Australian Red Cross, Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

I don’t ever really do this on my blog, but this is an exception. Please, if you can, make a donation to the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal. A minimum donation of $A5.00 is required for online donations. Please donate whatever you can by clicking the link below.

Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

The (Sun) Burnt Country.

Bush fires in Australia have now, so far claimed 84 lives. Scenes like this now shower the Oz landscape once more. Not the image Colin Hay was thinking of, surely, when he wrote the lyrics to Down Under. “Travelling in a fried-out Combi”.

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What makes the decimation and loss of life worse is knowing most of the bush fires have been attacks of arson. When will these people learn? I hope the law that I know was brought into New South Wales under the Carr government still exists and is now nationwide and the culprits get caught and sentenced for what I think is now a minimum 15 year jail term. It is the very least they deserve.

My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones. I hope that soon relief, at least weather-wise, will come your way.

White Valentine’s Day?!

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Here’s the scene in Luton this morning. Yet more bloomin’ snow. I know I shouldn’t complain. It’s lovely really, and it doesn’t inconvenience me like it does many others. It’s just that it’s so FREEZING cold! But I’d much prefer it to sitting in 43 degree heat, like my family and peeps in Sydney are.

I did some online grocery shopping for my mum the previous day. She had it delivered this morning, Oz time and she was telling it was already in the 30’s, and that was at 8am!! Lord almighty!! So glad I don’t have to suffer Oz summers any more.

Channel 7 Sydney (and Regional) Closing Down Film.

There are adverts before it, but if you want to skip straight to the closing down sequence it starts at 2 minutes 8 seconds.

I absolutely adored this little sign-off that Channel 7 in Sydney used to do in the 80’s. I used to wait up purposefully to catch it. Thank you to FrozenDobermanfor uploading the video. I hope it doesn’t get taken down.

Did You Happen To See The Most Beautiful Girl In The World?

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Here is a photo of my beautiful niece Madeline and her boyfriend Colin heading off to their school formal last week.

I just wanted to share the photo as she looks so beautiful and her and Colin look so amazing together.

Love you Maddie xx

Happy 200!

This is my 200th post on my blog, yay! You’d have thought I’d have so much drivel in me (me!)?

We got woken up this morning by the sound of knocking on the door. A Parcel Force man was at the door, delivering this Christmas gift!

Snacks for Em…

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And ones for me…

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What a lovely surprise they were. Not long after mum called, so I was able to thank her profusely. 

I started thinking I had a more substantial post than this within me, but it’s gone now 😦
I’ll come back later…

I Just Got Me A Pick-me-up!

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I love the way it makes it look like Chris is trying to nick my choccies. She hates all human food, and I’d never give her chocolate anyway. My previous cat in Oz, Tiger, she LOVED chocolate and I’d give her bits, not knowing at that time it was poisonous! 

Hissy Fit Cat Collar.

This is the most AMAZING image I’ve seen for some time. A cat with a SNAKE wrapped round its neck!!

See the picture and read the full story, here.

HAPPY Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving. Sounds like everything I love about Xmas, only without the presents…as far as I know. I’m not up on Thanksgiving history/culture.

It does seem odd that in such a God-fearing country as America is, a lot more people seem to put more emphasis on Thanksgiving than on Xmas. As far as I know, it is when the turkey dinner is traditionally eaten, not as it is in Europe and in particular Britain when it’s at Xmas. Families seem to try harder in the U.S. to be together for Thanksgiving. People don’t feel pressured into exchanging presents, as we do with ever increasing financial strain, year after year at Xmas. Lastly, it doesn’t seem to be an overtly religious event (despite it being called Thanksgiving – IE: giving thanks to God – I assume – for a plentiful bounty and all the “good things” in our lives), despite the name of the holiday.

I wish we had Thanksgiving in England.

But then, maybe not.

I do love some of the aspects of Xmas. I think the time of year is better. It’s just that little bit later into winter. Not so ideal for shopping, but lovely for Xmas eve and Xmas day, sitting around the fire, having lovely, big and hot meals that make you feel like you’ve put on 10 pounds in 1 hour! I love Xmas decorations, trees, garlands, wreaths. As a kid I use to LOVE making paper chains! And of course, although I rarely get them these days, I LOVE the presents.

I love sending cards. And although some are religious, and although I’ve been a total hypocrite and been to church a few years back to enjoy them, I LOVE Xmas carols and Xmas songs. We have a church not 5 minutes walk away, and we went in 2005 for the carol service. But it was really lovely. It’s a non-domination church, and it was quite liberal (as churches go), not doing lots of preaching and stuff. It was a really nice service, and we all sang carols. It was lovely.

As much as I love Xmas though, there are things that are overbearing about it.

The compulsion to buy presents. The more expensive, the better. And the relentless ad campaigns that go with it. I mean, it’s in full swing on TV (and all other media) now. The supermarkets started filling their shelves with Xmas themed food weeks ago. I haven’t been in a supermarket for about 6 weeks (last visit, early October), but the last time I went, there was already stock on the shelf. The campaigns on TV will just get more and more manic. Soon the Xmas songs will start (mostly in shops and that, so I have been spared so far, as I really don’t get out much these days), and so by the time Xmas day comes, you’ve heard “White Christmas” at least 50 times (subliminally, and non-subliminally), Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” about 100 times, and the new favourite for “playing to death”… The Pogues “Fairytale of New York” what feels like 500 times, but is in reality probably only 150 times!!

Supermarkets start to look like we’re heading for The Blitz at around December 18, and if you’ve missed something off the shopping list and don’t remember it until Xmas eve, you might just want to write out your last will and testament before heading off to the supermarket for that last vital thing, because you may just die there, waiting in the queue!

One last thing that I use to hate about Xmas as a kid. The only thing in fact. Australia. I HATED living in Australia at Xmas. Xmas in the northern hemisphere looked SSOO lovely. And all the stories whilst growing up were all northern hemisphere biased. All the little things like Santa arriving by coming down the chimney! HEEEELLLLOOOO…no house in Oz that *I* ever knew of had a chimney. How was Santa ever going to leave our presents? Break in through a window? Then of course there was the sleigh and the reindeer. Rudolph with his shiny red nose. Not because it was minus 10 degrees in Oz, but because it was more like bloody 25 degrees on Xmas eve NIGHT! Silent Night? Silent night…on a tropical evening in Sydney?! Doubt it!!

The one nice thing that Oz has for Xmas though is Carols by Candlelight…outdoors! That’s nice. Although, again, traditional carols are a bit northern hemisphere/wintery themed. Very odd to sing “Winter Wonderland” on a summer’s evening in 25 degree heat!

I really do love my winter Xmases though. They are the best.

So, happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it. Xmas, the steam train, moves ever closer.

I’m a Lark trapped in a night Owl’s body.

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I don’t know just how long through my life I have craved to be able to arise in the morning with the birds. I’ve been a night owl for many years. Mum tells me it started from the moment I was born really. I’ve had brief dalliances into the world of the lark. Mostly when it involved being awake for SSSOOO long that I was already awake the next morning! A few times it’s happened due to jet-lag. And a few times it’s been down to pure luck and I’ve “fluked” a few weeks of larkish behaviour.

At this point in time I’m further away from being a lark than I ever have been. I was in Australia for several months at the beginning of this year. It started out well. Jet-lag allowed me to be a lark for about oh…two weeks! Then the old owl crept back in, and eventually took over. This was helped greatly by some inexplicable, freakish event that overtook my nerves and made it almost impossible for me to sleep for the rest of my stay in Oz. I was like it for weeks. Most nights I wouldn’t get to sleep until around 5-6am. If you can still regard that as night? No, it isn’t, is it?!

And that’s my point. I’ve always loved the idea of waking around 6am, watching the sun come up, hearing the birds wake up. But instead that’s when I’m fast asleep from only nodding off just a couple of hours before. At the moment I’m getting to sleep around 4am. Then I’m DRAGGING myself back out again around 10.30-11.00am. If I was getting my recommended 8 hours sleep, I wouldn’t get up til midday (and on the odd occasion I do, because I’m just SSOO dog-tired)!

I’m a creature of habit really. And this behaviour is habitual. It’s fueled by two things. Firstly, I can never drag myself away from TV at night. I’m always finding something to watch around 10.30-11.00pm which gets me hooked for an hour or so. Also by this time (well, use to be, not so much now), Em is asleep, so then I spend some time on the Internet. Which means I go to “bed” at any time between midnight and 1.30am. Then I don’t turn in straight away, I’ll play my Nintendo DS, or play games on my mobile phone, or listen to music. So, probably by around 3am, I’m ready to turn in.

I don’t know. Sometimes I get REALLY guilty for being like this (night owl) and other times I think “why do I care”? It’s not like I’m some super-fit person or something. It’s not like if I got up early, I’d be outside with the birds or anything.

I just think I’d feel better being a lark.

Photo supplied by: Spirit635 under creative commons (some rights reserved)