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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Roberts

More Lockdown Ramblings

The joy of a sunset soaking rain, when you have a garden full of seedlings and newly planted everything. I know who won't be leaping out of bed at dawn, then running around the property armed with a garden hose. Instead it will be feet up, tea in hand, getting (mostly) annoyed and (occasionally) delighted by FB posts and the news. Drink up my lovelies.

I am quite scatter-brained, and I'm not particularly worried about it being age-related, because I've been like this for as long as I can remember. However this has now become my greatest keep-fit ally. Our place is quite large and full of steps and stairs, so conservatively, I'd say that forgetting things adds at least an extra 45 minute cardio-vascular to my daily routine. My very own rationalised silver lining.

We have spent the last couple of days working with “volunteers”. Those amazing little seedlings that just appear everywhere in the tropics. We may never need to go to a nursery again (although we do want to support them). Lots of citrus trees, snake fruit, rambutan, tomatoes, chiles, papayas, soursop, etc.

Now it’s a glorious late afternoon and everyone has gone. Fresh passionfruit juice, soda, and swim time.

I might have to be dragged out of isolation.

And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.

I'm not an insomniac, but I generally sleep really well only every other night. Just discovered (after reading about it) what feels like the holy grail of sleeping; passion fruit leaf tea. For the past 4 nights, at bed-time I have made some from the fresh young leaves, followed by the yummiest deepest sleeps. May this continue.

I’ve realised that I’m one of those people who has historically never been very good in the kitchen or garden, (yes, mutter my real world friends), so as I start discovering the wonder of what can be created, I can become as proud as if I’d just discovered penicillin. Add that to Sagittarius rising, and over-exuberance becomes an understatement. I can at moments feel slightly embarrassed by this, but very warmed by all the nice sharing and kindness of people. For all the weirdness, conspiracy theories (I don’t buy into them... so please don’t send me anything), and other iffy stuff on here, my Facebook connections have been such a positive during this time.

Thank you, old and new “friends”, already cherished or never even met.

Adoring this rain. Literally watching the garden grow.

Much as I despise Trump, I think it is very dangerous to pin both the blatant and insidious brutalities of racism that are currently flying full force into our faces, onto him or any particular political party. The woman in Central Park is an Obama supporting Democrat. Finger-pointing and self-righteousness will solve nothing. I haven’t a clue what will, but this is a rotten-to-the core, fractured soul of a nation issue. We are all part of it.

It’s war on the neighbour’s chickens. We are becoming a bamboo fortress. We will prevail, for the sake of the veggies.

And yes, I am veering between despair at injustices in this world and fighting the tiny issues of our little world here. Small but significant personal comfort.

Hope and hopelessness, it seems they can co-exist.

First attempt at drying and powdering garlic a success. A long process and who knew that garlic could burn the fingers this much (ouch), next time gloves will be worn. Loving all the garden alchemy I am discovering, the perfect antidote to all the insanity “out there”.

No guests, major spring-clean/smarten-up/repair time. No corner unswept, everyone staying employed. And a whole brood of new baby chicks.

Yet another ‘who knew’? Vegan aubergine bacon, friggin’ delicious if I say so myself. It’s all down to the smoked paprika.

These times we are in are certainly highlighting our differences and biases. With my morning tea, I can veer from furious cursing to cheers of approval, to tears of frustration and/or empathy/sorrow. And please no-one suggest I get zen and detached about it all, (and the very best to all who choose that path), but this feels like a boots on the ground, clearly state your mind, stand up for what you believe in time.

Today my approval went to the taking down statues of all revered villains, and not destroying them, but instead putting them in museums to be viewed at will with plenty of honest information on hand, (hey, they can take the places of some of the stolen foreign artifacts we give back).

My roaring disapproval went to the idea of censoring Fawlty Towers and the likes, (at least they can't touch my DVD's). Censoring the arts is way too slippery a slope, in my loud-mouthed opinion, and I will be very interested to see what they do with “Gone With The Wind”.

And I'm 100% with Ricky Gervais, Bill Maher, etc. in regards to comedy - part of its purpose is to make us uncomfortable. There is something edgily alchemical about laughing and cringing in the same moment. Especially when it highlights life's ridiculousness. I plan to re-watch the "don't mention the Germans" bit of Fawlty Towers and see if I really am missing something.

Just because you're offended doesn't mean you're right. - Rick Gervais

Today; fixing roofs, playing engineer by building water channels, (miraculously they seem to be working), more planting, offerings, tears and a heavy heart for friends navigating difficult times and a call from a friend who always lifts my heart beyond measure. This paradox called life, sometimes one day embodies all of it. And it is only just noon.

Our staff – family; they laugh and chatter all day long and are happiest when they can all be working together. It’s the best music ever.

Who else found a shed snake skin on the bathroom wall this evening? It’s pretty tiny and since 90% of the snakes around here are perfectly harmless there’s not a thing to worry about, just sorry I missed the show. And the symbolism is perfect, discard the old to allow renewal.

Learning the most exciting, (and effortless), aspect of gardening; jungle foraging. Maom maom, abundant and as delicious as any spinach. Seven years of just walking obliviously over the stuff, then voila.

Joe, my father. An enigma and a riddle, powerful influence through absence, an inspiration, and the greatest loss of my life. Basically had him until I was 7, and never saw him again after the age of 14. All I remember is a warm round face, kindness, gentleness, caring, and feeling completely safe. After he left, so did the safety, until I was able to find it in myself.

Shot down in WWII at the age of 19, a prisoner of war, then an escapee, captured but escaped again, artist, used book-shop owner, married 5 times, loved bow ties and cocker spaniels.

So much I'll never know, but I owe him the piece of my heart that trusts it can completely shatter and still carry on, perhaps more deeply and intensely through knowing that pain.

54 years after last seeing him, and 23 years since his death, (that I only found out about 4 years ago), and I can still cry. But the blessings are far greater than the sorrows, I may never know exactly which pieces of me are him, but I know that they live on.

Love You, Dad.

It warms my heart that we are now growing our own flowers for the offerings.

Our mini water war... but not really. Sometimes you run into strong cultural differences living in another land. Water is ridiculously cheap in this village that we live in, but still I want utility independence, which to the Balinese at this precarious time seems just a little crazy. They have indulged me however, and we have put in rainwater catchment tanks everywhere, and I am very happy about this. Just because we have abundant water at this time does not mean that it will always be that way. We also just got some gorgeous anggrek bulan... moon orchids, apparently a national flower of Indonesia. Keeping the energy moving.

We should all be watching very closely what is happening in Hong Kong. These are our brothers and sisters, and the degree to which we look away, “because it has nothing to do with us”, is reflective of how others will look away when it’s our turn. I don’t have any answers or solutions, just a feeling of dread for them. History does repeat itself, perhaps not dressed exactly the same way, but still bearing the same cold, harsh, heavy rods.

Some days you just can't wait for the sun to come up to start the day. I'm sitting here in the half dark, (by the light of this super modern Macbook Air), staring at these old teak walls and floor, hand cut and planed, wondering what unknown stories I am living within. And then there's the bathroom counter made out of a huge chunk of an old Javanese sailing ship, (found covered in a layer of dust in my favourite wood shop). All of it mixed up with the knick knacks, colours and memories of my little life, (not a diminishment but in the bigger picture all our lives are pretty tiny). And then there's that who knows what of tomorrow.

My favourite flowers are like my favourite humans, determined to bloom regardless of any precarious crevices they find themselves wedged in.

So irrelevant in the face of real life issues, but fascinating for multiple other psychological/are people seriously this self-obsessed?/I have zero idea why I’m reading this crap but I am, reasons.

This might just be my favourite take on the whole debacle.

“ ... this deranged pretence about the relevance of the royals was in full view this weekend when the papers published extracts of Finding Freedom, a book about Nelson Mandela’s time on Robben Island. Wait, I’m sorry – I mean the time Harry and Meghan escaped the prison of subsidised luxury to live in Tyler Perry’s mansion in Los Angeles.”

This poem is so timely for me right now - and in a really strong and good and freeing way. Thank you, those of you, like Devika, who manage to speak so perfectly for us through their art.

It Is What It Is

It’s the same way you know right away when the milk turns sour:

Something that you thought was wholesome

curdles and transforms

Like a directional vector, changing in mid air;

A spear hurled like a military drone.

And it’s the way it is, and it is the end of it.

It’s like an Emperor unfitted for his own throne

What started sweet, and shy and hopeful

Like a child fresh anointed from its bath

Is now tainted: cannot even be freshly painted

The hope at the heart of it has gone

- Devika Brendon

The apple cider vinegar has a mother. Apparently that’s a good thing, and this is our very first try - said proudly. The raw stuff is as expensive as wine in Indonesia, so thought we’d have a go. It’s pretty amazing how simple it is to make certain things - main ingredient usually being patience. Not my forte by any stretch, but time is a lockdown bonus.

Morning - when some days an army of thoughts and emotions vie for centre stage and the full limelight. Slowly does it until they all settle down so that the quiet calm steady hopeful one waiting at the back can get a look in. Sad and scary times on an exquisite planet.

In the bowels of my deep freeze I just discovered a bag of wine that has been there for heaven knows how long. What’s surprising is how OK it is. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed that my taste bar is so low, or grateful that I’m so easily pleased. And it’s not like I’m some wine idiot - I once managed a rather elite tasting room. Cheers everyone, here’s to enjoying the heck out of whatever is in front of us right now.

My favourite nonliving thing is a long, full night of uninterrupted sleep. It impacts absolutely everything. Slept straight through from 8:30 pm to 6:00 am. That’s winning the energy lottery.

The true gift of aging is the utter delight in such things. Look out day.

It’s a slippery slope. One of my favourite things is red doors. Let’s just call it lockdown crimson.

Yesterday, a lovely friend of Rahasia Manis made a spontaneous and unsolicited gesture of kindness towards our staff. Her timing was perfect because of ceremonies coming up and because of all the extra responsibilities they have for others at this time. Bali is not a “what’s mine is mine” society by any stretch. Thank you - especially for the reminder of the infectious joy that pure kindness spreads.

The exquisite, living, breathing, growing, hope-filled tiny corner of the world I am lucky enough to inhabit. A little free time and a paintbrush makes the world a brighter place.

I have moments of regret that I am not a journal keeper, but I’m simply not - I don’t have the patience, or even the desire. But I do love it when a little memory flashes up on here, because then I can remember clearly something that could have been lost forever.

Trash and treasures. Doing our bit and cleaning our road of plastic before Kuningan. And at the same time our little herb garden is doing brilliantly. And no we aren’t burning the plastic.

Life and the never ending quest for balance.

And I love love love love love my life in Bali. I look up and notice a storm of wild orchids, when did that happen? And the painting continues. Art, nature and beauty proceed, unfazed by Covid

Astrologically this is an extraordinarily tough week, the edgiest of planets are in the edgiest of aspects with one another. Easy to overreact and agitate in less than constructive ways that may be difficult (or impossible) to undo.

In the words of the Grateful Dead - Take it Easy.

Giant message to self.


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