Via MoreeMoree, with a population of about 8,000, is situated in the north-west of NSW on the Mehi River and at the junction of the Gwydir and Newell Highways. It is famous for its Artesian Spa waters, which were discovered accidentally in 1895 when a bore was sunk in search of irrigation waters. Instead, mineral water heated naturally to 45 degrees spurted upwards flooding the area. For years I had wanted to return to this town, so loved by my father.

Zac followed my partner along the footpath near our home, one afternoon when Mark was walking towards the gym. An Aussie Terrier, starving and weary. These gym sessions were daily events and sacrosanct at the time. This day, instead of continuing on his route, Mark bent down, picked the skinny runt up in his arms and proceeded to knock on dozens of doors up and down the hills, asking: "Does anyone know this dog?" No-one answered in the affirmative. We rang several vets in the area, looked out for ads and put up notices; nothing.  zac-thirteen Once the two children saw him, his white coat shot over by a splattering of deep grey and a dash of beige round the eyes and ears, they fell in love. Fast. Two weeks later and our daughter had fallen so madly in love with the little mutt, it started to look as if he was ours to keep. And we had finally settled on 'Zac' for a name. Like many adoptive parents, we dreaded, during the days that followed, the knock on the door, or the phone call that might announce the arrival of the 'natural' parent or parents of this undernourished, but otherwise perfect, little fellow. Luckily that never happened, and he fitted into our household like another family member. He was the gentlest little creature. He put on weight quickly so that I didn’t have to carry him on long walks anymore. He loved chasing the ball that my husband threw almost to the moon.

According to American author Marian Roach Smith's definition, "Memoirs are selections from your life story, shaped by theme, driven by a few burning questions.  So the question the reader brings is: why these bits of your life? The answer to that question will lead you to your opening." See her website for more gems about this genre that I love to read and strive to write well. One part of my life that  I enjoyed was the post-adolescent period of adventure, spent in Paris, France, and travelling throughout Europe and into the USSR during the "Cold War" years. However it was the Inner Journeying that I had to set out on after I returned to Australia that forms the important part of my memoir. I now wonder if these two journeys are too much to include in one memoir?

River Girl

I lived at a place called Waterview, a lush, fertile valley, with a river swollen like a pregnant woman coursing through it. Despite the name ‘Waterview’, the Clarence River was hidden from sight at the point where I was brought up, because of the lie of the land. The irony was that there was water all around us, and yet none to be seen from our place. You could sense the water, though, caught in the humid air that wrapped itself around our bodies, buried deep inside the rich alluvial soil, and trapped inside plants and bulging green tree frogs.

Lambs in Spring

[caption id="attachment_12063" align="aligncenter" width="433"]donny-anne-billy Donny Me Billy[/caption] The humid scorching heat of the sub-tropical climate engulfed us; the sun’s rays tore at our skin with ruthless intensity and sent us kids scurrying towards water, even if it was only to the hose in the back or front yard. Sometimes Mum would pile us into the jeep and head for the primitive baths, set in the river bank at South Grafton, a good three miles from our place. Don‘t go near the river! was a constant ringing in our ears back home. You’ll drown and no-one will hear your cries! There are bull-routs in the reeds at the water’s edge! The Clarence River was just below our backyard Water, cool and exhilarating in summer, warm and nurturing in winter.  All of us five kids learnt to swim at an early age. We splashed around in the creek on Dad’s bush paddock, where we dipped in amongst the gum trees with their roots spreading out from the banks to give us a foot-hold as we jumped in, scattering the frogs and snakes, then felt the clay bed squelchy beneath our feet.

December 13th November, 2008 [caption id="attachment_12262" align="alignleft" width="220"] a scorpio[/caption] You can't know the sheer joy and wonder of grandparenting, until it happens to you. It was around 4am when Grandad Mark’s mobile phone rang, waking us from our sleep. Thirty minutes earlier, our daughter Kate had...