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Showing posts from December, 2018

Christmas Greetings

Wishing you and your families a wonderful and blessed Christmas season. I am taking a short break and will be back in the New Year. Reflection: Luke 2:13-14 New International Version (NIV) Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Sea Gull

Oh dear I really am dragging the bottom of the barrel when the only bird shot I have is a sea gull.  Spotted in the fountain at Darling Harbour a week or so ago.

Old stuff 24

Huntsman and Dogs by Henri Jacquemart When I was in the Rose Gardens at Sydney Botanic Gardens I was attracted to this lovely sculpture.  I was commenting on Grace's blog earlier in the week how I love people sculptures.  This one is even better with both man and animals.  This beautiful piece was restored in 2001.

Silky Oak

At this time of year the purple jacarandas seem to grab most of the attention.  But another tree is worthy of note - the lovely yellow flowers of silky oaks which are an Australian native tree.  I spotted this one behind the church at Kandos. When I was walking in the Sydney botanic gardens later in the week I was surprised by this red flowered tree which the sign said was a red silky oak or tree waratah.  It seems quite different from the yellow one, not just a different coloured version of the same.

Silly season

In keeping with my Wednesday book theme the chandeliers and web of lights in Pitt St mall had me thinking of Miss Haversham's banquet. A book I have read recently This week I took on Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I remember going to the movie when I was as uni in the early 70s.  I didn't understand any of it.  My only recollection is of confusion and a mad man sitting up a tree. Since I am challenging myself to read books I might find difficult I gave it a go.  I was surprised to find it really amusing. But the circular logic of the various vignettes is so clever it requires quite a bit of concentration. I figured the story in the end would just circle back on itself in some ridiculous way so there was no point pushing on even though I was enjoying it. I decided to do 100 pages and call it quits. Problem is I haven’t reached the bit with the man in the tree so I might keep going.

Harvest continues

Have your ever tried white cherries? They are the best cherries I have ever tasted.  Our neighbour at Kandos brought some from his garden across to us this week.  This is lovely because the tiny number of cherries from our tree (black cherries) were gobbled up by birds before they ripened. Other good news, we got back to Kandos in time to catch the plums just as they were ripening.  I picked four full buckets from the tree.  Plenty of cooking and freezing done. We are back in Kandos today and the apricots are ripening.  I picked three buckets today with plenty more still in the tree.   I am hoping we have beaten the fruit fly to most of them.  

Walking in the Rain

Not daunted by they rain, we've been keeping up with our walking. Going up to the shops to pick up fresh bread from the bakery.  There is nothing quite like a country bakery. A poem for today Rain Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.  It is so short here it is. The rain is raining all around, It falls on field and tree, It rains on the umbrellas here, And on the ships at sea.

Storm coming

Hurrying back from Mudgee, hoping to get home in time to bring the washing in before the storm builds up and breaks. We have been getting quite a lot of welcome rain storms in the past week. Reflection: Mark 4:35-41 New International Version (NIV) Jesus Calms the Storm That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”  Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves


When we were walking around Wentworth Falls Lake the other day I spotted these black waterbirds which I initially thought would be water hens but checking them up when I got home they turned out at Eurasian Coots. To me the word "coot" is usually associated with people saying "silly old coot" to refer to an older gentleman doing something fuddy-duddy, which has nothing to do with these birds.  Coots are apparently known for their lobed feet - see below - aren't they weird?

Old Stuff 23

This old stuff post is actually new stuff - returning to the old ways.  Once upon a time trams and double decker buses travelled the streets of Sydney, now we are bringing them back again. The George Street light rail has been dogged by delays, so even though it is looking lovely in its Christmas finery there are no trams passing under those arches. I was surprised when I saw a double decker bus the other day. I looked it up and they are progressively replacing the bendy buses with double deckers - so old is new again.

Another day another walk

Here we go, this time walking around Darling Harbour at the edge of the Sydney CBD. That is a giant walk-through Christmas bauble in the foreground. The photograph below is looking in the other direction.  This was a bit of a shock to me. We used to own an apartment on the 30th floor of The Peak, the pinkish building in the centre of this shot (behind one still being constructed). It stood alone in that part of Sydney and had fabulous views over Darling Harbour.  In our time the smoke stack for the cross city tunnel took away a little of that view but in 2016 the old low-set Entertainment Centre was demolished and very tall towers have replaced it.  I suspect our old apartment no longer has lovely harbour views.    I checked the real estate pages to see how they described apartments there today and it is now boasting an "enviable New York style backdrop".  I guess that is the price of progress, there is certainly a lot more life down that end of Darling Harbour, lo

Secret River

I dug into my archives for this one because I wanted a photo of the Hawkesbury River, the subject of today's book. I love this river.  We regularly cross it at the foot of the mountains near Penrith (this photo was taken near Richmond though).  At Penrith it is known as the Nepean River a bit further downstream at about this point is it known at the Hawkesbury but is the same river. A book I have read recently This week I read The Secret River by Kate Grenville.  I have been avoiding this because I have not overly enjoyed other books by Grenville.  But it is regular on Australian reading lists so I gave it a go.  I actually found it quite readable and the historic recreation of encounters between early settlers and indigenous Australians quite plausible.  My only issue was that we didn't get inside the characters enough for it to be a great book, but given the contentious nature of the subject matter perhaps that would have been problematic. 

Christmas Star

This week we are at Burnbrae garden.  For years I got annoyed with the dogwood on the southern side.  Each spring I looked for lovely pink flowers like the one up the road.  No flowers appeared.  Then one year I chanced to look out the window near Christmas time and to my surprise I found it displaying lovely white star like flowers - I had been looking for the wrong thing at the wrong time. Other things happening at Burnbrae include the bottlebrush flowering OK for the first time since I pruned it when the shrub nearly died. The Australian Native Frangipani putting on a floral display outside the kitchen window. It is a tall skinny rainforest plant native to Queensland. And the very insignificant flowers of the port wine magnolia pushing out their scent to welcome us home - it is a strong bubble gum type scent that can be smelt a long way from the tree in the afternoon and evening, not much perfume in the morning at all.

Four sticks

We were down at Rosehill getting the car serviced so took our walk along the road beside Rosehill racecourse.  I used to love this drive because it had various artworks (sticks, stones etc) set in red gravel.  Time has not been kind, the red gravel has been taken over by weeds and the sticks now look like a rather sad building demolition or some such. A poem for today Fire-Stick Farming by Mark O'Connor.  I like this poem and others in the anthology of the same name because they are poems about the Blue Mountains.


This morning we attended church at Rylstone.  Whenever I am in this church I sit next to this stained glass window.  I am a creature of habit.  The first time I visit a church I pick a spot and every time I go back I sit in the same place!  It is not just church.  I choose the same spot in train carriages and other places too. Do you do that type of thing? Reflection Hebrews 10:24-25 New International Version (NIV) "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."


The  Eastern Great Egret We spotted this beautiful bird on our stroll in Lawson Park, Mudgee.  We also saw one when we were walking around Wentworth Falls lake later in the week. They make me think of beautiful ballerinas. I love the look of ballerinas but don’t actually like going to ballet much.   Do you enjoy ballet?  

Old Stuff 22

When in Orange we did our walk around Cook Park.  This is a lovely Victorian era park established in 1873 and covers an area of 4 hectares. I love old parks with their mature trees and interesting old structures.


We had a guest staying over the weekend and she loves honey so we decided to take her on a drive to the Beekeepers Inn which is halfway between Bathurst and Orange. There you can taste the different honeys and also get a nice meal. It is surprising how different the honey tastes depending on the blossoms the bees have been gathering from.  I settled on Yellowbox as my favourite, it is not a very strong flavour.    Do you have a favourite honey flavour?

On walking and reading

My husband's doctor says he has to walk more.  Mine has been saying the same so we are making an effort to walk wherever we find ourselves each day. This is better than just going around the block. Last week we circuited Lawson Park in Mudgee which is beside the Cudgegong River.  This photo made me think of Grace's image of a  lone minstral  in a park.  It might have been nicer if this gentleman had been strumming and singing but perhaps he was reading an e-book. A book I have read recently This week I read  Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey because I am working on beefing up my Australian list and this book appears on a number of them.  It's a young adult novel said to be Australia's To Kill a Mockingbird. Indeed the book often references that tale and as a result it begs for comparison. In my opinion comes out wanting.  I didn't enjoy it much.

Seeing red

Sprekelia - Aztec Lily or Jacobean Lily It's OK I'm not angry, just seeing red things. Red Sprekelia lilies are popping up in our Kandos garden at the moment.  I hadn't come across the lily before moving here so had to do a web search to find out their name.  I assure you they need no special care around here, there are lots and lots of them. The fruit on the small plum tree has begun to ripen.  I picked a few to turn into stewed plums.  I expect the rest will have over ripened or been stung by fruit fly before I am next back to Kandos.  Last year they ripened pretty much at the same time so I was able to strip the tree all at once, not this year.

I've been everywhere

Last week was an I've been everywhere week for us - Kandos, Rylstone, Mudgee, Lawson, Penrith, Bathurst-Orange and Sydney CBD. We call the drive from Kandos to Mudgee via Rylstone the "scenic route".  There is so much to enjoy, from the rolling countryside, to mountain scenery, to Lake Windemere, to the vineyards and olive groves just to name a few of the delights.  One of the sights I always enjoy is this building which I assume to have been shearers quarters - I am not sure of their current purpose now they have been freshened up with bright coloured doors. A poem for today The lyrics for I've Been Everywhere  song.  I didn't realise until doing this post that the original Aussie song has been adapted to numerous other countries .


Inside the QVB Christmas Tree We went to the Cathedral this morning and enjoyed the Advent service. Advent is the time leading to the celebration of Christmas and looking forward to the second coming of Christ. After the service we went to the Queen Victoria Building for lunch where I grabbed this rather interesting shot looking up the inside the Christmas tree.  What you are seeing is the magnificent crystal trunk reflected by the mirrored interior which is also bespangled with more lights and crystals. Reflection: John 1:9 New International Version (NIV) "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world."

The joy of watching

Little Corella I find watching and photographing birds gives me a lot of joy.  How about you? This is another bird I photographed when we were in the campsite at Casino.  I have often seen large flocks of Corellas noisily circling around inland rivers but have not caught I nice close up like this.  I didn't know they had such a noticable eye patch. Participating today in the City Daily Photo theme day - Joy.