Monday, 28 October 2013

Black and White Gardens

Last week we headed to the Botanic Gardens again but as we missed our bus and the next didn't arrive for another hour we caught the but that stops on the Centenary Lakes side of the gardens. This meant we got a nice walk and saw some nice trees. The downside being that there is not much in the way of flowers on this side.

We did however see bamboo,

enchanted forest like pathways,

ferns growing way up high,

the outside and inside of the Tanks Arts Centre,

a swinging birds nest,

a butterfly or two,

and near the end of our walk some flowers up in the tree top.

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Friday, 25 October 2013

High Flying High Rise

Yes, this is a tree but if you look a bit closer you will see what makes this tree interesting.






Theses are metallic starlings. One of the first times I saw them in the wild was back here in August. But I have seen the resident ones at the Cairns Wildlife Dome quite regularly.

The adult has brilliant red eyes, a long tail and green-glossed black plumage. Immature birds are pale below with dark streaks.

 It is native of New Guinea and nearby Australasian islands, and a limited area of north-eastern Australia. They migrate during August to the northern regions of Queensland, where they mate, preparing messy globular nests for their young which hang from tall trees. There they remain until April, whereupon they make their return journey to New Guinea. Wikipedia

These birds have chosen a tree between a servo (service station) and a shopping centre (really it is in the car park) to create a noisy hive of activity.

The birds have built a high flying, high rise apartment complex, filling the lower branches of a tree with their untidy nests. I wouldn't think that would be my chosen place to raise children but it seems to suit them well enough.

They are curious looking birds with their googly red eyes. They didn't seem at all concerned by my company at the bottom of the tree.

They fly to and from the nest regularly and dip inside their nest to feed their young.

On occasion they would startle and the whole flock would disappear in an instant leaving their nests and moving to another tree but then they all came back just as suddenly.

Do you have any curious looking animals near your place?

Wild Bird Wednesday

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Weather Cairns Style

 Today we welcomed another student and farewelled one as well.
The weather in these parts has been a little bit undesirable for visitors and knowing we have students here make me want it to fine up however I will never say no to some good rain. I also would love to send some south and west to those who really need it. The problem with this cloudy threatening to rain weather is that it is hot, humid and well the rain is pretty spasmodic. The sky might threaten a lot but doesn't do well on delivery. When some wet stuff does fall I swear it is just because the humidity gets too heavy for the air.

So our Monday morning view from work looked like this. As the one of the other teachers said "it looks cold but you just know its not." One thing this strange weather did however was turn the water the strangest glowing green colour.

The day did clear though, very nicely. As I said to students "Cairns is showing off some typical Cairns weather for you. Raining one minute, sunny the next." The up side is that if you get wet you'll be dry before you get wet again. We have to keep reminding students that although it feels like summer it isn't yet, that for them in Japan it is Autumn but here in Aus it is Spring.

A cooler breeze hung around which made our afternoon trip to the Wildlife Dome pleasant. The reptiles didn't think much of it though.

The students were loving seeing the shadows from the clouds on the water and mountains. Maybe it was a bit of a novelty. They also loved posing for photos while the sun was out and watching the boats passing.

How is the weather at your place? Do you need some rain? Are your seasons behaving?
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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pie Addiction

Our current, temporary Nova staff member/ councillor is from New Zealand via Japan. Lets call him V. Now V has settled in nicely, actually it would be nice to keep him but there are other plans. On the first day he decided that he should introduce the students to the humble Aussie pie for lunch stating that they are something he misses because 'you just can't get pies like that in Japan.'

Well one of the students is now on a pie crusade needing to try the best ones in town. He found the name of the pie shop or bakery Meldrums in his Cairns guide book which said they were the best. Well not to be left out of this little obsession, yesterday I gave them a go. Okay, the guide book was right. They are some seriously good pies. Pies in Paradise ... I think it should become Paradise in a Pie. Yum! So you are thinking wow she is going nuts over just a pie. Well check out the menu and see if you can see a flavour that tickles your fancy.

Okay so the prices are, well, a bit much really but they are good for something different to my normally packed lunch.

The pies even look good, all golden and flaky.

Then there was the sweeter side of things. Don't look you might drool on your keyboard.

Well I decided to go with a steak, tomato and onion pie. It was a good choice. I have decided that what really make a good pie is the pastry and being able to eat it without sauce.

Inside my tasty pie there were pieces of tomato, slices of onion and chunks of steak. Now who doesn't love to get a steak pie and find tender STEAK in it rather than mince or chewy rubber stuff.

Now this cosy little pie cave is found on Grafton Street in down town Cairns. So if you like a pie or a good bakery and happen to be in town I'd seek it out and give it a go.

For a bit of a story about how I learnt to appreciate a good pie check out this post. For an example of when we appreciated pies or bakeries check out here.

Are you a pie fan? What is your favourite flavour?
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Friday, 18 October 2013


The weather here has been just plain BLAH ... humid, hot, uncomfortable, cloudy, muggy, oppressive and many other words that describe air heavy with humidity, skies heavy with clouds and very little in the way of rain to relieve and cool. I do like to think however that there is beauty in every ugly situation and in this case the muggy haze over the mountains created a mystical looking scenery.

I've been working at Nova this week and lucky for me that means air conditioning all day, well most of it. The group of students we have are lovely, and each person is so individual. They feel comfortable and are happy to question and chat about anything and everything. We have had some classic moments or turns of phrase this week which is a common occurrence when a language is foreign and the whole meaning not quiet understood (or the translation doesn't fit).

One of these classics was when a students asked "Can I take the toilet?" She was corrected of cause, in our no fuss way, "Can I use the toilet?" was repeated back to her and she knew what we were on about. I couldn't help but string on the end "Well yes you can take it but I would prefer you left it for us to use." Apparently asking to use the toilet in Japanese literally translates to something about borrowing the toilet. Can you imagine that, borrowing someones toilet, "Hi mate, just wanna borrow your loo, don't mind do you? I might bring it back in the next week or two" and then wandering out of your house, toilet in tow.

Another classic was this time written in a journal mentioning listening to "bowel sounds". I had to explain that the bowel is in your body, where your poo comes from, rather than a vowel which is the letter a, e, i, o or u. It amused me and then the students when once the explanation was given. Our current staff member a fellow from New Zealand took great pleasure in shooting out the response "Listening to their bowel sounds in class, I think we'd rather not." My immediate reply was "well I guess we could then I could join in." I was told I was "all class". Yep, that is me all ass no class, hehe. Maybe I am not the best influence on students.

Well I hope you've found some beauty in your day and are looking for humour in your week.
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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Trumpeting in Pink

This tree, as far as I can find out, is a Tabebuia heterophylla otherwise known as a Pink Trumpet Tree, a White Cedar or a Pink Cedar. Right now it has burst into flower all around the city, showering roads, cars and footpaths with withering pink flowers as they drop from its branches.

We have a few smaller trees, meaning a couple of meters tall, near our place. The flowers are so delicate or lacy looking, like a ruffled skirt.


Up among the branches of this tree I could see that a nest has been made using leaves. I'm not sure whose nest it is.

These flowers looked so pretty in the year morning sun against clear blue skies.


This tree is a evergreen or semi deciduous tree that is native to the Caribbean.

What is flowering around your place? Has spring arrived?




This week has been cloudy, muggy and hot so it is nice to look at these photos with clear blue skies to remind me that this is the colour hiding behind the clouds.

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