Category Archives: our little rollercoaster

musings about life and all its ups and downs

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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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. 😉

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