Chillagoe Queensland

 

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we seek a new adventure in the West country 200km  from Cairns, some warm and dry and open bush. dry out our lungs and explore the limestone caves in the Chillagoe Mungana national park. 

 A retrospective post.

Remembering Chillagoe region, inland, tablelands, North Queensland; August 2013

castles of stone

caves, crevices, dust, marble bones

choking dust

bleak heat

dreamtime vista

turquoise mineral spring bathing sancturary

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there are long bumpy stretches of dirt road which we have to take at 10-20km an hour as we are heavily loaded with extra timber, 100lt water and 80 ltr of fuel, never mind the brain splitting rattling of our 4 tonne home… it’s torturous for me as driver on this hot hot day, and i rage internally {and a little externally} and finally retreat to the bed with sunglasses on as Jesse takes over the wheel. it is my least favorite endurance of this adventurous life. hot travel with no swimming respite in sight, cranky tired hot and bothered children… {be forewarned, i am going to bang on alot about how hot this trip was!}IMG_2422

gathering firewood roadside on the trip in. I am stunned by the dry midday heat, the starkness of sky and and bleached colors after weeks in the lush coastal regions. it is familiar from my childhood in WA and a little part of me also relishes the crackle of crisped leaves and bark underfoot and the open bush and ant trails. epic sky and thin shade kissed by eucalypt breeze

we fill the floor space with perfect dry hardwood for campfires, it’s awkward sweaty hauling but we focus on the enjoyment of fire gazing and cooking. Jesse finds some perfect straight Mulga for making rhythm sticks.

and then we are arriving into tiny Chillagoe township looking for the Eco Lodge as we hear it boasts a small observatory and resident astronomer {part of our attraction to come to this open sky country} a population of about 250. with fluctuating tourism nodded to by the 4 campgrounds. there is a more private camp ground on a property right on the creek near the airport, but the caretaker is ill.

we are simply  heat shocked and wondering what the hell we are doing here!

im ecstatic to here there’s a swimming hole near town.

turns out to be a lovely shady deep spring fed hole. phew. everyone is refreshed quickly and it all seems worthwhile and copeable. is that a word? the rocks are amazing!

IMG_2414 IMG_2413the swimming hole becomes our base for half of each day we spend in the area. i sit by the water and understand how the indigenous mob survived out here, in the shade by water is the only place to be in a lot of Australia on the hot days. if there’s water…

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we visit some caves and do some short walks. we skip the guided tours in to the deeper caves. {i’m quietly glad the children give me the excuse for this as it frightens me just a little} finding ourselves alone in some huge caverns, sitting on besmoothed stones and watching captured sunlight glittering the dust moats is surprising and awe-some. singing and didging and echoing in the tumbled caves, it’s good to be together in a cave. a new experience.

the rock formations and the self guided caves are striking enough to fulfill our rocky quest.

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i awake on the second day better adapted to the climate and find gradually heating with the rising sun easier than driving into the hot midday from the coast.

we monkey around at the old train station near the campground in the twilight. there are great mobs of wallabies. this was a rare campground stay. we usually find independant camping or stay on properties. we want to experience the astronomy session in the evening however, and it’s simply so appealing to have access to water. we claim the little patch of grass out the front of the Eco lodge. Cedar declares the sprinkler his truck wash.

the session at the observatory is inspirational and full of facts and numbers and anecdotes. i saw Saturn and it’s rings! and two of it’s twenty something moons! it really does look like those funny colour drawings from school books! it sparks many wonder-full conversations about life, other life, gallaxies, stars, moons, space travel, wonderment, constellations, feeling small, feeling big, feeling like a speck, how time and space move and are measured….

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Have you ever roasted a whole pumpkin in the coals?IMG_0009

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before you go to bed, make a nest in the coals and ashes and plop in a really great pumpkin; cover it with a good blanket of ash and coals and you’re all ready for bed; uncover your golden treasure in the morning! we used a Japanese variety here; the more ripe and good your pumpkin the better caramelized result you will have!

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Enjoy your roast pumpkin in many attitudes; here a savory delight but previously it’s been breakfast on pancakes with maple syrup and cream! decadence!

and here is a proof I’m not some super unrealistic lady who can’t do wrong. {just in case anyone wondered; as Jesse pointed out it’s easy to falsely represent myself here on an edited blog}  burnt food is one of my occasional talents! i am a bit dreamy{creative} at times and become absorbed in other activities, than watching the meal cook!! oops. still good. just cut off the charcoal…. I have been banned from using the toaster and cooking rice in a previous life…IMG_0024

Lily spent the first morning engaged in making a flower fairy palace from bark, sticks, marble chunks and flowers. unfortunately she built her house on the sand {the mat} and it had to go down with the packup tide. rebuilt in the bushes and a learning about how to choose a safe site to build…IMG_0022

our last night, we left the township of Chillagoe and visited a more secluded cave with relatively intact Indigenous paintings. The energy of this place was strong and beautiful. We spent the afternoon and gloaming in the cave watching the changing light and dreaming of life as a tribe in the caves, in this remarkable landscape.

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Discussing how and where and what and why was a rich experience. The children chose their rock beds and imagined where the fire was and how we would use the cave and how many people would share it and so on. I realised how little i know of the nomadic tribal culture in Australia, how disconnected i feel at times from the cultural history of this land I was born in. Sadness arising for what is lost now. the questions i’ll never know answers to.  noticing the discomfort i can experience when I am in company of people of culture because i don’t have many reference points. and ultimately I’m a white fella and there is a massive burden of racism and tragedy between us. at other times it just naturally is and I’m connecting with ease and humour. often the children break the ice and connecting through play is a gift.IMG_0090

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the open verandah effect of the cave creates an empowering view over vast land. a safe standpoint.IMG_0094 IMG_0109 IMG_0102 IMG_0113

i awoke to didgeridoo echoes across the land from the cave above at sunrise. when i return from my solo adventure to the cave i am met by singing and music. thankyou Jesse you bring melody to my life.IMG_0133

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there are many old marble quarries in the Chillagoe area. many massive blocks have been lifted out and left on the red dust like a giant’s play blocks. We stop at one of the quarries on the way back East. {some conspiracy about bleeding away private money…} we met an epic conspir-ollogist our here! wowzers.IMG_0156 IMG_0153 IMG_0175 IMG_0166

the bush is open with tall ironbarks and malga among the trees. their thin canopy offers little shade in the oven hot morning. with termite mounds being the bush furniture. the spindly crisp grasses remind me of country up near Katherine and Darwin.
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quirky old machine installations IMG_0181i certainly left with a puzzled feeling from Chillagoe, its been great to reflect on it from my midnight table here in Bellingen.

i hope you enjoyed the story and the photographs.

Roselinde

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Home made Mayonnaise ~ easier than you think

i have attempted mayonnaisse once before, it was a terrible gloppety glop which seperated in the first hour and no-one would eat. boo. condiment disaster.

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and then one day recently, like a home cooking queen, my dear friend Dalee {Owl and Snail blog} casually offers to whip up some mayo to accompany lunch as the rice is not cooked yet. WHAT? squawks I

what can’t this woman do?

whip up mayonnaisse? i thought it was a half hour hand whisking ordeal for secondary results?

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not anymore ladies and gentleman.

mayonnaisse, fresh, lemony, creamy mayo is within your grasp {if you have a power source/sauce and a blender}

no more sad sandwiches gasping for some moisture, no more shop tainted slaw,

read on and then

quick get your apron on and blender out…

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Dalee’s deelicious home made whip it up casually MAYONNAISE

disclaimer~recipe is just a guideline, adjust ingredients as you see fit…

pop into your blender jug

  • 2 good and fresh eggs and another egg yolk
  • juice of half a lemon or more
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of honey or similar

whizz til smooth then with motor running slOWly pour in oil in a steady drizzle until mixture thickens to your liking… ta da!!

approximately more than 1 cup of good oil but possibly less than 2 {depends on the weather}

Dalee recommended a blend of olive and a lighter oil like sunflower, i agree after tonights recipe trial. i also added a sprig of parsley to dye it an appealing shade of rolling meadows green

then good people, dollop, slather, spread, dip, splat, lick, enjoy!
Keep it in the fridge. I can’t legally recommend an exact UBD but perhaps up to 7 days?? do not leave out of the fridge for extended periods as it contains raw eggs, food poisoning is a concern.

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try with roast potatoes, fish and salad {my dinner above. mm not bad… in another life i am a food shooter for culinary prints}

try it with….

vegie sticks

in coleslaw

in nori rolls

in chicken salad

egg sandwitches

in salad dressings

on frittata

on pancakes…?

IMG_0283well go on, make some soon and tell me what you enjoyed it with {as long as it’s food now}

looks good, tastes great and has raw eggs in it!

and what about Miss Dalee, artist, mama, musician, crafter, pioneer, yurt dwelling, homeschooling, mayonnaise queen. did you go look at her blog? or her skilled husband Jesse, who handcrafts beautiful Shakahachi flutes.
some more moments from my visit

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Lily plays for The Ridge children
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view from community house/kitchen to the sea

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the kitchen of mayonnaise heaven…

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Dalee also makes KimChi {fermented spicy vegetable condiment from Korean origin}

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Lily disappears into the schoolroom within arms length of the bookshelf

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playful artworks by Dalee and children

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The Yurt~temporary home while they build/wait for approval to build from council

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so cosy and light. furnished with many handmade pieces from the hands of mama and papa

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a wedding gift from Jesse’s dad

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circus fun

 

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jesse dalee and eltham

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my cute wee home for the night.

my cute wee home for the night.



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rainbows

peace

and mayonnaise

xx

there is another good mayo recipe and scientific examination of the sauce here

thankyou Ridge friends, you where the last stop on the way to Bellingen. i enjoyed my three fun days of inspiration with different friends and i left you feeling full and motivated and, well, inspired!

Right now

Right now, choosing to sing instead of morning chores.

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At years begin I wished to have a harmonium (small bellows piano) and invite more singing and music into my life. (Greatly inspired by joining Loren Kate in song during our SA travels)
I feel happier, more serene, heart aglow when I sing. It’s a connection to my centre which is more steadfast than my fluctuating personality/moods. I did a voice workshop recently, which was as intense as it was beneficial with my confidence and freedom of sounding.
I love to sing devotional music and at present I am finding the chanting of some ancient vedic chants are uplifting and also deeply moving. Chanting in another language allows me a freedom to sink into the sounds and the intellect has to take a backseat. I become more present with the meditation and the resonance of the music. It becomes a more simple moment of prayer to the wisdom and connection and beauty in and around myself.
It’s a joy to accompany myself with the harmonium and not be dependant on Jesse for guitar playing. (Hence snatching a moment to sing alone becomes possible, oh yes I sing without accompaniment also but it’s so fun with an instrument)

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This morning Cedar was happy drawing at the table in front of me. He could talk to me or show me his art while I fulfilled my own need for expression. Even with a mountain of washing at my side and unfinished jobs around, to choose 15 minutes to do something which leaves me feeling mmmm lovely and happy has made me proud of myself. (Changing habits)

And then he’s next to me with the pencils wanting a tractor and we are talking about his image. It’s the first drawing he’s described to me with a story. Honey tree mama. Honey coming out. Bucket honey.

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And then we are moving into the next moment…
What are you choosing for inspiration in your life?
What small gifts could you give yourself today?
What leaves you feeling mmmmm lovely?

So far.. away…

on departure the morning mist cloaks the hillsidesIMG_0024

departing the fertile valleys of the mid north coast and headin south… it’s a beautiful perspective of the folds and crests of the land hearabouts from up sky..
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the big smoke… a fleeting stopover…IMG_1761

on the plane i listen with empathy to the crying babes

and turn back to my book with glee… it’s not me with puking kids, this time…

at the airport Sydney I am famished as the few mouthfuls of breakfast I distractedly inhaled have worn off, i seek the noodle bar my mama described to me and am so enjoying my broth and reading and then the $2 massage chairs…

i forget to check in for my next flight…

oops, lucky i got a self proclaimed ‘nice’ man at the counter who lets me on anyway…

{feeling abit country mouse at this point but enjoying myself…}IMG_1702

arriving into a babble of easy banter with my oldest young friend, we join her friends inner city for lounging, ethiopian eating and dancing! wow feeling so bold and dashing in my red wool coat and that new wool skirt i made… {details one day. maybe}

in between i had a stroll in the road and delighted in my find of this Pincushion Hakea a favorite from Western Australia. What a quirky flower and great name. Some aspects of the medicine of this flower is

to have an open mind and be open to new ideas and interested in the world. {can you see how the flower reaches out in every direction confidently?}

Think that might come in handy this week for me?IMG_1755 IMG_1711

dinner, Ethiopian flavours astound me, smoky paprika or warm cumin or slightly vinegar pickle or sweet beet or queer fermented pancake bread… mmmm new things to experience

and 5 other lovely ladies to enjoy with…IMG_1760 IMG_1759

and then and then there was more at The SubstationIMG_1704

Dead Quarry Mountain Rats play high speed twanging tunes, handsome talented lads with flying fingers

{but i snobbishly think they could do with some articulation assistance…}

I cannot keep up and go out for a breather and a cuddle with the radiator

enjoying people watching and trying to digest the days stimulation!

until the highly quirky and amusing Perch Creek Family jug band step up and have me soon in stitchesIMG_1757

four siblings and a partner, all beautifully talented musicians and a couple sporting magnificent vocal range! harmonies to soar in this great hall and hilarious almost embaressing banter betwixt.

when did dorky become cool? i think i could really fit into this scene in Melbourne…

In another life I played double bass and when i see the instrument hopping and jiving in this folk/bluegrass/soul context i long to be there thumping out the bass line. it really wasn’t so much fun at the back of the orchestra…IMG_1718

this sign greets me in my dear friends kitchen. I say YES yes yes!IMG_1736

being idle in the sunroom for hours… luxury… my thoughts can come to a natural completion with no interruption! hoorah! i can think any think i can think…

and then such a long long invigorating seaside stroll with a myriad of greys and mauves and silver sheening water for companyIMG_1763 IMG_1770

and pressing my face into WA wildflowers growing happily in the garden

Geraldton wax my favorite since ever has taken me on a great healing journey {still on it actually}

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in another life i spent a year working on an artwork of this flower and a dear friend put it onto my skin. daily reminders of the medicine of this flower…

have you ever crushed some of the leaf and smelt the divine aroma?

and then check out these enormous pillars of Banksia. Im not sure which variety but so striking.

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and then later…

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ahhhh so full of gratitude to all who have made this a possibility and to myself, yippee you’ve given yourself a mini sabbatical… xx

what would you do if you could run away from life for a few days?

Flashing Lights

I recently had the privilege to shoot local youth band

Flashing Lights

we had a really playful session which left me wishing I had some of the confidence I do now when I was a teen, so I could really enjoy the bantering and fun of the age. Never mind. Better late than never.

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IMG_0382i haven’t shared much of my teen years, yet…

anyhow being on this side of the screen allows me to ask you

what quality do you wish you had as a teen?

what would you say to your teen self?

what qualities do you hope your children will develop as teens?

xx

 

Waking up to…

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Mornings at Salamanca market in Hobart and another
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I was initially surprised by the length of the market street amidst the beautiful heritage stone buildings of the docks.
Now I’m more familiar with the layout I confidently seek the organic growers and craftspeople I prefer. It’s a little over stimulating to spend too long in here but the oncelers love it!

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The produce is scentfull and colorful, I shop while the others are still in bed and return with fresh bread and goods for the week.
Apples have just started appearing and today there are seven unfamiliar varieties to choose from. The seller says in a fortnight he will have 25 varieties!! Yum but we will be back in Victoria then.
Apples are my favored fruit along with raspberries so I’ve been happy happy happy in Tasmania. 20130225-185439.jpg20130225-185638.jpg20130225-185645.jpg20130225-185708.jpg
I’m in a blessed position where I am committed to come to markets every week while we travel yet am free to roam and fossick, eat and enjoy. When I was a stallholder I was tied to my stall and couldn’t explore much so this liberty is appreciated! Thanks Jesse! (even if it means having the children all day in a busy noisy atmosphere, or even when I am bleeding and in pain and the last desire is to be in public, I am learning to handle my role and take it gently) we have a stroller again which makes it easier to move about and I pack a rug, snacks and water and a book for lily and knitting for me and cars for Cedar.
I’m learning to go to the park and play for most of the day and make focused forays into the market for what we need. On my own I am an avid browser and appreciate the beautiful artisan crafts and vintage clothing stalls… I have also learnt to just take some cash and not my bank card so I am on a budget.
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Tasmanian Circus Festival 2013

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This community of inspirational folk

shared a wonderful accepting, encouraging and down right funny

time together at the circus festival

i love that the whacky and unusual is embraced and i see such

a diverse range of people feel at ease here and accepted and loved for their differences.

all day there are feats to amaze

some on stage and some casually in the central gathering area

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we are camped close to it all

dress up daily and laugh and laugh

even the morning yoga class has everyone laughing and therefore relaxing more

ahhh good medicine for us all…

Lily has another chance to have a flying trapeze lesson

and gets a catch! woohooo!

what an amazing opportunity!

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extraordinary things happen in the circus!

and the extraordinary becomes possible for everyone

next time we will attend the training week beforehand

until then

we are all now looking forward to the circus festival in

Mullumbimby in September!

are you going?

we all make delightful new friendships at this festival

including another lovely blogging mama Lauren

and her daughters with whom Lily has since spent alot of happy time

on Sunday the girls make popcorn to sell in handmade paper bags

they make $8 to share and are very pleased!

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this is the first festival we have allowed Lily to move around freely with a friend

the atmosphere is gentle and fun, the venue is small and she can easily find her way safely back to camp

wow, growing up into a little more independance!

among other things i spend some time with a friends spinning wheel

one thing i miss while traveling so now i endeavor to learn how to drop spindle

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to conclude the festival there is the Circus Olympics

where anyone can participate in events like

most backflips in a row, hulahooping, juggling while playing simon says, human wheelbarrow racing while juggling,

unicycle rally, balancing a stick on your chin, handstand {winner at 3.5 minutes!!} etc etc

sorry i didn’t photograph this i couldn’t bear to leave to run for the camera!!

we have all come away inspired to master skills with our bodies

and the children are climbing onto our shoulders or balancing on anything or making impromptu shows for us!!

xxx

with love and laughter


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musical chairs…IMG_0366 IMG_0373

spaghetti circus on the see saw!IMG_0374 IMG_0377 IMG_0384 IMG_0398 IMG_0407

Cygnet Folk Festival 2013

Venues on the school grounds

Venues on the school grounds

Hmm so much to see...

Hmm so much to see…

Slate sky but stayed dry!

Slate sky but stayed dry!

Town Hall was a beautiful venue

Town Hall was a beautiful venue
Southern Swanhomeopathics and lotions and potions

a rainbow over Southern Swan, quiet haven amidst the festival
makers of homeopathics and beautiful lotions and potions {Spagni Oils}

Perch Creek Family Jug band, the only gig I had my camera at...

Perch Creek Family Jug band, the only gig I had my camera at…

Perch Creek

Perch Creek

one day I'll play bass again...

one day I’ll play bass again…

Perch Creek

Perch Creek

Perch Creek Family Jug band

Perch Creek Family Jug band, all siblings

wonderful shadow puppetry

wonderful shadow puppetry by Jenny Ellis, Cedar was in hysterics

I became an instant groupie

I became an instant groupie after I joined the Stiff Gins workshop singing in {Indigenous} language

Stiff Gins clowning around

Stiff Gins clowning around

Mr Lily

Mr Lily

Bavarian folk dancing

Bavarian folk dancing

Mullumbimby music festival 2012

Last weekend we travelled up for the Mullumbimby Music Festival.



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It is an awesome festival! in venues all over the town with such a variety of performers so no gig is ever too crowded to enjoy, you are always sheltered from the weather and each venue has a different feel. There is a great mentoring program for youth performers and more and more! Yay Mullumbimby you are onto something really unique and fantastic. The incredibly funky Magic bus transports us from one venue to the next and the streets are lined with impromptu garage sales and market stalls, it’s a great feeling in this little town over the weekend!

I only photographed one great performance  by Loren Kate in the whole festival! crazy! next time i won’t leave my camera behind…

and being a night gig it was a new challenge for me. I was still happy with some of the shots i got though.

What do you think?

Loren Kate
Loren Kate  I got my brand new shoes on!

thankyou! flowers from a fan

A wedding day… ( not ours)

Today Jesse and Robby are playing their beautiful music for a little wedding at the beach. The setting for the reception is port Douglas sailing club. The friends and family set the scene so lovely. I met the French papa of the groom on the beach this morning, no English and my tiny French but we understood each other!

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And then we had fun with silhouette photography!

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It’s a beautiful day for a special ceremony!
Peace
Roselinde