Good morning Hardy's. Bye Georgie, and don't ever come back! I escaped chaos of APEC week in Sydney and spent long weekend with friends (with small kids) at a holiday house fronting beautiful Hardys Bay.
Glorious rain that glazed the gum trees welcomed us as we drove up steep granite-walled roads. We were urban horsemen who fought back centrifugal forces that clipped us tight clambering hairpin-turn roads. The smooth bark of these hardy trees reflected cloudy skies and car headlights that added mystery to this inconspicuous water inlet.
(Above photo- I've "added" diagonal scratches by using Photoshop's dodge tool over the original photograph to simulate rain that proved invisible to my digital camera:)
Hardy's Bay is very well-hidden and agent guys were intrigued how Jack found it. I thought there were more boats than cars but nary a soul around. Woywoy Beach nearby, not far from Gosford nor The Big Smoke, has quality of air deserved to be bottled.
Despite a rainbow of hope (photo), continuous drenching urged us to encamp for three days inside a wonderful Australian townhouse so cleverly designed and structured using classic outback water-tank corrugated roof panels and I-beams. The rain sounded sweet as it hit the jarra tables outside. Mynahs flew in and out, obviously alert for food crumbs as they were conditioned by a stream of fleeting tourists of this abode. An aggressive species, tails rotated intermittently like blades of a broken fan. I'm sure they're glad to see us. Unlike the fate of a visiting kookaburra at first light that got harassed and driven off by a mob of these crazy mynahs. There are real ecological fears that this introduced species has driven off nesting native birds and molested a lot of locals.
Strewn all over the balcony slatted floor were eucalyptus seeds and broken shards of gum leaves which tired of hanging around, unlike us wet, urban refugees who were challenged to find something pleasant to do indoors. Photography and videography were on top of the agenda.
Sometimes I wonder if in a previous life I were a male satin Bower bird, an Aussie avian that attracts a mate by building a bachelor's flat out of tall grass and moss, then surrounds it with collected (or stolen;-) small and blue objects , e.g. turquoise rings and blue bottle caps.
Blue is cool, vast and refreshing and often the brain instantly correlates it to the sea and sky. I often persuade myself that these are the reasons why I'm obsessed with blue.
At home I keep a collection of blue bottles and objects. They're great subjects for photography especially when back-lit.
I also have fun tweaking photos using distort filters in Photoshop. (e.g., above image)
Blue stones and marbles touch my childish heart and I've always painted them in watercolour.
Of course, there were a few windows of sunlight and we went to the beach faster than a Lexus for the dark clouds were rolling ominously again. One thing,the sea breeze had a different texture after the rain, and I could almost smell the salty taste of tender calamare in the air:-)
Along the beach I found a static parade of blue bottles of a different kind. They were all dead and used to be animals who float in the sea to feed. They sting bad! Nevertheless I found myself warning the kids not to step on them as they might still give an irritating chemical sting. Wind and waves stranded them along the shores that surround our holiday house. With these bluebottles all over the place I felt like a Bower bird again.
Like Dali's surreal raindrops, this weird jellyfish mimics prophylactics filled with sterile air.. and gave out morbid pops when accidentaly stepped on. Reminded me also of miniature airline pillows. Camera on macro-mode I also took some shots of other shell creatures which quietly waited for another afternoon hitch from the tides.
I was exhaling Gandhi'sque praises for the whole place..a painting in progress, echoing verses in Christopher Kremmer's "Inhaling the Mahatma", a beautiful book gifted me by son Eric on Father's Day.
The sky and rainclouds displayed dramatic imageries as if vying for most effective way to obliterate the sunlight and produce luminous compositions that will turn William Turner's head. In the mornings it was such a delight to watch the white spirits rose up from the valleys of Hardy's dark-green hills. They looked like spongy corals releasing eggs in an upward milky stream. Looking at the bay below was an imperfect mirror, wavy and struggling to reflect the
dark, Congo-green mounds. The bay was not shallow, just...
..Deep--deep! Deep-deep! I ws dstrctd by a txt msg on my mob fon. It was Michael (my older son) His text in context: ava gd trp. njoy Hrdy's By. He felt sad he couldn't come for alma mattered. They were doing late rehearsals. Last time I saw him he was up on stage at the Sydney Entertainment Center, riding a tank at Tien An Mien Square. It was theme of their high school entry in a youth Rock Challenge (Eisteddfod). Out of thousands of high schools in Australia, their school entry was included in only 15 grand finalists. Told him consider yourselves winners already, win or lose. That was awesome and almost professional effort from 17 y.o. kids.
The cliffs have intriguing natural rock formations, one on a hill top (above photo) that looked like a Filipino coconut grater (kudkurang baboy my granny called it) which I straddled and worked on. The grater actually sounded like a crazy pig while it chewed on the white meat of half a coconut shell. Mum always cautioned me not to hurt myself with its intimidating toothed iron head.
Here's another one I didn't notice until I got home inspecting photos I took. Captioned like a photo-quiz (below). Try a little imagination;-)
Ahh, it would be nice dream to climb that cliff and carve my Crazy Pig out of this neolithic sandstones. No? How about a god overlooking this magnificent bay? Well maybe not the real estate gods who keep the place exclusively quiet and pristine.
Or maybe I could carve out a horse's head to mark the first ever devastating equine flu in Australia (today killing one), but taking its toll on the human face of the horsing industry's 90,000 workers. Oh if only I could capture even a drop of essence of Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Thing is who's going to be model for the great Lakota warrior leader Oglala?;-) Sculptor Ziolkowski would find kindred spirit in me even if he started the colossal sculpture a year before I was born.
In spirit I think I found out who it would be. It's Chris, son of Jack; a voracious reader this 8-year old. He can finish a Harry Potter book in one-seating. Sign of a good leader, always hungry for knowledge. It's heartwarming to know that children are still attracted to books and manage to think out of the X-box and shift their stations of play.
Elmer brought his favourite old books, one still handsomely bound and smelling of dust of wisdom embedded in papyrus. I regret forgetting the book son Michael gave me on my 58th. He scanned bookstores to get it for me, I was told. Have a go at The Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfray. A bit unsettling for me but it served as a good escape from nihilism;-)
Now neither Georgie nor Binny will be amused by Onfray's writing as it would take more than a narrow political mind to relish it:-)
So there on the wood-tiled floor we basked in the warmth of a gas heater, melting the wax of my ancient wrist muscles; and so I grabbed coloured pencils and sketched each one of us local tourists (including a self-portrait:-).
The gentlemen promptly displayed all of them on the wall mirror using sticks wedged in the frame. Very enjoyable exercise for me. The available natural light was superb, a kind of light that shimmered like the sea and has a magical bluish hue which beautifully merged with subtle shafts of man-made incandescence.
Just before we bade goodbye to Hardy's we discovered the most hidden garage sale not even Google-Earth can find.
A bronze pot holder for eight bucks? Bronze curtain holders at two dollars each? A pair of small Sharp speakers for five clams? Woy out moyte, there are more mysteries in Hardy's Bay forest enclaves than in any other place;-)