The Blue Tongue Lizard

Whilst in isolation there has been time to explore the messy areas of my garden

This day the Blue tongue was in the same patch. About 6″ long and quiet timid. Birds were diving on him and he was using his tongue to fight back.

He or she was happy to stay but has largely hibernate under pavers or in the leafy areas of my garden. Apples, pieces of meat and other fruit seem to interest him.

I have not got a name for him yet. If he stays it will be good. He enjoys lying in the sun but hides in the cold and usually is not visible of a night.

Phillip D

 

 

 

 

In

Lessons In Life Daryl Morrow

I recall some time ago,in the 20’s I was working in the city when the news was full of reports about the pandemic spread of Corona Virus here in Australia,stay at home,don’t touch your face,self isolation etc. I guess I was lucky working in an essential service industry and as such was allowed to continue travelling into the city to carry out my governmental work. Yes I got scared of what to do to stay safe and at lunchtime started by leaving the office to get fresh air and sunshine and distance myself from other commuters,I got some inspiration take my own sandwiches from home and eat in the park just at the end of the street.
The next day I brought along my corn beef and pickle sandwiches and a small thermos of black coffee. The day was sunny, no wind Autumn is like that and at lunchtime I found myself wondering through the flowers and shrubs near a small pond covered in flowering water lilies,I decided this is an ideal spot to eat lunch there was only one bench seat and to my dismay it was partly occupied by an elderly man with his rolled up blanket and a battered green bag his clothes were tidy but his old hat seemed a bit large for his head. As I approached he gathered his belongings and moved to the end of the bench, I took this it to be a kindly offer to share his seat he appeared non threatening so I sat and stared at the pond and water Lillie’s.
I poured out a coffee and whilst waiting for it to cool pulled out my sandwiches and said to the man what a lovely day he seemed pleased to be acknowledged and we chattered some more all the time his eyes travelled to the food, I offered him a coffee which he drank eagerly, time had slipped away quickly must get back to work, he looked hungry so I offered him my sandwich and I noticed he had no socks on, I asked where he lived he replied mostly here in the park these days.
My mind was full of questions about this lonely person, that night I cut extra sandwiches and more coffee to take to the park hoping he might be there and that he might share his story with me. Lunch time came very slowly that day but when it did I rushed to the pond in the park I guess we were both looking forward to each other’s company again,we quickly ate our lunch ,eager to chat. I won’t disclose his name but for the purposes of this story I will call him Sunny. He seemed keen to tell his adventures in life, he was born in the dusty northern parts of Victoria in a very small wheat belt town, six houses in total, a weatherboard one room school,four grain silos and a railway track beside a road less traveled.
He never knew his mum or dad they died in a home fire and his dads brother took him in, he never got to know him much as he travelled a lot shearing and when home he seemed very tired and slept most of the time, his wife a big woman never hugged him or even seemed to like him she was to busy washing ironing for neighbours and baking bread and cutting wood for the firebox.
School was a torment other kids teased him and told him his mum and dad ran away because he was so ugly.
He spent a lot time on his own down by the old railway dam watching the wildlife there, he tried catching the little green frogs and tadpoles, staying late till sunset he saw the kangaroos come in to drink and saw the joeys jump in and out of mothers warm pouch whilst the big bucks stood guard.
When he was 15 he left school and worked for a while on the farm just out of town but that job did not last long now with no work and the drought it forced him to jump the grain train and later he found himself in the big city with nowhere to live, he now wished he had gotten a better education but too late now.
He got some work in a factory this gave him some money and he could afford a room with an elderly couple but he had to eat alone read the old newspapers and do his own clothes washing.
He lost his job after three years and found himself on the streets again.
He started to look unkept and grubby, why couldn’t he get a good job and live like others he sees every day walking past him. Back to work for me my head still of wonderment and thirsty to learn more.
It is the end of Tuesday and we agreed to meet each day at noon.
Wednesday noon sun still blessing us both,Sunny agreed to tell me about surviving on the streets, I asked about being cold he said yes for a while you feel the cold then somehow you get accustomed to it; you can always find a corner away from the wind where the sun is shining or a doorway to shelter from the rain, see that Pandanus plant near the pond with overhanging fronds that’s where I sleep And keep my belongings, I also sleep on this bench and get warm and dry my clothes here when the suns out. Opps I am going to be late back to work, so much to hear and learn.
Thursday, Sky a little greyer to day but I have a special lunch home made meat pie and a large Apple pie, Sunny’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. He had made friends with other homeless people and learnt how to make money from passes by, some had a dog for people to pat and drop some money into a food bowl,one did chalk drawings on the concrete pavement, others recited poetry and others simply begged.
I was very good at drawing , said Sunny using a grey lead pencil on scraps of paper I loved drawing people’s faces, the Salvos gave me some pencils and a sketch pad one day and I sat in the street drawing a persons face, got quite a crowd some times I used to get a fiver from some and a couple of bob from kids, look I will show you some he opened his tattered bag and several pages fell onto the ground and I was spell bound at what I saw and asked if I could buy one.
You can get lots of food from bins late at night and wash from the garden taps he told me. Leaving a bucket of water in the sun you can get hot water to wash in. If you are quick clothes can be obtained from charity bins, shoes and socks are harder to come by. Some of the churches put on a great meal on Sundays and its there you find friends with even worse stories than mine, I think I am very lucky really.
Sunny seemed a bit ill that day feeling feverish and a dry throat so I left the last of the thermos of coffee with him hoping to comfort him during the nighttime.
Friday came and I was anxious to catch up with Sunny and lunchtime arrived I grabbed our lunch and hurried to the park, Sunny was no where to be seen his blanket and tattered bag was neatly stored on the bench, I waited for nearly half an hour where upon a parks gardener come up to me, and said I was worried I wouldn’t find you, he said he had observed Sunny and I becoming friends and having lunch together lately. Anxiously I asked had he seen Sunny he looked shaken as he told me an Ambulance came early this morning but it was to late, but he said he had found a parcel marked to me, I nervously opened it up Sunny had drawn a picture of me on a sheet of brown paper signed from “Sunny to my dearest friend”
I still ask myself.
Who was the teacher and who was the student?
Daryl Morrow 2020

Little Brown Garden Cricket

 

Sometimes when digging the garden soil preparing for the next crop of veggies
you turn over a clod to see a brown prehistoric style insect about 15 cms 
long scurry away and quickly bury itself again.

I have never been able to photograph one of these beautiful characters,
however I have managed to photograph a distant relative, the elusive Preying
Mantis.

The mystery of the insect world always fascinates me - what was he doing.
There was no apparent damage and so onwards I go, preparing and planting my
winter cabbages.
The weather had been very dry and lots of plants were starting to suffer.
I never sighted the Cricket again, thinking he may have perished. I thought
it strange how he got called a cricket. He didn't look like a bat nor like 
a ball or cricket stumps, somethings are lost in the transit of time and one
can only ponder.
Then In Autumn when the rains broke late in the afternoon I heard a high
pitched chorus of noise coming from ever corner of the veggie garden and also
from the lawn and flower patches. After listening for some time it began to
make sense; it was a symphony of music coming from under the ground. These
invisible crickets being in great numbers were giving thanks for the rain.

The next morning on inspecting the still soft soil, evidence showed the 
crickets had tunnelled just under the surface making patterns going this way
and that way, keeping out of sight searching for the mysteries of the insect
world.
This chorus of music went on day and night for days, the high pitch when
standing between the contestants was hard to endure, however if you stomped
on the ground those closest stopped only to start again when you moved on.
As the season progresses crickets seem too hard to find and the music stops.
With the large number in the garden in Autumn one could be excused for 
expecting to see many crickets when tending the various crops but rarely is
it so.
People are so busy in their walks of life they miss the mysteries of the
other world.
Remember that spiders had the first Web pages.

 Daryl Morrow
0418 376 863

Screeching Cockatoos

Screeching Cockatoos             By Daryl Morrow

 

The birds gathered overhead as dawn broke and formed a rowdy flock, then headed north.

Buses and Trains

Silence now as Ken, Lee, Kaye and Daryl studied the timetables for a mystery day on the buses and trains.  The weather looked promising after the heavy rains of the last two days.

Whilst we waited for bus 902 from Eltham a Vietnamese lady took our group photos, she was visiting her son, but could hardly speak English.

The bus arrived and the journey had started. Later we caught bus 280 and stopped at the Pines Shopping centre, boarding bus 906 to Warrandyte, there was evidence of last night’s large hailstone storm, wind and rain, the tree leaves were stripped and lifeless on the ground and roadway.

Here we boarded bus 364 to Ringwood and gazed at the high rise apartment buildings near the new railway station which is elevated like a sky rail with a bus terminus on both sides at ground level.  Then we boarded bus 380 to Croydon, then the 670 to Lilydale, which is on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Here we decided to walk the long main street, marvelling at the earl architecture, some as early as 1850.  We had lunch at a noodle shop, very large serving, and then walked down Chapple St, passing an old brick church with a weatherboard chapel still in great condition.

Nearing one o’clock now, we decided to travel by train to Box Hill, waiting at the Lilydale Station.  The train pulled up and the driver alighted and locked the train up.  We were surprised to note the driver was a lovely female; we engaged in conversation and were surprised to learn Rachael was previously the local Postie and delivered the mail on her motor bike for years, how her life has changed, now she is the Lilydale electric train driver.

The train was a much better ride than the buses, through Mooroolbark to the high rise apartment blocks of Box Hill.  What a culture experience stepping out of the train down stairs one level to a very large food market.  Box Hill seems to be the love child of China.  Kaye, who had taught in China for 6 years, explained this is a carbon copy of Chinese homes, transport, shopping and employment; perhaps this is the answer to future development.

Well, what a great day of adventure and comradeship, nearing the end of the day now, but wait there is more – onto bus 293through and past Doncaster across the Yarra River stopping at Montmorency where Lee and Kaye live, Ken and I walked down Were St Monty to the train and I disembarked at Eltham whilst Ken journeyed alone on to Diamond Creek.

In the morning, we gathered together us four and enjoyed our time together, but as the day ended we dispersed and disappeared separately as shadows do in the night.

Written and photographed by Daryl Morrow, 23 January 2020 and still going.

darylmorrow@hotmail.com

Ken’s Birthday Bash

An important event occurred on 11 June last year. Ken Ramplin turned 80 and some of his friends gathered for lunch at the Diamond Creek Tavern to help him celebrate this major milestone.

Over the last decade, Ken has been a major force in creating three OM:NI groups in the Diamond Valley area, namely Diamond Creek, Eltham and Hurstbridge. People from these groups joined him, along with members of Banyule and Greensborough groups, plus staff from the Bendigo Bank and local council, plus a few more friends he has gathered in a long life.

The lunch was good, (the usual senior’s meal, but good value), there were drinks to be consumed, there was a massive birthday cake with candles, plus more sweets. Daryl  made a touching speech outlining Ken’s life and local achievements.

Ken received a long waited for birthday present – a brand spanking super duper new electric bike, something he had wanted for a long time, so after furiously saving and with his family chipping in, the bike finally arrived.

Everyone had a great time enjoying celebrating with Ken, because along the way in his caring and kindly manner touched the lives of quite a few people.

Ken was last seen on the day, mounting his bike, complete with balloons streaming out the back.