Category Archives: Quotes

The Inner Tree, Port Arthur.

“The Tree and the Reed”

Well, little one,” said a Tree to a Reed that was growing at its foot, “why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?””I am contented with my lot,” said the Reed. “I may not be so grand, but I think I am safer.””Safe!” sneered the Tree. “Who shall pluck me up by the roots or bow my head to the ground?” But it soon had to repent of its boasting, for a hurricane arose which tore it up from its roots, and cast it a useless log on the ground, while the little Reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.Obscurity often brings safety.”
Aesop

There was such a mixture of grief and intrigue when I spotted this chopped down tree at Port Arthur. After walking through the bush admiring and photographing the soaring blue gums and almost feeling one with them, I was grieved to see something so beautiful destroyed.

“If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.”

Khalil Gibran

Yet, fortunately it’s not often that I get to see inside a tree. Despite loving trees, I still have that child-like fascination with counting the rings and peering inside this hidden, inner zone. Is this where trees store up all their secrets? Where they write down all the stories they hear whispered by the wind? Part of me, believes it is and I wish I could translate them all.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Up the Garden Path, Port Arthur.

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Although I’d never heard about the stunning gardens at Port Arthur before our visit, I was happily led up the garden path. Indeed, the gardens were a serious, botanical feast…especially for a brown-thumbed sod like myself unable to convert our sandy soil into a floral paradise.

It’s hard to comprehend that stunning, specialist gardens were growing in such a brutal, violent penal settlement. However, line most things, one thing led to another.

In 1849, several scientific groups joined together to form the Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany and the Advance of Science, the first Royal Society outside of Britain. Members had connections with Kew Gardens and other nurseries. This society  took responsibility for managing Hobart’s Government Gardens, later to become the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
Among Royal Society members were numerous Port Arthur administrators and officials including Commandants William Champ and James Boyd. Many plants were ordered from England. Cuttings, tubers, corms, rootstock and seeds were also collected by plant enthusiasts on the eight-month journey to Van Diemen’s Land. The genes of some of Port Arthur’s plants map the ports of call in South America, South Africa and India. Boyd alone ordered hundreds of plants, including dahlias, marjoram and fruit trees.

 

As early as the 1830s ornamental trees were planted at Port Arthur. By 1838 the avenue leading to the Church from Tarleton Street was lined with young trees provided by the Governor of the day, Sir John Franklin. In 1846-47, Commandant Champ developed Government Gardens as an ornamental garden primarily for the enjoyment of the ladies of the settlement. The gardens were much admired and reached their peak in the late 1860-70s. After the closure of Port Arthur the gardens were neglected until reconstruction began in the 1990’s.

‘The usual afternoon walk was to be Government Cottage Garden where the officers’ wives, their children and nursemaids used to assemble. They were charming gardens. Lovely green lawns and gay flower beds – even a fountain in the centre – all beautifully kept.’

E.M. Hall, 1871-7.

 

The plants at Port Arthur have been catologued and their stories reproduced in a stunning online catalogue. I found it rather intriguing to read how seeds, cuttings and bulbs from exotic species found in Britain, India, South Africa and more arrived onboard ships in Tasmania, finding their way into the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart as well as these gardens in Port Arthur.
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I might not know the botanic name for this rose but I did manage to photograph it. I could curl deep inside and wrap myself up in that petal swirl.

These days it is impossible to conceive the trafficking of plant materials across international borders when you can’t even bring plants, fruits and a swag of other items into Tasmania from the Australian Mainland…at least, not as your average Joe. Quarantine is very important in Australia and Tasmania in order to keep out exotic diseases and  pests.

“Port Arthur is beginning to look springlike. The oak trees are bursting into leaf and there is a profusion of bulbs in bloom in the paddocks which at one time were old gardens.”

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Thursday 30 August 1934 p 5.

cottage-garden

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few stories about the various plants at Port Arthur.

Quercus robur (English oak, common oak)

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The trees that surround Government Gardens and line the avenue up to the Church are mostly English oaks. This is the most common forest tree in Britain.

The botanic name robur means ‘strength’ in Latin, and refers to the hard timber for which the trees have been valued since prehistoric times. Sir John Franklin, the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen’s Land from 1836-43, provided the Port Arthur Penal Settlement with young oak, ash and elm trees, some of which may survive today. Deciduous European trees were some of the earliest brought to the new colony, bringing a sense of comfort and familiarity in an otherwise foreign landscape.

Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove)

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A native to western and south western Europe, including the British Isles. Commandant Champ wrote a letter to his mother requesting her to collect the seeds of wild flowers when walking in the woods and send them to him.

 

Lupinus polyphyllus   (garden lupin)

This plant was discovered in the north-west of North America in the 1820s by Mr David Douglas, who also introduced the Douglas fir to Europe.

Seeds of ‘blue and yellow lupins various’ were being advertised for sale by Mrs Wood in the Hobart Town Courier by November 1829:

‘This splendid lupine is now become so common that we can hardly conceive how gardens must have looked without it, though it is not yet quite twenty years that seeds of it were first sent to this country…’

Melianthus major (honey flower)

A common plant in colonial gardens, Melianthus would have been admired for its unusual leaves and growth habit, as well as for its large red flower spikes, unlike any plant found in traditional English gardens. It is native to South Africa, and was collected by sailing vessels on their way from England to the Australian colonies and other trading ports.

Myosotis sylvatica (forget-me-not)

The forget-me-not is so common in Tasmanian gardens that many people consider it weedy and tend to pull it out. A common flower in woodlands throughout Britain and Europe, this would have been one of the early introductions to the gardens in Port Arthur.

The following poem appeared in an April edition of the Launceston Courier in 1829, and captures the sentimentality that people at this time had for the forget-me-not:

There is a flow’r I love so well

That grows within my garden plot

My willing pen its name shall tell

The lovely blue ‘forget-me-not’

‘Tis not within the rich man’s hall,

But near the honest peasant’s cot,

Where grows the lovely flow’r, we call,

The modest blue ‘forget-me-not’.

It does not boast a rich perfume,

The rose-bud’s glory ‘t has not got;

It does not want a warmer bloom,

The brilliant blue ‘forget-me-not’

Through life I’ve lov’d this simple flow’r

Nor ever be its name forgot

In prosp’rous time or adverse hour

The humble blue ‘forget-me-not’

And should I die an early doom

Let no false tear my mem’ry blot;

But let there spring around my tomb,

The azure blue ‘forget-me-not’

Salix babylonica (weeping willow)

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Weeping Willow at Port Arthur 2017.

The weeping willows that once grew in this garden, and in many other sites throughout Australia and Britain, were taken as cuttings from a tree growing on the grave of Napoleon Bonaparte on the island of St Helena. A quick growing shade tree popular  for ornamental plantings, willows have also traditionally been used medicinally and for basketry.

In 1845, the Commandant of Port Arthur investigated which Tasman Peninsula outstations had suitable conditions to plant willows for basket-making, and supplied these with cuttings from his own garden.

Rosa chinensis (China rose)

China roses were introduced into the west towards the end of the 18th century, and enabled the many cultivars of rose available today to be developed. China roses have the quality of repeat flowering, although they bloom most heavily in the spring.

The roses growing in Government Gardens include ‘La Marque’, a variety released in 1830 with large, fragrant, white flowers.

Solanum aviculare  (kangaroo apple)

Thomas Lempriere, the Commissariat Officer at Port Arthur from 1833-48, wrote in his journal about the culinary value of various native plants. He stated: ‘the Solanum…or kangaroo apple, is a very handsome plant and the fruits, when perfectly ripe, pleasant to the taste’. –1838

In 1828 the kangaroo apple was featured in an  article in the Hobart Town Courier, which commented:

‘…we have had occasion, this season particularly, to remark the great luxuriance of what is called the Kangaroo apple, or New Zealand potato, a species of Solanum common to this country and New Zealand… a beautiful evergreen shrub, with dark verdant leaves… It is covered with small round apples, which when ripe eat exactly like bananas, and a sort of yams grow at its root, it is both ornamental and useful.’

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed our meanders through the gardens at Port Arthur. Adding a few details to my photographs, has become quite a long and interesting journey, even for this serial plant killer.

If you’d like to check out the Port Arthur Gardens’ Plant Guide, please click: here.

xx Rowena

Goodbye 2016…The Words They Left Behind.

Make yourself a cup of tea, pour a glass of wine, grab a snack and absorb the words of wisdom left behind by some of the very inspirational souls who passed away this year. True wisdom to eat, savour, swallow and absorb into our deepest selves . Who knows where living these words could take us? Indeed, who needs champagne when you could be touched by even a sprinkle of  Ziggy’s star dust?!!

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Last night, I was thinking about putting something together for New Year’s Eve. At my stage in life, this means writing something for the blog and the family rather than organizing a raging party. Not only do we have the kids to consider, but also a dog who’s allergic to fireworks. She is guaranteed to be trembling on Geoff’s lap and I just remembered we didn’t get any medication…for her, or us!

While I’ve read advice and wisdom for the New Year, my mind was blank. If anything, I only had questions. At the top of that list was: “Do you really think you’re going to get it together next year when you specialize in chaotic thinking and travelling through life with no road map whatsoever?”

As we all know, NYE is an important night and it’s critical to get our affairs in order. More important than dying, NYE is that magical night when our old self dies and our new self is born. Indeed, at the tick of 12.01 AM, there’s an entirely new you with no commonality with your past self whatsoever. What? You didn’t know your entire DNA changes every New Years Eve on the stroke of midnight? Oh! Happy Days!

As I said, I get new DNA at midnight and I just hope I don’t come back as an accountant at 12.01, although I’ve vowed to manage my “what the?” finances better in 2017.

Anyway, since so many inspirational people left this world during 2016, I decided to put together a compilation of inspirational quotes.

Of course, my selection of quotes says as much about me, as it does about them. I haven’t included every famous person who passed away. Moreover, I won’t be calling these people “celebrities”. Rather, they were people of substance who inspired the world, not a candle flames fart-arsing in the wind.

These are “my people”.

So, I ask you to join me in my writer’s chair. We’re parked in front of huge screen basking in flashbacks of Carol Brady, Laverne & Shirley, Pretty Woman, Kingswood Country, Ziggy Stardust and my friends cutting out pictures of WHAM! and pasting them in their school diaries. All of these memories, images, words and music all swirled together into a dazzling kaleidoscope and I’d love to invite you along for the journey. Alleluia!

Who knows? You might even be inspired!

The Words They Left Behind

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David Bowie

David Bowie 1947 – 2016

“There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It’s always been my way of expressing what, for me, is inexpressible by any other means.”

“As an adolescent, I was painfully shy, withdrawn. I didn’t really have the nerve to sing my songs on stage, and nobody else was doing them. I decided to do them in disguise so that I didn’t have to actually go through the humiliation of going on stage and being myself.”

Prince 1958 – 2016

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“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.”

“There’s always a rainbow at the end of every rain.”

“When I’m writing [songs], some days the pen just goes. I’m not in charge and I’m almost listening outside of it. That’s when I realize that we all have to start looking at life as a gift. It’s like listening to a color and believing that these colors have soul mates and once you get them all together the painting is complete.”

Muhammad Ali 1942 – 2016muhammad_ali_nywts

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

“A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.”

“I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.”

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”

Harper Lee 1926 – 2016

mockingbird

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”

“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”

“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

“Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.”

Nancy Reagan 1921 – 2016

nancy-reagan“To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can’t see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life.”

“For eight years, I was sleeping with the president, and if that doesn’t give you special access, I don’t know what does!”

“A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Leonard Cohen 1934-2016

leonard-cohen“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

~ lyrics from Anthem, off the 1992 record ‘The Future’

“Out of the thousands who are known or who want to be known as poets, maybe one or two are genuine and the rest are fakes, hanging around the sacred precincts, trying to look like the real thing.”

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.”

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

“I did my best, it wasn’t much. I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch. I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you. And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song, with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah…” ~ lyrics from his 1984 masterpiece, Hallelujah

“I don’t really understand that process called reincarnation but if there is such a thing I’d like to come back as my daughter’s dog.”

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

carrie-fisher “One of the great things to pretend is that you’re not only alright, you’re in great shape. Now to have that come true – I’ve actually gone on stage depressed and that’s worked its magic on me, ’cause if I can convince you that I’m alright, then maybe I can convince me.”

“I always wrote. I wrote from when I was 12. That was therapeutic for me in those days. I wrote things to get them out of feeling them, and onto paper. So writing in a way saved me, kept me company. I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know.”

Debbie Reynolds 1932 – 2016

debbie-reynolds

“If you’re a dancer, study singing. You have to do everything and do it well. You have to study acting. You have to study all of it. You have to find workshops, get out on the stage…and fail.”

“You have to keep practicing, if you’re really going to be good.”

“Anything worthwhile is hard, and dancing is very hard, and if you’ve ever studied dancing of any kind you’d know that to be in precision, three people dancing together.”

George Michael 1963-2016

wham“You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.”

“Because of the media, the way the world is perceived is as a place where resources and time are running out. We’re taught that you have to grab what you can before it’s gone. It’s almost as if there isn’t time for compassion.”

Ronnie Corbett 1930-2016

“Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.”

“We’ll be talking to a car designer who’s crossed a Toyota with Quasimodo and come up with the Hatchback of Notre Dame.”

Florence Henderon 1934-2016 (AKA Carol Brady from The Brady Bunch)

Florence Henderson.jpg“I had four children … and sometimes my kids would say to me, you know, how come you don’t scream at those kids on television like you do us?”

“A lot of women say to me, ‘You know, I really hated you because my kids wanted you to be their mother.'”

“I firmly believe […] you have to cherish your past. If you did it, it’s a part of you. I would be foolish to ignore that or go, I wish I’d never done it, i hate it.'” (on playing Carol Brady).

Zsa Zsa Gabor  1917-2016  (for a bit of humour. She was incredibly funny!!)

zsa-zsa-gabor-240I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.”

“I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man, I keep his house.”

“I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?”

“I don’t remember anybody’s name. How do you think the ‘dahling’ thing got started?”

“To be loved is a strength. To love is a weakness.”

“One of my theories is that men love with their eyes; women love with their ears.”

“If you’ve got the comedy eye, you can look at any situation and see the humor in it while others don’t.”

“The only way to learn a language properly, in fact, is to marry a man of that nationality. You get what they call in Europe a ‘sleeping dictionary.’ Of course, I have only been married five times, and I speak seven languages. I’m still trying to remember where I picked up the other two.”

Garry Marshall 1934-2016 , Director

garry-marshall“Learn to work with people you wouldn’t go to lunch with.”

“One of my thrills of the business is to find young people, there’s a window. I like young people who are in that brief window between on their-way-up and rehab. In that window I can make stars. It’s not really true but it’s not so far off.”

“I think a lot of creative people have no sense of numbers and economics.”

“I’m basically a writer, it’s who I am. I direct and I like theatre directing very much. But I’ve done 17 movies, they don’t say ‘Let’s get Garry, he’ll make a helicopter shot,’ they say ‘Get Garry, he’ll fix the script.'”

“When I edit, I’m not from the school of Hello, I’m a genius, so everybody shut up. I’m from the school of Let’s play it once in front of an audience, and then I’ll tell you where it is going.”

“I think men should go see Beaches too. I think they’ll understand women better.”

“I’m a little older and I’m gonna do a bunch more movies and then they’re gonna put me in a home for old directors.”

“My mother worked all of her life, she was a dance teacher and I also noticed, to be honest, that most of the male directors wanted to blow things up so there was like an open area for somebody who wanted to direct women movies, chick flicks, whatever you… I don’t call them chick flicks.” www.movieweb.com

“I don’t know about immortal, but I must say that to me to touch more women and to have them understand friendships, is important. I’ve had girls come up to me who said, “Yeah, after I saw ‘Beaches’ I called up my friend Denise who I was really mad at. She got me so aggravated and I called her and we made up.” So if I could do that with this new release, yes, that would be very pleasing to me because, hey, it’s a tough world. You need friends out there.” www.movieweb.com

Ross Higgins AKA Ted Bulpitt from Kingswood Country

ted-bullpittFor those of you who are heading out to party tonight, I’ll leave you with two quotes from Kingswood Country‘s Ted Bulpitt, Australia’s version of Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers. This show couldn’t appear on modern TV yet it was viewed in every loungeroom round Australia. RIP Ted.
Ted Bullpitt: You’re not taking the Kingswood…

Ted Bullpitt: Leave your money on the fridge!

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I’ve decided to print these quotes out for the family tonight and we’re going to pluck them out like a lucky dip.

Which quotes appeal to you? I’d love you to share your thoughts!

Thank you for reading through to the end. After taking in all that wisdom, who knows who or what we’ll become when the clock strikes 12.01?!!

Love & Blessings,

Rowena

 

 

 

Absent Friends…Quote Vincent Van Gogh

“I often think of you all, one cannot do what one wants in life. The more you feel attached to a spot, the more ruthlessly you are compelled to leave it, but the memories remain, and one remembers – as in a looking glass, darkly – one’s absent friends.”
― Vincent Van Gogh

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Sitting at our mystery cafe in Paris Summer 1992.

I read this quote and immediately I thought of hanging out with my friends at the cafe in Paris. Although I consciously know it was now 24 years ago, I still picture us all sitting there, walking, engrossed in philosophical ruminations or falling in love. It was Summer. It was Paris. We were young.

xx Rowena

Virtual Cafe Crawl Through Paris.

“The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay, I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café.”

-Oscar Hammerstein II

If a mighty caffeine hit is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. I’m inviting you to join me on an almighty cafe crawl through Paris’s left bank, as I desperately try to find the cafe where I used to hang out back in the Summer of 1992.

By the way, I apologise if our tour darts and criss-crosses all over the place. This is a virtual tour and you’ll find me curled up in my ink-stained writer’s chair inconveniently parked in Australia.  So, the dots could well be scattered all over the map.

“You can’t escape the past in Paris, and yet what’s so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn’t seem to burden.”

-Allen Ginsberg

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m desperately trying to find the cafe I hung out at with my friends in Paris.

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Our cafe located somewhere near St Michel.

So, after much preambling, you’re invited to join me on a cafe crawl through the Left Bank. By the way, I can’t help wondering whether we’re being joined by the ghosts of creatives past…Hemingway, Cézanne, Picasso, Braque and Jim Morrison. Who knows?

Our first stop is La Palette at 43 Rue Seine on the corner of Rue Jacques Callot in St Germain. It has a large terrace overlooking Rue Jacques- Callot. The restaurant’s façade and the interior of the second salon, are registered as historic monuments. The second salon has a larger back room with dining tables, and is stylishly decorated with ceramics from the 1930s-40s. Meanwhile, the bistro is traditionally a gathering place for Fine Arts students, nearby gallery owners and artists. La Pallete was frequented by Cézanne, Picasso,  Braque and later by Ernest Hemingway and Jim Morrison. Today’s celebrities include Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts.

“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Our second Stop is Les Deux Magots. Its outdoor terrace is apparently a great spot to soak up the atmosphere of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. From there, you can also see the historic Saint Germain des Pres Church and Abbey. The nave and bell tower date back to 1014 AD, while its foundations date back to 543 AD. So, definitely worth checking out.

Les Deux Magots was founded in 1812 at 23 Rue de Buci and in 1873, it moved to Place St-Germain-des-Prés. In 1885, the shop gave way to an alcohol-serving café, which took on the name.

The Café started playing an important role in Parisian cultural life and Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé, to name a few, were regulars at the café. In 1933, the cafe launched its Prix des Deux Magots award. This is a major french litarary award presented to new works, which are generally more off-beat and less conventional than the more mainstream Prix Goncourt.

Les Deux Magots has also been frequented by numerous famous artists including: Elsa Triolet, Louis Aragon, André Gide, Jean Giraudoux, Picasso, Fernand Léger, Prévert, Hemingway and others, the café hosted Surrealists under the aegis of André Breton, and Existentialists around Sartre and Beauvoir.

Our next stops are going to be a lot quicker…

3) Cafe Dauphine 17 Rue Dauphine

4) The Luxenbourg  4, Place Edmond Rostand

5) Cafe Le Depart 1, Place Saint-Michel 75005, Paris

6) Cafe de Flore  172, Boulevard Saint-Germain

7) Cafe Le Buci  52, rue Dauphine 75006 PARIS

Finally, I stumbled across Cafe Conti at 1 Rue de Buci. Finally, this could be it. I have emailed the details to a friend, hoping he can see or remember something I can not. 

By this stage, Geoff is also home from work and I’m handing him the photo album and the laptop to help playing spot the difference. Did my photo match the image? We couldn’t be sure and in the end, all we had was eye-strain.

In a way, I hope it is. However, because it closed this year, I’d rather it was somewhere else. I’ve always wanted to go back and enjoy another cheap cafe au lait watching the crowds pass by. I’m sure my friends are still sitting there, looking exactly as they did 24 years ago.  After all, haven’t you ever noticed how memory does that. It freezes moments in time for eternity.

By the  way, speaking of Cafe Conti, it’s recent claim to fame is its dog. Or, perhaps I should be saying that the dog is famous. His name is Orson and he’s an exceptionally cute Cairn Terrier. You can read about his travels here: Orson Paris dog and there’s also an exceptionally cute video.

So, that ends our rather exhilarating yet exhausting cafe crawl of Paris’s Left Bank. I hope none of you objected to me appropriating Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night, also known as The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum and transporting it from Arles to Paris. For me, it’s the ultimate French cafe scene. I had to use it.

Do you have a favourite cafe in Paris? Please share. I love a good story served up with a coffee and a French pastry is an extra special bonus.

Thank you for joining me!

xx Rowena

 

Watching Crowded House.

Last Saturday night, Crowded House performed live on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

Unfortunately, we missed it, but the concert was televised ABC TV on Sunday night and we were all parked in front of the TV reminiscing with Neil Finn and the band. Indeed, they were playing in our very own lounge room. Weren’t we lucky!!

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Neil Finn

In case you haven’t heard of Crowded House, it’s an Australian rock band. It was formed in 1985 by  New Zealander Neil Finn and Australians Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. They were later joined by Neil’s older brother, Tim Finn. Both Neil and Tim Finn hailed from Split Enz.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not a band person and there have never been any bands I’ve hero worshipped, longing for their next album. However, there were favourite songs, which I’ll never forget, but you probably need to be 40 something or over to know any of these.That said, I can mention Electric Blue by Icehouse without embarrassing myself.

Anyway, getting back to Crowded House…

I got quite a rush hearing many of the old Crowded House songs again. Not that I could’ve picked them as Crowded House. Yet, the songs were very familiar like running into an old friend. Crowded House was always there.

Actually, I’m quite grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to reconnect with Crowded House now and intend to buy their CD. Well, at least a CD. No doubt, they’ve put out more than one. It will be joining me in the car. I do a lot of driving!

So, having confessed that I’m anything but a Crowded House expert, I’m obviously breaking the most fundamental rule of writing… writing about something I know very little about. While I understand that this could be my undoing given there are  obsessive fans who know each and every hair on their heads.

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Tim & Neil Finn

However, there can also be a different kind of story. More of a getting to know you, dipping my little toe into the waters and sharing the journey kind of story. Moreover, while many people would be interested in pulling their music apart , I found myself watching and absorbing the band as people.There was something intangible about each of them which really touched me.  They all came across as really interesting, warm and genuine people with a very strong sense of something like a cross between empathy and compassion. I’d really like to sit on a beach watching the moon rise listening to these guys talk. Not about the band, being in a band or being a star but to hear their philosophical observations of life. I could sense wisdom, which isn’t a trait I usually attribute to band members but it was there. I know it was there.

So I wasn’t really surprised when I came across these quotes from Neil Finn:

“I try to put myself into unusual and difficult situations as often as I can in order to capture the element of struggle in the music.”

-Neil Finn

“So I think rather than being attracted so much now to working with my heroes, I’m sort of more attracted to working with completely unlikely strangers because it’s more exciting really.”

-Neil Finn

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Tim Finn…you could really tell he was having a blast!

There were also some poignant quotes from his older brother, Tim Finn:

“True contentment comes with empathy.”

Tim Finn

“Weave me a rope that will pull me through these impossible times.”

Tim Finn

“I’m a live performer and I love playing live.”

Tim Finn

Anyway, on that note I’ll leave you with a few songs:

 

Enjoy!

Crowded House: Don’t Dream It’s Over.

Do you have a favourite Crowded House song? What is it?
I find it hard to pick out of these three.
xx Rowena
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The End.

The Makings of a Leader-Jacqueline Du Pré, Cellist.

 “The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?”

-Jacqueline Du Pré, Cellist.

Photo: Jacqueline du Pré, cello. Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sergiu Сеlibidache, conductor 1967