Aug 30, 2008

The Last of Winter

Mirror, Mirror Not much going on this week, owing to generally illness and misery.

We've had a cold with lots of coughing and sneezing and runny noses, and listlessness has been the order of the days,

So no swimming, no ballet, music was a washout, and when we have been active we've been tired afterwards with generally unpleasant emotional consequences.

Eloise had the excitement of the Teddy Bear's Picnic on Wednesday where her Nursery took her to the children's hospital for a morning tea served up by teddy bears.

And we went and saw Riverfire tonight from the top of Eildon hill where we saw a pretty cool fireworks display from afar and an F-111 searing down the river before soaring into the sky on full afterburners dumping fuel all the way, looking for all the world like a rocket climbing over the city.

Nicole would have had a better view than us, mind you, as she was down by the riverside itself attending the Riverfire Ball at the Customs House. Lucky thing. Probably sneezing over everybody though.

Aug 25, 2008

Our Friends in the Sea

Dolphin Watching Nicole had a day off yesterday, that's Sunday, so we went up to Bribie Island to check out a dog beach that she had found out about from someone at work.

It turned out that it was the top, or bottom end of the beach that we usually go to, but round the corner, facing South and a few km along from the end we generally frequent.

Less interesting from the point of view that Red Beach has lots of driftwood around to play on, but nicer in the we pretty much had the beach to ourselves and the sand was lovely and white with the gentle surf rolling its way slowly up over the footprints and tire tracks.

Nicole saw that Matilda was behaving very strangely. That damn dog is usually exploring in the undergrowth and sniffing around for things to roll in, but today she was standing at the edge of the low surf and just looking out to sea. Had she become suddenly doggishly poetic and philosophical?

She - Nicole that is - looked closely at the swell just beyond the surf and whooped when she saw a dolphin fin, and when we all had a look another appeared then another, then more.

It seemed that there were several groups (pods I believe is the correct term) of dolphins browsing just offshore for who-knows-what, just ambling along in the current. We estimated that there might have been twenty of them or more, and they just dawdled along around twenty five metres in front of us, so we settled down to watch them.

And we must have watched them for an hour or more, as they wandered first one way then another, before disappearing into the deep blue.

If an encounter however arms-length with a pod of wild dolphins doesn't call for a cup of coffee, I don't know what does.

Aug 24, 2008

A Morning at South Bank

Origin of Species Looking around for things to do I spotted the Studebaker Show at the South Bank which looked like it might be amusing so we set off in the morning yesterday to see what we could see.

No cars were obvious so we walked along the Arbour, goggling at the Ferris Wheel which was under construction for a while, and wending our way to the Suncorp Plaza from which the dubious pleasures of 2 Unlimited were bassily wafting.

When we got there, much to Eloise's delight there was a Skipping Showcase in full swing with lots of girls, and not very many boys, skipping away to your disco favourites of ten years ago. Skipping singly, in pairs, in groups, skipping on big ropes and little ropes, skipping regularly and stylishly, some dancing while skipping, some break-dancing while skipping. Some dancing while watching others dancing while skipping. The coaches were the funniest, doing their little line-dance routines whilst watching little girls dancing while watching other little girls dancing while skipping.

Anyway Eloise was enraptured and I put up with it for an hour before we went off to a couple of playgrounds and frolicked in the water at the artificial beach and the aqua park, and we spent about five hours there all in all.

No evidence of any Studebakers though which was a pity and totally inexplicable unless I've made some obvious schoolboy error.

Still... five hours of entertainment; price tag $20 including parking. Not too bad.

Aug 22, 2008


Paper Study #2 Did I mention I'd been messing around with paper?

I've been messing around with paper.

I've been busy with photo stuff - went in Wednesday evening to catch up on contact sheets, which was pretty much totally unproductive as all the chemicals were stale. Still it was interesting introduction to unsupervised chaos... and just how much acetic acid goes into the stop solution? Noone knows but me.

And I went in this morning too to catch up on the stuff I should have caught up on on Wednesday and used the chemistry I'd mixed up then to almost complete the catching up, five contact sheets done and dusted.

Other than that on Thursday swim we did again, or Eloise did anyway with flailing legs but good arms and high motivation. And singing went well, with enthusiasm and joining in going on which was a positive sign. Me, I had a back back, so no dancing from me.

Had a cold this week though. Low grade but annoying.

Aug 18, 2008


Coonowrin Here's a picture of Mount Coonowrin from our trip the other day. The sun hadn't made it onto the mountain, obscured as it was by the band of cloud in the background there, which was a pity.

But I still think it's quite an imposing little hill with an interesting profile.

Today at College we passed muster in the darkroom and are now allowed in there unsupervised on Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings. I think we all have some catching up to do as there's a big hand-in due at the start of September.

Today I've been taking pictures of pieces of paper in black and white - what fun... folded pieces of paper, creased pieces of paper, torn pieces of paper, cut-out pieces of paper, demonstrating every quality of paper you can think of. I'm thinking about how to achieve flammability at f/32 under artificial light.

Aug 17, 2008

Touring the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Glass House Mountains Last week I arranged to go on a medium format photo excursion with my buddy Will from college to the Glass House Mountains.

We'd thought it would be nice to get there for sunrise, so - in retrospect, quite stupidly - decided to leave at 4 am. Yes, you read that right.

So I went to bed on Thursday night at 8pm, only shortly after Eloise, having packed up my things and prepared myself as far as I could, and when the alarm clock went off at three thirty I was out of bed like a shot and started clattering stealthily around the house brusing teeth and making coffee and sandwiches and so on and so forth.

Will was punctual and we set off up the Bruce without hindrance, deciding to watch the sun come up at the Glass House Mountains lookout, sensibly to the West of the Mountains, and turned up there in the pitch black at 4.45.

At that point, with a biting wind howling across the hills, we thought it might be a good idea to find out when the sun actually rose, then hunkered down for our forty minute wait rueing our early start.

So we sat on the lookout platform, I with my Rolleiflex, Will with his Hasselblad, swapping cable releases and watching our tripods wobble horribly in the gusty wind by the light of our little torches.

Depressingly a large band of cloud obscured half the sky keeping the sun off the mountains, but there may be some nice photos in there, who knows. Anyway the sun came up and the wind howled and we became very cold indeed, and to be honest it was a bit dissapointing so around seven we decided to go for coffee.

Out target coffee destination - and a risky one - was a one-horse town called Peachester but for giggles we decided to go cross-country. Did I mention that Will had brought his 4WD? Probably I hadn't.

So we embarked into the forest along logger's tracks and power-line maintenance tracks jiggling about like no-ones business, through muddy bogs and rutted tracks before becoming quite convincingly lost. However, steering by the sun and approximately by the power line brought us out only a couple of kilometres away from our destination.

Nicole and Eloise phoned at that point. You won't remember that Will was the man who threw stones at me at the river but Eloise certainly did and I had a strange conversation with her about that fact and reassured her that I wasn't in any immediate danger
Whilst that was happening Will decided that Peachester's one horse wasn't serving coffee and we were soon in sunny Beerwah.

The sun was getting pretty warm by now and I was feeling temporally discombobulated as it felt around midday. But we still had to wait for the cafe to open, it actually being just before 8 in the morning.

Coffee succesfully imbibed, we planned to go up to Maleny and Montville to check out the views from up there. A likely looking mountain presented itself off to our right so we identified it as Mount Mellum and cruised up there to snap off the back of Will's ute, reversed onto the concrete base of a mysteriously absent house on the south-facing slope.

Then up to Maleny, where we once again took in the views before a stroll around the forest. Picture two men, weighed down with serious cameras, tripods, lenses etc.

"Taking some photos, are you?"


In the forest we were presented with plenty of tree texture and buttress roots and dancing shadows and very nice it was too.

Time for coffee, around midday.

Fancying some waterfall action - another tall order in drought-ridden Southeast Queensland - we tried out Lake Baroon underneath Montville, which looked good from above but which was pretty grim from below, then Kondalilla Falls.

We took in the upper falls - the one before you go down the epic stony staircase - but it was a bit slack on the falling water front so we did another little walk punctuated by buttress roots before wending our increasingly weary way back to the car, then to Montville, for coffee. May a thousand virgins weep tears of happiness into my coffee.

The plan was then to go to Wild Horse Mountain and Will offered me my first cross-country opportunity which I histantly grasped with both hands, having become used to handling the ute which I'd been driving since Lake Baroon.

So we dirt-tracked it across the forest before hitting the Bruce again and down to WIld Horse Mountain.

We didn't hold out much hope for the sunset as Queensland was delivering its standard beautiful cloudless blue skies, and we weren't wrong as the spectacular panorama offered to us from that viewpoint didn't really work against the bright sunset sky, which in the absence of clouds was tremendously troublesome and boring.

Oh well.

Home again home again. Back by seven or so, in bed by nine, knackered.

Aug 13, 2008

Walks in the Woods

Zen Bushwalking The pattern continues of warm days and cold nights. As soon as the sun goes down - in fact as soon as you stray into the shade - it's distinctly chilly.

Nicole, being a temperature lightweight generally, soon rugs up, puts on some extra layers and climbs under a blanket. Eloise doesn't even feel it. I find it bracing. Except in the mornings, when it's uninviting to say the least.

Still while it's warm during the day we're trying to get out. Yesterday we went to Bunyaville and Eloise fell over many many times going down hills with loose stones on them too carelessly; then she crapped herself; then Matilda ran away, wouldn't come back, then came back, then ran away again, then wouldn't come back, then came back eventually as the sun set... and the cold set in.

Today we toddled around an easy walk at Mount Coot-tha. Eloise seemed surprisingly eager to come til we realised that she thought we meant the coffee shop.... she insisted on bringing a pram which was ditched when we persuaded her that the terrain really wasn't ideal for pram-pushing.

Other than that mostly we've been hunkering down and watching the Olympics. Or as Eloise calls it, the Limp Ticks.

Aug 11, 2008


Pony Express On Sunday we bit the bullet and went to the Ekka, that's the Queensland Show for those not familiar with it, much like the Suffolk Show from those from that part of the world, only bigger and in may ways better.

I may be going over old ground but there's a big showground in the middle of town, just opposite Nicole's hospital, which hosts the Ekka once a year. It's bisected by a railway line and in one half there's a big fair with extreme rides and all that jazz, and on the other is a large showground stadium and lots of paviliions full of various exhibitions from livestock and various animals through to crafts and art and the various agricultural industries, and streets of Fatty Food purveyors and the dreaded Showbag Pavilion.

I had a college assignment to discharge there, in which I was at best partially successful, but Eloise didn't let that get in her way and we wandered around Sideshow Alley and the various areas for hours before Eloise found a ride she could actually go on and rode a pony for the first time.

Then we took a cable car ride that went from one end of the showground to the other, which scared her witless and ruined her whole day.

Never mind eh!

Other than that we looked at cows and sheep and alpacas and chicks and horses and ate chips and all that stuff, and we were thouroughly knackered by the end of it.

Aug 9, 2008

Peripheral Party

In the Shade It's Saturday today so obviously we had to go to the beach.

We hung around in the mangroves for a while then out on the main beach - the tide was out - Eloise latched herself onto some poor girls walking their little lapdogs.

After I extricated her from that, she decided it was time to go to the chino cafe then to the playground.

At the playground there was a birthday party going on and pretty soon we were not quite inundated by little dog-petters who couldn't get enough of the hounds.

Eloise moved into matronly mode, and as befits parental behaviour ascended to the dizzying heights of hipocrisy by insisting that Harry not pull on the dogs' tails, and that Tommy not call them "doggies" as they are clearly "dogs" as everybody knows.

Still at least we managed to avoid a gatecrashing experience as I think managing the dogs, their visitors, and a curious little Squeaky might have been a tall order.

Artistic Endeavours

Handprints Today's artistic endeavours involved handprints, painting fingernails and toenails - and fingers and toes - with poster paint rather than nail varnish which I'm sure was the real objective, and drawing faces onto blown-up latex gloves.

Aug 7, 2008

Back to the Kingdom of the Blind

Hope Crosses that I've had to bear over the past week:

1) Glasses broke on Sunday provoking ocular emergency. Luckily optician able to fit lenses into new frame in twenty minutes flat; optical exam revealed possible long-time retinal dysfunction in left eye which whilst nothing to worry about requires further examination to ensure dormancy

2) Bike tyre puncture on Monday at college required lift home from kind-hearted fellow student who dropped me off at bike shop only for me to discover that it was actually closed; next morning walk to bike shop with Eloise painless and joyful but walk back after fatigue set in resulted in back back due to excessive carrying

3) Liberal interpretation on requirements on black and white assignment for college found to be excessive resulting in requirement for re-shoot

The glasses thing was quite amusing in a way since they broke in such a fashion that they required very obvious masking tape to make them in any way wearable, and were in a fragile state. Whilst they were being fixed we walked around the shopping centre reminding me of how life was thirty-odd years ago when I was deeply embarrassed about being a four-eyed git to the point of wandering round in a state of blindness rather than wear the damned things; although in my defence the damned things I was provided with in those days were appalling.

The puncture thing was deeply irritating, especially when coupled with the black and white thing, and Monday was a real bummer as a consequence. Still I now have a reinforced back tyre which in the words of the bike man "will wear out before it gets a puncture." And I had my wobbly saddle fixed too. Or rather replaced.

Today after swimming in a fit of inviting the Whys I took Eloise to a cemetery. You can imagine the questions...

"Can I climb on this?"
"Why not?"
"Why are people underneath them?"
"Why are they dead?"

And so on and so forth. All terribly existential. Existentiality went out of the window when the public toilets were locked. Time for a sharp exit.

Aug 3, 2008

Fun In the Sun

Fishy Today we decided to go up to the Sunshine Coast and do some swimming and/or sunbathing and/or dogwalking and/or beach-play type stuff.

After only one false start when we decided to go back and fetch the sunscreen (it's winter here don't you know) we got to Dicky Beach at Caloundra about an hour later and soon were ensconced next to our favourite lagoon.

It's salt water but seperated from the sea itself by a kind of sand bar thingy, so in theory the sun shines on it and it gets very warm and this is certainly true in the summer, but not today where the temperature struggled to make it to more than about 23 or so - hold on whilst I check that against the UK.... oh, is it summer over there?

But notwithstanding all that the water was pretty cold so no more than adult toes got dipped whereas Eloise waded in up to her neck for laughs as she made friends with local puppies and children.

Me, I put my hat over my face and closed my eyes and let them get on with it, and I'm pleased to report that the mild sunburn I sustained to my legs has now abated.

Aug 1, 2008

Off to the Library

Round Window After ballet we trooped off to the library with Eloise on her bike and us on our feet.

Eloise went great guns and it only took us about fifteen minutes to get there (it's about half a kilometre give or take). Now that she's getting the hang of pedalling backwards to brake she's pretty happy about getting down hills, and she doesn't mind pedalling hard to get up them either, but then she has me as her mentor as far as hard uphill struggling goes.

Afterwards we went to the playground and Eloise made us both go on the roundabout with her, and for my part I was certainly somewhat green around the gills afterwards from that.

Honourable mention to Dad whose birthday it is today. Happy Birthday.


Surface Tension With Nicole having Fridays off at the moment, it's our routine for me to drop the ladies off at ballet and then go on to Bunyaville Forest where I park up and walk down what I have come to call "Gammy Knee Hill" then through the damp forest in the valley to a lake where I and the dogs will root around (root that is in the English sense of the word rather than the Australian) before returning to pick the ladies up as they finish.

Today was supposed to be a windy day but didn't really turn out that way, but still in the shelter of the valley the air was still as night and there wasn't so much as a ripple on the surface of the water.