Sunday, January 31, 2016


"THE SOUL OF A CAT by Margaret Benson.

It is odd that cats show an intense dislike to anything destined or set apart for them.  Mentu had a basket of his own, and a cushion made by a fond mistress, but to put him into it was to make him bound out like an india-rubber ball.  He liked to occupy proper chairs and sofas, or even proper hearthrugs. 

In the same way, the well-bred cat has an inconvenient but aesthetic preference for eating its food in pleasant places, even as we consume chilly tea and dusty bread and butter in a summer glade.  A plate is distasteful to a cat, a newspaper still worse; they like to eat sticky pieces of meat sitting on a cushioned chair or a nice Persian rug.  Yet if these were dedicated to this use they would remove elsewhere.  Hence the controversy is interminable."

We once had a cat that would nearly always remove his meat from the plate but fortunately only to eat it on the floor and not on any of our furniture.  He (Gus) would pick up a piece of meat with his paw and put it where he wanted to eat it.  Candy is a very clean eater and there is usually little mess around her dishes for which I am very grateful.

P.S.  I couldn't resist the picture of this cat when I found it on Google.

Friday, January 29, 2016


In October of 1950 I flew to Melbourne, Victoria.  My mum had encouraged me to sit the Commonwealth test for stenographers as the Department of Civil Aviation in Melbourne was advertising for young women to fill that position. I passed the exam without a problem and flew to take up my new job which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Why did I write the above?  Mainly to explain why I was in Melbourne at this time.  In 1950 a song hit the airwaves that stormed into first place on the hit parade (yes, we did have hit parades way back then) and stayed in first place for many weeks, far longer than any other number had retained first place.     That song was of course Mona Lisa sung by the man with the silky voice Nat King Cole.

I searched YouTube and found this version with Nat playing piano and singing the song.  I hope you will enjoy it along with me.  It brings back great memories for me.  Do you remember Nat King Cole?  Do you remember the song?  After all it is only 66 years ago!!!!  Oh sorry, of course you're not that old are you?  It's me that is the ancient one.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I suppose when it comes to "V" we could say the V stands for VERY beautiful because nearly all flowers are just that.

To my mind immediately came violets, violas, veronica and verbena.

VIOLAS to me are like miniature pansies with their happy little faces.  It is a genus of flowering plant and grown in gardens for their ornamental flowers.  In horticulture the term "Pansy" is normally used for the multi-coloured, large-flowered cultivars which are raised annually or biannually from seed and used extensively for bedding.  The term "viola" is normally reserved for the small-flowered annuals or perennials.

Violets (viola) are a genus of spring flowering plants in the family Violaceae.  There are around 400-500 species of violets and they are native northern hemisphere and are also distributed in Hawaii, Australasia and the Andes in South America.  (There is a very miniature viola or violet that came in a pot from my mother's place pre-1985 and each year it will be found growing in various pots in the garden.  As the hot weather comes on it dies off completely but year after year it appears again.  A lovely reminder of my mum).

Verbena is a genus in the family Verbenaceae which contains about 250 species of annual and perennial herbaceous or semi-woody flowering plants.  The majority of the species are native to the Americas and Europe.  They come in many delightful colours.

Veronica is a genus in the foxglove family and contains 250 species of annuals and perennials, which are most diverse in the northern temperate zones, with fewer species in tropical mountains and southern Australia.  They have a spreading or creeping habit and their leaves tend to be small, oval to lance-shaped.  A few species have solitary flowers but more often upright spikes bearing many flowers develop in spring and summer.

I have grown violas and violets but never verbena or veronica but I am sure many people have.  What a pity, with our water restrictions, very few bedding plants are now seen in the gardens in Perth suburbs.

Valerian and viburnum are two plants I've heard of but know very little about and then I went and forgot VINCA.  I believe they are also known as periwinkle and we do have a creeper growing in one of our garden beds which has blue flowers and which Phil always calls periwinkle.

The vinca I used to grow was a small bush with mainly light to dark pink flowers.  It would seed down each year and then disappear completely.  I tried growing some of the modern vincas but never had any success with them.  They didn't seem nearly as hardy as those of old.

I was amazed to find so many flowers beginning with the letter V.  Which is your favourite and do you know any I may have missed?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


May I first wish all Aussies everywhere a very happy Australia Day.

 I am never sure if we in the west should be included as, in the beginning, nobody cared about this part of the continent (or island if you prefer to call it that).   It wasn't until the French appeared to be threatening to colonise the far west that the powers that be decided they'd best do something about it.  They send the army by boat and when they landed in what is now called Albany they hoisted the British flag and proclaimed the area to be theirs.  (Actually I think it may have been the Dutch who first discovered our west coast as Rottnest Island was named by them.  When they went ashore they saw the quokkas and thinking they were giant rats they called the island "Rat's Nest" in their language).

It was a couple of years later that a ship arrived in Fremantle and the *Swan Colony was proclaimed in 1829.  This was about 41 years after the settlement in New South Wales.  One thing we in the west often chuckle about is the fact that Perth is several years older than Melbourne.  There is always a little bit of rivalry between the states but you have to remember we are still a very young country and jealousies do arise at times.  *This makes Albany a couple of years older than Perth.

Very little has happened over the past week.  Phil and I both had blood tests.  He has received a call up to see our doctor about the results so he will see Dr Ken on Wednesday.  It may mean his blood glucose is a little on the high side or perhaps his cholesterol.  I think as we age these test results should make allowance for age.

Mine are a little more complicated.  Some may remember that at the end of 2014 I had a parathyroidectomy.  All seemed to go well but when I saw my endocrinologist last month he wasn't too happy about some blood test results so sent me to have one very particular test.  It was so particular that my usual pathology people only do it at their head office.  That is in West Perth and an awful place to get to across the river.  The lady at Beaconsfield kindly took about 15 minutes trying to find a laboratory south of the river that could do the blood test.  She found one (the opposition actually) only a couple of miles from us so I rang them and was told to be there at 4.30 that afternoon.  It seems this particular test has to be shaken well and then snap frozen so those that do it need the facilities for that.  I now have to wait until I get the results and then go see Dr Ken (not the Professor who wrote out the request).   By then Dr Ken will have had a report from the Prof explaining why he has done what he's done.  Whether anything will come of it I have no idea but apparently it all has something to with the calcium that the parathyroid makes.

Sorry to bore you will all this but it just amused me that there was such a rigmarole about what has to be done to the blood.   One day I will ask someone to explain all about it to me.  I can't even remember the name of the particular test but it had a very l.o.n.g name!

Once again, my Australian friends, enjoy the holiday today.  Huge fireworks display on the Swan River tonight which we will probably watch on TV late in the evening.

P.S.  Seeing the koala it reminded me that this week it was reported that an eagle had seized a koala and while flying, it dropped the poor little creature.  Apparently they recovered the koala and it was OK,  A very lucky little fellow.  Just a bit of Australiana there for you.

Monday, January 25, 2016


I found this on an email I received and just fell in love with it.  It has no particular meaning and I hope you think it as funny as I did.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


"MY FATHER AS I RECALL HIM by Mary Dickens (daughter of Charles Dickens).

One evening we were all, except father, going to a ball, and when we started we left "the Master" and his cat in the drawing room together.  The Master was reading at a small table when suddenly the candle went out.  My father, who was much interested in his book. relighted the candle, stroked the cat, who was looking at him pathetically he noticed, and continued his reading.

A few minutes later, as the light became dim, he looked up just in time to see puss deliberately put out the candle with his paw, and then looking appealingly at him.  This second and unmistakeable hint was not disregarded and puss was given the petting he craved."

Friday, January 22, 2016


I am sure most of you know that beautiful song "Stranger in Paradise" but do you all recall Vic Damone who sang it in 1957?  He has a delightful voice and I hope you will listen along with me as I recall happy memories of this song which I found on YouTube:

Vic Damone was born Vito Rocco Farinola on 12 June, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York to Italian immigrants.  His father was an electrician and his mother taught piano.  Inspired by his favourite singer, Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone began taking voice lessons.

When his father was injured at work, Vic had to drop out of high school.  He worked as a usher and elevator operator in the Paramount Theatre in Manhattan.  He met Perry Como while at the Paramount Theatre.  He stopped the elevator between floors sang for him and asked his advice if he should continue voice lessons.  Impressed, Como said "Keep singing" and referred him to a local bandleader.  Vito Farinola decided to call himself Vic Damone, using his mother's maiden name.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


When I came to "U" I wondered what I would find that I could call a 'garden' flower but then I remembered umbrella trees, the large variety and the dwarf.  Their flowers are somewhat different but at least they do have flowers.

Schefflera actinophylla is a tree in the Aralicaceae family.  It is native to tropical rainforests and gallery forests in Australia (eastern Queensland and the Northern Territory, new Guinea and Java.  Common names include Queensland umbrella tree, octopus tree and amate.

I can remember many years ago that it seemed every garden in Perth had one of these umbrella trees.   There are still many to be seen in older suburbs and it is their beautiful red flowers that I have always admired.  I understand they are considered a 'pest weed' in parts of Queensland.

Schefflera arboricola (syn. Heptapleurum arboicolum) is a flowering plant in the family Araliaceae, native to Taiwan as well as Hainan.   It's common name is Dwarf Umbrella Tree, as it appears to be a smaller version of the Umbrella Tree Schefflera actinophylla.

We have two 'dwarf' umbrella trees, one in the front garden and one, outside my window here, in the back garden.  It is currently covered with buds:

which very soon will burst into these tiny flowers:

 Not very impressive perhaps, although when the tree is covered with them they look quite spectacular.

I bought both of my 'dwarf' umbrella trees to grow as pot plants but when they got bigger and bigger we decided they show be planted in the garden.   Now they are as high as the house and the term 'dwarf' seems rather incongruous for such a big tree.  They are very good natured and seem not to need a lot of water or care.   You can prune them back and very quickly they will grow again until it is impossible to see where they were pruned.

When it comes to the "V" of flowers I feel I won't have quite as much difficulty as I did with "U".

Can you think of a flower beginning with "U" that perhaps I've not heard of.  Would be interested to know what it is.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


This is certainly one way to look at it:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


It is hard to believe it is already 19th January.  It has been quite hot in Perth so the days passed one after the other with very little being done outside.   Phil does the sprinkler watering on Tuesdays and Fridays and hand waters the pots on all days when it is hot, including my 7 frangipani, two of which are blooming and a third has buds nearly ready to open.  The first picture is of the common white and the second is of Pink Cheeks which has a really delicate perfume, not as overpowering as the common white.

My daughter game me Pink Cheeks last year and these are the first flowers I've had (there are actually flowers on two branches but here I've just shown you the best).   I love the way they change colour as they age and also the heat we've had in Perth seems to have frangipani flowers being darker than usual.

There is a Facebook page "Frangipani Friends of Perth" and some of the followers have dozens of plants and are forever seeking new varieties.  It has become quite an epidemic and obviously many are addicted as they buy seeds and cuttings and on their posts I learn of how they propagate the plants etc.   All very interesting.  My plants are in pots as, at our age, one never knows for sure if a day will come when we may have to leave here.  In pots I can take them with me whereas if they were in the ground there is a chance should this house be sold it could be demolished and the plants would be lost forever.

Apart from the above Phil has had a UTI which unsettled him for a few days.  He already had an appointment with Dr Ken (a recall for his 6 monthly blood tests) which was fortunate as straight away he was given a script for antibiotics.  These did the trick and he is now his old self again (no pun intended re age).

Apart from my birthday (seems so long ago) very little has happened to cause much merriment in our mundane daily lives so will so au revoir for now.  Hopefully next week will have a nice photo of my yellow frangipani.

P.S.  We are enjoying our second day this year well under 30ºC (86ºF).  Yesterday was 24ºFC  today is to be 25ºc and even tomorrow will still remain in the high 20s.  More heat to follow next weekend unfortunately (I see they are forecasting 38ºC  (100ºF) for Sunday.   They keep promising us rain and we keep hoping they are right.   Everything is just sooooooo dry.

Monday, January 18, 2016


At least he seemed to be around last month so let's hope they find him before December, 2016.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Le Chat by Alexandre Landrin

With Richelieu the taste for cats was a mania; when he rose in the morning and when he went to bed at night he was always surrounded by a dozen of them with which he played, delighting to watch them jump and gambol.  He had one of his chambers fitted up as a cattery, which was entrusted to overseers, the names of whom are unknown.

Abel and Teysandier came, morning and evening to feed the cats with pates fashioned from the white meat of chicken.  At his death Richelieu left a pension for his cats and to Abel and Teysandier so that they might continue to care for their charges.

When he died Richelieu left fourteen cats of which the names were:  Mounard le Fougueux, Soumise, Serpolet, Gaette, *Ludovic le Cruel, Mimie Piaillon, Femimare, *Lucifer, Lodoiska, Rubis sur l'Ongle, Pyrame, Thisbe, Racan and Perruque.  These last two received their names from the fact that they were born in the wig of Racan, the academician.

I have never been to sure about Richelieu but with his love of cats he can't have been all bad.

*the two names I highlighted, EC, I thought could perhaps be AKAs for Jazz.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Andy Williams has always been among our favourite songsters and The Impossible Dream one of our favourite songs.  Phil prefers a different version (he likes the original from the film Man of La Mancha) but I find the version sung my Andy Williams to be my favourite.

I hope you will enjoy this lovely song along with me and although you won't see Andy Williams singing the song the lyrics are there in case you don't know all the words.   Enjoy.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


When I came to the letter "T" I was a little stumped.  The only two I can think of *(I am sure there must be others) that I would choose to grow if I could would be:

TULIP:  This is an Eurasian and North African genus of perennial, bulhous plants in the lily family.  It is an herbaceous herb with showy flowers, of which around 75 wild species are accepted.

Whenever I think of tulips I connect them with the Netherlands, and also our Araleun Botanic Park right here in Perth where they have a tulip festival every year. Years ago we went to Araluen and the gardens of different coloured tulips was beautiful.  Would love to go again one day (perhaps).

I have never attempted to grow them nor am every likely to do so.   I feel there may be one of our number who does or has grown them at one time.  Would be interested to know if that is a fact.

The other "T" flower which I love but have never attempted to grow is the:

TUBEROSE .... Polianthes tuberosa...This is a perennial plant related to the agaves, extracts of which are used as a note in perfumery.  The common name derives from the Latin tuberosa, meaning swollen or tuberous in reference to its root system.

I was amazed that they are related to the agaves!!  I had a very limited knowledge of tuberose so I have just been reading up about them and find they are not very difficult to grow.  Apparently they prefer a temperature above 15º (not sure if that is celcius or farenheit) so I may be tempted to try a couple in pots.  I believe they are/were popular for use in bridal bouquets.  They are certainly very beautiful.

I truly can't think of another "T" flower that I have knowledge of.  What is your favourite "T" garden flower?  Once again I am pondering if one of our friends has grown tuberose.  I am guessing it is highly possible.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


As we wend our way through life much of it does tend to be uphill.

Monday, January 11, 2016


I think this says it other words needed:

Sunday, January 10, 2016


NOVEL NOTES by Jerome K. Jerome

"A leaky beer tap was the cause of her downfall.  A saucer used to be placed underneath it to catch the drippings.  One day the cat, coming in thirsty, and finding nothing else to drink, lapped up a little, liked it, and lapped a little more.......

From that day till the hour she died, I don't believe that cat was ever once quite sober.  Her days she passed in a drunken stupor before the kitchen fire.  Her nights she spent in the beer cellar.

My grandmother, shocked and grieved beyond expression, gave up her barrel and and adopted bottles.  The cat, thus condemned to enforced abstinence meanded about the house for a day and a half in a disconsolate, quarrelsome mood.  Then she disappeared, returning at eleven o'clock as tight as a drum.

Where she went, and how she managed to procure the drink, we never discovered, but the same programme was repeated every day.  Some time during the morning she would contrive to elude our vigilance and escape, and late every evening she would come reeling across the fields in a condition that I will not sully my pen attempting to describe."

I thought the cat in the picture had that contented look.

Friday, January 8, 2016


This is a song I've always loved and Simon and Garfunkel have long been favourites of Phil and myself.  We have quite a lot of their music on CDs.  Here from YouTube I have selected Scarborough Fair....I hope you will enjoy it as much as I always do.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Although I probably included them under "A" I will include SNAPDRAGONS here as everyone seems to love them.  Mum used to grow them in her garden over the years and I remember as kids we used to have fun making them open and shut their "mouths" as did my own two children.

SNOWDROPS are very dainty and beautiful but I've seldom seen them grown in Perth.  Our previous neighbour years ago had two little plants in her front garden but they sadly are long gone.

SWEET WILLIAM are also a flower I think is beautiful but I've never had any great success growing it.  I think dad used to have some growing in his garden but then he tended to have a green thumb and could grow almost anything.

SUNFLOWERS....I cannot go past the "S" without including *SUNFLOWERS.  Of course they are yellow which makes them very special to me and the large ones look so majestic standing there when in full bloom.

 P.S.  Now I know for sure I am going a little potty as I left off here what I would think would be everyone's very favourite garden flower.....SWEET PEA......I remembered it when in bed and they had to be added here before it was too late.

I have grown them, you have grown them.  Everyone has grown them at one time or another.   *My mother nearly always had sweet peas growing and whenever I visited her and if they were in bloom I would return home with a large bunch of sweet peas.  I must admit I love their perfume but my sinuses are not too sure and I can end up with a touch of hay fever but that is a small price to pay.

Am I correct in saying you need to get the seed in before 17th March although that of course would only be in the southern hemisphere!

No matter where they grow or at what time of year, they still remain my very favourite"S" flower.

Do you have a favourite "S" flower?

It is 31 years ago today that my mum died and I am wondering if perhaps thinking of her, the thought about sweet peas came into my head as it did.   She was a wonderful woman, a terrific mum and a much loved grandmother.  She is still missed and always will be.  I often talk softly to her and when in pain occasionally call her name.  She was always there when I needed her over the years.  Many of you of course followed her life story when I copied here book here on my blog last year.  She deserved a nice long rest after all she did for so many people.  I always loved this picture I took of my mum when she was holding my daughter who then was only a few weeks old (in August 1955).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Definitely three sides to every argument.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


It's been quite a hectic week or so for we two oldies.  First came Christmas and we spent most of the day at our eldest granddaughter's home.  She and her hubby have two girls aged 7 and 3 and it was such fun to watch them excitedly open their gifts.  It amazes me the contrast between now and ''way back then" the number of gifts kiddies get today.  I know it was wartime when I was a child but even without the war I doubt there would have been such a selection available for small children.

We had a wonderful lunch...chicken, pork, ham. salads of several kinds and Phil and I both had a glass of ale each (our special Christmas drink).   Much later we had sweets made by our #2 granddaughter.  She is the sweet expert.   It may seem strange to people who celebrate Christmas in colder climes but we now always have a cold meal on Christmas Day.

Along came New Year.   Phil and I always stay home but we do stay up to see the new year in.  We tried to find something worth watching on TV but having failed to do so we listened to some delightful music from one of Phil's numerous CDs.  We did watch the delayed fireworks from Sydney and they certainly laid it on this year.  Phil and always wonder at the cost of this displays but to some people New Year is very special so I guess they need to be catered for.

Of course I celebrated my 84th birthday on 2nd January.  It was quite a hot day but Phil and I managed to keep cool in the house and at 4.50pm we left to journey down to Steel Tree in Baldivis for dinner with the family.   Apparently their airconditioning had broken down but we were fortunate to be seated at a table immediately under a small wall aircondtioner which kept us comfortably cool.  We all enjoyed our *meals and then we went to C's home (they live only two streets from the restaurant) where I was surprised with a lovely cake complete with candles.   7 y.o. Immy helped me blow out the candles and we all enjoyed a slice of cake each.  All in all it was a great day.

It has been quite a hectic time as we seldom go out but it was all very enjoyable and once again we are so glad of having our little family.  On Sunday we both just flopped.  I think it probably tires poor Phil out more than it does me as he is the one who has to do the driving and it is a good 35-40 minute drive each way.  I am sure we will bounce back pretty soon.  We have little choice as we are faced with at least another 3 months of very hot weather.  This week is a good example with 39ºC x 2 and then 38ºC with the 'chance' of it being a littler cooler next week.  (For those still on farenheit 30ºC = 86ºF and 40ºC = 104ºF).

I hope 2016 has begun well for everyone and wouldn't it be great if there was a little more peace in the world and less natural disasters.  It's not begun too well so far in that regard to either problem but one can only hope that everything will improve everywhere for everyone.

*I had roast pork belly with mashed potato and broccolini, apple sauce and a red wine jus.  It looked rather like this and was delicious.  The crackling was really crisp.

Yesterday (Monday) we both perked up quite a lot and although I didn't do anything spectacular Phil did get to go to the bank and do some much needed grocery shopping as well go to the library to exchange a couple of books and find some poetry for his meeting with his two ladies next Friday.  This month their 'theme' is Tennyson. 

We will have corned silverside cooking in the slow cooker today which, when cold, will go down very well with a variety of salads for our main meals for a few days.  Probably a meal of tinned salmon or sardines for a change in between.

I hope I am not jumping the gun but I have a good feeling about this new year.....please 2016 don't let me down.

Just remembered it is 30 years today since my son Steven married his long time partner Dianne.  It was a lovely wedding and although I won't be in touch with them, mentally I wish them continued good health and happiness.

Monday, January 4, 2016


I am sure this cat eventually found it is good to laugh:

and I hope 2016 has begun well for everyone.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I find this quite fascinating:

"JOHN KEATS in a letter to George and Georgina, his brother and sister.

There is another thing I must mention of a momentous kind - but I must mind my periods in it - Mrs Dilke has two Cats - a Mother and Daughter - now the Mother is a tabby and the Daughter a black and white like the spotted child - Now it appears ominous to me, for the doors of both houses are opened frequently - so that there is a complete thoroughfare for both Cats (there being no board up to the contrary), they may one and several of them come into my room ad libitum.  But no - the Tabby only comes - whether from sympathy from Ann the Maid or me I cannot tell - The Cat is not an old Maid herself - her daughter is a proof of it.  I have questioned her - I have looked at the lines of her paw - I have felt her pulse - to no purpose - Why should the old Cat come to me?  I ask myself - and myself has no word to answer.  It may come to light one day; if it does you shall hear of it......."

I wondered at his use of capital letters and also so many hyphens.  A different style of writing to today's style.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


As I am now 84 I feel I quite entitled to wish myself a happy birthday.  It has been a long journey to get this far, one that has not always been smooth but mainly happy.  I have so much to be thankful for: wonderful parents, two children, six grandchildren and three great-granddaughters.  Two husbands the first with whom I spent some happy times and some not so good; the second with whom I've now been for nearly 50 years and who cares for me so well.  Thank you Phil.

Yes, although I can no longer walk very far and I ache a lot, I have a lot to be grateful for so why shouldn't I wish myself a very happy birthday and with a bit of luck at least a few more to follow this one.  It always pays to be hopeful.

The one thing I am not feeling happy about is the fact they are forecasting my birthday to be 37ºC (about 99ºF).   I am quite used to it being hot on my big day but this I think is carrying it a bit far.  My daughter and her hubby are shouting us dinner at night (as they did for Phil last month) and the restaurant is well airconditioned so we won't feel the heat while we eat.  Hopefully the rest of the family will make it as well 'cos, as you know, I just love it when we all get together.

I really think that's enough for now don't you?  You have to indulge we oldies when we celebrate our birthdays.   We are allowed to go a little bit potty!!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2016


I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my blogging friends a wonderfully happy New Year.  If 2015 has not treated you well then I hope 2016 will be better for you.  If 2015 has been good to you then I trust that 2016 will perhaps be your best year ever.  To you and your loved ones:

We, as has been our custom over the past number of years, stayed home and managed to stay awake last night to see in the new year.  We gave each other a new year kiss, cuddled the cat and then decided it was high time to go to bed.   Another year had begun.

  Always remember these wise is the tomorrow we thought of yesterday!!