Friday, December 26, 2008






Tuesday, December 23, 2008


When I was a young girl I was entranced by music boxes.

I have a vague memory of a little pink music box that played “One Enchanted Evening” when the lid was raised and the tiny ballet dancer twirled about in front of the mirror.

No doubt it belonged to a first-born daughter in our extended family.

I never gave my daughter a music box.

In retrospect, I am most surprised and guilt ridden about this oversight.

So it was most difficult for me to deny my daughter’s request for a music box when she was asked what she would like for her 21st birthday celebrations.

We had considered whatever was essential for the party.

We booked the lovely old country hall and we arranged for the food and drinks.

When it came to the music for the evening, I had foolishly thought that one of our four stereos could be carted to the hall along with the family’s very comprehensive library of CDs and tapes of music ranging from the early 1900s to the current releases.

But no, my daughter wanted a music box and she promptly gave me the name and telephone number of a reliable jukebox hire company.

We met with the owner of the company and we filled in the request form and we passed over the deposit and he handed over the list of available music for my daughter to peruse and the deal was sealed.

I quickly warmed to our jukebox provider because he was sincere and friendly.

However I did worry about his abrupt and inexplicable bursts of laughter during our interview. They did seem a tad manic.

On the day of the party my daughter, my sister and my nieces were helping to decorate the hall whilst my husband, brother-in-law and son were busy erecting the hired marquee in the grounds of the hall car park.

Suddenly word filtered into the hall that the music box had arrived.

Fortunately I had warned my extended family about our jukebox provider’s merry bursts of laughter.

I was the sole witness to his entry to the hall which was from the front stairs. As he backed up the stairs, tugging the music box on the wheeled trolley, I saw more of his nether regions than I needed to see due to his work shorts slipping well below his waist.

I have always been far too quick witted for my own good so, before I could stop myself, I heard myself saying to him, “Oh, I am getting a peepshow here.”

Manic laughter echoed about the empty hall.

My extended family, safe in the supper room, could titter without causing insult to him.

My daughter’s music box was the highlight of the party.

No one enjoyed it more than her Uncle Darryl.

He had studied the song list and he found his favourite song and memorised the number.

Whenever my daughter approached the music box, Uncle Darryl would call out, “Put on 5105 lovey.”

The song in question was Harper Valley P.T.A.

Only one person enjoyed the 21st party more than my daughter. Uncle Darryl.

I am certain it was because he was born and bred in the country and he had spent many Saturday nights in a country hall, just like this one, attempting to get some girl up to dance with him.

I am so very pleased to report that Uncle Darryl was not without a partner all night and, more often than not, it was with the birthday girl.

The music box remained in the hall until mid Sunday so that everyone got great value from its presence until our lovely merry jukebox provider came to pick it up.

It seems I did eventually give a music box to my darling daughter.

Michelle ©



Monday, December 22, 2008


An old shed on our property that is in retirement now.



Saturday, December 20, 2008


In the early hours of the morning, a bedroom can harbour ghosts. They become apparent as moonlight filters through the windows.

You wake to find a figure lurking by the door. You blink and look again and it is still there. You squeeze your eyelids tight and then refocus and try to force the ghostly form into something commonplace. And at last you do. With relief you realise that it is not a ghost but your winter dressing gown hanging on the back of the door.

One night I woke to see a luminous figure standing at the end of my bed. I blinked and tried to refocus a number of times but it refused to transform into something mundane. It remained steadfast, a glowing apparition in the form of a woman standing at the end of my bed where dressing gowns do not hang.

Oddly I did not feel any fear.

Was this my guardian angel?

No. I don’t believe in such things. The idea that someone or something is stalking you and watching your every move is downright creepy.

No thanks. I can do without that sort of intense scrutiny.

So I decided that it could be the ghost of my great grandmother who had decided to take a quick visit to Earth to see how her great granddaughter had turned out.

She had died long before I was born but I knew about her because my mother had loved her dearly and told me about her.

Yes, I decided. That is who it is.

So I took one last look then pulled the blankets over my head, willing dawn to arrive.

Michelle 2008©



Michelle 2008©

MEG AND THE BLOWFLY (or Don't ask your family for help with fiction)

(As the links to the right of my blog will reveal, I am part of a writers' group. We have monthly assignments that we can contribute and the fiction below is a response to one of the topics. The task involved writing about "diamond, fly and beer". My imagination produced the work below.)

“What noise does a blowfly make when it hits a window?” I asked the family.


“No. No. Not buzzing. I can’t use that. It’s a cliché. I can’t use a cliché.”

Despite my concerns, the family vehemently insisted that buzzing was the only word for a distressed blowfly.

“I can’t use buzzing in my opening sentence.”

“Well don’t make it the opening sentence.” The son said.

“It has to be the opening sentence. The fly being trapped at the window sets up the storyline.”

‘Why?” The son asks.

“Because of my next sentence: “Tell me about it.” Meg scoffed. “I’ve been trapped in this house for 36 years. The last four have been in solitary confinement.”

“Who is Meg? Do I know her?” The son asks mischievously.

“Why is she trapped in the house?” The spouse asks.

“Because her children expect her to maintain the family home even though they never visit and she is left to pay all the ongoing expenses.”

“Why don’t her kids visit?”

“Because Andrew is a solicitor in London and Jody and her family live on the other side of the continent.”

“Why can’t her son be a Formula One driver or a C.I.A. agent?” The son asks.

“And why can’t Jody be a long haul truck driver?” The spouse asks.

“I need one of them to be settled and responsible.” I explain. “Meg has put the house on the market and she is going to travel Australia and New Zealand by house-sitting. So she needs one of them to be responsible for the family heirlooms.”

“What’s house-sitting?” The son asks.

“There are websites where you can contact people who need someone to live in their house, feed their pets, collect mail and look after their indoor plants and gardens while they are away for a period of weeks or months. You don’t get paid but you get free accommodation. I looked up the sites and some of the houses are in really nice places. So that is what Meg is going to do.”

The second half of the football game had resumed on TV and my advisors lost interest in my story.

Meg sorted through her meager collection of jewelry. She decided to keep her diamond engagement ring, her wedding ring, a string of pearls and three pairs of earrings.

She placed the rest into a padded postal bag and addressed it to Andrew.

She had been feeling lighter, happier and free since listing the house and shedding her chattels. Her aim was to fit her belongings into one large suitcase and one large piece of hand luggage.

Soon she would be an itinerant touring the country in her small car stopping off to house-sit now and then but basically she would have ‘no fixed address’.

“Just like Jody.” She smiled.

There was an ad break on the TV and the spouse strolled over with a cold can of beer.

“How is it going?”

“Good. I have decided to take your advice. Jody is going to be a long haul truck driver.”

Michelle © 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008


(As the links to the right of my blog will reveal, I am part of a writers' group. We have monthly assignments that we can contribute and the fiction below is a response to one of the topics. The task involved writing about "an empty room, a window and a chair". My imagination produced the work below.)

“I’m here to look at the room.” Raine told the punk who answered her knock.

His pale face registered bewilderment.

“I’m meeting Rob Jamieson.”

“Ah, you’re a friend of Robbie’s. He hasn’t moved in yet.”

The slumped black-adorned figure suddenly became animated, “Knew him at boarding school. Great guitarist.”

He led her towards a large empty room.

“Biggest in the house.” He enthused. “I’ve got an upstairs bedroom. Shared kitchen and bathroom.”

They stood in the doorway. An incongruous pair. Michelle Phillips and Sid Vicious.

Raine wondered if he knew the Mamas and the Papas.

“Was it a lounge room?” She asked.

“Dunno. Look. Gotta go. Uni assignment to finish.” He sauntered off.

She wondered what uni course an anarchist would choose.

Raine looked into the room. There was a three pane window overlooking an unkempt garden and Milton Road.

A bay window, she decided. Not that she knew for certain. There were no bay windows in the suburb where she grew up.

She scanned the rest of the room and was surprised to find an abandoned chrome and vinyl chair, in good condition, in a corner.

“Surplus to requirement.”

A term used at her day job when returning stock.

She decided that the previous tenant, now graduated from uni, could afford more refined furniture.

“Move in with me.” Rob had insisted.

She examined Rob’s new residence. The floor boards were bare and grubby. The smoke-stained walls harboured the ghosts of posters long removed.

“You don’t love Barry.”

It wasn’t a question. Rob was 18 and certain about everything.

He was right and it was the reason why she had succumbed to her sexual attraction to the beautiful young Rob shortly after he joined the band.

There was no guilt. She was no longer the besotted 17 year old who’d caught the eye of the lead singer. Barry added her to his band when he found that she could carry a tune.

They had been living together for seven years now and it had become more of an arrangement than a relationship.

Raine knew her place.

She, like Michelle Phillips, had a sweet but somewhat weak voice. And she, like Michelle Phillips, was attractive, a drawcard for the male audience.

“He just wants to play covers on weekends. I want my own band, write my own songs. Music is my life.” Rob’s youthful enthusiasm was endearing. “I’ll buy a house in L.A. and London and Sydney. And you’ll be there.”

However, Raine knew that she would not be a part of his dream.

She didn’t like the new wave music and she believed that the punk movement was an excuse for middle class kids to dress up and act atrociously.

And she vividly recalled that look on Rob’s face when she questioned his lyrics and criticised his favourite songwriter.

It wasn’t disappointment or hurt. It was disdain.

Raine knew that, before too long, she would be surplus to requirement.

She tapped the doorway with the toe of her cork wedged sandal, unwilling to cross the threshold.

Fashion, not music, was her life.

The company had offered her a well paid management job in a new boutique opening in Indooroopilly Shoppingtown.

She’d seen a phone box at corner when she’d got off the bus.

Raine decided she would call her sister and ask if she could stay with her while she arranged a place of her own.

Michelle 2008 ©

Monday, January 07, 2008


I have already stated previously that I am a great fan of spiders and you can read more about this in my post Spiders are our Friends from 2006. (I did try to link it but it won't work at the moment, sorry).

I even appreciate the poisonous spiders because I know that they have a role in the ecology.

In the past, when our spider population becomes too numerous outside our house, I know that I need not intervene because our good friends the Butcherbirds will come and feed upon them thus solving our problem.

So, why am I once again singing the praises of spiders?

Well, it all happened a number of months ago.

I had noted that the Daddy Long-Leg spiders were flourishing inside the house and I felt it was time to cull them. I refuse to use poisons so I normally use the vacuum cleaner to remove any over abundance of spiders.

Being extremely lazy, I waited a week or so before assembling the vacuum cleaner to suck up the unfortunate spiders and also to clean the rest of the house.

Having managed to work up enough energy to set about cleaning the house, I noticed that the Daddy Long-Leg spiders had disappeared.

I was a bit startled and somewhat confused. Where had they gone?

Before too long, I came to realise that there was another spider living amongst us. It was a Huntsman spider. I suspected that he (I decided it was a he but I am sure that any spider expert viewing the photograph will immediately know if I am correct) must be responsible for the disappearance of the Daddy Long-Leg spiders.

I loved him immediately and I told the family that he was my new pet and that his name was Hughie and that he was now a valued part of our family.

Note that there are cobwebs about him which indicates that Hughie was at work at the time this photograph was taken.

As Hughie was a member of the family, we were always concerned about his welfare and also we would always check to see where he was.

I must admit that no one in the family wished to have his presence in our bedrooms during the night. We loved him but we did not wish to worry about the possibility of him crawling about our bed and body parts during the night.

So, if he had moved towards a bedroom at night time, we would always relocate him back to the living area.

We also had another concern for Hughie's well being. And that was the presence of my beloved Burmese cat Bill. Whenever Hughie ventured to the lower regions of the walls, Bill considered that Hughie was on for a game.

I knew that any encounter would only end in tears so we would ensure that Hughie was returned to the upper regions of the walls whenever he ventured south.

When I began to write this blog, all was well in our household. However I do have to admit that, since taking the photograph, there was been an unfortunate event.

I have taken time out to grieve so now I feel strong enough to complete the tale.

One day late last year an unusual event took place. It began to rain. I got overly excited and I decided to take my indoor plant outside so that it could enjoy the shower of rain.

Okay, that wasn't the real reason. The real reason was that because I am extremely lazy I do not dust and therefore I was really just hoping that the rain would wash away the dust on the leaves of my Peace Lily.

As I placed it on the front lawn, I realised that Hughie had been resting in the pot plant. I was in a hurry so I made a bad decision. I decided that Hughie would be fine. I decided that Hughie would wend his way back inside the house. Why wouldn't he? He found his way in once before.

A couple of days passed by. No Hughie. Then one day I returned home to find a body beside the doormat at the front door. It was indeed Hughie.

I was somewhat distraught. It appeared that he had indeed tried to make his way back inside but was unable to complete the journey.

I must admit that I do feel that I am completely to blame.