School Holidays

School Holidays

Two weeks of school holidays have been and gone and we survived 🙂

There was some lazying about

A quick roadtrip to Brisbane

Some having fun

A gorgeous boy turned 11

A water Ddagon in the botanical gardens thought a turtle’s back would be a good place to sunbake

Ducks were ducking and a diving

Swans and cygnets were doing their thing at Lake Alford

Bryden’s were a resting (after visiting the Queensland museum)

It’s good to be back home 😉

Guest Blogger – Tracey Sargent from Quiet Paws

Guest Blogger – Tracey Sargent from Quiet Paws

Today I would like to introduce you to my blogging friend and writer Tracey Sargent from ‘Quiet Paws … treading softly on the world’ blog.

Tracey Sargent

Tracey’s blog is a calm, peaceful corner of the world filled with little gems to take the edge off this frantic, chaotic and often angry world we live in. She sometimes provides virtual coffee and cake, which is a real treat 😉

Follow this link to stopover at her place.

She lives in my old home town of Brisbane and ‘likes dreaming of almost impossible things, imagining delicious possibilities and weaving words into a tapestry of fiction. The rest of my time is spent laughing, shopping for vintage clothes (especially dresses), befriending lovely people, cuddling my dog, capturing photos, baking sweets, watching movies, spending time with a good book, and loving my husband.’

We have a lot in common, include a penchant for the inimitable Nicolas Cage, a love of vintage clothes, woodland animals, photography, marine biology and dogs 😉

I asked Tracey the usual questions and here is her response:

Why do you blog?

In the same way that my blog has morphed and evolved over the years, I think the reasons why I blog have also changed.

When I started my blog back in 2006, it was just a place for me to share my writing and random thoughts. Because I tend to over-think and over-analyse my writing (and pretty much everything else), I used blogging as a way to loosen up the words and just write a bit more ‘in the moment’. I also found that blogging was a really great way to introduce a different type of discipline into my creative life, by encouraging me to commit to a regular blogging frequency.

I then dabbled in focussing more on reviews of ‘events’ like movies, live performances, music and books … now that I look back on that period of time, I think I was struggling with not having a defined theme for my blog. I was pretty much writing about anything and everything (and still do). While I still sometimes have my ups and downs with that lack of clear definition, I’ve come to realise that my blog does in fact have a theme – it’s me! I’m the link that runs through each of my posts … at the time it felt like a major blogging crisis, but now it seems so obvious to me.

I’ve had ups and downs on the blog over the years, which has meant that I’ve sometimes struggled to find focus, been baffled by what to write next, and wondered why anyone would be interested in half the stuff I write about … but I’m pretty sure most bloggers face similar challenges. I’m starting to think that overcoming those issues is just a natural part of being a blogger. Nowadays I think I’m much better at recognising the low points and just working through them as best I can.

My latest major blogging transformation probably occurred towards the end of last year when I felt like I’d really hit my stride. I committed to blogging more frequently than I ever had before, and really started to proactively grow and engage with the wonderful community which had formed around my blog. I had fallen utterly and completely head over heels in love with blogging once more.

What do you like most about blogging?

Because there is so much to like about blogging, I had to think extra long and hard on this answer … otherwise I’d keep you reading here all day and night (and who’s got time for that?). So after much deliberation I’ve decided that what I like most basically comes down to two things – diversity and people.

Blogging in isolation is really no fun at all, and it kind of defeats the purpose of putting yourself and your creativity ‘out there’. I think the way to discover true joy from blogging is to open yourself up to the incredible community of bloggers – they are a constant source of inspiration, support and friendship. I suppose because my blog is a bit of a ‘mixed breed’, I similarly tend to seek out and find inspiration from a diverse mix of bloggers. I’m often surprised and delighted by the number of like-minded people that can be found in all manner of unexpected places. I don’t like being defined or constrained by any one label or theme, so I love cutting across those boundaries in the blogs that I read as well.

I feel very fortunate to have ‘met’ such wonderful people through my blog – some people I’ve known since I first started blogging all those years ago, while others I’ve come to know more recently (but for some, it feels like I’ve known them forever).

Blogging is such an important part of my life that it has become like second nature – I get frustrated when I don’t have enough time to post as often as I’d like or visit the blogs that I love to read.

Sometimes when talking to people in ‘the real world’ I forget that not everyone has a blog or understands the many and varied joys of blogging. They have NO idea how much fun they’re missing out on!


Thanks Tracey 🙂

Flood Catastrophe in Queensland

Flood Catastrophe in Queensland

In case you missed the headlines, the flood disaster in Queensland has got steadily worse in the past few days and authorities are now describing the situation as a mega-catastrophe.

I once wrote a post Run for the Hills: The Gabe Files about my recurring dream of tsunami and massive floods. I couldn’t work out why Brisbane was in the dream!  Well here we go.

Seventy-five percent of the State is flood affected and the cities of Ipswich and Brisbane have now gone under. Tens of thousands of houses and business have been flooded, livestock and pets killed, roads and bridges destroyed, and the number of people killed is steadily rising as the search and rescue continues.

There was also an horrific flash flood that began in Toowoomba and then reached a number of small rural towns, wiping them out totally and killing people. A search and rescue mission is currently underway to recover bodies. There are large numbers of people missing.

Here is some footage of the flood in Brisbane. I used to live just a couple of blocks away from where they are pushing the Volkswagon. We have friends and people who were once neighbours who have houses completely submerged by water.

And some more of the Toowoomba flash flood and surrounding areas.

We are now safe here on the shores of Hervey Bay, but there is still weeks left of the wet season. Some towns have been flooded two or more times. Our neighbouring town of Bundaberg experienced more flooding just yesterday.

The whole State has ground to a holt, with ports and roads closed. There is no bread or milk in the shops today but hopefully this will be resolved in the next few days. The fruit and vegetable markets in Brisbane (Rocklea markets) which supply much of Queensland and Norther NSW was completely submerged by floodwaters and supplies will have to come from elsewhere.

The logistics of rescue, recovery and rebuilding are mind boggling but we have extensive resources and will deal with this disaster slowly but surely.

Queenslanders are tough and will help each other out in an emergency.

We can’t just run for the hills!

Magical Memory Maker

Magical Memory Maker

Magical Memory Maker

Once upon a time there was a little fairytale worker’s cottage in Murarrie
where a grandma with big bear hugs squeezed the air from little chests
and ginger nut bikkies and ginger ale were devoured
by knobbly kneed kids, unaccustomed to such delights.

This Grandma was a magical memory maker
and cast her spell on all her grandchildren
so that one day they would also become magical memory makers.

She had ginger hair, turned grey, deftly brushed and restrained
with brown squiggly hairpins, into an abundant bun, always.
She was short and plump, but strong in arm and opinion.

A macadamia bush would greet us, alongside Grandma, at the front gate,
dark green and rich with nuts, more scattered on the grass
leathery casings with lips cracked open to reveal the shiny brown prize
the macadamia nut
eagerly collected by the grandkids, and placed carefully in a hole
in the cement three step staircase leading to Grandma’s kitchen.
Hammer smack.
don’t eat too many or you’ll get a tummy ache
wise words dismissed without delay by hungry children.

Running like crazy around yard and house
searching for new surprises,
close scrutiny of bookshelves was a must
scrabbling through the ever-changing hodge podge
collections of tattered paperbacks
Biggles and Boys Own Annuals
the three boys had grown and left home but the books wanted to stay.
Reading material was given, taken, returned, taken again
an intergenerational book merry-go-round.

Wood and glass cabinets were full of dust collectors, but
endlessly fascinating for the mind and eye of a child.
Old styled dressing table with large mirror, so full of stuff
large hairbrushes, bobby pins, talcum powder
dangling necklaces, jewellery boxes,
old fashioned perfume decanters
perfume dispensed at the squeeze of a fabric covered air bubble
yellow tinged formal photographs
of a long time ago, with
Grandpa, black and white and well dressed
for the annual photo of union leaders,
heading up the plasterers.

A pot belly fridge choking with ice
grumbled at the back of a tiny kitchen,
resenting little hands
opening and shutting,
opening and shutting
don’t let the hot air in.

Monstrous mango trees cooled the little Queenslanders’
and protected skin, tin and timber from scorching rays.

A dilapidated wooden fence peeked out from under
the the tight embrace of a mulberry bush,
the luscious fruit blushing.

A crooked, cracked pathway on a lumpy backyard
led to the outhouse
one room backyard dunny
placed as far away from the house as the garden would allow.
A bucket of wood shavings beside the grim toilet was used to hide offerings.
Grandma would say discretely
I’m off to visit me Aunty
I’m going to drop a penny
when needing to go to the backyard dispensary
and I wondered where this lady was hidden, and what happened to the coins.
At night it was always wise to journey to the outhouse in pairs
hearts pounded fast, only slowing when safely back in front
of the old black and white box television, with alien antennae.

Grandma the cat lady
cats, cats and more cats
there was the inner circle, her own cats,
and there was the outer circle,
the motley crew of strays,
diseased, skinny, mouldy cats
scary cats
the smell of dried and tinned cat food
competed with sunlight soap
for a place in our memories of
Grandma’s place.

Then there was the thick, putrid smells from the local tannery, punishing our nostrils
when the wind made a bad choice in direction,
hanging about like crows in the school yard,
waiting for the children to finish lunch.

A Westerly wind would answer our prayers
and the smell was gone
replaced by freshly mown grass
marble cake and tea.

Time spent at the gingerbread house
under the spell of the memory maker
weaved some magical memories indeed.

The End