WEAR A MASK! WEAR A MASK! WEAR A MASK (and wash your hands & social distance)

I thought it worth sharing my weekend experience that I spent 10 hours in the local hospital’s COVID ward over the weekend and it was one of the scariest episodes of my life.

I cannot stress enough to my friends, family and followers…..


WASH YOUR HANDS (regularly outdoors, indoors and everywhere in between)!

SOCIAL DISTANCE (and stay at home when the lockdown is in place and keep your distance when out shopping, working, exercising or anywhere else when in public)! 

So the story behind my hospital stay is…..

I’ve had a temperature on/off over the last 2 weeks….. and at night in bed…… trouble breathing and a wee bit of a cough (when lying flat) and more tired than usual, but in general, nothing serious.  No big deal.

I’d spoken to my GP over the phone twice and on hearing on Friday that I still had a temperature and was a little unwell, she emailed me a COVID test referral.

In the meantime, I hurt my shoulder early on…….which got worse……and I ended up calling an ambulance late Saturday around midnight (although I really only needed a taxi to get it checked out at the local E.R.).

The ambulance guys checked my temperature before taking me downstairs and on finding it high, rang ahead to warn the hospital and then did the mandatory trip direct to the COVID ward!

In the ward, the atmosphere was spooky.   Eerie.   Surreal.


I was very nervous about being in that ward.    I couldn’t help but look around at the other patients with some interest.  Some of them were very unwell/ill.   I was just fine (in comparison).

The room was filled with tension and my heart went out to the nurses, doctors and hospital staff who cleaned the cubicles – floors, beds, equipment, walls & ceilings every time a patient was discharged, or moved on to ICU etc.  They all had full protective gowns, masks, plastic head shields (for the nurses) and gloves (and they changed gloves and sanitised their hands every time they moved from patient to patient doing observations).

Yes, every patient was touched with a fresh set of gloves.   If you pressed the Nurse buzzer on your bed, the nurse had to change gloves and sanitise when she came to attend to you.   You weren’t allowed to go to the corridor toilets/rest room.

Commodes are a funny thing.   More like a King/Queen sitting on a throne.   I kept drinking water with my sore/dry throat and then of course………kept needing to pee  😀

Even the ceilings and walls were cleaned after each patient was moved.

I was a wee bit breathless and uncomfortable breathing in the ward initially as I’m allergic to bleach or strong chemicals, perfumes and strongly scented body products.

The scent of serious illness is not one I like to wear.   I’ve had enough over the last 25 years.

But I seemed to finally get used to the strong odour of chemicals and started to breathe more easily.   I’d held my nose and breathed through my mouth enough for one night.

YOU DON’T WANT TO GO THERE!  (if you’ve been in a COVID ward you’ll know what I’m talking about).

The sound of someone struggling to breathe for hours and hours is something I’d like to unhear.

I felt so much compassion for the suffering of the bed occupants.  

We were all put in the same Coronavirus ward if you had a temperature and weren’t allowed into the ordinary E.R. (Emergency Room).

After an Xray of my shoulder (and my chest, as I’d told them I was having issues with breathing when lying flat in bed which I’d attributed to my worsening heart condition), they did a COVID test.

My bloodwork and Xrays were all fine and they wrote out a referral for my GP to send me off for a shoulder ultrasound in case I’d torn something.   They did a COVID test.  Because I had a high temperature they wouldn’t let me go home in a taxi, so rang and booked a St John’s Ambulance driver to take me home and carry my bags upstairs to my 1st floor apartment and ensure I was safely ‘tucked indoors’ in my apartment.  I was told not to leave it until I had the COVID test result which would take 48 hours to be processed.   I waited just on 4 hours in a chair in my cubicle as the ambulance driver already had a list of people to transport.

9.00a.m. this morning my mobile phone sounded with a text message.


So, on waking with a sorer throat, coughing a wee bit and an ongoing temperature, it appears my body is fighting an ordinary virus or throat infection.

No big deal.   A little of my favourite remedy of homemade chicken soup with lots of fresh ginger and a whole bulb of garlic (about a dozen or so ‘cloves’) will be my personal treatment.   Lots of hot lemon juice and honey will be on my drink menu.


So I implore all of you, in an urban environment especially, WEAR A MASK outside your home and in the community.   If you live in another state or country, wear a mask when you can’t socially distance.

Foggy glasses and muffled voices are a small price to pay for wearing a (correctly adjusted) facial mask and avoiding possibly contracting The Virus.

The news revealed there were only 116 new virus cases in my state of Victoria in the last 24 hours, but sadly, 15 more deaths – all of those in the old age sector – men and women in their 80s, 90s AND over 100).

So, Melbourne and regional areas of my state are winning the battle against the second wave of COVID 19, but this morning our Premier has proposed that Melbourne would continue with a state of emergency for the next 12 months, if no vaccine is found.   Obviously, the 6-week lockdown was not going to be the end of it.

We are winning with the strict lock-down and night-time curfew in Melbourne, but don’t be complacent.   Don’t think it ‘can’t happen to you’.

It could have happened to me and I have been mainly stuck indoors over the last 18months and have obviously caught some ordinary virus despite face mask, hand sanitiser and so on when I did go out to the pharmacy/shops.

This ordinary virus might have been the extraordinary COVID VIRUS.

IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.   DON’T TELL ME you’re young, fit and healthy and never get sick.

I’M NOT TRYING TO BE  an ALARMIST, OVER-CAUTIOUS or CREATE SOME PANIC.   I’M USING SOME COMMON SENSE now that this current CORONAVIRUS has touched over 9,000,000 million people around the world (and probably more, as there’s bound to be some asymptomatic folk out there not tested).   To be honest, I’m getting a bit sick of it filling the news on TV, but on the other hand, don’t want to miss any new development or new rules that have arisen overnight, so watch a bit each day.   But I do have the option of turning the TV and computer OFF I suppose.

Take a little time to consider how you’re going to adjust to the new ‘normal’.   Consider how you’re going to adjust to your new lifestyle.  Take the time, not to wait for the VIRUS to go away……but perhaps started thinking about where you might take your next holiday.   Perhaps consider how you’re going to work or earn your living in the future.

Start thinking about some local trips and short holidays.   Explore your immediate area once the Lockdown has lifted (and I’m sure Melbourne’s lockdown will eventually be lifted).  Consider some new hobbies, sport or exercise routine.

Living in Nature doesn’t have to be Overseas.

There’s a wealth of local parks, gardens, nature reserves, hills, mountains, coastal beaches and country destinations you can look forward to.

Take the time to ‘SMELL THE ROSEs’……locally…….and care for your community.


This sun came out from behind the clouds earlier today and the House Sparrows came to the birdbath for a drink and play in the water.  I missed capturing the male Superb Fairy-wren when he came to visit a bit later within the lens frame.

Enjoy your day.

Live each day Mindully, fully appreciating what you have, not worrying about what you have not.

I’m way behind with blog reading, but my YouTube addiction got extended to funny babies and toddlers yesterday afternoon when I got home and I laughed myself silly.   Truly, a good belly laugh is the best medicine.

Try it.


From the archives

3rd March 2011


Canon EOS 500D (2009 model)

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens

ISO 320



This is one of the hardest flowers I’ve photographed in the Royal Botanic Gardens.   Once the bush is in full bloom (about 8-10 feet high & wide), it’s almost impossible to isolate just one flower as there are so many flowers on the bush).   And of course, you’re never quite sure exactly which day the buds will open, so can’t necessarily know when the first bud will open (and not the rest).


From the archives 18th March, 2011

As I was looking through the images on the old USB stick I found the other week, I found so many old flower photos I couldn’t remember taking and this was one of them.

I’d never heard of the common name Windflower before.   I’d only ever used the name Anemone or Japanese Anemone.

They’re such a delicate flower and wave about wildly in the wind – hence the common name I guess.  With the Royal Botanic Gardens being the windy location where I took this photo, I’m surprised I actually got it in focus.  Then I noticed the image was made with my little old Canon A3000 IS Point & Shoot  – the first camera I bought after I had to take early retirement in 2010.   I might have had it on the Auto setting.

Nothing like a little Point & Shoot to start you off in Flower Photography.   They’re so easy to use.


The Australian painted lady (Vanessa kershaw) butterfly is mostly confined to Australia, although westerly winds have dispersed it to islands east of Australia, including New Zealand.

AUSTRALIAN PAINTED LADY (Vanessa kershaw) – Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

This butterfly migrates from place to place and loves to visit gardens. In southern Australia, the best time to spot them is after a few warm, sunny days at the end of winter, and from spring to autumn.

In the northern part of the Painted Lady butterfly’s range, they live in the same location year-round.

Whenever they rest or stop to feed, they spread their wings out low to keep predators away. The vibrant colours and patterns advertise to birds and other animals that they are poisonous.

Butterflies also spread their wings to soak up warmth from the sun and to show off their patterns to potential mates.

These images were shot in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on 4th December 2010, resting on some Shrubby Verbena (Lantana) flowers.


I don’t often put links to other websites on my nature blog, but if you’re a flower lover, you just have to swap over to Anne McKinnell ‘s blog to see her latest post.

My own Californian Poppy images look rather ordinary in comparison (below).





AFRICAN BLUE LILY (Agapanthus) – 28th December, 2012 – in a blissfully cool shady location, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.

Karl Duffy on his Mindfulbalance blog has the most beautiful quote this morning and I couldn’t resist sharing……

Not being tied to our urgent to-do lists:

Consider the lilies of the field…

And you — what of your rushed and

useful life? Imagine setting it all down —

papers, plans, appointments, everything,

leaving only a note: “Gone to the fields

to be lovely. Be back when I’m through

with blooming.

Lynn Ungar, Camas Lilies

I find his daily quotes and words of wisdom very uplifting and inspiring.  If you have the time and interest, his blog is well worth following.

His email notification of a new blog post is one of the first I view after opening my computer in the morning.

GLADIOLUS (Gladiolus cardinalis)

You don’t seem to see Gladiolus in many residential gardens in Australia these days, but they were a great favourite of my Mother in our quarter acre first home block.  My Mother had a massive garden, both ornamental in the steep slope in front of our house, as well as the vegetable gardens and fruit trees in the rear yard.

There are around 260 species with thousands of cultivars and most originated in South Africa.

They should have a sunny situation protected from wind with a well-drained soil, but will tolerate periods of dryness once they’re established.

The funnel-shaped floors open from the bottom of the stem upwards and come in shades of white, red, pink, yellow, orange and some bicolour.

These images of the gorgeous GLADIOLUS (Gladiolus cardinals), a hybrid, come to you from our Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne, but I daresay are easy enough to find in any local plant nursery or online supplier if you want them in your ‘Aussie’ garden.


GREVILLEA ‘LITTLE DRUMMER BOY’ (Grevillea lanigera) – 28th August, 2010 – Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

GREVILLEA ‘LITTLE DRUMMER BOY’ (Grevillea lanigera), or WOOLLY GREVILLEA, is one of my favourite early flower images made in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

…..and one of the most ‘stolen’ of my flower images.  I just found another 2 websites who have used this image without my permission.

Perhaps I should be flattered.

But why can’t people do me the curtesy of at least asking if they may use one of my images.

I’ve got about 7-8 images used by professional bodies (with my permission) or even a young street photographer who asked if  he could use one of my B & W images as the header on his website, (which surprised me as I’d have thought he would want to use one of his own, but he was just starting a website and has probably substituted one of his own by now).  I’m happy to share if people ask, but I do like to be asked first.

I do like people to at least credit me as the photographer too.

Anyway, this lovely woolly low-growing Grevillea is a great ground-cover endemic to the eastern coast of Australia.  It’s one of the ‘spider’ flowered Grevilleas.  It flowers in Winter and Spring and has really soft grey-green foliage.  It may be 8 1/2 years since I took this image with my first little Canon point & shoot – my first camera when I took up Photography as a hobby – but surprisingly, despite my novice status, I still think it’s one of the best flower photos I’ve made which shows great detail.

There are something like 350 Grevilleas which grow in every part of Australia, but I’ve only photographed about 5 different varieties.  The other 4 varieties I’ve got in my Grevillea folder are of the ‘toothbrush’ flowered Grevilleas.  The honeyeaters love their nectar.

They’re pretty drought-hardy and benefit from a light prune after flowering.