It rained steadily all last night, which is just wonderful. I had the window open because it’s not cold, and I could hear the rain when I woke occasionally. Apparently there was a great thunderstorm with dramatic lightning in Sydney overnight.
In the morning I was up early and the rain had stopped. The shrike thrush was visiting in the trees close to the house. It was such a nice surprise because she hasn’t been around forever. And it reminded me I need to do this post.
A while ago I promised to post a little video I had made of the shrike thrush calling. I had posted this clip way back in June on the Twitter account, but had not then posted here as well.
This video was taken from the front door. It was early June 2020 and the recorded temperature was – 2 (might have been -3, I am a bit rusty). At that time the shrike thrushes were the dominant residents in the trees close to the tiny house. It’s a lovely call isn’t it? I’d post the longer version of the clip but I don’t think my website likes the data load required for video.
How sweet is this little bouquet? It has actual lilac blossom in it – which you would never see in a commercial flower arrangement, not ever.
Apparently some dignified ancient crone sells these home made bunches on a Saturday morning somewhere in Canberra – Kingston perhaps? My girlfriend and her partner always get me one (instead of bread at the local bakery, because much as I like bread I’m not _totally_ into it). It’s a sweet thought when they drive by on the way home to Sydney – which they did this morning, to collect the beloved dog I’ve been dogsitting – which it is my absolute pleasure to do.
The visiting dog:
He’s a lovely soul, a stumpy tail blue heeler. He’s adept at finding old tennis balls. In the middle of absolutely nowhere he’ll appear with a tennis ball, soggy and unthrowable. In this picture he settled for a stick – a mega stick.
Once you are a bit more than an hour out of Sydney and you’re on an older road, you’ll start to see what we haven’t seen for four years – apple trees blossoming by the roadside.
It’s so lovely to see after years of drought.
I’ve been told apple trees especially like to grow next to railways lines, because the blue metal dust from the the basalt railway ballast is a fertiliser.
Here is the blossom from a flourishing tree next to my local rail line. I think I should expect excellent fruit from it. Cider would be nice. And instead of origin by paddock, origin by stretch of road or rail.
Good morning friends, It’s been a long time between drinks on the SS Letters from America that’s for sure but bear with me, 2020 has been quite a year. Scheduled tours in Sydney have been going well. I can also fit in ad hoc meetings on most Wednesdays after 3.00pm with a bit of notice. So if any one in Sydney wants to meet at short notice later on a Wednesday, you are welcome to contact me. Meet ups in the Southern Highlands, Canberra and Wollongong are great in between. The Forester has just sailed past 200 km and going just fine.
The dates for next scheduled Sydney tours, staying at the usual place, are:
Sunday 8 November to Friday 13 November 2020, and Sunday 6 December to Friday 11 December 2020.
I would love to write more but as I know the stalker snoops around on everything I do, it’s just made it less fun and it gives her more fuel for her obsession to feed on. As most of you know it’s a female stalker, obviously not anyone I’ve ever seen or know, she’s just filled with jealous rage because she’s had a long term fixation on my partner. Sigh. My happy life goes on but she’s kind of wrecked the pleasure I’ve always taken in doing MG. She’s got some kind of fantasy that she’s competing with me (I think?), and so she copies me too. Once her identity was found out though she stopped the threats, so that’s good. And I’ve shut down all the online avenues for her to reach me with her slimy unpleasant messages, so that’s something as well. We’ll just keep going. Perhaps she’ll find someone else to fixate on. Women who have no conscience engaging in violent manipulative behaviour toward a “rival” when the love object they are fixated on is not interested in them, really puzzle me. I mean there is no point sister, he’s not interested. You need to learn the bus stop theory. Just wait at the bus stop, one bus leaves and in 15 minutes another one comes along. With no disrespect to the uniqueness and intrinsic value of each person, the world is absolutely packed with good people to connect with, open your eyes.
To happier things, this is my overdue update on the swans. This video was taken 22 July 2020 when the cygnets were about three months old. After the loss of two little ones fairly early on, the fleet has stabilised at five cygnets. They are about twice this size now. Five cygnets is a very successful season. It’s been such a pleasure watching them progress.
Good morning friends, This is an update on my travels in the coming months.
I have scheduled visits to Sydney: Sunday 2 August to Sunday 9 August, and Sunday 6 September to Sunday 13 September.
Outside my scheduled visits to Sydney I visit Canberra, Wollongong and the Southern Highlands on an ad hoc basis.
I won’t be available for most of October because I have some personal commitments but I’ll be back again after that.
Also just an FYI, I haven’t added much to the Galleries in the last month, I’ve been occupied with construction and setting up a productive winter garden, bear with me I will see what I can do 🙂
This photo was actually taken at the end of June when the cygnets were about six or seven weeks old. I can report there are fewer now – five – but they are about twice the size. In the distance they look like a fleet with two aircraft carriers and grey destroyers round about. I would post a more recent photo but now the cygnets are larger the family has been staying further out and therefore out of range.
My Sydney visit could not have started better than it has. I actually came up early for a girlfriend’s birthday drinks. That was so fun. While I stayed in the Campari lane (Negroni much as I love it, is too strong for me), I was also introduced to the pretty amazing flavour of an Australian “smoked gin”. Does anyone know about this? I will make efforts to penetrate the local gin distilling scene and report back.
This evening I’ve done one of my favourite things – walking at night. I can’t really walk at night in the country (a) because it is too dark (b) it puts the farm dogs into a frantic (c) walking at night is really a city thing anyway. It’s all about the quiet lights radiating from houses, glimpses of people at home in their rooms with books and paintings or in their kitchens, or watching the tv, still city gardens – intimate landscapes, the harbour, city lights, the racket of occasional flying foxes.
This is a slice of my night walk, coming back over Darling Point, looking through the terraces toward Elizabeth Bay.
The best of all, is coming down the hill to Rushcutters Bay to hear one of my favourite sounds, rope gently thumping against the mast. And once there are a few boats rolling gently it’s like a gamelan orchestra. You never hear them tolling so clearly and gently during daytime.
I made a lovely little clip of the full moon and the gentle sound of rope against mast.
Dear friends For those of you who know me and follow the Letters from America, you are very welcome to get in touch with me in the usual way. I am still visiting Sydney on a regular basis. My next visit is from Monday 6 July to Saturday 11 July. You can see from the rather more austere version of the website that operations have changed somewhat. I can fill you in if you like, when we catch up. Meantime let me know if you would like me to send you the password for the Galleries on the website. I will continue to add to the Letters from America from time to time
This photo is a bit out of focus and overexposed but your glamorous aunt is doing real yoga. There are some lovely spots just off the highway to Canberra. This is one of them, at a rest area commemorating one of the bravest second war VCs, Diver Derrick VC.
In the Iliad there are one or two passages that changed the way I looked at poplars. Everyone knows I love trees. I already loved poplars. But now I love them even more. I have included one of the passages from Homer, which is about the death of a Trojan named Simoeisios. It follows a standard formula: the fall of the warrior in the battle, his precise wound, the story of his humanity, the metaphor.
There Telamonian Ajax struck down the son of Anthemion Simoeisios in his stripling’s beauty, whom once his mother descending from Ida bore beside the banks of Simoeis when she had followed her father and mother to tend the sheepflocks. Therefore they called him Simoeisios; but he could not render again the care of his dear parents; he was short-lived, beaten down beneath the spear of high-hearted Ajax, who struck him as he first came forward beside the nipple of the right breast, and the bronze spearhead drove clean through the shoulder. He dropped then to the ground in the dust, like some black poplar, which in the land low-lying about a great marsh grows smooth trimmed yet with branches growing at the uttermost tree-top: one whom a man, a maker of chariots, fells with the shining iron, to bend into a wheel for a fine-wrought chariot, and the tree lies hardening by the banks of a river. Such was Anthemion’s son Simoeisios, whom illustrious Ajax killed.