Category Archives: our little rollercoaster

musings about life and all its ups and downs

When dreams change

I’m letting go of our plan to travel around the Mediterranean this year.

For now at least. And if I’m honest, it hasn’t been that hard to do.

2016 was meant to be the year but so much has changed since January 2013 when the idea was first hatched – not just in North Africa, in Syria, in Europe, but in our own little world. So I’m off to rewrite my About page.


I’d thought that when the kids finished school and uni that we’d be free to strike out.

But dreams can change.

And sometimes you think you want something so badly but discover that actually, some dreams are not as important as you’d first thought.

Or, as in my case, other dreams have stepped in to take their place.

Having survived the HSC year, Darce has been one of those kids who is utterly unsure of what he wants to do. He still is. But after a bit of a break, he’s jumped on a train. And as one of my oldest friends said to us a few months back  “They need to just jump on that first train, a first best option. If they don’t like where it’s heading, they can get off at the first stop and jump on another train. And again. And another one after that … But at least they’re on a train heading somewhere. They’re not just sitting on the platform watching the trains go past.” 

It was such good advice.


We were down at the river together this morning. With cameras in hand. Chasing a sunrise.

Sunrise Macquarie River flats Bathurst

Meanwhile Maddy has won a scholarship to do a Masters in Fashion and Society at Parsons in New York.

I’ve never seen her want anything more.

Nor work so hard for it.


But amidst the excitement, the reality of it all has hit in the last couple of days.

Two years.

There have been lots of happy tears.

happy tears

And for now, for this year at least, all I want to do is get some windows in the back shed and paint. I don’t know whether it will take me anywhere but man it makes me happy.

macquarie river flats

So this is our little train for now.

Algeria might be off the table.

But New York is looking good.

And last time I checked, dreams are still free.


One train stop at a time.



Is it time to rewrite the script?

Winter Study II

So here we are, a month away from 2016, the year I’ve been horizon planning for the last two. The “You’ve got to keep a dream in your pocket year”.

The kids are finished – if they ever really finish – but the big one is done. The school years are over, finished, finito.

She breathes.

Both adults. Whoa!

They are their own people now.

Their decisions are their own.

I was watering the garden during the week and noticed, for the first time in a while, how big one of the conifers has grown. It used to be so small. We have been in this cottage for 20 years. Made a home. Made a garden. Made two young adults. Made a life. A lovely one at that.

But 2016 is looming and Steve and I should be madly planning our long awaited adventure in the Mediterranean yes? Starting in Algeria, heading east around the coastline through Tunisia, taking in the Roman ruins in Libya, crossing into Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria … ah Syria. I’ve been stuck in Syria on my DH&N Facebook journey for the past two years, staunchly reluctant to move on, hoping hopelessly that they’d find a solution. Instead we have a wave of humanity heading in the same direction we were imagining we might blithely step.

What a difference two years can make.

So here is the dilemma.

To go? Or not to go?

There is a part of me, the brave part of me, that says now is the moment you must do it. Approach those publishers. Visit those countries. Now more than ever those bridges need to be built. But then the timid part of me says “Are you frickin’ crazy – it’s a war zone. They are shooting people on the beach for fuck sake.”

But who are they?  I want to meet the theys – like us – who are living quietly in their part of the world, making a home, making a garden, making young adults, making a life.

We have a few months to think this through. Darce is over the line but he’s not quite out of the nest 😉 He has his own travel plans that will take some time to make real.

And all the while, the artist, hidden deep beneath layers of work and cooking and partnering and mothering is quietly saying “Pick me! Pick me!”

Maybe it’s her turn.

Maybe it’s time to rewrite the script.



Photo: Winter Study II. Margaret Hogan


Chasing dead people and discovering that you’re not a princess afterall …

The Hound

So, earlier in the week I had myself, my sister and my immediate family convinced that Robert the Bruce was our 20th great grandfather and James 1st of Scotland our 22nd.

I was having a field day on tracking back our lineage to Knights Templars, Crusaders, Princesses of the Picts and Outer Islands – all the way back to around 800 – to Vikings goddamit – until I realised that back in the 1700s I’d made a wrong turn.

Strike all of that. I’m not a princess afterall. And nor are you Maddy. Sorry hon.

For a moment we’d had our very own “The Hound” which will only mean anything to Game of Thrones fans but alas that was an error too.

On other family paths I’ve found a couple of convicts, builders from St Just in Penwith in Cornwall and ancestors hoping to strike it rich on the Victorian gold fields. Before I knew it, I’d spent hours, ney days, chasing dead people.




Days chasing dead people! And the truly tragic part is that the greater number of them turned out to be someone else’s ancestors. You’re very welcome.

I’m saying this quietly so Steve and Darce can’t hear but they’re on to me. They know I’ve been surreptitiously chasing dead people all week when their backs are turned.

“Have you seen mum?”

“Last I saw her she was in the office chasing dead people.”

(Groans and slumps off.)


Anyway I’ve stopped now. She says a little petulantly.

When “The Hound” was lost to me, the fun sort of went out of the chase.


Besides, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a lot more fun in the land of the living.


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