Monday, July 31, 2006

Day 92
Another short walk to my parents. I spent the afternoon with Mum in the den. I spied this little teddy on the shelf and drew it while Mum slept. Then I gave it to her and she danced with it in the air and we talked about Hermione. 3 km

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Day 91
I only cycled to my parents today - I'm feeling a bit under exercised but there isn't time for more just now. Every day something turns up that we can laugh about - today my sister and I imagined ourselves as women from Charles Dickens as we boiled and squeezed out wash cloths, looking out on Dad as he dug the garden - and there's always something lovely - today listening to Mum 'warble' along to the Girton College Choir CD - remembering her Cambridge university days.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day 90
I just walked over to Mum's today. Mum and Dad's beds have been moved downstairs into the den. There is a kitchen and dining table at one end and Dad's desk, an arm chair and a slow combustion stove at the other. The beds are squeezed in the middle and though it's very cramped, it means Mum is at the centre of everything and Dad pops in often. Behind the combustion stove, Dad has hung his favourite old tools, some from his father and others picked up on his travels, and his gardening tools - everything handy. I cared for Mum from 9.00 'til 4.00 and kept adding to this drawing when she was peaceful. I will colour it later. 3km

Friday, July 28, 2006

Day 89
I walked to Hermione's bench with my brother so didn't draw then. Walking home from Mum's in the evening, I mused upon the moon's own rythm of coming and going in the inky black sky. It's been some week. 6km

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day 88
I walked the loop with my friend Robin, and then after a cuppa with her, cycled over to my parents to take a turn sitting with Mum. About 8.00pm this evening, I was drawing, while my sister was tending to Mum and we all were enjoying the wonderful singing of Andreas Scholl. Mum and my sister danced together. 6km walk; 3km cycle

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day 87
I just walked over to Mum's today, and found this pod along the way. A bird must have dropped it as there was no bush or tree in the vicinity. 3 km

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day 86
I cycled into town today to buy two tickets to the ballet - Dad loves it and he needs a bit of fun just now. On the way home, a magpie swooped me - the first of the season. I heard the familiar but scary sudden whoosh and it shot ahead of me - "Ha Ha, just practising" he squawked. Sometimes they grab at you with their claws. Very occasionally they stab someone with their beak. The swooping season is at its height in September. 12 km ride

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 85
It's been raining all day so I didn't go for a long walk this morning - just a quick trot over to Mum's to sit with her for the afternoon. She was very tired so I sat in the window watching the fairy wrens and stitching up Finnian's new jumper. 3km

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day 84
Again, I only walked over to my parent's house. So frail, so frail Mum is and yet we had a glorious time singing along to Italian Opera (the song we know as Two lovely black eyes). The contrasts at a time like this are so huge and the subleties so significant - it's a strange place - out of time. Dad likes to keep busy. He put another rail next to the bath and hung a brass bell by the front door.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day 83
I only walked to my parents house and back today - perhaps 3 km. I spent the morning with Mum while Dad gardened in the sunshine. Mum and I listened to some of her old favourites that we copied from records onto CD's some months ago. They switch her on delightfully.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Day 82
I dropped in on my parents after lunch (my mother is ever more frail and not eating) and then walked on to Hermione's bench where it started to rain as I sat down so I did a very quick sketch. I think this is a young darter - it didn't know what to make of the two swans that appeared and who seemed to think it should move on - despite a lot of bickering, it stayed put. 6km

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Day 81
12 km cycle and a 6 km walk with a friend who appeared from England.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day 80
Eighty days! I could have gone round the world in a balloon. Instead, I did another daily excursion, riding my lovely bicycle to the Australian National Gallery and wandering round musing upon things and perusing the books in the shop. As I was leaving, I saw a group of teenagers waiting for their school party. For some reason, I found this girl with super-bleached hair (I think) very disconcerting - we stared at each other for a while, then I went home and drew her. I wonder if she is writing in her blog about the strange old bag at the gallery? 10km ride

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Day 79
Out again after dark - I'm getting rather fond of these cold, quiet, nighttime forays. I saw a fellow washing up while the cat watched and memorised it to sketch when I got home. 4 km

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day 78
I walked to the Deakin shops to buy the biscuits on special for the kids' lunches, now they are back at uni. I thought I'd do this scene to record the petrol prices (per litre) to look back on in a year or decade's time - of course any Brits won't think we're anywhere near the pain that they have. $1.39 is about 55 English pence, US$1.04 and .83 Euros. What are you paying? 4km walk

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day 77
It's been a long tough day and I didn't get to walk until 9.45 pm after my bath. It was drizzling as I walked around the neighborhood but a few people were out walking their dogs. Again, the sky was a lovely orange and iron blue, not particularly dark. The pine trees are starting to sprout new 'prickles' and the black shapes looked lovely against the sky. 3km

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Day 76
It has rained all day today and I only got a chance to walk while Ralph was cooking the dinner so it was dark again. The clouds had a beautiful orange glow with heavy dark patches. I caught them above a row of eucalypts which ,of course, still have their leaves. 3km

Friday, July 14, 2006

Day 75
Today Tor and I needed to go and do some odd jobs at an apartment we are managing. We needed a small scrap of fly-wire to patch a flyscreen door. None to be found, so I told Tor to cut a piece from an old cedar screen door that I am going to fill with panels of machine embroidery instead of flyscreen. Off we went, cycling 12 km return and had a busy morning. I cycled back on my own and as I was returning some stuff to my studio, found a significant hole cut out of my studio flyscreen door - that we completely renewed last summer! Reminds me of Flanders and Swan - 'Oh, it all makes work for the working man to do'. Tor is now going round asking if anyone wants a hole cut in their trousers :) 12 km cycle

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Day 74
No time for a walk until 9.30pm, after my bath - we all go through the same bath and I have to have it first as I like it very hot, and just for a couple of minutes - then everyone else can have their turn while I'm out. I walked around the suburb and back past the shops. For a while, I've had in mind to do these baskets waiting in the bakery window for the next day's rolls - a very rough sketch but perhaps a good subject to force me away from all the fine detail, much as I would like to draw every cane - not at this time of night though, and at minus 2 degrees. 4 km

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 73
I'm tired today. I walked to the shops this morning and did quite a lot of digging in the vegie patch (ready to plant vegies for the possums who have finished off the parsely and even the rhubarb leaves). So I've just walked down the road to see what can be seen of the full moon - it looks like a table doiley. Now I'm off to bed. 3 km

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day 72
A Possum! I cycled 12 km today, but didn't stop to do any drawing. Later, I walked over to Mum's again to see how she is - she's having a bad patch at the moment with terrible pain caused by Parkinson's disease. She had some friends visiting but was very tired. On the way home, I saw several possums getting ready to begin another night of vandalism and urban terror, protected by law every step of the way. There are those who love them and those who loathe them - you can see which category I fall into :)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day 71
I cycled into town to do some business and then went on to the art shop to buy a new tube of warm yellow - I have for the first time in my life finished a tube of paint! - but the art shop was closed for renovation and expansion (some different goodies, maybe) so with the dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I gave in and finally bought a pair of gloves. As you can see, I can't really paint in them, especially using my left hand to do my right, but they will be nice for cycling - and now I am grown up, I don't have to have those horrid strings going from the gloves, through my coat sleeves and pulling across my back. 14 km ride

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Day 70
Ralph and I walked the loop. We passed a stand of olive trees which were alive with currawongs. We went over to have a closer look and found one tree was covered in small, ripe, black olives. Ralph loves olives and seeing the currowongs so enjoying themselves, asssumed the olives would be tasty for him. I told him otherwise but he was already heartily chewing one - he couldn't get the disgusting, bitter thing out of his mouth quickly enough and the flavour took ages to disappear.
There are quite a lot of olive groves around Canberra, owned by hobby farmers looking for easy crops to fill niche markets. In South Australia, where they have been grown for much longer, they have become feral pests. It's a dilemma - we're being encouraged to move away from English garden plants and grow drought hardy species but these can then survive in the wild and may become pests - even Australian plants can become pests out of their source regions. 6 km

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Day 69
Out after dark - this time escaping the new Dr Who series which started today. This little Morandi - style grouping on a window sill between the window and the blind caught my eye, especially as it would be easy and quick to draw. 4 km

Friday, July 07, 2006

Day 68
Cold and windy again, but no clouds - that's why it's so cold, especially at night (also because Canberra has an elevation of 600 metres). I had to go out to do some business so did a 12 km ride but didn't stop to do a sketch. Later, I walked down to the local shops to fill a prescription for Ralph and sat opposite this old fellow while I waited for it to be filled. He was very proud of his new walker, finding it much more helpful than his walking stick.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 67
I cycled into town today. I hoped to do a drawing on the way home but it was so windy and cold, I couldn't see anything. Once home, I had to go out again to take my mother her Christmas in July cake - we'd decided there was no need to wait until next December for such pleasurable treats. These two little boys stared at me from their garden next to the bike path and I stopped to memorise enough to do a drawing back home in my nice, warm sittting room. 12 km ride

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Day 66
I walked alongside the lake to Hermione's bench and there were sulphur-crested cockatoos everywhere. Some were choosing their night-time roosting spot - they make such a noise over this - thin whines and creaking door sounds - and others were grabbing a last snack, scratching under the pin oak trees for acorns. When I started drawing these ones, there were two here, then fifty, then a magpie flew down and all the cockies left. 6 km

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Day 65
Today, I set off about 4.30pm to walk the loop - this is just one of many possible views looking west down the lake. I really enjoy trying to catch the feel of the last of the light - the silhouettes and the colours but it's tricky as it changes so quickly and then it's completely dark. 6 km

Monday, July 03, 2006

Day 64
While Tor and Ralph were at the doctor's, I stepped across the road to the Botanic Gardens. Unlike the Canberra Botanic Gardens, the Sydney gardens have trees and shrubs from various parts of the world. Top, are the flying foxes (wingspan about 50cm) having their morning snooze This roosting habit kills the trees. Below are a collection of palm trees, all without labels, unfortunately. They have wonderful textures on their barks.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Day 63
We are in Sydney for Sunday and Monday to see Tor's eye specialist and enjoy a few of the sights. These are two rainbow lorikeets that were boldly sharing our cafe table.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Day 62
Well, it official - this past June was the coldest in Canberra for 20 years. Most weekends, I take my mother out for a morning. On the way home from a shopping and coffee trip, we stopped by the lake so Mum could have a walk with her walker. All of a sudden, four pelicans flew slowly past. I first saw a pelican in the Edinburgh zoo - a miserable bedraggled fellow and now I still find it amazing that they are wild and free here.