Today, Miss was being plagued by a grouchy stomach, and left school early and we tried everything to try to get her through her afternoon nursing TAFE course and off to ballet tonight. It didn’t work, but here are some photos taken from our short walk along the beach. I’d hoped a bit of sunshine, vitamin D stretching her legs and the sea air might make a difference. An eternal optimist, I will keep trying.
However, before we head off to the rocks, I wanted to set the scene and share a few views of the bigger picture.
Anyway, we came across a few uplifting words on rocks, and thought I’d pass them on. I hope they give you a bit of a smile.
Yesterday, I had an inkling of how Noah must’ve felt when the sun came out at the end of the Great Flood. Although we haven’t been flooded in here, it’s been raining for what actually seems like longer than 40 days and 40 nights, although Geoff tells me there was a break in between, and we actually had some sunny days.
Anyway, I was in Terrigal yesterday to get my hair cut. Afterwards, I ventured down to the main drag to buy more doughnuts and go for a walk along the beach. That was when I spotted a very strange, shining object in the sky, and even wondered if it was a UFO at first.
However, It turned out to be an otherwise foreign object known as “The Sun”. It’s been raining for so long around here, that I barely recognised it once it finally stuck it’s head out again.
I haven’t been able to find any cumulative totals of how much rain has fallen locally lately. On the 25th February alone 137.6 mm fell in Gosford. That was the highest daily rainfall for February on record. We were lucky to only catch the edge of the threatened “rain bomb” during the week. However, others were badly hit.
Terrigal wasn’t looking too worse for wear. Loads of creamy foam had washed up onto the beach, and the ocean pool has metamorphosed into a kelp farm. However, while it’s looking okayish, the beach was closed for swimming due to poor water quality.
Yet, it seems that wasn’t enough to dissuade a few parents with their toddlers from paddling on the edge. Seems they must be wanting a night in Gosford Hospital with gastro. Goodness knows what’s in the water, but I wasn’t taking any chances.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed our brief visit to Terrigal, and thank you for joining me.
Normally, our daughter works at McDonald’s on a Sunday afternoon. However, she was free this afternoon and she bounced into my room suggesting donuts and a walk at Terrigal. We had discovered this donut shop during the week and had fallen deeply in love. I also was keen to go for a walk, despite the rain. Indeed, just as we’d decided to go, the heavens opened up and the Pacific Ocean came down. We checked the weather radar, and it wasn’t hanging round long. So, off we went.
It seems strange and perhaps lacking in respect to actually enjoy oneself at the moment. Russia has invaded the Ukraine, goodness knows what that means. Of course, that situation downplays the floods in Brisbane, Gympie and the usual suspects are also appearing on the news. However, we’ve barely been out since June last year, and I make no apologies for actually having fun, or spending time with the recently turned 16, Miss.
It is strange in a way to think that with everything that’s going on, that so many places are so unaffected and the rhythms of life and nature go on as normal. C’est la vie. When Lady Luck, God or whoever, lights up your path, you’ve got to seize the chance with both hands and make a run for it.
So, we bought a tray of six very scrumptious doughnuts. I won’t go through all the variations, but they had a luscious Creme Brulee Doughnut with toffee on top and a veritable subterranean lake of custard inside. As our daughter mentioned, the doughnuts aren’t too sweet, the doughnut itself is thick and doughy and there’s a luscious generosity about them. They’re a definite treat, and probably something which should be classified as a “sometimes food”.
We headed across the road, and chose a dry section of wall by the beach, and sat down to consume our hoard. After all the rain, the ground was still wet and the beach itself was covered in seaweed and didn’t smell the best. From here we not only had a stunning view of the beach, we could also watch the brewing clouds which were getting darker, full-bodied and you didn’t need to check the radar to know rain was on its way.
Meanwhile, the promenade beside the beach was pleasantly populated with dogwalkers without being crowded. Now that out kids are older, small children have regained their charm and they were incredibly captivating. We could smile and wave without needing to keep up 24/7. We’re definitely beyond that now.
Doughnuts eaten, exercise began and we walked round the rocks on this new fangled walkway the council has constructed. It’s all terribly civilised and extends access beyond the young and intrepid adventurer, but its a huge contraption superimposed on nature and I much prefer the Terrigal of my childhood. It was an unsophisticated, regional seaside town. Now, it’s Australia’s incarnation of Monaco by the sea with high density living and something in between Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise. That, I guess, makes it uniquely Terrigal and I do like it. I love seeing all the people there and there is something to be said about living it up at times too…fine dining, dressing up, and not just getting around in kayaks, sail boats, water shoes and having a real swim at the beach.
We were enjoying watching an abundance of largish rock crabs scuttling over the rocks while large waves smashed against the rocks launching a myriad of sounds something in between an orchestra and a choir as the water flowed through holes and caves. It was magic.. nature’s music.
Then, my phone rung. The number wasn’t in my contacts, which is rather unusual for me, especially when our daughter is with us and isn’t calling from one of her friend’s phones. “I think we’ve found your dog. Do you have a Lady Newton?” In hindsight, I felt like denying all knowledge of a Lady Newton. There we were on a rare outing with our daughter. Indeed, we’d actually gone out. However, annoyance was overcome by relief and gratitude and these strangers safely secured Lady in our backyard and sealed the back gate up which had become ajar in the rain.
So, the magic was over. Like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, we were off home.
You can call me “bonkers”, “insane”, “weird” for heading off on another Virtual Adventure via Google Earth, but I don’t care. I’m “creative”. Moreover, after making a concerted effort to change and overhaul myself on the weekend, I’ve actually concluded that more people should embrace their dormant creativity, instead of supressing it beneath a veneer of glorified efficiency. That’s right. Let it all hang out.
There I was trying to get “alles ist in Ordnung” (everything is in order) when I cut my finger and found myself shut in a treatment room for three hours at the hospital. Of course, this was the very embodiment of Ordnung what with perfect white walls, no pictures, and not even a piece of paper, let alone a desk full of paperwork all out of place. Humph. That was a stark warning to be careful what you wish for!
Anyway, let’s just say I needed to unwind after the trip to the hospital, and after enjoying my recent virtual explorations of Cork City, I set out again. This time I decided to visit Lisheenfurroor near Carrigaholt in West Clare, where my Great Great Grandfather, Edward Quealy (1843-1917) was born.
It was a totally random idea, and I had no idea what to expect. I never do. Google Earth just drops you off somewhere in your intended destination like a body thrown out of a speeding gangstermobile. Once you’ve come to your senses, you need to get your bearings, work out what’s what, and which way to turn. It turned out there was a lot of green grass in Lisheenfurroor, and so I kept walking, walking, walking tracking along the edge of some body of water until I stumbled across the enchanting village of Carrigaholt, and I was smitten.
Stumbling across Carrigaholt was particularly exciting. While it’s always interesting to finally see something familiar in person for the first time, it’s quite something else to follow where the wind and the road take you, and stumble across somewhere entirely unknown (at least to yourself!) and make a FIND!!! Indeed, I wish I could dig out my old backpack, and head straight over there now, although I might take our Summer with me. While it’s a hot and sunny 28°C here and perfect beach weather, it’s a bitterly cold 8°C in Carrigaholt today. That’s enough to put your average Aussie into immediate shock and hibernation.
As I said, I first came to Carrigaholt via Doonaha travelling mostly through farmland dotted with a few houses. My eyes lit up when I spotted a village ahead, and what turns out to be Carrigaholt Bay on my left. A blue fishing boat is moored there, and I have no idea whether it was just parked there for that brief moment in time, or whether it’s a more permanent fixture. However, for me it’s just as much a part of Carriagaholt as Keane’s across the road.
I cross over the Moyarta River (which flows into the estuary of the famed River Shannon) here via a quaint stone bridge with hanging baskets of flowers (such a lovely touch!). Although I was traveling via Google Earth and depending on someone’s questionable photographic skills, they did manage to capture the reflection of the sky on the river, and I felt a strange sense of satisfaction capturing it myself (even if photographing a place via Google Earth is a bit desperate!!).
Coming to the intersection, briefly take a turn to your left to fully appreciate the local post office, which looks like it’s straight out of a fairy story to me with an assortment of brightly-coloured chairs out the front. It puts our local post office to shame, and I can’t help wondering if Postman Pat works there…
By the way, I’ve just spotted something which yours truly with no sense of direction would appreciate in one sense, but totally struggle to make sense of…a map.
Then, across in the distance, is Carrigahalt Castle. I am told: “This five storey tower house was built in about 1480 by the MacMahons, the chiefs of West Corkavaskin on the Loop Head peninsula. The castle, which offers commanding views of the Shannon Estuary, has quite a turbulent history. It was occupied by Teige Caech “the short sighted” McMahon in September 1588 when seven ships from the Spanish Armada anchored in the estuary. Even though the MacMahons offered no aid to the Spanish the tower house was unsuccessfully besieged by the Sir Conyers Clifford, the Governor of Connacht. The following year the castle was captured by the Earl of Thomond, Donagh O’Brien.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I can get any closer via Google maps,, although photos abound on the Internet. This is as good as it gets, and going to the castle isn’t part of my journey.
Despite missing out on the castle, I’m already charmed by this place. It’s the first Irish village I have ever seen, and it doesn’t really matter that my first impressions aren’t in person. Our Australian borders have been closed for almost two years and as a parent with kids and health and budget restraints, getting there in person hasn’t been a possibility anyway. So, I am totally excited to be doing this, and I’m imagining all these people behind closed doors with accents like my favourite Irish actor James Nesbitt (even though as I just found out he’s from Northern Ireland and has a different accent entirely).
In this brief time, my heart is already fluttering. I can barely contain my excitement as I come across a heartwarming and unique character village. I love a bit of colour, and Max Bites with its canary yellow walls and red doors was like a magnet. I believe it sells takeaway food, and that’s where the downside of travelling via Google maps truly sets in. I’m currently nibbling on an Arnott’s Scotch Finger Biscuit with a cup of decaf tea, while the dog has migrated from my lap to sit on my husband’s feet.
A few doors down and a rustic stone wall leads to a captivating and intriguing pale yellow cottage with mauve doors with some kind of decorative wreath. Even more intriguing, mysterious Gaelic words adorn the walls, and I’m convinced fairies must be living inside. In a way it seems a shame to resort to an online Gaelic to English dictionary to demystify their cryptic code. However, my insatiable curiosity and nosiness proves too much. I have to know.
Although it’s tempting to cross the road, please hold your horses and bear with me just a bit longer. You won’t be disappointed. There’s another beautiful cottage, which I’ve simply called “Heart Cottage” where the door and window shutters have been painted red, with a white heart. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this could be our centre of government?! A place where love rules the world? It all seems so simple to me. So, why is there so much hate, disagreement and exclusion? Humph! Instead of going green, it seems I’ve put on my rose-coloured glasses since arriving in Carrigaholt, and I’m not taking them off any time soon. I’m living the dream.
Okay, so now we’re going to cross the road, and doing a bit of a U-turn. Our first stop is Carmody’s Bar. Their FB page says: “Carmody’s Bar is a family run bar that has been in the family for well over 150 years, (which means it was here when my Edward Quealey left about 1881). We are known for regular traditional Irish music sessions and sing songs. Great Guinness, friendly customers and a great welcome for everyone.” Here’s a taste of what we’re missing out on:
Before I head off, here’s a few more pics around Carrigaholt before I head off:
So, now I’m pining for Irish music and a bowl full of freshly cooked mussels and some way of beaming myself up to Carrigaholt. I am going to post this on their Facebook page and hope to connect. So, might I encourage you to come back to see how the comments evolve.
Meanwhile, there’s so much to love back here at home. I enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach and chatting with my friend who is the local lifeguard. Our daughters met when they were babies at playgroup and have been best friends through high school together.
Things could be worse!
If you live in or near Carrigaholt, I would love to hear from you or from anyone who has been there on their travels.
Welcome to the Great Ocean Road, Victoria our next stop on the way through the A-Z of Places I’ve Been during the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. It’s quite a coincidence that we’re going on another road trip straight after crossing the Nullarbor Plain, yesterday. For those of you who like to be efficient and travel via the most direct route, you’re not going to like me today. You see, yesterday, we were heading from East to West heading for Perth, and while we could have approached the Great Ocean Road from East to West, we’re not. I’ve driven along the Great Ocean Road twice and both times it’s been on the way from Adelaide to Melbourne and just to add a few kilometres onto the clock, then back home to Sydney. For those of you particularly living in the UK or even Tasmania where you might not be used to traveling vast distances, that’s further than you’ll possibly drive in a lifetime.
Although the Great Ocean Road is in Victoria (ie not in NSW where we live), the views are jaw-droppingly beautiful and if you’re prone to trigger-happy photography, you’ll love it here and just be thankful for digital photography. You could have gone through a hell of a lot of film here is the weather was cooperating and bathing those magnificent rock formations in golden light right at the very moment you’re looking through the lens, which, as we all know, isn’t always possible when you’re travelling.
The remains of the 12 Apostles at Sunset.
By the way, I probably should fill you in on the whereabouts of the Great Ocean Road. Essentially, when you look at the map, you’ll find it snaking its way across the bottom of Victoria. However, for more specific directions, this 243-kilometre stretch of road lies between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford, although that doesn’t really help much because that’a not what you’re there for. At least, it wasn’t why I was going there. I wanted to see and, of course, photograph the 12 Apostles. This is where not being able to add up can be in your favour. I don’t know how many apostles are still standing, but I’m sure it’s not 12!
So, this takes us into the Port Campbell National Park, which extends from from Princetown to Peterborough. This is where you’ll capture all those postcard-perfect photos of the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, The Arch and the Grotto, to name a few. I also recommend stopping in at the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre located at 26 Morris Street, Port Campbell before you head out.
I also recommend that you book your accommodation ahead if you are traveling during the school holiday periods, especially around Christmas. We tend to like travelling by feel and just pulling up when we’re really to stop. However, we had a lot of trouble finding anywhere to stay when we came through here in early January. That makes a lot of sense, but when you’e not used to booking ahead, finding out there’s no room at the inn can come as a nasty surprise.
In the meantime, while Australia’s borders are closed and no one’s allowed to travel beyond your letterbox here in Australia unless it’s under the banner of “exercise”, I thought you might like to explore the Great Ocean Road in it’s full, virtual glory via it’s Official Website.
Have you ever driven along the Great Ocean Road? Or, perhaps you have your own favourite coastal drive, which you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Although I’m not far off hitting a half century, I still haven’t lost a child-like appreciation for the tiny rock pools and their ephemeral cast of creatures ranging from small to the miscroscopic. Indeed, I still can’t resist the temptation to stick my finger in the water and poke something. I love fixating on a snail looking for any possible signs of movement, even if it was only a tad of a micro-millimetre. While such rock pools are nowhere big enough to be an octopus’s garden, they have that same sense of awe and magic.
Limpet in a rock pool.
Yesterday, Geoff and I drove to Pearl Beach, which is about 15 minutes drive away. When you look at the featured image, the row of buildings on the adjacent beach is pretty close to home. Map of Pearl Beach
In typical fashion, I’d mixed up the date of the Pearl Beach Food & Wine Festival and we turned up a week late only to find an art exhibition in the hall instead and a half-hour wait for fish & chips. Hence, we ended up walking along the beach and onto the rocks. Well, at least our feet were doing the walking while our eyes were out on stalks with the camera at the ready. That’s right. I’m talking about a real Nikon SLR camera with a zoom lens and not one of those pathetic excuses for a camera AKA your mobile phone.
Pearl Beach, NSW.
Personally, I don’t need much encouragement to find spectacular beauty in the everyday, especially when it looks like this. However, knowing that people on the opposite side of the world who’ve never been to Australia, will get to share in these places through my blog, has helped me to appreciate our everyday yet incredible, unique beauty through fresh eyes.
Rock Platform, Pearl Beach.
Pearl Beach is located 92 km north of Sydney on the NSW Central Coast and about a 15 minute drive from Woy Woy of Spike Milligan fame. Nestled away from civilization via a steep winding road through the National Park, Pearl Beach has a smattering of beach houses hiding in the bush and a community hall which forms the social hub. Real estate prices are comparatively steep and Pearl Beach has become a bit of a hide out for the rich and famous where they appear remarkably understated, blending into the landscape. There’s also a very strong artistic influence and writers and artists are lurking in the undergrowth, cafe or somewhere along the beach and rock pools. I used to take my kids to playgroup there where Santa would turn up on a vintage fire truck siren blaring. There’s also a yoga group meeting there, which I’m planning to try out in a few weeks after the school holidays. Somehow yoga in Pearl Beach has added appeal and I’ll let you know how that pans out.
Pearl Beach Pool
Speaking about our trip to Pearl Beach, we had an unexpected detour on the way home. We spotted a sign for an art and garage sale down a side street just before we drove back up the hill towards civilization. If you’ve got to know me at all, you’ll know that I’m an op shop and garage sale junkie and I’m hugely into retro and antiques. Indeed, I’m not really from the modern era.
This table is just begging for a serving of bacon and eggs.
So, I was delighted to spot a vintage laminex table with original chairs which took me time travelling back to my childhood. I’m sure we had a table and chairs something like that…or perhaps it was my grandparents’. I could almost feel my small self trying to heave myself up and onto the seat…such a battle when you’re toddling around. I managed to resist the table but I did by an antique picture frame which has waratah’s carved into the wood, a wooden box with compartments inside to help me get more organized, an Oroton bag for $5.00 (you beauty!!) and a Companion to Henry Lawson Fifteen Stories, which has a lot of incredible insights into one of Australia’s greatest writers and a few good writing tips thrown in as well. It was written in 1959 and it’s currently sitting right beside me and I want to read and work through it immediately before it gets buried in my other good intentions.
While there’s no photographic proof, a certain no-name violinist gave an impromptu recital at the garage sale to demonstrate a violin which was up for sale. Of course, the identity of this bold, shameless violinist remains a mystery but if you read in between the lines, you might be able to work it out. BTW the demo might’ve had a negative effect because as far as I know, the violin didn’t sell.
So, we ended up having quite an unexpected trip to Pearl Beach and today my husband went back to the garage sale and bought our son a surfboard. Looks like he’ll be extending his wings from sailing on still water to taking on the waves. Bring it on.
When you’re travelling around Tasmania, it’s easy to sound like you’ve overdosed on superlatives. Indeed, there are even towns named: “Paradise”, “Promised Land”…and we’ll just gloss over “Lower Crackpot”.
It’s also inevitable, that you run out of time.
That with such much to see and the need to become one with it all, that the sun sets well before you do.
Indeed, trying to stuff in all these awesome, superlative sights, is like stuffing yourself with so much gourmet food, you can’t move and your poor stomach is about the throw itself into reverse.
At this point, we were driving from Port Arthur to Devonport via Swansea on the East Coast…a bit of a scenic deviation from the most direct route home. The sun had already set and we were oozing the dregs out of those very last moments of twilight, we we drove into Swansea.
Being after dark, I wasn’t quite sure where we were and had to do a bit of Googling to confirm locations. It’s not a good form to stick the wrongname on a place and you might have noticed that I’ve already called Orford: “Whatsymecallit Beach”. When you’re seeing and experiencing so much, it very hard to keep up with the details. While gaps are forgivable, making glaring mistakes is another story.
Swansea is a town in the heart of Tasmania’s east coast, on the north-west shore of Great Oyster Bay and overlooking Freycinet National Park, which is home to the superlatively stunning, Wineglass Bay.
I would really like to come back and spend a couple of days here.
Welcome to Summer in Palm Beach, Sydney on Australia’s East Coast.
Of course, this means that if you’re visiting us from frozen lands across the globe, you’ll need to turn up the heat…a lot!! It’s incredibly hot here and we’re all fighting for a bit of shade. Indeed, a little bit of snow and ice would be most welcome over here!!
Perhaps, I shouldn’t have brought these damaging posts back up. Some things are best left buried in the past and never dug up. However, the photos are good and as for the words….I assure you, it’s all lies. Mum has an overactive imagination and a real gift for hyperbole. That might be good for her writing but it hasn’t helped my reputation.
You see, after all of her tales, I’ve actually acquired something of a reputation for being:”wild”, “mischievous” and an all-round “bad dog”. I wasn’t impressed at this complete lack of respect. After all, I was just a dog being a dog….nothing more, nothing less. Now, other mums and dads pull their dogs away whenever they try to say hello. I’ve been deemed a “bad influence”.
After all of that dreadful publicity, I seriously considered suing Mum and terminating her blog. However, if there’s one thing you soon learn as a pup, it’s not to bite the hand that feeds you…especially when bacon fat, BBQ chook and juicy bones are at stake. It’s all part of a dog’s modus operandi to encourage good relations with the family cook..even if that does involve suffering a few indignities on the world wide web.
Anyway, Mum and Dad are serious disciplinarians. So instead of clearing the road of dead rabbits, I’m on a strict diet of tennis balls. These might thrill Bilbo and turn the usually comatose mutt into some sort of Olympic champion, but personally I still can’t see the point. Tennis balls taste nothing like rabbit! Yuck!
So here I am writing my first post on Mum’s blog. Once again, she’s off having a nap and I’m getting up to mischief… business as usual. I thought it was about time I had my turn and shared a few thoughts of my own.
You’ll have to forgive my elementary efforts at applying my paws to this a#@*# keyboard. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way…thank goodness for spell check. Now, even a computer-illiterate, uneducated scruffy mutt like me can connect with the world. Amazing!!
That said, I’m much more adept at leaving messages on posts of a different sort and I can assure you, that they’ve attracted quite a lot of traffic. After all, I’m a very popular dog. At least, I was before Mum spoke. Although I only attract local traffic and 62 nationalities visited Mum’s blog last year, my stats blow hers right out of the water. I mean, if you want to talk about views, visitors, likes and followers, I’m the undisputed Queen. You might think that as a Lady, I might be getting ahead of myself but I beg to disagree. I’m hot and once I clear up all of Mum’s tattletales, I’ll be back to my old form.
Unfortunately, Mum doesn’t always appreciate my popularity. She’s always in such a rush and just wants to keep walking. Raves on about me lowering her heart-rate. That it’s all myfault that she’s put on weight. She even threatens to leave me at home.
But I’m simply a dog being a dog. That’s all. I can’t help it if I’ve had an enthusiastic response on my posts. Of course, all these messages are terribly exciting for a dog. It’s the canine equivalent to “you’ve got mail!!” Being a deeply caring sort of dog and a good communicator, I just can’t give a stock standard reply to all my messages the way humans do. Oh no! Each and every message deserves a personal response and I must admit that I get quite thirsty after all that hard work.
However, while Mum doesn’t like waiting for me, the same rules don’t apply to her. When she’s chatting, she forgets all about her heart rate and has no consideration for getting me back home in time for my morning rave at the postman. Oh no! She only stops when she’s ready to stop. If I so much as nudge on the lead, then I’m a “bad dog”. Where’s the fairness in that?I know she writes all about egalitarianism and the golden rule but does she put any of that talk into action? Not on your life. I wouldn’t believe a word of her precious philosophical theories. Besides, she gets most of her material from me and the rest of the family.She doesn’t make it up.
Soon we’ll all be seeking royalties!
Bilbo and I sheltering from the boiling summer sun in the shade of the boat house. We’re dreaming of a kennel conversion. .
Anyway, aside from trying to rebuild my shattered reputation, I’ve also jumped online to tell you that we’re on holidays at Palm Beach for a few days. I’m told that Palm Beach is where they film the hit TV drama series, Home & Away, except we’re on the Pittwater side, which is better for sailing than surfing.
I’ve been hard at work since we arrived investigating one of life’s perplexing mysteries.
High Tide, Piitwater, Palm Beach on the way out to go sailing.
For some strange reason, the water in our backyard keeps coming and going. One minute there’s water and slowly but surely it disappears and this whole new world opens up. I’m not talking about your ordinary puddle, which might just evaporate in the sun. This is a huge body of water….so much bigger than a puddle. Nothing, could drink up all that water. Moreover, that doesn’t explain how the water comes back…even when you factor in the waterworks Humph! I just don’t get it. Where does it all go? How does it come back? Moreover, what are those scuttling critters who tried to bite me on the nose when I dared to investigate?
I was watching these critters this morning at low tide.
There are so many mysteries in this world for a little dog. My head hurts!
While we’re on the subject of mysteries, what happened to all the rabbits? I found one and as we all know, there’s no such thing as just one rabbit. Rabbits breed like rabbits. There has to be more but even I, the master rabbit hunter of the mighty Tenterfield Ranges, hasn’t been able to sniff them out.
Humph! As I said, life is full of many, many mysteries!