Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Celebrate the sun?

As Australians, we tend to associate sunshine with fun in the sun, and good health (especially in relation to vitamin D and growing strong bones).

On the other hand, we have the dubious privilege of being the sun cancer capital of the world.

This week I attended a skin cancer clinic in Frankston -- a bay-side suburb of Melbourne -- for an all over body check, liquid nitrogen zapping of sun-damaged skin (currently my face is not a pretty sight!) and a biopsy. Next week I need to have a mole surgically removed.  In other words, I'm paying the price of childhood summers spent at the beach without sunscreen. In those days it was considered healthy to obtain a tan.  Now I'm more careful, but much of the damage is already done.

This week's blog will include photos of Del plunging her face into mounds of seaweed, just for fun; and Major playing with his stick on the beach. There's no doubt about it, dogs enjoy playing in the sun, just as we do. 

This blog will also include sunsets over the water because, as from next week, the sun will set over land, from this viewpoint.  Sundown is our favourite time to walk.

I'm the first to appreciate the fact that sunshine is important to my state of mind. I love to see sunshine, feel its warmth and be in its presence.  Sunshine uplifts my soul.  But, whenever possible, I've learned to avoid it falling on uncovered skin.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moments in time

Although I have included photos of the internal fittings of the heritage cottages at Churchill Island, it's not this type of thing that inspires me. Respect and interest, yes, but not inspiration.

Nature is what does it for me. Consequently, this blog will begin with photos of the natural wonders that have crossed my path this past week -- then the Churchill Island cottages -- and finally a sunset taken from our front verandah.

Ripples in the sand at low tide; 
a broken shell and sea squirt found tossed up on the sand; 
a belladonna lily blooming in our garden; 
a coast banksia trunk, its rich red timber exposed by a saw; 
an elderly wallaby (her face grey with age) with a joey in her pouch; 
and finally, a sunset taken over the bay after a day of bush fires.

These are moments in time that have lifted my spirits.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The idea of perfection

There are not many days that you can truly say were close to perfect.  February 11, 2013 was one of those rare days and coincided with our 46th Wedding Anniversary.

The day dawned still and warm, maturing into a pleasant 26°C. With a picnic lunch packed, we drove to Churchill Island, a car journey of about 20 minutes duration. Joined to the Phillip Island land mass by a narrow bridge, Churchill Island can be seen from many viewpoints as a small hump of land with a knob at its centre – the knob being a tall Norfolk Island pine, planted in 1872.

After coffee at the Churchill Island cafe we strolled around the gardens surrounding the heritage listed farm cottages. Red flowering gums, red hot pokers, a magnificent lemon-scented gum, and an orchard with fig and chestnut trees laden with developing fruit, sunflower seed heads and an ancient olive tree thought to be about 150 years old -- all these and more flourish on this small island.

A scarecrow guards the vegetable garden: a place where bananas grow in the humid micro-climate created by the garden. A solid timber pony -- created with a chainsaw-- begs to be hugged.

In the farmyard, a blacksmith's workshop displays horse shoes from pony size to Clydesdale, and nearby, a Clydesdale waits patiently to pull a cart load of tourists around the garden. I love his large feathered feet.

There are Scottish Highland cattle, Suffolk sheep and Cape Barren geese whose honking calls compete with the soft clunk of a nearby windmill and the sound of wind playing in the trees.  

There's a cow to be milked, sheep to be shorn, a working sheepdog display, and whip cracking. For Asian tourists in particular, these activities are of interest and pleasing to observe. And the farmyard would not be complete without turkeys, peacocks, ducks, geese, hens and roosters.

Later in the day we took the dogs for a walk along 'our' beach. No one else was there! Major carried a large stick along the sand and then out into the water. He and Del swam, and then thrust their noses deep into piles of sea grass, enjoying the smell and sensation of soft wet seaweed on their noses. Oh to be a dog!

After 46 years of marriage I'm fortunate to be able to say that Doug is my best friend, my husband and my lover.  We have a rich and varied life, both on Phillip Island and in Mitchell outback Queensland. 

To touch perfection is a rare state of mind -- and a privilege.

Next week I'll take you into the heritage listed farm cottages situated on Churchill Island.