Posts Tagged ‘Shire’

A free tree.

January 11, 2022


The above photo I took while wandering around my Southern Highlands, which is well known for its variety of trees, both native evergreens and the deciduous.  This tree seems to have developed a mind of its own very early on it its life on a street that the local Shire decided to enhance by planting trees. Soon after its planting, the young sapling threw all caution to the wind with an admirable courage to remain free and unrestrained. As the picture shows, it has usurped its cast-iron restraining frame and is in the actual process of eating it. The middle part of the frame is being ingested by the tree and to make it easier has split in two parts, giving both sides time and space to slowly dissolve this steel frame hoping it won’t be noticed by the Shire’s officers often doing the rounds checking on the trees and adjust, straighten or fix the frames or steel enclosures in case trees become unruly, or escape their enclosures. 

It’s a known fact that for many, at least in the past, trees were, or at least can be, a threat. I grew up in a suburb where the Neighbourhood always checked on the height of trees and anything above roof-gutter height would be, without warning get cut down. Those suburban tree watchers always held a fear of bush fires. And in the early fifties, trees were actually shunned in many suburbs because of fear of fires. People put in rockeries because rocks don’t burn easily, neither do petunias or lawns. Lawns were safe and cement patios and concrete drive-ways really flourished in suburbia were I grew up in.

Our neighbour used to spend entire week-ends on his knees prying out unwanted bits of grass that did not conform to the ideal lawn.  I thought first he was praying and hoping for rain because apart from fear of bush-fires there were also long periods of droughts. It is odd, that now that am getting older those memories cling so assiduously and perniciously. Never mind, right now this is my best part of living yet, and most of all am busy creating lovely pleasurable memories. It is just that the past is also giving me so much to reflect upon, and reflecting during Covid and Lock Downs is a luxury we better get used to. It is the perfect way of whiling time, as is walking around admiring the free spirits of trees.

The indomitable Ficus Lyrata,

November 8, 2021

We have for many years been growing a Ficus which we managed to always take with us after every move to a new dwelling. However, it now seems to really have founds its true home as far as its phenomenal growing speed.

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The above photo shows it has a rather slim base, nothing like a tree that it is now threatening to become. It has crept up the stairway towards the upper story where my bedroom is.

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If you look closely you might see the tape and metal staples whereby I am trying to restrain this ficus from reclaiming my house. The speed of its growth worries me and at night I can actually hear it trying to break out of its confining tape. Of course, I like this plant and I know it has become one of the most desirable indoor plants in the world. I am just afraid that it will finally close the stairs and prevent me from my bedroom.

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Here you can see how this plant is growing well into the stairwell and is aiming for my bedroom. I have to genuflect in a servile manner each time I go upstairs to get past this Ficus Lyrata. My knees are not so pliant as they used to be. I am inclined to ask my Shire for a special parking permit or disability permit all due to this Ficus. Next it might attract snakes or reptiles,

Who knows?

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I don’t know what the answer is. Should I try and grow it along the ceiling downstairs or get another way to upstairs? A ladder outside maybe, climb through the window?

Who knows? 

The escapist Bently.

August 16, 2021

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At no stage of my life have I so been involved with dogs. We all know that dogs are men’s best friend but I had my doubts with Buddy who really tested my patience. He was a prolific pooper and nothing I did worked, no treats or rewards, kind words or soft patting. He would just insist my place was his toilet. Just to twinge your memory, the photo below is Buddy.  He looks very charming and in a way he was but in my eighties now, I just wasn’t fit enough to follow his trail and clean after him throughout the house, both downstairs and upstairs…and during the night! 


Buddy thinking about where to drop his next poo.

The previous owners came and picked up Buddy and admitted they had the same problem. Still, Buddy greeted his old owners enthusiastically, madly wagging his tail. Curiously, he only moved a few doors up around the corner from a large medical center, now being used as a hub for Covid 19 vaccinations with traffic being directed by two people in Fluro jackets wearing masks and strong boots.

But let’s now talk about my latest dog Bentley. He is a Tibetan-Spaniel terrier with no problems as yet except that he wants to escape all the time. Not much is known about him. He is micro chipped and has a name and number. He was surrendered that day to the Local Shire council dog rescue depot and although recognizable as a dog, his long coat  had lumps of vegetation and burrs and bush stuck to him, it was pitiable. All around his ears, his tail, and  around his body. The coat was matted and beyond a layman’s skill, perhaps a hairdresser or groomer, even then? I decided to take him to the local vet, to get him checked and tidied up.

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The vet thought that Bentley might have been sleeping rough in the bush or underneath railway bridges. His coat had so much dirt stuck to him that it must have been a while since he actually had a caring home. He also came with a warning that he had a habit of escaping and that he could only survive in a secure place, well fenced off and to not underestimate his skill in escaping. ‘He can even climb wire fences’, I was told by the girl who handed me Bentley from the dog pound. I assured her that both my front yard and back garden had secure solid fences over 6ft high.

Little did I know!

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Bentley plotting his next escape.

It might well be that his rough sleeping gave him survival skills usually not found amongst the canines treated and brought up as pets. They are given their food and water unasked or in most cases unearned. I mean, take Buddy, he still had juicy morsels of fillet, salmon (skin on), clean water and nice bedding upstairs next to my bed. And, yet he did poo relentlessly.

Anyway, Bentley might well have been a kind of troubadour or vagabond previously, and honed his skills in avoiding capture, who knows. He is street-wise and knows the world. He did escape the first day, and boy did I chase him. He is also the sweetest and most amusing dog, very clever and so far no toilet inside, except the first day doing a bit of marking here and there including the book case.  Who doesn’t?

I think I have him for good now. Nice name too, Bentley.


This chair. This lovely chair.

November 2, 2015

This chair.

This chair.

We have decided to give our old and trusted chair a place in the sun. Back in the days of living in Holland, painting clock dials,  and having very young children, we bought an old Saxon farm house that dated back to the sixteen hundreds. It was so old it had a National Trust preservation certification. The man who sold us the farm had fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters. He used the farm as a holiday place and had it filled with not only the sound of many children but also many old pieces of furniture. They were mainly patched up old farm furniture.

Some would call those pieces ‘antique’, especially the armoires, but we prefer the term ‘old’. As part of the sale and a quick settlement he decided to include most of the old furniture. It also included old kerosene lights that used to be lowered from the ceilings for lighting by the counterweighed use of heavy steel balls. Perhaps they might have used candles in them as well.


When we decided to go back to Australia and after finding out that return visas had expired we had to go through the whole process of re-migration. In our favour was that our three Australian born children had Australian nationality as well as Dutch. A jovial Australian consular official put the stamp of approval within minutes and wished us luck. A nice bloke! Immigration officials now are of a different breed and are more likely to call in the black-shirted Border Control force, possibly with guns drawn.

We had all this old furniture packed in two large wooden crates back in 1976. It included most furniture that we still use today. Alas, and sadly so, one of the old wicker chairs had to be retired. When I think how our children and us and many others have had the joy and generosity of this chair, we do not have it within us to now carelessly dump it on Shire’s rubbish heap.  It would be cruel if not wantonly insensitive to leave it to its fate and get murdered and crushed by a large bulldozer.


We have decided to give it a rest in our front yard. It sits there now all bleached and worn looking, and next to the gas meter. I hope it doesn’t mind! In time this lovely chair might well be given its final rest and get reclaimed by the garden. In the meantime, it gets the afternoon sun but is also shaded by the Hebes when it gets the summer heat. I can’t but almost shed a tear when I think how much comfort and joy this lovely chair has given us.

This lovely chair. Thank you.