Weekly Photography Challenge: Travel Guide

The challenge this week is to share some of the attractions of ones home town and play Travel Guide. Our town is tiny – hamlet might be a better word for it – but we do have a lovely old Hall, recently upgraded with nice new toilets and a storeroom, which houses a collection of photos of district pioneers.

I was walking down that dusty road this afternoon when I noticed that the neighbours were out and about at the bottom of the lane. There were two kookaburras also, but by the time I’d hurried home and back with a camera, there was only one.

For seven long years we were without a shop, and had to remember what we needed in Ararat, or do without. Now we have it back, and it has transformed into a cafe with excellent coffee and above average food. The deck was built several years ago, and I for one have been waiting (as patiently as possible…) for the Saturday morning when I could walk a couple of blocks for coffee and the paper out there, overlooking the oval and the passing traffic. coffee time

Science tells us that coffee taken before exercise is a good thing, and if you are going to the Gramps, obviously you’ll be taking a walk or two, maybe climbing some rocks. So, if you are on your way through here to Halls Gap and the Grampians, I advise you to stop at our shop (Moyston General Store) and enjoy a leisurely coffee first, for your own good.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ambience

This week has whizzed past so fast, it’s already Friday, and almost time for the next photography challenge. But for now, the challenge is still to portray Ambience, an environment that encourages a particular mood or feeling – almost invariably it means a good feeling.

Ararat’s Alexandra Gardens have a long history in the town. The green lawns, European shade trees and small lake have made it a popular spot for picnics for generations, and the public pool at the Western end was a magnet in summer. In recent years the community fought to keep and upgrade the aging pool. As part of the renewal, there is now a cafe attached to the pool complex, with tables and chairs spilling out across the grass in the shade of the big old oak trees. The ambience is perfect for a leisurely cup of coffee on a sunny afternoon. Or morning. Or evening –  it’s open early until late!

For some extra ambience…I love this song – enjoy.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Macro

This week in the Photography Challenge, it’s time to get up-close and personal in macro , with “Close Up” the theme. i have enjoyed macro photography ever since my late father-in-law gave me an old SLR camera and a set of macro lenses more than thirty years ago. The old film cameras (I’ve had several…) all wore out, and those vintage lenses don’t fit on my modern cameras, but they do have a macro function (a factor in choosing a digital in the first place). I can’t always get as close as I’d like, but I get by, and I have fun trying…

First I got as close as I  could with a popular subject – food and coffee! I quickly discovered a snag with taking a close-up of freshly brewed coffee – the lens fogs up! I’m having a love affair with lime marmalade at the moment, so that’s what’s on the toast. I bought the stack of china plates at the op shop/thrift store where I volunteer. Sadly, there were no cups to match any of them. Maybe next week…

And here is some nature up-close – probably the favourite (and vast) subject for macro. First, frost on the buds and leaves of a shrub, and two shots of a beautiful case-moth I found this morning – it looks quite like a Chinese lantern made from brown silk.

Friday Poem: Cake Man

I know nothing about this man, apart from what is in this poem. I wish I did – I’d like to know his story. Is he recently widowed, with no one to cook for him anymore – and did his late wife never let him have cake? Maybe he knows his days are numbered, and he’s eating cake while he can. If I ever find out, I’ll be sure and let you know…tea tray

An old guy
with a beard
somewhere between  hipster
and Santa
A peaked cap
on his old white head
In his 70’s
maybe 80’s
Hard to say
Looks pretty skinny
under his khaki jacket.

It’s the third time I’ve seen him
in here
In the bakery cafe.

His order each time –
An assortment of cakes and slices
This time I count seven
There might be eight
Hard to tell
with them all piled up on a plate
like that.

He has a mug of tea
not too hot
Today he has a meat pie
with sauce
which he eats slowly
methodically
with a knife and fork.

It’s not all about dessert.

I have to leave
before he gets to the cakes.oct2010 015 (Large)

This isn’t one of his cakes – it’s a dessert taco we invented a few years ago – but you get the idea!DSCF7091 (Large)

I’m an introvert – well over to that side of the scale. I guess that’s why I like the internet, and it’s also a reason for liking sitting on my own in cafes, with a coffee and a notebook (and maybe something sweet) close to hand. Sometimes all I write is lists of things I need to do, but if I’m lucky, and paying attention, I get to glimpse someone else’s life, and take notes.

1 Day 1 World:7-8am

This might be a bit late in the week for 1 Day 1 World: 7-8am, but our internet connection was,um…unhelpful…when I tried to post on Thursday.

On Monday, I made the return trip from Canberra, which means I was up just after 6 – most unnatural! As I waited for the bus to the city, just before 7, the hills around Farrer were swathed in mist, the plum trees around the shops were white with bloom, and cockatoos were enjoying some early morning aeronautics and screeching. Having alighted in the city, I had to walk several blocks to Jolimont Centre, where I would be boarding a coach for the four hour trip to Albury.

7-8am

It was only 7.34, so I had plenty of time. I bought a “Big Issue” to read from a seller outside the Post Office. He told me he likes to arrive around 7.30 to catch all the Public Servants on their way to work. There weren’t many people around yet, so I was his first customer for the day. 7-8am1

I’d only had a cup of tea before leaving Zoe’s, so the first priority at the bus station was a cup of coffee, of course.7-8am2

At 7.45, half an hour before the coach is due to leave, you can just see the queue of passengers lined up to have their tickets checked and their luggage loaded. It’s a long day of travel, with two four hour stints, plus another two and a half hours from Melbourne to Ararat, so plenty of opportunity to catch up on reading…

Friday Poem: At the Bodhi Tree

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in The Bodhi Tree Bookstore And Cafe, a few blocks from my daughter’s house. Its the perfect place to go and write, whatever I’m writing – to-do lists, drafts of blog posts, poems…There’s coffee for fuel, and shelves of books for inspiration. I’ve been here in Perth for over 10 weeks, and I haven’t been there every day for coffee (or a pot of chai)… I’ve eaten several Portuguese tarts (yum), bought a couple of the hundreds of books*, written so much and so often that one of the girls asked me about it.( I gave her one of my postcards, with my blog address on the back). I wish I could transport the whole place home with me next week…
Coffee at the Bodhi TreeHere in the coffee house
my cup of coffee
Crowned with a heart
Rich and warm
Surrounded by books
A clatter of crockery
And a babble of conversations
One at every table
Weaving and murmuring, bubbling
Each distinct yet all together
Some formal, some casual,
Some mute – such as that
Between my notebook
And myself.

There are, to date, no cafe’s handy to my home in a ‘rural village’, but my plan is to recreate a tiny corner of ‘Bodhi Tree-ness” somewhere at home, and settle there with a cup of something and a trusty notebook for around half an hour on most days. I have the books, I have the cups – just need a little table and the right spot!

*The books I’ve bought- and read –

 James Geary’s I Is An Other – The Secret Life Of Metaphor And How It Shapes The Way We See The World

and John Medina’s Brain Rules For Baby – How To Raise A Smart And Happy Child From Zero To Five