Early morning walk along the beach…

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We missed the sunrise by about an hour. Being winter I cannot prise myself out of bed in the dark. But when we arrived at the beach by 7am it was still a beautiful sky. The sun tingeing the clouds with apricot and turning the ocean to molten gold.

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Of course we had our cameras with us and it was a perfect morning for a beach photo opportunity. So much activity. People walking, running, surfing, playing. All ages enjoying the sun while it is out.

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I wonder if he is going to catch anything for breakfast. The seagull looks on in anticipation…

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The surf is pumping and the wind whips the spray off the top of the waves in a frenzy of foam. It is a good day for the surfers.

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When I downloaded these photos I noticed the dark shadow in the wave. I wonder if it is a dolphin.

I took photo after photo of the ocean as it crashed endlessly, trying to catch that moment as the wave peaks and the light shines through in an iridescent green. Most of the shots I missed. These 2 above were the closest I got to what I was trying for.

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Walking north the sharks teeth outline of Surfers Paradise is shrouded in the misty ocean spray.

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At the top of the sand this patient pooche guards its masters clothes.

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He looks a bit woebegone…

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This area is the patrolled swimming area and in the distance is the surf life savers yellow hut and vehicle. It is school holidays and the life savers are on patrol from 8am to 6pm. every day. There are dangerous rips in this ocean and every year unsuspecting tourists are dragged out to sea. It is only the vigilance of these dedicated, volunteer life savers that only a few lives are lost each year and they are usually people who swim outside the flags that denote the patrolled, safe areas.

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A lovely morning to build sand castles with the help of  Mom and Gandma, but keep an eye on those waves…

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The tractor has been along the beach grooming the sand ready for another day of fun for the tourists.

Time to turn round and head back south and home for breakfast.

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The fisher man is still trying for that catch…

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One last look back.

The sun is well up now and we go back to where we left our bikes.

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They are still there next to this bench that shows the detail of the shape of a surf board. (Jude is looking for benches with unusual detail for July bench series. Couldn’t resist showing you this one…)

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Home we go for breakfast…

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I am also joining Jo’s cyber walking group this week. Being Wednesday I am a bit late for last Monday, and a bit early for next week (Sorry Jo I’m not following the rules too well… )

Categories: Australia, beach, bench series, Burleigh, Burleigh Beach, Goldcoast, Jo's Monday walks, Ocean, photos | Tags: , , , , , | 48 Comments

My Garden, My Muse : Weekly Photo Challenge

Brie Anne asks us this week

So what’s your muse — what subject do you turn to frequently, more inspired each time?”

This is so easy for me to answer. I am surrounded by “my muse”. Every day I walk round the garden noticing the changes, marvelling at the beauty and colour, seeing flowers slowly fade and new ones take their place.

This morning I took my camera for a walk with me, as I often do, and these are just a few of the things I noticed.

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This apricot poinsettia has been flowering for weeks and shows no signs of wilting.

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The sun throws vibrant shadows of this crucifixion orchid on the new fence. Below it a new bud is opening to take the place of the slowly fading flower.

As the flowers come and go the foliage, in many shades and hues, fill the garden beds with colour the whole year.

The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.

Gertrude Jekyll

 

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These ants are only about 1 centimetre long and they were covering the flower buds on this jade plant. Do you see that other strange-looking spiky caterpillar? It is so small I only noticed it when I downloaded the photos.

Finally I went round the corner to say hello to our blue tongue lizard as he lay draped over the rock sunbathing.

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He was almost camouflaged among the bromeliads and rocks.

The glory of gardening:

hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.

To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Categories: Australia, garden, muse, photos, post-a-day, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 34 Comments

A walk to the Giants Causeway…

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Well I am not in Ireland but walking in the delightful small village and area of Fingal Heads.

When it comes to odd facts, they don’t come much odder than the fact that this charming Tweed village was named after the mythical Celtic giant Fingal who reportedly built the famous Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

The connection is that Tweed’s Fingal Head has its own Giant’s Causeway – a crescent-shaped mass of hexagonal columns formed when the lava flows from the ancient Tweed Volcano rapidly cooled in the ocean currents. This unique rock formation sits just below Fingal Lighthouse on the headland, reaching towards Cook Island.

This is my first outing in “The Car”. Though Fingal Head is only a 25 minute drive from home this is the first time I have been to explore it.

A sign pointing along a sandy track to the intriguingly named “Dreamtime Beach” entices me to follow it.

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I can hear squeals and shrieks as I approach the end of the track.

4 bikini clad girls are frolicking in the surf. Now I must remind you that it is winter but the temperature is approximately 22C and obviously these girls do not think it is winter.

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These two are exploring around the base of the rocks as I pass by and find another sandy track taking me round to the headland.

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A bench is conveniently placed to rest awhile before following the steps up to the top of the headland.

The lighthouse is having a renovation. But look at how bright that blue sky is in contrast to the fresh white coat of paint.

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From this headland there are glorious views of the ocean and along the beach. Being Saturday and such a perfect day I pass many other people also enjoying a day out.

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Perfect picnic weather. I follow along the path. Gulls are swooping and gliding in the air currents. I stand for a while trying to catch a gull in flight. But it is impossible every photo is blurred.

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As I round the corner I am amazed to peer over the edge and see this man fishing. The ocean is swelling and breaking in a frenzy of foam, threatening to sweep him off the precarious rock he is balanced on.

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This is the Giants Causeway. The might of the ocean is crashing onto the rocks then sweeping through the narrow causeway. The sound and fury of the waves is awesome and this is a fine day, I wonder how it would be in a storm.

Fingal Head boasts some of the most spectacular examples of columnar jointing to be found in the whole of NSW. The local indigenous Goodjingburra clan’s name for Fingal Head is Booninybah – Home of the Giant Echidna: “Booniny” means Giant Echidna. The spectacular columns of Fingal Head resemble the spines of an echidna, and so the Goodjingburra believe that the spirit of the echidna inhabits the headland.

I sit on a rock for quite a while watching the ebb and flow of the waves and waiting to see if the fisher man will get swept off his rock. I have heard that rock fishing is classed as one of the most dangerous sports and a number of people are swept to their death every year. (While overall coastal drowning figures for NSW are significantly down from last year, for the first time rock fishing deaths have topped the list at 26.7%, making it the leading cause of all coastal drownings.)

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This is looking north along Fingal Beach and I follow the track back through the bush.

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From this beach I look back and see the fisher man is still on his rock.

It is lunch time and after seeing a number of families enjoying picnic lunches it was time to go back to the car for my lunch.

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I smile as I follow along behind this couple walking hand in hand. They soon disappear as I stop to listen to the birds. Then I spot a couple of bush turkeys and stalk them trying to get a photo, but I’m having no luck with the bird photos today. So I take photos of some native flowers I see.

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I have no idea what these flowers are. They look like red bluebells!

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A park is on the other side of the red flowers BUT it is not the park I left “The Car” at. There are so many tracks going in all directions through the bush and I have not been taking any notice of the direction I was heading.

I am lost…

Fortunately it is not a large bush area. So I backtrack along the beach and eventually find where I came in. Phew, there is “The car”…

I decide to go back, in “The car” to the park of the red flowers as I had noticed picnic tables.

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I packed a picnic lunch as I was not sure if I would find any where to eat in Fingal. It was pleasant, an ibis joined me.

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And I was entertained by a mother and her 2 children as they examined an interesting wooden sculpture. Then played hide and seek. The little girl “hid” under a picnic table in full view, but Mum searched around for her and there was shrieks of laughter when she was “found”.

 The Tweed River flowed along the other side of the park so after lunch I wandered over.

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At last I caught some seagulls as they scattered before me.

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This looks a much safer way to fish.

Almost time to head home, it has been a great day. Then I hear singing and a guitar playing.

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I had to investigate. What an interesting place and live music too. The Sheoak Shack, this groovy café is located on the banks of the river, under the shade of a Sheoak Tree.

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It was so laid back and a small table in the sun called to me. So I ordered cappuccino and carrot cake and listened to Guy Kachel serenading us.

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This was the most delicious, moist carrot cake to end my day out with…

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I would like you to come along with me on Jo’s Monday walks. She has a dedicated group of cyber walkers who share their wanderings with us each week. Go here to join them.

Categories: Australia, Fingal Head, Jo's Monday walks, New South Wales, Ocean, photos | Tags: , , , , | 44 Comments

Thursday Challenge : Street Photography

I have just discovered this “challenge” when I saw blogging friend Tish had put in a post, and it is a beauty, such happy smiling faces. (Take a look at it here)

So it has intrigued me.

I enjoy following along with Yvette and love her street portrait themes so when I noticed she was the guest blogger for Paula I couldn’t resist joining in.

Sorry folks I am a day late…

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When taking photos for a post about my suburb of the Gold Coast, Burleigh, this stranger saw me pointing my camera in her general direction and started a happy, spontaneous dance. I just love it…

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Further around and along the beach front this lovely lady in the coffee nook saw me point my camera and gave me a big smile and the victory sign. (This is part of a Monday walk with Jo).

I may be home for a while so will enjoy joining in these challenges.

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Categories: Burleigh, Goldcoast, photos, Street photography, Thursday Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Show and tell….

Will we, won’t we? What make? What size? New, old? The decisions have buzzed around my head for a few weeks now. Daily checking on Gumtree and Car Sales sites on the internet. Will we buy privately or through a dealer? Going round car yards. Talking with friends.

I love the searching part of acquiring anything…

After research we had decided it would be either a Hyundai i30, or a Toyota Corolla. So this last weekend, with the help of a son to chauffeur us around in his car, we set out to look seriously at a short list of vehicles we had found on the internet.

Look what we finally found…

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A 2007 Toyota Corolla, a one lady owner, low mileage. Perfect. I fell in love with it from the moment I saw it. I had a feeling that THE car would find me and be a suitable replacement for Matilda. Now this one will have to be christened. But I will need to drive it around for a while till it imprints its character on me and a name will suggest itself.

Now I am planning and dreaming of the places to see and the adventures waiting to be experienced. But for now we will be staying home for a few more months. Enjoying the garden and exploring around close to home. At least I will, Jack is flying to Sydney to visit a son for a week and so I will be home alone. Me and the car…

Categories: Australia, Burleigh, photos, Toyota Corolla | Tags: , , , | 49 Comments

Off- Season Lifestyle Decisions….

It is now 18 months since Matilda left us.

Goodbye Matilda

Goodbye Matilda

The decision was made not to buy another vehicle straight away as the next year, 2014, was to be spent house sitting. It was a fun and interesting year driving all different types of OP vehicles from an old rusty, manual, 4WD Land cruiser , a neat, zippy Hyundai Getz to an almost new Mazda 6 with all the bells and whistles.

Then early in 2015 it was cruising to New Zealand and 4 weeks spent over there.

Back home, still without a car, I now use my faithful “Giant” bike to get around. This is the first time in over 60 years that I have not had a vehicle.

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The shopping centre is only a 20 minute ride, the beach is 5 minutes straight along the end of the road  and the library is 10 minutes in the other direction. With 2 good saddlebags to hold the groceries and any other equipment I need to carry, plenty of off-road bike tracks and flat roads, not a hill in sight, biking is a breeze. It is also off-season on the Gold Coast so not so much traffic on the roads.

There are lots of benefits to biking. Keeps me fit, no parking problems and saving lots of money.

There are also a few cons. Windy weather,  rain and it can get very hot in the summer time. These are only minor annoyances. The other option is to use the bus.

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Without a car more time is needed to get from A to B and planning is necessary. Bus time tables must be studied, extra time allowed if an appointment is to be met. Life slows down to the speed of my wheels.

BUT all that is to change…

Watch this space…

Categories: Australia, biking, photos | Tags: , , , | 33 Comments

Cooly Rocks on and on and on…..

I just had to show you more of “Cooly Rocks On”, so many cars, so many interesting people. Fashion, fun and dancing in the streets on a sunny winters day in the border town of Coolangatta. Get your 50’s gear out of the bottom drawer and take a nostalgic trip with me back to that great era of rock-n-roll.

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I wonder how long it took to grow this long…

It is a rev heads paradise with thousands of cars, hot rods, custom cars and classic vehicles.

Just look at these…

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The well maintained, polished and immaculate VW on the left. Then you have the well used. The VW icon of the 50’s beach culture.

Complete with surf board and liquid refreshment.

Complete with surf board and liquid refreshment.

Even has original lichen growing all over it...

Even has original lichen growing all over it…

What can I say about this one? It certainly needs some TLC…

Even got a silhouette selfie in this one...

Even got a couple of silhouette selfies in this one…

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I found this lovely gypsy style caravan and fell in love with it…

This little girl loves this small version. She probably would like it for her dolls...

This little girl loves this small version. She probably would like it for her dolls…

Look at the crowds in the pub and a small boy drools over this beauty.

Look at the crowds in the pub and a small boy drools over this beauty.

The police are there to keep an eye on things, but it is a happy crowd and no trouble.

The police are there to keep an eye on things, but it is a happy crowd and no trouble.

Time to keep the inner man and woman happy

Time to keep the inner man and woman happy

It was a great day bringing back many memories.

 

 

Categories: Australia, Cooly rocks on festival, photos | Tags: , , , | 33 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Vivid

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In Coolangatta, a normally sedate, seaside suburb, on the border between Queensland and New South Wales, the streets were closed to traffic and today the town erupted into a mass celebration of colour, music and nostalgia from that great era of rock-n-roll, the 50’s and 60’s. Thousands of hot rods, custom cars and classic vehicles lined the stunning beachfront

Cooly Rocks On” had hit town.

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Thousands flocked in from all points of the compass. Accent’s from all around the world could be heard joining in the singing and the bouffant skirts showing layers of frilled lace petticoats twirled and flipped to the iconic music of Bill Haley and company. For a day I was transported back to a time when I was a teenager.

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It was time to shake the creases out of the colourful retro clothes of the 50’s and parade around town. Remember those stockings  held up with a garter belt? No panty hose back then, they had a back seam that was notoriously hard to keep straight. I think this lady may have drawn her seam on… 

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So much vivid colour and every where things to bring back memories. Remember the old style skates? I do…

Even a sighting of Elvis, the King…

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 This year is the first time since 2009 that we have seen this rock-n-roll extravaganza. We have been on the road every year since then and especially during our winter we would leave town. It has become much bigger, more cars, more people, but still the same happy, colourful atmosphere. Click here to take a trip back in time to the previous “Cooly Rocks On” or as it was called back then “Winter Sun”

Categories: Australia, Cooly rocks on festival, photos, post-a-day, Queensland, vivid, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Brisbane South Bank and Art Gallery

It’s 5 weeks since we came back from New Zealand. Pottering in the garden, reconnecting with friends, enjoying the small place we call home. But I now feel like a day out exploring.

The weather is a perfect Queensland winter day, clear blue sky, fresh windless 22C. NO humidity… I bounce out of bed “let’s go to Brisbane”. It is quite a while since we went there. ( April 2013 see it here ) Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, it is a cosmopolitan and lively city that is home to many different types of scenery, including skyscrapers, parkland and even an artificial beach. Brisbane is a river city, with Brisbane River running through it.

It is a 100 kilometres from the Gold Coast. Not far in Australian travel terms, this land of vast expanses. But we still do not have a vehicle (though we are looking for one!). So it is a bike ride to the bus, then a bus ride to the train station and, from there, a 1 hour 15 minute commute to Brisbane.

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On the way we fill the time in by sketching. We are both looking at the same scene from slightly different viewpoints, but look how different our styles are. 

A great day for a stroll along the river and through the South Bank Parklands.

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An enterprising young woman has set up her VW as a mobile coffee stand. But we do not stop here as I am planning to have lunch at the art gallery.

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Before looking around the art gallery we stop for a cuppa and sandwich

 

It is a tranquil and artistically laid out space.

Yellow tables and chair complement the vivid green of the lawn

Yellow tables and chairs complement the vivid green of the lawn.

The sun highlights the fountains spinning wheel of water creating rainbows.

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Every where there are ibis, waiting hopefully for crumbs. At the next table another diner takes out a note-book and starts sketching as she waits for her meal. I cannot resist asking her what is she drawing. She shows us, it is quick sketches of the ibis. We have an interesting conversation about art. Karen and her partner are both artists and she gives us her web address. Take a look. I was very impressed.

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Now refreshed it’s time to immerse myself in the creative genius of the many artists work on display. I prefer the realistic art of the old masters and find modern art difficult to understand.

Here are some of my favourites.

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I stood in front of this one for quite a while, it seemed to talk to me. I loved the 3 dimensional effect and the soft gentle feel of spring just awakening the blossom on the tree.

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James Gleeson “Structural emblem of a friend” In quite a different way this one intrigued me. The lifeless gaze as the blood is sucked from him by a wife. The mortgage getting under his skin. Maybe the only beacon of light for him is the boy/son? There was no information about this painting so I made up my own story. What story do you see?

I’ve just been reading the life story of William Dobell, the book showed many of his paintings but it is never the same as standing in front of the work of art, studying the colours and the brush strokes and textures.

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 The look around was taken slowly and really immersed in what I did have time to see, not a quick rush around trying to see too much. So much more to see, I will definitely have to come again.

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As I left the sun was highlighting the branches of a frangipani tree and I noticed it still had one lonely flower defying the odds.

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A last look at Brisbane as I head back to catch the train for the return journey to the Gold Coast.

Categories: art gallery, Australia, Brisbane, South Bank, travel | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

My Queensland garden on the first day of winter…

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The Frangipani tree knows winter is here. Only a couple of rusty leaves still cling to the top most branches. It is a true tropical native and goes into hibernation at the slightest drop in the temperature. But mostly in this Southeast corner of Queensland there is not much difference in the seasons.

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The bromeliads encircle the frangipani trunk only needing a small amount of water in the centre of their leaves to survive season after season. I recently gave Buddha a wash, it has been a wet Autumn and he was turning a delicate shade of green. Now he sits in pristine splendour and contemplates the fish pond.

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A lone lily reaches to the sun.

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It has been a good year for spiders and this guardian orb spider hangs hopefully in the Grevillea tree waiting for passing insects to be ensnared in his web. Look how big he is…

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Another timid spider hides in a leaf he has carefully curled around to make a hiding place.

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Come round with me and see how the garden grows as winter here on the Goldcoast settles in…

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The camellias are flowering well this year, thanks to the wet Autumn. In fact the garden is looking the greenest it has been for many years.

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Did you notice this pot of lettuce in the previous photo? Autumn and winter is the best time for growing vegetables, not so many bugs.

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More lettuce and the lavender starting to flower. In the back pot is a new dwarf lemon, it has been a bit of a struggle during summer with chewing things stripping the new leaves as they appear, but I think it is now on the road to recovery.

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Now I am taking you into the front garden. Sit for a while on the bench and absorb the 50 shades of green!!! In the back of the border the Euphorbia “Snowflake” has burst into an exuberant impression of a winter snow storm.

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But the Poinsettia bursts into a blaze of glory.

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Can you see that touch of vibrant red behind the poinsettia?

Now I do know the name of this one, it flowers all year round, but I’m having a seniors moment and though it is on the tip of my tongue, well I’m sure you know what I mean!!! Maybe some one can name it for me…

UPDATE…. Thanks Lyn for reminding me that the elusive name of this plant is PENTAS. They are a perennial and come in many colours.

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Remember the vegie patch Jack built for me last year? Well there it is.

Remember the kale mutilated by caterpillars? Well look at it now…

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In the background is the “blues structure” or Jack’s hideaway for his meditation.

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Known as the “blues” because sitting on the side is a small blues band that Jack created. Can you see them? Sit and listen for a while, use your imagination and sing your favourite song

The compost bin is round the corner and it is full to overflowing with all the pruning I have done since I arrived back from 2 weeks on the cruise followed by 4 weeks in New Zealand.

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These are some of the flowers still showing. Now I will take you round the side of the house into the “Bali Corner”.

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Follow me….

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These stone pillars have been constructed by Jack. There are 6 of them and they are carefully covered with gem stones, crystals, opal, agates, thunder eggs and many other beautiful stones and minerals that have been found and fossicked for all over Australia on our many trips. Then cut by Jack to reveal the amazing colours and patterns concealed inside them. It was a labour of love that took almost 6 months.

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Finally I would like to introduce you to our resident slug and snail terminator and very welcome visitor, Bluey, the blue tongue lizard.

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Well we are lucky here. It may be winter in name but it is certainly not winter as many of you living in the Northern hemisphere know it. In fact I love our mild winters. No humidity, lots of clear fresh days and cooler nights that make sleeping a pleasure tucked under an extra blanket.

Thank you for taking the time to have a look around the garden with me.

Categories: Australia, garden, Goldcoast, photos, Queensland | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

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