It’s nice to see that someone (Hunter Water? Council? Bob Jane T Mart?) is labelling the debris that fills the creek. I feel much safer now.



It’s beginning to feel …


Walking down the street with Jambo. Stop. Something down there, not a tennis ball. Not any kind of ball. It’s pinky-purple and it’s shiny and … it’s beginning to make me feel a lot like Christmas.


Yes, it’s that time of the year when baubles somehow start appearing in the drain. Why? How? From whence do they come? Never mind, just start humming the song, folks.


Happy baublemas


You would think that Christmas baubles would only appear in the creek in December, or maybe in January when people are packing up their trees. True, this one is from January.


But this one is from September.


This one is from October.


So is this one.


And this festive montage was taken in November.

IMG_9716The moral of the story: baubles make people happy every day of the year.

Merry Christmas, drain lovers, from me and Jambo.


Friday foto


ZOMG! Game of Thrones wasn’t lying: there really ARE dragon’s eggs!


Follow-up rain


When you’re in the city it’s easy to forget the travails of life inland, and by “inland” I only mean somewhere as close by as Cessnock or Kurri. The start of this year has been dry around town, but a few kilometres west it’s been very dry. Our friends in the Watagans were >this< far away from having to cart water for only the second time in a couple of decades. When the rain did come to the coast it was a slow, soaking rain with little run-off.


The litter and mulch and goo floated gently and responsibly down to the litter boom and sat there like a lid on the water, ready to be scooped out. I saw herons walking along it, it was so densely packed.

On the radio, farmers talked about the need for a decent follow-up rain. This is the farmers’ mantra, but I don’t think anyone expected quite such a deluge when it did come. The Styx filled and my wife described it as “a banker”, though for some reason I only consider it to be a genuine banker if the water’s up to the top of the concrete. The stuff by the boom hadn’t yet boon scooped out but, after the rain had stopped, the creek was clean as a whistle. All the bad stuff had gone away, or at least gone away as far as the Carrington mangroves.


I’ve so come to expect the creek to be wreathed in its garland of litter that the scoured concrete beds felt barren and lifeless. How topsy-turvy is that?


The grasses and reeds and sedges that occupy the cracks in the concrete beds were utterly flattened by the flood but, within hours, they began unfurling themselves and casting off the decorative petals that had become lodged amongst their tips.


In the days that followed, and this may be coincidence, I saw a couple of Works guys in the creek looking at the some of the big holes that have appeared in the creekbed, exposing the ancient reo mesh. Every time I see things like this have to revise my understanding of how quickly Nature could reclaim the creek, or even the city. It wouldn’t be a couple of hundred years; more like one person’s lifetime, or less.


One item that hadn’t been washed away was this … thing. I thought at first it was a mouldy old orange. Luckily I didn’t kick it as it’s solid steel! Is it a cannonball? A shot putt? What?




Things go into the band of my hat. They’re usually feathers, because feathers are bright and colourful and make me happy. They stay there for a while then fall out or blow away and are replaced by other feathers, or scraps or bits of things. I saw this gorgeous butterfly the other day and crept stealthily upon it, only to find that it was dead as a Norwegian blue.


So in it went.


A butterfly is about as perfect as Nature can get, though it’s not a competition. Can you compare a butterfly against a snowflake, an orchid, a wave breaking on a reef? A button mushroom freshly burst through the earth’s crust.


A leaf from a fig tree, even. This leaf. Absolutely perfect!


Though it might not be very good at covering the shame of Adam and Eve. Did they have different fig trees in the Garden of Eden?

This year hasn’t been perfect but it has been pretty good. As my dad would have said, every day you’re upright and breathing is a good day. Here’s a last-minute bauble to see out 2013 and usher in the new year. May it be perfect for you, or as near as damn it.


Deck the halls


I was chatting away with Old Mate the other evening about various stuff, including:

  1. The Ashes. Verdict: there’s too much cricket.
  2. The rugby league world cup. Verdict: Pff.
  3. Privacy and CCTV. Verdict: in the twenty-first century the concept of private space is a sham.

Young Mate ambled down the creek on his cycle at this point and we had a general discussion on foxes. It seems like the recent work on the gasworks site may not only have flushed the squatters and human residents but also the foxes, as Reynard and his friends had been seen in numbers around the place. The slashing of the grass had also resulted in a significant reduction in raptor numbers. If ever you needed a lesson on habitat destruction and its effect on the apex of the food pyramid then this was it.

But what was most important was the reappearance of Christmas baubles in the drain. Normally they don’t start appearing until January, when folk are pulling down the trees, packing up the decorations and somehow (inexplicably) dropping baubles into the major watercourses of Newcastle. So, with the festive season in mind, here’s a pictorial merry Yuletide from me, Jambo and the residents of Styx Creek to youse all.







Silver ball




Yo ho ho!