Tag Archives: summer

First Swim for 2021!

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.”

–John F. Kennedy

Courage comes in many forms. My breathing has been a bit strained lately, but I went for my first beach swim in over 12 months this afternoon. No glasses on, I was also literally blind as a bat, and I took Geoff down with me in case of all emergencies. None ensued.

Just out of the water – Ocean Beach NSW – January 2021.

By the way, Geoff didn’t go in. He’s a sailor, and for him “swimming is a fail”.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides, and in its depths it has its pearls too.”

–Vincent Van Gogh

I have a love-hate relationship with swimming, which is hard to understand when you look at our beautiful beach, which is only 10 minutes walk away. Many would sell their right kidney to be able to spend their life at our beautiful local beach and be able to immerse themselves in that crystal clear, salty water which is sparkling in the luscious Summer sun. Then, there’s me who doesn’t like getting wet. Indeed, Geoff was in stitches watching me take eternity to even get my ankles wet. He did an impressive impersonation, which looked embarrassingly like an old lady and not a very gutsy one at that. However, it takes more than that to embarrass me. I might’ve been emerging from my “swim” with only the tip of my ponytail wet, but I did get wet.

Moreover, just to show off just a little, I found my way back to my towel. I swear I did, even though Geoff had seen me emerge from the water and had walked down to greet me.

My brother and I at Avoca Beach around 1979 aged 10.

Going to the beach brings back many treasured memories. While I didn’t live near the beach growing up, we drove down to Sydney’s Northern Beaches for day trips and rented a beach house for a week most years up at Wamberal or Avoca on the NSW Central Coast just North of Sydney, and not far from where we currently live. The waves could be pretty strong and I remember holding onto mostly my mother’s hand and feeling almost invincible. Holding onto Mum or Dad’s hand somehow seemed to save me from anything back then.

Our kids have only ever lived in our current home, and so they’ve always lived a stone’s throw from the beach. We’ve had some wonderful times going swimming, walking the dogs, having picnics with friends. It’s been really beneficial living right near the beach during covid with all that space and air around us, and not much in the way of crowds most of the time. It’s also been a real lifesaver.

Do you like swimming? Do you go to the beach? I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Our son at Broken Head, near Byron Bay, January 2011.
I absolutely loved the absolute joy beaming out of my daughter’s smile in this photo taken in Byron Bay January 2011 about to turn five and go to big school.

Weekend Coffee Share 17th November, 2020.

Welcome To Another Weekend Coffee Share!

How are you and what’s going on in your neck of the woods? While you’re thinking about that, let me offer you something to drink and perhaps a Lime & Coconut Biscuit, because there’s nothing left of the Key Lime Pie I made last week.

After a cool and wet start to our Summer, the sun and heat returned with a vengeance today. It was so hot, and perhaps the best indication of the sudden heat wave was how our dog Rosie suddenly shed her undercoat today. She’s not even a long-haired dog. However, a message went to her brain today, which said something along the lines of “Dump fur now” and it’s been coming out all day by the handful. The house is littered with black clouds.

The big excitement this weekend was heading to the beach after Church for some water baptisms. I’ve never been to a baptism at the beach before and I wondered how it would go on a crowded Sunday with all and sundry around. However, we went down the beach a bit and one of the guys got the guitar out and we sort of blended in. Well, that is if you ignore a few of us who were wading out into the water in our good clothes. We forgot to take hats, sunscreen a change of clothes and got sunburnt. Welcome to Summer.

Well, I’m going to keep this short and I’ll try to get back tomorrow and write a bit more. I need to get to bed. Goodnight!

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share: https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/

Best wishes,

Rowena

Party Ice – Thursday Doors.

Welcome to Another Thursday Doors!

This week, I’m applying the KISS Principle to my contribution…Keep It Simple, Stupid.

As you may be aware, I’m from Sydney, Australia and so we’re in the throws of a sweltering, sunny Summer here right now. We have just returned from a week away staying at Nureybar, located in lush green countryside about 15 minutes drive out of Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast. Indeed, I’ve sat up at night reading or writing intoxicated by a chorus of frogs, grasshoppers and even a Gecho, who is rumoured to be an Indonesian import.

This holiday has proven just how photographing doors can get under your skin and even become part of your raison d’etre. A late start to the day, meant many of the shops had shut by the time I’d finished my coffee and so I could appreciate and photograph the closed doors without needing to explain myself, which is a good thing I feel. I feel a bit awkward trying to explain doorscursions to the uninitiated, especially when most people coming to Byron Bay are smitten by the beach instead.

Anyway, as I said, I’m going to keep this post really simple and catch up on the full range of doors from my trip next week. In the meantime, given the Summer heat here, this freezer door had instant appeal. Indeed, I could’ve jumped in there.

Lastly, before I head off, I thought I’d ask you whether you’ve ever had an accidents or close calls while doing photography? Your tales of misadventure don’t need to be doorspecific. You see, while I was away, I was exploring my in-law’s garden and ventured off the path to photograph a beautiful bromeliad. However, as I stepped off the path, my foot was gripped by sudden pain as a stick jabbed me in the arch of my foot. We’d just been out for coffee and I was wearing sandals and the stick got me from the side. At first, I thought I’d cut an artery but nothing quite that dramatic but it did necessitate a trip to Ballina Hospital and four stitches, a tetanus shot and four hours later, we were on the way home. While the wound itself isn’t much, I’m hobbling around and it still hurts. I also need to work out how I’m going to wash my hair and shower for the next ten days. This is what happens when you believe in jumping in boots and all and don’t think about the safety considerations beforehand. Anyway, I’ve learned this lesson and will be wearing sensible shoes in future…or not!

How has your week been? I hope it’s been a good one.

This has been another contribution to Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0. Why don’t you come and join us and share a few of your favourite doors. It’s a lot of fun and helps you see parts of the world you’ll never get to visit.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share December 17, 2016.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share!

Today, I’m being a lousy hostess. So, if you’re thirsty or hungry,  you’ll need to head out to the kitchen and DIY. By the way, while you’re up, would you mind getting me a cup of decaf tea please? Pretty please!!!

I’ve locked myself in the lounge room with the air-conditioning on having a lazy Saturday. I need one.

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Sunbaking inside enjoying the air-conditioning.

How many sleeps is it now before Christmas? I have no idea. After all, it’s barely registering that it’s Saturday. I’ll blame the heat, but I’m totally incapable of performing such mental gymnastics: 25 – 17= 8. Eight sleeps…that’s better than I thought.Just a quick question: If I don’t go to sleep, does that mean Christmas will never come? I’m not sure.

I guess I should buy myself an Advent Calendar. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about mental arithmetic. Mind you, it couldn’t be a chocolate one. In this heat, it would go into an instant meltdown. Let’s just say I’ve had enough meltdowns lately.

So,I could also visit Santa’s Countdown Clock.

Anyway, not being much of a number-cruncher, I countdown towards Christmas the same way I give directions… pick out landmarks and hope no one gets lost.

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School Carols.

For us, the landmarks to Christmas include: the end of year dance concert, the school carols night, the end of school and then there’s Church Christmas Eve. Somewhere along the way, there’s also checking out Christmas lights, making the Christmas Cake and wrapping presents. Sneaking in a few siestas isn’t a bad idea either!

Anyway, yesterday was the last day of school. Both my kids changed schools at the end of last year, yet I found myself back at their old school. A few of our friends had kids in the graduating class and I went to see them off.

hands-3

 

It’s a school tradition for the rest of the school and teachers to create a human tunnel for the graduating Year 6 kids to walk through. It’s a rather intense and emotional time for the entire school…smiles, tears and that sense of being in the departure lounge at the airport. I should also add that it gets quite challenging for the ginormous Year 6’s need to crawl through the tiny arches constructed by the kindergarten kids.

While most of these kids will end up together at the local high school, the transition from primary to high school is momentous…a huge leap along the pathway from childhood to growing up. Although they’re taller, their first day at high school feels a lot like their very first day at school all over again, except Mum isn’t allowed to cry this time. No tears allowed.

For better or worse, the end of the year is also a check list…especially Christmas.There’s barely been a tick in mine.  Actually, I haven’t even written the list yet, which could explain a bit. Significantly, I haven’t made my Christmas cake yet. This is a Christmas tradition deemed so important in the past, that when I had three days’ notice that I was having chemo 3 years ago, I HAD to make my Christmas cake. It seems that when I’m not under the pressure of dying, that making my Christmas cake hasn’t fallen onto the back burner. That’s along with writing and posting Christmas cards, wrapping presents and removing the excavation piles from where we squeezed in the Christmas Tree.

As you can see, we are buried deep in the depths of Christmas chaos and won’t be emerging any time soon.

Yet, at least we’ve managed to put up the Christmas Tree and decorate it. We have a real tree every year and this is the first year it’s been at ground level since we had the kids. Miss took over the decorating this year, introducing me to a new form of Christmas madness…CDOCD or Christmas Decoration Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My usual hodgepodge of decorations made and bought throughout my lifetime was banned. Let’s just say I watched the proceedings.

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In addition to all the Christmas hoopla and end of school stuff, we also found out that our daughter has been accepted into Dance Team at the dance school. This isn’t just an honour and recognition of her dance abilities. It’s also a huge commitment and responsibility. That begins with arriving on time and not only being able to find your dance shoes, but also putting them on your feet. This seemingly simple process is harder than you think.

Jon & Geoff sailing

Geoff and Mister sailing.

Our son has also graduated from his Level 3 sailing course and starts racing in January. I know he’s going into his second year of high school, but it  still seems so grown up. Well, considering he’s about to overtake Grandma, he’s not so little any more.

Maybe, I’m the one who needs to grow up but that’s not to say there’s still a long way to go.

Mind you, growth should be a life long journey and I certainly haven’t stopped growing yet (and I’m not just referring to my Christmas waistline either).

By the way, although I’m not ready for Christmas, I have been doing plenty of writing. I have been working away on my Paris memoir. In addition to typing up excerpts from my diaries at the time, I’ve been reworking poetry I wrote at the time, writing new poems and short stories and being very productive. There was:

Poem:Slide Night- Dumped In Paris.

Poem:Welcome to the Yellow House.

Paris Syndrome – Disillusioned By the City of Lights.

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Photo: c Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I also took part in Friday Fictioneers again, writing All for Love. It’s the story of an Australian war bride living in a US town.

How are plans going for your celebrations? I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster.

xx  Rowena

 

 

 

Reverse Sunbaking.

While I’m not sure whether Reverse Sunbaking is going to take off, I’ve been converted.

Before you Northerners think I’ve gone bonkers, I live in the sunny, Southern Hemisphere and you’ll find me living near the beach, just North of Sydney.

Umina Beach post storm Thurs

Our beach after a storm..

Reverse Sunbaking involves basking in the air-conditioned indoors, rather than turning lobster out on the beach in the midday sun. While you could set yourself up on a towel on the floor, I’ve gone for my writing chair…a comfy recliner. There’s no sun, sand, ocean views or the sound of the waves but I can chillax. For some reason, frying myself to a crisp has lost its appeal…along with melanoma.

Not that I haven’t been outside. Indeed, this morning the family walked down to the shops, thinking we had Buckley’s chance of finding a car space. Of course, we spotted two empty spots in prime real estate once we got there. Isn’t that always the way?!! Yet, it’s also good to actually use our legs for their intended purpose. Sometimes, I think my legs feel their only mission in life is to sit in the car!

Unfortunately, Reverse Sunbaking and Couch Potatoing are  closely related with only minor variations in their DNA. So, if I start sprouting, I’ll have to start moving. After all, I definitely don’t want to be swallowed up by the couch, losing all sight of the outside world. Couches can do that, you know! (Sounds like the horror makings of a Roald Dahl novel).

By the way,”Buckley’s chance” is another one of those weird Australian idioms. It means “to have little or no chance of doing or achieving something”1. You can also say something like: “You’ve got Buckley’s”.

Good luck if you’re trying to work out who Buckley was and why they became the personification of negative thinking. Like so much slang, it’s hard to retrace its origins but these conundrums do keep  academics employed.

So, what are your views on Reverse Sunbaking? Do you think I’m launching the next trend? As one of my favourite shows: The Living Room asks: is it hot or not?

xx Rowena

Winter Australia…Summer UK

While we Aussies are a tough breed, nobody’s invincible.

Now that Winter is setting in, it’s pretty clear that cold weather is our kryptonite. We must have some kind of inbuilt solar panel and need those vital sun’s rays to survive. Without them, we shrivel up and lose all power. Hibernate among the gum leaves alongside the koalas wishing we were small enough to crawl inside a soft, warm pouch.

The strange thing is that it’s not just the humans who are affected. I even saw my friend’s Scotch Collie down at the beach wearing a coat the other day. These dogs with their thick woolly coats survived a Scottish Winter once upon a time. However, the Australian version is just as allergic to the cold as it’s human counterparts.

Hence, when you hear an Australian cry “cold”, you’d better ask for clarification before you assume we’re talking about sub-zero temperatures.

Cold is all relative.

But before you write us off for being “soft”, just wait until the thermometer climbs to 30 degrees Celsius and you’re talking about being “hot”.

We might not be great with the cold but know how to handle our heat!

After all, some like it hot!

xx Rowena

Featured image from https://www.facebook.com/Anything-Straya-528717497224853/?fref=photo.

 

 

Haikus for Four Seasons

Winter

Sitting on the sand

wrapped in a woolen coat,

I am waiting for you!

 

Spring

No bikini body here,

I watch the whales migrate.

Diet starts tomorrow.

 

Summer

Longing for the beach,

bare feet burn on the hot sand.

Steam rises in the surf.

 

 

beach wide angle 2

Ocean Beach looking across to Lion Island and Palm Beach.

Autumn

You have gone too soon.

Yet, sweet Summer hasn’t died.

I cling to your rays.

 

Rowena

6th March, 2016

Tonight, I set myself quite a challenge..to write series of four inter-connected Haiku for each of the four seasons, set down at our local beach  5-10 minutes walk from home. While there are seasonal changes at the beach, these can be quite subtle aside from the peak Christmas period when we actually experience some crowds as well as annoying traffic. The blow-ins are considered “blow flies” by many of the locals.

It was quite challenging working out how to interpret what really are fairly subtle seasonal changes here and work something out that covers the four seasons. The weather is largely good for 9 months of the year although there are some patches of incredibly hot weather. Even Winters can be pretty mild with only a few weeks of intolerable cold. At the same time, we do get stretches of heavy rain.

Autumn Leaf Palm Beach Sydney

Autumn Leaf, Pittwater, Palm Beach, Sydney

So, when it comes to describing our four seasons, especially set at our beach, many of those conventional symbols or representations aren’t applicable. We don’t have snow and while there are some deciduous tree with those stunning Autumn leaves, Australian native plants are evergreen and their leaves don’t change colour. There are town and suburbs which do experience a “true” Autumn but not around here. You really have to go searching for Autumn leaves. They’re not to be found on every street corner.

As for Spring, we have been on water restrictions here for over ten years and even though they’ve eased, the intermittent rainfall has been quite cruel to our garden. There is no sudden explosion of life from these dry sandy soils in Spring and if I’m feeling particularly motivated, I’ll pop down the street and buy some colour. Cheap colour so it doesn’t really matter if I kill it. Our garden really is more of a cemetery. Indeed, in Summer, make that a “crematorium”.

We actually took the kids and the dog down to the beach tonight for a walk and the kids had a brief swim. We’re not real keen for them to swim at dusk as there are some sharks around. Not that we’ve had any attacks here but we don’t want to be the first either! Really must try to get down there more often. It’s been too hot but our Summer isn’t over yet and I’m really going to try to squeeze out every little last bit that we have left.

xx Rowena

 

Refrigerated Australian!

It was so hot today that my son sought relief from the heat by cooling off inside the refrigerator! It made a comic alternative to the usual scenario of the teenager raiding the fridge, fueling what seems like one continuous growth spurt.

The forecast tomorrow is for 42 degrees celsius. That’s the sort of heat which surely must fry an egg on the footpath. Indeed, tomorrow we might just give it a go…all in the name of “investigative journalism” ie blogging.

How’s the weather going over your way? Seems we’re mostly either frying and burnt or starting to freeze. I’ve seen a few snow scenes starting to appear. Would love to see some links to all sorts of landscapes in the comments. This could be quite a laugh.

Of course, Paris is still on my mind and I’m sort of following the updates, I don’t like having the news on a lot around the kids and they’ve each had a day off this week. I am also concerned about hearing about more attacks and I treading a bit carefully at the moment. How about you?

Anyway, had a laugh finding my son and in the fridge, Seems like a good idea!

Take care!

xx Rowena

A Letter to the Sun.

Dear Sun,

Where the @#$$% are you?

Just in case you haven’t checked your calendar lately, it’s now the end of September.You’re supposed to be here by now and no more of these fleeting drop-in, guest appearances either! It’s well and truly Spring. Summer is just around the corner…not a few blocks away, despite what you might think.You’re supposed to be here by now!

Indeed, it’s now almost October and for some strange reason, you’ve gone Missing In Action.

It is currently 14.8°C and I know I can’t blame you for the wind but it’s a roaring 14 knots and even the dogs are complaining that their fur is being blown all the way to New Zealand.

After preliminary inquiries, I’ve established that you were last seen on the Australian East Coast on Monday 21st September at 5.50PM, although there have been a few unconfirmed sightings since then.

Meanwhile, I’ve received confirmed reports that you’ve escaped back to the Northern Hemisphere and I’m starting to wonder if you’ve been snatched, although I’m yet to receive any ransom demands.

I repeat where the @#$$% are you?

If you don’t report back in by 07.00 hours, you will be considered AWOL and can expect an instant court martial upon your return.

Yours sincerely,

Australia.