#922 Port Arthur Love and Loss

I never thought I would love Port Arthur.

It always seemed like such a sad place, a haunting place, and a tragic place, based on its old history of convict settlement, brutal punishments and then another horrible tragedy, the massacre of 1996.

I had heard about it, read about it, been told about it in school. I can even remember the day of the Port Arthur massacre – I was in year 7, and our teacher was telling us about it in class.

I however, never thought I would be as captivated as I was today when I visited the historical site, in person.

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Because how can a place with such a savage past, be so beautiful?

It is hard to imagine what it was like then – the whippings – men’s backs seeping with blood from punishment; convicts trying to escape and then freezing to death in the expansive grounds on unforgiving freezing Spring mornings; supposed ‘surgeons’ operating on sick offenders, with no real study or practice behind them – with only time and repeated surgeries making their brutal amputations more precise.

The sun was shining. It was a perfect Winter’s day, something I never thought was possible. We took a boat tour…

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We wandered the grounds…

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And we just took it all in.

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I cannot recommend this place highly enough. It is a World Heritage site for a reason, and I am beyond grateful that I was able to visit its historic sadness and natural splendour. I urge anyone reading this, to do the same.

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#892 The Last Winter Walk

It felt like so long ago since I had done this.

These were my thoughts as I walked the 10 minutes from the car park to work, just before 7am this morning. I had had the last couple of Wednesdays off, but still, the previous ones I had worked I must have had a late shift, because this walk felt like something I hadn’t done in a LONG time.

It was peaceful. Still. Few people around. Working in the city outskirts, means that even in peak hour, there is a smaller group heading off to work and going about their day, much smaller in size than if you were to go, bang smack in the middle of the city, and have to scurry about like a hamster on a wheel.

It was still dark, and yet the first light of the day was starting to filter through. The Bolte Bridge’s lights shone above the water in the near horizon. Boats slept. Runners jogged/shuffled by with earphones on. The regular café guy started opening up shop, putting on the lights inside and taking out tables. Trams whizzed by silently.

Things were happening, and life was still moving. But it was all hush hush.

It was actually, beautiful.

I pondered this as I shoved my hands into my jacket pockets, borrowing my face into my scarf. It was still cold. I knew that the next two Wednesdays I had late shifts – therefore, I wouldn’t be walking like this, at 7 in the morning on those days. Rather, my start time would be at the leisurely hour of 3… PM.

I started to calculate. If I do two more late Wednesdays, and then I’m on holidays for a few weeks… I won’t be doing an early Wednesday shift, until September.

The next time I will be walking in the morning like this, it’ll be Spring.

Oh! I realised with excitement. This is my last Winter walk for the year.

Suddenly, EVERYTHING INSIDE OF ME HALTED. My legs kept moving forward tentatively, yet everything in my head whirred to a direct halt.

Redundancy. Moving on. New jobs.

I wouldn’t be here next Winter. This was my last Winter walk to work, EVER.

The acknowledgement suddenly saddened me. Sure it was cold… but here we were, months and months and months away from finishing up, and suddenly I was experiencing one of the many ‘lasts’ that I would inevitably come across as I made my way slowly but surely, to the work finishing line.

In this race, we were all crossing the line together. We were unified in our change, but it was still horribly bittersweet.

I was immediately relieved that I had made the Winter Walk realisation. I crossed the road, and paused near my work, taking some photos.

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Those pine trees I’d complained about, when they’d replaced them with the original palm trees years ago… I’ll miss them.

That street I walk up religiously to get my coffee fix… I’ll miss it.

That view. It’s pretty darn impressive, even in Winter. Even in the dark.

Those boats. They have allowed me to daydream and ponder as they waft and tilt over the swaying waters.

Even the God-damn mirrored elevator in the building.

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Sure, I’ll miss that too. What with the bright lights allowing you to see every pimple on your face, yet with enough of a warm glow that makes you feel like you too, might be able to jump in front of the cameras and give the latest news update.

Oh, it’s beginning. The ‘lasts’ are-a-coming.

Thank God for phones. Thank God for photos.

Because the memories will always remain. ♥

#843 Beneath blue skies…

Blue skies peeking from beneath the leaves of trees:

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The pristine expanse of water, stretching out around boats and travelling up the horizon of skyscrapers, for as far as the eye can see:

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And then a bridge in lights – the glow representative of the stunning day that was, or IS.

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Noble, worthy, and wonderful things to focus on and remember about today, especially as only hours after that last photo, I went home early from work because there was a golf ball stuck in my throat.

I’m not well. 😦

I am reminded of my Mum’s words. Whenever I have expressed to her deep frustration or complaints about life, she has responded with this:

“You have to grow thick skin, and be hard, like a rock. So hard, so nothing can get you.”

This soft girl needs some thick skin then. I need it so that the ball in my throat pales in comparison, and I need it so I can focus on those blue skies with more appreciation…

 

#734 Sorrento/Queenscliff Ferry

Our 2-night quick getaway came to an end today, and brought with it a small amount of sadness…

But also happiness, in the new leisure activity we discovered.

THE FERRY.

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We took the Sorrento/Queenscliff Ferry back home today, travelling the same 40 minute route it took us two days ago, but just in the opposite direction. You can travel by foot or by car, choose a one-way or return trip, and there is even a café in the ferry that can cater to all your drink and snack needs on the short trip.

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(View leaving Queenscliff Harbour)

It really is a short trip. By the time one side of the mainland becomes distant in the horizon, soon the other side comes into view, growing stronger and clearer, a greater contrast against the magnificent blue of the water.

OH. That water.

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Just brilliant. The Ferry makes small getaways like this much more convenient and possible, it is a relaxing and truly inspiring way to travel, and it is an all round exciting thing to do, even without stepping foot off the boat.

I can say with certainty, that the Ferry ride will become part of our travel itinerary, for many years to come…

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#730 Mornington Pier

I have the fortunate problem of having too much to be grateful for today.

Nah. NEVER too much gratitude to be had.

It was a truly blissful and relaxing day. It really did feel like we were on holiday. Aside from the quiet reading I did at the park while Hubbie played some b-ball

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And the great time we had at my Uncle and Aunty’s place taking in mother nature, her finest and most organic produce, and the surrounds of heavenly greenery

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(My Uncle’s bees drinking water around the large bowl)

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It was what we did at 10:30am that had us in absolute awe.

We started off once again with no real plans after the kinder drop off was done… Hubbie mentioned coffee, it was to be guaranteed to follow on Main street, and when we appeared to be reading each other’s minds with the same café – Store Fifteen – I had to add, due to proximity’s sake –

“Why don’t we walk down to the pier?”

This man of mine loves sitting down to drink his coffee – not many takeaway cups there. But, the water called.

“Sure.”

We took our large latte and regular cappuccino, and wandered down the path in between the curving coastline and huge park that baby girl loves to frequent, until we reached closer water.

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From here on out, I think I’ll let the photos do the talking.

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It was so incredibly peaceful. There were people about, yes. But it was still. It was quiet. We stayed at the tip of the pier the longest, looking out at the world beyond.

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A nearby fisherman spoke to us, telling us he had waited for this perfect Summer’s Day for weeks. Mid 20s, 6km winds… it was the perfect day for fishing.

And we had stumbled upon it.

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We listened to the fishermens banter about bait, took in some more sunshine and pristine water views, I made small talk with a seagull… and off we went, making thanks for such a tremendously glorious sight, and vowing that the Mornington Pier walk would become a part of our wanders and visits, a bit more often.

 

#692 Summer catch-up with Best Man and Fam

Time between catch-ups is often too long and drawn out, usually with those you love and get along with the most. I don’t know why that is, I mean, we should not see the people that annoy us in life (I do that too) but for some reason it is just as impossible to get together with those that feed your soul.

And when your kids get along, DOUBLE THE POINTS.

What to do then on such a catch-up? Why, let’s try everything.

Fish and Chips at the local park – then let the kids run wild.

A quick walk down to the beach, which turns into some splashing in the bay.

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Why not some ice cream? The kids aren’t high enough on Summer/beach vibes, and hey let’s tire them out, while simultaneously feeding them sugar, because… January?

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But hey, that was intentional for a reason! They sat on the couch later and totally chill-axed because of it, while us adults rocked on.

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A fabulous night, all in all, for ALL. 🙂

#689 Walk to Work while the World sleeps

One of the best things about working during the normal January school holidays is that EVERYTHING is quieter.

The streets are quieter. Little traffic, you just fly on through to your destination.

Work is breezy. All the hard shit is done and you’re there trying to work out what Shakespeare performance you’re going to watch at the Pop-Up theatre with all your mad google searches.

And generally, there are less people.

I get to work about 7, which doesn’t sound too abnormal, but if I told you I get up at 5am, that sounds abnormal. Nonetheless, there are still people around any other time of year, rain, hail or shine, as I make the 7-10 minute walk over to work from where I park (depending on how cold it is).

But today… NO ONE.

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It was magic. Any other time, the thought of getting up early for a quiet walk sounds too hard as sleep and bed are my best friends, and yet when I am out on my walk in peace and solitude, I LOVE IT.

I observed the moored boats and soft rippling of the water around them, the fresh air that was devoid of any breeze, and the fact that I was the only one walking at that very moment.

It filled my soul.

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The photos do not do it proper justice, but I found clarity and beauty in the scenery around me, and gazed upon the water as the rest of the world, slept…