Sunday, 30 June 2019

What will your verse be?

I've been away this weekend. A friend of mine who has been a minister for 37 years was retiring and I wanted to lend my support.
Amanda's most recent posting was to Glen Innes, 570km north of Sydney and though she won't be retiring in Glen Innes, that is where her retirement service was held.

I was up at 6am to catch an 8am flight but fog had rolled in over the Sydney basin, stopping landings and delaying flights. We finally took off close to 10am. I haven't been on a regional flight before so it was something different. We were bussed from the terminal to the plane, the captain met us at the bottom of the steps and there were only five on the flight.
I watched the landscape for the whole flight, it gave me a different perspective on my state and is one of the reasons I love flying. We landed in Armidale where Amanda picked me up for the hour drive north to her town. The countryside was brown and dams were near empty. There were cattle standing on the railway line and a few 'roo carcasses on the road. The area is known as a pretty part of Australia and I can see the attraction but frost damage and ( more so) drought,  is hitting hard and I had to use some imagination to envision it at it's best.
Amanda's house was cosy with a log fire and her precious plants placed indoors for protection from the cold made it feel like a conservatory. We chatted over lunch and I had a small nap on the couch as she wrote her farewell speech.
Hugo the dog amused me. In stark contrast to Harry, who is most definitely a self described  INDOOR DOG, Hugo is very much a self appointed OUTDOOR DOG. He slept on the brown grass and resisted all attempts to let him in by the fire. It was only after we came back from dinner at the Dragon Court Restaurant and temperatures were about equal to a fridge, that he decided to join us indoors and he put himself outside again first thing in the morning.
This morning we went to Amanda's church where the the atmosphere was warm and friendly. Amanda's friend Lillian made the formal recognition of her career and service. Amanda responded with a thoughtful reflection on her vocation and the woman who oversees all of the churches in the area preached. It was a two hour service but it was full of good music and heartfelt reflection so the time passed quickly before the ladies of the local Lions club served a simple lunch of pumpkin soup and sandwiches.
I asked around about who might be travelling south and managed to get a lift back to the airport with the minister from a town two hours away. I have never before made such a bold move as to ask a stranger for a lift (well, there was the time I went to the US to meet my blogging buddies but that story has been told) but there was plenty to chat about and I got out of the car feeling that I had made a new friend.
I arrived at the airport 2 and a half hours before the flight, looking forward to a coffee and something to eat. I had something to learn though, there is nobody at a regional airport so long before the flight. The only people in the terminal were two helicopter pilots. The cafe was shut, there were no passengers, nobody at the check in desk......
the lovely new terminal was mine to enjoy. And so I did, watching the sky and chatting on the phone until there was more life.

A lovely, light filled terminal

Big skies and coffee in the winter sun

Sunset over the airport

A hand written boarding pass!

Let me leave you with the quote Amanda chose for today:

“We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

N.H.Kleinbaum Dead Poets Society

Amanda's verse is love, joy & service and I don't see retirement changing that.

Sunday, 23 June 2019


After the whole dog incident, I was browsing Facebook marketplace in a casual but ongoing search for a rug to put on our cold floor. There was a cream, gold & navy one listed at a price I could afford and I asked keaghan if he could accompany me to go look at it.
Keaghan thought I could find one cheaper in a charity shop he visited last week so we took the twenty minute drive to Sutherland.
The rugs there were horrid but we mooched around. I like poking about in the crockery and Keaghan found an ironing board to replace our broken one. I made an impulse buy: a poncho on my favourite shades of purple, aqua and pink. I guess I don't need a poncho but I have a very big weakness for pretty fabrics and it was $10.
It was 3pm and time to fuel up so we dropped in to the ramen place next door and I had my first ever bowl of ramen. It was super delicious. So yum.
We spent a lot of money for a cheap rug we didn't actually get   😂😂
And I was grateful I could.

I messaged the seller of the marketplace rug and by the time we got home and set up the new-old ironing board he'd messaged to say he was available.
A quick stop for cash and off we went. When we got  to Auburn he was standing outside with some mates who were just leaving. "I'm Javid" he said as he shook both our hands. The rug was laid out on the drive where he had washed it. It was still damp and Keaghans fastidious nature was deeply impressed.
I bargained a few dollars off the price which Javid was good naturedly firm about.
He helped to roll it up and stow it in the car, shook hands again and bade us farewell. Javid was a Hazara man and the Hazara value their rugs so I hope we weren't buying a cherished rug to finance next weeks food.
It was a wee adventure which enriched my week.... Or maybe my month.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Who'd have 'em?

I don't do much on most saturdays: a load of washing, a few dishes (or a lot) a bit of shopping maybe and a coffee out somewhere.
Today was different.
Early this morning I was on my way out and Millie slipped past me, through the gate and down the street...
by the time i found her she had "viciously mauled" a tiny dog. The owner was screaming hysterically about the two drops of blood on her dog's chin and a by passer had stopped to save the day.

Anyways....I apologised: profusely, seriously, grovellingly. I thanked the by passer. I offered to pay the vet bill. I apologised again. More. Sincerely.
Then the owner accused me of standing and watching as she was attacked. The by passer left. I gave my address and phone number and asked to see her little dog. She declined and rushed to the vet.
An hour later I phoned to ask about the dog. There was no reply and none an hour after that. Eventually a text came. The dog was "clinically ok" but the vet had treated the owner for dog bites. Interesting. Do vets treat people? I didn't see any bites. I'm sorry, I said. Send me the bill. The bill didn't come but she wanted to know if Millie is vaccinated. Yep, she is. Then came the promise to call the council about the uncontrolled dog. Eventually a corrupted file came. I asked to have it sent again. Tomorrow she said. Then came the message saying the dog (the clinically ok dog) might need to go to the vets again and the vet didn't shave the dog because the dog didn't allow it.
I'm starting to feel like she's enjoying this, sending veiled threats about her completely unhurt dog and her own injuries which were not immediately visible or treated in a medical facility.
This is a drama I don't need. Do you think the invoice will ever come?