POSTS

RETURN TRIP TO BALI 3RD POST

Feb. 6, Ubud

It’s incredibly hot and humid, this is the time for writing, reading, swimming, family and friends as expected. Couldn’t sleep after 4 a.m so had the rare pleasure of sunrise, the palm studded silhouette across the gorge through a waking sky. I set off at 6.30 intending to do the Ridge Walk but my hip advised me against it so did a variant of the Yellow Flower Cafe walk exploring the smallest gangs (narrow concrete paved lanes) each with a series of steps at intervals following the drop of the small rice terraces sandwiched between ever-encroaching houses, quite a number of which are rentals for tourists.

My first encounter is as follows:

Rice Field Raga

Ducks offer their early song to the paddy
more Dvorak than Bach or Brahms.
Two dogs strain on morning leashes,
more confident than I on the concrete strip
that bounds the paddy. Tiled roofs throw
shadows to the shallow water, a tapestry
of shimmering silver and tufted green, the
infant crop cool as the wading ducks.
Heat rises rapidly, sweat trickles.
The ducks have it all over me!

Jon is so sure it will rain today as huge cumulus clouds grow, and though we hear distant thunder, by 7 pm still not a drop. And just as I write a few drops fall. But that’s it! It’s our last day here for the first ’round’, Candidasa tomorrow where we will meet up with Jon’s brother Dave flying over from the USA.

Feb 7. Ubud-Candidasa

She of the cast iron stomach has come down with a bit of Bali belly and as we made our way to breakfast up the steps became very poorly for a short time so not much food today.

The 1 1/2 hour drive, like any in Bali, is interesting and most enjoyable. We pass through small streets where artisans make and sell their various products – heavy wooden furniture, doors, wall partitions, stone temple pieces and as we get into the rural, plant nurseries. The road for the first hour was familiar as it was the route to the hospital Jon was in on our last trip. So great to see him managing this trip so well.

We pass through diverse landscapes of rice paddies. The sea appears on our right as we approach the Candidasa area, to our left hills, mountains and thick groves of coconut palms. It is intensely green and extraordinarily beautiful and I am somehow reminded of Goa, India.

Our accommodation, Bali Santi Bungalows, is set back off the small but busy main road, approached through a little lane and is located on the sea. Here we have free-standing bungalows all set on a diagonal along two parallel paths surrounded by lush tropical plantings, large handsome stone tubs with plants and at night large handsome rattan lights illuminate the paths. The room is a huge 32sq.mts. with a large L-shaped couch, desk, various lighting alternatives, large glossy white tiles and an outdoor mandi (bathroom). The front porch has a rocking chair and 3-person couch. All this for $60 p.d and much better value than our Ubud accommodation. The open dining area, bar and pool face out to sea overlooking Nusa Penida, a large island. Dave arrives an hour after us having survived the long flight from USA via Hong Kong and the coronavirus scare, good going at a young 78!

The infinity pool overlooks the sea and after an always empty pool at Taman Indrakila in Ubud, it is a change to share it with a few (overweight) Poles who entirely ignore me – suits me fine. No Russians so far.

Grey skies set in during the afternoon and this time it does rain dropping the temperature several degrees immediately, so much so that we have no need of the aircon and even lower the fan. Hard to believe that outside I feel a tiny bit chilled after a sweltering eight days! It pours down for an hour or more leaving a few centimetres of water on the paths and roads and flooding the little garden beds.

A stroll around the immediate area an hour later reveals several resorts, warungs (cafe/restaurant), two rated highly by Trip Advisor and an enticing place called Loaf, tiny with contemporary decor where everything including fabulous looking breads and cakes and espresso coffee is made on site.

Feb. 8, Morning Walk, Green Bananas/Afternoon Coffee and Cake

Breakfast at Loaf, a four-minute walk away but Miss Bali Belly eats green bananas (beyond delicious) and yoghurt. I chat to the waiter, another elegant, handsome young man with pierced ears wearing traditional clothes, and learn that it is owned by an older Australian man married to a Balinese woman for whom the waiter used to clean house. They became very close, we are like brothers, and the Australian announced his intention to build a cafe which he wanted the young man to run. That was four years ago. A great business with a small menu of excellent non-Indonesian food. A lovely story.

The men enjoy delicious food before we walk into the heart of Sengkidu, a village a couple of kilometres down the road, noisy motorbikes whirring. Only now do I see a high mountain across the rice fields and notice it has a blown off top. Behold, Agung the great volcano! We take a side turn down to the beach, by now very hot, time for a cold drink and Jon has another ‘breakfast’! Cab back and into the pool to cool. The place is filling up and, while not a Russian is here, the Aussies have taken over! A respectable but uninteresting lot.

Later, leaving a well fed Jon sleeping, Dave and I try out Warung Bintang, rated #2 of 80 local places by Trip Advisor and very inexpensive. It is wonderful. Very simple, no decor a raised terrace overlooking the glorious rice fields and mountains (Agung not visible), soft Balinese music plays and the wait staff dress traditionally. These are the places we most enjoy. I figure by now I should try some rice and order a chilli-less nasi goreng, very good.

It’s starting to sound like all we do is eat but the days are hot and humid and much reading and writing goes on in between. By late afternoon it’s time to try the after-4pm, low-rate coffee-and-cake at Loaf, the reduced price aimed to clear what is there and ensure constant freshly baked produce. The coffee is excellent and Dave orders a slice of incredibly rich dense chocolate cake of which I sample a small fingernail-size bit, and Jon an apple pie, choc full of apple of which I eat a third. Oh how good!

While there, we get talking to an older American woman, a teacher who has been living in Bali for 25 years. She is the only westerner living in her area near Tirta Gangga and in recent times alcohol has become a problem amongst the locals, leaving her feeling unsafe for the first time. She needs to relocate. She was there with her friend and driver Ketut whose family owns and runs a program called Side By Side, created by volunteers and globally concerned citizens and student groups around the world. Their aim is to preserve an indigenous way of life, encourage cross-cultural understanding and help the local farmers return to an organic, green way of life. It also offers a homestay and restaurant. The American woman has been teaching English to farmers and children of the local village. While talking to them about the disconnection of city kids from the natural world, Singapore comes into the conversation as an unusual example of an intensely urbanised city which has embraced greenness. Ketut informs me that Singapore imports rich soil from the Indonesian island closest to it, and that being only 20 minutes away by ferry, many Singaporeans come over for rural, replenishing weekends!

The men return to Bali Santi but I round the corner to explore a little of the side road I have been curious about. On one side it’s bounded by paddies for some distance, with houses opposite before a considerable hill covered with more houses, rises. Some wonderful traditional architecture so shoot a few more photos. Whenever I walk in local areas, dogs bark at me – they certainly recognize a tourist as different. Turning up a short small street running off the tree-lined road, I pass a few little boys, the slightly older one speaks a little English, the younger boys none but we communicate and then the youngest ‘secretly’ follows me, so I gesture for them to come and we walk together to the nearby end. Sampai jumpa lagi (see you later) I say in my very best Bahasa and we all wave bye-bye, only to be repeated as I turn onto the proper road and head home via a short stroll through the paddies.

Jon and I go to Warung Bintang alone for dinner after 8pm, Dave worried about slipping on wet surfaces. Quite a few people are already eating and we are surprised to see at least six manning the small kitchen. I order soto ayam, chicken soup with glass noodles and a little vegetable, no chilli yet thanks, very good, Jon has calamari followed by fried chicken with a great spicy tomato sambal and we share a black sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, figuring that would serve my stomach well.

The owner joins us and we talk for a long time. Has built this business over four years, the first two tough, making just enough to pay wages. He has three trainee cooks at any time but is happy to see them move on for better job opportunities after training , just as he did. Hotels can offer better wages of course than small warungs.

Feb.9 Candidasa: The Rain Sets In

Rain overnight but a clear patch to walk to Loaf for yoghurt/boring/banana and delicious food for the men! Yep, feeling Ok but the runs remain with me after last night’s food. More green bananas. We had thought to go to Candidasa proper to have a look see but it’s torrential by mid morning.

Ubud, Mt Kintamani, sunrise

More photos…https://bonneybombach.com/travel-writing/bali-2020/

RETURN TRIP TO BALI 2ND POST

Feb 4. People, Lazy Days and Squirrels

Jon’s words-

Yesterday we met some more interesting people all at the Elephant Cafe attached to Taman Indrakila where we are staying. I love the way we both can make contact with strangers.  For me it is being open like all Aussies are, direct and friendly or maybe it is just Queensland!

One was a young man from Dalby who has been around a lot and is working on some new energy Aether-energy technology here.  The South Koreans are also interested in this process as are the Yanks but the apparently Aussies have zero interest. He definitely felt Oz lacks the will to embrace.

Later in the afternoon while drinking our latte, a true mark of a labour supporter and greenies everywhere, we met three young folks, one from Russia married to a Ukrainian woman travelling with a mate from Belarus.  The lad from the Ukraine had excellent English having working in Sweden, Estonia, Portugal and other places where English is the medium.  The future and the planet is indeed theirs, neither looking particularly good.  Wonderful to meet people from countries like this!

Back to Bonney- I couldn’t take my eyes off the young Russian man, so beautiful was he, with dark hair in a man- bun, olive complexion a beautiful profile and startlingly alive large hazel eyes. I absolutely thought he was Southern European. He and his wife  are staying in Canggu, (the so- called digital nomad capital of Bali) in the large house of a friend where they come each year for a couple of months to re- charge or did he say re-load?

Such an intelligent and lovely person, a vegan whose politic and social conscience matched ours. Interestingly, he is so disillusioned by world politics that he wants to absent himself totally.

This conversation followed on the heels of another with one of the guys, Wayan, working behind the bar here, again smart, treading lightly on the planet in his beliefs, with impressive English given he is self- taught, like our ‘daughter Wayan’, probably having had little education.

A lazy day today, we’ve really done nothing but eat, sleep (Jonny of course), swim (Bonney of course) and write. Early in the morning we have a clear view of Kintamani, one of Bali’s big volcanic mountains which blew some years ago coming very close to ‘our’Wayan’s parents land. Soon it disappears even in the absence of obvious cloud. It’s really too hot for me to do much so we take breakfast and light lunch here at Elephant. It is a wonderful place to sit with expansive views over the old rambling gardens, gully & ridge and we know and have fun with the wait-staff of whom we have favourites remembered from last visit. I envisaged that this time away would be a time for writing for me, both journal and poetry so am perfectly content to proceed with both.

Looking from the Elephant down to the old pool below and vice versa to the Elephant above,this is what most captivates me:

Greenery shudders in the still air,
my eyes and brain seek explanation
until I spot a furry thing streaking
down a banana leaf, tiny against 
the velvet expanse, tail delivering 
its semaphore message.

It leaps, confident in its momentum,
from rippled edge to frangipani, 
scurries across limbs gnarled as an 
old man, a diminutive speed-freak in 
its private playground.

I concentrate to keep apace.
Before my eyes, a virtuosic display of
aerial sportsmanship, a flying machine
airborne time and again as it scales 
the treetop heights then dashes down 
a sturdy yellow bamboo and out of sight.

Overhead, all shimmers 
slowly 
to stillness.

On our morning walk yesterday I saw a poster advertising jazz at a venue in our immediate area. Turns out it is part of Bridges restaurant of ‘casual fine dining set on seven levels overlooking the gently flowing Wos River, one of Ubud’s culinary destinations ideal for memorable dining’. We decided to indulge, knowing we would not spend the money for the equivalent at home. What a lovely evening. A fifteen-minute, still hot  walk down the steep main road, motorbikes whizzing by, to the Campuan Gorge bridge. We enter thru various staircases into several levels of white painted plantation-style-meets-Bali architecture overlooking exotic trees and plants far below and looking up to the bridge that crosses the gorge, really unusual. Impeccable and gracious service, gorgeous food after which we were escorted still further down into the jazz venue with the same densely tropical overlook with comfortable couches and chairs, a bar and first class modern Balinese jazz quartet led by a woman. In the small audience, was a blond Ozzie woman who could not stop talking for a minute and too loudly at that. Jon felt irritated enough to move and after another few minutes I followed suit. He leant over to a couple sitting next to him saying ‘don’t you hate dumb blondes’ which amuses them both. As soon as the silly couple left we charged back to the comfortable couch! In all quite a treat!

Feb. 5, To Market To Market,No Fat Pig But Other Observations

It’s hot,32C with only 67% humidity but, as they say, feels like 38!

The old boy spends most of his time, between feeds, lying reading on the bed in our air conditioned room but with the expansive view through plate glass, the outside is brought inside so he can pretend he is indeed there! The view is what we most love about this place. It’s an older establishment and ,like us, not slick and glitzy and the environment, likewise. It has a slightly overgrown wild feel about it and is just glorious. The place is full of Russians and young yoga maidens in their slightly inappropriate gear and plenty of, mostly artistic, tatts! Amusing, and takes me back to living in Rome aged twenty-two, wearing undoubtedly equally inappropriate clothes- mini-skirts/ dresses and wondering why the Italian men were hot for me!

Went into town after breakfast this morning to beat the heat, a seven-minute/$4 taxi ride, perused the large market,made a few small useful purchases, visited the one really good bookshop buying a Nobel prize winning  Ishiguro and the NYTimes. Depressed myself reading how the Far Right in Europe is now considered the New Normal, as opposed to twenty years ago when it first re-emerged amidst much protest. Not having TV is great, a break from the over- exposure to coronavirus and bushfire news, neither good.

RETURN TRIP TO BALI, FEB 2020

BALI BLOG 2020

Jan.31/Feb.1, 2020

You know the finally finally syndrome when for 2 days you tell yourself finally everything necessary has been done. Well, get thru that accompanied by the first decent rain in six months, 75 mm….will we get through to the airport OK? Having passed that hurdle, we arrive early  and try to understand the mumbled announcements about planes unable to land due to poor visibility.Cutting to the chase, our plane is cancelled and  we spend 6 hrs at our local airport awaiting the only other plane for that day, unsure as to whether it will make it. Suddenly the winged giant roars down the runway, ‘yeah’, I sing out, a lone voice amongst so many- oh that Anglo Saxon reserve gets me all the time! Luckily the late plane could accomodate us and packed to the gills, takes off. We spend three days in Jill and Al’s beautiful  river house in Murwillumbah for the usual catch- up with old besties from our farm days.

The background to this trip is the corona virus scare. All day in the overly air-conditioned airport and plane leaves Jon quite unwell for a couple of days just when reduced immune system matters most. Ah, the joys of travelling as an older person! Just in the nick of time he improves and, armed with pharmacy products, we have arrived safe and sound in Bali.

Arriving in Bali is fun. We are at the front of the plane queued to disembark, delayed waiting for a bus to the terminal. The  Captain stands right beside us and so we engage in what turns into quite a conversation. A friendly man, tall, lean, 40ish, I ask about his flying schedule & he tells us pilots love to surf while on layover and all rent motorbikes while here but the other crew are not permitted to do so. The idea that pilots are somehow better positioned than the other staff to survive the Kuta traffic on motorbikes amuses Jon.

Jon’s first trip to Bali was in the early ‘70’s when cows still roamed the sand streets of Kuta. My only stay in Kuta was with him maybe 20 yrs ago leaving me with abiding opposing impressions- delicious frog legs and our charming, frangipani-lined laneway, and the narrow crowded streets full motorbikes and cars and stalls with vulgar T- shirts and drunk young Ozzies. Nonetheless, as we are to arrive late at night, we decided to have two nights here and have a poke around. I booked a lovely hotel ( Adi Dharma, Kuta, recommended) for about $70 AUD which promised to be quiet. 

The taxi doglegs its way left and right from the airport for what seems a long time. In the throng of Kuta/Legian lined with small restaurants and people eating late, we finally turn off the narrow noisy street into our tiny laneway, instant quiet. The ubiquitous yellow frangipanis, many little shops, now closed, and several nice accomodations, ours being at the very end.

One almost forgets how beautiful this culture is so I am immediately enthralled as we turn into the property with its 3-storey, traditional style buildings surrounded by gardens, the usual open- sided, gleaming tiled reception area  furnished with traditional rich timber and the large adjacent  dining area. Generous room with two 3/4 beds, aircon, mini fridge & our own little balcony. And a great sleep! I include a photo of the hotel brochure showing the ‘usual/ unusual’ hazards of travelling here!

Breakfast is included but what a spread -fresh fruit salad, other salad items, three traditional Indonesian dishes, and egg area, a pancake area and seven young preparers and serving  men wearing  traditional sarong and head gear. The manageress, graceful and gracious, welcomes us and comes to talk to each patron.This is a large establishment, 100 rooms, 30 years old but I only realize this today when I scour the grounds arranged around a large pool where I sit writing.

We set out at 8 a.m to explore the immediate environment and beat the heat heading to Kuta beach, 10 minutes away. Our laneway is devoid of people, quiet and peaceful, too early for “morning price” quips Jonny & still a pleasant temperature.

Jon says if you want to know the value of your currency without reading the Wall Street journal or the Financial Times, the money exchangers have a much more realistic rate, a great barometer. As we near the beach, more little shops, mostly selling cheap clothes etc, are opening and then we arrive at the beach. It is a glory of wide flat sand, gently rolling surf and a wide treed strip, freshly raked and swept dotted with large umbrellas, little stalls with seats  and some tables.Vendors are selling drinks and fresh coconuts for juice. This extended area leads onto an area specialising in surf board rentals and lessons and the boards lean  clustered against tree trunks where squirrels scurry and scour the gelatinous insides of the coconuts wedged between branches for them.

Jon loves the T- shirt he sees on the drippingly hot way back to leap into the pool:’I’m not gay but $20 is $20’. I wasn’t quite as amused!

And as the afternoon proceeded, clouds gathered and just I managed to drag the man to the pool area, a rare event, it started to gently rain. Within a few minutes we moved to our little balcony off our room and watched the rain pour off the roof and drench the gardens below. We decided to eat ‘in’, dinner as excellent and authentic as the Indonesian selection at breakfast- cap cay ( mixed vegetables with seafood) and Soto Ayam (chicken soup on fine noodles with hard boiled egg on top), both really delicious.

The rain cooled everything down so immediately that we took a short stroll to the end of our now deserted little laneway chatting to a couple of indifferent typical stripes Balinese dogs en route. And so ended our short Kuta stay. We would do it again.

Feb.2, Ubud, Feels Like Coming Home!

We are back at Taman Indrakila where we stayed 18 mths ago a little out of the centre of Ubud so go out for dinner. Indus, the upmarket restaurant run by Australian Janet de Neefe (also,of Ubud Readers and Writers Festival and the Ubud Food Festival fame) is just up the road but undergoing renovations. The nearby temporary premises is part of the Writers Festival site and is as impressively beautiful as the ‘real’ one.  A huge open-sided space with high thatched ceilings finished with detailed Balinese carving, overlooks the gorge. Round timber tables with a Dutch colonial touch, candle lighting throughout, all surrounded by lush gardens create a plush exotic ambience.

Our delicious meal consists of tapas for two- two pieces each of sate stick mushrooms, fried chicken, tempe and mini spring roll accompanied by three little condiments in mini banana leaf trays- sate sauce, sweet pickled cucumber and spicy chilli dip. For mains,Jon chooses a Sumatran chicken coconut curry which is served in the coconut shell and I a balinese version of Sumatran jack fruit curry. I haven’t eaten jackfruit before and found it reminiscent in texture to eggplant, absorbing the flavour of the curry sauce and quite filling. Including two beers and a lime soda it came to about $20 per head which is expensive in Balinese terms but reasonable for what we ate. At a local Balinese place it cost approximately half this.

Nearby, two men, one extremely heavy set, are struggling for minutes trying to convey to the skilled waitress what they want.Clearly their English isn’t good. At last I step forward and ask if I may assist, understanding where the confusion lies. What language do you speak, I ask, Russian they reply. Oh I don’t speak Russian, but in no time have them sorted to get a large plate consisting only of prawns, only being the stumbling point, lost in translation. They are unnecessarily appreciative and gracious and Jon makes a gentle joke, they beam at us. This all repeated as we depart.

Internet access is sporadic here and makes one conscious of our absurd dependency on immediacy. Nonetheless, I want to check that we aren’t the only ones having difficulties, so ask a couple of younger women sitting their little balcony a few rooms up from us. The usual where are you from question comes from them and it transpires that the too are Russian and lively and engaging, one speaking better English than the other. Good to see they dont confirm our rather negative experiences of Russian travellers. As Jon says, in general Bali is so laid back that even the Russians are smiling! He feels this reflects more about Bali than about nationalities.

Feb 3. The Yellow Flower Cafe Walk And General Delights

No rain last night so we decide to beat the heat and take a morning walk before breakfast. Let’s do the Yellow Flower Cafe/ rice field walk I brightly suggest and am delighted that Jon agrees. In his words: Early morning walk following my leader who knows where and how to navigate through the winding pathways around the back lanes. As it is fairly early shops still closed but Westerners emerging from their digs going to yoga, mostly women of various ages, long hair of a type going to do the downward dog and other tricks.  They appear to be recovering from failed relationships,my vibe, and are probably bitter and twisted, much like the men in our home neighbourhood.

Having written in detail about it in my 2018 Bali diary, I won’t elaborate much except to reiterate that to me this walk is the quintessential Bali, and to comment on changes and people. As it’s wet season, the verges of the narrow concrete path are quite overgrown, several new buildings and little cafes have popped up, all charming. It is amazing to see so many new eating places, also along our main Campuan road. One wonders how everyone eeks out a living especially as tourism has been down. Due the coronavirus scare, the Chinese tourists have stopped. As they come in large numbers, I worry that this would have a huge impact on their fragile economy so asked our taxi yesterday driver, an intelligent man we have used before. He, like Jon, feels it is not so, because the Chinese, as in Australia, stay in hotels and eat in restaurants etc wonder by Chinese and hence not much of their spending here would benefit the local economy.

If you have never visited Bali, it is difficult to convey how dominant the aesthetics of this place is, how surrounded by beauty one is everywhere- from the larger scale of the landscaping of grounds and traditional architecture, to the smallest detail of small offerings on the ground, tiny personal temples, walls decorated with Hindu sculptural icons, huge pots filled with plants carefully placed, the traditional clothes worn not only for ceremony but by wait staff and hotel staff at ‘better’ establishments and so on. All the sweating and heat is worth it! And now I am off to leap in the pool at the bottom terrace of the vast grounds of Taman Indrakila, good compensation for the lack of soap in the soap dispenser or the fact that the room boy forgot to replace the hand towel he removed or wipe the taps to sparkle. 

Our room, same as last time, is at the end of the terraced path with the small offering temple next to it and has sliding plate glass doors across the front and two large windows on the external wall all of which overlooks the terraced gardens, palms,frangipanis,crotons, banana palms cascading down the slope and disappearing into the ravine from which the eye is led up the other side to the palm filled Campuan Ridge. At any time of day you can see a trickle of people walking along the ridge-walk path. If it’s too hot outside, you could lie on the huge bed in the aircon, as Jon does, and overlook all of this.

Just to let you know I am struggling a bit with internet access and technology here so will have to add relevant photos later, maybe after the one month trip is complete, so check back in the site again if interested.

More poems, a little rap about (mostly) bird life and happy 2020

Hello Again and Happy 2020! Perhaps this will bring its own special inspiration and insights, which would be welcome in the face of much that is ailing here in Oz (most immediately the unprecedented bush fires) and in the world at large. I feel blessed to be able to balance this by staying ‘present’ in our immediate environment, which offers up a variety of treasures. Bird life takes precedence in recent months

Amongst the many birds we supplement feed through this great extended dry, three Butcherbirds grace us with their presence daily. Two of them are operatic virtuosos.  For the most part, they make their little cheeping sound requesting food. Two take it from the hand, the third, younger or shyer, comes within a metre of us. He is expert at catching on the fly, never failing regardless of where we aim.

Today’s delight –one sings to us for about five minutes, then  the second takes over and fifteen minutes later is still at it. It is spellbinding and I sit with him and interact making the odd whistle. For those of you unfamiliar with this bird, do yourself a favour; go online to seek their song. It is remarkable for its variety of sounds which are clearly generated from different parts of the body-beak, throat, chest etc ranging from tiny squeaks to chirps to lyrical unfurling passages.

A few weeks ago, two baby Kookaburras left their nest in the hollow of the eucalypt on the foreshore. We had been feeding the family members for about four weeks, watching them eat a little and conscientiously take the rest back to the nest. Within a week or two, I spotted the first tiny fledgling perched in a high branch on my morning walk. Then I spotted a second one. The family continues to come to our balcony railing for hand-fed treats to take to them and in the last few days the babies have come much closer to the house, perching on the Poinciana trees at the back of our garden facing the sea.  Next step was to see the babies landing on our railing, bit by bit allowing us closer, still being fed by a family member. Thrillingly, it was graduation day a few days ago when for the first time I threw some meat to the far end of the deck where one had landed and watched it tentatively hop to and then take the food. Its sibling flew from the railing to the same place and followed suit!

Finally some rain! 45mm over the last few days after nothing to speak of since March!

Already new leaves, citrus blossoms and tiny shoot of grass emerge. And the frogs. There will be more insects for the birds and we can reduce the hand feeding. We are in a rain shadow here so, as per usual, Airlie Beach & Proserpine, less than 50 km away, have had over 200mm in the same period.

So that’s the rap but also to let you know that I have added another six poems to the poetry section today and about the same number a few weeks ago. Poetry fans please enjoy.

At Last!

Hello All, I have finally finished revision of a 2014 Travel Diary , A Month in Sicily which also includes a few days in Singapore en route and then some time in Florence, Rome and London. It includes lots of cool photos! I have also added lots of images to Photography- Plant Life, the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Skyscapes and Local Whitsunday landscapes. Hope you enjoy.

A Little Trip South

So we went to Melbourne for a bit of a ‘cultural hit’, (Melbourne Festival) and saw some pretty avant garden dance (Hofesh Shechter & Chunky Move), a great theatre piece and some good music. Stayed in an apartment in the CBD (a first) witha ‘delightful view’ over a lane onto blank wall made interesting only by a view into a purple lit, plant-filled apartment on the other side sometimes interspersed with a naked or clothed young woman! Spent time with our besties and visited Cranbourne Botanical Gardens, (a young off-shoot-excuse pun- of Melbourne’s famous old main Bot. Gardens), which specializes in Native plants. It is a real treat of native spring flowerings and sensitive modernist landscape architecture. I include a few Melb. photos. Then headed to Hobart, Tasmania, mostly for a long-overdue visit to MONA ( for those who don’t know it, have a look online) -it is simply astounding. The vision of the founder of this private Museum of new and old art , David Walsh, has to be seen to be believed! The art, the architecture, the setting,the quirkiness. Built deep underground into the rock, it is awe-inspiring. Little wonder it has drawn literally millions of tourists to Tasmania.
Hobart (& surrounds) is a delight built around steep hills with a multitude of charming old buildings, modern architecture in the newer areas, beautiful views, and landscapes, a great art and craft culture, wonderful produce and food. Jon noticed a cafe of Vietnamese Street Food whereupon he quipped ‘fee fi pho yum’ and so it went! And we had an apartment with spectacular views. A few Tasmania photos attached. I am also adding a gallery of photographs of Hobart into TRAVEL WRITING on the main website even though there is not a word of travel writing! Hope you enjoy.

Back again! Read below to see what’s new

Hello All!

It’s been great to get this site launched and somewhat ’off my plate’ ,  (a feeling shared by dear friend Karen-the-website-builder! Now she can get back into her  writing. The woman has five books on the go!).

 I say somewhat, because I immediately   added quite a lot to PHOTOGRAPHY , especially to THE HUMAN ANIMAL and ARCHITECTURE, much fun!  Of course, more will probably come in time, so if you are a photography buff  keep your eyes peeled.

Freeing up time  has, more importantly, allowed me to re-focus on my poetry, continuing to work on some of the large number of unfinished pieces.  I have completed another ten poems, so now you will find 29 on the site in the four categories- the main page and the three sub-headings, The Natural World, Portugal Poems and Snapshots. Likewise, if you are a poetry buff,  rest assured more will come but, of course, you will again be notified.

Thanks to those who have left Comments, not expected but always a pleasure.  Unless something is of general interest, I will respond via email rather than on the site.

Enjoy your life. It’s precious.

Bonney

It’s launched!

Hi dear friends, it’s launch day!

This is what I’ve been up to over the last 6-7 months – making a website,  together with my friend  and web designer Karen Wilton who set up the structure.  Having put off doing this for some 20 years (all seemed too hard, too time consuming), things  suddenly  fell  into place – the time was right and dear Karen  was ‘there’.

I have long  felt the need to have some sort of archive of my 35 years of art-making but also wanted a platform to include my other creative pursuits – poetry, photography  and travel writing, all of which will be further augmented over time, so if interested, keep an eye open for this.

It has been so much fun and quite a learning curve for this techno-idiot and Karen has been the best teacher. We had a lot of laughs along the way especially about the  sometimes difficulties understanding one another’s ‘language’- techno vs. arty stuff!

Please enjoy ambling through bit by bit from time to time. It is my  hope  that it may also be of use to aspiring artists, students and who knows else.

Time To Say Hello Again

Hey! Hope this finds everyone well and happy. Heard some seriously good music at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville in August, an annual event where the contemporary and classical meet the dry tropics! We have also been blessed with visits from two lots of very old and close friends in recent weeks, Jill and Alex from our days on the farm with their huge dog Monty, more like a young colt (much fun) and currently Libby and Hob for two weeks from Melbourne. Took them to Magnetic Island for a couple of days to explore a bit of this wonderful environment of bays and granite boulders and headlands and funky little communities, home to the largest number of koalas in Queensland. Watch out for photos in due course!

Meantime, you will find seven new poems –Typewriter Sex, Just Another Masterpiece and Conjunction in the general Poetry section and Night Scribbles, The Bigamist and Waikawa Night in The Natural World.

You will also see quite a few more images in Early Work-I discovered some colour slides from the pre-digital era (dinasaur-ish) of some very early, even student work, a kind of re-discovery for me also!

Encouraged by another old friend, I am re-writing my 2014 Travel Diary which is mostly about a month in Sicily but includes a week in Florence, some days in Rome & Singapore. That will be my next posting so if you enjoy reading about travel watch out for it. I will include some photographs. Hope you enjoy!