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January 23, 2013 / diannegray

Rain, rain go away

It’s hard to move a house in this weather – so I’m being very impatient understanding and waiting for the monsoon trough to get the hell outa here move out to sea. The clouds are coming from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald (my grandfather’s middle-name was Oswald – thought you’d appreciate that bit of useless information).

Rain, rain go away


 (picture courtesy BOM Australia)

In the meantime, I’m preparing more trees for my garden. I’ve got two avocado trees that are nearly ready to plant (they are in the black pots) and also three frangipanis (in the terracotta pot).


Next door to our temporary accommodation they have a Foxtail Palm. See the red things hanging from it – they’re seeds. They fall off and roll over to my side of the fence. Being the good neighbour I am, I clean them up and put them away (in pots of soil). So far I think I have eighteen of them to plant down both sides of the driveway leading to the new farmhouse (or The RUC as it is adoringly known).


If you look closely on the right side of the Foxtail you’ll see a bird’s nest. I’m not sure what kind of bird it is yet, but I’m ready to go undercover and stalk it to find out.

Bird's nest 001

My new addiction

I’ve found since moving back to the tropics I’ve become addicted to second-hand and antique shops. When I lived in the city I liked them, but they were always too expensive. Now that I’m in the country the prices are ridiculously low and I’m finding I’m shopping every day. When I walk into the shops now I’m known on a first name basis – yes, I admit it, I’m an addict. One day I’ll collect all my pieces and lay them out on a table and take pics for you. My lasts acquisition was yesterday when I bought a brand new espresso/cappuccino machine (still in the box) for $10. I spend about $10 a day buying cappuccino so I’ve already saved – having used it five times now!

Are you addicted to bargains? or am I just a weirdo?

My muse has also made a dramatic appearance and I find myself sitting here looking at the beautiful Foxtail every time I lift my head from my WIPs.


Leave a Comment
  1. Theo Fenraven / Jan 23 2013 10:25 am

    Love the photos. 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:38 pm

      I took them this morning in between heavy showers 😉


  2. Rick Mallery / Jan 23 2013 10:26 am

    Are those two questions mutually exclusive? 😉

    Great to see the pics. I’m looking forward to the pics of your new place once the RUC arrives!


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:38 pm

      I’m still jumping out of my skin waiting for it to arrive (not much skin left now) 😉


  3. letizia / Jan 23 2013 10:38 am

    Hope the rain moves out soon! Loved seeing the photos, especially the little nest!


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:39 pm

      The nest is very cute, Letizia! I can’t wait until the eggs hatch 😉


  4. annotating60 / Jan 23 2013 10:40 am

    Sounds like you would be a likely candidate to watch the fiulm “The Rains of Ranjipur.” Micheal Renee I think.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:41 pm

      Ah – Lana Turner, one of my all time favourites 😀


  5. annotating60 / Jan 23 2013 10:42 am

    Dianne, I would like to ask you a question but would rather do it in a less public forum. It’s about perhaps reading some of my work that can’t go on the posts and be considered unpublished by a magazine. If you would rather not I completely understand.>KB


  6. mcwoman / Jan 23 2013 10:46 am

    Isn’t fun to plan your new yard? I hope you’re not like me, though, biting off more than you can dig! When we moved in here, I was constantly digging and potting like a possessed gardener. Now I plant my pots on the patio and call it a day. I so love the pictures you include with your posts, Diane. Living SOOOO FAR AWAY from the tropics makes me have a keen appreciation for the different plants and trees. A palm is so much more graceful in the wind than an oak. (There’s a reason they call it “solid” oak!)

    Bottom line: It’s my goal (dream) to have a palm tree growing in my front yard before I die.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:45 pm

      The Foxtail is the best to plant in an area like this (where there are cyclones) because it’s the sturdiest and has the deepest roots, so it’s not as likely to blow over like other palm trees. There was a big stink about the Foxtail about 20 years ago (where govt. officials were taking seeds and selling them) I’m not 100% sure of what happened but I should google it!

      I really hope you get a palm tree to grow in your front yard – that would be fantastic!


  7. mcwoman / Jan 23 2013 10:49 am

    Oh — I forgot something I wanted to tell you — call it a “senior” moment.
    Over the past three years, I have developed a love for thrift shops, too. It’s been the way I’ve been able to stretch our budget–especially clothing. People don’t believe it when I tell them I paid a couple of dollars for a wool sweater.

    And shhhh– don’t tell anyone, but I’ve also found some very nice gifts there, too.


  8. timkeen40 / Jan 23 2013 10:57 am

    Those are certainly some great pictures. It looks like a great place to visit and live.



    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:46 pm

      Hey Tim. It’s a beautiful place and I absolutely love it here 😉


  9. Janna G. Noelle / Jan 23 2013 11:02 am

    Dianne, those trees look amazing! I used to work as an ecologist, and tree ID is a particular hobby of mine, so I would love the chance to study those trees and their characteristics, and cross-reference them in a field guide.

    In terms of bargains, I love shopping for clothes at secondhand/thrift stores. You can find some really good quality stuff for really great prices (I don’t really care to spend a lot on clothes because they’re just not that important to me), plus it also allows you to find unique pieces to express your personal style.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:53 pm

      I think you’ll find some very interesting information if you Google Foxtail Palm, Janna. They have a very interesting (and litigious) history 😉 They are also the best palm to have in a tropical area where there are cyclones because they have very deep roots and can withstand an enormous amount of wind without blowing over. The palms in the background of the avocados are what I know as ‘regular palms’ – but I’m not of their real name 😦 There are a lot of amazing trees and plants in this area and one day I should go around and take pics of them 😉

      I’m glad you’re a second-hand shopper like me (today I got a silky oak dressing table for free!) Woo Hoo!


  10. 1girl4adamwest / Jan 23 2013 11:11 am

    This is so much fun hearing the happenings of the making of such a cool chapter in your life!!!!


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:54 pm

      Thank you! I love thinking of life as chapters – you are very cool! 😀


  11. John / Jan 23 2013 11:13 am

    Beautiful trees! Funny you mention the Fox Tail trees, we were in a palm tree nursery just this morning looking at the different specie, and the Fox Tail looks just the same here as there. So far away yet alike? Sorry your home move has been blown out by the storm, always something it seems, to slow things down.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:56 pm

      The Foxtail is native to this area and I’m really glad they’ve made it all the way to you 😉

      I’ve learned to become very patient (doesn’t come naturally!) with this move. I know it’ll all be worth it when I’m actually in the house…


      • John / Jan 23 2013 1:20 pm

        I am totally sure it’ll be worth the wait! God things come to those who wait…:)


  12. bodhisattvaintraining / Jan 23 2013 11:17 am

    I love the sound of your days 🙂

    (and the rain after our heat!! though a cyclone is never fun…)


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 12:59 pm

      I’m just hoping it doesn’t reach the ocean, re-form, and come back at us! IKES! that’s always a problem with these things. It’s flooding now and all this odd weather reminds me of Dorothea Mackeller ‘A land of droughts and flooding rains’ (she should have mentioned fires as well) 😯


      • bodhisattvaintraining / Jan 23 2013 2:08 pm

        Today is such a beautiful day here…cool, breezy, overcast – who ever thought I’d say that in summer ha ha ha 🙂


  13. T. W. Dittmer / Jan 23 2013 11:17 am

    Espresso. 🙂 You got a machine for $10?

    Nice photos. Looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:01 pm

      Yes – $10, brand new. I was shocked but didn’t question the price 😯

      Once the rain stops we’ll move the house – although I’m a bit concerned that the ex-tropical cyclone may hit the sea again and re-form…


  14. Polysyllabic Profundities / Jan 23 2013 11:19 am

    I envy your temperatures right now. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate… is going to be -32 C tonight and my water pipes have already frozen. Take me away, imagination!!


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:03 pm

      Oh dear! I remember living in the cold climate and my water pipes froze. It’s awful! Stay rugged up 😦

      I’m loving it here (until the rain stops – once that happens it’ll be like sitting in a steam sauna). 😯 yikes…


  15. Carrie Rubin / Jan 23 2013 11:28 am

    Wow, your neck of the woods looks much different than my neck of the woods. 🙂

    Since I’m not a fan of shopping, I’m not really addicted to bargains. However, put me in a Target store, and I may never come out. There is just something about Target. Do they have them in your neck of the woods?


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:07 pm

      They certainly do! I love Target. I once won a $1000 Target gift voucher in a radio competition. I spent the lot in one day! 😀

      I love that your ‘neck of the woods’ look so different than mine – that’s what makes life incredibly diverse and interesting for us all 😉


      • Carrie Rubin / Jan 23 2013 1:30 pm

        Ooh, a $1000 Target gift card. I’m jealous!


      • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:34 pm

        So were my friends! It’s the only time I’ve ever entered a radio competition. Soooooo fun 😀


  16. Sheila Morris / Jan 23 2013 11:43 am

    Love the Foxtail Palm!! Hard to believe your bird nest in January! Thanks for the map, too – hope the rain goes away soon…in the meantime, look for more pots in the antique stores. 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:09 pm

      Yeah – the pots are bit boring! I haven’t seen any nice pots in the stores yet, but now you’ve set me up on a mission that I’m fully prepared to accept! 😉


  17. bodhimoments / Jan 23 2013 11:45 am

    Nice! Do keep us updated on the identity of bird. I can already see your driveway…. 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:11 pm

      It will look beautiful and I’m glad you can see it. There is one across the road that I should have taken a picture of with an ‘Avenue of Foxtails’. It’s spectacular 😉


  18. avwalters / Jan 23 2013 11:54 am

    Some of us are homebased. We gather our strength from the certainties of place and day-to-day life. Dislocation puts us in a nesting spiral. I know I did the craigslist/ebay/yard sale addiction when I first left my marriage. In my defense, I left with very little, and was determined that I was not going to live like a student during my mid-life crisis. Surely all those purchases were great deals and soon my little house looked inhabited. To this day though, years later, I still spec out craigslist on a semi-regular basis. I’m ready, just in case life once again rips away all that seems comforting and stable. It’s not shopping, it’s nesting.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:17 pm

      Hence the picture of the bird’s nest?

      Ever since I left here 12 years ago I’ve felt dislocated and now I feel like I’m ‘home’ which is really nice 😉 I must check out craigslist – that’s something I’ve never done…


  19. Ruth Rainwater / Jan 23 2013 12:01 pm

    I love thrift stores; that’s how I have such an extensive wardrobe and how we furnished much of our home. 🙂 I can feel your excitement through the computer and share it with you. The trees look so lush – I sometimes miss that living here in the desert.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:20 pm

      I’m so glad you love these stores as well – I’m kinda going nuts about them at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll settle down (once I get overloaded) 😉

      The desert has a unique beauty and the lushness that surrounds me comes with a price – too much rain! 😀


  20. Peter Pazucha / Jan 23 2013 12:13 pm

    Diane, I always say, “It’s a big world and room for all kinds” — so your addiction to antique shops is excusable. 🙂 Here, I’ve heard people say that it might be raining but it’s a warm rain — I don’t know…. in my book, rain is rain and sometimes it gets in the way. I hope you dry out and get moved in good order.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:25 pm

      Thank you, Peter. Luckily I bought a clothes dryer a few months back so I’m able to wash and dry the clothes. Warm rain is better than the bitter cold sleet rain we used to get when I lived in a cold climate. But warm or cold, it really is getting in the way at the moment and if I could push it south to extinguish the bush-fires I would 😉


  21. EllaDee / Jan 23 2013 12:21 pm

    Thank you for the snapshot of life from your bit of the world… Back in my office cube, I know you know how such things make a difference to the day…. at least someone’s having a life…
    Damn the monsoon… but at least planning the garden and shopping is helping you while away the time.
    If I shop retail it’s online and purposefully, and other than for groceries I only enter retail shops if there is no other option. I love op, second hand and ‘antique’ shop everything, so I would love to see a photo of your goodies. I especially love old homewares etc that I can add to the house at TA – my Dad calls it ‘the museum’.
    At first I looked in horror at your Foxtail Palm and all those seeds that fall on the ground. We have palms that look like the one in the background of your photo in the yard of our second house which we rent out at TA, and the tenants are forever mentioning how messy they are… but a closer look at those spectacular fox tail palm fronds has led me to fall in love too 🙂 The trees will look spectacular lining a driveway.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 1:32 pm

      The Foxtail is considered a ‘clean’ palm because the only mess it drops are the seeds. The ones in the background are very messy and always dropping woody stuff and branches on the ground and I watch the neighbours forever running around picking stuff up (while I’m sitting back relaxing and writing!)

      Today I got a silky oak dressing table for free (because the mirror needs fixing). I’ll put a pic of it up for my next post 😀

      I hope your day in the office gets better – you need some excitement (but not work excitement!)


  22. adinparadise / Jan 23 2013 1:45 pm

    Yes that Foxtail is certainly worth more than a second glance. Hope the rain stops soon, but I guess your plants are loving it. 🙂 Who doesn’t love a bargain?


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 3:48 pm

      I hope the rain stops soon, too 😦 I think it’s easing off today, but hope it’s not just my imagination playing tropical tricks on me. Bargain lovers are everywhere!


  23. agjorgenson / Jan 23 2013 2:04 pm

    I’m not addicted to bargains, but I find that if I spend over ten minutes in a store, I feel like I cannot leave unless I buy something: it is as if I have to justify the amount of time I have invested by investing in a purchase. So, after the ten minute mark I find my interest level in bargain rise dramatically. Maybe I’m a binge bargainer?


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 3:52 pm

      You sound so much like a close friend of mine. He once bought an Alpha because he had spent too much time in the showroom looking at all the cars and it all came back to ‘time investment’!


  24. Adam S / Jan 23 2013 2:12 pm

    You’re planting, and I’m hibernating because of the cold…
    …Wanna switch?

    By the way, does an avocado tree bear avocados? Or is that just a fancy name?


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 3:56 pm

      LOL – that’s so cute! Yes an avocado bears beautiful fresh avocados! This reminds me of when I was driving with a friend one day and she said, ‘wow – look at that pineapple plantation’. I was looking everywhere and couldn’t see any pineapple trees, it just looked like acres of grass. I didn’t realise pineapples grew on the ground! 😉


      • Adam S / Jan 23 2013 3:58 pm

        Your friend is wrong. Pineapples do grow on trees.


      • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 4:09 pm

        LOL! 😀


  25. nrhatch / Jan 23 2013 2:37 pm

    When we were househunting here, we saw lots of citrus trees . . . and one amazing Avocado tree that must have had 500 avocados ripening on its branches. Hope yours bear fruit.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 3:59 pm

      They should bear fruit. I’ve had others on the farm that give hundreds at a time and sometimes it’s hard to find enough people to give them away to 😉 Unfortunately, the cyclones sometimes knock them over and they have to be replaced…


  26. donnajeanmcdunn / Jan 23 2013 2:59 pm

    I love bargains of all kinds, but free is the best. I love your pics. I think I’m jealous of where you live. The high here today was 16 degrees and it snowed, not a lot, but enough to make it slick going to work this morning. Does it get very cold where you are? It doesn’t look like it with all the palm trees. I’m so glad you share your photos with us.


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 4:02 pm

      In winter we can get down to about 16 degrees Celsius at night and people say they’re ‘freezing’! But coming from a colder climate that doesn’t worry me at all. I think the temp range here is about 18 – 27 most of the year round…


  27. Kozo / Jan 23 2013 3:06 pm

    What an adventure. Cyclones, Avocados, and Foxtails, Oh My.
    My grandfather used to go to the swap meet every Sunday in Hawaii. He kept buying these funny looking bowls for a couple of bucks each. He would bring them home and polish them up. Turns out they were antique Koa bowls made by the original Hawaiians. When he passed away the collection was priceless, so my step-dad donated the lot to the Bishop Museum. Keep your eye out in those antique shops; you never know what you will find. 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 4:09 pm

      That sounds fantastic, Kozo – the bowls must have been beautiful! How lovely to give them to the museum, that’s a very gracious thing to do.

      I’m not a professional, but I do know what to look out for. The other day I bought a beautiful old green bottle (with a spout) for a dollar. I know old bottles are valuable, but I never sell anything 😉 so it kind of defeats the purpose. I just love collecting old things and occasionally I’ll see something on a TV show about antiques and say, ‘I’ve got one of those!’ It’s a lot of fun.

      Today I got a beautiful old silky oak dresser for free (because the mirror needs fixing) so I’m pretty happy about that 😀


      • Kozo / Jan 23 2013 4:19 pm

        I love that you never sell anything, Dianne. That means that you truly appreciate what you are collecting. My Hawaiian grandfather never sold anything either. He just absorbed all the energy from his ancestors that were contained in the antiques. My grandfather would have loved you. 🙂
        If only those antiques could talk. Imagine the stories they could tell.


      • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 4:34 pm

        Big {{{hugs}}} for that beautiful comment! I’m sure I would have loved your grandfather as well. I mention the Hawaiian’s and their lost culture in one of my books as my main character is Hawaiian 😉


  28. Denise Hisey / Jan 23 2013 3:51 pm

    You are a weirdo. 😉
    But not because you like antiques!
    Just a good weirdo -a writer, an adventurer, an explorer!!


    • diannegray / Jan 23 2013 4:11 pm

      I love being a weirdo! Any other way of life would be just plain boring 😀


  29. Maddie Cochere / Jan 23 2013 5:06 pm

    Because I sold used books for so many years, Rich and I scoured antique malls and flea markets for books. We found other treasures as well, and we ended up selling a lot of things on eBay (for like 15 years!). We had our own space in a nice flea market for about three years, and we had a blast finding gems for it. We still like to shop for bargains, even though we are no longer on the selling end of things. … So sorry about your rain; hope it clears out soon. … Love your planting plans … Come on RUC!!


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:23 am

      Oh Maddie, that sounds wonderful! I was going to go into the book selling business (for a fleeting moment two years ago) and never did, but I love flea markets and stalls and everything else that comes with second-hand goods. But once I have things I don’t sell them (this is my downfall and why I’ve now got about 10,000 books!) 😀

      You would be better placed to know the value of things than I am because my collecting is quite amateur (sometimes I know value when I see it!)

      Thank you for cheering on the RUC! 😉


  30. justinwriter / Jan 23 2013 5:47 pm

    Love the pics and that’s a very resourceful way of ‘obtaining’ free trees. How long do they take to grow? Is it one ring per year?

    Bargains are my specialty, but not always in second hand shops, just generally. I am the hunter. 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:27 am

      Hahaha – I LOVE that you’re ‘the hunter’, Justin. I can visualise it 😉

      The palms should reach the height of the one next door in about 7 years (I think) – depending on the soil and weather. I should have avocados on the other ones next January 😀


  31. Rustic Recluse / Jan 23 2013 7:13 pm

    always good to have a bargain! 🙂 especially if you’re talking about curio shops etc. Only I wish I had a bigger living space to display all my stuff! Hope you’ll be able to move soon!


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:31 am

      I hope so, too! The RUC has display cabinet (where they used to put trophies and cups, so I’m hoping I’ll have enough space when the house (eventually) gets here 😉

      A bargain is always a good thing and I’m glad you like these shops as well 😀


  32. ramblingsfromamum / Jan 23 2013 9:21 pm

    Watched the news this morning and heard about the monsoon. Hope you are al ok and the weather pisses off I mean dissipates quickly for you 😉 I am jealous you would also have frangipanis??


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:33 am

      LOL – I hope it pisses off too! There are a lot of frangipanis around here and I was going to buy some, but my friend just broke the branches off a few trees and stuck them in the soil and now they’re growing – woot woot!!! I love that kind of ‘purchase’ 😉


  33. the eternal traveller / Jan 23 2013 9:43 pm

    It’s bucketing down up there and down here it’s as dry as a bone again.


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:40 am

      I believe it’s heading south, but not sure how far south! Hope you get some soon…


  34. Lynda / Jan 24 2013 12:34 am

    Dianne, I hope your rain ends soon. I think I may be almost as excited as you are about getting the RUC up and running as a home for you and your family! Your garden is going to be amazing!

    I was introduced to Frangipani when my mother took my sister and I to the island of Kauai. I have tried several times to grow it when I lived in California. But here in the Appalachian foothills of north Alabama it is a lost cause. This morning it is 32 degrees at 7:30. Yesterday it was 27 and I had to crack 1/2 inch ice off the animals water. It took till the early afternoon to reach 32. BTW, Did you know if you live in cold weather long enough that you can actually feel warmer when the temperature reaches 32 degrees? LOL! After our week of rain (8 inches) I don’t envy your monsoon.


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:48 am

      Funny you mention “if you live in cold weather long enough that you can actually feel warmer when the temperature reaches 32 degrees” because where I live if it gets down to 16 Celsius (which is about 61F) people start saying they’re ‘freezing’! LOL! Because I’ve lived in a very cold climate for the past 12 years it doesn’t affect me in the same way (but who knows – I may do the same in a couple of years time) 😉

      I’m so sorry you can’t grow frangapani where you are 😦 they are such pretty flowers…

      Thank you for cheering on the RUC – I need that! It seems to be dragging on forever! I’m meeting with the architect and engineer on Friday so they can decide where the posts will go and then when they get the plans to the council, I’m hoping the move will come quickly 😀


  35. bulldogsturf / Jan 24 2013 1:22 am

    We are experiencing the heavy rains as well… I love second hand shops… there is always a bargain to be found… Linda allows me to enter but confiscates all my cards… in fact she takes my whole wallet… she feels we can open our own shop now with all my collections…


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:52 am

      LOL! That’s fantastic – you must be a great bargain hunter! Linda is a very wise woman 😉


  36. Photos With Finesse / Jan 24 2013 1:50 am

    Shame you can’t just setup fans and blow the rains further south to put out the fires there. 🙂 Your tree planting sounds wonderful. Three Frangipani’s in blossom at the same time would smell like a bit of heaven! Nothing wrong with thrift stores and bargain hunting – I’m not an antiques person so much as a ‘gently used’ hunter of ‘useful’ items. Love them for books, and canning jars, and we have one store run by the Mennonites here that seems to get a higher calibre of donations than others. A friend’s mum works there. For our Xmas ladies annual luncheon we each were given gorgeous bowls – all meeting our $5 max gift budget! (One was a Waterford style heavy crystal.)


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 6:57 am

      This is fantastic, Suzan. It’s amazing what people donate. My thinking is unwanted wedding presents or deceased estates. I like the fact that something discarded can go to a good home and be loved 😉

      The Frangipani’s will be amazing and because you can just break off a branch and put it in the soil to grow – who knows how many I may end up with! 😀 Being a photographer, you know how pretty that flower looks! 😉


      • Photos With Finesse / Jan 24 2013 3:11 pm

        I sure do. In Hawaii they call them Plumeria and they come in some amazing colours. (Just a small sampling of 4 here: – hit next).

        I didn’t realize you could just plant them in the ground and voila. The only tree (that I know of) here that you can do that with is certain varieties of willow.

        (And if this comment appears twice, I apologize. The first one disappeared entirely.)


      • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 3:31 pm

        Oh – those pictures of the frangapani (Plumeria) are magnificent! I must admit my favourite has always been the white and yellow – but the others are also stunning. I can’t wait until mine flower and I’ll take a few shots (I don’t have a great camera so they won’t be nearly as neat as yours!) and put them up here.

        This didn’t appear twice – I hate it when you write an entire response and it disappears and then you have to write it all over again! 😦


      • Photos With Finesse / Jan 26 2013 1:56 am

        I did have my big camera with me that day – it was at a tropical gardens on Maui. But my little one does just fine in macro mode – have had some lovely flower shots out of it. And one of my calendar photos this year was taken with my 3 year old cellphone – which is far from smart! (I just didn’t tell anyone!)


  37. Anna Scott Graham / Jan 24 2013 2:21 am

    I have never lived anywhere similar to your backyard and find the pictures stunning! As for bargains, there was an antique store in our village in the UK, Junk and Disorderly. Prices weren’t cheap, but we found a few treasures. Mostly my husband loved trolling through the shop; he’s the thrift store addict in our house! 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 7:03 am

      I love the name “Junk and Disorderly”! Your husband sounds like a wonderful man 😉

      I’m so glad you find the garden pretty – it’s very green here at the moment (with all the rain) and everything grows ‘bigger’ in the tropics. I remember when we lived in a very cold climate and I had a small monsteria growing in a pot inside the house. I brought it here about 20 years ago and planted it it the ground. I grew like Jack and the Beanstalk and then something really odd popped out if it. I asked a friend what the ‘growth’ was and they said, ‘it’s fruit’! I never realised those little plants we have in the house that grow to only 8 inches are actually monsters in the tropics 😉


      • Anna Scott Graham / Jan 24 2013 7:36 am

        The UK was often damp, but never a warm wet. Our weather now isn’t nearly as soggy, but we have a nice garden in summer, and very few frosts in winter, thankfully.

        Junk and Disorderly was one of his favourite haunts, and literally just down the road from our house in what was (and still is) a tiny village. There are still times he mentions it, wondering if this item or that thing is still there. 🙂


  38. ocdreader / Jan 24 2013 2:42 am

    I wish your rain would come our way! We are in trouble if we don’t get a few more inches this winter. I LOVE bargain hunting. I would easily become addicted as well. 🙂 And nice for your muse to make an appearance, that will help with the waiting on the rain and RUC.
    I love your garden, we can grow some frangipani near the ocean, but I can’t by me, gets too cold and dry. They smell so good!


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 7:08 am

      They smell beautiful, Elisa 😉 My grandmother had a big one growing in her front yard in Sydney and I loved it – this must be why I have such a fondness for them.

      My muse is hammering me at the moment and I’m thinking the grey skies and monsoon rain may have something to do with it (she’s a very stormy creature).

      I’m so glad you’re a bargain hunter – it’s SO much fun! 😉


  39. gabrielablandy / Jan 24 2013 5:29 am

    You sure picked a time to move your house! I am so envious of your avocado trees. When I was living in WA with Dan, his uncle had trees on his farm, which we were allowed to pick. We always had a pile on the kitchen counter, ripening. We made smoothies, which you either love the sound of or hate – 1 avocado, 400ml of any kind of milk (real, soya, rice etc) a good dollop of honey and a generous shake of cinnamon. When we got back to the UK we tried making them, but it wasn’t the same.


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 7:17 am

      Oh YUM! Avocado smoothies sound delicious! I’m definitely going to be making those 😉

      There is nothing better than any fruit fresh off the tree. When we moved from here to the city 12 years ago I would buy avocados and they tasted nothing like the ones we grew on the farm. I think they must ‘gas ripen’ them like they do with bananas.

      Do you ever get back to WA for visits?


  40. The Wrought Writer / Jan 24 2013 5:33 am

    Is it sad that I am much more interested in your Cappuccino machine than your plants? Don’t answer that.

    But, I do love a beautiful, natural garden and (cheap) expensive coffee, so this post is a win-win!


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 7:22 am

      LOL! I’ve just got it on now – I need to get used to making the frothy milk (I’m getting better!) 😉

      I love a win-win 😀


  41. char / Jan 24 2013 7:07 am

    Lucky! I would love an avocado tree…or an avocado farm.


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 7:24 am

      An avocado farm would be nice – what a lovely way to make a living! My hubbies uncle has a tropical fruit farm – it’s sensational! 😀


      • char / Jan 24 2013 9:19 am

        Tropical fruit would be wonderful.


      • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 10:06 am

        I know where I spend all my time going to visit (and it’s not in the kitchen!) 😉


  42. Roy McCarthy / Jan 24 2013 7:52 am

    The weather is all to the good if you’re having to stay in and write Dianne. Which reminds me it’s time I treated myself to another one of your books.


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 8:51 am

      Please do, Roy. If you want a smashwords (kindle) version I’ll send you a code. Just let me know which one 😀

      I think my muse loves stormy weather! 😉


  43. harulawordsthatserve / Jan 24 2013 8:10 am

    Yes, rain’s a pain, but your beautiful trees get thirsty too:-) And muse is happy when you’re inside writing, as are those of us who wish to read what you write. This (rain) too shall pass…


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 8:52 am

      Awww – my favourite saying. Thank you SO much for the reminder. You’re very good at bringing me back to earth! 😀


  44. ripe red berries / Jan 24 2013 8:21 am

    Hoping the weather passes soon for you…Great deal on the espresso machine – rock on!! No, you are not a weirdo – you are a savvy shopper!! (: I’m addict too – to bargains that is! (:


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 8:54 am

      At least we have a good addiction (I think)! I’m hoping the weather passes, too. Rain is wonderful, but not by the truck load 😀


  45. Lisaman / Jan 24 2013 8:32 am

    Hope the sun comes out soon!!


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 8:55 am

      Me too! I love rain, but sometimes you can just get too much 😦


  46. Bonnie / Jan 24 2013 11:30 am

    If you are a weirdo, so am I!? Who doesn’t love a bargain! A $10 espresso machine..c’mon! I want to go shopping with you! It’s raining here, if that helps at all! But it’s cold here with the rain…In CA we have it good, but I am a wimp when it comes to cold and I am such a summer girl…I can’t wait for spring and summer to roll on back! Wish I could stop by and have you make an espresso for me!! 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 2:06 pm

      I have been making them for myself, but just made one for a friend of mine and she loved it (thank goodness!) I just need to get the milk a bit frothier and I’ll be a cappuccino expert! 😀

      I just saw a bit of blue sky – woo hoo! I think the rain may be leaving for a while 😉


  47. Jacqui Murray / Jan 24 2013 11:48 am

    I love a great view to write by. My husband enlarged the window in my office for just that purpose. It was expensive, but worth it.

    Nothing like your view, though. Mine very domesticated.


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 2:08 pm

      The view is beautiful and it gives such a good vibe of energy! It was wonderful of your hubby to enlarge the window for you – what a sweet man 😉


  48. Lonely Daffodil / Jan 24 2013 1:07 pm

    Stopped raining? Nice photos 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 24 2013 2:10 pm

      Almost – I just saw a tiny bit of blue sky 😉


  49. Spider42 / Jan 24 2013 6:30 pm

    Lovely looking place. Most people go gaga for flowers but I love greenery, even my respectable little balcony garden is basically all different shades of green.
    We have a fish-tail palm at home and I think my dads planted a fox-tail as well but I can’t remember for sure – they really are amazing to watch grow over months and years.


    • diannegray / Jan 25 2013 6:13 am

      I like that you love greenery – it’s a beautiful calming feeling being surrounded by green 😉 I also like the fact the you have a balcony garden – that’s great. I’m sure I would have one if I lived in an apartment as well 😀


  50. pommepal / Jan 24 2013 9:40 pm

    You will have a tropical paradise in no time flat. I love all those tropical palms, and frangipanis just sing and smell of the tropics and of course the rain will make everyhting grow so fast. We have been promised that the rain is heading our way, south east corner, and have been warned of flooding on Australia day. Australia never does things by halves does it? But The garden is desperate for a good soaking


    • diannegray / Jan 25 2013 6:16 am

      I hope it reaches you and gives just enough to give the gardens a good watering – no floods! I think we’ve had our fair share of fires and floods in the past few months 😉


      • pommepal / Jan 25 2013 8:26 am

        The rain came last night and it is beautiful, a nice steady soaking, so far!!!!


      • diannegray / Jan 25 2013 1:04 pm

        YAY! 😀


      • pommepal / Jan 25 2013 1:34 pm

        🙂 🙂 🙂
        I’m grinning like a Cheshire cat….


  51. Pat / Jan 24 2013 11:45 pm

    It all looks lovely, even if you do have rain. We still have the awful white stuff lying outside, plus icy slush lying in wait to make me slip. Tropical palms, frangipanis, avocado trees, foxtail lilies….. Mmm. I think I just wandered away into somewhere heavenly…..


    • diannegray / Jan 25 2013 6:19 am

      I’m so glad I could take you to a tropical paradise for a moment, Pat! Breathe it in, soak it up, and enjoy! The white stuff is nice, but seems to lose it’s magic when it turns to slush 😦


  52. jmmcdowell / Jan 25 2013 3:25 am

    Growing avocado trees in the yard—that sounds awesome! Some fruit trees can handle our climate, but nothing too exotic! I hope your rain clears and you can get the new house in place. But when the Muse is inspired, the time is best spent with her! 🙂


    • diannegray / Jan 25 2013 6:30 am

      That muse is pretty determined! I’ve had a lot of interruptions with visitors and such in the past few days and she’s on the verge of locking me away so I can get my work done 😉

      It’s good that you can grow some fruit trees where you are (that’s always a bonus!) 😀


  53. jannatwrites / Jan 25 2013 2:46 pm

    You might be a weirdo, I don’t know…but I’m just like you when it comes to bargains 😀 Bargain shopping is a favorite hobby of mine, but I’ve really cut back. I found estate auctions quite addictive as well. I like the bidding process. I have to say your $10 espresso machine sounds like a great deal. Be sure to brag to tell all your friends about the deal 🙂

    I’m a little envious that you have avocado trees. Love avocados!


    • diannegray / Jan 25 2013 5:08 pm

      Estate sales are really good and you can find the loveliest things…. hmmm … I just drifted off into bidding-dream-land 😀

      I’m making my friends cappuccinos and they’re loving them (though I may have to tell them to go home soon before I run out of coffee) 😉

      I love avocado as well as tomato and will be planting the tomato plants soon… yum…


  54. 4amWriter / Jan 25 2013 9:57 pm

    My mom is really into antiques from the 17th century or earlier. Her house is filled with stuff too old to use! I’m more practical when it comes to finding ‘treasures’. Your cappucino machine sounds like my kind of deal!


    • diannegray / Jan 26 2013 10:38 am

      The cappuccino machine has already produced over ten cups (and I’ve only had it a few days!) It’s certainly worth it’s weight in gold! 😀


  55. The British Asian Blog / Jan 25 2013 10:06 pm

    I so envy you right now, and I wish you enjoy the environment to its full potential. Were still experiencing snow at a severe level, and just now it seems things will change for the good. Although the snow, for some, is a nuisance, for me it’s lovely and because it only comes for around 1 week every year I have always loved it.


    • diannegray / Jan 26 2013 10:41 am

      Snow is absolutely beautiful! It would be nice to have it for a week, but I’ve just come from a very cold climate where I was living for 12 years and I’m really enjoying the warmth and tropical rain 😀

      Thanks so much for heading over this way say hello! 😉


  56. sherrylcook / Jan 26 2013 9:08 pm

    Rain means renewal and renewal means beginning, fitting don’t you think?


    • diannegray / Jan 27 2013 7:12 am

      That all fits in with my life at the moment, Sherry! I think the universe is trying to tell me something 😀


  57. bluebee / Jan 27 2013 6:44 am

    You are certainly having a deluge up there – I feel for you moving in that! Rain has moved in down here as well and washed out our golf game this morning, but I’m not complaining 🙂 Love the palms – they will make a lovely frame to your driveway.


    • diannegray / Jan 27 2013 7:26 am

      The rain has moved south now and I see Bundaberg has had a few tornadoes – ouch! Now I’m glad it was just the rain we got and not the rest of that terrible weather 😯


  58. traveler's choice / Jan 27 2013 8:19 pm

    pictures are lovely, i love this kind of rainy weather, it would be awesome to stand in the balcony and to sip hot coffee watching the wet surroundings….forget about moving your house..stay at home and enjoy the weather :-p


    • diannegray / Jan 28 2013 3:07 pm

      The weather here is beautiful at the moment, but I can’t say it is for the rest of Australia! The storm we had has now moved south and is causing enormous amounts of destruction, so I guess we got off pretty lightly! 😀

      I’ll take some pics of my new balcony when the house is moved, the scenery is spectacular, but having said that – where I am now is rather beautiful 🙂


  59. cestlavie22 / Jan 28 2013 1:07 am

    My bf got me hooked on antiques! The shops around us are a bit pricey but when we vacation in Maine in the summer there are some great little shops with awesome prices! Its so much fun exploring and discovering new pieces for our home.


    • diannegray / Jan 28 2013 3:10 pm

      You’re so right! I guess it is the explorer in all of us that emerges when we go into these shops. I’ve got some beautiful antiques (that are currently sitting in storage waiting for the house move, unfortunately!) and I would’nt give them up for anything because they made things so beautifully (and to last) in the old days 😀


  60. Jenny Ackland / Jan 28 2013 10:27 am

    I also love second-hand shops, love the atmosphere of old furniture versus new. Was thinking of you with all the rain, glad to read it’s moved on a bit! The weather maps certainly look scary as are the stories of rescue. Best wishes from dry down south.


    • diannegray / Jan 28 2013 3:25 pm

      Are you still dry, Jen? It’s almost like that ex-cyclone is ‘rolling down’ the east coast. My brother is in Coffs Harbour and I’ll be calling him soon (although, Telstra has been knocked out for most of QLD, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get through). 😯

      I think we’re pretty lucky this far north that we only got the beginnings of it 😉


  61. maggiemyklebust / Jan 28 2013 8:45 pm

    Cappuccino, fruit trees and antique hunting – in the tropics… Sounds like a dream to me. I’m buried here in snow 🙂


  62. Zen A. / Jan 28 2013 10:18 pm

    I’m finally able to catch up on all blog posts. Since it’s been five days since you posted this, I do hope the storm is going away! It must be frustrating sitting around and waiting for it. =[
    A cappuccino machine for $10 is such a bargain! Do you know how to operate it though? I once got one, thinking I’ll be saving a lot of money, and instead ended up wasting a lot of coffee and milk because I couldn’t figure it out, haha. It now sits at the back of the storage room collecting dust.


    • diannegray / Jan 29 2013 6:35 am

      Strangely enough I can work the cappuccino machine and can make excellent ones. I cheated a little and bought a milk frother because I couldn’t get the froth ‘just right’ and now it’s perfect! 😉

      The storm has left us but is reeking havoc, deaths and flooding in the rest of the east coast of Australia. It’s become a complete disaster 😦

      The interview post went really well. Thank you so very much, my darling! 😀


  63. moderndayruth / Jan 30 2013 8:19 am

    Ohh, that palm tree is just beautiful! I wonder too what bird is nesting there! I am addicted to
    1. antiques shops
    Dianne, my friend, YOU ARE NOT ALONE while hunting down for bargains & sipping on 10th coffee in the day… I AM WITH YOU IN SPIRIT, as weird as it gets! 😉 xxxx


    • diannegray / Jan 30 2013 9:19 am

      I love that you love the things I love – I hope that makes sense! 😉

      I’m so glad I’m not alone on these loves – enjoy your coffee 😀


  64. eof737 / Feb 1 2013 7:48 pm

    I love antique hunting but don’t shop much these days… Good pricing for you but watch it eh? 😆


    • diannegray / Feb 2 2013 7:03 am

      LOL! The markets are on this morning *danger signs ahead* 😉


  65. tchistorygal / Feb 3 2013 3:22 pm

    Good for you Dianne, My husband gave our cappuccino machine away when I wasn’t looking!!! We used it for a while. But he makes most of the coffee, and I love his coffee more than anyone else’s so I haven’t missed the C machine. Your trees look luscious. I love avocados. A few people in this area grow them, but we haven’t – yet. V is still debating what to plant this spring – including trees. Love your pics!!! 🙂 ML


  66. Daphne Shadows / Feb 10 2013 6:49 am

    That has to be amazing, being surrounded by nature. So relaxing and refreshing. I have to walk miles just to see a freaking side of the road tree. Ugh.
    I love antique and secondhand stores too! I love walking around and picking through everything. 😀
    But you’re still weird. 😉


    • diannegray / Feb 10 2013 8:40 am

      I think I’d go nuts if I couldn’t live in the country – I hate being hemmed in (speaking of which – you must be getting out of hotel hell soon!) 😦

      Thanks for the weirdness confirmation – you know me well, my friend 😀


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