Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mossy find, ace meal, hamster spill

The highlight of my Sunday was finding some moss growing in a bag of potting mix. No, really. The open bag has been sitting on the fire escape for ages - since the last time I planted up a terrarium. I poked my nose into into the bag because I needed to top up the soil in one of my indoor plants. And there it was, a little tuft of spongy green. 

The abovementioned terrarium failed to thrive, but I've now planted the moss into it, so hopefully it will get a second wind. 

I made another tasty and ridiculously easy recipe from Pinterest - maple mustard chickenor Man-Pleasing Chicken as the blogger calls it. It did please my man. He said it was "ace". 

I laughed so hard at the hamster getting spat out of his fast-spinning wheel in this video (about 30 secs in) that I couldn't breathe and my head started aching (thankfully temporarily). The sleep running dog before it is hilarious too. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Busy, bonus, UK bound

Thursday was Bring a Giant 
Vegetable to Work day 

I've had a very busy week at work. I thought I would be stuck at work quite late finishing my bills, but I was out just before 6.00pm.  It's nice for the end of the financial year to fall on a Friday. 

I got a small pay increase and a bonus this week. Not as big an increase as I'd hoped for, but a few people at work have been made redundant, so I'm lucky. I know that I'm needed (even without the pay rise). My bosses emphasised the size of the increase didn't reflect their appreciation for my efforts, which I think explains the unexpected bonus. I'm going to put it towards upgrading my camera and a new pair of sneakers in time for my trip to the UK with Luke in August.  

I haven't mentioned much about the trip, have I?  We leave on 16 August and return in early September. Luke's daughter lives on the Isle of Wight and he visits her every August with his parents and this year I'm tagging along. Apart from London, we'll also be visiting other bits of England (the itinerary is a work in progress) and Paris. I've never been before. I'm researching cemeteries, libraries and trees to visit! Suggestions welcome. 

It's the white-faced heron again. When I first stopped to take this photo, it was actually looking at me. Normally it's focused on catching its breakfast when I see it. I expected it to take flight, but it only turned away. Maybe it's starting to get used to me? Or it's a different, less skittish, heron.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sunday ghost signs and other stuff

This little car - a Messerschmidt KR200 - was quite
 an attention grabber on Brunswick Street on Sunday

Catching some late afternoon sun 

Jointy yellow door 

Off Smith Street, Collingwood
(think I've blogged this before...)

Tre-sur Knitting Mills, across the road from the sign above

Manufacturers of LADIES...

...teenage and CHILDRENS


And a bonus old OFFICE sign, with just-visible
  old phone number

Not a painted sign and I have definitely blogged this before

It's the sign of the former MacRobertson's confectionery company in Fitzroy - officially MacRobertson's Steam Confectionery Works.  I've written about its founder, Macpherson Robertson before too.  His factory - which expanded to fill a whole block in Fitzroy - was painted all white inside and his employees wore white uniforms. It was nicknamed the Great White City. Mac himself was known to sport a white suit and hat, often a Stetson. 

He was a remarkable Melburnian - a self-made man, eccentric and philanthropist. He died in 1945, but he left his mark on Melbourne with a bridge and a girl's school named after him (which he funded).  There's also part of Antarctica  - Mac.Robertson Land - named in his honour after he funded a joint British, Australian and New Zealand expedition there in 1928. 

He introduced chewing gum and fairy floss to Australia and created the Freddo frog and Cherry Ripe chocolate treats. Less happily, he was also the driver of the car which caused Melbourne's first road death in 1905, although he was cleared of culpability. 

Anyway, onto more signs: 

Also Smith Street

Not sure what sort of shop it was, but it seems they
 didn't want riff-raff streaming through the doors...

 Just off Victoria Street, Abbotsford

 Ideal Box factory, Rokeby Street, Abbotsford

Truck body builders, and very old phone number. 
Also Rokeby Street  

Just off Hoddle Street, Abbotsford

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sunshine, walks, old signs revealed

Although it's been chilly the last two days, it's been gloriously sunny. I've made the most of the sun by taking myself off for brisk walks at lunchtime. 

Yesterday I walked up Bourke Street and through Docklands. I saw this old sign (which you can see has been repainted) near the corner of Bourke and Spencer. I might have taken photos of it before, because I remember taking photos of other signs in the area. But anyway, it's a good 'un.   

Moo! Help me! Moo!

Today I walked along Flinders Street to Spencer Street and crossed to the south side of the river . I spotted this fantastic triple-whammy ghost sign reveal on Flinders Street, not far from Spencer. The old signs have come to light thanks to the demolition of the building next to the old Markillies Hotel. 

 Polly Woodside

Told you it was sunny

 A fantastic spot to spend a sunny lunchtime in winter. 
Shame I couldn't stop

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Creature of habit, mushrooms, random connections

Bare branches

I saw two Nankeen Night Herons again tonight, hunting for their dinner at the river's edge. One was standing in the exact place I saw it last night, perched on the same rock, staring into the water in the same direction. It must have found a tasty meal there. Its companion was standing in the water about a metre from the bank. The tide must have been very low, because the night heron is not a long-legged bird. 

Bad phone photo taken in dark with flash because, 
as always, I was running late this morning

There's several patches of mushrooms growing along the river. They must have sprung to life after the recent heavy rains we had...though I don't think it takes much rain to encourage the fungus.

I've made another new musical discovery. Stella Angelico, another Melbourne singer-songwriter, has been on my radar for a while, but I only just got around to looking her up last night. This is from the EP she released last year (with her band The Switch). It's very Amy Winehouse-esque.  I love it - and the rest of the EP. I don't actually own any Amy Winehouse albums, but I probably should.  

Speaking of music and discoveries, a man from the Netherlands  (Hi Michael!) found my blog by searching for the lyrics of a Gabby Young song called Mole, which I blogged about a while ago. He wrote:
Not finding any I ended up searching for "can't we be children about this". There's two hits for these exact words, both leading to this page.
Wooh!  It's both odd and awesome that my blog was the only source. I get a kick out of the random ways people connect on the internet. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The grackle

This is the Common Grackle. I'd be pretty cross if some ornithologist thought I was common, too. Also, grackle! What an ace word. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Seedy, MOO, creaky

Morell Bridge by night

I forgot to mention I also made sesame and sunflower seed butter yesterday. I was ambivalent about the flavour when I sampled it after I made it, but after another taste test tonight, I gave it the thumbs up. It tastes good and smells deliciously nutty, and it's very easy to make. 

I've made quite a lot of recipes from Pinterest now. I like to think this justifies the amount of time I waste spend on there. 

I had drinks and food at the Money Order Office with Bertie and Lauren on Friday night. The Money Order Office, which is in a basement behind the GPO, has an interesting history. According to the MOO website, not only did it house the GPO's money order facilities, but from 1933 to 1970 it was the office of Prime Ministers such as Robert Menzies. The front door came from Buckingham House (later Buckingham Palace) and dates back to the early 1700s. Had I known, I would have taken a photo of it. When Bertie and I were walking down the stairs, the door was slowly creaking open like the front door of a haunted mansion. 

I did take a photo of an old sign in the stairwell though. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Making stock and invincible summer

I made  lemon chicken soup for dinner tonight...well, actually I started making it last weekend when I made the stock, which involved roasting a lot of chicken bits and pieces, frying vegies and hours of simmering, and took most of a day to make. The soup was nice and it's gratifying knowing I made the whole thing from scratch, but I'm not in a rush to make the stock again. Thankfully I have enough in the freezer for one or two more lots of soup. (I used rice in the soup, rather than orzo  pasta, to make it gluten free.)

I also made bread to go with the soup...or what the recipe calls bread, but it's really more like damper. You couldn't make sandwiches out of it, but it went well with the soup, and it was quick and easy to make. It's FODMAP- friendly bread because I'm doing the FODMAP diet again to work out the triggers for my food intolerance symptoms. The FODMAP diet is pretty easy, but eventually - probably in a few weeks - I'll have to make YET ANOTHER attempt at completing that confounded full elimination diet. At least I'll be able to use the bread recipe above when the time comes.

I blogged this quote I found on Pinterest a while ago:
Once in the midst of a seemingly endless winter, I found within myself an invincible spring.
I like the quote, but I've recently discovered it's probably a tweaking of this quote from Albert Camus:
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
This is from Camus' The Stranger. The full quote is:
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
I like this a lot more.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Relief and vicarious happy dance

I recently started to worry (for reasons I won't bother explaining) that we were going to be turfed out of our flat so it could be renovated. I was poised to be devastated at having to  leave my home of the past 8 1/2 years - I really would be devastated! I love this place. I never want to leave! This flat and this location are a major source of contentment for me. Sure, I'd be happy elsewhere eventually too, but it just wouldn't be the same. 

But, good news! We don't have to move! I'm so relieved!  

In lieu of a happy dance, I bring you a video of Tom Jones dancing up a storm in 1968. I'm incapable of watching it without laughing my head off, and I'm not easily moved to fits of  laughter. Wait for the dancing at around the 1:17 mark. Hil-AIR-ious. 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Saturday in the Dandenongs

Luke and I went for a drive into the Dandenongs on Saturday afternoon.  We didn't have a particular destination, we just drove. 

The trestle bridge near Belgrave, which is traversed by the 
famous Puffing Billy steam train  

 Monbulk Creek flowing under the bridge 

Mossy log 

We loitered for a while, but Puffing Billy didn't pass by, so we hit the road for Emerald.  It's been  a while since I've visited this part of the Dandenongs. The hills and valleys are steep and lush; they were very picturesque in the afternoon sun. I saw some suffolk sheep grazing the hillside (not a common sheep breed around these parts). I couldn't remember then what they were called and my brain thought, 'Oh, look! There's some of those sheep with the black faces!", but my mouth said, "Look! Shauns!"

Puffing Billy arrived in Emerald not long after we did, but he wasn't going full steam ahead as he passed the level crossing.  Not quite as photogenic... We gave the kids a wave as the train passed, then we headed to Emerald Lake where we went for a walk in the crisp winter air. There were ankle-deep drifts of damp leaves, which gave off that pleasing earthy smell. There was A LOT of fungus. 

And tree ferns. The Dandenongs are a temperate rainforest, with tall mountain ash and ferny undergrowth. 

Roots 'n leaves

 Seed pods of some kind

Full steam ahead

Puffing Billy terminates at Emerald Lake. Here he is on his last trip back to Belgrave for the day. We were never in the right spot for a good photo. He was letting off a lot of steam here, and it was almost golden in the late afternoon sun.  

As we headed back to the car in the fading light, Luke spotted a crimson rosella in a fern, having a snack.  

 Little stream

 Fantastic gnarled tree

Oh, yeah; the lake. It was deserted by the time we were leaving

Although it was getting dark, we kept driving instead of heading home. We saw a small group of kangaroos grazing in a paddock and stopped to take a photo. They stopped grazing to watch me taking a photo (which is  too poor to post due to distance/lack of light).

We ended up in Healesville with a plan to have a meal at one of the pubs, but there was no room at the inns, so we went to an Australian restaurant instead (i.e. native ingredients like wattle seed and bush plums, not chiko rolls and meat pies). We had a nice meal then hit the road for home. 

Catching up: part III (ghost signs)

Here is an assortment of ghost signs I've spotted while out and about over the past few weeks. 

The Big Store, Wattle Street, Prahran (off Chapel)

The Big Store again 

I think this is the building opposite The Big Store on Wattle Street

An accidental reveal on the verandah of Dragonfly Flowers 
on Chapel Street, Windsor


Sands & McDougall Pty Ltd, Printers and Lithographers, 
Spencer Street, West Melbourne

I went for a walk on my lunch break on a sunny day this week and found these old signs. There's signs on the back of the building, which I've photographed before, but I don't think I've passed the front of the building in daylight before. 

The side

Painted over signs on an old shop front, Bridge Road, Richmond 

An old paint shop, most likely. This side says "Butrex full gloss"

And this side: "Revelite flat, semi gloss, full gloss