Sunday, September 13, 2015

Brisbane - Old Haunts

View from North Gorge, Stradbroke Island. I remember Mother and I waling along this part of the beach, one year, and seeing a whole pod of dolphins cavorting quite close to the shore. This time we saw a large pod, too, but a little too far out to sea for my naked eyes. Keith had binoculars, however!
 Point Lookout - not as developed as I thought it would be - but boasting three or four cafes now! We used to walk around from Cylinder Beach (I think) just to buy an icecream at the little store at Point Lookout.
No wonder it was the most relaxing day - endless beautiful water, the sound of the waves and there was a whale. Again, too far out for me to see in any detail but it was definitely out there, in the ocean.

We were sitting on the cliff at Point Lookout and I dropped my ball of wool (knitting socks) and nearly lost it in the ocean, much to the amusement of the other whale watchers. Keith went after it for me - but only when it hit a little rock or indentation and stopped rolling! He doesn't like heights. If it hadn't stopped, I would have been winding it up from the top! The socks - ocean-coloured, fortuitously, will now always remind of Stradbroke Island and talking about one-year plans versus five-year plans with Rosie.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Summer is beginning to excite me.

I am not normally excited by summer. I don't enjoy it when it gets over 24 (that's Celsius). But this winter has seemed long, accompanied by illness and colder than last winter. It's has rained. A lot. I like rain, but not constant rain. It feels as though there's been fairly constant rain since I first got sick. I'm sure that can't be true, or The Accountant would have started making an Ark, rather than a Catty Shack. So, I find myself excited about summer. I'm anticipating the opening of the Belgrave swimming pool even as I sit here typing this in front or the fire and wearing fingerless mittens. I'm anticipating trips to the beach, wearing cotton shirts and loose trousers and sandals.

I'm also anticipating some new writing.

It occurred to me the other day that I really want to do an MFA. However, I don't want to go to America to do one. So, what I thought I might do over summer is create a creative writing course for myself, using books in my vast library of books about writing. I'm still going to do NaNoWriMo, but when November finishes, I'll launch into two months of expanding my writing horizons, trying some short pieces, working on some poems, or even a poem sequence. I'll do this in a disciplined way.

That is my plan and I'm quite proud of it.

I must be recovering - I can't make good plans and get enthusiastic about then when I'm sick - I just linger in bed, reading. Or whinging. Or both.

Or I do a little judicious online shopping.

I confess I did this - and bought an Ultimate Sweater Machine - about which I'm unreasonably excited. It's a way of using up stash, is my feeling. I do have a lot of stash - and much of my knitting takes place on public transport. This means I knit a lot of socks which are very transportable, and not so many sweaters or cardigans which are very useful. Particularly in winters such as this one. I'm anticipating more cardigans in my future. As soon as the Catty Shack is completed. Begone rain!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Wow! So many weeks...

There has been some mysterious illness going around our neighbourhood. I was sick for about five weeks. I'm only just recovering. In between being sick, I've done other stuff, as you do.
 Ixchelbunny Lochness Monster fleece, spun up with some merino fleece. It's made about 650 metres, I think. I've started knitting a Crescent Phases shawl from it.
 The Belarus cardigan made from Rowan kidsilk in beautifully coloured stripes.
 Marcy Tilton's jacket made from fabric stash.
Sock made from yarn bought at the Arts Centre market. This is on top of a lace skirt made from fabric stash.

What clearly didn't get done much while I was sick was any writing to talk about. I did revise up to chapter 11 and rewrite some of the little chapter preambles, but mostly I've knitted, spun, read and done some work when I could. For a whole week I lay limply in bed with a fierce headache and nausea that turned out to be reactions to the antibiotic I'd been prescribed.

However, I was well enough to celebrate Motorbike Boy's 24th birthday! When do I have to stop calling him boy?

Friday, June 26, 2015

What Catty did...

I just spent a week at Rye - intending to finish the novel I'm currently working on. I was fired up and ready and - I got half way there. I was disappointed that I didn't forge further ahead, but on reflection I'm in a good place with the revision and proud of what I achieved.

I also did some freewriting, which I really enjoyed and discovered that my muse is Mary Poppins. Not Julie Andrews - but Mary Poppins. A governess who fixes everything with just the right balance of sternness and joyfulness. She carries a carpet bag. I've always wanted a carpet bag. What I don't like are her sudden disappearances - but what is her practical magic.

I tried to harness some of that practical magic for my other non-writing projects this week, too. I cut out some patterns and basted together the Merchant & Mills Bantam racer top. I like the aesthetics of Merchant and Mills and the fact that the patterns are simple but lend themselves to being altered. Just not sure that I'm quite good enough at sewing to alter them!

I also finished the back of my new cardigan - it's beautifully soft and I love the colours. I had hoped to finish the entire cardigan while I was away but I always plan too much and then, mid-week, have to acknowledge reality.

In between fighting and acknowledging reality, I also looked at the sea, found a cafe (Sacre Bleu) where I could eat fruit toast and practise my French and bought some bargains. The op shops and secondhand clothes shops on the Peninsula are treasure troves! (I confess, though, I also bought some new things - but they were bargains - and I really do mean bargains.)

Now, it's back home and I admit I feel a little despair already at the general lack of light in the house and the pile up of stuff. I can feel a trip to the op shop coming on but first I might do a bit of a clean-out of knitting things to see if I can tempt my knitting group.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Poem

The Life

What if my life was judged -
a Masterchef dish?
She had the same time as the others,
the recipe and access to the pantry.
There were some elements
            delicious -
and she led her team to victory
            (with help)
there was that one -
            but she came back
a thrilling combination, fragrant, nearly set.
            The dream?
(they all have those).
             Her disadvantage?
A heavy hand
or heart
a battle with the dish's hero?
Perhaps it (the life the cook the build)
lacked zest, bite or foundation?

Predictably the judges send me home
            wan wave for the camera
(but where was I all that time?)

Catherine Bateson, 2015

Want to gobble down more Tuesday poems? Head over here where Bill Sutton's poem, 'Sugarloaf hill' glances at the cycles of life and death. This week's Tuesday poem was curated by Tim Jones.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Found Poem

Early morning rain
the down-pipe chiming
out-of-time with birds
valiantly calling through mist.
The old dog's breathing meditation.
The kettle boiling and winter
creeping under the doors.

Check out the Tuesday Poem blog for the curated poem of the week. This week it's a poem from Naomi Guttman's novella in verse, The Banquet of Donny and Ari; scenes from an opera.  'Chernobyl Wedding, 1986' is a pantoum and the subtle word-shifts and repetition create a poem whose form which beautifully matches the rituals of the subject matter while still able to insert a chilling element of menace. Thanks to Eileen Moeller for posting this poem.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Tuesday Poem - 'Afterword' by Robyn Rowland


i.m. Seamus Heaney, April 13 1939 – August 30 2013

It was the week after your funeral mass.

Your poem Postscript was meandering through my memory,

with your government of the tongue, your message about voice,

unique sound of a poet come into themselves.

I was re-arriving, driving from Clifden,

the road you knew well, out

along the marbled spine of our peninsula,

jetlagged, neither here nor there.

Packed overgrowth from summer was so full

compared to the stark cold spring I left earlier in the year,

when you were reading and writing, knowing already

tomorrows are best left uncounted.

It was a soft day but no wind to blow the dust off a long trip,

no hurry in the low-slung sky,

a slight hush in the lightly wet wheels.

Air had been thoroughly soaked and a

county-full of spiders busy at work.

The land was hung as if for Christmas –

every tip of gorse branch, each dip of lavender heath,

every vacant space between the cups of fuchsia,

was glitter-strung. Thousands of webs, millions of drops,

netted a tinselled land, branches rising

as shimmering limbs from the bog,

or perhaps heaven had laid out a lacy crystal cloth

that angels at play dropped careless beneath long hugging clouds,

and the trees, reaching up, had torn it about themselves

in bliss at their lovely ornament.

Or maybe, for a small moment, the earth,

feeling aged beyond counting, had

webbed-over with wearied loss,

grown ancient at your death.

Robyn Rowland © from Line of Drift, Doire Press, Galway Ireland, 2015

Third generation Irish-Australian, Dr Robyn Rowland AO  has been reading and teaching in Ireland for 32 years.  A citizen of both countries, she lives in the two places equally.

Robyn has previously published ten books, seven of poetry, with two further books forthcoming in 2015: Line of drift, emerging from her life in both Ireland and Australia (Doire Press, Galway, Ireland) and This Intimate War. Gallipoli/Canakkale 1915 –  içli dışlı bir savaş. Gelibolu/Çanakkale 1915 (Australia and Turkey). The latter, based in historical research, represents the experience of both Australians and Ottoman Turks during that war. It is bi-lingual, with translations by Assoc Professor Dr Mehmet Ali Çelikel from Pamukkale University.

Line of Drift has just come out - congratulations, Robyn! You can purchase Line of Drift, (free postage!) Doire Press Galway at 

I've been taking part in the Iowa Writer's Centre online poetry MOOC - and the linebreaks in the current Tuesday Poem, 'Albert Park' by Alice Miller interest me. Have a look and see what you think - I agree with the guest editor, Saradha Koirala that they invite you to read the poem in different ways.

Phew! Good to be back at the blog....