The Dedication of the Weekend Fisherman

Despite the lamentable weather, My Good Man still persevered with fishing on the Robe Jetty both days of the weekend. He caught some undersized Flathead, which he threw back after they inserted their spines into his fingers.

Apparently he also caught a shark; but there was no evidence to support his claim.

We ate battered snapper at Robe Seafood and Takeaway, instead.



Beyond Books @ The Whistling Fish Bookshop & Coffee House, Robe SA

A few months ago I read an article about The Whistling Fish Bookshop & Coffee House in Country Style Magazine, and made up my mind to put it on the list of must-see places. So when my family planned a weekend away in Robe, on the Limestone Coast in South Australia, I knew that I would have to visit.

With the gang rounded up and determined to spend a couple of hours wandering the main street, we went in vain search for The Whistling Fish – despite having an address, we couldn’t see anything resembling a cafe and bookstore along the street. Then, as luck would have it, my plan to have coffee there was overthrown by the mutinous relations who were already breezing into another cafe by the time I’d finally located the bookshop. Damn.

So I contented myself with thoughts of a visit there, camera in hand, after a pot of Earl Grey tea at another fine establishment. On my way to the front door I stopped to chat with a handsome whippet and his owner – I find it hard to walk past any sight hound without a bit of gratuitous ear scratching; then I entered a delightful world, where books – old and new – cohabited with collected vintage china and tasty treats (though this was only ever hearsay, as – alas! – there was no room in my belly for tasty treats by this time.)

Now, although I am always happy to be in a place where books feature, my work in a public library makes me loath to actually buy any; for me the real joy was in examining – and snapping – the many touches the owner – JJ Aitken – had added to the store, from the shelf signs created from scrabble pieces, to the whimsical bookish decorations on the tables.

Usually I find the owners of such establishments are quite comfortable with a weird girl taking photos in their stores; but it’s always good manners to check with them about this. Happily, there were no problems on this occasion, either, and it gave me the opportunity to speak to JJ – mostly in tones of great admiration for a Job Well Done.

You can find The Whistling Fish online here; better yet, take the weekend off and find it on the corner of Smillie and Davenport Streets!

Stealing Beauty: a brief interlude with some vintage lovelies

On my way to a friend’s farewell party, I was arrested by the unexpected sight of a superb lineup of a dozen or so vintage beauties – mainly Fords and Chevrolets – in the main street of Harrow.

While My Good Man nipped into the store to collect the Sunday newspaper, I made off with my camera to steal a few snaps.

To my shame, I hadn’t re-charged the battery after the big Portrait of a Lady shoot; but worse than that was the discovery that my spare battery was also almost flat. Horrors!

Working quickly, with a depleted battery and the need to attend a prior engagement, I rushed up and back along the street, managing to gather only a few cars for my collection.

My favourite Corvette, a 1958 model (I believe) – such a
sweet shape, and oh! those adorable rear brake lights!

The Corvette was a stunner, but I really coveted this steel grey two-door (Ford?) from the 1930s, with sublime new red leather upholstery.

While not usually excited by hot rods, I did particularly like the flaming eight ball detail on this sweet yellow coupe.

Edenhope Antiques: Portrait of a Lady

Looking forward to a fossick though a place I like to refer to as “heaven”, I hung the Olympus round my neck and left my bag and whatnot in the car out of harm’s way. For Edenhope Antiques presents a mobility challenge not to be taken lightly: bring your even-the-kitchen-sink bag at your peril, for there isn’t room in the warren of antiques-filled rooms to swing even a handbag-sized kitten.

As I walked up the overgrown pathway to the front door, I mentally set myself a brief: take photos for a “Portrait of a Lady” post. I knew there were plenty of models; but it was only when I started shooting that I realised how very many there are – and figurines, and dolls, and…

Selecting Program Auto mode, I decided to set the camera to face-priority. Turned out, that was a boon, as it began recognising faces everywhere I turned. Hundreds of them, in fact!

I would be lying if I didn’t confess that it can be disconcerting to walk around room after room full of relics whose eyes seem to follow you with suspicion. Times like that, you have to tell yourself to buck up.

Oddly, this reminds me of Gustav Klimt’s Goldfish painting

This is the back shed, brimful of wonder, which you arrive at after you’ve been through the crystal and china up front, the room of hats and vintage lace trim, the jewellery room, the back verandah, the kitchenalia shed, the “dress shop”, and past the cockatoos shouting “hallo!” at you as you wander down the jungle path to the book shed and beyond. Phew!

Peering across the valley of vintage chandeliers, Sappho spied a cabinet crammed full of treasure begging further exploration.

The store’s owner told me how a friend of hers had renovated many of the models in the shop years ago, giving them some rather lovely makeovers.

A dreamy-looking Gloria Swanson

Hideous ancestors? Fake it with vintage family photos!

‘…as Jesus once famously said, “that ain’t no lady;
that’s my mother!”

Not only did I find a lot of ladies to photograph; I also found a marvellous hat that begged me to take it home. And, after a happy few hours of camera “picking”, and the exchange of a few dollars, I did.

Getting Caught in the Rain

Out for a walk between showers at lunchtime, it turned out that there wasn’t really enough between, after all. I sheltered on the porch of a church to wait out the rain, and decided to amuse myself with taking some photos, again in monochrome.

As is often the way, the first shot I took was the one I liked best. It was only when I’d seen it full-size that I realised the raindrops were visible as streaks. While I quite like the camera’s monchrome mode, the photo looked a bit flat, so I applied a touch of Holga effect in Picasa, and warmed it slightly also.

The Beauty of Former Splendour

The state of having been abandoned and become dilapidated

One of the subjects I best love to photograph is dereliction, or the idea of dereliction. Close to where I live is the U-shaped homestead of one of the area’s oldest agricultural stations. It is not derelict – it is still someone’s home, the land is still farmed – but there are some elements which suggest dereliction. Such as the gracious veranda, with its handsome chairs, which are clearly enjoyed by the local swallow population.