Monday, May 31, 2010

Cache Me In

I blame Jen for this! (that’s her over there in my list of followers) For a few weeks now she has been blogging about Geocaching.
It sounded like fun but I thought we didn’t have it here…it turns out that it’s pretty much everywhere.
What else could I do but get a GPS and learn how to use it. I used to be in the YMCA* so I know how to use a compass and map but this is very different and much easier.
*The outdoors type…not the dancing, prancing, mincing type.
This week I finally got time to go out searching for my first cache, a little to-ing and fro-ing to work out how to use the GPS then straight to the first cache…which was surrounded by people drinking latte and talking BS. (bullshit) Although I got within a few meters of it I simply could not search and give it away.
Oh well! Plan B then… Another nearby cache looked promising so I chose the co-ordinates and moved on.
Plan B was at the very top of a hill in the centre of my hometown. I drove around the hill until I found a way up and went for the relatively short ten minute walk to the top. A little more to-ing, (fro-ing would have seen me fall off the hill at this point)

This was a favorite place when I was a kid, we had forts and cubbies here and there on the hill and I once caught and released a Thorny Devil here. (small thorny lizard that eats only ants)
As I walked in circles the GPS beeped it’s warning that I was standing on ground zero...I looked around and very quickly saw a few stones out of place, moving one stone I saw the cache hiding there.

It was great to get my first find, and it is a bit of fun… the girls* and grandkids are looking forward to coming with and probably spoiling it for me, but still I'm looking forward to many more. *I have three daughters...Ahhh! (run screaming from the room)

As you can see from the pics, Rocky Hill is an apt name for this spot…if lacking a little inspiration. You can imagine the hiding spots for such a small plastic box in terrain like this...
One side of the town has a distant desert vista, a little green after recent rains…and the other is a huge steel furnace and rolling mills and everything that comes with it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Swim with the fishes...

These pics were taken just a few hours could you refuse a face like that!...and don't she know it!

"Feed Me...dont I look cute? and LOOK, I brought my new baby with me."

About fifteen years ago when my home town was a lot smaller and I was a lot thinner, we didn’t have a marina here of any kind. Launching straight into the open sea was fraught with problems, we didn’t have many boats here either…mine was a smallish fiberglass runabout with too much power. (just the way I like it)

Many times at sea we encountered wild dolphins, when I say ‘wild’ I mean as wild as very friendly creatures can be. They would drop by just to say hello, beg a fish or two if you were so inclined and sometimes to play with us. Tail walking like they do in Seaworld is a natural thing for dolphins, tugging the anchor ropes or swimming right up to you just to look you in the eye, hovering there within a foot or two of your face. It’s very clear that in the wild, the dolphin is a very friendly, very intelligent being.

As soon as the first breakwall went up we immediately noticed a small female dolphin who would stay in the lee of the wall all winter. Early in spring she would be met by the rest of her pod and after a day or three they would disappear for several months at a time. Returning in Autumn sometime, they would play and feed in the shallows in readiness for the coming winter, at which time the pod left the female alone again…
The reason was clear, she had a huge scar running three quarters her body length diagonally right across her back, she was slightly twisted from it and clearly couldn’t swim as well as the others in her pod, but still they looked after her, and I guess, fed her.

How she even lived through whatever did that to her is beyond me, we surmised a shark attack when she was young, but we never really knew. I guess wherever the pod went in winter was beyond her abilities to follow.
The marina was finished eleven years ago now and from then on she lived here with us for most of the year. She was often seen in the shallow coastal sea grass beds with her pod, chasing Whiting, Squid and of course Cuttlefish.
It comes as no surprise then that the locals took her under their collective wing and made sure she always had fish…even when she was unable to leave the shelter of the marina for many days at a time.

I know better than to call any female, ‘fat’…but she was doing pretty well actually.

In winter, fishers including my youngest daughter (D3) and I, would fish for salmon and squid and take it straight to her, held up in the marina.
Over the years the pod has continued to grow from the six or so it was when they first started wintering here to around thirty. Rarely do you see them all together though, they travel and hunt in small packs of six to ten sentient beings.
I was fishing from the shore one bright day in Summer when a small pod came for a visit. D3 was snorkeling in the little bay nearby and the pod had a couple of very interested juveniles who were showing no fear of the floundering child. The kid and dolphins swum together for twenty minutes, sometimes as close as inches apart and it would have gone on but the dolphins got bored with the pink monkey’s lack of aquatic skills and moved on.

Sadly, the scared female turned up dead last year…washed up on a beach after a storm. She couldn’t make it back to the marina before the storm struck and we lost an old friend.
She was buried on the beach.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, the pod goes on visiting, and growing, and interacting as the female had taught them to do.
Here, you can hand feed wild dolphins, here to you can watch them tailwalk and corkscrew jump in our marina just for the fun of it. It must be said that dolphins love to show off and clown about, they appreciate an audience and play to the crowd.

Just at the moment we have another small female staying with us, she has a baby about four feet long and perhaps he’s to small to go to the winter grounds just yet.
The pod has already gone, winter is nearly here in southern Australia and the mum and calf will be here now till spring.

Today she was swimming the length of the fishing jetty begging fish and squid from the fishers, she would meet every boat as it passed the entrance and beg fish from them all the way to the ramp where she showed off her baby to the pink monkeys who gave her their days catch just to see her baby up close. Prime Whiting worth $30.00 a pound and more, freshest high quality Squid in the world….

Not for the first time I wondered….

Who has who trained?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Are parties the same all over the world?

Driving to the shop at 7.30am last Sunday morning I turned a corner and heard loud (horrid) modern (horrid) music and was just wondering why, when the first revelers came into view.

Two late teen men sitting on a garden border in someone’s front yard, one holding his forehead with both hands…the other holding his stomach, clearly wondering if he was about to empty it over his shiny shoes.

In the next yard there were two more young men and a young woman, the males still pretending they wanted to party on and still trying to impress the young woman out of her clothes.
There’s something very funny about pissed women….This one, swinging her bag back and forth like a defensive shield as she laughed at the boys silly antics and trying hard to look as cool and desirable as one can in a wrinkled tight black dress and high heels at 7.30 the next morning…
The over consumption of cheap wine, disheveled hair and smeared makeup doing nothing to dissuade the two young men who by now are trying to talk over one another about something apparently very impressive…
Another girl sleeps on a sun lounge on someone’s front verandah, her hand raises to cover her eyes as the morning sun stings it’s first rays through her eyelids.

Two more survivors stagger toward the road to cross, one staggering so badly he raises dust in clouds as he trudges across the dirt verge toward me. The other walking very slowly and very deliberately, wearing his jeans lower than his underwear in the modern way.

Aside: What’s that about anyway? There seems to be some kind of contest between them to wear their pants lowest…is there a limit.

This young fellow must have been a real trendsetter because his pants were below his ass at the back and hooked on his genitals at the front.
I scanned on and momentarily lost sight of them as they stepped onto the road behind me, a few more smashed teens were scattered here and there throughout the neighboring yards and in a handy bus shelter.

I looked into the rear view mirror to see the slow walkers pants slide down his legs and tangle around his ankles. Undeterred he walked on another four steps before he even realized that there was a problem.
The staggering youth started going back and forth and around in circles trying to help him as he reached down for his pants, took a stumble backward and ended up on his ass in the centre of the road with his pants around his feet…not on his own though, out of sympathy I expect, the other lad went face first into the road surface.
My corner came up so I turned the corner and lost sight of them.

There have been times in my life when I was at one time or another , most of those young people….

Had any good parties lately?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Where Was I........

About this you should know two things…
My youngest daughter (D3) picks my dogs…and names them.
To this end I have two English Fox Terriers named Narla (Lion King) and Roxy (Sports wear).
Narla’s a little over middle age with failing eyesight and a ball fixation, she will bring you a ball even where they don’t exist.
It doesn’t matter where I choose to walk her, she will come back at some stage with a ball. I have close to one hundred balls in my house, car, in the garden and even in the bushes and trees in the yard. It’s not all bad news though, after she strips the fur off them and eventually bites them into pieces just big enough to choke the vacuum cleaner, I can then throw them away…while she’s not watching. (Shhh! Don’t let on)
Roxy is smaller, perhaps ten inches, not yet middle aged and killer of all things small, with no interest in anything she cant chase and kill. I do not encourage this hunter trait, but after all, Foxies are hunting terriers. Roxy is quite a contradiction as you will soon see.
Her biggest kill so far is a large chicken that she silently dispatched in the time it took to walk the length of my mates driveway behind her. The young chicken was over twice her size, blood smeared and panting she smiled broadly to show how good she was…it did not go down well. Thank goodness his kids (who raised her from a chick) were not there to see what she did…I bought them another chicken because, as their dad said, their chicken had flown away to find a husband and have a family. . .(gotta love a happy ending)

My grandkids love both dogs, Narla for her ball games and Roxy because she’s so very sweet and gentle. The neighborhood kids always stop to play or pat them as they do their rounds, in fact Roxy is the perfect dog for getting scared kids used to dogs.

D3 was staying with me toward the end of her pregnancy when Roxy was still a pup, the dog would lay on her belly, and as the baby grew, she would lay wrapped around the baby bump. It was obvious that there was something going on and when Zach was born the dog would comfort and guard him all the time. When they were together Zach was always relaxed and calm and unlike most babies Zach was always gentle with her, the two continue to share a ‘thing’.

What else?... Oh Yeah,

These dogs LOVE the car, they stare fixated at the scenery rushing by…and all those passing smells, the smells, the smells!
The best smell of all…. apparently, is the beach. They start whimpering within miles of the beach and love to run the deserted beaches running from smell to juicy smell.
The only time that becomes a problem is after the annual Giant Cuttlefish breading season here. Many die after breeding (like Salmon) and wash up on our beaches for a few weeks… Now let me picture this for you
Where you live, Squid will be available. .A Giant Cuttlefish body, without tentacles can be three feet long but are usually less than two feet. Picture a very heavy set Squid that size… now kill it….then leave it in the sun for a week… then place it, and up to one hundred more of them on our one mile long beaches.
Fortunately this happens in winter when you wouldn’t be caught dead going into the water anyway, but it denies access to everyone except the brave icebergers, tourists who want to ‘see’, and dog walkers…

I’m extremely vigilant on our walks in winter, but even so, eventually I will slip up and miss guarding one of the now crispy brown, bloated, maggot bags in amongst the seaweed and other derris on the shoreline….and the dogs will roll in it.
You can see the expression on their faces, a kind of elation as they smear the ink and goo over themselves, occasionally you can see maggots flick off as they shake upon getting up after I yell at them to “Git ***** outa there.. *******” (*#@&*)

Those are the days that the dogs come home in the boot of the car…
Those are the days when, no matter how cold the weather, it’s straight into the bath for a double scrubbing.

Its Autumn, winter will be here soon… the Cuttlies will be here then, and through June and July they will be washing up again…. Oh Joy!!

Monday, May 3, 2010


I was thinking what was bloody obvious to me ,‘Death this way comes’
I could do nothing as the reaper prepared to take another soul.
We just numbly did as we were told by the voice on the phone,
Roll him this way, prop that, staunch the flow

How long was this going to take?
Would help arrive before the reaper?
Were we doing the right thing?
Was there really nothing more we could do?

Over and over the scene played out in my mind.
Like a bad movie and you cant find the remote.
The car in front of us spinning and rolling wildly.
The cloud of dust...then nothing…too much nothing!

The eerie silence after the roar.
Move forward through the crater…
My tortured mind yearned for leaving.
Words like ‘obligation’ and ‘duty’ kept me there

How can you be driving along one minute
..and here dealing with this the next?
Sometimes there is just no one but you.. do what must be done!

Death has foisted itself on me before.
But not like this.
I've seen the living sink peacefully into the arms of the reaper.
But not like this.

Not choking, not spluttering, not fighting for every breath…
Not refusing to go peacefully.
Making it that much harder to be here.
The reaper cackled in my ear…

I know, I know!
Time is short,
Life is short,
Death inevitable.

The screaming ambulance lifted a weight from us,
…almost happiness
She asked me straight...”Is he alright?”
“No!” ...what more could I say…I knew!

She saw for herself...and tears welled in her eyes.
It was a face she knew, and knew well.
We looked at each other and the silence said it all,
Death this way comes.

Small country towns,
Where everyone knows everyone.
The second ambulance took the driver of the first…

I gave up my place for someone adept.
Walked away, but the vision playing out in my mind still.
The chopper was quick…
But not quick enough!

The reaper swung his scythe,
..and cackled in my ear.
“Death this way comes”
Death this way comes!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Aussie Road Trip

I did this one quite some time ago just after inserting a new motor into the 'beast' Im posting it just to see if it works after some recent modifications.
It suffers from being taken with a poor quality camera. The poor camera just couldn't cope with the rapid changes of scenery. I bought a new one and bracketed it to the front of the was worse!

Back to square one..