Travel

The W to Z of Windows and Doors

The W to Z of Windows and Doors

Talk about leaving the hardest to last! The irony is that I learned the alphabet backwards before I was five. I still find it easier to say the alphabet backwards – and to go from the back to the front of a dictionary. So why am I only now working on the W to Z of windows and doors? Why didn’t I start the journey at Z? I have no idea!

But Here I Am!

W – W is for Wellington, New Zealand. A trip to New Zealand was never on my travel-radar, until September 2017. And then, as usually happens, it was circumstance rather than deep burning passion, that had me jetting off to Wellington. And they don’t call it Windy Wellington for nothing! After the pilot had switched off the engines at Wellington Airport, the plane started rocking from side-to-side. With wide-eyes of terror, I was close enough to the flight attendant to ask, “Is that the wind making the plane move?”. She replied in the affirmative, and added “You should have seen it earlier today”.

I’m glad I didn’t!

Did you know that only pilots who have had special training are allowed to land in Wellington? I now know why! And that was my introduction to Windy Wellington.

Despite the wind and the cold, I fell in love with the beautiful city and its people. And its windows and doors! One of my favourite holiday photos is this door in Cuba Street.

Black and white photo - side view of a door with a pot plant near it and signs above it

I decided to feature the photo without colour – it just adds a different feel to the scene. It isn’t the most beautiful door in my photo collection, but it has a certain charm that I love.

W is also for Windsor, an historic town north-west of Sydney.

Windsor is famous for a lot of things, not the least of which being the place where I grew up. One of the great windows in my hometown is in a house called The Doctor’s House. The house overlooks the Hawkesbury River and the old Windsor Bridge. Unfortunately, the bridge is currently undergoing a controversial change – not sure if I would call it progress, but it’s happening.

Old red brick two-storey house with verandah around the top floor with white railing, white doors and white shutters on the windows.

The white doors and shutters in the old house stand out against the red bricks.

White door with arched glass above and window with white shutters set into a red brick wall with sandstone steps leading down from the door
The Doctor’s House in Windsor

There is so much history in Windsor – including the oldest Pub in Australia – The Macquarie Arms Hotel.

Convict life was a prominent part of Windsor’s history and St Matthews Anglican Church, designed by Francis Greenway, was built by convict labour.

And now, X marks the spot…

X – now here’s a challenge! As I trawled through my photos – thousands of them – I came across a place called Xinzhuang, in China – more specifically, Shanghai. The reason I have any photos from Xinzhuang is because I took photos of the arches and roadways leading to Shanghai Airport. According to my trusty photo App, the exact spot of those arches and roadways is called Xinzhuang. Admittedly, they’re not exactly windows and/or doors, but they are close – kind of – (imagination needed for this). All you need to do is build some walls around the arches and Voila!, they would be spectacular doors.

Xinzhuang

Y – Y? Because Yatala starts with Y! And what is the big attraction in Yatala? Yatala Pies! Wait – where is Yatala? Take the M1 Highway from Brisbane in the north, to the Gold Coast in the South, and you will find Yatala just south of Beenleigh. I think the old highway went right past the door, almost, but now you have to detour, just a little bit.

Back in the old days…

My dear old dad used to call in there on his way back to Brisbane from the Gold Coast, to partake of their famous pies. By the way, that’s a hint to how long Yatala Pies has been plying their trade on the side of the highway that links North and South, on the East Coast. Thousands of motorists have detoured over the years and either dined in, or used the drive-thru option.

The important thing is, Yatala Pies has some great windows. Oh, and did I mention how good the pies are? Judging by the number of people dining in or passing through the drive-thru each time I visit, I’d say they’re pretty good!

Stained Glass windows featuring Australian animals - Emu, Goanna, Kangaroo and Kookaburra
Australiana captured in this beautiful window
Stained glass window featuring a red parrots and leaves
Red Parrots – part of the Australian bush, and this window at Yatala Pies

And finally, Z (wish me luck with this one!).

Z is for ?, and there’s always ??, and I couldn’t forget that quirky little place called ???. Dang, what does start with Z? Wait! There’s only one country that comes to mind when I think of places that would start with Z – China – of course! Let me check my photos from China and I’ll be right back, or – brb – as the young ‘texters’ would say.

Z is for Zhujiajiao – in China – somewhere not too far from Shanghai. Zhujiajiao is famous for its heritage as one of the Ancient Water Towns. The following photo is a slight diversion from windows and doors – but it’s just so symbolic of this fabulous place. I took the photo from the balcony of a Starbucks store – that just happened to be nearby. Yes!! Coffee!!!!

And now, back to the windows and doors.

Sometimes it isn’t as much about what the door looks like, as what it represents. In the following photo, it was all about what awaited me on the other side of the door. This was my little haven in Zhujiajiao.

A Funny Thing Happened in Zhujiajiao

On the day this photo was taken, our host had arranged transport for three of us to go to Zhujiajiao for a quick visit.

We had only been in the country for two days and were keen to explore. Our lovely host, Julie, had even written our accommodation address in Chinese so we could easily get a taxi back. Well, we enjoyed a coffee at Starbucks and then decided to cross the bridge. Now really, was it our fault there was a large market area on the other side? And was it our fault there was a ‘foot-massage’ place there? We couldn’t resist some shopping and one of us couldn’t resist slipping off her shoes and letting the cute little fish nibble massage her feet.

Time flies!

By then, we realised that time had slipped away while we were having fun, because that’s what time does. We were late – actually – very late!

No problem, I said, I can use WeChat to contact Julie. But WeChat needs WiFi to function.

Solution?

Go back to Starbucks and use their WiFi. Oh, and maybe have another coffee, because you can’t just ask to use their WiFi without ordering a coffee first. Coffee ordered and paid for – but no WiFi without a Chinese Sim. Oh well, we were already late so we might as well just enjoy the coffee.

Oops!

We found a taxi, managed the address problem and arrived back to a welcoming committee, in the form of Julie. A very-worried Julie!, who was just thinking about sending out a search party to look for us. Naturally, we were grounded! – but we were back in Julie’s good books by the end of the night when she arrived in our apartment to partake of a wine or two with us.

What’s next?

With the W to Z of windows and doors all wrapped up, let’s see where blogging takes me next. I still have thousands of photos and memories just begging to be shared, so watch this space!

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S to V of Doors and Windows

S to V of Doors and Windows

Well, here I am at the S to V of doors and windows. I’ve got S, T and even V covered, but U? I haven’t been to Utah, Uluru or Ulladulla, so the U section will either be devoid of photos, or full of creative licence.

The purpose behind these stories about doors and windows is a wild attempt to sort out some of the thousands of photos I have collected over the years. By working through the photos alphabetically, it helps to categorise the many places I’ve visited. Why am I drawn to taking so many photos of interesting doors and windows? I have no idea. I’ll leave that to the arm-chair psychologists to work out.

Buckle up, and let’s get this show on the road.

S – S is easy. There is Sydney, Seattle, San Francisco and even Shanghai, and luckily I have photos from each of these beautiful cities. But because I grew up north-west of Sydney, I’m going to focus on S is for Sydney.

Sydney is famous for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, affectionately known as the Coat Hanger, and the Sydney Opera House.

You would have to wonder what Danish architect Jørn Utzon was thinking when he designed the Sydney Opera House, officially opened in 1973? White sails in the sunset, maybe? But no, Utzon’s design was apparently inspired by nature. Hmmm, I might have to stretch my imagination a little to work out which part of nature he had in mind.

Masterpiece by day – spectacular by night – the Sydney Opera House is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s right up there on the world stage with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids.  

S is also for South Bank Brisbane and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this door.

Ornately carved wooden doors set in white brick wall


Goodbye S and Hello T

T – T is for Tenterfield, a town in the New England region of New South Wales. Singer/song-writer Peter Allen was born in Tenterfield, and wrote the song Tenterfield Saddler about his grandfather, George Woolnough. Perhaps Peter’s most significant contribution to Australian music, guaranteed to move ex-pat Aussies to tears, is I Still Call Australia Home.

These buildings are reminiscent of the architecture of an era when buildings were built for beauty. The buildings of today might be flashy, but they don’t have the character of these old places. The arched door and shaded windows in the side of the School of Arts look like a tired old face, looking out over the kingdom.

When I visited Tenterfield in 2018, I had forgotten that my grandparents had lived there in the early 1900’s, when Grandfather was the Postmaster at a little village near Tenterfield (Yetman). As I walked through the School of Arts I suddenly sensed a very real ‘presence’ of my grandfather. I couldn’t help but wonder if he had walked down that very same corridor, so many decades earlier. Perhaps his spirit is still walking those corridors… (shiver!)

U – I can’t put it off any longer and here I am at U. Did I mention that I might have to be a bit creative with this one? Since I haven’t been to any places that specifically start with U, I’m going to highlight Union Square, San Francisco. And since we are still in holiday-mode from the Christmas just gone, this photo is timely. In true Christmas Spirit, what could be better than the Macy’s Christmas windows?

Wall of windows in Macy’s storefront, San Francisco.
Macy’s Christmas window – Union Square San Francisco

Phew! That’s U, done and dusted!

And now, on to V….

V is for Vancouver, another one of my home-away-from home places. I always seem to gravitate back to this beautiful city to relive memories of happier days. Don’t get me wrong – all my days are happy days – but there are some that are happier than most. And my days spent in Vancouver (most of 2005) hold very special memories: of buying tulips at the supermarket to brighten up the week; Saturday morning treks to Granville Island Market to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables; walks to Stanley Park to use our yearly pass to the Aquarium.

I challenge you to spend time in Vancouver and not fall in love with the city and its beautiful people.

Wall of windows in a dark brown and a light coloured brick buildings.  Bare trees in the foreground.


Doors and Windows on Dunsmuir Street Vancouver.

The photo was taken on my last trip to Vancouver, in December 2016, featuring the St Regis Hotel on Dunsmuir Street. I love the windows in the lighter coloured building, with their darker frames. And the bare trees highlight the winter feel of the impending cold night.

On my very first trip to Vancouver, in January 2005, I stayed at the St Regis Hotel. We had flown out of sunny Sydney, had a few days in sunny Hawaii on the way, and then landed in cold, dreary Vancouver. I hate to admit that I wasn’t impressed, and may even have given voice to thoughts of going home – sooner – rather than later. Then the sun came out and we moved into an apartment in the West End, and I fell madly in love with Vancouver. Whenever I get the opportunity, I head back to that magic city, surrounded by Grouse Mountain – covered in snow, and Stanley Park – home to ducks, geese, squirrels and raccoons.

Is Vancouver on your Bucket-List?

It should be! And if you want to spend some time in the best location in Vancouver, contact me (through the Comments section) for a link to the best apartments on Robson Street. You couldn’t find a better location, or a more fantastic Landlord.

With the S to V of doors and windows completed, there is only W to Z left to do.

Huh – and I thought U was hard! X and Z – really? Oh well, I’ll just have to be creative – again!

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Where Were You on Christmas Eve?

Specifically, where were you on Christmas Eve 2017? For some of us, today is Christmas Eve – well, for those of us in the Southern Hemishpere anyway. For you folk north of the big divide – hang in there, it’s coming.

When something spectacular happens on a particular day, it’s usually easier to remember than most days, and that’s why I do remember where I was on Christmas Eve 2017.

The Dreaded Yellow School Bus!

Just to clarify, it was Christmas Eve here in Australia, but I was tripping through Seattle at the time, literally. That’s why I remember the day so well. In the Northern Hemisphere, it wasn’t yet Christmas Eve. It was the night before Christmas Eve. One minute I was taking a photo of yellow school buses on a cold dark night. The next minute I was tripping over a sign on the footpath (that’s Australian for sidewalk).

Yellow school bus behind a wire fence.
As if I hadn’t seen a yellow school bus before – but here was a whole paddock full of them – so I had to take a photo!

No big deal, except that my wrist hurt – a lot! I bought a wrist support at Walgreens and carried on regardless. Nothing could dampen my spirits as the snow came tumbling down for the next two days. As if by magic, it snowed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – for only the third time in a hundred years – in Seattle. The day after Christmas the snow had stopped and I figured I should go to a Medical Centre and have my wrist checked out.

Photo of me with arm in wrist brace on a Seattle street in December
Tying my hair back (or brushing it) is definitely a two-handed exercise – this is me before I ended up in a full cast. But I was still taking photos…

More than a little break!

X-Rays revealed a fairly serious break (‘smashed’ was a word used by the Doctor), so a few days later I ended up in a full-cast – shoulder to wrist. I have nothing but praise for the American Medical system – expensive – Yes!, but very caring and extremely professional.

Again, a little thing like a full cast wasn’t going to stop me – it might have slowed me down a bit, but it didn’t stop me. And if it hadn’t been for possibly needing surgery, I would have just kept right on going. I would have been happy to have had the surgery in Seattle, but my Travel Insurance was paying for it, so they decided to bring me home early. Can’t blame them.

As for the surgery?

I managed to avoid it.

Twelve months later I am reminded by an occasional twinge in my left wrist of that fateful night-before-Christmas-Eve in Seattle. But for the most part, my wrist healed with no problems (fingers crossed!). As predicted, I have lost a little bit of movement range – but nothing to stress about. And I’ve had no pain, which is a blessing.

So, where were you on Christmas Eve, 2017?

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The L to R of Windows and Doors

Sign Post to Linton

Linton

Sorting photos from A-Z makes sense, and now that A to K is done – L to R is next.  The L to R of windows and doors provides a link to the past; to days gone by when my feet weren’t so deeply planted on home soil. Back then I would pack up and go someplace new, on nothing more than a whim. Now I sit here and wonder what happened to that carefree attitude? Oh well, back to sorting thousands of photos alphabetically. 

L is for Linton, a quaint little village 30 kilometres south-west of Ballarat, Victoria, and the home of my BFF (that’s, Best Friend Forever). When I visited my BFF last year we went for a long walk around her ‘hood. As often happens when I’m travelling, I stop to say hello to someone or make a comment about something, and suddenly I’m engrossed in a deep conversation.

It happened.

As we were walking past a house with a verandah  (I love verandahs!), I stopped to take a photo. A lady walked towards us and I couldn’t resist commenting on how beautiful the cottage was. I soon discovered that I was talking to the owner of this little piece of history, aptly named ‘Peacock Cottage’.

Local Linton Artist

Pam Farey is a local artist who bought Peacock Cottage and transformed it into a beautiful gallery of her work.  My BFF and I were lucky enough to be invited in for a guided tour of Pam’s incredible Artwork, and the beautiful windows and doors of Peacock Cottage.

Looking out the front door of Peacock Cottage with a stained glass window on the right side
Looking out from the inside of this beautiful door and window

From L to M

M is for Miami, Florida. While I was in Miami in 2016, I was flabbergasted by the beauty of the lights from the buildings, lighting up the night sky and the water. 

Buildings in Miami Florida lit up at night with the light shining on the harbour


M is also for Melbourne, voted the most livable city in the world for seven consecutive years, up to (and including) 2017. Don’t worry Melbournites, the score didn’t drop by much in 2018 (depending on which survey you look at).  

This fabulous door in Melbourne was just begging to be photographed. It looks so old and mysterious.

You could easily let your imagination conjure up a fabulous story about this door…. hmmm, that might just be a story in the making. 

A green door with studded panels and decorative hardware

And on to N…

N is for Noe Valley, San Francisco, one of my favourite places, where bay windows abound. Noe Valley has more than its share of buildings that resemble the Painted Ladies that feature on postcards of San Francisco. Donut and Bagel shops are on almost every corner, and anyone who knows me well knows I can’t resist donuts or bagels. Or coffee, milkshakes, chocolate (but that’s another story). Looking back on the photos of Noe Valley brings back memories of happier days, in what seems like a lifetime ago, but, life goes on…

Street scene in Noe Valley with bay window above a donut shop
Church & 24th Noe Valley

N is also for New Delhi

Arches and unusual shapes highlight the windows in this building. Most of my photos are taken from the window of a moving vehicle, and this photo is no exception. I wish I had been able to take a closer, better photo, but at least I got this much. 

Building in New Delhi with rectangle and arched windows

O is for?

O Well, O could be for a lot of places – but none that I have any photos of. I’m going to have to use a little creative licence with O, and talk about a building that starts with the letter ‘O’. 

Inside Old Melbourne Gaol with cell doors each side and skylights above.
Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol (yes, in Melbourne) is now a popular tourist attraction.

As you wander in and out of the open doors, you can read the story of an inmate who called that particular cell – home – often for a very long time.

As Aussies, we all know the story of Ned Kelly and his gang. It seems that old-mate Ned drew his last breath right here in the Old Melbourne Gaol, in November 1880. Even though he was a notorious Bushranger, Ned Kelly has become a bit of a hero in Australia.

Bullet-proof Vest

Right or wrong, Ned was an enterprising young lad and is best remembered for his iconic armour, designed to protect him from stray bullets. In the final showdown with the Constabulary at Glenrowan, Ned was wounded, but the rest of his gang were not so lucky and didn’t live to tell the story. Ned might have survived the shootout, but couldn’t escape his fate at the hands of the hangman at the Old Melbourne Gaol, on that eleventh day of November. 

From O to …. P

P P could be so many places, but it is especially Picton on the South Island of New Zealand. Ferries transport tourists and travellers from the North to the South Island (and back), arriving at Picton on the southbound journey.  

The Edwin Fox Maritime Museum building has windows and doors that tell of sailors coming and going, and travellers making their way to the south. From Picton, Christchurch is a (long) scenic drive away.

Windy? Are you kidding?

On this cold windy day, I was (not) patiently waiting for the ferry. After a fabulous weekend in Christchurch, it was time to return to Wellington, on the North Island. Windy is probably an understatement of the weather conditions that day. The ferry was delayed because of the almost hurricane strength winds that closed Wellington Airport for hours. So we waited, and waited, and waited…

We finally left Picton for the journey north and arrived safely, albeit very late.

Museum building in Picton with water in front

And on the other side of the world?

P is for Pike Place, Seattle, and no trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Pike Place Market. When I was in College, a long time ago, we were shown a training video of the fish market on Pike Place. Watching the fishmongers throw the fish to each other and engaging with customers, I figured one day I would go there and see that. Yes, I was at College studying to be a teacher, and No, the video wasn’t suggesting we throw students to each other!

My trip to Seattle in December 2017 was the second time I was witness to the antics of the famous fish market. The first time was in 2005 – but Seattle is such a beautiful place – I couldn’t resist going back again. 

While not exactly a window or door, the photos above are an indulgence to my memory of the fabulous Pike Place Market. 

Did someone say coffee?

A more significant door on Pike Place, well – for me anyway, is the door leading into the original Starbucks. And yes, I did go through the door, and I did have my favourite coffee in that very special Starbucks. Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying a mug to add to my collection of coffee mugs from around the world.  

Window of Starbucks store in Pike Place Seattle
This is where it all began 

A Starbucks on every corner…

I spent a lot of time in North America in 2005 and 2006, and somehow Starbucks featured heavily in significant decisions being made at the time. The fact that there seemed to be a Starbucks on every corner probably contributed to the statistics of that happening. The morning ritual for two years was first a coffee (at Starbucks), and then the day could begin. Well I guess not a lot has changed since then – my day still starts with coffee – just not a Starbucks. And that’s mainly because we don’t have a Starbucks on any corner here in Murwillumbah. But also because my trusty Rocket Giotto and Dancing Bean coffee beans make a mighty fine cup of Joe, right here at home. Bellissimo!

With P done and dusted, it is on to …

Q

Q is for Queensland, and I have spent a large part of my life in that sunny state. With so many miles of golden sand and surf, I seem to be lacking in the windows and doors department of my Queensland photo collections. Well, apart from the ones I highlighted in the A-E of Windows and Doors in an earlier post. 

Queensland by Night

Since Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, I think it is appropriate to add another Brisbane photo. Besides, the building is kind of at the top of the Queen Street Mall, and Queen starts with Q, right?.

I’m always in awe of the colours that light up the walls of the Treasury Casino Brisbane, at night. From my vantage point on the Victoria Bridge, one cold night in July, I was able to capture the beauty of these doors and windows. 

Treasury Casino at night with red lights showing up the doors and windows

Meanwhile, back in the US of A

R – R is for Rainier Beach, Seattle. When I think of doorways in Rainier Beach, there’s one that I would walk through every day of every week, if only I could. And that door is the door that leads into the Redwing Cafe  – my favourite place for coffee and avocado toast in Seattle. 

Front of Redwing Cafe in Seattle with Christmas decorations in the window

The photo I took doesn’t do justice to the entrance of my caffeine-haven for more days than I counted. If Redwing Cafe was open – I was there. When I stepped inside I was welcomed by friendly faces that were more than just baristas and chefs. A cafe can be popular for the food, or the coffee, or the friendly staff; Redwing is special because of all three –  oh, and the handcarved timber decor, which is spectacular, and beautifully carved by Shawn.

I bought the Redwing Cafe T.Shirt!

I’m so glad I bought the Redwing t.shirt. Every time I wear it I’m reminded of the place that was the highlight of my trip to Seattle. Seattle is full of iconic places, including the Space Needle and Pike Place Markets, but it is the beauty of the people you meet that really stands out. Anthony, Su, and your amazing Redwing Cafe team (and Jennifer, Shawn and Jackson) – I miss you all!

Organinsing photos isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve  completed A to E; F to K; and now the L to R of windows and doors. All I have to do now is sort out the S to Z, and I’m all done. 

Easy!

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The F-K of Doors and Windows

The F-K of Doors and Windows

The F-K of doors and windows is a journey through some of the places I’ve visited here in Australia, and across the world. Some of the photos might need to be viewed with a little more imagination than others – but – most  fall neatly into their assigned category.

F Well, this kind of qualifies in the F category. A stroll down Flinders Lane Melbourne opens up a whole new world of ornate doors and windows. How beautiful are these?  The curves, the panels – it all adds up to a beautiful piece of architecture and craftsmanship – or – should that be ‘craftspersonship’?

On to the G’s…

G The Treasury Casino is on George Street Brisbane. The windows and doors are stunning and provide the perfect backdrop for the colours that magically transform the Brisbane night sky. It doesn’t matter what angle you view this building from – its beauty is exceptional, especially at night. The former life of the building was a Government Office, dating back to 1886.

Old brick building, the Treasury Casino Brisbane, with red lights highlighting the sides of the building.
George Street Brisbane: Treasury Casino

Oh gee – Microsoft Windows!  

Buildings on Granville Street Vancouver at dusk with the Microsoft building highlighted in a bubble
Granville Street  Vancouver

H is for….

H Hamilton, Brisbane. The Kookaburra Queen entertains diners as it steams its way along the Brisbane River. The light coming from the windows on the old Paddle Steamer is reflected beautifully on the water at night. If you find yourself in Brisbane, you can dance the night away on a dinner-cruise onboard the Kookaburra Queen.

Old paddle steamer boat on the Brisbane River at night with the lights from the boat reflecting on the water
The Kookaburra Queen at Hamilton, Brisbane

I – well – it has to be India

I India! What comes to mind when we think of India? The Taj Mahal, of course. The magnificence of the buildings has to be seen to be appreciated. The windows and doors that make up the total experience of the Taj Mahal are spectacular! Just to stand in the shadow of this romantic building is amazing.

White dome-shaped ornate arches of the Taj Mahal in India
The Taj Mahal – India

And then, onto …

J

Jiangsu – well – Nanjing to be precise, but it comes under the broader heading of Jiangsu. I’ve been to a lot of places, but obviously not many starting with the letter J. I love the way the new buildings can be seen through the archway of the old. Not exactly a door or a window, but I love the colours on the old structure. The colours in this elaborate entrance would welcome even the most weary traveller. 

Typically old Chinese colourful arch structure with modern buildings behind it.
Jiangsu, Nanjing – China

On Jefferson Street you can stand and peer in this window and watch the experts mould the sourdough into delicious sourdough bread at the Boudin Bakery. There’s nothing better on a cold day in San Francisco, than going to the Boudin Bakery for soup in a sourdough bread bowl. Just thinking about it brings back so many memories…

Baker shaping sourdough into buns at Boudin Bakery San Francisco
Boudin Bakery, Jefferson Street (San Francisco)

The journey ends at K

K Kangaroo Point in Brisbane – home of the beautiful St Mary’s Anglican Church. The windows, as expected in a building like this, are spectacular. I sat in the church recently (at a wedding) and was mesmerised by the colours. I was grateful that the bride was a little late because it gave me time to take photos and admire the beauty of the stained glass.

Old stone church with stained glass windows in Kangaroo Point Brisbane
Kangaroo Point Brisbane

As I meander through the twenty-plus thousand photos I have stored on my i-Devices, I wonder why I have so many photos of doors and windows? So far I’ve covered the A-E and F-K of doors and windows, so stay tuned – the journey will continue until we get to Z.

By the way, if you know any place that starts with the letter Z, please let me know in the comments section below. Otherwise, we’ll only get to Y.

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What Has Changed?

What Has Changed?

Where do I start to describe what has changed over my lifetime? The obvious would be to segment my life into two categories: childhood and adulthood. But is that too simplistic?

The changes that have mattered most, happened on the brink of, and well into adulthood. 

But there is one consistant theme that has run through all the changes that my life has been witness to – and that is: learning.

Can I separate change from learning?

No!

Change and learning have been lifelong partners. Each change was the vehicle for valuable lessons. Things I wanted to learn – and those I needed to learn – albeit reluctantly.

My learning distance isn’t measured in time, but in experience.   

Maureen Durney

Every move I made, whether it was across town or to the other side of the world, taught me something new. At eighteen I moved Interstate; leaving home to become an adult with responsibilities. I learned independence and dependence, both at the same time. Independence: when I had to mend a fuse in the middle of the night because the man of the house was away; dependence: when I relied on him to do it, because it was his job as the man of the house. That’s how it was back then.

Map of Life 

Most people have their lives mapped out in the usual order: study; career; marriage; children; return to career. I was never good at fitting in with what everyone else was doing. College was put on hold until my children were both at school.

College Days …

I finished College and worked in a temporary, but full-time position while waiting for my appointment to a school. The offer came at the same time as the opportunity to move to Malaysia. Malaysia won. Teaching was put on hold. 

Crossing Oceans

Leaving the shores of Australia, I called Malaysia home, for two years. I learned resilience. New cultures, routines and a lot of diversity. I was an outsider in my new country – but I fitted in. 

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The return to Australia – and the beginning of my career

On returning to Australia I reclaimed my career, and teaching began in earnest. I learned confidence. My goal had been to work in Special Education, but I started out in mainstream, as every teacher should. I served what I felt was sufficient time – then moved into Special Ed.

Circumstances changed; I packed up my career and belongings, and moved Interstate. I learned aloneness. Aloneness goes beyond independence. Aloneness was when I realised that I wanted to go home at night, close the door, and shut the world out – if only for the next twelve hours. 

More Study

Post-Graduate courses filled the night-times, and every other waking hour outside of the school day. Two nights a week I sat in classes, having driven almost an hour to get there. I learned persistence. Days and nights rolled into each other; always filled with journal articles; always filled with note-taking. I graduated three times in three years.

Graduation Day – Masters Degree 

The confidence, persistence, resilience and independence that I’d learned along the way, led to advancements in my career. I progressed from the classroom to an administrative role, but still with a teaching component. Instead of having one classroom, I had many. My role was to support students with disability, their parents and their teachers. I learned advocacy. It wasn’t easy explaining to a teacher that Ben could listen better if he didn’t have to look at her. And it wasn’t easy mopping up the tears of a mum who felt she had let her child down by not being an expert in disability. Nobody is an expert in disability; but every mum knows her child best. Babies aren’t born with an instruction book attached; we simply do our best. And that is all that matters.

The New Phase

Thousands of students later, career gave way to retirement. Time to put my feet up; sleep in; take life a little easier. Time to travel. I learned spontaneity. When an opportunity to pack my bags arose – I packed – sometimes with only a week between trips. Thousands of photos and a lifetime of memories that will now spill out onto the pages of my blogs.

New York City skyline with US flag flying high

The changes and learning in my life have led me home. Moving Interstate at eighteen; across the world at other times; and back to my home-state for retirement.

I’m home.

The changes may be less significant in this phase – but they are still happening. And each one comes with new learnings.

And that is how it should be.

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Fall!

Fall!

Here in Australia, we call it Autumn, not Fall. And where I live, there are no extreme differences between any of the seasons. Autumn is recognisable by the array of leaves on the ground, and being able to sleep comfortably at night for the first time in months. And yes, Autumn does signal colder days to come, but nothing like the cold days of the Northern Hemisphere.

An Autumn day in Brisbane

In some parts of Australia, like Central Queensland (CQ), there are seemingly only two seasons: Hot and Cold. But in Melbourne, you can have all four seasons in one day (or, so the saying goes…).

Kids Don’t Feel The Cold!

Out in Central Queensland, it would be hot one day, and then cold the next. That’s how you would know it was winter. Autumn had been by-passed – there was no in-between. Just hot, and cold. I’m not talking – Northern Hemisphere big-heavy-coat-cold, just an extra-layer-of-jumper cold.

When I was teaching in Queensland, the only sign of winter, as demonstrated by most of the students, was the addition of a jumper (sweater) early in the morning. They still wore shorts! Some of them would pass an occasional remark about how cold it was, but didn’t connect wearing shorts, to feeling cold. Long pants seemingly got in the way of running fast at recess. And by lunchtime, the jumper would either be safely stowed in their bag or lost in the playground; usually the latter.

A beautiful Autumn day in Murwillumbah NSW

Cold One Day – Hot The Next

And the reverse occurred at the other end of the season. Cold one day, and hot the next. The only sign of Spring was the emergence of new buds on trees. But temperature-wise? – hot!

Spring has sprung, here in Murwillumbah

I can’t account for other parts of Australia because my experience is limited (mostly) to Queensland and the northern end of New South Wales. However – there are places in Southern parts of our beautiful Australian landscape that apparently have distinct seasons. Trees put on seasonal colours that are seemingly spectacular, and the early morning chill creeps in and warns of colder days to come. Nice places to visit – but I wouldn’t want to live there.

The Beautiful Fall Colours of Boston

Speaking of nice places to visit, one of the most memorable journeys I have taken, was Boston US, in November. I was mesmerised by the beauty of the Fall colours. A travel-buddy that I had met while on the cruise from Southampton UK, shared my enthusiasm. On a bus from the cruise ship, to and from Salem, we must have driven the Fall-hardened passengers crazy. We (two Aussies) darted from one side of the bus to the other, cameras poised, trying to capture every golden leaf along the way. It was spectacular!

This photo doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the Fall trees in Boston 
Or this one….

Do we have spectacular Autumns (Falls) here in Australia? Yes! But not where I live. Beautiful – yes – but not Boston-type spectacular. Would I swap where I live for a place that has distinct seasons? Probably not. I love the way our seasons just ease gently into each other here in Northern New South Wales.

Oh, and yes, I did turn my heater on last winter – about three times, I think. And only for about an hour each time.

And that’s the way I like it!

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The A-E of Windows and Doors

The A-E of Windows and Doors

I can be walking down any street, in any city, and be captivated by an odd shaped window or an ornate door. Luckily my iPhone is always in my pocket, so the camera is always ready to capture the moment. The downside is, I now have thousands of photos of windows and doors! When I look back on the photos, I often wish I could open some of those doors, or peer in the window to see what is on the other side.

Should we go there?

A journey through the photos of windows and doors that clog up my digital albums would not only fill these pages, but probably bore you in the process. So I’ll break the journey by sorting the photos into alphabetical order. The hardest part will be deciding which photos make it into the blog – and which ones will be left behind.

The A-E of Windows and Doors

A This beautiful building, with lots of windows and doorways, is in Amritsar, India. I’m sad that I didn’t have time to stop and get a photo from the best angle, but at least I got this much. India has some of the most amazing buildings. Obviously there is more than a touch of British heritage in the architecture of some of them, but the beautiful materials used, brings the focus back to India.

And, on to B…

B  This is window-and-door Heaven! The old Bank of New South Wales building (the one on the left) is on the corner of Queen Street Mall and George Street in Brisbane (Australia). The building on the right is the Treasury Casino. If old buildings are your thing, come to Brisbane and take a walk around the Central Business District. You’ll be amazed at the number of beautiful old buildings.

Crazy, I know, but…

…this is one of my favourite photos from the Queen Street Mall. I’m sure real photographers would quickly point out the photographic errors, but I love the lines and angles I captured in this photo. Oh, and of course, the windows!


Another B Building…

B is for Boston, USA, and the windows in this fabulous building reflect the amazing colours of the sky and the autumn (Fall) foliage. It also takes me back to my childhood. I used to have blocks that looked a lot like the colours and shapes in this building.

C Christchurch, New Zealand – the city that rebuilt itself after a devastating earthquake. I love the rustic look of these doors, as well as the shape of the glass panels. One of the advantages of photographing windows, or glass doors, is the bonus image in the reflection. 

D Devonport, New Zealand. On a very cold day in September, these windows offered some hope that there might be a warm fire glowing on the inside. If you find yourself in Auckland, take the ferry across to Devonport and investigate some of the beautiful buildings. 

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

E Ellis Island, NY USA. When I visited the home of immigration almost two years ago, I wondered if any of my relatives had walked through the door, or looked through the windows of this building. My grandfather left Sweden when he was young and sailed around the world many times before settling in Australia. Having taken the DNA test offered by Ancestry, I know I have a link to the USA, and I’m guessing it might be through some of the Swedish family that we have no knowledge of. Who knows, maybe their new life started right here in the Immigration building on Ellis Island.

What is your favourite thing to photograph?

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On That Dark, Dreary Day

The air was frosty cold on that dark, dreary day in Seattle. Like most days, the first decision centred on coffee – the where, not the when. From that decision, all other decisions would follow. 

It was Monday. Had it been any other day, the decision would have centred on the when, not the where. On Mondays, the RedWing cafe was closed. On this Monday, the where led to another place – another suburb. 

Walk to the end of the block on 63rd Avenue – turn right – walk another block – turn left – cross the street. Wait at the Bus Stop. Watch cars passing, thankful for the warmth of a coat that is redundant back home in northern New South Wales. Wait for the bus.

The bus stops – you board the bus and feel the instant warmth from the heated interior. You wish for a traffic jam – anything to delay the inevitable moment of reaching your destination and facing the cold.

Change buses at the Interchange. The cold bites at your heels as you walk to the bus that will take you the rest of the way. Again, the warmth of the bus, albeit short-lived. Only a few stops this time. 

Then, the coffee. Starbucks. Because you know what to order at Starbucks. You know how it will taste. You slowly drink your coffee. But you are not ready to face the cold, so you order another coffee.

You watch the people. The young couple with the four-year-old – Grandparents arrive – they go through the motions. Grandpa wants to be somewhere else. The College student staring at the screen of his laptop, looking for inspiration. People come and go. You stay, until you can’t justify staying any longer. The morning coffee has dragged on. It is almost lunch time.

Put on your coat – leave the warmth – brave the cold. 

Take the bus back to the Interchange; find the bus to Rainier Beach. Feel the warmth of the heated interior.

Leave the bus, turn right and walk to the corner where the solar-powered flamingos stand – waiting to illuminate the path at night. You wonder how solar power works in that climate.

Turn left and walk along 63rd Avenue. Feel the cold, but embrace the experience.

Home – where all other decisions can now be made, on that dark, dreary day in Seattle.

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Day 31 – UBC – Did I Learn Anything?

Day 31 – UBC – Did I Learn Anything?

The last day of the July Challenge – and despite all efforts, I only managed to post twenty-three new articles on my Blog in July. Did I fail? Did I learn anything? Was it worth it?

Did I Learn Anything?

Whether I consider it a failure or not, I managed a lot more this time than the last time I accepted the Challenge. I might have only made it to Day 23, but I definitely learned a lot, so it was worth every word I typed; every late night I had; and every nightmare about the 31st July, looming menacingly above me, as I slept.

I can now write a shorter blog, find the image I need faster – especially with Pixabay.com, and get the green SEO lights from the Yoast Plugin, without too much effort. But I still need to work faster. If nothing else, at least I know where my shortfalls are, and hopefully how to fix them.

Write On!

When the next Ultimate Blog Challenge comes around, I hope I am more prepared than this time. Yes, I had a few drafts ready, but they weren’t easily tweaked to fit the day’s agenda.

For the next challenge I plan to have some short blogs drafted – based on general topics – not too specific. Oh, and I will have a long list of photos ready to cover any special day that might arise that month – how did I not see the Fourth of July coming!

If you made it to the finish line with all thirty-one blogs posted, you are amazing! If, like me, you were dragging the chain a bit – I know we’ll get there next time. Now, I’ll catch up on cleaning a neglected house, and wash the car.

As I bid my fellow-bloggers goodbye, I hope that we will meet again. I will continue to enjoy reading your blogs, and look forward to meeting you on a page somewhere, sometime soon.

RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

Thank you for reading my blog posts, and for taking the time to comment.

So until the next Ultimate Blog Challenge – that’s it for me.

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