Celebrating 22 years

We arrived in the harbour city of Sydney, New South Wales on 17 January 1998. For the first ten years we did not consider living anywhere else.

The face of our chosen suburb, Newtown, gradually threw off its grungy working class garb. Gentrification crept through the streets. Great news for house prices as rough edges of the area were smoothed. For the niche bars, retailers and eateries, rising rents pushed them out.

Pushchairs replaced colourful characters, walking goats and parrots. Foot paths barely coped with the jam of people, spilling from increased apartment living.

Joining the exodus, we made our way, step by step west to aircraft noisy Stanmore then sleepy Petersham before landing in luscious Leichhardt. In hindsight, we should have settled here, instead of chasing the bright lights of Newtown.

Arriving too late to secure a residence we journeyed 917 kms north (570 miles) to Morningside. The vibe in Queensland is more relaxed than we are used to. Ignoring the Summer daylight saving implemented by other states, Queenslanders arise and retire early to bed.

Here we are in the river city of Brisbane, celebrating 22 years in Australia. Uncertain of where life will take us next.

Global leadership, now!

What is reality? Is it this loaf of bread, baked last night? The coffee, I just spilled on the seat cushion, or the butter left from a dropped knife? All of these events happened.

As time passes events become open to interpretation. Beliefs, assumptions and theories challenge reality. A truth for one person, a falsehood for another.

Humans strive for knowledge and understanding, so that they may improve, move forward. Surely this is a good thing? Unfortunately, as a species we are doomed to fail. There is no common direction, other than the pre-programmed need to reproduce and survive.

Civilisations that came before us, thousands of years ago, masters of their time, did not survive. How are we any different? We waste so much time and energy on errant quests. If the leader of a country is incapable of doing their job, replace them with someone who can. Why do we care if individuals survive supposed scandals, brought down on them by the wrath of critics and the press?

Ultimately, the only reality we need to concern ourselves, we are at the mercy of the Universe, the Earth, and Mother Nature. Even though it may be too late, surely it is better to unite in saving the planet rather than focussing on petty power squabbles.

We need global leadership, now!

Grateful

We are grateful to be able to take our nine year old fur baby on the river ferries of Brisbane. Even for a three months’ trial period. It has opened up opportunities for discovery beyond our local neighbourhood.

Yesterday, setting off at around 10:45 am we walked from Morningside to Hawthorne Ferry Terminal. As with previous trips, the ferry person looked us up and down as we approached the vessel. Two greying middle aged men and their white fluffy dog. Inevitablely, the response to our friendly hello was a gruff ‘dogs out the back’. Why plural, none of our fellow passengers were accompanied by a bundle of joy. We duly trooped through the front outdoor and middle indoors sections to out the back.

The city of Brisbane is the state capital of Queensland. It is known as the Sunshine State because of its largely clement weather. Outdoor seats on ferries are highly sought after unless it is extremely hot, raining or both. There is little shade. We positioned ourselves next to the bulkhead, ready to stand for around 40 minutes.

One of the requirements for taking your pampered pooch onboard is the of application of a muzzle. Think man made fibre sleeve with Velcro adjustment and clip lock fastening, rather than wire cage. Understandably, Stan is not thrilled when this black contraption is strapped to his head. We took it in turns to soothe Stan’s discomfort.

The original plan was to journey to North Quay so that we could mooch around Roma Street Parklands. An early breakfast and morning exercise left us feeling hungry as we coursed along. We opted, instead to alight at South Bank 2 Ferry Terminal. So that we could avail ourselves of lunch at an eatery on Grey Street.

Before docking, in line with most previous trips, the ferry person engaged us in conversation. Remarking on how well Stan travelled on water. I find this change in demeanour to be a trifle unsettling. Perhaps we had passed some unpublished test or were experiencing exit relief, that we had not run amok.

After lunch we decided to head for Victoria Bridge, walk down Queens Street to Howard Smith Wharves, over Story Bridge to Kangaroo Point then catch a ferry home from Mowbray Park. Fortunately, one was pulling in as we arrived at the terminal. About four people got on ahead of us. As we stood looking expectedly at the ferry person they said ‘no space for dogs’. Again the plural, even though I could not see a single canine on board, no matter how much I craned my neck to see.

Catching the next service, in about 15 minutes, we headed home via Hawthorne. Three weary travellers, satisfied with a day of adventure, having walked for about 11 of the 20 km trip.

62 Queens Street

Grand Victorian building, dwarfed by surrounding office blocks. It is hidden in plain sight when walking along pedestrianised, Queen Street Mall from George to Albert streets.

The following description appears on Remax website.

62 Queen Street is a 3 storey heritage commercial building that was constructed c1883 for Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society.

Designed in the Gothic Style by one of Brisbane’s foremost Architects of the time Richard Gailey, the property is a fine example of commercial buildings during Brisbane’s transition as a former penal settlement.

The second picture circa 1895, shows the narrow building with spire, flag pole, attic rooms and chimneys.

Presumably, they were removed at the same time the original Brisbane Town Hall was demolished

View from eleven

Eleven floors up, looking north west.

View from the kitchen link, between meeting room and breakout space.

Colleagues wander in and out, to refuel or to linger.

A place to rest my eyes from the intensity of the computer screen, work space, and phone.

Almost Christmas

Thursday evening, time to rest from the struggles and strains of the day. A position of relaxation or exhaustion? You can never really tell from his facial expression.

Faithfully, annually, midway through the second week of December, he emerges from his glittery hibernation. To be dusted off, plumped up and positioned on a shelf.

A gift from Angela, dinner-lady-cook, over two decades ago, I wonder how she fares. In the land of Brexiteers and discontent, I often wonder how many former colleagues fare.

Memories of Weston-super-Mud

FAT man photos recently posted images of Weston-super-Mare. They reminded me of the last time I was there, fourteen years ago.

A day trip from Worcester, with my husband, late Mother and Step-Father no.2 (SF2). In my memory it remains a sunny and happy day, filled with colour.

This is even taking into consideration, the annoyingly loud deh-deh-di-deh and blarb noises from SF2’s traffic light and speed camera warning device; allllll the way there and alllll the way back. Oh, and the electric wheelchair running out of juice, and a proliferation of disabled-toilets that were moonlighting as furniture storerooms and changing rooms. Much to the chagrin of my Mother.

I have been to Weston two or three times. The first when around nine or ten years old, in the 1970s. Foggy memories of a postcard from the time. Winter Gardens backdrop to a long pool, flanked by flower draped arcades.

I imagine we would have made this journey by train or coach from Birmingham. One of the first holidays with Mother, Brothers, and Step-Father no.1 (SF1). I vaguely remember staying in a bed and breakfast and visiting a family who lived on a caravan park. I distinctly remember sketching an older boy reclining on a bed.

The beach, made up of sand then mud seems to go out for miles, towards the elusive sea. Within the family the beachside town was known fondly as Weston-super-Mud.

The second time was on the way to somewhere else, in the 1980s with Richard, my late best friend. Of that day, memories of cold wind and rain remain.

Saturday reflection

There are so many harsh ‘modern’ buildings around. We are softening our bleak suburban views with plants.

This rather bizarre picture is a reflection in an orange glass topped table of next door neighbour’s townhouse backdrop, and burgeoning philodendron xanadu green wall, in front.

Scarce resource

Pouring down, hitting ground; transmutating.

Seeps slowly underground, no abating.

Gradually following gravity’s pull,

Channelled torrents churn to violently mull.

Cascading courses entwine, clashing. This

Roaring deluge crashes with a hiss.

Omnidirectional mist, high and low.

Fleetingly dancing, riding to and fro,

On gentle cavern’s zephyr, in the dark;

No living creature to watch or to hark.

Droplets traverse the void of chasm, old.

Catching hold, dingle dangle, dripping cold.

Rivulets forming, trickling, finding pass,

Slowly towards the edge, achieving mass.

Flowing from upon high to splash below.

Tinkling then momentary ripples show,

Moving across slow ebbing surface, creep.

Joining still amorphic pool, running deep.