Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago I was telling you all about my enrollment in the Matador U’s Travel Writing course.  Now a couple of weeks in, I have submitted my first assignment – writing about my home town.  There have been a couple of revisions to the initial draft, but I hope that you all feel like you are with me as I returned ‘Home’ to this place I love so much.

Travel writing evolution Assignment – Returning home

Reminders of home

Across the farming land I see them.  The high-rises of my home town.  Two concrete wheat silos standing tall above the mallee scrub. Their corrugated tin roofs reflecting the hot summer sun’s rays back up into the brilliant blue, cloudless sky, and I know I’m almost home.

IMG_3449

The newest additions to Patche – Two 10 meter tall Mallee Fowls. The intention is that they will become a draw card for travellers hoping to tick visiting all the ‘big things’ off their list.

Past the ‘Welcome to Patchewollock’ sign the deserted main street is a familiarity.  The football oval a silvery grey, with bands of brown.  The grass long dead after years of drought and the weeds now crusty from the early summer heat. The old general store, though closed now for years, stands beyond black and yellow striped tape, a caution by the council of danger.  The local hotel, the hub of our community, freshly painted but desolate.  The farmers too busy with harvest to call in for a cold beer or a quite yarn.

Across the road, two giant mallee fowls. Their 10 meter tall structures built to honor this native flightless bird that was once thought to be close to extinction, but now which frequently roams across our remote desert landscape.  They seem strange; foreign, yet their sculptured bodies and finely detailed painted feathers provide our small town with a glimmer of tourist hope.

Nothing has really changed, but it all seems slightly different.  Perhaps I am seeing it through new eyes. Once a town at the ‘end of the line’, many may see it as a lost cause.  A town without life, without heart, without hope, but I know its secret.

Before I know it we are out of town. Where I’d previously thought a puddle of water lay on the road, now only dry bitumen remains. The watery mirage from the 40 degree heat now dancing on the road 50 meter’s ahead.

Golden Fields of Wheat

Golden Fields of Wheat

As far as the eye can see, paddocks after paddock of golden wheat line the road, their full heads of grain swaying in the light summer breeze, a living tribute to the settlers that selected and cleared this land in the early 1900′s. Land that their grandchildren and great grandchildren continue to work and graze in this harsh but un-spoilt corner of Victoria’s northwest.

The blue bitumen turns to white gypsum and the white gypsum to red dirt. The type of dirt that burns your feet on a hot summer’s day, that’s fine enough to stick to your skin after a hard day’s work and the type of dirt that creates a layer of dust on EVERYTHING inside the house after a mid-season dust storm. I know I am home.

The shearing shed, the grain shed. The tractors and the trucks, all reminders of my childhood.  Memories engrained in the sand, the sheds and the land these machines have worked.

Memories of racing through the pouring rain on pushbikes. Of sitting on Dad’s knee and steering the huge tractor and of resting in its wheel hub while sharing cheese and jam sandwiches under a shady tree in the middle of the vast open paddocks.

The smell of freshly turned soil after a rain and the sound of large rain drops falling on the tin roof as I fell to sleep on stormy summer nights. Of waking up to the stillness and calmness of the farm.  The only noise that of birds chirping in the cool of the morning and of the dogs barking, marking the new day.

Getting out of the car, the still dry heat hits me. It has been 20 months since I was last home and only 30 hours since I left a snow dusted Calgary. It feels a long way from where I have come, but everything about this place remains alive within me and I know in my heart that this will always be my home.

DSC_0479_Snapseed - Shearing shed

I always know this is ‘home’

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

For some time now I have been tossing up about the idea of undertaking a writing course, a photography course or both. And then I think about the cost of them and wonder if I could manage to ‘self-teach’ myself everything that there is to know. *Insert laughter here*

Procrastination of these sort of things are something that I know all to well. But last week I decided to take the plunge. Yep. I finally enrolled in the Matador University Travel writing course, (http://matadornetwork.com/) and after the initial ‘OMG What have I done!’, which is what I usually do when things outside of the norm happen, I’m feeling good about the decision I’ve made.

Obviously by my *insert laughter here* comment earlier, like most things outside the daily grind, actually taking the time for myself to sit down and research what I needed to learn about travel writing would wane over time, not to mention the extra time it would take to ‘filter’ through all the information that is available on the worldwide web. Then again in 6 months, 12 months, or even 3 years time I’d still be in the same place, wishing I had done something about it way back when.

Being an online course, Matador allows me the ability to undertake my research, read my notes and complete my assignments at a time that is convenient to me (if this week is anything to go by, that is usually around 10pm at night when I crawl into bed). I have undertaken self paced study before and at times I’ve found it difficult to find the mind space when I got home from work to sit down and study, especially when you are studying subjects to further your career.

While Matador doesn’t technically give you a ‘must complete by date’, a new chapter is released weekly, meaning if you wish, you can finish the course in as little as 12 weeks (my personal aim is to have the course completed by March 31st, 2013). The added bonus – you have life long access to the course material and website for the small upfront fee of $350. In reality.. over time, it’s a great investment.

I know a lot of you are probably thinking, ‘yeah, but if you only need to access it for the first 12 weeks, it’s pretty expensive’, well think about this.

Matador also provides you with a forum for you to post live blog content, photographs and film footage, allowing you to gain valuable feedback from like-minded community members and educators as well as access to a wide variety of paid writing, photography and film opportunities. And for a company that has an association with well-known organizations such as ‘National Geographic‘, Society of American Travel Writers (S A T W), Aol Travel and Transitions Abroad.com, how could anyone not consider a Matador’s course.

DSC01602Aside from everything that Matador offers, undertaking this course allows me to have ME time. Allows me to do something that I love doing – writing. If simply I just learn tips and techniques that only my friends and family read, along with a handful of travelers, I will still be happy.

Obviously there’s a much greater goal (as mentioned in my blog ‘‘ earlier this week), but if Plan A doesn’t happen.. I can still live the Plan B life I’m currently living – that of a contract para-planner with a wish to work all over the world.

;

The Details:

Who: Matador University

What: Self-paced online study for:

Time Line: Minimum: 12 weeks / maximum: unlimited

Cost: $350US (occasional discounts may apply)

Note: You have the ability to sign up for a week’s trial for $10US on any of the courses. Should you feel that Matador is not for you, you can cancel your enrollment at anytime prior to the full amount being debited against your account.

;

</

Read Full Post »

No. 1 Roughneck Fans
Ben, Lee, Me, Dave & Tannis

q. What do you get when you mix the throwing actions of Irish Hurling, the punch ups of 80’s Aussie Rules football, penalty boxes of Ice Hockey, set plays of Basketball and an indoor field the size of a hockey rink?

a. An absolutely AWESOME game!! also known as Box Lacrosse / Indoor Lacrosse and simply Lacrosse

Everyone knows that I’m pretty much an ‘any sports’ fan. With four brothers to influence me, usually the rougher and tougher the better and if there was also a chance for speed.. you beauty. So in early 2011 when Ben, Lee and I were introduced to this crazy sport, by our Canyankie friends, Tannis and Dave, how could I not love it?

I had managed to watch one game of Hockey since I had been in Calgary, but with the price of Hockey tickets practically unaffordable to the average Joe here (and all the good seats brought out by Oil and Gas companies) , Lacrosse became the sporting game of choice. Afterall what other choices did I have? Canadian or American football (pansies!!) or Baseball (hmmmm nah!)? Not only was the game fast, rough and totally full of fights, the entire crowd got behind our beloved ‘Neck’s and spurred them on.

With the music pumping, with every pass, with every shot at goal and with every goal saved, the crowd brought the roof down with the ringing of cowbells and the sounds of ‘What’s he got?…. N.O.T.H.I.N.G’.

Needless to say our weekly tradition become an outting to the lacrosse, which also continued this year, albeit with lots of additional new faces.

I’ll miss the Lacrosse.. but not just for the game, but also for the chance to enjoy being with friends, socializing.. and seeing a damn good fight!..

Go Necks Go

(ps.. my hat and jersey will take pride and place at the farm)

Read Full Post »

mate·ship [meyt-ship]

noun

1. the state of being a mate.

2. Australian . a mode of conduct among Australian men that stresses equality,

friendship, and solidarity.

I find it hard to believe (yet proud) that mateship is considered to be Australian.  That a country such as ours can be considered to have such an awesomeness associated with it.

Every country can have this and perhaps they do.  Perhaps it is simply known as something else, but has exactly the same meaning – a relationship between men that stresses equality, friendship and solidarity.

But where does mateship begin… and where does it end?

As many of the people that I love and adore in our community are gathered together to farewell a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a friend, a protector, a mentor and a mate, I can’t help but think how lucky we were to have one of Dad’s best mates in our lives.

I’m sure that their friendship began as young boys running a muck in the back blocks of Patchewollock and as each of them grew, got married and started a family, that friendship turned to something stronger – mateship.

A mateship that was formed on similarities.  On country values and a respect for each other.  A mateship that faced illness and my father’s death. A mateship that stood up to be counted and remained with our family until last Sunday and will continue to remain within our hearts forever.

I will never know the true sacrifice that was made for our family.  Will never be able to explain it and no words of thanks would ever come close.

All I can simply hope is that two mates are now resting together.  Catching up on lost years, reminiscing about the past and watching down on our future.

Read Full Post »

If you haven’t guessed I’m a teeny tiny bit partial to a good Rodeo. In fact some of the smaller ones actually provide far better viewing (and photographic) opportunities than the big gig at the Calgary Stampede, while still attracting both quality livestock and highly ranked cowboys and cowgirls.

The Pincher Creek Fair and Rodeo was no different.  Classed as one of Canada’s Pro Rodeo’s and listed on the Canadian Pro Rodeo circuit with a total payout in excess of $41,000, it is contested over 3 days in August and there is certainly plenty of time for highlights, low lights, bone crunching, people watching and enjoying good ole Canadian Country Hospitality.

Obviously the Cluck, Cluck, Run Chicken Races would have been a bonus to see (as per my last post), but I can quite happily say that I enjoyed my day out in the country air and i hope you do too.

(warning, some photo’s may offend)

The Grub Line.. get your tucker here!

A Saddle Bronc rider hangs on

Dreaming.. one day they might just well be out there too

Just like this Cowgirl… a barrel racing competitor rounds the second barrel

Don’t forget your boots!!!

An official looks on while there is a break in proceedings

A Calf Roping competitor prepares his horse before his run

A horse stares as he waits for the calf to be tied

A horse applies it’s breaks so the rider can dismount in one swift motion

Team work. Two calf ropers exchange gear (and horse) so the next competitor can go

A bull rider escapes the arena

pick up men enjoying the afternoon rodeo

Furious and focused, the bull wants him man

x J

Read Full Post »

C – Claustrophobic
A – Anger
N – Negativity
C – Closed
E – Erratic
R – Regret
Cancer – a word that I have known all my life. A word I have grown to loath.  To hate and wish never existed. A word that I never want to hear, but sadly am hearing all to often and all too close to home.

In a sense I guess that I am religious. I believe in a greater being that created this earth, that created us and everything in between, .  But for that same being to create something as nasty and horrible as cancer.. please, it can’t be true… can it?

I don’t remember when Dad was diagnosed with his brain tumor, obviously I was too young, or simply I have blocked it out. I simply remember Mum and Dad going to Melbourne, staying with family friends for what felt like weeks and weeks on end and visiting Dad in the local hospitals.

I know I was naive to what was really happening and personally I prefer to keep the happier memories to the fore and the less happier ones locked away in the depth of my memory bank. But the sad fact is that they are there and when local news, like I have heard this past week comes through… so to do those horrible memories.

Somewhere out there, there has to be a cure. How many lives have to be affected before this monster is stopped? How many wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mums, dads, grandparents, friends and communities have to endure seeing their loved ones ill before it becomes unbearable?

A friend once told me “everything happens for a reason and if God didn’t think that we couldn’t handle it, than he would not have chosen that path for us.”.

In some ways I struggle to understand this logic. Why did our family have to endure the pain that we felt and still live with everyday so early on? What lessons have we been taught? But plain and simple…why us?

Perhaps there is some logic in his madness. Logic that we struggle to see and logic that may burden us, but hopefully it is logic that makes us stronger.  Enables us to provide support, love and hope for others out there that are now going through what we have been through.

In times like this it’s hard to see how you/we can offer any such support, but it’s the knowing that someone else knows how you feel, what you have been through, that you have continued on, which enables you to continue to look forward. To see that perhaps even in your darkest moments and after all the shadows have settled, there is still hope, there is still life and there is still family, friendship and community.

My heart always lies within our small strong community and I’ll be thinking of you always.

Xx N.

Photo thanks to designsbyjack.co.uk

Read Full Post »

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Four Go Further

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

Frolic in Freedom

a journey of discovery, friendship and travel

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

kgrahamjourneys

not all those who wander are lost

theroadihavetravelled

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site

Adventures of Fresh Rice and Tasty Fish

A Thai proverb for "a newlywed couple"

The Male Baker

a place where creativity begins

LEANNE COLE

Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

travelola

reflections on travel & expat life in australia

TheAdventuresOfDr

chasing the world, finding bliss

Here is Havana

A blog written by the gringa next door

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: