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Showing posts from November, 2018

Old stuff 21

Being just 8 kms apart, Kandos and Rylstone are separate towns but share infrastructure such as the local hospital.   Kandos is quite a new town (founded in 1914) whereas Rylstone started in the 1830s and many of the old standstone buildings remain.  It's a delightful picturesque touristy town.  My image shows just a small number of the old buildings in the main street.

Christmas is coming

When we were in the city this week I noticed rather odd planters representing Christmas trees.  I think in time they might flower creating their own living decorations.  The Christmas banners are up on the poles and I saw a gathering of people who looked like they were going so spread Christmas joy but disappointingly a closer look at their shirts revealed they were No Gas protesters. 

All great stories lead back to us

The gallery at the State Library of NSW has this window overlooking the Mitchell Library reading room.  I love that room with all its books containing thousands of stories. A book I have been reading recently This week I read Ransom by David Malouf.  It is a reimagination of one of the most famous stories in all of literature - Homer's Illiad (Books 22-24). I have been a little scared of reading Malouf and even more scared of the Illiad so when I started Ransom I was at a bit of a disadvantage but after about 30 pages I was into the rhythm of the story and writing.  I now see that Malouf deserves his reputation as one of Australia's great writers.  In Ransom his writing is poetic, simple and complex all at the same time.  Wonderful reading. I will read more Malouf and have discovered a copy of Illiad on my bookshelf so might even give it a go one day.

Thriving on neglect

In our Kandos garden there are several baskets of succulents hanging under the orange trees  left by the previous owner.  I have given them absolutely no attention and they are nonetheless rewarding me with lovely flowers at the moment.


State Library of NSW Gallery The State Library of NSW is currently showing a selection of 300 paintings from their collection in the gallery. Off in one of the side galleries is a digital artwork about Blacktown when it was fields and creeks, before it became today's 300,000 person city.  A friend (about my age) recently told me that she was raised in Blacktown and it was like living in the country not the city.  An old gentleman at church told me he lived in Penrith when it had just 6,000 people and he walked down the street and knew people. There are over 200,000 people there today.  I find it hard to grasp how things have changed so much. A poem for today It is about a different type of sprawl but I like this poem -  The Quality of Sprawl by Les Murray.

More like home

We were on our way back from Queensland and in contrast to the image I showed last Sunday here is what the view out the car window was like this week. To me this landscape feels much more like home. I always find coastal Queensland a bit of shock, everything is so green, the rainforests so dense, it's so hot and the air is so thick with humidity.  For a while until I acclimatise it seems almost as strange as a foreign land. Reflection: Ephesians 2:17-19 New International Version (NIV) "He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household."

Another B&W bird

Pied Butcherbird To close off this trip here is another black and white bird we spotted at our campsite at Casino.  This one is a Pied Butcherbird We seem to have a lot of different black and white birds. I am wondering if there are lots of them elsewhere in the world too.

Old Stuff 20

Mount Lindesay We drove back from Brisbane to Casino through the lovely lush farmland, forests and mountains of the Scenic Rim. I was surprised to see at the small town of Rathdowney an Axemans and Sawyers Club.  I am guessing it is people keeping the old skills of woodchopping alive.  But for me I prefer an electric log splitter to an axe.

Pretty Purple

After lunch we boarded the ferry again and went to South Bank where the bougainvillea was also past  its prime but we found some good spots still in magnificent flower on the walkway.   I don’t think this is actually purple, probably cerise or some other fancy name.

Brisbane welcome

We drove up to Brisbane the next day to spend time with my sister.  She took us on a ferry ride on the Brisbane River to New Farm Park for lunch.  That is a little Welcome Swallow and the Storey Bridge in the shot. What I have been reading recently I haven't had time to read anything much this week.  So here is my British list instead, 21 per cent.  much higher than the American list. The Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis) Lord of the Flies (William Golding) The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy) Animal Farm (George Orwell) Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift) Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame,) The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (Henry Fielding) Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) Emma (Jane Austen) Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell) Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray) Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë) Bleak House (Charles Dickens) Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bront

At the sea

We drove from Grafton to see the sea at Yamba. I usually show you something from my gardens on Tuesday.  Before we left I did a quick run around our bush block at Whistlers Rest because quite a few of the native flowers I was expecting to appear earlier have popped up.  Here they are: I 


Knowing I won't normally come this way in November I was super keen to check out the famous Jacarandas in Grafton.  They were past their peak but still lovely.  If you want to see them in their full glory take a look at this post Diane's blog . I was wondering who had the foresight to plant so many of these gorgeous trees because they are clearly very old.   A web search told me  "On 2nd July 1879, Mr H. A. Volkers, a Grafton seed merchant, was contracted to plant trees for the Grafton Council. During the 1880's he was instrumental in supplying and planting hundreds of Jacaranda trees in the streets of Grafton." A poem for today The Jacaranda by Dougles Stewart

Cattle on a thousand hills

We have spent the last week "Sweet Wayfaring" in Northern NSW/Queensland.  We usually avoid the north at this time of year because it is too hot and humid, but we had a funeral to attend so decided to make the most of it, and fortunately the weather was kind. We made our central base the town of Casino which is the regional hub of a very large cattle industry and claims to be the "Beef Capital" of Australia. Reflection: Psalm 50:9-12 New International Version (NIV) "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it."


We end our short tour of Leura with this week's bird shot, a magpie taking a drink at the fountain outside one of the local restaurants.

Old Stuff 19

Vintage in Leura is a classy, not one of your junky old antique shops or op shops. I think the vintage inspired dresses are lovely, they remind me of my Mum when I was a small kid.  I haven’t taken to wearing them myself though.  

Fast Food not

Cafe Madeline, Leura A trip to Leura is not complete without a stop at one of the many cafes. Fast food chains are all but non existent in the Blue Mountains.  There is one MacDonalds in the lower mountains, no KFC, an occasional Subway and just about nothing else.  The idea is to keep more individual eating experiences in the mountains.  If you are in Katoomba and in need of your favourite fast food fix then you have to drive to the bordering cities of Penrith or Lithgow a 40-50 km (30 mile) drive.


Leura has a very good bookshop, Megalong Books.  Would you choose any of these titles? I would probably go for the new Markus Zusak Bridge of Clay but I am still busy reading classics right now. A book I have read recently This week I decided to attack a British novel. I will show you my British list next week. In the meanwhile I boosted it by reading Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.  What an odd novel. It tells no story, just meanders in an out of people's minds. I am not a fan.

Old Shed

Even though the gardens of Leura are beautiful I had to take a photo of it because it is unusual to see anything old or dishevelled in Leura and I love old sheds.  The fragrance of Jasmine was everywhere. Meanwhile in my own garden the azaleas and big rhododendron are in flower at Burnbrae.

Garden village

The City of the Blue Mountains comprises a ribbon of small towns/villages running along a ridge and bordered on each side with national park - our economy mostly depends on tourism.  Each town has its own character and Leura is probably the most popular with high class homes, speciality shops, good eating and garden prettiness.  This mural in Leura mall celebrates the garden delights of the village as does this rather nice mosaic on the wall of the public toilets. A poem for today The Garden by Andrew Marvel

Remembrance Day

Today we are remembering 100 years since the armistice that ended World War 1.  There is a sea of red poppies  in Canberra and other places in remembrance.  Nearly every family in Australia had men involved in that war.  I published the story of my great uncles some years ago. Knowing Remembrance Day was coming up I took this shot when I spotted poppies in an interior decorating shop window in Leura. This is also to let you know I plan to take you on brief tour of some of the many delights of Leura this week. Reflection: John 15:13 New International Version (NIV) "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

Black Cockatoo

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo I heard a familiar screech and looked up to find a Black Cockatoo in the neighbour's tree -- it stayed just long enough for me to grab my camera and get a shot.  While they are often around when I am bush walking, we don't see them in our gardens much. I think they prefer the native forests.

Old stuff 18

Last week I showed the vintage front door our our 1960s Kandos house I thought it would be fun to show you the front door of our much older 1890s mountains house.  The door is solid but rather simple with frosted glass and coloured glass panels at the top.  However the more obvious difference in this house is the very high ceiling, very long hallway and that the home is timber rather than bricks.

Rylstone Street Feast

Last weekend was Rylstone Street Feast.  Tables are set up in the wide main street to serve the street feast lunch for those who had pre-booked.   Plus there were lots of market stalls for everyone to enjoy.

Up town

Katoomba Cultural Centre and Library We went up to Katoomba to do our weekly shopping and decided to also have morning tea at the cafe at the Cultural Centre.  The viewing platform promises to have a great view but the reality is rather different.  There is a great view in the distance, but you have to look over the supermarket first. A book I have read recently I have added another classic to my American list.  This time The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  I was hooked from the first paragraphs describing devastating drought and the impact of poor farmers.  These were people I was going to be able to take into my heart.


Oh I wish I could transmit fragrance via the web.  The Sweet Peas from my Kandos garden smell so wonderful -- takes me back to spring fetes when I was kid. The vase is on the window sill of our Kandos kitchen which overlooks the citrus trees.  For the past couple of weeks opening the back door has let in the wonderful fragrance of orange blossom. I have been trying to capture the wonderfulness of the rose garden too. Here is my latest attempt, I think I need lessons on garden photography.

Hay making

I spotted this field near Mudgee this week.  I don't know if it's a failed winter crop turned into hay or whether it was a field always destined to be hay.  Either way, I love to photograph bailed hay. A poem for today The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth and old favourite.

Hearing the Word

We attended our Kandos Church this morning.  This is a photo of the back of the church taken in early morning sunlight several weeks ago. Reflection: Psalm 119:11 New International Version (NIV) "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

Bird's nest

Magpie Lark (Pee Wee) nest and chicks How exciting is this!  I commented on someone's blog recently that I don't see bird's nests, probably because I don't know where to look. Then a short time later noticed a muddy growth on a branch high in one of gum trees at our bush block - I guessed it was a nest but it was way to high for me to investigate. Next time I was out there I saw a black and white bird fly over to it so grabbed my camera and pointed it in that direction. When I enlarged the image I could see the chicks. After a bit of investigation it appears to be the nest of a Magpie Lark.  The image below is of a Magpie Lark that I took many years ago.

Old Stuff 17

I love the vintage front door in our back-in-time house at Kandos.  And look at the retro boomerang handle on the linen cupboard.  I will paint that brown cupboard one day.


These are details of the recently restored stone carvings on the walls in the food court at Central Station.  Looking at them makes me nostalgic to get into the van and go "sweet wayfaring".  They depict wheat silos, the central feature of so many towns west of the Great Divide, and the wonderful iron bridges so frequently crossing rivers out west. The highway has been full of caravans lately, I guess because of school holidays and southerners returning home from their great migration north for the winter. Unfortunately I didn’t get my act together this week to participate in CDP theme day.