Sunday, 16 April 2017

Driving about

We drove down to Batchelor and Adelaide River.

There was a little market at Batchelor which we supported by purchasing some coffees and the ubiquitous sausage sizzle. And bought some other useless ornaments that I did not need but felt might disappear in a puff of smoke if they did not come home with me.
Thankfully my husband hauled me off to visit the local museum. Absolutely loved that. Batchelor has a long and interesting history starting with farming, branching into mining, then military stuff, mining again, and lastly education. It is a very pretty place in the middle of not-quite-nowhere.

Off to Adelaide River and the Railway museum. Loved that too.  I'm not sure why, but I really enjoy looking at old engines and things. I looked at the water tower and immediately thought of those television shows where people convert similar structures into homes. The museum has a lot of material. Some of the displays deserve better attention, but the manpower is not available.

Adelaide river has seen more prosperous times, but it hangs on. It is a popular stop for the grey nomads with their big cars and caravans. There's an amazing war cemetery. We of the Never Never country. Gold mining comes and goes.

The reservoir that originally provided water for the steam trains is gorgeous.

The Adelaide River Railway museum has quite a few buildings
and interesting bits and pieces.

Time and the tropics.

It's a bit tricky to maintain the site but the old equipment is fascinating.
This reservoir is not used now, but once supplied all the water for the steam trains and the little community.
It's big. This photo hardly does it justice.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Pacific Requiem

During the performance.
I'm in the middle row with the altos but partially obscured.
The Darwin Chorale performed Pacific Requiem last weekend as part of The Territory Remembers commemorations. It was quite challenging to learn and perform well, but the result was worth every second of all those rehearsals.

It is 75 years since war came to Australia and the Northern Territory was bombed. The Pacific Requiem, by Michael MacNeill, is a work of reconciliation. This means it is one way we can all come to feel that the war is long over and that participants should be forgiven. Those who fired the weapons were just ordinary people doing what they were told was right. They have friends and family who mourn their loss too. This requiem is for all.
MacNeill's requiem contains pieces in Latin, English, and Japanese. It is based on the traditional requiem service of the Christian church, in Latin, but supplemented with folk songs from Australia, USA, and Japan. A children's choir sings some sections.
Our performance was in the Uniting Church in Darwin. This church is itself a war memorial. We were lucky enough to have the composer present at the final rehearsal and at the performance.

Afterwards, Michael MacNeill addressed the audience.
The church was decorated with cherry blossoms, red roses, and wattle flowers. All the singers and musicians wore sprigs of those flowers too.

The following morning we sang at a church service to bless the new Peace Garden at the same church. The Fujita family sponsored that event. It was so moving that tears poured down my cheeks.

Who is Michael MacNeill? He is an Australian now, but he was born in the USA. His father had served in World War II in the Pacific as an American Marine. Michael MacNeill taught English and Drama in schools, and also developed a sound reputation for composing musicals and operas. He is no musical lightweight.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Storms and bubbles

The large bubble at the bottom is 10cm across.
Last night we had a couple of very windy storms coming from the west. The strong winds forced water and air into tiny cracks or openings in our building.

This morning I found this.

This window is completely exposed with no shade or shelter at all.

The bubbles are a combination of air and water. The force has been enough to lift the paint away from the concrete wall. I wonder who invented such strong paint.

A small amount of water had leaked in via the window fitting, but that has not caused the paint to bubble.

Our body corporate management has been notified, because if it happens in our flat then it also happens in every flat directly above and below us - 28 floors. Our building is insured for storm damage and an insurance assessor will have to inspect this. Nothing is actually broken. Let's see what happens as the monsoon continues.

During the afternoon the weather was fine, warm and sunny. The sun shines directly on this window every afternoon of the year. The bubbles decreased dramatically. I wonder if they will grow again tonight while I am dreaming.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone. May your 2017 be filled with good fortune and good health.
Not my picture. Found it on the internet, but have no idea where.
The rain stayed away yesterday afternoon and last night just long enough for everyone to have a great celebration. Fabulous fireworks.
Today the sun shone brightly and the washing cheered in its usual fashion.
Now there are refreshing breezes - otherwise known as blowing a gale.
I have one New Year resolution and it will probably last as long as all the others have done. But I will briefly feel that I tried. Optimism springs eternal, and all that.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Will it rain?

"Save us," whispered the plants.
Will it rain tonight?

This month we have had 530mm rain here in the CBD. Usually, we get around 240mm. Our annual rainfall is about 1 540 mm. Not our wettest month. Not our wettest year.

My poor pot plants have been battered by the strong wind that comes with many of the December storms. I move them around so they get fresh air and sunshine without too much windburn. Now the poor helpless things are shoved at the ends of the verandah in a bid to shelter them from the wind.

Will it be fine enough for the New Years Eve celebrations? It is sunny now. Will it last?

Each New Years Eve there are two free concerts and two fireworks displays at the waterfront, just walking distance from our home.
This year the children's concert has characters from TV. Later is the adults' concert with Diesel.
One fireworks display is at 9.00 and the other at midnight.
I like the crowd, the excitement, the noise, and of course the fireworks. Yes, I'm a sook and do not stay until midnight.

But, will it rain?

I am wishing you a very enjoyable evening. Promises to be good can wait a while. Eat something high in calories!

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A new quilt

A new quilt! This is my first attempt at free-form quilting. I have a lot to learn yet, but YouTube is a wonderful teacher.

Some friends have just become great-grandparents. A surprise for the family, but one little error in judgement can cause a lot of confusion in a teenage girl. Our friends were quite upset as they thought they were doing a good job helping to raise a lovely young woman. She was obviously carried away by young love and did not know what to do when the results were not everlasting happiness. Young and naive. Now a very young mother.
Her school has been marvellous and she will resume her studies by doing lots of it on-line. This is a continuation of the procedure during her pregnancy. Her mother, aunt, grandmother, and grandfather are all teachers so she can get extra help from them too.
The baby boy deserve a great future so our family made this quilt. Our family? Yes, without my husband's support cooking, shopping, and putting up with the chaos this task would not have been done. I sewed and Mr Wonderful did everything else.

(I cheated. The patchwork was already stitched, although it was a bit wobbly.)

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

I wish you a Merry Christmas.
Last night we joined German friends for a traditional German Christmas feast. It was lots of fun.

Today has been excellent here. A cool overcast day with a maximum of only 33 degrees C. Very comfy. I feel sorry for those having temperatures over 40.
Our Christmas lunch finished at four o'clock. We had a hot meal of turkey and our daughter brought a delicious trifle.
All were happy with their gifts. I had sourced some Swiss cookbooks for Camilla and Kevin so they can get the most from their trip to Switzerland in August. Kevin was delighted to find recipes for foods he knows well but did not really know how to cook at home.

Now I will lounge about enjoying the remaining eleven days of Christmas. The chocolates and cakes should last at least that long.

Saturday, 24 December 2016


One of my students surprised me with a gift of two very pretty Christmas decorations. They are made with feathers. Next year they might go on the tree, but this year I placed them where we could enjoy them more.
This butterfly is about 12 cm across. There is a clip underneath.

The bird is about 15 cm across. It is turned so you can see both the face and the tail.
I sat it on a glass plate with a bead garland so it could balance.

The earth tremor the other day has definitely caused a little permanent movement in our building. Our bedroom door does not shut now, although it did before. I wonder what the insurance company will do about that.

We are buffeted by strong winds during cyclones and so forth. (The higher you are, the stronger the wind.) This causes little cracks to open in the concrete and let water in. Tall buildings like ours are constructed in modules like Lego and then the pieces are joined. One particularly wet year the water ran down the wall under the paint. Engineers inspected and the insurance company sighed heavily. People came with ropes and harnesses, the relevant glues, and lots of skill.

So ... maybe another tremor will come along and change things again. We will calmly wait until the Wet Season has finished.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Earth tremor

We had a significant earth tremor this morning.
The quake was 278km ENE of Dili and registered 6.7 on the scale.
The tremor lasted about two minutes at our place.
The building shook and I could hear it cracking. The furniture really swayed.
Other people reported feeling and hearing the tremor all around the city.
This picture is from the US Geological Survey site, a brilliant source of information.
The local TV station posted this second picture on social media. I have no idea where they found it.