Saturday, December 28, 2013

Decorations of the other half...?


This is where we had dinner last night:

Fish and chips, while we looked across at million $ yachts...

Mandurah, the area where we live, is a mixed sort of place. People live here because property is cheaper to buy and rent than closer to Perth (which is 50 minutes away by train, and some 70-80 kms by road).

People live here because it'a a lovely place to retire to: cooler in summer, warmer in winter, lovely places to walk, boat, bike, paddle, fish...and there are a load of retirement homes, villages, lifestyle villages for 45+, etc etc.

And some people live here because if you have the $$ you can live on a canal with your million dollar boat on your own personal jetty...

And if you are one of the latter, you can decorate your palatial home for Christmas and then people pay to come and see them on canal boat trips--which is what we did last night.

Which is, I will admit, all rather lovely. I particularly appreciated the folk who took a whimsical approach to their decoration. And thanks to all who took the trouble to decorate their homes and were gracious enough to wave as we went past!

Although I must say, parking your boat in front of the decorations did rather spoil the effect occasionally...
Like this one:

Or this one
Or this one

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Shapes on a beach...

Walked to this beach this morning--in an attempt to get some inspiration for a chapter that is giving me some difficulty. Still can't get the chapter right, but the beach was lovely anyway! This place is half an hour's walk from our house.

That's me in there
I'm in there to show the scale...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I wandered lonely as a cloud...

Actually not true. I am rarely lonely, although I do like wandering. It clears the head after being crouched over my computer for hours, trying to write a steady 1,500 (good) words a day in book 2 of The Forsaken Lands.  The title of this one looks like being "The Dagger's Path". And I am incredibly lucky to have truly wonderful places to wander into, especially as we don't have a car. Like these:
Black-winged Stilt striding out...
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Rottnest Island Daisies;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.
Ok, so it doesn't scan. But they are everywhere...growing wild, because this their home territory.

And then there's the wildlife:
This is a Christmas Spider, so called because it only appears at this time of the year. They weren't there a couple of weeks back, now they are everywhere. Tiny and quite exquisitely shaped and coloured, just like a Christmas Tree ornament.

After Christmas their colours start fading until by April they are pretty much black, after which they disappear.
Hard to photograph these, as the scuttle away across the web when you approach, and the wind was blowing the web all over the place. They are tiny too!

And of course, what is Australia without a kangaroo or two, or half a dozen?
With joey in the pouch
These fellas are right alongside the path and don't budge as I walk by.

Friday, November 15, 2013

So, why the silence?

 Believe it or not, we owe our lives to these things:
 Which are found here (and in very few other places these days):
 This is Lake Clifton, and it's just a short drive away from my house in a national park called Yalgorup.
We owe these guys, because they made the first oxygen 
needed for life on land.

 Here's an article worth thinking about, from The Atlantic, Nov. 11th, 2013.
It's inspired by the tragedy of the latest natural disaster, in the Philippines, but it was the final paragraphs that really got to me, about how countries "ought to spend less figuring out how to kill one another and more trying to stop nature from prematurely killing us"... and  "the high probability that advanced civilisations destroy themselves."   
Which is why
 we never hear any intelligent life out there speaking  us. 
The universe is silent.

"In other words, 
this silent universe is conveying 
not a flattering lesson about our uniqueness 
but a tragic story about our destiny. 
It is telling us that intelligence may be 
the most cursed faculty in the entire universe—
an endowment not just ultimately fatal but, 
on the scale of cosmic time, 
near instantly so."

And we in Australia have blithely and selfishly elected a government which seems to believe that anything that makes the rich richer benefits all (in spite of all proof to the contrary) 
and that there's no such thing as global warming and climate change (also in spite of massive evidence to the contrary.)

So this is a five minute verse from me:
without thrombolites and stromatolites 
we wouldn't be here
life is fragile
this planet is just cotton candy 
in the universe
and greenies aren't 
just tree-huggers
they are scientists too
trying to tell us
we need to take care
--of ourselves,
of our planet:

it's all we've got,
mr abbott

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Some Wildlife Where I Live

Grey Kangaroo-not very grey...
Bob-tailed Goanna, actually a skink which gives birth to live young

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Looking back at Spring in Western Australia

We are in Summer now. Warm days of endless sun...

As those of you know me well, or who have been reading this blog over the years will realise -- I have loved the tropical rainforest. Its grandeur, its wild exuberance, its overstated, overpowering, magnificent fecundity. I've tramped and camped in places that appear so wild and lonely you can imagine yourself to be the only human being ever to have come that way (you'd probably be wrong, of course, but that's the way it feels.)

But one thing it hasn't got much of, at least not noticeably, are the flowering plants like these (although a single tropical forest tree may have -- quite literally -- millions of individual blooms...). To find wild flowers in adundance you must come to Australia, specifically Western Australia. No other place has so many varieties in such a small area -- an abundance of epidemics that is staggering. And in Spring, well, everywhere you look.

Like the following:

Eucalyptus woody fruits: we used to call then honky or gum nuts


Banksia tree with 3 stages of flower/seed

Wax matches
Mixed wild flowers in King's Park
Kangaroo Paws and Leschenualtia
Eggs and Bacon