Saturday, July 20, 2019

Fifty Days of Grey

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Gumnuts against a grey sky

It’s probably an exaggeration to say that since the start of winter the sky has been grey all the time, as the occasional sunny day has brightened what has been a mostly dreary winter.

However, Spring is coming and warmer weather will ensue along with the start of the Spring Racing season.

I have been slack on the blogging front with nothing much to write home about, amusing myself with computer games and books to take my mind off the cold and keep the brain ticking over.

As I’ve mentioned before this Ivanhoe house is a refrigerator in winter, often chillier inside than outside, though the upside is that it’s the reverse in summer.

The problems with Open Live Writer and the Google photo application have purportedly been fixed, so I can again compose a post in OLW with photos and publish directly to Blogger.  I had practically given up hope that the issue would be resolved, but a clever programmer on GitHub by the name of Nick Vella worked out a solution a month or so ago.

So I intend to place several photos in this post to check that it actually works.

The above photo is of an ornamental weeping gum tree down the street from our place, one of quite a few in the neighbourhood. They are very attractive trees, begging to be photographed.

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Weeping gum blossoms

On the cat front, Bingo gave us a very worrying week recently when he went off his food for several days. For a cat who is normally ravenous it was most unusual for him to show no interest in food. We took him to the vet who checked him out and thought he had a gastric problem, but advised a blood test to ascertain that there was not a problem his internal organs.  The blood results found no issues with his kidneys, liver, pancreas etc.

Waiting for the blood results we suffered from a melancholy deja vu recalling Willy’s decline three years ago. At the end of the week, after Bingo had not eaten anything substantial for several days, we arranged with the vet that he be put on a drip for the weekend. Fortunately that didn’t happen as Bingo suddenly recovered his appetite on the Saturday morning, has eaten well since, and is back to his usual rambunctious annoying self.

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Bingo sitting on the kitchen bench where he can supervise the cooking

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Bingo on kitchen bench from a different angle

He is the drollest creature, taking an interest in everything we do, following me round when I’m mopping the floor and swiping at the sponge when I’m cleaning up the kitchen sink.

Though only a small cat, he doesn’t lack courage, picking fights with other cats, one of whom he chased up a tree in the street.  These encounters are not without wounds as he had to endure another trip to the vet to get a nasty bite under his chin flushed out recently and undergo a course of antibiotics. 

As for reading, two of the books I was looking forward to this year have been published – Big Sky by Kate Atkinson and Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson. I was in the process of rereading a sort of prequel to Fall, the 1000+ page techno thriller,  Reamde, when the Kate Atkinson book came out, so I put Reamde on hold until I finished this latest Jackson Brodie novel from the masterful pen of Kate Atkinson. It was a very enjoyable read and a pleasure to reacquaint myself with Jackson Brodie, champion of lost girls.

I’m currently reading Fall and finding it wonderfully entertaining, Neal Stephenson delivering his take on the modern world, with extrapolations on future technological advances, such as uploading brains to the cloud.

As today is the 20th July, the 50th day since the start of winter, and also the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11’s mission to the moon,  it’s significant in more ways than one.

I checked out my old diary entries for July 1969 and I did indeed note the Apollo Mission, though missed seeing the event as I didn’t have a TV at the time. I appear to have spent most of July 1969, breaking in my first pair of contact lenses.

At that time, students at Melbourne University could get discounted contact lenses through the Optometry College in Carlton.  These were the old hard lenses which took some getting used to. I wore them for several years before switching to Gas Permeable Lenses which I have been using ever since.

So July 2019 is also my 50th Anniversary of wearing these visual aids.  I have no desire to revert to spectacles, despite several optometrists telling me I’d get tired of wearing the lenses in time.

I haven’t been to the races since the end of April, but will probably attend the Bletchingly Stakes meeting at Caulfield next Saturday. Star Tassie filly Mystic Journey may kick off her Spring campaign in the race, providing the track is not too soft.

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Mystic Journey winning the Australian Guineas

Anyway, must publish this post before the day is over. Cross fingers it goes through OK.