I live in a dump  – there’s no two ways about it  – this house I live in is a wreck.   It served me well enough when I needed to rent a large home to shelter family members in crisis.  Now they’ve sorted themselves out and moved on to greener pastures and I’m left rambling around a too big under furnished house like a character from a Victorian novel.

I’ve been looking for another, more suitable place to rent.   For one reason or another I just couldn’t find anything and I was beginning to feel trapped in this tumbledown cottage perched on a wild sea front overlooked by the mansions of the more affluent – a formula for low self esteem.

When I thought about where I’d actually like to be living my daydreams always took me back to the little coastal town I lived in before I moved to this busy, noisy regional centre.  I’d been told there was a rental shortage down there but, inspired by my fantasies, I  explored the option anyway.  I went back to the estate agent I used to rent from.   He was really welcoming and within days I had the okay on the perfect house for me – smaller, in a quiet back street and with a studio!

From that point things escalated fast and I am due to move in two weeks.

One unexpected development is that my current agent is coming to have a ‘pre-vacating inspection to identify any problems that will need to be rectified before vacating’. WTF.   I’ve been renting houses for nearly 20 years, I am a good tenant and have a great track record.  My usual method on leaving a house to move out then come back to the old property, clean up, fix anything that’s damaged then hand back the keys.    Now I have to jump through this ridiculous hoop so that some girl of 20 can come round and tell me how to clean the house.    Grrrr.

So now I am packing, cleaning, patching up the paint work that should have been repainted before I even moved in and trying to figure out how to off load the surplus furniture I accumulated to fill the many old paint chipped rooms in this dump.  

The inspiration to improve my life motivates me to keep doing all these tasks – natural inclination would have me hiding under the doona.

WP Weekly Photo Challenge  inspiration

Winter’s gold

No matter what time of year the light deep in the bush of Tower Hill glows gold on sunny days.

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It mid winter here now and that is time when the wattle bursts into bloom.     



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It gets so wet and gloomy down here at this time of the year the sight of the wattle flowering deep in the bush comes like a flash of sunlight.  It lightens the heart.


Linked to guest challenge – gold within.

Silence is golden

This week  Paula of Lost in Translation has featured the astonishing work of Ron – guest challenge – gold inside – ‘This challenge is all about the search for ´gold´ inside, my focus will be on natural light in interiors..’ 

The photos I have included here are no match for the technical brilliance of Ron’s work but they were the first photos I thought when I read the challenge.  Once I started thinking about them I wanted to blog about them even though the natural light coming in the shafts going up to the surface is probably enhanced by electric light.


I took the photos when I visited the underground city of Derinkuyu in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.    I really dislike going underground.   I am claustrophobic and the dust of caves makes me cough.   Out of curiousity I ventured just inside the threshold of the caves but scrambled to the surface when the tour group I was with walked in further. DSCF8312

I did linger on the threshold long enough to realise the underground city was a very strange place indeed.  


Up on the surface I retreated to the nearest coffee shop.   There I met the wizened old farmer who had first discovered the caves some decades before.   He had a wonderful smile but spoke little English.  I bought a coffee and a string of beads from his grandson then wandered around on the surface of the site as I waited for the tour group to emerge.

The tour leader had informed us that the underground city was created by the early Christians escaping Roman persecution but Wikipedia offers an alternate history:-

‘Caves may have first been built in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region by the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, in the 8th–7th centuries B.C., according to the Turkish Department of Culture.[3] When the Phrygian language died out in Roman times, replaced with its close relative,[4] the Greek language,[5] the inhabitants, now Christian, expanded their underground caverns adding the chapels and Greek inscriptions.

The city at Derinkuyu was fully formed in the Byzantine era, when it was heavily used as protection from Muslim Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars (780-1180).[6][7] The city was connected with other underground cities through miles of tunnels. Some artifacts discovered in these underground settlements belong to the Middle Byzantine Period, between the 5th and the 10th centuries A.D. These cities continued to be used by the Christian natives as protection from the Mongolian incursions of Timur in the 14th century.[8][9]

After the region fell to the Ottomans, the cities were used as refuges (Cappadocian Greek: καταφύγια) from the Turkish Muslim rulers.[10] As late as the 20th century the locals, called Cappadocian Greeks, were still using the underground cities to escape periodic waves of Ottoman persecution.’

No one knows for sure just why or when the 10 or more underground levels of Derinkuyu were excavated.   Some even speculate that they are evidence that giants or possibly aliens have lived, and possibly still do live, deep inside the earth.

Whatever the origins of Derinkuyu, as I wandered around on the surface I felt very glad I didn’t have to spend my days 10 storeys below the earth.    The morning I visited was pleasantly cool.   A murmur of voices drifted across me from the ramshackle stalls set up for the tourists and in the distance I could see Cappadocians going about their daily life.   I walked to a ledge to take a photo of a woman tending her animals.   I could no longer hear the people at the coffee shop.   A deeply peaceful silence hung in the air and I transported back in time to a simpler world in tune with the rhythms of nature.   That to me was the gold inside my experience of Derinyuku.

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Use the above image as inspiration for a poem or short-story.


‘We are earthlings made of stars,’ said Grandfather Thyme.  ‘The same stuff that makes our physical bodies made the stars.’

‘I wish I could go to the stars,’ Joshua said wistfully.

‘Those stars you gaze upon are the stars that graced the sky millions of years ago,’ said Grandmother Thyme.  ‘They are so far away and the light takes to reach us, the stars we see may well have burned out long ago.’

‘I don’t get it,’ said Joshua.

Grandmother and Grandfather Thyme chuckled.   ‘Neither do we,’ they said in unison.  ‘Not fully,’ Grandmother added.

‘All we can say with any certainty,’ Grandfather Thyme intoned, ‘is that we are on the earth now, in this time frame, in these bodies – earthlings living on a planet in an outer arm of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.’

‘There are countless galaxies,’ Grandmother said, ‘yet we are alive, here on this dot of a planet.’

‘Why?’ asked Joshua.

‘Why indeed?’ Grandfather replied.  ‘Perhaps we are alive, here and now, in this place in the cosmos, to bear witness.   To stand here on the threshold of eternity in awe and gratitude.’

‘That’s so passive,’ Grandmother Thyme snapped.  ‘You always were a lazy coot.   Always mumbling profound thoughts about the passage of time yet not doing a jot to take advantage of the possibilities time presents. ‘

‘Hmmph,’ said Grandfather and Joshua laughed.  His grandparents were just so comical when they bickered.  ‘And what would you have me do, old woman,’ Grandfather snorted.  ‘I expect you’d have me shovelling coal or the like from dawn to dusk.’

Grandmother looked offended.   ‘Never,’ she said.  ‘Burning coal is bad for the environment.   It’s better off being left in the ground.  No, what I would have you do, what I would have us all do, is celebrate the fact we are alive and care for the planet we live on.’

‘There’s always time,’ Grandfather muttered.

‘But there’s no time like the present,’ Grandmother retorted.

‘Can’t argue with that,’ Joshua said.

Instinctive responses

Last week I wrote about the heart brain here.   This week I discover the stomach also has a brain!

‘Your body contains a separate nervous system that is so complex it has been dubbed the second brain. It comprises an estimated 500 million neurons – about five times as many as in the brain of a rat – and is around 9 metres long, stretching from your oesophagus to your anus… Embedded in the wall of the gut, the enteric nervous system (ENS) has long been known to control digestion. Now it seems it also plays an important role in our physical and mental well-being. It can work both independently of and in conjunction with the brain in your head and, although you are not conscious of your gut “thinking”, the ENS helps you sense environmental threats, and then influences your response. “A lot of the information that the gut sends to the brain affects well-being, and doesn’t even come to consciousness,” says Michael Gershon at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York.’ Neuroscience – gut instincts

‘There’s a “second brain” in your stomach. It influences your mood, what you eat, the kinds of diseases you get, as well as the decisions you make.’  Psychology today

The  more scientists investigate this second brain the more they are coming to understand how it affects our overall well being.   Evidence is mounting that disturbances in the ENS may have direct links with the development of Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s and Autism.    There is the possibility that cells in this second brain could even be used to help treat these conditions. 

It is not much of a mental leap to conclude that learning to respect and respond to our gut instincts is an important step towards  well being.

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                     Haiku Horizons prompt “follow”

Walking in Tower Hill


Some 30,000 years ago a volcano erupted in s.w. Victoria, Australia.   As hot magna rose up from deep in the earth it came in contact with the subterranean water table.    A violent explosion followed and created the shallow crater lakes and islands that are now known as Tower Hill.  Artefacts found in the volcanic ash layers show that Aboriginals were living in the area at the time of the eruption.

Europeans arrived in the area in the late 1830s.  Tower Hill contains some of the most fertile soil in Australia so the early settlers cleared the natural forest to graze stock.   The aboriginals lived in an uneasy truce alongside the whites and can be seen camping in the foreground of this 1855 painting by the artist Eugene von Guerard.

The area was declared Victoria’s first national park in 1892 but little was done to protect it.  By the 1960s relentless land clearing and over grazing meant the place was severely eroded and degraded – there was even a rubbish dump in the area.  Around this time von Guerard’s painting, which had been held in a private collection,  was donated to the local regional gallery and went on public display for the first time.    His accurate depiction of the vegetation before the land was cleared inspired environmentalists to undertake the massive task of regenerating the area. These days descendants of the original Aboriginal tribe, the Gundjitmara people, manage the area.


As the forest returned the native animals returned of their own accord.

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Going for a walk in Tower Hill – the bush closes in,

       outside noises drop away – birds sing,

        the wind murmurs through the trees.

At this time of the year the wattle is in flower.  


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Water is never far away   


and reflections hover in the stillness DSCN8738

Alone in the bush an energy asserts itself – the energy of renewal –  of regeneration  –    of hope


Prompt:  Jo’s Monday Walk