Birds at local Wetlands

One of the wetlands near my home in Melbourne’s west is dryer than usual at present, despite the large amount of rain we’ve had this summer as a result of the La Nina weather pattern. The wetlands were created when the housing estate I live in was developed and my understanding is that new developers in Melbourne are obligated to dedicate a certain amount of area for public use including open space, wetlands and parks.

I thin the bird at the front right of the photo above and in the following two photos is a cormorant of some type, although am not certain.

Perhaps because of the dryness there seem to be more birds there at present, although there are always seagulls (below).

The Swamphens (below) were so tame they walked up to me.

Australian Ibis (below) are also known as ‘Bin Chickens.’

Pacific Black Ducks (below).

I also saw three geese fly over, but wasn’t quick enough to get a photo. I’ve also seen pelicans, Rainbow Lorikeets and black swans at the wetlands, although there were none there this morning.

Custard Powder Cake


Custard Powder Cake is a super-easy to make, one bowl mixture made using ingredients I usually have in the pantry.

125 gm butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Cup caster sugar *

1 Cup Self Raising flour

3 tblspn custard powder

1/2 Cup milk

Melt the butter, then add all of the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat until they are well combined.

Pour the batter into a lined and greased cake tin. I used a square pan but a round tin would be fine.

Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for approximately 45 minutes (test the cake with a skewer to make sure it is cooked through).

*Mum made this recipe using white sugar instead of caster and said it was delicious, although I think the texture would be fluffier when caster sugar is used.



ANZAC Day 2020


ANZAC Day is arguably the most important day of the year for many Australians, the day we remember the Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in war. It is held on April 25, the anniversary of the day Australians and New Zealanders landed at the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey in 1915.

Usually ANZAC Day starts with a commemorative dawn service at the various Shrines of Remembrance across the country with local services held in communities across the country. There is a commemorative address, wreaths are laid, hymns sung, the Ode is recited, The Last Post is played, then there is a minute’s silence before New Zealand and Australia’s national anthems are played.

Later there are marches, egg and bacon breakfasts, two-up (a gambling game which can  only legally be played on ANZAC Day). The pubs do a roaring trade.

This year, we downloaded an app to stream the national service and went to the end of our driveway just before 6am for our own Light up the Driveway at Dawn service. Our candle flickered on the screen but the sound on the app didn’t work. We heard The Last Post and later the Reveille being played from someone else’s driveway service but we couldn’t see where the sound was coming from. Later we could see the lights of candles  coming from people standing at the end of their driveway further up our street. We waved our mobile devices to them so they could see our candles too.

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon (the Ode)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them

The following photo is looking down our nearest main road at the dawn breaking a few minutes after the ceremony ended.


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Teddy Bear Hunting has become a thing around my neighbourhood as we self-isolate during 2020 because of Covid-19. With playgrounds and parks shut, the idea is that children spot teddy bears at other people’s homes while they are out walking.


I laughed out loud when I spotted my first teddy bear on an early morning week and each subsequent bear (or stuffed animal) that I have spotted has brought me joy.


Some bears are shy and hard to find.


I’ve also spotted rabbits during my walks around the neighbourhood. Coming up to Easter, various Premiers of Australian states have put out formal communications to ease the minds of worried children to advise that the Easter Bunny is exempt from travel restrictions. Phew!!


Hey, hey, we’re the Monkeys!

Some bears (and their families) are taking holidays in their own front yards.


I spotted what I thought were two bears in a garden in the following photo, but I was wrong. Not sure if the people who live here are getting ready early for next Christmas or if they are complete slackers! Either way, the reindeer and toy soldier made me smile.


The signs are everywhere and are delightful.

Some bears are happiest when they are just hanging around…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are always around when something fun is happening.


The idea has come from a children’s book called We’re Going on A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.



Early Morning Walk

Rise and shine, everyone!


Working from home as part of Covid 19 social distancing measures means that I get to take an early morning walk around my neighbourhood at the time when I would usually be travelling on the train to my workplace in the Melbourne CBD.


These photos are taken at local wetlands (these were called swamps when I was growing up and we knew to look out for snakes when we were around them).

A twilight walk through my Melbourne suburb during Autumn


I’d like to show you my part of the world, which is a western suburb of Melbourne. I took the following photos at around 7pm during the middle of March which is autumn in Australia. The photo above was taken from a park near my home. I usually work in one of those buildings on the horizon but am presently working from home (social distancing).


My area is quite a new suburb and in Melbourne new estates are obligated to provide a certain amount of wetlands and parks.


The following photos are of flowering gums.

Spot the native bee in the photo below.


A wetland and a bird… I have no idea what the bird is, but the photo after this is of a magpie. I saw some rosellas too but wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of them.


Gum nuts from two different trees.

The next photo is of a native ground cover called pig-face which is a horrible name but these are beautiful when they are in flower.


Bottle brush.


Different barks, all Australian natives.

The following shrub is a Grevillea.


A few trees to finish off. There are more than 700 species of eucalyptus trees in the world, most of them in Australia. Most of these trees are in streets outside people’s homes.


Queenscliff Rod Run 2019



These photos are from the Saturday night cruise at the 2019 Queenscliff Rod Run. There were more entrants and people watching the cruise than I’ve ever seen before, maybe because it was such a beautiful evening, but also because the Geelong Street Rodders put on a great weekend.












The Victorian Police were popular with spectators who cheered and asked them to turn on the police car’s lights and sirens.




The Shane Magro Combo played rockabilly favourites.




This year’s entrant t-shirt design:






Victorian Hot Rod and Cool Rides Show 2019


The 54th Victorian Hot Rod Show was on over the Australia Day long weekend in January 2019 at the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne.


We arrived late in the afternoon, so only looked at the cars still parked outside.




He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers is crazy about T Buckets…

I’m always happy to see a Torana.




The Chev below had a camouflage paint job.







Singapore Noodles


2 packets wholegrain chicken noodles

3 Tablespoons olive oil

250gm bacon

1 onion, chopped

1 red capsicum, sliced thinly

1 Cup broccoli florets

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon curry powder

2 Cups carrots, thinly sliced

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

Coriander and lemon juice (to taste)

Cook noodles, stir through flavoring, then drain and set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of oil then cook bacon in a large frypan. Remove from heat and slice thinly. Cook eggs, then remove from heat and slice thinly. Cook onion, capsicum and carrots until soft.

Add remaining oil, mix curry powder with 3 teaspoons of water and add to pan.

Add noodles and remaining ingredients to pan and stir well.

Victoria Sponge Bites


I adapted a recipe for a large Victoria Sponge to make 24 muffin-sized cakes. Once they cooled down I split them in half to serve them with raspberry jam and cream.

The plate in the picture is one of Nanna J’s. (Notice the chip? She was known for breaking dishes…)

1 Cup caster sugar

200gm butter, softened

4 large eggs

1 1/2 Cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 Tablespoons milk

Raspberry jam and whipped cream

Heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.

Mix all ingredients using an electric mixer, then drop the batter into paper muffin pans.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The cakes are cooked when they spring back when touched gently on top.

Cool the cakes for a minute, then move to a rack to cool.

Once cooled, cut them in half and serve with jam and cream.

The recipe said these would keep for two days, but ours didn’t last that long!