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Fires They Are A Burning

Fires they are a burning, churning, disconcerting,

Mother Nature’s fury learning, earning the respect.

Respect the big and little, one’s age-twelve, do not bear

When they light a fire, bring in ire, make things dire,

Bringing lost love close to the wire…

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Do you know what a Tractor Pull is?

Well, neither did I till I went to the Woodstock Memorial Show. It’s LOADS of fun, really, something you’d never see unless you went to a country show. You’ll find yourself cheering and holding your breath as if it were a neck and neck Holden-Ford Grand Prix. You must do it.

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Is this The Lucky Country?

Once there was a place, Australia was its name

And being the Lucky Country, was its claim to fame.

It was girt by sparkling sea, golden soil across the Isle,

Land of opportunity, wealth for toil, an easy smile.

This land abounded in nature’s gifts, beautiful, rich and rare,

But as I stand here and look around, I see none left to share.

For in this lucky country, it is clear the luck’s run out,

The blessed life of abundance, is replaced by one of doubt….

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SOULWATER

My firstborn chokes and wheezes. Watching her, my soul is strangling inside, like a twisting, sucking drain. 

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We sit on the sand at Shelley Beach, in the heart of God’s Country.  With us, is my twin sister, Sky – the two of us born on The Second Day. And, our younger brother, ‘Man, born on The Sixth Day. Our pain bleeds over my child as we crowd in, rendered inert by her struggle to survive.

My name is Salty.  I was born Maya, so named after the Hebrew word for ‘Water’, but I have never heard that name on someone’s lips refer to me.  Legend says I was a cranky toddler, the constant lowly understudy to my twin, Sky, with her air of grandeur and endless possibility. By the time our brother could speak, he had nicknamed me Salty – which means a little bit cranky, a little bit too sensitive.

Nowadays, I try hard to be less sensitive.

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My Villagio

Once you go through that whole process of the growing and the getting out of a baby, you’re then expected to rear it. Oh, look, I’m what’s called a mother…!

Amidst copious other advice, you will hear, often, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Usually at this point in the diatribe I was either taking a secret micro-nap, or I would hear “blah blah blah blah”.

The Village was something that probably happened in another part of the world – the Villagio.

I did not have myself a circle of women who sat cross-legged on the dirt in the centre of our village of huts, just waiting to change my baby’s nappy. There were not 50 over-experienced great, great aunts at my disposal, nor a specified nursing mother who would feed my baby if I couldn’t be bothered, not even a witch doctor to make the little turkey sleep. No army of womanhood hovering in wait.

“Is that a sleep potion you’re making? Please?”

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The Marvellous Mammogram

The marvellous mammogram, I had one today

Here’s my assessment, which way will YOU sway?

It squashes a boob, this way and that

To stop The Big C from having a crack

I’d heard that it’s painful and awful and crude

That your nipple is pinched, you’re stark bollucky nude

No wait – that is breastfeeding, for the very first time

A mammogram’s joyful, compared to that crime

So my chest bits were mashed, in all funny shapes

And you are a bit nude, so don’t stack up on cakes

I think that it helped, when squeezed by these traps

To have a history of babies who’d drained the ole baps

They were flat as pancetta, malleable as dough

For once there’s a positive, to boobs that hang low

Hurt? Not a bit – not a bit nor a bob

And certainly not like a mastectomy op

So come on my ladies, trip off to BreastScreen

And have you a mammogram, to keep your boobs clean.

Renovator’s Dream

house 4

Renovating: Along with death and divorce it is touted as one of the most stressful things you can do. I think I agree. Here are some things I’ve learnt over the last 8 years of renovating our house:

  1. We survived. Like Stuart Diver, buried under 3,500 tonnes of rock and mud, we survived.
  2. We stayed married. And, no animals or humans were harmed in the making of this house. Just.
  3. Finishing is better than Christmas as a 4 year old.
  4. Communication: Building companies – please use this tool. It is more important than your nail gun – a gun which, when you finally turned up months late, I was perhaps tempted to see in a new light…

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Curing the kids: The Woodstock Country Show

If you ask me would I like to trap four whingeing children in a long car trip, my answer would be “Thank you, but I’ll take the Chinese water torture”.

However, last weekend we did just that. As we left Sydney it didn’t take long for apparent third world-type starvation and cries of persecution about no devices allowed, to kick in. But as we drove into the beauty of a setting sun over rolling fields of cattle and sheep and the space opened up, so too did our excitement at our weekend ahead. We were off to the Woodstock Country Show.

We all breathed in a deep breath of healthy lifestyle as we arrived at Woodstock – a pretty, spotless village of 250 people.

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Diana

Today, 20 years ago, Princess Diana stopped me in the midst of a furious time to teach me a lesson. I was creating high pressure on everyone near to me, as I worked on an entry for some international fashion awards and putting too many hours into a job writing about clothes. It was all so important, you know.  I had a self-indulgent mini breakdown about it all, which would see my competition fashion piece hurled out of the garage where I sewed, and past my mum who’d been helping me thread beads and pacifying me with cups of tea. But death stops the clock in more ways than one.

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Camp Cramps

There are all sort of parents in this world, and you see them at the school camp drop off.

Those who are whooping their way out of that bag drop, punching the air and screaming “Look out silence, HERE I COME!”  They wave enthusiastically at a tinted window their child could be behind (but who would know), knowing everyone is going to love this little break.  As they smile kindly at a tearful mother and feel they should place a gentle arm around her shoulder, they are trying really hard to think as quietly as they can – “YES! SLEEP IN’S, WINE FOR DINNER, NO WEE ON THE TOILET SEAT, BED AT 6PM, AND NO SOCCER PRACTICE WOOHOO!!!”

There are those who are late for the bus – and they are the ones who are never, ever late, apart from this day. Somehow in the lead up, whilst packing for an 11 year old on a commando course (because we do that all the time)…

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Fairy Sparkle

There is a woman walking around in this world, and specifically on our great barbequed continent, who has earned herself an Order of Australia Medal for making people feel happy.  In this day and age of the overwhelming sadness which is a suicide epidemic, of people with their faces stuck to the unreal, animated screen of a phone every second of the day and addicted to the weird act of the selfie, doesn’t that seem a very opposite thing to do?

I thought she be worthy of a story!

The woman’s name is Fairy Sparkle. She lives in a gypsy caravan, and dresses in silvery fairy wings, a gorgeous shimmering crown, a fluffy puffy fairy gown and wanders the café cultures of Sydney with loud bells tinkling. She cares not what people think of her living her life, no lapses, as a real fairy.  Here she is. 

FairySparkle

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Hip Hip Hooray! #HealthyHipsWeek

When I was young, I would curse my hips because they wouldn’t make my legs and feet turn out like my amazingly beautiful ballet teacher. If they would only do their job then I would look just like her – despite the fact I had brown short hair, was a plumpa-lumpa and nothing like her 6 foot tall willowy goldilocks.

When I first entered high school, my hips were the place I used to roll my uniform skirt up and over, so that instead of the hem reaching that daggy spot mid-calf, it flew somewhere above-knee. Then, as beach-going became the mid-teen activity of choice, I became increasingly interested finding and exposing my hip bones. Ultimately, I decided that there were none in there and continued on eating.

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