Sunny afternoon in St Andrews Botanic Gardens

One of the many paths that lead through the Botanic Gardens, St Andrews Scotland.
One of the many paths that lead through the Botanic Gardens, St Andrews Scotland.

St Andrews, Scotland is well known for it’s golf course however there is plenty for a visitor to do if they’re not interested in chasing a little white ball around a paddock. There are castle and cathedral ruins overlooking the sea, as well as delightful little cafes and cobblestone streets. After a morning sketching a church and doing a little shopping in the centre of St Andrews we headed out of the centre to the Botanic Gardens for a picnic lunch and a few hours of quiet in the gardens.

The Botanic Gardens aren’t huge however they are full of brilliant coloured blooms in Spring, some of which I had seen before such as Rhododendrons. The sun was shining and local students appeared to be making the most of the warmth, lying on the grass studying or just ‘hanging out’. As a small group we scattered quickly after lunch, each of us going our own way and doing whatever we wanted. I chose not to sit and draw, and instead kept my camera at the ready because there were so many flowers to see and paths to explore. A couple of ducks caught my attention at one stage, the female splashing around in the water while the male seemed more content to strut around the pond. A heron also became the focus of my attention, I stalked him/her all around one pond trying to capture them in flight however I didn’t not have a fast enough shutter speed and most of the action shots are fuzzy. Big fat bumblebees are always a delight to see although the most amusing creatures in the gardens were not alive, they were carvings and sculptures dotted among the trees. The red squirrel sculpture was as close as I got to this endangered creature, I didn’t even see the more common grey squirrel during my time in Scotland.

As I wandered around the gardens I ran into several of my fellow travelling artists, most of them thoroughly enjoying the peaceful surrounds and the opportunity to draw something other than a church or castle. Hopefully the many photographs I took will serve a inspiration for my artwork in the future. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my walk through the garden.

 

Really random photos from my iPhone

Blogging and photography, sadly time for doing either has been minimal of late however I’ve always got my iphone with me so here is a collection of random shots that I’ve taken of late. Of course, doggies feature quite heavily.

Enjoy!

Homeward bound

The passing of a close family friend called me home this past week. Our family has known Eric and his family for almost forty years, having met them when our family moved to a small country town when I was about six years old. Eric was heavily involved in a variety of community activities and events, including the local football club and the billy cart derby (reincarnated in recent years as the Billycart Classic) and he was a popular, well known character throughout the area. One of my first paying jobs was washing old wine bottles for Eric’s ‘Murrumbidgee Wines’ business, the water in the barrels was always cold and up to our armpits, the smell of bleach filled our nostrils and even worse was the smell of old, wine and mould. Just when we thought that we had finished washing and rinsing bottles Eric would alert us to another pallet of bottles behind the shed.

As a teen I knew I wouldn’t stay in the one place forever, even though my childhood afforded me the freedom to explore the countryside on horseback and on foot without a care in the world. The desire to go to university took me away from home, returning for long weekends and semester breaks. There were always a few constants when returning home, my family, the starry skies, the local swimming hole and friends such as Eric, his wife and daughters. Eric’s daughters are still among my closest friends, our paths don’t always cross frequently yet when we meet it is as though we have never been apart and there is always lots of laughter when we recall our childhood and the antics of our families. Every Christmas morning we would gather in Eric’s garage and driveway for a breakfast feast to rival the best hotels, fresh summer fruits, bacon, eggs and hash browns all washed down with champagne and a dose of story telling from the night before.

At such a sad time it can be hard to remember all the good moments shared, and there were plenty. Each morning I was home I wandered an old familiar path for my morning walk and remembered the good and the funny things about Eric, and was thankful for growing up in a small country town.

Rest in peace Eric, thank you for the wonderful memories and for giving me two beautiful friends x

One of these things is not like the others…

On a memory card filled with photos of birds I discovered a forgotten image, captured from within the boundaries of our yard. As you can see it is the odd one out.

Baby Lace Monitor - Goanna
Baby Lace Monitor – Goanna
Geese at the lake
Geese keeping a watchful eye on visitors to the lake
Black Swan and duck
Black Swan and duck
Duck
I call him Donald
Black swan
Majestic and friendly Black Swan
A sunset swim for a local flock of geese
A sunset swim for a local flock of geese
Black and white Magpie Geese
Black and white Magpie Geese

Random photos off my phone

My Mum always said that I take photos of anything and everything…she knows me so well.

 

Spring time photo walks

As many of you know, it is spring here in Australia and after a reasonably mild winter (for the most part) we are experiencing a sunny and warm start to spring with an extremely long and hot summer predicted. It has been several years since we experienced a ‘real’ summer on the Queensland coast, it has rained extensively each summer since the drought broke at the end of 2007 and everyone I know is keen to hit the beach and spend more time in the sun this year.

Although I am always dreaming of and planning our next holiday, at the moment I have to be satisfied with exploring our local region and experiencing life as a South East Queenslander. Lately our neighbours may have started wondering were I was going with Bundy and my camera in tow as I toddled off down the street, they’re used to seeing me walking our dogs however many probably don’t think that there is anything of great interest to photograph on our walks. They couldn’t be more wrong, spring is an excellent time to walk around local parks and recently we’ve had the pleasure of hearing and seeing a Koala in the bush next door to our house, as you can imagine, the camera was soon in hand.

Time to stop waffling and share my neighbourhood with you, I hope you enjoy the walk and if you’re sick of seeing photos of birds and flowers then look away 🙂

 

A walk in the park

We live in a really good area for dog walkers, there are several good spots for walking depending on whether you prefer hills, footpaths, parks, or a peaceful alongside a body of water. The beach is great and our dogs love running in the sand and cooling off in the water but it is not possible to go every day so we stay local for the most part.

I usually take my iphone and listen to travel podcasts as I am walking, the camera is a handy feature even though the quality isn’t great. Our two black dogs are complete opposites when it comes to taking photos, Maxi can spot a camera from a mile away and will turn her head in disgust whereas Bundy is happy to sit and pose.

Bundy isn’t keen on swimming but he likes to wade…

Dog wading through water
Cooling his heels

…and roll in smelly dead things

Stinky dead fish skeleton
This will make me smell nice

Just sitting by the waters edge with Mum is also good.

Dog admiring the view of the lake
Relaxing and enjoying the view

Plenty of birdlife around, they live quite peacefully for the most part in an area where dogs can’t roam free.

Two ducks by the water
Donald and Daisy duck?
Proud dog sitting by water
Is this my best side Mum?