Posts Tagged ‘Southern Highlands’

A free tree.

January 11, 2022


The above photo I took while wandering around my Southern Highlands, which is well known for its variety of trees, both native evergreens and the deciduous.  This tree seems to have developed a mind of its own very early on it its life on a street that the local Shire decided to enhance by planting trees. Soon after its planting, the young sapling threw all caution to the wind with an admirable courage to remain free and unrestrained. As the picture shows, it has usurped its cast-iron restraining frame and is in the actual process of eating it. The middle part of the frame is being ingested by the tree and to make it easier has split in two parts, giving both sides time and space to slowly dissolve this steel frame hoping it won’t be noticed by the Shire’s officers often doing the rounds checking on the trees and adjust, straighten or fix the frames or steel enclosures in case trees become unruly, or escape their enclosures. 

It’s a known fact that for many, at least in the past, trees were, or at least can be, a threat. I grew up in a suburb where the Neighbourhood always checked on the height of trees and anything above roof-gutter height would be, without warning get cut down. Those suburban tree watchers always held a fear of bush fires. And in the early fifties, trees were actually shunned in many suburbs because of fear of fires. People put in rockeries because rocks don’t burn easily, neither do petunias or lawns. Lawns were safe and cement patios and concrete drive-ways really flourished in suburbia were I grew up in.

Our neighbour used to spend entire week-ends on his knees prying out unwanted bits of grass that did not conform to the ideal lawn.  I thought first he was praying and hoping for rain because apart from fear of bush-fires there were also long periods of droughts. It is odd, that now that am getting older those memories cling so assiduously and perniciously. Never mind, right now this is my best part of living yet, and most of all am busy creating lovely pleasurable memories. It is just that the past is also giving me so much to reflect upon, and reflecting during Covid and Lock Downs is a luxury we better get used to. It is the perfect way of whiling time, as is walking around admiring the free spirits of trees.

New Year’s ( but happy?)

December 30, 2019

IMG_0225The Hydrangia

We are again at the doorstep of another year rolling over. I thought to-night was the fireworks at Sydney’s harbour bridge, but I was mistaken. It is tomorrow night. Fire now seems to be associated with the breaking of the new year, but the traditional fireworks are on the cusp of being cancelled. There are so many fires burning now, it is difficult to find something that is not burning at the moment. To celebrate the New Year with fire-works seems insulting, especially to those that have given their time fighting fires all over the joint. I noticed that one fire out of control is now approaching our area. People are a bit tense, huddling in groups and talking in hushed tones to each other, no doubt advising on possible escape routes. The quickest way to a lake or pond with a view to immerse oneself in case the firestorm approaches. There are also designated safe areas for people to evacuate to, including the Returned Soldier’s Clubs where I play my bowls.

“Alpine, Aylmerton, Willow Vale, Braemar, Balaclava, Mittagong and Mt Gibraltar areas

  • Monitor the changing conditions. Strong north westerly winds may push embers into the area.
  • Stay alert for embers and spot fires.
  • Embers can be blown well ahead of the main fire front, and start spot fires that can threaten homes”.

The above is copied from the latest warning on a fire approaching the Southern Highlands. It is out of control and covers over 227 000 ha. It is large enough to create its own climate and cause dry lightning to strike for fires to spread even more. Tomorrow is going to be very critical with predicted temperatures in the 40’s C. The nation is on high alert.

I was given a couple of nice bottles of wine at Christmas time. It included a ten year old tawny Port. I am actually considering to cut down on my alcohol consumption. I noticed that my appetite is languishing and lessening. I have a banana and pear for breakfast and that seems to carry me over lunch as well. And then in the evening I force myself to eat a salad with a salmon cutlet. Of course, I had the lamb curry on Christmas Eve, but on the whole I seem to eat a lot less. But…I still had my few glasses of alcohol, I suppose to carry me through the evening when my new sole-ness makes itself felt so keenly. It helps to make me go to sleep. But I noticed that in the morning on wakening I feel parched and often suffering a grey mood.

I decided two nights ago to cut down and just have at most two glasses of wine over about a five hour period. I started last evening and it helped, I woke up feeling better and put on my socks with quickened pace.

I am also considering giving up some of my bowling in exchange for doing the U3A The bowling is a nice exercise but in between, while having a cup of tea, the players segregate into one table for the women and at a separate table the men. It seems so anachronistic. On top of that, at the men’s table they have a ‘swearing tin’. This is a tin in which the men are supposed to put in money if they swear. It seems that swearing is the domain of men.  And then the remarks about ‘Muslims are bad, Lebanese, Chinese are bad, etc. Before I could cope but now I am too fragile to just put up with it.

What do you all think about that?,


The revenge of the Scottish Lawnmower Man

February 2, 2011


Where we live gardens are of the most importance. Even the name of ‘Southern-Highlands’ seems to evoke gardens. Possibly gardens from Scotland. Indeed, there is a yearly event here whereby the ruddy Scots and their descendents celebrate a festival. Many then wear kilts and play bagpipes. There are also shops that sell stuff related to far away Highlands.

There are items reminiscing of all things England as well. Lots of those interior shops with knots of lavender flowers, lavender sachets, lavender soap, lavender curtains, lavender make up, posies of Queen Anne lace with Babies Breath. All artificial of course but looking real enough for me to touch them, just to make sure. There are endless wreaths which makes me wonder if wreaths serve other celebrations apart from funerals? Some of those are made from twigs cleverly intertwined and very bleached looking. I believe people hang those at the back of bedroom doors. Perhaps a reminder that the party doesn’t go on forever! “Stop mucking around and go to sleep,” the wreath seems to be saying late at night, just when hubby might get a late twinge.

As always there are exceptions to those lush gardens. I noticed an exception on my twice daily walk around the block with Milo. There is one 1950’s free standing solid brick house with just a lawn. Just a lawn and nothing else, no trees, do shrubs, but not a blade of grass out of place, and at dusk the house in totally darkness from the outside. Not even light escaping underneath the front door nor a shimmer through the blinds and curtains. The whole aura of that house is one of ‘spick and span.’

Yet, I know it is occupied. The lawn gets mowed every few days. A solid ruddy looking man in short shorts and with a sloppy hat pushes a lawnmower. He pushes as if his very life depends on it. He greets me with a nod, so there is an ongoing form of communication and I am hoping I’ll pass him just when the mower has run out of petrol or when he is just finished to try and get a bit of his story. I have also noticed in my much earlier Revesby days, that there are gardens that are well kept but the ‘well kept of it’ is just the lawn.  There were no trees, no shrubs, no flowers, just a beaten down lawn.

It’s not just the well kept lawn but also the well kept concrete footpaths. The grass is cut to the path with some tool called an edger that cuts through the grass, roots and all and give the edges an almost crew-cut appearance, the concrete path being the ears whereby the grass has been trimmed around.

I can understand an overgrown garden with neglect clearly the culprit. What I find harder to reconcile is that some go through extremes to not have anything growing but also to beat down the growing grass so relentlessly. Is it some kind of revenge? Is it a revenge of the Scot?