The end of the year has been a mix of muggy, high temperatures, fierce storms and heavy rain. Christmas was no different. The day started off with a peaceful walk and a swim in a nearby creek and ended with me and my Dad sitting on their front balcony in the dark listening to the rain and enjoying the cool breeze. I took many walks during the time at my parents’ house, being in the country is so refreshing for me and seeing all the different wildlife makes me happy even if I couldn’t capture them all with my camera. A trip to the beach was on the cards for boxing day regardless of whether it was raining or not, the thinking was that if we’re going to get wet we may as well go for a swim in the surf.
Today is the last day of Winter in Australia, it has been a real mixed bag this year with heavy rainfall, some of our lowest temperatures and some of our warmest weather for the season. The weekend the temperature has been between 24 and 26 degrees celsius, people are spending more time outdoors and many head to the beach.
This gallery is a mix of photographs taken during the cooler months, I experimented with shooting stars at night as well as taking numerous shots of Maxi, Bundy and flowers in bloom.
Recently I spent a few days with my folks in the small country town of Beechwood, located inland on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. It is a town surrounded by rolling hills, forests and bush tracks, cows and horses are a common sight as are wandering dogs and 4WDs, as a child many of my friends came from families living on dairy farms or they had brothers and fathers working at timber mills, but that is no more. Beechwood has become popular with young families and ‘city folk’ desiring a tree change, they move out into the country where a sense of community still exists and real estate is much cheaper. Once upon a time I knew everyone and they knew me, but that too has changed.
My time in Beechwood was husband and black dog free, the year has been an exhausting one, mentally and physically and I needed a break somewhere quiet, familiar and without any pressure to do anything. It is the perfect place for me to have a break, I always sleep soundly and eat well, plus there is always something comforting about being at home with my parents. Wherever I look there is nature, clear and sparkling night skies, elegant and tall gum trees, laughing kookaburras and wallabies dining on new green grass, of a morning I stalk birds in the yard and in the afternoon I wander through the paddocks enjoying the warmth of the sun.
I didn’t stray far when it came to taking photos of this place that I love, that would have required more energy than I wished to expend and I was happy sticking close to home. The horses were curious when they saw me approach, once they realised that there were no carrots or treats in my hands they turned their back on me and pretended that I didn’t exist, one of them didn’t even both to lift his head from eating, obviously the grass was too sweet and delicious to pay attention to the camera toting human. Wallabies and Kangaroos show up when there is less light, they feed at dawn and dusk so I was thrilled to make it out of bed early enough one morning to catch them enjoying the fresh pick in the back paddock. Farmers and those who live in the country consider Wallabies and Kangaroos to be pests, they destroy fences, eat all the grass and create havoc on roads in low light, but I love seeing these beautiful creatures in their natural environment.
It was an enjoyable break in the country, I returned home feeling a little refreshed, it would have been wonderful to stay longer and experience total rejuvenation, maybe next time…
Well, that is it then, holiday over and back to work. Can’t complain too loudly though, with temperatures over 40 degrees celsius in some parts of Australia it is great to be able to work in air conditioned comfort. My poor doggies are melting, throughout the day they move from one cool, shaded spot to another and you can see the relief on their faces when I come home and they can finally lie on the nice, cool tiles.
Christmas and New Years Eve was spent south of the border in New South Wales. My parents live in the country, surrounded by cows, horses and alpacas, it is a very peaceful place to stay and the nights are so dark that you can easily see the stars. The dogs love it there although they’d be much happier inside with us, but their Nan and Pop don’t allow dogs in the house so Maxi claimed the deck and Bundy decided that sitting on the outdoor table was the place to be. Every morning I took Bundy for a walk down to the river while Maxi got to have a walk through the paddock (her legs won’t carry her very far anymore), on the first morning everything was shrouded in fog, it was magnificent to see especially when the sun’s rays started to burn through the fog and throw a little more colour and light onto the picture.
Christmas day was a hot one, after the traditional early morning opening of presents I joined my husband’s family for brunch, watching our nephews playing with their presents reminds me of the excitement I felt when I got my first record player and the soundtrack for the movie Xanadu – I loved Olivia Newton John :-). The heat and the boys desire to try out their new boogie boards drove us to the beach, it was cloudy and windy, the water freezing but we still got sunburned and soon it was time for us to head off to my cousin’s house for a late Christmas lunch. Christmas with my family usually means five types of meat, a tonne of baked vegetables and more desserts than anyone could possibly need, not to mention lots of bubbles and beer. At some stage water is involved, often swimming in a pool however this year it was a water fight using the latest in water pistols (they look more like cannons) and buckets, this is when holding a camera has its advantages.
The 2013 National Beach Volleyball tour kicks off in Cronulla, my husband is part of the operations team that organise the event and work started on Boxing Day, December 26 so that is where we spent New Years Eve. Cronulla is heaven for surfers and beach goers, alot of effort has gone into tidying up the foreshore but this Sydney suburb still feels as though it is made for locals and on New Years Eve it was surprisingly quiet. New Years Eve is also our wedding anniversary, this year we celebrated our 5th anniversary and although in Sydney we celebrated quietly with bubbles and delicious nibbles on our hotel balcony, avoiding the crush of two million people on the harbour’s foreshore. New Years Day was spectacular weather wise, the beach was packed and the temperature soared, the lifeguards were going to have a busy day.
Christmas in July reminds me of how close the festive season is (scary really), last Christmas I took a few photos of Bundy and Maxi making the most of their Christmas holidays in rural NSW. I love their happy faces!