Archive for February, 2012

Chocolate – do I love thee: let me count the ways…

February 27, 2012

Valentine’s Day is behind us, Easter is to come – both times celebrated with chocolate. If you’re the tiniest bit Catholic and guilty it’s Lent and the time to give up things and many people (mostly women, I bet) give up chocolate. So be it, I am not so inclined. Why should you give up one of life’s simplest and purest pleasures because of some out-dated notion? Anyway, most people I know take up the forsaken ‘sin’ as soon as Lent is over, so what is the point, exactly?

Let us consider the benefits of chocolate. It is now established beyond doubt that chocolate, especially dark chocolate helps you to feel good – it excites all those chemicals in the brain that keep you feeling happier and calmer. It does, in fact, help depressives. Some chocolate every day keeps the Prozac at bay.

Chocolate is not in short supply, nor does its harvesting damage the planet. So you can indulge without worrying about the Ozone Layer, the melting of the polar caps, drowning polar bears or water levels rising.

Chocolate doesn’t have to be expensive. Sure, you can spend a fortune on expensive Belgian chocolates and some exclusive hand-made brands (yes, you can tastes the difference), but you can just as easily spend less than a dollar/pound on your daily/weekly indulgence.

Chocolate is a one-size-fits-all sort of present. Very few people are unhappy to receive a box of chocolates for their birthday or Christmas. And if they are, then someone they know will help them out. It’s hard to offend someone with chocolates. Always recommended for dinner invitations.

Chocolate addiction is not a crime that blights our society. Too much chocolate does not incapacitate you, incline you to violence, kill your liver, or induce you to hurt others. At best it makes you chubby: possibly it hastens diabetes, but I don’t believe that for a moment.

Chocolate comes in many forms, to suit many situations, permutations and perturbations. Chocolate bars, shells, oranges and a plethora of confections. Chocolate biscuits cannot be overlooked – the queens being the Gaiety and the TimTam- all others are shabby wannabes. Chocolate cakes of too many varieties to list. Chocolate ice cream, of course. Hot chocolate to sip by the fire. And if you must be healthy then dip your strawberries in it!

You can and should eat chocolate everyday. You can eat it any time of day in any quantity. But the best, I think, is at night, your little treat at the end of a long or enjoyable day – a morsel of what YOU like best.

My advice is to have a bar of Toblerone or a box of Ferrero Rocher, or a bag of Crème Eggs, or whatever you love best, hidden away somewhere from those in your family who have to eat the whole packet at once. Then you can, in quiet moments in the evening, have enough to make you feel good, but not guilty, and feel the reassuring texture and taste of chocolate warm and melting in your mouth. It’s guaranteed to give you good dreams. (Oh, but do clean your teeth properly or you’ll need to surrender your mouth to the dentist too often. Re-read the previous blog on the ‘joys’ of dentists if you need convincing.) (pictures courtesy Google Images)

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Having Babies – Pulling teeth

February 25, 2012

It’s been many a long year since I was kissed by a stranger: since some dashing young man (usually on New Year’s Eve on Constitution Dock) grabbed me, pushed his lips to mine and his tongue into my mouth for several delightful moments of celebration.

I am brought to this thought by my recent visit to the Dentist and why it was so traumatic. A mouth is deeply private thing, a place of darkness, lushness and infinite pleasure. Indeed, it is just like another key part of the female anatomy. Others are invited in, but rarely strangers and not very often.

Thus having a tooth pulled is just like having a baby. (Stay with me here.) You feel violated as the dentist/doctor feels about inside you – putting their fingers where no-one normally goes, feeling for this and that. Then they pull and tug – sometimes with anesthetic, sometimes without – at the tooth, at the baby, wiggling and prising it out of you.

Lo, a result and hopefully you are not too wounded by the experience to a) experience utter joy at the delivery of your new baby; or b) extreme relief at the removal of your rotten tooth.

I have nothing against dentists or obstetricians, both do fine jobs but I’d rather keep them as far away from me as possible for as long as possible. The solution – only have a few children; brush your teeth often and keep away from sugar – that’s what rots your teeth.

Serious advice – in both instances you need to know your own body. Information is power. Read up on childbirth, the latest in dental hygiene or technology. Listen to you body – it will tell you what it needs. Don’t be bluffed and bullied by healthcare professionals who by and large, do seem to prefer you in a chair flat on your back. It’s hard to argue with pointy instruments in your mouth and a numbed gum. It’s hard to argue when powerful contractions bearing down on you with a baby trying to kick its way free.

Childbirth does not need to involve an army of advisers and a plethora of drugs and intervention strategies. Exercise, rub olive oil into your perineum, stretch and listen to your baby. Be prepared to argue with your doctor/midwife. It’s your life, your baby’s life and you need to be comfortable with what they want you to do. Importantly, have a relationship with them that’s built on trust.

Looking after your teeth does not have to involve years of poking and prodding, of x-rays, scraping and scaling, of filings and extractions. Don’t be a patient. Look after your own teeth. Teeth twinge and hurt from time to time, it doesn’t mean something has to come out, or be attended to. Don’t be conned into spending thousands of ponds/dollars on procedures and examinations you just don’t need. Brush and floss on a daily basis. Watch what you eat – especially sugar and sugary drinks. Buy toothpaste with fluoride in it.

Kissing and sex are fine and worthwhile pursuits, fun with strangers, better with lovers. Having teeth pulled and giving birth are just painful on any day of the week. In both instances you have something to show for your pain – a beautiful bundle of noise and love who will be the best thing in your life; and the tooth, to keep in a box somewhere (to add to the others?), the size of the hole clearly evident, the reason why it needed to go. (images courtesy google images and personal collection)

Vanity – mid-week poem

February 23, 2012

Is this then, the punishment for vanity?
For loving one part of my body too much
For showing it off
Flaunting it
Displaying it as often as I could
For gloating – secretly and out loud

So I have to lose it?
Is that it?
It has to go – because it was the favoured part
The choicest cut of flesh
The most caressed
Most admired
Most perfectly formed – useful part of me

Why me?
I have to ask – it is de rigueur –
make the plaintive cry.
Wonder what it was I did
and when
if I can go back again
to make the necessary amends

So that I can keep my breast
and not have my hair fall out, or my toe nails peel off
Not be poisoned by the chemicals too crude to heal
Not have the Devil spread throughout the entirety of
My body
as I fade and die slowly
in bits – bit by bit

So that I can live to see my children grow
into fine people
Strong Brave True.
Eternally loved by me
as I age and wither and decline
– over time, as it ought to be                                                                                                                  (Images from personal collection and courtesy Google images)

An English Teacher’s Tale

February 21, 2012

Extreme Reading – A story for modern times.

Once upon a time there was an English teacher who had lost the will to live. She had been teaching for more than twenty years and in nearly all of that time had loved her job, enjoyed the kiddies, but most of all had rejoiced in reading: in teaching books to students. Reading novels with them: discussing character and plot; setting and atmosphere; themes and ideas. Most of all themes and ideas: all the things you could learn and think about just from reading.

She loved that reading took you to different places, where wonderful things happened, where you met interesting characters, travelled to different places and times, where words were beautiful and magical, where the imagination was king and all things were possible.

She had loved reading to her own children when they were young: bringing them the beauty of words, the possibility of language and the power of reading and discovering things for yourself. She still read for herself: life was incomplete without a book to read. It was not a proper birthday if there wasn’t at least one book amongst the present pile. When she had moved across the world she had brought many of her books, collected over a whole lifetime, with her. How could she live without reading?

But now her energy had gone, her life’s work rendered meaningless in the face of too many students who did not give a shit about books, who did not believe as she did. Who came from homes where reading was a chore not a pleasure, where books barely existed. Who did not care as she did about books and reading.

She tried all her usual tricks – read to them, chose a class novel that was interesting and accessible, shared the reading and the discussions, set engaging assessment tasks. She took them to the library – the new shiny library with the new shiny wonderful librarian. She let them choose books they were interested in.

She did not force them to read classics or anything at all – Manga and cars and football stars and vampires all the way. All she asked was that they read. But still too many wandered the library listlessly, picking over the books like vultures over carrion. Or sat with a book only pretending to read.

She was tired of the negativity: Reading’s boring, Miss. She was fed up with the passive resistance: My book’s at home; I left it in my locker; I didn’t get it renewed. She was irritated beyond belief by their ignorance: Why do I need to read? Reading novels won’t get me a job. My brother says reading’s stupid.

It was too late for her prince to rescue her: he’d come years ago and had not been rich enough or famous enough to save her from a life of work. But it hadn’t mattered then. Once, not all that long ago, there had been joy in teaching English, in a classroom where everyone read something and knew books were the key to their future and wanted to talk about their experiences of the text.

And so, one night towards the end of her Spring half term holiday she awoke from a frenzied dream where Michael Wilshaw (the saviour of Ofsted and defender of all students who deserved better teaching) was casting her out, having her sacked because none of her students would read. ‘You are a failure,’ he boomed at her. ‘And so you must be gone. Do not darken the doors of schools in this country ever again. You should be ashamed of yourself.’

Alarmed and afraid she rushed outside into the cool of the dark night. ‘Oh,’ she cried to the black sky, ‘help me. I have lost my way and don’t know what to do. My students hate reading and I hate them because they hate reading. It’s true I am a failure. I no longer care. What can I do?’

The sky rumbled for a moment and then said, ‘Get a grip. You’re meant to be intelligent, you’re meant to be imaginative, think of something. Get over yourself, woman and do your job. Think like a teenager, not one from your generation but one from now. Even your own daughter only reads that Twilight rubbish and loads of Manga.’

‘But what?’ she wailed. ‘What can I do?  I have no idea.’

The sky seemed to laugh. ‘Well, I guess Wilshaw will have you sacked if you can’t out-think a bunch of fourteen year olds, and deservedly so. Get competitive, remember you’re tough, don’t let the other guys win.’

In the morning the sun was bright in a pale blue sky and she had the answer. Extreme Sports – Reading for ENA2. Select your teams, read your books, discuss your books, earn daily points; win weekly Vivos and the big end of term prize. Which team is the best at reading?

She imagined the teams in her head, saw them at their desks, reading every lesson, no books forgotten. Then on Friday a lesson spent discussing in detail one aspect of the novel – begin with central characters, ask challenging questions. Share each book, decide which character was the best, award points for each response, share with the class. Vote on the most informative and engaging speaker. Award team points, declare a weekly winner. Set up a league board – see the points amassing. Raise the stakes for the next week…

She would make them readers if it killed her. And it probably would, but she would rather die trying than give up altogether. She was not about to let her nightmares come true! (Images from personal collection and courtesy Google Images)

Be Still

February 18, 2012

Amidst the noise and the anger, the haste and the hassle you need to find time to stop and be still. Life rushes past, too often you don’t notice it as you speed from one part to the next, waiting for some things to be over, other things to begin. But that way you miss life, you miss the be-ing of it all. You take too much stress and shit from others. Learn to be still and listen to your heart, to the truth of matters; to what really matters.

Find a quiet place

Stop what you are doing

Sit – or stand

Just Be

Quiet

Still

Centred

Breath

Do nothing else

Go the beach, find some water, a calm blue place. Go to a park, the country, a calm green place – find a tree. Find a space in your home, just you and silence, no distractions. Stop. Don’t even think. Be. Just be for as long as you need. It will centre you, calm you.

Being still allows you to breath, relax, smile, give thanks for what you have – ignore what you have not. Being still allows you time to find your purpose again, enables you to concentrate, find solutions to your problems.

Being still means not thinking, not worrying, not allowing stress or anxiety to bother you for five minutes, or even more.

Being still allows serenity a foothold in your life, a place where peace and tranquility can grow. You need that in your life – we all do. Find five minutes a day to Be Still.

Children need to learn to be still. They need to be able to sit and concentrate, not be distracted by the ephemera of the world. You need to teach your child to be, find comfort in silence and stillness so they can think for themselves and do for themselves. Just like you.

Be still and then you can do. Be still and you can reclaim your life for your own purposes, not dance to the tunes of others. (PIx from personal collection)

10+ Romantic Movies for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2012

Not all of us will be rushing out to flash restaurants or getting flowers and chocolates, but we can – whether in a couple or on our own – find a movie to suit on this day for romantic fools. There’s some serious romance here as well as some romantic comedy. Which will suit you and your love? Get a bottle of wine, some really nice chocolate (Lindt, Ferrero Rocher) and cuddle up on the couch, enjoy. (Note how many of these are based on books – remember you need to read to really make the most of romantic stories, but that was the previous post.)

Serious stuff first, where death and suffering reign, then some lightness and laughter to make us feel good about romantic love, whether we have it in our lives at the moment or not.

Love Story (1970)

Erich Segal’s book which became a major tear-jerker of a movie. Ryan O’Neill and Ali McGraw – modern star crossed lovers who meet and marry. His family abandons him but they remain madly in love despite the many obstacles – snow angels and all. But she gets cancer and dies. Tears all the way.

 

An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

Richard Gere at his handsome, insolent best. We know the final scene when he picks up Debra Winger and walks her out of the factory as an iconic romantic gesture, one we cheer at and cry over. It’s a well crafted story that stands the test of time. More than just a romance: it’s a story of friendship, of character and finding out who we really are, of believing in ourselves and finding love amidst it all.

 

Out of Africa (1985)

Based on a true story so even better really – Robert Redford and Meryl Streep in the heart of Africa – Kenya in the days when the Empire was great, although Streep is Danish author Baroness Karen von Blixen (writing as Isak Dinesen) who struggles with the ebbing fortunes of her farm and the infidelities of her husband. Then she has an affair with Denys Finch Hatton (Redford) a local big game hunter. But the farm is lost and she must return to Denmark. Finch Hatton dies just before their final farewell. It breaks your heart. A film as much about Blixen’s love affair with Africa as it is with Finch Hatton. Streep and Redford make a very handsome couple.

 

The English Patient (1996)

Almost as good as the book. Great cast – Ralph Feinnes, Kristen Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe – beautiful setting: the desert is as much the star as the actors, plus the Italian countryside is lush and sensual. This is a movie of the senses, two love stories set against the war, suffering, sadness, loss. Read the book, watch the film, feel the pain of forbidden and lost love all over again. (It’s long though.)

 

Romeo and Juliet (1968 + 1996)

Classic story of star-crossed lovers – we all know how it ends, but you can watch it again and again. But which version? Franco Zeffirelli’s traditional (1968) version was the first to have actors more closely approximating the age of the characters. Remember Juliet dies before she turns 14. Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were incredibly beautiful as the doomed lovers and the setting was classically realized and the film wonderfully true to the original play. Then of course there is the Baz Luhrmann (1996) hyper-energy version with Claire Danes and Leonardo diCaprio as the lovers. It was a stroke of genius to modernize the setting while remaining faithful to the language of Shakespeare. Whichever version you choose, it’s the same – young love, misunderstood love, passion, gangs, testosterone, beautiful words, death and tragedy. Ah, what it is to die young before the corrosion of age destroys love.

 

The Lake House (2006)

I love this – moody, time travelish, evocative, Keanu Reeves actually acting not just smouldering and lovely Sandra Bullock exchanging love letters across the space-time divide. You want to cry, you end up happy. It’s a beautiful film. If you like Sandra (& I do!) check out The Proposal (with Ryan Gosling) and Two Weeks Notice (with Hugh Grant) for a bit of extra Sandra romantic magic.

 

The Princess Bride (1987)

How can you go past this? Romance, sword fighting, evil princes, giants, pirates, magic, the fire swamp, true love. This is the romantic movie of the list. ‘As you wish…’ You just know Wesley and Buttercup belong together and will get there in the end, but the adventure is well worth having. For romantics of every age.

 

When Sally met Harry (1989)

Just one of many Meg Ryan classic romances – perhaps the best, perhaps best known for her ‘orgasm’ scene in the café with Billy Crystal. It’s sweet, she’s lovely; there’s a happy ending. But I’d also watch You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, French Kiss. There was a time when Meg Ryan was America’s romantic sweetheart then she met Russell Crowe and lost it all. Still, you can revisit these movies and remember how lovely she was and why everyone wanted to be in love with her.

 

Bridget Jones’ Dairy (2001)

You know I love this – all the modern angst of the 30 something woman with all her anxieties and insecurities. The film is wonderfully close to the novel and the casting makes it even better – Rene Zellweger is wonderful, Colin Firth is great and Hugh Grant (who isn’t really playing Hugh Grant) is brill as the dastardly Daniel Cleaver. It is standard girl falls for wrong guy, makes a fool of herself, finds right guy, makes fool of herself but right guy wins in end. It’s worth repeating – Mark Darcy loves Bridget ‘just the way she is.’

 

Love Actually (2003)

You have to have this in a list of Romantic Movies. Aside from the nauseating child of Liam Neeson bits, the rest are fabulous: all sorts of love there for all sorts of people and yes, it has a stellar Brit cast. You can’t go past Hugh Grant as PM, Bill Nighy and Billy Mack (become a pop-star and get your drugs for free). But the best love stories amidst it all are the newly wed triangle (Keira Knightly, Chiwetel Eijofor & Andrew Lincoln); Emma Thompson’s gut wrenching sadness at the betrayal of foolish Alan Rickman; and the joy of Colin Firth re-finding love after his wife’s betrayal with his brother. It’s great at Christmas and better on Valentine’s Day.

 

And a few others to be going on with – Shall we Dance, Pretty Woman, The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Brokeback Mountain, Death in Venice, Titanic, The Note-book, 27 Dresses. So, something for everyone. Happy Valentine’s Day, to you and yours. (Images courtesy Google Images)

Romantic Readings – for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

February 11, 2012

When I thought of good romantic books for this post for some Valentine’s Day reading I did struggle a bit: given I don’t actually read a lot of romance I had to have a big think. This is my list of 10 of the best romantic reads – mostly classics here, and an even split of male to female writers. Enjoy.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte. This is my favourite Bronte story. Jane Eyre is okay but for me it is the wild, demonic passion of Cathy and Heathcliff that sends them insane and survives death. It is intricately written, and stays with you forever. I think it is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how love lasts, and how it posses you, controls you, owns you. Plus there is always the fantastic Kate Bush song.

Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen. All of Jane Austen’s novels deal with love and the intricacies of romance and social expectations of her time and all of us have our favourite. This is mine – essentially because Elizabeth Bennett is really a very modern woman, suffering her ridiculous family and manages to be true to herself and does win the man – the best man of the lot, not just the richest, but the smouldering bad tempered, distant type – who isn’t in the end after all. It’s no wonder with Heathcliff and Mr Darcy in our imaginations that so many of us fancy bad boys when we’re young.

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy. Ah Russian passion and suffering which is so much more bleak and unbearable than English suffering. Anna has to die, there is no other way out for her: the pressures of her social standing and her passion for Vronsky. But there’s a lot of pages to get through before she ends up under the train.

The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald. You knew this would be on the list – this book is on all my reading lists! How can you go past a man who spends years of his life getting rich just to get back the woman he loves – even if she is utterly worthless. Daisy shimmers, Gatsby shines, but it is all ill fated and he, too, has to die.

Women in Love – DH Lawrence. Many of Lawrence’s books could be on this list – Lady Chatterly’s Lover, most famously, and The Rainbow. I read Lawrence as an impressionable university student, in the throws of my own affair with one of those out-of-reach-men. The contrasting love stories of Gudrun & Ursula Brangwen was written with such intimate insight, that you felt Lawrence knew women better than he knew men.

The Go-between – LP Hartley. “The past is a foreign country”. Remember that? And off we go down memory lane to the summer of 1900 where the narrator, as a young boy helps two ill fated lovers in their trysts. It is a novel of social class, lovers thwarted and innocence lost. Read it again – it is beautifully sad.

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier. My mother made me read Rebecca and I thank her for that still. Another famous opening: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Mystery, intrigue, ghosts, malevolent servant (the very scary Mrs Danvers), riches, beautiful settings, love – this book has it all. Who does the wealthy Maxim really love – his dead wife or his new young wife?

The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje. You’ve seen the movie, no doubt but you must read the book. The story of the dying English Patient in the war, nursed by a young English nurse in Italy, as he relives his affair with another pilot’s wife and how his actions led to her death – alone in a cave in the desert as she desperately waits for him to return, which he does too late. This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read – the story is epic and the writing is truly poetic. Read this book.

God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy. The depth of feeling in this novel seeps through to your very soul. The book tells the story of forbidden love between two pairs of lovers. Set against the strict social mores of Indian society and the fetid, sweaty tropics of monsoon Kerala this book horrifies and amazes you. The evil of Baby Kochamma is worse than Mrs Danvers and the results of her lies and meddling fatal. Amu and Velutha fall in love, but he is an untouchable and has no right to be with her. Estha and Rahel are witness to Velutha’s mistreatment and are separated for many years. But their own love is too strong and finally after many years apart they accept their need for each other and the final scenes are of love. The brilliance in the writing is that we accept the two pairs of lovers are right, despite the weight of social barriers and prejudices against them.

Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding. Finally a romantic story where nobody dies! If you love P&P then naturally you love Bridget Jones. This is fun, this is anxiety as modern women know it – falling for the wrong guy, losing the right guy, confused about it all; foolish and full of doubt but loveable in a real way. Remember Mark Darcy does love Bridget exactly as she is. And that’s what we all want at the end of the day.

Happy reading. Happy Valentine’s Day. (Images courtesy Google Images)

Kisses

February 8, 2012

He would kiss her hair

a light touch in passing

affirmation of his affection

almost imperceptible to the world

Yet physical and true.

He would seek her out

throughout the day

stop to chat

smile and casually  – almost carelessly – touch.

She liked that.

They would laugh

and tease

finding ways to be alone

to stand too close

able to ignore those waiting at home.

She dreamed of him

too many nights

too much feeling

too many lies

Too much unspoken in glacier blue eyes.

Once they kissed.

Only once.

Simply too much.

He whispered words of love.

Held her tight.

Just for one night.

He used to kiss her hair. (Images courtesy Google images)

Traveling Girl 2

February 5, 2012

(Link to Traveling Girl 1 – published October 3, 2010)

How many places in the world were there? Surely there was a place where she could be happy? This God forsaken blight on the planet, lost in time and humanity, on the west coast of nowhere was not the place for her. How many towns had gravel instead of grass on their footy fields? How many towns had a pub on every corner? How many towns were as full of people who didn’t really want to be here as this place?

It had not been a good six months. Foolish liaisons yet again – would she never learn? Friendships that were based on the slippery surface of proximity. A job that was neither wonderful nor terrible but not fulfilling either. Not much chance for literature and writing here: Friday nights in the pub, Saturdays at the Laundromat, Sundays preparing and marking. And so many grey days full of rain and clouds. Oh, what a gothic place to be, as miserable as any Bronte novel – weather within as bad as weather without.

And naturally with her spirits so blighted she’d terribly  been sick – bronchitis moving into pneumonia it felt – so she went home for two weeks to be in a familiar place, if not a familiar bed, and contemplated her future. Two years, the conventional wisdom went, before she could return to her sweet riverside hometown. But would she survive that long? All parts of life were failing and she had lost her faith in the future. She had not written a thing and she was neither an inspiring teacher nor inspired by the profession.

In August a telegram came. A position in the farthest place on the continental mass to the north of her insular island home: a chance to change her destiny. She demurred only a second, only a moment to check with a friend about life up there: all good, it’s all great, her friend confirmed, go, you must go. She accepted the job, made arrangements and delivered her resignation with joy to her less than supportive principal. Well, he’d never liked her much, nor had taken the trouble to disguise it, so how could she not delight in telling him (metaphorically at least) to stuff his poxy job.

Her father, of course, could not help himself and after the initial acceptance rang back to lambast her decision and impress upon her the foolishness of giving up a safe career in the Tasmanian Teaching Service. She laughed, at the horrific image conjured by that thought and by her father’s naïve belief that he could change her mind. It was simple, Nhulunbuy could not be worse than Queenstown. And if it was she would wear it.

She listened to the Eurogliders and felt a renewal of hope, a burst of sunshine in her deep mid-winter.

I’m tired of living in the sand

 I’m searching for a better land

Heaven must be there

Well it’s just got to be there

I’ve never -never seen Eden

I don’t want to live in this place

I want to find a better place

I’m searching for a better place (Heaven, 1984)

It was because she had already unhooked from home that this move was so easy to make. Had she still been in Hobart, had her mother not so thoughtlessly died, she would never have gone. But the thread was broken – there was nothing substantial or real to keep her here. All she’d made was a mess, so why remain?

She packed her worldly goods, shipped off a few boxes and her car, loaded her cats into their travel box and hitched a lift with her brother home to catch the plane to take her to the rest of her life.

She did not look back with longing or regret as they wound out of the hills from that depressed, weatherboarded, close-minded mining town. Nor did she hesitate for a moment as she walked to the plane three days later.

She took a window seat on the right of the plane, so she could watch her country unfurl below her as she travelled inexorably from one life to the next. Nervous, but not unnerved. She did not know it, but maybe she sensed it: if the move to Queenstown had set her free, this was the move to begin her life, remake it as she wanted it to be.

(Images from Google-images.) Please note: All opinions here are entirely personal and subjective and in no way objectively represent any place mentioned in this blog.