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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Birds in my garden and Loquat liqueur



We're halfway through Spring, with some warm days, a couple of very hot days and some rainy days in-between.

This year due to the early warm weather, our Loquat tree (also know as Chinese Plum or Japanese Plum) next to our driveway in our front garden was full of fruit, but we had lots of fruit fly too, which meant my husband removed and threw away a lot of the fruit.

I'm not a great fan of the fruit, and in our house only my husband eats eat, so we give most of the fruit to a couple of friends that love it. This year I also made a Loquat Liquour with the fruit, and another one with the Loquat pips.

We've also had  Rainbow Lorikeets picking on the fruit that is higher up in the tree, and they aren't at all scared of people, even when you shoo them away, they just carry on merrily eating away...The cheeky buggers! They feed on fruit and flower nectar, so it's no surprise.





We also get a lot of doves, but mainly in our back garden. 
There's a couple who seem to reside in the lemon tree. They had lost a little baby that fell from a very precarious nest during some high winds a couple of months ago, and then I hung an empty coir basket in the tree and now they seem to be using it as their nest. Very sweet!

They are quite curious when we're working in the garden and seem to stick around looking at us, although if we get too close they fly away...

Can you see the dove peeking through the lemon leaves?



The visiting Dove couple


















Another cute bird that visits our garden is the Willie Wagtail. This small bird wags the tail swinging from side to side as if dancing. They are very friendly, and they love to tease my cats and then fly away as soon as they see them moving...


















And of course I can't forget the Australian Magpie. We have lots of them in the park across the street, but they also come into our front garden. They are very territorial, but usually have a good relationship with humans. During their breeding season from August to October, they can become aggressive and are know to attack pedestrians and cyclists.
Just last week we heard kids screaming and came out to see some kids in the park  across the road being chased by the magpies. The postmen around Australia are frequent targets!

My cat "Fluffy" on top of the postbox looking at the Magpies in the driveway




I don't know the name of the birds in the photos below, but they're also frequent visitors of the lemon tree in the backyard.




Can you see the bird on a branch under the flower pots?








I wish you a wonderful weekend and leave you with the recipe of the Loquat liqueur I made just in case you happen to have some loquats around. 














Loquat Liqueur

1 kg loquats
4 or 5 lemons
700 gr sugar
1,8lt vodka

Wash fruit and dry with a cloth. Put whole fruit in a wide mouthed sterilised jar.
Peel lemons and remove the pith (white part) and pips. Cut lemons into into thin slices and add to jar. Add sugar and vodka to jar until all fruit is covered.
Close lid and keep in a cool  dark place for a minimum of 3 months. I've kept mine in the fridge.

You can then filter the liqueur onto another bottle and discard the fruit.
Serve cool.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Towards a vibrant Fremantle



On Friday 10th, we were invited to the inauguration of our friend's new small business opening at MANY6160 in Kings Square, Fremantle, just across from the City council.

One of the shop windows


Another one of the  shop windows


I must say that even though I do go to Fremantle every 3 or 4 months I had no idea this former Myer store, vacated last year, had been developed by Spacemarket into a modern hub for unique shopping, with small or new businesses that want to become known, but don't want to take a high risk or spend lots of money by setting up their own business.

On the ground floor you can find all sorts of small retailers selling from hats, vintage clothing, hand make children's clothes, leather shoes, belts and handbags, an hairdressing salon, a coffee shop, a hat shop, home-wares, beauty products, etc.

The basement and first floor is used by artists, sculptors, surf board makers, furniture makers, fashion designers, etc. Either their pieces are available for sale on the shop floor or you can commission them to create a piece for you.

The 4000 square metres rooftop area will be developed as an event space with an urban garden, a bar city city views, eating areas, and perhaps a rooftop cinema.

Apparently some businesses have done so well, that they have gone on to open their own private shops in Fremantle, which means that there are always new retailers.


Our friends little store is named Corker, selling ladies bags, wallets, umbrellas, aprons, sitting puffs, etc. The products are imported from Portugal and make of cork, therefore natural and earth friendly, as well as being quite beautiful and different.


A piece of natural cork (to the left of the vase) can be seen on the table





A variety of  cork bags in various colours and shapes


Don't you just love these Pouffs?





















As I walked around the shop floor looking at the wares of the various retailers  I came across artist Anya Brock's studio with her trademark colours, which are very much to my taste.
I have mentioned her before, as she was one of the artists at the Form Street Art Festival in April this year (read the article on the above link).


Anya Brock paintings








Another favourite retailer was Peaches and Clean, selling handmade soaps, skin and body care products and soy candles. I bought a Coconut and Lime candle that smells divine!





The floor managers are Kate and Matt from Kate and Abel, self-taught milliners who moved from the UK to Perth. They also run the Coffee shop.



There was live background music during the event that lasted from 6pm to 9pm, and each retailer had wine, beer and nibbles for their guests.




There was also a mobile Pizza oven just outside the main doors, and they seemed to be quite popular with the visiting crowd. The only complaint, would be that they only sold 2 types of pizza - vegetarian or meat (very little meat) pizza, but their thin crust was great!

I leave you with some more pictures of the event and if you ever go to Fremantle, pay MANY6160 a visit and support small business and crafts people.

The retailers are open to the public from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10AM to 5PM.


 

 
 This work of art at one of the entrances to the store, entitled "Chairheap" using old chairs was for sale, and the highest offer would receive it after the end of the exhibition.






As we went back to our car parked in the garage behind the MANY building I noticed this parking area and charging station for electrical vehicles, which I thought was very cool.
I have been told there are more in the city, but it was the first time I came across it.



(I forgot to take my camera, so all photos were taken with my mobile, hence the low quality)



Saturday, 4 October 2014

The new state of the art Hospital has opened


After a few costly delays, 10 years in the planning, and 5 years of construction at a cost of $2 billion Australian dollars, the biggest public hospital in Western Australia, and one of the best in Australia - Fiona Stanley Hospital  - was inaugurated this Saturday (4thOct 2014) and is set to transform health care in our State. 
The hospital grounds cover an area equivalent to 4 city blocks, has 3600 parking bays and 6300 rooms.



Named after Professor Fiona Stanley, a leading researcher into kids health and birth disorders such as cerebral palsy, Australian of the Year in 2003, founding Director of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research , she is a highly deserving person to receive this honour.

Prof. Fiona Stanley

The Rehabilitation Centre was the first department to open, with over 200 patients being transferred from the Shenton Park campus of Royal Perth Hospital, which will close after operating for 121 years, having started as a Tent hospital!

Other departments of the 783 bed facility will open in various phases until March 2015, with the Emergency Department opening on 3rd February 2015 with the closing of the Emergency Dept. at Fremantle Hospital.


The Pool of the Rehabilitation Centre

This state of the art hospital will have many features unavailable at other hospitals, such as-
82% of the wards will be single rooms with a window and bathroom facilities.

Each bed will have an entertainment unit, which can be used to watch TV, listen to Radio, make a video call and can be used by the Doctors to access the patient's medical files, x-rays or blood results. Patients will also be able to order their meals from the super-modern kitchen facility. 
Internet and games can be accessed on these units at a fee.
A behind the scenes tour of Fiona Stanley Hospital one week before it opens. Picture: Jus
The entertainment unit/patient's medical file

In the 40 bed Intensive Care Unit - ICU - instead of curtains separating the beds,there will be "smart glass" which turns opaque for privacy at a flick of a switch.
There is a courtyard which allows up to 2 patients to be treated outside! Imagine someone who is in hospital for a couple of days or weeks, I'm sure they would love to breath some fresh air and see the sunlight even though they are attached to some machines!

Outside in the ICU courtyard







A $450,000 children's playground in the rooftop is another great feature. It was donated by the builder (Brookfield Multiplex) and 35 of it's sub-contractors, and features colourful gardens, a wall mounted piano, binoculars and stainless steel mirrors. I'm sure it will be appreciated by the sick kids.







A fleet of 18 Automated guided vehicles (robots) will do most of the heavy jobs at the hospital, such as delivering meals and linen, collect waste, etc. 
It takes the machines 6 minutes from the kitchen to the wards, with the meals getting dropped into the service areas of each ward, and inserted into reheating units before being handed to patients.
The kitchen is expected to cater for 80 different diet types. Poor cooks and kitchen staff!!


An AGV robot

Various works of art are staggered through the gardens, creating reference points and also inviting patients and visitors to touch and discover.
One of the artworks in the Rehabilitation gardens - by Judith Forrest
Another piece of art in the garden - by Judith Forrest
This giant art work in the main lobby serves as a sitting area too




An artificial lake in the grounds of the hospital
Aerial view of the Hospital grounds

Fiona Stanley Hospital is located 15km from the Perth city centre in the suburb of Murdoch and 9km from Fremantle,  with easy access to the Kwinana Freeway and a short walk from Murdoch train/bus station and also located next to the Saint John of God, Murdoch Hospital (a private hospital) and Murdoch University.

WA Premier Colin Barnett Professor Fiona Stanley AC and Kim Hames MLA unveil a plaque at
At the official opening today - Prof Fiona Stanley and WA Premier Colin Barnett (left) and Health Minister for WA, Kim Hames (right)

I hope I don't have to use a hospital in the near future, but if I have I know I will be well looked after in this modern hospital, don't you think so?

* All photos used in this post were taken from the internet.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Kings Park Spring Festival 2014 - A guided visit in Portuguese


If you remember from the previous post about Kings Park, I mentioned that for the first time they had some foreign language visits scheduled. Today I joined the Portuguese guide plus seven other Portuguese and Brazilian nationals in front of "Aspects of Kings Park" this wonderful boutique next to the Information Centre.


"Aspects of Kings Park"


Our guide, Fernanda, talked to us about the Western Australian flora from the North to 4000km down to the South all compacted in a small area of Kings Park while we "travelled" through it in 1 hour.

I learned that Kings Park has 120 volunteer guides, that do guided walks with visitors, 
man the Information Centre or do other projects in the park. They have other volunteers that help with the gardens, weeding, seed collecting, etc, and anyone can join to help out
in various roles.


An artist's impression about the far reach of some roots  (painted on the grass)

Kings Park have scientists, tree experts, horticulturists, etc to make sure the Park and it's plants are in tip top condition.

The park has a Biodiversity Conservation Centre that is involved in the collection, storage and testing of Western Australian native plant seeds with over 10,600 collections. They also propagate through cuttings, grafting or tissue culture for research or for display in the Kings Park gardens.

Seeds from some of Western Australian plant species are also stored at the Millenium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (England) ensuring that WA's unique plant diversity is safeguarded.



A few funny placards throughout the park explain some soil, plant or bug concepts.
I loved this next one about the park being the best "home" for bees and birds, even mentioning the "fly in/ fly out" lifestyle so endemic to some Western Australia's workers in some fields of work.

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This giant 750 year old Boab tree was transported 3200km in an epic journey from the Kimberley region in the North to Perth in 2008, when space was needed for the construction of the highway.
It had to be cut and trimmed to enable it to travel through various sites and has now settled well in it's position, although with some dents on its trunk.  There are another 14 smaller Boabs around Kings Park, and seeds from this giant one have been collected to be replanted in the Kimberley region.

A couple of Rainbow Lorikeets nested in the giant Boab tree

A tree with an aerial root system
Can you spot the bee and the ladybird in these flowers?

This ones looks like cotton wool
The everlasting "strawflowers"



My favourite Kangaroo Paw in black and green

This bird didn't mind our presence and was happily sucking the nectar from the flowers


Have you enjoyed the visit? I loved the time spent learning a few more things about Kings Park and of course loved to see the park in it's Spring coat!

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