Monday, December 7, 2009

Blue Mountains Trip

This is often the time of year we think about heading towards
Sydney and the Blue Mountains....

My Hercules

Last year after Christmas we had a wonderful 10 days in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. For the last three years we have visited Sydney each year (we have relatives there) but this year we'll be spending that time home, enjoying our completed house, friends, the beaches and our new little ducklings.

Today I felt like sharing images of the Blue Mountains and the little place we stayed there.

When we arrived at the little hideaway it took my breath away.

When I walked into the the cottage and stood in the kitchen I was overcome with emotion and cried a few silent tears. The year before had been a tough year, losing two friends and my step-grandma and a cousin, all dying from cancer, sudden heart attack or pneumonia....and little did I know how tough the start of this year would be with another death, this time of a very dear friend who had become a kind of mother figure. Ten months on and I still feel frustrated I can't have another Jackie word or hug. But that cottage had a healing power and it helped me go on.....I brought a little bit of that place home with me.

The first 24 hours spent there we were all almost completely silent, an unspoken acknowledgment that we all needed the peace that place had to offer.

We have two teenage boys, then aged 12 and 17 and so you can imagine how unusual that first quiet 24 hours was! Our time there was spent reading, listening to music, making simple meals, drinking overlooking the dam and watching birds play, walking in the bushland, watching the sky. We watched kangaroos feeding in the near distance and enjoyed following the activities of an echidna whose burrow was near the cottage. We went for drives through valleys with amazing scenery and brought local fruit, eggs and jam.

There was no television reception (but a dvd player and many dvds) and the place is independent for water and electricity.

The original owner of the cottage, the man who built it, was a potter and his influence is throughout the simple cottage. He lived there, close to nature.

Handmade tiles made by the potter who built the cottage

The bathroom with complete lack of privacy! Wonderful experience, the shower is in the same space

Beautiful lighting throughout

That place cast a spell that still hangs over me and lit an old fire that had burnt low, an old dream to own a larger property outside of a large regional centre rather than a city, somewhere we can enjoy getting about on motorcycles...and build a stone home, visitors cottage and studio. Now my husband and I are actively planning to find and create our own hideaway which will have it's own power source and it's own water and in the meantime we're enjoying our small property on the edge of the city of Adelaide, where our boys have access to good education and their friends. We have chickens and two ducklings...and a cat. Our place is located on a windy hill overlooking the airport and the sea. The climate here is mediteranean and overall it's a beautiful place to live..just becoming too urban

A candle alcove built into the mud brick wall, great idea that we'll copy

I recommend this place to anyone I know who's heading over that way...especially anyone needing some quiet, recovering from illness or just wanting time in nature. Many international visitors have stayed there and from the guestbook entries it was obvious everyone was under the spell of that place. The cottage that makes you feel like it's your special place.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tonight a lady of vaudeville and water....

Ah, here I am again :). Tonight I think I'll share with you something about an Australian lady who lived an interesting life in the early 1900's. Annette Kellerman was her name. She became an international star.

Annette was a professional swimmer,vaudeville and film star, writer, and advocate for the change of women's swimwear. Interesting combination!

More info about her here

Annette was a lady who lived her own way and lived life with a lot of energy. I guess that's why I'm drawn to her. I first heard about her from a tv documentary which had old footage of her dancing and acting under water in a huge on stage tank. I haven't been able to find that online but I did find some silent movies.

The two piece bathing suit

These are rare old films...

In 1952 the American Esther Williams played Annette in the movie Million Dollar Mermaid.

Now that's what I call a lady!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Industrial Decomposition

Today I was introduced to this idea of Industrial Decomposition, the authentic recording of the abandoned remnants of our industrial enterprises.

What we saw today was amazing. The photographs were beautiful. Abandoned factories, schools, power stations..some quite beautiful..with nature "reclaiming" them. Many of these places are left with all their paperwork and other objects.

This slow breakdown of human's creations back to the natural elements is kind of interesting to me. Haunting places. With a gothic feel. Made me think of our "throw away" cultures...only these are massive throw aways. Although where I live we don't have large areas of industrial ruin, we do have some examples. Detroit and Eastern Europe seem to have huge tracts of industrial wasteland.

Apparently a good place to start exploring this is the blog, link below:

Or grab the camera and start exploring your own environment. Something I've been meaning to do is take a trip to the outback..there's a place I know with whole settlements abandoned. Empty houses, school, church, with lace curtains, ball rooms and ornate fireplaces. All windswept and beginning to be taken over by the natural elements...sand, animals, spiders, creepers, trees. Early 20th century white farmer settlers often started off in unusually good seasons which gave a false sense of the rainfall and the productivity of the land. Within decades some discovered just how dry and harsh the inland Australian landscape can be.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This morning I sat outside and drank tea. The sky is blue. I watched the birds. And it felt good!

"You look like a Spanish gipsy, Juanita"
"I love the gipsies, she replied, "and hate being in towns and having to wear stockings,"
"Tell me everything, " I asked.....
(The Silent Queen, 1927)

Good morning!

Time for my next bohemian blog post. As my week becomes busier I won't have a chance so today I will indulge....

This morning I spent a half hour drinking tea outside. As I stepped onto the as yet unfloored beams of my back verandah the gorgeous humid southern hemisphere spring air hit me.

Today it is good to be alive.

Precariously balancing barefoot on beams, I made my way across to an old couch..also balancing on beams. In our impatience to enjoy our new back verandah we set the couches up before we added the floor!

Already I have enjoyed some bohemian moments in this new space.

This morning
I sat drinking tea
the feel of the air
on my skin

The sky is so blue this morning.

My place....

Here's a taste of Babette's Feast. A movie that an impressive bohemian lady introduced me to in the 1980's.