Australia, Random Rambles
Comments 14

Contain Yourself: Postcards from Off the Grid

I just had a couple of days helping my friend Frank paint his house and generally bum around his charming inner-city Brisbane suburb. It was delightful to walk some different terrain, and take pictures of things that hadn’t washed in on the previous night’s tide.

Also, it finally rained, which made the hills and coffee shops and leg-waxing salons (it’s a very well-waxed suburb) all the more refreshing — it’s been hot of late. Yesterday, back here on the edge of the Bay, we got our long-rumoured storm: 70ml of sweet clear glory sloshed around in our backyard gauge after a mere hour; wind-whipped water poured in over the tops of my sliding windows even though they were closed. It was fantastic, and the local park resembled the Serengeti afterwards, ibis, egrets and other waders by the hundreds combing the lake-like puddles when I trotted up with my camera to investigate. More on all that stuff coming up.

So, listen: I’ve made a pact with myself (and my girlfriend, who is one hell of a tough task-master). I’m gonna shoot for more frequent posts from here on. One every three days is the goal. I haven’t found a (paying) job yet, but in some ways am busier than ever. Haven’t missed a dawn in months, and they get earlier each day; this morning I had to reach the water, half an hour’s walk away, by 4:45. I am working on another Thousand-Mile Challenge, and manage a seven-mile minimum most days. I re-emerge in late afternoon when the sun is tolerable to do some more.

I figure I should at least be using this time in limbo to work on my photo skills, keeping fit, and writing something. When I’m home, after an hour’s nap and another hour talking to Kate, I’m mostly editing or re-editing pictures, some dating back years. It all helps ease the anxiety about My Situation, and is an investment in what I am sure will be a rewarding future, but it does dampen the Drive to Blog, and what’s the point of occupying this little niche if I’m not going to make it bear fruit? So here goes.

First, though, let’s wrap up my Kyogle adventure at last with a photo-overview of the two-day getaway that turned into a four-day slice of heaven…

*          *          *          *          *

It was hard to leave — impossible really. Amazing we’re not still there. The days started with birdsong and the slow stirring of the bush into action…


View from my self-contained accommodation, dawn.

..and ended with Alex and I slumping up the hill to our container-ship berths (lacking only the ship):


Moonrise over the guest quarters.

Those dawns were special…


A bush sunrise.

..and always involved some wandering about the block till the others woke:


There’s no escaping the magpie & its daily homage to the new morning.




Lichen on a eucalyptus branch.

Days were our own to fill. Alex and I drove into Kyogle one day for a coffee and some supplies. It was astonishingly tiny and quiet, and I took only one photo while there:


When I think of Kyogle, I think of action.

A beautiful drive, though:


I could live happily in that & count myself lucky.

One morning, Alex took me down to see the little creek that trickles though the property…


..the highlight of which was the grove of remnant red cedars (the harvesting of which was once a lucrative industry) colonised by gorgeous, otherworldly staghorn ferns:


Staghorns are epiphytic ferns native to subtropical & tropical Australia, New Guinea, and parts of Asia, South America & Africa.



Graham took us on hair-raising spins in their zesty little Suzuki…


It’s difficult to take pictures & pray at the same time.

..and we had a very pleasant excursion to wade in another section of the creek one hot afternoon:



That fuzzy blob is a wallaby. Will somebody please buy me a telephoto?


And they’re not even twins.


They stood there like that for an hour, just staring at each other’s checks.

Hours passed effortlessly. Time didn’t worry the eucalypts, and they seemed to know what they were doing:


Nothing beats the calm of a bush sundown.


The hammock went unused. It was just too much bloody effort to climb into the thing, not to mention dangerous, especially after three or four Moscow mules.

Graham had shown me the network of dirt tracks on his insanely fun Suzuki roller-coaster ride. I explored them all over those days at my leisure…


Another fuzzy blob takes a morning drink.


I had to trespass a teensy bit to take this.

..and this was one of the few trips I’ve done where I was able to edit most of my day’s pictures by bedtime — a perfect blend of the lazy and the satisfyingly productive.

Bec cooked us great meals, Graham was most hospitable with his shower prep (he took great pride in getting the water to the optimal temperature, and as a Japanese hot-spring veteran, my standards are high — and hot):


Eight minutes of hot water nearly ready for transportation to the shower. Thanks, Graham, I don’t even get eight mins at home.

One day my companions actually spent ages watching the joys of cloudbirth:


I was so intrigued by their session of cloud-watching (seriously), I briefly left my solar-charged MacBook to grab my solar-charged camera.

And that was about as exciting as it got.



If Graham thought we were going to help him build his house, he really miscalculated. This was a holiday, not a slave-labour camp.


Er…yes…the writing suffered a little. The old story…

But hey, I’m 50, time I settled down a tad.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote


  1. I can barely believe it when you say “hot.” Let me know if you want any Canadian winter and I’ll courier it to you. 🙂 Cheers! P.S. I do hope you publish all these photos someday in a nice coffee table book available for all to enjoy.

    • Can I just have a few buckets of Canadian Winter to keep in the freezer for hot days? As you probably know, New York State has been copping some cold and snow of late, though I’m told it’s only dumped an inch or two in Kate’s area — so far. I just find it hard to keep my energy levels up in this kind of hot weather.

      I’m looking into some printing at the moment — haven’t printed any pictures in years and have had a little interest in this area. High on my wish list for when I have money again…

      • Ha in typical fashion spring yesterday, fall today and winter tonight with more winter on its way tomorrow. Insane weather here. I’m assuming Heat remains steady there? I’ll send the next snow fall as a gift 🙂 best of luck with the printing. Would be great to see that happen. Cheers!

  2. Such a full life! My blog used to be something like a full-time job. The best job ever! I wish it could be that way again. I, too, am in the process of preparing myself for paying work and much that I would have blogged about has gone unphotographed and unsaid. Have not been taking very many photographs and greatly appreciate seeing yours. Especially like the fuzzy blob taking a morning drink. I grew up with Eucalyptus trees in California. Good to see them in your photos today.

    • I remember smelling gum trees when I was driving down Rt 101 in California in 1993 — the instant mental transportation home, etc.

      Glad you liked the pictures. My shopping list once I have some $$$ (maybe Xmas time-ish?) again keeps growing, but includes a new camera and a lens or two — even a tripod! But I’m staying small and lightweight. I just keep finding myself limited lately by a lack of magnification, especially with wildlife stuff.

      Good luck with the work stuff. It’s weird to me that I posted more often and more regularly and with less pain when I had a full-time job! I think it was compensation for the HORROR of my daily life!

  3. Too many excellent shots to comment on. My favourites are probably the first one with the pinpoint light, the black and white view through the trees of the mountain, the tiny house (yep, I could live there happily), the view looking out from your container, the black and white one with the ute, and the typewriter. Thank goodness Kate is a tough task master, as it means we get to enjoy these works of art more regularly (thanks Kate!!) I have to agree that sorting through pics is an excellent way to reduce anxiety about being in limbo. It’s productive as well. Enjoy.

    • Ta, Jane. I have struggled for some time with what to do with my better pictures. I have given up on most social media and crave a more tangible medium (Flickr etc are too annoying for me, and just one more place I’d have to spend time uploading etc)…

      Kate has a lot of real estate on the walls of her little house set aside for pictures! My dream is to have a little study where I can stick a bunch of framed prints on the walls and enjoy them. At the moment my random screenshot gallery on the Mac is the only avenue apart from the blog for me to enjoy looking at the pictures (it’s just hard work when I’m editing them).

  4. Kathleen McCormick says

    Almost seems a shame that your ramblings will be limited by a job. Thanks for letting us partake.

    • My pleasure, if I just spent my days lying on the couch (tempting as that is at times), I’d go nutso! Even when I’m working full-time again I want to keep up my seven miles per day if possible. Some kind of substitute for the long-distance walking I’m going to have to curtail.

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