Family and a Frolic in City’s Mad March


Scarlett under grandma’s care

Time slips by quietly and suddenly it is 10 months since husband Olivier died.  Some friends say “time enough’’ for grief and beseech me to “move on”.  And I wonder what do those words mean?  Am I to forget my great love? Yet I can’t erase him from my mind and I don’t want to. I am doing the sensible thing. Living each day as a blessing and still accepting all the invitations I receive.


Tonight’s gruesome episode of Midsommer Murders concluded with Barnaby saying “Grief is universal, but we must each express it in our own way.’’


Right now I am pouring my grieving into our garden, Olivier’s memorial garden and I do love to talk to him about the progress of our plants and the new ones. These include the roses, irises, flax plants, cannas and astromaelias which have been dotted throughout the “bald spots’’.


The garden is evolving in  a surprising manner, unlike anything we envisaged because plants now have been donated by kind friends who have dug up a proliferation of plantings for me. Everything goes in – even the humble seaside daisy. The most coddled plants, though are my tomatoes, scattered throughout the plantings – and one has borne 29 fruit!  Olivier must be smiling in his spiritual life at my metamorphosis.


This morning I began clipping the French lavender border plants. Soon, the agapanthas which line our long driveway will be dug up and divided for a long line along the eastern boundary.  The roses Amazing Grace and French Lace have flowered prolifically and here are some photographs of them.

My vase of rises – Amazing Grace and French Lace


Meanwhile, on the plains Adelaide dances in Mad March with the whole city filled with tourists for the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Adelaide Fringe and my own glorious gem of a cultural event – Writers Week.  This unique literary indulgence began with the Booklovers Breakfast in the grounds of Government House, hosted by the Independent Arts Foundation, and then we women walked down the hill to Writers Week for the first of three days of listening, buying books, questioning, discussing authors and being inspired.  I sat under the canopies, strung between tall green trees in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden to hear writers talk about their books. Read about it in my “culture’’ blog.

Crowds at Writers Week hear UK author Edward St Aubyn


The city has donned its party skirt for a non-stop frolic of fun, art, theatre and literature in Mad March.  What a spin we Adelaideans are in having to decide what to attend, where to spend one’s precious time.  Every nook and cranny, café or unused warehouse has been turned into a Fringe venue.  And whether we attended or not, the exciting Clipsal 500 with all that Vroom Vroom noise and jets zooming low over the suburbs,  adds the extra dimension that those thousands of high octane petrol heads bring to the city’s electric atmosphere.  One big reason for the sell-out 90,000 crowd this year was that Kiss performed after the big race.  And tomorrow there is a holiday for us to attend the Adelaide Cup.


And after all that delicious culture, Friday was a fabulous first for me – a joyful, but slightly unsettling event when I cared for grand-daughter Scarlett for the first time for four hours alone in my own home. Bliss!


Of course, beforehand I took her to my favourite shopping centre in her pusher and glowed as interested passers by stopped and ooed and aahed at her.


One old man pushing a trolley stopped me and told a story:  “My father was a toy-maker and when I was a young teenager, I would repair dolls,’’ he said.


“Japanese dolls were fashionable back in those years and they were beautiful celluloid dolls. I think that little baby looks just like one of them. She is beautiful!’’ A very special moment of sharing with a stranger.


Later, as I propped  her up on the child’s blanket I bought for zilch from a garage sale, scattered her toys around her and urged her to clap her hands (her latest development) I thought I would burst with joy.


Olivier would think I am doing quite well and I share every happy moment with him.








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