Excerpt

As usual, Sax chain smoked his fags. Altair glimpsed the flick and lift action of Sax’s right hand. Imagining, coarse, nailless, nicotine stained, sausage fingers ascending to bristle stiff, grey, pencil moustache topped lips. Drag, hold, exhale; billowing smoke adding to the polluted atmosphere.

Heartfelt bird tributes

Caribbean flamingoes
Standing, wading, feeding
Oblong, 2020,
Kringle prezzy, cushion.

Pink and grey, tin galah,
Gaze fixedly at all.
Cherished birthday gift from
My love with love to me.

Framed lesser flamingo
Drawn in solitary stance.
Commemorating five
And twenty years as one.

Pink plastic flamingoes
Planted on long steel legs.
Christmas token of love;
Future, past, and present.

Dirty, fake, authentic

I feel slightly dirty, tainted from being drawn into binging Byron Baes on Netflix. The mostly self interested, egotistic personalities are at first cringeworthy. Skewed perspectives, judginess, assumptions about the actions and desires of each other, and much throwing of under the bus served as the catalyst to wanting to see how events play out.

One of the reality show’s stories follows musician and singer, Sarah moving across the state border from Goldie to be among fellow creatives in Byron Bay.

Sarah inadvertently causes friction while ping ponging from Nathan to Elias to Nathan. Elias confirms Nathan’s reputation of being a ‘fu#k boy’ to Sarah. Nathan is unwilling to accept this insight from one of his bros.

Elle, Nathan’s housemate, cattily describes Sarah as fake. When challenged by friends, she flatly denies the comment, changing it to not being authentic.

It appears never the twain shall meet where conformity is required to fit in with the floaty neutral set of Byron’s female upper echelon. Sadly for Sarah, the colourful, loud, figure hugging attire of the Gold Coast is seen as fake.

There I am thinking, we are evolved enough to be able to celebrate diversity, self expression, and authenticity.

Calm; not panic

There was a time when looking like a shag on a rock would have the opposite effect of self effacement. It would have instilled discomforting anxiety and a draining of self confidence, lasting for days later.

The other day, two teams congregated around the door to the meeting room. Spilling out into the breakout area, groups of twos, threes, and fours stood chatting, waiting for the occupants to vacate.

I know the majority of my colleagues by name, a few I count as more than acquaintances, having worked with them for coming up to three years.

I invested my energy in striking up a conversation with a relative newcomer, they having previously sought me out for a non work related discussions. Within seconds they walked away abandoning me to my solitude.

Maybe I had not done enough to engage with them, to deepen our relationship. When working from home they often requested my help through Teams. I am always happy to assist everyone where I can.

There was a fraction of a second of realisation, I could not escape to the contents of my mobile phone, it was on my desk downstairs. In the present moment, I calmly gazed, taking in the twenty or so people; not a hint of a blush, sweat or wish to take flight.

Early schooling

Happiest around water

I romantically assume, the purpose of schooling in 1960’s and 1970’s UK was to provide a general introduction to topics. A catalyst to inspire fresh minds to develop skills and assist in identifying one’s career path.

Primary school was all about singing, maypole dancing, being statues, playing percussion instruments, needlework, beanbags, art, decimalisation, decorating walls with forest gauging paper collages, playing ‘what’s the time Mr Wolf?’, free milk, and carbolic soap.

Streaming in secondary school labelled the ‘brightest’ two groups as ‘A’s destined for G.C.E ‘O’ and ‘A’ level study* whilst the three groups of ‘B’s were setup for C.S.E.s**. The remaining ‘R’ group of remedial students were segregated from the rest. It was rumoured they were consigned to a single room, secreted away somewhere to avoid sullying the reputation of the school and tainting the achievers.

In the first halcyon year, I realised my passions in art, pottery, drama, music, the Dewey decimal system organised library, history, English, French, and German. Dislikes included, P.E. (physical education), R.E. (religious education), geography, and science. Also, boys only, woodwork, metalwork, and technical drawing.

Girls only, typing, sewing, and domestic science were more preferable to me, sadly out of reach.

When electing a program of certificated study from the second year onwards, English language, mathematics, sports (cringe) and one science subject were compulsory. I elected courses in history, French, German, music (violin then oboe), pottery, and English literature.

As biology turned my stomach, chemistry was smelly and required an in-depth knowledge of the periodic table, physics was the only option left.

Even though as a youth and now, I had a terribly disorganised and random mind, I found solace in algebra and measuring objects.

For decades, I held onto the dog eared, pale peach gloss coloured logarithmic and other tables booklet. The cover retained an archive of finger prints, biro marks, food stains and liquid spill marks.

Unfortunately, my final year of secondary studies and fifth year examinations took place 30 kms south in a high school local to our new council house assigned to our family as part of the ‘Birmingham overspill’.

Somehow, I scraped by with four ‘O’ levels in English language, mathematics, history, and ceramics plus C.S.Es physics, German, and music (oral). Sufficient enough to commence an ordinary national diploma in hospitality.

In hindsight, we would have benefitted from courses in cooking, cleaning, laundry, personal hygiene, budgeting, safety, tolerance, respect, and communication skills.

I didn’t give up on French, gaining a high distinction in language and culture at university level in Australia.

*General Certificate of Education at Ordinary and Advanced level provided access to tertiary level technical and polytechnic colleges, and universities.

**Certificate of Secondary Education gained access to tertiary level technical colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeships.

Hedychium gardnerianum

This beauty was growing unfettered adjacent to a field in Montville, Queensland. A far cry from its native habitat in the Himalayas of India, Nepal, and Bhutan.

Hedychium gardnerianum, the Kahili ginger, Kahila garland-lily or ginger lily, is a species of flowering plant in the ginger family Zingiberaceae.

It is an erect herbaceous perennial growing to 8 ft (2.4 m) tall with long, bright green leaves clasping the tall stems. The very fragrant pale yellow and red flowers are held in dense spikes above the foliage.

They appear towards the end of summer.

The above information is from Wikipedia Hedychium gardnerianum
5 Feb 2022, 9:30 a.m

Fixer upper

View north from Montville

Last Friday we drove north north east to Montville in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. A picturesque, seemingly unending string of timber buildings housing cafés, galleries, and crystal shops, nestled comfortably among trees and lush vegetation.

Estate suites building

We checked into a ground floor estate suite at Spicers Clovelly Estate Retreat. A former pineapple plantation, five minutes drive out of town.

A wet evening cleared by morning, replaced by fast moving continent sized cloud formations. Plenty of intermittent sunshine brightened the day.

Bush hut

After breakfast we ventured off to the lake lookout. Nearby, dwarfed by the surrounding trees, a seemingly ancient ramshackle bush hut stands. The timber weathered to silver grey relic is perched on poles on a cliff’s edge, commanding an uninterrupted view of Lake Baroon.

This fixer upper would make a great tiny house. An open plan single storey including a bed with a second bed in the roof space, accessed by a ladder; a little like a two storey tree house.

Lake Baroon

The one hour plus return journey took us along knee high dew laden grass filled walkways through verdant rainforest glades. At times we felt a trifle lost, following directionless signs.

The walk back

The weekend away was so relaxing, it was what we both needed.

Bauble reflections

Harrods, or H. A. Rods, Victorian-esque decaying decadence from my twenties full of naivety, hope, bon vivre, and pretensions. Sanguine to the point of oblivion.

Leather clad, muscled, merman purchased in my gay abandon forties. Discovered, I was part of the watery feelings clan with body issues; lacking self discipline to change. Hopes and dreams are mostly possible.

Rainbow bauble, bought this year. A fully formed fairy, not far off sixty; should have, could have, would have. Accepting my authentic self and life’s reality.

Happy holiday, warmest {{{HUGS}}, and a joyous 2022.

In the spring of 1801, Ludwig van Beethoven completed the ballet, the Creatures of Prometheus based on Salvatore Viganò’s storyline.

The ballet premiered on 28 March 1801 at the Burgtheater in Vienna with 28 performances. It was premiered in New York at the Park Theatre on 14 June 1808, one of the first full length works by Beethoven to be performed in the United States. It is the only full length ballet by Beethoven.

The Australian premier of Beethoven’s 220 years old music and ballet was a matinee performance on 20 November 2022 at the Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane. The ballet was historically reconstructed from the 1801 performance with new choreography by Queenslander, Jayden Grogan.

Lucas D. Lynch, conductor and producer informed the audience he was inspired to share Beethoven’s ballet with Australia after hearing the music for the first time, 14 years earlier.

The plot follows Prometheus stealing fire from Zeus to spark life into two clay figures, thereby creating humankind.

Mostly set on Mount Parnassus, the man and woman encounter a multitude of characters from Greek mythology during their journey from birth through education to their wedding:

  • Apollo (god of music, dance, the Sun, light, and poetry)
  • Amphion (built Thebes with the power of music) playing harp
  • Euterpe (delight) playing flute
  • Orpheus (legendary musician) playing cello
  • Mars (god of war)
  • Melpomene (muse of tragedy)
  • Thalia (one of the three graces)
  • Dionysus (god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, wine, fruit, and theatre)
  • Silenus (drunken god of wine)
  • Pan (god of the wild, rustic music and companion of nymphs)

We were fortunate to be able to enjoy this spectacular production firsthand. The balance of comedy and tragedy against Beethoven’s powerfully sublime music was awe inspiring!