My Nanna Ethel

This is my grandmother Ethel from my fathers side. She was born in Leister shire in England and emigrated when she was a teenager with her parents, she was an only child.

My Nanna – Ethel Sampson

I just loved her so much. I remember when I was at uni I would visit her most days and had my own key. I would let myself in and go straight to the fridge where she would have a fresh trifle with whipped cream or some other wonderful thing for me to enjoy! Thus happily aware of her latest kindness I would then seek her out to give her a hug and kiss.

She was always so kind and generous with my sister and I. She smelt of kindness plain soap and 4711 perfume. Her skin felt really soft and smooth and I would love to touch her. Ethel had refined tastes in furniture, clothing and in the way she conducted herself. She was incredible with my teenager vanity and selfishness, I never felt judged and at times my sister and I must have really shocked her with our antics such as going bra less when wearing diaphanous cheesecloth clothing which was the thing to do in the 1970’s!

During the war she was the manager of a café in Northbridge that had sixteen staff. She told me that sometimes she would walk from Mt Lawley to and from work.

During this time the love of her life was “missing in action” finally after a couple of years it became known that he was dead. In the 1980’s when she showed me his letters in a beautiful pale green folder tied with a pink ribbon she was still grieving.

When the war finished she had to leave her job so that a returning soldier could work. This meant that she had to get married quickly. Her marriage to poor grandpa was a definitely a desperate action on her part. They took up land in Wubin where she lived in a unlined corrugated iron shed made from saplings that was boiling in the summer and freezing in the winter.

This shed still stands on the farm in Wubin it would have been bleak home, it had a dirt floor and only two rooms. One had only three walls with the forth wall missing so that the animals such as snakes could come in when ever they wanted. The “bedroom” had four walls with one window that had no glass it was just a hinged corrugated iron opening that when open would have let in some light plus the flies and dust.
She was use to the brick housing with running water, floorboards and bathrooms and kitchens in England and Mt Lawley.
Her family belonged to a Spiritualist church in England and she was psychic.

She told me was that she had a vivid dream about a family in the Wubin district. In the dream the family had a car accident after football at a particular corner and the father of the family would die. The dream was so intense that she told her family about it at breakfast. When she was helping with the afternoon tea at football she quietly told a couple of people including the mother of the family. She asked the mother of that family to be very careful at that corner on the way home.

After the football that family had the accident where she said and the father died.

After this incident many religious people in Wubin avoided her and this was really difficult because Wubin was such a small town.

At one stage of her life she believed that my grandfather was feeding her crushed glass, and trying to kill her. One day she woke up and realised that the only person who could make her choose life and make her happy was herself so she just stopped believing that fantasy and recovered to become accepting and happy with her lot in life.

I was too young to realise what an amazing thing it was for her to recover from a mental illness like that.

She was a remarkable woman.

Meeting drug traffickers in Asia—Me 18 my brother 16

When I was 18 and my little brother Kim was 16 my parents sent us on a JETSET tour around Asia for about 18 days.

We had both been in boarding school since we were twelve so I guess the oldies thought we could handle the trip together without supervision.

I imagine that they thought that I would keep an eye on Kim and him on me? Who knows what was going thought their heads?

I will be forever grateful that I had this opportunity and I guess that is all that matters, it shaped me in some way.

We went to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand back to Malaysia then down the coast to Malacca then through the jungle to Singapore before we flew home to Perth.

I only have three photographs of the whole trip. In those days before social media and  digital cameras photographs were not  a high priority. Experience was where it was at and we had 18 days of intense experience.

I am on the far right at the back with all the other jetset people

In 1972 when you flew over Asia it was just miles and miles of verdant green trees with meandering brown rivers cutting arteries thorough the jungle.

A few days before we left I was at a party in Perth in Leederville and met two young American women about my age who had been picked up for drug trafficking from Thailand. They were out on bail until the court case was heard. I later heard that they ended up in jail for about 4 years as they were found to be guilty.

They actually had been staying at the Thai hotel that I was booked to stay on my trip. They asked me to speak to the manager about what had happened to them here in Australia to see if he would help them. I think he was the guy who set them up.

My parents were completely unaware that I met drug traffickers at neighbourhood parties and was stupid/young/naive enough to consider this request.

Kim and I flew off to Malaysia oblivious to any threat or problem that could happen to a person on a trip such as the one we were on.

In those days at each airport in Asia we had to walk down the steps of the aircraft onto the hot tarmac and around us were the custom people with machine guns at their hips.

At that time in Australia Police didn’t have guns, only farming people had guns and they were shot guns that shot rabbits, not semi automatic machine guns. It was scary to see smartly uniformed men with such powerful guns.

Our first stop was Malaysia. Once outside the airport Kuala Lumpur (KL) was a sleepy place, it had the Asian infrastructure problem of smelly plumbing in the 5 star hotels where huge cockroaches would crawl up and enter the room through the bathroom drains.

I am far left and Kim is in the middle of the photo

At the same time the hotels would have a marble baths, gold taps and marble up the walls to the ceiling and  impeccable crystal chandeliers. The “styling” of the rooms was flawless. At the same time the ever so slightly out of line walls contrasted with the stone and chandeliers creating a strangely surreal experience for an inexperienced spoiled Western brat such as myself.

After one night in KL where we had my first Malaysian Banquet dinner where the above two photos were taken we flew to HONKERS — Hong Kong. My parents had given us a small amount of money to spend and this I guess they thought would pay for food and other sort of inconvenient and silly things like that.

For a 16 and 18 year old who had been fed without paying for our whole lives we just expected our food to be provided.

JETSET tours included breakfast and every few days a “buffet” meal. So, with that paid for that is all Kim and I ate. We drank the free tea and ate the dry biscuits in the rooms and apart from that we starved.

The rest of the meagre money went on doing and buying the other things that the tour didn’t do.

Over 30 years later my daughter went to Europe when she was 18 and came back looking anorexic, with the information that she could live off a packet of oats for a week. Only then did I understand that for this age paying for food was not a priority. Eighteen year old people are not focused on food as a heath giving priority, they just want their stomachs filled so that they can get on with being cool.

In Hong Kong we stayed in Kowloon and went by ferry to the mainland daily with the odd (JETSET) tour in between.

I spent my money on hand tailored clothing. I actually bought an ankle length leather coat specifically made for me for a pittance. Plus silk shirts and other silly things that I valued at that time.

Of course I flogged this stuff off at Moulitatas – Robyn’s shop in Fremantle a few years later as who needs a long leather coat in Fremantle?

Kim and I didn’t miss a moment and saw the HK markets at night went to the top of the hill and did what people do in HK.

My 16 year old whisky drinking brother Kim

Being from Chinese heritage I felt really comfortable in Honkers and many people spoke English so it was an easy introduction to Asia.

The next stop was Thailand.

Bangkok was hectic it was even more different from Australia than Malaysia or Hong Kong. The streets were buzzing with motorbikes, cars and bicycles and when the traffic lights went red, the cars would stop but the motor bikes would keep moving up through the traffic until there was a huge group of bikes in front of the cars spilling into the intersection. The roads were so packed that not only was it was impossible for the traffic to cross it. I felt too terrified to cross most roads.

Years later I would learn that to cross a busy Asian road you simply stroll across at a steady pace not looking at the traffic, and allow the traffic to swirl around you.

At the very side of the road was an illegal separate lane going in the opposite direction because they were unable to cross the road to get to their correct lane.

I experienced the brown lazily flowing Kongs with the water markets and homes where people could be seen cooking, washing, playing and defecating into the water — my mind did flips as this was like a vision from another planet.

The nauseating smell of fish sauce pervaded the streets and made my empty stomach upset. The JETSET meals were authentic Thai food that were chilli hot and although I ate every mouthful because I was starving it made my stomach unbalanced. Lucky for my cast iron consitiution.

Everything was so unexpected — I was so unaware of other cultures before this trip and I just drew it all in with wide eyes and a grumbling trying to be upset stomach.

The hotel in Thailand was five star Asian standard the same as KL large rooms, marble baths, amazing views, starchy linen and enormous cockroaches.

Every day when I left the hotel and walked down the huge flight of steps men would flock to me and chant “youwantaman? youwantaman? youwantaman?” and my brother would say NO! I just thought they were speaking Thai. I had no idea.

On the third day at the hotel I arranged a meeting with the manager. I had his name carefully written on a party serviette by the American drug dealer mules I met in Fremantle.

The meeting was cordial and I was not at the least interested in being a drug runner and I expect that was obvious to him so he didn’t offer me the opportunity.

I felt my duty was done and went down stairs to the shops in the hotel. Kim, my brother was out and about. Suddenly he arrived at the shop. His hair was sticking out in all directions, and his eyes were wide and sort of staring. His whole persona was one of stress and urgency.

He said that he needed money. I gave to him and he ran off. Later he told me he had said yes to the chant on the hotel steps “youwantagirl?” “youwantagirl?” “youwantagirl?” and had been driven to a place where there was this glass room where girls were parading around with numbers on them.

He was asked to pick a number and I didn’t let him tell me more — ignorance is sometimes a sensible option to take in my opinion. That is why he needed the money.

Who knows what happened to my sweet 16 year old brother? At least AIDS was not prevalent at the time.

Then on to Malaysia, where things were more relaxed and we took a bus down the peninsula to Singapore seeing the beautiful animals, jungle and Malacca along the way.

Finally we were in Singapore where we saw large five meter long pythons being butchered on the streets of China town, the glamorous transvestites in Bugis Street, had drinks at the Raffles hotel and we were enthralled by the monkeys in the main park who would steal the washing from the balconies of the flats close by.

I found the shop that sold real mainland Chinese products, where I purchased hand embroidered 100% cotton sheets. I have not varied my bedding from that time it just is luxury to sleep in pure cotton and see the beauty of embroidery — such is my influence from that trip.

Year after year I would visit this store until China decided to open up more and you could get 100% cotton embroidered sheets at Target in Fremantle.

By this time Asia was magical – the fetid smell of the drains in Singapore no longer worried me – the rats and cockroaches were just fine. The food I found interesting and tasty and I was in love with it all.

Through all of this I got to know my little brother well, he is such a lovely kind being, easy to be with and happy to just explore life.

At the time on the flights alcohol was free and I found that my little brother had a serious liking for whisky that he had naturally picked up at boarding school.

I didn’t drink at 18, and I would order him enough whisky for him to swim in…

I am not sure I was a good influence.

Asia felt like coming home to excitement, spice and fun and has felt like that every time I have been back since.

Kia and I on the edge of returning to dust.

One of my favourite photographs of Kia reminds me of all the adventures we had outback in her childhood, this was before the time of mobile phones that could simply sweep over the vista and make an amazing shot. I had to carefully take shot after shot hoping that I could paste them together in the end and show a tad of what I was seeing.

It is a photograph of her in the sitting quietly in a gorge that is so vast and beautiful — she didn’t know that I was worried about the heat and my ability to get her back to the car. I was thinking “Maybe we could perish in the beautiful place — hopefully not”. At the same time I was just so happy to be walking in my country with her sharing the beauty.

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Kia is about 1/4 of the way up this picture seated on a ledge.

It all started when I was 8 months pregnant with Kia and I had a calling to be in the desert. Sort of like a pregnancy craving, it just had to be sated — no question!

I drove up to my parents farm in Wubin. At that time of the year they were doing the grey nomads thing and were on their property in Broome. I left my Mercedes Sports SLC 500 and took their Toyota tray top and went to the land of my childhood. The land east of Wubin, beyond the rabbit proof fence onto Ningham station.

During my childhood I spent time in the desert with my family checking out the vast lakes, ancient human markings, abandoned gold mines, creepy deserted towns and weird natural landmarks of the desert.

Kia on Wardagga when she was older. I took her and her friends back there often.

Wardagga is a monolith on Ningham station and it is larger around the base than Ullaroo (Ayres Rock) yet because it is in wooded desert it is not able to be seen until you are at its base.

It was at Wardagga where I and sat for 4 days at 8 months of pregnancy.

I did it so that my daughter could “know the land.

During this time I just walked on the rock and contemplated life. What it would be like to be a mother and what it would like for the being in my womb to be the child of a mother like me…

The view from the top of Wardagga - I took Kia here many times in her childhood

I actually slept on the tray top of the Toyota. I had never done that before I had always slept on the desert floor feeling the pulse of the land under my body as I slept. However becoming a mother seemed to make me more timid and I was very aware of how vulnerable I now was as a heavily pregnant mother.

I had factored in the “worst case scenario” situation that I could think of. That was going into labour when I was alone in the desert.

I knew that the average time for a first time labor was 12 hours therefore I could make it back to the farm in Wubin in 2 hours. From there I could telephone and call an ambulance.  This seemed like a fairly OK situation to me.

Why on earth didn’t I think to drive to the local service station in Paynes Find — that was closer? I could have thought to drive to the service station in Wubin so that I had people around me to support me. At that time I had that streak of independence — sort of like a silly teenager.

I have always said that I was a thirty seven year old teenager and then I had Kia.

Before this most wonderful event all I did was have fun doing lots of exciting things such as absailing, exploring the desert, sailing, running, rock climbing windsurfing off the back of Rotttnest from Eagle Bay until I couldn’t see land. Adventure was my life. When Kia was born I had three businesses to run! I had been hitch hiking around the planet in remote places for decades — generally I lived the life of a spoiled Western Brat.

Back to the desert and away from the past…

I was most fortunate to have four wonderful meditative days in the desert observing the land, so I didn’t have to test my back up plan.

I actually don’t remember that I told anyone where I was for those four days so perhaps my bravado was just a tad short of stupid?

All over Australia we have some of the most ancient art galleries in the world. They are out in the open where the art is all subtle earthy colours and abstract design.

Beautiful ancient art – it makes my heart sing

I took Kia to the desert on many a trip and when she was two years old we took a “big trip” across the centre of Australia. Just the two of us on the Gun Barrel Highway from Carnegie Station to Warburton then across the back blocks of Queensland and then up to Cape York. We must have travelled about nine thousand kilometres during this holiday.

On the way home we went “across the top” and back down the coast to Perth. When the opportunity was presented we would stop off at these places and take a peek.

One day in Queensland I noticed a road sign about an art sight and as we were due to stop for a snack I drove off the road down a dirt track.

In Queensland we found a gallery in the outback and we were the only people there.

Having travelled the world I find it amazing that a forty thousand year old art gallery is deserted. How does that happen? In Europe and Asia anything a few thousand years old is a cultural treasure with thousands of visitors.

Australia is one of the last incredible travel adventures in the world and luckily for me the rest of the world hasn’t discovered that yet.

There was an arrow sign showing that the art was up a steep winding stone strewn track.

I am a very light traveler so minimised what I took for a walk to see art. The minimum was a camera, car keys and a water bottle. Kia was just under three years old so she was light and portable. I put her in the sling and traipsed up the steep path to the sights with her happily on my hip.

We spent some time walking up along the track and observing the artworks that were high above us. The place was signed-posted with arrows. An arrow pointing along the path to me meant go that way. So, I did. I took photographs and followed the arrows.

All over Australia is rock art more ancient than the Pyramids!

The day was on the hot side of warm, one of those sleepy Australian days where even the blowflies sound slow. The occasional puffs of wind would rattle the dry leaves and swirl up some dust.

This art gallery had the music of the wind and more importantly the silences between the gusts.

The site was on the side of a hill and we finally came to a rise to one side where there was an arrow that pointed onwards through a small open-ended cave.

Kia in the open ended cave.

On the other side of the cave was another arrow pointing down what appeared to be a narrow animal or human track around the side of the hill.

My body likes to move and be strong so I was motivated onwards and upwards around the hill.

After about 20 minutes walk I had not seen another arrow so was very careful to take my bearings so that I would find my way back.

Kia happily sat in her human carriage and chatted away as I walked along. The weathered rocky hill had many unusual strange shapes and cut outs so the artistic sites were nature created rather than human.

At one stage we came to a natural passageway where the rocks each side appeared to be human hewn, yet I knew that they were natural. Inside was dark, very dry and cold and it was a sharp contrast from the heat of that day.

Kia in the natural passageway

When we came out the other end into the hot sun the disparity was like a slap it the face and we were again hit with the heat, flies and slow burning of muscles traipsing in unfamiliar territory where the slightest mistake could mean death by snake bite, strained ankle or lack of water.

The track was just as clear so I kept walking wondering if I would get to see more art. I was also calculating how dangerous it was to be in the bush with a young child with only a small bottle of water.

After another 20 minutes walk we came to an overhang. It was of such wonder that I placed Kia down and walked backwards so that I could get a shot.

After some time I realised that if I walked away any further Kia would not show up in the photograph.

Double click on this image and  1/3 of the way up the photo you will find Kia

That photograph again.

After the extreme photo opportunity I then put my girl back in the sling and carefully retraced my way back.

Kia didn’t understand the state of play so she asked for and drank all the water in the bottle. I just chose to slog on back to that car park…

We made it!

The Return of the Ring from the Rodent…

I have always travelled to far-flung places with little planning. I went to Sri Lanka in 1992 without much thought and when I got there the Tamil thing (war) was going on and this made it a tad difficult to be a tourist.

I have already written the story about that trip (Sri Lanka 1980 – a war how could I miss that fact?).

This particular story is about a lavishly beautiful ruby and diamond ring that I had made after this trip. This story is of “the rat and the ring”

Sri Lanka is a tiny island and for some reason the ground is full of precious and semi precious stones. There are the most exquisite cornflower blue sapphires plus to my surprise sapphires of pink, yellow and green. There are also rubies, citron, spinel, aquamarine, garnets, amethyst, topaz, and all sorts of other sparkling things that humans like to adorn themselves with.

A pink sapphire I didn’t know they existed before the trip

The whole place a gem paradise with the mines, gem dealers, gem cutters, shops, and gem export agents.

Because of the war I spent my “holiday” doing meditation, exercising within the hotel complex and buying a small stash of gems. There was little else that was safe enough to do during a war when you are woman traveling alone.

When I came home I had a small handful of stones that I showed my childhood hero Geoffrey Allen.

My grandmother lived near his shop in Broadway, Nedlands — a gracious riverside suburb of Perth. Geoffrey’s shop had the typical shop front with large glass display windows each side of a glossy black door. The two glass windows had been blacked out except for a small square of clear glass in the middle of each window. Behind each square was a black velvet covered box and on that box would be ONE of his jewelery artworks, perhaps a finished commission

A typical Geoffrey Allen 1970’s creation Stirling silver and black topaz

As a child in the 60’s I was free to walk on my own past his shop on my way to the supermarket to do my Grandmothers shopping or simply to wander the streets. I would stop and gaze at his amazingly crafted work and wonder if I would ever be wealthy enough to own such beauty.

To my complete surprise when I was an adult I was able to commission his jewellery. By this stage of his life he had semi-retired and worked from the garage of his Nedlands home.

When I first actually saw Geoffrey in the flesh in the 1980’s he appeared to me to be an ancient wizened man, his hands looked like an abstract sculpture as his fingers drifted well away from alignment due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. His knuckles had calcified knobby bits on them that appeared to me to be hard and painful. I always thought of him as small but I am not sure if he was small or simply so bent that he appeared small.

Before going to Sri Lanka Geoffrey showed me how to buy genuine stones as opposed to glass. When I returned I had a small stash of gems so it was natural to allocate the job of setting the stones that I had bought to him.

At that stage of my life I barely wore jewellery as I was a sporting person and jewellery got in the way in my normal active life of windsurfing, running, building or gardening.

Geoffrey made me the most ostentatious jewellery as the stones I purchased were large and coloured.

I am a believer that if you have something beautiful it was silly to leave it in a cupboard somewhere.

So, when I had this jewellery made I wore it daily. However when I came home from work I would take it off so I could play the piano or cook or do the things that are best done without too much bling.

One day I came home and unconsciously took off my two rings and placed them on the dining room table next to a bowl of fresh fruit.

When I did this I noticed that an apple in the fruit bowl had a few teeth marks in it. I removed the apple and threw it away as I reflected at my parenting skills, or lack there of…

My daughter was one of those kids that would never eat a whole piece of fruit and I wondered how I would get her out of the habit of grazing and then replacing the half eaten item. So far, I had not been very successful at training her to eat much at a time — such are the conundrums of parenting.

That night in bed just at that twilight stage when my mind was slipping off to sleep I heard the sound of the rings falling on to the tiled floor of the dining room. In that moment I knew that the fruit was not eaten by a tiny human and that maybe a small animal was the culprit. Then I slipped in to the unconscious dream state.

The next morning when I went to the dining room I found one ring on the floor and the other was gone.

The cornflour blue sapphire ring the rat rejected

It was nowhere to be seen, there was another piece of fruit that had been nibbled in the fruit bowl and after some searching I decided that a rat had taken the ring. I assumed the missing ring was back in the rats nest.

Being an insured urbanite I rang my insurance company and they questioned me about forced entry to the house. They did this time and time again. I repeatedly explained that no door or window or roof had been breached in the house, that an animal had come into the house and the ring was missing. They gave me the distinct impression that they though I was a stupid and that they didn’t believe me.

They did tell me that my insurance didn’t cover animals stealing. However, they added that in order to process my claim fully I had to get a Police report number.

After the insurance phone call I was reluctant to go to the Police. However, I soldiered on enjoying the stupidity of the situation.

At the Fremantle Police station I filled in the correct form for a missing object.

A large Policeman with his wondrously wide bum and wobbly jowls — that Police in Western Australia seem to develop — came over to question me about my robbery.

Again he treated me as I was being delusional — his jowls quivered as he shook his head and he asked me again and again about the doors or windows being breached. He didn’t believe that a rodent would take a ring. It was difficult to keep a straight face. I was seeing the humor of the situation even although I was being treated like a kook.

I then decided to research if a rat would take a ring so rang the Western Australian Museum and spoke to the “ratspert” (rat expert). He assured me that rats do collect things and take them back to their nest.

I then decided to work out how the rat was able to gain access into my home.

This is a whole story in itself…

When I lived alone I decorated my home with pale grey carpet and while I was single it was not only beautiful it was warm and quiet.

Then I had the idea of having a child, and after this very happy event, I spent many years daily down on my hands and knees scrubbing vomit, milk, mud and all other things out of the carpet.

One fine day I “snapped” and got out a Stanley knife and hacked the carpet into strips and removed it — it went piece by piece into the bin. We were left with a raw wooden floor and I guessed that the rat was accessing the house from an access point from under the house. This opening was in a cupboard and had a broken lid with just enough room for a small rat.

With all this information I then decided to take matters in to my own hands and “find the ring” by finding the rats nest.

To do this I had to find where the rat was getting access to the house and then, not kill the rat!

Therefore, I left fruit on the table nightly and placed talcum powder around potential access areas and found that the rat was entering the house from the broken access point in the cupboard as I suspected.

Little rat paw prints were clearly visible in the powder, not just one rats print but a few…

Fremantle is a place full of quirky people with strange jobs so over the road was a genius robotics specialist. I asked him what I could do and he hatched a plan.

I had to catch the rat and he would give it a radio collar and then we would be able to track it back to the nest.

PLAN – catch the rat.

The insurance saga continued and I had to get the ring valued, yes, the ring that I no longer owned. I rang Geoffrey Allen and found that he had moved on from this reality.

His kind wife had a record of the ring and was able to give me a valuation. It was worth a fortune! Well above anything I could have imagined — time has a way of increasing value for anything that is quality.

At this stage I felt that me getting my ring back was a very long shot. I was simply enjoying the “rat and the ring” drama.

I particularly liked the reaction of my friends who knew I had a rat in my home that I was actively attracting and feeding.

rat and ring
Kia and I at the trap door under the floor

I decided to get my daughter involved so one day we opened the trap door to under the house. With torches we descended under the house to see if we could find the nest.

The clean dry floor boards under the house.

Under the house was extremely dry, quiet and clean, it was all limestone and huge beams of jarrah wood. There was no trace of a rats nest, but there were patches where the floor was too close to the ground for us to crawl through, so this required smaller animate beings — our two small dogs were then bought in to the picture.

Rubble under the house

We lowered the dogs under the floor and had the whole family down there. The dogs snuffling around and Kia and I squeezing along behind them, however, we had no idea of where the nest was.

Playing with the dogs under the floorboards became a “thing” and we had some fun getting under the house on many an occasion to just play, pretending that we were looking for the rat, however, it is quite silent and clean under there.

During this saga my niece was living with us. She was finishing her five years at university. All through the years she had been an exemplary person who was all study and correctness. When she finished university she decided to celebrate and she was as diligent at celebration as she was at university.

One morning after a particularly successful celebration night, I asked her if she would help move a large piece of furniture.

She had a severe headache… she didn’t really want to help me… I was oblivious to this and insisted that she helped.

I think I have autistic tendencies at times, I sort of didn’t compute the pain she was in as I have never had a hangover of that proportion.

We started to push the huge mahogany dresser across the floor and heard some rattling sounds.

I asked her to lift her end as I pulled. She was most half-hearted about the whole exercise however, after a few tries she managed to do this.

As I dragged the dresser forward, from under it appeared some cherry pips, a piece of plastic and the ring.

The return of the ring from the rodent

Was I Stalked?

Sometimes life works in mysterious ways and a chance meeting results in something that over the course of time becomes a situation that is beyond your wildest dreams.

One of my friends is an artist and from time to time he holds a huge party at his home and invites all sorts of people who come to buy his art.

These parties have Spanish Dancing, a huge outdoor wood fire and all sorts of wonderful events and different people.

At one of his parties there was a live South American band that was all rhythm and pan-pipes. The singers in the band were dark short and chunky South American men all machismo and flashing eyes.

They were men who knew their masculinity so they strutted and sang and played their hearts out and in between eyed the women.

After the band finished one of the band members made a bee line over to me and introduced himself as Ziro.

Ziro was a dark haired, short stocky man of about 40 years of age. He asked me all sorts of questions and I answered him in an absent-minded way as the party was pumping and I was too distracted by all the people and experiences.

Ziro started to tell me things about myself that had occurred to me over the last 10 – 15  years. He told me all about my dogs and when I got them and how I treated them. He told me about the different clothing I had worn over the years, and then all about my parenting and child. He knew where I lived — what car I drove.

It was like he had been stalking me.

He finally had my attention so I turned and actually saw him for the first time. I really looked at him and asked him how he knew what he did about me.

Ziro then told me a story that opened up a memory from a very long time ago.

The story was about a time in my life that I would rather have forgotten, in fact I had sort of put it out of my mind. My thoughts just came up against a closed door, however as he spoke the hinges of that door were squeaky and the door a tad jammed yet slowly my dendrites started to fire and that memory seeped back. A tad fuzzy to start with and then that memory was again clear. The door to that recollection was open and here is what happened.

When I was 35 years old I had a wonderful relationship with an intelligent and fun man and had been with him for 5 years. We had done some magical things together and life had just been one fun change after another because we both let each other live without limits. However, as I do every now and again in life, I had started a new theme of learning and it was all about emotional intelligence, co-dependence, interdependence  and spiritual matters. I was no longer so interested in what we had been doing for the last 5 years which was business, computers and travel.

My partner was still very interested in what we had been doing. I was feeling really passionate about the subjects of lucid dreaming and emotional empowerment, I wanted to understand my motivations and the motivations of others.

We were no longer so compatible and it was getting boring for me and who knows how he was feeling with my nutty talk about dreams and interdependence. To be honest I believe that he actually was fairly emotionally intelligent so probably didn’t need to learn the things that I did. Therefore we probably became boring to each other.

I truly loved this man and had bought him a beautiful purple spinel ring that was hand made for him by Geoffery Allen. It was a very heavy gold mans ring with a thick band.

One day we were having a painful conversation and we were feeling the stress of our incompatibility along with the love that we had for each other.

In one instance I watched my partner and my best friend walk over to a door and place his hand on the door-knob to leave the room. As he touched the door knob his hand flew back in the air as though he had been hit by an electrical shock. My partner white faced and shaking looked at his ring and the 19 caret gold band had ripped apart and the edges of the gold looked as though they were torn. How did that happen? To this day I have no idea how this happened.

We both looked at the ring and in shock we agreed that the ring was agreeing with us that our relationship was over.

I have to admit that I didn’t really believe in signs at the time however, this situation was so strange that we both just agreed that it was a physical sign.

Our relationship fell apart, just like a cardboard shelter in a storm it folded crumbled,  and finally ceased to be as it was.

It was such an awful process, I found leaving someone whom I loved like a slow boat to hell, once you are on it you can’t get off and when you get there it is too late to change anything.

A small part of me knew that it was really right that our relationship went the way it did and the larger part grieved as never before.

One day during this extremely confounding and painful period I was driving my Mercedes Sports SLC 500 and crying – sobbing my heart out and I came to a corner in the centre of Fremantle.

I was at a corner and going to turn right and as I slowly let go of the brakes to turn a man landed on the long bonnet of that car.

That long bonnet of the Mercedes

That was Ziro. He had been walking across the road and I had not seen him through my tears. As I slowly moved forward he decided that jumping on to the bonnet of the car was the safest place for him so that is what he did.

I stopped the car and slowly got out as he scrambled off the bonnet. He took one look at me and said:

“Are you alright?”

I was flabbergasted – Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I should have been asking him that question however my brain just stood still – it was completely silent. I was unable to speak.

After a few moments he assured me that he was OK and after a few more assurances I drove off.

From that moment on I was oblivious to him and his life, it was a memory I had just conveniently suppressed, however, for him it was a different experience from that moment on Ziro noticed everything that I did.

Many years later he was able to approach me at a party and get to finally know me…

Life has some strange twists and turns.