A FLOWER FOR VALENTINE, THIS DAY

My grandmother’s mother gave birth.  The boy she grew and nurtured ended in France.  Launched into the trench, his name letters on a wall in Ypres. An internal examination with my obstetrician.  Nine months pregnant with a baby boy in arms the next day.  The man-child, caught on the cusp between, not much younger. Now […]

A POSTCARD FROM PARADISE

We evicted the python and moved into “Paradise” during the wet season.  Three weeks of solid rain.  Now we’re watching the grass grow, literally. For a country residence it needed work to make habitable, though plenty call it home. The world’s nocturnal croaking frog population camp outside our bedroom window.  At breakfast they handover to […]

Flowering

My three year old self wanted to be a flower. Couldn’t my mother, a keen gardener, just plant and water me somewhere with sufficient sunshine? No one explained ‘impossible’. Later I fell under the spell of orchids. Imagination loved the bee, native wasp and ant seduced by appearances, deranged by design and wrapped up in […]

THE CROSSING PLACE

A sepia postcard dusty with time and fingered edges flaking inside the metal tin. Lifted free the scene lives. A scent of horse and sulky, guided by a driver in pale dress and petticoats picking their way down the muddy incline. Weir-edged, the pooled water mirrors a ruffled scene. Framed by trees sentinel in paddocks, […]

BONDI BEACH-ITIS

Sydney had a temperature. Bondi Beach waved, beckoning. Ignoring thousands of pale bodies packed like grilling prawns on the sand, she feels the soothing cool water on hot skin and tastes the familiar saltiness of the Pacific. Offshore the incredible chattering of the masses at play rises cicada-like. Emerging, her senses are assaulted by foreign […]

SANTA PROBABLY DRIVES A RIDE-ON MOWER

  The high drone with mosquito-like insistence heralds summer mornings in the suburbs.  Swarms of garden elves are firing up. “All I want for Christmas… is my neighbour’s whipper snipper to die!” – the accident and emergency doctor’s wife. Further north the sentiments are more explicit: “Neighbour getting busy with his mowing and whipper snippering […]

A MOSAIC OF EX-PLATE

Walking to an afternoon’s ocean swim through the beachside car park, two children and their mother skirt a flower of smashed ceramic, crunched by passing wheels into a smattering of small angular petals. What was once a china plate decoratively mosaics the grey bitumen.  White pieces glinting hard-edged in the sun. Daughter observes that her […]

Reasons To Leave Widget: Drought

The cheese factory cuts production.  Not enough milk to buy.  The white stuff costs more than unleaded petrol.  It’s cheaper to buy the girls that line up with shrunken tits a few long-necks after work than it is to get a load of water in.  Widget’s running on empty. The cows bat their long lashes. […]

Reasons to Leave Widget: Flood

When the Tuross River rises it sucks at the undersides of the timbers of the old bridge. Confused vegetation and stiff-legged, waterlogged cattle wash out of low paddocks where the fences are down.  They lodge in the crossbeams of the timber trestle.  The detritus of the countryside eventually sidles past the trusses. Away. The knobbly […]

Leaving Widget

The first post office was down on the river flats at a place called Widget.  Then the roiling brown floodwaters flowed through the main street.  The mail couldn’t get through.  There was no point ‘digging in’, especially in the face of a natural paddock top-dressing. The railway line remained high and dry throughout.  It was […]