Category Archives: Camera Rambles
Photos I’ve taken hither and thither
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 9
You’ll never guess what I did today…
Woke up, beautiful day. There’s something about sunshine that triggers my inner painter, like I’m a painting zombie or something. Tried. To. Resist.
Nope, didn’t work. I don’t even like painting that much. I just like the results. It’s very rare that you can get something out of the cupboard, or whatever, and just slap paint on, isn’t it? Never works like that, does it? “Won’t take long” she says. “Just a quick sand” she says. I HATE sanding. But I hate it even more when my careful paintjob falls off, so I gritted my teeth (painful pun, I know) and got on with it. Screech screech screech screech. Urrggghhhh. Kill me now.
The third most hated job – masking off. I just want to put the paint on already!! The second most hated job being scraping the paint off places it shouldn’t be because you couldn’t be bothered with masking tape. “I’ll just paint really carefully.” And the Universe laughs… Evil.
So here we go, doors duly sanded, wiped and masked off. I’m such a good little hobbit.
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 8
An ambush of avians and a hobbit does battle with hardware.
No bagpiper this morning. Nor has Smudge Friday been using the portal. I think she’s onto me being onto her.
She did, however, lay a cunning ambush for the fig-foraging avians. This is the view out my bedroom window (pardon the blur). To the left is the fig tree and in the bottom right-hand corner, if you squint a bit, is the wee hairy trapper in action. I think they’re supposed to fly into her mouth or something. Not sure if any of the birds actually got the memo. Here’s something that keeps us amused – she hasn’t clicked onto the fact we have a driveway alarm, and every time she wanders up the driveway, she sets it off. Then we go out and call her back. She ends up walking back, looking all befuddled about how we know what she’s up to. Rinse and repeat. Bwahahaha.
Today’s mission was to install all the hardware I’ve had sitting around. Being a hobbit, I’m never quite tall enough to reach comfortably with my screwdriver. Then when I stand on something, I’m too tall and have to do it with a crick in my neck. Dear Universe: just another four inches of leg would have been nice. And while we’re on the subject, what’s with putting the tall people in front of me every time I go to the movies?? Yeah, real funny.
The operating theatre, with the assistant having smoko in the background.
Oh, and I also put contact film on the glass doors to help strengthen the glass a little bit. Don’t judge, it was my first time. What a bluddy performance! It’s like playing with flypaper! Of course, I ran out of the very expensive contact film way before I could complete the job. But at $20 a roll, I need to apply for a loan before I can finish the job, then wait until Lockdown is over to go and throw that money at some more rolls. The quarantine conundrum. Both sets of French doors have old, thinner glass in them, so I’m trying to come up with ways to make them a bit safer with what I have around me. The perfect opportunity for some Kiwi ingenuity. I’ll think of something.
The thing with a lot of the hardware is, there’s a rolling door between the two sheds. So when the door is closed, the French doors hook onto one place, then when it’s open, they hook onto a different place. This is my punishment for using scrounged up joinery to put in the sheds, and getting doors that all interfere with each other. However, there is now a system in place and all is right with the world.
Being able to roll the door back makes for a nice little secret garden area out behind the sheds. It just adds that je ne sais quoi pas to the whole setup, don’tcha think?
Ze doors closed and ze wind blocked, along with ze mess I was making today.
After that, because my life is that riveting, I peeled stickers off the back of the door and here’s a picture of it. Yes, I can hear you quivering with excitement about it all. These doors used to be in a school. Can you tell?
More stickers. More excitement. Try to contain yourselves.
Oh, and here’s a handy hint: If you happen to be in the market for a window scraper, don’t buy a cheap one. Like I did. Because I’m Scottish. And it always blows back on me, my miserliness. I’ll learn one day. Yessir I will. Oooh look, a bargain…
Finally now, I can employ some of the hardware I installed to lock my doors. Ain’t no sucker going to get into this one!!
The other padlock – a scorpion. Complete with a hobbit-infused bugger-off-and-get-your-own-stuff spell. Part of a collection I hauled back from India in 2005. I literally got kicked out of India after the security lady at the airport got sick of me beeping every time she scanned me, ‘cos I wore lots of pocketed clothing and stuffed every nook and cranny possible with metal stuff to avoid my luggage being overweight. Her final words were “Oh my God, get out!!!” I thought about asking her which god, as there are thousands in India, but then I thought the better of it and scarpered. It’s taken a decade or so, but I knew this stuff would come in handy one day.
And finally, at the day’s end, this is why the swingseat is parked on the deck where it is – so I can watch the moon rise. What a loverly way to end the day. Along with wine, naturally.
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 7
Fig tree shenanigans and a Gas Station angel.
This morning I duly donned my rubber gloves (it’s the fashion you know, darlink) and ventured out to the supermarket. There was a long line of people outside, but most were happily chatting. Many commented that they’d never been so damned happy to get out and go shopping! I had to laugh when I got inside. Who knew how difficult it would be to keep away from other people in a supermarket aisle?? Inside my head a song started to come into being, to the tune of Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show (you gotta sing it in your head – this is the audience participation bit):
“It’s just a sweep to the left
And then a veer to the right
With your gloves on your hands
Keep your shoulders in tight
Yeah there’s the 2-metre rule
So you just keep to your lane
Let’s do the trolley dance again
Let’s do the trolley again.”
Sheesh, I obviously have a bad case of quarantine brain!
I also went to the gas station, where we obediently stayed on our lines when we went to pay. A woman accidentally gave the window-pay-slot lady my pump number instead of hers, and got charged for my gas. And then she said to me “Don’t worry about it – it’s your lucky day. I’ll pay for yours. My mistake.” What a lovely thing to say! I didn’t let her, of course, and insisted the pay-slot lady sort it out, but I was blown away by this woman’s generosity and cheerfulness. Totally made my day! She’s a blimmin’ angel, that girl!
When Smudge Friday and I wake up, we look out the window together and check out bird t.v. At the moment, the fig tree leaning over our fence from the neighbour’s place is full of ripe figs. The birds are loving it! And it would appear that there is a system in place for fig foraging. First, the mynahs arrived. They stay on the outer perimeter of the tree and move around a lot, and are not at all shy about scoffing. Then they leave and the thrushes and sparrows move in. They go further into the tree and stay put while having breakfast. After that the starlings come along, and one sits on the neighbours t.v. aerial on guard duty while the rest of them delicately nibble on their share. Who knew they had it all worked out? I’ll watch again tomorrow morning and see if they do it in the same order. There’s another fig tree leaning over from another neighbour’s place, but apparently that belongs to the Tuis. End of story. Tuis are beautiful, but they’re also pretty staunch, so don’t y’all be messing with their territory! They’ll bite off your face!!
Aaaaaand, then it was back to painting.
And scraping more old paint off these things. Erk! However, it has been worth the effort, as they came out rather nicely with a dash of black paint.
Things are starting to look more lived in at the sheds. Plants are creeping onto the verandah, the swingseat has claimed its place and then there’s the sculpture…
Ta da!! This is Peter’s “Found Stuff Water Holding Combination Sculpture.” Pretty nifty aye? He has a bit of a nack for putting random things together in a way I never would have thought of. A lot of stuff that would otherwise go to the dump gets repurposed around here, thanks to him. He’s sort of like the Salvador Dali of 3-D art, but without the weird moustache.
Finally, Smudge Friday signalled that it was the end of another day, and so I downed paintbrushes and gladly clocked out. Because…
Yeah. What he said!
Oh yeah. Come to Mama, you cheeky little wine bottle.
Note the pinky finger. ‘Cos I’m couth like that. Welcome to the evening of Day 7. *clink
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 6
The bagpiper is alive! And a spider alarm goes off early this morning.
The bagpiper was playing again this morning. I’m so glad to know he’s alive! I’m thinking maybe he and his wife have an agreement – he agrees to only play every third day, and she agrees to feed him.
I was woken at dark a.m. this morning by a spider walking across the palm of my hand. It felt like it was about the size of Jason Momoa. I disinvited him from my person immediately, and heard him thud on the floor. So he weren’t no lightweight! I had to wonder if it was Bruce, the guy who lives in my ceiling. Smudge Friday slept on, unconcerned that her flatmate was potentially being sized up for an arachnid dinner. That does it – she’s getting one less cat bickie today!
I thought I had finished painting all my boards, then I found this. Hiding in plain sight. How in the heck did I miss it???
So another painting day it became. This schooldesk I got at the recycling centre is DEFINITELY getting painted!!
Other bits I dug out for a recoat. Of course I decided to wirebrush them and paint rust convertor on them first, ‘cos I’ve got nothing better to do, right?? Oh, hang on…
In case you were ever wondering, this is what the inside of a lantern looks like.
Some frilly cast iron bits I bought months ago at a second-hand shop. At first they were in for a casual wire-brushing, but then muggins here decided to get all the old paint off, didn’t I? What an idiot! Three painful hours of scraping with a flat-blade screwdriver, and I’m almost there. Another couple of days should do it.
Them’s working hands. They’re now holding up a glass of wine. They’re versatile like that.
Later on, Smudge Friday has a crack at getting the last of the evening sun.
She has an audience. Again…
And finally she turns her back on the despised backyard paparazzi. Oh well, that’ll learn her for not rescuing me from the 10-foot mankilling spider this morning.
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 5
Repurposing and gravitational experiments, and the neighbours have hours of fun on their motorbike, bless them.
Did even more painting today. All duly inspected by the local official. I’m not in the slightest bit bored yet. So far, so good. For the record, a tablespoon of paint contains 295.74 drops of paint.
We turned the lawn into a wrecker’s yard and dismantled a couple of micathermic heaters in the name of repurposing and lateral thinking. “If they were alive, they wouldn’t be very ‘ealthy.”
This is the repurposing idea for the grills off the front – safety grills for glass doors instead.
Also duly inspected by the local official.
Combined gravitational and repurposing experiment #2: tacking my lovely wool insulation to the ceiling with strapping from pallets and cartons. Hopefully it stays up there until the lining is on. I swallowed a fair amount of wool putting that up there. Hopefully it doesn’t affect me. Baaaaa.
Smudge Friday has gone from being Beauty Queen of the Neighbourhood…
To being utterly sick of the local paparazzi.
Have spent several hours listening to one of the neighbours enjoying his little 2-stroke motorbike today. Bless his heart. Oh, good news! I found my slingshot…
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 4
The bagpiper is silent. WHY is he silent??
Got lots done today. Cleaned out a garden shed, painted some more boards and stuffed some insulation into a very difficult place. How on earth did I ever find the time to work??
Potential table legs?
Look and weep. What organisation, aye? Corrrrr!!!
Okay, so, I’m gonna need a little fortification before I tackle this next shed…
Insulation that I found in the now-impressively tidy shed. This is what got stuffed into the difficult place.
I then ended up talking to my tree-triffids. Why?
Because when I went to see Smudge Friday for a chat…
She told me she’s a cat an’ she don’t care.
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 2
In which I learn the art of drainage and find a mad fisherman in my garden.
Cobbled together with some gravel gathered from around the place and a few spare pavers. Why is my back hurting?
Went to check on the cat portal (still functioning) and found a madman fishing in my ponds!
Close-up – obviously deranged. Dangerous? Used zoom lens, just in case.
Whoops – sprung!
And off he goes! Obviously intimidated by the ferocious furry beast on the table.
Where did he come from?
Where is he going?
Tomorrow’s task – plan and potentially execute trip wires plus dig a strategically-placed large hole with spikes in the bottom. (Oh yay, more digging.) Count fish stock.
Covid Quarantine Kiwi Day 1 March 2020 New Zealand
In which I catch Smudge Friday blatantly using a portal to translocate from area to area – right on our property!
Day 1: While partaking my daily life-force liquid – known to most of mankind as “Coffee”, I noticed Smudge Friday acting suspiciously. You will see what I mean in this picture. Observe how she looks around, checking the way is clear.
It starts to look like she is preparing for some form of action.
Her look of intent deepens. As I watch on, unbeknown to her, as the Rolling Stones were playing in the background and she didn’t notice the camera noise, the most astonishing thing occurred right in front of me. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
See what I mean?? Look – no cat!! This can mean only one thing – Smudge Friday is in possession of the knowledge of a nearby portal. There is no other explanation!!
I leapt straight into action and raced around the section, to see if I could find the portal exit. And voila!! Here she was exiting over at the sandpile, and cooly strolling away.
A little later, while I casually pretended to nail a sausage to a tree, I saw her with that look of intent on her face again.
And there we are! Once again, the cat is suddenly nowhere in sight.
I unceremoniously strolled back over to the first portal, looking nonchalant so she didn’t catch on she was being followed, and lo and behold, there she was. Chilling out at the original portal. She then, of course, started to wash, as is a cat’s wont when wanting to look like an actual cat, but this warrants further observation on my behalf to see if I can catch her peeling off her cat suit and signalling to a UFO. If only I had the time to follow her around all day. Oh, wait…
Crocodiles, Mud Wars and Elephant Flatulence. Return to Elephant Family Sanctuary.
A couple of days ago I was lucky enough to return to Elephant Family Sanctuary, in the Maewang District of Chiang Mai. On this day it started raining just as we got to the camp, so things were done a little bit differently from my previous visit. Our lovely guide Cookie gave us a bit of a run down on elephants and safety around them, then we grabbed our feed bags and climbed the hill to load up on cucumbers. Once again our group was small – there were five of us – and we were joined by a likely couple of lads from London, upon who I directly lay the blame for the ensuing discussion on elephants and flatulence. You know who you are, Aziz and Shay. Continue reading