You wouldn't be dead for quids

18 September 2017
I bought our first mobile phone in 1990, three years after mobile calls started in Australia. The phone was Hanno's 50th birthday present; he will turn 77 tomorrow. Our first phone, a large Nokia, was not the old brick type but it wasn't far from it. In those days you could choose your own number; we still have that number.  However, the phones we have now are a far cry from that Nokia because when I slip my phone into my apron pocket every morning, it's not so I can easily answer every call, it's to take photos and listen to the radio. When we first bought iPhones, it was a non-event for me. I saw it as just another piece of technology that I wasn't particularly interested in. Now I use my phone numerous times every day but I rarely check for emails, messages or answer phone calls, my phone serves me in different ways.  However, when either Hanno or I go out alone, we keep in touch using our phones and when one of us is shopping alone, we can Facetime to show something to the person at home - and that's usually me.

At the moment I'm getting ready for the annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count, which I do on my phone. It will take place on 23 - 29 October. You can download a free app on your phone which will give you all the details. You have a week in which to use the app to register the birds you see in your backyard in a 20 minute period during the week.  If you don't see any birds, or only a few, that is valuable information, so they want your survey too. The app gives you several ways to identify the birds if you're not sure of what you're looking at. You can practise your bird watching skills in the lead up to the count by using the app as a field guide so it will give you a general understanding of which birds use your backyard for water, food and shelter.  It's a great project for adults and older children and you can sign up as an under 18s group (schools, cubs, guides etc.). The data collected from all over Australia goes towards a greater understanding our our bird life so that strategies can be developed to help any of them that are in crisis.

Many of the photos I show you in this blog are taken on my phone camera. I use an app called Camera+ which allows me to adjust the exposure and zoom in and out, although that affects the quality slightly. After taking the photo, there are a number of advanced editing features that will produce great photos, but even the ones I take, which I don't edit, are passable. It looks like its only available for iPhone or iPad, and there is a small fee now for the download, but I think it's worth it.

Yesterday morning I downloaded the new ABC radio app, Listen.  I had to. It was Sunday morning, I wanted to work in the bush house and I also wanted to listen to Australia All Over. So with earphones in and the app on my phone, I was set.

This radio program has been on the ABC on Sunday mornings for longer than I care to remember. It's sometimes inspiring, occasionally annoying and it reminds me of all of us living simple lives. People ring up and talk about what they're doing. It's usually ordinary stuff - baking for the CWA, cooking real food, riding horses, swimming, walking, fund raising, gardening, plowing crops, working at their jobs and a million other things. And yes, they are all normal people who talk about life with a passion.  I love listening because there is such a diverse group of people who call themselves Australian. You hear familiar stories and surprising ones, all things you'd never know about because they're deemed to be too common and not worth air time. I think that everyone has a story to tell and it is sometimes those who look the least likely who have the most amazing tales to tell.

So there I was, cleaning up the benches in my bush house, earphones in and doing this and that to piece together my own ordinary life. After I finished in the bush house, I went inside and made lunch - nothing fancy, cold leftovers from Saturday's pork roast rack, accompanied by potato salad with poached eggs, backyard tomatoes, lettuce and sliced pickled beetroot. I doubt you'd see it on any menu but it used up the leftovers, was easy to prepare and it was delicious plain food. Outside the birds were swooping in, the sky was blue and clear and there was the smell of a few neighbourhood lunches being cooked. Honestly, you wouldn't be dead for quids.

I have no affiliation with any of these organisations. I'm just relaying my own experiences to you.