Monday, May 30, 2016


Domestic bliss has been killing me lately. I guess I'm just one of those people who is compelled to roam... (That's compelled! Not I occasionally like to get out and about, but I fell a strong compulsion to break out and roam the streets, get on a bus, go for a drive, ride my bike or... if limited to the confines of a house, pacing around the joint till I've warn a groove in the linoleum floor! I CAN'T Stand being confined!)

So after missing out on several opportunities to attend some of my favorite activities and fulfill my obligation to contribute to a few significant community responsibilities... finally I was able to get out and just ride...

After a recent visit to the Leanyer swamps I thought I'd try to make my way across the 'dry' salt flats to an isolated patch of hard ground near the sea. It all looked so easy from Google Earth!

It was a cool morning and the sky was dark with the stuff which shouldn't be here at all, not this time of year. 

As I peddled through the 10ft high Gamba grass, I felt the first few drops of precipitation. Just a few drops.... nothing really.

The rain had barely wet the ground. I didn't even bother putting my phone away, by Darwin standards this was not rain. 

Enjoying the coolness of unseasonable shade I peddled on, blissfully actually, and unaware of the the effect a few drops of moisture can have on hardened estuarine mud! 10 meters after crossing the open drain which separates the clay from the bog I discovered the amazing sticking properties of slightly moist mangrove moosh! The peddling got harder, mud gathered around the front brakes and packed against the forks... peddling got heavy, very heavy.... the whole rig came to a sliding halt!

I couldn't believe it! I was stopped dead by a few drops of rain! While I could peddle it the bike was slipping and sliding all over the joint! When it stopped the full weight of the seized bike and conglomerate of mud made it nearly impossible to move! I tried walking on across the marsh grass but every time I stepped on the ground my thongs gathered a ton of gloop which wouldn't come off, in the end the bog sucked my thongs clean off my feet! 

Front brake cable zero clearance

I couldn't believe it. My one opportunity to go exploring foiled by a 5 minute rain shower. I turned the bike around and trudged back, dragging the clogged up mess sideways across no man's land while the black kites looked on eagerly, knowing fools make good pickings for a cunning bird perched and waiting in spiky wetland spiralis Pandanus.... 

Hot and sweaty from my slippery struggle I washed the bike in the creek... surrounded by long grass in an area where crocs are known to wander.
'Another tale from the tangle(d mess)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bit by bit

Out and about on the fringes of Darwin

Leanyer swam

Stringybark trees harvested for art near Vanderlyn drive Karama

Bush track between the tip and Vanderlyn drive

The Darwin International Airport  and EPA have been under pressure to release water quality test results for some months after concerns were raised by community groups particularly the Save Rapid Creek group. Both airport officials and the EPA refused to make public the results of water quality testing. Out of concern for the creek a group of citizens got together, bought testing equipment, learned how to collect and test samples and then went out and tested creek water for contaminants…
Turns out there was something to hide after all. Popular Darwin fishing sites were contaminated all along!

Rapid Creek, Many people fish and swim in Rapid creek.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Girls with green hair

Awe struck by the number of girls I see with green hair lately....
Seems like everywhere I look there's more green.

Having recently commented on the green cycle path that caught my eye on Monday morning I called in at the local supermarket and came across a couple of young ladies with green hair. I hadn’t intended to focus my attention on the colour green but for some reason, maybe the unusual tone, the colour green has caught my attention. I lingered outside the shop for a little while, procrastinating over whether or not I would dare to ask if I can take their photograph. Predictably I got on my bike and cycled away… Unpredictably, when I reached the street I decided I really wanted to take their photo, so I turned around and tentatively approached the group of half a dozen girls and ladies who were still waiting outside the shop. As they were chatting in a language which I recognized as Yolngu matha I approached the older of the two girls and explained awkwardly that I am collecting images of green things and I liked the colour of her hair. They all stared at me like I was mad…. (Standing in my shorts, thongs, green safety vest, flabby gut protruding, straddling a rig of my long bike, towing some other bike which looks like it could have been stolen) So we get into a brief conversation which begins awkwardly, (as it should given the unsolicited approach by an older man) I discover that the group are Yolŋu from Galiwin’ku… Well after about two minutes of exchanging relational connections, I discovered that I was talking to my Gutharra, Gaminyar, and Mukul Bapa. (Adoptive family references) "Hey no problem Mari." I’m sure they all still thought I was mad but with extended families as big as Yolŋu have there’s no shortage of mad adopted misfits. Hoping to get a decent shot I am hurried with the demand “Bundi, bundi, bundi” (quick, quick, make it snappy) So it was that I quickly took this photo, which does not do the girls or their hair any credit at all but I will treasure as a moment not lost but taken without regret. Rewarded with moments of green. 

Drawing by Alison Dowel

Then at home I discovered this beautiful green haired Folkie Punk-rock guitar playing superstar kid!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Splasha Green

A hue caught my eye,
A splash of green
radiates up from warming bitumen inky and black
Bright mangrove leaves feather the fringe
Soft background, bright green foliage, turned to the sky
Bird haven
Shaded wetlands ride
Light filtered by salt stained leaves at dawn
Life breathes in, the remaining cool
That moment, magic,
The impending glare.
Car, traffic begins to churn
Early morning, grinding thunder, hot engines, diesel fumes.
Concrete curbs mark the street, only centimeter's high
Commuter lives corralled, between the road the sea and the sky
Pedestrians and cyclists look to the shade.
Green paint on the bitumen
A place to cross, but nowhere to go, no path no track no way
Step out, take a chance and dash to the other side,
figure the rest out if you make it alive.
Green is the sign, where is the way?

That green, it mesmerizes me,
strange, not belonging, out of place
I had a tin of that colour once.
It reminds me of home.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

About Hope

(To those who would crush dreams)
I don't believe there is such a thing as 'False Hope'
There is a state of being hopeful
and there is a hopeless state.
To hold on to hope can mean the difference between striving to live and giving up on the most basic natural instinct of all living things.
Hope is by definition, not dependent on empirical certainty
It is staking one's future on the chance that the possibility of a future may exist, despite the odds!
For a human hope can be the irrational thread which permits us to go on living when the odds say we must perish.
This is not 'false' but the truest calling!
"Life's longing for itself" is the hope that life is possible.
To be without hope crushes the spirit and destroys that sacred seed planted in all living things.
The WILL TO LIVE! With out the will to live we are indeed in a Hopeless state! 

If the leaders of a Government responsible for the care of refugees see fit to snatch hope from those people's hearts; then have the audacity to accuse those who offer comfort or care for Asylum Seekers on Nauru of being responsible for their despair by offering 'false hope' then they are fools and have no business in the lives of others. 

This is Australia! God Help us!