THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE FOR A WEDDING

The bells were certainly ringing for this happy couple who were recently married in the Marble Hall at the Mirabell Palace Salzburg,  Austria.

The Marble Hall is one of the most magnificent halls in all of Europe and it doesn’t take more than an instant to fall in love with the setting and become enchanted with the bride and the romance of the moment.

It’s such a wonderful setting for a dream wedding. The gardens, in front of the palace, are  perfect  for wedding photographs and are where the von Trapp children sang “Do-Re-Mi” in the Sound of Music.

Life is too short not to love.

WINTER WITH MY NEW BEST FRIEND

 

The world of birds with its endless variety of colors, shapes, sizes, sounds and movement has long been a fascination of mine.

Maybe it’s that I’m an earthbound human creature and they can fly so they have freedom and the spirit of adventure on their wings.

They communicate in songs which I can’t understand, songs without words and yet musically enough for me to whistle along. All birds have character and a story they carry up into the clouds.

Small, swift, colorful and continuously screeching and chattering, my winter friend struts around like a pirate bird. He’s a Rainbow Lorikeet.

His head is deep dark blue, his bill bright red. His abdomen is painted violet-blue. The wings back and tail deep green. The chest is red with blue-black edging and splashes of yellow. He is a flying pallete perhaps the slab on which an artist might lay and mix their colours.

The lorikeets are daily visitors to my deck. They travel together in pairs and occasionally in a small group. They are aggressive when feeding on the packet mix I leave out and have become so used to humans they eat from my hand.

When researching parrots I came across this inventive site. POOPSUIT. Yes it’s a bird diaper

I love this little gem of promotional advice on the site which is not even seen on baby nappies.

“The Diaper should not be used unsupervised”

Have a look at the site and witness true Australian ingenuity.  As our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says we want a national culture of innovation and I think these people have delivered.

CROOKS STICK RANSOM NOTE ON CHOCOLATE FACTORY COMPUTERS “PUT THE CHOCOLATE IN THE BAG AND NOBODY GETS HURT”

Imagine life without chocolate. Forrest Gump’s mum said life is all about a box of chocolates and now it has been proven to be true

Those pesky Eastern Europeans have now used their ransomware to take control of the Cadbury chocolate factory in Tasmania, Australia.

The company has been forced to shut down their systems after being hit by ransomware. In mid-May 300,000 computers were hit by the virus known as WannaCry ransomware.

This attack appears similar this time taking out servers at Russia’s biggest oil company, disrupting operations at Ukrainian banks and shutting down computers at multinational shipping and advertising firms.

When you’re attacked this is what you see.

“If you see this text then your files are no longer accessible, because they have been encrypted,” the message reads.
“Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don’t waste your time.”
“Please follow the instructions: 1. Send $300 worth of Bitcoin to following address: 1Mz7153HMuxXTur2Rit78mGSdzaAtNbBWX.
“2. Send your Bitcoin wallet ID and personal installation key to e-mail wowsmith123456@posteo.net.
“If you already purchased your key, please enter it below.”

These ransomware guys are so polite and offer better customer support than most IT companies.

Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared cyber security “the new frontier of warfare.” No, Mister Prime Minister, it’s worse than that. When people from the other side of the world shut down the chocolate factory it’s a real Willy Wonka moment.

If you suffer a chocolate factory “cyber-attack” who do you call? I don’t know his name but I know he’s a Chocoholics Anonymous dropout, he never eats more chocolate than he can lift and his mantra is ‘Money talks but Chocolate sings!’ His weapon of choice, chocolate bullets

He is the Souperhero known as Chocolatier. And he’s the one you call.

He recently said “I’m not in it for the money like those ransom criminals ….but simply put..… everyone has a price, mine is chocolate!

His wife confided in me that she liked her men like her chocolate RICH! Well maybe her RICH male friends can take up a collection and free our chocolate forever.

The Chocolatier’s advice.

Before you open any attachment or click on links:

Check the sender’s address; avoid email overseas, e-mail addresses or domain names not known to you. Keep in mind, your friends or associate’s computer might have been infected with a virus and their e-mail may not be safe.
Check the subject; learn to recognise emails with no subject or keywords that are out of place.
Read the email; look for anything unusual.
Beware of any web links request sign-in with your username and password; Before open any web links, check the URL or web address, for example if you get an email from Ticketek, AGL, Australia Post, Commonwealth Bank…etc. But the link or URL indicates it may take you to another website then do not go there nor supply your login details.

Photo AAP

 

EZE YOURSELF INTO A MOMENT IN A FRENCH MEDIEVAL VILLAGE

SEAN B FRASER the Dolls Point Blogger.

We leave Villefranche-sur-Mer and continue on to our next stop which is the medieval village of Eze.

As we climb the Moyenne Corniche we have time for one last look at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

We are at the village of Eze and this is what it’s all about. This astonishing medieval village hovers on a rock terrace 429 meters high above the Mediterranean Sea and has a panorama that I imagine you would get from a lofty nest perched high on a precipitous landscape far above the surging waves below. The view leaves me breathless.

Eze is a typical French medieval village made up of narrow lanes and stone buildings which  capture the local heritage and history of centuries ago. It’s like an outdoor museum, it’s so authentic.

For instance the oldest building in Eze is the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix and this dates back to 1306. Life back then was a bit harsh to…

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LONG SKINNY AND GREEN

I live in an apartment, so I don’t think much of grass. It’s just the green background to my busy life but as soon as I visit the countryside strange thoughts consume my mind.

Grasses have a very simple way of life. They just stand there drawing energy from the Sun enjoying a symbiotic relationship with the natural soil environment which teems with bacteria, fungus and earthworms.

I part the grass to see what’s beneath and lay my fingers upon a dusty heart. Thrusting up through the soil are countless blades that break into waves of greenness that spill across the paddocks. I can clearly hear the whisper of grow, grow, grow.

As autumn draws to an end the bureau says a couple of snow-bearing cold fronts are on the cards. As a natural response to protect its crowns from which grass blades grow the grass will become dormant. This death like state turns the grass a sleep-tinted gold which will last until it becomes green again in spring.

PARTLY CLOUDY

tides-out

The small fishing boat has pulled away from the shore. Two young women sit on the sand waiting. A dog chases the uncatchable.

It has been a hot and drowsy day, not a day for fishing and not a day for taking a walk along the bay.

The sky is grayer than the water and the tide is far out, as far as possible. The sea birds are aloft heading for their roost on Five Islands Nature Reserve off the Illawarra east coast.

ready-to-launch

A lone gull sits atop a pole waiting to launch into the light blue air.

COUNTRY DRIVEWAY

hidden-drive

The air is sunny and the chill wind of spring-time blows from behind. The traveller arrives at the long rural driveway and he knows he’s at home.

The dark arms of the trees form a circling overhead and the tree-tops meet and greet each other. Flowers and grass spring beneath their feet.Well-worn tracks lead out to the pasture slope and up to the white country home. The horses stand in wait at the pasture fence.

City life dilutes my blood and dulls my thinking but I get relief when I stop to hear the voice of the wind, the livestock and the birds. In the peace my memory stretches back to earlier years.

white-house

 

COUNTRY WALK

pond

While walking in the country side I came to a pond. It is nowhere near big enough to sail a yacht upon and is probably only five feet wide and twenty feet long.

The trees gloomy and green cast a still shadow and a dragonfly skitters across the water. The frogs call all day long hoping their croak will attract a partner. The black swamp wallaby drinks and grazes where clusters of the small yellow flowers grow.

It might be humble pond but it has a unique charm and when the light penetrates all the way to the bottom you can see the teeming variety of animals and plants. Rarely do they move to another pond as they never have the inclination to escape their world.

THE FENCE IS DOWN AND THE SHEEP HAVE RUN AWAY

broken-fence

The green grass in the paddock slides off into the blue sky. Sensing the fence is down the flock congregates. They bleat, grunt, and snort but are not sure of their next move.

Their natural inclination is to follow a leader but being sheep they don’t have leaders they are all followers. Then suddenly movement, and as one they run out into the sun lit paddock and head up the hill.

Shadows and dips in the ground caused them to hesitate for a moment but being a prey species, they once again run off like they’re fleeing the danger of an unseen hungry predator. The sheep have escaped.

THE CLOUDS COME ROLLING IN

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The southern tablelands were hit by a storm last night. The rain has rained all around. The trees are laden, the ground is soaked and the creek runs free.

Today the sun’s out and the clouds come rolling in. They stretch in a never-ending line towards the north.

fire

I stand in front of the softly burning fire and I talk to myself. I’ll soon be leaving the field behind for another day. It’s like leaving a longtime friend.

 

 

YELLOW DAFFODILS

 

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I  just noticed a flash of colour, bright yellow. Daffodil yellow.

These little flowers of friendship have sprung up under the protection of the silver birch trees in the area where the stream bubbles by the house.

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They are so beautiful among the greenest grass that has been seen for years thriving in the constant rain and sunshine weather cycle that is prevalent at this time of the year.

The gusty winds give them energy and they dance with joy against the backdrop of the blue sky.

 

I DREAMT MY WAY AROUND THE HARBOUR

city

Vivid, the festival of light is back on again.

It’s winter in  Sydney so it’s a bit chilly out on the Harbour but that’s the best way to see the show.

cruise ship

We caught one of the cruise boats from Darling Harbour sailing past Barangaroo Point, Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanic Gardens to catch the large-scale light projections.

 opera house

The sails of the Sydney Opera House create a canvas for a range of animated Australian Indigenous paintings of snakes and goannas that slither across the building.

aaa the quay 1

At Customs House a blue tongue lizard winds its way across the facade through landscapes inhabited by witches, wizards, gnomes, snakes and cockatoos.

blue bridge

 red bridge

rainbow bridge

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is bathed in blue, red and rainbow colours.

 luna park

Luna Park

aaa back at quay

I took the photos on my iPhone and they don’t do it justice. This is one event that you really have to be there to experience the inspiration and appreciate the creativity.

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LARRY’S NOT A LETTUCE HE’S A RUNAWAY LIZARD

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He was there one minute and then he was gone. I knew it would come to this sooner or later. Larry has run away from home.

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He was sitting on the bench and the moment I turned my back, like a lizard he slithered over the balcony and ran off down the street.

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There he is down there.

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I followed him to the bus stop and the poor bugger thought he was catching a bus to Miranda Fair Shopping Centre but unfortunately this route will take him to the Flemington Markets and that’s not going to be much chop for a poor old lettuce.

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We sat together for a while but didn’t say much . He was so unhappy. I promised to take him seriously and I let him know I was worried.

I asked what was upsetting him.  Apparently he feels he’s being bullied by some of the other foods in the kitchen. The other day the Bacon asked the Tomato

“What is a Honeymoon Salad?”

“I don’t know” replied the Tomato

“Lettuce alone, with no dressing!” said the Bacon and they both started laughing and Larry found this really hurtful.

I walked him back to the unit and with the tomato and the Bacon present we all had a discussion. They didn’t realize that they were being cruel. Eventually there were smiles all around and Larry even had a few jokes of his own.

“Why did the tomato go out with a prune?” He asked

“Because he couldn’t find a date!” was his answer.

We all politely laughed. But his best was this one.

A man goes to the Doctor with a piece of lettuce hanging out of his ear. “That looks nasty,” says the doctor. “Nasty?” replies the man, “this is just the tip of the iceberg!”

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I think that following our little happiness session things are better in the kitchen. We have found our flow and Larry is content to sit in the sun out on the balcony.

 

CROOKWELL GARDEN FESTIVAL

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Hundreds of visitors ambled through the tranquil beauty of the country gardens of Crookwell this weekend, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th October.

Having access to the  gardens was one thing but to be able to engage with the owners and creators was an added enrichment. There were eleven gardens open for inspection.

a splash of colour

My friends, Jan Pont and Marg Anderson,  owners of ‘Casa della Pace’ opened their garden and it was a joy to explore their creation.

An entrance gate leads from a stone-walled courtyard to the landscaped gardens.  A burst of colour greets you as the bulbs and perennials vie for your attention.

the tin flower

The next display to catch my attention was this stunningly breathtaking carpet of colour complete with the most exquisite whimsical ornamental bird.

color

Perennials are scattered about the garden adding splashes of colour.

walkway

The path takes you through the orchard and beneath the wisteria walk.

house

side of house

The locally sourced red basalt stone walls and path borders are a unique feature.

somewhere to sit

There is also an elegant garden room where you can relax.

The oval-shaped lawn at the lower level is surrounded by salvias, roses, valerian and native plants, providing colour, fragrance and nectar for the many birds that visit the garden.

Accommodation is available at ‘Casa della Pace’

PIPELINE CALENDARS GREY-HEADED FLYING-FOX

GHFF.Front Cover

This is the front cover of the 2016 Grey-headed flying-fox calendar.  It’s spectacular, in fact the calendar is full of stunning images.

The photo is by Ofer Levy  taken in Parramatta Park and is one of the best  shots of the Bat in flight.

We are raising funds to aid with the research of Australasian Bats. If you would like to  help the cause click over to Pipeline Calendars. ($5 from every sale goes to the research effort.)

ofer levy at work

Ofer Levy working. Picture: Cameron Richardson

A COASTAL BUSH WALK TO MERMAID INLET

SEAN B FRASER the Dolls Point Blogger.

The Giant's Sandwich The Giant’s Sandwich

Rock Sandwich Rock Sandwich

Some say the ice age left the shoreline looking like this, others say a tsunami over sixty metres in height washed over the headlands, but I believe a rock eating giant dropped his rock sandwiches as he was picnicking on the beach.

Mermaid's Inlet Mermaid’s Inlet

We are headed to Mermaid Inlet on the Beecroft Peninsula which is situated on the northern half of Jervis Bay. The southern point of Beecroft Peninsula is Point Perpendicular which sticks out into the Pacific Ocean and at the north western corner is the village of Currarong. It is from here that we set off on our bush walk.

Off we go Off we go

The shade of the trees The shade of the trees

coastal heath coastal heath

We walked through the sun and the breeze and got relief in the shade of the magnificent trees. Most of the walk passes through what I’d call coastal heath with areas of wildflowers.

Head hunter territory Head hunter territory

A head hunter A head…

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SWOOPING DOWN TO GET A DRINK

drinking bat

Photo by Ofer Levy

To drink, flying-foxes swoop down and dip their belly in the water. They then fly back to a tree and lick the water from their belly fur. I’m just excited and fascinated by the diversity of Australian wildlife.

We know they’re not really foxes but apparently when first discovered by Europeans it was thought their faces looked like the face of a fox and this is confusing because they are no relation to foxes at all.

We at Pipeline Calendars are pleased to have the opportunity to help raise funds for the research and conservation of Australasian bats. We decided to give a helping hand by producing a calendar which traces the year in the life of a Grey-headed flying-fox. It’s full of great information, fantastic photographs, a giant poster and fun things for the kids to do.

If you would like to help our cause click on over to the Pipeline web site and buy your copy of the 2016 Grey-headed flying-fox calendar. $5 from every sale goes to research.

A few of the things we learnt about flying foxes.

  • they are not foxes.
  • a bat is a flying mammal, not a bird.
  • they do not use sound, or, echolocation to find their way around.
  • they have excellent eyesight like ours in daylight they see better than we do at night.
  • they do not suck blood.

OH MAN WHAT’S HAPPENING HOUSEPLANTS HAVE RIGHTS TOO

full scale flower power

I woke up this morning to see these “flower power” guys protesting out on my deck. One of them was yelling “we know where you live” Apparently they didn’t like my last blog about their new-found friend Larry.

I didn’t know weeds had access to the internet, must be those little webs hidden in among their leaves. I’m going to find their spokesleafperson and give him a spray.

Cowards. They’ve sprinted off.

I’m giving in. It’s back to eating meat with chips

ring ring ring.

It’s my phone

“who’s that?” I ask.

“The Potato Union.”

” How did you get my number?”

“We heard it on the vine.”

“Are you with these guys?”

“No we’re a different branch.”

“Ok I’ll forget the chips. I’ll have a Vegemite sandwich instead.”

LARRY MY LETTUCE IS NOT AS DUMB AS I THINK HE IS

Larry

I’ve known Larry since he was a seedling. I’ve nurtured him like he was one of the family and although it’s true that I always planned to eat him that doesn’t excuse his current behaviour.

reading bench

With the onset of the warm weather Larry began to grow quickly and a week or so ago I inadvertently left a bottle of salad dressing on the table. Well by the next day his size had rapidly increased and he had befriended these two flower buddies.

the threeflowers

The three of them are as thick as a hedge and have taken over my reading bench. There’s hardly any room for me to rest my coffee when enjoying a book and I can feel them collectively waving their leafage at me. I feel intimidated, bullied and generally apprehensive.

When I sit in the lounge room enjoying a bit of television I know they are staring at me. As a result I’ve been forced to lock the balcony door and at night I leave the deck light on just to be safe.

He pretends he’s a flower and I reckon he probably thinks he’ll escape the salad bowl if he hangs around with these guys. I don’t get fooled that easy. I can tell green from blue and I know his frilly ruffled leaves are meant for munching.

Trying to see his side of the argument I went to the ultimate authority, yes Wikipedia, and as it turns out Larry the Lettuce isn’t as dumb as I thought he was. Apparently Larry the Lettuce is an annual plant of the daisy family. Yes a DAISY!!!

He’s doing my head in. Is he a flower or is he a meal?

GREY-HEADED FLYING-FOX GIVING BIRTH

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This is such a fantastic photo taken by Nick Edards. Pregnant females congregate in maternity camps a couple of weeks before giving birth around October and November after a six-month gestation period.

At the top of the picture you can see the baby flying-fox being born. Can you see its eyes are wide open?

GHFF.December 2

For the first few weeks of life females carry their young while they forage . In this photo taken by Ofer Levy you can see the baby flying-fox clinging onto its mother as she heads off searching for food.

Pipeline Calendars is giving a helping hand by producing a calendar which traces the year in the life of a Grey-headed flying-fox. It’s full of great information, fantastic photographs, a giant poster and fun things for the kids to do.

If you would like to help the cause click on over to the Pipeline web site and buy your copy of the 2016 Grey-headed flying-fox calendar. $5 from every sale goes to research.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BEGINNING OF SPRING AND THE END OF WINTER

springThe cream golden flowers of the Cootamundra wattle are nearly gone.  It is the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

Excitement comes to the garden when the Daffodils emerge from the soil to create a colourful floral performance against the back drop of the lush green grass.

Clusters of dark and light pink hyacinth flowers bloom around the feet of the beautiful birch who are displaying  their ornamental bark.

I’M A PENGUIN, I’M LITTLE AND I NEED YOUR HELP

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picture by Chris Charles

With their slate blue plumage, their little wings that have developed into flippers and their funny way of walking the Little Penguins have long been a novelty to humans. They are cute to see in the wild and they need our help.

My friend Michal Brenchley and myself have teamed up with ecologist Jacob Sife and some wonderful photographers to raise funds for the ongoing conservation effort of the colony at Manly by producing and selling a 2016 Penguin calendar. The calendar follows the year in the life of a penguin.

Recently in June 2015, 26 penguins from the Manly colony were killed and funds are needed to give continued protection. A fox believed responsible was eventually shot in the area and an autopsy is expected to prove or disprove its involvement.

The picture above is the one we used on the front cover of the calendar and it was taken by Chris Charles.  After being stuck on land and unable to hunt during the moult, the hungry Little Penguins head out to sea in search of plentiful feeding grounds of small fish, squid or krill.

You can help the fundraising efforts by purchasing a Penguin Pack which includes a 2016 Penguin calendar, a Penguin back pack and a penguin badge from the Pipeline Calendar online store at www.pipelinecalendars.com.au

SEE THAT MOON, LOOKS LIKE GOOD POTATO WEATHER.

sun set lets the moon arrive

The sun disappears so we can see the moon. The foxes are silent.

Crookwell Moon

Paddock Princesses spin their milk-white alpaca wool into a giant rounded orb that floats silently over the fence and across the field.The rays lick the grasses of the paddock.

The moon has a gentle influence on all that we do but as gentle as it is, it has the power to pull the ocean from coastline to coastline.

photos by Susan Reynolds Crookwell