Travel Secrets of Santa

The lead up to Christmas has begun. Soon that jolly big guy in the red suit will arrive bearing gifts, or if heaven forbid you’re on the naughty list, stern advice from the silver fox himself.

But is the lead up to Christmas all smooth sailing and unbridled excitement?

I’ve heard whispers there’s more than meets the eye.

Leaked information from an anonymous source revealed Air Traffic Controllers around the world are preparing for their busiest night of the year having been instructed to clear the midnight skies on December 25 for a VIP flight delivering precious cargo.

The source also reported it was pointless looking for the VIP flight as it flies under and over the radar using a superior cloaking device. You’re much more likely to see the International Space Station (ISS) overhead as it orbits the Earth, or a Mothership from Alpha Centauri.

Someone who knows someone told someone else which eventually got back to me (my lips are sealed and cannot reveal my sources – deniable plausibility applies herewith) that a mysterious place shrouded in secrecy called Area 5? is actually the jolly fellow’s rest stop during this peak period – shhh tell no-one.

Flight times are unknown but safe to say all covert flying activity ceases pre-dawn on the 25th.

Recently a North Pole Newscast leaked photographs taken from the ISS which reveal oddities surrounding the aurora borealis. Usually green in colour, photographs show red, white, brown and sparkling gold streaks throughout the borealis with the occasional flash of silver.

It has been suggested that the anomalies are caused by objects moving at incredible speeds. Scientists aboard the ISS will continue to monitor this situation.

To add further mystery Google Earth images of the North Pole have been whited out – one minute it was there, the next gone. NASA, the agency of eyes in the sky and below, has responded with a terse ‘no comment’.

News just in – last night NASA officials were left scratching their heads at reports of nine sonic booms heard around the globe at 0010 (UTC).

  • The Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS has reported that the sonic booms were possibly due to a large inbound comet burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Herr Rudolf from Germany called to say it was Donner und Blitzen during a particularly dark and stormy night.
  • While news in from the Australian Outback reported mysterious red Min Min lights moving at max speed leaving shock-waves in their wake, and six white boomers running for cover.
  • An anonymous source said these were top secret test flights. They did not elaborate who was flying what and where the who and what were travelling to and from to.

For Immediate Release.

Last night an expedition vessel in the Arctic Circle reported strange radio transmissions of what appears to be Morse code coupled with radar pings of ringing bells, grunts, snorts and bellows, and echoes of much ho ho ho-ing.

This incident was confirmed by a passing submarine whose Commander revealed and translated this Morse code … .- -. – .- / -.-. .-.. .- ..- … / .. … / -.-. — — .. -. –. / – — / – — .– -. to ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’.

The Commander said he nearly choked on his battered fish when code  .- .-.. .-.. / .. / .– .- -. – / ..-. — .-. / -.-. …. .-. .. … – — .- … / .. … / -.– — ..- came in.

The Morse read ‘All I want for Christmas is you’. The Commander added the Code was strong with this one.

Authorities are linking these transmissions to the sudden increase of UFO activity at the North Pole.

Investigations are continuing.
End

For Immediate Release.

UFO activity at the North Pole suddenly increased at 21:00 UTC. Google Earth continues to reveal a large blackout area at 72.62°W longitude and 80.31°N latitude, UTM coordinates 31Z 500000 9997964.9432367.
End

What I can reveal is the North American Aerospace Defense Command of the United States and Canada (NORAD) are closely monitoring and tracking the elusive Mr Claus and his speeding team of daredevil reindeer led by a young buck with attitude and a glowing red nose.

For more information and tracking updates please see NORAD

On a serious note Whilst this been a fun, tongue-in-cheek post to write, many people experience emotional crisis this time of year for many reasons. If you or someone you know is struggling please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 in Australia, if residing overseas please contact your equivalent.

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Grey-Headed Flying Fox Colony

When the Bat Cave isn’t a cave but a stand of tall trees.

The first time I drove past this bountiful colony of flying foxes at Lowood Queensland, my jaw dropped and I almost came to a screeching halt. Curiosity got the better of me so quickly turned around to explore this mega bat hangout further.

These wonderful grey-headed flying foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus), also known as fruit bats or megabats, are a warm blooded mammal native to Australia, and our largest bat.

And very, very cute.

Grey Headed Flying-Fox Colony
Grey headed flying foxes roosting at Lowood Queensland

These images were taken mid-afternoon and the colony quiet with the occasional squabble, a screech and scream, yoga wing stretches, and short flights between trees.

Speaking of yoga wing stretches, it was interesting to watch them stretch out their wings – around 1 metre or 3.3 feet, then wrap themselves up again which for some reason reminded me of stuffed cabbage leaves.

At dusk, they’ll leave the roost with great fanfare and forage for food – nectar, pollen, and fruit. If you’re new to living with flying foxes and in their flight path the following tips will make life easier:

  • get your washing in before sundown
  • cover your car
  • cover your outdoor furniture
  • if you make noise, they’ll follow suit
  • only use wildlife safe netting for your fruit trees. For more information about these nets see Wildlife friendly netting

Flying-foxes spread the pollen of valuable plants as they feed, so they play an important role in our environment. Some plants even rely on flying-foxes to pollinate their species.

~ Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld

Sadly the grey-headed flying foxes were listed as vulnerable in 2008, their numbers decreasing due to habitat loss, urbanisation, and other factors, and are now protected.

We need these noisy, furry, flying gardeners to help our environment flourish and I’m optimistic that we can get those numbers up again.

Till next time – Adiós mis amigos 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

A Glimpse of Heaven Down on the Beach

How you ever watched a sunrise that took your breath away? This one did.

Sun breaches the horizon across the Pacific for a Ballina sunrise
Whatever the weather, it’s perfect, even if it’s so early roosters are still asleep

I’m not sure what it was, maybe it was because I don’t do early mornings and watching this sunrise was a rarity.

Maybe it was a combination of the clouds, the colours, the trawler just to the left of the rising sun (you might have to zoom in), or the wave action. It doesn’t matter. All that matters to me is this precious time will always live with me.

Standing on the rocks watching the sun rise and waves crash over the rocks, it was as if Heaven opened it’s door for a brief time and I was lucky enough to capture it.

There’s something magnificent about being alone on the beach (this didn’t last long of course), to watch the rise and fall of churning waves and seagulls hunt for breakfast.

Along the beach a fine pink mist had settled in and as I breathed in the salty air, I remembered my mother telling me as a child how healthy it was to fill the lungs with it. When I became a mother I did the same thing with my children.

I felt the salty mist on my clothes and loved it all.

Mother Nature is a true artisan and healer employed by Heaven tax free I’m sure.

This image was taken in January this year and the feeling of awe is still alive and well. I’ll never be able to replicate these images but I’m hoping Heaven will be kind enough to open it’s door for me again.

Until next time, ciao 🙂

The Neighbourhood Kookaburra

Don’t let this mischief maker’s cute little face and tail wagging fool you. He and his spouse-in-feathers (they’re monogamous – isn’t that lovely?) wait until you’re settled on the couch, in the toilet or otherwise occupied, before commencing their dive-bombing raids on anything they can see their reflection in.

neighbourhood kookaburra in Brisbane Australia
Neighbourhood feathered resident

They don’t discriminate and something I’m grateful for. When not at my glass door, it’s someone else. My neighbour recently had to replace a window due to the bird’s persistent strikes with a beak like Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. Seriously, first time I heard them at my door I thought someone was using a sledge hammer to break in.

The kookaburra is a sharp-eyed, territorial bird which laughs like a maniac, cackles, croons and chuckles to keep things interesting and when it feels threatened will fly in for the kill.

Story

My brother was at a barbecue once and had just placed his sausage on his plate when a kookaburra flew down grabbed the sausage, flew off and was last seen bashing the sausage on the ground.

Kookaburras are well-loved and can become tame. I know people who hand feed them though doubt that will happen here anytime.

These birds love snakes for dinner and in a country where we have more deadly snakes than any other country worldwide, kookaburras help keep the population down. They also eat small reptiles, insects and worms.

On that note it’s time for dinner – see you next time 🙂

Walking among art at Brunswick Heads

Last weekend I had the best time catching up with the kids at Brunswick Heads in northern New South Wales. We explored the beautiful Brunswick River, went walking on squishy sand and past a creepy tree that squeaked and swayed while the other trees were rooted to the spot with not a peep out of them.

We played soccer on the campsite’s oval where a brooding plover was in attack mode, ate fish and chips beneath a tall shade tree along Simpson Creek, and got in a heavy dose of Vitamin D at the beach. Unbeknown to me the Brunswick Nature Sculpture Walk was in full swing (see details here Brunswick Nature Sculpture Walk)

Wonderful works of art by 50 nationally recognised artists were dotted around the place, each unique with a story to tell.

I admired all works of art but was particularly captivated by these wire bathing costumes flapping in the wind by artist Willemina Villari-Kortland called ‘Brunswick Summer’. Maybe it was the first bathing costume on the left – it looked like my size and without my glasses at first glance, appeared to look like britches – also in my size.

Artwork called Brunswick Summer by Willemina Villari-Kortland at Brunswick Heads New South Wales Australia 2018
Artwork by Willemina Villari-Kortland Brunswick Heads New South Wales Australia

The costumes have pops of colour on them but with the afternoon sun in the position it was, the colours aren’t immediately obvious especially as this image is low-res. It was a very windy day and a challenge to hold the camera still, but these bathers flapped about in the breeze having a fun time all on their own.

This sculpture took out the People’s Choice Award and I can see why.

The Brunswick Nature Sculpture Walk is a triennial event and counting down for the next one.

Until next time, enjoy your day 🙂

 

 

 

Take Time Out to Regroup

I almost fried my brain yesterday.

Moments from my brain melting I made a snap decision to drive up to Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Scrolling through endless job listings, setting alerts, then writing job applications is bearable only for so long, and knew it was time to get out and regroup.

From the moment I saw the ocean I knew it was the best Idea I’d had all week.

Afternoon waves crash over rocks at Mooloolaba Beach
To be near an ocean’s crashing waves was both healing and energising

Subtle healing and re-energising occurs when around moving water where negative ions (charged oxygen atoms) work their magic – and all I have to do is turn up – now that’s a definite win/win for me.

I sat mesmerised on the beach watching incoming waves breathing in fresh, salty air, and began to notice my brain cloud lift and the monkey mind go quiet.

Back in the office today this photograph and others like it, remind me to get out and regroup more often.

If you’re bogged under with work, work and more work, consider taking time out to regroup – you’ll come back with a clear and relaxed mind and possibly a photograph or two to remind you to take a break more often.

See you beachside 🙂

Break Free

Sometimes you gotta break free from the pack.

A gentle breeze tugs at this spent flower and effortlessly, the seeds fall away carried to who knows where.

One thing is certain, the seeds will land someplace, and with Mother Nature on their side, germinate and sprout new life during their next growth cycle or the one after that.

Dandelion seeds blowing away with the breeze
Sometimes you’ve got to break free from the pack

Breaking free from the pack is how I live life although I’m more strategic about it. The most important part being a backup plan to support me during unsettling in-between times.

Sometimes I think what the hell have I done?? Then I remember Churchill’s quote

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

So I keep moving.

The comfort zone is snuggly, comfortable, soft, easy, predictable, routine – and quite honestly, I’d love to stay there. But that’s not how I’m wired.

When I break free from the pack I’m thrust out of the safety of my comfort zone into the red zone of terrifying uncertainty.

In the red zone I’m like a rabbit in the headlights for awhile and gradually create a new comfort zone. This is the zone of possibilities which is both exciting yet terrifying.

If I could make a suggestion to those of you about to break free and create a new comfort zone, check in with a back up plan (this should include financial back up) – you’ll be glad you did.

As golden girl I sometimes think I should put my feet up and just cruise along. BUT when I think I could potentially live to age 122 years (maybe more), I get excited about the possible adventures I’m yet to have.

See you next time, M 🙂