Wednesday, 28 October 2015

What to do with those 80's hand-knitted jumpers ...


Back (ignore our pooch's shadow)
Remember all those colourful hand-knitted jumpers and cardigans in the 1980's (think U.S. born, now England's Kaffe Fassett and Australia's Jenny Kee).
Of course you are not going to wear them now, but you don't want to part with them either.  All the time and effort you put into knitting them still needs to be celebrated.

Solution : My crafty wife turned them into cushion covers.

Monday, 26 October 2015

How to make a backyard frog pond

I am no handyman nor gardener, but constructing a frog pond was dead easy. We heard frog croaking a few months later. 
  1. Dig a hole. Mine was about 30 cm deep (1 ft) with shallow spots. Ensure the site has some shade.
  2. Line with black PVC sheet (pond liner available at hardware stores).
  3. Trim with scissors but leave heaps (at least 60 cm) around the edges. 
  4. Arrange rocks around edge (to stabilise the pond as well as hide the plastic sheet).
  5. I put a log in the centre.
  6. Add water plants in pots to oxygenate the water (you don't need a water pump).
  7. Ensure plants and soil/mulch cover black plastic liner. Frogs like plants that trail into water and logs or rocks in the sun for butterflies, lizards, etc. Native plants will attract bird life too.
  8. Fill with tap water.

Our pond/bush garden is nearly 5 years old.

A balance of sun and shade is preferable.
This summer we noticed frog spawn.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Melbourne wildlife - critters in the 'burbs. Why bush gardens are the way to go.

Barking Owl (one of two) on our garage roof

Ringtail Possum drey (nest) over our driveway.
Another drey in our front garden, looking worse for wear.
We live in a suburb 18 km from the Melbourne CBD.
Native bush gardens front and back have several advantages:

  1. Saving water, we don't have to water our garden.
  2. No lawns to mow.
  3. Fast growing plants like eucalyptus, grevillea and protea provide privacy (screening potential knock-down and build, beware the McMansions).
  4. Shade in summer.
  5. Encouraging native wildlife.

Is it normal to sleep with your dog?

When he was a puppy, he slept in his basket under the kitchen table (with the door shut). The rot set in about two years ago when we let him sleep on the bed. Cut to 6 months ago (when the weather is getting colder) - he now nuzzles under the doona, resting his head on a pillow. He likes to play spoons with the wife.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

What do you do with a cracked fibreglass pool?

My dad's back yard pool was constructed in 1974. About 20 years ago came the wobbly/bouncy bottom. My daughter thought it was more fun than a bouncy castle.

Possible causes:
  1. Hydrostatic valve not checked?  
  2. A ruptured inlet pipe (fixed a year ago) was causing a massive water loss.

Two months ago, it popped like giant blister. The yawning crack is nearly 3 metres long (9 feet). You can see the concrete base through the crack. Miraculously, the water level doesn't seem to be going down. The water quality/colour is still great. When I visit, I vacuum/chlorinate it and swim as normal.
How long can this last?
The suspense is killing me.
Close up view

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

From the Video Vault: "Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter" (1974) Definitely a cult classic

This intriguing effort from Hammer sat on the shelf for 2 years. The main problem the audience had was probably the lack of usual Hammer horror stars : Lee, Cushing, Michael Gough, Ingrid Pitt. We do have two Hammer stalwarts, Shane Briant (playing poncy young Mr Durward) and sultry Caroline Munro (who acquits herself nicely as Kronos's roll-in-the-hay interest, Ms Munro has straw-encrusted hair in several shots).
The lead, German actor Horst Janson (with 70's boofy hairstyle), was huge in Europe but unknown in the U.K. Ian Hendry steals scenes in the middle of the film (there is an excellent Kill Bill-esque tavern samurai sword scene). 
Wanting something fresh and quirky, Hammer went with Brian Clemens (TV's "The Avengers", "Thriller") as writer/director. The film is produced by Clemens and Albert Finnell ("The Avengers"). Laurie Johnson ("The Avengers") scored the film.
There's the usual budget-saving "day-for-night" photography, some cheesy dialogue ("Mind you get back before dark, now!") and a loyal hunchback off-sider, Grost. Clemens is clearly having lots of fun. There were plans for this to be a series of films. A shame.
The plot involving a stranger who battles evil is more like a Western, then you add youth-draining vampires and the infamous Karnstein family to the mix.
There's a rather nasty extended scene (around the 50 minute mark) where Kronos and Co discover it is harder to kill a vampire than they expected. It reminded me a bit of the gristly farmhouse murder in Hitchcock's "Torn Curtain".

  •  Perhaps I was dozing, but why does our hero (when he's not boffing the buxom wench and sword fighting) wear a pillow case on his head?
  • What's the bit about the bendy crucifix (definitely a cinema first)?

Possible drinking game:
Take a shot every time you see Shane Briant "doing a teapot" (standing elbow bent, his left hand on his waist).

Not sure whether the last name in the closing credits is a pisstake or merely unfortunate:
"Whore - Penny Price"

PS  The YouTube version is 4 minutes shorter than the DVD version (91 mins).