February was going so great on the blogging front.  March is a disaster.  The past fortnight* has been full of beautiful crisp clear blue sky spring days.

* I have learned, from a friend from USA, that fortnight is not a term the Statesians use. I think we should also bring back sennight (abbreviated sevennight, hence a week).

My daffodils are out and some are being eaten by slugs (grr).

Ta daa!

Ta daa!

I have planted tomatoes and re-planted my laksa leaf (also known as Vietnamese mint – rau ram), which really did not like winter.  It got all straggly and droopy, so to save it, I took cuttings and planted them in water, intermittently moving the jar of cuttings into our warmer living room, rather than the colder kitchen windowsill.

Our mint – which we purchased discounted from Waitrose when we first arrived in the UK, were staying with my partner’s workmates during the week of the unmentionable Flat Fiasco and decided to cook a ‘thank you’ lunch of goi cuon for them – is thriving.  Over winter, we kept it inside the lean-to (odd add-on thing with plastic sheet roofing in which our bikes live and the washing machine churns away) and it continued to produce somewhat anaemic one-cent sized leaves.  With the advent of ever-so slightly warmer weather, it has shot upwards with dark green almost thumb-sized leaves.

Mollycoddled Plants

Mollycoddled Plants: 3 x tomatoes (roma, cherry, Alicante); 3 x laksa leaf; mint. (Please ignore the unsightly downpipe. I did not design the layout of the lean-to.)

The weekends are too gorgeous not to wring out the glory of every last moment of sunshine by engaging in activity (cycling, walking, sitting out on our back deck with friends drinking coffee and shooting the breeze).

Cycling is becoming a new obsession (for me; having surfed the web, it’s a serious obsession for many, many people.).

This weekend I will be doing my first ever overnight cycle plus camp touring trip.  I recently purchased yellow pannier bags and front pannier racks.  I tried them out today by filling them with books that needed to be returned to the library and cycled (mostly without too much wobbling) the mile or so from my house to the nearest public library.  I then refilled both panniers with more library books plus fresh lasagna sheets and cycled home again.  My partner will be carrying the bulk of our weight because he has back pannier bags that are blue and much bigger than my front ones.

How do other short people have back pannier racks?  I am short in Australia, but I am roughly average-ish height in the UK.  I see heaps of girls and women my size-ish cycling about the place.  I’ve been craning my neck and staring at people’s pannier racks as I cycle past trying to work out how they have affixed theirs, and whether I can do the same.  But I have problems: no bolt-hole-things in the right place; extension things would interfere with my brakes; and no room on my seat joist.  My bike kinda looks like this, except that it’s blue.  I have the smallest frame available (15″).  I can affix a rack to the wheel bolt things but then there is nowhere else to secure the rack.  Usually they would secure on additional bolts somewhere along the diagonal part of the frame that connects the middle of the wheel to the seat joist.  I have no bolts there.  None.

I also have nowhere to affix a water-bottle carriage because the bolts for them – which you can just see in the linked picture if you look carefully above the bit where the pedals are attached to the bike (you can tell I’m into the technical lingo, no?) – would secure a water-bottle carriage fine, but no water bottle would fit there.

Who designed this bike?  Did they not think people might go for long-ish rides or want to carry stuff?  So I am at fault for purchasing it, but it did not ever occur to me that I would not be able to add these things after I got more comfortable cycling short-ish distances.

Did you know (no, why would you?) I only learned to ride a bike when I was almost 8?  When I was comfortable, I cycled off on my own and promptly fell off – I think I braked too suddenly as I was turning and went flying somewhere my bike did not follow.  I scraped all of my left side and got a pebble lodged, gruesomely, into the fleshiest part of my palm.  Ba got the pebble out and then squeezed lemon and salt into the wound (great antiseptic, hurts like nothing else).  I’m sure I would have got berated for getting hurt and Um would have been worriedly gleeful that she was right all along that such adventurous activities were not meant for girls.  My mother continues to wish I was more sedentary, and I keep defying her by doing activities that could lead to me injuring myself.  I’m much too fast now for my father to rub any lemon and salt into wounds (and rather far away too).

And now for a miscellany of disconnected thoughts:

  • I think this link is very funny.  You have to be a Jane Austen fan and familiar with Facebook.  You may not be very amused at all if you are not.  It’s only text and completely safe for work.
  • Sarsaparilla is sort-of back. Yay!
  • I’ve still not worn contact lenses yet this year.  It’s almost April. Oh oh.
  • For the person who came here with the search “pronounce names Oanh”: Come back! I have the answer for you! It’s pronounced “wun”, like the number one if you have an Australian accent.


  1. The bike design is really annoying… I’ve had similar problems in the past. Especially with water bottles! I have seen funky water bottle holders which you can affix to the side of the main pole (using the bolts in place already) so that your bottle sits to the left or right, and doesn’t get sandwiched in between both poles. Maybe hunt for one of those? I’m really surprised you can’t get a pannier rack that fits. Surely there’s a bike nerd in [Oanh’s-current-home-town] who can come up with a solution for you.

    Lovely daffodils! Boo hoo to the slugs. xx


    1. Littlewarthog –
      There are many bike nerds and they’ve all been roped into trying to help. Ah, the sight of bike nerds standing around discussing my back wheel, seat height and pannier rack solutions is very funny. I have a potential candidate to meld something for me in the future however. But, thanks to your advice, the front racks are fabulouso! Next, side-saddle water bottle holder!


  2. – i have never heard of lemon and salt, we are boring, we use salt and water for wounds, scratches and bumps….

    – that jane austen & facebook site is funny. [Purple Orchid] likes


  3. Our vege garden is only now recovering from the heatwave a month or so ago. Right now, we have heaps of capsicums, cucumbers and raspberries coming on. It’s fab. Attempts to grow our own tomatoes, however, seem to be doomed. We’ve had a few random ones but not a good crop.

    And do you know that I still can’t ride a bike? I got to training-wheels stage once, fell off onto brick edging and never did get back on… (such a quitter).


    1. Tseen –
      Ooh lucky you in the garden! – I have never had success with capsicums. They are one of the few things that taste worse when grown by me than when purchased from a shop. But they sure were cute. And I’ve always found tomatoes a dream to grow. Isn’t that odd? They do need protection from the rain, however, so maybe Melbourne is too rainy for them?

      There are adult training wheel bikes 😀 And you could try a recumbent trike! They’re very stable (because so low to the ground). Of course, only if you *want* to. It’s such a fab way to get around. I always end up such a proselytiser for whatever my latest hobby / obsession is…


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