It really gets my goat!

“I travelled 3500 km through some really tough conditions, just  to feature on some dumb blog?”

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A plaintive and prolonged baaaa drew me to the rear of this ute*, parked on the main street of Myrtleford. The ute sported Western Australia licence plates. That’s a very long way from sunny downtown Myrtleford, trust me. Just take a look at this map: https://goo.gl/maps/a2XaxJzpPE

I wouldn’t want to be the one who made that trip chained up in the back of this vehicle. Perhaps it gets to ride up front when they’re not parked somewhere? I do hope so. I hung around for a while, hoping to talk to the owner, but he/she didn’t turn up. I hope this cute little critter doesn’t have too many more kilometers to travel.

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*ute: this is the abbreviation for “utility”, a vehicle with a tray back. If you don’t know what a tray back is, you must be a city slicker!

 

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It’s a jungle out there

And now for something completely different!

Thank you, BoB.

bluebird of bitterness

Sid was a petty criminal who’d had many run-ins with the law. He needed a job, but because of his record, no one wanted to hire him. Then a pal tipped him off that the local zoo was hiring, and that they had a good record of hiring people in Sid’s situation, so he went to check it out.

The zookeeper told Sid that he needed someone to impersonate a gorilla. “Our gorilla was our main attraction,” the zookeeper said. “But it died a few days ago, and it will be months before we can get another one. All you’d have to do is wear this gorilla suit and eat bananas and keep the visitors entertained.”

The job sounded easy, and the pay wasn’t bad, so Sid agreed. He put on the costume and did his best to act like a gorilla, beating his chest and climbing trees and swinging…

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Let’s get cereus *

I was very excited to see that one of the blossoms on the cactus (in the previous post  cactus) had left behind a little fruit, after the blossom had withered and fallen off. I had visions of savouring the fruits of my own labour. Well, I know the cactus does all the work, but let’s not get all technical, okay?

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Imagine my distress when I went out next morning, to find the fruit had dropped off. This self sufficiency isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

There are a few more blossoms appearing, maybe one of them will be fertilized and having more tenacity in its being. Keep me in your thoughts and … well, thoughts will do.

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* When I thought of the title, I was hoping very hard that the pronunciation of  cereus would be what I wanted.  And it was! Click on this link cereus  to hear how it is said.

And, to make my cup further runneth over, consensus has it that this cactus does indeed dwell within the cereus family. 2018 is off to a good start. 

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What cactus is that?

I fully expected to be able to identify this cactus and dazzle you with the reason that it would bloom at this particular time of year, what insects or birds would be dependent on the nectar and pollen produced, blah, blah, blah.

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But, I was brought to earth with a thud when I was unable to get Google to magically provide the information so I could impress you. So, I turn to you, my well-informed, intelligent knowledge base. Do you recognise this cactus, can you tell us its native country?

The single stem is very slim, well over  2 meters tall, and has to endure temperatures from -5 to +40 Celsius. It is an unusual plant to encounter here in Myrtleford, and is almost hidden in a corner of the communal garden. 

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The blossoms are so pretty and complex, and are held out from the main stem by what I’d call a branch, if this was a tree.

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Two days after I happened to notice the first blossoms, they have faded and wilted. I hope some insects were able to partake of the exotic feast that was briefly offered.

So, which of you clever folks will be the first to tell us all about this wonder of nature?

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Another Neapolitan treat

Just up the street a bit from where I was staying in Naples,  is the former cloister of the church San Gregorio Armeno. It’s enormous, covering nearly a city block. From  the 16th century, it provides such a surprise when you enter the not very beautiful gates, which open to this view. 

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It’s a long way to the top!

As you trudge up the many stairs, you can admire the ancient embellishments, such as these.

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The cloisters feature a whimsical baroque fountain embellished with masks, dolphins and sea horses, and two exquisite statues of Christ and a Samaritan woman, by Matteo Bottigliero.

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San Gregorio Armeno Cloister

Photo credit: donight.it

The nuns had a bakery, where you can still see the utensils they used. I do believe these nuns were responsible for the hip expanding, but delicious, pastries known as sfogliati.

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I don’t know what these were used for, but aren’t they pretty?

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The nuns could sit in these little niches to see and hear mass being celebrated. Maybe hear, better than see? I’ll check out the view when I get back to Naples.

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Because they were cloistered nuns in the past, near the main entrance you will find two little doors with revolving platforms that served as the means to receive food, clothing, letters and so on.

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A pretty little chapel was accessed via a flight of stairs.

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A delicate little chapel

There are still nuns living in the cloisters. Among other things, they teach dozens of cute little knee high urchins that call these surroundings their kindergarten.

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It’s well worth a visit, if you ever happen to be in this fascinating city.

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Who, me? Superstitious?

In past years, one of the local supermarkets in Myrtleford has provided calendars to their valued customers. This year, no doubt as a cost saving measure, they are not offering this little freebie. So, I went to the local discount store and bought one.

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I don’t recall many things my mother told me, but as I looked at the pages of the calendar, I heard her warning, from at least 70 years ago “Never put up a new calendar until the first day of the new year. It’s very bad luck to put it up before then.” I’ve never once disobeyed her, and I’m not about to start now. 

So, what, if anything, are you superstitious about? Do you remember the origin of your personal superstition(s)?

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Ta-Da! Thank you John

For those of you who might suffer from short term memory degradation, here is a reminder for you. This image first appeared in a post a few days back, but unfortunately,  none of us could fully understand the dialect of Naples.

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Thanks to a bloke who lives down in the big capital city of the fair state in which I live, and thanks to him having a friend who could do the job, we now have a translation. 

(I think I’ll just hand my post over to the bloke and Maxine!)

The new commandments of a true Napoletano

1.  The football team of your heart is Napoli
2.  On Sunday you must eat Pasta with meat sauce
3.  Every day you must say something in Neapolitan Dialect
4.  At Christmas time you must eat Struffoli, and at Easter the Pastiera* and the   Casatiello**
5.  You get angry at Naples, but if you leave it you long for it.
6.  You spend all your money,
7.  You’d stay in bed all your life.
8.  You’ll do everything tomorrow.
9.  You don’t do anything, but if you must, let someone else do it.
10. You are born tired and you want to rest during the day and sleep at night.

[There you go Yvonne. From one of my Australian Italian friends who was born in Tunisia.]

  •  If you’re wondering what pastiera is:    pastiera
  • ** If you’re wondering what casatiello is:  casatiello

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