Recently I turned my life on its head and left the comfort zone of home town, family and friends in Wellington (NZ), to start a new chapter in Western Australia. As I adjust to my new surroundings, I find myself thinking in the shape of stories and letters home. Feel free to take a seat and read on..

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bee lines

It could be said about me that I have a tendency to obsessiveness. My latest obsession has been the pursuit of a "cool" photo of a bee amongst lavender.  I walk past a house daily which sports flourishing lavender bushes on each side of the path to the front door, and currently they are hosting large numbers of bees.  Which is how this particular obsession started.  Since it's virtually impossible to catch a bee being still for more than a millisecond, three things are required here: patience; persistence; and a hot trigger finger.  Actually a fourth and quite important thing would be a better working knowledge of one's camera, but that's a work in progress.
I did remark to my beloved the other day that if our street was busier I might have caused some comment, as I have been leaning over this particular fence earnestly tracking busy little bodies on a regular basis lately.  Maybe I should have knocked on the door and introduced myself, but I think it might be too late now. Yesterday, while I was "just taking one more" I realised that the soft click I could hear was not my camera but the sound of the front door being quietly locked.  Oh dear.  Time to find a new obsession before I get arrested perhaps.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The $130, two magazines and a kilo and a half of beetroot hair cut

Tonight we had roasted beetroot for dinner. 
The reason for this is I needed cash for my haircut.  
The reason for needing cash for my haircut is the vast number of businesses here that don't accept any other form of payment. (Even in the heart of the city, in order to buy your lunch you will quite likely need cash - one assumes the reason for this has something to do with bank charges).
So this morning I went to get the bus to go into Fremantle, to get the cash out. The reason I needed to go into Fremantle is that in our little shopping centre there are no ATMs. I didn't make it to town.  The reason for this is the bus was early.. for a change.  I watched it fly by me as I was still mounting the kerb on the other side of the road. 
Instead of sitting at the bus stop for another 20 minutes I walked up the road, got a coffee, and went home. I decided to leave for my haircut a little bit early, go and buy something at one of the local shops, and get cash out that way. 
Which I did. I bought two magazines at the local newsagent. The reason for this is that one magazine cost less than $10.00 and most businesses have a $10 minimum eftpos. Then I went to the local supermarket to buy something else. The reason for this is that the newsagent would only give me $100 cash and I needed $200 (some for the haircut, the rest for yoga and coffees).  I roamed around the supermarket looking for something I actually wanted, and that would give me the $10 minimum purchase without too much mucking around. Beetroot is heavy, and at $6.99 a kilo quick to get a $10.00 bag full.
I didn't make it to yoga. The reason for this is I drank half a bottle of wine while peeling the beetroot and recovering from my "busy day".
Just another couple of weeks to go until Sunday trading starts.

Monday, July 16, 2012

You are Here

The process of packing up to move to another country was all sorts of things:  challenging, liberating, irritating, frustrating, heart breaking, terrifying, exciting, confronting, and so on..  
I had lived pretty much my entire life in my home town, and while I had moved house many (many!) times, had never really got to grips with the concept of off loading stuff. After all I had a van and could carry it all, and secondly, more often that not I would reach that stage of "screw it I'll sort it out at the other end". Many times I paid someone to carry a bunch of stuff I didn't really need but couldn't face dealing with. Perhaps I should have changed countries sooner.  
It took weeks. I sold some stuff, gave other stuff away, threw more stuff out.. and more than once told the engineer "sometime in the future when you ask me 'what happened to the thingummy stuff?' I am not going to tell you - so don't ask".  (He was already in the new country - I got the I'll-follow-when-the-stuff-is-sorted end of the bargain).
Eventually I whittled everything down to two suitcases that were going with me, and a few boxes of I-really-want-to-keep-it-but-it-can-stay-here-for-now stuff.  Which, of course, then had to be stored in a wardrobe at my mother's house, because that is what children do. 
Subsequent trips home have seen me sifting and sorting through the boxes, working out what to take this time and what to leave for next time..  and yes, each time some of it got pushed back into the wardrobe for later (sorry Mum!)
Last time I brought back, wrapped up in my clothes: six glass dishes - a birthday present from my mother; six enamel dishes that belonged to my grandmother; some silver forks from my aunt; some coffee spoons from my godmother; a couple more recipe books that survived the grand cull; a little wooden bowl hand turned by my sister.. to mention a few.
And this: a painting by my very talented youngest brother.  You might be forgiven for thinking it was something we bought since coming to Western Australia, but this was painted in Wellington, New Zealand. 
It's called "You are here".  Yes, James. I am here.  And I have little pieces of all of you with me.

You are Here, by James Harcourt
(To see more of James Harcourt's art work click here)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Flame Trees on a Winter Afternoon

Winter's grip has left the trees in the park over the road bereft of foliage, in perfect time to highlight the blaze of colour from the flame trees which are flowering copiously; and proving to be a magnetic drawcard for some of the local birds - not to mention amateur photographers..
Red Wattle Bird
Rainbow Lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeet doing Chameleon Impersonation

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Heart Sing - Part Seven, "Misc"

Misc:  some food, some more people, some signs...

Wonder what they're saying..
Excited to find my handiwork on the supermarket shelf in
Tanglin Market, Singapore (Chesdale slices packaging)
First photograph -
Then eat. 
Love the skinny latte sign
Please, don't be..
Aww.. cute
Hamper for handbags to rest in while we lunch
Sshh..  don't wake the bags
This girl will go far..
Reflection in fridge
Salted Egg Crab - Sensational
Raffles Classic Martini 
Chicken Hor Fun..
Which I inhaled through my t-shirt
Follow the queue
Roast Duck Rice & Dumplings ($6.00 dinner!)
The one that got away
That explains the queue
Yep, photographing the food
Chocolate-y goodness
I see you :)

I Heart Sing- Part Six; The Class

The purpose of my trip was to assist Denise Vivaldo with her Food Styling & Photography Portfolio WorkshopLA-based Denise has a wealth of experience and knowledge which she loves to share, and as an added bonus she is very, very funny. 
I spent a couple of days before and after the workshop hanging out with her, Heather Gill and Jazreel Chan and we had a great time shopping and preparing for the class, eating local food, and sight-seeing. It pays not to be hungry when you play with photographers and food stylists; every meal we ordered had to be comprehensively examined, tweaked and then photographed before we could eat!
Day One of the workshop was centred around Denise's professional styling techniques; and Day Two, Heather imparted pearls of wisdom on digital photography while students completed individual projects for their portfolios. 
First, get a lot of stuff together
Denise discovers the chicken comes with unexpected "extras"
They don't do heads and feet in America!
Seriously Denise, the chicken's a goner - CPR won't help now!
Poultry Equivalent of Hair & Makeup
It's a time thing
To Paint, or Not to Paint?
Et Voila 
Dewi piping
Perfect sprinkles
Waiting for their close up
Playing with Baby Bok Choy
Prawns one way
Same prawns, different way
Feeling far from home
Serena & Tiffany talk jelly
Jasmine jamming
Denise, Shaun, Fiona, Heather..  "root beer float"
Jasmine & Pat in conference
Double trouble - Jazreel & Heather
Birthday Girls
Rapt attention
And we're all done!