Monday 27 February 2017

Monday Murals - The beast

Painted in April 2016, for Public Form 2016 at Curtin University, by Perth artist Hayley Welsh.
A lot of her murals feature this type of creature.
I managed to get there when she was halfway through her mural.

For other murals from around the world please click on this link.

Monday 20 February 2017

Monday Mural - Wrapped in flowers

Another mural I photographed when I visited Portugal in May 2016.
Painted by Argentinian artist Francisco Bosoletti for the first edition of Muraliza Cascais, in 2015, with a woman entwined in flowers and plants.
The mural can be found at Avenida do Ultramar, Cascais, (Overseas Avenue) on the side wall of the old Hospital.
The hospital was deactivated in 2010 and there are plans for it to be converted into a private Medical university.

For other murals from around the world please click on this link.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Hurray for Bus-Stop libraries

Last year I heard about this initiative that promotes reading by making books more accessible. 
Under the City of South Perth, they have 4 mini libraries set in bus-stops across the suburbs of Como and South Perth and I haven't been able to find out if other councils in Perth have joined this initiative. 
The initiative started on the 6th of January and will run until the 30th of June this year.

The books are donated by library patrons and by book stop users who are invited to "take a book and leave a book", and the bus-stop libraries get replenished weekly by library staff.

Readers can also register books they take at so that the books can be tracked from reader to reader thus connecting readers of the same book.

This type of informal libraries initiative is apparently happening in 132 countries around the world. How cool is that?

The bus-stop library shown in these photos is just a block away from my work place in Talbot Avenue, in the suburb of Como
I think I'll have to go through my huge bookshelf at home and get a few books I no longer want and leave them at this bus-stop.

What do you think of this initiative? Have you seen this type of thing in your country?

Monday 13 February 2017

Monday Murals - Rainbow tresses

Mural painted by Perth artist Paul Deej in building 106 at Curtin University on the wall of the university's hairdresser  "Fringe Benefits Hair Salon".
His trademark "black swan"  Western Australia's official animal emblem, is visible on the earring.
The narrow lane between the buildings had other murals but the shadows made it difficult to photograph them.

For other murals from around the world please follow this link.

Friday 10 February 2017

Chinese New Year celebrations in our neighbourhood

Sunday afternoon (5th Feb), my husband and I were sitting on the backyard patio reading the weekend newspaper when suddenly the sound of drums erupted!

After a couple of minutes I realized the sound was actually "Chinese drums" and we thought it could be coming from somewhere down the road.  After a few minutes I grabbed my camera and went out the front door to investigate what was happening. 
I saw dozens of cars in our usually very quiet street, parked on the verge of the park across the road from our house. When I looked down the street lots of people stood in the front yard of one of the houses and I walked towards it to see 2 Chinese lion dancers dancing to the sound of drums and a lot of the people watching were bearing gifts for the host.

When the Lion dance ended the guests were invited to go indoors and celebrate with some food.
It was interesting and even though I've been living here for almost 10 years it was the first time I saw this celebration in our street.

                                                              Lion dance video

On Thursday (9th Feb), our council, the City of Canning in conjunction with the Westfield Carousel shopping centre (not too far from my house) hosted an event to celebrate the Year of the Rooster
It was meant to be an outdoor event, but due to the unusual rainy day and the fact that it was actually quite a cold day too (in the supposedly hottest month of Summer), the event was moved indoors.

The event started at 4pm and ended at 9pm, but as I was working in the afternoon, I only managed to reach the shopping at about 6,30, but still saw the last 3 events that culminated with a magnificent show of Japanese drumming by "Taiko on Perth".

You can watch the videos I made, the Japanese drumming specially is worthwhile! 

Decorations in the shopping centre - top: the Rooster

Traditional Chinese Dancing
Japanese Drumming - Taiko on Perth

Animal figurines of the Chinese New Year

Video of the Japanese Drumming 


Wednesday 8 February 2017

Cats Weigh in - and the winner is...

You might remember when back in October I took Shelley to the vet, and he suggested I put her on a diet. As my other two cats were also on the heavy side, I decided to put all three on a diet, as it would be easier having them all eat the same food.

This was also part of a competition at the Lynwood veterinary clinic, to bring awareness of pet obesity. 
They started their diet on the 5th of October and I used to weigh them every 3 weeks at home, and would send an email to the vet clinic to update them on their progress. 

Eventually the competition came to an end and the vet nurse called me to ask if I would bring all 3 cats in for the official weigh-in. So on Wednesday 18th January I managed to take all three cats to the vet,  one by one, as they get very scared and stressed and just howl all the way there. I also only have 1 carry case, so it was easier to take one in, get the cat weighed, bring cat home, get the other one, etc, etc. Luckily the vet is just a 5 minute drive away!

So after 15 weeks of diet I can happily report that:
Shelley weighed 7,880kg at the start now weighs 6,700kg a loss of 1,180kg.
Fluffy (the ginger male) who was the heaviest at 8.05kg, now weighs 6,7kg, a loss of 1,550kg
and Twiggy weighed in at 7,00kg and now weighs 6.20kg, so a loss of 800gr only.
They still have another kilo to go, so the veterinary nurse reckons it could go until around May this year.

I have noticed one big change in Shelley too, who at her heaviest was unable to jump onto our bed, which is higher than normal, and now she can easily jump. 
She's also a lot more confident and is able to stand up to Fluffy when he bullies her, which is amazing. What a bit of weight loss can do to your confidence!!

Before:  From left to right - Shelley, Fluffy & Twiggy

After:From left to right -  a thinner Shelley, Fluffy & Twiggy

There was also a prize for the winning pet - a cat and a dog - that lost the most weight and guess what?  Fluffy was the overall cat winner!!

When I was told Fluffy was a highly contender for the prize I forgot to ask what it was, so I had to wait until the weigh in, when I was told that Fluffy was actually the winner in the cat section.

And what was the prize?  I was hoping my beautiful Fluffy would win me something like a round the world trip....half a million dollars....but no, he won a 3,5kg bag of Royal Canin weight management dry food. 
Oh well, I have to be happy, it's worth just over $50 and it saves me about 4 to 5 weeks on their food costs. 😉

And here is Fluffy with his prize!  😻                                                                

Fluffy with his weight loss prize

And on a sad note, today marks 2 years since we had to put our cat "Baby" to sleep due to her advanced liver cancer. She was the mother to one or two of our cats and a very loving cat.

Our "Baby cat"

Monday 6 February 2017

Monday Murals - Fishy business

These photos were taken in March last year in Queen Victoria street in North Fremantle.
The murals were painted by Indigenous local artist Herbert Marshall, on the front walls of Old Bridge Cellars. The Dhufish was painted in 2013 and the Blue Manna Crab and prawn were added later.

For other murals from around the world please click on this link.

Thursday 2 February 2017

A visit to a Wildlife Park

Of course I couldn't let my brother in law leave Australia without showing him some of the local fauna. Since the visit to the animal park in Wave Rock had been so disappointing I decided to take him to Caversham Wildlife Park, which is about 30min drive from where we live. The rest of the family weren't interested in the visit as they had been here before.

Entry fee of 28$ is probably not cheap , but you can spend as many hours as you wish in there and the park is well kept, the animals look well and the park staff is very friendly and knowledgeable.  Three times a day they have "meet and greet" shows with various native animals - "Meet the koalas", "Wombat & Friends", "Molly's farm", "Penguin show" and the open all hours "Kangaroo walk through".

Of course we could have visited Perth zoo - entry is $29 and you have the opportunity to see a lot of other non-Australian animals, but we wouldn't get the interaction with the animals that people get at this park.

Meet the koalas: 

Koalas are marsupials and live from 10 to 14 years, sleep about 18h a day, only eat eucalyptus leaves and drink no water, have poor eyesight but a good sense of smell and hearing. They have 2 thumbs and 3 fingers and are native to the East coast of Australia.
The females have a pouch and give birth to only 1 joey at a time, which only measures 2cm and spends the first 6 months in the pouch.
Their fur is very soft but they have a weird smell (maybe all those leaves they eat!)

My brother in law and I - we could only touch the back legs of the koala

Wombat & friends:

At this show a few keepers stood by their favourite animals, and as people walked along they could take photos of them, touch them, ask questions... of course the most popular was the wombat with a long row of people eagerly waiting to take a photo with him.

Wombats are also marsupials, native to the South east of Australia and Tasmania. 
They are very muscular with stubby legs and grow to about 1 metre in length and weigh up to 35kgs. They have large front teeth and powerful claws and in the wild they could attack humans if threatened. But when brought up in captivity they can be very docile and enjoy interaction with their owners. They live in burrows and eat grasses and roots.

This wombat looked very docile and used to all the fuss 

Other friends - Kookaburras and Tawny Frogmouth:

Here we also saw various birds, a snake (which I wouldn't touch!!), and other marsupials.
For the first time I saw the Blue-winged Kookaburra which is actually native to northern Australia and Southern New Guinea, but I was more familiar with the Laughing Kookaburra which I often see around some of Perth's neighbourhoods, but which is actually native to the East coast of Australia. Their call sounds like human laughter.

The Tawny Frogmouth (an owl like bird), are largely unseen during the day due to their motionless roosting and are mostly active at night when they hunt for insects and spiders.

Top: colourful birds, Tawny frogmouths. 
Bottom: Laughing kookaburra & blue winged kookaburra

Penguin show:

Little Penguins or Fairy penguins are the smallest of all 17 Penguin species,  and the only species that live in southern Australian waters.
They are about 43cm in height and weigh about 1,5kgs, eat fish, and their feathers provide waterproofing. They nest in rock crevices or burrows, lay 1 to 3 eggs which are incubated during 35 to 42 days by both parents.
There were only 3 penguins here and we watched one of the 3 daily shows but they were no longer too interested in the fish being thrown in the pool, as only 1 of them would dive in to eat, the other two just looked on.

One eats, the other two look on, probably already too full...

Kangaroo walk through:

This huge grassed area was full of various species of kangaroos and wallabies.
They move by hopping, have very strong hind legs and large feet and use their strong tail for balance when hopping and as a fifth member when moving on all four. They are herbivores, live in mobs with a dominant male who is usually the oldest and biggest and he is the only one who will mate with all the females.

In the photos you can see a couple of white kangaroos, but I forgot to ask if they are albino kangaroos or just a different species.

They were mainly lying down I think due to the heat of the day. There were buckets with food and you could feed them but not too many were interested. 
They just lay there very relaxed and I even tickled the belly and neck of the lonely one of the photo at the bottom. He seemed to enjoy it!

Relaxing in the shade - I ticked the belly and neck of the the one standing alone belly up

Dingos & Quokkas:

We only saw one Dingo, which is a wild dog, and he was lying in the shade, feeling the heat.
They weigh from 13 to 20kg and are up to 60cm high and they originally came from South East Asia.

Dingo sleeping

The Quokkas, are macropods (marsupials of the kangaroo family) the size of a small cat. They are also herbivorous and mainly night animals, weigh from 2,5 to 5kgs and are from 
40 to 54cm long.  
Mainly found in the small island of Rottnest just off the coast of Perth. 
When originally discovered by the Dutch mariners that landed on Rottnest Island, they were mistaken for giant rats, hence the island's name - "rattennest".
The word quokka derives from the Aboriginal Nyungar word "gwaga".
On the island they are very cheeky and ask people for food and are even know to steal food left outside the tents at the island's camping grounds.

The cheeky Quokkas

We didn't get to see the "Molly's farm show", but if you have small kids it's very interesting, as they get to see what farm life is like-sheep-sheering, feeding small farm animals, etc.

The entrance to the wildlife park
Outside a helicopter dropped new visitors - very fancy!

And here is an Australian nursery rhyme with the Kookaburra