From the Vault

Two cranes gantries in a blue sky

This week is the start of a new series “From the Vault”. It will be a combination of re-posted items and photos from past journeys that have been languishing on my hard drives.

I’ll admit that the “from the vault” series is a bit of a lazy cop-out. In all honesty, I’ve reached a crossroads and my left shoulder guy and right shoulder guy are arguing with each other about whether we are going to continue writing in this space. You’ll have seen the classic cartoons with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. My left and right people are not devils or angels but rather two sides of the coin. 

I can see good reasons to keep going. I can see equally good reasons for stopping. This space was NEVER meant to be a substitute for a journal, yet here I am using it as one. As per my post about turning sixty, it’s time to rethink, refocus and renew!

The next few weekly posts will be ones that “I prepared earlier”. They will be scheduled in one hit, and thus give me some space to do that thinking. Maybe I’ll see you on the other side!

From the Vault – Week 1

Don’t be a dick!

There’s a lot of unmined gold in my photos from New York! I thought I’d hate it, but like many others, I fell in love with the busy busy mad place! I guess this bus shelter has a different ad now, but what wonderful advice!

Street scene from New York with a bus sign saying don't be a dick,

Furious Fiction 21 – May 2021

Furious Fiction banner

It’s that time of the month again! The results for the Australian Writers’ Centre May 2021’s Furious Fiction competition are published today. The monthly Furious Fiction competition launches on the first Friday of each month and the prize is $500 for 500 words.

This month’s Furious Fiction prompts were as follows.

  • It needed to be set during a storm
  • It must include the words apple, mother and yesterday
  • Include the phrase sit/sitting on the fence

This month’s Stats

This month my submission is 498 words. Once again a rush job. Completed and submitted by around 10 PM on Friday night. Frankie is still out in the cold!

The Shed

The gnarly old farmer sat on the verandah watching over his orchard.  The heavily pregnant clouds were fully dilated and ready to break open. He loved a good storm but today the smell of ozone and petrichor was bittersweet.

He’d prayed for rain. 

Last month. 

And the month before. 

And the months before that. 

If the rain came now it would be a week before he could start picking. And that was a week he could not afford.

He needn’t have worried about the rain. The wind came first and with it a rattling shower of leaves and sticks. His precious apples quivered and fell. Their slender peduncles no match for the torrents of air.  He watched them bounce on the hard ground to their untimely death.

Plop.

Plop.

Plop. 

His first decent crop in three years. 

“They’ll be no good for the supermarkets now.” he thought. Their bruised and battered bodies would be no good for cider either. The bugs and mice would clean them up before he could get to them.

His wife came out to join him.  “I knew I should have picked them yesterday,” he said. 

“Even if you started yesterday, you wouldn’t have finished by today,” she said laying her hand on his tired shoulder.  

“Well, I should have started last week!” he shouted.

“But you didn’t have any pickers last week!” she replied quietly.

It was no use. He’d beat himself up over the lost crop regardless of the fact it was out of his control. 

He broke free of her grasp and headed towards the orchard. Towards the clouds and the storm and the impending rain. 

She watched as he stooped to pick up some of the windfall apples. He tucked a few in his pockets and then disappeared under the espaliered canopy of leaves. Fat raindrops began leaving diverts in the sandy soil. She knew he’d be gone a while so she went back inside.

Splat.

Splat.

Splat

The din on the metal roof was deafening.

Dink.

Dink.

Dink.

The storm was right overhead and the gap between the bang and the flash imperceptible. 

She sighed and made a cup of tea. “What will be, will be,” she thought. 

Time passed and she noticed the pitter-patter was pattering less.  Then there was one almighty flash-bang that sounded different to the rest. 

She jumped up to check the gun safe. 

Empty! 

She raced outside; wanting to see, not wanting to see.  

And there he was sitting on the fence, drenched to the bone, and crunching on apples. The shed was on fire and electricity still crackled in the air. 

“Did you see that?” he yelled “Bang! Right on the shed! The rain’s stopped. The wind only ruined a few. All’s good!” 

She stormed across the yard, moving faster than she’d moved in years! He jumped up and backed away from her flailing tea towel. 

“No, it’s bloody NOT all good! Where’s the bloody gun?”

”Steady on Mother! It’s only a shed!”

Birthday Blues?!

It’s my birthday this week, and I wanted to write an engaging post but there has been some serious procrastinating!

I had a lot of ideas.

  • A slide show of photos from baby to now.
  • A list of things illustrating how the world has changed in sixty years.
  • Matching historical events to my own life in some sort of digital timeline
  • A funny birthday post
  • A reflective birthday post
  • No post?
At about one year old

Some abandoned starts to the birthday post:

1. Light hearted….but went downhill

Somehow I got to be sixty! How did that happen? I don’t feel old, but I am beginning to slow down. A little. My life so far has had its share of ups and downs although I don’t think I have had more ups or downs than anyone else. Regrets? I have a few!


I wish I had ended my marriage earlier and not stayed unhappy for so long.
I wish I had been a better, more patient parent.
I wish I had started thinking of myself as creative twenty years ago.
I wish I had spent less time in the sun and more time in the shade.


Sometimes I look in the mirror and think “Shit! Who is that old lady? “ The inside me still feels 27. I find myself staring at women “my age”, and judging whether I look younger or older than them. How have I fared?

2. Started sad and stayed sad.

I was hoping to write an inspirational post about turning sixty. I sit here with my fingers poised above my keyboard wondering what to write. It’s a struggle to find the right tone with the right words and the right mood. I am proud and sad. Happy and annoyed. Relieved and unfulfilled.


I don’t have another 60 years left. Another 25 – 30? My immortality is simultaneously slapping me in the face and the arse. A blanket of generalised anxiety is hovering over me urging me not to waste another minute making bad decisions or wrong choices.
I am waiting for the cloak of wisdom to descend. When does that happen?
Maybe today is not the day to write this post.


You see what I mean.

at eight?

Significant birthdays are another number. Right?

It doesn’t happen to me often but I am lost for words about turning 60. I didn’t mind turning 50 or 30 or any of the other significant birthdays. Sixty on the other hand does feel like a marker. A place to stop and reset. Perhaps it’s because I have made a big deal of my 60 for 60 list. I have completed 38 of the things on the list. Some of the undone items I have decided to abandon. They no longer hold the significance they had 3 years ago. For instance, finishing the stories I started in 2017 or 2018. The spark is gone. I’ll leave them unresolved and thank them for their service.
Many of the other things still on the list are projects I want to do. Paint my house and get new carpet, a case in point. I’m not going to get them done in the next couple of days so I’ll transfer them to another list. Seventy things before seventy!

What’s next for Old Chook Enterprises?

I’m proud to say that I have crossed the “post a blog post at least once a week” item off the list. I’m now considering what to do about this blog. Will I continue? It’s a lot of work and I’m not sure of the return. I started the project to practice writing to a wider audience. I’ve done that. Do I still have something to say? Maybe. I have 500 followers but I’m lucky to have 30 views per post. (Thank you to those thirty!! ) Is it about the numbers? Is it about having a place to express myself? Is it just a habit I need to abandon along with the stories?

Fifty one


One of my most “popular” posts is about Port Kembla, a suburb in Wollongong. I wondered why. The analytics reveal that it gets hits from the search term “Wollongong Prostitutes”. Ewww….That’s not my target demographic! A scroll through my followers shows that very few are the type of people I thought I was talking to. That is, women my age. Is that good or bad?

Maybe I’ll start a new blog?

I’m ready for another life stocktake. I’ll take my time. Look at my style guide for living, do some calculations and work out what’s feasible and add in some “stretch goals”. (Man! I hate that term, but I get the concept!)

Fifty seven


I’m all for a theme. How does “Savour my Sixties and Slide into the Sassy Seventies” sound?

BTW: I have applied for my Seniors’ Savers Card!