Spot the Difference

I’m pleased I swam yesterday and managed another, early swim this morning. It will be Thursday before I can swim again, provided the wounds are not infected when I remove the dressings.

I was at the pool by seven this morning, and in the water by seven fifteen. I swam until nine, then went to shower. The lid of my shampoo bottle had broken. The shampoo had disgorged itself into my toilet bag. So I used it up as body wash. I should have no problems with dandruff anywhere, for a while.

As I washed I spotted on my right forearm what I thought must be a new mole. I was sure it wasn’t there a while ago. Since finding the lesion on my left arm, I am now more aware of my freckles and moles. Especially since the one I was having excised today had not been there only weeks before.

When I got to Woodford I drew the mole to Mehdi’s attention. He peered at it through his magic optical device, and said “I think you are right”.

“So. That was well spotted” said I with a straight face. Mehdi agreed. Also with a straight face.

That was how I came to have two excisions. One on each arm. Now we wait for the biopsy report.

Two huge chunks were cut out. It is necessary to get all the tissue for three millimeters around the spot, and to cut the length three times the width, so that when it heals, the scar doesn’t pucker up. Five stitches each. Ten total. My new personal best.

I’m glad it wasn’t on my tat.

Not there before.

Mehdi told me he had seen my knee x-rays. My condition is severe and he is referring me to a specialist. The journey has begun.

Having had only an eight hundred kJ breakfast, I was famished by the time I was driving home. I managed to drive past Beefy’s without giving in to temptation, but then the thought of a nice piece of crumbed barramundi popped into my head. I gave in to temptation and set my course.

Saviges did not have barramundi available so I ordered a piece of crumbed cod. And a serve of chips. What the hell.

The cod was delicious. A large fillet. Perfectly cooked.

Eric the bin chicken helped me out by eating some of the coating. He didn’t get much of the fish at first, though I shared some chips. Once he understood I wasn’t going to grab him and wring his neck, or spray him with the diluted vinegar spray put out on the tables by the proprietors for just such occasions, he became quite friendly, and cheerfully ate from my hand.

I was talking to him all the time, just making conversation, asking about his family and whether he preferred battered or crumbed fish, and whether he was in fact female.

Some of the patrons were giving me the disapproving looks of those who do not believe wildlife, especially ibis, should be fed human food. Some gave me the look reserved for people of alternate ability that they are embarrassed by. Others were smiling. Whether at me or the bird I know not and care not. They were smiling. With their eyes. My kind of people.

I have certainly changed. There was more fish than I needed and in the end my ibis friend got a bit. There was still a heap of chips left. He looked enquiringly at them. “I’ve had enough” I said. He looked hopeful. “and so have you”. He said he hadn’t. I told him I was taking the rest home home. He gave a resigned shrug and wandered off.

At home I divided the remaining chips into three portions, which I put in cold storage to have with other meals. Not bad for four dollars fifty worth of chips.

Riding in the Dark

This evening, to shake off a sudden mood, I took the bicycle for a ride. A better alternative to eating something. The headlight on the bike seems bright, but it is more for being seen than for seeing by. The paths on Bribie are shared.by cyclists and pedestrians. Only the bravest, hardiest cyclists use the roads by choice. Box drivers have little consideration for cyclists. Several times on the road I have not been given the right of way that is my due.

So it is particularly gratifying that Moreton Bay Council have provided such wide, well-made paths. Better still, they are not laid out in straight lines along the roadside, but meander in sweeping curves around trees through park-like reserves. Riding them at night with what seems suddenly a very dim light, is a whole new experience. I rode south along the beach front into an area I hadn’t visited before by bike. The path took me far away from the road and any streetlights. The cool breeze from the sea blew the dull thoughts away and eased the ache pulsing in the rear of my head, just behind the right ear. Bats, frogs and night birds squabbled and called from the trees.

After a while I had no idea where I was, but I didn’t mind. Though the panel LEDs were telling me the battery was down to half charge. I had not plugged it in when I returned from the pool. I had taken an extended ride then, too, up to the mall where I bought a cake and dropped in on the way back for the pool staff. I told them it was to celebrate my twenty first. Kilogram.

I also bought myself a tiny little single serve Christmas cake, some nougat and some Turkish Delight to put aside for December 25. Christmas Day will be a calorie amnesty.

But I digress. Back to pedalling. I knew if I followed the road I’d end up somewhere I recognised. So it proved. I’d travelled further than I thought, but i was now back on the route I travel every day. It was a pleasant diverting ride. I was home again before the panel LEDs dimmed any further.

I’m going to ride more often after dark.

The Facts About Bird Feeding.

Just the other day I was discussing this subject with my neighbour. He was horrified and concerned that I put food out for the birds. Never white bread, only small amounts of whole grain bread, mostly vegetable scraps such as lettuce leaves, carrot peel, tomato tops, and bean ends, and the occasional small scraps of meat and fat. Also, proprietary bird seed. Also corn cobs. I clean up anything not taken in a day.

I was really pleased to hear this podcast from the Australian Geographic Society, and to be validated by Australia’s expert on the subject. Even now, though millions of people feed wild birds in Australia, there is a lot of controversy on the subject.

Darryl Jones is a bird scientist who opened up the debate about bird feeding in Australia. He went from anti-bird-feeder to becoming a responsible voice for an activity a large number of Australians enjoy doing. He is also loves colourful Hawaiian shirts.

https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/darryl-jones-the-truth-about-bird-feeding/id1464668928?i=1000456529380

Observations

A change of routine today. Since I am up early I decided that now the weather is seriously hotting up, I’d go to the pool first thing in the morning from now on. I set off at 7:30 for an 8 o’clock start. It turns out to be the best time of day to go. The early lane swimmers have just left to start work. The youngsters haven’t arrived yet. I’m pretty much assured of a lane to myself. Best of all the water is cooler by a couple of degrees and very much clearer than it is towards the end of the day.

I had completed 90 minutes of my own peculiar stealth style of breast stroke and was out and showered well before the first droves of youth arrived.

I think the cooler water is better by far, this morning was really refreshing, but I heard people complaining that it “could be a bit warmer”. I’ve noticed this all over Australia. Despite their carefully promoted reputation as hardy rugged individuals, most Aussies are a bunch of wusses. They won’t swim if the water temperature drops below 24, some have an even higher minimum, and they can’t survive a warm day without air-con. Not that I haven’t been glad of air con, on occasion. I suspect I may be wishing for it myself, soon. It is really getting hot, and it’s only November.

There were police and a rapid response vehicle all over the place this morning. I don’t know what that was about, though no doubt it will come out. It wasn’t fire, at least.

Smoke is everywhere again. The winds must have shifted. The fires have shaken a lot of people’s complacency at last. They are suddenly the topic of conversation everywhere I go. An older couple were expounding on the value of steel or aluminium shutters today. Houses can be saved from destruction by using them. Most homes burn down because radiant heat from bushfires shatters the windows, allowing flying sparks to enter and ignite the furnishings. This should be a well known fact here in Australia, but apparently it is not. I have a shutter on the window facing the bush behind the caravan, but I doubt it will help much. The roof is plastic.

There is a new turkey staking out territory in the bush along the path I ride. That makes three that I pass each day, now. I must take them some food and try to make friends. Two new bird calls for me to try to identify, and I caught a brief glimpse of a kookaburra this morning. There are plenty around. I hear them, but don’t often see them. Ibis are poking around everywhere, earning their pejorative epithet “bin chicken”. I must be the only person around that likes them. Any bird that learns to exploit us as we exploit them is ok by me.

A Grand Day Out

This morning I drove to Maroochy Botanical Gardens to enjoy a walk and a picnic with two lovely friends, Angelia and Mario. We had a delicious picnic brunch and walked around the sculpture gardens for a little communing with nature.

A couple of guests tried to join us for lunch, a scrub turkey and a currowong. Of course we fed them. The currowong even took food from my hand. I always like it when that happens. The currowong is a member of the magpie family and very intelligent. That she figured out she could trust me is cheering. The turkey on the other hand wants the food, but has no trust. Stupid bird.

The walk we took was quire a short one, and the path was concrete, so it didn’t cause me any problems except for a short cut I took over a lawn down a bit of a steep gradient. Going downhill is difficult.

I enjoyed the nature sculptures very much, but some of the more abstract works did not resonate so well. I’m no connoisseur but I know what I like.

I was well on my way home by two, and back on Bribie before three. I had my swimming kit with me, so I stopped off at the pool for a swim. I entered the water at precisely 3pm and swam solidly until 5:03 by which time I had completed 100 lengths exactly. A new personal record. 2,500 metres in two hours 3 minutes. I’d had to pile the pace on to squeeze the last laps in. I just missed my two hour target. But my goal of a 5,000 metre marathon is beginning to look achievable.

I was pretty pleased with myself until I saw I was the only person in the pool and the staff were closing everything up.

It turns out the pool closes at 5 on Saturday. It is only open until 7 on weekdays. The wonderful staff were very obliging, They brushed aside my apologies and let me shower and change without making me feel a total idiot. I’ve had nothing but friendly and cheerful support from them since I started frequenting the pool.

Back at home I had a light meal and spent the next three hours trying to transfer photos from my camera to my MacBook via WiFi. And failing. What I should have done right at the start was take the memory card out of the camera and insert it into the laptop. KIS.

New Bird Noises

There have been some new noises in the night just lately. One familiar sound I know well from a similar bird New Zealand – the Morepork as we call it – or the mopoke or boobook as it is known here. This owl has a distinct call. There are some in the bush nearby. One of my favourite birds. I talk to them, mimicking their call. I had a family of them in the trees in the Shire Sentinel chicken pen in Halls Creek.

There is another new call I am not familiar with. It is a sad eerie sound, almost ghostly, like “weee low” Today I think I found the bird that makes it. As I walked back to my caravan, I found this bird sitting on the stone slabs outside a neighbour’s cabin. I’ve only seen it once before, at a wildlife park, where it sat motionless in the leaf litter under a bush, convinced it was invisible. It is the Stone Bush Curlew, Burhinus grallarius.

This fellow was sitting rock still on these stone slabs. It thought it was invisible, I think. I hobbled right up to it, thinking at first it might be injured. It didn’t move, just gave a little grumbling call. I decided not to disturb it, and went to fetch a camera. It never moved until I was about to take a picture. Then it stood up. But still it didn’t run away.

The Bush Stone-curlew, or Bush Thick-knee, is a large, slim, mainly nocturnal, ground-dwelling bird.


Below is one of my boobooks in the chicken pen in Halls Creek.

Ninox boobook

The Australian boobook is a species of owl native to mainland Australia, southern New Guinea, the island of Timor, and the Sunda Islands. Described by John Latham in 1801, it was generally considered to be the same species as the morepork of New Zealand Ninox novaeseelandiae until 1999. Its name is derived from its two-tone boo-book call.
Scientific name: Ninox boobook

Wikipedia