T-Team Series–Standley Chasm (Angkerle Atwatye)

[While painting this scene of a group of older men gathering to admire the glowing walls of Standley Chasm, I was reminded of the T-Team’s trek in 1977 with Mr. B. This wealthy man used to comfort and luxury, took on the challenges of roughing it camping with the T-Team. This stunning chasm is about 50km west of Alice Springs and is one of the first of many beautiful sites to visit in the MacDonnell Ranges.]

The T-Team With Mr B (26)

Mr. B slowed the Rover and eased it into a park joining the line of cars, land rovers, and buses awaiting their owners’ return. The T-Team piled out of the Rover and in single-file, followed Dad along the narrow track heading towards Standley Chasm. In the twists and turns of the trail that hugged the dry creek bed, I spotted ferns in the shadow of rock mounds the colour of yellow ochre, and ghost gums sprouting out of russet walls of stone. Hikers marched past us returning to the car park.

*[1. Photo: Path to Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling © L.M. Kling 2013]

‘G’day,’ they said. ‘Well worth it.’

Dad checked his watch and quickened his pace.

I ran to catch Dad. ‘Have we missed out?’

‘We better hurry,’ Dad snapped.

A leisurely short stroll became a race to the finish as we struggled to keep up with Dad; scrambling over boulders on the track, squeezing past more tourists going to and from the chasm, Dad snapping and cracking the verbal whip, and Mr. B moaning and groaning that “it’s not for a sheep station”.

*[2. Photo: Ghost gum and ferns on way to Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

The crowd thickened, stranding us in a jam of people, fat bottoms wobbling, parents hauling their whinging kids, and men clutching cameras to their eyes for the perfect shot. Dad checked his watch and then shifted the weight from one foot to the other.

‘Are we there yet?’ I asked.

Wrong question. Especially when asking a grumpy Dad.

‘Not yet!’ Dad barked.

‘I reckon we’re not far away,’ I said. ‘All the tourists have stopped. Must be some reason.’

Dad screwed up his nose. ‘I dunno, it doesn’t look right.’

‘Excuse me! Excuse me!’ Mr. B, one arm stretched out before him, parted the sea of people and strode through.

We followed in Mr. B’s wake and within twenty paces, there it glowed. Standley Chasm. Both walls in hues of gold to ochre. Dozens of people milled around its base.

*[3. Photo: No quite the right time but still awesome: Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad gazed at the chasm, and then squinted at the position of the sun. ‘It’s not there yet.’

‘How long?’ I wanted to know.

‘Not long, just wait.’ Dad paced towards a white gum that bowed before the grand wonder of the chasm.

‘Wait! I’ll take a photo of you,’ I said.

‘Do you have to?’

‘Why not?’

‘We might miss the walls turning red.’

‘They turn red that quickly?’

Dad leaned up against the tree. ‘I s’pose not.’

I dug out my instamatic camera and photographed my grumpy Dad.

*[4. Photo: While we wait, a grumpy Dad before the chasm © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]

Then we waited. The tourists snapped their shots and then filtered away.

‘When’s it going to turn red?’ I asked for the fourth time.

‘Be patient,’ Dad said.

‘This is boring,’ Matt mumbled.

‘Let’s see what’s the other side.’ Richard tapped Matt on the arm. The two lads scrambled over the rocks and I watched them hop from one boulder to the next over a small waterhole.

*[5. Photo: The rocks’ reflection, Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad paced from one wall to the next while Mr. B photographed Standley Chasm from every angle.

*[6. Photo: The ideal image; Standley Chasm © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

I watched mesmerized by the sunlight playing on the walls. They turned from a russet-brown on one side, gold on the other, to both glowing a bright orange. But by then, most of the tourists had left, thinking the Chasm had finished its performance for the day.

*[7. Photo: Well worth the wait; Standley Chasm, just perfect © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1977]
*[ 8. Painting: Dad’s Standley Chasm in watercolour © C.D. Trudinger circa 1959]

As the other wall turned in hue to sienna, Mr. B packed his camera in his leather case and stood back admiring the view.

‘Get some good shots?’ Dad asked.

‘I reckon I did.’ Mr. B patted his camera bag. ‘You know, once the crowds thinned out, I reckon I got some good ones.’

‘Ah, well, I’ve seen Standley Chasm put on a better show in the past.’ I think Dad was trying to justify not having a functional camera.

‘Well, I enjoyed it,’ I said. ‘This place is amazing!’

[9. Photo: Standley Chasm mid-afternoon; still the same perfect light 36 years later © L.M. Kling 2013]

Dad patted me on the back. ‘Ah! Lee-Anne, you haven’t seen anything yet. Wait till you see Ormiston Gorge.’

‘By the way, where are tha boys?’ Mr. B asked.

‘Looks like we have to be patient and wait for them now.’

‘I hope your son doesn’t get ma boy lost.’

Dad laughed. ‘No worries. There they are, just the other side of the chasm.’ He waved at the boys.

Richard and Matt scrambled through the chasm to join the T-Team on the hike back to the Rover.

[10. Photo: Actual photo of men admiring StandleyChasm © L.M. Kling 2013]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018; 2022

Feature Painting: Men Admiring Standley Chasm © L.M. Kling 2018

***

Want more? More than before?

Binge on True Aussie Adventure with the T-Team in my book available on Amazon and in Kindle.

Click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Choice Bites–Minna

As I developed my characters from the War against Boris series, stories began to emerge. Here’s one of them.

THE CHOICE: MINNA

One of those summer days doused in grey…I ride my bike to the beach to collect shells. As I comb the surf-soaked sands, a man’s voice snaps me out of the zone.

‘Found anyone interesting?’

‘Nup, no bodies,’ I murmur.

‘That’s a shame, a nice looking lady like you.’’

I fix my sight on shards of shell and ignore him. Hate those pickup lines.

‘Oh, what’s your problem? I’m not going to bite.’

I glance at him—had to see what creep I’m dealing with. Pale, pock-marked face, thirties and just a little taller than me at 165cm. In a grubby white t-shirt and brown trousers. “Never trust a man who wears brown trousers,” my school friend Liesel always said.

‘Come on, dear, just a little conversation. Tell me, what do you want more than anything in the world.’

I shrug. ‘To leave me alone.’

‘Tell you what, you tell me and I’ll leave you alone. Deal?’

I push my bike faster trying to escape this man, but he follows me.

‘I promise, I’ll leave you alone—just tell me.’

Hopping on my bike I announce, ‘I don’t talk to strangers.’

‘I’m not going to hurt you. I bet, I bet you’re one of those girls who wants to get married, have a family. That’s what you want more than anything.’

‘If you say so, now leave me alone,’ I say and then speed from the creepy little man with his creepy questions.

‘Your desire will be arranged,’ he says as I splash my wheels through the water. He then shouts, ‘But, I might add, there will be a price.’

‘Sure, sour grapes,’ I mumble. Then pumping the pedals, I sail along the damp-packed sand where the waves meet the shore.

Then, near the ramp and having to cross sand too soft for bike wheels, I glance behind before alighting.

The man in brown trousers is gone…

A short story from another project relating to that alien cockroach, Boris, “Choice Bites© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016, updated 2022

Painting: Sellicks Beach—where Mission of the Unwilling begins © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015 [Mixed media]

***

Want More?

More than before?

Read more on the war against the fiend you love to hate; an overgrown alien cockroach, Boris.

Click on the links below:

The Lost World of the Wends

The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

T-Team Series–Mustering Conversation

The Parrot of Curtin Springs

  [Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.]

The T-Team with Mr B In 1977 Dad’s friend Mr Banks and his son, Matt (not their real names), joined Dad, my brother (Rick) and me on this journey of adventure. I guess Dad had some reservations how I would cope… But it soon became clear that the question was, how would Mr B who was used to a life of luxury cope?

This time Dad promises Mr. B rabbit stew for dinner.

Rick and I scrambled off the Rover’s roof-rack.

‘Race ya to the birds,’ I yelled and then ran down the side of the Curtin Springs store to the aviary.

Rick and Matt raced past me. ‘Beat ya!’ Rick called back.

The parrot squawked. ‘G’day mate!’

Matt laughed and said, ‘Hey, you got the bird to talk, Rick.’

‘Aren’t I clever,’ my brother said.

‘How did you do that?’ I approached the cage. ‘G’day mate.’

The parrot cocked its head.

In a falsetto voice, I said, ‘Hello cocky.’

The bird bobbed its head.

The boys laughed.

I persisted in a high-pitched tone. ‘Polly wants a cracker?’

The bird ambled over to me and then bit the wire of the cage, its blue tongue thrusting out its beak.

*[Photo 1: White cockatoos abound all over Australia. Here’s some in Sturt Gorge near my home. © L.M. Kling 2018]

‘Hello cocky,’ I sang.

The bird stopped nibbling the wire and then clawed its way along the cage away from me.

‘You just don’t have the touch,’ Rick said.

Matt sniggered.

Dad, his thumbs hooked in the belt loops of his trousers, strode up to us. ‘How about a soft drink? My shout.’

Rick shouted, ‘Soft drink!’

‘Ha! Ha!’ Mr. B who stood behind Dad, clapped. ‘Very funny!’

The parrot screeched. ‘G’day mate!’

*[Photo 2: White cockatoos close-up © L.M. Kling 2018]

I glared at Rick. ‘How did you do that?’

‘I have the touch,’ Rick said.

Dad marched into the store. A few minutes later, he emerged cradling five cans of lemon flavoured soft drink. ‘The petrol’s cheaper here than at Ayres Rock. And so is the steak. It’s from the cattle they have on the station.’

*[Photo 3: Cattle like these but near Gosses Range © L.M. Kling 2013]

The parrot cocked its head and watched us guzzle our drinks.

Rick wiped the sticky drops from his chin and sighed. ‘Ah, a real man’s drink!’

Dad licked his lips and then held up his finger. ‘You wait here. I won’t be long.’

We watched Dad disappear through the store door.

Mr. B raised his hand to his mouth, then after a discreet burp, he muttered. ‘No chance of egg soup tonight, I hope.’

I turned to the parrot. ‘G’day mate.’

The parrot squawked.

‘You just don’t have the touch,’ Rick said.

Matt giggled.

*[Photo 4: The Parrot of Curtin Springs (somewhere in the cage) and me © R.M. Trudinger 1977]

Dad returned, this time carrying a baby-sized packet wrapped in white butcher’s paper. ‘The Rover’s been fed, and we’ll have a feed tonight.’

‘That better not be eggs and soup,’ Mr. B snapped.

Dad pursed his lips as if some bird he’d swallowed was about to burst out. ‘Rabbit. I bought rabbit for stew. There’s lots of rabbits around these parts.’

‘What?’ Mr. B’s face flushed crimson. ‘I thought you were going to buy steak.’

Dad did that kissing motion with his lips and then in a level voice said, ‘Rabbit steak. It’s cheap.’

Rick turned away from Mr. B’s line of sight and wheezed with suppressed giggles.

The parrot flared its crest and screeched. ‘G’day mate.’

‘You did it again!’ I cried.

Rick snorted and laughed.

‘What’s so funny?’ Mr. B asked.

Dad patted Mr. B’s back. ‘It’s steak, mate. Beef steak. The best you’ll get around these parts. Curtin Springs runs a cattle station, you know.’

*[Photo 5 & 6: Rounding up Cattle in Central Australian Cattle Yard © C.D. Trudinger circa 1955]

‘You had me going there, for a while,’ Mr. B said.

‘Huh?’ I looked from Dad, to Mr. B, and then to Rick. ‘But you said, we’re having rabbit stew.’

‘Dad was joking, but we could shoot some rabbits or birds at Palmer River, if you don’t want steak,’ my brother said.

The parrot glared at Rick. ‘What?’

‘You did it again!’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2018; 2022

 *Feature Painting: Mustering Cattle © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2014

[Curtin Springs, 100 km east of Uluru, still operates as a cattle station. Its owners, the Severin family, have been running the station since 1956.]

***

Read more of the adventures of the T-Team in my memoir, Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon and Kindle.

Check it out, click on the link below:

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Monday Musing–Be Still

BE STILL

I go to the shops as I do every second day. At the checkout, the girl asks, ‘And how has your day been?’

‘Busy,’ I say.

‘That’s good,’ the girl says with a sage nod as if involved in some conspiracy to keep me on the hamster wheel of busyness.

In the Twenty-first century world “busyness” is good. Not being busy, then, is undesirable. Our Western Protestant work ethic touts, ‘Idleness is the devil’s workshop’. The state of “idleness” is to be avoided at all costs. These days, we equate idleness with boredom.

‘I’m bored,’ say your children (so did mine, when they were children many years ago, back in the good ol’ 1990’s), and terror strikes at the heart of each mother when they hear these words. Bored? We can’t have our children bored—idle—just imagine what devils will come to play if we allow boredom to fester. First, the grizzling, then, the niggling at each other, and before long, World War Three amongst the siblings and the house ends up looking like the Apocalypse.

*[Photo 1: The computer, the answer to all who cry, “I’m bored!” © L.M. Kling 2007]

No, we can’t have boredom.

So, in my quieter times now, I reminisce the days as a young mother, structuring each day, every hour—especially during the holidays, to avoid boredom—any strategy to avoid my tribe from becoming restless.

‘What’s wrong with a bit of boredom,’ my mother would say. ‘They need to learn to entertain themselves, you know, use their imagination. Nothing wrong with being still for a while, I say.’

Mum should know, she grew up in the Centre of Australia on a mission in the 1940’s and ‘50’s. Those were the really good ol’ days with no shopping centres, no electronic games, nor television. They did have radio, but her minister father only allowed the news to be heard from it. Heaven forbid they listen to modern music. During the War, even the radio was confiscated by the allies. So all my mum as a girl had to entertain herself were books. Even so, the Protestant work ethic was a major value in mum’s family as her mother, when she found her daughter reading would say, ‘Isn’t there some housework you should be doing?’

*[Photo 2: In the good ol’ days, being productive. Making kangaroo-skin rugs © S.O. Gross circa 1940]

As expected, then, I grow up in a world that values industry, productivity and filling each day to the full. The schools I attend are hot on producing good grades, projects and students who go on to university and become wealth-producing citizens.

Then, at sixteen, I have a revelation. We sing a chorus at church, “Be Still and know I am God”.

Being still…forget the homework…forget the housework…put aside my racing head of worries…centre my thoughts on God and his greatness. Pause for a moment and remember, God is God and He’s in control.

So at sixteen, I do just as the chorus bids. I hop on my deadly treadly (bike), and pedal down to the beach. I figure that’s the best place to be still; the waves lapping the sand, the sun on my back as I comb the shore for shells. Or on a sunny afternoon, I lie in the backyard and sunbake, think and ponder.

*[Photo 3: Entertainment of Seal, Glenelg South © L.M. Kling 2022]

The result? Wow! Those mountains? School and pedantic teachers going on about uniform—my socks, my hair? Boyfriends or lack of them? Life and my future? …All my concerns become molehills.

December 1979, I write a poem “Be Still”. Perhaps not the greatest work of literature, but the values stick with me…until I embark on university, work, and then a family. The poem hides in a book of my teenage missives. Ten years ago, I pull it out for a devotion. I preach being still, but I fail to apply the principles. I must keep busy. If I stop, even for a few minutes, what will others think? There’s just too much to do. Everyone’s depending on me as wife, mother, bible study leader, committee member …to produce the goods. I can’t let them down.

The culture to keep moving is ingrained. Go to meet people for the first time and they ask, ‘What do you do?’ The doing has to have a dollar sign attached to it. Not enough to do all the above as a mother. Must produce money to have status in the group. Without status, I am not heard. Ironic how the under-valued creative arts of writing and painting, though, afford status. I am creating. I am producing.

*[Painting 1: Life after Lock-down, Port Willunga © L.M. Kling 2020]

Even so, in this creative phase of my life, if I stand still, I feel guilty. Now, there are novels to write and art to produce. My “work”. I’m on the hamster wheel, but I can’t get off.

However, in all the busyness expected of me, the cogs of my life are unravelling. I drive to a cafe to meet a friend. She’s not there. I’d forgotten my mobile phone. I drive the thirty-minute return home and check my phone and then ring her. I’d gone to the wrong place. A misunderstanding. If I had taken the time to listen and ask the right questions…

The voice of my sixteen-year-old self still convicts me. ‘Be Still’.

For over forty years, I’d not been following my own advice. After the misunderstanding of the other day, I give myself permission to have time each day to rest…Time to be still…time to know God.

*[Painting 2: Sleeping Beauty on Huon, Tasmania © L.M. Kling]

So in the voice of my sixteen-year-old self, the poem:

Be Still

Exhausted, yet restless to advance

Ever onward in a trance,

A weary traveller

Refused to look around

So lost the intimate beauties which could be found.

Be still,

And know God the eternal creator.

Furtive, frustrated, fraught we flee,

When confusion bears down on thee,

A weary traveller.

Failure looms, chaos glooms,

In life, this lonely room.

Be still,

And wing your eyes

To soar above the clutter.

Marvel at the vastness of creation

Where God lies.

If what we infinitely fear

Will produce a lonely tear,

Of a weary traveller,

We blind ourselves with sorrows

Clinging to illusions of good morrows.

Be still,

Capture destiny in your heart,

For God said, “Let it be”.

See the beauty of it’s part.

Learn from what it has to offer

Ignore the scoffer.

A weary traveller did relent,

When Jesus was sent.

Be still,

While He,

Our hungry souls will fill.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling (nee Trudinger) 1979

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2022

*Feature Photo: Cradle Mountain, Tasmania © L.M. Kling 2009

***

If you’d like to polish your writing skills or find out more about our new project, a self-publishing collective, click on the link to Indie Scriptorium

Or…

Catch up on the exploits of Boris the over-grown alien cockroach, and Minna and her team’s attempt to subdue him.

For good holiday reading click on the links below…

The Lost World of the Wends

The Hitch-hiker

Mission of the Unwilling

Or…

Join the Journey, click on the link below:

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari

Tuesdays with Carol–Good Storytelling

Having both studied English at university, the subject that comes up often when visiting Carol is about all things writing and what makes a good story. So, one of my first blog posts came to mind…to encourage and inspire all of us who are writers.

Writers’ Privilege

‘Writing is a lonely craft,’ my university tutor said.

All of us in the group nodded and I thought: Yes, a writer has to hide away in their study clacking away on their typewriter. They have to concentrate. Those were the days back in the 1980’s…

I recalled as a student, hours locked up in my bedroom, writing my essays, trying to concentrate while my family went about their business, stomping in the passageway, dishes clattering in the kitchen and the television blaring in the lounge room. Not to mention my dear brother lifting weights, and dropping the things with the inevitable clunk and thud, in the lounge room. Did I mention trying to concentrate? Yes, trying, but not succeeding. And even now, as I write this blog, can’t go five minutes without interruptions. These days, though, I write my first draft, by hand, in a quiet place at a quiet time, and then I write this blog on the computer as a second draft.

Suffice to say, the statement by my tutor all those years ago, has an element of truth. And compared to being an artist or musician, writing is a lonely craft. I belong to an art group and enjoy going each week as the hall is filled with happy chatter and my fellow artists are friendly and welcoming. And I can imagine a musician, mostly has to play and sing with others in a band, their craft has to be performed to an audience. The lonely parts of a musician’s life, from my observation, is the process of composing music. Although, many musicians collaborate when they jam together and create new songs together.

[Painting and Feature: Alone Sellicks Beach (watercolour) © L.M. Kling 2016)

On reflection, though, my experiences over time with the process of writing as isolating, no longer resonates with me. I don’t write alone. I have my characters. I go into their world. Call me crazy, but it’s like when I was a child and had imaginary friends. Come to think of it, perhaps because I was lonely, I became a writer. Figures, hours after school, on weekends and holidays to fill. There’s only so many hours my brother, five years older than me, would share with me playing games. And friends, too weren’t with me all the time. So, books became my friends, as well as characters in the world of fantasy I conjured up. I swooned away, sitting in my cubby house, and whole days drifted by in my other life of fiction, science fiction.

As I grew up, I became used to my own space. My loneliness transformed into the joy and peace of being alone. Time to think and explore ideas, the “what if’s” of life’s path, stories of people I’ve met, my story, and also the stories of my characters. Time to express these stories, writing them down. Many of these stories remain hidden in my journal, a hand-written scrawl; a mental work-out, sorting out ideas and emotions. Some make it to a Word File on the computer, others a blog post, and a few hundred pages have ended up as works buried on the shelves of Amazon—self-published but published all the same. And for six years, now, there’s my blog, again mostly hidden in the blog-pile of the world-wide web, but more visible today than in 2015 when I started the blogging journey.

Yet, once I’ve written the first draft in quietness and peace, the craft of writing becomes a collaborative process. Good writing needs feedback, editing and proof-reading. An effective piece of work needs a second, third and numerous sets of eyes, and many minds to weed the “gremlins” that beset the plot, content, and pacing. And a keen set of eyes to comb through the text to pick up grammar and spelling issues. The computer’s spell and grammar check are not enough.

[Photo 1: Miyajima Monkeys a-grooming © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1985)

I love to go to writers’ group. I heard someone on radio say that reading is the ultimate empathy tool. When we read, we enter into another’s world and how they see the world. Exploring another’s world—how much more social can one get? This is what happens at writers’ group. We share our own world through our writing, and we explore other writer’s world as we listen to each other’s stories; a privilege and an honour to be trusted with these gems. As fellow writers we need each other to hone our skills as a writer. We need each other’s feedback. How else will we refine our craft without feedback?

Still, there is an aspect of writing that makes it a lonely existence. As writers we are modern-day prophets, proclaiming words given to us, believing these words can and will make a difference in another’s life. Hoping, the change will be for good. The word is a powerful tool; a double-edged sword. God’s Word is described as a double-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12) There’s a saying that sticks and stones can break bones, but words cannot hurt me. Not true. Words can hurt. Words can also heal. Spoken words can sting or soothe, and then are gone, but the written word can endure and have power. People believe something is true because it’s in print. Reputations have risen and fallen on the power of the written word.

The printing press revolutionised the fifteenth century. Imagine words once written and hidden in some monastic library, then with the advent of the printed word, being duplicated and spread, and even appearing on church doors, for all to read. In our times we have witnessed the evolution of the power of the word through the internet. Need I say more—the gatekeepers of the past, by-passed, allowing all who are wanting to have a voice, freedom of written expression.

However, with freedom and power to influence, comes responsibility to use our gift and passion to write wisely and for the good of others. As a writer, I have written with good intentions to help others grow, help others see the world differently, change attitudes and effect a positive change in the world. Even so, my good intentions posted on my blog may have affected others in ways I didn’t intend. So, I have an understanding now what it means that writing can be a lonely craft as there will always be someone who doesn’t see the world as I do and may find my public interpretation of life offensive. My voice in the world-wide wilderness of the web may actually alienate me from others. So, I’m back where I started as a child, alone, with time and space to explore my world of fantasy with my characters as friends.

[Photo 2: Shikoku Sunset © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 1985]

I guess that’s why I’m drawn to write. With fiction, it’s out there, it’s fantasy and it’s a safe platform to explore ideas, issues and ways of looking at the world, the other world of “what-ifs”, that help readers open their minds to investigate alternative attitudes and create discussion. And with fact through my travel memoirs, sharing my life and worldview, joys, challenges and faith. Through this process, I hope to bring goodness and personal growth to all who are willing to join in the journey into my world.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2020; 2022

[Painting and Feature: Alone Sellicks Beach (watercolour) © L.M. Kling 2016)

***

Catch a Free ride with the T-Team…

One more day until Wednesday May 11

Longing for more travel adventures? Dreaming of exploring Australia?

Read the T-Team’s Aussie adventures, click on the link below:

Trekking the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

***

Or if fiction is more your thing

Read more, and lose yourself in this tale where the nineteenth century meets the twenty-first…

Click on the link,

To download my novel

The Lost World of the Wends

Or…

Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker

And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling

Tuesdays with Carol–Tulips

Of Impressionists and Tulips

With Covid still hanging around Carol’s place and wearing out its welcome, I have drawn on a past Tuesday with Carol.

A few weeks ago, I revisited the tulip field muse. Carol and I like the Impressionists style. We had lots of fun playing with the blend of colours and keeping our paintings loose.

My past efforts painting these tulips at the Canberra Floriade, in watercolour and acrylic, have been less than impressive. Those paintings have ended up filed away in the drawer of no return or cut up and pieces used for cards.

But I’m happy with this piece. The difference, a bit of artistic license by putting a windmill in the picture and less tulips. It’s all to do with composition.

On a different note, but related, a couple of friends and I have been working on a community project—a publishing collective. We have called this endeavour, Indie Scriptorium. If you would like to find out more, check out our newly formed website and our first post by clicking here.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature Painting: Tulip field, Canberra Floriade © L.M. Kling 2022

***

In the mid-nineteenth century, a village of Wends, on their way to Australia, mysteriously disappeared…

Who was responsible? How did they vanish?

Want to know more about the trials and tribulations of these missing people from Nineteenth Century Eastern Europe?

Click on the link below:

The Lost World of the Wends   

Tuesdays with Carol

Fun with Painting

Every Tuesday, or thereabouts, I get together with my friend of over 40 years, and we paint.

This painting in acrylic of Kingston Beach, depicts one of those calm early autumnal afternoons in March. Although warm and humid, the clouds gather in the west, signalling a change, and hopefully, rain. Still, it’s a perfect balmy afternoon come evening for a birthday celebration on the lawns in the park above the beach.

Much like this painting, Carol and I start the process of painting perhaps a bit weighed down by the various dramas in our lives, but by the end of an afternoon painting, chatting, and remembering way back when we were young, we feel lighter and happier.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2022

Feature painting: Kingston Beach, Brighton (acrylic on canvas paper) © L.M. Kling 2022

***

It’s Free!

Just in time for Easter

Take a ride with The Hitch-hiker for free.

Free from Tuesday 12 till Friday 15 April 2022.

Click on the link below, if you dare

The Hitch-Hiker

T-Team Series–On Top of Mt. Liebig

[Extract from Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981]

A Day to Climb Mt. Liebig

Part 2

 All alone, I fidgeted. How long were they going to be? Where have they all gone? I edged towards the height of the gully and looked over. A loose stone skittered down the cliff. I retreated to the safety of the gully and waited. I bit my nails. Had they all fallen to their deaths? Do I join them? I stuck my head through the gap, then my shoulders, and finally my whole body. I placed my hand on the granite. How did they get up here? My height-challenged frame failed to reach the footholds and niches necessary to climb this rock wall. How did they do it? I stood on tiptoes, trying to reach a notch. Just too high. Just my luck, I’ve been left here all alone.

*[Photo 1: Deadly cliffs of Mt. Liebig © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

 My brother’s head poked over the ledge.

 ‘There you are!’ I said.

 He grinned. ‘Where did you think I was?’

 David R appeared beside him.

 ‘I don’t know. Splattered on the rocks at the foot of the mountain.’ I reached for my brother. ‘Where have you been? Where are the others?’

 ‘At the top,’ Richard, my brother said.

‘But what about me?’

 ‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you.’ My brother scrambled down. ‘Now climb on my shoulders and David will pull you up. Then you’ll be right. This is the hardest part.’

 I did as I was told. I steadied myself on my brother’s shoulders and from there David grabbed my wrist and pulled me to the next level. Then I negotiated the rock-pile obstacle course on my own and made it to the summit of Mt Liebig a second time. My arrival recorded at 9:28am.

[Photo 2: Conquerors of Mt. Liebig—meh! © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

 Older cousin (C1) perched himself on a flat stone and wrote his diary. Rick fiddled with his spinifex shin guards and muttered, ‘Fat lot of use they were.’ He picked at cunning spikes that had slipped past the guard. Younger cousin (C2) munched on an apple. Dad peeled an orange and with hearty slurps sucked its juices. David wandered around the summit, gazing at the land below, and then examining the cairn of stones.

 ‘We are on the right peak, aren’t we?’ Dad wiped the orange drips from his beard. He pointed at the other peak. ‘There’s a cairn of stones over there.’

 ‘Hmmm.’ David stroked his beard. ‘I think so. That one’s used for surveying.’ He picked up a rock and then as if by magic, extracted a rusty old can from the cavity. Without saying a word, he pulled out a roll of paper. He unfurled the paper and his eyes darted from right to left over the page.

[Photo 3: Survey of the terrain below from which we came © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

 C1 paused in his journaling to ask the question. ‘Well, what does it say, David?’

 ‘Some people by the name of MacQueen and Smith of Alice Springs climbed Mt. Liebig on the 27th of August 1977.’

 ‘You’re kidding!’ Dad lifted the yellowed paper from David. ‘We climbed Mt Liebig in 1977, but a couple of weeks before.’

 ‘Maybe they picked up your quart can,’ I said.

 Dad frowned. ‘I don’t think so.’ He looked at his watch. ‘And what’s the date today?’

*[Photo 4: View of the nearby ranges from Mt. Liebig © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

My brother shrugged.

C2 scratched his forehead. ‘I don’t know.’

C1 hunched over his diary.

Dad stepped over to C1. ‘What’s the date?’

C1 ran his finger along the top of the page. ‘The 27th of August 1981.’

Dad counted on his fingers and then said, ‘Well, fancy that! Exactly four years to the day.’

‘Must be the date to climb Mount Liebig,’ C1 said and returned to scribing in his journal.

We remained at the summit at least an hour, engraving our names with the amazing date onto a stone, and celebrating our Liebig conquest with fruitcake for morning tea.

*[Photo 5: Liebig conquerors 1977 © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

[Note from the author: We ascended to the summit, not two weeks before that Dad had calculated, but one day before Mr. MacQueen and Smith summited. We climbed Mt Liebig on August 26, 1977. Read our adventures in the series Travelling with the T-Team: Central Australia 1977, particularly our previous venture climbing Mt. Liebig, “We almost Perished”.]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017; blog update 2021

Feature Painting: Mt Liebig (Acrylic) © Lee-Anne Marie Kling (nee Trudinger) 1981 — Not for Sale

***

Dreaming of Adventure?

Read more of the adventures of the T-Team in my memoir, Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon and Kindle.

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

Story Behind the Painting–Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta Sunrise

[Extract from Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981]

Way before the sun had even thought about rising, we gulped down our porridge and then set off for the Eastern Side of Kata Tjuta. Dad was on a mission to capture the prehistoric boulders at sunrise. We arrived at the vantage point just as the sun spread out its first tentative rays, touching the spiky tips of spinifex and crowning the bald domes with a crimson hue as if they’d been sunburnt.

[Painting 1: Kata Tjuta Sunrise (watercolour) © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2015]

I dashed a hundred metres down the track to photograph the “Kangaroo Head” basking in the sun. We stood in awe as the glow of red on the rocks deepened.

Every few minutes Dad exclaimed, ‘Ah, well, that’s it, that’s as good as it’s going to get.’ He packed the camera away, only to remark, ‘Oh, it’s getting better,’ then retrieve the camera from the bag and snap Kata Tjuta flushed with a deeper, more stunning shade of red. The rest of the T-Team, waited, took a few shots, waited, mesmerised by the conglomerate mounds of beauty, before taking more snaps of the landscape.

[Painting 2: Soft Sunrise Glow of Kata Tjuta (pastel) © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021]

Family friend, TR patted Dad on the back. ‘Well, the early rise was worth it.’

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016; updated 2021

Feature Painting: Sacred Sunrise, Kata Tjuta (acrylic on canvas) © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

***

Dreaming of Australian Outback adventure?

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981 available on Amazon Kindle or as your own Aussie coffee-table book.

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981

T-Team Series–Base of Mt. Liebig

[While three of the T-Team faced the perils of climbing Mt. Liebig, a drama of a different, yet equally challenging kind unfolded for Mr. B and his son, Matt as they stayed back at camp.

Extract from The T-Team with Mr B: Central Australia 1977, a prequel to Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981.]

Bull Meets Mr. B

Mr B and his son, Matt napped under the shade of a bean tree. A southerly breeze ferried through the dry creek bed, spiriting away the father’s snorts. Matt tossed and turned on his inflatable mattress that was exhausted of air resulting from a small, elusive puncture. He imagined the three others of the T-Team, beating a path through the sweltering heat and stinging spinifex in their quest to the summit of Mt. Liebig. Matt chuckled to himself. “Suckers!”

[Photo 1: Mt Liebig at sunrise with bean tree © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

In a nearby tributary, a bull spied the T-Team’s father, son and daughter trekking in the distance, and stamped its massive hooves in the loose dry sand. Once the family had vanished, the bull trotted towards his stamping ground which possessed a gigantic bean tree as a feature in an otherwise dull bed of dust. His quest was to reclaim his territory that the humans had invaded.

“Matt, ma boy, do be careful. Don’t go too far from camp. A bull might get you.” Mr. B squinted in the direction of distant thumping, then rolled over and resumed snoring.

A monstrous brown hulk loomed through a cloud of dust.

[Photo 2: Resident cattle © L.M. Kling 2013]

Matt bolted upright “Dad! Dad! Th-there’s a big- ugly- brown – ugly- big – brown – ugly – b-b-bull!”

“Aw, Matt, stop kidding me.” Mr. B blinked and rubbed his eyes. “That’s enough of the jokes.” A short rumble from behind sent him scrambling to his feet. He flailed his arms while galloping. “Quick! Into the Rover. Now!”

“But Dad!” In the sweltering heat and moment, the boy froze, glued to his air mattress under the bean tree. Terrified, he witnessed his Dad bound over the dirt and fly into the empty Rover parking space and onto a thicket of spinifex. Matt winced. The massif of angry brown trod closer. It paused, pawing the ground, taunting its human prey.

[Photo 3: Cattle Yard © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

After rubbing his punctured behind, Mr. B scrambled for the tarpaulin and rummaged through the baggage. “Er, d-don’t worry Matt. I-I’ll charge this bull before it s-sh-shoots — er — us.”

“But, Dad, the bull doesn’t have a gun.”

“Well, neither do we, we’ll just have to be satisfied with this boomerang and spear, till I find the damn gun.”

The bull stalked, narrowing the gap. The son clambered up the tree and gasped as his father fought with a rucksack that had entangled his legs, while he waved the pathetic weapons above his head.

[Photo 4: The bull that didn’t get away © S.O. Gross circa 1950]

“But Dad, they’re only souvenirs.”

“Why Matt, how can you say such a thing? Where do you think these genuine Australian artefacts are made?” With all his effort, Mr. B thrust the spear at the beast.

“Yes, Dad, sold in Australia, but made in Japan.” Matt watched as the menacing bulk of fury stomped the ground, dust billowing into a cloud around it. “Too bad the bull doesn’t know the difference.”

“Don’t be sarcastic at a time of crisis, son.” Mr. B flung the boomerang at the charging bull and ducked behind the tucker box. The projectile bounced off the bull’s hide, provoking it into a tumult of frenzy. Grunting like an eight-cylinder engine, he stormed towards its human attacker, screeching to a halt at the edge of the tarpaulin. As the bull glared down at him, Mr. B could smell its leathery breath.

[Photo 5: Meanwhile, Mt. Liebig in afternoon and more generous ghost gum © S.O. Gross circa 1946]

With a nervous smile fixed on his face, the father edged his way to the bean tree and climbed aboard. The bull stomped and snorted around the sacred bean tree while its victims trembled in the lofty branches amongst the beans.

From this vantage point, Mr. B spotted the rifle leaning up against the tucker box. Unfortunately, the bull sat between him in the tree and the tucker box.

Hours passed.

Father and son sat in the tree.

“Dad my bottom hurts,” Matt whined.

Mr. B sighed, “The others’ll be back soon. They have a rifle.”

“But Dad! I have to go!”

“Hold on,” Mr. B snapped. Then, he spotted the missing rifle, its metal shining on the churned sand.

The sun edged to the horizon.

Mr. B bit his lip wondering if he’d be stuck up this tree forever.

“Dad! I really have to!”

Mr. B turned to his son who was now rocking.

The distant hum rang through the golden landscape. Mr. B adjusted his grip on the branch.

The hum became louder. An engine.

The bull rose and sauntered out of the campsite, then disappeared into the bush.

“Just wait, Matt,” Mr. B said. He scrambled down the tree and grabbed the rifle.

Matt’s voice floated down. “Dad, it’s too late.”

As the sun disappeared below the horizon, the rest of the T-Team returned to find Mr. B clutching a rifle and pacing the clearing. Matt remained lodged high up in the bean tree.

“As you can see, while you’ve been climbing your mountain, we’ve had a not-so-welcome visitor,” Mr. B remarked.

[Photo 6: Mt. Liebig at sunset © C.D. Trudinger 1981]

“Somehow, I think the B-family will be taking a guided bus tour next time they go for a holiday,” I muttered to Rick.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019

Feature Painting: Mt. Liebig in watercolour © L.M. Kling 2017

***

Dreaming of an Aussie Outback Adventure?

Click the link below:

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari 1981,

To download your Amazon Kindle copy of the story…

And escape in time and space to Centre of Australia 1981…