Weekly photography Challenge: Edge

This week, an image from the edge is the Photography Challenge. Last week I was in Brunswick for a few days (Brunswick is edgy, ask anyone!), where I took this photo of Ironbark trees growing in the middle of the narrow street. Both edges were lined with cars at the time.edge-5

On Monday, we had to make a trip to Ballarat, about one hours drive from home. There’s been plenty of rain this winter, and the countryside is very damp and green. There are plenty of edges in these photos, taken from the passenger seat as we drove. The edge of the road, of the paddocks, of the railway line in the distance and the brimming farm dam…

Since then we’ve had continual rain, a phenomenon we haven’t experienced in this part of the world for many years. Everything is very soggy underfoot, dams that were almost empty are now overflowing. And the bottom edge of our property is under water!img_9800edit

Christmas Day in Ballarat

We’ve had Christmas picnics before, but we usually decide based on the weather forecast. This year, it was all about baby Matilda, born on Christmas Eve. What else could we do  but pack up our lunch and some presents, and drive to Ballarat to meet her?

We arrived an hour or so before Lucie’s train was due. Apart from the busy to and fro around the station, the place was almost deserted as we went for a little walk to fill in time. Few shops were open, of course, and little traffic, a really novel way to see the place in broad daylight. Luckily, I took the camera (baby Matilda!), so I enjoyed taking some photos of the interesting old buildings.

After we’d collected Lucie, and the new Dad, we went to the gardens at Lake Wendouree, where it was too windy for picnics, but not too hot in the shade of big old trees. In a nod to tradition, I’d brought my sad little Peanuts fake Christmas tree. Here it is packed up in a box after lunch, along with the tablecloth, which had to pinned down with anything weighty to keep it on the table. It was a memorable day!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Half and Half

Doing anything by halves is generally discouraged, but this week’s photography challenge is asking for Half and Half images, whether explicitly divided in two, or depicting opposites. I went to Melbourne for the day on Sunday and took my camera along with the expectation that I would see something that would fit the brief. And I did.

It was ‘good’ frost on Sunday morning, with views from the train window of glittering white paddocks all the way to Ballarat and beyond. The camera stayed in my bag while I met up with my daughter at the White Rabbit Collective in Brunswick, had a burrito for lunch and enjoyed the John Wolsley exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre (Gallery of Australian Art). On my way back to Southern Cross Station, I took it out to photograph the sky and tall buildings – some reflecting the sky in their many windows. On Monday morning, back home, there was another ‘good’ frost, and although I’ve taken dozens of photos of frost over the years, I took some more, including the two ‘half and half’ here.

I love frosty mornings, but only if the sun is shining all day afterwards!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Blur

This week, the photography challenge theme is “Blur”, and I’ve gone with a quite literal interpretation. The four blurred landscapes were taken from a moving car, during a long spring twilight, on our way home from my mother-in-law’s funeral last October. It had been a long day – a four hour drive either way, and a bitter-sweet occasion, since it was a family get-together as well, as funerals often are. It was such a glorious clear evening after Ballarat that I pulled my camera out of it’s bag to see what I could get. I love the blurry half-real results…

The last one was an accident – the camera was being slow about deciding whether there was enough light, and I jerked it just as it decided that, yes, there was…So I went again. This is what it should have looked like…IMG_4148 (Large)

Lucie’s big lazy cat, Albus (aka Albert), who lives with my parents, and was enjoying a nap in their nice warm lounge on a chilly autumn day.

Friday Poem: Whose Girl?

Yesterday was the funeral service for my mother-in-law, a bitter sweet day, as all five of my grown children were together for the first time in several years. family band 1

Today I had another funeral to attend, that of my friend Rosemary, whom I have known for 30 years. She was older than me, and in indifferent health, and I’m going to miss our chats every Monday – I called Mondays “Old Lady Day”, but I never told her that!

She was of the generation brought up to be a good wife and mother, and that’s what she did – but she also nursed a rebellious spirit, and would have liked to kick over the traces a lot more than she did after her husband died, if only her health had been better. This poem is for her today –

drive 2

Daddy’s little girl wears twinset and pearls;
She’s coy with the boys, and sweet with the girls;
She wouldn’t say ‘boo’, let alone ‘shit’;
If a boy’s got clean nails, she won’t see he’s a twit;
Her room is all tidy, her clothes put away;
She’s polite to the guests, she has nothing to say;

At school, she’ll choose courses in cooking and cleaning,
She has no idea that that could be demeaning;
She has no ideas of her own, that’s her problem;
She does as expected in all situations;
But if she wakes up one day and thinks for herself,
She’ll tumble right down from her niche on the shelf,

And she’ll say what she thinks, and she’ll do what she wants,
And shock her old daddy with the force of her thoughts.
She won’t any longer be his sweet little girl,
She’ll be something much better – HerSelf – after all!drive 1

We had a long drive home yesterday, stopping over in Ballarat for a Grill’d burger for tea. By the time we set off again, the sun had gone, leaving a clear, beautiful twilight, which I enjoyed photographing from the back seat as we drove along. The photo above the poem is of a passing truck. One has so little control over pictures taken this way, and some are undoubtedly duds – but every now and then…magic!

I wrote this poem after my husband made a remark about “Daddy’s little girl ain’t a girl no more”* as if that was inherently a bad thing, and I didn’t agree.

* Lyric from Nirvana’s Negative Creep – a song which a person of my age and gender isn’t supposed to like, and yet I do…

Weekly Photography Challenge: The World Through My Eyes

I guess every photograph is an attempt in some way to show the world through one’s own eyes.  I went to Perth for a few days of visiting Zoe and Matt (and their three cats), and my camera came along too, and got a good workout. Some of these shots were taken at the Uni of WA campus, a few in (frosty) Ballarat on the morning I left. I had a scant hour to fill before the airport shuttle took me on the next bit of the trip, so I took the camera for a walk…I also had an early morning walk around Subiaco, with camera in hand…


Daily Post: Playlist of my week.

Because I misread the timetable, and waited 3 long, hot hours in Ballarat for the next bus…

Curmudgeonly is how I  (and nearly everyone else) feels after over a week of over 30c..(86 F and up)

Speaking of which, it feels like we live ‘Up On The Sun’

I turned 57 last week. What more can I say?

Although I did celebrate by seeing Dinosaur Jr the night before I waited forthat bus, and , pure joy, they played “Feel the Pain”

Well, who says you can’t teach an old person new tricks! Thanks Daily Post!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

hungry fox

This week’s challenge is ‘Forward’, moving forward being the idea suggested.

This little scrawny fox was forward in a different sense when it came up near the house in the middle of the day to feast on fallen plums.

I guess it was really hungry, but it was so casual about it.


kangaroo thornOne spring following the Mt Lubra fire, we went on our favourite bush walk, only to find that there was no way forward where the track used to be. A fine dense crop of Acacia pycnantha aka Kangaroo Thorn aka (your choice of swearwords) completely covered the track.

As in the children’s rhyme, there being no way through, we had to go around.

We still went forward, just not the way we planned.travelling

I took this picture with my phone, whilst moving forward on a bus.

It’s somewhere west of Ballarat, late in the day.

The sky was serenely beautiful, the sun moving forward towards the west, to light up India and beyond.

(Actually, the Earth is rotating etc, but we all know that!)off to school

I’m guessing by the size of the kids that I took this one about 21 years ago.

They were going forward down the lane to school.

Since then they’ve all grown up and moved forward out of home and into the world.

In life we are always moving forward, even when we have to go around, or feel like we have been forced out of our comfort zone, like the plum-eating fox.

I learned this poem in high school, and after forty years, I have it almost word-perfect.

However, I had to Google it to find out the Cecil Day-Lewis wrote it.

It’s all about moving forward, and I love it!

Children look down upon the morning-grey

 Tissue of mist that veils a valleys lap:

Their fingers itch to tear it and unwrap the flags, the roundabouts, the gala day.

They watch the spring rise inexhaustibly –

A breathing thread out of the eddied sand,

Sufficient to their day; but half their mind

Is on the sailed and glittering estuary.

Fondly we wish their mist might never break,

Knowing it hides so much that best were hidden:

We’d chain them by the spring, lest it should broaden

For them into a quicksand and a wreck,

But they slip through our fingers like the source,

Like mist, like time that has mapped out their course.itty bitty

I am also looking  forward to a small person, one of these days,  who will wear these itty bitty clothes, and go on to call me granny, and on whom I can be a bad influence, teaching him/her to question authority and listen to the Melvins/Meatpuppets/Mudhoney…

Travel tales

  I saw this guy on the train from Melbourne to Ballarat, he intrigued me, and I had a note book and pen handy…

He’s wearing black leather lace-ups, reminiscent of those Dad wore in the sixties. His suit is forest green, with cuffs on the trousers and four buttons on the jacket sleeves to discourage nose wiping*. The jacket is folded on his lap, along with a parcel, his hands folded on top. His nails are short and clean, as is his hair. He’s wearing a tie that is nicely neutral  infinitely bland, a vanilla essence of a tie. His shirt is white and plain, long sleeves buttoned at the wrist, a large, neat collar. In the pocket is an envelope. a map, a pen and a big black label inscribed with the words –


church of


of the latter day saints.

The ‘elder’ is not a day over twenty. If that. Later he rolls up his sleeves and takes out a notebook. Writing in the book, he plants his old-time leather shoes on the seat opposite, right under the sign that says- No Feet On The Seats.

*Historically, not especially for the youthful Elder.

# I changed his name, for the usual reasons.

         Perth Nov 28 2010

Driving home after breakfast

The last of spring, feels like summer

Hard flat blue sky

Houses in rows, shoulder to shoulder

Jacaranda in bloom and bougainvillea

at an intersection a cicada is singing

driving home after breakfast

At the end of spring, feeling like summer.

It’s become a tradition, when visiting Perth, to go out for breakfast one morning at a little hipster cafe. I’d tell you the name, but I’ve forgotten it for now. They serve vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals, fair trade, free range, delicious. Bryan and I found it for ourselves on our first visit to ‘the West’, after a long walk in search of The Thread Studio, a textile artist’s heaven on earth. We needed coffee to keep us going! We soon found out it was a favourite haunt of Zoe and Matt, and went with them for breakfast. Some of these breakfasts have been lingered over long enough to order more coffee, and calling it ‘morning tea time’, fabulous cake. Something Persian, full of nuts, and probably syrup. If you are in Perth, and it’s still there, do go. No doubt the name, which I have forgotten, will appear in the comments at the bottom of this post!

On the day I wrote this poem, it was shaping up to be another hot day. Perth had had a mere fraction of its normal winter rain- climate change biting hard. Lawns were brown and the streets dusty. All the car windows were down, like in the summers of my childhood, when we arrived wind-blown and slightly grubby from any long car trip. 

Speaking of heat, anther great place to eat in Perth is Chutney Mary’s, in Subiaco . You don’t have to order the Vindaloo, which is seriously hot! It’s popular and therefore busy, but if you love Indian food, it’s the place to go.