08 January 2020

Australian bushfires: what can you do?

It's been an overwhelming couple of months, hasn't it? Bushfires have overtaken many parts of our country and it's not finished yet. Good, solid, steady rain is what we need to end our drought but that hasn't happened.

We live in an area that's not been directly threatened by fire, though there's a large one not far to the north of us and another not far to the south of us. I'm grateful we haven't been in the direct path but we have been mostly confined to the house for weeks now because of the smoke. When the really thick, acrid smoke rolls over the area there's no option but to stay indoors.

But we can't complain. So many lives have been shattered and so many people have been traumatised by the fires. What can we do to help?

Photo: David Mariuz/AAP

If you are able to donate, the message from the authorities is to give money, not goods. These two articles explain why and have links to organisations accepting cash donations: Do your homework, give cash and avoid scams and Bushfire relief - how you can help frontline services and what actions hinder efforts. 

The other thing that's important is to take care of yourself and people around you. I know I've been anxious and worried the whole time and talking about it is helping me deal with these stresses. Maybe you can chat to your neighbour, a friend, or someone in your family? There's an article here that could also help: Bushfires and mental health.  Remember you are not alone in in struggling with anxiety about the fires.

Overall, simply be kind. You can never know how another person is coping with these traumatic events. Your kindness can help support someone through difficult times. Let's hope the rains come soon.

31 December 2019

My book of the month: December

A couple of days after we moved house, I visited my local library and joined. It's a liberating feeling, having a library card. It opens up a whole world of opportunity to find reading matter that you may not otherwise discover. This month's book of the month is courtesy of my new library.

This was such a wonderful story. A thriller, it's told by the ghost (spirit?) of Lisa Evans, who died on Platform Seven at Peterborough Station. It's a sad, unsettling, yet deeply satisfying story told in a style that reminded me of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (one of my all-time favourite novels).

You can read more about Platform Seven on Goodreads.

16 December 2019

Here I am

Here I am, blogging again. Surprise! 😁

We've moved out of Sydney, away from all the congestion and over-development. There are way too many people living in Sydney now and the city and its infrastructure is struggling to cope. We've left it all behind!

We moved to a lovely country town in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Our house is comfortable and it is so quiet here. There's space to walk and space to think. Here's the view of part of the back garden from my desk.

Just as we are settling into our new location, so are my pot plants.

The neighbours are friendly, too. This particular one visits a couple of times a day.

It takes time to get organised; only a couple of boxes to unpack now. If only it would rain, everyone would be happy. I know my new garden would!

25 September 2019

My book of the month: September

What a delightful story! May Attaway decides to reconnect with four friends. In the process, she reviews her inward-facing life and starts to engage with more people face-to-face as she ponders the purpose of friendship.

The changes to May's life are profound, as she continues to work as a gardener and observe the growth around her. It's a beautiful story.

Read more about Rules for Visiting on Goodreads.

09 September 2019

On grief

We all experience it in different ways and use varied methods to help us deal with it. Your grief is not my grief and mine is not yours. Mourning doesn't become easier; it simply becomes a part of life.

My father died late last year. I am his first-born and I adored him. He taught me so much about life; practical skills that I still use to this day as well as behaviours that have served me well. I miss him every day.

When someone this important to me died, although we knew it was coming for most of a year, I felt diminished. This man, who had loved me unconditionally every day since I was born, was no longer here. 

It's unpredictable. Today the grief hit me with a punch. The bluebell bulbs that he had given me from his garden opened their blooms in my ground. My dad isn't here to see them and never will be. 

Somehow my memories of him aren't enough to console me today. That's one of the unforeseeable impacts of grief.

19 August 2019

My book of the month: August

I do enjoy a psychological thriller, where the answer to the puzzle continues until the end of the story. I've read several of Chris Brookmyre's Jack Parlabane series (must start reading these from book 1; somehow I missed the first few) but Fallen Angel is a stand-alone novel. It's a ripper of a story. 

Read more about Fallen Angel on Goodreads.

27 May 2019

My book of the month: May

Ghost Wall is is the latest story by Sarah Moss. It's a slender book but it packs a punch!

For two weeks, Sylvie and her family join a group of university students to re-enact life as it could have been in Iron Age England. Her father is obsessed with the archaeology and anthropology of the times and he joins with an equally-obsessed academic to lead the group.

It's an unsettling story, as the group starts to unravel and we get a glimpse of where the men's decisions could lead. Satisfyingly creepy.

You can read more about Ghost Wall on Goodreads.