The Ambitious Drifter

Words, Images and The Occasional Noise

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Fog On The River

I like fog.   On the river it can be enchanting, but like most enchantments, it’s dangerous.  Fog at night is the worst, even the navigation lights seem to shift and sway. Crossing the river on my way home, I’ve been led astray a few times. Currents and tides conspire to help you drift off course. Once, when I thought I was about to reach the island jetty, I found I was under the railway bridge, half a kilometre in the wrong direction. The train that went overhead was like a dragon.

Fog is great, but you must be on guard at all times…. sorcery and dragons await!

Hawkesbury River fog seen from the Dangar Jetty, early morning.



Daily Prompt: Modern Pop Music Is Soooo Cool

Think about an object, an activity, or a cultural phenomenon you really don’t like. Now write a post (tongue in cheek or not — your call!) about why it’s the best thing ever.

Ah, I do soooo wish I was young again, now that pop music is so good. It was such a drought back then. All we had to look forward to was a new Jimi Hendrix single, or perhaps a new album by Led Zep.

There were boy bands then, but bah humbug!  Why would you want to listen to the Four Tops or the Temptations when there’s One Direction?  Back then they werent even boys…. just men…. with great strong voices. Bah, there wasnt even Autotune, you could hear each of the voices separately.

No sex back then either, not much glamour. The Supremes, Aretha, Dusty……. nothing as stirring as a randy twelve year old high on food colouring!  Blimey, the only tongue sticking out was owned by Gene Simmons.  Who really wanted to rock n’roll all night and party every day?  Not me when I was sixteen!

The songs were so amateurish in those days, thank god they’ve stopped people writing their own material.  Much better when it’s left to 50 year old professionals who know all about show business.  Dancers too, it’s great to see a boring solo singer surrounded by twenty dancers… they do it so well. Pity that Bob Dylan didnt liven up his act.


Enough already….   colour and movement , who needs musicians? 




Daily Prompt: Good Advice?

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago?

There’s always advice,I’ve had lots of it over the years. I even had some to give, but more of that later. There was advice on how to live, or mainly, how not to live.  There was a lot of conditional advice, ie. ‘If you were to….. then you should…..’.   Some of it made no sense at all. Especially financial advice. ‘If you were rich, you should invest in…’. But I was never rich enough.

Even worse… ‘If I were you…..’  But you’re not me. I’m not very brave (but I can be bold,or really stupid) . There was plenty of advice on what I should be wearing, what not to wear, what never to wear. All ignored…. but you’d know that if you ever saw me!

Conditional advice for travel? Well I did pay a bit of attention. I like the ‘eat here, dont eat there’ kind of advice for cities I’m going to. Then again, I love finding places on my own, trusting my own instincts. When I get to a new place I’m quite capable of instantly  forgetting all the advice, good or bad. I’m the kind of person who makes a detailed shopping list every time, then forgets to take it with me.

What do I wish I’d been told when I was younger?  No idea, I got told everything. It was all probably well meant, it was mostly ignored.

Now I’m full of advice, I can tell you to be yourself, live in the moment, be a free spirit….. blah blah. I could even tell you where to put your money (if you were rich). Do I expect anyone to listen?  No, not at all. There’s far too much advice in the world already.

You could however, stop and notice the flowers now and again. 




Daily Prompt: Not Extinct, Just Evolving

Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your lifetime, which one do you miss the most?

I thought this would be easy when I first saw the prompt. After all, at my great age I have seen things go, wandered in and out of many technological cul-de-sacs.

But really? I was going to say steam trains. But there’s more of them around now than in 1970. Many great machines have been lovingly restored. Trains themselves are still around. I might marvel at a streamlined wonder from the thirties…. then hop onto a TGV or the Thalys.  Even my little local TER looks like something out of a fifties space comic.

Super train, Milan Cathedral

Super train, Milan Cathedral

So, what else has gone extinct? Analog photography definitely. I have several beautiful cameras that seem virtually new. My first Canon SLR for instance. It took the most amazing photos (I was more easily pleased in those days). I didnt mind the wait to get my pictures back from the chemist. That seemed part of the fun. Usually I’d forgotten what was on the reel of film by the time it was developed.

By comparison, my first digital camera, a Hewlett Packard,was clunky and slow. It did, however, have a 4 meg memory. Wow, that was thirty photos! Better still, I could go home, connect a wire and see my photos on screen.

Now, I keep my little Canon Ixus in my back pocket wherever I go. Every day is a photo safari. I can see what I’ve taken on the screen at the back. Bracketing? No worries, I can blaze away, trying many angles and settings.

There are great photographers still using silver nitrate film, but many others embrace the digital world. Photography has not gone extinct. It flourishes! From phone cameras to high end, low number Canon EOS machines, great pictures are still being made.

So I dont miss my analog cameras, much as I loved them, the new breed has set me free.

It strikes me that most of the technology I like  has not really become extinct, it just continues to evolve. So, I miss nothing, I cant wait to see just what they’ll think of next!


Daily Prompt: The Worst Is First

Of all the awful possibilities, what’s the worst possible thing that could happen to you today?

I’ve got a great imagination, so I’m not even going to go there. The mind can make tortures beyond the realms of reality.

In any case, it wouldnt be the worst thing that’s happened today. I always feel terrible in the mornings, have done ever since I was a kid. Crawling out of bed is a major task. Getting out at a respectable hour is a major achievement.

From that point, things get better. The nightmares (if any) are behind me and I can smell the coffee.

I’m old enough to have been through a few ‘worst case’ scenarios, usually unpredicted.  There have been hammer blows, but normally the worst of it comes later, as the shock wears off.   The slow repeated thud of realisation is by far the worst thing. It can go on for weeks. It’s a long term sentence, not an execution.

So, if the worst possible thing happens right now, it’ll undoubtedly be even worse tomorrow. I take morose comfort in that. Then again, if I’m not here tomorrow, I shant be worrying at all. Meanwhile, I look forward to today’s photo challenge for something a bit more positive!

Two images of  nightmare, a disturbing fountain in Aachen, Germany.




Imagination Is My Prize

What’s your most prized possession? GO!

I learned quite a long time ago that possessions are something you have to carry with you.  Thoreau said that, we are all weighed down by the things we own. Mind you, it hasnt stopped me accumulating stuff. Even though I’ve moved many times and gotten rid of lots of things, I’ve still got too much stuff.

The prompt says ‘Go‘.  Does that mean I should be running from a burning building, grabbing what I can?  What would I rescue?  Easy question…. I’d rescue myself.

I racked my brains (quickly) to identify ‘prized possessions’.  New toys maybe? I’m very attached to my new tablet. Amazingly, it lets me read a book in bed. Well duh, as they say.  Is it books then? I have some books I bought as a student in Adelaide, I’ve lugged them across the world. Do I read them in bed? Nope, I just cant part with them. Wherever I go they become part of the decor. It’s my background wallpaper that is meant to say ‘I’m really cool!’

I have a battered Fender Stratocaster (an, no THE electric guitar) that I very rarely play now. It’s stained by the smoke and beer of a thousand or so pub gigs. I think, in that case, the memories are the prized possession.

Back to the tablet. I’ve loaded it with seven years’ worth of photos. There’s almost ten thousand of them. Like the Strat, they embody memories. Often they show me new facets of old experiences as I see them with new eyes. Prized possession? Maybe there’s a clue here…. it’s my imagination.

 I could always get another camera, but the thing that frames the photos in my head cannot be replaced. 


Kangaroo Island, South Australia. 


Daily Prompt: Where In The World?

I’m a bit of a wanderer, so I couldnt really let this one go by.

Tell us about the top five places you’ve always wanted to visit. GO!

Five Places I Want To Visit.

No particular order…..

Hagia Sophia, the great mosque/cathedral in Istanbul (not Constantinople!)  There’s some graffiti carved into an upstairs balcony. It says (pretty much) ‘Halfdan was here!’.   Carved by Viking tourists about a thousand years ago. There’s more, apparently.

New York, 29th November 1957.  Carnegie Hall.  Apart from Thelonius Monk with John Coltrane, there’s also Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, and Chet Baker with Zoot Sims.   What more can I say?

Scotland.  I’ve seen it from  Hadrian’s Wall, but I never quite got there. Maybe I’ll get my act together for an Edinbugh Festival.

Massachusetts, USA.   Walden Pond, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson.  The time travel option?  Why not, if it’s on offer….

Almost anywhere I’ve ever been…. AGAIN!    To revisit a magical place is the ultimate luxury.

PS. I will not be going alone. My lover will be by my side every time.

And where would I send you?   Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

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Daily Prompt: Screeching In The Night

How do you handle conflict? Boldly and directly? Or, do you prefer a more subtle approach?

My immediate neighbours seem to know a lot about this. There’s a lot of howling and snarling going on after dark, but no one seems to have lost an ear.

Gingembre tells it like it is

First rule, man, dont get involved if you dont need to be.  See me now? I half close my eyes, it means I aint gonna fight you.  You did OK for a human, look away now and again. Like dude, just dont stare at people, puts them on edge.

Course, round here there’s always a bit of argy bargy going down.  There’s territory….. you know?   It’s like, I dont really own this patch, but I got my time.  All of us big guys try to time it so’s we dont bump into each other.  It’s respect…. like the song says R E S P E C T. The guys down by the bins know that. We’re all cool, usually.

Then again, at night you get blow ins, some guy wanders in tryin’ to throw his weight around.  Weight?  Hey look at me …  look at me! I got weight man!

First thing is to bulk up, tail up and fluff out.  I wont show you, ‘cos you’d be runnin’ away right now. But that’s the main thing, look big, be big. Then I’m gonna shout….. make ’em know who they’re dealing with. He’s gonna shout back, of course, but this is my patch. Plus, trust me, I got the weight round here.  That does the trick after a while.

Then you gotta let him go. I think you guys call it ‘saving face’.  He’s probably not going to leg it, he’ll just swagger away slowly. That’s cool by me.  I aint lost no fur, so it doesnt matter what he tells his friends.  I still got my turf.

Hell man, I also got my looks to consider. I’m proud of these ears, let me tell you. No one’s got time for some raggedy old tom cat. I gotta look my best.   I got people!  Cant come home with a shredded nose!  I might get kept in again.



Gingembre is one of the locals here in La Curie. He’s a cool dude… like he says, he’s got People. 

Click to enlarge… he’s a pretty big boy!




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Daily Prompt: Night/Day

Are you a night owl or are you the early bird? What’s your most productive time of day? When do you do your best work?

Like Sir Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes, I have trouble with the concept that there are two 7’oclocks in a day.  I know one of them, it’s around dinner time.  In other words,  I’m not a morning person.  I never have been. I’m not bad at getting up early, especially if I’m on holidays.  I can catch an early morning plane easily enough. But, without motivation, I really dont do mornings.

I know, as a photographer, I should be up early to catch the Golden Hour.  Still, there’s always a lovely late afternoon or twlight to look at.  I can tale some nice photos without having to feel really sorry for myself.

My favourite times were always ‘the cocktail hour’…. or more often ‘beer o’clock’ . I also enjoy that time when the sun is  over the yardarm.  I can be a real nightowl, but as I get older, bedtime gets more enticing.

Productive?  Not sure, I tend to work on inspiration, but I can never tell when that’s going to happen. Every time I see sunshine though, it’s the right time. Twilight suits me well, there’s always a hint of magic then.

Twlight, Moonta, South Australia.