Friday, December 27, 2013

Crackers and the Dynamic Duo Being

It's got so hard for me to keep my blog going. Do I really want to keep telling you what I do each week? Do you really care? Is something that happens any more significant because it's seen?
Maybe it is, to anyone creative. Zara and Biscuit, the Dynamic Duo, have been caught out here eating crackers. What sort of dog or cat eats crackers? I don't know. I was feeding them to the birds. But then Zara got interested, and then Biscuit got interested.
 It's got to be a little bit unpleasant here, what with the temperature getting to 38 degrees Celsius, but NOTHING can stop a dog and a cat in need of some action. Faisal meanwhile is sitting down under the shade of the mulberry reading Australia's best newspaper, The Age, a newspaper that never veers to the left or the right but keeps an open mind and an open heart.
Zara nibbles. Biscuit nibbles. We're all crackers, in some way or other. I will have to keep the blog going. The wind is blowing out there. Soon it will get hot inside the house too. Me, I nibble on hope, hope that everything everywhere will turn out fine. And with two little crazy crackers such as these two -
- I know that it will. What I get to see, which photographs fail to capture, is the unending playfulness between these two. Never has either of them been hurt, but to see them chase about, you'd think you were watching World Championship Wrestling.
This then is my back porch. The little girls are growing admirably. We must love, must we not, wherever we are, whoever we are among?
It's too easy. Gardening's hard work and I sometimes couldn't care less if what I do gets noticed by anybody. What I care about are the lives around me, which, to me, never die.

Monday, December 16, 2013


As I write this post, I look out my window and see again that neighbours in the court opposite have let their two bunnies out to nibble the verge. Zara is entirely unaware of them, so far, for she and Biscuit and I have been frolicking out the back...
 ...where the grass has been allowed to grow. Hang on a minute - it's been allowed to grow all over the place! - but that's a lawn-mowing story.
 I'm not always a big fan of 'cute', but everyone weakens somewhere among the flowers -
- where thrilling adventures are to be had.
It helps to have a partner, someone furry, inquisitive and wide-eyed.
There may of course be occasional procedural differences...
...but on the whole not a second is wasted. At least you'll get some sort of glimpse of my garden, which glimpse I've been avoiding out of sheer embarrassment. It's more the sort of  tangle of a place you can run around in, tail flying, than the sort of elegant composition that will ever grace a magazine.
And that's enough for me, now, just to know it can bring delight, that it can be the stage for delight.
And speaking of 'cute', you can see above why I fell in love with Zara, can't you?
By the way, despite madcap rough and tumbles, neither of the gals gets hurt. So I'm allowed to turn my back on them and get gardening, without anxiety. And that makes it a frolic for me too!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's the Little Things...

My back door is really where everyone enters, so it's there I've stuck my bay-leaf Christmas wreath. A bit amateur, not much bling...
...but bling would fade quickly here. I have to introduce you to the third party in our playtime, as yet un-named. Did I say 'playtime'?

Sad as it seems, unemployment is my preferred state, or, to be more accurate, my default state. There was once a time when bookselling mattered everything to me. I worked for many years at the first children's bookshop to have been opened in Australia, in 1960: The Little Bookroom. It was regarded as one of the best in the world, and it's still going well, under new owners. I loved it immensely, despite the hard work, and I had no plan to get ahead of it, for I was already where I wanted to be.
But here am I now, fluffing about all day, making vases of flowers, parenting a kitten and a doggy. Here, in Melbourne today, after a couple of days of cold and heavy downpours, it's been 20 degrees ( my favourite degrees ), the sun has been beautiful, there's been no wind, and I know I really don't care very much about what they call working, though I'm not supposed to say that, and in truth, I have been 'working', in my own way...
...just as whatshername is.
It's not much. I can't pretend to be a gardener of repute. Mostly, days in the garden are a sort of mucking- about thing I do because it's about all I CAN do. Why is it, that among all the people I know, I am the one who's failed most successfully to have anything like a normal life? Who is missing some sort of ruthless ambition? Who's been blessed with the chance to play? For play is essential for life, isn't it? I played about with some flowers on a door-step today, one of only a handful of skills I possess...
 ...apart from dog-loving. Zara and Our New Kitten are hitting it off wonderfully. Oh, these little things, they mean more to me than being rich or being someone or being noticed.
Not every day, of course, is as easy as this. Ever since, as a little boy, I used to bring my mother home flowers I'd picked, I feel a certain path was already laid out... isn't always about being right or being on top, or being enviable. It's just about BEING. Our puss-cat with the mauve-olive eyes and a rubber ball to toss about, would totally agree. It's about BEING and it's about being happy, even if there aren't any consequences.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Five ( or Seven ) of Us

I have a batch of old slides we all used to watch in a darkened dining room. And at last I'm getting them converted to photos. I'm on the horse, with my elder sister and younger brother and my Mum and Dad, c1963. It doesn't seem so long ago and I can vaguely remember the day at a property of friends of my parents in Templestowe, outside of Melbourne, now a sprawling suburb. Gee up, horsey!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Lost in Space

My main point in writing this post is to suggest that the landscape can offer a more beautiful outlook than what most of us contrive in our gardens.
I'd decided to head out to the country today, on the train, about an hour north of Melbourne, to see a little somewhere I'd like to live in. Believe me, if you are wanting to head off to a lively little country town, do NOT head off to Kilmore East... I did.
A hamlet, I'd call it, Kilmore East, without a single shop, cafe or pedestrian ( well - there was me ). Home to retirees, the real reason to visit is to wander beyond the housing, beneath its surrounding rolling hills.
This, to me, is already a garden, but it's not, of course. It's a bit of country land, mowed by just-visible sheep. You see, as I'm getting older, I really don't want to have a garden at all. I want to transplant myself to a country landscape where nature's done/doing the work.
Did a clever stylist plant this? No, it just happened, here on the roadside, a bit out of Kilmore East, on Sunday Creek Road. 
This COULD be a deliberately planned garden-scape. Fortunately, the garden-makers of much of the land I saw today haven't yet stuck their toxically-bright bits of geometrically logical exotic flowerdom into this peaceful bit of paddock.
In this grove of Eucalypts burnt by bushfire but re-growing mops of leaves, I see a troupe of dancers performing a delicate dance. Did they need a human director? No.

Having tucked into my lunch, here in a one-time former bus shelter - almost the only place in Kilmore East  to sit - with the prospects of both the human imprint and a broader native amplitude before me, I've decided we gardeners could do well to just let nature take its course...instead of poking and prodding it into a malformed drudgery of weeds and alien aesthetics.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


We thought we'd bolt down out the back, Zara and me, to see Neddy and Zippy.
The cold and blasty weather is finally gone.
The car hasn't been starting up without a hiccup - well, OK, not at all - for how many years is it Zara?
Besides, the sun's out, it's Sunday...
...Neddy and Zippy are frisky. We haven't seen each other ALL week and Zara needs some nifty equestrianism...
"Put your foot in the stirrup, Faisal, and let's get a wriggle on!"
"No worries," I confirmed,
somewhat prematurely. One minute I was legs skywards
and the next I was face in the feeding trough. Zara, of course, is too loyal to laugh...
...but I'm not so sure about those horsies. Wasn't that some sniggering I heard?

Friday, November 15, 2013

He Goes for It

It concerns me that I don't altogether do as much with my blog as I'd like to. Sometimes it's circumstantial and sometimes it's motivational, the reason I let it slip - as if it weren't adequate to my needs, or as if it were a pain -
 - but having Willy Wagtails pirouette, I remember what got me here.
For as long as I remember, being able to see something beautiful when it seemed like others only saw ugliness, when I could see order when others could only see disturbance, was a quality I understood wouldn't perish.
Out of the rocks and the foliage, on all of her legs, the beautiful Zara apprehends her part in the day;
a bit of rope on the side of a ladder waves itself out, though it knows it holds a ladder together.
A photographer, such as the one seen here, has had a painter in his house and has had to move furniture around to make room for the process of painting. The painter is supposed to be making an improvement, but he may be only making a change.
If you look closely enough you can see two little beaks pointing out of the Willy Wagtails' nest. Their lives, as are all lives, the multi-layered lives, are lived in trust that the good will return, whatever change is afoot. Though I am technically wingless, I shall go for it.