• Cats!,  Military Life

    The story of Welly the Combat cat

    This year’s Remembrance Day post takes us on a journey to Ukraine and the story of Welly who features in my recently completed mixed media piece pictured below.  A person I am close to was in Ukraine recently doing some consulting work and travelling around with a group to get a picture of what was happening on the ground.   They were touring a bombed residential area on the outskirts of Kyiv when a little furball came wandering out of the rubble of a recently destroyed building. The little mite meowed piteously and walked straight up to one of the soldiers who promptly picked it up. He figured out it was a…

  • Miscellany,  Presence - 2022

    You got know when to fold ’em

    Let me tell you a little story. For a couple of months now I have been trying to write a piece about making time for presence and cultivating my mind garden. Let me tell you…it has been a struggle! I could not find a way to say what I wanted to say no matter how many times I rewrote and rearranged the words, and then life gave me other stuff to focus on. It got to the point where I dreaded opening the document because I thought I was failing at doing something I had committed myself to do. It also stopped me writing anything else for my blogs because…

  • in the present
    Presence - 2022,  Word of the Year

    Presence – my word for 2022

    To say that 2021 didn’t go as planned is an understatement, and I’m definitely not Robinson Crusoe in that respect. I don’t think there’s a person on the planet that can say everything went as they hoped it would last year. My word for the past couple of the years was Consistency (2020, 2021), and I discovered that there is a point in a pandemic, when one is in lockdown, that consistency can become somewhat of an obsession around keeping routines and the like in order to feel like everything is under control, when they plainly are not. But on the flip side, having habits to rely on certainly did…

  • Military Life,  Poetry

    Some gave all

    We can never understand what those who have experienced war have been through. We can never take the grief of lost friends and colleagues from them. We cannot erase the things they’ve seen. We cannot restore sound sleep or carefree days, no matter how much we want to. Last year I wrote of letting go and moving on now that Mr Collier has joined me on the outside. But it’s not that easy. The experience of war never leaves them. They return, but they are never the same. This time of year is rough. Regardless of our political or ideological views we can be compassionate towards the human being standing…

  • Cats!

    7 things I’ve learned from having cats in the first 7 weeks

    It took more than four decades of desperate wanting, and now I finally have cats in the house! Let me tell you a little story about how that came to be before I dive into what I have learned about myself and cats in the short time we’ve had them.  I was seven years old when I found out that I was horribly allergic to cats. My family was travelling and visiting friends on dad’s long service leave trip. One family we visited had some kind of fluffy cats that I immediately fell in love with, and equally rapidly started having severe asthma attacks, hives, and eyes that itched and…

  • camping stove
    Military Life,  Miscellany

    The power of ritual

    Battlefield tea and rollies  A couple of years ago Mr Collier was preparing for a particularly difficult assault on an enemy position. His team had positioned themselves out of range and with good cover, and they waited for right time to begin. This was always a fraught moment. Eager to get the job done, everything planned and contingencies in place. Everyone knew their role. But there was always an element of the unknown, of possible chaos that one cannot plan for. And so, the men lingered in a state of limbo and waited for the signal to move out.  At this point Mr Collier could be found off on his…

  • Poetry

    Playing with Words

    Sometimes when my energy is running low and ennui is running high, I want to play with words, but they just won’t come. So I steal other people’s words and bend them to my purposes and play in my visual diary. This piece is taking a leaf out of Austin Kleon’s book and choosing words in situ. I use a black marker to kill off the words that don’t fit the story, and in this case I embellished with some collage. A couple of hours of being lost in the process was just what I needed. The next time I needed to steal words, I chose song lyrics. I love…

  • Consistency - 2020,  Consistency - 2021

    Same Storm, Different Boat

    Looking back at 2020 and my word for 2021  2020 was a very odd year all around. To put it mildly!  I had chosen Consistency as my word for the year, and I intended to put solid effort into building habits and working towards being where I wanted to be health-wise before my milestone birthday at the end of 2020. That didn’t really happen. Derailments occurred and habits came and went as stress levels ebbed and flowed. I didn’t get to where I wanted to be, but I did make a little progress, so cannot claim complete failure! And so, consistency will continue to be my word for this year,…

  • Military Life

    Last man standing

    Remembrance day in a pandemic Things are different this year in so many ways, 2020 has been quite the year. For everyone. We’ve all had to change the way we live in order to stay safe and to keep our loved ones safe and well. This is the first time in many years that I have not attended a Remembrance Day service in person, and whilst I am disappointed, I know that in the spirit of sacrifice and mateship engendered by our service people throughout history, we will do what is required of us and demonstrate our remembrance and solidarity from a distance. We are not alone, thousands around the…