One trip EVERY month: August

Not far out of Canberra, a small village called Gundaroo beckons some of us to stop and stroll, and others to stop and live in the peace and quiet.  This morning we drove there for a cuppa, parked in Cork Street outside the old police station, beside which there’s a tank on a tower, beneath which there was a sheep asleep.

water tower Gundaroo

We had morning tea at the Cork Street Café in the old stables behind the Gundaroo police station.

Gundaroo police station

The chef suggested her freshly baked (in three minutes) foccacia with jam, and with our cappuccinos, it was all hot and delicious, outside in the sun, looking at the lockup.

Settlement in the Gundaroo area began in the 1820s after explorers discovered the well-watered land and fine black soil of the Yass River valley.  From 1856 the village grew slowly with a general store, a Presbyterian Church and Royal Hotel going up.  This small, small village needed a police station and lockup, sad but true, as well as a Court of Petty Sessions.  Today the Court, built in 1874, is an Anglican Church.  It’s fascinating to walk around it and work out how it’s been converted to a church, with the addition of three stained glass windows in an otherwise blank front wall, a bell in the yard to call people to worship, and a cross on the roof (only just visible in my photo).

A short skip down the street brought us to an old shop built in 1886, once called Sally Paskins’ Store, but which is now a kind of museum of old tools that can be purchased.  Together with another shop beside it, the Gundaroo Store, it would sell all kinds of necessaries, from haberdashery to hardware items, and even explosives for miners, for gold had been discovered in the region.  No one bothers with the gold these days, since Gundaroo has a pretty high average household income.  In the header of this page you can see the outside of the store with its heritage-listed wooden plank walls and brick fireplace, quietly retiring beside an ancient tree.

Gundaroo tools

Though it’s a shop, the building is laid out in the typical style of small 19th-century Australian houses, with a hallway extending like a tunnel from the front door to the back.  I slipped out into the back yard while my husband was still inside looking at the blokey stuff.

Sally Paskins' Store Gundaroo

A similar cottage across the street was put up as the Gundaroo Literary Institute and Library, which I once wrote about here.  As we were heading down to the Village Common, run by the villagers as a common grazing ground, we saw the sheep that had been asleep, now standing close to the fence munching grass.  We approached.  She came towards us like a lonely dog looking for a pat.  It’s been a long time since I’ve touched a sheep and I’d forgotten how thick the layer of wool is.  I had to press down through several inches of it to make any contact with the actual head.   As I stroked her, I found tiny horns curving over and hiding their tips down in the thickness of the wool.  She seemed to like the attention even if she couldn’t feel me making much contact.

With her sweet ears that stuck out horizontally, two furry white triangles with pink inners, I couldn’t resist a few clicks.  As we were walking away, she came to the gate and poked her nose through, like our dog does when we arrive home.

Gundaroo sheep

It was a good Gundaroo morning.

Thanks Marianne for inspiring me to take a trip EVERY month.

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Orange

From Éloge de l’oranger by Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695)

Orangers, arbres que j’adore,
Que vos parfums me semblent doux !
Est-il dans l’empire de Flore
Rien d’agréable comme vous ?

"Orange de Malte", P. Doumerc, Oingt, France
“Orange de Malte”, P. Doumerc, Oingt, France

My translation, wherein I change the plural orangers to a single orange tree, for the sake of rhyme:

Orange tree, my desire,
How thy scent is sweet to me!
Is there in Flora’s empire
Anything as lovely as thee?

Blood oranges at EPIC market yesterday
Blood orange eighths
Blood orange eighths

Thanks Ailsa for the orange prompt!

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Weekly photo challenge: Texture

Judy Watson, an indigenous artist, created this sculpture, Fire and Water.  It’s textural…

Fire and Water, Judy Watson, Reconciliation Place, Canberra
Fire and Water, Judy Watson, Reconciliation Place, Canberra

You’ll find it in Reconciliation Place, Canberra, where there are a number of sculptures by Aboriginal artists.  Since this particular artwork is called Fire and Water, I’d always thought the grey object amid the fiery reeds represented a seal or dugong.  But on closer inspection today, I saw it’s not an animal, but a stone.  A gathering stone.  Muted sounds are constantly playing through small holes all over it, representing bogong moths flying in on their annual migration and people gathering to feast on them.  Michael Hewes designed the sound.

Looking between the two stands of rusty reeds, we see the National Library, one of my favourite haunts.  In this wintry season, the reeds echo the hibernating poplars in the library forecourt.  At the moment I took this photo, two jets in the fountain were working.  That was just luck;  the fountain is not always turned on.  The elements in the photo are a great example of symmetry in this city of many symmetries.

National Library of Australia and "Fire and Water" sculpture by Judy Watson
National Library of Australia and “Fire and Water” sculpture by Judy Watson

Bogong moths pass through Canberra every year in about September.  Last year they were in plague proportions, congregating on many of the national institutions in the parliamentary triangle, and particularly in Parliament House.  At night they’re attracted to the powerfully lit flagpole on top of the House.  We all had moths flying and dying in our homes, which was annoying for those of us who don’t eat them.

Since we’re thinking of texture for this week’s photo challenge, take a look at this image from another Canberra photographer, Donald Hobern, of a bogong with its fluffy head and carpet-like wings.  When they land on tree bark they’re well camouflaged.  But I can tell you, while one individual moth might look beautiful in a close-up, a crowd of brown, fluttering moths resting up in a corner of your room is not attractive.  But thanks to Judy Watson’s sculpture, I learnt that they’re edible, and even delicious, and I was reminded once again that nothing is completely ugly or useless.

Photo of  bogong moth courtesy of Donald Hobern, Canberra, Creative Commons
Photo of bogong moth (Agrotis infusa) courtesy of Donald Hobern, Canberra, Wikimedia

Take a look at more textures on the WordPress photo challenge page for this week.

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