Posts Tagged With: travel

Still life…

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This is a still life painting by Margaret Olley, a much-loved Australian artist, who died in 2011 at the age of 88.

I love her style of realistic painting, her colours glow. But she famously hated house work. This is very evident in the reconstruction of her home that has been painstakingly recreated, piece by piece, in a specially built extension at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery. (see another post I did about this remarkable woman)

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It was carefully catalogued, thousands of articles, the exact position noted, then all brought from Sydney to be displayed here.

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You walk round the outside of the house peering in through the windows and doors at a conglomeration of articles that made up the creative person that was Margaret Olley.

As the gallery is only a short drive away I’m lucky to be able to visit regularly and this was where we came after the delicious lunch at Teavine House.

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To me it looks like a life times collection of eclectic junk, but Margaret insisted she knew where everything was and would not let anything be moved. Everyday the gallery staff put fresh flowers in the vases, as they were when she painted them. Classical music plays softly in the background.

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I visit this gallery every few months to see the ever-changing exhibits and always enjoy looking at this still life recreation of an amazing artist. So much to look at I notice something different at every visit.

It had been an enjoyable days outing and as the day faded we had one more cup of coffee, being the only ones in the café, it was almost closing time, it was quiet and peaceful and as the sun went down a stillness surrounded me. Life is good…

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Ailsa (where’s my backpack) ask us to create our own post and title it Travel theme: Stillness

Categories: Australia, Margaret Olley Art Centre, photos, stillness, travel theme, Tweed Valley Art Gallery | Tags: , , , , | 48 Comments

House sitting again and the joys of farming

We are now house sitting again.

We arrived here 5 days ago and it has been an intense learning curve. Water systems involving pumps, dams, sprinkling systems to be shown. Power systems with cords and connections going in every direction. Discussions of what to do in the event of storms, fire and floods. (Keeping fingers firmly crossed)

Four cows needing attention, 18 sheep of various ages and that included a ewe that had twins only a few days before we arrived. Two dogs and an ancient but lovable cat.

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A large vegetable garden to be cared for (and eaten!!!) and acres of native flowers to enjoy.

I am in seventh heaven I didn’t realise how much I missed the farm life. During the 5 days I followed around taking copious notes.

This morning at 4am it was D day. We went with Kim and Deidre to the airport and waved farewell to them as they flew off to America. Then brought their car back home. Arriving back at 6-30am we were ready for breakfast.

Now we are on our own (well not counting all the livestock!!!)…

First to check the ewe and lambs, aren’t they adorable…

Then to count the other sheep, one’s missing. I walk round the paddock and way over on the other side, near the dam, I find her. But she was not alone. Standing beside her was a fine, healthy baby and she was very protective of him.

With Jack’s help I separate her from the others and put her in the pen with the other mother.

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Here he is only a few hours old. What a lovely start to our 4 week house sit.

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I check them a couple of hours later and he has had a feed and is looking very contented.

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Meanwhile Seldon the border collie watches over them.

Being here is certainly an inspiration for me, going back to my farming roots.

I also think it is a transition for me during the next 4 weeks to be back on the land.


Now it is 3-30pm and time to do the afternoon rounds of animals, gardens and dog and cat feeding.


Categories: Australia, farming, house sitting, inspiration, New South Wales, photos, transition, travel theme | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Another adventure is around the corner…

On Tuesday we leave for Sydney to spend 5 days in  Airbnb accommodation. What??? You have never heard of Airbnb? Check the details here. I will tell you more about it when we get there.

Then we board the “Oosterdam” on Sunday March 22nd for a 2 week cruise to New Zealand.

But I am getting ahead of my self first I have to pack….

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Oh dear, will it ever fit in…

This is quite difficult for me as we have not been on this sort of holiday before, previously our travels have been exploratory experiences spending months, even years travelling around Australia in Matilda, and only needing basic shorts, jeans and t-shirts. Before that our overseas travel was with a minimum of clothes in a small backpack.

 So I am not too sure what I will need.

I am dithering about how many “posh” type things I will need. I can picture me swanning around the pool deck in my usual shorts and tops and I don’t think they will fit the bill so I have actually been shopping!!!!! Not easy as I don’t like and don’t have the patience for it, plus I never seem to find things I like… Any way this time I took friend June with me. She LOVES shopping, so I think between us we found some suitable cruise type outfits. Must say I don’t exactly feel comfortable all dressed up… Maybe that will change after 2 weeks of leisure…

Jack had a great find at his favourite shopping outlet, the op shop… He found a brand new navy blue blazer style sports jacket, very smart, and a matching pair of navy trousers and a very attractive tie for the grand total of $18, $10 for the jacket, $6 for the trousers and $2 for the tie. He is always finding great buys at the op shops. I never can… So now he is all set to be invited to sit at the captain’s table.

So for the past few weeks I have been preparing the garden to look after its self. Weeding, pruning, mulching and today the mower man came to give the edges and lawn a final cut.

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It has been a long hot and wet summer and the flowers are slowly giving way to the ravages of the climate. The Bird of Paradise is starting to wilt

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And the ginger flowers are past their best. But many other flowers are still giving me a lot of pleasure.

Remember the small veggie patch? (click on the link to revisit it)

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Well the caterpillars are still munching the kale, but I am getting a few feeds from what they leave.

Beans are doing well

Beans are doing well

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And I have filled the rest with herbs. Notice the thick layer of sugarcane mulch…

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This was the sunflower patch, they are long gone and I have put in some small cuttings of a croton bush that I have been nurturing along. Can you see them among the protective mulch?

The compost bin is almost full.

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Jack has given the fish ponds their annual clean.

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Here are some more views from around the garden.

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Here it is all trimmed and tidy, I will miss it…

Categories: Australia, garden, photos | Tags: , , , | 43 Comments

Harvest time then heading home.

Just look at these beautiful Russian Red tomatoes

Just look at these beautiful Russian Red tomatoes

It has been a productive and enjoyable 3 months staying here and for the past few weeks we have enjoyed the fruits of our labours. The garden has flourished and I have had fresh vegetables from the garden every day. Beans by the bucket full, silverbeet, lettuce, radish, carrots, celery, zucchini and tomatoes. Lyn had planted 6 different varieties before we arrived and I have nurtured them and just look at these beauties. They are a variety called Russian Red and they are the most delicious tasting tomatoes I have ever eaten. They are juicy and thin-skinned and give a burst of rich tomatoe flavour. They taste like summer.

6 different types of tomatoes

6 different types of tomatoes, can you spot them all?

Lyn and David arrived home from their adventures on the weekend and we have spent 3 delightful days swapping travel stories and sharing meals together, But now it is time to head home.

Matilda is packed and today we head south. It is going to be a slower journey than the trip here, the weather is hotter and we do not have a time frame so we will meander back 2000 kilometres and possibly take about 2 to 3 weeks depending on what discoveries we make on the way.

Internet connections will be sporadic so you may not hear from me for a while so until I reach home “Cheerio” to you all….


Categories: Australia, garden, house sitting, photos, tomatoes | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

All Aboard… Yes I’m going for Matilda…

I rang the garage in Townsville on Monday to check Matilda and they said,

“Yes Matilda has passed the trial run with flying colours and she is ready to pick up”

I wanted to rush straight down for her but had a slight hic-up, could not get a reservation in a sleeper until this coming Sunday, 18th November. Finally they were able to book me into a 3 berth sleeper so I look forward to seeing who my travel companions will be.

So, on the road again….

Categories: travel | Tags: , | 14 Comments

The pro’s and con’s of travel

Travel is a challenge. It takes you out of your comfort zone. Each day is an unknown factor; what will we see; who will we meet; where will we sleep.

These are the pro’s of travel….

The places you see can be exciting, interesting, fascinating or sometimes mundane and boring, but always different. What is round the next corner urges you on. The scenery can be breathtaking, the soaring, rugged mountains, rivers winding through deep gorges or sometimes these are just a dry, sandy riverbeds between banks and stands of river gums and paperbark. If the rains and storms come they will once again become a torrent of raging, rushing  life-giving water. Then the endless stretch of the Mitchel grass plains as they unfold to the horizon and always the bush in all its forms from the dry outback to the lush tropical north.

You learn about the history and absorb the atmosphere of the pioneer settlers as you browse museums and visit heritage houses and buildings. It paints a vivid picture of the hardships endured in this harsh land by these sturdy and brave immigrants. I am in awe of how they survived.

We came across the indigenous people, the original custodians. For thousands of years they survived by understanding and living with and off the land. For many years they have been denied their place in our history. As we pass through the small northern townships we see them aimlessly wandering along the street or sitting in groups in the shade of a tree. Their culture is in tatters  Slowly they are being acknowledged and museums tell of their culture.

These are the con’s…..

You sacrifice a great deal when you travel for longer periods. You miss out on sharing the special times with your family. Having friends drop by for a cuppa and a chat. Sharing meals with friends and family. Wandering around the shops with a favourite girl friend. The comfort of your own bed and having a place for everything and everything in its place. (I’m a bit of a control freak). Being able to wake in the middle of the night and know where the bathroom is. Even something as simple as knowing which tap is the hot and which is the cold without having to look closely for the red or green symbol.

Then I miss the garden, seeing the growth, watching the flowers unfold. The daily wander around to see how the plants and flowers are surviving in this dry season. Stooping to pull a weed then finding a couple of hours have slipped by. One of the first things I do on returning home is walk round the garden with my friends who have cared so lovingly for the garden while I have been away.

What pro’s and con’s do you find in travel?….

I would like to share my garden with you so I wandered around with the camera. I like the new format WordPress have given us for the gallery so I will put a photo essay of our garden in a gallery…..


Categories: Australia, australian travel, garden, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Travel Theme :Animals (2)

In 2010 when we did the BIG trip around Australia that took us a year, we discovered “house sitting”. It was a great way to have a break from the road, and a bit more room to spread out. We like living and travelling in Matilda and have adjusted to the lack of space, but, oh boy, it was good to have a proper kitchen, toilet and bathroom just down the hallway, a place we could call home for a few weeks.

The bonus was having pets to pamper, take for walks, discovering new areas, and a warm furry body to cuddle. (I don’t mean Jack 🙂 ).

We did 3 different house sits during the year and these are the animals we cared for…

Ailsa from “Where’s my backpack” inspired us this week with the theme Animals. I have been so inspired that this is my second post about animals. Click on Ailsas blog to see many more animals…

Categories: animals, Australia, australian travel, travel, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Sunset on the Burdekin River

Sunset on the Burdekin River


Sunset on the Burdekin River

What a great way to end the day with a stroll down to the river to watch the sunset.



Categories: australian travel, camping australia, photos, sunsets | Tags: , , , , | 12 Comments

Another idyllic discovery

Country camp round

A flock of “chooks” (strine for chickens) wander the area, clucking and crooning as they scratch and peck around the camp sites. Sprinklers click,swish and splatter, The constant drone of insects and flies. Birdsong and the wind rustling the gum leaves and in the distance the peaceful sound of running water as the Fanning River slowly moves along. This is the sound of Bivouac Junction Holiday

No trucks, no generators, no crowds.

We have discovered another rustic, peaceful campground.Bivouac Junction is located in 5 acres of bushland at the junction of the Fanning and Burdekin Rivers. Large gum trees create perfect shady camping sites and places to hang a hammock. A camp-fire area and circle of chairs invites the campers to share happy hour. This camp has a friendly, companionable atmosphere.

It is 20 kilometres east of Charters Towers and along a 3 kilometre of undulating dirt track. It is not easy to find consequently it is not busy. Campers heaven and it is only $20 per night….

We arrived yesterday and will be here 4 days.

On Sunday we travel 120 kilometres to Townsville to take poor Matilda in for major surgery (more of that in the next post)

So in the meantime we will enjoy this beautiful campground.

This morning, before breakfast, as the sun was rising, we walked along the banks of the Fanning River.The morning sunlight filtered through the gum trees and the reflections of the bush were crystal clear in the river. For an hour we take photo after photo trying to capture the mood and convey the peace and tranquillity of the moment.

Back to camp for breakfast, the hammock is up , we have met and connected with our neighbours and the other campers. A bonus is the internet connection, though patchy, with patience and between drop-outs, I will be able to join the blogosphere and connect with friends and fellow bloggers.

Early morning sun filtering through the gum trees

Tranquil reflections on the Fanning River, can you see the wallaby?

The wallaby has spotted us


Peace and tranquillity



Categories: Australia, australian travel, Camping grounds, photos, travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Magnetic termite mounds, natures survivers

Magnetic termite mound

One last post about Litchfield National Park and this is to show you the amazing magnetic termite mounds. These are nature’s answer to surviving in this very hot tropical climate. Every termite mound in this area is built facing magnetic north and long and thin along the north/south axis. This is to minimise the exposure to the sun.

How amazing, they must have a built-in compass. Click on the link above for more photos and information.

Same magnetic termite mound


Magnetic termite mounds


When seen on mass the first thing that springs to mind is “they look like a graveyard”… The mounds in the park had a board walk past them and were fenced off, you could not get up close and personal. The ones I photographed with Jack alongside where on the dirt road before we entered the National Park area so we were pleased we had stopped for the photo-op when it presented itself.

Well that is our Top End odyssey. The temperatures are into the top 30’s and the build up is starting, it will soon be the wet, humid, cyclone season so time for us to head out. It has been a very interesting stay up here…

Categories: australian travel, Litchfield National Park, magnetic termite mounds, National Parks, Northern Territory, travel | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

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