“More than Dream” – worship song CD last day recording!

Well, we’re almost three hours into final day recording of my worship song album.

vocals-recording-1 More than Dream (Peace be our living) was birthed when I turned the wonderful 60 years two Februarys ago. What could I do to mark this so-called milestone? Yes, to gather a group of musicians – some of my own church, Dale and those from earlier years, go into a recording studio, yes – pay plenty of bucks, and record a collection of my congregational worship songs.  I had so, so many to choose from.

Continue reading ‘“More than Dream” – worship song CD last day recording!’

Holidays – part 2 – Far North Queensland & Brisbane

Hi. Well – my two weeks of leave finished yesterday.
Today’s a public holiday and back on deck tomorrow.  It has been a much-needed and much-appreciated break.  Almost five months since the last real break in early April (in USA).

The last week has been a memorable 0ne; as Dale and I have accompanied Dale’s U.S. sister Diana and brother-in-law Tom to Cairns and then back at our home in Tarragindi, Brisbane.

Last Monday, Diana, Tom, Dale and I headed at pre-dawn to Brisbane Airport en route to Cairns – base camp: the Whitfield home of special friends, Jan and Glenn.  They are such wonderful hosts.   By nature of frequent flyer points used, Dale and I needed to make the trip north in two legs – BNE to Townsville, then by Dash 8 prop plane on to Cairns.









The Northern Beaches (aka “the beaches” ) of Cairns are so beautiful, so we took Jan and Glenn out to dinner (as an advanced thank-you) at Palm Cove’s Reef House restaurant.  Beaut meal at a lovely spot.









Tuesday morning, I drop off Dale, Tom and Diana off at Cairns Central train station – they are off to Kuranda via the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway.  I’ll pick them up two hours later there. Meanwhile, I drive to Trinity Beach, my all-time favourite beach location.

























We spend the rest of the day checking out Barron Falls (lovely raised boardwalk), have lunch in Mareeba, drive through Atherton and Yungaburra, swim in Lake Eacham, enjoy devonshire teas at Lake Barrine before our stomachs all  successfully negotiating the 200+ bends on the Gillies Highway east to Gordonvale south of Cairns. Here are some of the day’s images.

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Wednesday is our Daintree/Port Douglas Day. It proves a great day.  We scrap Breakfast with the Birds/Wildlife Habitat (Dale and I have  been there many times previously), have breakfast at – you’ve guessed it – Trinity Beac, and via the wonderfully scenic Captain Cook Highway that hugs the coast for some time, we head to Mossman Gorge.  Mossman Gorge – these days comanaged  by the local aboriginal people and the Queensland Government is such a great place to visit.  We all enjoy it. Brings back memories of when we’d take our boys there in the late 1990s for swims there.

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We spend over three hours at Mossman Gorge, then head to Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas, firstly getting lunch from Mocka’s Pies. Lunch over, we drive to the lookout before heading Cairnswards, stopping for a late afternoon swim at “my beach”. Another great day – in some of the beautiful parts of God’s world.

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Thursday was pre-booked as our Green Island/Reef day.  After a slower start to the day (great!) and some trouble finding parking – well, more a case of finding some $2 coins for our long term parking, we head off around 11 to Green Island.  Dale had never been there previously.  We had a great weather,  I enjoyed the glass-bottom boat experience (coral and tropical fish), the boardwalk thr0ugh the National Park and a relaxing swim, followed by some time on an umbrella-atopped beach chair.  Nice.

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After five great days in Cairns, we all head back to Brisbane later afternoon.

Saturday, after heading to Mt Cootha for breakfast and great views of the city and then a brief foray into Dale’s school; under glorious Brisbane spring skies, we head to Southbank and take the CityCat loop – upstream to the University of Qld campus and then upstream to Hamilton. Much longer than planned, but worth it.

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Sunday – last day of my holidays, we invite members of the MacGregor family to our place for an extended brunch.  Once again, superb weather and a really enjoyable time.  The first opportunity for some of my folks to meet two more of their U.S. relations.

Much more I could share. We’ve done, taken-in, experienced, savoured much these past two+ weeks.

I look forward to getting back into ministry tomorrow.

blessings  – David









rekindling the folkie in me

Hi.Currently in week two of holidays; sitting at Townsville Airport en route with Dale to Cairns. Recently, via Apple Music, I downloaded Peter, Paul and Mary – the Prague Sessions. Orchestra dubbed in later, but it’s a delightful and representative collection of the trio’s songs, recorded not long before Mary Traver’s death in 2009. Just finished listing to it!

Amazon link

I’m more and more reminded that much as I love the anthemic, lyrical rock of Coldplay, the earnestness of Springsteenand the tunefulness of the likes of Billy Joel, among others … at heart when it comes to musical taste, I clearly lean towards folk music. My love of John Denver’s music in times past, the folkier side of James Taylor and Emmylou Harris and the collection of worship songs currently “in formation” with my own worship song album (due for release in February) – they all draw out the folkie in me.

I continue to love songs which are genuinely singable (too many in recent times aren’t), employ great harmonies, are memorable, and more than anything actually say something – and do so evocatively and unambiguously. Surely that’s so central to folk music.

I guess that’s why this mid 2000s P,P&M album proved so enjoyable. Yes, I’ve heard most of the songs countless times before, but they are as fresh as ever …

The anti-discrimation/bullying sentiment of Don’t Laugh at Me

The lament of Where have all the flowers gone! and Jesus on the Wire

The patriotism of Woodie Guthrie’s This land is your land

The “Coming together” of Day is Done and Light One Candle

The “childlikeness”of Puff, the Magic Dragon.

Nothing beats good music, and to a greying folkie like me, this Peter, Paul and Mary album so hit this spot on one sunny spring Queensland morning.

Cheers – David

New Zealand 2016 – post #2

Our fifth day in/around Taupo on NZ’s North Island is drawing to a close. The past two days have been especially enjoyable; first of all by a prevalence of sunshine. It makes such a difference.

Monday morning we woke up to a much clearer view across the lake to the distant mountains of Tongariro National Park, which we’re just back from. I’ll get to that.

Taking advantage of the sunshine, we booked into a 90 minute Lake Taupo cruise. We almost had the cruise boat to ourselves; just 6 others. Gorgeous weather. Cruise highlight: checking out the contemporary Maori rock carvings (think 1980s) at Mine Bay. Here’s a link. Here are some nice pics:

It really was such a nice cruise, with coffee and freshly cooked blueberry muffins to top it off. 

Some down time after we’re back and mid-afternoon, via Huka Falls we’re off to the Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua- just over an hour’s drive north. Huka Falls is right near the source of NZ’s longest river, the Waikato. The surging of water through a narrowed passageway creates one incredible, mightily impressive surge of water. Huka Falls claims to be one of NZ’s prime tourist attractions. Sorry, we gave the jet boat ride a miss🙂

Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua was worth it! Good blend of Maori culture on show (especially dance and music, haka included), sumptuous hangi meal, tasty desserts and nighttime guided forest walks. Not overly commercialised and believe it or not – no gift shop at the end! 

That was yesterday. Driving home, I stayed awake enjoying Joan Baez’ 75th birthday concert via Apple CarPlay – great guest artists with her including Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Indigo Girls and heaps more.

Today, enjoying another sunny morning we drove the 90 minutes south to Tongariro National Park, with its three active (or at least dormant) volcanoes of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu – North Island’s tallest mountain. One of these acted as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings. This is definitely Rings country! These volcanoes are ever present, seemingly whichever way you look or drive, impressive indeed. Tom, Diana and I took the “easy” 6 km walk of the Taranaki Falls Track. No regrets, as I passed through or by open alpine fields, subtropical rain forest, the falls themselves and fast-flowing Mountain streams. I will remember this walk for a long time.

Before heading back to Taupo we all enjoyed a high tea in the amazing Chateau Tongariro – this huge old-fashioned British-in-style hotel in the “middle of nowhere”.

Views from our seating there, aided by the cheese platter before  hand were stunning indeed.

Wonderful couple of days, wonderful sights and experiences , and wonderful spending this time with Diana and Tom.

Until next posting.

Blessings – David

New Zealand 2016 – post #1

Hi. Close on three days in NZ, North Island. 

After flight delays, Dale and I finally make it around 1.30 am to the Heartland Hotel, Auckland Airport – finally meeting up with Dake’s sister Diana and husband Tom – they had arrive from the States two days earlier. It will be great to spend the next 2 1/2 weeks with them in NZ, home in Brisbane and in Cairns for four nights.

With just enough sleep, and after picking up our rented Hyundai Tucson, and with overcoast skies we head east (?) to the Coromandel Peninsula, looking forward to checking out picturesque Cathedral Cove. Well, the 80 minutes round trip walk tested my fitness – sharply inclined walking track and all, but glad I made it there. Just like in the travel pages

Cathedral Cove done, and we’re off to our destination, Taupo – on the northern shores of Lake Taupo, largest natural lake in the Southern Hemisphere, so the say. After fish and chips at Tarua mid-afternoon, Tom drove much of the way to Taupo, getting in at 7.30 to our Lakeside Villas base camp for the next week. A trip to the Countdown supermarket (think NZ Woolworths) for basics, and I join Tom, him fully versed in the peculiarities of American Football, in us watching the enthralling Broncos v. cowboys rugby league semi final. A fun experience explaining rugby league/rugby union differences as they game went on. Glad we have Skyports on our NZ TV here. Sadly, a gallant Broncos loss in extra time.
Saturday turns out a quiet day. The weather is on the miserable side, so we have breakfast at Taupo McDonald’s (only Maccas in world where you can eat above ground in a converted DC3!) apart from light shopping, we take it easy for the rest of the day. Well- apart from a wonderful roast lamb and veges dinner cooked by Dale, that is. It was so good! Nex Zealand lamb – yes 

Today – Sunday , we accompany Diana and Tom to the local Roman Catholic church for Mass. Huge building, large congregation, relaxed-accessible liturgy, lots of child-leadership, good music and great leadership by the priest. 

After morning tea (just got to use my Coffee Club VIP Card!), and under uncertain skies, we head to just out of town to a thermal area called Craters of the Moon – a must see/do if in Taupo. Plenty of steam spewing out of the ground as one passes by on a well-constructed Boardwalk.

Late afternoon, the sky clearing somewhat, Dale and I walk across the road to see if the mountains of Tongariro National Park can be seen in the distance. No luck, but nice to see the lake in sunnier circumstances. 



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