Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary

Links to images and other pages are in blue, mouse-over pop-up comments when I have them are burgundy.
5 September '02
I'd forgotten how strong the feelings were when leaving the office at dusk. Stepping from the often stuffy air-conditioning into fresh air is a release from the day that sets your skin on edge. Part of it is emotional - the escape, the rest physical. 

Tonight it was into air filled with scent of blossom and a sky that was filled with blue gray clouds, sunset edge lit and quite spectacular.

As I set the alarm as the last one out, I looked up and the security light over the doorway made the nearby tree branches glow red against the blue sky. The camera came out of the bag, (it hadn't been used all week) and I tried to capture it. (700pixels wide.130k). Instead of putting the camera away, I walked across the road and took another nice image of the heritage house on the corner near the office. The suburb of Kingston has lots of little government built houses that are being restored, and this corner one looks great. The bigger image here is wider, the trees silhouetted against the sky.
(700pixels wide, 115k)

6 September '02
The prodigal daughter has returned. Jackie surprised us by walking into the office on Friday with her bags. The last communication we had was an email a week ago from Brighton UK. where she said she'd stick it out a bit longer. She went overseas in February on a 'working holiday' but spent what little money she had and what we'd given her in a few months and was working two shifts a day in Brighton pubs to stay alive. Of course part of the cost of living was partying, cigarettes and alcohol. Food consisted of bread and anything else. The last few days had been bread and mayonnaise. She's home, determined to go again but understands a bit better relative costs of living and how she needs to have more saved.

The glass with just one mouthful left is her trademark. She sips while she has a cigarette (always outside) and always leaves glasses sitting around with the last inch remaining. We don't nag anymore figuring it's a unbreakable habit. We're glad she's back though.
7 September '02
100% natural windy blur. Apricot blossom.It's spring and windy. In complete contrast to last weekend, the westerly wind has been gusty all day, bringing a few drops of rain from clouds that get blasted out of the way leaving a pure blue sky. The trees thrash and moan and there's the progressive approach, a sound of waves crashing on the beach. The smell of blossom that was so strong yesterday has been whipped away and is probably concentrating to lethal strength (or distilling spontaneously into perfumed puddles) somewhere in a valley east of here. Even though it's sunny, the wind makes it sound cold when it actually hasn't dropped below 4C at night for a week now. Practically tropical!

We had to pick up Jackie who had stayed overnight with friends in Queanbeyan, so we went first to Pialligo where the best nurseries are near here. Jan was looking for some 'filler' plants for the newly cleared beds and I was on a mission to buy some berries. Youngberries, blueberries and red and white currants are my choice after some careful reading. We also bought some onions, brown, white and spring, and ever hopeful, a punnet of mixed lettuces and raddichio. The hopeful bit is because of the frosts, something we never assume are over until it's nearly summer. Even then we had snow here in November a few years back. I'm going to sit the metal frame from the trailer over one of the beds, and drape some plastic over it as a mini green house. I figure a couple of early tomatoes might work that way as well.

When we came here there was a row of raspberries that I didn't know how to look after, and were demolished by harlequin bugs the next year, but they obviously can grow here ok. This time I'll be vigilant and more knowledgeable about old and new canes and when to prune. I'll also set up an extra drip line to them so they get regular water. Funny how water always seems to make things grow better.

Don't look. Aaargh ...there's pansies ...Pansies. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

I'd like to say that my dislike of these flowers is just a running joke I have with Jan. However I'd be lying. 'They're such happy colourful flowers' the argument goes, 'how can anyone not like them?' Easy. If you have any sense of good taste or aesthetic appreciation of the natural colours in flowers and plants. These tarty, floppy, garish blooms are quite repellant. They're overused in gardens in Bungendore because they bloom early when nothing much does, and withstand frost. Even worse is that they're used to excess in civic displays, impossible to ignore and inducing feelings of disbelief (I almost said nausea) as I pass. 

If I ever get charged with an act of civil disobedience, it won't be appearing drunk in a public place, it will be because I was found, on hands and knees, ripping up beds of pansies. Although they've probably started from a single colour base, they've been bred with hideous multiple colours and patterns. They're the sex shock horror tabloid blooms in a world that demands an intelligent broadsheet. They're a flower that seems to bypass the usual good taste of Nursery people, encouraging a public belief that it doesn't matter what colours are planted together, it's ok. And stick them in lots of ugly pots while you're at it. They don't even smell nice. If there was a God and he threw up on us, I bet it'd look like pansies.  

Fred Harden  
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