Casualty of the storm
Our beautiful gum tree, which we planted 15 years ago, fell over in the storm. Amazingly, the wall on which it fell didn't collapse. When we moved here our garden was very plain. The only tree was a dying apple. In Australia gum trees used to be called widow makers becsue the branches would fall off. Here, where they have plenty of water, the wood is less brittle but the root systems are shallow and they just topple over. Trees make such a difference to an area, adding beauty and variety and a home for birds so we were anxious to get as many trees in our garden as possible. We planted an oak, 2 maples, a silver birch, which died a few years ago, a pine, and a tree of heaven. Birds have generously given us a sycamore, hollyoake, and 3 yews which we are nurturing. But the majestic gum tree was the Queen of our small forest and we miss it. We have a lot of chopping and sawing to do and then the fun of replanting and designing. Much of the wood we will leave for frogs and insects.
New Year's Eve 2006
The New Year's Eve hype aggravates me. We have been to some lovely parties where everyone chatted and hoped that things in the world would get better. In February 1999 we received our first invitation to a new millennium party. We turned it down. Some people were horrified by my dour attitude. My reply was to ask them if they believed that there was going to be a serious outbreak of love and peace in 2000. Well, of course, they didn't, and they were right. But they argued that it was not the point. But it is my point.
This year we went to Vesna's and Peter's, friends that we met in the writers' circle. It was a magical night. Vesna is a vegan and a culinary genius. The food was delicious. The party was everything a party should be. Music was provided by Annie, who writes wonderful poetry, plays the guitar and composes poignant songs, which she sings beautifully. But that was not the end of the talent. Malcolm, who is a compelling speaker, read poetry by Burns and then some of his own, which were deep and thought provoking. Then Annie and Malcolm sang a duet. It was such an uplifting night and we left after 2 am feeling that maybe the world will get better.