little travelling cups

cups simple tool ball of thread scissors

Such a grey and icy day.  The light was thin and scanty.  So, I did as Lucy does, and followed it – to a little sofa under the window, piled high with quilts and cushions.  Cosy indeed.  Supplies were gathered.  Plans were hatched for a set of little travelling cups that my Aunty Anne found for me.  She knew how much I loved the set Nanny and Grandad kept in their car’s dashboard when I was little.  Anodised.  In a brown leather (probably vinyl) zippered pouch.  I thought they were ever so cute and loved it when Grandad would pull them out and Nanny would fill them up with usually forbidden sweet and fizzy drink and pass them round.

Now I have my own – sans the zippered pouch.  Ah well – that can be sweetly remedied.

stitching top almost done adding the bottom

I’m not a huge fan of sewing with zippers or vinyl so chose the felt route instead.  With a wee bit of needlefelting, blanket stitch and my secret ingredient – elastic!

secret ingredient elastic at work

Natty huh!  Keeps the bottom from falling off my travelling cups and stops it from crumpling down when I put the top on!


trying it on

done

the snail the raspberries in my hand

The quiet snail, taking his time, enjoying the journey, seeking out treasures, stopping to make the most of the loveliest bits.  Just like us Boots when we go travelling.

It’s the only way to go, don’t you think :-)

 

 

~ loveliness found ~ 21/52

I’ve missed a few weeks … not that there wasn’t loveliness … I just didn’t seem to have the camera by my side.

today … moments of loveliness from an ordinary week.  If you would like to join in, leave your lovely moments in the comments or a link to your space.

putting it to use pie~ making the most of my mother’s day gift
& the pumpkin season ~

newly arranged

~ gathering fabrics for a new quilt ~

another dolly and his jumpsuit

~ marvelling at her creativity & every increasing skill ~

sun on the desklucy in the sun fu in the sun

~ joining the doggles in their wisdom
on a frost morning, you stick to the sunny spots~

hattefattners

~ tea, tea and more tea
my favourite – Yorkshire Gold ~

crazy cosy

~ some cheery soliders and cosy flannel
for a crazy skirt ~

tree tops

leaf hunting our efforts

~ leaf hunting & naming with a little one
they don’t make waxed paper like they used to
but it was still a marvellous afternoon ~

sun

moon and cloud

~ remembering to look up
- there’s always so much beauty to be spied ~

shetland yarn

~ it arrived!
more beautiful yarn from the Shetland Isles
as requested by the husband, I’m turning my needles to Argyle ~

pecks paste and wool tea and toast~ a strangely delicious lunch & one of my favourites
Peck’s paste on hot, buttery toast
I blame all those Malory Towers books as a child ~

looking into basket what shall I take this time oh fine I'll leave it alone

~ an incredibly friendly and mischievous Raven
who made ourfirst bird watching adventure such a delight
you should have seen him tilting his head sideways to survey the basket contents
cracked us up every time~

vintage binoculars

~ thrifted, vintage, Japanese binoculars
two pairs, not perfect but
allowed us to see like we’ve never seen before ~

pin grass~ tempting country roads & pink grass ~

weekending with the birds

Phillip Island … bird watching … picnicking … drawing …
comic writing … strolling … exploring …
delighting in the notion that when we stop and really look,
there’s so much more there then we’ve ever before realised.

everywhere in twos

cape barren geese – these are the sweeties that drew us here
Abby met them on school camp

cows on hillcows

fisherfolk

Kitty Miller Bay
wild surf, jagged rocks, a gentle lagoon, the perfect picnic spot
and cows – don’t forget the cows

bags picnicking soudough and pate

plenty of supplies
drawing books, bird book, binoculars, camera
salami, pate, sourdough and chocolate

our friend the raven

we made a new friend - Raven
he was very fond of us … stayed the whole afternoon
insisted on trying to knit, enjoyed a cup of tea, and was very excited by the tissue box

drawing her story abby's raven storyAbby was smitten
filling page after page,
insisting on calling him crow
because the Japanese word for crow is so cool

checking out the herons

though she was happy to down pencil for binoculars
so as to help her mama work out what the birds on the far rocks were …
“yep … they’re birds”

hooded ploversthere were wee hooded plovers boinging up and down the shoreline,
sooty oyster catchers dipping their toes in the little waves,
& white faced herons strutting across the far out rocks

spur winged lapwing cape barren goose dusky moorhen

spur winged lapwings hanging out with cows,
more pairs of Cape Barren geese everywhere we looked
- have they not the sweetest faces you’ve every seen on a goose,
& gorgeous jewelled chested dusky moorhens.

walking rising up out of the grass

we took a walk through the mangroves of Rhylls Inlet
where wallabies thickened fields
that were used a decade ago to breed the CPGs
who were almost extinct – very successful breeding program

acrobat in the mangroves

we could hear the birds here
but could nary see but one tiny, shimmering Superb Fairy Wren

sun across the inlet

golden water so peacefulAnd then the light grew so rich and beautiful …
before vanishing and leaving us in the dark

Time to go home.

 

~ loveliness found ~ 15/52

 if you would like to share your ~loveliness found~ moments from this week
… & I would so love it if you did …
please leave them in the comments or share a link to your place!

pumpkins self serve

~ stopping on the way home at each farm gate stall
pumpkins & pears – perhaps autumn is here ~

currant buns with butter

~ if we call them currant buns, we can not only bake them anytime we want
but also imagine we are the Famous Five, ready for adventure ~

making pompoms

~ finally testing out the pompom maker
good stuff ~

lamp through window

~ oh the silly things I’ll do for a photo ~

pattern and fabric

~ a lovely afternoon shopping for fabric with Abby
which led to a VERY illuminating experience ~

drawing

~ the start of something very special ~

quilt on table

almost ready

~ making the most of when the mice are away …
or just in bed ~

reading adhoc scarf

~ but even when he appears, he’s happy to work with it
& make the most of what’s laying around ~

having a giggle with abby

~ now this is for Abby – one of the silly photos we took the other afternoon
just so’s you know we LOVE a good giggle at ourselves here in Bootville
oh dear :-)  we’ll have to add this one to the daft-looks archive ~

~ loveliness found ~ 14/52

if you would like to share your ~loveliness found~ moments from this week
… & I would so love it if you did …
please leave them in the comments or share a link to your place!

all that blue

cliffside picnics

~ picnicking at a magical spot
where rolling green hills meet the glittering blue sea
underneath a freshly painted sky ~

alpacas

the kids

~ making roadside friends wherever we go,
whilst dreaming of how amazing it will be when we have our own ~

apples

golden mornings

with podge

~ freshly picked, organic & so very local,
eaten every which way & especially lovely when softly cooked
until golden and served with our morning podge ~

dandelion

purple flowers

yellow flower

grass

~ finding my inner Ophelia
as I make the family stop yet again
so that I may sigh over the prettiness of these sweet weeds flowers ~

ceiling tiles

poppies

~ filled with awe, respect & sadness
as we stop to give thanks, in such a beautiful place,
to those who have given so much ~

new paths

rich colours

~ yet another new path that takes us to another new beach
filled with such wildness & beauty, it sweeps our breath away ~

jolly girls

running back to the car

~ a pair of girlies who, for four hours, cheerfully leap in & out of the car,
Flat Stanley in hand,
to pose him for a little boy and his kindergarten class
far, far away in Canada ~

busyness felted jumpers my busyness~ at home busyness …
on the porch, in early morning beds,
downstairs in the sewing room .. all three of us, cut from the same cloth ~

shy visitor

the locals

~ catching up with the locals … I really MUST
get stuck into that long list I put together at Christmas ~

beach play


view

sunscreen and blts

Ahhhh … you know where we are, don’t you.  Yes, Abby, Sacha and I have made the trek across the Gippsland and are spending a week with Mum in marvellous Merimbula.  Oh how I do love this sweet seaside village.  Only a few more years and our family will be moving up here.  Until then … we will journey back and forth, spend lovely hours at our favourite spots, and soak up all the sunshine, salt and beautiful vistas we can.  Day One … Bar Beach.  We began our afternoon of bliss on the deck of the wee beachside cafe and shared the loveliest lunch … toasted leg ham and cheese sandwiches with homemade tomato chutney.

Then it was down to the water’s edge where the girls swam, frolicked and squealed, whilst Mum and I stretched out in the sun, our feet buried in the soft warm sand, our needlework and knitting on our laps …

the girls

splash

mum

new knitting caddy

wading

wringing wet

Then, as the clouds uhmmed and ahhhed about whether or not they should crash down upon us, the girls decided that to stay in the water any longer would be to risk frost bite.  There were sandcastles to be built and mermaids sculpted …

lowering sky

sandcastle

reinforcing their moat

folly

Oh how I laughed when I met the mermaid … it is a sandy representation of our stoic prime minister, Julia.  Complete with this year’s new glasses, dangly earrings and pearls.  And subtitles in case any passers by didn’t recognise her …  and Oscar sweetie, look who’s cuddled up there with Ms. Julia … it’s your little travelling friend, Flat Stanley!  He had such a lovely time at the beach – and even had a swim with the girls :-)

julia look oscar

subtitle

It’s such a funny thing … often I find myself lost in daydreams of our future life in the beautiful Bega Valley.  I think of the new hospital being built that I hope to work in.  I think of being close to Mum and being able to share so much more of her days.  I wonder what Abby will pursue once she finishes school.  I marvel at Julian’s big dreams.  And I think, come on, come on, faster, faster, faster, finish this semester, move closer to the end of yet another year in Melbourne.

Then, I realise that I am wishing away these very days I have been blessed with right now.  And I don’t want that.  Yes, they are busy, sometimes stressful, money is often painfully tight ( ah, the joy of new tyres, car maintenance and repairs, and an electricity bill that all arrive in the same week), and frankly, I am getting to the point of being OVER studying … I want to be a real grownup with a job!

Because I also want to savour every moment of Abby’s childhood, especially now as it’s moving into its last years.  I want to find and enjoy the loveliness of everyday.  I want to make the most of this wonderful opportunity to grow and learn and build my skills.

So …. here I sit, making the most of this lovely week away.  Chattering and giggling with Mum.  Delighting in the antics of the girls.  Filling my heart and eyes with the beauty around me.  And tucking the dreams of what will come, away in my heart, knowing that they will arrive sooner than I can imagine.

makes me think of tiny cliff caves shouting
red rock

hanging out with the locals

We went to the zoo!  On the hottest day of our heatwave so far ….. (that sound is me hissing through my teeth)  … it was lovely.  But excruciatingly hot.  The best part was when I stood under the canopy sprinkler with the kookaburra.  I just wish they’d turned the tap on a bit harder.

We started with a quick airconditioned stop to plot the route followed by three hours of walking.  I think the only critters we didn’t see were the echidnas – I don’t know how we missed them, we just did – and the wombats, they had sensibly taken to their underground burrows and weren’t coming out for anyone.

There were wonderful pelicans – my favourite …

- this fellow had one very skinny leg and one normal chubby one,
don’t know why, but the poor thing looked a bit lopsided -

- these two were so funny, they did everything in unison,
perhaps they were escaped circus pelicans –

Abby wanted to take this wee fellow home – a Tasmanian Devil – they are so cute.  Look at his amazing feet – they almost look like ours, don’t you think.  Poor little dears – they are at risk of extinction due to a horrible facial tumour disease that has spread like wildfire through their wild populations.

We met an incredibly charismatic emu, who after winking to get our attention, gave us a wee curtsey and wandered on over.

She then got quite frisky – practically charging Rina who responded in typical teenage girl fashion – squealing – which amused the emu no end!

But then she changed her mind and did a big poo instead … much to the raucous amusement of every child in the vicinity.

Very satisfying … and off she went …

There were snoozing bats …

chortling peach faces …

not laughing kookaburras – this one was too busy having a good soak under the
sprinklers …

lots and lots of kangaroos and wallabies, conserving their energy in the shade …

and of course – koalas – what every Japanese school girl dreams of …

they are such funny things … this one was maintaining his balance with his forehead – smooshed up against the tree, his arms and legs sticking out skew-if.  Much of the eucalypt foliage you can see is actually this …

Very clever – and apparently, very expensive.

Julian loved the reptile house – such a boy – he had an alarming or funny story to match every inhabitant.

Look!  It’s a long necked turtle – relative of the two Julian rescued on the back road between Bairnsdale and Sale last year.  He was a marvellous little swimmer and hasn’t he smiled nicely for the photo.

There was also a lovely Platypus House – Abby’s favourite, and a Nocturnal House – it was like a circus!  But both were so dark, photos weren’t possible so you’ll just have to take our word for it – they were marvellous, and their little inhabitants utterly enchanting.

Yep, it was a lovely afternoon at the Healesville Sanctuary.  Heaps of interesting information and a wonderful focus on living sustainably and gently with our smaller, native neighbours.  And I would love to go back … in winter.

 

 

 

 

 

this is where I eat humble pie …

… and say sorry for every occasion on which I have been a bit dismissive – alright, downright sneering – about the beaches of Port Phillip Bay.  I’m truly sorry.

Today I have been forced to eat almost every harsh word I’ve ever uttered regarding the rights of Victoria to claim that there’s lovely swimming to be had in Port Phillip Bay. Yes, I’m prepared to admit that we have just had the best summer’s day I have ever had in Melbourne – it FELT like summer – it LOOKED like summer – it TASTED like summer and it was spent on Birdrock Beach, Mt. Martha.

This greeted us from the top of the wooden stairs that tilt one way then the other, down, down, down the steep, fire red cliff.

Under the shadows of thickly canopied trees, through patches of brilliant sunlight …

… until we reached this.  Oh my.  My heart was all aflutter.  My eyes open wide with delight.  A huge grin on my face.  This is our fourth year in Melbourne.  How did we miss THIS!  A hasty camp was established under the only bit of shade on the beach and a picnic lunch quickly gobbled before we hit the water.

A bit tentatively at first.  After all – this bay is fed by the Bass Strait and Great Southern Ocean – warm currents are likely only to be enjoyed if you – or someone nearby – spend a penny!  But – the weather here in Melbourne at the moment is frightful – another day over 36 – so that cold water felt utterly delightful, and Abby and I squiggled into our swimmers as quick as could be.

This being Rina’s first ever trip to the beach – first time she had ever stood on the sand and let little waves ripple over her feet – amazing! – she decided to stick to paddling and photos.

Ahhhhh folks.  I have never felt so at home down here.  At first, you must pick your way across a very rubbly section – next time I will certainly bring some old rubber soled sneakers.  Then – you think you’re going to hit a lovely patch of sand – ’cause you can see its soft creamy smoothness through the sparkling water.  But when you get there – it’s ROCK – smooth, velvety, sand-coloured rock.  And the water’s still only up to your thighs.  Any deeper demanded the tricksy navigation of more rubble.  So there I stayed – bobbing – floating – allowing all the heat that has been building up in my body this week, to slip away.  It was so good.

Little waves plinked and plonked around my body as they hurried into the shore, sounding like a delicate xylophone.  Laughter and jesting floated over to me from a small group playing frisbee in the water.  Out in front of me, a trio of young men scampered across the rocks for which the beach is named, looking all the world for like they were walking on water.  Around them, the rocks’ regular inhabitants – the sea birds – were fluttering and strutting.  The deeper blue waters were filled with small darting yachts – in neat rows, they flitted in and out between vivid orange buoys.

My fingers and toes turned to prunes.  I caught myself absent-mindedly sucking the salt from the end of my plait as I did when I was little.  If only we could have set up a wee wooden caravan there on the edge – something quaint and old fashioned, stocked with wonderful books, thin cotton sheets, soft pillows, yummy food, and cold drinks – we could stay for the next week, swimming for hours, pushing that nasty heat wave away with our cool, shrivelled, salty hands.  Oh can you imagine how utterly blissful that would be.  Bugger school!  Bugger university!  Bugger work!  I think that if the temperature is over 35 – then it MUST be the summer holidays, regardless of what the calendar says.

And what a treat being able to share it with Rina.  In a usual March, we would have been driving up into the mountains to admire the trees’ autumn finery, wander the lake’s edge at Daylesford, hunt for mushrooms in the forest.  Not this year.  Rina was enchanted.

However, all good things come to and end.  Eventually we had to brave those stairs – this time, trudging up and up and up through wilting steaminess.  Every time we turned back to the sea we wailed!  We would need another swim to cool off by the time we reached the top.  It seems to me there’s something not working quite right with this arrangement.

On the way home we stopped for icecream at Chill – Mt. Martha’s Gelati Bar – highly recommended …

… stopped for a super quick play on this ship – I was waiting for it to sprout leaves a’la Quentin Blake’s divine book “The Green Ship” …

… and made our final stop for the day here …

… why yes, this truly bizarre sight is real.  That’s why I snuck a photo.  CPR dummies under the trees in Frankston.  First time I’ve ever played this game on my way home from the beach.  However, I’m not complaining – if I hadn’t had to be in Frankston at 5 pm to spend half an hour pumping their flaccid chests for thirty counts before pushing two breaths into their funny little mouths – over and over again – we would never have made our way to Birdrock Beach.

And you thought I would once more try to end my post with some meaningful and poetic words – ha!

the daring grandad

The day was grey, drizzly and cool.  Sensible folk were staying indoors.  But my dear old Grandad is not so sensible – especially according to some of the women in his life.  So, when I suggested a quick drive to Haycocks Point – the furtherest rocky outcrop to the south that we can see from Mum’s front porch – this gorgeous old thing was more than happy to ditch the laptop (after protesting for years that computers were not for him, he became besotted with the online newsletters of the Australian Lighthouse Association) and his funky headband, and hit the road for one last adventure before returning to his much more sedate everyday life back in Brisbane.

At this time some of the women in his life (perfectly lovely and best intentioned) were debating who bossed Grandad around the most.  I, naturally :-), declared that I did not need to be considered because I did not boss him around.  ”Ha!” one of the aunties pooh-poohed, “Just because he’s always happy to do what you want, don’t think you aren’t included in the bossy list.”

Not so!  The only reason Grandad is always happy to do what I want, is that I always want to do what HE wants :-)  He’s taught me well.  So, shunning offers of jumpers and jackets and lunch, we hit the road.  With a stop-off at the fabulous Wild Rye Bakery in Pambula for supplies – freshly baked organic cinnamon doughnuts.  Yum!

:: yes!  it’s a wallaby!  we knew they must have been around
given all the scat we had to carefully step over
::

Now,  my only knowledge of Haycocks Point came from Mum who declared, following our epic 27 km bump along the rocky trail to Green Cape Lighthouse, that the road to Haycocks Point was trivial – short and paved – and that once you pulled up in the carpark, you did not even have to get out of the car to see the view.  Hmmmmmmmmm ….

In fact, the road was dirt and windy and when we finally reached the carpark, the signposts advised that the shortest track to ANY view (apart from the environmentally friendly toilet block) was 2 km round.  Keeping in mind I did not want to spoil Grandad’s last day – either by telling him what he should or shouldn’t do, or putting him at risk – I asked what he thought our best option was.  ”Walk!”  he declared emphatically.  ”That’s what we’re here for!”

So walk we did.  And it was magic.  Sitting here now, in my inner city, sun filled kitchen, remembering the stillness, the quiet, the misty coolness, the incredible beauty of both the landscape and being there with my Grandad, makes me pause, close my eyes and sigh.  It was such a fabulous afternoon.

Soon after setting off, we encountered a rather alarming set of stairs, dug into the side of the hill.  All I could think of was Grandad tripping and how I was ever going to explain the ensuing chaos to the aunties.  Grandad, however, assured me that as long as he took it carefully, slowly, with me on his left elbow, and him leading with his left foot, he’d be FINE.  Okay!

Two hours passed blissfully.  We slowly, slowly made our way up the stairs and along the track.  There was so much to see and learn … Haycocks Point was, until recently, privately owned grazing land.  Now it is part of the National Park and a revegetation programme is in place, hand in hand with a weed eradication programme.  Once you climb the small hill and head out along the narrow finger of land to the sea, there are few trees.  Instead, the landscape is thick with waist high shrubs – the perfect cover for the local furry folk – black rock wallabies and kangaroos.

Oh my, there we were meandering slowly through the grey drizzle, chattering all the way, when all of a sudden I looked left and there she was.  Standing still and silent less than a few metres away from us.  Grandad was utterly enchanted.  We watched her until she tired of us and hopped away.  Honestly, I have tears in my eyes now just thinking about it.  It was so beautiful – we were the only people there and it felt like we’d entered another world.  One that neither of us had ever had the privilege of visiting before.

We kept walking until we reached the sea.  It was one of those days where the gloomy, still, wetness of the sky seems to hold the ocean beneath just as still.  There were barely any waves and the water simply sat there below us, as pretty as ever, but almost motionless.  There at the edge, we found what looked just like the berries described back on the carpark information board as bush tucker that the local Aborigines enjoyed.  So we picked some – for Julian to try later :-) – and tucked into our doughnuts instead :-)

Once we’d filled out hearts and eyes with the view, we headed back, meeting another wallaby and a pair of feisty kangaroos on the way.  It was almost like a Where’s Wally – if we just peered closely enough, we realised that the bush on either side of us was actually wriggling with animals.  And so our steps and voices were gentle and low, as we relished every moment of sharing this almost eerie place with such beautiful creatures.

Upon our return to the carpark, there were five young men trekking back from the beach with their rods and buckets.  Grandad instantly puttered over to them – he so loves meeting new folk – wanting to know how their fishing had gone, what they’d caught, where they were from etc.  After several hours, they’d caught just one whiting, but assured Grandad that the fun was in being there together.  He chuckled heartily, agreeing with everything they said. We hopped into our car and as we pulled away, the five young men stood there, rods at their sides, waving goodbye to Grandad.  It was divine and such a perfect affirmation that our world is full of lovely people.

Once home, Grandad and I peeled fresh, sweet prawns which we ate with buttered sourdough, and gave the bush berries to Julian.  Our lunch was delicious.  Julian’s was disgusting.  He couldn’t even manage one berry – had to spit it into the sink and rinse his mouth out copiously.  Maybe we picked the wrong berries.

To quote my Auntie Wig, it was the beautifullest day (that was her favourite adjective – beautifullest) and I’m so incredibly glad we ignored the drizzle, the grey, the cool, and the worriers.  See, I concur with Grandad.  Life is there to be lived – especially when you’ve made it to 87 – and if the inevitable arrives a wee bit sooner, just because we took an adventurous walk in the rain, then at least we had a marvellous time doing it.

 

 

return to the blue pool

Now my old Grandad is an intrepid adventurer but when he saw this staircase last week, even he had to admit that he was perhaps past climbing 84 steps.  Such a shame :-)  because at the bottom lies a remarkable treasure – the Blue Pool.

Built in the 1930s – a Great Depression Project that was spearheaded by the enthusiasm and financial support of Mr. Bill Dickinson, a local philanthropist –  it is an Olympic size swimming pool created from the naturally formed rock pools that existed at the base of the southern headland at Bermagui.

After Mr. Dickinson stumped up the original funds, the New South Wales government, local community groups and individuals came up with the rest of the funds required, and after a bit of dynamite, concrete and a lot of hard work, Bermagui had two beautiful salt water pools (there’s a wee pool for children as well), refreshed by the tides and proudly maintained for the last 70 0dd years.  In fact, the Blue Pool’s water quality regularly tops the state, never receiving less than perfect marks.  And such pristine conditions have led to very happy flora and fauna – most of the swimmers had on their masks and snorkels so as to marvel at the wildlife.  I can’t wait to go back with ours!

The water temperature was what I’ve come to expect down here in the far south – gaspingly chilly at first touch, but then lovely once your heart has restarted.  Abby wondered whether warming her front on the edge would improve things – it didn’t!

It is truly amazing to swim so close to the foaming, wild waves of the ocean and yet be in such a sheltered and safe environment.  Long periods were spent, chin resting on folded arms, watching the deep, churning sea throw itself at the rocks.  And oh the colours of the sea down here – utterly entrancing.

Just as lovely as the swimming was exploring the rock pools – there were so many and they were rich with life, colour and pattern …

Inspired by Kate Davies’ gorgeous new book, I could see colour combinations for knitting everywhere – and feel quite inspired to try working them into some textured designs – in fact I think Kate’s Betty Mouatt sweater would be a very fine place to start.

As for this massive rock that guards the north end of the pool – I expect to lick it and find it is made of honeycomb!  It is so beautiful.  And closer to the water’s edge, it has many crevices and small caves that the girls were eager to climb and explore – until they looked closely and realised they would be sharing the spaces with hundreds of little dark blue soldier crabs :-)

After our swim, we headed to the rocks to warm up, doing what we like to do best.  Jules read, the girls chattered, and I …

… came well prepared of course!  With my Stevenson sweater on the needles, all I needed was to find a sunny spot on the rocks and knit.  Wasn’t hard :-)

And look at that – the rich golden bands of the Scottish lighthouses practically matches the flora filling the pools behind me (I’m very ignorant about these things – lichen? seaweed? flora covers it all :-)  Lovely.

Honestly, at the risk of boring you, or sounding like an employee of the Sapphire Coast’s Tourism Board, you truly MUST visit the Blue Pool if you are ever in this neck of the woods.  It is exquisite!  You will spend your entire visit ooohing and ahhhing.  As well as marvelling at the hard work and vision this small community had – their determination to create jobs and cheer the town up – over 70 years ago – and in doing so, provide a unique and beautiful environment for those that came after them to enjoy.

Minus the change rooms.  They washed away!

to the lighthouse

After almost an hour of twisting, turning, sliding, plummeting, inching, and bumping along the most alarming dirt track I have ever adventured along, this is the sweet sight that greeted us.

Oh with what relief we stretched our legs and trotted off, these gorgeous, freshly whitewashed chimney pots – almost luminescent against the deep blue sky – beckoning us on.

The first building (and information board) to greet us – the telegraph office – which pleased Grandad, a morse code operator and enthusiast, no end.  He learnt his skill as a young man during the second world war and then put it to good use in all those post offices he worked in – in those days the post office supervised the bulk of Australia’s telegraphic and telephone communications.

Then the three keepers’ cottages … with front porches and lawns to swoon over … I think that looks like the perfect spot for an hour or so of knitting or reading.  Don’t you? :-)

And at last, the lighthouse itself.   Green Cape Lighthouse.  Built in 1883 – the first cast concrete lighthouse in Australia, the most southerly and second tallest in New South Wales.

There’s a wonderful story shared here by Beryl Royal, the daughter of lighthousekeeper Jim Duncan.  Beryl spent five years of her childhood at Green Cape (pre World War 2) and describes a fascinating life that included homeschooling, the ABC’s Children’s Hour and Argonauts’ club, fishing, whale watching, pet wallabies, the thrilling arrival of the three monthly launch with their supplies from McIlrath’s in Sydney, and the endlesss maintenance of the lighthouse.  She declares it a wonderful childhood.  You really should take a peek at her story – it’s enchanting – finally convinced Grandad of the positive power of the world wide web.

There’s something about lighthouses, isn’t there?  Ever since reading Five Goes to Demon’s Rocks, I have been bewitched.  They truly do belong to a more romantic era – making such a courageous and resilient stance against the mercurial ocean – one that we, as tiny humans could not.  They are our guardians – their lights flashing out over the seas whilst we shelter inside their elegant walls.  Oh the sentimental inside me thinks it’s a terrible shame they are now all automated – and some, including Green Cape, no longer even used.  There’s now a dreadfully utilitarian and ugly metal skeleton tower here to splash that light out over these heavy southern waters.

Ugh!  A naughty, irresponsible part of me hopes that this ghastly thing comes twisting and clattering down in a storm.  Obviously, I would never want any ships or boats put at risk – but how satisfying would it be to see this ridiculous, ugly,  glorified ladder put in its place and it’s older, magnificent neighbour restored to its rightful position.

One feature that did DELIGHT us was this wee story board.  It describes Green Cape as being not just an out flung bastion of government services and provider of safe passage, but a centre for the local settlers and farmers to gather and play  … thus, the tennis courts.  And the lighthouse families (’cause they preferred to employ lighthouse keepers with families, so as to best create “normal” and cheerful wee communities in these isolated places)  were expected to take their roles of organisers and hosts seriously.

I cannot even begin to fathom how local families travelled to this lighthouse for a tennis party but oh standing amongst these lovely buildings, I could see the hustle and bustle.  Trestle tables set up on the deep and sheltered porches, laden with food (including roasted black swan, parrot and wallaby!), children running about with their dogs, daring each other to silliness,  mothers exhorting them to stay away from the edge! whilst sharing their tips for coping with the hardships of bush life, horses tethered further back amongst the melaleucas, fathers smoking their pipes and passing on the news of the day.  I wonder how many tennis balls were lost to the sea!

The natural landscape is equally as lovely – breathtaking in fact.  And there is supposedly a lot of wildlife – especially black rock wallabies, grey kangaroos, and seals.  Sadly we saw none – but there was certainly plenty of evidence …

… I tried to introduce the girls to a spot of scatology but they were majorly unimpressed.  So I took photos of all the different types I spied – perhaps if we are homebound by terrible weather and we lose all power to everything except my camera and all internet access except to my laptop, I may be able to twist Abby’s arm later in the holiday.  Fat chance!  She’d probably choose sleep as the only acceptable alternative :-)

Whilst Aunty Annie and Grandad meandered back to the car, the girls and I sprinted ahead to check out the Ly-ee-moon cemetery.  It’s a small and sad memorial to just 24 of the 77 folk who lost their lives when the Ly-ee-moon, a passenger steamer that travelled between Melbourne and Sydney, drifted onto the rocks on a calm and well lit night – with the lighthouse burning I might add – and was broken in half.  Lighthouse keepers did their best to rescue as many as they could and spent the next few days retrieving bodies but alas, the loss of life was great and most ended up lost to the sea.  The captain and his first mate were tried in Sydney for manslaughter (yes, strangely enough, they were among the 17 who were pulled alive from the sea) and whilst they were acquitted, they were stripped of their offices by the Maritime Board and forbidden from ever holding a license again.

Each little white washed rock marks a grave and there is a small memorial listing the known names.  Most of the children listed were unnamed … for example,  M. Hamilton and babe, H. Fotherington and daughter, etc.  And then there was “Two unknown men with German accents”, and “A Greek, granted passage at request of Cook”.  The cemetery is several hundred metres deep into the melaleuca forest.  And whilst you can hear the roar of the ocean, the trees meet overhead, obscuring any view, and the air is still and eerie.  The neighbouring bay is not called Disaster Bay for nothing.

So add Green Cape to your list folks!  I wouldn’t advise taking Green Cape Road in the rain – beggars belief what would happen if you tried – I think it would be more like skiing then driving, and you’d quickly come to an abrupt stop thanks to the heavy forest.  But on a fine dry day, pack a picnic and plenty of water and head out south of Eden and along the Green Cape Road.  You’ll have a marvellous day and come home with a head filled with beauty and stories of bygone days, ears ringing with the thunder of the ocean, and the phone number for the accommodation folks at the New South Wales National Parks – yes!  You can holiday in the lighthouse keepers’ cottages!  Eeeeeeeeee!

grandad

Our first day of our summer holiday by the beach and I was given the privilege and delight of taking my dear old Grandad on an adventure.  Soon after midday, we tootled off to take the long road to Tilba Tilba – home of Erica’s beautiful cheese.   Grandad had long heard of the prettiness of this historical village and was very keen to wind round those mountain roads himself, sit in Erica’s cafe, and marvel at the beautiful countryside.

It is such a picture perfect wee village.  I can so imagine living there.

We shared lunch at Erica’s cafe – including malted milkshakes using Erica’s latest from the farm product – beautiful, rich, creamy Jersey milk.  Grandad couldn’t remember the last time he’d enjoyed a malted milkshake and made sure to slurp up every last drop. Oh yum!

She’s now selling it – unhomogenised – from her farm shop.  If you ever find yourself nearby, treat yourself to a milkshake and make sure to take a bottle home.

Next door is the old community hall.  It has served as a roller skating rink (when it was first built in 1901 – can you believe that!  - they built a roller skating rink back then!), a storage hall for the cheese from the nearby cheese factory, a dance hall – whose floor was admired for miles around because of all that butter milk that sweetly dripped from the cheeses into the wooden boards – and now, a community arts hall.

At the moment, it is hosting an exhibition of local interests.  Tilba – at first glance – looks like a tourist shopping strip.  But as the community exhibition proclaims, there is so much more to the people of Tilba than a bunch of shops.  There’s one gentleman’s collection of antique motorcycles, a collection of psychedelic vintage aprons, a photo montage of a family’s dog from the moment she arrived as a sweet pup, to her death a couple of months ago, the works of several local artists, an exquisite hard carved Windsor chair, quilts, baskets woven from the willows lining the Bega river, a collection of black and white photos of Tilba from 1985 to 1995 … Grandad and I had a marvellous hour, carefully reading and inspecting the exhibits, and then a wonderfully long chat with the local photographer who was caretaking that afternoon.  It was brilliant!  What a beautiful idea huh?!  A exhibition of a community’s interests.

Then, we simply had to cross the road and check out the post office.  Grandad began his career in the post office, as a telegram boy, when he was 15.  He rose quickly through the ranks and travelled the east coast of Australia with his ever growing family, working in post offices from Barcaldine in the far west of Queensland to Launceston in Tasmania.

For the last couple of decades of his career – those that I knew – Grandad was a Post Master and oh, how we loved visiting him at work.  He would set us up at the huge wooden counter at the general post office in Kempsey, supply us with scraps of brown wrapping paper, and give us the huge round racks that held all the ink stamps and we would stamp, stamp, stamp to our hearts’ content.  When we had produced our masterpieces, he would staple the sheets of paper together into books for us.  It was such fun!

Grandad’s history with the Post Office is so enmeshed with my family’s history, my childhood, and how I “know” Grandad that I always feel such a connection to post offices – especially the old ones.   I drive my family batty when we are out and about in the countryside.  I squeal, “stop!  quickly stop!  there’s the post office!  I need to take a photo of it for Grandad!”

Our journey home, took us along the coast road.  First, we boinged down a dusty track, broken up with cattle grids and gates, to the Tilba general cemetery which is perched on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the sea.  It is breathtakingly picturesque … Grandad loved it and we stopped many times for him to whip out his camera (oh my, it must be hereditary!) and take a few snaps.

Then, we meandered through the farming fields, forests and beautiful fishing villages of the Far South Coast, noting the loveliest spots that we simply must return to.

Without doubt, number one on the list is The Blue Pool in Bermagui.  Wow!

But without doubt, the highlight of the day was having my Grandad by my side.  This beautiful old gentleman is a born adventurer and it was so wonderful to be able to provide him with the opportunity to explore the unknown.  And oh, he did so enjoy it.

There were several times, as we drove along, that Grandad spoke wistfully about how much he loved driving.  How buying a new car was always such a thrill.  How there was nothing better than to pile the family into the car and simply drive.  Discover somewhere new.  Enjoy getting away. The wonderful feeling of escaping the every day.  And how very sad he was when the time came to hand over his license.  Admit that those days were over.

After one such moment, I squeezed his hand, kissed his cheek and told him how special it was to me – who has so inherited his love of “the drive” – that after spending my childhood driving around in the back of his beloved car to the next adventure, I could now treat him to the same.  He gave a small smile, and replied that he supposed it was, yes he supposed it was, but it wasn’t quite the same nevertheless.  As much as he loved exploring with me, there was just this wee little spot inside of him that still wished so fervently that it was he behind the wheel, strong and capable, and me, small and excited, in the back.

I can’t hold that against him.  No, I can’t.