Monday, January 23, 2012

Summertime escapism

How many times have you heard "The best camera is the one you have with you", and how often have you wished you'd taken that advice? 

If my husband had packed the camera one fine day a couple of weeks ago,  and if he'd been quick off the mark and possibly elbowed aside a couple of hundred hefty fisherpersons, onlookers and tourists, we'd have a video to rival the one below. 

Unfortunately, the camera was nestled safely at home. On the kitchen table. Snug in it's little case. Gathering dust. Ignored and lonesome.

This is our local pier. Normally it's packed with fishermen and women experiencing varying degrees of success in the fish catching stakes.
 The pier was rotting, so the authorities decided it would be a good idea to partially reconstruct it.
The pier doesn't usually attract noisy crowds, but this fine sunny Sunday, people were lined up leaning all along the railing, hooting with laughter and cheering. Fishing rods, bait and buckets lay where they had been flung aside - their owners enthusiastically elbowing each other aside to watch the show.
A fisherman had caught a garfish and had been reeling it in with glee. A passing duck saw an opportunity to freeload and wasn't going to let the tasty flapping fish pass. He wanted that fish!

The fish was well hooked.

The fisherman wanted the fish. The duck wanted the fish. The fish wanted to get away.

The fish was caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. There was a tussle of gigantic proportions. Some of the rapidly swelling crowd took the side of the duck, some took the side of the fisherman. A few kindhearted souls took the side of the fish.

Seconds turned into minutes. The fisherman reeled. The duck tugged. The fish flapped. The tug of war seemed to be stretching the already slender fish.

Being Australia, no doubt someone was taking bets.

When the duck   f i n a l l y   won, there was more laughter and cheering, general slapping of backs and smiles all round.

And the serious business of fishing resumed!

Watch till the end. There's one crazy guy in a kayak - with shark!
Everyone has a fishing story! What's yours?


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Summertime :D

Having spent the day discussing the passing of the NDAA bill in the US and the possible implications for democracies around the world I need to get grounded with good dose of nature!

See the white blob in the centre foreground - that's a fish head. The head is about 30cm long, the whole carcass possibly a little under a metre. The fishermen fillet their catch then dump what they don't want.  The fish head is relevant to the next photo! 
This stingray has been a regular visitor this summer. It was feeding on the fish carcasses ...
 I watched it elegantly and lazily glide over, stop and kind of hunch over the fish carcasses and feed from them. See the bits on top that look like eyes? They're not! They're more like a valve and gloops of air bubble out infrequently. Its eyes are quite small and just forward of the air bubble vent things. Its mouth is more or less underneath its eyes, so presumably it locates food by feel (and smell?) 
The fins (wings?) daintily - effortlessly - ripple, but in exquisite slow motion, to change direction and speed. From wingtip to wingtip he'd be a metre, and the same in length, and then another metre for his tail. He is entrancing! 
 I will do some research on stingrays, as I realise I know practically nothing about them - but not tonight, it's been a long day and I need to get away from the computer - I just wanted to go to bed with these images in my head :)

What parts of nature bring you joy?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shiny New Year!

Random thoughts about Hot Rods.
Wandering down Main Street on New Year's Day, looking to see which cafes were open for breakfast, feeling, then hearing the distinctive sound of V8's or possibly V12's, finely tuned: k'thump, k'thump, k'thump.
Not much ground clearance.
The rumbling demands attention. Sucking down fuel that smells like avgas, creating a deep, low grumble, a rhythmic backdrop of sound - not too intrusive over the hiss and whine  of cappuccino machines.

Like people entranced by the lilting tune played by the Pied Piper, men, women, children turn and gawk - are compelled to follow the glittering Hot Rods down to the once peaceful park overlooking the sparkling bay.
Only mildly distracted, (breakfast is far too important to be rushed!) we eventually wander down to join the happy throng.

Bear-sized blokes delve under bonnets and dashboards, lean over to admire perfect leatherwork. In ones and twos or groups, deep voices share their love of their machines.  Women too, polishing cloths at the ready to further shine the mirrored chrome, carry chairs and picnic baskets, rub sunscreen into each others backs - keeping safe those hard to reach spots.
I'm delighted with the Mini, it reminds me of my first one. I splurged on having it painted purple and used to pack it with camping gear and head off for weekends at a national park. Looking at one now, I can't imagine how I fitted in my camping gear comfortably.  Later, I had an Austin A30 and I really regret selling it - tarted up, it would look a treat.
I have fond memories of the cars my uncles owned; some with running boards. I remember one had to be crank started, I can't imagine this one would be so antiquated! Does anyone remember chokes? How you used it regulate the mix of fuel, then left the car running to warm up.   I wish that one of us had had the forethought to keep one of those old cars. These are beautiful, absolute labours of love and bring back great memories!

Where do they get fuel for Hot Rods? They're unlikely to use unleaded, and what will they do when petrol becomes scarce, will they safeguard some fuel for an annual outing to get together and share stories of days of glory and chrome?
I love the way the bonnet folds back on itself, it oozes charm and elicits thoughts of chiffon and champagne and hedonistic days gone by. Some of the cars had dickey seats beautifully re-leathered, now there's another job for a craftsman.
We played the game "If you could afford any of these cars, and insurance and fuel were no problem, which would you have?" This is the one I chose - chrome, gold and those wonderful old tyres. Gorgeous!

Which one would you choose?