Monday, September 30, 2013


The Cicadas have started drumming. They're everywhere and not unexpectedly for the last few days there's been lots of Kookaburras (and Currawongs) around. And well fed they are.

This fellow (actually there were two) was sitting in the gum outside the bedroom late this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The last few days have been unseasonably warm, and last night I found a Cicada clinging onto some curtains inside the main room just by the terrace door. I helped him out and off he went but without the squark which often happens when you pick them up.

I spent a whole childhood up trees doing just that - picking up Green Grocers, Yellow Mondays, Piss Whackers, and Black Princes clinging onto the giant Liquidambar at the side of the old house and from which I could peer into the top floor of the Anderson's house that they built on what used to be the next door tennis court. No one had swimming pools then, and no one has tennis courts now. The room I could see into was the sitting room. It was all grey except for the ceiling which was white - grey walls, grey carpet, grey lounge and chairs. All grey, like the Andersons.

It didn't take much looking today to find the shells - one, two, four, sixteen -  everywhere. What I hadn't ever noticed before was the fine white stringy thing hanging out the abandoned exoskeleton, like something umbilical.

Curiously, there's been no songsters yet. It doesn't seem quite hot enough, or maybe they need to mature another day or so. But they're out and about.


The Eastern spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) is one of the smallest honeyeaters, curious and trusting enough for me to be able to pick him up off the verandah step where he was standing, just standing, almost trancelike.

The arch of the black beak is perfect for nectar gathering especially from the Grevilleas covered in masses of flowers at the moment. Now that's a red eye, and no flash! The lovely olive coloured feathers behind the cinnamon collar suggest he's an immature, and maybe a fledgling I thought by the way he wobbled off through the air after staring at me for a few minutes.

How small? This small -

What was especially pleasing was the amazing detail I lucked on with the iPhone, which I usually can't manage at close range. And one-handed too.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Yesterday there were 58mm of rain, starting in the afternoon and then all through the night. It was wonderful and much needed, a slow steady soaking. I had managed to get the lawns limed and fertilised just in time, so now it's all well watered down. Today there seemed more bird life than ever, darting and squawking though the Grevilleas and now the predicted evening showers have arrived as daylight fades with the fire going, the candles on the mantlepiece alight, and all the water tanks are full again. I love this house.

We have a new conservative Government although the swing was quite small, and as happens here, large numbers of seats can change hands simply because one or two or three people in a hundred change their vote. That this is called a mandate to do every rat-bag thing they promised to get themselves elected is exactly that - rat baggery. But then they are, rat bags. Not so much beholding to Murdoch and the odious Catholic Cardinal Pell, as creepy as any cartoon version of creepy churchman, but of shared values - a Ministry devoid of women except for the spiteful small minded Julie Bishop, and no minister for Science. Not since the 1930s. Knowledge is toxic to these people. It informs, exposes myth, and defends truth. So there's no room for that, or them. Scientists can count themselves lucky they're not burnt at the stake anymore. Though starved they will be.

And the leader - this person who believes climate change is 'crap', that the planet was warmer when Jesus was alive, and that people zoom up to heaven through the clouds. There's something worryingly suspect about his anti-gay stance, for a man so committed to exaggerating his masculinity, with Putin-esque like photo shoots in speedos, and lycra bike gear, and driving trucks and fighting bush fires, rah rah, and who, while the Prime Ministerial residence in Canberra is being renovated, will lodge at the Australian Federal Police Academy, eschewing a hotel or other residence of character or style, but living in with the boys, with a gym, and common shower rooms perhaps. Now all politicians by definition are bereft of style, but this descent into the common and vulgar is a new low.

Still, the tanks are full. And the pie is ready. I promise I'll be around more often, and do apologise for the yawning gap - the days and nights have been well spent and while blogging seems to be something I just can't do in a hurry, I do intend to do more frequent little hellos and up-to-dates. It is my diary after all.

The mention of which prompts me to note I have just finished read Paul Monette's coming-out novel, diary almost, "Becoming A Man" which I enjoyed very much for the writing and politics (it had been leant to me by someone whom I suspect had much in common with the stunted acceptance and exploration of his sexuality - as for me,  I needed brakes) and have this evening, lying on the bed with the dog listening to the pitter patter on the roof, started on "Berlin In Lights - The Diaries of Count  Harry Kessler".