Spring is here. A pinch and a punch.

So let’s step out and greet those sunny days with a spring in our steps ( ha not a very good pun!). Well I’m getting up early again just as dawn breaks and heading to the beach. But after a plunge a few days ago, am not rushing into very very cold water.

However it’s a date tomorrow at 6.20 am. Me and the sea .

The garden, neglected for a while, is taking off. I have just managed to pull out some nasturtiums before they smother any plant not strong enough to resist their deceptively pretty flowering stems, gradually wrapping themselves around whatever they can reach.

I have been watching the olive tree for weeks and yesterday morning it seemed like the leaves have budded overnight. The morning sun was streaming through its still naked branches and pushing its way through the tree canopies in the front garden.The cactus leaning against a tree trunk has reached the lower branches.

A visit to the South Fremantle Markets , and Thoughts about Place

This is not about organics or even the markets. I was too late for the organic and ended buying preservative free at the ordinary veggie stall.This is more a reflection on change.I have not been this way for years.

I am getting back into driving . So it seemed a good idea to combine a drive with a weekly veggie shop. I abandoned my routine of Fremantle Markets each Friday morning and plumbed for an organic shop .

I drive from North Freo, into Amherst Street and to the short, pretty Wood. I used to cycle that route to Beaconsfield Tafe which is long gone. There are so many new houses in what used to be mainly industry and empty blocks. Now there are some attractive new houses, and old ones cleaned up and lived in. There are new cafes and planted verges. Penny Lane is still on the corner though and the original community/ industry/business mix is attractive. manoeuvre the vehicle around the traffic calming of Wood Street and am happy nothing much has changed here: just licks of paint , a few extra verandahs in the front of the older smallish houses, and lots of greenery.

Turn left into South and right towards Lefroy . The Childcare Center my last child and then my grandchild attended, in front of South Fremantle High, has gone. In fact I hardly recognise this gleaming SFHS with its extensive grounds .

No more Tafe building. Just a board signalling its demolition. It’s strange but there is a vacuum here. I mean no specific memories , bad or good, spring to mind . Yet I spent a part of my working life here. I guess with the old bricks gone and the passage of time the stories have faded , or maybe they have diminished in importance in relation to the life that followed . All the ups and downs of a working life, the people,the scurrying about getting to class on time , filling in forms, teaching , laughing and winging, all the myriad actions of staff and students have merged into one continuous fairly ordinary stream of memories, blurry around the edges .

And where is the market that used to be just here with its ad hoc stalls ? There are cars parked where it used to be, and cars and more cars in each side street. So I drive to the oval in front of where Tafe used to be and manage to squeeze in .

Fremantle Tafe long gone and the building is finally being demolished

I park the car and walk to the markets.

How cool , how trendy, how laid back . How unscruffy compared to my ilk 35 years ago . The clothes, the coffees , the organics, with exotic names. The plants tied with bows, the range of breads ( we made ours in tins and rising dough and the loaves all looked solid and often tasted solid too). Pretty women and some men wheeling pushers or carrying babies in slings, children walking alongside. So relaxed. Momentary cynicism gives way to a reminder NOT to be cynical or critical from a vantage point of age . Whatever, as is said, I’ll leave that one .

I’ll have to think some more.

Leaving the South Fremantle Farmers Market
Shopping done

Waiting in line at the eye clinic: hey old old old

Waiting at the eye clinic

And I’m here too. I can hardly see, have to squint at this phone to get the letters. My eyes are filled with drops ready for the eye doctor. I’ve done the preliminary eye testing “ for the doctor” and a field test where you are instructed to keep one eye and then the other on the yellow light. Press the button each time there is a flashing light on the perimeter. It’s important not to look FOR the flashing light!! . After a while concentration goes and one sees flashing lights that are not there, or miss the flash. A solution is to press that button to randomly as the law of averages ensures partial success.

TV churning out ads and news on loop, line of reception desks with mock wood and a large in wall tropical fish thing behind . Gradually people are called to the front by the uniformed staff and they fall into another black chair outside the particular doctors door . And wait some more.

So here in a soulless room as most hospital rooms are :Beige shades , white , grey ,black chairs lined in even rows( not plastic as this is the private SJOG .) and we’re all , all old .

We sit passively masked like so many zombies . Arms folded on tummies holding bags or stick. Some in wheelchairs. Enterprising ones are stitching.One person is reading a book . A few are gazing sleepily at phones. Most though are looking blankly at the TV screen.

My glasses are foggy and I can’t find my cleaning cloth. The scratches on the surface of these expensive glasses are now winning, Can’t see anyway as the mask is obscuring my peripheral vision.

I feel old . Old, deaf, slow moving and poor sighted.

. The TV voice drones on .

A Baby Díaz and Nan River Walk

So a writer in search of a theme: and I have found two possibilities on this morning walk with grandson in buggy.After a writing drought the last few weeks,post Spanish walking .

I have forgotten the effect of small babies in pushers. In fact I have forgotten a lot about small babies. I do recall vividly though how their presence inhibits writing,or any activity requiring abstract thinking. I know what I’m saying will sound irrational, maybe crazy and probably harsh. But for me as a mother it seemed that as soon as I even put pen to paper ( long ago ) or opened anything other than a trashy novel, an angelic, sweetly sleeping or playing baby sprung into action needing to be held/fed/changed.I was left with bits of mangled, half chewed food, dirty nappies, small spoons and bowls containing revolting looking, smelly potions…. And an abandoned page, ideas gone. The baby closed it’s eyes and fell asleep again.

First stop for baby conversation in front of an old house in the street and chat with the new owner about his plans for making it habitable. It’s a house I have visited once upon a time.Those renters I shared wine and laughs with are long gone. I have sometimes glanced at the house as I walk past and pondered a different kind of life lived within those higgledy piggledy walls.

Second stop at a neighbours in the same street. She has lived there since 1955 and has several stories about her own home, and the one I have just passed. I store the idea of recording her stories ( I manage to put a cryptic sentence into my phone notes before Díaz starts squirming and I have to move on).

But more of that later. This would be a long term project , and certainly not compatible with baby walks.

The second idea comes to me. I can photograph and make brief notes as I push the buggy. Criteria for selection are first that the place or scene appeals to my aesthetic sense and curiosity and secondly that it has not been widely shown. I can Blog again. So here’s the first Díaz and Nan walking blog

We start to the left of the path along the edge of the football oval with the Swan River on my right. I have always liked the shape of this unused small building set on tarmac.The oval was also the training ground for the fire brigade and this building belongs to those days . There is still a well attended Country Fire Association display at Easter.

TC Carlisle Memorial Track ( no longer in use )

Now the Gilbert Fraser oval is used by the children from North Fremantle Primary over the road, numerous walkers with assorted dogs and of course it’s the home of the Magpies.

We continue our walk as Díaz has nodded off again. Through a gap in the hedge and we reach a spot favoured by locals for picnics, occasional weddings and performances. There is a house to die for , opening towards this green lawn which stretches to a sandy beach and a clear river . The small jetty is empty of people or dogs today. No ducks swimming around, so maybe the dogs have no reason to jump in .

Maybe fairies dance here

No this isn’t the house , just the rondavel in the garden. Pretty.

We continue along the narrow broadwalk in the front of Pier 21. I recall the walk of forty odd years ago when the irate North Freo community walked along this way to keep a public footpath and preserve some river frontage. So now I can sit on the bench with my grandson and look at the beach at the end of the walkway, behind the water police( which we also protested about ).

A resting place . Díaz is stil dozing

Sitting still, Díaz wakes up and joins me on the bench. He likes bits of the vegan bagel I have brought along.

Awake and displeased

It’s time to head back home. Just the finale :Harvey Beach, home of generations of North Fremantle swimmers and those seeking coolness on our hot summer days. An after school swimming spot with first dives off this jetty ; an evening catch up spot for families as kids jump in, wrestle and often spot the pod of dolphins whose home this is too. The sun has gone behind cloud and the usual deep blues and sparkles are muted this late morning .

The home buggy run now.

Harvey Beach

Getting Likes on Blogs.Awesome!

Me Me Me

Is my writing self so insecure? Yes. Do the “ awesome” comments convince me that I’ve written a great blog? No. I may be an insecure writer, but I’m pretty sure, most times,of the quality of my work.

Sometimes I’m writing for the practice in blogging, to write fairly alright prose fast. Sometimes I’m relearning grammatical structures or punctuation . Often I’m checking and rechecking the punctuation. I also struggle with the relatively simple task of presenting via WordPress.

It’s gratifying to get likes, especially for blogs that have not gone onto Facebook. It’s more than gratifying, even thrilling , to have a comment on my site . A reminder: Sambasue21 @wordpress.com

My blog reflects the course of my life . Writing is the way I grapple with complexities, sadnesses, and celebrate the joys of living . Much of life seems ordinary, but the writer observes those passing moments and if they’re lucky they can find the extraordinary within the endless, often disconnected fragments. If they are lucky and skilled, they can gather the fragments to create a splendid piece. So when I inhabit my writer self, and have a bit of luck thrown in, I can “ get it” for myself and for others to experience.

Then I am sure of my writing . However I still love to know that a reader is enjoying the writing too. Writing, and the writer, needs an audience. If they didn’t they would continue with endless journaling ( and I have a stash of journal/ diary writing, years and years of recounts, wishes, lists of goals about how to be a better person,how to become a better writer, and endless descriptions of why I don’t make it and how to start again). I am mentioning this just to let you know that I write a lot. However, writing a lot doth not a writer make.

Having said that the journals and/ or diaries of Helen Garner, Elizabeth Jolley, Patrick White, Virginia Woolf, to name a few great writers, are of course wonderful.

To end : a request,If you do read my blogs on Sambasue21 and you like a piece,I’d love a word or two or three.Awesome.

Let’s Celebrate

Night Walk, Light and Imaginings.

This blog is about night time and the light that transforms commonalities. Night walks are a certain way of lifting spirits and being transported into a world of flickering beauty. Once again there are possibilities; dreams.

I started out from North Fremantle, my home suburb, as dusk descended. The sky was changing from a definite blue to pink and orange, altering harsh angles of industrial buildings and signs, blurring edges.

I walk past my favourite wine store with its fish mural and the crab above the door. On the other wall, next to Mojos music bar, is a larger wall painting of happy dogs on the beach. I can’t make out the bold swirled letters in the gap before the post office.

I cross over the intersection and pause on the corner to look back at the streetscape.

I have never noticed how the trees and the coloured sky frame the square red brick building alongside the post office. Probably I have not looked back this way before.

Sunset time , view from the crossing over Tydeman Rd.

Its getting dark now, so I hurry along past the Swan Hotel and over the bridge towards the city, eyes down, picking up speed as I go.

I turn around at the Moreton Bay fig tree, opposite Clancy’s Fish pub at the entry to Fremantle. No time to stop for a beer. The way back is unexpectedly bright as there is a full moon tonight:I move from Saint Patrick’s Basilica towards the old bridge. A glimpse of Cantonment Hill, a long look at the Navy Store with the octopus reaching its tentacles across the peeling paint. The backdrop of bright moon and swirling cloud creates a Tolkien -like space, mysterious and other worldly.

I reach the old traffic bridge and look over the rails into the water below. No one fishing tonight. Unusually, no cyclists or walkers either.

How many times have I walked over this bridge and gazed over the side .

Then it’s back the way I have come.Moonlight all the way. This time it’s as if I’m in a fairyland: plants twist up multicoloured brick work, steel ladders and windows seem to slant towards the light to form dancing shadows. The trees stand firm, only their lighter branches and leaves stirring in the night breeze.

Finally I reach home. The fig tree against the wall is starting to throw out small shoots, maybe it thinks winter is over. Home to sleep, and dream.


Ref ;To read about this Fremantle landmark go to http://fremantlestuff.info-cantonment

* The foundation stone for this Federation Gothic building was laid in 1898. It seems there have been a few changes to the original.

Our Fault Lies in Our Stars? Not in Ourselves? A Look at my Stars for the Week.

Aries (Mar 21- Apr 20)

I’m sitting with a wine at Varsity Freo , at 4.30 pm in the afternoon. Way before the time for drinking : 6pm or sunset whichever is first. At least that’s what I was brought up to believe by my parents, colonial time it’s called for those of us who were raised, well partly, in the far flung Colonies. We’re a diminishing group now of course; the sons and daughters of those bossy/caring/idealistic( whichever narrative you favour) mainly men, who left their established and, this is just an assumption, seemingly monotonous lives to seek adventure. But that’s another blog: my lovely dad and my mother adventuring from UK post W.W.2.with me and my little brother.

Here I am in a pub gradually filling up with couples and families, on a Friday late afternoon. I’m pondering my blogging, or lack of it. Since my return from Spain four weeks ago I have written exactly two blogs . Away I was writing every day. Here I feel I’m slowly being pulled into what I probably need to be pulled into, only not so deep.

I tossed an aside in my last blog about writers and saints being single or monastic. Well I don’t fit either category. I want to belong and I want to escape.I also need to write and writing is a solitary activity.(What a lot of me, me, me). So I go for a long walk, visit the library, go to the pub. This pub is just over the way from the library.

I read the Herald that is lying on a table outside. I can’t help myself. Then I look at my stars. I could help myself but won’t. I think “ that’s a good blog topic “

What colours do I need to show ? Stars say I have to factor in “ all that you could possibly associate with the symbol of Venus”

What do I associate with Venus? Beauty of course, enchantment, manipulation?, strong emotion , obsession?. I pause for reflection.

I read on to the warning “ the goddess of love is not going to be impressed if you don’t consider her fine sensibilities “

Then I laugh. At the warning and at the fine sensibilities. The gods and goddesses are deities reflecting our human frailties,our need to be loved and to belong.They also mirror our human desire for warm regard, and often for power in a number of different guises.The Roman goddess Venus embodies all the faces of love,but she was also heavily embroiled in feuds and wars. Unlike her softer Greek counterpart Aphrodite, Venus was a tough fighter with immense physical prowess.She was uniquely related to the ruling families of Rome. She may have had fine sensibilities but she was also intent on winning, and egotistical.

So to return to the beginning of this piece. Being loved and loving have a price. Life is about more than me. Maybe, just maybe, the juggling and pondering is part of the price. Ok , I’ve shown some of my true colours. Hi Venus , are you impressed ?

And the wine , blogging again , and Varsity Freo thanks .

Ref “ Our fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars /But in ourselves that we are underlings” Julius Caesar Act 1 sc 3