Brief Update

Such a lot has happened. A brief summary, to be expanded later:

The trip across Oz with Dave was interrupted by news that one of my old Mentors, Mary Stewart had died in New Zealand. She was 91. I had been planning to fly over to visit her from Queensland, but now we had to hasten the journey in order to get to Brisbane in time to attend the funeral. We got to Brisbane just in time to get tickets on China Airline to fly out on the Friday in time for the funeral the next day.

In that time I came to the sudden conclusion that I wanted to pursue my earlier dream of being a grey nomad around Australia. I had considered doing the same in NZ but in the end I decided to return to Oz where my car was still waiting, buy a caravan and stay here a while longer. But this time as a free man (ie. unencumbered by employment).

I found a caravan I could afford and had its solar powered lighting upgraded to accommodate my CPAP machine, and the car rigged to connect to it for power and brakes. I set up at Kate’s place, the Parrots Hilton, for my shakedown cruise. Here I sorted once more through my stuff and either packed it into the caravan, or once more gave it away. Kate is looking after some of my art and artefacts.

Meantime I have sorted out the paperwork for my pension, and for collecting my Super. Just waiting for the money to appear in my bank account.

That’s the story so far.

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Exit.

I just completed my exit interview form. The penultimate question asked why I resigned and whether there was anything the Shire could have done to prevent my leaving.

My reply was:

I am old father William
And it has been said
If I continue to work
They should examine my head.

– with no apology to Lewis Carroll.

 

There are some wonderful sights here.  One appreciates them a little more once one knows one is leaving them behind.

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The sky over Red Hills, Halls Creek, by Patrick Karena.
China Wall
China Wall, Halls Creek.

Alarm

At 5 this morning in the early lightening dawn, the raucous call of kookaburras sidetracked me from sleep.  I awoke with a headache and very sore back and hips.

I have heard kookaburras several times here, in Halls Creek but I’ve only seen one once before.  Despite my aches and pains I grabbed the camera and came out for a look.  There were several calling, but only one was in view.  The light was poor and I had to wait for it to brighten a little before there was sufficient for the camera at last to focus.  I do not trust my own eyesight to focus manually with any accuracy any more.  Technology usually does a much better job.  The first shots were blurry as the camera vainly tried to distinguish the bird and the tree from the dim background of the sky.

Fortunately the bird seemed to be in no hurry to move on and sat surveying the scene around it long enough for the camera to finally grasp it, and outline it in yellow in my viewfinder.   Isn’t technology wonderful these days?

I then discovered I could transfer the photos from the camera to my MacBook via wifi.  More technological wonder.  What a time to be alive.

I made coffee, took my pills and retired for another hour or so sleep.  I awoke at 11:30 still aching and figured I had better phone in sick.

Despite the circumstances, capturing this noisy little bugger cheered me up.

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Here is the kookaburra call, if you haven’t heard it before:

One Fine Day

Keke rane leana
Haele la sa vineki
Hake koa sa basioto
Meke zama si asa
Qetu hola si asa.
Meke hegere sa basioto. 

One fine day
The girl climbs up
Perching on the crocodile
And she says
She is very happy.
And the crocodile laughs.

Basioto Nomana

 
 Reprise.   1st Posted on 
 

Polar

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Photo by Paul Goldstein 

Once upon a time, a baby polar bear went up to his mum, as she was preparing seal flipper pie for dinner.
“Mum,” he said, “am I a real polar bear?
“Of course you are, dear.” She answered. “I am a polar bear, Dad is a polar bear, so you are a polar bear too”.
“Are you sure of that? Really really sure?”
“Of course I am sure. Your grandparents are polar bears, their parents were polar bears too.  In fact you come from one of the most illustrious polar bear lines in the arctic circle!”
“Are you absolutely certain? Is there no brown bear, or Kodiak bear, or grizzly bear in me?”
“No dear, you are pure polar bear. If you don’t believe me, ask your dad”.

So the little polar bear wandered across the ice floe to where his dad was fishing.
“Dad,” he said, “am I a real polar bear?”
“Of course you are, son” his dad answered.
“I am a polar bear, Mum is a polar bear, so you are a polar bear too”.
“Are you sure of that? Really really sure?”
“Of course I am sure. Your grandparents are polar bears, their parents were polar bears too.  In fact you come from one of the most illustrious polar bear lines in the arctic circle!”
“Are you really really sure of that?”
“Of course, son. You are 100% polar bear
“Are you absolutely certain? Is there no brown bear, or Kodiak bear, or grizzly bear in me?”
“No son, you are pure polar bear. If you don’t believe me, ask your grandad”.

So the young fellow toddled across the ice floe to the other side, where his grandfather was sitting on a park bench talking to his cronies.

“Grandad” he said, “am I a real polar bear?
“Of course you are, lad” he answered. “I am a polar bear, Your grandma is a polar bear, your mum and dad are polar bears, so you are a polar bear too”.
“Are you sure of that? Really really sure?”
“Of course I am sure! You come from one of the most illustrious polar bear lines in the arctic circle!”

“Are you absolutely certain, Grandad? Is there no brown bear, or Kodiak bear, or grizzly bear in me?”
“No lad. You are pure polar bear. One hundred percent.
Why do you ask?”

“Because I am feckin’ cold!”

Paul Goldstein
Photo by Paul Goldstein 

Adapted from a story told to me in Auckland by Billy Connolly.

Paradise

“Paradise” comes from the Persian for “walled garden”.

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In My Memory Garden

In my memory garden
At the centre, under hazel
Grows a single shamrock.
A spiral path of babies’ tears
Gravels out through blackberries
Bluebells, balm and celandine
Snowdrops under oaks
A solitary silver birch
Pansies, pinks, carnations.

 

Play here amongst the toitoi
Flax, raupo, tadpoles, frogs
A tree hut in an aged willow
Sliding down a scented macrocarpa
Roses from Home
Daisy, dandelion, buttercup
Gorse and gooseberry
Mushrooms.

 

Turn
Sea-salted pohutukawa
Seaweed, rocks, sandy sedge and sunshine
Ferns, moss, forest and waterfall
Jasmine and jonquil,
Mallow and mint
Daffodil and dahlia
Yellow tulips

 

Turn again
Here are hibiscus, frangipani,
Mud, tides. corals, sands,
Tropical palms.
Crabs and coconuts.
Birds and fishes
Chirping in mangroves.

 

Return;
Kowhai, tui, fantail
Rosemary, rocket, sorrel
Bay and cultivation
Potato, bean and brussels
Moonflower, lily of the valley
Holly, wild honeysuckle, rue
Milkweed and butterflies

 

Wandering now
Wattle, Eucalyptus , bottlebrush and banksia
Jacaranda, poinciana, poinsettia; parakeets
Little dragons and honeyeaters
Spinifex and bindii

 

Turn once more, return at last
At the spiral’s end
A little thyme alone
Lichen, lilies, nightshade
And a standing stone.

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Insight

An insight into my character; I
Am the sort of person who,
If told I’ll never walk again,
Will embrace my never-walkingness
And never walk again.

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Worm

Seriously

I fear sometimes I am losing my whimsy.
The Wise man warned me not to let that happen.

Wet and Wildlife

A quick visit to Halls Creek on the weekend to collect a backlog of mail and parcels.  I was almost caught out of town once again by the Wet.

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I set off home this morning just in time.  I ran into a storm that caused the Shire to close the Tanami Road even as I was travelling on it.   Rain and flooding added over an hour to my trip.

 

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I had to wait at one creek crossing for the water level to drop a bit before I could drive through.  I took this photo just before I waded the troopy across after waiting about three quarters of an hour, in which time the level dropped almost half a metre.  Even so, the water was over my wheels.  This is why it is advisable in the Kimberley to drive a 4WD diesel vehicle with high clearance and a snorkel.

Such is the pattern of weather here that though the first part of the road from the Great Northern Highway as far as Ruby Plains was inundated by the downpour, shortly after wading the creek I was driving on dry dusty road that had not seen a drop of rain for at least a week.   At Wolfe Creek and again just before I got to Bililuna I encountered more puddles and mud.  The troopy, which I had cleaned nicely after the rescue trips out bush last week, is all muddy again.

At one point I had the good fortune to spot some brolgas dancing on the roadside.  I stopped to take photos. Unfortunately my presence upset them and they headed away into the bush.  Shooting from the car made getting a clear shot through the trees tricky on full 600 mm zoom. Most of the best display poses of the dance were obscured.

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I have not yet mastered the new Sony.