Wildflowers are the focus this week on Sunday Stills. As late Autumn becomes darker and colder, there isn’t much happening in our nearby Australian bush so its back to the digital files.
This photo was taken in late 2009. These wild flowers, Xanthorrhoea, were the first to emerge along our track, providing a stunning white display in contrast to a black and charred environment. They must have loved the bushfire as they were far more prolific, larger and more spectacular than in any other year.
Some brief notes.
Xanthorrhoea ( there are 28 species )is important to the Aboriginal people who live where it grows. The flowering spike makes the perfect fishing spear. It is also soaked in water and the nectar from the flowers gives a sweet tasting drink. In the bush the flowers are used as a compass. This is because flowers on the warmer, sunnier side of the spike (usually the north facing side) often open before the flowers on the cooler side facing away from the sun.
This week’s travel theme from Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack is Close up. Instead of a macro approach to this theme, I have chosen a slightly different approach. These were all taken at the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race snake boat race in Alleppey, in Kerala India.
Some handsome young police officers had a close – up view of the finishing line in one of the final round of trials. The races go all day!
It is heart warming to see many sari clad women’s teams participating in this this huge event. Close- up view of a local women’s team.
Those who can park their house boats on the lake get a fabulous close- up view of the finishing line.
Today, as part of Ailsa’s weekly travel theme ( Where’s My Backpack ), we are heading to Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand and entering Wat Phra Kaeo, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This week’s theme is Glow.
A candle is lit for for contemplative gratitude and inspiration.
The Emerald Buddha glows with pure Jade.
Travel Notes: Chiang Rai’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha claims to be the ‘original’ Wat Phra Kaeo, at least in Thailand. In 1434, lightning struck the chedi (since restored) and cracked it open. The ‘Emerald Buddha’ was found inside the broken pagoda. Soon after its discovery, the sacred image was moved to Lampang, then Chiang Mai, then Laos and finally to Bangkok in 1778.
The ‘Emerald Buddha’ is actually made of jade. In 1991 a replica of the original was commissioned to honor the Princess Mother’s 90th birthday. A large hunk of Canadian jadeite was donated by a rich Chinese businessman, and the replica was carved in Beijing. Following Buddhist protocol, the new ‘Chiang Rai Jade Buddha’ is not an exact copy of the original. It’s slightly smaller with other variations. The new Buddha was installed in a custom-built pavilion at the back of the main compound.
As part of Ailsa’s round theme this week on Where’s My Backpack, I am heading to Ubud, Bali.
Lotus pads in front of the Royal Palace. Last time I was there I also noticed that one of the abutting stone buildings had become a Starbucks coffee outlet. Shock, Horror. Is Ubud losing its soul?
The gardens of Ubud are luxuriant and adorned with beautiful stone statues and pots. The road from Denpasar to Ubud is home to thousands of stone masons and the drive is always so exciting. I would like to fit these rounded pots in my hand luggage!
Round eggplants in the Ubud Market.
And the beautiful round Ulegs in the Casa Luna Cooking School, Jalan Bisma, Ubud. I do have a fascination for these giant mortar and pestles.
Hot Cross Buns
Which half of the hot cross bun do you eat first? Happy Easter.
Do you collect cookbooks? Do you ever refer to them or rush to the internet when the need for a recipe arises? This is the modern dilemma: too much information, not so much inspiration. I must admit, I have a foot in both camps. I have far too many cookbooks, and will probably acquire some more soon, especially if they turn up cheaply in my favourite second-hand store. I also find recipes on the internet and print them, thinking that I will make them soon. ( I rarely do). Most of my cooking is driven by the ingredients on hand, meaning those in my pantry, fridge or garden. My best meals are spontaneous and intuitive and rarely come from the printed word. So what are all those cookbooks doing on my shelves and why do I find the need to acquire more?
I love books and the texture of them, their smell, and the care taken in producing them. I like to hold them, turn the pages, and bookmark them, take them to bed. I find them comforting in the world of transitory information – instagram, tweeting and other forms of one second grabs of hollow information.
Here is my question for cookbook collectors. How do you organise your collection? By cuisine? Height? Colour? Nationality?
This little post is in response to Ed’s theme this week on Sunday Stills: International Foods.
Rather than choose another foodie shot, I went to my bookshelves,( but wait, there are more ! ), source of international inspiration.
In 2012, two beautiful wwoofers from Chengdu, China came to stay with me for a month. They chose Melbourne as they had read that it is the world’s most livable city. Part of the charm of Melbourne and its hinterland, for the Chinese visitors, is clean air. Australians take clean air for granted, but as our cities and freeways become more clogged, and our government pays little attention to policies addressing global warming and carbon emissions, clean air might become a thing of the past. Ailsa, from Where’s My Backpack has chosen clean as the photographic topic of the week, after she read this article in the Guardian about the air in Beijing.
The following photos were taken in Tasmania, Australia. If you could bottle clean, the island of ‘Tassie’ would make a fortune.
The spit at Bruny Island, Tasmania. ( below) Don’t forget to try the oysters at ‘Get Shucked’ for a taste of clean. ( above)
The famous bridge at Richmond.
School holiday time and my house and kitchen have been turned upside down by the invading tribe of wild things. The ten year old wants to work outside all day as he is saving for a motorbike,( but its raining), the seven year old goes through ten costume changes a day and the five year old tries to keep up with her, the three year old likes to play outside in the rain. My table is covered with art materials, there are balls and blankets in the lounge room, chaos has descended.
Here is my escape into the world of yellow as part of the Sunday Stills challenge: Yellow
Marigolds above and sunflowers below in the gardens of Chenonceau, France.
A yellow painted vegetable stall in West Java, Indonesia
A doorway in Bagan, Myanmar
A fruit platter on board a houseboat in the backwaters of Alleppey, Kerala, India
This week’s travel theme, chosen by Ailsa at Where’s My Backback, is Misty.
When I think of mist, my mind wanders back to Britain, Ireland and Scotland, recalling the mists hovering about the standing stones of Cumbria, or rising over the ancient dry stone walls of Inisheer and Inishmore off the west coast of Ireland, or seeping through the cold walls of Dunvegan Castle on Skye, or chilling the seas near Tarbert, Outer Hebrides. Robbie Burns songs, softly spoken celts, peat and strong whisky, many scenes follow. Alas, these images only survive in my mind.
My misty offerings today come from far warmer climes. The high altitude areas of India are often shrouded in mist. The tea gardens of Munnar, Kerala, India offer stunning views, the mists and waterfalls rise over the Westminster carpet of green tea plantations.
Another hot and misty region, Mae Salong in Northern Thailand, also specialises in tea. Still the home to ex Kuomintang escapees from China, the food is superb and Yunnanese in style. Naturally, tea shops abound.
Everyone rushes around like a loony when Mt Rinjani on Lombok peeps through the mist over Lombok Straight. Out come the cameras. Rinjani is the sacred twin of Mt Agung in Bali.
The mists in my own front yard, early winter time, Victoria, Australia. There is a kangaroo highlighted on the ridge.
I am always drawn to Buddhist temples when travelling in Asia.The busy temples along the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, or the quiet Lanna style temples in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The colourful temples, with attached monastery schools for young boys, in Luang Prabang, Laos and the small Buddhist temples dotted throughout the Islamic towns of Java. I attempt to visit them all .
These Statues of Buddha are a few from my Buddha files. They were all taken in Myanmar ( Burma), where the Buddhist Pagodas outdo all others in scale and opulence.
Ailsa’s ‘Where’s My Backpack‘ hosts a weekly travel themed blog every Friday. Check out some of the others.