Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Australian Hallowe'en

Or more pumpkins and some skulls

The pumpkins just didn't stop at Jimbour. And they seemed to pose just perfectly for as many $5 poster shots as I could muster.

Almost as numerous as the pumpkins were the bones of long dead cattle.

Most especially the skulls.

Old wagon wheels also seemed to vie for supremacy. But in this instance, for me, I don't think these old spokes quite trumped the sight of that leg bone in the foreground.

The old stables had displays inside telling of the history of the property.

This building was the original homestead, and was once a two story structure, but was forcibly remodelled after a fire. (More shades of The White Earth). Then, if I recall correctly, it became the accommodation for the property's workers. You can't really see it in this picture, but the blue stone from which it was built is quite beautiful.

Here's a closer look at the stone, along with a plaque that tells you of the transfers of ownership at Jimbour:

The newer homestead has itself undergone some extensive renovations, which are still in progress. This is the back of the house. That balcony doesn't look particularly safe to walk on.

The house will be even more impressive when it's fully restored. It's still a private residence, just as the property is still a working property, even if the focus is now on wine production, so there probably won't be much opportunity to do a tour of the interior for quite some time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Garden Retreat

As noted in the last post, there was a fairly impressive herb and vegetable garden at Jimbour, which visitors were encouraged to wander through.

Just flicking through the photos I took, I can see that I don't really have one that takes it in as a whole. This is probably the best I can do, looking back towards the big house:

In spite of the overcast skies, it's obviously still pretty dry in the area. Perhaps the best marker of that is the fairly slim looking bottle tree at the centre of the garden. Here's a closer look:

They tend to get fatter when there's more water to hold in their trunks. Although, maybe it's just a younger tree, since this one, below, which was along the path to the big house, seems to be holding it's shape quite comfortably.

But back to the centre-piece of the enclosed garden. I couldn't resist taking these $5 poster shots of the pumpkins that formed the boundary of the centre-piece.

Brace yourself for even more pumpkins a bit further on. Pumpkin soup was a key feature of the kitchen menu, so it was rather nice to see they were using the local produce.

I think I would characterise these next couple of shots as a bit Sidney Nolan in the sense of looking for figures to put in the landscape. (Did you groan out loud at that? I'm still a bit flushed from going to see Sidney Nolan: A New Retrospective at the Art Gallery yesterday. I hope you'll forgive such a clunky attempt to work that in. More on Sidney Nolan another day. Back to Jimbour).

It seems the garden wasn't so much of a retreat from death in a bygone era as I had anticipated. Still, these photos give you some more sense of the scale of the garden. Beyond the garden there were various stables and old buildings, as well as an aeroplane hanger, because there's a landing strip at Jimbour too.

Perhaps I didn't need to locate figures in the landscape as much as I thought. I think the sight of these vegetable growing is intrinsically of interest:

Don't these vegetables just make your heart glad?

I confess to experiencing beetroot envy when I saw these:

I think this post might be getting a bit long, especially with all the photos. It looks like the tour of the out buildings and even more pumpkins will have to comprise another post. Meanwhile, let me leave all the poultry lovers out there with this lovely vision, tucked away on the outskirts of the garden, which clearly they're not allowed to maraud:

Next: An Australian Hallowe'en

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Haunted Housekeeping

It's been three months since I promised to post photos about the trip back from the Bunya Mountains. The moment may well have passed, and it isn't as if those posts I've linked to elicited any kind of discernible reaction, but since it was such a lovely trip back, via the Jimbour Estate Winery, and I'm not one to waste a mobile phone photo, well I've decided to make a record of it here for myself. (Sometimes I wonder what will happen if Blogger ever goes belly up; they will take these years of my life with them).

Upon arriving at the Jimbour Estate, this is the first building we encountered. I think it's a converted mill tower, but I can't really remember. Anyway, this is where we tasted some wines, and where the kitchen was, from which we ordered lunch.

As we walked down a tree-lined path towards the main house there was this church. I did take some photos inside but it was fairly non-descript in a strictly Protestant way.

This sign pays homage to Ludwig Leichhardt for whom Jimbour Station served as the last outpost of civilisation before he went off on one of his explorations. I thought of Voss when I saw this sign, but I'm not sure if it was actually the point of Leichhardt's last hurrah.

Here is the Jimbour Station house. I have to credit one of my friends for making me think of The White Earth, which we read at bookclub. After the thoughts about Voss, the thoughts about decrepit, crumbling station house of The White Earth, which was set in this area, just made everything seem creepier, or rather just unbearably sad and haunted.

Next to come into view was this magnificent pool. Another of my travelling companions informed me that this was the pool from the mini-series, Return to Eden, starring Wendy Hughes and James Reyne. I remember watching it as an early teenager, so that just added crocodile attacks to the haunted atmosphere.

And as if that wasn't enough to make us all jumpy, then the information that back in the station's heyday they used the bottle trees for target practise ensured a quick retreat to the expansive vegetable garden nearby.

Next: Garden Retreat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gelexy ooff Impteeness. Bork!

There I was, using my time constructively, following assorted links about my friends activities on my Facbook feed, when I was led to this site: The Dialectizer.

The Dialectizer will translate any words, even entire web pages, into a range of English dialects attributed to various down-trodden, maligned, and animated characters.

I've run the blurb of this blog, the Dostoevsky quote above, through the Dialectizer. If you're reading on a feedreader, it reads thus: '...what can one do, if the only straightforward task of every intelligent man is pointless chattering, the deliberate pouring out of emptiness'.

For your edification, and because the pouring out of emptiness should be available to all classes, puppets, and ten year olds:

Red Neck: whut kin one does, eff'n th' only straightfo'ward tax of ev'ry intellyjunt man is pointless chatterin', th' deliberate pourin' outta emppiness.

Jive: whut kin one do, if de only straightfo'ward tax' uh every intelligent joker is pointless chatterin', de deliberate pourin' out uh emptiness.

Cockney: wot can one do, if the only straightforward task of evry intelligent man is pointless chatterin', the deliberate pourin' out of emptiness.

Elmer Fudd: what can one do, if the onwy stwaightfowwawd task of evewy intewwigent man is pointwess chattewing, the dewibewate pouwing out of emptiness.

Swedish Chep (Bork): vhet cun oone-a du, iff zee oonly streeeghtffurverd tesk ooff ifery intelleegent mun is pueentless chettereeng, zee deleeberete-a puooreeng oooot ooff impteeness.

Moron: what can one do, if de on straitef'erd task of ebehy intelligent man is poitless chattehigg, the, uhhh, delibehate pourigg out of emptiness.

Pig Latin: atwhay ancay oneyay oday, ifyay ethay onlyyay aightforwardstray asktay ofyay everyyay intelligentyay anmay isyay ointlesspay atteringchay, ethay eliberateday ouringpay outyay ofyay emptinessyay.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Take A Picture

Amber has asked everyone to take picture of themselves right now.

She's attached these rules:

Take a picture of yourself right now
Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair
Just take the picture
Post the picture with no editing
Post these instructions with your picture

Now if Amber told me to jump off a cliff, you should know that I wouldn't. But I'm feeling a bit suggestible right now. And I have a lap top with a camera:

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Get yourself over to Progressive Dinner Party for some spamalicious haute cuisine.

SPAM® Musubi

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I have just written this sentence:
In these analyses Brunsdon emphasises the character trait of ‘responsibility’, maintaining that in view of the extensive agenda of social reform enacted by the Conservative government, the questions, ‘Who can police?’ and ‘Who is accountable?’ assumed considerable importance in greater British society and, subsequently, in its stories, including crime-based television drama.
And it occurs to me, in the context of the larger piece I am writing, that I don't know how it fits.

My brain feels like it's chewing air.

I need a break.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fun and Exercise

The big news in my life this past week arises from the purchase of a Wii Fit and the necessary accompaniment, the Wii Console.

Between this and the new television I have almost thoroughly plundered my tax refund and so sealed the fate on any overseas travel plans that I had for a couple of months time. The truth is, I was finding the prospect of coming back to a completely empty bank account and the end of semester drop in income all a bit stressful anyway. This way I'll be able to stay at home in a more comfortably feathered nest while I take advantage of the extra time at my disposal and toil away at my thesis.

While I've been wishing for a new TV for quite a while now, the Wii package was a bit of an impulse purchase following a blood test and subsequent phone call from my doctor.

First of all I learned I needed to top up my thyroid medication. It's a strange kind of relief to get this direction, because it means that any slumpiness I've been feeling is not on account of any fault with myself in the sense of my personal attitude towards things, it's because my thyroxine levels are low. Or at least that's how I'll excuse any lack of motivation or low mood on my part.

The next piece of news was not unexpected either. I've had blood tests before that have revealed elevated cholesterol levels. It's a familial thing, although the only heart problems that I'm aware of in my family's history have been suffered by post-menopausal women. Either way, it's still not a good state of affairs for me personally and so I will embark on the doctor's advice, as I do every time, with a renewed sense of determination, as I also do every time, to keep up with the ingestion of fish oil and psyllium husks. This time I have actually gone out and bought one of those margarines that help lower cholesterol absorption. I haven't done this previously because I tend not to use butter or margarine as a spread; I go without, and any cooking is done with olive or canola oil, peanut oil or, yes, butter. Although I so rarely cook with butter--less than once a fortnight--that I figured it would have little effect. But obviously I'm getting the bad version of cholesterol from somewhere so anything that will help reduce its absorption must be embraced.

The other major factor in elevated cholesterol is, of course, the dreaded exercise. This is something my doctor also asks me about every time I see her. As with the dietary advice, I try and commit to doing more, but aside from a three year period in my mid-twenties, I've never been a natural athlete or exerciser. Courtesy of high-school PE classes I've always associated exercise with bullying, abject humiliation, and acute embarrassment. (If there's an obesity epidemic, then it's not just the purveyors of fast food who need to step up and take responsibility. Every PE teacher who's ever cultivated a fascist class environment is just as culpable).

Anyway, this is where the Wii Fit enters the equation. I saw it advertised and I can't tell you the intense feeling of relief that came over me. I almost feel tears thinking about it. Here was an opportunity to exercise without being harassed by men leaning out of cars while I walked up a hill near where I live. Here was an opportunity to exercise without being scolded for my lack of co-ordination. I wouldn't have to go out, or be pressured into gym memberships with direct deposit payment plans. I could exercise whatever the weather and wear the least flattering of clothes.

I've been using the Wii Fit for four days now. I did the intial body tests and received the bad, although, again, not unexpected, news. I've set goals, guided by the eminently sensible advice offered by the Wii Fit. I've exercised between 30 - 45 minutes every day, and that's not counting the time I've spent bowling, boxing, and playing tennis on the Wii Sport application that came with the Wii Console.

I've learned I'm not so bad at the Wii versions of bowling and boxing. Although I'm not so bad at bowling in real life either. I'm enjoying the tennis; I'm glad it's getting a little more difficult as I progress.

But back to the Wii Fit proper. I think what is so good about it is the emphasis it places on posture and core body strength as a mark of athleticism. It measures that according to your ability to maintain and control shifts in your balance in the various activities on offer. In this vein, I've been skiing and ski jumping and tightrope walking. A few times I've faltered and my Mii--the avatar you create of yourself--tumbled down a hill gathering snow in a tangle of skis and limbs. Twice I fell off the tight-rope while the watching crowd commiserated. While trying to hit a soccer ball with my head, I've been smacked in the face by stray football shoes more times than I care to recall.

There are muscle and yoga workouts too. From the muscle workouts I've learned I have pretty good deep muscle strength. It's encouraging to learn that. No-one's ever made that observation before. I've done meditation before and been told I'm a good breather (what a relief :-P), and that was confirmed by the yoga exercises. The beauty of the yoga program is that the Wii board senses the shifts in your balance, so can offer you advice on maintaining the proper posture in your poses. Very handily, throughout all of the exercises the Wii tracks your balance and allows you to correct yourself by making sure the tracker is always in the blue or yellow areas which are indicated on the screen.

Finally, the aerobic activities have also proved fun and beneficial too. I'm still trying to work out the running. I'm supposed to run at 60% capacity without overtaking the Mii in front of me. I can't quite figure out how to do that, I'm only managing 44% capacity at the moment. It's something to do with consistency of pace.

I'm glad I've just managed to unlock a boxing training game. I'm not sure why I like boxing so much, obviously it's something to do with my knockout success in the Wii Sports version, plus there's almost certainly a head game going on with it too.

I've had moderate success with the step programs. I really am not in possession of much in the way of rhythm. Something to work on.

That said, you should know that I am the hula-hoop queen. It's the one thing I've scored full marks for so far. Not saying I could keep a real one in motion for three minutes straight, but in the realm of Wii, I can maintain six in orbit while catching another two.

While I don't really want this blog to be a tool for the promotion of any product, Wii Fit has transformed my attitude towards daily exercise. For that alone it has been a revelation and, indeed, a revolution. It has more potential to improve my health than any other exercise activity I've tried; it has certainly been more effective and encouraging than any human purveyor of physical activity I've ever encountered.