Monday, 25 May 2009

A disappointment............. and then some fun

Queensland is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its separation from new South Wales, and as part of the celebrations, a steam train has been travelling up the Queensland coast line. The carriages are all antique, beautifully restored, kept for special occasions like this. When the train arrives in large privincial cities, there are side trips for the residents to take to enjoy the nostalgia of the old steam engines.
Well, today was our turn, but sadly without the steam engine. It broke down in Rockhampton so we had a deisel loco instead!! The atmosphere wasn't the same, but you could safely have the windows open without getting all the awful coal dust in your eyes - much nicer. Though the train looks nearly empty, there were really heaps of people there, but we were all walking up and down the train to get a good look at everything - lots of fun. The insides of the carriages look really lovely with their pressed metal ceilings and beautiful silky oak panelling.

I loved the fretwork above the doors at the end of each carriage.

This was the dining car, with its curtains and padded pelmets - much swisher than any steam train I travelled on as a child!

The route we travelled took us past my son's house so the family was all outside waving like mad. Nikki took this photo, Hamish (3) was fascinated as I was taking a photo of them as well, he couldn't understand why he couldn't see it wilth all their photos on the computer!!
The swaying and rocking carriages are just as I remember them, you almost roll along the corridor as if you are at sea!

I loved going past the canefields. This is planting time, when some of the fields are replanted. The sugar cane in our part of the world is a one year crop, and is ratooned (regrown after harvest) for about four years before being replanted. When we went to Ballina I was very disappointed in their canefields - the cane is much shorter and very uneven, but it is a two year crop and is blown over quite often. At this time of the year, when we drive around the countryside we usually between stands of cane at least 2 metres tall and so even it looks as if the tops have been slice off!

This was looking out the window of the train - much closer to the cane than from the roadside. I wouldn't like to live in some of the farm houses, they are surrounded by cane on three sides, very claustrophobic in my opinion, to say nothing of the snakes and bandicoots and other creepy crawlies which would be coming out of the cane. that is far too close for me.
Not sure I will get to post again this week, I am fighting bronchitis again and I have a million and one things to get done before I fly to Brisbane on Friday morning to go to the Textile Art Convention. The programme is looking very exciting, I want to do it all, but of course I can't! I am going to do a short workshop with Dale Rollerson though and of course there will be so many stalls to look at before deciding what I can't bear to live without. Lots of pictures next week.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

When memory fails

I think I am definitely having senior moments today! I preseed the wrong button and published the last post before I had added a title, also the link for the Thread Studio doesn't work. It should be www.thethreadstudio I would hate for you not to be able to see what Dale and Ian have been publishing on their website.
Now I think I had better try for a good night's sleep and hope the grey matter works better tomorrow.
I forgot to load the photo of what I do to while away the hours while we are travelling. Usually I knit socks, but this time I was knitting a hug-me-tight, having seen the garment and pattern when I was delivering books to an old lady in a nursing home. It doesn't look much now, but I love the colours of the yarn, and acrylic wool mixture from Turkey. The whole thing is knitted in one piece, then the ribbing is stitched up to make two sleeves - looks pretty cool! I hope it looks just as good on me. I have nearly finished it so will show the result shortly. Our car trips nearly always take 8 - 10 hours so there is plenty of scope for knitting in all that time!

these two photos are of a plant in the Gardens a Callicarpa pedunculata, which doesn't have a common name as far as I know. It is an Australian native, not often grown in horticulture, but I love the rick colour of the berries which follow the flowere.

I have just been checking out the Thread Studio website and all the entries in the Connections embellishing challenge are there. They look fantastic, I am so looking forward to seeing them all in real life at the Textile Convention in two weekends time. I really hope the weather in Brisbane improves from what they are experiencing today. Once more they are having gales and flooding and generally appalling weather conditions. The only good thing is that their dams are filling up fast and for the first time in 5 years, Brisbane is officially out of drought.
We have had a gorgeous Autumn day up here, the sort which makes you feel really glasto be alive. The river looked so blue when I drove over it, and there were plenty of fishermen out trying their luck.
I have finally caught up with the ironing and all the notices which I have had to send out so tomorrow afternoon I hope to sneak into my workroom for some play - and the start of some new pieces.

Monday, 18 May 2009

The best laid plans.........

You never know what is around the corner do you? I have not posted for the last week as I had practically no access to my computer. Bill's machine crashed to morning after we arrived home, so he purloined mine to use in conjunction with his laptop till the tech could put a new disk in his three days later. That didn't turn out to be the end of the story either. When this computer was purchased some time last year he bought two Raid disks which were supposed to mirror image everything on the machine - BUT - he was sold Raid 0 when he needed Raid 1, and consequently had to rebuild the new machine from scratch! The only good thing is that the tech was able to convert the disks to Raid 1 (I have no idea what they are either) so in future all the information and software will be on the other disk - and there won't be so much hair tearing etc etc. Of course these catastrophes only ever happen when there are several panic deadlines and many jobs coming in.

I was also not best pleased to realise I had come home with bronchitis, which I am still fighting, but hopefully getting better now, and thank heavens Bill has remained well. I think I would have left home if he had got sick on top of all the other problems, men make terrible patients!

Enough of the boring problems. I will talk about the top photo at the end of the post. The second two photos are of parts of my sister's garden in Buderim. She maintains that you garden there with the secateurs in one hand and glysophate weed killer in the other! Buderim is built on beautifully rich volcanic soil and has some really stunning gardens. We brought home a large box of cuttings from her garden, most of which are now growing happily in mine. Unfortunately there was one beautiful red flowering shrub which did not like the journey home in the air conditioned car, so that will have to be replaced at Christmas.
I have hardly had time to do anything creative, but needed a few more souvenirs to take out to a stall the Friends were holding at a fete yesterday. This is some painted brown paper which was rather fun. I bought some Winsor & Newton Iridescent medium while I was away and I have so far mixed it with some dynaflow paints also some other powders. Shall have to do some more experimenting later .

These are the finished results - darker than I intended, but I was in a hurry and discovered I only had black chiffon in the size large enough to cover everything - of course!
They all went out to the stall at the Palm & Cycad fete yesterday which is in the top photo on the post. I realised I had published the wrong photo, so posted the correct one, but cannot click and drag tonight. Sometimes I can and sometimes not. Tonight is very definitely not!
We were very happy with the public response to our stall, but oh boy what an early start - I had to leave home by 6.30 am to drive out and help set up the stall.
The photo is a bit dark, but is showing Maya, our wonderful visitors services officer, explaining about a cocooning caterpillar. She has a large collection of beasties which she has collected from around the Gardens, which keep the visiting children enthralled - they are housed in portable boxes which can be taken around to schools or to fetes like this one, and act like a magnet to draw a crowd. She is also researching which caterpillar turns into which butterfly and what the food source is, all useful information for future reference.
Time for bed, before I tackle all the filing tomorrow, then hopefully I can clean up my workroom and get back to doing something interesting!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Back from Ballina

Well we are back from Ballina after a wonderful trip. the weather wasn't the best for the first few days, but you just have to take what comes and make the best of it. The drive from here to Buderim where we stopped on the way down and again coming home seems to take forever - actually 10 1/2 hours! The last part is very slow as there have been a lot of very nasty accidents on that stretch and the speed limits have been drastically reduced.
These photos were taken at Byron Bay where the partners visited on one of the side trips. We had some really super hospitality and were wined and dined for the whole time in Ballina, consequently the diet should be in full swing this week!!

I hope this photo of the banksia will enlarge for you. There were masses of these growing wild and flowering profusely wherever we went, they are just lovely.

The sun came through in glimpses here so the water was starting to show some of the glorious colours it normally has. I think there might be some dangerous rips along there though so I would not be very keen to swim except where there are lifesavers on patrol.

This is the lighthouse at Byron Bay. It is fully automated now, but is still in use, and is a very popular tourist spot. We didn't see any, but the annual migration of the humpback whales has just started, our bus driver had seen three the previous week. We walked along the path to get further to the east, but didn't have time - or the energy - to do the climb down and then back up to go right to Point Danger, the most easterly point of Australia - we did get nearly there!

On another day we visited a lookout at Maclean, the Scottish town in Australia, and this wonderful man was marching around playing the bagpipes for our benefit. he arrived there nearly an hour early to practise, then our bus was nearly an hour late! He said he could have made a fortune from tips if he had had a box out, the other tourists thought they were in heaven to find this happening in the middle of nowhere - we were about 10 km out of town! I didn't have a chance to take photos out of the bus as we drove through the town. The have painted the bottom part of all the light poles with clan tartan patterns, and they have all the street signs written in Gaelic as well as English!
I hope to post a few more photos tomorrow, but now I need to prepare for a Gardens committee meeting tonight - thank goodness we will be there and not anywhere near a radio or TV. Tonight is budget night in Australia and all we have heard for the past few days is dire warnings about how dreadful it will be and how deep in debt the country is. We can read all that in the paper, that is gloomy enough for me, or perhaps I will just ignore the lot and pretend it is not happening.........I wish!!