Category Archives: Uncategorized

#82 Just DO it!

It’s a shame that procrastination is so much easier than action.

Imagine how much you could achieve in life if instead of thinking about itmeaning to do it one day, or planning to get around to it in the very near future, you actually … just … DID it?

With that in mind, my friends in Discovery group and I recently decided to complete some of those nagging little jobs we’d been putting off for ages and report back on our achievements.

I found it so empowering that I’ve decided to keep it going and set aside the first week of every month to …

#82 Just DO it!

— even if it’s no more than completing one small job each day.

Apparently this rewards us in several ways. According to psychologists, tasks we haven’t done distract us, but the mere act of making a plan to get them done frees us from this anxiety.

Completing them then gives us small bursts of dopamine, generating feelings of satisfaction and happiness.  Bigger tasks can be broken down into so called Micro-tasks and as each one is finalised, it spurs us on to continue.

During our Discovery experiment, one of our members finally compiled an album of photos using Snapfish that she’s been meaning to do—since her 2014 trip to Italy. Now, she’s enthused about doing all the other albums waiting.

Another friend has a neat-as-a-pin office at home which, from the pictures she showed us, looks nothing like it used to look, whilst a third friend weeded her husband’s overgrown vegetable bed AND planted tomatoes for him!

My first task was ludicrously easy. I was given a lovely cushion at Christmas, but its stuffing had started to bulge a little at the back the more I used it:

Ten months it’s taken me to sew two simple strips of velcro on the back to bring this together:

                                                               Ten months!!

Buoyed by this quick and easy success, I sorted through my earrings to locate the ones needing minor repairs:

All it took was one drop of Superglue© to the backs of each detached piece:

                                                                                   Two pairs of earrings as good as new.

Not everything works to plan. One of our members was determined to bake a light, fluffy sponge which she’d never managed to achieve before. Although we didn’t get to taste the result, the report she presented on the day, reminiscent of a Maggie Beer presentation, would easily score 10 in any cooking show. It was replete with photographs of the recipes she’d consulted, pictures of all the ingredients used, shots of each painstaking moment of adding, folding, beating. It even included  images of the sponge through the glass doors of the oven. Masterful!

She was disappointed that the end result was more like a dense cake than the light and fluffy concoction she’d been aiming for, but the most teethgrinding moment for her was when her husband—who’d never baked a thing in his entire life—tasted it and suggested perhaps she should have separated the yolks and the whites.*


It’s true that each completed task encourages you to do more.

I came across a letter in an old storage box a few months ago that had been sent to me in 1985 by someone who was beginning to think at the time that I may have been the one for him.

He’d been hang-gliding for a week up Newcastle way, and the letter was full of the exhilaration of his exploits and a humorous tale of how he’d landed —unexpectedly—almost on top of a young women lying on the beach.

Well, Reader, he married her!

So I felt this letter belonged in his family archives, rather than mine, and after a Google search for his work address, (I’d not seen or heard from him in 34 years) I returned the keepsake, with slight trepidation.

He responded very quickly, saying he was thrilled to receive it, planned to show his children the story of the exact moment he met their mother, and finished the letter with an invitation to meet for coffee in a few weeks as he was returning to the district for a weekend … 

Now in the grip of reconnecting with times past, I decided it was time to dig out the 8mm films my grandfather had taken of the family back in 1962. Walking past the local camera store these past umpteen years, I’d seen their signs saying they could convert old 8mm film to a DVD, and had always thought, ‘One day, I must …’.

That day had arrived. In next to no time, I was watching, in all its flickering glory, my parents as gorgeous young thirty-somethings on the terrace at home with my older sister and me. 

With our mother

                                                                                 Misty-eyed viewing, if truth be told

There’s a lot to be said for Just doing it.

  • * Separating eggs won’t make a sponge lighter. It’s all about beating lots of air into the mixture and having sufficient raising agents!

#78 Rate the Justice System

It was my misfortune recently to be the victim of a crime. This means that I’ve had dealings with our justice system up close and personal, and let me tell you, it’s not a pretty sight.

It all began when the tax agent who’s looked after my Super Fund for the last ten years suddenly went rogue and stole my tax refund. He was able to do this by virtue of him being my tax agent in the first place, because the position gives him entry to my tax portal at the ATO.

This, I’ve now learned, is like giving him my front door key and mentioning that I’d be away for the long weekend and that a very valuable package was about to be delivered.

So several thousands of my hard-earned dollars — dollars that the ATO was supposed to refund to my account — were shifted into his account instead.

Getting justice has proven to be quite difficult, so I seem to have been left with only two options. Either go mad and turn into yet another old person yelling at clouds, or

I feel your pain, Grandpa Simpson

#78 Rate the Justice System

And thanks to the great example set by Miles Barlow, there’s a precedent for scoring life’s experiences as one would review a restaurant or film. So here are my star ratings for the whole sorry saga.

1. The Criminal (hereinafter known as X)

Despite my repeated phone calls and emails to X, he has proven resistant to repaying the stolen funds. In fact, he went so far as to suggest that he had been unable to look at my problem “due to health reasons” before adding that “the only thing I can think is that another client … [with a name identical to yours] … owed us money and had agreed to us receiving her refund.”

Really, X? That’s the only thing you can think?

Verdict: ***** No stars

2. The Lawyers

The lawyers sprang into action for me. They were outraged! The man was a criminal who had committed fraud and irrespective of his company’s ability to pay, he had stolen this money and was therefore personally liable. A very stiff letter, outlining sections and subsections of the Corporations Act was sent demanding return my money … or else. The lawyers even had the chutzpah to add “your assertion that these changes were intended to apply to another of your clients named …[exactly the same name as our client] … is, frankly, absurd.”

I was buoyed by this, even more so when X responded asking them how much he owed me now, including their fees. That was until a report came out in the local newspaper:

…it was pointed out to me that trusting anyone who’d
wear a lime green tie might have been my first mistake.

It turned out X owed over a million dollars and had assets of about $15,000. So my lawyers reluctantly, but kindly, suggested that any further action on my part might be throwing good money after bad. I had to agree with them.

Verdict:   *****  Four stars. (At least they tried)

3. The Police

If you can avoid living on the border between two states, I’d urge you to take that option. I live in New South Wales. X ran his business across the Murray River in Victoria. My experience with the police has thus far entailed both me and my statement bouncing from one side of the river to the other for several weeks as they decide which jurisdiction should handle it and whether to call it fraud (NSW) or theft (Vic).

My statement’s currently down a rabbit hole somewhere in Victoria, but they’ve assured me they’ll ring me back the minute they find it. Very, very soon, or possibly even earlier.

Verdict: ***** Two stars.
(They are trying. In more ways than one)

4. The Liquidator

So then I rang the liquidator and spoke to his offsider, a youthful sounding lawyer by the name of Will. Such a perfect name for someone who comes in at the death of a business.

Will didn’t say it in so many words, but after he’d explained that I was at the back of a long line of creditors, with the Tax Office at the front of the queue, I gathered that the likelihood of ever seeing my stolen money was even more remote than my chance of visiting Antarctica soon.

Verdict: ***** Three stars. (It’s not his fault
that the cupboard is bare).

5. The ATO

It seemed a reasonable idea to lodge a complaint to the tax ombudsman. After all, the ATO knew X’s  business was heavily in debt to them as they were the ones who wound it up, so why would they meekly pay my tax return to him without checking with me first?

Nope. Not our fault, they said. It was ASIC who had the strike-off action against his business, not us. We just entered the game at the end. So move along, please, nothing to see here.

Verdict : ***** One star. (I bet it’d be my fault
if the roles were reversed)

6. The Regulator

Make sure you report X to the Tax Practitioner’s Board (TPB), everyone from the lawyers to the police, the ATO to the liquidator, exhorted me. The TPB won’t stand for this behaviour. They’ll come down on this miscreant like a ton of bricks.

So I lodged a complaint with the TPB, was heartened when the case officer took a keen interest in my complaint, elated that she understood all the points I made, relieved when she said the Board took these issues very seriously.

Then I received this letter from the Board:

No further action after one of their own stole money from his client? Ton of bricks indeed! More like a piddling pile of Lego.

Verdict: ****** Minus one star. (The extra deduction’s for using
the term ‘incorrectly’ instead of ‘feloniously’)


Quite frankly, I’m a bit disappointed. For years I’ve watched the opening credits of the TV show Law and Order tell me that in the criminal justice system the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the police, who investigate crime;  and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. And their stories are always resolved in an hour.

Sadly, this awful episode, which just drags on and on, has been my story.

Verdict: ***** One star

#74 Admire Public Art

Imagine being in a job where you’re rarely praised, often the target of harsh complaints and dismissively known as the Rates, Roads and Rubbish people.

Such is the lot of local councils, but in reality, they’re so much more than that. The council can help make it a real pleasure to live in your town or city.

At our most recent Discovery Group meeting, a local artist, Ken Raff was invited to speak to our members about the public art works he’s been commissioned to create for the Albury-Wodonga area. Since hearing him speak, it’s caused me to stop, look around and …

# Admire Public Art

Ken spoke about the evolution of a public sculpture, and it was the first time I’d realised that our council has people assigned to this very process. Impressive!

Extensive work is involved in the development of such pieces, involving the tender process, the artist chosen, site evaluations, various council departments as well as engineering and fabrication experts and businesses. And through all of this, the artist has to hope that the vision of his work will be maintained.

Here’s one of Ken’s wonderful creations, where it all came together so well.

Called Porta, this installation is sited at the entrance to Victoria from NSW

The choice of colours and even the tilt of the spheres have been meticulously considered by the creator.

And a panoramic shot may give you a better sense of its imposing height and perfect positioning …

This also shows the importance of ‘place’ in public art. In the wrong spot, it might have been lost, but here – simply magnificent!


My public art crawl has now ranged from the stainless steel facade sculpture by renowned artist Matthew Harding, sited at the back of our Art Gallery, MAMA,

Degrees of Separation  (Crossing Paths)

to another of Ken Raff‘s works in the main street …

                                                                      The River 

and on to the imposing galvanised steel artwork called Grow by Warren Langley, representing the crimson spider orchid, an endangered flower found in Albury, but few other locations …


Then there’s the latest sculpture in the Botanical gardens …

The Fern by Michael Laubli

… so perfectly suited to this position.


Public art can also encompass improving some of the plainer aspects of modern living, like applying mural art to otherwise dull areas such as drains and NBN boxes –

Birdwatcher painted by Kade SarteBanana Joe by Kristina GreenwoodThe cover-up!

It’s exciting to come across the art in your local neighbourhood.  I know there are several more pieces for me to discover.

During this adventure, I stumbled across a copy of Banksy’s Rage  – local artist unknown – stencilled under a bridge on the New South Wales side of the Murray River.

It’s positioned to look like the person is about to lob a hand grenade – into Victoria!

Fortunately, the missile is a bunch of brightly coloured flowers.

Cute.

 

 

Photo of the Tai Chi Bunnies taken at Circular Quay, Sydney in January at the Chinese New Year celebrations. I’m told they glow at night!  

.

#72 Discover Odd Signs

It is the unalienable right of retired people to spend their days tut-tutting about the state of the world and remonstrating about the general drop in standards to anyone within earshot. Or, in the alternative, to pen outraged letters to the editor about the shocking loss of civility in current times.

Being loath to miss out on this activity, and noticing how many bizarre signs abound, signs that would never have been seen in my youth (like the above advertisement where a beautiful face was deliberately graffitied to sell a product!)  I thought it worthwhile turning into a fussy old pedant myself, and using this blog as my pulpit:

 #72 Discover Odd Signs

MISPRINTS

Is it my imagination or are there more egregious misprints nowadays?

Although having said this, I can’t tell you how exciting it was to find a misprint that described my fellow pedants so glowingly:   

But I did wonder where this restaurant goes on the other 6 days. 

Presumably to somewhere further away?

Misprints that sound real can be puzzling, like this one in an article about an Archbishop’s speech.

Verison sounds so much like a word one might find in the Macquarie dictionary, that I’ve decided to start using it to mean a misleading statement about faith.

Schools, above all others, should take care with spelling. One can only feel sympathy for young ‘Sohpie’, having her moment of glory spoiled like this.

I wonder if the two Sophies fought over whose name was the misspelled one? Or is it possible that somewhere, some 16 or 17 years ago, a father and mother decided to call their daughter Sohpie because no-one else in the class would spell it that way? (Speaking of which, is Aby really a name?)

Especially satisfying are those misspellings that throw up an incorrect, but real word that completely changes the meaning.The anti-abortion group mentioned are actually called ‘The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants’ but as legislation now prevents them standing directly outside clinics invading the medical privacy of the patients attending, maybe the misprint ‘previous’ is perfectly apt.


ATROCIOUS GRAMMAR

Bad grammar can throw up some disturbing visual images:

Really? The bullets were singing Amazing Grace? Now that is amazing.


TERRIBLE PLACEMENT

Poor juxtaposition of discrete articles can lead to unintended outcomes. I suspect someone’s head may have rolled when the bosses discovered this posted on an ABC news site. It was only up for about 10 minutes:


DOWNRIGHT LIES

But the signs that really make me hot under the collar are the ones that lie.

First, there was this outside a shop in Balmain …

A shop that cared so much about their ‘beloved Balmain doggies’ that they didn’t even bother putting out any water!

Then there was the hoarding for Clive Palmer’s party, erected recently at the end of my street.

We’re supposed to believe that this man cares about farmers?

So I ‘virtually’ graffitied the sign at home on my computer to make it a little more honest, at least:

But before I had a chance to slip out on a moonless night with my hoodie and black paint and fix it in real time, someone else’s anger had spilled over and this was the result:

It wasn’t me, I swear!

And what about the house with a sign proudly calling itself Wisteria Lane but with not a flower or a vine or a trellis in sight:

Sorry, but if you’re going to call yourself by that name, at the very least you should look like this:

…taken at Tabletop by my Bunnings buddy

or this

Anything less is, quite frankly, misleading advertising and I’ll be writing a stiff letter to the editor about it.

#63 Investigate a Mystery

Enid Blyton must take some responsibility.

The idea that you can spend years entertaining children with exciting tales about other children solving mysteries (The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Five Find-Outers & Dog) without it having repercussions in their later life is fanciful. Without a doubt, it’s the reason I’ve always had a deep seated urge to solve mysteries. And this need continues well into retirement.

#63 Investigate a Mystery

It began back in mid January when my sister bought me a birthday present online to be sent directly to my post office box. But when my birthday came and went and I hadn’t thanked her, she realised the item had gone missing, and so began the investigation initially known as The Mystery of the Missing Parcel. 

No problems. A copy of the original Australia Post receipt, showing its tracking number, should set things right:

But when we checked on the Australia Post website, the parcel appeared to have been delivered to my local post office two weeks earlier, just a few days after it had been sent.

…curiouser and curiouser

A trip to the post office will sort this out, we thought naively. The gift will be there, sitting on a bench waiting to be collected. It did seem odd, though, that they hadn’t placed a ‘parcel awaiting collection’ card into my PO Box.

‘No,’ they told me. ‘We don’t have the item here. It’s already been picked up.’

Not by me it hasn’t. Who signed for it?

They shrugged. No one has to sign to pick up parcels any more nor show any ID. Even when the parcel’s been registered and the sender took out extra insurance. Naturally, I made a fuss. It was my birthday present after all. They finally offered to look at the CCTV footage taken of the Post Office collection hatch at the exact time the parcel had been collected –  ‘11.28am Mon 22 Jan’ – to see who’d picked it up.

And this is where the story takes a darker turn. An unidentified man was seen on CCTV taking possession of an identical box to the one I was awaiting at exactly that time. This was no longer a simple mystery, this had turned into a crime.

The birthday present, it turned out, was a box housing four bottles of Vino Cotto, an elixir so delicious that, well, it just had to be found or someone would have to pay. My sister had recently discovered that this little gem was being made to the original Italian recipe right here in Australia.

Its literal translation is ‘cooked wine’ but it’s so much more than that.  Making vino cotto involves the long, slow reduction of grape ‘must’, the juice of a particular variety of grape, with the addition of ash from the burnt grape vine. The resulting rich, exotic syrup is then stored for months before being brought out for special occasions.

When I was a child, my grandmother would slave over its production so that every Easter it could be retrieved from storage and served drizzled over Crostoli as the entire family – parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, scrambled for the last drop of this liquid gold. Making it was so laborious, so complicated that we all knew we’d not see it again for another year.

That did it. No strange man was going to get away with my birthday bottles of vino cotto, so I swung into investigative mode and set up my white board.

IMG_3903

I’ve concluded my investigations now and have decided the most likely sequence of events is as follows:

  • The box arrives at the post office on 22 January
  • The staff place a ‘parcel to collect’ notice in the wrong PO Box. Exhibit A shows a photo of PO boxes in close proximity to mine. Exhibit B (taken peeping through a slatted grille) shows the boxes snapped from the reverse angle. Quite a jumbled mess, suggesting it would be simple for the ‘notice to collect’ to be placed in the wrong box
  • An unidentified man, probably with a PO Box close to mine, takes this incorrectly placed notice from his PO Box into the collection hatch and is given the parcel, no questions asked. It doesn’t worry him that he’s not expecting a birthday present and that it isn’t addressed to him either
  • Aforementioned unidentified man then takes the parcel home, opens it without any concern that his name is not on the label and that it isn’t his birthday, sees the word ‘Vino’ on the bottles and thinks all his Christmases have come at once.

The Post Office hasn’t taken kindly to my suggestion that they place a WANTED poster sporting the unidentified man’s image on every billboard around town, so I have little hope of discovering his identity.

But a couple of things cheer me up. Australia Post has finally refunded us for the value of the goods so I’m expecting more bottles of vino cotto to arrive any day now.

And best of all, unidentified man wouldn’t have had a flood of lovely childhood memories as he indulged in my vino cotto and I trust he was bitterly disappointed to discover that, despite being utterly delicious and addictive, it contains no alcohol whatsoever.




Yay!

My culprit may remain elusive, but three bottles of vino cotto PLUS a jar of marinated wild baby figs in vino cotto arrived at my door (thank you to Angela from Il Baronello) in time for Easter. Just drizzle over fresh Crostoli.

The verdict?

Squisito!

 

 

 

 

 

#54 Hold a Blog ‘Retrospective’

It was Socrates who held that ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’, so as the fifth anniversary of my first blog entry approaches, it seems an opportune time to dip into the archives and ask a few questions about some of the #53 adventures undertaken so far.

What’s worked, what hasn’t …  and will the blog make it to #101?

So without wanting to sound too pretentious, here’s the latest activity:

#54  Hold a Blog ‘Retrospective’


Ah, the first blog post.  

I remember it well.  

A cold winter’s day back in 2012. Water in the bird bath had frozen and frost was still crunching underfoot as I…

Only joking.

Here’s the real review:

#1 Blog was titled ‘Start a Blog’.

How was I to know that within a couple of years, blogging and bloggers would become as obsolete as – well – Betamax video recorders? And almost as outdated as books. All victims of the relentless progression of technology like live streaming, Facebook, Instagram and their electronic offshoots.

A book about a blog? Sad.

But cursed with the trait of being a completer, I’ve persevered with this blog in the knowledge that at least it’s forcing me to undertake adventures I might otherwise have missed.

(Which probably answers the question ‘will the blog make it to #101?’)

#2 Blog ‘Create a Home Cinema’ melded nicely with #16 Blog ‘Attend a Major Sporting Event’. If there’s one thing a BIG screen is good for, it’s showing sport up close and personal.

So this is the view you have from the stands when you attend a game:

 …Just remind me again, who’s playing?

Whereas this is the view when watching from home:

…simply add ‘Surround Sound’ to further enhance the atmosphere

Combine this with #18 Blog ‘Make New Friends’ and watching the Olympic games, or the Melbourne Cup, or an AFL Grand Final (or election night for that matter) with friends, old and new, in the snug comfort of your own cinema in front of a giant screen is just the best.

#3 Blog suggested trying to ‘Cook a New Recipe Weekly’.

Why, I asked myself upon realising that this challenge was turning into a total fail, would I not just let a professional chef do that for me?

So it seemed sensible to merge this one with #17 Blog ‘Indulge in Life’s Little Luxuries’ and schedule a weekly, scrumptious meal at a café or a restaurant, preferably one located somewhere gorgeous, sampling something new…

…like at LuMi beside Pyrmont Wharf

#6 Blog discussed the day I became ‘An Extra in a Film or Telemovie.’

No doubt about it, the thrill of knowing that I was the blurry, shadowy woman glimpsed for 0.03 seconds AND my tuft of hair was highlighted for 0.01 seconds in the background of the Australian Telemovie ‘Cliffy’ has carried me through for years.

So much so that I put my hand up again recently to play an extra in a locally shot film called ‘The BBQ’ starring Shane Jacobson and Magda Szubanski which may or may not be released near Christmas.

I figure that a 0.05 second fleeting shot of me wandering around the showgrounds will constitute a Personal Best (which fits in nicely with #41 Blog ‘Take up a Sport’. Sporty people are always talking about PBs).

Alas, they wouldn’t allow us to photograph the actors or even the set, but as the day of the shoot was a real stinker, my aspiring thespian friend and I were given plastic cups half full of Kool-Aid to enjoy as a thank you for our services. Using a smuggled camera, we managed to take a blurry photograph of them. (As the drinks were lowly extras like us, they didn’t deserve to be in focus either…)

KoolAid

 

#10 Blog  was a call to ‘Keep Backyard Chickens’.

I may have taken this one a bit too seriously, as I’m morphing dangerously close to becoming a chicken fanatic.

But oh, the photo opportunities…

Dixie and her darling chicks

#21 Blog suggested it would be great to ‘Rediscover the Elegance of Fountain Pens’.

In reality, this turned into a coded blog to loved ones called ‘Guess what Someone would Love for her Next Big Birthday’ because here’s what arrived gift wrapped the following January:

AND with a gold nib. Most successful post EVER!

#35 Blog ‘Unearth Buried Archeological Skills’ together with #46 ‘Learn How to Nest’ touched on the topic of volunteering.

I learned a lot from these activities, resulting in the odd coins and bits of glass and small chips of crockery found buried in my own back garden becoming a source of great excitement. And it’s resulted in the creation of a new display of these little treasures outside:

But mostly I learned that having to turn up anywhere regularly is awfully like work.

So maybe I’ll take up volunteering seriously when I’m tired of retirement…

If there’s one thing Socrates has taught me though, it’s that only good things can come from a blog examined.

After spending quite a bit of time laboriously reopening and reviewing all 53 previous posts on my outsidethesquare101 website during this journey of self discovery, I received an unexpected message from WordPress, the host site of the blog, telling me just how successful my site is becoming.

And if WordPress doesn’t guess who’s been viewing it so much and thinks outsidethesquare101 is a booming blog, that’s good enough for me.

 

[With special thanks to LR for traipsing to the outskirts of Balmain to photograph the ‘Memory Lane’ street sign for me]

 

 

 

 

#53 Encourage Native Birds into the Garden

Who doesn’t have fond memories of the Rosella logo on the ubiquitous bottle of tomato sauce that was a staple of growing up in Australia?

It was the only brand my mother ever entertained using. In her case, it was for the taste: in mine, for the gorgeous crimson Rosella on the front.

So since childhood, I’ve cherished my tiny, brightly-coloured enamel rosella pin which the company used as a promotion back in the day when children didn’t expect their favourite toys to be endlessly interactive or need batteries or gigabytes to function properly.

Rosella Pin close up

And what a marketing ploy. More than fifty years on
and I still balk at using any other brand
!

But imagine if these pretty birds could be enticed to come into your garden every day. There’s a challenge:

#53 Encourage Native Birds into the Garden

So there I was recently, sitting on my front verandah drinking a mug of hot chocolate, when who should flutter by for a quick drink but this little beauty. 

Sorry, starling, but I don’t mean you…

One brief glimpse was not enough though. I wanted him to visit regularly, and I figured that the best way to do this was with food.

Mind you, an article published in The Conversation last Spring suggests that the jury is still out on the virtues or otherwise of feeding and watering wild birds. Do they become dependent on our largesse, resented in the bird-working world as seed-bludgers, expecting handouts on a platter? And does the bird population implode due to a lack of resilience should you go away leaving them with no food and water for a time?

Notwithstanding this debate, I raced out to my favourite hardware store and purchased a small bird feeder, filled it with wild bird seed and placed it close to the backyard bird bath. There was a lot of fluttering around it, but no takers. Was it because the treats weren’t being served on a platter for easy access?

No worries. There’s a waterproof material that can be cut to shape, spray painted and rimmed with clear plastic tubing to keep the seeds from falling off. Good old corflute.

Enter bird feeder Mark II and a lot of interested birds, first watching and hovering…

…before landing and enjoying:

It’s a magnet for sparrows, starlings and spotted doves who empty the feeder in no time.

Based on this early success, I bought a second feeder for the front garden this time, which is where I’d spotted the young beauty in the first place.

A kind friend made a real wooden base for it before I perched it on an upturned pot and waited for the flurry of activity and the return of my lovely rosella….

…and waited

and waited…

It’s been filled with wild bird seeds for over two weeks now, but not one taker. In fact, no interested party has gone so far as to land and inspect it.

What’s going on?

It is too wooden? The wrong colour? Too square? Not far enough off the ground? Does the fact that the seed is Homebrand® offend the birds’ sensibilities?

What must I do to entice you back, gorgeous Rosella?

I don’t want to sound needy, but I’ll do anything, buy anything, make any changes you desire.

But please come back.