Our week began with an empty water tank. Surprise! We had only pumped three weeks ago, and a full tank should last us at least 6 weeks, so we must have a leak somewhere. The Bear will start the process of elimination of finding the leak by changing all the washers in the taps today. My children thought it was hilarious that I was the only one who missed out on having a shower, and were even more amused when I had to wash myself with a washer dipped into a sink full of water. Brats :).
Living where we do, in a rural area, we rely on tank water for our water supply. We have one tank for river water and one tank that catches rain water. At this time of year, with August being our driest month, there isn’t any water in the big rain water tank, so we rely completely upon the river water tank for water.
When we were looking for a house to buy, there were some basic criteria that I laid down:
1. No dirt road. I grew up on a dirt road, and it’s not much fun. It’s really hard on your car, and depending how close you live to the road and the direction of the wind, your house will get covered in a fine coating of dust each time a car goes past.
2. Garbage service. If a truck doesn’t come and pick up your rubbish each week, you need to store all your rubbish somewhere and take it to the rubbish tip every month. This is not as much fun as it sounds.
3. Ability to pump water from the river. Relying on rainwater alone is tricky, and it means that you will have to buy water from the water tanker in dry times, which is expensive and often not particularly good quality. It’s definitely not drinkable.
This dear little property that we bought fulfilled all of those criteria plus a few others, like price. The section of the river that we pump from has never been known to go dry. It is deep with a rock wall and bottom and has beautiful quality water. We have to cross our neighbour’s land to access the river, and they have very kindly given us permission to do so. We hook up our firefighter pump to the pipes that run from the river at the bottom of the hill all the way up to our tank at the top of the hill, a distance of about 300 metres. A good pump will fill our 10000 litre tank almost to the top.
The Bear, hard working man that he is, came home early from work on Monday afternoon and made sure that we had a full tank of water. As supplier of water, chopper of firewood, landscaper and main breadwinner, it is through his efforts that we are able to live here at all. There are some women who can live out here alone, but I am not one of them. My talents lie in other areas, apparently.
It is much more likely that work will be separated along gender lines out here, although there are some very impressive pioneer-type women that would put plenty of men to shame. A particular woman I know manages to work two jobs (school bus run and maintenance person at the school) as well as helping to run her and her husband’s butcher shop, growing the livestock for that shop on their farm, exercising their polo cross horses daily as well as all the domestic duties. I am totally in awe of her.
I was transplanted into the country from the city when I was a seedling of five, from generations of city people. My parents still laugh about how ‘fertiliser’ was the only word I got wrong in a 100 word spelling test in high school. Gardening was an onerous chore, I was terrified of cows and living so far away from people made me anxious. I longed for the bright lights and action of the city, and headed there as soon as I could.
But I came back, 11 years later. I will never be a pioneer woman, although I have great respect for their capabilities. I have no interest in farming animals and I still hanker after art and music, cafes and the hum of urban life. I fantasise about walking or even riding my bike places, rather than driving the long distances it takes to get anywhere from here. But there is something about this place that feeds my soul. I am a mountains and river woman, you see. I love the hinterland of any place. The coast holds no charm for me compared to the hidden depths of forested hills and the cool, clear river.
When it comes to living, my soul knows where it belongs, what feeds it. Underneath all of my urban fantasies, a river nymph lives in my soul, and if she is too far away from the river, she dries up. I love the Earth just as she is, you see. I don’t want to farm it or even garden in it particularly – but I have a deep connection to her. Her heart beats my heart. Out here, the connection is clear and strong. I see no reason to change my list of criteria for a place to live: they are eminently practical. But I would add one: our next place must be a mountains and river place.
Morning pages and carrying a notebook. I have long been wanting to use a notebook and incorporate morning pages back into my daily routine, but was having trouble figuring out how to do it. And then, this week I read not one but two inspiring articles on carrying notebooks – one from Jamie Wallace for Live to Write, Write to Live, about her lifelong love of using a notebook, and one from Brain Pickings on Oliver Sacks and his writing life. By the time I read both of those articles, I had a notebook sitting next to me, and I have been using it ever since. Love! On the same day, I read an article by Marian Schembari for The Write Life on how she uses morning pages both as a writing warm up and a way to move from professional writing to personal writing. Totally inspired, I have done morning pages every day this week. It is like coming home to an old friend (me) and just talking shit, in the way that only you and your bestie can; which then frees you up to do some good writing.
Do you carry a notebook or do morning pages?
Brene Brown. Of course, we all love Brene Brown, but the reason I am loving her this week is because of this article from O Magazine: How to Reckon With Emotion and Change Your Narrative, which is an excerpt from Brown’s new book, Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumbling. The Revolution. Simply, Brown is talking about the bullshit stories that we tell ourselves, the narrative that goes on in our heads, that un-noticed and unchecked creates havoc – and what to do about it. The article began with this graphic:
Book Day. Now, what I love about Book Day is this photo. What I don’t love about Book Day is choosing a character, wardrobe malfunctions, and the last minute panic because I have no idea what I am going as and I have to go as something because I am working at the school on that day…anyway, it all magically worked out :).
About life from Leunig.
I read about this beautiful, simple breathing technique from Uncharted Ground called 1-2-3 Breathing. It goes like this:
No matter who you are, you can make this your daily practice. It can be done anywhere, at any time. Here it is: pause in whatever you are doing and take 3 deep mindful breaths.
The first breath is to remind yourself that you are here and now.
The second breath is to wake up every cell of your body.
With the third breath, extend compassion toward yourself.
Practicing self-compassion even for one moment is a powerful practice. Don’t wait until you think you’ve earned it. You can’t afford that kind of time.
Wow. Powerful stuff! I’ve been playing with this all week, and it’s beautiful.
How to apply for a student ID card. Yes, I am eight weeks into my University degree and I still don’t have an ID card. This is because of the cold war-style level of identification required to apply for one, and because if I don’t actually have a pressing need to do annoying, boring things, then I don’t do them. This is not a quality I am proud of, but to be truthful, I need to admit it. Surprise: I need an ID card to access the library. I need the library to do my second media assignment.
- Get a passport photo from the local Post Office. Note to self: do not go in the afternoon at the precise time that the sun shines through a high window onto the side of your face, requiring a customer to block the sun with a large envelope, with mixed results: A photo good enough for an ID card but not good enough for a passport.
- Get 100 points of identification – my birth certificate and drivers licence, copy them, fill out the form, fold neatly. Write a slightly pleading letter explaining my situation, and my need for a quick turn around on the ID card process. Send the letter away.
- Take a phone call from the lady in the UNE security office – I need to supply verified identification documents. Rather than sending the whole lot back to me for me to fix, which is what they normally would have done, is it possible for me to get the documents verified by a responsible member of the human race, and then email them back to her?
- Why, yes, it is possible. I get the copies verified (I am so lucky to live across the road from a school) then I scan and email them off. Simple, right?
My dear friends, that is my week. I hope something was of benefit or enjoyment to you, or, as is my preference, both :). I am off to have breakfast with my children, and then my daughter and I are going to a friend’s house for a thermomix demonstration. I can’t imagine spending $2000 on a piece of kitchen equipment, but I am looking forward to catching up with friends and seeing how such an expensive machine works 🙂 What about you, do you have a thermomix? Do you think it’s worth it?