I’m back. Well, briefly back. Just like mushrooms, I’m not sure how long I’ll last. The past 7 months I’ve been studying (Environmental Management) and it hasn’t left much time for blogging. 

Mushrooms are often a surprise, appearing out of nowhere, vanishing within days.
Find more surprises at the Weekly Photo Challenge.


The big ride

I got my first bike when I was 12, and promptly fell off it going down our gravel driveway too fast. I limped home with a bloodied knee, but this accident did not deter me. Once my tears had dried, I got back on the bike.

The bike was blue, gearless, and it spelled freedom. I lived on a farm 5 miles out of town, but with the bike, I suddenly had mobility. Once I’d mastered the art of riding downhill, I explored the farm by bike. I rode to visit my cousins in one direction, my auntie and uncle in another, and the river where we used to swim, in yet another. Continue reading


Early one morning after a big storm in Sydney, I discovered this car on the footpath beside the river.

2014-10-15 -car

For a few moments I imagined it dredged from the river bed by the wild storm surge and surfing the waves over the fence. What an achievement! Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: relics

Today I had my photo taken with a mud-filled coke can that one of the Cooks River clean-up crews, the Mud Crabs, had fished out from among the mangrove roots. I was just passing by and had stopped to chat and sign up to their mailing list. He wanted someone to pose with the can, thumbs down. I was more than happy to oblige, I hate the rubbish that finds its way into this beautiful waterway.

I don’t have that picture, but later in the day I went for another walk, and this is what I saw.


A relic of our civilisation? Not one that I’m proud of.

See more relics here.


Monday Music: Music my Dad loved – classical

Last week I shared some of my Dad’s music to mark the third anniversary of his death. As often happens when I decide on a theme, I found I had too many videos for just one post. Last week, I shared some male vocalists; this week, I’m sharing music without vocals.

Hall of the Mountain King was one of my favourites when I was small, probably because it is so dramatic.

I think I was in my early 20s when I asked Dad to make a tape for me, so I could have my own copy of it. 20 years on, I was still occasionally playing it in the car. That’s how AM’s brother Abrantie (then 7, now 13) got to hear it. That’s a very special story which I already blogged about  — you can read it here (there’s another video in it for you).

Abrantie described Hall of the Mountain King as ‘the music that goes up and down’. When I was a child I thought that classical music went up and down a bit too much. We were continually telling Dad he had it on too loud. I did, however make exception for Saint-Saëns‘ Carnival of the Animals.

Theatrical again. Music that makes me want to move.

I suspect I would also have made an exception for Danse Macabre.

Well named, in that it’s very danceable. I don’t remember dancing to it as a child, but the longer I listen to it, the more convinced I am that I first heard it at home, on Dad’s treasured record player, so I probably did. Very softly, so as not to bounce the needle and scratch the record. Ah, those were the days (not).

I definitely danced to lots of other things, including Carnival of the Animals and of course, aspiring ballerina that I was, to Swan Lake. Although I wasn’t quite like this.

I have to admit though, I don’t owe Dad for Swan Lake, so much as my own obsession with ballet. Which makes me realise this post is in danger of being side-tracked by music that my parents bought specifically for me, like Peter and the Wolf, (the middle class child’s musical education) rather than focussing on music that I know my father loved.

I suppose that is because I don’t really remember which classical music he listened to. Last week, it was easy to remember the names of vocalists he enjoyed. Music that goes up and down, not so much. More shame me. But I do know he loved birds. I remember once buying him a CD of birdsong from Kakadu.

So Dad, this last one’s for you. My own smartphone recording of the Cooks River birds (and other wildlife) set to a few pics I’ve taken at different times along the river.

Please check out much better pics of Cooks River birds at these other blogs:

Saving our trees

David Noble blog