A Little Bit of Tree Bark

I often spend time looking at the patterns on the bark of trees – for some have amazing patterns on them.  Occasionally I take some photos of them.  When I attended the Anzac Service at Beachmere on Tuesday (April 25th) I saw a tree with interesting bark.  I went back later in the day to get some images.  I don’t know what the trees are – but they are in Clayton Park, Beachmere.

Tree Bark Patterns

One tree that has wonderful patterns on the trunk is a “Scribbly Gum” and there are a lot around this region, though not in the park.  I am not sure what I am going to do with the images, but happy to share them here until I work it out.

Image 1

Image 2

Image 2 is quite black on the tree. It is hard to tell if it has been the victim of fire in the past, but I don’t think so.

Image 3

Image 4

Image 4 is the B & W version of Image 1.  I do like Black and White photography and remember the days when that is all our little Kodak cameras would product.  Now we can take a photo in Colour and then enhance the image.

There are many programs that one can use to enhance photographs – and for this exercise I have used Picasa. (www.picasa.com) which enables me to do quite a lot with my images.  There are many programs and many far more  sophisticated.

Image 6

Image 5

Image 7

Image 7 is really fascinating – and hard to believe that it resulted from Image 1.  All I had to do was click on a button and hey presto, all is revealed.

I like to use PicMonkey for some of the work I do – especially when I have a lot of photos to put in an article and can create a collage.

There’s a photography competition coming up – a local one.  Will look at doing something and entering.  Will see what happens.

Posted in Environment, Photography | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Lest We Forget the Anzacs

Anzac Day, April 25th is the day Australians and others remember the day that Australian and New Zealand forces landed at Gallipoli during World War 1.  It was April 25th, 1915.


As a child, I don’t recall being involved in any major events on Anzac Day, though I clearly remember the ceremonies.  I am sure there were big celebrations in the city of Adelaide at the time. My memory doesn’t serve me well for this.

My parents were both ex-service personnel but they didn’t speak much of it.  Dad had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his Army life – he had wanted to go overseas, but worked out of Alice Springs with the US Military and became very sick.  Later he told the story that food was brought into the camp on a truck that also took out the human waste.  He believed there was contamination – and that many soldiers caught a type of dysentery.  My father was so sick he was transported to Heidelberg Hospital in Melbourne, which was a military hospital at the time.  He was medically discharged from the Army after the illness, but rejoined the army a few days later, but was not permitted to do overseas service due to his supposed health problems.  He was always angry about the whole event.

In later years, I know he attended RSL services at Brighton in South Australia. My sister and her family attended with him and my mother.  I wasn’t even aware of their attendance at these events to many years later.

Attending Anzac Events

I can’t recall how many years I have been attending regular Anzac Services – have been into the big march in Brisbane city on several occasions, and the march at Wynnum, and for the last four years the event at Beachmere.  It was the Beachmere event that I attended yesterday.  I am so pleased to see that each year there are many more people in attendance.  Perhaps it has more significance to people now that the world is not the happy place it has been.  With threats in some areas and wars and unrest in others, there is uncertainty.

I drove down to the park where the ceremony was being held but stopped off at the beachfront as the sun rose.

Dawn, Anzac Day, 2017

Heading the Procession



Here come the drums

RSL Members

It wasn’t a long wait for the marches.  They started on time at 6.45 am, and headed for the corner of Moreton Terrace, where the memorials to fallen servicemen are displayed.  There were many at the ceremony.  Later I took some photos of the wreaths – I had not seen them earlier.


Posted in Community | Tagged , | Leave a comment

And the Easter Bunny Came

I spend a lot of time reminiscing – and the celebration of Easter is one of those occasions when my mind wanders to my childhood.  I can’t help comparing it to life today.

Easter starts at Christmas now – as apparently, Boxing Day is the day that Hot Cross Buns appear in the shops.  I love Hot Cross buns, but refuse to buy them until closer to Easter.  A few weeks later the retail army decides it is time to indulge in chocolate – eggs, rabbits, and more. I didn’t see a Bilby this year.  Perhaps I would have bought one if I had seen one early.  I did provide Easter Eggs/Rabbits for grandchildren but was not with them over the Easter weekend.  Still, I did my bit.

In my younger days, I would have been to church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  My relationship with the church is not good these days.

It is interesting to see how many people “embrace” the festivities of Easter and I doubt too many would pay any notice of the religious significance.  While I do think many people have come to have doubts about the whole religious story, I do think there should be much more acknowledgement of the Easter story.

I wonder too, if somehow, someone in the future will be able to give more information on the true story of Jesus and Christ.  Do we really believe that Jesus mother Mary, were really a virgin?  Or that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified?   I love the religious stories and the lessons that can be learned from the stories.  I even consider the Ten Commandments to be of great value and would like to see a modern version.

Still, my biggest issue is that our retailers make so much of it and that so many parents allow their children to over indulge.  I saw photos of children holding piles of chocolate eggs and rabbits.  Is there any need for so much gluttony?

I did get a chocolate egg and a very special candy egg.  The latter is one thing that I love at Easter – though so hard to find in shops these days such is the popularity of chocolate!   Bit by bit I am eating mine.  Thank you Jill.

Posted in Community | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Toilets and Memories

At a local community function, there were two blue toilets on site – for those folk who needed to go.  I watched as children played in and out of one of the “cubicles” – clearly seeing the facility as a toy!  It made me smile.

I remembered my childhood where such facilities were not provided at local parks.  I think we learned to “hold on” or duck behind a tree.

Modern Facility for my Van

Strangely, in several completely unconnected conversations this week, toilet facilities have been discussed.  I know one resulted from my comment about going to buy a new “potti” for my campervan.  I was thrilled to be able to purchase a van with a toilet and shower on board, but no so thrilled to learn that to empty said toilet I needed to crawl under the van, connect a huge hose, all while being near a “dump point”.  The idea of crawling under a van had no appeal.  So I decided to part with a few extra dollars, and get a new system with a much more user-friendly system.  Even at BCF I had some hilarious conversations with staff as I explored my options.  It seems that almost everything one says, when talking about toilets has a double meaning.

Another conversation came as a result of visiting a public toilet and finding loo paper on the toilet seat.  It is something that Asian women do in Australian toilets, as they still like to squat and they can stand on the toilet seat, squat and do what they have to do. There followed a discussion about travelling in Asia and the various facilities that one has to use.

One of the ladies had come from South Africa, where her home had indoor toilets, and when she came to Australia in around the 1960’s and 70’s was horrified to learn that Australians were still using outdoor toilets.  I know modern homes at the time had indoor toilets but certainly many country folk still had to endure the challenges of the long drop or other outside toilet facilities.

Hopefully, the coming week’s conversations will be a bit more enlightening, but I must say, that many of the conversations mentioned above had a lot of hilarity!!



Posted in Community | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Sir/Madam. Really?

Is Dear Sir/Madam old hat now? I do remember when I did my secretarial course way back in the 1960’s.  Letter writing was very formal in those days.  Without email etc, all mail was delivered by Australia Post or the PMG as it was in those days.

In the past two days, I have received emails addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam”, and found it a little irritating.  Of course, the companies I was dealing with have on record my gender, but the response is an automatic response to a request for assistance.  No, I am not a Sir, and I am not a Madam.  Well, Madam has come to mean someone who runs a brothel or similar.  I certainly don’t.

What else could they write?   Would “Dear Client” work?  Or just something simple like “Greetings from thexxxxxx office”.  Could the computers be set to say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon”?  Would that work?


I have written before about being annoyed that women have to indicate whether we are Miss, Mrs, Ms, but our male counterparts never have to indicate their marital status.  It’s just Mr.  I doubt my ramblings will inspire any changes to any of these issues, but I do think it is time for a change.

Jacaranda in Flower at Caboolture Historical Village










While I am on a bit of a rant, I will voice my irritation at my phone noting all the places I happen to be and suggesting I take photos or buy something.  I am so over smart phones and the “extra benefits” that I don’t want.  Perhaps a smart person (perhaps a grandchild) can delete these stupid irritating “benefits” of the smart phone.

I look forward to running away soon.  It is just over two weeks before I leave my apartment, so plenty to do.


Posted in Community | Leave a comment

A One Night Stand

Well, dear reader.  “A One Night Stand.”   It is not what you think, when you read the title.  I am actually planning to spend one night only, about 2 kms from where I live.  A friend lives across the road from the Caboolture River, and we are going to spend some time together over the weekend.

She has suggested that I drive Myrtle there and park for the night opposite her house and I can stay overnight.  Another test for Myrtle.

I have not driven Myrtle since returning from our failed expedition to Neurum Creek.  I have been packing up my house, as I must move out in a few weeks.  On top of that, I have had some family dramas to negotiate.  It has been a busy week, but getting little done of what I wanted to do for myself.  Still, I am not worried – I think I am at this point under control.

One thing that is happening is that my “fernhouse” is going to my friend’s place near the river.  I checked it out today and am so excited as many orchids are in bud and so will have some flowers shortly.  It does create some challenges.  Where will I leave them in the short term?  I am going to negotiate with a grandchild to take care of some of my plants, and my friend will have some also.

Moving house always has challenges.  What do you keep?  What can you sell?  In my case, as I am going into a campervan I am restricted in what I can take.  So many things (including boxes and furniture) will go to storage.

I am also taking note of all the things I have to do.  Close my NBN internet account, electricity account, advise the various government apartments of my new address.

New Address?  In Toyota Coaster Myrtle somewhere on the open road?  I will have to “pretend” that I live at my daughter’s place.

Inside Myrtle – the driver’s seat, refrigerator

The Sleeping Quarters – though in reality at bedtime I rearrange the mattress/bed.
















One Night Stand

So, I will take Myrtle out – and stay one night, just a short distance from home.  It is going to be fun.

Posted in Myrtle's Journeys | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

TED – A Best Friend of Mine

OK, let’s get it clear right now.  I don’t have a man named Edward, Ted, or similar in my life, other than the amazing website www.TED.com.

It was when I was in Bali in 2012, that I learned about this site.  I was swimming in a pool in Ubud and met a guy from Netherlands, who was sitting beside the pool watching a TED video.  When I found the site for myself, I was hooked.


The concept of 20-minute talks, with no waste of time with MC’s, and limited rambling of speakers makes perfect sense for me.   Well, the maximum time for a talk is 20 minutes.  Sometimes the talks are shorter.  The topics are so varied.  I download them to my tablet often and often will watch a talk when I have some spare time or on the one hour trip to Brisbane on the train, or on a plane if I am flying anywhere.

I regularly visit the TED website and scan the recent talks – and choose those that I wish to view and quickly download them.  It is FREE.

Some time ago, I also went to a TED talk at Griffith University.  The talks were most interesting and I can revisit them whenever I wish.

Today I scanned some of the talks on TED and chose to highlight the following one.  The title of  “What I learned from 2,000 Obituaries”.  I chose this one because I have an interested in obituaries.  Before you wonder what could be interesting about the dead, an obituary is a life story, and I love biographies, with a little detail about the person’s death.

I am surprised to learn how few of my friends have discovered TED, so I do talk about the website often and have converted a few of them to be regular viewers of the site.

Here are some shorter talks – to listen to while enjoying your coffee.  Click here.

Go on, go and explore the amazing, interesting talks on TED.


Posted in Community | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Exploring with Photographs

I am lucky.  One of my hobbies is photography and I have a wide range of photographs from my travels.  People often ask me if I have a favourite photograph, or even favourite place to use my camera.  I can’t answer that.  It depends.

One of my recent photographs was taken at dawn, not far from my home.  I live at Beachmere, which is about 50 kms north of Brisbane.  It is a seaside village, on the northern banks of the Caboolture River.  The area has considerable birdlife and a few kangaroos live nearby.  Sadly I have not been able to take many photos of the ‘roos, as they hang out in a place that is not easy to get to – narrow busy road.  But the beachside photos always impress me.

 Where I Live

Dawn over Moreton Bay

Sometimes if I wake early and there are some clouds about, I can hop into my car and drive to the waterfront.  With camera of course!  The above photograph was taken at dawn, and the one below is a view of the water at low tide.  Same spot.

Low Tide at Beachmere


One of the exciting things I like taking photographs of are reflection and I find so many places in China where there are canals.  Still water equals good reflections.  These photos were taken in 2016, when I visited during Spring Festival to attend a friend’s wedding.

In Cixi

Around Shaoxing

This is in Shaoxing.

I’d like to spend hours sitting on the edge of some of the waterways in China.  In some there are bamboo boats (Wupeng boats) plying their way around a lot of waterways.  Some times the canals are narrow and not easy to get a good image.  Sometimes though the reflection of the Wupeng boat is a key part of the shot.


Posted in Photography | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bamboo – Versatile Giant Grass

My friends and family all know that I have an addiction to bamboo.  It is an amazing “grass”.  Yes, a grass.  When I lived in China I saw how much it is loved and used there.  Other Asian, South American and South African countries use it more than we do in Australia.

In China, I saw many items made out of bamboo, and it was there that I discovered fabric made from it, and subsequently bought many bamboo things that are dotted throughout my home.  I get concerned that Australians have not embraced this renewable, fast growing grass which is really so useful.  I can only guess why it is not used so much here.

Today I came across a “camping pod” created in Melbourne, Australia, which I found very interesting.  In fact, the website has quite a few interesting items on it.


Until I went to China I had not seen any of the giant species.  One weekend the university took us on an expedition to an area to the west of Shanghai.  It was very hilly, and we could see bamboo growing everywhere.  We had visited a tourist spot during the day, and late in the afternoon arrived at our accommodation for the night.  There was no time to explore then.

In the morning I was up early, with camera in hand, and set off along a windy road up through the bamboo.  I was able to touch huge “logs” of bamboo – some of it had been harvested, but most was just growing up and down the hills.  I was in awe.  Perhaps not as much as the local Chinese, who saw this tall, blonde woman walking through their village with a big camera.

Some of them just stopped what they were doing and stared at me.

You can read about the camping pod created by Giant Grass here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Creating a Crossword for UBC Challenge

UBC – the Ultimate Blog Challenge for day 8 (and I am behind, I know, but working fast to catch up) is to create a contest or a promotion.   I decided to create a Crossword.  Now let me explain further.

I don’t spend a lot of time answering questions on Crossword Puzzles, but I like creating them.  Perhaps it is my love of words or something, but I just enjoy the challenge of making a list of words, and creating the questions, using those words as answers.  I have used a program called Eclipse  for some years.  I liked to use it in my English classes.  As a teacher one can create a puzzle using words that have been in recent lessons, It generally is fun to do in class.


As I have not been teaching for a while, I’ve not used the program for a while, but have always known that I could (with practice) create puzzles for a website/blog.  I haven’t done it.  I am hoping I can do it today, but have already failed in my first attempt.

I have created the Crossword – but now finding it challenging to get it here.  It is a work in progress.

Have you created a Crossword for your Blog?  Perhaps if you have done so, you may add a comment with advice for me.  I have allotted 60 minutes to create this post, and the Crossword, but with 5 minutes to go, I know I will not achieve it right now.  I will see my computer Mentor and see if I can work out, with help, how to do it.

I do recommend Eclipse for creating Crosswords, and it can be fun to make them up – you can have fun with grandchildren especially, or indeed anyone.  It is possible to print out the questions with the blanks for someone to pencil in the answers.  You can also print out an answer sheet.

(Right on my deadline I figured a way to do it.  I used the Snipping Tool to create an image of the crossword!!   Yay!)

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , | Leave a comment