Tuesday, January 30, 2007

CATS ON TUESDAY # 6 ... and other stuff !!


Cat Kisses

Sandpaper kisses
On a cheek or a chin
That is the way
For a day to begin!

Sandpaper kisses
A cuddle and a purr.
I have an alarm clock
That's covered in fur!

Author Unknown





And now, on to my weekend ......


We left on Friday morning, for a long weekend (due to Australia Day ... see previous post) at Bonnie Doon. Now, I know that's not very original ... we always seem to head up to Bonnie Doon ... but it is only 2 hours from home, and we have everything we need there ... all we need to take is clothes and perishable food !! It was quite a warm day on Friday, and when we arrived, all our friends had headed off to a nearby lake to play in the water with their boats and wakeboards. We had a relaxing afternoon, doing absolutely nothing ... sigh, bliss !!

Saturday, the weather was cool and cloudy, and threatening to rain. We decided to go for a drive. Originally, we wanted to drive up to nearby Mount Buller, but due to the recent fire activity up there, and it being a fairly windy day, we decided against it ... the thought of the wind pushing over already fire-damaged trees was rather scary !! Instead, we drove in the direction of Jamieson. Approaching Mansfield (which is only about 25 km from Bonnie Doon), we passed this tree, which was decorated in the Aussie Soccer colours (since the World Cup last year). In previous years, it has had various pairs of bikinis, and AFL football colours. It is in dire need of a new paint job, I feel, as the paint is beginning to peel. (Peter, I thought you might be interested in this picture, as I know you have posted a pic of this tree in your blog in the past !)

Anyway, we drove to Jamieson, had lunch there, and visited my cousin and his wife, who were staying in her family's holiday home for the weekend. On the way back, we decided we just had to have a sticky-beak up the Howqua Track (which we thought would be still closed, due to the bushfires, but it wasn't !!), to see if we could see any areas where the bushfires had been. I know it sounds kind of morbid, but we were terribly curious. As we drove along the track, we caught glimpses of the burnt areas (if you click on the picture below, you should be able to see the brown patches of burn-out bush). The track you see in the picture is the one we were on !!

We continued to follow the track, until we rounded a bend and came across an eerie landscape of burn-out trees and totally burnt out underbrush. It was really creepy, very quiet (no wildlife or birds), and it somehow felt wrong to be there, almost like we were trespassing. We jumped out of the car, explored a little, took a few photos, and then high-tailed it back out of there !!

On arriving back on the main highway, instead of turning left back toward Bonnie Doon, we took a detour by turning right, toward Mount Buller, in the hope of getting a glimpse of the mountains, showing all the fire damage. It was incredible to see, and very very sad. So much damage ... I would hate to think of all the wildlife lost. (If you click on the following picture of Mount Buller, you might be able to see all the brownish areas, which are where the fire burnt through.)

After this, we turned around and went back to Bonnie Doon, where we caught up with our friends, and had a lovely evening of laughing and drinking !!

On Sunday, we decided to once again explore the dry lake bed ... there is always something new to see. We were lucky enough to catch sight of a Willy-Willy (or whirly-whirly) going through the dust. By the time I had my camera ready, it was almost in the water. We followed it's path through the water ... it was fascinating. We get lots of these in dusty areas ... they can be quite exciting. We were once buffeted by one whilst driving ... you could really feel as it hit the car !!

We packed everything up Sunday night, ready for an early departure Monday morning (Hubby didn't have to work until Monday night ... night shift ... so we had plenty of time to get home).

Monday we left bright and early, taking the back road across the hills, across to Eildon, rather than our usual path home on the highway via Yea and Yarra Glen. We wanted to visit the Eildon Dam wall, where the original wall was partially exposed, due to the low water levels. I hadn't been there for a couple of years, so it was about time. It was very fascinating, as I had never seen it this low, with the old water tower thingy, and the old spillway on display. These two photos were taken from opposite ends of the wall.

We had lunch in Eildon, and then headed home through the Black Spur, a very tropical looking mountain range, just outside of Healesville. We can actually go this way, rather than our usual way, when we head to Bonnie Doon, but the Black Spur way seems longer, so we usually go the way we always go !! The Black Spur drive is very beautiful, with an abundance of ferns and the tallest of trees. It is always very much cooler here, when it is warm, and also very much colder, when it is cold. It quite frequently snows here, in the middle of winter.

So, that was a little bit about my weekend. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

I hope your week is going well. My Chicky is off to high school tomorrow (Wednesday) ... she tells me she is a bit nervous, but very excited. I'm sure she will be totally fine, but I'm a mother ... I'm allowed to worry about her.

Enjoy the remainder of your week.

Take care,

MEOW

Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 26th ... Australia Day !!

Hello Everyone !!

I know it has once again been awhile since posting properly, but that is only because I continue to enjoy our Summer Holidays, which come to an end next Wednesday 31st January, when my Chicky goes back to school, and I start back doing a few hours here and there at the boarding cattery. (I have already had a bucket-load of typing, so in one way, my holidays are already over !!) Poor Hubby, he has already been back at work for 3 weeks !!

We have been pretty busy, doing all sorts of things ... visiting, being visited, playing, going to the beach, relaxing, shopping, sleeping in, reading, watching TV, and generally having fun !! We are well and truly prepared for school resumption next week ... all the stationery and uniforms, shoes and other paraphernalia have been purchased.

We are off tomorrow, for a long weekend (Friday is a public holiday) to our caravan at Bonnie Doon (we are truly very unoriginal ... but we really like it up there !!). Friday's public holiday is due to it being Australia Day. Here is some information on Australia Day, for those that don't know what it is all about. It is a fairly long read, but very interesting.


HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA DAY


A Day for the People


Australia Day today is a community day. With formal ceremonies around the country - flag raising, citizenship ceremonies and the presentation of community awards - combined with local events and fun activities, the day belongs to the people.

Celebrations actively encourage participation of all Australians regardless of age, ethnicity and culture. Increasing numbers of communities are also making efforts to recognise the meaning of the day for indigenous Australians with events such as indigenous flag-raising and welcome to country ceremonies.

While the historical aspects of the day will always be acknowledged, there is now a greater awareness of the need to celebrate contemporary Australia with our diversity, remarkable achievements and bright future.

First celebrations

On January 26, 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor.

The fledging colony soon began to celebrate the anniversary of this date. Manning Clarke notes that in 1808 the "anniversary of the foundation of the colony" was observed in the traditional manner with "drinking and merriment".

The first official celebrations were held in 1818 to mark the 30th anniversary of white settlement. Governor Macquarie officiated at a thirty-gun salute during the day and a dinner ball at Government House that evening.

Foundation Day

During the early nineteenth century the anniversary was called 'Foundation Day' and was usually marked by sporting events. Horseracing was popular in the 1820s, whilst regattas became popular in the 1830s.

One of these, the Anniversary Regatta which was first held in 1836, is still held on Sydney Harbour on January 26 each year. Now called the Australia Day Regatta it is the oldest continuous regatta in the world.

A growing sense of patriotism was also being expressed in other ways. In 1824 Charles Tompson, reputed to be our first Australia-born poet, composed Wild Notes from the Lyre of a Native Minstrel.

Fifty years after Phillip landed Australia's first public holiday was announced to celebrate Foundation Day 1838. The inaugural holiday became an annual event and has continued to be held on or around January 26.

United festivities

Unlike previous years, when the celebrations were mainly private, the 1838 celebrations were a 'day for everyone' with the harbour foreshores crowded and a cracker display for the people.

By 1888, gold had been found and Australia's population had grown to nearly three million. All the colonial capitals, except Adelaide, proclaimed 'Anniversary Day' a public holiday and celebrations took place throughout the individual colonies.

The centenary was marked by ceremonies, parades, exhibitions, fireworks, banquets, church services and regattas. An estimated 50,000 people watched the Governor, Lord Carrington, unveil a statue in honour of Queen Victoria. Although the talk was of federation there was no question of the Australian people's loyalty to the mother country.

The 150th anniversary of white settlement in 1938 were marked with official ceremonies around the nation celebrating the arrival of Captain Phillip.

The show piece of the NSW celebrations was a re-enactment of Phillip's landing, complete with the deposition of a party of Aborigines. The latter group had been brought to Sydney when their city counterparts refused to participate in what they called a 'grossly theatrical re-enactment'.

Several hours before the re-enactment Aboriginal activists convened a 'Day of Mourning' conference aimed at securing citizenship and equal status for Aborigines.

Interestingly, the celebrations omitted any mention of Australia's convict roots.

Australia Day

Finally, in 1946, the Commonwealth Government, States and Territories agreed to observe one national day 'Australia Day' under one banner and on the same day.

During this period the celebrations continued to have a largely imperial feel consisting mainly of formal re-enactments of the First Fleet's landing.

The National Australia Day Council was formed in 1979, with state and territory councils and committees soon after. From their inception they have encouraged more 'grass roots' celebrations, working with local government authorities to promote the wider celebration of Australia Day.

However, the Australia Day public holiday was still held on the Monday closest to January 26 and to the broader community it was just another holiday.

In our bi-centenary year, 1988, the Australia Day public holiday was held around the nation on January 26. The highlight of the many celebrations was a re-enactment of the First Fleet's trip which departed from Portsmouth on May 13, 1987 and arrived in Australia in early January. Britain then presented the tall ship, Young Endeavour, to Australia as its bi-centennial present.

Alongside the celebrations 1988 was named a Year of Mourning for Australia's Aboriginal people, who also regarded the year as a celebration of survival. It was the most vocal indigenous presence ever felt on 26 January.

In addition to the celebrations the bi-centennial left a legacy of tangible projects. Often funded by the Federal, State and Territory Governments these diverse and useful projects are lasting monuments to the celebrations.

Since the bi-centenary Australia Day celebrations have continued to grow in number and stature with the celebrations continuing to involve a larger and broader audience.

It was not until 1994 however, that all the states and territories endorsed the celebration of Australia Day on the actual day instead of the closest Monday. United Australia Day celebrations have been held on 26 January ever since.

(Source: Australia Day Council of New South Wales)


I hope you found this information interesting, and not too long winded !!


Anyway, I would just like to wish all my fellow Australian bloggers and wonderful Australia Day Weekend, and I hope everyone else has a great weekend, too.


Catch y'all next week.


Take care,


MEOW

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CATS ON TUESDAY # 5



Apologies for the quick, lazy way of posting a Cats On Tuesday.
Too much to do, too little time.
Hope everyone is well.
Take care,
MEOW


Saturday, January 20, 2007

It's Raining ... Yippeeeee !!!

Yep, folks, it is finally raining cats and dogs !!! It has been raining on and off most of the day and night ... it's lovely. I can hear my lawn growing, and becoming green again. My plants and trees are laughing ... it's a wonderful sight !! I don't know if it is drought-breaking rain (I can only hope), but it is certainly good, wet, rain. In north western Victoria, they had so much rain yesterday that they had floods. Our rain hasn't been that extreme here in the south, but it has been constant. Now we only need it to continue for a few weeks !!! At least it is giving the weary fire-fighters a much-needed break ... hope it puts the fires out completely ... fingers crossed.

It is Saturday evening here, around 6pm. I'm about to make dinner. It has been a quiet day, basically washing, folding laundry, and pottering around. Tomorrow I am going to a Kitchen Tea, for my cousin, who is getting married in a month. Should be fun ... a pack of women being silly together !!!

How's your weekend going ??

Have a good one.

Take care,

MEOW

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm A Neglectful Blogger ...

Just a quick hello, to let you know that I am still alive. It has been hard to find time to blog ... not that I haven't wanted to, because I have ... it is still Summer Holidays, Chicky is still home (back to school on the 31st January), and we have been busy doing all sorts of things, but nothing really exciting enough to write about !!

I have done a heap of house-cleaning ... sort of a spring clean (even though it's Summer!!). I rearranged my lounge room ... it looks great now, I love it much better than how it was. We have had visitors, gone here, there and everywhere ... you know how it is !!!

Gattina, I apologise for not doing a "Cats On Tuesday" this week ... hopefully next week.

As you may have heard on your news programs, Victoria is still in the grip of some wicked bushfires. We have also had some mega-hot days ... thanks goodness for air-conditioning. Although that was no use in many parts of the state on Tuesday late afternoon ... the bushfires burnt out something which caused a huge power blackout for a large part of Victoria. We were fortunate, ours didn't go down, so we could still relax with our air-conditioning ... it was 39C (just over 100F), and very, very warm !

I hope to be back to regular blogging again soon ... please continue checking in ... I am here, I haven't left you all. I hope to drop by and visit many of you over the next 24 hours. Thanks again for being patient blog-friends !!

I will leave you with some photos taken during our holiday at Bonnie Doon, of a time long gone, which has been uncovered by the low lake levels.

Enjoy the remainder of your week.

Take care,

MEOW

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another Quote ...

If you can imagine it you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.
--William Arthur Ward--

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hmmmm ... Friday Again !!

Where has the week gone ??? It seems the older I get, the more time flies ... what's with that ?!?!?!

Anyway, what have you been up to this week ???

I finally took down Christmas today. It took me hours ... didn't realise how much stuff I had throughout my house. I was almost tempted to just leave it ... save me some work in December, putting it up again !! But, I did take it all down. Now I need to do a thorough houseclean ... dusting, wiping, vacuuming, windows, etc. Looks like that's what my weekend will be all about !!

Did I mention I got an electric rice-cooker for Christmas ?!? What a wonderful invention. I have done some experimenting, and have even made a risotto in it. I have been on the internet looking up rice-cooker recipes ... there's some beauties. Looking forward to doing some more experimenting !!!

Did some shopping with Chicky today, getting most of the stuff she needs for the start of high school ... stationery, school shoes, drink bottle, lunch box, sports shoes ... all we really need now is a few moreitems of uniform (I got most of it last year ... the school uniform shop doesn't open till the 25th Jan, we'll get the rest then.), and a school bag, and we're done !!

Poor Bambi got beat up again yesterday, by Evil Max - the cat from over the road. Poor little thing is so frightened of him, it's so not fair that he stalks her, and attacks her out of the blue. She seems OK today, although was limping a bit yesterday. I'll be keeping an eye out for any abcesses that usually appear after a fight. Hopefully he didn't get any claws or teeth into her.

It's been incredibly hot these past few days ... today was almost a reprieve ... 26C instead of 36C+ ... the weekend is looking to be mild, with temps hotting up to the mid to high 30s again early next week. Those poor fire-fighters, still fighting the continuing bushfires in the east of the state ... there doesn't appear to be any break in sight for them. We had a ripper of an electrical storm overnight, which apparently started a fair few more fires for them to contend with. My hat goes off to those guys, they work so hard, at the risk of their own lives, to protect life and property. I think they deserve to be in all our prayers.

Well, I think I have gabbled on enough for now. I'm off to come visiting ... hope you've got lots of interesting stuff for me to read !!!

Take care everyone and ...

Hugs and best wishes,

MEOW

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Quote To Share ...



Our time here is magic! It's the only space you have to realize whatever it is that is beautiful, whatever is true, whatever is great, whatever is potential, whatever is rare, whatever is unique, in. It's the only space.
--Ben Okri--

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

CATS ON TUESDAY # 4

Since picking up my darling Bambi from the boarding cattery yesterday (after 2 weeks away from us), she has been such a loving kitty. It's always wonderful to see that she appears to have missed us, and gives us lots of rubs and licks. She is constantly in and out of the house, just checking to see if we are still there !! I must say, I really missed her, too.

She is still losing her Winter fur ... you can pat her, and end up with handfuls of loose fur. Brushing barely does the job, the loose fur is never ending !!! She still looks gorgeous, though, even though her coat is somewhat thinner ... not quite as thick and luxurious as it is in Winter. At least we know that when the weather turns, the fur will grow back again !!

Her first night home, last night, was a disaster (for me !!!). She was inside before dark, as per normal. She was cuddly, and sleeping with both Chicky and me whilst we were on the computer and watching TV. But .... the minute we decided to go to bed .... Bambi goes psycho, and starts running around the house, as though being chased by a ghost !! I had to lock her in the part of the house where my bedroom is in, so that she couldn't get up to any mischief that I couldn't see or hear !! I had my spray water bottle at the ready, and almost had to use it on a number of occasions (she runs away at just the sound of me shaking the bottle !!!). Needless to say, I had very little sleep last night. It makes me wonder what the kitties get up to overnight at the boarding cattery ... mega parties, I reckon !!! Hopefully, tonight she will have settled down, and gotten back to the placid sleepy all night kitty I am used to. Fingers crossed !!

Doesn't she look like she is just the most innocent little critter !!


Monday, January 08, 2007

Back Home Again ...

Hello, my patient Blog-Friends !!!

A big thank you, and hugs to you all, for the wonderful comments to my brief posts whilst I have been away. You are all amazing ... thank you for being my blog friends.

Hope you are all well. We have returned to civilization today, have unpacked, gone shopping, retrieved Bambi from the boarding cattery (and boy, is she glad to be home !!), and am now finally bringing you all up to date on what I have been up to, before heading out to all your blogs to visit .... stand by, I'm on my way !!!

Anyway, after a lovely Christmas Eve with my family, with wonderful food and company, we left home on Christmas Day, after opening presents and stuff. We all did well ... Santa was very generous, particularly with Chicky ... she had quite a collection of goodies !! The drive to Bonnie Doon was, well ... in a word, WET !!! It actually started sleeting at one stage (I've driven through hail many-a-time, but sleet ... now that's something very odd in the middle of Summer in country Victoria !!). It had stopped raining briefly when we arrived at our caravan, enabling us to unpack in peace!! We had Christmas Day lunch (well, more like early dinner, really) with my cousins (who own the caravan park where our 'van is located) and aunt & uncle and others. A lovely, big (huge!!) meal, with lots of laughs !! More pressies, and the day was over. I guess, that was that, in regards to Christmas !!

The weather improved from then on, getting warmer and hotter. We had many days of mid to high 30sC ... thank goodness for air-conditioning. The smoke from the bush fires came and went (unfortunately some of the fires are still burning, and they were doing a heck of a lot of back-burning, so depending on the wind direction, we were occasionally smoked out !!).
New Years Eve was fun ... the park had a live band, which played great music, and the atmosphere was wonderful. We also partied on with friends back at our places ... lots more music, lots of food, lots of drink ... fortunately I stopped drinking early, so didn't suffer the next day !!

We did some driving through and around the lake bed (which, as you probably know, has barely any water ... down to around 11% now !!). 4WDing and motor bike riding is a big thing in the area at the moment ... makes up for not being able to put boats in the lake !!

Friends had their boats (we left ours at home), and we drove to a nearby lake, which has enough water to play in. Chicky learnt how to Wake-Board ... go Chicky !!! Lots of fun was had by all on all the various water toys, towed behind the boats.

All in all, though, we did a lot of nothing. I read a few books, did some puzzles, talked heaps, did nothing heaps !! Isn't that what a holiday is all about ... relaxing.

Enough of me rabbiting on ... here's some photos (hope Blogger is behaving itself today !!). ENJOY !!

Bye for now.

Take care,

MEOW



This rainbow was a special gift from Santa on Christmas Day.


An old photo of the Bonnie Doon bridges ... the rail bridge on the left, and the car bridge on the right ... when there was water !!

The rail bridge is now called the RailTrail Bridge, and is a foot bridge ... here is Hubby and my dad on it ... you can see the car bridge to the right. There is absolutely NO WATER underneath it at the moment !!


An interesting view of an old bridge uncovered by the disappearance of the lake.

Looks more like a desert than a lake-bed !!

Bits and pieces remaining of an old homestead, which was buried in the lake back in the 1950s.


Ummm, there is usually a beautiful view through these trees ... unfortunately, it was one of those days where the bushfire smoke obscured everything.
A beautiful sky.


A cheeky little Crimson Rosella, who loved to come and share our nibblies !!


This cheeky Cockatoo just had to have what the Rosella was having !!!


Mummy Rosella feeding Baby Rosella ... it is sooooooo cute !!


I've always been fascinated by clouds !!

More clouds !!!

Chicky on her first Wake-Board adventure !!!

This little (?!?!?!) fella visited us this morning !!! Hubby quickly ran inside to grab the camera. There were 2 of them, just nibbling the grass beside our decking.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'm Still Here ... Miss Me ???

Hello everyone,

Another quickie from me ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR ... OK, I know I'm late ... sorry !!!

I hope you all had a wonderful slide into 2007 ... we did !!!

We are having typical Summer weather here at Bonnie Doon ... 30+C, and humid. It looks like it wants to rain, on and off, but it ain't happening. Oh well, it can't not rain forever.

Hope you are all well.

Sorry I haven't been by to visit since before Christmas. We'll be home next week, and then I'll be able to catch up on you all. I've gotta say, I miss you all.

Enjoy the week.

Luv & Hugs to you all.

Take care,

MEOW