Just another tequila sunrise


There must be a price to pay for a balmy spring, tequila sunrises, arrays of visiting parrots  and the clear, bright colours of the nasturtiums in our garden. I can’t get enough of the scenes, sounds and scents of this Spring.

Maybe my sense of awe is exacerbated by the banality of the national news. Last night we were treated to some variety  from the usual house fire, convenience store robbery and road crash,  – a story on the condition of city roads, which required 86 000 potholes to be fixed last year!

Spice is also provided on occasion with the mandatory attempts at courthouses to get a response from head shaven, tattooed bikies … are you sorry for what you did?zenasturtiums

I suppose it is a reasonable counter to the 20 odd years sprinkled with bombs and bodies before I left Africa

This sort of karma thinking is unsettling. How can life be so good for me when there are people being washed away in South Australia, blown away in Syria and unable to get any money to buy necessities in Zimbabwe.

Ice cream anyone? I’m afraid there’s only vanilla…

Please let there be no payback – I’ve been a good boy, really!

Let us give thanks and praise.

The Death Of A Tree


When I see a tree cut down
whose life was not yet done
I look upon it with a frown
and then look at the sun.
For the sun that nurtured every limb
and every leafy branch
has one less tree to care for
that never had a chance
to say to man
‘Don’t cut me down.
Don’t let me die.
Don’t let the sap
within me dry.’

For every tree that’s been alive
that’s grown upon this earth
is a gift from nature to us all
that’s always known its worth.
The problem as I see it
is man who cannot see
just what it probably feels like?
To be the cut down tree.

It took less than 20 minutes. A man with an orange vest and a chain saw climbed the 30 foot tree next door and sawed it down into mulcher size portions. I heard it grinding up all the good green stuff.
I also heard a sunbird trilling shrilly in dismay. Two other birds whose names I didn’t know, had to veer off in disarray after flying up to land and take a rest at a familiar spot,  then found it gone.
Where will bluebird hide or the pheasant coucal skulk?
It was evergreen and bore delicate mauve trusses of flowers which attracted honeysuckers and lorikiets.  I regret I didn’t know its name.

Bike Rides in the ‘burbs

I have been riding bikes for a loong time. At age  14, when helmets were unheard of, I fell off my first bike and landed on my head causing concussion which kept me out of school for a week. .

As I get nearer 70 the involuntary dismounts are more frequent, as confidence, strength and timing dwindle. I fell off again today because I dithered about turning into a path and did so too slowly … so ooover the handlebars I went!

yellow-faced-whipsnakeEarlier I had swerved around a snake which fortunately also took rapid avoiding action – a yellow faced whip snake, I think.

When I was stationed in Mtoko, Zimbabwe, I usually cycled to work on my trusty old bike, riding home for lunch. As I returned one afternoon, I met a group of men who were talking and gesticulating excitedly as I passed thempuff-adder. I didn’t take much notice.  I rounded the bend, and saw a  puff adder writhing about in the dust right in front of me.

Like a jack in the box, I rolled backwards off the bike, which fell over the snake. The men had broken its back with stones and left it. I managed to retrieve my bike and put the snake out of its misery and dispose of the body, so no-one else would have a near heart attack. Fortunately my undignified tumble and twitchy actions thereafter were

Some time ago, I arose at a virtuous 5 a.m. to go on my early morning ride. It was still dark at that time with only a faint glow peeping over the horison. My headlight batteries were expiring so it only emitted a glimmer.
Through the houses onto the path  down a hill to the creek, round a curve to the bridge – a wooden footbridge about 6 feet wide … to be met by a dog, which I swerved around, then its master who I missed, then his other dog who I skilfully avoided, feeling pretty … until the third dog loomed smack in front  … whump!! .. dog over the side and me over the handlebars! Fortunately dog OK and me just shaken (not stirred) – reassured to see it trot off (Staffie X) – it was a neighbour from down the street.
Getting too old for falling off bikes!!
cycle crash.jpg



Birds in our Queensland garden

We live in the Redland shire, adjacent to Brisbane City, about 2 miles from the coast. We have just over 800 sq. m with 2 large jacaranda trees, a syringa, I think, some small as yet unidentified local trees, 2 large Delicious Monsters, 2 pawpaw paw trees and smaller shrubs, flowers and half a large granadilla vine. There is also a resident carpet python of over 2m in length, who we have not met, but know of him as he left us his old skin! Further evidence of his presence is the occasional heap of feathers, usually belonging to a dove.
I take great joy in watching the birds, who may well be fair weather friends. We  feed them daily with seed cakes and pieces of bread; strangely sought out by the honey eaters, as well as magpies and others.
This is the Australian Dove who feeds and is food in our garden!   

The Australian Pelican flies over occasionally – we love to see them on the water

The Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike is a shy visitor, who seems to just sit and watch

We have a family of Blue-faced Honeyeaters who are very noisy and quite nasty to a youngster who still has yellow eyes.

This is the juvenile Blue-faced Honey eater, waiting for a chance to have a nibble.

The Blue Indian Ringnecked Lovebird is an exotic escapee, who loves the seed we put out. Very pretty and quite tame; tolerated by the other birds so long as he is polite.

Galahs are common and are the Australian idiom for stupidity – they are a very pretty combination of pink & grey.

The Pheasant Coucal is a fierce bird – we saw one chase a Goanna (monitor lizard, like a leguaan) on Stradbroke island. It is the cousin of the Burchells Coucal (Reenvoel) in Africa

The Butcher Birds have loud trilling calls and whistles with an occasional cuckoo, cuckoo! There was a youngster about who used to take food from the hand, but was chased off by a dominant adult pair

The Crested Pigeon, which we call the kuifie duifie, lives here and struts and displays to just about anyone.

Crows patrol and hang around – some hate their noise, but we love

Figbirds love the syringa berries  

Indian Mynas are about, but not nearly as bossy as their African family.

Kookaburras pass through, staying for a day or 2, then move off

  Little Corellas fly over in flocks making harsh shrieks

Magpie Larks are sweet looking, tough individuals, who other birds don’t mess with. They patrol the lawn for snacks.

Magpies really do sing for their supper. If there is no bread in the basket or we are a bit late in the morning, they start shrieking and crooning in unison – quite entertaining. They are quite tame and come and sit on chair backs across the table from me, when I am eating on the verandah! We are very fond of them.
Noisy friarbirds are aptly named – they devour banksia flowers and shriekcroak their delight to all and sundry. 

The Noisy Miner birds visit in flocks to check out the scene but don’t linger – too much competition for food from bigger birds.
The Olive-backed Oriole is another lover of syringa berries. 

 A pair of Pale-headed Rosellas live in the neighbourhood and visit every now and then
Rainbow Lorikiets are nearly always there and are noisy and aggressive – only moving for crows and magpies. Amazing colours. 

The Spangled Drongo is a pretty bird with a sweet call – not as piercing as the early morning call of its African forktailed cousin.

The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is one of the most common birds about and frequently fly over, shrieking harshly.

 Willie Wagtail is a pretty bird, not quite as delicate and captivating as his kiwi cousin.

The other visitor we have flies in at night  but is not a bird. Flying Foxes are quite numerous and in some areas near roosts, fly over in thousands just after dark. They patrol at low height seeking fruit trees and make quite a noise when they squabble over fruit.