Stay at Home!

On my island, we have yet to go to lockdown, even though we were the first state within Australia to close our borders. We still have freedoms that I’m sure my friends in the UK and USA crave and our Covid-19 figures are light by comparison. But every day, more become ill and the rules strengthen. We adjust as best we can.

Over summer, I was caught in a beach rip and despite that I’m a good swimmer and know all the rules, when I felt the strength and speed of it, panic poured over me like the waves that were part of said rip. Simply, I thought I might drown.

I draw a comparison with the way the world is being dragged along in the Covid-19 rip tide. We all know we should adjust, keep calm and go with the flow, but it’s hard, isn’t it? The constant state of flux, the bad news.

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SoS 21/3/20

Golly, I certainly didn’t think I’d have any plants to talk about but because of the C-Virus, and our island declaring a State of Emergency and shutting its borders, I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden, doing the autumn cutback.

It’s been wonderful, I’ve found:

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Odd Times…

For the first time in eleven books, I’ve got a reduced desire to write.

The airwaves are so saturated with the war against the C-Virus and the inevitable casualties, that one feels quite exhausted when one walks away from the media outlets.

I’m as anxious as the next person about the pandemic but like most, we give ourselves a measure of control by disinfecting our house, washing our hands (copiously), observing social distances and being grateful for small mercies. To be honest, our lives haven’t changed that much apart from not being able to buy toilet paper, flour, rice and pasta. We’re not social butterflies and lead a family-oriented life and so far, in our state, we are still able to meet with our offspring and grandson. I prefer to think that this won’t change any time soon.

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SOS 14/3/20

As the world begins to lockdown, the garden couldn’t honestly be a better place to spend one’s time, could it?

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Anachronistic Underpants…

I’m currently reading a very direct treatise on anachronism in historical fiction writing called, aptly, Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders, by Susanne Alleyn.


Hopefully most hist.fict writers are aware of anachronism and the shock it gives readers, and also the loss of trust in the writer’s research and editing.

As a reader, I’m reasonably forgiving but when I’m enjoying Roman, Dark Age or Medieval fiction, goosebumps jump over my arms and I shudder when I come up against ‘Okay’ or modern swear words and aphorisms that when checked, date from a far later timeframe.

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Carpe Diem…

I heard from a very dear friend today.

It made me realise how one really must make the most of every day, because tomorrow might be too late.

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Life, The Universe and Everything…

Reading back over early posts written sometime between 2010 and 2014, I was struck by the way I used to be able to write about writing, about writers AND also write books. All at the same time.

These days, I can barely keep one ball in the air, let alone three and I wondered what the difference might be. What has happened since 2014 that makes me so much less of an acrobat?

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SoS 8/2/20

It’s been such a long time since I SOS-ed.

The main reason is the ongoing drought where I live.

Deciduous trees are yellowing and losing leaves, not because autumn approaches, but because of lack of water. Our subsoil is dry for at least a metre, if not more. The above is one of two massive sixty year old willows in our garden, favourite hiding places of our grandson and our terrier.

My borders stopped flowering weeks ago and whilst we can keep the borders alive, it’s as though the plants are going into hibernation. So there’s little to photograph as even in the city, trees are beginning to shed, street verges are dry and in some cases just dirt. And gardens of the less interested are looking awful.

However, on a quick walk yesterday, I took pics of what caught my eye and gave me hope that this pervasive dry will end one day and it will rain.

Acorns in a street row of oaks. I love the trees – so shady in summer.


Down a little lane and shaded from the worst of the westerly sun, this tiny little clematis (unknown?) which I found so pretty. I wouldn’t mind a cutting, as I have a thing for clematis.

Which brings me to seedheads of Clematis Montana in my own garden.

Nasturtiums. Love the colours, love the taste of the flowerheads in a salad.

And finally, Pachystegia insignis. This plant that grows down the road from our little city-bolthole is the one that caught my eye a while ago with its leaves. It has papery white flowers and now these wonderful seedheads. It’s very hardy and I purchased three last year. All in tubs as a plantsman friend says they do best in tubs, she has found.

And that’s it from me for this week and probably for a little while because of the drought. It will soon be time to begin reading catalogues, to separate seeds and think about propagating, but without adequate water, it’s hard to divine anything beyond life-support for what one already has.

So pootle on to other wonderfully wet northern hemisphere gardens with The Propagator, folks. It’s envy on steroids!



Once upon a different place in time, the town of Triabunna lived and breathed an industry that clear-felled our native forests. The highways would thrum from before dawn till dusk with semi-trailers and B-doubles bringing their loads of huge specimens to be processed into woodchips and shipped to Japan and the island became split apart by those who supported the industry and those who wanted are more sustainable future. Aggression ran high in many towns across the state. In fact, the creation of the world’s first environmental political party began in Tasmania at this time and the Greens were born.

Japanese ships would arrive and pump their bilge into our bays and from them, we acquired unwanted marine pests like sea stars, weed and a voracious sea urchin. And yet the government paid no attention because the woodchips floated Tasmania.

But then a hole exploded in the market and places like Brazil began to market trees far more cheaply to the pulp industry and Tasmania’s market collapsed.

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