Late again!

Oops, so I missed writing my blog 2 weekends in a row – my bad. But seriously sometimes life just gets in the way of writing and sometimes I just haven’t got anything to say. 

Had a lovely weekend horse riding in the magnificent hills east of Gympie – the views were just incredible and the riding varied and sometimes challenging.  We camped in the sports fields in Kinkin, a beautiful spot with good amenities, the pub right next door (had a scrumptious roast dinner there) and a lovely coffee shop across the road; so we were not exactly roughing it. 

About 30km climbing up the hills and scrambling down again giving the horses a good workout. What amazed me were the mountain bike riders we met on the way. If I was fit I might have considered walking these tracks, but cycling? You got to be dedicated! Definitely prefer my horses legs to do the work. 

A weekend like this seems to reset life and allows me to get back to business on Monday with renewed serenity and vigour. We all should have a hobby, whether horses or other things that allows us to gain distance from the daily grind and makes us appreciate the simpler pleasures. 
 

Gone over to the dark side ;-)

For many years, ever since I started using Linux I  have avoided Ubuntu. It was just too ‘commercial’ for me. So I have tried and worked with all sorts of distros, mainly Mint in various flavours. At first mate and cinnamon, which looked more like the windows I was used to at the time and still had enough support on the net to take me through various hiccups and allowed me to learn at least some of the ins and outs of Linux. For short periods I tried Manjaro, Bodhi, and others but always went back to Mint for its stability and user-friendliness. For a while I used the KDE desktop and that taught me more about Linux than the years before. It has enormous possibilities but also lots of pitfalls. 

So, just because I can, I changed my computer to run on Ubuntu 16.04. Changing distros is no problem in Linux. You can put your home directory that contains all your files and settings in a separate partition and after installing the new distro you just have to link that partition back to your system and all your files are back! You might have to install some programs/applications if they don’t come with your selected distro,  but that’s it. You’re up and running with your new operating system in next to no time. 

One of the things that are almost inevitable, is the installation of some extra drivers, not a big problem in itself as most of the more popular distros give you plenty of help with this. But Ubuntu was so easy, it was almost laughable. The tower didn’t need any extra drivers, and the laptop (after the tower went so well I changed the laptop to Ubuntu, too) just needed a wifi driver that was available after adding the Canonical partners. Ubuntu installed and runs without problems, I have all my old programs back (except digikam, I am going to check out shotwell instead), no problems accessing folders on my network drive, and all in all a pleasant experience. I installed virtualbox to import my Windows VM (yes, I cannot be completely without MS, my sewing pattern program and a couple of others just do not run in Linux and my experiences with Wine were less than favourable) and all went well there, too.

I’m wondering now why I didn’t use Ubuntu before – but then I probably would not have learned as much about Linux as I did going the other way. I’m running Unity but am looking forward to the re-introduced Gnome that is coming with the next LTS. For a while I am quite willing to go the easy way – I still have my little EeePC if I really want to play dangerously again.

Horse riding vs Horse partnering?

For the first time in many years I went riding last weekend not on my trusty mare but on a borrowed horse. He is a very nice young gelding, still a little bit green but very willing and eager to please. He was a joy to ride and his longer legs made for a far more comfortable ride that on my little Oky. But something was missing. It took me a while to figure it out, and when I did I really couldn’t blame the horse. When I’m riding my horse of many years I don’t have to do much; point her in the right direction and give her an indication of desired speed and she does the rest herself: finding the best track around obstacles, keeping her speed to match that of the other horses and generally taking care of all the little fiddly bits. If I want to make a change most times it is enough to think about it and she seems to pick up on it. Of course with an unknown and young horse this cannot happen and there is more required from the rider, which took me a bit of getting used to but once understood we got on famously.

It made me think of what is generally called bonding. I don’t particularly like that term as it seems to have all sorts of other connotations with a lot of people that go well past what I’m describing here. It is just a way of knowing each other like an old married couple without having to spell everything out in detail. Living with and riding a horse for so many years seems to create that same understanding of the needs and desires of the other partner on both sides. And unless brought to your attention like it did to me last weekend, seems to go on completely unremarked upon. I know that my little mare has more than her fair share of attitude, and as I tend to point out to people, I don’t command her (NEVER!) but we always have conversations or discussions, and as long as she thinks she has some say in the proceedings, all is well. But despite of this, or perhaps because of this, we seem to have an understanding and she never lets me down (not without good reason anyway).

She is getting on a bit now and I am looking at replacing her with a younger, fitter trail horse, but I don’t think any horse will ever truly replace her. She was the horse that turned me from a person that could ride, into a horse rider and taught me so much about horses and how they ‘tick’ that I could fill books with it. I just hope that all you horse people out there have the opportunity to find a horse that can do for you what she does for me.

I’m baaack!

Looks like life is getting back to a more normal state – I have even started to make some more amigurumi animals. Before our move I gave away most of my collection

with the exception of a few special pieces so now I have room to make more! This time, for the moment at least, I’m concentrating on smaller animals something that can be made in an evening or two and perhaps even given away as little presents. So here is the little piggy

and a little bear

 

and a happy chicken

 

 

Sub tennants

We have the usual assortment of wildlife at our new place: all sorts of birds like magpies, peewees, kites, wagtails and more and of course various lizards and geckos and their prey, innumerable insects; but the first ones to greet us in the yard after we picked up the keys were kangaroos. Since then we have realized that our place has a whole family of sub tennants. Almost every morning and afternoon a mob of kangaroos wanders around the yard and paddocks and seems to look at us as the intruders. They are not shy and let me approach quite close, more curious than afraid. There is one very large one, presumably the male, a number of smaller females(?) and a few teenagers. All of them eating, playing and resting with apparently not a care in the world. 

This morning I was pulling down the weed vines from the last few mandarine trees when I noticed 2 of the youngsters watching me with mum lying in the grass nearby totally unconcerned.  It was not until I walked to the next tree about 3 or 4 metres away from the little ones and started working on that that mum raised her head and eventually said to her kids: that’s enough now, lets go.  And they slowly made their way to the next paddock. 

A unique store

The other day we took a day off and went to check out a local boat ramp (local being a relative term here). After an uneventful drive we came to a little fishing village with a nice boat ramp and not much else. As it was lunch time we decided to pay the local store a visit for some fish and chips. This was the most versatile store I have ever seen in such a small place. In a building the size of a 2 car garage there was the general store with bread and milk and other daily supplies, the post office (a number of parcels took up the already small area for the customers), a bait shop, a take-away, an espresso bar and a bottle shop and probably more tucked away in some corner. And to top it all of there was a veranda cum beer garden.  And our fish and chips were fantastic!

If you are looking for a new chapter in your life:  the shop is for sale.

Settling in – sort of.

I am starting to enjoy living in a small town – every business we go to seems to be run by a husband and wife team and they are all very helpful and friendly. You never have the feeling to be in a shop but just asking some friends for advice. And almost every government agency has an office here where you can talk to people face to face instead of over the phone with numerous repetitions of “your call is important to us..” Everything is within walking distance, parking never seems to be a problem, and, of course, everybody seems to know about everybody else 😉

It reminds me of the time when we first moved away from the big smoke many many years ago; sadly the place we moved to then has now grown so much that it is almost indistinguishable from the big city 20 years ago. And so we moved again, at a time of life when most people downsize,  we up-sized 😉

The house looks almost right now inside, only a few more boxes to unpack and perhaps we will find the missing phone handset that disappeared at the beginning of our packing. The paddocks are starting to appear from under the 10 years of unchecked growth and although there is still quite a bit to do, nothing is really urgent and we can take our time. Which means instead of rushing around every day from 7am to 5pm, we now just run around doing things from 9 to 3 – much more relaxing 😀