Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Gold and scarlet painted leaves
hang delicately on the trees.
They fall and float upon the breeze,
the Zephyr's captive slaves.
Then dance and twirl upon the earth
crunch underfoot, erstwhile the turf
grows cold and damp; the shadows long,
til Summer's faded rose is gone.
Like embers in a fun'ral pyre
they leap and dance amidst the fire.
Like secrets hid: my heart's desire,
they brittle, live no more.
Wet and cold, lain dead they moulder,
in trenches, drains, and gutters deep,
and decompose, the worms to feed -
slain soldiers in a heap.
We all are leaves, Our season's now,
so laugh and grow upon the bough:
for someday soon, I know not when,
the light will fade again.
(C) David Lord Cowell, March 2013.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
... tell me on a Sunday please.
Well, this Sunday I spent a leisurely afternoon catching some rays in the newly greened-up park down the road. I packed a little picnic lunch and a jug of iced Sangria and tried to make the most of a few spare hours, in preparation for an upcoming island holiday. Peter arrives in 2 weeks, and after an autumnal cocktail party, we are off to Penang for a much earned week of R&R.
There were a few graceful Ibises about in the park too...
As well a the occasional screeching swarm of cockatoos overhead. It looks much different from back home where an offical state of drought has been declared across 5 different major regions of the country...
Above: My cousin James, who has been helping Peter with the farm work since he injured his hand. He is holding one of the weaner piglets. We have another litter due any day now (below). You can see how barren the land has become. Luckily they have water and loads of fresh vegetables daily, and the rest of the anilmals are living off the hay we harvested last month.
Above: A sow with a well-descended under carriage. It can't be more than a day or so now.
"A state of drought has been declared for the entire North Island, and the West Coast could soon follow suit. Farmers are being hammered in what is the most severe drought in at least 30 years, which is estimated to be costing the economy millions of dollars.The West Coast sent a drought declaration request to the government on Thursday, hours after Primary Industry Minister Nathan Guy made the drought declaration about the North Island.The official declarations will mean farmers have access to financial assistance and other help.Mr Guy said he was keeping watch on the South Island where some areas were very dry.Federated Farmers confirmed the West Coast request. "The West Coast of the South Island is today forwarding its request," said the federation's adverse events spokeswoman Katie Milne.When he announced the North Island drought declaration Mr Guy said some rain was forecast for the weekend but more would be needed to set up for winter and spring.Drought had previously been declared in Northland and North Auckland, South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay. Mr Guy says communities are pulling together to help each other out. Federated Farmers is operating a `Feedline' to match farmers with feed supplies. "Many rural people can be reluctant to ask for help, but it is important for them to know that support is available," he said. "This is a difficult time for rural families and they need to know that the government and all New Zealanders are behind them. " The govenour of the Reserve Bank said that if it doesn't rain soon the drought could shave 1% of the economy."
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Dubbo has only one antique shop, and the surrounding villages are too small to support anything more than a garage and a local store, so One is not in the heart of an antique trail. However, I did come away with some surprising little finds from the antique store, which is run by a very pleasant lady.
The store is a very large barn with a eclectic range of furniture and wares ranging from militaria and old tools to Royal Doulton, Wedgwood, and Sevres.
Like most antique stores in NZ, the furniture is mainly Victorian colonial furniture, with very little Georgian furniture and quite a lot of Edwardian reproduction pieces.
Below: The jangling constellation of bric a brac.
One quite exciting find was a Diamond Jubilee Medal for Queen Victoria (above).
another was a small Sevres styled box (below).
One quite alarming find was this very kitsch 'coral reef' lamp...
The pieces I bought, however, were a set a lovely framed hand-coloured Georgian etchings, depicting various social scenes:
Without my proper camera with a polarising filter the reflection on the glass made it hard to photograph them, but here they are...
Above: Roll call at Eton College
Below: Surry collegians tossing a lawyer
Above: A group of Oxford dons pronouncing the sentence of Rustication (being sent down/expelled)
Below: A social gathering in the Broad Walk meadows of Christ Church College, Oxford.
Above: Artists of the Royal Academy at Somerset House
Below: A ball in London's Mansion House
They certainly brighten up the flat. I also bought a large blue Wedgwood Jasperware bowl, to match one we have at home in the collection. I am hoping when we go back to London this year to find some large Wedgwood items, a few statement pieces around which to arrange the smaller pieces in our collection.
Otherwise life in Dubbo ticks by slowly. I fill in some of my time by going to the local gym, where I have just signed up to a 15 week challenge to try to put on weight and bulk up a bit (don't fear dear readers, I have no intention of embarrassing myself by subjecting you to any photos). I am also looking forward to Peter coming over to visit in 3 weeks. He is here for one night only for a cocktail party we are throwing; and then the next day we are both flying to Penang for a well deserved holiday. You will be pleased to know that his hand is healing well after surgery, although he is now going through the painful process of tendon physio and rehab.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The heat is finally starting to drop. This week we dipped to the low 30s, and we had rain last week for the first time in ages...
Above: A barn that looks like it will collapse under the weight of the impending storm
Below: Green crops that have been carefully irrigated through the drought
I took these photos on my way out to my friends at Cumboogle.
Above and Below: The rain from their back porch
We all went and looked at the rain falling (as did Archie, the featured labradoodle), before returning inside to relax with a G&T; and then the frogs started to come out. I heard the noise first, a loud chorus of croaking. I went out and there were literally hundreds of frogs all over the ground and climbing the walls...
From their drive you could also see a heard of wild goats on the adjacent farm...
So that was a lovely time. Meanwhile back at WBP we are excited to report that the electricity company have put in our transformer and mains power box, so very soon we won't have to run the farm on a generator any longer. The front entrance is almost complete; the wrought iron gates are being forged at the foundry, and they have also started on cutting the top soil away and laying down the bedrock for the driveway. It is a 700 foot long serpentine driveway, which will eventually be covered with weathered limechip. I finally feel like we are moving forward with it all, which is very satisfying. There are still a few small hurdles to jump, but we are still optimistic we will get the foundations in before the start of winter.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Yesterday my aunt, Pam, flew in from Sydney for an over night visit and we painted the town red!
We started with canapes, antepasto and champagne at the flat, then went to the best restaurant in Dubbo Two Doors. Two doors is a tapas style restaurant and wine bar with an Australian twist...
The food and wine was lovely. We had a selection of tapas - Soft shell crab, Slow roasted pork belly, Sticky chicken on green tea noodles, Greek salad etc; and a couple of bottles of a local red wine which was a delightful blend of Shiraz, Cabernet, and Merlot.
Above: The bottle of Brangayne of Orange Tristram Cab Shiraz Merlot
Below: Lots more bottles to choose from...
I'm glad I have a late start today.