Saturday, 29 September 2018

MONA LISA -Canberra trip dinner

All photos on this post are copyright Runningonempty.

My enigmatic Acerules: 

If the video won’t open, click on the link below it.

While we were on vacation in Canberra in July , I photographed this dinner in our hotel room. I had packed things to personalise our room, in warm colours, as I had seen pictures of the room decor in reds and greens, before booking and in fact had ignored all the hotels in Canberra decorated in whites and greys. It gets cold in Winter in our national capital. We were there for a week.

Table and cooking items had to be fairly light to carry in our luggage and not expensive , so we could leave them there if necessary. (We had to spend a day in Melbourne on the way home for Acerule’s braces appointment. )

Before leaving our region, I bought a set of red palm weave placemats, new, which were cheap and light to pack and also new: a mug with a design of a kookaburra, the famous “laughing” Australian bird, in a box. 

In Bairnsdale, Victoria, where we stopped overnight on the way, I hit the St Vincent de Paul Op (thrift) shop. I bought a red cutlery set, a thermos for excursions, a mat for draining dishes, a faux red gladiolus flower, a Pyrex glass cooking dish that was microwave safe, and a red glass candle holder with candle. All were second hand except for the draining mat. 

I brought the green napkins from my hall cupboard at home. 

Wandering around the Canberra Dickson area, I went in to another St Vincent de Paul op (thrift ) shop. I bought a second hand handmade green glass vase. I picked some gum leaves from a street tree (eucalyptus trees are everywhere in Canberra, and are our national tree.)

At Woolworths in Dickson, I bought a plastic storage container with a lid that was microwave safe to cook in. Very important, I purchased some antibacterial dishwashing detergent, as well as food and drink. 

Dips and corn chips:

“Home” made burgers with salad:

Apple crumble pie with custard and banana:

See if you can discern the kookaburra calls here, they say kookkookkookkook kakkakkakka:

White crockery (dishes) were provided in the room. That and the ample storage was a great feature of that hotel (Quality Hotel Dickson , also known as Tradies).

At the end of the week, we donated the placemats, red cutlery, thermos, red candle holder, and Pyrex cooking dish, to St Vincent de Paul Dickson. It tickled our sense of humour that we had bought most of them and donated them at the same charity in two different Aussie States. Saving landfill space, and supporting a good cause, beaut!

I wanted to keep the handmade green vase as it suits our house. Ditto our napkins. The dish mat and plastic container could also be used by me on an ongoing basis, and I thought the Aussie bird mug could be kept for Acerules’ adult house (I often collect items for that.)

Placemats and bird mug were purchased from Yarram Gifts and Novelties , ph: 0466966940. I was not recompensed by the store , the thrift shop, or the hotel for putting them in my blog and all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 13 September 2018


Out of the mouths of babes


“Australians all let us rejoice

for we are young and free”.

-Excerpt from Advance Australia Fair, the national anthem of Australia. 

If the video won’t open, please click the link below it.

Advance Australia Fair with lyrics:

Isaiah 11:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.”

Excerpt from The Bible

Yet again, children are telling us what we should have fixed years ago. They are not clouded by prejudice and vested interest, they just see the truth, quite clearly. As Harper Nielsen age 9 said, Australia’s national anthem is racist. It was written in a racist age, and times have moved on. 

The words need to be changed to reflect that indigenous Australians were here for around 50,000 years before the white people came. Not to mention that the rocks on which Australia is situated are more than 3000 million years old! Australia is a vast, ancient land. We toured around in Central Australia, and in places like Kings Canyon, which is 440 million years old, and aboriginals consider a sacred space, there are species of plants, like cycads, that were there at the time of the dinosaurs! 

Macrozamia macdonnellii

Mark Marathon, Creative Commons.

Uluru, a place that is also sacred to the aboriginals, is over 500 million years old:

Mark Andrews, Creative commons.

Solid Rock:

Down here in Victoria, you can travel to The Grampians , Hanging Rock at Woodend, Inverloch fossil site, or lots of other places to see our ancient land. I have been to most of them, Hanging Rock  is over 6 million years old and also sacred to the indigenous people , as they celebrated all kinds of ceremonies there for over 20,000 years. When you climb up it, it is just like this, but much more monolithic and very spooky:

“Picnic at Hanging Rock” climbing scene:

“American film critic Roger Ebert” .......called Picnic at Hanging Rock “haunting” and .........”remarked that it "employs two of the hallmarks of modern Australian films: beautiful cinematography and stories about the chasm between settlers from Europe and the mysteries of their ancient new home." “ -Wikipedia.

Me (at left) on Hanging Rock in the 1980s:

Photo copyright Paul.

Photo copyright Paul.

I have even seen very old aboriginal rock paintings on a walk in outer Sydney!

I recommend that instead of “we are young and free” , the words of our anthem be changed to “we are strong and free”. That’s not hard for people to learn.

Indigenous Australians don’t much like our national anthem, so let’s change it to stop excluding them. In the great Australian tradition of calling a spade a spade, Harper Nielsen is telling it how it is. Good on her. 

Harper Nielsen story:

Watch the video on here and hear Harper speak:

BBC covers it:

The full lyrics of Advance Australia Fair are even more out of date!

Alternative lyrics are written by a Supreme Court judge:

Lyrics of Solid Rock:

“Picnic at Hanging Rock”:

Ancient Australia evidence:

I also covered this National anthem topic in January 2018.

Please feel free to leave comments below.

Monday, 10 September 2018


If a video wont open, please click the link underneath it.

The Quest


Your mission, if you choose to accept it...

We're on a mission from God.

Half the world seems to be on the move these days. We think, ensconced in our respective countries, that issues of immigration are ours only. They are worldwide. Those issues are to the fore in the Swedish elections this week. I read today, that Mexico has vast amounts of temporary and permanent foreign visitors. A great many are from THAT vast neighbour next door. We don’t hear that often, do we, more the opposite, thanks to Trump.  Something lures them there, what is it that they want? 

What indeed. Maybe they are on a quest.

Apart from refugees , fleeing from war or persecution, why do people travel vast distances, by various means of transport, but often on foot? What are they seeking?

Monty Python- The Quest for the Holy Grail

A quest, by its very nature must have a goal.

That can include an item, a person, a higher purpose for humankind, family honour, a dwelling, an education, a career, enlightenment, seeking ancestors, wealth, fame by selfies, seeing the Old country again, finding oneself, being The First. 

I read a German folk tale , recorded by the Brothers Grimm, about a young man who went on a quest to find fear. Yes, fear. Right up until the end, he sought to “shudder”. You will have to read the link at the end of this post later to find out what did give him the shudders. It wasn’t all the gory things that happened along the way. 

I have a younger friend that wants to go and live in a country I consider dangerous. He doesn’t feel any fear about it. He’s not stupid, just intrepid.

Get your dancing jeans on for this one:

Kansas - Carry on Wayward Son

The folk tale reminded me of the young men that journeyed vast distances from colonial countries ruled by the UK in World War 1 , such as Australia, who joined the armed forces to travel and get life experiences. Young men often don’t know fear much. That can be caused by a combination of testosterone and ignorance of the perils, I think.  However, gassed in the trenches , torpedoed in ships, or falling out of the sky in planes, they gained their life experiences alright. They learned the meaning of terror, and if they survived, often had it for life, in the form of PTSD. (Post traumatic stress disorder.) Returning from the quest they embarked on as naive youths, they stared with much older eyes that held horror, and fought with their loved ones, changed by their fate, the fate of returned soldiers down the ages. Of course, many never returned. 

All the while, the travel alleviates one’s boredom. Well, parts of it do. Getting becalmed on the high seas, or detained for years in a refugee camp, can put a dampener on enthusiasm. 

The quest goal might be strategic, political, 

Mahatma Gandhi on the Great Salt March.  Photo Wikipedia.

maybe beneficial to the people at home and the people visited too. It may involve gifts, of people, objects, or expertise. It can involve climbing down from pride:

The West Wing - President Bartlet walks to the hill.

and a small step, but a long journey through time to get there:

North and South Korean leaders shake hands at the border

The goal may be a religious one, once in a lifetime, or repeated. Many religions have holy places that pilgrims wish to travel to at least once in their lives.

Many choose to walk these routes at least part of the way.

 (In Jerusalem part of one route is crawled. ) They may deliberately choose humble or historic dress, a walking cane, symbolic trappings. 

After all , many of the great originators and heros of those religions went on quests, attired as above, trusting to a higher being to supply their needs. The higher beings worked through people, or sometimes miraculously, animals. Just to show their power, food might just appear, such as manna falling from Heaven. 

There are sometimes things given up when one goes on a quest. Jobs left, homes rented out or sold, friends lost, furniture abandoned, kissing Mother goodbye. One may never come back, many don’t. Then at their destination , if they arrive in great numbers, existing populations can lose out - populations of indigenous people, and earlier questers, also populations of flora and fauna. The former can and do protest. The latter can’t, they become endangered, and increasingly, extinct. The reasons for people to visit, the things they want to see, become scarce.

The goal sought might be too elusive, or it may be attained, and harm the quester. They may not mind that, or they may regret the quest. They may look forward or back.  

Tell me in the comments, what is your quest?

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 3 Questions

Why Chinese are migrating overseas:

The Salt March of Gandhi:

Grey nomads in Australia:

“It is not about how you travel, it's all about the travel itself.” -The Queensland Times

The Story of a Boy

Who Went Forth to Learn Fear

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm:

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

COCKINGTON GREEN- Part 4 , in Canberra

Part 4. The International section. 


Please read the previous 3 posts in this series.

If the videos won’t open, click the 

links below them.

There’s nothing small about the combined star power in this:

Luciano Pavarotti - We Are The World

Back in July, on our Canberra, Australia trip, we took two buses to visit Cockington Green. This is situated in one of the outer suburbs of Canberra. 

I recommend you go to this tourist attraction. It was so gratifying to see both my family members showing such childlike delight and joy while noticing all the details. It is extremely well done and you don’t need to take anything, unless the weather is showery, then take rain gear. We had a perfect, sunny day in mid Winter, and it doesn’t usually snow there. There are alot of photos, so I’ve broken this post up into parts.

All photos are copyright Runningonempty.

Many of these constructions below are very valuable. There are few artisans in the world that make them authentically  to the original anymore and it’s very time consuming. I like that the international community in Australia have sponsored many of the displays. Keeping in mind that their embassies etc are often located in Canberra, that is quite special. 

Miniature of scene in Norway:

Ukraine -3000 hours to construct! :


South Australia:

Bendigo, Victoria, Australia:

NSW, Australia:

The railways and water features are throughout the site, and make a great contribution. There is even a bigger railway that takes children for rides, but this one is miniature - England:

New Zealand:

I did not record what ruins these are at the time, as I was trying to keep up with my family. However, I think it’s the temple of Baal, or Bel, in Palmyra, Syria, blown up by ISIS in 2015. I did a bit of sleuthing online, starting with the flag. I do remember thinking, when I was looking at the model, that the original had been blown up, and how good it is that a replica is here:

ISIS Blows Up Another Ancient Monument In Palmyra, The 'Arch of Triumph'

Please comment, and return for Part 5 to see more amazing displays. 

All photos are copyright Runningonempty, we do not own copyright of the artworks depicted.