Sprawling satisfaction.

I am taking part in the Daily Post Photo Challenge : SATISFACTION

10-15 years ago when the kids were still small we regularly picnicked in the Wollongong Botanical Gardens.  We had our own favourite out-of-the-way (secret) spot where there was a bench-table in the sun. We’d spread out on ‘our’ bench to drink tea, orange juice and eat biscuits before exploring the gardens.

Below is the only photo I could find of our picnics. The grass wasn’t always this brown – it must have been a dry autumn in 2006. My son (not sure where daughter was) and husband are sitting on the bench. My son is soon to turn 18 but has still been known to hog/hug the biscuits to himself.

bench botanical gardens

Nearby to our bench was a magnificent (or at least I thought so) prostrate coastal banksia (Banksia integrifolia). It’s thick branches supported it in a metre-high dome shape and it sprawled for at least five metres in diameter.

I’m not sure why I was so struck by this unruly plant when the rest of the botantical gardens displayed mighty spreading trees, exotic cacti, an impressive rainforest  and an an orderly rose garden.

I think I liked its tangled, rambling and of course the robust yellow brush flowers – I have a fascination with banksia flowers.

At the time we lived on the escarpment in Wollongong – an area of rainforest, clay soils and limited sunlight hours. So, though I would have liked to buy a prostrate banksia, there was nowhere suitable to plant it. It’s a plant that needs plenty of room, light soil and full sun.

When we moved closer to the beach and landscaped our garden I finally found a spot to plant a banksia, unfortunately this spot was under the kid’s trampoline. The filtered sunlight through the trampoline net wasn’t ideal. The banksia survived but struggled. The children eventually outgrew the trampoline and my banksia was finally exposed to full sun. Now when I look out the kitchen window the first thing I see is my lovely sprawling, flowering banksia. It is a favourite of the little wattlebird too. Most mornings it sits on its branches and chuckles and chatters – proclaiming the banksia as its own. I’m happy to share it.

My plant is not as magnificent as the one in the botanical gardens  but it does bring me great satisfaction, a  living symbol of persistence and resilience.

Kitchen Quilt

I am taking part in the Daily Post Photo Challenge: COLLAGE

When I first got my macro lens it was a cold, dark evening and I had nothing else to practice on but what I had in the house. I mostly took pictures of kitchen things. Those photos were terrible as I had no clue of the importance of setting adequate depth of field or how to sync my flash. When I got home from a holiday and I saw this week’s challenge, it was also a cold evening and I didn’t really have anything to fit the bill.  So I revisited the kitchen as a macro world and came up with this ‘kitchen quilt’.

To add a bit of fun here is a few clues to some of the items in my quilt. Can you find them?

Dull nobility drink

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary no Thyme.

Like a writing tool with no ink

Breakfast in a pub

The princess’s bane chilled

A segmented language

Often travelled. Rarely seen.

I am taking part in the :

Daily Post Photo Challenge: BRIDGE

I grew up in Gosford on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia. I must have taken the rail journey from Gosford to Sydney via the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge dozens and dozens of times. Everyday thousands of commuters, travellers and hundreds of tons of freight make the journey over this bridge. But I wonder how many travelling this route have actually seen the bridge, apart from the limited view through the metal struts.

It took me till my fifties to get a real view of this familiar yet unfamiliar span. These pictures were taken from a motor boat just west of river town of Brooklyn (far from the New York borough) as a freight train trundled over the bridge.

I put a post-slate filter over these photos to accentuate the metallic struts.

Hawkesbury River Bridge slate

Hawkesbury River Rail Bridge 2

This is the second construction of the Hawkesbury River Bridge. The sandstone piers of the first bridge remain as historic markers. This first bridge was opened in 1889 as part of extension of the rail line to replace a three-hour long paddle-steamer service that took passengers from Brooklyn to Gosford. The bridge gave around fifty years of service before severe cracking was discovered in one of the piers.

A lone tree with million dollar views over the picturesque Hawkesbury river can just be seen poking out from the top of the old pillar.

Old pylon

Construction of the new bridge took place during the WW11 years starting in 1940 and finally finishing in 1946. The train trip from Brooklyn to Gosford via the bridge now takes a total of 25 mins. However, the current bridge has problems of its own. It appears the depth of sediment on the river bed (before penetrating bedrock) and heavy loads eventually take their toll. Last year an engineering report revealed that there was cracking in the concrete piers as well as defects in the steel frame. http://coastcommunitynews.com.au/2016/12/hawkesbury-river-bridge-freight-train-limitations-imposed/

Perhaps before this century is out a third set of piers will be sunk into the mud of the Hawkesbury River.