Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bally Thing!

The last few days have been overcast with threatening dark clouds and a few showers with little rain. My late Mum would have called it ‘Fiss Farting Around’. She didn’t like swearing and would not actually use ‘piss’ in a sentence. In fact both my parents had a variety of alternative nicer words to describe things in a more genteel manner than their children. Dad would curse ‘The bally thing’.
After both our parents passed away we, my brother and I, compiled a few of their well used sayings. I will find them and post them at a later date.

In any case, the weather HAS been fiss-farting around! We need a bloody great downpour.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


State Parliament today was in uproar over news that yet another government Minister had been exposed as being a little bent and given the bum’s rush from cabinet and the ALP.

The two lobbyists involved in this CCC investigation, Julian Grill and Brian Burke (both ex ALP parliamentarians) have had their phones and rooms bugged by the CCC, providing a wealth of information for the investigation..and all of us. I reckon the CCC should burn a CD of all the conversations and sell it...they would sell like hot cakes!

Will we ever hear how they got in to bug both properties? Grill has a nice little four storey cottage in Subiaco and I reckon it would have a pretty good security system in place.

No doubt there are a few more Nervous Nellies in the government ranks.

Do you notice how there doesn’t seem to be a journalists’ standard for addressing the accused and convicted? Sometimes a mass murderer gets a Mr in front of his moniker and at other times a lad taking a pee down an alley late at night will be referred to by surname only.

‘Mr Jenkins strangled his wife, severed her head and dumped the bits in his wheely bin’


‘Jones was arrested after being seen urinating in an alley near the Metropolis Night Club some time after 1pm.’

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sequencing Photos

Helen came down yesterday for help in preparing a class activity. She wanted us to take photos of her preparing a fruit salad. Her pre-primary class will be making their own tomorrow (Tuesday) and they are doing this activity beforehand. It involves 4 photos printed on a sheet of paper. Each photo is of a step in the fruit salad preparation. The children have to cut up the sheet and rearrange them in the correct order, explaining what they have done.

We took about 20 digital photos as she made the salad and then she chose 4. Kevin put them all on an A4 sheet and printed off 24 copies. Bit of a delay when one of the colour inks ran out and he had to refill the cartridge but they were all finished in plenty of time.

She arrived about 10.30 and left shortly after 3. In this time we had gone shopping for the fruit, the salad making was organised and photographed and the activity sheets completed. We had also had lunch. I couldn't help thinking how much easier the digital age has made some tasks for teachers.

In the dark ages if you took photos of anything you were doing with kids you had to wait till you had finished a roll of film, get it processed, then often discover that a vital photo was blurred or out of focus or hadn't actually been taken. An activity like this one would have taken days of planning, physical cut and paste and then reproduction of the sheets by black and white photocopier. Even further back in the dark ages it would have involved a Gestetner printer or even a Fordigraph and photos could not even be considered.

I did not often take photos of student work for the above reasons. Kevin, of course, being a photography teacher was much more adept and always took photos of the students in his class for his marks book, but he still had to wait a day for the processing. Helen can take photos of her students and download them instantly to a computer for them to see.

And what happened to the fruit salad? No, we didn't eat it for lunch. She took it to a picnic concert in Kings Park that evening.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

History lost

On our morning walk today we trundled off around Manning Park which is the site of a nice little lake (now drizabone!) and a museum of sorts named Azelia Ley Homestead. Azelia had that house built for her by one of W.A.'s early wealthy families, the Mannings. The Mr Manning who built the house for his daughter had previously built, in around the 1850s, what was a magnificent homestead for himself nearby.

About twenty years ago I took some photographs of what was left of the original Manning homestead. There were lots of rooms, some with the walls still showing hand painted friezes, a well, stables and servants' quarters. A long stone wall parallel to the coast featured embrasures (gun slits), surely the only real examples left in any building in W.A. Returning about a year later to take some more photos of the old building I found it completely demolished by the local council bulldozer because 'It was deemed to be unsafe.' On our travels we have seen many similar ruins which still stand and tell a story about pioneers. Vandals!

As we collected rubbish left by other vandals we found a bong with a mouthpiece of half-inch hosepipe. So if you get up one morning and find your front yard hose cut, be assured that some youth has cut a piece from the middle of your hose to construct his/her bong.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bah! Bah! Litterbugs!

Three and a half bags full!

This morning we walked the section of the Bibra Lake foreshore called the Golf Park. As usual we took a couple of plastic bags with us. Picking up rubbish has become a sort of game with us, though Kevin is much more enthusiastic than I am, and always finds at least some. Today's effort ranked as one of our best - or worst, depending on your point of view.

It started at the tree in the shade of which we parked the car. One empty Jim Beam bottle and 5 stubbies. Straight into the bin just across the parking area. Then along the path, collecting as we went. Kevin did better than me, though I did score an empty drink can carefully wedged between the trunk and a branch of one of the bottlebrush trees. Bonus - no bending. By the time we reached the bin opposite the entrance to Adventure World Kevin's bag was full, mine half full.

We tipped the rubbish out of the bags into the bin and headed back through the park. This was once a Par 3 golf course, but is now basically a treed and grassed area. One section of it is a practice area for chipping and putting. Some of the strokes we have witnessed resemble driving more than chipping - but what would we know? For once we didn't see any plastic bags of dog's poo. We draw the line at picking those up, but someone must do it, because sometimes they are gone the next time we walk that way.

We did not find much litter until we were almost back to the parking area, where we each collected a full bag. This was once a local Lovers' Lane. The clientele these days seems rather more diverse. As well as numerous stubbies and empty plastic drink bottles we found a used syringe, a vial of distilled water and a cardboard box which had once contained a piece of equipment for use in male masturbation.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Before and after: bad news, good news

Near our home are a few small lakes. The main lake is Bibra Lake which has given its name to our suburb. The smaller lake just north of Bibra Lake is named North Lake (of course). We walk around North Lake about once a fortnight. We have noticed the gradual drying up of the lake over many weeks.

It seems that a group of 34 Filipino guest workers at the nearby shipyards at Henderson were given the right to sew wet grain rice in the muddy bed of the lake. The results look great and it looks as though it is about two months off harvest. The ground will be, I think, still too soggy for a harvester to go in there and we are just wondering how they plan on harvesting the rice. I guess it will end up being harvested by traditional methods…by hand with long knives. Should make for some pretty unique photographs when it happens.

North Lake looking west some 5 months ago.

North Lake looking east today.

About the rice and the guest workers; I was just joshing. The pics of the lake before and now are real. Please don’t go ringing the council to complain.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Coincidence and history

Last year we went on a cruise from Singapore to Thailand, Cambodia and back to Singapore over 7 days. The ship is the Gemini and it can carry about 800 passengers but on our cruise there were only 260 passengers, mostly from Australia. One couple we met on the cruise lived at one time in the same suburb as we did…Bicton. It turned out that the husband’s father was the somewhat gruff Sergeant Shea at the local Police Station. We discovered many things and people in common from the fifties.
His wife learnt that we had spent some years teaching in Papua New Guinea and told us of her grandfather who was a Master Mariner on a ship out of Samarai in the early 1900s. He was killed during a storm which swept down through Papua New Guinea and devastated Cooktown in Queensland in 1907. The cause of death was noted as being struck by a rigging block during the storm. The Queensland newspaper reporting the death suggested that it seemed suspicious as two other Masters on the same ship had died at sea.

The grand daughter had letters and photographs between the ship’s Master and his wife and new born baby. The wife was living in Cooktown and was awaiting housing before moving to Samarai. The letters tell of his life on board and on land at Samarai, his plans for their arrival and expressions of his love for his wife and child. He died before mother and daughter arrived in Samarai. He was Norwegian with the name of Soren Nilsen, but anglicised it to Nelson. I wrote up the story with pictures to be published in Una Voce, the newsletter of the PNGAA.

Top photo is of Samarai c 1906.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Complexities of employment

My brother works as a storeman at a very busy packaging company: incoming, outgoing; dealing with orders and frequent shipping containers arriving with loads of Chinese products. He is 57 years of age and is the employee of all time. He is fit, never takes a sickie, works very hard and is honest beyond reproach. He is looking for a similar job with better conditions and has applied for a few jobs. Each time he rings, the employer asks his age. There is usually some doubt expressed that a bloke his age can do the job and he doesn't hear any more from them. I have always thought that the age thing didn't ring true, but I am starting to see that maybe I was wrong. There have certainly been quite a few Channel 9/10 programs suggesting so. I do not understand the problem with employing older people. Many young men use marijuana, or drink and become unreliable employees. I have a friend in the mining business who says that drug and alcohol testing disqualifies many young fellows. Probably the only way to overcome this problem is for my bro to front up to the employer and let them see him face to face.

Our son had a related incident this week. He failed to turn up to work on Friday and Monday and was given the boot. Fortunately, after pleading with his boss over the phone, he was given a second chance, which will, I hope, make our lad a better employee. He is to 'sit down with the boss and discuss a few things'. Let's hope it works.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Slowing Down

The first flush of enthusiasm for blogging has faded. I am finding it difficult enough to write something every day for one blog, then every second day it is supposed to be two postings, one to my own blog and the other to this. We don't have that interesting a life!

Then today I read an article about this very topic, so I am taking heart. There is no rule that you have to blog every day, though Paul would disagree. He hasn't missed a day in 2 and a bit years. I am not so committed and so will only contribute when I actually have something to say. I hope Kevin will take up the slack.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Sunday’s post is a little late. I could have told you that our ISP was down or that we had a power failure, but the simple truth is that our neighbours dropped in for a couple of drinks which developed into a meal with more drinks. End of story.

We are lucky that we have such good neighbours. Even their children are excruciatingly nice. The neighbours on our other side are also nice. The man is a medico at a large hospital and I guess he doesn’t want to have too much personal contact lest we put on him for free consultations. His wife is much more communicative. Both neighbours are security conscious which is great when one of us is away for any time. We also have a couple who live at the entrance to our cul-de-sac who know everything that happens in the area.

Dave and Judy, who visited yesterday, brought in details of their recent trip to the U.S. and gave us some good tips for travel, car hire and accommodation. Dave runs a very successful business producing compost from waste from a large piggery. He has won several environmental awards for his operation. He has invited me to visit the site to check it out.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It IS happening

Today I booked the tickets for our trip to the US in July for Bruce's wedding. They were about $100 cheaper than the last time I looked, so I will not look again. Too demoralising if they become even cheaper closer to the time we leave. I am happy with the price we got though.

I also bought travel insurance, booked a hotel room for our first night in LA and hired a car. Too easy. Tomorrow I will book a Hearst Castle tour and the accommodation we will need on our way to Portland. This part is pretty well organised.

I am trying to plan what we will do after the wedding and the days we are going to spend with Jenny. Our next-door neighbours went to this part of the States in January and we need to pick their brains.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Theatre

Last night we went to a stage show at the Regal Theatre in Subiaco. The Regal is an old movie theatre and still has the old ticket booth with sand-blasted etching of ticket prices on the glass. Upstairs there is the old projector on display.

The show is a musical; a rather long stage adaptation of May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. It was two-and-a-half hours long with a 30 minute intermission. The Gibbs’ characters were there, but they took on upbeat roles with lots of puns about current topics thrown in. It is obviously not a kids’ show. It is hard for anyone to get me to a theatre, but I went along prepared to enjoy the show.

Let me see if I can give you a synopsis of the show in 92 words……Snake woman wants to kill the Gum trees and therefore the gumnuts and blossoms by getting the banksia men to grab them and tie them up in hessian and drown them in the water. She is cranky with gum trees because kookaburras live in them and a kookaburra took her husband. The nuts convince the banksia men that the kookaburras will then live in the banksia trees and then the snake woman will want to kill the banksia trees. After a lot more songs and dancing about, everyone gets less violent and all end up mates.

I judge such outings by the urge to check my watch during a performance and I did check my watch a few times during the performance. Lots of singing, dancing, costumes, stage props and good lighting. Three stars from me. Three and a half stars from Joan.

Before the show we parked in a carpark near the theatre @ $8., had a meal at the markets and moved on to the show. Home by 10.30.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Traffic Tribulations

We had to take Shirley into Perth this morning to catch the bus for Esperance at 8 am. In quiet times we can get to that area in 30 minutes or a bit less. Since we didn't know how busy the Freeway was going to be we thought we would allocate 50 minutes or so.

There was a bit of delay in leaving so we were down to 43 minutes. Heavy traffic on North Lake Road and I just missed the right turn lights into Farrington, but there was a second go. Onto the Freeway. Traffic moving well. Then it slowed down. We travelled from Leach Highway to South Terrace at an average speed of about 50 kph. Then we regained a bit of speed and soon were onto Charles Street.

We were slightly confused about exactly where to go. I turned right at Vincent Street after a long wait at the lights, then went down Bulwer to Lord Street. 5 minutes to go. Then we made a booboo. Instead of going straight ahead, which would have taken us straight to the station we turned right, then left and ended in a maze of No Through Roads.

But we eventually got there, Shirl caught the bus with no time to spare and we headed home through the city - another traffic nightmare. And we may face another this evening - we are going to the Regal in Subiaco to see a Festival production : Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pin Ball Machine

About twenty years ago we purchased a pinball machine for $150. It had lots of use as our kids grew up and whenever we had a party at our place, but like a swimming pool, it fell into disuse. Recently it has been stored in a storeroom here and I noticed it getting rusty and even the coins in the tray below the coin slot were getting tarnished. Some of the functions no longer worked. So, out with the yellow pages to find a man to service it. Eventually I found a chap who came to the house and did an initial service and got the machine working properly again, He returned a fortnight later with a new rubber kit (there are about twenty rubber bouncers), feet for the legs and bulbs for all the lights. All this for $270! I asked him how many people still know how to fix these electro-mechanical machines still. He says there are three in W.A., another bloke his age and an old bloke almost 60! I informed him that I was 67. He seemed suitably embarrased.

The pinball is now working beautifully and all I have to do is match the gaudy paint and touch up all the scratches on the case. They truly are a marvel inside the works and very sturdy to have survived the harsh treatment given them by the hundreds of pinball wizards over many years. It will migrate into the house when I can talk Joan into it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Computer Stuff and Nonsense

Kevin has been trying to configure an eMac for friends of ours who have just gone broadband with Bigpond. This involved a new ASDL modem which didn't want to talk to the eMac. Thinking the cable might be faulty, he bought a new one. Still no talkies.

Kevin then brought it home here in case the modem was faulty, but it worked fine with my Windoze laptop. Seemed like it had to be the Ethernet port, or some configuration detail. As I was going over to Nedlands to the Apple resellers, he asked me to talk to them about it. They suggested it could be either. If it was the port it could be costly because it is not a separate card. It would take only a few minutes to check out, but it couldn't be done for another three weeks because that was their backlog.

I came back and told Kevin. He spoke severely to the eMac, and obviously apprehensive about being disembowelled, it agreed to talk to the modem. Kevin is going to our friends' place tomorrow to finish the setting up.

And the reason I went there? I bought a new phone a couple of weeks ago. It has Bluetooth to transfer images and other files. I followed all the setup instructions and the phone recognises our iMac. The iMac recognises the phone. But, like the modem and the eMac, they won't talk to each other. The phone retailer couldn't help me - their whiz kid only knew about PCs. Can't say the Apple retailer was much help either - the fellow I spoke with didn't know anything about the brand of phone I have. But he did check that the model was compatible with the iMac and gave me a number to ring to be talked through the process. I will try that tomorrow.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I like a cooked breakfast. One of my favourites used to be Kraft Steak and Onions on toast, but over the years Mr Kraft has been reducing the steak component of the can and it has been somewhat of a lucky dip finding a trace of meat in the serving. I suppose you could call blood vessels and other white tissue, meat. I tried a can of Tom Piper S&O and low and behold, pieces of meat! Some months ago I emailed Kraft and Tom Piper telling them of my discovery. Tom Piper wrote back thanking me and Mr Kraft set in train a major investigation including a phone call from a quality control officer who explained that they did have tight production controls and if I could send them the details on the label and the can they would send me another replacement can. She didn’t understand that I wasn’t after a freeby, I was just reporting that the labelling is not too accurate.

I opened a can of Kraft S&O yesterday and (is it coincidence?) lots of bits of steak were found.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Planning Underway

We have started planning for the July trip to the States. Kevin bought a detailed map of the Western US from the Canadian border to the Mexican border and we have been looking at distances and routes. We will arrive in LA and the present plan is to hire a car and drive north to Portland, taking 4 days or so. I checked with my niece who lives in San Francisco and she said this was feasible. Unfortunately she won't be home in July so we won't see her, but she said we might be able to stay at her house - she will have a house sitter.

We are thinking of driving north along the coast to SF and the same as far as we can on our way to Portland. Then we will stay a few days with my friend Jenny after the wedding and head back south on an inland route. If it is feasible we will visit the Yosemite National Park on the way.

Our next door neighbours have just returned from a trip to the States and they say we must visit Las Vegas. If we go that far we might as well go on and take a look at the Grand Canyon. As soon as I work out how much time we need we will start booking fares and hire cars.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

40th anniversary

We have just returned home from a 40th wedding anniversary celebration of my in-laws...Joan's sister Dorothy and husband Michael. It was a large affair with around 80 guests at their home. The show was catered for and there was plenty of tucker and drinks...probably too many of the latter. We were driven there and back by my brother and his girl friend. At what time does a girlfriend became a partner? I think I know.
My bro-in-law has Parkinson's disease and is on the long waiting list for an operation to insert electrodes into his brain to stop the debilitating movements of the disease. His daughter was home for the occasion from the U.S. She works for the largest financial institution in the world and can manage to organise a trip home for such occasions en route to a conference in China or some other exotic place. The speeches were charged with emotion and many people, including me, were moved to tears. I took the photographs and have just viewed them on the computer....they are good.
Michael is a long way off the operation...there is only one specialist performing this operation in Western Australia and he does one per week. Mike looks like he is about twelve months back on the list. I hope he holds out and the procedure is successful.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Second week in the month

This is the week that I disappear most mornings about 9am and reappear about 5pm.

I belong to 5 different textile groups and three of them meet in the second week of the month. I really enjoy the social contact and stimulation I get, but I am sometimes frustrated that the ideas sparked by a particular meeting cannot be translated into a textile piece because I just don't have time to do it.

I really wonder how I did anything else when I was working full time, but I did. Did I manage time better? Did I depend on time spent on crafty things becoming a sanity saver?

I think I need to keep a time diary again for a while. In the last few years I was working we had several Professional Development days focus on this. The idea was that we could thereby prove to our superiors that every moment was gainfully occupied OR that we were so snowed under that we needed additional resources. Choose the alternative you prefer.

I suspect that a time diary will show that I am using too much time in non-productive activities like housework.

Thursday, February 8, 2007


Yesterday we went to the storage facility of the W.A. Museum to view and photograph the eharo mask I had donated to the museum in 1963. Silly me, I was only 22 years old and when I brought the packaged mask to my parents' house I was told to get rid of I gave it to the museum. I know why mother wanted it out of the house. It is quite a large piece, around 1.2 metres high and needed a very large house to display it adequately. The anthropologist tells me that it is very valuable. I should have kept it and sold it to the New York Met.

The mask (eharo) was a traditional mask associated with Hevehe dance cycle in the Orokolo area of the Gulf Province of Papua. These dance cycles ran for years and at the end the masks were destroyed and the cycle started again. Missionaries disapproved of these pagan ceremonies and by about 1932 they were no longer practised. In 1962-63 I was head teacher of Arehava Primary School near Orokolo and I contracted with one of the last mask-makers still living to make me an eharo. I think the price negotiated was either ten pounds or thirty pounds.....probably the former. It was beautifully crafted with wicker work and bark covering, painted with lime and ochres. The mask maker demanded that I shoot lots of sulphur crested cockatoos for the yellow feather trimming. When the mask was finished it was delivered in a traditional sing-sing.

We have other pics of my/our time in Papua New Guinea.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Museum Visit

We went out to Welshpool to the warehouse where the major portion of The Western Australian Museum's various collections is stored. The building is huge and the airconditioning ducts are immense. A good place to be on a day like today.

We walked past a lot of different storage areas until we came to the anthropology section. Each section has some kind of poster or illustration on its door - some serious, others not. This particular door is decorated with a Farside cartoon. Two pith helmeted gentlemen can be seen approaching through the window of a native hut. The caption is "Anthropologists !! Anthropologists!!" and inside the hut several people are grabbing TVs, VCRs and computers to whisk them out of sight. I loved it.

Once inside the door we were confronted with rows and rows of metal shelving, all with boxed or bubble wrapped artifacts. The object we had come to see rated a plastic wrapped crate of its own. I will leave it to Kevin to talk about this - he would never forgive me otherwise.

We were shown a number of different artifacts including Sepik carvings and some tapa from Oro Province. There are some very nice pieces there, but there are also some that were obviously made for the tourist trade that have been donated by people who thought they were genuine. There is a really awful carved bowl from Manus and some of the Sepik masks are very poorly decorated. But they are being well looked after and we were told that there are plans for an exhibition - if funding can be obtained.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Papuan Artefact

About a week ago I rang the W.A. Museum to talk to the anthropologist about viewing an artefact I donated whilst on leave from a teaching post in Papua New Guinea. The year was 1963. The artefact was on display for a short period in 1965 but has been stored ever since.

In 1965 I was back in Western Australia and had been posted to a country High School in a nice town named Bridgetown. It was there I met my wife to-be Joan who was a French/English teacher at the same school. I told her about the artefact, a head-dress, and we went to the museum to view it. We were taken to some old houses in the centre of Perth which were owned by the museum and used for storage. I was amazed at a large collection of Papua New Guinea artefacts stored there and upon reflection, they were probably worth millions. The collection, apart from my donation, was from the 1870s, donated by a missionary.
Tomorrow we are going to view the head-dress and take photographs of it. We are also going to check out the large New Guinea collection…that is if it hasn’t been flogged!

My next posting will have some pics of the head-dress, details of its origins and a report on the museum collection

Monday, February 5, 2007

More Googling

I have spent a lot of time on the Internet today trying to track down the best value air fares for our trip to the US in July for a nephew's wedding.

It is almost too easy. Fares, accommodation, car hire - all at the touch of a button. But I can understand why people go to travel agents. There is never all the information you require at any one site and the quoted fare prices differ wildly from one place to another. In the case of the fare we are considering, one online site offers it at half the price it is at the airline's own site. How do you know that the cheap site is reputable? In this case we do - I have booked fares before with them and the outcome was completely satisfactory - but without that experience how would you know?

So we now know how much we are going to have to spend. All we need to decide is actual dates and what we are going to do before or after the wedding and we can make the bookings. Need to consult with other family members who are going as well, I suppose. But we'll have to make the bookings soon because it is high season in the Northern Hemisphere.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Mandurah visit

Yesterday we drove down to Mandurah. Down because it is south of where we live. The trip had a two-fold purpose. We have friends who live there and I have a dear friend who is in a hostel for respite care for a few days. My friend has Parkinson's Disease and Lewy Body disease. Most people think that Parkinson's Disease is characterised by shaking hands and indeed that is the most recognisable form of the disease. My friend's version of the disease has him freeze and alternatively shuffle. My brother-in-law has two phases to his version...rigidity and rapid dancing and flailing movements. Medication has little obvious effect, although I know that without it, both would be frozen solid and in a state of panic.
My friend who is in respite, has frightening hallucinations, day and night. When I visited him yesterday, I asked him whether the 'monsters' were with him there. He said that he had checked all the cupboards and under the bed and hadn't seen anything as yet. Before he retired, he was an academic at a university with a PhD. In the early stages he realised that the hallucinations were just that, but now he believes that they are real. He does, however know that he is deteriorating. As I mentioned in a previous post, my brother-in-law is in line for an operation which has a very good chance of bringing some normality to his life. If the information I read on Lewy Body disease is accurate, there is not a lot of hope for my friend. I am saddened to see a good long-time friend in this condition and not be able to offer anything but friendship.
When he turned seventy recently I gave him my home-made gift voucher for lifetime hair cuts and computer support. I hope I will be able to do both for a long time yet.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


What a wonderful research tool the Internet is. We did some googling yesterday to try to find out what animal it was that made the burrow pictured. We did think it might possibly be a chudditch, though their habitat is more usually the South West jarrah forests. However it is probably more likely to be a bandicoot.

Friday, February 2, 2007

A visitor today

We had a visit from a young lad today. His name is Shiloh. We had a similar visit from him and a friend early last year. Last time the two lads, both around 12 years of age told us that they were destitute and needed to work for a bus fare back to Rockingham after spending a weekend with friends near here. I thought at the time it sounded a bit dodgy, but gave them two dollars each for the ‘fare’. Soon after that I started hearing stories about Shiloh and his Fagin type family. They live in a suburb named Coolbellup, which some people have named Hydraulic Park because things gets lifted there. Apparently the work scam is to case the joint and see what is available. Shiloh doesn’t seem to see the need to attend school and no doubt the staff aren’t too unhappy that he doesn’t front up.
Anyway, he fronted up here today peering through the front door glass after ringing the bell. I opened the door and he told me a story about his mum forgetting to leave lunch money and was seeking a donation from me. I did mention that he had tried that one before and that he should depart quicktime. We also suggested that he should be at school. He went to every house in the street. We will have to warn our neighbours about Shiloh. He is a Ginger Meggs type of lad….ginger unkempt hair, freckles and a look of innocence. Shiloh’s folks are unlikely to have found that name in the Bible or from readings of the American Civil War.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Walkabout with a camera

This morning we took a camera when we went for our walk along the path that leads to a little jetty and bird hide on the opposite side of Bibra Lake. This is one of our favourite walks.

There was a lineup of young cormorants along the railing. They let us get quite close, then peeled off one by one. Kevin thought of fighter planes, I thought of a chorus line.

Something was a big attraction in the water for a range of birds, all concentrated in a small area of water and busily eating.

On the way back we noticed this hole. It seems much too big to be a rabbit's, but a little too small to house a wombat. Obviously we are very ignorant of what native animals live in this area. We often see scratchings in the ground and droppings that resemble those of sheep, though much smaller.