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Sulphur-crested Cockatoos Making their Presence Felt

10 Feb
Gathering on the shore

Gathering on the shore

I don’t know whether or not today’s cooler and overcast weather is responsible, but this morning the cockatoos certainly made their presence felt.

In a major burst of activity they swooped, squawked, flew to the highest trees, and gathered on the shore.

While I was treading water in the baths I observed much of these goings-on. And so it continued…

Such engaging and amusing characters!

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A Day at the (Swimming) Races

31 Oct

The distant jetty and starting lane numbers

Pontoon and lane ropes

We Australians are a resourceful bunch.

Take this  example.

Mention competition lap swimming, and what venue springs to mind?

Hands up if you said:  Swimming Pools.

Sure, that’s what we routinely  see on television: and, equally certain, that’s precisely where  such competitions are generally run.  I can almost see the pristine water, the perfect tiles, the impressive starting-blocks.

However, the Club where I have swum for decades has a quite different domain: a river baths in suburban Sydney.

Close to fifty metres from the jetty at the far end of the promenade floats a slightly rusty pontoon. To it, our Swimming Club attaches unsophisticated lane ropes.

Bingo! Now we have the means to conduct in reasonable decorum a series of races, in length from twenty-five to two hundred metres. I admit the shortest races are liable to be approximate distances since their finishing line is not set in stone.

However, what we lack in exactitude is more than made up in atmosphere. For my money, its beautiful tree-studded setting wins, hands down!

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Holiday at Home!

28 Dec

Who says you need to travel to have a holiday?

I’m having a great time here at home, just doing all the things I enjoy. Like swimming  at high tide in the river nearby; later, strolling along the promenade. seeing all the friendly faces of people and their canines who are likewise engaged; and watching the river-life go by.

If I’m really lucky, I may even spot a pelican landing. Rare, yes, but just a few days ago, one landed with enviable ease on a pole in the river. How I wished I’d brought along a high-grade zoom lens camera!

With swallows, ducks, magpies, cockatoos and noisy miners around to name but a handful, there’s plenty for bird-fanciers to admire and enjoy.

And, at last, some sunshine in Sydney! What more could I ask for?

Happy holidays!

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V for Variety!

3 Nov

Here in Sydney, Australia, we are yet again currently going through a patch of unsettled weather.

Today it’s cool and wet, yesterday warm and dry, recently hot and sunny….

What a place to be!

Those of us who love the sound of rain on the roof  have today had their fill; others who love to bask in the warm sunshine have reason, too,  for their high expectations! Summer is just around the corner!

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1/11/11!

1 Nov

Here in Sydney, Australia, we write today’s date as 1/11/11.

What a rare event! Will it ever be again, in any current reader’s lifetime?

Jacaranda Time

31 Oct

Aren’t we lucky? Here in Sydney, Australia, it doesn’t take long before one feast of spectacular lilac flowers is replaced by another!

Only two or three weeks ago, the fragrant wisteria bunches were spilling over fences and pergolas; even dangling from obliging trees!!

From one head-turner to another: here comes the jacarandas! Leafless trees enveloped by eye-catching lilac flowers! Close-up or at a distance, a sight for sore eyes!

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The Swimming Season Starts!

1 Oct

October is here, and in Sydney, Australia where I live, this means the swimming season has started.

I had a dip today, my third since the winter break. It sure isn’t getting any warmer!

The weather is cool: most people are in their jumpers or jackets. The water, and by water I mean unheated, salt water, is exhilarating! After the first couple of hundred metres you start to thaw out, presuming you haven’t thought better of it and beaten a hasty retreat.

It’s about then that you actually start to enjoy yourself, taking in the delicious salinity, and the freedom and interest of being outside your normal sphere of living.

And afterwards comes another good part: sitting in the (albeit weak) sunshine, dry and dressed,  admiring the scenery.  Visitors stroll by.

“What’s the water like?” they ask.

You know the answer. You have authority. You have experienced it!

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Can Husbands Give an Objective Opinion?

21 Aug

I suppose it’s human nature to wonder just how impartial a husband’s, any husband’s, opinion of his wife’s work can be. After all, within marriage, there could well be an embargo on criticism, particularly if one wishes to remain on good terms with one’s spouse.

Having been married only once , I suppose I can offer an opinion based entirely on this experience.

Now, Ronald Sharp B.E.M., the creator of the Grand Organ in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House, is, I contend, an exceptional person. The high regard in which he is held in the world of music, particularly in pipe-organ circles, stamps him as a person of immense stature and integrity. Being steeped in these values, he does not praise for the sake of currying favour, or to promote something that he does not believe in. As he said this morning, “I speak my mind.”

Given the importance that he places on the truth, I believe that any opinion he expresses, irrespective of whether it relates to my writing or any other topic, can seriously be construed as that of an impartial, intelligent observer.

There may be people who find this hard to accept, but then again, maybe they have never known anyone of the calibre of Ronald Sharp.  His list of achievements as a self-taught individual may have to wait for his memoirs.

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My Favourite Sport

17 Aug

Without a doubt, swimming is my favourite sport.

In my mid-twenties I could barely swim, but with the help of some very good swimmers who coached me, I was able to compete at local club level within months of starting to learn. Two years of consistent training later, I could swim two hundred metres in three and a half minutes; in hindsight, a reasonable time under the circumstances.

My club introduced a one kilometre ( about eleven hundred yards) event almost eighteen years ago, and I have finished in this many times, winning it on handicap a few times. I always feel a sense of achievement: a high: at the end of this race.

At every meeting, my club has fifty metre handicap events, heats and finals. Many think that these sprints are more taxing than long distance events, and certainly it’s the sprints that make nearly everyone out of breath.

Swimming is a great sport, particularly in our climate.  Sydney, Australia: where the summer days are long and hot, quite often. And our beaches are so inviting!

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