Legends from our own lunchtimes

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Under Canvas at Last.

Another day another Dubbo.   
The first night under canvas always marks the beginning of a new journey.  We are travelling for the moment not touring, overly anxious to get to Beachport,  but the pace will slow in a day or two once we have remembered our routine.
Oh yes, how quickly we forget, even at our own peril, I was guilty of a serious break of camp protocol this morning.  
I forgot to boil the billy while the other one of us was showering.  
I got away with it I think, but it had better not happen again.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beyond the National Parks

Time travel brought us to an unfamiliar landscape this morning.  Thanks to daylight saving in this unfamiliar State,  we went backwards in time at least, which allowed us to sleep till quite late yet still be about to watch the sun rise.

I'm not sure if there is a word that describes friends who haven't bothered to visit for over twenty years, and the first time they do it's three weeks before you are moving to another town and have to be up at five thirty to fend off the scraggy hoards descending on your garage sale.  If there is, that's how we should be described.

Kerry and Peter put on a very brave face though, and as we left there seemed to be at least two thousand people milling around their "treasures" so they probably haven't yet noticed that we've gone.

We had fun in termperatures about half of those to which we are accustomed, and a landscape from another hemisphere, all of which seemed entirely comfortable and appropriate, yet strangely out of place at the same time.

All of these observations, weeks before we get to the Mountains Blue.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Time Travel

The next time we see the kids there'll be no need for plastic protection over their deck.  The roof will be finished and the new internal stairs will be complete and the whole place will be taking on some semblance of order.  It looks as though the addition will be completed in time for the arrival of the new addition.

We always think of our journey as having commenced once we leave Brisbane, and it's fairly normal for it to rain for the first day or two of a camping holiday as well, so it's just as well we've taken the precaution of staying with friends in Armidale tonight, but we are so far from home that it is already only a vague memory.

After just one day, we are detached from the outside world, already resenting the intrusion of the odd business call.  We know that when we return we will have found the world we knew will have worked out ways of continuing without us.  It will all have changed, yet we will only have been gone for milliseconds.  

We are not tourists, we are time travellers.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What have we forgotten?

No matter how far in advance we plan our travels, we never seem to get packing until the very last minute, sometimes even later.  And so it was that we arrived in Brisbane well after bedtime, and just a bit overdue for dinner.
At least we haven't forgotten to cancel the papers.  We don't actually have any delivered.  In our street having a collection of newspapers on the lawn doesn't seem to be a symbol of absenteeism but I do wonder what the ever growing collections mean.  
Perhaps we should have ordered paper delivery for the next few weeks to deter the inquisitive.   
Perhaps our house sitters will!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lost in a sea of Triffids

The pond is a mass of lotus seed pods at the moment, strange creatures they are somewhat reminiscent of an alien I drew when I was twelve.  I'm not sure whether they are expecting their seeds to be carried down a river to germinate or not.  If they are, then they'll be sadly disappointed.

On an entirely different note, our people heard from their people today, and we'll meet with our people tomorrow and then they'll meet with their people again.

Thanks to the miracle of mobile internet, and fax machines in every post office, we'll press on with our travel plans regardless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

After the rain

I know that people wax lyrical about the ever changing nature of water views, but after the rain comes the muddy silt laden stream, and after that for a week or so we are treated to a perfectly clear tannin stained river, the colour of dark tea.   In bright sunlight the sand peers up at us with a sort of milky tone, but when the sun disappears the water takes on a certain inky blackness.   
All manner of creatures hide beneath a slick silver skin.
Even the detritus from the careless gardeners upstream seems to add to the poetry.

Monday, February 22, 2010

More little things.

We were always going to hang him from a tree outside when we had one that was big enough, but he's hung in the window behind the skiff for eight years.   He arrived with us from Hobart a week or three before we moved here.
Jenna had flown the coop and gone to live in London on Boxing Day that year, and the Mother in the household wasn't entirely unconcerned for her.   To make matters worse, we signed a contract that day and had four weeks to move out of our house.
As we walked out of the real estate agent's office in the formative stages of what could be described as a "flap", I noticed the travel agent across the road was in his shop.  As it turned out he wasn't intending to be open for business, just taking advantage of the public holiday to tidy up after the holiday rush but I had other ideas.
"I'm not" said I in my most magnanimous voice,"having you panic about moving house for the next four weeks.   I'd rather you only panicked for three," and with that, we wandered in and booked a fare to Tasmania, the only place that we could actually get to departing the next morning.
The fruit bat was a souvenir of that journey, along with Frank and Gil, the wonderful poms we met who did their best to assure us that Jenna probably wouldn't disappear, at least until she started work in Hackney.  
The rose?  It was plopped there late in the afternoon after Jenna's wedding two years further down the track, and it's been there ever since.  It's one of those things that put me back into the exact place and time (well that bit's easy because it's where it happened) but I can see those around me as if it was yesterday.
Will the rose survive the journey it is about to be taken on?  Will the fruit bat find his way outdoors? 
Perhaps these pages will provide an answer at some time in the future.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Two Foot Dilemma

It's the little things that seem become immovable mountains when we think about moving.  
Like where will the Two Footer fit when we don't have a custom built ceiling recess complete with downlights.

First time visitors often seem surprised that we would have gone to so much trouble, but where do they keep theirs I wonder?

Saturday, February 20, 2010


How confident does one have to be to take a macro shot of one's own flyscreen?  We are inundated by mosquitos at the moment, no one can work out why (apart from weeks of rain giving them plenty of places to breed that is) because we've never had them round here before.

We always tell strangers that the midges eat them all, perhaps there are just too many for them this time.

Friday, February 19, 2010


The rain stopped and the sun visited ever so briefly today, and the garden has gone berserk with new tips everywhere.   
The visitors stopped too, ever so briefly.  We had our first night alone in a month last night, but the guest room is occupied again for the weekend.  We'll go berserk next week packing the car ready to hit the road for a month.
And some of our underlying stress disappeared as well.
Our claim has been lodged.

Now we wait.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Today was a rare day, dull and grey, pretending to be wet, but never actually getting there. 
Delays in the process continue to tie us in knots, but perhaps the buds on our frangipanis are offering a glimpse into next week.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Note to File

In future, if you have mates around who want to take the boats for a spin, don't forget to tell them about how fast the main river runs after 100 mm or so of rain overnight.   Don't forget to tell them that in a light breeze they may not be able to sail faster than the current.

Don't laugh as you see them walking the boats back round the corner till they can sail again.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Storm Is Upon Us

This life imitating art stuff is getting too weird to be believed.   

As I predicted yesterday the storm arrived, but how did I know that it would happen just as we were finalising the draft documentation with our advisors?

I suspect we'll have a day or two of drizzle now, and then once again we'll start to see blue sky peeking out from behind the cloud.   

Damn those rich and powerful metaphors, they are happening even though the solistalgia has (almost) gone!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

At home, and the PDRacer floats somewhere in space waiting for an outing.   The water is unaccountably calm, reflecting the state of the household first thing this morning.

But today it's back to reality; lawyers, valuers and perhaps even a formal offer.  We may well see a few larger waves before the week is out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy New Year Me Old China

Apparently, six jumbo jets laden with Chinese citizens arrived in Cairns yesterday in time to celebrate the new year, but still the buzz of the town was barely discernible over our whispered conversations. We met old friends from Melbourne, caught up with people we hadn't seen for years, spoke with others we'd never met, made promises never to waste another precious minute of our lives and all of this at a pace that was ever increasing.
Today it was breakfast in Cairns, brunch in Townsville, pizzas from the oven in Daisy Hill for dinner,  (Happy Birthday Sue), then home late.
Roger is still near the front of our thoughts, but already we are beginning to wonder if the last few days actually happened.
We have been riding the Orbitron.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In Memory

Four years ago, Roger and Wilma planted a gum tree below their bedroom.   After three years, it had grown happily, but simply refused to flower.
They had a bit of a chat with it, and threatened it with a big axe if it didn't get its act together within the following twelve months.
Last Sunday, a single flower erupted in the very crown of the tree.  Roger excitedly took a photo of it, printed it on a ten by eight glossy paper and raced up to the hospital to Wilma.   
She could only move her eyes in response, and in his words "they just shone".
On Monday, after she had gone, he returned home in his sorrow, and stared out the window in silence.
Numb in body and in spirit. 
The tree stared back, waving as it did a complete canopy of lush bloom, buzzing with all manner of bird and insect life.  New life, vibrancy, where yesterday there had been none.
He knew then that she was truly at rest.  
In peace.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Up Here

Cathartic catchup last night, breakfast in Cairns, lunch in Port Douglas, sad again this afternoon.


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Another sunrise

For once the sleeplessness and early waking caused by overthought serves a useful purpose.  We are awake in time to drive to the big smoke and its airport.  The valuer's report has been delayed by his own family circumstance, and should be finished today but it is far from our minds as we fly to Cairns for serious family time.

"Sorry business" it is called by some in our community, and I know of no better way of expressing it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Split

Today was a big day for our poor little Trigonias (Australian Native Stingless Bees).  We split the hive to double our stock, and it would be fair to say that it causes a bit of disruption to the poor things.  Hopefully they'll settle down in a day or two, and life will get back to something approaching normal for them albeit in a strangely reconfigured abode.

We seem to run our lives in parallel, our bees and us.  

(Photo by Michael Storer since I had my hands full at the time!)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


A shock of white in a sea of tears.
The tiny water lily flower emerges from the black. 
We contemplate Roger's grief, try to share his burden, and gain a crystal clear understanding of the triviality of our own concerns of the past months.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Taking Counsel

The first canoe trip of the new school year came by today.  Usually we hear them coming long before they arrive on the outbound journey.  We give them no chance of spotting any living thing as they chatter and clatter away in their excitement.    The return journey is somewhat different though as late in the afternoon a gaggle of deathly silent, exhausted children drift downstream waiting for their agony to end.

Today, the river is full of rain washed silt, flowing swiftly with the tide and with a nasty crosswind, so the normal on-water instructions could not take place.  We listened attentively while "Sir" explained the finer points of boat handling and safety from the shore, noting that we were the only ones who actually were.   Then we watched as ten boats took off in every direction but the one in which they were intended, failing entirely to respond to the uncoordinated commands of their crew.

It's quite fun listening to the shouted information about the mangrove roots and the kites nesting just a few metres behind the trees and about how sensitive all this fragile environment is,  but I wonder how he will make himself heard in future years above the noise of the freeway and whether, standing on the concrete abutment, he'll tell them that once there were nesting kites and oyster catchers and flying foxes in this very spot.

I wonder if he knows just how seriously endangered this habitat is.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Not Tears

It never rains, they say, but it pours.   

It's been pouring everywhere but round here of late, and even last night with hundreds of millimetres of rain in surrounding towns, we barely made four for the day, which was quite fortuitous really given that Scott and Lucy's wedding was a mostly outdoors event last night.

After a big night, there's something quite pleasant about waking late to a bright, overcast drizzle.  

Actually given our currently distorted state of mind there would be something quite pleasant about just waking up late!


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Surely that hurts

If I had a lump in my throat like that during every meal I'm not sure I'd enjoy food quite so much.

The Eastern Reef Egret comes in white or grey apparently, and this bloke who is is clearly not grey stakes out the other side of the river late every afternoon, hunting among the mangroves.   We've seen him once or perhaps twice over this side very briefly, but it seems he likes his privacy and he's a very cautious character.

Actually come to think of it we see him a lot more than we see the neighbours to our east.  I wonder if they come in white or grey as well.  They certainly seem to take flight when they become aware of our presence!

Friday, February 05, 2010


The Skywatch title is for the benefit of all who are visiting for the first time, and who would otherwise have been visiting my Sunshine Coast Daily Photo blog.  Today actually is Friday, but in what must really be some sort of addled state of mind, my blazing sunset on the Sunshine Coast photo is going to happen tomorrow, a mere day late!

Not to worry.
Now there's a great expression, and it's easier said than done.  
We've been quite relaxed since Monday we think, in a relative sort of way.  We won't know the outcome of the valuation business till mid next week, yet each day we've been awake before dawn as if that will change something in the outcome.   It's not solistalgia, it's not excitement, we have no idea what this strange emotion is that causes us to wake in time to watch the sunrise, but it does.   Surely we'll get over it once we know.   Surely.
Michael is going to take one of the ducks out today, I think I'll take the other, but we'll wait till those clouds turn white.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


So far, finding a photo per day around the house hasn't been hard at all.  I'm not sure that I considered just how hard this project could become before I started, but once again I find myself seeing things that need recording, because we may well forget they were a part of our daily routine a few years from now.

The flathead are in a bit early I think, although this is just one stray.  Like the soldier crabs, they come at first in schools, leaving tiny imprints on the the sand, and as they grow become less numerous.  Eventually the bigger fish arrive (this one is probably around 400mm long) presumably to breed and be eaten.

At low tide the sand tells an astonishing story about what lives below the surface of the water, and what has been wading in the shallows in search of a feed.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


We can see Newport again today, and it's not even sunset, which tends to make us think that a tree or two has fallen during the storms of late.   That's one less thing to bulldoze I suppose, like the big mangrove that used to be on the point.

I really should have started one of those photo a month things from the time we arrived.   The island is probably five metres shorter at its south-eastern end now, the monster mangrove died not long after we got here, then a few years ago it blew over in a storm, and it lay there with its roots in the air for years.

In December, the monster tide picked it up and carried it away, leaving just some sand, and a big mark where it had been.  I've taken to wondering of late, what will happen to the waterfront once the road goes through.  Will they take out all the revetment walls and just let our side of the river wander as is its want?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


We have always lived two kilometres from Mooloolaba as the crow flies, yet some days the crow's journey seems easier than others.  For reasons which we are unable to explain, if the light is exactly right and at no other time, we can see the top of the one sixteen storey building built.   We need overcast but clear conditions and a setting sun, and there it is where it has always been.  After appearing so mysteriously, like many of the birds that live on the other side of the river it disappears again for days or even weeks at a time, before peering over the mangroves to see if we are OK.
It reminds me of a Frank Zappa song.
Today it seemed to want reassurance that our valuers had been, that the removal people were preparing their quote and that we had remembered our anniversary.

Well two out of three ain't bad.

Which reminds me of a Meatloaf song come to think of it.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Bee Careful

We had rain last night, the first for the year.  As rain comes round here it wasn't a large amount, 25 mm or so, but with driving wind and in short, sharp ferocious squalls.   

It hadn't occurred to me that it's been so long since it's rained that none of the bees would have seen it before, and while there doesn't appear to be too much activity round the hive, there are plenty of signs that the colony has been decimated by the size of the rain drops.

About now I'm hoping we're over the "rich and powerful metaphor" period of our lives!

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