Wet, wet, wet, spring

By Lynn Elder

Splashes of yellow bright sunshine comes between,
Splashes of water bouncing upon the already drenched earth.
Splashes of red and blue announce the arrival of the rosellas,
Splashes of water in the bowls as they frolic and beg for seed.
Splashes and quacking as ducks land on overflowing dams.

Splashes of running water cascading over temporary waterways.
Splashes of mud and water as gumboots wade through.
Splashes and squelching as cattle sink into the quagmire.
Splashes of furious currents as spillways release the excess water. 
Splashes as the four-wheel drive negotiates the potholes and puddles.

Splashes on the ground as the rainwater tank overflows.
Splashes of colour emerge in the form of flowers when grey clouds roll away.
Splashes of flowery fashions appear on the sunny spring days.
Splashes continue with each rainy day that insists on not stopping too soon. 

			

The moods of spring

By Lynn Elder

Spring has sprung in all its glory!
Oh, what personality does spring display
When it thinks it is time to play.
Spring can be so fickle,
Also, so changeable.

Spring can be a myriad of colours
As bursting buds bring forth the flowers,
Then disappear in a breeze,
With the sudden arrival of a wintry freeze.

There is a promise of radiant sunshine,
For which we did all through winter pine,
For a return of some warmth to bask in,
And feel the sensation on our skin.

Spring does have a gentle side to its personality,
Amidst all the activity and vitality.
Blossom petals fall softly like light bird feathers,
And newborn lambs and calves snuggle against mothers,
To herald in the hope and joy of spring.



The Final Goodbye

Certain rituals in our lives help to mark special occasions, rites of passage, or simply to make sense of what we cannot understand or control. Such was the case with the sudden death of my stepson, Matthew, over three years ago, which I have written about in previous posts.
Taking one’s life regardless of age or circumstances is a tragedy and devastating for those left behind to wonder why. We must celebrate life as precious and continue to remember those who were part of our lives. While they may not be here physically, our shared memories live on.
A group of us, including family and close friends, was finally able to gather to spread Matthew’s ashes up in the bush, looking towards the nearby mountains. It was his happy place. Constant lockdowns and ongoing COVID outbreaks curtailed this final goodbye for the past three years. I would often say hello to Matt as I vacuumed around the box containing his ashes.
His Dad finally said we needed to do this, so within a matter of less than a month, it was decided everyone could make it on the long weekend being the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. It also coincided with the official opening of the snow season on the nearby mountain where Matt loved to snowboard. A fitting tribute.
We arranged to meet for lunch before heading up the hills. The nine of us, all with different recollections of Matt. I took a framed photo used at his funeral, where he is grinning merrily, dressed in his snowboarding gear, to sit on the table. We bought him a pint and raised a glass to Matt’s memory.
A nice touch was when the bistro manager said she recognised his face. I said he lived in the city but spent much time on the mountain in winter. Apparently, she worked up on the ski lifts during the season.
The weather was atrocious, but we thought Matt might have the last laugh by sending snow up to the hills. Our ascent up the hills was icy, wet and foggy. It did not snow on us, but the cloud was so low it blocked the usual beautiful mountain views. It provided a surreal backdrop as we huddled on the veranda of the weekend shack. Each of us took turns spreading Matt’s ashes and saying our last goodbye.
His good mate, who owns the holiday property, had bought a mini-keg of pale ale to enjoy afterwards. I suddenly felt teary but had a real sense that Matthew’s spirit was with us and was where he belonged.
His good mate has set up a bar inside above the wood heater with a digital display of photos, and a snowboard mounted on the wall, in honour of Matt’s memory. We all need to find our own ways of keeping those we love close to us in a meaningful way.
We departed back down the hills, knowing it was a final goodbye. The landscape, in all its bleakness, seemed appropriate at that moment.

If anyone you know is struggling and needs help with anxiety, depression or suicide prevention, contact the two Australian organisations below:

https://www.lifeline.org.au/131114/

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Love cats everywhere on International Cat Day – August 8

Caring and sharing, Rambo and Friskie.
Beautiful Friskie, RIP.
Friskie the explorer.
Dili, Timor Leste.
Rambo drinking from a puddle

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” — Mark Twain

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” — Ernest Hemingway

This stray moggie used this Dili, Timor Leste hotel court yard as somewhere safe to hang out and dine on scraps.

“My cats are really sassy and sophisticated, but most importantly, they are picky.” — Jason Wu

Rambo my 16 year old moggie still going strong.

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” — Sigmund Freud

Rambo slept through most of International Cat Day.

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.” — George Mikes

Stealing Dad’s seat in front of the fire is my triumph!

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.” — Charles Dickens

Rambo reigns supreme!

100…not not out!

Celebrating 100 posts is almost as good as scoring a century in cricket.
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

I had some other blog posts planned but decided, given this would be my 100th blog post on WordPress, maybe I should take a moment to celebrate and not be too serious! Us Aussies love our cricket, especially when we are winning and hitting sixers all over the “G”. The Boxing Day test match series is a tradition for many and a way of filling in many hours on those hot, languid days. In the late 1970s I can remember my then boyfriend and I travelling by tram with an Esky loaded with cold tinnies to enjoy at the match. Those days are long gone with no BYO alcohol allowed now and limits on how much liquor you can buy at the grounds. How times have changed! Probably not a bad thing!

Cricket was everywhere. I think how ironic a tobacco company was the major sponsor with their logo emblazoned on the picket fence and high profile in the mainstream media. One positive was the inclusion of women who fielded their own teams and toured internationally from as far back as the 1970s.

As kids, we grew up in a country town and played French cricket on the road. It is a great way to include the whole family, whether in the backyard at Mum’s or on the beach. Wikipedia provides a good description of the game. “There is only one batsman, and their objective is not to be dismissed by the other participants — who are fielders or a bowler if they have possession of the ball — for as long as possible. The objective of the other participants is to dismiss the batsman. There are only two methods of dismissal, being caught or being “Leg Before Wicket“, but as there are no stumps “(but we used an upturned garbage bin!), this method of dismissal is affected by a bowled ball hitting the batsman’s legs typically below the knees. Once the batsman is dismissed, the other participant who took the catch or affected the LBW typically replaces them as the batsman, and the game-play begins again. There are many varieties of additional rules.”

But back to the serious game, Australia has certainly seen some incredible cricketing legends grace the hallowed turf, from Sir Donald Bradman to the late Shane Warne. Decades apart, they both knew how to play the game and entertain the masses, one for his batting prowess and the other for his fast bowling.

Not everyone is a keen follower of the game cricket or understands the attraction. The sub-continent embraced it with lots of enthusiasm after being introduced to it by the English colonists and continue the tradition. For those who don’t understand the rules this may help explain it in more simple terms.

As I reflect on reaching my milestone of 100 posts, I realise it is a bit of luck, but most of all, it is about showing up. Here’s to my next century! I just saw where I had achieved my first ever half-century with more than 50 likes. Howzat?

Reference: French cricket – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_cricket

Creative Gems Volume 1 is out now!

It was such joy to be part of this fun project with so many talented bloggers sharing their creative gifts. Andrea’s illustrations were the starting point for the children’s poems and short stories that were contributed. I came up with a story about cats shopping on-line would you believe! Her blog post below will steer you in the direction of how to obtain your own copy. Happy reading!

Andrea, Children’s Book Illustrator

About 4 months ago, I posted a silly idea of making a book together.
I asked people to write a short story or poem based on any of the drawings on my website.

It quickly became clear that more than just a few were interested.
More than 20 authors have submitted their story and I am so happy to announce that from today on, the collection is stories accompanied with colorful drawings are available on Amazon either as ebook, paperback or hardcover!

It look amazing and I can’t thank everyone enough for sharing their talent and support with me!

If you would like a copy, check on of the links below!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon DE

Amazon IN

Amazon AU

P.s. I have been asked to do a 2nd book like this and I am more than happy to! 😄 I will keep you guys updated…

View original post 2 more words

A ruler like no other

Whether you are a republican or a staunch monarchist, one has to admire such a commitment to serve your country and the Commonwealth for 70 years with so much dignity and diligence as Queen Elizabeth II. Her reign has spanned several generations, and history has certainly been made during those post-WW2 years. We are unlikely to see the likes of her again. It is a sense of an end of an era that has probably run its course in the modern western world. This milestone event has prompted many to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in the mother country of Britain.
My brother-in-law sent us bright and colourful images of a street party in Berkshire where bunting and sponge cakes were plentiful. Here in Australia, celebrations are much more muted on the other side of the globe. No four-day weekend here for the Queen’s subjects. However, we celebrate her birthday next weekend with a public holiday on Monday. It also coincides with the official snow season opening in the southern parts of Australia.
But our newly elected Labor Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has announced a new name for an island located in the middle of Lake Burley Griffin in our national capital Canberra, known as Queen Elizabeth II Island.
The Queen has always been there in the background of my childhood. I remember a picture of the Queen riding side-saddle resplendent in black and red attire that hung in my bedroom. Women’s magazines were always full of photos and stories of the goings-on of the Royals and ended up in scrapbooks. The Queen has managed 16 tours of duty to Australia during her reign, which is impressive.
My mother remembers being bussed from Orange to Bathurst in NSW as a school student to watch the Queen drive pass during a visit in the 1950s. The two of us used to tease my dear Nan in fun about her uncanny resemblance to the young Elizabeth.
I have never seen the Queen in real life. The closest my husband got was during her visit to Blackburn, Lancashire, in the 1960s when he was a little boy. He says the car drove up Penny Street, and she waved at him. But he thinks now she probably waved at everyone. His other brush with royalty was when the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret visited the British Aerospace manufacturing plant in the early 1980s near Blackburn, where he worked.
The only royals I have seen in the flesh were Princess Diana and Prince Charles during a visit to Australia, where they landed at the regional Albury Airport in NSW in 1983. My housemate and I stood in the rain and the mud to catch a glimpse of Diana. Diana was even more stunning in the flesh despite the beautiful photos I had collected for my scrapbook. Being of similar age, I had a lot of empathy for the young Princess pushed into the limelight of being a royal.
Prince Charles has a link to where I live now in the Victorian High Country near Mt Buller. I think the locals are still dining out on the fact that Charles was a student at the Geelong Grammar School’s Timbertop Campus in 1966 for two terms. This same campus also hosted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a teaching assistant in 1983 as part of his gap year. But apparently, he was known as Alexander back then. Former Labor PM Tony Blair has been known to visit this part of the world because he has friends here.
It will only be a matter of time before Australia becomes a republic. In most respects, the country is left to govern itself with minimal interference from the crown. But there was the sacking of Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975 by Governor-General Sir John Kerr; now, that is a different story for another day.
In the meantime, best wishes to her majesty on her Platinum Jubilee. My photo above shows a piece of memorabilia found in a flea market off the High Street in Eaton, not far from Windsor Castle, several years ago, marking her coronation on June 2, 1953.

Twixt autumn and winter

Autumn is usually that settled period before winter arrives in earnest but this year it seems different. Spring is notorious for its fickle nature and the way that winter really doesn’t want to be gone too soon. A fellow blogger got me thinking about the time between seasons with his series on micro-seasons. This seems to be rooted in the Japanese culture unlike our western ideal of four seasons. We cannot mold the seasons to suit our requirements so maybe accepting these subtle or not so subtle periods twixt the seasons makes good sense.

Looking through my photos I was reminded of those occasions and activities that fall into autumn. Here in Victoria we start with a public holiday known as Labour Day in March. Then comes April holidays and the marking of Easter on the Christian calendar. On April 25 we also remember sacrificial love and duty to God and country when World War One broke out and so many took up arms to protect us. Sadly World War Two followed and other conflicts continue. ANZAC Day is not about glorifying war but honouring those who served. Younger generations of Australians and New Zealanders are learning about this part of their history. This year with no COVID restrictions more than 300 people turned out for the dawn service in our small town followed by the traditional gun fire breakfast usually a bacon and egg sandwich. Later in the morning there is a procession where veterans and other community groups and individuals are proudly involved.

The view from my bedroom window is changing with the arrival of foggy mornings and hot air balloons on crisp clear mornings. We see a red fox slinking through the grass in search of food and other times a family group of kangaroos waiting for the sun to arrive.

May is also when we celebrate Mother’s Day in Australia with all its commercial focus on pampering Mums everywhere. I managed a trip interstate to visit my own Mum. Last year, the borders between the states were being closed due to COVID and I just got home only hours before they were. I enjoy the larger open farming spaces of where I grew up. While visiting there was lots of burning off of stubble to make way for the next lot of crops. There is very little cropping near where I live now.

A new array of autumn colours has emerged while other trees shed their leaves freely. The sound of chainsaws echo in the valley as firewood is gathered for the coming cold months. The latest load of Black Angus steers has departed. Our birdlife changes with the seasons and weather. The colourful and cheeky King Parrots come searching for some wild bird seed. The weather has been a mixture of sun and rain with snow forecast this week on the nearby mountain. No doubt winter will arrive soon enough and with it comes the thought that we are almost halfway through another year!

Nature is not only what is visible to the eye – it shows the inner images of the soul – the images on the back side of the eyes.

-Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Norwegian painter and printmaker