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A promise of pink to come

Look at all those lovely hot pink flower buds!

I think this year is going to be rather spectacular for my cactus. It’s had a rough spell, what with being dropped, overwatered and infested with gnats, but now it appears to be very happy indeed. No drooping or pinched-looked leaves, and what looks like a bumper crop of flowers coming. You can see last year’s photos of the open flowers too. I admit the dominant colour in these photos is green, but I think the important colour is pink so will sneak this post into the end of Jude’s month of pink.

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Washing Lines 3: rubber gloves

I always smile when I see this photo.

What does “Happy Hour” mean to you? Reduced prices on wine and cocktails? Well, on the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s two tall ships, it means the hour spent each day cleaning the ship. You can imagine how many rubber gloves end up wet both inside and out! Here they are after a Happy Hour on Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean, 2004.

Monday Washing Lines

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Washing Lines 2: Nepal

I never found out what the very colourful (mostly vibrant pink!) cloth spread out to dry on the ground was. If you peer into the murk, you may just be able to make out another set of hills; and beyond that, up in the sky, you may, if your imagination runs that way, spot some snow-capped peaks. Due to dust, haze and pollution, March/April 2005 did not offer great views for our trek in the Himalayan foothills.

Monday Washing Lines

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Keeping out the cold

Quite an interesting look, but alas, all the eye sees is a muzzy grey-blue smudge of shapes.

I hate being cold, especially indoors. I lived in Canada until I was 29: yes, winters are below 0degC there, but every house and apartment has central heating, so you’re warm — often too warm — inside. In London, heating in my various rented apartments was dodgy; it would come on at odd hours (when cheapest for the landlord!) and often was wholly inadequate even when on. I remember one especially miserly landlord who loudly insisted an extra sweater would be fine, and forbade electric heaters (I ignored that rule, and moved out asap). And in Australia (Sydney, at least) central heating just doesn’t exist, despite it sometimes getting down to 5degC at night in winter. The combination of plug-in electric heaters (and the associated eye-watering electricity bills) and gappy windows is not a happy one.

We’ve just come out of an unseasonably early winter spell. Nights of 10degC outside — and mornings of 15-17degC inside my 1936-built apartment with its ill-fitting, thin-paned sash windows. I’ve put weather-stripping everywhere I could and stuffed rolled-up towels along the tops of the bottom sashes, which helps with the drafts but not the slow, insidious seeping-in of the cold.

Here, though, is the latest weapon in my war to keep warm indoors during winter: bubble wrap on the windows! The air bubbles act like insulation. All you do is spray water on the window and press the wrap on, bubbles facing the window. Amazingly, it seems to stay in place. You can’t see anything, of course, which could be a drawback.

And I do think those bubbles look rather blobby!

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Washing Lines 1: at sea

Hanging up the washing, Indian Ocean, somewhere between Durban and Mauritius.

On a long sailing voyage (this one was about five weeks long, from South Africa to India), clothes washing day for your group is keenly anticipated. You can hand-wash socks and, ahem, unmentionables, and drape them around the accommodation area to dry (such as my socks, in the feature photo) — but that can’t match clothes run through the washing machine and hung outside to dry in the sun and the clean fresh sea air.

Monday Washing Lines I’ve been seeing other bloggers’ posts for this challenge, but I thought I didn’t have any photos of drying laundry. Wrong!


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A walk around Scotland

The island is hard to distinguish, what with all these trees. Come in maybe 15% from each side and you should see a difference between foreground island and background forest.

Scotland Island, that is! It’s one of Sydney’s “hidden gems”; so hidden, in fact, that many residents have never even heard of it.

Where to find the island.

The island is accessible only with your own boat, or this rather cute ferry.

I stayed overnight at a B&B on the island recently. Once settled in, I headed off to walk around the island. It’s only about 1km in diameter, and the road that runs around the island is about 3km long. Don’t be fooled by the street names on this map; there isn’t a single street sign on the island!

The road is more like a bush track, but it made for good walking.

One thing that struck me is how close together the houses are.

You’d want to be on good terms with your neighbours, living so close to them!

Another thing I noticed is all the ****ed trees blocking the views! A glimpse of a view here and there, but mostly you’re looking at trees. I felt quite hemmed in.

Some of the houses nearest the water would have clear views, but not the ones higher up, tucked among the trees.

For example, this is the view from my room at the B&B: nice trees.

Considering all those trees, and how close together the buildings are, fire is a real concern. I spotted a number of these little fire service depots along the road, plus there is a real station.

A reassuring sight.

I think the only real vehicles belong to the fire service, but I did see a number of golf carts as transport.

This cart has seen better days!

Every house has a water tank or two. According to my hosts, the tanks are the main water supply on the island: no rain equals no water, in which case it must be brought from the mainland. In my best city-dweller manner (and remembering the glasses I’d guzzled in my room), I exclaimed, aghast, “You don’t drink it, surely?” They filter it, both with something mechanical and also with a laser filter (“like they have in hospitals and kindergartens”, she said; I’d never heard of such a thing) — oh well, I’m still here to tell the tale, and I must say the water had a nice taste!

This house needs some attention! Yet you can see the TV antenna and the electricity wire, so presumably it was occupied fairly recently.

Quite a contrast to other houses, prices for which exceed $1m.

I laughed when I spotted this street library housed in a old fridge.

More books are available at this ferry wharf.

Whatever was being given away here seems to have been popular.

If you keep an eye out, you’ll spot a number of curious objects along the way.

Another glimpse of a view, blocked by more trees.

Flowers everywhere!

These people are ready for winter with their stockpile of firewood.

A variety of house number styles.

And here we are at the highest point on Scotland Island, some 100m above sea level. There are some very steep roads on this island. 😦

A lovely, peaceful spot — from which to admire the trees.

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walk.


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