I was in Melbourne and enjoying a lovely walk beside the Yarra. The weather was great and I was taking lots of photos and thinking that Melbourne’s reputation for being Australia’s most livable city was well deserved.
Then I saw this.
I didn’t know what it was about but it was obvious that “Mouse” was a homeless person and that he had died. I stopped to take the photo intending to find out more when I returned home. Not far from this spot I saw signs of that other homeless people also slept under the bridge pylons, there was a mattress, plastic crates and other signs of habitation.
I learned that Mouse, whose real name was Wayne Perry was stabbed to death earlier this year.
It’s a terrible thing that people have to live this way regardless of how they got into that situation. When I see it happening in an affluent part of the city it really makes me think that we should all be doing more to prevent it.
It also made me think that whatever had gone wrong in Mouse’s life he at least had the love of his friends on the streets and is missed by them.
Our bedroom is not excessively messy at the moment. Two hours before I wrote this anyone looking in would have seen an unmade bed, cough lolly wrappers on Hubby’s bedside table and my dressing gown thrown onto the bed. Bed making has always been “a thing” with me though. I don’t like leaving the bed unmade and I certainly don’t like sleeping in a rumpled bed. I would be very embarrassed if anyone saw our bedroom before the bed had been made. Over the years even Hubby has learned that not making the bed before we go out is a big no no.
Now the room doesn’t look so bad it but I know that the interior of the wardrobe tells a different story.Yesterday I was trying to find a T-shirt to take to Melbourne this weekend. We don’t really have enough drawers for our clothes so my tops are all in the top of the wardrobe. Anyway, to get to the rarely worn short sleeved T-shirts I had to take out half of my long and three quarters sleeved ones. Then once I’d found what I wanted everything had to be stowed away neatly again. I wish I had drawers where I could keep things separate. I don’t like having my clothes in a muddle. I love looking at the Howard’s Storage World catalogue and planning the storage space I would have if I could afford it. On the other hand I can have a wardrobe cull and feel one coming on in the near future.
My computer desktop thankfully I don’t have to share with Hubby. We’re Mars and Venus where desktop layouts are concerned. I like to have just a few icons of programs that I use a lot and a nice photo to look at. Hubby covers his desktop with folders for everything. That doesn’t surprise me as in the real world Hubby covers every surface he encounters with stuff too. We really are the “Odd Couple” when it comes to how we like our spaces to look.
This one is a no brainer for me. I would far rather take pictures than be in them. I was very camera-shy as a child and as a teenager especially. I think I was a reasonably photogenic baby and toddler but later I disliked the way I looked in photographs and tended to avoid having my picture taken. The adult photos of me that I like the best were taken when I was in my late twenties and thirties. Now, once again I don’t really like the way I look in photos but I don’t mind having one taken now and again on a special occasion to mark the fact that I was there. Being behind the camera is a lot more fun to me as it is the nearest I can get to being creative.
What did you most enjoy doing this past week?
I think that the thing I enjoyed doing most last week was rearranging the furniture in the living room. I feel that we have more room now and it’s easier for Hubby to access the DVD player.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Without a doubt it is my doll collecting. I probably spend more than I should on it. Every now and then I see a “must have” doll and justify buying it because “These don’t come up at this price very often.” That’s happened to me a few times this year as two Poppy Parkers and an NRFB Don Draper doll were all bought for an absolute song! I do spoil my Barbies, I like to photograph them for my doll blog and I probably spend as much if not more on their wardrobes as I do on my own. That’s not as bad as it sounds because my clothes all come from places like K Mart and Target anyway. I probably enjoy dressing the dolls well because they are all young and pretty and I’m not :). I don’t have daughters or granddaughters or I’d probably be buying things for them which they probably wouldn’t like. The Barbies don’t complain about my taste.
Which letter of the alphabet describes you best?
I really can’t answer that because I’ve never thought about myself in that way. I remember seeing such questions in magazine ads when I was much younger. “If you were a colour what would you be? “, “If you were a number what would it be?” etc. It may have been an ad for Dianetics. I’m not sure. Anyway I couldn’t answer them then and I can’t now.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
Last week we planted a hedge of Photinia plants in our front yard and I’m grateful to our garden guys for getting the plants for me and putting them in because I can’t put anything in a straight line. This Friday I’m off to Melbourne and I’m looking forward to seeing our friends there, visiting the Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and hopefully getting a few photos in Melbourne on the Friday afternoon and Monday before I come home.
This is the last post about our trip to Scotland in 1990. We were only there a week. How I wish we’d had longer. I guess that’s why I’m so attracted to television programs and films set in Scotland. Not “Braveheart” though. Too bloodthirsty. I preferred “Local Hero”. On television I liked “Shetland”, “Hamish McBeth”, “Taggart” and “Takin’ Over the Asylum” (even before I’d ever heard of David Tennant).
The last leg of our journey was partly based on “Confessions of a Train Spotter” an episode of the BBC television series “Great Railway Journeys”. The narrator of this episode was Michael Palin and I sometimes wonder if it was this program that started him on his career as a globetrotting documentary maker. In this episode he travelled from London to the west coast of Scotland by train ending his journey at Kyle of Localsh. We loved the scenery so much that when we planned our trip we decided that we wanted to see the West Highland line and Kyle of Localsh too.
First we travelled from Glasgow to Fort William which is on the shore of Loch Linnhe, a large sea loch on the west coast. That journey was very scenic and we didn’t even mind the signal failure that delayed us en route. Our “Let’s Go” guide book described Fort William as being a climbing centre for nearby Ben Nevis and rather a boring town but we really liked it. One day while we waiting at the railway station in a light rain I saw a railway cleaner washing a carriage on the platform . Cleaning trains was my job in Adelaide at the time and I remember thinking that it would be nice if I could exchange jobs with that person for a while and stay in Fort William for longer.
We had been staying in youth hostels for a couple of weeks so in Fort William we treated ourselves to a bed and breakfast place. There were a few other guests who we met at breakfast the next day. A lady who had just returned from a trip on a sail training vessel which we saw in the loch later and an Australian couple a bit younger than we were. I’m sure most people know about the concept of “Six degrees of separation”. Well this actually happened to us. We chatted to this young couple and it turned out that they were from South Australia like us and they lived in a nearby suburb. But the best part of the story happened more than a year later back in Australia. One day when Hubby was on the train home from work, he met the young man who we’d met in Fort William and discovered that he and his wife had moved to our suburb. What are the odds of that?
At Fort William we had haggis for the first time; we liked it. We had plunger coffee for the first time at the cafe in the Mountain Shop which probably started our coffee addiction. We walked 3 miles from the town to the beginning of the path to Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland at 1344m (4,406 ft). We had no intention of climbing the mountain although many do, we knew our limitations even in those days. The photo Hubby took of me at Glen Nevis is one of my favourites and that day was one of the best of our entire trip for me.
We also went on a bus tour to Glen Coe scene of the infamous massacre of the McDonald Clan by the Campbell’s. Our guide, if I remember correctly, said that the historical facts of the massacre were not quite the same as popular history suggests. Of course he may have been a Campbell himself ! However there has certainly been a lot written on the subject and no doubt it was as much about politics than it was about clan rivalries. I did have to agree with our guide that the scenery alone is worth going there for whatever the truth of what happened is.
The West Highland Railway
Another highlight was the train journey from Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland line. In summer you can ride a steam train on that route but we were too early in the season. However it didn’t matter. It was another day of beautiful views and impressive railway engineering. In particular the fabulous Glen Finnan Viaduct. You can’t actually appreciate how amazing this is when you are on it as well as you can in this photograph.
Mallaig is a fishing port and we enjoyed wandering around the town for a few hours. The fishing boats were very picturesque. I would have liked to have taken a ferry to Skye from there. It’s certainly a place I would love to visit again.
Kyle of Localsh
Our journey to Kyle of Localsh was an anti climax in some ways as we had to take a bus, a very crowded bus which we were obliged to stand up on for most of the journey. At that time there was no bridge to connect the town with the Isle of Skye so we took the short ferry trip across to Kyleakin, so that we could say that we had been “Over the sea to Skye”. The bridge was opened in 1995 and it is now free to use, initially it charged a toll which became a contentious issue for local people, so much so that many refused to pay it. The toll was removed in 2004. We took a photograph of the Kyle of Localsh Station sign but unlike Michael Palin we didn’t take a replica home with us. Nor did we sample the variety of malt whiskies served at the nearby Localsh Hotel. Instead we continued our journey by train on another scenic route, the line to Inverness.
At Inverness we stayed at a small hotel popular with rail enthusiasts. They were happy to leave breakfast supplies outside our door when we chose to go out early in the morning on a day trip to Wick. We were a bit surprised that they left toast though. I hadn’t realised that in parts of the UK people ate cold toast.
Wick and Thurso are as far as you can go by train in the UK. We chose Wick as our destination for a day outing. Wick is a fishing port and once again I was captivated by the fishing boats. Wick was originally a Viking settlement and it would have been interesting to spend more time exploring the area which has ruins, walks and wildlife to see. I think a car would have been handy up here though.
We couldn’t leave Inverness without travelling to nearby Loch Ness. We took a local bus to visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle. We also visited a local museum which had a lot of information about the loch and the various expeditions that had been made to try to find the elusive Loch Ness Monster. I have to say that on the day that we were there we didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. There have been a lot of hoaxes over the years and I think that I would be sorry in a way if scientists were able to prove or disprove that there was a creature living in Loch Ness. The mystery of it is part of the attraction. Either way tourist operators and businesses in the region have done well out of “Nessie”. We watched the movie “Loch Ness” released in 1996 which starred Ted Danson. It wasn’t a brilliant movie, we watched it for the scenery really, but we did like the ending where Nessie is left in peace. I thought the castle ruins were very atmospheric and I liked hearing the piper who was playing there the day we visited.
We left Inverness finally and took the train all the way back to London and then on to Bexhill-on-Sea to spend Easter before travelling around southern England and North Wales. As you can tell from how much I have written twenty-five years have not made me forget how much I loved being in Scotland and I’d go again in a heartbeat if I could.
“Photinia fraseri B” by Wouter Hagens – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
I don’t usually use other people’s photos for Photo Thursday. Today is an exception because today we had a photinia hedge planted in front of our house. Our plants are still babies but in a year I hope they will look like this one.
You’re given $500,000 dollars tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on?
I have a list pinned to the fridge of all the things I’d like to get fixed or replace around the house and garden. $500,000 would more than take care of it all so that’s what I’d do first. I’d probably share it with my sister too so that she could tear up her list of things to repair and replace aswell. If there was any left over I’d use it on a holiday trip. Maybe that trip on the Indian Pacific train from Sydney to Perth I’ve been dreaming of for years. Or maybe Scotland as I can’t seem to get it out of my head lately.
I think that life itself is the finest education. You can learn a lot in school, college or university but learning shouldn’t stop when you graduate. We can learn from each other, from our own experiences good and bad and sometimes from our pets who usually have a much better attitude towards life than most of us.
What kind of art is your favorite? Why?
I’m very much the “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like” school of thought. If you consider photography an art as many people do I probably like that best. I like applied arts more than fine art I think. I appreciate beautiful furniture, china and the other decorative arts. I also have strong opinions about architecture. None of that modern stuff for me thank you very much! I like things that look true to life more than abstract. Years ago, when I was a teenager, my cousin and I went to see Jackson Pollock’s painting “Blue Poles” which was touring Australia, its home is in the National Gallery in Canberra. We had to pay a dollar each to see the painting, not a lot of money today but this was in the mid 1970s. All I can say is “I want my dollar back”.
Is there something that you memorized long ago and still remember?
Our memories are strange aren’t they? Sometimes I can’t remember what I was doing five minutes ago but other things stay in my memory for years no matter how trivial they are. If my mind was a hard drive I would need to do disk clean up and be de-fragged I think. I remember silly things like all the words to the Gilligan’s Island theme, old TV commercials and so on. I remember the phone number from our previous house and the registration number of our first car bought in 1987 – UFS-221.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
Last Sunday we caught up with some friends we haven’t seen in a while and had a pleasant lunch at a pub overlooking the Huon River at Franklin. This week I’m staying home but next week will be exciting because I’m going to Melbourne for the weekend!