…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menologue; the OZ Venture

Now then peeps, in case you all are wondering if the YAMster is some kinda 87ionairre, let me crush your delusion. The return cost of the OZ trip means I have to live one year less of my life... and as am about to start getting booked for this year's travel adventures, life is starting to look even shorter! It is just that my spine and legs (and just about every other joint) now cause enough nuisance that anything more than, say, five hours flying, simply means there can be no compromise.

Well. There could be, but it might end very ugly at the other end. If it means living on dahl roti for the rest of my days (plain, but nourishing fare) in order to travel in comfort, then so be it!!!

As far as accommodation is concerned, my requirements are minimal. A firm bed and access to water are all that are needed. I am blessed with some very good friends though, and in OZ, Emm was my main host for the duration. One room of her family home was given over to me and, as I consider her as a sister, it really was very comfy indeed. Her husband N and the 'boys' (30 and 24 yrs respectively!) consider me aunty, and little Remus adopted me from the first hour.

Awoke on the Saturday morning to cold and damp. Though slightly warmer than Edinburgh when I left, cardigan and socks and leggings were still necessary!

After brekky, N dropped me into 'town'; that, for the Upper Northern Burbers, is Hornsby. It is on the top side of the greater Sydney sprawl, about a 55 minute train ride from the city... about 30km (18+miles). Once a trading spot for all the local fruit and veg producers, Hornsby railway station is one of the oldest in the network. The whole area was pretty much orchard country until after WW2, when the land was taken up by the government to sell cheaply to returning servicemen. The old house I lived in was built by one such.

I was taken aback, however, by the amount of development that is taking place around the area. All the way up the old highway (B83), multiple dwellings in the form, mostly, of unit blocks are being flung up... and at selling prices to make the heart shrivel.

Even in the two years since I was last there the housing-scape has been dramatically altered. Right opposite Emm's place, between the road and the rail tracks, even as I was staying there, five old homes on large blocks were obliterated, some majestic Jacaranda trees slaughtered and, already, the land had been pounded in prep for building. (I expect, even as I type three weeks on, that foundations are already laid!)

Happening everywhere I suppose.

That first day on old territory, though, I just visited a few familiar shops. Several proprietors nodded and said 'Hello, haven't seen you for a while'........!!! In particular, there is a Chinese-run, anything you want kind of shop which I always used for art supplies, table wares and such like. I went there to obtain a shopping trolley. Carrying items is another challenge for me these days. Not only did I find the ideal trolley, it was only $15/7gbp. How can they even make for that price??? I immediately fell in love with The Tardis (it will show up in later post) and pondered all the ways I might be able to bring it back to Scotland; the one I have here is big, heavy and not that capacious. My naming of the newbie gives you clues as to why I loved it. It was also an aluminum frame, so very light, and had big wheels, so very easy to use on public transport.  Sigh.

I bought fruits and visited the bank to obtain some aussie cash. Got the bus back. It was like I had never been away.

Sunday dawned wet, windy and cool. This was not looking good. In the afternoon, Emm and I went over to Castle Hill where the Chimaya Mission Centre is. The altar needed to be dressed in prep for Deepavalli; Emm is the deputy for that task.

A simple and elegant presentation.

We stayed for bhajans (devotional singing) early evening.

Back home, I had to prepare myself and iron my salwar in readiness for an early start on Monday morning.


  1. Life has an annoying habit of never standing still - even though we seem to ourselves :)

  2. Aunty Yam, you are an Aunty to us all!
    You may consider the altar simple and elegant but it looks beautiful
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. The altar is beautifully dressed (we Googled it so we can appreciate the lights!) I just asked myself how long it had been since you were in Oz and then second later you told us!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  4. OMD we LOVE this... tour of OZ you are taking us on... it is just like BEING THERE WITH YOU.... OH that Gorgeous Alter...

  5. Simple but a beautiful altar.

    Aroo to you,

  6. WE understand, Mom's Dad won't leave his house of 70 years to live with Mom or any of the grandpeeps so she pays for a full time nurse, and flies to the West Coast every few weeks to check on him and spend time. She said she could have bought a vacation home in the Hamptons for what that cost in the last 10 years but is SO happy Grandpa can stay in the home he loves and visit his two wives, one of 30 years, and one of 32, at the cemetery as well as his other two children who left for the bridge before he did.

    Some things are just im-paw-tent.

    Abby Lab

  7. Building new is probably good, but when I then see the amount of empty buildings in town centers I always start to wonder. Plus it is such a shame to lovely green areas. I live in an area designated for farming and leisure, meaning it is very hard to build new. But there is of course always the chance they will suddenly realise it is a nice area and they can fetch a bit of money by letting people build here.

  8. How beautiful! I learn so much from you.


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