Friday, 6 November 2015

A film in one act


In a small Far North Queensland town, somewhere to the west of Mount Bartle Frere, a bemused elderly MAN in a check shirt approaches a late middle-aged WOMAN as she unlocks her car. The woman is carrying several small parcels (books) and is sweating heavily because she has just nipped into town to get the post after assembling a set of bookshelves 74 pieces who thought that was a good idea bastards and because it is unseasonably hot and humid what is this I might as well be living in Cairns perspiring lightly.

Excuse me. Are you a local?

Yes. Can I help you?

Do you know where [name]'s funeral is?

 Sorry. No. Have you asked at the post office?

Where is it?

(points at post office)
Oh, yes. They have their finger on the pulse.


I have to go to Atherton now


Monday, 12 October 2015

Jottings from the Tropics: 12 October 2015

I'm still here!

I am about to move again. Yes, I know, I know. But this time I'm shifting into a the rainforest. In fact, it's only about half a kilometre from where I started. So I'll be back among the pademelons, tree kangaroos and riflebirds.

And there's enough space for my library. I can have all my books out on the shelves at once. At least, until I buy more and have to add new bookcases. There's also room for a drawing table. I'll be able to Write and Science and Art in the same space. And if I can get hold of the TARDIS, I'll be able to do them all at the same time.

It'll be a couple of weeks before I move in. Between now and then I have to persuade a certain telecommunications service that ADSL is available at that address, despite their database saying otherwise.

I'll keep you informed.

Friday, 25 September 2015

What I did in the holidays: part 2

So I headed south...

Click to embiggen

Through Cardwell, which was battered by Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011. 

One of the best beach views in Queensland

Foreshore replanted with Calophyllum and Crinum

Past the Hinchinbrook Channel

Full of crocodiles

I went into Bowen to take photographs of the murals, which document some of the recent history of the place. (Next time, I'll photograph all of them.)

Goat cart

Primary industry

Close up of above

WWII Catalinas

To Gladstone, where the refinery looks disturbingly like something out of Lord of the Rings. You might remember the National Australia Bank from Return of the King.

And into New South Wales.

The Warrumbungles are coming back from the 2013 bushfires.

Down to Varuna, the Writers' House, at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

Where I spent a week with four terrific writers and almost froze to death when I went to take some photos of the scenery.

It's an okay view

Yes, I'm being arty

Then I returned to the Atherton Tablelands, where I am unlikely to freeze to death while taking photos.

Although I might get lost in the fog

And now I have a rather long list of things to do.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

What I did in the holidays: part 1

Forgive me, friends, for I have slacked off. It's been seven months since I last wrote a post.

But I haven't been entirely idle. First I bought a new car and went to Kingfisher Park at Julatten. While there, I popped out to Abattoir Swamp, as one does. I hadn't been there for seven years.


Truth in labelling: Yellow honeyeater

Then I wandered up to Lakeland, west of Cooktown, via Maryfarms. I hadn't been to Lakeland since the road was sealed.

Maryfarms: the rainbow bee-eaters love this place

Looking east to the Kuranda Range


The road to the Cape

After which, I drove to Chillagoe.



Chillagoe smelters

To the Metal Hills

And then I was about to head south on a big road trip — a road trip I had been looking forward to for a freakin' year — the windscreen on my 12 day old car was badly damaged by a loose stone and I had to go to Cairns to get it replaced.

I stayed overnight.

And then — finally — I got on the highway and headed south on my road trip. More of that tomoz.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Jottings from the Tropics: 18 February 2015

I thought I heard red-tailed black cockatoos today, but by the time I'd put on my outdoor shoes and headed into the garden the birds had gone. RTBC's have a distinctive call. It's like a sulphur-crested cockatoo playing a bugle. Or what I imagine that would sound like, if only they could manage the embouchure. 

— o O o 

We're between cyclones and it's stopped raining. When I say between cyclones, I mean it in the geographical, not temporal sense. As I write this, Severe Tropical Cyclone Lam is in the Gulf of Carpentaria, heading SW towards Groote Eylandt and Arnhem Land, and the low that will probably be Tropical Cyclone Marcia is in the Coral Sea, on its way to drop rain on the SE Queensland coast. And when I say it's stopped raining, I mean that it is still raining, but not as much as it was. I'm glad I've cleared that up.

— o O o 

I opened a new notebook yesterday and wrote down all the places I wanted to visit before I get too decrepit to travel. I hope someone invents a time machine soon.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Wet Season makes a splash

We've all been complaining about the dreadful heat and lack of rain, so when it started raining at the end of last week, we thought 'send 'er down, Huey'.

By Sunday morning, we were all a little less enthusiastic. So much rain had fallen* in the catchment of the North Johnstone River that the river broke its banks. It cut the Malanda Atherton Road at Malanda Falls and swamped houses and farmland in and around town.

I moved house in the last week of January. I said goodbye to Basil the brush turkey, the belligerent scrubwrens and gerygones, the mob of bush stone-curlews and the agile wallaby that had wandered into the garden one day and settled in, and I shifted to a place on the other side of town. On Sunday the creek, which forms one boundary of the old place, and the North Johnstone River, which runs along the back of the blocks on the other side, both flooded.

There are plenty of photos and videos of the floods, but my limited bandwidth and abysmally low 'broadband' speeds don't allow me to go looking for them. I'll nip into the library later this week and see if I can add some links then.

(We're expecting a bit more rain this weekend.)

* About 300 mm.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Jottings from the Tropics: 31 January 2015

It's election day here in Queensland. Normally, I'd be following it all on the internet, but since I'm now stuck with what the telcos laughingly call mobile 'broadband', my download speed is measured in bytes per second. Occasionally the speed soars into kilobytes/sec and even approaches dial up rates, but that rarely lasts long. I'd like to mention all this on the feedback form that the telco keeps nudging me to complete. Unfortunately, I can't get access to it because of the dire download rates and the form's size. Still, I'm not sure that they really want the sort of feedback I'd provide. 'Renationalize Telstra now' is beyond the scope of the help desk. And to send that sans swears is beyond the scope of this author.

In non-telecommunications news, I have moved most (but not all) of my stuff from the other house. I am taking the day off and will get back into packing, shifting and cleaning tomorrow. That will end, as will this ridiculously hot weather. But at the moment, both seem as if they'll go on forever. 

I hope your day is better than mine!

...And as I try to send this, I find that my mobile broadband won't even connect. But Telstra has sent me with this handy little SMS. With no link. Not that it'd do much good, because no connection. But if I did have a connection, I wouldn't be able to find out how to track usage because no link.

The good-to-go blue light on the USB flickers on just long enough for me to switch to the connect screen, but turns ha-ha-sucker-this-is-Telstra red before I can click the button.

Right. Let's see if this works.