Christmas fulfilled the usual promise of a bit of everything. Indian Jimmy from Port Macquarie told me once that LOVE stood for : LOTS OF VAIRED EMOTIONS.
I don’t know what Christmas stands for but I do know that a Capricornian Saviour has created a pretty wild festival. We had flooding rains and waters rising in the paddocks. Temperatures were “cool” but we managed one beach trip and several pool swims. Masses of gifts, tents in the rain and plenty of family members.
A rambling lookback taken on a summer day with sea breezes and blue skies. We have had very little of that this season. There’s guitar music coming from the music room and BayWatch is on the television. Strange – but somehows soothing.
Well, things were soothing until the sirens started down on the New Pacific Highway. A stream of them racing past.
Now to see what was happening on the 29th of each month of 2010.
29 DECEMBER 2009.
I wrapped up 2009 still living in Ulmarra in the big old house on Coldstream Street. Across the Street, the cattle ran in the paddocks. The village was west about 1km or so and on Sundays, Izzy played with the Droughtbreakers at the WIDE RIVER CAFÉ.
Ulmarra was HOT. Very hot. The Grafton area is that with the Coast 40kms or so to the east. I liked the Clarence Valley but there was a baby coming down here on the Bellinger and I was homesick.
The New Year of 2010 came in with a fine moon and random fireworks which I thought were somehow organised but turned out simply to be crackers at Fred’s party for his buck’s night up the road.
29 JANUARY 2010.
This new one is the daughter of my daughter. I found it increasingly difficult to remain at a distance from Bellingen which is where she lives and the others up in the New England.
Bellingen was hot in January 2009 and the bats were about. My children were born 30 years ago in Bellingen Hospital. That is no longer a common practice.The Hospital became an issue for me throughout 2010 as I thought more about the reduction in services. Here are some links to Pages about the Bello Hospital.
SAVE BELLINGEN HOSPITAL
END OF FEBRUARY 2010.
THE POMS’ LAND IN PORT MACQUARIE.
29 MARCH 2010.
The other pleasure for me in homecoming has been the access to North Bellingen via NORTH BANK ROAD.
29 APRIL 2010.
The YELLOW SHED is still filled with surprises.
Bellingen turned out to be a very fine place to live with a new Baby. People greeted us and food arrived at the house as well as clothes and toys and gifts. Just a walk along the street and through the Supermarket could take an hour or more as a result of ‘ encounters’ with well wishers.
This Baby is 4th or 5th generation Bello as well so there has been a goodly amount of recollections.
29 MAY 2010.
Raleigh brought us some good neighbours including critters. Birds are in abundance and two dogs spend their days with us. There are still cows about – mostly dairy cattle down here so the chances of their being eaten are reduced greatly.
We also have horses and wallabies and other odds and ends.
May felt rather chilly. I have been away on the Tweed since 2001 and haven’t had a lot to do with Winter so I am rather maladjusted in more ways than one.
BALI AND SCOOBIE.
29 JUNE 2010.
29 JULY 2010.
In July, some tough news in our family brought my niece back from the U.K. and she met up with my girl. Cousins in the first degree.
KOMBU was high on her list of places she wanted to see again, which we did including the EDIBLE STREETSCAPE. We lunched at the Gelato Bar. My homecoming was voluntary and to do with a Baby coming. Some homecomings are a little more complicated than that.
29 AUGUST 2010.
A jabiru came to visit our dam. Up in Ulmarra, I had been lucky enough to see many brolgas after the big 2009 flood. One jabiru might not equal many brolgas but it was a fine thing to see.
|29 SEPTEMBER 2010.
Birds and more birds. Birds coming for food and birds just coming.
|29 OCTOBER 2010.||SPRINGTIME brought the beauty of the Valley right to my front door.|
29 NOVEMBER 2010.
THE BLACK BEAR where we take coffee and juices. It has been a year of cafes and baby.
|29 DECEMBER 2010.|
BELLINGER RIVER AT URUNGA.
Took the Baby to the Library today in Urunga and bought the first Xmas present ever for her. I am home with the 7Mate HD TV shows. In the afternoon, that means a run of series from the 70s and 80s. Nostalgic and rather odd.
Its raining a little and the temperature is soothing. I wonder when and where libraries first came to the Valley.
From the NLA NEWSPAPERS:
The Sydney Morning Herald. Tuesday 7 February 1911
At the ninth annual meeting of the Raleigh School of Arts, Mr. R. Scott was re-elected president, Messrs. J. Sullivan and A. Craig; vice-presidents, and Mr. R. Napier secretary,| treasurer, and librarian. During the year a new library and reading-room were erected, the main ball lined and ceiled, and a stage erected.
The Raleigh School of Arts is just down the way in the now tiny village of Raleigh on the Bellinger River. The actual area covered is quite large but the heart of settlement is gone now. The School of Arts is just called the Hall and still stands as does the church nearby but the railway station is not used and many houses are gone. No timbermills are left or wharves.
The Norco Factory is still operating and the School. The truckstop is gone but there is a Winery, Wilair Building Supplies, Harfield’s 2nd hand goods and round the back on Shortcut Road is the Industrial Estate inc the Council Depot.
Urunga Library is hexagonal. So is the PreSchool behind it – methinks. AND the Information Centre up on the Highway. They were all built in the same era so there must be a common theme or a common architect of the time.
NOVEMBER 11 2010.
I have several days at home to myself this weekend. The day is coming over clouded and just a little cool. Its 22 degrees C at the moment. Pleasant is the word.
Lets think about things. My brother gave me a map of the U.K for my 60th birthday. He got it from the British Museum and has labelled it with as many of the names and places of our ancestors as we so far know. We have a heritage based entirely in the U.K. and the last ancestor to come out to Australia did so way back in the 1850s. Quite a few of the families were from Britain’s most remote places. Highland Scots and Devon and Cornwall. There’s a clutch of convicts. Quite a large clutch. Another of ‘assisted emigrants’.
I framed it. Well, Izzy bought a frame in Sawtell and we framed the map and at the moment its resting on a cupboard while we look for wall space on which to hang it.
The Workers’ Cottage is colorbond. I think that’s what its called. Its not my favourite substance and has a bare nudity to it. This week, Iz dug a garden bed and planted some plants under our windows. Two of them are passionfruit vines which could go a little hectic. I bought them at Spring Plant Fair following a chat with a lady at Kethel’s stall. I wondered whether there had been something go wrong with passionfruit here on the North Coast. The reason I asked was the high price. $1 or more for one passionfruit.
She told me that passionfruit still grow wild and rum amok as they have done since the day of the outside loo. The pricing is entirely an artificial construct caused by Government regulations etc. We bring them in from Queensland. I didn’t even attempt to enter the mazed Govt reasoning. I just bought the vines. We will see what happens.
Now, Izzy has gone South to his son and grandchildren for the weekend. I have a phone call to make to my sister who is ill. My brother is in Paris and London for a fortnight. Next week, I plan Armidale for a grandchild’s 11th birthday.
And – in the meantime – in the meantime – home and the family in the Valley. Baby has now been swimming twice. Once in North Beach Pool and once in Bellingen Swim Centre. I thought it was just Bellingen Pool but discovered the fancy re-name. I haven’t been there since 1999 when I taught Urunga kids to swim there.
Bellingen Swim Centre was a good deal easier with one baby and her mum than it was with dozens of schoolkids. I was quite impressed. $3 entry and hot chips for sale. Irene had just finished her aquarobics class and there were lifeguards a plenty. Not quite Southbank but a lot of fun.
I believe that KEAN’S COACHES no longer service the Bellingen – Armidale route. Bummer because I liked their theme – WE ARE KEAN TO HAVE YOU TRAVEL WITH US.
I went to Coffs Jetty this week. Checking the Jetty Markets. They were on underneath the Shopping Centre which used to be called TREASURE ISLAND. Never underestimate the Power of Tacky in Tourism. There were also markets down Harbourside. That’s the one where Izzy and John Turbill played one Sunday.
We also went to lunch at Ocean Noir and took a look at kerry Penrose’s art exhibition and I ate Philadelphia Pie. I recommend doing that.
And I spent time with the boats and trawlers and shops.
Tuesday in the Cottage . Out the side, the farrier is attending to the horses and out the front, the plumber is trying to locate the break in the waterpipes. A bit later, the famers whose cattle are grazing in the bottom paddocks, are coming to graze them on the drive and do some mowing. The rain is holding off which is something it doesn’t do much of this year. The weekend was WET again and we had the Girls up from Down South.
Mary Oliver writes this poem. Wouldn’t say I am terribly fond of it but it has elements.
Mary Oliver – The Kingfisher
The kingfisher rises out of the black wave like a blue flower, in his beak he carries a silver leaf. I think this is the prettiest world--so long as you don't mind a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life that doesn't have its splash of happiness? There are more fish than there are leaves on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher wasn't born to think about it, or anything else. When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the water remains water--hunger is the only story he has ever heard in his life that he could believe. I don't say he's right. Neither do I say he's wrong. Religiously he swallows the silver leaf with its broken red river, and with a rough and easy cry I couldn't rouse out of my thoughtful body if my life depended on it, he swings back over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it (as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.
Mary Oliver is an American Poet so I shall search a little further and see what’s been written in Australia. I shall avoid Henry Kendall who haunts me mercilessly.
While I am looking for what I want, consider this from Facebook this morning. :
Northbank Community Garden: well this aint right!!!!there has been a spate of gear going missing from the northbank community gardens.This is a non profit group who work hard to provide the peopel of bellingen cheap oganic food straight from the garden. we dont expect much, IS AINT RIGHTnow people are thieving shit from our refuge.about a minute
Northbank Community Garden : 2 pair
ofbolt cutters worth about 50 each, a hand carved sign which was loving
carved and donated to the gardens by a local artist, as well as a few
other pieces. THIS AINT RIGHT!!!!!If any one has any clues tell me.lets helps each other live healthy organic live without this shit.
The Welsh Poet W.H. Davies runs lyrical. A touch of the Kendall inc the doss house lifsetyle.
The Kingfisher by William Henry Davies
It was the Rainbow gave thee birth,
And left thee all her lovely hues;
And, as her mother’s name was Tears,
So runs it in my blood to choose
For haunts the lonely pools, and keep
In company with trees that weep.
Go you and, with such glorious hues,
Live with proud peacocks in green parks;
On lawns as smooth as shining glass,
Let every feather show its marks;
Get thee on boughs and clap thy wings
Before the windows of proud kings.
Nay, lovely Bird, thou art not vain;
Thou hast no proud, ambitious mind;
I also love a quiet place
That’s green, away from all mankind;
A lonely pool, and let a tree
Sigh with her bosom over me.
Now to Gerald Manly Hopkins : I think I like this one better. it has a bite to it.
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.
Ok. I shall wrap up this Kingfisher diversion with the Kingfisher Journal and a poem by Wagoner.
The blunt big slate-blue dashing cockaded head
Cocked and the tapering thick of the bill
Sidelong for a black eye staring down
From the elm branch over the pool now poised
Exactly for this immediate movement diving
In a single wingflap wingfold plunging
Slapwash not quite all the way under
The swirling water and upward instantly
In a swerving spiral back to the good branch
With a fingerling catfish before the ripples
Have reached me sitting nearby to follow it
With a flip of a shake from crestfeathers to white
Bibcoker down the crawhatch suddenly
Seeing me and swooping away cackling
From the belt streaked rusty over the full belly.
I say that as a Libran. Its almost one year since I turned 60 and began the serious consideration of coming back to live on the Bellinger. The decision to do so has been a good one for me and mine.
I’m going to try for a 12 step take of the last year – one comment for each month.
And that brings me dully to this evening. I shall return to the Online Calendar I am making.