The Royal Flying Doctor Service

A crackle of static from the transceiver and somehow old Vern at the base station always knew whose crackle it was, would transmit a telegram or receive one, reading it back to make sure he had it right, sometimes quite private stuff.

Eight in the mornings was the weather. People would call in with their rainfall and we would know what to expect at our end of the river.

falling straight down
monsoon season

Once a day I sat at the desk and pushed the little button for School of the Air, a chaos of static and small voices as eager as puppies, a teacher miles away asking and answering questions, speaking to one child at a time because if two people spoke at once all you heard was garble.

Some times emergencies would interrupt School of the Air. Conversations with the Flying Doctor that, of course, everyone would listen to: snake bites, goring by bulls, broken limbs, gastroenteritis, premature births. If needed, an ambulance plane would land on your local road or your bush airstrip if it was safe.

a dust trail
the aircraft
dips its wings

Jimmy Jackson went by plane. We heard his mother explain, ‘Timmy’s cut Jimmy’s finger orf.’ With an axe apparently. The doctor told her to wash the finger in milk, if it was dirty, 
and to put it back on Jimmy’s hand. ‘Will powdered milk do?’ she asked. Don’t know what happened to Timmy, but Jimmy lost his finger.

And when I was grown and far away, I sent this: BABY GIRL HANA BORN MIDDAY SIX POUNDS THREE STOP ALL WELL STOP my message across all those lonely miles, travelling on air, down the receiver aerial and out of a transceiver with its little glowing lights.
‘Received that Vern, over,’ said my mother.

at dusk
waiting with the dog
good news

Sharing this today for Nahaiwrimo. The prompt for day 5 is: ‘listening to the radio’. The radio (or more correctly called the transceiver) was our sole means of communication when I was a child growing up in remote North Queensland.


Tea cup haiga

I loved this cup. It’s shards now. It was officially a tea bowl, but I drank coffee from it.

This haiga is for Nahaiwrimo’s 3rd prompt: Greek coffee.

Absolutely gorgeous weather here today. Everybody was singing, but it was the kookaburras who had the most to say.


through winter darkness carrying hearts the train’s lit windows

This was done for Nahaiwrimo’s prompt: #2 railroad ties. Here in Oz ‘railroads’ are called ‘railways’. I decided I’d concentrate on the ties that bind us. I spent a lot of time on trains as a young person, a thousand miles each way, to see my family for holidays.


by the train’s rhythm

window gazing

Fellow Journal Keepers

On Sunday we had a group of students from the Centre for Creative Photography for a studio visit. It’s always fun showing people your work and getting to carry on about it a little. And if you happen to inspire someone… that is the best feeling.

I met a fellow journaler. Much more tidy and controlled than mine. Mine are all over the show, ‘like stork shit in mid air’ as my cute husband would say. (He has the best turn of phrase.)

We were mutually excited because we both cut them up to use for further art. She has pages all over their hallway at home and they used it to create a spoken word party, participants drawing words and phrases (if they wanted) to create stuff from.

Reminds me of this:

a zine made from pages from a much larger book called The Phrase Book, though not cut out like the work in Etcetera.

We shared how it feels sacrilegious cutting them up. But is worth it for the engagement of other people.

I find that journaling helps me to order my thoughts. It allows me to get them out of my head where, otherwise, they sort of rattle around collecting dust. It helps me focus on what is important to me or to nurture things that are still embryonic. Or I use it for things I don’t want to forget like these two stories from my grandkids the other day:

and just to have fun!

There is so much written about journaling these days, from psychologists’ treatises through the self-help industry, to the average Joe (me) raving on. But really, it saves my life and enlivens me.

How about you? I’d love to hear from any other avid journal keepers out there.

And if you don’t keep them your self, why don’t you give it a go? You don’t even have to keep a book. Woody Allen has a drawer where he throws bits of paper with thoughts and ideas. Apparently it’s where he goes when he feels stuck.


Bnw challenge

I did a black and white challenge on Facebook and really enjoyed it, so I’m posting them here. The instructions were ‘Seven days. Seven bnw photos of your life. No humans, no explanations.

Oops, there’s one missing, I can’t find it. Ho humm.

Anyone else done this? I enjoyed it so much that I will probably continue!