Gallery cats

Winter tasks

Winter tasks

Merran helping me to reorganise the workroom shelves

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New online shop

Gallery cat providing operational support

Gallery cat providing operational support

If I’ve seemed a bit quiet over the last few weeks, it is because I have been upgrading the online shop software. The cats have stayed close by to provide operational support. Merran found this paisley bowl by IanĀ  Lamb the most comfortable place to ensconse herself near the computer, while Pippin settled for the box containing our gallery cards.

The task was a daunting one, but had to be done because the version of OsCommerce that I was using was very out-of-date and full of security holes. The software is open source and has hundreds of addons developed by the user community. I had helped myself to a number of these, so it wasn’t just a matter of installing a new version of the database and shop, but of re-applying the addons and migrating the data and images.

When I started, I wasn’t sure I had the skills to do it, but I took it slowly, diving into the forums for advice and making lots of backups. Switching to the new shop just before dinner last night was perhaps not the best idea. Full of adrenalin and fear, at least I had no problems staying up until midnight to see the new year in, as I wrestled with permissions and configuration files.

So here it is, with all the same data and URLs (I hope), and a rather neat way of displaying multiple images that came ‘out-of-the-box’ this time.

Please let me know if you find any bugs!

Gardening with cats

Twelve months ago, we had just moved into our new house. Inside we were busy arranging our furniture and books, hanging paintings, unpacking pottery and stacking it into the workroom shelves. Outside, in a summer of hot temperatures, low rainfall and high winds, the house rose tall in the middle of the paddock, surrounded by scraped earth. I sat with my sister on the front verandah, imagining a yard transformed by trees casting a dappled shade across the gravel car park, and by green lawns, shrubberies and flower beds softening the angles of the house.

Daniel Lafferty. Moeraki boulders. 2009

Well, we have a long, long way to go but, in spite of another year of drought conditions and extreme temperatures, we have made some progress, as this photo shows. Because of the cut made for the house, the ground in this north-facing bed is rock hard, but we have turned adversity to advantage with native grasses and three wood-fired spheres by Cobargo potter Daniel Lafferty. In the higher bed behind, a row of geranium cuttings from our old house edge the new rose garden. Recent persistent rain has turned the paddocks green again, giving the impression (if you squint a little) of a lawn stretching down to the tree-lined river.

Our two new cream and blue tortoiseshell cats, Merran and Pippin, set off the colour of the bricks and paving nicely. They are also a great help in the garden, as I now take them out with me for an hour or so every morning, hoping to tire them out before the gallery opens.

Postscript

Here is what happens when you wish for rain in this country of extremes:

Bemboka river in flood