Sunday, December 5, 2010

Passport photo

The face showed no emotion as it stared at me. Twin faces exactly alike, apart from a blue-black mark across the nose and upper cheek on the left, showed not as much as a blink of an eye or a twitch of a smile as they observed. I had seen that face recently and fleetingly wondered what such an expressionless demeanor hid. There was a resemblance in the long narrow features to my late aunt, a favourite aunt who found time in her long life to play an important part in the childhood of her nieces and nephews, even if they lived at the other end of the nation. Her long hair was plaited and wound around the crown. The face that gazed from the oblong strip did not show plaits, but the hair was drawn back and secured out of sight, showing ears with earrings, small pearls that gave the appearance of belonging to a woman of conservative taste. A white and black blouse peeked, decorously, above the slightly plunging neckline of a melon knitted jacket.

I wondered if others realised that the face in the photograph had a personality, was animated with a well-honed sense of humour, and found the procedure of applying for and obtaining a passport, that would be her identification for the next five years, tiresome. I knew. Those twin faces printed on shiny photograph paper had been taken at the post office a few days earlier. Showing of teeth, as in a smile, was out. Wearing glasses was frowned upon, and as I clutched my spectacles, with narrow frames, in my lap, hidden from the camera, I was conscious of little … my eyes are not what they used to be when I was younger.

As I studied the photo I found it difficult to believe the old face was mine. A few weeks ago that same face had caught my eye through the side rear view window of a car I was passenger in. For a moment I frowned trying to recollect where I had seen that woman before. She looked cold and sad and lonely. Surely it wasn’t me? The face in the photos didn’t look cold, nor sad, nor lonely, just expressionless. However it was necessary for me to renew my passport. I had no immediate plans to travel, but being a resident in a country not of my birth necessitated the holding of a recognizable, by the authorities, form of identification. Five years this unflattering photo will serve as my official identification. Whenever I travel abroad, whenever I need to prove my identity, this photo will be peered at by whoever is asking.

Personally I would prefer to have a photo, for official purposes that showed me smiling. I like smiling. It is a friendly emotion and one that opens an individual to participating in all types of conversations, especially on public transport, which I use when a journey of several hours is undertaken. Here in Western Australia long journeys are the norm and when I feel the need to visit family and friends in my homeland my passport will come into its own.

I arrived in Australia several winters ago. Winter in Australia is like a cool summer in New Zealand, and that first winter was as unlike any winter I had ever experienced in New Zealand. There were no icicles with their cold crystals clinging to the insides of the bedroom window and no need to have numerous layers of bedding weighing down on my sleeping body as I attempted to keep warm, there was no coal range providing a welcome warmth to the kitchen, there were no clothes draped on a wooden clothes horse, nor frozen ground that made digging carrots or parsnips a finger numbing exercise, and no sheets as stiff as boards crackling as a bone chilling breeze whipped them against the adjoining towels or carefully hidden underwear that competed for space with socks and face cloths on an inner line.

Summer crept upon us relentlessly, its heat and flies and dust a new experience. Thankfully I had a room to call my own, a room that sported an air con system. I had been pre-warned not to indulge in the cool benefits of air con until the temperature reached at least 35 degrees. I persevered. As the morning warmed and the sun rose in the clear blue sky I doggedly stayed out of its direct rays, drew drapes and gradually adjusted to Australian summers.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Peek - a - boo

Upon our return from several days 'doon sooth', or in English, the southern city, we were almost pleasantly surprised that the surviving four of the original capsicum plants, while drooping due to the heat in our absence, were at least still green. Several heavy applications of water have brought them back to the lush, healthy, state of two weeks ago.

It was obvious strong winds had blown during that ten days; the sand was smooth, the fallen gum leaves plentiful, and small twigs lay on the ground.

For the first two days the absence of signs of the presence of the tawny frog mouths disappointed me. This morning, as I made what is a morning pilgrimage peering into low hanging branches of the heavily-barked gum trees, the usual favoured habitat of the tawny frog mouth family, there perched on a couple of branches sat the three birds. I had imagined 'baby' would have been given final flying lessons and sent off into the wide blue yonder. It is still home with the parents ... perhaps a modern tawny frog mouth who, like the human young of today, prefer to stay home with the parents ... though I suspect it's survival skills need some further updating. I must confess; I am thrilled. The family of tawny frog mouths provide wonderful moments as they appear to be not in the least concerned with my attention. Not that I ever touch them, nor do I attempt to get closer than ground distance from them. That respect is acknowledged by their apparent liking of living near to us.

As I inspected the capsicum plants I noticed a small excavation nearby. I had taken note of similar excavations around but did not know exactly what they were.

The following morning an answer was provided! As the sun rose in the morning sky a small lizard poked it's head from the excavation. Moments later this little creature lay half-sprawled, like a beach baby on a Hawaiian printed towel at the beach on a hot Sunday. This was a camera moment!

Almost daily encounters with the wild life of this area not only keep me entertained, but enthralled.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Almost goodbye to Tawny frog-mouth baby

The tawny frog-mouth chick is growing daily. While it still needs to learn to sleep during the day, and to practice its 'pretending to be a log' routine a little more, this babe is close to the time when it will fly away to make a life of its own, leaving the parent birds to hatch a second family.

The frog-mouths are acutely attuned to the weather. To my knowledge they have at least three varying situations where they roost during the day. One can tell which way the wind will blow just by ascertaining where they spend the day.

Their most popular residence is the old gum tree over the way ... the gum tree that looks as if its days are numbered as several branches are bare. Never mind ... the frog-mouths like the forked branches, settling down for the day on two near the trunk. Sometimes, when the wind comes from the opposite direction they choose the rear bedroom ... the branch from the other side of the trunk.

Yesterday they perched outside the kitchen door on the branches they occupied during two or three months of winter. The wind was strong yesterday, but their perch was relatively sheltered.

Today they moved to their shady motel behind the laundry. There the shade of the house, plus a greater abundance of larger trees helps keep the temperature down, though at the moment [temperature at 40 degrees] their wings are puffed out in an attempt to keep cool.

Tomorrow? I don't know.

I am aware, however, that the days this chick stays home with its parents are numbered. Soon it will be taken away, and the age-old caper of reproduction will recommence.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tawny Frog-Mouths and Blue Tongues

Almost daily the blue tongue lizards roam our, and their, area. The larger two frequently wander indoors, their tongues flicking in and out in search for a tasty morsel. The two smaller lizards are not as opportune, though occasionally wander through the kitchen. They all appear to realise that we are friends, not foe. Dave no longer picks them up as they really didn't appreciate the handling, even though it was meant kindly. Instead we set out small pieces of food [they love Granny Smith apples chopped into small pieces], and scraps of meat off-cuts. Bread isn't all that popular, though they do condescend to eat that once the meat or fruit has disappeared.

The larger two lizards show little fear and the other day as I sat at the computer one almost walked over the top of my feet. I noticed it first! I moved!

Ever since I have lived in the mid-west we have watched the tawny frog-mouths raise their families. Last year it did seem as though one of the adults had died; only one adult sat on two eggs, both of which hatched out, but the babies died within two days.

Anxiously I watched the lone adult. Would he/she find another mate? Weeks later it did. For weeks over the winter the couple perched in a tree just outside our back door. One day they disappeared; they didn't come back.

I wasn't worried about their none-appearance as I assumed; rightly as it has turned out; they were adding to the tawny frog-mouth population. Just on daylight one day last week we heard the tell-tale noise of the owls calling. Bed time!

I searched the trees. Two adults, and one young frog-mouth sat in a gum tree.

If we take particular notice of the perching habits of tawny frog-mouths during the day, we can tell if the wind will be strong [the youngster is then placed securely between the parents], or from which direction the wind will come.

Soon this youngster will be taken away to find it's own place in the world, and another brood will hatch. Maybe there will be two chicks again this time?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Another Visitation

Surprises!! Two days ago Dave was sitting out on the verandah enjoying the warm weather and I was reading the newspaper at the table. Suddenly Dave called out, "Come and look at this!"

I looked up from the paper, adjusted my spectacles, and noticed a blue tongue roaming the kitchen.

"I can't just now," I called. "You come here and see who has come to visit!"

Dave replied, "Grandaddy is here."

"He can't be! He is inside with me!"

Both of us moved towards the door. Sure enough there was one large blue-tongue lizard on the concrete near Dave. And ... there was another, slightly smaller, but not one of the juvenilles, on the carpet near me. A hurried consulation followed. We came to the conclusion that we not only have Grandaddy, but Grandmammy as well. Later we decided that perhaps they might be Daddy and Mammy ... that way the family of blue-tongue lizards will continue to increase.

Since then both lizards have wandered around indoors, eaten apple cores left out for them, and one yesterday stood under the tap looking up as though waiting for the drips to fall, its feet in the plate of water, and every moment or two sipped from the edge of the plate.

This afternoon one came inside and proceeded to act like a mini-vacuum cleaner, roaming around picking up crumbs dropped to the floor in preparation of lunch. It appeared completely unafraid ... until ... I moved across the room. It took of at great speed, racing for cover under my computer desk. Later in the afternoon as I was sitting sewing I noticed it peek out, but noticing me, it retreated. I have a feeling this blue-tongue is sleeping in the corner near to the desk as I type. As it is now dark, no doubt it will sleep inside for the night, and once tomorrow warms up, hopefully will find its way outside.

The smaller blue-tongues roam outdoors, but as yet haven't ventured inside the kitchen.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lizards love Strawberries

I am constantly amazed at the wild life that abounds around here. I have written before of 'Grandaddy'. He, or perhaps she, as we have no idea how to differentiate males from females in the lizard species, nor does it matter, has truly made our environment his, or hers.

The gas bottles at the side of the house appear to be a favourite place. They sit on concrete slabs, and concrete slabs warm up quickly. In spite of the fact that lizards are wild creatures that probably should not become reliant on the human species for their nutrition, Dave began leaving out scraps of food. Not much ... just a few tasty morsels from his plate, specially cut into small pieces for a blue-tongue lizard.

From the deep recesses of my mind I recalled being told, "Blue-tongues love strawberries." We did grocery shopping in the city earlier in the week. Strawberries were a reasonable price, and make a simple but delightful end of a meal ... I prefer them served with yoghurt and [sorry, but this is the evening meal, and not breakfast] muesli. You haven't tried that combination as a sweet? Scrumptious!!

One of the larger, juicier, strawberries had 'lizard food' written all over its dimpled redness. I nibbled a small part of the top off and tossed the rest of the strawberry out by the gas bottles. Within moments Grandaddy had discovered his treat. As I watched he stretched his mouth wide and tousled with the quite large piece of strawberry, managing to swallow it once he had squeezed and squashed it with his jaw. Grandaddy loves strawberries!

Today he wandered indoors. As I sat stitching my swap hexagon flower, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a movement. It was Grandaddy strutting across the floor completely at home. I was crunching a Pink Lady apple at the time. Being of a scientific mind [a synonym for nosey] I wondered what the reaction would be if suddenly a piece of apple landed near him. I bit a small piece off and tossed it to where Grandaddy was sniffing at the chair leg. It took less than ten seconds for him to pick the apple off the floor and swallow it. Now we have Grandaddy eating healthy!

Of course water is an essential for life. Grandaddy isn't keen on being picked up and offered a drink from the bird bath. Yesterday he found his own drinking fountain. Dave is growing tomatoes and has a drip feed watering system set up ... Grandaddy found the tap where the hose is attached drips when the cycle is on. He stood under the tap; water dripping onto his head, which was held up allowing the droplets to run down his face. He stuck his blue tongue out capturing the life-saving water.

I think it would be a truth to state ... Grandaddy is quite at home here!

I can add that there are two other blue-tongue lizards that frequent our yard as well; one is quite small, while the other is larger, but not as large as Grandaddy. It is the presence of these other blue-tongues that makes me wonder if perhaps Grandaddy is actually Grandmammy ... it doesn't matter ... what is important is the fact that we are privileged to share our space with these lizards.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Clearing Sale

To me, October seems to be hot this year. Little rain has fallen in the mid-west, and while the crops are looking OK around the district, farmers further south and inland are finding it a difficult situation. It does appear they may be given an option ... choosing between hay or a grain crop.

Yesterday we travelled north east to Tardun where a clearing sale was held at what once was Christian Brothers Agriculture School, but has recently closed down. The clearing sale was mainly 'odds and sods' ... bolts, garden tools, tyres, and numerous sundry farming items that would fill a page.

Once Tardun was an offshoot of Catholic Orphanages, and an amazing account of one student's days there is recalled in "The Bush Orphanage" by John Hawkins. He was an English lad, 'seconded' to Western Australia, and after spending time in an orphanage [for younger children] in Perth was sent to Tardun to complete his education. His recollections make enthralling reading. Scary in that what happened to him as regards his being shipped to Australia simply should not happen to anyone, little alone a small boy. Thankfully his story did have a happier ending ... Tardun was a good place for him.

So when the subject of a clearing sale at Tardun was raised I was keen to go. Not to view rusty old farming equipment, but to get a feeling for the place.

We drove along narrow country roads, some sealed, some not, arriving a little over two hours after our departure. Few others were there ... as is usual we were early. The little bush flies were active! Open windows were, to them, an invitation to enter and nose around. It was too hot to close windows, and instead of concentrating on a cryptic crossword that I had brought to while away the time, I decided to view the items for sale. Dave had looked around, and although he is an avid clearing sale/garage sale person, nothing captured his attention.

We departed ... however the day was not wasted.

I found Tardun to be a place of immense peace [apart from those flies, which I don't think I will ever get used to]. The air was clean and fresh. The birds, corellas and galahs, and a few 28's flew around content in the knowledge that this was their place. [Incidently John Hawkins has a fascinating antedoct about the ancesters of these birds.] The buildings, some in need of a lick of paint, probably have changed little over the years. We didn't drive past the main buildings, considering we had no right to be nosey ... but they looked imposing from the near distance. I was rather amused to see a multi-purpose TV atenna boldly pointing its shiny exterior to the heavens. Tardun is many kilometers from the nearest town, but is part of the modern world.

Our trip to Tardun was made exceptional! Not far from the 'farm' turnoff we noticed a triangle of logs on the roadside. Pieces of bright pink ribbon fluttered in the strong breeze. It was obvious this was a marker of some type. We turned back and there, growing within the triangle, on the roadside was a wreath flower. I had seen one before in a hall in Mullewa in a wildflower display. Never did it cross my mind I would see a wreath flower in the wild!! The roadside for some distance was colourful with displays of blue and yellow flowers that pushed their brilliant blooms up out of the red dirt.

After leaving the as-yet-to-begin auction we cruised around a side road discovering the remains of the Tardun General Store. Perhaps it is being done up as there were signs of activity, or perhaps it is in the process of being completely demolished. Presumably this General Store was once the place where local farmers collected their supplies. Now, when travel is quicker, they must travel to a nearby town, or perhaps every so often to the city.

The day of the Tardun clearing sale was a gem of a day ... spoiled by the amount of traffic we encountered on the Midlands Road on the way home. A bushfire on the Brand Highway closed that highway, plus the new Indian Ocean Drive, putting all traffic onto a detour via the Midlands Road.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reading and Books

I remember the first moment I could read. After several weeks of studying 'Janet and John' the primer readers of my era, and after several weeks of playing a guessing game, one morning it suddenly came to me ... I don't have to listen intently to the words of others in the circle [we sat in circles for reading, and it was easy to work out what sentence each had to read ... out loud]; I knew what those squiggles on the page meant.

Anyone who has ever watched Oprah will recognise that moment as a 'light bulb' moment [no, not a daffodil bulb, or a tulip bulb moment, but a light bulb moment ... illumination shines forth and all that]. It is a moment of great interest, and life is seldom ever the same after that momentous discovery. We are free to read and go on journeys, in the mind via the written word, to exciting, scary, exhilarating, and educational trips designed to increase our understanding of the wide world around us.

At the moment I knew, though I will confess that the picture alongside may have aided that discovery, the text I was to read on the page, said, "Janet saw the aeroplane."

Our school had a library. Now a library is one of the most fascinating buildings in any town, and any home that has a whole room full of books on shelves is to me, the height of luxury. When I began school the building was elderly; it was decreed a new school be erected on the same site. However part of the playground would need be sacrificed for the boys' toilet block, and the boiler house. Three massive oak trees were cut down! These trees were not taken to the local tip, nor sold to the wood and coal merchant for winter fuel, these oaks were carefully sawn into timber from which tables and chairs were constructed. The library at our school was fully furnished with oak table and chairs.

It wasn't until we reached the age of about seven that classes were taken to the library once a week and the taking out and exchanging of books encouraged. Milly Molly Mandy was a favourite ... I have forgotten what it was about, but do still remember that name ... doesn't it just roll of the tongue! I read Sue Barton, Nurse, books; somehow they didn't entice me into the nursing fraternity; I read about ballet dancers, and boarding schools in far off England; I read the story of Heidi in the mountains and her grandfather and friend Peter, I devoured the Anne of Green Gables tales delighting in the adventures of a fellow red-head. It was a simple task to exchange Anne with myself, though perhaps there were just a few too many adventures for me to handle!
Of course as one grows the variety of reading material alters. I do remember reading P G Wodehouse and his adventures of Bertie Wooster, though must confess to not remembering much detail about them either.

The other day, after several weeks of suffering from hay fever and its attendant miseries [stuffy ears, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat and a raspy cough] I decided to spend time indoors, away from pollen and dust. A book to read! I searched through the bookcase. Many old favourites lay there, some having been read from cover to cover several times. This time I desired a 'new read.'
We attend garage sales and fairs; both excellent sources of exciting books at a reasonable price. Some have inscriptions in the fly-leaf that lead to conversations bordering on gossip. Who would write that on an inscription? Oh! this book is over 70 years old! Often there are as many tales to be told in an inscription as within the pages themselves.

This particular day I chose a P G Wodehouse book. I began to read. I had forgotten his wonderful ability to describe a situation, a humorous description that leaves little to the imagination as to how the character looks.
Even today P G Wodehouse is giving me as much pleasure as he did all of half a century ago as I follow the improbable, but made plausible by seemingly simple narration, times of the main characters. Oh yes, there is a lot to be said for that moment of realisation when I first recognised the simple sentence, "Janet saw the aeroplane

Monday, September 13, 2010


"Some days are diamonds, some days are stones", so goes the song. For many of us our day falls somewhere in between, though if we look closely enough at stones most are extremely beautiful.

Mondays are wash days. Mondays have been washdays for as long back as I remember. My Mum boiled the copper, dunked treasured articles in starch, hanging them on the clothesline to sway in the sun and breeze [on a good day], bringing them in and sprinkling those starched items with water before ironing carefully. Wash days have changed. For the housewife of the 21st century wash days are much simpler ... thankfully.

I have kept to Monday for washday, though do 'put through a load' other days as well. Today I washed, and have ironed, but not starched. As part of wash day I wash floors as well ... laundry and bathroom. This too is so much easier than in times of yore. A bucket and mop! No getting down on knees and scrubbing!

As I was mopping the laundry Dave called out. "Come and have a look here!" It was said quietly, but never-the-less from his tone I ascertained it was important that I go THEN. The sky hadn't fallen in, chicken licken was nowhere in sight!

"Look behind the battery."

I looked, and there hiding behind a tractor battery was Grandaddy. Now Grandaddy has probably resided here longer than I. I made his acquaintance not long after I arrived at this place. At first I was dubious, almost afraid. You see, his skin is old and wrinkled. He has beady eyes, and if approached too quickly, he will scuttle out of the way. Sometimes Dave picks him up; carefully from behind his head. Grandaddy has tried to nip, but most times he waits patiently to be put down on the ground.

You see, Grandaddy is a Blue tongue lizard. I have noticed smaller, and obviously younger lizards around. Sometimes they come indoors. Grandaddy is more cautious, though he may enter when I am not watching! Grandaddy has a brown mottled skin. Once I found his 'cast' skin at the side of the house. It looked like a piece of parchment, with the shapes of a lizard.

Last year while Grandaddy was meandering around the yard I hurried inside, grabbed the camera, and took his photo. This time he was agitated, showing me his tongue as he opened his mouth in an act of defiance. However all I wanted was his photo ... the vast array of animals and birds make most days, a diamond.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Passing Moments

Passing Moments by Essae Scott

Scudding across darkening skies
Black clouds strut their advance.
Flashing lightning, crashing thunder;
The brewing storm heralds an angry approach.

Empty, isolated,
Sheltered in the shadow of a barren peak,
Blinds drawn, door clanging shut
The tumbledown cottage
Assembles its armour, forsaken in grief.

Raindrops splatter a rusty roof,
strengthening winds wrench blossoming branches,
While on grimy windows
Tears of empathy flow as a swollen river,
Sadness, neglect, and desolation abound.

Clouds rumble into the distance,
A steaming mist drifting upwards reveals dazzling sunshine
Illuminating untilled gardens,
Relics of the past,
A vision for the future.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All I need to know about Life

All I need to know about life I learned from my cat.

  • Life is hard, then you nap.
  • Curiosity never killed anything except maybe a few hours.
  • When in doubt, cop an attitude.
  • Variety is the spice of life; one day ignore people, the next day annoy them.
  • Climb your way to the top ~ that's why the drapes are there.
  • Never sleep alone when you can sleep on someone's face.
  • Find your place in the sun ~ especially if it happens to be on that nice pile of warm, clean laundry.
  • Make your mark in the world, or at least spray each corner.
  • When eating out, think nothing of sending your meal back twenty or thirty times.
  • if you're not receiviing enough attention, try knocking over several expensive antique lamps.
  • Always give generously ~ a small bird or roden left on the bed tells them, "I care."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hone Tuwhare ... Poet

New Zealand had a wonderful poet, sadly now departed from this earth, whose writings are inspirational.
I never learned of him until recent years. He spent his final years living at the seaside near by New Zealand home. I did meet this poet; a man with wisdom and a wonderful sense of humour.
Many of his works are delightful, most resonate with New Zealanders. The following is short; his use of words carefully considered, and used with greatness.

Wind song and rain by Hone Tuwhare
A poem is
a ripple of words
on water wind huffed
But still water
is a poem winded; a
mirrored distortion
of sky
and mountain
trees; and a drowned
face waiting
for a second wind
(a second coming?)
Ripple of words
on water.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What for?

The other day while I had half an ear to the radio a statement leapt across the airwaves sending my thoughts into a whirl. It was a simple enough question.
"What is your purpose in life?"
At first the question flew over my conscience. After all, only half an an ear heard.
Later, in the middle of the night when all was dark and when thoughts come to the forefront of the mind seeking an answer, the question rose again. "What is my purpose in life?"
So different from what is your purpose in life!
Seldom do we consider such a searching question, or at least, seldom do I think along those lines. After all, I am busy, doing ... this or that, often useful things [in my mind at least] or just sitting reading.
Contemplating the purpose of life is rather deep!
Well days later I have come to no conclusion. I have given the question a lot of thought, and somehow consider this question will remain in the front of my mind until I decide what my purpose is in life.
Rather deep don't you think!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Rebirth by Essae Scott

Curling, rolling, the old skin sloughs away
Tender, newly exposed,
Unwrinkled, unweathered, carefully nurtured
Delicately spreading an untested covering
To facing life in the elements
Grows a theory, as yet untried.

Old concepts and ideas are replaced by the new.
Past thoughts thrust into view,
Re-hashed, altered, oft disposed.
The challenge of a magnificent future
Resisted by deeply held fears
Struggling from the darkness of eternal night.

Resisting new growth leads to decay
As thoughts stunted by dark, dismal memories
Struggle to hide from the glorious light of day.
Toadstools, mosses, lichens and rotting debris,
Cast-off twigs and leaves smothering growth
Carpet the stagnant mind.

High in the canopy fat-bellied pigeons sit.
Around the rooftop a friendly fantail flits,
Each caroling a song of sunshine and cheer;
Coaxing, cajoling their musical entreaty
“Join us, join us, cast out your fear,
Enjoy a new life of freedom and reality.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Solitary Tree

The Solitary Tree by Neroli Roberts

A solitary tree
floats in a whispering sea of grass.
A shoal of pelicans drift by
along the ocean of the sky.

The tree by day
is a castaway,
by night
a coral form bleached white
by timeless tides of lunar light.

But night or day
in some strange way
it stands enshrined
becalmed and tranquil
in an isolated by
of my mind ...

We went to a garage sale recently and picked up a wonderful illustrated book, The Kimberley, Australia's Unique North-west, by Jocelyn Burt. The text is well written and entices the reader to visit The Kimberley. Each chapter had a poem by Neroli Roberts ... the poems vividly illustrated in words the landscape of The Kimberley. An enchanting book to pick up and read a little here or there, put down, and return to later.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We'all All Be Rooned, Said Hanrahan

We’all All Be Rooned, Said Hanrahan

Taken from an Anthology called “Around The Boree Log:, by John O’Brien, whch was first published in 1921. “John O’Brien” was the pen-name of Patrick Joseph Hartigan [1879 - 1952]. He published only one book of verse, Around The Boree Log, written while he was parish priest of Narrandera, New South Wales.

Thus it is, that about one hundred years ago, somewhere in Outback Australia.

“We’all all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
In accents most forlorn,
Outside the church, ere Mass began,
One frosty Sunday morn.

The congregation stood about,
Coat collars to the ears,
And talked of stock, and crops, and drought,
As it had done for years.

“It’s lookin’ crook,” said Daniel Croke,
“Bedad, it’s cruke, me lad,
For never since the banks went broke
Has seasons been so bad.”

“It’s dry, all right,” said young O’Neill,
With which astute remark
He squatted down upon his heel
And chewed a piece of bark.

And so around the chorus ran
“It’s keepin’ dry, no doubt.”
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan
Before the year is out.

“The crops are done; ye’ll have your work
To save one bag of grain;
From here way out to Back-‘o-Bourke
They’re singing out for rain.

“They’re singing out for rain,” he said,
“And all the tanks are dry.”
The congregation scratched its head,
And gazed around the sky.

“There wont be grass, in any case,
Enough to feed an ass;
“There’s not a blade on Casey’s place
As I came down to Mass.”

“If rain don’t come this month,” said Dan,
And cleared his throat to speak ..
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If rain don’t come this week.”

A heavy silence seed to steal
On all at this remark;
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.

“We want an inch of rain, we do.”
O’Neill observed at last;
But Croke “maintained” we wanted two
To put the danger past.

“If we don’t get three inches, man,
Or four to break this drought,
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“Before the year is out.”

In God’s good time down came the rain;
And all the afternoon
On iron roof and window-pane
It drummed a homely tune.

And through the night it pattered still,
And lightsome, glidesome elves
On dripping spout and window-sill
Kept talking to themselves.

It pelted, pelted, all day long,
a-singing at it’s work,
Till every heart took up the song
Way out to Back-o’-Bourke.

And every creek a banker ran,
And dams filled overtop;
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanrahan,
“If this rain doesn’t stop.”

And stop it did, in God’s good time;
And spring came in to fold
A mantle o’er the hills sublime
Of green and pink and gold.

And days went by on dancing feet;
With harvest-hopes immense,
And happy eyes beheld the wheat
Nid-nodding o’er the fence.

And, oh, the smiles on every face;
As happy lad and lass
Through grass knee-deep, on Casey’s place
Went riding down to Mass.

While round the church in clothes genteel
Discoursed the men of mark,
And each man squatted on his heel,
And chewed a piece of bark.

“There’ll be bush-fires for sure, me man,
There will, without a doubt;
We’ll all be rooned,” said Hanraham,
“Before the year is out.”

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Is Your Ego in Bloom?

Some time when you're feeling important,
Some time when your ego's in bloom,
Some time when you take it for granted,
You're the best qualified in the room,
Some time when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow this simple instruction,
And see how it humbles your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to your wrist,
Pull it out and thehole that's remaining
Is the measure of how much you'll be missed.
You may splash all you please when you enter,
You can stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you'll find in a minute,
That it looks quite the same as before.
The moral in this quaint example,
Is ... do just the best you can,
Be proud of yourself, but remember,
There is no indispensable man.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monkey Business

Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree
Discussing things as they're meant to be;
Said one to the others, "Now listen you two,
There's a certain rumour that can't be true,
That man descended from our noble race;
The very idea! ~ it's a dire disgrace;
No monkey ever deserted his wife,
Starved her baby, or ruined her life,
And you've never known a mother monk
to leave her babies with others to bunk
Or pass them on from one to another,
Till they scarcely know who is their mother,
And another thing. You'll never see
A monk build a fence around a coconut tree,
And let the coconuts go to waste,
Forbidding all other monks a taste.
Why, if I put a fence around this tree
Starvation would force you to steal from me.
Here's another thing a monk won't do;
Go out at night and get in a stew;
Or use a club, a gun, a knife
To take some other monkey's life.
Yes man descended, the ornery cuss,
But brother, he didn't descend from us!"
I have had these words of wisdom pasted into a book for over a decade, but sorry, do not know who the author is.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A New Adventure

Each day begins with good intentions; this blog, hopefully, concentrates on GOOD, whether they be intentions or ideas, or wishes, or deeds remains to be seen.

Raindrop on a rose is an image ripe in good, the sweet perfume, the wonderful texture of the petals, with just a touch of wonderment in the prickle, while a raindrop brings live to not only the rose, but to all life.

Of course Raindrop on a rose is almost the title of a song sung by Julie Andrews, a ditty that conveys to the senses all that is wonderful, all that is bright, and all that is good.