Archive for the ‘aviary’ Category


Antique collecting

January 4, 2011

People throw out the most amazing things in hard rubbish.

I’m pretty sure this is Chippendale. The workmanship, the quality of the timber… it’s unmistakeable, really. And with a little bit of polish, the rich mahogany grain was as-new again, as dark and lustrous as the day it was felled in Honduras perhaps 200 years ago.

Befitting its proud heritage, I’m going to keep records in it. And pop my priceless Ming vase collection on top.



January 3, 2011

There are some funny-looking insects around here.

Wonder what happened to his two other legs? Skiing accident?

I’ve been a bad bird. Weeks ago I was refilling the rolled oats jar and some fell into the cutlery drawer, lo:

At the time, the clean-up of said oats was just too intimidating. So I left them. For weeks.

Now, if the Curmudgeon had done this, I would have been outraged. What a lazy good-fer-nothing slob. I cleaned out the whole drawer in repentance and apologised profoundly to my patient co-inhabitant. And my impatient co-inhabitant (the dog) got to eat the crummy oats. A happy ending for all of us.


The brown stain

October 7, 2010

Behind the couch, across the unsealed plaster, and just below the unfinished join to the windowsill, there is a large brown smear.

This smear has been there for years, possibly decades. It’s not poo or earwax; it’s adhesive. But it might explain why we don’t get many visitors.

The brown stain illustrates the, ahem, unfinished nature of the house. I’ve lived here nearly five years, looking at that stain, explaining to people that it’s not poo or earwax. I’m starting to think that it has outlived its conversation-starting potential. (Clearly, it’s still good blog fodder.)

The half-baked scheme: I reckon I might take a week off work and find myself a reliable handyperson to do all the bits I can’t (eg: mitring architraves) while I do all the dumb grunt work. And maybe, maybe, the fifth anniversary of dwelling here might be marked by the windows being the only place where you can see through the walls to the outside.


Another reason why you should be wary of hard rubbish rugs

May 20, 2010

Remember Lesson One, people? About the rugs?

Well hold onto your hats, here’s lesson two.

See this rug? I hauled it home a few mornings ago after a cursory inspection for cleanth (which it passed). Some would say you should avoid it because it has headache-inducing optical trickiness. Some would say to avoid it because it’s 3 metres by 4 metres and possibly too large for any room anywhere in inner city Melbourne. Squid had another reason; and she didn’t say anything at all. Well, not with her mouth, anyway.

After I moved all the furniture to make room for this woven behemoth (all the while with a Curmudgeon soundtrack running: “Lady, I’m not sure this will work. It’s so…. too much.”) and brought it in for a vacuuming it would never forget. Squid came over to inspect. And sniff. And sniff some more. Gave it a canine vacuuming, if you will. Then without further ado, squatted down and pissed on it.

She is exquisitely house-trained, people, so I saw this as a statement that could not be ignored. Rolled it up and chucked it outside. I figure some dog did something similar on it, perhaps repeatedly, and she thought it the best way to let me know.


Oh, what a productive Saturday.

April 24, 2010

Spurning the regular Saturday morning grocery hunting-gathering ritual, we did way more fun stuff today.

First, breakfast at Gingerlee. Delicious and a cosy place to wait out the rain.

Next, we went and picked up Russell. This is Russell. He’s our new housemate. I didn’t know we needed a fish until I found a great cylindrical fish tank for $2 at the tip shop near Ma’s house…

Next, inspired by the getaway car from Malcolm, we converted a single piece of furniture from the op shop….

to two bedside tables…

That first picture is an action shot of the Curmudgeon beginning the dismantling. See, we had to saw it in half on the street outside the op shop to fit it in his car (what fool would design a car with TWO DOORS that preclude transport of junk? WHO??) There were some tense moments. We had to borrow a hammer from the op shop, and in passing I looked in their skip and found a Noritake bowl in the same design as my grandmother’s dinner set.

Such happy memories of breakfasts eaten out of these bowls while perched at their laminex bar. I don’t have much of Gran’s everyday stuff, since I was overseas when she died and most of it was unceremoniously dumped, so having this bowl brings me much quiet joy.


It’s raining bugs… but there’s a book drought

April 6, 2010

The flea bomb is working… now and then we find a bug in its death throes. Sadly, many of these bugs are innocent of heinous clothes-eating crimes. I’m terribly sorry that our friendly spider population is collateral damage. Vale, daddy-long-legses.

While at Ma’s house, I plucked a novel from her shelf for a quick holiday read – Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It made me cranky after a hundred pages or so because it was so formulaic. I read ahead, and lo, an amazing twist right at the end, who’d have expected it. Astonishing. The inevitable coupling of the two attractive, competent, single characters introduced at the start was the last straw and I flung the book on the table. Mild treatment really, considering my well-established proclivity to toss pulp fiction across the room in disgust.

Ma, in her wisdom, pointed out that if I knew what sort of book it was, why did I start reading it? Good point. And, she noted, I do an awful lot of complaining but what was the last book I read that I actually liked? Gooder point. I couldn’t remember.

So, livebirdians, I’m looking for recommendations. A novel. Or two. That won’t make me howl and roll my eyes. That doesn’t have the author’s name in gold uppercase type larger than the book’s title. That wasn’t written to a formula.

How do you find good books? Whose opinion do you listen to? Book clubs on the telly? Reviews in the paper? Book blogs? Your favourite librarian or fiction vendor? Do tell.


Holey moley

March 20, 2010

Photo by Guido Gerding

What’s this?

This is a clothing moth larva chowing down on some felt.

Why do I show it to you?

Because I discovered a flippin’ INFESTATION of these moths all through our house today. They’re in everything… clothes, drawers, carpets, stored blankets, crafty wool…

I have found several bits of clothing with holes and bald patches. I’m grieving for the big woolly bear coat I’ve had for a decade and the Curmudgeon had been wearing with dashing handsomeness. It has a huge bald patch right on the front now.

We spent today washing every wool item I could, vacuuming, opening cupboards….

Blah. The chances of getting rid of them completely are pretty slim.