Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Storm damaged tree

We had an electrical storm last Saturday afternoon (15 Dec) that came with strong wind gusts, rain and hail. Later we discovered that a large branch from our large Liquid Amber tree had broken off and fallen onto our neighbour's driveway. Fortunately there was not a car underneath or trapped. Together with a large area of northern suburbs of Sydney, we lost power for more than 24 hours.

The fallen branch did not appear large from our side.

But the neighbour's driveway was totally blocked.
We rang the SES (State Emergency Services). As expected, they were inundated with calls and ours was a minor problem in comparison with many urgent cases where properties were damaged. Still, they were able to come first thing on Monday morning. Their task was to clear free up the driveway and prevent the branch caught up in the tree from falling and injuring people.

A man was sent to the top of the broken branch, hauled up by the crane.

The branch was broken up piece by piece, each brought down by the crane.

On the ground three men cut the branches into manageable sizes.

Cleared driveway
In an hour it was all done and the driveway was cleared.

Where the branch broke.

Some of the debris were mulched but large pieces are left on the neighbours' lawn. We will arrange for these to be cut up and moved to the kerbside to be collected by the local Hornsby Council,

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fort Canning

We found time during a short Lunar New Year stopover to visit Fort Canning. We found a hidden gem, especially after the spruce up of recent years. The historic stuffs are still there, including the Battle Box (where the farcical defence of Singapore during the World War II was managed) and tombstones of old graves (remains exhumed). We enjoyed the walk along the well prepared paths, which was very comfortable with the gentle morning breeze and in the shade of the tall trees. The spice garden of nutmegs, cloves, curry leaf trees and pandan plants, as well as the old kramat were pleasant surprises.

General Percival has not been forgotten, with a road and a flight of steps kindly named after him.

Mythical animal on retaining walls.

Walking path

Percival Steps - downhill all the way (to Stamford Road)

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Cautious Visitor

One day we discovered we had a visitor just under our house's eaves. It was a possum!  Being a nocturnal animal, it left after it got dark. It obviously had other homes because it only showed up every few days.

Kay tempted it with a slice of apple, known to be popular with possums.

Cautiously, the possum inspected it and then quickly devoured it.

Then we discovered it had something in its pouch - a cub!

The cub gradually got bigger. 
They shared a love for apples.

The cub also became more demanding once it had acquired a taste for the fruit.
After visiting us over a period of more than a month, they suddenly stopped coming. We missed them!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Historic Sloan Court Hotel

Anthony alerted me to the impending demise of the historic Sloan Court Hotel at Balmoral Road.  So at our the opportunity when we met up again this week, we had lunch at the hotel restaurant, The Berkeley. We had the signature pork chop and the oxtail stew. Both dishes were noteworthy. Thanks Anthony.

Pity that the building will be demolished at the end of this month (October 2017) to make way for a 12 storey condo, though the building is quite rundown and reviews had been poor. However, how historic is historic in the case of the Sloan Court building?  I could not find any precise details on the internet.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Late winter garden

In the late winter sunshine, a movement in our camellia tree caught my eyes.

It was a well camouflaged Rainbow Lorikeet! A bit hard to get a sharp photo of the restless bird.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Iran trip photo book saga

Having three copies of a holiday trip photobook is certainly excessive, but that is what we ended up with.

I have been using a particular American publisher for a few years without any problem, but when the first copy of the Iran book arrived, there was a damage to an edge of the back cover. It appeared that the damaged was done even before it was sent as there was no sign it was caused by the packaging.

I politely informed them, without pushing for any remedy, but they immediately said they would do a reprint, which arrived about a week later. We were disappointed when we opened up the package that it too was damaged, even more obviously so with some of the corners pushed in. It appeared that the package weighing more than 2 kg had been dropped in transit and the packaging did not adequately protect the book.

Again, I informed the publisher and they were very apologetic and without prompting, ordered a second reprint, this time send by a different special courier.  I am happy to say the second reprint, hence the third copy, arrived in a pristine condition. I informed them accordingly and thanked them for an excellent customer service.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Autumnal colours at Central NSW and the Blue Mountains

Last week of April, and the colours are out in Central NSW and the Blue Mountains. Deciduous trees don't get colours like these in Sydney. They just had a cold spell not long ago.

A street of Chinese pistachio trees, city of Orange.

Close up of a Chinese pistachio tree.

Oaks and other deciduous in Blackheath (Blue Mountains)

An oak-lined street in the city of Orange.

Close-up of an oak tree.

Poplars near Bathurst.