sadgroves creek

27 October 2014


many moons

photo taken in Maun, Northwest Botswana, by Philip Milne

Kris wrote last night from Maun, Botswana…it took him a while to get there from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe because he had to make a detour around Chobe National Park for two reasons:
1) The park is mostly soft sand, very difficult for a bicycle, and 2) “Meals On Wheels (i.e. cyclists) are not allowed into the park, as big cats are part of the park’s animal population.

Despite not going on any paid safari tours, he’s seen a huge number of African animals just by cycling from country to country…many, such as elephants, range far beyond the borders of proprietary parks, and wander the salt pans in between Botswana and Zimbabwe. Looking for a place to do his laundry and have a wash after the day’s cycle, he noses out the nearest culvert, creek, or river, and has encountered hippos, giraffes, and more elephants who have come to the water for much the same reason that he has…a drink and a splash. I just hope he never meets with crocodiles like the ones in Philip’s photo!

Meanwhile, I sit and count the passing moons…still no word from Immigraton about my citizenship ceremony, and until I have a date for that, I can’t really say when I’ll be leaving. Please let it be soon! I miss my wandering love so much.

The last full moon was a big one. Here it is at dawn, setting behind Darwin’s remarkably ugly skyline…

moon at dawnTaking the moonrise was harder…even with a tripod, the boat itself is always moving, however imperceptibly, and the long exposure blurred the moon and its reflection…


A bit like two moons in a sky the colour of sea glass, these spotted rays floated slowly past the boat in the morning…

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Antidote to all these murky or misty blue moons is my happy truss tomato vine…popping with hot orange suns. Summer is coming…the dry rasp of cold mornings is gone, and the sky that was, only a month ago, as cerulean and flawless as a Wedgewood porcelain bowl, is filling with small puffs of cloud.

boat tomatoes

Handcrafted, come what May.

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The first ETSY Territorians’ Pop-Up Market was a success beyond our expectations…some 400 visitors descended upon the Darwin Botanic Gardens throughout the day, and we ETSY sellers were on our feet, meeting interested people and selling our handmade creations without cease from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m., when an afternoon thunderstorm showered our first ever craft event with blessings and tropical relief from the heat! Most of us didn’t mind, we’d all done so well that we were quite ready to pack up and go home.

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Encouraged no end by this, I’ve rolled the day’s takings into making more journals, getting more art prints done, and improving my stall’s wares for the two ETSY Territorian Pop-Up markets happening in May:

May 3rd, Saturday & May 4th, Sunday…


May 18th, Sunday…

etsy may market

At our “regular” venue: the beautiful George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens…pavilions and pompoms and dainty stalls under the leafy outspread branches of great-grandfather trees, across from the fountains of the water lily pond, and within desiring distance of the Botanic Café and their organic coffees and luscious cakes…

You’re invited!

Two ladies who will travel in beauty

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


The last time I wrote about my remarkable friend Marita Albers, I didn’t include many pictures of her amazing, varicolored home because I was too shy to turn the visit into a photo opportunity (it was my first visit, I didn’t want to be intrusive!) But when Marita read my post, here, she laughed and invited me over a second time, this time inviting me to snap whatever I wished.

It would (should) have been a lighthearted and inspiring shoot of a fun and whimsical artist’s personal and creative space…had some sad news not surfaced in the meantime: in a month’s time, Marita and Ginger would be leaving Darwin.

The already-inflated prices of real estate in this small city have gone through the roof this past year, thanks to landlords anticipating big bucks from an influx of gas plant employees (and Darwin will be playing toady to a U.S. armed forces base here, too, WTF?!) The insane rates are driving Darwin’s long-term residents, and anyone who isn’t engaged in full-time moneygrubbing and avaricious acquisition—such as our artists, our greenies, our hands-on and quality-time parents with small children, our elderly and disabled, our young dreamers, our single mums, our FRIENDS, dammit!…and GOOD PEOPLE they are, too!—to other parts of the country. It has become nearly impossible for ordinary people to make ends meet and still have meaningful lives. It’s gut-wrenching to see the folks we love and care about tormented by fear for their futures, forced to give up the homes they love, to leave their friends, to uproot their children from the neighbourhoods they grew up in, all because a landlord has decided that he wants more than $2,000 a month for his ramshackle house of prefab and tin…there is a shortage of residences in Darwin, and even a concrete apartment box designed for The Sheeple will yield $500 a week, these days.

These two are so deeply beloved of Darwin’s art and family scene that for a few weeks after Marita told me the news I didn’t really believe it would happen. Leave this coconut town that’s crazy about you? Leave all of us? Surely something will come along…a solution, a godsend…someone will see that Darwin, more than ever, also needs its fabulous, vibrant, fun painters, its wacky single mums and precocious eight-year-old redheaded daughters? Surely someone with influence will decide that he is making enough money, as it is, and that losing one of our happiest Poets of Color and Childhood would deprive this town of so much more than the $$$ he stands to gain?

large painting of mother and child by Marita Albers

But nothing happened…mother and child were pushed out of their home, and I put my arms around Marita and Ginger for the last time today.

And what would have been a post full of wonderful stories about these photos from The Funhouse on Pandanus Street is just a rant, now, because I don’t feel like saying much else…


Ginger and her dolls

canvases everywhere!


handpainted mobile in Ginger's room


Rugrats and Old Biddies


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A speed limit sign on the wharf at our local yacht club, Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association…

I thought I’d take a picture before some sourpuss complains to the committee and has it taken down.

Who is dreaming whom?

Something that has repeatedly happened to me since I was a child is this: Just moments before sighting a wild animal, I will think about that animal. I have encountered several snakes, an owl, a scorpion, crocodiles, rats, monkeys and something I still haven’t been able to identify (it was following the sailboat at night. It was as long as the sailboat…)

Examples? I  was sitting at a picnic table, writing, and the image of a scorpion entered my head. Idly, I’d bend over to scratch a mosquito bite on my leg and, glancing at the ground, would see the scorpion, a few inches from my feet. Several times I have thought of snakes, and looked up, or down at the path before my feet, to spot one right away (one of those times, it was a python, and not outdoors or anything…it was slithering over the top of the books on my desk, right in front of me!)

Today, as I was flipping through my library of photographs in iPhoto, I stopped to look at some (rather washed-out and over-exposed) shots of crocodiles that I have spotted near our houseboat. I reflected that I hadn’t seen a crocodile lurking around Sadgroves Creek in over 5 months, and thought it was about time one made its appearance. We have a reputation (“crocodile infested Darwin,” remember? It’s on my About page) to uphold! Because of the past occurrences, I even said to myself, “Bet it’s out  there, now…”

A bit later I got up to roll a cigarette, went to open a window, and there was the croc…right next to our boat, floating brazenly on the surface for everyone to see, and it was directly below my window. It was not such a tiny baby crocodile, either…this one was pretty darn big for Darwin Harbour (there are traps everywhere; the authorities try to keep the city’s harbour relatively croc-free.) At the sound of the window banging open it raised its head just a little, and I swear to God it looked me straight in the eye. Then it hunkered down in the water, made itself a little less obvious, turned around and made off past a neighbouring boat and off into the distance.

I was left musing over whether my crocodilian thoughts had summoned this crocodile from somewhere? Had I perhaps conjured it out of thin air? Or whether my thoughts were simply a response to the crocodile’s thoughts about me? “Come to the window, lovey, I’m waiting just outside! Hey! Hi, there! Have you still got that fat orange cat?”

If these encounters with scorpions and large reptiles were real, was I the summoner, or the summoned? Or, if they were figments of an overactive imagination, were they my imaginings? Or was I theirs?