A very long, wild and eventful day with a year one class and for joy I have them again tomorrow. A tutoring client and two community events attended to this evening as well. All polished off with some fantastic TV. Ep 4 of Westworld and Ep 1 of Blackmirror Season 3.

Creative work confined to an on the fly art activity and a bit of mental effort on costumes and cards.


I have sooo many graffiti pics, I may have to do a super post to share highlights from a few capitals. These vivid monsters were on a route I cycled more than once in Amsterdam. 





Almost three weeks back and Cobar is beginning to feel like home again. We have settled in and are currently expecting to spend the remainder of this year and the 2017 school year here.

Tutoring and teaching work has started trickling in and the projects are piling up. A class at the local state school for next year is looking like a promising prospect and there is no shortage of relief work available regardless.

The problem with leaving blogging even a few days, let alone however many months it has now been, is that every gap adds to the amount that needs told and makes the posting more daunting. I’ve had plenty of excuses for not posting but ultimately I use this blog to track my work and I have not, aside from a couple of small things I will share over coming days, been working.

That has changed, the posts are coming back.

I do after all have a lot to track.

Projects currently in the works:

Valley cards galore. I am really behind the curve on these. I’ve been experimenting with ways to improve my work flow a bit over the last week. Not much to show for it yet though.

Editing and sorting travel images. We have so many…


Near the top of Ben Udlaidh


At the peak of Liathach the lower western peak beyond

Editing and posting a couple of short vlogs from travel. Including crossing the pinicles (a section of the Liathach walk part of which is just visible in the lower left of the image above)

Creating costume armour and weapons for the children’s Christmas presents to order.

Extending garden paths to use up the last remaining brick piles, making room for food gardens and giving joy to little boys.

Constructing more raised garden beds for food production. The Cobar tax on fresh food bites hard.

Getting the hens and tractor back from the farm. Surprisingly three of the four survived the winter. I had half expected a fox or snake to have taken them all.

T-shirt print image ideas x3.

Children’s books x3.

Polishing a giant fresnel lens.

Fencing the front yard. For child safety and so the hens will be able to free range more.

Re-creating my classroom charts and displays. I gave away most to peers in Brisbane and I may yet have a class of my own next year. Timelines, wordwall headings, behaviour charts all need recreated.

Trying to find a way to see some of the Great Barrier Reef over the Christmas break as it is N’s birthday wish.

Deciding how and where we will live post 2017. There are many possible options right now.

Getting fitter again.

Habitualising blogging again. See you tomorrow. 😛













There and Back Again



In the past two weeks I have been to The Netherlands, Wales and a whole variety of places in England.

Amsterdam is a complicated, confusing, beautiful city. The division between the tourist trap, “coffee” and smart shop fueled, stoner city and the arty, bohemian cool of the Jordaan suburb feels remarkably well delineated. I’d really like to spend more time there.

I do like the positive, more relaxed and accepting attitude the Dutch have to drugs and sex but the experience of Amsterdam is marred by that being the main tourist attraction. I would really like to see a city where those attitudes are normal without an accompanying industry being made from tourists reveling in their freedoms for the first time.


#amsterdam knows how to throw an #edm #festival. #awakenings #awakeningsfestival

A photo posted by @liatach on

Among the many things we saw and did there, the Saturday we spent at the Awakenings festival and the visit to the bodyworks exhibition were my highlights. The level of organisation and the scale of the music festival was extraordinary. Oddly it finished at a 11PM but a grand day and night out was had by all.


Yes this is a flayed cadaver playing saxophone.

I missed the Gunther Von HagensBodyworlds exhibition when it came to Australia years ago. So I was very eager to see it at its permanent home. I was not disappointed. It is amazing and bizarre. The whole experience is made more peculiar by the twee, “Happiness is good for your health” messages displayed and inserted throughout the exhibition. These are in contrast to the remarkable preserved cadavers, unpleasant medical conditions and genuinely creepy character of Gunther Von Hagens himself. A man who meets too many criteria on the mad scientist supervillan list to be taken seriously when he encourages you to ‘Don’t worry be happy’.

Post bucks weekend we turned over the guest house and headed south for the wedding of Steven and Jill in a wee town outside Swindon.


Massive chunks of stone and bored children.


If only that cow had better aim it’d have an eye.

The wedding was lovely, the hotel grand and even my speech went down well. Two nights in Swindon flew by and we headed west via some standing stones, a chalk horse and a roman ruin to visit maternal relatives in Wales. Cardiff was a hoot and included a tour of a significant portion of the local playgrounds, much to the delight of L and F.




Perspective art on the barrage in #cardiff.

A photo posted by @liatach on

Post Wales we headed back east for dinner with friends in London and two nights in a grand old dive of a hotel in Slough. From where we went to…


Which was, as expected a grand day out. We had hoped to stay at the Lego hotel for the complete experience but we left it too late and prices became outrageous. Some of the outdoor Lego pieces have seen better days, green slime in the water features, cracked and faded plastic on the builds, awful expensive food, and labyrinthine park layout. All did not matter, the rides were great and everyone left beaming.

The submarine ride through a giant fish tank with sharks and Lego Atlantis was my favourite. Unfortunately F was too small for many rides but had a great time regardless, L was only just tall enough for some of the big rides.

Lego city firemen, Viking splash and Star Wars Miniland featured among L’s highlights.

The whole day was improved by the accompaniment of my wonderful cousin Jenny.

Post Lego we drove in one mad and seemingly endless day from London back to Glen Orchy Scotland and collapsed into our own beds again. Four days later and normality is returning. Bedtimes are being pushed back to more reasonable hours and the washing is finally done.

Through all this I have of course been watching the slow motion train wrecks of Brexit and the Federal DD election in Australia. Thoughts on them another night.



Snapped in passing at a Moto on the way north. I like it because of Hitchhiker’s of course.

There is art to be done and further adventures to contemplate.

Travel Pics


Watched the singularly disappointing film ‘The Imitation Game‘ last night. Honestly, what an inaccurate, trite and disappointing film it is. Every major character is misrepresented to greater or lessor degrees. Seemingly every achievement is mis-credited and in many cases poorly explained. How lame the storytelling, so much is told rather than shown. So much is invented rather than telling the true and more thrilling history. Avoid.

Started a new shared audiobook with N today. ‘Three Men in a Boat‘ by Jerome K. Jerome as read by Hugh Laurie. A book so funny it proved hazardous to listen to while driving. It is difficult to see the road through tears of hilarity or hold the wheel whilst struggling to breathe.

Travel Pics

Image upload widget appears to be playing nice again so here are some of our recent explorations.


Sunset over Loch Lomond driving North. Passenger photographer.


“Where are all the knights?”

I was disappointed there was no way to get onto the battlements. Well I found a way, having seen a head poking out above I investigated and was politely told I didn’t belong by the adolescent staff member Fbooking on the roof during his lunch break. No pics unfortunately.



Doune Castle is famously the castle whose interior was used for much of ‘Monty Python & The Holy Grail‘ and more recently for the Game of Thrones Pilot and more recently still for much of ‘Outlander‘.

Extraordinary place, rich with history. It really puts into perspective what a cramped and dismal place a castle would have been to live in, particularly during winter.



The Three Sisters in Glen Coe are quite breathtaking.


View across Loch Creran from a property we visited recently.





Crivens! its been over a week

One of the problems of going a few days without posts is that a psychological barrier is formed about sitting down to creating a new post. I mean look at all the things I now need to post about, worse still look at all the art I haven’t made this week. This has not been helped by ongoing bedtime battles that have pushed well into the evening. We have now resorted to denying daytime naps whenever possible. This does not work on days that involve driving as F will invariably be out like a light by the bottom of the driveway.

I have been working but not as I gauge it, creating. I’m plugging away at my best man’s speech. A tedious process but important. I’m off to Amsterdam this weekend for a stag do. Late next week we will be heading south for our friends wedding, visits with Welsh relatives and to the delight of all a trip to Legoland.

I’ve finished a book or two. N and I slammed through ‘Reamde‘ by Stephenson. Which is a ripsnorting adventure story with some interesting ideas mixed in. It is more a piece of airport fiction than the mind stretching Spec Fic I have come to expect from Stephenson. N and I were completely hooked so it did its job well.

I finished ‘Slaughterhouse Five‘ by Vonnegut which has been on my reading list for years. Vonnegut is a favourite of mine so this classic has been a bit of a glaring omission. It is a strange book, deserving of a post all its own at some point.

Now listening to ‘The Fatal Shore‘ By Robert Hughes. As always finding the heartless barbarity of Edwardian and Victorian English systems confronting.

We’ve been on exploratory adventures within the region most days. North to Fort William through Glen Coe, South East to Doune castle and the Wallace Monument in Stirling, twice to Glasgow and on many small walks. Even to a small event hosted by a local amateur naturalist club. Where we participated in opening and cataloging the catch from moth traps set the previous evening. After which we had a lunch overlooking Castle Stalker. To my chagrin we have been up no mountains yet. I hurt my ankle last weekend being silly in the garden. Fortunately not badly and I’ve recovered fast.


Took a drive through the ever spectacular #glencoe today.

A photo posted by @liatach on


#headshot #caughtbyhand #golden-ringeddragonfly #macro #insect Cordulegaster boltonii

A photo posted by @liatach on

Robert the Bruce @ the #wallacemonument #scotland

A photo posted by @liatach on


Many more pictures to share that I have not Instagrammed but the upload function is glitching. I’ll try and include them tomorrow.




Castle Day

Visited Stirling Castle today. 


Some serious cash has been spent on this historic feature recreating tapestries, wood work, murals and stonework. It has a number of well interesting children’s activity rooms and a few good museum galleries. Had a fabulous time and left knackered.

Everyone in this family loves to dress up. If only you could swan about the castle like this rather than just trying them on for a minute.


A reproduction piece of one of the many ‘Stirling Heads


From our visit to the Ardkinglas gardens; one of the tallest trees in the UK. The tallest is also there but looks less impressive in my photos.


The local historic feature is the Monument to the poet Duncan Ben MacIntyre. Which we visited late last week. Loch Awe visible in the background, it commands an impressive view unfortunately marred by pine forestry work surroundings. Majestic wind turbines march across some mountains in the distance. A couple of people have left flowers here, for the poet or more likely more recently deceased loved ones.


L and I found a crack in the base through which you can see that the structure is hollow. I was sorely tempted to climb up and look in but came up with to many excuses not to.


Tomorrow we stay in to await a tradie and prepare for our first independent guest house turn over. I am keen to get painting my imaginary castle as well.




It’s been six long calendar days since the last post. This being the first day where humanity feels restored it is time to recap.

The night before we flew out of Sydney F fell ill with a head cold. The whole family became affected as travel wore on. Thanks to paracetamol, antihistamine, saline sprays and for the grown-ups pseudoephedrine the flights were trying but uneventful. The constant attention required by travelling with children is very exhausting. Sick children doubly so.

Our flights started with an overnight jaunt on Qantas Sydney to Tokyo. Which is a lovely airport as such things go, clean and civilised with small children’s play equipment.

From Tokyo we flew north with BA cutting quite close to the pole across Russia and south along the Norwegian coast to Heathrow. Unfortunately thick clover obscured the ground for most of this twelve hour leg.


Heathrow 5 is not such a friendly airport, cramped, expensive and uncomfortable, fortunately our stay was short lived. Sticking with BA we flew north arriving in Glasgow to the welcome greetings of our hosts who we have since to our horror infected as well.


Headcold, jetlag and adjusting children to life where it doesn’t get dark until after 10PM have eaten up the last few days. We have been soaking up the breathtaking scenery and learning the ropes of managing the property. Calling ourselves settled in from today. I’ve not accomplished anything creatively in weeks apart from the few instructional sketches created in the last day or two. I am keen to get painting again.


We have had plenty of clear skies too and we are surrounded by sublime mountains. I just haven’t downloaded those pictures yet.

An interesting thing happened yesterday. A great green box full of Lego arrived from some kind stranger in Luxembourg care of the Redditgifts Lego Exchange. I’m feeling a bit miserly about sending only two small kits to a stranger in Italy, though in fairness the postage cost more than the Lego.