Mar 09


A little while ago I was having a writing related conversation with someone. After discussing a new project they asked ‘and what else have you been doing? Besides writing, of course?’ Sounds simple enough, but this question made me panic. Because I couldn’t think of anything.

Slush reading, I could have said, but I don’t think that counts as something else. Working… in publishing, doesn’t count either.

The ever-patient Rabia told me to calm down. You have a husband, you look after a household, you have pets. But I don’t think these count either. Because ‘what else have you been doing’ doesn’t mean the day-to-day of eat, wash, work, cook, clean, sleep. It means, what do you do to relax? What keeps you sane? So not having anything to say started me wondering about that state of relaxing, that state of being sane. Do I fail at down time?

But she’s too wise. Didn’t you garden the other day? Yes! Yes I did. In fact, gardening was done with the help of a very good friend, so that’s gotta count, right?

That’s what else I have been doing! And look, photos to prove it:

First thing I want to do is fix the balcony upstairs. It’s a decent sized space that rarely gets used, and I’m hoping a bit of plant life will change that. And maybe a larger table with chairs that aren’t broken, and even an umbrella?


So, with that in mind, I’ve started with some natives. At the moment they’re in rather small, recycled pots, But as they grow so will the pots. Hopefully they will provide shade and encourage the birds to come.


Next stage, to get rid of the old, dying plants up here or at least try and save them. The orchid, for instance, I’d love to see flower again.


Under the ever-watchful and disapproving eye…

Navi Eye

But the balcony is only the beginning. Check out the backyard. A lot of work to do. I want to lay a path of recycled bricks where that big patch of sand is. Put in more natives, trees and shrubs that will hopefully grow in the atrocious sandy soil. Would like to rescue that bedraggled grapefruit tree too.


It will all take time, and would be easier if I had a bit more cash around. But I’m looking forward to it! And so is my little helper.



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  1. Graham

    Hmmm. We’ve got a little ‘helper’ like that too. I recognise the look. He ate my wife’s glasses yesterday: $800 worth of chewy toy!

    As for non-writing activities, I could always do with fewer of them! I had 125 metres of timber and 240 kg of concrete delivered today, to go with the 224 paving slabs and the 2 cu meters of sand I already have. I’ll be building a gazebo rather than writing for the foreseeable future!

  2. Joanne

    Heh, expensive helper! Mine managed to get into the shed the other day, find and open two tubs of seasol then apply the stuff liberally across the garden. Not quite $800 worth though. Could have been, I guess, if he’d eaten enough of it.

    Gazebo! How exciting! I wish I had those kind of skills :)

  3. Miquela

    Your balcony has a lot of potential. I’m sure it’s going to be a fabulous haven soon.

    Oh, and I like the new blog look. I read you through LJ, so I don’t always pop over.

  4. Joanne

    I hope so, and I aim to keep updating with pictures 😀 Aren’t you all so lucky.

    And mmm, I’m less pleased with this wordpress template than I would like to be. When I have time *ha!* I’m going to keep looking for new ones.

  5. Rabia

    That balcony is lovely. Just the place to sit and read in the sun.

    I’m sooo looking forward to the spring and getting my seeds sown. Even just being able to walk out in sandals and no outerwear and read on the lawn while the kids play in the sandbox. Heaven!

  6. Joanne

    And I’m not really looking forward to winter, even though our winter’s got nothing on yours :)

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