My Sanctuary

29 Oct 2018

Would you believe that this year is the first time I have ever been to a spa? Before that, I didn’t get it. I thought for me to go would be a waste of money and a bit boring. I guess I couldn’t visualise how nice it is to outsource your relaxation to someone else, even though I regularly get massages. My first experience was at Ballarat Sanctuary Day spa. I have gone back regularly since for various relaxation services and I’d now call it one of my favourite places in Ballarat. I could easily refer to it as my sanctuary.

My Nullarbor Diary

21 Oct 2018

Whenever I told someone I was about to embark on a solo trip across the Nullarbor, I got comments from people about how dangerous it was. I'd never seen the Nullarbor before and the picture I was painted was very different from the one I was reading on blogs and websites for advice on the trip. The most concerned people were the chaps in my life. Several of which told me I was going to be 'wolf creeked' or 'what about the wolf creek factor'. None of these were in any way accurate. Yes, the Nullarbor is dangerous, but that isn't because it's full of waiting serial killers and the Big Bad Wolf. It's because it is so damn isolated. My mum told me that dad wanted to buy me a taser to take with me. Which mum pointed out I would have to take illegally on the plane with me. And literally, who would I taser? I was alone inside my car doing 110km/h most of the time. I definitely didn't need to taser myself. I offered to mum that with all my martial arts training, I could have taken my katana, like The Bride in Kill Bill, but that would just be for the aesthetic.

Here is my diary from the journey.

Day 1: Albany to Esperance

Slept through my alarm twice and woke up to it after 3am. Got up and ready and woke up dad and headed to the shuttle bus. Tried to sleep on the shuttle bus but the lady in front kept making loud phone calls at 3.30am. Who even does that.

Caught 7am flight and landed in Perth. Text from seller of the van that suggested we were meeting in Perth instead of Albany. I replied noting this and made arrangements to meet him there. He called when I was in a taxi most of the way into the city, very apologetic about the confusion and reconfirmed that we were meeting in Albany. Caught Rex fight to Albany and the plane had propellers. If it weren't for skydiving it would have been the smallest plane I'd ever been on. Rough flight, but the other passengers reacted as though it was normal to have the plane side swiping as it came in to land. Seller picked me up and took me to the mechanic where the car was. Paid for all work done on it but had to also get new tyres. Got induction on car. Got new tyres. Filled the tank with fuel. Took out insurance. Drove off into the sunset.

Turned out the car had power steering which was amazing!

Within the first hour of getting on the road I saw a very large kangaroo hanging out on the side of the road, a road train and an incredible sunset. I took my first van photo next to a canola field then did a wee on the side of the road. Nanny would have been proud given how many times she would get us to wee beside the road as kids. Ravensthorpe had gorgeous silos with art on them. Took a picture on my phone passing through by was too dark to capture them. They were illustrations of native flowers. On the way into Esperance in the dark there was this incredible and surreal sight of something on fire. I don’t know if it was a big patch of trees or tyres but this red glow and smoke made the horizon look like something out of a post-apocalyptic film. The flames were only visible right nearby.

Because I left Albany much later than I wanted and ended up getting into Esperance at 10pm. I was knackered and nowhere was open for camping so I parked on an empty block that some of the locals seemed to be using for parking and fell asleep quick smart.

Day 2: Esperance to Eucla

Woke up at sunrise, took a look around at the bay and town, got fuel and drove off with a Golden Gaytime ice-cream.

Got out of the car at the 90 Mile Straight. The Nullarbor is silent. It’s so silent that it sounds like you’re talking into cotton wool. There is no noise at all except for cars. No animals. No breeze. No rustling of grass or bushes. Nothing.

Saw a bunch of emus hanging out on the side of the road. Then a herd of wild cows the colour of sand. They were beautiful. Lots of dead kangaroos. A dead dingo. A live wedge-tailed eagle which made me gasp at its wingspan as it took off. Plenty of crows. The crows sit on dead branches beside the road, or they often fly directly above the road as though they’re using it for direction. Beside the road, there are occasional stacks of rocks. Which is weird. Hundreds of kilometres and someone has taken the time to stack these occasional rock stacks. There are also trees full of lost things. One of shoes. One of jocks. One of shirts. Bottles. Each a new art piece. Perhaps they are abandoned items that travellers have left behind. Saw two cyclists riding on the road. Then a single person clearly on a mission to walk the Nullabor. Followed by a single cyclist. Saw the tail of my first live Kangaroo. Arrived in Eucla at exactly the right time, not a moment wasted. I stayed at the Eucla caravan park and it was a beautiful view. No phone reception since morning.

Didn’t get fuel at one of the road stops because I got a really unsettling vibe. Sticker game sucks but there are cute little camping mugs at each of the stops so I’ve picked up one at most of the roadhouses.

Day 3: Eucla to Port Augusta

I thought this leg was too bold and was initially going to stop in Ceduna, but arrived there by lunch and decided to push on. Got my first phone reception in two days and called home. Could have watched whales but decided getting in before dark was more important. The countryside is so different from Western Australia. Spotted incredible mountains in the distance, but didn’t know what they were. Getting closer realised the Port Augusta is at the edge of the Flinders Ranges. My heart was so full! The mountains look incredible in the incredible sunset. Stayed at a caravan park. Got up the next morning at sunrise to head home.

Saw the most animals in the last stretch. It was almost like a great migration. Emus, kangaroos (no big reds), goats, sheep, foxes, rabbits.

Day 4: Port Augusta to Ballarat

I stopped in Adelaide to buy some climbing gear. Van struggled in the Adelaide Hills. Saw amazing canola fields and silo artwork. The view driving past the Grampians was gorgeous. This was a much more familiar countryside. I was sick of being in the car and didn’t even stop for many pictures. So many service stations have giant things. Giant whales. Or kangaroos. Or in this case, ants. Everything got a bit samey at each stop. Arrived home to a gorgeous sunset. Didn't take pictures. Kept that one just for me.
- L

Pride and Prejudice

3 Oct 2018

If you follow me online you’ll probably know already that I’m in a local production of Pride and Prejudice. I auditioned for this show at the end of last year and so much work has gone into making it happen. Almost every item of clothing had to be made. The set was complicated to construct. Lines had to be learned. Lighted had to be mapped. Props had to be sourced. At the centre of it all is a clever adaption of a detailed story into a short production appropriate for the stage. Even with so much of it taken out, it’s still wordy and there were many lines to be learned.

It’s the first show for me since I’ve started at acting school and while at first I was frustrated and struggled with the workload I can tell you now that it was the greatest decision for my acting study. Each time I met a roadblock, instead of getting frustrated that I didn’t know how to do a thing, I had tools from my classes to overcome it. For example, being cast as Jane Bennet was a delight, but it’s the first time I’ve had to play a soft character. I speak with a low chest voice naturally and the director wanted me to speak higher, lighter and softer. How does someone who speaks soft and light have their voice heard by the people sitting at the back of a 120 seat theatre with no microphones? How do I deliver my lines out to an audience when I’m having a conversation with someone in front of me on a stage? How do I warm up properly? What does being warm even feel like? These are all things I’ve found answers to and I’ve been absolutely delighted with the opportunity to do the work.

This is also the closest, most amicable, most delightful cast I have ever worked with, which is impressive when I’ve had some really magical ensembles to be on stage with. I’ve never felt a bond so close, so genuinely interested in lifting one another up, in making sure the show goes on at a high standard. To celebrate this exquisite bond, I left my camera backstage on one of our tech runs with easy to use settings and handed over the reigns of my camera to the entire cast and crew. I then buffered any issues in post-production, and here we have for you some shots from the very kind and happy backstage, wings and stage from our show.

If you would like to see Pride and Prejudice, it is on in Ballarat until October 6.

Wed 3 Oct 8pm
Thur 4 Oct 8pm
Fri 5 Oct 8pm
Sat 6 Oct 2pm
Sat 6 Oct 8pm

Tickets here.

A full collection of all our production photos are available here.

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