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Light and dark, tall and short, happy and sad — this week, share a shot that captures a contrast. This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, share your own photo showing a CONTRAST.

Hello all

Sometimes dear friends, one comes across a place in one’s travels that leaves you gasping … but not in the way you would think. This happened to us when our cruise stopped in Lombok Indonesia. We were shocked to find that we were in third world conditions complete with pit toilets and few western innovations, and we saw for ourselves the way that these people lived.

However, we didn’t realise that worse was to come when our driver (everyone who owns a large vehicle becomes a tour driver on port day in Lombok) took us to the rural area where his family lived. I’m not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t what we got! Therefore today, I want to use these photos of rural Lombok to bring to you photos that say: CONTRAST. Enjoy!

Here I am learning to weave from one of the women who weaves from dawn to dusk every day!

Here I am learning to weave from one of the women who weaves from dawn to dusk every day!

It was a meagre existence where the women weave all day and the men are the entrepreneurs selling tablecloths, runners and all types of woven goods to tourists. Even the girls come home from school and weave until tea time. In fact, when we were there, we saw a twelve year old girl weaving on a veranda looking though the window of their house (shack). It appears that they watch TV while they weave!

And what about the boys? Well, they don’t do much at all! It is a funny old world isn’t it?

Such contrasts ... the colourful clothes of the children against the mire in which they live.

Such contrasts … the colourful clothes of the children against the mire in which they live.

We were shocked by the way they lived in this part of the world. Children and chickens ran around together amongst the dirt and squalor. The houses were really only  shacks slapped together with whatever they could find. This indeed was a land of contrasts! Go to the seaside villages and you would find beautiful resorts full of tourists and all western conveniences. Go into the countryside and be shocked!

It's easy to see the contrast between me and this old grandma. Not sure if she is abusing me or what! However, we did have to pay to be photographed together.

It’s easy to see the contrast between me and this old grandma. Not sure if she is abusing me or what! However, we did have to pay to be photographed together.

Of course, the old people living here were missing teeth and did not look to be in good condition! Even though they are excused from weaving, they mind the children and seem to be responsible for helping out daughters and daughter-in-law by putting food on the table and were not very happy either. Possibly they think it’s time for retirement?

Just for the heck of it, I have included this photo of a clutch of chickens resting in the dirt because there is nowhere else better to settle.

Just for the heck of it, I have included this photo of a clutch of chickens resting in the dirt because there is nowhere else better to settle.

As we left this dirty and dusty rural area, the four of us were shaking our heads in disbelief … and counting our blessings at the same time. We realised how lucky we were to live where we live …

To see more photos that say: CONTRAST visit


Set for Solstice

From WordPress: Today’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). How are you taking advantage of the extra hours of light this time of year? Do you like it, or do you already miss earlier sunsets?

A beautiful winter's day for the solstice in the southern hemisphere!

A beautiful winter’s day for the solstice in the southern hemisphere! Here is the entrance to my mystery pathway.

Hello all

In these days of technology, it is disconcerting living in the southern hemisphere when quite often, because you follow blogs and participate on social media, almost everything is happening in the northern hemisphere! The time difference gets to you and you feel ‘out of the loop.’

For instance, unless you stay up late, you are asleep when WordPress and other online media outlets publish their Challenges, so you are always behind; often getting your contribution in on the tail end of everything. One can feel very out of kilter dear friends. Oh, what an upside-down world we live in, especially when you live Down-Under!

And so we have the Summer Solstice happening today in the northern hemisphere. Oh no! Not when we are having the Winter Solstice here at the very same time! What to do?

Of course there is nothing else to be done but for me to discuss the Winter Solstice … of course. I am pleased to see that there are quite a few southern hemisphere bloggers now who carry the baton for Down Under and plod away as best they can. Onwards and upwards …

Therefore today,  while the northern hemisphere is still in their summer solstice. we are so far ahead, we celebrated our winter solstice yesterday! Comprehend? Torn BETWEEN two hemispheres friends.

Anyway, today I set out to do some walking for exercise. The sun was shining brilliantly under the bluest of skies and because it is cold, one can easily go walking around midday without feeling the least bit overheated … as I did today.

As I walked along the path at the end of my street, I pondered this question of the two solstices and how one can have polar opposites of weather at the very same time. For some reason, I find it fascinating. Perhaps I remember when I was in Europe in April freezing during their spring, only to come back to Australia in May to our autumn and feel nice and warm. In the blink of an eye the weather had changed.

This graffiti surprised me with its beauty on the wall of a house shed.

This graffiti surprised me with its beauty on the wall of a house shed.

As I continued on my walk, I was faced with a decision: turn right to continue along the footpath close to the road, or go straight ahead through a pathway which was BETWEEN a ten foot fence bordering the highway and the back fences of a whole row of houses. I chose the path BETWEEN as it was cooler and shrouded in trees and shrubs and it had one element that the footpath did not have: MYSTERY!

I love this almost secret pathway. So I continued walking there for another fifteen minutes until I came into a clearing which led to another road. Across from here was a park with tennis courts and playgrounds and skate tracks. At this point I turned around and walked back through my pathway of mystery … hidden from all and sundry. I do not think however, that I would want to be taking this path during the night hours … in fact I shivered when I thought what could happen here if you were alone.

As I went, I looked at the graffiti scribbled on the highway barricades and then I noticed another on the back wall of one of the houses which was simply beautiful. It was at this point that I realised something: I was actually walking ‘BETWEEN’ two barriers. Immediately I realised that this was the very word that WordPress had asked us to submit when taking part in the weekly photo challenge.

I began to see that, without even realising it, I could achieve the Daily Prompt of ‘Set for Solstice’ and the Weekly Photo Challenge of ‘Between!’ I felt very clever indeed. Two for the price of one. So without further ado here is what WordPress asked us to do with photos that say ‘BETWEEN:’

Between. Capture something in the middle of two things. It can be a person or object, or simply the space in between.

Thanks to my trusty smart phone which I was carrying, I was able to take some photos to submit. And therefore, to end my’ double trouble’ challenge, I present to you “Choosing BETWEEN the Two Solstices”. I hope you enjoy it!

The path between the barricade fence of the highway on one side and the fences of houses on the other ... on a glorious Solstice Winter's Day Down Under.

The path between the barricade fence of the highway on one side and the fences of houses on the other … on a glorious Solstice Winter’s Day Down Under.

Between the palings of this broken fence - taken on my Solstice walk today.

Between the palings of this broken fence – taken on my Solstice walk today.

Between another fence; the one next door to above as I walked.

Between another fence; the one next door to above as I walked.

This interesting fence caught my attention ... no, not a snake the branches of a bush!

This interesting fence caught my attention … no, not a snake the branches of a bush!


Ah ... look what's between the fence here: a lone tennis ball!

Ah … look what’s between the fence here: a lone tennis ball!



Rare Medium

Describe a typical day in your life — but do it in a form or in a medium you’ve rarely — if ever – used before. If you’re a photoblogger, write a poem. If you’re a poet, write an open letter. If you’re a travel blogger, write a rant.

Hello all

Here is my take on Rare Medium . Welcome to The Take on My day today!

Up early to go to the movies. A Gold Class pass given to us six months ago … due to expire next week … we must use it says my husband.

Nothing on that we would like except aliens, X Men, Witches or Goblins. Aah … a movie about a girl with cancer … that will do … better than aliens and all the rest!

Drat! a phone call interrupts. Pat, my gym buddy’s husband (David) is in hospital with a broken leg and she is phoning me back to update me on his condition. We talk but I know I’ll have to go soon so we won’t be late for the movie we have booked online. I am still in my pyjamas with 15 mins before leaving!

Will we catch the bus as it is hard to park at the shopping centre where the movie is showing? We are just about to park for the bus when we remember we promised to visit David in the hospital not far from the movies, so we leave the park and head off by car to the movies.

9.30 am … we are early … but we decide to walk up the 100 steps that seem to  go up to heaven on the second floor and have a coffee until 10 am. No escalators are working – the place appears to be in darkness. What is happening?

I tell Geoff it is good exercise for the day when the lady at the coffee counter tells us we must leave the theatre as they do not open until 9.45 pm and we are not covered by insurance if anything happens while we sit and wait for the movie to start.

And NO of course we can’t have a coffee … as they are not open … remember??

I reply that we may just have a heart attack from climbing up and down all those steps at our age … what do they think of that? I manage to laugh because I feel sorry for the young girl but inside I am shaking my head and wondering what has happened to our society today that such a thing could happen! I mutter to Geoff and I can see he agrees.

Leave the building for ten minutes she tells us … then come back. She also says we walked through the Staff Door and that’s how we got in. We saw no sign but as we leave we see a very small sign that would hardly capture anyone’s attention.

A walk around the shopping centre and we come back in time to see the General door unlocked. We walk up the 100 Stairway to Heaven steps which take you to the theatre above. We are covered for insurance now … how grand!

Lovely lounge chairs that go up down and all about in the Gold Class Theatre.  Five of us watching “The Fault in our Stars” and all of us are crying as the young cancer victims try to live life, two fall in love and one doesn’t make it. Even Geoff has to grab a serviette from the food we ordered, to wipe his eyes!  This movie  must be good … and it is … touching and poignant.

Out in the light of day we have three hours free parking in the shopping centre before paying and we have ten minutes to get out the gate … all systems go as we try to meet the deadline. You only pay $5 anyway but you would think it was $100 as we sprint from the theatre, get the car and make the exit with one minute to spare.

Off to the hospital but wouldn’t you know it, we’ve taken the wrong exit and are heading out-of-town instead of to the next suburb!

We manage to turn around before too long and then a text message comes in from Pat at the hospital saying “David is resting after X-Rays”. What are we to do? We’re almost there now. Perhaps we could have lunch somewhere first  and let David have his rest?

We park in a parking station at the hospital. $7 for the first hour or $10 for two hours. Here we go again! No parks on the street. Oh what the heck, let’s just pay for the 2 hours and have lunch at a cafe at the hospital and then visit David.

Good call. We arrive and David has woken. He is pleased to see us and we have a lovely visit for an hour. Now for home as the traffic gets really bad on the highway after 3 pm. It is now 2.15pm so off we go.

We pass by our son’s house on the way and think we’ll do a quick pop-in to see our daughter-in-law and little granddaughter. We knock but there is no answer. Off again to beat the traffic. Might be just as well there was no one home!

Home by 3.15 pm. Phew! Worn out and exhausted, we decide it’s time to have a cup of tea and a sit down … to recover from all that walking up stairs, crying at movies, real visiting at hospitals (not just in movies) and traffic on highways.

Dinner to be cooked … eaten … washed up … followed by a little TV viewing.

Oh guess what? Almost forgot. The State of Origin football is on tonight between Queensland and New South Wales! Queensland (our state) has won eight years in a row and we don’t want New South Wales to win ever again! Hardly possible I know but it sure feels good to keep winning like this. Time to watch and note that Qld is winning … if we win, it will be one game all, with one more game to decide the outcome in two weeks time. Good! Show no mercy!

Time for bed surely?

Hang on a minute! Here’s a topic from the Daily Post … “write about your day”. What? Can’t resist this one …

Oh well … I’m almost finished! However … I’m all hyped up now, will I ever sleep after this?

Oh who cares … It’s been fun … just another ordinary day in the life of two retired old dears!




When is a room not a room? (Tuscany Italy)

When is a room not a room? (Tuscany Italy)

 Weekly Photo Challenge: ROOM

From the four walls that currently surround you to the infinite potential of space, this week we’d like you to show us your take on room, rooms, or a room. Like a few other English words,  Room means two contradictory things. It can be the four walls that enclose us, giving us shelter and comfort but also limiting our movement. It’s also the limitless space into which we can wander and which we can fill — or try to (think about that expression, “room to grow”).

Hello all

I come to my blog today after a very busy weekend filled with children and birthday celebrations. I have certainly neglected my blog during this time and yet. because of this, it has given me a chance to mull on what ‘ROOM’ is all about. It gave me time to think about what ‘my take’ was on: room, rooms or just a room.

While I was helping Alice (12) with paper flower making last night Violet (7) was making a Halloween card (okay I know it isn’t Halloween but she was hell-bent on making one!) I looked for some photos of rooms that weren’t contained within four walls.  (As an aside, let me tell you that you can easily do this sort of multitasking when you are younger … but don’t try it as a Grandma, it’s too hard!)

Now where was I with this? Oh yes … I had decided during the last two days that sometimes we form ‘rooms’  that aren’t really rooms at all … for various reasons. Think about when you are in hospital and sharing a room with another patient. what happens when you want privacy? The nurse draws the curtains around you. Hey presto, you have a room!

Another occasion is when you have a really large room which you divide into a dining room down one end and you arrange furniture to make a family room down the other end. Sometimes, you may even have one of those folding screens that you put between the two if you want privacy. Again, you have created an instant room.

And my favourite ‘instant room’ is in a garden when you grow plants and place hedges in such a way that it creates a ‘feeling’ of a room. Just add a table and some chairs and you have created an outdoor room, perfect for that morning or afternoon cuppa.

Therefore today, I am going to bring you some ‘feeling’ of rooms that Geoff and I encountered last April when we visited the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens, north of Sydney. There are so many beautiful ‘rooms’ in this garden dear friends. In fact, Hunter Valley Gardens have made it into an art form with their creation of the Italian Grotto Garden, the Oriental Garden, the Indian Garden and many others besides.

Today I am going to share some of these ‘rooms’ with you. So dear friends, here is my take on this week’s Photo Challenge: ROOM

To see more of the beautiful Theme Gardens at Hunter Valley Gardens visit their website … it is a beautiful place:

Another wall and gates that leads into the Indian Garden.

A wall with gates that leads into the Indian Garden ‘Room’.

Walls in the garden such as these give a feeling of going from one 'room' into another

Walls in the garden such as these give a feeling of going from one ‘room’ into another

If you look through the bushes you can see Alice in Wonderland having her Mad Hatter's Tea Party in the Story Book Garden.

If you look through the bushes you can see Alice in Wonderland having her Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the Story Book Garden Room.

Another view of the Mad Hatters Tea Party.

Another view of the Mad Hatters Tea Party.

Work of Art

“Art” isn’t just paintings and sculptures, it can be anything in which we find beauty and meaning — even food. Show us a thing, place, or person that’s a work of art to you.

When someone says “art,” they often use it as shorthand for “paintings and sculptures.” Art is everywhere, though: in nature, in architecture, in literature, and more. It’s anywhere we see beauty and meaning.

 Hello all

Here I am once again with a fascinating topic for you all. I couldn’t help myself with this one friends. Normally I would  use my own photographs for the Weekly Photo Challenge: ART but this week I happened to come across some works of art online made out of something quite unusual … SUGAR!

Yes indeed: SUGAR … and I wanted to share these wonderful sugar objects of art from New York.

You see, I follow a blog TheFitzyreport written by the Australian Gabrielle Fitzgerald who lives in New York. On May 16th she wrote a post called ‘Sweet Subtlety’ about her visit to the

Photo credit: Gabrielle Fitzgerald

Photo credit: Gabrielle Fitzgerald

disused sugar refinery to see this art collection before the building was demolished. Gabrielle writes:

“What has long been a hallmark in the midst of increasingly hirsute hipsters in Williamsburg is about to meet a sticky end. Domino’s, once the biggest sugar refinery in the world and a working colossus on the banks of the East River is about to be dismantled. The heritage facade will remain and luxury apartments will eventually grow in the voided historical space. But for a very short time, there is an opportunity to experience the genius of Kara Walker’s art in the contextual reality of the cavernous confectioner.”

Kara Walker has made object out of the moulds that were once used by Domino’s to make sugar sculptures. I enjoyed researching this topic and spent far too much reading all about Domino’s and also Kara Walker. Oh, sometimes writing on a blog has its own ‘sweet’ reward! Gabrielle says on her blog:

“The sugar sculptures that used to be part of refined society in medieval times suddenly morph into a giant sphinx, a sugar moma that takes your breathe away. She is huge, commanding and glistening. Thirty five tons of sugar were poured over her frame and moulded around her fabulous features.” More at:

Gabrielle’s post led me to another site, the title of the piece being,’The Sugar Sphinx’ by Hilton Als who writes:

“Measuring approximately seventy-five and a half feet long and thirty-five and a half feet high, the sculpture is white—a mammy-as-sphinx made out of bleached sugar, which is a metaphor and reality. Remember, sugar is brown in its “raw” state. Walker, in a very informative interview with Kara Rooney, says that she read a book called “Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History.”

There, she learned that sugar was such a commodity that, in the eleventh century, marzipan sculptures were created by the sultans in the East to give to the poor on feast days. This tradition made its way to Northern Europe, eventually, where royal chefs made sugar sculptures called subtleties.

Therefore dear friends, in order to celebrate the ART of SUGAR, I present to you:

At the behest of Creative Time Kara E. Walker has confected:

or the Marvelous Sugar Baby
an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant

The Sugar sphinx with the artist Kara Walker

The Sugar Sphinx with the artist Kara Walker (photo from New Yorker)

One of the dark children made out of sugar

One of the dark children made out of sugar (photo credit Gabrielle Fitzgerald)

Another dark child in the sugar refinery.

Another dark child in the sugar refinery.  (photo credit Gabrielle Fitzgerald)


The Sugar Spinx at Dominos surrounded by people.

The Sugar Spinx at Dominos surrounded by onlookers (photo credit Gabrielle Fitzgerald)

To see more photos of ART:


The Prompt today from WordPress is”

“If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?”

Hello all

I am feeling rather sad at the moment as a special friend of the family is dying and Geoff and I are travelling five hours south of here to see her – hopefully – before she dies. Still, I couldn’t help myself when I saw this Daily Prompt from WordPress yesterday and thought it would cheer me up to write. It is no secret that my husband and I fell in love with Paris when we travelled overseas five years ago this month. So here, before I head off on compassionate grounds for a few days,  is my take of Tale of Two Cities:

Tale of Two Cities

The call of Paris haunts me still

I long to be on the Pedestrian Bridge

… at night .

.. overlooking the Seine

Everything around lit up like fairyland

Paris lit up like fairyland

Paris lit up like fairyland

Just as in the movies … and on postcards!

I long to be chatting to the people who gather there

Eating Pizza and drinking wine

Discussing the state of the world

Convincing the Parisians of the wonders of Australia

Yet convincing no one but ourselves

I long to hear the poetic language that dances all around me:

 “Bon … jour” –  high then low – in sing-song fashion.

Yes how I long for Paris in the springtime

But then again … can I give away my hometown?

… wonderful Brisbane, Australia?

Pictures come to mind:

South Bank with its beautiful walkway.

South Bank with its beautiful walkway.

 Walking under the Bougainvillea walkway near the river

Towering buildings of the city looming in the background

And endless beaches foaming as the waves roll in

How can I live without my heart’s first love?

My birth place … my childhood delight

…  my adult security

Oh how indeed ?

Perhaps if I were to have two homes, I could leave this town of mine

And wander the streets of Paris in the warmer months

Then return to Brisbane to swim in the summer surf

With beaches never found near Paris!

Could I possibly eliminate winter altogether?

Except when my heart cries out for colder climes?

My Tale of Two Cities  seems impossible to me

But then again … I can always dream

… of wandering country lanes in France

… of catching trains and adventuring

Returning always to the heart of Paris

Where my eyes can behold this city of  beauty.

And when my appetite is sated

I can wake to the reality of my Brisbane abode

Knowing that my heart lives here

Whilst acknowledging that Paris will always be present

… in my dreams

Perhaps I already live in two cities:

One in reality and one in my dreams?

Brisbane will be always be here with me

So until we meet again dear Paris

I’ll see you in my dreams …


To read more Tales of Two Cities:




Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

A threshold is a point of entering; that point just before a new beginning — that split-second moment in time, full of anticipation. All the hard work is over; relief is palpable.

I n a post created specifically for this challenge, share a photo that captures the threshold — that point just before the action happens, that oh-so-sweet moment of anticipation before that new beginning. It could be a door about to open, or something a bit more metaphorical like a flower about to bloom.


Hello all

Today I am approaching the Photo Challenge in a different way. I have been motivated by BOATS and by a HYMN! Two very different things I grant you dear friends, but put them together and you have my post about THRESHOLDS.

You see, it began like this. At church on Sunday we sang a hymn which really spoke to me about new beginnings which are indeed thresholds. The chorus of the hymn especially, speaks about pushing off from the shore in my boat and going out into the deep to find out what I should be doing with my life.

The chorus: “so I leave my boats behind … Leave them on familiar shores … Set my heart upon the deep … Follow you again my Lord” suggests being on the threshold of a brand new life.

It speaks of leaving behind familiarity and going into places that are unknown to us (represented by the deep ocean). Each stage of life suggests we leave the shore in our boat and venture out into new territory in order to find ourselves. I love this concept and wanted to use it for the photo challenge of THRESHOLD today. My own story of boats and thresholds reads like this:

When I retired I felt I was on the threshold of a brand new life but it was hard to leave the shore of my familiar life to take my boat into the deep in order to find out what I wanted to do next. I was not prepared to simply retire and do nothing.  Five years down the track I am very comfortable with where I am and I could give up and stay here.

However, another challenge beckons as I approach my seventies. I find myself in yet another boat, ready for a new adventure. The hymn spoke to me about this stage:

“As I gaze into the night … Down the future of my years … I’m not sure I want to walk … Past horizons that I know”.

Yes, I’m not sure  I want to look ‘down the future of my years’. There is a certain fear about getting older. I am on the threshold of another era and I really do want to put out into the deep beyond the fears that hem me in. I want to be brave enough to push off into the deep and find what I am looking for.  Therefore dear friends, I have used photos of boats that I encountered when Geoff and I were adventuring throughout Europe in 2008, to express myself in Threshold today.

Enjoy my THRESHOLD … Leaving My Boats Behind.

    “Galilee Song”

Deep within my heart I feel
Voices whispering to me;
Words that I can’t understand
Meanings I must clearly hear.
Calling me to follow close,
Lest I leave myself behind!
Calling me to walk into
Evening shadows one more time.

So I leave my boats behind!
Leave them on familiar shores!
Set my heart upon the deep.
Follow you again my Lord.

In my memories I know
How you send familiar rains,
Falling gently on my days
Dancing patterns on my pains!
And I need to learn once more,
In the fortress of my mind:
To believe in falling rains
While I travel deserts dry.



As I gaze into the night,
Down the future of my years,
I’m not sure I want to walk
Past horizons that I know.
But I feel my spirit called
Like a stirring deep within
Restless ’til I live again
Beyond the fears that close me in.

The Harbour of Dubrovnick on the threshold of Croatia

The Harbour of Dubrovnik the gateway (threshold) of Croatia

Katacolon: the gateway to Olympia

The fishing village of Katacolon on the coast: the gateway to ancient Olympia in Greece which we visited.

The boats  that take you to the Blue Pool cave at the Isle of Capri

The boats that take you to the Blue Pool cave on the Isle of Capri, Italy. The entrance is only accessible on certain tides as it is very small. Some days it is too rough to go inside but we managed it!

An old fishing boat in Marseille Harbour

This old fishing boat in Marseille Harbour in France sits amongst all the beautiful fishing boats and yachts; it has taken many people away from familiar shores.


Visit more photos here:

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