A real spectacle

Just before opening time there is a tentative knock on the front door at work. Its someone bearing a box of frames to give to charity. Someone in the family has died, and an environmentally minded family member is kindly donating the frames. A deaf and mute man comes and collects them on behalf of Lions about once a month. He is the loveliest man but even more we all love the visit from his companion working dog, a supremely intelligent scruffy terrier that will just melt your heart and in fact this dog looks just like him:

Anyway, I dig into the box and out comes this frame:

I wave it at John my dispensing doyen colleague. “Silhouette 1143” he says confidently. He thinks he has the wisdom of age but he is a mere 60 years old. I am not so sure. “1162” I counter, competitively.

Turns out it is a 1163 so we are both half right but I am closer. This is a 40 year old frame.

By gosh, I wish I could remember my PIN as efficiently.

More on Doors

Fellow renovators will know you cannot please all the people all the time. The powers that be decided on a pink front door and after about 7 test pots of paint, this was the outcome.

Our friendly Neighbour, a 36 year old property developer with a laconic sense of humour, threatened to start a neighbourhood petition against our colour crime. The banter over the front fence as he set out on his evening walk with Jackson the brindle staffie on his leash and his delightful two year old daughter in the pram, went something like this…

“Your house is looking good but when are you going to paint your front door?”

“I have painted it”

“Yes, the primer coat, but have you chosen an actual colour?”

“Yes, this is it”

(Much head shaking, eye rolling and smiling disbelief in reply) “I will need to get that petition going…”

(needless to say, his wife said she liked the pink door)

Duck billed platypus

Not your average creature…

The Platypus Walk, Geeveston Tasmania: Mobile phone pic

These are really adorable creatures. We found a couple of them on the Platypus Walk along the Kermandie River in Geeveston, Tasmania. Patience and silence pays off. They tend to hang out in the hollowed out underwater banks on the edge of the river so don’t go standing too close to the edge. You may collapse their hideouts.

River bank, Kermandie River (mobile phone pic)

Watch for the bubbles as they fossick for crustaceans underwater, coming up for breath regularly, to dive back under with all the swift grace of a seal or an otter. This is a transfixing experience and an hour passes before you know it. They cover quite large areas in their fossicking, and are fairly solitary but not territorial.

The platypus is among nature’s most unlikely animals. In fact, the first scientists to examine a specimen believed they were the victims of a hoax. The animal is best described as a hodgepodge of more familiar species: the duck (bill and webbed feet), beaver (tail), and otter (body and fur). Males are also venomous. They have sharp stingers on the heels of their rear feet and can use them to deliver a strong toxic blow to any foe.

National Geographic
(Mobile phone pic)

Astonishing! And so cute.

Message on a bottle

Found on a beach near Dover, Southern Tasmania this week, this half of a broken bottle unexpectedly intrigued me. Neither a collector nor an expert, I was struck by the varying thickness of the glass and the fact that although it has the Hobart name embossed, it appears to have been made in St Helens, in the UK. Something made me want to find out a bit more.

The bottling company Cannington Shaw had been established around 1866. I have also learned that bottle making had been going on in the St Helens area (that’s somewhere between Liverpool and Manchester) since the 1750’s.

Bottles similar to this have been dated around 1890 but the embossing and the base marks do differ. The completion of the embossed wording has been based on one or two examples of similar bottles I have found on the net.

I found the following website: https://shadowsandlightsthelens.wordpress.com/friends-of-cannington-shaw/

And also https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/heritage-at-risk/search-register/list-entry/48565

The captions below represent what I have made of the embossed lettering on the glass.








Anyhow, a day later at the market my kind family bought me an (unbroken) bottle of a similar design but not as old and probably not manufactured at St Helens. So here’s what a whole one looks like, with the little “plug” or marble which originally sealed the neck

Brush Turkey relocates

Hermes the Brush Turkey

A few years ago, before our time, a famous local Brush Turkey decided to relocate his nest and one of our neighbours photographed the process to document his progress. Brush Turkeys attract wives by building large mounds of vegetation about one metre high. The object of his affection must have been hard to please because he was required to move the mound across the road, presumably to a more salubrious location . It took him quite a while. All the vegetative matter is shifted by means of a powerful backwards kicking action, so the process was achieved while permanently in reverse gear, one kick at a time.

Not sure how long it took him, but I hope Mrs Turkey was happy with the outcome.

Talk about Darby’s castle!


Cecil Darby loved his wife, and he laboured all his life,

To provide her with material possessions.

And he built for her a home of the finest wood and stone.

And the building soon became his sole obsession.

Chris Kristofferson


In 1980, around the age of 24, I found myself living in a 5 storey block of flats called Windorah down near Greyville Racecourse in Durban, South Africa. This was the first place that I could call my own, meaning I paid my own rent and took care of myself, after a fashion.

The origin of the name of the place “Windorah” remained a mystery but not something which ever taxed my brain. 40 years later, with a brain which is now easily taxed, I have learned that Windorah is a town in Western Queensland, named after the local Aboriginal word for “Big Fish” although other sources say it means “a rocky high place”. This place sometimes reports some of the hottest temperatures in the state with 42 to 48°C in January. In 2002 Windorah had 66mm of rain in the entire year (if I have read the record correctly).

Now I lie awake at night and wonder why this Durban builder should have called his newly built block of flats Windorah. He must have been an Aussie.

This is pukka outback.

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