Thursday, 28 November 2013

Born To Live

The pandorea jasminoides climber that was planted long before our time had become the enemy - a creeping, scaling, climbing pest in pink. It had overtaken the fence-both sides- and was now invading the inside of the garden shed, writhing through bicycle spokes and coiling round the legs of folding chairs. No amount of cutting back had succeeded in quenching its appetite for greater territory. As with the Amalekites, Hivites, Jebusites et al, the only solution was total defiance and annihilation.
            It took several weeks - and numerous wheelie bin loads - to whittle away the upper foliage to the point where only stumps remained. We cut those off as close to the ground as possible, congratulated ourselves on a job well done, and made plans to put the shed back in place the following weekend. Or the one after that - we’d fought the good fight and were ready for R & R.
            It was with disbelief we viewed the tiny green shoots now forcing their way through what appeared to be dead, dry stumps. How truly glorious is the power of the Creator in the plant world. What is created to grow, blossom and reproduce continues to do so regardless of opposition. There have been such times in my life when I thought I’d given all I had to give and now please can I just lie down and die, but the dreams and hopes embedded in me by creator God, my beginning and my end, were always too strong for such defeatism. I was born to realise an identity and destiny designed by Him, and fulfil it I would.
           There is another analogy for the persistent pink pest in my garden. Unfortunately, pandorea jasminoides was totally wrong for our confined garden space. The only solution was to poison the stump and roots. Brutal but effective. In a similar way, there are times when we insist on trying to grow the gift that is in us in a way and a place it was never meant to be. The result is always ugliness and frustration. Not only is the gift God-given, there is also a God-given arena.  Find it and flourish.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Requiem For A Friend

Is there anything more delicious to the senses
Than stroking that face against mine?
The fine, miniature feel of bone-shape
 Finishing in softness of silken ear.
 His head under my hand
 He sleeps quietly on, until
 Seduced by my stroke
 He purrs.

While conceding I have loved every one of the cats I’ve owned over the years, my children insist I’ve never been as besotted as I was with Sergeant Milo, a Devon Rex with a coat of chocolate-smoke. It’s true he was allowed to sleep in our bed after breakfast on cold mornings (he hated the cold). And we did make special concessions to his habit of prowling over bench tops (was it fair to enforce new rules when an indulgent first owner had entirely failed to instill kitchen manners in the two years before he was ours?).
            His morning routine after making a toilet stop was a dive across the garden for the door to avoid the Murray Magpie - who just might be poised for a Spitfire swoop, all guns blazing - then, a manic dash for a sunny windowsill, slithering across ceramic tiles before gaining purchase on carpet and leaping from sofa, chair and coffee table to land, blinking, with a veil of terylene over his hindquarters. He would turn his head to make sure I was watching and blink twice as if to say, ‘You couldn’t do that in a fit.’
            At about 9pm he would leave whatever he was doing at the time to jump onto my lap and snuggle up with his nose hidden in the crook of my arm, or under the curl of his tail, and go to sleep. It was his signal for me to carry him to his bed in the laundry before nocturnal habits kicked in, in which case I was reduced to playing hide and seek and chasing him ‘round and ‘round the house until he deigned to be caught.
            Seven days ago Milo was hit by a car.  The damage was severe and my husband and I held him as the vet administered the chemical that stilled his generous little heart and turned his amber eyes to glass. It's hard to accept I will never again hear his soft morning meow, or stroke his velvety, chocolate-timtam face. It's hard to avoid the fresh spread of earth under the nectarine tree.      
RIP  Sergeant Milo.

Thursday, 14 November 2013


This morning I spotted an article entitled, “Do Authors really need to blog?” I tried to ignore it, truly I did, but it bared its teeth and barked at me until I rolled over and submitted. Even whimpering about being too busy didn’t work. I read it.

When I began blogging more than a year ago I was inspired. I wrote every other day. I couldn’t wait to do it again. And again. So I really identified with the first point in the article: ‘Some people try to blog daily, and many of them are eventually carried off in white vans with padded interiors.’  The thing was, I could kid myself it didn’t matter if I wasn’t getting on with my novel, or the story for next week’s writing group, because I was still writing wasn’t I? But blogging was so much fun and so quickly achieved in comparison with my other writing that I simply wasn’t doing anything else. And the longer I left my other writing, the harder it was to return to it. Pretty soon I was ready for that white van through sheer frustration and guilt.  

But now I’m being told all the reasons why I should, indeed must blog (I feel rather like a sugar addict being told that one cream biscuit won’t hurt me). Those reasons, of course, are all to do with building a platform to promote my name and get my books published. The name thing is important. Apparently, the first thing a publisher does when presented with a query letter from an unknown author is google his/her name. That presented a problem for me because my blog goes out under the pen name of Arrowhead.  It seems I really need a blog under my own name. There’s even an exercise to find out how my name presently appears (or not) on the web.

So, I must zip, to quote the words of a recently retired Australian politician. I’m about to search for my name on