Sunday, 23 December 2012

In the oven at Christmas

Well, here it is again, that festive time of year, where everyone forgets they have a budget and when we stock up on food as though the Mayan’s prediction were correct and we have to go underground for a year (hope those guys are enjoying their baked beans now). It’s that time when we get irritated with crowded shops, beaches and our own homes. It is the time to be jolly and jolly we will be, even if it kills us. In Durban it is HOT.

Now Christmas in South Africa still seems to cling to colonial times and places where it snows, people still chow down on huge stuffed turkeys and steaming pudding like they’d been caught in a snow drift. Some, of course, take to the braai and then there’s no end to the fussing, with beer being poured on everything on the grid, including the vegetarian's butternut squash. Neither is very sensible when it’s 36 degrees in the shade and the humidity is dangerous. But Saffricans are tough and that’s that, no matter what.

Now in the last month leading up to this, I’ve been subjected to abuse in the shopping car parks (sneaky theft of spaces is the order of the day), and on the roads. Everyone seems to be dying to get there and some are literally doing so. Perhaps you can relate to this because I can seriously lose a bolt when someone hoots at me as the robot (traffic light) turns green…at the very instant it turns green…not after I finish my daydream, but when I’m in “aware mode” and my knuckles are white with anticipation. I tell you, even Santa’s little helpers can’t remove the bad thoughts from my head at that moment. I want to take the “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” song, shove it in a bubble, hard boil it, and crack it through their window.

I would imagine that today and tomorrow the queues in and out of the favourite malls will be beyond belief, snaking out onto freeways. This time of year seems like a manic nightmare at times. We are lost in the insanity, and only come around in January, blinking in the sun like stunned lizards, clutching our hearts and wishing we hadn’t flattened the budget before back to school shopping begins. I have once again tried to see Durban at this time of year, for what it is. Durban is a city like many others, where criminals are doing their shopping too, and where angels donate to worthy causes of their own free will. Where children, almost paralysed from “smoking” glue, beg in the hopes of any Christmas at all. While some relish the heat, others (like me) dream of a white Christmas, or a way to fit inside the fridge (impossible, I’ve tried), or an air con in my very old car. 

There are homeless people sleeping on pavements, dreaming of their own brokenness, and people with mansions and high electrified fencing, hoping they can hold onto what they have. There is survival against all odds, even weeds cling tenaciously to life in the heat of Durban.

Yellow billed Kites soar, dip and dive with the swallows as they catch and feast on fat insects on the wing.

 Durban drips and oozes and sometimes smiles broadly as the tar melts on roads and labourers return home to families over our borders. There will be Christmas babies and Christmas fatalities, and many dreams floating like ghosts, connecting us invisibly to one another.

We have Father Christmases posing in stores with children on their knees. Fake beards slipping and sliding and sweat beading their brows. I think of my dad, who looked like a Father Christmas, but could never be coaxed into playing the part. 

(I photoshopped a hat into the pic below - this is seeing Dad like he would never have been seen, sorry Dad, but I bet you don't mind the fun now. My lovely father with his two Granddaughters xx)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          He was an electrical engineer who dreaded Christmas at decorating time, because nine times out of ten, the tree lights would not work, and he would be asked to fix them. In the end, he huffed and said “If the bloody lights don’t work this year, please go and buy some new ones”. It seems ludicrous not to have a South African version of Father Christmas (Santa). We seem to be stuck with the one created by Coca Cola all those years ago in their ad. 

 (I can't take credit for this pic, I have tried, unsuccessfully,  to find it's origin) I do believe this might just be the REAL South African Father Christmas :)

No, we have no snow in South Africa, and it's pointless dreaming of it, unless you take a trip to a winter wonderland over the sea and far away. There may not be snow but there are flowers the size of small plates on my Thunbergia tree (wild gardenia) that have fragranced many nights, and they almost glow in the dark in their whiteness, like spaceships attracting moths. 


                                                              White flowers fall beneath trees like living snow, for those who see.

 There are weavers’ nests decorating fever trees, green against the hot blue skies, and there are jingle bells in the form of  zephyranthes grandiflora on traffic islands across suburbia, going unnoticed as we rush past. 

In my garden I have Littonia Modesta that come up every year in December from stock over 50 years old, and you can see why they are called Christmas Bells.

I think of the songs we sing at this time of year, especially the silly ones, and  people have done some crazy good things with some these old favourites (there are links at the end of this post). “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” comes to mind, and I always wondered what kind of true love sends you ‘lords a leaping’ and all those swans and doves and a partridge in a great pear tree. Imagine all those droppings…no thank-you. So in the same spirit, I give you a South African version that I’m sure would be just as unsatisfying to the true love as the original! You all know the tune, remember you start with…
On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me

A hadedah in a thorn tree…you know how it goes (too tedious to write it all down) so this below would be the last verse.

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
12 taxis hooting
11 hungry guests
10 cans of mace
9 biting mozzies
8 sweaty santas
7 man-hole covers
6 ous a braaing
5 bunny chows (the rhythm changes here - you sustain the fiiiiiiive)
4 gals toy toying
3 ous in speedos
2 melk terts
And a hadedah in a thorn tree

I was thinking about all the spending on gifts at Christmas, after hearing some of the wish lists of my little art learners. Big things they NEED, PSPs and other things that think and move with no effort, things that flicker and blast on screens, dolls that cry and wet their nappies, robots and i-pads and i-pods. Yes, expensive things they feel they need, things they dream of and maybe don’t get because they can’t be afforded, but they dream as children do, and sometimes I think that the dreamers are better off than those who get, and who knew they would. I thought about a Christmas list that would be perfect for any child, and then I realised it would be perfect for any adult too, and here it is.
  • A packet of seeds
  • A sketch pad and pencils
  • Bubbles to blow in the garden and out the car window
  • A recipe book
  • A box of good quality chocs where each one is a little artwork
  • An adventure story with pictures
  • A torch to read the adventure story under the sheets when you’re told to sleep but can’t because it’s too exciting
  • A pack of playing cards
  • And maybe a tent for inside or outside camping, where chocs can be studied and enjoyed, adventures read and dreamed of, where treasure maps can be drawn and discussed, where bubbles will work like smoke signals, and a torch is indispensable. 
Yes, I do believe this list would work for everyone!

I hope each and every one of you finds a little time to reflect, to smile at tellers while waiting in queues, to sit alone and to breathe in salty old Durban, knowing we are just part of a glorious globe floating in space, where everything works perfectly if we allow it to. Make time, go a little slower, be safe, blow bubbles and have yourselves a merry little Christmas.

Now grab an eggnog or chilled brew and listen to these amazing takes on the old Christmas faves…even if you are a "bah humbugger", you will enjoy them I promise!

Here’s “Rudolph” in Swedish by Erato, three gorgeous Swedish girls with cream cheese tubs making it spiritual (wait for it to load don’t press the huge arrow underneath or you’ll get something awful instead)..

A beautiful version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Christina Perri.

 just an audio with pictures, but close your eyes and just listen. It’s sentimental, but what a dream, sigh…”My Grown Up Christmas List” Michael Bublé

Oh, and lastly, one of my very favourite actors, comedian and sexy li’l thing, Hugh Laurie (you know House). This is just a bit of fun with the other wonderful soul, Stephen Fry, from a Christmas show in the 90’s (so they are young). Sandy Shore sings “The Little Drummer Boy”, and Fry and Laurie perform some strange and over-the-top percussion with cereal boxes and a stapler. It’s too funny (but then I’m a Blackadder/Monty Python fan). Sandy Shore manages to sing perfectly all the way through with some seriously  manic slapstick behaviour behind her.

Oh, and thank you to my daughter who took all the photos, and who adores Christmas with her whole soul, she also produced these yummy Christmas cupcakes for her staff party!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

a pair of swallows doth a summer make (apologies to Aristotle, who no doubt is beyond caring now)

I’ve been creating “things” in my ‘monkey-mind’, and some of those have materialised in a tangible form. I think I need another blog for those, but then I can’t seem to get to this one, so having two might be a double whammy.

I have been breathing in the Durban spring, and we have had rain and sweet grey skies for a few weeks. Today the sun has recovered, and the humidity seethes and swaggers in typical Durban style. The summer is on its way and it isn’t my favourite time of the year. The curries seem hotter, sleeping is a torment, sweat is the order of the day, and it is joined by mosquitoes at night, but it is my Durban and I will find some grace in the long days spent in the furnace.

The leaves on many of the trees are luminous in the light today, still thin in their newness, or copper before the green returns. The yellow-billed kites returned in August, and it is a joy to see them command the sky. 

The swallows too, have returned, as they always do. “Our pair”, has been sitting on the phone line outside my door and making sweet “tchrits tchrits”. They have flown into the house and out again as they always do, and I consider this my gentle summer blessing. 

These little lesser striped swallows have had such a dilemma, and I guess I should give some background to their saga. They have been here every year for the 27 years I have been living here. There were two nests to start with, one in the front, and one at the back of the house. Works of art, spat and patted upon and worked with extraordinary patience into brown-hued mud “huts” with tunnels. Through the years the swallows have been duped out of their nests by white-rumped swifts who have thrown them out and taken up residence in a home they didn’t have the patience to build themselves (it takes a long time catching little bits of grass and fluff in the air to pad a nest). The swifts are wily, rather wondrous birds. They are built for speed and they are just a blur as they rivet straight into the tiny tunnel of a nest. They are unable to perch as their feet are useless. I guess evolution has not seen a need for perching feet in a bird that usually makes a nest on a cliff face and throws itself into the air. Swifts are aerodynamic machines flying thousands of miles without alighting. Swifts do most things on the wing, drinking, feeding, collecting nesting material, and are the only birds known to mate in flight. There have been a few times that they have landed on the ground, perhaps fallen from a nest when learning to fly, and I threw them up to freedom. 

this photo taken by Johan Grobelaar
I’ve had some moments of questioning nature and the ‘niceness’ of swifts, especially when the swallows return each year to the nest they built, and after a month the swifts evict them yet again. We had some alterations done to our house a few years ago and the swifts took great exception to this and moved along, allowing the swallows a few years of being at home. Speaking of builders, when they were here (the human builders), a swallow flew into the house and became disorientated, and I became distraught trying to encourage it out before “THE TART” (our dachshund, she’s material for another post) devoured it whole (she can). 

 One of the builders said he would help and I was so grateful, until he took up his broom and started swatting at the swallow as it flew in circles, bumping into the ceiling. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was in no way a saviour, and he should put down his weapon as I wanted the bird flying skyward not in a twitching heap on the bedroom floor. He looked at me aghast. I could see him thinking “ungrateful cow”, or worse. He was stripped of his shining armour and became surly and wounded, saying, “Okay, I won’t help then”. The bird did not leave the house but I couldn’t see where it had gone. I was worried beyond words and re-arranged the house looking for the little guy. Hours later, when I was outside, I saw the swallow clinging to the back of the curtain in my bedroom. Relief and joy flooded over me and I was able to release him into the late afternoon sky, and my blessing was intact.

look at that mud filled beak!
A few years ago I was washing the verandah wall (why would I do that? I’m not normally that way inclined) and some of the spray must have dampened the nest and it began to fall (clay isn’t what it used to be it seemed). I stood there horrified,  and in need of a Valium. What had I done to this painstaking work of art and home to my visitors? I found a piece of leather and hot glued it around the nest to keep it intact. Needless to say, the swallows didn’t like it at all and, after celebrating the departure of the swifts, the swallows still had no nest. They decided to build on the alarm siren (at this point I’m starting to think they are the ones who invented the term bird-brained). Well, I couldn’t have them build on the siren, as it would have had them shell-shocked when it went off in screaming decibels. We covered the siren with a plastic bag and so they began the building in another corner of the ceiling. This time they managed to build a rather unstable, but suitable nest in which to raise two beautiful young swallows, that took flight and survived to the great dismay of the snake-eyed “Tart”. 

In the next year, for some misguided reason, they decided the entrance to the nest needed lengthening and added wet mud to the dried mud of the previous year’s structure…. clay/mud shrinks as it dries and they built it to the size of the existing tunnel so, once it had dried,  it became too narrow to fit through. The following year, when they returned, I noticed them battling to enter the nest. Sadly, I discovered a baby had become stuck in the narrowed entrance and had died. I removed the feathered bones and chiselled off a bit of the 'tunnel' to make it wider. They didn’t like that either, so they didn’t breed last year although they spent a great deal of time circling the verandah.

In September they returned, gave the blessing, and started building a nest on the siren AGAIN! The siren was re-covered in a bag, and I gave them a talking to. I told them that I am overjoyed to have them choose my home to build their home, but they needed to stop being push-overs and to wise up, because it was just getting silly. I then took down the leather-bound nest and sprayed down the narrow-tunnelled nest that was stressing them out and was now useless. I felt so guilty, but they had seemed to be so frustrated with these nests they didn’t approve of and wouldn’t use. After a few days of circling and ‘tchritsing’ endlessly, they came with mud and started fixing it to the wall where the original nest had been…. their place of choice before their eviction by swifts. The architect wasn’t present quite obviously, because the mud was spotted all over, above and below the corner. Then they had a light-bulb moment and followed the "mud sketch": on the ceiling made by the original nest (see below)

Finally it started to take a cup form and was on track.

The pair worked tirelessly, following the plan and creating their home.

Before building the entrance tunnel, they brought grass and feathers (dropping many bits below the nest and then going off to find more). 

before the entrance tunnel was built
what a mouthful!
 building the tunnel!

Once it was padded and soft enough the perfect entrance tunnel was built. Hopefully they don't decide to make additions to it. 

I am hoping this nest is stable and will be suitable for a good few years from now. I will not be washing the wall (ever), and if I see a swift needling its way towards the nest, I will be ready with the broom, that’s if I am swift enough.(you know me better than that though)

She flits and dips.
Makes a small rip in the sky.
A tiny tear in the fabric.
Only she sees the other side.
 Heaven for a brief moment.
 A swallow and her sky. 
 J M Kisch

If you would like to hear their “tchrits tchrits”  you can hear their call here

Monday, 16 July 2012

Simply Seeing

I hope you haven’t given up on my ever writing another post. My mother’s house, the home I grew up in, has sold and the pain of all that has passed. I have done so much that I found both difficult and sometimes outside of my comfort zone. Now I walk away from it and into something brand new. I just turned 51, and all that has been, has placed me right here where I am, living in a suburb called Sea View, a suburb that is steeped in history, but is often frowned upon because it is perceived as a ‘dangerous place’, a place where poor people live. I am now claiming it with all its faults and all its beauty. 
end of day at the end of my street
My home is here, and even with holes in my floor boards and wood borer in the timbers, I have earned it all. I will no longer feel embarrassed when I tell someone I live here, and I will not want to disappear when I watch a lip curl at the thought of being here. I still yearn for a studio though, or an attic overlooking the sea (there is a sea view in Sea View if you can rise above the trees), a library filled with wonders or an apothecary’s jewel-like storeroom. For now though, I am here, and I have earned this and it hasn’t been easy.

 daybreak from the vacant lot in my street...yes that's a sea view.

I have been watching a warm Durban Winter creep over us. Cool mornings and warm days with huge skies. I have been taking photos whenever I had a chance and have made a collection of them; skies, some visual oxymorons, and some moments of soul warming. I am very aware that sunsets and sunrises are perceived as over-done and clichéd, and it’s almost a sin to post a photo of a sunset. Bearing this in mind, I still couldn’t help myself, and I challenge anyone with a camera who is faced with a punch-in-the-stomach sunset to not shoot it. 

So this is my sentimental, no-excuses-made, personal record of my sunrises and sunsets, and the breathing space between them over the last two months. They are taken close to where I live, they are my everyday skies.

I was so aware of the contrasts I saw and the moments of glory in the mundane. We so often live like prisoners in our own homes here in South Africa, and we live angry lives because we are not free to walk alone, or go to the beach at night, or even to wait in a car outside a school, without being aware or suspicious of other cars or people approaching. Life has changed and we remember what it was like when we were children. When we played in canals and stayed out until bath time and came home with grazed knees and dirty faces, and so now we live with anger, because we have been victims of a great theft, that of personal freedom. 

I have been aware of this personal loss of freedom as I travelled through the last two months of sun-ups and sun-downs in Durban. I would see the blues and ambers and darkening purples, like a child looking through a piece of coloured glass, and even though it took my breath away I would think of the city skyline and the people living there, both the compassionate  and the black-hearted. 

The sunset on the last day that I worked late clearing out my mother's house, taken on Bluff Road
I saw fences with their barbed tops and thought of those living behind them and those lurking in front of them. The barbs themselves, became something sinister in my mind. I realised how much I was losing by doing this and I tried to just ‘see’ without commenting. In rusted barbs of wire, tall fences, and in the veneer of our city itself, I found a strange and compelling beauty.

I looked at the surface of things, and these surfaces became artworks that had their own tales to tell. It is difficult to see past our attachments to things, and our pre-conceived ideas of how things should be. Nature re-invents our shining, barbed-wire armour, and over time, without a sound, it is changed into ragged, rusted wire, and there is glory there too. The elements change things - wind, rain, salt air and time, they become the artist’s hand. 

In a sunset, a city seething with fragmented life, disintegration and lack of services, can become just blocks glinting against the sky, architectural shapes that lose their shabbiness and become part of a painted Durban, a story book page in which all of us have a part to play. Sometimes it is cathartic to just see the surface, the shapes, the light, the textures, and to leave the complexity of life out of the vision.

In these past few mild Winter months, I have watched our Durban and have tried not to comment too loudly, the whispers were still there at times, so both an ache and a sense of wonder was in much that I saw. I have seen old men sleeping on benches and children cold and wanting, lizards basking in the sun, brilliant Erythrina and Leonotus flowers dripping nectar and sunbirds.

a sunbird outside my window

a skink in my garden soaking up the sun on the Erythrina
A vervet in my garden eating flowers in the Erythrina tree

 There have been car-jackings and burglaries in the neighbourhood, while small birds had sand baths under my trees. There have been hungry monkeys at my back door, and hungry people at my car windows. No matter how we feel, we cannot stop things from changing or staying the same, and we so often forget to look, or hear, or see those brief moments of magic. I feel it is often in our quest for new and better and more expensive, that we lose great chunks of our lives and of everyday magic. Perhaps if we looked for the ironies in our days we would be more creative, perhaps laugh at ourselves more and see art in everything. 

Life certainly presents us with small ironies and bitter sweet contrasts, the obvious ones like the sunset resting briefly behind the harsh spikes atop our walls  or the barbed wire reeling across the gates to protect monuments for the dead, even a police van parked under a flowering tree. 

protecting the dead

Another little irony...flower power?
I had to smile at one such irony when I parked outside the cemetery to take a photo. I parked under a Natal Mahogany tree and next to me was a sleek silver Jaguar, glinting and almost sidling off so as not to be seen too close to my dirty little 15 year old car. I smiled to myself because, although my car looks like it’s barely survived the digestive systems of a multitude of birds during a mulberry season, the affluent owner of this low flying machine was not spared a small indignity. On the bonnet, right next to the polished, leaping silver jaguar, a bird had dropped its effluent and flown off unaware of the comment it had just made.

When bad things happen, life-altering things, we may be angry that the sun still shines, that it has no comment to make on the happenings in our lives, yet there it is, changing the colour of the sky, rising and setting on us daily. It just does what it’s always done, quietly and with dignity, whether we deserve it or not.   

When I admire the wonders of a sunset
or the beauty of the moon,
my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Selling memories

My old home, where I grew up, is finally being sold. The house was brand new in 1954 when my parents moved in. It was home to three children, but my sister died at just 5 years old, before I knew her. My paternal gran (Nana) lived with us, as did my maternal grandfather. 

It has been an epic journey sorting out 50 years of ‘stuff’. My father was a hoarder of note, buying just one of something was not an option for him. 

He had two workshops and a workroom, and all were filled to overflowing. There is still so much to sell, dump and get rid of, and I’m finding it both painful and cathartic.

Sitting in the lounge on a plastic chair, I think of how it was. How the Bluff was when I was a child and how our house was filled with things and love and arguments and some hard times, and how, when I was very young, I thought that what was just a middle class home, was actually a palace. My mother was always there to calm the storms and keep us together. She sewed, and cleaned and would  give me the last piece of crackling from her Sunday lunch. She is 90 now and I take care of her instead.

My oldest friend comes into my thoughts. I can see her clearly in my mind’s eye, her dark shining hair in a bob and her beautiful eyes. I recall our first meeting, she just four years old, and I five. I stood on the little verandah at the back of my house and she stood below in her driveway. I was stricken and painfully shy, and she was relentless in her greeting. Eventually I managed a “hello” and the rest is our history. We ran and hid and swung high on swings, had tea parties at a little table and chairs made by Zulu craftsmen. We drank Oros out of tiny cups and laughed until it spilled over like our joy. We made mud pies in my driveway with Bougainvillea flowers, that sat like butterflies on their tops.
 This one's for you Z, decorated with the flowers from the shrub at the gate, it's still there.

We sat on the pavement and ate ice-creams that dripped down our chins and between our toes. She would run over to my house to play and her Ouma would scream for her until she returned home, but my friend always won in the end and as soon as Ouma looked the other way she would come back and we would play until we disagreed, enemies until the morning. We fought and played daily, but it is the play and the uncontrollable giggling and just knowing she was there, that I recall.

It is bitter-sweet sitting here in the silent lounge, imagining shouts and laughter and jazz on New Year’s Eves. Those New Year’s parties were legendary. I can see my father with his arms around his double bass, he would sweat from both effort and joy and the heat of our Durban summer, and by the end of the evening his fingers were all in plasters, not used to the strings that were a daily part of him in his youth. At midnight we would go out onto the lawn and form a circle, arms interlinked and sing Auld Lang Syne, and standing between two adults my small arms would be stretched to the limit. The ships and tug boats on the bay would sound their horns, and they bellowed and sighed mournfully for half an hour after midnight, calling in the new year and all it had in store.

I recall so clearly, my father, on a whim, decided he wanted a grand piano, and once decided it was a sealed deal. I look over to where it stood, an achingly empty space. It had to be sold as there was no space for it in my home. My daughter (the musician) cried to see it go. She had grown up knowing it well, practising on it and passing her piano exams with distinctions, and the “Grand” was always there for her. It was part of her grandpa and his dreams for her. I remember all those times that my father’s friend, a master of the Fats Waller’s slide piano style, rocked the house with “Your Feet’s too big”. Oh, for just one more time.

The old sofa is still here and I look at the worn fabric. I remember sitting on it with my late husband when I was just 14 years old and he 18. He would run up from the Naval camp (Salisbury Island) to see me. We would hold hands and kiss and listen to the clock ticking and striking until way past midnight, because it was just too hard to say goodnight.

I remember so much of the pain and joy of growing up there. Sometimes feeling like an outsider, not quite fitting in, other times at home in my skin and in my little world. I remember cycling all over the Bluff, taking buses into town and walking home from Bluff Road. I remember the canal and the bay, and the smell of death from the whaling station. I remember chameleons and legless skinks and the warm sand in my hands as I tried to capture ant lions at the bottom of their little sand funnels, teasing them with blades of grass. I remember dogs I loved and lost and my friend’s dog who had a “J & Z” haircut, very short and in steps, produced by little hands and blunt scissors on a workbench in my Dad’s workshop. I remember two little girls who were in big trouble. Ticky didn’t seem to mind though, and it all grew back.

I remember walking to the corner tearoom and buying so many sweet treasures with my 20 cents. I also remember ‘whites only’ entrances at bottle stores and ‘whites only’ bus benches and buses, and I am so sorry things couldn’t have been different for South Africa right from the start.

I recall stories from the neighbourhood, some tragedies and some scandals, friends living there and then leaving. There were the boys who broke my heart, and those close friends, made in both childhood and in adulthood, who are always with me. None of those I grew up with are there now, all of them re-invented and fitting into their adult skins with all the pain and loss and great joy that comes with the growing years. Although they are no longer in my neighbourhood, the few I’ve kept contact with are strong, courageous and compassionate women, and I love them all.

I thought I’d take a drive around the Bluff and take some photos of the homes of a few of the friends who have left, their homes now in far off places that I know I’ll never visit. 
Fiona's house

I feel their memories are in some way held in those homes where they lived and loved and fought their wars. They lived in neighbourhoods like mine, and their neighbours also had secrets and stories and real lives lived or lost. 

View of the lighthouse from Gray Park Road, a butterfly popped in, he looks as big as the lighthouse top!

 Lieutenant King Crescent, I know it as "the circle"

I go out to my car, locking the back door, out through the gate with the 'beware of the dog' sign that hangs rusted from just one hook. This empty house is a little tired and in need of young laughter. My thoughts and all those young dreams that were so much bigger than I will ever be, will no longer be held here, it is as though it is waiting, breathless, for a new family who will begin their journey here.

“Everything flows, nothing stays still.”  – Heraclitus