Bhutan and the Thimphu Drubchen Festival

I could quite happily have sat on the steps of the Thimphu Dzong and just spent the whole day people watching. The fabrics in Bhutan, the weaving, the combinations of patterns and colours are like a human kaleidoscope.

drubchen festival bhutan

drubchen festival bhutan

But as much as I was enjoying my people watching …

drubchen festival thimpu bhutan

… it was time to tackle the Thimphu Dzong and the crowds.

drubchen festival thimpu

For a little while we thought this was all we might see, caught in a hot human impasse.

the human impasse thimpu

But fortunately we had a local friend in a red scarf and like Moses parting the Red Sea, suddenly the crowd opened up and we had a welcome path to some fresh air and a close up view of the annual Drubchen Festival.

drubchen festival thimpu bhutan


the dancers details

dancer drubchen festival

A glimpse of the Chief Abbot, the most important monk in Bhutan…

a glimpse of the chief abbott

monks watching the drubchen festival thimpu bhutan

A rare photo opportunity from on high.


drubchen festival thimpu dzong bhutan

And an equally rare opportunity to catch up with an old friend from university days.

kinley and co

Crazy where life takes you.


    Sunday morning from the safety of home

    backyard final

    Sunday morning. A hint of autumn. Blue. Clear. The trickle of the fountain. Sitting under the filtered light of the grapevine and Tammy Wynette drifts over the fence from our neighbour’s.

    “Stand by yerrrr mannnnnnnn…..”

    Not what I’d pick but it’s surprisingly soothing so I am going with it.
    Home is so damned comforting at times.

    I’ve been thinking about fear a little bit lately because for the first time in my life I’ve been feeling a little bit frightened. I think it’s partly a post-op thing. Certainly a getting older thing. In the past, when I’ve looked to the future, there’s rarely been a cloud of fear on the horizon. Doubt yes, confusion plenty, but fear, not really. I didn’t see this coming but as I look ahead to the next 18 months – when Darce has finished school and Maddy has finished uni – and we are staring down the barrel of our own big plan to travel the Mediterranean, there are definitely little fears creeping in at the edges.

    What if we one of us gets sick? What if the kids really need us? What if, what if …

    It would be so easy not to go. Not to think about it.

    “Jolene. Jolene. Jo-lene. Jo-lee-e-eeeene… I’m beggin’ of you please don’t take my man.”

    The Middle East is such a mess at the moment it’s highly likely we’re going to have to skip a significant part of it. For now, I guess we just play it by ear, or, as one of our friends says to his young soccer team: “Just play what you can see fellas.”

    But the fact is, we are getting to a point where we are no longer needed so much by the kids. This chapter of our lives is coming to an end and I have such mixed feelings about that.

    Fear of failure.

    That’s a different beast altogether. It’s such an intrinsic part of running your own business. I’d so hoped to get a piece on Bhutan printed. That’s why I’ve been holding back many of the photos. But after five weeks of doing a travel writing course with the Australian Writer’s Centre I’ve realised where I’ve gone wrong. And why National Geographic (among others) hasn’t been rushing to the phone. It’s the same message I took away from Carla Coulson – you’ve got to tailor your pieces for the publication you want to be featured in.

    The interesting thing is, I’m not sure I actually want to tailor my writing at all. I love writing from the heart. I love writing here. And I’m not really sure I want to fit in.

    Maybe sometimes you’ve got to work out what you don’t want to do, to work out what you do want to do.

    Maybe sometimes you’ve got to fail, to work out how to fly.

    keppel street bathurst

    keppel street the naked bud

    On a less fearful note, it’s been a great week. I’ve been back in my old comfort zone, spending Thursday and Friday on a shoot for Bathurst Council. We’re putting together some videos showcasing Bathurst. Big, long days but lots of fun, especially Friday which was spent with Australian actress and Bathurst’s Australia Day Ambassador, Paula Duncan. She’s fallen in love with Bathurst and given Council a day of her time to do some pieces to camera all around the city. A really good sport. Big thanks too to Brendan Cooper at Cooper Films. Couldn’t have done it without you Brendan. Here’s Paula, in ex-Australian Prime Minister (and Bathurst boy), Ben Chifley’s bathtub. Apparently he used to hold meetings here with local Councillors and constituents – men only (we are talking the late 40’s early 50s here). Fortunately they had things called flannels back then.

    margaret hogan and paula duncan

    So much on the horizon.

    A big year for all of us.

    A year of launches.

    Just play what you can see.

    Play what you can see…

    “Well the note said Mrs Johnson you’re wearin’ your dresses way too high
    It’s reported you’ve been drinkin’ and a runnin’ round with men and goin’ wild
    And we don’t believe you oughta be a bringin’ up your little girl this way
    And it was signed by the secretary Harper Valley pta…”

    Give me strength. ;)


      How do you know if you’ve found the right person?

      chipped metal heart

      I have this theory…

      Nobody is ever 100%.

      As in, NO-body you EVER meet or end up with is EVER going to be 100% the person of your dreams.

      They might be, for a time, in that rosy, heady, frisson-inducing period the experts (i.e. Wikipedia) call limerence.

      But once that wears off, the theory kicks in.

      Trust me. I’m feeding you pearls here.

      So if nobody is ever 100%.

      Stop looking for it.

      And focus on this instead…

      A high average.

      A really high average is even better.

      If you hit the 80s or 90s you’ve really lucked out.

      What are the must haves? Well yours might be very different but these are mine.

      1.  Similar values. You might want different things in life but fundamentally you need to believe and value similar things.

      2.  If you fight. And you will. You need to be able to move forward after a fight. If you keep playing on a loop and not growing and not moving forward, you’ve got an issue.

      3.  Laugh. Don’t underestimate the joy of being with someone who makes you laugh.

      4.  Talk. You need to be able to talk, and sometimes that’s difficult, but when passion fades you have to be able to connect in different ways. And that can be just as beautiful in its own way.

      5.  There’s got to be spark. That’s completely inexplicable but it must be there.

      6.  And last, but perhaps most importantly, you must share a love for some tragic TV show. I’ve written about this over the years. A shared love of SURVIVOR. Or jumping aboard Ragnar Lothbrok’s vessel together every Thursday night with VIKINGS. I can see you shaking your heads. I know. Just try it. That’s all I’m saying. One hour a week.

      What do you do about the bits that are missing? Well ..

      1. You have to decide whether they are total deal breakers. And only you can answer that one…


      2. You look to your friends or colleagues or the community to fill your cup. And really that’s just as important in the mix of life as well.

      The real issue is when you drop below the 50% mark and suddenly there’s more bad than good. That’s the ultimate deal breaker. When the bad consistently outweighs the good.

      Why am I writing this?

      Because sometimes I get filled with silly fears and an urge to leave snippets of sage advice for the kids to make life-mattering decisions. I’ve considered Post-it notes on the fridge but somehow they don’t have the same sense of gravitas.

      I have written (what I wickedly call) an If I Die Book which totally freaks the family out but it’s basically a How To Guide for them to function if I drop off the perch. Behind their eye rolling I know it gives them secret comfort ;)

      I have no plans to do any of the above. Just think of this as a Post-it note for life. Maybe we could create a new category here lol. Take from it what you will. Now go and find yourselves some spark. And feel free to add to your own thoughts on the subject.

      Aunty Marg


      P.S. Steve has just read this and reminded me that there are exceptions to my theory and that I am very lucky to live with one. God love ‘im.

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          Hi I’m Margaret. I live in Australia.
          I sprinkle creative magic onto businesses
          over at red moon creative.
          When I'm not there, I'm here and now, doing my own creative happy dance – primarily to avoid housework and other
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