Another Country Diary gumboots
Another Country Diary

Links to images and other pages are in blue, mouse-over pop-up comments when I have them are burgundy.
Week of 9 September to 15 September '02
It seems like the camera is doing all the work of aide memoire and I haven't been writing as much. Work is tense and involving but it needs to be sorted out and that's the task I've let myself in for. The garden and home are a real escape.

Spring daffodils. These grew near the compost bin at the back behind the herb garden. Unless you're dumping kitchen scraps or shovelling the compost, you don't see them so, they came inside. The pride of place is the kitchen bench and at night, the low wattage spots illuminate whatever is there and there are reflections from the glass as it gets dark outside. I couldn't count the number of  'vase of flowers in nice light' photo's I've taken over the years. Most of them are pale reminders, but although they never wilt in the images, it's more like embalming. An uneasy process. 

Each time I've passed the concrete bunkers on the hill outside of Lake Bathurst, I've tried to catch them in a photograph. Given enough window seats and enough train trips I'll be able to show them to you. (A motor drive or burst sequence would do the trick as well, but not on my camera.) My guess (and someone mentioned it to me I think) is that it was a World War II period outpost with extensive underground (from the raised bumps) and above ground gun platforms.  They are strategically placed on a ridge to protect the valley and railway from invaders (if they got that far). You can't see the buildings from the road and that's why they've probably remained intact. I keep promising to stop and explore them some time. (Note: I was not quite right with my guess about these as this later entry shows)
Good steady rain over a couple of days has filled the gutters and soaked the paddocks. There was little wind and the rain fell in big drops and stayed there on the canvas chair I forgot to bring inside. Then a clear cold night turned everything to ice. Icicles on the tips of leaves, and the rain drops clear, smooth and hard.
More rain and this time with much  stronger wind. There were storms on the coast and wind damage over the weekend. The trees with blossom fully out like the cherry plum, were battered to pieces. No bees are out pollinating in this weather, and already we're resigned to a poor year for fruit. The petals were blown everywhere, sticking to the cars and in piles up against our house wall. There were shapes and colours that must have come from gardens up the road, they were like nothing growing in our yard. 
No, the Queen didn't send a birthday greeting. The 130 is the combined age of Jan's mother Sheila and sister Bev, sharing the same birthday. In the usual ridiculous fashion, I drove to Melbourne with the two girls on Friday night, getting to the motel and Jan at midnight, and we returned to Bungendore on Sunday. 1400k with a side trip to let Kate see a horse she'd found via the web, that she didn't like in the flesh.
Sheila is 80 and people get excited by birthdays with 'noughts' after the first couple. The big excitement this time was that we hadn't told her that Jackie was back from England. Jackie called on the actual birthday a few days earlier and pretended she was ringing from Brighton. When we walked in, it was to a teary welcome and you could tell that both grandparents were pleased to see her. That's what getting together as a family on these occasions should be all about, it's not for yourself. It's great that everyone in Jan's family get on so well. In my family those occasions weren't as easy.
I had to photograph some more country roads for the Nats website headers. Stopping on the way back from Melbourne a few times, I couldn't find the archetypical country road. At home I searched my image archives and was sure I'd have a nice road with a ute or two, maybe a 4WD but was surprised to find there were dozens of empty 'roadscapes' but few with well placed vehicles. Looking at them I felt like I could easily put together a post apocalypse vision of the country side. Is it me that's strange for recording these or do just I live in a largely unpopulated continent and find empty highways a natural part of it?
Fred Harden  
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