Saturday 28 April 2007

I did say that unless I thought there was something worthwhile/provocative/thoughtful to write about, I wouldn't write anything. ( No, I didn't use those words exactly, but you get my drift). However, that doesn't excuse my not even putting a new photo up.Why, then, has the initial interest in blogging started to wane, after a month? The accepted thinking is that if a blogger makes it to the 3 month anniversary, they have overcome a substantial hurdle, and things are looking pretty good. However, there is no kind of qualitative measure in that, and haven't we all read blog posts that seem to fill a space and not offer anything more.

So-o, why have I started to stumble already on the blogging path? The answer, my friends, is the ticking of the clock and the ridiculous amount of time used up in posting even a mildly thoughtful piece of writing. I am having a bit of a bother in justifying that use of my time, when there are many other interests lying under-explored or GASP...ignored. That doesn't even hint at the more mundane affairs of daily life that are being thoroughly neglected.

Aah..but here's the thing...I am enjoying the intellectual discipline of writing...of considering and reconsidering words and phrases...of editing the writing. Actually, I love it, so there's the dilemma.

Wednesday 25 April 2007

The One Day

Today is ANZAC Day, the National Day of Remembrance both here in Australia, and in New Zealand. It's the one day that both countries pause, jointly, to remember particularly the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli, Turkey, on 25th April, 1915, during World War One, and more generally, the sacrifice,and ultimate futility and horror of war.

At a more personal level, for most Australians, it's the one day they specifically focus their thoughts and memories on family members, or friends perhaps, who have served their country in times of international conflict.

Here is Frank John Chappell, serial no. 16181.
He's my grandfather, my mother's father, though I never knew him, as he'd died before I was born. He enlisted in the 1st Division AIF, 2nd Field Company Engineers, in October, 1916. He was a sapper, an engineer who built tunnels and trenches, and arrived as a reinforcement in France, in April,1917. He took part in the 2nd Battle of Bullecourt, which was successful in capturing German lines, and then the 3rd Battle of Ypres.This battle is possibly more well-known by a chilling single word .....Passchendaele, a small Belgian village whose name became synonymous with death, torrential rain and stinking mud.
In this photo, soldiers of the Australian 1st Div. negotiate duck-boards near Passchendaele.

Frank Chappell then went on to participate in the battle around Menin Road and then finally the battle at Amiens.

From a population of 5 million people, 300,000 men enlisted during WW1, over 60,000 were killed and another 156,00 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner. Frank Chappell returned to Australia in 1919, but continued to experience poor health as a result of gas attacks in 1917 and died in 1945.


Monday 23 April 2007

Sunrise No. 5 - Jingarra, Sandy Hollow

Now this IS one of my favourite places in space....Jingarra, otherwise known as The Farm, near Sandy Hollow, in the Hunter Valley of NSW. In one of my posts at Easter, I put up a picture of the house. My connection with this place goes back 25 years or more, when there was just the old blue caravan, the bush shower and the dunny in the up-turned water tank, with the best views in the valley! The land was bought by bro-in-law's family can't-remember-when, with the object of building a bush retreat. Over the years, the beautiful stone house was built by the family over weekends, holidays and the birth of 5 babies who are all now young adults. It's certainly evolved over time and there are many many warm and happy memories linked to special times spent at Jingarra. These memories also provide markers for the passage of time through my own life.

The top photo shows a very foggy, sombre dawn, looking off into a valley. However, not too long after, the sun had burned off the fog, and the same valley was awash with pure, clear sunlight.

Sunday 22 April 2007

"Copying Beethoven" update

Yes, just as the cynic in me had suspected, the Anna Holtz character in the movie I wrote about on Tuesday, "Copy Beethoven", is completely fictitious, as were several other aspects of the film. Hollywood...ppphhhffff!'

Look for Sunrise No 5 tomorrow.

Saturday 21 April 2007

Sunrise no. 4 - Kalumburu mission, WA

This was sunrise on my last day in Kalumburu,as I was flying out later that morning. Kalumburu is an Aboriginal mission community on the north Kimberley coast in Western Australia, and was founded by Spanish Benedictine monks at the end of the 19th century. The original mission buildings were built right on the coast and weredestroyed by bombing in WW2. The monks then rebuilt a little further inland where there was already a small community. This is one of the original mission buildings, in the new location. It is a very beautiful and sturdy building, as it has to withstand the yearly cyclone season.

Friday 20 April 2007

Sunrise NO. 3 - Keep River NP

Sunrise at Keep River National Park, right on th Northern Territory/Western Australia border, in July 2003. This national park seems to be a closely guarded secret, as it is still not widely know. If I had turned around, I'd be showing you the brilliant orange/red of the hills behind our campsite, but today I prefer this distant view of the sun's first glimpse as it shows itself from behind soft mauve hills. Light hasn't struck the tips of the spear grasses yet, but soon they would be glowing bleached gold, and the cushions of spinex, pale green.

Thursday 19 April 2007

Sunrise No.2 - Lawn Hill NP

First off, I have to say that neither of these photos are mine, as I didn't own a digital camera in 2001. These photos were taken by a friend, Mal , when we were at Lawn Hill National Park, in far north-west Queensland. Lawn Hill NP is one of the most amazing places I have ever been too....very remote, many varied environments and all of them amazingly beautiful.
The first photo is one of my all-time favourites. Taken right on sunrise, after we'd climbed the Constance Range, my bro-in-law Ian, nephew Tim and I watch the eastern horizon as the sun makes its first appearance. The photo still takes my breathe away. The colours , in reality, were the deepest orange/red.
The second photo, as Mal turned his camera to his left, shows first light hitting part of the Constance Ra. and it conveys the ancientness of the landscape at Lawn Hill.

Wednesday 18 April 2007

A week of sunrise - No. 1 Cabarita Beach

Are you are lark or an owl? What ever you are, there's not a great deal you can do to change your orientation. I'm a lark....come sunrise I'm awake and ready to go, BUT I'm looking for my bed at an embarrassingly early hour of the night. When I was a student, my most intense and successful work was done early in the morning.
Is that why, I wonder, I am attracted to sunrise so much more than sunset? Looking back through 35 years of photos and slides, sunrises outnumber sunsets threefold. Maybe it is the promise of the new day, the chance to start afresh, the opportunity to head off a new track....whatever it is, I am drawn to sunrise. I'll forage around and find some that, for some reason, attract me more than others to post over the next week.
Today's photo is one I took off the headland here, at Cabarita Beach, in 2005.

Tuesday 17 April 2007

Copying Beethoven

On Friday ,one of my regular radio stations, ABC CLassic FM, was giving away free tickets to previews of the new movie "Copying Beethoven", in cinemas in the main cities. Last night, Paul and I went to the Gold Coast preview, at the Gold Coast Arts Centre. ( and no, that's not an oxymoron!)
For me, the movie was in two parts. I honestly thought the first part was, well, stupid. Harsh word I know, but it was trying too hard to be 'the lowest common denominator'. I was actually squirming in my seat! In the second part, though, the movie seemed to decide what it wanted to be, it was not afraid to show some integrity, and for me, was far more engaging.
The music, of which there is nowhere near enough, is the real star, of course. As it deals with the end of Beethoven's life, the movie features the 9th symphony and his late string quartets.
Is "Copying Beethoven" still running round inside my mind? The story, not the music, I mean. Yes...I'm heading off to Wikipedia and Google to find out more about Anna Holtz, and am desperate to borrow the late string quartets from the library.

Monday 16 April 2007

As all surfers know, it's the early surfer who catches the wave. Every morning,very early, there is always a posse of surfers ( what's the collective noun for a group of surfers?) beetling up and down the coast, conferring on mobile phones, trying to locate the best wave that morning.

Sunday 15 April 2007


Alan Moir's cartoons in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper are always pithy and candid, and , more often than not, I agree with his point of view. This appeared in last weekend's SMH and it perfectly catches the disappointment I feel towards Peter Garrett. The charismatic former lead singer of the now-defunct band Midnight Oil was always an outspoken critic of nuclear energy, detention centres, many goverment policies such as those concerning Aboriginal people , diverse environmental issues, and particularly the issue of US bases on Australian soil. Think of some of the songs of the Oils..."US Forces", "Power and Passion", "Beds Are Burning".
This cartoon of Moir's superbly captures the shared diasappointment of PG's complete sell-out to Labor policy. I think it looks as if PG even is aware of it himself, and , while not shame-faced, is no longer the strutting, sweating speaker of truth he once was. Shame, Peter Garrett, shame.

Sunday fun!

YES! How lucky am I to have had such a fun weekend! This morning was Di's jewellery-making class, making a gorgeous charm bracelet and matching earrings. Di also teaches stamping techniques too. However....sshhhhh....don't tell anyone...but the number one reason I go is that it is So Much Fun getting together with a wonderful group of women....all clever, creative, funny, cheeky, diverse, intelligent, generous. Sometimes, we stop talking and laughing long enough to finish a piece of work, but not often! Di has the classes in her home, in her wonderful playroom, and is endlessly patient with us.

The first picture is of our little group....Annette, Nancy, Di and Andrea.( Robyn had just left)
Here we are working away at Di's huge work table, all attempting to look industrious.

So, what did Jude make, I hear you thinking?? Here 'tis. Oh look, it's green!

Saturday's fun!

( part of the "crowd" watching Breakers v University rugby game )

It is such a gorgeous autumn day outside...warm and sunny...the ocean calls, but my responsibilities lie elsewhere. It needs to be a Catch-up Day.
Strange as it is, I love both doing and watching sport, though "old injuries" limit me a bit these days BUT I do love my footy,no matter if it's Rugby League, Rugby Union or Aussie Rules. AND I think I am one of the 23 Aussies who don't have an interest in soccer since the World Cup....honestly , the game just doesn't interest me at all.
Paul ( yes, he of the launching-the-tinny photo) is a member of the local Gold Coast Breakers Rugby Union club, and yesterday( Saturday) was a home game at Albert Park, Broadbeach, against University. Just like today, it was a really beautiful afternoon, and standing on the little grassy hill, with the late afternoon sun on your back, and a cold Bundy and Coke inhand, heaping abuse on the really was a fun arvo. The photo below shows a lot of pushing and shoving going on in a scrum. You'll be thrilled to know Breakers won 22-20.

Friday 13 April 2007

Exploring the Brunswick River

Sorry, but the beautiful Brunswick River called yesterday. My friend Paul and I put his tinny in the Brunswick River down at, well, Brunswick Heads (!!), and the plan was to travel upstream as far as we could comfortably navigate. He'd had a 4HP Mercury outboard motor in his wardrobe for ages ( as you do ) , so he swapped motors, I made sandwiches and he brought the drinks.
After you carefully wend your way between the structures for the new bridge going in, the river settles down to a beautiful slow bush river. You go past oyster beds and crab pots, plus a few isolated camp sites, and then past fairly thick bush alive with heaps of birds, including Azure Kingfishers flashing their brilliant blue as they skim and dip across the water's surface.
We were able to fairly easily cruise up to Mullumbimby, where we pulled into the boat ramp and had a quick walk across the Federation Bridge, but although we could perhaps have gone further, time was against us, as was the tide. The river was certainly quite low and soupy at Mullum, and there were also increasing numbers of snags in the water too, so I don't know how much further we could have gone.

Paul launching the tinny at Brunswick Heads.

Mt Chincogan from the Brunswick River.

The old Federation Bridge at Mullumbimby. ( Top picture - pelicans enjoying the late afternoon sun at the launching ramp.)

Wednesday 11 April 2007


When I was having lunch with my friend Annie yesterday, we got on to talking about friends and friendship. Annie and I have known each other since 1975, when she and her husband Kevin and their 2 young children moved with their jobs to Narromine, in western NSW. I was teaching at the school there and Annie joined the teaching staff. You know how it is meet someone, and instantly you feel drawn to them, despite maybe, differing ages, backgrounds or whatever.....and you never really ever know why "that person". It really continues to mystify me as to why that happens, and I 've been lucky to have it happen three times in my life, for which I am very very thankful. In those intervening years, Annie and I lost touch a couple of times, but always we seemed to find each other again, and it was always like we hadn't lost touch.
Annie is a very talented quilter ( not that I know anything about quilting, but even I can recognise wonderfully creative work) and has made me this gorgeous wall-hanging for my birthday. Truly, I was gob-smacked when I unwrapped it and held it up,in the cafe.!!Photos and words do it no justice. Thank you, thank you Annie.

Tuesday 10 April 2007

Good Light

Today's photo was to be of the farm also, but after visiting Mrs Nesbitt this morning ( she's over there in the side bar, on the right), I am inspired otherwise. If imitation be the greatest form of flattery, enjoy the radiance, Mrs N.

"Haven't you heard, there's good light in Broome." Neil Murray

The silhouette of Tim and I riding our camel (T, do you remember her name?) at sunset on Cable Beach, Broome, Western Aust, 2003.

Monday 9 April 2007

Mrs Nesbitt....and.....The Farm

Reading blogs seems to take you all over the world, to all kinds of little niches. By chance, I visited Mrs Nesbitts' blog this this is my kind of blog! This is almost the ultimate "I Feel A Song Coming On" blog! Mrs Nesbitt seems to have a colossal knowledge of songs...WOW. I am in awe of Mrs new hero!'s photo......where my heart would like me to be at Easter...the farm at Sandy Hollow, upper Hunter valley, NSW. This photo of the house was taken on my last visit, in April 2004.

Sunday 8 April 2007

What happened to Saturday?

What did happen to Saturday? It is Easter, and on the north coast of NSW that means rain. After all, it's Byron Bay Blues Festival time and nothing is a greater predictor of rain than the Byron Festival. So, it was one of those days yesterday....tried to do some jewellery but couldn't get the colours right, tried some ATCs but was devoid of any creativity, couldn't settle to a book, way too windy to go bike-riding, every time it looked OK to go for a walk on the beach, the rain came down again. Oh, I could have done some housework...heaven-only-knows my place is a health hazard at the moment....but that really is The Last Straw....and I wasn't at that point. And my mother told me when I was a child that it was bad manners to go visiting in wet weather! My attempt at beginning to dig out the couch grass that's overtaken my side garden ended when yet another shower of rain drenched me....and call me a Big Girl, but by then I was in need of a hot shower inside...followed by a medicinal glass of soul-warming Bundy rum, lime and dry. BUT, I did make a pot of soup, and by then it was calling me. So, if you do find out what happened to Saturday, please let me know...thanks! No point in asking the 2 pushkas...they slept the whole day!

Friday 6 April 2007

It never ceases to amaze me how much the beach changes, even from one day to the next. Rocks that were covered by a layer of sand yesterday are revealed today.A thick shoal of shells and pebbles magically clothes a section of shoreline that was clear the day before. The little run-on waves make that gorgeous soft sucking sound that people who have visited English beaches know so well, as the grey English sea makes the drawing and sucking sound over the pebbly shore.

Thursday 5 April 2007

New Jewellery

One of the new skills I'm beginning to learn this year is jewellery-making. Di, who is my stamping teacher, and is such a talented and generous person, is also my jewellery teacher too. WOW!! The beautiful jewellery Di makes is fantastic. For me, it's been a very confidence-centred thing and it's taken a while to develop the confidence to have a crack myself...thank you Di and Nancy for encouraging me. Still a l-o-n-g way to travel, but I'm brimful of ideas.
Here's some of the pieces I've made recently, including 2 pairs of earrings I finished today.

New Skills or Knowledge

Something I value very highly is learning new skills. My list of new things I'd like to learn, or new skills I'd like to acquire, grows longer every day, which in my opinion is very exciting. There is no way then to say I was bored and had nothing much to do!! Here , on the Tweed coast, we have a wonderful organisation called U3A or University of the 3rd Age. It's part of a world-wide U3A and is dedicated to continuing education, mainly among retired people...I think you have to be 40 or over. The tutors are mostly volunteers ,you pay a yearly joining fee and well, that's about it. I haven't joined up yet, but thought I might just suss it out this term before signing on. Courses include tap-dancing, Australian history, tai chee, Italian, readers group, painting, singing and beach-walking.
Today's picture is of a beautiful flowering eucalypt just around the corner from me. It was washed with a shower of rain during the night, so was really glowing brightly this morning.

Wednesday 4 April 2007

Daily Photo

Today's photo is of moi 'doing' the steps that go up Caba Headland, also known as Norries Headland. Not quite running! I often take my camera with me when I walk with Robin...never know when a photo opportunity might come along.

Tuesday 3 April 2007

Today is Sally's 22nd birthday...hope it's a really happy one for you, darlin'. Sal is my sister's 2nd child, my 2nd niece, and has always been known as Sunshine Sally as she was such a happy, placid baby. These days, Sally lives at Hervey Bay, in Queensland, and works in a child care centre. She was born the year I lived and worked in London, and I still clearly remember being rung up and told of our Sally's safe arrival.She was all of 9 months old before I met her for the first time, and she's been an important person in my life ever since. Happy birthday, Sally!

Tuesday Daily Photo

Today's photo is the notice board outside our local school. With only 2 days till the end of first term, there was possibly no-one on the staff with the energy left to get the information up-to-date.

Monday 2 April 2007


Rats and blast!! Thanks for letting me sound off! I just can't seem to get the Daily Photo blog functioning the way it's meant to be, so...ok...who cares.....let's ditch it for now, and bring the daily photo back here. Today's photo, the top one, is of a group of runners heading off to run up the steps leading up the headland and out to the point ( a great place to watch the Humpback whales' migration). The 2nd photo was yesterday's and there's a couple of guys heading out for an early morning surf.
There's been a tsunami warning posted this morning for almost the entire Australian east coast, from Cooktown down to Tasmania, after an earthquake in the Soloman Is . At the moment the warning is still in place, but the Bureau of Meteorology is now tentatively saying it appears the threat has passed. People are still warned to stay off beaches and not to go out to sea in boats. Robin and I have changed our morning beach walk to walking up and down the headland steps, just in case.

Sunday 1 April 2007

Sunday's Daily Photo

It's time to bite the next bullet and join the world-wide Daily Photo network. I'll add the link to my links' list, on the right hand side of this page, so you can visit the day's photo there, from now on. If I ever master the html computer language thing, I'll be able to put the link into the text.