Thursday, 18 October 2012

Shit happens

A sunny afternoon in late September, blissfully driving home from work listening to a concert of French Renaissance music on Classic FM, and then BANG! a guy on a motorbike runs into the back of me while I am stopped in a left turn filter lane waiting for oncoming traffic to clear.

The incident was dramatic with the guy and his bike bouncing off my care and sliding around the road to end up in front of me. Fortunately I had the handbrake on otherwise I could have rolled onto him.

As it was he was unscathed but shaken, his bike was damaged but I got it off the road, exchanged details, lent him my phone to call home (he'd broken his in the crash) and stayed with him and talking to him to make sure he was OK.

Fine. New tail light, New fender fairing and his insurance said 'no contest' and paid up.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. Same intersection. Same filter lane. A lady in a Toyota goes and does the exact same thing - whacks into the back of my car. This time its more serious - new tailgate, whole new fender assembly (fortunately I hadn't had the reapairs for the first rear-ender done yet - that was going to be this Monday) and a bit of other work. Probably off the road for ten days.

This time a guy in a passing tow truck stopped. Probably just as well as while the back of my car was a bit of a mess, the other car was considerably more damaged and probably not drivable.

As it is I got off lightly. Mild case of whiplash. While the insurance companies have to fight it out over splitting the bill it's clearly 'no contest' meaning it costs me nothing on my policy or no claims bonus.

Strangely enough I'm not driving home that way any more ...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Gardening

Despite some chilly nights the tomatoes pumpkins and zucchini planted out the weekend before last seem to be doing well and benefiting from last weekend's rain. The fig and apricot trees are also doing well with fruit setting and beginning to form

The snailbait seems to be deterring the shelled ravagers and the cat seems to be doing his job deterring various small rodents, and so far possums have not shown any interest and it's too early for the birds to do anything to the apricots

The only blip of concern is that some of the zucchini have developed some yellowing on the leaves - possibly a potassium deficiency. I tried a fairly strong feed of seaweed and fish emulsion last night - we'll see if that fixes it ....

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Planting

Labour day weekend. And even though we've still been having a few chilly nights on what seems to be a cold spring - we even had the fire lit on Friday night things are starting to grow and sprout.

So being a long weekend, like everyone else we were out spading and composting our veggie patch and planting out our tomatoes, zucchini and pumpkins, not to mention various herbs.

While we had frost last night it was only a frosty kiss and then I chacked the plants this morning they looked ok.

The rest of the week is forecast to stay above zero overnight so hopefully that, and the warm sun during the day well give them a reasonable start ...

A plug for Rohan ...

When we lived in York ( nearly ten years ago now) we had a soft spot for Rohan and their slightly geeky outdoor gear and fleeces.

Some of it was so well made that we still have some of it, including an old biking top that's definitely seen better days.

About six weeks ago we bought some Rohan gear for the first time in a decade. Service was excellent and the stuff arrived DHL in under a week.

But that's not why I'm plugging them.

Last weekend, we ordered some more gear.  And for some reason their website barfed on the order, holding the shopping basket contents and not passing the order through.

So, while we were fairly sure, nothing bad would happen we emailed them to report our problems.

And very nicely they called us yesterday evening from their UK office, to ask us if we wanted to go through with the order. They were cheerful and happy about it, and when they asked for a credit card and I had to fumble for it, I apologised for the delay and said we were at home watching the ABC news they said they'd googled for the time before calling us to make sure that they were calling at s sensible time.

Given that I've been woken up before now by everyone from the General Register Office Scotland on through various online retailers they definitely get a star, not just for excellent and helpful customer service but for taking the time to check the time in Canberra before calling ....

Monday, 3 September 2012

A chilly end to winter ...


This winter has been a long cold one in Canberra and we felt in need of some warmth.

So we booked a cottage down on the coast for the weekend, for what was officially the first weekend of Spring.

Whenwe set off on Friday, on what was supposed to be the last day of winter it began to hail and sleet, which had turned to snow by the time we had got out of this city. As we drove out towards Bungendore there was actual snow on the ground – not something you expect this time of year. However by the time we'd started the descent down Clyde mountain to the coast the weather had cleared and it was getting warmer.

Little did we realise that an unseasonable cold front had rolled through bringing snow and record low temperatures.

The cottage was of course cold. However we'd thought to bring sleeping bags and an electric fan heater with us just in case it had been chillier than planned. It was a lot chillier than we planned – five or six degrees below the expected temperature and windy with it, but we were well lagged.

We probably looked ridiculous sitting with sleeping bags round us but ridiculous is better than freezing.

Saturday was still cold and windy when we woke – which meant that rather than go for a serious bushwalk we drove up to Milton to the organic market to get some stuff for dinner and then that afternoon went for a coastal walk in the freezing wind.

By the evening the wind had dropped enough for us to have a chilly barbecue to mark the start of spring.

The following day was warm, bright and sunny. The bay at Bawley Point looked like a little bit of paradise. It was of course also the day we had to check out.

Rather thn go for a walk we took a meandering drive up the coast, stoppling off now and again to drink in the warmth and the sunshine before doubling back up the Turpentine road and Nerriga through the Budawangs and back to Canberra.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Spring is coming ...

Havn't been here for a while ...

Spring is coming to Canberra. The magpies have begun their insane chortling plus a hunt for nest material, and trees are beginning to bud. The snowdrops and the jonquils are already out, and despite the occasional cold and frosty night, it's almost warm in the middle of the day and there are fewer frosty starts.

Spent a pleasant couple of hours cleaning the veggie patch, ripping out the insane creeper that tries to strangle everything, pruning back the raspberry canes after their insane feral burst of growth last year with the warm wet summer, when they still produced fruit well into April, and trying to make the apricot tree more tree shaped rather than simply an unstructured nest of branches.

Noticed how green the prunings were already as I fed them through the shredder - growth is starting again, ever so slowly after winter's cold