life

When this was built at the Mountain, I never imagined it would have to be moved. But it has, twice. There was no way I was leaving it behind anywhere, but the last time was too much for it. The beach pebble chimney survived its cracking, staying vertical and attached. But I had to patch […]

This is an extract from The Woman on the Mountain, Chapter 18, ‘Snakes Alive and Dead’, . ‘Once, when I was about nine, Dad and I and the leech-burning neighbour were in the bean paddock when we noticed a really big black snake sunning itself on a log beside the track. The practice then was […]

This is an extract from Chapter 16, ‘Let the sun shine’ in The Woman on the Mountain. It was also included as a stand-alone piece in an anthology by Catchfire Press called Stories for a Long Summer (2006). Summer once meant glorious, golden sunshine, for outdoor playing and swimming, from sunup to sundown if we […]

There have been no posts for a while as I’ve been immersed in the chaos of moving house again. This time — the absolute last! — it was to a rural town, where I share my block with this Tawny Frogmouth, one of my favourite birds. A quiet, retiring, serenely beautiful bird, with ‘eyelashes’ to […]

The sun on your knees, a view of birds and bush… who’d want an indoor loo? This sketch and extract is from The Woman on the Mountain, Chapter 14, ‘The Simple Life’. ‘Contrary to popular mythology, the simple life is not found in the country but in the city, where you simply pay your bills […]

This drawing was meant for Chapter 12 of The Woman the Mountain, ‘While the woman’s away…’ which is mainly about the wildlife moving in and taking over when I wasn’t there. Here’s the relevant extract about one of the ultimately futile attempts to keep them out… When the rain finally stopped, I began fortifying the […]

Few modern parents would allow their children to take the risks that I frequently did to get to school in weather; well, perhaps they still would in the country… From The Woman on the Mountain, Chapter 13: Wet and Wild By the time I was thirteen I was used to our farm creek flooding, when […]

This sketch was intended for Chapter two: ‘Getting out of jail’, of The Woman on the Mountain. We lived here, in a village of 200 people, for 10 years before we went bush; both my children were born while here. ‘It would be hard to imagine a more extreme downsizing to a 3 x 4-metre […]

The time has come for me to leave another beautiful mountain area. After only two and a half years here, I am not embedded in the country as I was at my Mountain, which owned me for 36 years. I still grieve for the loss of the Mountain. I had thought four acres would be […]

When you step out of your ute in a Macdonalds carpark (yes, I confess: a rare last resort!) you don’t expect to be eye-to-eye with a prehistoric creature like this. It was most uncomfortably perched on top of a harshly pruned hedge, as spiky as itself. I think it’s a water dragon but there was […]

Back in my old Mountain home, the verandah grew a living green blind each summer, blazed red and pink in autumn, and leaflessly let in the sunshine all winter. Naturally, I took cuttings of this Ornamental Grape to bring with me. They survived the trip and the transplant and here they are flagging their first […]

As you see, I have moved from what was my mountain and its range to a new set of mountains. This is what I woke up to the very first morning. So I (and you) can look forward to many good sunrises. I am tucked into the side of the hill in this mountain-ringed narrow […]

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