From the Blog

Colours of my life

Today I continue with my series of articles prompted by song titles. This old B&W clip is of The Seekers and was recorded at their final live concert at the Talk of the Town restaurant in London in 1968. The song was co-written by Judith Durham and was as clear an indication as one could want that Judith was determined to pursue a solo career without the other three group members. Many at the time, including me, were very critical of her selfishness and, with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that her desire to become a solo artist never really worked out as she wanted. It was to the detriment of the careers of her fellow group members also. Anyway, that is all history now (this clip is 51 years old!!) and the song is still a beaut, in my opinion.

So, what has it to do with my life and, more particularly, with motorcycling? Quite a bit, actually.

I lived in Canberra for over 25 years in two separate stints, and I loved it and still do. The city is clean, well planned and a wonderful place to raise children. Access to local schools and amenities is by a huge network of pedestrian and cycle paths which means that you rarely have to cross a street to get where you want to go. There are plenty of parks and playgrounds and I have always maintained that Canberra is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets.

Our leaving of Canberra for the coast was not prompted by any dissatisfaction with the city but rather through other factors. We had been caring for Helena’s mum and dad for many years and, as mum’s health began to decline, her doctors suggested that she may not last out another Canberra winter; a more temperate climate could greatly help her. Then there was the disastrous bushfire in January 2003 that came frighteningly close to our home and left a lingering fear that never quite went away. So, in the end, it was a pretty simple decision to shift camp to Wollongong where we have been since January 2004.

But, as I said, I loved Canberra and for many reasons. One of those reasons was the very clear delineation between seasons. There was never any doubt that Summer was Summer and that Winter was Winter. And there was never any doubt that Autumn was the pick of the seasons in the nation’s capital. Autumn was a riot of colour as the deciduous trees began to lose their leaves and turn the suburbs into patchwork quilts of wonderful hues.

And, as much as I love Wollongong and the coast, it is that colourful Autumn display that I miss the most down here. There are few deciduous trees in the suburbs and, while I love the many shades of green all around us, I do miss the yellows, reds and browns.

Now this is not to say that they cannot be found, they’re just not all around you and you have to go a little further afield if you want to see them. So this is what I did today. It was predicted to be 22 today which meant that it was going to be around 16 up on the escarpment, a perfect riding day. Just 30 or so kms from home, the Southern Highlands are much like Canberra and it’s easy to lose yourself in the Autumn show. It wasn’t about MAKING good times today, rather it was about HAVING good times. Macquarie Pass is closed for maintenance for today and the next two days so it was going to be the lap in reverse. Down the coast to Nowra, then up the mountain, down through Kangaroo Valley, up the other side and lunch at the Pie Shop. I had a pretty good run and enjoyed booming the Staintune burble off the mountains. After lunch I headed west again, down through the little town of Kangaloon where numerous farms and properties dot the landscape and where autumn colours are in abundance.

Taking it easy, I looked out for photo opportunities and was amply rewarded. The deciduous trees are not native, of course, our natives are all evergreens, but the early settlers and their succeeding generations couldn’t resist the opportunities to plant a wide variety of deciduous trees to decorate and glorify their properties.

And I must add this one, even though it is almost exactly a year old, taken on the 20th May 2018. I passed by this property again today and it looks just like this so I thought I’d use this “stocker” photo instead of stopping and taking one more.

The wide-angle scenery of the highlands is delightful but it’s nice to stop and look a little closer, too.

So, should you find yourself in and around the Southern Highlands in Autumn make sure you slow down and take in the glorious Autumn colours. They certainly are the colours of MY life.