Threads

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“Tiny lines of cotton that hold the world together,” said my grandfather, but he would — he was a romantic.
He wanted me to see what he saw, romance, adventure, creation.
“A woman comes to me with a dream. I never ask what that dream is, but I know it lingers beneath the request.” I need a dress for a formal occasion, might translate into, My husband is losing interest in me, and I want to knock his socks off.
Or maybe the lady is trying to impress the other women in her circle — that’s serious business, or so I have been told.”
I was twelve when this conversation took place, and within a year my grandfather would be found in his workroom, needle in hand, the life having ebbed out of him. No one said he had a smile on his face, but I’d like to think so.
“The customers I love are the ones who come to me because they want to please themselves. They know they are beautiful and they realise that the clothes I make for them complement their beauty and poise. From the time they step in the front door of my shop we are engaged in a dance. A creative dance. They don’t spell everything out for me, I’m expected to participate, do my part. When I have made the garment and done the final fitting, we both know that the dance is coming to an end. The exceptional customers participate in a denouement — they let me know if the garment had the desired effect. I love it when they prolong the dance.”
I was way too young to understand the undercurrents of my grandfather’s observations, but I guess he hoped that his words would stay with me, ring in my ears at a later date.
It was never my intention to go into the family business. I could think of nothing worse than being confined in a shop fussing over women with more money than sense.
I rebelled and left home as soon as I was able. I travelled and worked and soaked up life until I thought I might burst.
Every time I saw a beautiful woman I examined her clothes — off the rack or made to measure — you can always tell.
I remember the look I got from a girl in Paris when she caught me examining the stitching on her skirt. She wasn’t wearing it at the time. She wasn’t wearing anything at all, and neither was I. We were taking a break during a long session of lovemaking on an autumn afternoon. The view from her apartment was stunning, and the sight of her was equally so, but I could not resist the urge to find out how well her clothes were made.
“Have you checked the hems to see if there is anything hidden in them,” I said.
“No, why would I?” she said.
“Some old school dressmakers will hide little things like tiny pieces of paper with something inscribed, or a fragment of ancient cloth. They feel it personalises their work.”
The naked lady thought I was marginally less crazy after my explanation and we continued to tangle erotically for several more months until she left me for a trumpet player. I minded, but I got over it and continued my travels.
Whenever the money ran out, I would seek employment, and on more than one occasion I got work at bespoke dressmakers — not the usual job for a young man, but I had my family’s name, and it opened a few doors, even if I did end up sweeping more often than designing and sewing.
I didn’t care; I was free.
The Telegram caught up with me when I was staying in a provincial city in Spain. My father had died, and my mother was distraught.
It took me a few days to get back home, but they waited for me.
After the funeral, while everyone was eating little sandwich triangles and drowning their sorrows, I went to my father’s shop, the same shop that my grandfather had owned. The gold letters on the glass door spelled out my family name.
The rest you can probably work out for yourself.
Your dress is now complete. I hope you are happy with the work?
I know it is none of my business, but I was wondering why you wanted me to make it for you?
“I don’t need another dress. I just like spending time in your shop without igniting the gossips. Does my admission shock you? Have I ruined our friendship?”
Not at all, but you might want to take the dress off.
You wouldn’t want to get it all wrinkled.

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Painting by Jack Vettriano

 

 

Clean Sheets

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Back in the day, my hair was longer, and my sheets were whiter.

These days, my hair is cut to a manageable length, and my sheets are clean with the brightness consigned to the ‘whatever’ basket.

My son took the photo, which ended up — many years later, as a painting — two stages my son went through and never came out of.

I don’t know what I was thinking when his finger hit the shutter, but it certainly looks like I’m deep in thought. Maybe I was distracted by a far-off clammer. Maybe I was wondering where all the pegs had gone — I still do that today, wonder, and not just about runaway pegs.

There is no date on the photo, but I remember when the painting was done.

From the look of me, the shot must have been taken not long after my son got his camera — the camera was a huge ‘guilt present’, a ‘sure I left you and your mother but this incredible present will distract you for a while before you work out what a crap dad I was’. There was never any ‘spare money’ when my husband was here, but out of the blue, he finds the funds for an SLR, top of the range, too big and too expensive for a boy of eleven. To my son’s credit, he still has that camera, and he never dropped it or otherwise buggered it up. I taught him how to use it, and I didn’t need to repeat an instruction once.

There is another photo floating around of me wrapped up in an identical sheet with two eye holes cut out. The sheet was past its best with tears where my sharp toenails had gone through it. Before the eye holes had appeared the sheet saw valiant service as a fort, strung over two lounge chairs.

I couldn’t swear to it, but it may have been the same sheet that held the telltale stains produced by my husband and his lover — she was shorter than me with a push-up bra (when she was wearing it) and legs that went all the way up to her bum. No one ever said so, but I’m pretty sure she sucked penis like a princess. Come to think of it, I’m sure that’s why that sheet wore out so fast — I must have washed it a hundred times — in a row — with bleach.

The part that really hurt was that he could not be bothered to clean up after himself — thought I was too dumb to notice, or worse still, thought I would assume that the evidence belonged to us — together, us.

I look at the painting, and I can feel the sun on my face and see the reflected glare.

I wonder what happened to those pegs?

Where do pegs go to die?

Is there a place where broken hearts and old pegs are reunited?

I guess not, but I know where old sheets go when they die, they become ghost costumes, which is appropriate I guess — at least in my case.

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ARTIST: J T Larson

NO THROUGH ROAD: new book

Publish Date: March 14th, 2018

Wendi Radin wants to know how her famous husband died and she believes that a newspaper columnist can find the truth. William Fox has a past marked by one shining moment – he’s the one who found those kids when no one else could. His fame cannot protect him from falling in love with the alluring widow. The sex is amazing, but in the cold light of day, his doubts begin to haunt him. He has a decision to make, and that decision may see him lose everything he has worked for.

A Novelette by Terry R Barca

Published as an eBook only
Pre-orders available now.
iTunes iBooks
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/797828

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Read All About It

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“Thanks, kid. Every little bit helps,” I said as the paramedic I was talking to loaded the victim into the back of the ambulance.

It wasn’t going to turn into a headline story, but I thanked her all the same.

This is how the big stories come — tip-offs from cops, ambos, firemen and ordinary people.

I’m constantly rushing — heading to someplace where a bad thing just happened. I get there after the danger has passed. I watch from a distance — somewhere safe, ever vigilant for an angle, a hook, something I can hang the story on. A tug on a heartstring that makes you want to put down three dollars fifty and pick up the Saturday Argus. With a deadline every week I’m always on the lookout for the next story, good or otherwise. Sometimes the otherwise leads to somewhere exotic.

That’s why I went back to her apartment.

Her story was old news, but she was stunningly beautiful, and the reception for the newspaper’s latest owner was just an excuse for another bored millionaire to show the world how important he was — not my natural habitat.

I write a column for a major Australian newspaper — I’m an endangered species.

I used to believe that what I wrote made a difference, now all I want to do is to continue to put food on my family’s table. These days everyone with an iPhone reports the breaking news, and I bitch about it to anyone who will listen — my wife says I’m turning into my father.

As I walk away from the departing ambulance, my phone rings — I always answer my phone.

“How big was the fire?”

“Are there any bodies?”

“Thanks. I’ll get right over there.”

Traffic was heavy, which gave me the opportunity to talk to my wife when she called.

“You have your Tux for tonight?” she said.

“Yes I do,” I said. It had been hitting me in the back of the head every time I stomped on the brakes. “But I’d rather not go.”

“If they are thinking about dropping your column you’d better put in an appearance. No sense giving them an excuse,” she said, and she was right.

My wife’s a doctor, a general practitioner. She works for someone else, and that lets her have time with the kids. Between us, we do okay financially, but if I lost my job we would probably not be able to keep the house, and I love that house, peeling paint and all.

Besides, I don’t think that I have the courage it takes to be unemployed.

The wind was biting at my ears as I got out of my car so I pulled my dark blue beanie down as far as it would go. My wife says that this old woollen hat makes me look like a tuna fisherman or I’m getting ready to rob a bottle shop. The hat keeps my head warm, and it makes me look ordinary — people open up to ordinary looking reporters.

The fireman introduced me to the young girl, still clutching her dog.

“The man rushed into the fire and helped the people come out. I told him my dog was stuck in there and he ran back in. He saved my little dog, but he had to lie down because the smoke got inside him and he couldn’t breathe good. They took him away in a ambulance,” said the little girl.

Her mother had been on the phone, and she moved it away from her ear as she walked towards us.

“He didn’t make it,” she whispered to me and hugged her daughter.

I asked the little girl what she would like to say to the man who saved her dog and she said, “Thank you. I love my dog, and I hope you get better soon.”

This story will sell papers.

A little girl’s cry for help, a small dog and a bloke who didn’t hesitate and didn’t make it home that night.

The hotel ballroom was packed with famous people.

Money, jewels and ambition.

I sat at the bar trying to increase my courage levels in the only way I knew how — very old Scotch whisky. My Tux still fits, and I look good in it, but I’d rather be wearing my fisherman’s jumper and warm woollen hat. Different uniforms open different doors. Tonight it was formal attire.

Drinking expensive whisky, that someone else is paying for, demands a spot of people watching.

I didn’t think I had been staring, but maybe I was. In any case, she walked over to me at the bar carrying a half finished glass of sparkling white wine, her purse and her iPhone. Her white shimmery gown left little to the imagination and certainly did not cater to pockets.

She reproached me for staring, but there was little venom in her words.

“I was just trying to work out where I know you from,” I said.

“I know you, Mr Fox,” she said.

“How do you know me?”

“From your cheesy photo.”

“The one from my column?” I said.

“That superior look on your face is most annoying,” she said.

“That was taken a while ago. I was in the last throws of my youth and fame.”

“Before the Talkies?” she said.

“Ouch.”

“Does anyone still read your newspaper?”

“I still have a few fans who like to get ink on their fingers on a lazy Saturday morning. I get the occasional email, sometimes an actual letter. I’ve been told that I’ve been hashtagged, but it didn’t require stitches.”

“I too like to hold a newspaper, and your column is always well written, in an old-fashioned kind of way,” she said. “It must depress you seeing all those horrible things.”

“Sometimes. I’ve seen some stuff,” I said, and I was beginning to wonder where this was going.

“People seem to open up to you. Is it because you ask the right questions?”

“Usually people want to tell someone their story, and I happen to be there at the right time.”

“Now you’re being modest,” she said, and I’d had enough.

“Why are you at this party?” I said.

“My boyfriend’s bank came up with the money to make this purchase happen,” she said. “Cushy job you have, people watching all day.”

“Look lady. I have to listen to people’s crap all day. Now, I’m off the clock, so get to it or leave me in peace.”

“It’s a long story, and my apartment is close by, the Manchester Unity building. We could walk there.”

“I didn’t know anyone lived in that building,” I said.

“There are still apartments in the tower.”

“Is this about your husband’s death?” I said, but I was interrupted before she could answer.

“Mr Lubin would like to see you now Mr Fox,” said the supercilious woman in blue.

I was introduced to Lubin as the reporter who helped to free those children. Lubin looked at me for a moment then went back to his conversation, but not before pushing a cream cake into his mouth.

What a prick.

What did I care? Now I could get out of here and out of this suit.

I saw the woman in the shimmery white dress as she was leaving.

“Does that offer still stand?” I said.

“Yes, it does,” she said, and we set off on foot, and I wondered what she had in store for me. It still felt like an otherwise,  but you never know.

Wendi Radin was married to Wyatt Fago, the television presenter. Fago was well known and well loved by everyone who didn’t know him. I’d met him a few times. He was the kind of bloke who treated you badly unless he thought you could be useful to his career.

He went missing and turned up several months later under the rubble of an old building that had been torched for the insurance money. Three homeless men died in that blaze along with Fago, but Fago was found under the rubble in a basement — he had been dead for some time before the blaze. The owner of the building was arrested, but the police were unaware that Fago’s body was there until the wreckers moved in months later.

The case was now stone cold.

The streets were still populated, and I love Melbourne at night. A bunch of young women dressed in pink tutus buzzed around us as we walked The hens night had been a good one from the look of the future bride.

“Good luck luv,” I said, and I meant it — marriage ain’t no picnic.

“Won’t need it, penguin. My bloke’s a diamond,” said the unsteady bride to be. One of her hens caught her just before she veered into traffic.

Wendi Radin waved her security card at the guard on duty, and he let us in through the Collins Street entrance. I got the feeling that he didn’t like the look of me and it threw me for a moment — then I remembered that I was out of uniform.We walked past the darkened cafe named after the year the building was opened, 1932, and pushed the button on the ornate elevators — top floor. The hallway was unrestored, unlike most of the rest of the Art Deco building, but you could see how good it must have looked. The light fittings were dusty and original. The door to her apartment was guarded by a modern keypad which looked out of character with the wooden panelling. She punched in four numbers, and the door opened. My mother would have been proud of me as I stood aside and let the lady enter.

Her sitting room was not large, but it did have the only window in the apartment that took advantage of the fantastic view across the city. St Pauls Cathedral was off to the right as I gazed out at the lights and activity some ten floors below. She came back into the room carrying an official looking folder.

I sat at the small writing table and leafed through the evidence statements and a grizzly set of photos. She handed me a very large glass of whisky.

“A splash of water would have been nice,” I said as the strength of the drink walloped me in the back of the throat.

“I thought you might appreciate a bit of anaesthetic while looking at those photos. Besides, I find that a drunk man reveals his true character.”

“You must have some clout lady. This is an original case file. Detectives won’t let anyone near one of these,” I said, and she didn’t answer. I expected a smile or a wink, but I got nothing. She’d be a tough poker opponent.

“You could get someone into a lot of trouble for having these,” I said.

There wasn’t much in the folder that wasn’t common knowledge. The date on the police report reminded me that some fifteen months had passed since his body was discovered. The contents of the small evidence bag were intriguing.

“Whats with the tiny keys?” I said.

“I don’t know,” she said, and her poker skills were still in evidence.

She motioned for me to join her on the white leather couch. There was a scrapbook on the coffee table — all Wyatt Fago, all the time.

I read out loud a bit of an interview he did for Celebrity Magazine.

The first thing you notice about Wyatt Fago is that he can turn on his persona like a light switch. One minute he is on the phone to his agent f’ing and blinding about some stuff up and then, click, he is in interview mode. He really doesn’t care what I write about him; he is Teflon coated — the public love him and his glamorous ex-model wife. They are TV royalty, and now that Birt and Patty are getting on a bit, they are poised to wear the crown.

“Wow. Quite a review,” I said.

I leafed through the clippings and photos.

“Is that the Gold Logie?” I said.

“Yes. He smiled a lot that night, and he was pissed off when he finished runner-up the next year.”

We sat in silence for a moment before I excused myself and went to the bathroom. I hit the wall when it comes to whisky, and I was now on the other side of the wall longing for a soft pillow and horizontal disposition.

“Time for me to go,” I said when I returned.

“I hope you don’t think I wasted your time,” she said, and it was my turn to show her my poker face.

I sat on the train and tried not to fall asleep. The walk to Flinder’s Street Station and the cool night air had sobered me up somewhat, but the motion of the train was too much for my tired eyes.

I could hear the conversations as I buried my head in my rolled up coat — excited chatter about a movie I had not seen — talk of the workplace and the relief at not having to go back for two whole days — boyfriend troubles — intimate conversation between two workmates who had become lovers, only two more stops and I have to get off — the weekends are so long without seeing you.

I exchanged pleasantries with the security officers at my lonely station and wondered how they keep themselves occupied on the station with the lowest number of patrons in all of Melbourne, “We jump up and down a lot,” said the female officer. “Aren’t you the reporter who helped to free those kids?” said the tall male officer.

I smile, the way I always do and say, “Yep.”

I walk the short distance to our little house, hidden in a dead end street that didn’t have a street name until a few years ago.

My wife and I fell in love with this hidden house years before we were able to buy it.

Anywhere else, and this house would seem old fashioned and a bit run down, but to us, it was a miracle. It had survived bushfires and near misses with developers, and we felt a duty to keep it safe. The oak tree that stands outside our bedroom window predates our century-old house by several decades, and it reminds us, every day, that we too have put down roots.

This is our safe haven — my family are here and all the disturbing things I have to deal with need not touch them.

That is of course, as long as I leave it all outside the gate.

I Rule

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My name has never been on a ballot paper.
I’ve never run for office.
You’ve never seen my face on a campaign poster, but I am the one who makes the decisions that influence your everyday life.
I come from a long line of people, males mostly, who have performed this service. We are paid handsomely, but we do not live a lavish life, and we don’t do it for the money— I am of service.
The elected leaders of our country come to me for advice, and the advice I give them is always accurate — always. Sadly they do not always take the advice that is given — even though they know that it will benefit our people. Politics and greed get in the way. All sides of politics know that I exist and they know that my view of the world is evident, just and honest, and still, they do not listen.
My training started at an early age — I’m the eldest son of an eldest son, and so it has gone for generations. Occasionally the eldest daughter carries the burden, but for many years it has been the eldest son’s obligation to take on the family business.
You probably think that myself and my family are surrounded by security guards — protected around the clock. That is not how we deal with it. We hide in plain sight — a simple suburban home in an upper-middle-class suburb. Our house sits on a hill affording us an excellent view.
All great civilisations had an Oracle — someone who the leader would consult with before making momentous decisions. “Should I go to war? Or should I form an alliance?” The Oracle would have been chosen and trained from an early age. It was a dangerous occupation because the ruler would often dislike the answer given, causing the Oracle to be replaced by someone more compliant. This was usually a deadly consequence.
Political leaders come to me — usually at night in an ordinary taxicab. Business leaders sometimes arrange for me to meet them at some little cafe away from the business district.
You are probably wondering why the press hasn’t discovered my existence, or that of my ancestors — they have, but a bit of skilful obfuscation and the press is led in a predictable, but wrong direction. Over the years, when my ancestors and I have been drawn into the light, we have been passed off as meddling relatives, idiot half-brothers, gay lovers or disgruntled taxpayers. The more lurid the story, the more likely it is that the members of the fifth estate will fall for it.
Earlier I mentioned Oracles. I told you that by way of giving you an idea of what role I play, but it is essential for you to know that, unlike the Oracle, I do not foresee the future — I see things as they are right now — I know the best course to take in any given situation — I know that I know and I am never wrong. That is not arrogance speaking; it is a statement of fact.
Sometimes, when dealing with a challenging elected official, I will give the impression that I can foretell the future just to bring him into line, but this is rarely necessary. They are in awe of me, and this fact is usually enough for me to do my job with a minimum of fuss.
No-one in my line has ever spoken to an outsider.
You are the first person to hear about the real ruler of our people. I know from the look on your face that you are wondering why I am telling you this story, and I will get to that, but before I do, I need to tell you about last Friday.
My diary was empty for the day, so I went into the City by train. I planned to drink coffee, meditate in the park and generally have a quiet, introspective day.
I managed to achieve all of those things, and I was sitting in a little cafe near the station waiting for my train to arrive when an average looking man in a light coloured coat approached me. He laid what looked like a copy of the Evening News on my table and said, “You’ll find page 53 particularly interesting.” He gave me an enigmatic look and walked away.
I was curious, as you would have been, so I leafed through the paper, and it contained the usual mix of shoddy journalism and fear mongering that most major daily newspapers provide — old news, until I got to the hinted at, page 53.
It included a Late Breaking News Item about an explosion at a petrol station that is located very close to my house. We can see the roof of the building from our front verandah. The article gave the approximate time of the accident and told of the death of the out of control vehicle’s driver and the injuries to the station attendant.
This incident and everything that was written on the remaining three pages had not yet happened. I know this because time has passed and I watched these events unfold. We stood on our verandah at the appointed hour, and I waited for the bang.
“Come and watch the fireworks,” I said to my beautiful wife. I was joking because I did not expect anything to happen — it was just a bit of fun.
The flash from the exploding petroleum lit up the sky and engulfed the surrounding houses. A gentle breeze was blowing in our faces, and the smell of burning petrol assailed our nostrils. We watched in horror as the flames leapt from one house to the next, edging ever closer to our safe haven. I turned and looked at my wife, and I could see the look in her eyes — it was time to run. I grabbed the dog, and she grabbed the photo albums, and we piled into our car and backed, somewhat dangerously, out of our driveway. We made it out of the street nearly colliding with a fire truck that was turning into ours.
We spent the night with friends and waited until the morning.
Their house was warm and inviting, and we sat in silence after the initially excited conversations had died down. Our friends were frightened, and so were we. They were in no danger, but their vivid imaginations had propelled them into a world where their haven might be threatened — no-one wants to live in that world.
“Do you want breakfast before you go, you two, or do you just want to go?”
“Breakfast would be good. The house survived, or it didn’t. Breakfast won’t hasten or delay its fate. Toast and coffee would be lovely.” For a moment there was the slightest hesitation at the mention of toast, but I just laughed, and the conversation went back to normal.
The fire crews were still mopping up when we arrived back at our street in the mid-morning.
The fire had been stopped because of our unusually broad street. Some minor damage due to flying sparks, but otherwise okay. Our dog didn’t want to get out of the car, so we left her there with the door open. She would come inside when she was ready.
My wife put the photo albums away, and we sat for the longest time and held each other. We drank coffee on the front verandah and looked out over the surreal view. The smell was terrible, but nothing was going to drive us out of our home.
The newspaper that had been thrust under my nose on that Friday afternoon was still lying on the kitchen table. Over the next couple of days I ticked off the occurrences as they occurred — the fallen tree that temporally blocked the main road, narrowly missing the car with old lady driving to visit her husband in hospital — police arresting a local politician for misappropriating funds (I’d given him a reading about six months before and suggested that he set up an account for all the critical projects whereby two signatures were required for significant withdrawals) — work began on a community playground — the government announced that it will extend the rail line to the south.
Who was the man who gave me the newspaper? Was it some sort of threat or was it a warning? Does he know what I do for a living? Why go to such lengths to get my attention, and what sort of insight does this person have that they can tell the future? Does he want my job? Does he seriously think that he would survive very long in this world if people found out that he can foretell the future?
The crowds would tear him apart.
Being right all the time causes enough complications — foretelling the future in a world where money and power are the twin gods is a formula for disaster.
I’ve been back to that cafe a few times — same day of the week, same time — no contact. Whatever he wants, he isn’t sharing that with me.
If he came to me in my official capacity I would tell him to stay hidden — his life depends on it.
He may disagree, but I’m never wrong.
I rule. 

Georgina Finds Herself.

Georgina

It usually happens when someone distracts you. 

You’re used to a  certain routine; someone asks a question, and you put the keys in the fruit bowl instead of their usual spot. 

You don’t notice the mistake until the next day when you need to drive to an important meeting. 

The problem is easily fixed by using the spare keys; the lost keys are soon to be found.

Losing yourself is quite a different matter, as Georgina found out.

I’ll fast forward to the end and tell you that her friend Harriet was the one who found her, so now that you know it will be a happy ending, you can relax.

Georgina and Harriet had been friends since that first day at Kindergarten. 

They crashed into each other in the playground, smiled, and a lifelong friendship was born.

They shared the intimate and the mundane and found them of equal interest. They had each other’s backs and their friends called them George and Harry.

Georgina’s parents had money and were ambitions for her. Harriet’s parents lived quietly and just wanted Harriet to be happy.

The friendship storm clouds gathered when Georgina received a scholarship to study at Oxford. If she chose to go, it would separate the friends for the first time in their young lives.

It was a tough decision for Georgina but in the end, she followed her parent’s wishes and took the long flight to the other side of the world.

Of course, there were young men and parties, but Georgina also applied herself and received appropriate results. She was a voracious reader, and this is what started her ordeal.

She shared a room with a girl from one of those tiny islands in Scotland, and both girls struggled with their respective accents, but as usually happens with young people, they laughed a lot and muddled through.

Their room was on the third floor and looked out across the square to the library.

Georgina came from a country that counted it’s recent history in a mere hundred years.

The room that Georgina slept in was part of a building that was constructed more than a hundred years before her country became a country.

She liked to sit in the window on the wide timber sill and devour a book.

From where she was sitting she saw the whole thing, or to be more accurate, she saw the aftermath.

She told the authorities what she had seen and from then on things went downhill very fast indeed. 

She found herself in the middle of a controversy that would consume the college and almost everyone in it, and peace would not return to anyone’s life for many months.

Being a foreign student, suspicion fell on her. Her motives were questioned, and her character came under scrutiny. She had simply told the truth and said what she saw and now her life was in turmoil. She was not yet lost, but she was losing. Far from home and far from the strength of her friends and her family she struggled to understand what was happening.

When the situation seemed to be at its darkest, there came a knock on her door. 

She opened the door, and there stood Harriet. 

They smiled at each other as they had done all those years ago. 

Harriet gathered her up and led her out of that room and within a couple of hours the two girls were airborne on the first leg of a long flight back to their homeland. 

They had barely spoken. 

They would not be separated again by distance or circumstance.

After a short holiday by the sea, Georgina resumed her studies. 

Harriet started work at a small shop located very near to the university, and the two girls shared a house with a couple of noisy young men.

Careers and boys and husbands and babies and homes and families followed, but Georgina never again became lost. 

She didn’t exactly find herself; Harriet did it for her, but that was the next best thing.

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As we all know there are two things in life that sustain a writer……. constant praise and adulation……..and of course, coffee. I know, that’s three…… I’m a writer, not a mathematician…….. my coffee bill is enormous…… help!!

Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?

Enjoy my work.?? Then why not buy me a coffee?

The Farm.

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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

Michael had been away for a very long time.

His return home was unexpected but deeply necessary.
He was worn out and he need to hide away for a time and where better to hide than on the farm that was frozen in time.
The world was not allowed there.
He escaped to the world and now he was hiding from it.
There was blood on his hands.
You could not see it but it was there none the less, and like MacBeth nothing was going to wash it away.
He needed to find the strength to go forward but he was not sure where ‘forward’ was.
For the time being it did not matter.
He was going to be like the farm dogs, living in the moment not thinking about tomorrow.
He would smell his mums cooking and lie in the grass.
And the world could go directly to hell!

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Not my photos: click on photos for photo credits.

He Who Loves An Old House.

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“He who loves an old house never loves in vain.”
– Isabel La Howe Conant, late 19th Century author

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And every old house needs a backyard and a dog………… or two.

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This amazing, little old house was built nearly one hundred years ago and the oak tree that you get a glimpse of in the first photo (on the right) is one hundred and seventeen years old (you can measure the age of an oak tree by its circunfrence. one inch per year). This means that the original couple who built this house probably laid out the garden many years before they began building. We know a little bit about the original owners because when we moved in there was a very old bloke living across the road from us and he had lived in our street for many years. He remembers when they died and the family came and dug out many of the plants that they had nurtured! He was disgusted. He would be very sad to know that his decendants unloaded his excellent old house the minute he died. The lady who bought the house has been a good neighbour, most of the time.

The window in the photo above is the reason we now own this house. The owner at the time asked me to repair this window and I instantly fell in love with this house. Years later the next owner asked me to repair another leadlight panel for him and I told him that I’d been at his house before. He showed me around and showed off all the improvements he had made and as I was leaving I said that if he ever wanted to sell the house that he should ring me. He laughed and said that there was no way he would ever sell that house.

Fast forward a decade and he makes that call.

A few months later and we are the new owners of this house.

One day I will post the story of our journey to living here. It is an excellent story and deserves it’s own post.

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The 117 year old oak tree is on the right.

ImageThe lamp belonged to my grand mother who came to Australia in 1910. My dad smuggled it out of her house when she died to avoid a family feud.

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Back in the day I was approached by a bloke who collected tins. He wanted to sell a big chunk of his collection so that it would not be a burden on his wife when he died. He was a great bloke and although I could not afford to keep all of them I did manage to hang on to a few.

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Our front deck looks over a creek so we get a few visitors who drop in to dry off after bathing.

ImageOld dogs love old houses too.

My wife gets the credit (or the blame) for photos 1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11