3:00am. Bells pealing, noise! I crawl out of the warm cocoon of blankets to stand outside under the inverted bowl of the night sky. Inky black and pierced by a million brilliant diamonds of light. The wind sweeps down Mount Coochin driving all before it. The dust devils swirl and twirl carrying the tang of gum on the sharp cold edge of the dancing leaves. They rush and roar along the bitumen drowning out the cacophony of the chimes and then they are gone, only the whisper of their passing remains. The chimes are relentless. They click and clack, swinging, swaying in the breeze and then falling silent as one by one I lift them from their lofty perches and silence their tongues. I lay them on the bench and the silence reproaches me. Dull and heavy the air crackles as the next wave descends the mountain. A rustle, a whisper and then a soft caress fans my cheek, followed by the bitter slap of the wind. The moon’s crescent is brightly haloed and the rumble builds to a roar as the wind tumbles down the mountain. The leaves shiver and shake, branches quivering bend beneath its force and it is gone. The new silence is broken as the sleeping truck across the street awakes. I hear the deep-throated grumbling of the truck motor, as the key turns in the ignition rousing it from sleep. The grumble resolves to a purr as the motor rises to wakefulness and two bright orbs of golden light signal its departure from its lair, ready to meet another day. One last glance at the muted chimes I draw my robe closer and head back to my bed, I have stood a good hour captured in the thrall of the night sky and the mountain’s magic. Such beauty lies in nature’s wonder.
I still love this piece
From November to December each year, a competition known as the Gary Grew Award (University of the Sunshine Coast ) is open for submissions. For Creative Writing Students at the University, this is the Holy Grail. I wrote two pieces this year, both very different. Because I could not make up my mind which one to enter, I tried a popular poll. Then I asked a couple of my peers for their advice. The jury was out 50/50. So I resorted to the time honoured tradition of flipping a coin. “Myrddin Wyylt” lost. This piece was originally written on a watermarked page. With drop capitals and different script. I am unable to reproduce this in the blog.The piece that I have submitted is called, “A One-Sided Conversation.” The theme of the competition is “My life began with the written Word.”. I will publish the other piece when the competition results…
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In today’s busy world many family groups live apart because of work or personal commitments. The village style of life has disappeared in modern suburbia and in rural towns. Friends are virtual, not the next door neighbour. People live longer, alone in their own homes and are more independent. There are pro’s and cons for every situation, but what about our pets, our fur babies?
We travel in the car to shop, to go to the movies, to attend appointments and to visit friends. The unthinkable occurs, a car accident. You loved pet is home alone. You are hospitalised. What happens to your fur baby?
This bright yellow key tag alerts authorities to your situation, the accompanying information in your wallet has contact details, your address and a person to call if your animals need assistance. A simple but ingenious idea.
I recently purchased two of these tags. my partner and I do not know our neighbours. We live in a rural town in a street that has a high occupancy turnover. If we are in a crisis scenario, it is a comfort to know our animals will not be ignored or forgotten. Peace of mind for under $5.00. Excellent customer service and a quick turnaround on your order. Contact https://store.fetchy.com.au/
When the winds blew cold
You were there.
When the rains came
You were there.
Now death has come
You are no longer there.
I hear your voice
In the whisper of the wind.
I see your smile
In the smidge of a cloud.
I hear your laughter
In the burble of bird song.
I feel your touch
In the softest breeze.
I sense your presence
In the beauty of the blooms.
Now death has come
You are no longer there.
Your corporeal body
Has long since passed.
Crumbled and gone
A life well lived.
Where hides your soul?
Your love ?
You left me
Alone I ponder
On the greatest mysteries.
Of life, of death, of birth
The answers elude me.
I seek the comfort of your arms
Alas they are no more.
For you are gone
Now death has come.
Will we meet again?
Will we walk hand in hand?
Will we find peace
In the Elysium fields?
When death has come for me
And I am no more.
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS – These do nothing for me I always break them. Yesterday heralded the Southern Hemisphere’s winter solstice. Time to ring in the changes.
If I were writing an academic piece I would be castigated for using a cliche, however, this is my blog and I am rather fond of cliches if they are apt.
I attended a lecture yesterday and had a “light bulb” moment. My muse has returned and the blockage cleared. Thank you, Gary – it was a great lecture. Sometimes you hear things and they don’t really sink in. The lecture yesterday is one I have heard, perhaps four or five times in differing formats. Every time I hear it I come away with something new. That says more about the skill of the lecturer than my listening skills.
I have been struggling to find the voice of my character in my novel. There are times when I am spot on and times when I miss the mark completely.
Recently I have discovered I love using epistolary devices – letters, diaries and newspaper clippings and I have come to a considered decision. Taking a leaf out of my mentor’s work, I am going to become a bower bird and use the technique of bricolage. I will create these items and integrate them, using them as an entre to each chapter. In turn, these provide background and verisimilitude to the work and helping to ground the voice in the chapter.
What does all of this have to do with resolutions and changing habits? I have arrived at a space where I need a formal structure to get through my day. A roster has been drawn up and is now in place and it allows for writing, study, household chores, exercise and other unanticipated events. In a word it is flexible. Written in bold across the top is NO GAMES & LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA.
It will be interesting to see how I manage. My aim is one day at a time and to see what eventuates. Buckle up folks it could be a bumpy ride.
MUSTARD BALLSGluten free √Vegan √Vegetarian √Each ball weighs 30 g (just over 1 oz)
Ingredients: Severn Cider (www.severncider.com), Mustard flour, Horseradish.When you think of the mustard ball the original ball is from us, Tewkesbury Mustard. Back in the 16th to the 19th century, Tewkesbury Mustard was “the” condiment of choice and only sold in this variety, not involving jars or any other container. Offered as a soft, moist mustard ball, allowing for easy reconstitution; patience would have been the key back something William Shakespeare would have struggled with back when the ball was dried.This mustard ball can be grated straight onto your food and in any other way you choose!If you were looking to turn the mustard ball into a paste, include a liquor of your choice whether it’s beer, cider, wine vinegar, or even cider vinegar. Cognac can also be included as tried by one of our in-house chefs! Add a little olive oil for a smoother texture, a recommendation by the 17th century gourmet, John Evelyn. Another popular choice was to include cinnamon into the blend. Bearing this in mind you get the idea that the mustard ball works with anything so why not make your own masterpiece today.
Source: Mustard Balls
I posted this meme on my Facebook page the other day. I have been surprised by the responses. When I posted it it was done tongue in cheek. Growing up in the 1950-60’s I was educated at a private school. I attended an all-girls school. The administration staff was made up of Nuns reporting to Mother Superior. The greater percentage of the teaching staff were Nuns supported by lay teachers; we even had males on staff, Mr. John Ryan, the tennis coach, and Joe the odd job man.
It has become fashionable to bag the Nuns and Brothers who dedicated their lives to teaching. Undoubtedly some of them should not have been teachers let loose on young souls. But, I have friends who experienced the same issues with teachers male and female in the state school system.
My husband who grew up in the state school system was taught by a woman who was a kleptomaniac, another who used to take their books and throw them out the window, and one whose method of teaching was to have the children transcribe their textbooks into their writing books. One of his teachers was removed for, “undue influence” on the boys in the class. Peculiar classroom behaviour was not the sole province of the religious education staff.
The statement is true – you don’t scare me because I was educated by the Nuns. But not in the way many people think. Some people of influence, Germaine Greer for example, have painted the most horrific portrait of education in the non-secular system. While the system was not perfect I would remind those people they would not be who they are today without the education those people and the system provided.
I must have been lucky I had run-ins with teachers, who didn’t? It was not restricted to the Nun’s it included the lay teachers. And one was an absolute nut case, these isolated incidences aside, from age 4 to age 16 I was provided with a system of values.
I was taught respect, for self and others, and respect for authority. I was taught to think about the less fortunate and how to help and given a well-rounded education. I was taught to be myself, think for myself and not be afraid of having an opinion as long as I could validate it. I was taught to be modest and compassionate.
I was taught not to dumb things down and how to use a dictionary and a thesaurus. I was exposed to a world of wonderful things that included learning Latin and history and the romance of poetry and language. Art and drama sat side by side with physics and applied maths. I was encouraged to stretch my mind and test my capacity for learning and work outside the box. to reach for the stars.
I was taught that I was the equal of any male student and could do whatever I wanted in life if I had a good education. It was drummed into me “manners maketh the person” and this did not prohibit me from being an independent thinker. I was encouraged to love learning and I guess this is what drove me back to complete my Bachelor’s degree at 67 and to undertake a Masters ofProfessionall Practice.
I was shown that you have to work hard to achieve in life and even if you do work hard that there will be times you will not achieve the results you want; because there are people who are brighter or more determined than you are. I learned what failure was because from failure comes the will to strive to do better. I learned to start at the bottom and work my way up and not to expect to always be a winner and there are times when life simply isn’t fair. Your options are to stand and fight or suck it up and move on. You were taught to pick your battles and learned quickly about pyrrhic victories and their cost.
I had blackboard dusters thrown at me for being an obnoxious smart mouth and got cracked over the knuckles a few times for being rude and disrespectful. Yes, I learned the art of sarcasm and was terrified of being sent to the head nun’s office – primarily because I was afraid of not living up to the high standard they set – of being a disappointment. These women taught classes of 30+ children and commanded respect. Sometimes they made my life miserable but I thank them every day because they made me who I am today.
Among the graduates from my Alma Mater are world famous entertainers, journalists, news anchorwomen, politicians, sportswomen, academics and artists and writers, doctors, lawyers. Not a bad bag for a group of oppressed Catholic school girls.
Our school motto was Fidelis et Fortis – faithful and strong.
These were the women who formed my personality and taught me to be proud to be of who I was and what I achieved. Sister Joseph Therese, Sister Theresa, Mother Mildred, Sister Isobel, Sister Burkman. Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Sheedy, Mrs. MacNamara, Mrs. Anderson, Miss Williams, Miss Wilkinson, Sister Gabriel, Sister Felicia, Miss Magnaninni, Madam, Sister Aloysius. Miss Nicholson, Mrs. Pitney.
On a personal note I am no longer a practicing Catholic and have not been one for over 4 decades – that was another gift. I was introduced to other religions and given the tools to decide on which path my beliefs would take me. A disappointment to the Nuns no doubt, but I have the knowledge, the understanding, and the life skills to make those decisions.
A Mum is a person who brings life into the world
She nurtures it and watches that life grow and blossom.
A wise Mum lets go,
Knowing that to truly love someone you must set them free.
A Mum is someone who is your whole world when you are two or three or four
As you grow older a Mum is someone who guides you through the horrible teenage years.
You may fight with your Mum but you still love her
The bond between mothers and daughters is special.
For some as they mature it becomes a lifelong friendship
For others, who maybe too much alike it becomes a battle ground.
You hate her
But you still love her.
The years pass the divide deepens
Hurts real and imagined take hold
She is still your Mum.
Then comes the day when the positions are reversed
You are the parent figure she is the child.
The resentment on both sides bubbles over
She is still your Mum
You still love her.
She pushes you away
She cannot cope with what has happened.
Her world has turned
She tells you to go away and leave her alone
She is your Mum.
You cannot walk away
You say it is white she says it is black
Nothing much has changed
Then comes that day
You hold her in your arms and say
I forgive you – you ask
Can you forgive me?
She cannot speak but
Her eyes fill with tears
You tell her you love her more than life itself
She nods, you know she hears your words
Then she closes her eyes and is no more
Your Mum has gone
You have done your best
You have kept your promises
She did not go, alone and in the dark.
There was light and soft music
There was love and warmth.
She has gone on that journey we all will take
She is your Mum
You love her
She is still your Mum.
We need to touch.
We see the news. We watch the news. We share the news
We need to touch.
We post on Facebook. We tweet on Twitter. We Instagram our lives
We need to touch.
The world has never looked like this before. She considered this thought as she stood poised at the edge of the precipice surveying her dominion. Her robes caught by the wind fluttered softly about her. With a whisper, her white feathery wings unfurled as they enveloped her. She resembled a white luminous butterfly.
Samara scanned the multifaceted broken, blue expanse of ovoid space before her. She sought the light, signaling her next appointment. It blinked. She caught the blinking light and in the space of a single breath, she morphed through time and space. She was there.
Mortar shells exploded and crashed around her, the dark sky dark lit up with violent orange flashes. Her timing was perfect. Samara smiled. The old woman with slow and painful movements heaved her lumpy body out of the bomb crater. The tears from her red-rimmed rheumy eyes scoured dust trails on her cheeks. Her hands weakly fluttered as she sought to cover her exposed, bruised and broken body. Her eyes were focused on Samara’s face, the woman spoke,
“You have come, at last, I have waited so long. Why did I have to wait?”
“Your time was not right,” Samara replied. “I cannot come before your time.”
“Must I leave like this?” the old woman indicated her state of dishevelment. A mortar shell whizzed past exploding over ahead. The old woman screamed. She grabbed Samara’s robes, buried her face and sobbed;
“Am I doomed to stay here, like this, forever?”
Samara raised her up. Gently holding the old woman, she untangled her hands from her robes. Her soft feather wings opened and enfolded them both. The noise ceased, the crying stopped. She lowered her wings, a young woman stood in the place of the old one. She looked at Samara, this time her bright eyes filled with tears of gratitude. The young one spoke,
“I knew you would come, I knew I would be safe. I knew I was not afraid of death. I was afraid of pain. I cry for the place of my birth”
She placed her hand in Samara’s outstretched one, together they turned and walked away. Samara replied,
“We will both cry for Aleppo this night, remember this too shall pass.”