From Fremantle Where Sunflowers Grow!

After reading and listening to everyone sharing their favorite music tracks I wondered if it might be fun to share some of our favorite pictures –  images of anything or any scene,  whether at home or on holidays, or anywhere at all for that matter.   I’ve recently been struck by the sunflowers growing wild on our street verge as I leave the house for my morning walk with Tacker.

As I cross the street at the corner there are more of them growing up from the pavement.

They seem to be everywhere – on nature strips, alongside stone walls and fences  and in quite a few gardens too where some people are happy to leave them wherever they’ve sprung up.   Back home,  I grab the secateurs and cut some so that I can enjoy them indoors,  just as Van Gogh did so famously more than a century ago.    Sorry,  I haven’t got the right jug or background  to really recapture his mood!   And I don’t yet  know how to cut out the extraneous bits!    Still,  being very new to a digital camera and transferring these pictures to my computer I am beside myself with amazement at what I see before me!

Inevitably though a poem emerged.   So,  in my own small way,  I too have been inspired to create by sunflowers.

Was it just over a month ago

Fremantle for me was all aglow

With brave red poppies on the street?

Now everywhere I go I meet

Sunflowers, big leaved and tall,

Bold yellow against sky and wall.

From whence they came who can tell?

Untended and not watered well,

Under the glaring sun they stand,

Smiling, proclaiming,  “Ain’t life grand!”

93 comments on “From Fremantle Where Sunflowers Grow!

  1. Patricia, for a digital newbie, you’re doing pretty well. The great thing about digital is being able to review and eliminate the crap photos while they’re still in the camera. Instant gratification.

    If you don’t mind, I’d like to paint your vase of sunflowers. If I do a creditable job, I’ll upload it. I reckon it’ll be an oil, so drying time will be the main factor, apart from my incompetence

    I took some photos I’m reasonably pleased with as source material for some watercolours i want to do and am now inspired to attempt to upload some. First, I have to stick them onto the computer, though.

  2. Hi Jane! Thanks for the compliment. I’ve been using my head, as it were, and words, at work for so long that I took to the poems fairly naturally. Seeing things, in the sense of really seeing, has taken some five years of winding down with time for sitting and walking and watching. I’ve had a rarely used Minolta in my bottom desk drawer which I looked for when the poppies caught me up but the idea of buying films and developing them was too much. So, no poppy pictures! Next year though!

    My daughter, who lives next door, loaned me her Samsung for the sunflowers and showed me how to point it the right way round until I got the picture I wanted and then to press the button! She then emailed the images to me. I was thrilled at the result. In that process I’ve pressed the wrong button somehow and messed up her settings which she assures me she can fix. So – photography class for me in the New Year, I think, along with editing etc.

    I’ll be very interested to see your own ‘Sunflowers’ – interpretation can bring so much more to any image. Your mention of painting reminds me that many years ago for therapy for reactive depression I did some drawing and water color classes. They used a text called “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” which I may still have. That’s something else to find time for, isn’t it? Thank you.

    PS If anyone can use a near new Minolta Riva Zoom 70 I’d be happy to send it to them. Contact Miglo with your email details. Or is it the sort of thing one just can’t give away these days?

  3. Thank you for this lovely post, Patricia. I managed to take a photo (well, a waitress took the photo with my camera) of joni and I in Sydney on Tuesday. It would have been far better if I were indeed the photographer, as my inclusion in the actual snap has turned it into the photo from hell. Joni must surely be embarrassed. He even posted it on Facebook, no doubt, so people could laugh at me.

    He is an evil little man.

  4. Patricia, I’ve been going to painting classes for just over 2 years, now and love it. It is very theraputic if you’re feeling crummy.

    I’ve also been to a couple of card-making classes at our local scrapbooking shop. I made a couple of Xmas cards and found it so enjoyable, I made nearly enough for all my family.

    Now I’ve contracted that bug, I plan to knock up a couple a week and inflict them on all and sundry.

    They also do scrapbook classes, so I reckon I’ll waddle off to them during the winter and do something with the trillions of photos I took when I went off o/s a few years ago. After all, I haven’t inflicted that little lot on anyone, yet.

    I’m waiting for the Millicent photography club to set a date for Photoshop classes. I can do basic stuff like cropping, straightening and a couple of other timid things, but I really want to get stuck into some serious manipulation.

    Some reckon it’s cheating, but I reckon if you can enhance your photos with a spot of manipulation, what’s the harm? It’s been done since the first camera was picked up.

    Migs, I can’t believe that people would be so terrible as to point and laugh at a photo you’re in; a fine upstanding chap such as you would improve it, surely. 🙂

  5. Hi Patricia. My guess is that cameras are fairly hard to get rid of these days as the newer cameras have more mega pixels (simply, the number of dots per square inch in a photo). A 3 mega pixel camera will have less clarity than a 5 mega pixel camera. Twelve months ago it was standard to have, say, a 2 mega pixel camera in you mobile phone while some of the better cameras were 8 mega pixel. These days it’s not uncommon for phones to have 8 mega pixels and good camera to have at least 12 mega pixels.

    Do you know how many mega pixels your camera has? If it has a high number then maybe there is a market out there.

    Some digital cameras these days are also very cheap. Samsung has a 12 mega pixel zoom camera (without the bells and whistles) that is getting rave reviews and sells for only $160.

  6. Well I didn’t know that! There are more than 4,000 roses of 300 varieties growing in the Old Parliament House rose garden. Ah, Canberra, beautiful all over.

  7. As this is a light-hearted thread, over at LP there’s a bit of fun (imo), although some commenters are taking it all a bit too seriously, methinks.

  8. Jane, the recent research reminds me of similar studies conducted in the mid to late 19th century to confirm the inferiority of Aboriginal Australians. The author of that brilliant work A review of the racist ideologies of Social Darwinism and eugenics in colonial Australia in the formative years of Federation, and how these ideologies were applied to purify and secure a White Australia has allowed me to provide this similarity.

    Extended to human affairs, the pervasive spirit of simplicity sought to reproduce for social relations the sort of simple order thought to be inherent in nature. Hence there was an application of categories of racial classification to human groups on the basis of natural characteristics. This racial ordering also implied a behavioural expectation and that perhaps the major assumption underlying classification was that identification of races in terms of their differentia is adequate to establish the laws of behaviour for their members.

    Early applications of this theory were none-too-soon observed in the behaviour of the Aborigines. Behaviour, it was argued, that was driven by primitive instinct and without the habits of forethought or providence. For example, their instinctive mating habits and the eating of raw meats – to an ethnocentric observer – clearly represented diminished intellectual development. Josephine Flood reports that even the absence of nets or fish-hooks in some coastal Tasmanian societies was taken as an indication that the local Aborigines had not yet evolved to the point were they needed one of the most basic of human foods. Hence terms such as ‘the childhood of humanity’ were liberally and needlessly applied and the evolutionary theory enforced.

    At this time, and certainly based on observation, few Europeans in colonial Australia doubted that other races were inferior, but many felt the need to establish some scientific basis for their belief. The evolutionary notions of Aboriginal inferiority were the founded on ‘scientific’ racism. The most conclusive ‘evidence’ to support the Aborigines’ low level of intellectual development was thus obtained through scientific ‘proof’. Science found a way to satisfy the ideology that primitive intellect was confirmed through recognisable primitive characteristics. One such conclusion was derived through the study of craniology: the examination and measurement of crania.

    The crania of the Aborigines supplied fertile ground for evidence of their primitiveness: long heads with a sharp, sloping brow; prominent ridges and heavy bone structure; and significantly, a smaller, lighter (and presumably less complex) brain than that of a European. These structural features were considered ape-like, to which other physical similarities were unduly drawn. Such conclusions served to support the view that the Australian Aborigines were a relic of the oldest type of humanity, or indeed, even living fossils.

    The science of phrenology was credited with to further advancing consistencies of primitiveness in that the ‘astute’ European could now – through even more elaborate scientific reasoning – develop a model for character analysis also drawn from cranial properties. Popular in the Australian colonies in the nineteenth century, phrenology was a pseudo-science based on the twin assumptions that specific areas of the brain were responsible for particular moral and intellectual characteristics and that the shape of the skull reflected the inner structure of the brain.

    Phrenologists professed to discover an individual’s mental faculties from identifiable peculiarities of skull formation. With racist suppositions the colonial scientists elaborated Aboriginal inferiority based on phrenological ‘evidence’. Their prominent bumps or ridges on the skull – as an example – were a signature of depravity or other abstract qualities; and the smallness of their brain (or internal capacity of the skull – as compared with an average European) was the cause of ‘miserable manifestations of mind’; and even the mere thickness of the skull alone was a sure indicator of low mental ability, moral character, benevolence and conscientiousness. The conclusion was drawn, that based on the evidence of phrenological interpretation, the Aborigines possessed only a few of the intellectual faculties so evident in white Australians.

    The colonisers therefore had no compunction in applying erroneous scientific theories as justification for extermination. Science had confirmed the inevitable: that the Aborigines as primitives faced extinction and every assessment of their situation, every evaluation of policy, took place in the shadow of that certainty.

    Interesting, yes?

  9. I always found that very interesting too Migs. Phrenology was also used to ‘prove’ the inferiority of the Irish and that they inherently had a disposition inclined towards drunkenness and depravity.

  10. Indeed, Min. Those damn Irish. A fellow called Samuel Marsden, who epitomised the Protestant gentry in colonial Australia commented around 1800 that:

    the number of Catholic convicts is very great in the settlement; and these in general composed of the lowest class of the Irish nation, who are the most wild, ignorant and savage race . . . men that have been familiar with robberies, murders and every horrid crime from their infancy . . . governed entirely by the impulse of passion and always alive to rebellion and mischief they are very dangerous members of society . . . they are extremely superstitious artful and treacherous . . . they have no true concern whatsoever for any religion nor fear of the supreme Being: but are fond of riot drunkenness and cabals; and was the Catholic religion tolerated they would assemble together from every quarter not so much from a desire of celebrating mass, as to recite the miseries and injustice of their punishment, the hardships they suffer, and to enflame one another’s minds with some wild scheme of revenge.

  11. Migs, to my way of thinking it has always been about greed. Whether it be the land of indigenous peoples, the land of the Irish, the oil of the Iraqis, the opium of the Afghanis there will be some sort of campaign to prove that those inhabitants are inferior to those who are the invader.

  12. Migs, by that I meant the white fella’s greed for their land. The white fella therefore had to place Indigenous Australians in a situation of cultural and racial inferiority in order to justify their treatment of them.

  13. The white invaders couldn’t understand the Aboriginal concept that you couldn’t own land – that the land owned you. That suited them fine, as they were able to apply terra nullius.

  14. ‘and that they inherently had a disposition inclined towards drunkenness and depravity’.

    They must have been to Canberra (or lived there).

    Happy New Year to all at the cafe.

  15. Migs, do you know what happened to the Aboriginal push for a Treaty. My understanding that this was one of the biggest problems facing Indigenous Australia viz recognition and land rights, that when compared with eg the Maori there could never be a treaty due to the concept of terra nullius. That it wasn’t possible to have a treaty with ‘no one’.

  16. Hey, Miglo, I loved those cat videos, could have been my Sheba! She stalks Tacker, waiting to ambush him as we come back from walks. At nights she appears from god knows where when we step out for a few minutes wee time before bed. Seems to love the dark, plus the company to play with.

    Anyone here know how to persuade a cat to eat a bit of raw food now and then? She ‘grazes’ on those pellets on which she was weened at birth. I buy the best of those at the vet and as well have tried every other sort of food, fish, chicken mince, offal and fresh roo mince. From time to time she has eaten all or a little of that but mostly she sniffs, turns up her nose, looks scathingly at me and walks away as if to say, “You’ll have to do better than this!”

    Fortunately Tacker, though pretty discriminating too, will eat most meat except fish. The packaging assures me that those pellets contain all necessary nutriments, but I’m not convinced that raw food isn’t vital for a long healthy life. Not that she’s ever been sick in four years of life.

    She’s not destructive inside the house and spends a lot of time outside, but I was intrigued by that ‘scratching post?’ in Video 4 which seemed to be much enjoyed. Where would I get one of those?

  17. Min, as Migs pointed out above, Terra Nullius was a very handy excuse for the land grab and was based on the fact that individual land ownership was a completely foreign concept to Aboriginal people. So they could claim Terra Nullius because no one “owned” the land in the European sense and hence it was “unoccupied”.

    Migs, having treaties didn’t help the Native Americans too much. All bets were off as soon as the Great White Father and his sleazy compatriots found gold in them thar hills. I have a strong suspicion the same would have applied here.

    The black fellas would have kept their word because honour meant something to them, but the white fellas would have only kept theirs while it was convenient.

  18. Lovely Patricia. Poem & pics. Luv a positive thread. Thnx.

    Happy New Years to all…from sanqween & I & our feline friends.

    Why do we celebrate a new year?

    Well, it’s another year to come w/out Bush & Howard in leadership positions.

    And we’ve just had another year w/out their semi-totalitarian, small-minded rule.

    That’s good enuff for us. 🙂


  19. Sounds to be modern day phrenology. “The research, sparked by an off-hand remark by actor Colin Firth, shows that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those from the Left.” And to have a different shape brain is good because………………………

    The argument seems to be that conservatives are more fearful but to conclude that “Those who voted for Labor last August showed a distinct lack of concern about the future of the country.” must be the height of stupidity.

    Don’t tell me that Piers deliberately omitted this small snippet “They also typically have a smaller anterior cingulate, which is associated with courage and optimism.”

    Therefore the conclusion is that conservatives are more fearful, less courageous and less optimistic.

    Of course a quick Google reveals that this is all highly theoretical.

  20. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones too, Min.

    Holidays always seem to bugger up my sleeping patterns so I’m likely to be up for another hour or two yet. Then I’ll probably sleep in until 1pm. It’s going to be hard getting up for work on Tuesday. 😦

  21. Hey the gang’s all here

    Minus joni, who would be off somewhere partying and by now be in a drunken stupor.

    Nothing’s changed for him then. 😉

  22. Happy New Years Min & Migs!

    Just had fondue.

    We’re now havin’ a plum pudding sent by my Dad from Canada w/ some brandy butter sauce…and heaps of wine & peach schnapps. 🙂

    Good times. Best to you both & yer family.


  23. I’m still in 2010 here, but yes, Nasking, amazing year that it’s been with all its surprises and heart searching and suspense, it has been a year without Coalition control of our country. I agree with you N’ we have ahead of us another year of socially fair, commonsense, and generally reasonable government, however fallible at times. Whatever its failings, better this than the outrages which Abbott and Co. could visit upon us all.

  24. “we have ahead of us another year of socially fair, commonsense, and generally reasonable government, however fallible at times. Whatever its failings, better this than the outrages which Abbott and Co. could visit upon us all.”

    Spot on Patricia! I’ll drink a toast to you & those wise words.

    And may sewage stay where it belongs.


  25. You probably wouldn’t Migs – that was supposed to be a link to how the Japanese “Happy New Year” is pronounced…


  26. Well one of us might be silly Migs, but I don’t reckon that’d be you – enjoy your new year’s day!

  27. OMG! Piers has flipped his lid.

    Not only that but his posters in their ideological stupidity don’t understand the imbecility of Piers’s article in twisting the study, which was a denigration of conservative supporters more than anything else.

    Then there is the sweet irony of the mindless Piers posters having great fun at poking Labor supporters for supposedly being stupid, when without fail radical conservative commentators like Piers only have to write any nonsense at all and their gormless followers come out in droves drivelling folderol proving where the stupidity really lies.

  28. One thing that I have always disliked is the schools chaplaincy program. Although there is nothing in the Australian Constitution specifying separation of church and state, the Preamble s116 does state that the Commonwealth shall not make any law imposing religious observance. Hence the reason that in state schools any Religious Education program is always voluntary.

    It seems that the school chaplains program has been crossing this boundary with reports that some “are evangelising in the playground”.

    Probably worse however is the fact that school chaplains are inadequately supervised, inadequately trained and have access to sensitive information about individual children.

    The above from:

  29. And it’s not a long stretch to infer that Abbott if PM would greatly expand this program Min. It is scary thinking about just how far he would take things like this.

  30. “I agree with you N’ we have ahead of us another year of socially fair, commonsense, and generally reasonable government,”


    You are lucky that the ALP wasn’t handed in 2007 unemployment at 8.3% and the Federal govt debt at 18.5% of GDP and rapidly increasing and a $10B budget deficit.

    Because the ALP would not have the slightest idea what to do.

    In 2007 they were handed unemployment at 4%, no Federal govt debt and a budget with a $20B surplus.

    The longer the ALP is in power the worse the budget deficit will become.

  31. Australians now floating in a record sea of debt

    “THE debt burden has soared to a record and Australians are spending almost 12 per cent of their disposable income on interest repayments.”


    “Other data from Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia shows total insolvencies in Melbourne — which includes personal bankruptcies, debt agreements and personal insolvency agreements — hit 5463 in 2005-06, an increase of almost 40 per cent since 1999-2000. Personal insolvencies rose most sharply in Wyndham and Melton, up 81.4 per cent.”

  32. Hey, guys! Here I was hoping for lots of happy snaps or inviting vistas from holidays past and here you are bogged down in bankruptcies and religious controversies.

    Love you all but go away to another thread until you have something cheerful to show us!

  33. patriciawa, you can get scratching posts at Cheap as Chips and shops like that and pet shops. Some of them are quite flash with a high perch for their Highnesses to survey their domain.

    It’s very hard to persuade cats to try different food. Mine loves raw meat and chicken, but absolutely refuses to eat it if it’s not cut small enough.

    In winter we give him ‘roo mince, which he scoffs down like there’s no tomorrow and bungs on a heap of weight-turns into a 6+kg lump. At this time of the year, it’s dry food because of the blow flies.

    OMG! Piers has flipped his lid.

    Migs, did you read any of the comments? One of the lizard brains used that offensive email you received from your friend.

    I couldn’t help myself and pointed and laughed at their obvious ignorance of eligibility for social security payments, and that the condom story was about the choked up toilets in the Commonwealth Games village in India.

    Suggested the alleged $50spending money was used to time travel to the Commonwealth Games village and finished by suggesting the commenter’s friend apply for a job with Emperor Rupert, wher printing lies, innuendo and gossip as fact was stock-in-trade.

    I know it won’t be published, but it made me feel better, momentarily.

    Husbandy substance was snoring his head off by 8.30pm and I was in the scratcher by 9.45pm. I detest New Year’s Eve far more than Christmas Day (I think because I pressure myself to stupidly cough up a feast that leaves us eating leftovers for a fortnight)

    For the life of me, I can’t see the point in all the hoo ha. It’s just another shite day followed by the next probably more shite, day.

    Migs, sorry you’ve spent your break laid low.

    Min, perhaps Piers didn’t mention the lack of courage and optimism, because he doesn’t realise those traits exist. After all, the RWDB god is the lying Rodent.

    ME, @6.38am, that’s because Piers’ lickspittles haven’t got the wit or integrity to know when they’re being fed a load of old cobblers. For that matter I’m not sure whether Piers does either. I’m sure he doesn’t have the integrity to print the truth.

    Min & ME, I was very surprised when the PM promised extra funding for the school chaplaincy scheme.

    It’s quite alarming to learn they have access to information about students they shouldn’t and are “counselling” without being qualified to do so and it seems without parental consent in a lot of cases. Ditto the evangelising.

    I hate to think what Smuggles would do if he got his amygdala heavy hands on the Prime Ministership.

  34. Jane re “Piers didn’t mention the lack of courage and optimism, because he doesn’t realise those traits exist.” I like that 🙂

    Yes I agree about the school chaplaincy. It sounds to me to be yet more bad advice that Gillard had been receiving. That it wasn’t just the LPN who were still fighting the ’07 election but obviously some advisers to Gillard were too.

  35. You did indeed, Joni, as have others. Mea Culpa for not acknowledging you earlier! I particularly liked your Roman bath – that isn’t from Bath in England, is it, where the Great Bath as I remember is outside. Those rather overweight guards were surely in Scandinavia where your beautifully lit picture of the fir tree/Christmas tree in the snow must have been taken. So were you further south when those Roman spa baths took your fancy or did the Romans get that far north?

    Migs – are you a cat lover? You must be from that cunning video you posted. Thanks, Jane for your suggestions about appealing diets for Sheba. Yes, she loved roo meat, chicken etc.- once or twice, then went right off them. I guess, like us, whatever they’re weaned on from birth becomes hard wired into their food preferences. I just can’t get her to read anything about a raw diet for a long a healthy life!

    Bacchus, your 1963 Beatles cover reminds me that from 1962 to 1964 I was in Kenya and busy producing babies, apart from a brief teaching spell in 1964 undertaken because of pleading by a desperate headmistress of a nearby boarding school for young (white, naturally!) ladies. I have a distinct recollection of painfully lactating and leaking breasts, with my youngest crying out in the garden with an ayah, embarrassedly trying to concentrate on current affairs while my class of fourteen year old girls were astounded that I didn’t know who the Beatles were!

    Sorry, ME, I must be amongst the few who are not Dr. Who fans, no matter who the star nor when the era.

  36. Weeping Angels

    Patricia imagine a monster in the form of a statue of a weeping angel, a monster that derives fun out of sneaking up on you and then breaking your neck when it gets you. The monster cannot move when you are looking at it but when you are not looking it can move at great speed, so in an eyeblink it can cover a considerable distance. In darkness you have no hope.

    The video of the stalking cat is eerily similar to the scenes in Dr Who where the angel statues were sneaking up on their victims, then at the last moment they revealed a horror face and a mouth full of razor teeth.

  37. Yes, ME, I can imagine it only too well! That’s the sort of thing I’d avoid looking at if I had the choice! I hate being scared, which is probably why I steer clear of sci-fi and violent crime series. Life’s too short now for filling my head with dark scenes.

    It’s not that I can’t face reality, I have and I will, whenever real life requires it, but I look to entertainment to lighten my mood. When I got snarky back there it was because I was suddenly on a downer and was looking forward to a lift when I came back to Cafe Whispers and this post. Having somehow provoked Neil into joining us and banging on about ‘Debt’ pissed me off more than I was prepared to admit.

    I had been hoping by now to post some snaps of Tacker with the new puppy next door, my grandsons’ Christmas present, a tiny Shitsu/King Charles Cavalier cross. Instead, I seem to have broken Tacker’s heart. Try as we will to reassure him that he is still Number One, he really doesn’t want to go over there any more. We’ve followed all the rules about leaving them to sort things out for themselves and also making a fuss of him, but he won’t go near the puppy, just lies moping at their door. He seems really upset, even now back home. He’s normally such a cheerful, friendly little fellow, and it’s sad to have him moping around like this.

    Over fifty years ago my then husband and I made the same mistake with Shem, our first pet, a Siamese cat, we’d had for about three months, since a kitten. He was adorable, followed us on walks through the snow and played endless games or cuddled up so happily with one of us in a chair reading at nights. We thought we’d get him a kitten for company while he was shut up indoors alone all day when we were at work. Instead he never forgave us, ignored Sean and sulked off alone all the time.

    Anyone have any advice? I need cheering up. Oh, and I’ve already reminded myself how blessed I am if this is the only problem I have!

  38. I love cats, Patricia. At one stage I had 11 when on the farm. Now I have none, though I’m sure my little Pomeranians would welcome fellow playmates.

    For the last six months the dogs have been on BARF, which is available in selected pet stores. BARF stands for ‘bone and raw food’. It has been a complete hit and has turned the sleepy older Pom into a bouncing ball of energy.

    A word on feeding kangaroo meat to dogs via an Aboriginal friend: if the dog is an inside dog then DON’T. It makes them do smelly farts. I can assure that it’s no fun having a dog sleep on the bed who does violent farts all night then wags her tail to spread it around.

    Returning to cats, I’ve started 2011 off like a cat. I slept in until 2pm!!! That’s the latest I’ve ever slept in in my life.

  39. What a great start to 2011. Canberra’s hottest day in 700 million years and my car air-conditioning dies. Bloody marvelous.

  40. Min @1.24pm, it’s disappointing that Gillard is still taking advice from the idiots who very nearly steered her into electoral defeat; it’s got their sticky paw marks all over it.

    I would have thought that she would have told them to stick their advice where the sun doesn’t shine and had a look at campaigns from the past that did work and take a leaf out of those books with a 21st C twist.

    I think it’s a real pity that the government didn’t start really hammering the fact that the Smuggles Set will never negotiate in good faith. There’s plenty of examples to bang on about and that’s why the indies gave them the flick.

    Wow, Migs! 11 cats! The most I’ve had at a time is 2.

    Years ago, I had the most beautiful fluffy ginger (desexed) tom called Claude; I don’t think I’ve seen a cat more blessed with beauty.

    He was an only cat and I took custody of him when my first marriage broke up. Later on, I got a kitten to keep him company while I was at work, as I was unaware that he’d sniffed out the lady over the back fence where he went as soon as left for work.

    Well! What a performance! His nosw was so out of joint, I was surprised the bugger could breath! Eventually he accepted the kitten and they used to ambush the big Siamese tom next door.

    The kitten (M’ster for monster) lured next door into my yard where Claude (who looked like a sap) would clean him up!

    Sadly, poor Claude died a very painful death with kidney failure; I was very,very sad, but I still had M’ster a very big black and white cat. Excellent mouser who got on a treat with the Husbandy Substances’ lovely lab.

    They both died at ripe old ages within a couple of months of each other-M’ster got skittled one dark winter’s night and the poor Fish had a heart attack.

    Anyway, enough of my animal sagas although I still have a few to go as I guess all the Whisperers have.

    I’ll try to lift my game and upload some photos of my animals.

  41. Thanks, Jane. I guess our animals have to deal with the slings and arrows of their misfortunes as we have to do. They are blessed if they have loving owners to support them as well as we can. I just wish we had the wisdom not to cause them. I look forward to your photos.

  42. patriciawa, you can get scratching posts at Cheap as Chips and shops like that

    Jane, shame on you. Cats know when you’ve been to the cheap shop and they demand better. 😉

  43. This animal story comes from when I was back in Victoria. Animals consisted of 1 mini foxie, an aviary containing finches and numerous guinea pigs who became even more numerous as time went by, plus chooks. Then I made the mistake of accepting a rooster from a friend who was promptly named Aggro.

    One thing that seemed to rile Aggro more than anything (and that is saying something given his general disposition) was me hanging out the washing. Out of nowhere he would leap with talons blazing. My usual form of defence was the yardbroom.

    Then one day as I was driving back from work I spotted a small something on the side of the road which seemed to be moving. Upon investigation it turned out to be a very small and very bedraggled pup who after putting notices up on the roadside and at the vet’s, I ended up adopting. It eventuated that Jessie was almost pure dingo and a more loving furry friend would be hard to find.

    Somewhat later, I arrived home to find nothing left of Aggro the rooster except feet and claws. Jessie wagged her tail in appreciation for the sumptous meal. Good girl Jessie 😀

    Sadly a year or so later my beautiful pup jumped the 6′ fence by clambering up the rungs and was run over by a neighbor’s car.

  44. Cats know when you’ve been to the cheap shop and they demand better. 😉

    Not when you hide the bag and tell them they can’t use the scratching post, Migs! Works every time.

  45. Cat story:

    We had a ginger puss, Bronson, (Bronky boy) who we adopted in a country town after the loss of his friend/owner. He was about 10 years old.

    When we left said town he was pleased to join us. The moment we got this huge cat to our home he decided to show us why flyscreens need to be replaced every few months and why you should never bother buying new furniture if you have a huge male cat. And Bronky boy enjoyed leaving his calling card wherever he went.

    Within a few weeks we realised he was thirstier than yer average cat…particularly when he started drinking from the neighbour’s hose whilst they were crazily waving it at him to try & prevent Bronson from using their screen door as a scratching post.

    A couple of young single females across the road tried to adopt him when we weren’t looking (Bronson loved visiting)…but oneday they made the mistake of locking him in their bedroom…their beds & carpets never smelt the same again…nor their love for him. He was promptly returned. I watched him lick himself w/ a self-satisfied look. I could swear he was smilin’.

    If you started washing up he wanted to have a few gulps of the running water. Run a bath & he was in there the moment the tap was turned on. Glug glug glug.

    A visit to the vets revealed he had kidney & thyroid problems. Obviously his enjoyment off offal in his former life…w/ the occasional reptile…had not gone down well w/ his organs & such over time.

    So, for the next 9 years we found ourselves popping pills into his mouth three times a day…and exhausted me gettin’ up two to three times a night to give him water from the bath tap.

    It was insane…but became a ritual. I’m still convinced Bronson wasn’t as thirsty after he started taking the pills…but rather got a kick out of me serving him in the middle of the night. If I didn’t, he would leave me a message of disapproval on the bathroom carpet…or act like the ghost in The Haunting & give our bedroom door a wee knocking.

    Apart from his OCD drinking practices Bronky boy lived a wonderful life as king of the suburban jungle (our backyard & indoors)…

    And ya know, even tho he’s been gone for over four years now…I still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night prepared to turn on the bath tap.

    I guess I miss the big ginger fiend. 🙂


  46. Nas’ my beautiful Claude died from kidney failure; apparently it’s quite common in cats, the vet told me at the time.

    He looked too dainty to be anything but a wimp, but was a fighter extrordinaire. He used to clean up next door’s very large Siamese tom regularly and never had a scar or any fur missing.

    He’s been dead 30 years now I guess, and there’s been a few cats come and gone in our household since then. Dogs, too.

    I dug out the two photos I have of him today. I intend to scan them into the computer and upload onto webshots or snapfish or some such and hope to provide a link so he can be admired all over again.

  47. Nasking, your tolerance and respect for life amazes me! Much as I love my pets I don’t think I could have put up with Bronson!

    I had heard that too much offal is not good for animals. It’s interesting that both of mine are pretty abstemious about that.

    I’ve heard that when a dog starts to eat grass it suggests he’s sick. Tacker has always grazed a bit on a regular basis, and it’s my theory that that’s why he’s hardly ever ill.

    Jane, your adventures in technology almost mirror my own. I’m interested in your scanner though. Is it fairly easy to use, and has it been worth the investment?

  48. “I intend to scan them into the computer and upload onto webshots or snapfish or some such and hope to provide a link so he can be admired all over again.”

    jane, look forward to seein’ Claude. Yes, kidney problems are quite common in cats…two of our beloved feline friends have passed due to complications arisin’ from kidney disease. It’s heartbreakin’ to observe their dive…we’re so pleased we were able to keep Bronk goin’ for another 9 years after the initial diagnosis…tho, it was probably more a thyroid problem then w/ the kidneys playin’ up.

    “I’ve heard that when a dog starts to eat grass it suggests he’s sick.”

    Patricia, our cats do same. But sometimes it’s to get hairballs up. Midnight brought a beauty up the other day on the porch, looked like a grey toy…and to think he got a new super duper brush for Xmas & plenty of brushes. How much hair can one cat produce…and eat whilst lickin’ himself? 🙂

    Time for the hairball formula.


  49. patriciawa, your printer most likely has a scanner function. I think most printers now are multi function and cheap, so you don’t have to invest in a separate machine to clutter up your desk.

    Scanning is similar to copying, in that you place your document face down on the plate, hit the scan button and start and away you go.

    Your computer will kick in then with prompts and generally gives you a preview. I usually set up a new folder on my desktop before I start, so I can tell it where I want the documents/photos to go.

    If I don’t, the computer always puts the stuff in some secret location, whose existence forever remains shrouded in a dark and mysterious digital cave, to which I am denied access.

    I’m guessing you’re more computer literate than me, so probably won’t have as many stuff-ups. If you get stuck, it sounds like your daughter knows her computer onions, so if you can brave the sighing and eye-rolling, she could help.

    I don’t do a lot of scanning, but it’s very handy if you have precious documents or photos from pre-digital days, that need to be handled as little as possible.

    You can print as many copies as you like without risking damage to the originals. eg I have photos of my mother from 6 months of age until just before she died, so I don’t want to jeopardise the irreplaceable originals.

    Sadly, I don’t have any photos of my father as a child and very few of him as a young man.

    According to this dogs eat grass because they can.

  50. Thanks, Jane, time to explore printer/scanners, I think. One of my huge and too often put off tasks is rationalising photo collections from eons past. This may be a way to sort them, prioritise, label and date and at the same time leave yet another part of my house in order for future generations.

    Thanks for the grass/dog link. I noticed an ad at the bottom of that article for flea protection. Until this year I’ve been conscientious abut flea protection and still have had the odd bite bother my pooch. This year I’ve waited for him to scratch, and the cat too. Neither have shown a sign of fleas to date, so I have refrained from using the treatments, which I do keep available.

    Recently in this really hot weather Tacker’s been scratching a bit ‘under arm’ and around his groin, but close daily inspection hasn’t revealed a single flea. I think it’s more sweating and the heat, since he’s due for a clip next week.

    My instinct is not to use these chemicals unless really necessary. As with humans chemical treatments seem very invasive and in the long run
    contribute to chronic ailments as they age. I have a lovely vet who administers only the legally required shots annually and suggests minimal other interventions. Seems to work on the whole, but I really am concerned about the fleas again, not because Tacker’s scratching today, but because of the powers of persuasion of modern advertising!

    Any ideas anyone? Hey, if only we could use a pesticide on Abbott and Co!

  51. Patricia, as you found no fleas then it might be summer itch or a seasonal allergy. My kelpie is allergic to wandering dew and I treat any itchiness with this:

    Boil 1½ cups of water, remove from heat. Add 2 teaspoons oatmeal, 1 teaspoon chamomile, 1 teaspoon calendula flowers and 1 regular tea bag (Lipton type); let steep until cool. Strain through doubled cheesecloth. If you do not have the herbs, use 1 cup of water. Spray the affected area as often as needed.

    If you can’t get calendula flowers locally they’re available online from

  52. Hi Patricia – this may (or may not) be of any help, but we purchased a new printer/scanner/copier just over a year ago and it’s served us really well so far (son’s fiancé is studying and prints reams and reams of notes).

    The deciding factor for me was the ability to print double-sided with a built-in duplexer – saves lots of paper. As a bonus, it can also print on CDs & DVDs for those “backups” of our collections.

    Another bonus was that it doesn’t have to be attached to a computer to be able to print to it – it’s got both wired and wireless network connections so we can easily use it to print or scan from/to any of the computers in the house without having to turn an attached computer on as well.

    Canon have quite a range of other printers/scanners too, if this isn’t the sort of thing you’re looking for (and no, I don’t work for Canon – this is my 2nd Canon printer and I’m a very satisfied customer – the original one is still going strong, unlike the other brand I had which shall remain nameless, but starts with “Ep” and has a similar name to one many people would associate with “salts”).

  53. Re fleas – my old mate never had a flea on him in his 16 years with us. I guess we were just lucky to be in a low flea area and he was washed regularly with a flea shampoo.

    One sure way I could always tell whether a dog had fleas, was to use my lower legs! Whenever I would visit the mother-in-law when she had her two pretend dogs 😛 (they were Chihuahuas and they were great little dogs), I could tell as soon as I walked in if they had fleas – the fleas also liked my hirsute lower extremities 😦

    So all you need is a hairy male or two around to detect the fleas for you, before succumbing to the pressure of the advertising!

  54. “My instinct is not to use these chemicals unless really necessary. As with humans chemical treatments seem very invasive and in the long run
    contribute to chronic ailments as they age.”

    Patricia, we’re the same…but probably use more than we used to w/ all this rain here in QLD, & once a neighbour’s cat died suddenly from a tic. Was a shock to all of us.

    It’s such a drag. And expensive. But at least we know they’re safe in that regard.

    Know exactly where yer comin’ from tho re: chemicals & long-term toxicity.

    Tacker has a good Mum. 🙂


  55. Bacchus @1.17pm, my pixma bit the dust a few months ago. I desperately needed another printer and got talked into the expensive dose of salts.

    It also does double sided printing with a large and scary attachment and prints on CDs & DVDs, although I haven’t tried those features out yet. I really should have a crack at it, I suppose. I’m going to have my first crack at scanning with the thing tonight. Gaaahhhhh!!!

    And I should investigate the wireless printing thing-how ignorant and stupid I am to be intimidated by a bloody printer!

    I’m also pretty browned off with the fact that you can’t use anything else but their expensive brand of photo paper which you can’t buy locally and when you add on the extortionate cost of the ink it’s pretty irritating. No more printing several A4 prints for photography Club to decide which I like best. Grump!

    Maybe I’ll get used to the dose of salts, but I don’t find that I get a better quality print than I did with my el cheapo pixma.

    I like Canon printers, but it may be because I’m used to them. I find them very user friendly and pretty forgiving and I’m wild with myself for not sticking to my guns and buying another pixma. Bangs head on wall!!

    Bugger! I’ll treat myself to a few home made ouzo and cokes. It tastes like Irish Moss, which is weird because a Greek man gave it to us, but I do like Irish Moss. 😉

    Nas’ and patricia, I use advocate on my lot when necessary. No scratching, so they’re chemical free at the moment.

    Min, our first whippet developed an allergy to grass and we had to stop her rolling on it. Itch drove her mad, but then she seemed to become immune to it and was OK.

    Our lab used to get hot spots which drove him mad-he’d get a moist rash which would become crusty and then like dandruff and the hair would fall out. Poor dog.

  56. Jane, you sound like me – a multi tasker. Relax. Fleas on the dog are the priority. I can’t imagine anything worse than itching, wearing fur, in this current heat.

    Nas’ and other pet lovers – when I brushed Tacker this morning he was quite itchy ‘under arm’ etc. and was delighted, as usual, to be brushed. I found some Z.S.C. powder (prescribed for ‘prickly heat’ in humans) in my bathroom (i.e. zinc plus talcum) and used it, reasonably sparingly on his flea-free tum and other fur-less areas ‘under-arm’ etc. He hasn’t scratched once since then so far today, and it is a stinker here! Humid as well as hot (40 plus!).

    Re printers etc. I shall explore these tomorrow when my favorite IT store opens again, small scale local consultant willing to visit me! Though I agree with you, Miglo and Nas’, Canon have always delivered on price and quality. I sometimes watch the miracle of quality print that comes out of my $99 clackety clack plastic printer and marvel!

  57. “He hasn’t scratched once since then so far today, and it is a stinker here! Humid as well as hot (40 plus!).”

    My gawd! That’s bleedin’ hot Patricia. I think I’d have to live in a cold beer swimming pool if I was there.

    Just watched Paul Merton soakin’ in a beer spa in Germany…seemed quite relaxin’. 🙂

    It was mid 30s & sticky here today & I was not feelin’ gracious.

    Now havin’ mulled wine that has fermented over a week in order to cope…followed by cold beer.

    And day dreamin’ of Canadian ski slopes. 🙂 Anythin’ but more heat & humidity.


  58. Sorry people – a bit of hyperbole there! I have been corrected – it was 40 plus a bit one day last week, but now it’s in the high 30’s – 36 tomorrow.
    Apparently the humidity is making it harder to bear!

    As you say Nas’ – sticky and making one feel most ungracious!

  59. Pingback: Sunflowers! | polliepomes

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