Thursday, December 31, 2009

Challenging your perceptions


If you want to see a captivating show that leaves you feeling the need for a cup of tea, a bex and a good lie down, then go to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. The work of Olafur Eliasson (on until 11 April) is incomparable ... take your kids ... and take gran/grandpa as well. Its that sort of show.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Patonga

Patonga is one of those places that is lovely, rain or shine. The sand banks disappear and re-appear with the tide and you can sit around ...
...painting the sulphur-crested cockatoos
that gather to smooch on the balcony rail.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa smiles this week

Merry Christmas everyone and I hope we all have a healthy, happy and hopeful New Year.

My wish for 2010 is that our politicians become leaders and rethink their Copenhagen responses and that we all have the courage to prod them into it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can we survive Copenhagen?

Shame on the Chinese!
Shame on the wealthy West!
Shame on the Danish!
Shame on the UN!

It was a shock to to be confronted so dramatically with cynicism, secrecy, deceit and narrow self interest when pleading for the lives of our grandchildren.

Our systems have failed us and if we want to survive we are going to have to take action ourselves, each of us. We must pressure our politicians to act and to act alone if they have to, instead of trying to out-stare 'opponents' while the house burns. We must support those who are attempting to show the way and not be distracted by the noise.

Copenhagen showed us that people want action, more than 13 million signed the Avaaz petition. Copenhagen is a call to action.

There is hope. The following comment about Copenhagen was posted on the 350.org Facebook site a few hours ago:

"And yet there was a strangely hopeful gathering outside the Bella Center in the freezing cold after midnight. Mostly young people, chanting slogans--especially 3-5-0--long into the night. They were upset, but they were also optimistic--because they know that the one undeniable thing about this conference is that it reflected the growing power of a people's movement around the world. You were heard. We're not strong enough yet to dominate the talks--that's still the fossil fuel industry. But we're strong enough to make it harder for the great powers simply to impose their will behind the scenes. This time the power grab was out in the open. People have learned a lot about both climate science and international relations in the last few weeks--it will pay off in the months ahead."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Copenhagen


It looks as if the rocks these pelicans were sitting on when I drew them will be well and truly under water in a few years. Not only the rocks, but half the shoreline as well. Have those politicians ever looked at a map of how the world will look if the sea rises with increased CO2? The pelicans could have done a better job in Copenhagen than our selected representatives did.

Cockatoos

Sulphur crested Cockatoos are playful creatures and do all manner of tricks to catch your attention. This group was sitting on a powerline on the NSW Central Coast, waiting to be fed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hawkesbury River


New South Wales has some hidden gems and one of them is the southern part of the NSW Central Coast. It is only and hour north of Sydney by train and the journey is a very pretty one. This is the view from the train along the Hawkesbury River.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bubby


I am back in Sydney house sitting. Bubby has gone to Scotland with her parents but before she went I drew her. She sits on the desk and watches me.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Temperatures

Dunedin wins for perfect temperatures. I have three temperature gauges on my computer that tell me that Sydney is 31C, Dunedin is 20C (the 10C difference is very typical) and Hamburg is 6C (well, it is 5:30am there). Dunedin wins hands down.
Few days later, Dec 12th 3:30 pm (Syd time): Sydney 25, Dunedin 14, Hamburg 4 ... Ummm.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dunedin Greetings


I have made this watercolour of Dunedin into a greeting card. See here.

What did they do to Dunedin?

In my 9 month absence Dunedin has changed. There are so many empty shops for one thing and the council has installed costly parking meters in the main shopping precinct so you can no longer stop for a leisurely coffee or spot of shopping. I imagine these are linked issues. I asked a waitress at my favorite coffee shop if they have noticed a change and she said it was huge, the shop is on the market and she is moving to Melbourne.

The reason for the meters? The new and expensive Rugby Stadium that is being built to replace the irreplaceable House of Pain.

The citizens, particularly the senior rate-payers, have been very vocal in their opposition to funding the rugby stadium through rates. I had checked the Otago Daily Times for news about the stadium while I was away but there has been very little online so I thought perhaps people had stopped complaining. During my visit last week I realised that opponents are just as vocal as ever but the ODT has edited out their voices from its online pages.

Opponents had warned they would withhold that part of their rates that was going to pay for the stadium. Last week the council was threatening to send debt collectors after these folk. However did charming Dunedin get a council such as this, one that bullies its citizens into acquiescence?

The Stadium is being built near the university right on the shores of Otago Harbour in an area that would have been a wonderful spot for a suitable shoreline tourist development; the wonderful tree lined Anzac Avenue will be closed to traffic; a uni student told me in 2007 that he and his mates prefer to watch rugby on telly anyway; the local population is divided and aggrieved.

I am very sad that the city could not resolve the issues without dividing the population and alienating the citizens from the central hub of the town. One of my options had been to move back to Dunedin for good ... I love it there despite the cold - a beautiful and unspoilt part of the world where you can hear good music and drink great coffee. However, I became so disenchanted while I was there last week that I have now all but deleted Dunedin from my list of options. It makes you weep.