Life could be regarded, if looking for a metaphor, somewhat like peering into binoculars. As a young person one looks into the distance, correcting the distortions so that all becomes clearer. The older you get then we look through the glasses around the other way so that what we see fades into the distance and what future there is gets smaller and smaller. Some years ago a professional photographer I knew asked me to do some media for his exhibition, when he asked how much I said pay for the materials, I'll do it for nothing.Duly done he wanted to re-pay me somehow so he sugested that he do some really good portraits of Hortense and I. He asked to use some props so I suggested we gathered about us a collection of 'things' that meant something of import to the both of us.There was a toy double decker London bus, son's 40yr old Teddy bear, a stool that my Mother made,the three wheel trike that two generations learnt to pedal, a large cast bronze hare that I bought in the UK and hid for her '03 Christmas, an A4 picture of son and daughter (he at 14,she 7) in the trike carrier tray there were several objet d'art and meaning,for the print we were shot sitting on one of the chesterfields beneath a large painting of the four seasons. Nothing about those objects was planned before hand. Andy had simply arrived, we had dinner , he got his stuff together then we threw the bits and pieces about. When the final print was chosen and it was framed there it sat on a table in the main bedroom as these things do. This picture taking etc took place about 7yrs ago, Andy's exhibition was a success , life moved on. During 2008 at a median point in my life I was sitting on the bed gazing at the picture ,picked it up and had a shock of insight into exactly what the picture was. The eclectic collection of memorabilia there had defined us as people,each of the objects were datum points in our life together as a family and as individuals. Like most 'things' that we all gather about our collective selves ,each treasured object can tell a story, is a reference point to some part of life.We can look at that 'thing' dispassionately most days ,but then one day we see 'it' for what it was or represents. Families all have photo albums which at various times get dragged out and pored over. Gee was my hair that bad, how did I ever think I looked good in THAT ! We all do it at some time, or during special times as a family ritual. Somehow though the actual objects that made our lives get overlooked , the reasons that they were important still are there, but not re-inforced by touch or reminiscence.
When we lived on the farm one of our near neighbours had a very large farm house/vineyard about a kilometre away. This place was hidden from the road in a fold of hills and had a long sweeping driveway. He and his wife had enlarged and beautified the original house to where it was a showpiece full of priceless antiques from both sides of their families. Both families had been settlers from the first wave (1800's) of migrant vessels to Australia . Over the years they had kept all the wonderful artifacts that had been handed down through the generations, had gone back to England many times to bring back their respective pasts from what was left there. They were both lovely gregarious folk often stopping by to chat as they went on evening walks past. One Friday they left to go to a function in the city and stay there that night.Sometime during the night a person broke into their house and set it alight,whether by design or just plain stupidity we will never know,no-one saw or even noticed the house going up in flames. Nothing of any value either intrinsic or monetary was able to be salvaged apart from a sewing machine of her Great-great grandmother's. Over time the house was re-built and they moved back in. Although he started walking back up and past our house he never stopped in , she stopped walking altogether. On the odd occasion when I was able to actually speak to him he only ever said hello and kept on walking. Perhaps he blamed us for not seeing the fire and alerting the local fire truck, as the years rolled on we saw them at a mutual friends functions as she was their daughters God-Mother. Gradually they started speaking again and it became clear that they did not blame us at all, but very obvious there were other reasons why they had become almost recluses. It was clear that they felt, he more strongly, that they had lost their collective families identity. Lost the history of generations that their son/daughters would never have to show their children who they were and who they have been. He eventually told me only last year that months after the fire he woke up one morning not knowing who he was, that the massive wealth that he had amassed and the business that his Grandfather had started was no longer his, was lost to him.
That is what matters in lives, the import of existence, objects that in themselves might not have much monetary value but are links to points in life, each little piece has its own story to tell and is a focal point in the history of life.I mourn a father that I never knew as he died in 1942 when I was but 3 months old. I go to his grave as often as I can because there lies the man who was what I am, that is my reference to where I came from.
Yes Hortense you have such a like connection ,all the cousins who you couldn't remember that we love and visit each time we go back to England. The house we were able to walk through in Wales where your father was born. Your lovely aged Aunt who tells us stories of what you did when you visited her as a little baby,then as a young child, your grandmother's sewing basket that you still have . I loved meeting Doris and Stan who were your parents cycling club pals for many years. They used to have us stay at their house in Putney each time we went over. The first time we ever caught a London bus it was from the stop not 50yards from their house.Then the shock of it when years later just after they sold, we looked at that toy London bus and realised the destination stencilled on the front was of that very same bus we used to catch( the No.14) so often in front of Doris's house. See, , when we have things like that to remind us who we are, we will never be lost or alone.
There it be, wasn't going to write again until after 'THE' day, but there are one or three things that weigh heavily over the robbi at this moment. Nothing so heavy that you will be sick with angst or want to rise up and dowse one with flames, or maybe you might. Should you be animal lovers, or more to the point , admirers of Rattus norvegicus, then look away .Go no farther.
We all have things that in life we do not mutter about in polite society, or should do, just little pecadilloes about oneself that are best left under the blanket ,to use a metaphor. I am one such, for it are in life that it is my downfall ,some would say, the robbi is a little bit of a softy. To be a softy is not a pecadilloe or something to despise, not at all and possibly when I started to use the p word you came over all hot 'n' bothered like, are we going to get into the good stuff now, a la bold & the beautiful et al. The robbi cries in movies ,at weddings/watching some plays/reading great poetry/listening to good music at toddlers who the cutest things and when I slip off the pedals of my bike to hit the cross bar.
Oh I feel that I am rambling but shall endeavour to make a point, which is.
That I live in the suburbs of a small city(1.8mill) in an newish house, which is opposite a park that has a river running through. Said river is about 50 yards from my front door. The house itself is reasonably large and on a flat block slightly elevated up from the road that runs in front. The block size is 925 sq metres and has a large front garden composed of native plants bisected by a dry creek (of river pebbles). The back has a side garden of native plants and a pond, a raised herb bed two citrus trees,bay tree,plum ,two nectarine,one apricot,one peach and a 5thous gall rain water tank. The fruit trees are espaliered onto frames which contain within a chicken house complete with two chickens. The whole is complimented by various gates /paths/a shed/compost bins and the minutae of living. There are several pieces of statuary of mine scattered about with a totem pole that I made (carved) for my grandchildren,now 4 off.Along the side of the house is a pergola that extends over the pond. The pond was really a mistake as I dug it in a fit of pique one day when upset with Hortense, one of those projects that one does in a flurry of bad temper and much sweat. I say mistake as after installing said pond it are somewhat of a chore to maintain, also to keep the water from growing masses of algae come summer I had to build a pergola over it. That is also why one should never do in fits of pique, it always invariably blows back in your face. That we are well pleased with the garden as a whole is a comfort, therefore the pique never gets a mention. To save the grandchildren from floating in the pond I have placed temporary pieces of mesh over it, said mesh somewhat removes the esthetic effect that pond lends to the ambience of the place but it do stop little people from drowning.
The above is not meant to convey to you a sense that the robbi is a landscaper extreme, or the most diligent of gardeners nor anything else that springs to your collective mind(s), merely though to illustrate perhaps a small point of the robbi psyche,ie softy. For the thing is y'see if you have fruit trees in your back garden in OZ you will have rodents who visit when the fruit is ripening and or falling to the ground , ripe. my guess is that in other climes it are the very same, but although I have lived amongst others in different cities/countries I have only ever grown fruit here.I have read in various tomes too that when in a city one is only ever no more thant ten feet from a rat, two or four legged I have no idea. Rats are not my favourite persons, either variety, the human or other.From herein this gets amight squeamish to recite, so I shall be as brief as I can. We have ascertained several facts, the growing of fruit attracts rodents, they spoil the fruit, I don't like them, the robbi is a softy. So I saw that rats persons were eating my glorious peaches, I purchase bait,they ate the bait. So much so did they eat the bait I assumed that either the rat(s) actually were getting fat on my bait or I was harbouring several packs of the beasts. I purchased rat cage, the gentleman selling the cage told me that it would catch a rat, to dispose of said rat I was place rat cage into a large bucket of water and proceed to instruct said rat into the art of swimming underwater without a snorkel or any other method of gaining air with which to breath. Lo, the very first time I set rat cage up I caught a very fine, large specie of Rattus norvegicus. Bucket of water at the ready I proceed with swimming lesson uno. Alas the cage was just exactly the same height as the bucket resulting in rat being able to tread water and just keep its little pink snout above the water line.Dilemma, what to do, grab the hose turn water tap to max and force snout under the water. Damn but that little bugger could turn a nifty somersault or three I can tell you, also in the course of somersaulting rat was taking deep breaths. Eventually though the force of water and the iron will of the robbi caused rat to ingest enough so as to sink gracefully down, but I swear to you with such a look of "help me please' on its face I found it hard to get t sleep that very night.
There you have the saga of robbi who has had to go back to the laying of baits as he cannot face having to endure giving more underwater swimming lessons.Oh do not mutter amongst yourselves that I should just get a deeper bucket, as it is each time I walk past that bucket I can still see rat turning a soulful eye toward me, I swear that one arm was raised in a farewell gesture as it breathed in the last mouthful of H2o.
I leave you with a small pictorial of the robbi garden, do not judge me too harshly, a man sometimes has to do that which he thinks a man must do.
Well 'tis sort of getting around to that time again, seems as though 'it' starts around October these days.Here that is just about the case ,most stores have some sort of bauble or three up and running, by mid November all the malls seem to be echoing to the sound of sleigh bells and the like. Might be just me being an old curmudgeonly type but that , sleighs/snow, really irritates the life out of me, we have heaps of snow here but in OUR winter. Life in OZ December is mostly about the beach ,surf, sand and cricket. yes I know there are lots of folk here who at one time came from a place where there is snow in December, all my folk did too, but for everything there is a season.This is also the dead season for TV and radio here in OZ, nothing but repeats or fourth rate shows on all channels, radio fares no better as even the public broadcaster we listen to on our brand new digital radio has its second string announcers on. To make matters worse the Copenhagen conference is on everything , what a load of toss that is as well. Our oppostion party here would not pass the prime Ministers Emission Trading scheme before he went to the conference, and a jolly good thing too. Can anyone tell me what an Emission Trading scheme will do to stop pollution? The way I understand it works is like this; company A is a steel mill, they are heavy polluters so for each tonne of carbon they emit they will pay a levy.That money goes to the Government of the day.But how does that stop pollution?? They way I see it if the steel company has to make steel to stay in business then they will make carbon, let's say they make a hundred tonnes of carbon a week to make 5 thousand tons of steel so that they remain in profit. That carbon makes them polluters, so they pay a tax, the Gov gets the money(some middlemen get to cream off a bit too).They still have to make that hundred tonnes of carbon to make their weekly total of steel so that they can employ people and make a profit, so they still send up into the atmosphere that hundred tonnes of carbon, all that will happen is because they have to pay a carbon tax their steel will be more expensive for the consumer. The consumer will then eventually say bugger that dear steel from here,I will go buy my steel from India or China or perhaps Brazil as they are developing countries and don't have a carbon tax. Thwe robbi is not a climate change denier, I freely admit that we as people have sent great plumes of pollution into the atmosphere, one of the reasons I left the farm was the seasons began changing quite rapidly and where we used to get a large crop of one type ready before Christmas it became harder as our December got colder and the bees weren't around to pollinate. I do believe that the Earth is continually evolving and changing, what was weather patterns fifty years ago will not be a pattern today, man has also had an effect on that pattern, but not to the degree that AL Gore would have us believe.The fossil record bears that hypothesis out as any geologist will be able to show.73 thousand years ago there was an earthquake and a volcanic eruption which changed the ecology of most of India, these cataclysmic events are happening all the time as each volcanic eruption spews many millions of tonnes of dust and ash into the atmosphere ,mixed in with that is large quantities of Sulphur. When those Sulphur particles mix with the ice in the upper stratosphere a chemical reaction takes place , the resultant particle formulation stays in the stratosphere for a long time and creates a warming blanket effect for many months.That warming also speeds along climate change over the area that is covered by the eruption, so man alone is not all culpable . The following I wrote in another forum, the tenet of that was what I was going to write for this blog, I just got carried away with the hot air minutae of Copenhagen. (Breaking news from Copenhagen)The developing countries want us 'rich' nations to stump up $110 BILLION dollars to give to them, just how many AK47's will that lot buy ??? Bugger that I say, if they want money sure give it them, just make SURE that every last cent gets spent of fixing up their pollution and not buying Cadillacs and tanks for the ruling junta. Just an aside, I do believe that most of the really good fairy stories have been written in Copenhagen well before this summit.
Here we are again, the month of months. How many of us are saying that it seemed like only yesterday that it was Christmas '08. Well in terms of the age of Earth it was only a blink away. I tend to think along those lines because, as y'all know, I am a few years older than most of you.That doesn't make me some sort of troglodyte or one given to crusty sayings a la morgan freeman whilst swinging on a porch seat. Oh no, I give out crusty sayings porch seat or not, ten a-penny, or if you care to listen long enough they come free. I grew up reading people like James Thurber, chuckling over cartoons by him and Charles Addams, writings of them,S.J. Perelman and Robert Benchley. These writers and others of their ilk wrote and cartooned for the New Yorker and from the earliest of my reading memory I read their words and studied every line of their cartoons. Therefore I have an arsenal pf pith with which to assail your ears.As my children are oft heard to say"You do talk a lot of pith too" Thurber was oft fond of pillorying Christmas as a sop to overspending and indulging even before it became a blood sport to do so. We all like to make fun of Christmas in some form though don't we? One cannot walk through a shopping mall in mid November without hearing faint strains of Silent Night. Everywhere you go here there are cards depicting sleighs /holly/ reindeer/pine trees etc none of which we have or are endemic to this country at this time of year.We do have snow ,lots of it as well, but at the right time when it is OUR winter. Don't misunderstand I, the robbi loves Christmas, as it are I have never grown up and just can't sleep on the 24th so I get up early to see just what Santa has brought me. I make sure mother Christmas bakes two Christmas cakes so we can scoff a piece each night until the DAY, oh delight of delights.Then on the day I eat so much that moving is out of the question so have to have a BIG sleep after lunch. Do I hear some of you muttering that robbi has entirely missed the actual import of Christmas, well before you do I must tell you that I am agnostic and it is my understanding that the celebration really was a pagan one at that before it was hi-jacked ,that is. Don't let's argue anyway, this is the time to forgive etc and be jolly tra-la-lah. So I will take this time to WISH you ALL, the compliments for the time that it be,.MAY YOU LIVE LONG AND PROSPER xxxxrobbi No Hortense I haven't forgotten your contribution for the year, not only the year little one, my whole life .'Tis true Horty, I owe you my all. Now don't blush girl, 'tis all that life is, just how all unfolds,and that's the way of it. Next year come 30 January will be the 45th, I like that,has a grand ring ,can't wait for the 55th though,now that will be a day.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxrob
The state of South Australia where I live, is about the size of Texas in the US but the population numbers only just on 2 million. We are in Australia governed in the Westminster system as it is practised in the UK. That being so for the actual governance there is a central Federal government, each State has its own Premier, having the same powers and gravitas as a US Governor, who is responsible to a two tier system of state politics within that state. For those that are confused that a country with only 22mill people would want to have so many politicians then there can only be one answer, we want our liars and cheats where we can see them ! Seriously, as one who has been in politics I do understand that most politicians do the job for the good of the people, some are bent , some are duplicit, most are very hard working doing a thankless job that has a high burn-out rate. Modern politics though has become the PR persons paradise, once I was a fan of the UK leader Tony Blair but soon realised that his was a government of polished spin and no substance. The local chap who runs this state is a personal friend of Mr. Blair and has shaped his Government in the same mould. If asked a direct question there is no minister of his Government that will come out and give a direct answer. When asked why there were people fainting on the new trams (it was because the air-con system didn't work) the Minister for Transport said" They should be wearing less clothing", in winter yet? You get the picture don't you. By this you might be forgiven for thinking that I am not a fan of this particular Government, no I'm not, and having been a member of the political party concerned it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that this is the way we are governed. I write this because our Premier has become embroiled in a scandal that although will not cause him to resign, it is of such a poisonous nature that at some time something must be done, if not to bring down his Government then to arrest the amount of spin on every subject. This then is the background;
When the present Premier was the leader of the opposition (some 10yrs ago) he befriended a young ( married) waitress who worked in the Parliament dining rooms, he at that time was single, divorced, but was in a close relationship with a lady who eventually became his wife. He formed, in his words, a close, flirty, sharing confidences warm friendship with this waitress, so much so that when her sister visited from the US he took them both on a guided tour around Parliament house and served them coffee in his private office. He is about 18 yrs older than this lady(the waitress) and is a charming erudite confident man of the world with of course the showmanship and carisma of the consumate politican that he is. She was (is) a young lass who had been married at 17 (pregnant) , then whisked off to Australia by her husband who apparently did not get on with his US in-laws. Our politican became Premier some 8yrs ago, until 2006 kept up a very close warm friendship with this waitress, who is by the way a very attractive intelligent blonde woman.
The reason this warm friendship stopped in '06 became obvious last week when the young waitress went on local television claiming that this man (Premier) had an ongoing sexual relationship with her from the time they first became friends until 2006 when her husband found out about the affair and seperated from (her) his wife. They have since divorced. During her television appearances she came across as completely plausible and honest, expressing shame and remorse for her conduct and behaviour.That she was paid for this interview is to me of no consequence as she is a single mother with mouths to feed with children still at school( her eldest is 15). What has transpired since these revelations came out is nothing short of shameful. The Government has rallied behind their man and have portrayed this lady as some sort of two headed monster. Yes it does take two for something like this to take place, guilt must be shared though and this chap has done nothing to carry any of the burden. He continually says that she must be having a hard time in her life, alluding I think that she must be deranged. The funny thing though he has ruled out (catergorically) suing her. Strange that don't you think, if she was making up lies then the first thing he should do would be to have her in court so he could show the world what an honest man he was.What erks me is how all of his Government,including the ladies in it, are trying to blacken her name and cast doubts on her veracity and mental state.
To me it matters not that he and the lady had sex many times or even once, what concerns me is that this man and his PR team are trying to gloss over the fact that a Premier had a warm, sexy, flirty in confidence, friendship with a much younger married,waitress. The issue here I believe is that a young naive woman would be overawed by an older powerful man of the world, so much so she would forget the responsibilities of married life to be carried into a heady affair with him and to heck with the humdrum of normality. The gravitas of this mans position in life surely must count against him having more than a "hello , nice day" type of connection with his waitress, when in fact he was texting her many times a day with messages of an extreme personal nature. I must state again that for me the issue is not that he had sex with her, it is however that he denies it, and to my thinking he used his position and carisma to seduce an innocent naive young woman into an affair from which she had only one route, being divorced by her husband.
You do concur Hortense do you not? no Horty old girl we don't do drawing and quartering anymore,sometimes more is the pity I think. Gravitas is a curly thing old girl, there are moments that I wish this lady has been of a more worldly ilk where she could have this chappie by them. Yes we will go see that new Coen Bros movie this Friday, and Cocolat.....of course m'dear, of course.
Took some time out of my busy schedule (har har) to clean out this room I inhabit. You will see in the pics just what I mean by inhabit. I mean there is stuff in here that if suddenly the whole was wrapped in plastic and sealed for 300 or so years forensic archeologists of that time would have field day. Can't you just imagine what passes for the Discovery channel for 2309 might construct,"here we have the abode of the lesser maned robbi, note the plethora of detritus that this creature was fond of and surrounded itself with" "Objects of arcane interest only to the initiates of some bizarre sect, objects that to the normal person of that era would hold no significance" "we can only conject as to what rituals were carried out in this room" You get the point? I do collect some wierd loot, then tend to keep it close by forever. So, a clean out of some degree was deemed timely. Not that I got very far, oh I tidied up some drawers on the desk, made space for the new camera bag on a shelf and sorted out some books, but then I discovered three boxes of photos from my childhood and early days ( before digital).
Robbi the magpie had a field day! I went through every photo pack and loose snaps that were there, took me two full on days. By the time I had looked at how life was ,gee didn't she look sweet in that one, and, he really hasn't changed all that much even now, I was a gibbering pool of "where has LIFE gone". Then it was reflection time, believe me that was cathartic and I realised that I do bang on in this forum and others about change a lot. Because that is how a life is made up, we change, circumstance /wealth, jobs/voting patterns/how we read and what/houses , gardens/routines/ cars/dress/likes-dislikes/music and opinions. I began to wonder about those folk who don't appear to change, some whose opinions are the same now that they were 30 years ago. Leaders in politics, union movements, civil servants,lawyers -judges. your neighbour who voted for Genghis Khan and still follows that dictum, the dogmatic folk we all know and sometimes loathe. We aren't of course, we follow our noses and vote with our feet, do we not? Perhaps I do, sometimes, when it is necessary or a person I admire greatly comes up with a new direction. That I have effected great change in my life is a given, on looking back as I did( when clearing the cobwebs) change of a major nature appears in my life about every ten years. I then seem to lurch forward in the general direction of up, or going forward at this point in time if I were an MBA. Am I proud of my life, guess that I am somewhat, prejudices I have but few, give when I can, stand for the national anthem, as well as for old( and young) ladies. The following I wrote yesterday in another forum, it was also as a direct result of my looking back into the future. how sweet it is I don't suppose that most of you know / remember where that phrase , how sweet it is, came from.Some of you do, good. Well for those that don't it is from the days of black and white TV and a show called the 'Honeymooners' starring Jackie Gleason. I first saw this when I was in the navy, as on ships of the USN most mess decks had at least one TV set. The "How sweet it is' line is a reference to life as the whole show was in fact a metaphor for just that. For an Australian at that time to see first hand ,immediately actually, an American show which portrayed life as it really was for some in the States, was a cathartic experience. We watched Hollywood films,read US magazines and hung off the every word of the US music industry.The Honeymooners was none of that, they had menial jobs and lived in very mediocre housing, but were in the most part ,happy and at peace with their lot. The show always ended up-beat and full of hope with Gleason slapping his thigh and saying "Well there you go, how sweet it is' That is what he was saying, how life really is sweet, family and the future really mean something, how it really doesn't matter what you do, as long as you do, and do it to the best of your ability Sure, it was TV, not real. When I talked to the American sailors I understood that this was their lives, most of then anyway, in their own small way they were all Gleason's and that was one reason the US is such a great country , then, and now. The picture I'm posting in no way represents much to do with America at the time of the Honeymooners, but is a pic I found in some old files from when we lived in the UK. The kids aren't ours, we just borrowed them for the day, but it is a time that for me was the start of my journey of understanding of where I was in life, and the Honeymoon is still happening, how sweet it is.
As a postcript the young lass in the picture is now 30 and an MBA, the young chap is mid thirties and an exec with a major cell phone company, the place was Warwick castle (UK) and I still have that shirt and jacket( what change?)
Yes Hortense it were a couple of intense days going through those photos, much ado about lots . You change Horty, all the time, but always for the better,but there again you started from a pretty good base too, whereas I was a naughty boy from way back. Great isn't it, what do I mean? life old girl just that .The pursuit of it ,yes indeed Horty and Gelato at Cocolat too, that always is part of the equation is it not. And "How sweet it is", you make it so Horty old girl.
This has been a lively few weeks for me myself and I. Driving a thousand kms to visit my daughter isn't such a big deal, that is the part I enjoy. Much as we love our daughter, son-in-law and grandchild there really is no place like ones own bed. Oft I ask myself is it my age? am I so set in my curmudgeonally ways that having to be in someone elses house makes my good nature suddenly evaporate.Their house is vast, so we don't trip over each other, but they don't watch our TV shows, and once the babe goes to bed at 8pm the TV gets turned down to whisper, so if the phone rings or he wants to read the paper and pass comments on the days politics to her, the TV watchers have to lip read. Then of course having a very lively 2yr old all day does get a little tiring, plus getting up to go for a walk is an exercise in logistics. Two dogs,one grandaughter,a pram with assorted toys that she cannot do without, then the last minute drama because she really wanted Mr Squeaky to come too. She is rather a darling though, no tantrums, just a plaintive cry or three. There were plenty of times when I wondered just how we did all that with our own, and managed careers and a house/garden. Both us us worked in a field where we did shift work, so the children, who were 7yrs apart in age always had a parent about.
Those were of course simpler times ,less pressure and seemed so much friendlier, so we just sailed through regardless.
People have ,it seems to me, higher expectations in this era. We built our first house just after getting married, couldn't afford a bedroom setting except for the frame and mattress, so for the first couple of years the bed was resting on bricks instead of a proper base. Curtains for the kitchen and dining room were actually left over check material from making her uniforms.That house did us for just on ten years, then we moved up to the farm. By that time we had become much more finacially stable, had no mortgage, thus were able to indulge ourselves in a style that was more suited to my pretensions of grandeur. I think that when we started to travel widely, our expectations of wanting to live in a certain way, just for ourselves, instead of how convention would have us live, began to take hold. Each time we went away I would say on return, I want to live there, we never did though. But we did change the farm-house completely three times in the 24 years we lived there. The time( year of '97) we spent in that apartment in Paris was perhaps the turning point and on returning from there we decided to sell the farm sooner than later and build a new house from scratch. The house that we built in the little country village was perched high on a hill and had a panoramic view over hills studded with cows and sheep.Because it was on a hill I built a sunken garden along one side, glass walls gave an uninterrupted view over the tops of trees into a valley.Why did we leave there after only 3yrs?. The drive into the city each day was getting monotonous, dangerous as the village got bigger which made for more cars on the road. The village school went from 46 students when we moved there to 132 within three yrs, and no, we didn't cause the exposion of little folk. Funny how the best laid plans of mice and men 'gang awa', when we made plans to sell that house we had another property in a nice suburb that was rented out, the property here(where we now live) had a rather dated late 60's house. So, we would knock the house down which stood on this block and build new,sell the new house that we now lived in and the rented place. Of course the moment all that was decided the bottom dropped out of the housing market. There was no trouble getting finance for the new build so throwing caution to the winds and blowing what cash we had, full speed ahead,damn the consequences. All worked out in the end, somehow.
So here we are Hortense, and have been this 8 almost 9 yrs too, in the normality of life that is Adelaide 2009 ( and prior), a place that we don't like leaving but do so every chance we can. If that leaves anyone confused it does I as well,but that is the short of ,the essence of how we are as folk.did I hear someone say odd? you could be correct, but we love travel, not the going but the being .Perhaps what I love the most Horty old girl is the coming home bit,then the bragging to all and sundry about the sights we have seen. I still say from each place we go,"gee I want to live there". Hortense perhaps I shall post up some pics of that garden I made in the house on the hill, funny I should hark back to that, although it was pretty special were it not? Our son, who is 43, often drives past the old place where he grew up, our first home, and always refers to it as "the best place". Must be some truth in the old saying then about heart and hearth. Also there are some pictures of the great ocean road from the trip back last week,that I took with my all singing all dancing new camera, but none of the most delightful Cocolat experience we had Friday, YUMMO!!
This is it, for me what this represents is two plus 8 lives.
The Rising Sun
One of her cousins had a large yatch and on our first stay in the UK going back all those years ago took us down the Hamble for the day.We moored to a pier opposite this pub, when I saw the name I implored him to drive me to the pub next day.Was a bit worried when told that it was a tortuous drive around little back streets and even though it was only 10 miles the drive could be an hour. He did so but was bemused as to why,the Rising Sun,Animals,I said. When we eventually days later drove off to Nuneaton we passed about 20 pubs called Rising Sun, I keep that to bring myself down a peg when I get too pompous.
We love going to the Chelsea garden show and one year saw a chap with sundials, he said he would set the angle for here and we could have an inscription on one side. I had him engrave this"Humans do not love with their eyes, they love with their mind'
Each one of these dolls has a tale to tell, some date back to my earliest memories, others belong to Hortense, each one though comes from a focal point in our life.
This is the toy bus ,it is a No.14 which when we stayed with Doris went over Putney Bridge and into the city,the route has been changed now a 36. We caught the 14 many many times, Putney holds a special place in our memories.
The painting of Peter in Kensington Gdns
The J.M Barrie story has been a favourite of mine since I was able to read, a great Aunt gave me my copy in 1949 and I have read the book at least oncea year since then. The copy I have is a very early edition with the Rackham illustrations. I had this picture painted when we lived in the UK in the 1980's.
A talented nurse who worked in a ward where lots of our patients came from did this of me as I called on a patient one day. I used to say exactly what she wrote on the bottom right to each patient, perhaps they did think that is what was going to happen to them.
Wooden sculpture under Stuffed owl
This is a piece that we bought when travelling once. The artist ,although alive , cannot sculpt anymore due to advanced Arthritis, his work is in galleries all over the world.The work although valuable represents more for why it came to be here than the $. The era of stuffed owl was a watershed one for us in many ways.
This is a picture by one of my grandaughters.That I am a Grandfather is because of a special person, each time I see one of my children and or their children I remind myself of the debt I owe that wonderful person, my Hortense
This is a chocolate box cottage where we lived in Hampshire(UK), until going there we had no inkling as to the charm of the place,they were wonderful days.
a small part of the garden
this is what the trees look like after pruning
my chickens lay great eggs
The rat didn't get to the plums last year
The robbi eating some '08 nectarines
A clay head I did in the 80's,he's called Nim
The Man, a limestone piece
Totem pole for the grandkids
at Cocolat, where else?
redgums on the Torrens
at this time of the year 'tis good to reflect
Hortense, her machine, you will note that in pic2 there is a space for offcuts of material that might come in handy? not mine that.
part of the bookcase come repository
There I am, on that chair
Snow @ the house on the hill
The front garden wasn't finished and it began to snow
Almost the end of Autumn
The sunken garden at the house on the hill
The Torrens river
Just across the road from my present house
Great Ocean rd
Great Ocean Rd
Great Ocean Rd
bay of islands
Great Ocean rd
bay of islands
we have lots of these growing just across the road in the park
the bark on this tree changes colour each season
the black cormorant flew past,albeit all of a sudden so i didn't get a clear shot.
my chickens love pasta
early morn on my park
This little plant is very rare and is the first one of the species I have seen
This is part of my garden, the slender plant is a kangaroo paw
New bird on this part of the river
Plenty of rain
The river is well up
Robbi at 17
the Geraldton Wax on our front
Shadows and trees
Just across from my house
on the road again
Off to melbourne
Lovely old city and buildings
Bendigo was a gold mining town
Bendigo Art gallery
They have a super gallery here
Bendigo is a large rural city in Victoria
Bendigo (victoria) cathedral
It was cold, about -2c actually
Now, if you can tell me what this is then you win a beaut prize
Two lovely pigeons getting inabit of love before Father catches them
Moorhen cleaning up after breakfast
Happy Wanderer and Geraldton Wax
In my back yard
About 500yrs ago aborigines would have made acanoe out of the bark they stripped from this tree
Light is everything here in OZ
This toadstool just popped out earlier, you can see the dew sliding off .Soon the ducks will come to eat the grubs from underneath
Bend, but to the right
Two diver ducks
The Water Rat has its winter burrow there
One of many along this stretch of river
I saw this little lady yesterday and we stopped for a chat, lovely isn't she?
This chap was the early bird this am getting the worm
River red gum
They do grow in odd shapes ,this one perhaps was two seedlings that sprouted together
This cormorant ,or shag, is always in this Willow tree as I walk past in the morning
A Silky Oak,the wood from this tree is very dense and beautiful. On the farm I had a wall made from this,never needs any form of laquer or varnish.Commonly called she-oaks.
River red gum
This is a river red gum ,they never grow straight up but twist and wind to create a hotch potch of branches
This isn't 'THE' samphire ,but I assure you it looked very much like that
the water feature in front of our musueum
we went to an exhibition at the museum
my morning walking place
the opposite bank
this walk through the mangroves is fantastic as there are about 200 species of bird
sunday we went to the mangrove walk
this lovely little bird is a fairy wren
we had those for breakfast one morning
as I drove up into the driveway the setting sun just caught the clouds
in the middle of this pic is actually a cormorant catching dinner
on my am walk as the sun hits the park
a few minutes later
well it would be am, the sunrise i mean.this little sunrise was on the 12th
Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)
These hunt across the road from our house but i have yet to see one here, just seen where they have been.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
A quiet little achiever
Stone fish(Synanceja trachynis, Synaneichthyes verrucosus)
Please don't stand on one!
Box jelly fish (Chironex Fleckeri )
Just don't believe the old wives tale of wet sand to rub on,it doesn't work, trust me I do know.
Funnel web spider (Atrax robustus)
As a child I used to catch these and put them in a jar with the trap door spider
The worlds deadliest snake
bandicoot ( Perameles gunnii )
The little rare bandicoot we almost stumbled on
Lots of light
later the sun came up higher
The light just beamed through a crack in the clouds
Autumn glory vine
Next doors lovely vine and an Adelaide blue Autumn sky
This bird sits in the same place on the river bank each morning,never lets me get close enough to get a really great pic.
In the Otways
The last Ash forest before Apollo Bay
The Headland, Apostle bay
This is where the Apostles start, there were twelve but during a violent storm one crashed down in 2008
The Apostles aren't all together
Was a very pleasant day
High tide at the cove
Perhaps it had found a treasure from the previous days tourists
Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands just after 0700
Sulphur crested Cockatoo
Cocolat and the kids
I was standing on the tip taking this pic
The robbi on the tip of OZ
As we flew back from Cape York the chopper took us close to New Guinea
Fu dog is a guard dog and always has a stone between his legs
His tail comes off and also his head can be tilted to put incense and offerings inside
Temple Dog (Fu dog or Dragon)
This dog is brass and very old.He has black jade eyes and is an Incense burner
Mr. Peter O'toole, Brilliant actor and general grand person
Not Son of ,Sam Neill Mrs Neill's little boy who turned out to be a fine actor
Stick Insect ( Hierodula majuscula)
Nope, that isn't Kenny either
I left this one to breakfast
The robbi lovingly put this one outside
Sulphur Crested cockatoos in front of our house
Finally got the pack open and dispensing wipes
you are there
One of the board walks
Lots of little bridges for children to find
One of the many rock pools
one of the lakes
View to the river Hamble
Just asample for next week. Which will be 'How green is the robbi England'
Part of the wetlands created by Salisbury Council.These wetlands cover approx 200 hectares
Deliberately lit fire at Churchill Victoria
How could you resist that
Shading the chickens
Shade and comfort for the red hens, the round thing is our rainwater tank
Nectarines ready to eat
Their palatial accomodation
Big eggs from the red hens(non Sunday ones)
They are partial to some pasta
Part of the garden
The entrance drive
This the back, trust me folks the front is bigger and more spectacular
Perhaps I should have called this pic ,Gaza
Ishtar at the gates of Hades
or how I learned to actually read
Stumpy(the blue tongue)
Eating a grape (not peeled) from my fingers
Normally we save them, this one was done for
A tree creeper and nuisance
He lived until age 28, a grand horse ( Arab )
I'm on the end of that rope trying to 'work' him on the lunge rein
no Hugh jackmans were killed/maimed/injured whilst making this movie
Went up the the old place last week to see friends for Christmas
the blogger then
at uni and in my james morrison mode (after filmore east)
Carved from a single block of stainless steel
The machine to end all machines, anda constant and loving companion to the grinder
Moi, as the world sees me, and how I see me
Me, writing blog,in my PJ's even.
Emerald city from the air
Lady bird (not Johnson)
The GOOD bugs
The Gelato selection
The chocolate bar
Not working (resting)
Robbi and friend
they all tell a story
Made ( I did four)
This is the makings
In the Louvre
on the Las Ramblas
you can just make out the store name, very fancy ,very pricey
The apartment in Barcelona
We had an apartment next to the Cimitre de Monmartre