Scotland Island for sale

The end of a memorable era …lots of wonderful memories …and lots of Island friends.

Lots of work preparing house for sale – but its done and looks fantastic.












































Posted in Scotland Island

Wow its a Platypus – in Tweed Landcare Newsletter

This article appeared in the Tweed Landcare February Newsletter

Wow, it’s a platypus!   by  Jenni and Grahame Cover

Platypus 1

Platypus 2







New binoculars …it is dawn and the river babbling
…it’s abundance of native birds are calling.
Sitting under my favourite tree
– a Giant Water Gum – Syzygium francisii.
Suddenly bubbles, midstream, a strange lump surfacing,
then along the bank, underwater patrolling.
Wow – it’s a platypus!

Such excitement – the first time I’ve seen a platypus …such strange, interesting animals. We have been here only 8 months. The river is the Rous River bordering our property near Chillingham. When we first came we were told there were platypus in the Tweed and its tributaries. But it seems there are few reported sightings.

Previously part of a dairy farm most of the property is pasture with cows on agistment. However, thanks to our knowledgeable friends as well as Michael Corke and Matthew Bloor, we have been introduced to the many rainforest trees that grow on the river bank and throughout the property. We proudly display our ‘Land for wildlife’ sign. Soon after we arrived Hugh and Nan Nicholson ran a workshop to introduce their Rainforest Identification Key. Their invaluable identification software – Rainforest Plants of Australia, has allowed me to identify the following trees, add their botanical names, and start labelling them …there will no doubt be more. I am a novice so please excuse any errors.
Black bean – Castanospermum australe
White booyong – Argyrodendron trifoliatum
Foam bark – Jagera pseudorhus
Blue quandong – Elaeocarpus grandis
Hard quandong – Elaeocarpus obovatus
Red cedar – Toona ciliata
Native tamarind – Diploglottis australia
Sandpaper fig – Ficus coronata
Macaranga – Macaranga tanarius
Pepperberry – Cryptocarya obovata
Rough leaf elm – Aphananthe philippinensis
Red kamala – Mallotus philippensis
Red apple – Acmena ingens
Water gum – Tristaniopsis laurina
Strangler fig – Ficus watkinsiana
Guioa – Guioa semiglauca

Inspired by the native flora, and guided by regeneration workshops run by Michael Corke and advice from Matthew Bloor, we have bought solar electric fence to keep out the cows from a section along the river bank. This section already has a narrow corridor of rainforest trees. The plan is to let these wonderful trees naturally sow their progeny and shore up the river bank. Interestingly, the platypus site is in the midst of the proposed regeneration area.

Since that first sighting on November 13th, each morning that I have been at the same site, I have seen a platypus at about 6.30-7am. Also on several evenings – the included photos were taken at 7pm one evening. It’s not easy to take photos of shy platypus with an iphone – but a few came out well. I’ve enjoyed watching the platypus diving out in the middle of the river, swimming very fast across the surface and swimming underwater at the river’s edge. So far I have only seen one platypus at the same time – and patience is required to see him/her.

As well as the platypus there are lots if turtles – also fascinating to watch. They drift along half submerged, dive down, swim along and sometimes clamber onto logs. This is surely a sign of a healthy river. We feel we are custodians of this land and are trying to keep it healthy by removing dangerous weeds, regenerating native trees and plants and respecting the native animals.


Posted in Rous River

Raising the Flag at RousHouse April 2015

Our first flag …present from Rex & Myles …the Isle of Man. Proper flag-raising ceremony! ..during rainy Easter.

2015-04-04 10.31.27 2015-04-04 10.32.08 2015-04-04 10.32.15 2015-04-04 10.32.55 HDR 2015-04-04 10.33.06 HDR 2015-04-04 10.33.25 HDR 2015-04-04 10.33.34 HDR 2015-04-04 10.33.39 HDR 2015-04-04 10.33.44 HDR 2015-04-04 10.34.17 HDR 2015-04-04 10.36.05 HDR 2015-04-04 10.36.21 HDR





Posted in Uncategorized

My Rous river rock collection

Too many precious stones for verandah …now fairy rings around the oak tree.

2016-01-20 13.29.47 HDR

2016-01-20 13.30.18

2016-01-20 13.30.10













Our masked lapwing residents (plovers) clearly enjoy the fairies! This is their favourite spot in the garden.

2016-01-19 07.47.48 HDR


Posted in RousHouse

Chillingham Choir Christmas Party

The Chillingham Voices Choir holds its Christmas party each year in early January – most sensible! This year it was on Friday Jan 8th.

A great night – wonderful performances by many choir members and a delicious dinner at interval.

The highlight of the night was ‘Bad Abba’  – performed by 4 delightfully bad, be-wigged       ‘Abba – gals’ …plus guitarist.

Bad Abba Pic








Grahame and I did our bit. We both recited ‘The move to RousHouse’, a piece I quickly put together. Grahame recited his ‘Lights in the Darkness’ from the book ‘Water Access Only – Tales and Images from Pittwater’, which made a big impact on many judging by comments afterwards. …and the fun-piece I wrote for my Chillingham bridge buddies (who are all altos in the choir), ‘The Alto Bridge’, was sung by  Liz, Lou, Susanne and myself. Our rehearsal was such fun – we all love ‘Queen’ – and the performance, being towards the end of the concert, after we’d all had too much champagne, was predictably less than perfect but loved by the audience. I still keep singing it – can’t get it out of my head!

The Move to RousHouse 

The Move to RousHouse - G&J






It was late last March that we made the move
Not knowing about you people who groove
We were greeted by ducks and ibis too
Who like the rain more than we do.

Unpacking was fun
Punctuated by meals in the sun
Space is the essence of our house
Together with the delights of the wondrous Rous

It didn’t take long
Before we were part of the song
The community is such a treat
Warm, crazy, caring, fun – truly neat

Choir is a great night with Harley at the helm
And the ‘Hot Chilli Chicks’ dwell in a higher realm
The music is great but supper is the heart
…not to mention Lynne’s eggs for baking that tart

Bridge is not for all – but the morning teas were such fun
A few came and went but the core group didn’t run.
Lou, Liz and Susanne have become my best mates
The competition is fierce …but first rate

Two more are learning but we need two more
…. to make a table of four
Grahame won’t play, nor will Brian or Ed
They must be scared they will be beaten by the women they wed.

Our vege garden has been a sight to behold
Broccoli, snow-peas, more than can be told
The coffee, a labour of love, is so fine
And the lemon cello truly divine

Growing anything at all is a breeze
But how to stop the weeds?
We sit and watch the lawn grow
Maybe Hugh will make us a robot to mow

Collecting cow-poo under a vivid sunset sky
Is one of life’s treasures money can’t buy
Our platypus is such a joy to see
As are the birds, frogs and rainforest trees

But the best part of all it is clear
Is that it is so good just being here
Creative juices are flowing
Each moment precious adventures sowing


Lights in the Darkness

Lights in the darkness - G







The Alto Bridge

The Alto bridge - 1The Alto bridge - 2The Alto bridge -3






(To the tune of ‘We three kings’ – no chorus)

Although we always sing in tune
To sing ‘the tune’ would be a boon
But without us there would be
…no-o-o harmony

We allow the sops to stand out
But really we have more clout
Don’t be fooled – we are not slow
Though we always sing low

We are the bridge because we think
Providing the most essential link
Joining sops, tenors, basses too
Really we are the glue

To a challenge we always rise
So it really is no surprise
Not only singing is our quest
We play bridge with the best

(to the tune of ‘We are the champions’ by Queen)

We are the bri-dge girls my friends
And we’ll keep on bridging ‘til the end
We are the bri-dge
We are the bri-dge
No cards are too hard
‘cause we are the bri-dge …for the choir

Posted in Events

New Years Eve – Great Birthday

New years eve 2015 was a wonderful, memorable birthday. Began with delicious breakfast cooked by Myles, Jane, Rex, Jemma. Then birthday cake cooked by Grahame.

Finale – New Years Eve Masked Party at RousHouse …our house-warming party.

No mask – no party!

NYE 2015 8NYE 2015 7NYE 2015 3NYE 2015 4NYE 2015 6

New years eve party 2015

New years eve party 2015 2

NYE 2015 5




Fun, peaceful way to see in 2016 surrounded by family and good friends.

Posted in RousHouse

First Christmas at RousHouse

A full house for our first Christmas at RousHouse. Myles, Jane and Bob the kelpie arrived Dec 24th by car; Hugh and Matt flew in from Pittsburgh Dec 25th; Rex and Jemma flew in from Sydney Dec 26th. Christmas day was Dec 27th! Matt’s first visit to Australia, Hugh and Bob’s first visit to RousHouse. It was really special to have Hugh with us again after many years. Bob is a super lovable kelpie – soo good …very well trained. He tried to sort out the cows – but they ended up chasing him!



Xmas 2015 at Chillingham

Xmas 2015 - silly







Dec 26th – a wonderful sunny day at Cabarita beach. Great surf and walk along headland. Its an excellent, unspoilt beach.

Dec 27th – our traditional cook-up on Christmas day was up to its usual standard – truly exotic and truly delicious. Included roast lamb and prawns for Matt – his first visit to Australia.

Dec 28th – walk to top of Mt Warning – fantastic. Another beautiful day – in between the rainy days.

mt Warning Christmas 2015 2Mt Warning Christmas 2015






                                  On top of Mt Warning

Dec 29th – Jemma and my legs making their presence felt …no-one else game to admit it! Hugh and Matt left for Sydney.

Dec 30th – Murwillumbah farmers market. Star Wars movie at Regent …with choc-top – thanks Myles and Jane

Dec 31st – delicious birthday breakfast – poached egg, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and haloumi on toast. Orange and almond birthday cake cooked by Grahame. Then lots of fun cooking and preparing for party. Rex and Jemma sorted lime tree hit by storm….collected a humongous basket full of limes. Jemma juiced 39 limes …then amazingly made lime marmalade – just like that! …and its the best lime marmalade I’ve ever had. Masked party a big success – great fun. A perfect clear night with good friends.

RousHouse quiet when they all left – but still holds their wonderful energy. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful family. Hope they will come often.

Posted in RousHouse

Frogs on the deck

Some of our frogs
Green frogBrown frogbrown frog 2

Posted in RousHouse

A bird landed on our deck

This beautiful bird – probably a juvenile rose-crowned fruit-dove crashed into our deck railing. Stunned for a while – but flew off happily. Beautiful yellow chest (not quick enough to get picture).

Bird 2Bird 1

Posted in RousHouse

My best friend at school

Sadly Marg took her last breath in November 2015. She fought fiercely to the end against cancer that spread through her body. She didn’t want a funeral. Instead I received this lovely invitation from John, her husband.


Please join me for a special afternoon tea to remember Margaret, the love of my life

FROM 2.00PM | SUNDAY 6 DECEMBER 2015 In our garden at 14 Rocke Court, Trentham 3458

Margaret’s wish was for her family and friends, including children, to gather after her passing to support each other and to share memories and stories – with good food and wine and without formalities or tears.


Marg and I were room-mates at boarding school MLC. We shared many, many laughs and adventures. We regularly visited each others homes on holidays – hers at Colac, mine at Rushworth. On Saturdays out – thanks to Marg’s sister Judy’s permission! – we had great fun ice-skating and riding the big dipper at Luna Park St Kilda. She lives on in my heart.

The gathering in Trentham was a lovely, memorable day. It was wonderful seeing people I hadn’t seen for many, many moons.

The weekend as a whole though was most eventful.

Friday night was the Ursys Christmas party in Sydney. A great night but no-one wanted to go home. I had arranged to stay with Myles and Jane so I could catch a plane to Melbourne the next morning. I had to wake them up to let me in – a reversal of the ‘parents waiting up for their children syndrome’!

Still I made it to the plane. Everyone was settled by the 9am departure time …then a message …due to early morning fog in Melbourne we are delayed …plane finally left at 10am! Late for lunch with Melbunigirls – but all ended well, lovely lunch with Pam and Pat at Studley park boathouse. Took train later that afternoon to stay with Catriona (another special school friend) at Smythesdale, near Ballarat. Super conversations with Catriona – so good.

On Sunday the memorable gathering for Marg at Trentham. About 10.30 that night, after drinks with neighbours and a little settling TV, I was cleaning my teeth when there was a cry from the kitchen. Catriona had dropped the ceramic plate she took to Trentham on her foot – very dramatic …blood everywhere! John, Catriona’s husband said he had drunk half a bottle of red wine so couldn’t drive. I’d had 2 glasses of champagne – but said I was driving anyway. I felt fine and Catriona was more important than my license. They live about 30mins from Ballarat. John rang an on-line medical help-centre. They were helpful but said we needed to take Catriona to the hospital. …so off we went – made it to emergency where they were expecting her. At 1am John came out to say I should go home and he would come back – but I wanted to make sure Catriona was OK. By 3am I was really ready to go home – so I did….had to catch a train back to Melbourne the next morning. When I woke up Catriona wasn’t back. John arrived and said they were taking her to Geelong for plastic-surgery. Her whole big toe nail had been disconnected.

Caught the train to Melbourne on Monday morning. My sister Coral met me at a station near her home and near Wendy, our second-cousin, who we planned to visit to hear more about our great grandmother’s ‘pearls’ (the baby born on the beach of King island during Netherby shipwreck). We bought flowers, then Coral took us to her home. No-one answered the door-bell …but she had an appointment in the morning and said she might be late back. We waited in the car …but it didn’t feel right. I went around the back of the house – completely open, ipads lying on sofa …but no-one at home. I said we should ring – so we did …and we were at the wrong house! Heather Avenue instead of Heather Grove! Still we finally made it – and had wonderful conversations. Discovered many things about our family we didn’t know. I thought I had left enough time to get to plane …but the queue at Skyline bus was huge – none of us had ever seen such a queue. Made it to the airport after check-in closing time. Fortunately I had checked in on my i-pad (despite adventures previous day) but couldn’t print a boarding pass. I fronted up anyway with my i-pad. Not good enough to get me through – went to desk and the guy said he couldn’t do anything …while he was printing boarding pass under desk! I was so relieved to get to my seat!

Catriona’s foot is OK – she just had to spend the last school week at home with her foot resting!

Posted in Events

Platypus in Rous River Chillingham

Platypus 1




Photos taken Nov 18th 7pm




Platypus 2








Lots of Turtles too

Turtle 1

Turtle 2

Posted in Rous River

RousHouse August

The autumn garden bursts straight into spring
… oblivious of winter!
New leaves appear though autumn hues stay
Poppies are on their way.

The vege garden is a sight to behold,
Greens, herbs, potatoes, carrots and more
An owl came to visit last night
Sitting on our railing – what a sight!

The broccoli is so big, the peas so sweet
Not to mention the snow peas, bok-choy, lettuce and spinach too
We invited friends for a meal
Serving all home-grown greens was unreal.

Satin bower birds gave our tomatoes a hard time
But fortunately they don’t like their greens!
The missing blue pegs and mauve bonsai stone
We found in their bower – a special home.

Our land is now ‘Land for Wildlife’
The river and its lovely trees such a joy
We’ve been working to keep it weed-free
Yesterday frogs croaked and a goanna ran up a tree.

Some locals asked to learn bridge.
We meet here once a week and laugh a lot
I also play in Murwillumbah Monday
Bridge is good fun – needless to say.

Choir is a great night and good for us too
Love the girls group – the ‘Hot Chilli Chicks’
The ‘Armed Man Mass’ is progressing towards its peak
We’ve a jazz concert next week.

We look up to the Cougals – and now I’ve been there
A good walk – sent texts to G from the top
Yesterday at Springbook Liz was a fashion treat,
our home-made sun-dried bananas delicious to eat.

Lunch at Peter and Wendy’s fully eco abode
A super soup-party with Harley and Sue
Our Coffee is happening – fruit picked and dried to shell
Next is the roasting – the taste will tell.

Stop press:
Our fish have returned, the first poppies have bloomed
– spring is officially here!
Collecting cow-poo under a vivid sun-set sky was such a treat
and our coffee tastes really neat.

First poppy




First poppy

Posted in RousHouse

RousHouse June 2015

In April it rained and rained and rained
– our small river became a roaring sea.
At midnight a sight to behold
but next day just a tale to be told.

A calf was lucky to be born next day.
The cows congregated around,
then moved away to reveal
a calf already able to kneel.

Some nights have been cold
a pleasant cold – like a mountain cold.
Our fire keeps us warm,
then we have breakfast out in the sun next morn.

We have discovered the local community
– or rather they have discovered us!
Singing, bush-walking, clubs and markets galore
…wonderful people what’s more!

The Chillingham Voice Chorus is at its heart.
Great ambitious music that sounds great
– though I am one of the few that can music read.
Good fun – and supper a delicious feed.

The bushwalking club walks most Thursdays.
Last time was a ‘real’ bushwalk
to the western cliffs of Springbrook National Park
– no track, suitably lost, a great lark.

I love fossicking for rocks
– have found some beauties.
Now I need a gemmologist
– the boys selling crystals at the market will assist.

Our latest visitor
uninvited, but quite at home
– an elegant yellow-bellied tree snake
lying on our front steps to sun-bake.

We’ve had dinner with our neighbours Maree and Martin
Met a 91-year old doctor – sharp as a tack
– cross because her daughter has just made her retire.
And we’ve been warmly welcomed over lunch by the choir.

Juicy, sweet mandarins, grapefruit, oranges galore
Now we’ve planted many varieties more
Our flags fly to show we are home….so far we have 3
– Isle of Man, Celtic and Brittany.

Posted in RousHouse

The House on the Rous

We’ve moved to ‘RousHouse’
– the house on the Rous …river.
An elegant stone house, beautiful and well-designed
…but there is more, much more.

Surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature,
it embraces and holds a potent energy.
A quiet energy – gentle, nourishing, inspiring creativity
– feminine aboriginal energy I was told by a local.

The masculine Mt Warning protects us from behind.
An unreliable name given by Captain Cook,
when often the top is shrouded in cloud.
I’ve been told the aboriginals know it as the Compassionate one.

The Rous, which eventually becomes the Tweed,
is home for platypus, turtles, water dragons, fish.
Many varieties of birds constantly fill the air with bird-song.
Our food, freshly picked, grows on the fertile river plains.

North facing, the sun warms us all day,
yet inside the house remains cool.
We look up to Springbrook in the North
and the sun sets over the beautiful Border Ranges.

We’ve already had frog and cow adventures.
A lime-green frog booming outside our bedroom we relocated afar.
Peace! We felt rather pleased with ourselves.
…until the next night! – clearly he’d told his mates.

Surrounded by croaking frogs of all shapes, sizes and colours – I admitted defeat.
But it turned out to be the best concert I had ever heard …anywhere.
Frogs, birds, cows all joined melodiously into nature’s own symphony.
– and then, the concert over, lo they moved back to the river and dams.

The cows exert a lovely presence – what a life, all they do is eat …and moo occasionally.
One day I looked out the window to see two stray cows in our front garden.
Grahame learnt his first cow lesson
…yelling at them has no effect – but flapping your arms up and down works wonders.

Over Easter our neighbour decided the cows needed to be moved from the river.
Two of our sons and their girlfriends were here so we offered to help.
It was only later that we realised that we all had different versions of Maree’s grand plan.
…but it eventually ended well when we reunited the separated calves.

Since Easter we have had constant sunshine.
It really is beautiful one day, perfect the next….and we aren’t in Qld!
On special days we proudly fly the Manx flag with 3 legs – our first flag…there will be more.

Posted in RousHouse

Old news

Singing with Leichhardt Espresso Choir. John Rutter’s Gloria and Dan Walker new compositions at St James Church Sunday Oct 12th 5-6pm

First rogaine at Lake Macquarie great fun. Won 2 medals.

Myles and Rex equal first in Pie-bake-athon

Posted in Old News