Monday, May 14, 2012

Well, that last post has the undertones of old passive aggression about the northern beaches! Better out than in.
Have just driven down the highway from Sydney, such a lovely and easy run. That part especially that stretches from Goulburn to Braidwood, the skies getting bigger and darker, the poplars in the night like ghosts. And me and the endless night, the expanses expanding before me, into lands undiscovered and bathed in more mystery by the night. Tom Waits and a rumbling old warm car, fresh night air and high beams illuminating ghost gums and their silent limbs.

Arrived to a lovely little home, all warm and cosy with the departure of Mum and Ken who have just added loving little details to the place, a lamp here, a paint job there, a rearrangement of sorts, adding to my aesthetic and making the place even more of a cosy home. So quiet, so nice. And tomorrow I get busy fixing and unpacking, an old pair of chairs need painting, a bike tyre repaired, a studio to be warmed by my restless hand, blackberry bushes to be pulled out, but now, a bath to be had and a quiet nights rest xx

Friday, May 11, 2012

Palm Beach Reach

It's been only two weeks yet every part of my being has transferred to a new place, a new landscape. I'm back here in Palm Beach, no grotty people about, no rough hands and dirty boots, no inter-table conversation, but clean people half finishing their over priced eggs and keeping to themselves. I think about the factors that make this place apart of me, yet also somewhere I don't identify with. Is it the competitive nature of this trendy culture? And the way it can be so transient and fickle? Is it the laconic faces of locals who are so comfortable they have never felt a struggle beyond the one of being under stimulated and bored? The gracelessness of boredom, destructive and ugly, even on the faces of these people blessed with perfect genes and looks. It is the disconnect between peoples culture and where they live, and money being the horse of that cart. And I wonder about my rejection of and by this place, as much as a small town is something I am pleased and contented with, the difference here must be that it is so close to Sydney and the constant leaving. The availability to disappear, whereas out there in the bush it ain't so easy to hide. Here it seems people are hiding, then reinventing themselves all the time. Money spent selfishly.  I do love it here. I do love Pittwater and the island, I love the horizon of the beach and night swims. I love boating, swimming, sunning, walking and looking after myself. A place of respite, but not always. That's just too much self-time, no wonder everyone looks a little exhausted. I have realized that here cannot sustain me. And I can still love it and be reconciled with it as a part of me. But it is not me, and has tried to show me many times, pushing me out from the beginning it seems sometimes. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I have to tell this funny story!

I lost my keys yesterday and drove myself MAD finding them!
I opened the door...threw my bag on the couch, changed shoes, went to the ladies, then left the house..realising then, I didn't have my keys.
So the last 36 hrs have been spent in a total spin of chaos searching top and bottom, driving myself absolutely mad and being distracted by the search completely.
I even went through the compost, the toilet (thinking perhaps I flushed them!) I turned the place inside out, turned every piece of furniture over, and started suspecting the strange old garden gnome that came with the house, was at fault. He does have a guilty face.
 I was clutching at straws and in reflection its totally comical watching myself in a frenzy rummaging through everything. I eventually found them in the couch, yes, the same one I turned over twice, hanging on the inside of the arm.
When I found them I could finally jump in the car and do things and Oh what a feeling!

But really, it was a perfect way to acquaint myself with every nook and cranny of this house. I raked through the garden and spied under every leaf, no surface or space was overlooked, I suspected every branch of stealing, and confused ancient faded chocolate wrappers, glimmering from under the bushes, to be a key I had somehow flung out to the shrubbery.
And a good chance not to jump in the car and visit people, or run to the tip, climb the mountain, cruise to the river, visit neighboring towns. But to stay at home and finish the door, perfect the arrangement of the rooms, tidy, sort, display, clean, relax.
This morning I was up early, and it wasn't as cold, I was actually too warm in my 2 doonas and 4 blankets, which makes the heaviest weight upon me in bed! But I got out and into the morning to climb the mountain. Gilamatong, and she kneels softly beside Braidwood leading our eyes up and out. Up there was warm and Rosella's, gullahs, magpies, cockatoos, currawongs and budgies played in the morning light, swimming through trees waking the day. And a beautiful view from up there, out to Mt palarang, the ranges, the ridges, the dams, the lines of poplars, the soaring birds.

If there is anyone actually reading this blog, and you would like to know what Braidwood looks like, rent out the film 'The Year My Voice Broke'. The physical town hasn't changed too much, and its a really lovely Australian film with Ben Mendelsohn and Noah Taylor, and you can see a lot of  the surrounding countryside.

                                                   Braidwood, sunset, Tuesday 8/12.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beautiful day yesterday, our friend invited us out to his property.
I love this treatment that a newcomer gets, these displays of hospitality and sharing, getting taken on great wanders around properties, to secret waterfalls and paths that meander through forests of old blue gums and gaping wombat holes. With the commentary of how and why and when things began and all the rich details involved in knowing the land you own. I revere this knowledge and find it refreshing that a love for the land can be so multi layered. After our walk around the escarpments  that look out through a deep gorge and into the Araluen valley, we came back to have a picnic in the converted shed home. A practical and effortless space, very much a man-cave, full of great things picked up on the travels of an interesting eye. Along with hand made motor cycles and bicycles shining in the window light. An exposed bath, open plan, open life. People here are so open to share their lives, their projects, their garden's produce, their stories and knowledge about the town and the land, the history and myths.

On the way out to this property we found a little owl on the road, and picked him up. He was in perfect condition, and spent all night painting him. xx

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A very fresh morning this morning!
I'm learning about cold, that it can come through the windows, frozen glass creating a freezer-like atmosphere of your bedroom. I've learned I need a hot water bottle or two, and those stuffed snakes for the front door. I need to keep the fire on all night. I need gloves, whiskey and heavier curtains.
I spent the night in thermals with 2 doonas and 3 blankets.

Its been busy down here.
Yesterday I went for a coffee at the local, where we sat in the sun for a few hours as new people came through the door and introduced themselves, chin wagging about Braidwood and its characteristics. We then went off to the billy cart derby, parents sipping Lions club tea road-side, as kids wobbled slowly down the hill in carts very well made by devoted fathers, to be ridden once, down a hill hardly steep enough for any real thrill.
Then back home to dig up the garden and sort out the compost, do another coat on the door and the kitchen nobs. Then people popped over for a beer in the last sun, the pink playing on the Manchurian pear tree that throws wonderful leaves around the garden and makes the sky a confetti of colour.
The afternoon Gullahs come and hang out in it and the colours are so lovely in their autumn grace. It will be sad to see all the leaves fly away and leave a deciduous tree bare in the winter. I will look forward to the day the new buds of spring will grace the garden. It will sustain my interest and admiration, these real and intense seasonal changes.
We wandered over the back lane to Andy and Suzie's who have the most fabulous, rambling, playful home, all junkyard and studio, flourishing garden and greenhouse, badminton court and full open plan kitchen, overgrown fences and sculptures everywhere, great playful constructs of timber and steel. We found them in the studio with full fire-proof outfits on, welding a large and shapely camel that towers in the studio, holding court with its full presence. We wandered out to the back paddock, past the scrap heaps of sculptural potential, and the limbs of previous steel horses, to find a view of the Budawang ranges, lashed in a stripe of electric pink, the town sleepy with all chimneys streaming a thread of smoke.
Walking the paddock, a sad-eyed, old white pony came to our side, and followed us around as we saw the town from different angles, and marvelled at the buttery glow of a very full moon.
After a few amber ales and stories in the studio, picking on a juicy ripe pomegranate, and after they so warmly invited me to make use of them and their home whenever I'm in need of company/cup of sugar/utensils/inspiration, we went back to Jimmy's to cook up a storm of spiced zucchini pakoras and quinoa salad, smothered in Jimmy's onions and fragrant garlic from the garden.
It was a nice collaborative feast and were informed of Tess' latest Bighart project and all the wonderful things they are doing with indigenous communities in the Pilbara.

Another big day planned today, so I will have to get up from the breakfast table, which is beautifully drenched in morning sun, to take off all these layers of thermals and wool, wash up and get to the tip and start the errands of the day. Just loving the physicality of country living! And the cold too... :-)