Kafkaworld's Blog

December 20, 2013

On Surfing at Woorim

Filed under: life — kafkaworld @ 4:58 am
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Hello everyone who’s coming up here for Christmas and I greet you with the news that today is the day you should have been here.  Who knows, there may be another morning as good as this next week, but you may have already missed the best.  That’s the way the rum balls roll sadly.  The signs say ‘Woorim Surf Beach’ but we all know that’s an island euphemism for ‘occasional ripples’ and we’re very grateful to have that much, but today: behold  the real waves, veritable rollers, at least a meter high.  The kiddies on boogie boards are careening into the beach, screeching with delight and doing their best to knock over their younger siblings.

But what really caught my imagination was the mysterious advice written on the lifesaver signage: “sweep North till 10.48, sweep South till 17.09”, accompanied by helpful arrows for those of us yet to come to grips with the concepts of North and South, let alone East or West.  So, if I swam out beyond the waves and floated in the water, I could drift up to the North end of Bribie Island until 10.48, when the current would reverse, and bring me back to where I started in time for afternoon tea.  What could be more delightfully unexpected that that?

Here’s hoping that the ocean offers up equally blissful delights for you on the day you come to visit.

December 14, 2013

On Swimming with the Dolphins

Filed under: Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 7:35 am
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What an absolutely beautiful morning on the beach for the first day of the school Christmas Holidays.  The sea was calm, the air was still and the water refreshingly cool but not cold.  I almost went for a swim!  

Mr KW romped in and performed his famous back-float, his toes emerging from the ripples occasionally as he drifted majestically towards the Port of Brisbane.  It was then I noticed a small pod of dolphins frisking through the water.  Mr KW had finally gone New Age and was swimming with the dolphins!  What a man; what a hero.

The dolphins were actually about 200 metres out towards Moreton Island, so theoretically, he wasn’t with them so much as disappearing in their wake, but that’s a minor quibble.  Good on all of them.

Meanwhile, I’m off to find my togs for tomorrow morning when my first swim of summer will officially take place.  Fanfare please horn section. 


December 8, 2013

On Expectations

Filed under: domestic bliss,Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 4:05 am
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I’ve been going through my late mother’s box of letters, photos and other memorabilia of importance to her, with a view to organizing it all to be passed on at some time to people who are interested.  I came across this floor plan, labelled in Mum’s handwriting.

I’m fairly sure that this is the house they lived in immediately following their marriage, when Dad was working at the hospital in Ayr, North Queensland.  What interests me most is the extreme modesty of the house by today’s standards of what is suitable for a young married couple.  It looks like a dolls’ house next to the multi-bathroomed monstrosities families currently aspire to, but Mum seemed very excited about it and I’m sure she relished being domestic queen of her own little domain.  Yes I know that sounds terribly patronising and defiant of all the feminist principles, but this was post-war 1948 and I suspect the desire for peace and safety overrode everything else.

The first house Mr K and I owned was in Townsvile, clinging desperately to the lower slopes of Castle Hill.  It was also tiny but had two bedrooms, one of which the Kafkaboys shared.  The laundry was under the house where I spent a lot of time with my buckets of dirty terry towelling nappies.  This was a blessing in disguise as it was much cooler down there than upstairs and I was grateful to escape the heat for 30 minutes with a comfortable chair and a good book.  In the chaos of parenting small children, you have to grab those precious moments when you can.

December 7, 2013

On Blessing The Surf

At the beginning of every summer, there is a ceremonial blessing of the surf at Woorim Beach.  They hold it at 7.45am which explains why I have yet to be there in time to participate.  Also, I usually forget that it’s happening so it’s always a pleasant surprise when I emerge for my morning walk at about 9am to be greeted by an entirely different kind of litter to the usual bottle tops and Big Hamburger paraphernalia.


As the flowery litter becomes more abundant, it dawns on me that it’s Surf Blessing Day.  Woorim looks so beautiful having been lavishly decorated by the little beach elves.  I really must get up earlier next year.


December 1, 2013

On Growing Old Together

Filed under: Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 9:59 am
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“Would It Be So Wrong

by Krista Lukas

to suggest that he move
next door? I don’t want him
gone altogether, neither can I stand
him underfoot. It might be ideal
to holler over the fence,
invite him to dinner.
We’d sit together on the patio, eat
asparagus from his garden,
grilled shrimp under the setting sun,
then kiss the grease from our lips,
maybe more. After,
he’d go home
and watch basketball at full volume,
while I soak in the tub listening to Coltrane.
Then, wearing pajamas, hair uncombed,
I’d curl up in my own living
room with Robert Frost or People
and the cat, the quiet,
the light of a single lamp.”

Surely that’s not too much to ask.

November 21, 2013

On Muttonbirds

Shearwater%2c_or_Muttonbird-1  DownloadedFile

 Muttonbird: what an ugly name for such a beautiful bird.  For this horrendous nomenclature we have to blame an officer of the Royal Marines who called them “the flying sheep” because early settlers on Norfolk Island harvested their close relatives, the providence petrels, for their meat and oil.  Because they nest in shallow burrows, they were easily caught and that particular species of petrel quickly became extinct following annual slaughters of hundreds of thousands of birds.

The muttonbirds of today are the Short-tailed Shearwaters, so called because of their graceful shearing flight moving from centimetres above the water to high in the sky.  Every year, they travel to the Arctic and back to the same burrows on the Eastern coast of Australia from Southern Queensland down to Tasmania, a round trip of 30,000 kilometres.  What an astonishing journey for a seabird weighing around half a kilo.  It’s unsurprising that there are casualties every year which just drop into the sea, starving and exhausted, to wash up on our Eastern beaches.

In the past few weeks, I have seen dozens on Woorim Beach alone and subsequently read reports of much higher than usual numbers failing to make it to their burrows.  This saddens me greatly.  Something is obviously going wrong and it is heartening that there are scientists researching this.  I just wish the current government showed as much interest in environmental problems as they do in demonising asylum seekers.

Anyway, all this put me in mind of a wonderful poem by A.D. Hope.  It’s a little sad but so beautiful.

The Death of the Bird

For every bird there is this last migration;

Once more the cooling year kindles her heart;

With a warm passage to the summer station

Love pricks the course in lights across the chart.

Year after year a speck on the map, divided

By a whole hemisphere, summons her to come.

Season after season, sure and safely guided,

Going away she is also coming home.

And being home, memory becomes a passion

With which she feeds her brood and straws her nest.

Aware of ghosts that haunt the heart’s possession

and exiled love mourning within the breast.

The sands are green with a mirage of valleys;

The palm-tree casts a shadow not its own;

Down the long architrave of temple or palace

Blows a cool air from moorland scarps of stone.

And day by day the whisper of love grows stronger;

That delicate voice, more urgent with despair,

Custom and fear constraining her no longer,

Drives her at last on the waste of leagues of air.

A vanishing speck in those inane dominions,

Single and frail, uncertain of her place,

Alone in the bright host of her companions,

Lost in the blue unfriendliness of space.

She feels it close now, the appointed season:

The invisible thread is broken as she flies;

Suddenly, without warning, without reason,

The guiding spark of instinct winks and dies.

Try as she will, the trackless world delivers

No way, the wilderness of light no sign,

The immense and complex map of hills and rivers

Mocks her small wisdom with its vast design.

And darkness rises from the eastern valleys,

And the winds buffet her with their hungry breath,

And the great earth, with neither grief nor malice,

Receives the tiny burden of her death.

Now I’ve made myself cry but, as I walk along the beach tomorrow, past those fallen bundles of feathery courage, I will again consider the vast distances travelled by these birds, trusting in nature to provide a way.   An absolute miracle.

* information gleaned from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife web page.

November 17, 2013

On Things My Children Teach Me

Filed under: family,Uncategorized — kafkaworld @ 4:48 am
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I have two children who, for my purposes, I will call DJKafka and BassKafka.  They know who they are.  DJ Kafka was here recently and commented that I never go to the beach.  I used to walk there every morning, picking up litter as I went, a win-win situation.  Since cancer paid me a visit (thanks for nothing cancer), I just got out of the habit because it was difficult enough to leave my bed, let alone plough my way through the sand to the sea.  Now I have been shamed back into my Daily Amble, for which I’m very grateful.

This is how it looked the first day I went back, and I just couldn’t believe I’d waited so long to do it.  Thanks for the motivation DJKafka.

DJKafka also gave me a CD of music from 1974, the year he was born.  It is currently on high rotation in my car.  The music is unexpected and mysteriously trippy, expanding my mind (as we termed it at the time) in rather unexpected directions.  Hmmmm.

October 29, 2013

On stuff which brings me joy (1)

Filed under: flora and fauna — kafkaworld @ 1:12 am
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Two fat possums, sitting in a tree,

K – I – S – S – I – N -G.

Well they weren’t kissing exactly, that’s a bit of a euphemism

but I thank them both for choosing one of the trees in my garden for their honeymoon.

Come back soon.

June 21, 2012

On holidays

Filed under: life,On the Road — kafkaworld @ 9:28 am
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We haven’t been on a road trip for years and I’d forgotten how relaxing it is to run away from home and drive off in random directions far away from normal adult responsibilities.  Sheer bliss, but in the age of iPad and iPhone, there is a downside.  With so much spare time and no work or domestic drudgery to fill the days, we have plenty of time to stalk Twitter, Facebook and other people’s blogs all of which usually escape our attention for months at a time.

So I’d like to take this opportunity to  apologize to everyone whose blogs I have been cluttering up with random inane comments or whose twitter feeds are  suffering from my too frequent attentions.  It won’t last much longer.  Normal cyber silence will be resumed as soon as possible.

June 17, 2012

On The Uproar in Row C

Filed under: dance,life — kafkaworld @ 12:17 pm
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It’s a common problem and becoming worse every day.  Elderly people, on the rampage, roaming free, wandering about with their baby boomer sense of entitlement, and generally doing precisely whatever they please.  Damn troublemakers, the lot of them.

So picture this.  Last night, in the very plush and  swanky State Theatre, five minutes before curtain up on the latest Australian Ballet production of ‘Let’s Dance’, a minor kerfuffle broke out in Row C.  We were seated comfortably when two interlopers squeezed in and tried to take our seats.  They were smartly admonished and told they were in the wrong spot.  “This is row B” we sneered and waited for them to scuttle off.  “Oh no it isn’t” they and several of their pimply faced friends shouted back, and they were right dammit.  Just before security arrived, we vacated the disputed seats with as little grace as possible and sulked off to the next row where we sat behind three young women with giant heads who obviously had no consideration for the people seated behind them.

To be fair, the extremely polite young woman at the door had directed us to the second front row when we arrived but as we are both deaf and chronically disinclined to follow instructions, we had ignored her.  I suspect life is going to become more, not less chaotic over the coming years.  I’m quite looking forward to the challenge.

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