Monday, December 28, 2015

My boys

It is nearly the end of 2015. Hugh has changed my life by moving here; now I feel this is home, at last. He stayed with me for 3 months before deciding to move here. Wow.... after so many years of thinking I had lost all hope of our dream of having some sort of food business together, now he lives 10 minutes away, runs cooking workshops in my house, has a market stall next to mine and drops in on me every few days. I look back and wonder how did I manage without him, without any family nearby.

Alex is married to Jing and so totally happy at last. The wedding was beautiful. Alex came to stay for a week and it was as if he had never been away. Dear Alex, just the same lovely person as ever. I so look forward to visiting them in San Francisco in February.

There is only one thing missing; a man to be with on this journey.....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Almost 3 years

What a journey.... almost 3 years since I last wrote here. I am almost back together. Somehow I have landed in another paradise. Somehow I have survived and am almost at the shore again. Nothing is the same. All the pegs fell out of the holes and we could not fix the puzzle. Now, I start again. I have someone to stand beside, though; someone who has been through so much too. We are carving out the holes, slowly, to make sure the pegs fit as we go. There are no capes. We stand firmly on the ground.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Diamonds and Seals

Some days are more "paradisey" than others. I have so often written about the shack being in paradise, but even paradise can have a rating! Today is 10/10 for sea and sand but a little lower for temperature and wind. It is lucky indeed to be here when the sea is this clear, this brilliant and the sand such a pure white as to take your breath away.  As the tiny waves form a crest and are about to break onto the beach, it is as though each is filled with thousands of diamonds, polished by sand and sea, destined to be washed up onto the shore, such is the clarity and sparkle of the aqua water.

And so it was that this beauty drew me out on my board this morning; I just had to be there, to touch the diamonds and be a part of the day. I am very much at home paddling my board and prefer it to a canoe because I can drag a foot in the water or scoop up and handful of those sparkling jewels and splash my face, and I enjoy the cool water coming over the front of the board as I head out through the waves. I can also roll off the board into the sea on a hot day to cool down and easily climb back on again. If I am careful, I can leave my hat and sunglasses on the board while I am swimming about and diving down to touch the sand below..... if I am not careful enough, I end up having to dive down and get my sunglasses off the bottom and ringing out my sodden, floppy hat!

This morning I paddled out around the point and across the bay to the far end of North Beach.... what a totally inadequate name for such a beautiful place! There were a dozen or so old tractors and their trailers on the beach, used by the locals to launch their fishing boats....The sea was calm and it only took me 15 minutes to reach the end so I continued on past the rocky promontory to the next bay. Because the tide was in, this little bay was cut off from walkers who might come along North Beach and so I had a tiny patch of paradise all to myself. I put my board up on the beach and went for a swim in the deep, cool, crystal clear sea, afterwards drying off in the sun by sitting on the end of my board on the beach. Truly, I thought, this must be heaven.... no people, the only sounds being the tinkle of the tide on the sand..... just me and 2 seagulls.

Not being in any particular hurry to return I paddled on again, marvelling at the serenity and beauty of the high, red cliffs, the sparkling clean water and brilliant blue sky. The wind had been slowly rising and the time came to turn around as the trip back would be into the wind and therefore into the waves and not as easy as the outward journey. The work took more of my concentration on the way back and I was glad to hold onto an old boat mooring after paddling for 1/2 an hour.... the only place to stop and not be blown backwards. Another 10 minutes or so and I was back on the beach in front of the shack, looking forward to a coffee.... but that's another story.

This evening the wind died out completely as the sun approached the horizon and so lured me down to the beach once more. I walked in the cool, still water, the only sounds my footsteps and occasionally some distant birds in the sandhills. This is another rare and beautiful treat.... to stand still and feel total silence.... not a ripple of the sea, not a bird's call..... nothing..... and no-one else in sight. Such silence both empties and fills your head and is almost impossible to describe.

As the sun became a rich, golden ball, reflecting its glory on the calm water, a lone seagull flew silently by and tiny fish scurried here and there in the shallows. A metre or so away a stingray glided slowly by and another 4 or 5 metres further out to sea a seal's nose appeared, then the hump of its back broke the surface and it was gone again.... Usually I see dolphins fishing close to shore on still evenings like this but although I saw several yesterday, there were none tonight.

Paradise excelled itself today.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Men Don't Dance Anymore

There is a great Beccy Cole song called Men Don't Dance Anymore.... I can't find a video clip of it unfortunately but I found this poster and liked the humour

Well bless my soul what's wrong with you all crowded round the bar
The girls are on the dance floor while you brag about your cars
You don't have to move like Elvis to get out on the floor
'Cause men Don't Dance Anymore

Well you shake my nerves and rattle my brain but you just don't docey doe
You're all standing still while the play every song I know
Don't you know what those RM Williams boots are really for
Men Don't Dance Anymore

Let me show you something that will drive the girls insane
Every woman in this place will want to know your name
Clap your hands, shake your hips, turn around like this
But Men Don't Dance Anymore

Bop Bop A Lula a wap bam boo I think you're almost there
The girls are going crazy but you ain't no Fred Astaire
And now the boys are in a conga line and heading for the door
Men Don't Dance Anymore

Couples on the dance floor that's how it's supposed to be
If you don't know what to do..boys just follow me
Step right, step left, pelvic thrust, shake your head
But Men Don't Dance Anymore
Oh No Men Don't Dance Anymore
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009


I have put together a series of photos depicting the interesting and quirky details of village buildings in south west France. Ranging from windows only as wide as a hand, to beautiful street signs and from wooden beams to door knockers. Coming from a modern country like Australia with no buildings dating back further than the 18oo's, I found it fascinating to wander the ancient streets of France and imagine the lives lived during the history of these buildings, most dating from the 1300's.

These are streets and buildings still functioning today as towns, homes and businesses. Despite the ancient exterior appearance, inside is modern, clean and functional. Rooves are often fitted with TV aerials and satellite dishes but advertising of any sort is rare and finding a particular shop or business can be extraordinarily difficult as addresses are vague and signage almost non-existent.

Market days bring crowds and the streets are bustling but the rest of the week is quiet and perfect for photography. Everything closes for lunch and siesta between 12 and 2 or 3 or even 4 and the villages become ghost-like, with only the restaurants showing any signs of life at all. Pots of plants are everywhere and indicate that people do actually live inside. During winter there was not a lot of colourful plantings but come spring, doorsteps will be edged in pots of geraniums and window boxes will overflow with colour.

Luckily for the visitor, French people have kept their beautiful, old buildings and not demolished them in the name of progress. To their way of thinking it does not matter what a building looks like on the outside, it is what is inside that counts. Renovations are only carried out to stop complete collapse of the walls. So they remain living history; a rare and wonderful thing in this era of cheap and nasty architecture.

Long live the French village.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It was time to start reading a new book. I have finished and enjoyed "The Private Patient" by P.D.James and also a wonderful book that I found in a second hand shop in Moonta, called "Spice Travels" by Ian Hemphill. He is a spice merchant from Sydney whose passion for spices has led him all over the world in pursuit of knowledge about the growing and processing of every spice on earth. So, I had 2 choices left, both recommendations from son Alex. First "The Ancestor's Tale", nearly 700 pages of Richard Dawkin's fascinating and beautifully written book on evolution. Second, "A Short History of Myth" by Karen Armstrong.

I have read about half of the introduction of each....and here I am thinking about humans being meaning-seeking creatures who conversely also have an imagination that allows us to think of things that have no existence. It is going to take me a long time to digest both of these books at this rate! As I gaze out of the shack window, while my mind considers facts and myths, the fact that is most noticeable is that the wind is coming up yet again while Roger imagines the feats he could achieve windsurfing, now that Langmuire has arrived.

The wind wriggles into life in some most interesting ways. Some of them are universal, some local. Some are obvious, some only observed by crazy people like me who seek both the real and the myth. Some beneficial, some not, but all a very real part of existence for every living thing on earth. So, who is Langmuire?

DSC_0001-4 As the wind strengthens, it has various universally understood effects on the water beginning with ripples and waves and progressing to what we call white-caps (or white horses) from about 10 knots and then white foam forming in lines directly downwind at about 15 knots. I cannot explain the scientific reason for these white lines but I do know they are called Langmuire's Circulations, after a Mr. Langmuire. In my photo at left the white line cuts across the sea just below the writing.image


In the photo at right you can see that the lines extend downwind of the reef.

This is the point at which Roger goes windsurfing as he knows there is enough wind and he can see the direction, without even going outside.....thanks Mr Langmuire! 


Before Mr Langmuire visits, though, other things happen..... the horizon turns from a soft blue, blending perfectly with the sky, to a sharp, dark line heralding the arrival of the afternoon sea breeze. If I am walking on this beach on a still day, before the sea breeze arrives, it is totally silent, as where I walk is very shallow and there is not even a ripple on the shore sometimes. There are no roads for many miles and rarely any people.... just the pure, pristine sea, and me. As the wind begins to rise, I can hear it far out at sea. It is quite beautiful and unreal to hear the wind in the distance but it be completely still where I am standing. As the first tiny flutters of breeze erratically approach the shore, the movement of the surface of the crystal clear water reflects on the sand below and makes delicate patterns, like light glistening through thousands of pieces of glass. It is quite breath-taking.

These first breaths bring pockets of air from who knows how far away. Some are hot, some cool and eventually they mix to form a  breeze uniformly cooled by its drifting across the sea. Even on a hot day, the air doesn't need to travel far across the sea to cool down or far across the land to heat up. Just sitting in the shallows instead of further up the beach makes a hell of a hot day into a pleasant one.

Just before Mr Langmuire arrives though, sand and seaweed start to blow along the beach, the windows start whistling, it becomes a challenge to sit outside and read without losing your hat and the local gulls start playing in the wind.They flap upwind for a while then turn like an acrobatic plane and shoot down the beach at break neck speed, without so much as one flap of their wings. They do this over and over on windy days, especially the larger, darker gulls, who also use the wind to hover as if in a windless cage, just outside our window, even in what seems like a gale, showing us just what nature can do, unaided.










Nature does very well when left alone..... here are a couple of recent examples.