Category Archives: Memories

Girls Night Out

My elder sister has already created a strong support network after only a short time on Bribie Island. TOBIs – Territorians on Bribie Island, being one group with obvious common background. Seems those who used to live in the Northern Territory quite like the low-key lifestyle and capped population to be had on Bribie Island.

Another group is known ironically as “the Young Chicks” – a group of women from a certain age who meet monthly for dinner. Apparently my big sister was the instigator, originating the group with emails to inform where and when to gather, she usually books.

To pad out that selected lifestyle is WIRE – another woman’s group. This group is more sports orientated; Golfers, tennis players, swimmers who gather to discuss issues relating to local council, politics (main focus being a recent huge increase in rates, particularly for canal-side houses) travel destinations, small business and grand children’s activities. These women share problems and strategies.

During several different visits and our housesitting members of these networks certainly took pains to be inclusive and probably kept an eye on the home-minders.

Returning home after a lovely evening I encountered another infestation, our biggest; a mouse pitter-patting down the hall. Rod is keen to blame all of these visitors on my sister’s garden mulching – composting system.

Finally we have success on the beach weather front. Walking the dog on a picturesque morning with early sunbeams and less wind, but eventually even this minor resistance makes us turn around. The terns on the beach have a head-bobbing mannerism that makes them look like little old ladies or kids with a funny little dance. Sea gulls wash on the surf edge.

Long established rule of swimming come to mind. Never swim alone, in the early morning, in the presence of bait fish, or in clouded water. I try not to shift into panic mode too quickly. At least I couldn’t see any bait fish.

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Turner's Beach

Trees, sky and water…

Much of our NZ adventure revealed a land dulled by a lack of water (drought). Eventually when the unexpected dryness of Tasmania is revealed the hues were so similar. But while both are rural location, with kindred cereal crops, grass pollen and mowed roadsides I did not suffer with hayfever, so my theory that it was something about farming neighborhoods turns to dust.

Tuart trees
More like home – Tuart trees

From Drewe’s The Drownershe feels bound to defend the misinterpreted trees. He voices his admiration for the tall, olive-green Swan River mahogany or jarrah, the grey-green Tuart, the darker Swan River cypress. He likes the bloodwood or marri tree, too, and the blue-grey tinged peppermint tree, ‘like a less droopy English willow’.

The skeletal frames of dead trees beyond the hill ridges. The light across the Derwent river catches the hill line and the gums form a fringe. Those Drewe images are so familiar, what is different here? Drewe’s images are not the dense extinct Tasmanian devil hiding wall of vegetation we expected.

…One warm morning he wades into the shallows, drawn by water so smooth his impulse is to knife into it, to break the glassy skin with the precision of the swans and the Aboriginal boys without sound or splash….

The notion of water drawing you – when have we been drawn?   Repelled by the chill in the air, wind or just the feeling that it’s only a tad too cold to really be drawn into the waves. Perhaps some of the locals are more insulated than us, or just more acclimatized to the water temperature.

Turner's Beach
Rod on Turner’s Beach, Tasmania: Is the water calling for swimmers? I don’t think so.

In the Franklin Estuary at Strachan – the brown blood color of the water. Rod turns up his nose when the Swan River is heavy with run-off from the Swan Valley turns the water its seasonal brown, ‘urrgh… its dirty!’ But he is in raptures at the tannin stain.

Macquarie Harbour Strachan
From the edge looking towards Strachan

…From their vantage point wasn’t hard to imagine the sky leaking over its borders. Its individual particles of pigment gleaming sharply blue. The sky was not a neutral ceiling for the landscape. It was a force. It pressed on the low hills, forcing them to make a horizon with the river…

Again it seemed usable on terms of the sky. Picked up earlier encountered notions of the sea or in this case the wide river estuary river reflecting and being forced into something by the interaction. So often the sky does seem to press into the land here, is that just the low, intense clouds or some power pushing down. ‘Atmospheric’ I have been calling it. Like the storm-heavy heavens above Albany so entrenched in my memory.

Sea and sky Albany
Sea and sky leaks
Albany storm skies
Albany skies