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.
Letters from America These letters are my glamorous aunt’s posts on her adventures and her life and times as a ♦ mature Sydney escort ♦
Sunday 26 January 2020
I can’t write much about the fires: the volunteers, climate change, the failure of political leadership and will, the animals, the forests. And it’s beyond me to do an “I will donate X% of my earnings in January” thing (which a lot of generous escorts are announcing on social media), I just don’t have “the spoons” as they say.
I have deep feelings of loss and I can’t say a lot about anything.
Here is a photo of the beautiful spotted gum forest on the South Coast – it will have been incinerated. I don’t think I can get myself to visit again any time soon.
I spent many wonderful holidays on the South Coast where my grandparents bought a hobby farm when they retired.
Here are links to a couple of small wildlife rescue operations local to my new home, if you would like to donate.
I have been directly affected by the fires too. I’ve been told to evacuate by the local RFS four times now. (I did go promptly the first three times, the fourth time I dragged my feet). We will just have to see how February goes. It’s very dry, hot and windy. There are two fire fronts active close by: one to the South about 12 km away and one to East which has been as close as 5 km when it has been on the move. This is the fire map published on Friday evening:
It’s Australia Day though, so it’s barbeque time, and here is one version of the case to change the date (CW: this Youtube video is probably, as they say, entirely “off brand” lol):
I am back from lovely holidays sailing with friends in the Whitsundays. I have an excellent tan to show for it. I actually didn’t want to come back. The South African guy at the charter yacht company was no help either, just suggested I read the book with the self explanatory title “Sell up and Sail”.
This was the outlook when anchored overnight in a place called Refuge Bay:
In the evening I could hear a slightly mournful bird call. At first it sounded like a dove but it was too insistent. It turned out to be a couple of pheasant coucals calling to one another. (Don’t ask me how I figured it out, it was intuition confirmed by internet searches.)
Here are some images of the bird itself which I borrowed from Google:
I put this second image in because it has the fence wire for size. I have actually seen these birds and I can warrant they are concurrently large birds and small dinosaurs.
The “sell up and sail” caper is something I like to enjoy vicariously these days by watching youtube channels. My favourite channel is one called Free Range Sailing. It’s a youtube vlog maintained by an Australian couple who are cruising in a very modest yacht, mostly in tropical waters. Apart from the sailing, they do quite a bit of free diving on the reefs, spearfishing and exploring on shore. Pascal is a very good and resourceful cook. She also seems to be the creative lead in making the vlog – which is high quality well edited video. Her partner Troy is an excellent hand at keeping their 30 foot 50 year old yacht on track and in shape. He seems to handle the inevitable breakdowns of gear in good form and has a droll sense of humour. They are of course, “free range” so it all appeals to my tree hugging temperament. You aren’t going to find them zapping around churning up the peace of the natural world on jet skis any time soon. Highly recommend! And here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbU2ulPD3rJ4OZCNH7-gjjQ
Well I was a sorry lot this week. I had a bad flu and lay in bed almost the entire time. It’s times like this past week I miss my kittens especially (now in kitten heaven), they were always such sweet company if you were laid low.
I did watch some television on my laptop though, propped up in bed. As some of you know I don’t own an actual television (and haven’t owned one my entire adult life). I finally got to see the BBC series Wolf Hall which was every bit as excellent as I had heard (and I’d loved the book). I also watched some of Anthony Bourdain’s travel and food diaries. So it’s been a quiet week for me. The only thing that didn’t slow down was the rate at which I am obliged to feed the lorikeets. If they know I am home they come and peer in at the windows and gently tap with their beaks at the glass doors. They are absolutely relentless.
I haven’t posted about any flowering trees for a little while. My flowering tree this time is a lemon tree, not from local life but from a set of French medieval tapestries that have been on exhibition at the Art Gallery.
I specially like this tree because it accurately depicts that habit which many lemon trees have of flowering and fruiting at the same time. And the flower of a lemon tree has one of the most evocative scents.
The context of the tapestries is the age of chivalry in the late Middle Ages. But there is no trace of darkness or punishing cloistered religious life that I for one, so often associate with the Middle Ages. Instead it’s a sensual paradise of garden, music and luxury. The mythical unicorn appears in all the tapestries together with the virgin maiden. The story has it that the unicorn is only tame for the virgin lady.
Curiously I found in my investigations that the original unicorn figure – a mythical wild man from Mesopotamia – was civilised only by the temple whore. I was interested to learn in that social reality the temple whore was a respected figure herself, charged with the responsibility of making men into better versions of humanity (than they were when left to their own devices).
I have just got home today after a five day round trip from Sydney to the South Coast to Canberra then to the country block and finally back to Sydney. It was all fairly packed with action and adventure. There is so much to report. For now I will just put in a couple of photos I took at the hotel I stayed at in Canberra, to show how beautiful the scene was.
More to report and I will do that over the weekend, inshallah, so to speak.
The lovely colonnaded catwalk
With all its delicate fan shaped leaves golden for the season.
Resident wildlife in the long pool included carp and wood duck. The carp were of a great size and just hung there in the water expending no apparent effort, just doing their elegant thing. Most of the wood duck, including the one in this photo, were wisely tucked up for warmth and sleep when I arrived – the weather was a little cool and grey that early afternoon.
I went up to Oxford Street at lunch time today to see a good friend from the country who was down in Sydney for work. It was another glorious day. I wish I had worn lighter clothing. After work was done we strolled along the walkway shaded by trees and high sandstone walls next to the Art School that occupies the grounds of the old goal (the old East Sydney Tech). Then we stopped in at the cafe there which is tucked away inside the walled grounds.
It’s a secret spot. Here’s the side entrance we used to duck in.
Today there was something unusual at the cafe. The shiniest, proudest, most engaged with humanity crow I have ever seen.
He was actively mining the cafe environment for food and when there was none he got creatively destructive. I mean, it was not enough to trash the miniature cactus pot plant decorating the cafe table by throwing it onto the floor, it also had to be stabbed a good number of times, back and front, with the beak first.
There was a crow commentary carried on throughout. The noise was so varied and expressive. At the end of a gravelly phrase when the bird seemed really put out by the food situation the voice would drop to a gurgling growling sometimes sing song series of notes. This bird must have learnt to speak this way from interacting with a human or human family. What a forceful presence! Completely dominating his environment with noise and movement, constant enquiry and fearless interaction with people.
My country friend observed maybe the crow was the ghost of some former inmate, a guy whose death had never been avenged, who had been knocked off by Roger Rogerson back in the day when Rogerson did time in Darlinghurst Goal. So the crow persists. Unweary cipher.
from the David Attenborough school of natural history, Darlinghurst division, MG
signing out for the evening,
When 1 May comes around each year I am delighted and surprised every time that I am still living in the light and shiny apartment that I have lived in since 2013. The lease started on 1 May 2013.
This morning about half an hour or so after dawn I took this snap which records the path of the sun to the city and picks out some autumn colour on the London plane trees in Victoria Street.
I went to the Blue Mountains for the day and there was more autumn colour for me there. No time to linger at home. These shots are taken in the garden of my very best Japanese friend, from left to right: maple (with camellia), maple, weeping cherry. This place is named Aoyama after a fashionable and leafy district in Tokyo. Aoyama literally means blue mountain in Japanese.
While we sat on the verandah above the garden a very small and brilliant bird came down to feed on the daphne bush already in flower in the shady part of the garden alongside the house. One of my favourite small birds, it seems to be always wearing a little tuxedo. The Eastern Spinebill, here in a photo I borrowed from the internet.
Such a lovely day really.
Hope you are all travelling well, and that you are visited with that wonderful feeling that comes with routine, day to day, in the details, happiness.
I have been in the country for a couple of days. Doing country work things and also rummaging around in the outdoors, probably the New Zealanders would call it tramping.
The night sky was especially beautiful on Tuesday night 4 April. There was a half moon (a moon that looked as though it had been cut squarely down the middle). In the early hours when it was lowdown in the sky it became a luminous buttery gold. And even with a bright moon the stars were beautiful. We don’t see anything like it in the city thanks to city lights. But in the free open country skies the stars are a wonderful presence. The sky does not feel like a flat ceiling over the earth. It feels like a soft dark presence cloaked over the earth with the stars screwed in at their various places – thousands of them! And the stars shine back out from the dark softness. So beautiful to see in the middle of the night when stumbling out to use the bush loo.