can ring my bell. NO.

claudine at school... it's the book i've been reading. & i loved it.

it started on a good note for me; the child of the hills who grew up free range in isolated north qld. i relate to her love of whiling away hours alone in the forest. my mother would send me outside to play if i complained or made any kind of bored noises. on a huge property with rainforest, rivers creeks and many many animals i managed to entertain myself. it was often me, as the youngest, at home alone while the biggies went to school... i had special places to explore, swimming holes all of my own, waterfalls and rapids and slipppery rocks to jump... yabbies to catch and tree kangaroos to startle. and snakes to strike fear into my heart. they still do, by the way.

i'd light fires and swim and sleep on the rocks. i'd say a lot of this contributes to the serious sun damage i have. free range and fairskinned in the skin cancer capital. BUT we all have to die of something ... anyway, collette in country france... and later pining for it from paris... which is the bit i relate to now. and probably goes a little way towards explaining why i wanted to go and live in new zealand after being in crazy overpopulated chinese cities... so to colette...

'dear woods! i know them all; i've scoured them so often... full of sun and strawberries and lilies of the valley; they are also full of snakes. i've shuddered there with choking terror at the sight of those dreadful, smooth, cold little bodies gliding just in front of my feet.... but never mind that: I shall always end by going back there, alone or with my friends. Better alone, because those girls are so young-lady-ish they annoy me. They're frightened of little creatures such as hairy caterpillars and those pretty heath spiders that are as pink and round as pearls; they squeal, they get tired - in fact, they're insufferable.

I have lived ten years of wild rovings, of conquests and discoveries, in those woods; the day when i have to leave them my heart will be very heavy.'*

yes i was a tomboy. bought up in the hills. that's why we are still quite rough around the edges. and why we need to go home, for a couple of months each year... so's i don't get all piney and destructive in the city... ar well.

i need a nap. then i'm going to make peppercorn jelly for chutney club on sunday.

oh & then i might go to seventh gallery to see the show of the clever empty simon, a little too clever at times. mensa? anyone?

might see you around. hope so. meredith, chutney club, ding dong dell?

* 'Claudine at School', Colette
first published 1900
published in penguin books 1963

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