Carnage on Kidman Way

Canoe Tree Park in Finley

Yesterday I stopped to look at the canoe tree in Finley

I'd guess this park was built in the early 1970s before the legislation came in for scarred trees to remain in situ.

The canoe tree must be old as the heartwood has hollowed, which also means one can't get an idea of whether a stone or steel axe was used.

I like the accompanying mural that gives an idea of the processes used by Aborignals to make a canoe from a cutting of River Red Gum bark.

Collaboration with Dr Phil

Back in 2008 I was lucky to have my camera when a spectacular lightning storm passed off the coast near Valla Beach

The next day I sent a pic to the local Midcoast Observer, who kindly shared this proof after printing it in their newspaper.

Recently when visiting Valla Beach I saw that my partner's uncle, Phillip Roxburgh, has rendered the image by hand.

I also saw more lightning at Valla Beach, both by night and day.

Collaboration with Dr Greg

After the Crossing Streams exhibition last year, I asked Dr Greg Pritchard if he'd be interested in collaborating on a Renga

Renga predates haiku as a form of verse and uses a similar format with the addition of two seven-syllable lines forming a response.

For a while I'd been stumped trying to decide which of my haiku to offer to Greg.

In the lead-up to the recent poetry reading in Narrandera, I decided to share one I'd written for that event while camping by the Goulburn River:
Ripples reflecting
streaming autumnal light
each moment passing

On the mountain, clouds come in
it is like a ship at sea

Dhal recipe

  1. Wash a packet of red lentils, then boil for up to 20 mins in a pot with about an equal amount of water or maybe a bit more.
  2. In a fry pan with oil cook an onion, half a bulb or more of garlic and about a teaspoon each of cumin, garam masala, cayenne pepper and curry powder. 
  3. Add half a pack of mustard seeds, if they pop it's too hot.
  4. Add a teaspoon of stock powder or dissolve a cube in water or add salt to taste.
  5. Mix it all together in the pot with the mushy lentils, using a little water to get all the flavour from the frying pan.
  6. Serve with coriander, if you like, or add vegetables.

Patriarchy demands of males

In The Will to Change (2003), the feminist author bell hooks wrote:
The first act of violence that patriarchy demands of males is not violence toward women. Instead patriarchy demands of all males that they engage in acts of psychic self-mutilation, that they kill off the emotional parts of themselves. If an individual is not successful in emotionally crippling himself, he can count on patriarchal men to enact rituals of power that will assault his self-esteem.

Never scream

My daughter Neve drew herself with telekinetic hair

Belgian Chocolate Virtuoso

Belgium make great chocolate, so when I saw these biscuits heavily reduced at the supermarket I bought a couple of packs

I'd never seen these before and worried they'd be like a Tim Tam. However, this fear was unfounded.

The chocolate was buttery and without the gritty sweetness that sometimes coats biscuits. There was a hint of praeline.

Biting into it revealed a slender biscuit that was dry and little spicy in a slightly gingerbread sorta way.

Having now finished both packets within a couple of days, I'm disappointed that I didn't buy more.

Dreaming about trees

In recent years I've had a few dreams about scarred trees

It's a theme that's surprised me because they are the symbols of this landscape being Wiradjuri country.

The other week, the night before the poetry reading in Narrandera, I had a dream in which a Wiradjuri man I know was showing me tree hollows and explaining how they were used as shelter by Aboriginals.

The conversation was sorta based on one I'd had a week earlier, when I quizzed this bloke about the scarred trees that I see in my travels around the Riverina and their significance.

The bit where the dream got weird was the following day, when I drove into Narrandera Common for a swim and spotted these hollowed River Red Gums.

There they were, trees from my dream the night before.


After being frustrated by the price of wombok cabbages, I've settled for making a massive batch of kimchi using savoys

Archybald Gnome

Hadn't heard of the Archybald Gnome competition before seeing the Bald Archy exhibition in Wagga recently

Both are spoofs of the Art Gallery of NSW's Archibald Prize, which is a painted portrait competition.

I was taken with this impression of right-wing politican Pauline Hanson by David Alexander.

The artist statement accompanying the work said “the mother of all gnomes can be seen feeding refugee and indigenous gnomes alike,” which a kind take on her Australian nationalism.

Disabled baby change

This sign seems ripe for misrepresentation

Finding God

Most of the religious instruction in my life has come from Quakers and I'm grateful for that

My grandparents helped established the Friends' meeting house in Canberra and I'd be taken there by my mother as a child.

The Quakers have an inward looking form of religious service, which seemed more like meditation to a kid obsessed with Japan.

It wasn't until I studied North American history in Year 12 that I appreciated their empowering notion of God residing within us, as well as why it was considered dangerous enough to be expelled from Britain.

In recent years I think I've moved from being an atheist to being a pantheist and opened myself to the idea there's a spiritual element aspect to life.

If the Quakers were represented in my regional community then I might consider attending service again.

I have many fond memories of hearing people moved to share their spiritual experiences each week.

Fortunately I have my partner Jo to share my observations of the divine.