Sun setting on June 2015

Many a sunrise and sunset in the locality of Mudgee were appreciated on the drive to and from work this June. The month ended with a trip to the Mudgee monumental cemetery. All this gadding about was sustained by the delicious food to be had at Alby and Esther’s, Isabella’s (the Genovese and ravioli are lipsmackingly good) and Elton’s. Many thanks Mudgee for the great trip.

    
  

 

July 2014: Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area

Visiting the excavations at the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area and seeing fish middens, burnt hearth sediment and sun setting over the dunes of Lake Mungo. To learn more visit the My Mungo webpage.

 

Day 2 – Somewhere in the South Pacific

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs that didn’t taste like scrambled eggs, bacon that didn’t taste like bacon, starchy fried things that masqueraded as hashbrowns I decided to have a second breakfast of rockmelon, watermelon and honey dew melon. These fortunately tasted as nature intended and provided sufficient sustenance for an hour massage. The massage was such that I forgave the quality of my breakfast and accepted all future buffet lunches and breakfasts on the cruise with grace and fortitude.

I also participated in group activities with grace and fortitude (provided that your understanding of grace and fortitude includes some scowling at the hosts’ inducements to cheer, yell and otherwise express enjoyment on cue). I made a gecko from wrapping ribbon and cheap flourescent beads, sat in on music trivia and played word games. At times my friends and I retreated to our respective books. Cats were harvested, boys were caught up in Oedipal curses and the space between conscious and group sub-concious merged as our ship ploughed its way through the ocean.

Sunset provided entertainment, though this too was cued by perogatives other than my own. Fortunately I had received no advice from Today Tonight regarding how I should relate to the movement of Earth through the solar system so felt free to enjoy without impediment. It would, I reasoned, be an enormous conceit to reprove the will of celestial bodies.

Cruising Day 1

On the 26th September I boarded a P&O cruise ship. The itinerary included New Caledonia, Port Vila, Lifou, Mystery Island and the Isle of Pines. My friends had thoroughly enjoyed their previous cruise. I was a little more sceptical.  Today Tonight had provided a glowing advertisement of the Pacific Jewel to its audiences. I generally find that taking the opposite view of current affair programs is a sensible approach to life. For example, I think taxi drivers on a whole do a good job. I try not to misrepresent people I’ve never met (like immigrants and people on welfare). I am not interested in diets or shopping and I think Media Watch, libel laws and accountability are fine ideas. What could a business who targeted Today Tonight viewers possibly offer me? Two thousand people drinking, partying and participating in group activities in a confined space? If only pyramids could float.

It could be an upside-down floating pyramid if you squint really hard

I joined my friends at Hickson Road wharf in Sydney, dreaming of a stress free holiday with cocktails and tropical islands.We were effeciently herded through large temporary shelters that evoked a certain post apocalyptic atmosphere, through check in, identity photographs, customs and onto the cruise ship.

First we stopped at the Plantation restaurant for a belated buffet lunch. There was a lot of food that reflected its mass production and cheap, frozen ingredients. Knowing that this was my future breakfast and lunch for the next nine days made me sad.

We made our way to the Sailaway Party on the top deck. Waiters handed out cocktails and beer. The MC required that the people on deck respond to her question “Are you ready to party?!” positively, loudly and in unision. On stage, entertainers dressed in Australian flag shorts land skirts sung a medley of Australiana songs. Vanessa Amarossi, Men at Work, Christine Anu, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, Waltzing Matilda. There was a mistimed countdown to pass under the Harbour Bridge. One of the circus performers waved an Australian flag. As we sailed past the Opera House, people happily waved to one another – ship to shore. Behind us, some individuals tried to raise an ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi” but lost enthusiasm after two rounds. The Governor Bligh harbour master guided us out of the harbour and the sun began to set. The jingoistic performance petered out and people begun to drift back inside the ship.

Exploration of the ship ensued. Today Tonight had not lied. I was on some kind of bogan-boat – a floating amalgam of a live-in RSL and Westfield. I booked myself into an overpriced massage to get over the shock.

Storm clouds on the road from Ivanhoe to Hay

Got to experience the aftermath of torrential rain on the Cobb Highway from Hay to Ivanhoe back in July.  Bonus points to me for choosing the paved road over the dirt Balranald Road. Was very thankful for the peaked road centre which provided a path above the flooded drains. It can’t have been all that bad because by the afternoon it was like the road had never flooded.

 

Sunset in western New South Wales

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On a property north of Balranald.