There’s something about an empty, cleared bench top that screams “Put stuff here!”
I’ve observed this phenomenon over many years so I know what I’m talking about. Try it yourself. Any table or flat surface will do. No sooner have you decluttered an expanse, it miraculously fills with junk. I’m thinking it’s a universal law of physics.

Where space exists it must be filled.

It’s interesting that nothing can actually exist without space. A room is not a room without walls, and yet the walls cannot exist if it wasn’t for the space between. According to quantum physics, we are made up of space. No matter how small a particle or cell, there is always space between the parts which make up the entirety and still it can be smaller. No one has cracked the smallest particle yet. Mind boggling.

Back to the benches … Maybe it’s some law of attraction no one has investigated yet. I should apply for a research grant into the whole matter. Might end up with a Nobel prize for peace! The fact that it causes war between spouses/partners when it occurs, maybe I could come up with a solution to the problem and end the conflict. Worth thinking about. Which is exactly what I was doing when I went out to sit with Rosie this afternoon.

It felt bloody freezing to me, however, she seemed unperturbed by the icy blast which ran across the paddock like an Eskimo in the Olympic skating. Anyway, I sat on an upturned feed bin and she stood over me and nibbled at the hood of my jumper. She then lifted one front hoof (which is better than her lifting both at once) and indicated attention of her leg was required. We’ve had this conversation previously, and it means there’s something annoying her (usually a tick or two) and could I please remove the parasites. I investigated along her leg from top to bottom and sure enough scratched out a few little suckers. When that was done, Rosie presented me with her other front leg and I repeated the manoeuvre. Not finished yet, I was requested to check the rear legs as well. During this whole procedure she was head down totally enjoying the moment, and when I’d finished she slobbered over my jumper in appreciation. The things we do for our unicorns ?

Back to physics, I reckon the reason people with horses (or donkeys ?) keep getting more, is due to a phenomenon known as the ‘space equine continuum’ …

I won’t give up my day job yet ?

Visitors Form Hell

We had some wonderful neighbours. We had some dreadful visitors. Two simple sentences say a great deal.

They were such a welcoming pair when we moved here many years ago. I could overlook their ‘Mother Country’ origins. They gave us information about our little home and owners past; what had been here, what had been there. How they did this and how they did that …

“A big old peach tree used to be right there, outside that room. Could you believe the last people dug it out? It used to be full of juicy sweat peaches and a lovely tree as well. We got a cutting from it before they carted it away. Now we have peaches!” Gloating, knowing wink.

I think to myself, the shapely, shady magnolia tree is much more to my liking. The small birds nest in its profusion of leaves and I don’t need to worry about the fruit being tampered with by bowerbirds and parrots.
“What a shame!” I reply.

“And trees! There were these huge trees all around that other side of the place. Mainly pine trees but a couple of whopping gum trees as well. They had to go. Too close to the house weren’t they?” Looks to husband for enthusiastic confirmation. “Well, they gets all the neighbours to help … see there’s the stumps from a couple of the trees. Where was I? … Oh yeah, old Bill, and Fred from over Junction Rd. And Tom, Dick, and Harry as well … They worked like navvies they did. And clever? Put those trees down as easy as layin’ a baby in its cot …” and so the story went on, and on, and on …

I sit back in my chair and let the words float around me like dust motes in the sunshine, and nod with an “Oh, really?” every so often. I must add that, over the years every time they came for a cuppa we heard the same stories, almost word for word like overzealous actors who forget to ad lib occasionally for variation.

Stories aside, they really were marvellous neighbours. However, they eventually sold up and moved. We were quite saddened by their departure, but people come and go through life and so we got on with ours.

A phone call a year or so after their departure; they were coming back for a visit. Could they call in on us? “Of course, we’d love to see you!” Why did I have a feeling of my internal organs giving way? I enjoy having visitors. It’s only overnight, isn’t it?

The house is dusted and vacuumed, suitable food prepared, as Alfie only eats certain specific foods, according to Thea.

Here they are. They’re in their motor home, how tremendous. “Of course you’ll eat in the house with us; I’ve already prepared dinner.”

“A glass of wine would be lovely; I hope you haven’t gone to any trouble …”
We catch up on events. Their new home is lovely. The people are lovely.” No Spot don’t pee on the floor! He never does that at home. Not on the lounge either! I don’t know what’s got into him! Do stop scratching so Spot, they’ll think you have fleas. We don’t wash him very often it makes him itchy …”

I wonder at this point if she means Alfie or the dog.

“So what have you two been up to?” Thea asks after an hour or three.
“Well actually we’ve …”

“Did we ever tell you about the lovely peach tree that used to be planted over there outside that room …?”

I groan inwardly – at least, I hope I do it silently.

“Of course, there used to be these huge trees all around that side of the place. Mainly pine trees but a couple of whopping gum trees as well. They had to go …”

Déjà vu? E-spouse and I share a look. He suddenly has to make an urgent phone call. Bastard. I begin to clear the table but the story of the tree removal ebbs toward my retreating feet and I pray to the phone god to rescue me with its call – even one from India will do. It lets me down just like all the other gods. I vaguely hear, “… if that’s ok with you?” I mumble, “Of course, stay as long as you like.”

They retreat at last to their mobile home, and we go to bed where I dream of peach trees growing through the walls – but it’s lovely …

“We thought we’d go and visit a few people while we’re here. It’s a shame to move the van from its lovely location …”

“Take the old ute if you like, I’m not using it.” It’s a spare vehicle we use for carting things around in.

“That’d be lovely. If you’re sure you don’t mind?”

They return in the afternoon. “We had a lovely day … unfortunately Flossie is away. Won’t be back until next Friday. Really wanted to see her. Wondered if we could stay until next Saturday? If you’re sure you don’t mind?”

I’m not sure about my mind at all any more. I feel my eyes turn to frosted glass and my stomach is churning fit to make butter.

A week has passed and I’m eyeing off the gun cabinet – it’s as well E-spouse has hidden the keys, although I’m sure no court would convict me given the pressure I’ve endured.

“Alfie’s not feeling well, bit of a cold, thought we might stay a few more days if you’re sure you wouldn’t mind …”


“Well I never! You’ve changed Nell. You used to be such a lovely person!”