Wednesday, May 17, 2017

of flying & jumping

Overhead rosellas squawk - hundreds, thousands, of them, wheeling and swooping, forming groups and then dividing. Rain is starting to fall from a soft grey sky, darkening as night descends.

I'm in wet bathers, babe on my hip, worried about the rain and my camera, but entranced by the cacophony of birds, their swiftness, their freedom, trying to capture the amount of them, their glorious motion, but knowing I'll only get an echo. Only occasionally do I have a glimpse of their bright colours - the light is too dim and they are too high.

It's mother's day and we've driven across the bridge - my favourite bridge - which I'm thinking of renaming Pelican Bridge for the birds that always sit on all the lights - to the island.

It only took us - what, two hours to wait out Adventure Boy while he cavorted on the roof, not wanting to come to the beach with us - despite knowing full well he'd be likely to get both fish and chips and an ice-cream when we got there - unless we caved and gave him the money to buy diamonds for a computer game. Two hours later - after we'd got out the picnic blankets and moved from the car to the front lawn - he finally said yep, I'm ready to go.

And when we arrive of course he loves it, and is so happy playing on the flying fox with his sister, long after night has fallen - that he won't leave...

We wander the shore, jump off the fishing platform into the currents of Pumicestone Passage, scoff fish and chips, build sandcastles and maybe see dolphins (or maybe floating wood).

And then the sun sets behind the delicate formations of the Glasshouse Mountains, the light softened with rain.

Rain. Sea. Island. Birds. Flight.

We drive back in the dark with the gentle falling rain and the heaters on - still in wet bathers, but content. Solace for another hectic week.

 (Giggle Bear ran into the edge of a door frame chasing balloons with her sister. The doorframe won.)

 Wonder-Girl is so proud of her sitting. As yet she's only commando-crawling - fast - but real crawling is so close.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

to the island...

Harsh mid-day sun is not the most flattering light for either people or places. When I first heard of the new island at Australia Zoo I couldn't wait to go - it sounded completely enchanting. When I finally got all the kids their - arriving in the heat of the day with three worn out poppets, heavily pregnant and all of us tired and cranky - I was under-whelmed. 
We went again on the weekend, and the weather was mild, Beloved was with us and we arrived at the island at dusk - and it was everything I'd hoped it would be. I am a big believer in the magic of islands - and this time, Bindi's Island had lashings of it. 
This time, we could really appreciate the whimsy and charm and the well thought out landscaping. 
(Yes, by the time we reached the island half the kids had abandoned their shoes and we'd had a-hem... a few melt-downs. But also a lovely day) 

Sunday, May 7, 2017


The light is golden, the temperature mellow - the kids climb the trees and balance as they walk along the wall and over the cavernous rock. Beloved has a holiday and we're enjoying time outside.

Being outside - without sweat - all together, is a kind of magic. There's no sign of leaves changing colour - foliage is strictly green - but the change of light and temperature is it's own kind of blessed and long awaited autumnal.

(Let's tenderly feed Doll-Doll to the giant croc) 

 Later, in the pre-dusk, the melt-downs will start, but in the early part of the day the kids run and climb and, with an extra set of hands around, I can pick up my hefty camera and enjoy playing with light and capturing moments in time.

It's not until the camera is in my hands that I realise how much I've missed it. I'm not as fast as I was, I can't get all the shots  I want  - with the baby in her carrier, I'm so much more lumbersome and my wild ones are hard to keep up with, but I love just making the attempt.

Saturday, April 22, 2017


There are moments that stay with you - walking into green, unsettled waters with my mama and my older daughters, the sky grey above, while Beloved waits on the shore with the baby. My daughters' shrieks of glee as we jump the waves.


During the holidays we made an all too quick trip down to Victoria and then an even quicker trip down to the beach I think of as home, for my littlest ones Christening.

The stay was so-so short, and I'm still recovering from the travel - four kids, one of them special needs, one a cheeky monkey and one a baby, by myself, on the plain? Deep breath. But it means so much to see my children playing on the stretch of beach I love so much, in the house full of so many memories, bringing back echoes of when it was my brothers and I coming back shivering but exhilarated from our swims, collecting kindling and playing in front of the open fire.

Moments - a dawn walk with my reluctant and now arthritic dog; the kids all playing in the pools on the point; rising in the early morning to look for easter eggs (luckily the easter bunny came around at 3am, suspecting early risers).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

In the Garden... spice & nostalgia

Thirty odd years ago, when my husband was still in primary school, his parents built a house on a large block of land, recently paddocks, and planted trees that are now full size - mangos and macadamias, jacaranda and poinciana. We enjoy their shade and bounty every day. Next door, another family built a house and started planting - and decades of work created a tropical oasis. 

It amazes me that three decades can produce such an established garden from nothing. Now the kids are all adults with their own kids, and the adults are moving on, but the garden remains as a beautiful living testament to years of thoughtful care. 

As I plant in my own once-bare yard, haphazardly, more in romance than horticultural know-how (survival of the fittest is a tried and true garden strategy, plonk it in and hope for the best works ... eventually) coffee, tea, cinnamon, lemon, mango, veggie and herb gardens and of course my beloved frangipanis, I dream about what they'll look like in thirty years. They're straggly and somewhat sad  now - but then! (Grow garden, grow!) Whether we witness the full blooming or not. 

A space of beautiful, green growing things is such a wonderful legacy - a place for family gatherings, weddings, baby showers, birthdays. The perfect place for children to run and play in shady places, protected from the sun, with lots of leafy hide-aways, and always making new discoveries.

And of course - vanilla. My envy over this vanilla plant  (the two photos below) - matches my wonder and awe! It meanders its way right up into the branches. It turns out it's ridiculously hard to actually make vanilla from vanilla plants - involving finicky artificial fertilisation and difficult curing... but... vanilla!

My love of spices knows no bounds!