Saturday, August 20, 2011

Spring is in the air

Although August is still officially the last month of winter in my eyes it has all the hallmarks of spring; the birds are tweeting their love from the branches, flowers have emerged amongst the verdant green of the luxuriant weed growth replacing the dry barren brown of summer and autumn, and the wattle is in bloom.  Wattle, or acacia as it is 'officially known', has many species abundant in Australia. 

In my childhood my aunt, who lived over the country road, had a huge wattle tree that was a picture of yellow in spring.  My one attempt to bring a small branch indoors was met with the rebuff, "Don't bring wattle inside, it brings bad luck!"  In my maturer years I believe that the bad luck was asthma or hayfever that some members of my family suffer from.  Wattle never affected me!  Today I have a small branch indoors bringing a touch of sunshine into the room. 

As the rainfall in the mid-west has been amply sufficient for the farmers' crops, it has brought added benefits to the area.  A wild-flower season exceeding all expectations.  While we do not have many wild flowers, such as orchids or wreath flowers, or even paper daisies in the vicinity, we do have a yellow flower closely resembling the dandelion family, but which at the moment has created a virtual yellow carpet brightening the paddocks and creating a feeling of well-being to us humans.
One wattle tree that suffered what was meant to be a debilitating pruning only caused it to flower more prolifically in its chosen spot at the base of a white-barked gum tree; a picture that only nature can paint. 
Today the sun is shining brightly, there is a warmth in the air only present in spring; a promise of warm weather but not a threat of stifling heat, and although the ants are busily mounding up their doorways in anticipation of rain, today is a day to better no other.  It is indeed great to be alive in the mid-west of Australia.

It is easy to see why the national colours of Australia are green and gold!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


'Tis pendantry to estimate nations by the census, or by square miles of land, or other than by their importance to the mind of the time" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Today is Census Day in Australia; the day when the population is counted, when the number of bedrooms in each home is recorded, numbers living in each residence, their occupation, and a myriad of other questions that are designed to help the nation decide where money needs spending in the future.

All this is information is statistical ... and of small importance to those filling in the 18 page questionaire.  The final question asks if each person present in the household on this day is willing to have their information kept in the National Archives of Australia and made available after 99 years; this is for tracing ancestors.

As like most our form will be filled in this evening. 

This five-yearly count of the population etc is interesting to the individial if they take a few moments to consider how their lives have altered over the past five years.  Where were we five years ago?  Where have we been in the intervening time?

Today many move from place to place, unlike many in days of yore who were born, lived and died in the one town or area.  We are more mobile today than in the past, and each place where we have resided leaves a different footprint on our minds. 

The last census occured days after I arrived in Australia to begin a new phase of life.  Soon after I moved north to a job in a town I had never heard off; in a climate much warmer than experienced before.  I adjusted and settled into a lifestyle so remote from that ever experienced before.  Life is a series of experiences that make a person whom they are. 

Now retired I live to the south of that Outback town, but still enjoy the simpler lifestyle of the country.  All those little things I had put off 'for when I am older' are now important parts of my daily existence.  Apart from the heat of summer, the flies, the endless procession of flies, the ants that abound in summer, this new life suits me fine.

I wonder where I will be for the next Census?  What adventures will I undertake in the next five years? 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time Out

Everyone needs time out from their day to day tasks, even those of us lucky enough to be 'retired', but not tired.  A recent invitation to house/dog sit in the Big Smoke was accepted, not only for the change of scenery but also for the chance of a nosey around city shops that do surpass those in our regional northern city.

We left home on a grey morning, the threat of rain following us south.  Living in a farming region we appreciate the need for rain, and to give it its due the landscape is a glorious green so restful for the eyes and soul.  However a small part of our pysche would have liked sunshine, if only for a day.  It was not to be.  Rain fell every day and tried its darndest to dampen our enthusiasm for enjoying the break away.

Shops are fun ... for a couple of days.  Then there is no reason to venture into crowded malls where busy shoppers rush from one shop to another, yet seldom carry many parcels.  Except me!  Not to worry, I now have a couple of rather beautiful new-season's apparel that will see me through at least two summers. 

One day we drove from the outer suburbs south; visiting my daughter.  The day did dawn sunny and we headed south light in spirit.  The further south we went the darker the sky became; huge grey clouds crowded the sky pressing their weight of raindrops against the skyscrapers and the cranes perched precariously on their half-completed tops.  It was difficult to make out the workmen up there!  They looked like ants as they hurried and scurried around the rooftop moving whatever the huge piece of concrete that had been carefully manipulated into place in the sky.

A quick walk with the dog, and it was off to my daughter's for tea.  The threatening sky darkened even more; lightning pierced the sky and the thunder echoed over the Swan River, whose ruffled waters showed a hidden side from the peace and tranquility of a sunny day.  Weather warnings were broadcast over the radio and TV; batten down for a storm!  Not wishing to be caught in the onslaught we made a hurried exit and drove up the motorway in the hope we would out-run the rain.  We did ... almost, but arrived back safe and sound.

Rain and thunder and lightning accompanied by strong winds continued for the next two days ... it did not matter as we had purchased a couple of videos and commonsense being the better part of valour, stayed indoors.

Travelling home I had intended stopping to take photos, but, the weather was unsettled.  Instead I clicked as we drove and did manage to capture quite a good photo of the lime sands that are exceedingly spectacular when the sun shines.