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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kondilla Falls.

Daughters are like flowers, they fill the world with beauty, and sometimes attract pests. ~Author Unknown
Our last day we travelled up into the hinterland to visit Kondilla falls. I love this area. Not only is it lushly green, a site for sore eyes in a country that has been ravaged by drought for years, but the mountains are littered with small scenic towns boasting a huge variety of lovey arts & crafts.

Ditz had a meltdown over footwear~ totally exhausting ~ & then was the only one to attract a collection of leeches between her toes during the walk. Be grateful you weren't there. Ditz & I actually let mum & Liddy do the walk together with us trailing 1/2 an hour or more behind them as Ditz in one of her states drives them both crazy while I can ignore most of her theatrics while waiting on a semblance of civility returning.

The Kondilla walk is a class 3 walk ~ this is supposed to mean it is reasonably difficult but although it climbs 9o metres or more into the valley & then out again the gradient is gently winding & the path mostly free of obstacles & neither Ditz nor I found it difficult though we passed plenty of tourists who enquired of us how far to the bottom & how difficult? Most turned back so perhaps we are fitter than I think we are ~ or just prepared to take it very slowly & gently.
Kondilla means *rushing waters* & is set in 330 hectares of broadly sweeping valleys on the western slopes of the Blackhall Ranges ~ & they are part of that huge sea of mountains along the eastern seaboard known as the Great Dividing Range.
The area was created by volcanoes & then carved about by water to create a rich basalt soil for subtropical rainforest.

Open eucalypt forest mingles with tropical rainforest. In practical terms the drier forest is at the top, especially on the western escarpment, & you gradually descend into a sub tropical rainforest so you get quite a variety of different terrain & shrubbery.
Riparian rainforest lines the Skene Creek ~ cracks me up that term because it just means along the banks of a creek! Technical term for something really very simple but I guess it also refers to the types of flora & fauna that are to be found in that sort of environment.

The water flows down through a series of falls & pools ~ freezing but swimmable if you're so inclined. Not us though we saw plenty of people carting towels & hiking in their togs.

It is impossible to really show the grandeur of the landscape with a little computer camera. The whole place is littered with huge boulders; the trees soar foot after foot into the air; there is just so much water, especially after rain, & the thundering sound of it bellowing over the rocks & down the hillside fills the air.

This area is home to 107 bird species, 70 types of reptiles & 32 different species of frog including the rare pouched frog that does something really bizarre with it's young & it's stomach. The rare bopple nut, which is vulnerable to extinction, also grows here.

From the bottom you can look back up the hill to the cascade of falling water, all 90m of it.

Ditz gets rather a kick out of knowing she's come all that way down from the top. Liddy & mum did the circuit well within the 2 hours allowance time recommended ~ despite running into at least one snake that Liddy nearly stepped on. Trust Liddy not to see it.

I love these walks. On a good day [one that is relatively tourist free] it is blissfully quiet & peaceful & my girls don't attract unwanted male attention. *sigh* Even having mother & grandmother within cooee distance doesn't put some boys off. :(

Food & clothing...

A mother's treasure is her daughter. ~Catherine Pulsifer
While Liddy did her 2nd surf lesson I took Ditz into Nambuccar [which I can't spell & spell check can't help me with] to look for clothes; remember I have an ongoing saga with keeping the child clothed & decent. The outlets may have the same name but the choices are sometimes slightly different & we lucked out: 2 pairs of long shorts, 2 T~s. I couldn't believe it. And the shorts were on special! Despite herself Ditz was pleased ~ & relieved.
Later on we went into Noosa for a meal at Rosies, which is run by a family friend. We usually arrive early & go for a stroll along the Noosa River, which the foresighted council has kept as parkland. We got distracted by the shoe shop which had the brightest collection of footwear I've ever set eyes on.
Mum can still outwalk us all. She gets up a head of steam like you wouldn't believe for her age but she used to play State Netball & is still really fit & sporty. Liddy is so like her it blows my mind sometimes while poor old Ditz got the other set of genes completely & while I like to walk I don't believe in getting my heart rate up.
As dusk descends the rosellas come in to roost. These are a brightly coloured, very noisy bird. The sky swirled in dark clouds & loud clamourings while we sipped icey water & considered the menu. Rosie's is always a little nostalgic. Not only have the owners watched my kids grow up but they knew my dad & Mark & remember the occasions we all dined together on those rare occasions we were all in the same place at the same tiume. Despite what people say about English cooking they do a mean menu though I usually choose a main from the appetizers as a proper main is just too much food all at once for me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Summer medly.

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
Mudjimba Beach when the beach is pleasant even if the surf is unsurfable ~ Well, that's what Ditz thought any way. She barely got her feet wet & preferred to swim in the Village pool. She did do the surf lesson with Liddy though she said it was all very well for Liddy but she had trouble just paddling out past the breakers let alone stand & balance on a board! Not my sporty one. Liddy did another couple of lessons but the bluebottles arrived & she came home covered in welts where she'd been stung. I'd never have got in the surf with bluebottles but Liddy doesn't care so long as she can whinge to someone after the fact!
You can walk out to the island on a low tide & round the foreshore to the snazzy resort that we were using as a shortcut to the beach.
Some of the apartments are built out over the lagoon & so is the restaurant ~ a very visible reminder that there is a side to the Sunshine Coast we don't see all that much of ~ tourists with money to burn. We tend to avoid the big well known beaches & of course this time school had gone back so the beaches tended to be deserted between 9am & 3pm. It was very nice.

The resort is huge & beautifully landscaped but the girls were still in their swimming things so we walked on through.
January is our wet season so most days were overcast with intermittent showers, even Australia Day. The time trials for the canoes were first order of the day. Here's mum giving the royal salute before she does her round.Then there was the relay...2 lots of paddlers capsized to great mirth from all the onlookers. Mum's team won this event.
Ditz made herself useful holding canoes steady for the competitors....
While Liddy found herself holding onto a collection of watches & cameras. They were the only grandkids still round.
Mum played her first game of bowls in soaring temperatures. We abandoned her for the air conditioned clubhouse.
Ditz & mum doing the thong throwing after a substantial lunch. This was hysterical to watch & had everyone in stitches.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day.

This is the Dreaming land, the land of spirit ancestors, Of campfire and corroboree, of rock art and cave painting... ©RAF 26.01.2007

On Janurary 26th 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Port Jackson, a name that thankfully got changed pretty quickly to Sydney! After months at sea my bet is that everyone on board those ships was grateful to see land, any land, even unknown land. They could hardly be expecting what they got though. Sydney in Janurary heat garbed as the 18th centurary liked to garb itself makes me wilt just thinking about it.

America's colonies were founded for religious & high falutin' reasons. Australia was founded as a jail, the best sort of jail, a long, long way from everywhere else; out of sight & for the most part, out of mind. Here's where the starving landed after being caught stealing a loaf of bread. How a so called Christian nation could so forget the basic tenets of its faith so as to take no proper regard for its poor boggles my poor little mind though it does highlight those who were truely marked with Christ's spirit ~ Elizabeth Fry, Quaker reformer for one, who was so distressed by the felon ships sitting for months in the Thames that she extended her ministry to the poor souls aboard waiting to be transported to the ends of the earth.

Having sent the convicted out here Britain failed miserably to do her research & by desperate trial & error the newcomers learnt that English farming methods did not work too well in this new land, that the seasons were topsy~turvy, that the rain could not be relied upon to fall when it should & that grazing kangaroos can mow down a growing wheat crop pretty fast ~ certainly faster than it took to grow it in the first place. The whole colony, jailers & jailed alike, very nearly starved to death before they got it worked out.

It was not an auspicious start in any way but eventually Australia decided it no longer wanted to be the dumping ground for everyone the Empire did not want. Free settlers began arriving & the things any emerging nation does began happening. The mad packed supplies & began exploring & mapping the unknown territory. Lots perished when they discovered there is a very big desert in the middle of Australia! The innovative looked for ways to make money. John MacArthur bred sheep whose wool was the best ever. He was rather a pain in the proverbial but he certainly understood sheep ~ or at least knew those who did. The greedy panned for gold.

In the too~ing & fro~ing that has since ensured between the immigrants & the lands they originated from, Australians discovered they were indeed *the Lucky Country* ~ blessed beyond measure, unique upon the face of the earth. Where else can you find hopping marsupials, egg laying mammals & birds that screech like banshees? There was never any need to make much of a song & a dance about it. Australians took it for granted that there was no better place on the face of the earth & Australia Day, squashed as it is in between Christmas & the end of the long school summer vacation, was pretty much overlooked. Recently more of a fuss seems to be being made. I'm not sure why.

So yesterday we ate scones & drank billy tea [ok, I omitted the tea drinking; I can't stand tea], ate damper & BBQ, watched the canoe racing, the thong throwing[ the other sort of thongs, remember?],watched the toad races & competed in the Australian Trivia competition ~ all good fun but in the end having a National day makes squat difference to how I feel about my country, how I feel about being Australian or what I believe as a consequence. Good excuse for a party about sums it up & there are plenty of things that should matter more.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Leaving Home.

Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves? Robin Williams

Well we have arrived safely on the Sunshine Coast, no thanks to my sons who woke most of my household up at 4am!!! This is the Australia Day long weekend & while Australians, as a rule, aren't the flag waving, patriotic sort we do love a good long weekend & the boys were gearing up for an on~island cricket game culminating in a seafood BBQ ~ only first they had to catch their seafood, hence the early start.

Liddy was ropeable as we'd hoped to sleep in & be really refreshed for our drive. As it was we were all a bit crotchety, the humidity was just awful & there was traffic out of Brisbane to Bribie that had us at a crawl for nearly an hour. It took us over 3 hours to do a trip that is 1 1/2 to 2 hours on a good day. Liddy wanted to know why it always happens to her but she did really well; no *scenic detours*, no unfortunate lapses in concentration, no road rage. She just drove.

Later in the afternoon we walked down to Mudjimba beach so the girls could swim. I hate watching Liddy in the water as she likes to push the boundaries & I don't cope because I don't think she's as cluey as she likes to think she is. Ditz barely got her feet wet before bolting out of the surf & Liddy didn't stay in long either. The surf warning was for only going in waist deep due to surprise rips that dragged you straight out to sea & naturally the waves were breaking further out than that so it wasn't much fun.

Everyone is very tired today so we are being quiet, yes, even Ditz. Tomorrow, being Australia Day, the village has lots of things planned & Ma has teamed up with Liddy for the thong throwing competition [flip~flops if you live in the Northern Hemisphere] & entered us as a team in the trivia competition. I don't do well at these things. I may have a mind full of trivia but it tends to be the wrong sort of trivia.

Liddy began in full flight determined to get as much milage out of her holiday as humanely possible. She makes me tired just thinking about the pace she wants to keep but as she crashed in front of the movie this morning I guess she gets to take a reality check before proceeding!

However we are hoping for some good weather early next week to do a couple of the better walks ~ waterfalls included. Liddy was rather insistent about that. Ditz just wanted to know if she could swim. The water will be freezing but if she has the courage she can swim.

Dearest has his sons for the weekend & I guess will have them again next weekend so in reality will have very little time completely alone, which I think is a good thing. And he has Issi of course. Iss is good company even if he does get rather psychotic the longer we are away.

This area is one of the most popular tourist destinations, particularly for Australians who have more sense than to head right north during peak cyclone season, which is one reason we are holidaying so late this year. We are hoping with most of the kids returning to school Tuesday most of the visitors will have left & things everywhere won't be quite so crowded.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A little music of the spheres.

When I have a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion. Then I go out and paint the stars. Vincent Van Gogh.

Have you seen the stars like this? I don't remember when I first saw this painting but this is how I have always seen the stars ~ larger than they really are, massive swirls that consume the sky, cold as ice.

I love the stars at night in a winter sky. They burn more fiercely then. They fill more of the sky, pressing down on the earth from the vastness of eternity.

In 2006 George Fox did this experiment dividing the orbital periods of the planets in half & half again & again until they were literally audible. [octave equivalence or something of that sort.] No, I don't understand the maths or how it is possible to do something like this but it does intrigue me that it can be done. The resultant piece is known as Carmen of the Spheres. Each planet gets an octaves worth of notes.

The thing is though, much as this intrigues me, much as I will walk somewhere like Springbrook gazing & gazing up at the stars because you can see so many more of them when the sky is not polluted by house lights & street lights & traffic lights & shop lights, the bible talks of this. It talks of the sun pulsing to a beat, the heavens singing long before anyone ever thought to test this theory mathematically by dividing by two.

I know math & music is closely related but this is just insane.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude.

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. SouthardI am grateful beyond measure ~ To God for supplying my need; to Liddy for hassleing it when I'd given up; that on the last post day before we went away & the mail stops for our long weekend the magizines arrived. Now I get to take them away with me. Thank you Liddy!

They arrived in a big box to much excitement. I actually didn't even get to open my own parcel. Ditz & Liddy rushed to get her work knife to slit the wrapping & delved into the styrofoam.I had a lovely letter from Wisdom's Gate explaining their new proceedure for international subscribers & nearly 2 years worth of back issues! God is so good. It was almost worth the wait. :)

After the initial excitement Ditz wasn't so sure about this. After all, we're going away. She expects my attention & here I am with all this reading material. She suspects I will be tucked away somewhere warm & cosy reading for dear life & what will she do?

If I was sensible [not my strong suite :)], I would save them for the coming term when once again I will be found waiting all over the country on Ditz & her music but I have been without them for so long I really don't think I can wait that long & will greedily devour them before term starts. Short post. I have all these magazines waiting on my attention.

The Old Order

The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery. ~Harold WilsonThe more things change the more they stay the same. Iss watched the piles of washing come in last night with a jaundiced eye. Were they going into rooms to be tucked into drawers or were they being put away in bags? When he saw it was bags he was not impressed. He wrapped himself around my arm, rabbit kicked & bit like a little savage then collapsed in my arms to be taken up to bed purring like a steam engine. Mad cat. Ditz is avoiding him. He is looking for someone to vent his spleen on & Ditz has always been at the bottom of the pecking order. Worse, we always come home smelling of someone else's cat [mum's Pixi] so obviously we're loving on someone else besides him while we're gone! The cat is jealous, pure & simple.

Liddy has finished her last shift. Today is for rest & relaxation, packing bags & doing those innumerable chores necessary before going away even though Dearest remains to hold the fort.

Mum rang last night double checking when we were arriving. That's years of my children saying they are doing one thing & then doing something completely different. She has learnt to expect the unexpected. She sounds like she is looking forward to our visit despite the musical Ditz. She should be grateful she wasn't sharing a tent with the Ditzy one. Sian & I could hear her going in operatic mode all the way up at the loos, up & down scales & arpeggios. Goodness alone knows what the German tourists thought!

More driving hours for Liddy tomorrow! And it is raining. I just love getting a wet season. At least Liddy just rolled her eyes & laughed instead of having a major spac attack about something we can do nothing about & which, quite frankly, is inevitable at this time of the year.

And then there are my sons. Theo has become a casualty of the recession & is now job hunting. Luckily he can get interim work with the landscaper who originally apprenticed him but it won't be anything like the money he has been earning so ouch!

And Dino! Oh my! I've been revelling in the fact my middle son has been safely earth bound for the past several years ~ well mostly. He rang & informed me the other day he is heading north to the prawn trawlers in the Gulf of Carpentaria.[ up between the sun & the croc ~ that's the Gulf country. ]

Not what I wanted to hear. Up north they have crocs...& sharks...& box jellyfish...cyclones...huge tidal surges...huge currents & cross currents. Besides it's at sea & that is dangerous enough all on its own. If I let it my imagination can really go to town on this one.

It's good money though & nowhere to spend it. He really wants to put a house on the block of land he bought & this is the way to go about it. A good couple of seasons will pay for the house with no mortgage. Dino needs to think this way. He is the one of mine who fell fastest through the gaps in the public school system. He was, & is, a very kinesthetic, hands on learner, very practical, & all the sitting around trying to learn stuff he saw no relevance in was never for him. Even in kindergarten his teacher was telling him he needed to exercise his mind as well as his body but some things you just can't change. Dino isn't stupid. He's actually quite smart but he thinks in a certain way. You teach to that & he excels. Miss it & you are just wasting time. School was a waste of his time. [Not, I must point out, education, just school.]

Liddy too is looking at buying her own block of land & putting a house on it. She has a good business head on her, my girl, which she has not inherited from me! She has found a block she likes & a pre~fab design she likes so I guess that will be another of my chicks flying the coop at some point this year. Not too far though. Liddy loves being home & chatting & Ditz will be bereft without Liddy to squabble with & chat to in the way that only sisters who are close do.

So round & round we go. Nothing much changes. We've been here before. Constant motion but same old, same old. Breath in, breath out. Feet firmly on the ground; ok, that one's just temporary but it's a start.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I must go down to the sea again...

A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. ~ Grace Murray Hopper

As Rat tells Mole in Wind in the Willows There's nothing quite like messing about in boats & I could sail practically before I could walk. For most of my life I've lived beside water. Knowing how to swim & row & sail was as necessary as breathing but it began well before my time in my father's home port of Brisbane. It may even have started earlier than that. My great~grandfather [forget how many times removed] was a ship's captain when to sail from London to Sydney took most of a year & he got shipwrecked 3 times. After the first time I'd've probably never set foot in a boat again but they made them hardy [or foolhardy] back then & he lived to tell the tale ~ 3 times!

Anyway, early on in their relationship my father introduced my mother to his other love ~ the longboat he had proudly built himself & he invited her to be the lovely figurehead on her maiden voyage down the Brisbane River. [I'm sure someone in my family is now screaming I've got the details wrong but you get the idea.] So dad loaded his pretty girlfriend aboard his newly finished boat & launched them onto the murky brown waters Brisbanites refer to as a river while he stood by with the camera to record the moment.

I've never yet seen a picture of this momentous event. As mum smiled & dad prepared to snap away his pride & joy sank gracefully beneath my mother's feet into the murky depths & the waters closed over her head! My father had forgotten to put the bungs in! It says much for my mother that their relationship endured, boats & all.

Dad fished his first boat out of the water, dragged her home & parked her under the house. She moved with him to every home he ever lived in but she never saw water again. Dad moved on & we witnessed a long parade of boats pass through his hands~ sailing dinghies, cruisers, rowboats, chug~a~lugs, racers & my personal favourite [apart from my own personal sailing boat] was a 16'foot longboat that was an absolute joy to row. I think the termites got that first boat in the end. Pity. She had lovely lines but was obviously considered either unseaworthy or untrustworthy. Maybe both. Boats have personalities you know.

Bits of this & that.

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~Milton Berle
If you would like more pictures of the Springbrook area Sian has some up on her blog; click on the image & it should take you there. They are from our last trip but she promised she'd put some recent ones up & she has the really good camera & an artist's eye so I am eagerly looking forward to seeing some of her shots. She's gone back to work though so I don't know when she'll get round to doing it.

We are heading back to mum's on Saturday. Ditz & I will have a bit over a week then leave Liddy to have some time on her own with her grandmother & finish off her holiday in peace. She has to cut it short as it is because she is wanted back at work in time for stocktaking but she really needs this break. She needs to get right away, off the island, somewhere where she can't hear all the work gossip, or go visit or any of the things she normally does.

We are hoping for at least some good weather so we can walk. The rainforest on the Sunshine coast is far more tropical though we got leeches at Springbrook this time too! I hate leeches. I'm not into parasites of any sort. Liddy has organised some surf lessons for her & Ditz, Ditz mostly because she won't even get in the water if it's even a little bit rough & Liddy likes company. I don't think it will help much though it just might give her the confidence she needs to cope with the surf.
I was hoping my mags would have arrived but they haven't. What has arrived is the pre~school testing. Ugh! They might have waited till we were officially back.

I am going to have one very unhappy cat. Going away once was bad enough but at least I left him Liddy. Going away twice & taking Liddy with me is unforgivable. Dearest does not count. Issi is happy to let Dearest feed him but Dearest is another male & does not give Iss the care & attention Iss thinks his due.

Why is there always so much extra work to do for a little trip? Bills to pay, laundry, laundry & more laundry...& where did it all suddenly come from? E~mails to send. Where is my curriculum I ordered 6 weeks ago? Remembering that when I get back Ditz immediately begins flute, violin & choir & I will promptly be completely broke. *sigh*


And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. Gilbert K. Chesterton

It's really hard to give a sense of the size of anything round Springbrook. The escapement is just the tip that's sheered away. When the mist rises through the valleys the landscape looks Gondawanish ~ primitive, ancient, primeval.

The Twin falls circuit has these huge waterfalls. Walking under them is part of the trail & the water is absolutely freezing! Brrr. This one can be short cutted & I did but Sian & Ditz are in there somewhere.

These ranges are part of the Great Divide that runs North/south along the eastern seaboard. When I'm walking through this rough country I always think out first explorers were ever so slightly out of their tiny English minds.
This is the first part of the Wari Track. The boulders are huge...enormouse...giagantic. You walk through caves & caverns & crevices & it is cold, cold, cold.
The sound of falling water is never far away.

Here's the 2nd of the waterfalls you have to walk under. After rain it's a real deluge.
Yep, every time Ditz caught me on camera I was parked on my butt but Sian lugged her good camera & tripod through here & I spent a lot of time waiting while she & Ditz set up *the shot of the moment.*
No. I haven't completely lost the plot & I'm not communing with nature either. If you are lucky you find crays in the pools all through the creeks. This was a particularly big one.
Rosella. These are pretty common & I don't get too excited about them but they're pretty.

We snacked at the English Tea Garden ~ run by Asians! Ditz was really taken by their floor protectors. Yes. They're tennis balls!
The gardens are pretty but badly in need of a good gardener. The weeds have badly over run the place. It is a strange mix of rainforest creek, English lawns, red Asiatic bridges & great gum trees.
This is the letter box at one of the craft shops. I thought it was pretty cool.
And this is the really cool hat I wanted to buy for Kimba but Sian wouldn't be in it. See, we were thinking of you Kimba. Want to abseil in that wheelchair down some of these cliffs with me?
These big grassy plants are Blackboys. I think these are a great plant & it's unusual to see so many of them in one place.
Sunday we walked part of the Apple Tree Farm track. This is part of *The Great Walk* which runs through the ranges along the New South Wales/ Queensland border, starting up near O'Reilly's & landing down near the Gold Coast. It takes 3 ~ 5 days to do in it's entirety. One day. Maybe.

We found paper daisies in bloom; rare.
The rainforest is subtropical & more open woodland here & it was really easy walking. Almost dead flat. This is where we found a great view looking across the valley & sat quietly in the presence of the Lord. All weekend we felt the Lord's delight in our pleasure. Like any parent he was delighted that we appreciated the treat He'd prepared for us.

Natural Arch. We walked this in drizzly rain but the arch is pretty special. Here's where we really embarrassed Ditz who promptly disassociated herself from us. The tourists were setting their camera flashes in the cave & the flash kills the glow worm larva so I went into lecture mode & told them all what's what! lol. Ditz thinks I'm embarrassing.
It rained & it stormed. The wind blew the tarp out & we retired to bed with fudge & a good book while the wind whistled & whipped about us & we giggled ourselves silly while Ditz wielded the camera like a fiend. When we took the tent down Tuesday morning we found one of the poles almost split in two. We're lucky it didn't completely come apart. That could have been interesting in the wet & dark!