Dandenong Delight

I spent what I thought was an inordinate amount of time in the garden as a child.  My mother loved gardens, with a major passion, and if I was ever foolish enough to say I was bored, in 2 seconds flat she had me on some form of garden job.  I figured that by the time I was 14, I was ‘gardened out’.  So visiting gardens has never been on the top of my to-do list.  The odd botanical garden visit in new cities, or walking around a friend’s garden as she has shown me her new Amorphophallus titanum (exactly!). Now that I’m getting involved in veggies, and native food plants, I’ve started having a sneaking interest in plants,  for their pragmatic qualities.

However, a friend took me to a couple of her favourite gardens in the Dandenong Ranges just outside Melbourne, and we had a lovely wander though a very formal garden, a wild garden and possibly the most formal of gardens, a bonsai nursery.  The beauty of these places, the serenity and relaxation they bring, the appreciation of the work that has gone into them, and gentle refreshing of the soul has made me consider that maybe I should be on the lookout for more open gardens to wander in.

(But please don’t ask me to work in them…)




Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Community, conservation, Gardens, Melbourne, Nature, Travel, Weekends, 0 comments
Magic Melbourne

Magic Melbourne

Living in a small regional town is fun, but every now and again hitting the big smoke is a ball. When an invite comes from a friend to play for the weekend, I’m always happy to take it up.  Melbourne is one of the nicest cities to play in. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Melbourne as the world’s most livable city for 7 years in a row, and it’s pretty easy to see why.  True, as a visitor, I never have to worry about traffic or parking, but the wonderful places I’m taken to and the great food I can eat, and the exhibitions I can head to… so lovely.

So last weekend, I had another lovely play.

Posted by DeborahH in Art, Australia, Cultural dimensions, Exhibitions, Fun, Melbourne, Travel, Weekends, 0 comments
Past Present 1

Past Present 1

This is another ad hoc collection, not of memories of past adventures and events, but of current adventures and events that will become those memories.

9/1/2018 MONA – exhibit 20:50  I took my family to visit MONA in Hobart, and this is one of their new experiential exhibits.  What is it?  🙂
A room partially filled with sump oil that reflects the room itself, and from other angles sky, people, clouds – whatever is above.  20:50 exhibit




Posted by DeborahH in Art and Craft, Australia, Community, Cultural dimensions, Past Present, Tasmania, Tourism, Travel, 0 comments
Why Tasmania? Highland country.

Why Tasmania? Highland country.

A long weekend away, staying in a “shack” (Taswegian for holiday home), complete with views through the trees to the Great Lake, and watching the snow clouds come in – what more could you want in winter? The Highland Lakes region is beautiful, with alpine vegetation, dolorite rocks covered in moss and lichen, trees twisted and sculpted by the wind, and the lakes themselves carved out by glaciers.

We arrived the day before trout season opened, so the tiny local shops were busy – in a very laid back, “how’s it going, where’re you headed” way – selling lures, and snow hats. The local hotels had roaring fires to warm the travellers, fishers, and hunters up as they waited for their ‘parmies’. “Parmies” are a very Tasmanian delight – chicken in pyjamas (or bread coating if you must be precise) and deep fried. Hunting season also meant that I could warm up with a rich venison casserole.

Our shack was modern, and heated with a fire that was hard to leave, especially as the chilly evening drew in. Scudding showers made sitting and chatting with friends over a few wines a great alternative to going too far, although we did visit the Wall in the Wilderness.  The early history of the highlands carved a panel at a time in Huon pine over 12 years was fascinating.

The snow chains had a nice workout on our way home through the back roads, and down side roads that we wanted to explore. The Highland Lakes will be seeing more of me, in winter and summer!

Posted by DeborahH in Australia, conservation, Nature, Road trip, Tasmania, Travel, Weekends, 1 comment
Runaway weekend

Runaway weekend

When you live in a beautiful, interesting or exotic place, it’s very easy to attract your family and friends to visit you.  The joy of that is that you are able to show people your favourite places that only locals know, and you can explore places you don’t usually have the time for.  My ‘runaway’ Saturdays help me do some exploring, but a whole ‘runaway long weekend’ with a wonderful friend is even better.

Carrol came to visit, and we headed south with a little list of fun and frivolity planned, including the Museum of New and Old Art  (MONA) for the opening day of the new exhibition (See next post), and a couple of whisky tastings, a visit to Bruny Island and the occasional winery visit as well. Join us for our ‘runaway weekend’.


Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Daily Life, Fun, Human-nature interaction, Road trip, Tasmania, Tourism, Travel, Weekends, 1 comment
Day trip – #1

Day trip – #1

The demands of work, plus running a small, weekly market stall don’t leave much time for exploring Tasmania.  Even though I love sunrises, there really are only so many sunrise images from my windows that can be made and stored. In an effort to overcome the gravitational pull of the gluteus maximus I’ve decided on taking a semi-regular ‘runaway Saturday’. Newest photography book, plus my cameras are loaded into the car, and I head in whichever direction I haven’t been to recently.  This week i decided to head westward with a goal of just cruising along, finding a warm spot to read in, taking some photos of a mini-road trip.

The differences in people, shown in their ways of communicating, and the differences in country and coast, make my ‘runaway Saturdays’ fascinating.


Posted by DeborahH in Australia, Beach, Cultural dimensions, Daily Life, Road trip, Travel, Weekends, 0 comments
The Forgotten Tibetans

The Forgotten Tibetans


Publishing day has finally arrived! This book is the outcome of close to a decade of travelling to one of the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of China – the western provinces of China – Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai, and Outer Mongolia. Frequent trips, particularly to Gansu, allowed me to make friends with some of the kindest, most welcoming people on earth. They welcomed me into their homes (or tents, depending on the season), gave me the opportunity to spend festivals, weddings, fun days and work days with them. I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer as an English teacher for nomad students during their winter school vacation, and enjoyed the enthusiasm and dedication they gave to learning during what should have been one of the most relaxing times of year for nomads.

During the years of visiting, I was able to see the changes in lifestyles and place that rapidly accelerated, partly as a result of increased tourism, partly as a result of government policies. Tourists changed the village from a quiet nomad town, focussed around the two monasteries, with a few cafes, two or three hostels and hotels and several shops selling nomad necessities to a small town, with numerous larger hotels, more cafes and souvenir shops. Government policies ensured nomads started to change their traditional way of life to become ‘sedentarised’, and needed to seek work in the restaurants and hotels.

This book is a collection of photographs and stories, giving glimpses into the daily lives, and the changing lives of the Tibetan nomads who live outside the map of Tibet, in lands that the Tibetan Empire once controlled, but now, through internal revolutions and war, have been incorporated into China.  It is intended to highlight the commonalities of our lives, as well as to present a brief history of a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.

I created this book for my nomad mates, hoping that their lives, culture and traditions would find a greater understanding in the wider society.  (And special thanks to Ray and Sabrina for editorial and design work!)




Signed hardback copies are available, please email me for details at:

Posted by DeborahH in Cultural dimensions, Photography book, Tibetan culture, Travel, Village life, 0 comments