Annapurna D-2

June 19, 2012

Well, here we go. The diary starts. I always have to start these things with a reminder that I need to capture as much introspection as possible. Otherwise they can turn into something tedious and fail to reveal anything new to anyone, including myself. So lets start there shall we? Read more

When the Going Gets Tough…

June 11, 2012

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. When I first read that in a school magazine (relating, I believe, to the then athletics captain, a diminutive chap, whipping Xavier in some long distance race) I was taken at how pithy it was. I then discovered over a period of time that it is an awful cliché and is to be avoided at all costs. Read more

Notes in the Dark

April 2, 2012

0225hrs. A character in Baghdad reflected that his true place of worship was in his own mind, in the quiet on the top of his own house, not in the mosque. Here he was content and most close to God; where he felt God was less judge and more sympathetic creator. And in tune with his creature. Everyone has settled into a rhythmic breathing, the early sounds of slumber that comes after a long day and solid walk. It’s early hours in the morning and I am not dropping off but have a sense that I am in a true place of worship. Read more

A Silk Purse Out of a Sows Ear

October 3, 2011

A condensed amalgam of a number of conversations on Saturday afternoon…

“Let’s pitch here.”

“Ah, let’s not, if it rains we will get flooded out. Actually, when it rains…”

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The Stark Reality

August 4, 2011

Twenty years ago this year we moved our family back to Queensland, this time just creeping over the border to Ipswich rather than living in the far north which was almost like moving to another country altogether. A highlight for me was to be working with the F-111 bomber aircraft at 6 SQN. But an even more enduring highlight over the last twenty years was the friendship offered to us by the Stark family. We arrived in a new parish on the Sunday morning having dusted off the kids from a few days in a motel and landed unannounced with Jocelyn. After the service a number of folk wheeled in on us and we were quickly invited to lunch by folk I had never met in my life. I recall being somewhat startled to be not only invited back to lunch with the Starks but to walk up the stairs to see Jocelyn with her head in Ken’s lap and her feet up on the couch. They were watching TV and looked like lifelong friends. Read more

Stay Insane – All of You

July 30, 2011


How disappointing it is to be doing this final run home. We are all reflective about how we feel about that, resigned to the work and study that has to be done but still riding on the magic of the last week and the intimate camaraderie that we have enjoyed. The run was straightforward until we got to Bathurst at which point Rod decided a gluteus maximus cramp  necessitated another walk around – and a ride on a small horse-like toy in a playground. The cramp must have been serious as the horse threw him. Read more

Penultimate Day

July 20, 2011

group290.jpgSaturdayOur departure day last year was marked by a lashing southerly wet wind blowing out of the Antarctic fridge, forcing us to huddle our farewells to Joy before hitting the road and sliding up the greasy track out of here. No such day to day. A gorgeous sunny, mild morning greets us. Rod has sorted most of the kitchen last evening so we have a head start this morning. Everyone is packed surprisingly quickly, Frank arrives when he said he would and we start rushing about to be finished by nine. The promise is a “shoot” if we are done by then. Read more

Flat Out Like a Lizard Drinking

July 17, 2011


The sun creeps up the wall through the pattern of the window frame shadow and I watch it for twenty minutes before getting up. Andrew has been awake the whole time but remained in his sleeping bag until my feet touched the floor at which point he launched into his new day.  Last night  the “idiot talk” went long into the early hours so there will be some slower starts this morning. Myself included actually. 

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Things That Go Bump in the Night

July 17, 2011


Damn. Thursday already. The place is slowly, oh so slowly stirring into life with the soft rumble of the kettle, the scratching whisk as Rod makes up the powdered milk for the day, the vacant slurp of cereal as the first half asleep (actually mostly asleep) crew ease down at the table and start to refuel and the stir of spoons in coffee cups. We have the most gorgeous winter morning. The sky is clear, there is no frost and no wind. Hard to believe it is winter actually. Last year we were treated to three or four degrees of frost each morning which then yielded to fine, clear days. This year the wind has been cutting us up. But this morning we are being thoroughly spoilt. A fine day means we will start with cactus killing. And its all the sweeter for starting with porridge drowned in cream and christened with brown sugar.

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It’s Only the Depth that Varies

July 16, 2011


The grey cloud and still morning suggested rain but nothing of the sort. Instead the wind sprung up and whipped its cold arms around us from breakfast time on. Joy had rounded up a merino the night before and it was waiting for us after breakfast – a lesson in butchery which most were able to handle. It’s an instructional session that includes a revelation in anatomy that is far more enlightening than any text book. We poked around  in the offal and opened things up and explained this and that much to the intrigue and horror of some.  We cut it up more quickly than we should but it still cooked okay at the end of the day.

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