Surprised I’m off: Lens Artist Challenge 103

© irene waters 2020

Surprised

© irene waterss 2020

I’m off

© irene waters 2020

Far enough removed

I’ll reassess

To disappear or not.

Thank you Leya for this weeks Lens Artist Challenge.

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Painted Things in Akaroa: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

© irene waters 2020

Akaroa is a quaint town in the Banks Peninsula on the South Island of New Zealand. It was the first French settlement, 1840, in New Zealand and retains a French flare with all the streets having their original French names. Naturally the British didn’t want the French to claim the land and it is supposedly one of the reasons that the British rushed the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi with the Maoris. It was nice to know that the town had a literary society by 1875.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

Most of the houses in the town were kept well with freshly painted exteriors and cottage gardens I would have once given my eye teeth to have.

© irene waters 2020

Not all the houses were painted allowing weathered wood to fungate next to beautifull painted colourful buildings.

© irene waters 2020

Sometimes the paint had seen better days

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The town has a population of around 200 but in summer the numbers swell to as many as 7000 people who come for the scenic beauty of the spot whose harbour is sited in the drowned craters of a couple of extinct volcanoes. This has created some wonderful cave systems visible in the harbour which is also home for the rare Hector dolphins.

© irene waters 2020

With all this water it is not only houses that are painted.

© irene waters 2020

I loved the idea of an ideas centre but why did they paint it such a drab colour?

© irene waters 2020

This pink painted house tickled my fancy. They looked out onto a magnificent view of the harbour and I guess they were going to have seating everywhere to take advantage of it.

© irene waters 2020

And for the spiritual needs of the town the church stood out in its pristine white paint job.

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And why not have your portrait painted whilst you are there?

© irene waters 2020

The Artist.

© irene waters 2020

No longer in Akaroa but when it comes to painting – did this man feel a wolly painting the perfect scene in Tahiti.

You’ve probably guessed – this week Cee asked us to look at painted surfaces

Posted in Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, photography, travel, Travel Theme | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Stinks can be beautiful: Wordless Wednesday

© irene waters 2020
Posted in photography, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

I got life: 99 Word flash Fiction

© irene waters 2020
At sixty
the doctor said, 
"Prepare to die." 
Not ready for death
she followed orders
special diet, 
multiple pills ingested.

At seventy 
the doctor said,
" Carry on.  
Increase these pills 
breathlessness will be gone."

All good,
she thought 
I got pills. 
I got life.

At eighty 
the doctor said, 
"Things are worse. 
Let's experiment 
for a longer life." 

Medication 
replaced religion
giving life.

At ninety 
"I don't want to live. 
Please Help me die." 
Stopping tablets
Not easily done  
when the habit of living 
is so strong, 
pills taken.

No good,
she thought
I still got life.

Written for Carrot Ranch where this week Charli asks:

June 25, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story with the phrase, “I got life.” It can be told from any point of view. What meaning does it lend to your story? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by June 30, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Posted in Carrot Ranch, fiction, flash fiction, poetry, Writing Challenges | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Surprising Beijing: China: Travel thoughts 1

© irene waters 2020

China was not a place on my bucket list. I have been to numerous countries in Asia and with the exception of Singapore, I have found them busy, dirty, a little frightening on the roads and not places that I choose to rush back to. Our trip to China, therefore was made on price alone. We had a trip for a little more than two weeks that cost us less than $AU600 (currently US$411. This included tours everyday, top class accomodation, all breakfasts. Only our main meal and a couple of lunches were left for us to provide.

© irene waters 2020

We arrived in Spring to find the blossoms in full bloom. Because they come out earlier in China than Japan many Japanese tourists come to see the cherry blossoms here. I was surprised at how clean it was and water was present everywhere.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

Everything looked clean and bright and the overcrowding that I was expecting was non-existent. The roads were civilised. Traffic moved at an orderly pace, obeying road rules – in fact I felt that I could easily hire a car and drive there.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

The buildings were tall and modern. For a girl from the sticks it was a beautiful sight skyscrapers of glass and shapes fantastic. Having flown from Sydney that has been having a light rail construction disrupting the CBD for the last three or four years Beijing looked first world and Sydney the third world.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

The people were as you would expect – no different to you and I. They were friendly and always very helpful and they loved their dogs as much as I do.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

Some places reminded me of Europe.

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I doubt that we would have such a colourful entrance to a fair ground.

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But as the sun set over the rollercoaster ride I could have been anywhere else in the world. Would Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City bring a different China?

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Agatha: A Book Review

image courtesy Amazon.com

Some novellas leave you wanting whilst others such as the Guest Cat and Agatha are powerful works that impact on your soul.

Agatha by Anne Cathrine Bomann loses nothing in the translation. Written in the first person it tells the final days to retirement of a psychiatrist starting with 800 conversations to go. He pays scant attention to what his patients say, often drawing bird charicatures instead of taking notes. Agatha is a new patient he doesn’t want to take on but forced to he believes that he can help her. Through his attempts to make her better, he faces his own life. It is a tale of loneliness, mortality, transformation and the difficulties of making connections.

His secretary had worked for him for thirty years yet they had no relationship outside that. ” Before I accompanied Madam Almeida into my office, I shot my secretary a glance. She was sitting very quietly at an uncluttered desk, staring down at its surface. The anglepoise lamp cast her stony shadow onto the wall behind her, and she looked so dejected that for a moment I considered whether I ought to say something. But what? Instead I drew the door shut behind me and turned to my patient.”

In only 147 pages no word is superfluous and the writing is beautiful. He reflects “How often had I listened to my patients complaining and been glad their lives weren’t mine? How often had I turned up my nose at their routines or secretly jeered at their foolish concerns? It occurred to me that I’d been imagining my proper life, my reward for all the grind, was waiting for me when I retired. Yet, as I sat there, I couldn’t for the life of me work out what that existence would contain that was worth looking forward to. Surely the only things I could reliably expect were fear and loneliness? How pathetic. I’m just like them…”

Would I recommend this book: Without any hesitation yes. These are characters that are believable inside a beautifully told story of the inner depths of humaness.

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I’d prefer to be cold!: Silent Sunday

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A Quiet Moment on the River: Lens Artists Challenge 102

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What better way to have some quiet time than a solar powered canoe trip up the Maroochy River. Not even the sound of an oar dipping into the water.

Leaving from Bli Bli we headed upstream towards Mount Coolum.

© irene waters 2020

Mount Coolum is on my list of must climb but I know it will not be as quiet as this trip on the river. Not only is it a popular spot but I think my breathing will be fairly ragged when I do attempt it.

© irene waters 2020

I loved the pattern of the splash made by the outrigger? gliding quietly through the water and

© irene waters 2020

the birdlife that we surprised along the way

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

the reflections in the water

© irene waters 2020

and the ripples when a slight breeze sprang up.

At this point we should have stopped but no we forced our way under the bridge eventually getting entangled in vines and mud. No longer quiet we couldn’t help but laugh as I pushed off with a paddle I brought a large amount of mud into the boat.

© irene waters 2020

Trees that have lived and died in silence with only the birds to note their change of state.

irene waters 2020

Waves formed by our movement

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

And more birds

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

And finally we see the tower of Bli Bli castle and we know our quiet day on the river is close to coming to an end.

© irene waters 2020

Thanks Patti for asking us to find images of quiet moments for Lens-Artists Challenge.

Posted in Australia, Bird, photography, travel, Weekly photo challenge | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

The Godmother: A Book Review

The Godmother by Hannelore Cayre is translated from the French winner of the European Crime Fiction Prize and the Grand Prix de Literature Policiere and about to become a film – La Daronne. Grand credentials and already on my bookshelf to read when it was picked by my book club. I love it when that happens as I don’t believe I have enough hours left in my life to read everything on my bookshelf that I want to read.

It was a crime book unlike any other crime book I have read. No murders – at least none that needed solving, no finding who the bad guy is as we know who the bad guy is from the beginning. Rather it displays life as it happens for some people in Paris and the tension is there as to whether the criminal will be caught and if so who will they be caught by.

The Godmother had a peculiar upbringing born to a Jewish mother and a Tunisian father. ” My fraudster parents had a visceral love of money. They loved it, not like you love an inert object stashed away in a suitcase or held in some account. No. They loved it like a living, intelligent being that can create and kill, that is endowed with the capacity to reproduce.”

Cayre painted a picture of Patience (the Godmother) by having us understand her slightly shady background, the fact that she is on the spectrum suffering bimodal synaesthesia and the child she was and then taking us to the present day where she presents as a 53 year old widow. The character is narrated by herself but in a way that the character is well drawn. We learn that she works as a translator for the police of intercepted messages in arabic, that she has a close friend in the police and that her mother is in a nursing home. And French nursing homes are no better than any nursing homes with the additional burden of sending their next of kin broke. This all makes for a crime with a difference.

The writing is good. I loved the description of her husband’s death. ” When I saw him fall head first into his plate of salad I felt an indescribable pain. As if an apple-corer had plunged straight into the centre of my body and extracted my spirit whole.” It compelled you to read to the end, almost unable to put it down.

My book club loved it. We score our books from 1 to 10 and everyone apart from me gave it either 8 or 9. I gave it a 7 for no reason other than I didn’t fully believe the story mainly because of her personal situation. I was told that it was because I didn’t have a criminal mentality. Everyone else thought it was totally feasible.

Would I recommend this book: Yes I would. The writing is compelling, the story different and I would love to know if you think it would happen.

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A Rare Sighting: Silent Sunday

© irene waters 2020
Posted in photography, Silent Sunday | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments