Category Archives: Re-Blog

Waterhouse Island for sale:

http://www.themercury.com.au/lifestyle/rare-chance-to-snap-up-waterhouse-island-off-north-east-tasmania-for-55m-plus/story-fnj64ocs-1227552310180

The above article shows pictures of Waterhouse Island, off the Northern coast of Tasmania. My brother, Clive, saw an add for this island back in the 1970s and determined to buy it. My father and brother, Nigel, plus a cousin, Rod, and some friends were roped into the project. Clive and Dad were the ones who maintained the property, keeping sheep to pay off the island. They spent many years planting trees and won a Greening Australia award for their efforts. The fairy penguins and Cape Baron geese claim it as their own. Chris and I share some wonderful memories of staying at this peaceful sanctuary.

‘Getting the Wool off’ Eric Pyett © 1981, is a short story I published on my blog some time ago, written by my father in law, describing the other- worldliness of Waterhouse Island. I’d love you to read it.  For those who missed it, here here is the full post:

When Chris’ parents died, we went through the house before putting it up for sale. We thought we’d finished when I discovered a high cupboard, above the linen cupboard, boxes stuffed full of papers. My first thought was to toss the lot. On reflection and some perusal we discovered Chris’ father had written stories, (unbeknown to us). He had completed courses in mathematics, English literature and philosophy. He was a quiet achiever.

Eric’s quiet, unassuming nature brought him close to my father, as he was a similar character. This short story describes my father, Frank, who was part owner of Waterhouse Island. Tom is Eric. He has encapsulated their characters perfectly. I hope you enjoy his short story:

‘Getting the Wool off’

Reg circled the grassy strip, noting the wind direction, and the sheer drop at the windward end of the runway where the level plateau fell abruptly two hundred feet to the sea. In this breeze, it will be like taking off from the deck of a carrier, he thought.

He circled again for another look, losing height, and searching for hidden fence-wires, or rocks buried in the long billowing grass. Reasonably satisfied, he made a wide banking turn over the island and came in to land at stalling speed. The wheels touched, and the aircraft ran along for a short distance over the bumpy ground before coming to a halt near a stack of up-ended bales of wool, where two men stood waiting.

Reg cut the motors and climbed out.

‘Morning, Frank. Morning, Tom.’ He called. ‘We’ve a nice fine day for it. Good fresh breeze along the strip. What d’you reckon, twenty knots?’

The two men walked over to meet him. Frank, tall and rangy, in a checked shirt and stained khaki pants, a striped woolen hat on his head; Tom, shorter and more stocky, wearing khaki overalls and a black beret.

‘Morning, Reg. Yes, it’s a good day for it. Wind’s in the right quarter and, yes, I suppose it would be about twenty knots.’ Frank studied the short, white-capped waves and the distant shore. ‘Yes, about twenty knots, I’d say.’

‘I saw you looking at the strip, Reg, Tom said. I’ve been over it pretty carefully and filled up all the holes.’

‘Yes, but it’s old fences and bits of wire hidden in the grass that bother me most. They’re inclined to get foul of the wheels, or flick up and hit a prop. But it looks pretty right to me, it’s clear of sheep, anyway,’ Reg chuckled. I nearly landed on top of a sheep once,’ he laughed, ‘it ran the wrong way. I don’t know who got the bigger fright, him or me.’ He squatted down on his heels against the bales, prepared for a yarn. But Frank, who was paying the bills, headed him off.

‘Well, we’d better get on with it, I suppose,’ he said. ‘How many can she lift each trip, Reg? We’ve got seventy-eight all told.’

Reg got to his feet, chewing a stalk of grass, and glanced at the stack of bales.

‘Oh, she’ll lift far more than you can squeeze into her,’ he said. ‘I reckon about four bales will pull you up, but we’ll soon see.’ He opened the big side door of the plane, and hooked it back. All the seats had been removed, except the pilot’s seat, but the space inside seemed very small. They rolled the bales over and lifted one through the doorway.

‘Up in front with this one, ’said Reg. He sunk his hook into the bale and stood it up on end, behind the pilot’s seat. ‘Now another one behind her.’ They lifted another bale through the doorway and stood it up behind the first one. Then another, lying flat on the sloping space in the tail. Then one more, standing up inside the doorway, and the plane was full. Reg was already in his seat, fastening his belt, as the two men closed the door. He glanced around to see that they were clear. Then the motors coughed into life, and the plane swung round and taxied back along the strip.

Reg turned the plane into the wind and revved up the motors, flattening the long grass. He released the brakes and the plane bounded forward, rapidly gaining speed. Half way down the strip they were airborne and climbing. He roared low over the stack of bales and the two watching men, then, catching the up-draught from the cliffs at the end of the strip, he leveled-off for the short trip across the water to the landing strip on the mainland, about ten miles away. The men watched the plane disappearing into the distance.

‘He used only half the strip,’ Frank said. ‘I bet he’ll cut his run much shorter next time.’

‘Yes, He’d no problem getting off in this strong breeze,’ Tom agreed. They sat on the grass in the lee of the up-turned bales. In front of them the island sloped away gently for about a mile, to a low rocky beach on the western side. Beyond that the blue sea, flecked with little white-caps, reached out to the empty horizon. Only to the southward was the sharp division between the sea and the sky interrupted. Here, across the channel, the coastal dunes and scrub hid the farmlands, which spread to the smoke blue ranges beyond.

Tom turned his head listening.

‘He’s coming back, Frank. I can hear him.’ They watched the tiny black spot in the sky growing larger, until the plane banked steeply and dropped down to land two hundred yards away. Moments later it stopped beside the stack of bales, and Reg jumped out.

‘Sixteen minutes for the round trip,’ he said. ‘We can get that down to fifteen this time, I reckon.’ He climbed back into the plane to help stow the first bales. Then, as the last two went in he got back into his seat and fastened his belt. Tom locked the door and stood clear as the motors roared.

This time Reg taxied only half way along the strip before swinging the plane into the wind and pouring on the power. The wheels left the ground as the plane raced past the two men sitting on the stack of bales, and it had gained twenty-five feet of height before crossing the cliff edge and lifting on the up-draught. Reg levelled-off at three hundred feet, singing quietly to himself. It wasn’t really like a carrier take-off, he had to admit. How could it be, in a fifteen-year-old Norman Islander with a belly –full of wool and a top speed of 150 knots? Yet some of the old thrill still remained. It was good to be still flying, and in his own plane too. He sighted the farm buildings, and the landing –strip beyond, with the truck waiting for the wool. A few moments later he commenced his descent.

Back to the island the two men lounged on the bales. Above them the sky was a vast empty dome of cloudless blue. They were watching a skylark which had risen from the grass nearby, and was gradually ascending into the clear air in effortless, soaring flight, singing and trilling in sheer joy.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/immortalized-in-stone/

 

New words, for all of you:

Orstraylian
> The following are results from an OZ-words Competition
> where entrants were asked to take an Australian word,
> alter it by one letter only, and supply a witty definition.
>Clearly, you need to be an Aussie to understand, but I hope you will have a go, even without an    >Aussie background. Good luck! Am including a loose translation of colloquial words so you may all enjoy the humour.
>
> Billabonk: to make passionate love beside a waterhole

(Billabong: a water hole. Bonk: to have sex).
>
> Bludgie: a partner who doesn’t work, but is kept as a pet

(Budgie: a pet bird. Bludge: a lazy person).
>
> Dodgeridoo: a fake indigenous artefact

(Didgeridoo: an Aboriginal wind instrument. Dodgy: tricky).
>
> Fair drinkum: good-quality Aussie wine

(Dinkum: true, honest).
>
> Flatypus: a cat that has been run over by a vehicle

(Platypus: Australian, amphibious, egg-laying monotreme).
>
> Mateshit: all your flat mate’s belongings, lying strewn around the floor

(mate: friend. Shit: has many meanings, in this case, I think it speaks for itself).
>
> Yabble: the unintelligible language of Australian freshwater crustaceans

(Yabbie: Australian freshwater crustacean. Gabble: unintelligible language).
>
> Bushwanker: a pretentious drongo, who reckons he’s above average when it comes to handling himself in the scrub

(Bushwalker: someone who walks in the bush. Wanker: to maintain an illusion, deceive oneself or masturbate).
>
> Crackie-daks: ‘hipster’ tracksuit pants.

(Crack: backside fissure. Daks: tracksuit pants).ATT000098

Re-blog from Brain Pickings:

The Silent Music of the Mind: Remembering Oliver Sacksoliversacks2-150x150
by Maria Popova
“I had no room now for this fear, or for any other fear, because I was filled to the brim with music.”

I was a relative latecomer to the work of Oliver Sacks (July 9, 1933–August 30, 2015), that great enchanter of storytelling who spent his life bridging science and the human spirit — partly because I was not yet born when he first bewitched the reading public with his writing, and partly because those early books never made it past the Iron Curtain and into the Bulgaria of my childhood. It was only in my twenties, having made my way to America, that I fell in love with Dr. Sacks’s writing and the mind from which it sprang — a mind absolutely magnificent, buoyed by a full heart and a radiant spirit.

His intellectual elegance bowled me over, and I felt a strange kinship with many of his oliversacks_alegtostandonpeculiarities, from the youthful affair with iron — although the 300-pound squats of my bodybuilding days paled before his 600 pounds, which set a state record and earned him the moniker Dr. Squat — to our shared love of Beethoven and Mendelssohn.

Indeed, it was his uncommon insight into the role of music in the human experience that first drew me to Dr. Sacks’s writing. I landed into Musicophilia and soon devoured his older writings. Both his science and his life were undergirded by a profound reverence for music — music seemed to be this intellectual giant’s greatest form of spirituality. He knew that the life of the mind and the life of the body were one, and understood that music married the two — an understanding he carried in his synapses and his sinews.

Nowhere did this embodied awareness, nor his luminous soul, come more vibrantly alive than in the remarkable story of how he once saved his own life by song and literature while running from a raging bull in a Norwegian fjord, told in his 1974 memoir A Leg to Stand On (public library) — the story by which I shall always remember him.

To commemorate this irreplaceable man, I asked artist Debbie Millman to create a piece of art illustrating the passage that captures not only the heart of that heartening story, but the spirit in which Dr. Sacks inhabited and exited our world.oliversacks_debbiemillman

The artwork is available as a print and I am donating all proceeds to the Oliver Sacks Foundation.

As the broken instrument of his body is buried motionless and mute into the earth, may the symphony of his spirit live on in his writing with the same eternally resounding vigor as what Dr. Sacks called “one of the world’s great musical treasures” in his final communication with the world:

What a privilege for this world to have been graced with this extraordinary human animal and his fully embodied mind. The only thing left to say is what Dr. Sacks himself wrote to his beloved aunt Lennie, who shaped his life, as she lay dying: “Thank you, once again, and for the last time, for living – for being you.”

A way of doing things better.

Gerard has included a video of this Utopian community. I hope you find time to visit. What a magnificent sustainable environment.

Oosterman Treats Blog

River flowing through Currumbin Eco-village River flowing through Currumbin Eco-village

A break from blogging and delving into the past was welcomed with open arms.  So, if responses to some of you dear friends went missing, a mea culpa. We are now back again. We decided to drive to Queensland and escape the tail end of winter. Apparently, no sooner after we left the Highlands, the heavens opened up. Over 400 millimetres of rain fell within a couple of hours. There were trees blocking roads and weirs overflowed. Evacuations of people into church halls were organized. Volunteers made sandwiches and gave comforts to those whose houses became flooded. Cars were seen being washed down causeways, yet children were cheerfully defying the rain, splashing about, no care in the world. Why should they? Life is yet to arrive for them.

My sister and husband after many moves here and there, told us they had found their ideal nesting ground…

View original post 583 more words

Holidays:

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Detail of carpet at Qantas end of Melbourne airport.

Distance shot of same carpet.

Distance shot of same carpet.

Photos: first of all the Melbourne airport carpet at the Qantas end. This is a continuation and addition to American Barbara’s wonderful carpet post: https://silverinthebarn.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/flying-carpets/

Australian airports don’t have the flair that we saw in Barbara’s post of her various carpets in America. Ours seem to be made for heavy traffic and are very mundane and practical. She has made me far more aware of where I’m treading.

I stayed at a B&B on the Mersey River, Devonport, the same road that I lived on as a child. It was wonderful waking up and seeing the river over the parade opposite.

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Walking in Devonport each evening was such a peaceful way to exercise. I had no fear after the sun went down walking on my own. Many joggers use the path which has been resurfaced in a soft material.

Looking from the beach to the B&B where I stayed.

Looking from the beach to the B&B where I stayed.

The Mersey at twilight.

The Mersey at twilight.

Rowers on the river

Rowers on the river

A large nest of drift wood at twilight.

A large nest of drift wood at twilight.

A series of public exercise pieces of equipment for all to use.

A series of public exercise pieces of equipment for all to use.

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More exercise equipment.

Sea and sky with a sandy beach in the background.

Sea and sky with a sandy beach in the background.

Beautifully kept gardens with running track.

Beautifully kept gardens with running track.

Joggers at twilight.

Joggers at twilight.

Map showing Mersey River and Devonport streets.

Map showing Mersey River and the size of Devonport, Tasmania

Peace at sunset.

Peace at sunset.

Running/ riding track after sunset.

Running/ riding track after sunset.

Pleasant surprise of second hand books to use.

Pleasant surprise on Victoria Parade: second hand books to use. A treat for those away from home.

Rain on my departure day, sorry I was leaving , of course!

Rain on my departure day, sorry I was leaving , of course! Photo taken from Dannebrog Lodge, B&B dining room.

Carpet at Devonport airport .

Carpet at Devonport airport .

Detail of D'port airport carpet.

Detail of D’port airport carpet.

Thanks for travelling with me!

 

Canberra, our federal capital.

 

After being fascinated reading American blogging friend, Barbara’s post, about airport carpets, https://silverinthebarn.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/flying-carpets/ she inspired me to take some photos here in Australia. Melbourne airport is having renovations, so the carpet may be a temporary one. Boring compared to Barbara’s inventive post, even showing how their carpets inspired a tattoo as well as other goods. I hope you have time to read it, if you missed it.

Melbourne airport carpet

Melbourne airport carpet

Canberra, the federal capital of Australia. The glass wall gives a warm welcome to arriving passengers. The granite floor looks new and well cared for.

Canberra, the federal capital of Australia, has a huge glass wall to give a warm welcome to arrivals. The granite(?) floor looks new and well cared for.

Some variations of colour.

Some variations of colour.

Sculpture at Canberra airport

Sculpture at Canberra airport

Grandson, Will, looking out for planes.

Grandson, Will, looking out for planes.

Departure lounge has carpet in seating area.

Departure lounge has carpet in some seating areas.

Departure lounge has large soft leather seats to soften the austere environment.

Departure lounge has large soft round seats to soften the austere environment.

Canberra's autumn sky.

Canberra’s autumn sky.

Visiting Canberra is a delight in autumn with its many deciduous trees. We saw kangaroos at Yarralumla. I was not quick enough to get a close shot.

Tiny dots on the right are the kangaroos!

Tiny grey dots on the right are the kangaroos!

Alright, this is exactly what one shouldn't do, stick a tree in the centre of a photograph. I was trying to be quick to catch the kangaroos, that I didn't see the tree.

Alright, this is exactly what one shouldn’t do, stick a tree in the centre of a photograph. I was trying to be quick to catch the kangaroos, so I didn’t see the tree.

Autumn changes

Autumn changes

Canberra has a cycle path 100km long.

Canberra has a cycle path 100km long.

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Married to an artist, I had to take a photo of this rainbow cake.

Married to an artist, I had to take a photo of this rainbow cake.

Good Appetite!

Good Appetite from Canberra!