Knowing your local place intimately – the bike trail

Knowing your local place intimately – the bike trail

View of Melbourne City from Seaholme

It is into the 4th month of lockdown in Melbourne, Australia.

Movement is very restricted but lucky for me the Bay is near at hand.

One of the activities, one of places that soothes me is an evening ride along the Williamstown to Altona.

I have learnt to watch the colours of the sky, and know the spots to get the best views intimately.

Might have been my years of sailing that makes me such an avid weather watcher.

Early sunset from Altona Coastal Park

I can tell as the sun slowly sets that there is going to be a beautiful show tonight.

The early stages of of the sunset reaches across the bay and lights up the CBD.

City view from Altona Coastal Park

There is the perfect moment when the sun reflects of the city’s glass towers making it glow before the cities artificial lights try to steal the show.

Its hard to believe from this angle that the metropolis is quiet and largely deserted as it sparkles in the sunset.

Its a short ride over a little ford to my favourite viewing point to see the birdlife on Koroit Creek

This night it is the swans gliding and feeding on the creek up near the ford, under the reddening sky

By the the time I reach the estuary end of the creek the fiery sunset is reflected in the still water

At the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary the last minutes of the suns day is an orange smudge across the sky

Gotta say in these difficult times, to be able to be in and rejoice the natural beauty nearby is a special tonic.

I check the lights on my cycle and head home.

Moonrise Sunset

Moonrise Sunset

There is a little place I go

A peaceful place that juts all so slightly, out into the bay

At the right time of the year

On the the night of a full moon

On a still cloudless night

When the water of the bay is smooth like the surface of a mirror

I can watch the moonrise

I can watch the sunset

Simultaneously

Look to the east and the moon makes its ascent

At first pale in the twilight

She creeps higher and higher slowly asserting her power over the night sky

Its her night

Once a month she fills the sky

As she rises its as if she is pushing the big red globe of the sun below the horizon

The sun as if in anger fills the sky with orange red

As if unwilling to leave the sky stage for the moons solo performance

Casting a pinkish reflected glow in the moons direction

But the suns end is inevitable

Soon the moon dominates the sky

less pale, more bright

casting her silver beam across the water.

The vapour pale of a jet

A rare sight in the Melbourne lockdown

Like a knife slash across the sunset sky.

Its a warm evening

Early spring

The first full moon of the spring equinox here in the southern hemisphere

I cycle around the peninsula

To catch the moon as she reaches her full glory

Spirit of Tasmania leaving port under a full moon

And there she is filling the sky with her soft silver light

Her glow sparkling on the water.

Sailing Ships upon the Sea

Sailing Ships upon the Sea

1988 Hobart to Sydney Tall Ship Race

There is a certain romanticism of billowing sails carrying great ships across the sea

Distant shores unexplored

Harnessing the power of the wind

The power to cross vast oceans

The clouds of billowing sails

Masts reaching for the sky.

Ships from all parts of the world

Oman and the exotic east

The new world of the Americas

The old continents of Europe and Africa

These sailing giants covered the globe

As a young man I read and read Joseph Conrad and dreamt of the sea

My mind full of imaginary adventures in distant and exotic ports

The exotic ports of the trade winds in Lord Jim

The loneliness of being at sea and the weight of command in The Secret Sharer

The power of the weather and the sea in Typhoon

To be amongst the tall ships and the sailing tales of the crew

To sail away

Tech Note

These images were captured during the 1988 Hobart to Sydney Tall Ship Race on colour transparencies. I have rephotographed these with my digital camera using an Emora slide copier extension tube attached to the my camera lens.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 8 – Home in Australia

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 8 – Home in Australia

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Egret hunting in Koroit Creek

Free as a bird

After 14 days locked in the Gilded Cage of enforced quarantine

It was such a relief to be out in the fresh air and sunshine

On my bicycle

On my favourite loop around the bay

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Pelicans fishing and looking across Hobsons Bay

And then time to get the Mighty Breva on the Road

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On the Great Ocean Road

With a mate

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Over the last 10 or so years I have avoided the Great Ocean Road as a ride

The road has become blocked with tourists coaches heading for the main attractions along the road

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So I had missed the grand vistas looking along the cliffs and across the ocean

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The bike in the rhythm of the winding road as it winds along the cliff face, and through the forests

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But this day the roads were empty, the sun shone upon me and the joy of riding this magnificent piece of road was one again enjoyed unhindered.

 

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 6- Tides and Time

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 6- Tides and Time

Low tide and high tide Rye Harbour

As humanity sits in lockdown

Seemingly hibernating

Time standing still the world and tides rise and fall

River entrance low and high tide

And for many life goes on almost unabated

The fisherman returning of the flood tide after another night alone on the Celtic Sea

The flood tide filling the river and spreading out over the salt marsh

For the fisherman every night is social distance

Alone with on the end less waves, the sky and sea birds for companionship

The tides of time go on ebbing and flowing like the water round the old wreck

Ebbing and flowing in time less motion

Last night over the Celtic Sea the Easter Pink Supermoon rose

In a sort of bright isolated orb in the darkness

Casting it’s beam like a stream of rose gold

Like it has for millenea.

Rye Harbour pier low and high tide

And the tides keep turning

Travelling in the Time of Coronavirus-Quarantined week 2

Travelling in the Time of Coronavirus-Quarantined week 2

The Mighty Breva remain under the cover, apart from the occaisional shopping trip.

Week 2 of quarantine and its a time of discoveries and little pleasures.

It’s a time self contemplation.

A discovery:

A beautiful beer with a quirky connection.

To quote: This premium strength beer from Rother Valley Brewing Company commemorates the notorious gang of smugglers know as The Blues, who defied the Revenue through out Kent and Sussex for over 50years until their capture and transportation to Australia.

My great grandfather was a rustler not a smuggler and was transported to Australia during the Irish famine.

It’s seems an appropriate drink to have with a healthy home cooked meal

The little pleasures:

The small hardy plants of the salt marsh slowly bursting into life and the days ever so slowly grow longer and warmer.

A bit of self discovery:

Quarantine is a little bit like the kestral hovering, seemingly suspended in space and time. But there is a focus and a purpose.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus

Lone tourist with mask on Lambath Bridge

London was surprisingly quiet as I wended my way to the Tate

Few tourists about

A lone fellow with a face mask taking pics of Parliament House

Even Borough Market had lost its hustle and bustle

It was an easy saunter past Lambath Palace

Past the war museum

Past typical London Street Art

And the Houses of Parliament to the Tate

And an Aubrey Beardsley exhibition

But that was a couple of days ago

And as the WHO declares a Coronavirus pandemic

I’m on the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilboa

Australia’s Summer of Discontent

Australia’s Summer of Discontent

When I arrived back home in Australia in October 2019 the bushfires had already started.

The amazing temperate rainforests of Northern NSW and Qld were already on fire

Rainforests don’t burn we thought but things have change

Beautiful ancient forests dating back to Gondwanaland were on fire

It was heart braking

The long summer of bushfires cast a pall over the country

Dead wildlife, rare forests burning, towns and cities choking on the the thick smoke

My long Bike trip in Europe had left me sore, depleted and nursing some nasty Shoulder Tendinitis

So my mood was low and the acrid smoke that clung to the skies of Eastern Australia only darkened my feelings

Dark like the smokey sky and the burning bush

Dark and disturbing

On a ride to Omeo in Victoria just after Christmas , I was spooked by closeness of the fires the smoke so thick

The town cut off from electricity

An eerie smokey foreboding of the horror fires that were to be unleashed on New Years eve in the east Gippsland forests.

Spooked a bit by the smoke ad proximity of the fires I left

Leaving I had a fall off the bike on some leaf litter while pulling off the road

Dislocated thumb ouch, nothing todo but pull it back in and ride the 400+ km home.

So the New Year was seen in with a cast on my hand and Australia Burning

Indeed a summer of discontent

This summer say the sale of Futura

I did the last slip, scrub and paint

And as I write, she with her new owner is approaching her new home in Whyalla South Australia

As the final blow there is now Coronavirus

Emerging and spreading

Quiet leaving Melbourne Airport

Planes only half full

A friend has told me that I’m stubborn and wont change my plans for anyone or anything

Maybe right

As here I sit in London

I’ve collected the Mighty Breva

And on Wednesday I head to Portsmouth to start the journey south to Morocco on the ferry to Bilboa

The summer of discontent, though, is a weight on my enthusiasm

And as I have been reminded though I’m 35 between the ears im actually in a 62 year old body.

But in the world of the traveller a summer of discontent doesn’t lead to winter.

Its spring here

The daffodils are in bloom in Perivale Park

And life’s adventure must go on

A Bush Christmas

A Bush Christmas

A Bush Christmas is synonymous with Australia

But now much of our bush, Australia’s Bush is on fire

Not all

but too much

too much rare and precious flora, rare and giant trees and flowers

Much of Australia’s unique fauna, quolls, koala, snakes, goannas

to name a few

burnt alive in the fires

So its a sad Bush Christmas for those of us that love nature

her bounty and her beauty

The fires are not so large and intense in Victoria so I’ve taken some walks in the bush

The Ada Tree (above) is special, over 300 years old and a towering 75 metres high.

One of the last remaining giants of the forest

A Giant Mountain Ash found only in the southern parts of Australia

So few of these great trees remain

And in the damp gullies ancient Beech Trees remnants of Gondwana land and dominated the forests in wetter times.

The forest has its special sights sounds and smell.

See the tree ferns, hear the whip birds call

The birds have no voice in Parliament, no capital, but a beauty in their song

What a sad place it will be if we kill that song.

Happy Christmas and reflect and enjoy the wonderful things nature have given us

This Christmas think about how we can give nature a present

Some hot hours in Budapest

Some hot hours in Budapest

Hot Jazz on the banks on the Danube in Budapest

Budapest is a funky city the banks of the Danube flanked by the opulance from the years of the Austro Hungarian Empire

So many battles

Conquered, restored conquered and restored again

But there is a funky feel in the narrow streets

And there is hot

Jazz by the Danube at night