Kimberley Who?

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After recently visiting the Kimberley region of Australia, I have returned a changed and more enlightened person.

My partner and myself took a week long journey on a cruiser that had only a small number of others aboard. We cruised the isolated islands of North West Australia and the mainland coast.

Our original idea was to enjoy a well earned break from our respective jobs of work but we encountered much -much more.

This became a spiritual journey of sorts and to say it was the greatest experience of my life would be disingenuous to the many wonderful other things I have been fortunate to part of. It was however one of the most important times of my life.

Australia is a continent of many facets. South East Australia is cool and mild, North is tropical and Central is just plain dry and usually hot. All of Australia is quite beautiful for different reasons.

The colours of each area vary markedly and depict the temperature range, but the particular colours of the Kimberley are some of the most beautiful. Vast swathes of red juxtaposed against the azure clear sky and cool green vegetation. The ghost gums (so named) are splendid with their white/grey trunks and green leaves.

The real Wow! factor came to us as we left the cruiser and ventured into the estuaries to be with the crocodiles. These magnificent creatures are as old as any animal that exists today and you just don’t mess with them. To have a crocodile lie in wait for we humans to take a wrong step is quite humbling and frightening.

Part of our journey involved a personal helicopter to venture beyond to the mainland. This was something else. Having never flown in a chopper before, we were blown away by the vastness of the country. We also realised just how insignificant we really are. Suddenly our roles in life were given a whole new perspective. The clarity of the moment had us realise that our lives are but a brief moment in time.

While on the mainland we were given the absolute privilege of viewing some Aboriginal cave drawings. Being only possible to fly to these caves as the bush is way too dense, few, if any others had viewed the drawings before. It is possible that some of these drawings were 15-20 thousand years old and indicated a land, flora and fauna of an entirely different type. This was indeed an exceptional experience and one that personally, I feel a degree of responsibility to pass on its importance and significance to Australia and people of the world.
Try as I will to convey this message, being non-Aboriginal, with humility and care I will endeavour to do so.

As the journey reached its last day, everyone aboard had changed. Upon arrival at the beginning, everyone was on their full colours. Some business people,some retired, some children with gadgets and ourselves. Like an un-folding onion the layers began falling away and suddenly all of us were completely smitten. The Kimberley spirit had taken us and the person returning to home was a different person, a more learned person and a person touched by something beautiful.

With the knowledge that I time was up in this glorious landscape, we steamed for home all quiet and Nella Fantasia (from The Mission) playing in the background. We will never forget this wonderful experience.

Bristlehound 2014

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Stan’s The Man

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When I am not contemplating my navel and solving the big questions of the world, I really love participating in sport. As an active Royal Tennis player and former basketball,badminton, cricket and football player, I take great interest in many types of sport.

Not able to help myself, I can’t resist taking more interest in crowds and their motions whilst watching a sporting activity.

Last night my partner and I were at the tennis match
that saw Novak Djokovic defeated by Stan Wawrinka. It took 4hours exactly to complete and was a delight to watch.

My interest however was moving from the game to the crowd, to the ball kids, the umpire and back again. Fascinating.

Novak,whilst well liked in Australia, was certainly not the favoured son. The support was strongly for the underdog Stan. Novak was applauded soundly for his magnificent play, his fairness and his professionalism but Stan was the man.

What is remarkable here is that Stan may well be the demon as he comes up against Thomas Bertitch, a player of great talent but one short on major wins.

The voice of the crowd was very loud and filled with expert comment. 10 thousand expert commentators each one offering something different.

Sport acts as a religion in the way it draws people together and steers them toward a common belief and hope. The spirit in the stadium was great and as up-lifting as any event I have attended.

In all of this I happened to look at the sponsors names splashed about and found that Kia, one of the major sponsors, had a logo with the “A” not crossed. How annoying it was to think that after attending this church of sorts, for about 10 years, I only this night saw that KIA had an un-crossed A.

Life really is fascinating.

Bristlehound 2014

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The Hole Is Greater Than The Sum

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I was taken by this great sculpture. It indicates so much about how our lives rely upon the holes in them. Without the holes the sculpture would not survive.

This also suggests the three most influential people in my life. Whilst it is difficult to say that only three people have influenced me, it is appropriate.

I am an independent person and not necessarily needy. So to make a call on even three influential people is a challenge. This sounds totally pompous and I understand that, but I believe that while you can do something yourself, you should do it. It is a life choice that makes me feel strong and capable.

Knowing that independence is so valuable, it is difficult at times to deal with some things that require being a team player. For me, meetings are the devils work and serve no purpose other than to delay decision making. My partner always makes the point that I would make a terrible communist given my inability to run the show.

Having empathy is a large part of building independence. Walking a mile in another persons shoes gives great insight into how life can play out and offers a choice if understood.

The three most influential people in my life are quite easy. My mother is a brilliant person. She is from a large family and has had to deal with the loss of her husband in a car accident and raising 6 children alone. She has lived with nothing and feels that she is the happiest, most fortunate person to have ever lived. Un-believable as it sounds, she turned a horrid situation into a great asset and consequently has generated a confidence in her children.

My partner has given me the freedom of mind to develop the beautiful things I come about in life and create a wonderful life style of happiness and care. Having a partner who is stable and confident in most situations is a huge asset in maintaining my own happy disposition.

The third most influential person in my life is at least 100 fold. It is impossible to call just one person The most influential but there is a common denominator.
Each if these 100 fold people has a quality. That quality is humour and care. Being able to see the light in all things is of immense importance and equally, understanding that all things have a hole and a crack gives understanding. All of my most influential people have the quality of humility and I regard this as a quality I aspire to daily.

The negative space of the hole in these sculptures looks quite creative, but the overall message suggests that if we focus on the hole and look carefully, we can see a new, other world beyond.

Bristlehound 2014

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Travel Bug Spotted

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Yes it’s true. The travel bug has been located in Melbourne out shopping for shoes.

We have travellers from all points of the globe here presently. The tennis is a terrific draw card and Melbourne is a magic place to hold it.

Saw Rapha in the lobby of our hotel a couple of days ago. Passed a multitude of other players in the street and off to see the “Joker” tomorrow night.

During the grip of Tennis fever, we had the longest heat wave in the history of the world @ above 40 degrees Celsius each day for four days. The pavements melted, lifts ceased to lift and birds dropped out of the leaf dropping trees.

We were all on edge with the heat because the fires that menace Australia were doing their level best to get a hold. Thankfully to date, we have escaped some of the devastation that was imminent. We are truly the lucky country when we can say that in all of that heat, we came out the other side without loss.

Some people did however lose their homes and in some cases tragically, their lives. We have farming friends throughout Victoria and they were all on edge. How can anyone imagine that you can go to bed at night in the knowledge that tomorrow, in all likely hood you will lose your home as the wind changes an brings the fire front your way.

The reality of fires is evident when you consider that in the last big heat wave, 175 people in Victoria alone, lost their life. So many families were burnt out and many more people physically and / or mentally scarred by the fires.

And life goes on. Australia has an extraordinary ability as a country, get up and get on with things.
So, as is the way, the Tennis becomes the new focus and as that finishes the football starts. Some very odd numbers are also quite interested in the arts and the more beautiful things in life such as music and poetry.

I hope to see the travel bug once more as it is a beautiful creature that brings such delight to the country. It is showy and seemingly shines more brightly than other bugs, but I personally love it and look forward to its annual pilgrimage Downunder.

Bristlehound 2014

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Bug Eats Mountain

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Time provides a stage for all things to alter.

I recently came across something known as the “Pitch Drop” and the fact that there is a keeper of the “Pitch Drop”. Not content with this fact it seems that 2014 could be the year of the “Pitch Drop”.

A serious experiment has been on-going from the 1950’s, checking out the movement of such things as the continental shelf based on how often pitch drops from a glass funnel. I think.

Now as a scientist my prowess is equal to a drop of water in the Atlantic Ocean, so explaining this experiment is not what interests me. What interests me is the pitch changing its form from a substance as hard as concrete and forming a heavy drip like slow moving honey, then dropping this drip every 7-10 years. Wow!

The experiment here would now doubt excite those with a bent towards such things, but for me the fact that over time all things can change and become something more suitable to present surrounds, is the real delight.

It proves to me that adapting as we do is not just a talent of the few but a natural process. Time, the great healer, provides for repair and adaption.

Though I may never be capable of understanding this experiment nor conveying its process to others, I am however delighted by it. It tickles me and just thinking of the possibilities of are wonderful.

Being slightly obsessive concerning the alignment of items and balancing all things visual, I am looking forward to returning to my car once perfectly parked, to see that it has moved fractionally upon return from a weeks travel.

So to the keeper of the “Pitch” I say, may the force be with you and I hope you are present when the pitch drops sometime this decade.

Bristlehound 2014

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Hello Possums

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Dame Edna Everage seems to have taken retirement away from the hustle and bustle of Moonee Ponds.

What a great character Edna was/is. She and Barry are dear to so many Down-underpants having won our hearts with their simple way of exposing the Australian culture.

The world is a very serious place and one day Australia will realise that and stop being friendly and laughing at themselves and others.

I guess our Lucky Country tag is well earned given we have little conflict with other nations and share in world trade to the extent we do. We have a wealth of natural resources and enjoy a brilliant climate. Our health schemes are strong and generally our politics is stable. So why would we change?

Australia is a young nation relative to other states. The British, bless them, after discovering Australia, decided to fill the country with criminals and petty offenders. What could go wrong? Well indeed what could go wrong. For all intents and purposes the plan worked. The stability of today may well be testament to that.

The imported gentry were gradually dis-lodged by the common Aussie and the country never looked back.

That is until Bazza McKenzie exposed us as unique characters in his movie “The adventures of Barry McKenzie”. Then Hoges as Crocodile Dundee shed a little more light on our nations irreverent ways.

As the world began to see Australia being the interesting and at times weird country it was, only then did we as Aussies (Ossies for our US friends), begin to understand that we are a world player. It was time to get involved.

We had played our, not small, part in the wars of the world and to our great credit equipped ourselves well for a small nation. Indeed the rolls played by Australia are seen as essential in the overall sense.
The involvement was not at the military level but was at the political and social welfare level. As a developed nation, we needed to show not only our own citizens but the world, that we understood and could assist in world affairs.

With our involvement at the obvious levels of today, we have taken on a whole new sense of maturity as well. As part of of national development, we now overtly consider so many issues that in the past, were dealt with at a more closeted level. The internet and international travel have each been contributors to this. We have begun our parenthood stage if you like.

Now that we are all grown up and run our own affairs, dress as we see fit, go out with whom-ever we like and deal with the consequences of over indulging; Australia holds it’s head high.

It would be a shame to lose the humour and larrikin ways of the early Australia simply to show how mature we really are. The world as a whole needs characters, people and countries to reduce the stress of the sometimes hopeless situations that are.

If Australia lets go of the easy-going style it has developed, for no real good reason it will become just another franchise of an ever-serious world. Humour and fun have been the hallmarks of many countries. Harsh times require methods by which we can cope and humour has assisted in getting through those difficult times. By humour this doesn’t mean laughing at the homeless or scoffing at a local robbery or indeed considering the taking of life as being some kind of sport. It is higher than that. It is a natural resource of our own that needs to be respected and developed.

With so many problems in today’s world we think we are unique. We are not. In years gone by people living to 35 was common. Going without food and water was common and killing was rife. These are genuine problems of today and need to be addressed and dealt with as best we can. We should never laugh at these situations, that hurts people. But we can re-discover our sense of fun and humour to help us through and put us in a positive mind-set to deal with some of the big, and little, problems of today.

Did you hear the one about the horse coming into the bar?

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Invasion of Elders

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As today’s world becomes ever quicker, we use every method open to us to keep up.
Traditionally we would consult books, and the experience of others to guide us into or from, a situation that is un-familiar to us.

With the revolution of the internet, typically our interest was ignited and utilising the attractive tools open to us has been paramount.

The internet is slowly opening up and maturing. The assault of the first years has settled to a more sensible methodical attraction. The great values of this technology become apparent daily and have improved lives throughout the world. It is a genuine revolution.

In the early days it was scatter-gun, where everything needed to be tried and improved. Socially, peer pressure is something most of us may have felt, were we not to be up-to-date with the latest innovative way to communicate or record keep. But today, some years later, we see a more controlled approach that is far more deliberate.

We owe a great debt to the creators obviously, yet the real heroes are the people of all ages, often young, who tackled this beast and broke it in are sometimes forgotten.

A generation of children have not only brought this beast to heel but sustained enormous pressures from their elders to “get off the internet”. The elders are correct to do so. The internet needs constant understanding and monitoring just as a dog off the leash might chase cars and bite people.

The elders calling for control of the internet are not wrong nor are they mis-informed. They want the best for our community as we all do. Yet attempting to control something which we know so little about is challenging and we have to resort to methods by which we can bring this ” thing” back to order.

So to the developers I say well done. To the general public who have, not only over-used and abused this beast, I say thank you. Without any elders to speak of in the field of this revolution, you have poked and prodded all of the bits and pieces that make up the beast, but domesticated it.

Just stop and think for a moment! With something that is truly revolutionary, the children of today were presented a problem. So few of the traditional sources that we might refer to as elders,were made available.

In this field with so few elders, we are now maturing to the point where we can all assist in some way and we owe a great debt to the internet students of yesterday.

Bristlehound 2014

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