Category Archives: our little rollercoaster

musings about life and all its ups and downs

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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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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