Tags: 25th April, ANZAC, Anzac Cove, Anzac Day, Anzac parade, Gallipoli, memorial ceremony, remembrance, Returned Services League, RSL, two-up, Wangi Wangi
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The term Anzac originated in World War I, when our countries’ combined forces landed on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey, on the 25th April 1915.
This campaign, in which many hundreds of men lost their lives, was the first real test of the armies of these two new nations; their “Baptism of Fire”.
Nowadays, ANZAC day is celebrated by the people of Australia and New Zealand on the 25th April, the day the first forces landed on the beaches of what is now called Anzac Cove. From the beginning, they faced extremely strong opposition from the Turks, who had the high ground. They dug in and both sides endured many months of warfare under terrible conditions.
Anzac Day has come to rival Remembrance Day (11th November) as a reminder of the sacrifice that so many made in the service of their country. All wars in which Anzacs served since that initial campaign are remembered, right up to the present Afghanistan campaign that is still going on. Every city and almost every town with a population of more than a few hundred has its parade and its ceremony of remembrance.
Here are some pictures of Anzac Day in my little town, Wangi Wangi, on the shores of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.
On Anzac Day, and only on that day, a traditional Aussie gambling game called two-up is allowed by law. It is played by tossing two old pennies off a small strip of wood, and bets are called as to how the pennies will land: two heads; two tails; or one of each. Large amounts of money can be wagered on this game, so it’s probably a good thing it is banned for the rest of the year! The crowd also becomes very noisy as the game progresses.
(c) Linda Visman (text & photos)
Tags: Australia, Classic Boatfest, Lake Macquarie NSW, Solar Sailor, Toronto, tourism
It was a fabulous autumn day for the first day of the annual Classic Boatfest at Toronto, Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia.
Here are a few photos to show you some of the boats on display.
There were some beautifully restored and finished wooden boats of all sizes.
The Solar Sailor takes passengers on cruises of lake Macquarie – a beautiful lake with many bays, deep water and several islands.
We were fortunate to have blue skies, warm to hot sun and a light breeze.
Lake Macquarie is a lovely place to visit, with many places to see and activities to participate in. It’s even better when you live here.
Photos by Linda Visman
(c) Linda Visman 30.03.2013
Tags: imaginary places and people, poetry, real characters, real life, writing real people
In the real world, people and their inter-actions are not ruled by laws that say this, or that, must happen. Instead, we live in a world where anything is possible and most events can never be predicted with any certainty. We cannot even go with the balance of probabilities all of the time – although we hope that the odds will work out as we want them to.
So it should really be the same when we create our stories, the characters and their worlds, and the interactions between them. We must make it all look real. The reader should expect the unexpected, and yet feel that the story has been worked out by Fate.
However we cannot, in reality, toss all the ingredients together as we do with a salad, and then hope our story will somehow play itself out as we wish. We have to make it happen; there is nothing else for it.
We must make it appear that events occur as they would in everyday life, that the uncertainties and the surprises we all experience are reflected authentically. We do this by the use of techniques and tricks, not by a random assemblage of characters and events in a certain setting. We, as writers, need to make ourselves aware of what these techniques are.
As Robert Graves says, we have to tell lies to make our readers believe that the story we tell is true.
The Devil’s Advice to Story-Tellers
Lest men suspect your tale to be untrue,
Keep probability—some say—in view.
But my advice to story-tellers is:
Weigh out no gross of probabilities,
Nor yet make diligent transcriptions of
Known instances of virtue, crime or love.
To forge a picture that will pass for true,
Do conscientiously what liars do—
Born liars, not the lesser sort that raid
The mouths of others for their stock-in-trade–
Assemble, first, all casual bits and scraps
That may shake down into a world perhaps;
People this world, by chance created so,
With random persons whom you do not know—
The teashop sort, or travellers in a train
Seen once, guessed idly at, not seen again;
Let the erratic course they steer surprise
Their own and your own and your readers’ eyes;
Sigh then, or frown, but leave (as in despair)
Motive and end and moral in the air;
Nice contradiction between fact and fact
Will make the whole read human and exact
Robert von Ranke Graves novelist, poet, soldier & scholar
Born 24 July 1895 Wimbledon, England
Died: 7 December 1985, Majorca, Spain
(c) Linda Visman
There was no moon. From inside the car, our headlights illuminated the ever approaching, ever passing, road. Some of the light escaped the black surface, reflecting against trees and grass and white posts along the roadside, at times appearing to create a wooded tunnel through which we sped. In other places the eucalypts scattered into open woodlands. Further on, were more and more cleared paddocks carrying the animal that rivals the kangaroo as our national emblem. Post and wire fences edged the verges, defining the road rather than the paddocks, somehow isolating it. We drove along a corridor, from which real life was suspended until we reached our destination.
It was central NSW in the early 1980s, and we were driving home from a holiday trip. I felt the dry warmth of the heater that kept out the cold winter night and glanced behind me. In the back of the station wagon, our five boys sprawled on mattresses, blankets scattered over their sleeping forms. It had been a long and active day, and we still had another fifty miles to go. Joe and I had fallen silent, discussion on our holiday activities exhausted. He drove, as he always did, more focussed tonight than usual on the road’s dangers. Kangaroos or wallabies had no concept of waiting for a passing car before they crossed the road. I relaxed, staring through the windscreen at the mesmerising asphalt strip.
A light seemed to flutter through the passing trees, and my gaze drifted sleepily to the left, to the barely-seen outline of a farmhouse, set back a little from the road. Uncurtained windows glowed a warm yellow against the blackness. It must be dinnertime, I thought. Perhaps it’s a family, eating together at the end of their working day: father talking about what he’d got done, about what needed doing tomorrow, next week. He and mother smiling as the kids shared what had happened in school, or on the bus that took them thirty miles each way every day. I felt a longing rise inside me. How nice to be in our own home, the journey over, boys in bed, Bill occupied with one of his projects and me, comfy in a lounge chair with a novel.
I sighed. Maybe my cosy farmhouse picture was wrong and quite different occupants shared a less than homely light. I imagined an old man, leathery face set in deep discontented lines. Across the once colourful table cloth, now soiled by crumbs and spills, sat a small, white-haired woman, hunched and silent. There was no friendly conversation here. Childlessness and disappointment had worn a deep divide between them. Years of enforced cohabitation, love and respect long buried, had led to a cold and bitter truce. Their only goal was to get through each dreary day. I shuddered at that scenario and looked for more lights.
A few minutes later, I saw one on the side of a hill. Again, uncurtained windows hid rather than exposed the occupants within. Nobody out here to peer in on their intimacy, only a passing whoosh, hardly noticed, carrying a reflective passenger on her way. Who are the people in that house, I wondered. Another surge of feeling washed over me, so strong that I glanced across at Joe to see if he’d noticed. His eyes still darted here and there across the road, face impassive. He probably wouldn’t notice anyway.
I looked again at the lighted windows, now disappearing behind us and felt a sense of loss. I wanted to know who they were, these people whose lives were completely separated from mine. I wanted to share in those lives; feel their joys and successes, their sorrows and failures; know what they did and why, how they lived and worked and what they shared – love or hatred, fear or security. Strange I should feel that way when I had a full and reasonably adequate life of my own. It was the same urge, to be a part of other lives, that I get when I visit cemeteries, especially those with old headstones. The names written there, the relationships – “my dearest wife”; “cherished daughter”; “sadly missed” husband”; a son “tragically taken” – are more than just words to me. They belong to a world where I might have belonged, where I might have had my own special place.
We drove on. Every lighted window we passed that night reminded me of the disconnection of existence, and of how I wanted to make connections instead. Everywhere that I see people, whether singly or on groups, every news story or biography, memoir or personal story reminds me of how I can take a tiny peek into a small part of strangers’ lives. But there are many more who I can never, will never know, never share an action or word or thought with. To me, given other circumstances of birth, they could have been people I know intimately. They are might-have-been brothers or sisters, parents or cousins, close friends or bitter enemies.
Every now and then, I still see the homely yellow glow of a lighted window. But many of the windows I pass along my life’s road are dark. Their inhabitants leave nothing, not even a headstone, to mark that they were here.
I think we all deserve to be remembered somehow. Perhaps that’s why I have the constant urge to write my own life, to share my experiences and thoughts, trivial though they might be. It is a way to connect with others. To let them see a distant lighted window and wonder at the person inside. To give them a glimpse of how another person faced her life. For me, it is also a way to explore my existence, to give it meaning, justification, validation. I wrote, therefore I existed. I woz ere.
(c) Linda Visman
Tags: Camooweal, caravan travel, children, long distance travel, Quirindi, school holidays, Sydney Harbour, travel by car
When my children were youngsters, we travelled a lot. My husband was a teacher, and he never wanted to stay home during school holidays, always wanting to be somewhere else. So we visited relatives, went to lots of places around our state and beyond, and had experiences we would have missed were we to remain at home.
You would think that at least one of our five sons would be an impatient traveller. Talk to anyone who has travelled with kids and they’ll almost always tell you they have one who, as soon as you’re out the driveway and onto the road, starts asking are we there yet?
Lots of people prefer to reach their destination, rather than undertake the actual travel to get there. I know that, having travelled little before my marriage, it was the destination I had in mind. The drive – we always drove – was just the means of getting there, and I wanted it to be over as soon as possible.
Most of our drives were in the countryside – we lived away from major towns. My husband was the driver on our long trips. Every time stopped for a break or to get petrol, I’d sit impatiently in the car. On the road, he seemed to look out of the side window more than watching where we were going. He’d see an interesting tree or rock along the way, glimpse an echidna or a goanna and just had to stop to look at it. I would remain in the car, fidgeting and getting more and more agitated, wishing he’d get back and drive on. The question that constantly ran through my mind was when will we ever get there?
When we started having children, the travelling didn’t stop; we just had more and more passengers. Then, of course, the baby needed to be changed and fed; the toddler/s needed a break from sitting or had to have a pit stop. We simply had to take breaks, so I learned to curb my impatience. I started to notice much more of what was going on around me.
By the time we went on a four-month trip halfway around Australia with a caravan, four boys aged between four and nine and me pregnant with the fifth, I had discovered how much of interest I had missed by not wanting to stop along the way. This time, I was happy to take breaks, to go for walks, to investigate country museums and ruins, anthills and billabongs and side-tracks. I had learned to appreciate the journey to our destination.
I noticed too that none of the boys ever asked, are we there yet? They had been travelling all their lives and took advantage of every stop we made to find out more about their environment, their history, the beauty and wildness of their country. They always enjoyed the journey just as much as – if not more than – the destination.
My sons are now passing on that love of the journey to their own children. They don’t want them to miss the treasures that are there along the way. And indeed, very often, it is the journey that has more to offer us than the destination. Sometimes, we don’t want the journey to end. We don’t want to be there yet.
What about you? Do you prefer to reach your destination as soon as possible, or do you relax and enjoy the journey?
© Linda Visman 6th February 2013
Tags: climate, cyclones, magpie, nature, noisy miner, NSW floods, Queensland floods, Rainbow lorikeet, refuge, shelter, storm
It has been raining here for two days as the remnants of Cyclone Oswald reach to the southern areas of eastern Australia. It will get worse, with stronger winds added to the rain. We will be fine where we are, but others won’t be as lucky.
There are thousands of people in Queensland and in northern NSW who are having it very tough at present. Many have been flooded from their homes and businesses. There have been deaths usually as people try to cross through swollen creeks and flooded causeways. (Some folk never learn).
States of emergency have been declared in some areas, and all emergency services are flat out helping those who are in trouble. Then they get some idiot like the one here.
As the rain falls and the wind blows, we look out onto our front verandah and see that other creatures are affected by the weather too. Our verandah always becomes a refuge for birds trying to get out of the rain, especially rainbow lorikeets.
We also have the ubiquitous noisy miners which, for once don’t gang up against the other birds. They all look rather forlorn at times like this
Today, I also managed to photograph a couple of the magpies that decided to take shelter there too. They don’t often come this high (the verandah is at second-storey level on our sloping block). They spend most of their time hunting for bugs and other creatures in their territory, which includes the lawns of other houses within an area of about a hundred metres radius of us.
I hope that the people affected by the floods are able to find shelter – just as these birds have done.
© Linda Visman
28th January 2013
Tags: Catherine Hill Bay, coal mining, colliers, east coast Australia, Lake Macquarie, mining, mining village, Newcastle NSW, tourist areas, wharfs
Today, we went for a coffee. We bought take-aways and took them to Catho – Catherine Hill Bay – beach. Catho is situated on a strip of land between the Pacific Ocean coast and Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle, NSW. The village at Catho is still fighting against development that will change the whole aspect of the community.
Catho used to have a coal mine, and a wharf for the colliers, called ’60-milers’, that collected the coal and carried it up the coast to Newcastle.
You can still see one of the soal seams that brought the miners to Catho.
The wharf remains, although rumour has it that it will eventually taken down for safety reasons.
My husband did contract work for the mine at one stage, and loved working in the office at the end of the wharf. He sometimes saw whales and dolphins swimming under and around the piers.
Quite a few artefacts of the mining and transport operations remain.
The beach is a popular place for swimming, snorkelling and surfing, and a tourist attraction.
An excellent volunteer surf life-saving group ensures the safety of beach-goers.
Catho beach is a favourite place for us to go – rain or shine. Another of Australia’s beautiful places.
Text and photos (c) Linda Visman 13th December 2013