Tag Archives: rain

I wish it would rain

The full moon in cloud. So atmospheric.

The full moon in cloud. So atmospheric.

I know, it’s been far too wet in too many parts of Australia. Lake Eyre is still full, farmers in Tasmania and Victoria wish it would all lift its skirts and bugger off elsewhere and there’s STILL snow at Falls Creek. Western Queensland is well satisfied with the precipitation, thanks very much. But here along the Fraser Coast the grass is crunchy underfoot. And up North Fitzroy Crossing isn’t the only place watching the water levels. Bring on the monsoon.

Sure, I’ll complain about the rain when it gets too much, but in the meanwhile, a few inches would be nice.

I also wish the media would stop with sensationalising natural phenomena like the moon up there. We’re all so used to supermarkets going on about super sales and super size. But the fact is, the recent “Super” moon was just our regular old full moon at perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system. Which means it’s at its closest point to Earth, so being closer, it looks a tad larger. Even so, if nobody told you, I expect you’d be none the wiser. You might say, “isn’t the moon bright tonight?” but that’s about it. It’s all rather well explained here, with a nifty diagram showing the actual difference in size to a ‘normal’ full moon.There’s also a reference to the apogee-syzygy, which has been called a micromoon. It’s not talked about much. We humans prefer to talk about larger sizes in all sorts of arenas.

That’s not a super moon in the photo, by the way. Personally, I think dear old Luna is pretty special all the time.

In other news, we attended my nephew’s wedding in Brisbane a few weeks ago. What a fun event it turned out to be. Very best wishes to Jake and his lovely wife, Amelia. It was our pleasure to attend.

On the writing front, I’m getting back to my Work in Progress provisionally entitled The Stuff of Legend. It has been a hard slog for a lot of reasons. The main one is that, although I write space opera, I still like to ensure the science works. If I find myself thinking, “but why would…” or just as important, “why wouldn’t…” then something’s wrong and I have to backtrack. Some people would just say I’ll fix it later and charge off to finish the first draft, but I don’t work like that. I need to know it’s all making sense. So… progress hasn’t been as fast as I’d like, but it IS happening. I’ve even booked a spot with my favourite cover designer.

Meanwhile, I keep abreast of the US craziness via my Facebook family, where I particularly enjoy the Obama-Biden memes. Here, take a look. The coming months will prove interesting.

I sincerely hope my American friends all enjoyed Thanksgiving with family and friends. But – and I say this from the heart – you can take your Black Friday and stick it… somewhere. We don’t need Black Friday in Australia anymore than we need Halloween, or, for that matter, Thanksgiving. Huh. Yet another ‘Super’ sale. Ours (traditionally) happens on Boxing Day – the day after Christmas, which I believe is not a holiday in the US. In many respects, globalisation sucks.

Let’s see now… this week’s photo gallery. A few sights that took my fancy.

Kimberley gorgeousness - the Ord river

Kimberley gorgeousness – the Ord river

img_4895

Summer at the Bay – low tide and fluffy cumulus cloud

The Chichester Range in the Pilbara

The Chichester Range in the Pilbara

Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island

Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island

2 – Things never go exactly to plan, do they?

img_4817-2

The Moonie river – an unexpected sight

We left St George after breakfast and headed for the opal fields in Lightning Ridge in NSW. The plan was to take a quick look, then head on down to Bourke for the night. But things never go exactly to plan, do they?

Our first hiccough was an unscheduled stop at the Nindigully pub. Remember the issue with the GPS? Well, we figured this was all plain sailing, turned it off, and ended up on the wrong highway. About then the driver required a pit stop (if you catch my meaning). Fortunately, this pub was on the way, a short distance to the right. And it turned out to be right beside the Moonie river, which was full! As you will have gathered, seeing more than a few puddles in these inland rivers at this time of year is a rare and wonderful thing. While Pete attended to his business, I went out with the camera. Which goes to show taking the wrong road can sometimes be a Good Thing.

img_4816-2

The Nindigully pub. Note the mud and puddles and the sign on the roof for the Flying Doctor

img_4813-2

The (closed) bridge across the Moonie at Nindigully

But having taken the wrong road, we had to get back on track. That meant a narrow secondary road over to the other highway. There were substantial puddles on both sides of the road and a sign warning that water was across it, but we thought we’d give it a go. If we did come across a water obstacle, we’d think again – they do say “If it’s flooded, forget it”. But on the other hand, I can’t count the number of times we came across signs saying road works where there weren’t any.

We didn’t encounter any water across the road – but we did encounter drovers moving a mob of cattle along the Long Paddock. The beasts all looked fat and glossy, pigging out on the fresh green grass. It must have been a huge change for them after the years of drought. And good luck to the farmers. I hope they make a squillion in what promises to be a good year (up here in the Maranoah, anyway).

A drover moving cattle

A drover moving cattle

We had lunch at Lightning Ridge. This is another tiny town that’s made a name for itself. Opal miners work the dirt here, looking for colour and that icon of jewellery, the black opal. About a million caravans were parked on the streets, proving the town’s propaganda had done the job of persuading the growing numbers of Gray Nomads to come and visit. You can do a tour of a working mine, see an opal cutting demonstration, and get a glimpse of the town’s history. The people who live here are tough and need every bit of their ingenuity. It would have been worth a half day, but we had places to go.

img_4849-2

Mullock heaps at Lightning Ridge. These days they have little buckets on rails to get the spoil to the surface. A bit better than ropes and buckets.

img_4842-2

An original corrugated iron miner’s cottage. Bit hot in the summer.

The weather was changing by the minute, the brilliant blue sky streaked with plumes of high cirrus cloud. They were just the outriders: by the time we reached Bourke, cloud covered most of the sky.

Gathering clouds seen through a bug-splattered windscreen

Gathering clouds seen through a bug-splattered windscreen

It turned out that Bourke was full. There wasn’t a bed to be had. The reason was the Birdsville Races. I spoke a little about this event when we visited Birdsville earlier this year. The races are run in early September (just a few days from when we reached Bourke) and many travellers were on the move to get to the iconic Queensland town. But the rain that had filled the inland rivers had also caused floods. The roads to Birdsville were impassable, so people had diverted to Bourke. (The rain became so bad up there, the races had to be delayed. That’s a once in a lifetime event.)

We had to move on. Close to sundown in country Australia is not a great time to be on the road. Kangaroos and emus are both thick as two short planks when it comes to road sense, and both will make a nasty mess of a fast-moving car, as well as themselves. Not to mention a wandering bull or two. We headed for Cobar, 160km away. As it happened the band of cloud obscuring the sun hadn’t reached the horizon, so I could catch a snap of typical bush, white-trunked trees and red earth, lit up by the westering sun.

Late sunlight on the scrub

Late sunlight on the scrub

Cobar receives the gold star for worst motel on the trip. We came into town just after dark and decided the place on the corner opposite the RSL and a few metres from the main street would do. The room was tiny, wide enough for the bed and not much else. The bathroom was a narrow lane at the end of the room, just wide enough for a toilet, sink, and shower, for skinny people only. The sliding door was opposite the sink and it snuggled up to your butt while you brushed your teeth.

The RSL (Returned Services League) clubs in country towns are always a good place to get a cheap meal, which was one reason we chose that motel. But the RSL was closed on Monday, so we had to choose from the two pubs in the main street. We thought the food was expensive, but the meals were huge. I think Pete’s parmigiana must have come from a pterodactyl. We could easily have shared one meal between us. But one always discovers things like that too late. On the bright side, we won some money on the Pokies.

Tomorrow we’re heading for Hay, which frankly, sounds as boring as batshit.

 

Every day is a new experience #photo

I haven’t been sleeping all that well of late. That’s not a good thing in some ways, but on the other hand, it means I’m awake before dawn, and I can pop on down to the beach to see what the sunrise has to offer. Mostly, I go to the same place each time, where a tidal creek runs out into the bay. There’s a large sandbar at that point and at low tide I can get brilliant reflections in still, shallow water.

It’s different every day. Clouds, wind, tide – they all make a difference. And sometimes I’m treated to some special little extras. So come on down and share my morning.

Rain over Fraser

Rain over Fraser

When I arrived the sun was well below the horizon. Rain was falling over Fraser Island.

IMG_9814The moon was gibbous waning, so I could capture its reflection in a pool. People were already out and about, walking their dogs in the cool of the morning.

IMG_9840Then the sun came up in glorious golds, while that rain band moved up the coast, giving us a sprinkle on the way through.

IMG_9846When I turned around, the rain cell and the sun combined to form a perfect rainbow.

IMG_9835And this last shot shows my friend the Brahmani kite out for his first flight of the day

Awesome. And all for free.