Welcome to this blog, the story of a great big Australian adventure. It documents my travels, life in Australia, and a subject close to my heart – environmental conservation. 

Random in Jan

January was eventful – excessive downpours, floods, endurance trials, leeches – but it wasn't all dramas. There were a few less newsworthy happenings.

New Farm Park market
We go to New Farm Park on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month to the excellent farmers' market at the Powerhouse. We used to go by CityCat, of course, pre-flood. We buy the tastiest orange juice this side of Winnetcut (sorry, family saying); the best-value prawns in Australia, and the best-tasting since a sherry-laced lunch in Sanlúcar de Barrameda in southern Spain in the mid-90s; the most delicious jam I've tasted since I ate Scotch pancakes with locally-produced raspberry jam while on holiday in Blairgowrie (Perthshire, Scotland) when I was about 9; refreshing lime cordial from Noosa; wonderful local lamb; Glass House Mountain pineapples; olives from Bunnyconnellen, way out west of Brisbane; Swiss-style cheese; superbly chocolatey, handmade, luxury mini brownies; fresh herbs and salad; and a cornucopia of fresh fruit and veg.

Sometimes we haven't got a clue what a fruit or vegetable is, or what you do with it, such as...

bell fruit
or soursop.
(Up the road in the James Street deli, my friend was particularly pleased recently to find what are known as paraguayos in Spain, or doughnut peaches in the UK and Oz. I prefer an alternative name – Saturn peaches. They are delicious... and very pretty.)

When we've got all we need in the market, we sit in the park with a coffee and observe: there's always something going on, even if it's just frolicking playmates in the dog off-leash area. The Australian White Ibis (below) completely underestimated the toddler's dogged determination in pursuit and in the end had to take flight to escape.

This possum was quite happy scurrying about on the ground behind the stalls...

until confronted by this...

...after which there was a prolonged poodle-possum stand-off. Possums can sometimes be mistaken for cats, you see.

Other beasties
The smallest geckos ever seen were a feature of this month's wildlife. We have several babies in the house at the moment... I think. (The spoon, below, is a teaspoon.) You have to be careful not to squash geckos when rolling up the blinds in the mornings because they tend to sit on top of them waiting for moths to flutter by. Today I have cleaned up the remains of five 'moth-strikes' from last night.

They like crevices and the gaps between tiles or wood panelling. And this adult (below) took my fancy as he calmly sunbaked on warm wood while the flood waters rose steadily below him. He probably didn't remember '74.

A praying mantis was a first-time visitor to our 'yard' one fine day, settling on the Claret Top. This insect is more closely related to a cockroach than a stick insect or grasshopper. Its green was stunningly limey.

Dunnies with dignity
During the flood clean-up, thousands of volunteers hit the streets in affected areas. Blue tardises sprang up on pavements and verges to cater for their needs. They're still there.

The occasional sunset was oddly comforting during the days of increasingly threatening heavy rain.

Sign of the month
Spotted in Woodford on Australia Day.

I can't.

Queensland holds its breath... again

Australia Day trippers