Friday, March 23, 2012

... on Fraser Island loveliness.

Here's some of my favourite things about our recent trip to Fraser Island and Cooloola. Holidays are nice, aren't they?
These big old scribbly gums really caught my eye.
I wanted to come home and fill a garden with scribbly gums and banksias like these.
We drove home via Rainbow Beach, where the colours of the sand cliffs were incredible. They were making their own little coloured dribbly castles in the rain!
At a freshwater creek flowing out into the ocean, the dark sand had settled out in the current.
Crabs impress me a lot.
Especially soldier crabs. Who can't be impressed by a soldier crab?
There was lots of rain. Didn't matter!
Other unphotographable joys were to be had in the form of swimming in the rain at beautiful Lake McKenzie, which has clear fresh water and an aqua 'beach'; the number of fish in the Champagne rockpools, even though they were almost full of sand; having an experimental dig for pipis (eugaries - a type of shellfish) on a car-free beach and finding a collection of jacaranda-purple and apricot tinged beauties; and driving about on the inland tracks and not seeing another soul.

Go there. Not in holiday-time if you can help it. It's a lovely place. But don't forget to take a few extra plastic bags!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

... on a RANT!

"Say, Em... that's not a very nice photograph, what's the go?"
I'm about to rant. Look away if you don't like that kind of thing. I've just returned from my first four-wheel-driving adventure. C and I went out onto the beach at the Noosa North Shore, up past Cooloola and Rainbow Beach, round to Inskip Point, took the ferry across to Fraser Island, and went as far north as we could past Waddy Point before an impassable track turned us around, and then we came the same way back.

Now, it's a wild place. You certainly feel remote, and it's stunningly beautiful - a real wilderness, and I feel so lucky to have been able to finally go there. Only - and here's where the rant starts. There was freaking plastic everywhere. All up that beautiful sandy coastline there was just shitty plastic everywhere. Last night C and I camped on the beach for the first time. This morning we went for a walk and after only a few steps C said "Er... I'm just going to get a plastic bag." We used all the empty bags we had to collect any plastic we could see.

It felt like such a futile gesture. We know that as soon as the tide comes back in it'll bring more, and that buried in the dunes must be stacks of it. Those bloody glow-in-the-dark sticks were everywhere. What was awful was the amount of really tiny pieces there were. It gets brittle and then breaks apart - and there's absolutely no way anyone can ever go and pick all that shit up.

Organised clean-up events are a great idea - hell, I may have even participated in a 'Clean Up Australia Day' once! but seeing this stuff has really shocked me. I just wish that everyone that goes there could take a few bags of this crap home with them before it breaks into tiny pieces. Get it off the beach and into a bin, and do it every time you go.

Rant over. Positivity will return tomorrow. GAH!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

... on being good for the soul.

Good morning. Today I'm off on a little holiday to counteract the effects of months of constant house-doing... C and I are headed to Fraser Island for ten days. Lando (the Land Cruiser) is packed with tarps and gas stoves and wine and bags of potatoes and five blocks of Green & Black's organic chocolate, so we're set!
Holidays are good for the soul, don't you think? Here's something else that's good for the soul - mine, at least. Check out Boyd's eyebrows!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

... on Thing #2: Foreseeing the future

When my Nana Mary died, my Ma, brother and I had to pack up her house. Weirdly, I kinda enjoyed it. Now, I know that's a bit of a morbid thing to say - and at the time I felt guilty about it. But hell - when I pop off I would prefer someone to enjoy going through my stuff rather than finding it a chore or worse - being disinterested and binning the lot!

See, my Nana Mary was a strong, interesting lady. She wore a long white plait for as long as I knew her, and was prone to saying exactly what she thought. For example; "You've put on a lot of weight, Ems!" and to my brother, hairline receding; "Why don't you cut off some of that hair at the back (he had long hair at the time) and get it made into a wig for the top?" and, the first time she met my Ma (short, brunette) said "I always thought Stef would marry a tall blonde."

When the three of us packed up her house, we found things that immediately had to be shared and discussed. She had books on interpreting dreams, the occult, on how to increase your concentration and phrenology. Wrapped in a piece of red velvet at the back of her closet we found a crystal ball, the sort we imagined should belong in a gypsy garavan.

One Thing that eventually found a home with me was this.
This little fortune-telling dice is completely charming... I can see it being brought out at dinner parties after the port, and my Nana Mary casting it across the table with aplomb, nail varnish and rings glittering.
The idea is that you choose a category to query - about love, marriage, finance, the home, luck, or surprise. You roll the dice and then match the resulting number with the sheet of results. You can also ask yes/no questions and determine an answer whether the result is an odd or even number.

This morning I've had an experimental roll of the dice - I picked the genre 'Surprise' and rolled a 16... the result was 'A letter from an old-time friend with lots of good news.' That sounds promising!

Would you like me to roll the dice for you? Let me know your preferred category (once again - they are love, marriage, finance, the home, luck, or surprise) in the comments and I'll roll the dice and let you know what your result is. What fun!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

... on the coming of Autumn.

It's been raining here. Lots. Yesterday when it stopped for a moment I went out to check on the chooks and became distracted by the compost... the whole lovely decomposing heap of it was covered in little mushrooms!
I simply love this time of year - when the stifling heat and humidity of summer finally gives way to the promise of coolness. Last week I noticed that subtle shift in the light - a sort of clarity? which to me means that summer is over. I struggle through summer - now I feel like I'm about to come alive again!
Happy Autumn to you!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

... on 'Thing #1'.

The prospect of moving house shortly has me thinking about 'things', and why we have them, and how they help to make the place where you live into your home. I've had space of my own for most of my adult life, and although I don't normally pay much heed to astrological notions (I once had a colleague who had worked at a regional newspaper and in the absence of a proper astrologer she would write the horoscopes herself based on the weekly relationship dynamics of her bosses - a husband and wife team!) but I am a Cancerian, and apparently we tend to be people for whom the idea of 'home' is of great importance. True, for me. No doubt about it!

Yesterday I was gazing idly at my bookcase, wondering if I'm going to have the will to do a cull of books before I move, when my eye came to rest on a little Thing that I recently rediscovered. It had been sitting in the back of an old wardrobe in the shed for many years, but I was so delighted to see it again - I blew off the dust and put it on my bookshelf.
I remember making this little house. I don't know if I was 7 or 9 or 11 years old, but I do remember making it. We had a dam, and every now and then an excavator would be hired to dig it a bit bigger. The resulting mounds of earth became a place to build cubbies and mudslides, and a source of clay in a variety of colours. Pale clay like this was highly prized, as most of it was brown, but it was all full of bits of gravel and organic matter.
It's quite odd to see the fingerprints of my 7 or 9 or 11 year old self, left on something that I made. I remember that this house was 'the house I want to live in when I grow up'. I think it was modelled on the house of my dear friends The Joneses, as I was very envious of the steeply pitched roof of their home, Casuarina Cottage, and it had a room in the attic. All the Famous Five books I was reading at the time seemed to have adventures in an attic, and I so wanted one too! But I remember that I wanted this house to be surrounded by trees and for it to have a front garden with a fence.
Here's the curious thing. Our new house has a steeply pitched roof. It's under two big trees. It has a front garden with a fence. It's lacking an attic room but hell! What a coincidence!
I think there will have to be a place for this, don't you?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

... on an overdue thankyou.

This morning I got out the tinsnips and made my first Beastie from that lovely batch of new corrugated iron that C's Ma's friend Lil gave me.
As I chopped into it, I immediately realised that although it's a thicker grade of iron than my previous sheet, it's also a lot 'softer' to work with, somehow?
I drew out the Beastie on the reverse - painted partially white, which is quite a nice texture in itself.
You can see how the tin warps like billy-oh as I cut it. 
A rough-cut Beastie.
Lots of rough edges to sort out.
What a completely delicious patina! I just love that first it was red - then someone wanted it green.
Filing down the burrs and rough bits is the longest part of the process.
Thanks so much Lil!