"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

and to Dromana to visit Heronswood

continuing our journey.

I am a member of Diggers Club. A club for gardeners. They own two properties in Victoria, where they propogate Heirloom plants and seeds and sell them to members. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Heronswood. A gorgeous stately house surrounded by gardens... it was a joy to be able to walk around for an hour or two.. I was missing my own garden!

the house itself is surrounded by gorgeous cottage gardens. Old screen doors and vintage cane furniture on the verandah reminded me so much of my home in Woodford.
sweeping lawns

paths leading to secret, hidden areas.

herb gardens -

and wonderful ideas for vegetable gardens...

before I left for our trip, I booked into the restaurant that is located in the grounds of Heronswood. Fork to Fork. All vegetables used are grown either at Heronswood or at the other garden St.Erth.

I chose a vegetable platter. a choice of about 12 different heirloom vegetables.. I chose carrots, zucchini & peach... oh my. The taste of each vegetable was exquisite. Each different. All char-grilled & drizzled with olive oil. the carrots were topped with sage. a glass of wine as well and a very civilized time we had.
we left Dromana to cross the bay. from Sorrento to Queenscliff on the ferry

my gorgeous guy. And the bike. it was quite cold by now, drizzling.

then on to Lorne... next will be a ride along The Great Ocean Rd. Through some of the most magnificent coastal scenery.

here at Inglewood - well the weather has been hot. My garden is suffering which breaks my heart. But I am doing my best to keep my plants moist. Lots of mulching and watering when I can. Have been harvesting lots of tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers. The pears are getting bigger and I think I have the birds foiled with my nets. One can only hope.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

sometimes life... well... just sucks

I know a couple. an elderly couple in their mid 80's. I have known them for around 20 years.. they are not close friends, I see them once or twice a year. Every New Years eve we spend together at a mutual friends dinner party. They come from Scotland. Let's call them Tom & Julie to protect their privacy....

They had a pact. That if one died, the other would take a pill. to follow their soul mate. They didn't want to be apart. Beautiful love story. Neither of them wanted to be kept alive on machines......I know exactly how they feel.

He was the dark haired man, who bought the lump of coal and whiskey in the front door on New Years day... an old Scottish belief apparently. She is a cross between Auntie Mame and Lucille Ball.... elegantly dressed with an out there twist. Nails impeccably manicured and bright red hair

Our weather has been stinking hot here. Unbearable for elderly people. This God forsaken land that I am trying to love is hot.

In the heat wave last week, 'Tom' had a stroke. He is now in a coma. He didn't get to take his pill and now he is on a machine. 'Julie', was deemed unable to look after herself at home and is now in a nursing home, an hour away from her soul mate. She is too old to drive. He drove her everywhere. Now she can't see him unless someone can take her.... we are getting a roster together so that each day she can travel to see her loved man..... but when she does get there.. she doesn't understand why he won't talk to her. She didn't get to take her pill either.

Then we have my good friend Peter.. who is nearly 76. He is losing weight rapidly in this heat... and he looks so frail now... I am panicking.

Then we have Rita... a woman I met only a few months ago. Full of wisdom and knowledge. She is in her 70's. I was so looking forward to getting to know her, to learn from her, to absorb her wisdom. She has just found out she has pancreatic cancer and has 6 mths to live.

I am in a state of high anxiety with all of this going on. I hate this. I hate change. Fears of abandonment come flooding back. fears of being alone. I hate it.

so you see, life sucks sometimes.

Now I am going to sit with this, with my feelings and thoughts and try to find something good in it.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

happy birthday and sharing my art ~ a give-away ..

today is my Pa's birthday... if he were still alive, he would have been 99. He was short. So am I. I use to be teased for my small stature when I was little. But now I know that this is because I am of Cornish ancestry. Pa was born in Devon but his parents were from Cornwall as were all of the ancestral family on that side. He called me Miss Robyn when I was little and that is where my blogging name comes from... He came to Australia when he was 5 and even though he was English, he never burned in this hot Australian sun... no English rose complexion for him at all, he had very olive skin. I wonder if there is Spanish blood in our family. anyway.. Happy Birthday Pa... wish you were here xo

and the latest challenge was to create some art to share...

well. I captured a faery for someone... who will it be? well I didn't really capture it.. I made it. Have been wanting to do one for ages... it was lots of fun... I learned alot.. like to be very careful when using superglue as it is not much fun when a jar is stuck to your thumb... I wonder what type of adhesive others use to create a captured faery? I also learned that when you put wings on the faery, it is difficult to get it into the jar opening... I think this may just become an addiction!! Anyhow, let me know if you would like a chance to own this garden faery of mine! Will draw a name in a few days.....

Friday, 23 January 2009

a little bit of art - getting away from my travels for a moment

taking a break from my travel tales until Monday... or maybe Tuesday..

as I mentioned before i have been taking part in an art challenge ... so I though I would share some of my creations from this week just gone...first of all I have my altered photo. It took me ages to do the stamping.

the next day we had to create something using only crayons. I was hesitant at first but when the internet was down and I had nothing to do except housework, I thought what the heck..I will just draw a body like I did when I was in primary school, using the sausage method.. where you draw the limbs like sausages... I am not that happy with the face.. not at all... but it's there in my journal now so no changing it. I could pick it to bits but I will try not to...I think it is me with a basket of vegies and a wand..

it's not perfect but it was fun doing it once i got started.....

then we had to create something from a favourite artist who inspired us. I chose Colette, a bird in the hand. Her art work really touches something in my soul. I am never disappointed when I visit her blog to see what she has created that day. She is the sweetest soul. Her artwork inspires me so much. But it is really difficult to create something similar... it is her work, not mine. her style... I love it but simply cannot capture the essence that she does. Colette created a house a few days ago, so I took this inspiration and created a church...

oh and tomorrow? we have to share out art work.. and have to create something to give away.. so make sure you come by on Sunday to see what I create to give away!!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

January 6 & 7.. oops a day ahead of myself.. I thought it was Dromana, but we are in the Dandenongs..oh and an art challenge if you are interested..

the next few days we spent in the Dandenong area. Dandenong itself was a big disappointment. It was an industrial town and I started to get a little melancholy.. it was then I realized that I was taking on the energies of the people who lived there.. so all I could do was protect myself and give thanks that I didn't live there... but when we went riding up into the ranges the whole energy changed. It was gorgeous from the magick shop in Belgrave to the tea-shop in Emerald but specially magickal was William Ricketts sanctuary... acres of pure creative magick. All created by a man who I believe could be a mentor in spirit. I felt his presence as i walked...
I knew a kindred spirit had led me here when the first thing I layed eyes on was this:

He was a man who knew his purpose in life and set out to achieve it, an eccentric, a white Australian. a man who travelled the world, met with yogis and lived among the aboriginals.. treating them as brothers and being accepted as one of them. He was an artist. A sculptor. A philosopher... a very talented man, using stone and wood to create marvellous statues and then donating the whole area to the Victorian government so that future generations could enjoy.

I wanted to cry with gratitude as i entered the sanctuary, not having even known about it until an hour before, I realised that I had been led here.

there was a little bark hut theatre where they showed a movie on William Ricketts himself. His words seeped into my soul..... next to the theatre was a Sacred space where he had placed this statue.

the mountain ash trees took my breath away. They welcomed me. I felt surrounded with pure love. I felt their souls, their spirits enveloping me in protection. It was then that I knew that the Mountain Ash is my totem tree. The mountain ash is actually a species of eucalypt. Stately, tall trees. The world's tallest flowering plant. Beautiful bark. Divine, ancient aura. want to know more? Mountain Ash
I felt his presence as i walked around at the sanctuary. Or was it my imagination? But when I am on the right spiritual path, I get short of breath, very excited inside. But I am always scared of this slipping through my fingers, of 'not getting it'. I need to learn patience. to have faith. to believe that all will be revealed when I am ready. Because it will... each time I came across a carving or statue I was well, speechless...from the Earth Mother:

to the Aboriginal angel

and into the grotto.

Where I stood in reverence, in prayer, in meditation for this gorgeous sacred space. in thanks for my belonging....

well that is it for those two days.. I hope it wasn't too long and I hope my trip and reflections are not boring you.. but as I write here, I also copy it into my Soul Art Journal.. trying to journal my blog this year, so it is not lost to cyber space.

now to the challenge. I read about a daily challenge on Krissie's blog
this weeks list at Winterwood ... MistyMawn (Misty Mawn), suggests some little tasks to do each day and I have decided to have a go...

Wednesday we had to take a photo and alter it.. I took a photo of a rose that is blooming in my garden. The Queen Elizabeth rose, a favourite of my dads.... and I played around with it on my photo editor and came up with this:

.. I have also started a page in my journal, using the rose but it is not quite finished..will show when it is done. Hope you have fun with this challenge, I find it gives me focus.

next time we will certainly be off to Heronswood at Dromana and across the sea!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

and the next days... January 4 & 5

a sneak preview of what is to come next time.....

so on to January 4 and 5......the ride these days was brilliant. Riding first of all through farmland - paddocks, dotted with grazing sheep. In the distance were rolling hills and an aura hung over this land in the early morning light. Resting, peaceful & stillness... much like i wish my soul to be and I believe is becoming..... as I looked at that land, I began to believe that I could sit right there in that spot, or any spot really and I would be on Sacred Land. Every single inch looked and felt Sacred.No need to travel the world looking for Sacred places.. (every part of Mother Earth is Sacred and we need to begin to treat it like it is.)

we travelled through pine forests. Beautiful large pines. However there was a feeling about them of not being native, not belonging. But these trees were showing me that although they weren't native to Australia, they could grow and thrive alongside the native eucalypts......

and so we come to the stringy bark forest. I was so disappointed that we couldn't stop to take photos...(this was before I discovered that I could take photos on the back of the bike.)
So I will have to paint a picture using words...
the forests of eucalypts were awesome. the smell that hung in the air. not the strong smell of eucalyptus oil but a more subtle, earthy fresh eucalyptus perfume. just divine. These stringy barks were so strong and I felt an overwhelming love and support coming to me from them. that is when I realized that I must find myself a stick to make myself a new wand. a wand of belonging.
Dead trees among the living. white and bare. But still strong and wise. still part of the tribe.. showing me that even though their spirit has gone, their wisdom is still here for us to use.
and the soil. as red as I have ever seen. Once I would have thought it harsh but now - healing and grounding. I need some for my base chakra. the red colour perfect for connecting me to this land. to ground me. to bring me home.

and we rode on. down to the coast, along rugged coast country. passing through small seaside villages... and over a bridge at Lakes Entrance.. I was not really looking, more like gazing at nothing.. but at that moment, I had a desire to look into the water and as I did a dolphin came up out of the water and went back down. sleekly and silently. Was I called to look? A sign perhaps? A message? Or just a co-incidence?

that night was spent in Bairnsdale. We went out to dinner to a gorgeous pub and I had a small meal. Slow roasted vine tomatoes served with bocconcini and a salad of rocket and basil. It was delicious. The tomatoes were tiny vine tomatoes that had been dipped in olive oil, then sea salt. then oven roasted in a very slow oven for two hours. exquisite taste and basil and rocket together? Oh yes, it works very well. sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. A perfectly simple delicious meal. ... next time we travel to Lorne... via Heronswood.

it has been quite warm here in Woodford and on the weekend, I did a really big tidy up in the garden. Pruning a rose bush that needed a haircut... but first of all I took a gorgeous bunch of roses from it to put on my table... aren't they gorgeous? I have no idea what kind of rose it is but it is never without flowers. Every single day of the year there is a rose or two or more on it.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

let's start at the very beginning.... (January 3)

the picture above was taken a few days later at a garden that we visited.. Heronswood. More photos to come in a few days....

the beginning is always a very good place to start...

our first night was spent in Cooma about 4 hours south of my home here in Woodford. Cooma is in the Snowy Mountains. I didn't bother to take any photos on the way. We arrived at our little motel in the afternoon, had a cup of tea and went for a walk to stretch our legs and back. We tend to stop every hour or so but still, being on the bike does tend to punish the body a little... (read, I need lots of massages and maybe some acupuncture!)

for dinner we went to the restaurant at the motel and ended up sitting with an elderly couple in their late 80's.. the woman had a sparkle in her eye that you wouldn't believe and I knew I had met a kindred spirit. A fellow wild woman. We sat and chatted for a few hours about life and the world. I love that about country Australia, people are still friendly. There is no barrier up nor is there any fear or distance of spirit that you find in the cities. I guess that is why I love Woodford so much.

On the way to Cooma, we rode past Lake George.. a Lake that fills and empties mysteriously... at the moment it is bone dry because of the I rode along many thoughts came and went from my mind. That night, I wrote in my journal: "as I looked across the Lake, I felt at peace. I 'heard' aboriginal voices at one stage and felt a presence, a welcoming presence. I know that this ride is truly the beginning of my belonging..... Australia is a harsh country. The heat is sometimes unbearable, overwhelming for me. I must remember to stay out of the extremes. The heat makes me angry and that is when I begin to hate this country.......... after talking to the elderly couple, I realize that the weather here is definitely cyclic.. they have seen so much over their lifetimes but said that the weather is normal. It has all happened before. They have seen it. demands that the weather performs to suit his needs. When Mother Nature doesn't do what is expected or what is 'normal' then she is deemed 'out of control'. It is us who is out of control.. maybe we need to learn, or rather re-learn to move with the cycles and rhythms of nature and not try to control her........."

that night I listened to some music - Secret Garden - very haunting... I kept 'seeing' myself in Ancient England and the homesickness came back.... what am I to do?.... a thought fleeted through my mind.. guidance from beyond: *bring this past life into your present. the peace, the calm, the love, the connectedness. When you do, others will follow. Listen with your heart*

here at Inglewood, my garden is coming along nicely. Yesterday I spent quite a few hours weeding and mulching. I bought another apple tree and a passionfruit vine and planted them late afternoon... I fertilized my citrus, watered my rhubarb and picked some beans and zucchinis. I have 3 big pumpkins on my vine and quite a few apples on the tree. Even though it is still hot here, when I look at the vegetables and fruit ripening in readiness for harvesting, I realize that autumn is not far away.....

Friday, 16 January 2009

this wide brown land for me...My Country - Dorothea Mackellar along with Miss*R's photos....

to start with, I thought I would share my trip along with a poem that I learned as a child at school. As I rode (actually, I pillioned) through this vast land, the poem came back to me and the idea was born to share my photos with this poem. (don't forget that these photos were taken from the back of the Harley while travelling at 100kph.)

taken from the archives of the State Library of NSW:

Sometime before 1908, while on a visit to England, a homesick young Australian woman, Dorothea Mackellar, put her thoughts down on paper in a poem she called 'Core of My Heart'.
This famous poem (later retitled 'My Country') is believed to have been directly inspired by Dorothea Mackellar's experience of life on the land. The iconic verse is now regarded by many Australians as the universal statement of our nation's connection to the land.

I have taken excerpts to put along with my photos... you can read the whole poem here:
My Country by Dorothea Mackellar

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains

Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons

I love her jewel-sea,

Her beauty and her terror --

The wide brown land for me!

all these photos are from my travels while away & there are lots more photos to come and I will share more each day with stories and maybe some thoughts from my journal...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

i love a sunburnt country...yes, I do.

I am home & I think I am in love. with this country. it is like a veil has been taken from my eyes. As we rode along, I saw the bush and land as if I were seeing it all through the eyes of a different person...maybe it is my inner wise woman who was on the back of the bike..... I felt like i belonged here, that the trees welcomed me and that I was being hugged.

I did learn a few things while riding along, some very wise thoughts and some very practical ones. I learned that you cannot just stop anywhere on a bike to take a photo.. there must be a large verge on the side of the road that is not made from gravel. Quite often, I saw something that I wanted to take a photo of but by the time we could stop, we were miles down the road. So I improvised. I started to take photos while on the back of the bike. They seem to have turned out ok, not professional at all, a little blurry.. but who cares. I will share them soon. I also learned that you miss quite alot of different side tracks and lookouts because riding on dirt or gravel roads is not alot of fun.. but the upside of being on the back of the bike is that you see & experience the scenery in more ways than when in a car. It seems as if you absorb it into your very soul

it has been hot while I was away and my garden suffered a little. Even with Marion who lives down the road looking after it while I was away, it just needs some love n care which I will give it today. I am going to let my chooks out to scratch.. they have been locked in their pen since we have been gone and even though it is a large area, they really do love to get into the extra yard to fossick for worms.

I am supposed to be taking part in the Next Chapter (12 secrets of highly creative women) with Jamie ... Secret One is 'Acknowledging your creative self' - not sure where that will take me, but I think I will do it all on my blog "the Onion" like I did with Soul Coaching... so if you are interested, there is a link on my side bar. I will do the first chapter later today.

I am also committing to Simple Abundance again this year. I love it.. a book that has helped me tremendously over the past few years. to find gratitude seems to me to be one hell of an important goal in my daily life.. to help me ground, to help me stay sane and to help me be in love with life..... it is good to be home. As we rode into the mountains where Woodford is, I knew, deep in my soul, that I was blessed to live in one of the most gorgeous parts of the world. It is not deemed a World Heritage area for nothing.

Friday, 2 January 2009

and to start the belonging...

I am off on a trip! leaving first thing tomorrow.

Down to the southern state of mainland Australia: Victoria...

travelling through some gorgeous country side... along the Great Ocean Rd, past the 12 Apostles(of which there are only about 7 left)... to Daylesford, where I believe there are natural spas... up to Swan Hill, across the Hay Plains.. then home. Taking about 13 days on the back of the Harley, no less.

Of course I will be safe 'cause I have myself surrounded with angels and all manner of deceased ancestors and friends. I have vintage rosary beads in my pockets, angelite crystal and a few vintage religious medals pinned to the inside of my leather jacket.
so dear friends.. will miss you lots but I have my (new, birthday) camera at the ready, so that when I get back, I can share this land that I call home.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

they say it's my birthday & take the last train..

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you
by Lennon-McCartney

yes, today I turn 51!

where has the past year gone? blinked and I nearly damn well missed it....

not much to report.... had a lovely breakfast with Harry and his parents.... then gardened for most of the day... and then tonight we are going out to a lovely dinner at the BonTon in Leura... I guess that is what you do on birthdays once you are over 50. I cannot believe that I am over 50 now... it seems only yesterday that I was 17... I look in the mirror with the eyes and soul of a young person and staring back at me sometimes, is someone that I don't know. This year, I hope to get to know that person who is me. So now, a whole year until my birthday.. a whole year of my journey... I wonder where it will take me.

oh and before I forget.. today is the last chance to visit the Enchanted Forest... take the last train.. click on the caravan below.. don't miss it!