Ailsa's Travel photo challenge: Art

Ailsa from proposed this week’s theme.  Thanks Ailsa!

This is Millie.  I’ve been tutoring her once a week for a few years and now she has travelled to Sydney to take part in a special program to learn to read.

Millie and I have something in common:  our Dads both like to draw and paint.  This week, instead of showing you my father’s art, I want to draw attention to Stewart McDonald’s art.

He draws like this:

Stewart McDonald, “Millie”, graphite on Arches paper

And he paints like this:

Stewart McDonald, “UntitledF”, ink on Fabriano paper

You can see more, and perhaps even buy originals or prints of his works, here:


366 unusual things: days 174-178

22nd June – Saw a work of art made from an old book by detaching the pages, folding them creatively, then reattaching them to the hard cover.  The book was Moral Dilemmas.

23rd June – Borrowed the latest DVD of Alice in Wonderland.  The cover shows the Mad Hatter front and centre, with Alice peeking in from the side.  That is, it shows Johnny Depp front and centre.  Poor Mia Wasikowska who plays Alice.

24th June – Found an old pioneer house at Tidbinbilla that my husband thought was rented out.  I insisted we go and look closer anyway.  Clearly, the last tenants had moved out some time ago.

Rock Valley Homestead, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, built c1895.  Photo:  Brett Worth

25th June – Rang the National Archives today for advice and got a woman who was very interested in my research.  She talked to me for half an hour, asking more and more questions.  Until today, I’ve always found Archives staff officious and disinterested.

26th June – In a book about books, a word was broken at the end of the line like this:  had-.  The next line began n’t.


Ailsa's travel photo challenge: Parks

Ailsa proposes Parks this week.  See her great park story here:

Here’s mine:

In the heart of Alexandria in Egypt, there is a green square running down to the esplanade along the sea.  It’s called the Midan Orabi or Orabi Square, or Place Mohamed Ali.  At the end of the square is a neo-classical monument donated by the Italian community in 1938 and originally dedicated to Khedive Ismail (‘Khedive’ is a title, like Viceroy).  He had studied in Paris and held diplomatic missions in Europe before his appointment as viceroy of Egypt from 1863 – 1879 under the Ottoman suzerainty.  He incurred massive foreign debt, borrowing from European financiers, and this mismanagement led to British intervention and the occupation of Egypt in 1882.  If this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have this photo.

My father had this picture in his album of photos taken in 1941/42 when he was there as an Australian defending the British Empire.

Khedive Ismail being remembered for not much more than his hateful administration and the introduction of colonialism, the monument facing the Mediterranean sea, or more specifically, facing Europe, was recycled in 1966 into a monument to an ‘Unknown Naval Soldier’.

Modern photos show Orabi Square still with tall palm trees though at ground level it is now quite cluttered and busy, not neat and open as it was in the 1940s when the area was known as Place Mohamed Ali, or the French Gardens, and it looked like this:

French Gardens and Monument to Khedive Ismail, Alexandria, Egypt, 1940s

366 unusual things: days 169-173

17th June – A church sermon was illustrated with a Renaissance sculpture of the devil tempting Christ:  the devil is bent-nosed and bald;  Christ is straight-nosed, long-haired and bearded.  They are both white.

18th June – Out for a walk, I passed a flock of ground-feeding sulphur-crested cockatoos.  One took off and flew close to my ear, squawking.  Almost deafening.

19th June – A man and his 10 year-old daughter went past on a bike – him riding and her standing on the bag rack, her hands resting on his shoulders.

20th June – At a closing-down sale of a large store, I was sold a cardigan by a fifty-something saleswoman.
“Are you a member?” she asked.
“Would you like to become a member?”
“Ah, no….”
She shrugged.  “We have to say it.”

21st June – On this winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, it’s very cold and blowing a gale, yet a few women are outdoors in strappy tops.


366 unusual things: days 164-168

12th June – My monosyllabic student had to write poetry for an assignment.  I started, he followed and came up with several words at a time.  Then he wrote a sequel.

13th June – My son who studies physics asked me which theory was more plausible:  time travel backwards or the idea that the physical world is an illusion.

14th June – Woke at 2 am and still awake at 5.  (This is not the unusual thing.)  I was surprised, in passing the hours, to read in a novel a recount of a long and spooky dream, then to pick up a second novel and read a recount of a long and spooky dream.

15th June – Turned on the car radio this morning to Artsound FM and heard Django Reinhardt.  Turned on the car radio this evening to Classic FM and heard Django Reinhardt.

16th June – Just after midnight, the dog across the street, who chases his tail all day and has never been outside his small yard, escaped and was free.  Ironically, shortly after, his mistress was put in a paddy wagon and taken to the watchhouse for the night for refusing to cooperate with the police (who had left her gate open…).


Ailsa's travel photo challenge: Secret Place


When I’m in France I go into churches and sit by myself and think and pray.  They’re all good for this, whether a large cathedral or a small village church, because most of them are open during the week.  It’s a privilege I don’t enjoy here in Australia where I live.  Inside these ancient structures it’s surprisingly quiet, even if the church is situated in the heart of a city.  The stone walls block out most noise and it’s very easy to focus without distraction.   Because I experience this particular solitude only in France, it came to mind immediately when Ailsa proposed a ‘secret place’ for her travel photo challenge.  See hers here:

The churches in French villages are particularly peaceful and very often are empty on weekdays.  This photo is of l’Église Saint Mathieu, the church in the beautifully restored mediaeval village of Oingt, north-west of Lyon.  I went there with a couple of friends one day in 2010 and we were the only people around, except for a few staff in the small restaurant and art gallery.

It reminded me of another day a few years before:  I was a student in Lyon, and my brother died but I couldn’t get back to Australia for his funeral.  Another student suggested that if I wanted to get away to somewhere peaceful for a day, I should go to the ancient village of Pérouges, also north of Lyon.  I went on a Wednesday and was all alone for about two hours, walking the cobblestone streets and narrow ways, the ruelles, between buildings.  But the most precious gift that day was half an hour alone in the church, l’Église Sainte-Marie-Madeleine de Pérouges, sitting in the back row of old wooden pews and looking at the stone floor of the aisle, grooved from centuries of footsteps.  It was comforting to know that in the 1400s, people were worshipping and praying to God exactly as I was, looking at the same stone walls and walking down the same aisle.

Eglise Saint Mathieu, Oingt, France

366 unusual things: days 159-163

7th June –  A black cat crossed my street.  The late afternoon winter sun created a monster-cat shadow which got me up off my chair to see if it was being followed by a large dog.  It wasn’t.

8th June – Sat at the table in a student’s home and quickly stuck to the seat in several places.  Put my books on the table;  they also stuck.  I told my 9 year-old friend about the problem;  she confessed it was maple syrup.

9th June – I’ve noticed that since I started blogging, I’ve stopped talking much.

10th June – Found out the previous owner of our new second-hand car was Lego.

11th June – On The Voice, the TV singing talent show, the coaches frequently say “I love you” to their protégés, who sometimes reply, “I love you, too”.  This love is a new fashion.




Perhaps you, my blog readers, could help me understand something about this poem that my father wrote:  As you get towards the end you’ll see a line about a ‘flare’;  what do you think was happening?  Read the whole poem and let me know if you can enlighten me.

Sixty-nine refers to Hill 69 near Gaza, Palestine, where my father’s battalion was recovering after having defended Tobruk in Libya;  at Hill 69 they did further training as well as garrison and border protection.

The photo shows the first verse in his handwriting but I’ve transcribed all the verses, which you’ll see below the image.  I was inspired by the ‘Friendship’ theme of this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge to add this poem, which, you’ll find, is about friendship in war.

The poem is signed with my father’s initials, R.E.B.  I ask that it not be copied without my permission and without credit to him.

Red Kane of 69

“Something’s brewing,” said Red to his mate,
As they gazed along the line,
“It don’t get quiet for nothing,
Not here, at Sixty-nine.”
He thought of a time, two months ago,
He got a similar hunch,
And Jerrie came over in “Spitfires”,
And wiped out most of his bunch.

The “TRICK” was as old as the bloody hills,
The one they pulled that night.
In a couple of patched-up Spitfires,
They made that bloody flight;
All eyes looked in their direction,
The shout went up, “All’s Well”,
In came the bloody Spitfires,
Turning loose All Hell.

“I’ll square that deal, cobbers,” he said,
Damned near fit to howl,
“Even if it cost me me bloody life,”
“By bloody fair means or fowl;”
For he was a Dinkum Aussie,
Big and strong as a lion,
And he was a natural marksman too,
Red Kane, of Sixty-nine.

And now as he gazed across the sand,
Something to him was clear,
There was Jerry movement on tonight,
And to him came a great idea;
And so he spoke in whispers,
As he conversed with his mate,
Tonight they’d square a deal,
Regardless of their fate.

The Jerries moved with caution,
More cautious still, was Kane,
He wondered how his mate was,
If things panned out the same;
Complete in every detail now,
He lay face down, in prayer,
For five in every hundred yards,
He’d set and laid a flare.

That night, his mates were avenged,
Paid back, more than two-fold,
Paid by the help of his very own life,
For he now lay stiff and cold;
He’s gone to the great Beyond now,
A place of Perfect Design,
And greater love hath no man,
Than Red Kane of Sixty-nine.

Ronald E. Bruce, 1941
© Patricia Worth, 2012