This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

WRITING Homework Sentences

READING The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

ATTENDING

  • many many meetings on many many topics
  • Book club at Vastra’s.

WATCHING The Fugitive

ANNOUNCING which kids made it into our performance group (let the complaints begin…)

MEETING Sui-Sui in Newtown for a spot of brekkie, a long chat about my novel (getting pretty close) and some browsing in book shops.

ENJOYING some cooler weather

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This week

By Vita Forest

Autumn and Winter from our collaborative artwork on the Four Seasons

This week I have been

READING Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

FINISHING our fantastic Four Season display in the classroom

MEETING the parents of the children in my new class

HOLDING another dance audition… (I think everyone has had their chance now)

SLEEPING in on the weekend after a huge week

SWIMMING at Balmoral and Cremorne Point

A busy afternoon at MacCallum Pool, Cremorne

CELEBRATING Briony’s birthday where we were

EATING sponge cake with caramel icing (a combination from our childhood)

Walking around Cremorne Point towards Neutral Bay

This week

By Vita Forest

IMG_4023[1]

A glimpse of the harbour pool at Cremorne Point

This week I have been

READING Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (but not very much just yet)

WRITING Lapping (my last Kiama past from the last trip)

LISTENING to the wonderful ACO at the Tognetti, Tchailovsky, Brahms concert at the City Recital Hall and letting the music just wash over me!

SWIMMING and SKETCHING at Cremorne Point

CATCHING up with Gemma and Vastra and Saskia (how lovely!)

MAKING a fantastic collaborative artwork with my class – photos next week?

CELEBRATING my niece Pippi’s 8th Birthday

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Fish and chips with a view before seeing the ACO

 

Lapping

By Vita Forest

I was swimming back and forth across the pool.  The pool edged in rocks and shells and soft green moss.  I was swimming with my head above the water, legs moving like a frog below.  I was feeling the wind on my face, and remembering how yesterday, the high seas had sent waves over the sides of the pool, pushing me away from the rock wall.  How I laughed with a stranger as our bodies were swept back by the cold effervescent water that poured in from the sea.  But today, the seas have calmed, have dropped back down to a more civilised level.  The Surf Beach is open again, red and gold flags fluttering in the breeze, the whole bay no longer churning with white water.

I had swum in the surf with my kids, the waves still looking mighty big as they came roaring towards us.  But the bay was not completely awash with white water.  And the flags were out, and the lifesavers.  So it seemed alright.  But now I was back at the pool on the headland, stately stroking onwards in a kind of moving meditation.  Above me, a pelican arced overhead like a kite, doing its own kind of laps, floating back and forth over the meandering edge of the black rock headland, wings outstretched, held up there between the sun and the sea.

There were a few of us crossing forwards and backwards along the far side of the pool.  For exercise, for fitness, or was it a remnant of body memory from when we were kids?  When swimming meant racing or squad training, counting the laps, watching the clock, pushing your body until it felt like it would explode.  I have mellowed since then, but I still feel the need to swim up and down.  Now I do it at lower speeds with my head out of the water so my ears don’t ache and I can look at the scenery as I go.

There were others in the pool who had obviously never been competitive swimmers, whose eyes didn’t automatically divide the water with invisible lines, straight and narrow.  They splashed and floated across the pool, or hovered in pairs chatting by the rocky outcrops or leapt in right where I was about to swim.  I could see the look of frustration on the face of a fellow lapper, but really, who was right?  Why did we think that swimming should be done this way and not that?  And we were on holidays after all.  Did it really matter if we had to detour around the woman lounging on the blow-up bed holding herself in place with a hand cupped over a bulge of black rock?  If speed and straightness was really what you were after, you could always go to the chlorinated indoor pool up the hill, with its lanes marked out with rows of black tiles and by rigid ropes strung tight between hooks at either end of its fifty metres.

But I prefer this pool with its unruly edges, its uneven rock floor and the occasional fish that floats beneath our feet, causing the boy with the goggles to shriek excitedly, “Two fish! Really big ones!”  I prefer my fingers to stroke the green moss softening the jagged rocks on the pool’s edges, where you can stop and look out at the sea and perhaps catch a glimpse of a crab sidling along, emerging and submerging beneath the water.

When I climbed up the metal ladder and balanced my way across the concrete path, back to my towel, I heard a small girl announcing to her mother as she held up a shell, “Look!  He’s still inside his egg.  Look!  He’s still there!”  And they peered into the heart of the small rounded shell she had pulled from the rock pool at her feet, and I pulled on my hat and my clothes and walked up the hill and saw that pelican, still cruising back and forth along the rocky coastline below me.

This week

By Vita Forest

Sydney ferries at Circular Quay

This week I have been

RETURNING to school!

COVERING books

MEETING my new kids and seeing my old ones too.

READING Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

WRITING Creatures of Kiama Part 2

WATCHING The Hunt for the Wilder People with my kids – we all loved it!

WALKING over the Sydney Harbour Bridge with Lucy, Max and Briony.

 

Creatures of Kiama Part 2

By Vita Forest

More creatures seen on our recent holiday in Kiama and its surrounds…

  • On Blowhole Point… my mother delighted in sighting two willy wagtails, black tails swinging sideways as they called to each other and hopped about on the grass.  A bird she remembers seeing a lot as a child in Sydney but hasn’t seen locally for years.
  • On a few of our walks, we saw long-legged herons with blue-grey feathers picking through the wet grass, or rising heavily into the air.
  • Climbing up the hill towards Minnamurra… Lucy stooped to watch an orange ladybird exploring a blade of grass. We had just come from a lookout and read about the whales that migrate past that point, not right now though, we were either too early or too late.  From thinking about the blue whale – the largest animal in the world, to a tiny ladybird.
  • As we neared Gerringong on the Kiama Coast track… we came upon a field of black and white cows – Friesians, straight off the picture on the milk bottle. We were in dairy country after all, the lush green hills ridged with meandering bovine tracks beneath the long grass.
  • Driving up to Saddleback Mountain… we saw honey-coloured horses leaning over white timber fences, manes shaking as a woman walked toward them, hand outstretched. And later as we returned, we wondered if they admired that view all the way to Wollongong, or liked the cooling wind straight off the ocean.
  • And on that same trip… before we got to the top of that long ascending road that followed the spine of the hill, we had to pull over, stop the car, open the door and ‘encourage’ a large green stick insect (or was it a cricket?) to join the wide green world outside again. It leapt out the window, flinging itself back toward the grass with whirring wings, much to the relief of the rest of us.
  • At the summit of Saddleback Mountain… after parking the car, we walked through fluttering butterflies and hovering dragonflies, straight out of a scene from a Studio Ghibli film.
  • On the second last day, my sister Molly and I were walking back from Blowhole Point, around the headland toward the Surf Beach… when all of a sudden, a girl in the group just ahead of us pointed towards the water, “Dolphins!” and there they were. Three of them, black-bodies arcing out of the water then diving back again.  We stood and exclaimed as they reappeared again and again, chasing a school of fish.
  • And on the last day, taking one of our last swims in the Continental pool by the harbour… we swam out from the bay in the direction of the sea, and as we watched, a crab reared up above our heads and scuttled sideways along the edge of the pool, silhouetted against the blue water behind. Lucy lurched forward and it disappeared again, down over the side of the seawall, under the waves that the sea sent over the edge of the pool to splash us.
  • And heading toward our very last swim in the rock pool on Blowhole Point, we walked around the harbour and stopped near the boat ramp… and saw the most enormous blue and black spotted stingray with a long tail and huge eyes, dredging the shallow water for discarded fish with a pelican keeping it company. We had missed the stingray show (a new development since last we visited) but it seems the stingrays know the place to be for tasty treats in the harbour.
  • Arriving home later that day… we found two little cats very pleased to see us again.IMG_3053

This week

By Vita Forest

This week I have been

Jurassic Plastic, Sydney Town Hall

READING Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

WRITING Creatures of Kiama Part 1

VISITING

Jurassic Plastic

  • Hiroshi Fuji’s Jurassic Plastic, part of the Sydney Festival 2018.
  • school for a planning day… trying to stay calm and keep the holiday feeling
  • The Australian Maritime Museum for some sketching

Mokuy by Nawurapu Wununmurra, part of the the Gapu-Monuk Saltwater Jouney to the Sea Country exhibition

SWIMMING at Balmoral Beach

CRAMMING in lots of last minute holiday jobs

ADDING watercolour to some Kiama sketches

TRYING to stay cool