Getting some z’s on Father’s Day

I went to Auburn today and did my usual thing of cooking for the fortnight for dad, and spending some time with him. We went for a walk later in the day, and did the chooks, and watched a bit of telly, and had a few laughs and he was my assistant in the kitchen also. It was good to see him and to catch him out in this common pose, asleep in the chair after lunch. Also common for the cat to be beside him, curled up on the comfortable chair. I feel very grateful to have the chance to spend time with him and that I have had the opportunity, courtesy of his long life, to get to know him more deeply in these past 10 or 15 years. He’s a terrific person and I’m a lucky woman!

Happy Father’s Day dadda!

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Kindness and ‘dear ones’ at the market

Readers of this blog will know that I regularly go to the farmers’ market on Sunday mornings. It is citrus fruit season at the moment, and each week I pick up my oranges, grapefruit and other fruit from the lovely Soula and Bill, growers from Loxton. They are the kindest folk, and have the most delicious fruit. Oranges etc in winter, and fantastic stone fruit in summer. Their fruit tastes more like the fruit from home grown trees than any other ‘bought’ fruit I’ve ever had. They are also generous, and are always giving people extra bits of this and that. Often when I am at the market I am on my way up to Auburn – they ask after dad every week, and when they knew he had been unwell recently, sent home a bag of mandarins for him (which he loves). I took them a dozen of his eggs this morning that he sent back in exchange.

Cara-Cara-Orange

Cara Cara oranges

One of their ‘specialities’ is the Cara Cara orange – a red fleshed naval that is really delicious. It came from South America originally, from a place called Cara Cara, but I note that Cara means ‘dear one’ in Italian. Bill and Soula (their Greek heritage notwithstanding) are definitely dear ones, generous ones, and their warm-heartedness makes going to the market a treat in more ways than the obvious.

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Misty Morning

For many years I have been walking twice a week with my friend Kaye. One morning we leave from her place and walk through the park and along the old ‘creek’ (now more of a drain) in a circuit and then back. We used to go with Jackie the dog, who some people might recall from this blog. Another morning we leave from my place and walk along the beach. I took my camera the other day when we walked at Marion (Kaye’s suburb) – you can see how lovely it was on this wintry misty morning…

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Adventures in Bogland

On Friday evening I had an invitation to join my friend’s son Fynn’s birthday party at Kuitpo forest.

(The above photos (click to enlarge) are from the internet, thanks to those who took them. I didn’t take any photos on the night…)

The party ran from 4 pm to 7 pm, and I couldn’t go until after work. It’s a bit of a drive away, so by the time I got to Brookman Road it was getting late. I drove all down the road and back and up and down, and I just couldn’t find the Woodman’s cottage or the balloons or any sign of the party. It was getting dark by this time, and I thought that if I didn’t find them on one last look, I would go back to their place, assuming they would have gone home by then. I tried going down a side road, but soon realised that it wasn’t the right place, and turned around to go back to the main road – and got bogged. Of course it’s rained a bit, especially in the hills, and it was all wet and muddy on the side of the road.

(Photos of bogged cars from the internet, just to give you a flavour. I wasn’t in quite such a dire situation as the people and cars above, but I might as well have been!)

It was pretty obvious that I wouldn’t get out by myself, so I had to go and find some help. I headed off from the car – it was really dark at this stage, and I headed back to the main road. The sky was beautiful.

sky on a dark night 2

(A picture of the southern sky, again from the internet)

Cars went past quite regularly, their lights were very bright, and the speed seemed fast in the dark. I walked up the road towards the intersection to begin with, but I felt it was so dark that I was in danger of falling, and possibly would be in danger a bit from the cars, who wouldn’t have been able to see me well either. I thought I had a torch in the car, so went back and found it, and also got a bit better lie of the land by taking that time.

(Evocative paintings by Camilla Tadich of car lights on darkening roads. It was quite like this, but a bit darker, on Friday night)

I could see that there were some houses in the other direction from the intersection, so thought that was probably the best way to go – to the nearest house, which was on the other side of the road, and not far away. Of course I felt a bit stupid and embarrassed and anxious about it all, but what can you do!

Anyway, I knocked on the door to the house, which was set a bit away from the road, and I could see that there were people there, someone watching telly, someone else doing the dishes. Roger, who was doing the dishes, came to the door, and I explained my situation. Roger immediately started putting his boots on to come and help. He is a carpenter and had a big work truck parked outside, and he cleared out the front seat so I could get in, unhooked the trailer from the back of it, and we went off, leaving his partner to finish the dishes (sorry about that Nina!).

It was all very easy and quick once we got to the car – Roger had a length of ┬átape/rope that he put around the tow bar of his truck and hooked underneath the back of my car and we were out in a flash. It was so fantastic to have such an easy, kind, helpful response – which is what commonly happens when trouble strikes, but which is easy to forget when so often what we hear is of trouble and danger from strangers.

So, in relatively short time I was back on the road, and called on my pals at home, before the birthday boy went to bed!

 

 

 

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The hard work of peace

 

I heard a story on the radio this week about an amazing woman, Alice Wheeldon, who put her life on the line in opposition to World War 1. This time 100 years ago, she, two of her daughters and a son-in-law were tried and found guilty of what seem to have been trumped up charges of attempting to kill the British Prime Minister of the time, David Lloyd George. She was against conscription of people into the war effort, and helped to hide men who were avoiding from the draft of that time, and was, it appears likely, framed by someone pretending to be a conscientious objector. She went to jail (she was sentenced to 10 years), but was released not long afterwards, and died soon after in the flu epidemic of 1919. One of her daughters (Hettie) who was tried with her, but acquitted of the crime died the following year, after giving birth to a stillborn baby. Her son Willie was not allowed to return to his work as a teacher after the war as he had been jailed during the war (he was a conscientious objector). He left Britain and went to the Soviet Union, where he was eventually killed in one of Stalin’s ‘purges’. Another daughter Winnie and her husband Alf Mason were also jailed for their part in the ‘plot’. The whole family were crusaders for peace and a better world (as indicated in the plaque above, they had lots of causes), but really paid a price for it.

Winnie and Alf had one son, Peter. He was a scientist, and moved to Australia in the 1960’s. He worked for a time at the ABC, and contributed to The Science Show – winning, ironically enough, a UN Media Peace Prize for one of the series he made there in the 1980’s. He too was an activist for anti-nuclear and anti-war causes, but apparently did not speak in detail about his parents’ experiences in WW1 till just before he died in 1987. His daughters are now working to get their family members’ convictions quashed – 100 years after the original trial. They were interviewed (on The Science Show again), talking about their father and activist forbears, and it was this that I heard and that moved me to write this post…

 

I felt really inspired by the whole family – their idealism, commitment, active contributions to creating change and willingness to go against the tide of popular opinion and work for what they believed in are really something. It’s a pity they couldn’t get a bit more peace for themselves in their lifetimes.

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Immensity and smallness

I have spent a good deal of the last two weeks in Auburn. Dad has been unwell and I have been there with him. He has had a few days in hospital, and even after he got home again, has taken a little while to get his mojo back. It is a reminder of how fortunate we have been that he is generally so well, and also that nothing lasts forever. Anyway he is improving now, and has just spent an enjoyable day watching the football.

Being in the country, even in these circumstances, has its consolations though. I have been struck two quite different aspects of country life. Firstly the immensity and beauty of the night sky. Without the light pollution that dulls the heavens in the city, the Milky Way flows brightly across the sky, the Southern Cross is very evident, and some old favourite constellations show up clearly where I can never seem to find them at Glenelg – in particular I have become reacquainted with Corvus the Crow. This little group of four main stars really does remind me of a bird flying towards the western horizon, and each night, when I am out for a walk here I can look at it gliding across the sky, along with all the other stars that gleam out. I find it very soothing and awe-inspiring – the hugeness dwarfing any worries and putting them in perspective.

 

 

At the other end of the scale are the chooks. Dad has 20 of them now, and I have been feeding them morning and evening, and collecting the eggs. They are real characters, amusing and admirable as they run around the yard doing their chooky business, living the lives of hens, untroubled by psychology or the past or the future. They are very present, and very entertaining. One brown one has a habit of escaping from the yard – she poos in the carport which is a bit annoying, so it is a little ritual to get her back out with the other girls. I discovered the other day that she has been laying her eggs in the most inaccessible spot imaginable – another reason for her escape I think is to get to this area. I spent some time getting to the nest when I worked out where she was, and emerged with four eggs and filthy clothes afterwards (see below photos for a snap of where the nest is).

 

 

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Noticing Yellow

I have taken lots of photos of these yellow flowers this week – they are called Aeonium arboreum apparently (or Pinwheel desert rose, or tree houseleek, or tree aeonium, or thickleaf aeonium or…(see Google for more!)), and they are out all over the place – great colour in the middle of winter, and fantastic succulent leaves too. I am a fan (and I never really noticed them before). Click on the pics to enlarge.

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