A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

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Another Country Diary

After a while these diary entries, go to the archive.
1 November '05
The Banksia Rose at the front gate blossoms a bit later than the one at the side of the house that screens us from our neighbour Val. It is just outside the kitchen window, one end is pale yellow, the other white. The yellow is first to bloom, then there's a cross-over with a mix of the two. It blooms for weeks and looks beautiful if it doesn't rain. Of course it has, a lot, and they are becoming beaten around and bruised. There's confetti petals over everything.
The bush at the gate hides the old tree stump that broke off in a wind storm. It had a wild bee- hive inside which didn't make the bees happy or make it easy to cut up and remove. I have to hack this rose back heavily each year or it would take over the drive.
31 October '05
We got off the plane from Adelaide and drove straight to Flavours in the Fyshwick Markets for an event sponsored by Nicholas Foods featuring local produce and cooked by Jan Gundlach. (That's pronounced as the German 'Yarn' not Jan.)

It featured local and interstate small producers such as Lynwood Preserves, who all talked about their products to an audience of Canberra chef's and food retailers.
Each of their products was served up cooked by Jan and his team, served with local wines. So there was lots of tasty bits spread over the night. I made some good contacts, filed away some stories for later.
28 -30 October '05
The Adelaide Food, Beer & Wine Writers Festival is the free public sessions of Tasting Australia. Held every two years it attracts a lot of our 'celebrity' chefs, food writers (all chefs have a cookbook or two nowdays) and people like us in the food publishing industry. We made a last minute decision and jumped on a plane, me in the morning Jan after some meetings late in the day. I arrived for a few Friday morning sessions, we spent all day Saturday there, managed to score some free tickets to the World Food Media awards and after-party (fun).
There are some sessions that you pay for (run by Gourmet Traveller) with celebrity chefs, or as Antonio Carluccio prefers to call himself - a cook. I left after 20 mins or so, not because I don't like the man, I do and use his Italian cookbooks often. It was hot and the format predictable. I took my photographs and left.
The Writer's sessions are not boring. Panels of interesting people with similar themes or topics, all held together by an industry figure who prompts and keeps to the schedule, (this time it was Joanna Savill who was terrific). The standard of people talking is great, it's all just too short. The French panel (at left) Shannon Bennett, Joanna Savill,  Damien Pignolet and Serge Dansereau. Can you imagine them describing their best French meal? I was immediately hungry.
We took the tram to Glenelg on Sunday, it was hot clear spring day. There were cicadas and the smell of peppercorn trees. As we got to Jetty Road, the end of the line, I was taking pictures framed by the narrow tram windows. Having a couple of them open in Photoshop, I figured they'd make a panel. Click here for a larger version (opens in new window). 
I'd never been to this old beachside suburb of Adelaide,  the old buildings and the big new hotels and apartments that have kept a deco style impressed me. The beach was pretty grotty but it didn't seem to stop a herd of people enjoying the sunshine. Or swimming. I like Adelaide.
20 October '05
Driving the region I've been aware of the roadside blossoms on the hawthorns and wild fruit trees. Driving past them the rest of the year they're anonymous and you never notice or remember to check them for fruit.
19 October '05
The old railway shed is home for the few pigeons that live in Bungendore. I hardly ever hear them near the house but I was awake early one morning and with the window open, in a half sleep I had a strong recollection of the times we visited my grand parents in Melbourne. Pigeons 'rackata-cooing' and far off trams rattling meant city to me.
I'd stopped to photograph some roadside trees as the school bus dropped off these kids, and they walked up the long driveway. It made me remember the country school bus that my brother and I traveled on for five years. An hour journey each way, pretty much what all the kids who go to school in Canberra have to do if they live in Bungendore.
Forster and Ellendon Street  corner.
The elms are turning pale yellow, covered in seed pods.These by the roadside near Sonza looked particularly striking and I kicked myself that I didn't stop to photograph them. A few days later when they'd started to turn a dirty brown I did.
The elms around the town (this is the gate near the CoE church) are surrounded by small snowballs of seeds. Overhead the parrots, galahs and cockatoos are having a ball chewing of bunches of the seeds and they then let them drop.
14 October '05
I went with Mark to the Rural Press Awards. Very strange, newspapers from around the country with names like The Dunoon Upper Reaches Free Chronicle and Community Advocate. Or something like that.
13 October '05

I was dragging some of the weed from the pond that threatens to choke it, hauling heavy muddy clumps up the bank with a rake. Then I noticed these striped leeches. I flicked a few into the grass so I could see them better. They knew which direction the pond was and wriggled madly to get back.

I put one in a glass of water to get a better look, it flattened itself out as it swam. The colour changed to a real copper. On a white background they looked dark.

They have a distinctive sucker on both ends and that helps it loop along in the grass.
It was remarkably strong, and quickly climbed out of the glass. I put it back a few times.

I decided not to return it to the pond, and squashed it. They apparently have a useful job of cleaning up the dead fish but they can also attack live ones, and they get eaten in turn by fish bigger than them. I've been in the pond a few times cutting reeds, and I've had small black leeches on my exposed skin when I've come out. They're easy to scrape off. Now I know that these guys are in there it's a bit of a deterrent to wade in.
9 October  '05
The wild spring rain and wind has meant the clouds have been wonderful. High storm clouds and patches of brilliant blue sky coming through. I tried some black and white images, red filtered, very dramatic. Driving around, the patches of fast moving light and shade have brought me to many a stop.
Fred Harden    
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Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden