Australia · birds · Changes · clouds · daughter · grandson · in my garden · Mount Warning · music · native Australian birds · seasons · subtropical weather · summer · Tweed Valley

The Summer

If I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house
And pour it loose through your garden
So the hinges on your windows would rust and colour
Like the boats pulled up on the sand for the summer
And your sweet clean clothes would go stiff on the line
And there’d be sand in your pockets and nothing on your mind ~ Josh Pyke.

Summer wasn’t shy today about letting us know it had arrived. At 31Β°C and 88 percent humidity, it felt like the middle of summer and not the first day. Tomorrow’s prediction is for 35Β°C (95Β°F).

Regardless of the weather, I had a very special visitor today, my daughter Emma and her three-and-a-half month old son, Eli. Today, Emma turned 28. I apologise profusely every year for having her at such a hot time of year, which also happens to be the month of Christmas so her birthday can easily be overshadowed by another significant event. This birthday though, as Emma is now a mother herself and realises the futility of my tongue-in-cheek comment, we agreed that babies usually arrive on the day of their choice.

After Emma and Eli headed home, I spent some time Christmas gift shopping online. Even though Australia is travelling incredibly well Covid-wise, I’m still a bit of a scaredy-cat about spending time in crowds. Perhaps more to the point, it saves me time to shop online when I’m still sorting, cleaning, tidying and decluttering my house.

Maggie in a Tizz.

During the afternoon I heard a commotion out in the front garden. Noisy Miner birds – who are named “noisy” for a reason! – were kicking up a ruckus in the tree at the top of our garden, their squawks intermittently interrupted by the sound of a distressed Magpie.

I tried to ignore the noise, but it got the better of me. Even the two dogs sprawled out beside me got up and peered out the door, as if investigating the situation. The dogs know, just as I do, that magpies and miners are friends. If a miner carries on a treat as they were doing today, there’s a threat. I imagined one of the neighbours cats may be lurking around the tree.

Ignoring the noise wasn’t working for me, so I ignored the heat instead, and trudged to the top of the hill to investigate. Whatever the threat was, it seemed to be in the tree, which meant it could be a snake wrapped around a high branch sheltering from the heat of the day.

This is what I found –

A Pee Wee!

We occasionally see Magpie Larks in the garden, and I have noticed recently we have one dropping into the back garden each morning after the other birds have finished eating the food I give them. Magpie Larks are another native Australian bird, affectionately known as Pee Wees. They have a very pretty song and seem completely harmless, so goodness knows why the magpies objected so much to the visit. Maybe the magpie family feel that they “own” my yard, and the tree being in our yard belongs to them.

Satisfied that one tiny pee wee posed no threat to my lovely magpie family, I paused to take a photo of Mount Warning, which could be seen today, although not as clearly visible as it could be (first photo).

Later tonight at around sunset, I took another photo of the mountain. Dark patches of cloud had rolled in, and we didn’t see the beautiful orange sunset sky we have had lately.

The opening words of today’s post are song lyrics from Josh Pyke, an Australian singer, whose creativity with words conjures images of immense beauty when describing the most mundane moments of everyday life. This song is called The Summer, so very appropriate for today. I love this song as the words romanticise the one season of the year that I struggle to cope with. For anyone interested, here’s the rest of the lyrics to The Summer ~

But every year it gets a little bit harder
To get back to the feeling of when we were fifteen
And we could jump in the river upstream
And let the current carry us to the beginning where
The river met the sea again
And all our days were a sun-drenched haze
While the salt spray crusted on the window panes

We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer

And I’ll remember that summer as the right one
The storms made the pavement steam like a kettle
And our first goodbye always seemed like hours
In the car park in between my house and yours
And if the summer holds a song we might sing forever
The winter holds a bite we’d never felt before

But time is like the ocean
You can only hold a little in your hands
So we swim before we’re broken
Before our bones become
Black coral on the sand

We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
We should be living like we lived that summer
I wanna live like we live in the summer
So if I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house
And pour it loose through your garden ~ Josh Pyke.

autumn · happiness · inspiration · Mount Warning · music · old house · photography

Cee’s Share Your World, Weeks 19 and 20.

???????????????????????????????Signs of winter have crept into my part of the world this week and last night really was rather chilly indeed, with the temperature dropping down to around eleven degrees Celsius. Believe me, that’s quite cold for this area!

???????????????????????????????There are definite advantages to cool sunny days though and last night we were treated to another beautiful autumn sunset, so while I share my world by answering Cee’s questions for both weeks 19 and 20, I will also share last night’s sunset with you all. πŸ™‚

???????????????????????????????WEEK 19 ~

On a vacation what would you require in any place that you would stay? (This was a suggested question for Cee to ask, from my blogging friend Carol.)

Usually I have an automatic response to Cee’s questions, but I had to give this one some thought. Coffee making facilities came to mind, but I could go out for coffee, I can live without a television, easily, and all places you stay in have a bed….but what I really would dislike sharing is a bathroom. So that is my answer, I would require an adjoining bathroom in any place that I would stay on vacation.

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If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels?
I don’t believe that I would have the patience to write a novel, but short stories I can do, and I enjoy writing them. When I think about it, every blog post I write is a short story really. I do enjoy reading, and writing poetry too, but short stories are top of the list.

???????????????????????????????What’s your favorite song of the moment?

Oh that’s such an easy question to answer, it’s the song that is playing on constant repeat inside my head! The Australian version of The Voice is being shown in Australia right now, and one of my favourite contestants, Luke Kennedy, sang a duet of the song from Les Miserables, “I Dreamed a Dream”. It hasn’t left my head since that night! I’ve loved this song since I first heard it sung by Michael Crawford.

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If you were to buy a new house/apartment what is the top item on your wish list?

If I were to buy a new home, my number one criteria would be that it had to be old. I’ve always wanted to renovate an old home, a one hundred year old home would be ideal, and I would like to restore it to its former glory.

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Now onto Cee’s questions for WEEK 20 ~

Do you like winter, or not, and why?

Winter, oh how I love winter! I’m a cold climate girl. I grew up in The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, where it actually snows during winter in some of the higher altitude towns. There are four definite seasons in the mountains, each with its own individual beauty, and during summer it doesn’t even get dreadfully hot. I love it!

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Are you a listener or talker?

Definitely a listener, especially when I first meet a new person and don’t know them very well. I think that everyone who knows me well would agree that I’m a very good listener, but I can talk once I get going too!

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What is your favorite juice or fruit drink?

Is there such a thing as chocolate juice? πŸ˜‰ There should be, but seeing as there isn’t, I think I would have to say pineapple juice. It’s a juice that I don’t drink often, but when I do, I love it.

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What do you have to be so happy about?

My four children. Sure, there are other things that make me happy (like beautiful sunsets!) a day at a time, but ask me any day, of any year, for the last twenty-eight years (‘coz that’s how long I’ve been a mother) what makes me happy, and I would consistently say my two sons and two daughters. They are the highlights of all of my life’s happiest days, and that’s every day.

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birthdays · blessings · music · photography · son

Benjamin

NYC
NYC

Twenty-eight years ago today, April 22nd, I became a mother for the first time.

The events of the day are embedded in my brain, they always will be, but isn’t it the same for every woman? How could she ever forget a single detail of the day when she exchanges her life of singular, to include another little human who is totally dependent upon her?

From the very first moment when I laid eyes upon my first-born baby, my son, Ben, was the moment that I became instantly besotted by my pink, perfect, new-born little person.

Brooklyn Bridge.
Brooklyn Bridge.

And today, as Ben turned twenty-eight years of age, and I looked into those pale blue eyes of his, I realised as I have done so many times during those twenty-eight years that he still holds my heart in the palm of his hand. He always has, he always will.

On Ben’s birthday last year we didn’t have the opportunity to hug him tight as we wished him a happy birthday as he was in the U.S.A., spending the day doing one of the things he loves the most, listening to music at the three day annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty.

Ben spent five weeks in the U.S.A. and even though he had previously travelled to Japan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, I think it would be safe to say that his trip to America was the trip of a lifetime. Ben loved the States, especially New York City, where he and his mates spent eight days and nights exploring the sites.

Ben arrived home telling us all that New York City is his favourite city in the world so far, so for his birthday, I thought I would begin to share just couple of photos that he has given me of his trip. I told him that I’m sure my friends overseas, who read my blog, would like to see the U.S.A. through the eyes of an Australian and I’m thrilled to bits that he is allowing me to share them with you!

The Wall Street Bull has a lot in common with Ben, his star sign being Taurus the Bull!
The Wall Street Bull has a lot in common with Ben, his star sign being Taurus the Bull!

I have a few of Ben’s photos to progressively show you all. Maybe even my American friends might see an area or two of their country that they haven’t explored themselves yet! There’s certainly an awful lot of Australia that I haven’t seen yet, in fact it’s surprising how travellers will often see more of a country than the locals do, as their intention is to travel and see as much as they can fit into the duration of their holiday.

Ben, photo taken January 19th this year at his grandmother's birthday party.
Ben, photo taken January 19th this year at his grandmother’s birthday party.

Happy birthday my beautiful boy. ❀

Australia · basics · music

As Australian as Vegemite ~ tastes just as good the second time around!

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“Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich…” ~ Land Down Under, Men at Work.

A whole two years ago I wrote about our beloved Australian icon ~ Vegemite. (Was it really two years ago? Wow, that time flew by awfully fast!)

How could I write a series of posts about Australian Icons without mentioning it again?

I won’t repeat myself though, you can still read the two year old post as everything I said about Vegemite back then still applies now!

And I still enjoy my Vegemite sandwiches as much now as I did back then. The main point that I really must emphasise about eating Vegemite, be it on a sandwich or on toast, is please do not add too much! It has a very strong flavour, so use sparingly!

See, you only need add a thin layer of Vegemite to your toast. Less is more! ;)
See, you only need add a thin layer of Vegemite to your toast. Less is more! πŸ˜‰

Have any of my blogging friends from overseas ever had the opportunity to taste Vegemite?

If you haven’t tasted our famous National Icon, would you try it, if given the opportunity?

You may have heard this Australian “anthem” of sorts before, “Down Under” by Men at Work, as it was released in a number of countries throughout the world back in the early 1980’s. It was also the theme song of the Australia II camp, during Australia’s successful challenge of the Americas Cup in 1983.

Oh, and it was also played by “Men at Work” during the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games, held in Sydney, Australia.

Vegemite is mentioned in this song as well, so go on, have a listen. Does it sound familiar to you?

Post Script ~ After Sybil asked in her comment whether Vegemite is similar to Marmite I made some further investigations. Whilst they are very similar, the taste is different (well, to the palate of an Australian it is!) I have discovered that Vegemite contains malt extract, which is made from barley. Apparently, Marmite (an English product) doesn’t, therefore I will take this one difference in ingredience as confirming that my taste-buds are right!

Another interesting fact, the birth of Vegemite took place in Melbourne, Australia, in 1922. It was first made by the Fred Walker Cheese Company but it took a while to catch on, as Aussies were used eating Marmite on their morning toast. In 1937, Fred Walker decided to promote Vegemite by holding a limerick competition, offering substantial prizes, and from that moment on, the Aussies have been smitten. Fred Walker knew that Australia needed a brand new Australian Icon, obviously! πŸ˜‰

The entire story of the history of Vegemite can be found at vegemite.com.au. I’ve even discovered that the old Vegemite advert, which I remember seeing on television as a child, is on You Tube!

Who would have known that there is so much information on the internet about Vegemite? I’m learning so much myself from writing this! πŸ™‚

 

Australia · music · photography · rain · summer

It’s been raining for so long.

berry buddies

“Well it’s a happenin’ thing
And it’s happenin’ to you
Full moon and thunder
Ribbons of blue
Ice on the window
Ice in my heart
Foolin’ with thunder
Every time we start…” ~ Rain, Marc Hunter and Dragon.

“I’ll have to get rid of those new bunches of seeds off the palms, or we’ll have them dropping into the pool”, announced my husband a couple of weeks ago.

“Don’t cut them down!” I protested. “When they are ripe enough the birds will want to eat them!”

So they stayed , and this morning the Honey Eaters discovered they were ready for the picking. What a lovely time they had, dangling from the berry branches as they ate breakfast in the rain! We can clean the pool up later.

Another wet and gloomy day for the humans, although the birds don't seem to mind.
Another wet and gloomy day for the humans, but the birds don’t seem to mind.

The rain hasn’t stopped all day, with warnings of treacherous weather frightening many people into staying indoors. Shop owners are closing the doors to their shops, the streets have hardly any traffic and the beaches are all but empty. The temperature has dropped to twenty-four degrees celsius and the humidity is ninety-four percent.

And here we are, smack bang in the middle month of summer, on our Australia Day weekend!

When I began my week of “Australian Icon” posts I hadn’t bargained on this horrendous weather taking hold. How can I show you photos of the golden beaches of the Gold Coast in this weather? I’ll just have to extend my Australian Icon week for a day or two, or until the sun returns, whichever comes first.

High tide at the jetty.
High tide at the jetty.

High tide was around 11 am this morning, so we went to the jetty to take a few photos, then drove around the corner to the deserted park. Every weekend during summer the park is chock-full of families, picnicking by the river. Today, there was not a soul in sight.

I felt so sorry for the seagulls in the park. They know this is the place to go to be fed, but today the feeders were nowhere to be seen! I guess they’ll have to hunt for their own dinner today.

The Crested Tern ~ mother and son perhaps?
The Crested Tern ~ mother and son perhaps?

Keeping the seagulls company today were a couple of other birds that I haven’t seen before, one of which I have identified as the Crested Tern. The Tern is closely related to the Seagull and the cousins intermingled together in the rain swept park and along the edges of the river.

Australian Pied Oyster Catcher.
Australian Pied Oyster Catcher.

This funny looking long-legged fellow is an Australian Pied Oyster Catcher. I’m surprised not to have seen him in the park before. There are oyster beds in the mangroves nearby, so they should be able to help themselves to an oyster or two any time they are feeling peckish.

Too wet to leave the car, this photo was taken looking through the windscreen.
Too wet to leave the car, this photo was taken looking through the windscreen.

My son Adam wanted to see how the surf was, with the waves reported to be higher than usual today, so we took a drive up to Point Danger to have a look at Duranbah Beach and the mouth of the Tweed River.

Fierce choppy waves at Duranbah Beach.
Fierce choppy waves at Duranbah Beach.

As we had expected, the surf looked pretty ordinary and only the brave, or the very foolish, were out for a swim. We counted the grand total of two people swimming at this very popular surfing beach.

Dangerous conditions.
Dangerous conditions.

The mouth of the river is hazardous at the best of times, even for boats and fishing trawlers. Today, the rough seas were crazy.

My Australian song for today is, appropriately, “Rain” from the Australian/New Zealand band Dragon. The sun is predicted to return by Tuesday. I wonder if it will? Probably “yes”, as that is the day the work week begins again…. and I suppose you have all heard of “Murphy’s Law”!