Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Revegetating the Wasteland

When I posted this picture of my 'garden' last June, I had already started the process of making something out of a pretty sad, nothing.
 I started by ddeveloping a track diagonally down across the face of the 'dropoff', so that I could get the wheelbarrow down to the lower level.
This is the 'track.....

See...the wheelbarrow goes down the track...

In this photo you can also see (squint!) the little plugs of pigface I stuck in all over the face of the drop off, to see if it would 'take'.

Yes, you really do have to squint.....

I planted these little bushes along the fence line. They apparently grow to 4m high, although they've got a long way to go.....

 And I put in a few agapanthus rescued from my neighbour's rubbish pile, just for good measure.

You can just see the pigface starting to 'take off' in the above photo.

 Anyway, by the end of the summer the garden was starting to look like this....

 And then winter came....with soursobs....

In winter in the Adelaide hills, you can just about forget gardening. These insidious weeds take over everything and in some ways it's a test of the resilience of your other plants. If the soursobs don't choke them, they should be reasonable stayers in your garden.

I engaged a gardener through the winter, to spray the weeds and lay down some mulch, mostly in the front garden as it is a more manageable size. At the end of winter he came and whippersnippered all the knee deep soursobs in the back garden. Unfortunately he also took out two prostrate Jasmine, a Nandina, two Clerodendrums and all my alstroemerias.

Undeterred I decided to start 'terracing' the drop off, with the sleepers left over from the stairway demolition.

And now it is starting to LOOK like a garden.

Meanwhile up the top...

I started to attack the weeds and improve the soil  ready for planting.

A friend gave me a few cuttings and I fastidiously sifted the soil to remove as many of the soursob bulbs as I could.

This is what it looks like now...

Sadly the gum leaves are an ever present disadvantage of living in the hills. Sweep them up one day and they're back the next.

By November, this is how my garden was looking....

The top half is starting to look more covered (thank you pigface) and the alstroemerias had recovered and are starting to add some much needed colour. A strange white pipe had emerged through the  bank however, the terracing was rough and unfinished and my path was starting to disappear as soil washed downhill every time it rained.

 So I've been hard at it this past week, trying to finish the terracing (in a very amateur, girlie fashion. They'll probably end up halfway down the hill after a good rain...) and planting up more succulents.

 Path before...

Path after....

Still got a ways to go I'm afraid.... but ooh! I forgot to tell you about the 'art' my sister Smokey Jo gave me for Christmas...

I'm planting little succulents all around it so eventually it will be emerging from a bed of greenery...

The bottom of the garden remains a separate story, dependent as it does upon my getting the retaining walls around the lower shed attended to. That will involve heavy equipment so I am mindful of not planting too far down as it will all be trashed eventually.

A for those little guys along the side fence? Well, they've still got a long way to go....

But let's just remember, 12 months ago.....

And now.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Nothing Gold Can Stay

On the Monday of the last week of school this term, two of our former teachers had babies. One was a miracle baby, born after a long, prayer filled battle with infertility; the other a honeymoon pregnancy conceived without struggle. One lived. One did not.

Surprisingly, it was the honeymoon baby who visited only briefly, leaving a hand-print on the hearts of her devastated parents; parents who had been told that she was not well designed for this world and who chose to faithfully trust and prepare for her arrival anyway. The reality of her fleeting 6 hour visit has left them broken.

I question the wisdom of their miracle seeking faith. To me, if God had seen fit to let me know before hand that this baby was not going to live, I would have taken that information and prepared myself, and the people around me, who love me, as best I could. Is it not miracle enough that we can see inside the womb and see the truth of things? But I am wrong to make this judgement. None of us can know, with certainty, what we would choose to do faced with the shattering loss of the 'yet to come'.

I'm feeling a certain guilt that several of us, who were privy to the possibility, have discussed and pronounced and shaken our heads in disbelief at this couple's decision to believe. I am torn between the 'well, what did they expect?' and an angry awe that their faith was strong enough to allow them to take this road, ending as it did in such savage loss.

And it has connected with a loss in me which I have been feeling for some time now and had been unable to name. A loss which comes to me in dreams of a knobbly kneed laughing girl with freckles and golden hair, calling for me across a garden, or down some stairs, or past the faces of her friends in the school yard.

Because, as guilty as I feel for having had her for longer than 6 hours, she is indeed, just as devastatingly, gone.

And it doesn't stop me dreaming of her, and waking with wet cheeks and a hole in my heart because the reality is that her grown-up self is separating from me; ever so gradually, piece by piece, moment by moment, as inexorably as the rolling seasons.

Of which this grief, is one.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Back In May.......9 To 5

I cannot give this place up. Look at me, back here after months of absence. It's like a guilty pleasure. I don't even know who I'm reaching anymore, but heck, I do love journalling...even if it is months after the event.

So back in May I took part in my second show with The Met, '9 To 5'. Yes, as in Dolly Parton.
I didn't know anything about the show when I went to the information night and as I'm not a huge country music fan, I was a little dubious. Listening to the director talk about the show and the characters, I was caught up in the excitement and, listening to the song for the character I thought I could play......I was even more convinced.

I didn't get the part I wanted, but I did get my second choice, the office lush, Margaret.

That's me, the fat chick on the left in the wig......

This role was so much fun. I got to choose the wildest 70s clothes I could find, that Margaret may have put on blindly in a 'morning after haze'. Check out my faaabulous green eyeshadow while you're there......

This photo disturbed me when I saw my double chin but, you know what? We are what we are nowadays! I even got to play with a real typewriter! What a flashback...... 

The fantasy dream sequences saw us 'dancing' like complete twits.......

And I got to 'emote' furiously in the background whilst having minimal lines to remember. WIN!

I loved playing around with attention to detail. A number of people said "Do you know you've got your buttons done up wrong..." until they looked me in the eye and went.."Oh, right....On purpose...I get it"

Here's a bit more 'emoting'.....

As a bonus, I got to play the cleaner in the hospital scene. 
Knowing she had to cover a complicated scene change at the end, the director asked me to mop the stage back and forwards until the office had been set up again. After all, there are cleaners at hospitals AND offices....
My wicked heart leapt at the idea of being alone onstage with a mop...with no direction....haha! 
The possibilities...heh heh hehh....
Until the director said..."oh, Arizaphale, while you're there, do something funny..."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THE PRESSURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To my delight (and surprise), I got applause each night.
I didn't actually do that much, so I guess I must just look funny.
Either that or some audiences are easily pleased.....
I actually think I was channeling my grandmother in this scene.

That's her in the middle. What do you think?

But all this unattractiveness was ok because at the end of the show I got to 'go to rehab'  and come back on..almost unrecognisable!
(This was dress rehearsal and I eventually got my own hair to behave a bit better by wearing a wig cap under the hideous wig....but I'm sure you get the idea.)

To my astonishment, I usually got a round of applause for this transformation too! 
Audiences here are too kind......

I had such a lot of fun on this production. I remember standing in the wings during the opening to the final show and offering up a silent prayer of thanks for, the opportunity to do, this thing I love. I also made the decision, at the 'after party', to finally, after all these years, take singing lessons; a journey which is bringing both grief and joy and tearing away a whole bunch of preconceptions and inhibitions.....

Buoyed by this experience I auditioned for a role in the next production, 'Bye Bye Birdie'. I didn't get it, which in years gone by would have totally destroyed me, but, I am a wiser girl who actually trusts God to put me 'where I need to be' nowadays. I have a lot of stuff going on at work at the moment. There are opportunities for change which could have a far reaching positive impact on my ministry to children with Learning Disabilities. Additionally, I needed a rest. Sitting here now, 5 months later, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I am not currently in the frantic lead up to production that would rob me of my upcoming holidays and the clear mind needed to consider a plan of action for systemic change.

I have signed up for the SALOS Christmas concert however! Low stress, a bit of fun and an outlet for the creative show off in my soul..

I'll hopefully see you sooner rather than later folks!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Ten Years Later

I am becoming very reflective of late. 

It is ten years since I started this blog. 

This is what I looked like then.

I was recently married, full of joy, excitement, and looking toward the future.

 Ten years later  
I am still full of joy and looking toward the future. It's just that a significant part of my time is caught up in dealing with pain. My own and that of others.
There is the pain of my own aging: sciatica,  tennis elbow, cataracts.
There is the pain of watching those you love gradually exiting this life.
There is the pain of seeing your beloved child struggle with a plan for their future.

Ten Years Later

I am on my own again.
I am saddened by failure. I am  relieved by financial security.
I am not looking for another partner.

Ten Years Later

I love my job.
 I love the progress I have made. I know I should be able to do it better. I think I may finish my working life here.

Ten Years Later
I love love love my house
I know how much more love it still needs.
It fills me with joy every day.

Ten Years Later
I am back on stage.

So that's good.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Taming The Wasteland

When I bought my beloved house, and I do mean beloved, my one reservation was the garden. And I use the term loosely.

I mean.... it is more of a wasteland....

You see I'm on a slope and the garden drops off at an alarming rate. No-one seems to have done anything with the space except let gum trees grow. And weeds.

And as you can see, the fences were not overly secure either.....

I had one way down to the shed at the lower level, exiting onto the street below.

Now, the handrail was pretty indeed. But the stairs were dodgy.. These few look ok but...generally the tree roots were causing havoc with any constant level.

When I went off to the UK in September I listened with interest to the reports of storms and blackouts in my home town. I was pretty relaxed until I received this image.

One of my gracious gums had given up the ghost and sighed out of life across my staircase.

Sadly, this is what remained of my staircase:

Not pretty, or safe! So I started the old insurance procedure around recovering for damages caused by fallen trees. Getting someone to quote was a nightmare but finally a very nice man came and gave me several options. In the end, this is the one I went with:
I've got to say it's a massive improvement. Still got a bit of planting etc to do but I am excited....
Hopefully we can look to taming this wasteland next year....

Wish me luck.