Tuesday, October 20, 2015

THE SUBURBAN JUNGLE


Summer has arrived, the cover has come off our pool, and at last I launched my Canadian Decoy Duck!


I bought him in May, inspired by our weekend at the Lake in Ontario, a highlight of our visit to our daughter and grandchildren in Canada.


Mr C worked hard last week, cleaning and sorting the pool, so that it newly sparkled for a visit from Little Aussie, who happily joined the duck...



His devotion to Star Wars knows no bounds, and he sported a new pair of Havianas.  
Left foot, Yoda = Good
Right foot, Darth Vader = Bad

Never too young to start thinking Philosophy...


It is October, and the Jacarandas have bloomed, casting their beautiful purpleness all over Brisbane.

Regular readers might remember that I usually show the most popular painting at the Queensland Art Gallery, 'Under the Jacaranda', 1903, by Godfrey Rivers.

Every year during the flowering season, people bring blooms into the gallery and place them before the painting, emulating the carpet of purple these trees cast on the ground below.


This year, the painting is shown in a different context.
As part of the up-coming Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, the Colonial Australian galleries have been given an amazing makeover.

Indigenous Australian artist Brook Andrew, of the Wiradjuri people of New South Wales, has applied a rendition of the chevron pattern that Wiradjuri people painted on their skin or carved into trees.  Painted in black over the existing wall colours of three of the Galleries, this work has an amazing, almost over-powering effect.

The historical European/Australian art was then re-hung in the usual way, but the context has suddenly changed.  Intermixed with this art, are six of Andrew's images comprising 'Time', an assemblage of historical imagery from diverse points of origin around the world.


The blown up image of an Indigenous Australian boy from the nineteenth century, with a Union Jack painted upon his chest, is very sobering.

One culture, laid upon another, earlier culture.  
How wonderful that our Art Institutions now consider these themes, which a few years ago were unthinkable, and when Indigenous work was consigned to the Anthropological museums.


And while we think about that one, it seems that we have also displaced rather a lot of native wildlife.  Some of it adapts - like our friendly lorikeets.

Other creatures stray into our backyard, to both their consternation and ours.
Yesterday I was (rather noisily) dragging a garbage bin back up our driveway after collection.  I was startled by a sudden movement about two metres before me, as a large Eastern Brown snake appeared by the path, clearly irritated by the vibration I was causing, leaping and coiling about then diving into a nearby rockery.  I was shaken with fright - this is the second most deadly snake in the world, and this year they are apparently more than usually active.
There have been news reports for the past few days warning people to take care.
The Eastern Brown is a very quick, nervous, snake with a short fuse. 
I was going to show you an image of one, but looking at the pictures made me too nervous - eewwwww!

At the moment I am refusing to go outside to the clothesline, or to take the garbage out to the bin. I'll get over it after a while...



Ah, that's better.

Have a happy, and snake-free, week..

XXXX





46 comments:

  1. I love your decoy duck, Patricia. Maybe you need a decoy cat or something that would frighten the snakes away. I know how scary that can be! Hopefully your activity with the bin will have frightened it enough. Keep safe!

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    1. He he, if only a decoy cat could work! A couple of summers ago, one morning we found a neighbour's well-loved pet Siamese cat, dead on our driveway - apparently kitty met a snake, and the snake won. Scary they are - one must be vigilent!

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  2. Lovely post Patricia. Gorgeous purple flowers on the Jacarandas and I love the decoy duck. Thank you for your comment on my last post. P x

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    1. Hi Patricia. Duck sends its regards, and I know you would love the hundreds of jacarandas currently decorating our city. x

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  3. I enjoyed seeing your duck and Little Aussie in in the pool. Really liked the art work and the information you provided. The purple trees must be beautiful blooming everywhere. But the snake? Scary! I'd have to wear a suit of armor to go outside anytime soon.

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    1. Aha, that is what I need, a suit of armour. I am re-thinking my usual practice of wearing sandals all summer; maybe I need to cover up a bit more. The purple trees look amazing!

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  4. Some real food for thought here Patricia, with the interesting colonial/indigenous art juxta-positioning. Its also great to see people opening their pools, just as we are closing ours ! have a wonderful summer. Jx

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    1. Hello Janice, I always admire the work of the art curators and this hang is interesting and perfect for the Triennial. A long hot Summer awaits us! x

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  5. Oh my. Such a lovely post until I got to the part about the snake. You know this Canadian would much rather deal with cougars and bears than your poisonous snakes!

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    1. Sorry, Kristie, couldn't resist telling the snake story. I don't plan to wander out for a few more days, but would not want to meet a bear either. Those critters sound mean!

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  6. Your pool looks lovely. I like your duck. My grandparents had a floating swan in their swimming pool that doubled as a chlorine dispenser. It was very realistic looking, but we weren't supposed to touch it because of the chlorine! I did anyway, ha. Sorry about that snake, how scary. I hope it stays far away from your house. Hope you are having a good week so far, Patricia.

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    1. Oh, I'd love a floating swan too. How beautiful it would look, and as a little girl I would have touched the swan too. The snake might still be around, so I am taking care. If I see it again I will call the snake-catchers. Enjoy your beautiful Fall, Jennifer.

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  7. So many interesting things in this post, but that snake........I should be frightened to death, I'm glad we don't have snakes here. The lorikeets are so beautiful and fun to look at and flowering Jacarandas, beautiful. I have seen them flowering on Madeira. I love that Jacaranda painting too.
    Hope the snake has disappeared and never come back to your garden!

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    1. I was frightened half to death too, Janneke. The snake was waaaay too close for comfort. It is interesting to know other places where the Jacaranda blooms - I certainly did not know Madeira was one. The lorikeets are outside chirping as I type, and send their regards :)

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  8. Patricia, you did it again! You spoil us with your lovely pictures and texts. How extremely clean the pool looks!
    Oh, I´d like to see your art museums in person.
    So strange - once again - to think about you having summer over there, sigh.
    While you are " shaken " by the snakes, I ( despite my now poor condition ) would hop easily on the table if I saw a mouse in the house. It is the time of the year, those creepies squeeze their way inside the house - eek!

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    1. Mette, I know you enjoy the museums, and you would probably like the current unusual display in our gallery. Ha, so funny about the table. Years ago our cat brought small snakes into the house, and I jumped up on the table! I think I succeeded in leaping backwards when I saw the brown snake - so scary!

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  9. Oh I would be nervous to go outdoors if I thought that there would be a snake in the grass! Those birds are so beautiful...such bright vibrant colours.
    When I was in Paris all the Jacaranda trees were blooming and I loved their purple blossoms...your tree looks spectacular and so does your pool!
    Our 2 year old grandson Henry likes Star Wars too...he is going to dress up as Darth Vader for Halloween.

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    1. Oh yes, I am still nervous about the brown snake, and being extra cautious. Jacarandas in Paris? That sounds gorgeous - what a great combination. Darth Vader is a perfect Halloween choice - we also have a grandson, Henri, who has worn his Darth suit at Halloween....in Canada, of course :)

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  10. Your duck looks surprisingly lifelike! And Little Aussie is having a great time in that pool, lucky kid. I can't imagine how awful it must have been to meet that highly poisonous and volatile snake. eek! makes me feel funny just to think about it.

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    1. It took me a while to find one, but I thought this duck was perfect for us. It is a modern plastic copy, not wood, but Australian customs are not keen on us bringing wooden things into the country. It looks lovely in the pool, and Little Aussie enjoyed it too. Let's hope the snake has gone off to some other garden.

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  11. Your duck looks fantastic on your pool! So do those paintings in their different setting, I don't think that many people appreciate the difference that the wall colour and surroundings have on a painting and how it is viewed, makes a big difference doesn't it. I hope that you don't get any snakes! xx

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    1. Yes Amy, I knew about the gallery being painted in this way, and under-estimated the effect it would have. It has a very powerful impact indeed, a sort of crushing feeling - which is the point, of course. xx

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  12. Thanks for sharing that amazing installation at the gallery. My poor ancient Jacaranda is a bit late blooming but is getting there slowly. Love the Star Wars foot wear lol! I do NOT blame you for the hasty retreat up the driveway..I try very hard to love all wildlife but snakes scare me to bits.

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    1. Like you, I draw the line at snakes. Given the recent media reports on the brown snake population, I wish a bit of culling was in order. Our little jacaranda, about five years old, still has not flowered. I thought this might be the year, but so far, No. Oh well.

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  13. Oh my.. I'd be venturing out with a rake in hand for a long time to come...but I am also the tiniest bit envious. I have done a lot of bushwalking and never seen a snake in the wild!

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    1. Good idea, a rake might help me in a crisis! I know you bushwalk and go out to country places, and am amazed you have never seen a wild snake. But then, G says I attract them :) I say I just have an instinct and know when they are about, whereas he probably walks right past them and doesn't notice!

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    2. Maybe you've just got good snake-dar!

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  14. Pretty rainbow lorikeets having fun in the garden, bountiful purple flowers displaying themselves on the Jacaranda trees, these I would happily enjoy, but brown snakes! the second most deadly in the world would make me very nervous too.
    The wall decoration in the art gallery is inspired, but the photo of that indigenous boy with a union jack painted on his chest is I agree very sobering.

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    1. I'm still nervous, 48 hours after the snake sighting. Eventually I will have to get over it, and go outside as normal. The other snakes don't bother me much, only the deadly brown one. Apparently 5-6 people die in Australia every year from their bite.
      Yes, the Brook Andrew intervention is an inspired, radical idea. I am wondering how the public will react to it on our public tours.

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  15. I love all the beautiful birds and flowers found on your property, Tricia. However, I'm worried about those brown snacks. I suppose everyone in the area must watch their children and pets. As you experienced, one can only be so careful. I hope there is something else out there in nature that eats them to controll the brown snake population.

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    1. Yes, it is important to be vigilent, and pets do die around here! Unfortunately, the only creature I know who could eat a brown snake is a bird, the kookaburra, but they could only manage a half-grown one. They are a protected species, but I wonder if the Government might have to re-consider that, given that they seem to be increasing in numbers. Occasionally I see one which has been hit by a car, and give a silent cheer - naughty me...

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  16. Hanging that work on those walls looks amazing. I'm glad art is being hung together, not separating some to an anthropological museum. The thought of that snake... I wouldn't be putting the washing out!

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    1. I didn't even bring in the washing that was already out there on Snake Day! After three days, I finally returned to the garden, did the washing, took out the trash etc. Mr C says I am paranoid...but he didn't see the snake.

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  17. Its so wonderful to see that the Aborigines and their culture is being preserved. What great paintings they make.
    OMG a brown snake.. you were very lucky Patricia. You know the saying, "Where there's one there are more" .. check all around, you cant see them until you disturb them.
    The Jacaranda trees are beautiful. They call Pretoria, Jacaranda city. They line the avenues all around. My son has them along his driveway up to his estate, next to me.
    A very interesting post Patricia, I enjoyed reading it.
    val xxx
    Thanks for your comments always, over at my blog.. happy week.

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    1. Hello Val, It is really good to see the Indigenous Australian culture being incorporated in with the European art, and it makes for a lively discussion.
      I know, with the snakes, I am looking Very Carefully if I step outside at the moment. The brown snakes are so fast you eye can't even follow them properly. That is how they strike when annoyed. So there are jacarandas in many places - they do seem to do well in warm climates, and I think came originally from Brazil. Love visiting your blog, where always something nice is happening. We had a storm today, as welcome as the rain is for you, too. xx

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  18. I am so excited to see the lorikeets around your area, Patricia. They are really fascinating birds. I know you are used to them and they are common to you, but they really are amazing birds to the rest of us. : ) I like the art pieces you have shown today. I didn't realize that the purple trees graced your area in October. We have the pink blossom trees here, which come out in spring. aahh, your pool looks so refreshing, and little Aussie is having a blast in the cool water. I miss our pool sometimes, but downsizing was the best thing I did.

    Have a fantastic weekend, Patricia.

    love, ~Sheri

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    1. Hi Sheri, Last week I visited someone who had made a pet of an injured lorikeet. Unlike our friendly, wild visitors, this bird had learnt to talk and communicate, and had quite a quirky personality. It was so interesting to see. Yes, we have purple all over in October, while over there you have the lovely russet colours of Fall. The pool is good for family visits, but we would like to be rid of the upkeep of it too! We will downsize one of these day. Happy Sunday Sheri. xx

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  19. What an amazing effect on the gallery walls! It's such a work of art that you almost don't want the other exhibits laid over top of it. Both our countries dealt with the aboriginals in the same shameful and horrific way. It's good to see your art galleries bringing in the aboriginal artwork.
    You have such amazing colours around you right now. Beautiful purple jacaranda trees!! And the lorikeets are stunning and I imagine a noisy lot at the feeders? What do you feed them?
    Enjoy your pool time and your grandson's visits! Great decoy btw ;)
    Wendy

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    1. Ah, that is the point of course - we lay our culture over the top of the original culture :)
      I have just been out driving to the shops, and the purple jacarandas look better than ever, as more come into bloom. I love it.
      We feed sunflower seeds to the lorikeets, which is not appropriate as a full diet, but these are wild birds and we don't feed them daily. They like sweet things, so fruit and the nectar from blossoms are popular with them. Hi from the Duck!!

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  20. I thought that the duck was real until I started to read haha. Those trees look beautiful. I like the idea of painting the walls in indigenous art. Very powerful, makes me think what a wall would look like paint with Maori art and early settler art on top would look like. I am so glad we dont have any type of snake I am petrified of them. I almost did the same when in Nouméa years ago and still have nightmares! Great post and thanks for visiting .

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    1. Successful decoy duck! Ah, there is an interesting piece by Lisa Reihana in the gallery which is a cultural crossover. I will write about it one day, just for you :)
      I had forgotten that: NZ and Ireland have no snakes. Special!

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  21. The pluses and minuses of summer - swimming pools and snakes. I gather snakes are more active in many suburbs nowadays - where once you would not see them - due to housing spread and the destruction of the natural habitat that they would otherwise gravitate to. They come in for food and water. When my mother was a new migrant, she had to learn to deal with these creatures very early in the piece - we lived near a rive - and had no idea of course that this would attract snakes- so she had to sort out quite a few. I don't know how she did it. Life must have been very challenging for her.

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    1. Something interesting is going on in the world of snakes, at least in Qld. Certainly housing spread comes into it, but there are far more Eastern browns about than there ever used to be. We grew up seeing the occasional black snake, python or tree snakes, but rarely the brown ones, which seem to be everywhere at the moment. My mother had to learn to deal with snakes too when she went to live in the country, and 'executed' a few red-belly blacks. But they are slow and stupid - they lie there while you go and organise your weapon, which in her case was boil the kettle then pour the water on the snake! Brown snakes would be off and gone in a nano-second, provided they could make a hasty exit.

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  22. A wonderful post Patricia! I hadn't realised that "Under the Jacaranda" was in the Queensland Gallery. It is a favourite painting of mine. The Jacarandas are just beginning to bloom here in Perth too, signalling that summer isn't far away. Poor you with the snake. I had two close encounters recently on a bush walk after having not seen a snake in the wild for about a decade. Thankfully these snakes (one a dugite) were keen to disappear as soon as possible but it still gave me the heebies.

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    1. Ah, I didn't realise the jacaranda painting's fame had spread across Australia! Had to Google the dugite, and it sounds very similar to our Eastern Brown - probably cousins... Enjoy your Jacarandas.

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