Wednesday, 30 October 2019


WELL whatever lurgy i picked up in Japan it lasted all last week and i'm only feeling almost ok now.  so it's been a quiet week, a bit of tidying the yard and raking, haven't gone near the studio - creative things will have to wait.
while i was away my ratty old overgrown back corner of the yard was transformed,  old fences covered in matted vines, disused garden bed edgings and weeds were cleared away by wonderful Bob Davison - a real find thanks to friend sue.   he's chopped wood, trimmed a low hanging tree, cut down an unwanted oleander and generally whizzed around the backyard like a white tornado!  what a surprise, i thought he'd wait till i was back.

this was a mass of piled up shrub cuttings hidden by old fences, morning glory and wild passionfruit

CAL wearing
a jumper i knitted
for rene when he
was four, it's just
about ready to
be handed on
to Mara :0)

miniature version of the jumper made in the days
when i was making porcelain dolls, this one is a hand-modelled head in rene's image and
replicas of
his clothes
the very cute original :0)

 I've been doing the Aussie Bird Count and i spotted this little
fellow under the sprinkler in the circular garden - hadn't seen him
before but a birdwatching friend arrived while i was looking at the
bird book and says it's a reed warbler.  that brings the number of
species I've seen here to 47.
 A THRILL - i've discovered a kingfisher's nesting spot in the front
yard, i rang and told my birdwatcher friend and he says they sound
as though they're cleaning out this hollow ready to make a nest.
i'll be out there trying to get better shots, i hope they go ahead and
have some young - it's been years since i watching the baby willie
wagtails in their nest.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

I'M HOME :0)

GREAT TO WAKE UP IN MY OWN BED after a wonderful week in tokyo with rene, sayaka, cal and mara.  the time there was exactly what I wanted, lots of time with rene, walking to school with him and the kids, spending time with him at his office, outings to crazy recycle shops, restaurants, parks and lots of time at home.  I really got a feel for the rhythm of their day, a very late night family :0)  I'm getting over a sudden attack of chesty cough and loss of voice, I'm sure just from tiredness.  i thought i'd be really crook on the plane but it's passed in a few days.

Arrived home on Monday - lovely to see Sunny briefly when she picked me up but i was feeling pretty crook with no voice so i
stayed a night in a motel and drove to Bendigo on Tuesday to meet gail for lunch at the Dispensary.

we went to the wonderful Balenciaga exhibition at the gallery, room after room of amazingly constructed clothes with great back up information on cutting, embroideries, other designers influenced by him, animations on the construction of the garments. not my favorite designer but a fabulous exhibition of work by a ground breaking man. we stayed the night and i drove home yesterday. 

Xray of the dress below showing the built in
boning and underwear supporting the gown

Bendigo is such a lovely city - beautiful buildings and gardens.  i'll stay here on the way home more often i think.  the motel we stayed at was cheap and in a great location up behind the gallery.
the Oval motel.

We had dinner
at the Shamrock Hotel
and morning coffee
opposite the gallery before a bit of shopping then i hit the road
- arrived here last
night at six to find that
the automatic watering
had not worked at all
while i was away.

A RECAP of the second half of my week in Tokyo.

early morning cal,
a very sleepy boy
before heading
off to kinder.

this should be a movie but it's not working
here, mara kept us entertained with songs
as we travelled around tokyo :0)  a little treasure

I can't remember what was so funny but we're trying to design
a logo with a teddy bear riding a bike !!

in a terrific
bookshop where
i bought some
lovely books
of bird
and prints by
hokusai and
AND WE'RE OFF . . .  cal doing a good impression of reversing as we head off for a day with Michiko and Takashi, Sayaka's parents.  shopping, lunch in a sushi train cafe, dinner at a Thai restaurant set in beautiful gardens around a lake.   Some rain, Mara singing, a walk around the park - it was a lovely day.

in a hardware store, one of
my favorite shopping places
in japan, the work glove
department is a joy to
behold!  i came back with
a whole range, as usual.

once again, the
manholes are
a feature wherever
we go, this one
features an emperor

                      Sayaka and Takashi

Mara singing in the rain

Michiko and Mara
Cal and Mara are on the go all day, no rest until they drop into bed

THE SUSHI TRAIN  - booth seating and food zooming along to the table on a conveyor belt after being order by pressing a button on a screen.  hot tap on the table for self serve green tea, all very efficient. the food is fresh and terrific.  Mara developed a little crush on the robot who gave us our table number :0)

I took a lot of pics of the family to get one to send
to them - i bought sayaka a picture frame so hopefully
i find the right pic for it
            Cal wearing a jumper i knitted for rene when he was 4.

Thursday, 17 October 2019


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, after a night at gail's and a cosy catchup with the gang in torquay sunny drove me to the airport on Friday night for a midnight flight.  A super typhoon was forecast for Saturday afternoon in Tokyo so i wasn't sure i'd even be going but i decided to front up at the airport and see what was happening - a nice chance to spend time with sunny over a champers :0)   the flight left on time and arrived safely 

After a pretty tense drive home to rene's with cal in the car with us, through driving rain and drenched highways we arrived safely.  it was pretty hairy on saturday having emergency evacuation jingles coming in on our phones all day. we were all ready to go but after a lot of checking on the web sayaka and rene decided we were way out of the danger area.  it really just rained and rained here, the wind wasn't even too bad although we think we got a mini earth tremor in the middle of it all. the floor kind of wobbled under us for a second or two.

SUNDAY - blue skies and a light breeze, we joined half of tokyo and went to ikea for the day, after dark i thought we'd head home but no, two more shopping experiences to go.  i was bushed when we got home but it was all fun and i had a favorite experience, buying stuff in a japanese hardware store

IKEA was nuts - just jam packed but perfectly organised,
the flow of people never stopped :0)

             MONDAY - an unexpected (or forgotten) public
             holiday so we had a day with the kids
a lovely old local shrine and cemetery on the way to lunch

we went to one of 
the conveyor belt 
sushi bars,  a hot
water tap for green
tea on the table,
booths, a special
drawer for
chopsticks and 
great food :0)
rene requested that i cook kedgeree
and show him
how to make it.
an old family
favorite now passed on
to another
generation :0)

 MARA what a little treasure - she's funny, creative, loves to sing and dance (very seriously :-)   she's ambidextrous and draws in an interesting way, i'll be really interested to see how she develops as she grows up

CAL - a dynamo, on the go from morning to midnight, living at a pace that's almost too fast for him to keep up with himself, funny little fella
Not many good photos of cal, he pulls faces every time 
the camera is around,  i'll have to catch him unawares.

MORNINGS here i've walked with rene and the kids to school then down to his office where i either work on my laptop while he gets a couple of hours done, or go down to the beautiful park around the corner.  Tall tall old pines and lacy maples, a tranquil pool and winding paths leading in all directions.
rene's office is in a really great building, very elegant design
with attention to detail, stair rails etc all very attractive.   in a
quiet street set back on a large block right next to the park

i'll be doing
a little 8x8
portrait of
rene when
i get home
so i'm doing
and taking
a few pics

WEDNESDAY I had a lovely walk this morning after we dropped the kids off, through the lovely green park and along the canal.  it's a quiet suburb here, residential with narrow streets and little traffic. a good place to be with little kids.  the school is great, modern, open and progressive, big open spaces and a relaxed attitude, a bit like a montessori atmosphere

GOT BACK to the office and Jamel dropped in, what a lovely guy. he ended up coming to a bike fair with us,  Rene and Sayaka hoped to catch up with past contacts in the bike industry and they sure did, they were on the go the whole time we were there, i just wandered around, photographed them and drew people who were sitting near me.  lots of food supplied too.

    Loved this beautiful big mosaic art piece on the wall

the discerning man

one of the snacks
available -
green tea
Kit Kats  :-O

like a
red eiffel
the lads in front of favorite cars
 I LOVE the strange use of english in bewildering ways - here's a classic example

 another favorite - new manholes to discover

i got up to make a cuppa yesterday and came back to my bed in the loungeroom to find this :0)