Hi All. You haven’t had an update for ages. We’re living in our ‘timber chalet’ at the back of our daughter’s place. It’s a shed really but called that because she chose to have it lined with wood. Wood is lovely, We lie in bed and let our eyes play with the knots.

The back yard after a huge plastic tarpaulin was spread to dry but became a water slide instead. Great fun and frivolity (grandkids)

It’s strange. Part of me still thinks it is on holiday and will go home soon. When I massaged Ervin’s feet last night, I realised my body was expecting to soon be sitting on a particular stool with my back to a particular cupboard, like I have every night for years. How strange. Perhaps I need to do some sort of ritual so that all of me understands.

Before. They look much the same now!

Presently, on our place, it’s about waiting for the final clean up. No one can make up their mind if we have asbestos or not. First we had, then we didn’t, then we did, and the latest person thinks we don’t. That is sort of indicative of quite a lot of the whole process! It’s hilarious when it’s not not hilarious!

But we will get there.

Next week we have a team of people from Habitat for Humanity, to help clear some of the green matter, mostly the bulk of the crowns of trees that are lying all over the place.

Some of this will make good firewood

The first application for development to build a house is in at the council. They will need to decide if our septic system that has been working like a dream for 33 years needs to be upgraded to some all singing and dancing system. Of course we have no idea how big ours actually is so we have to unearth it.

Once the council is satisfied, they will send the application to the CFS and, if they okay it, then the building specifications will go in. Etc etc.

In the meantime, I apply for grants. A good friend, who is good at these things, is working on applications for grants for both of us, to replace art equipment. Good, because art grants are always ridiculous. I just did one for help controlling weeds and rabbits. Next one about business supplies. I think this last (?) one will be the 10th application! You’d think they could make it easier on people whose brains are barely working.

I’m sure the Watsonia will be weeds again and make another bed like this in spring. The little boy will be another year bigger.

People ask how they can help. It’s so hard to know.

A friend of mine was living in Lobethal after the fires. They had burnt to her back fence but all her property was ok. We talked of the feeling of complete exhaustion in the few weeks after the fires.

Psychologists say it’s the trauma effect and put it all down to chemicals in the body, but I think it’s more than that. I think we draw more from nature than we realise. We all love to spend time under a beautiful tree, but who knows what that really means. Because we are not really separate from anything, perhaps we are fed by nature in ways that we don’t understand and that no one has been able to measure. What if there is some interchange of energy? What then happens when nature has nothing to give? You get exhausted, that’s what.

Anyhow, my friend said people would ask her what they could do to help and, after telling them they could feed her and her son, she told them to get to know their neighbours. Get to know your local community. Make a community. This is the thing that we have felt. Our little town has come together in ways that they never have before. It is very heartwarming and nurturing. I think this is what we must do locally and world wide. We are in for some rough years, in my opinion, and by coming together we will survive. Even if I am wrong about rough years, it will still be a nice thing to do. Let’s not be lonely in our houses, let’s meet all the amazing diversity of humans in the places that we call home.

Perhaps if we were doing this we would not get so paranoid about toilet paper.

So that’s one thing you can do!

Talking community, I had such a lovely sense of it while involved with this exhibition. 400 people at the opening, another 60 (or something) last weekend to hear my and Evette Sunset’s talks. This coming weekend I will share the performance poem again and read some others for the last time in Fabrik, Lobethal at 2.00. Prior to that (12.00 to 1.30) on the hill behind Fabrik, Heidi Kenyon will facilitate the experience of a live sound work composed by regenerating vegetation. Ask in the Gallery if you’re wondering where.

Hana (our daughter) is managing the rebuilding. It will be interesting to see how easy it is to get supplies with China out of action. Good for the carbon emissions, I believe! Han was always mostly sourcing Australian materials anyway.

She has designed a very lovely house, a little larger than our old one that has a studio for Ervin with a covered outside area that can be shuttered. I will have a smaller nook as studio / writing nook. (With the best view in the house!) and of course I can use the rest of the house. It will be well set up for old people and we won’t have to climb into a bathtub to take a shower. We are looking forward.

Someone’s home

In the meantime the earth bursts forth with new growth. It was hard to imagine in the first days that seeds could have survived at all, but the ground is decking itself out with seedlings. A lot of weeds of course, but also things like running postman, a small ground-covering legume that’s I haven’t seen for fifteen years. I guess it’s a pioneer species and it was too rich and covered for it recently. Also tons of seedlings of native fan flower (Scaevola) among others.

The Xanthorrhoea are all sending up their flower spikes. They become much taller than a man, with flowers all the way up. I have been told we are likely to lose some and sadly some are not recovering well. But let’s not give up on them just yet.

Meanwhile the grandkids leave gifts on the doorstep of the chalet to make us feel at home!


Our GoFundMe page is still open for about another week. Sincerest thanks to everyone who helped us. It has made, and will still make, a major difference to a lot of things. Love love love love love. We feel loved. I will post about this again soon.

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