Over another Hump

Monday, June 27, 2005

Winter Morning

Winter Morning.
I live in the desert uplands of Queensland. Days are generally beautiful but it does get cold at night. I am a chicken, I admit, when it comes to getting up on these frosty winter mornings and pretend I am asleep until my husband gets up. I have this misguided idea that once the air has been circulated by him it will be warmer, something along the same idea that once a newspaper has been read it is no longer crisp. It doesn't work but I do get my coffee made for me.Today was particularly cold and I knew I had my least favourite job to do. I needed to organise the fridge before we went shopping. That meant that it had to be done while my husband was out of the kitchen. He does most of the cooking so I had to get him motivated and up earlier than usual. I arose first.In search of my slippers I made my way across the icy vinyl in stockinged feet. My extremities were already stinging from the frosty air and the floor was as slippery as a skating rink. Mollie, ever an opportunist, tangled her body around my walking sticks and head butted me in the direction of her empty bowl. Beneath soft damp fur her solid body belied the plaintive hunger cries as I opened the fridge door.My hand encountered sticky residue from a late night snack left on the milk carton, garlic chicken obviously, then fumbled for the tray of cat food. Yuck, there it was, the lid had been left off again. The jelly-like substance clung to my hand, chunky and offensive . I took both containers to the sink and wiped them down, relishing the warm water running over my fingers while the cat rubbed my ankles. Her purrs vibrated against my tingling, slightly blue calves as I spooned the sloppy muck into her bowl.When I turned I knocked the milk carton. It flew from the counter and milk splashed over my socks, cold and slightly oily, before spreading over the kitchen floor. A white disaster. The cat seized her moment and began lapping, her rough tongue doing its best to save the precious fluid at my feet. The floor-cloth, damp, rough and gritty, soaked up the residue while my bones creaked in complaint at the early morning work out. I crunched the waxed carton and forced it into the over full trash can then continued my search. The day must improve...

Friday, June 10, 2005

About Me

I am a retired secondary school teacher now living in Central North
Queensland, Australia, in a small village with a population of 21.

The population has increased by 9 in the eight years we have lived here.

I began writing just before I retired as I knew I would have to have something which would involve me constantly or I would become a difficult old woman. I started writing articles and short stories then wrote and produced a newsletter for the area (500sq kilometres) but seem to have drifted to poetry and flash fiction in the last few years.

Lately my poetry tends to be more nature oriented but I am trying to open up my perspective. In between these activities I am writing my memoirs for my children and grandchildren. Probably the following piece will give you a better indication of what to expect.

Some people still say I am a difficult old woman. ;o)

Self Portrait.

I am a Leo,
I am small,
I was born the year of the Snake.
I had red hair
I think that tells it all.

Like the Snake,
I slough my skin
to fit each role life offers.
I like to be in charge -
I know that says it all.

I am independent -
pig-headed -
but at times I do concede
if there's a better idea.
I try not to say it all.

I'm a mother,
I'm a wife.
I've survived both roles
being a Leo and
having red hair.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Day's Doings

We drove to Charters Towers yesterday. We had to be there by nine so left just before 7am. Of course we had to take Minnie (our Peke dog) with us. We don't like leaving her for long now as she is getting very old. She knew it was shopping day and whined until she was in the car.
The sun was just over the horizon when we left. I'm glad Frank was driving. The visor was no good for me as I was much too low. That meant that I didn't really get to see the sights until we took the appropriate bends when the sun swung from the right to the left. On a predominately straight road it is amazing how many times the sun changes sides.
When I could see out the windscreen the view was mystical. Morning mists mixed with dust. No wonder the aborigines talk about dream time. This blanket of mist lay over the tree tops and deepened in the gullies. The sky above was clear, lemon on the horizon then lime green a little higher until it blended with the autumn blue. We have the best Autums here.
The drought isn't so bad to the east. I counted three dead kangaroos between here and Charters Towers. Going west last week we counted thirty dead kangaroos in a ninety kilometer stretch.
On the brighter side we saw a flock of over twenty brolgas in the same area. I haven't seen so many together, not even when we first lived in Mortlake, Victoria. I had been worried because I hadn't seen the couple that I saw regularly at Homestead two years. I hope this is a good sign.
We left our winging Minnie at the Vet's. They look after her while we shop, all gratis, as they don't like dogs being left in cars - and they know we are good customers. Minnie loves it there and they think she is funny because she is always so full of herself.
Fortunately we did not have to wait for Frank's teeth for long and by noon we were almost finished our chores. Frank could even eat proper food, so we had a lovely counter lunch, finished the last bits of shopping and picked up the dog. We were home by three - the first time for months.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Newbie at the desk

Okay, so I have finally taken my courage in both hands and am attempting to set up this blog site. Until a couple of months ago I had never heard of blog. Now it seems exciting and a place to voice my opinions on how the world works. So far I haven't discovered how to post my photograph, but I'm sure I will eventually weave my way through the dos and don'ts of blog designing. Until then you will have to wait and wonder.

One of the reasons I have attempted this challenge is because I wanted the world to know how beautiful this area is where I now live. Over time I will tell you about this little village in outback Australia and how we discovered it. For now I will just leave you with one of the reasons why think this place is special. Oh I'd best warn you that the fauna around here fascinates me.

Outside My Window.
The relatively cooler weather has brought the Happy Jacks back. The first indication of their return was the plaintive 'meows' of Em, our ginger cat, asking for asylum on my bed. Em is noted for conspicuous cowardice in the field of battle and sees retreat as the better part of valour.

This morning there was a noisy group (there's usually around twelve) of these birds outside my window and I watched them fighting over some choice morsel. Several were perched on the fence, shouting advice to their mates on the ground. Occasionally one, overcome with excitement, ran over the backs of the others to find a better vantage-point. They ignored him and kept shouting advice or insults to their peers on the ground.

A cat appeared around the corner of the house and the birds took chase. The cat, running sideways to keep the birds in view, scooted into the house. The Happy Jacks ran around the back door, calling encouragement to each other. "Ha, d'ja see her scoot? We showed her wa'fo." "C'mon, wuss. 'ave another go - dare yu!"

These plain, almost ugly birds fear nothing. They sit on my clothesline as I hang out my wash and chatter away, enjoying the rotating line as I move it around and talk constantly to me or their mates while my cat sits under my stool to protect me. "Don't you dare poo on my clean clothes," I scold. I'm sure they understand because they never have.

Happy Jacks are clever. They have a highly organised clan system and their vocabulary is complex, with obvious 'conversation'. I watch them give instructions and gossip to each other, or insult and intimidate another group that dares to infringe on their patch.
Once we fed the birds but the Happy Jacks chased other birds away from the feeder, even had the nerve to come inside to tell us when the seed was gone. They gave my husband what-for when he went to re-plenish the supply too. We felt we were endangering their natural environment (and us) so stopped the supply.

I have spent hours watching one group kidnap another's young. They do this in a devious way. laying on the youngster's curiosity, kidnappers attract the youngsters attention and inveigle them away while the diversionary team picks a fight with the parents. Confusion reigns and kidnappers retreat with new blood lines.

And I go back to cleaning house...