Evoking memories…by sound

I happened to be out driving today and had the radio on.  I searched for a new station not normally listened to.  Living near the sea, I’ve noticed that there are a few beach themed ones. So I listened to whatever came on, and first song on was an old favourite, Summer Breeze, by Seals and Crofts.  Anyone around my age (I’m 60) would likely remember this one — they released it around 1972 I believe. So I’m driving along, with memories popping in to my head…of the years that I surfed.  My best friend’s father taught us the finer points and we took it from there.  We were never going to survive as professional surfers, but it sure was a nice time spent with other surfies over a few years.

Here’s a shot I took recently.  It was at the start of September, which is the start of spring in Australia.  I doubt I’d be able to balance on a board now, so instead I watch and photograph.

Surf's Up!

…and if you’re interested, here’s an early video of Seals and Croft playing the song live.



A Reflection of a Life

Happy Mother’s Day, Mum



So here in Australia today it is Mother’s Day.  Mums around the country will be treated to breakfasts in bed, phone calls and visits from their loved ones, and many warm conversations will occur. Memories will be recalled as well as being made on the day. All a part of the good life we all hope for.

There are some mums who I’m sure would wish they could partake in activities with their loved ones, but for whatever reason they are unable to do so. This is the case with my own mum, Shirley.  Sadly she began the battle with dementia a decade ago, prompting my return from life in the USA, where I had migrated to a decade earlier. So again today I will make the journey back to Toowoomba to spend time with Mum, and this time I’ll be taking my friend and her little fluffy dog, Lily, who the residents will I am sure, swoon over.

Mum was an active woman all of her life, right up until her health issues started to take over.  She had lost her husband (my Dad) in 1995, and continued to live in the small country town that they had moved to some years earlier. Goombungee is a small rural location west of my hometown of Toowoomba. There she became somewhat reclusive, spending her time gardening and also caring for the multitude of animals and birds that visited her garden. When locals came across an injured bird or animal they knew they could bring it to mum who would lovingly take care of it, and send on to a vet if necessary.

These days she is cared for at a specialised nursing home, where she lives in a beautiful room, though sadly is now bedridden.  Whenever I visit her eyes light up and her frail hand comes out to hold her son’s hand.  Over the years it has been somewhat distressing to see mum slowly lose her ability to remember those memories, which form so much of a part of our lives, that have been built over her 80-something years (it’s polite not to tell her real age, right?)  🙂

Mum loved to garden, and having most of her life in Toowoomba, it’s no surprise to know that she spent so much time tending her loved plants, especially her flowers.  Toowoomba is blessed with rich volcanic soil, and just about anything will grow there, profusely. Every year for as long as I can remember, the Carnival of Flowers has been held in September, at the start of Spring.  The flowers in the gallery are not hers, though they are similar to the varieties that she grew. She also had a love of birds; just as well because lorikeets were everywhere.

This is a brief look at Mum’s life as you can imagine.  That little man sitting on the steps is me. It’s one of the few of me that I like.  🙂

I don’t know how much longer she will be with me, so I make as many visits as possible. I can’t wait to give her a bouquet of flowers and see her eyes light up. ❤




Photo Challenge: Narrow

I haven’t posted for a little while, so am trying to catch up, and will just start with last week’s photo challenge, Narrow.

This week, let’s keep things narrow (but not narrow-minded!): share a photo with your take on the theme. You could focus on a slender object, or shoot an image where your field of vision is restricted. Alleyways and half-open doors, seesaws and water slides, spaghetti and electric cords… the world is full of narrow things.

I spent a weekend away at a B & B in rural Australia, a few hours drive from where I live in Brisbane.  Most of my photos have been centred around the waters of the Brisbane River as well as the coastline of south-east Queensland. So it was a nice change to get out into the countryside and capture a different side of Australia.

Driving down a random road, I came across a group of people standing by a rail line, cameras at the ready.  Instead of enquiring, a quick check of the sign close-by told me what was coming — a steam train, which was being put through its paces, as a part of the process of being fully restored.

I hadn’t seen a steam train in years, and looking at the narrow track it would be on very soon, I wondered if it would fit.  As a kid, I recall these huge monster sized machines, puffing smoke and steam like an angry dragon. Soon those memories came flooding back as the distinct sound of the engine releasing steam was heard as it approached my location. As I remembered, the loco was powerful and seemed to pull the carriages with little effort.

The sound and then the vision appeared…and it thundered toward us and past us, before disappearing down the narrow gauge railway track.


Summer breeze….

Here in Australia it is winter. Some friends scoff at that, and I guess, having experienced a north American winter, I can understand why.  But the major difference here is that our homes aren’t set up for cold weather.  No such thing as furnaces, instead we exist with various types of heaters, and if lucky, a wood heater. Anyway, I digress.

I’ve been going through my photos in a bid to decrease the total (currently sits at about 7000). I came across one that reminded me of days gone by, back when I was a teenager and enjoying the Christmas holidays, and the visits to the beach that my parents always made.  At some point my best friend’s father offered to teach us to surf the waves. We were clumsy and fell off a lot, which I guess is pretty common for newbies.  But in the end we got a handle on it and started to enjoy the experience of being in the water.  One place I love here is Caloundra, which back in the 70’s was somewhat smaller and a place with little shanties and workers cottages, a place to come and experience peace and quiet.  These days there are pockets of that kind of place, but they are fast being lost to high-rise apartments to satisfy the tourist trade.

I had a brief stay at Caloundra in 2015, and took this photo from the balcony.  DSC_0017_HDRWhat struck me was that this view hasn’t changed all that much.  There were still those magnificent Norfolk Island Pines, and out in the water were the surfies.  However there were also people trying their skills with the new fad, stand up paddleboarding.  You can see a few of them in this photo. Caloundra is also situated close to the deep-sea nautical passage that scoots down the east coast of Australia, as evidenced by the large oil tanker further out to sea. I’ve always been drawn to the sea, not so much for the beach, but for the peace that I seem to feel from sitting by the water.

When I saw this photo, I also remembered a song that was in the charts in 1975, the year I started working, and shared that time with surfing. So long ago, but this song really highlighted the 70’s for me.  Ahh memories!  🙂