At Shoal Bay in Port Stephens all over the shore’s edge, there are lots of stinging jellyfish or ‘Blue-Bottles’, as they’re known here.
I think at first ”should I even be jumping in? “
But there it is: Perfect. Still. Waters.
And it seems to beg me to swim in it!
I don’t resist a moment.
I dive in.
Luckily no blue creatures catch my gaze. Instead, a cool immersion pleasantly seeps into me whole on entrance.
I suppose this invigorating float is, in a way, like that of a new convert. Acolytes feeling themselves being dunked into, perhaps, a reborn Mississippi bend in the river.
My Congregation looks on. But they are above, lone Eagles of the Sea. Spiralling up toward heaven.
Or, diving in the sky. Like Man, in pursuit of his Hunt.
Sand is soft under toes. You know in your heart immediately, this sand is clearest white.
You swear: no pool or pristine scented bath, could match it.
This calm, clear, pure whole. Nature’s one fresh breath.
None can eclipse this Light!
Let’s get tactical. I thought it fit to endorse somebody. Why?
In twelve days time, in Port Stephens, locals will fall out of bed, not to nurse a hangover, but to do something less practical: exercise a procedure that feels like, three equally bizarre parts of a charade, a funeral and a tax return.
We got ourselves a local election!
This place – Port Stephens – is so good, you can almost care about council elections. I know, it’s strange in these times to expect much from government, at any of the three-tiers.
But the alternative, which is not one at all, is to not vote.That’s like putting your head in the sand. Likewise doing a Donkey-vote. Let us forget about heading for the hills – don’t become a protest purists or live in monist stasis!
So, I care to the point of endorsement…on tumblr:
Here’s an edited version:
“ Peter Francis seems to be the best of the bunch.
Judging by his webpage anyhow. I’d back him in this upcoming Port Stephens local election, only I cannot. I’m an East-warder!
So, if you, like me, need a local but unlike me live in the West. Want a family-orientated Australian. You could do a lot worse than Peter Francis.
Good Luck Peter & the rest of the team!
Now for Mayor…
Our first popularly elected one too! I am torn. But that’s probably a good thing. Why?
Well, let’s first look at our cast of characters, okay?
Firstly, we have our Lady of the Bay, Sally Dover, who again seems like a decent local (what’s with these people!). She’s a committed local Christian. Which probably works against her.
But I actually like that.
She’s committed, has beliefs, and if anything, she’ll scoop up a bunch of decent local conservatives who are undoubtedly the real bedrock of ‘The Port’ community…so that’s Ms. Dover, good luck Sally.
Secondly, there’s the little doer…
His reputation proceeds him, needing no superlative of mine.
All you need to know: he was first-in-line at the ‘Grand’ Opening of McDonald’s Williamtown store.
Well, you might like to know more than that. He also enjoys sand-mining. Loves (winning) verbal battles with his fellow councillors. Essentially a Curmudgeon after my own heart. His Reactionary asides we can all learn to love.
So for the record, as much as I wish Sally every success in the her Mayoral-electioneering, it’s ‘The Bruce’ to whom I must defer…and you should too!
Just hope he remembers Conservationists, now and again. Pipe dream? Perhaps.
As for the ‘Green’, thanks but no thanks.
Good luck to all and happy voting.
Wish I could still vote at Fingal Bay Surf Club, like the good old days.
We need to ask if that can be resumed since it made past elections an excuse to go for a dip at the beach afterwards! “
So that’s my (edited) attempt at electioneering this month. Social-media sites like Tumblr are good for that level of pathos. Incidentally, Peter Francis was responsive enough to ask me via Twitter if it was alright to post my endorsement officially on his webpage.
For the record, he never solicited any recommendation from me personally. And why would he? He is perfectly capable of winning community support himself.
Also, I have no understanding about any conflict in endorsing both Francis AND Macka. That is, I do not know how much their personal beliefs are in direct opposition. Frankly, who cares. They seem to BOTH love the place…that’s as good a starting point as any.
We need the Hard-Right to vote one way at the Mayoral level. The Greens are a waste of a vote. We need ALL liberal minded hard-liners, peace and love activist types, to get behind Bruce; yes it’s contrariwise – but not for the sake of being contrary. Rather, the onus would be on Macka to deliver. That is, if a vote of confidence was displayed from thinking people: Realist and Idealists together.
If we can convince enough people in Port Stephens to vote overwhelmingly for Bruce, he would have to take both Radical Hard-liners and right-wing radicals more seriously.
In the end, people want good governance.
We must mitigate the worst cause of political abuse: people delegating administration. Especially to those whom affect a sense of representative care or even activist spirit but, in reality, are stalwarts of indifference and apathy.
These fools exist whether Left, Right, “Centrist”, “Independent”, “third-way”, “Change” ,”New”…or “Old”.
An Australian sense of freedom is the only “party” I could vote for in a Port Stephens election. The only elections that count to me because locals are more involved.
On my stay at Berida Manor in Bowral recently, I chanced upon this 1870′s Billiard Table.
It sat on show, in a cosy little room (minus the Plasma screen). The green hulk was tucked away, all the bigger bits on show like the lap-pool, gold wall-papered hallways and hanging crystal chandeliers – it’s the Southern Highlands after all – distracted me from this little quiet corner.
The place has had a some excitement in it’s history. Most notably, after the Hilton bombing in Sydney, it was decided by then PM, Malcolm Fraser, to move the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to this Bowral hideaway.
I suppose grand affairs of state, the future of billions and that ugly bombing business was all very politely discussed with pool cues in hand?
Alternatively, for the ‘Foodie’, the fact that the house was once partly owned by the food-writer Margaret Fulton may strike them as more significant.
All that can really be said about Berida Manor is that it’s a fine retreat for a bookworm.
They may find themselves, like I did, in the very cosy reading-room. Unlike me, they may not be reading what I somehow did, Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis but that’s probably because they’re more sensible.
Walking up to the Tomaree lookout in Port Stephens this morning, I chanced upon a few things.
…A bit of exposed tree-root!
Now, I declare, it’s one of the most character-filled trees around. It has a moss worthy of image capture.
… Secondly, a little trickling sound of water?
On further investigation, I saw that it was emanating from wet spongy gaps in a large rock. But a full twenty-four hours after rain!
This was right at the top of Tomaree’s rocky peak too.
What struck me about this was how all of the mossy crevices in these rocks; can keep the environment very moist for quite some time after the rain. I was further quickened by thinking about how boulders could provide extra help for shade, as well as all that water retention for our potentially dry (Aussie) gardens, farms and parks.
Seems to reinforce the work of that maverick farmer. The one who’s name escapes me, featured on ABC Television’s Australian Story program last year. He is revolutionising Australian land management, particularly in regards to water retention.
His unorthodox methods include, among others, the planting of willow trees ( long seen as a pest) along river banks.
Also, I stumbled across a young man at the top of the peak. He stood in front of a tripod. And rather serious looking camera set up, it was facing north toward Seal Rocks. “What is it that you are doing?” I curiously, if so obviously, asked. “Well, I’m doing a motion capture sequence for the HSC (Higher School Certificate) ” , “cool”, said I. ” Yeah” said photography student, ” I’m doing it for eleven hours”. Eleven hours! That’s dedication. The weather had been, up until today, a dog: wet, windy and chilly since ‘Storm Friday and Fyodor’.
But now, glorious!
Informing him via my, so called, smart-phone, about the forecast of fining-up over the next three days, he was pleased. We both agreed that the conditions were great for photography. As the sun is in its northern position and there’s a picturesque cloud cover, a Wordsworthian delight!
This was all just too romantic for to young Aussie blokes, to be discussing for an extended period, we did.
Upon mentioning that the Seal Rocks Lighthouse would certainly add a maritime perfection to the evening shots, he said ”Yeah”. Think it was the first time that he had ever heard of this ‘Northern Light’.
So, he found me, by this stage no doubt, to be an A-class bore.
Which is actually an improvement on just contemptible.
Next up, a photo of two trees that touch each other. Supportive symbiosis?
Larger(tree) is full of character. Up-close, it seemed to resemble deer-antler. It’s really worth a look.
Afterwards, I was down again, warming-up with a hot Mocha at Shoal Bay Resort and Spa. It was served by a very nice, very apologetic young lady. Whom made me feel like I needed to apologise, to her. For being so impossibly nice. And sorry to me.
I really do not understand A. Women. B. Why she said sorry so kindly?
Understand that she was really very kind.
I don’t care how icy your heart is: that is worth more to me forever than the price of, it’s true, an ephemeral coffee.
For all those interested, those many few – I’ll be holding a Breakfast Discussion (on who knows what?),on Saturday morning. At about 8:00AM, not sharp. You can have breakfast, for an excellent $7.50 from ‘Sandyfoots Cafe’, with someone just out of his dressing-gown!!
Although the food will be short-lived, it’s hoped the memories will last a even little longer…
In an enjoyable mood, I borrowed the first in the ‘Pern’ series by Sci-Fi novelist, the late Anne McCaffery; Hugo Award winner and a long-time resident of County Wicklow, Ireland. She seems much loved by fellow authors, such as David Brin (of ‘Uplift’ series, ‘Postman‘ fame) and, of course, the many Sci-Fi fans who read, corresponded and indeed met her. She extended the genre’s respectability, gave her unique spin on Sci-Fi, sustaining more than a dozen sequels.
Regrettably, it’s only since her death that I’ve delved into her most famous series. Personally, I was attracted also by the place she decided to call home, the Wicklow Mountains in the Republic of Ireland. This place was first brought alive for me in Edward Rutherford‘s second instalment of his historical epic ‘Dublin’, a place where a lot of Irish cultural heritage and rebellion seems to have emanated.Rutherford’s atmospheric description of Wicklow appeals to the Romantic, with its rich mixture of ancient tribes and raw mountain beauty.
The wind swept nature of Friday in Port Stephen, only added to these high-flown thoughts, as I perused the library. Afterwards, with borrowings made, dashed through the gale and headed for the Salamander Shops book store, a real favourite. Hidden at the back, a little pearl, a book section devoted to some (inexpensive) choice classics, mostly ‘Wordsworth classics’ paperbacks. I gave myself an impossible task: either Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov or Crime and Punishment. But it was ‘Crime’ that threw itself off the shelf at me, won the day and was duly purchased forthwith.
Under the cover of grey brooding cloud, I marched out against an approaching late-winter gale with Dostoevsky. Given the wild Friday evening, what could be more perfect, and on the way home to the embers of a warm fire too?
It’s striking to me how Realism was so unconcerned with words.
Realists were, in effect, dismissive of the Word. Ultimately, they wished to go no further than Locke’s idea of sense perception. That is, Realism would rather focus (all) our attention on direct experience; particularly in teaching and learning – education.
But, as might be expected, they couldn’t merely dismiss the Word. Instead, it was twisted for their own ends. Realism by being the mode of ultimate understanding, betrayed everything else; putting direct experience at the top, making it the only transcendent reality. This is false.
Thus, it’s falseness is worthy of its Man-made quality: An applied anarchy that sabotages us and stops the future from realising its error.
I’m as blind as a bat, well I struggle anyway. So I maximise the text size when I read on the web.
The best way now is this: Download Readabilty. It’s free. Then download Evernote Clearly, a similar program .It’s free too. Once all that’s installed, click on the Readability icon on the tool bar. Choose the ’Read Now’ function. Once your webpage has converted to a new simple text, go and click on the Evernote Clearly icon on the toolbar.
Your text should now look even bigger.
Make sure you have the Google Chrome browser for this.
Why the hassle?
Well, I think Evernote Clearly feels better to read, but it lack the text size of Readabilty.
Problem is solved by doing the process described beforehand.
Not pretty but it’s a quick solution for us low-tech types.