Weekly Photography Challenge: Contrast

The challenge this week is to show “contrast” of some kind – whether light and dark, small and large, before and after, or whatever you can come up with to fit the theme.

These demi-tasse coffee cups, all ‘sourced’ in op shops/thrift stores, all have glorious contrasting colours. I imagine what I have is half of a set, because these kinds of multi-colours were popular 30 or 40 years ago. I’ve seen sets of sherry glasses, for instance, which have six different – contrasting- colours.

Another three cups – Japanese tea cups this time, rendered into high-contrast black and white digitally. So there is contrast within each group of cups, and contrast between the two sets. Challenge met!

Friday Poem: Leaving Canberra in a V-Line Coach

I’m back home now, in my normal life, but a week or two ago, I made an epic journey by coach and train(s) from Canberra home to Ararat. The coach leaves Canberra quite early, and sets off in what appears to be the wrong direction…bus stop

Sun on the right
Moon on the left
Headed North
Green paddocks
Green trees
A scatter of houses

Inside the bus
a young girl is sleeping
+ my feet are cold.morning

It’s roughly four hours on the coach to Albury, where we board a train for another four hours or so to Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station. There’s a wait there for over an hour (but plenty of food and coffee and magazines to buy) before boarding the Ararat train for the final two and a half hours. It’s one way to spend a day, and see a sample of the Australian countryside. You’d see more in summer, of course, because it was dark by the time we left Melbourne!Juniper in June 11

And here’s my incentive for making the trip to Canberra in the first place, my grand daughter Juniper, photographed on her nine-month birthday. She really wanted to investigate my camera much ore closely…

The other two pics are a yarnbombed pole opposite the  stop in Farrer, where we caught the first bus for the day (taken on a different day- the sun wasn’t up yet when we left!), and the other is near home, but a typical Australian pastoral landscape. Next time I’ll keep a camera handy, and take some photos from the coach and train windows. Which reminds me – when I was about to board at Albury, a lady passenger was energetically cleaning the outside of ‘her’ window. I guess she wanted to look at the view minus the dust!

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 20

For this weeks post, a page that isn’t brown kraft paper! This one is pink card. A different colour and/or paper every now and then livens up the book, I think.as70

The large photo is from a newspaper ad for skiing at Mt Hotham, in Victoria’s High Country. Truth be told, it’s not very high by world standards, but it is very, very old, and high enough to get snowed on in winter. Usually. The photo is in my scrapbook because I once had a vivid dream in which a young man invited me to come to Mt Hotham…I still haven’t been there. The other photos (apart from ‘pregnant’ Mr Seahorse) are of me. In the really old one, I am dressed up as a Mexican bandit, for some reason! There’s a length of red thread glued across the page, tying in with the thread in the other photo – which was taken when I was on the magazine committee at school, forty something years ago. I’ve always liked being a stirrer, in my own quiet way.as71

On the reverse of the pink page is a collection of magazine and newspaper photos of some of my favourites, some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of seeing perform live. The horoscope was published on Dylan Thomas and  Sylvia Plath’s  birthday, and includes the words “It’s what you do with what you get that matters.” Sylvia’s photo adorns a piece about a study that claims that writing poetry is bad for ones mental health, which I think proves that some scientists aren’t very bright…as72

On the page opposite the claim that female poets are mentally ill,( because why else would they want to write poetry?!), a page of poets, and one of my own poems. There’s a newspaper clipping of “12 ways to write a poem” by Oprah Winfrey, and a quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins-

“I would have…all true poets remember that fame, the being known, though one of the most dangerous things to man, is never-the-less the true and appointed air, element, and setting of genius and its works.”

He died in 1889 – I wonder what he’d think of the kind of ‘genius’ that garners fame these days!

1 Day 1 World: 7pm -8pm

It was a dark and stormy night…At 7 pm on Monday, Bryan had just left to go to play practice, leaving Morgen and me to ourselves for the evening. Of course, Morgen had claimed my chair – it’s the closest to the fire.

7pm 2


It was the winter Solstice a few days ago, so we can look forward to the daylight hours (slowly) increasing from now on. Today has been bitterly cold (at least by Australian standards!) and wildly windy, resulting in parts of trees having to be cleared from roads, and a friend’s trampoline ended up on the far side of their shed…good days to stay inside by the fire with a cup of tea!7pm 3

While Morgen was hogging the fire last night, I did some more work on a stack of altered postcards, ready to be laminated and then bound into a book.

After that, I went back to my knitting, which is the perfect activity for a wild winter night by the fire.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Between

Something in the middle, a transition, something in between…what photo can I take or find to meet this challenge?! It’s cold and rainy today, not conducive to photography, so I’ve been browsing through the back-catalogue. I found a photo of rain…with a car windscreen between me and it.rain

We were on our way to Castlemaine to visit my parents. By the time we got there, we had left the rain behind and the sun was shining. I took the camera out for a stroll around my long-ago backyard. A lot is the same, a lot is different. the years between have done their work. When I was a child the Blitz crane was a working vehicle, but not any more…here is what lies between the doors (except that one is missing….)blitz cab

The same is true for the old Commer truck. I spent many hours of my childhood, sitting between Mum and Dad in that cab . No-one but the spiders sit in there now.

commer 2

It is a part of family folklore that Dad, as a very young man, gave the girl who would become my mother a ride home from “the dance” in  the Blitz, and, a year or two later, when I was ready to be born, he drove Mum to the hospital in the truck! Maybe that’s why they are still there…

Friday Poem: Haiku

I rarely do anything so disciplined as write a poem using any kind of set pattern. I’m a “rules are for bending” person, at best. However, the book I took along with me to Canberra last week was a meaty little missive all about haiku, how to appreciate and how to write them. Also some fascinating insights into the factions in the genteel world of American haiku aficionados. Who ever would have guessed!

I found the book heavy going – I don’t care about the ins and outs of copyright, or the niceties of getting published. That’s what a blog is for, after all.

I was a bit surprised, as I rode the early morning bus in to the city to catch my coach to Albury, to find that I had a haiku…

Lineup of galahs
Pink and grey on the powerline
Matching morning sky.


Since I was sitting in a bus, I couldn’t take photos of the galahs, or the morning sky. The only pic of galahs I can find in my files is this sign I painted for my parents, but since anyone who isn’t familiar with them won’t have any idea what a galah is otherwise, here it is!oct2010 096

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 19

Another week, and some more pages, including a quote from that great but underrated philosopher, Winnie the Pooh, written in lively pink ink. I’ve coloured parts of the photo of Arthur Rimbaud with pink and gold pencil, and written “PEACE” in gold on a photo of the spectrum. I have a weakness for  crystal prisms and they hang in every window that catches the sunshine. There is nothing like a rainbow an a wall or the floor to inspire me to fetch the camera!



There’s a flap of black card, because everyone loves a book with flaps in it! I think the quote is from Erica Jong’s “Fear of Fifty”, and it’s written in silver pen. Because silver pen is shiny, and shiny is good.as68

Under the flap is a page from a notepad, on which I had drawn plans for the last in a series of four small quilts, called “Integration Aids”. They reflect on the ideas about the balance of male and female qualities in different cultures, and are mainly black, whole cloth and stitched in red and gold. There are some other drawings added by one of my kids.as69

Next is a half-page with a quote, and a horoscope with the words “Throw logic out the window.’ highlighted. Logic has its place, no doubt, but one mustn’t overdo it…

Sheila Box is a writer, and an acquaintance of my parents. The quote comes from a book that is mainly about her cats, and was surprising  for that reason. There is also the card packaging from  gemstone bracelet. I’m not sure where that bracelet is now, but the card says such flattering things about people born between Feb 19 and March 21, that of course I kept it!

“But it isn’t Easy” said Pooh…”Because Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get, they’re things that get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.”

May you find the time to go to the place where Poetry and Hums can find you!

And I hope I’ve given you some ideas…


1 Day 1 World Project: 6 -7pm

I’m still in Canberra until early tomorrow morning. It’s going to be cold and dark when I have to leave here to catch my bus, and it’s cold and dark by 6pm as well…Although the sun came out in the afternoon yesterday, there wasn’t enough sunshine to dry the washing, so as darkness fell, Zoe brought the damp things inside to dry on the stair rail below the heater. Juniper thought she might help…

This afternoon, once the fog cleared and the sun came out, we went for a walk and bought a clothes horse, to take the pressure off the railing…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Extra extra!

I was looking for something extra in my recent photos for today, something a little unexpected.

In clusters of housing, windows often overlook windows, and this window opposite my daughter’s place twice had something extra that  I and my camera couldn’t resist. On the first occasion, it was a cat, blissfully soaking up the afternoon sunshine.cat

On another day, the window became a mirror, reflecting the glorious winter evening sky behind us. A window is often set in a room in such a way as to frame a view, but this goes to show that it can frame a view on the outside as well!



I tried to take a photo of one of Zoe’s cats – Daisy – in what I thought was a delightful composition with a clock and chest. Instead of staying nicely posed, she promptly jumped down, leaving me with one extra shot of a bare chest of drawers and a clock on the wall…Oh, well.

Friday Poem: Sweet Child

After a week in Canberra with my grand daughter Juniper (and her mum and dad and fur sisters), there is only one possible topic for my poem of the week! Juniper in June 1

She’s now 9 whole months old, a young lady with decided opinions of her own and a voracious appetite for whatever is to hand. So, fairly typical, but also a one off!

As sweet as pie
And as cute as a button
Pretty in pink blue green
And grown like a mushroom.

Sharp as a tack
But not light as a feather
She likes being outside
Whatever the weather.

Hungry as a hippo
Stubborn as a mule
A bottomless pit
And too cool for school.

She’s fiercely independent
As clinging as a vine
And free as a bird
Sweet grandchild of mine. Juniper in June 13