Noticed any new flowers on the streets lately ?


Notice how the birdies are congregating in them ?


Notice how, once you have seen one, you see lots ?


And how the flowers are massed all over each tree ? Stunningly beautiful. Thought I better find out more about them.

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: Coastal rainforest in north Queensland from Townsville to Cape York
Common Name: Golden Penda
Derivation of Name: Xanthostemon...from Greek xanthos, yellow and stemon, a thread or stamen
chrysanthus...from Greek chrysos, gold and anthos, a flower, referring to the flower colour.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

 They are called "golden penda" and yes, they are a native, similar to bottlebrushes and eucalypts. How amazing !! And I had never noticed them before.



Mystery is solved - they were first brought to our notice at the World Expo in Brisbane in 1988, where they were featured as "Expo gold" and so have been growing in our gardens ever since. I geuss it has taken a few years of amazing rain to bring them to such full flowering. Whatever, I am wrapped.


While they are flowering, I am going to overdose on their magnificence.


Look beyond the everyday bits and pieces that hogtie us in our own mental world, and have a look around you. Are there trees flowering in your area ? Are there birdies in your trees ? If you sent me a picture of anything natural that you glory in, I would love to include it in a future post. How about it ? 

Simply send it to 

or add it to my facebook page as Jeanette Blake




Take a long narrow room, divide it in half lengthwise, spend hours and days and weeks gradually carving out a train layout that is on 3 levels, and curves around and through the partition within the long narrow room. Use enormous skill and patience and time - and you will see something amazing evolve.

             long narrow room

                       Long narrow room, partition on the left.

     other side Tracks go round the corner, and down the other side of the partition, with a tunnel connecting them to the first side at the far end.

         rounf the corner  


                       lachie loop          

The Lachie loop, and the Zachie zig - zag, allows the little trains to climb the mountain from one level up to the next. So all 3 levels are accessed in this way, making the total layout an interconnected super loop.  Malkie covers the zig zag up normally with a specially curved green wall, but I like seeing the innards. I have written many times about this engineering marvel - this is just one of them - (August 2012) 

                  tracks first 

Once the basic structure was built, each separate part had to be moulded, painted, primped, landscaped - and only then tracks are laid. This shows one snippet with 2 layers.


Roundhouse appeared - (don't you know anything - there has to be a roundhouse) and as the little trains were each one built, they started cluttering (enhancing?) all the tracks.


         and very gradually, even more scenery magicked into position. 

Did I mention - Malkie models South Australian trains, and this layout is taken from the region around Adelaide. At least the full scale version covers the stations around the Adelaide Hills. So that means all landscaping has to be accurate - if there is a scruffy section of bushes - that's what the area actually is like in Sth Australia, etc etc. If it was me - I'd make it ALL pretty !!!!

                  mt lofty

Now for the stations - this is Mt Lofty. 

                 mt lofty 2

Way up on the top level of the layout, sits this amazing station. So the little train groans round and round on its way up the Zachie zig zag, and eventually gets to here. Mt Lofty - the real one - is 1600.00 ft high. (I have to stand on the ladder to see it) 

                murray bridge               

Next is Murray Bridge Station, way down on the right hand side of bottom level.

                murray bridge 1

So much painstaking detail in these buildings, each one an accurate model of the full size station. Murray Bridge, the Bridge itself, I talked about on July, 2013

                belair 2

AND, the third and final station is Belair

               m belair

This station is on the top left hand side of the layout, against the partition wall. Once again, I have to stand on the ladder to see it. I need to do this, as I have been helping with the trees - Malkie calls me "the Forester".    

              m forest 1          

              m forest 2

For me this is the interesting bit. All the station buildings, all the bits and pieces, all need to be settled into the landscape with touches of greenery. And the forests themselves - much better than "pretty", I want them to look like authentic, Adelaide style, Australian bush - and that, for me, is a labour of love. 

All systems go for the next month - Brisbane is host to the "n" scale convention in April, and for that, Malkie needs to put his best foot forward, and finish as much as possible. A major work like this layout, however, may not EVER be completely finished - and that's just fine. The crucial thing is that Malkie and his mates can run trains round and round and up and down.


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 The centre of this country town is dying.

Reason ? As per many other towns and cities, a humungously large shopping complex has opened outside the centre. Filled with many boring chain shops, it nevertheless is a mecca for Ipswichites - I guess everything you think you might want is covered by one of the many outlets crammed in. Who needs originality in their shopping ??

This is the time to appreciate the small but uniquely different people who have found their niche right in the heart of Ipswich.

Meet Deann and her "Coffee House" - a time warp in a shop that goes right back to the 30's.


              a sign

and this is her coffee house. We came, we ate, and were thoroughly charmed.

                               flowers horse

juke box better  I've forgotten the last time I ate on laminex tables, with vinyl chairs, 

  and with a juke box playing happily in the background. 

            a chair


       Once SO ugly - now, of course, call them quaint.

      I wonder what my Mother would have said ??




        Choices? Yes, we did eventually decide on farmyard toasties, YUMMM

 deciding on foodNice thing about somewhere like this - it's all so easy.

The food, the wait staff, the choices, all well in our comfort zone.

Nothing pretentious- just tasty simple food.

   table setting

                        mix 1

                        mix 2

                        mix 3

I'll be eating there again - but next time - sit in the window, looks great.

                             a window

                   Next - the movies. Still hot weather, so lovely to cool off in freezing aircon. 

                   Thoroughly satisfying afternoon in "The Switch"

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Yes, I know I'm late with this post - xmas is well and truly over. But,- I did cross the BIG ditch to spend my first cold xmas ever. Then landed in hospital xmas day, cause the air in Georgia bit my lungs. But, apart from that , I still had a xmas morning that was SO delightful, didn't need anymore !! let me tell you about it - -  -  -  -  -  -

CHRISTMAS EVE,  really really cold,  the feeling of anticipation became overwhelming in the Blake household.

                                        santa signs

                                       Santa had been well and truly notified.

                                  pokemon 3

                                   Pokemon had been played (Lachlan had won again)

                                     family 4

                                Family church service for Xnas Eve was over.

                                     minion 2

                                     Finally, climb into new "minion onesies" Mom had got specially for xmas and -

                                      santa view    

                                      check where Santa is  - wow, he's flying over Germany right now - if we work out how fast he is going and how far to us - oh never mind, let's go to bed now, and he should get to us sometime during the night. We've left out food for him and his reindeers, so we'll be right.



Guess what - Santa did come -  food was gone - pressies piled up - woohoo - he must be a GOOD Santa !! Let the fun begin.

Time to let the pictures do the talking  -

          xmas morn 1ab            a xmas 6

         a xmas 2            a xmas 1     

         a xmas 3           a xmas 4

         a xmas 6           a xmas 7

         a xmas 8           a xmas 9

         a xmas 10           a xmas 11

         a xmas 12           a xmas trooper

       Wonderful energy - boys on xmas morning. Should be bottled, and taken out when needed. Both Laclan and Zach were overcome when the saw the pressies - and I'm proud of them, they opened all very carefully. Then they were off - Zachie to run with his magical new "dune buggy", Lachie to build his new lego "star wars", and Trooper to catch his new squeeky rubber bone (and gulp down his large can dog food - YUMBO)

Just as the energy was dropping, Dad said - sun is shining - time for a bike ride - so they did.

           xmas 14 bike ride



           The Botanical Garden in Atlanta, has to be one of the most spectacularly brilliant gardens I have ever seen. Their displays are a mixture of interactive and seasonal ones, designed to enchant and delight. Children especially find so much to do and see and play with,  in the specially zoned Childrens Garden. Never static, the Gardens are an  especially magic place at Christmas.

This Xmas was no exception. So as night crept in, and with Lyssa and Pappy from Augusta, the family went off to the gardens to see the lights.

Once again, my piccies will do the talking -

                                          gardens 3

                                          gardens 5

                       gardens 1     gardens 2

                       gardens 7a     gardens 9

                                        gardens 10

                                gardens 12

                        gardens 16

                        gardens 17

                                gardens 20 best

                                        gardens 15 both at well 

Get the picture ? All interactive. So, not just a display to look at, one where you can walk through and over and round and marvel at. Covers a huge distance. I have blogged about the gardens earlier, at Halloween, where the displays you walk around and through are totally awesome, but this, at Christmas, is another dimension again.

In 20 yrs time, I wonder how much of this xmas the boys will remember ? The year they wore their MINION onesies at Xmastime.

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