Friday, December 26, 2008






Tuesday, December 23, 2008


When I was a young girl I was entranced by music boxes.

I have a vague memory of a little pink music box that played “One Enchanted Evening” when the lid was raised and the tiny ballet dancer twirled about in front of the mirror.

No doubt it belonged to a first-born daughter in our extended family.

I never gave my daughter a music box.

In retrospect, I am most surprised and guilt ridden about this oversight.

So it was most difficult for me to deny my daughter’s request for a music box when she was asked what she would like for her 21st birthday celebrations.

We had considered whatever was essential for the party.

We booked the lovely old country hall and we arranged for the food and drinks.

When it came to the music for the evening, I had foolishly thought that one of our four stereos could be carted to the hall along with the family’s very comprehensive library of CDs and tapes of music ranging from the early 1900s to the current releases.

But no, my daughter wanted a music box and she promptly gave me the name and telephone number of a reliable jukebox hire company.

We met with the owner of the company and we filled in the request form and we passed over the deposit and he handed over the list of available music for my daughter to peruse and the deal was sealed.

I quickly warmed to our jukebox provider because he was sincere and friendly.

However I did worry about his abrupt and inexplicable bursts of laughter during our interview. They did seem a tad manic.

On the day of the party my daughter, my sister and my nieces were helping to decorate the hall whilst my husband, brother-in-law and son were busy erecting the hired marquee in the grounds of the hall car park.

Suddenly word filtered into the hall that the music box had arrived.

Fortunately I had warned my extended family about our jukebox provider’s merry bursts of laughter.

I was the sole witness to his entry to the hall which was from the front stairs. As he backed up the stairs, tugging the music box on the wheeled trolley, I saw more of his nether regions than I needed to see due to his work shorts slipping well below his waist.

I have always been far too quick witted for my own good so, before I could stop myself, I heard myself saying to him, “Oh, I am getting a peepshow here.”

Manic laughter echoed about the empty hall.

My extended family, safe in the supper room, could titter without causing insult to him.

My daughter’s music box was the highlight of the party.

No one enjoyed it more than her Uncle Darryl.

He had studied the song list and he found his favourite song and memorised the number.

Whenever my daughter approached the music box, Uncle Darryl would call out, “Put on 5105 lovey.”

The song in question was Harper Valley P.T.A.

Only one person enjoyed the 21st party more than my daughter. Uncle Darryl.

I am certain it was because he was born and bred in the country and he had spent many Saturday nights in a country hall, just like this one, attempting to get some girl up to dance with him.

I am so very pleased to report that Uncle Darryl was not without a partner all night and, more often than not, it was with the birthday girl.

The music box remained in the hall until mid Sunday so that everyone got great value from its presence until our lovely merry jukebox provider came to pick it up.

It seems I did eventually give a music box to my darling daughter.

Michelle ©



Monday, December 22, 2008


An old shed on our property that is in retirement now.



Saturday, December 20, 2008


In the early hours of the morning, a bedroom can harbour ghosts. They become apparent as moonlight filters through the windows.

You wake to find a figure lurking by the door. You blink and look again and it is still there. You squeeze your eyelids tight and then refocus and try to force the ghostly form into something commonplace. And at last you do. With relief you realise that it is not a ghost but your winter dressing gown hanging on the back of the door.

One night I woke to see a luminous figure standing at the end of my bed. I blinked and tried to refocus a number of times but it refused to transform into something mundane. It remained steadfast, a glowing apparition in the form of a woman standing at the end of my bed where dressing gowns do not hang.

Oddly I did not feel any fear.

Was this my guardian angel?

No. I don’t believe in such things. The idea that someone or something is stalking you and watching your every move is downright creepy.

No thanks. I can do without that sort of intense scrutiny.

So I decided that it could be the ghost of my great grandmother who had decided to take a quick visit to Earth to see how her great granddaughter had turned out.

She had died long before I was born but I knew about her because my mother had loved her dearly and told me about her.

Yes, I decided. That is who it is.

So I took one last look then pulled the blankets over my head, willing dawn to arrive.

Michelle 2008©



Michelle 2008©

MEG AND THE BLOWFLY (or Don't ask your family for help with fiction)

(As the links to the right of my blog will reveal, I am part of a writers' group. We have monthly assignments that we can contribute and the fiction below is a response to one of the topics. The task involved writing about "diamond, fly and beer". My imagination produced the work below.)

“What noise does a blowfly make when it hits a window?” I asked the family.


“No. No. Not buzzing. I can’t use that. It’s a cliché. I can’t use a cliché.”

Despite my concerns, the family vehemently insisted that buzzing was the only word for a distressed blowfly.

“I can’t use buzzing in my opening sentence.”

“Well don’t make it the opening sentence.” The son said.

“It has to be the opening sentence. The fly being trapped at the window sets up the storyline.”

‘Why?” The son asks.

“Because of my next sentence: “Tell me about it.” Meg scoffed. “I’ve been trapped in this house for 36 years. The last four have been in solitary confinement.”

“Who is Meg? Do I know her?” The son asks mischievously.

“Why is she trapped in the house?” The spouse asks.

“Because her children expect her to maintain the family home even though they never visit and she is left to pay all the ongoing expenses.”

“Why don’t her kids visit?”

“Because Andrew is a solicitor in London and Jody and her family live on the other side of the continent.”

“Why can’t her son be a Formula One driver or a C.I.A. agent?” The son asks.

“And why can’t Jody be a long haul truck driver?” The spouse asks.

“I need one of them to be settled and responsible.” I explain. “Meg has put the house on the market and she is going to travel Australia and New Zealand by house-sitting. So she needs one of them to be responsible for the family heirlooms.”

“What’s house-sitting?” The son asks.

“There are websites where you can contact people who need someone to live in their house, feed their pets, collect mail and look after their indoor plants and gardens while they are away for a period of weeks or months. You don’t get paid but you get free accommodation. I looked up the sites and some of the houses are in really nice places. So that is what Meg is going to do.”

The second half of the football game had resumed on TV and my advisors lost interest in my story.

Meg sorted through her meager collection of jewelry. She decided to keep her diamond engagement ring, her wedding ring, a string of pearls and three pairs of earrings.

She placed the rest into a padded postal bag and addressed it to Andrew.

She had been feeling lighter, happier and free since listing the house and shedding her chattels. Her aim was to fit her belongings into one large suitcase and one large piece of hand luggage.

Soon she would be an itinerant touring the country in her small car stopping off to house-sit now and then but basically she would have ‘no fixed address’.

“Just like Jody.” She smiled.

There was an ad break on the TV and the spouse strolled over with a cold can of beer.

“How is it going?”

“Good. I have decided to take your advice. Jody is going to be a long haul truck driver.”

Michelle © 2008