Erawen Shrine bombing

In 1980 my then boyfriend – now husband – and I went on our first overseas trip.

First stop was Bangkok. I remember, we had landed and were waiting to disembark and already I could smell the exotic aroma of Asia – incense and spices – a heady mix. It was late at night when we arrived and the taxi drive from airport to hotel felt like Willy Wonka land – zooming along the freeway at speed and then suddenly, for no apparent reason slowing to a walk to navigate almost invisible road works.

Bangkok city was so different from sleepy old Melbourne. Bright lights, traffic, street vendors, beggars, it was all a little scary but also exciting. Our hotel was the Erawen – very posh. We got the booking through our travel agent – Student Travel Australia – as an add on to the flight. In 1980 the cost of our flights was about the same as what they cost now, but our wages were about a third of what we get now so quite an expensive undertaking.

Our first day in the city of Bangkok we peeked out of our hotel window and there below us was a fancy car adorned with an Australian flag. Australian politician Tony Street stepped out of the car and entered our hotel.

We set off on foot to explore the city. The first place that took our eye was the Erawen shrine just down the road, enclosed by an spiked iron fence. It was a gorgeous, brightly decorated concoction that resembled an 19th century drinking fountain or perhaps a wedding cake. It was covered in garlands of flowers and the smell of incense filled the air. Of course we stopped for a look. Lots of young children surrounded us and we were invited inside the fence to put some gold leaf on the shrine. Then they took our photo together right next to it.erawen1However, when we headed off down the road again, they asked for money. And not a reasonable amount. They wanted $100 Aussie. When we offered about $10 Aussie they surrounded us again, all shouting and jostling. Fortunately the lights changed to walk and before we were half way across the road they had snatched our meager offering and crossed back to await the next tourists.

erawen2I remember the incident with pleasure. It was our first interaction with locals, our first site of a Shrine, and our first chance at bargaining. All this in streets crowded with cars, people and tuk tuks and the smells of Asia.

I saw with horror the reports of the bombing at the Erawen Shrine. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. I expect many of them would have been local children who had been waiting for tourists.


Never see Wolf Creek

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Well, I Never….”

In 2005 we decided to go to the movies. It was to be ‘The Proclamation’.

Hubby chose the movie, I didn’t have a clue what was on…didn’t know anything about any of the movies that were on at the cinema.

Somehow between the time we left home and the time we arrived at the cinema, the title had slipped his mind. We ended up with tickets to Wolf Creek starring John Jarratt as the looney.

The cinema was packed..a full house. It must have been not long after it premiered. It started out okay. A big outback adventure with stunning locations and a little unresolved sexual tension.

Wolf Creek (2005) Poster

But then the horror starts. it was relentless. I had my eyes shut for almost half a movie and found myself humming to drown out the sound track. After it was finally over and we were having the inevitable postmortem on the way home Hubby admitted that it was the wrong movie and that he almost walked out.

And from that day to this I am nervous about remote locales. I have to rethink plans for the big round Australia trip. How could one be comfortable about sleeping in a tent or lighting a camp fire in the middle of nowhere when a lunatic like the Jarratt character might be lurking around waiting for victims.

I can’t stand John Jarratt now. I won’t watch him on anything…not even Better Homes & Gardens.

I enjoy a good thriller. This is not a thriller.

On the other hand I suppose it totally fulfills all the criteria for “Horror movie”. They always end badly. They always end with no hope. They always end leaving you totally convinced that the horror will go on.

Don’t watch this. Don’t watch the next one. Life’s too short really.

More on the Bulldogs

This weekend is Round 20 of the 2015 AFL season.

What I really want to write about is the players. It’s a tradition that their names are all changed so that they finish with the ….y sound or the ….a sound or the …o sound. It makes it easy to shout abuse and praise when you’re at the game. So this is how it goes with my team.

We have Granty, Bonty, Matty, Tommy, Wally, Willy, Boydy, Lukey, Lachy, Stewy, Jacky, Jakey, Woody, Smitty, Biggsy, Jordy or Roughy, Jongy, Morry, Webby, Honey, Joshy, Hammy, Tali, Danny .

Also these boys are in the lucky position of having names that already end in the …y sound: Darley, Cordy (1) and Cordy (2), Tory, Bailey, Koby.

And then we have The Rat, The Bont, The Darl and Fletch. And then last but not least we have Liam Picken – fitting no category and a brilliant class of his own!

My Bulldogs play Melbourne on Sunday at 3.20 pm. It’s the worst time of the weekend for a footy match. The trip home right on tea time is awful. After shuffling over the bridge from Docklands to Southern Cross Station we are squeezed through the MYKI gates like baby food through a mouli. Then the relentless human tide carries us down the escalators to Platform 11 where we try our best to stay at least bumping distance away from the edge of the platform.

If we are lucky a train has just cleared at least half the platform. If we’re not it’s every person for themselves as we are packed, sardine like onto the platform. Finally our train arrives but then once again we are pressed forward in a great human lump, expanding into the carriage like foam spray filler. Forget about a seat. You can only hope to be within grabbing distance of a rail or seat back. Don’t worry too much though. We are so tightly packed that our fellow passengers will hold us up when we hit a rough spot.

If we’ve had a win it’s a jolly ride home. If we lost there’s plenty of footy experts on board to tell us why.

When we hit our home station out comes the phone and the pizza order is in. Thirty minutes later, warm house, warm pizza and the replay on the telly.

I love the footy!

This must be hump day….

I’m stuck on the task for Day 9. Yes I enjoyed several Blogs and made a comment but I don’t really want to expand on them or add to the discussion. I even spent a while looking for another post that I could like and then use.

Then I went back into reader and what do you know, I found this:

street style india fashion blog

Saved! I said to myself. There are a few interesting and unusual takes on Blogs in the travel category. This one posts photos of ordinary people on the street and what they are wearing. Another Blog posts sounds of the streets – Sounds of Dhaka.

I took photos of random fabric when I was in Vietnam a few years ago. We were in a village somewhere near Sapa, on a tour and our path led us through the back garden of a home. There was gorgeous rich green woven fabric hanging over the bamboo fence. Looking back at that photo now evokes all those memories.

Watching the weavers creating cloth to make into sarongs, purses and table runners was fascinating. How they get the count right across so many fine threads is beyond me.

Upstairs in the market Ubud, Bali – bursting at the seams with rich silks and vibrant batik – the stall holders block your path, herd you into their cubicle and put the high pressure sales pitch on.

Thank you travel bloggers for reminding me that there are all sorts of ways to enjoy the world.

I Play With Textiles

I muck about with textiles in my spare time. I like vivid colours and squiggy shapes.

About 10 years ago I joined a ‘scarf’ making group, run by Chris West in Birregurra, Victoria. Turned out it was the make anything group! We did felting, patchwork, made a Japanese lunch bag and created our own fabric from the junkiest scraps you might have lying around your sewing room. Cotton ends cut off when you finish a seam, trimmed seam edges, strands of wool. Sandwich it altogether between visoflex or something similar and then machine all over. A dip in water dissolves the visoflex and you are left with a totally original and exciting piece of fabric.

She inspired me!

This is my labyrinth made by twisting thin strips of fabric and couching them into position. The dark purple is stretchy crushed velvet which I found very forgiving. The colours are all sorts of material. There’s a thick stretch jersey, some raw silk, coloured cottons and heavy woven gold material. It all has different effects.

The piece is about 25 cm x 20 cm.


Where on Earth is the World Heading?


Click the image for a larger one.

There’s not really much to say about this is there? In answer to those who say the world economies can’t afford to do something about climate change I refer you to a piece of graffiti on the side of a building in clear view from the train “There are no jobs on a dead planet”.

This one shows carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere.

Right now they are higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years.


Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet: Evidence.

…..and if that’s not enough to scare the pants off you have a look at this NASA gizmo. Remember, this is science fact, not science fiction like some of our politicians feed us all the time.

Climate Change: Climate Resource Center – Graphic: Global warming from 1880 to 2013.

Keep a Lid On It!

Sorry folks, my next post is going to be about the mighty Western Bulldogs too.

We won again…a convincing win against Port Power.

That win and our quite impressive percentage has moved us up to 4th on the ladder. That means that not only will we play in finals, we will also have the “double chance”. “The what?” you say…. The double chance! We play a top 4 team (pretty tough) but if we lose that game we get to play a lower ranked winner the following week with potential if we win that to play again. And if we happen to win that game it means a spot in the preliminary final the following week….next step the Grand Final!!

But we have 4 rounds of footy to go before the finals start so the plan has to be to “take it one week at a time” and “keep a lid on it”. Don’t get too excited until the home and aways are over, don’t jump the gun.

Next week our opponents are Melbourne, a lowly ranked side who beat us when we met them earlier this year. So we have a challenge ahead already. We need to prove that we can back it up week after week. We need that killer instinct that the Hawthorns and Geelongs have. You get ahead but that’s not good enough. You have to go on fighting and scoring goals and crush the opposition. Having been on the wrong side of a few of those types of games its not a pleasant way to spend your afternoon but on the winner’s side it’s brilliant.

I am loving the footy right now!

hamlingThis is Joel Hamling, one of our young guns, displaying his fantastic leap. The guy with beard is Tom Campbell, our ruckman and one of the tallest blokes on our team – 200 cm, so Hamling is up high!