Weekly Photography Challenge: Relic

This weeks challenge is to portray “relic”, and my only problem with it is – which relics shall I choose? Apart from any others I’ve photographed, my parent’s shed and back yard is littered with relics both large and small. Rather than send things to the tip/dump, my dad would just transfer them to “the shed”, which is open on one side anyway, plus part of the roof gave way and let in the rain…a relic

There are all sorts of rusty relics of old machinery, abandoned bikes, boxes of jam jars, mounds of rusting nails that used to be in cardboard boxes, now rotted away. Much as I enjoy taking pictures and souveniring  odds and ends, I can’t help thinking about the fact that someone is going to have to clear all this away some day.

old organ 2

Mum loved the tone of this harmonium, but it needed some repairs. Dad took it up to “the shed”. Next to “the shed”, actually. One good shower of rain, and that was the end of the poor old pump organ. It was a relic when Mum got it many years ago, and even more of a relic now…a relic painting

This photo of a painting from a photo is a relic of my childhood. Painted by me in early adulthood, it hangs in my parent’s house. Beside me (in the pigtails) are Jim and Jen, Mum’s youngest siblings – my uncle and aunt. They lived next door to us. In front are Jason and Alan, my little brothers. Behind Jim’s head is our pet galah, Charlie, who turned up in our backyard one day already named and talking. The bottom of his cage was populated by mice, living the high-life on spilled seed. When we were older, we discovered the dubious joy of using a hose to flush out the mice – an activity my mother strongly discouraged, though not for the sake of the mice. Flushed out of Charlie’s cage, they moved straight into our house…ooops. Charlie was an excellent mimic, and we had no phone, so calls for Dad went to his sister’s next door (on the other side from Grandma). She would call out “Douglas” from the back gate when he had a call, and so did Charlie…One afternoon Auntie Phyll banged on the back door, irate because Dad was ignoring her. She was not mollified at all to know that he’d thought she was the bird!


Friday Poem: Children

One day last week I took the old biscuit tins down from their inconveniently high shelf to see what was inside. One had three pairs of gloves that were my grandmother’s, back in the days when Ladies wore them, one was full of old postcards, handed down from Bryan’s grandpa, and the other contained a muddle of old black and white photos, mostly taken by me more than forty years ago. I have been keen on photography for a long time, and writing poetry for at least as long. So tonight I am sharing some of those old pics, and a poem of similar vintage. wombat hill tower

Their ABC’s:
And count-downs;
The labyrinths of their minds;
Their rattles and their copy-books
Lie broken on the floor.
Their crayons and their pencils
Lie mingled with the dust.
Bride dolls,
And toy soldiers
Lie in a shattered heap.
The room is dim,
And dusty,
The air is breathless.
And deathly quiet.
They are gone,
My heart is empty;
the room is so lonely now.
This was all they lived for –
But they grew up:
They found new ideals;
And then –
Yes, then they went away,
And left their toys
And copy books
To mingle with the dust.

Feb 23 ’72

In my defense, I was going-on 16…reading again now, resisting the urge to edit my past self, I cringe for this poor empty-nester, who clearly needs to get out of the house (after she’s de-cluttered and swept the floor) and get herself a hobby, or a job, or both.family trip c71

This is my Mum and three siblings on a family holiday when I was around 16. We had crossed the Murray river and parked not far on the other side, just so we could have a picnic interstate. We’d crossed the border with the river, exciting!school sports

One more pic – I’m not sure what year this was- ’68 or ’69. It was a school Sport’s day in Castlemaine, I think House sports. The two girls in uniform were my best friend from primary school on the right, who left Castlemaine at the end of form 2, and my best friend through High School. I think that’s the kiosk behind them – highlight of the day! We were not athletically inclined, suffice to say!

The first photo is of Mum and my little sister standing at the foot of a tower in Daylesford. I, obviously, was standing on top, and had already developed a taste for an unusual POV, even though I didn’t know what that was at the time.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 22

So, what happened to last week?

This next page is a Kraft paper bag, and it’s a bit …naughty,I guess. Australians will be familiar with the antics of Hamish and Andy, seen here with Hamish stark naked, just inside the fence of a naturist establishment, his – ah – dignity preserved by the fencepost. The horoscope has the words “Stretch the boundaries” highlighted, which is just what Hamish was doing! The picture of Lord Ganesha is from an incense packet, and still carries the delicious aroma.  as77


On the reverse of the bag page is a quote from Kurt Cobain –

“Punk rock should mean freedom, like in accepting everything that you like, playing whatever you want, as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good, and has passion.”

I think the same principle can be applied to any creative endeavour – certainly an artist scrapbook!

The quote is written on a flap of paper, hinged on one side with staples – the sloppy scrapbooker’s friend. Underneath, magazine pics of a couple of punk rock bands – Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr, both exponents of sloppy but good and passionate! The Dinosaur Jr clipping advertises the show I went to to celebrate my 50th birthday. Fun times.


More next week!

1 Day 1 World: 9pm – 10pm

The later the hour, the colder and darker it is! So, once more, Bryan was at play practice, and Morgen and myself were by the fire. I was knitting, and watching the rest of “House of Five Leaves” before returning it to the library today.9pm 1 At 9pm, the last episode had just finished.9pm 2

The weather has been unhelpful with regards to getting the washing dry, so there’s almost always some of it in the lounge at this time of year.9pm 3

It’s nor really what I want to look at – after the DVD finished, I folded both the clothes and the rack, and put them away.9pm 4

Much better!9pm 5

By now, Bryan was home and in the shower, and the TV was off, so Morgen was waiting impatiently for her supper. She knows what comes next!9pm 6

Instead of hopping into bed, I  played with the camera for a while. That’s a not-yet-finished light shade, made of wire and silk tulle, which I dyed with eucalyptus detritus. I’d hung it from the ceiling , out of the way, and then discovered that it makes marvelous shadows when I light a couple of candles. 9pm 7

And here are the candles, sitting on a mirror tile and accompanied by a strange winged entity that came home with me from the op shop/thrift store last week. It’s pink with orange wings, and therefore irresistible to me!

Another exciting winter evening in southern Australia!

Dominator Culture

A social chat at the gallery soon came around to politics. The arts community tends to be left-leaning, from my experience, and no one was impressed by the current government’s policies or budget plans. The director commented that he doesn’t want to hate them, and that he thinks they believe they are doing what is right. Which set me thinking…KDC

Dominator Culture operates from a paradigm of fear, giving rise to wars and rumours of wars, spikes in doorways to deter rough sleepers, economic “rationalism”. Fear of change, fear of the ‘other’, fear that the poor will take advantage of the wealthy, fear of women in power. So we have isis wanting to bring back a caliphate in the Middle East, and the Australian Liberal Party wanting to deny economic support to unemployed youth, for example. No one can believe that reducing a jobless young person to utter poverty is a sensible way to get them into paid work, unless they are mired in Dominator Culture and really need to get out a lot more…

I could go on about the obvious, and vast, flaws in this policy. Bizarrely, the Government is aware of the flaws. Whilst “saving tax payer’s money” by not providing welfare to unemployed youth for six months at a time,(welfare that is barely enough to get by at  best ), a large sum of tax payers money has been put aside in the Budget to cover the inevitable problems. Community Welfare agencies are stretched to the limit already and consumer confidence has sunk. Is that policy rational? I don’t think so.

We have been told that there is a debt crisis, and that everyone has to share in “heavy lifting” – a story created by wealthy men who lift no more than the pen that signs the story. Our “enormous debt” is less than the personal fortunes of a few individuals who have control of our country’s mineral wealth – helped along with subsidies and tax breaks funded by struggling working and middle class tax payers…Is that rational? Is that the Fair Go we Australians are so fond of?the key

Our “Leaders” – under-parented, unempathic, strongly sociopathic, product of a bullying culture, dishonest, wealthy and triumphantly and smugly on top of the heap. What if the democratic process included extensive independent psychological testing of would-be candidates, allowing only the fittest to stand?

That’s psychologically fit,not “able to ride a bike and can swim” fit.

There are only two feelings.
Love and fear.
There are only two languages.
Love and fear.
There are only two activities.
Love and fear.
There are only two motives,
two procedures, two frameworks,
two results.
Love and fear.
Love and fear.

Michael Leunig

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (sic) to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Friday Poem: Midwinter Poem

We’ve just passed the winter solstice a week or two ago. The days are short, the nights are long. The weather has been cold and wet (as it should be), and the weeds are growing thick and rank. It’s a good time to stay inside, and contemplate…IMG_0811

My heart
Contains your death
And many other deaths
The prospect and promise
Of my own death.
They are all in my heart
And full of light
Full of life

Out of darkness
Light will come.still life 2

The quilt you can see on the wall in the top photo was made in memory of my sister, Merrilyn, who died more than 22 years ago, aged 27.

Creativity: Artist Scrapbook 21

This week I bring you my Pacific North West pine tree page. You can certainly see a theme to this one! The tree drawn on red paper is a Christmas card from my youngest , dating from primary school. He still likes to make tiny hand-drawn cards on  special occasions!



The Magic Tree still smells faintly of spice. The drawing on the left (not the original) was one of those quick scribbly off-the-cuff efforts that worked out really well. The photo it’s based on was taken in Australia – somewhere around Melbourne, I believe. Kurt wore one of those trees as a pendant  at a concert in Seattle. You see how it all ties together!



Next , another half-page, taken from a notebook in which I had drawn the little man with the big wooden heart – visual pun. I added the Joseph Campbell poem, which I love, and which relates back to the woods on the PNW pine tree page. A cabin-in-the-woods is my favourite fantasy, but it has to have hot and cold running water and WiFi…



On the reverse, yet another horoscope with the words “You are shedding an old skin” highlighted, followed by a quote from Clarissa Pinkola  Estes wonderful book “Women Who Run With The Wolves”.

A woman has – ” a need to have her talents, her gifts,and her limitations respectfully acknowledged and accepted…Hold out for the right medicine. You will recognize it because it makes your life stronger rather than weaker.”

My medicine is creativity – a life in art, as Leonard Cohen put it, and with a regular dose of Nirvana (and lots of other great music).