The Avocado Parade


Two by two they marched
down the pathway,
hands clutching
their precious treasure
tightly before them.

Two by two they came
down the corridor,
avo-green leaves
like a parasole, softly
swaying overhead.

And still they came…

Two by two…

Without any fanfare
Without any applause
They took their avo trees
and placed them, ever
so carefully down,
at the Office doors.

Hearing the swish of the cavalcade of feet, the quiet giggles and shushing, I rushed to my classroom door to find students trooping past in an endless stream, transporting over a hundred avocado trees to the Office.  They were donated as part of a fundraiser and were being delivered to a central point for purchasers to collect.  What a wonderful picture they presented and I hope these words allow you to envisage the scene.



I have spies at my house. There’s the feeling of being watched. The furtive grey shadow that peels off, just out of sight, when you turn to look.

That sense became real one day as I parked my car – when the shadow moved quietly into view.

It was my grey guineafowl –watching and waiting for my return! They’d never been so concerned before.

Knowing I was alone, it helped.

There they stood – a line of three musketeers down the path…pheeping softly as I approached, then moving ahead of me with little clicks. How I treasured their interest and care.

Now we have a little routine. They wait as a trio on the patio at the end of the path, grouped together as a welcome party. And if I’m late – I get a rousing chatter as if to say, “Where have you been!”

Whoever said that birds can’t talk!

Paint the Town Red

The hotel tower was red. It stood glistening and gleaming in all its borrowed red-light jewels – calling softly “paint the town red tonight”.

Red and effervescent, the tower shone like a torch- a column of energy blazoned against the jet black night sky.

It hovered like an overly tall dancer – full of passion and promise -poised on the shore ready to cartwheel across the bay.

It intrigued me. What a clever idea to get the city into mid-winter festival mode by transforming key structures into red show stoppers. I certainly felt like painting the town red as a result.


Weekend in the Country

We hurtle towards our destination
on bitumen
conveyor belts
the distance,
and time.
green paddocks
hemmed by clumping hills
zigzag-dotted with

Entering the gorge
we skirt the river
to hug the bare-faced stone
that walls us in  

We tango

to the very end

dramatically dipping

and spinning


the river closely –

It’s energy


to the very end


Transitioning – 

Arriving at last

Sunset at the Inlet

As the sun slowly lowers itself in a sheen of orange, the scene at the inlet is other-worldly in its peace and natural beauty.

The quiet waters of the inlet move insistently to shore, blown reluctantly into waves and ruffled like crocheted lacework, to hit with a slap and splash – over and over.

Bonsai-like paperbark trees emerge curiously from rocky ground to stand disorientated, like drunks caught in the headlights, unsteady and contorted into strangely whimsical sculptures.

Birdsong pervades the twilight air, from sweet chirping tweets to the cheeky chattering of the honeyeaters, who flit like arrows on GPS from tree to tree. Long-legged herons beat their way steadily across leaden skies, like heat-seeking missiles fixed on their final destination.

The ocean roars and thunders in the background like an orchestra below the stage, a cacophony of salt and wave…sand and shore – in a playlist stuck on ‘repeat’.

Ghostly reflections of paperbark trees haunt the edges of the inlet, while curious kangaroos pause, pricking their ears to listen. All will soon be still and silent, when the inky blackness of night arrives.

My OLW for 2022

This year it’s a hard one – what word should I choose to encapsulate what this year could be? What word would I like to live towards? What one word should I choose…? You see, that’s the point. So much of the last two years has not been about choice. It’s been thrust upon us. The uncertainties. The panic. The grief and loss. The fear, and smell of fear – even permeating the sanitising glass of the television. This pandemic has transformed life as we have known it – turning a Cinderella story into that of Frankenstein.

After tossing up words like perseverance and resilience, I still felt uncomfortable about living that way through another year. It did not sit well with me. I could not countenance a challenging year of having to bend and flex like a reed in a pond, holding my head above water, seeking the sunshine.

So, I choose instead to seek the good in the year ahead. I choose to celebrate the kindness of family, friends and random strangers. I choose to see the good in people’s faces and actions. I choose to welcome what comes with a ‘glass half-full’ perspective. I choose to live this coming year with my one little word – gratitude. That is my choice.


Whale Welcome

Whale Welcome

Nestled in the
crook of the arm
of the beach –
a whale
her calf
through the shallows.

Submariner of the deep
idly floating

Spray-spouting silhouette
flipper waves
from the sands.

A ‘clutch’ of joeys bring joy.

We groaned with disappointment as we drove up the dirt track to our favourite tea spot, only to see a woman carrying her ‘picnic’ basket out of her 4WD and placing it heavily onto the rough wooden table. This was our spot. This was where we always had a tea break on our camping trip down south. This hidden lakeside spot was a long-forgotten and seldom-used bush site a long five kilometers from the back road that we always used. Miserably, we climbed out of our vehicle as they carried yet another ‘picnic’ basket and placed it on the ground beside the table.

Strangely, my husband called me over to them – and reluctantly, I went. What a surprise! Inside the ‘picnic’ basket, four of the cutest little joeys sat tucked up, heads poking out of their man-made ‘pouches’, as their wildlife carer, Adriayn fed them their bottled milk.  Up close and personal, their little ears twisted this way and that, sensitive noses twitching in all the new smells, as they rubbed the tiniest little black paws across their faces, as they waited their turn.

Short grey fur was beginning to cover their lithe bodies, and I could not have been happier to be unexpectedly sharing a picnic spot in the bush with a wildlife carer, taking her lunch break with her brood, as she made her weekly 250 kilometre mail run to outlying farming communities!

That’s life in the bush for you, with all its unexpected eccentricities!

Whales Returning.

“The whales are back in the bay!”

I knew it before I heard the answer to my question. People straggling off the whale watching boat had that sloppy smile and dreamy-eyed look of those who’ve witness the awesome mysteries of nature!

“Two young ones – over there!” she said, and I felt it too – that silly smile sliding unbidden onto my face.

Our boat harbour is the last man-made launching point before the Antarctic – 6 000 kilometers away. And to think these gentle giants, ‘dinosaurs of the deep’, travel all that way to birth in our bay! It truly is a celebration.

The Velvet Chair

The chair spoke to me. It was nothing special, grand or new. It sat quietly at the back of the shop, out of place beside the newer, functional pieces around it. It did not scream out at me, “Pick me!  I’m what you need!”  But something about it drew me closer, to tentatively stroke the velvet seat and watch it gently rock. Softly, I heard its voice, “You know me.”

Like a key unlocking a memory from deep within, I saw myself as a young girl on holiday with my family at a guest farm, excitedly running into the Kid’s Barn filled with dusty books, ping pong table, piano, games and …chairs just like this one!  I’d snuggle into its velvetness,  rocking gently as I escaped into a book,  dust motes dancing in a shaft of subtle sunshine at my feet, before racing out to ride a horse or have tea on the verandah with my family as we soaked in the countryside. It was always an escape.- a place where time stood still.

Nostalgia oozed over me. I sat. I leaned back into its velvetness. Springs bounced under me as I stroked its smooth wooden arms. I closed my eyes and smiled contentedly as I gently rocked  “Yes, I know you well,” I whispered.