Friday, 28 October 2011


From the safety of the top of the telegraph pole, the pair of territorial kookaburras must have thought my morning walk in the rain somewhat hilarious, and not what someone should be doing on their patch at this early hour. At least they were courteous enough to shut up while I walked past, then proceeded to have a light hearted snicker once my back was turned.

On the second lap of the village they took off from the fence and returned to their vantage point to have another chuckle, so I politely enquired as I passed what was so funny, reassuring them I had no intention of invading their space. Obviously not what they were expecting, for they took off to a safer distance where they had a right royal guffaw at my expense.

Didn’t think I’d do a third lap and suffer more humiliation. Wonder if they have chats with their mates over lunch up some tree somewhere, comparing notes on who they’ve picked on today.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


Not only did my favourite armchair offer up my lost engagement ring today, but several hours later I got up at what was obviously a very opportune moment after watching Doc Martin, arguably the best thing on the box at the moment. Came back with some munchies to find a huntsman spider trekking up the back of the chair and stopping right where my head had been just moments before.

With uncharacteristic bravery, and to make sure he also wasn’t go to find a hidey hole in the chair, I grabbed the nearest cloth, dumped it on him, scrunched him up in it and deposited him at the bottom of the back steps in a shriveled heap, where I was pleased to see he didn’t uncurl to his former glory. Fortunately he wasn’t full grown, probably a teenage huntsman, and like most teenagers getting walloped with a teatowel was probably an appropriate means of discipline.

Not to be outdone, on the way to bed I spotted a suspicious character lurking on the ceiling in the passage. Fished him down with the broom, gave him a thorough inspection as he was decent enough to sit still, only to discover my first white tail spider of the season. He ended up squooshed on the laundry floor. They’re nasty little fellas, have no compunction in disposing of them.

Which reminded me of the incident the other day when I picked up my track pants which had ended up in the bath where I’d left them after my last morning walk. The plan was to head out again, when something caught my eye. Gingerly opening the waist of the pants there in all its innocence was a house spider, not a monster but big enough to cause trouble. Must admit I was kinder to him and shook him free outside, as I wasn’t go to be held responsible for what the neighbours may have seen if I’d got halfway round the block and felt something crawling up my leg. Could’ve been an interesting sight over the morning coffee.

Please, oh please don’t let all of this mean I’m going to have another summer of confrontations with our eight legged fellow creatures. The summer of two years ago is still fresh in my memory, adding to my long history of not quite arachnophobia but arachna…something, and I’m trusting today’s incidents are not the instigation of the insect kingdom’s revival of its hit list out on me.

I guess all I can do is live in hope, and arm myself with surface spray.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


I wasn’t in mourning yet, but by this morning was wondering if the object of my search would ever be found. After 41 years, my engagement ring which I have never lost sight of, was missing. Well, not technically never lost sight of, as I do take it off every day to give myself a daily grease and oil change with moisturiser otherwise nothing on my body feels right. But, and therein lies the mystery, it has its designated spot where it sits quite happily whenever it’s not on my finger, and it can often sit there for several days in a row as I don’t always wear it every day.

Come Thursday morning, I went to put it on as I was heading to town, for I feel only half dressed with just my wedding ring on, and lo and behold ‘twasn’t there. Hmm. Went to the one other spot in the house I sometimes put it when piling on hand cream after doing the dishes. Not there either.

So, since then I had turned the house upside down, the car inside out, emptied my desk at work, looked in every likely place as well as countless unlikely places, gone through every bag, every pocket of anything worn in the last week or so, even if it’s been through the washing machine, the washing machine itself, pulled out the bed, moved furniture, pulled furniture apart, you name it I’d done it. Had even returned to the same places again...and again, in the vain hope it would suddenly appear where before it eluded me.

Even went through the kitchen scraps for the neighbour’s chooks, that was no pretty task, amazed how quickly things can grow fur when they’re not in the fridge. Next step was going to be the vacuum cleaner, which I’d empty, then vacuum the place thoroughly in the hope I’d hear a little clunk going up the tube. I knew it had to be in the house somewhere, so in the end decided not to stress about it but pray it would present itself and surprise me when I least expected it.

Fast forward 5 hours……..

Have been out all morning gardening in our village green with a bunch of friends, beating back the weeds which are determined to take over, beautifying the place a little. Have just come home, had a long cold drink and plonked myself down in my armchair to see if there was anything on the idiot box worth whiling away a couple of hours so I could put my feet up and recoup my energy.

And what happened? You guessed it. I simply put my hand down and there, tucked into the padding of the seat of the armchair which I had pulled apart yesterday looking for the thing, was my prize. Never have I been so thankful and relieved to retrieve what I thought I might never see again. Do I have any recollection of putting it there? Absolutely not.

Ah, God is good, for I reckon he cares about the little stuff which for me was kind of big. Even though Bob passed away more than eight years ago, my rings are just as precious as when I received them, but I think I had to come to the point where I let it go before I could be led to it at the right time.

‘Tis now on the finger, right where it should be, and all’s well with the world. Well, my little world anyway.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


He discovered in that remote little schoolyard in Combienbar several species of native ground orchids, not the flashy “look at me” sort which people go to great pains to put on show, but the humble bush variety. He’d never noticed them before, and for most of us we can easily go our whole lives without spotting them, for they blend into their surrounding ecosystems on which they depend in such a way as to go unnoticed.

I have memories of trudging up a rainforest mountain on our honeymoon in search of some rare species, countless bushwalks where Bob would point out these hidden delights on the forest floor, only to be left wondering what he was looking at. You have to train your eyes to see them, and once you do, you suddenly get it. Here are these amazing little plants, some of which don’t even get any further than ground level, with the most intricate flowers in all manner of engaging shapes, hence such descriptive names as spider, donkey, bird, mosquito, lizard and tiger orchids, greenhoods, pink fairies, red beards and the list goes on and on.

So, now that spring is here, ‘tis orchid season again and for the first time in a while I escaped from the office for a couple of hours and headed bush with some friends to see what we could find. The Poatina bush has just the right conditions for these little beauties to thrive, and with each species flowering at a different time over the next few months we managed to locate quite a number of nodding greenhoods and an abundance of bird orchids.

It wasn’t until I transferred the photos on to the computer though, that I spotted the insect on the greenhood. I hadn’t seen it at all when I took the shot, so I was really chuffed to make the discovery.

It felt like God’s gift to me that day, a reminder not only to take time out to appreciate the natural beauty around me, but a reminder that sometimes we need a different perspective to see what’s really there. There are times when we need to take a step back, not so we can retreat, but in order to be still, refocus and see things more clearly.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


Had the luxury of digital TV last night after getting my grandchildren to bed. Thought I’d settle in for an evening’s viewing I’m usually denied as my own idiot box is still the 4 channel variety, but what did I discover? I had about three times the choice, and I went back and forth several times, but there was still nothing worth watching. Surprise surprise! With just over a year to go until the government demands I drag myself out of my antiquated system, I think I’ll wait until then for the privilege of having the choice of more crap to watch than I already have.

Instead, of late I’ve been working through the BBC series From Lark Rise to Candleford, which still hasn’t arrived on Australian screens. An absolutely delightful portrayal of English rural life in the mid 1800s as these working class and middle class communities come to terms with the inroads of progress on their rhythms of life just outside of Oxford. Character development, script and direction are so well done, the Poms have such a good track record in this genre.

Oh well, until the ABC screens the next series of Downton Abbey, 4th series of Lark Rise here I come.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Early Spring is known for its turbulent weather here in Tassie. This time last year we were without an entire section of roof on the motel in our village following probably the biggest storm we had experienced in the sixteen years I’ve lived here. This year though the winds have been a little kinder, but dramas of another kind marked this first month of spring.

My granddaughter Bella is a devotee of all things pink, but scarlet does not fit in that category. Looked like she was coming down with the flu right at the start of her recent school holidays, until a rash appeared, so off to the doc, whose quick diagnosis of scarlet fever courtesy of the coated bright pink tongue meant a trip to the hospital was also on the agenda.

Armed with an arsenal of antibiotics and rehydration supplies they managed to avoid a hospital stay and any procedures Bella definitely didn’t want, and she eventually recovered from an illness I had associated with such times as the Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution when people used to drop like flies due to lack of medical treatment.

Not to be outdone my son Kris chose the first day of Fusion’s annual conference to miss a sharp turn on a narrow country road in the dark in the rain, and came a cropper through the fence over the ditch and into the bank on the other side (the dirt variety, not the sort with money). His first accident in almost twenty years of driving, his greatest concern was for their dog who went from the back seat to the front in rather rude fashion, but apart from some nasty bruising from the seat belt, he was none the worse for wear, albeit somewhat shaken and stirred.

Poor old Stirling, the car that is, has definitely seen its last ride, and was duly driven into the sunset the next day on the back of a trailer.

Which brings me to the conference itself, a time when the wider family of the community organisation I have worked with for many years get together to share what has happened over the past year and look forward to what is next on the agenda. This year was somewhat different. It was obvious that in the past couple of years while we have had two different leadership structures, we have also needed to reexamine the roles and expectations of our leadership, not only to make life more manageable for the people in those roles, but to see our work flourish as we go about the business of working for transformation in local communities.

It was an interesting exercise to say the least, and one not taken lightly, as we really had to go back to grass roots and wrestle with who we are as a movement, what are we about, and how do we work into the future in such a way that we all get there in one piece, and none are left behind. It was great to see resolution come over a period of days as a new constitution was brought into being and a new Board of Trustees elected.

Maintaining a sustainable lifestyle is not a simple thing in this complex world we find ourselves, and when those we love are sick, injured or hurting the tendency when we have so much on our own plate can sometimes be to distance ourselves from the problem rather than lending a hand. Fortunately, and I do mean fortunately, challenges staring us right in the face are much better dealt with than avoided. Caring for those who need us, and sharing the burden instead of expecting someone else to do it all brings its own rewards.