Australia, Gardening

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers

If you have stopped here for information on the Carnival, you may be disappointed. I missed the Carnival of Flowers itself, so there are no pictures of the annual parade, but what I did see is stunning floral displays that are the dominant feature of this event in Toowoomba, a large country town, about an hour’s drive west of Brisbane, Australia. I arrived two days after the festival officially concluded. By the looks of the displays, the flowers are quite oblivious of the carnival’s end date.

The city of Toowoomba sits atop a mountain range and is blessed with cooler temperatures and rich volcanic soil, perfect for horticulture. The major horticultural event, The Carnival of Flowers, draws thousands of visitors to the city’s generous parks and gardens.

Whilst the historically wealthy country town has monolithic bluestone churches, funky alleys and quirky street art, it is the stunning floral display in late September that draws most of the region’s visitors.

Laurel Bank Park

Amongst neat and tidy lawns and prolific flower beds at Laurel Bank Park, on Hill Street, you will find plenty of seating for those who need a rest from taking a multitude of floral camera shots that one is apt to do given the spectacular displays.

Displays of Tulips, Poppies, Foxgloves and Hollyhocks take me back to memories of Denmark or The Netherlands, albeit without the rainy weather.

This is Australia, remember. The continent where it forgot how to rain!

Like many parts of Australia, Toowoomba has experienced, for many years, a severe water shortage. This has resulted in the Gardeners, at Laurel Bank Park, adopting stringent water-saving strategies and switching to growing more water-tolerant plants in order to maintain the floral displays to the expected standard. It seems that they have succeeded in their quest.

Topiary elephants, seals and the Leaning Tower of Pisa add a fantasy element to the gardens. Can you guess what this topiary represents? It is rather Australian and Danish!

Toowoomba Botanic Gardens

Cherry Blossoms line the Toowoomba Botanic Garden’s at Queens Park. The entry path offers the visitor a visual explosion of multi-coloured Ranunculus, inviting you to explore more of the gardens. The pathway then opens to rows and rows of flowering beds with daisies, violets and pansies.

It seems one lonely tulip bulb missed the memo.

Snapped at the right, or perhaps, the wrong moment. Street photography in Toowoomba can be surprising.

I have so many questions about the man’s pickle. Not a sign of a picnic basket or lunch box anywhere. Where was he keeping it? So random and fun!

There is so much our country towns can offer us. We only have to look closer, before lamenting we can not travel outside our own borders. This is another of the country towns that offer unique experiences, similar to Amandine Lavender farm at Bargara, near Bundaberg, which I posted about recently.

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Environment

DIY Beeswax Wraps

They are super expensive in the shops but easy to make by yourself. They help us reduce our plastic use and are way better for the environment.

We all want to reduce our plastic use, and cling wrap is pretty lethal as far as plastics goes.

It is made of petrochemicals, is actually toxic to the environment and looks like jellyfish, so marine animals try to eat it leading to suffocation or death from intestinal blockages.

whale choking on plastic

And cling wrap is, by and large, unnecessary.

Folks have lived without Cling/Glad wrap for centuries, haven’t they? The alternative is to use something more organic and natural – a Beeswax Wrap.

natural alternative to cling wrap

Eliminate Cling Wrap – Make a Beeswax Wrap

To make a Beeswax Wrap, all you need is:

  • 1-2 bars of Beeswax – (from your hardware shop)
  • Fabric the size you want the wrap – plain cotton or calico is best
  • A kitchen grater – best to use one you don’t use every day
  • Greaseproof naking non stick paper
  • An Iron
  • Old Teatowels
  • Cardboard

How to Make a Beeswax Wrap

  1. Trim the edge of your fabric with Pinking Shears
  2. On the Ironing Board, lay down a piece of thick cardboard and top it with a layer of non-stick baking paper slightly larger than your fabric piece
  3. Lay the fabric down on top of the paper
  4. Grate the bar of Beeswax and spread evenly over the fabric
  5. Lay a second sheet of the baking paper to cover the fabric
  6. Cover with an old Teatowel
  7. Iron evenly across the size of the fabric ensuring you cross over all edges.
  8. Allow to cool
  9. Peel away the baking paper.

Your beeswax wrap is ready for use. It is that easy!

Recycling/Upcycling Ideas

Use up excess fabric or scraps of cotton to make beeswax wraps

Cut up a cotton shirt/ outfit you no longer wear, checking first that the material has no toxic dyes, so cotton is best.

Calico for making the Beeswax Wraps can be Tie Dyed. Make fun designs using string, rubber bands and non-toxic dyes. A great activity with the kids.

Tie Dye fabric

Other Alternatives to Using Cling Wrap

  • Use a washable container with lid. (Even if it is a plastic lid at least it can be reused hundreds of times before disposal)
  • Cover with damp or dry, tea towel
  • Wrap in a washable cloth bag for vegetable/ cold meats – works well with the Christmas ham
  • Wrap seafood and meat in butcher’s paper and place in a reuseable container

Something environmentally friendly to Ponder About

Australia, Community, Environment

Koala Rescue

Moving out of the inner city has its advantages.

We live in a designated Koala area as the new house is located within a known corridor and adjacent to a protected Koala habitat. Yesterday, we spotted a Koala on our way home from essential shopping at the Hardware store.

koala

This is not our first Koala sighting in our area. Several months ago, a male Koala was spotted resting in the lower branches of the same tree. See my post on Koala spotting here.

The dirty stain on the bottom indicates chlamydia

The Gumtree in which the furry marsupial was sitting, has a flourish of succulent new growth towards the crown, due, no doubt, to the recent rainfall. This has attracted another Koala occupant and this time it was a female with a Joey, (a baby Koala), in her pouch.

According to a neighbour living directly opposite, the koala had been in this tree for a week or so, I contacted the Koala Rescue to report the sighting.

The Rescue group has a number of volunteers who attend Koala sightings to perform a visual health check, as almost all Koalas in our State, are known to have a number of health issues, primarily Chlamydia infection. This is a particularly painful infection that can lead to Koala infertility, blindness and death. Along with Chlamydia, habitat loss has led to a significant decline in Koala populations to a point where they remain vulnerable.

Surveys have shown that some wild populations demonstrate a 100 percent rate of [Chlamydia] infection, which frequently leads to blindness, severe bladder inflammation, infertility and death. And treatment with antibiotics could create further problems for the marsupials, upsetting their gut microbes and making it difficult for them to digest the eucalyptus leaves that are a staple of their diet, researchers recently discovered.

http://www.livescience.com/62517-how-koalas-get-chlamydia.html

The Moreton Bay Koala Rescue is an organization staffed by knowledgable volunteers who drop everything and run to aid a Koala. Marilyn and her able assistant used a set of binoculars to assess the Koala’s health from the ground, as the animal was too high to conduct a full-on assessment and rescue. In the video, they tapped the base of the tree with a stick, in order to assess her ease of movement and to get a better view of her as Koalas generally sleep during the day.

She may well be the Koala, known to rescuers as Barty, as she had a tag in her right ear, meaning that she is a female, (as women are always right!) and she did have a Joey in the pouch.

The Rescuers told us the Koala Mum has likely been carrying her Joey in the pouch, for around 6 months. In a few weeks time, this Joey will move out of the pouch and travel about on the Mum’s back for several months, until it is old enough and clever enough to live independently. If the Mum has chlamydia, she will, unfortunately, pass it on to the little Joey.

Koalas Killed on Roads in Breeding Season

Breeding season is when Koalas are on the move, crossing roads and hunting for a mate. This usually starts in July; perhaps it will start earlier this year, as daily temperatures have been higher than expected.

The Rescue stated that in the first 8 weeks of the breeding season in 2019, they received and cared for 22 injured Koalas, mostly as a result of being hit by cars. It is heartening that their numbers are still high in our region, but tragic that so many are still accidentally killed by motor vehicles when crossing the road.

Koalas are harmless creatures, they basically just want to eat their gum leaves, find a mate and sleep away most of the day. If you only ate one food, you might also sleep 18 hours in every 24 too! They are not endowed with speed and often travel at night when they are difficult to spot on the road.

Slow down if you drive through a known Koala Habitat.

Kangaroo Island Koalas

South Australia’s Kangaroo Island had the only population of Koalas in the country without Chlamydia infection. Sadly, it is believed up to 30,000 perished in the recent bushfires. 90 % of their food trees on the Island were burnt, so any surviving Koalas actually died from starvation, unless they were rescued. One resident claimed that you couldn’t walk ten metres in any part of the forest, without coming across a dead Koala carcass.

Koalas rescued from South Australian Bushfires

Why do we need to Protect Koala Habitat?

As incredible as it may seem, the Government still seems reluctant to protect Koala habitat. Koalas are specialised feeders; they are only able to eat four species of Eucalypt leaves and are thus, highly vulnerable to extinction. Ensuring that remaining Koala habitat is protected is a critical factor for their survival.

The Koala is an iconic symbol of Australia that brings millions of tourists and their dollars to our shores, yet it receives little recognition in the way of publicly funded support in return. After the recent bush fires, a new strategy to protect some realms of known Koala habitat in my own state, has even been criticised for not going far enough to cover many known Koala corridors.

koala
Koala on Stradbroke Island

It is absolutely essential to protect any remaining Koala habitat. We have been blessed with a responsiblity for this beautiful creature and it desperately needs our help to survive.

In order to maintain viable populations, the Koalas must be free to roam within their range and interbreed to remain healthy. Protecting Koala populations with Koala fences may actually prevent males from finding a mate to breed with.

Report Koala Sightings

It is imperative, therefore, that all sighting of Koalas are reported and documented, so that their movements can be tracked and the data collected and shared with Government bodies. This will assist in protecctive planning decisions that aim to preserve the Koala and its habitat for future generations to enjoy.

May 3 is Wild Koala day for the Moreton Bay Koala Rescue – a major fundraising event had to be cancelled, due to Covid 19. They are a not for profit organization dependent on donations and community support.

May the Rescue continue their great work. Thanks to every one of them.

Community, Environment

All Sorts of Crap and the PKR

It was a Saturday morning, 2012 and my phone rang impatiently. When I picked it up, an unfamiliar voice asked,

“Is that Amanda?”

“That is me,” I answered.

“Yeh?” [pause]

” It’s Susie. I’ ve got your crap here.”

“Sorry,” I said, about to hang up, thinking that this was a prank call.

But then I was a little curious, so I tentatively asked, “What kind of crap have you got?”

[Believe it or not, this is the second time in my life, I have had to ask a stranger this exact question. This time I was not in Denmark, but that’s another story.]

The Caller continued.

“Well, I dunno. There’s a box here, with your name on it and it says that it’s umm, filled with crap.” It had your phone number too, so I rang you, ‘cos, you know, I don’t want it!” Susie exclaimed.

The penny dropped.

“Oh, okay. I know what it is. It’s my toilet paper,” I said with sudden clarity.

[Frustrated with too frequently needing to change the toilet roll and attempting to shop more ethically for environmentally friendly products, I’d purchased a regular delivery of toilet paper from a profit for purpose, online store, Who Gives a Crap and hadn’t received a notification that delivery was imminent.]

“They’ve delivered it to the wrong street address,” I squirmed inwardly, realizing how ridiculous it must have sounded to Susie, to have toilet paper home delivered, in the days before online shopping really became mainstream.

What? Susie asks, sounding confused.

“I bought some environmentally friendly toilet paper online – it is recycled, you see.”

“Recycled? Toilet paper? What?” She asked, seeminly incredulous at my wild suggestion. [Apparently, the hole I was digging, was getting deeper]

“It’s a little crazy but it is a genuine product, from a company called Who Gives A Crap, and they are, you know, all for sustainability and helping the environment, you see. Their sales speel is really corny Dad jokes and puns about toilet humour which they print on their wrappers.”

Susie was not convinced, but eventually agreed to a suitable time to pick up my box of “crap.”

On collection, she cheezily remarked, “You’re finally here to pick up the crap, are ya?” The toilet humour was wearing a little thin, by then. I wanted my loo paper and to get out of there. So, I thanked her for her honesty in calling me and offered her a roll to try out for herself.

“No, I don’t use it,” she said.

Now it was my turn to be confused. How could anyone in this day and age, get away without using toilet paper? I pondered.

I had to know more.

Let me say that Susie was only too willing to share the finer details of her medical condition which required her to use soft wipes instead.

Before we delved into the realms of TMI, I decided to take my environmentally friendly crap and trot off.

2020

Can you imagine if the same incident happened today?

There’d be some kind of snatch and grab feast in the burbs. Not only is Who Gives a Crap now a widely known brand, but a free box of 48 rolls of EXTRA LONG Toilet paper, would be akin to finding the golden ticket to Willy Wonka.

Who Gives A Crap?

Let’s face it anyone brave enough to call their company, Who Gives A Crap, is worth a look. Plus 50 % of profits get put back into Water Aid and projects that improve sanitation in the Third World. I love that. And according to its founder, it has a low PTR!

What is PTR? you may ask. It is a Poke-Through-Rate because no one wants crap on their hands: as Simon explains in this promotional video.

To test the poke through rate yourself, you’ll have to wait a little, as the current runs, (no pun intended), on toilet paper has Who gives a Crap stocks completely SOLD OUT, in Australia.

Roll on.

This story was promptly by Barb at Barb’s blog, discussing the Corona pandemic.

Australia, Community, Environment, Mental Health

Corona Fallout

When I looked at the stats for countries being hit with this pandemic, it struck me as surprising that the number of cases/deaths due to Covid 19, in some places, did not correlate proportionately with the level of population.

It would be easy to assume hygiene levels and santization practices might be lower in underdeveloped countries, as compared to say, Australia. And that spread of disease would be faster. In countries with higher levels of health care, the contagion might have been anticipated to be slower. This does not appear to be the cases if you look at the current statistics. Places like Malaysia and Thailand, are doing remarkably well, with a small number of Covid 19 cases, in regions with populations far greater than others. Why? Is it their level of preventative measures?

Here are the current stats country by country, if you are interested.

Why is Covid-19 so prevalent in Italy?

Then there is Italy – why do they have so many Covid cases? Some suggest that many Chinese and other businessmen, have been visiting the north of Italy, in greater numbers of recent times.

Starting in Codogno, a small town in southern Lombardy, one of the wealthiest, most densely populated, and most globalized areas in Europe, the coronavirus circulated very fast and easily…. The Codogno economic district hosts large companies and multinationals – making it a hub for production and international trade. Workers, salesmen, managers, and consultants of all sorts travel daily to their workplace, many of them commuting to nearby cities. International partners visit from abroad. And of course, Milan is a mere 70 kilometer drive from Codogno. Although “patient zero” has not been found yet, it looks increasingly likely that the virus had been circulating in Europe weeks before “patient one” was identified in late February.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/covid-19-hits-italy-a-test-for-china-ties/
singapore

Singapore

Singapore, to its immense credit, appears to be managing the crisis well. They were well prepared, quickly instituting pro-active measures after having previously learnt valuable lessons in pandemic management, during the SARS outbreak.

A New World Order?

The current crisis highlights just how connected and how vulnerable we, as a society are. Our financial and business sectors, recreation and travel mean a contagion can and does travel fast and far, throughout the entire world. Not even in a small village in Iceland are you safe, from this virus. Whether we care to admit it or night, we do live in a global village. We can no longer live and conduct affairs without considering the rest of the world.

iceland

The economies of the Western developed countries are suffering, just as China is beginning to recover. Many Western democracies, including mine, will inevitably head into a deep economic recession, in coming months. We need to have in place new and different strategies and policies for business, health care, education and technology in order to appropriately respond to this contagion.

Some Chinese communities are questioning whether they should move back to China, from their new bases in Italy. What effect would this have?

“About 100,000 people from Wenzhou, and another 100,000 from nearby Qingtian county, live in Italy, according to official Chinese data, with Milan also hosting a sizable Chinese community. “We definitely feel safer in China. The government is more efficient … Hospitals here can treat patients well, but the government’s ability to respond to an emergency is not ideal,” Wu said.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3073987/stay-or-go-tough-call-chinese-italy-coronavirus-crisis-hits

The social fallout from this virus also highlights the disparity between European countries, with high levels of health care against the economic might of America, who has almost no universal health care. [Let me know if this is wrong].

I wonder why Universities and Schools are only now moving to E-learning in response to the viral threat. Why didn’t the education facilities, fully implement this mode of delivery, earlier? Can I attribute the reason to their penchant for keeping a social interactive community on university campuses alive? Wouldn’t E-learning be far more profitable to them?

Climate Conspiracy?

If I believed in conspiracy theories, which I don’t, my cynical self would also suggest that the release of the virus, if it was deliberate, is a discrete way to circumvent and divert debate and action, on action against climate change.

Continuing and ever increasing school strikes successfully highlighted issues of climate change. Now that schools are closed in many countries, except Australia, the strikes cannot happen.

Moreover, we cannot gather in groups of more than 100 in Australia. Some countries ban gatherings of less than 50, and in Portugal, gatherings must be less than 5 persons.

Food and Job Security

Adding to this, is the issue of global food security. The shops across the world are emptying, and people are staying home, for the most part. Food is becoming harder to obtain. If transport is halted, how do we all access food?

Many have already lost their employment or will lose it in coming months. Many will become homeless or develop mental health issues.

How Fragile is our existing World Order?

leaves

A Positive Effect

If there is one postive to be found in self-imposed isolation or government quarantine and in business shut-down and potential failure, it is that some parts of the planet and nature, get a break from human intervention and destruction.

  • Global rainforests may not get burnt this week.
  • Fewer carbon emissions from reduced transport services.
  • That precious koala habitat may not get cleared/logged this week.
  • Industries may refraim from discharging their poisonous effluent into the sea this week, due to shutdowns.
  • The lake near my Home by the Sea might not have pieces of plastic litter from building supplies contaminating it this week. {we are on track so far}
  • People may re-discover making ends meet – growing their own food, cooking for themselves, entertaining at home, chatting with family.

In short: we get a chance to pause and breathe too.

Community, Gardening, Painting, Photography, Traditional Art

Friendly Friday Challenge – Art Unexpected

Sandy over at The Sandy Chronicles, is hosting this week’s Friendly Friday photo challenge and the theme was so tempting, I had to showcase some of my unexpected artsy photographs.

Art can be cathartic, fun, controversial or just a bit hard to understand.

From a pumpkin photobombing in Japan,

  • to the wilds of Australia’s farming communities
mailbox donkey
The Donkey mail
  • Some old photos and some new.
Oops, nearly lost it.
  • A Trick of the eye or a slight of hand

What do you think?

  • Lastly, our Kiwi cousins have a fun sense of humour. Especially if you are a gardener in Wellington.
hidden art

Thanks Sandy for a fun prompt. Are you joining in too?

See you here next week for the new Friendly Friday prompt for Something to Ponder About.

water
Environment, Photography

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Odd Couples

The Friendly Friday Photographic challenge is about community and interacting with other bloggers, sharing everyday photographs of things from our world and is hosted by bloggers Amanda, here at ‘StPA’ (Something to Ponder About) and Sandy at The Sandy Chronicles.


On my afternoon walk today, I spotted two inconguous pieces of nature. Mushroom fungi are opportunists, taking advantage of recent rain, in our region. The fungi have no real place here, or do they?

Nature is usually the master of harmony, but sometimes things are found together that work well, but look decidedly a little odd.

Weekly Prompt

The prompt for this week’s photo challenge is

Odd Couples

Your odd couple might be two different kind of friends, animals or objects, or a contrast of two incongruous items.

It is an opportunity to showcase contrasting photographs and a fitting title for Valentine’s Day!

When I saw the two houses with vastly different colour schemes, and the two porta loos, or builder’s toilets, sitting side by side, they looked like a bit of an odd couple.

I should tell you that I live on a estate construction site, so it is no surprise that a new estate with multiple houses being built at the same time might have porta loos, side by side!

Here are a few more odd couples to get you thinking about this week’s challenge.

New Zealand
trondheim history soldier

Leave a comment and pingback below tagging your post:

Friendly Friday – Odd couples.’

Please note the Friendly Friday Photo Challenges will run for one week, from Friday to the following Thursday, when the new weekly prompt will be released.

As I host the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge with fellow blogger, Sandy, at The Sandy Chronicles , you will find next week’s prompt published there.

Unsure of what Friendly Friday is all about? Find out more.

Friendly Friday

Something to Ponder About

Environment

DIY Recycled Fashion Skirt

Reducing Landfill Waste

In my bid to make this a sustainable living year, I decided to re-purpose an old item of clothing and up-cycle it to a new piece. This helps reduce landfill and provides a new item of clothing to wear and enjoy.

With a small piece of elastic, a skirt like this can be made in less than half an hour!

I took an old wrap around skirt, now completely out of fashion, and an infant girl’s dress, and up-cycled them to make a fashionable one size fits all skirt for the modern young girl. Suitable for ages 8 to 20 something, I think.



What you need:

A large rectangle of remnant fabric or older piece of clothing large enough to re-model into a skirt of the length you desire

20 mm wide knitted black elastic

Sewing machine and matching thread

What you do:

  1. Take a measurement from your waist downwards to where you want the hem of the skirt to sit and add 2 inches or 5 cm to this measurement (for a hem and seam allowance).
  2. Ensure the piece is at least 1.5 times the width you want the final skirt to be (this allows for gathering), and cut.
Cut a long rectangle of fabric to the desired width and length.

I like to be different and a little bit lazy, when it comes to sewing, so I chose to use the old wrap around skirt for the fabric piece. This lent itself to cutting into one long piece. I thought great- there would be less hems to come apart later. In my case, the length was 1.8m long. Therefore, if cutting two pieces they would become a front and back piece, each at 90 cm wide plus seam allowances.

3. Sew the side seams wrong side out, press and turn right way out.

4. Hold the 20 mm wide piece of black elastic around your waist to get an idea of how tight or slack you want the waistband to be. Add 1 ” or 2.5 cm to this measurement and cut to length.

5. Join and sew the ends of the elastic with a solid stitch. I overlapped them as I wanted less bulk at the side of the skirt where the join would sit.

I also used a second fabric, a former child’s dress to make another one of these skirts.

6. Using a long stitch length, run around the top of the main skirt fabric. Then pull the ends to gather it in to your desired width.

4. Divide this edge of the waistline, into quarters and mark with pins. Pin between marker pins adjusting the tension and gathering evenly.

5. Do the same with the joined piece of elastic. Then match corresponding pins to each other, so that the bottom edge of the elastic is pinned to the right side at the skirt top.

6. Sew using a strong triple stitch around the bottom of the elastic where it was pinned to the skirt edge.

*Make sure the elastic is sewn to the right side, otherwise the elastic will try to flip over and not sit flat when wearing it. See below.

7. Sew the hem if you haven’t done that already.

8. Voila… skirt in less than 20 mins….

The Prototype is revealed.

sewing

Cost: Electricity for the machine, 20 minutes of my time, 80 australian cents for the new elastic…

Benefit: Fashionable skirt that will fit a primary student/teen/twenty something…

Satisfaction: Clearing some fabric from my scrap basket!!

I then began to wonder what other kinds of potential upcyclable clothes may lay hidden in my bundle of unwanted clothes. Either that or I will be making a whole lot of Dog bandanas!

That gives me something to ponder about…

More recycling ideas on using scrap materials

stpa logo
deception bay path
Australia, Community, Environment, Motivational

Meeting Daniel

There is nothing more likely to incite anger in the community, than petty theft. Especially when most of us work hard to purchase sought after or sentimental items and build a sanctuary where we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our labours. When something is stolen, we feel violated and angry. New homes, like the one I moved to recently, are often targets for criminals and petty theft.

sandy beach

So it was while relaxing this Friday, secure in the knowledge that this week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge, Simple Joys, was in the very capable hands of first time host, Sandy, from The Sandy Chronicles, that I was dragged back to reality by a car horn, blasting urgently, outside my door.

Something was clearly very wrong.

A thoughtful neighbour had pulled up outside in his car, to alert me that our garage door was open, and with no MotH in sight, they’d seen a stranger dressed in black, carting out two large carry bags from our Home by the Sea.

Glancing up the laneway, near the house, I indeed saw a figure dressed in black, carrying two large bags and talking on a mobile phone. Oh dear, I thought, has he taken some tools or something of value from the MotH’s garage?

Te Mata Peak New Zealand

Quickly shouting thanks to the neighbour, and with the MotH still nowhere in earshot, (despite me earnestly yelling his name), I approached the stranger cautiously, trying my best to look as if I was going for nothing more than a casual walk.

Yeh, it is me. Come now. I’ve got some really good stuff,” I overheard this figure mutter into his mobile phone.

Oh goodness! What has this dude stolen? I thought.

My mind was racing, imagining all sorts of things. Where was the MotH when I needed him?

Should I go back and find him first?

Should I shut the garage door and ring the police?

Totally dumbstruck for the correct protocol to use when approaching a potential thief, I tentatively asked,

“Hi, can I help you? Are you looking for something, or someone?”

“Oh, Hi, yeh, umm, I’ve just been collecting bottles for recycling,”said this young man of about 30 odd years, pointing to the bags.

Have a look,” he said, sweating heavily and clearly picking up on my suspicions.

I approached a little closer and peered into his carry bag to see an array of plastic bottles, the sort you take back to the containers for change refunding collections centres, for the paltry refund the government has introduced.

“And I’ve got electrical wiring, too” he said, opening up his second bag to show me.

” It is heavy, I reckon about 26 kgs,” he continued, offering for me to feel its weight. It was indeed heavy and he’d revealed he’d carried it for several kilometres through the new estate.

“All these new houses, the tradies just chuck away stuff that can be salvaged and reused,” he explained.

Smiling, and offering me his hand, he said, “My name’s Daniel,” revealing a single yellow tooth, “..and so now you know, I’m not pinching stuff. Just trying to make a few dollars. I can’t get work, you see, and I get so bored watching TV.”

Daniel proceeded to tell me he spends his days painstakingly removing all the plastic covering from the excess electrical wiring he salvages from the dump bins on building sites. Then sells the wire to the scrapyard in the neighbouring suburb.

My heart sank as he filled in yet more details of his life, seemingly eager for someone to listen to him. As a young lad not endowed with a great start in life, education wise, and few real opportunities, he had fallen into the wrong crowd some time back, and it didn’t end well.

“I have had so much crap in my life,” he said.

He told me he’d experienced periodic work but physical disability, homelessness and long term umemployment had dogged him for many years, until bad friends finally landed him foul of the law.

I found out the hard way no friends are better than bad friends,” he said, his eyes downcast.

Now I just try to do something good with my time.” he muttered philosophically. “You only have one life.”

“So I am not pinching stuff,” he reinforced again, suddenly serious and looking me in the eye, in case I doubted him. Instead of walking away, I stood there listening to him tell me his heartbreaking story and felt ashamed for initally thinking the worst of him.

Praising his efforts to help himself and and reduce the truckloads of Builder’s waste, I see around me every day, we shook hands and I promised to set aside plastic bottles and cans, for him to collect on his next run.

Here was a young man who had been through the wringer of life and was doing his best to become pro-active and do something to help himself and the planet.

Daniel was alright.

You can’t always judge a book by its cover.

Showing kindness to a stranger is infectious and costs nothing.

All of us would like to be listened to.

Final Twist

In case you were wondering what happened to the Moth, he was apparently completely aware that Daniel and I were chatting. He told me later that he had indeed poked his head around the corner, seen the conversation and causally waved a power drill back and forth, in his hand. A moment passed between Daniel and the MotH, and the MotH seemed certain Daniel had noted the power tool armed and ready!

Australia, Community, Environment

Where are you going, Australia?

Australia Day 2020

Today is Australia Day, or if you are a First Nation person, you might call it Invasion Day. Back in 1788, the “First Fleet.” of British ships arrived on Australia’s eastern coast and began establishing a British colony.

The British considered the Australian continent unoccupied – as the indigenous peoples were not considered as a nation in themselves. However wrong this was at the time, it happened and today we still celebrate this day with a public holiday.

pool
We never wore sun protective sun shirts like these kids did!

January 26 in Australia, marks the end of the long summer holidays and that means lots of folks travelling on the roads and lots of pool parties and barbeques.

At a time when the dude from Top Gear is making egotistical comments about Australia, Boris Johnson comments on our ‘resilient spirit.’

Is our country still resilient? When many of us support dirty coal fired power generation? Or deny climate change?

Not all Aussies fully comprehend the gravity of the planet’s situation as they only hear what the media here tells them. The media often fails to give a balanced view!

So,
What can you do, when those who are ignorant or closed to new ideas vote in ignorant fools, because they read and listen to tabloid tripe? It’s a little depressing.

Whilst European economics has its problems, at least they are aiming for better air to breathe, and a better country for their children.

We seem to be taking a longer time to understand the problem.

Great Ocean Road
Port Fairy, South Eastern Victoria, Australia

This Australia Day – take up my challenge and show that Australians can:

  • Read more widely – especially those opinions that you don’t at first agree with – they may have a point of view that resonates somewhere. It can’t hurt you even if you don’t change your opinion – you will just be better informed.
  • Seek out facts to substantiate your opinion. The Radio and TV commentators might be and often are misinformed or wrong.
  • Discuss this with your friends and listen to feedback.
  • Challenge long held beliefs – the world is changing.
schnauzer dog reading
Even my Schnauzer was interested in books

Don’t get left behind, Australia.

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jacaranda tree in bloom
Community, Gardening, Photography

Photo Challenge – Remastered

The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge will soon begin again at Something to Ponder About and Sandy L’s The Sandy Chronicles. As such, I am reviewing some of my older photography posts and came across this one.

This pic that was part of Sally’s Phoneography Challenge in years gone by.

Would I change anything?

No – I still like this photo. In particular, the fine hairs on the petals of this Jacaranda flower.

jacaranda flower

The phoneography challenge was the brainchild of Sally at Lens and Pens and each week has a different theme and tip for improving your phoneography.  I changed the angle of the light for this photo after photographing it on a previous day. It is a Jacaranda flower that flowers here generally in November.

Sally’s Tip for Macro Photography: Here is a quick tip that will benefit you as you explore the world of macrophotography. Be ultra aware of light flow as you take your subject with your device. Turn off your flash to minimize shadows: determine if that allows for a better image. Try to use natural light, which is my favorite setting.

 

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