Tag Archives: emu

It’s blowing a gale in Warrandyte!

I haven’t been checking the Bureau of Meterology website so I can’t tell you how fast the wind has been blowing, but some of the big gusts have been… scary.

I’ve actually had to close the fire resistant shutters on the north side of the house [wind direction] to protect the French doors from flying junk. Not so paranoid when you see the huge tree branch that landed in my fish pond. I dragged it out to save the fish, and so I could take some photos of it.

5 metre branch


I stuck my foot in the next photo to give you some perspective.

foot branch


I don’t have a Yeti sized foot, but that is still a thick bloody branch. The length is 5 and a bit metres, and it came from the top third of a gum tree.

When I built this house, I chose a spot that was lightly treed. After the 30/10* ruling came out I only had to chop down two trees, both within just 8 metres of the house.  Now I have close to 15 metres of defensible space around most of the house. That is one reason why that massive tree branch only made a mess of the fishpond.

Had that branch hit the house, it would have done some damage. Broken windows would have been the least of my worries. Something that big could have damaged the sprinkler system on the roof…

Had that branch hit the house during a bushfire, I doubt the house would still be standing. It’s simple really. The shell of a house can withstand quite a lot of fire… until something breaches its integrity – i.e. a broken window or a smashed roof. Once the embers can get inside it’s all over, because everything inside the house is going to be paper dry. Woosh!

And now to end on a happier note, I can finally show you that photo of an emu I took with my mobile phone. 😀



* after Black Saturday, and while the threat of further bushfires was still acute, the then Brumby government decreed that residents of fire prone areas would be entitled to cut down trees within 10 metres of the house. And clear scrub within 30 metres of the house. Without having to apply for and get a permit from their local Council. In Nillumbik, getting a permit to cut down a single tree is as likely as winning the lottery. I know, I’ve tried.

WARNING! multiple rants ahead

I thought I was going to have a great day today. I was looking forward to showing you some pictures of the pet emu wandering around Lavandula Farm [the setting for the wedding on the weekend]. I was particularly pleased with these photos as I’d taken them with my Samsung Galaxy S II mobile phone!

Before I go on I should explain that my daughter and I have had these phones for about 6 months now and neither of us knows how to use them properly. She knows the bare basics, but until the weekend, I didn’t even know how to answer an incoming call.

I can almost see the looks of horror and disbelief on your faces,  but you see,  I am used to buttons acting like buttons, and the important ones on this phone aren’t buttons at all. Just learning that was a huge breakthrough. I knew I was supposed to swipe the screen to answer a call, but I didn’t know I had to swipe across the buttons, instead of just swiping anywhere on the screen. So sometimes it worked, and most of the time it didn’t. And because I use the phone so rarely, I never had the opportunity to see a pattern emerging.

For those of you who haven’t experienced the joys of touch screen living, I found this youtube video that will show you what I mean.

Anyway, I have loathed this phone for 6 months and have used it [successfully] about three times. I rarely go out and when I do, the phone only comes with me  in case the car breaks down or something. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Twenty-six years ago I had a tiff with my husband. I waddled my 7 month pregnant body to the car and took off in a huff. It was about 9 o’clock at night and I was just driving aimlessly when… the car ran out of petrol. I was in some kind of industrial looking area and the only light I could see came from this house? warehouse? tucked behind huge wrought iron gates.

The gates were open so I walked in. I went around the back and found a guy working on a motorbike. I used to ride motorbikes, and I still love them, so we had a nice little conversation,  and then he very kindly let me use his phone to ring the Husband. All ended well, but I was never allowed to live down the fact I’d waddled into a Hell’s Angels club house by mistake.

So I’ve learned the value of having a mobile phone, but only for emergencies.  I don’t like chatting on my phone. I don’t listen to music on it. I don’t send emails on it. I don’t tweet on it, or look up restaurants, or check addresses. It’s… Just. A. Phone.

Getting back to my rant, a friend showed me how to use the camera function [and a heap of other functions] while we were waiting for the Bride to make her Grand Entrance. Like a kid with a new toy, I thought I’d finally found a use for The Beast!

Fast forward to this morning. I found the USB cord for the phone, hopped on the net and found some nice, detailed instructions on how to upload my lovely photos to the PC. Great, right? Wrong. None of the menu items in the instructions corresponded to the items on my menus. What the…?

Then I stumbled across another tip that said I could just email the photos to myself. So I found the email function on the phone and laboriously entered my email address and password into the app.

Now, I have small hands, okay? But I grew my nails for the wedding. Do you think I could key that stuff in properly? It was hell, especially the password. But I persevered. And then, when I finally got it right, something else turned out to be ‘wrong’. That was the point at which I gave up.

I hate this phone. I hate its user interface. I hate the assumption that everyone will be able to work it out ‘intuitively’. Hah. I hate the fact that things that look like buttons don’t work like buttons. I hate the lack of logic to it. I hate that I have to be shown how to do the simplest things like a child being taught how to use a spoon. And most of all I hate that this is the way of the future.

About ten years ago I owned a very, very small business teaching Baby Boomers how to use PC’s. So many of them had avoided learning computers in the 80’s and 90’s and now they were getting left further and further behind.

I told my clients the learning curve was worth it because it would give them mental freedom, and a sense of digital community even as time  stole their physical freedom.

I still believe in the power of the internet, and in the need to stay mentally fit and active, to learn and embrace new challenges. That is why I own this freakin’ mobile phone. I don’t want to become a little old lady who’s scared of new gadgets, and becomes horribly isolated because of that fear.

I am determined to master this phone of mine, and I will, eventually. But I am never going to stop hating it, or Apple for coming up with this monstrous innovation in the first place. It may be the way of the future, but I hate it.

I am not even a little bit happy at the moment. 😦


%d bloggers like this: