Journal of the Plague Year

The procrastination and executive dysfunction are worse. I actually felt disheartened after reading on the Department of Health website that Victoria still has Stage 3 restrictions in place, so no change for us. Which, logically, I think is good, because I do think it’s too soon for easing back to Stage 2. But, my heart wants what it wants, and I want to drive to Frankston and walk on the boardwalk. I want to spend an afternoon browsing in op shops. I want to spend an afternoon writing in Nevedya Cafe. I want to drive to some of the bushfire-devastated towns and drop some money eating a meal and buying a beanie, checking out their bookshop and secondhand bookstore. I want my life back. And yet, lockdown is no real hardship for me. I’m writing, reading, walking the dog, visiting Bellbird Dell, and even venturing into the realm of cooking my own auto immune meals.

More and more, I think of the terrible conditions that prisoners endured in Port Arthur. Wearing bags on their heads, no speaking allowed, and being told that the waters off the coast were infested with sharks, inland there were ‘savage natives’, and there was a point on the Port Arthur peninsula called The Dog Line. It was only about a mile wide from coast to coast, and half-starved savage dogs were chained up on long chains so that they formed an uncrossable line. Any prisoner trying would be torn to shreds.

Now, the view from the old Port Arthur prison is beautiful. Coast, mountains, ocean. And every day, those prisoners must have stared through the eye holes in their bags, and hated it.

I am in no way a prisoner, but several weeks ago, I was really happy when our gardener pruned back the white rose bush that fronts our side fence garden. Every day, I sat on the couch, writing, or doing emails, and looked out of the window, seeing that rose bush, and those white roses. And I hated them. ‘Go fuck yourselves for thriving during lockdown,’ I thought. So it was with a secret mean pleasure that I watched Linden trim the bush back, ready for winter.

Now, of course, I miss the roses. I really don’t know when I’ve got it good.

Last night, I whined on Facebook that my executive dysfunction and procrastination are very bad, and that living in a messy old house is making me despair. My writing, gardening, fitness, dance, and just about everything in my life is not progressing. Addictions: facebook, chocolate, procrastination, lack of planning/ability to ignore plans.

So, this morning, I got up within half an hour of having my lemon and water, and morning pills, and actually made myself scrambled eggs. Then took the computer back to bed. Scrolling Facebook is not in the least rewarding on the computer. So, I’ve sent my PDF on the Art of Asking Powerful Questions to several potential tarot readers, deleted 4 emails, and now doing this blog update.

Next, it’s getting up and showering time, and starting my meal planning and prep for the week. Those auto immune recipes don’t happen on their own. Then it will be ‘fill in the calendar for next week’ time. Or rather, space stuff out that I want to do. Something physical, something mental, something spiritual, something for everybody – A Comedy Tonight! Sorry, I got carried away, quoting ‘A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum’.

I want to be carried away more often. I want more riffing, more fun silly ideas, and the balls to follow them through with writing.

Climate change, right here, right now

It’s hot enough here to cower indoors, with the air conditioning on. All while up north, there’s that polar vortex freezing everything. Didn’t anyone watch ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ but me? But now, instead of people panicking, they are wetting down jeans and shirts, putting them outside, and taking pics.

It’s hot enough, as it is every summer now, that I am uncomfortably reminded of Sue Isle’s book ‘Nightsiders’, where climate change has made Perth unliveable, and the west of Australia is abandoned by all but a few, and Melbourne experiences heat, and killing rain storms.

Back when I was a kid (pardon me sounding like an old fogey, but I am 55), 33 was considered super-hot. Now it’s the lower end of the summer temperature scale, and we’re regularly going into the 40’s.

Birds, bats, and possums are dropping dead from heat stroke. Ants invade houses looking for water and food.

Me, with my Anglo Saxon fair skin, and red hair – I have to stay out of the sun and endure fools telling me to ‘get a tan, it’s healthy’. No, it’s bloody not. Any tan whatsoever is skin damage. I’ve already had 4 ‘benign but busy’ skin patches burnt off me in the past year. I don’t fancy any more.

This week, our fluffiest cat goes for a ‘lion cut’. Tilly TinyPony can’t seem find her own butt amongst all her fur, and is thus smelly and matted. I’m only supposing that there’s a cat under all that black and white fur.  Could be 10 mice doing a ‘Chinese dragon’ cat costume.

Anyway, I’m here to say that climate change is real, and it’s outside my window right now. We have bowls of water for wildlife, curtains drawn against the heat, and we’re only halfway through ‘summer’. I know that February is worse, and only towards the end of March will we have much consistent respite.

Only mad dogs, and foolish tourists should be out in the 2.30pm sun.

Poem: The Six Sillies

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads threw out the prompt to rewrite a fairy tale.  Oh, be still my beating heart.  This is what I’m all about.  I adore rewritten fairy tales.  I love taking them to pieces and saying ‘WTF is going on here?’. The Six Sillies is lesser known fairy tale, a slight one.  I hope I’ve made it less slight.


I’ll marry you once I find six people dumber than you,

he said.

All she’d done was put her handbag in the fridge,

whilst putting away groceries,

starting dinner,

listening to a podcast relevant to her work,

and feeding the cats.

He had watched her from the safety of the doorway.

Her busy-ness distracted him

from the tv.

He found  his six sillies,

and came back.

But she’d been searching too.

They couldn’t marry,

because she hadn’t found anyone lazier than he,

and besides,

she was now too strong for him,

from all that heavy lifting

of his comfortable life.

A Message From Above

I like to think I’m fauna-aware, but this evening taught me that I’m not as clever as I think I am.

I sometimes think I’m the last person in my neighbourhood who actually hears the world. Everyone else has ear buds in, or is yapping on their phone.  I hear lorikeets, and kookaburras, noisy mynas, indian mynas, and those carry-on cockatoos who fly around in huge gangs.

I know the distinct meows of several neighbourhood cats who are not mine, and can distinguish between the beaten up ginger down Hawthorn Road from the crazily-affectionate tabby in Dianne Court.

I sometimes wonder what our next generation of poets will write about: the heat of their cell phone as it heats up in their hand; the joy of choosing exactly the right ring tone; what they were scrolling through when their partner proposed to them?

So, I stride around, thinking I’m pretty darned retro, what with my active listening, and noticing the world.  And then, an owl pellet drops on my coat as I’m walking home.  I didn’t know there are owls in Vermont South.  Logically, there must be some, because owls, although rarely seen, are in most urban and suburban settings.

Splat!  The owl pellet dropped onto my coat, then rolled down, down, plop, to the ground.  Still wet.  Looked to be fur and bones from a mouse.  Ick.  On my coat.  I was suddenly glad it was raining. (It didn’t rain enough.  I wiped my coat down when I got home.)

I looked up.  Nothing to be seen.  The owl either blended perfectly with the tree above me, or had coughed up on the wing, and was silently gone into the coming night.

A quick google search and I’m on the Royal Botanic Gardens website, for suggestions as to which owl might have blessed my coat.  A powerful owl certainly regurgitate bones and fur.  A southern boobook maybe?  A small owl though, and no mention of upchucking. Powerful owls are more common, though, so I’m assuming that one of those thoughtfully delivered mousie.

Despite me instantly wanting to wash my coat(too cold and damp to have it dry properly, so it will have to wait until Spring), I’m happy to know that my area can support owls.  And that a whole life is going on around me that I know little about.

Off to do some owl research.  Good night.