Tag Archives: tramping

Weekend Coffee Share – 7th October, 2019.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

My profuse apologies. If I’d invited you round earlier this weekend, you could’ve been having some caramel slice with your beverage of choice. Unfortunately, the last piece went last night so I can only offer you Vegemite on toast, which for most of you will evoke grimaces of torture.

How was your week?

Last week, was the first week of school holidays. Our daughter spent much of the week in Sydney with my parents. This is code for going shopping with my mum, and they seem to get caught up in the moment. My daughter doesn’t go completely overboard, but she gets mighty close and there always seems to be something my mum doesn’t quite get her head around. This time it was ear pods. The teenager is an expense beast.

Meanwhile, her brother was sick at home and was very kind to share his bugs with me. With my health issues particularly the lung disease, chest infections can become life threatening but there’s also a lot that can be done to ward them off even without taken antibiotics. So today, I took my spoonful of olive leaf extract and I’ve also got a few other tricks up my sleeve. Wish me luck. I’ve dodged a few bullets over the last couple of years, avoiding a serious problem. Phew!

Pearl Beach.JPG

On Friday, our nephew was visiting from Canada. We took him for a bush walk with magnificent views over Pearl Beach and Broken Bay, which is just around the corner from our place. Towering over steep bush-covered cliffs tumbling down into the ocean, the views are absolutely majestic.

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Paradise. Pearl Beach is in the foreground looking out towards Lion Island. The body of water RHS is Pittwater.

You really get that sense which Keats describes so beautifully in: On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer:

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes

He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Swans

Our daughter is in the front row second from the left.

Friday night, Mother Swan was back for the Central Dance Company’s final performance of Swan Lake & More. In case you’re the only person on the planet who doesn’t know our daughter was part of the corps de ballet, now you know. Being the third performance, I went solo this time, although the dance school filled the row behind me. It did take me long, however, to strike up conversations with the four people beside me. That’s what I call my gift of being able to talk to strangers. It comes in handy and we were all quite friendly by the end of the show.

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Guest Artists Cieran Edinger, Gary Bowles and Rebekah Petty photographed with Artistic Director, Patti Gleeson (second from the left).

They had the cast party afterwards. At this point, I became official photographer. We were also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Central Dance Company. So, I was photographing dancers, the cutting of the cake and that’s when my daughter pointed out that my camera lens was smashed. Yikes. My anxiety almost hit the roof, except the lens has a lens protector and I was fairly sure that the lens would be okay. However, I couldn’t work this out at the time because the lens protector was jammed onto the lens and wouldn’t come off. I had to confess all to my husband when I arrived home and he asked: “What have you broken this time?” Phew. It wasn’t the lens.

After watching three shows of Swan Lake & More what with the sensational dancing, magnificent music and all those emotions both on stage and watching our daughter and her friends, I was completely overstimulated on Saturday and my mind was flying. During the last week, I’ve written two skits for the Scout Gang Show, 3 poems and a short story for the Australian Writer’s Centre’s Furious Fiction Competition.

Speaking of of the Furious Fiction Competition, I’m furious with myself. I misread the deadline and was also second-guessing myself and caught up in my perfectionist nitpicking and I missed out. That’s particularly annoying because the competition has a setting and a list of words which need to be included. There’s also a $500.00 prize. I’d have been lucky to win the prize, but I was pretty pleased with my effort which I’d set in the Shakespeare and Company Bookshop in Paris where I’d done a poetry reading in my early twenties. Oh well. All is not lost. I’ll have to see what else I can do with it. Perhaps, it will suit another prompt down the track.

Jazz in the Arboretum

Jazz in the Arboretum, Pearl Beach.

In addition to going to the ballet and doing so much writing during the week, I also managed to go to Jazz in the Pearl Beach Arboretum yesterday. My school friend’s son was performing and she initially invited me out for coffee, but a free ticket came up and off I went. That was great, because although this annual concert is local, I’ve never been before and it was great to check it out. The show was essentially John Morrison with the All Stars and the Australia Institute of Music’s Big Band (which included my friend’s son). In addition to the fantastic music, the bush setting was wonderful sitting on the grass surrounded by towering gum trees. At one point, a kookaburra appeared and was working hard to extract a large morsel from the ground, which might have been a beetle. Of course, the kookaburra thought he was the star of the show.

Jazz in the Arboretum 2

Performers Jazz in the Arboretum, Pearl Beach.

So, as it turns out, I had an eventful week.

What did you get up to? I look forward to hearing from you!

This has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by  Eclectic Ali. We’d love you to pop round and join us.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

When The Mirror Cracked…Friday Fictioneers.

Only Panoramic Pete would ever dream of driving a Kombi up Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain. A rugged track edging through grueling terrain, it was challenging on two feet. There was no way you’d get a Kombi further than the car park.

That didn’t stop “P.P.” from trying. After all, he couldn’t fit all of his must-have photography  props into a backpack. He couldn’t photograph nature in the raw either. As his detractors smirked, he had to piss all over it. Stick nature inside a human frame, reflect it back in a mirror and that was “art”.

Then, the mirror cracked.

….

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields. Every week, we write a 100 words to a photo prompt. This week’s photo prompt is  © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller.

Contrary to what I’ve implied above, I actually really like this photograph and commend the photographer. As a photographer myself, I have a swag of photography props myself and they tend to be a real pain to lug around.

I was actually going to focus on the shed in the shot, which looks very much like a shed my grandfather-in-law used to throw on the back of his truck to go tin mining around Derby, Tasmania. I don’t know how I deviated onto this farcical twist and I don’t think I want to find out.

Best wishes,

Rowena

We’re Going on a Peacock Hunt (with my camera).

Nothing like the jewelled splendor of a peacock’s feathers to animate even the most recalcitrant photographer, let alone excite this shutterbug.

We were meeting friends for lunch in Launceston’s  famed Cataract Gorge when we spotted one of their resident peacocks. Camera poised, I crept off in hot pursuit lucky not to fall head first into the pavement. It was a case of continuously pressing the shutter and seeing what I’d captured later, zooming into those stunning feathers with my lens extended to its full capacity.

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Although I am a serious animal and nature lover, there are parallels between hunting and trying to  get that perfect photographic shot. I have an absolutely roving eye, constantly looking out for that obscure angle or perspective as well as those perfect postcard shot of something as deliriously beautiful as a peacock’s feather.

peacock-feathers-zoom

I don’t know whether you’ve also experienced this wonder. This all-consuming joy where you all but merge completely into whatever it is you’re peering at through the lens but it’s exhilarating. Better than jogging, that’s for sure!

Have you photographed or seen anything lately which has completely blown you away like this? Please share. It’s taking me awhile to get back to the  comments but I will get there. Life’s about to return to “normal”.

xx Rowena

BTW I did a quick Google search for peacock quotes. While I didn’t find any which complimented my post, this quote struck a chord and is a note to self about how I see myself:

“People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.”

-Saadi

 

Birthday #WeekendCoffeeShare!

Welcome to Weekend Coffee Share with a difference. It was my birthday on Saturday and we took our celebrations outdoors enjoying a history-themed cruise around our local waterways, followed by a bush walk. Although many consider Everest a challenge, for me this mountainous “hill” was challenging enough. While it was great starting off with a down hill trajectory, what goes down must walk up unless you get a piggyback. Or, in the case of the kids, Dad picks you up.

 

You can read more about our birthday celebrations Here. We had a great day!

Sorry that I can’t quite offer you a piece of birthday cake with your beverage of choice. We didn’t have one. The cake is waiting until we catch up with my parents. Makes the party last longer.

How was your week? What did you get up to?

I’m currently beavering away on a short story for a local competition. It’s probably what you’d call historical fiction and it’s seen through the eyes of a little girl whose father becomes delusional and cuts her mother’s throat and then his own. He survives. The little girl and her baby sister in my version are adopted out and she remembers nothing until her husband’s death opens Pandora’s Box and fragments of memory started flashing back. To establish the historical framework, I’ve set the short story in Sydney’s Balmain and the entire neighbourhood is seemingly jammed into the tiny terrace to watch the moon landing on TV. I was supposed to be born on the day man landed on the moon. So, it’s always been a big part of my own story, even though I ran ten days late.

Stay tuned. Although I can’t post the short story, I intend to post a write up about the case. What makes it even more tragic, is that it’s not about about a bad or evil man and it wasn’t what I’d consider domestic violence in the traditional sense. This was a  happy couple living an ordinary life with their two daughters. However, in the aftermath of the depression of the 1890s, debtors weren’t paying up and he was facing bankruptcy…at least in his mind. He literally lost his mind with depression and a week beforehand said he wanted to jump of Sydney’s famous suicide spot The Gap but wasn’t taken seriously. This was a guy who loved his wife, his daughters, went fishing and read the paper…a tailor running what appeared to be a thriving business.

Who would have thought?

I am wondering how far I can take this story and feel it really has legs.

So, I’ve been head down doing research, writing the story and crossing my fingers . It’s due 5th August.

By the way, if you remember watching the moon landing, I’d love to hear from you and find out where you were and what it was like.  It was such a phenomenal moment of our time, and yet as time’s gone by, it’s easy to forget what an achievement it was.

Lady Silhouette

Lady contemplating her next escape attempt.

On the home front, our naughty little black dog Lady, has been tunneling to freedom mimicking the Great Escape. With her black coat, Lady becomes completely invisible in the dark and having come from a farm where she went hunting with the other dogs, she knows how to hide herself well. Too many times lately, she’s been waiting for me out the front of the house when I’ve arrived home wagging her tail…the fiend! Given her black coat and camouflaging capabilities, blending in with the road and getting run over is a major concern. So, all of this means that last weekend, Geoff banged in more wooden slats and this weekend, he laid pavers over the side path… hopefully bringing an end to her excavations!

Lady at Ocean Beach

I hope Lady didn’t make it as far as the beach on her travels.

Not that Geoff had nothing else to do!

The rest of last week, has been a blur.

How was your week? I hope you had a good one!

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part-Time Monster. You can click the  linky to read the other posts.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Happy Birthday To Me…Enjoying the Australian Outdoors.

Happy Birthday to me!

We cruised by the sea.

Bushwalked to the lookout.

Then went home for tea.

Welcome to my virtual birthday party. Once upon a time, one of my friends would’ve turned up with vodka jellies and chocolate mouse, but I can offer you a Tim Tam. You could also join us to watch a great Australian movie: Oddball. It’s based on a true story of a Mareema Sheepdog, Oddball,  who saved a endangered colony of fairy penguins from foxes. We loved it.

Today, I reached the magical age of 21…again!

After opening presents this morning with the family, we set off bright and early for a history cruise along our local waterways with the kids’ Scout group. Although I’d originally planned to head into Sydney to the Koi Dessert Bar for my birthday, this cropped up and it felt like a ready-made party. We just had to turn up…perfect!

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf, Woy Woy.

The cruise set out from Woy Woy, which is is roughly 2 hours drive North from the Sydney CBD. You might recall that Spike Milligan placed Woy Woy on the world stage, although you could say the publicity was hardly positive. He described Woy Woy as “the world’s only above-ground cemetery”.

Indeed, this is what he had to say about Woy Woy back in 1959, when he wrote a portrait of his parents’ home “Goon Fishing”:

“There is, somewhere in the steaming bush of Australia, a waterside town called Woy Woy (Woy it is called Woy Woy Oi will never know).

 

Bushwalking Through the Lens: Australian Style.

When you think of bush walking, you immediately think of feet, terrain and perhaps how many kilometres you’ve covered…especially if you’re the pedometer type.

However, isn’t bush walking more about what you see and experience and chance along the way rather than just reaching your destination. That is, if you indeed, had a destination.

We simply had two adults and two kids we’d just picked up from Grandma, a car and the camera. I should also mention that our daughter was wearing these roller shoe things which are sneakers with roller skates in them and from my thinking, ranked alongside high heels in terms of bush walking attire but she proved me wrong.

Who doesn't love to climb a tree?

Who doesn’t love to climb a tree?

With dreadfully cold, stormy and no doubt rainy conditions forecast at least for the next few days, Geoff thought we should make the most of the sunny blue skies and warmth while it lasted and see what we could find.

Even though it’s Winter, spotting some wildflowers came to mind and also taking in some of the scenic coastal views.

In awe of the soaring gum trees.

In awe of the soaring gum trees.

However, even though the kids do Scouts, it’s been awhile since we’ve bush walked and needing an easy trail, we were a bit stumped. I remembered seeing good views and wildflowers over on the road to Patonga. That was our general direction and we pulled over at the water tank on the way with very faded memories of a bush trail.

We were walking in the hills above Pearl Beach on the way to Patonga. We are across the water from Sydney's Palm Beach and about 2 hour's drive North of  the Sydney CBD.

We were walking in the hills above Pearl Beach on the way to Patonga. We are across the water from Sydney’s Palm Beach and about 2 hour’s drive North of the Sydney CBD.

Forgive us Father, we have sinned. It has been at least 11 years since we have done this bush walk and when we see the spectacular views and what we chanced across, it is indeed a sin not to be making the most of the incredibly stunning places right on our doorstep. We don’t have to spend a cent to get there. Well, just the petrol but it’s nothing like an International flight, is it? So easy to hanker after somewhere else and totally miss the treasures parked right under your very own nose.

Geoff

Geoff

Our bush walk begins at a huge old water tower parked on top of Mt Ettalong, about an hour North of Sydney and perched over Pearl Beach. It’s not a long walk and it has a clear designated path, not without it’s hazards and two official lookouts and various meanderings along the way. To be honest, we found it virtually impossible to stick to the trail as we were drawn off-track by wildflowers, views and incredible surprises. No, we didn’t see any kangaroos or koalas but there were other “personalities” to be found.

Wildflower

Wildflower

We’re perched on top of quite a hill and the gum trees with their undulating, twisting branches form a towering canopy overhead and I feel about the size of an ant as my footsteps crunch the leaf-litter underfoot and a musty eucalyptus scent fills the air. We heard the distant crashing of the waves down below and although we can’t see the Rainbow Lorrikeets, we can certainly hear them all the way from Pearl Beach. They’re having a very animated conversation.

What a breathtaking view: Pearl Beach & Lion Island.

What a breathtaking view: Pearl Beach & Lion Island.

We wander off the trail to a cliff lookout and I remember why we haven’t been hear for around 11 years. This is not the sort of place you bring young kids who love to run off and potentially over-explore the view. Too many cliffs, in other words.

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree. They might look cute and sound hilarious but they have the last laugh once they've snatched the snags off your BBQ!

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree. They might look cute and sound hilarious but they have the last laugh once they’ve snatched the snags off your BBQ!

Although we thought we might find a few wildflowers and of course the birds, we didn’t have great expectations about seeing anything out of the ordinary. While there are some wild kangaroos or wallabies in the area, you very rarely see them and there aren’t any koalas around as far as I know but after what we saw yesterday, I might have to revise that.

What's that hiding in the undergrowth???

What’s that hiding in the undergrowth???

We found echidnas on our walk. I am 45 years old and I’ve seen a bit of Australia and the Australian bush and I’m pretty sure the only other time I’ve ever seen echidnas was on a trip to Tasmania in 2005. That’s ten years ago.

Mister bravely patting a wild echidna. Watch out for those spines!

Mister bravely patting a wild echidna. Watch out for those spines!

So, you can forgive me for my skepticism when one or both of the kids shots out that they’ve seen an echidna. It’s like saying they’ve found fairies but much to my surprise, they were right. We ended up finding 3-5 echidnas all up. While we did see one scuttling through the bush after the camera battery had gone flat, they’d actually curled up under a bush with their spines sticking out like some wacky spiky plant and we were able to pat them. Wow. Talk about amazing. That sort of experience, being a real live David Attenborough, makes your heart pitter-patter!!

What a pin cushion!!!!!!!!!! OUCH!!

What a pin cushion!!!!!!!!!!
OUCH!!

However, after a whale hoax, I was again sceptical when Mister called out that he’d found a lyrebird. these aren’ exactly rare but I’ve never seen one of them before although we have heard one.

“Lyrebird Albert f 20091125 flash” by Peter Ellis – english wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyrebird_Albert_f_20091125_flash.JPG. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – /File:Lyrebird_Albert_f_20091125_flash.JPG

Wildflower known as “egg & bacon”.

We also had a bit of humour when we found a gumtree “bleeding” thick, red sap. When Geoff was a kid, he covered himself with the red sap and like so many Aussie kids, said he’s “cut himself”…a great prank!

Bleeding bark on a gum tree.

Bleeding bark on a gum tree.

Ha! “Bleeding Finger”.

Peering through the bush, we also spotted the home front and it was quite intriguing to see “our beach” from this new and fairly elevated perspective. We have a huge Norfolk Pine tree in our front yard and we did try to pick it out in the distance without success.

Looking towards Umina Beach, NSW.

Looking towards Umina Beach, NSW.

Almost sunset. Time to go home.

Almost sunset. Time to go home.

Can you guess you fancied me for dinner? Found in groaning with terrible tummy ache on the bathroom floor. Thought it needed a bit of a make-over for publication!

Can you guess you fancied me for dinner? Found it groaning with terrible tummy ache on the bathroom floor. Thought it needed a bit of a make-over for publication!

So, after stumbling upon so much beauty, the four explorers headed home determine to undertake further journeys to see what other surprises are right on our doorstep.

Have you explored your local area? What have been some of your favourite finds and please share a post or two about your adventures!
xx Rowena