by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Random Photographs”

Sunset, Again

Posted 18 August 2008 in by Catriona

It’s been a long day followed by a lovely sunset, so why not combine the two in a transparent attempt to make it look as though I’m updating my blog?

Life in the Back Garden

Posted 14 August 2008 in by Catriona

I was trying to get a closer look this morning of the pair of lovely birds that our ragamuffin batch of mynahs was harassing; I have no idea what type of birds they are—and my inept Googling for Queensland birds with green tails and bright blue eye markings brought me no useful results—but they normally restrict themselves to hanging out in the palm trees. This time, they were bailed up in the bushes outside my study window, and it was unusual to see them so close.

Mind, the selfish things were more concerned with not being attacked by the mynahs, who outnumbered them four to one, than they were with holding still for me to take a photograph, so I didn’t manage to snap them in the end.

I had to settle for taking a picture of the blue-tongue, when he emerged to sun himself.

Blue-tongues freak me out a little; I’m not actually scared of them, or of any lizards, though I have a healthy Australian fear of snakes—and that’s the problem, really. Blue-tongues look far more like snakes than any self-respecting lizard should, especially when all I see is the inappropriately orange tail disappearing behind a box in the laundry, and freak out slightly.

You can’t really blame me: Australia has how many of the world’s most poisonous snakes? Almost all of them?

But when the lizard is in the garden, I’m not scared of him.

In fact, I hope his return means that we’ll soon be joined for the summer by our awesome water dragons—who make my day by throwing themselves off the roof, or climbing down the mulberry tree and then throwing themselves down the yukka as though it were a slide, or coming and lying on the verandah at my feet when it’s raining, or haring across the garden on their back legs, or occasionally wandering into the living room looking for insects.

And our bearded dragon, who’s a little less interesting, because he’s slower and closer to the ground, but who’s still nice to have around.

And our geckos, who are the great joy of my life. I don’t think people who were raised in the North can actually appreciate how strange it is to a Southerner to have these little pink lizards running freely through the house. I adore them—and am grateful that the primary insect-killing role in the house is taken by them and not, as in N.S.W., but huntsmen spiders.

We’re a lizardy household. And better that than spiders the size of teacups.

More Random Photographs from the Back Garden

Posted 13 August 2008 in by Catriona

Because it’s just been that sort of day.

It seems that, despite the cold, the wistaria has decided to start blooming. It’s a small bush, and everything but this one spike is bare—I can see the budding leaves forming, but this is the only other trace of life on the entire plant.

I’m fond of wistaria; the house I grew up in (from age four to age twenty one, just before I moved up here) had an enormous wistaria clambering up over the back verandah, which seems, in retrospect, to have been always smothered in flowers. Even my mother—more an enthusiastic than a cautious pruner—never managed to kill the wistaria.

This little plant isn’t quite the same, but it’s still nice having that touch of pale purple in the garden, especially at the tail end of winter.

An Unexpected Surprise

Posted 4 August 2008 in by Catriona

Every time Nick’s left the house in the past three days, he’s seen a family of ducks wandering around near the house.

Today, I came home from work and found them pottering around the back garden:

I’m only sorry the images aren’t a little clearer, but the drake became so noticeably distressed when I approached too closely—and, at his distress, the ducklings immediately disappeared under their mother’s belly—that I had to push the camera to its limits to get any photos at all.

But, really—is there ever a day so bad that it can’t be improved by ducklings?

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