Monday, June 30, 2008

Sinking sun


It's time I let the sun set on Wellington. That's it for the while until I go on another wayfaring adventure.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Windmill


The weather in Wellington was sunny, warm and glorious and a change from what had been a constantly grey wet week in the city. The townsfolk were kind enough to acknowledge that we were having a good weekend but couldn't resist mentioning that they were anxiously awaiting rain. They dry landscape was dotted with windmills faithfully pumping much needed groundwater to the surface.

Water restrictions in the city and Blue Mountans have been lifted a little now the catchment has 66.7% storage. We can wash our cars again. The other side of the picture is that the drought has not yet broken in the bush, Lake Burrendong near Wellington is still at a mere 25%

Musing:
From Summer in the Country by Peter Skrzynecki
"... watching grasses and grains
shimmer in paddocks
or sheep and cattle
grazing beyond a windbreak of pines.

Galahs clanged over the homestead.
A windmill turned
when a breeze sprung up.
Cockatoos screeched from the pepper tree."

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fire engine


OK, it's time I moved on from old stuff, but I couldn't resist the fire engine.

Engines


Another memory, my Dad showing us the traction engine that he used to drive, by then rusting and languishing in an overgrown paddock near the saw mill.

Musing:
From The Dog Beneath the Skin by W.H. Auden a play he wrote with Christopher Isherwood
"Now through night's caressing grip
Earth and all her oceans slip,
Capes of China slide away
From her fingers into day
And the Americas incline
Coasts towards her shadow line.
Now the ragged vagrants creep
Into crooked holes to sleep:
Just and unjust, worst and best,
Change their places as they rest:
Awkward lovers lie in fields
Where disdainful beauty yields:
While the splendid and the proud
Naked stand before the crowd
And the losing gambler gains
And the beggar entertains:
May sleep's healing power extend
Through these hours to our friend.
Unpursued by hostile force,
Traction engine, bull or horse
Or revolting succubus;
Calmly till the morning break
Let him lie, then gently wake."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Washerwoman


Down this end of Gulgong is the local musuem, a wonderous place full of every conceivable object from country life. Having grown up in the bush where nothing is thrown out and in an era when 'old things' were used much longer, there is much that is familiar in the museum. The old mangle reminded me of Monday mornings (before the washing machine) -- the boiling copper, sheets rinsed in blue, school clothes dipped in starch and my mum semi-whistling hymns as she turned the handle of the old mangle mounted on the cement wash tubs. As it happens, my Mum was a member of the Salvation Army, so this poem by a famous American poet amuses me just about as much as the museum.

Musing:
Washerwoman by Carl Sandberg
"The washerwoman is a member of the Salvation Army.
And over the tub of suds rubbing underwear clean
She sings that Jesus will wash her sins away
And the red wrongs she has done God and man
Shall be white as driven snow.
Rubbing underwear she sings of the Last Great Washday."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Delight in disorder


Gulgong is another tidied up town -- in fact the main street has been so tarted up I found it hard to distinquish between real history and "Ye Olde" fake. But off the main street I was pleased to find the real thing. I like wrinkles on old faces and things being just a little astray.

Musing:
Delight in Disorder by Robert Herrick
"A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction--
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher--
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbands to flow confusedly--
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat--
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility--
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Henry Lawson Festival


After Yoeval we drove to Gulgong because we had heard the Henry Lawson Festival was on. I admire Henry Lawson's writing, particularly his short stories. Henry, a quintessential Australian writer from the turn of the century (last century not this one) apparently lived his early life in Gulgong.

Musing:
From Faces In The Street by Henry Lawson
They lie, the men who tell us for reasons of their own
That want is here a stranger, and that misery's unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My window-sill is level with the faces in the street
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet
While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.

And cause I have to sorrow, in a land so young and fair,
To see upon those faces stamped the marks of Want and Care;
I look in vain for traces of the fresh and fair and sweet
In sallow, sunken faces that are drifting through the street
Drifting on, drifting on,
To the scrape of restless feet;
I can sorrow for the owners of the faces in the street.

I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor?
Ah! Mammon's slaves, your knees shall knock, your hearts in terror beat,
When God demands a reason for the sorrows of the street,
The wrong things and the bad things
And the sad things that we meet
In the filthy lane and alley, and the cruel, heartless street."

Monday, June 23, 2008

He's wrong


We took a drive to Yoeval, for no particular reason other than to see what was there. We found a small historic town with all the things you would expect -- shops, schools, churches, masonic temple, RSL club, vet and ag supplies, football field, picnic spot by the creek, no doubt a CWA branch somewhere and of course a Royal Hotel. I'm sorry to say this, because the good citizens of Yoeval are obviously very proud, but I don't like this town, it has somehow tidied itself up too much.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

I like this town

In Wellington I kept saying "I really like this town" to which my husband responded "You say that about EVERY country town we visit."

But it's not only the town, I like the the surrounding countryside too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

44 gal


Yesterday I was thinking of Mum. Today it is Dad.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Old words


This shop window had me remembering bygone words -- drapery, manchester, haberdashery, millinery, napery -- such words tripped off my mother's tongue with ease.

Musing:
According to wikipedia
"Draper is the now largely obsolete term for a merchant in cloth or dry goods, though often used specifically for one who owns or works in a draper's shop or store. A draper may additionally operate as a cloth merchant or a haberdasher. The drapers were an important trade guild."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gateway


There is a large and rather strange sculpture at the gateway to the town. I bet this one divided the locals.

Musing:
Words of explanation at the sculpture
"Made from the old Wellington bridge which collapsed in 1989, its form is based on the shape of a seed pod, representing the fertility of the valley and the future potential of the town ... growing out of the pod are large metal and mosiac plants starting with kangaroo grass, spreading out to the large purple Patterson's Curse."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Grain


Like many towns in this part of the country, grain silos dominate the scene.

Musing:
From The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The troll?


Here's the river but I can't quite see the troll?

Musing:
The Three Billy Goat's Gruff (continued)
Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap, went the bridge.
"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll.
"Oh, it's the second Billy Goat Gruff , and I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the billy goat, who hadn't such a small voice.
"Now I'm coming to gobble you up," said the troll.
"Oh, no! Don't take me. Wait a little till the big Billy Goat Gruff comes. He's much bigger."
"Very well! Be off with you," said the troll.

If you don't remember the story you can check out the ending here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The bridge


Yesterday we saw the goats, today the bridge.

Musing:
The Three Billy Goat's Gruff (continued)
"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll .
"Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff , and I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the billy goat, with such a small voice.
"Now, I'm coming to gobble you up," said the troll.
"Oh, no! pray don't take me. I'm too little, that I am," said the billy goat. "Wait a bit till the second Billy Goat Gruff comes. He's much bigger."
"Well, be off with you," said the troll.
A little while after came the second Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A kitchen with a view


One thing I like about camping is how after a short drive and setting up camp you have a different view from the kitchen window. In Wellington we had a lovely view of the Macquarie River with a small flock of goats grazing by the water's edge.

Musing:
The Three Billy Goats Gruff a folk tale from Norway
"Once upon a time there were three billy goats, who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was "Gruff." On the way up was a bridge over a cascading stream they had to cross; and under the bridge lived a great ugly troll , with eyes as big as saucers, and a nose as long as a poker. So first of all came the youngest Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.
"Trip, trap, trip, trap! " went the bridge.
"Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll .
"Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff , and I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the billy goat, with such a small voice.
"Now, I'm coming to gobble you up," said the troll.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Yellow bird

The public garden in Wellington was alive with birds of all shapes and sizes. I managed to catch this little yellow bird in the yellow autumn trees.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Glorious Dead

Wellington has a large attractive public garden. I was interested in the war memorial within this setting. Not that it was surprising in any way to be there, as just about every town in Australia has one, but this particular memorial was more elegant than the the soldier standing on a pedistal so commonly seen in country towns.

Musing:
From The Fourth of August by Laurence Binyon
"Now in thy splendour go before us.
Spirit of England, ardent-eyed,
Enkindle this dear earth that bore us
In the hour of peril purified.

The cares we hugged drop out of vision,
Our hearts with deeper thought dilate,
We step from days of sour division
Into the grandeur of our fate.

For us the glorious dead have striven,
They battled that we might be free.
We to their living cause are given;
We arm for men that are to be."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Side street

In Wellington there are lots of old buildings with broad verandahs edged with iron lace. Not all of the buildings are as grand but in my mind no less beautiful.

Photo: Side street, Wellington

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wellington

We went wayfaring at last over the long weekend, staying over for a couple of days at the country town of Wellington. It's apparently the second oldest town west of the Blue Mountains and carries its history well.

Reminds me that a few weeks ago my husband was picking me up from my office via a different route and rang for some guidance on how to get there. You turn into Wellington Road I said. Sometime later he arrived somewhat frustrated, having found his way via Waterloo Road.
Photo: Wellington Post Office

Musing:
From the Eve of Waterloo by Lord Byron
"THERE was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men.
A thousand hearts beat happily; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell!

Did ye not hear it? -- No; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony street;
On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when youth and pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.
But hark! -- that heavy sound breaks in once more,
As if the clouds its echo would repeat;
And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before;
Arm! arm! it is -- it is -- the cannon's opening roar!"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Royal Hotel

Not all of the buildings in Sofala are falling apart. The hotel is still going strong.

Photo: Sofala Royal Hotel



Musing:
Friday Night at the Royal Station Hotel by Phillip Larkin
"Light spreads darkly downwards from the high
Clusters of lights over empty chairs
That face each other, coloured differently.
Through open doors, the dining-room declares
A larger loneliness of knives and glass
And silence laid like carpet. A porter reads
An unsold evening paper. Hours pass,
And all the salesmen have gone back to Leeds,
Leaving full ashtrays in the Conference Room.
In shoeless corridors, the lights burn. How
Isolated, like a fort, it is -
The headed paper, made for writing home
(If home existed) letters of exile: Now
Night comes on. Waves fold behind villages. "

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sofala artists

Sofala has been a popular spot for artists for many years. Russell Drysdale painted the main street, which looks somewhat different today.



Photo: Main Street Sofala

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Grocery shopping

Photo: Main street, Sofala

Grocery shopping isn't what it used to be in Sofala. Nor what it used to be in Brisbane according to a recent post by bitingmidge. I also remember the "Cash and Carry" which was so much more sophisticated than Mr Symes General Store or the shop down the road that had a petrol pump like the one in today's picture.