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'More than one more day': a reflection on Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking–by Anna Sublet

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Sound the Siren! Junior Footy's Back.

As the desolation of the Collingwood Grand final loss washed over us at the MCG last year, along with the river of beers and tears, my daughter said to me, ‘Mum, I can’t WAIT til next footy season. I mean MY footy season. I can’t wait to play footy again!’

'Footy’s back!' A few weeks ago, this phrase caused some consternation, with AFLW supporters pointing out that footy had been back for quite a while, actually. But I’m throwing it back out there: it’s the start of the junior footy season for many young players this month. Across town, parents are signing up for orange duty and players are cleaning off, buying or finding their boots, whether it’s for practice matches or round one of the season.

Last year, our daughter began playing footy with the local Under 14s team. After her first game, in which she marked in front of goals and kicked truly, she came off the field, saying, ‘That was the best fun ever! I can’t wait for next week!’ 

I loved playing footy as I grew up. As the on…

If and When It's Necessary

In the last two-way conversation we had, I said to my father: ‘Mum says you wanted to tell me something dad?’ He paused. I stood holding the phone in a Manhattan hotel. My hair was wet. It was 8am in New York City and 10 pm in Melbourne.

‘Not now. If and when it’s necessary, Annie. If and when it’s necessary,’ he said.

What did this mean? What did he need to tell me? When would it be necessary? Why could he not tell me then? I panicked. There were people in the hospital room; he had visitors. It is hard to reconcile sometimes that they were there when I was not. I can believe now that he needed to say ‘I’m dying.’ I’m hoping that he wanted to say ‘I love you’.

Flying to New York City for my milestone birthday was a big deal for myself and my partner. We had planned for months, booked and re-booked tickets, researched hotels and created a complex spreadsheet to manage our children, who were to be left behind. Dad had been sick for a number of years at this stage, having had multiple hosp…

Unleash the Hounds

If there’s one thing to get the local community Facebook site worked up, it’s a discussion about dogs. Dogs off lead, dogs on beaches, dogs at parks, dogs on lead, dog poo, dogs on sportsgrounds, dog owners, dogs barking. In fact, one of the reasons I left the local Facebook  page was the passion, and indeed, the nastiness that spewed from people once the topic of our four-legged friends came up. Talk about unleashing the hounds!

Poo on the pavement? Poo on footy fields? Irresponsible owners? Lack of beaches for dogs? Lack of off-lead parks for dogs? Dogs running through playgrounds or sportsgrounds when they are supposed to be on lead? Dogs in the wildlife reserve, rushing birdlife? By-laws officers enforcing fines? Dead birds, yapping puppies and dog attacks all had a run. All of these topics often drew the most virulent of responses, in some cases leading to insults about peoples’ children and campaigns akin to bullying.

Lucy Battersby’s recent piece suggests that when people visit a…

Beyond Byron's Beaches

From Main Beach, where surfers catch waves at The Wreck, to Clarke’s Beach, to Watego’s and beyond, the Byron coast provides beaches to suit most wishes. There’s The Pass, where longboarders mix it with beginners; there’s Tallows Beach, Lennox Heads and Broken Head. And then, our family has our own secret beach, reached via a dirt road and a bush track, where we can have a whole cove to ourselves, with only a few surfers in the distance and some divers snorkelling off the rocks.
But when the waves have worn you out, there is so much on offer within just half an hour’s drive.
A gin distillery, set on a macadamia farm surrounded by rainforest, serving gin-based cocktails–what a perfect start. Cape Byron Gin Distillery is only a 20-minute drive from Byron, and they are producing some of the best tasting gins in the world. Both their Brookie’s gins have taken out world gin awards this year at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirit Competition. Brookie’s dry gin has 26 …

The Espy: Track 1, Side 2

Day one. The Espy is back! Our local pub, our bay-windowed beauty. Two hours into my first re-visit, one of the new owners, Andy Mullins, spots me reading in an armchair on the fourth floor, shakes my hand, saying ‘this is what we want to see, people relaxing, using the spaces!’ and offers to buy me a drink. ‘Really? A shandy?’ he says. The barman comments, ‘You don’t order a shandy to improve the beer, you order a shandy to improve the lemonade.’ I’m somewhat shamed, shandy-shamed, but I’m revelling in my retro memories, so say cheers, and just drink it all in.

It’s been three years or so that the pub has been closed, and I’ve been time-travelling. I’ve come up the front stairs, past the patio where I used to watch over my sleeping kinder kids in the 15-minute carparks out the front. (Don’t judge me. OK, judge me; don’t care.) Up I go, through the double doors into the light-filled atrium. Down into the new public bar, looking for the old etchings on the windows. Out the back, to the …