How my unmade garden unlocked a book

Hi All,

I got a small email from my mum yesterday passing on an email that someone sent to her. This one is worth sharing. A very clever take on how the Christmas story message would be spread in these modern times using social networks and the internet…

It certainly makes you think about how small the world has become since the internet made everyone a click away. Steve and I were talking about how when we were kids and if one of your family members emigrated somewhere, you rarely saw them or heard from them again. It cost a lot to phone internationally and the distance seemed huge. Now I can send an email to Steve’s mum Pat in the U.K. and have her respond (if she is online) within a few minutes. It’s an amazing thing to be so close and yet so far. You always hear the negative things about the internet. The positives far outweigh the negatives and it has opened up some amazing doors for people that might otherwise never be able to live normal lives. Disabled people can simply be themselves online…shy people, agoraphobics etc. You can join groups of like-minded people online without ever having to actually meet them. You can live your life reading about the outside world whilst never having to leave your home. We often hear about how insular being online can make you, but there are so many people trapped inside their homes and bodies for whatever reason who can live much more enlightened, interesting and fulfilled lives thanks to the internet. I guess there are positives and negatives with everything and the internet is no exception.

Mr “E” is nothing to do with the internet. He is, however, a result of an online search so perhaps he could be distantly related to this theme? Here he is, looking down from the deck at the feral cats below with disdain. Earl practices the ancient Swiss art of yodelling on a regular basis. He doesn’t just bark…he yodels “Woo…woo…woo”! Especially at cats or when he wants Bezial to stop sulking and come and play with him (Bezial is not known as Emo-dog for nothing!). Earl, as has been established in many previous posts, has eaten at least 10 times his purchase price (which was not inconsiderable) in various household items, plants and anything else that has found its way into his ever hunting maw. We found out the other day that we had a criminal lurking near our house for 2 days. He was watching from the church grounds (where he no doubt slept in the toilet block that the church doesn’t lock) and waiting for an opportunity to pinch someones car. He decided to take our neighbour Frank’s car, various Christmas food and drink and his I phone and computer etc. The police had been tailing this man as he beat up a prostitute in town before heading out here and then taking his loot off to Bridport to his parents place (yeh…Tasmanian criminals are NOT all that bright!) where he was apprehended, Frank’s car and ‘stuff’ was returned and the criminal is now languishing in the clink. Can anyone out there see why he decided to target Frank rather than us? Hmmmm I wonder if our 2 big American Staffordshire terriers and their incessant “Wooooooo……BARK ” might have made him think twice about heading over to our, more secluded, house to pinch our stuff? Either that or he came over while we were out, had a look through the window and decided that our stuff was NOTHING compared to Franks :o) Ta Frank. There is nothing like a set of well heeled “Joneses” living next door to you to draw the burglers fire away from your house. We would like to think that Earl barking at nothing around about the time that this man was casing the joint had something to do with him not choosing us. You finally did something right Earl! :o)

I requested, picked up and am just about to read a children’s book from the library. It’s not because I am reverting to childhood or because I long for the days of the old school yard…it’s because about a week ago I was heading out to feed the chooks and was thinking about ‘things’ as you do. I was thinking about sustainability and surviving off the land (mainly to do with the vegetable garden not being anywhere near close to being constructed) when some invisible key apparently unlocked the memory vault inside my head. It was back in year 6 and I was most probably 10 years old. I have a birthday later in the year so that is a pretty good guess. I went to a school where we had a lot of first year teachers fresh out of university and having suffered a year of Mr Pages-Oliver who must have had some sort of stress relief problem and who was perpetually angry and withdrawn, we got Mr Pearce who was the most laid back and easy going man and very good looking to boot. He introduced reading time where he read books to us a chapter a day. No doubt this was torture to some of the male members of our class but thanks to Mr Pearce’s looks most of the girls were more than happy to sit and gaze up at him lovingly while he read to us. I was more interested in the books. For some reason, I have always loved to read. My parents both read and so do my siblings. I have passed this love on to all of my children and believe fervently that reading is where you develop your imagination and thinking skills. Back then I was a bit of an outsider. My parents had divorced the year before and I was the only larger person in my school. I was quiet, shy and withdrawn but despite that had a small core group of good friends that gave me plenty of company. I preferred my own company and can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times that I have felt truly lonely.

Here is the humble little paperback that I have and you know what? It is every bit as engaging and enthralling as it was when I was 10 :o)

Books were my escape and I hurled myself into them with total abandon. I preferred to read books myself. I wasn’t really interested in other people’s book choices and when ‘reading time’ was introduced, I just saw it as a way to get out of maths! The very first book that Mr Pearce read to us (and interestingly, the only book that I can remember!) was a book called “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George. We settled down on the carpet in front of Mr Pearce and as he started to read I suddenly realised that this was more than a book…it was a revelation. Does anyone out there remember the television program “Grizzly Adam’s?” It was about a man (with a beard that Costa would have been jealous of) who dropped out of society (can’t remember why) and lived off the land out on his own in the woods. My side of the Mountain is the children’s version of Grizzly Adams. I sat enthralled every day as Mr Pearce revealed the story page by page. We shared in how the hero of the story, San Gribley,  ran away from home with only a flint and steel in his pocket…we learned how he hollowed out a massive Hemlock tree to live in. How he caught fish, lived off the land, remembered what his father had taught him on past hunting, camping and fishing trips and survived loneliness, hunger, fear and the forces of nature to come out the other side alive, well and triumphant. This book made a profound mark on me and obviously an enduring one. I could go as far as to say that this book started me on my journey to sustainability. I took this book out of the library and despite knowing that you should never revisit your past…the memories are always better than the actual visitation…I am going to read it cover to cover. Perhaps it will be cathartic? Perhaps it will make me smile. I don’t really know what I am looking for in this book, but sometimes you just have to go with your instincts and my immediate instinct when faced with that unlocked memory was to read that most profound novel that truly made a difference to my life at that time over again. I hope it’s not like when I read the novel “Chocolat” and was severely disappointed because the movie was so much better (nothing to do with Mr Johnny Depp being the leading man…). That doesn’t happen very often. Usually the movie is nothing like my imagination and the novel gives me a mental workout. Wish me luck with my revisitation. It’s a bit like looking at photos of yourself when you were thin and innocent and the world hadn’t given you a bit of a thrashing.

I subscribe to various blogs around the place and I must admit I subscribed to this blog because I loved watching “The Great British Bake off” on TV and thought that Ruth Clemens was jipped when she came second. I did a little bit of research to see what happened to the contestants after the series was over and was very surprised to note that most of them got cooking careers out of simply being on this show. Ruth has a great cooking blog and so I subscribed. Today’s post is cute, most probably delicious and very clever take a look…

I have been getting a recipe a day because Ruth decided to do a “12 days of Christmas” thingo with recipes instead of gifts. Go have a look at her site; it’s full of amazing recipes for all sorts of occasion’s especially sweet treats and cakes. The reindeer just tickled my fancy so I shared them with you.

Isn’t it great being able to share blog sites and things that you find online with your friends? I love it! I got up early this morning. I was a little ashamed of myself because I wanted to stay up last night and watch the total eclipse of the moon but couldn’t keep my eyes open past 12. I would like to think it’s because I get up early rather than anything to do with getting older :o). I had some amazing soup made by Steve last night. I don’t know what he does but he makes the most delicious soup with very few ingredients. I have lots of it left over to slowly work my way through over the weekend. Lucky I love soup isn’t it! Earl is slowly working his way through a large white candle that he ‘discovered’. I have learned that Earl has an alien intestinal tract that can deal with just about anything that he decides to chew and so am not worried about him consuming this candle. I have seen the remains of shoes, toys, grass and various other foliage and feathers etc. all passing directly through Earl and into the environment with no obvious signs of any problems with their passing. He was just spitting bits of candle out as they were sticking to his teeth but is going back for more as obviously this is a new texture/flavour combination that Earl hasn’t had the privilege of attempting before. Living with nature is most definitely NOT boring…  I had best post this now as the sun is coming out from behind the clouds, the dogs are sick of watching me sit here posting and are starting to get rambunctious and Steve isn’t far behind them. Today we are going to decorate our gate (it was raining last night so we put it off) and do pretty much whatever we like. We have plans to make a delicious home-made pizza as I found my “Best ever pizza dough” recipe that I lost a while ago and Steve is keen to revisit that heavenly crust. I have soup that might get dressed up with some lentils or potatoes depending on my mood and the boys will get some sort of delicious treat fresh from the oven. I might even make the chooks some bread of their own with some less than stellar stoneground wholemeal flour that I had forgotten about that is now a bit suspect. I wonder if we put tiny little wicks in the hunks of candle that are stuck to Earls teeth and lit them, and turned off all the lights at night and videoed him trotting around if it would be reminiscent of yellow beard? More likely we would be done for animal cruelty, but Earl would be up for it! :o) See you all tomorrow and remember…there are “only 14 days left till Christmas” ;o)

Oops! I forgot to add Earls candle. This used to be a whole candle. It even had a wick. Most of the candle and all of the wick are now forming the contents of my early morning collection tomorrow. Cheers Earl! :o)

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. mum
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 13:42:35

    Aha ! Finally back on line. I went to answer this earlier, but the internet was down, so have been out messing in the garden. Lovely out under the patio at the moment too, but going to be hot! Pen, thank god for Bezial & Earl kicking up a stink eh? That thief could already have been around the back of your block too, sussing out, cheeky swine. The boys in blue as you said were on to him & got him. Ole candle guts scared him off. God, his innards must be made of cast iron ! We need books! Look where it has got you, taking in My side of the mountain all those years ago eh? They help you to use your imagination, & when they make a movie out of them, it leaves a bit of a sour taste. There is nothing better in this world for a young child, to use their minds & discover the delights of a good book. It sets them on the path to wonderment, & also to help their spelling, which these days has gone well by the board with texting etc. I wish no child was allowed a mobile phone until they were responsible enough to use one properly, & only for emergencies then. Aside from that, I think it rather rude of people blurting out to all & sundry any business or gossip, with a must have mobile dangling off their ears .Give me a home in the country, with little traffic, but plenty of birds & animal life. The antics they can get up to is lovely to watch. I feel sorry for city kids who have never known what it’s like to get out & get dirty, climb trees & explore. It would be a better society if they did eh? There, now it’s me having a rant! Ah well, each to his own tastes. That Ruth Clemens sounds my kind of lady too. Have a go at all sorts, it makes you individual,& you can have a lot of fun with cooking. I like different ways of making things, not a slave to what you are told. Hey, be careful with Earl & lights too, it could happen with him!


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