Fifty words for one day

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9 October 2020

Miss you already, my fifty word habit. One last kiss as I say goodbye to you, slumped on the couch in your tight party clothes before being hustled out the door by the designated driver, poured onto the back seat and driven deep into the night on dark, rain-soaked streets.

Fifty words for four days

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6 October 2020

My father’s favourite phrase – family motto even – was ‘Sufficient is enough’. While there was no arguing with its assertion of synonymity, I always found its lack of breadth of vision disturbing. Today I would rather quote another phrase that my father liked using: ‘You can’t be unlucky all the time’.

Fifty words for ten days

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30 September 2020

Drinking coffee with a friend of twenty years, talking of work and idiots we have known, I slowly reassembled who I am. It’s not hard to lose all sense of being, be thrown into chaos as tumbled as a gully where magpies dive and rustle, where the sky just disappears.

Fifty words for twelve days

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28 September 2020

Of course it was just for the four-year-old that I stopped by the side of the road to delight in tiny black-faced lambs, leaping behind their mothers in the paddock. And only for her did I accept the farmer’s invitation to feed the lamas that nibbled soft-lipped at our hands.

Fifty words for fourteen days

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26 September 2020

Can I mention that in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the answer to the meaning of the universe is 42, and that it’s 42 years since the radio program first aired. And that Ford Prefect and Arthur encounter survivors from Golgafrincham, a planet wiped out by a virulent disease.

Fifty words for sixteen days

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24 September 2020

We first see the train as we turn at the end of the street. ‘We’re following it!’ my granddaughter laughs, and so we are. We see it again across the paddocks, reduced in size, a matchbox train. ‘It’s smaller because it’s further away!’ my granddaughter exclaims. Both rational and magic.

Fifty words for seventeen days

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23 September 2020

Down in the street two young teenagers are walking, shoelaces undone, school backpacks drooping. His arm is draped over her shoulder. They both smile dreamy smiles of contentment. They kick across the road in the benevolent afternoon. Mild sun warms their backs, and a breeze is animation in the trees.

Fifty words for twenty-three days

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17 September 2020

Bundanoon is beautiful with opulent magnolia and pink-tinged snowy-white blossom. Waving yellow wattle and delicate droops of sweet pea. I push the pram into the butcher’s shop as a passing woman wearing an ankle length wrap of finely-woven wool articulates to her companion, ‘How did you discover this little place?’.

Fifty words for twenty-six days

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14 September 2020

Day twenty-five of my fifty days. What to write about to celebrate this auspicious moment? Being a great-aunt, the mystery of dust, the sudden shaft of western sun falling on the house across the street? Or maybe it’s time to consider the fast-approaching milestone of one million deaths due to

Fifty words for thirty-three days

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7 September 2020

Last night’s news reported the survival of the glow worms in a damp tunnel near Newnes, spared, unlike the devastating three billion animals killed or displaced in last summer’s fires. ‘They’re like nature’s Milky Way,’ one person enthused. In these circumstances, you’ve got to get your laughs where you can.

Fifty words for thirty-six days

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4 September 2020

These voices calling through light rain and grey sky remind me of Rome, that apartment behind Campo dei Fiori, the windowseat, the window onto trailing vines. They remind me of that agriturismo outside Agrigento, those children calling from the hillside, across the valley, running their goats down along the fences.

Fifty words for thirty-eight days

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2 September 2020

The telegraph wires are mysterious at night, loops and stray pieces of wire forming shapes of enigmatic language. In the morning they shine like innocent children, laughing at my fancies, displaying their true twists and accretions. But a spider’s web, seen as a gauze in the streetlight’s slant, has vanished.

Fifty words for thirty-nine days

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1 September 2020

The aquarobics music pumps and the teacher bounces, booming to her bobbing class. Lane markers, dark blue in the aqua pool, pucker on their edges, serrated like a breadknife, rippling like ric-rac. As my grandson learns overarm, the water surface melts. I sit in a Hockney with a Motown soundtrack.

Fifty words for forty days

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31 August 2020

Combining Dharawal and western concepts of time, it’s the last day of Tugarah Gunya’marri here. Tomorrow Murrai’yunggory starts, when Ngoonungi, flying foxes, gather. I love this: they are ‘sky-dancing’. Miwa Gawaian, waratah, will start to bloom, its magnificent red flower demanding your attention whether you know its significance or not.

Fifty words for forty-five days

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26 August 2020

Even when she was nearly blind my mother would eke her way through the death notices. Now that she has gone I do it for her, noting the names lovingly consigned to graves by grieving families. I am assailed by memories of childhood and since. Kindnesses offered, conversations left unspoken.

Fifty words for forty-six days

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25 August 2020

The most eagerly anticipated thing was the ice-cream, but the park held surprises. A fence had been built to protect a nesting plover. We inspected both fence and supercilious plover. Then over there – slowly slowly – quietly! – we crept close to watch two vigilant wood duck parents and ten tiny ducklings.

Fifty words for forty-nine days

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22 August 2020

I caught the bush in suffragette colours yesterday. Newly green trees, hardenbergia draping pointillist purple blooms over fences, shy unnameable bushes dotted in white and, in a low haze, the violet flowers of Patersonia, native iris, three triangular petals windmilling from the centre. Overnight they shrivelled, purple blobs on stems.

Fifty words for one day

Featured

9 October 2020

Miss you already, my fifty word habit. One last kiss as I say goodbye to you, slumped on the couch in your tight party clothes before being hustled out the door by the designated driver, poured onto the back seat and driven deep into the night on dark, rain-soaked streets.

Fifty words for four days

Featured

6 October 2020

My father’s favourite phrase – family motto even – was ‘Sufficient is enough’. While there was no arguing with its assertion of synonymity, I always found its lack of breadth of vision disturbing. Today I would rather quote another phrase that my father liked using: ‘You can’t be unlucky all the time’.

Fifty words for ten days

Featured

30 September 2020

Drinking coffee with a friend of twenty years, talking of work and idiots we have known, I slowly reassembled who I am. It’s not hard to lose all sense of being, be thrown into chaos as tumbled as a gully where magpies dive and rustle, where the sky just disappears.

Fifty words for twelve days

Featured

28 September 2020

Of course it was just for the four-year-old that I stopped by the side of the road to delight in tiny black-faced lambs, leaping behind their mothers in the paddock. And only for her did I accept the farmer’s invitation to feed the lamas that nibbled soft-lipped at our hands.

Fifty words for fourteen days

Featured

26 September 2020

Can I mention that in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the answer to the meaning of the universe is 42, and that it’s 42 years since the radio program first aired. And that Ford Prefect and Arthur encounter survivors from Golgafrincham, a planet wiped out by a virulent disease.

Fifty words for sixteen days

Featured

24 September 2020

We first see the train as we turn at the end of the street. ‘We’re following it!’ my granddaughter laughs, and so we are. We see it again across the paddocks, reduced in size, a matchbox train. ‘It’s smaller because it’s further away!’ my granddaughter exclaims. Both rational and magic.

Fifty words for seventeen days

Featured

23 September 2020

Down in the street two young teenagers are walking, shoelaces undone, school backpacks drooping. His arm is draped over her shoulder. They both smile dreamy smiles of contentment. They kick across the road in the benevolent afternoon. Mild sun warms their backs, and a breeze is animation in the trees.

Fifty words for twenty-three days

Featured

17 September 2020

Bundanoon is beautiful with opulent magnolia and pink-tinged snowy-white blossom. Waving yellow wattle and delicate droops of sweet pea. I push the pram into the butcher’s shop as a passing woman wearing an ankle length wrap of finely-woven wool articulates to her companion, ‘How did you discover this little place?’.

Fifty words for twenty-six days

Featured

14 September 2020

Day twenty-five of my fifty days. What to write about to celebrate this auspicious moment? Being a great-aunt, the mystery of dust, the sudden shaft of western sun falling on the house across the street? Or maybe it’s time to consider the fast-approaching milestone of one million deaths due to

Fifty words for thirty-three days

Featured

7 September 2020

Last night’s news reported the survival of the glow worms in a damp tunnel near Newnes, spared, unlike the devastating three billion animals killed or displaced in last summer’s fires. ‘They’re like nature’s Milky Way,’ one person enthused. In these circumstances, you’ve got to get your laughs where you can.

Fifty words for thirty-six days

Featured

4 September 2020

These voices calling through light rain and grey sky remind me of Rome, that apartment behind Campo dei Fiori, the windowseat, the window onto trailing vines. They remind me of that agriturismo outside Agrigento, those children calling from the hillside, across the valley, running their goats down along the fences.

Fifty words for thirty-eight days

Featured

2 September 2020

The telegraph wires are mysterious at night, loops and stray pieces of wire forming shapes of enigmatic language. In the morning they shine like innocent children, laughing at my fancies, displaying their true twists and accretions. But a spider’s web, seen as a gauze in the streetlight’s slant, has vanished.

Fifty words for thirty-nine days

Featured

1 September 2020

The aquarobics music pumps and the teacher bounces, booming to her bobbing class. Lane markers, dark blue in the aqua pool, pucker on their edges, serrated like a breadknife, rippling like ric-rac. As my grandson learns overarm, the water surface melts. I sit in a Hockney with a Motown soundtrack.

Fifty words for forty days

Featured

31 August 2020

Combining Dharawal and western concepts of time, it’s the last day of Tugarah Gunya’marri here. Tomorrow Murrai’yunggory starts, when Ngoonungi, flying foxes, gather. I love this: they are ‘sky-dancing’. Miwa Gawaian, waratah, will start to bloom, its magnificent red flower demanding your attention whether you know its significance or not.

Fifty words for forty-five days

Featured

26 August 2020

Even when she was nearly blind my mother would eke her way through the death notices. Now that she has gone I do it for her, noting the names lovingly consigned to graves by grieving families. I am assailed by memories of childhood and since. Kindnesses offered, conversations left unspoken.

Fifty words for forty-six days

Featured

25 August 2020

The most eagerly anticipated thing was the ice-cream, but the park held surprises. A fence had been built to protect a nesting plover. We inspected both fence and supercilious plover. Then over there – slowly slowly – quietly! – we crept close to watch two vigilant wood duck parents and ten tiny ducklings.

Fifty words for forty-nine days

Featured

22 August 2020

I caught the bush in suffragette colours yesterday. Newly green trees, hardenbergia draping pointillist purple blooms over fences, shy unnameable bushes dotted in white and, in a low haze, the violet flowers of Patersonia, native iris, three triangular petals windmilling from the centre. Overnight they shrivelled, purple blobs on stems.