THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS. NOW A BREAK FROM ROUTINE.

Since my last effort to get to this keyboard, my poor old Landrover has clocked up more than 3,000 k’s so to say things have been a little hectic would be a gross understatement.

For example, last Sunday  I drove over 200 k’s to go to lunch with friends. It was an important luncheon because it had been organised by a mutual motorcycling mate who is in his mid eighties and has been in poor health for the last twelve months or so.

It was unsettling to see him so frail, uncomfortable and should I say it, yes, miserable.

He was accompanied by his daughter who had come from out of State to give him a morale boost as his wife has popped over to Europe to attend, wait for it, seventeen operas. I kid you not.

This was the first time in our over 30 year friendship that he has actually organised any of our joint activities so as I said, it was an important engagement of all of us.

Lunch was served and we all noticed that our old mate had barely touched his meal. Then his posture began to sag and it was obvious to us all that he wasn’t at all comfortable. Suddenly, he sat upright and said to his daughter,’Come on, it’s time to go’.

With that he rose from the table, bid us all farewell, shook hands all round, kissed the ladies and accompanied by his daughter left for his long trip home to Sydney.

A feeling of gloom descended on our table and although not expressed aloud, I’m certain that we all felt our old mate was completing his ‘bucket list’.

Anyway, apart from that doom and gloom episode, Casa Creakingbones has been an hive of activity with appointments, meetings, problem solving, pet management, appliance renewal together with all of the other ‘must do’ chores necessary to keep our little piece of paradise ship shape.

Accordingly, I’ve decided to have a break from everything for a week or so in order to recharge my batteries.

The only routine I intend to retain while the battery charger is connected will be to read your blogs.

Hoo roo for now.

I FEEL MUCH BETTER NOW

What a difference a day makes. Or should I say night.

Last night I was the judge at our local camera club. Evaluating images is always tiring and that feeling is often increased when the images I evaluate are made by people I know.

Over time you come to recognise particular works as belonging to this one or that one because the treatment they give their photographs always remains the same,i.e.,  sometimes under exposed, sometimes over exposed, sometimes oversaturated, sometimes too contrasty, sometime just not in focus and sometimes, just really poorly executed, both in camera and during post processing.

So, as you can understand I approached last night’s proceedings with some trepidation. As it turned out, my apprehension was totally unnecessary.

The images for evaluation were all of excellent quality, well composed, well thought out and most importantly, well executed.

For once, my work was most enjoyable, the members were genuinely interested in my comments about the images and seemed to agree with my decisions when it came to making awards.

In the post judging discussion no prompting from me was required at all. Everyone joined in with their comments and what surprised me was the fact that all criticism was constructive. It seems that the club members have jointly turned a corner and just want to get on with the photography learning process.

It was great therapy for me and by the time I arrived home at Cassa Creakingbones not long after 11pm I felt refreshed and the problems of the last week or so had receded far into the background.

No doubt about photography, it’s a great pastime and mood breaker.

Now I can’t wait for my next judging assignment.

Oh and by the way, no one gave me a flogging over the three images I snuck in. No one uttered a word about them either so if that was a sign of something, I know not what and frankly, couldn’t care less.

Hoo roo.

SOME LIGHT RELIEF FOR HE WHO MUST BE OBEYED AT CASA CREAKINGBONES

Some light relief is on the cards for me tonight. Why? I’m off to judge the images at my local camera club. The title of tonight’s competition, ‘A walk in nature’. Our little club interprets this as anything that moves, grows, or did at one time or another.

There are two categories, prints or digital projections.

Although I’m tonight’s judge, I’m going to throw in three prints of my own. Of course I won’t be allocating any awards ( Distinctions for great images and Credits for images not quite up to the great standard) to my own work but it gives the ‘mob’ an opportunity to vent their spleen by giving my images a total rubbish if they feel so  inclined.

Just between us, I don’t take my best work along when I’m the judge. A simple tactic I picked up years ago. That way the ‘mob’ can say what they dislike about my images  and they are probably right and I can agree with their criticism in all honesty. Makers them feel good.

Here are the three I’m going to take along tonight:

This is an Australian Eastern Blue Tongue lizard, the largest member of the Skink family. They are likeable, harmless reptiles and are always welcome in our garden where they devour as many slugs, snails and other unwanted guests they can find. We saw our first one in the garden about 40 years ago and called him ‘Albert’. Now we call every blue tongue that comes and stays,’ Son of Albert’.

‘Son of Albert’ hung around in my garage a couple of weeks just long enough for me to whack the 105 Micro on the camera and grab this image. You can see why they are called blue tongues.

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BLUE TONGUE LIZARD

Second on my list is this common pigeon, one of many that flock to our yard when we feed the native birds. I used a 600mm lens to capture this blighter as it glided down from power lines some distance away.

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COMMON PIGEON

My third offering for tonight is this image of an Australian Perentie Goanna, the largest member of the monitor lizards found in the  Land of Oz. They can run at great speed, climb trees with ease and grow up to about 2,5 metres long. They run from humans but when they feel threatened can give a quite nasty bite and scratch with their sharp claws.  This one is a juvenile out hunting for food. For some reason the image the image appears here to be quite blurry whilst the original isn’t. I’m sure you will get a good idea anyway of how they look  in the wild.

I grabbed this image with a 50mm f1.4 lens.

print DSC_0075 copy

I’m really looking forward to some fun tonight, there should be about 50-60 prints and a similar number of projected images to judge. Some of the members will be disappointed that they didn’t get an award but I’ll make sure that my comments are all positive and encouraging.

Well that’s it for me, off to the meeting in a few minutes to enjoy pre judging coffee, bickies( cookies for some of you) and a beer or two after it’s all over.

Hoo roo.

POSSIBLE LIGHT ON THE HILL FOR CASA CREAKINGBONES

Further to my previous rant about dramas for Casa Creakingbones, there has been some progress.

Last Friday our local Council granted me an extension until close of business next  Tuesday 12th May, 2015 to lodge objections to the proposed development of a vast commercial zone adjacent to my little bit of paradise.

Armed with that little bit of good news I put all other activity on hold and proceeded to develop a cohesive submission to Council outlining the objections to the proposed development.

Not including attachments and photographs where appropriate, the submission runs to 14 close typed A4 pages.

The submission covers issues such as a proposed supermarket, main road realignment, drainage, road noise and travel times, visual pollution, parking, general noise pollution, economic impact on our town’s CBD, commercial lighting, anti social behaviour and street crime, alterations to the streetscape and finally, the impact of odours from proposed fast food outlets.

Tomorrow I’ll deliver the document to the Council, a day early. No extra marks will be awarded for my deadline beater.

The next step may be an invitation from Council to address a meeting of the Council in the presence of the development proponents to voice my objections.

I hope I am granted that opportunity.

In any event, the outcome is in the hands of the local administration.

All I can do now is await their determination.

Should the outcome be in my favour, then no doubt the developer will change the nature of the proposal and resubmit it.

It is a war of attrition with no live rounds fired. Much like being on a perpetual roundabout.

So, its hoo roo for now and stand by for the next exciting instalment.

MISADVENTURES AND MINOR DRAMAS AT CASA CREAKINGBONES

Well the last ten days are ten days we could have done without at Casa Creakingbones.

Without prioritising in any order of importance we have experienced:

The death of a close family member and attending the funeral involving a 1700klm/1000mile interstate drive, there and back in two days; 500 klm return drive to the city last Friday, 250klms return drive to Canberra, our Nation’s Capital and on Sunday a 200 klm return drive to Yass, a nearby town.

In all, just a little over 2,650 klms or about 1,647 miles in six days. No wonder a bloke is tired.

On top of that we have had to fit in doctors appointments, visits to specialists and some medical procedures.

Then to add insult to injury, a large scale residential/commercial development has been announced to begin construction just across the way from our little bit of paradise. This means paradise lost, not just for Casa Creakingbones but for all the other families who have built on small acerages just out of town.

Today is the closing date for lodgement of objections to the development. So, I’m off to our local council to seek an extension of time to lodge one. Will permission be granted? Who knows.

Then last night, due to carelessness or stupidity on my part, I destroyed most of the incoming emails on my iPhone which resulted in every other device including this computer getting rid of the lot with no recovery possible. Fortunately our Telco restored usage but the emails can’t be recovered.

On the positive side, if that’s all I’ve got to whinge about, I’m a very, very lucky old bloke.

So now it’s off to the local council, big smile on my face, the epitome of politeness to seek an extension on the lodgement date for objections to the nearby development.

Wish me luck.

Hoo roo for now.

WRITING 101-DAY TWENTY- THE TINGS WE TREASURE.

Write of  a family heirloom, childhood memories, lead us through the history of an object that bears special meaning to you.

A FAMILY TRREASURE.

I am fortunate to possess a number of family heirlooms that I number as  treasures.

One of those heirlooms is the Henry Wilkinson sword pictured below. It holds special significance for me.

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SWORD BELONGING TO COLONEL CHARLES WYNDHAM SOMERSET, CB,       CMG,MVO.

The sword was the property of my Great Uncle from my Mother’s side of the House of Beaufort, Colonel Charles Wyndham Somerset, CB, CMG, MVO. The family lineage dates back to the early 1400’s. The family motto is ‘Mutare vel timere spurn’, which roughly translated means,’ I scorn to change or fear’.

The Colonel was born in England in 1862 and like many members of the British aristocracy, followed the military tradition and joined the army where he was commissioned as a Lieutenant. At graduation he was presented with the sword shown above. In common with many young British Officers of the time, he elected to be transferred to the British Indian Army where there was a greater opportunity for action. The sword accompanied him throughout his active military service and bears the scars of action.

He first saw combat throughout the 3rd Burma War, 1886 to 1889, then fought in the Battle of Chitral in 1895. From 1897 to 1898 he saw action on the North West Frontier and whilst there participated in the battle for Tirah.

At the outbreak of World War One in 1914, he was part of the Indian Army’s contribution to the war effort and was in active service throughout the war until its conclusion in 1918.

In 1911 he was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order for his active service with the Indian Army.   In 1917, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George for his actions in WW1 and this was followed at the cessation of hostilities when he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.   Then, in 1919 he was made an Honorary Brigadier General in the Indian Army. He died at home in England in 1938.

Twenty one hears later, In November,1959 when I was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Australian Citizens Military Forces (CMF)  my Grandmother presented the Colonel’s sword to me.

I have treasured it ever since and it holds pride of place in a special display here in my home.

When I withdraw the sword from its scabbard, it makes a soothing sound, totally at odds with its traditional purpose. As I clean the blade, the hilt with its hand guaard, as I regularly do, I wonder what it must have been like for the Colonel when going into battle with lethal intent, mounted on his war horse, the sword swinging by his side.

My thoughts and imagination have been strongly influenced by the recent ANZAC day remembrance services I’ve attended here, both before and after the 25th April, 2015. 2015 is particularly significant as it is the 100th Anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landing at Gallipoli.

Many towns and cities through Australia have developed exhibitions to acknowledge the sacrifices made by veterans of international conflicts, with particular emphasis on that of the ANZACS.

Here in my home town an exhibition called, ‘A SAUTE-Aussie Soldier from 1915 meets Young Turk in 2015’.

The exhibition contains many family treasures from World War1, the so called War to End All Wars.

Included are letters and postcards from the front, photographs, lockets containing the hair of a loved one, orders and decorations together with examples of the work of the women at home in the form of hand knitted socks, balaclavas and the like.

Also on display is the Colonel’s sword.

I have great pride in my antecedents, both paternal and maternal.

So far in my 75 years  I’ve been able to abide by the family motto. i uphold the family traditions, where, inter alia,  strength of character and a need to do what’s right are paramount.

Each time I unsheath and hold the family sword, those obligations and feelings are reinforced.