First sight of Potato Point sea for seven weeks
Beach runners and shadows
Around the weekend yard
This will be the last post from snippetsandsnaps for a couple of months. Meanwhile, I’ll be blogging at warsaw2018 if you’d like to join me there as I visit Warsaw for the seventh time since 2012 and catch up with my twin grandchildren, Maja and Jaś, now 5 years and 4 months – and of course their parents.
This fare-well-for-now hotchpotch is a catalogue of things I’ll miss while I’m on the other side of the world.
I’ll probably ramble the streets of Warsaw on early spring mornings, but I won’t dare take the liberties I take in the streets of Potato Point.
Catching up with friends
I have plenty of special places to do that here, a few of them visited recently in the ceremony of farewells. Downward Dog in Bodalla has added a few delights since I was there last – the big back room offers games to play with lunch or coffee and cake (we tested ourselves with the Trivial Pursuit cards) and the outdoor area is bright with tiles, dog-panels, hanging baskets, and a tower topped by bowls and a teapot
(Cafe shots are the first photos taken on my new camera – Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V – a younger sibling of the one I drowned)
The Tilba Teapot offers a verandah nook and on this visit a free scone, and both cafes give me the company of an old friend and the comfort of speaking English.
In Warsaw I’ll have to hunt out pleasant venues for coffee; be satisfied with my own company; and put my chatter on mute.
The geology museum is on the agenda for Warsaw, but it won’t be able to compete with the explorations at home. J has just begun his categorisation of rocks, repurposing two of the hall bookcases and relocating them to the living room. He reckons he needs me to harangue on all matters geological, but I bet progress is made while I’m away.
The beach, the beach
There will be no substitute for the beaches of home, fingers of god early on a dull morning, perfect sunshine at Honeymoon Beach, even on rainy days through the window of the car.
Oddities and artworks
I imagine I’ll see plenty of art but probably not a visitors book held in place like this …
… or sculptures on a headland like this
There’ll be vegetables in Warsaw, but they won’t be free (although they’ll be very cheap) or presented as a still life, straight from the grower’s garden.
In so many ways, for so many years, these two have enriched my life. A pity they couldn’t accompany me.
On top of the chiffonier
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about objects that represent experiences and the people I love. The red cedar chiffonier in my living room belonged to my Auntie Min. She had it restored towards the end of her life, and it was part of my tangible inheritance from her. The wedgewood candlestick used to sit on my mother’s dressing table. The feathers have been collected and gifted over a number of years, and maybe presage a photographic feather-frenzy. The Prague crystal container was a gift from my more-sister-than-sister-in-law; the amber pendant a gift from my daughter’s parents-in-law; nestled invisibly amongst its silver chain are the topaz earrings my new husband gave me on my birthday two days after we were married; the bird was an unexpected gift from a Siberian friend of my daughter. Underneath it all lies a placemat crocheted by my mother – and overlying it, a patina of dust that is my unique contribution. So much history and biography, conveyed in just a few items.
Water and sky
This image, Penguin flight, was created by Gillian Wilde using the continuous line technique, without looking at the paper. (Photographed at Gallery Bodalla, with permission)
Dead things and light
My muse for both of these is Sue at WordsVisual. She has taught me the absolute and rather mystifying charm of flowers beyond their prime, to the point where the giver of these zinnias asked plaintively whether I’d actually enjoyed them fresh. I did, when they were plump with youth, but I also like their graceful drooping lines and curls as they fade.
There is only one creature more a seeker of light than Sue, and that is Cruz. If you want to know the best place to capture sunshine, cherchez le chien.
The inevitable beach!
A summary of the many pleasures of the beach: those knobbled shells nuzzling into all sorts of crannies; patches of tapestry-lichen; tumbleweed, the same ecru-oatmeal as the sand; a discarded seagull feather, just one; sandripples, seaweed and buff jelly; rockpools peopled by light, seaweed, an albino crab, worm tracks and pink sea lichen.
I said there would probably be more sculptures, and I was right!
A pair of rusty Easter-Island-like monuments,
a bit of musical rust,
a ray and a magpie
and contrasting shapes
The 5 year olds
Miss Maja, and cake: they’ve always been congenial companions: Janek’s allergies prevent him from enjoying the same pleasures.
Exploring as Mum watches from a height.
Hotchpotch seems to be turning into a revamping of the month. I don’t mind reliving this month. It had many delights.
The National Museum of Australia offered more pleasures than Songlines, Midawarr and virtual reality. Here’s a taste of a few things I saw in passing.
A 1950s picnic with a silver Holden, and a pink caravan built for promotional use in 1956, as Australians began to acquire cars, a disposable income, and leisure.
Brabham BT23A-1 Repco V8, Formula 1 racing car, designed and raced by Jack Brabham, a household name in Australia in my youth. He himself drove it to victory in 1967: since then it’s been owned, raced and crashed by a number of owners but still has the original chassis, centre body and steering shaft.
From the windows of the museum there’s a view over landscaping or the outdoor dining area, across Lake Burley Griffin, to the Captain Cook fountain.
The National Arboretum
The building itself, “elegant and light-filled”, has a high arching roof, huge windows and stone walls. Inside, the forms are inspired by leaves and trees. The timber frame uses laminated Tasmanian oak from sustainably managed plantations and contains over 3,000 unique structural members, cut to shape from computer models, test fitted in factories in Tasmania and then erected on site. So says the fact sheet. The gumnuts, tree trunk and plantation of palms are in Hotchpotch, because I can’t identify them.
This is my favourite accommodation in Canberra. Not only is there a John Wolseley painting near the reception desk, but there is a waterlily pool and the ghosts of my youth. It was here I used to come to visit my friend Rosemary when she was studying and I was teaching in Temora … long, long, l o n g ago.
The beach …
… always the beach! Which needs no commentary.
This local gallery behind Bodalla Post Office has wonderful exhibitions, but photography isn’t encouraged. I couldn’t resist sneaking a closeup of paintwork in Justin Pearson’s work, and wish I could show you his figures, unfinished-looking but full of pure energy.
In pursuit of the falling of light I captured J’s washing baskets replete with rumpled clothes, my weekend supplies in a Carrefour bag, and the shelf for rock specimens, all enclosed in efficiently labelled zip-lock bags. Light was supposed to be a lengthy ongoing project, but it dwindled to one collage in the face of other preoccupations.
And finally, plants …
… garden flowers, staircase leaves, fallen star flowers and noble bark.
For a month in December and January my house was full of family. I failed them a few times. Failure to provide surf was my main crime – “the worst surf over Christmas in 20 years, mum.” Failure to have in the fridge whatever it was whoever it was was looking for ran it a close second. In spite of this, they took me to Canberra where we visited the Dombrovskis‘ photographic exhibition and Questacon, the national science and technology centre; and they harvested oysters from the rocks, enough for a quick pre-dinner feast for six.
Oh, and I almost forgot! How could I? Two most important participants in a family get-together: Cruz and Jenga.
On the beach
Most of my beach-walking was close to home, but there were still plenty of treasures of the usual kind: seaweed, driftwood, shells, rockface, grasses. There was also an unaccustomed pleasure: company.
I maintained my early mini-walks, occasionally before the household was stirring, although it was hard to beat hopeful surf-seekers. The early morning light remained a great treat, especially as it fell on the seedpods of Stars of Bethlehem. The vanishing of their blue and white flowers marked the end of Christmas.
Houses around Spud
I took advantage of the slumbers of the village to do a quick photo-essay on Potato Point architecture, beginning with my own beforested house. (By the time the visitors left it was a bit less forested. When a hakea fell over the drive it left an emptiness that drew attention to other leaners and potential fallers, which my children removed while I hid my face and hoped for their safety.) The other houses are mostly undistinguished, although there aren’t many traces of the beach shacks which have either been removed or renovated. What strikes me most looking through this collection is the bareness, which may be because a lot of the houses are holiday places.
Sometimes photographic themes leap out at you. For a while everywhere I looked things were leaning, and I foresaw a lengthy photo essay. Then things stopped leaning, and this is the grand total.
And if all this summer is too much for you … twins in Warsaw
I wonder what it says about the balance of one’s life when there is more hotchpotch than coherent substance?
Still life waiting to happen
I have a lineup of bottles on my kitchen windowsill. The plan was to spend 5 minutes photographing them in different configurations and light, but my arrangements always look stilted, and since they are glass I can’t throw them towards a random arrangement, and hope.
Look closely at the base of the trig at the high point in my village. Maybe you’ll be quicker than I was to spot the joke.
I continue to practise floral and foliage kleptomania on my early morning strolls, although the leaves on gravel are fair game since they lie on a public road.
High on the crown of the eucalypts – the dark pink one opposite my place, the paler one on the corner a few doors down – are blossoms. I know I will never reach them, either with my arm or with my eye extension which is my camera. But then, as time passes, they carpet the ground and all I have to do is crouch down for an intimate view. Colour difference is the result of two different cameras and two different species.
The beach is usually pristine and the creek pool just before the rocks pellucid, tempting small children to flop and paddle and play. Over this holiday period the beach has been piled high with rotting seaweed and the creek an infective black, where no child plays. Just occasionally a coil or a spray of seaweed separates itself from the suppurating mass.
Early morning perchers, swallows preening and fluffing on the wires, graceful creatures of the air. A taped off area on Brou Beach to protect nesting Little Terns in their earth-bound phase from unwary clodhoppers. A pair of emus grazing along the sand-cliffs, leaving their startled footprints when we move too close, forever birds of the earth. An unperturbed egret, fishing in the dark waters of Potato Creek, at home in air and water. Fire, you may ask? That too, close to home. Bodalla school crest features a phoenix rising from the flames.
The beach is full of things left behind: the sea must be far more forgetful than me. It recedes and leaves shells, weed, sand grains, ripple marks. When it returns, it carelessly eradicates them all under its waves and its foam. Occasionally things people leave behind escape its attention, and very occasionally it returns what it has taken. We once found a jumper of J’s matted and salt-laden a year after he left it on the beach.
On an empty block, a lowslung chair has taken up residence in front of a potential barbecue frame. It lounges there taking in the view over the grasses and up the beach towards Tuross.
A weekend of death …
On Brou Beach and in Brou Lake things out of place and dying, if not already dead. A cicada on a vast stretch of sand, and a jellyfish imprisoned in the lake. Overhead at the river a cicada shriek overhead – doomed in the beak of a bird. At home the front yard hakea crashing harmlessly over the drive where there could’ve been people, cars, dogs.
… and maybe resurrection
The tree in the Brou camping area is spouting new growth. I photograph it with J’s camera. Mine is awaiting either resurrection or a death sentence, after collecting a pile of sand and seawater when I inexplicably fell over on the edge of the sea.
Finally, in homage to Sue and her Ones, two full frontal Ones. The man and his dog appeared in the frame just as I took the photo, aiming merely for an image of the track.
This One was captured in Warsaw. Concrete was raining down from the roof during renovations, and I whizzed down to take a photo of the debris. The man, presumably there to warn tenants before they got dinged on the head, didn’t want to be in the photo, and I caught him hopping the low fence to disappear somehow before I snapped.