Grandchildren, autumn colour, mountains, fresh air, lyre birds, walking tracks . . .

Grandchildren, Autumn colour, mountains,  fresh  air,  lyre birds,  walking tracks  and an Old World Guest House

How special to be invited to join the family for a few days to play again in the Blue Mountains,  all of us staying at an ‘old world’ Guest House in Katoomba and returning to  Blackheath to reminisce and remember the playground our family  enjoyed in the young years..

The Dharug and Gundungurra Peoples welcome you
to this special place and ask that
you acknowledge, respectand appreciate its story
and sacred beauty

Day 1  

The family left for Katoomba early as they were booked in for the Scenic World Experience  which included the Scenic Railway down into the Valley and a Valley walk to see the amazing interactive  sculptures,  to see the old coal mine, then up the cliff and across on the  Scenic Skyway.  It was a fun  morning for them. Edison was excited about the waterfalls, and being in the front row going down  in the train the steepest train in the world, into the valley and Darcy loved his map and kept showing us where he went. 

Michael and I took our time  and stopped for a picnic lunch at one of our nostalgic venues Wentworth Falls Fall Lookout . The air was electric, the sky so blue and each deciduous tree was turning in their perfect timing.  There was a helicopter going back and forth and a National Parks woman explained they were dropping material along tracks for maintenance and taking out rubbish. It did take away from the serenity I was wanting so much but suddenly they took a break and the silence was hypnotic Not even the Falls could be heard where we sat. 

 

 

We arrived at the Guest House . . very old world with a breakfast room, dining room, games rooms and piano and had the character of a well known jazz lounge in its younger days.  At least the many  posters  decorating the walls were nostalgic for those  heady days.

We all went then to see the Three Sisters and we walked down about 80 steps with some metal ladders and out across the bridge to the first sister. We had a great picnic in one of the original caves.  Everything was so quiet . . .  by that I mean not many people . . .they had a quiet morning at Scenic world and we had no trouble parking at the Three Sisters. We were spoilt as it was not a public holiday and  little could we predict the Easter crowds.

On face book Jessica wrote of their day

What a perfect first day of holidays in the Blue Mountains. We spent the day at Scenic World Blue Mountains. We went down the steepest railway 🚃 , walked the long track for the Sculptures in the Valley and then came back up the cableway  🚡 then we took the skyway out over the valley and stopped over Katoomba Falls before heading to The Three Sisters. We walked down to the First Sister and then back up the very steep steps. Only 80 of them 🥵 back up the top we had our picnic waiting for us in one of the caves. I loved watching the kids explore, especially Edison who climbed, jumped, poked, questioned everything he came across and was so determined to try everything. Nothing was too much for him. I don’t know where he gets his energy 

 

 

Day 2    Blackheath

We woke to a glorious day and down in the dining room to meet the family for breakfast at 8 am as our plan was to get on the road early to travel the 10 minute drive to Blackheath for the day.  (that became closer to an hour with the crazy  Easter traffic that appeared.)

Michael and I have gone to Blackheath hundreds of times and never , ever experienced a traffic jam!  on this road, so funny . We surmise people were on their way to Mudgee or Dubbo . and we heard the Bells Line of Road was closed due to landslides I think or fires or flood  or as a result of all three  . . these days you can choose the catastrophe andyou probably wont be too wrong.

How to describe the morning.

Firstly the air had a crisp tingle to it. . .we all needed our trackie top
but we felt invigorated by the tingle.
No-one can beat John Keat’s words:
Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness
yet I couldn’t help whispering,
leaves of russet golds and brown
and flaming fire red
tatter the emerald sky and burnish our tracks
willowing air blow gently on the trees
leaves spilling,
pitter patter down
as flaxen autumnal raindrops

 

In Blackheath, as pilgrims, we headed to our old home in Burton street where we had spent so many fun holidays  and like pilgrims we retrod our footsteps down Porters Pass  to Keating Rock, around to the lane to the warm Sunset rock  so tiny now which seemed to fit us all snuggled into watch the sun set.and we laughed about the quiet street  where the kids rode up and down with ice-cream bowls on their heads teasing the magpies who joined in the game swooping each time.

We chose the Fairfax Heritage walk because it was suitable for Pa to walk with the boys and we arrived at the view of Govetts Leap .

 

The Bridal Veil Falls  was the best I have ever seen it after the rains it flowed and pounded wildly down into the valley its spray soft lifted  by the winnowing wind sometimes caught the rays of sunlight flashing a rainbow veil. I couldn’t  catch it on film it was momentariy,  fleeting and spectacular .

To the Red Rocket park where the boys had a lot of fun and Jessica was reminded  about the many times she played there with her brothers and sisters and sometimes cousins and the near escapes they had.

Back to the Guest House and a takeaway Thai meal we shared in the recreation room while the boys watched TV and played.

 

Jessica wrote,

Down memory lane yesterday.
Blackheath.
Keating Rock.
Govetts Leap.
Bridal Falls.
Memorial Park. Still the same equipment since 1964, just safer!
We had to keep a tally of how often Mum and I said “Be Careful!!!”
When I was young we were trusted down these walks on our own!

I lived to tell the tale 😂

Day 3  

A stunning autumn day  . . blue sky touches of lifting mist , falling russet and gold  leaves 
the walkways beginning to crunch but still early autumn days.
 

We were the baby sitters for three year old Darcy, as his older brother  Edison had begged to do the full Giant Staircase down into the Grose Valley and to walk around to the Scenic railway to ascend .  So the three of them Nath Jessica and Edison drove off after an early breakfast left their car near the Three Sisters and set off down the close to 1000 steps that Edison can now say he did. We breakfasted with Darcy and then set off for a walk to get some postcards and brochures  to make a project of the Mountain adventure  for his preschool  and to help his language. 

Great photos  of Lyre Birds . It is good to know they are surviving down in the valley.

They arrived back pretty tired but very proud they have achieved this challenging walk. 

It is a great achievement for a seven year old.  Congrats Edison. Mum and Dad did well also .

When they arrived back we set off for home and made it easily dodging the Easter traffic.

We seemed to be going in the opposite direction to most!!! Maybe that is the story of our days.

Safely home after an invigorating pre easter time.

 

Splash, Slither, Squawk ed.Michele Bomford and Julie Thorndyke

It would be 40 years ago when Michael and I went for picnics along the Bell River near Wellington in western NSW and enjoyed finding good river bends to spot platypus. The thrill has been an enduring memory for us. We have always  hoped that our grandchilren will have this opportunity as well. Hence there is great excitement and pride to be included in The Society of Women Writers NSW new and celebratory Anthology  ‘Splash, Slither, Squark’ created for young people empowering  them to advocate for our wildlife and planet. It is full of hope for our future  and the proceeds  go to helping to restore our unique flora and fauna especially our wombats and our Bush Fire service.

Children including three of our grandchildren (during their homeschooling term) have  joined in illustrating the stories, poetry, articles and adding their voice to this anthology.

The home of  Society is The State Library Of NSW. Chief Librarian John Vallance is an amazing advocate of children’s book and we are proud of his support of the anthology.

Margaret Hamilton Wombat Care Bundanoon, NSW Rural Fire Service Lithgow, New South Wales Society of Women Writers Victoria Fans of SCBWI City of Sydney ABC Sydney Christmas Press Picture Books  The Children’s Bookshop ALT Media Jackie French City Hub Sydney RSPCA Australia Lisa Berryman HarperCollins HarperCollins Books Australia Pat Simmons Jacqui Brown Writer Tory Gervay

Buy a copy to save our wombats & support the bushfire appeal –

Splash, Slither, Squawk!

Edited by Michele Bomford and Julie Anne Thorndyke

ISBN  978-0-9808407-5-9 RRP  $20 https://womenwritersnsw.org/

Credit Card or PayPal: https://www.trybooking.com/BKXWO

To celebrate our 95th birthday The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc – the oldest association of women writers in Australia has collaborated to create Splash, Slither, Squark, and  anthology to empower our children to be advocates for the future of our planet.

.

 

 

Shared Footprints by Michael and Colleen Keating

 

Shared Footprints  is a Picaro Poets chap book perfect for your pocket when out on a walk or perched on an outcrop of rock overlooking the ocean.   Order it through Ginninderra Press .

Over the past two years Michael and I have done a seasonal beach walk each season from  Tuggerah Lake,  The Entrance Beach around the headland to Blue Bay,  around the rock platform to Toowoon Bay and along the beach  for a Cafe breakfast  at Toowoon Bay Life Savers Club and then  we walk back .

We walk quietly with notepad and pen and jot down what we observe.  Over the years we have put our thoughts down  side by side in response to the beach,  the seasons and each other.  We put this manuscript to Brenda Eldridge from Ginninderra Press as a possible Picaro Poets Chap book. It was accepte,   formatted and published. It is  for people to enjoy nature hoping to stimulate deeper awareness in us all.

Available now from www.ginninderrapress.com.au  /picaro poets and scroll down to our name.

It is divided into four sections

Spring: New Beginnings
Summer: Under a Melting Sun
Autumn : Tumble of Ocean
Winter: Our Shadows Long

Just a few examples

sea pattern
periwinkle meander
in the interidal zone   MK

 

 

 

we quicken pace
as wind leans in
hand warm together  CK

 

DEDICATION

for our grandchildren, our little castle builders, channel diggers, treasure collectors

may they all be star throwers.

The Star Thrower*

  One dawn, a man was walking along the shore.

   he noticed a young person reaching down to the sand, 

   picking up something 

  and very gently throwing it back into the sea. 

As he got closer, he called out, 

“Good morning! What are you doing?”

 The young person paused, looked up and replied, 

“Throwing starfish into the sea.”

“Why are you throwing starfish into the sea?” he asked.

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in they’ll die.” 

“But, don’t you realise that there are miles of beach here 

 and starfish all along it. How can you possibly make a difference?”

The young person listened politely. 

Then knelt down, picked up another starfish 

and threw it  safely into the sea, past the breaking waves and said…

“Made a difference to this one.”

* Loren Eiseley  (adapted)

Thank you to  Picaro Poets to Brenda Eldridge who gives such inspiration, affirmation and support

Seeing the world through childrens’ eyes

 

 

 

Seeing the world through children’s eyes. 

When the tide recedes beyond the horizon
and the underbelly of the sea is exposed
for little adventurers, Edison and Darcy
the rock platform is a necklace of pools
shimmering like emeralds and full of treasure.

Worry of slipping and falling is not their concern
they hop from rock to rock                                                    
clamber about down on their tummies
their shining eyes
reflected in the mirrored sea.

Everything is magical and extraordinary
Come here, quick Grandma 
the crabs are humongous. 
a scuttle of creatures disappear in our shadow
making us wait quietly
pretending we’re not here
as the rocks curl with camouflaged
crustaceans creeping out
and pincers like boxing gloves
point up at us.                                                    

In their eyes there is wonder
as red anemones sway the waves
as the molluscs trail into patterns
as starfish wash up like gift
as a sting ray glides past their toes
as these curious boys
learn to be respectful of the living world

Seeing the world through children’s eyes
makes me happy to be alive
as we steal out to the edge of the sea
and look for whales
as we dig in the sand on the edge of the beach
as we allow gentle laps of waves
to fill our canals and tunnels
and moats to protect our castles
until Darcy sees more fun in jumping
on them as quick as we can  mould the sand
seeing the world through children’s eyes

Colleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Miss G and her first poem

My Rainbow

My rainbow is colourful

red green yellow blue orange

It has white fluffy clouds

I wish I could stand on the rainbow and dance

Little Miss G  sometimes called Bridgie for short gave  me her first beautiful poem to decorate my wall. She was so excited and of course I am proud of my little 4 year old, especially the way she looks after her baby brother and helps her Mummy every day.

#Edi The Adventure of my School Shoes

The Adventure of my  School Shoes

by Edison with a little help from his Mum, Jessica

Everything was packed.
We left straight after school, not even time to get changed.
We travelled to the farm where we met my cousins.
When we arrived the adventures begun.
But oh no! My mum has forgotten my shoes.
My school shoes would have to come on the adventures with me.
Most school shoes would have been kicked off into a dark cupboard and forgotten about for the weekend.
Not my shoes, they went bike riding, climbing, running. They played sports, they collected fire wood and kept warm by the fire.

They collected mud and got washed in the fresh water rivers.
Boy, did these shoes have a good weekend away camping.


They travelled back home with the adventures still showing.
But like Darcy and I, once they had a bath (and a polish from Dad)

all that was left were the memories.
On Tuesday as I walk into school nobody will know but us, the adventures my shoes and I have shared.

  

#Edi  writing his story,  with school shoes cleaned and ready for school. Thanks Dad.

#Edi with his brother and a cousin

Visit to Cairns and writing poetry with the Grandchildren

Having a  few days in Cairns with the Keating, 

being there for Josh’s birthday, and having time 

with the family especially Lachie and Cammie was fun  

and one of the highlights of last month.

My Christmas poem for 2018 was seeded there  (on next post)

and I had great fun writing poetry with the boys.

One of our highlights was our walk through the Cairns Botanical Gardens 

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Cairns

by Lachlan and Grandma

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Cairns

By Lachlan Keating

 

The thing I like about the tropics

is the vegetation

The coloured leaves amaze me                                                            IMG_8936

pink, red,  purple and white 

mottled, patterned dotted and striped 

so you think leaves are only green

with chlorophyll to catch the sun

well come here with us all of you 

to the tropics and have some funIMG_8985

and you will be amazed too.IMG_8799

 

 

*********

 

 

 

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Two to three

by Lachlan Keating

From our balcony

in the palm tree

last night we saw a nest

With two eggs

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This morning 

the mother was on the nest

but when she flew off

to sit on a nearby branch 

there were three eggs!

 

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( The story didn’t end there.  Lo and behold the next morning there were four eggs.

When we did our research we discovered she is a Friar Bird. Friar birds lays one egg a day, laying  from two to five eggs. Yet five eggs is very rare.  Did we have a rare bird?  We waited till this morning and when she left her nest to sit on a nearby branch and sing her morning song there were still four. So she is special but not rare . Now she will sit for many hours a day to incubate the eggs and they will hatch in about 28 days.  I wish we could stay in our Air B&B till then but we have to leave this beautiful sight at the end of the week. Maybe the next guests will enjoy the developments )  

 

 

The Blue Balloon

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The Blue Balloon                                    

by Lachlan Keating

In the poolIMG_8720

we had a blue balloon

we blew it up

got the end 

and pulled it down

half way under the water

and we let it go

wham!

it flew up into the sky

we got a shock it went so high!

 

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Tricking Grandma

by Cameron Keating

When Grandma was resting 

on the towel

I snuck over to the pool

and filled my balloon up

with water and air

then I crept back

over to Grandma 

and squeezed 

the balloon really hard 

and sprayed water 

all over Grandma.

 

 

3975327707_549d93915d_o

 

Waterfalls

by Grandma,  Lachie and Cammie

We swim in the cold wet gorges

and it is fun,

diving and jumping off rocks, 

playing in the sun.

Splashing under waterfalls 

resting on warm ledges

we listen out for bird calls.

The sign says no crocodiles

for miles and miles and miles,

but we still look out 

and keep our eye about.

When you swim in gorges 

in the month of May

the splashing water falling

is lots and lots of fun

jumping in in such a ball

but later, some say

when the dry comes in 

and there is a very hot sun

it would be a miracle

to see a cascading waterfall 

 

Unknown

Territory Day

by Lachlan and Cameron  Keating

edited and typed by Grandma

Alice was on fire

on Territory Day.

Boom buzz bang

wham whiz whirl

kabam pop bomb

surprises

twist and twirl

the sky lit up 

red like fire

purple like blueberries

green like grass 

and blue too

it was such fun

all colours of the rainbow

orange and yellow too

like stars and balls of sun.

****

Both boys having been learning about Haiku 

( A small poem originating in Japan.)  It consists of three lines

Line 1 has a beat of 5

Line 2 has a beat  of 7 and 

Line 3 has a beat of 5  

This is good for the boys as they learn to count the number of beats 

and to think of a story and have the discipline of the  form. However Modern Haiku like to write less then 5 –  7 – 5. 

The first two Haiku were written by the boys for their home schooling.

 

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Birds

flocks of colour glide

wings flapping swooping diving

flying feathered friends

Lachlan Keating

 

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Water

deep pools of water

floating  flowing  tingling skin

cold splash kicking fun

Cameron Keating

 

 

 

More haiku by Cammie and Grandma having fun 

 

blue Cassowary

in the Daintree National Park

walking on our track

 

***

Cassowary bird

you surprised us in the bush

with your tiny chick

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

munching little fish

an humongous crocodile

while we were watching 

 

***

vicious crocodile

with sharp teeth and scaly skin

we won’t swim with you 

 

***

scary crocodile 

we know you are hiding

in that swimming hole