Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nellie the Elephant

Rowing on Tuesday was suspended by an ebb tide and strong winds, but had a stonking good walk with William up to the ridge then right along the fire road over Mount San Pedro. Stefan collected us at the other end and we had a Thai lunch which made me swear never to cook for myself again, we were hungry of course but it was perfect, hot sour soup glinting with flakes of chili. Now that I know the road I'll do it again - as it was we took several false turns in spite of GoogleEarth, so I'm glad he was with me.

I was sitting idly by my cup of tea when I remembered:
"Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus..."

but that was all I could remember. So-

To Bombay
A traveling circus came
They brought an intelligent elephant
And Nellie was her name
One dark night
She slipped her iron chain
And off she ran to Hindustan
And was never seen again


Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump
Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And trundled back to the jungle
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump

Night by night
She danced to the circus band
When Nellie was leading the big parade
She looked so proud and grand
No more tricks
For Nellie to perform
They taught her how to take a bow
And she took the crowd by storm

The head of the herd was calling
Far, far away
They met one night in the silver light
On the road to Mandalay
So Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump


Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And said goodbye to the circus
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump
Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk
And trundled back to the jungle
Off she went with a trumpety-trump
Trump, trump, trump

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Aguas de Marco

Paula West sang this at the Kidney Foundation Gala and we just looked up the lyrics AND listened to it on youtube. Marvellous times we live in.

Waters of March

A stick, a stone,
It's the end of the road,
It's the rest of a stump,
It's a little alone

It's a sliver of glass,
It is life, it's the sun,
It is night, it is death,
It's a trap, it's a gun

The oak when it blooms,
A fox in the brush,
A knot in the wood,
The song of a thrush

The wood of the wind,
A cliff, a fall,
A scratch, a lump,
It is nothing at all

It's the wind blowing free,
It's the end of the slope,
It's a beam, it's a void,
It's a hunch, it's a hope

And the river bank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the end of the strain,
The joy in your heart

The foot, the ground,
The flesh and the bone,
The beat of the road,
A slingshot's stone

A fish, a flash,
A silvery glow,
A fight, a bet,
The range of a bow

The bed of the well,
The end of the line,
The dismay in the face,
It's a loss, it's a find

A spear, a spike,
A point, a nail,
A drip, a drop,
The end of the tale

A truckload of bricks
in the soft morning light,
The shot of a gun
in the dead of the night

A mile, a must,
A thrust, a bump,
It's a girl, it's a rhyme,
It's a cold, it's the mumps

The plan of the house,
The body in bed,
And the car that got stuck,
It's the mud, it's the mud

Afloat, adrift,
A flight, a wing,
A hawk, a quail,
The promise of spring

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life
It's the joy in your heart

A stick, a stone,
It's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump,
It's a little alone

A snake, a stick,
It is John, it is Joe,
It's a thorn in your hand
and a cut in your toe

A point, a grain,
A bee, a bite,
A blink, a buzzard,
A sudden stroke of night

A pin, a needle,
A sting, a pain,
A snail, a riddle,
A wasp, a stain

A pass in the mountains,
A horse and a mule,
In the distance the shelves
rode three shadows of blue

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life
in your heart, in your heart

A stick, a stone,
The end of the road,
The rest of a stump,
A lonesome road

A sliver of glass,
A life, the sun,
A knife, a death,
The end of the run

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It's the end of all strain,
It's the joy in your heart.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


We drove the Jeep out this evening just to get away, going on the back roads to enjoy the winding hills and scented air (not that I carry on about the scented air to Stefan as suggestion makes his hay fever worse). We had Mexican food and a pleasant wander around before back to the treadmill.

Things that please me:

dyed my eyebrows and like the simplicity of it
cut my hair and am very happy with the line, long and plain on top, sleek behind the ears
scrubbed and mopped, so happy with the basics
at 4am couldn't sleep so arranged all my necklaces, Moroccan amber and silver, Tibetan coral, all that glitters in piratical piles over the big tray of driftwood and shells on my dresser
I am reading seafaring novels, very refreshing
am driving the Jeep for preference, crunching the gears but it feels simple
I am happy with my underwear, my exercise regime and my outreach
deeper into Tarot; not readings as such, but research and contemplation
I finally fished Dee's plate out of the silt from my kayak
I can see well with my new lenses
don't need any more clothes - or any more anything come to that

All that said, I am restless for a bigger canvas, more scope, more challenge. The foundations are solid: what next?

Monday, March 19, 2007

No-Fly Zone

Our fly racquets are an astounding success. Granted we are also making an effort to keep the fly-screens closed (pace George) but the success is heady.

I am out of my funk. Rowing, walking and getting out more.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


A quiet, pleasant weekend has just slipped past bland and landed with a (dull) squelch in boring, so I am sitting tapping my foot with a sullen gleam in my eye: what can I vent my spite on?

Not the cat, who was cooperative when I had to wash clots of shit from her hind foot, bum, tail, my duvet, Felix's duvet and carpet. Not the house, which is quite tidy enough, and I have uprooted all my thistles and besides, it is getting dark.

Buzz-cut my hair. Drive to Safeway and buy olive oil (we're out). Take to drink (don't dare).

What do other mature women do when they want to rebel? and please, not the gamekeeper. And not retail therapy, then I'd really slit my throat.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Silly Walks

There is a small black back-to-an-appliance in the kitchen but I have no clue to its provenance. The minute I mislay it I'll realise.

Felix's smoothies taste so much better than mine, probably because he omits all the unspeakable life-giving supplements. In microcosm, quality of life versus quantity.

The earlier I walk the better the smells - pine, gorse, mimosa, and I think gardenia with its undertone of fresh horse manure. No kidding - think of the number of florals with a hint of cat pee, or the ammonia of myrtle. i took a picnic up this time as I have meant to for a while, and ate it at the highest point, looking out over the headland to storm clouds near Mount Diablo and wondering if torpid snakes were getting irritated in the rocks I was sitting on. There are some spring flowers out, I think we need to go to Mount Tam to see meadows of them.

My re-found heart monitor gives innocent amusement, though the setting for a lady of fifty-nine is insultingly low. On the way down I indulge in silly walks, helped by the steepness of the slope in places (thinking of the "actresses" on the Via Veneto). Sometimes I just lean backwards to feel the stretch, other times I am a gunslinger, a catwalk model, a queen, John Cleese.

I bought twenty-four microfibre cloths at Costco yesterday to keep some in each car and each room. I have been running out of acceptable rags - old towels make the best ones but my favourites now have areas of paint, shoe polish, crustings of glue and such, and have maybe made theri contribution to society. R.I.P.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Diary of a...

Sorted and sharpened my knives. Duds put away.
Floors cleaned, swept and mopped, as appropriate.
Cleaned fridge and m'wave.
Dusted and polished.
I have chosen Greek Myths (I&II) for bathroom reading. Perfect.

Do I need to Get a Life? No, I have invited guests for Saturday. Not that they have replied yet.

It is also a good time of year to wash windows. Whoopee.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I have found a new site called, people from all over post photos of their outfits and others comment. Strangely addictive, for me anyway.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Flowers that Bloom in the Spring Tra-La

A very sociable day, I seemed to get in a good chat with everyone, and delivered the Enormous Bedspread so now have a cheque which should nicely cover the first tranche of rowing costs. The jet lag hit last night so I spent a happy hour looking up Samuel Palmer and Edward Calvert, specially the Magic Apple Tree and Chamber Idyll. Found C.I. in my own books but the Tree has annoyingly disappeared - and I love it! I see echoes of it in Garry's work, that is what started me off, lying there in the dark with my eyes wide open on springs.

The Vivienne Westwood exhibition at the De Young was enormously exciting. Nothing I could wear of course, but it is original and stimulating, maybe could jog me just an inch out my rut - and the matrons of Marin too, to the last sweatpanted one. Heaven knows they need it, dreary lot. Candace was saying there is no pizzazz here - I was telling her how stylish, fresh and lovely Sydney girls were to my eyes.

I do have a Vivienne Westwood sweater i bought at Liberty's. Maybe should give it to Cissy.

I am very happy to be back at the centre of my own web again - now to get a copy of the CALF photos!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Home Again

To a swept and garnished house and healthy plants, Felix surpassed himself and we went out to buy a Magic Bullet to celebrate, and to keep me awake too. I had my first smoothie this morning.

Bird song is so different here after currawongs and galahs and lorikeets, though if I had to hear wonga pigeons I would do mad. What a monotonous bird, even the description I Googled sounded long-suffering. It is striking how many more birds there were in Australia too, flocks of them even in the city, sulphur-crested cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets, galahs in Longueville,kookaburras in Murwillumbah. Maybe our waders are simply quieter. Most things are quieter than parrots.

I will take Stefan into the city for his seminar at ILM in the Presidio, might call in on Will and Jessica if it isn't too early, then get gardening twine as the new clematis has grown three feet or so. The very last amaryllis picotee is blooming, the first opened only just before we left, and a green orchid has plumped up with one bloom at the crack point. Mary's paulonia has fat green buds, and the smaller of my figs is at the break, spring is here.

I feel healthy and energised, loved the rowing and have rung to look over the club here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


A great connection in the airport, and more security searches than ever. I filled my 500cl water bottle before one and had to down the lot in order to keep the bottle. Got a round of applause.

Mum, I hope your trip with Bob went well, and that you are back home comfortably, and with computer access.

What a wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Rivers, Beaches and Mountains

For the last two mornings we have been meeting at the rowing club to welcome the dawn on the river. Once I rowed in a double with Norma, and yesterday with Tim while Nom took the single, and I seem to learn something new every few minutes. There is the pleasure of technique and activity, the beauty of the setting, mountains all round, cows on the bank, flocks of parrots and lorikeets overhead, the sound of the currawongs- and there is the coffee afterwards of course! I feel stronger already and that is like feeling life itself after a full year and more of ailments, illness and decline.

My mammy is still very impaired by her cracked rib but at least we have changed the pain medication. Why is it that doctors don't seem to realise how blunt-instrument drugs can be? Still, it is good we are here and we have seem such a lot, from Mooball to the new Art Gallery, and of course the wonderful wild, ever-stretching Pacific beaches. rivers, beaches and mountains, sun and rain.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Antarctic beeches yesterday! Tim and Angela drove us up to Pinnacle Point, overlooking the whole caldera, cool at that altitude, and glowing with soft green mosses on the ground, on the trees, even completely covering a picnic table so it seemed upholstered.
The beeches are immense and look truly ancient, knarled and hollowed, in fact the whole of it is other-timely, single leafed ferns, tiny date palms with single strands of bright red fruit, sparse shrubs with sharp quarter inch spines on the leaves and stems.

Then lunch with the bikers at the Uki pub, succulent.

I have a lot to catch up on. Rowed with Tim early on Thursday morning and was delighted with it, looked up the Marin Rowing Club immediately. We went out in a quad with Tim as coach and cox, there was mist on the mountains and even over the river. Friday we took the Hobies to Clarrie Hall Dam, Tim and Angela had borrowed another two and we all paddled for nearly two hours through water lilies and ghostly tree stumps, stopping for coffee passed companionably from boat to boat, and on Saturday went to Kingscliff for the meeting of surf and river, low tide and wide sandbanks dotted with birds and children. Angela and I were hailed several times by people curious about the Hobies, Stefan likes them too and they come from San Fran.

Maybe i should use my kayak more before we buy another! Though as Angela says, it is far more fun to do it with company.
Then a disapponting meal at Salt, but we sat and watched the full moon rise out of the sea and mum and I saw a shooting star. Drove home through the cane fields bellowing 50s songs to a compilation album and fell into bed with the fans roaring, it is very hot and sticky.

Today Tim and Angela are working so Stefan, mum and I will do practical things before tea with Doriel in her Queenslander, a quiet day before Norma's arrival and some serious fun rowing.

Suscipe peed on Felix's duvet when accidentally locked in his room, but he is coping!