Saturday, 9 September 2023

A job well done

Our little village has two loops.  On Friday morning the roadwork crew were working on the other loop for most of the day.  I could hear them in the distance.  Then mid afternoon I looked out to see them headed my way.  The little convoy looked like they were lining up my back door.  

They just had the final application of seal to apply.  I know you can see a man having a little sit but, believe me, a few minutes later it was all hands on deck.  To be honest, I think those men work hard and deserve a little rest now and then.

The attention to detail was surprising
Every man has a job
Nearly finished
It's raining today, so no "after" photo just yet.

Thursday, 7 September 2023

Big Boys' Toys

Today was a big day in the village - our roads were re-sealed.  The usual tranquil atmosphere replaced  with the noise of Big Boys' Toys.  Actually, the noise wasn't anywhere near as loud as I expected it to be.  Modern machines are vastly different from those of the past.  Even that annoying high pitched beep I associate with a reversing vehicle has been replaced with a lower pitched squawk.  That doesn't mean I didn't nearly let out a scream when I first heard it.  It sounds for all the world like a frog being eaten by a snake, a sound I haven't heard in 30 years.  Some things you never forget.

Here's a before photo of the road, when all was peaceful in the village:

The after photo will have to come later as there's another day of work to be done.

The invasion of the orange jackets

My neighbour watching the first machines arrive.

A moment of alarm.  I thought that machine was going dangerously close to Jack's garden.

This is the little bobcat that sounds like a frog swallowing snake when reversing.

The crew arriving in force to resurface the drive to my garage.  That's the corner of my little unit to the right.

I'm full of admiration for the crew that were here today, the skill of the machinery operators, the willingness of the manual workers, and the communication skills of their supervisor.  They are a cohesive, well oiled team.  I suspect they all rather enjoyed being watched at such close quarters by us old folk.  I caught a young man smile when he saw me point the camera in his direction, although he quickly hid it.

Saturday, 5 August 2023


I suppose most of us have friends or family who don't enjoy good health.  That number does increase as we age.  

The number of people with serious health problems that I meet from time to time has exploded since I started my voluntary job at the hospital, driving a courtesy car, mainly from the car parks to the main entrance.  I certainly appreciate how lucky I am.  I'm not overly happy about having osteoarthritis increasing it's grip on my aging body but I'm so grateful my knees, at least so far, have been spared.  I see a good cross section of the community on a weekly basis and I find it quite distressing that so many people, especially men, have dodgy knees.  If it's distressing for me to see people struggling to walk, I imagine how much worse it must be for them.  So many are waiting, in pain, for an operation but this post isn't a rant about the terrible state of our public health system although, goodness knows, it is appalling enough.  And, not one person I've met who is on a waiting list, ever complains about the doctors and nurses, just the system that our government insists is working well.  Bah!  They are constantly economical with the truth.

Where I'm going is to tell you about my newfound carefulness as a driver.  I don't think I've been a reckless driver but I don't think I've been a very mindful driver either.  Of course, when driving a hospital vehicle I'm naturally very careful.  But having met so many people who have driven themselves to the hospital for medical appointments who should obviously not have done so, has made me aware of how many people I could be sharing the road with at any one time who just aren't fit to be driving.  A young lady with a sick baby on her lap, those blokes with the dodgy knees they can barely move, the lady who told me she suffers from double vision but is having a good day.  Twice now I've been asked to park cars for people.  Should they be driving if they can't park their car?  

I haven't driven my car anywhere since my most recent day at the hospital. On my way home I got caught up in a police car chase and came so close to being hit. 

I have to back up a bit here.  I haven't mentioned my new hearing aids, have I?  I'm still adjusting to sounds I haven't been hearing for quite some time.  The tick tick of my car indicators, I swear my car is about to fall into pieces there are so many squeaks and rattles, birds on the roof sure do make a racket, that sort of thing. I now know one of the new sounds I least enjoy is police car sirens.  The roar of the speeding car (which was a getaway car in a jewelry story robbery) as it came out of nowhere (or so it seemed), passed on the inside of me and mounted the footpath was truly frightening.  Thank God three young boys who had been on the footpath leapt away quickly enough to avoid being hit.  I wonder if they know how lucky they were.  It was so close!

And then the police sirens, I don't know how many.  Six or seven I think.  They seemed to be inside my head.  I pulled over as soon as I could safely do so, took the aids out, put my head in my hands and cried.  And it takes a lot to frighten me that much.

I've been wearing the hearing aids again but needed a bit of down time before driving again.

The good news is the police caught the thieves quickly.  I'm amazed they could get so many cars on the road and give chase so fast, I'm wondering if there wasn't a tipoff.  That's me probably being over imaginative.

I left out a lovely exchange I had with a passenger last week.  It was a horrible day, a bitterly cold wind and shattered scowers.  Oops.  Couldn't resist.

Anyway, an elderly man got in the car half soaked from one of the showers and when I commented about the nasty showers he replied with a big smile, “No rain, no flowers."

 Soon it will be spring!

Friday, 28 July 2023

No rain today

Today I feel the need to celebrate.  Zues has been banished to I care not where. 

It's cold but the sun is shining.  I see sheets flapping on a neighbour's clothesline and 7 pairs of jeans/long trousers finally drying on mine.  I'm going to a rugby game tonight and was starting to wonder how I'd keep my legs warm.

Its nearly mid-day and the sky is still cloudless.  Could we possibly go a whole day without rain?

I looked back through my files and am reminded July is a good month for stormy skies.  Yes, we usually get a lot of rain in winter but this year it has been constant.  I think it's starting to get people down. 

If there have been lovely sunsets lately I've totally missed them.  By that time I've locked the doors, drawn the curtains and have been thinking only of being dry and warm.  But I was late getting home last Wednesday from my voluntary job at the hospital and had to pull off to the side of the road to capture this sunset.  My phone doesn't do it justice.

Go away, Kermit.

Saturday, 15 July 2023

Village life

I think I've adjusted to my new way of life in a retirement village.  I admit I had my doubts for a little while, I think I was a bit overcome by all the activity around me.  In new situations it's always been my way to sit back and observe for a while, to figure out how things work, assess the personalities.  I found that a bit difficult in this instance as, at the same time, I was also the focus of others' assessments, the new lady in the village.

It's a small village, around 40 residences, managed by a local community trust and the residents organise the social activities and take care of the community hall.  I'm still figuring out how some things work.  But I now feel confident that I'll find my place. 

I'm clinging to the results of a recent survey which found  the majority of people are happier as residents of senior living communities than they are living alone.  My little unit is on the outskirts so I have no neighbours at the back, a semi rural outlook which feels comfortable and familiar to me.

Happily, Alleycat is also a lot more settled.  She has some new habits, spends a lot of time under my bed or at my feet if I'm sitting.  She has not made new friends, still hisses if she sees another cat on the other side of the ranch slider.  She's been surprising me by somehow knowing when I wake in the night or in the morning.  Honestly, the minute I wake up she meows quietly by my bedside.  She must lay there listening to my breathing (snoring?).  She keeps talking to me until I speak to her, then re-settles.   There's a gentleness in our interactions that is new.  She's not as noisy as she used to be.  Belief me, she was a very noisy, very talkative cat before.

Thursday, 13 July 2023

The girl has vision

Does anyone else find themselves saying, "Where did she come from?" about one of their children?  For many years I've often found myself muttering just that about my youngest.

All four of my children are quite entrepreneurial, they can identify an opportunity and take the initiative, work hard to achieve success, sometimes against the odds.  They have all the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur - "creativity, dedication, determination, flexibility, leadership, passion, self-confidence, and "smarts" (according to an online dictionary).  And Justine has all that in spades. And then some.

Her little family have just enjoyed a European holiday on her earnings as an Instagram influencer.  I don't understand how all that works but she's a good one apparently.  I follow her, of course, and am constantly amazed at her flair, creativity and confidence. 

Her day job is in data management and she's worked her way into a very senior position with an international company. She works online to a crazy timetable to fit in with the office hours of wherever her current project is located.  It's not unusual to hear her say she must be up at 3 am for a zoom meeting.

Her latest personal project is just coming to fruition.  When the family moved to their new home a few years ago, Justine identified a spot on their few acres that would make a perfect spot for others to enjoy time out.  At first she had a bell tent which she hired out for small social gatherings, the idea of building a small cabin on that spot was then born.  


To open up the view of the mountain they had to have three old pine trees felled, which Justine with the help of a neighbour, had to cut and stack (while Bill was bed bound with long Covid). Unfortunatey, Bill's long Covid coincided with the stage of the project that involved a lot of physical work and I'd always thought of Justine as more of an ideas person than a physical labourer.  She's proven once again how I underestimated her.

A really lovely rocky mountain stream gurgles below the site.  The last time I ventured down to the stream there was no path, the ground was extremely rough and uneven and it took all the men in the family to haul me back up.  Now there are steps with a handrail also going in so the likes of her mother can negotiate them safely. 


 I can't remember the name of the booking agency she is listing the cabin with, I think it's Canopy Camping Escapes.  I'm sure it will be a great success.

Friday, 23 June 2023

Getting settled

I don't know if I'm settled yet but I'm getting there.  My new nest is small, there are only so many places where "things" can be put but some items are still missing.  It seems what is logical to me one day is not always logical another day.

 I'm getting used to having more people around me, hearing voices.  At least the voices I hear are real.  I'm not so sure about what my cat hears.  Obviously her hearing is a lot more acute than mine, she hears potential danger every time she goes near the door.

For days I kept her confined to the bathroom fearing she would know she's only a few hundred metres from our old home and make a break for pastures old.  Little did I know she was going to be so traumatised by the move that she would be too terrified to even step outside.

It's been two weeks and finally she will make a very brief foray to the outside world in the early evening.  I guess that's a quieter time of day.

She lives most of the time under my bed but will venture out to greet those she knows. 

A dog lives over on the other side of that truck in the distance.  She's forgotten that once she was used to hearing dogs on a regular basis.

I suspect she is missing her former companion, Korbi, who was actually my grand-daughter's cat that I inherited when she went away to university.  I am only permitted one cat here in the retirement village so Korbi has gone to live with my daughter.  He has settled in a bit quicker than Alleycat has but then again he was always a laid back, friendly cat and my miss is neither of those.

We'll settle in soon.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

The news

It's very rarely that I announce I have News!

So here it is. Today I have news.  I have finally secured a place in our local, lovely little retirement village.  It's a small one bedroom unit so I have a lot of "stuff shedding" to do.  Where to start?  For a week or so I just did a lot of wandering around the house, opening and closing doors, looking and thinking.  

This past week I've made a start but my mind skips from one thing to another.  The minute I set myself a task and make a start I think of something else that must be done soon.  I've even woken in the night and thought of something I must not forgot and been silly enough to get out of bed and do it immediately.  In case I forget!

My mind just doesn't seem to be able to cope with so much going on in there at the moment.

Not to mention my body.  I put in a good four hours of solid packing yesterday, stopped for lunch then sat down in my comfy chair and slept for two hours.

One more week till moving day.  I think I'll be ready. 

Be back in a few weeks!




Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Full head of steam

It's been years since I've been incensed enough to step forward and give someone a good telling off.

And it happened when I was in a particularly good frame of mind, too, having just come from the cardiologist and been told my heart is in fine fettle.  So now after months of this test and that test, my brain has been verified as in good shape and there's nothing wrong with my heart, it's looking like it is definitely those little crystals that hang out in our ears that are causing my vertigo, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  The young specialist was just lovely, I even paused as I was leaving to congratulate him on his interpersonal skills, told him he was top notch.  I wondered if I was a bit presumptuous but he seemed delighted to hear it. 

As I was leaving the hospital I was thinking about the many fine young people it has been my pleasure to meet lately.

Barely an hour later I was in a queue at the supermarket with an elderly man leaning on his trolley in front of me.  I noticed a young girl join the queue behind me and that she had only one item in her hand, so offered for her to go through ahead of me.  A thank you would have been nice.  Instead she asked the elderly man if she could go through in front of him, too and when he nodded OK, she signaled her two friends to join her.  They each had one item in their hand and put through each item separately, so there were three transactions.  That's when my hackles started to rise.  The girl at the checkout processed the transactions and pointed out to them there is an Express Checkout for a small number of items.  I hadn't heard what she said (she told me later) but I did hear the first girl say, "Shut up.  We have a movie to get to."  

That was my red flag.  I practically pushed the older man aside to get past him and let those bs cop a good blast.  How dare they? The gentleman and I had been kind to them and they behave like that?  Immediate apologies were demanded and when one of the girls started to do so I told her to wait, let's hear it from the one who's been doing all the talking first.  Gee, she didn't want to either but the supervisor had appeared by then and I think she felt outnumbered.  She most ungraciously apologised.  Oh, how I wanted to make her stand there and do it again but I didn't want to push my luck.  

The only person embarrassed by the incident was the young check out girl, she assured me it didn't matter, she was used to it.  Which really did upset me.

The elderly man invited me to go home with him and sort out his grandkids!

When I'd finished checking out, the supervisor stopped me to say thank you, said I was her shopper of the month.

But wait, there's more.  I got out to the car and realized I'd put my car keys down somewhere in the store.  I sheepishly returned, saw the supervisor and as I was talking to her a staff member walked up to her with some lost car keys.  I might not be very good at looking after myself but I'm happy that I can still jump to the defense of others. 

Thursday, 18 May 2023

No, I didn't call

Friday of last week.  Around 4.30 pm.  There I was sitting quietly crocheting, no radio or TV on as I was concentrating on a new pattern.  I'd already repeated a few rows more than once as I'd get to the end of a row and not have the right number of stitches.  Isn't it so annoying when you know you've made a mistake somewhere, somehow but have no idea how or where it happened?

My door that faces the road was open but I hadn't heard a vehicle stop outside.  Lost in my own crocheting world I must have been.

There was a very loud knock on the door at the same time as a man's voice called out - very loudly - "Are you here, Pauline."  I called that yes I'm here.  Coming.  By the time I got to the kitchen there was a very large man, in a uniform, half way through the kitchen coming towards my voice.  Thinking back on it, the look on my face must have been comical.  Through the kitchen windown I saw an ambulance sitting outside the window.  This man I didn't know was calling me by name asking had I called?  I was thinking called what.  Oh, an ambulance.  No, I finally managed to reply, I had not.  

The ambulance officer then said my neighbour's name and I directed him to the right house.  As he was running back to the vehicle I noticed there was a driver in the vehicle also but the sun was shining on the windscreen and I couldn't see a face although I got the impression it was a young female.

My neighbour is now home again after a couple of nights in hospital getting him sorted.  He's fine.

But the mystery remains how did that ambulance officer know my name?  The only explanation is that the driver must have known me or at least have known my name and that I lived in this house.  Trouble is, I don't think I know anyone who is an ambulance officer. 

A friend reminded me that I'd met a lot of people in my work at the lodge, and in previous jobs and that I'd lived in this particular area for a long time and in the north for a very long time.  True, but not many of those people would know where I live.  It's a mystery.

Wonder if I'll ever find out.

For my own distraction, here's a little scene that took my eye when I was at the football on Saturday. I was quite a distance away but was taken by the way the older boys were interacting with the little girl.  I'm out of the habit of taking my camera with me.  I like to only take what can fit in my pockets as I (always seem to) need an umbrella and also have both hands free for applauding good play. 

Monday, 15 May 2023

Lazy dog whistling

I must have been under a rock for quite a while I think.  More and more often I have no idea what they are talking about when I listen to the radio, even The News.

A month or so ago I had to ask Mr Google what a white cismale was.  It took a while because I thought the cis and male were separate words.  Once I found out what it meant I thought it was just some modern gobblygook the woke brigade had made up but no, the Latin prefix cis means “on the same side of.”  So cismale is a male who was born male and is still "on the same side" ie still identifies as male.  Really, we need a word for that??

From the lips of same woman who taught me that lesson about gender identity, comes lazy, dog whistling.  If you know all about it, don't read further. 

I heard it as lazy dog whistling as in lazy dog but no it was the dog whistling that was said to be lazy.  Do you know about this?

I think the best explanation was in the Urban Dictionary.  “A surreptitious inclusion of code words or phrases that will be heard by some of those listening, while not disturbing the other listeners, who may not appreciate the hidden message(s)." Like as a dog whistle is only heard by dogs.

I still don't understand why that woman applied that term to the situation she was talking about.  But then I'm not a politician and would not appreciate whatever the hidden message was meant to be.

Anyway, while I was down that rabbit hole reading about whistling (to dogs and otherwise) I came across something I'd never heard of before.  Maybe the politician who is fond of accusing others of dog whistling should remember this:

"Whistling at a funeral or formal event would be rude. Doing it while stacking hay bales or fixing a car probably isn't. However, no matter the context, whistling is always extremely annoying to anyone within hearing distance of the one who is doing it."   I'd say the same applies to dog whistling.

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

I'm so glad this "weather event" we're experiencing today didn't come our way on Saturday.  There had been a heavy rain warning issued for later in the day but, unlike today's "event", that didn't eventuate.

Saturday was the opening morning of shooting season and that's the day the 'factory girls' gather.  They've been doing that since the mid-eighties so are hardly girls any longer.  Even the youngest of us is probably past 50.  

It started off when the girls who worked in the laboratory at a dairy factory in the mid 1980s decided they should have some fun while their boyfriends and husbands went off duck shooting and began to have champagne breakfasts on that morning. The invitation to attend was extended to all the females who worked at the factory.  I was one of them.  The tradition has continued although breakfast now happens at lunch time and duck shooters have left their maimais by the time we arrive.

I don't attend these gatherings every year, I always say I will but I let life get in the way.  I'm resolved to make them a priority in the future.  

Now some of our number are starting to experience serious health issues, a reminder that our numbers may dwindle sooner than we would like, to appreciate this connection we have developed over the years, to treasure this annual opportunity to rekindle our friendships.

Just a little aside.  I kept staring at one of the ladies, unable to put a name to her.  Every time I saw her, I kept telling myself I know those lovely blue eyes.  I tried to imagine how she might look with different hair.  I listened to hear anyone use her name.  Finally she came up to me and said hello in what I immediately knew to be her unique, gentle voice and I knew instantly who she was.  We worked out we hadn't seen each other since 1994.

 Thankfully someone remembered to call us together for a group photo.  There are a few missing, they must have still been talking.

Thursday, 4 May 2023


I can't get a photo of it, it is too fast, the slightest movement from me and it is gone.  It's a beautiful kingfisher, one of my favourite birds.  It's the first one I've seen since leaving the farm where they were regular visitors.

Kingfishers are symbolic of freedom, courage, adventure, and balance. 

I've read in other places that they represent abundance and love, in another place they say they are a symbol of peace.

I'd be happy for all (or any) of that to come my way.  I've been keeping a sharp eye on the fence post it visited but so far I haven't seen it return.  

For now, I'm happy to have the memory of its beauty.