Monday, December 31, 2012

Piccie of the day: Eildon Pondage

My piccie of the day was taken on a still evening. at Eildon Pondage.

The colour is mainly wattle blossom.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hilda XVIII: Kisses?

 Sorry about my patchy posting just lately.

With the "silly season" and summer evenings I am often out late, late, late.

Anyway this weeks Hilda scene is one I have quickly put together.


‘I thought I’d find you here.’ Said Hilda
Kat leaned back on a step against the back wall of the kitchen. Her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, soaking up as much of the sun’s warmth as she could.
‘Isn’t the sun lovely?’
‘Shove over then.’
Hilda squeezed onto the step next to her friend, sliding her sleeves up a little to make the most of the sun. Nearly two years into her apprenticeship and three into her life as a servant she had found one of the things that made life bearable was to make the most of such moments.
With only an afternoon off a week one had to.
Kat made it bearable too, they shared most things including ideas. Hilda knew she was much quicker than Kat and didn’t talk as much. Unlike Kat she never got into trouble for talking too much at work, she chatted happily enough at their meal breaks and the like but only spoke as needed when working.
Mind you part of the reason for that was whoever was in charge of the kitchen, Mrs Garraway or Chef Glanville, neither liked excessive chatter. Both wanted to know that you would hear their instructions first time, and Chef had a vile temper that Hilda would never deliberately provoke.
That said being an apprentice cook was much preferable to being scullery maid. The hours were still long and hard, but not as punishing. Also, Hilda took real pleasure in those moments when Mrs Garraway or better still Chef was teaching her something new. The problem was anything new was soon routine. Learning quickly earned praise from either teacher, but doing the same thing day in day out was a sure fire way of driving Hilda to distraction. When she thought about it she guessed Mrs Garraway did not have much more to teach, she was a good cook who had a real way with food, but she could not in anyway match what Chef called his “repertoire”.
Kat’s voice interrupted her thoughts, ‘Warren Mores has asked me to come dancing with him on Friday.’
‘Warren? Is that wise?’
‘What harm is there in it?’
‘He’s a footman, and you know we’re expected not to fraternize with the male staff.’
‘Goin’ to a dance isn’t a dismissable offense.’
‘Maybe not, but,’ Hilda sat upright looking down at her friend, ‘if he does anything silly, it’ll make workin’ here very difficult.’
‘It’s only a dance, and you must admit he looks very smart in his suit.’
‘Surely, if you go to the dance one of the lads from the village…’
‘I isn’t wantin’ a yokel like you might be happy with Hilda Attewell. It’s only a dance.’
‘What if he tries to kiss you? What then?’
‘I might just let him. You’s “Sweet sixteen and never been kissed” well I’m eighteen now and that is more than long enough to wait for a kiss.’
‘Kat, don’t go makin’ trouble for yourself.’
‘Give me some credit Duck! Now tell me, which of the footmen would you kiss if you had to kiss any of them?’
‘I don’t want to kiss any of them.’
‘If you had to.’
‘I don’t know, Leonard I s’pose.’
‘Leonard? Both, Trent and Warren are both much better lookin’ than Leonard.’
‘Yes, but Leonard’s nicer. He’s more thoughtful too.’

Friday, December 28, 2012

Is Al making things too easy?

Last week my WIIW was guessed outright. 
This week things are pretty close to that again. 

Maybe I am making it too easy?
Michael said: “It looks like water.”
Well you are half right so that earns a score of 50%. It is water in the background.

Linda said: “It looks like a blurry sea view from between two posts in a metal fence to me.
Glad you had a nice Christmas, and I hope you have a very Happy New Year! :)”
Thanks for the wishes, I hope your coming year is great too!
As to the guess, you are pretty close. It is the sea seen between two objects but they aren’t metal. That earns you 75%.
Which leads us to Marcy with her guess of:  “I was thinking pretty much the same thing, although maybe water as viewed between two slats of wood?”
So close! It isn’t quite slats of wood, but it is two wooden objects. So your guess is worth 95%!
SO to the reveal.
These piles are the remains of the Granite Point Jetty in Northern Tasmania. The jetty burnt down way back in 1938, the piles are tough old Turpentine Gum.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What is it Wednesday?

Many of you have announced that you are taking blog breaks over the festive season.  For the moment I am ploughing on on the blog front at least.

We have had a very quiet Chrissie, given it is summer down this way and the weather is nice, we went up the Yarra Valley for a BBQ.

Much less hassle than a turkey with trimmings!

Now as it is Wednesday...

What on Earth do you think this is?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas All

I know I have used this piccie of the day before. But given the common name of this grevillea it seems appropriate to post today.

Of course in Oz it is summer at Christmas time.I give you "Holly Grevillea"

And another with the flower fully out

Monday, December 24, 2012

Lilli: doing what she loves most

My creative juices were flowing a little last night. I thought more creatively about my writing than I have for ages.

My piccie of the day is of Lilli fetching her ball.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hilda XVII: The Butler's Pantry

Well with Christmas round the corner I finally have a few days off.
I hope the opportunity to relax will allow me to find the mindset to get back into writing.
I have been working so hard that when I have a moment not a great deal seems to happen.

I don’t think it is “writer’s block”.
Just exhaustion.

This week’s scene sees Hilda in terror over being summoned to the Butler’s pantry.

Oh and so you don't think I am contradicting myself, I wrote this a few weeks ago...

‘Hilda,’ the butler’s eyes sought her out, ‘I would like you to come into my pantry after breakfast.’
Hilda’s stomach twisted itself into knots. What could it be? Had Leeanne been complaining about her again? Had one of the family seen her when she took the main stair as a short-cut the other morning?
She sat miserably through the rest of breakfast. Being scullery maid was so hard, the endless drudgery grinding at her every day. Being told off for something petty just about made it unbearable.
She was stacking the breakfast things by the sink when Mrs Garraway came up beside her, ‘Leave those now Duck, they’ll wait. Mr Young wants to see you.’
Hilda turned on the tap and held her hands under the stream of water, anything to delay just a moment longer. Rubbing them quickly with soap then drying them on a tea towel. She checked her apron was straight turned toward the butler’s pantry.
More a cross between a sitting room and an office the butler’s pantry was like no kitchen pantry Hilda had ever known. In one corner the heavy barred door that led to the strongroom where the silver plate and other valuables of the household were stored. Hilda’s heart sank to her ankles as she saw not only Mr Young, but Mrs Smither in the pantry.
Were they going to dismiss her?
She hated the job, but being dismissed as a scullery maid would be as a sure sign that she was of little worth as there could be. Then she noticed Monsieur Glanville in the corner, and Mrs Garraway was following her into the room.
‘Now Hilda,’ smiled Mr Young, ‘come and sit here across from me.’
That was hopeful, she had heard that those who were dismissed were made to stand in front of his desk. ‘You’ve been with us for a year now,’ said the butler, ‘how are you finding it?’
Was it a trap?
Was she meant to trip herself up with a disrespectful complaint?
She hesitated, ‘I like it well enough. The work is hard, but I work with a nice bunch, and Mrs Smither is very nice.’
She was too Hilda thought, very strict as a woman in her position had to be, but fair too.
‘Thank you child.’ Said Mrs Smither, Hilda thought she saw her hide a smile.
‘Now Hilda,’ said Mr young, ‘the reason I have asked you here this morning…’ Here it comes thought Hilda, ‘is to see if you would be agreeable to taking an apprenticeship with Monsieur Glanville.’
Hilda was sure her mouth popped open, for a moment she could do nothing but stare at them, she hadn’t imagined anything of the sort being offered to her.
Her capacity to dream had been crushed into a scullery maid’s world, ‘I…’ she licked her lips, what should she say?
It wasn’t something she had ever wanted, or imagined, but one day being in charge of a kitchen like Mrs Garraway? Surely that was better than moving up to a maid? ‘You see,’ interrupted the French chef, ‘since zat day when you ‘elp with ze pastry I have watched when you ‘elp Mrs Garraway. You ‘as strong ‘ands but with a delicate touch, and you are quick and clever. If you work ‘ard I can use you, can teach you.’
Hilda met his eye before turning to the Butler, ‘Yes, Mister Young, yes if I can, yes please. I’ll do my best.’
‘I am sure you will. Now as a matter of course we have to ask your father, and he will have to sign the papers. Apart from that you can start as soon as Mrs Smither finds a scullery maid to take your place.’

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Piccie of the day: Sunset

My piccie of the day is the sunset taken off our back deck

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Points all Round.

Well my WIIW this week was an easy peasy one!

Marcy said: "Grillwork in an entry of some historic landmark?"
 Well that is worth 100% + bonus points for the extra information it is an historic landmark!

Jennifer (AKA Old Kitty) said: "Ooooh it's a doorway to one of the old post offices!
 It is an old doorway 100%, but no bonus points because it isn't a post office.

And Linda G said "It's a doorway. ;) "
 That is exactly right it is a doorway, 100%

So what was the mystery building?
 I have posted about this place before...
In the Carlton Gardens just near my office is the Royal Exhibition building
Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris this structure was built as a temporary affair for an International Exhibition. To be precise the 1880 Exhibition when Melbourne was the richest city in the world (thanks to 30 years of gold-rushes) and wanted to show off.
Half of the structure was demolished at the end of the exhibition but a last minute change of heart saved the rest.
The Royal Exhibition Building had a brief break from its normal duties in the early part of the 20th Century when it acted as the first home of the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia (our second and third Parliament buildings are in our Federal Capital Canberra).  
But since then it has returned to its original duty as the site for around 300 days of shows and exhibitions each year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What is it Wednesday

Well I am not near home today and will not get home early enough tonight to choose a WIIW piccie.

So I am limited to my images I can download from my Picassa images.

Given that this is part of a piccie that has previously been posted on my blog, so what on Earth do you think this is?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cora Lynn Falls

My piccie of the day is of the Cora Lynn Falls near Marysville in Central Victoria.
They seem more of a cascade than a fall proper (if you ask me).

Perhaps confusingly there are actually two waterfalls in different parts of Victoria called the "Cora Lynn" falls. I have no idea why the two different locations have the same name.

Perhaps there is an interesting story in that!

I caught this piccie a  while ago, it was a rainy miserable day to go trekking through the rainforest but worth it in the end.

Monday, December 17, 2012


My piccie of the day is of a ruin of a pioneer era house in Tassie.

I find ruins really appealing, history, architecture and a marker of the fleeting nature of life all in one.

Pushing 180 years old buildings don't get much older in Oz.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hilda XVI: The Car

My internet connection is dodgy once again. So I have uploaded this using my phone.
I am not sure what is happening, but the technology around here just doesn’t seem very reliable at the moment.

In this scene Hilda meets a new addition to Ettington Park’s staff.

It was one of those rare moments when most of the staff were at the kitchen table together.
‘You’ll never guess what his Lordship is bringing back from London today’ Said the Butler, Mister Young.
‘I hope not a bunch of guests.’ Quipped Kat, ‘We’ve only just got over the last lot.’
‘No Katrina.’ the butler was the only one of the staff who used Kat’s full name, mind you he was the only one who did not call Hilda “Duck” after the first day. ‘There is not a party of guests coming. Anyone else?’
Leonard Freestone, one of the footman guessed, ‘A horse, his Lordship is bringing a new thoroughbred for the stables.’
Warren Mores, also a footman ‘A retriever, he’s bringing a new gun-dog.’
Mister Young’s eyes twinkled, ‘None of you are even close. He is bringing a motor car! And with it a chauffeur!’
A bubble of excited conversation rippled around the table. Hilda was curious about the motor, but also surprised at how much interest the topic was causing.
She remembered well the first time she had seen a “horseless carriage” as they had still been called five or six years before. That one had been a rattling, noisy thing that had passed by along the Fosse Way in a cloud of oily smoke. Since then she had seen a few more every year, in just the past year she had probably seen a dozen. They were still a curiosity, but no longer the real novelty they had been when she was little.
Hilda was not allowed to join the others to watch the wonder arrive.
Still the scullery maid, still beneath the notice of the gentry.
She stayed in the kitchen and scrubbed the pots when all the rest of the staff trooped upstairs for the event.
Later though she did go across to the coach-house.
She tiptoed into the echoing building. One third of the building had been cleared to take the machine. A great, long shining motor dominated the space. A uniformed figure leaned against one of the back panels rubbing with a cloth. Hilda broke the silence, ‘It is a beauty.’
Laughing blue eyes met hers, ‘Hello then, come to have a look?’
‘It’s certainly the nicest motor I have yet seen.’
‘It’s a Rolls Royce, people are calling them “Silver Ghosts”.’
‘I’m Hilda.’
‘Hello Hilda, I’m Gerard Makepeace.’
‘Most folk here calls me “Duck”’
‘Duck? I’d have thought Duckling was more like it.’
She hated the way people always poked fun at her size. Still, his expression was friendly, she didn’t think he was wanting to be nasty. Not that she often held a grudge anyway. ‘Have you had anything? Would you like me to bring you some tea and biscuits to tide you over until supper?’
Gerard smiled gratefully, ‘Thank you that would be very nice.’

Saturday, December 15, 2012


A piccie of the day that I took some time ago

Friday, December 14, 2012

Second Time Around

This WIIW piccie didn’t get a correct answer first time around.
With a couple of clues guesses have been closer to the mark.

Kristen said: “My first thought the other day was a bridge because the small lights look like headlights. But I don't know why there would be so much light below!”

It is not a bridge, and in fact the “light below” is thrown by something very like a headlight. 40%

Linda G said: “I'll take a stab at it today: is it a sports field at night?”

Not a sports field. But it is at night. 40%

 Misha said: “a car driving really fast on a road at night, so it blurred in the photo?”

You are so close! That is exactly how the image was formed! But it wasn’t a car. 60%

John G said: “its a street light!!!”

Sorry John it isn’t.

Which brings us to Marcy who guessed: “A plane maybe? Landing or Taking off at night?”

That’s it! A plane coming in to land at night. 100%

As you know I was in Queensland for a conference earlier in the week.

I stayed in a hotel in the Goldcoast suburb Coolangatta. Me being me I dragged my camera gear with me on the off chance of having a moment to take some piccies.

Well on Monday night I headed out to the beach and turned my camera towards the lights of Surfers Paradise 20 kilometres away across the bay.

Being a night shot I took a long exposure which left a streak of light across the frame. 

The bright bar of light is the landing lights of an airliner coming in to land at Coolangatta airport.
The dots above it are the intermittently flashing navigation lights

I am not a fan of the Goldcoast. Too much like the rat-race at the beach.

But it does look pretty at night.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not the Jedi

Last week almost everybody picked the answer to WIIW more or less correctly. This week I must have picked a more challenging piccie.

Kitty saw a “light sabre” and “an overhead fluorescent light!”
Neither is right although the answer involves light.

Misha agreed that the mystery piccie was “a fluorescent light”
Not a fluorescent light"

Carolyn could see a “light saber too!” but plumped for a “crack in the wall?”
No cracks to be seen.

While Christine thought a knife reflecting light, but despaired at the seeming cruelty of Al.
Not a blade. Am I really that cruel?
So what is the mystery piccie?
Rather than be considered too beastly I will provide a pair of clues:
  1. This is a shot of something that was a couple of miles from my camera lens.
  2. Think movement.