I’ve been remiss

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Yes, I’ve let things slide. I haven’t been on this blog for some time.

So, inspired by my fellow writer/blogger-in-crime Say Anything Sare  I opened the blog to find three drafts of posts I had started but never finished. Over the next few weeks I do intend to finish them and post them.

But, in the meantime I’ve also updated the The Reading Pile and  The Work in Progress pages.

Yes, after much consideration and inspired by a recent post by Raven Books and some very tight reviews. I’ve decided to plunge into the world of sharing my thoughts about things I’ve read. It’s currently not an extensive list but with the Brisbane Writer’s Festival just around the corner I’m sure it’s going to grow again soon.

I’ll try to stay on top of things this time.

It’s good to be back.

 

A quiet finale

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Earlier this month myself and fellow blogger/writer-in-crime, Sarah Todman, took part in a global collaborative project called The Finale Project.

There was a script, we didn’t follow it very well. But the idea of conversations and how they work intrigued us from the get go so we ran with the idea of conversation and how easily it can become white noise.

We set up camp in a local cafe and talked a lot and drank coffees and wrote.

My results …..

It is opaque, translucent but not, like a spiders web, possibly with the tensile strength of a golden orb spider’s web. If you stop and look down, really stare hard, you can see it below your feet. You think you can see through it to what’s below. You can’t.

This is white noise, the every day, the stories you’ve heard and know so well. But below are the missed things. The words and hints from an expression that with hindsight you will come to wish you heard then. The innuendo, the glimpse of more behind the words. But, at the time you didn’t know you had missed.

Until the miners decide it’s time to dig.

Generally a person won’t give much thought to the missed. But there will be moments when someone will turn, look up from a screen or down at the ground and find it before them, the missed. There is pause for thought while a person may reflect on this new information. There may be regret. An action may take place. Generally it doesn’t.

The miners are smaller than the human eye. Little people in black suits with bowler hats and umbrellas hooked over their left arm. Some have pipes. It’s not clear why they choose a person and their missed.

And this is as it was on Tuesday the 16th. Mr Bartholomew Simpkin was filing his 1D4B68’s into grey folders.

At 2.58 the miners started to dig.

By 3.15 they were done.

They rose silent, industriously through the white noise placing the missed amongst files and sheets of paper on Mr Simpkins desk.

It wasn’t until 3.45 when Mr Simpkins saw what he had missed and it should have been sooner, they were right there in front of him. But when he did he was so shocked he knocked his tea cup causing a small wave to lap over the rim and slide into the saucer. That made him sit up. A bubble of tea escaped from between his lips at the surprise of the knocked cup, or maybe at what had just been found.

Mr Simpkins now had to decide if he should ignore the misheards and miss reads again or listen.

He didn’t know what to do

 

 

 

We’re done – thank you

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A touch sunburnt and the crunch of sand now wedged in our back teeth we made the final sprint across the boarder to Queensland.

Not much more to add really.

We planned on seeing a lot more of the country and we did. But at times it felt like we were just passing through, observing but not really a part of anything and at times not sure which way to turn to become a part of the life in front of us.

But the more road we covered, the more familiar we became with the idea of the road and it almost became life as usual. It is almost a rhythm from driving. Different from the day to day you take for granted and it seems you need time to adjust, we did. It was almost as if we were still looking for that same routine we had left without realising. But that didn’t last. We fell into a new rhythm, the one that matched the road and made it easier to take detours when the muse took hold of us. The road from Canberra north along the coast right back to Brisbane is truly beautiful.

And, the final wildlife report. The beautiful Yamba delivered. On our last night we took a stroll down to the beach to say goodbye and a pod of dolphins swam in close to the shore and slowly moved across the bay, it felt like the perfect farewell from Yamba.

p.s: This was written nearly a month ago, but that day to day has well and truly kicked in. So a delayed farewell to the road.

Sydney, surf and submarines

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Inside the sub at Sydney’s Maritime Museum.

Three days in Sydney to soak up the surf, sun, subs and pirates.

Not the typical trip to Sydney with shopping, theatre and art although we did get to the Art Gallery of New South Wales show Scottish Masterpiece’s from the National Galleries of Scotland. A small show but all true treasures with Botticelli, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Gauguin, Constable and Monet amongst them.

We spent a day at the monumentally massive Maritime museum. There’s a frigate and a submarine with a new and very beautiful building sitting between them. The building has exhibits and films of life on board the two vessels playing inside. Then it was pirates by Horrible Histories. Loud, colourful, gory and funny.

We were based at Coogee Beach but spent the time with locals who showed us the spots for swimming and eating that only the locals know about.

Although I have to ask. What is it with this city and porridges. Not the oaty kind most of us enjoy in winter. This is quinoa porridge and bircher muslie. Okay, that’s not really porridge. But if  you ask me it looks like porridge.

On our last morning, as we were getting ready to head north for the next leg we stopped for breakfast at a cafe that had given us great coffee and good hot chips over the weekend.

We thought we were being virtuous and ordered the black quinoa porridge with honey poached blah de blah. I assumed it would be the oat type with black quinoa speckled through it. Oh, no – it was just the little black grain and it was cooked in water. The result – yep, you guessed it. Sludge with what the youth at the table called tadpoles eyeballs. Didn’t help that it was cold. Hearing ‘I’m glad I’m not eating tadpoles eyeballs for breakfast,’ as I gulped it down from someone enjoying a ham and cheese crossiant didn’t help much either.

Everywhere you turn in this city there’s some new porridge or bircher muslie in many forms and shades of colour. It all looks like porridge to me.

 

The Moyles are back in Brisbane. We’re not.

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Lunch on the river at Nambucca Heads

The Moyles have done it. They have driven over 10,000 kms as they traversed this continent taking in everything this country has to offer and, after a 10-odd hour sprint up the east coast, crossed the finish line late one evening. That was two days ago.

We’re still a week off crossing the finish line. We’ve only just hit the 4,000 k mark but we marked the moment with a stop at one of the prettiest towns since Bright. A small town called Sawtel. We’ve now downloaded the Allpress app and it tells us where the next town with a cafe selling Allpress is so it did mean a detour but we’ve decided any town selling Allpress is a town worth a vist.

From Canberra we stopped in Sydney did a night in Port MacQuarie and are now in Yamba. I haven’t had internet or wifi since Canberra. I won’t lie – I wasn’t in a hurry to find it. I’ve been here a day and spent it at the beach getting lost in this view.

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Main beach Yamba

After giving up on wild life between Canberra and Sydney my faith in Australia’s fauna has been restored. In the last day or so we’ve seen a fair few pelicans and a disturbing scattering of blue bottle jellyfish.

I also saw a sign warning drivers to watch out for wild cattle. I had no idea cattle could be wild. I thought by definition they were domesticated. Then I saw another sign asking drivers to report wandering stock. So have they simply given up on a particularly naughty herd and declared them wild and washed their hands of them. Or is the sign warning us of cows who are free and easy, wild, cattle who refuse to follow the rules like staying inside the fence?

A thought for the final leg home perhaps. Meanwhile we’re staying put in the glorious Yamba for the rest of the week. Yes, I found the cafe that sells Allpress!

Canberra, Canberra – who are you really?

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Jackson Pollock, Blue poles, 1952 at the National Gallery of Australia.

Three days in Canberra and I’m still a tad confused.

The city is beautiful, perfectly laid out and very quiet at this time of year. The streets are lined with hotels and apartment blocks but not much else. I’m not sure where the living takes part.

Now, I can hear you all thinking it’s probably where my hotel was based. And, to a great degree it probably is. But, this city remains a conundrum even after extensive exploring.

Let’s recap. This city is new and it looks it. It came about because Melbourne and Sydney were fighting over who should be the capital. Canberra is right in the middle between the two cities. Sounding a little like dealing with small children? “If you two can’t stop fighting it’ll go in the middle and neither of you can have it.” Yep, that’s probably exactly how it went.

The capital came into existence in 1913 and took over as the capital in 1927. The current parliament was built in the 80s, opening in 1988 after 10 years of building, which included all the roading and infrastructure around it. It almost looks like a set from a movie. Just a few minutes from the centre of the city and your driving through bush or pasture. I read somewhere kangaroos can be a problem. I’m not surprised. I’m not sure the kangaroos realise the human race has moved in.

The city is flat. It was built and remains as it was. There’s no old part, no filtering out as populations grow. There is nothing wrong here, nothing needing fixing. Don’t get me wrong. I like it. It’s beautiful with green everywhere and some really wonderful buildings.

Parliament House is stunning. The architects Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects won the commission to build the new parliament. It was to be sited on top of a hill called Canberra, which means meeting place. Seems apt right? Well, the architect had an issue with the hill part. His belief was politicians should not be on a hill looking down on the rest of the country. They should sit amongst their people. So, they pulled the top off the hill, built Parliament House, then put the hill on the roof.

The National Gallery left me confident of the type of art I like and I’m at peace with that. I may be showing my age but pop a massive Jackson Pollock on the wall and you’ve got me smitten. They have two. They also have Matisse,  sublime etchings by Whistler and works by Ian Fairweather.

Driving back to the hotel on the last day we wondered momentarily if we had taken a wrong turn. We were not in the city, not a city we recognised anyway, one with buildings. We were surrounded on both sides of the road by bush and mountain ranges lining the horizon. But we were on a three lane road and just as the question “have we taken a wrong turn” was finished being asked the very centre of town opened up in front of us. Yep, we were in the heart of Canberra.

 

Town Pride

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The Everton bus shelter

We’ve got a new car game.  It’s called “What’s in this town?” The game starts as we approach the town. Sometimes it’s nothing. Sometimes there is just a sign by the road. But often there is a building, a town hall or a pub. Most towns have at least one pub, some only have a pub and many have more than one but little else. Sometimes it’s a post office and convenience store. Sometimes the post office is in the pub.

But Tarawingi has neither. This town has a golf course and  a school. It’s beautiful and a little curious. Then we drove into Everton.

The award for town pride goes to Everton and it’s bus stop. This stop possibly has a pot of tea in the offering if you sit down.

Not sure if the busses only go one way. There’s no bus stop on the other side of the road. But there is a convenience store with a post office so maybe the bus stops there.