RDP: Picture

Pictures In My Mind

For Sunday’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Gizzylaw asks.

Do you have pictures in your mind? Do you have places, sounds, smells, people that live in your mind? Mental pictures of your life?

For me, the answer is yes. I try to capture the special places and special moments in my life with my camera. We all have those holiday photos, fun family photos and pet pictures that remind us of good times. Of course, you can’t capture everything in a photo. Sometimes the picture is like a marker and looking at it prompts memories of when and where it was taken.

I don’t really like having my photo taken that much. I didn’t even when I was much younger and looked better than I do now. I’ll never join the selfie craze but there have been times when I’ve wanted one for the album.

These were three that I asked David to take of me on our big overseas trip in 1990.   Two are with landmarks, the other because it was a day, a time and a place that I wanted to remember, one of the best days of the holiday even though all we did was go for a walk. We were in Scotland amongst the lochs and the mountains and it was somewhere I had always wanted to go.

View from a tower

This picture, which I took while visiting the Great Wall of China doesn’t look like much but when I look at it I remember the walk I took. I had got separated from our tour group and walked on much further than everyone else until I had got away from the crowds. This picture brings that memory alive for me again, I remember the still air, melting snow on the steps as I climbed, some distant booming sounds. For me, that short walk is my favourite memory of China.

There are some things you can’t take pictures of though, and things that even if you photograph them you can’t do them justice. Sometimes it is better to put the camera or the phone down and just take in the scene. Photograph it with your eyes so you will never forget. We visited Wellington, New Zealand on a beautiful summer Sunday when we cruised in 2016. I took a lot of photos trying to capture the essence of that day and although the pictures don’t quite do that I do remember the sunshine, the icecreams, the street pianos and the exuberant donuts the pilot’s boat did to wish us farewell.

A lot of my memories are in picture form, I see the much younger me running along a platform at Adelaide Station, so anxious to see an approaching steam locomotive, or Naomi and I seeing a favourite band in concert. I see David and me in the car playing “Road to Nowhere” at the start of a road trip, the faces of people who I used to work with on the railways and our past dogs chasing balls on the beach.

Then there are those mental pictures that just come into your head. Naomi and I get this quite a lot. Our sense of humour can be quirky and sometimes we see funny pictures in our minds of ordinary things. For example, once a workmate was talking about his trip to the USA and that he had been to Disneyland.  Naomi said that she had to try very hard not to laugh. I knew it was because she was seeing this rather serious man looking something like this.
The Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers Sharon Baird 1956

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks, Trails, Sidewalks

Siberian Sidewalks

As I used my most recent street photos for Sonofabeach96’s Which Way Challenge I’m delving into the far past for these old ones. They were taken in 1990 on our overseas trip. I have many more but a lot of that trip was photographed on slide film and I haven’t scanned very many. One day I must finish doing that.

The first one is more of a trail. Newly married couples would come to this spot to tie a ribbon to one of the trees for good luck. We saw it on a guided tour. They probably take selfies there now if it’s still done.

David in Irkutsk, Siberia

We only had a day and a half in Irkutsk but it was fine sunny winter weather.  These were some of my favourite photos from the trip because I liked the architecture and the light was just right that day. I probably took these photos with my Pentax MG or possibly one of our Zenit’s.

A sidewalk in Irkutsk Siberia 1990
A sunny afternoon in Irkutsk, Siberia March 1990

Here are a couple of more recent photos.

Pounding the Pavement – New Zealand 2016

Tauranga in the rain.
Picton pavement

The Sunshine Blogger Award: Via Marilyn & Martha

This morning as I caught up with blog posts I read Marilyn’s post in answer to Martha’s Sunshine Blogger Award Post. After reading both posts I decided that I would participate too. I’ve been struggling a bit to write anything this week and while I have got a bit tired of Q&A posts recently I decided that I liked these questions and would enjoy answering them.

I decided that I would follow Marilyn’s suggestion to go back and answer the questions from Martha’s original post. I’m not going to nominate anyone else to join in but please feel free to if you would like.

Here are my answers

1. What made you decide to write a blog on WordPress?

I was doing some volunteer work at a local church and one of my tasks was to update the church blog which was on WordPress.org. I was shown what to do but I wanted to understand a bit more about it and I didn’t want to risk messing up the church blog so I thought that starting one of my own would be a good way to experiment. At around the same time, my sister in law commented on one of my Facebook posts that I ought to do a blog. So I thought “Why not?”

One piece of advice I took notice of was to write about something I knew so I decided to write about dolls. Soon after that, I realised that I wanted to write off topic so I started a second one, both are still going nearly six years later.

2. You’re writing a blog post and you find it taking on a direction of its own. Do you assume control or do you follow it?

From time to time, particularly with writing prompts, I’ve sat down with an idea in mind but found that the post is going another way. More often than not I follow it if I find it is going somewhere other than where I intended. Sometimes if writing is hard going I think it is better to just keep writing and then go back and take out all the parts that don’t fit or move them around as I did in this answer after rereading it.

3. What are your goals as the writer of a blog? What do you hope for?

My first goal is to keep blogging for as long as it is fun; and secondly, to get better at it. I admit that I like seeing the number of views and the number of followers growing but it’s not just about that. The important thing with the doll blog is that I may help to preserve knowledge by having a place people can share information and that maybe reading it will encourage others to become collectors themselves. Mostly I hope that I am not boring.

4. Describe the best day you’ve had in the past twelve months. 

This type of question is always hard for me to answer, partly because it’s hard to choose just one thing and partly because I have a memory like a goldfish these days.

My birthday last year when we cruised on the Huon River and had lunch at the local hotel was a good day.

My birthday treat for 2018, a trip on the Huon onboard Yukon.

Christmas Day, that’s always a good day. Another good day was the day that Naomi brought the Triang 61 dolls house down for me to see because this was a childhood toy that we had hoped to replace one day.

Triang Model 61 on the left and CEX on the right.

The day I was able to go home after the bushfire scare was another. I was so happy to be back in my own house again.

  1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? What experiences would you hope for?

There are still places I’d like to see although sometimes I think that I would need a time machine to experience them the way I’d like to. I’d like to see London again although I know it won’t be the same as the last time I saw it. I’d like to go back to see more of Scotland and Wales and Ireland which I missed entirely. There are a lot of rail trips I’d like to experience, the Glacier Express in Switzerland, the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada, the Blue Train in South Africa, the California Zephyr or the Indian Pacific to mention a few. I’d like to spend time in New Zealand exploring it by road and rail. I’d still like to see the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Why? These are all places I’ve dreamed of seeing, even if the reality doesn’t match the pictures in my head. There are places in Scotland, Wales and England that were special for me and I’d like to see them again one more time. I’d like to have a chance to meet some of my blogging friends and see their home towns with them.

On the slopes of Ben Nevis pretending to be a mountain climber.
  1. What was the worst road trip of your life? What happened?

I can’t recall having a really bad road trip as an adult but some childhood trips with the family to the beach or a national park were horrible. Imagine a hot day, a car with no air-conditioning and three adults, four kids and a baby packed inside. Two of the adults smoke, two of the kids won’t stop fighting; everyone wants to sit next to the window. I actually needed to sit there because the combined smell of petrol and cigarette smoke and the motion often made me feel sick but mum usually wanted the windows closed while my aunt and uncle, the smokers, wanted them open. We were usually late getting away from home and when we arrived at our destination we’d only have a short time there before we’d be told it was time to go home because the baby had to be fed or one of the adults was tired or there was school in the morning. In the end, Naomi and I would often just say no thank you when invited on these outings.

7. How much time do you put into your blog? Do you write every day?

I don’t post every day. Some weeks I’m good and manage one or more posts a day but at other times like the past week or so I haven’t felt as motivated. I do comment and reply to reader’s comments every day though even if I have no inspiration to write.

8. Do you write to a daily prompt? Why or why not?

It depends. I guess I write to them if they fit in with the type of things that I like to write about. I do if the subject interests me but if it is an obscure word or a subject I have nothing to say on I don’t. I do enjoy photo prompts though and do quite a few of those as sharing photos is one of my favourite things about blogging.

9. What’s your favourite post? Why? Please share. 

I can’t really pick just one but I always enjoy reminiscing about the past, writing about childhood, my love of railways, or places I’ve visited. A lot of these have been for the Times Past monthly challenge run by Irene Waters, but some have just popped out of nowhere, like “The Best Times of Our Lives” about our early days as railfans. I also like writing about my favourite places in Tasmania. I love my adopted home state and want everyone to know how beautiful it is. The all-time favourite post for readers is “Superstition: Unlucky Plants” which still gets views. I rerun it every year or so. I don’t know what it is about that particular piece. It must have some keywords that search engines like.

  1. Is there a book, film or person (or animal) that inspired you and changed your life? What or who was it? How did it have such a profound effect on you?

Naomi and I often talk about the way that our mother took the time to teach us to play with our dolls creatively. I think that it helped us to develop our imaginations and our attention spans. We would happily play with the same toys or dolls all day so we were bored a lot less often than

Mum in the 1980s

children who always needed something new to do. She was also a great storyteller and letter writer and very good at drawing. I think she passed some of those skills on to us. I enjoyed writing to pen pals when I was younger and Naomi inherited mum’s knack for art. I took up photography partly because I can’t draw. Perhaps mum indirectly turned us into bloggers.


11. What advice do you have for someone who has just started writing a blog? What rewards has it given you that might inspire someone else?

The same advice I read when I started. Write about something you know and care about. Post regularly and don’t get hung up on the statistics. Proofread your work, if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing properly, that’s mum talking again.

I’d also add to make it your own work. Everyone has something interesting to say. Be yourself.

I have found blogging very rewarding for a number of reasons. I’ve come to know other bloggers through their writing and I think of them as friends now.

I think it has improved my photography. I see photographic subjects that I would never have thought of before doing photo challenges and I think I’ve become more creative in photo editing. I was never really interested in black and white photography before I became a blogger.

spider web

As a doll collector, I’ve learned about different dolls and found that there are other collectors who enjoy doll photography and do wonderful creative things restoring vintage dolls houses, customising dolls, creating dioramas and writing stories.

Since Naomi joined me in writing the two blogs it’s also become something we can do together even though we are not able to meet up very often as we live quite far from each other. It can be very rewarding to share a hobby with a friend or family member.

A Photo A Week Challenge: Fire


Most of my recent photos tagged fire have been of smoke, fire engines, water bombing aircraft and helicopters. However, amongst my archives, I was able to find some more cheery images.

Tea light candle.
A double wick candle.
Keeping warm inside
Firepot at dusk

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: In or On Water

In or On

I have been a lazy blogger this week and haven’t been out to take more photos as I had planned to do so here are some from the archives.

Ovation of the Seas at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney
Ducks having fun in the water.
Torquay Ferry Devonport
Fish in a pond.

This last one was originally taken in 1990 at Loch Ness, in Scotland, specifically near the ruins of Urqhurt Castle. We don’t know if there is really something in the water at Loch Ness. I kind of hope there is but I also kind of hope we don’t find it. We don’t have to know everything.

Loch Ness, Scotland 1990 edited photo