Wednesday, 25 October 2017


All photos copyright Runningonempty.

St Paul's Anglican Cathedral Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, this week.

All photos copyright Runningonempty.

The main entrance, above.

All photos copyright Runningonempty.

Copyright Runningonempty.

All photos copyright Runningonempty.

Where I was praying, above.

All photos copyright Runningonempty.

Floors and steps in the rear section.

All photos copyright Runningonempty.

All photos copyright Runningonempty.

Some back doors, above.

All photos copyright Runningonempty.

At this point I handed the iPad to Acerules, who continued shooting.

I was remiss one day this week. That's par for the course, I'm remiss about something nearly every day, but I just thought of this one. I forgot to pray in the cathedral I was in, for a possibly homeless man I had just "met". I remembered to pray for our sick dog, family and friends, and for my husband to keep his job. I should not say "met" , as, unusually, I didn't have a conversation with the gentleman, as I would have had in the past. Why? Maybe because I was anxious to get back to my daughter, in the cafe. No, I still made time to take photographs for this blog. 

I think it was because of a newspaper article and editor's opinion I had read that day. One that probably meant to elbow governments into helping homeless people in Melbourne, but actually fostered division and fear between we the readers, and them, the homeless, as it drew attention to a few "bad apples", erratic behavers due to alcohol , drug intake, or mental illness.  Maybe it created fear in me where normally I have none,  with people who could be me, if my house burned down, or some lawsuit took it, or many other reasons.

A couple of weeks ago, Acerules and I were sitting at a bus stop in the suburbs of Melbourne, (the wrong busstop, as it turned out, we missed the bus and had to walk) . Two men came up who were drunk, one more than the other, arms covered in tattoos, and wearing a singlet. A type that is called a "bogan" here. The more intoxicated one sat down with his can of drink next to me, the other one was facing us,  Acerules was on my other side, and I was concerned for her, as no one else was around. I signalled to her to stay quiet. They struck up a conversation with each other, and got around to the subject of a man they both knew who had died. They knew him from the streets thereabouts. The one next to me said "he died inside, in a house. " He repeated that several times. Their voices were still loud and the situation didn't feel safe. The other man left, and I knew the one next to me was going to say something (I've lived around drunks as neighbours for years). I said to him, "I'm sorry about your friend." He mumbled something and I said it again, "I'm sorry you lost your friend." I really was. He said , in a quiet and thoughtful voice, "thanks, I am sad." With that the atmosphere was safe again, and we started walking to our ebay seller's house.

Clip from Godspell.

"Flowers of thy heart, oh God are they. Let them not pass like weeds away."
From Godspell.

Going back around ten years, I was walking past the solid wall of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, a very similar neo -Gothic Cathedral to the above one pictured, but it is Catholic. My son had been accepted into a youth master class for three days at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) . It was an honour, but we lived so far out from the city, and he would need an escort. Mischievously, I asked the school if one of the (very highly paid) beaurocrats at the Education Department offices could be allocated to escort he and the other boy chosen (out of over 1000 students at their school, and the other boy didn't show up.) The answer came back No, so I resigned myself to marking time in the city for three days. It was fun. I walked alot. I saw the Asian tourists and artists flocking in the Gardens among the flowering cherry trees, and figured out which fountain I could get a drink from. I visited a museum to offer a beautiful article of national historical value, as we were moving to Victoria, I'll save that for another post. I walked along the water's edge all around the famous Opera House, etc.

So, my encounter story. (If you think I go off on tangents here, you should speak to me in person, I'm worse!) I was walking past the solid wall of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney one of those days. There was a person begging in one of the indentations in the wall. I struck up a conversation. He said that the Cathedral clergy came out and told him to move on, when he was sleeping in one of those nooks, one Winter night. He had bare feet. 

It stuck in my mind, because the Cathedral, at that time, was preparing for a visit from Pope Benedict. There was going to be a service in the large forecourt out front, which was refurbished for the occasion, and activities inside, too. Youth from all over the world were going to come . The Archbishop commissioned a very expensive addition to the elaborate Victorian period detailing inside. A team of craftsmen from a woodworking firm made a carved screen , figurative, and intricate, a masterpiece, that doubtless enabled the old skills to live on and to not die out, while employing people, thus helping the economy.

But stop. At that same time they were moving homeless people on in the dead of winter without offering an alternative?  

"When wilt thou save the people? Oh God of mercy when? The people, Lord the people, not thrones and crowns, but men?" Godspell.

 Out the back, in the park, there was an outfit called Just Enough Faith. They were non denominational, non religious. Using volunteer labour and donated food from restaurants, they fed over 900 poor people , from a van, every night four courses: soup, hot main, cooked dessert, and fruit, within view of the Cathedral, yet not of it. A restaurant quality meal, for free, with the menu varied. My hubby was one of the cooking volunteers, as he worked in hospitality, and he said there was a mountain of food prepared from scratch, vegetables, meat, etc., during each day in the kitchen in the suburbs. It was a logistical feat of organisation, 365 days a year, any army could be proud of.

Later on, our circumstances changed, he had been unemployed for awhile, but we were still in the 3 month waiting period to be eligible for government assistance. He would sometimes jump on a train and take the hour trip into the city ,  to bring us back meals, from Just Enough Faith, in disposable plastic lidded containers, the same as restaurant food, very nice. The founder had had a successful career owning restaurants when on one occasion he happened to spend a night or several, sleeping on the streets. This opened his eyes, and he vowed to bring professionally cooked food to the struggling and the homeless, using the vast amounts of restaurant waste at that time. 

I did not know how to give back. My hubby would eat there before he brought back the food, sitting with the "battlers" (Aussie term for struggling people in this country.) Some were homeless, some in boarding houses, he said, one in a one room apartment. One lady there would knit, night after night, she was one of the ones he got to know personally, he showed them photos in his wallet of our kids. At Christmas that year, the knitting lady gave him a knitted ornament for our tree, hanging from a humble pipe cleaner. It remains the most precious one, up there with the cigar smoking angel that was my mother's, and a huge glass bauble sent to me by a dear friend in the US last year.

I did not know how to give back, so I cut armfuls of roses from my garden, that I had planted in more prosperous times, and sent them with hubby on the train, to give out to the volunteers and friends, which were well received.  Our hard times ended, on that occasion, but for many, they would not have. We sold a property, and moved down South, in this hemisphere, that means colder Winters in Melbourne than Sydney, and yet, there are hardly any homeless shelters down South? Certainly nowhere near enough to meet the need.

What happened to Just Enough Faith? Well, they got "up the noses" of the established churches and charities, I remember, and eventually the founder was allegedly seen gambling somewhere, leading to accusations he was using the donations. My husband, son and I were positive it was a "beat up". In fact I think it was the devil's work, the rivalry, and the accusation. We knew the man had made extensive use of his own funds, and he couldn't have been feeding 900 people every night of the year, a four course meal, without using every dollar of the donations. I only went there once, when hubby was volunteering in the van, and I was amazed at the crowd. Well, Just Enough Faith was shut down, leaving a huge gap, which was filled by a traditional church charity, again, not the Cathedral, but a Protestant group.  Later on, a charity was started to collect food from supermarkets that was going to go to waste.  Just Enough Faith had left an example.

So, getting back to Melbourne, to the gentleman sitting next to his wide brimmed, but not brimming , hat, on the front steps of the cafe that Acerules and I had our decaf and soy hot chocolate in, this Monday. When I put something in it, he thanked me in a well spoken manner. I said no worries, and got on with photographing that building, avoiding taking any of him. I went  upstairs and down, inside and out, and he was still there in front of one of several entrances.  I continued on around the side, then saw a group of police gathering who had just arrived. I was snapping everything, thus:

Copyright Runningonempty.

They approached the man, who still didn't have many coins in his hat. He was dressed in a Nepalese/Tibetan type purple poncho. You can just see it peeping out from behind Mr Drizabone * coat below. They spoke respectfully to him, in that they were quiet, but had out their notebooks, and the procedure took them long enough for me to go inside, pay, gather up Acerules and her sketches, and leave. As we were deciding what to do next, the man got up and walked slowly away. 

Copyright Runningonempty.

I think the police action was as a result of that day's newspaper article, which , in a nutshell was telling the authorities to do the weeding. 

I also think God was in this, despite my failure to pray for this citizen of "the lucky country". For some reason, he put Mr Drizabone coat, right there in front of the clear shot I know I took, of the man being asked to move on. He in his purple poncho was right in the frame.  Unlike cameras I've had, the iPad takes what I see when I see it, there's no delay. I think quickly, and as I pressed the button, I was wondering if it was ethical, but knowing this was "the money shot" not to sell, but to give to some organisation that could use it to help.

God thought otherwise. Maybe angels wear Drizabones. 

* A Drizabone is a traditional Australian Stockman's (farmer, or cowboy's) oilskin weatherproof coat. 

Please sign the campaign to ease homelessness. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


Calling all my British readers. The search is on. Please look under your sofa cushions, behind your filing drawers, on top of your pantry, in the back of your coat cupboard, and under your fridge. The lost item is blue, and attractively printed.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

VENETIAN PARTY part 9 -chandelier beads

Edited to add: the parents of Acerule's former friend in this post have objected strenuously  to her being in it, sending an explosive email , so all mention , and one (mostly obscured) image of her has been removed. 

The 16 yo neglected to tell her parents that,  when I told her I would put it on the blog, before taking the photos, that she did not say no. Acerules clearly remembers that. This was taken by me as consent, since in this country 16 is the age for autonomous medical and sexual legal consent. Online media law has yet to catch up, but after my daughter is 16 she can control her own images, if she wants to have full facial ones she can, not that I recommend it before 18.  This photo was in profile, a blurring filter applied, and big black writing put over what 1/3 of the face you could see. 

Also, the parents have allowed this child's  photo, unobscured and full frontal, to be put in the newspaper here a few times over the years, during her minority, and reacted with pride when I said I had seen it.  It was impossible to tell who the person was, by what we put up, unlike the newspaper images. 
Still we have removed all mention and evidence of her. We are jointly proud of this blog. We put a huge amount of work into it. There were many good things that that couple and young woman could have said about it, praising my daughter's work,  but they did not. Well I am proud of her work.

Start post. 

This is part 9 of the series I'm writing in the lead up to our daughter's sweet 16 Venetian Masquerade baroque ball early next year. Please read the other eight parts. 

There are many good versions of this song, but we are having Italian clown costumes at the party, so this is appropriate.

"Chandelier" written by Sia, sung by Puddles:

Well, I had accumulated enough glass beads from eBay, both loose, and on necklaces that I disassembled. It was time to start decorating the crystal chandeliers. It was school vacation time here, so I asked if my daughter   could thread beads while she talked in the municipal library. Libraries have changed here, you can chat, and they didn't mind the bead threading either. This is how it went. 

One of the clown costumes we bought for a teen to wear:

One of the medium sized ornaments we bought on eBay for the party, shown on one of the table runners:

To be continued....

Please write your comments again, in post publishing  editing they are usually lost, which makes me sad. This is why I told the young woman in advance.  Coupled to that it appears our older dog is dying, if he doesn't rally at the vet surgery tonight. A sad time all round for us. He is Acerule's dog.

Monday, 16 October 2017


Please dear readers, I entreat your heartfelt prayers again. Hurricane Ophelia is heading straight across Ireland, the home of our dear blog reader and writer, Badger. Please can you pray for the Irish, and especially for Badger,  his wife and dog, that they come through this terrible storm safely with minimal or no damage. Unfortunately he's going to get the brunt of it, I just heard back from him, here is an excerpt

"We have been tracking the storm and it is supposed to be at its height in this area at about 3:00pm this afternoon and we are right in the middle of the strongest winds,, estimation is between 130 -160 kph.
But it's like the children's story where the wolf tries to blow the piggies house down, this house was built by a English Cockney, it's going nowhere, I hope. "

Badger built his house himself, it was a labour of love.

Badger's dog

Friday, 13 October 2017


Well my muse has worked her magic again after a stint where I couldn't even face the blog. So we are back!

This is a gorgeous little gem of a song. To get the sound working on my gadget I found I had to tap the picture.

Excerpt from 
Music and lyrics by Tyler Hughes.
"Love has all the power to heal up every scar 
Erase the distance, no matter how far
It’s in each and every one of us if we only let it show
Love is for the living, the young and the old.
For when we love, the world will know peace
And when we love, life will never cease 
And when we love, it’s not us versus them
And we love, we will make the world great again
Through the dark and stormy night, it is love that guides us through
And with the break of dawn, we’ll be stronger and renewed
And in each and every battle, we must always keep the faith
When the fighting’s over, love will trump hate

Love has no party, it’s not red and it’s not blue
Love is for me and love is for you."

I could apply some of these biblical principles better than I do:

1 Corinthians 13 
An excerpt from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English
"0. If I shall speak with every human and Angelic language and have no love in me, I shall be clanging brass or a noise-making cymbal. 2. And if I have prophecy, and I know all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith so that I may remove mountains, and I have no love in me, I would be nothing. 3. And if I should feed everything that I have to the poor, and if I hand over my body to be burned up  and I have no love in me, I gain nothing.
4.Love is patient and sweet; love does not envy; love is not upset neither puffed up. 5.Love does not commit what is shameful, neither does it seek its own; it is not provoked, neither does it entertain evil thoughts, 6. Rejoices not in evil, but rejoices in the truth, 7.Endures all things, believes all things, hopes all, bears all.
0. Love never fails; for prophecies shall cease, tongues shall be silenced and knowledge will be nothing; 9. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, 10. But when perfection shall come, then that which is partial shall be nothing. 11. When I was a child, I was speaking as a child, I was led as a child, I was thinking as a child, but when I became a man, I ceased these childish things. 12. Now we see as in a mirror, in an allegory, but then face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I shall know as I am known. 13. For there are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love."

I'm tired. I spent part of last night thrashing out some differences with a friend on the other side of the world, we resolved them, but then I was too over stimulated to sleep. It's not the first time, and probably won't be the last. Well, it would be nice if there was no further need for it, but human beings make mistakes, and better to communicate than sulk, in my opinion.

Why were we both in bad moods? Well coincidentally, both of us had been called stupid, by different people in different places, but on the same day. 

It rankled, because we are both the opposite of stupid. People sometimes do not see that in my friend, but get to know this person well and its obvious that they are extremely intelligent. It is one reason, but not the only reason, that I like the person. I don't agree with them hiding it, but as they point out, it's not my place to make their decisions, even when I point out that I'm always right.

If we had not been abused by others yesterday, I believe there would have been no stress fuelled disagreement . Some people need to be more careful how they treat each other, because it can have a ripple effect, so that a completely innocent third party suffers for it later, and on it goes. 

My friend and I thrashed it out quickly as we are wont to do, and discovered what the underlying trigger was. However many don't, and in that case the stress could possibly be passed on to a fourth, and then fifth party. All because someone tried to make someone else feel lesser, by insulting them, probably to sooth their own insecurity.

What I do like, is that we both said sorry at some point, and both were forgiven. We do that. Does that mean we forget? Maybe, maybe not. Do we move on and not dwell on it? Yes, largely in the past we have chosen to do that. If an old , previously resolved issue chooses to raise its ugly head, one or both of us stomps on it.

It's difficult, because both of us are very strong personalities, and both would like to get their way, but for the friendship to work, there must be compromise. We also pull our punches , that means we don't say every nasty thing that pops into our heads to the other one. We are both Trés formidable if we really fight hard, so together we just don't punch, preferring to jab, duck and weave. There is filtering, something I think Twitter could try this year, and restraint, a quality all world leaders need to have. We also have humour, which is a great bridge builder.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, unless you've been under a rock, you'd know that the world is full of people, who , unless they are in the middle, as I usually am, are divided into progressive, or conservative camps. Around the world right now there are examples of governments that needed to form coalitions, because they didn't get enough votes to govern on their own, due to the electorates being too divided. This can be paralysing to good government, or actually force some imaginative solutions to problems.  Australia, UK, Germany, and even the USA are current examples. Why would I include the last one? Because the current Republican government has paired up with far right groups of various kinds. 

"It’s in each and every one of us if we only let it show
Love is for the living, the young and the old."
Tyler Hughes.

 I think the techniques we employed last night could help in that wider context, even on the world stage.

"For when we love, the world will know peace
And when we love, life will never cease "
Tyler Hughes.

So North Korea let off some bombs. They might have nuclear. Bad. 
Move forward. Filter your language with restraint. Say sorry, it's not that hard. Forgive the other party. Invite them to Mar a Lago and give them chocolate cake, as happened with China. Work out the differences, by trying to see each other's perspectives.

"And when we love, it’s not us versus them".

"Love has no party, it’s not red and it’s not blue".
Tyler Hughes.

So Obama had a health care plan you didn't like. Bad from your point of view. Tweak it. Invite the Democrats  to Mar a Lago, and thrash it out with a few "sorrys" and "let's solve this" over chocolate cake.

"And we love, we will make the world great again".
Tyler Hughes

So there is entrenched poverty caused by increasing inequality and overpopulation around the world, causing people who are worst affected to blame each other, sometimes viciously. The solution is not chocolate cake, as they discovered before the French Revolution. It is universal love, putting ourselves in each other's shoes, sharing what we have, saying sorry, and forgiveness.


What did we end up talking about at the end last night? 
Coffee cream eclairs. You havn't lived until you've had one of those from Yarram Bakery Café in Australia. Put it on your bucket list. All prices shown are in Yarram dollars.
My late lunch /early dinner today, including caffeine which I rarely have these days, but I was so tired!

Coffee cream eclairs. Hubby and I shared one.

The area is a dairy district, so real cream is expected.
Cake. A solution to world peace.