In our ‘old’ place of residence, in Victoria, we could look at the barometer during the day and see it rise or fall (and it often did so dramatically) and gauge what the weather had in store for us. We used this as an adjunct to the TV weather report, as our area was often not of particular
interest to the rest of the state.
Now that we are living in the Gold Coast in Queensland our barometer hardly ever moves from one point. What scientific point is that? you may ask…I never note how many millibars or hectopascals it is registering, but the words say ‘fine’ and ‘dry’. Now, this is lovely, as the weather is mostly dry and sunny- and beautiful. However, every so often a part of the sky turns a navy
blue-to-black colour and, as it nears, we are learning to duck for cover.
BUT the other day we saw the looming dark blue/black sky, so checked the local meteorology site on the Internet. Nah, nothing there, so off we went for a walk; little dog in tow.
Oh, oh. Halfway across the park, down came the rain, followed by hailstones. We were wearing very light summer gear which was soon drenched, as was the dog. When the hailstones began really hitting our heads and even running down the backs of our necks, we decided to shelter under some trees.
Five minutes later, the sun began to shine once more and the final raindrops looked glorious, lit by the beams of the sun.
We were cold and wet; my arms had red welts where they had been pelted with (really) freezing water. But, by the time we were home again, all was well. A quick change of clothes, followed by a vow to take notice of a threatening sky was in order…even when the bureau of meteorology is a
little late in its warnings.
What a place Queenslandis! I think I’ll ‘moth-ball’ the old barometer.
Going through my filing cabinet today, I discovered some poems I had written some years ago.
The following is one about my aged grandparents. They are long dead now and the poem certainly needs some work, but I had forgotten I had ever written about them. And, even though the poetry is pretty bad, it does bring back memoreis; both happy and sad.
Like flusters of scrunched-up tissue paper
My grandparents shuffle their way
Up the front path.
Where has their substance gone?
When did this hollowing occur?
They clutch each others’ arms
As if, unattached,
They might be blown away
By a breeze.
I remember Grandpa in earlier days
His wood-chopping, earth-hoeing days.
The great Mallee root carrier.
And Grandma ruled the roost
With iron will – and biceps;
Puddings to feed a dozen mouths;
A walk like a lioness.
To where did their strength disappear?
Who took it?
Who drained them?
Was it life?
It started as a little red spot on the bridge of my nose. I took no notice until it made its presence felt by bleeding a tiny bit every time it was touched or every time I washed my face. The local doctor suggested it should be removed and performed a small procedure which was painful, but only
needed a couple of stitches and a bandaid to cover it. A week or so later, when I went to have the stitches removed, he (the doc) said that it had been a basal cell carcinoma, which was not one of the most serious skin cancers, but one that needed to be removed as it could ‘grow’ and be a little ‘nasty’. The bad news was that the pathology had revealed that he had not quite removed all
the cancer cells, with a small edge remaining that we would ‘have to watch’ and if it obviously returned, there would need to be another cutting (ouch!) procedure.
Well, it did return – quite obviously – and I, being reluctant for any more slicing off of a part of my nose opted for the freezing method of attempting to kill it off. This procedure was done three times over a matter of years…all to no avail.
By the time I had arrived to live here in the tropics, in what is termed ‘the skin cancer capital or Australia’, the spot on my nose had spread to be several spots, one of which bled quite
regularly. So, off I went to a local doctor, who called in his colleague, who then sent me off to the nearest skin cancer clinic.
The result is a slash from my cheek up, in an inverted ‘V’shape, to the bridge of my nose and back again. About 24 stitches adorn this most unattractive wound. Tomorrow, 8 days after the slashing procedure, I will have every second stitch removed, so I’m on the way to being back to normal,
albeit with a scar on my nose & face. The good news is that the latest pathology report states that the cancer has been totally removed.
The message I need to give, from someone (me) who has been a sun-worshipper all her life is ‘PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO USE SUNSCREEN’.
One week soon, I will have a total body check just to make sure that none of those spots on my back are nurturing something sinister.
And I’m going to buy a wide brimmed hat!
Here’s the latest unwelcome visitor to our back yard. Bufo Marinus, otherwise known as the cane toad.
This one is only half grown but is big enough to be a
real threat, not only to our little dog, should she decide to ‘have a go’ at it or play with at it, but to any native animal who might consider a frog as a tasty meal.
You can see the protruding parotid glands, behind the
toad’s ears. These are the glands that express poison when attacked. It is used by the toad as defense and is a very dangerous toxin, affecting the heart of the unsuspecting predator.
The effect on humans is not deadly but can cause nasty burning and skin irritation.
This particular toad is now asleep in the fridge. Soon he/she will be promoted to the freezer section.
As an Australian, I would like to apologise to the rest of the world for the act of voting in such a cringe-worthy, mean-spirited and linguistically challenged person as elected leader of our wonderful country. Just the thought of Tony Abbott representing us on the world stage is
embarrassing and shame-inducing…to me. But that’s democracy I guess - and I am obviously in the minority in thinking as I do.
But, I still feel I should say, “Be afraid; be very afraid.”
I’m not sure whether I am being frugal, being sentimental, being stupid - or what, but I have just finished painting some very old ‘deck’chairs. The wood was a little tired looking, but still strong; the canvas on the backs and seats must have been of good quality as it seems to be still quite strong as well.
The wood of the chairs was painted red and I still have a vision of my father painting them in (I think) the early 1970s. He was quite proud of the job he’d done and proud of the way he had matched the red in the canvas to the paint. But now the wood is white, after my (messy and awkward) work on them.
I have carted these chairs around for many years but have seldom used them. We have some more modern outdoor chairs that we use constantly, but they seem flimsy and distinctly lacking in character, next to these old things. (Can a chair have character? I don’t know). So, here they are. I am now looking for an old (small) table that I can paint white and put between these two chairs as a nice restful arrangement to place out in our courtyard. A place to sit with a cup of tea, or even to have lunch.
So, it’s off to the op shops this week to find a little table. It has to be old, but still strong and durable as these chairs are.
BTW, this winter (that has just ended) has been one of the driest on record, so no rainy nights to bring out the cane toads.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.