Norfolk Island Is

A Favourite Spot!

A favourite spot I (we) like to go to relax is only about 8 minutes drive from where we live. The Nepean River wanders through the Camden District (N.S.W. Australia) and it is at its widest going through Camden.

There exists a lot there to please people and caters for a diverse amount of interests. You can:

  • Have a leisurely walk on man-made paths or go off-track
  • Kayak/Canoe up and down the river
  • Go for a quick dip (no sand on the bank, though)
  • Ride your bike along a designated Bike track
  • Sit by the river with a book
  • Sketch, Paint, Photograph
  • Play ball games with your friends and family
  • Exercise in a number of ways
  • Take your children to the permanent Play equipment or kick a ball
  • Just relax

We use it to go and relax, go for a walk and other things. I’ve been down there to sit and read, walk, sketch, paint or just sit and relax. When Susan comes with me she will either take a book or Crotchet.

Our most recent visit was just to sit and relax on one of the benches by the river. We were joined by i/2 dozen Lizards, a few Ducks and cooling breeze on a hot day for an hour or so. We are certainly blessed to have such a place so near to us.

Till next time!

Written by David johnson

16 February 2022

Music To My Ears!

The idea for this post came from a post I did on my Facebook Newsfeed some time ago…. I cannot play a note of music but I so love listening to it.

I thought I would expand on my choices on this blog. The following are in no particular order.

THE BEATLES: I was born in 1963 so I was only 7 years old when The Beatles broke up. I have a Sister, Cheryl who is 10 years older than I and Cheryl was 11 years of age when they toured Australia. As you can imagine, Beatles records were played all the time and my young ears heard them ‘all the time’ and I loved their sound and still do to today. The melodies, the voices, the Chuck Berry inspired music still strikes a chord with me.

LEE KERNAGHAN: Lee is one of Australia’s best known Country Music artists and I first started to listen in 1992 when he released “The Outback Club.” Some 17 albums later Im still enjoying his music immensely. I’ve seen him in concert once. I love putting his music when out driving, particularly as we are ‘heading on down the road…

LAMBCHOP: This is a band that I stumbled upon by accident. I was attending a ‘Photo Discussion Group’ session at a friend’s house and there was this music that I had never heard before playing in the background. My friend described them to me as, ‘Lounge Jazz.’ The next day (in the early 2,000’s) I went out and bought the album. I now have 6 albums and they are are favourite that I play when sketching and painting.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & (THE E-STREET BAND): My Brother, Larry was an early fan back in the early to mid 1970’s, having purchased his first three albums. At the age of 12 I heard the Born To Run album and I was hooked. We were thrilled to see him in concert in 1985 (4 1/4 hour concert including 6 encores). I saw him again in 2013 and 2014. I have 20 of his albums and never tire of listening to his music.

AMY GRANT: Back in the early 1980’s I started working in the Sydney CBD and it was a fascinating place to explore and discover things. One lunchtime I remember coming across a Christian bookshop which sold music. LP’s and Cassette Tapes still ruled back then and as I flipped through the Tapes I came across, ‘Amy Grant.’ I hadn’t heard of her before and a discussion ensued with the salesperson who very kindly played part of the Tape for me on a Cassette Deck (boy, am I showing my age)! Out of the Deck came one of the sweetest voices I had heard in a long time. The album was, ‘Amy Grant – The Collection.’ Years later I purchased it on CD. I have purchased more of Amy Grant’s albums since and still find her voice quiet calming.

ELVIS PRESLEY: My Brother, Larry was a big influence here. Four years older than me, he was ‘right into Elvis’ and so (similar to The Beatles), in my younger years, Elvis records were played a lot. I particularly love the period between 1954 and 1961, and 1968 to 1977. The ‘Sun Sessions’ are Golden , as is the period up until 1960. Another artist I never tire of hearing.

BONNIE RAITT: I came across Bonnie Raitt in the late 1980’s and was introduced via the ‘Nick Of Time’ album. I read later that Bruce Springsteen had ‘opened’ for her back in 1971. Her style of R & B really appeals to me and if you get a chance, check out her duet with John Lee Hooker on ‘I’m In The Mood’ on YouTube. Brilliant!

TOMMY EMMANUEL: The Australian Guitar maestro! I first heard his music in 1990 via his debut album, ‘Dare To Be Different.’ Tommy Emmanuel does not sing and doesn’t really need to as the magic he does on his guitar stands on its own. A favourite of mine when I sketch or paint, or am writing Poetry, his music can be calming and also inspirational.

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN: Introduced to his music in the mid 1980’s I have been a fan ever since. His music captures me and his energy and fluent guitar playing, especially in the instrumentals are Gold. Sadly, gone from this Earth too early.

STATUS QUO: Again, my Brother had a bit of influence here as he was already a fan with one of their albums, ‘Piledriver.’ I purchased ‘On The Level’ and I was sold. Their heads-up-all-in-boogie sound has always made me feel great and if I’m feeling a bit down, it raises my mood.

What Bands/Singers can you not do without in your life, and why?

Written by David Johnson

2 December 2021

5 Minute Sketching Techniques

As I write this, here some 60km/37miles South-West of Sydney, Australia, we are in week 9 of the latest lockdown (with another, hopefully, only 5 weeks to go) due to the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Like many millions of people around the world, to put it simply, ‘we are over it’ and we are constantly looking at ways to keep one’s sanity (or as they call it these days, our mental health) afloat.

Fortunately, I have a wide range of interests and am particularly glad that a couple of years or so back I took up sketching along with Watercolour. It really has been a life-saver for me. Whilst I sketch and paint, my Wife continues her Crotchet journey she started a year ago.

These interests are a huge help when we are not building our business. I also have a part-time job share where I mentor people who want to start a business.

Within the last month I spent some money at the Book Depository via a gift voucher to further my study of sketching. The books below are just two of a series of books tasked with providing the willing student with ‘5-Minute Sketching Techniques.’

I possibly will buy one or two of the other books in the series but right now (as far as Watercolour is concerned), I am aiming to improve my skills in Architecture and Landscape.

I am enjoying the books immensely and cannot wait for lockdown to finish so I can sketch and paint en Plein Air once more. Till then I have to make do at home.

Till next time!

Written by David Johnson

25 August 2021

Our Mental Fuse

Cacti & Succulents – Gone Potty!

In a blog article I did back in September 2018, I explained where my love of Cacti and Succulents came from…a gift from one of my Aunts at the age of 14. I fell in love with their uniqueness and beauty and started off with just a few plants in a low, Terracotta pot whilst living at my parents home to a 35 square metre garden when my wife and I lived at our first location.

We live in a different location now on a much smaller block so currently, all my Cacti and Succulents are in pots. When we move in the future, I’m sure I will have a garden for them as well as keeping some in pots.

With some recent additions early in the year, I now have 133 plants of all different shapes and sizes. Some of the species include: Cereus, Lobivia, Echinopsis, Cleistocactus, Astrophytum, Parodia, Mammillaria, Echinocereus, Corypantha, Cotyledon, Crassula, Agave and more.

Three things that I am looking forward to are:

  1. Growing Cacti from seed.
  2. Sketching/Painting my Cacti and Succulents.
  3. Growing my collection.

This love affair with these unique and beautiful plants has now been running for 44 years and will continue long into the future!

Written by David Johnson

20 June 2021

Sketching Our Lives

Saying Goodbye…

saying-goodbye