Immersed in the Blues

The Blues came to Broadbeach this weekend with 62 musicians, both local and international playing their hearts out. For 4 days the sound of blues, soul and rock n roll wowed the crowds as thousands flocked into the Gold Coast for this iconic FREE event now into its fifteenth year. The atmosphere was electric. Stages set up in the streets that were closed to traffic. Bands playing in venues from the hotels to the shopping centres. Every where the music followed you, heavy rock, morphing into soulful jazz then beating into rock n roll as you move from venue to venue. And the sun beamed down in typical Gold Coast style.

We chose to go to the Pacific Fair shopping centre at lunch time to watch a 2 hour concert by Juzzie Smith, a favourite of ours, an immensely talented entertainer, a one man band who composes all his own music.

“Juzzie is a walking, talking, singing example of how it pays to follow your heart. Not that money is the point here – far from it. The real point is that Juzzie is one of those truly creative souls who makes a living out of doing something he absolutely loves.” (from Juzzie’s web page, see more here)

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We are huge fans. Look at this unusual guitar made from a cigar box. It makes a terrific blues sound. He also has 2 other guitars, his feet are his percussion, he has a belt full of harmonicas and then he has “chukka chuks”. “What ever are they?” I hear you ask. Well be amazed, I took a short video…

The kids found him irresistible and I had to get another video of these 2 young boys. With the spontaneous abandon of youth they grooved to the rhythm.

Then on to music central in the heart of Broadbeach. We mingled with the happy crowd and stopped for a while to watch another one man band.

Taking photos of the artists was very difficult as the crowds gathered around intent on hearing the music. So we just wandered around, stopping for a coffee and listening to acoustic, lyrical guitar for a while, then joining the crowds at the main stage in the mall. The big attraction was “Big Daddy Wilson”

“As soon as you hear Big Daddy Wilson’s voice, whether speaking or singing, you hear his southern country roots. The sound of the original blues people comes through loud and clear, reminding you of a bygone era when music came from people’s front porches instead of iPhones. Wilson has a voice baptized in the river of African-American song – a voice with the power to heal. His repertoire encompasses spirituals, blues, country & soul, delivered in his unique, heartfelt way.” (from his web page)

The crowd was packed tight around the stage so we just found a bench near the water feature and listened to the rich sound of a mellow blues man and soaked in the reverent atmosphere of the crowd.

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I love people watching and there are plenty to see here. I think this bloke is on to me!!!

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But time to head home. We came on the bus, to find a car-park would be impossible. As we sauntered back in the late afternoon sun I couldn’t resist getting a photo of these 2 lovely ladies in front of us.


As we stopped at the pedestrian crossing Jack told them how we admired their dresses. Debbie and Cherry were pleased to let me take a photo. These are more than dresses they are works of art. Just look at all the detail and they are designed and created here on the Gold Coast, not one stitch was produced in China.


They then put on these funky jackets from the same designer.


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Jack loved chatting to them as I took the photos and then gave them a big hug as they went on their way and we crossed the road to catch the bus home after a day immersed in the Blues…

Categories: Australia, Broadbeach Blues Festival, Goldcoast, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 35 Comments

The sky on fire…

Today was a perfect day for gardening and I happily lost all track of time as I pottered and planted and mulched and watered. Then as the day came to a close look what I was rewarded with. I just had to share this with you.

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I hope all my blogging friends have had a good day and you have an interesting weekend planned.


To see beauty like this in nature makes me want to just sit and breathe and absorb it fully in the short time it presents these gorgeous colours for our enjoyment. So I am linking this to Ailsa’s theme of the week “breathe”

Categories: breathe, photos, sunsets, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

A look at art…

After a delightful stroll along the Southbank of the Brisbane River and lunch in one of the many restaurants I head to the Art Gallery.

The first gallery room showcased Aboriginal art. I am fascinated by the structure and design, and overwhelmed by the size and precise placing of the dots and crisscross patterns.

I stood for quite a while in front of this large painting. I wasn’t the only person finding it photo worthy.

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I took a closer look and marvelled at the precise placement of the thousands of carefully placed dots that join into a seamless flowing of rippling water.

Look closer. It has a hypnotic, three dimensional appearance.

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The tiny dots are so incredibly perfect, I wonder at the time and intense concentration needed to create this masterpiece. I am always pleased when galleries put background detail of the work.

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I move on to another type of Aboriginal art. Again the canvas is large and the work very detailed and precise.

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A gallery guide is giving an insight into the meaning of these works of art. This one is a story of a traditional ceremony. Again I look closely and am amazed at the delicate crisscrossing of lines, known as rarrk, every one perfectly placed. The colours used are the rich earthy tones of the land.

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There were many more traditional paintings to admire but the final painting in this gallery is quite different. My eyes were drawn again and again to this shadowy, mystical image.

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Moving into the next gallery it is a visual change from the norm. The walls have been painted to be part of the overall exhibition. I find it quite confronting to start with. But then, as I wander round, the background walls seem to enhance the paintings.

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Women feature in all these paintings.

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The next gallery, again, has boldly painted walls.

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Then turning into the next gallery I am confronted with this…

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A life-size, dead elephant…

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Well, what do you think? I marvel at a person’s mind that would think of this. Then the actual creation of the form of the elephant, but then to stick thousands of tiny “bindis” all over the form. I had to look closer…

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Jack says “that looks like thousands of sperm swimming for their life”…

Ok!!! Time for a coffee…

But the day is not over yet. The next post I will take you for a stroll through the Botanic Gardens and a ferry ride…

Categories: art gallery, Australia, Brisbane, photos | Tags: , , , | 42 Comments

A Walk Through Sunny Southbank, Brisbane

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It’s a sunny Saturday a perfect day for a trip to Brisbane and a walk through the Southbank Parklands. It is almost winter but the Bougainvillea are still flowering. Soft flamenco music drifts through the air from the street musicians. I think they have their eyes on the girls…

While further along this African (?) musician strums his instrument.

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Through the Bougainvillea I can see the eye in the sky.

Children play while the adults relax in the shade from the trees.

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Others make the most of the sun. I wonder if they are visitors from a colder climate. I hope they have put plenty of sunscreen on.

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Then I notice a new area. A herb and veggie garden. Last time I came through, about a year ago, this was under construction.

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It has a wide range of herbs that you are invited to sample. A variety of vegetables are growing between the herbs. I spot beans, tomatoes, bok choy, celery and rows of new seedlings just emerging.

This is what their web site says “The Epicurious Garden is a must-visit destination at South Bank for foodies, gardening enthusiasts and all those in-between.

Head along to explore the garden’s exquisite plant life and see what fresh produce looks, feels and smells like; talk to our dedicated gardener volunteers (who are onsite from 7-11.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) and learn about inner-city gardening; or read our recipe suggestions and learn how to cook with fresh produce in your own home. All produce in the garden is organic, and is rotated seasonally throughout the year.

If you stop by from 7am-2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can also collect free produce from the garden’s harvest cart. The cart operates on first-in, best-dressed basis, so get in early to avoid disappointment.”

What a perfect place for a picnic.

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A fish pond is next to the “Epicurious Garden”. Such a peaceful place to sit and relax.

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The tranquil Brisbane River flows by. While in another part of the parklands the markets are in full swing.

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There is a large choice of places to eat, from take away burghers and chips to fancy 5 star restaurants.

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I almost stood on this little water dragon. He certainly wasn’t going to move out of my way and he posed very nicely.

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I always find it difficult making a choice when there are so many to choose from. But finally I make a choice and we sit and enjoy, for me lasagna and for Jack grilled fish.

After lunch we go to the art gallery. But that will be another post…


I’m joining Restless Jo’s Monday walkers this week. I’m a day late so I will have to hurry. Do go over and see Jo’s delightful walk in Poland with Meg a blogging buddy, and also check out the other band of dedicated walkers from around the world that have rallied to join Jo’s walking group.

Categories: Australia, Brisbane, Jo's Monday walks, photos, South Bank | Tags: , , , , | 42 Comments

Thursday doors : Ramshackle

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I have driven past this place a number of times and it intrigues me. So one day last week I pulled in to check it out.

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What a gorgeous Bougainvillea cascading like a snow storm over the sign. That is quite specific and look what it is describing…

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It looks deserted but I spy a door…

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That explains it, the day was only Tuesday. But I decided to have a look around.

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The gates are padlocked, but there is no glass in the front window, just bars. So I peer through…

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This little dog peers back at me. As a guard dog he is not doing his duty as his tail is wagging and he looks very friendly.

There is a notice taped on the wall.

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I decide I will have to return…

Today we went for a coffee. What a very quirky, unusual and rather way out place.

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Branches decorate the ceiling, wine barrel table, sticks twine around a post with a bongo drum waiting to be played and that looks like a stainless steel door going nowhere!!!

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I spot another two doors just for decoration. Can you see them?…

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The area was filled with a very eclectic collection of chairs, tables and what I can only describe as “stuff” most of it I think has come from op shops or the tip.

We ordered chickpea crepes stuffed with smoked salmon, mushroom, spinach and capsicum, sprinkled with feta cheese and drizzled with balsamic dressing. There was only two other selections, Pita bread with a salad filling or eggs cooked as you liked…

Jack settled down with his book, while I prowled around taking photos. We were the only customers…

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Out the back was an extensive vegetable garden area.

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I rather coveted this old wheelbarrow with a large lavender bush in it…

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Bright designs decorated the walls.

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This must be the most unusual café on the Gold Coast. No glitz and glamour here.

I went to Google to find out more and this is what I found…

This is copied in full from their web page (all the spelling and grammar I have not corrected!)

The story of the project

I used to drive past this location and think what a great place for a business of some sort,but I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would have the privelage of doing something so awesome here as this. From the moment I saw a car out the front and enquired if they were the owner i have been on the most amazing faith journey culminating in this dream i aptly named ‘ramshackle’. The wiki definition explains it perfectly ‘shabby ,derelict, delapidated, tottering,  jerry built, among other words. I really think wiki got it just a little wrong though. It should also say words like ‘amazing , cool, potential, quirky and eclectic. But oh well maybe wiki hasnt yet visited this cool awesome space full of such potential. A place that when you walk in you can feel ,see, imagine a future. You can see just how many lives it can entertain and even change for the good. How much culture can fit into one tiny part of a big flourishing area of the Gold Coast. That demands more than just tourism and begs for some personalization and sense of community.
Ramshackle can be a place for young and old to come and make their own. Leave their mark and express even a little part of themselves.
I am writing this presuming you have seen ramshackle. You have been inside. Because this is how you see what im saying for yourself. Ramshackle is a little place you have to experience to see and feel the vision for the place. But since many who read this havnt let me paint a picture. An 80 year old treasure with an ugliness that is beauty. Because its there anongst the tourism and glam,yet is the size of 3 house blocks really. It comprises of two seperate plots of land the size of 2 house blocks and the property to one side on yet another. Wooden and in a state of disrepair it it tells a story of so much that has Occured in this building. In recent years a nursery ,a hippy joint and a flourishing cafe and night spot. More recently the habitation of a family of homeless squatters who left their artwork around the joint,lol.   By gone days have left various pieces on the property such as old weights that weigh a ton. Rusty and defunct. But more important than anything my vision is to make a kitchen from a seperate shipping container rather than try and revive an old gutted kitchen. This will be offered to food artisans to entertain us with their culinary expertise. The house will be a gallery for local art and artists to display their hidden talent. The outdoor undercover area for casual seating ,eating with coffee cart delivering 100% locally roasted and 100 % organic,fair trade beans. Richard Silipo has been in the industry for 25 years. The only roaster on he gold coast. Then the two back yards for more casual dining. One on rugs and the other on revived chairs saved from the tip. Ramshackle has a bell tent in the back yard for massage therapists and other uses.
basically ramshackle  about opportunity to the unknowns out there that shoild be known. To give the dreamers and avenue to realise their lirpose and dream. Why? Because this was me. I have held a dream inside my heart for what seems like forever. This is a home for hearts that dream. But i am half way. There is no kitchen or grease trap. I have exhausted my funds and now its up to the community. For those who cone in breathe in the vision and see it in your minds eye. Now you can ontribute to make it something that exists.  I need your help. Not just to dream and see as i do. But to put into action your belief and faith for this cute little joint. Will you help ? $5 or $10 or more if you wish. I promise I will keep going and bring this to pass. Do t you think we need a bit of ramshackle goodness in our lives?”
The food was tasty, but the menu limited and it was VERY pricey, $34 for one crêpe and 2 coffees…
Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time
Categories: Ramshackle, Thursday Doors | Tags: , , , | 57 Comments

First bite is the sweetest…

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Remember the caterpillars that nibbled the edges of my young, immature tomatoes? Well they left some for me.

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So small, but so sweet. The fruits of my labour…

Categories: garden, photos, tomatoes | Tags: , , | 32 Comments

Autumn Sunset…

Autumn has arrived, the temperatures have dropped to the mid 20’s. Yesterday it was a drizzly day, the sun hiding behind grey, wispy clouds. Light showers came and went. A day to be inside feeling slightly sorry for myself after a dentist visit. But time spent visiting my lovely WP community lifted my spirits.

Then the sky slowly cleared and I sat out on the back deck to watch this gentle sunset.

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The night cools to a comfortable 18c degrees. Good sleeping temperature.

As a gardener I welcome any rain in autumn as “traditionally” (what is that these days?) autumn is the dry season.

This morning the sun is peeping through those wispy clouds. Time to take a walk around the garden and say good morning to my plant community.

Then I will take a cyber trip around the world to visit my interesting blogging buddies. 

Categories: garden, photos, sunsets | Tags: , , , | 21 Comments

Our snail exterminator…

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Along this western side of the house it is very hot. Jack has created a habitat for our blue tongue lizard. On the right hand side, under the rocks, he put down drainage pipes.

Every morning we share our breakfast fruit with him.

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He is quite shy and if we get too close he will quickly back into his home. So Jack uses a length of wire to pass him the offering.

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Here he is munching his banana. In this close-up you can see his bright blue tongue.

Because we have this little fellow on snail patrol we have very few slugs and snails around, so I don’t give him too much extra tucker as I think he can find plenty for himself.


I’m linking this to Jude’s “garden photography” that for April has been macro or close-ups in the garden.

Categories: blue tongue lizard, Garden photography challenge, photos | Tags: , , , | 40 Comments

Koroit Opal Fields.

Recently I was left home alone to look after the garden while Jack went outback with his son and 2 grandsons. I have never been to the opal lease and these photos show another part of Australia that not many people get to experience. I still long to go there but for the time being I will just have to experience it through Jack’s photos.

I have reblogged this post from “Jack’s Jottings”. Follow the link at the bottom of this post to see the rest of the photos and experience the hot, dusty, red outback…


The house in the early morning golden light. The house in the early morning golden light.

Jason’s Out Back Getaway House.

Sun peeping up on the other side of house. Sun peeping up on the other side of house.

 Out in the country, in Aussie referred to as the bush or outback, I see and experience a feeling of boiphilia, an affinity with the natural world. Some would say the outback is desolate and ugly.

The children decorate the walls with love. The children decorate the walls with love.

 If you are not observant, hurrying, wanting to be someplace else you never notice the wonder of nature. Amazing things never experienced in the city. Different to what you can find in the lush green rain forests of the coastal areas and highlands of this vast island continent of Australia.

Feral goat on track to water hole. Feral goat on track to water hole.

 It is an 800 km/500 miles from the city of Brisbane to the town of Cunnamulla via Toowoomba, Dalby, St George. Then another 80 km to my son’s opal…

View original post 513 more words

Categories: travel | 28 Comments

Caterpillar update…

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Remember this caterpillar that was in yesterday’s post? Well Desleyjane (DJ) from “musings of a frequent flying scientist” has identified it for me. In fact she did a post about the trials and tribulations of her lime tree and this strange fellow a year ago. Do go over and check it out

It is the larvae of the Orchid Swallowtail Butterfly, commonly called the Large Citrus Butterfly. Such a pretty thing and I have seen the butterfly fluttering around the garden, but never been able to get its photograph. I’m pleased I didn’t squash it.

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Taken by fir0002 | Canon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 – Own work

This is an image I found on the Wikipedia site with more details.

Thanks DJ for the information…

Categories: caterpillar, garden, photos, vegetable garden | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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