Sometimes I feel inspired by pretty much everything. This sounds like good news but actually I am so filled with ideas that I can’t focus on any one thing for long enough to achieve anything at all. It’s like when you go to the supermarket on an empty stomach and leave with a bag of rice crackers and an onion. Or like when your youngest child starts full time school and you feel spoiled for time but wonder what to do with it all until it’s gone and it’s pickup time again.

I write furiously in a notebook in case things get lost. But by tomorrow the sketchy scribblings often seem silly. If I suffered from bipolar disorder I imagine these inspirited rushes of motivation would be my mania.

Here’s what I got a bit manic about yesterday:

Home Readers

Boring little tomes they are. But today, I felt illuminated by my children’s home readers. Did you know that:

  1. Bees are especially attracted to blue and purple flowers. I am wondering whether I was a bee in a former life as blue is my absolute favourite colour. And because I hum a lot.
  2. Stinging nettle stingy thingies are as sharp as glass fragments. No wonder those bastards hurt.
  3. Children retain information more readily if there’s poo involved – my kids are telling everyone that birds eat seed and poo them out all over the place causing the spread of plants.
  4. A praying mantis can’t have sex unless his head’s been removed by the female. This was not in a home reader but just a weird, slightly funny-tragic, slightly girl power fact. And it’s nice to know some women don’t care about looks.

NB: The ‘wh’ words are a pain in the arse. Who decided to put the letter ‘H’ in who? And what for? When? Where? Why? Why is there no ‘h’ in was, went, were and willy but there is in whisper, whirl, whale and white? It serves only to confuse poor little growing brains. There is enough to learn without ‘wh’ words and spellings like ‘enough’. Enough already.

The people who made Weeties have the right idea.

Drystone walls

I’m always banging on about drystone walls and how I’d like my own. The other day I went to the gym and paid to punch a few bags for an hour or so. Then it dawned on me that I could get fit and build a wall at the same time. A more productive, less expensive workout is right at my fingertips and it will see me through at least the autumn and winter months and end with my very own wall. And maybe a bikini bod (if it isn’t crippled by then). And there’s the added bonus of me carting rocks out of the farm paddocks, where cows and machinery are likely to do themselves an injury. Brilliant!

My husband listened to my enthusiastic plans, said, “that’s a helluva contract” and then watched me pound away with a spade at clay soil infested with rocks. I tried hard to flex my muscles in his direction only I think he was too far away to see the weenie little things and he was possibly distracted by me slipping over quite a bit.

I blame Mrs Tiggy Winkle and those stone stiles, but there’s no going back now.

Indigenous Heritage

I am always pretty inwardly manic about indigenous culture. I have had moments of being vocal about it but never felt very comfortable writing about it or talking too loudly because I had no authority, no proper backing, no Aboriginality or real knowledge. I could re-hash stuff I have read or make up stuff from how I feel, but never had the courage to talk properly to anyone who knows – i.e. an indigenous person. Actually I did once phone up a central authority but was given pretty short shrift. I felt that maybe it’s just not my domain.

Then I heard two men on the radio talking about vaginas and suddenly understood how it must feel for Aborigines to witness a conversation about them between white people. I shut up. But I have wondered about the Aboriginal heritage of our country – particularly the bit of country on which I have built a house – ever since.

And today, I sat down with two indigenous Tasmanians and told them how I feel – that I have a sense of responsibility and a deep fascination for their heritage but am not brave enough to ask for fear or being disrespectful, condescending or just downright dumb. They told me that it doesn’t matter what I ask, that the asking is to them a display of effort to unearth their stories, and that telling their stories and honouring their ancestors is essentially their mission. So ask I did. The time we had wasn’t enough for all my questions but they have invited me to find out more. I am very grateful to have that permission, and more than excited.

See, manic.

Courtney Barnett

I heard this young woman interviewed on local radio and thought, what a cool chick. Then I heard her sing and I just thought, wow. I love her honesty and her simplicity. She might not be everyone’s cup of tea but she’s definitely mine. Cammomile and peppermint and all those ones that are really good for you.

Have a listen. 

This Little Piggie

La la laaaaaa!

Her name is Polly and she was a guest of the Bream Creek Show last Saturday. I like her very much.

That’s it. By now I’m only feeling motivated by my fatigue, and it’s pushing me toward bedfordshire. Tomorrow I have to decide what to focus my energies on and hope that I’m not struck by some new wayward bolt of inspiration.

PS to tired to edit, sorry for smelling mistakes.









This morning I overheard a conversation that has been troubling me all day. It went something like this (with made up names):

Jill: Will you do the MS Mud Dash with me?

Wendy: Nope

Jill: Why not?

Wendy: Do you really want me to tell you? (doesn’t wait for an answer to this question) Because Susan Smith has MS and I wouldn’t bloody support her.

Jill: But what about all the other people with MS?

Wendy: Nope, not doing it, neither’s Robert, he can’t stand her either.

Sure I was eavesdropping (as I’ve been known to do) and sure I don’t know the full story (Susan Smith with MS might be some sort of psychopath; maybe she made off with Wendy’s husband) but as nice-normal Jill pointed out, do we deprive the world of a cure for MS because God forbid that nasty Susan Smith might get her hands on it and get better?

I felt a bit sick. And completely repulsed by this woman. I wanted to be a long way away from her and as I said, this conversation has been bothering me ever since. I can’t really put my finger on why I couldn’t just write Wendy off as a silly old mole and forget about it. But I can’t.

I was about to do a boxing class and was able to take out my crossness on a punching bag which helped clear my mind somewhat.

I’m pretty sure Wendy doesn’t have a vendetta against everyone with MS, just that her narrow minded, reactionary attitude has potential negative effects against them all.

Narrow mindedness really shits me. I remember when the brilliant Falls Festival first talked about starting up it’s Tasmanian event in my district, half the community were up in arms about potential traffic issues and noise pollution. They didn’t stop to think that the festival had (and has since proven to achieve) potential economic, social and cultural benefits to our whole state, that it was bigger than Marion Bay, and that it’s worth sacrificing a bit of sleep and convenience. Incidentally, the ‘noise pollution’ I have experienced is listening to London Grammar live from my kitchen sink, and Paul Kelly live from my bath. Pretty hard to take but I managed.

I know there’d be countless examples of narrow minded selfishness negatively impacting our world. It can spawn all sorts of nastiness including racism, sexism and other forms or prejudice.

I think we should all monitor ourselves for selfish and narrow minded thoughts or behaviour. The world would be a much better place.

Who’s doing the Mud Dash? It’s a heap of fun and MS research is such a brilliant cause. Multiple Sclerosis affects over 23,000 people in Australia, with Tasmania having a higher prevalence than any other state.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system, interfering with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal chord and optic nerves. It is characterised by sclerosis a Greek word meaning scars. These scars occur within the central nervous system and depending on where they develop, manifest into various symptoms. – See more at: http://www.msaustralia.org.au

No one really knows what causes MS, and there is currently no cure. But there is lots of hope, particularly if people keep paying attention and helping (and knobs like Wendy pull their dickbrain heads in).

If you can’t get to the Mud Dash, which is on the 27th March at Redbanks, Nugent, then you can donate to MS research here.

Rant over. Be nice, think of others, nigh-night.



WHAT AM I? (Brush up on: Subcultures)

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I recently had 5 days in Byron Bay with 13 school friends. I loved Byron Bay, it’s beautiful and happy and sort of drowsy despite all the active-probiotic protein balls. But 5 days is probably my limit before I start morphing into some sort of ageing hippy. On the morning of day 5 – having fought off the anklet urge on day 2 – I was contemplating buying a kimono and an ear cuff. Time for home to my conservative farmer, my shirts and some normal.

But what’s normal? Does everyone reckon they’re normal even if they have wildlife in their dreadlocks and no shoes? Even if they have a Porsche collection?

On our last night (by then I’d ditched kimono idea in favour of a leopard print dress because I don’t know, somehow the Gold Coast had infiltrated my Byron brain – she’s a bossy old brass that Goldie) we chatted about the variety of subcultures represented in Byron Bay, and about subcultures in general. I had no idea, for instance, that there is a difference between hippies and hipsters. Everyone else at my table knew though, which makes me a dope. No one really knew whether we belong to a subculture though. ‘Housewives’ was suggested, which is probably partly true but pretty bloody boring. I want me a better subculture than that dammit. But which one?..


I’m told that hippies are less common in Byron Bay than they were a decade ago but I’m pretty sure I spotted some by the beach in the depths of a combie van. There were bongo drums involved. And some sort of smell. I fleetingly wished I was the sort of person who didn’t feel the need to brush my teeth twice a day, own lots of stuff and rip my pubes out with wax. But am I jumping too quickly into snobby stereotypes? What really is a hippie?

Evidently hippies are more a counter-culture than a subculture (because they reject mainstream mores and values as opposed to being a bit weirdo within the mainstream). They originated in the 60s as a part of a peace movement. They believed in free love (bonking whomever wherever whenever) and rejected the accumulation of wealth and material possessions. They quite like travelling about and altering their brain states with certain weeds and other substances. Sounds lovely if you’re wired up that way. I like my routine too much. And my shampoo. And my only encounter with marijuana saw me hide behind a chair because “OMG everyone thinks I’m a complete knob”.


Hipsters (also known as beardos) are apparently not hippies at all (durrr me). There are endless definitions of what one is but none of them involve dreadlocks. They include, “Young old people”, “Someone who is smart enough to talk about philosophy, music, politics, art, etc with you all day long, but not smart enough to see how big of a tool s/he is” and “hipsters are usually less than 5% body fat, drink copious amounts of coffee and eat children’s cereal”.

They are often affluent or middle class, left wing Gen Y’s who generally avoid mainstream trends and beliefs. They prefer artisan foods, witty banter and skinny jeans. That rules me out. I’m Gen X, I dig Taylor Swift and I quite like a food court.

Hipsters by Katie Brioux

Hipsters by Katie Brioux

And here’s another thing I didn’t know: you don’t ask a hipster if they’re a hipster because you might as well be asking if they are a pretentious prat. I cheerily asked the waiter if he identified as a hipster and my friends looked uncomfortable and apologetic (sorry about the Tasmanian farmer, she doesn’t get out much). He denied being a hipster, claiming he belonged to another subset called “Vagabond Backpackers”, whatever that is. (Google says squat which means he made it up to divert attention from his hipsterism. Save it dude, you have a frigging man bun and you’re wearing a scarf, jeez.)

(A thought: hipsters don’t know they are hipsters much like bogans don’t know they are bogans. What do I not know I am?)


My research shows me that there appear to be two sorts of feral and a bit of resultant confusion…

The counter-culture version that has it’s roots in extreme, radical environmentalism. I am dubiously proud to read that this Feral movement of the mid nineties originated in Australia, quite possibly Tasmania. These particular ferals can evidently be found living itinerant lifestyles, sleeping communally in squats or on acquaintances’ floors (“crash pads”) and occasionally living up trees as a form of protest. They tend to get about in politically-charged t-shirts or butt-arsed naked.

The sub-culture feral is actually an extreme bogan – welfare grabbing types who spend their time abusing people, breaking council trees and other random stuff, leaving burn out marks all over the roads and swearing a lot (ooh there’s a connection).


I have lived in the country for most of my life, I like animals, can change a tyre and have pulled out a lamb. I am married to a farmer. But that’s where my connection to the Rural Subculture ends. I do not wear belts with large buckles or ten gallon hats and pink shirts with RM William’s boots and pearls. I do drive a 4WD and I even have a ute, but I don’t sleep in them or use them to do circle work and they don’t have a horse float attached or enormous phallic like aerials. I really dislike Bundaberg Rum, I’ve never been to a B&S ball, I don’t have a sheep dog and I’ve never held a gun.

I wish I were a proper Rural. They are so much tougher than me. I feel sorry for sheep, cry a lot and am a bit scared of any horse bigger than my childhood pony. I would be so much more useful to my husband if I could take a calf from its mother, shoot a possum and eat chops every night. Real rurals are proper Australian stock and they don’t worry about trifles like pronunciation and fingernails.

I’m not a Rural, but I’d quite like to be one when I grow up. I have a thing for Keith Urban.


The stereotypical Emo is wearing bright coloured skinny jeans and has dyed black hair with pink streaks and a fringe over one eye. They listen to “emotional hardcore” (hence ‘Emo’) music and are angst-ridden and introverted. The subculture is a spin off of the music, which originated in the mid 80s and is characterised by confessional, heart-on-sleeve, air-your-dirty-smalls lyrics.

Emo I am not.


Goths are a bit of a mid 80s punk spin off. Like Emos, the subculture was born of the music genre, created by bands with names like “Dead Can Dance”, ‘Play Dead” and “Virgin Prunes”. They wear all black including black lipstick and nail polish. Ubergoths use white powder to add pallor to their faces. I’ve seen quite a few of them haunting about in the mall. I’d be a failure as a goth – I don’t like the mall, I avoid wearing too much black and I have a prune phobia. I also like smiling.


These are Young Urban Professionals. Stop right there, I’m almost 40, I live in the country and I have no ‘profession’.

Interestingly though, hipsters have been described as the new Yuppie. Yuppies are also aligned with preppies, Sloane Rangers, Valley Girls, suits and WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants). Alex Keaton (Michael J Fox) in “Family Ties” was a wannabe yuppie with hippie parents.

They have money, qualifications and suits. I didn’t see any yuppies in Byron Bay. Not one. I think they go to Noooosa.


There were plenty of these in Byron Bay and foof! some of them were hot enough to melt my popsicle and my heart. Go and have breakky in a cafe called Top Shop and you’ll see what I mean – we were in the surf scene waaaay over our heads there.  We all know what surfies are. I know I am not one because my house overlooks a pretty famous surf break and I never feel the urge to jump aboard its waves.

Surfies fascinate me though because their sport seems to be deeply spiritual, like a religion. And because they will ditch their girlfriend and steal a car to get to the sea if the waves are pumping. They will follow weather patterns like a veritable meteorologist and have their own music, lingo and fashion. They are inclined to tow the hippie line when it comes to marijuana.

They are also a pretty attractive subculture, perhaps on account of their high skill levels, their muscles and that bleached hair-tanned skin look. Perhaps because they are kind of unattainable – they will never love anything as much as they love the surf. Don’t fall in love with a surfer unless you’re one too; you will never win.

I’d like to be a surfie, they are so cool. But I’m scared of sharks (two people were attacked while we were in Byron, one fatally) and well, seaweed.



There are HEAPS and HEAPS of subcultures or which these are just a mere sniff (I wouldn’t sniff too hard at some of them). They are variously defined by music, political stance, beliefs, tastes, hobbies, occupation, fashion, geography or other factors. And I don’t seem to belong to any of them.

Oh my God, DO I NOT FIT IN ANYWHERE? Do I need to see someone about this?

I’m not a naturist (except in my own house), a swinger or a punk. I’m not a skater or a jock or a witch. I’m not into fetish or freaks or survivalism or grunge. I’m not queer or a body builder or an academic.

I am a little bit bogan and an uncommitted thespian. I am occasionally sporty (when I can’t think what to wear for the school run) and sometimes a (small brained) nerd. I have no set style (a little bit Byron, a little bit Gold Coast, a lot whatevs) and I don’t seem to be able to focus on one thing.

Oh gosh, am I defined by motherhood? I think I am. I am a MUM. Quick, find me a subculture, nothing too out there but something romantic and cool. I mean most people want to be normal but no one wants to be ordinary.

Here’s one I could fit in to with a bit of extra effort:


Bohemianism is “a person with artistic or intellectual tendencies, who lives and acts with no regard for conventional rules of behavior.” The trouble is though, bohos are supposed to have “few permanent ties” and are meant to be wanderers, adventurers or vagabonds.

Well, I have a vagabond mind I reckon, I can wander and have adventures in my head can’t I? And there are bits of my days where I have no ties. Just as long as I remember to collect the kids and don’t get too boho with the dinners.

I like the idea that I can surround myself with like minded people and immerse myself in art and literature. The fashion is pretty good too. Comfy looking, ethereal and colourful.

I could do Boho. There’s even a wikihow on how to be a Bohemian. I just need to create stuff, watch films, read books, challenge beliefs, become informed, express yourself, question authority, live for the moment, wear patterned cotton or gauze or silk, preferably with embroidery, get a tattoo (tick) and wear some noisy jewelry. TOO EASY.

I’m excited. I’m going to be the best Boho ever. Starting now. In this moment, which I am living for.

See you soon (you’ll know it’s me because you’ll hear my jangly bangles).



A special thank you to my dear friends who shared my Byron trip and who gave me such a lovely, laughter filled, few days. Thank you for fitting me in with you. Love yous all (oops, is there such a thing as a boho bogan? A bogo?)


I finished the above post late last night and before breezing off to bed (and to live in the moment), I went online and bought myself a BACKLESS CROCHET DRESS. It seemed like such a lovely, in-the-moment, spur-of-the-moment bohemian idea at the time. In the cold light of morning clarity-reality I am groaning, “Did I really buy a crochet dress?” Yes I did – I have the email confirmations to prove it. Have I learnt nothing from my previous attempts at reinvention? Now I have to wear it. Yes, if you see me in a crochet dress it’s because I am punishing myself. It is my hair shirt, doily style. No doubt I will catch it on something and it will unravel and I’ll be left standing nude and attached to the school gate. Or something equally me.


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I have just lost my grandmother. Already I hear her voice scoffing at my euphemism: “You didn’t lose me darling, I was right there, you couldn’t have lost me. I didn’t get lost or slip away or pass on. I just died, that’s all. I died.” That was her; always so tell-it-how-it-is-you-look-tired-darling-and-your-eyebrows-need-work.

But she is lost to me. It is a huge loss. I have had her for nearly forty years and now I don’t. All that time she was always there with a tim-tam and some straight-up advice. And while she was tiny in stature, she was sizeable in presence; and she has left a very large hole.

Losing grandparents (to death, as opposed to the temporary wandering off kind of losing) is not an uncommon business, it is pretty low on the scale of perceived bereavement, particularly if it is ‘old age’ that takes them and it is expected. A week ago I might have agreed with that, even said that a quiet fall from perch would probably be a blessing given the state of her health and quality of life. Today I say bugger that it’s no blessing and dammit I want her back. I want the vibrant, prickly, devoted, funny, opinionated, loving woman that she was in the days when she squeezed fresh orange juice every morning without fail and ensured the brass was perfectly shined. I want more of her hilarious, often shocking truisms, the ones we are still talking about, the ones I can’t talk about here because they might involve obscenities and improper sentiments – all so incongruous with her elegant presentation but not with her character once you knew it.

But that’s just being selfish I suppose, because while she said she wasn’t ready to go, I think she was. I guess I hadn’t thought that she might not stand up straight again and ask me to help her fold the sheets. That she might not look me in the eye and direct me to use less mascara. That she might not go to another party, have a few too many Champagnes and send out a few home truths. That she might not outwit a roomful of intellectuals or go shopping at Max Mara.

But I guess once you’re bed ridden and you’ve stopped eating there’s really no going back. I knew that but it was too sharp a thought to dwell on. That one day soon her heart will stop beating and she’ll never tell anyone off for poor grammar or laugh uproariously or be the best dressed person in the room ever again. Ever again. At least not in life.

In glorious, orange-squeeze-scented memory she can though. All that and more. That’s why I write about her here – not out of obligation or guilt or even sorrow, but for the memory, because she deserves to be written down and read by strangers. Because people say we are forgotten after just two generations and for my dear, spirited granny, that is simply not good enough. She is not just another granny dying, none of our grandparents are. They are stories that need to be told and told again and told well.

I will tell her well, not quiet and pale and ill as she was toward the end. Just as we have told her stories in the days since she died. Just as my mum and her brothers told them to us all at her funeral last Friday. They told her funny and stylish and feisty and loyal and well.

While her face may fade from the memories of my children, they will know her stories forever. And in honour of those stories I will keep my eyebrows shaped and my mascara light, I will laugh loudly, live vehemently and never be afraid to be me.

Pamela Mathwin Emily Friend 19/10/25 – 19/02/15.





I’ve been in a semi-homesick state for a few months now, which is dumb, because I am home most of the time. But in what I guess is the pit of my stomach, mixing it up with various enzymes and comistibles, is a tightly tangled ball something I can best describe as homesickness. Or maybe wistfulness? Nostalgia? Homewistalgia?

I don’t need a psychotherapist to tell me the reasons why – leaving a beloved house, approaching 40, my baby starting full time school, my parents leaving the family farm, moving schools – all in a few months. It is normal to feel weird. It will pass. Just a little too much change.

Change can be a sad thing but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It makes me look at things differently, I feel things more, I notice more. Things resonate. Happy tears spring into my eyes more often, just as sad ones do. A bit like a poet, or a dying person maybe, or someone in the throes of early love.tiggy tiggystile

When I was little my mum bought us a copy of Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy Winkle. I spent hours gazing at the pictures in that book and wishing I could go to that village in the mountains where Lucie lived. I wanted to wander along hillsides and clamber over stiles. I’ve always had a thing about old fashioned clotheslines and the smell of ironing (clearly not good grounding in feminism). I named my daughter Lucie, with that same particular spelling. Places with hillside paths and stiles and old clotheslines, beautiful places or memory places or places that stir something in me like pangs of nostalgia or wistfulness or awe, they are my Tiggywinkle place. tiggyclothes In my current state of homewistalgia, there seem to be tiggywinkle places everywhere I go. A Celtic spiritualist would perhaps refer to them as ‘thin places’ – places where the boundary between heaven and Earth is especially thin. I don’t know about heaven but I do believe we all have – for whatever reason – our own thin places.

Mine are everywhere, and if they’re not I’m homesick for them, or wistful for the ones I’ve never seen. It’s exhausting and a bit of a waste of energy really. But I guess it shows we need difference so as to avoid indifference.

But anyway, I am herein resolving to stop all the wallowing and focus my energy into turning our new househedgehog into a tiggywinkle place. Must look up a youtube tutorial on how to build a stile. Before I do though, today I put some of my wallowing energy into a poem about homesickness. Here it is, then I’ll move on. And maybe get a hedgehog.


There’s a late summer blackberry, warm grass smell

And the faraway toll of a Sunday bell

And the spun-gold glow of the sun as it fell

On the flickering leaves of the trees

As they dance in the morning breeze,

To the drum of the nearby seas.

It’s the call of a gull on the dive to the blue,

And the laugh of a child with her hat all askew,

And the wist of my heart as it knows what is true,

That it’s past time I made tracks for home,

Enough of this being alone,

It’s time for returning home.


WHEN THE MOON WAS LATE (A story by Bess, Lucie and Meg, Illustrated by Bess and Lucie)

One night, a long, long time ago, the moon didn’t rise.

She was full fit to burst and bright enough to light every way, but still she didn’t rise.

Masked Owl by Bess

The masked owls shuffled in their nests, waiting to fly by the moon, but even by nine she was nowhere to be seen.


The wombats peeked from their holes and grumpily snuffled in the dark earth, but still she didn’t rise.

The bats blinked into the sable sky. Upside down stars blinked back in bewilderment. But still the moon didn’t rise.


The joeys scrabbled impatiently in their mother’s pouches, longing to unfurl. But still, the moon didn’t rise.

The echidna sadly scratched his way over rocks and wondered where in the dark his family could be.

The possums twitched their noses impatiently. They could smell sweet-eating roses but had no light by which to find them.

The moon, meanwhile, had spent the day busily baking blueberry pie. She had all good intentions to eat a little each morning when she returned home from her light work. But it had smelled so delicious that she couldn’t resist just a tiny try; then another smallish try and another largish slice, until the pie was all eaten up and she was fuller than ever a moon could be.

Blueberry Pie by Bess

Having been so busy with pie making and now so full from pie tasting, the moon felt very, very sleepy. “A quick snooze is in order”, she thought to herself. “It is not yet five”. And so, with a quick glance at the sun still well above the horizon, she closed her eyes and slept.

Two hours later, as the sun slipped out of sight of the world and the sky blushed pink to grey, the moon was still deeply sleeping, dreaming blueberry dreams and snoring ever so softly.

By half past nine, the hungry, restless animals lost their patience. They raised their heads to the horizon and called their night animal calls into the shadowless dark. The owls hoo-hooted, the wombats squeaked, the bats screeched, the joeys whined, the echidna sneezed and crashed through scrub and the possums rasped and squealed.


The moon’s blueberry dreams were rudely disrupted by a cacophony of night noise. Her eyes sprung open to black night and instantly she knew that sleep had taken her well beyond dusk. In a panic she bounced from her clouds and sprang into the sky as quickly as her fullness would allow.

She was puffing by the time she rose above the horizon enough to see her friends the night animals gazing up at her in relief. Or was it shock?

“Holey Moley” and “What in the world?” The night animals would have called if they could. Instead theypossum silently stared, their little mouths agape. Even the possums were still, though the roses were glowing in blue moonlight.


Yes, the swollen, giant bauble that was the rising moon was neither silver nor gold but a gleaming, perfect blue.


The owls flew through the blue beams in delight, the wombats drank thankfully from a shimmering pond, the bats swooped and played in the glittering trees, the joeys stretched and tasted the strange blue air and the echidnas nuzzled together in the phosphorescent night.

The possums thanked the blue moon as they nibbled the sweet petals of a teal-tinted rose.







So school’s back in tomorrow, which means that I might be able to keep my cool for longer than two days. Two days being about the longest time between some small person doing something to warrant an icy blast of my lost cool.

I have spent the last bit of holidays covering and naming all the school books AND sewing name tags into the uniforms and MAN I am pleased with myself. I know, I SEWED, I am a SEWER (ah no wonder they came up with seamstress).

And I used those good ol’ Cash’s name tags that Mum used for us a hundred years ago, the ones that have a perfectly embroidered name on and invisible subtext that reads, “I have a very excellent mother”. I’m just itching to parade those babies around at school pickup near the permanent marker/iron on mothers. I was one of them once (last year and probably next year).

I didn’t use contact on the books though. Fuck you contact – and your bubbles. I have found and fallen in love with SLIP COVERS. I just have to slip my book inside those darlings and in about 20 seconds I’m done and ready to move on to sticky labels. It’s a beautiful thing. Contact would display more dedication though.

I did cover all the books in patterned paper before I put the slip covers on so that makes up for the short-cut-covers doesn’t it? Last year I covered the books in brown paper and let the children stick pictures all over them. My son stuck a picture of a dead kangaroo on one of his and my daughter used a picture of money and a bottle of gin. So much for letting them express themselves. This year the control freak in me took over and the result is fairly respectable and road-kill free. They were allowed to choose the paper and press the print button on the label maker but I was hovering and vetting.

Because after all, this book-covering, name-labeling business, along with lunch-making, uniform washing and hair-doing is mostly to do with my child’s well being and NOT LOSING ANYMORE JUMPERS but also to do with how it reflects on me. How many times have I hoped the teachers won’t notice how many pre-packaged items of food are in my children’s lunch boxes or that some renowned earth mother won’t see the contents of my supermarket trolley? How many times have I been tempted to tell everyone I see that the children’s lunchboxes contain zucchini slice made by me? (Oh that’s right never, because they’ve never had zucchini slice made by me in their lunchboxes. So yeah.).

I wish I could say that I don’t care what others think. But I do. This whole raising kids thing seems to have a clandestine competitive edge. I see it often and sometimes I catch myself running for the front.

Anyway, all that aside and despite feeling all self-satisfied over my sewing and covering, this year’s back to school time is giving me a sinking-in-the-tummy feeling. My youngest child is going to big school, 5 days a week, and the pre-school/kinder what-shall-we-do-today-maybe-nothing-or-maybe-we’ll-bake-a-cake-and-eat-it days are over. I won’t have my little attachment anymore, no more food-court lunches for two on a Tuesday or gardening together days or pushing the pram to the bus stop to wait for the others. No more one-on-one with my baby. No more baby.

A lot of the time she gave me the shits but still, now at crunch time, I want her to give me the shits for longer. What if I didn’t make the most of it? What if I hurried about getting cross too much and won’t remember any of it? Did I smell enough roses amidst the boring bits (and poo smells)? In another minute I’ll be wearing a boucle suit at her wedding and lamenting myself sick.

I guess I’m catastrophizing because this year I also turn 40, which makes it a wholly catastrophic year really. I don’t want to turn 40. That’s half of 80. And I still haven’t worked out what I want to do when I grow up, which is kind of okay at 30 but laughable at 40. 40 on top of 5 free days a week means that I should stop fannying about and get serious about something. With a child at my heels I could legitimately wander about all day achieving not much except making sure she’s safe and happy and growing and warm etc. I could get my nails done now and then or go out of our way for a milk shake and do a bit of writing during sleeps or catching up with friends in the park. I can’t do that stuff on my own when it’s only benefiting me and when I should be being productive and when I’m FORTY.

I’m told being forty means you stop worrying about what other people think of you and start getting real. So maybe this is all wasted anxiety. Maybe I’ll wake up on June the 3rd and wonder who the silly woman was who sewed all those ridiculous name tags on when you can iron the bloody things on and spend the extra time getting your nails done. Maybe I’ll see through all the thirty-something’s look-at-my-homemade-parsnip-chip-please-think-I’m-brilliant behaviour and surrender with pride to the okay-I’m-a-slack-mum sprinkle sandwiches and hasty ponytails.

Maybe I’ll decide never to grow up, go back to uni and get my belly button pierced.

Maybe I’ll have another baby – I mean I don’t know much else anymore and isn’t 40 too old to turn your hand at something new? Another baby could buy me a few more years.

Oh God no, I won’t have another baby. That was just a fleeting, knee-jerk reaction to this upcoming year of potential crisis and anyway, I never want to experience that late pregnancy, “I have a foot in my lungs and I think my rectum is falling out” feeling ever again.

Maybe I’ll just relax, embrace the changes, make the most of the last of my thirties and remind myself just how short the school day is.

For now I just have to go to bed. It’s a school night after all.







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