Wednesday, March 30, 2011

K. Kangaroos, koalas & kookaburras. ABC Wednesday.

I’ve found a photo of a kangaroo or two, taken south-west of Kalgoorlie a couple of years ago but unfortunately no koalas are in my albums. (The cyclists did have heads, but I've edited them out to maintain anonymity even though it looks a bit queer.) 
It was great to be around kindred spirits and have a cup of tea from their kettles – they were very kindly - often I’d follow the cuppa with a bit of a kip when I got to the campsite.
My knobbly knees suffered a fair bit, and exhaustion kicked in each evening. But on this particular day there was a bit of a kerfuffle when the crazy emus kept pinching ketchup sandwiches from the kindly kids. The kangaroos weren’t much better and of course the kids treated them with kid gloves because they were in awe of them and were afraid they’d be kicked in the kidneys if they weren’t compliant. 
Honestly, you almost need to use karate or kick boxing to keep the creatures away they’re so keen to collect your food. But if we did that, they’d keel over and that’d be bad for your karma and the cops might hold a kangaroo court wearing kaftans (this is crazy!)

Many years ago, I saw a kangaroo on the beach hopping over the kelp (true dinks!) and was surprised when it swam across a creek. Even weirder was watching kookaburras chomping strawberries. 
Simple pleasures, happy memories - sometimes I think I've lived better than a king.

Thankyou to Mrs Nesbitt and her kindly team for hosting ABC Wednesday. Click to see fabulous variations on the theme from participants from around the world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

J. Junk mail and trees. ABC Wednesday.

Sometimes I just can’t believe the amount of junk mail we get. It makes me feel jaundiced to think of the vast numbers of trees that have been felled to create this jaunty looking bin filler.  Most of it's for stuff we don't need either, not now, maybe never. Some of my friends feel jittery if they don't shop for a day or two! By jove, that's a head scratcher isn't it.

from Wikimedia Commons
Jenny thought I was jesting when I showed her a photo I’d taken of the clear felling not far from Jindabyne. It’s home to the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s faunal emblem. She thought I’d hit the jackpot and said she was jealous that I’d been able to get into the High Plains and see it with my own eyes! Really! I just felt jangled, as if someone had jabbed me in the heart; justifiably I think. Thank goodness they weren’t jarrah trees, though I hear they are in jeopardy and being jettisoned injudiciously just to make paper to advertise junk. There's so much jiggery-pokery going on, it's hard to join the dots and make sense of it all.

By jingo! Sometimes I get so angry I could go for the jugular of … I’m not sure who … but I’m sure I‘d end up in jail, without a jelly bean or jug of juniper juice and definitely no jukebox playing jazz. (Does one drink juniper juice? Perhaps that should read mint julep?)

Clear felling is happening in the jungles as well, some people say this is ‘progress’ and is justified, but at this juncture I think it would be wise to allow the juvenile trees to regenerate rather than be a jumble of logs. It’s all to do with biodiversity which is vital for out longevity.

We need to juggle the needs of the inhabitants and ethical stakeholders judiciously (but jettison those who act without integrity) or we won’t be jubilant at many more jubilees.

Joy will have gone. It gives me the jitters.

Thankyou to Mrs Nesbitt and her jaunty team for hosting ABC Wednesday. Click on the ABC badge at the top to be taken to other J posts from around the world, and perhaps join in yourself!

*This post on J is a work of fiction based on fact.
** I'll be unable to visit many blogs this week and comment. Thankyou to everyone who drops by, take care and see you next week.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

ShShSu #148 Coppins Track, Sorrento

Coppins Track on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula. Victoria. Australia.

A narrow strip of protected land runs along the stunning coastline at the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula. Just outside the expensive tourist town of Sorrento, a short windswept path named Coppins Track winds through the sand dunes. The name came from an early settler, George Coppin who promoted the commercial opportunities and natural beauty of the area during the 1800's.

In the 1870's people visited here from Melbourne in a paddle steamer which must have taken significantly longer than the current road trip of 90 minutes (according the extremely optimistic advertising material).

Although it was a blustery day when we visited, usually in Summer at low tide there are deep pools for swimming or practising your back flips off the rocks.  (There are occasional broken legs when people misjudge the distance or angles.)

 In the photo above, it's high tide and all the rock shelves and pools are covered in the white water of breaking waves.

Sand is encroaching on the boardwalk, blown by the strong winds off Bass Strait. The weak sun came out for a few minutes and provided some fleeting shadows, quickly captured before they vanished for the day.

The first white settlement in Victoria was established in 1803 not far from here. It wasn't a very popular site amongst either settlers or convicts and was abandoned after a short time. (No doubt to the short lived relief of the local aboriginals)

A few convicts escaped, some were quickly recaptured, some died. Amazingly, one named William Buckley survived and lived with the local aboriginals for 32 years. He eventually gave himself up, and described the subsistence life of the Boonerong people who had allowed him to live with them as being very brutal and in no way idyllic.

Looking south along the Mornington Peninsula
 towards Tasmania about 200 miles away.

This view is from Coppins Walk looking south across the sand dunes and low vegetation towards Bass Strait. To the right of the picture, across the low hills is the swishy tourist town of Sorrento and the beautiful Port Phillip Bay with its fabulous beaches. (I admit I'm biased!)

If you squint you can just see a rotunda a bit further along the path on the high ground on the left. It's strategically placed for resting and oohing and aahing over the stunning views while enjoying a picnic.
Coastal erosion and fragile cliffs.

Windswept Moonah branch.

Sandy soil, salt laden air and winds takes its toll on the plant life. The Moonah (Black Tea Tree) tolerates wind and salt.

Nearing the end of the walk, overlooking the "All Smiles" Cafe at the Surf Beach. I waddled back to the car after an excellent hamburger and coffee.

To be continued...

Information taken from:

Thankyou to Tracy of Hey Harriet for so generously hosting Shadow Shot Sunday. Do pop over to see shadows from around the world.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I...Ink...ABC Wednesday

ABC Wednesday

My first ABC Wednesday challenge, (thankyou Mrs Nesbitt and team for hosting) and I've come in on the letter I.

I'm an Insomniac, and last night I was thinking about being Indoors at school when I was an Infant. I was the Ink monitor and filled the Inkwells each day and went home with Inky fingers; it was Impossibly Ingrained. My preferred colour was Indigo blue from India.

The only bottle of Ink I could find in the house.
My Impertinent friend Ivan Insisted on Inserting the nib from his pen In-between the desks and splattering blue droplets Inventively over his Incredibly beautiful Illustrated books  -  Ill-tempered Individual!  This would Incur the wrath of our Informative teacher who was Irritated by Inventive Ivan's Insane outburst.

Our Inspired teacher tried to Instill a sense of wonder in learning. I think he was under the Illusion that everyone was Interested in not being Illiterate. He thought this was very Important! He Insisted the letter I was vital for us to learn, but it's not very Interesting, just being a simple stick.  I hope the Italians would Include some Illuminated manuscripts in their museums to keep me Intrigued in this Insubstantial letter.

We also learnt about Inches and Inchworms before the Introduction of Metrics. These lessons were very Informative.

I think I'm getting a bit Intense and It's possibly unwise to let my Imagination run on any further because you might become Impatient with my Insistence that I Is a vital Ingredient in our alphabet.   I would then be Irrationally and Impossibly Inconsolable.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

ShShSu # 147. The Great Southern Rail Trail - Gippsland


Bikes on car, panniers packed, ready for adventure.

Trail smoothed and welcoming,
just one short road section
sharing with traffic,
then only rail trail;
the sounds of scrunching gravel,
leaf litter
and wobbling rocks beneath the tyres.

An occasional whack as a large grasshopper hits my face.

A welcome sight after litres of water
have been gulped down.

The fragrance of dairy cattle
blood and bone
the sweet smells of death
and rich humus.

Lulled into a false sense of security by the long,
long downhill start, I felt fit!

Stretched muscles feel good.

My butt disagrees.

Perhaps a weekend
and 90 kilometre round trip
was a bit ambitious.

"How long till the auto timer
goes off?"

"Are you sure the camera is pointing in the right direction?"

(90km is roughly 56 miles.)

Shadow Shot Sunday is hosted by Tracy at Hey Harriet. Pop over to see shadows from around the world.

A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Corporate cows

"Bovines bathe at Busselton beach"

Isn't that a fantastic header! I suspect the journo had fun with the whole article too.

It's so easy when driving for my brain not to really concentrate on what is being discussed on the radio, but this one got my attention.

The idea of a small herd of scrubbed cows being taken to paddle at a beach, with their farmer owners in top hats and tails - well it's different! The artist Andrew Baines has produced some unusual paintings in the past. He combines the sea and corporate types, putting them in the water to show them getting away from the city to enjoy nature. The paintings are dramatic, and encourage one to pause and think about the message.

I understand that he created this "surreal bovine installation" in part to highlight the difficulties faced by dairy farmers with the current ludicrous pricing of milk.  The price of a litre of milk is not much different to a bottle of water. No wonder the farmers are grumpy. I hope this bit of artistic expression helps raise awareness about their plight.

Somehow, I can't imagine the cows I photographed being remotely interested in paddling,  they look too happy relaxing in the paddock.

A video clip of cows, beach and spiffied up farmers and a brief interview with the artist Andrew Baines is available here, and an article with fantastic photos at the link up the top.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

ShShSu #146. Rock pools & sunburn

Becoming absorbed in fossicking around rock pools is no excuse for my stupidity in getting sunburnt last week at Flinders Beach on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. But it's what happened.

When the tide is out, and the sun seems to be mild, with a gentle breeze hovering over ones skin, it's just too easy to become completely involved. There are so many interesting rock pools and rock formations at Flinders that it's easy to get distracted looking at snails, translucent shrimp so small that they are hard to see, tiny darting fish, starfish of delightful purples and pinks...and shadows! This week I've been well covered with suncreme and t-shirt on the few occasions the sun shone.

It's nearly time to put away the mask and snorkel, and rug up as the weather changes.

Thanks to Tracy over at Hey Harriet for hosting Shadow Shot Sunday. Pop over to see shadows from around the world.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The playground


Echoes of children playing.
The fallen tree trunk 
became a ship
a fort
a balancing beam.

Now a haven for spiders and bugs.

Water pools in a crevice.
Birds bathe.
Mozzies breed.

Hmm, I think I'm a bit fixated on mozzies at the moment.