Travel Theme : Tangled

Look for the Hobbits...

Look for the Hobbits…

Have you ever walked through a rainforest?

It is a tangle of green and brown. The branches pushing and reaching for the light while the roots of the strangler vine snake their way down, grasping and choking anything that gets in their way and lianas twist and turn their way up through the dense foliage. Over everything the mosses drape and drip in thick profusion. The light is dim and shadowy, unseen creatures can be heard shuffling through the thick undergrowth. The mood is charged with menace and an odour of decay pervades the air.

The light from above

The light from above

Suddenly a ray of sun pierces the canopy and spears down providing light and life to the struggling plants on the forest floor and the sweet clear call of a bird breaks the silence.

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Travel Theme : Tangle

Categories: Australia, photography, tangle, travel theme, tropical rainforest | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Bench Series : May, at the beach

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Is it a bench or is it a seat? Maybe it is just a piece of bench-shaped drift wood…

But it is definitely at the beach…

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Jude hosts a monthly bench challenge with a different theme each month. This is the last of May’s “at the beach”. For June it is benches with an art effect. Do you have one you can show Jude?

Categories: bench series | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Broken Dreams

With the development of the pastoral industry, a small township, Newcastle Waters,  sprang up at the junction of the two major overland stock routes, one going north to south and the other east to west. Newcastle Waters thrived as a supply point it has a rich, vibrant history as a gathering place for drovers on their gruelling overland cattle drives with a pub and store it was an important source of provisions and a place to rest before drovers continued on their way.

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But change was on the way in the 1940’s to 50’s when roads and railways started spreading through the outback.

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With no drovers the pub closed, the store no longer had customers and the wives and families moved on. It had been a tough life but by 1970’s Newcastle Waters became a ghost town.

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The broken dreams and heart ache of a shattered life style can be felt as we wandered around the dilapidated buildings in 2010. The tattered remains of a net curtain flapping forlornly in a slight breeze. The brave attempt at creating a splash of colour with a strip of gingham material on shelves. The rusting sewing machine and kettle on the old wood-burner stove indications of a family once building dreams here. How hot it must’ve been as the summer sun relentlessly heated up the corrugated walls and roof. Then the chill winds of winter forcing into every gap. Where did they go? Did they find a better more comfortable life?

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 Cheri asks us for this challenge, capture something broken: an old window, a vintage sign, a toy never fixed, a contemplative friend. Or go deeper: find beauty in something broken.

Categories: Australia, “postaday″, broken, outback, photography, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Bench Series : May, at the beach…

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Can you see the bench? It is very secluded.

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Check Jude’s benches and all her loyal followers that show us benches they have found around the world. Maybe you have one you can add…

Categories: bench series, memories, photography | Tags: , | 13 Comments

Travel Theme : Hats

 

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These would be the most colourful hats I have ever seen. They were at the “Stanthorpe apple and grape festival”. The festival was a riot of colour and happy vibes. It was the start of our round Australia trip March 2010. (take a look)

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A hat is a necessity in Queensland and the weekly beach markets are a good place to find just the right one. (go here and share the experience of a sunny day at the beach markets)

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At the beginning of our year around Australia Jack had this rather dapper Panama hat. As the days turned to weeks, then months. That hat became rained on, sat on, lost then found again. It became Jack’s favourite. In the second photo he is with his mate Rob. Rob has his favourite Akubra hat on, well-worn, sweat stained and very dilapidated. Rob owns a farm in the beautiful Southern corner of Western Australia and every year he organised a poets weekend. Bush poets and people came from far and wide.  We were lucky enough to be in his area and help with the organisation. It was a lot of fun. (if you would like to come along click here)

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Finally here is that iconic Akubra

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This stained, stitched and patched Akubra belonged to a drover. That tough breed of Aussie that drove cattle hundreds of miles through scrub, desert and open Mitchel grass plains in all weather conditions. The heat and drought of summer and the bone chilling rain and winds of winter. They are a breed of man to be admired. I took this photo at the “Drovers Shed” in Camooweal. ( I spent hours looking round this fascinating place. Click here and come with me for a look at Australia’s droving history)

Akubra Hats are an Australian Icon.

(Click here to discover the rich history of this iconic hat)

For 130 years Akubra has been making its famous rabbit fur, felt hats. The Akubra name is synonymous with the landscape of outback Australia, and our unique hats form an important part of the Australian national uniform. In the modern era Akubra Hats still form an important part of the national culture, being worn by the hard working men and women on the land as well as being presented as national gifts to those visiting dignitaries who want to take a piece of Australia home

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Hats are every where this week. Go to Ailsa’s “Where’s my backpack” to see hundreds more…

Categories: Australia, hats, outback, photography, poetry, travel theme | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Enveloped

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A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.

Victor Hugo

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My interpretation of  enveloped for WP  weekly photo challenge.

Categories: enveloped, photography, postaday, weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

5 Photos, 5 Stories : Day 5, Australia

After 4 days travelling the world in my memories this fifth and final day I am back in Australia…

The year is 2005 and I am travelling on the Greyhound bus right round Australia, on my own and with only my pension, I was on a strict budget.

How I loved that challenge. The 12 month, 10,000 kilometre bus pass cost $990 and I was on my way July 23rd heading North, first on the “Sunlander Train” into the Warm Northern tropics. Then onto the Greyhound bus across the great Outback. Turning West I followed the magnificent wild flower trail south along the coast of Western Australia. Discovering the incredible history of the gold mining era of Kalgoorlie. Then on the mighty “Indian Pacific” train across the Nullabor. Through the capital city of Adelaide and on to Melbourne where I timed it to be there for the “Melbourne Cup” that great horse race that stops a nation and cheered myself hoarse along with thousands of others as we watched that magnificent mare Makybe Diva  win the cup for the third time in a row. 

For 4 months I hopped on and off the bus. Sometimes just me and the driver travelling through the night to the next destination curled up with my sleeping bag draped over me and trying to sleep. Other times it was staying in back packer or YHA dorms for a day or two with a variety of nationalities, male and female. While I roamed around all the fascinating places that make up this huge country. 

For a change I also Wwoofed (willing workers on organic farms) spending time, for free accommodation, helping on various farms. A memorable one being a seahorse sanctuary, another a warm blood horse stud. Another way to stretch my budget was using “Global Freeloaders”, a forerunner of the now popular “couch surfers”.

Many times I have been asked what was my favourite place. A very hard question I could write a book about all I saw and did. It was a continual journey of wonder.

But what I am going to pick out for this final day of the challenge is my trip into the wilderness of the Kimberley.

With a small group of 6, a charismatic Australian larrikin called Scott drove us 5 hours in his 4 wheel drive. The last 50 kilometres we bounced over corrugated, rutted tracks that twist and turn and at times is like a roller coaster, the red bull dust swirling around us as Scott takes the track at speed as he tells us this is the best way to minimise the corrugations. After 3 stops, one to change a burst tyre and twice to allow one of our group to be violently sick, we arrived at the Bungle Bungle Range. Deep in the Purnululu National Park.

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Scott carries the water and his didgeridoo

For the rest of the day we tramped among these wondrous and breath-taking formations. The red rocks towered above us catching the magic glow of the sun reflecting back.

We had this extraordinary world to ourselves.

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Scott cooks a BBQ

That night Scott cooks us a traditional and delicious BBQ, just look at those juicy steaks. What a great guy he is.

Then we roll out our swags and lay around the camp fire swapping stories before drifting to sleep under a canopy of a million stars.

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 Getting ready for bed

Next day it was more walking through this surreal landscape the azure blue of the sky accentuating the shape and colour of the domes. The final gorge Scott took us to was Cathedral Gorge.

This was to be a moment that will live with me forever and was the highlight of my trip around Australia.

Scott had carried a didgeridoo with him and when we reached the end of the gorge it was just our small group. We sat in the sand around a small crystal clear pool and Scott climbed up to an over-hanging rock and placed the end of the old Aboriginal instrument into a hollow. The haunting sound echoed and hung around us in the still air, time also seemed to stand still. The walls of the gorge towered above us and the top was a blaze of fiery red were the sun touched it. I sat entranced and awed by the majesty of the moment.

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Well that is the finish of my 5 days. I hope you have enjoyed travelling around with me back into my past journeys. I have enjoyed reliving them…

The second part of the challenge is to pass the baton on to another blogger. So today I would like to nominate (drum roll please) Dawn of “The day after“. Dawn is a prolific blogger, her posts cover a variety of subjects, she hosts 2 challenges, “Lingering look at windows” and “Lingering look at architecture” her specialities are fiction writing and photography and I’m sure she will have many stories to tell us.  Go across and say G’day to her and explore her world.

There’s no obligation Dawn, have fun if you want to join in!

The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

Categories: 5 photos 5 days, Australia, Bungle Bungle, camping, photography | Tags: , , , | 17 Comments

5 Photos, 5 Stories : Day 4

Day 4 of the challenge already. Thanks for the nomination Gilly “Lucid Gypsy” I am enjoying my trip back through my memories.

Day one; India. Day two; Grand Canyon. Day three; Russia.

Day 4 it is memories of the Trans Mongolian Express…

It is April 1990 and China is in turmoil. It is 10 months since the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4th 1989. Can you remember that heart stopping video of the lone Chinese student confronting the mighty tank?

Tourists had turned away from China fearing a civil war.

This was the month and year I stepped onto the Trans Mongolian Express with 19 other New Zealanders, led by an indomitable character named Tim Round, for a 6 week journey to England

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It was one of my dreams to walk on the Great Wall of China. When I did it was almost deserted, only a few Chinese workers sweeping and cleaning the ramparts. It was so steep in some areas, I marvelled at the size of this construction built with manpower. Photos do not do justice to the enormity of it. Tim Round, our intrepid leader, had been leading groups here for 15 years and he had never seen it deserted.

The highlights of this journey are many and all are recorded on old-fashioned film and lovingly stuck (with Sellotape!!!) in an old scrap-book tucked away in a cupboard. Of course they are starting to deteriorate…

(note to myself I must start scanning them before it is too late)

I have spent an enjoyable few hours looking through those photos and reliving my journey through China, across Mongolia, spending May Day in Siberia in the snow dancing with the locals, going down to the magical Silk Road area of Tashkent and Samarkand, Seeing the might of Russia paraded in their Victory Day celebrations. The euphoria of Czechoslovakia in the middle of their first democratic elections, and the Berlin Wall had just come down. We went through Check Point Charlie from East to West Berlin, possibly one of the last to do so, and chipped a souvenir piece of rock from the Berlin Wall. The memories come flooding back…

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This is the fun of these challenges, they give me an opportunity to go through my photos.

The second part of the challenge is to pass the baton on to another blogger. So today I would like to nominate (drum roll please) Tish Farrell of  ” Writer on the edge” Tish is a writer extraordinaire, she has a way with words that takes you on a journey through her world of Much Wenlock, a delightful English village, and beyond. With detailed descriptions and expressive photos that make me want to linger. Go across and say G’day to her and explore her world.

There’s no obligation Tish, have fun if you want to join in!

The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

 

  

Categories: 5 photos 5 days, China, photography, Trans Mongolian Exspress | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

5 photos, 5 stories : Day 3

When Gilly of “Lucid Gypsy” invited me to join the 5 photo 5 story challenge I decided to take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the iconic places I have seen.

Day one I went back to India and remembered the Taj Mahal that Magnificent Mausoleum.

Day two it was a breathless walk into the depths of the Grand Canyon.

Today I remember the posturing of Russia back in 1989.

The 1989 Victory Day Celebrations in Red Square Moscow.

To the accompaniment of drum and bugle they marched and halted in rows six deep around the massive square.

Thousands of fresh-faced Russian youngsters, dressed in uniforms of death.

The political walls of the Kremlin loomed on the right

St Bazil’s domed and turreted presence, a caricature of religion, in gaudy bright array,

backed by the red bricked façade of Gum, department store of communism, half empty to this day.

Atop the tomb of Lenin the dignitaries assemble, Gorbachev surrounded by decision-making men

A wave of solid sound reverberates around the ranks of soldiers as three loud cheers were commanded.

Then silence……….

The crisp air of winter caused tendril breath to rise, and the wind whipped flags, cracked in the lull.

The clock above the Kremlin struck ten……

Then the boom of a dozen cannons shattered the momentary stillness and reverberated around the square. The acrid tang of cordite hung in the air.

From the distance a rumble, like thunder, grew and the cobblestones trembled beneath our feet as the military advanced.

The old tanks of the Crimea slowly trundled into sight. Then faster and faster the machines of war came by.

The squadrons of ever-sophisticated weapons roared across from right to left.

For an hour they kept coming, the senses numbed by their procession.

Overwhelmed, as we were meant to be, by this show of Russian, sabre rattling superiority.

From the guns of Crimea to the deadly accurate missiles of the future. Juggernauts of destruction.

Looking round I saw a frail old man, with medals on his chest, standing rigidly to attention, with tears of remembrance in his eyes.

A woman clutching a young child to her side.

A chill brushed my skin and a lump rose in my throat. I thought of all the horror depicted by these machines of war and uniforms so drab.

Now it is all over, with military pomp and style the soldiers march away to the beat of drum and bugle.

All that is left is the vibration of their passing, the mournful, staccato flapping of the flags and the pervading smell of cordite.

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Gorbachev was the premier of Russia and in 1989 the buzz word was “Peristrioka”, democracy. This was the first year that westerners had been allowed to witness the Victory Day parade and it was an overwhelming experience.

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The second part of the challenge is to pass the baton on to another blogger. So today I would like to nominate (drum roll please) My good friend Jill of “Jill’s Scene”. Jill is a true adventure traveller with great experiences to share and fantastic photos. She tells her stories with a dry wit and charm. Go across and say G’day to her and explore her world.

There’s no obligation Jill, have fun if you want to join in!

The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

Categories: 5 photos 5 days, photography, Red Square, Russia | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

5 Photos, 5 Stories : Day 2

Gilly of “Lucid Gypsy” has passed this challenge on to me and I am taking the opportunity to revisit some of the most memorable places I have travelled to in the past,

Yesterday the Taj Mahal took my breath away. Today it is the Grand Canyon that took my breath away in a very different way…

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Standing on the edge of this huge gash in the surface of the earth I look down in to the most spectacular gorge in the world. It is September 1991 and it is hot, very hot. The sun radiates and bounces heat off the sheer rock walls and we have made the decision to walk/scramble down the  Bright Angel Trail into the canyon as far as the lookout over the Colorado River. Can you see that winding track way below? That is where we went. The track is steeply rutted by the mules that carry non-walkers up and down and the walking is difficult. Do you hop from the top of each rut, or do you high step over each raised segment. I tried both. In the beginning on the way down The sun shone on the opposite walls and I enjoyed looking around taking photos, chatting to other walkers. Mission accomplished, The view over the Colorado River was spectacular.

(Follow this link to the other post I did with more photos about the Grand Canyon walk)

As I did not have a hat I poured water over my head from the barrel that held drinking water for the mules and fashioned one of those temporary head covers from my handkerchief, you know the sort with a knot in each corner? Then it was time to head back up.

The sun had swung round to the other side and it was a ball if fire, we were in its full glare. Those ruts now became mini mountains. Every muscle in my legs ached, sweat dripped from every pore. My water bottle was empty and my temporary hat was useless. The only way out was up, so head down, two steps and stop, two more steps and wishing I had booked a mule as they brushed by us.

Finally I staggered over the top rim 8 hours from when I started down. What a huge feeling of exhilaration and achievement I felt as I looked back down into that formidable canyon.

The second part of the challenge is to pass the baton on to another blogger. So today I would like to nominate (drum roll please) Sue from “Words Visual“. Sue can work magic with photos and I look forward to see what she will choose for this challenge. Go across and say G’day to her and explore her world.

There’s no obligation Sue, have fun if you want to join in!

The challenge is to just “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

 

 

Categories: 5 photos 5 days, Grand Canyon, photography | Tags: , , | 15 Comments

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