It's really the cat's house - we just pay the mortgage. ~ anon
My Aunty Shirl gardened & painted ~ pretty much in that order. She did have a husband ~ & a fistful of children but they were no impediment to her true obsessions: dirt & paint.
Over the years my aunt moved house any number of times & while the builders laboured over roof trusses & floor joists my aunt scrabbled frantically in the rich red volcanic soil to produce a wild & tangled garden that would hide the ravages of the builders.
Trafalgar Vale was the house I knew & loved. It was old. It was geriatric. It was falling apart & my aunt was not the sort of woman to have the sort of money needed for repairs. If I had been older I would have happily plonked down money for this monstrosity. Perhaps happily I was too young to do more than mourn its passing.
For a while Shirl had a place on Mt Tambourine overlooking the Canungra Valley & the Gold Coast. The view was spectacular but the garden was steep & the house little more than a ticky~tacky bread & butter box. I was not enamoured of the house. I liked Tambourine ~ still do, but the worms grew to the size of fat snakes & scared the living daylights out of me when I went walking barefoot at night. It smelt all wrong too: too new paintish; too clean; too modern.
Then Shirl moved out Rathdowney way. Yep, the same Rathdowney where Lid was working with alpacas last year. I was a new mum & at Toowoomba with a brand new baby I wasn't quite sure what to do with. Following my aunt's uncertain directions & my own lack of direction I ventured out along the backroads between here & there for the occasional visit in a house that was half~finished with half the extended family already moving in.
I arrived the first time with a 5 week old baby to a bare house & a yard bereft of even a blade of grass. The drought pretty much made gardening an impossibility so my aunt's attention unaccustomedly wandered to things housebound ~ always a dangerous preoccupation. For 2 meals my aunt & I stared unhappily at the pristine white of her brand new living room wall ~ a large blank canvas that desperately needed something to lift it out of the doldrums. "What it needs, " my aunt said dreamily, "is a tree or two."
And so she put them there. It was a charming mural, the only drawback being that she could not take the wall with her when she moved house again. Gotta wonder what she's painting on Heaven's walls now?!