After deciding I would start posting regularly to this blog, I then had the good fortune to be away for the last 9 days. I left my iPad at home as I had assumed that there’d be no WiFi – mistakenly assumed as it turned out.
We had a wonderful trip on the South Australian end of the Murray River, travelling on a small boat called the “Proud Mary”. The only bad part, was that I’d forgotten to take my camera.
I spent some of my childhood in Swan Hill and have strong memories of camping along the Murray River with my father. However, the South Australian end is so different – whilst I remember tall river red gums bringing relief from the heat of the long, flat, dusty roads – and the silence except for the bird calls, our trip was marked by the tall sandstone cliffs that the river ran along. I had no idea that they existed. The other surprise was the amount of so many small holiday communities and small towns. My memories of over 60 years ago are peppered with the absence of civilisation. Perhaps the NSW end of the Murray has changed in that way also – and I’m now consumed with a burning desire to revisit the places of my early childhood to see if the same sort of changes have occurred.
The boat we were on was quite unremarkable in appearance, however the large living/dining area was nicely decorated with wood panelling and carpet reminiscent of grander days. The cabins were quite small but adequate but the bathroom used river water in the basin taps and toilet and I assume in the shower. This meant using drinking water for teeth cleaning and an inability to rinse any light coloured items of clothing because of the colour of the river water. Not the end of the world, although a couple of times I found myself wetting my toothbrush under the tap immediately after placing a glass of clean water on the shelf!
The food on the boat was magnificent. Jack, our Mauritian chef, and his offsider did a magnificent job. We all came home several kilos
lighter heavier – I haven’t weighed yet and might wait a while so I don’t get such a shock 😉
Each day we docked somewhere along the way and either did a nature walk with the Captain, or transferred to a bus for a visit to a local highlight – an almond farm, a small local school with an impressive and different approach to learning, a flat-bottomed boat trip though the wetlands and more. Our bus driver was a charming and knowledgable young-ish local who provided us with excellent information along the way.
This is a trip I can highly recommend. One tip: if possible, get a cabin on the top deck – you’ll have more stairs to deal with, but some people found the noise of the engines a distraction when they were trying to sleep. When we docked overnight at an established mooring there was access to connect to the electricity network, but at other places the engines had to keep going at a lower pace at night for the lighting and air conditioning and probably for the pumps to provide water etc.
What a wonderful country we have.
… the common name of a pretty purple flowered bush whose flowers fade from deep purple to white. And absolutely nothing to do with what I’m going to write – if I were a radio personality, I’d say a “nice segue” ….
… was our 48th wedding anniversary – and despite it being on my mind for some weeks before, we both forgot! That’s what happens when you’ve been married (or partnered) for such a long time. Also, only OLD PEOPLE are married that long, aren’t they? And we’re not old, are we?
Fortunately, we are not big on marking “significant” events – Grandpa Flea is very fond of telling me that I don’t need presents, as every day is Christmas for me! And said GPFlea is absolutely impossible to buy presents for – he doesn’t need anything, he says – and apparently he doesn’t want anything either. How annoying to have such a contented man in your life!
Despite the lack of wants and needs I always have a card for him – as I did this year – bought some time ago when I saw a suitable one. I guess I’ll use it next year instead!!
… was my knitting group day at Epping Library. We had a good roll up and there was a lovely murmur of voices across the table. We are having our 5 year anniversary in June and have a bit of work to do planning our display and the event itself.
… once apon a time, used to be Fungi Friday but I eventually ran out of fotos. BUT – over Christmas I came out of our holiday cabin one morning to see a little bunch of toadstools which had sprung up overnight, so I thought I’d post it today – who knows when I might post again! The toadstools only lasted 24 hours – when I looked the next day, they had wilted to little black things that were almost indistinguishable from the mulch on the garden.
It looks rather like a fairy ring, doesn’t it? I was very fond of fairy rings when I was a child – but no matter how hard or how long I looked, I never saw a fairy!
Or so it seems – the days, months and years fly by so quickly.
We had a long, lazy Christmas this year. The Flea family and various out-laws and assorted relatives took over the Merimbula Beach Holiday Park for a fortnight. The weather was good – not too hot but not cold, the cabins we rented were more than adequate for our needs, there two swimming pools to keep the younger and/or more energetic Fleas busy, and the beach was just a short walk down the hill. Just right for a teenage gidget to practise on her board. Heaven! We can recommend it as a holiday destination for all ages.
There is a fabulous board walk around the bay that goes for a couple of kilometres – there are places to sit and take in the view, an art gallery along the way and a cafe at the end:
Lots of interesting rock formations (or ‘interesting geological features’ as the family geographer likes to say):
Mangroves – trees I never liked when I was young, but love now that I appreciate their role in the ecosystem:
Lots of little crabs emerged from their holes, stood stock still or scuttled back inside when they realised we were there, or undertook a fascinating process that looked like they were throwing water onto their faces -?into their mouths? We could have watched them for hours but it started to rain so we turned for home: And that was just Day One! We all slept well that night , with the roar of the sea as our lullaby.
I’m really grateful when those who are stand up to be counted. Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton have done our future generations a mighty good turn by declaring their support for a carbon pricing scheme – come carbon tax – come whatever name the pollies care to call it. The furious reaction by Tony Abbott to their declaration of support is testament indeed to their potential to influence this debate when the ordinary person meets with no response.
I am concerned about the future of this planet, as are many of my friends. Some politicians are concerned about the future of this planet and some politicians choose to ignore their own concerns in the chase for power. The current public dissent within the opposition’s ranks I hope is not only a sign that the thinking members of the Liberal Party are feeling uncomfortable with the strategies adopted by their leader, but a small glimmer of hope that they will stand up and be counted also – hypocrisy can be a very uncomfortable place to live.
The argument that we can’t be the first to adopt this measure would be laughable even if it were a true. I have no doubt that cyclical changes in the world’s climate exist – the science shows this. But in the absence of a cataclysmic event to account for the current changes, and the opinion of a so very many respected scientists around the world, it is unbelievable that the very people entrusted to ensure the wellbeing of our country now and for the future, persist in denying that action is necessary NOW. Many of us thought it was necessary years ago but as always, despite the rhetoric thrown around at election time, pragmatism, the unwillingness to upset the big end of town and the desire for power win every time – except in the case of our Kevin ’07 who discovered that failure to act on his moral impulses lost him the support of the very people who voted him in and subsequently the golden crown.
The release of the latest “rich list” topped by Gina Rheinhardt and other mining interests makes a farce of the threats from the mining sector that they would have to close many of their operations down when a super profits tax was proposed. Our Julia went to water on that one. Let’s hope she maintains her stance on carbon pricing.
There is no doubt that we will all have to pay in many ways to protect our world for future generations – if it is not too late already. We will need to ensure that the least able in our society are looked after – for the rest of us, we who are older, and our children have a much, much better life than most of our parents’ generation. It won’t hurt us to watch our pennies for a change.
… and show us what you really stand for – or is just that you are a poor loser? Sure, Julia scraped in and has done an about flip on the carbon tax – so what! Sure, it’s disappointing when our pollies show that they are not as honest as we’d like – BUT wasn’t it your friend, John Howard, who made some never to be forgotten black flips – remember “never, ever”? and “non core promises”? I’m sick of only hearing negative whingeing about the Labor government. Shut up or put up. I’d love to hear some positive, intelligent statements about Liberal parties policies especially in the area of climate change. Forget your animosity towards your leadership rival and pay some attention to Malcom Turnbull – maybe even listen to your own environment minister. Qu’elle horreur that you might pay attention to the very person you appointed to manage these matters.
Read Ross Gittens’ article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald – you might learn something about climate change and what thinking people feel about your attitudes and behaviour in that policy area. Just give the poor electorate a break from your constant, grinding negativity.
I do know it’s not Friday – you’ll just have to pretend! At last I have some new fungi fotos to post. These were taken at Port Stephens growing in the leaf litter that the gardeners throw over the edge of the lawn into the bush:
Three fungi - big to little
It was amazing to find them still intact – usually someone can’t resist knocking them over.
The biggest - about 10" across.
A view of the underneath - not much of a photo, but I love it.
Now for the middle-sized one:
Again the lantana to provide some perspective.
Top view - isn't it beautiful.
And finally, the baby –
The beautiful baby with its small scales still showing.
And the top view: