As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I have been finding it a bit hard to work up enthusiasm for posting on this blog during the winter. I don’t get out much and as much I love my house, garden and pets I sometimes would like to photograph something else and preferably somewhere else.
Sometimes it can be hard to summon up the enthusiasm to do things, even things you like doing. You get a case of the “Too’s” as Naomi would say, “Too cold, too dark, too tired, too late, too hard.” I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator anyway and I feel like this in winter especially. I don’t get tired of blogging but when you don’t have a lot going on elsewhere in your life filling the blank page seems much harder. This year has been hard too because having the house on the market has made me afraid to get heavily involved in craft hobbies as a lot of my stuff is packed away and in the garage. It’s also meant that I have fewer opportunities to go out. Two or three times recently I’ve had the idea to go somewhere only to have to cancel my plans because of house viewings. When people come I have to take Cindy out for a walk and that usually means I’ll miss the bus and have to stay home for the rest of the day.
Naomi and I have both been looking for ways to overcome this feeling. She has been taking online courses and reorganising her craft space so she can get on with projects. I have started a couple too but I know that what I really need is more chances to get out and take pictures. Spring is coming and I am hoping to do that more. Spring always brings back my enthusiasm for nature as I enjoy seeing and photographing the flowers and the birds.
August is the month that two of my favourite events take place in Hobart, the Model Train Show and the Doll Show. I managed to get to both and took photos so that has given me some incentive to get posting again.
I don’t mean this post to be a downer. I actually did think of quite a few things that I have great enthusiasm for. My home, pets and hobbies all fall into that category as well as various places I’ve been to and things I like to do. But this is what came out of my head today.
I now have to summon up some enthusiasm for getting chores finished. Right now I’m writing this post instead of wrangling the vacuum cleaner. If I were one of the bloggers who write list posts I could write “My Top Five Chores That I Have No Enthusiasm For”
This word particularly reminds me of schooldays and the excursions we were taken on. I did not particularly enjoy school but excursions were usually fun. They gave me an opportunity to go somewhere and see new things and also to get away from the everyday routine of lessons.
Excursions in the 1960s were not as elaborate as the school trips of today. All primary school students got taken to the Coca Cola factory. We could watch the bottles whizzing around the assembly line and see a film about how Coca Cola was made. Every kid got a “Coke” ruler.
The first year I was in Australia my class visited an agricultural college. I have to admit that I don’t remember much about the excursion except that we went in two double-decker buses and one of them hit some kind of a cable between two buildings.
In High School, our English teacher who had worked with special needs children arranged for us to visit his former school. It was quite an education for a group of 14-year-olds to see the challenges these children and their teachers had to deal with.
By far the most significant excursion for me was a trip that my class took to Hallett Cove with our science teacher. It was a long trip on the bus from our school in the northern suburbs of Adelaide to the southern beaches. It was the early 1970s and Hallett Cove was not yet a suburb. The day we were there some old beach shacks were being demolished. Hallett Cove is the site of glaciers formed as early as the pre-Cambrian era and there are interesting rock formations. It was a good trip although the area was not yet a conservation park and there were no proper paths. I remember it as being quite hard to clamber about for an awkward, clumsy kid like me.
The significant part is that about seven years later David and I bought a house in the new and growing suburb of Hallett Cove where we lived for the next 25 years.
One of the things I like most about living in Tasmania is that I can have a green lawn. I used to live in South Australia and as if the hot, dry, grass killing summers were not bad enough, our house was built on a block composed basically of limestone. After several tries, we gave up trying to grow a lawn and had bark chips, pavers and ground cover plants.
My lawn is not one of those beautiful smooth lawns like a bowling green or a golf course but it is grass. Personally, I like the daisies mixed in with the grass. They remind me of my childhood in England making daisy chains with mum.
What would sportsmen do without grass? As I write this I’m watching cricket on television from Lords Cricket Ground in London. The state of the grass is a big deal in cricket. Will the wicket be bouncy, flat or two-paced? Will the outfield be fast or wet and slippery? In the tennis world, everyone talks about the grass courts at Wimbledon, another iconic British sporting arena. All codes of football are played on grass that often turns to mud in winter. It’s a lot less painful to play football on grass but I know of a team who plays on a gravel surface in Queenstown, Tasmania
I think it is important that every city has green space. Those quiet places you can go to enjoy a bit of nature amongst the concrete and steel. Especially if you are not fortunate enough to have a garden of your own.
Of course, if all else fails you could always buy some astroturf and have fake grass.
Like most of us, I have fears that may seem irrational to others. I have a fear of falling that prevents me from doing things like changing lightbulbs, getting on to escalators without panicking and going up or down a steep flight of steps. As I have grown older it has become worse. I can’t even ride on the top deck of a bus now because I’m afraid of going down steep steps backwards.
Things like going to the doctor or to visit a government department also make me feel fearful but in a different way. I feel like there is a big stone in my chest. I do what I have to do but really I just want to run away.
I am lucky though that I don’t have to experience the fears that many people have to face every day. The fear of being hungry, of having nowhere to sleep at night. I do think about this one a lot because I know that it can happen to anyone. A bit of bad luck, illness or debt and suddenly you are out on the street.
Imagine what that would feel like, losing your home. Suddenly all you have in the world is what you can carry with you. The night is coming and you don’t have enough money to rent even the cheapest room for the night. How do you sleep out in the open? How will you keep warm? How will you prevent your stuff from being stolen if you do manage to sleep? How do you protect your family when there is nowhere to go? How do you live with that fear every day maybe for years?
Although you don’t hear it as much now the expression “Fair Dinkum” is one that most older Aussies know, even transplanted ones like me. Well, I have been here more than fifty years now.
Every country has its own slang words and expressions and often we use them without thinking how strange they probably sound to people from other parts of the world. My understanding of “dinkum” is that it means something is the real deal, for example, Crocodile Dundee was meant to represent a dinkum Aussie bloke.
An Aussie would say “Fair dinkum” to reinforce that what he/she was telling you was the truth or by changing the inflection use it as a question. “Fair dinkum?” (Is that true?”)
A long time ago I read a book called “They’re a Weird Mob”. It’s the story of an Italian journalist who is sent to Australia to write articles for an Italian magazine about Australia. Nino, the protagonist, thinks he speaks very good English but when he arrives in Sydney he finds he can hardly understand a word anyone is saying to him. Taking a job as a builders labourer he makes friends and gradually learns to think and speak like an Aussie. The author was, in fact, an Australian by the name of John O’Grady who wrote it in 1957. The book was made into a movie in 1966. Here’s a scene. Of course, it looks very dated now.
While I don’t entirely agree with O’Grady that migrants should forget their own culture and embrace that of their new home I did like the book very much. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Naomi and I worked with many Europeans who came to Australia around the time that the book was written. I believe that our culture has benefited from them bringing some of theirs with them. It’s why we have a wine industry, restaurants serving food from all around the world and colourful fairs and festivals to enjoy. Those people’s children who were born in Australia and their grandchildren are as Australian as any of us.
I think that movies, television and social media have homogenised our language. Young people in Britain, Australia and the USA use more of the same words and expressions. Only the accents differ. I can’t help feeling that’s a little sad because I rather like “strine”.
If you like the way something smells you might say it has a pleasant scent, fragrance or even odor but normally odor, or as we spell it odour, does not have pleasant associations.
When I first put my house on the market the agent said: “You probably don’t notice it but the house smells a little ‘doggy’.”
My pets live inside and nothing is going to change that but after that, I became paranoid about bad odours. Even though I cleaned the carpets, opened windows and burned scented candles I was never sure if the house smelled OK. It smelled fine to me but how did I know that wasn’t just because I was used to it?
What made it worse was that one particular family who came to see the house obviously didn’t like animals. They arrived early and I had not had a chance to leave the house. I always take Cindy for a walk while the house is being viewed. Of course, she rushed up to their car to say hello and I think that put them off. Apparently one of them had asthma or allergies. I probably should not have warned the agent that Polly was hiding somewhere in the house and he should not leave the front or back door open. As Polly is an indoor cat and doesn’t like strangers I worry about her escaping if someone startles her. As long as she can hide under a bed she’s fine.
They hated the house complaining about the smell and even that one of them could not breathe. The agent said they were fussy people and had not liked anything he showed them but I still felt bad.
Smells are a big deal in real estate. I’m sure you’ve read those articles about having the scent of baking or coffee brewing in the house when there is a viewing. I don’t do that. It seems a bit contrived and actually, not everyone likes those smells. Naomi hates the smell of coffee for example. I try not to use any scents that are too strong or too sickly sweet because not everyone likes those either. Usually, I just open all the windows that actually open for a few hours, unless the weather is really bad and if I do use any kind of scent it will be something that is not too overpowering, citrus is a favourite.
This Saturday I have people coming to look at the house again so Friday will be a day of preparing the house and making it look and smell as nice as possible. Wish me luck!
I could not help but think of the beautiful reflections that I see in the still waters of the Huon River on a calm day. That’s where most of these photos were taken either at Port Huon, Franklin or Huonville. The last two were taken at Strahan on Tasmania’s West Coast and Lake Dulverton at Oatlands.