Monday, November 8, 2021

End of Lockdown

Was a roller coaster of a time with the COVID lockdown. I wasn't isolated alone. I had many visitors. Some more regular than others.

Keeping me company

Not a conversationalist though. I'd walk each day. Sometimes my mate would follow up the street.

There was a large uptick in people walking or jogging. Very noticeable in the afternoon. Only the keen are out early on winter mornings.

I hatched another plan. Build a new cart. It did help keep me busy.


Lots of thinking on the design, drawing plans. Then the actual work. "Measure twice, cut once." says the proverb. Great advice. Doesn't help if the measurement is wrong. Mistakes were made in the plan. But harder to fix mistakes were made in the building. But eventually it was together.

Awaiting painting

And it seemed like suddenly, lockdown was over.

I'm busting to go places. But, I'm laid low again. Sore feet. Why? I don't know. Nothing changed one week to the next, but something did. Walking or cycling both affect it. I'm doing the standard protocol for recovery: rest, anti inflammatories, stretching and hoping that it heals soon. Feeling "up" on the days I wake and it feels improved. Trying not to feel "down" when it is worse.

And more sad news: Omelet and Dinner have departed. After the last post, I was patting myself on the back for taking good care of them. And then a magpie attacked them. Just one magpie of the couple that visit was paying them a lot of attention. I thought I had them safe in their cage. But the magpie proved smarter than me. It waited until they were close to the wire and managed to spike both of them in the head. Dinner passed on first, Omelet about a week later. I decided not to try again.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Sydney COVID lockdown!

I've never had my own pet before.

Growing up there was the household animals - cats, dogs, chooks. And a group of brief visitors vaguely remembered like the freshwater turtles that only lasted a night, before they baffling escaped? Or not remembered at all: A cow and some goats. I have idea of their fates. In a family story recounted often, the goats only lasted until they ate the sheets off the washing line.

The cats came and went as they wanted. Sometimes, looking healthy, other times beat up. They got fed when there where about. Their appearances grew more and more infrequent, until one day it was noticed they hadn't returned for a long time and clearly they were never coming back.  Did they move to a better place, or did they meet an untimely end. We never knew. 

The dogs were more mum and dads pets. The inside dog was mums. Spoilt rotten. Outside dogs - dads. We kids were involved, but incidentally so - taking food out at times, or cleaning up after them. The chooks where more of our responsibility. Our, as in "all the kids" - a group commitment. Like all groups, it was an uneven commitment. Some doing more of work to avoid punishment. Collect the eggs, check the food and water, close the chook house door at night. The chooks weren't thought of as pets. They were the egg producers, and looking after them was a job that had to be done.

I had always wanted pigeons, but our drinking water was collected off the house roof into a rain water tank. Having pigeons, who would be sitting and pooping on the roof was never going to be allowed to happen.  I thought to get pigeons now, but with COVID lockdown that option was blocked. None of the Gumtree pigeon sales were close. But there were Quail about! So I've joined the group of people getting pets while in lockdown. 

I was to have been gone from Sydney, but... COVID. I figured the lockdown is going to go for months, so long enough to have some pets.

Meet Omelet and Dinner.

The names are not suggesting anything. They just happened to spring to mind when I was carrying them back. Omelet does lay an egg a day. Four or five quail eggs equals one chicken egg, so any omelets are going be small, or also infrequent. Dinner, he keeps Omelet company. I wanted more, but the seller only had the pair left.

They have two homes. Nights are spent inside. Days outside in their larger holiday home. It's not suitable for overnight stays. Not build to a high enough predator proof rating. Cats, dogs, foxes, snakes, rats. Too many critters that would love an overnight snack. This one came past early one morning:

I wonder if it was the scent of quail that attracted it. I've never seen one in the yard before. Only fleeting glances when bush walking.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

New Racks

The local council cleanup was on. I found two camping chairs.

A bit of work with a drill.

And a lot more work later:

The "basket" on the front is a "Garden City Plastic Grow Plant Pot - 410mm Black 28L $6.50 " from Bunnings. It won out over the "Tactix 25L Black Collapsible Crate $9.98 " by the sleek aerodynamic shape, lighter weight, increased volume and being slightly cheaper. Time will tell if it is up to the rigours of life as a basket.

But for now, I love the space it provides. The old K-Mart wire basket was miserly with space. A bicycle lock and my backpack with shopping was always a tight squeeze. I needed to give it a bit of encouragement to fit and even then, I didn't always succeed. This new basket it voluminous. The shopping and the bicycle lock vanish inside with ample room for more goods. A good sized basket is essential in my opinion.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Final Cart

I finally finished building my PVC cart. It has three modes

Long mode:

With the handles extended. They clip to a waist belt for easy walking.

Medium mode:
With the handles stowed for short indoors trips.

Short mode:
The shopping cart look. For indoors and on public transport. It is easier to handle compared to Medium mode.

All great and wonderful. Took it for a few short walks while I was working out the bugs. Then set off on a 20km shakedown trip.

Few days later I started developing sore knees. I'm not sure why. The walk was easy. Nothing hard, no big hills. No rush. I took all day for 20km. So lots of resting, reading, and watching the world go by. 20km wasn't an unusual distance. My daily morning constitutional was 12km at a brisk pace. Then the days activities were on top of that. Usually a lot more walking, but some cycle rides.

A physio visit later and the diagnosis was "tendinitis". Treatment: Nothing surprising. Cut the activity levels right down. Cycling is preferable as it's low impact. Only about two or three months to recover. 😦

So, here I am, recovering, again. Starting to feel that the idea of walking with a cart is jinxed.

Sunday, January 31, 2021


One of the surprises about my recent holiday was the how interesting walking about the inner west is.

Walkability1 is one of those concepts that sounds simple, and that you don't notice, until there is a large change, and then suddenly you wonder how you didn't notice it before.

There is a lot of information about walkability. A brief video about what makes a city great. And more on urban planning.

Using this map I have been staying in a Red Zone. Not walkable. My holiday was in a Green Zone. Very walkable. The difference was eye opening. I'd become habituated to blandness.

Presently, an hour fast walk is about 6km. Most of that is along a busy road. Off that I'm passing cookie cutter style housing. The type were every front yard is manicured to the peer accepted level. There are a couple of cafes along the way near a train station, but otherwise shops are clustered inside a shopping center. Blank boxes, designed to trap you inside, where the layout is confusing and disorentating. Everything planned to encourage you to buy more.

It's not very interesting walking about the suburbs.