Category Archives: animals

A dog’s life


What can I add to the title, other than to tell you that this is Maggie – my uncle’s dog. My mum often dog-sits for him, and when she does, Maggie makes herself at home.  Oh to be a dog…


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Wattle baby

Wattle baby

On Saturday, a friend had his birthday party at the Belgian Beer Garden on St Kilda Rd, just past Commercial Rd. It was a beautiful day, and everyone gathered in the grounds of the RVIB, under the shade of the big old trees that fill that part of the garden.

In the midst of the conversation, a Red Wattlebird swooped down from the trees and landed on Meg’s head. I shooed it away, as it was obviously trying to get what she was eating and was getting tangled in her hair – only to have it come straight back and try again.

It turned out to be a baby – just out of the nest and not yet fully feathered, but inquisitive and incredibly trusting. The photo above shows it drinking the condensation from the outside of a beer glass, in the middle of all the people.

I was lucky enough to have it sit on my hand and look at my glass of water inquiringly, and when I held it out, it used its amazingly long tongue to have a really good drink! I’m only sorry I was too busy holding it, to get a photo…

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My constant companions


Sitting here at the computer – writing, retouching photographs, emailing, or whatever – I have my constant companions curled up on the couch beside me, and consider myself really lucky to have their company. 

During the day, Bo and Cher – both around six years old – never leave my side (although I do draw the line when it comes to the bathroom). Since starting to work at home earlier this year, we’ve fallen into a new routine. Walks that used to happen at about six in the morning, now usually happen around lunchtime on cooler days. This gives me a chance to go to the gym after dropping Meg at the station, at least a couple of times each week, and is a nice way to break a day of solitary pursuits.

Being naturally gregarious, I found working at home really hard to start with. When it happened, it wasn’t from choice, but was necessary none the less. Now I find I am better able to cope with silence during the day – often not even having music playing while I work. I love the company of others, and I miss the badinage and camaraderie of working in an office, but sometimes that comes at a price that you just can’t keep paying.

These days, I’m happier, healthier, far less emotional, and I sleep better. My friends tell me that my colour has returned (not even I realised I had lost it) – my voice, which deserted me once for eight months – is strong and healthy, and I am very relaxed. Best of all, I am doing what I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: writing and taking photographs. And I get to work with my dogs at my feet (almost)!

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All Nations Park #3


Another picture from All Nations Park, this time of a Little Pied Cormorant sitting atop the wall that forms one margin of the stage, and overlooks the lake.

The sky provided an interesting backdrop, as you can see, and my phone camera did a pretty good job considering I was shooting into the sun. As is often the case with photographs, if I’d been two seconds later the image wouldn’t have existed, as the cormorant regurgitated a pile of something unrecognisable at the base of the wall and flew off to the other side of the lake, just after I had taken this.

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Blond pups

This little guy looked heartbroken.  He (she?) sat looking wistfully out through the bars of the pet shop cage, wondering what was going on. I’m a sucker for puppies at the best of times, but it was all I could do not to take this particular one home.

This is one place where using a mobile phone camera is ideal.  A quick snap doesn’t intrude on anyone, and doesn’t frighten or blind the puppies.

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Christmas is coming…


At Queen Victoria Market this morning, the egg man – who normally sells chooks and ducks as well as eggs – had these beautiful little goslings for sale.  He also had the two mature geese – honking concern from their cage –  that you can just make out in the image above.

I know the poem as well as anyone – Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat – and as soon as I saw them, my mind went into overdrive – how long is it ’til Christmas? Is there time for them to be fattened up for Christmas dinner or will they be safe for this year? 


I’m hoping that so few people in Australia eat goose for Christmas, that these birds will instead go home with some delighted children and be kept as pets or watch-geese. I know I’m deluding myself, but I can’t imagine eating something that I’ve had a relationship with – especially not if I’ve seen it as a baby. I hate the thought that any of these little guys will end up as someone’s Christmas dinner!

I realise that I am a hypocrite when it comes to meat.  I eat it, but couldn’t if I really thought about what it starts out as, and what happens to get it to the table. As a result, like many people, I normally do a good job of pretending that I don’t know any of the gory details.  It’s only when I’m confronted by something I can’t ignore – like cute, fluffy goslings 12 weeks before Christmas – that I seriously consider the merits of vegetarianism.

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Royal Melbourne Show

Alpacas at the Show

It’s Show time again, and Michael, Meg and I spent about 5 hours wandering around on Sunday morning, looking at the crafts and animals, including a firm favourite – the alpacas.

At least, they had been our favourites, with their liquid-chocolate eyes and lashes long enough to put a drag-queen to shame, until today.

Today we totally fell in love with the goats. 

 I know it sounds silly, but alpacas can be very stand-offish – almost haughty – and although we’ve been inclined to forgive them in the past because they look so beautiful, today they were swept from their pedestal by the very warm and affectionate Boer goats.  These goats were actively seeking attention from show visitors, and won our hearts by revelling in having their ears scratched.  Apart from the sideways-cat eyes, they reminded me so much of dogs that it was almost comical.

Every year I come away from the show wishing that I had enough land to get chooks and ducks and a ruminant or two to keep the grass down and the neighbourhood kids entertained, and this year was no exception.  There are miniature goats – I wonder how they would get along with poodles…

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