All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Melbourne 2015: Day 04. Chillaxing in Fern Gully

And so we enter day four of my magnificent adventures in Melbourne. Today, the photos outweigh the text as we take a blissful stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens, chillax in the art galleries and take a tour of Melbourne CBD via some abstract architecture photography. Enjoy! :)

22nd August 2015, 7:51pm
Room 211, Flagstaff City Inn

Another. Busy. Day. It all began at 9:15am when I left the motel for a bracing stroll to Federation Square to visit the (much-loved) Book Market. It’s not the most jam-packed of book markets, but any volume of books is blissful for me. Although there were several books I wanted to buy (Murakami, White, Welsh, Robbins) I showed restraint and purchased only one: The Crow Road by Scottish literary master Iain Banks. This is a book I have loved since I first read it, a book that is firmly in my top ten of all time and a book I’ve been seeking out for years. And, as I’m currently embarked on a quest to attain a copy of each of my top ten favourite books, couldn’t pass up this literary bargain!

My top ten books of all time!

1. Quest for a Kelpie (Frances Hendry)
2. Memory and Dream (Charles de Lint)
3. Northern Lights: A Poet’s Sources (George Mackay Brown)
4. Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)
5. The Hotel New Hampshire (John Irving)
6. The Stornoway Way (Kevin MacNeil)
7. The Crow Road (Iain Banks)
8. Still Life With Woodpecker (Tom Robbins)
9. Kidnapped (Robert Louis Stevenson)
10. Voss (Patrick White)

~ Bolded titles indicate those I currently own ~

After the book market I decided to return to the NGV and spent a good hour chillaxing amidst the art. Then, after a Cherry Coke break, I decided to head over to the Royal Botanical Gardens for a couple of hours getting in touch with nature. It was so serene and peaceful. And I totally fell in love with Fern Gully; a calm stroll through a pseudo-rainforest that reminded me of the Dandenongs and, by association, that fateful day in October 2007. It also occurred to me as I smelled the flowers and squealed at the cacti that I’d never spent so long in the Botanical Gardens. I’d been there before, when I first arrived in Australia, and a visit with my abusive girlfriend, but never for the length of time I spent there today. It was quite wonderful and easily one of the highlights of my trip thus far.

Following the gardens I roamed past the Shrine of Remembrance on my way to the NGV: International, where I spent an hour chillaxing amidst the art. And today I was (finally) able to get up close and personal with The Banquet of Cleopatra, my favourite painting in the collection. Yay!

Banquet of Cleopatra Selfie - NGV International, Melbourne.

‘Banquet of Cleopatra’ Selfie – NGV International, Melbourne.

By this point in the day my blisters were growing and walking was becoming extremely painful, but I persevered and spent some time window shopping in Dymocks and taking a few photos around the city.

I then hobbled to the pizza shop, treated myself to a (spectacular) potato & rosemary pizza and returned to the motel to gorge myself on carbohydrate and cheese. I’m now exceedingly tired, unable to think straight, my feet are beyond painful and I’m wishing I’d brought more comfortable shoes with me! So I’m kicking back with Total Wipeout and anticipating a beautiful sleep.

On the agenda for tomorrow is another blast from the past – Lygon Street – and a return to the ocean, something I haven’t seen since 2009! :)


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My trip to Melbourne Zoo

Before going to Melbourne, I made a deal with each of my voices that if they behaved themselves during the Hearing Voices Congress I would allow them to choose an activity that they would like to do. I also asked them to write a post about their chosen activity to share with you. What follows is Meadhbh’s account of our trip to Melbourne Zoo, in her own words! :)

Before we went to Melbourne Andrew and I made a deal. He promised that if I behaved myself during the Hearing Voices Congress I could choose one thing that I wanted to do more than anything in Melbourne and we would do it. I chose to go to the zoo so I could see all the cute, fluffy, beautiful animals. Needless to say I was on my bestest of the bestiest behaviour throughout the congress so that he would take me to the zoo after he was finished with all the boring stuff.

It was such a beautiful place, lots of lovely sunshine, green trees and more animals than I could poke a stick at. Which I would never do, because why would anyone want to poke such beautiful, fluffy animals with a horrible nasty stick?

I got a bit cranky with Andrew on the way to the zoo because he got lost and I thought he was doing it on purpose to stop me seeing the animals, but he wasn’t doing it on purpose, he just got lost, so I laughed at him. But soon enough we got to the zoo and I made him take me to the Australian animals first because I wanted to see the wombats. The first animal we saw was a sleepy koala bear sleeping at the top of the tree. He was gorgeous and I wanted to give him lots of hugs, but we weren’t allowed to touch the animals so I wasn’t able to.

After the koala we went to the wombats, careful to avoid the emus. I don’t like emus very much because they look really scary and frighten me. I love wombats though but they weren’t playing in their pen because it was hot and they were sleepy. We found them sleeping in their tunnels looking so adorable stretched out on their backs with their bellies begging to be rubbed. But we didn’t rub the wombat’s bellies because there was glass in the way.

We then went to the butterfly house where hundreds upon thousands upon millions of butterflies were flitting and flying around all over the place. One butterfly even landed on Andrew’s head which made me laugh because he got all freaked out. I really loved the butterfly house and all the gorgeous butterflies that were in there and didn’t want to leave because it was so relaxing to be in there but there were many animals left to see and I wanted to see them all.

There was an otter chasing his tail, there was a giraffe being fed by its keeper, there were dozens of cute liddle turtles swimming in a pond and majestic pelicans desperate to nibble on some fish. The lions were awesome and I roared like Aslan trying to get their attention but they didn’t hear me and Andrew refused to roar because it would draw unwanted attention to him, which made me a little annoyed but I understood.

We weren’t able to see the Gorillas and Seals because they weren’t on show that day, but we did see Giant Tortoises, cutest of the cute meerkats and a pygmy hippopotamus sleeping in the sun. We also saw zebras, elephants and lots of creepy crawlies, reptiles and scary looking snakes.

The last animal we saw was the Platypus, which was the bestest thing we saw in the zoo. He was merrily swimming around in his tank being all awesome, beautiful and hypnotizing. I loved the platypus so much that I want Andrew to get one as a pet.

Whilst we were at the zoo Andrew let me take photographs of some of my favourite animals which I’m sharing with you all below, I hope you like the photographs and find the animals as beautiful and awesome as I do. If you’re ever in Melbourne you should visit Melbourne Zoo because it’s a wonderful, happy place that will make you feel all warm inside! :)

~ All images © Addy (and Meadhbh) ~


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30 Day Photography Challenge – Day 01: Leaves

About this photograph…

The leaf above came from a tree in the North South Wales city of Albury. Way back on the 21st June, I attended a Survivors of Suicide evening that was held in the main square of the city. It was an evening where those of us who have lost someone to suicide could gather and remember our loved ones whilst also voicing our belief that there needs to be a systemic change in the way society deals with this taboo.

That evening, I came home with three leaves, each representing a friend I’ve lost to suicide; Rachel, Stephanie and Samantha. This particular leaf is representative of the latter, whose death I have never been able to come to terms with.

Normally they live above a photo frame in my kitchen, but for today’s photograph I decided to shoot Samantha’s leaf against a backdrop of red (her favourite colour) and shift focus onto the veins of the leaf; a necessary body part for nearly all walks of life.

 ~ See the Blog Challenges page for more details about the 30 Day Photography Challenge ~


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

This week’s photo challenge theme is Green. 

For some of you, in the northern hemisphere, you may not be seeing green for a while. Let’s celebrate all things green! Share (many) pictures in a gallery which mean GREEN to you!

As I live in the southern hemisphere, green is everywhere I look, and will be for several months. Which isn’t a bad thing considering for the last several months this colour has been noticeably absent from my life and surroundings.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
~ William Blake ~

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Ten years in Australia: #3. Wilson’s Promontory Fire Damage

This week marks the tenth anniversary of my arrival in Australia!

In celebration, throughout this week I will be sharing some of my favourite photographs of this great country.

Fire Damage (Wilson’s Prom, Victoria 2005) © Addy

In the ten years since being in Australia I’ve had no direct experience of a bush fire. Although a serious risk when living in remote areas, they are tragedies that people living in the Inner Suburbs generally don’t have to worry about.

The photograph above was taken in October 2005, several months after a damaging bush fire devastated the Wilson’s Promontory National Park. To see first hand the scale of the damaged landscape was a humbling experience, but throughout the environmental carnage was signs of rebirth as new plants blossomed from the ashen earth and green leaves sprouted from charcoal trees.

All providing hope for a brighter future.

And when at length
The robe of night was hung around the earth
There was a scene presented to the eye
Of such like grandeur, that the pen of bard
Or artist’s pencil – mighty though they be –
Must ever fail to truthfully portray.
The hill tops seemed to be a wall of fire –
Its jagged crest fraught with a wonderous life
That leaped and flared in ruleless fitfulness
~ from Black Thursday | Mitchell Kilgour Beveridge ~

 


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

This week’s photo challenge is foreign.

In the UK, the most dangerous animals you’re likely to encounter are an Adder, a cranky badger or a midgie, all of which are unlikely to kill you (unless it’s a really cranky badger!) Whereas in Australia, you’re risking life and death whenever you leave your house! Swooping magpies, Tiger snakes, red back spiders, jellyfish, hungry wombats, crocodiles, drop bears…the list is varied, vicious and endless.

So even though I now call Australia home, it’s a completely foreign land to where I was born and raised. Something I continue to remind myself of so I don’t miss the beauty that is all around me (and to increase my chances of staying alive!)

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”
~ G. K. Chesterton ~

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