Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Is it time?

Or time to say thanks? It is time to say thanks to my motivated partner to agree to travel to wonderful Turkey ...a place never to be forgotten. A well organised trip even and very safe then even if we did travel to Ankara where all sorts of incursions are now known to be happening. But it did allow me to take a few prize-winning pictures...even if they were taken in low light and from a moving bus.
But I can feel a yearning to repeat my steps! If only it were possible.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Writing, satire, Jewish humour and tango dancing...perhaps in that order.

These activities were a great part of Bel Kaufman's 103 years of life. Would you believe she enjoyed dancing the Tango at 100 years of life? What will you be doing when you reach your 100th birthday? Besides, that is, having your telegram from the Queen of England read to you? Yes perhaps some of us won't even reach the triple number. My genes tell me I probably won't. But that doesn't stop me from reading the death notices in the West Australian each day. So far I'm doing very well compared to many others I have known.
The writing of the late Bel Kaufman is there for everyone's benefit. For instance one of her favourite jokes:
A Frenchman, a German and a Jew walk into a bar. The Frenchman says 'I'm tired, I'm thirsty, I must have wine.' The German says 'I'm tired, I'm thirsty, I must have beer.' The Jew says, 'I'm tired, I'm thirsty, I must have diabetes.'
So laughter is the best medicine. Bel Kaufman taught a course on Jewish humour besides writing the now famous book, Up the Down Staircase which published in 1965 stayed on the best seller lists for 15 months including 5 months at no.1. The book was also made into a movie.
The cynic I can hear in the background...Yeah but they didn't have the internet then!!
No they didn't but Bel Kaufman lived most of her years in Manhattan though having been born in Berlin in 1911.
Back to the tennis in New York and the brave Australians.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

'Talking Turkey' launched Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day seems just right to launch 'Talking Turkey - a Pilgrimage of Words and Pictures'.

We all fell in love with Turkey - the history, the country and the Turkish men and women. Many of us continue to feel passionate about our  photography or writing.

Finally, it was ca labour of love collecting all the images and the stories and arranging them into some sort of romantically illogical order!

You can order a copy of 'Talking Turkey' for just AU$25.00 or AU$29.50 posted.

'Talking Turkey' will be officially launched on Valentine's Day 14 Feb 2014 at the University of Western Australia. If you order and pay for your copy before 14 Feb you will receive an invite to the Champagne Launch at UWA. You'll also get to meet some of teh photographers and writers as well as author John Harman and master photographer, Dale Neill.

To order your copy or to enquire contact Margaret or telephone 09 9430 6422.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On a Bus bound for Istanbul

So Brenda looks at her little Lumix TZ camera and says 
'What does this button do Dale?'
'It gives you the 1950s washed out black and white look' (very hip, Mick Jagger stuff, bit like wrinkle vanishing cream in pixels)
On a big comfy bus I get to sit alongside everyone every day on tour for a bit of over-the-shoulder help.
'A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles' (Tim Cahill)
Damm amazing that Lumix TZ!!!

Of course, not everyone wants tuition! Its a sleeping bus as well.
Wendy, pictured right, a million miles away - possibly dreaming of her visit to a Turkish Bath. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just in Case

The jagged. serrated mountain tops swam in the clouds. Our bus wound around the numerous hairpin bends on the ten percent grade.  Although a good traveller, I had to force myself to look out of the window to offset the beginning waves of nausea.

The eery, gothic Benedictine monastery in the mountain peaks is home to a highly profitable commercial operation with restaurants, shops, funicular railways and audio-visuals. The sheer grandeur of the massive stone buildings and the opulence of the fittings reflects both the power and wealth of the Catholic Church.

Isolated and remote, Montserrat today houses eighty monks and fifty-five boys. The boys recieve a prestigious education and are trained to sing in Montserrat's famous choir. Our guide tells us that wealthy parents compete for entry into Montserrat. The educational standards are so prestigious that graduates can virtually walk into the high paid position of their choosing.

Through the doors of the main cathedral thirty of more fragile, twisted bodies in wheelchairs were guided into the courtyard. Many looked as though they would not last another week before leaving this earth. Their eyes told me Montserrat was their last chance, or at least their last voyage - seeking the indulgence of Montserrat's all powerful Black Madonna. To physically touch the Black Madonna would create an indulgence and  forgiveness for a  lifetime of wrongs. Perhaps I should have climbed the altar and touched her.

In the courtyard young men and women took turns to stand on a parquetry cross, gaze heavenwards  and spiral with eyes lifted towards heaven. Reminiscent of the sufi dancers in Turkey and Egypt, these young people were also attempting to get closer to God.

Through the distant cloud I caught a glimpse of a much smaller, less prestigious but still substantial building. This was the convent for the nuns. Our guide informed us that the convent was approximately two kilometres away, across deep ravines and hazardous breakaways. Our guide explained the location was strategic. She smiled 'Just in case' she said.

Pictures in my mind dissolved to the Benedictine Monastery at New Norcia in my home state of Western Australia. New Norcia is the only monastic town in Australia. It was also the home to St Ildephonsus Marist Brothers College and St Gertrude's staffed by Josephite Sisters. Both schools have now closed however I was fortunate to be privy to stories from the 1950s and 60s because I knew many of the students personally.

Ghost stories abound, with headless men seen cavorting with chains and crucifixes in the cemetery under a waxing moon. In 1961 there was the infamous school ball where the Head Monk ordered that boys and girls be kept on separate sides of the dance hall 'just in case'. At St Gertrude's the food was so sparse one girl stole altar breads and wine, topping up the bottle with water. She only avoided expulsion because her brother was a Marist Brother and her mother a wealthy widow.

Boys were required to shower in their underpants to reduce 'distractions'. And then, of course, the strategic placement of the haunted cemetery between St Ildephonsus and St Gertrude's 'just in case'

In 1962 I started at Graylands Teachers' College. At the first College Stomp at neighbouring Claremont Teachers College I noticed three quivering lambs, huddled anxiously in one dark corner. The trembling trio were girls from St Gertrude's. Six months later, two of the three lambs were pregnant. Even Claremont Teachers' College's 'castle ghost' couldn't prevent that. On reflection, perhaps the Josephite sisters should not have torn out the back thirty-six pages on Reproduction from the girls' Physiology and Hygeine textbook 'just in case'.


Dale Neill's next Wildheart tour is to Budapest, Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast in September 2014. Email Sandy Chaney  for itinerary.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Turkish Delight

Tea in Istanbul
Think of Turkey, think of coffee!

However, Turkish Tea is just as common as coffee and in some ways more a means of communication.

Wherever you go, people drink tea and will invite you to join them for tea and a chat.

Tea is cheap - often as little as 40c or 50c for a cup. Try finding that in Australia.

People of all ages drink tea - young, old, in between; as individuals, lovers, family groups.

Often, Turkish Tea is served with range of very sweet, delicious cakes including baclava, cezerye and pekmez.

So, if you want to get to know Turkish people and learn the language simply visit one of the thousands of outlets that serve tea on your own or with just one other person and very soon you will strike up a conversation.