Sunday, 28 December 2014

Wedding weekend

I've got very behind with the blog, we've had such a busy time since the lead up to our son's wedding, which took place in Darwin, on 13 December.  A group of ten of us flew up to Darwin on 11 December - a four hour flight.
Australia is such a vast country, and although much of its interior is red desert, I could see some wonderful patterns in the landscape below us, some are man made,
but most are spectacular natural landforms.
The colour of the heart of Australia looks like this!  Beautiful!
My two other children travelled from Scotland to celebrate their brother’s wedding.  The two boys hadn’t seen each other for four years, and in fact we had not been together as a family for that time, so it was all eagerly anticipated.  We had a joyous reunion at the airport!

This is the wet season in Darwin.  In Australia, that part of the country is referred to as the top end.  Very hot, very humid, and at this time of the year, not a comfortable place to be!  The wedding was held outside and thankfully the normal pattern of weather for 6 o’clock in the evening, i.e. a thunderstorm and a deluge of rain, didn’t happen!  The bride’s arrival, on her father’s arm, with our little granddaughter as her flower girl, was accompanied by bagpipes – a little bit of Scotland which was a welcome sound to me, although probably took a few of the local Aboriginal community by surprise!   
We were in Darwin for four days, and of course there are some attractions you cannot miss if you are a visitor to that part of the world, namely the crocodiles!  We took the wee girl to see some snappy-snappies!  She loved it!  She had no fear of the “monsters” at all!  She even held a baby one, giving it a kiss on the end of its nose before handing it back to the keeper!  (Croc's mouth touth taped shut, btw!).
 A festive skeleton
and a live croc called Axel, 5.1 metres long, with rather larger teeth than the baby croc we saw earlier!
Look out!  He's behind you!!!!

And of more interest to me, some of the lovely flowers of Darwin!  The frangipani is one of my favourites.  It has a lovely glossy leaf, and the flowers have the most delicious scent.  They seemed to at their blooming best when we were there.
Below, spider lilies, Hymenocallis, a very strange looking flower indeed.

Just before we left Darwin I visited the town's Chinese temple.  It was in a pretty basic corrugated shed like building, but peaceful and very colourful inside.
I asked if it would be alright for me to take photographs, and the gentleman who showed me into the temple told me that they were Taoist, and that their religion was very carefree, and of course it would be fine for me to take photos!  I loved that sense of being care free!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Simply superb!

Kittie, this post for you!  A superb blue wren.  
A well named little fellow!

Monday, 8 December 2014

A favourite haunt

We headed back to St Kilda today, to the allotment site on the old peanut farm.  It's one of our favourite Melbourne haunts.  It's completely bonkers, with crazy bits and pieces stuck in the ground to decorate the plots, but we love it.  

But first, the quote of the day.
I think these might be apricots, but I am not sure!  They look the wrong shape for peaches, lovely colour anyway.
This could be Rosa Mundi.  I love stripey roses, and have one of these bushes at home, in the herb bed.
There are some art studios along one side of the allotment garden and I think these hands come from one of those studios!  
The plaster cast hands are attached to vines, which run along a path from the street to an undercover area which, today, was producing some rather good cooking smells. 
The allotment garden also sometimes serves as a drop in centre, and today they were cooking lunch for homeless people and Aboriginals.  There was a happy, chatty atmosphere as everyone sat around, waiting for their lunch. 
This is a lovely, fragrant lemon verbena bush.  It was tempting to pick a few leaves to make some delicious tea, but I resisted!
 Now a little of the lunacy!  All great fun, and lots of creativity!
They do grow vegetables too, which were all looking extremely healthy, throughout the whole allotment site.  That's the roller coaster ride in Luna Park, in the background.
Yellow courgettes, which are a good deal bigger than the ones I managed to grow this year!
And a little greenhouse, full of basil seedlings.
We left the bewildered cow behind and headed for a nearby suburb called Balaclava. Back on the graffiti trail again!  I didn't see anything I wanted to photograph, except for one or two of the dinky little houses, built back in the days of Queen Victoria.  It never ceases to amaze me that with all the space there is in Australia, they built these tiny wee houses.  The photo below shows two houses, with one car parked in front of both of them!  
We thought this was rather a clever way to use an old brick building.  Between the old gable end and the new sliding doors there is a terrace, nice idea.  Not sure about the graffiti here!
For me, I don't think you can get much more elegant than this front porch.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Big Design Market

On Friday we went to The Big Design Market, which is being held this weekend in the wonderful Royal Exhibition Centre.  We've been in that building before - it's spectacular inside. The stallholders are displaying a range of textiles, stationery, homewares, lifestyle and children's goodies - all horribly expensive and all in good time for Christmas! 
A must-have, ingenious little number for carting a bottle of wine about!
Some rather funky leggings which I would have bought for my eldest granddaughter, if they hadn't been so expensive!
Something to please your postman!  Ours would be mumbling furiously under his breathe, in his usual fashion, if he saw one of these down by the five bar!  He might actually be persuaded to use it, instead of dropping packages over the fence!

The I wish I had a little shop lady makes beads and other pretty things.  I liked the name of her business,
and the farmer's daughter makes some very wearable jewellery, using recycled materials.  
Big, fat wools for fashioning Christmas wreaths, baskets and twiddly bits!
This was clever - old suitcases made into sound systems!
But for me, the stall below was the star of the show.  She sold notebooks of plain paper with old book covers front and back and some pages of text interspersed throughout the book.  The Story of Heidi was MY Heidi book, the one I had when I was a little girl.  A total blast from the past!  If it hadn't cost $35 I would probably have bought it, for old time's sake.  This was the book that initiated a yet-to-be fulfilled ambition to see the fields of wild spring flowers in the Alps!  That desire has been rumbling around for nearly sixty years - time I did something about it!
Tea towel anyone?
Plenty of shoe stalls to choose from,
colourful hemp twine, for wrapping Christmas presents,
and I really liked these, stools you could slot together, and lots of patterns to choose from.
We enjoyed our $2's worth of entry fee and then had a wander around the gardens next to the Exhibition building.  1 December was the first day of summer here, so a lot of the flowers are still in bud so not a huge amount of colour to see yet.  The magnolia trees were blooming though.

Homage to Georgia O'Keeffe.
Across the road from the Exhibition building there is a terrace of houses, some with untamed front gardens.  There were some jewels in amongst the green, including a rambling (out of focus) C├ęcile Brunner, and rose geraniums (so vigorous they forms a hedge along the front of the garden),
this lovely, gentle rose,
acanthus and an extreme honeysuckle!
Next door there is this property.  So much of another era and tragically neglected.  
It will be beautiful until the day it crumbles to the ground.