Saturday, September 30, 2017

Healthy eating and skim milk in jugs

How many times can I tell you that we lived next door to the sister of the famous Australian painter Albert Tucker without you grovelling at my feet, saying you lived next door to Tucker's sister? Wow, I am impressed. No, it's never happened. We did see him once when he visited her, peeking through the blinds. In a stalking manner we walked past the window where they dined together at a nearby French restaurant, now an Indian restaurant we visit at times.

Her first name was Ida, but we always called Mrs S..... She used her second name, Lee, rather like oneself uses his second name. I know a couple of mature women by the name of Lee and I like them. Lee seems to be a name for good people. Perhaps it is just the age people are who are called Lee.

Mrs S was a sticky beak and welcomed us to our new (dump) of a home in East Malvern with scones. Every Saturday afternoon there were piping hot scones for us. Mrs S led a very healthy diet. As her daughter said, she was not a tea and toast person. She showed us how to grow alfalfa sprouts, how to make a chicken substitute from tomatoes and suggested for our good health, we should not use full cream milk but make our own using skim milk powder. Mix it well with a whisk, she said, and leave it overnight in the fridge. Thirty five years later, we are still using skim milk powder. Full cream milk seems like drinking pure fat to me and I just don't ever have full cream milk. I expect we have saved an awful lot of money over the years by not buying fresh milk. We keep UHT milk for unexpected visitors and buy fresh milk if we know people are coming.

So that is why we use milk jugs and don't pour from a store bought carton. Of course hand whisks to mix the milk powder have become old hat and we now use an electric stick blender, but that is an Ebay story for another day.

PS, we saw a couple of Tucker paintings last Wednesday. That too will be revealed in the future.

Well, another day has already arrived. We used to mix the milk in the jug with a hand whisk. Every so often they corroded and had to be replaced. Then when we bought a stick blender, it had a whisk attachment, so we use it to mix the milk. R uses the stick blender to mash potatoes with another attachment. However, two of the wires on the whish broke. It seemed to be very expensive to buy a new whisk attachment. I found this assembly of four attachments on Ebay and put in the minimum bid of $15. We already have the other attachments, plus more, and only need the whisk. I suppose we now have spares. It was the only bid and the package arrived four days later to the post office across the road. The postage was just short of the $15 bid.

Two wires are missing. R confessed that perhaps it was his fault and maybe he should be more gentle with it. The wires broke at the tip and I cut them off with pliers.

I can't see the other attachments ever being required by us. If I could be bothered I would put them on Ebay for $10. In the unlikely event anyone reading this needs one of these remaining Kenwood stick blender attachments, you can have all less the whisk or specific pieces for the price of postage.

Friday, September 29, 2017


It is very strange that Adani, an Indian company, has been given the right to mine coal in Australia. Even stranger is that the government will lend the company $1 billion to build a rail line to a port. The worst thing is the ecological damage that will be done, in spite of the company's words.

Australia has a lot to be grateful about our vast coal resources that have kept us in good stead and the Adani mine will give jobs to Australian workers.

But burning coal for energy is dead meat. I am often wrong with what I predict or say will happen, but not with this one. Generating energy by burning coal is a dead duck walking. End of metaphors.

This coming week on Monday night Our ABC Four Corners programme focuses on Adani. It should be interesting.

Happy Yom Kippur

I've said this before but I repeat, Yom Kippur sound like happy words. Hels informed me that there is nothing happy about Yom Kippur. To almost quote Hels, it is the day of atonement, a miserable day in the Jewish calendar. Might we think it is a miserable day for Hels because she has a lot to atone for? :-P

The synagogue opposite The Highrise has barriers up and is fully lit on this day. Smartly dressed people are walking to 'the gog' from where they naughtily drove and parked nearby.

It is also a day where Jews who never bother with religious matters, attend synagogue. That speaks to me of it being cultural rather than religious, perhaps like Catholics who never go to church, but go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

Perhaps Jewish people need to see it as a time to catch up with people they only see once a year and have a nice chat, and then a bitch about the same person later.

Flood Friday

I thought I had finished with Flood Friday, but I came across this at the bottom of my list of unpublished posts. It is a combination of posts written in perhaps 2015. Make of it what you will. I am now down to under 8 unpublished posts, and a couple will never be published. 

I am up to 39 draft posts. Most of them haven't been posted for good reasons. Today, this Friday, I flood you with unfinished posts. But wait, Flood Friday makes it forty unfinished posts. Ten posts will knock me back to 30 unfinished posts, almost imaginable. Nothing written for tomorrow, so take your time.


It seems crossing here, from one tram platform to the one on the other side of the road is a serious offence. At times I do see people dodging around trams as they cross the road from one platform stop to another. I don't do that. I cross between platforms when there are no trams around. I've not heard of anyone being killed by a tram when they have been crossing platforms, even when trams are around. I've not even heard of a bump. Nevertheless, dodging around trams in town is not a great idea.

Our government clearly thinks so, as you can be fined for such behaviour. How much do you reckon?

There are fee unit fines, of $13.60 per unit and penalty units of $157.67. I understand it is penalty units that are applied to your crime of crossing the street from one tram platform to another. The penalty for your horrendous crime is 20 penalty units. Doing the arithmetic in my head by using my calculator, that comes to a penalty of $3,154 for your horrendous crime. If you are prosecuted, I suggest you take the matter to court where any magistrate should quickly throw it out of court. Charge dismissed.

Someone once said, 'the law is an ass', and so often it is true.


Without any effort I am subconsciously a tolerant person of difference. Consciously I am quite critical. Darls, is tight jeans really the best choice for you? Dude, you can sag your shorts to a certain point for fashion, but don't go to the extreme and look ridiculous.

On the one hand in Australia we have women and men who expose their bodies to the extreme in public. On the other hand we have very religious people who minimally expose their bodies. Some people wear odd clothing and none more than your typical Moslem woman in black garb or the Anglo Saxon druggie in a hideous nylon track suit. Both offend me greatly, but that is just my opinion about how people dress.

Where it all goes wrong is with Moslem women who cover their face, dressed in black and who can be seen on the streets with their husbands who are wearing modern Australian fashion.

In Malaysia we were creeped out by all the floating Darth Vadas, fully covered women in our hotel and watching them eating without exposing their face. How ridiculous. 

For a long time I have been interested in Moslem women who cover their faces and finally, in spite of my prejudices , I have come to some conclusions.

Moslem women who cover their faces are either doing it as a defiant objection against western society, have been conditioned to it by family and male patriarchy or are absurdly thinking of covering their faces gives them power.


Day after day R moans about what to cook for dinner. Many of you have give me wise advice about menu planning for a week but I think R likes to moan about what to cook for dinner.

Luxury, I have three days off work and I have completed the Merri Creek walk. I have only posted two of four so far. R picked up Dog Jack after taking Mother out on Thursday. Dog Jack's Mum's uncle has died in Tassie and so she is going to funeral. Dog Jack will return back home Sunday, but return to the Highrise when his Mum goes on a brief holiday next week.

As I was saying, I feel sorry for R having to produce a meal each night. He is a great cook, but it must be so tedious for him so while I have three days off, we have a barbecue to attend on Sunday. That means no meal out on Saturday night. When R suggested we might eat out on Friday night, I jumped at it. We tossed around various places without a conclusion.

He came up with an idea while I had been tossing around 'nice' places. La Porchetta  in South Yarra it is. I had walked heaps of kilometres today, so we took the car. We sat outside and while it was cloudy when we left home, the setting sun got into R's eyes. So deja vue, as he remembered the same thing from a time past.


Humans are animals, albeit of a quite sophisticated variety. Read no further if you don't believe this.

We still have the base instincts of earlier times, food, comfort, reproducing, protecting our offspring, battling for our territory and survival.

Humans now do such strange things, so alien to historic times. We drink when we are not thirsty. We exercise for the sake of our health and longevity (well, some of us do). We have high energy food available to us 24/7 that our ancestors could only dream about, if they knew about high energy food. They just ate to survive, whatever they could get. Amazingly in spite of the huge amount of food that goes to waste to our world, still people starve to death.


I heard Victoria's state planning minister on the radio saying in defence of inappropriate increasing apartment development in Melbourne's inner suburbs, Melbourne has to accommodate an extra 'insert figure' over the next 'insert figure' number of years. Who said we do? Victoria can put in disincentives to limit population growth. Ultimately population growth is a decision of our federal government, but where growth happens is very much in control of the states. Is Adelaide growing much? Encourage people to settle there. Tasmania is surely underpopulated and it has such an agreeable cool climate, not so different to Melbourne's.

While our 2.1 children per Anglo Saxon Australian couples will not sustain our population, with so many Asian and Indian immigrants now here, there will be no fear of decreasing population in Australia without any further immigration. They seem to aim for 4 to 5 children to make up their family.

Our population is growing exponentially and it is spoiling our lifestyles. It is a misery to get out and about now. Our roads are choked with traffic, our trams and trains are packed to capacity.


On our farm where I grew up we had a huge cypress tree. Our father built a cubby house in the tree for us. Me being the domestic goddess, furnished and decorated the cubby. I can only remember the old lino I put on the floor and maybe a cupboard and small table and chairs. None of that girlie stuff of tea sets and a protruding little finger.

The cypress was a terrific tree for climbing, although it could inflict scratches. One day, home alone, I climbed up the tree as far as I could. I was on a branch swaying severely in the breeze but I felt safe. I surveyed our farm in the foothills of Mount Baw Baw, the nearby mountain ranges, and I had a moment of..........I am not sure what. I may have been eight years old, perhaps nine or even ten, but I felt I had some sort of understanding and some maturity. The world appeared to be good and I would survive whatever was thrown at me in life because I am part of a world that looks quite beautiful from my top of the tree vantage point.

Apart from my job, that I now hate but I did not always and has at least provided an adequate income, I am quite satisfied with my life and even with the mistakes I have made, none of which have been too serious.


Was it Victor who said he was not welcome to be near his parents bedroom on Saturday afternoons?

The eighty year old father of a former acquaintance died and his 70 plus year old mother told him more than he really wanted know just after his father died. Paraphrasing she said, I gave him sex nearly every day of my life and you know son, I rather miss it.

Quell horreur. Older people having sex. Block your ears.


One has often viewed the humungous pan of cooking paella at South Melbourne Market. One thinks one may like to get stuck into a plate of paella, but as Alf Garnett said, it is foreign muck. Portarlington mussels are the essential ingredient for paella in Victoria.

Accompanied by Sister, we once bought a kilo for $5 at the Portarlington  Pier. They sell for about $6 at markets, but the pier kilo was of a very generous size, over 1.5 kg.


Is what I do a bit weird?

I associate things.

Whenever I hear the World Health Organisation mentioned, I say silently to myself, who? WHO. Get it?

When Scott moved from Australia to Liverpool, where he no longer lives, I remembered the song Ferry 'Cross the Mersey from my childhood. Was it a Beatles song? I was not a fan of The Beatles. I can't remember any more lines to the song, but whenever I see the Spirit of Tasmania arrive or depart from Melbourne, I sing the sole line I recall silently, that is the title of the song.

When we were last in London, Maybe its because I'm a Londoner, kept coming into my head.

When we are New York next year, which song will dominate? New York, New York? Or An Englishman in New York? Neither probably. I will too busy with maps and I am not English.

I hear church bells and I think from the movie the line, "The bells Quasidmodo, the bells".

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Extending your ring

I am not sure I really like that headline, but no matter.

Every time we have changed something about our home phone at Telstra, it reverts to a short ring time before the answer machine picks it up. I've had to call up and ask the ring time to be extended. Telstra liked short ring times, as you could not get there fast enough and the person left a message, thereby incurring a another phone call charge when you rang the person back. If you are directly paying for telephone calls now, get a grip and sort your phone out.

Since changing our mobile phones from Telstra to Aldi, the ring time is too short. I found this sequence of numbers to press to extend the ring time, and even though within the number is contained 101, Telstra's message service number, this has worked for our now non Telstra phones to extend the ring time. The last number contained within is the number of seconds for your phone to ring before diverting to the message service. 30 is the maximum.


Not toilet humour

It is very rare that I am caught short. It is very rare that I ever use public toilets. If I do, I expect them to be functional and clean. If I have to pay a mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound to use them, no problem.

We set out to an island off the Thai coast in Pattaya on a Chinese style junk boat. It broke down along the way. The bare topped Thai hunk transferred us to another boat to get to the island. I tried to look old and frail, but to no avail. He did not carry me from boat to boat. I was only about 35 and about 60kg.

The junk boat was similar to this boat and really was junk.

A sumptuous lunch feast was spread out under canvas for us on the island. It was wonderful but halfway through, oh, something's not right with me.  Staff directed me somewhere out the back. Suddenly haste was required.

It was a hole in the ground with marks for where to put your feet. It stank. There was a lot evidence on the walls and surrounds of it have being used often by people caught short. No toilet paper but just a bucket of water and as scoop. Dare I touch the handle of the scoop?  No such thing then of personal hand disinfectant.

But it was actually a good thing. Since that occasion, my body had learnt to shut down in that area when out in public.

Enjoy your breakfast.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

School Holidays

How awful was the city today, even more crowded than usual with a gazillion school children on the streets. It is school holidays here.

The niece and one of her mother's are kind of camping, that is Little Jo and Bone Doctor.

The cub scouts' motto is Be Prepared, and 3700 excited children are packing woggles, torches and sleeping bags for Cuboree, Australia's biggest-ever cubs camp.
Meanwhile a crack team of adult volunteers overseen by Scouts Victoria are creating a tent city for the five-day event at Gilwell Park, Gembrook, which starts next Monday.
Four semi-trailer loads of food will be delivered each day of Cuboree, a total of 1.7km of sausages.
Camp director Dan Voet promised kids a break from teachers and iPads in favour of climbing, building stuff and staging plays. It may involve mud.
"There's no homework to do, no one bossing them about, they just have fun."
But it also "builds resilience, is character-developing and teaches them independence".
Duties of the 1700 adult volunteers include putting up more than 1000 tents, cleaning toilets, serving food and running activities.
Cuboree's volunteer catering manager, Balwyn cub leader Jess Rutherford will work 18 hour days and won't be seeing much of her own daughter, nine-year-old Bianca, who is a camper.

Ms Rutherford's shopping list includes 5.7 tonnes of meat, 100,632 slices of bread, 4141 litres of milk, and 1142 litres of custard.
She must provide special diets for 595 children – from kosher and halal meals to vegan and diabetic diets, nut allergies, and dairy intolerances.
Cuboree's chief physician, Professor John Hutson, who was a cub 60 years ago and has been a medic at six Cuborees over the past 20 years, says there is no cause for alarm in the wake of what Health Minister Jill Hennessy termed Victoria's "horror flu season". 
Professor Hutson, who is chair of pediatric surgery at Royal Children's Hospital, advised parents to get their child vaccinated for flu as a commonsense measure.
He has seen "a few" cases of flu at Cuberoos but it was "easy to treat" with rest and observation in the camp's 20 bed hospital ward "and if the child got really sick, we'd send them to hospital". 
In his six Cuborees over 20 years, the worst injuries had been broken limbs, and the most common either "homesickness" or gastroenteritis.  
"When you fall over and scrape your knee, the scrape seems 10 times worse when you're homesick."
He said the focus should be on fun.
"The kids will have such a wonderful time. They'll really enjoy it. Remember there are 1000 adults there.
"Adults and children will be tired, but we'll have had such a good time we'll go, 'how long is it till the next one'?."
Leanne Blunt, of Mooroolbark, whose son Jackson, 10, created an online video of himself packing, said "he cannot wait".
"They love getting away and doing things on their own without their parents' watchful eyes."

A winter stroll

I is busy with 101 one things. Luckily I prepared this minor and non challenging post earlier.

 My daily weather remark will be one of the following. Too hot, too cold, too windy, too grey, too wet, too humid. I love to complain about the weather. R tolerates heat a bit better than I do, especially as he can stay home in the cool when it is hot. But he complains even more than I do over winter.

Sunny winter days seemed few and far between this year, but there was at least one day when I went out for a winter stroll, ostensibly to exercise my back. It was just lovely.

I have memories of the grass being dry and brown.

The philanthropist Sir Robertson McFarlane Sir Macpherson Robertson paid for this wonderful fountain.

The Shrine of Remembrance to pre WWII soldiers sits proud upon its hilltop behind the trees. WWII and post soldiers have been included now.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A letter to the Huff Post

A workmate sent this open letter to our PM Malcolm Turnbull. It was republished in the Huffington Post. I know the author well enough and he is an ok guy.

I've done it!

I am finally free from the clutches of Telstra, well kind of. I will explain.

We ditched Telstra as supplier of our internet and home phone when we changed from cable internet and normal landline to fibre optic to the basement of our building and then copper wire to our apartment. We happy with what we have and it is not the cheapest but our home phone and internet supplied by Telstra dropped from $122 to $70 with TPG.

We were each paying for the same mobile Telstra plan. Our plan was $25 each, plus $5 for 250mb of data each month. We did not pay for calls to each other and I think our text messages were unlimited. It was a cheap capped price to Telstra mobile phones. It was not a great deal but we had bought phones on a plan. Once the contract ended, we just kept on paying, except Telstra arbitrarily increased the price $5, to $35 each. I was cross and told them so, but their reply was in essence, that is how it is. Like it or lump it.

Well, I did not like it and a chance conversation at work stimulated me. The best thing about Telstra is their coverage of phone signals all over Australia. The other two companies, Optus and Vodafone, who have mobile phone towers don't come close to matching Telstra.

I had heard before that the Aldi supermarket mobile phone service through another provider uses the Telstra mobile phone system, and at a cheaper price. But oh apathy is thou enemy. Our phone service was good and it was so easy to do nothing.

A chance conversation with a workmate over someone who sent a photo using Vodafone which did not arrive in a timely manner and ended up being sent using Whats App. I sent the person the photo via my Telstra service to him and arrived to his phone immediately. He used to use Vodafone but he bought a bush block of land where there was no Vodafone reception and changed to Aldi, who uses the Telstra system. I asked him if it was hard to change and he assured me it was not.

But it is prepaid. I have never done prepaid. Isn't that what poor people use and run out of credits and their phone is then useless until they top up? I was most worried about keeping my phone number. I have never changed it since I bought my first mobile phone in the mid nineties, I think.

I spent an hour looking at the Aldi mobile phone website, going in to all the possibilities and getting a grasp on prepaid. I liked what I saw and any doubts I had were addressed by the website.

So, Sunday we went to Aldi and for $5 I bought an Aldi SIM card, which gives a $5 credit that I will never use.

I was warned by Aldi that it could take up to 48 hours to port my existing phone number to their new service. Monday I bit the bullet. It took me about 15 minutes to fill in the online information. A leaflet with the SIM told me to insert the SIM into my phone before proceeding, but at the conclusion of the sign up, the website told me to keep my old SIM in my phone until it stopped working. So, I put the old SIM back in the phone. Five minutes later, I had no phone service. I took out the Telstra SIM and put the Aldi SIM back and no service. I will just have to wait for up to 48 hours. Another five minutes later, the Aldi phone service came on.

It was no more than half an hour from when I sat to activate my new SIM and filled in all the id check stuff and credit card info, until it was working in my phone.  If I had not done it myself and not noticed the discrete Aldi Mobile on the screen, I would not know anything has changed. I did have to set up voice mail though.

I downloaded the Aldi phone app to manage my account, but it easier to do on the website. I am very impressed. For $25 I get free normal calls, free sms, 3gb of data, 100 minutes free to overseas countries. I will no longer be hunting for free wifi when we are out and about, yet I still have the coverage of Telstra mobile 4/3G.

R is now going to buy an Aldi card and we will change his phone over. Preparatory work is making sure you have contacts where they should be so you don't lose people's phone numbers.

Apathy is your enemy. Act now!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Musical Mondays

Joining in with River this Monday for Musical Mondays. No, not the US tv Golden Girls.

The annual TV Logies are the Australian television awards, handed out at a quite glamorous evening event. The event is usually held in Melbourne, but the next will be at the Gold Coast, Queensland.

As they appeared in the opening number; Lorrae Desmond is still going, as is Hazel Phillips. Pat McDonald died in 1990. Denise Drysdale still appears on television. Jeanne Little is alive but with advanced dementia. Rowena Wallace is living a very modest life in a country town.

There are so many local television references in this but even if you don't know to what they are referring, it is still a laugh to watch. I have a niggling feeling I may have shown you this before. Oh well, if I can't remember, you may not either.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kotaraya, Elsternwick

What a difference five or so years make. Kotaraya in Elsternwick was where we dined last Saturday night. I think we were last there about five years ago, not too long after it opened, and it was packed with patrons that night. It was not a great experience and I questioned our friend on Saturday night as we ate about what the problem was. Apparently four main courses came out, and for the two remaining diners, their main course did not arrive until after the other four had finished theirs. That is not great.

Saturday night the four of us decided to have the set banquet menu. I used to balk at set menus because I was poor and others were richer and I would get more food than I needed. I'll just go it alone, I said at times years ago. Banquet prices are getting up there, in this case $32, but it was well worth the money. Soup, four different entrees to share, four different main courses. One of our friends doesn't eat beef, so we had more beef and he had more of the other dishes, choice of plain rice or nasi goreng style rice, I think four large prawns with tail handles each in total of all the dishes. A choice of four deserts and we almost all chose banana fritter, which was beautifully presented. Included was a pot of tea or instant coffee. I drank the coffee. It was warm and wet.

The service was excellent, by mostly an older, well 30,  ethnic Asian male, but at times by an Asian female, who was also perfectly competent. There was little in the way of any communication problems. The decor is great. The seats hard but good for those of us with back issues. Really, we had a great night. My only criticism is that the Tom Yum was a bit too westernised and the lighting was killer bright. At my age I need softer and kinder less direct lighting.

The four of us really enjoyed ourselves, and even tipped $5 between us. I have no hesitation in recommending Kotaraya, a fusion Chinese, Malaysian and Thai restaurant.

There were a number of ethnic Asian people dining there too, along with the usual older Jewish folk walking on the wild side in that area of town where they live. There was one white guy with an Asian male partner and his rather frail and old mainland Chinese parents. I could hear the old couple talking. I didn't need to know the language to know what they were saying. They were being hyper critical, remarking on everything, and probably us, three older white men with a black dude. I am quite sure the food was not up their normal standard, but I bet the white partner paid. They departed with the white guy many steps ahead, the Asian partner a little behind looking back to his parents to assure himself that they were ok, with the father making sure his wife did not stumble as she stepped down the street gutter.

And no, you three older Golden Girls Jewish women, they were not food delivery bikes stacked beside the restaurant but Go Bikes. The trio were dressed to the nines, hair teased to the max, caked with makeup, clanking with jewellery and looked and sounded like they would be great fun and not adverse to talking about sexi mentsh.  

A drive to the hills

The car satellite navigation system certainly did not take us the way we would have otherwise gone. I expect there may have been some operator error in the input. Nevertheless, it was a pretty route along back roads and streets up into the Dandenong Ranges and to Grants Picnic Ground.

It depends on the time of the year perhaps, and other factors unknown to me, but sometimes there are rosellas to feed but this time, it was the sulphur crested cockatoos dominating, with a few corellas getting a bit of share.

The birds are only allowed to be fed within a paved and fenced area and by seed bought at the gift shop. As the ground is within a state park, the site must have an exemption for bird feeding. Only a certain amount of seed is allowed to be sold each day. We found an area not viewed by the cafe and giftshop and fed a few cockies a bit of the seed we had brought along. 

En masse in a dying tree. I would guess the birds brought about the tree's demise.

We had a Devonshire Tea for lunch, which was quite expensive and the scones while very tasty, were so crumbly it was hard to get the jam and cream on without them collapsing into crumbs. I had been looking around for a rubbish bin outside before realising it was a state park, and so no rubbish bins in state parks. You take your rubbish home with you. R remembers when the cafe and giftshop weren't there, just a small kiosk with two elderly ladies who had an urn to make tea and an oven to whip up delicious scones and for a charge of only a few dollars.

The weather was damp, a bit windy and cold so, as Mount Dandenong was only 15 minutes away, we reprogrammed the sat nav which took us another scenic route to Mount Dandenong. It was even colder and windier on the exposed mountain. The city can be seen in the distance but visibility was not great.

We must go back on a nicer day as it is delightful place. At one time it was all very run down and rather squalid, but not now. There are many areas to stroll, along with a maze to get lost in.

I suppose these television broadcast towers are still in use. On a clear day we can see them from home. There are three that I know of.

Helleborus or if you prefer, winter roses or Christmas roses. I think every place we have lived in we had them growing in a shady spot.

Beds of elephants ears and a late prunus?

We smelt the daphne before we saw it. There were both pink and white.

This looks like what I call Pieris but I have only ever seen it in white. We had a white one somewhere. I also thought it was known as lily of the valley, but it seems I am wrong about that.

Worth a click to enlarge and see what has been carved into the timber. 

We decided we'd had enough of the weather and so headed for home via another rather odd route. I had it with sat navs. They are ok if you can't read a map, but I am going back to my old way of getting around. Once home, I had to look at the electric map on the desktop monitor to see where we had actually been, as I had no idea at times.