Packing for Turkey

Undies, socks, shirts, better check the list. Getting organised for our trip to Istanbul this Sunday. Three and a half weeks, including a week of walks, some ballooning over Capadoccia, wandering through Ephesus and back to Istanbul.

Sunday morning in Castlemaine

Molly, our granddog, stayed overnight so it was up early, getting dragged up the hill through Kalimna Park, and back along Castlemaine streets to home, our duty done for the day. After toast, poached eggs from our three Isa Brown chooks, cofffee and reading The Sunday Age we walked down the hill to Farmers’ Market in Victory Gardens. There were heaps of people walking the streets and sitting at tables on the footpaths outside cafes enjoying their coffees, which led me to think back to the early eighties when the streets would be empty of a Sunday morning. Just goes to show what treechangers and tourism can do.

Saturday morning reading

I’m enjoying the ritual of Saturday morning reading The Weekend Age and The Weekend Australian after breakfast of fresh squeezed juice, orange, grapefruit, apple, Ginger and carrot. Then poached eggs from Pat’s chooks, tomatoes from the garden on toast made with Pat’s bread and coffee from the expresso machine. Pretty lucky man really.

Just reading a review of Colin Thurbon’s latest book: To a Mountain In Tibet. He writes about the journey in the classic form of a double helix: an outer and an inner journey intertwined. Reminds me of Peter Mattieson’s The Snow Leopard. A quote:
‘We are entering the mountain as if following a jagged knife thrust.”

Listening to audio books

Since I have been out of action because of a crook back, I have been spending time on my back listening to audio books.

There are lots of free downloadable books read by volunteers but nothing beats a book read by an actor. It must be the timing, pausing and ability to change voice.

One problem is that I fall asleep and have to find out where it was when sleep overtook me.

A Grand New Year’s Eve in Ennis


Our Irish-American friends, Angela and Gerry, invited us to spend the night at the Grand Hotel in Ennis with some of Gerry’s relatives and partners. As we entered the room a complementary glass of champagne was handed out. A few in the group don’t like champagne so Pat ended up with four glass lined up in front of her. Did she drink all?


After the champagne it was down to the business of eating, talking and drinking. Then out came the band. I expected traditional Irish music and instead it was ‘The Ring of Fire’ and “love¬¨‚ĆMe Do’ the three piece group played. However at midnight they¬¨‚Ćlaunched into¬¨‚Ćthe Seige of Ennis which we remembered from Irish balls in Melbourne in the early 1970’s. One young girl asked what you do and the fiddle player replied, “When¬¨‚ĆI say ‘go’, just go.” There should have¬¨‚Ć been more of the traditional dances.

I was into the swing of things when one of the young blokes dancing waved me into his group and off we went. Three brothers from Kildare and their girlfriends were enjoying the night in Ennis.

Kids from Kildare

Michelle, Lee, Anthony, Angela, Nora with Rob in front.

New York without goldfish

My cases are packed ready for me to leave for New York tomorrow. The crucial items – Christmas cake, preserved lemon pickles and kasoundi ,all made by Pat, are packed, yet I have a nagging feeling that I’ve forgotten something. Oh well, as long as I have my ticket, passport and credit cards I should be okay.

Of course I leave the goldfish for Zack to feed and the garden for him to water. I’ll give the pots a water before I leave today and hope the drought and heat abates.¬¨‚Ć I now see five huge bloody cockatoos in the fig and plum trees but it’s too late to put netting over the trees. Just leave and hope all survive.

Pat’s been in New York for three weeks working in a school coaching teachers in using guided reading while I’ve been holding the fort. Three weeks of holiday in New York sounds good to me.

Finished the job application

This morning I coached Bree Taylor at Castlemaine Primary School in using quickwrites and dictogloss to improve kids writing and this evening I finished writing a job application, which was a drag. I can teach kids to write and enjoy writing but when the pressure is on for me it’s a different story. then again you can’t exactly get enthused at having to write to fill selection criteria, which often seems wanky. this form of writing never seems to get easier.

Cults primary and the flaneur


Yesterday I visited Cults Primary School, situated in the heart of the affluent area of Aberdeen. The reason for the visit was to talk about the school’s eco-school status, specifically the wind turbine constructed as a result of an idea from students. The size of the grounds amazed me – on three sides there are trees, lawn, play areas,¬¨‚Ć a huge sports ground and on the fourth boundary is a woodland.

¬¨‚ĆIt’s funny being on your own after spending 10 days with friends, Steves Carroll and tobias, talking, working, walking, talking,¬¨‚Ćexploring, eating, drinking, talking. I’m being creative:

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.
–Rollo May

 One of the words I introduced the boys to is flaneur to wander the streets. They latched onto this and we flaneured Aberdeen, Inverness, and Edinburgh.


The term “Fl?¬¢neur” comes from the French verb fl?¬¢ner, which means “to stroll”. A fl?¬¢neur is thus a person who walks the city in order to experience it. Because of the term’s usage and theorization by Charles Baudelaire and numerous thinkers in economic, cultural, literary and historical fields, the idea of the fl?¬¢neur has accumulated significant meaning as a referent for understanding urban phenomena and modernity.¬¨‚Ƭ¨‚Ć

This afternoon it’s return home to Australia. Twentytwo hours in the air with more in airports which I don’t mind as long as I have a book I’m happy.