandy soil combined with salt spray.  It is one of the most ornamental species suitable for these conditions and forms compact well shaped shrubs.  There are species of Westringia that grow in our eastern states that are also very beautiful.

(I have just remembered we had the most beautiful Westringia growing in our back garden (it had tiny mauve flowers) but it had to be removed when the extension to our patio was built many years ago.  As I am looking for plants this I think could be a very choice on our dry, sandy soils.  Once upon a time we actually did have a very lovely back garden and I am vowing to try to make it so again even though I can do little to contribute to that dream, apart from buying the plants I want to grow.  I must begin planning for next year as this is not a good time to be thinking about planting new shrubs as I feel we are going to have a very, very hot and long summer.)

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Well, one can dream can't one?  I've been dreaming the same dream for as long as I can remember but it's never likely to happen, at least not in Perth if I wait for a million years.  Sigh!!

Our summer normally begins with a bang just before Christmas and often over the festive season we will have temps of 40ºC (104ºF) and somehow we put up with it.  Not conducive to eating hot meals and certainly not being out of doors but we manage, many others better than I do.  I've never enjoyed the hot weather since I was a child and yet I was born in Western Australia (only about 5 miles from where I now live).

This year in Perth our summer began at the end of October and has really not let up much since.  I doubt we've had a day under 25ºC (77ºF).  We've already had 3 'almost centuries' with the temp on 3 days reaching 37.1C (a century is 37.78ºC) which takes the edge of bragging about that.

We've also had much hotter nights than are normal at this time of year so the overhead fan in the bedroom has been working overtime already.  We don't run the air-conditioning after midnight.  It's not all that noisy but I do try and do the right thing by the neighbours and wouldn't want it annoying them and if we cool the bedroom for a few minutes before getting into bed then the fan is OK.

With our water restrictions (can only use the sprinklers twice a week) I fear the gardens are going to suffer if we have a long, hot summer extending into April (which is quite likely).  It's so difficult to keep the water up to the plants by hand watering.  It's just not the same and it's often too hot to stand out in the sun watering anyway.

Oh well, back to dreaming.  Sigh!!!

Friday, November 15, 2013


I was looking for information on the internet recently and came across this beautiful photograph of our own Cottesloe beach.  While looking at it I remembered when, as a young teenager, I used to come swimming here with my Mum.

She and Dad had bought a corner shop in Swanbourne (the next suburb to Cottesloe) and whether she and I caught a bus here or we walked (people used to walk quite long distances way back then) I can't remember but I do know we came down to Cottesloe beach several times for a swim.

On one occasion there was quite a bit of surf close in to the shore but Mum was always game so she kept on swimming only to be dumped by a quite ferocious large wave.  When she came out she realised something was amiss with one foot and she subsquently discovered she had broken one of her toes.

I'm not sure if we came swimming again after that, perhaps not. It was just so lovely remembering those fun times that Mum and I had together.

P.S.  If you click on the picture you can enlarge it.  It is really quite magnificent.  I just didn't want to spread it right across the page and blot out other bits and pieces.

NOTE:  After I posted this I was checking out an article on Facebook which gave the names of 10 towns in the world where a woman would (supposedly) be safe on her own.  One of the towns named happened to be Perth, Western Australia which praised the town and added "and while there you should visit King's Park and also "Scarborough beach".  It's a great pity when people make these statements that they don't get their facts correct.  The photo they used was the one above and this is definitely NOT Scraborough beach.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Maybe I can find a substitute among the "P or "T" plants so this is not a blank page.  A couple of unusual orchids and a very pretty red pea flower.

 Pterostylis turfosa, a species of orchid known as the Bird Orchid, is endemic to the southwest of Western Australia.  It is a tuberous, perennial herb to 0.18 metres high with green flowers September to October.  A bird...that's for sure:

 Pterostylis recurva is a species of orchid endemic to the southwest of Western Australia . It is a perennial herb and flowers in early spring during August-October.  The flowers are striped green and white and the perianth forms a hollow tube with a hinged lip, which is characteristic of Pterostylis.  The relatively large size of the flowers and their distinctive shape gives them the common name of "Jug Orchird".  It is known to occur in sand, clay, laterite and gravel soils.

Templetonia retusa, commonly known as "Cockies Tongues" is very widely distributed, covering several climate zones from the Western Australia/South Australia border, then around the coast almost to Carnarvon, (over 2,000 km or 1,500 miles) therefore flowering times are likely to vary.

This species can grow to 4 metres (13') but is usually around 2 metres (a little over 6').  In hollows they can grow into thickets particularly over limestone, or as compact isolated shrubs on the sides of steep, stabilised, but very exposed tertiary dunes.  They are also found in mallee areas.

 The blue-green leaves are elliptical and grow to about 4cm long and 2.5 cm wide.  It produces bright orange-red pea flowers around 4 cm (1 1/2") in length, aided by the standard bending back over itself as it matures making them highly visible from a distance.

 The fruit is a flat pod that grows to about 5 cm (2") long and 1 cm wide.


Verticordia, a genus of the Myrtaceae family, are woody shrubs with small and exquisite flowers.  They are mostly found in southwest Western Australia, with several outlier species in northern regions.  They are highly diverse in form, occupy a variety of habitat, and may be abundant or rare populations.  Their profuse and striking display of intricate flowers have been harvested for floristy and admired as a wildflower. These are three of the northern species.  This is Vertcordia chrysantha in the Kalbarri National Park  592 km (368 miles) north of Perth:

The genus is best known for its flowers, often described in superlatives, which form massed displays in woodlands and heaths.  These shrubs have appealed to amateur collectors and botanists, and were appreciated by the people of Australia prior to European settlement.  The fringed or feathered
Verticordia nobilis which grows from Perth northwards to Geraldton:

The fringed appearances of the flowers is often enhanced by vivid and contrasting colours:  this has given a common name to the genus, the FEATHERFLOWERS.  The variety displayed within the species, and between species in the genera is highly diverse.  This is Verticordia nobilis found north of Perth and stretching northwards to Geraldton:

and Verticordia coolooma which grows on the Geraldton Sandplains:

Now, isn't that strange?  I seem to have shown only yellow ones above.  Perhaps I should find some of other colours as well and share them with you.  They are all so very beautiful.  I could just imagine a garden full of them couldn't you?

This is another lovely sketch of Verticordia nitens done in 1861:

My first mother-in-law loved Verticordia and if she and her husband had been on a day out north of Perth she would often come home with a bunch of these yellow flowers she had picked in the bush and those flowers would keep for months in a large vase in her lounge room even after they had dried out.

P.S. Just to prove my memory is quite good after all.  After I had finished this post I began to realise that we had always called these flowers by a different name.  I have now realised we called it MORRISON.  To make sure I googled it and sure enough I was right.  It would be 50 years since I was in the lounge room mentioned above so a big sigh of relief knowing my memory was still working quite well.