My I Spy: something beginning with ‘U’

Until this point of time, it is fair to say, I haven’t given much thought to things beginning with U. Obvious suspects include umbrellas, unicorns and unicycles. They were selling unicycles for Christmas at Aldi recently, but that seemed too easy. This is what I’ve spied instead.

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Underground transport, Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park

Underground Mine Carriers

This was spotted at the Lithgow State Mine Heritage Park, which I visited earlier this year. This living museum offers insights into what the working life of miners is like, as well as working conditions for miners a century and more ago. These underground mine carriers were used locally and further afield. They are on display in the old bath house on the site.

Unadorned Christmas Tree

Unadorned Christmas Tree

Unadorned

This large tree was spotted in front of a church, apparently unadorned.  Closer inspection revealed discrete lights to illuminate it at night, but during the day it seemed striking in its simple state.

Unusual trinket

Unusual trinket

Unusual

Spied this funny little tourist trinket at an op shop – I love the purple tuft of hair. It makes me smile.

Unusual parrot

Unusual parrot

And whilst I’m on the subject, this garden ornament was also worth including.

Fish near Heron Island

Fish near Heron Island

Underwater

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days on Heron Island at the start of the year. This photo was taken whilst on a short trip on a submersible boat. It is hard to express the childlike delight that overwhelmed me as we chugged along with a tinted view of the coral reef. These fish were just as curious to see what we were up to, and it was incredible to watch the manta rays, turtles, and schools of brilliantly coloured fish sweep by as they navigated their way through the reef.

The best word I’ve read this week starting with U is uxorious, which means being excessively or foolishly fond of one’s wife, overly doting.

Have you spotted anything unusual beginning with U this week? Check out what Autumn has spied here, as well as atman.art.studio on Instagram.

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My I Spy: something beginning with ‘N’

Now it definitely feels like I’m on the downhill slide with this alphabetical adventure. I’m sure there will still be some challenges ahead (Q, V and X come to mind, causing me to scratch my head in thought as if they were lined up along a Scrabble rack). But in the meantime, here’s what I’ve spotted beginning with N.

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Newspaper at Newtown

Newspaper at Newtown

I spotted this recently whilst at Newtown, exploring second-hand bookshops. I’m not quite sure why the banner of a Sydney Morning Herald newspaper is emblazoned on the top of a commercial premises in King Street, just that it is. The headline was ‘Australia hits the wall’ and the content is also aged by the price of 60 cents. It is now nearly $3 for the daily paper, more for the Saturday edition.

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Nest

Nest

This nest came into view on one of my favourite walks.It was tucked up into a tree that is usually a thick cluster of leaves, but winter and winds had stripped it bare, revealing a little nest tucked away.

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Norfolk Island Pines

Norfolk Island Pines

I wrote about Norfolk Island earlier this week, and couldn’t resist the urge to include this photo. Norfolk Island pines, as spotted growing behind these beautiful horses, are prolific upon the island and are also grown on mainland Australia for Christmas trees. They are popular for avenues as well, growing up to 65 metres tall when left to their own devices. These trees were first recorded by Captain Cook, and he thought they would be useful for shipping masts and sails, but unfortunately they were not fit for this purpose.

Nasturtium

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

These are one of my favourite flowers. I’ve managed to grow them in hot climates and cold, although in the mountains they shrivel back into their seed pods when the frosts or snow hits. It is a delight to see them reemerge in late spring or early summer, their bright jewel petals a treat to behold.

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Noddy Birds

Noddy Birds on Heron Island (Queensland)

There is a misnomer in the above heading. Noddy birds, as pictured above, are more accurately known as south-western black noddy. And the herons for which this island at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef were named are not herons at all, but eastern reef egrets. Never mind. These birds are in huge numbers on the small island. When you arrive on the island, there is an informal talk given about the island and accommodation, peppered with some do’s and don’ts. One of the don’ts is to try to save any of these birds if they become trapped in the external roots of their tree of choice, the pisonia grandis. The birds make their nests from the leaves of the tree as spotted above but some get caught in the tree’s sticky seed pod and perish. En masse, they are a noisy bunch.

Nip along and have a look at what Autumn has spied beginning with N, as well as keeping an eye on atman.art.studio on Instagram.

Have you spotted anything neat starting with ‘N’ this week?

My I Spy: Something beginning with ‘H’

Heading towards halfway in the alphabet challenge, and there is still much to spot and spy. This is what I’ve tracked down beginning with the letter H.

Henry Lawson, Grenfell

Henry Lawson, Grenfell, NSW

Henry Lawson

I came across this rather whimsical statue of Henry Lawson in the main street of Grenfell. Lawson remains one of Australia’s best-loved poets and writers, and there are several towns throughout the central west of NSW that claim a connection with him. These include Gulgong (the association with Lawson was memorialised on a previous $10 note) and Grenfell. Both of these towns hold annual festivals with literary awards in his honour. There is a Henry Lawson Walk at Mount Victoria, and his trek from Hungerford to Bourke in the west of the state was legendary. Lawson had his personal demons but his work is still read and referenced. ‘The Drover’s Wife‘ remains a favourite of mine, and his poetry contains much humour and pathos. ‘The Loaded Dog‘ is also a great yarn.

Bird Houses at Lithgow

Bird House, Main Street, Lithgow

Houses

It is true that these are bird houses, but they are such a bright collection that I couldn’t resist. This artistic installation is one of many popping up in the streets and laneways in Lithgow. You can see the actual installation here. I love the details, no two are the same.

Heron Island

Heron Island

Heron Island

Earlier this year I had a couple of days on Heron Island with one of my oldest and dearest friends. I had no idea where it was, geographically speaking, and discovered it was on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The island is compact, about 40 acres in total, and has a research station and resort where the amazing bird life and ocean life can be experienced up close. This photo was taken from a sunset cruise trip – very mellow. An incredible place.

Hargraves Lookout, Blackheath

Hargraves Lookout

Hargraves Lookout, Blackheath

This lookout, past the tiny town of Shipley, offers an expansive view of the Megalong Valley. There are some more panoramic shots here. If you follow the cliffs back around from Katoomba towards Blackheath, the smudge of white on the horizon is one of my favourite ‘H‘ spots – the Hydro Majestic Hotel.

Have you spotted any interesting things beginning with ‘H’ this week?

You can catch up on previous alphabet posts here: A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Next? I. Pop over and see what Autumn has spotted here.