Thursday, September 30, 2010

Travelling North

We're travelling North. First stop was Sandy Beach on the Coff's Coast for some three sisters' time (aren't we lucky!!). Just two nights for now, but enough time for lots of laughs & family talk, beach walks, a couple of whale sightings and some dolphins, lunch at the Park Beach SLSC and time to enjoy Ros & Pete's beautiful home and living environment.

We all drove up to the Yurrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Corindi Beach, about 20minutes North of Sandy Beach yesterday. We were lucky enough to meet and talk to Alison Williams (a local Aboriginal artist) and three wonderful women artists from the Tiwi Islands on a two week workshop tour of this part of NSW, to coincide with the opening of their print exhibition at the Grafton Art Gallery.

Those are not mobile phones that Alison and the Tiwi artists might look like they're holding in the photo above. They are actually clever tools made out of iron wood for stamping beautiful dot patterns on the women's paintings.

Alison's great grandfather was a very significant elder in the local community about 80 years ago when the remaining Aboriginal people in the area were forced to live in an enclosed reserve (in the forest just opposite the cultural centre). The area has a very brutal history obviously including a tragic massacre affecting a large number of local Aboriginal families late in the nineteenth century.

We loved Alison's art work in the exhibition at the cultural centre's gallery. We have bought this wonderful monoprint/drawing that tells some of Alison's peoples' story.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Ella and I really enjoy our special place on the hill above our house. There is an outcrop of big boulders that seem to inspire some very intense imaginary play. Ollie & Angus love to pretend that Spiderman lives there, but Ella and I love to play at being Cinderella and the Prince in our separate castles. This week Ella told me that the stepmother and stepsisters had died so that got rid of a few complications in the story, allowing us to focus on the more fun aspects of the Cinderella story. Our Cinderella and Prince had a pet cat called Jimmy Choo. They also have "sleep overs" and eat croissants together and have macaroni cheese for dinner.

Ella broke her arm two weeks ago (just a "small" break from landing the wrong way on a big trampoline jump) so some of her favourite games are very awkward at the moment. We had Rob's compact camera with us on the hill and she took a great sequence of shots of me. I could tell she was really using the viewing screen and pointing the lens to get the right shot!

This has been our best Spring in many years. The grass on the hill is almost knee deep and emerald green. The wattle is blazing yellow and Canberra dams are 79.1% full.

Even with a broken arm Ella is getting better and better at catching and throwing small balls.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Up close

We decided to ignore the rainclouds last Thursday and spend some time in the garden, spreading cow manure and experiencing all the joys of nature with Ella.

Although the piles of "tow poo" were very exciting to jump in, dig in and fill her shoes with, the most entrancing thing about our garden was the tiny little caterpillar Ella found on the driveway. She spent hours investigating and admiring it, especially its little black mohawk and its capacity to make its way over or around every obstacle placed (very gently but insistently) in its way.

After an hour or so of uninterrupted love we noticed that the caterpillar's cute black mohawk had disappeared. I hope it will grow back in time.

All this close observation is having an amazing impact on Ella's drawings. Over the past month they have become much more descriptive and detailed. She amazed us a week ago with this portrait of a "very cross" cat with eyelashes like Nellie (the Beagle)......