Walking

Untitled bronze sculpture, group of figures by Bert Flugelman, 1964, UNSW Sydney, Australia. Taken while traversing the University campus. 

In a previous post I wrote about my dilemma of finding the best way to travel to work on public transport. I think I have the answer. 

The M10 from Leichhardt runs around every ten minutes in the morning. The journey time is between 45 minutes and one hour, depending on traffic. This trip pays a dividend in the form of exercise time. Ten minutes walking from home to bus stop on the flat followed by ten minutes through campus, mostly uphill. 

According to The Conversation I need to walk at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes for five days per week. The remaining 10 minutes can be achieved on the trip home by either alighting two stops early or catching buses whose routes don’t pass the end of our road. 

Any walking I do during the day is a bonus!

Stained glass

KADER ATTIA, Untitled, 2014, 116 stained glass fragments, metal screw hooks, and fluorescent fixtures. 

Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

The above is installed in a temporary wall. When entering the one-man show one approaches the back (or is it the front) of the piece. There is a rough, torn out hole in the wall, pieces of plasterboard lie scattered and heaped on the floor. The structure of the wall and the lighting behind the stained glass can be viewed through the hole. 

This installation reminded me of a disused church in Worcester, England that had lain empty for a while. Pieces of bottle green and purple coloured glass from the windows, lay on the earth surrounding the building. It was eventually converted into expensive apartments. 

“Tut”outrageous behaviour

One day I was waiting for the bus, in a world of my own. Slowly a few other people added to the number, haphazardly positioned around the stop. 

When the bus arrived I moved in line with the doors. Noticing a few passengers inside the bus who were making their way to the front, presumably to alight, I took one step back. As I did so a person rushed in front of me to get onboard. I would normally not react to this sort of occurrence. On this occasion I declared, “you’re supposed to wait until people have got off!”
Months, and many trips have passed since this experience. This morning while reenacting the scene, I was reminded of it. This was immediately followed by questions: who made the rule? And, even though I prefer not to queue, was I outraged that someone jumped in front of me?
The answer to the former and the latter is, while I can’t remember being formally trained in the niceties of polite travel on public transport, it is an ingrained, British thing to give way to others. 

10 km in 1 hour 20

The timetable promised a travel time of one hour and ten minutes. In reality the journey on the 370 took a further ten minutes. 

Many bus services have been diverted due to the construction of a light rail from Central to Randwick and Kingsford. 

Rather than sitting for even longer to follow a detour around three quarters of the University, I opted to stretch my legs by taking the main walkway from lower to upper campus. 

Be, bee

Sitting on the left hand side of George (not the Beatle) Harrison’s English Language class, I recall a grey cloudy day. Typical English weather regardless of the season. 

Individual timber desks with lift up tops and a place for an ink pot with a sliding brass cover were arranged in rows of two. Monica with long brown hair and a Mediterranean complexion sat next to me. It was unusual to have a pupil from America at Harborne Hill Secondary Modern. 

While travelling to work yesterday morning I was cogitating the word live. It brought back this happy school memory from 1979. It was the day I learned about words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. There and their is an everyday example that causes some to agonise over which to use in a sentence. 

An in-class competition of which pair of students could come up with the most examples was run. It doesn’t matter if we won or not. Even today I play the homophone identification game in my head. It brings focus to my otherwise  chaotic mind. 
I took the photograph of the bee mural while on an Experimental walk

Marriage inequality

Forty five years ago today on a chilly Spring morning in England my brother aged five and I aged eight pulled on purple velvet trousers. Long sleeved shirts featuring a small floral motif in shades of purple, lilac and lavender against a white background and cravats completed the outfit. Later that day in 1972 we would parade down the aisle of the Church of the Redeemer in Birmingham with our mother as she took the hand of my first step father. This was the beginning of a decade and a half of an abusive relationship that at its lowest point saw us experience the despair of living in a ‘battered wives home’. Marriage vows didn’t hold much weight with this step father. 

Seventeen years ago today on a chilly Autumn day in Australia my partner aged thirty seven and I aged thirty six stood in our underwear as our torsos were smeared in Vaseline and glitter. White faux fur boots, shorts and polar bear heads and arms completed the outfit. Later that day we would parade up Oxford Street onboard the Noah’s Ark float with hundreds of other people celebrating diversity and calling for equality as part of Sydney Mardi Gras 2000. 

Under UK law and being British subjects we were able to marry at the Consulate in Sydney in 2014. Our non-abusive marriage is not recognised in Australia. The choice of entering a loving same sex marriage is not available to our Australian friends. 

Happy Mardi Gras 2017. 

Experimental walk

Rear lane, Newtown

I was at my physical fittest when I walked for forty minutes to work and the same amount home again every day. Increasing living costs and a change of employer has led to living further out from the city and a reliance on public transport. I try to incorporate some exercise into my journey by catching the bus from a stop further from home, walking for longer than is necessary between buses and getting off early on the return trip. 

As the start of a new academic year looms my thoughts are taken up with how to avoid the morning frustration of having to wait for ten to twenty minutes for the express bus from Central Railway Station. The queue stretches around a quarter of Belmore Park to facilitate the transportation of ten plus thousand students each morning. 
There are a few options available to me, including a ten minute walk down the road to catch the 370. The route is picturesque, zigzagging from Leichhardt, through Annandale and Glebe to Newtown. As the total journey time can take over one hour on one bus I opt for a split journey that includes joining the 370 later along its meandering path. 
This morning leaving the house at 8:15, I catch the bus from the stop nearest home on the Parramatta Road. Alighting at around 8:30, I walk a few steps along Mallet Street to be greeted by the familiar sound of song birds that reside in the area. Also, the electric buzz of cicadas in the trees of Camperdown Park; it’s going to be a hot day! 
Being on a schedule I refrain from stopping to take pictures every few steps as I rediscover the quiet backstreets of Newtown. Row upon row of simple Victorian terraced houses squeezed into every available space and pockets of vegetation jostling for a spot to burst forth. 
When I reach King Street I am confronted by the thunder of cars, buses and trucks speeding towards the city. This is an aspect of the suburb I don’t miss. 
Taking my place in the shade of the awning I forget to look around to check if it’s safe to stop. The look on the face of a young skateboarder barely missing me lets me know that it was not. 
The journey from Newtown to work usually takes twenty minutes. Queuing for the traffic lights as we approach Botany Road in Alexandria has quickly eaten into this overly ambitious target. I reach work at 9:50, an hour after boarding the bus. Even though I managed to take a rather lovely twenty minute walk the outcome of my experiment was disappointing. Maybe I can improve on the overall time by setting out earlier from home. 
 

Renaissance woman on a bus

This butterfly reminds me of a morning journey in Spring when I experienced living art. 

I look up to see an attractive woman in her early forties glide down the aisle with the grace of a ballet dancer.  

I notice she wears silver sneakers without laces and black stockings beneath a soft black, calf length, bias cut skirt. The combination provides contrast to a loose fitting, burnt orange, wide necked, bat wing sleeve jumper. 

An oversized black leather shoulder bag guides my attention to the glimpse of a tattoo of ancient script on her right forearm and tasteful antique gold rings, four on each hand. 

Dark brown hair is scraped back into a small tidy bun. Gold dropper earrings with pale yellow stones, maybe citrine hang from sensual lobes. A clear Mediterranean complexion provides the backdrop for thin high arched brows above dark accepting eyes, a slight shadow of tiredness below. A slim refined aquiline nose carries my gaze to unsmiling dark blue-purple lips. 

I realise this person is an ideal subject for a modern variation of a renaissance portrait.