Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Meet Bolke!

This is Bolke. Our new family member. As you can see, he's right at home. He's 20 months old, and a real Beagle. He is the most gentle and friendly dog I've seen. Very interested in Minnie, the cat, too. After four days Minnie and Bolke often are in the same room together, but Minnie does a lot of hissing when Bolke gets too close. 

Bolke and Nora together. This requires some careful management, with lots of cuddles, praise, and  treats. Bolke finds Nora very interesting, probably because she's the same size. It is great to see Nora imitating our sounds and gestures when she wants Bolke to do something (mostly about giving her some space, that is). Bolke loves Nora's toys. He takes them outside to the lawn, one by one.

Nothing beats a good pasta dish.

Merry Christmas!

Men on the roof, installing our new solar panels. This took one whole morning. They also got a visit from a health and safety officer, to check whether they're complying with the safety procedures. Maybe many men fall of the roof during installation?

Nearly done, 18 panels in total for a 4.5Kwh installation. Vege garden on the right :-)

And done. Quite neat, is it?

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Car and dog

After a year filled with troubles with both cars we decided to bite the bullet and get ourselves a new car. I decided I wanted a tank. Something that's sitting high on the road. Everybody here rides a tank and it's quite annoying not having one too. You can't see a thing when there's one in front of you, or in the lane next to you. But if there's anything I hate then it's looking for cars on some car yard. We've done that quite often in the last couple of years and it's soooo time consuming and those salespeople are soooo ugh. And somehow it's always 37 degrees too, when we need a new car.

But Age came up with something very smart. He prepared a powerpoint presentation with the ten most common suvs here in a certain price range (or something like that, don't know, maybe he choose just the ones he liked?), and had me shuffle them in the order I liked. Then he came up with a review report in which they'd all been tested and reviewed and based on that and my opinion he went to check out the Jeep Cherokee (too expensive, but very nice), and the Ford Kuga. So yesterday we all went for a test drive in the Ford. Nora in her car seat, Age and myself, and the saleslady who went with us. Long story short, we'll probably have it around Christmas.

Ford Kuga

Then we've been talking a while about getting a dog. A beagle, to be precise. We think that Nora would love it, and it may help prevent Minnie (the cat) from being attacked by other cats. Minnie is being bullied by the three cats of our neighbours, and we've racked up quite the vet bill. But it's clear the she can't do it alone, those cats keep coming back. They're not bad cats, it's just that Minnie can't win. They're at least twice her size to start with. So we thought we'd either get another cat, or a dog.

This is a beagle
Unfortunately at the moment there don't seem to be any beagle puppies in South Australia. Puppy time was about two to three months ago. We'll keep looking though.

I also went to see a five year old one, who had to go because the youngest son of the family appeared to be allergic. I went with Nora, also yesterday, but Nora hated it, because the first thing the dog did was jumping up. And that was that. And I don't think it was a beagle after all. It looked quite different from the beagle pictures I've studied on proper breeders' websites.

Then I found an advert for beagle puppies a couple of hours' drive away from here. We thought it'll be neat to make it a day out in the Christmas holidays, with our new car, but when we looked closely at the ad it was a litter with Beaglies. And that's a cross between a beagle and a spaniel. Not something we fancy, so that plan went out the window too.
And a mature one

This is also a beagle

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Weird little things

Some of the odd things that happened this week:

  • A colleague of mine has a cherry orchard with about a thousand trees and a lot of different varieties. It is part of the house they bought a couple of years ago. They don't really want to do much with the orchard, actually they're planning to cut the trees down and let the native bushland regenerate. In the meantime however, the trees have flowered and produced a bumper crop this year. So all friends and family were invited to get ready for pick your own cherries. A website was created with information on pricing and how to pick - you have to do this such and such as to not destroy next year's buds - and it was just waiting for the green light, the moment the cherries would be ripe and at their best. Well, that moment was last week, and before anyone could even think about a date to come over and pick, the birds came in and ruined everything in two days. Everything! And what do those silly birds do? They just peck the cherries once or twice and move to the next cherry.
  • I drove around with Nora in our Subaru and suddenly the charge light came on and at the same time the power steering was gone. Lovely, just what we needed. Another repair bill. And hassle. Anyway, all is fixed now, it was one of the belts, ripped apart, of course damaging the radiator in the process too.
  • Because the Subaru was at the mechanic, I drove around with Nora in our BMW, when some girl drove into the back of the car! Totally unnecessary as we were standing still in a queue, and just when I saw a gap and drove off, she sort of drove off too, too fast and bumped us. More hassle to come, with insurance companies involved :-(
  • Today my two friends and their toddlers, plus Nora and myself celebrated our own little Christmas, at our house. It was lovely, quite chaotic, but the children did all very well. I'd asked them to bring some toys of their own, so that Nora didn't have to share everything, as we all know how well that goes. It proved to be an excellent strategy, all of them playing with everyone's toys, and their new toys from Santa. Early in the afternoon, after lunch, it was all over again, so we also had a bit of a lazy day at home, and only went out for coffee and cake in Stirling.

Nora in a cubby house at a cafe. She loved it.

Relaxing with 'Ben and Holly'