Category Archives: Australia

Three cheers for civic pride

Tucked into a curve of the Ovens River near the town of Myrtleford, is a shady picnic ground sponsored by the Apex Club.

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There are about a dozen tables and benches scattered in the area.

There are about a dozen tables and benches scattered in the area.

There is a toilet block that was made from unpainted utilitarian concrete blocks. Someone made a decision, and provided the money, to turn the building into a work of art. 

Here’s what it looks like now.

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These are the entries to the male and female toilets.

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Gum blossoms bloom on the concrete blocks.

More gum blossoms, of a different variety, grace the other entry.

More gum blossoms, of a different variety, grace the other entry.

 

A salute to the tobacco growing past in the region: drying kilns

A salute to the tobacco growing past in the region: drying kilns

On the other end of the building, there is an electric barbeque. The artists have provided a backdrop of Lake Buffalo to go with the task of grilling sausages, steak, etc.

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Now,  can someone identify this native bird?

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Myrtleford is lucky, in that the level of graffiti is relatively minor. So this little building in the park will hopefully remain a source of pride to those who were responsible for its beautification.

A big thank you to the artists, and to whoever had the foresight to enable this work to be done.

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When is a bee not a bee?

When it is an Ape, of course.

Another little Italian lesson: ape is pronounced ah-pay, and means bee in Italian.

They are tiny 3 wheeled vehicles, nowadays seen less frequently in cities of Italy, but still found in small towns and the country. And now, I’ve discovered someone owns 2 of them in Myrtleford. He uses them out on his farm, they’re not registered for road use.

This little fellow was at one of the local garages, having some maintenance work done. 20161206_143006

The motor is a whopping 50cc! The driving controls are smack in the middle of the interior, which doesn’t leave much room for a passenger. This model boasts a motor-bike type of control, with the throttle and gear shift on the handles. 

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Vroom-vroom

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Oh, okay, I’ll get out if you insist.

 

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Traces of history

I was out for a drive the other day when this deserted farm house on the side of a dusty road drew my attention. It made me wonder who had lived there, what their lives were like and where they (or their descendants) are now.

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On the other side of the road stood a tobacco drying kiln, hand made of logs that were no doubt laboriously  hewn from trees sourced on the property,  a reminder of what was a major occupation in this area until quite recently.

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Do you know someone who could produce a similar structure from hand made logs? I can’t think of anyone in my circle of acquaintances.

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What plant is that?

So, there was I, walking along a footpath in Mrytleland, keeping my eyes downcast to avoid errant tree roots, when I saw a plant I’d never encountered before. It looked like this. In fact, this was it.

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This is what the underside of the hood looked like.

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I continued my perambulation, and then encountered a lady being pushed along in a wheelchair. When I showed her the photos, she knew exactly what the plant was, and identified it as a Cobra Lily. Thank you, Lady in a Wheelchair.

It is with excitement that I can tell you a bit about this plant. It’s a carnivorous plant, for crying out loud. Although it needs full sun, its roots need cold conditions. How selective is that?

What I took to be a bloom is, in fact, a modified leaf. The cunning plant lures its prey with a sweet nectar exuded inside the hood. Sharp downward pointing hairs combined with a slippery surface prevent the insect from escaping, and enzymes in the base of the hood soon transport the victim to that digestive home in the sky. The plant absorbs the results for nourishment. All of this is achieved without leaving the comfort of its comfy home, albeit with ice cold feet.

Isn’t nature wonderful?

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In which I join the world of elite athletes

“Why don’t you come and join us for a game of indoor carpet bowls? You might like it.” Thus spake Margaret at the end of the exercise class for the out of condition and woefully slothful.  

So, I rolled up to the local Lawn Bowls Club House one Thursday afternoon, with the idea of watching and seeing if these folks were up to my demanding standards. Imagine my surprise when I was thrust into a team, a bowl was put into my hand and I was given the complex instructions “Try to get this down to the end, near the little white ball, without it going off the carpet.” Easy, eh?

This is definitely a game for the prideful, who’ll soon be brought down to earth with a thud. Luckily, my team members and the others were all good sports,  quick to forgive blunders or cheer a fluky good shot. And so it came to pass, I was hooked on the game.

We are not a youthful group. Some of the people need a quad walking stick, one has an oxygen tank as a constant companion, another has to be reminded why we’re here, and which colour ball to use. But, my word, can they make that bowling ball do what they want. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as they are, but it sure is a fun way to spend a few hours in convivial company.

This is a view of the carpet, with 8 out of the 16 balls used still on the mat. It looks like the black team has one at least  “shot” for this end.

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In this end, the brown team has at least 4 bowls closer to the white jack, so they’ll score 4. That wasn’t my team.

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But wait, it’s nearly the end of two complete games, and smoko awaits the athletes.  Click the link to find out what Smoko means.

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Maybe I just like carpet bowls because of the yummy cake?

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If you have a burning desire to see some bowlers in action, here’s a highly serious game from Sicamous, BC, Canada.

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Wait in comfort

In the nearby town of Everton, someone has taken it upon themselves to ensure that people who are waiting for the regional bus which takes them to larger centres can do so in style and comfort.

The furnishings change with the seasons or special holidays. I’m not quite sure what this cozy setting represents, but isn’t it nice that trust prevails, and the panda bear can be safely left there?

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Not Christianic

On a recent visit to a nearby town, my eye was drawn to the handwriting on this No Entry sign. The sign marks the exit of the driveway of the Anglican Cathedral.

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I don’t think I want to be drawn into a theological/legal discussion of the rights and wrongs of the issues!

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