Sunday, May 23, 2010

Unforgettable Happenings in Darwin

1. Waking one morning to find three gorgeous Australian males at my bedside. One carried yoghurt and mango, one a plate of toast with rosella jelly and one a cup of tea. They were my hostess's grandsons who were sleeping over, aged 11,9 and 7.

2. Sitting with a group of poets watching the sun go down over Darwin Harbour and drinking champagne.(actually Marlborough sparkling)

3. Family barbecues which included the family dogs (litter sisters) who were exuberant as the children.

4.Watching birds at Fogg Dam where I saw more white herons than I have every seen in my long life. Also seeing a jabaroo, and enormous kind of crane, fly in.

%. visiting Howard Springs, where I saw a black cockatoo, very exotic. tiny turtles swimming beside tropical fish I have only seen in aquariums, and listening while Kaye exchanges stories with the Park Ranger who is a former pupil of hers.

5. At a country market seeing a tiny python curled about the forearm of its owner.
In the same market learning how to squeeze a ripe orange then make a hole in the skin and drink from it.

6, Sharing poems on the shady terrace of Kaye's house. Nine poets had gathered for lunch. That was the day Kaye prepared and served 22 meals, as well as visiting a sick friend, and worked out how I could place and International phone call to one of my Kiwi sons who seem to have forgotten my existance.

And there are six days left for me to make more discoveries. I am fortunate indeed to be here instead of cluttering up some chilly New Zealand rest home.

Monday, May 17, 2010


And I have met hundreds of people I shall love until I die, like Kaye Alderhoven who has taken me into her home and introduced me to he friends, and shepherds me through this sizzling heat. Then there are the Northern Territory writers, vibrant and intelligents, and Kardeck who greeted me in Maori. He is a beautiful young man hald Balinese half New Zealander. And John Puhle, a writer from Niue Island who greeted me in Maori with a hongi. I love them all.
Writers, There were writers from all over the country, some I had never heard of before, to my shame. Tim Flannery was the guest speaker at the festival's opening dinner, and again at lunch the following day. At question time a young girl (primary school sge) asked what children could do to save the planet. His reply, "ask your parents if you can see their power bill. Make a bet with them that you can reduce it by a third, then go around the house turning of lights and appliances that are not in use." In other words everybody has to help save the planet. Kaye drove him to the airport later, and like so many icons he is unassuming and plain nice.
As were Bruce Pascoe, whose book 'BLOKE'is onthe best seller list, and Arnold Zable, sone of Holocaust survivors, who took a three hour workshop which was inspiring, and Don Watson who trained as a theoretical physicist but could not get a job in Australia so he formed the Rock Band COLD CHISEL. and Kevin Gillam the poet who is head of Music at a Perth High School, He writes beautiful poetry but looks as though he should be propping up the All Blacks front row, and John Maynard, Professor of Aboriginal Studies, who lectures inspiringly and lucidly on Aboriginal culture.
Then there are the women. I did not meet Germaine Greer, but I read with some amazing people, like Mardija Simpson, who has a masters degree in adult education and teaches creative writing in Alice Spring; Iyut Futra from Indonesia, Dizzy Doolan who electrified us at the after festival party with her hip hop performance, light years ahead of anything I have seen or heard, with very, very sophisticated lyrics, and she's gorgeous to look at too.
My free time on the Palmerston Library's Hot Spot is running out, so I shall have to contiue this in my next, about the beautiful poet from India, etc. etc. etc.

And those eight boys of mine, I have not heard a word from you all week. Shame on you! Peter especially, I need you to get in touch with me as the e mail here keeps returning my messages.

Last evening I sat on the Darwin foreshore with five other writers and we drank champagne while the sun went down. It was magical.

Friday, May 7, 2010


If I made a list of all the things I must do before heading overseas I would not go. But gradually the chaos is tresolving itself. The rubbish has gone to the dump, Lily came and cut my hair,I have at last worked out how to use my new computer, Telecom assures me they will cut of my phone one hour after I leave on Monday. I have cancelled the newspaper and scraped the ODT decal off my letter box, although the rural delivery man doesn't seem to know about it yet, he still leaves a paper. When I come back I shall save the planet by buying a paper occasionally when I go in to town, then I won't have to worry about disposing of the advertising suplements for all the houses I don't want to buy.
A neighbour is driving me to the bus in Glenavy, 7 Ks from here. If I was fitter I could have walked but never mind. I shall be on the 3.55 plane from Christchurch to Sydney, then change to a plane to Darwin. My incredibly generous hostess, Australian port, Kay Alderhoven will meet me at 23.40. Tuesday we are having dinner at a 'posh restaurant', Wednesday lunch will have Professor Tim Flannery as guest speaker. Thursday, Friday Saturday Sunday will be a blur of workshops, performances, generally helping at various venues, taking tickets etc. so watch this blog.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


My crib has never looked to tidy. My cupboards are just about empty. I have culled my wardrobe. One of the thrills of losing weight is being able to fill a rubbish bag with discarded knickers, bras etc which now fall off me. My posh clothes have gone to the op shop. And the boot of my car is full of things I put in the shed and forgot about, like fused electric jugs, a gas heater that no longer works,and magazines thst I have a superstitious feeling against burning.
These I shall take to the dump sorry recycling centre and on the way back I shall buy some Australiam currency and some Euros.
Lily is coming from Glenavy to cut my hair.
I know my performance pieces by heart, no you don't want to hear them.
I can tell the citizens of Kissamos that I undertand a little Greek, 'Katalavenolikhohellenica'
My phone will be disconnected one hour after I walk out of here next Monday.

An e mail from Kay in Darwin. She will meet my plane on Monday AT 23.30. On Wednesday we will be lunching, with several hundred others, with Professor Tim Flannery to hear him lecture on matters ecological.
Looks like it's really going to happen!