Friday, 19 August 2016

COOL BOOKS - literally

I have blogged about how much I enjoy books but also how I like to share the love of them and today I have proof that within my very neighbourhood there is plenty of love going on, enough to install a fridge on a street corner.

A fridge, I hear you say, on a street corner - whatever for ? Well cool books of course.

The Cool books are situated very conveniently next to this bus stop so you can browse a magazine while waiting for the bus. The exact location is at the corner of Jubilee Terrace and Fletcher Parade. You cant miss it.
I stocked it up yesterday and will be back next week to see how the exchanges are going. If you enjoyed it and don't mind parting with it, leave it for others and spread the joy of the written word. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Quilters of Queensland

Imagine a whole neighbourhood with everyone displaying something different. The variety at EKKA this year was impressive from art to pickles, to fruit cakes and waxed hands - something that could get every single person excited.

The runaway winner for me was the display "The Quilts of Queensland" and here are a select few just to give you an appreciation of the beauty, complexity and sheer hard work that has gone into producing these outstanding quilts. For anyone fired up sufficiently to join this amazing organisation go to This blog entry is with a dear friend in mind who is about to start her own quilting classes - all the best Laurel !


This is such an Ozzie great - thongs, the ubiquitous footwear here turned into something quite wonderful with some eye popping ice creams to go with the warm weather. 
The sea, the depth, the ocean colours and then all the fish and anemones floating through.

This masterpiece was entirely hand stitched - I could not see a single fault - just perfect.
I took a picture of this last one close up so you can appreciate the work in it. There are some talented quilters in Queensland.

And to end a floral Flutterby
 as it is called with the Iconic Ozzie Surfer. Just brilliant. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

EKKA 2016

The biggest Agricultural show is drawing to a close but not before thousands have passed through its gates, ate strawberry sundaes and dagwood dogs, took away show bags, wandered through the now expanded grounds to the Art show, the cake decorating stalls, the dogs and cats on display, the cows, poultry and goats, the food stalls and the many, many fair ground rides.

I just love it there- there is a vibrancy and sunniness to it and the sense that everyone is having a good time. My role this year was to make floral crowns for most of the days but also to promote Community gardens around the greater Brisbane area. I enjoyed both enormously but it was instant results with the floral crowns - older more reluctant women smiling broadly as these vibrant and stunning floral crowns were put on their head. Children loving the look of real flowers and being able to pick and chose them.  I was working as a volunteer for the Floristry school of Queensland and you can understand why becoming a florist has so many advantages and job

Just down from where I worked was a Scarecrow competition - and here are some of the really wonderful ones that the school children put together. No show would be complete without the produce of Queensland - the fruit and vegetables and some of the marvellous animals. So here are some of the pictures I took which give just a small flavour of this grand event in the Queensland calendar. I love the fact that the baby animals in the nursery, which is where children are allowed to go in and pet them - were all taking a well earned siesta.No different from real babies! 
 Notice the plastic disposal spoons with glitter, the giant safety pin and the discarded venetian blinds making her skirt.
 Scarecrows with disabilities also featured.
 Made almost exclusively with plastic bags and crushed tins.
 Another very good example with empty Nespresso capsules forming her belt and tomato ketchup bottles forming her arms.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Bark World

I came across this poem in the New Statesman - a magazine I subscribe to and which I love - and around the beauty of the words of Olivia Byard's poem "Bark World" I create my own picture to accompany them. Australia's nature is one which requires careful consideration and casual observation. Barks as thin as chiffon, scaled like crocodiles,  grey as silver sheets or glaringly orange come out to accost you on walks. Here they are settled among her words.


Bark World
Olivia Byard

Rough, tough to touch,
grovved ridged and scaled
        textures and fissures
teeming with the fuss and
stress of being -
        dark crevices
crammed with mini beasts
- woodlice, beetles, borers -
and whispy spiders, that scurry
across burled highways -
lichen moss growing warmth, cover
over tiny birds tight in dark holes,
feather to feather, beak to beak
- a claw here, an eye there-
flutter, shuffle, first squawks
and squeaks-
          and the deep inside
where sap rises rich and quick,
grains, circles, lines,
the yearly marks of tell - time -
                                old time,
now time, pest, blight, disease time,
                                                                                    warming time, losing time,
                                                                                    a stopped clock at felled time.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

NO I did not paint this.

This morning on my run, my eye caught something on the ground. I ran past it, thinking it was a sweet wrapper or some tinsel and then stopped short. Did my eyes deceive me? So I went back and had another look. And this is what I found.

My run ended there and I carefully placed her in the palm of my left hand and plucked a leaf for her to sit on and started walking home. Except when I was almost at home I opened my palm and she was no longer there. I felt so upset that I re traced my steps. Sadly I did not find her and felt gutted that I could have shared this with you but now it was not to be. So I walked up to the house and took the keys out of my right pocket - and there she was, as if by a miracle. I almost cried for joy. I took her home and carefully placed her on her leaf. Except she didn't move and I thought I had killed her accidentally in my pocket. How she got there I do not know. I was mortified that I had caused the death of something so beautiful and the joy was whipped from under me. So I left her on the leaf, warming in the sunshine. I went back a few minutes ago to find that once more she has surprised me and there is life in this little bug. I guess she was asking to be left alone. So I enjoyed her grip on my fingers for a while and released her into the garden where I hope she will happily stay. 

Such a roller coaster of emotions from such a small creature. 

For those who want facts this is  Mrs Tectocoris diophthalmus aka the Hibiscus Harlequin Bug. 
Appropriately named wouldn't you say. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Celebrating life - and shaping it with Bumpy the Wombat

IN my last blog I talked about lives, now lost, that mattered to me. So today it is fitting to celebrate life once more and what better way to do this then by going to a seven year old's birthday party. This was truly such a wonderful afternoon, not only because the kids enjoyed it, but the adults did too. And it was all thanks to So this is a bit of a plug for them, but also to mums and dads who make the right choices for their children and celebrate their milestones by making them caring and informed individuals. The kids loved the show of wild animals, complete with turtles, baby possums small enough to curl up in your palm, bearded lizards and friendly snakes. There was a beautiful barking owl and a blue tongued skink. But the best was left for last and this was without doubt the gentle appearance of Bumpy the Wombat. She sat in her keepers lap, with the aplomb of a princess and loved the attention and the cuddles that every gave her.

Just look at those claws and the vestigial thumb. 

 The birthday boy
 Being hugged by a friendly carpet python 
And a bearded Lizard on your cuff. 

So next time you want to celebrate life - think about sharing it with some wildlife. It is truly the perfect match. 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Lives that matter.

Throughout my peripatetic professional life, I was lucky enough to work with some inspirational people and today I feel I need to talk about them. They gave me direction and support, knowledge and skills sets, some of which I use every day. Yesterday, the last of my bosses passed away at the unbearably early age of 60. This is a time in my life which will fade into oblivion as I get older yet it was seminal and significant in shaping who I am and my beliefs. The people who I worked with, and supported me for that time in my life are hugely important and this is the only way I know now, (this may change) to tell them how much they meant to me and to pay my respects to each and everyone.

Tassos Papadopolous, Eoka fighter, incisive lawyer, Member of Parliament and Minister in Makarios government, politician and President of the Cyprus Republic from the years 2003 - 2008.  I found my niche in an office which grew exponentially as the offshore business came to the island. More importantly I was able to participate in the politics of the island and hear its history from someone instrumental in its shaping.

John Silvester - One of Kenya's first Rhode Scholars, distinguished Lawyer, Senior Partner in Hamilton Harrison and Mathews, the epitome of a gentleman and a man totally in command of complex issues which he handled with calmness and rationality at all times. His loving wife Sue Silvester always thoughtful, brought us children's books on Africa which still grace the boy's bookshelves, while the collapsible wooden seats, are piled high with information about wildlife as befits them.

Mike Somen, effervescent, witty and funny and the love of so many commercial entities in Africa because he got the job done.The other senior partner in Hamilton Harrison and Mathews. An Arsenal supporter and a lover of formula one races. We had hilarious exchanges in my office and continued to correspond long after I left Africa, the last one being the week of his birthday this year on the 2nd of March. He died on the 10th and I was hugely upset at hearing this news.

Lastly but by no means least Thea Henley, Mother of Zara and Laila but also protector of Children's rights throughout the UK and beyond. The cornerstone of the National Youth Advocacy Service and a fiery children's rights lawyer and passionate champion of their rightful place in legal proceedings.She sadly passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

They all fought for what they believed in, in the best way they knew. They were professionals  of the highest order, nurturing, and instructive and I was lucky enough to have had them in my life.They will not be forgotten. But also when my children start asking some of the questions which are always left too late, there is something here which will give them some of the clues about who shaped me and why. Photos fade, flowers wilt, but the written word cannot be easily erased.