Welcome to my blog. Here you will find my adventures with my family and friends. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015


As a surprise birthday present Tony has whisked me away for a few days at the beach.
He's been sweating on the timing as we've just experienced cyclone Marcia here in Queensland.
It was a very strong cyclone which crossed the coast about 500 miles north of Brisbane passing close to Yeppoon before veering inland towards Rockhampton then turning south before petering out as it headed back out to sea. 
Luckily the damage has not been too severe and everyone was well prepared with TV and radio coverage. At our house we measured 180 mm or about 7 in of rain over the space of three days so the garden has had a lovely badly needed drink.

Anyhow, on Sunday afternoon we set out in showery weather for the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads to be more specific.

Even if the weather is not so good you have to be happy with a view like this

And there are lots of sunny patches.

Despite the showery weather it is not cool but rather very warm and sometimes unpleasantly muggy.

We've been for a couple of long walks along this lovely beach.
The sea is still very stirred up and angry and it's not holiday time so there are not too many people to share with as you go. 
There's nothing quite like the feel of the sand under your feet, is there ?

Every time we walk along the beach we come home soaked by the rain showers that come up and then move on out to sea. At least it isn't cold rain !

In the distance you can see the more glitzy highrise area of Surfers' Paradise.

Here's a little evidence of those rough seas.
The beaches are still closed to swimming today.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Recently I suggested to my friend Tom from A Hippo on the Lawn blog that a couple of the lovely flowering trees we have in Brisbane would be a nice addition to his resort in the making.

I suggested these:

A Poinciana Tree
and a Jacaranda Tree.
Neither of these trees are native to Australia but both play a big part in beautifying the suburban landscape of Brisbane.
Tom was very receptive to the idea so I set out to collect some seeds to send off to him in Angola.
Both trees produce huge numbers of seeds so Tony collected some Ponciana seeds for me as he worked around the neighbourhood.
This is one of the large seed pods.

Inside each little channel holds a single large seed.
I selected 5 or 6 of the seeds ( he didn't want many !!) from one pod and posted them off to Tom via his brother in Germany.( there's plenty more where they came from Tom if you need them !!)
Then to test them out I stuck a few into a spare pot to see if and how long it would take for them to germinate.
Two weeks later I remembered them and looked into the pot to find this !

This one had popped itself right out of the ground !


Looks like they'll be easy to grow Tom !
Hope they manage to reach Angola soon.
I'm off to collect Jacaranda seeds now.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Tony's birthday this weekend was a good excuse for a rare night out with both of our terrific kids.

Brett was in Brisbane for his pre-wedding " Buck's Night " where he was meeting up with lots of old school friends whom he doesn't see much now that he lives in Sydney. 

Lovely that they all make the effort to keep in touch. Those old friendships are still strong with nearly 20 years since they left school.

Not long till the wedding now !


Wednesday, February 4, 2015


The Koolie

This is the breed that started me off on this exploration of Australian Working Dogs. I recently read about them and had previously never even heard of them let alone seen them - or recognised them anyway.
This may be because they look very much like a crossbreed combination of Cattle Dog and Border Collie and Kelpie which is how the new breed probably originated.  They are, however a recognised breed as in 2010, the Australian Koolie's own unique signature gene was discovered through ASAP laboratories in Victoria Australia, making them the first Australian breed recognised by their DNA before the controlling canine body of their home country.

There is a huge range of colours and coat types with both long and short coats, solid and colours mixed with white and the interesting " merle ".

Merle is a pattern in a dog's coat that is commonly incorrectly referred to as a colour. The merle gene creates mottled patches of colour in a solid or speckled coat, blue or odd-coloured eyes and can affect skin pigment as well.
Health issues ( deafness and blindness) are more typical and more severe when two merles are bred together, so it is recommended that a merle be bred to a dog with a solid coat colour only.

To quote from one of my sources:

"Koolies are much sought-after in rural Australia, and interest is now being shown in America, Canada, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Switzerland and Holland.
According to Geoff Broughton, past president of the Koolie Club of Australia for 7 years, the Koolie will:
head (move to the front or head of the stock to push them back towards you), 
heel or drive, (push the stock from behind), 
cast (move out and around the stock), 
block (hold the stock or block them from in front, in three sheep trials this action is called the pick up) and
 back (literally jump onto the backs of their charges to herd them if necessary).
 Koolies have a reputation for being upright workers with a good eye, who can easily shift their focus from holding the group to casting around a flock or gathering breakaways. They are not known for having "sticky eyes" (focusing on the sheep in front only).
Unlike other working breeds, which are noted for their crouched form or style and preference for either yard or field work, Koolies are known as silent, upright, working dogs. 
 Koolies are at ease working in closed surroundings such as yards or trucks and being out in paddocks and droving.
As well as working anything from ducks to bulls like all dogs of their kind they will herd family members and children in the absence of other charges.
Many farmers say these breeds are harder workers than many men. "


So there you have it.

I 'll keep my eyes open now to see if I ever encounter a Koolie though I think they will be difficult to spot as they vary so much in appearance and are probably pretty rare in the city.

Of course the other breed of working dog found here in Australia is the wonderful Border Collie.

like our own Miss Scout.

They are used mainly for sheep as wild cattle require a tougher dog.

( Australian cattle dog at work ) 
* Photos today from the Internet

Monday, January 26, 2015


This is the way many people celebrate the day !


Wednesday, January 21, 2015


The Kelpie
When I think of a Kelpie I immediately think of a chocolate brown dog but in fact Kelpies also come in solid black.

They are also very common with tan coloured ear, throat and leg markings and often have the characteristic spots above their eyes.

From Wikipedia :
" The first "Kelpie" was a black and tan female pup with floppy ears bought by Jack Gleeson about 1872 from a litter born on Warrock Station near Casterton, owned by George Robertson, a Scot. This dog was named after the mythological kelpie from Celtic folklore. Legend has it that "Kelpie" was sired by a dingo, but there is little evidence for or against this. 
In later years she was referred to as "(Gleeson's) Kelpie", to differentiate her from "(King's) Kelpie", her daughter. The second "Kelpie" was "(King's) Kelpie", another black and tan bitch out of "Kelpie" by "Caesar", a pup from two sheep-dogs imported from Scotland. 
 "(King's) Kelpie" tied the prestigious Forbes Trial in 1879, and the strain was soon popularly referred to as "Kelpie's pups", or just Kelpies. The King brothers joined another breeder, McLeod, to form a dog breeding partnership whose dogs dominated trials during 1900 to 1920." 
 The claim that Kelpies come from crossing domestic dogs with dingos has some credibility, as they share the Australian Dingo's resistance to paralysis ticks, but it is not borne out with genetic testing.  It is more likely that, with a mix of good fortune and skill, the Kelpie was born from a few strains of Scottish working dogs, owned by the Rutherford family, which were crossed together.
The Kelpie was first registered as a breed in Australia in 1902, one of the earliest registered breeds in Australia. This was actually four years before the Border Collie was registered as a breed in Britain.
The Australian Kelpie is primarily a working dog that demands a great deal of exercise, preferably with some kind of job to do. Their energy levels are extremely high!! They are workaholics and will run until they drop! They are capable of covering 60 kilometres in a day's work.
Kelpies are most valuable in the paddocks and yards, gathering a mob of sheep, driving them to the yards and pens and forcing the sheep through races, up ramps and into sheds and trucks. Always alert and watchful, the Kelpie is required to be an independent thinker, though will also rely on various whistle commands made by its owner.
They are very good at breaking up jams when sheep become jammed in tight places like narrow runs .

 If you choose to keep a Working Kelpie as a pet, that very same animal may become a high maintenance dog. Daily, extensive exercise is required, and any animal which is not able to express its normal behaviour is prone to develop behavioural problems - like excessive barking and nipping (or biting ! ) which can ultimately make its keeping that much more difficult. Obedience training is essential, although there really are many other breeds of dog which are more suited as a family pet.
Recently there are more and more Kelpies bred for city and suburban life without these problems but still needing lots of exercise.


More Australian Working Dogs next time.


Happy Birthday Dad 

93 today !

Looking  GOOD !