Weekly Photography Challenge: Local

The prompt for the Weekly Photography Challenge this time is “Local”, which I took as something nearby to home, although there’s a long tradition of The Local being The Local Pub. Our tiny hamlet doesn’t have a pub, although it did for many years. It had closed before we came here (over 30 years ago) and the building burnt down one night when it was a private home. So, no local pub! But we do have our local Hall, which has served the community as a gathering, meeting, party venue for over a century.

We had a celebration for the centenary in 2014, which is when I took these photos. I and another photographer spent some time taking photos of interesting details – like the hand-made “Exit” sign – some of which were used in a book of the Hall’s history. The pictures on the wall are of Moyston pioneers, some of the people who settled the district in the late nineteenth century.The other two photos are from the book launch and the afternoon tea that followed.hall-cement

Right now, the Hall is undergoing a much need upgrade – that brick bit in the corner is the old toilets. They were a vast improvement on the original pan toilet (ie a metal bucket placed under a wooden seat in a tiny shed, no lights), but 40 or 50 years later, they were inaccessible for some and just tired for everyone else. It took some effort and several applications, but we gained State Government funding and early next year, the Moyston Hall will reopen with lovely new accessible toilets, improved storage, restored historic stage and dressing rooms, and all abilities access via a new frontage on the supper room – which is what that cement truck and attendant workers are doing this morning.

We are all looking forward to our new improved local hall!


Weekly Photography Challenge: H2O

The theme for the Photography Challenge this time is H2O, or as it’s friends usually call it, water. Water is vital and pretty much everywhere, taking on various forms from clouds and fog through to snow and ice, so the possibilities are as vast as…well, the ocean (see what I did there?)

I’ve been in Canberra for a couple of weeks (back home now), our national capital, which is like a country town on steroids, but with more politicians. The city is laid our around the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, which was formed by the damming of a small river. The lake provides pleasant walking tracks and views across it’s cool silvery surface. On Sunday we enjoyed a little of it, close to the famous Old Bus Depot Market. Here are three Canberra landmarks, seen across the lake,img_0141s

The Telstra tower on Black Mountain gives the place a futuristic vibe, and can be seen for miles around.img_0142s

I’m not sure of it’s official title, but the bells in the tower were pealing away merrily when I took this photo.img_0140s

Another monument- this one the Australian-American Memorial, built in the 1950’s to acknowledge the suffering and sacrifices of Australian and American servicemen in WWII.img_0139s

There is a lot of new housing – apartment blocks interlaced with cafes – being build around the shores of the lake, complete with canals, bridges and boat parking. Kind of Venetian, kind of not, but very pleasant for a Sunday stroll beside the water. Jerrabomberra Wetlands are nearby, for the delight of anyone who enjoys watching water birds go about their business.

Friday Poem:Descent

I’ve gone down into the back-catalogue again this week – almost precisely 17 years in fact. The subject, however, is an evergreen one, and timely, for me at least. Sometimes we have to descend into dark and uninviting places to find what we need…a-descent-1

The way down
Is rough and steep,
Precipitous in places
Where you fall, and
Crawl on, bruised.
It’s a narrow path
Hemmed in with brambles
And thickets of thorn,
That catch your clothes
And tear your skin.
Sharp stones cut your shoes
And cut your feet.
Somewhere else is mud
That clogs your feet
And makes them heavy.
It is gloomy down there;
The sun cannot reach you
Amongst the rocks and thorns.
But when,at last, you reach
The lowest, darkest place,
Torn, bloody, bruised and worn,
You will find there,
Pure and sweet,
A healing spring that rises
From the bitter earth.
This is the goal you struggled
Long and hard to reach;
This is the spring of Life
That rises out of Death.a-descent-3

Part of the fun of these poetry posts is choosing images from my photography that will, I hope, illuminate or otherwise complement the poem. I don’t often clamber down into dark ravines – not sure why not!- so I’ve picked 3 images from The Trip of a Lifetime that I think fit fairly well. The first is in Forest Park, near Portland Oregon, along a walking track to the Japanese Gardens there (below). The middle image is in Olympia Wa, near the old brewery at Tumwater. It seems like the middle of nowhere, yet there is a busy road up behind those trees.a-descent-2

Weekly Photography Challenge: Nostalgia – In The Pines

negs-set-2csAs I was walking my daughter’s dog last week, I wandered over to a stand of pines, picked a sprig and sniffed it _”Ah, Pine tree!”, and, to my surprise, immediately burst into tears. When I was little, my Dad spent his days slicing pine logs into boards, and that smell both brought him to life and reminded me that he died recently. So, the weekly photography challenge theme is “Nostalgia”, and my answer is “In the pines”.

Monterey pines were widely planted (in plantations) in Victoria in the fifties, and there was a plantation near home – The Piney, or “Plan pinetation”, as my little brother called it. The trees were cut down (harvested) by the Forest Commission , and then Dad would go out and collect his logs, using the old Blitz crane.s

I didn’t take this photo – it’s about as old as I am. Mum gave me some old negatives, because I was looking for old photos of Dad’s Commer truck. I didn’t have a proper film scanner, but thought it was worth trying the ordinary flatbed scanner and found it worked fairly well, so long as the images weren’t too light (meaning the negs are dark). I recently did some editing of the image, as I’d decided to have it printed on canvas, as a memento of Dad.

Canberra is blessed with many walking tracks, and the one near my daughter’s home passes through a ‘tunnel’ of pine trees. I took the camera for a walk to them, for these nostalgic pine tree images. They bring back memories of a day when Dad took several kids, including two boys who were vising my aunt, and we all spent the day out in the pines playing while Dad collected his logs. I remember beating out primitive rhythms on a granite tor with thick pine sticks, and flattening one of the visiting boys with a rugby tackle. I guess I was about 11. In retrospect, it wasn’t an ideal childcare arrangement, but we all survived, even that unfortunate boy…

And here’s a little more nostalgia…aka In The Pines.

Friday Poem:Spread My Wings


It is 21 years this week since I sat down on an ugly-but-practical brown couch and watched a Rage TV special – Nirvana Unplugged in New York. I’d heard of the band, I knew how the singer died, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s also true – that record changed my life.

I wrote this poem during the following year, expressing frustration with the constraints of my ordinary life. Nirvana fans might notice the influence of “Sappy”, but there’s a dash of Hank Williams in there, too.


This jar is far too small.
There is no room for my wings;
There is no room to fly;
I want to spread my wings.

I’m not a moonbeam in your jar;
I’m not a pretty toy;
I need to move, I need to breathe;
I want to spread my wings.

These air holes are too small.
You must not smother me;
I want to take the air,
I want to spread my wings.

Let me loose, what’s the use
Of keeping me in here.
I might not fly away,
But I want to spread my wingsa-collage-2

One of the things I did as I escaped from the jar of proper lady-like behaviour, was to stick anything that appealed to me on my wall. Nowadays, that’s an “Inspiration Board”, but twenty years ago, it was weirdly adolescent for a forty-year old woman with 5 kids…At some point, the collection came down, and was upcycled into a series of collages, of which this is one. There’s an apt quote on there-

“Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves”

Walter Anderson.

I also got rid of the brown couch, and as much other ugly-but -practical-with-kids brownness out of my house, and started surrounding myself with things that I actually liked.

After ordering and waiting patiently for “Nirvana Unplugged in New York (on cassette), I expanded my music collection, my library and my stash of art supplies. I now have the Melvins “Gluey Porch Treatments”, and  I’m reading  Bessel Van der Kolk’s ” The Body keeps The Score”, about the ongoing effects of trauma. When Micheal Azzerad asked Kurt, “Is your’s a sad story?” , he hesitated, and said “…No…”, going on to say that the events of his childhood were commonplace, which, unfortunately, they are. But it is a sad story, they are all sad stories, which Dr Van Der Kolk and his colleagues are learning to address with proper treatment – too late for Kurt, but there’s hope for another generation to have more than numbness – they will be able to spread their wings.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Quest

Every week, the Photography Challenge sends me on a quest to find images that fit in with the week’s challenge – this week, that challenge is – Quest!. I’m staying at my daughter’s place in Canberra, cat and dog minding while they visit family back in Perth. If grand daughter Juniper was here, I’m sure I’d get some brand new pics of a quest to a playground, (with which Canberra is well supplied) but instead I’m sharing these from a few weeks ago. Juniper adores trains, she has a growing collection of engines from the Thomas stories, and she’s had rides on several miniature railways.

But this was her first real V-Line train ride, and it was exciting! I took this set of photos before we’d even left Ararat station on out quest to Melbourne. We had a ride on a suburban train later, but by then, the novelty had worn off, and she was much less impressed…img_8263edit

This photo is from April – she has even more trains now, and she knows and loves every one of them, but she’s always happy to go on an engine quest to a toy shop for more!

Friday Poem:Unfoldment

It’s been a week since my Dad died. He was 85, and in poor health, so it came as no surprise. There’s been a lot of organising of travel arrangements, and looking for photos and reminiscing. It’s sad, but hardly tragic, and life goes on unfolding – what matters is love. Have you ever noticed how linens seem to expand and grow when you pull them out, and shake out the folds?folds3-a

I want to unpack my love
Bring it out of storage
Unfold it and keep unfolding
Spread it out across the world
‘Til there is nothing left unloved
And love has covered
Sheets and sheets of love
Reams of it
Unfolding from the cupboard of my heart
Fine linen bandages
Bolts of it unwinding

The more love is unfolded,
The more there is.

I took some photos of folds especially for this post. I think it’s amazing how much there is to see in such a simple subject, and a little tweaking of contrast and saturation can change plain white into lavender-pinks. The three pics in the gallery are all of the same raggedy, naturally dyed silk scarf, yet they are all a little different – just like us humans: basically the same, but all a bit different (some more so than others).