Tag Archives: Christmas

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.


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. 


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.


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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Filed under Uncategorized

Presepe in St Joseph’s Church, Atherton

Presepe in Italian means “crib” [see note below] . It is also used to describe the nativity scenes, simple or grand, that churches large and small display in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The Catholic Church in Atherton (St. Joseph’s) has a charming, simple nativity scene.

The red brick of the exterior of the church makes a lovely contrast to the cloudless blue sky.



The church interior is modest in its presentation.


The nativity scene echoes this modesty.


The presepe itself is empty, awaiting Midnight Mass, when the babe will be placed in the manger.


I wish all my readers a most happy Christmas.


Note: Please read the comment from Vera below, which explains the correct use of “Presepe”


Filed under Atherton

Good things happen to sweaty people!

It  all started when my tongue detected a gap in a tooth, a gap that hadn’t been there the day before. A call to my dentist gave gloomy news, the first available appointment was in late February.  I was asked if I had pain, and I said “No”, and then mentally kicked myself,  thinking I could have put to use my acting skills (gained at the Dismal Swamp Academy of Overacting/House of Beauty and Hair Removal). I have to learn to think on my feet, although in all fairness, I was sitting down at the time.

The first break came when I had a phone call 2 days later, saying they had a cancellation; could I come in tomorrow? You bet I could!

On my happy way home, knowing I had an intact tooth and had just boosted my dentist’s bank account, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a most splendiferous scene, which I captured on my phone camera just for you, captive audience.

Who knows how many people hours have gone into making the characters set up in this front yard, for the amusement of passers-by? So, it was an ill tooth that had a silver lining, or some such mixed thing-o that took me on this street I seldom travel.

Here it is, a Christmas Wonderland, as only Dismal Swamp can do it.



Yes, it’s Santa Claus and Santa Duck, I guess.



I got quite confused, trying to identify the characters clustered around Santa. That might be a self-portrait of the artist we see between the red hat and beard.



There’s even a koala in that be-lighted tree.



And, Peter Pan showing off the pretty casement windows.





How many cartoon characters can you identify?



But, here’s what it’s really all about.



The presepio of Dismal Swamp.



Filed under Atherton

It’s beginning to …

Like many streets in Venice, Calle Larga XXII Marzo shows signs of the Christmas season, with festive lights brightening the atmosphere.

Calle Larga XXII Marzo is a lovely broad thoroughfare in the sestiere of San Marco. It is home to many top end boutiques, hotels and restaurants.

It was renamed in 1881 (from Calle San Moise, for the church which is at one end of the calle) after the expulsion of the Austrians on 22 March 1848. At that time, it was also widened by smashing down a few buildings that stood in the way.

I don’t know when Prada, Versace, Bulgari and their ilk arrived in this neighbourhood.





Filed under Venice

The Christmas Insect

Australia has its share of weird and wonderful wildlife, and I seem to get a few of them turning up at Number 68.

A while back, I introduced you to this fellow:


Last evening, I had a new bloke drop in to bid me season’s greetings. I can truly say I’ve never seen such a lanky stick insect before.


The pencil on the window ledge is 15 cm (6 inches) long, so you have an idea of his size.


My new best friend and I wish you a most happy festive season! (I wonder if he’ll like these mince pies?)


Filed under Atherton, Australia, Uncategorized

Autumn leaves

One thing you miss when you live in the tropics is the seasonal change of foliage. Our eucalypts are beautiful, but they and most of our other trees are not deciduous. We just don’t have the cold nights needed for the colourful displays that people in more temperate zones enjoy.

So, one of the visual treats I appreciated in my recent trip back to Canada was sights such as this. What a contrast between the fire of the leaves, and the green background.


Oh, and speaking of trees, I have put up my Christmas tree, the one I brought all the way home from Venice.



Filed under Australia

Un anno fa (A year ago)

A year ago, I was happily walking around in a much colder place than Dismal Swamp.

It was such a pleasure to see the preparations for the coming Christmas season.

On Calle Larga 22 Marzo

On Calle Larga 22 Marzo



Somewhere in Cannaregio

And, selecting just the right tree, in Cannaregio:



Filed under Venice