MAY HOLS 08 009

Hmm. Looking back through Photo Archives for forgotten benches, I came across this one taken in May 2008. I begin to see a theme in bench style. Ulmarra is a River Village. ‘Historic River Port’ is what they call it. We returned to live there in 2009. Here you see the picnic table with attached bench seats. The table top is slightly warped due to being out in all manner of weathers and possibly through floods since its situated here on the banks of the Mighty Clarence.  This is another example of the vandal resistant bench.

Beside it, we again find the bench with back. It faces the River and is meant less for eating on than sitting and watching the River pass. Sometimes, a yaaning might occur at these benches but less so than on a town bench and most often, the people involved will have come together and be taking a rest break. Sometimes, as we came to do, they are locals out for a walk who sit and gather a little strength before completing their walk.

Day 18: Someone you met randomly that’s made an impact on your life.

This time I am going to loosen the ribbons of my own discipline about focussing as directed to do, on the ONE  person place or thing and write about ONE  entire family.

That’s the GCountry Family in Ulmarra. Met them one by one when I went there to live in 2009. I was moving a little further South each year on my way back to the Bellinger. Didn’t really  know that at the time but that’s what was happening. 

Having taken a shine to a big old house on Coldstream Street, rented it and moved on in (only to be flooded in for over a week), I emerged and took myself west along Coldstream to the WIDE RIVER CAFÉ. That’s GCountry Territory, that is.

I have had some of the BEST times there. I laughed a lot when I met the GCountry family. Rolling, rollicking laughter.

First encounter was Andrew who made me hot fruit drinks with ginger and sprigs of rosemary he picked from the yard. Didn’t get a cold all that year, I didn’t.

Guitars  would come out and singing. The Village came and went and I used to sit there for hours at a time eating home cooked pies and butterscotch cheesecake.

Then the others started coming in. Took me months to sort out who was who. Britt Trevor who shared complicated jokes with me and Mum who told me about the best shoes for our tired feet and Lizzy who could bake ANYTHING. Leanne who is one of the clearest people I know and Big Tim and his family. He wore an apron for my 60th birthday and washed the dishes.

Kids and Cousins and cups of tea. There’s plenty more in the GCountry Family and I like to think that I am one of them.

On Sundays while the Droughtbreakers ( that’s Izzy, Andrew and Tony)  played music in the Breezeway, Deb would tell me the stories of the People and the Towns. Gumbaynggir stories so that now that I have come home, I am just a little cautious about the blue light of the Cannibal Man out at Hungry Head.

Topic #18. Here’s today’s topic idea: What gives you hope? And what, if anything, makes you question hope? And what makes you question your questions of hope? And…









Each morning, the birds come here for feeding. Feeding and a chat with one another across the species. The dogs come over for treats from the Main House and there are two cats in the yard.



I am not a cat lover but I have two cats in the yard. Spider and Bill. Years and Years back ( that’s a phrase which applies to me a lot these days), years and years back, I was crazy about Crosby, Stills and Nash and OUR HOUSE was an image I held for a time when I would have something solid, something enduring, something of quality in my life that made me happy. Coming on Home.

When I read this morning’s topic about HOPE, I was sitting at my wooden table with the ACER laptop, looking out through the big windows onto the paddocks and wondering what HOPE actually means, when I saw the 2 Cats in the yard. ‘There you go’, thought I.  Happy and hope fulfilled and don’t even know it.

HOPE comes to me in several sizes and many forms. It often comes in little gems, little glimmers of gold amongst the debris. Broken shells near my River here or out at Hungry Head on the Beach. I don’t know why a B Grade movie or a less popular song can be the thing that leaps into the awareness and sticks in like a dart. STONE PILLOW did that for me in much the same way as OUR HOUSE. Some lunchtime movie and next thing, I KNOW I am going to have a safe haven like Lucille Ball gets at the end of STONE PILLOW. I have posted the interview while I am at it even though they don’t mention the HOME that the Bag Lady finds – at all.


I have a collection of broken bits and pieces. ‘Shards’ is what Izzy calls them and they are held in a very old homemade wooden tray thing that we found in the old house in Ulmarra. Bits of broken china and metal and I gather shells and driftwood. SHARDS of HOPE. Izzy talks of some film he once saw, or book he read about a couple on a ship who begin to grow barnacles on their skin. I don’t know the details but we live a barnacled life and we accept and love with all the barnacles. And now there are two cats in the yard and my pillow is duck feathered. 

My old mate, Guy, said to me : People rub along together till they rub off the sharp pieces that stick into one another and, if they’re lucky, it lasts them till the end.

Well, I have, so far, always moved on. Always heard the next call. What I have learned now to do is enjoy the duck feathers while I have them and not worry about the barnacles too much. Acedia has always travelled with me, but maybe she will one day take off in a direction of her own as well.




Sometimes, Hope can be a little daunted and then ……………………….