In case you are wondering: I did have a great few weeks off. I spent two weeks looking after my dad's 2 dogs in Robertson- together with my own (daughter's) two (overlooking the Kangaroo Valley). It was a bark-filled monastic retreat where I could gather my spirit for the coming year. When this period of relative solitude finished I took my 15 year old musical daughter (Helen) to a music camp (Riverina Summer School for Strings) in Wagga-Wagga while my wife (Rose) and I had a fantastic (childless) week camping on the banks of the icy Tumut river in Tumut at the foot of the snowy mountains. Morning sunlight would filter through the green European trees that line the banks of this river and flash up from the turbulent surface of the icy river itself. European birds (blackbirds and thrushes) whistled from the river bank, but overhead an Australian blue winged kingfisher stood guard by its nest of young in a hollow of the tree. I am an Australian native flora and fauna enthusiast (this is because I wasn't born here! Paradox?), but I must admit the legacy of the early British settlers in this part of the country (Gold-miners! Bush Rangers! etc) made me nostalgic for the land of my birth (England). During our long week in Tumut we also explored the northern end of the Snowy Mountains going over long bumpy roads to Wee-Jasper, Kiandra, Batlow... and constantly found ourselves next to another leg of the "Hume and Hovell Track" named after the explorers who opened up this route between Sydney and Victoria in the early decades of the 19th Century. In all -I could go on, but unit outlines beckon!- it was a great week of contact with nature, with Australian history and with the moments of inner stillness that freedom from routine can bring. Hope you enjoy some of the pictures (all done with my new 1.3 megapixel phone!.... a keen photographer you might say.)
Over and out
MG ps this picture is of the river flowing near the Yarrongabilly Caves in the Snowy.