Monday, April 23, 2007

we are returned

actually Dunsborough isn't glorious at all. In fact it's a dump - the town planning is all over the shop and overdevelopment's rampant. And if you're silly or desperate enough to wander into town all you'll find is Coles and carparks as this sleepy surf hamlet grows to accommodate city millionaires who use their holiday mansions a few weeks a year. Even the endless luxury resort apartments seemed mostly to be empty and it's not really surprising - there's absolutely nowhere to eat out in town. What self - respecting millionaire wants to cook on holiday?

The old part of the town still has its charm though - this is the cottage we stay in and the view from the front room - we saw dolphins from the lounge room a couple of times. The bay is shallow and perfect for kids and the natural beauty is beautiful (naturally).

but this is very close and getting closer every year.
This is one of the beaches you pass on a walk along the headland. I walked a 10 kilometre round trip most days through blackboy scrub and banksia groves and i'll never get over how nature can produce such spectacular masterpieces that aren't even for our benefit.

The highlight or our week though, apart from dinners with friends were the caves. This one below was fully lit and boardwalked and like walking into a natural shrine or temple. I couldn't stop thinking about the guy who discovered it a hundred years ago and first entered with ropes and candles. The main chamber (they called the amphitheatre) 35 metres below ground was enough to make you believe in a god.

The other cave was a completely different experience. It was a self-guided, unlit, un boardwalked adventure. We went in alone carrying our own torches (and the kids got to wear headlamps) and descended 83 metres into the ground down rocky steps and over rocks steadying ourselves with ropes and chains. At times we had to climb ladders into tiny chambers then use other ladders to climb out of them into new spaces. At one point in an enormous cavity they call the ballroom we all switched off our torches. The light faded for a millisecond before Romany quickly turned hers back on. I don't blame her. The cave covered 800 metres underground and we were all sweating when we finally scrambled up the last boulders to the surface. It was a blast.

We came back Saturday and got ourselves organised for Rom's 6th birthday party on Sunday which we all survived. Today it was back to school and because it's my birthday i'm neglecting all my usual monday chores - food shopping, washing, putting away and just taking it easy. Back to the millstone tomorrow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

chesty bonds

i drew these little figures for toy shapes and when i came back to them later i found my daughter had added some extra features. Those cute little faces have just got to find their way onto something.

i've been jazzing up some of my old t shirts lately by stitching silhouettes on them of things i fancy - bullsheads and cactuses mainly - and now i think each one of those critters is going to end up on my chest too.

we're off down south tomorrow to glorious Dunsborough for a week in a beach shack (a very comfortable, cozy beach shack). I'm worried about the cat and the garden and the guinea pigs and the fish and the drive but i'm sure i'll manage to enjoy myself somehow.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

happy feaster

I've been spending a lot of time awake lately in the small hours stressing and fretting about my shortcomings. I know i'm not the most useless person to walk the planet, i have some minor talents and a few learned skills but i can't help feeling there's so much more i should be doing. I'm struggling a bit under a weight of guilt and underachievement.

I know i should organise lot more physical activities with my girls, bike riding, rollerskating, swimming, scootering, and then there's educational games - board games, cards, maths websites instead of barbie websites - should i be a lot more active in that too?

There are things i would like to be doing for myself too - mastering guitar, drawing more, learning to surf, playing chess, using my languages, finding more work - and although i've never subscribed to the 'you can be whatever you want to be' school of thought (the human psyche is complex and less under our control than we realise) - i would at least like to do the things i like to do.

Yesterday, i found an old horoscope i'd torn out of the West Australian a few months ago because it obviously resonated with me. It still does and it's strangely cheering:

"There is a chasm between what you desire and whether you can achieve it. In principle you have some good ideas but in practice they might be rather wishy-washy. Be creative but not overly ambitious."

I find it rather comforting to be told to accept lack of achievement - it's almost buddhist, i think this might become my mantra.
Happy Choc Fest all!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

blooming bromeliads!

This beautiful plant is a species of aechmea - i don't know its full name but it's also known as the Torch Bromeliad. I bought my first one about a decade ago at a Swap Meet and i think it was my first bromeliad, i didn't even know what i'd bought at the time i just liked the foliage for a couple of dollars. Then it sat neglected for a few years not doing much until one day it decided to stun us with its spectacular flowers.

Each plant only flowers once then slowly dies, but while it's going it produces new plants called pups so that eventually the whole pot becomes full and you can start to pot them up into new pots. It's a never-ending supply. The pups take a few years to flower but because i've got so many now there are plants flowering every year. A few months ago i potted up 3 fully grown pups - you just cut them off the parent plant without roots or anything and stick them in a new pot. One flowered a month later and i brought it into the house to enjoy the flower. The flowers don't last long - a couple of weeks - but when it had finished the next one went into flower so i brought that inside. Then after that one, the last one obligingly flowered so i've had the flowers in the house for a month and a half. I have various clumps around the garden too which are also flowering - all from that one original plant. That's why i love bromeliads.