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Friday, December 9, 2016

That trip north...

I've previously written a post about my 'crochet hook' experience at Brisbane Airport when we flew to Cairns in early November. But since then I haven't written any posts about our 4 days up north. 
The reason for the trip was all about catching up with family rather than sightseeing, although on the second last day we did do a fair bit of the latter. 
My cousin Sarina lives near Innisfail and we had not seen each other since 1966. I looked liked this, but I don't have a photo of her at that time but she was 23.
Luckily though, for a number of years, we have communicated by phone and email. 😉
So you could say that this trip was mostly about the people DH and I met up with...
This is my 'big' cousin and her husband Len. Len got talked into having his DNA done recently and he is a match with both Sarina and I. It looks like the link between Satina and I is through my grandfather who was most probably a cousin of her father! ( we still have a bit/lot more to do to be able to put ourselves on each other's family tree) But the link with Len seems to be a bit further back.

We had arrived mid morning on the Monday and that afternoon Sarina took us to meet her friend Katie ( Caterina), whose cousin had been my dad's first wife.
I had taken my dad's old photos on the trip with us in the hope that someone might identify people in those pics.

You can imagine the frisson of excitement when Katie recognised herself and her sister...and then her parents!
So three more photos 'now have names'! 
The next day DH and I were driving to South Johnstone to meet up with my cousin when my phone rang. It was the son of a man who had come out from Sicily on the same ship as my dad. Mario and dad stayed best friends until my dad died in 1967. His son Sam and wife Teresa were driving from Tully to Innisfail to meet up with we did a U turn and headed back to meet them. I had last seen Sam when I was 15. 

Once again those photos came out! And Sam was able to confirm that one of the photos was indeed his parents and him.
All too soon, we had to leave Sam and Terese to head off to South Johnstone to meet up with my cousin, but only after we exchanged addresses. 
Our next stop was to visit some more relatives of my dad's first wife. They were very welcoming and enjoyed looking at the photos I had of her from my father's collection. 
Because the older people in this group had not arrived in Australia until the 1950s, they did not know that their cousin had married my father in 1937 when she was a teenager. But they told me that counting her marriage to my dad, that made 3 times she was married! 😉
Then my cousin took me to visit another of her friends who had known my father...
This lady gave me the phone number of a lady who might know what village my dad was born in. I did ring this elderly lady when we got home, but she didn't know. 
So it had been a busy Tuesday!

Some more of WA...

'Beaten by tempest and stormed by drift
Steady I keep my post
And laugh at the southern rollers large
For I am guard of the southern coast!'

And so goes the first verse of a poem that my class learned off by heart in Grade 6; 'The Song of Cape Leeuwin'. I loved that poem so much, I taught it to some classes during my time as a classroom teacher. 
This land feature is in Western Australia and on our recent visit there, I knew I just had to visit Cape Leeuwin! 

The European history of Western Australia features mainly British and Dutch explorers with the Dutch dismissing the area as pretty inhospitable. And this is true of Cape Leeuwin. In the poem it is 'the Cape' telling this the second verse states...

' I watched the Dutchmen on their way
In the days of long ago
But they set no foot on my rocky shore
Where the billows break in snow.'

It is indeed an area of big rocks and rough seas and it's an area where two oceans meet; the Indian and Southern Oceans. 
The poem continues and explains how it was that the Dutch named the cape...

'They gave me my name and sailed away
And then the English came
With their straining sails on their plunging ships
And their flags flew out like flame'.

I've always thought that the poem needed another verse, but that's just me; the poet obviously thought not!! 😉 
So on our WA holiday I waited patiently for the day when we would visit Cape Leeuwin. My plans were...I would walk up to the lighthouse and go to the lookout area behind it and look at where those two oceans mingled. If there weren't too many people around I would recite the poem...😆.

We started the audio tour...look at that lighthouse! 

Steadily we climbed the hill...I stopped to take a photo of the part of the slope that we'd already climbed. ( good excuse to stop for a breather lol!) 

And then as we rounded a bend in the track...
Now to get to the lookout you have to walk around the back of the lighthouse...
No chance of that! There was a security guard standing at the base of the lighthouse. The reason for the barricades was maintenance on the top part of the tower.

So all we could do is make our way downhill again...

There are a number of old stone building on the site...
And a great view out to sea...

One of my friends sent me a photo taken of her standing at the lookout behind the lighthouse when she visited there a few years ago...

Cheeky aren't I??? But that's the view I missed. Oh well, we all have similar stories. 

(The poem 'Song of Cape Leeuwin' was written by Ernest Favenc, possibly 1936?)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

25 Days of Christmas Project.

In December 2013 one of my friends invited me to join her in a little Facebook project that she had devised. Jenny called it 25 Days of Christmas and the idea was to post a photo with the Christmas theme each day from December 1 right up to Christmas Day. I seriously doubted I could come up with enough photos but still agreed to join Jenny. Well...I ran out of days before I ran out of photos! 
My friend decided that the one year was enough for her, but I've kept going and here I am in my 4th year. I thought I would share some of those 2016 photos on the blog.
Day 1 
DH standing beside the Christmas tree in the foyer of the Geebung RSL club. We were there last week to play Trivia.

Day 2
Most of our Christmases were spent here in Brisbane, but a few times we spent Christmas with our Melbourne family. My girls were probably 7 and 10 that year.
Day 3
This ornament has already  been written about on my blog; De, my Secret Santa at Sunday Stitchers made it for me. 

Day 4
This photo is of DsD3 at 2 months with her big cousin on Christmas Day 1986.

Day 5
This photo is of an animated Christmas tree that I saw at Costco a few months ago. I loved it but didn't buy it. It was cute though...that little train running along the little track and beautiful music and lights.
Day 6
This day I posted a collage of some of my favourite Christmas projects over the years using hexagons. I've masked out most of the new project on the left as it's a Secret Santa give for someone in Blogland. 😉

Day 7 
This is another photo collage from the family archives...1983; DD1 received a Fisher Price Musical Carousel toy from her dad and I. As you can see in the top photo, I loved playing with it too. 
The photo in the bottom right hand corner is 'borrowed' from the Internet. The original toy also included 3 little people figures who sat in the little seats that spun out when the handle was turned to play the records. We loved that toy! Unfortunately when Miss DD1 was about 5, she poured cordial into the mechanism and it never worked again. My budding scientist wanted to see what would happen if a liquid was added...😒. All wonderful memories and what family stories are made of. 
The pictures I've posted in the previous 3 years have prompted some lovely reminiscing from both family and friends...and that's what Christmas means to me...memories and special times with family and friends. 

So that's the first week of my 25 Days of Christmas for 2016.

Oops! Where did they all come from? 😉 (Wool on Sunday)

Today I gathered together in one place all the squares that a number of lovely people have recently knitted or crocheted ready for me to join into blankets for K4BN.
Hmmm...There's a few! 😉
Just a few are my handiwork...either making little donated squares larger by a few more rounds or a few started from scratch. That's what I do at Knit and Natters. 

So I would like to 'order' some rainy days where I can sit under the fan ( or the aircon) and just turn squares into blankets...I always find it so satisfying. It will be lovely having a big bundle of blankets early next year, all ready for when the requests for warm blankets start to come in later in the year.

So many people knit or sew for K4BN and today we were given 52 Trauma Teddies that were knitted by a lovely lady called Val. My friend Helen took a is amazing! 
A big thank you to Val!
Linking with Wool on Sunday on the Rainbow Hare blog.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Valley of the Giants...

After writing a post yesterday about our holiday in WA, I thought I may as well do a back to back WA post. So today's post is about our stop at the Valley of the Giants near Denmark. ( yep! There is a Denmark in Western Australia). 
Even the carpark area had interesting things to look at...
A sculpture...on the top left of the sculpture is a Tasmanian Tiger ( thylacine).  In WA I discovered that this creature also lived in this part of Australia at one time. I had thought it was only found in Tasmania but this wasn't the case...sadly it's extinct now.

A huge felled tree...

And we made our way to the Centre...

We took a guided tour along the walkways that wound their way between these magnificent trees...

And there were interesting plants at ground level...

The majority of the giant trees in this area are Tingle trees which are the largest species of eucalyptus; most are 400 years old. Tingle trees only grow in this relatively small area due to the fact that these trees need an incredible amount of rainfall each year...1 metre! or 39.37 inches.
The tree in the next photo is known as Grandma Tingle...400 years old! So older than white settlement in Australia. 

The guide pointed out the protuberances on some of the trees...they are known as burls.

Many of these huge trees are hollow...sthere result of fires burning out the heartwood but the tree survives because its living parts are just below the bark...amazing? 
What great cubby houses they would make! Lol

Despite it being a very cold day, we both enjoyed the experience of visiting this area. After the ground tour, there was a treetops walk as well. Great experiences!