When I first started writing copiously in the seventies, I did so from a therapeutic point of view. I was writing in a journal daily. For two whole years, I kept a dream book, in which I wrote down every dream I’d had the night before. A couple of the dreams turned out to be prophetic, at least after-the-event, on re-reading through my Dream Book later on. Then I would analyse the emotionally significant ones. This, along with immersing myself in ‘depth’ psychological therapies, set me on a path of self-development that was ongoing and unstoppable.
I started at the Angel in search of a boy, my long-lost Ern, my namesake. Darling. A perfect starting point for my research. I felt sure your old street would be nearby. It was missing from the map they gave me in the hotel.
There is an angel hovering over your streets, Islington. I know, because I searched from one end to the next, covering all cardinal points. I felt his light spirit first in the foyer of the hotel where I stayed in Mount Pleasant, and around the canals, where fortunate tenants live in million-pound tenements; others in barges that course along waterways.
Chameleon-like he turns and weaves, sometimes appearing rainbow-brightly hued, at other times a cloudy figure darkly cloaked.
I lost him on the wrong side of a road, where life expectancy is ten years’ less than on the other side. I caught a glimpse of him in parks where London plane trees stand with outstretched arms.
Upper Street leads north, lined with boutiques; coffee shops and English pubs with funny names. Aromatic ethnic flavours and Anglo baskets of multicoloured petunias adorn the street.
My husband Mark and I went to bed one night with 2 or 3 grandchildren, and woke up the next day with 7! That’s exaggerating; it happened over a few months, starting with two new little ones (fostered Aboriginal kids) and then increasing to two more older siblings. Moving house and downsizing several times followed for the two of us new grandparents. In the meantime, I became a member of a new (novel) writers’ feedback group, and celebrated a huge milestone: my 70th birthday! Christmas celebrations, then New Year came upon us, and I had to make a decision to cut back on personal blogging for a while. I planned to focus solely on the Bondi Writers Group once-a-month blog. However this group began to fold, and I was able to get back to personal blogging.
I find WordPress a richer platform than Blogger, and I intended to rebirth the Bondi Writers Newsletter within a WordPress blog, firstly here, and on its own site as well. The older posts would remain within Blogger.
As Bondi Writers is now defunct, I have started a new blog for the new group Waverley Writers of FOWL.
Blog URL: waverleywriters.wordpress.com
I love my brother Donny to bits. He’s the funny one in our family. He sings and yodels “There’s a Track Leading Back” and plays the guitar like his heroes, Slim Dusty and Smoky Dawson.
I follow Donny, both of us barefoot, round the farm. I’ve been following him all my life. Since I was old enough to walk. Our old dog Streak runs between our legs sometimes. I’d follow Donny to the ends of the earth if I had to. To gain his love. He dishes it out to me in little bits to keep me in my place. To show he’s boss of us. Specially as I’m a girl.
Our house was a simple tin roofed ‘shack’, as Mum called it, sitting on two acres of land divided into three paddocks. There was an outdoor wash-house and a lavatory down the back. Dad had rented the house after he married my mother on Australia Day, the 26th of January in 1940.
If you walked further down through the paddocks at the rear of our backyard, the river suddenly came into view. It was out of bounds to us kids without an adult.
I now wonder if Dad chose this house opposite my maternal grandmother’s dairy farm, so Mum could run home whenever she wanted to. Or did he do so for his own sake? Because he loved the land and saw himself becoming part of the family from which Mum had sprung?
If the latter, then he was destined to be sorely disappointed. The Irish Walker clan and the Skyvingtons were worlds apart, both in ancestral and social terms. Mum’s folk lived on the south bank; Dad’s people were from the more urbane side, across the river from us on the northern bank.