Category Archives: Writing

Computer troubles overcome:

Having been off the air for some time, I forgot to mention that my beloved contacted a firm to help me resolve my computer problems.

MacKeepers are a firm who assist Apple owners resolve their problems remotely. I had lost use of my iPhotos and not being resourceful and wanting to go out of my way, instead found other things to keep me occupied, rather than fix the problem. The first man to help lived in the Ukraine. By paying rather a lot, I now have oversight of my computer without having to worry about new bugs invading. The first help took 13 hours to rectify the 2052 problems and freed up some GBs. It is now in the regular helpful hands of MacKeepers who are also at the end of the telephone if I have questions or problems. This is a wonderful service and I really am grateful to have the computer back. Of course there are lessons for me to learn to help keep my computer healthy. I have utilised this telephone service once and the man was very patient and talked me through, seeing what was on my screen he could see what the problem was.

The relief is enormous. I hadn’t realised just how much it was bothering me subconsciously.

Here are a few more photos, left over from my last post of our visit to Arthurs Seat, Mornington Peninsula.

Tree surfing

Tree surfing

One of the Mazes at Enchanted Adventure Garden

One of the Mazes at Enchanted Adventure Garden

The Fairy Garden

The Fairy Garden

Cherio from M & J

Cherio from M & J

Autumnal pursuits:

Christopher Pyett : ideas for paintings

Christopher Pyett : ideas for paintings

Autumn is a time for hunkering down. My daughter rang to say her gutters have been replaced and a dangerous chimney taken care of.
We’ve decided to remove two large palm trees that drop thousands of seeds and sprout everywhere. I love their height, but the other trees will soon fill the space left behind.

General garden maintenance is a fulfilling task. Removing spent tomato plants, culling the raspberries and tying the new canes makes the garden feel ready for winter. Pruning everything is something that needs to be rationed according to the recycling bins. We now have two brown bins, for garden waste that I don’t want to compost. Our six compost bins are fully utilized. So the garden is in need of constant attention, which fits in with writing.

I’d like to work half days at each, writing and gardening, so that I’m not sitting in front of the computer all day. This healthy option seldom works out, but I shall continue to aim for this ideal.

My computer is fine apart from the iphotos, which won’t allow me access. I shall really have to learn to use my new laptop, which is another thing I’ve been resisting. So for the moment, no photos of the garden.


Life has become very exciting. My beloved had an article written about himself and his work by Andrea Louise Thomas for a Mornington Peninsula paper called ‘Mint.’ This young woman, a poet, came into our lives like a hurricane. After much talk, we were encouraged to see the play, ‘Hamlet’, directed by Damien Ryan for the Bell Shakespeare Company. A really fresh approach was taken as a modern day thriller, with modern dress and a simple but magnificent set. This brought back memories of my student days.

Thursday I joined a Writing Skills workshop from 9.15-2.30 in Sandringham, an hour from where we live. The tutor, Claire Gaskin, is also a poet. Her class is inspirational. The group is full of keen writers of different genres, all willing to help one another. I had taken the first couple of chapters of my book, and with their input, I’m totally rewriting it! Besides rewriting, there is homework. Five questions, and then a 500-word short story. So this ten-week course is certainly helping me to refresh my ideas.

Thursday night we went to hear Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year, talk with Jon Faine, an ABC radio personality, in Mornington. Rosie was launching her book, ‘A Mother’s Story’, which I have read. It is inspiring to read and hear how she overcame so much and is continuing to work bringing family violence to the fore. Laws need to be changed and much has begun to change already.

Friday night Christopher had his painting in the Salon des Refuse´s, opening in Mornington. It was a big crowd and Rosie Batty opened the exhibition.

Mornington Gallery Photo: Susan Gordon-Brown

Mornington Gallery
Photo: Susan Gordon-Brown

This is the piece that I wrote for my writing class that had to start with, ‘And we’d been so clever,’ that links into the story above.

And we’d been so clever sitting in the second row, out of the limelight. The woman in the front row turned around and denounced my husband’s painting. ‘It’s a terrible painting. I ‘m familiar with Rosie Batty and that’s not her, she is such a strong woman. It’s a complete dirge, just look at it!’

My husband said, ‘That’s an old word.’

‘Yes, I’ve an understanding of words and I’m prepared to use them.’

My husband eggs her on some more,

‘Yes, she wears black glasses and here she’s wearing really light ones.’

The woman finding a ready audience really steamed ahead.

The speeches started and very soon Christopher is pointed out as the artist of the Rosie painting. The redness rose from her neck to her hairline in total embarrassment. She turned around to apologise at the end of the speeches, and Chris dismissed her, saying,

‘Don’t bother, I’m used to it,’ and walked off. It made our night seeing this haughty woman squirm.

Barbara, Christopher Pyett and Rosie Batty Mornington Gallery photo: Susan Gordon- Brown

Barbara, Christopher Pyett and Rosie Batty at Mornington Gallery with Rosie’s portrait
photo: Susan Gordon- Brown

The painting looks very light and doesn’t photograph well, but it has some amazing detail if closely examined. Chris found it a deeply spiritual experience painting Rosie.

This shall be my last post for some time. I have been having computer problems, and continue to have them. So I’m going to have to learn to use a new laptop. I am not sure if the number of e-mails has been choking my computer, so I am cutting off for the present. I shall miss you all, but am sure one day I’ll get this computer business sorted out.

Thank you all for being my friends from afar and I wish you all well with your writing and blogging. Adieu for the present!


Overcoming fear

Blogging is a fear that I’ve been overcoming. Sharing information, putting it out into the ether, not knowing who is reading it. But my biggest fear has been using a computer, which continues to flummox me. Having purchased a laptop and transferring relevant material is such a tedious process. I sometimes hate the computer so much; I swear I’ll return to pen and paper.

Returning to a typewriter, I remember the drawbacks:

  • Having to use tippex to whiten any mistakes.
  • Then cutting and joining with sticky tape a paragraph that needs to be inserted elsewhere.
  • Using that horrible black or blue paper to make copies, that never look as pristine as a computer copy.

Yes, I guess I am conquering my fears and appreciate the benefits of a computer. I shall just have to continue learning how to make best use of it.


Phobia Shmobia, daily post by Ben Huberman                                                                                    Fears evolve over time. What is one fear you’ve conquered?

Rather personal:

‘These Horns Were Made for Tooting’ is a rather provocative title, or is this my Australian way of looking at things? What comes to mind is the size of rather excessive boobs.

Having been rather over endowed, much to my consternation and loathe rather than love, I chose to have a breast reduction. It is the only bodily part I’ve chosen to alter, (apart from crown tooth replacements). Even so, the doctor didn’t remove enough for my liking and she didn’t tell me that they would grow back again. So for all the suffering of having an operation, I wouldn’t recommend such drastic measures, unless you are really desperate, or are able to constantly diet to maintain the new you.


These Horns Were Made for Tooting, daily post by Ben Huberman

Today, show something you love about yourself—don’t be shy, be confident! —but that few other people know about you or get to see very often.




Rituals fill a purpose

Emptying my bladder has become a nightly ritual, due to a prolapse. No, don’t ask! I ease my legs out of their cocoon of warmth, rubbing my knees to help bring back circulation. To my embarrassment, as I bend and reach for my slippers a fart escapes me. Keeping my eyes half shut to keep them warm and not wake up completely, I feel my way to the toilet. After a rather inconsequential pee, I wash my hands and have a sip of water. Like a blind person I quietly wend my way back to bed. If I don’t get up to do this, I lie awake. This ritual settles me down to sleep. If by chance I wake my beloved, he then, not so quietly, rises to do the same, shattering the darkness with his torch.

The Daily Post, Ben Huberman                                                                                                              Think about your day. Select one of your daily rituals and explain it to us. Why do you do what you do? How do you come to adopt this ritual? What happens on days when you can’t perform it?



Sunday Write Up, August 2015

Using the words: idea, why, stupid, handsome, hello

The idea of why someone should be made to feel stupid irritated me. Why should such a good man be made to feel insecure?                                                                                                                  Just because he wasn’t handsome didn’t alter his probity. His rectitude in dealing with the impoverished, sharing his all, impressed me. The fact that he had no formal qualifications meant nothing compared with his well-spent life. His shyness was endearing. Without further delay, I gathered my courage and crossed the floor to say ‘Hello .’ His strained lined face broke into a brilliant smile.

Thanks to Sunday Write Up, August 2015 for this suggestion. Please visit this site if you’d like to read more.



Take a Chance on Me, WP prompt by Krista                                                                                                What’s the biggest chance you ever took? Did it work out? Do tell!

Apart from getting married three times, (and the result speaks for itself), returning to study was a huge, nerve-wracking chance.

As a single mother I returned to Art School to complete a degree, a necessity for teaching. This meant leaving the safety of my hometown and supportive parents. Besides settling my two children into rented accommodation and a new school, I fell in love before term started.

Perhaps being out of my comfort zone, I was vulnerable. Pregnancy happened immediately, with a wedding to follow. The fact that my new husband became a student meant that we had a very meagre existence. Love doesn’t satisfy empty bellies.

Two years into my course husband number two accepted work in far north Queensland, so we packed up to begin afresh. In retrospect this time was spent productively, though I couldn’t complete my degree externally. After five years in the tropics, we ventured south to the Federal Capital. My first phone call was to the University to make enquiries about continuing my degree studies.

Having never excelled at school I was filled with trepidation. This University course was far more demanding than the previous art subjects I’d completed. I became engrossed and surprised myself by even getting the odd High Distinction. Completion of this course not only brought satisfaction but work as a teacher. Here again was another chance of failure, but after surviving relief teaching, permanency brought the fulfilment of finding my niche.






A time to Remember: short story

I am posting a rather more lengthy post than usual. I have begun writing short stories, this one is 1,500 words approx. For those of you who have time on your hands.

Time to Remember

Agatha muses, propped and cushioned in her chair with feet elevated to ease her aching knees and feet. Choices lie before her. Life has been a roller coaster ride with more ups than downs, but now the balance has been reversed. Should she play the cantankerous crone and take out her frustration on her minders? That could be fun. Or should she play the role of the docile and compliant sweet old lady with the aim of becoming nurse’s favourite? Which would satisfy her most and make her feel better?

With the first option, there is plenty to complain about. The shock of being woken at 7am when all you want to do is sleep. Losing one’s dignity and having no privacy at all is beyond a joke. Showering is now restricted to every second day, because as you get older your skin becomes thin, sensitive and dry. Having an accident in the night concerns her. Would she start smelling like those incontinent and infirmed old people that surround her?

Her favourite meal of the day is the luxury of having breakfast in bed, even if the toast tastes like chewy cardboard.

She knows some consider her snooty. Why would you sit in a room full of semi- alive beings playing bingo? Or listen to that dreadful, forever cheerful man that comes in with his guitar? Instead, Agatha prefers to daydream in her room and remember happier times.

Growing up as an only child, life was seldom dull. Playing outside, making cubbies, riding her bike and building bonfires with the neighbour-hood gang all flit through her memory. Living near the beach allowed her to walk, swim and beachcomb. Reading became an important escape, which continued throughout her life. Her elderly parents were great readers too.

Leaving school was the best day of her life. She had a job at the bakers, where she learnt how to bake bread, pastries and cakes. Early starts were part of her job and she was proud to be bringing home a wage. Her aging parents had low expectations for her, which she accepted, being a girl.

Meeting Steve had been her big break. He was on leave from the air force. Marrying Steve was her dream. She thought he’d love and provide for her and the children they’d have. The fact that her parents didn’t like him wasn’t important. They’d move away and prove they could make a success of life.

Moving to Darwin was expensive, and it meant that her parents were unable to visit. This saddened her, though it solved problems too. Steve was an alcoholic. Perhaps that was why they were against the marriage? In Darwin Agatha could pretend everything was rosy. She became pregnant and thought Steve would change when he knew he was to have a baby boy. Living in hope, Agatha prepared for the baby. Steve’s job sent him away for months so Agatha had a break from his abusive and demanding behaviours.

Steve was killed in Vietnam and the shock paralyzed her. It was just after Tommy had been born. Gradually she allowed herself to think it might be for the best. She no longer had to stay in Darwin. Her dream of married bliss was destroyed; disillusioned and disappointed she returned to her hometown of Port Sorrel. There she had her parents to help her with Tommy, which allowed her to find work.

Warm fuzz surrounded her as she thought of Tommy growing up. Her parents adored her son, and looked after him three days a week allowing her to work at the bakery. She introduced Tommy to the beach where he collected shells and went fishing with Grandpa, just as she had done.

She rented a shack by the beach and their simple but idyllic existence began. When Tommy started school she worked full time. He did well at school and later won a scholarship to study marine biology at the university in Hobart. She missed him, but was proud of his achievements. He was the first in their family to go to university.

Agatha was feeling the pressure of the sandwich generation, caring for her parents and supporting her son. She had little time for a social life. She dreamt of her boss retiring and taking over the bakery. Tommy brought his girl friends home and she made a fuss of them. Agatha adored Julia, showing her approval by knitting her a jumper and crocheting her a tote bag. The future looked promising.

Her father’s heart was bad, and he’d taken early retirement. He’d pop in and help her with her garden on his good days. When her mother’s health deteriorated she’d call in after work and cook their tea. Not long after this her mother was rushed to hospital. Watching her decline was emotionally draining. Being an only child had disadvantages.

Tommy and Julia decided to marry now they both had permanency at the Antarctic Division in Hobart. She was glad that her parents had lived long enough to attend this happy celebration and see Tommy settled. She drove them down to Hobart to attend the wedding. It was as if they’d both been hanging on for this, as the following year their health deteriorated further. Agatha had two funerals to organize three months apart. Tommy and Julia came home briefly for each funeral, but hurried back to their jobs in Hobart. At least Agatha’s work gave her a reason to get up in the mornings and kept her relatively sane. Selling her parent’s home enabled her to fulfill her dream and buy the bakery.

Agatha put her heart and soul into the bakery and as owner manager she introduced Tasmanian specialties, like truffle meat pies, scallop pies, smoked salmon pastries and blueberry tarts. The café became the place to visit and was included on tourist routes. How busy she’d been. She was proud the business had become so successful. She had trained several people to share the workload, and they catered for many grand functions.

Julia then had twins, Gemma and Gerald, after waiting until forty to have children. She waited to have the right home before having babies. Julia hadn’t anticipated how difficult two babies at this age would be. Tommy was over the moon, but his job was demanding and time consuming so he didn’t appreciate the broken nights. Tommy asked if Agatha would come down and live with them. She really hadn’t want to, but believed Julia needed her support. The bakery would carry on without her, so she took time off, just to see how it would be.

Living in Julia and Tommy’s house was not what she expected. Agatha loved the babies, but wasn’t prepared for the changes. Her own experience of childrearing was obsolete, and unwelcome. In fact she couldn’t wait to get home. Her fancy that she might live in a Granny flat in Hobart was now destroyed. She and Julia didn’t see eye to eye. Her greatest gift would be to leave them to sort everything out for themselves. She was so grateful to have her job to return to. Thank goodness she hadn’t retired. She would look forward to Gemma and Gerald being old enough to spend holidays with her by the beach.

‘Come on Agatha, lunch is ready,’ the nurse calls as she is passing her room.

Agatha snaps back to reality and eases herself onto her walking frame and follows the procession to the dining room. She has made several friends and they often play cards in the afternoons. Lunch is no better than she expects. Crumbed frozen fish fillets with some powdered, mashed potato and a few peas, followed by jelly and custard. How can anyone use so little imagination? Perhaps it is to cater for those who have no teeth.

Considering her earlier quandary she once again realises how positive thoughts and actions will change her circumstances. If she can get into that kitchen she will change things for the better. Discussing this with the Manager of the Home she asks if she can work with the kitchen staff and share some of her experience to improve their menu. The whole mood of the place will improve with better food.

Gaining approval to teach her friends how to cook a few special treats will give them all something to look forward to. Croissants for Saturday breakfasts, and fruit buns on Sundays will be a good start. The kitchen staff is always stretched at weekends, this will be a perfect time to show how they can help out. When Agatha is cooking her aches and pains disappear. Cooking will also take her mind off the fact that her family has no time to visit. She needs to help to feel needed and whole again. Positive thinking being more powerful than negative lifts her to a better place. Naughty thoughts continue to bring a smile to her face as she concocts stories about those about her, maybe she will write some of them down.

Thanks for reading!  🙂


Sunday Write Up

Using Mel Cusick-Jones idea for Sunday Write Up                                                                                Using five words: forget, come, need, acorn, weird. Write a story.

Working flat out, Maisie could forget her problems. As soon as she stopped, that double crossing husband of hers re-entered her brain. She would need to come to a serious decision soon; to consider her own normality.

Her problem was like an acorn in her shoe, irritating, making it difficult to forget her dilemma. Soon she would prove his duplicity and she would take proof to the police and see him sent to jail. It would be weird not having the burden of an abusive husband dragging her down. The thought of freedom made her hum.