Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Another one of my favourite photos taken in Nepal. This one is of rice fields. What I liked about this image was the tenacity of the rice to grow, and hang, on to the slightest bit of earth - in this case, the bank of a stream

Monday, October 31, 2005

Another year older

It was my birthday yesterday. Smithy gave me Sue Fear's biography, a sleeping bag liner and a beautiful carved marble frieze with 5 Buddhas in various poses. Lovely lovely lovely. We lolligagged around for a couple of hours, then surfed a bit on the net looking for maps of Tibet, before getting ready to go out.
The wine club we belong to was coincidentally having one of its tastings yesterday and we thought that a fine way to spend my burpday. A leisurely couple of hours sailing up and down the Brisbane River on the Kookaburra Queen (paddle steamer without steam), sampling some fine champagnes, whites, reds and scrumptious liqueurs.
Then it was off to New Farm Park to meet up with friends for coffee and a chinwag, which was really nice.
After a hot and sweaty walk over to Kangaroo Point and those wretched steps, we settled down with dinner and a couple more glasses of wine and watched some telly. A fine birthday!
And today Mum's card arrived with $50 tucked inside (ta Mum!) and a parcel from one of my sister's came too. That had a little lantern with candle in it (ta Lo!)
I'll have to go shopping on Wednesday and organise cards and gifts for Mum and Dad's birthdays - 8/11 and 14/11 respectively. Yep...3 Scorpios in the family!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Movie time!

Hooray! Hooray! I have finally been able to make workable DVDs of the films we took whilst trekking in Nepal last year. So now we have a little collection of homemade movies on DVD! Annapurna Circuit, Kathmandu and Everest Region. Up til now, we've only been able to view the films on the computer.
We're particularly pleased about the Everest one because it originally seemed that the footage had been corrupted - lines of pixelation running through the scenes. But, I gave it another try capturing it to computer and this time it was clear! There must have been some dust in the camera the first time I tried to capture it. So now we have a great little movie of our trek to Gokyo and Kalar Pattar!
So now, I'm looking at transferring some old videos onto DVD. And we recently bought software so that we can record our vinyl LPs to the computer then burn them to CD. Smithy and I are slowly working our way through our record collections. Once we've finished we'll be able to put the LPs into storage under the house. We have great fun making labels and case covers as well as going on quite a trip down memory lane as we listen to the LPs.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Spring has sprung

Seems that summer is already here after just a week or two of lovely spring weather. In comes October and increased water restrictions and the temperature soars into high 30s - Celcius, that is...90+ Fahrenheit. And we've had the first bushfires of the season.
But the good news is.....there's cricket on the telly!!!! Australia against the world and beating them in 2 one-day matches, with one more one-dayer and a 6-day test still to come. The games have been played under the closed roof of the Telstra Dome in Melbourne, so can someone explain to me why Andy Symonds had his usual sunblock on his lips???
October's arrival has meant a step up in our training program. There are now only 340 days until we leave for Tibet. So now we're walking 5 days a week (well nights as it's been far too hot before sunset to step outside!) on our Kangaroo Point circuit, which is about 7km in distance and includes a gruelling 106 steps up the side of a cliff. Oh the straining calves, heaving lungs and wobbly legs as we struggle to the top! But soon, soon we'll be trotting up those steps with no bother at all.
We've also cut back on the alcohol consumption - enjoying a wine or two only on Friday and Saturday nights - and are eating a little less as we both want to lose 5-8kg. So far, it seems to be working cos the scales are telling me I've lost 1kg already!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sing For Water

Went with a group of friends to a free concert in the Brisbane botanical gardens last night to celebrate the end of another RiverFestival. The concert was made up of a mass choir of about 450 voices from 19 different choirs from around southeastern Queensland, including the Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Choir...who all looked fantastic donning bandanas during their individual performance to create a glittering rainbow of colour!
Other performers included the Briscoe Sisters, a trio from Far North Queensland (FNQ), Troy, Trevelyn and the Tribe, which featured a traditionally decorated Aboriginal man playing the didgeridoo and a Zimbabwean woman as co-singer with the Aboriginal lead guitarist.
The drawcard performer was the lovely Kate Cebrano. The aim of the concert was to celebrate the role of the river in Brisbane's life and the importance of water to us all. It was also a fundraiser for WaterAid, funding and supporting water projects in Papua New Guinea.
A fantastic evening, wonderful talent and, of course, with a name like Sing For Water, what did it do half way through Kate's set but start to rain!!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I took this picture in Bhaktapur, Nepal as part of a photographic essay I'm working on based on doors and windows in Nepal. Check out my website at for more photos of my travels in Nepal

Monday, September 05, 2005

A spring in the step

Smithy got the all-clear last week from the chiropracter to start walking more frequently, so to celebrate we headed off to do what we call the Kangaroo Point Circuit, a slightly more arduous walk than what we have been doing, and incorporates a 106-step staircase cut into the cliffs. We had gone no more than 100 metres when I fell into a grass-hidden hole and sprained my ankle!
Ouch! Hobbled home and applied an ice-pack. A week later, it still is not happy. Grrr! It's been one damn thing after another for both Smithy and me. Good job we still have 12 months before embarking on our big Himalayan adventure! We gonna need all the time we can get to get back into peak condition!
We bought a small home gym resistence machine on Saturday and had a fun time slotting Part A into Section 3 and tightening with Bolt z! It all looks very impressive and at least I can work on my quads and biceps whilst waiting for the ankle to heal.
We also bought a wind-up torch each. Fantastic idea! No batteries required! We first saw them advertised in the New Internationalist catalogue as part of a range of items, including radios, that all work on the wind-up concept. Revolutionary technology for developing countries! People don't have to worry about affording batteries, or disposing of them. We bought ours from Bunnings Hardware. 1 minute spent winding gives 30 minutes continuous light. Just the thing for those late night dashes from tent or lodge room to the dunny!

Monday, August 08, 2005

At a standstill

13 months to go until the big adventure! Smithy and I are still struggling with mobility problems, so the training regime hasn't yet been taken to the next level. In fact, I suffered a wee setback on Friday when some ignorant b*#*&#$ smashed into the back of my car and drove off! Leaving me gobsmacked, whiplashed and with a hole torn out of the back panel of poor little Hilda Hyundai!
Having missed the Gold Coast Half Marathon and the Bridge to Brissie fun run, we had set our sights on doing the annual Hike to Help Nepal, run by Nepal Australia Friendship Association (NAFA) and using that as our launching pad for cranking up the training. We usually miss the Hike cos we're in Nepal in October, but this year will be home...alas, no Hike is planned this year! Oh well, we'll just have to do our own private hike. Hopefully by October, we'll both be a lot fitter and stronger than we are at the moment.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Be still my beating heart

I learned this week that I have an ectopic heartbeat - extra heartbeats or heart skipping beats. It's benign, but had me worried for a good having a weak heart if I want to go climbing mountains and trekking through the Himalayas! I've had to switch to caffeine-free coffee and cut down on alcohol - if I hadn't already given them up, I would have had to stop smoking too!
Hopefully, this will be a passing condition. Apparently, perimenopause causes it and quite a lot of women get it...something to do with estrogen levels, I'm told.
Smithy and I went to a giant CD and DVD sale last weekend and she found a CD called "Himalayan Trekking Songs"! Goes without saying, that we bought it. A lovely collection of Nepalese folk songs, including the perrenial favourite Reshim Phiriry.
We also went to the Kathmandu Winter Sale and I bought a new Gore-Tex raincoat for half price. That's gone into the "Trekking Trunk", along with some new waterproof trousers, ready for the big adventure next year. We also both found great hats that give lots of shade and fold up into a little pouch - they're in the trunk too!

Monday, June 27, 2005

I love to go a-wandering along a mountain track...

There are only 15 months to go before my girlfriend, Smithy, and I head off for our 3-month trip to the Himalayas! This time, we'll be going to Tibet...travelling into Everest Base Camp then across the country to do a 3-day pilgrimage around Mt Kailash. Then back to Kathmandu to meet up with 2 friends from Melbourne who are joining us on the Annapurna Circuit, with a side trek to Tilicho Lake. Back to Kathmandu we'll farewell our friends and head east to the Khumbu region to try and climb Mera Peak, the tallest trekking peak in Nepal.
People ask me why I like trekking so much, and why in Nepal. For one thing, the mountains don't come much bigger than in Nepal. For sheer majesty, you cannot beat the Himalayas. And, you have to work to see them. No driving a car and pulling up beside the road to enjoy the view.
A quote I read a while ago really sums up what trekking does for me. It said "I go to the mountains to learn how to live better in my own world". When you're out there on the trail and there are no newspapers, no TV, no radio, phones, nothing to connect you to the world you come from, you really do become uncluttered and begin to realise just how unimportant so much of what we fill our lives with and yearn after really is.
I come back from the mountains refreshed and relaxed. Each time, I come home feeling more content with what I already have and with loads more respect and humility towards the many many people who are getting by with oh so much less than me. I come home knowing that I can make a difference...that the $4o a month I spend on child sponsorship is effective, cos a dollar goes a long long way in a country like Nepal.
Mainly though, I love trekking in the Himalayas because it is so awesomely spectacular!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Well, winter seems to have finally arrived here in Brisbane. Up till now, you would hardly know it was winter. Blue skies, sunshine, temperatures in the low to mid 20s (in the 70s on the Fahrenheit scale), everyone still getting around in T-shirts.
In fact, the only real clue as to the season so far has been the wonderful aroma of wattle blossoms wafting into the car as I drive to work. But today it's actually chilly and it's been raining all day...could this be the end of the drought?
There was a story on the news the other night. It had been raining out west...very welcome rain that had been falling for two days...and there were kids out there who had never seen rain! Hard to comprehend, isn't it...all these 3, 4 and 5 year olds who had no idea or experience of rain...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What on earth????

National days of protest? Prime Ministers expressing sorrow? People demanding refunds on their tsunami donations? All because a young woman was convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to 20 years!
Where are the national days of protest about other injustices around the world? China's conduct in Tibet for the past 50 years, for example. 12- and 14-year old Australian Vietnamese jailed in Vietnam for another. People dying from starvation whilst fat Westerners buy the latest weight loss pills....
Why isn't John Howard sorry for all the other convicted prisoners sentenced to long or life terms in prisons around the country and world?
And since when did charity come with strings attached?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May Day

Brisbane is putting on a birthday party for Buddha this weekend but I've been too busy catching up with the ironing to go to the celebrations....had to settle for burning some incense and ringing a bell before a picture of Buddha instead.

I've recently learned how to make movies using my computer and am about to "capture" our video footage of last year's trek to Gokyo Lakes and Kalar Pattar to edit and burn to CD, then I'll have a go at burning the movie of our Annapurna Circuit to DVD ready to take to Melbourne next week to show a friend who we're hoping to inspire to come with us next year....

You know when winter is on its way when the wattle begins to bloom and its perfume wafts in through the windows....mind you, we're still wearing t-shirts and shorts. Winter in the tropics is a doddle!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

April showers

So much for my big plans of posting at least once a week....

After a 5okm drive to work, full day's work, 50km drive home again, go for a walk, cook tea and cuddle with my partner I'm too buggered to even turn on the computer, let alone think about blogging.

April 22 is a redletter day in my calendar, cos it's the end of my stint of full-time work that began January 4. No more 6am alarms 5 days a week - well, 6 days really cos I get up early on Saturdays to go walking with Brisbane Frontrunners. I'll be back to 3 day weekends - Hooray hooray!!!

Lots of ups and downs this week....hurt my back on Monday, but made a digital movie from our footage of Kathmandu. Learned of a bomb threat made against us at work (we're a public library for gawd's sake), but won $60 in GoldLotto. Threw another sickie on Thursday cos my back was killing me and I hadn't slept a wink all night, but finally got around to downloading some of my favourite music into my recently purchased mp3 player.

And it's been raining for the past three days. Yipee! After months and months of boring old sunshine, we finally have some much needed rain and the garden's got a touch a green about it again.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


There's more to life than trekking....apparently. I'm not so sure....if I'm not actually trekking, I'm thinking about, dreaming, planning and getting ready for my next trek.

Of course, there's a lot of stuff that goes on in the little spaces left over from my trekking daze...

This is my life when I'm not trekking.