Sunday, February 28, 2010

A True Blue View

                                        Brenda Bryant


Sunday morning in Australia; the starting of the day
And I see this charming picture as I look across the way.
I'm standing on my balcony and the world seems blue and white,
Lit with all the clarity of Australia's brilliant light.
It's just a modest cottage, 'done-up' with a lick of paint,
But the colour-scheme is charming and the whole effect is quaint.
I gaze at it across the street and wish that it were mine,
But it's so very delightful that I'd have to stand in line!
Add the glory of frangipani underneath a summer sky
And, when I say 'I love Newcastle', you won't wonder why.




The monochrome deceives our eyes,
Hiding the blue of our seas and skies.
But there's another deception here,
Though, at first it might not be quite so clear.
See the coal-ships way off-shore;
We know what they are waiting for.
They will be our trade solution,
Exporting ship-loads of black pollution.
Sending coal to other races,
Other countries, other places,
Clouding their skies with dust and dirt,
While we remain blue and quite unhurt.
We deceive ourselves every time we feel
That pollution is a bit unreal!
Look at our sky! Look at our air!
'Pollution?' we say 'Oh, over there!'

Another 'take' on the same subject here:

Generation Gap

The words in blue are from Elizabeth Peters
'Falcon at the Portals'


What is it you find so amusing, dear?
I'm proud of these new shoes!
You say they're not the sort of thing
That you would ever choose!
Well, I must say that I hope not,
Since you are seventy-three!
But let me tell you they feel just right
On an up-to-date chick like me!
Do you remember Doc Martin's,
How they were once the rage?
Now this is the very latest style
For girls about my age.
My ankles are in danger?
I'll twist one, you're convinced?
Look at the high heels you once wore!
Look at the way you minced!
You ask what the big red bobbles
Are doing at the front!
You say they have no earthly use
And they are just a stunt!
Excuse me! They're high fashion!
You haven't got a clue!
My friends all say they're fabulous!
We like anything that's new.
No! They didn't run out of leather
When they left that sort of hole
Right in the middle of my instep!
It's just that type of sole!
Granny! You just don't understand!
You in your ghastly flatties!
A bit of velcro to strap you in!
What a fashion-statement that is!
Come on, Gran, let's face it!
You're Winter; I am Spring!
You may find me amusing
But this is the latest thing!

Another shoe-fashion here:


                                  Brenda Bryant


A ballerina in the footlights, with tutu pinkly flared!
She has just made her entrance! She is a little scared.
A shadow is her scenery, painted on pristine white,
As she stands there, a little breathless, blinking in the light.
A very different dance here:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunday Diary

February 28th

I found the news about the breaking-off of the iceberg in the Antarctic the most worrying thing this week. They say the effect wont be felt for decades, so I don't know why I concern myself with it, except that I don't want 'my little boys' to have to cope with anything nasty! It's the size of Luxembourg! It occurs to me that Australia could tether it and use the beautiful fresh water in it to ease our chronic water shortage, but I suppose that's fanciful!  (I think there might be a poem in that idea!) I was also saddened by the floods in Madeira, as this was a place I often visited when I worked at sea. I remember it as being idyllic.

The Iceberg

Madeira mud floods

My own week started pleasantly with a trip to the Central Coast to see a play. We all met at 'The Doylo' for a meal on the way. (The name 'Doylo' is a typically Australian nick-name; it's really The Doyalson Club' but no-one ever calls it that!) The play was 'Wrong Turn at Lung-fish' which I expected to be a comedy, from the title. It had funny moments but it was really quite deep. I liked it. Imagine my surprise when I read on Google later that it wasn't considered much of a play! So I'm a poor critic! Here we are outside the theatre before we set-off home. (Les, the driver, had gone to get the car).

Outside the Theatre

On Monday we had our Probus meeting and we were given a talk by a University professor on play-writing. It was rather a high-flown lecture at first, but, after he cast aside his notes it was informative and entertaining. He said something regarding writing which I'm only just taking on board. 'Write for yourself'. In other words don't worry about an audience; just have fun. In the afternoon we had our choir practice. We're learning 'Hallelujah' with harmony but our Choir Mistress is rather straight-laced and she has written new lyrics for it! It's great to sing, anyway.
On Wednesday Malcolm drove me over to the Lake Macquarie suburb of Toronto (!) to read poems. It was a fantastic audience and, for the first time, I sold-out of my poetry books! I went home quite elated. Only to have my day dashed during the afternoon, when I expected five people for a rehearsal and only two turned up! Never mind, the little boys came over later on. As soon as they arrive they ask for Shaun the Sheep! It's Malcolm's favourite show too so he doesn't mind showing it to them.

Sharing a chair.

Shaun the Sheep.

Thursday was my day with Rebecca and Max. Rebecca had organised some painting for him and, as you can see, he loved it.
Work of art in progress.
We then went to the park and the lake, where Max enjoyed throwing rocks into the water, and we bought Brian a birthday cake on the way home. (And I've just realised I didn't put a birthday greeting on my blog! Not that that will worry him in the least!) Here's a belated greeting Brian!
On Thursday evening I invited a few members of the melodrama group round to watch a video of last year's show. Here's a shot.
Here are Pam and Loretta arguing.
On Friday we had a read-through of this year's play 'The Red Barn' but that had its disappointing aspects. The reading was fine, but I discovered that most of the cast will be away when we have 'Xmas in July' shows later on in the year. So I had to ring the Clubs and cancel. A group is going to the Blue Mountains for a Winter Break. I had decided not to go because we were there only last year and we didn't have a great time. Because of the absences I spent the evening rewriting one of the plays for a reduced cast. Unfortunately (or fortunately, really) Rebecca and Blake came for the evening. We all went out for a meal and then saw the film 'An Education'. I wasn't greatly impressed though I'd looked forward to it because it was set in 1960s London and it was a true story. Anyway, I burned the midnight oil later and got my re-write completed. Pam Boyd came round for a read of it on Saturday morning and I was quite chuffed at her response.

Michelle's brother is still in a Sydney hospital. He wants to fly back to Hong Kong at the end of the week, but he still looks ill and no decision has been made about future treatment, as he's no longer suffering symptoms.
Till next week.

A Wine-Dark Sea

                                             Brenda Bryant


Maybe not quite 'My World'; it takes eight hours in a plane
To get to get from here to Perth, way in the West.
We went there on a holiday and we'll go there again,
For the trip was one we count among our best.
Rottnest Island, off the coast, is a place for holidays,
And the picture up above shows you the reason.
It's a lovely rocky outcrop full of crags and glorious bays
Perfect for fishing, never mind the season.
And the colour of the water almost took my breath away;
There was almost every shade of blue and green.
That's why I'm planning to repeat that delightful holiday,
And to savour, once again, this lovely scene.

More about Rottnest Island here:

Lace Curtain



Spiders weave a lace curtain.
The reflection becomes obscured, mysterious.
Given time, only the lace will remain.

More creepy-crawlies here:

Vocal Variety



Maxine has got this right at least!
Men haven't got a clue!
When it comes to things to talk about
They're not like me and you!
Sport dominates, that's obvious,
And they like some dirty jokes,
And they may embark on politics
When they're with the other blokes.
But that's about the end of it,
Unless, of course, they're old;
In which case there's a litany
About their latest cold!
Whereas we 'gals' are well-aware
Of why vocal cords were formed!
We're bursting with information
And dying to be informed!
Name a subject, and we'll cover it,
Even though it is obscure!
Philosophy? We'll have a go
Even though we're not too sure......
As for Knitting, Remedies and Wine,
Discipline, and the Tropics,
Films, and Books, and Magazines!
There's no end to the topics!
Not only that but we can chat
About ways of getting Thinner,
Even while we're rustling up
A huge calorific dinner!
It started way back in the caves
When the men were hunting game,
And the women and their children
Started giving things a name.
The men came home and grunted
(Which is what they're doing still)
While the women used their voices
As they organised the kill.
We're descended from those ladies
And the scientists have found
That the conversations of females
Really DO make the world go round.

More on the same topic here:

Suddenly, Silence

  Brenda Bryant



The cacophony of the busy street.
The blare of the traffic.
A glance to the left. Suddenly, silence.

A very different door here:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Long White Cloud?



We sailed across the Tasman to the Land of the Long White Cloud
To view the lush green countryside of which Kiwis are so proud.
Coming from Australia, which is often harsh and dry,
We hoped for a light and fluffy cloud drifting across the sky.
But what should greet our eager eyes but this angry mass of grey 
Threatening to cast a gloomy 'cloud' over our holiday!
What it takes to get there, here:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Blur

                                     Brenda Bryant



No movement of wing, or feather.
Suspended inanimate in the hurtling blue.
Only the blur tells the tale.

A legend of flight here:

Liquid Refreshment



I'm practically teetotal; I don't much care for wine,
But rich liqueurs are something that my palate finds divine.
To sip a tiny globule of fruit admixed with fire,
Is something, after dinner, that I constantly desire.
Almost like a syrup, but packing such a punch
I dare not imbibe too early ...... and never before lunch!
I love to sip and then to savour just the smallest drop,
Hoping it will last for ever and I'll never stop.
Maybe I'm just decadent, but the lady up above
Reminds me of the way I feel when I sip the drink I love.
I've never drunk her potion (never heard of it, in fact).
But I feel I should avoid it for I don't know how I'd act!
But give me Cherry Heering, Cointreau or Curacao
Grand Marnier or Baileys and all I say is 'Wow!'
I imagine that the lady in the orange dress, with yellow,
Is advertising something very sweet and rich and mellow.
It must contain sweet oranges, with lemon in the mix,
Plus something alcoholic to give the drink a fix.
No wonder she looks radiant and full of bonhomie.
If only I could take her place and be so wild and free!

Another view of alcohol here:

Mix 'n Match



When I was in South Africa a couple of years ago,
I visited a Pre-school for a while,
And the sight of all the toddlers in their colourful attire
Was something that soon conjured-up a smile.
Most of them wore hand-me-downs, donated by kind people,
But all of them were neat and smartly dressed.
And their manners and behaviour were impeccable as well.
To put it briefly, I was most impressed.
I had lived in South Africa during Apartheid days,
When a gulf was yawning in between the races,
And a European woman would not have been allowed
To visit many purely African places.
So this was most refreshing! Toddlers who'd grow up
Without the dreadful barriers of the past.
I left with a sense of optimism, for I truly felt
That equality was on the way at last.

A sadder view of Africa here:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Copyright, Monsieur?

                                                Brenda Bryant


Claude Monet, eat your heart out! I've found lilies of my own!
Alright! I know this snapshot is nothing like a clone!
It lacks a certain something; I think it's called a soul!
But I didn't have to dab and brush and go through that rigmarole!
I simply clicked a button, and there was my work of art!
And if you squint your eyes a bit you can't tell us apart!
Also I offer a bonus! A reflection of a tree!
We're certainly artistic! Claude Monet and me!
Another painting commentary here:

Jutting Jewel



There's something exotic about a pool that's set in the sea like this.
'The wine-dark sea' plus the turquoise pool; add them together! Bliss!
This is Sydney, the Icebergs' Pool, known for winter cavorting;
Where brave souls risk the August chill to prove that they're tough and sporting.
As for me, I like to watch, although I think they're rash.
I'm certain I would shiver if I even felt one splash!

A very different pool here:


(An acrostic)

Features? Eyes, a mouth, a nose.
Also ears, just two of those.
Carbon copies? Not at all!
Each one, round or flat or small,
Seems to be a new creation
Genetics! That's the explanation!

An old one about another face here:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



This municipal edifice in the centre of our city,
I think is quite attractive, and verging on the pretty!
It's right beside the park, as well, which gives it added grace,
And makes Newcastle's environs a very pleasant place.
But I think our rates are calculated in this mock rotunda
And goodness knows 'they' seem to plan to pillage and to plunder!
'Never judge a book by its cover'... that's a phrase we often use
So this building represents the fact that we've got to pay our dues!
Maybe the numerous windows 'keep an eye on us' poor saps;
Definitely part of 'My World' but not the best, perhaps!

Better aspects of Newcastle here:

Little Lady


The very nicest thing of all
Is a nice big bouncy bright red ball,
And when you're two and rather sweet
It makes a very good garden seat!
I've caught you resting from your play.
Any moment now you'll run away.
You'll find a sandpit or a bike.
It's tiring being lady-like!
More modern playthings here:

See tomorrow's log for another Acrostic.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blue Wedding

From our local paper



When I was young the variations
For those important celebrations
Involved 'Will the sleeves be long or short?
Home-made or (daring) will it be bought?'
We always knew it would be white.
Any other colour would not seem right,
For we were all virgins ( I know that's true)!
So only the purist white would do.
The slightest touch of blue or pink
Would make the neighbours nudge and wink!
But times have changed an awful lot!
This local lady is tying the knot!
Her wedding dress is rather brief!
About the size of a handkerchief!
And she certainly isn't wearing white!
No remarks! It's not polite!

Modern but regal here:

Mirror! Mirror!


Mirror, Mirror by the River
Where the ruffled waters quiver,
Aren't you rather oddly based,
In a childrens playground placed?
We view you strangely as we pass;
There isn't even any glass!
We look right through you to the view!
Mirrors are not for looking through!
But little children now arrive!
Suddenly you come alive
As they run from side to side;
Hiding where they cannot hide,
Jumping through you, making faces,
Acting tough with rude grimaces;
Primping, prattling and pretending.
Your uses now are never-ending.
Why! I hear a Snow-White call
'Mirror! Mirror! On the wall!'
Mirrors reveal even more here:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blanket Creep

The words in blue are the opening lines of
Michael Crichton's 'State of Fear'.


In the darkness he touched her arm and said
'Every single night when we go to bed
It's the same old story, blanket-creep!
How am I ever going to get to sleep?
Night after night, it cannot be denied,
You roll over and drag things to your side.
You're curled up there, like a cosy little mole,
While I never seems to have the same control!
Look at me now! My right side's all exposed!
You're snoring and I haven't even dozed!
When first we married I was quite prepared
To tolerate the night-life that we shared.
I'd take the direction of the departing sheet
Moving over, and that was rather sweet.
It often resulted in a little cuddle,
Even though the bed was in a muddle.
But now that we've been married thirty years!
I tell you, dear, it's going to end in tears!
Right here and now I give my final warning.
I'm going home to Mother in the morning!'

Another sleep drama here:




(An Acrostic)

Pyrotechnic aviator, strange immortal bird!
Heat was meant to vanquish you! Maybe you hadn't heard!
Once your mortal days are ending, then you build a nest;
Every part of it is burning, singeing the feathers on your breast.
Now you're rising from your demise to live a thousand years!
Immortality through effort! That's your secret, it appears!
X-ellent and mythic creature! I would revive like you
Over and over from the fire, always beautiful and new!

See tomorrow's blog for imaginative play.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

On Track

Brenda Bryant

We tend to think 'au naturel' is always the way to go,
But take a look at our lovely Lake Macquarie!
When we came here to Australia many years ago
The edges of the lake were sad and sorry.
The Lake was a thing of beauty, as you see it is today,
But mud was a feature, as were noxious weeds;
Till some bright spark suggested a lasting remedy:
'A cycle-track's exactly what it needs!'
So we now see the retaining walls, as far as the eye can see,
Built in a truly sympathetic way,
Following every natural curve, and skirting every tree,
Enhancing every turn and every bay.
We walk along the cycle-track,( I took this photo from it),
The pleasure that it brings makes my heart glad.
Nature's beautiful, I know, but it pays us to remember
That not everything that's man-made is all bad.
A very different and very wonderful walk here:

Sunday Diary


The ladies featured in our local news this week. In the first place we were delighted to receive a medal at the Winter Olympics! As you can imagine, Australia doesn't get much snow, so all aspiring winter athletes have to have enough money to train overseas. Torah Bright is certainly a local heroine!

Torah Bright

Then, we learned that we are to get our first Saint! Mary McKillop has been revered for years by local Catholics and there will certainly be a big shindig in October when the actual canonisation takes place.

Mary McKillop

Finally, we lost an Aboriginal 'icon', Ruby Hunter, a well-known singer, who sang in a strange individual manner, with a very heartfelt style. She died in her fifties. The early deaths of Aborigines is of great concern to Australians, but no amount of intervention seems to improve things.

Ruby Hunter

As to my own life, it continued in its accustomed uneventful but enjoyable style. Harry had to take a 'photo of his family' to school on Monday and I was roped-in to do the honours as we hadn't an up-to-date shot. The first one was rejected because Greg said they all looked too hot! (Well, they were.)

Rejected photo.

The second one was more acceptable, although I think Greg looks grim!


Later in the week Michelle, seen in the photo, had bad news. Her brother David had been flown home from Hong Kong with heart problems and was in hospital in Sydney. She and the rest of her family have been up and down to Sydney to visit him in hospital since then. We're hoping it's not serious.Greg has taken the boys camping this weekend, but Michelle has gone back to Sydney to see her brother.

Also on Monday I went to my Probus Committee meeting and I found myself putting up my hand to be Assistant Secretary in the coming year! I hope the actual Secretary, my friend, Gwenda, remains healthy! We had choir practice in the afternoon. I was berated because I hadn't brought all my music; I can't find it! (Not too good for a future Asst. Sec!!)

On Tuesday we put on another of my melodramas at a local club. We had to slot in a new member, Maria, as one of the actors, as the normal player was unavailable. She did a great job. In the photo, taken when we were eating our very welcome refreshments, we all look somber in black. This is because we all wear black and put on 'costumes' on stage.

Not a wake!
On Tuesday evening we held our Book Group meeting at Pat's home. She and her husband live in a penthouse so it was a very grand venue compared to my little home. We discussed 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. Opinions were divided about the book, but I enjoyed being Leader and asking all the questions!

I ruined this shot by leaving my handbag on the chair!

Wednesday was Scrabble Day. We had an enjoyable afternoon at Shirley's house but I forgot to take my camera! On Thursday I had to go for a Bone Density test which was a non-event, and then I drove over to Becca's to visit her and Little Max (he'll probably be called that when he's fifty!). We stayed in because he had the sniffles. Rebecca showed me the 'dossier' (!) taken from the Web, that she's prepared for their NZ holiday in April. All very efficient! Let's hope all goes to plan! She and Brian are busy dismantling their old bathroom this weekend. They intend to demolish their present house and rebuild, but they've found they can't put up with the old bathroom in the interim, so they've bought one on Ebay and are installing it themselves. Rather them than me!

Till next week,

Crows Remembered




When I was young I had a book,
In which I often used to look.
The pictures, in an olden style,
Would make me cry and make me smile.
I lost the book in War's alarms,
But still I pondered on its charms.
The story was forgotten too,
As old books were replaced by new.
I only knew that there were crows,
Lined up in trees in long dark rows.
And I recall the plaintive cry,
As crows sent mourning  notes on high.
The words that always touched me so?
'There is no joy unmixed with woe.'
Today, the picture up above,
Set me nostalgically thinking of
The book, the pictures and the loss.
What a lovely thing to come across!
For I Googled and at last I saw
The very book I was searching for!
I photographed it from the screen!
It was exactly what I had seen
As a little girl of seven or eight
(I think we'll just ignore the date!).
So I'm reproducing here, below,
The pages that entranced me so!
The story's sad, but as we know,
'There is no joy unmixed with woe'.

Here are a few of the pages from the book.

The Title Page

The crows build their nests.

The chicks hatch out; Mother has a warning.

The farmers fear an infestation of crows.

A Scarecrow is no help at all!

The farmers arm themselves with guns.

The baby birds are slaughtered!

The farmer and his family enjoy Crow Pie!

The parent crows mourn their dead chicks.
Children's literature has changed quite a bit since the 1870s when this book was created, hasn't it!
Incidentally the book was already seventy years old when I was reading it.
 Another childhood memory here:

The Great World

                                             Brenda Bryant


Great big buildings! Grown-up toys!
Quite a thrill for little boys!
Mummy and Dad went to HongKong
And they took Harry and Max along.
Will they remember the thrill of it all,
When buildings shrink and they are tall?

Another Big City here:

Gourmet Jellybeans!


Gourmet Jellybeans? What a hoot!
That's how they advertised them.
But, sure enough, they were full of fruit,
And so we gourmandised them!


Also colourful but better for you here:


c John Wagner
Hallmark Inc.


Maxine never suffers, like the rest of human kind
Wishing she'd responded with a quip.
She never thinks 'I could have told her......' this and this and this.
Maxine never deigns to lose her grip.
'The books on self help?' I'd have said, as I looked around the store,
'You'll find them on that top shelf over there.'
But Maxine finds the pithy words that leave us all dumb-struck;
She's wicked and she doesn't seem to care!
How often do the smart responses come into our minds
Only seconds after we have been polite!
We long to turn the clock back and re-run a little scene,
In order to inject a little spite.
But time, they say, just does not wait for feeble minds to work;
'The moving finger writes' and all that jazz.
How I'd love to be as devilish and witty as Maxine,
And have the savoir faire that Maxine has!

More Maxine here:

To the Happy Couple!


Genevieve and Brad were married. They were, oh, so much in tune,
And they thought it would be novel to have a jungle honeymoon.
They bought themselves the right equipment, dressed themselves in jungle kit,
Headed off to snakes and scorpions, neither of them scared a bit.
Then they came upon a clearing with natives sitting round a fire,
Felt a little insecure then for the scene looked rather dire.
They saw a vat of boiling water, felt they'd like to run and hide.
But the chieftan beckoned to them, said 'We'd like to toast the bride!'
Sure enough, the bride was toasted; so much for doom and gloom.
Till, to round-off the big party
They went and barbecued the groom!

Some more nuptials here: