Monday, December 30, 2013

A night in hospital and a full leg cast

Well they kept me in hospital last night and I got my leg put in a cast this morning, the Achilles tendon is torn and may need surgery, they will have a look at progress in 7 - 10 days and decide then. I have a nice shinny zimmer frame to get around on lol. My 12 fallen trees will just have to wait a couple of months to be logged.

We went to the Galway Clinic yesterday thinking that my health insurance would cover the injury but they wanted close on £500 that was not claimable so that was knocked on the head and I joined the Que in the public hospital, it was quite quiet when I arrived and it didn't take too long before I was in the A&E proper. All the Orthopedic staff were in the operating theater and it took them about 5 hours before they got round to me and another 6 before I eventually got a bed on a ward, anyway I was kept amused listening to some of the other characters that were admitted and were getting examined the other side of a curtain from were I was. There was a Pikie couple with a wee girl who had a sore leg, Mrs P knew better than the nurse when it came to her kids temperature (She had 5 bairns and she "knew "when they had temperatures) Mr P knew better than the Dr when it came to administering massage to a limb with trauma as he was an ex boxer. I think he had had a few too many head blows, anyway after they left there were a couple and another girl who had been in a blue and had Gaurda waiting to arrest them outside, they were seperated for inspection incase they got into it again.

I was not allowed anything by mouth until the Surgeon saw me at about 4pm then they told me I would get dinner on the ward when I was moved up there but it turned out to be after 10 pm before then and all they had was toast lol then I was back on nill by mouth from midnight till the chief surgeon bloke saw me at about half nine by when I had missed breakfast lol so I didnt get to sample the delights of hospital food.

If the tendon has shown signs of re knitting itself in a week then it will go back in plaster for a total of 7 weeks. If not they will operate and cut it and stitch it back together, meantime no driving or chopping up firewood for me I,m afraid.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

severe storm force 11 12 trees down and a strained achillies tendon

Well the wind came up around 5 pm yesterday evening and didn't drop off until this morning. 12 of the tallest softwoods are either hanging on others or down completely we spent today logging one and dropped a second before I went and twisted/ pulled my Achilles tendon.  6 trees on the North side of the garden are over the wall and into the bog luckily nothing apart from the wall was damaged so I shall just have to work away at clearing them. I think so many trees came down partly because it has been so wet recently.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Pikie Santa and an IQ of 122

Well I braved the elements and did my Christmas grocery shopping this afternoon, I timed it perfectly to arrive the same time as the Pikie Santa and his 26 elves at the supermarket, just what one needs. I was offered to have my photo taken with the Pikie Santa to "update my facebook profile picture" I thought to myself "what the heck would I want to have a picture of an inebriated traveler in a red hat on my facebook profile for" and pleasantly declined saying I knew nothing about computers, being on the tender side of 50 this was taken with a knowledgeable look from one of the older elves who was hanging around the sherry. On the way home I made another list of things I had forgotten to put on the second list, the first list I lost when I went Christmas grocery shopping yesterday.

I did an IQ test yesterday and am going around telling anyone who will listen, that my score of 122 is in the top 6.5 percentile and I therefore have a superior IQ :) Angela is scared to take the test as she will never live it down if mine is higher, she has already stated that "the IQ test is only one of many methods of measuring intelligence and no stead is lent to it nowadays"  of course is she scores more than 122 it will mysteriously be the top method again.

Tomorrow has a forecast of SW gales again and 100% chance of rain "woopeedoo", I'm going to try and get seaweed off the beach for my spud patch in the next few days so yet another SW gale should see plenty weed at the top of the beach. Alan is flying down to Knock airport, arriving at three o'clock tomorrow so Angie is going to work in the morning and driving up there to pick him up, this is easier than trying to get Alan to catch public transport to Galway as he tends to have a dram and go missing, last year he caught a train to somewhere in county Wicklow and I ended up going to the movies. He wasn't at the station at 6pm and eventually arrived at 10 pm lol.

Anyway I'm chuffed that I am soooo intelligent and sorry to the 93.5% of you thickos who will just have to find another method of measuring IQ, ohh did I mention I have a high IQ?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My love of the Puffin

No I'm not talking about cannabis my love is for the wee bird, the puffin. My first attempt at replicating one was for my O level in Art a longgggggggggg time ago when I made a sculpture of one. It still exists as a door stop. Anyway I did the sketch below from a photo I found online, I was attracted to the amount of fish he was holding in his beak and they always look sort of cheeky as if to say "hahahah look at how many fish I got and I wasnt even trying"

No trees came down last night in the gales and our electricity stayed on after all but there were a lot of branches around the place this morning, I tried clearing leaves out of the culverts and the water was freezing I was up to my oxters trying to fish them out.

another gale, more painting and John back in ER

Well the ground is so saturated the rain was lieing in pools on the gravel driveway this afternoon, been torential showers off and on and the wind is up to gale force again tonight, the forecast looks pretty awful for the next week.

I did another couple of sketches today not quite happy with the one of Gus yet I need to work on the eyes more but the hooker is ok.

Angies brother John is back in hospital after falling on some steps outside his flat, they are doing tests buck it looks like a hairline fracture in his spine and broken ribs, his legs just gave way and he tumbled down the stairs, thought go out to him.

The electricity has just gone out for the second time so I better publish this blog as usually the third time its off for a while, will have to look out a board game and some candles, I have a pie in the oven but thankfully it is really near to the demolition stage in its life and the hob is gas so the spuds are ok too.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

some pastels

Well its very quiet here on the website design front so I got arty with some soft chalk pastels, I,m quite pleased with the one of wee Benny as it captures his mood well, I had an old frame lieing around so it is on the wall now.
I also did a one of a donkey taken from a photo where he was leaning over a wall and one of a chiwawa hmmm that spelling looks suspect but anyway its a small dog with a big attitude.

Excuse the mess of my desk not sure why there is a razor there. Its been a windy wet old week with today being the best day probably.

Away out now to get something for dinner hope you all have a fun Christmas. 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Good day to catch up on tv

Well its blowing a gale here again with torrential rain at the moment so its a good day to catch up on movies or in my case the second series of Lillyhammer on Netflix. For those of you who don't know Netflix its an online worldwide streaming movie site, they have a better variety and newer programs in America so I have fooled Netflix into believing I am over there instead of in Connemara by changing my IP address. Lillyhammer is R rated btw so if your parents are over 60 or you have kids under 12 you may have to vet if they can watch it :)
Lilyhammer is a Norwegian / American television series, starring Steven Van Zandt, about a New York gangster trying to start a new life in isolated Lillehammer in Norway. The first season premiered on Norwegian TV on 25 January 2012 with a record audience of 998,000 viewers (one fifth of Norway's population), they must not mind being made fun of as this is a comedy that really ridicules both the Norwegian population and American gangster.

Angie is away touring this week and going up to Inverness this morning to see her Mum and stay with her wee sister, was hoping Sheana may have come down for Christmas but it looks like that is off this year. One of my other Brothers in Law, Alan is coming across so I am planning to put a range hood up over the cooker and a splashback behind it while he is here, I also want to get a trailer load of seaweed for my potatoes if the weather is ok. both jobs are a lot easier with two people.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Applying for a job

Well I,m going to apply for a job signing on the Irish RTE television news, hopefully the people at my interview will be South African as the only sign language I know is the sign for elephant. If they decide that my services are not required then I will go to the Radio :)

Dreich day here so I did some painting in the laundry, a wall and doors and had a tidy up of some of the cupboards in there, one good thign about this house is the amount of cupboards and built ins.

I must get back into my garden as I haven't done anything outside since I went away and there is heaps to do.

I like the French weather on TV more since their female weather announcer did the forecast nude after France qualified for the world cup you can see it here if you are a perv like me lol.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Good drive home

I got back to Derrykyle at just before 2300 Friday night, the drive down started at 0730 when I caught my first ferry across to the mainland with a calm morning and temps of 1C. There was a smattering of snow beside the roads all the way down to Loch Lomond and the temp went down to 0C coming over the "Rest and be Thankful" but the roads were clear and I made good time. I made that good time I was a couple of hours early for the next ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast so I went for some lunch in Stranrae. I was a bit concerned that the ferry across the Irish sea would be rough after the storms the day before but it was as flat as a tack, the temp had also risen to 11C. The ferry got into Belfast at 1745 and the traffic was slow and hectic until I got out of the city.  This time of year it is dark by 1600 so all the Irish part of my journey was in the dark and a fair bit of it in drizzle but it was no worries and the motorway coming this way on the second half of the drive is easier than going North when the roads are getting smaller and smaller.

I spent yesterday putting up the Christmas tree, unpacking the car, putting a unit on the bathroom wall and various other bits and bobs. My Mom gave me a carload of things they do not have space for like an antique sewing box and a semicircular table (which was originally from Angie's Mom) so they are now in the living room.

Dad contributed some darrows for fishing mackerel next summer and an old horseshoe which is mounted on my shed door collecting good luck. I also got some glasses and wooden candlesticks and a whole kilt setup with both day and formal jackets and sporrans etc which I will make good use of. The tartan is Cameron of Erracht which was my Grannies tartan and I love it.

The Cameron of Erracht Modern tartan is predominantly green, black, red and yellow. Ewen Cameron of Lochiel took as his second wife Marjory MacKintosh. Their son Ewen was the first of what would become the Camerons of Erracht. This was in the early 16th century and by 1745, Donald Cameron, 7th of Erracht, was second in command of the Camerons at Glenfinnan when Prince Charles raised his standard.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

west coast gales

Well it blew hard last night and at high tide this morning at about 0630 the spray was hitting the windows of the house. It had dropped off a lot come daylight and the tide had dropped so the wee islands were dry again and breaking up the seas. I took a run up to the village and the slate bank had been partially washed across the road. Dad was telling me they had a storm a few years ago and the waves were coming up the road through his front gate into the garden and out a gate at the other side, that must have been a thing to witness. I bought him a weather station a few years ago the same as the one I have in Galway and his disintegrated in the weather here while mine is fine in the Connemara breeze.

Hopefully it will not snow much overnight as I have to leave around 0715 tomorrow morning for the trip south.

The breeze before the storm

Well its breezy today and heavy showers between the sunny spells but tomorrow is forecast winds up to 80kmh. I have packed a lot of gear into the car today incase it is pouring rain all day tomorrow. Friday looks to be a bit calmer and that is the day I am heading back home with the ferry crossing so hopefully it has calmed down.

I had a wee drive around the island earlier and took some photos, the one below is of Fladda lighthouse infront of the house here.
The island used to have two slate quarries and the wee cottages were for the workers they sell for up to £180,000 for the renovated ones.

I did a painting of the view below when I was about 18 and sold it to a folk singer who had a holiday house on the island, at that point the mill had a roof but it has long since gone.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mr fixit

Moms View Below and our view in Derrykyle above.

Spent the day here on Luing fixing bits and bobs for my Mom, they included a chair, coffee table, and computer and installed a mirror and rack thingie in their new bathroom. The car battery is on charge and i have been sorting out things to take back to Ireland to fill up my shed instead of Dad,s.

Dad went through the operation and is recovering in hospital until he can satisfy them he can walk up some steps and get around well enough for them to be happy, he was just saying he is on a drip tonight but hopefully he will get out soon.

Mum and I stayed two nights in a hotel in Glasgow and one night with my wee sister in Alyth in Perthshire before coming back up the road here to the island last night. I have clocked up about 1100km since leaving Galway.

The visiting hours in the hospital were between 1pm and 8 pm so Mum and I were out and about shopping in Glasgow between times and it was the first time just the two of us had had as time together alone, I really enjoyed it.

 The boats were at Balloch on Loch Lomond side

The is a wee bit of a sunset this evening

Monday, November 25, 2013

Unlucky Ireland

Well the NZ v Ireland game today was a stunner and Ireland were mega unlucky to lose. At one point I was shouting at the TV, Angie was shouting at the TV ( and she isnt a rugby fan) and all the dogs were barking it was bedlam. New Zealand came back in overtime to score a try and convert it at the second attempt after the Irish jumped the gun and charged the kicker. They won by 2 points. Scotland were not as lucky against Australia but it was a good game too.

Packing my bags here for my wee excursion to Scotland and making Christmas cards out of photoshopped images like the ones below.

I put John,s head on supermans body for a bit of fun too and its going viral on Face book lol

Friday, November 15, 2013

Autumn colour in the Garden

I spent an hour or two raking leaves in the secret garden today, the ground is green colored again, before I started it was covered with yellow, orange and brown leaves. I have a really handy 1 ton bag that is great for moving clippings and leaves and the like it came full of gravel and I am not sure if the bag was meant to be returned, but it wasn't and has proved useful since. There is still a wee bit of color left in the garden but it is muted color now.

I booked some of the things required for my excursion online yesterday, I cant remember how I would have done it before the Internet came along. It is just sooooooo handy to be able to compare prices/ locate on a map/ check out photos of rooms and book all without making a call or getting out of the chair. I take it a step further right enough. My ferry gets into Cairnryan at 0952 and I have five hours to get to Glasgow so I looked for a bookstore that has this book I need for a Christmas present in stock somewhere that I would be passing through in the five hours, located the store, and noted the postcode for the satnav. Put the closest parking into Google maps locations on my phone, checked the earliest book in time for that evenings hotel, worked out the travel time via the hotel and closest car park to the bus station my Mom is arriving at, and checked where the best coffee can be had nearby. Then I printed out all my booking receipts and then had another wonder at how I would have had to do that organizing without the good old internet.

There is another good weekend of rugby union coming up this weekend with England v New Zealand, Ireland v Australia, Scotland v S Africa, Wales v Argentina, and France V Tonga. I would predict victories for NZ, Ireland, S Africa, Wales and France but would love to see Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and Tonga get up. One never knows England beat NZ this time last year.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I should have been a journalist

The very nice gentleman who delivered my coal and peat this morning started teasing me about wind farms, he thought the hillside above the house as well as the bog below would be excellent for turbines due to the windiness of the place. He was saying this with a straight face and I was just about to start lecturing him when he started smiling and told me he had been reading my blog and that I should have been a journalist. Apparently he had happened on my blog while searching for the Martello Tower on the shores of Casla bay, I had mentioned it in a blog when I was out sailing a while back. Its a small world and I have a post it note now, on my monitor to be nicer to the feckin Irish in future :)

Its dry this morning and cool with the NW breeze, Angie gets home from her UK trip (second this month) so it will be nice to have company.

Its a strange old world we live in when someone can spend £54 million on a stone (The Pink diamond), and $250 million on a painting (The card players by Cezanne) while the world's average salary is $1,480 (£928) a month, which is just less than $18,000 (£11,291) a year. 4779 years for a stone. When I win the Euro millions lotto tomorrow at around £100,000,000 I will be looking for a full time gardener, a dog sitter and a helicopter ohh and I may start my own paper "I always fancied being a journo" he said nodding his hoary head.

Planning an excursion

I quite like planning excursions, probably as it means I will be getting away for a wee break, this one is to see my Dad in hospital and help my Mom visit him too. I would have much preferred for my Dad not to be in hospital but it will be great to see them both, I was hoping when we moved to Ireland to have been able to visit home more often than I did living in Australia but with the three dogs here and no real income to talk of its not as easy as I was hoping. Maybe I will get a chance to do some Christmas shopping while we are in Glasgow.

Today is another HDR day (Horizontal Driving Rain), yesterday was nice but today is back to Gales and sheeting rain, the pond is yellow in colour with all the leaves on it and the lawns are also covered in leaves, I was going to rake them yesterday but walking on the grass would have turned it to mud it is so soggy so they remain. I did manage to get most of my log piles covered in tarps right enough and chopped some firewood. My left arm with the broken elbow is not so good with the wood chopping as my grip sometimes goes weak just as the axe connects and the axe tends to fly off, lol sounds dangerous ehh.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nice suprise

Well I should get Angie to do the shopping more often, she got a tap on the shoulder when she was in the line to pay for her groceries in the supermarket in Barna, the person doing the tapping told her if she swapped her milk for this other brand they would pay for the groceries :) bill was over 120 euros so that was a nice surprise. She got her photo taken and it will get posted on Facebook as part of the deal. I hope she gets a lottery ticket tonight too.

Heavy rain showers and bright periods here today so the dogs and I cleared some bracken and brambles between the showers, Gus ends up with a bramble encrusted tail which needs to be cut out so he may not make Crufts dog show again. They should have a section "how not to groom your dog"

I see Super Typhoon Haiyan has crossed the Philippines causing havoc, three-quarters of a million people were ordered to leave their homes in villages in Haiyan's path and who knows how many will have been killed by its fury. This storm is one of the strongest to make landfall ever with winds over 200MPH. The strongest winds I even was in were gusting to 114MPH  I know because I was talking to the lighthouse keeper who was monitoring the wind speeds in the Butt of Lewis lighthouse and I was trying to find shelter close by. The lighthouse was automated in 1999. When you are out in that sort of wind you cant see anything but spray and the noise is unbelievable. On that same night one of the purse seiners in Mallaig  broke her lines and was charging up and down the wharf bumping into other boats so I was glad, after the even not to have been in that harbour.

Fingers crossed here for tonight's Lotto win, I have it spent already. Ohh its great to daydream ehh.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Big tide and high river

Well the river was flooded from the sea up to the bridge at Casla this morning, a tide with 5.2 meters height and the recent heavy rains have the whole low level ground down there covered with water. I think the wind this morning has also raised the level of the water a bit.
I,m a bit bored this morning, not much into gardening in the rain, "this is Ireland Rob come on  get yer wadders on m8". OK that did not do it either, usually a pep speech will get me motivated but not today, hopefully it will dry up a bit later. The thing with all this rain is the dogs tend to turn the grass into mud running around and then they are black when they come indoors so I have to clean up after them. I could do with a website to work on to keep me amused this week.

The Russians have a rocket taking the Olympic Torch into space today and yesterday the Indians did their thing so I have decided to remortgage my house and send Benny into orbit, the aim will be to provide a first defense capability and have him bark really loudly if he sees an approaching meteor that looks like its on a collision course with Derrykyle. Apparently there are some firecrackers left in Northern Ireland where it isn't illegal to buy and sell them, so on the way back from Glasgow I shall fill the boot of the Forester with them and basically its just a case of strapping them to the dog and standing back and listening for barking.

And the chiefs of the three spy networks in the UK are in parliament this afternoon to answer questions on their activities, I can just imagine the answers " no comment" "ehh no comment" "hmmm I,m not allowed to comment on that" "definitely no comment" " that information could damage the countries safety so no comment" anyway I may listen in anyway as I like the phrase " no comment".

Making a banana bread as we speak, hopefully it is edible as Angie makes a really good one and I hate it when she gloats lol. It looks like it is fairing up a bit outside too so the day isnt totally written off.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Govan shipyard and the Independence movenment

The news today had mention that Govan Shipyard may suffer massive job losses. There are currently 3,200 people employed by BAE across Govan and Scotstoun and what a boost it would be for Alex Salmond if the jobs go before the vote on independence. The opposition to Independence have said before, that IF Scotland gets independence then the jobs building British warships would obviously not be tendered out to a Foreign country.

Now I don't even live in Scotland, and haven't for almost 24 years but if you look at Alex's policies like wanting 100% energy from renewables, wanting to join the euro, and independence it is like he has a political death wish. 100% from renewables is impossible, 30% will be really hard to meet, will cost billions to the consumer and will ruin Scotlands landscapes and beauty, why on Earth would you want to join the euro when so many countries would love to get away from Germanic monetary rule, and independence, well if you take away the romantic aspect of being your own country it makes no financial sense. Lots of people here ask me if I would be for independence, hearing my accent seeing the tartan scarf and rugby shirt every time we head onto the park to play rugby or football or lawn bowls, they expect an "Ochh eye Jimmy" but I can honestly say I think it would be stupid.

Rant and shaking of hoary head over.

John hopefully gets out of hospital today, he has been in for almost a month. I think having Chemo breaks down your immune system so hospital is a bad place to be.

I got a request for a quote yesterday to do a website for a company that builds Irish Gypsy Caravans which could be interesting, they also build pizza ovens but I think I managed to talk him into keeping the two things separate, he can have two URL's on the same server account so it wont cost double to have two sites. My initial idea for the caravans would be to have an old worldly type feel with a painted logo of one of the vans. I get lots of requests that lead to nothing but if I can get a deposit they usually come through. I think working on this one could be interesting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“In The Service Of Human Kind.”

“In The Service Of Human Kind.” is the motto for the Indian Space Research Organization, in about half an hour they are about to send A$73,000,000 into space, to go look for life on Mars.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has publicly called child malnutrition "a national shame," A$73 million is not a lot of money when it comes to feeding India's starving children but if the whole amount made it to their mouths instead of being filtered off in bribes to officials it could help.
Save the Children’s largest humanitarian operation, in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami received funding of US$272 million, largely through generous donations I wonder how much of that made it to ground zero. I find the Caste system and the Indian nation sending A$73,000,000 into space repulsive when their children are having to sift through cow dung for seeds to eat.

Well that is my rant for this morning he says, as he nods his hoary head.

I am going across to Scotland on the 26th of this month for a week or so, while my Father is in hospital, it feels like I haven't been out of Connemara for years, I'm turning into a hermit here, one who sits in his cave and rants about India's space program while nodding his hoary head.

Monday, November 4, 2013

First frost

Well it was "bright too early" yesterday and today may well go the same way, but it did stay dry and I have hopes for today again. The frost was only very light, just enough to whiten the grass, I thought it could be called hoar frost so shot the term through an online Thesaurus and it also means "showing characteristics of age, especially having grey or white hair; "whose beard with age is hoar"-Coleridge; "nodded his hoary head"" I,m nodding my hoary head here after another successful search online.
The river had a mist above it, obviously the water temp was higher than the air temp this morning.

Today so far I have been doing a bit more patio stones removal, the Southern end almost three quarters down the house I did last winter. The patio is 5 pavers wide each paver is about 2 ft square, basically what I do is take up the middle 3 pavers and replace them with small stone gravel. It worked well this year apart from the dogs running over it tends to scatter the gravel onto the remaining pavers. The reason I am doing it is that the patio settled over time and the gaps between the pavers are different sizes and the weeds just love to get established in the gaps. the picture below is how it looked when we moved in.
I had just power washed all the gaps in that shot and it doesn't really show how bad they were. Anyway the easiest and cheapest way to smarten it up a bit was to replace them with stones. I better get back to it while the weather is good.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Beautiful morning and thoughts of my Granny

I awoke this morning to clear skies and calm winds with the sun just about to pop its head over the horizon, its nice to waken up naturally instead of to the sound of Angie's alarm clock, poor soul has to get up at just after six and its still dark this time of year even with the clocks changing. I usually get up with her but if I don't she has a cunning plan to keep me from falling back asleep, she lets the dogs in, one goes mining and the other two sit on my face and jump on my, not unsubstantial belly at the same time.

With the bright sunny calm morning today I was reminded of my Granny who had a saying "It's bright too early" in my early teens, itching to go swimming at high tide in the afternoon I thought it was very pessimistic but she was right more often than not and by the time high water came along it was overcast or worse. I remember one time when I was about 13 or so she asked me to make her a bow and arrow, it turned out the neighbours Tom cat was spray scenting her kitchen window drapes and when she shoed it away it would sit just outside the range of throwing things at it. First shot she had she nailed it, well didn't actually nail it but gave it a clunk to remember.
I am not sure what the occasion was that she had a half empty bottle of whiskey, but Slanthe anyway Granny. Maybe it was after the cat nailing.
My Sister in Law, Gail and her hubby George are taking their yacht back down the Queensland coast just now and George has his leg in a cast as he tore his Achilles tendon. She was complaining about head winds they were enduring of 25 knots, it reminded me of the winter before we emigrated to Australia, we had a wee fishing boat called the Dolphin  
We sold her to a guy from Bukie on the East coast six months before we left and for that six months over the autumn and winter there was hardly a single day that the winds were less than force 6 and I think there were a dozen days force 9 and above, the poor soul wouldn't have got any fishing in. I hate to tell you Gail but odds are that you will have 25 knots or more for a good portion of your time at sea even on the NSW coast the sea breeze in the afternoons gets that strong, that is unless you moor the boat in the Doldrums somewhere. I wish I was across there to sail the boat back down for them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

It takes a lot to wake me

Well I sleep soundly (unless my elbow is hurting) and it usually takes a lot to wake me during the night especially with the new double glazing, you hardly ever hear a thing here. Anyway last night the wind and torrential rain woke me twice, it was almost as impressive as the southerly busters we used to get in Australia. I think one of the most impressive storms (Busters) we had was when we lived in Riverwood in Sydney.

The landlord, who lived next door, was a retired TV newsreader and personality called Roger Climpson, I couldn't remember his name so Googled retired nine news commentators by  year and found it, anyway getting back to the storm, it was a boiling hot day hovering around 40C, so hot our plastic garden furniture was buckling when you went to sit down, a friend Tracy was over for a barbi and we watched the storm approach from the South,. The house had a great view from an elevated position above the Lane Cove river and we could see the massive Cumulus Nimbus clouds gathering for a couple of hours before the storm hit, when it did come we could see the trees along the river buckle under the 70 mph initial gusts the day turned almost as dark as night, hailstones the size of wall nuts hit the glass doors onto the patio and the temperature dropped from 40C + to 18C in seconds.

We are forecast to have storm force winds here again this afternoon so I just popped down to the marina to check on a pals boat for him, he left the keys with me here as he lives in Cavan  in the midlands of Ireland.

Angie is heading down to Waterford to see John in hospital this afternoon and will head across to England for work tomorrow so I shall be left to my own devices until Wednesday, I shant be alone right enough I will surround myself with hamburgers and chippies.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Luminaries

Well I have just started reading a new book here called "The Luminaries", considering I usually get through about ten pages before I fall asleep this book should keep me entertained for 85 nights, yep it has 850 pages and boy it will make a great door stop if it turns out to be rubbish. I doubt that it will right enough as it won the Man Booker Prize this year.

I passed my Google Analytics Exam with 98% so my office is now adorned with a printed out orange Certificate woohoo. It was an interesting course all I need now is Nike or Amazon to employ me at 450k to advise on their Aquisition / Attribution / Goal Flow reports, their key metrics, core analysis and measurement plan in their digital analytics.

Blowing a gale here this morning which is emptying the trees of their leaves, it looked a bit like Canada for a few days with all the leaves turning colour there really are forty shades of green along with the yellows, reds, oranges and browns. Wait a min that orange is a Google certificate reflection through the office window, has he a spot light on it?

I updated my website at   with slideshow photos of the place here and was reminded that Charity the bear is still floating around somewhere I should have sent her with George to the Coral Sea as it looks like they had a good adventure there, their blog is at 
don't all go deserting me now as hers is more interesting.

My hallway here is full of a modular lounge that I am giving away, hopefully to Micháel for his new sports room, it is surplus to requirements and I need more space for a bed in the front bedroom in case John moves in and other folks come visit him.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bush fires

The Blue Mountains and Hunter valley are alight with 79 fires burning across the state, 29 uncontained. This would be a severe headline even after a dry summer but to have as many this early in the fire season is extreme. Bushfires are a part of life down under and a naturally occurring event in fact a lot of Aussie plants and trees need burning to germinate. With more and more spread of new homes in cities like Sydney, there is nowhere left to build apart from bush land and these are the homes most threatened. I helped build a house in Winmalee in the blue mountains, beautiful setting amongst the gum trees with the upstairs balcony level with the tree canopy, I wonder if it is still standing this morning.

Having a garden like mine in Australia would be a huge fire hazard and it would also be a haven for all the blinkin snakes and spiders, tics, bull ants and centipedes. I know that a lot of my Aussie friends will poo poo this, actually they will have another phrase, but in my experience over there I came across all these in my wee gardens. I suppose having lived over there I am now more careful when I am burning garden waste here so that's one thing. I am really slack keeping in touch and must call my Goddaughters  and some pals I haven't been in touch with for ages like Stinger my Aboriginal deckhand he also lives in an area prone to bush fires near Jervis bay.

Hope to get out and do some gardening here today as the last couple of days have been dreich.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn well and truly here

Well the sun is barely clearing the trees now and the dew is staying on the grass most of the day, this means I can get back into my ripping and clearing again wooohoo good for the waistline. This last couple of days I have been attacking the hillock which was totally densely overgrown just across the big lawn from the house, even Gus couldn't break his way through this undergrowth which is saying something. Anyway it used to look like this
I,m about 90 % finished and now the house is visible and the bushes can start growing again from the stumps.
I have left some of the evergreen bushes at the front as they were nice but ripped out the old tall stuff.

The front of the house got debushed during the midge season and I flattened it out a bit with 16 tons of topsoil, I wanted to get my lawnmower over it basically and the bushes looked scraggly. The grass seed I put down has started to grow and I am happy with the result so far.
The spring and summer months are full time just keeping things mowed and from going haywire so its good to have some projects for the next few months. Having been here for two seasons now I know which bushes look great during the flowering season. I didn't take a photo of the front of the house before I started ripping out the bush but this old shot up the drive kind of shows how it was. Its the bit on the right hand side, the drive looked better after its new gravel too and they had to widen it to get the excavator in last winter.

My garden is always going to be a sort of woodland and kind of rough and ready but i like it like this :)

The boat is all tucked away for the winter
I have her covered with a tarp to keep the leaves off, they tend to rot and mark the gell coat so its hard to clean her come springtime.

Another job I did was to take out the bushes to the right of the house, the top photo is the before one.

I better get back to it only 5 months before things start growing like mad again.