Weekly Photography Challenge:

The theme for this week is Delta – where a river transitions into the ocean. I haven’t seen or photographed any literal deltas lately – maybe not ever – so I’ve been thinking about what a metaphorical delta might be.

I recently told one of my sons that I definitely didn’t want to buy another desk, because I had a perfectly good table I could use. But then someone donated this desk to the oppy/thrift store where I volunteer –  and I changed my mind, even though I need to rearrange furniture in three rooms to make space for it. At the moment, this process is in transition -similar(ish) to a river making it’s way into the sea, there is a lot of chaos on the surface!

It’s going to be a lovely, calm room, once I get past the rough inter-tidal zone of working out where everything goes. Those green turtles came from Christmas crackers one year – almost every cracker held another turtle – surprise!

Weekly Photography Challenge:It’s Not That Time Of Year Without…

Yay! Christmas is coming! Soon it will be gone again…(also yay). Rising to this occasion, the Photography Challenge this week is to show something that it’s not this time of year without. Christmas is all about family, but our family are scattered across the continent and holiday travel is expensive, so our family celebration is whenever we can all get together. Last Christmas was one out of the box though – our little grand daughter Matilda decided to arrive a bit early, on Christmas Eve, so our Christmas day was a hot, windy picnic, and a couple of hours of passing the baby around the room at the hospital in Ballarat.

She slept through everything. 11 months later, sleep is not her favourite thing anymore…

Juniper is 3 now, and her favourite thing is her engines . Whenever our family celebration ends up, there will be trains involved. The other thing I especially like at the holiday feast, whenever it is, is something homegrown, even if it’s only a handful of beans, or some parsley. Too bad I’ve already eaten these broad beans…img_0535-large

Friday Poem: What We Missed

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It’s just over 24 years now since my sister died, but this time of year still drags, and a vague sense of something missing – someone missing – dogs my days. I’ll be more cheerful again soon…Well, generally I am, but poetry is for trawling the deeps.

Also, I turn 60 in a couple of weeks. How can that be?

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When I am sixty and
you are still twenty seven…
That’s not what’s supposed
to happen.
We are supposed to grow up
and go on adventures.
We are supposed to cook meals
for each other,
play with the kids
exchange gifts at Christmas
grow old together.
We are supposed to spend
days in cafes
drinking coffee, reading papers
talking or just being there…
That’s what’s supposed to happen.

You were not supposed to
get sick and die.
I don’t like that kind of story.

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Weekly Photography Challenge: Circle

What better images could I find to represent the circle of life, new beginnings and possibility than of tiny Matilda, born on Christmas Eve, just as the old year was winding down. Even though she was soundly and resolutely asleep, she wound her way into every heart in the room…

I also found these pics from Narrapumelap, a splendid old house that has been slowly and lovingly restored from wreck to tourist attraction and accommodation place. We have visited from time to time over about 25 years, and it’s always a pleasure to see it better than the time before. There are several circular windows, in the tower and above the entrance hall. One stained glass window, high above the hall, was saved from vandalism by the now owner when he was a schoolboy – he scrambled up on the roof and covered it, so it wouldn’t tempt the destructive intruders.

Its a fascinating old place with an unusual history, and well worth a visit if you can get to Wickcliffe in western Victoria – visit the website for details.

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!

Christmas Eve Baby

No poem today – it’s Christmas, and it’s been an unusual one. Quite apart from being hot and windy (with a Total  Fire Ban), and not having everyone home(a rare event these days anyway), we ended up having a picnic lunch in Ballarat, before going to the hospital to meet the newest family member.

She arrived on Christmas Eve, and her Mum, Dad, Aunt,Uncle and Grandparents all agree that Matilda Merrilyn Hazel is a keeper!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Gathering

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One of the hazards of volunteering in an op shop/thrift store is the strong possibility of gathering appealing old objects such as these vintage amber glasses – 3 large, 2 small – which followed me home last week. The melamine tray they are sitting on I found in another oppy, and I use it all the time. So when I saw that the theme of the photography challenge is “gathering” this week, my hunting and gathering habits first came to mind.

Later, I went out to the garden and gathered these roses. Papa Meilland had plenty of blooms, and the weather forecast was for very hot and dry, so they would have been frizzled by mid-afternoon if I hadn’t picked them for inside.

This time of year is generally all about family (and friend, and work…) gatherings and shared feasts, but this year things are fairly quiet for us, as we await the birth of our second grandchild in the next day or two. We still don’t know where Christmas lunch will be, but we do know it will be some sort of picnic, and that there should be one more in the family by then.

Can’t wait to meet her (or, possibly, him)!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Eye Spy

Is it just me, or has someone pressed a cosmic fast-forward button? (I know it isn’t just me – it’s this holiday time of year…and I’d like to stop it and get off. If that was an option.) Suddenly it’s Wednesday, and I’m only just getting to the weekly challenge – Eye Spy.

The cat refused to co-operate (no surprises there…), so I found this little fellow instead. He followed me home from an op shop/thrift store, so I have no idea who he is…

He’s getting into the spirit of the season, though, under my non-traditional Christmas tree. On the wall, a photo from our trip to the PNW includes the sign on our motel “See you nexttime”, and in the next room, my plaster saint oversees a flock of flying pigs, which are a symbol of infinite possibilities. And, in this case, eye-poppingly shiny!IMG_6753 (Large)

For the record, here is Morgen, not looking at the camera. Because she’s a cat, and being obliging is not her thing, thanks very much…and by the way, where’s dinner?

Creativity: In The Garden

I’ve had a few days at home alone (hurrah!), which means I’ve been getting various jobs done, including some creative ones in the garden. Washing the floor doesn’t count,but it was about time….

I fixed up the wallaby proof fence using Alex’s old bed base (blue), which is a lot neater looking than the piece of wire that was there. It makes for a nicer back drop for Plum Tree Cafe, under the shady tree. I’ve re-purposed an old stepladder (unsafe as a ladder) as shelving and hanger for plants. The toadstool farmer lives on the bottom shelf, and he’s collected a fallen leaf in his wheel barrow. Must be to feed his toadstools…

A while ago, I built a box from pieces of old shelving  (themselves made from salvaged boards), and it makes for a handy place to keep all the little plants that are waiting to be put out into the garden. Last week, I bought a pair of hanging wire half-baskets, which had no liners. Where do I get half liners from? I’ve no idea.

I had a couple of old bamboo fibre singlets I was discarding, so I made my own. I simply cut off the bottom of the singlets – about 30cm/1ft – and sewed the raw edges straight across to make a basic bag, folded the edges over the top of the basket, lined the base with some plastic from a shopping bag (with a couple of holes for drainage), then filled the basket up with potting mix and popped in some seedlings. And hung it up in a spot the gets morning sun  and where I should remember to water. Clever me!

I made that wire wreath a few years ago, from rusty old fencing wire that was lying about in our paddock. I’ve added various bits of decoration from time to time for variety. Red beads catch the light and look Christmassy.

I wonder if there’s any more old wire down there…

Creativity: Escape XX

Post number twenty of my altered book “Escape” – there are not many more pages to go now…

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The text here is obscured with stickers of my art work, plus free-hand painting and stamps. The hand and heart art work was meant for a Christmas card design, but I wasn’t really happy with it for the card, and used something else. I bought the rusty heart cut-out somewhere, and added a copper washer on top with an enameled heart from a piece of jewelry inside it. The pixie is a drawing I did of Kurt Cobain, years ago, in response/reaction to my husband accusing me (incorrectly) of “drawing Kurt Cobain with butterfly wings all the time”. I did draw Kurt, and I did draw figures with wings, but this was the first (and only) time I combined them. The wings belong to the Monarch butterfly.

The original pencil drawing was photocopied, and the copy coloured with Derwent pencils, after which it was copied again. I had it printed on a tee shirt, at a time when that meant going to a place in Ballarat to have it done. Now anyone with a PC, a printer and an iron can do their own. Technology isn’t all bad! I’ve drawn over the version printed in here with a fine-tip pen, and painted over it a little to blend it into the page. Originally the dictionary definition was hand-lettered above the image, but this smaller version has the definition cut from an old dictionary – evidently an old one, because “pixilated” now means something else entirely… The word ‘explore” has been added in commercial and hand-carved stamps as well as hand-written. escape 57

The following page features a loose watercolour painting – a sort-of self-portrait (I used to have brightly multi-coloured hair) – with another note-to-self written around the edge of the page. At primary school, we were taught to write in straight, horizontal lines, which has its place, but when making art, rules need not apply, and you can write wherever you want!

It’s also the picture I used for my Gravatar.