Senses by the Lake

February 8, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Posted in Australia, Birds, Experiences, Leisure activities, Nature | 24 Comments
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I have just come across a couple of pages of notes that I wrote in my notebook back in September 2010 – Spring in my part of the world. I was taking a walk by the lake where I live, and along the way, I sat on a water-side bench seat, not far from a pub, a services club and a café. I opened myself to the sights, sounds and smells around me.

 

What I could see:

  • the placid surface of the lake, unruffled by wind, reflecting a blue sky;
  • the wake of a passing motorboat on the opposite side of the bay;
  • ripples from the boat carrying all the way to the shore;
  • a cormorant diving for fish;
  • a variety of boats, sail or motor, moored in the bay, moving gently in the moving boat’s wake;
  • people of all ages passing by, just going for a walk or heading to the nearby shops;
  • casuarinas and eucalypyts that grow near the edge of the lake;
  • the concrete walking path that follows the shoreline;
  • the green lawns of homes that stand back from the trees and pathway;
  • a sea eagle that soars high on invisible currents of air.

 

What I could hear:

  • Corellas screeching;
  • Traffic going by on the road;
  • Peewees’ piping call;
  • The warning cry of masked lapwings;
  • A budgerigar in a cage nearby;
  • ‘G’day and ‘Hello; from passers-by;
  • The squawk of rainbow lorikeets;
  • The rumble of a distant aircraft;
  • Noisy miners (birds) quarrelling;
  • The clatter of a two-stroke bicycle motor;
  • The distant cooing of doves;
  • The whine of a whipper-snipper and the ring of its cord against steel fence posts;
  • The slap of a leaping fish as it hit the water;
  • the soft chittering of Eastern rosellas from a eucalypt tree;
  • the musical warbling of magpies;
  • the unmistakable sound of a postie’s motor scooter as he does his rounds;
  • the ‘aak’ , ‘aak’ of seagulls as they fly over;
  • the burbling of an outboard motor and the sound of voices, as two men tie up a ‘tinny’ at the RSL jetty;
  • the ‘ko-ko-ko-ko’ of a kookaburra as it warns away the persistent noisy miners.

 

What I could smell:

  • The soft, warm scent of recently cut green grass;
  • A slight tang of salt in the air;
  • The odour of mud and weed, exposed by the tide;
  • The fresh, clean scent of the casuarina trees;
  • The gentle waft of spring on the breeze;
  • The tantalizing aroma of garlic from the pub’s restaurant;
  • The pungent smell of cigarette smoke from the club’s beer garden;
  • A wonderful aroma of fresh brewed coffee.

 

How fortunate I am to live in such a wonderful place, with nature as well as a small urban area around me. It is great to take a walk along the lake shore, no matter what the weather.

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Thursday’s Child – Picnic at the Waterfall

January 22, 2018 at 7:30 am | Posted in Australia, Birds, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, household chores, Nature, Promotion, Reading, Writing | 6 Comments
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I am writing a few blog posts to introduce the main character in Thursday’s Child, my new Young Adult novel, which is set in 1960-61 Australia. Victoria Delaney (Tori) is fourteen, in her second year of high school. She wants to become a teacher one day, but events conspire against her.

*         *         *

From Tori’s Diary

Thursday, 8th September 1960

We had such a lovely day today. I am so tired I can hardly write. It’s only a few days until we go back to school for the last term before Christmas, so we wanted to do something special. We got Mam to let us go to the falls for a picnic! The four of us – me, Carol, Mickey & Frankie set off after we’d done our morning chores. Danny’s only a baby, so he stayed home with Mam.

We followed the road, then a track, and after about four miles, we came to the creek. It wasn’t hot, but it was sunny, even through the trees and we were glad to get there. The water was so clear and cold to drink, wash our faces and bathe our bare feet in. Mam had made us promise not to go in swimming, so I had to watch Mickey so he didn’t.

We played around on the rocks and paddled where the water was shallow just out from the falls. How lovely the rock wall is where the water flows over into the waterhole! I’m no good at geology, but I could tell that lots of different layers sat on top of each other. The water had made them smooth and dark, and where the sun shone, the rock glistened and the water sparkled.

Mickey kept his eyes and ears open for birds all the time, and told us each time he heard or saw a different one. There are so many! Honeyeaters, red wattlebirds and a couple of different finches are the ones I remember. Frankie followed Mickey everywhere, as he usually does, and one time he slipped off a rock into the water. Thank goodness it wasn’t deep. He grazed his leg & got wet, but he was dry by the time we got home.

Carol and I wandered around, sometimes together and sometimes in different directions, but we all stayed close to the waterhole. I was hoping to see a platypus, but we must have scared them away. We did see a water dragon, and when we were walking back home, we saw a couple of wallabies – I think its wallabies in the mountains, not kangaroos, as they live in flatter country. Some of the wildflowers were out too and the golden wattles along the roadsides were still in flower.

We ate our jam sandwiches and boiled eggs for lunch and drank from the creek. We loved it so much that we didn’t want to leave, but we’d also promised Mam we’d be back in time to do our evening chores. I have to help with making dinner, and there are the chooks to feed, eggs to collect, Danny to look after, wood to chop for the stove. We got home in time, so Mam was happy, and even with the five-mile walk back, we were too.

 

If you wish to purchase Thursday’s Child on Kindle, click here to pre-order. It will be available for download on the 1st of February.

© Linda Visman

My Garden

June 15, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Australia, Birds, Gardens, Photography | 7 Comments
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I didn’t join in the wordpress photo challenge this week because I always delete my out-of-focus photos, and we were to post a clear photo and an out=of-focus one that we like.

Instead, I thought I would share a little of my Aussie winter garden.

IMG_0966

Here is one of my zygocactus plants, with a jade plant behind it.

IMG_0974

Two varieties of bromeliad, with the green one flowering. I love the stalks of pink and blue. The purple one does not flower as far as I know.

IMG_0970

I have about six or seven different grevillea species in my garden. This is the flower of one of them. Grevillea are great for attracting native birds with their nectar. Most of them flower for much of the year.

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Here is a similar grevillea to the one above, with a beautiful rainbow lorikeet that has come to feed off the nectar.

I love my garden, made up mostly of Australian natives, but with various plants from other parts of the world as well.

I hope you enjoy the colour.

A to Z Challenge – M is for Mowing the Lawn

April 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Australia, Birds, Gardens | 7 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

I love mowing the lawns – do you?

…..

M is for Mowing the Lawn

Back and forth, I tramp across the yard,

pushing before me this raucous machine

that devours grass and sticks and weeds,

masticates them in whirling blades,

spitting out their shredded remains

in long uneven parallels of green.

So often a tedious task, but not today:

A warm afternoon sun draws yesterday’s rain

From moist earth into clear blue autumn skies,

And a light breeze cools the well-earned sweat

That, in humid air, gathers upon my brow.

…..

Around me, in red-flowering bottlebrush trees,

Gaudy Rainbow Lorikeets quarrel vociferously,

Chasing their differences from tree to tree,

Their screeches almost overwhelming the mower’s roar.

Up the back slope, where I have not yet been,

Sedate Eastern Rosellas pluck plentiful grass seeds.

I do not mow all their granary, but leave uncut

The yard’s far reaches, amid tall Spotted Gums.

There, skinks and blue-tongue lizards hide

Among tall grass, bracken fern and fallen branches,

And, at night, brush-tailed possums play.

…..

As I work my way across the lawning grass,

Two lapwings follow in my wake.

Immaculately dressed in light tan and white,

Black collars and caps, and masks of bright yellow,

They show no fear as I turn the mower towards them.

Our lawns and the neighbours’ provide

A constant, well-stocked larder for this faithful pair.

Today, they enjoy a veritable feast,

Darting in and dashing out on red-brown stick legs,

Snatching and devouring their spoils – the unlucky insects

So rudely disturbed by my slashing monster.

…..

As I close the throttle at last, blessed silence returns –

Except for those still-argumentative lorikeets.

The lapwings continue to forage over the sun-dappled lawn;

They should sleep, well-fed, tonight.

The mower garaged, I survey, from the verandah,

A neat, evenly cut lawn beneath tall, sheltering trees,

Enjoying the glow of a job well done, and a feeling of

Intimacy with our local community of feathered friends.

…..

(c)  Linda Visman

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