I’m off to enjoy the northern winter, and maybe even snow. I’m spending six weeks in Warsaw for my first grandtwins fix of 2015. I hope you’ll join me as I join them, on a new, imaginatively titled blog at
Please follow me there.
For years, I’ve been collecting pebbles from Potato Point beach. They cluster on the bathroom windowsill and spill out of bowls on shelves in the living room. When I decided digital photos collected less dust, my pebbles began lurking in blog posts (https://morselsandscraps.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/beach-pebbles/)
I did not foresee an amazing pebble transformation that has taken place in the creative hands of my friend Ellie, who is a consummate beader. She saw the pebbles as dramatic centrepieces for her pendants and brooches. So far, four pebbles have been beaded into added beauty, and when I left her place the other day she had five more lined up as she cogitated a necklace.
If you love Ellie’s creations as much as I do you can find her work on instagram
or on Facebook
This is a kind of guest post. My Newcastle friend, Rosemary Barnard, read Corrugated iron 1 and sent me three photos that I have to share. We’ve been friends since we were 8 and each year we go somewhere pleasant for a few days talking, photographing, orchid-hunting, flower-viewing and general prowling around. A few years ago she found Mullengrove Cottage in the hills behind Berry on the NSW south coast. It was built in the 1840s somewhere else and the owner transported it onto his property for the pleasure of people like us. Fortunately he ignored his father’s suggestion that he paint it and left it in its dilapidating corrugated glory.
Shelly Beach is magnificently placed at the mouth of the Moruya River, with a backdrop of mountains. The breakwater winds around to a peaceful lake-like expanse of river. It’s hard to believe there’s an airport just over on the other side of the river, until you see how very small the airport actually is.
I walked along the beach early in the morning with an old friend. We passed a sculpture-pile of stones, a dishevelment of breakwater rocks, an irresistible patch of tumble weed, and a warble of magpies. My friend entered into a musical conversation with them, and later captured the song-dialogue in a lovely occasional poem.
Two friends went down to the beach one day
And met at the breakwater wall
A magpie, and it’s mate nearby
Who started a chortley call
They paused their elegant confabulation
Seemed to wait for some sort of reply
So I joined the chortling conversation
Tho’ much less elegant was I
When next I paused, they again did start
And after another minute
There was a space for me again to take part
By now I was beginning to wing it
And so it continued this ping ponging song
The magpies then me in tandem
Tho’ my vocals un crafted sufficed just so long
They gave their response with abandon
This call and response ‘tween me and the ‘pies
A sweetly special engagement
Spontaneous and playful it did not rely
On high training, or planning or talent
(written by Sandy Wilder, November 2014, and used here with her permission.)
Heyjude at http://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/bench-series/ has created a monster. I am strong enough to bypass a challenge, but a bench challenge challenges that strength. This morning, a bench in a garden thrust itself in my way at the doorway of a friend’s house where there was no avoiding it. I couldn’t even say “Lie in wait all you like. No camera” because I was carrying my treacherous i-Phone, which muttered “No excuses. You’ve got me.” So here is my inescapable garden bench. If you want evidence of my long-term bench addiction, have a look at these posts. Showing them now will stop me being lazy and cannibalising them later on for the challenge. https://morselsandscraps.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/south-coast-seats/ http://fivemonthsinwarsaw.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/warsaw-seats-graveyards/ http://fivemonthsinwarsaw.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/warsaw-seats-winter/ http://fivemonthsinwarsaw.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/warsaw-seats-autumn/ http://55daysinwarsaw.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/summer-seats
Corrugated iron is a favoured building material in Australia. Award-winning architects such as Glen Murcutt use it, and so do farmers cobbling together sheds and fences. My beloved Broken Hill house was a tinnie, as were many other houses in that mining city. New houses with gleaming corrugations proliferate beachside now, but I’m drawn to old, worn, rusting, multicoloured iron which develops patterns and colours in response to long weathering and random painting.
The iron in this post is used to block off a building site in Moruya.
Burrawangs (Macrozamia communis) are prolific around Potato Point. Their ferny leaves look particularly spectacular against the trunks of spotted gums. The Cadigal people made the pulp of the seeds into cakes roasted over hot embers, but only after pounding and soaking them in water for a week, changing the water daily, to remove the poison.
The seeds are a rich red: they may be waiting for a photo-shoot when I return from Warsaw.
We’ve had unseasonal rains. The river is flowing fast and clean, creating a big pool where we loll about and cool off on steamy days. On Saturday, we drive along the Nerrigundah road, where I walked in October and November, and see the landscape transformed. Where there were sandbars, there there is now a wide river, and the grass is an intense unAustralian green. At the bridge, the water is deep and bank to bank with no sign of the sun-dappled rocks under its hurry. The road near the causeways has been washed away and everywhere there are signs of flood wrack: uprooted trees, tangles of vegetation, and a washed-away car trailer. Pelting rain fills the gutters with rushing brown water, but eases off as we crest the mountain.
No photos, but I need to pay tribute to my son's mob – my granddaughter, my grandson, their mother, and my son. They are all wonderfully knowledgeable, smart and curious and expand my world with their company.
My granddaughter is 15. She has an agility and wisdom I haven't managed in seventy years. When we have lunch together, we talk about books and movies, and being a teenager. She tolerates my techno out-of-touchness, albeit with some amusement. She goes off to spend a few days at the coast with a friend's grandparents, and comes back with a triumphant op shop haul. She models it with elan and twirl, and turns my second-rate videos into a neat iMovie. She complains because she likes to pre-plan a shoot and go for special effects: my gumby shooting doesn't allow this. I've watched a few of her movies, and they have flair: one for a Japanese project at school was quite surreal. Late afternoon, she dresses in black and goes off to her job waitressing at an Indian restaurant. When she was two, she crowded round the hoofs of a horse her mother was medicating showing absolutely no fear, and one day disappeared on the acreage they were living on: she just followed the dogs on an adventure along the creek and eventually turned up at the stables. She rides, plays guitar, sings very sweetly and mourns being a good girl.
My grandson (11) is all bone and muscle. He wins ribbons for swimming and a medal for academic achievement. He shoots a basketball with accuracy, handles a soccer ball with skill, and twiddles and fiddles with everything within reach, inventing games. My own bones ache as I watch him perching in air supported only by his elbows, and trampolining expertly, somersaulting and corkscrewing until I'm dizzy. When I take him to the hairdressers, he navigates me to a salon amongst the trees, and then navigates the hairdresser to a style that satisfies him. I try to shout him lunch, but he insists on paying his way. He is mightily offended when he cops a bird dropping on his new cap while we eat chips on the grass under power lines.
I admire my son's partner immensely for so many things I lack. She is very skilful with animals and knows a lot about all sorts of creatures, not only horses and dogs. She has an expansive collection of animal skulls, which she displays lovingly: a kookaburra with the beak sheath intact; a wombat from the Eurobodalla bush; a koala skull, and koala claws which are drying out on the mosquito coil holder on the deck; an albatross head found on Potato Point beach last Christmas and still being defleshed; and deer antlers and skull, picked up recently at a Tamborine op shop. She can roof and make wooden furniture. Se is interested in all sorts of things. We spent a long time discussing the rights and wrongs of toilet paper orientation and the amazing tattoo-like patterns lightning uses to mark its victims.
My son is a scientist with Queensland Water. His job is to monitor the health of waterways, which up till now has involved extensive field work in the local rivers and streams. He also has a management role, and I particularly enjoy talking to him about this, since it's cognate with my pre-retirement work. He is a passionate surfer and talks about surfing with a kind of reverence, regretting that his own children don't seem to have such a consuming passion. As a child he played violin, and later guitar, writing his own music. He regrets the passing of this creativity as it droozles away in the marshlands of work and family. We talk at length one evening over beer and prawns while the rest of the family is busy elsewhere. The frightening dare-devilry of his youth has diminished but he still likes adventure and relishes time spent in the bush or in the outback.