Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let there be Light (Mk 2?)

I have phoned a local electrician for a quote to change all my halogen lights (there are 40 of them) to LED.  The third globe had gone to the great big generator in the sky; the first a transformer, the second I was actually able to change and the one I tried to change today I had great trouble getting back into the ceiling and I had bought the wrong sort anyway  -  I got the sort that are over the bench in the kitchen.  Coles didn't have any of the other sort.  So that light is still not working.  I had made myself a promise that when he next one went I would have them all changed and today I spat the dummy  -  it has to be done sometime so it might as well be now.

Parsifal is being a proper little house-cat at the moment, helping me cook, wash up, change the sheets on the bed and sweep the floors.  I have some photos and a nice one of Poppy who, being a princess, doesn't DO housework.  She is content to lap sit and yowl when things are not done to her liking, which is quite often.

Click on the picture to enlarge it

The wills which I ordered have not been processed yet.  I phoned the Probate Office yesterday and they are in a queue which is manned by volunteers so I have to take my turn.  My mail is going astray again so I was afraid that they had got lost but nothing has yet been taken out of my bank account.  That fact reassured me but I was afraid that I had filled in the forms wrongly or something and they had been binned.  Not so ... they will come eventually.

In the meantime I can entertain myself by making a start on the much-married Davies familywhich I shall try to get straight for posterity.

We start back at COTA next week.  Hopefully no-one will want to learn Windows 8 becaue I haven't properly got it straight in my mind yet and Surface doesn't have a Sim Card so internet will be an issue if people bring their own computers.  Oh, well!  I have a couple of how-to books.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The end of the world as we know it

Two days ago I did my first Beginners' Yoga Class which was rather gentle except for having to stretch my hamstrings far more than they wanted to be stretched.  I have bought myself a luggage strap and will work on them because my ambition now is to be able to do the splits, something which is probably very foolish at my age but it is something to work towards.

Himself has been here for a couple of sretching sessions.  He spends a lot of time hunched over a computer and has lost a lot of range of movement, especially in his hips and shoulders but he is willing and I am patient so hopefully things will improve.

This post is really just to see if it will post from Internet Explorer because I have had to use Firefox to post anything on this site but Firefox will not let me in today and it would be much easier if I could use IE.

It worked!!  But it had to think about it for a while.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where there's a Will ...

I have emailed off the forms needed to obtain the wills of my Great grandfather, my Grandfather and a Great aunt and Great uncle to try to sort out who owned what in 'Martin's Corner' at Balhannah.

The story is that my great grandfather bought the property with a view to breeding Shetland ponies (don't ask ... I can't imagine) and with that in mind he planted a great number of Scotch Thistles on the assumption that it was what the ponies liked to eat.  Whenever I went out walking around the property with my father he carried a mattock and dug them up as we came across them.

My Great grandfather was only 48 when he died and the five children were all very young  -  the twins were only one year old and my great aunt, the eldest, was only six or seven.

Interestingly enough, the part which my Uncle C. inherited and which was run as a dairy farm by Cousin R. was used by his mother to breed Shetland ponies at one stage.  With the musical houses which went on with that generation I suppose that it is possible that she planted the thistles  -  but they were all on the wrong part of the property so I can't really cast blame on her for that.

I have a feeling that Uncle D.'s share was incorporated in the dairy farm; I don't think that it was ever a part of the land which my grandfather inherited and farmed, along with the parts owned by the uncle and aunt whose wills I have ordered.

If I really want to wallow in masochism I can order the histories of the three properties (Plympton, Crafers and Balhannah) from the South Australian Lands Department ... but do I really want to know?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I've got the balls

This morning I decided that things had gone beyond a joke.  I have bought at least 18 ping-pong balls and numerous little rubber balls for the cats and I could not find a single one this morning so I went on a ball hunt.  I found 14 under the bookcase in my room which has a hollow base but is open at the back.  There were seven ping-pong balls and seven rubber balls and one of the kittens' fluffy balls.  A search of various corners turned up a couple more balls and we now have about 20 of them.  There are still some missing and unless they are under the washing machine (which I am NOT going to move) the rest have disappeared without a trace.  However, I have found a cheap source at the local sports shop so I am not too fussed.

The weather is hot and humid and up until now I have resisted turning on the A/C except in my bedroom at night but today is a bit much; there is a cyclone sitting out to sea to the north of us and another possibly forming so no relief for a while yet.

Techie will be back from his holidays tomorrow and I'll contact him to sort out the mail on my Surface tablet and get him to network all my computers, something which he didn't do when I moved here.  It has not been an issue but if the Surface is to work properly I need to be able to receive as well as send from my iinet account.  It DOES send, albeit reluctantly but persists in telling me that there has been no incoming mail for the past two weeks  -  which is rubbish.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The more I dig the more confused I become

Uncle D. owned a couple of acres of land at Bowral in New South Wales called Burn Brae;  his sister A., whom from all reports he had little contact with owned a house at Crafers in the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia, also called Burn Brae.  Since their father was Cornish and their mother was first generation Australian I googled the name to see if there was a connection anywhere; there wasn't ... so I turned to the archived newspapers yet again.

Burn Brae the house, far from being left to Great Aunt A. in her father's will as I had always been told, was owned by her sister-in-law J. M.  who put it on the market, along with two other houses, in 1936  -  there must have been some sort of financial crisis.  However, when her daughter, my cousin P. married in 1939 the house was still owned by Aunt J.. Just when Aunt A. took posession of it I don't know.

She, her mother M. B., and her brother Great Uncle R. previously lived at The Pines,  Plympton and I have a small snippet of memory of it  -  in  the tower room and finding child-sized cricket bats there.

The M. boys grew up at The Pines and yet, when the widowed M. M., née Tucker, married H. S. B. in 1891who was an executor of her late husband, John M.'s estate, an advertisement appeared in the newspaper on 19th February 1892 with a view to auctioning the whole contents of The Pines (including the horses) and putting the house out to rent; after which the B. couple,  the five M. children and a nurse, moved to England where my half-great uncle C. B. was born.

I had always assumed that The Pines belonged to my great grandmother M. B. but if so when and where did my Aunt A. get the money to buy the house at Crafers from her sister-in-law, my Aunt J..

It needs a search of the title deeds to sort it out and from Western Australia it will be difficult and expensive so I'll probably never find out

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Easter already?

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany.

I popped down to Coles to buy a few things and  ... there are hot crossed buns for sale.  I suppose that there is no season for eating buns but it is only 6th January and it is far too early to be crossing them.

I have been playing with my MS Surface.  They do have some good games and I can now turn it on and off.  Off was the problem and not as simple as the other versions of Windows.  I can't see myself using the tablet as a proper computer but it is early days yet.

I decided on cold cucumber soup as a first course for lunch tomorrow as the weather is hot, still and humid.  I found a nice easy recipe on the web but it seemed far too bland so I threw in the juice of a lemon.  It really needs chilli but we are having a chicken tagine for the main course and one can overdo the chilli.  I'll let it sit for the minimum four hours which the recipe recommends and then try a dash of sherry if it needs a little something extra.

I have been reading up on Great, Great Uncle Charles and discovered that he spent some of his ill-gotten gains on shares in a mine at Balhannah (Where "the Martin Block" was located) called The Bird in Hand Goldmine.  Therefore it was a coincidence when I popped down to the grog shop for some rosé and found a pink wine called "The Bird in Hand".  Of course I had to buy it and will serve it tomorrow so I hope that it is not too awful.  I hadn't realised that there was now a winery at Woodside.  The area is on the edge of the Barossa Valley, of course, but it was mostly apples in my day.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I don't like Surface

Australia Post has failed to deliver the "How to ... " book on MS Surface and I have been trying to work it out myself.  I will say right now that I don't like it.

This morning Microsoft actually emailed me an internet site with some hints to get me started, something for which I had searched in vain since I collected the thing; it came with no instructions except to go online and get the instructions.  That is fine if you have another computer but if you are relying on Surface for help then you are going to have a very sorry time of it.

Anyway  -  the home page is set to which is not what I want at all.  I like Google because it is very fast loading and gives me an address field quickly.  I managed to make it give me little squares with a choice of which one I wanted but my modem didn't like that at all, sulked and had to be timelined.

Another non-plus is that Surface doesn't support POP3 and I can't set up my iinet email and I have only worked out how to use yahoo which seems to have become my default email service.

I am going to have to buy a wireless mouse because the touchpad doesn't seem to have left and right buttons.  Presumably I don't need them but I can't highlight anything at the moment. I am sure that there is a way but I haven't found it yet.

Maybe the book will arrive on Monday but Himself, Herself and Herself's brother are coming to lunch and will not appreciate me shutting myself into my study with my Surface.  Techie has promised to come and set it all up and connect it to the system but I'd like to suss it out myself if I can.  There is always the option of returning it to default and starting over again.

Suddenly my iPad is child's play.  Perhaps a time will come when Surface feels that way but I think that it is going to be a long way into the future.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It is marvelous what one reads in the newspaper

Now that Christmas is over and D1 has returned to Sydney I once again have time to research my family and I found this description of my first cousin twice removed, Frederick William Forwood, from a newspaper dated 1906:

. Forwood had only 1/ in his- possession. It is believed that he had been receiving remittances from Adelaide. The following description of F. W. For wood is taken from The Police' Gazette:— 'About 30 years of age. 5 ft. 5½ in. high, fair complexion, medium build, thin, fair moustache only, flushed checks, stoops when walking, peculiar walk, as with tender feet, generally wears fine serge suit and white straw hat, is addicted to drink, and is a heavy smoker of cigars; wears gold watchchain, gold locket with ruby in centre, ring with large diamond, and ring with three rubies: late customs agent at Port Adelaide. Offender left Port Adelaide on July 25 last, and was seen in Mel bourne three days later. Arrest very desirable. Expenses have been guaranteed for the extradition of offender from any State in the Commonwealth. A reward of £100 was offered by the Federal authorities in connection with the arrest of Forwood.

The mind boggles slightly at all that jewellery.  A very unprepossessing little man and very silly too  -  he received hardly any reward for helping his Uncle Charles, who grabbed most of the loot.

Freddie was arrested in New Zealand after a tip-off from his landlady's daughter but more of the story later when I have put it all in order and added it to the web hub.  I am using html but would never dare to publish it all on the internet  -  I think.  Maybe I'll change my mind but there are too many people who might read it and be upset. 

I have no qualms about publishing the description above; it is the public domain and anyone can go to the Trove website and find it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One year on ...

I collected my kittens exactly a year ago today and they have filled my life with love, joy and great amusement.

They are grown up now and Parsifal is quite a big cat; Poppy is petite and a bit prissy  -  a true girl.

As reported in various posts, I have had some problems with Parsifal and am still waiting for the animal behaviorist to get back to me.  As soon as normal life has resumed I will try to get hold of him again.  In the meanwhile I have this guide to consult.  I think that Parsifal has ever condition listed;  Poppy has the collapsing leg syndrome.

D1 came to stay for ten days and flew back to Sydney yesterday.  Driving to the airport was rather hazardous as the powers that be are digging up Great Eastern highway yet again and there were rubber bollards and cones for most of the way, which we all had to wind our way through at 40 KPH.  I had refused to drive the maze at night and D3 collected her on arrival.

Christmas was at my place this year and the kids, bless them, elected to have a sausage sizzle so we shut the doors, turned on the A/C and let the boys do the cooking on the balcony.  I made salads and the traditional trifle.  We have just weathered the longest, hottest heatwave for 70 years and today is the first time for a couple of weeks when I have turned off the cooling and opened the doors.

SIL installed a couple of cat flaps two days before Christmas  -  that was, at my request, the Vic park Christmas gift from the family.  It took the cats a couple of days to start using them but now there is no problem so I can leave the utility room open to the outside and with the cat-flap the cats have access to the balcony and I can turn on the air conditioning in the rest of the apartment.

I was going to try to take a photo of them for their anniversary but as soon as I went to get my camera they got off the white mattress cover and went to earth in their black-lined igloos where they are all but invisible.  I'll keep trying  -  but don't hold your breath.