My mum passed away last week when the jacarandas were in full bloom. We will miss you so much xxx
South East Queensland
A cool walk before the heat sets in – visiting the subtropics.
Sharing time together and the power of ritual, nature and love.
A Classic Christmas
This time last year I was busy baking in my kitchen. I tried my hand at ginger bread cookies. Having purchased some delightful cookie cutters from an American on-line store called House on the Hill and they included a lovely recipe. Apart from the usual star shapes, I bought a cabin in the woods mould and an acorn. I guess I have a romantic notion of a cold Christmas surrounded by warm hearths and warm glows. I guess a cold climate is more conducive to trying your hand at specialty baking and crafts.
This year we are in Brisbane with family here. I have to say, give me a cold Christmas any time. The temperatures during the day have been a constant 32 degrees C with humidity and blazing sunshine. All great, when you’re by the sea, but not so great in a city, or in a weatherboard cottage. Too hot to bake, too hot to eat really. So I guess we head for the air conditioned shopping – but away from the “madding crowd”. Instead our usual vintage haunts never fail to lure us.
One advantage of being here is that we don’t have to drive very far and often we can walk to these vintage and craft sellers. Wonders can be found.
I love these vintage buttons from my favourite little shop – Travels with my Aunt named after a film of the same name. Check out my blog entitled Travelling North, 9 July, 2013
So whether you are enjoying a hot traditional Christmas dinner or a cold seafood lunch, whether you are with family or friends or on your own, in a cold climate or a hot one – what classic or traditional elements will you include in your day?
(Ours will be Spumante, Panettone and plum pudding!)
Weird and Wonderful
As we return to Term 3, I am always grateful that we are able to get away from work – both at home and school. It always seems that school work is like house work – sometimes appreciated, greatly needed and never done!
Having returned from visiting my mother in Brisbane and planned and prepared my lessons for the next few days, I have a little time to indulge in my thoughts. Our short stay in the northern sun rendered its benefits, both physically and emotionally. As promised I now share with you some of our wacky sights.
Houses on stilts
Queensland homes are renowned for being perched on stilts. This not only provides much needed ventilation but also a safe, high aspect during floods! However, this poor house is awaiting its much needed renovation.
World Expo ’88
Often referred to as Brisbane’s “coming of age” event. It was 184 days of spectacular, multi-national events. The following statistics are courtesy of http://www.foundationexpo88.org/trivia.html and the newly refurbished Brisbane City Council Museum.
Did you know that…..
19,000 meals were served every hour every Expo day, including…
Over 16 million scoops of ice-cream
17 million hamburgers
1.4 million hot dogs
5 million chicken nuggets
8 million buckets of hot chips
340 trawler loads of seafood
90,000 kgs of spaghetti
the equivalent of 650 family swimming pools of beer
Some of the wacky street entertainment, above.
The Banyan Tree
More commonly known as the Moreton Bay Fig, it casts an eerie sight on the road side.
I have to end on my favourite topics at the moment – letter boxes. See my post A Lively Letter
We enjoyed our few days, especially visiting the Queensland Art Gallery and Antiques centre and of course, chatting with mum and visiting “old” friends.
We are now back home on the Mount and preparing for some brisk weather after our soirée in the sun. To all my northern hemisphere readers – indulge in your brilliant summer!
The streets of your town….
Whenever we return to my home town in the sub-tropics, I am reminded of the lyrics of the 1980’s pop band the Go-Betweens
round and round, up and down,
through the streets of your town
Every day I make my way
through the streets of your town
As a child I walked these streets for sixteen years, literally zig-zagging my way up the hilly, heated asphalt in the humidity and the obligatory summer rains.
The street where I lived… It really was!
We often return to visit my mother, who, in her eighties, still lives in the old Post War cottage. Our little home was one of the newer residences in the street. The area of Red Hill was established in the 1860’s where some of the first streets, Confederate and Federal, no doubt paid homage to that Civil War raging on the other side of the world.
I was always fascinated by the architecture of the region. The grand one hundred year old Queenslander with its sprawling verandas and high gable is still a much sought after residence.
Today, the little homes are delightful in their aspects. Their facades immaculately maintained and their modest porticos framed by verdant fronds.
I am by no means an expert in architecture, however, these homes are lovingly maintained and understated. There are always exceptions to the rule…
Others have been enclosed by white steel, cooling lattice or tropical shutters….
Even though I now live in another State, whenever I walk these streets I am filled with memories of family and the people who once lived in these homes, a life time ago. Just like some of these houses it was a simple time, lovingly spent in the sun and winding roads of life. Or was it a mirage? Do you ever go back to your home town?
To The Lighthouse
Our little soirée on the border of Queensland and New South Wales has seen us celebrate our anniversary by walking to Fingal Point lighthouse. Colin’s dear friend, who passed away a couple of years ago, has a memorial at the site. It is breathtaking.
Fingal Lighthouse is only a short walk from the road but the colour of the ocean and the coolness of the air are a welcome reprieve in this hot weather.
The area is an aboriginal sacred ground as well as being home to many native plants and wildflowers.
Pandanus palms line the foreground to the lighthouse and the boardwalk.
I must admit that Colin and I both have a fascination for lighthouses. This particular one is a small example with its big brother Byron Bay Lighthouse a mere fifty kilometres away and designated as the most easterly lighthouse in Australia.
Secluded beaches are a must see and a must swim in this part of the coastline. Though not part of what is known as The Gold Coast, Fingal is much more inviting and private and only a few kilometres from the township of Kingscliff. Be mindful of the rips though and check for a patrolled beach if you are unsure.
In some ways we are thankful to be temporarily away from the heat wave and bush fires which are gripping many parts of the country. Our thoughts go out to those who are fighting bush fires all along the eastern seaboard and to those who have lost loved ones and properties in Tasmania.
Mango Trees and Monkees
It is always with mixed feelings that I return to my hometown in the sub-tropics. Queensland is a vast and varied State. The length of its coastline is nearly 7000 km and it is a place of great contrasts. From the densely populated South East corner to the Outback and the Tropical North, it can be both beautiful and treacherous. Growing up in the decade which spanned the end of 1960’s and start of the 1970’s was like this too – filled with exciting new music coupled with the treachery of so many lives sacrificed to a war in another tropical place. For me, the twelve year old, it was indeed time spent swinging from the mango tree listening to The Monkees (pardon the pun) – not for any deep and meaningful reason but simply to be swept up in the mass hysteria that new wave American music was to produce.
Now, forty years later the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel “My Little Town” resonate with me when I come back here. I really did grow up “believing God kept his eye on us all” or was it simply “daydream believing”. The mango tree is gone and so too is Davey Jones but the heat, humidity, bougainvilleas, frangipanis and the little house on the hilly road are still going strong.
Imagine walking up this hill to school! It’s not called Red Hill for nothing. Check out the handrail!
My week here has been very pleasant indeed catching up with family and friends and experiencing some cathartic moments – which will be best kept for another time and place. But you know what – there really is “no place like home”. For me that place is now – a mountain home – I can feel a John Denver song coming on! I hope you will forgive me the clichés.
Today’s front yard view comes to you from deep suburbia. See you back home.